By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
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Jones has also instilled his brand of discipline, suspending 17 players at different times including former starting quarterback Justin Willis and leading receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Aldrick Robinson. The punishments were for seemingly innocuous errors such as skipping study hall or being late for practice.
But in Jones' eyes, these are glaring reasons why SMU has had just one winning season since absorbing the NCAA Death Penalty in 1987.
"There's never been accountability here," he said. "Well, there is now."
Despite the expected growing pains resulting from handing the reins to his esoteric offense to an 18-year-old quarterback, Jones remains confident in Bo Levi Mitchell. Recruiting sources also say Southlake star David Piland will commit to SMU.
"I haven't changed my mind about Bo," said Jones, who eventually moved Willis to receiver. "He's a tough guy. A winner. He's going to do very well in this system. There's no reason he can't put up the same kinds of numbers that my Hawaii quarterbacks did."
The SMU fans that didn't expect a miracle anticipated at least more than one win. With the defense allowing 39 points per game and the offense ranked only 87th and the Mustangs still painted as a punch line...when?
Jones' answer: Next year.
"I'll be very disappointed if we don't take a huge step next year," Jones said. "In the third [year], we'll compete for the Conference USA title and a bowl game."
A year ago Jones was preparing an undefeated team for a BCS bowl. Now, staring at 1-11, he has no regrets leaving Hawaii for the Hilltop.
"I'm more convinced than ever it was the right move," he said. "There are unbelievable people in this city and at this school who have been through so much pain. I'll drop on a sword for these guys. I can't wait to see their faces when we play in a bowl game."
The histories of Jones and Dodge suggest they will eventually win at a level that will no longer make Dallas embarrassed about our college football.
But for the present? Well, don't look now, but...No, seriously, don't look.