Texas attempting to play catch up in personnel arms race

Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

Having fallen behind many other schools with their football support staff, the 'Horns are finally making some moves.

After receiving heavy criticism from nearly every corner of the Longhorn interwebs, head coach Mack Brown and Texas are ready to finally make moves in regards to beefing up the football personnel staff on campus.

While many schools around the country already have a director of player personnel or director of on-campus recruiting, Texas notably does not have either.

Moreover, a school like Alabama already has numerous quality control or football analyst positions, which are positions already allowed, not positions that will be created through the deregulation that will bring sweeping changes to college football.

Brown revealed that the 'Horns took the first step on Thursdary to address the personnel gap Texas currently faces:

We are posting a position today of a director of player personnel that would oversee our recruiting. There's a lot of discussion about the possibility of an overriding committee that will slow some of this down this spring and that some of the roles might change.

Later, he outlined some of the job responsibilities for that position:

If you look at social media is a huge part of that position now; video being sent out over airwaves is a huge part of that position now. All those things are things that are bigger than they were five years ago. Every kid is on Twitter. Every kid is on Facebook. Now they are jumping on Instagram. It's changing so fast that we feel like there's a person out there that can help do a better job with their process.

More than that, the 'Horns need to find a person who can operate at a high level of efficiency in the new, deregulated world of recruiting:

What we feel like it needs to be is as good a recruiting coordinator as there is in the country and that would mean a guy that can look at the new rules and see, what can we send out, and be the best.

The social media presence for Texas has been lacking, but the online presence has also been falling behind, in Brown's belief:

One time we were the best in our media guides and one time we were the best in our website. Right now I don't think we are, and that's who this person we think needs to be.

The university on the football side does a rather poor job of using social media to its advantage in terms of public relations, but in this case, Brown is referring to modes of communicating and interacting with the prospects. Just like the coaches have to sell the program when on the road or hosting visitors, Texas needs to claw its way back up to the top in areas like making making sure the website showcases the program.

Browsing through the list of essential functions for the posted position, it's shocking not only that Texas was placing all those burdens on the current staff -- in looking through them all, for a program the size of Texas, it's almost hard to believe that one person can effectively handle all those duties. The logistics involved in

The good news is that while Brown seemed to remain in his cautious mode in terms of projecting the future size of the staff, there's also a listing for two quality control coaches, positions that involve "clerical and statistical support" for the football program and may be similar to the football analyst positions at Alabama.

The difficulty, as Brown sees it, is that the size of personnel staffs around college football could come under more heavy NCAA regulation if things swing back in favor of attempts to maintain a somewhat level playing field between the programs that can afford to employ numerous analysts to aid with scouting other programs, self-scouting, and evaluating prospects on film and those that cannot:

They might just hold them right now and review them for another year, I'm not sure about that. Everybody has been a little bit all over the place; where is it going? What's going to happen? How many personnel will they let you have?

They have put a limit on the NCAA put a limit on strength staffs I think last year. They cut it to five. And those five are all that you can have working with football. I think that in the near future, I think in the near future we'll see the same thing with administrative staff.

I think you're going to see this many people that can work with football, and there is not a limit right now on analyst or quality control guys. I think you'll see a limit put on that in the future; just my opinion.

But right now, there's not one. And again, it's something that all of us have looked very carefully at and what's best for college football and what's best for Texas. And some don't have as much money and those are things that NCAA, that athletic directors and presidents are having to look at very closely.

So what I think we will see is more sense put into those rules and not leave it out there like that. The way I understand it right now, starting August 1, you could have a poster sent out every day if you wanted to, and that's not going to fly with schools across the country. So I think we'll see some regulations back in place on some of those things in the near future.

We have talked to so many people across the country and everybody is having the same discussions as what we are having.

Alabama has kind of driven the narrative in regards to these changes and the Texas head coach was clear that he doesn't blame the Crimson Tide for staying ahead of the game or believe that it creates an unfair advantage:

I can't blame Alabama for doing what they needed to do to be successful. And the thing you've got to look at if you're looking at college football is, can everybody do that and is that fair. And it's fair for Alabama because they have made it work for them, so I would not be critical of them at all.

What I think, the patterns I see in my past in this job, is when there where strength coaches that were doing the same thing and everybody had ten strength coaches and they had everyone for that position. The NCAA realized it, and they cut them to five.

I think what we'll see in a year is that the analyst/quality control positions will be cut to a certain number. I think that we will see that the positions that you have across the board will be cut. So you'll have nine assistant coaches and the head coach.

No matter what happens in terms of possible NCAA limits on staff size, the Longhorns need to be prepared to move on several more when the ultimate decision is made in that regard. The spring should allow plenty of time for that to happen.

One of the gray areas created by personnel staffs that are increasing in size with more quality control positions is how much coaching they actually do. Those employed in those roles aren't allowed to coach, but it's also something that is extremely difficult for the NCAA to regulate.

As a result, Brown believes that they should just be allowed to coach to remove the possibility of cheating:

I personally would elect to see the quality control guys be able to coach, because if they are coaches, it's hard to monitor who is and who is not, so let them coach, and I would like to see that. And then I think you'll see that they will have a number of 20 or less that can work with football. In general, I think you'll let them see all those guys recruit, but I don't think that we will have unlimited numbers this time next year.

From Brown's perspective, the possibility for rules changes precludes large-scale additions to the personnel staff -- he simply doesn't seem to want to tell people they will have a job and then have the rules change on him. There's nothing particularly wrong with that cautious approach to the new rules changes, but it doesn't explain why Texas has been behind in taking basic steps like hiring a Director of Player Personnel.

The infamous quote from athletic director DeLoss Dodds about Texas not needing to keep up with the Joneses because they are the Joneses doesn't right true in this situation -- the 'Horns are just trying to keep up with the Joneses in terms of putting together a personnel staff that can take pressure off of the assistant coaches and provide the competitive edge a program with the resources of Texas should have at every possible turn.

The question is whether the Longhorns will ever get ahead of the curve while Mack Brown is still the head coach in Austin or if they will simply continue chasing other programs.

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