road trip

Tom Schad of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal rode along for a typical day of spring recruiting with Memphis inside linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator Dan Lanning and, while the piece is written for a civilian audience, you come away with a nice look at Memphis’s recruiting philosophy and a positive view of Lanning.

At 29, Lanning is a longtime assistant of new Tigers head coach Mike Norvell. Norvell brought Lanning with him from Arizona State and plunked him into his first FBS position coaching job. Though inexperienced, Lanning comes off as well prepared for the job:

– His day begins with a cup of coffee at 5:30 in the morning and ends after midnight.

– He visits seven schools by 3 p.m., compiling a stack of handwritten notes to send to high school coaches after wrapping up his travels.

– While hitting as many schools as possible, Lanning stays in constant communication with his wife and three children at home, his position group and his fellow Tigers assistants.

“You have to know that just like I’m interviewing (high school coaches) for their potential players that they have on their team, they’re interviewing me. Is this the kind of guy I’d like to send my players to?” Lanning says. “So I think if you operate that way, the little things you do — whether it’s a thank-you note or calling a coach at night when you’re heading to your next stop — I think those things matter.”

After a three-hour drive to the following day’s first stop, Lanning is required to compile a detailed report of his day’s travels for Norvell to read: what his coaches and teachers said about him, what interests him academically, who he views as mentors. And then he does it all again the following day.

“It’s the most tiring — in my opinion — the most tiring time of a coach’s career,” Norvell said. “People think that the season is. No, the season, you get on such a routine of practice and meetings and game prep and going out on a Thursday night to recruit. That’s routine. Spring evaluation, it’s always evolving.”

Read the full piece here.

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National columnist - Zach joined the staff in 2012...and has been attempting to improve Doug and Scott's writing ability ever since (to little avail). Outside of football season, you can find him watching the San Antonio Spurs reading Game of Thrones fan theories.