Inside Scoop: Talking recruiting with Matt Dudek
Inside Scoop is back with Arizona’s director of on-campus recruiting Matt Dudek. The man behind Arizona’s recruiting efforts and social media branding, Dudek has been a frequent FootballScoop interview subject for some time now. This time around Scott and Matt discuss the lay of the land both in the Arizona program and the college football recruiting world at large.
A few of the topics:
– The over-the-top ridiculousness of Arizona’s Wildcat Olympics.
– How Rich Rodriguez emphasizes family in every aspect of the Wildcats’ program. The first thing visitors see upon entering the football offices is a photo of the entire staff with their families.
– “Something Coach Rodriguez asks in our recruiting meetings: does he play any other sports?” Why? It keeps a player in competition all year round versus devoting three months to games and nine months to workouts, and movements learned in basketball and baseball, for example, are things a kid won’t learn in football but prove useful on the gridiron nonetheless.
– How to rise in the recruiting industry, and more programs looking to hire women in recruiting and operations roles.
– Why Instagram is the most popular social media hangout of recruits, but Twitter is the preferred medium for recruiters.
Sark is adding a challenge to the end of spring practices to help finish games strong
Sark and his USC squad don’t take the field for another six months, but they’re already finding creative ways to simulate the end of games during spring practice.
After reflecting on their 2014 season and the tough losses that came in the final minutes, and realizing the impact that they had on the rest of the season, Sark and his staff decided something needed to be done.
“If we win those two games, we’re playing for a conference championship. You stop and think of the ramifications of that, of course we’re going to address that and get better.”
To remedy the situation, Sark and his staff decided to add a challenge at the end of practices to help simulate the final two minutes of regulation in the fall. In 2015, they’ll make sure their players are better prepared.
“We’re going to have a challenge at the end of every practice that will really exemplify the final two minutes of every game. We want to find who we can count on, and who those guys are that we can make plays in critical moments.”
“The defense came out today, and it was the best of five, the defense came out the first three plays and got off the field and won the game.” Sark noted.
“Hopefully, that idea of our ability to not only take the field and be excited and take the field at beginning of practice, but to also be our best at the most critical moment at the end of practice, and that’s something that we’re going to continue to work on.”
Want your coordinators more involved on social media? Take a page from NC State
For all the programs out there that wish your coordinators were more active on social media, NC State has provided an interesting idea to put your own spin on.
After each spring practice, Wolfpack defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable is tweeting out some recognition for two #BallHawks. Junior linebacker Ernie Robinson and grayshirt corner Juston Burris took home the honors on day one.
— Dave Huxtable (@CoachDHux) March 4, 2015
This is a simple way to accomplish a number of things for your program via social media; it gives your coordinator’s a presence on social media, it praises players who deserve recognition, and it updates your fan base on a daily basis.
The applications are nearly limitless. Whether you choose to highlight daily play makers, the most improved players, biggest hitters, or best scout team players, it’s a win-win for everyone involved and takes a minimal amount of time.
Why Brian Kelly hired Mike Sanford: “We wanted somebody that was going to turn the room upside down.”
In his quest to revamp Notre Dame’s offense, Brian Kelly had options. There was Charley Molnar, who spent six seasons under Kelly at Central Michigan, Cincinnati and Notre Dame before taking the Massachusetts head job in 2012. After two seasons in Amherst, Molnar is now the wide receivers coach at Idaho. There’s also Jeff Quinn, whose history with Kelly goes back even further, all the way to 1989 at Grand Valley State. Quinn never worked at Notre Dame, taking the Buffalo head job at the same time his boss left Cincinnati for South Bend, but he owns two solid decades in the Kelly system.
If Kelly wanted to his new quarterbacks coach to hit the ground in a dead sprint, options were plenty. Except Notre Dame’s head coach didn’t want to do that. In fact, he was looking for the exact opposite.
“(Mike Denbrock and I) agreed at the end that what we were looking for was somebody that could turn the room upside down,” Kelly told Blue and Gold Illustrated. “We didn’t want somebody to be equal. We wanted somebody that was going to turn that room upside down, that was that good. We weren’t going to settle for somebody that was on the same plane. We wanted somebody that was going to challenge us on a day-to-day basis. (Sanford) does that.”
Sanford will be tasked with shaping the considerable talents of quarterbacks Everett Golson and Malik Zaire. Golson led Notre Dame to a national championship appearance in 2012 but displayed a penchant for turning the ball over in 2014, including a five turnover meltdown in a blowout loss to Arizona State. Zaire led the Irish to a win over LSU in the Music City Bowl but lacks experience.
However, Sanford has one of the most impressive assistant coaching resumes in college football. The son of a coach (who, incidentally, spent two years as a teenager in South Bend), Sanford spent three seasons at Stanford and one at Boise State. He has a personal record of 46-9 with three conference championships and four BCS/New Year’s Six bowls over the past four seasons.
“When I first heard about it, I had a different reaction because it’s Notre Dame. I think knowing that this place stands for something I want to be a part of: elite academics, the chance to explore from a spiritual standpoint, which is very important to me in my life and also, this is the mecca of college football,” Sanford said. “I really was excited quite frankly when the Notre Dame opportunity came about. I was fired up. There was something inside of me that felt different than any other job that had been out there in this offseason.”
Arizona’s off season Wildcat Olympics might be the most fun in college football
From the looks of it, I doubt that any team in the country – regardless of level – has as much fun as Arizona with their off season Olympics.
The Wildcats are competing in everything from the cliche tug-of-war and team agility courses, to more off the wall stuff like belly-flop contests, soccer style shootouts, and some sort of medicine ball volleyball game I’m not even sure what to call.
They also decided to have an eating contest with hard boiled eggs, which I’m sure the players probably loved, but everyone that has seen The Replacements understands the danger in that.
Seriously though, credit Rich Rod and his staff for the environment they have created down in Tuscon. Players, recruits, and families love the program that they’ve created since arriving in November 2012.