June Jones knew coming in as the new head coach of Southern Methodist University that he had his work cut out for himself, teaching a team that went 1-11 a year ago how to be winners again.
Jones explained Monday morning in his weekly press conference that he and his team still had one goal, win all of the Mustang home games and get better each week. Despite taking a step back offensively against Texas Tech this past Saturday night, he has seen some improvements on both sides of the ball in their first three weeks of the 2008 season.
"I thought we did some good things on defense, despite giving up some big yardage, we knew we weren't going to slowed them down a lot, but we had to make some plays," Jones said. This was the first time our defense started to have an identity, they played aggressive, we zone blitzed, and our kids did a lot of things correctly."
Jones was also pleased with the fact that the Mustang defense forced Tech to punt several times.
"If you had told me that we would stop them 7-out of 15 times I would thought we would have won the game," Jones said. "I still think if we had played efficiently on offense that we could have made it a heck of a ballgame."
One of the first questions of the conference was if Bo Levi Mitchell was still the starting quarterback for SMU?
"Bo is still the starter," Jones said. "He has to learn how to play the game; he won't do that standing over there by me."
"Every QB that has ever played the game has had one of those days, when I thought he had enough I pulled him out."
Jones was asked if he had ever stayed with a quarterback that long after they had thrown five interceptions in a game.
"Most of his errors were rookie mistakes," Jones said. "I need to do a better job communicating with him when not to throw the ball, to tuck it and run it."
Although SMU has started out 1-2 and facing perhaps its best opponent to date, Jones still has hope and optimism for continued improvement this season.
"We are undefeated at home," Jones said. "If we can win all of our home games we still have a chance to play in December or January, that's still our goal as a staff and as a team."
Jones also is fully aware that defeating an undefeated TCU team isn't going to be an easy task.
I'm not sure that TCU isn't the best team we have played so far or going to play all year," Jones said. "Fortunately we have them at home; fortunately this game is a pretty good rivalry, where anything can happen."
TCU's head coach Gary Patterson alluded to the rivalry in his post game comments this past Saturday.
"SMU always seems to play their best game against TCU," Patterson told the media. "We will have to play well to beat them."
Jones agrees with Patterson that the Mustang will have to be at their best to beat the Horned Frogs.
"I know how much TCU likes SMU," Jones said. "I'm sure they will be ready to play their best game, it will take our best game to beat them."