Coker Signing Day Press Conference

Coach Larry Coker talked about the latest group of University of Miami recruits today. Coker discussed the possibility of late signees, bringing in no wide receivers or running backs and the publicity of recruiting today.

Is recruiting becoming more stressful now because of all the publicity?

It is more stressful, but you understand it. I understand it from the standpoint of that it is a special day for the players. It is a marquee day for many of them. But, that does make it a little more stressful, and I think sometimes the players legitimately do not know where they want to go until the last moment. Some know. I think the media sometimes tell them, ‘yeah you know where you want to go, but let's wait until this time and this day to announce. It is stressful, no question.

How important is committing the best players from Dade County?

It is huge. It is great football, great coaching, and great talent. I think that is what has made Miami great. With the first national championship teams, guys came together and said, ‘lets stay at home, and make the University of Miami great. We have to do a good job in South Florida, and if we do that, we have a chance to be very competitive every year. It is huge we do that.

Tell us about having no WR, QB, or RB?

Hopefully the day is not over. There are some things that are still out there, and maybe we will have a chance to fill some of those needs. In the perfect world, you sign a little bit of everything, but you do not turn down a great offensive or defensive lineman in hopes of maybe signing this player. Hopefully we will fill some of theses needs before the day is over.

How much did you want to emphasize the offensive line this year?

I think this could be the best offensive line group that we have had. Overall I am very pleased with these players. If you look at some of these games, it shows how important the offensive line is. I watched Tom Brady, and they protect him extremely well, but the times they don't, I think he had four interceptions against the Dolphins.

What was your thought process of not recruiting another QB?

We decided that we are not going to panic. We have two outstanding players and we have a walk-on and another. We will probably have four guys taking snaps this year. We are not going to panic. We are not going to just take somebody. This was not a real strong year for quarterbacks across the country. Next year it will be important that we sign the player we want. We have already targeted 12 quarterbacks next year and we have looked at seven of them personally.

Talk about not being able to commit a quarterback this year.

You would love to bring in a quarterback every year. The problem you have is that everybody thinks these two young quarterbacks that we have are good too. People will tell you the competition does not bother me, and then go someplace else. There are not any secrets anymore, so people know.

How important was landing Kenny Phillips?

It was huge. Not only is he the number one recruit in Dade County, he is an outstanding prospect. You have some guys that are nice on paper, but this guy is nice on the field. He gets it done. Being able to keep a player of that caliber at home is tremendous. That has not always been the case.

How much of an emphasis was put on the academic side this year?

You cannot have three or four juniors go to the NFL, and lose two or three freshman that you do not get into school. Then you are getting hurt at both ends. We have to make sure that they are good enough to win. If they are not good enough to play here, we are not going to try to sign them. The first criteria is that they are good enough to win a National Championship. We put a real high priority on it and we started early to make sure that we recruited the right people along with the right type of players.

What affect does the internet have on recruiting?

I think it has an affect. Sometimes coaches will tell players, say this on the internet so we throw them off, or don't say this because it is going to get out. I think kids today are pretty wise and are not up front as to what they are thinking.

How many scholarships are left?

I think we are in good shape. We didn't want Roscoe Parrish or Frank Gore to leave, but they did and so now numbers wise we are going to be fine.

Will you continue to recruit other players, even if a player has given you a verbal commitment like Derek Shaw did?

You like to be loyally committed, but you also see the pitfalls of that as well. The loyalty and commitment has to go both ways. I think we will be aware of that fact, that we cannot go through that next year and not sign a quarterback.

Was it a shock that Derek Shaw chose to go to another school?

It was not a total shock. It is a single parent home and distance was really a factor. Everybody wants to visit and be recruited by Miami, but when you get on the airplane and fly six hours, those are some things you have to figure in. That is why we have to do great in South Florida, but you look at the quarterbacks we have had, they have come from all over. We are going to scour the country and sign the best player.

Will any of the offensive linemen play next year?

My approach is this; if you come in at great shape, and are one of the best players, then you are going to be on the two deep and let's go. I think some of these guys can make the two deep. They are in great condition and they are talented. It is a very tough position to play as a freshman, but I think we have some pretty talented guys that can play.

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