Thought this might be of interest to some, but I attended the South Georgia High School Football Awards Banquet in Valdosta last evening, sponsored by In The Game Magazine (headquartered in Valdosta and Jacksonville). The event typically has a top college coach as the keynote speaker (last year was Nick Saban) and this year our own Dan Mullen was slated to address the players, parents, coaches, and sponsors. This would be the first time I would hear him in person and I was looking forward to hearing what he had to say. Unfortunately, the emcee announced that due to our commitment to play in the Orange Bowl, there was a conflicting meeting that came up that required Coach Mullen to cancel his appearance. Bummer. In his place however, was OL Coach John Hevesy. I don't know what goes into preparing for a bowl and I'm sure there is a ton to meet on, but I couldn't help but think that there might be a recruiting connection with Early Signing Day coming up next Wednesday. I can only hope that was part of the case! Hevesy talked for about 20 minutes or so, apologizing for us having to hear him and not Mullen and telling the audience about his background in coaching and how good the high school ball was in South Georgia. He talked a lot about what separates the really good recruits from all the others...character, attitude, and the ability to lead and positively influence their teammates. That was a big focus when they recruited a player. It rang true to me when he said that one of the best indicators of character was the reaction from the school secretary when he arrived and asked to see Player X. If they lit up, you knew he had the people skills; if they were less than enthused, he was probably a dud! Of course he referenced Tebow as the type kid that was full of character, attitude, and leadership and what good chemistry that provided. It certainly helped that Timmy could play the game pretty well, too. One other guy he talked about was a kid that wasn't as highly-touted, but really had command of all the other players when they saw him in the camps and visited his practices. They knew he had enough of a skill set that they could make him physically better, but the leadership was off the charts. That part was very hard to cultivate. They ended up getting the guy while at MSU and he went on to become a pretty good college and pro QB. Of course he was talking about Dak Prescott. It would be easy to say that his message was only about character and diminished the need for football and athletic skills, assuming that the latter could be overcome by great coaching. There'll always be a need for the great athletes and some might lack the character, but you've got to have strong leaders that can both talk it and walk it sprinkled throughout the team to provide that level of leadership that is beyond the coaches. Seems we've been a little short in both areas, so I'm glad of the current focus. I have plenty of confidence in the staff to find some good leaders, now go get the talent for them to lead! At the conclusion, I got to meet Coach Hevesy. Seeing him on the sidelines doesn't do him justice. He is one large individual and I imagine he can play the part of the Floor Walker quite well! He appreciated my well wishes, particularly coming from an alum, and said that they were happy for the chance to finish with 11 wins. Even though his OL has not been very good these past two seasons, I can't help but think that once we get better bodies for him to work with, we'll get this part fixed. To restate the over-stated, it will all depend on recruiting and I'll remain cautiously optimistic.