It was a program that was close to non-existent. But now, SMU appears to be rising from the ashes.
After receiving the NCAA death penalty back in the 1980’s for numerous violations, the football program is now starting to show signs of life. The main reason for the resurgence, head coach June Jones.
Since arriving from Hawaii, another program he resurrected, Jones is turning the Mustangs around. After going 1-11 in his first year, SMU has gone 15-10 the last two seasons. In 2009, they won a bowl game for the first time since 1984. They will have a chance this year to win the Conference USA title after clinching the Western Division in their 45-38 overtime win over East Carolina. They now face Central Florida for the C-USA crown. Not a bad turnaround in just 3 years.
The players have responded to Jones and his philosophy in a major way. Former Southlake Carroll QB Kyle Padron has put up solid numbers as a sophomore, throwing for 2,975 yards and 25 TD’s. His favorite target has been Aldrick Robinson, who is good for 1,053 yards receiving and 11 TD’s. Zach Line paces the ground game with 1,193 yards and 8 TD’s. On defense, LB Ja’Gared Davis leads the team with 8.5 sacks, while LB Taylor Reed tops the unit with 111 tackles.
After years of being basically dormat, the Hilltop is rocking with excitement. What Jones has done since arriving at SMU is nothing short of amazing, yet not surprising. He’s brought the Aloha spirit to Dallas, and now has SMU back on track to possibly returning to the glory days of old.
Written by C. James