Coach Dan Mullen of Mississippi State may end up being a trendsetter in the world of college football recruiting, and at the very least, other SEC coaches reportedly like his thought process on certain topics.
Alleviating some of the strain caused by the recruiting process is a major concern, and Mullen tackled that problem from a coach's standpoint back in February.
For coaches, the recruiting trail can be absolutely draining, and that will only increase if more rules are deregulated, especially ones regarding communication. That's why Mullen is reportedly thinking about making a proposal for a four-week dead period in the summer, according to Michael Carvell of ajc.com. Here's what Mullen had to say in February about his potential proposal, per Carvell:
I don’t want to want to sound like a non-worker, but everybody worries about these new rules, and how you will be working 24 hours per day. They want to know where is your down time? If they want a time for where coaches have to shut it down, then you designate four weeks in the summer where you’re completely off. You can do no recruiting during those four weeks, and you’ve eliminated the problem for all coaches.
Currently, we have eight weeks where we’re not allowed to do anything with our (current) players. You can do that for coaches with recruiting, too. You would let the schools pick their four weeks because schools get out earlier in the South than they do up North. Schools up North, they would need later recruiting times to do camps and summer visits. You can pick your four weeks, and move from there. So for four weeks, you can’t do anything during the summer.
College football in general is incredibly competitive, and that extends to the recruiting trail. One could argue that the recruiting game could be just as intense as the actual one on the football field.
This proposed dead period could also help take some pressure off of the recruits as well. Players are under recruiting pressure earlier and earlier in the process nowadays, and this is on top of the everyday challenges of being a high school student-athlete.
When you really break it down, there's not much to dislike.
Carvell just recently caught up with other SEC coaches and got their thoughts on Mullen's idea. According to his report, there "seemed to be in unanimous support" pending a few tweaks. Here are some of the quotes from a few notable SEC coaches:
LSU’s Les Miles: “You might give them two weeks. You might give them a week off in June, and another one on July that might be a quality ‘dead period’ where you could absolutely not do anything. But I think what happens is that in the summer time, moms and dads get around and they want to go see places. So you’d have to plan it right to give them time to do that.”
Tennessee’s Butch Jones: “I entirely agree with Dan. I think what happened, with the acceleration of recruiting, there really are no off times. I think at the end of the day, we’re still just like these student-athletes. I remember growing up, July was a big time for family vacation, and that’s where our family kind of grew together. I think (recruiting) has been accelerated so hectic that I would be a proponent (of Mullen’s idea), even if it’s only a two-week dead period in July, where it really allows these individuals to sit back, relax and have some time off. I think the other things with these rules that we lose sight of is that we still have to coach our current teams. We’re responsible to them. We’re mentors to our current players. I think, with the all the deregulation going on, is that we have to remember we have to take care of our current teams as well.”
James Franklin and Mark Stoops also responded to the potential proposal favorably, per Carvell's report.
It seems as if having a designated time off from recruiting is a rather popular idea, and frankly, I don't blame these coaches for getting behind it.
Coaching is a stressful job, believe me, and this is coaching at the highest level other than the NFL mind you. These coaches are getting paid well, but when you factor in the stress of the season coupled with the unrelenting schedule of recruiting—it can be a bit much.
In fact, having a summer dead period may actually help the recruiting process. Both coaches and recruits will be fresher (not to mention recruiting experts and writers), and once the dead period ends, the intensity level and focus on the recruiting trail would be at an all-time high.
Mullen's idea is a good one, even with the potential tweaks, so it's encouraging to see other SEC coaches getting behind it.
The recruiting process does need to change, and it's productive changes like this—rather than more deregulations—that could end up impacting all involved in a positive way.