SMU coach Larry Brown talked to the Cowboys after their final organized team activity practice Wednesday. He said he learned more from the Cowboys than they probably got from him.
“I told Jason [Garrett] after, I’ve got to do a better job in special situations,” Brown said. “I’ve got young kids, and you never want to put them out on the court when they’re not prepared to handle a situation they might face. So watching them and the attention to detail and how direct and honest he is with them, it made me feel good, because I try to be direct and honest and hope the kids take it the right way. It was neat hearing him coach them and they way they accepted it, that made me feel pretty good.”
Tony Romo, Garrett and Jason Witten have become fans of the SMU program, attending a handful of games since Brown became the Mustangs’ coach for the 2012-13 season.
“All the football players think they can play [basketball],” Brown said. “When I got the job at SMU, [then SMU head coach] June Jones told me he could pick out five guys on his football team and beat us. I think he was right at the time.
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“Tony loves the game. I just don’t like to see him going to Duke games. … Yeah, I told him that.”
Brown also spent time talking to rookie linebacker Jaylon Smith, who is expected to redshirt this season while recovering from knee surgery and nerve damage in his knee.
“I realize what he’s been through,” Brown said. “I just hope he’s going to have a chance to fulfill a dream, because everybody tells me that he’s a better kid than a player. Jason told me that if he had been healthy, he might have been the first pick in the draft. I’m just hoping he’s healthy and has a chance to show people what he can do.”
Garrett has spent time with many coaches, players and former players from other sports, picking their brains. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, tennis great Billie Jean King, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle and Brown are among the coaches from whom Garrett has taken inspiration.
“He has helped me immensely,” Garrett said. “I told our team afterwards that he’s arguably as good a coach in any sport that there ever was if you think about his accomplishments. I think he’s taken nine different NBA teams to the playoffs. He has taken a couple college teams to the NCAAs. He’s won an NCAA championship, an NBA championship. He’s really a wonderful guy, and he’s a really generous guy. We’ve taken out staff down to watch practice. We’ve become close to the SMU basketball program. And he’s been so welcoming to us. There’s just a real high level of coaching that is on display every time you are around him. There’s always such great wisdom about life and about how you can coach your team better. When I’m around him, I try to ask him questions, and I try to listen to him. And he’s been very generous to me, to our staff and to our football team. It’s great to have him here.”