Today’s edition of Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback touched on an interesting angle to the Manti Te’o story. King looked back to a time before Te’o even arrived at Notre Dame, back to when he was being recruited and the efforts to which Charlie Weis and Brian Polian went to ensure Te’o signed with the Fighting Irish.
King recalls that Notre Dame sent Polian, the team’s special teams coordinator, on the nearly-5,000 mile one-way trip every Thursday afternoon so that Polian could see Te’o play in person every Friday night. Once his recruiting duties were done, Polian would then jet from Hawaii to South Bend or wherever the Fighting Irish happened to be playing that Saturday, as King puts it, “sometimes making it in time for the game, sometimes missing the game.”
“When he committed to Notre Dame, that changed the perception of me as a recruiter,” Polian reflected.
Polian would later go on to become the special teams coordinator, recruiting coordinator and safeties coach at Stanford from 2010-11 and as the special teams coordinator and tight ends coach at Texas A&M in 2012. Polian was introduced as Nevada’s head coach on Jan. 11, and detailed how much the time he spent recruiting Te’o and others at his various stops will influence his philosophy as a head coach.
“I do believe you can out-work people in recruiting. I don’t think you can out-work people in coaching,” he said. “During the season, we all grind it out pretty good. We’re limited in the amount of time by the NCAA that we can spend with our players. Everybody’s fairly equal when it comes to the coaching end of it. But, with the recruiting part of it, you can out-work people.
Polian plans to send his staff, which is yet to be announced, to turn over rocks in Nevada, California, Texas and the Pacific Northwest. That’s a lot of rocks.
“When you have assistant coaches that are willing to drive that extra 90 miles to a little town that nobody’s ever heard of because there might be a kid there, and you turn over that rock and you find one of those guys that turns out to be a player, that’s where you can get people,” Polian concluded. “When you have guys that can connect with people and connect with their families and high school coaches and build on those relationships, when you have guys that understand that process, you can be effective in recruiting.”