The surprise was when Hal Mumme went to SMU

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When he was introduced Tuesday as the new head football coach at Belhaven University, an NAIA school in Mississippi, Hal Mumme said no one should be surprised.

“The people who know me in this business were not surprised at all,” Mumme said. “They know how I am and how much I enjoy small college.”

In fact, the surprise came last year, when the former Kentucky head coach gave up his job as head coach at McMurry, a Division III school in Texas, to be June Jones’ passing-game coordinator at SMU.

Back during his four-year stay in Lexington, Mumme once told me he couldn’t work for someone else. He had to be in charge. I never doubted that. He’s not really equipped to take orders. If nothing else, SMU must have been a one-year sabbatical from making all the decisions.

The father of the Air Raid offense also said Tuesday that he had tweaked his creation during his time at SMU. Asked what that meant, Mumme, 61, said you would have to buy a ticket to find out.

Indeed, the Air Raid run by Dana Holgorsen at West Virginia or even Neal Brown at Kentucky is not the same Air Raid that Mumme and quarterback Tim Couch ran at UK in 1997. There are more spread elements to the offense now, more flexibility.

(Side note: Mike Leach has stuck closest to the Air Raid model.)

SMU finished last season eighth nationally in passing offense, at 341.4 yards per game. The Mustangs were 41st in total offense, at 435.2 yards per game, on the way to a 5-7 record.

“He’s cutting-edge,” Couch told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. “He’s an innovator in the passing game. He’s always a step ahead of defenses. He’s always on the attack. He’s going to do whatever it takes to win. He’s very confident and very aggressive. He’s the type of guy whose system is proven. Wherever he’s been, his offense has put up big numbers. As a quarterback, that’s what you want to be in.”

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