This spring was a time for new introductions and a time to go back to the basics for the SMU football team.
New head coach June Jones and his new coaching staff spent the entire spring teaching the basics, putting a major emphasis on football fundamentals and going back to the philosophy of each player using their football instincts.
According to junior defensive back Bryan McCann, this spring was much brighter than he expected. After a shaky start, the standout defender ended the spring season on a high note.
"It started out a little shaky for me," McCann said in an interview last week. "I ended up having a great spring. Its complete 180 compared to the last two seasons here. We as players are given a lot more freedom than we have had in the past."
McCann started all twelve games last fall for the Mustangs at the corner and safety positions. After receiving All-conference honors as a freshman, McCann is looking for a breakout junior year.
"The coaches teach the concepts of each package, and then they rely on us to use our athletic abilities and our football instincts," McCann said. "They want us to be more aggressive defensively."
McCann is also impressed with the new confidence and attitude the new coaching staff instilled in the Mustangs this spring.
"Everyone is refreshed and excited about playing football again," McCann said. "Everyone has a lot more confidence in themselves and everyone has one goal. That's to turnaround this program now, not later."
McCann gives the veteran Jones the credit for the mindset change during spring practice.
"I love Coach Jones," McCann said. "He relates to all of his players better than I have ever seen a coach do before."
McCann is now focused on accomplishing one thing.
"I'm going to do whatever I can to help us win ballgames now," McCann said. "We don't want to miss this great opportunity to do great things this fall. We have to take advantage of having Coach Jones as our coach; I truly believe we are going to surprise a lot of people."
Another thing that has impressed the speedy defensive back is the new offensive system that Jones has instilled on the Hilltop.
"I promise you it's going to be hard to stop," McCann said. "It's already made me a better defensive back. Our receivers are given so many options; it opens up a lot of big plays. If we can stop our offense, we will be able to stop a lot of teams."