In his opening press conference in December 2014, SMU Football Head Coach Chad Morris said, “You’re about to see an exciting brand of football. We’re going to be one of the most explosive offenses, one of the most explosive football teams in all of college football, and we are going to be one of the biggest turnarounds in college football before this is done.” He continued by saying, “We’re going to stand toe to toe with the best in the country.”
Morris wasn’t shy about his goals for the SMU program. He talked consistently about building a championship contending football team. Many, including myself, wondered if he was simply saying what he had to say. To a fan base that has clung to what once was a football powerhouse, it seemed like only a matter of time before he came back to the reality of our post-death penalty era.
It’s now been over a year; a year in which early success brought high expectations that were ultimately met with a 2-10 record. A record through which shined the cold, hard truth that a turnaround isn’t going to happen overnight. Despite the uncertainty that the program still faces, one thing is for sure: Chad Morris is the man he claimed to be.
He showed, throughout the year, that he is truly dedicated to Southern Methodist University. Whether it was giving rides to students every Thursday, attending organization meetings to speak about his plan and how students are going to be a part of it, or leading the fast paced offensive attack that more than doubled the previous season’s point total, Morris brought energy, personality, and fun to the Hilltop. His approach this off-season has been no different.
With National Signing Day happening this week, it’s good time to look at how Morris has changed the atmosphere of SMU football. In an interview with ESPN, Morris was asked about his #PonyUpTempo slogan.
“We want it to be a lifestyle, how you live your life,” Morris said.
He, along with everyone else on the SMU staff, is leading the way.
Morris has especially utilized social media to continue to show his passion for reviving this program. He created the #StangGang16, adding to his collection of slogans and traditions, and documented all his trips, house visits, and work days with photos and video clips posted on Twitter.
— Chad Morris (@coachchadmorris) January 28, 2016
— Chad Morris (@coachchadmorris) January 16, 2016
— Chad Morris (@coachchadmorris) January 19, 2016
Morris has spent a lot of time on the road, a task that many might find grueling. Yet, he continues to be as optimistic as ever, flying all over the state of Texas in the @TempoCopter in search of the next generation of Mustangs.
— Chad Morris (@coachchadmorris) December 12, 2015
— Chad Morris (@coachchadmorris) January 15, 2016
As with any great leader, he has others following his example. The entire SMU football staff has been actively communicating with one another and with recruits over social media in an energetic and fun way.
— Coach Justin Stepp (@coachjstepp) January 28, 2016
— Claude Mathis (@coachcmathis) January 26, 2016
— Mark Smith (@coachmarksmith) January 23, 2016
In this time of rest for players across the nation, Coach Morris and his staff have been hard at work, bringing an unprecedented amount of energy and focus to the recruiting process and truly showing what it means to live the #PonyUpTempo lifestyle. It seems like only a matter of time before players will begin to follow.