Jimmy Carter is an award-winning reporter covering Arkansas football and basketball for WholeHogSports.com. He was born in Texas and grew up in Tulsa. A graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and U.S. Basketball Writers Association.
Chad Morris introductory press conference notes
An Arkansas Razorback helmet at Chad Morris introductory press conference Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017.
FAYETTEVILLE Follow along as athletic director Hunter Yurachek and interim AD Julie Cromer Peoples introduce new football coach Chad Morris.
Julie Cromer Peoples
— Started the search two weeks ago. Set out for a coach with the ability to hire a good staff to compete in the SEC West, to maintain relationships in the state and the ability to be demanding but relate to student-athletes. They found someone who does that and leads an exciting brand of football. His relationships in Texas and through his stops at Tulsa, Clemson and SMU are valuable.
— Terry Don Phillips said Chad would be a great fit. Fans will get to see what she, Terry Don and others see.
— Joseph Steinmetz let them move forward purposefully and quickly. After Hunter was hired, she informed him of Morris and he was on board.
— Was confident they could identify an outstanding coach and maximize the strengths of the program while competing in the SEC. No doubt they found that.
— Seems like groundhog day. Was in the same spot yesterday. Not as much pressure today. It's been an exciting few days for him and his family.
— Thanks to people who've reached out to him and his family from the community.
— Introduced Morris' family. His daughter goes to Texas A&M.
— Julie was thrown into the fire in the search and did a great job. Cromer People took it to the one-inch line, there was a big scrum of players and he was a hefty lineman who helped push the ball over the goal line.
— Thanks to the chancellor. In Little Rock today but has played a big role.
— Was well-aware of Chad Morris. As the OC at Tulsa, helped them to a 10-3 record with a prolific offense. Helped Dabo Sweeney build a contender at Clemson. Said the program at Clemson resembled what Arkansas does now when he got there. You may look at his win and loss record at SMU, but they were 0-12 the year before he got there. Huge difference for Houston competing against SMU before he got there and in their 7-5 program this year.
— Morris was recruiting his son at SMU. His son was at a camp and his wife called him saying Morris had gone through the stands with 400 campers' parents and talked to each of them for several minutes.
— "Thank you. Wow. Go Hogs, right? There we go."
— So many people to be thankful for. An incredible opportunity.
— Thanks to the relentless effort of Julie. Had to tell her to go home and get some sleep around 10 p.m. last night.
— Thanks Jimmy Sexton, a very dear friend of mine.
— Appreciates Hunter Yurachek.
— "I promise you, the more you get to know me, I won't let you down. ... We want to win championships and that's what we're going to do."
— Thanks former players and his staff all across the state of Texas at all his high school stops. Gotten about 890 texts as of this morning, a lot from former players and staff. Thanks to former players and staff at Tulsa and Clemson. Special thanks and belief in Deshaun Watson, a player he recruited who is like a second son. The former players and staff at SMU, it was a very emotional day yesterday. To walk into a group of 118 men who'd invested in you is very emotional. A lot of tears were shed. Told them how much he loved them. The many texts sent to him by players means so much.
— Thanks to his family for being his rock, inspiration and team. They allow him to do so much of what he's passionate about. "This is what I was meant to do."
— It's far more than just about the coaches. The staff will have impeccable wives that'll be home-run hitters. Coaches kids will sacrifice.
— "Now we'll get to do something special in the best conference. ... We will become the model program for all others to follow."
— Contacted Arkansas high school coaches. Have a lot of relationships built along the way. "I'm a high school football coach and I'm extremely proud to say that." You have to wash the clothes, line the field, meet with boosters and teachers, be in the lunch room. Can relate immediately. Here for the coaches in this state. "This is your university. We're here for you. ... I need you." Going to lock arms. Such a historic program and will get it to where it was in 1964.
— To past, present and future players, he has a plan. Needs former players. WIll make an effort to make them back. This is their home. Welcome all day, any day.
— To present players, met them yesterday. Group of young men who were hungry and wide-eyed. Told them to hold on because it's going to move fast. Better be ready in January. Credit to coach Bielema for the impact he's had in their lives. You can see the impact he's had in their lives.
— Recruiting and retaining is the top priority. The jet is fueld up and ready to go. Best is the standard at the UA.
— The first order of business in the short term is building a championship-level staff and signing a good class on the 20th. The staff and class will go to work establishing the steps to the next level.
— The culture about Arkansas football will be about winning championships. To do that, you have to develop champions as students, people and players.
— Offensively, you won't find a more explosive offense in college football. SMU was 128th in offense when he got there, 8th this year. Helped set. Won't be much time to sit in their seats. Will play fast. Defensively, will be built around stopping the run. Will hire the best defensive coordinator in college football. That's the standard. Wants players extremely upset at the end of the game because they have to wait seven days to hit again. Wants to be explosive and create turnovers on special teams.
— "You may have to tell me whoa, but you'll never have to tell me go." Will be in the left lane and put the hammer down.
Question and answer
— Sure coach Sweeney wouldn't like it if he hired Brent Venables. Without disclosing names, has a short list of names of people he's played against, been around and admired. Hope to get on the DC search today.
— It's all about timing and fit. Couldn't have it at a better time than now.
— When he got to Clemson, they came off a disappointing season and were beat in a bowl game by South Florida. Similarities between here and there are scary. The ability to recruit is big. Grew up watching the SWC. When they were winning big, they had players from Arkansas and Texas with players mixed in from Louisiana, Oklahoma and other states.
— Was met with skepticism like Gus Malzahn. There's been a trickle-up effect the last eight years. High school coaches are innovate because they have to structure their scheme around the players they have. Welcome high school coaches. They pick up stuff from the HS coaches. College football is always changing.
— Will be meeting with the staff in the near future. Not ready to announce who's coming with him, but has a group assembled.
— From a football standpoint, had a chance to watch a few games. Everything came into play at 6 o'clock yesterday morning. Nothing really became finalized until yesterday morning. Haven't had a chance to study film yet. There'll be a time and place to watch, dive into the personnel. Like tight ends and will run with tight ends, but will also spread the field out and run with 11 and 12 personnel, operate with break-neck speed.
— Two-back, run-oriented, play-action shot football team that does it with a lot of window dressing and schemes. Will go five-wide, one-back, two-back. Want to get tight ends matched up with a backer, safety.
— High school coaches get it. You have to adjust and adapt quickly. They're not supposed to have the luxury of recruiting, so they have to adjust and adapt their style to what they have. To be able to speak the same language is important. He can relate immediately. Is a relationship guy and if he can get the trust of the coaches on his side, the coach has the trust of the parent or aunt. Has a degree in math and a minor in statistics. Thinks outside the box. The staff will be divided up all over the state. Will see every high school in the state. When they walk in to HS coaches offices, make sure you get something in. Ask questions, get something out of them. If you haven't had a player in 8-10 years, it's OK. You will one day.
— Having been at Clemson and playing against several SEC programs, very familiar with it. Hiring staff that has experience in this league. Offensively, will put some of the best coaches in college football out there. Defensively, his responsibility to put the best staff he can out there. Has to stop the run and be multiple.
— Recruiting and retaining is big. Development once they get here is key.
— Thinks there was a lot of uncertainty in the team meeting. A lot of players are friends with guys at SMU and had reached out. Through some of the texts and tweets, they've gotten support. Group was very attentive and humble, appreciative of the previous staff but ready to build relationships with the new staff. Told them how hard yesterday was to tell SMU players he was leaving.
— Going to go into a personnel meeting in about an hour to get a better understanding of how the offense is going to lay out. Linemen are the priority to compete in the SEC. You better have speed. If you don't have it, you're chasing it. Recruiting it will be key.
— When you look at D1 players out of Arkansas, whether it's 7 or 10 a year, if you take 5-7 out of Arkansas and you're going to sign 20 total, no reason you can't get 10 out of Texas. Already started the process of recruiting Texas before he got on the plane yesterday. When Arkansas was successful, they had a blend of Arkansas and Texas players with some scattered through Louisiana and Oklahoma.
— Everything you do, regardless of where you're at, you give everything you've got every day. People asked why he took the SMU job. He asked why not. Never looked at the path, just at being the best he could be every day. If they can do that enough, great things happen to good people. That's what this has been about. Winning a championship is about being the best you can be today. There are a lot of HS coaches looking at him saying if he can do it so can they. Gives hope. Touches the lives of young men and high school coaches who have such a huge impact. If he can touch one life that touches many others, he's at peace with that. He and his wife Paula are very instrumental in the community.
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