SMU got in early on college football’s facilities boom, building Gerald J. Ford Stadium and the accompanying Lloyd All-Sports Center in 2000. Prior to that, the Mustangs called the Cotton Bowl and/or Texas Stadium home. For a private school with a limited alumni base in the middle of a pro sports town, playing in a 75,000-seat stadium across town or a 65,000-seat professional stadium in the suburbs was… not good. 

Heading into its 15th season, the 32,000-seat Gerald J. Ford Stadium, sunken into the heart of campus, still suits the Mustangs just fine. On Tuesday, the Mustangs invited FootballScoop and a host of other DFOs on a tour. 

In the Mustangs’ training room, SMU athletes check into this monitor via a thumb print that digitizes their entire treatment experience. 

The countdown clock to the season opener is very precise, going down to the tenth of a second. SMU opens the season at Baylor in the inaugural game at McLane Stadium. 

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SMU’s lockers were installed by Hollman Lockers several years ago. Hollman, the leading locker manufacturer in the country, is located just up the road from SMU. Scott and I toured their facility (and saw staff members from several FBS programs there as well). More to come about Hollman soon… 

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The Mustangs’ team meeting room seats 120. 

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The offensive line meeting room was functional.  

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The oft-imitated Mustang logo is the first sight you see upon entering the lobby of the coaches’ offices… and approximately 17,234 more times throughout campus. 

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The other side of the lobby area. 

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The home side of Ford Stadium. New luxury boxes wrapping around the entire home side were installed in the last two years. 

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The view from one of those new suites. 

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The view (minus the screens) from the club level, SMU’s most in demand season ticket packages. 

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In the foreground, SMU’s practice fields. In the background, one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the United States. Finding a place to live for players and staff is a challenge. 

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And, finally, what’s a trip to the Hilltop without saying hello to Craig James?

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Many thanks to SMU head coach June Jones, DFO Randy Ross, assistant DFO Steve Stigall and director of high school relations Tam Hollingshead for their hospitality. 

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National columnist - Zach joined the staff in 2012...and has been attempting to improve Doug and Scott's writing ability ever since (to little avail). Outside of football season, you can find him watching the San Antonio Spurs reading Game of Thrones fan theories.