“There’s very little time to have a dead period.”

I don’t know if you saw this story yesterday about Matt Luke and his decision to step away from college football, but it’s an interesting read.  Georgia’s former o-line coach is presented as the canary in the coal mine with regard to the toll non-stop recruiting is taking on college coaches.

The entire recruiting calendar has accelerated exponentially compared to 15 years ago, says Kirby Smart, Luke’s former boss at Georgia. Prospects are deciding on their destinations earlier. When Smart and Luke were coming up as SEC assistants, prospects often made their decisions after official visits in December and January.

That timeline is now spring or summer before their senior season—something that resulted in officials creating the December early signing date and adding springtime official visits. These changes have only expanded and accelerated the recruiting calendar.

Smart sometimes feels like he spends more time recruiting potential players than he spends with his current players and his own family.

“Every coach, true to their heart, would say there should be more dead periods so they could (A) be with their families and (B) be with their team,” he says. “There’s 85 kids, including walk-ons, on campus that get neglected, too, because you’re spending so much time recruiting.”

Smart expects more coaches to go the way of Luke, particularly in the SEC, where he says TV contracts have sent salaries soaring, affording coaches the opportunity to step away. The 15-month pandemic recruiting dead period that ended last spring showed coaches what life without recruiting is like.

“The x-factor in this was COVID,” Smart says. “You can’t measure what COVID did to a coach’s mindset. There’s two types of people: (1) the ones who had too much [off time] and couldn’t wait to go back recruiting; or (2) the ones who loved it and asked, Why can’t I live a normal life like this?

It reminds me of the observation someone made a couple of weeks ago about how the staffing model is changing to one of putting the younger assistants in the on-field roles and backing them with older coaches as analysts.

“Almost every person I talk to, it’s, I don’t know how people over 30 keep up with all this s—!” says Scott Roussel, president of FootballScoop.com, a site devoted to football coaching news. “The demands are constant. A lot of guys are getting burned out. There is a significant groundswell of people saying, There’s got to be a better life out there right now.

The amusing part of this article is here:

Other head coaches are more laid-back. For instance, Steve Spurrier, the former Florida and South Carolina coach, notoriously spent much of his offseason golfing. The coaching profession, he says, has turned into coaches gloating not about their on-field success but their off-the-field grinding. “Coaches are saying, ‘Well, I work hard. Nobody is going to outwork me. Here to midnight every night!’” Spurrier says. “That’s the theme to go get a job is trying to convince the ADs and everybody how hard you work instead of ‘Hey, what’s your record?’”

Yeah, can anyone imagine the OBC succeeding in the current recruiting environment?  Actually, we don’t have to imagine that:  it was the story of his last few seasons at South Carolina.  That ended well.


Filed under Recruiting, The Evil Genius

26 responses to ““There’s very little time to have a dead period.”

  1. Jack Klompus

    It’s surprising to me that more people don’t go down this path, coach, leader, whatever.

    But what’s more surprising is that the NCAA just stands there and watches while it’s crown jewel continues digging it’s hole.


  2. prosticutor

    Last week I sat at a bar with G5 school linebackers coach. For the past year, his wife has lived 800 miles away in the midwest. She visits when she can, he never goes home. Evaluation period had just started, and he was getting on a plane the next day for Florida to get back to ‘crootin.

    Sidenote- he coached under Bobo at one point and was very familiar with the south GA high school scene. That was interesting to say the least. *coughProbstcough”


  3. gurkhadawg

    There is nothing more rewarding than hard work. Life is much easier when you realize that. Sure, there is a limit and burnout is real, but burnout is pretty rare. My mean ole dad told me : “nobody ever got in trouble by working hard or keeping their mouth shut”.

    Liked by 3 people

    • RangerRuss


      Liked by 1 person

    • Burnout isn’t rare … that’s what the great resignation was all about. People grew tired of the disappearance of the line between life and work with the rise of remote (and now, hybrid) work.

      Hard work where you can’t (or won’t) take time to enjoy the fruits of your labor is just toil. A wise man wrote that was like “chasing the wind.”

      I’ve seen too many of my colleagues focus on their careers to the detriment of everything else. Sure, they were “successful,” made a lot of money, and provided for their families. Many of them ended up divorced, estranged from their children, missed vacations and totally stressed out, but they were successful client service professionals.

      To bring this back around to coaching, they do it because they loved the interaction on the field and in the locker room. They thrive on the competition between the white lines. Maybe they start out enjoying the recruiting side of it, but we’re seeing now how that is robbing them of the benefits of being a coach. Less time with your family and your players … more time catering to other people’s kids and their families. Kirby struck a nerve in his press conference after the Florida game when he talked about how he spends time getting good players and taking time away from being with his family.

      Eventually, one has to win out. The successful person figures out when work is more important and when life is more important.

      Liked by 8 people

      • gurkhadawg

        By hard work , I don’t mean working 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. If someone’s job requires that , they should find a new job. If your colleagues were not happy , they should have found a new job. I am saying hard work is what makes time with family, friends, etc so enjoyable. If you think your wife , kids and friends want to hang out with you 10 hours a day, I’ve got some bad news for you. My parents grew up in during the Great Depression, yours may have too. If you can find someone who grew up in the ‘30’s, ask them what they think about the value of work.

        Liked by 1 person

        • It wasn’t that they weren’t happy. It was that they thought they were doing right by their families. They may have even enjoyed the idea of getting a client call for an urgent meeting as they were walking out the door to leave on vacation with the family.

          I think we’re saying the same thing, but a lot of people believe hard work is being available 24x7x365 regardless of the impact on the person’s well-being.


          • gurkhadawg

            Yeah, we agree. I’m just saying it bugs me when people imply that “work” is a bad thing that we should try to get out of. I think work is a good and rewarding part of life so long as we keep it in perspective.

            Liked by 3 people

            • Absolutely agree on that sentence. Meaningful work that allows you to provide for your family and gets you jazzed up to go to work is a big part of life. I hated cutting my yard growing up, but I enjoyed seeing the before and after of it (and I knew that meant I would be able to go the golf course that weekend). I loved cutting other people’s grass because of the economic incentive (as a kid, I would have never cut a neighbor’s yard just because I wanted to see the finished product).

              Liked by 2 people

      • RangerRuss

        If you don’t make it to work Saturday, don’t bother coming in on Sunday.

        Liked by 4 people

      • Corch Irvin Meyers, Former Jags Corch (2021)

        Bingo. As with everything in life, you makes your choices and takes your chances. While hard work is to be admired, what this is goes way beyond that concept.

        The Sabans and Kirbys of the world will do everything they’re allowed under the rules to get a leg up on everyone else. So perhaps the rules need to be tweaked to save men like that from themselves?


        • I really hope Kirby tells his guys that they don’t need to check in while on vacation. Any work you do is your choice not my expectation. The consummate professional doesn’t need to be told when to work or how to work. Do what you need to to get results.

          I’m sure Kirby isn’t an easy guy to work for just like he’s not an easy guy to play for.


    • Corch Irvin Meyers, Former Jags Corch (2021)

      Well, of all statements lacking in any kind of empathy, this certainly is one.


    • debbybalcer

      It depends on whether you want to work to live or live to work. Your job replaces you in two weeks your family can’t replace you. I do think COVID has reset the thinking of a lot of younger people.


  4. Corch Irvin Meyers, Former Jags Corch (2021)

    That’s a great story, and exactly what I said when he left: There NEEDS to be more dead periods. Don’t worry like Kirby does about where you put them in, you just do. Make February through June or July the dead period. Let the recruits enjoy their spring semester of high school without the constant recruiting, and let CFB coaches have an offseason so they can enjoy their families, their teams, get through Spring Practice, and pick up recruiting again in the summer.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Spurrier also famously bagged on other NFL coaches for working too hard when he took the Washington job in ‘02, saying that working long hours and sleeping at the office didn’t seem to be working out too hot for some of them. He then proceeded to go 12–20 and give up after only two seasons.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Texas Dawg

    Coaching staffs will continue to grow. You have to have layer upon layer of coaches, GAs, analyst, and who knows what is to come next. Coaches on the road, coaches on the phone, coaches on the field, soon we will have more coaches/staff than players.


  7. Biggen

    Ran into Matt Luke at Monday’s Master practice round two weeks ago. He looked pretty damn happy without a care in the world. Had a big ol’e drink in his hand, a UGA polo shirt on, and was still saying “Go Dawgs” to anyone that would say it to him.

    He is a DGD in my book.

    Liked by 6 people

  8. uga97

    Saban disagrees & has no time for this bs. Case in point, his lips are moving again. NIL will likely allow coaches to settle into the same old same old whereby their big money schools will cobtinumost blue chip recruiting battles, by stroking the checks in the long run.


  9. whb209

    I understand the problem. As a Coach you do work 14 to 16 hours a day and the people you are working with are 15, 16 or 17 year old spoiled idiots and their parents that know nothing about major college sports. It ain’t high school. The kids and their parents think they are the greatest thing since sliced bread and you have to play along with this BS. BAD job. You had better love it and your family had better understand.


  10. These are just the cracks in the wall.Soon it will fall.