Bahn: Freeze Recruiting Plan For ASU Not Easy To Define, But Has Worked Before

by Chris Bahn  on Tuesday, Apr. 26, 2011 1:00 pm  

ASU coach Hugh Freeze can't easily boil down his recruiting philosophy, but it's proven to be effective. (Photo by Ashley George)

Every facet of the Arkansas State football program under first-year Coach Hugh Freeze can seemingly be boiled down into one, succinct mission statement. For example, Freeze has what he labels as an “It” for his offensive, defensive and special teams philosophies.

Freeze wants his offense to be “a fundamentally efficient scoring machine.” His defensive “It” is to “relentlessly pursue the football and knock the ever-loving crap out of the opponent.” ASU’s special teams are charged with “finding that winning edge.”

Certainly, there’s more to each part of the game, but those “Its” are something Freeze and his staff repeated to each other and players on a daily basis during spring practice. Freeze hopes each mantra finds its way into the minds and hearts of players during summer workouts.

Freeze’s “It” when talking about recruiting? That’s not so simple to define.

There’s really no single sentence breakdown for what the first-year coach hopes to accomplish when trying to fill the Red Wolves’ roster. Paring down Freeze’s recruiting philosophy to one simple phrase? Not happening.

“That’s a whole book. That’s too much to describe to you,” Freeze said during a recent visit. “I’ve got to find a shorter version of what ‘It’ is when we’re taking recruiting. I can tell you it’s a 12-month plan.”

While there is an “It” for recruiting, instead of a short and memorable quote, Freeze has a half-inch thick, three-ring binder. Each of Arkansas State’s nine assistant coaches is as familiar with this plan as they are with the offensive, defensive and special teams bullet points.

They’re putting it to work beginning this week during an open evaluation period for recruiting. Each stop on the recruiting trail — Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, California and Dallas — will be guided by that binder. Sections inside include the recruiting calendar for the year, a mail out schedule, profile sheets for prospects, a plan for in-home visits and a section on character.

Freeze, like all head coaches, is required to stay off the road during this evaluation period. He trusts his coaches are following the plan as they head out in search of prospects and building relationships.

Not being able to go see coaches and prospects himself isn’t something Freeze likes. But in a move that tells you a lot about Freeze’s ability to work around rules (or within the rules if you prefer to look at it that way,) ASU recently hosted a clinic for high school coaches. If Freeze can’t get out to see the Mid-South high school coaches, he can bring them to him.

It’s the sort of crafty and detailed approach to recruiting that Freeze learned while on Ole Miss’ staff under Ed Orgeron, widely considered one of the best recruiters in college football.

Freeze has taken Orgeron’s philosophies, added to them and put them to paper. There is plenty of tangible evidence that Orgeron’s approach works.



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