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Texas football: 'Horns already behind in personnel arms race

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Once again, Texas is lagging behind other schools in an area critical to success.

Erich Schlegel

The new recruiting rule changes that will take effect this summer -- as long as there aren't more conferences like the Big 10 filing a resolution against several of the changes -- are universally expected to drastically alter the current landscape.

And not for the better, in the opinion of more than just those in the stodgy Big 10.

During Texas Longhorns head coach Mack Brown's Signing Day press conference, the topic was brought up and Brown offered up some in-depth thoughts on the subject:

You also can have everybody in your building recruit now on campus. You also can have a head coach and nine assistants recruiting off campus instead of seven.

I can be out all the time without having an assistant come in when I go out. But anybody in our building, [Director of High School Relations and Player Development] Ken [Rucker], starting in August, can be a recruiter. He can't leave the campus, but he can call a high school coach.

You also have no regulations on the number of personnel people you can have. People are going to start hiring a whole lot of personnel people. Maybe even some NFL personnel people, to start handling some of their recruiting on campus and looking at videos. I think we'll see in a year, we'll get some sense into some of this stuff that's out there now.

Indeed, the ramifications are massive, especially in regards to the future size of football staffs.

Brown continued when asked a follow-up question:

We're all over the place right now, all of us are. We have to talk to athletic directors, coaches, leagues. Everybody has to figure out how do we put some sense into this. None of us have been home. Now we'll have to sit down. I've asked the offensive staff and the defensive staff to give me a proposal of what they think based on what other people are doing out there.

I've asked [Associate Athletics Director for Football Operations] Arthur Johnson and that staff outside of coaches to give me a proposal, see what they think. I'm putting together thoughts that I feel are very important. Then we're going to have to go to [Athletics Director] DeLoss [Dodds].

If you hire new people, then in one year is the rule going to change and you have to fire everybody? It's a tough time right now to try to figure out where we're all headed. I don't know. Really, I'm honest.

We met this morning and said, "Arthur, you and DeLoss and [Deputy Director] Butch [Worley] have to help us." I think right now probably the athletic directors are trying to put some sense into this and talk to each other and say where we're headed and can we all get on the same page, and the coaches have been so busy that we haven't been home. Now a lot of people are going to start looking at this to see what we do.

It's the biggest change in my coaching career as far as across the board in recruiting.

Brown has always drawn praise for his loyalty and backing up his public talk with his personal ethics in less visible areas, yet the speculation about what could happen in a year seems besides the point -- even if the deregulation in this particular area doesn't last that long, the recruiting impact for the end of the 2014 cycle and the beginning of the 2015 and 2016 cycles could be the difference in landing several important prospects, too big of a risk to take for the sake of avoiding firing a handful of people after one year for reasons out of Brown's control.

Is Nick Saban sitting around worrying about whether he might have to fire people he brings on? The answer to that can be nothing other than a resounding no.

In fact, Saban already heads up one of the largest football staffs in the entire country, if not the largest. Among the 39 people in the football office in Tuscaloosa, there are nine "football analysts," experienced professionals who help break down video and gameplan, but don't do any actual coaching. Well, they aren't supposed to do any actual coaching.

Schools in the Big 12 have lagged behind the SEC and a Florida school like Florida State, but Texas and TCU are even further behind -- without a director of player personnel or on-campus recruiting coordinator, as reported by Chip Brown of Orangebloods ($), positions that exist at every other school in the conference.

Even if the rules do change, Texas can still add a number of positions to the staff that would not fall under the pending legislation -- the 'Horns need to make moves to increase the size of the personnel staff regardless of whether those additions will be able to contact recruits.

So while the lack of planning up to this point isn't a major concern -- there is plenty of time for Texas to start working to get people in place as the NCAA and the rest of college football continue to grapple with the implications of the sweeping deregulations, the larger concern is that this is just another data point in a growing trend of Bellmont failing to adapt as quickly as other programs.

When Bennie Wylie was brought in to head up the football side of the strength and conditioning program, the new position created was one that had been filled at many schools.

When a full-time nutritionist was hired at Texas, it was yet another position that many other schools have had in place for some time.

If Texas has the biggest resource advantage in college football and chooses not to leverage it into actual advantages in game preparation and recruiting, then what's the point of being the richest athletic department around?

More than that, the lack of intellectual curiosity and intense drive to be on the cutting edge in those areas is frankly mind-boggling. Complacency has been a word thrown around a lot in regards to the pre-2011 staff that was jettisoned after 5-7 and though the current group seems to be a significant improvement, they have not yet made a mark in spurring changes like additions to the staff.

Ultimately, though, the blame for the glacially-slow response times to changing trends around college football goes all the way to the top to Brown and the highest levels of the administration

However Brown and company decide to go about adding to the personnel staff, and even if they do get it right and opt to add a number of people, they're already behind the game in yet another critical area at a time when evaluating early and effectively is even more important as the advantages held by the 'Horns in state for so long dwindle with the Aggies having already broken Texas hegemony in the state and schools like Baylor and TCU nipping on the heels of Brown and company, having combined to win three big battles over Texas in the 2013 recruiting class.

Texas has a massive advantage in resources and they are squandering that advantage in yet another area -- that seems like malfeasance of the highest order, does it not?