Q: It’s the staff’s first day on the job .Have they gotten all of you desks yet? What is your situation?
A: Well, I worked last week, but there are really so many things to do. We’re just trying to get organized, trying to get offices and phones set up and vehicles and cell phones lined up for the coaches. There are just so many things to do logistically the first week. This week, part of my staff’s in and we’re working on our plans, but there’s a long way to go, obviously.
Q: Tell me what you think the three assistant coaches who have been announced will bring to the program in the months and years ahead.
A: Well, my offensive coordinator Les Koenning from Texas A&M and before that at Alabama with Franchione, and on down the line at Mississippi State and Rice and other places, to me brings a wealth of knowledge having been in the game as long as he has in Division One. He’s coached against Texas, coached against Auburn, coached against Tennessee and Oklahoma. He’s been in these big battles. To bring in a guy with his experience and his character, I’m fortunate to have him. He’s the main cog in our staff, there’s no doubt about it. We’re very happy to get him.
Bill Clark (defensive coordinator/assistant head coach) is one of the best high school coaches this state has ever had. We talked over the years and wanted to coach together. You ask any college coach that’s watched his practices and they’ll tell you that he does things the way you’re supposed to do them. They know that he’s college football coaching material and he’s going to get great respect from high school coaches in the state as he recruits. He just has a great name and great character as well.
The next guy is Dameyune Craig. Dameyune’s going to coach our running backs and he is a great young coach. I heard a lot of things about Dameyune from (FSU offensive coordinator) Jimbo Fisher, who’s the one who actually recommended him to me. After I talked with him about 30 minutes in the interview, I knew that I wanted him. He has great passion, great mental toughness. I think he’ll demand a lot out of his players and also, being from Mobile, the recruiting aspect with the great athletes we have here in this town, I think with all that combined we’re very lucky to have Dameyune as well.
Q: Can you bring us up to speed on where we stand with the new football facilities?
A: We’re in the process of designing the football field house and the goal is to have it up by April of next year. Right now we’re looking at about a 40,000 square foot facility along with the two practice fields. Right now we’re trying to get the plans drawn and get that started as soon as we can.
Q: There had been talk that the new building you would go into would become a custodial building after the new student rec center was built and the old one was renovated to be the permanent football building. Is that still the case?
A: Right now we’re waiting for the decision to be made if that’s going to be a permanent football facility. We don’t really know what direction they’re going to go. It could actually be converted into something else if they were to move us to the rec center, but right now President Moulton has not made his decision completely on that, but I would thing that is forthcoming very soon.
Q: How important will these facilities be to you in terms of recruiting athletes?
A: Oh, there’s no doubt. As we told the administration, recruiting will be essential and to have a great facility is the most important thing. When we build something, we have to realize that we’re going to be recruiting D1 athletes and we’ve got to have the type of facility that will have a “Wow” factor for those guys. To me, the facilities we get will be about as critical as anything we’ll do. The kind of facilities we get will directly translate into the kind of recruits we get in here. We want to let them know that we’re serious about this and want to become a great Division One football program.
Q: It sounds like when recruits come on campus next year, they may be surprised by the quality of the facilities that USA will have.
A: No doubt. The one thing I’ve found is that President Moulton and Joe Gottfried want to do things right. They want this to be a successful venture. They’re committed to it and I think they’ll do whatever it takes, obviously within reason, to build a great facility and have a great football program.
Q: Tell mw what you’re schedule will be for the next few days and weeks.
A: We’re going to start putting out recruiting plan together. We met today and on Wednesday we’ll spend all day working on recruiting, but we can’t get out on the road until late April or early May (because of NCAA restrictions).
Q: You mentioned in your first press conference that you were getting calls from players who wanted to transfer. Are you still getting those and, if so, are you allowed to talk to them?
A: We can’t talk to them. If they call, I tell them that I can’t talk to them about it but they can follow the process and do things the right away and get a release from their current school first and at that point we can talk to them.
Q: What’s the plan for 2008. Will there be any club football for your team?
A: No, we’re not going to do anything this fall. All we’re going to do with the few kids we will have is strength and conditioning, that’s it. We’re going to have some kind of tryout day this spring for the kids already on campus. We haven’t talked about it as a staff, but I want to bring some kids out, work them out, and see if any of them want to try coming out (for next year’s team). We may wait till the fall, but I would like to do that this spring.
Q: How important will walk-ons be in 2009?
A: Walk-ons will be a pivotal part of our program. This school is very fair priced, so I think our chances of getting walk-ons is certainly greater. And, especially in the early years, those guys can come right in and certainly contribute to our program. As we go on, they’re still going to have an opportunity help out, so walk-ons will definitely be a big part of what we do here.