Tap the Boulevard is an SMU Football Blog, A Beer Blog, A Baseball Blog, A Music Blog, basically a blog about everything that makes life worth living. So sit back, relax, crack a cold one and enjoy our incoherent ramblings and gratuitous movie quotes.

Friday, August 29, 2008


It's Game Day!

After suffering through a drought of winless seasons for the past 20 years it all gets turned around tonight. Although I will be in the wretched land of aggie all weekend and miss the opener (hoping to catch the 2nd half somewhere in College Station tonight) I will be blasting Pony Battle Cry all the way down 45, hopefully they can hear me in the disgusting city of Houston.... Go Ponies

Beat the Hell Out of Rice...

pony up...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Only hours away...

Genuine giddiness and excitement have taken over. I'll barely be paying attention at work tomorrow. I'll likely be on ponyfans most of the day. The June Jones era begins Friday night on ESPN at 7pm.

I'll be watching with some friends on a big screen. Ty--because he's married to an Aggie--will be heading to College Station and will likely miss most of the first half. The poor bastard.

Anyway, we'll both have a recap of the game on either Sunday or Monday.

In unrelated news, the Astros beat the Reds Thursday and Roy Oswalt got the win. Now wins for pitchers is one of the most absurdly overrated stats in baseball (WHIP and K/9 innings are much better indicators of a pitcher's worth to his team), but Oswalt is 22-1 against the Reds in his career. Try and digest that for a moment: his record is not filled with no decisions...he's 22-1! That's utter domination.

Food for thought as we try not to watch the clock and count the minutes until kickoff.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Ballad of June Jones

New York City comedy group and SMU alumni The Knuckleheads have a new song for the 2008 Ponies. Check them out at www.theknuckleheads.net 4 days...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Ty's Extra Special Season Preview

First of all let me commend my friend Irwin on the excellent and in depth post below mine, he dug deep looking at the ponies strength and weaknesses this year, but what he failed to to do....what he was too scared to do was give you a game by game prediction. Now Irwin, anybody can throw out random numbers that sound about right but that doesn't give us any fodder for the season when I can bash you for thinking Navy will be a loss. So without further adue Ty Webb's 2008 SMU Football prediction.

@ Rice- W now the ponies haven't beat the owls in many a year in H-Town but I feel it this year, even with an inexperienced Freshman QB and new system the Ponies take this one. It also helps that the entire owl team has decided to grow mustaches...while I commend them on this feat, all ponyfans know what this mean simple math will help me explain Owls = Mustache = Phil Bennett = Loss.

Tex St- W It's texas state, if i remember correctly they too were once handed the death penalty and were only brought back to life by Sinbad and the guy from Quantum Leap...they did have a nice Kicker though

@ Tech - L This will be the longest game in NCAA History, I think we'll be able to hang a little while but those 7ft 400 lb lineman Leach has been growing out there will prevent our D from really disrupting their O. I also predict that during this game due to the sheer volume of passes being thrown Mike Leach is hit in the eye by a ball but is not mad because he finally gets to wear an eyepatch for real

TCU-- W this might be my loyalty getting the best of me but i just can't pick the toads to beat us in Dallas. 3 years ago was one of the greatest games I've ever witnessed. 4 games into the new system I hope we are hitting on all cylinders

Tulane- W As long as June and the boys don't have too much fun the night before I see this is a win, why is this game on a weeknight, a perfectly good road trip wasted

@ UCF L we had to stumble some time and orlando is where it happens. The team is Bored into a loss here, yes they have disney but why go to florida if there is now beach

Tulsa -L we'll lose one at home and Tulsa is the team that will do it, they gotten better the past few years, we always play them well, but they take it this year.

Houston W --- I also hate Houston, everything about it the school, the football team, the city, the weather, the lack of any zoning, it doesn't help that I was once accosted at a Stop N Go there but I used my Superior intellect to both confuse and distract my accoster...anyways i don't know why everyone is fearing Houston this year, Close game but we take it.\

@ Navy W Wish I could go to this game, it will be a good game but the run and Shoot will be clicking at this point and we will tear up there secondary...they can run all day but the pass wins out today. Plus they lost Paul Johnson

Memphis W Its homecoming, It's Memphis that spell WIN. Love the music, Love the BBQ but today memphis will sing the blues

UTEP L I also dislike UTEP for some unknown reason, I don't think i've ever been to el paso and you know what....i'm fine with that, however the ponies have to go and it just won't be our day.

So Miss W Back at home a few days after thanksgiving and ponyfans finally have something to be thankful for our first Bowl invitation in 20 odd years.

So my regular season optimistic pure homer prediction is 8- 4

I will say though a lot of these games could go any way, but thats how it always goes for the ponies a play here or a play there, we're just not use to getting those plays here, it happens this year finally.

Pony Up

Thursday, August 21, 2008

2008 Season Preview

Yesterday was the Annual Kickoff Luncheon at the massive Hilton Anatole, south of downtown. I did not get to attend because of work and because I do not have the same connections and know how that Ty does. But that certainly will not prevent me from talking up the luncheon, analyzing the depth chart and previewing the upcoming season.

There was a feeling of genuine excitement for the upcoming season (this I gleaned from listening to the audio) and with new uniforms (available here: http://smumustangs.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/070208aaa.html, though I hear they look better in person), new personnel, new schemes on both sides of the ball, and a new coach it is not hard to understand why things are looking up in Pony nation. June Jones has mentioned several times that this year is a stepping stone. It would be, in my opinion, unreasonable for us Pony fans to expect a 9-3 team to emerge this coming year. The schedule features difficult road games (Navy in Annapolis in October? ouch) and matchups against teams that we haven't quite figured out how to play against (e.g. Tech).

There is also going to be lots of freshmen getting regular playing time; not the least of whom is Bo Levi Mitchell at QB.

Just prior to the luncheon yesterday, Jones and his coaching staff released his first depth chart (available here: http://www.ponyfans.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=33874). Notable as much for the names not on it as for those that are, this first glance at the rotations on both sides of the ball give us insight into what kind of player JJ and his staff favor and who is making the most progress in position development. June Jones is definitely a coach who believes in the players he brings in. This combined, with the Mustangs lack of depth at some positions (ahem, O-line) means that lots of true freshmen and players coming off of red shirt years will be thrust into starting roles.

DeMyron Martin and Andrew McKinney are both large for tailbacks and will be good blockers out of the backfield for Mitchell. They will both be an asset for an offensive line that faces a steep learning curve (I'll get to that in a minute). DeMyron has good enough hands and speed to move into the slot receiver position on occasion too.

Sean Lobo and Mitch Enright will be returning at LG and Center respectively. They should provide a steady, experienced influence on the other three positions. Josh LeRibeus should get good time behind Lobo and freshmen Zach Boyd should get lots of time backing up the inexperienced Bryce Tennison at RG in what may turn into a platoon situation as the season progresses. The tackles are intriguing in that Tommy Poynter barely beat out Kelvin Beachum Jr. for the LT position while converted TE Vincent Chase (who has hopefully bulked up in the off season) will try to anchor the right side of the line. Both ends of the line will have to capitalize on the experience they get early in the season from lesser opponents Rice and Texas State before meetings with physically more gifted defensive teams in Texas Tech, TCU, UCF and UH.

The receiving corps is not surprising. Emmanuel Sanders should continue his ascent to greatness in June Jones's pass happy Run N' Shoot offense. Aldrick Robinson will get his first serious playing time this year and should develop into a nice target for Bo Levi Mitchell. Personally, I would like to see E.J. Drewery (all 6-6, 210 lbs. of him) get some time in at receiver. His height gives him a built in advantage over half of the defensive backs in Conference USA. He is not listed on the depth chart currently, and this could be that the coaching staff believes that he needs some seasoning. But I would love to see him get playing time during the season to see what he can do.

On defense, the line was weakened by the graduation of Corey Muse. The starters on each end this year--Anthony Sowe and Adrian Dizer--will have a tall order against teams like Tech whose offensive linemen average 300 lbs. and provide a nearly impenetrable wall for Graham Harrell. Serge Elizee, who was a beast already, according to reports has made even more of his 300 lb. frame into muscle. Elizee, who will be lining up next to Patrick Handy at DT, gained lots of experience last year and I expect him to be the anchor on defense. Youri Yenga, who I think is better fit at LB due to his size, will be switching out with Dizer on one end while freshman Taylor Thompson will back up Sowe. Thompson was a TE in high school and his position on the depth chart speaks once again to the Ponies' lack of depth up front.

Will Bonilla will lead the linebackers from the strong side. Bonilla is slightly undersize for a LB, but his speed, instincts, and ability to finish tackles put him on the watch list for the Butkus Award this season. Justin Smart, who filled in at DE during the injury filled season last year, has moved back to his natural position of MLB. Jason Jackson mans the weakside on the first team. Julian Herron, Pete Fleps, and OSU transfer Alex Odiari should get into lots of games too at LB.

For the first time in years, the secondary has a chance to be a strength for SMU. Brian McCann looks to continue his development as a great coverage corner while Derrius Bell will be the other starting DB. McCann has been mentioned as one of the players with NFL quality talent on this team and his natural ability (the fumbled pick 6 last year not withstanding) has never been in doubt. McCann does need to improve his tackling though as far too many receivers were able to slip out of his grasp last year. Rock Dennis, who missed last year due to injury, will be able to provide coverage help to McCann and Bell that was missing last year. True freshman Chris Banjo should get into games at Free Safety behind starter Tyler Jones. Banjo was one of JJ's prime recruiting pickups in February.

Finally special teams (yes I am going for longest post ever). Thomas Morstead, who is already being looked at by NFL scouts, will handle punting and placekicking duties again this year. With June Jones's habitual dislike of punting, he may not amass as many attempts as last season (and who really wants him to?), but hopefully he will make up for this by increasing the amount of extra points he has to kick. Kellis Cunningham will handle kickoffs again while Jesse Henderson will be the prime kick returner. Punt returns, which were handled occasionally by Emmanuel "I don't know how to call a fair catch" Sanders last season, will be taken by Cole Beasely and Bryan McCann. Coach Frank Gansz has emphasized improved blocking and coverage on punts and kickoffs in spring and fall practice. I think our special teams will be improved based purely upon the fact that we finally have a coach who is devoted to special teams play. That also means no swinging gate for you Phil Bennett fans out there.

So the schedule: Rice and Texas State are both very beatable. Texas Tech has always given the Mustangs problems. It's been joked about several times how that game may be 7 hours long due to all the passing. TCU is winnable, but the Ponies will have to play mistake free football, which is something they could not do in Ft. Worth last year. Tulane is also a winnable game with the same caveat as TCU. UCF, Tulsa, UH, and Navy will prove to be a very rough stretch. Houston has lost most of their starters and will have a weaker offense than last year, but the Cougars remain dangerous defensively. The Mustangs face Memphis in Dallas this year and I expect revenge for last year's OT let down. UTEP has taken backwards steps in consecutive seasons under Mike Price, but remain dangerous on both sides of the ball against a young team such as the Mustangs. Southern Miss is a similar situation to UTEP: talented players that can maul an inexperienced opponent, but also a team coming off of a disappointing season and, in this case, with a new coach.

I predict a 5-7 season and a solid first year for Coach June Jones.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Bo Levi to start against Rice?

It's not exactly set in stone yet--though Quarterbacks coach Dan Morrison went as far as saying that Bo was #1 and Braden Smith was #2--but June Jones announced today that Bo Levi Mitchell will be competing against Smith for the starting QB position. Which one of them will be lining up under center on August 29 against Rice? More than likely Bo Levi, given the amount of repetitions he's been getting in practice the past few days and the fact that he is JJ's 'guy' (he decommitted from Hawaii and followed JJ to SMU in January).

I think this has been in the back of most pony fans minds since July, but to actually see Justin Willis--he of a 7-15 record as a starter but also with 51 TD passes--relegated to third on the depth chart behind two true freshmen is still quite shocking. I think most of Mustang Nation expected Bo Levi to get his looks but that the orthodoxy of a returning and successful starter in JW to get the final nod. This clears up any misconceptions that there may have been that June Jones would sacrifice his judgment for that of the previous regime's.

We'll have more posts on this and the upcoming season soon; including a much delayed post about the new uniforms, which Ty will tackle after the annual football kickoff luncheon on August 20.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

T- Minus 17 days

So football season is getting closer and closer, and I'll be honest my man parts are tingly....but not in a gay way. SMU football Kicks off the kickoff of the June Jones era on a Friday Night in Houston in front of a national audience on ESPN. This makes me nervous, while I have no doubt that June is the man to turn the good ship Mustang around; introducing a new system that is very different with either a never played a down of college football QB or one that throws his helmet and missed spring practice is a little nerve racking. This is sort of like the ponies coming out party (think China's opening ceremony not a the difficult conversation between a horned frog and his parents) there hasn't been this much press about the ponies since the death penalty, and this time it's good! So with all the positive talk I'm a little nervous that we fall on our face, don't get me wrong I'm hopeful but in the pit of my stomach I worry, call it pony syndrome but I've been a fan for too long and I know what it feels like to get the rug yanked out from under me year after year. We haven't beaten rice in Houston since '84, we haven't won an opener since KU in 2000, but of course that was before the Age of June. So I can't wait to see how this all unfolds, new coach, new uni's (all hail the white helmet), new year...I believe....June Cometh!

go ponies