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 changing the culture through recruiting 
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Post changing the culture through recruiting
want to discuss one of the big takeaways from the nsd dinner last night - changing the culture of the team by changing the type of players we're recruiting. many of you have expressed your displeasure w/ the process, but let's assume that the purge process is complete and look at how the staff is moving forward.

this was something i noticed immediately when hcew got here - his recruits came from big time programs that win more often than not. in the month between his hiring and nsd16, he landed 13 commits - 8 came from those types of programs. i even asked him about it at an alumni luncheon that spring and he coach-speaked it away, saying they just find talent wherever it is.

looking at the next 2 classes, 35 of the 45 hs players fit that mold (35 of 41 of the tx hs recruits). so just looking at the hs programs we're taking players from, there is an obvious, concerted effort to go big/winning - and hcew said exactly that yesterday. i'm not going to go back and count up the guys from fran's classes for this particular metric, but i think those of use who follow the program at this level of granularity will remember being excited to get players from those types of programs because it wasn't the norm.

in this class:
21 of 23 recruits were all-district as srs, and a bunch of them were all-district as jrs, or even sophs (i know teague and morris were, maybe more?) and 6 all-state.
1 state champ, 10 district champs (this year - morris won 2 state titles as a so/jr), and 2 state runners-up
taking kids who are familiar w/ what it takes to win. story relayed last night: at one point during the season last year, hcew asked the team to raise their hands if they had won a championship - even a district title: 3 hands went in the air. they want to get more players who can raise their hand to that question.

avg gpa for the class = 3.48. a handful of them are top 10 in their class (not top 10%, top 10). this fall, the team had the highest fall gpa in the history of the program. last spring, the team had the highest spring gpa in the history of the program. smarter players can learn and grow.

can we all agree that overall, we'd prefer recruits that make good grades from big time programs that win?

now, let's take a look at a fran's recruits, from a slightly different angle: what they did on the field. i broke down the 2011-2015 classes based on completing eligibility, seeing the field, and accolades.

123 signees*:
14 Completed Eligibility w/ Accolades
37 Completed Eligibility Started 2+ games
10 Completed Eligibility Started 1 /< games
9 Did Not Complete Eligibility Started 2+ games^
44 Did Not Complete Eligibility Started 1 /< games
9 Never Made it into School+

* i'm off by 1 (124 vs 123) but i'm not going to go back and find the missing player
^ includes matt freeman, a 3yr starter who graduated w/ a yr of eligibility remaining
+ includes sami awad, who wasn't academically eligible, went to juco, came back last year

the takeaway here is that 61 of fran's recruits (50%) never gave us anything. nada. another 10 were never good enough to see the field - that's 58% of recruits who didn't contribute much, if anything, to our program.

we know what withers is looking for, and the type of recruit he's going after. we know what fran's recruits produced. i don't know if hcew's approach is going to give us what we fans want in terms of wins, but i know damn well that fran's didn't. i'll take the approach that smart kids from winning programs is a solid strategy and will pay off in the end.

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Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:43 am
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Post Re: changing the culture through recruiting
Great analysis. I believe we will start seeing the payoff soon. As EW has said this is year 2 as year 1 he called year 0. Changing the culture is a long and difficult process. I know the lat three years have sucked from a fan perspective but if we can get the culture change it is worth it to me. TXST has a long a well documented history on this site of being average to bad. Yet you can tell these recruits that EW has brought it have a different attitude, even when losing. They see it is a project and they are buying in. This year will still be tough for fans but I think 2019 and 2020 will be why we waited.


Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:11 pm
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Post Re: changing the culture through recruiting
Totally agree with HCEWs approach.

As a matter of fact, I just finished browsing the signing classes from 2012-2016 and it's a bit mind-blowing how many didn't make it to campus, didn't contribute, were kicked off, or transferred.


Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:27 pm
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Thank you Saul, that is good information. I knew the Fran era was bad but that is worse than I had thought.


Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:46 pm
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Post Re: changing the culture through recruiting
Fran's last recruiting class (2015) is the epitome of recruits who never gave us anything:

Ranked in order of 247 rating:
Kwamane Bowens
Justin Gamble
Chris French
Bo Anderson
LG Williams
Bralon Hutchison
Blake Peterson
Willie Williams
Anthony Taylor (RB)
Kerry Williams
Nick Bingham
Jacob Rowland
Jordan Mittie
Landon Beck
Josh Uluocha
Javante O'Roy
Dustin McWhorter
Lumi Kaba
Teron Fitzgerald
Byron London
Kregg Lemons
Tyler Siudzinski
Giuliano Cattaneo
Javier Edwards

By my count, out of 24 signees - only 6 became starters (that includes Cattaneo who wouldn't have started for any other team in the country). Other than the 6 starters, about another 6 got occasional playing time (mostly not because they were good, but because we needed warm bodies), 2-3 never saw the campus and most never saw the field.


Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:13 pm
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Post Re: changing the culture through recruiting
Good work Saul.

This is not uncommon when coaches fail be it G5 or P5. I'd argue that Sumlin even with the continued top 10 recruiting classes came up short regularly on getting the most out of the talent. I've noted before on here that his first true class (after his 1st season) of 30 signees led to less than 13 regular starters or backups. The rest transferred 5-6, dismissed from team for multiple reasons (3-4), quit/retired due to injury (1-2), or just never became any sort of contributor. A&M signed 6 LBs in that class and only 2 played any with a 3rd that quit playing football. Sumlin never recovered from this class over the next 3-4 seasons with undersized LBs and tried to rely on transfers to patch things up on OL, QB (JC & grad transfer), RB (2-3 transfers and one moved to CB his senior year), and at LB. Didn't work. He was always behind because of a 30 player recruiting class that failed to develop or well... weren't good enough.

One can argue that Withers decided to move to this immediately here at TXST and let go of players instead of trying to coach up players that weren't going to fit. My point being he may have took the road less traveled and we are all hoping it pays off and begins this coming season to some degree in W/L column.


Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:17 pm
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Post Re: changing the culture through recruiting
I kind of want to do a wellness check on Saul, because that research was depressing enough that I'd want to make sure sharp objects were not available.

I do like what Withers is trying to do with the culture. The question is whether he can coach up the talent in a timely manner once he has the chemistry he is seeking. I get the situation, but we really need to start seeing results in order for him to build momentum off that culture. Otherwise it will backfire. I'm also wondering if he can overcome external forces, like AD Fucknugget.

I would argue Charlie Strong tried to do something similar, and simply took too long to the point he was never able to create the momentum necessary for a winner.

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Last edited by bleed gold on Thu Feb 08, 2018 5:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:12 pm
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Post Re: changing the culture through recruiting
I still can't believe EW is pulling in these caliber of recruiting classes considering all that is working against him; empty stadium on game day, lack of recent success, cheese dick of an AD, etc... Should things play out perfectly, I'd love to see what he does with a successful program that he's built by hand.


Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:25 pm
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Post Re: changing the culture through recruiting
matt.butler wrote:
considering all that is working against him; empty stadium on game day, lack of recent success.


hey genius who do you think was commander of the lack of recent success that posted back to back 2-win seasons from the sidelines in the worst d1a conference? withers working against himself i guess? i mean who isnt pounding down doors to get front row in the stadium to see a 2 win team?


Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:46 pm
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Post Re: changing the culture through recruiting
also saul according to this poster below who had interactions with players personally said player morale and culture was back to square 1 by then end of the season.

http://bobcatfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=27541


Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:50 pm
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Post Re: changing the culture through recruiting
bleed gold wrote:
I kind of want to do a wellness check on Saul, because that research was depressing enough that I'd want to make sure sharp objects were not available.

heh - i've actually been sitting on it for a while. was trying to take tx.state's data and expand upon it to really see what recruiting classes looked like 3,4,5 yrs after signing. the biggest surprise was that fran's 1st 2 classes made up 12 of the 14 players w/ accolades (all-conf). after that, only kaba and jones.
bleed gold wrote:
I do like what Withers is trying to do with the culture. The question is whether he can coach up the talent in a timely manner once he has the chemistry he is seeking. I get the situation, but we really need to start seeing results in order for him to build momentum off that culture. Otherwise it will backfire.

not sure if backfire is the right word, but fail for sure. it's the exact same thought i had when we hired fran - the only legit reason was because he was a known name that could help in recruiting (i didn't share that, but saw the reasoning). w/ all the hype of going to the wac, playing tech at home, etc, i knew we really only had 1 shot at winning over this fanbase, and once that was used up, it would be hell to get them back....and here we are. same thing now, except w/ recruits. the problem w/ football is it's so position specific, and where we feed in the food chain, it's tough to get the difference makers - qb/ol/dl. really hoping the light goes on for wj3 and the early playing time for last year's ol pays off. hcew's best friend here is the fact that larry doesn't have a quick fire trigger.
bleed gold wrote:
I'm also wondering if he can overcome external forces, like AD Fucknugget.

as much as we all [rightfully] clown the good doctor, i think the football staff, and the ad staff that supports them, especially on the recruiting efforts, does a pretty good job.
bleed gold wrote:
I would argue Charlie Strong tried to do something similar, and simply took too long to the point he was never able to create the momentum necessary for a winner.

so many similarities, and it cracks me up when people dismiss those simply because of where the respective schools live in the cfb world. not only was the locker room culture rotten at both schools, but the recruiting had dropped off, especially at those key positions.

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Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:53 am
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Post Re: changing the culture through recruiting
Phratcatbocoloco wrote:
matt.butler wrote:
considering all that is working against him; empty stadium on game day, lack of recent success.


hey genius who do you think was commander of the lack of recent success that posted back to back 2-win seasons from the sidelines in the worst d1a conference? withers working against himself i guess? i mean who isnt pounding down doors to get front row in the stadium to see a 2 win team?

More to my point. Since he's done this to himself, I'm even more amazed he can convince kids to come play for him.


Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:58 am
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Post Re: changing the culture through recruiting
Well, the arguement would be "they know where he stands."

Keep in mind, the players that have stayed and the players he has recruited are "onboard."

They for the most part are now or should now be modeling appropriate behavior and workethic. Essentially a groupthink frame of mind that puts the kaibosh on breaking rules/not abiding by the core values.

Of course, there can always be a few knuckleheads. However, with a solid group those bad actors can be removed and the team proceeds on.


Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:10 am
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Post Re: changing the culture through recruiting
matt.butler wrote:
I still can't believe EW is pulling in these caliber of recruiting classes considering all that is working against him; empty stadium on game day, lack of recent success, cheese dick of an AD, etc... Should things play out perfectly, I'd love to see what he does with a successful program that he's built by hand.

i don't think this can be overstated. we have no business whatsoever pulling the level of players we are based on our record. i've been in sales my entire career and it's a beating to sell a shit product. people love to say "playing time" is a great reason to go to a school, but who wants to play for a crap team? it's a tough sell and the staff should be commended for their efforts on the trail.

people want to bitch about how many scholarships we have right now, but there are p5s out there w/ the same, or worse, situations. texas tech only signed 17 this week and their last 3 classes were 19-27-20 for a total of 83 before attrition, which they've definitely had. think how hard it's going to be for the new hc to build that back up, but going against b12 offenses...

if we shoot the moon and make a bowl game this year, i think our recruiting would jump up to that 15+ 3* level we fans really want to see immediately. you'd have to think that the football gods might think it's time to throw us a bone and have a couple of breaks actually go our way for once, no?

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Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:19 am
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Post Re: changing the culture through recruiting
Agreed Saul.


Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:47 am
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