Chad Morris has been on the ground - with Whataburger in hand - in Dallas for one day now, and already has nearly half his on-the-field staff in place at SMU.
We reported Sunday that Appalachian State wide receivers coach Justin Stepp, a GA at Clemson under Morris, will join the staff and coach a to-be-determined skill position. Stepp will be joined on the offensive side of the ball by fellow Clemson GAs Joe Craddock and Dustin Fry. Craddock will serve as offensive coordinator, and Fry will coach the offensive line.
Morris worked closely with his GAs at Clemson. At the AFCA convention in January, Morris said his game-planning process involves letting his offensive staff go at 8:30 or 9 p.m. on Monday nights, while he and his GAs stayed in the office until two in the morning. “Sometimes it’s easier if you get everybody out of there, throw some country and western on, and get to work," Morris said at the time.
Morris said at his introductory press conference Monday that he planned to hire a few Texas high school coaches on his staff, and DeSoto High School head coach Claude Mathis is set to be the first. Adam Grosbard of SMU's Rivals site reported Mathis had been hired, but Mathis told Damon Sayles of ESPN.com that nothing was official yet. Either way, Mathis is expected to join the staff soon enough. Mathis joined Tony Levine's staff at Houston as running backs coach in January 2012, but returned to DeSoto a month later.
Morris turned to another close connection for his most important on-the-field hire, tabbing Oklahoma State cornerbacks coach Van Malone as his defensive coordinator. Morris and Malone worked together on Todd Graham's staff at Tulsa in 2010. Malone is expected to join the staff next week, as Oklahoma State concludes its regular season on Saturday.
We will update as more details become available.