UD Football Notes

from K.C. Keeler Press Conference

Big R, Special to GoHens.net
March 5, 2011

The following is a follow-up to the initial notes I posted after attending KC's press conference on Signing Day and the Huddle that same evening. These questions and answers were not necessarily reported in other media, but I thought they would be of interest to the fans on this board.

Q: Once you know how many scholarships you have, what is the sequence or process you follow to determine how many go to existing players (walk-ons or partials) who have earned it; how many to incoming freshmen; and how many to transfers?

"We're losing a great senior class - a lot of leadership - and some great playmakers, but I feel good about the Junior class becoming Seniors and we feel good about the young players in the program."

A: "We knew we had some money available at the end of the semester so there were a couple of young men who did a great job. [We learned later at the Huddle that Chris Campbell was one who got at least a partial scholly right after the press conference.] Then, let's spend what we have for our needs and see if there’s anything left over. We had one left over and that's really more set for a dynamic WR. We wanted to get some older DB's because we had to. After that, our mindset is we never turn down a "great one", as long as there are no social issues, and we've had some great ones: Ben Patrick, Shawn Johnson, Joe Flacco,.. and then specific needs like we had in the secondary."

"That's one of the things I do exclusively, I handle the salary cap; where the money goes, and how it's going to be spent. It can be a little bit of a complicated sequence of events. We don't have a whole lot left; you always have some attrition. We don't have a whole lot of that here, but if something happens - a medical, a family emergency, Demetrius's popped up when he was suspended for a year - so sometimes things happen. So you might find some money, but right now we're pretty much up against it. We're losing a great senior class - a lot of leadership - and some great playmakers, but I feel good about the Junior class becoming Seniors and we feel good about the young players in the program."

Q: How do facilities (ours and others) affect recruiting?

"If you look at our academic record, we've done a great job - Academic and Conference All-Americans and our total GPA is one of the highest it's ever been at UD."

A: "When Mom and Dad come on campus they want to see Academic Centers and they want to see weight rooms. 'Will the weight room get my son bigger, stronger, faster and allow him to be the best football player he can be? Will the Academic Center help him stay in school and get his degree and achieve academically?' Fortunately, for us, Tim Morrisey has 18 years of doing this and when he and his staff talk to the parents, they feel very comfortable that we are in a good situation personnel-wise in terms of looking after their kids. If you look at our academic record, we've done a great job - Academic and Conference All-Americans and our total GPA is one of the highest it's ever been at UD. It's a combination of Tim doing a good job, but also now his staff has grown from 3 to, it'll be 8 by next fall. So that's how we handle that."

"Regarding the facilities, if you ask our kids, they'll swear by our strength coach, they swear by him. They just love him. They'll tell the recruits, 'we're strong and we've done it right in this weight room'. So it is what it is for right now. We lost a great player to JMU simply because of the weight room. He had a tremendous visit here, but they felt he would get trained better in the weight room at their place than at our place, and so it does hurt and that's the next evolution of where we need to go with this thing. I think, in 2003, when we won the National Championship, there was an impetus by a lot of schools to move their programs forward - Richmond's new stadium, JMU is going off the charts with what they are doing down there, ODU is a new world - they are dividing and conquering. We've lost a couple of kids to them this year, and the kids said it was because of facilities. [Although we learned later at the Huddle that one of them later committed to UVA instead] and W&M built the Jimmye Laycock Center, and so it seems that everyone is stepping forward."

"...for the first time since I've been here, you have a President, you have an AD, and you have a Board of Directors who are all on the same wavelength - that we need to build these facilities to maintain who we are.

"The good news with us - with the basketball center going up - we've got some proof - it's not like we don't want to do this. I've been on the road with donors and the first thing I tell them is that for the first time since I've been here, you have a President, you have an AD, and you have a Board of Directors who are all on the same wavelength - that we need to build these facilities to maintain who we are. Because everyone has been flying right by us in terms of facilities. So I feel good that everyone is on the same page. I just wish we had a date we could mark in stone that we were going to break ground. It just comes down to how to raise the money."

Q: The University put out some preliminary sketches last summer of what the facilities could include and look like. Do you think that is that pretty much what we'll see?

A: "I don't know. It depends on our ability to raise money. That's what we've told donors - that we've gotta get this done, and there can be a number of different directions we can go, but we need to raise the money. That's kind of where we are. I was down in Southern Delaware two weeks ago meeting with donors and I'm going out Friday to meet with a donor. That's become my new life - meeting with donors. And it has to be because we not only need to win football games, we need to raise money. We're losing ground to everybody else. We really are. He spoke about ODU and how they had an advantage in starting from scratch and generating excitement and momentum - and from the ground up, they generated donations tied into seats and parking to get the thing going and they've got the luxury boxes and the weight room - they've really got the momentum going. So that kind of financial structure was their starting point. That's one of my concerns - that we don't lose momentum. We just came off an appearance in the National Championship Game. We've got some momentum. We need to move it forward. So if there is any time for us to ring the bell to raise money, it’s now."

Q: Do any of the conference schools that are contemplating a move up to Div I-A use that as a recruiting tool to their advantage?

"I don't see UMass's move into the MAC as an advantage in recruiting. If Villanova moves into the Big East - that's an advantage. "

A: "Unless they have a conference to go to, I don't see it as a real advantage. I don't see UMass's move into the MAC as an advantage in recruiting. If Villanova moves into the Big East - that's an advantage. I don't think JMU, ODU, or GA State have a home yet and those are all schools that could possibly move to I-A. I think if you have a home, you could sell that. The problem is this, though - there’s a transition period during which you aren't playing for anything and that would be a bit difficult. So UMass, for example, when it's officially announced, they're going to have to go the next couple of years without playing for anything. ... UMass, from what I understand, cranked up to the 25 scholarships this year."