spudlig3 question-Damian Payne was very impressive in the spring of last year when he enrolled early, suffered an injury that kept him off of the field last season and seems lost in the shuffle right now. Where is he right now and what do you expect out of him going forward?
"Damian is fighting for the strong safety spot. He's got he size and the athleticism to do some really good things like play man-to-man coverage as far as making the right reads and making the right calls. Just like the others, he's made very good strides as far as doing the right thing and making the right calls and stuff like that. So He's in the mix for the strong safety spot with a bunch of other guys. I wish I could tell you right now who is starting game 1, but that's what we have all summer for."
spudlig3 question-What's the status of Mo Lee? What are the plans for him the fall?
"The great thing about Mo is that he's got the speed and athleticism to do a bunch of things. If he can play corner, that's where we feel like we need the depth right now. He'll get some opportunities at corner. We stuck him at safety to see how he could move in the post, to see how he could move without having to cover. Let's hope he has the ability to play corner or safety, but right now we've decided that we'd like to see what he can do at the corner spot. "
You're the recruiting coordinator and have been for a few years now. What changes have you noticed about Utah recruiting and recruiting in general since you took over that role?
"There's a lot more interest in Utah since we've switched to the Pac 12, but I don't think we're really going to see the changes we want until we start winning in the conference. It's one thing to be invited and be a part of it, it's another thing to win on a consistent basis. I think if we win, I think that will change the landscape even more. You're always trying to improve, always trying to get better while understanding that you don't have all the answers. Just because we make the move to the Pac 12 doesn't mean that we make wholesale changes to what we do. What we've done has been successful. It's all Kyle's philosophy. As the recruiting coordinator, I just follow Kyle's philosophy and make sure everyone has the tools they need and the resources they need to do their job and just facilitate. With the move you're looking at an increased budget and the ability to do some different things. Add some resources here and there to what you're dong, but the model that we've used has been successful and we want to keep using it."
When you're recruiting a player, what specific things are you looking for?
"Number one is athleticism. Long legged defenders that can run. Number two is tough guys. Because of the way Kyle runs the program, if you're not recruiting guys that can get yelled at and take it, what you get are guys in here that can't take the discipline and then they're out after a year and you don't want that. Then, guys that you can count on to not screw up the deal off the field. Character guys. Guys that are very similar to tough guys and are guys that understand Kyle's mentality towards off the field behavior and what is expected. Guys that have a past that supports their ability to do that. You can recruit the last two, tough guys that have good character, but if they're not athletic you're going to have trouble winning games. They can win you some, but they won't win you a ton, so athleticism has to play a part in that, but those are the three most important things when you're recruiting a kid to Utah."
What goes into the process of recruiting and eventually offering a player?
"The area coach does the groundwork. He brings the stuff back to the staff. The offensive and defensive staff then look at the prospects together and talk about them and what positives they bring to the table and whether they met the criteria that we discussed. The position coach and the coordinator have to pass off on it for the offer to go out. We include Kyle in situations where there is a difference of opinion on a player, but Kyle also okays all of the offers that go out. It goes from the area coach, to the position coach, to the coordinator, but Kyle knows about every offer."
utahlionfan question-You've had a lot of success on the recruiting trail, specifically in Texas. What can you attribute that personal success in recruiting to?
"Success in recruiting is really unknown until we get a few years down the road depending on what they've contributed to your football team. What have they done to contribute? I look at it in that sense. The most important thing is if you can get them here to Utah on an unofficial visit or an official visit, then the program really sells itself. They get to meet to the players, and they get to meet the coaches and they see that we're genuine. They see the great academics that we have and the great fans. I think there are a lot of preconceived notions about what Salt Lake City and Utah are all about. A lot of that is educating people and getting them out here to see for themselves. It's a great place to be and isn't hard to sell. I went here and there's a lot of pride for me for this school. I love it. It's not like I'm selling something I don't love, which makes it easy for me. You have to go after the right guys. Guys that meet the criteria you're looking for. Whatever their reservations are or hot-points are, you have to find that out, answer their questions and answer their concerns."
Players change their minds often these days in the recruiting process. Utah has lost a few players that they had verbal commitments from as the process has gone along. How do you maintain that player and keep them committed?
"You try to help them understand what the word commitment means."
Ask A Coach Interview- Morgan Scalley Part 2
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