Interview with Coach Scott:
TT: Coach Scott, good morning how are you??
LS: Good, how are you??
TT: Throughout your coaching career, what have you seen to be the biggest difference between recruits from when you first started until now??
LS: The internet has given these kids a lot more exposure. The camps have changed. The “One Day” camps have given a lot of these kids the ability to get a lot of exposure. The process has moved a lot faster at the FCS level because the BCS level is moving. At the BCS level you have guys whose classes are done earlier which forces us to move a lot earlier in our recruiting. So, I think it’s changed a bunch over the years.
TT: Describe for me the “Richmond Model”. What type of Student Athlete is Richmond looking for??
LS: We got here in 2004. We want to find kids who could compete at Richmond academically. We have a tough academic situation. So we want to make sure we’re not putting kids in bad situations. We go to areas where the schools have people who fit our profile. We look at kids who are happy, who are achievement oriented, and is just willing to work academically in the classroom. Sometimes we have to turn down a great player just because he doesn’t fit Richmond academically. Academically is our initial look, then we look at him athletically and see how he can help our program.
TT: Do you let your assistant coaches seek out recruits, bring them back to you and then you weed them out, or do you tell them, this is the type of kid I want, go out and get him??
LS: After “Signing Day”, we address our needs for the following year. We say “We need this or we need that”, but we actually have a model which we follow. It’s kind of a checklist that we follow. If these kids meet our checklist, the staff goes out, evaluate the kids and bring it back to me. Ultimately, we make the decision as a group.
TT: Geographically, are there any sweet spots that you like to recruit from, or do you look all over the United States?
LS: Obviously, we like to start in Richmond. Our thought process is that if a kids not going to play at Virginia or Virginia Tech, and he’s a high caliber kid, we’d like to keep him at home. Then we kind of spread out through the state, but there’s so many great 1-AA programs in the state of Virginia, and that becomes a fight. What we try to do is go out and hit metropolitan cities. We’ve done a great job in Atlanta, and a great job in the Charlotte metro area. We’ve had some success in eastern Pennsylvania. We’ve actually been able to get down into Louisiana and Texas. We hit metropolitan cities in pockets that people know Richmond.
TT: You talked about a number of great 1-AA programs in the state of Virginia. How do you sway a kid to choose Richmond over a William & Mary, JMU, or VMI??
LS: They’re all great programs. Coach Laycock does a great job, Coach Matthews does a great job, and Coach Woods at VMI, and he’s building a program there. I think the thing that you have to do is that you have to sell yourself; you have to sell your program. I think with the fact that Richmond has been successful over the past few years, that definitely helps. Kids want to have a chance to compete for a National Championship. And facilities, we just built a brand new stadium, so kids want feel part of something new. At the end of the day, you just have to make sure that the kid feels like he’s dealing with good people, and you’re going to take care of him, he’s going to get a good degree, and he’s going to have a chance to win football games.
TT: You mentioned that the internet has provided more information to recruits. Has the mindset of the recruit evolved from when you first started recruiting until today??
LS: I think it’s changed a lot because these kids get so much exposure. They have all of these ratings, the things that Rivals and Scouts do. It helps you kind of narrow things, but I think at the end of the day it’s still just a high school kid who’s looking to go to college. Even though the internet has changed, you’re still dealing with the same kid.
TT: How do transfers play into the Richmond system??
LS: We wouldn’t generally take a lot of transfers. If I take a transfer, he has to fit. We talk about the academic fit; we talk about the personal fit. We were able to take two transfers in this year’s class, but both of those kids were good students from good schools, and obviously we felt like they could fit in and fit with our guys. Aaron Corp (QB from USC) came in the Spring and did a good job mixing in with all of our kids, and Richard Muldrow (OL from Rutgers) came in this Summer, and he’s hit the ground running with our guys too. In order for us to take a transfer, he has to be a great fit for Richmond.
TT: Coach, thank you for your time.
LS: I appreciate it.
Interview with Martin Parker and Justin Rogers:
Martin Parker (left), a Defensive Tackle is a 5^th year Senior, from New Haven, Ct. is majoring in Criminal Justice.
Justin Rogers (right), a Defensive Back is a 5^th year Senior, from Baton Rouge, La. is majoring in Criminal Justice.
TT: What was important coming out of high school as far a picking a university to attend??
MP: The two most important things were being able to get a great education and be on a winning football team. When it came to the University of Richmond, they had just come off winning the 2005 CAA Championship, and Richmond is known for its great academics. It was really a perfect fit when it came to me.
JR: Mainly, academics, and good football. Somewhere I could see myself doing well in and kind of excelling and somewhere I felt comfortable.
TT: Did you take a recruiting visit??
MP: Richmond was my first and only recruiting visit. When I came to the University of Richmond, they showed me around the campus, and I knew that they had a good football program.
JR: Yea, I took one here at Richmond, and I took a couple at schools down in Louisiana where I’m from, and I went to New Mexico State.
How important were the recruiting visits to you??
MP: It was just one of those things that you knew coming in, and I just committed on my visit.
JR: It was really important because I wanted to see the different perspectives, and kind of compare schools and see what you like about different schools, and what you don’t like, and then kind of narrow it down from there.
TT: Did you have any other college offers??
MP: I had an offer from Maine, I was getting looked at by UMass, Northeastern, and a lot of different schools from the northern part of the CAA.
JR: Yes, I had a scholarship offer from New Mexico State.
TT: Was the distance from home important to you??
JR: Yea, I was pretty much in Louisiana all of my life. It was kind of my goal to use academics and football to get out of the state. It was a gift from God that I had gotten two scholarships that were both out of state. I really wanted to get out and see the world because I had been confined to Louisiana all my life. Richmond was a great fit. They came in on the “Up N’ Up”, just come off of a winning season, the CAA is very competitive, and you can’t really get much better academically than what they offer there. So it was a perfect fit.
MP: It was one of those things where I wanted to be far enough away from home that it wasn’t a priority for me to get back home every couple of weeks, and I wanted to be close enough so that my mom and brother could come down and see a game, it was right there. It’s only about a 6 – 8 hour drive from Connecticut to Richmond.
TT: What words of wisdom would you offer the next class of high school Seniors going through the recruitment process??
JR: Even if you have a scholarship, look at other places outside of football because college isn’t just about football. It’s about getting up going to class everyday and really bettering yourself academically. Look at everything the school has to offer, what type of academic services they have. Things you could see yourself excelling at in the classroom as well as on the football field. Just don’t focus on the athletic programs and things like that. Look into other things that you can take away from the school that will better you later on in life.
MP: Just like what Justin said, when you’re looking for a college, don’t base your choice on the football team. There’s a lot more than just the football team because you may like your teammates, and you may like your football team, but when it comes to the university and the surrounding areas, this is the place that you’re going to be in for 4 to 5 years, you have to enjoy the place that you’re in. So look at the academics, look at the area, and look at the people that will be surrounding you and in the classroom, and make your decision off of that. Yes, football is important to a lot of people just being in a place where you know you’re wanted there, and knowing that you can succeed there, and be successful after college is probably the most important things when it comes to life.
TT: Let’s turn our focus to the 2010 Spiders. Defensively for Richmond, what will be different from last year’s to this year??
MP: The one big difference is the coaches. That’s the main difference. So when it comes to the players on the defensive side of the ball, it’s still the same defense that’s been here the last 4 or 5 years that I’ve been here. We’re going to be aggressive, we’re going to make big plays when we have to, we’re going to play Richmond defense. We’ve been one of the top defenses in this nation and in this league for some time now. The new coaches come in and they implement new coaching schemes and new game plans. It’s making us better as a team to go out there and perform our job that much easier.
TT: Martin, what will the D-Line do differently this year??
MP: We’re just going to get out of some old ways and old habits that we had with previous coaches. We have Coach Wilt this year who’s a younger guy who previously coached at UVA for a couple of years, he knows new techniques and new schemes for defensive linemen. It’s just helping us out as we learn more things from him. Our previous coach was a great defensive line coach, but just having someone else come in and teach us some newer things, and some new era kind of things, it’s helped us in our technique and our progression a lot.
TT: Will you continue to line up in a 4 man front or will you do something different??
MP: We will still line up in a 4 man front.
TT: Justin, what will the DB’s do differently this year??
JR: The DB’s being under Bob Trott and with the experience he has everywhere in the country and also the NFL, it’s really going to be different in the secondary. We’re going to line up and play every down, and we kind’a knew where we were going to be, but the package he’s installing, we’re everywhere. We’re moving, we’re up in your face, we’re backing up. We may start up in your face and back up on the snap. We’re going to do all types of things, but mostly we’re going to stick with what we do. We’re installing packages where we will be more free flowing. Nothing really different because we had success like Martin said, and we’re one of the top defenses in the conference and the nation for a couple of years now. Once you have a game plan, you don’t really deter away from it. We’re going to do what we’re going to do. We’re going to play team defense, we’re going to run to the ball, we’re going to be aggressive; we’re going to hit you. We’re going to stick to that, we may broaden our horizons a little bit, but nothing’s really going to change drastically.
TT: I don’t know if you’ve seen the coach’s poll, but the Spiders are normally pre-season #1 or #2, and the coaches have picked you to come in 6^th this season. How do you feel about that??
JR: I don’t feel any way about it because we’ve been picked that way before and won a National Championship a couple of years ago and last year we were picked #1 and was knocked out in the second round. So that tells you the meaning of it right there. And if those were true, there’d be no reason to play the games, because they knew who’d come in 1^st – 5^th . That’s why we go out and play. At the end of the game, and at the end of the season, let the standings speak for themselves. There just basing it on who we had last year and who’s leaving. Everyone knows we had a lot of people that left, but still in all we have a lot of guys that no one has seen before that can do just as good, and maybe better. We’re going to showcase those guys who have not been in the spotlight. A lot of people will see what we have and what we can do, at the end of the season you’ll see how well we do. I think we’ll do very well.
MP: Like Justin said, it all about what happens on the football field. Pre-season All American teams, pre-season Buck Buchanan things like that is written by guys who think those people might have a chance depending on how they play on the football field. But that poll can be totally upside down at the end of the season. Some teams that are picked to be last could end up in first. The CAA is a competitive conference. It’s hard for me to believe that you can pick a pre-season winner, when in the last few years it’s been hard to determine who’s going to come out on top in the CAA and in the playoffs. I can tell you it’s going to be competitive in the CAA and wherever we finish, we’re going to put our best foot forward, and we’re going to go and try to win games week in and week out.
TT: I’m glad you mentioned the Buck Buchanan award nominations and the Pre-Season All CAA teams. Does that carry any added pressure to live up to those accolades??
MP: It really doesn’t carry that much pressure, because I don’t put that much pressure on me because of the defense that we have. We have players like Justin Rogers and Eric McBride that I know have my back and I have their back, and you don’t have to be that player that has to make that big play every down when it’s needed. We know that we can rely on each other as a team. We play great team defense, and we go out there and make plays. Those accolades and those awards are things that when they come you just say thank you, then you put them to the side and just play football. I’ve been playing this game for 10 years and I still play the same way.
JR: Not at all. It’s an accomplishment, and things that you’re proud of by your play, but it’s nothing that you really ask for. Your play kind of speaks for you and people congratulate you, but like Martin said, you say thank you, and don’t really buy into it. Right now the focus is about team, and winning games, and bringing up our younger players. We’re kind’a coaching them up and getting them ready. The accolades are nice, but you don’t really buy into it because that would seem kind of selfish. It would be selfish if I was only thinking about winning a Buck Buchanan award, but I’m trying to win games and a National Championship, and I can do without that award. So, I’m not really focusing on that award or stuff like that.
TT: As the team captain, what do you tell the younger players, who look up to you, to motivate them to raise their level of play??
MP: I tell them to just be the player that they can be. You didn’t make it to college just being a mediocre player. You made it to college because you were the top of your team, and top in your league that year. On this team, we push each other to succeed, so that when you get on that field, you know what you’re doing. On Saturdays, me Justin, and Eric McBride are not going to take anything less. When we’re on the field, we’re running to the ball, we’re tackling, and we’re expecting the same from the rest of our teammates.
JR: The program speaks for itself. They’ve been there a year or two, and they’ve seen the success we’ve had, so there’s really not much to say, because they’ve seen guys that were above them and older than them and how they carried themselves, and how the older guys set the stage for the Richmond program. They may not have played as much, but they know what is expected from them. When you have high expectations from yourself and from your program, you know what is expected from you and what is not seen as up to par. The younger guys are looking to feel some big shoes, but I think they’re willing to do it and our job is to kind’a keep them on the right track, and make sure they don’t deter from that focus.
TT: Anything you’d like to say to the rest of the world about the 2010 Richmond Spiders??
MP: I can’t wait to show everybody what we’re going to do this year. Some people call it a rebuilding season. We just call it another season where the Spiders will go out and win some games; win another conference and a National Championship.
JR: It’s football season. The time is here. It’s time to put on the pads.
TT: Thank both of you for your time.
Interview With Jonathan Grimes And Jake Trantin:
Jonathan Grimes (left), a Junior Running Back, from Palmyra, NJ., is majoring in Music.
Jake Trantin (right), a Junior Linebacker, from Odenton, MD., is majoring in Kinesiology.
TT: What was important coming out of high school as far a picking a university to attend??
JG: The main thing that was important was picking a college that was interested in me. I really just wanted to go to college. A school that was interested in me, care about me, instead of just throwing me in with anybody and getting caught up in the wash. If I felt like I was at home, that was the place I wanted to be.
JT: Finding a place where I can play Linebacker. That’s the position that I wanted to play. Just like he (Jonathan Grimes) said, a place that wanted me, a school that was trying to get me to come there, a place that cared about me, things like that.
TT: What about playing time?? Was that important??
JG: Not necessarily, I knew eventually it would come, and I was ready to red-shirt or play the first year whatever the team needed.
JT: I wanted to find a place that I could play early, that was important to me.
TT: What about picking a major or academics, how did that fit in??
JG: I looked at every music program of the schools I was interested in. That was my main focus.
JT: At the time, maybe not as much as it should have been. Honestly, I was looking at things for football, and I should have had academics a little more on my mind, but as it turned out, I chose a good academic school anyway, so it worked out alright.
TT: Did you take any recruiting visits??
JG: Yes, one to William & Mary.
JT: Yes, I had two recruiting visits, one at Towson and one at William & Mary.
TT: Was the recruiting visit important to you??
JG: Yes, it was something I knew I had to do. It was a nice visit, I saw Williamsburg and everything and liked it, and I felt like it was the right place for me.
JT: It was important, you got to see the guys on the team, you want to see the facilities, you want to see the locker rooms and things like that. See where the film rooms are, meet all the coaches and things like that. See what area the college was in, and that was important.
TT: Did you have any offers from any other universities??
TT: Was distance from home important to you??
JT: Not at the time, but you get a little homesick that first semester, but it wasn’t too bad, 3 ½ hrs (Odenton, MD to Williamsburg, Va) is doable. So it’s not like 6 or 7 hours for him (Jonathan), so it’s alright.
JG: No, I could have stayed close, I could have gone across the country, it didn’t matter. I was going wherever the best place was for me.
TT: What words of wisdom would you offer the next class of high school Seniors going through the recruitment process??
JT: Don’t get pressured into anything. Take your time. Don’t just think about football. You need to look at what you’re trying to do after football. If that school gives that opportunity. There’s a lot of other things that are not football related that you have to deal with in college. You have to look at those aspects, that’s something I would encourage high School Seniors to do. I would definitely recommend going on a recruiting visit to see if you like the school. The more visits you could take go ahead and take them.
JG: I would say, if you had your eye on a school that you were particularly interested in, you can go ahead and approach them to get your name out there rather than waiting for them to find you. It might not happen, so get your name out there and visit the schools you want to visit. They might take a liking to you and you might end up where you want to be.
TT: Let’s talk about the 2010 Tribe season. What’s going to be different from the 2009 team??
JG: There’s going to be a lot of difference because it’s a different team, a different year. We’re going to have a different face and a different personality of the team, but we do have a lot of guys returning as well. I don’t think there’s going to be a huge difference as we’re always going to do our best, to try and win a National Championship. We’re going to just keep working hard to make that goal.
JT: Like he said, a new faced and attitude, but the nuts & bolts will still be the same. We’ll prepare the same, practice and work ethic will be the same, just a different face and a different attitude.
TT: How will the defense be different this year??
JT: We’re going to try and do exactly what we did last year, stop the run, defend the pass, take the ball away.
TT: Any more blitz packages, any less??
JT: No, everything’s the same; we may install some more during camp. Right now, we’re just really focused on things we do well, and try to be really good at it.
TT: What about the offense, what will the offense do differently this year??
JG: I doubt if they do anything different besides find a new quarterback. Usually you know who the quarterback is going to be in pre-season, but this year we have a lot of competition. I really don’t know. I’ll just wait until the season to see what the plans are. Right now we’re just getting in shape and making sure we’re ready and in tune for the season.
TT: In your offseason workouts, did you do anything differently to prepare for this season??
JG: The only thing different than last year I did, was do a little extra work on my own. I worked on little things that I personally want to get better at. Otherwise, just working out with the team, running and lifting.
TT: Any added pressure to live up to the Walter Payton watch list of All CAA FIRST TEAM list, and All American lists??
JT: Those are cool to tell your mom or take pictures for, but it’s not the pre-season things. It’s not what we’re focused on, we’re trying to win a Championship. It’s more about post-season accolades for the team than individuals.
JG: I don’t think anyone else can more pressure on me to live up to expectations than myself. I compete with myself every day, I have something to prove to myself. So, I don’t think it adds any extra pressure.
TT: What do you say to the younger players to help motivate them and raise their level of play??
JG: I just tell them to keep working hard, do what the coach says, and try to get it right the first time. You don’t want the coach to keep repeating themselves. Be a consistent and solid player, and watch the players ahead of you.
JT: Just work hard and take the reps when you get them. A lot of times when the kids just get in, they get frustrated because they’re not getting the reps. So just be patient and when the time comes, really work hard, and when coach corrects you and things like that, and be smart about it. Make the corrections, but just work hard. That’s what I would say.
TT: Gentlemen, thank you for your time.
This concludes this installment of Recruiting perspectives. Please remember to forward all comments to CAATODAY@YAHOO.COM.
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