No matter what offense you run, what defense you put in place, a young team that hasn't won very much over the years must once again learn how to win.
June Jones will win at SMU, it's only a matter of not if, just a matter of when. He has already changed the recruiting landscape at the school on the Hilltop, having 22 pledges for his 2009 class, far better than any of his past predecessors ever accomplished.
The wear and tear of two back to back close losses appeared Saturday night to be taking its toll on the veteran coach.
"Words can't describe how I feel right now," Jones told a group of media. "We will win here at SMU, I promise you that. We just have to learn how to win again, and figure out a way to take the victory when it's in our grasp."
There was no doubt who the better team was Saturday night, even loyal Cougar fans knew they were very fortunate to get out of Dallas with a 44-38 come from behind win.
The difference is Houston, now 4-3, has rallied to win three of its last three games. They know how to win; they even expect to win when they trail.
Victory was in the grasps of the Mustangs, SMU led 35-23 headed in the final quarter.
"It's so frustrating," Jones continued, said while visibly shaken. "I told the kids that I was proud of their efforts, they continue to get better each week. We just have to learn how to win again here."
Instead of finding a way to unravel, this young team must first learn how to win, and then expect to win, instead of expecting to lose.
Houston scored a touchdown and went for the two point conversion to tie the game, that attempt failed, leaving the Mustangs with a 38-36 lead.
All the Mustangs had to do was assemble a drive and run the 3 minutes remaining off the clock.
"We thought we had the game when they failed on the conversion attempt," Bo Levi Mitchell said. "All we had to do is get that first down; we have to figure out the way to get those things done."
After an incompletion on third down, the Cougars had the chance they had been looking for.
"That was the changing point of the ballgame," one fan said. "At that point I knew we were going to lose the ballgame, it's like here we go again."
While the one fan made the statement, the likihood that most fans and even the young ball club was thinking it.
The culture has changed in recruiting; now it has to change in winning. Instead of expecting to lose a close game, the Mustangs must achieve confidence in themselves to win and expect to win those close ballgames.