Photo by footballmatters.org
By Warren Schorr @wschorr
July 19, 2016

 

When Chad Morris was a kid, he used to go and watch the ponies in Texas Stadium. Now Morris looks to recreate his own pony express in year two as head football coach of the SMU Mustangs.

Morris came over from Clemson and knew this was going to be a tough rebuild, but if he can build his childhood team, it would be worth it.

“I kind of had a feeling that the year might go like that (2-10), I knew this was going to be a tough challenge,” Morris said. “I also knew the only chance that you have at this level is relationships with the high school coaches and I have those being one of them so that is one of the reasons I came back.”

In the two recruiting classes under Morris all 47 players SMU has signed are from the state of Texas. SMU is the only program in FBS football to have that distinction.

“We have really sold on the Texas tough mentality and building this program with Texas high school players and if an impact player that fits our program is from out of state, we will go get him.” Morris said

Some players to look for this season for the Mustangs is Matt Davis who will be in his second season as the ponies’ quarterback. Running backs Xavier Jones and Braden West look to build on their strong seasons from 2015. Offense wasn’t the problem in 2015 for the Mustangs as they averaged 29.7 points per game, which was 62nd best in FBS.

Defense is where SMU struggled, they gave up 45.7 points per game, which was 127th in FBS, and there are only 128 teams.

“June (Jones for SMU coach) is a great coach, but he focused recruiting on the offensive side of the ball, a higher priority for them rather than defensively. We have addressed that as we have moved some kids and this signing class was heavy defense.” Morris said on how he was going to improve on that side of the ball, “We were atrocious on defense last year and we need to be better if we are going to win and some of that is we need to coach better and put our kids in a better chance to succeed. “

The Mustangs open up the 2016 campaign on September 3rd at UNT. Last year SMU beat the Mean Green 31-13 and they were one of two teams who SMU was victorious against. Morris looks to make it two years in a row and start the season off on the right foot.

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