Chad Morris, Coordinators & Strength Coach | News, Notes & Quotes
"First and foremost is the quality of people you bring in," Morris said. "We still have some support staff that we're still working on and hiring, but the announcement of our staff is a process we've gone through, it's been tiresome. When you select a staff, you want quality people."
"Timing and fit played another major role in the selection of our staff," he said. "You've got to stay on the cutting edge. That had a process and had a contingent on the selection process."
"What kind of evaluators are they of talent," he said. "Can they recruit? Evaluating, recruiting and then retaining and the development of young men also had a process in our selection process."
"Extremely excited to hire John Chavis as our defensive coordinator," he said. "Offensively, Joe Craddock was our offensive coordinator at SMU."
Morris referred to new strength and conditioning coach Trumain Carroll as "Tru."
"What we do and how fast we go is far more than just about he weight we lift," he said."The dynamics of our strength and conditioning program and the ability of our athletes to recover."
"What I was looking for was someone that was going to disrupt the quarterback, someone that's going to be attacking and aggressive, someone that's going to be multiple," he said. "Offensively we want to run the football. You'll hear us talk about that over and over."
Barry Lunney Jr. will also coach special teams on the offensive side of the ball.
Tanner Burnes is an off-the-field coach and will hold a lot of special teams duties. They have spoken in depth how they want to structure it. The voice of special teams on the field will be Lunney.
Steve Caldwell will coach DEs.
Ron Cooper will coach safeties.
John Scott will coach interior defensive line.
Regarding his background with Chavis, Dan Brooks from Clemson was the connection. Chavis served with him at Tennessee. He faced Chavis when he was at LSU in the Chick-fil-A bowl. He started talking with Chavis during the Christmas holidays. He said 'you don't just jump out there and hire someone, you get to know them first.'
"It was what causes us problems from a defensive standpoint," he said. "He had a season left to finsh and he and I kind of talked."
Morris pointed to Chavis having 81 NFL draft picks on his resume. He said they would talk for 15-20 minutes at a time just about different things, including football, during the holidays.
He said he was impressed with Joe Craddock as a GA at Clemson. He said they will work together in the play calling, though he's taken over a lot more of the responsibilities. The week of game planning they'll be in there working together, and he will interject at times on what he wants them to run during a game at times.
"It was important for me for those kids to see that I'm a head coach and not say 'well all he cares about is offense,'" he said. "The longer Joe and I were together the more responsibilities he took over."
Regarding Dustin Fry also being 'Run Game Coordinator.' Dustin Fry will focus on run game and short-yardage. Justin Stepp will focus on shots and formations.
"Very knowledgable, can relate to his players very well. Another part of what we do, being able to relate to our guys," he said. "He's got a great knowledge of what we want to do and the target points when we're running inside zone, outside zone."
Morris said if his coaches cannot add value in recruiting, they will not last.
"When I first met John, he walked in the office and we had the talk that change is happening," he said. "Everybody was very understaning and very professional. I've got great respect for guys that have been on this staff and have given a lot of time and energy to Arkansas."
"John came in and was very open and said 'here's the deficiencies on defense," he said "Here are some quality people, off the field, that you need to look at."
"I think he helps bridge the gap kind of quicker [by bringing a coach back if he fits.]."
Mark Smith will also be the director of on field recruiting - managing boards, etc., particularly on defense.
"There's not going to be a stone in this program that's turned over that I'm not going to know something about."
Asked about uniforms, he said it's all about recruiting. He said 49-year old people don't play at the University of Arkansas, it's about 18-year olds.
On reviewing the roster...
"Speed, speed and more speed. You either have it or your'e chasing it," he said. "I asked more about what they saw in general, and excited, very excited. Played a lot of young guys."
"The major voice that we're hearing is hungry. They don't want to be home during Christmas."
Regarding the rest of the recruiting class, look for six-to-eight more signees...
"It's hard to say a number right now. But I think you're going to look to potentially 6-8 more signees. We've got to address the need at some offensive line. We'v egot to address the need at some of our secondary and defensive ends."
"It's not going to change a lot from what we've done the last 25 years. We've taken a lot of pride in being a pressure defense, and we're going to affect the quarterback," John Chavis said. "We're not going to try to put a square peg in a round hole."
"Certainly there's some personnel here. Is every piece in place? -Certainly not,"he said. "I don't care how good your football team is, you'v got issues you've got to deal win. The teams that are going to win the most are the teams that deal with those issues the best."
"Is there talent here to win 14 games? -Well, there wasn't last year, but there will be."
Chavis has faced Arkansas over 20 times.
"I've coached for actually 40 years. I know I only look like I'm 38," he quipped. "Loyalty had been a big part of me...When you start having great success is when that continuity is there."
"The 2011 team was the finest Arkansas team I've ever seen," he said. "I've seen the caliber of teams that Arkansas can field."
Regarding Steve Caldwell...
"We spent 15 years together at Tennessee. He was a big part of what we did together at Tennessee, also in a recruiting standpoint. You're not going to find a better recruiter, you're not going to find a better football coach in the country."
"I understand the model that [Morris] is putting together here," he said. "I don't think I can solve all the problems anywhere. I think you can be a part of the model that will solve the problems, and we've got that model."
"I think you've got to be multiple, and we have been multiple. We're going to base out of a 4-3 front," Chavis said. "The scheme has been proven. We're going to base out of a 4-man front, but we're going to play some 3-man front, as well...When you start game planning, you look at all the problems an offense is giving you. Sometimes you get so carries away with all the problems they're going to give you, you forget to look at the problems you can give them."
Regarding his age of 61 and the last two years at A&M not being up to the standards of his previous 25 years in the SEC.
"I'm not going to cheat the game, and I'm not going to cheat the players," he said. "I've always been challenged. If I can't feel good about what we're going and being at the top of the league and the top of the profession, it's time for somebody else to do it...That time is not now. It's still burning [in me]."
Regarding the evolution of offenses...
"We've got to play great tight zone defense, and we've got to get off the field on third downs. Those things are never going to change."
Was it important to stay in the SEC?
"It was, it was. I may be the longest tenured coach in the SEC," he said. "I couldn't be any more about being at Arkansas and being a part of the SEC."
"Coach Tru is going to run our guys a little bit more. We've got some weight to lose up front and at other positions...We're going to do a lot more running than our guys are used to."
Regarding his career moving so fast...
"Coach Morris and I have talked about that, how fast it's moved for him and how fast it's moved for me," he said. "I haven't done it on my own, but I've s also worked really, really hard."
Craddock said he was excited to see the level of talent at quarterback...
"I've told Coach Morris that I'm really excited about what I see. When we first got to SMU the style of offense was really different than what we play. We didn't have a tight end," he said.
He said they've gone back and looked at practice and pass skelly. He has spoken to the quarterbacks about what they've done. The quarterback battle will be wide-open.
"I think the biggest thing Cole's got to do is drop some weight," he said. "I've shared that with Cole, and talked to him this morning and he's dropped some weight."
Regarding taking play-calling duties..
"We work hand-in-hand, we work closely together. I know that was tough for him to do because he's an offensive-minded coach by trade."
Craddock will probably be in the press box...
He and Dustin Fry were a player development coaches his first year at Clemson and then he was moved over to GA where they ran the scout team and coached many of the players who helped them win a national championship last year at Clemson.
"Coach believed in me an gave me that shot, and I'm forever gratful about that."
"He's got to be big, but he's got to be able to move. In our offense, it's a fast-paced offense. But what we do in the run game he's got to be able to move, he's got to be able to use his hands, he's got to have flexibility."
Craddock said they want some bigger receivers on campus.
"We've got to get some bigger guys in here. We've got a couple. We kind of have a deal, the shorter you get the more speed you've got to have."
"You can't drop back and throw the ball 50-60 times a game, it can't happen," he said. "Every play we have, even if it's a pass play, there's a run check that goes with it."
Craddock said his father was an Auburn fan and his mother was an Alabama fan.
"You break down our philosphy in four major areas.
1. Training (three tiers)
a. Football-specific training - not going to be just power lifters
b. Break it down by position and what each position's needs are
c. Break it down individually and see what each guy's deficiencies are ("prehab" means staying ahead of injuries rather than rehab
"You can't out-train a bad diet.", Recovery, how guys are sleeping. They also will have a (Soltus) coach who specializes in yoga.
We want to make sure we develop them as young men.
"Everyone on our staff has areas of specialty."
He spoke about the importance of flexibility and how not only will that make them better athletes, stronger with better recovery time but will also help them prevent injuries.
They're going to test guys to see where they are, then they're going to teach. They're not going to have a cookie cutter approach because this is different than SMU.
"Once we establish where we are, we're going to reverse engineer to see where we are," he said.
They'll do basic combine testing the week after next when the NCAA allows the strength coaches to start working with the players.
"We'll have a six-week period prior to spring ball. We're going to ramp it up," he said. "We basically go off a progressive overload. We believe in Olympic movements."
Carroll moved the equipment around. He said the previous staff did a great job of outfitting the weight room with equipment. He said they need to upgrade some things, but they definitely don't need an overhaul. They'll put a plan together.
"It's never a destination, it's a journey," he said. "You want to make constant updates to your current facilities."
"My personality in the weight room? -I'm who I need to be, I'm who coach Morris needs me to be. I'm different every day. I take a temperature of the room. I'm not a yeller and a screamer...well, yeah I am a yeller and a screamer. You hear my voice today, it'll probably be the last time you hear my voice [working]."
Lot of foot injuries with the program...
"I'll have to get with Matt Summers. That's part of the evaluation process," he said. "Look at the underlying things that caused the problems."