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UTSA Football Signing Day Press Conference Transcript

Courtesy: UTSA Athletics Communications
Release: 10/06/2010
Courtesy UTSA Athletics Communications
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"I’ve been around some signing days before but never any as historic as this one. This first-ever signing day is very exciting. It has been a very fast year. I came here in April, started recruiting and now we’re here with the first signing class. It’s been very stressful time for all of us.

"When I came here, I had high expectations for this program and UTSA and everything has exceeded my expectations. The university leadership of (Athletics Director) Lynn Hickey and (UTSA President) Dr. Ricardo Romo has been everything that I hoped for. Especially the city,  because this is such a great city.

"To be able to hire the coaching staff that we have here has been really special. David Ross, Eric Roark and Mike Menefee came in with me. We then had some late but important additions of Tony Jeffery and Travis Bush who just recently came on board to help us finish this class. We also were able to steal a guy from Texas A&M, Shane Elder.
"We figured it up and there are more than 1,400 high schools in the state of Texas that play football. Now, we didn’t go to all of them, but we did go to 200 of them in the spring. The reception we’ve received has been phenomenal. Again, with this signing class, we went out to recruit what we felt were Division I players and I think we have again exceeded expectations with this class.
"I would like to start by saying this is a balanced class. We talked about recruiting San Antonio and working  our way out and we’ve done that. We signed 13 players from the San Antonio area and we’re very proud about that. There are seven all-state players and the reception from the high school coaches has given opportunities for Texas players to remain in the state to play college football. That’s been very special."

"I would now like to open up to any questions that you might have."

Looking at the big San Antonio presence in this class, exactly how big of a factor was recruiting from this area?
"We wanted a San Antonio presence and to recruit San Antonio kids, but we also wanted kids that we can win with. The more I’ve been around, the more I see that this town has a lot of talented athletes. We talked about starting with San Antonio and working our way out and I think we were able to do that because of hard work and the high school coaching here and because of the talented athletes here in San Antonio."

Can you talk about the differences you had in recruiting here as opposed to Miami?
"The recruiting process was pretty much the same, but what we needed to do here was use a different way of evaluating. At Miami, we recruited in Texas but maybe only about two or three guys. We got a great defensive end from Dallas. However, here, we needed to evaluate and make sure that what you see is what you get. I think that is the biggest difference here is the evaluation. The competition here also is intense, but it was intense at Miami as well. I think the quality of athletes we have here is such a good group. We wanted to recruit Division I players and we didn’t want to sell ourselves short and I think we were able to do that."

How big of a challenge was recruiting players knowing there wouldn’t be a season starting up in this fall?
"It was a big challenge We don’t have our facilities in place and we don’t have a schedule set for the fall. I think the thing is that these kids want to play in Texas and this university has so many points to sell; the student body and the support system creates a total package that is not just football. That was a huge part of it. I told the recruits that the support system here is better than any place I’ve ever been. I am sincere when I say that. I think the kids see this as an opportunity to get coached for a year and get academically sound before plaiying a game. I think you go to a scout team, get coached for three days, then they see you for spring practice. They will get coached for the entire fall here and be able to really improve fundamentally. We will try and do that as a staff. It's tough when we don’t have our own weight room and no schedule, but I think that the vision is here. Lynn Hickey has done a great job planning everything out and this is just the start of it. We have some great coaches on board and more coming on board, so this is a great plan that I believe in."

Please expand on the "coaching up” process. You obviously had to project where these kids will be down the road rather than getting a polished product.
"I think that’s true. It did surprise me a little bit, though, because these defensive backs and running backs could play at any place that I’ve been. I don’t think you need brain surgeon to know that we really evaluated some good guys and that’s been a real surprise. We turned out with some really great football players. I think the exciting part is that we will get to coach kids fundamentally and bring them along to try and reach that upside. That’s the theme, meaning we have to grow up and have to develop leaders. At Miami, we would have issues with guys that didn’t like their position and Ed Reed would say, 'shut up and go to practice,' but we don’t have that here yet. Those are the things we have to develop. We need those leaders that are respected and have the stroke to be the leader we want them to be."
You previously said that San Antonio and South Texas is under-recruited. Can you elaborate now that you’ve been down here and do you hope it stays that way?
"I don’t think it will stay under-recruited anymore, which is a negative for us. I think we set the landscape for recruiting in this city. It will be good for San Antonio and good for these kids to have more opportunities. I was down in The Valley with Mike Menefee at McAllen watching Nick Garza play basketball and watching Scott Inskeep wrestle. Scott is academic all-world and is a heavyweight wrestler, who was fifth in the state last year,, and if he was in Miami or even Dallas, he would have five scholarship offers. Nick Garza is the same way. He is a 48-second quarter-mile runner who was in the state finals last spring. He's just a great athlete. He moved to wide reveiver one game when the quarterback got hurt and turned into a wild dog. He scored touchdowns and they won football games, so yes, South Texas is very much under-recruited. There is a lot of area south of San Antonio where we will have a presence. I think the coaching in San Antonio is outstanding and this is something that we really got to take advantage of while we were hot."
How much did you talk about Miami while recruiting?
"I really didn’t talk about it unless they asked. Miami was great, but that’s in the past and I’m worried about what we do now with our program. They would ask about the championships or certain players and I certainly don’t mind talking about those things. Kids know I was at Miami and I won a National Championship there and that’s a positive. I did say, 'I won a national title, so come play for me.' I told a young man yesterday and I think I scared him off by saying I would coach him just like Cortez Kennedy, Russell Baylor, Warren Sapp and Dan Wilkinson and he went to another school, so maybe that wasn’t the right way to approach him. However,  I used that to my advantage and it helped. I think this program and this coaching staff will help me be the best I can be. That is the goal that I have as a coach is to make my players the best student and football players they can be. When we go on a plane or a bus or hotel, we want to be a positive influence. We want people to say these are great guys. That’s one thing I would always get at Miami, that our players were a great group to be around. I want them not only to be the best football players but the best people they possibly can be. That’s why it is so important to have these types of coaches here and good type of people to surround our athletes. Are we ready to suit up? Well, I appreciate you and I don’t have to tell you that we have a great city, a great program and great leadership here. This is a great start. This is a good group of kids that you are going to be very proud of. I am surprised and a little amazed at the quality of coaches and athletes we brought in on this first signing day."

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