PONTE VEDRA -Southern Methodist University joins The American in July along with former Conference USA teams Houston, UCF and Memphis. Mustangs coach June Jones was in Ponte Vedra this week for the American Athletic Conference spring meetings.

I caught up with him Tuesday following the early meetings and we spoke about the overall mood of the meetings as well as some key issues being discussed.

Q: What’s the mood been like in these meetings?

June Jones:  Very positive. I think it’s going to be a very strong football conference. I think the teams are going to be very competitive and a little bit up from what we’ve been playing from a talent standpoint. We’ll certainly – at SMU – have to play our best to compete.

Q: What were some of the topics discussed?

JJ: Some of the new rules changes … the targeting. To me, it’s going to be very difficult to regulate. Hopefully it will get regulated correctly. I think anytime you have judgment decisions your making the game a little bit more complicated. Those decision are going to be that way with hard hits. There’s no question with helmet-to-helmet, but there are other parts to it with ejections and so-on and so-forth. We’re going to just have to grow with it. The National Football League is taken a stance and so has the colleges and we’re going to have to learn to bide by the rules that are going to be played now.

Q: Anything else of concern?

 JJ: Some of the crack-back blocking. With the way that safety has been heading to protect the players I don’t understand that rule. They’re going to allow receivers to crack-back block on certain looks if their squared up on a guy. It doesn’t make sense if you are trying to protect players on one hand, then why would you allow it on another? There is still some discussion that that may change too. I think once it really gets analyzed it will be taken out.

Q: What's your overall perception of the league?

JJ: It’s going to be a real competitive conference. The TV exposure is going to be really, really improved with the contract that they signed. It’s going to be a huge, huge deal. I can tell you from my time to get to SMU when they weren’t on TV and then you’re on TV a lot, that makes a big difference in everything. Exposure increases, alumni contributions increase to the school as does a lot of things for the university.

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