A constant theme surrounded spring practices at Southern Methodist University when talking to current Mustang football players.
A new excitement and enthusiasm has taken over under the guidance of new Mustang Head Football Coach June Jones.
SMU’s defensive MVP senior Will Bonilla affirmed the feeling of the majority of the football team about the mood of spring practices.
“We are playing harder and faster than ever before,” Bonilla told PonyStampede.com last week. “The new coaching staff is very knowledgeable and passionate about the game; it is showing.”
Bonilla, who started all 12 games at middle linebacker and led the Mustangs in tackles with 82, is excited about the arrival of Jones and the new coaching staff.
“Coach Jones is a great coach and a great guy,” Bonilla said. “He is teaching us how you practice relates and fits in on how we play on game day. Spring practices were great. We have learned a lot in a short time, and everyone is very excited about where we are headed.”
Bonilla missed part of spring practice due to a pulled hamstring, but the standout senior is quick to point out that he is putting that injury behind him.
“I’m doing great now,” Bonilla said. “I strained my hamstring early in the spring, but I was able to come back towards the end and got to play in the spring game. We are going to be a very fast defense. A big emphasis is on using our strengths to our best advantage.”
Bonilla also feels that having an explosive offense is going to help out the current SMU defensive unit.
“I love our offense,” Bonilla said. “The offense has been explosive and exciting so far. They can really stretch the field; I think opposing defenses will have a hard time stopping us. If we can fare well against our offense in practice, it will help us during the season against our opponents.”
Bonilla and his fellow senior teammates have one big goal for this fall.
“We want to win a lot of games and go to a bowl game,” Bonilla said. “Three games that were really emotional for us last year were the TCU, Houston and Texas Tech games. We really want to play much better in those games this year. Those are important ones for us.”
Personally Bonilla has a few goals for himself.
“I want to be one of the top five tacklers in the conference,” Bonilla. “I learned a lot from last season and starting in all 12 of our games. I’m going to continue to work hard and give it everything I have like I always have. This is a great defensive scheme for our team. I’m looking for great things this fall.”
Bonilla finished his junior season with 82 tackles, two interceptions and five tackles for losses. He had 12 stops against Arkansas State , a season high for the talented linebacker.