March 8, 2013
Head coach Mack Brown
We hired Patrick Suddes yesterday from Alabama. Patrick's been around Coach Saban at LSU, Miami Dolphins and Alabama for 12 years, and there was heavy input from [defensive tackles coach] Bo Davis and from [co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach] Major [Applewhite] and [assistant head coach/offensive line coach] Stacy Searels because they had all been around Patrick, and Bo had been around him the most and Major had been around him his year at Alabama. So we knew some things on the inside.
We interviewed a number of candidates. We knew what we wanted. We knew what we were looking for and Patrick's name kept coming up. And when we brought Patrick in to interview on Sunday and spent two or three hours with him, and grilled him really hard and he answered all the questions for us, and we were excited moving forward. It was a lot of staff discussion because we know this is a very important position for us.
We have all been doing the recruiting, ourselves. [Recruiting coordinator/tight ends coach] Bruce Chambers and I have been the recruiting coordinator as much as anything, and then we've got [Associate Athletics Director for Football Operations] Arthur Johnson who's in charge of everything, and Ken Rucker trying to do camps and clinics. So we have been kind of “mom-and-popping” it here for a long time, and I really appreciate [athletics director] DeLoss [Dodds] and [UT president] Bill Powers stepping up and helping us with the level of personnel that we need to be the best at everything we are doing in the country again.
When you go back and look at Patrick, he's had his hands in everything in the Alabama and the Miami Dolphin - the LSU system. He's been in a pro draft room. He's been in charge of football operations. He's handled the camp at Alabama which had 1,300 people this year, and had the best speakers in the country and we want to get that back and give it to our high school coaches. We always had the best high school clinic in the country and we don't anymore. And we want to get that back. It's very important to us because it's important to recruiting, and it's a way we can pay the high school coaches back and Alabama is doing it better than anybody else.
We want to make sure - I think we have done a good job in our camps, but we want to do a better job with our camps. And Patrick brought some ideas to our camps that are better than some that we are doing - in our meeting [this morning]. And we want to improve our evaluation process. And I think that's something that as you look at the process that Patrick's gone through with the Alabama staff, they are getting more information in an easier manner to the assistant coaches to make decisions and bring to me. And cutting a lot of the middle men out. I think that's very, very important.
So if you look at the efficiency, it's something we haven't done very well and something that Patrick will bring us. There will be postings for new staff next week. We will bring in someone to help with video and social media because we want to be the best in the country. We think we have been okay, but our videos as such are not as good as the ones that we are seeing some of our competition have. We also feel like that we'll bring some guys to help Patrick in the evaluation process. And we will continue to hire different people that you will see postings next week. And we feel like that's good. But establishing this department with forward thinking and continually thinking about all the things about recruiting, about evaluation, about the evaluation process and upgrading our camps and clinics is critical to us.
Obviously, Patrick can't do all that by himself but we feel like he has the knowledge and the workings of all those things, and he'll be able to hire the right people to put in positions to do all these things. It will take a lot of pressure off Arthur Johnson who is in charge of football operations anyway. It will take a lot of time from me that I've been giving to some of those functions and our assistant coaches to let them coach more readily. And I just think the evaluation process has been better from what I heard with Patrick, and he'll explain some of that to you in a minute as he comes up.
But we are excited about him getting started. Even this morning he was in his first staff meeting, and the 23rd of March we are going to have a scrimmage. We always have our signees come. We try to get some of our commitments from 2013 in - from 2014 in. We try to get the recruits in for that one because the spring game is so hectic. But also at Patrick's suggestion, we're also going to make that a sophomore day. So we will send out a lot of e-mails and invites over the next four or five days -two or three days - to get information out to the top sophomores in the state. And we've never done that before because we need to start establishing our 2015 board just to stay ahead in recruiting the way we are.
But we are very excited about him. We were impressed in the interview. When you talk to people that he's worked with at the Philadelphia Eagles and at Mississippi State and at Michigan, they are all over the top about his [qualifications]. He's a single. He's a tireless worker. He's not going to be intimidated by this place. He's been in big games. He's been at the National Championship. He's been around national media, so we feel like that he's a perfect fit for us moving forward. You go back and look at a lot of the guys now, [former Texas defensive coordinator] Will [Muschamp] worked in this system, Stacy Searels worked in this system, Bo Davis worked in this system, Major Applewhite worked in this system. So a lot of things that Patrick is in favor of and wants to do, we're already doing. We just feel like that he can help us do it with more man power at a higher level.
On if he knows exactly what this department will look like when it is finalized: I don't. I think that's the concern of all of this is, I think -- I said this before - I think at some point, the NCAA will regulate the number of people that can work in the athletic department like they do in the strength program. I don't know when that will be. So we are trying to build the program that we feel like will be acceptable when the NCAA comes back and starts looking at numbers, and at the same time be the most efficient with those numbers of anybody in the country.
On an estimate on how many more hires he will make: I do, and I'm not going to tell you, because I was told not to until they were posted.
On if he would consider high school coaches for these positions: I think you consider everybody, it's wide open. You go back and our staff has had a month's conversation over these things, because this is really important to us to get back on top of our game in every phase. We are getting back on the field, and I think we are really close. We are not there off the field, and we need to pick it up. You go back to a theory of even in the potential positions to help you in the evaluation is that pro scouts the scouts - they haven't been around high school kids enough to understand what that level of evaluation is. Is it high school coaches? Is it young college coaches? So you've got to look at, No. 1, who applies and who is available, because that's one thing we did. We waited two or three weeks to see who was interested in the job that Patrick took. We'll do the same with these postings. And then we also will have staff discussions about it and I think it's really important -- we had the entire staff interview the candidates that we brought in for this job. Everybody. And that's the first time we have done that because they all need to buy in and if Patrick is going to jump them about the way they recruit now and be in their face, then they approved the hire. So they need to work with him and do it right. And we'll do the same with these positions.
On if it was hard to do a self-evaluation of the program: No, I think self-evaluation is something that a lot of people have trouble doing. I've never had trouble with that. I mean if we are not doing something right, I can admit that to myself and the staff and get it fixed and move forward. That's what you do. And to coach at a place for going on 16 years, you're going to have your ups and your downs, and we've had those. I would like to think that every time we've had a lull, we fixed it. And I think we have got the right staff now moving forward from two years ago going into our third year. I really like, as I said, the addition of [running backs coach] Larry Porter. I really like Patrick's addition, because I think it gives us new direction in an area that we haven't had. And like I said, as much as I've dealt with recruiting, I'll still work really hard in recruiting, but I'm not going to be doing all the day-to-day hands-on things to get guys to make sure they are out, make sure they are watching video, make sure we are following up. And Patrick will do all those things which will really help, and the staff is really excited about it, as well.
On how quickly he expects to start seeing the benefits of the new hires and positions: Today, very honestly, because we are already starting to fix things today. And the staff gave Patrick a list of ten things, I think, this morning, that we all discussed yesterday as a staff and that we want him to do immediately. It will take him some time to get the things we need in video in place. You can't do that overnight. It will take him some time to hire the staff that he wants to be around him. And at the same time, we feel like the impact of, No. 1, a hire, shows we are really serious about this and want to get it fixed. Secondly, it's a significant hire. And all the kids, they are really savvy out there now. They know. They know what's going on, and they are going to understand that we are going to pick it up. It also sends a message to the high school coaches that we haven't given back to them in our clinic the last couple of years like we want, and we want to go back and have the best camps in America. I think to be the best - and that's where we are headed back to - you got to hire the best and you've got to do the best in all areas. And as I said, we used to be the best at everything and everybody would come here and ask. And for whatever reason, we got behind some in areas and it's time to fix them. And sometimes they have to be exposed before you fix them, and they were exposed and we're fixing them. A nd I'm excited about that going forward.
On how much evaluating talent will be the new positions’ responsibilities: I think all of those things are why I couldn't answer [a reporter’s] question. We've got to have our compliance people sit in on it and make sure that we are by the letter of the law. We have to get a sense of numbers of what the NCAA is going to look at. Are they going to override these rules like was talked about yesterday and if they are, then we don't want to be bringing in people that we can tell them, “You're going to be here for six months, eight months and you're fired.” So we would like to have a sense moving forward that we don't have to disrupt everything we do in a year. And all of that is why that we're cautiously moving forward with these hires. I mean, Patrick got here yesterday morning, so we'd love to sit and visit Patrick this next week and ten days and see exactly what the plan was that he's been used to and see how that fits. Not only at Texas but how it fits with some of the NCAA thinking of numbers of staff moving forward.
On if Texas will have satellite camps: The SEC can't have satellite camps off their campus. That's a rule. It's something I know the Big 12 is looking at. Right now we would have to have the University of Texas change its university policy. Because we cannot have satellite camps off campus, the way the policy is stated. I'm not sure if that's a regent policy. I'm not sure if it's an athletic department policy. We would have to find that out and ask those questions. But I think, again, we are going to let Patrick have great input into what he thinks. If you have satellite camps, you can reach some guys that might not have the time or have a ride or can afford to come to your campus. The other thing it does though, is they don't come to your campus. So you've got to be smart. Right now, we are getting just about all the kids on our campus and that hasn't been an issue for us. The only issue we had last year is we had some players back out. We identified the right ones, we thought. We recruited the right ones. We committed the right ones. Obviously, it wasn't the case because some of the ones we committed changed their mind. So that's why we are going slower and trying to do a better job. But it wasn't the evaluation process as far as ability. It might have been how interested they were in us and how much were they playing us. So we've got to look at all those things.
On his recruiting philosophy about recruiting nationally: It hasn't changed since the day we've been here. If we can get the same player here that we can get in New Jersey, we want to take the local kid. And there's 90 reasons you take the local kid. High school coach is going to watch him play. He grew up wanting to play for Texas. He's got more pride. You don't have to worry about how he gets here and how he gets home. You don't have to worry about his parents being able to see him play. What we have said since day one - and I don't think we have always done a great job of it, we are continuing to look out of state and trying to expand some of our out of state recruiting - is that if there is a better player out of state than in state, then we will go out of state and offer him.
On how many people he interviewed for this position: There were nearly a hundred applicants, and we interviewed four.
Patrick is 30 -he's younger than I thought. He's older than he seems [laughter] Patrick is an Alabama graduate. He's a guy that I think will end up being a general manager of an NFL team at some point after what I've seen with him. And that's basically the type position he'll have for us. He's going to be running that operation under Arthur Johnson, and I've really been impressed and I think you will see why. So he's also has been involved in three national championships, one of which beat us. But we're really excited about Patrick and his future. So, Patrick?
Director of Player Personnel Patrick Suddes Opening Statement:
How's everybody doing? First of all, I just want to say it's a privilege to be here at the University of Texas. You know, growing up, this was the top program out there. Obviously coming from a top program, I know what it takes. And it's amazing to go from one winning coach to another winning coach. Basically why I'm here is to improve the lives of the coaches and Coach Brown. Recruiting has changed daily, yearly. It's getting more advanced. So that's why I'm here - make the job for the coaches easier so that they can evaluate. My job is not to evaluate, it's to get the information to them in a timely manner and make sure they've got every means possible to be successful. And then when the kid gets to campus, that's my job to make sure they come to the University of Texas, they fall in love with it and they don't want to leave. So that's kind of what I've been grown up to. I've been around a lot of great coaches, great recruiters. Coach [Nick] Saban, his staff there really was behind the guy that kind of changed the game in recruiting in college, Ed Marynowitz, who is assistant director of player personnel for the [Philadelphia] Eagles now. He changed the game and taught me a lot, and I'm kind of taking his philosophy, Coach Saban's philosophy and then adapting it to Coach Brown's philosophy here at Texas. My job, like I said, is to promote the philosophy of the head coach and make the lives easier for all the assistant coaches to go out and be successful in recruiting.On how dramatic the changes will be in recruiting:
I think they've got everything set here, I think it's just getting the information out there. You know, obviously with the Longhorn Network and everything here it's - you know, they've got everything in place here, it just about creating a system. A structure that it's a machine and day-in, day-out you're doing the same things to be successful, and you don't stray off that path. You stay on the course, and you're always continuing to improve. That's what Coach Brown was saying the other day. They were the best and they didn't feel like they needed to change, but day-in and day-out, recruiting has changed so you have to adapt and stay up with the Joneses. On Suddes not being an evaluator of talent:
No, I cannot evaluate [per] NCAA rules. My job is to get the information to them. They are the evaluators. They have experience in that and making sure they are put in the best position. When they go on the road in recruiting, it's my responsibility to come up with a plan and make sure they hit as many good players in a day as possible. So make that more efficient. On how Ed Marynowitz changed the game:
Well, he wasn't an evaluator, either. It's just like I said, from a marketing standpoint, from a systems standpoint, creating a work room where you've got four student workers or whatever it is in there. Constantly cutting up film and getting information out. Nowadays you go on a recruiting site and you see a highlight film of a kid and some schools make a decision based off that. Well, you know, you didn't see the kids’ lowlights. That could be sophomore film and he becomes a junior and he's either a better player or a worse player. So it's constantly updating the film so the coaches are put in the best position to make the right decision on that. On if he has personnel in mind and if it is important to get people with Texas ties:
Definitely important for that. Me and Coach Brown will talk more about exactly what we want to do there. Obviously, I'd like somebody that's been in the system before. But definitely me and Coach Brown will talk about that in more detail, for sure. On knowing who to hire:
I think just whoever the best candidate is. Like we had a lot of different people at Alabama from all different walks of life, from all different positions. I think just the interview process is key, and making sure that they understand what our goal is, [what our] expectations are and making sure they can carry through with that. Because it is going to be a grind. Like Coach said, I'm not married, I have no hobbies except for bad basketball, so I've got nothing to do but stay up at the office and make sure this comes out right. On what it says about Texas that he would leave Alabama:
Like I said, you grow up and Texas is the place to be. I was around when the greats - Ricky Williams
at [the] Miami Dolphins - so I know what they put out. I know what they can put out. And obviously the state of Texas is the best state in high school recruiting. At Alabama we have to national recruit and kind of go elsewhere. But we have got to take control of this state, and I'm looking forward to helping do that in whatever way I can. On not being surprised he was needed here:
Coming in, not surprised, because I mean, this is Texas and when you get someone on campus here, they are going to fall in love with it. I think just everything has sped up in recruiting. Kids are committing, de-committing; I think the player has changed more than Texas not changing. I think kids have less loyalty to a certain place. There's more street agents involved. It's becoming more like basketball -AAU basketball, and that's why we have to get our arms around it and make sure we are identifying kids early. And just because they commit, we’re not going to stay off of them, we're going to hit them harder than ever before. We want to make sure these kids know that - the ones we want - make sure they know that we want them. Day-in and day-out.On how the Alabama coaches studied video:
It's all prepared and handed to them. And nowadays with all these recruiting services, especially places like Huddle and all these other places, they are providing all that film for you. You're paying for the service, so it's really just about money. If you're willing to spend the money, you can get all the film. The days of sending out a request for a highlight film from the head coach, those days are over.On the challenge of coming into a new role that's never existed before at Texas:
I see that as a challenge but a great challenge and one I'm looking forward to. But like I said, it's not that big of a challenge because this is Texas and just walking -- when I came in Sunday, I went through these facilities, met the people. It's not just about selling the facilities; it's about selling the people. And they've got great people around here. And people that if a commits parents bring them here, they are going to be well taken care of. So looking forward to just selling that and marketing that a little better. And getting kids to campus, because I feel like if you get a kid to campus, he's going to fall in love with this place. On how they got kids to visit Alabama:
Well, that's all Coach Saban. I can't take credit for that. I just helped run the camp. But you find out the players that are willing to come in and compete and work, and usually those players turn out to be the best players. The ones that come in and don't want to come to camp -- if you look at the NFL nowadays, you got certain players not going to compete in the Combine, not going to compete in the Senior Bowl, whatever it is, because their agent tells them not to because they already think they are the best player and they are going to get drafted here or there. We want kids that are going to come in and compete. That's what camps are all about. You find out the kids that love football, they want to compete and compete at a high level. And we've got a philosophy, and I'm bringing that philosophy here. Texas should always follow this - if you want to be the best, you got to come play with the best. On how many hires he will need:
I don't really have a number. I think it's just about quality people that can get the job done. If a guy can do a role of two or three people, just like they have here. Coach Brown was saying, Arthur Johnson's
great and does a lot of different roles, and I'm looking forward to taking some of that weight off his shoulders. But they've got great people here that are smart, efficient. So I think it's all about just being efficient.On if he talked to his former workmates about coming here:
Yes, I talked to everybody. I talked to Coach Muschamp who had nothing but great things to say about this place. I did my research, obviously. It was a tough decision leaving, but this is the top spot in my opinion, and obviously something I'm looking forward to building something up from the ground. But like I said, this place is not lacking of facilities or people or anything like that. It's just about being able to market it. On if he thinks the NCAA deregulation will turn into universities having huge staffs:
First of all, I don't think that's going to be passed. It might be passed but from what I'm hearing, it's got a lot of strong opposition. But like I said, the recruiting is the coaches, but when a kid comes to campus, everybody in the organization recruits. You're selling to everybody in the organization to know when that kid comes, they are taken care of by everybody in the organization. What we did a good job at Alabama, is when they came to campus, you're selling everybody From the cleaning lady to the president to anybody. On if his ultimate goal is to be a GM in the NFL someday:
Definitely. Definitely that. That was the thing is I was kind of in a turning point in my career, whether I wanted to kind of jump in the NFL or move on. So when this opportunity came up, to me this is an NFL team. This is as good as it gets. It's run like an NFL team. I think it's got a lot of characteristics of an NFL team, and we are going to put out first round draft picks like this place has always done.On if he feels the first couple of weeks it's about merging ideas and philosophies:
No question. There's obviously certain things that I know what it takes to be successful, but I'm very adaptable. I listen. I'm not set in my ways, and I think that's what a lot of this job is. You can't just be rigid. You've got to be able to adapt to what the coaches want. And that's what I'm here for. I'm going to listen to coaches. I'm going to meet with each one individually and say, “Hey, what do you look for in a player?" All this stuff, so that when I'm cutting up the film and sending it to them, we are going to make sure that happens.