May 27, 2010
By Brian Smith
Nobody can save a sinking ship quite like June Jones. Before he made his way to the mainland, Jones took a Hawaii team that had lost 18 straight and turned it into a 9-game winner in the course of one season. Once he got to the Hilltop, Jones endured a rough 2008 campaign, but his SMU team underwent a seven-game turnaround in 2009, including a blowout bowl win over Nevada in his old stomping grounds of Hawaii. Jones’ run and shoot scheme continues to baffle opposing defenses, and sophomore quarterback Kyle Padron is one of eight starters returning from an offense that scored almost 30 points per game last year. Jones talked about the success of last season and his expectations for 2010 with FoxSportsSouthwest.com.
How do you feel like spring practice went for your team?
We got out of it what we needed to get out of it. We didn’t have a lot of hitting because we had a lot of big guys down with injuries and different things. All in all, I thought we got better. The quarterbacks and receivers played well, and I think our front seven on defense is much improved.
This is your third season at SMU. From your previous experiences as both a coach and a coordinator, how long does it take a team to fully grasp the concepts of your run-n-shoot offense?
Well, I think our guys have got it down. I think it takes a year of production while they’re learning, which we did in year one. Even though we only won one game, I thought that we did a pretty good job. I would say we’re getting a hold of it pretty good.
Quarterback Kyle Padron had a breakout season last year as a freshman. What did you have him work on this spring?
He just needs a lot of repetitions. He didn’t really get a chance to play in the first five or six games last year. His confidence level from the bowl game is certainly high. He was really accurate throwing the ball. I think his grasp of just knowing where to go with the ball has improved.
You came to SMU in January of 2008. The Mustangs were coming off a 1-11 season and hadn’t seen much success since they received heavy sanctions from the NCAA in the 1980s. How would you describe the state of the program upon your arrival?
Obviously you lose for a reason, and they weren’t very good, pretty much in any area. But the kids have learned a lot: learned how to trust each other, learned what it takes to win. Hopefully, we’ll take that and carry it on into next year and put together three or four winning seasons in a row.
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