Rumors circulated around the Hilltop for over three months regarding who was going to be the new head football coach at Southern Methodist University.
Names and offenses that those coaches run engulfed the airways of the SMU campus making the returning starters and current Mustang players very nervous. In the end the dreams and prayers of one wide receiver was answered.
"I was really excited," red shirt junior wide out Emmanuel Sanders said. "What wide out wouldn't be ecstatic to play in this offense. I had good numbers last fall and I'm expecting great numbers this year."
Sanders spent a spring learning new techniques, new routes, and a new coaching staff.
"It still really hasn't hit me totally yet," Sanders explained. "To play for June Jones and to play in the offense is an answer to prayers. Rumors circulated that we might run the triple option. Wow! To get Coach Jones and this coaching staff is just what we needed here at SMU."
Sanders started all 12 games last year, making 74 receptions for 889 yards and nine touchdowns, and earned the red shirt sophomore honorable mention Conference USA honors.
Not only did Sanders have a great spring in the new system, he experienced something he hasn't in a long time.
"I haven't had this much fun since I have been at SMU," Sanders said. "We have a lot to learn with this new offense. We also have a lot of growing up to do, which I feel we did a lot of this spring."
Sanders is looking forward to this summer, playing a lot of 7 on 7 and continuing to improve his skills and his game.
"We are getting a better understanding of this offense everyday," Sanders said. "I'm continuing to spend a lot of time in the film room and a lot of time learning from the coaches."
Sanders admits that he feels that he is playing as well as he has since his arrival on the Hilltop, but he is still not satisfied.
"There is always room for improvement," Sanders acknowledged. "This is the best I have been since I have been here, but I'm still not where I want to be."
According to Sanders one thing his new position coach Jeff Reinebold and Coach Jones have instilled in the talented pass catcher is an unconscious confidence.
"We repeat every drill every day," Sanders said. "We work on the little things to make sure that we will do those things during a ballgame. After a while things start clicking and you're not even thinking about it. That's what it's all about."
Sanders is also impressed with the caliber of the Mustang coaches.
"Coach Jones brings a lot of excitement to this team," Sanders said. "He motivates and gives us the courage to do our best without worrying about consequences. Everyone started out with a clean slate this spring; what a refreshing feeling that is. He is such a high caliber coach and a great man and a great teacher. We know we are going to start winning on the Hilltop again and very soon."
According to Sanders the team has a new goal that they feel that they are capable of accomplishing.
"We want a conference championship this fall," Sanders said. "I want to play in Memphis in the Liberty Bowl. Everyone's confidence is way up; everyone is buying in. The old Mustangs are gone. There is a new breed of Mustangs that have arrived in Dallas , winning ones."