Chad Morris knows how to warm up to a Texas crowd. Upon being introduced as SMU’s new football coach on Monday, he said the first thing he looked forward to was getting a Whataburger once he got off the plane.
It is that kind of enthusiasm and attitude toward the Lone Star State that SMU is looking to bring by luring Morris away from being Clemson’s offensive coordinator to try and revitalize a program that has sunk fast, currently 0-11 on the season with a game left.
Lack of in-state, and especially local, recruiting is the big issue that many point to leading to the program’s eventual downfall under June Jones. This Mustangs team has fewer Texans on it than any other Division I program – even fewer than UT-San Antonio, which only started playing football in 2011.
The school hopes that can change with a guy like Morris and his ties from coaching at multiple Texas high schools before moving to the college ranks, which included winning consecutive state championships at Lake Travis with eventual Mustang Garrett Gilbert.
But they are also hopeful that Morris and his spread offense style will bring life on the field. SMU struggled mightily on both sides of the ball this season, but it is especially telling that the Mustangs only scored three touchdowns on their home field all year. The solution appears to bring in a person who directed an offense at Tulsa that averaged 41 points per game and has seen Clemson’s quarterback rewrite the ACC record books this year.
There have already been a few jokes from media members about Morris’ admitted love of energy drinks like Red Bull. But it just may be that energy that is needed to jump start a program that earlier this year had some people wondering if the school should continue the program at all.
One thing is sure: At this point, SMU has already made more people interested in Signing Day in February than their final game this Saturday at UConn.
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