Memphis Head Coach Justin Fuente Quotes

Feb. 5, 2014

Opening Statement:

“We are close to finishing up our second full signing class here at the University of Memphis.  We had a clear mission when you look at our current roster.  A bunch of our defensive guys were seniors and we felt that it was important to target the front line of our defense for the next couple of years.  We are going to be hit pretty heavily on the defensive side during the next two years and it is important to work in new guys for the future.  I think we took another step in solidifying and implementing the offensive line.  We have our numbers spread out a little more on both sides of the ball.  We wanted to sign a big running back (Jarvis Cooper; West Memphis, Ark.) and we certainly did that today.  It was a lot of work and I am very proud of the coaching staff for the work that each of them put in to making this a successful day.  I am also proud of the guys on our team for hosting our kids as they came on their official visits.  There are a lot of people who do not get the credit they deserve as they helped us recruit.  Our administration has given us great support in our ability to recruit and reach out to everyone.”

On signing defensive back Carlos Williams; Covington, Tenn.:

“We are exciting to have Carlos on this team and I am looking forward to having his speed on the field.  He is not afraid to work and we are proud to have him on the team.  It is a little hard to tell how well he is going to do but I hope he hits the ground running.”

On developing a specific brand for the program:

“I think, as a conference, we have to do a better job selling our league.  When you look at the bowl season and the NFL Draft, players that are coming through this league are tremendous.  I do not think people appreciate the great players and football that is being played in this league.  Being on television has opened doors for us and it has given us some recognition when we start these relationships with these kids.  Our coaching staff has been able to help us having been around the same recruiting area for a couple of years.”



On signing running back Jarvis Cooper; West Memphis, Ark.:

“Jarvis did play both sides of the football in high school but we are looking to start him out as a running back.  The best thing about Jarvis is the kind of person he is, which we are looking for in all of our players.  I am so exciting about the kind of players we are adding to our program, like Jarvis.”

On changing the dynamic of the program:

“I think we are moving in the right direction.  Without getting into the numbers of where we started two years ago, we have made many steps in the right direction.  I am excited to keep moving forward and to continue to compete in this conference.  The American is getting tougher and we have to be able to keep competing with every single team.  We are working to have a more dynamic and balanced roster.  I hope that by next year we will have the right balance of freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors.  Times have changed and our team had multiple guys competing for the same starting spots.  Being on this team does not guarantee playing time, which I want our guys to understand.  I think a good portion of our guys are good and ready to go.”

On signing defensive end Isadore Outing; Houston, Texas:

“I am exciting about him and his family joining our program.  I do not want to leap too far with him but he has a similar body to (senior defensive end) Martin Ifedi.  I do not know that he will have the type of year that Martin did this past year but he has that same type of body.  He is very sharp and has good chance to be a great player.”

On signing more defensive players:

“We are currently not very big at the safety position.  It is important to have balance on both sides of the football but we are looking for more physical and dynamic safeties to match with the guys that are currently on our roster.”

On signing Memphis-based players:

“I think what we have done, here in the city, speaks for itself.  We evaluated everyone and recruited that way.  No one is going to recruit within this city harder than we will.  It is also important that a lot of players outside of this city, want to go to school here.  They are anxious to be a part of this program.”

On signing quarterback Jason Stewart; Alexandria, Va.:

“I like Jason and he has been around a little bit.  He is a big kid and can throw the ball.  I wanted to continue to add some depth at the quarterback position.  He has done well in our off-season program and I look forward to seeing him get better.”

On the ability of the staff to work together with experience:

“We are certainly going to lose guys with time.  We are going to get to the point where no coach, player, assistant coach, head coach is bigger than the program, which is what you want to reach.  We are going to continue to higher quality people and you will lose some of them.  Keeping them away from other universities has helped us build the program we have today.”

On instilling the family aspect of the team:

“Our current players know what it is like to be a part of this program and can relate it to the new guys the best way.  We allow the current players to sit down with the parents of the recruits without the coaches.  They tell them exactly what it is like to be a part of this program.  Our current players do as well a job recruiting as anyone else involved with this program.  I think it comes through to the recruits and how they are going to conduct themselves on the field.”

On the success of the off-season:

“I am pleased with the progress that the guys are making on the field.  I wish everyone (media in the room) would have been at our first workout two years ago and see a workout this year. (The coaching and strength staff) has done a tremendous job in shaping these guys into better players.”

On the success in recruiting in the state of Mississippi:

“Both Genard Avery and Shareef White from Grenada High School did a great job of rewriting the success of their high school.  Historically, Grenada has not been very good but over the last couple year they started winning more games.  We are asking those guys to come in and do the same types of things.  Our staff did a very good job building relationships with those two players and I am very exciting to have them.”

On judging signing day:

“When you see the top recruits on television, you know they are going to do well.  After you come down from them, there are those players that are going to also be very good players two or three years down the road.  We can try to judge it as a whole class in two or three years.  It is hard to judge how these guys will perform in a couple of years not only on the football field but in other aspects of their lives.  Football is a building process and determining how they will be down the road is the best way to judge a signing class.”

On the signees at the offensive line positions:

“Tyler Jones and Jace Neville are key players that will make an impact on our team.  I am very excited to see how Jace Neville develops as he continues to be a part of this program.  Jace has made a lot of changes over the past few years and will continue to become better.  Tyler Jones is a big guard with a lot of length that can impact this team immediately.”

On the growth of quarterback Paxton Lynch:

“He needs to continue to develop in his plays and his decision process.  I am seeing him feel more comfortable in the pocket.  He will continue to get better in his role as the quarterback as well as developing mentally and physically.  If we were going to going to play a game tomorrow, he would be our starting guy but we will see how things go during the off-season and the guy who wins the job will start.”

On the new wide receivers:

“Roderick Proctor (Orlando, Fla.) is a guy who I am very excited to sign.  He is a really good kid and we have had a long relationship with him.  Proctor has great spring and he can really explode.  We are excited to have him on the team.  Greg McKillion (Blytheville, Ark.) is big kid that was highly recruited out of high school.  He ended up getting hurt during his community college days but is a very big kid with a lot of talent.”

On developing players and seeing their growth:

“It is fun and to coach guys that want to be good and do well.  We develop them the best we can and try to find the best position for them.”

On signing tight end Tyler Kolodny, Woodland Hills, Calif.:

“He has done really well to start off.  He played baseball for a couple years and has jumped into our program with both feet.  He is incredibly out going and has a great personality.  Kolodny has been around for a little longer and is a little more mature than some of the other newcomers.  He still has some things to learn and accomplish.  Based on practice so far, he is very athletic and willing to learn.”

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