As one of the legendary Texas high school coaches of all time, we as fans of the University of Houston welcome you with open arms. Three consecutive State Championships and 6 straight trips to the State Championship Game don't just happen, their is a ton of coaching that causes such success. We hope you are feeling at home with us here and wish you much success going forward. Let's re-establish the Maddog Defense on the field in 2005.
JS - Rumors circulated around campus last season that you would be joining the Cougars coaching staff. What happened to delay your move to Cullen Blvd?
AW - Well, the teacher retirement system in Texas is a great program. My last year at A&M was my 30th year in the coaching business; all in Texas high schools or at A&M. Thus, I was eligible for full retirement benefits. I took advantage of this opportunity and decided to retire for a year an enjoy just being a football fan. I did look into some NFL possibilities but none panned out. After the '03 season, there were not any openings at UH, so I waited until an opening happened after this past season and then jumped at the opportunity to coach college football again and especially linebackers for the Cougars and Coach Briles.
JS- What are your expectations for our defense this upcoming season?
AW - We expect to be a very quick, blitzing, aggressive defense. We expect to be able to handle any offensive scheme (run or pass) that our opponents have for us. We want to be able to stop the run first by controlling the line of scrimmage and control the passing game with outstanding technique from our secondary combined with pressure from our defensive line and linebackers. Mainly, we expect to have a defense that instead of giving up big plays, makes big plays. We expect to have a defense that is tough and aggressive and plays with a lot of enthusiasm, mental discipline, and positive attitude.
JS - Since we will be in a 3-4 defense this fall, would you give our fans some insight of what our we can expect when the Coogs are on defense?
AW - We should see more speed on the field not only from the change in scheme but also from the faster players that will be on the field next year.
JS - At the recruiting reception you talked about an attacking defense. Will this defense look similar to the wrecking crew defense?
AW - I plan that by the end of the season, we will have a name (MADDOG) for our defense and people will be comparing the top named defenses in the nation to us rather than us to them!
JS - What type of blitz packages do you intend to use?
AW - The 3-4 gives us the opportunity to zone blitz, 5 or 6 man blitz and full out 7 man blitzes. With the same initial look, we can look like maximum blitz and drop 8 quick athletes into coverage.
JS - I have heard a lot of people say the nose tackle is the key to having a strong defense in the 3-4. Do you agree with this, and if so why is he so important?
AW - The saying in baseball "strength up the middle" also applies to the 3-4. It all starts with a big time dominating player anchoring the nose position.
JS - Looking at the depth chart, do you feel like we have the players in place to become one of the strongest defenses in C-USA next season?
AW - If all our defensive players stay healthy an take care of business in the classroom, we look like we have very good depth at cornerback and linebacker. Like many programs after our starters, we will field some inexperienced players at the safety and line positions. The lack of depth in the defensive line and positive projective depth at linebacker is one of the major reasons we are converting to the 3-4 defensive scheme.
JS - What type of offense is the toughest to defend in your opinion?
AW - A team that is balanced (run and pass), that shows a lot of different formations and is not predictable poses the most problems. An offense like Coach Briles' offense would pose numerous problems for any defensive coordinator.
JS - What is the key to big time recruiting, bringing in the blue chip players for the Houston Cougars?
AW - 1) WIN - kids like to play for winning teams that go to big bowl games 2) FACILITIES - kids are very visual now and facilities also show a commitment by the school and alumni to a big time program 3) The school's reputation and education and 4) Playing time and style of play.
JS - Do you feel like the BCS schools in this state have a recruiting advantage over UH?
AW - There is an advantage when schools have awesome facilities, big stadiums, and play on TV numerous times as most BCS schools do. You have to counter this with:
1) show that you can compete with BCS teams on the field
2) your school is willing to build BCS equivalent facilities and
3) you will get national recognition in order to play in BCS bowl games (such as UTAH)
JS - When you consider all that UofH and Houston offer a potential athlete, what do you think are our greatest selling points?
AW - There is a lot to sell at UH:
1) We have a coaching staff who cares for our players as people first and will work them hard to develop their athletic abilities.
2) We have an outstanding program with an exciting offense and a tough physical aggressive style defense.
3) We have a history of competing with anyone in the state/region/ nation.
4) We have a growing, dynamic, multi-cultured city with lots of things to do and enjoy.
5) We have an outstanding educational opportunity at UH with a strong alumni base for employment after graduation.
JS - What are the key strengths you look for in a potential or incoming recruit?
AW - IS HE A GOOD PERSON? DOES HE HAVE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE? - responsible, moral and dedicated. IS HE A GOOD PRACTICE PLAYER? - will he get better because he works hard. ABILITY? - is he a big time play maker. ACADEMICS? - will he be successful in the classroom at the college level. WILL THIS PLAYER MAKE AN IMPACT ON OUR TEAM AND PROGRAM!?
JS - What would you like to say to all the University of Houston fans today?
AW - EXCITEMENT IS IN THE AIR: THE COOGS COME ALIVE IN '05!
Thanks Coach. We'll see you at the spring game.