Posted: 2:14 p.m. Friday, April 19, 2013
By Wescott Eberts
The Texas Longhorns aren't "mom-and-popping it" any more in terms of their football support staff, the term that head coach used when introducing new director of player personnel Patrick Suddes back in early March.
Since that time the notable hire was of former Texas commit Riley Dodge, the son of former North Texas and Southlake Carroll head coach Todd Dodge, though it wasn't announced by the school. Dodge will fill an offensive quality control position that will combine scouting of opponents, self-scouting, and some recruiting responsibilities.
Two other hires and a job posting have flown under the radar.
In support of Suddes, the Longhorns now have an assistant director of player personnel, Justin Wright, in place, according to the staff directory on Mack Brown-Texas Football, though with such a common name and no announcement, it's difficult to determine anything about his background.
Another hire showed up on the message boards for Orangebloods and Hookem.com, that of the new so-called Director of Creative Services, Derek Ochoa, who tweeted out his hire and has his title in his Twitter bio:
It's been a fun ride, but it's time to move on. I will be joining the Univ of Texas staff as the Director of Creative Services for Football!— Derek Ochoa (@DerekOchoa25) April 11, 2013
Ochoa comes from LSU, where he held a similar position for Les Miles and was responsible in early 2011 for helping to develop an app that highlights the Tiger football program, which was apparently the first of its kind. He's a Tiger alum and has worked producing videos of LSU football since 2008, joining the staff in an official capacity in 2010.
Back when spring practice started and Brown announced the creation of the Directory of Player Personnel position, video and social media were among his points of emphasis:
One time we were the best in our media guides and one time we were the best in our website. Right now I don't think we are, and that's who this person we think needs to be...
If you look at social media is a huge part of that position now; video being sent out over airwaves is a huge part of that position now. All those things are things that are bigger than they were five years ago. Every kid is on Twitter. Every kid is on Facebook. Now they are jumping on Instagram. It's changing so fast that we feel like there's a person out there that can help do a better job with their process.
In the hire of Ochoa, Texas seems to have found someone who can bring some expertise and pioneering ideas to a football program that is trying to sell itself in the face of disappointing seasons and a rising regional rival that can offer the chance the play in the best conference in the country.
In other words, it's harder to sell Texas now than it was a few short years ago, so the 'Horns need to perfect their sales pitch, as well as ensure that their evaluations are thorough and complete.
As for the job posting, the Longhorns are also bringing on a defensive quality control assistant, a posting that has now been closed, suggesting that Brown and Suddes have already made a hire there or are close to doing so.
For those wondering about the specific responsibilities for the position, the posting outlines them in detail:
Assist with the coordination and implementation of the daily operational, administrative and logistical processes within the University of Texas Football Program. Co-coordinate the walk-on program to research defensive student-athletes. Assist with film cut-ups and distribution of defensive prospective student-athletes to coaching staff. Support the planning and execution of the annual high school coaching clinic and the summer football camp(duties will include assisting with securing speakers for defensive schemes and hiring guest coaches with a defensive background). Assist with hosting prospective student-athletes and guests on official and unofficial visits to campus. Assist with updating recruiting lists at the direction of the Director of Player Personnel. Assist with monitoring contacts and evaluations conducted by the coaching staff Assist with coordination of securing transcripts for selected prospects in collaboration with Student Services. Assist with High School Relations Services and Compliance Services Staff. Assist with securing up-to-date physicals for annual football camp.
Of course, the job responsibilities for Dodge will essentially be the same on the offensive side of the ball.
And just like that, the personnel department for the Longhorns that only weeks ago included Ken Rucker and the administrative assistants for the coaching staff has now started to grow into a comprehensive and well-rounded staff that could soon start to provide some competitive advantages in the state of Texas.