Randy Shannon didn't want to name names Thursday in his first meeting with the media during spring football drills at Arkansas. How can you talk about linebackers when there hasn't been a scrimmage?
I get that. I also understand that Shannon is trying to build relationships with his players more than build the depth chart after just two weeks of practices. That's heady stuff from a veteran linebacker coach.
Shannon is famous for going deep inside for the relationship stuff. That's what he did as a linebacker coach for years at Miami. His reputation as head coach with the Hurricanes also included father-figure stuff and recruiting victories based on relationships.
So it wasn't a surprise when Shannon pointed more to the relationship process than listing his depth chart when he came to the media room Thursday night. He said he's trying to get his players to let him into their lives as a person, more than driving them as a coach. It all will fall together eventually.
It didn't surprise that he was less concerned about who is playing weakside or strongside linebacker, once he explained that in the system installed by defensive coordinator Chris Ash, most of it is the same anyway.
"It doesn't matter because when the tight end flips, strong becomes weak," Shannon said. "You have to learn both. We aren't going to be flipping them when the formation changes. We'll just stay there."
Shannon is more concerned with helping his players as young men. He's spending as many quality hours as possible with them.
"What I've seen so far is that they all play hard and they are all like gym rats," Shannon said. "They are in here studying tape. They are in here talking with me. And we don't just talk football.
"It's about life. They are letting me into their lives. I want to help them grow and hope I have a chance to help them when they stumble. And we all stumble.
"This is a stressful time for them. The world is full of Twitter, Facebook and camera phones. There is a lot out there."
Shannon has given his linebackers some tips on how to make life easier on the field. He said they can keep the bell cows happy in front of them.
"Things get easier for linebackers when the linemen are having fun," Shannon said. "You play better when it's fun. So I tell them they need to be joking and having fun with those linemen up front of them. When those guys are happy, things are good."
Shannon wants to keep football fun.
"I told them for the scrimmage, just go have fun," he said. "Go out, play hard, have fun and fly around. Play with a lot of enthusiasm."
That's the most important goal as the Hogs roll through the early part of installation with the Ash defense.
"We are going slow," Shannon said. "We are going to learn the basic fundamentals. It's like math. You do the basics first, just plus and minus. Then you put in division, then later it's algebra."
So that's what the Hogs are doing, just stance, footwork, hand position and alignment. There will be more later. And, in the meantime, Shannon said he's learning his players.
"I want to know all about them, who has a son, about their mothers," Shannon said. "I want them to be able to tell me everything, all of their problems."
State of the Hogs: Learning Process
Hawgs Daily Top Stories
Longhorns Preview Oklahoma StateTexas offensive players discuss the Longhorns' upcoming game at Oklahoma State to kickoff Big 12 Conference play.
Horns DigestYesterday at 6:21 PM
Louisiana CB 'Real Close' to a DecisionIt may not be too long before one of the top cornerbacks in Louisiana makes his decision. Four schools are high on his list and you can get the latest here...
Scout FootballYesterday at 6:15 AM
JC defensive back talks ISU official visitOver the weekend, Iowa State played host to one of their top 2017 targets in the current recruiting cycle in Paramount, CA three-star JUCO CB Keisean Nixon. This visit for the…
AllCyclonesSunday at 6:34 PM
TCU vs Iowa State primerAfter falling in double-overtime to Arkansas, TCU looks to get back to their winning ways against Iowa State.
Horned Frog Insider09/15/2016
The Ultimate Midlands TeamThere is a lot of talent in the Midlands region, with a vast majority of the highest rated recruits playing high school football in the Lone Star State. Which prospects made the…