During our meetings in training camp we try to put together an evaluation schedule that is as comprehensive as possible. As covered in the previous edition of "On the Road," we talked about the number of evaluations a given college team would get based on its players' Combine grade evaluations – A, B, C, or D.
For the colleges where multiple evaluations are needed – the A and B grades – we try to do these evaluations at different times during the fall so as to be as thorough as possible. If three evaluations are required, we will try to do these during the early, middle and latter portions of the college season. At times this is hard to do because colleges may have restrictions that limit our access, but it is our job to work within these restrictions to get the proper evaluations.
With 12 scouts, myself included, on the road in the fall, we feel our coverage is comprehensive. Our college scouts are responsible for approximately 40 colleges each. Our college director and myself will evaluate about 30 colleges while our pro scouts – those whose primary function is to evaluate NFL players – will do about 15. On any given weekday it's not uncommon to have the 12 of us on the road from coast to coast and places in between.
The typical day for a scout on a college visit would be as follows:
7 a.m.: Film evaluation
2-2:30 p.m.: Discuss prospects, usually with an assistant coach
2:30-3 p.m.: Visit with strength coach
3-4:30 p.m.: Practice evaluation
4:30-8 p.m.: Travel to next college
8-11 p.m.: Write reports on players evaluated
This schedule will vary from day to day. The part of the day the scouts dread the most is the report writing at night. For each prospect evaluated, it usually takes 30 minutes to put your thoughts together on a formal scouting report. On average there are six players to be written each day. That averages out to three hours required on this tedious but necessary process each day.
Each of our scouts will talk to our college coordinator once a week to give him their grades from the previous week. The college coordinator will then talk to me so we are all on the same page, even though these grades are also submitted electronically into our college scouting system. It's from these submissions and our discussions that we formulate the next phase of our scouting process: Reassessment of Evaluations. That will be discussed in the next installment of On the Road.
TALES FROM THE ROAD
Although I currently don't spend as much time on the road as our scouts do, I have visited colleges in 45 states over my 27years in the business. I've often wanted to share my thoughts and experience from these travels, but never took the time to do so. Listed below are some of my experiences from my travels in September, October and November.
August 25-26: Visited Pitt and West Virginia on successive days. Always a great visit at each school; found it to be ironic that three months later the two teams would meet on Nov. 26 in a pivotal Big East match up.
August 28: Upon visiting the University of Colorado, I realize how quiet and peaceful that part of the country can be.
September 9: On my way to the Auburn at Mississippi State game I pass through Tupelo, Mississippi. I'm disappointed that I don't have the time to visit the birthplace of Elvis Presley. At the game I encountered the loudest venue I've ever been to (college or pro) at Mississippi State. They have a great tradition of using cow bells to generate a constant buzz before and throughout the game.
September 15: Often in our travels we come across people from Western Pennsylvania who work at different schools. At the University of Florida I get to visit with Mickey Marotti, Florida's strength coach and proud alum of Ambridge (PA) High School. Mick's a true Gator now, but he's never lost his "yinzer" accent.
September 22: Visited the University of Texas and was pleased to update their staff on the status of four former Longhorns currently on our team — Casey Hampton, Jonathan Scott, Limas Sweed and Tony Hills.
October 2: Went to the Kent State at Miami (Ohio) game. Our son Dan works for the Miami video staff, so it ends up being a nice visit with a little work done as well.
October 7: Driving to the Nebraska at Kansas State game, I am reminded of the saying, "In Kansas you can watch your dog run away for days!"
October 13: At Penn State, I jopin some of my scouting colleagues at "Baby's" restaurant for a burger and a milkshake before practice. At practice I'm always amazed when I see Coach Paterno still coaching with the same fire I saw when I started this profession in 1984.
October 20: While visiting Ohio State, it's a pleasure to spend some time with Pittsburgh native Joe Daniels, an assistant coach for the Buckeyes. That evening while traveling to Madison, Wisconsin, I stop in Chicago to watch my son-in-law play hockey for the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League.
October 23: At ACC game between North Carolina and Miami, I estimate that 20-25 players combined from both teams will be some type of NFL prospect.
November 6: Oklahoma at Texas A&M – first time in my career to watch a game at Texas A&M, and I am thoroughly impressed with the traditions, including the pregame march into the stadium of Texas A&M's cadets. Funny sight is the clean-up crew that follows the horses – must be the new recruits!
November 20: Clemson at Wake Forest – it's Senior Day at Wake Forest and it's always interesting to see the senior players and their parents being introduced. For most it's the last time their parents will see them play and it's touching to see the true affection both the players and their parents have for that moment.
November 26: West Virginia at Pitt – as mentioned earlier, these two schools were my first visits this fall, and it seems appropriate that they are the last two teams I will see as I bring the bulk of my fall travel to a close.
TRAVEL TIP OF THE MONTH
When airplanes are being boarded by zone numbers, get into the back of the line of the zone that precedes yours. By the time you get close to the gate agent, your zone will be called.
SCOUT QUOTE OF THE MONTH
"He's a rolling ball of butcher knives." (Translation — "He's a tough guy that you don't want to encounter."
APPROXIMATE MILEAGE OF SCOUTS' TRAVEL FOR NOVEMBER
Another $600 has been donated to the Leukemia Lymphoma Society byBowser Cadillac* ringing the total to date to $1640. Bowser Cadillac is proud to offer a penny per mile as Kevin's group travels around the country.*