The Texas Longhorns announced the hire of new Director of Player Personnel Patrick Suddes on Thursday. On Friday, the new head of the personnel department at Texas was introduced to the media.
Part of what characterizes Alabama head coach Nick Saban is his relentless and single-minded pursuit of perfection, a dedication that helps breed success. Forcibly breeds success. Suddes has spent the last eight years working with Saban and it appears to have rubbed off on him:
Suddes: "I'm not married. I have no hobbies, other than bad basketball. I've got nothing to do but make this right."— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) March 8, 2013
Head coachbelieves that single-minded pursuit of making things right at Texas will eventually take Suddes to the top:
Mack Brown on Patrick Suddes: "He'll be a general manager of an NFL team at some point." #longhorns— HornsNation (@ESPNHornsNation) March 8, 2013
Part of what Suddes will be working on doing is adding other pieces to the personnel staff, postings that will go up in the near future, though the two quality control positions are still posted on the Texas website, as they have been since before the posting for Director of Player Personnel went up.
It's not yet clear how many positions the Longhorns will be adding overall, beyond the two already posted and Suddes himself.
One of the first changes to recruiting is emphasizing a spring scrimmage as a recruiting event, including looking ahead to the 2015 class to get some of those top prospects onto campus early:
Mack Brown said Texas will bring in signees, 2014 commits and recruits for March 23 scrimmage. Suddes also wants 2015 prospects to come.— HornsNation (@ESPNHornsNation) March 8, 2013
In the past, that was a focus for the spring game, but scrimmages have not been used as recruiting events.
Another aspect is working on reducing the pressure on assistant coaches to perform all the evaluations, which will be especially important if some elements of deregulation like unlimited contact go through -- the assistant coaches will have to spend more time
At Alabama, the assistant coaches don't get heavily involved in the evaluation process until after they received the report from the personnel department:
How involved were assistant coaches in recruit evals at Bama? 'It's all prepared and handed to them," Suddes said. #longhorns— Max Olson (@max_olson) March 8, 2013
Alabama is the current gold standard in terms of their personnel department and Suddes was blunt in saying that Texas has some work to do:
Suddes: "You have to keep up with the Joneses." Somewhere DeLoss just flinched.— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) March 8, 2013
Suddes, the new hire, on UT: "They were the best, and they didn't feel like they needed to change. But recruiting has changed."— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) March 8, 2013
It has indeed, and Texas had been left behind.
Being the Joneses isn't an entitlement afforded the wealthy, it's an ongoing battle fought everyday. On too many days, Mack Brown and the entire football administration, going up to athletic director DeLoss Dodd, haven't been fighting those battles, but have instead fallen into complacency.
The complacency is something that Brown feels like he has been able to overcome in the past. While that was true to a large extent in 2010, and at other times in the past, while Brown was fixing the issues on his coaching staff, the issues in recruiting were beginning to develop and the Longhorns clearly weren't prepared to respond.
The problem, then, appears to be that while Brown can self-evaluate and make the proper changes, he doesn't always have the drive or ability to evaluate with the type of depth that would reveal growing issues instead of reacting when it becomes absolutely clear that there is a major problem.
In some ways, Suddes's words echoed the process that Brown went through of resurrecting the Texas football juggernaut when he first arrived at Texas, with the new hire saying that the 'Horns need to "build a machine," but noting that all the pieces are in place.
Adding Suddes and, in the near future, the other members of the personnel staff, should at least help in recruiting -- it's difficult to draw too many conclusions from the limited comments passed on by the media from Suddes, he seems to have the intellectual curiosity to help make the Longhorns the Joneses once again.
And keep them there.
In other news, there have been calls in the past for the Longhorns to hold satellite camps around the state to ensure that the coaching staff has the ability to work with all the in-state players possible. However, there are some issues that will keep that from happening, perhaps for the foreseeable future:
Mack Brown said UT policy prevents them from running satellite camps now. Also mentioned Big 12 may be "looking into" SEC-like ban of them.— HornsNation (@ESPNHornsNation) March 8, 2013
It's not clear what exactly that policy is or why it is in place. If the Big 12 continues to allow schools to hold those camps, Texas will continue to fall behind in that regard and would need to look at their internal policy.
Still, the bigger news is that the initial impression of Suddes as an impact hire -- the right hire -- appears to have been confirmed to the extent possible. Without being there or hearing all of what Suddes said, it does seem that he won the press conference.
Now he's got a lot of work ahead of him.
Good thing he doesn't have any hobbies besides playing bad basketball.