Jones changes with times
Recruiting and scheduling among topics Jones takes on
This is the third of a three-part series of questions and answers with Hawaii football coach June Jones. The questions are from Dave Reardon
and Kalani Simpson
of the Star-Bulletin and the KKEA 1420-AM UH football radio team of Bobby Curran and Robert Kekaula.
Even June Jones has had to adapt.
The Hawaii coach arrived in Manoa in 1999 with his own way of doing things, often going against the conventions of college football.
He appears to be completely justified in employing a four-receiver passing offense that was ahead of its time (the spread lives up to its name in the way it has permeated the game, flowing even into run-first bastions such as the Big Ten). But Jones has made some concessions.
For example, he has altered his recruiting philosophy. Convinced that UH would have a difficult time competing with big-time programs, Jones used to wait until later than most other coaches before making scholarship offers. Recently, though, Jones has gotten into the game much earlier, with offers made and accepted more than a year ahead of time.
Will Jones stick with this new philosophy?
Question: Can you talk about your shift in recruiting philosophy? A lot of scholarship offers are going out earlier now.
Answer: We did that last year. I don't know looking back on it. We have already offered a lot of kids this year. But to be quite honest I don't know whether that works or not. ... We haven't seen the kids yet, some of them are still struggling with grades and we don't know if they're going to make it, and if we have kids we like, we've already given that scholarship to other guys.
The bottom line is we can offer a million guys and if you don't ever call the guy back he'll de-commit and go someplace else.
But we have done it. On the top kids it matters. That quarterback we had (Robert Marve, who chose Miami over Hawaii), we wouldn't have even had a shot at that kid if we didn't offer him on the phone.
Q: Are you still thinking about stationing a coach on the mainland for recruiting purposes?
A: Yeah, but I was going to move a guy to do that and then I'd let Greg (defensive coordinator McMackin) just be one short and he didn't want to do that this year, so ... but, yes.
For 30 years we had three coaches on offense and three on defense and a head coach. The NFL has 25 coaches (per team) now. I'm going, 'No wonder these guys get so screwed up.' That's what happens. You've got 13 guys on defense, you've got one head coach. And you've got 12 guys who don't believe in the coordinator that's doing it. You used to have to worry about three guys, now you have to worry about 12 guys trying to get you (fired).
Q: Did you have 13 guys when you were an offensive coordinator?
A: No. My owner loved me. I'll get a line coach, a receivers coach, and a running backs coach.
Q: You continue to lead the league in overqualified graduate assistants. What will Terry Duffield's jobs be?
A: It's up to Greg to assign him. I think he's doing most of the defensive computer stuff. But he'll have some gameday responsibilities.
Q: How about the other new GA, Brian Kajiyama?
A: Brian's great. He keeps us all in good spirits all the time. It was his birthday today, we had a little party for him. He'll do a lot of the computer stuff and a lot of the recruiting background. He's a great kid.
Q: Did you see where they were talking about the four-team playoff for the championship?
A: I did hear that. That won't be until 2011. I might not be alive in 2011.
I would say they could ... and they could utilize the bowl games still and they could stagger them so the money is still the same. And rotate just like they do with the games now ... kind of makes sense. I would think if they were to do something like that you'd always have somebody who was down at three, four, five that thinks they're the best in the country.
Q: Is the gap closing between mid-majors and BCS or are programs like you guys and Boise State just an aberration?
A: I don't know because we're not really around it a lot. But I don't see a whole lot of difference. Fresno State, not last year but the previous two or three years, even though they lost two or three at the end, they had SC beat that year, kind of let it get away from them and went downhill. But, I don't know how to answer that.
Certainly the conferences, the top four or five teams in our conference -- if you were at Mississippi, week in and week out in the SEC is more physical than in the WAC down the line with the lower of the 10 teams. But if you go play Boise, you go play Fresno, you go play Reno, all of those schools can compete in the top conferences.
Q: With Boise's accomplishments and Colt's, do you think that would inspire other WAC programs to make real commitments to football, to invest more financially, hire more established coaches?
A: I think schools are making some steps to get better. San Jose, New Mexico State, those teams are going to be better. And because of their coaches there's going to be consistency too, which you have to have. If you're constantly changing this, changing that, you've got no chance to stay consistent winning and keep the tradition going. It's very hard to do that.
Q: A lot of scheduling should have been done when you were 3-9 (in 2000).
A: Thank you. That's the way it should have been. I agree. (All the big BCS teams). All of them.
Now it's harder. The only way you can -- to me, the next five years it's going to be harder if we have openings. ... Even that is going to be costly because we're going to have to pay a I-AA team, because I-AA teams are being paid on the mainland to go to UCLA, to go to Stanford, to go wherever.
But what should be done is 2012 through 2018, we should have all of them done. And they should be done now. Because even a coach would just say, 'Yeah, go ahead.' Because six years from now he might be dead or not here. Yeah, exactly.
A lot of those teams would give reasons why they don't want to, the money will change, we'll wait. Well, just put it in the contract: 'Teams will have the right to renegotiate that in 2011 for the 2013 game.' But get them on the hook. There are ways to solve that problem.
I'm still kind of waiting to see if there are any repercussions on the Hawaii exemption.
Q: Did you ever think there's a chance you'd be here this long?
A: Well, I was thinking I'd end my career here. But I've never been at any place this long. Two years is the longest I've been somewhere (other than three years as head coach in Atlanta.) Well, I was in Atlanta longer because I was an assistant with Jerry (Glanville). That was my longest stay.
Q: Did you ever think you might make $1 million a year?
A: No. But college football has changed so much in the last 10 years. You couldn't predict it. And I didn't come here for the money. It was just a by-product of college football.
Q: Is there any way your contract gets done before the year starts?
A: I'm just going to let them deal with it. I don't know what the procedure is on it. My whole (pro) career I never had a contract. So having one is new to me.
I remember almost every job that I had in the NFL, they offered it at two (years) and I always took one. Because I had a lot of confidence in the places that I was at, if it was really bad and they were giving you two or three years for nothing. And you'd turn it around and you can't make any money. And if you have a two-year contract (success in the first year) it isn't going to help you.
But most coaches are into security, you know, they get fired, they want to have the contract.
Q: This is not a job for security, is it?
A: Exactly. I lived in 18 cities in 15 years. But I climbed the ladder very quickly.
I'm talking about these are full moves, furniture. Two full moves in one year twice.