Barney Farrar Post-Spring Q&A

In this exhaustive interview, learn about the intricacies of ISU football from the Cyclones' new director of football operations.

CN: Now, you're with football operations and quality control, but first of all just talk to us about your football experience, how you got involved in this great sport and how you got to meet Coach Chizik.

FARRAR: Well, actually I started out about 1983, I played football at Delta State University, it's a Division II college there in Mississippi, and I moved on from there. The guy that was the head coach there, Red Parker, actually had been the head coach at Clemson at one point in time, he knew Coach Ford, so I went there in 1986 as a grad assistant, and Coach Chizik and Coach McFarland, Coach Bolt, they all came, I think the next year was when they all came in, and I had the opportunity to work with all those guys. We started out as young coaches together, so it's been . . . what? A long time. And the friendship has lasted since.

CN: Now, one of the things . . . obviously when you look at Coach Chizik's résumé, he's been a winner everywhere he's gone, but he had that great run with Auburn and Texas, you know, national championship. Back when you-all were together initially, could you see that football greatness in him?

FARRAR: Oh sure, you could . . . you know, some guys got it. I've heard the statement many times . . . some guys got it. Whether you're a football player, or you're a coach or whatever, if you've gotta ask what ‘it' is, you ain't got it. So, long story short, you could see back in the day, there was a lot of knowledge . . . you know, he started out right. He actually started out better than a lot of guys do that get into college coaching. He hit the high school ranks and then worked his way into college, knowing . . . he knew what the bottom floor was. He knew what it was to coach a high school kid that he's going to end up recruiting one day, now. You could just tell he had a hunger, and a desire to get to where he wanted to get to. It's just that look in some guys' eyes. And he's got that presence about him, you know? It's just there or it's not there, and he's got some natural-born leader in him, you know, and you're just blessed with that. That's the way I feel about that; you're blessed with it or you're not. He's not a follower; he's always had his own idea and always had his own thought process about where he wanted to be and where he wanted to go. And I'm very thankful today that he had this opportunity, and I'm thankful he believed in me and gave me the opportunity to be with him, because I . . . when I left Ole Miss it was probably one of the happier days of my life. I don't know if that sounds bad, but it was the opportunity to work with him and to be alongside him and give him the best that I have.

CN: Talk about how important that is in preparing this staff to lead this program to the next level.

FARRAR: Well, you know, the thing we all did do was pay our dues, and we came the long, hard road. It was actually a tough road, and to be in this profession, I don't think people realize some of the things that you have to go through and the perseverance, and a lot of time the patience, and I know I don't have a lot of that, but it makes you learn how to have patience and it does teach you about perseverance, the lessons that you taught in football . . . that you were taught in football . . . perseverance. We were blessed to be around men that were good football coaches and they were really good recruiters that helped pave the way for use to understand the work ethic that it was going to take to have success and I think what all those early days did, along with being with other staffs and being around other men that did a good job, once we had paid our dues and all became position coaches on the Division I level, I think at that point what you do is you start taking from others and learning what to do, and what not to do, as much as what to do. And, you know, all the early days and hard work and the digging and the scratching and the believing, it bonded us together, no doubt, and gave us a work ethic, I believe, that was second to none, and a drive to help us achieve this opportunity that we've been given.

CN: Now, talk about football operations and quality control. What specifically will that entail here at Iowa State?

FARRAR: Well, that job is a little more full-time job than I thought it was whenever I was a position coach. When I was coaching the secondary I used to think, "What are they doing?" Well, I know what they're doing now, because it's a very, very busy job and it's two other guys with myself, Travis Pearson and Erik Link, who both are . . . we've bonded together, we have to because we have so many different responsibilities. We've all been given different responsibilities but there's a lot of times we have to come together and help each other out, because the job might entail all three of us instead of just one of us. There's so many things that I didn't realize went on behind the scenes, as far as assisting the head coach with a lot of duties that he has that nobody realizes that he has. It's all the way from film evaluation to going to get a player that you need to visit with, to . . . you've got to have travel done for the team, you've got to have the meals done. I mean, nobody realizes that all these things are behind the scenes, and that it's very, very important that you have it done and have it there on time, and there's a lot of things that are just . . . it just goes without saying. It's a thankless job a lot of times, but you know, and of course the other members of the staff are going to know what went on behind closed doors, so that's really all that matters, is that you do your job and you do it as well as you can.

CN: Does this team . . . and excuse my naiveté in this area, but is there a dorm where all the football players are? Do they have training tables, set meals . . . I mean, what are some of the specifics in terms of the behind-the-scenes stuff that we don't get a chance to see, beginning with that?

FARRAR: Well, you know back in the day there were football dorms and there were training tables, so to speak. The NCAA has came in and said that it was an extra benefit that the athletes were receiving . . . I'm not going to comment on that part of it . . . but it actually wasn't so much convenience, but it allowed us to be around those guys more and if we needed to do this or needed to do that, it was easy to find them; you knew where they were. So the NCAA has came in and they've disbanded the football dorm, so to speak, now although what we like to do is keep our young guys all grouped together when they come in, to create a bond, number one; and you know, they're going to get homesick, that's what people have to realize. I'm 47 and I got homesick when I left home to come this way. Long story short, the dorm situation . . . there is no football dorm. A lot of the guys that are older, after they've been on campus for two years and they've proven, grade-wise, that they're capable of handling living off campus, we'll let them, after two years, move off campus. The freshmen are required to stay on campus, and if your GPA's below where we need it to be, then you're required to stay on campus as well. The training table, that's also been disbanded as well from the NCAA because it was supposedly an extra benefit as well. So we have this one area that, you know, all the students eat. Sometimes we have to keep it open a little bit later, if we have a late practice or what have you, for those guys to get over and have their meals. So it takes a lot of extra work out of these guys, to be a student and to be a football player. So what I'm seeing now is, it is a lot of the true student-athlete now, and if you want to play football, you're really working the extra mile to be a football player now, so you've earned that right, no doubt in my mind.

CN: So then, do you-all work with the various coaches, the media people . . .? It sounds like you-all basically are the spokes that connect all the parts of the wheel.

FARRAR: You know . . . that's probably a good way of putting it. These guys in these meeting rooms . . . you know, they put that football stuff together; they're pretty sharp guys, offensive and defensive meeting rooms. And I'm proud to be around these coaches and anytime I have the opportunity to walk in sit down and visit and listen . . . I'm still learning. I think the day you stop learning's the day you're done, you need to move on and do something else in life. These guys are just . . . in their own way there's a lot of brilliance that comes out of both the offensive and defensive staff room. And I've admired Coach Chizik in his first year as a head coach. He's weathered it seems like already, lots of storms that it would be hard for men in this profession many years to undertake. And you know, he's got what it takes and I'm just proud to be a part of it, any way that I can help, offensively, defensively, anywhere from compliance . . . we deal with compliance issues, and we're a lot of times just go-betweens and things of that sort. But it is a very busy, busy job, it really truly is.

CN: When did you get in, in terms of . . . we know Coach Chizik was obviously the first hire. Who were the next hires in terms of the staff, and where did you come in the process?

FARRAR: Well, I'm thinking that probably Coach Bolt and Coach McFarland came in right after Coach Chizik, and soon thereafter . . . I was at Ole Miss, actually, on a recruiting weekend . . . I was working that weekend, and got a phone call about 12:00 that night. He apologized for not calling me back because I'd called to congratulate him, and of course it was late at night and he'd been going from can til can't do, and it was a very welcome call. I was still up; I was still working, in fact, myself. And he brought up the opportunity and I told him, "I'll be there as quick as you want me there." And about three days later I was on the airplane. This was around December 11th, 10th, 12th, I don't know what day it was, it was right around that area. I got on the airplane, flew out of Memphis, Tennessee, and I was here that day and had the opportunity to meet Coach Pelton, and I'm pretty sure it was Jay Rogers, we all three met in the airport, we didn't know each other and . . . we knew it was on at that point.

CN: I ask that because this staff got here, on National Signing Day Coach Chizik still hadn't unpacked some of the boxes. I mean this staff got here, and literally was back out on the recruiting trail because they had a very, very narrow window. What was your role in that process, between the time that you got here and National Signing Day? Describe what it was like behind the scenes and the stuff that you-all had to do to make that happen.

FARRAR: In fact, coming in early we didn't have a full staff and so the NCAA will allow you to get on the road at that point, as long as you don't have a full staff. And so, I remember coming in here and we watched film until . . . I don't even know . . . until your eyelids fell asleep and then it was time to go back to the hotel and sleep for a couple of hours anyway, and then we were back here the next morning, watching film again. And then we basically went through our insurance package, signed our contracts, picked up a bag that had Iowa State gear and we were on the airplane that afternoon flying to whatever areas that we were going to go check on guys. So we actually stayed here about a day, and watched film and figured out what direction we wanted to go in, and what our immediate needs were as we thought at that point in time. I actually had the opportunity to get out on the road and fly to the areas that I was most familiar with, and flew to the Mississippi junior colleges as well as . . . another guy did the same thing, and then ended up in Houston, Texas, and having lived there and coached at Rice for 12 years, that area was very familiar to me, and we worked hard on the road there for a couple of weeks and we came in and threw it all on the table and said, "OK, here's what we've got." And we started digging from there and making decisions. And it was . . . it was very eventful, I would say, coming in off the road after a couple of weeks with as many tapes as you can bring back, as many names as you could bring back and of course, trying to get the right names and the right tapes. And we fist-fought over a couple of guys that we thought were our guys . . . and that's when you figure out that that guy believes in him, you know, and that's what makes it special, and that's what makes it good, and we had a direction as we went out in January. I think I only had the opportunity to go out for about a week there, because we'd started filling up with our staff at that point. And I came off the road probably about halfway through January, because we had everybody in that we needed, and it was by phone at that point in time for some of us, and those guys were picking up the guys that we had recruited earlier out on the road. And that really makes it better because the parents and players, they see more people, they see more faces that care and they feel like are special. And we started bringing guys in in that January, and thought we had some great weekends, to not have ever been on campus here, you know, we had to tour it and learn it ourselves, and a lot of times when I was touring with those guys, I was learning as well as they were, and the more touring that I did with these prospects coming in, the more that I found out, the more I knew that I really loved this place. This is a great school. It really is, it's a great institution in my opinion.

CN: Did some of the guys that you had a chance to talk to or recruit, are they coming on campus now?

FARRAR: Oh yes. Yes, in fact Alvarez, he's a kid that I recruited coming out of high school. It's an unbelievable story; I was in the office and he had come home for Christmas in fact, and their head coach was leaving the junior college that he was at. You know in my opinion it was kind of a divine intervention thing, because I was sitting at the right place at the right time. And having known his history and his background, knowing that he had grades and he was a great young man, and the coaches there I got to know at Clear Creek when they were actually at Clear Lakes as assistant coaches, and we were all very close friends, and from that point on, getting the tape in - they still had his high school evaluation tape and we had some junior college tape - we could evaluate him, and it was just a kind of an unbelievable thing. It all fell into place; he came up and visited early, as soon as we could get him in, and he was one of the early signees.

CN: How important is that, that he did get in, and also how important is it that this is a kid that actually has . . . I know he has three years left, but does he also have a redshirt available?

FARRAR: Yes, he does.

CN: So you potentially have him four years.

FARRAR: Oh, we potentially have this young man four years simply because he played as a true freshman there going into junior college, and that says a lot about his ability, number one, and his work ethic because it's tough coming out of high school to go play college and start anywhere. Long story short, you're exactly right; we do have the opportunity to redshirt him one year and let him grow physically and mentally as well. He is a very, very good young man. I'm gonna tell you what, he's a good football player, he's got great feet, and I think his best is still in front of him. He was a late bloomer out of high school, actually, anyway. When I saw him after he'd been in junior college for a year, I thought, "This is not the same guy." I didn't recognize him. So he actually bloomed very late and is very athletic for a lineman, very, very athletic.

CN: Coach I want to go off the reservation here for just a moment, because I've met this young man, he's a very nice young man. When we were calling the guys who had signed, I noticed a clear break. You know, as I said, my father was from Beaumont, he was a Korean War veteran, he was a Marine, he fought in Korea. And there were just certain things you did. You held doors for a lady, you said, "Yes, sir." You said, "No, sir." I still do that stuff. But I noticed in talking to the kids from the North . . . "Yeah" . . . "yep" . . . "yes." Talking to the kids from the South, the "Yes, sir," the "No, sir," the "Yes, ma'am," the "No, ma'am." Those things . . . I just want to take just a moment. Why do you think there's such a difference in terms of . . . just some of those little things in terms of some of the Southern kids and some of the Northern kids?

FARRAR: You know, I don't know. That's a good point that you bring up. I probably haven't thought that much about it. But I've actually been in the South all my life, so that's just what you're brought up doing. I know that when I got into Houston, of course, when you get into some of the inner . . . it's just a little different in a big city, I've noticed. It wasn't as much "Yes, ma'am" and "No, ma'am" . . . but for the best part of it, even in that big city it was. I haven't really noticed that much here, because what we've told them is it's just as easy to say "Yes, sir," "No, sir," or "Yes, ma'am," "No, ma'am," and those two words right there, used in any phrase, can get you a long way in life. I know my grandmother, Granny Farrar, taught me those words young in life and those words have probably helped me about as much as anything, because people . . . they catch that immediately. That is a first impression on anyone, and like I said, I really haven't noticed it as much, I know that it's "Yes" and "No" said sometimes, but for the best part of it, out of these guys, we're not their mom and dad but those are things that'll be useful for them once they get out into the job world. It actually doesn't matter what position they're in, it can help you so very much and it doesn't hurt a 50-year-old man to say, "Yes, sir,""No, sir," any more than it does an 18-year-old. You know, it's just helpful, and there is a difference; I have noticed that. I've noticed it in different places. But not as much out here, because we've tried to instill that a little bit and help that along. I hope that really catches on because I think that is very useful and helpful. Well, actually I had the opportunity to . . . this is a great story. When I was in Mississippi my first couple of days . . . and I mean you are just digging and scratching and fighting and trying to find your way . . . so it was late Friday afternoon and no one should have been there, but since I knew the head coach . . . I'd played football with him at Delta State, a guy by the name of Glenn Davis, and Glenn had coached at Mississippi State, so Glenn's been around, you know, and he's the head coach there at Copiah-Lincoln. And so I beg him to stay for 15 more minutes and he's laughing at me, and of course he waits on me, and when I get there, they had a young man that I'd known about when I was in the state, at Ole Miss, and I knew that Ole Miss had started on him early, but for their reasons they got off of him; and I knew in my heart, I thought this guy was a fantastic football player, and once I walked in, I sat down and visited with Glenn probably 15, 20 minutes and a former football player that I'd seen in high school and played at Mississippi state, he was one of Glenn's coaches as well, Dicenzo. And we're all sitting there together and it was the consensus among all three of us that this guy's special, and why the guys in state weren't recruiting him, I didn't care at that point. I just knew that I was going to have the opportunity with Bibbs, and it wasn't like he wasn't being recruited; he was being recruited by a lot of people, he was being recruited by Memphis . . . Southern Miss and . . . some of the area, Conference USA, Houston, people like that. But what was weird, when I walked through the front doors of my buddy's field house, there's a picture of an Iowa State football player, right in front. There'd been a couple of guys out of Copiah-Lincoln throughout the years that had played here, and I had no idea . . . I absolutely had no idea. And then, like I said, we sat down and visited, I told you the story earlier, and we ended up recruiting him. And then a couple of the big hitters came in on him late, like West Virginia, it was some big schools that came in on him, but he had come up here on the weekend, and actually it snowed, like forever, all weekend and I thought, "This'll deter him." And I think he loved it because they had such a good time out in it that weekend, and he was with ‘Ace,' Alvin Bowen, and I think Ace did a tremendous job with him, I really do, and I can't thank him enough. That makes a difference when those prospects are out with our guys and they see the team comraderie and the closeness that a team has, I think that is one of the bigger differences to these kids is, you know, "Am I going to fit in?"And, "Are these guys close, or is it a ‘me' thing?" That made a difference with Bibbs because he had been recruited, he'd originally signed with Arkansas coming out of high school, so he knew what it was like to be big-time . . . I mean he knew what it was to be big-time recruited, period. But what he liked is what he saw here. And the other thing that impressed me in his meeting with Coach Chizik . . . Coach Chizik asked him some very pointed questions, I mean he pinpointed him and looked him right in the eye, and he looked at Coach Chizik and he said, "I know that you're moving on, and you're special in the business now and a lot of people have said a lot of great things about you." And he said, "This team is close. I want to be a part of this team and . . . I want to play football for you." And I can't forget that moment; I thought that was a pretty special moment. And I think the young man realized at that point in time that we have a chance here. We're gonna have to work hard, but we have a chance here to be pretty good. And so it was actually pretty special.

CN: Now, what makes Bibbs a special football player, both in terms of his physical gifts and the intangibles?

FARRAR: You know, when Michael came out of high school, Michael was a guy that's 6'3" and played corner, and could run. I'm talking about this guy could run. He came out of the Atlanta area and just probably didn't do as well in his grades in school as he should have. He came out of a tough . . . you know, mama and stepfather . . . great situation, it really is, but probably didn't get it at that point, but has done such a tremendous job since he's been at Copiah-Lincoln, I'm telling you, has done a super job in his books. And that is the thing . . . I've told him that I'm so proud of him, because . . . I told you he played corner coming out of high school, and what ended up happening to him, when he got to Copiah-Lincoln was he grew into about a 210, 215 pound guy that they moved down and let him play safety, and then he slid around to linebacker by his sophomore year, because he grew to about 220 at that point . . . and still can run. You know, God blesses you with speed, or you don't get it, you know. The great racehorses, they've been blessed with it or they can't run. There's a difference between a thoroughbred and a mule, no question. And he was blessed with that, and his athletic ability . . . he has got tremendous athletic ability, he was a great basketball player in high school, and I think all those things combined helped him become a very, very good athlete, and talking with him this past . . . well, actually about two days ago . . . he's up to about 232 and they're still clocking him in that 4.5 area, you know, the young man can really run, and he has a burning desire and hunger to be a good football player, he really does. That's his passion, and he knows that he's going to have to do well in school to achieve his passion. He's knows there's an opportunity there, and there's a lot of young men that will try, but there's a lot that won't, and he's gonna be one that tries. I think he's a very good football player; I hope he has an opportunity to walk in here with his head on the way I think it's gonna be and do what we think he can do.

CN: Now, does he have a redshirt year available?

FARRAR: You know what, he would have a redshirt year available . . . I don't think in my heart we'll be able to use that, but it could be a redshirt year available, yes.

CN: Is he going to stay at linebacker or is this a guy who might move back to the defensive backfield?

FARRAR: No, he should be a linebacker. That was the other thing that . . . you know, when I first saw him on tape, early in the year, having not played linebacker and they walked him out on receivers. He was covering receivers! You know, out in the number two spot, and a lot of times what I know offenses do is they'll put a really fast guy at number two because they know there's a linebacker going to cover him, or a safety-type guy, who may not have as much speed as a corner does, and he's running with these guys. But later in the year, what you get to see is his physicalness. You know, I wondered as well, early in the year, because I saw a tape on him early in the year, actually when I was in Oxford at Ole Miss. But you never could see him doing the things that you want to see a linebacker doing, and late in the year we got good tape on him and he plays very physical, you know, it was good enough tape that we got him on some blitzes coming and we made a little evaluation tape of him, and it showed him doing those things and it showed him putting his face in there and making some very good tackles, so that was your last question answered, and so from that point on it was a ‘go' for us and like I said, actually we had to . . . Coach Chizik had to come in and finish it up in the last hour, because it went down to the wire, it actually went down to the wire. It was a lot of fun, actually.

CN: Wallace Franklin, I don't know how familiar you are with him . . . but this is a kid out of Beaumont who Nebraska wanted . . . were you familiar with him coming out of high school?


CN: Talk about him, because I'll be honest, I'm excited about this kid. Talk about him, his gifts and what it took to get him on board here.

FARRAR: I'll tell you . . . Raney did a tremendous job working to get this young man. I mean, he stayed on top of it; he is a tireless recruiter that just goes from can til can't do every time he walks out that door to go work. This guy is going to help us in so many ways, because he is a good athlete, and once again you can't coach what he's got, and that's speed. I mean, this guy's a burner.

CN: He has good size, too, doesn't he?

FARRAR: Yeah. Yeah, he does; he has good size and can run. He's going to be a guy that, they'll go ‘Ooo' and ‘Ahh' even if we don't catch the ball, you know, because he's going to run by people, and you've got to have that threat to keep those guys backed up and always conscious of that, and you keep those opposing coaches knowing that when that guy walks in he can go the distance any time. You always have those guys in mind. And he is definitely one of those guys who can go the distance. He is a . . . I'm gonna pump up your hometown. You know even when I was at Rice, I didn't have the opportunity to get some of these guys, but we had some good football players that came out of the Beaumont area, and the one thing that you could always find in that Beaumont area is tremendous speed. And the coaching is second to none, all in that area, those kids are well-coached. They know what it's like to play in big-time football games, and be put into big-time tough situations, so I think that's why he was so successful in the JUCO league, and I hope and pray that's why he's going to be successful when he gets here, you know, he's already been there, done that.

CN: There's no guarantees, but I just sometimes I just think about him lined up across from Blythe, and the possibilities.

FARRAR: He's special now, he's really, really special. I look forward to seeing him play, I really do, really look forward to it.

CN: Now, you mentioned . . . you're on the football operations side, but how much did you being a football man and not a bureaucrat . . . how much has that helped Coach Chizik that you understand what happens on the field first?

FARRAR: You know, I think it mattered to him a lot. I actually had one year of this under my belt coming out of Oxford because when I left Rice when Coach Hatfield retired there, all I'd ever done was coach. So getting to Ole Miss and getting one year of this . . . I was pretty much in the same role there . . . it actually helped me a lot but I'm thinking and hoping that Coach Chizik did bring me on because I do have football experience and when you turn that tape on and you start evaluating a young man out of high school, you know what you're looking for. The other thing is, is you understand sometimes what the players' needs are, and what they want, and you know you gotta walk in there and hug on some of them from time to time because they got fussed at a little bit, and you know, and saying, "Hey, if he wasn't fussing, he didn't love you, man, and he wouldn't want to put you in that position." So, I hope that it's benefited in a lot of ways, the coaching experience and . . . I think it's valuable. I hope it is.

CN: Now, you know, you mentioned you have a couple of young men who work with you, Erik Link and Travis Pearson. We get through the recruiting period, now Coach Sheppard sort of takes over in terms of strength and conditioning. Between the time that the recruiting period ends and conditioning begins, what were the things that you had to do? I know Erik just came on board, but what are some of the things that you had to do between that period up up to the beginning of spring ball?

FARRAR: Well, you know, actually Erik had been here, Erik Link, he was a grad assistant here that did such a super job in everything that we asked him to do. He's a young coach, and Coach Chizik . . . man, I thought it was a great hire because he knows a lot of the coaches in this state, he knew the ins and outs of Iowa State and what direction we needed to go in, and actually he saved us on many, many things; Erik is going to be fantastic, and I think Erik could be a fantastic football coach as well. Travis came in . . . he came in a little later than we did, but just having Travis here to help pick up and go forward with what we had already started . . . he took on a specific role, being the right-hand man and going to get these guys and doing this and doing that. It was just . . . both those guys are going to be tremendous; they're both tremendous. We all are actually one guy that split out during the day and didn't come back together. Some of the roles were just making sure those guys were over there and assisting the strength coaches as much as we could, and watching and keeping up with what we need to keep up with, and just getting around the kids and getting to know them, because a lot of the guys were still on the road at that point in time, and letting them know that we're actually human beings and we're here for their good, and when things happen, it's tough. It's tough on the kids, it's tough on families, and we understood that coming in because at some point in time we had all been in that position, with the exception of a few guys. You know Coach Chiz has made probably a lot better decisions than some of us have, and . . . I knew it was tough on the guys that were leaving here, and it was tough on some of these kids that had been recruited by those guys. You know I think just being around them and letting them know that we cared and we were concerned and we were there for them, not just to have a job, but here for them. Because that's why you're in this profession . . . people talk about the coaches are getting paid . . . well, for a long time we didn't, we didn't get paid and we're in this profession for one reason and one reason only . . . because we really love kids and we want to see them be successful in life. You know, I know that all I've ever wanted to do was to give back a little bit of what was given to me. I had a deaf-mute mom and dad,and Dad died when I was young and I ended up living with grandmas and granddads and staying with my uncle and aunt probably through high school all the way through college. And actually, coaches have been probably the most important people in my life besides my aunt and uncle, and I know in 1983, I had a very serious car accident that they didn't expect me to live, they didn't think they'd get me to the hospital but I got there and they put me together enough that I'd live another couple of days and then I was put into another situation because of that, and actually the only reason that I'm still alive today . . . number one, the good Lord, and number two, because my aunt knew that one of the men that had made a tremendous impact on my life, she had him call me, and that gave me the fight to try to fight back. What I'm saying there is, you know, we have a huge responsibility because these young men, they remember things and just when you don't think they hear you, they do, I promise you. Good and bad. And we have the opportunity to reach out and touch lives and that's probably the most important part of our job, is to reach out and touch these young men, and help them to become grown men.

CN: Coach, as a football man, evaluate the talent that was left in the cover, as well as the character and heart of these young men that you-all have worked with. Obviously you're going to be bringing in your own players next year . . . you did get a few players in here, the three linemen, Patrick Neal . . . but what you're working with now was what was here. So talk about these young men, both in terms of the talent you've observed, and the character you've observed.

FARRAR: Well, I'm gonna tell you what, I think Coach McCarney and his staff did a tremendous job as far as getting these young men that . . . they have great character, and a tremendous work ethic. You can't work them hard enough; that says a lot. It speaks volumes about the kids in this area as well . . . the work ethic of the people that are in this area. And there is some talent on this football team. We made a move here or there, just to see if it fits in a little differently, and we're excited about what we have to work with and we're excited about the guys that we're bringing in to mix in with the group of young men here, and see what we can come out . . . you know, what product we can put on the football field next fall, and hope we can put some W's on the board with it.

CN: How did spring ball go? And also, you got here, as you said, in December . . . every once in a while we ask about the ‘eye test.' Looking at these guys the very first day of the strength and conditioning program and looking at them now with a week to go in terms of spring ball, what do you see in terms of their physiques . . . what they looked like then and what they look like now, and what do you see in terms of their strength, their physicality and their speed and explosiveness?

FARRAR: Well, that is something I think Coach Sheppard . . . boy, he brings a lot to the table. Coach Becton was in here with him early, Torre, and boy they just put their heads down and dug their elbows in and those guys have did a tremendous job with the speed and the conditioning, as well as adding a lot of strength to these young men, I think that that is one of the biggest gains that I've seen. I've seen these guys get in the weight room and I've seen tremendous improvement as far as their physicality, as you say. I think some of the things . . . you're blessed with what you have, usually, at this point in time, but maybe some of the things that Coach Sheppard and Coach Becton have done with them in the weight room is bringing just a little more out of them. They're growing, they're getting bigger, they're getting stronger. That has been a pleasant, pleasant thing to watch is to watch them grow physically. It's been a pleasure to watch them grow mentally, because a lot of the things that we've put in is just a little different discipline that we have. You know, every staff's got their own way of doing things and we believe wholeheartedly that the little things are as important, probably more important than the big things, because those little things lead to the big things. And so it has been a pleasure to watch these young men grow, it really has. And they have grown physically, and I really believe they've grown mentally as well.

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