Things are definitely different on the Hilltop.After last year's 1-11 season, all Southern Methodist University fans are hoping things will be vastly different. Week one of the June Jones' era proves it will be. Jones brings a unique management style to practice that comes unmatched by few. A big focus this fall so far has been on teaching, whether it's multiple walkthroughs on defense or a lot of repetitions by the quarterbacks and wide receivers, everyone seems to be learning under the man that has a habit of turning around losing programs.
Pre-School attendance at an all time highIf there is one group of parents probably glad to see the old coaching staff gone and the new one arrives is the Highland Park Methodist Church Pre School department. Being so close to the SMU practice fields, little Johnny's parents don't have to worry about those interesting words they continued to bring home last fall. One thing Jones doesn't allow is his coaches to curse on the football field.
Out of retirement and into motivational speakingSMU's special team's coordinator Frank Gansz Sr. came out of retirement to lend a friend a helping hand. Long time friends with Coach Jones, Gansz couldn't resist one more time on the football field. Gansz can be heard over his head set shouting instructions; it appears a lot of the credit for the self-confidence turn around in the current players should go to this master character builder and motivator. Perhaps the very best Special Teams Coordinator in the nation, SMU will be fundamentally sound in all aspects of the kicking game.
Bend but don't break defensive mentality no longer in existence at SMUA full speed, blitzing style attack from all over the field will be the new scheme brought in by new defensive coordinator Tom Mason. Mason, who is in complete control of his defensive squad, is quite the motivator himself. The soft spoken, but fiery coach on the field has a lot of confidence in what his troops will be able to improve on last years 116th out of 117th overall defensive statistic. If the Mustang's defense plays according to their coaches' confidence, things will be a lot better come fall.
Team Chemistry and Coaching ChemistryCalling Dr. Jones, calling Dr. Jones. One might believe the offensive genius might have his doctorate degree in Chemistry. He has the team chemistry at its all time best after a few years of being mentally beat down. He has also assembled one of the best coaching staffs in the country, and the most impressive thing about the coaching staff other than their won-loss record, is how well they get along with each other. Something special could be brewing on the Hilltop.
For the most part of the fall the team will be in shoulder pads, helmets and shorts. Jones doesn't believe in going full contact a lot. He also doesn't believe in live scrimmages either. The first four days of practice the offense didn't go up against the defense, now they are in some 7-on-7 and other team action. Fuss if you must, but apparently he knows what he is doing, he wins with this philosophy wherever he goes.
Speaking of rising attendance, season ticket sales are upIt appears that the Pre School wasn't the only one desiring a change. Mustang faithful appear to be heading back to Gerald Ford Stadium. A recent article in the Dallas Morning News stated that ticket sales are up 50 percent over this time last year. A more family friendly environment now, plus a more exciting brand of football to watch.
According to head strength coach Vic Viloria, attendance numbers for voluntary workouts after or between practices have been way up over this time last year. The second year strength coach and former Mustang player stated that over 95 percent of the team is showing up to workout on their own.
Who needs jugs throwing machines when you have five capable arms?The numbers of throws for a practice reached a team record by Friday. As of Friday afternoon the five quarterbacks on the roster had already thrown more passes in five days than last year's team did in three months. No that might be stretching it a little, but probably not far off. I have never seen so many passing reps in one practice. Dan Morrison had said in a previous interview that a quarterback would get plenty of reps in a practice, lol that was an understatement. Z
Early Mustangs to catch the OwlsStarting the week of the Rice game, SMU will hold its daily practice at 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. each day. Coach Jones has done this at Hawaii. It keeps the players from going out much at night and also helps provide extra academic assistance. One local newspaper report (I won't name) said she plans on bring her sleeping bag to practice.
Injured or not injuredCoach Jones' policy on injuries is to let the athlete say if he is injured or not, due to the state privacy laws. We at PonyStampede.com will honor the coaches request and not push the injury issue.
Apples don't fall far from the tree; it also can be said for MustangsI had the opportunity to meet several of the parents this week of some of the Mustang players. I had already been impressed on how a great bunch of athletes and young men we had here at SMU, now I understand why. A very nice group of parents, and apparently very intelligent also, because they were all members of PonyStampede.com.
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