Chad Morris may very well rewrite, rekindle, rewhatever the Iron Skillet. Gary Patterson has long done his part, and June Jones, well...didn't. But there's a little life in these Mustangs once again and it's beginning to show on SMU's campus. In honor of this rivalry that may be rekindling, Jesse Carr from StableSports.com stops by to talk about Morris, the SMU bro, and Mustangs' chances for Saturday night's contest.
First off, as a TCU fan, I'm elated with the Chad Morris hire. For those who may not know, what makes him so special?
It's hard to put a lock on any one thing. But for the program specifically, he's brought a work ethic and attitude to the Hilltop that has been lacking in the past. His offensive "swag" is phenomenal, and I think that's shown in our first two games, his ability to recruit from the DFW area is already changing the program, and ultimately he's an energetic coach who is about the kids.
What has the response been like among students and the alumni? Can you feel a different energy yet? If you can, describe the vibe of the June Jones era versus what it is now.
It's been pretty shocking honestly. When Morris was introduced during our home basketball game versus Wyoming, that's the loudest I have ever heard Moody Coliseum, we're talking about minutes of standing applause and cheering, and that was without any change in the program yet. So far we've seen tremendous increase in attendance, and just overall campus support for the program.
The vibe difference is mostly the energy, which I'm sure as y'all have seen, comes with offense. June Jones' offense didn't allow for much energy, it wasn't very exciting. June did a lot of good things, won some bowl games, but Chad Morris's youth on his staff and offensive energy have definitely put the June Jones era in the past.
The June Jones era actually had a good initial response? Was this better?
Definitely better. Way better. During our first game versus Baylor our student section was full and remained full for the whole game. Why? Because we hung with Baylor 28-21 at halftime. I think overall fans can see that what Morris has is special, and they are all really excited about not just this season, but specifically the future.
I know a little bit about the tailgating, but what's the overall football culture and vibe like at SMU...Chad Morris aside. Are students invested? Is it something that drives conversation on campus.
In the past? Definitely not. SMU students have previously only cared about getting wasted during tailgating, let's be real. However, both games versus Baylor and UNT our student section was full. So it's definitely a work in progress, but they are becoming invested very quickly.
What is the perception of rivalry with TCU? Is it something students talk about? I feel like SMU makes a bigger deal about it than TCU students do; mainly because TCU's focus has now mainly shifted towards Baylor, and then Tech and Texas a little bit.
I think it's a little catty - SMU students are a little more high maintenance, used to getting their way. That being said, yes, it is something that's talked about, and something that students wish was made a bigger deal of overall. However, I think that will come as Morris builds the program. It's hard to take a rivalry serious when we are constantly getting trounced by TCU.
What should we expect, on both sides of the ball, from the Mustangs on Saturday night?
A fight. Offensively, they scored on their first play from scrimmage against Baylor. They put up 21 points in the fourth quarter against UNT, so they've proven that Morris offensive scheme can work. Taking into considerations the injuries for TCU's defense, if the offense can avoid turning the ball over the Mustang offense can hang with the Frogs any day of the week. Morris will look to establish a balanced run game with Line and Jones, while taking advantage of the connection through the air between Davis and Sutton.
Defensively, it's going to be rough. The secondary is weak, which against an arm and receiving corps like Boykin's, it will be hard to stop them. However, we have an NFL caliber player in Shakiel Randolph, and in the linebacker and defensive line position we are stronger. If they can get pressure to Boykin it will change the flow of the game. Overall though the depth of the defense is a major area of concern, in this case Morris's best defense will be his offense.
How do they win it; how do they lose it?
They win by being disciplined and energetic.
They lose by turnovers and mental mistakes.
I think Minnesota made a great statement in week one. Even though it was TCU's first game, Minnesota's defense was able to make Boykin uncomfortable and get some pressure on him. If SMU can mimic that and do better on offense it will be interesting.
Can they win it?
Definitely. I know TCU fans hate to relive it, but the Mustangs did this in 2011. Different coach and different program, but this is our hundred year anniversary game, so #100YearMiracle.
Are a lot of SMU fans making the grueling trip?
It's hard to say, I've talked to some students who are, but I have no idea how many.
Explain the SMU bro pic that'll likely be a continued meme throughout the 2015 college football zeitgeist.
I think it's a stereotype of SMU, especially in sports. Given our recent lack of success on the football field in addition to our huge fraternity life on campus, I think a lot of times SMU students are seen as stupid and intoxicated frat boys, which don't get me wrong, there are plenty of those, but I don't think the bro pic accurately reflects Morris's fan base.
But specifically it tells the story of poor clock management and lack of experience at the QB position. That was a pivotal series in the Baylor game, down 28-21 with seconds left in the first half and a chance to tie the game in the red zone. Morris definitely missed an opportunity to change that game there.
Chad's great on Twitter--I follow him--he's good on it. How do you think that'll change your recruiting process?
He knows the kids. He's just a likeable guy, hands on, in your face, get to know you and your family. Kids these days like that and need that. It has to go with the energy he brings. Throw that into him knowing most of the high schools in Texas and having contacts at a lot of them, I think it will show in our 2016 class.
Can Chad get SMU to the Big 12?
Personally, I think that's where we are heading. My guess is about five years. We aren't ready now; we need to prove to the Big 12 that we could handle that type of caliber opponents. But when you look at people like Kansas, Texas Tech, and a few others, I think those are teams that we could hang with this year. So yeah, I think he does.
Finally, the great American pastime of score predictions; give me yours for Saturday night.
I really want to say we pull out the W, but I give it to TCU 42-28.