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June 28, 2009

Auburn AD Jay Jacobs: The B-sides

Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs was kind enough to sit down with the Ledger-Enquirer this week for an interview that touched on many subjects. The majority of it can be found here on our Web site, but as always, not everything made the cut.

That’s where the vast expanse of the Internet comes into play. Here’s what didn’t make it into the regular edition of the paper. Call it the scraps. Call it the stuff that was on the cutting room floor. Or, as we like to do, call them B-sides. And if you doubt that the “leftover” material can be good, remember, at least according to Wikipedia, that Gloria Gaynor‘s “I Will Survive,” the Doobie Brothers‘ “Black Water” and Rod Stewart‘s “Maggie May” were all B-sides. And those are some solid songs.

So, without further adieu, the remainder of the Jacobs interview:

Auburn ranked sixth in football revenue for the 2007-08 school year, according to a recent report in Street & Smith’s SportsJournal. How pleased are you with the money that’s coming into the program?

“We’re certainly very pleased with the Auburn people giving back to Auburn, which is a large part of that. That was actually for last year, the report was from last year. Certainly with the economic times that there are, it’s far more difficult for everybody, including our fans in the Auburn family, but I certainly am proud of the job our folks are doing in Tigers Unlimited. But with the demands of winning, the expectations that each of us at Auburn have for all of our teams, and building a $90 million basketball arena, we budget wisely and conservatively and try to do things as good stewards of the athletic department. We’ve been able to put a little bit of money away for a time like this year, where it’s level funding for all of our sports and all of our support areas, but we certainly do appreciate it. But there are demands that we’ve already obligated those funds to, it’s going to be about a $5 million annual debt service just on the new basketball arena. So I’m certainly proud of that fact, but in order for us to continue to provide for our team so they can win academically and athletically, we have to continue to find ways to generate more and more revenue. And certainly can’t do it without the folks that provide financial support to us through Tigers Unlimited. So we haven’t actually seen all that money come in, because they include promise-to-gives for future times. But certainly are excited that we’re up there at the top in that area and don’t know exactly how the economy this year, what kind of spot it’s going to put people in so they can fulfill those pledges that a lot of that report was based on.”

Have you spoken with Tommy Tuberville since December?

“No, I haven’t.”

Is that unfortunate considering the relationship you two had when he was the head coach?

“When he came to me and said that he he didn’t want to coach anymore, after getting through those couple of weeks there, I think the best thing was just to give him his space. But no, I haven’t spoken to him. But he’s a guy that loved Auburn and I wish nothing but the best for him and Suzanne and Tucker and Troy and Miss Olive.”

When he resigned, it was announced that he would take on an ambassador role for Auburn University. Has he done so?

“I don’t think so. The president offered that for him. He’d be assistant for the president. I think he had lost 15 pounds (after his departure) and he was exhausted. I think that maybe hopefully he’s taken some time to make sure he’s in good shape mentally, physically and spiritually as well. But I don’t know if he’s doing anything with Auburn at this time.”

Former offensive coordinator Tony Franklin, now at Middle Tennessee, had some unflattering things to say about Auburn recently, saying that there was a great distrust between the coaches and administration and that the tension at the athletic complex was palpable. What do you think when you hear something like that?

“I wish nothing but the best for Tony. I wish nothing but the best. We certainly appreciate his time here and just hope he has nothing but successes the rest of his life. It sounds like, based on what I saw, that’s he’s at peace where he is and we’re going to continue to do things the Auburn way. But he’s a brilliant offensive mind and I wish him nothing but the best.”

How much has changed in football since your playing days in the early ’80s?

“The recruiting game has completely changed. And football has changed, but particularly in our Olympic sports, I know that’s not what you’re asking about, but when you have 10th graders making a commitment. But the reason that is is because they’re so much more informed now because of the Internet, they can learn more about an institution, the good, the bad, the whole deal, so actually in some cases have more access to more information and can make a better informed decision on some of the foundational things, and so the recruiting game is completely changed. Somebody made the comment, there are two seasons, there’s the fall and there’s recruiting season. And people’s attention to those things. It’s made it more challenging, particularly for the student-athlete. There’s always somebody asking them now what they’re going to do and every time they respond, it ends up somewhere, being broadcast some way. So I think that’s a different dynamic, but now you can only sign 25 where at one time you can sign a lot more than that. So it’s highly competitive for those top 25.

What about the game itself?

“The game hasn’t changed that much. I think it goes through phases, but basically in this league, you’ve got to be able to play defense and run the ball and mix it up on offense. That really hasn’t changed very much. And that’s what I like about this offense. I think they were maybe sixth or seventh in the nation in rushing. But it’s a fun offense that the guys like to play in, because you never know where we’re going to hit you, and that’s a fun deal compared to when I played the wishbone, and we were either right, left or up the middle. There wasn’t a lot of guessing.”

You were teammates with Bo Jackson and Auburn’s strength coach when Tracy Rocker was at the school. Were those players unique talents in a football sense?

“In 2004, with Carlos Rogers and Carnell (Williams) and Ronnie (Brown), those were those kind of guys. (Marcus) McNeill. Those were those kind of guys. And they’re not only great players but great people. And there’s a direct correlation between your aptitude in the classroom and your aptitude on the playing field, and you can’t not be competitive in the classroom and be competitive on the football field. It’d be short-lived, today in particular, as academically challenging as it is as much as you have to learn on the football side. So those guys, Bo Jackson and Tracy Rocker and those I mentioned, and countless numbers in between, they’re good, solid people, they know how to work, they have a good work ethic, and that’s where this program has to get back to in a couple years is get back to those quality people and those quality athletes. But we’ve got a lot of great, quality athletes here; we just don’t have (enough) of them. Our troops are depleted, and it’s going to take a couple years, but Gene (Chizik) and his staff, they’re putting a foundation back in this program, because they both see, and these other eight assistant coaches, they know what great looks like, and that’s what they’re building here. And it’s going to take some time. And so it’s a tough environment with our current guys, but I’ll tell you this: you won’t be more proud of how they work and how they behave themselves and compete in the classroom and on the field, but we’ve just got to get some more guys to help those that are currently here.”

What’s the status of the new $92.5 million basketball arena?

“It’s on budget and right on schedule. We plan to be in there August of 2010 and open up the season there for women’s and men’s’ basketball in the fall of 2010. It’s going to be an unbelievable place for folks from Columbus, Montgomery, the Auburn area to go and watch basketball. It’s going to be a unique facility, it’s going to be a family atmosphere, it’s going to be real tight. It’s going to be one where you can sit on the concourse and order popcorn and you’ll be able to continue to watch the game. There won’t be any walls between the concourse and the court. It’s going to be a really state-of-the-art facility, one of the best in the nation.”

Is there a plan for what to do with Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum?

“Athletics operates one-third of that facility, and our plan has been now we’re in our third year of our five-year plan, is to be completely out of that facility, because how we got to it was about a $30 or $40 million cost in infrastructure that needs to be done to that facility — heating and air and electrical and plumbing. That’s how we got to the new basketball arena. And so I would suspect that the arena once we’re out of there, and we’ll be out of there in two years, once athletics is out there, there is still health and human performance, Kinesiology is still housed there along with some other support, academic areas. And as soon as those decisions are made about where they’re going to go, I would suspect that Beard-Eaves is coming down. Because you still have that cost down there to continue to operate. You’ve got to spend some money, and it probably wouldn’t warrant it to keep it.”

With Auburn being so football-centric, do the other sports get overlooked?

“The ones that matter the most, which are those student-athletes, know that they’re not overlooked. That’s the No. 1 concern of us and all of Auburn people. And what a great group of student-athletes. We just took about 30 of them out to Richard Quick‘s memorial service. And if people had the opportunity to get to know, and some people do but many don’t, had the opportunity to get to know our student-athletes, they’d be so impressed with them, not only as world-class athletes but just as people. Yeah, you would like more interest to be shown in all of our Olympic sports, but it certainly doesn’t take away from our commitment to them or our experience that the student-athletes are having. They’ll be national champions for the rest of their lives, and they’ll be better citizens for having competed here, whether they won a championship or not. You wish that there was more exposure for those so that people can really see the quality of individuals and the championships, but the world we live in now, the shock effect seems to be what grabs the headlines, and sometimes whether they’re accurate or inaccurate, those are the things people seem to gravitate toward.”

How do you get away from it all?

“I hang out with my girls. I have three daughters, 17, 14 and 11. I don’t do much of anything. I played golf one year ago. That was the last time I played golf. One time. And I’m going to play here in the next few days with some buddies of mine. It’ll be a scramble. I hope. But I hang out with my girls. And recently, 4½ months ago, we stared fostering two little girls, they’re 4 and 2. And that’s all full-time. So I’ve got a 2-year-old, a 4-year-old, an 11-year-old, a 14-year-old and a 17-year-old. All girls in my house. So that’s what I’m doing and it’s wonderful that I can take my work home or bring my home to work, because it gives me the best of both worlds. It gives me the opportunity to continue to develop my daughters, and they get the opportunity to see what great looks like when they see these exceptional student-athletes that we have here at Auburn. So they’re role models for them.”

You sound outnumbered in your home?

“I was outnumbered when I got married. [Laughs] But it’s a blessing. And the foster thing was something that my wife and I had wanted to do for a while, and we went through the licensing last September and got a license in January and got two little girls the first week of February. And it’s a ministry for us. We’re just trying to stop a vicious cycle, and our goal is for these little girls to go back to their home and hopefully sooner rather than later they’ll be able to do that. And then we’ll try to help somebody else out. There’s a verse that says, to whom much is given, much is expected. And we’ve been very blessed. We have three healthy daughters and an incredible wife and mom, we just felt like we needed to do a little bit more. Hadn’t always felt that way. And it was a process, and now we feel like with our youngest at 11, now is the time to maybe help somebody else that is struggling in a way we can’t identify with, so that’s what we’re doing.”

June 25, 2009

Three players no longer with the football team

Rumors have been swirling for days about attrition on the Auburn football team. Some proved to be true.

Defensive end Jomarcus Savage, safety Christian Thompson and linebacker Marcus Jemison are no longer with the team and will not return, an athletic department spokesman confirmed this afternoon.

No reason was given for the players’ departures. Auburn head coach Gene Chizik was on vacation and unavailable for comment.

All three players were members of Auburn’s 2008 recruiting class and figured to factor into the Tigers’ plans this season in backup roles.

  • Thompson, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound sophomore from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was in line for most playing time of the three. Although he played sparingly last season, he was part of a three-man crew set to back up starters Mike McNeil and Zac Etheridge. Safeties coach Tommy Thigpen was pleased with Thompson’s potential this spring, singling him out as the best tackler of the group. His departure leaves Drew Cole and Mike Slade as Auburn’s remaining backup safeties.
  • Savage, a 6-foot-2, 287-pound lineman from Huntsville, Ala., redshirted last year after being hampered by shoulder problems during August’s two-a-days. He had season-ending surgery in September to correct the problem and finished the spring as a third-string defensive tackle.
  • Jemison, a safety-turned-linebacker from outside of Birmingham, broke his leg during Auburn’s first scrimmage last August and missed the season. The 6-foot-2, 199-pound redshirt freshman moved to linebacker this spring to help the Tigers add depth to the position. He too was a third-teamer.

This is the second wave of attrition since Chizik was hired last December. Four players on the 2008 roster left the team for various reasons around the new year.

Linebacker Tray Blackmon is trying to make the roster of the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders. Wide receiver Chris Slaughter left the school in early January. Two others transferred. Defensive lineman Raven Gray left for Division II Delta State and defensive back Ryan Williams, who struggled academically at Auburn, enrolled at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Wesson, Miss.

Trott, AC to represent Auburn at media days

The SEC announced the student-athletes (aka “players”) who will be representing their respective schools at the conference’s media days in Hoover from July 22-24. Auburn’s reps are tight end Tommy Trott and defensive end Antonio Coleman.

Here are their short bios:

TE Tommy Trott (6-5, 237, Sr.)

  • Had 20 catches for 201 yards last season.
  • SEC All-Freshman Team in 2006.
  • Has 34 career catches for 330 yards and two touchdown

DE Antonio Coleman (6-3, 257, Sr.)

  • Had 46 total tackles with team-high 10.5 behind the line of scrimmage.
  • Also had team-high 6 sacks and 13 quarterback pressures.
  • 1st team All-SEC in 2008.

Here are the rest of the players on the docket:

  • Alabama: OL Mike Johnson, LB Rolando McClain
  • Arkansas:DT Malcolm Sheppard, TE D.J. Williams
  • Florida: QB Tim Tebow, LB Brandon Spikes
  • Georgia: QB Joe Cox, DT Jeff Owens
  • Kentucky: OT Zipp Duncan, CB Trevard Lindley
  • LSU:OT Ciron Black, LB Jacob Cutrera
  • Ole Miss: QB Jevan Snead, DE Greg Hardy
  • Mississippi State:OT Derek Sherrod, LB K.J. Wright
  • South Carolina: WR Moe Brown, LB Eric Norwood
  • Tennessee: S Eric Berry, TB Montario Hardesty
  • Vanderbilt: C Bradley Vierling, CB Myron Lewis

The day-by-day schedule is as follows:

  • Wednesday, July 22: Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Kentucky
  • Thursday, July 23: Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss, Florida
  • Friday, July 24: Auburn, South Carolina, Tennessee, LSU

Auburn-West Virginia game time set

Auburn’s Sept. 19 football game against West Virginia at Jordan-Hare Stadium will be at 7:45 p.m. ET and televised by ESPN or ESPN2.

In all, a minimum of 11 of the Tigers’ 12 games will be televised in 2009. The only other announced game time is the Nov. 27 Iron Bowl against Alabama, which will take place at 2:30 p.m. ET and be televised by CBS.

Auburn opens its season at home Sept. 5 against Louisiana Tech. That’s 72 days away for those who are counting.

June 23, 2009

NCAA Clearinghouse approves Rollison

Quarterback Tyrik Rollison, who was one of the prizes of Auburn’s 2009 recruiting class, has been approved by the NCAA Clearinghouse and is enrolled at the school, Tigers football operations coordinator Scott Fountain confirmed Tuesday.

Rollison is taking part in Auburn’s orientation this week and will begin summer classes next Monday.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Rollison committed to the Tigers in late January, getting on Auburn’s radar after running backs coach Curtis Luper was hired away from Oklahoma State. Rivals ranked Rollison as a four-star recruit and the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the nation.

He threw for 4,728 yards and 51 touchdowns and ran for 1,094 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior, leading his high school in Sulphur Springs to the Texas Class 4A Division II state championship.

CB Mincy commits to Tigers

Auburn grabbed its eighth commitment for 2010 when Decatur, Ga., cornerback Jonathan Mincy announced his intention to play for the Tigers late Monday night.

The news was reported by AuburnSports.com, Inside the Auburn Tigers and AuburnUndercover.com.

The 5-foot-10, 175-pound cornerback from Southwest Dekalb High is ranked as a three-star recruit by both Rivals and Scout. Rivals has him as the 25th ranked cornerback nationally. Scout ranks him 40th.

Mincy chose Auburn over offers from LSU, Miami, North Carolina and Tennessee, among others.

He is the first defensive back to commit to the Tigers in 2010.

June 21, 2009

Clinard named men’s golf coach at Auburn

Auburn announced the hiring of Central Florida’s Nick Clinard as its new men’s golf coach Sunday. He replaces Mike Griffin, who retired this spring after 25 years with the Tigers.

Here’s the release from the school:

AUBURN — Eight-year head coaching veteran Nick Clinard, who led the University of Central Florida to a top 10 finish in the 2009 NCAA Championship, has been named head men’s golf coach at Auburn University, athletics director Jay Jacobs announced Sunday.

Clinard led UCF to NCAA Regional play in five of the last six seasons, including 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009, and the Knights have won six tournament titles in the past two seasons. Clinard has nine tournament victories including two conference championships, coached one All-American, four Academic All-Americans, two conference players of the year, three individual conference champions and eight all-conference selections at UCF.

UCF won the NCAA Southeast Regional title by defeating No. 2 Georgia and No. 13 South Carolina this past year along with claiming the school’s first Conference USA Championship. The Knights also won The Hummingbird Intercollegiate and the Rio Pinar Invitational as Clinard was named Conference USA Coach of the Year and the NCAA Southeast Regional Coach of the Year.

Clinard played professional golf for five seasons from 1996-2001 on the NGA Hooters Tour as well as several Nike Tour and Canadian Tour events prior to becoming head coach of UCF.

The Gastonia, N.C., native graduated from Wake Forest University in 1995 with a Bachelor’s degree in speech communication. He played one year of collegiate golf at SMU before playing his final three years at Wake Forest from 1992-95, where the Demon Deacons were ranked in the top 10 in the nation all three seasons.

June 19, 2009

Jacksonville State will be future football opponent

Auburn will host Jacksonville State in football at some point in the future, according to a report in the Anniston Star today.

The game will most likely be played in 2012 or 2013.

“The game is not set, but I told them that we would like to play them,” Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs told the paper. “We’ve agreed, handshake, verbal, whatever it is — my word is my bond — that we’re going to play. It’s just a matter of us getting our schedule from the SEC after 2012.”

Jacksonville State has plenty of ties to Auburn. Head coach Jack Crowe was offensive coordinator under Pat Dye from 1982-85. Athletics director Oval Jaynes was an athletic administrator at Auburn from 1981-86.

The Gamecocks are part of the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly I-AA). Auburn has made a habit of scheduling one FCS opponent per season lately. The Tigers beat Tennessee-Martin last season and will host Furman this year. They’ll play Chattanooga in 2010 and Samford in 2011.

Auburn’s known future non-conference opponents

  • 2009: Louisiana Tech, West Virginia, Ball State, Furman
  • 2010: Arkansas State, Clemson, Louisiana-Monroe, Chattanooga
  • 2011: at Clemson, Samford
  • 2014: at Kansas State
  • 2017: at Georgia Tech
  • 2018: Georgia Tech

June 17, 2009

Sanders, Rockies agree to terms

Joseph Sanders is officially a professional baseball player. Sanders, a fifth-round pick in this month’s MLB draft, agreed to terms with the Colorado Rockies, the team announced recently.

No dollar figure was given. From the sounds of it, all that is pending is a physical.

Sanders and fourth-round pick Kent Matthes of Alabama will both be assigned to the Rockies’ short-season affiliate, the Tri-City Dust Devils, in Pasco, Wash.

Sanders batted .320 with 19 home runs, 14 doubles and 55 RBIs in 44 games at Auburn last season.

Fountain off the field but back home

I had a chance to sit down with Auburn’s coordinator of football operations Scott Fountain a few weeks ago and finally got the story written in the dead-tree version of our newspaper today. Here’s a link and how it starts

AUBURN, Ala. — As the afternoon drew to a close, Auburn coach Gene Chizik raced into Scott Fountain’s office, busy from a hectic day of meetings judging by his wardrobe, politely interrupting because he needed to schedule a flight, ASAP.

As Auburn’s coordinator of football operations, this is Fountain’s new role, a departure from more than two decades as an on-the-field coach from the high school ranks through all levels of college.

“Football is in my blood,” said the 42-year-old Fountain, who joined Chizik’s staff in an administrative role after coaching with him for two years at Iowa State. “I’ve always coached. … But coming here and doing this job that I’m doing is giving me an opportunity to see kind of what a head coach sees from the other side of the fence.”

Fountain seems to be the man behind the curtain at Auburn, taking care of recruiting functions behind the scenes. There are some mundane tasks (arranging travel plans, dealing with incoming video of players, etc.) but he also works with recruiting coordinator Curtis Luper in organizing larger tasks like the stretch Hummer limousine tour of the state and “Big Cat” weekend.

Read the story first, but here are some B-sides that didn’t make it in:

(Your job sounds all-encompassing)

It feels like it. The main thing I try to organize is recruiting in terms of what we’re trying to do from top to bottom, from what we’re doing with video when it comes through the door to what type of mail do we send to recruits to what type of evaluation process does it go through, from the position coach to the coordinator to the head coach, just kind of all-encompassing. And outside of that, I’ll take care of summer bridge programs. After signing a kid, we’re going to have 20 kids coming in on June 1 that we signed last year. So we’ve got something called Summer Bridge, which is just a whole program that ties into that and ties into our academic department here. Just basically with a recruit, from when the mail starts in February all the way around until they sign and come here, hopefully we send them off … it’s like your kids, you know, you send them off, now they understand how to get to the weight room, how to get to that first class, how to get books. Make it a smooth process for them. Up to signing day, you can’t really control any of that anyway, but once they sign, it’s part of the process.

(How different is this job compared to what you used to do as an on-the-field coach?)

When I was at Florida State a few years ago, I was the offensive GA with Mark Richt, and I worked in recruiting some and they wanted all the GAs to be involved with that. I was the recruiting coordinator at Central Florida for seven or eight years. Then I kind of got out of that and was coaching o-line at Middle (Tennessee) and Georgia Southern, and then I went to Iowa State and working with Coach Chizik, I knew that was part of the deal was to get back into recruiting more. So I’ve always kind of coached the tight ends or the o-line and did recruiting in most places. The difference here is it’s just more recruiting and not coaching a position. I’m doing a lot of the same stuff. At Iowa State, it really would depend a lot of how they laid the program out. The first year, we were heavily involved to make sure it was running in the direction we would like it to, and then you can kind of turn things over to people. Here, it’s kind of been the same. You’re kind of trying to get everything headed in the right direction, and then you have great support here, at some point you hope to get a smooth process going. There’s so much going on, from unofficial visits to official visits to reserving flights to reserving our team planes to coordinating it so you don’t have too many guys on the road or off the road, just a lot goes into it. But once you go through it a year and get a smooth process going, it tends to run pretty efficiently. But the first year is always the toughest, like it is for the head coach or the assistant coach or anybody else, because you’re learning to get used to each other and get used the flow of the process.

(Was it tough to come off the field?)

Very tough. Coach (Paul) Rhoads was hired at Iowa State and he kept me on there to the end of the recruiting season, and then a couple weeks back, when that was over, Coach Chizik called me about coming here, and it was kind of the second time he talked to me about it, but I knew for me I’d be leaving the field. That was very tough. I’d been an on-the-field coach since I left college in 1988, and in high school with all the college stuff, so that was really tough. But the opportunity to come back close to home, because I’m from Alabama and haven’t been here in 17 years, so it was good to get back close, because my parents are getting older, and to be around my brother, and he has kids and my kids, there’s a chance for us to be closer. So all those things are possible, but the big negative is not being back on the field. It’s something that hopefully I’ll have an opportunity to do that again.

(Did you always know you wanted to be a coach?)

Probably from about 10th grade on. When I got out of college, I played at Samford, and I really felt at the time, I really didn’t understand, should I be at high school, should I be a GA. So my brother had been a high school coach for one year, so I decided to go the high school route. When I took my first high school job I was constantly trying to get into college and it took me about six years to break into college before I got an opportunity at Florida State. So my route’s probably similar to a lot of guys, but at the same time, it might be a lot different. But I think the good thing about coaching high school ball, especially in Alabama, is the opportunity to understand what a lot of those guys are doing in recruiting, but also coming back to Alabama, it gives me a good sense of belonging and understanding, because I know a lot of those guys. They were kind of getting into coaching when I was. Some of them might be older guys. And a lot of the guys I coached with or against during those six years in Alabama, they’re going on in different things.

(You were a GA on Bobby Bowden‘s staff at Florida State. Is he as genuine as he seems?)

He is. I enjoyed my time with him and I think he is who you see he is. See Bobby was actually the coach at Samford back when it was called Howard College. And that’s how I first had ever heard of him. And of course, when Terry (Bowden) was coaching at Samford, he brought Bobby in to talk to us one time. It was kind of neat. But really, the job there had nothing to do with them. It had to do with Mickey Andrews.

(How much longer is Bowden going to coach?)

I don’t know. I do think it’s important for him to beat (Joe) Paterno, and vice versa. But I think he has always, even when I was there, I’m surprised he’s still doing it 13 years later. But I think as long as his health is good, he’ll keep going. He’s always said, “Why quit working because once you quit working, the only thing you have to look forward to is death.”

(What do you do when you’re not involved with football?)

Well, some people laugh at me, but me and my family enjoy bowling. And it’s something my wife can do with us. And in the past, when I got some free time, I would always fly into Brewton and visit the family. So this year, we’re actually getting a little free time and we’re going to take an FCA cruise, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, kind of be good for the family and give us time to be together and also have some actual spiritual activity when we’re on the boat.

(Do you eventually want to get back in an on-the-field coaching role?)

I do. Football is in my blood. I’ve always coached. One of my uncles coached. My brother coached. The thing, I think it’s been good for me, and I’ve been really blessed, is I’ve coached high school ball, I’ve played high school ball and college ball, I’ve been a GA, handling recruiting opens your eyes and your knowledge to everything that goes on. And coming here and doing this job that I’m doing is giving me an opportunity to see kind of what a head coach sees from the other side of the fence, some things that you maybe didn’t see day-to-day. It’s been good for me, and I think doing recruiting and doing this job is just going to open more doors for me, I think. But coaching is in my blood, and it’s definitely what I want to get back to.