Wednesday, September 24, 2014

So what is the SMU job really?

So, now SMU is the "worst major college football team in America."

First, the required reading:

Gosselin: SMU AD tasked with finding coach for 'worst major college football team in America'

Rich Hart "Straight from the Hart"

There is also a ponyfans.com thread detailing a short segment by Norm Hitzges on the Ticket this AM, basically recounting Gosselin column.  Norm seem fixated on the following two quotes:

“The really good ones are going to see this is a great job. It’s better than a lot of jobs at the so-called P-5 [“power five” conference] level. And coaches understand that. So we’re going to have a great deal of interest, and I suspect we’ll get a great coach.”
 ...
 “Look around the landscape. Duke’s successful. Stanford’s successful. Vanderbilt, Northwestern … schools like us. I realize that academically we’re going to have to overcome some things to get those kids to choose SMU. But when you look at our setting in Dallas, the campus, the investments that have been made … now get a dynamic staff in here. That’s what we need.”
 (emphasis mine)

Norm's issue, and it is an easy one to pick at, is saying SMU is a better job than some power 5 jobs.  His other beef is the comparison to certain successful, academic-minded private schools, noting they are all in "Power-5 Conferences."

OK.  Fine.  I am willing to concede Nick Saban is not leaving Alabama for SMU; David Cutliffe isn't leaving Duke; former Vanderbilt coach James Franklin isn't leaving Penn State for SMU either.  That isn't really the point.

The point is SMU is a Division 1-FBS head coaching job, of which there are only 120+ jobs.  Roughly, between 15-20% of such jobs are ever open in any given year.  A significant number of those openings are filled by poaching coaches from the other Division 1-FBS schools.  Really, then, you are looking at 10-15 jobs that can go to assistants, former coaches, etc.

Relative to non-Power 5 schools, it is hard to do better than SMU.  SMU is in a top 10 market.  SMU is in the most fertile recruiting area in the most heavily recruited state in the country (this makes June Jones' lack of recruiting success all the more maddening).  SMU has the resources to be successful (again, this makes June Jones' inability to have a staff with a pedigree all the more maddening).  Some may point to facilities and I will suggest we would be a lot closer to having an indoor practice facility if June Jones had been more flexible in its location (seriously, we moved the stadium lights in a week to accommodate his whims; who really thinks SMU won't give the coach appropriate resources?).

The criticisms of the job are as follows:

1) The team isn't very good.  Well, this is true.  Nearly every job opening is a reclamation project in one form or another.  This isn't really a fair criticism.

2)  No.  SMU has really not been very good at all.  Yes, but June, for all his warts, did establish that you can win at SMU.  Period.  4 consecutive bowl games, winning 3.  Play in a conference championship game. .500 or better in 4 of the last 8 years.  This isn't the dredge of a job that Bennett and Cavan were hired into.

3) Academic restrictions!  Please, for the audience, articulate the current restrictions that make it difficult for SMU to compete.  The floor is yours.  Nobody can properly articulate this because it is no longer the case.

In 2014, SMU is beat on the field by kids that could have received offers to play at SMU and be admitted.  Period.  Further, this is largely true going back to the last years of Phil Bennett.  June Jones won with Bennett's recruits. In 2006, SMU would have gone to a bowl had Phil Bennett not been out-coached the last game of the season against Rice, losing by 4 with the ball in the red-zone at the end of the game.  Of course, the outcome of the Rice game would have been moot had SMU beaten 3-9 NTSU that year.

4) Crappy conference.  Unless you are P-5, you are in a crappy conference.  Of all the crappy conferences, I am confident the AAC is the best crappy conference to be affiliated with in the short term.  Only the AAC remains committed (Pres. Turner reiterated this) to adopting policies in lock step with the Power 5.  This should present an advantage over other non-P5 conferences.

In brief, I will say what I say every time SMU has to go through the hiring process.  To those that wave their hands and cry to the heavens, "Oh whoa is us, who take this horrible job?", the answer is "SMU will hire someone with a resume better than most of us can reasonable expect."

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Dan Morrison to call plays.

So June's gone. When I first heard the news, right after I got off my knees thanking the good Lord, I had so many questions. 

One of those questions has been answered. Dan Morrison will call plays. 

So the former Hawaii high school coach is going to call plays. How is that going to work?

I don't mean substantively. I mean mechanically. Dan Morrison hasn't been on the sideline of a game for 10+ years. 

For years, we have witnessed the QB sashaying to the sideline after every play, getting the play call from June and then going back to the huddle, announce the play and get to the line of scrimmage with six seconds left. 

Is Morrison going to move to the sideline?  Or is he going to radio the call to the sideline from the booth?  if so, to who?  A coach? Another QB?  

What is a Dan Morrison called game like?  June never seemed like the guy who wanted a lot of input. 

Honestly, this mess right here is why I had little interest in removing June until the end of the season. 



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

11 SMU players on active NFL rosters

You may or may not be aware that there are currently 11 SMU football players on active NFL rosters. I have seen a source that says 20, but I think that includes practice squad players. 

Anyway, what does that number mean?  Is that a lot?  I recall a time less than 10 years ago when that number was zero. 

Here is that number compared to SMU's 2013 and 2014 opponents:


A&M20
Uconn17
Cincinatti15
Rutgers15
UCF13
Baylor12
TCU12
SMU11
USF10
Memphis9
Temple9
Texas Tech8
Houston7
Tulane6
ECU5
NTSU4
Tulsa4
Montana St2

That is 8th out of 18 teams. Right in the middle of the pack and within firing distance of all but A&M in my opinion. Nothing compared to USC (41), I grant you. 

Let's not say SMU can't get players into SMU that can compete again, ok?  It hasn't been true for years. It is like your momma said, "You can't do it if you don't try."  Beginning December 2011, June Jones didn't try. 

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Not to pile on, but for the record:

All of my predictions for last weekend came true. Northwestern State racked up 200 total yards on Baylor. Northwestern State scored six points. At least SMU's defense put up more of a fight against Baylor than Northwestern State did. Finally, SMU lost and it wasn't even close. 

SMU will beat its own record

The last search for a football coach was 72 days officially. According to every source I looked at, that was a record for longest search in college football history. 

Throwing out a date....let's say November 28th (Clemson plays SC that day), that is 71 days. 

SMU's last game is 12/5. Odds of hiring a coach before season concludes is virtually nil. Even if they announced that night, it is 78 days. 

This will be the longest coaching search in college football history. 


Get comfortable.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Wow. So that actually happened!

June Jones has resigned.

 I just thank the Lord Liberty and Justice weren't here to witness this.

 

  Press Release
"This afternoon, I talked to my staff and players and notified them that I have decided to resign as SMU head football coach effective immediately," said Jones. "It was a very difficult decision for me to make, as you can imagine. I have devoted my life for the last 50 years to playing and coaching this game and it has been a great journey. This job has a lot of demands, as you know, and along with that journey comes a price that is paid. I have some personal issues I have been dealing with and I need to take a step away so I can address them at this time.

"We have some talented and really good kids, who just happen to be young. Tom Mason will take over the head coaching duties. Tom has done a great job with the defense since coming to SMU. This being a bye week will give all the coaches and players a chance to evaluate themselves and make the changes needed for their preparation in getting ready for the next couple games and conference play the rest of the way. I would like to thank all the people here at SMU that have supported the vision we have had here. I feel we have made SMU relevant again in football by going to four bowls in my six years as a Mustang. I am very thankful for the opportunity I was given and wish only the best for the players, coaches and administration at SMU."
First, let's get this out of the way. To the extent June Jones has health or personal issues that he needs to resolve, I wish him only the best and hope he pulls through or works out his issues. While I concede there were many days since December 2011 I wanted to chip away the mortar around a brick at Ford Stadium and throw it at June, I wish the man no ill will. Now, maybe if you had asked me about that around noon today, I might have given you a different answer.

  Fox Southwest Article (written by SMU alum Keith Whitmire)

  KEvin Sherrington (Column better than the headline)

 The Money Quote:
June didn’t all of a sudden become lousy at Xs and Os. He lost a little desire, apparently. Or maybe a lot. Symptoms of this affliction surface first in recruiting. There’s the usual complaint about a disconnect with South Dallas, which goes back to the Death Penalty days. How much of that is June’s fault, I couldn’t say. But he didn’t do much to correct it, either. In fact, he went opposite field.

According to Mark Followill, whose researcher came up with this number while doing play-by-play for the Oklahoma State-Texas-San Antonio game this week, there are 68 Texans on SMU’s roster, lowest total of any of the 12 FBS schools in Texas.
If anyone asks why SMU fans are unhappy with June and why June is not winning, direct them here. Honestly, I can't believe it. If you had bet me June Jones would not coach until the end of the season, I would have lost a lot of money.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Weekend predictions

If I had to guess:

Northwestern State will gain more that 67 yards on Baylor. Northwestern State will score.  

SMU will play better Saturday. SMU will lose. This is a big game for NTSU. I don't think June is aware of this fact. I don't think June cares one way or the other.

I like Rick Hart. That being said, I don't understand why SMU starts a home and home against NTSU at their place. They want to play SMU more than SMU wants to play them. Period. NTSU should be playing at SMU.  SMU made this mistake before. It went the same way as I recall and a Bennett-led SMU team lost at NTSU. 

One final thought:

Back in 2005, SMU lost to a poor Baylor team 28-23. Baylor wasn't very good then (they went 5-7 that year). Many people thought amu might actually win that game.  Phil Bennett was the coach 2 seasons removed from 0-12. The same day, TCU beat OU. People forget that TCU once sucked and before that OU game had a nice string of competitive (mostly winning) seasons beating up on WAC C-USA and Mountain West teams (prior wins vs a BCS conference opponent were 2 win Vandy and 3 win Iowa State in 1998 and 2 win each Arizona and Vandy in 2003). 

My recollection is that the SMU community/message boards were apoplectic and wanted Bennett's mustachioed head. I randomly threw out the line "Watch, SMU will beat TCU and we will all look like a-holes." 

This NTSU game feels like that TCU game to me now. [Insert comment about how sad and pathetic that is here. That being said, this game is on the road and I don't think it happens. 

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Does SMU need a Football Blogger?

Sometimes you get the blogger you deserve rather than the blogger you need.  Or somesuch. 

65 plays. 67 yards. 45-0. That actually happened. 

Holy shit. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Coach's Luncheon

I live-tweeted (is that a word?) portions of the SMU Coach's luncheon. You can read that at http://twitter.com/@SMUFootballBlog

I think people heard what they wanted to hear.

If you think June Jones hung the Moon, you were thrilled and thought June Jones said all that needs to be said.

If you want to be upset with June Jones , then you didn't hear enough.

I guess I had low expectations and am not that upset he didn't get down on his knees and beg my forgiveness. I will get into it in a bit, but I do think he owes me (and those like me) an apology. I don't really think I got it today and don't expect to get it.

I think a lot of people have read a lot of things into my tweets (still hate the word) and the other summaries that just don't exist. I don't feel patronized; I don't feel like June talked to people like they were idiots (which, btw, people forget Phil Bennett was famous for).

Couple of items:

June said he was never offered and never accepted the ASU job. That may be sort of true. I have read a coach's contract offer/letter of intent before and they are the most ambiguous writings I have ever read as a lawyer. I showed it to a couple of other attorneys and the consensus was it was borderline unenforceable. It had language that said it wasn't offered until it was accepted or somesuch. Regardless, it gave both school and coach plausible deniability that an offer was never made in the event things fell through. Maybe that is disingenuous. But that's where we live today sports.

I do fault Super Agent Leigh Steinberg (TM) for a lot of this and you get the sense June does too. I can also understand June saying he won't cut ties with a guy that he has worked with for 20 years that has helped him earn millions of dollars. Still, a lot of what upsets me can be traced back to a tweet and blog post accredited to Super Agent Leigh Steinberg (TM) and for which, despite what June might suggest otherwise, Super Agent Leigh Steinberg (TM) is solely responsible for.

Where this goes, at the end of the day, I presume is an extension. I could be wrong, but I expect that announcement to be made fairly soon. Nothing was mentioned at the luncheon, but it is the logical next step in the cleanup of this mess.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

June Jones on with Dale Hanson Tonight (updated)

WFAA Channel 8. Should be interesting. Dale usually isn't afraid to ask the tough yet uninformed question.

Will June wear Red and/or Blue? Will there be an SMU logo anywhere? If I were SMU SID Brad Sutton, I would stop by the SMU bookstore just in case.

Set the DVR...

Update: turns out June won't be on despite fact that they promoted it on Channel 8 this AM.

So WFAA promotes it, but it isn't happening? Sounds odd. Suggests June didn't have the time, but channel 8 did. II am sure June has a good reason for not doing it, if so. Too bad he pissed all his goodwill away or else, I'd believe it.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

I am on Twitter

Why? Because we all are.

@smufootballblog

Quick Hit: Rice Game Attendance

Much has been made of the lack of attendance at the Rice-SMU game. Personally, I thought attendance was better than previous post-Thanksgiving games. I recall sparse crowds for even TCU-SMU on those dates (at either place).

This is not a problem unique to SMU. There is a reason Texas-Texas A&M was that week every year. There was a reason those schools weren't scheduling Rice that week.

Should it be better? Yes. However, I think it is unfair to judge SMU on what I suspect is historically the worst attended weekend attendance-wise in college football.