University of Cincinnati defensive backs coach Steve Clinkscale recently sat down for an in-depth interview with Bearcat Insider.
As a former college defensive back at Ashland, Clinkscale knows he can relate to his players no matter what they come up against.
"I tell the players and start off every meeting with I'm the coach and myself and Coach (Eddie) Hicks are going to coach the secondary here," said Clinkscale. "You guys are going to learn a lot from us, but we're going to learn even more from you.
"We learn a lot as players and we learn a lot from watching players. It helps us as we can see if their eyes are in the wrong spot or their tendencies to do something wrong or correct. I can tell them why because I was once in that position.
"Also, when they are making big plays and becoming kind of the guy, teaching them how to cope with that and not allow that to go to their head so they remember this is a team sport.
"Playing in the secondary leaves you exposed and you have a chance of getting beat once or twice. Coach Hick and I have both been there, so we ask them what they are going to do the next play to make it up to your team.
"Are you going to intercept the ball and change the momentum of the game?
"Because that one play can make a huge difference in the game. I tell them all the time there is going to be five or six plays that will change the outcome of the game. I don't know when they are going to come, or who is going to be involved. But I bet you the majority of the time if our defense is out there our defensive backs are involved the majority of the time.
"So we've got to be able to run to the ball and make plays. As a player that was my philosophy as I was going to run hard and play hard and give it all I've got. To coach the guys and have played the position I can see where they are in each situation and makes it a lot easier for me to relate to them and tell them why they are doing what they are doing because I've been in that position.
"I didn't play at the Division One level, but I think it carries a little weight that I have played both corner and safety and have coached both position for the past 13 years."
Like many others, Clinkscale was surprised by what he found at Cincinnati when he arrived on campus.
"The change in the campus was a surprise to be honest," he said. "I think in the past couple of years, they've done a great job in this area making this a great campus as far as the environment, look and the safety around campus.
"The central location of our facility here was a major surprise as everything kind of revolves around this build (Linder Center) and the stadium. That was a surprise and I didn't expect that at all.
"What was not a surprise and I kind of expected, was how everyone here is expecting big things out of us as they've been doing a great job over the past several years. But it's not a thing where it's life or death. They want us to win; there is no doubt about it. But the support to give us the things we need to be successful has been great."
As for his recruiting philosophy, Clinkscale knows it takes more than one coach to be successful bringing top talent to campus.
"Recruiting to me is a team sport," stressed Clinkscale. "You see these guys who say he recruited this guy or that guy, there is a lot more that goes in to it.
"It takes our recruiting coordinator Mike Waugh finding the film along with us having our connections with the coaches and relationships with those communities that also play a big factor.
"Then figuring out what player fits into your scheme and knowing he's able to be coached by you and be successful in this environment with this being a city. I think that plays a role and then you look at them academically to see if a guy is missing school and how they are doing in classes. Do they have a low GPA but have improved since their freshman year? I think all that factors in along with their test score.
"I think everything plays a little bit of a factor to the type of person I'm looking to recruit. But like I said, I feel it's a team effort as all the coaches on our staff have a role.
"We all watch the film together so we understand the type of player we're bringing in as a whole. We're looking for certain athletes and everyone has a say on who we bring in. Even if I'm not recruiting a certain state, if there is a defensive back there, I'll be recruiting that young man especially during the season. It's good for me and the recruiting coach to have a good relationship with the player, his parents and coach. This way you kind of get two guys recruiting that player which is great. That way you don't miss anything."
Each coach who joined Tommy Tuberville at Cincinnati has their own reasons as to why they accepted their role on the staff. For Clinkscale, a couple of factors came into play.
"Coach Tuberville gave me the opportunity to come back to my home state of %%MATCH_2%%," explained Clinkscale. "He also gave me the chance to coach all the defensive backs again, which I think is huge.
"After being around Coach Tuberville for the past several months, I think my first impression was correct as he's a genuine person who cares about the program, but cares about the players first.
"He's going to give his coaches the opportunity to coach and be themselves and coach the players the way they need to be coached. I was drawn to that as that was the way the first coaches I coached for, Gary Keller and Lee Owens coached.
"You are going to be responsible for your position and your players. You are going to get them to do right in school, do right on the football field and to be good citizens as everything else will fall into place.
"Coach Tuberville just has that old school feel to me and I believe this is the person God sent into my life to be working with the next several years, hopefully."