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TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
December 1, 2018
THE MODERATOR: Good morning. On behalf of the Texas Tech athletics department, I want to thank the media for being here, and thank the fans. Best fans in the world. Thank you.
I told Coach Wells' family yesterday, don't worry about the weather, not like that all the time here. Today made me a liar. But hopefully we'll have a beautiful day tomorrow. We know that.
So glad to have Coach Wells here. We'll hear from him in a little bit. Before we get started, I want to recognize a couple distinguished guests. We have the mayor here, Mayor Pope. We have the system chancellor, Dr. Tedd Mitchell here. We're very excited. We'll hear from a couple of people, then Coach Wells, then we'll be able to take questions for Coach Wells.
We want to introduce a gentleman who has been an integral part of all this. Last night he braved the Carol of Lights. We're very lucky to have him here, please welcome President Lawrence Schovanec.
PRESIDENT LAWRENCE SCHOVANEC: First, let me say thank you to all of you for being here today as we welcome Coach Wells and his family to Texas Tech. Last Sunday, Kirby laid out the qualities and the expectations that would guide him as he looked for a new coach, a person of the highest character and integrity who would lead this university with class, one who has a proven commitment developing young men as complete individuals, who will succeed athletically and academically, a person who would provide leadership in pursuing the vision for this program.
That vision, Kirby said, would be elite. 'Elite' means winning and winning the right way. These standards are the characteristics of all of our athletics programs. They are the qualities that resonate with Texas Tech University, with our culture, and that of all Red Raiders out there.
So Kirby, I want to thank you and congratulate you for bringing to Texas Tech University a person who meets every one of these expectations.
Coach Wells, I am proud to welcome you as our new football coach. To you and Jen, your two daughters, and your son, to your mother, to Jen's parents, you can see they are a very family-oriented family. Couldn't be more proud to welcome you to the Texas Tech University family and to the Lubbock community.
It's a great day. The future of Texas Tech football is even brighter.
THE MODERATOR: We have lots of great Redraiders. One of the best is Ed Whitaker, former CEO of General Motors and AT&T. He said, Kirby Hocutt continues shows time and again why he is the best athletic director in the country. His vision and resolute decision making continually sets him apart.
I can tell you working in the athletic department day after day, we can see. You get to see his decision making on the big levels like this. We see it each and every day, how he leads us as an athletic department. We're lucky to have him here.
Please join me in welcoming Kirby Hocutt.
KIRBY HOCUTT: Thank you. Good morning. Thank you for being here. I tell you, Red Raider Nation, this community, just never ceases to amaze me. Thank you for being here this morning for this special announcement, for everything that you do for this program each and every day.
You're there to support us, to continue to lift us on your shoulders. Everyone here today, I say thank you for your support, your trust, and knowing that each and every day we're going to do everything we can to bring pride and distinction to Texas Tech University, to Lubbock, Texas, and West Texas. Today is no different.
I'm excited to introduce to you a man who is going to continue to move us forward and to elevate this football program. You're only going to be as strong and as successful as the type of leader that you have above you. That is President Schovanec. I've got the best, couldn't do what I do without his support and his vision and his trust. He is the best president that an athletics director could ask to work for. I'm very fortunate for that.
He's exactly right. When we set out to find Coach Wells, we checked every box that we talked about last week. But the one thing that we didn't know was it was going to be even sweeter when we introduced Coach Wells because of his team. His team is led by Jen Wells. I can tell she is the quarterback of the family. He's lucky that she is the quarterback of the family. She's going to be the great first lady of Red Raider football. We're were to have Jaden, Ella and Wyatt with us. Please join me in welcoming the Wells family.
We've got a couple of gymnasts in the family, I hear. We might look at some local gymnastics facilities today, find some coaches in the area. I think softball may be a part of the family, as well. Wyatt, we got pregame covered. It's his job, he's going to catch balls off the net from our kickers and warmups, he's going to catch balls off the punter's foot. We're setting our expectations big for you, Wyatt. You're going to be awesome for us.
We do this because of the young people that we represent each and every day, our student-athletes. We have some of them sitting down here today, members of our football team. To them, I just say I'm proud of you. I'm proud of you. It gives me inspiration every day to do what I do because I get to represent you.
This is a great group of young men that I couldn't be more proud of. I want them to know that the Red Raider Nation couldn't be more proud of you. You go through times like this, and it's challenging, it's change. But the mark of a champion is how you rise up during the time of adversity. These young men have handled this adversity with a championship mindset.
It's a glimpse of what's to come for these young men because of the leader that is behind me. I can tell you, we can say Coach Wells and I talked for the first time last Sunday afternoon. Yes, that is true. But I have followed Coach Wells' career for a long time. I've talked to people throughout the industry over the years about Coach Wells. He's respected across this country by assistant coaches, head coaches, athletic directors and commissioners.
I'm going to tell you Red Raider Nation right now, reiterate, our expectations are the same. That's not to be standing here on a Saturday afternoon on Championship Saturday. We expect to be playing football today. Actually, we expect to be kicking off in Arlington, Texas, at the Big 12 Conference championship football game.
We're not there today, but we're going to get there. We're going to get there together. We're going to get there because we have the leader behind me who is going to show us the path.
Please join me in welcoming our next head football coach, Coach Wells.
MATT WELLS: Thank you.
Man, I'm excited. What a great day to be a Red Raider. I am very, very honored and extremely humbled to be your next head football coach and have a chance to coach and influence these young men and their teammates in a major, major positive way.
We, when I say 'we', you're going to hear me say that a lot because that's what we're all about, these two guys down here, some more to come, we left a phenomenal program, one that we built for a long time at Utah State. It was a tough, to be real honest, and emotional decision for me. A lot of that was because that was my school, I was an alumni there. I knew it would take somewhere special, somewhere with a vision to where they wanted to go, how they wanted to go, and someone is going to have to paint that picture for me in a very real and vivid way. These two gentlemen up here did.
My family and I feel that the Lord has really led us here. This is a special place. I don't know everything about it, but I'm looking forward. I can't wait to hear all the rest about it.
There's a few thank yous, so hang to it because this is my day, just for a second, then it's all about these guys. After that, it's all about y'all. A couple thank yous.
President Schovanec, AD Kirby Hocutt. These guys are visionaries and leaders who sold me on the vision of the greatness that Texas Tech football has been and will be, all right, in the years to come starting next year, starting right now. This program deserves a team that everybody can go be proud of every single Saturday. That's our goal.
To my Utah State family, former President Stan Albrecht, former AD Scott Barnes, current president and AD John Hartwell. Those guys believed in me. They believed in me, gave me a vision for Utah State. I truly believe we left that in a better place. I'm proud of what we did there.
Most of all the thank you goes to my staff and my players at Utah State. I ain't -- I guess that's okay now in Texas, isn't it (smiling)? What y'all need to know, the reason I always stop, is because that first lady of Red Raider football, she's a speech therapist. She says, Matt, you usually have a word finding problem. That's the correct thing to say, so... She's got an issue because I'm back to ain't, y'all and fixin' (laughter).
I'm sorry, got off on a tangent there. That wasn't in the notes.
Those guys, those players, they gave us everything they had. They poured out everything. I'm not standing here today without them. So thank you.
I got a lot of family here, so I'm going to recognize all of them, all right? My wife Jen, Jaden, Ella and Wyatt. These guys are the inspiration. They're the reason I get to go chase a dream. We drag them everywhere. They left a place that they'd been for eight years, so that was a little hard.
As soon as Wyatt found out he could catch kicks on game day - Dude, you better not screw it up either - I think everything was okay at that point. Those are my guys and my girls. You're going to see them everywhere, because they're ingrained in this program on an everyday basis, as is every one of our coaches' families.
I have my mom, Suzy. My in-laws, outlaws, whatever you want to call them, Dennis and Karen, they know I love them. That's an inside joke. I wasn't supposed to say that today. My sister Jordan, their whole family. My cousin Logan, his wife Kim from upstate. Thank you, guys, for coming.
Then the last thank you I have is just for all the coaches that have influenced me. Coaching is a special profession. There's a lot of guys that have poured into me, especially my high school coaches, and my college coaches. So I say thank you to them for this day.
All right. As this process started, as Kirby said, Sunday, there were three things that initially I think got me really fired up about Texas Tech. Here they are in no particular order. One of them is the explosive offenses that have been I think pretty synonymous with Texas Tech football in many recent years. The current talent on the team, all right? This is a reload, not a rebuild. There's guys here that can play. There's guys here that can play.
I quickly researched it, I don't know everything, but I know enough to say these guys deserve the chance to win right now. This senior class coming up deserves the chance to win right now. I'll tell you what, the staff we are put together will pour every bit of heart and soul into these guys, this team, not just for this year, but for the years to come.
The last thing is recruiting the state of Texas. That's a no-brainer. I've done it for the vast majority of my career. It's kind of neat to meet all these guys and say, Where you from? Know most of the nicknames of the schools. There's some unique ones here in this state.
It's just rekindling those relationships. A lot of guys on the staff that I'm going to hire have extensive Texas recruiting backgrounds. I can't wait to strengthen and restrengthen really those relationships because that's the lifeblood of this program, is recruiting. Whether it's Texas high schools, junior colleges, I'm going to say those guys listen and thank you, texts and calls, like some of our coaches have already had. This is a special group of high schools and coaches that coach them up, they coach them hard, love them hard, what we do, and they strain. Usually when they get to a big-time college program, they already get it. I can't wait to dive right in.
The other thing is I felt there had to be a chance to have a connection just with the West Texas people, what I think Red Raider football probably has been and what it should be, and that's genuineness, it's passion, it's toughness, it's a blue-collar work ethic. Really it's being overachievers in every sense. Being an overachiever didn't mean you don't have talent, it means you have talent God gave you and that you strain every day, you wake up every day and strain to maximize it mentally and physically. That's what this staff will do with these guys.
It's all about the logo. I said that to the players yesterday. I finally got one. I didn't earn those stripes yesterday, I didn't think. Maybe after this I'm okay wearing it. I didn't feel lining that yesterday, so...
When I say that, I'll explain it. It's all about the logo. One of the things I'll never forget Kirby said is, he said, Matt, in Lubbock, and in West Texas, there ain't nothing else. All you see is Under Armour and the double T. That's it. There's no other logos floating around here, and that is pretty cool.
It takes everybody that can hear me right now. That logo is more important than one person, more important than a new head coach, because I promise you it's not all about me, not about the quarterback, a kicker, the best D line we have, not about a president, a booster, an alumni. It's about every one of us. It's not about a former quarterback, a former coach, okay?
They don't need me when it gets to game day, trust me. If they're prepared Monday through Friday, the right way, those coaches are fine, it's not about me, it's about us. It's a we, us in our program, and all about that double T. When you say that, no one is bigger than that double T, those are how I make decisions. Is it better for the double T or better for the kid? It's all about the team. I promise you that's how we'll base every decision that we make, whether it's personnel, how we practice, how we treat these kids, because it's all about the team.
When things like that happen and people die to their selfish individual goals, head coach included, players, fans, alumni, supporters, when you die to your selfish goals, those goals are important, individual goals are really, really important, if they're within a team concept and a team atmosphere, then special things take place. Special things take place when these guys are led by themselves. A player-led team can be great. Coach-led team can only take a talent so far, okay?
We're going to recruit talented young men. That talent can only take us so far when a coach leads them. But when players lead, I didn't say it was a player-run program, there's a difference, it's a player-led program, watch out. Special things can happen. I've seen it three times in the last six years at the place I just came from. Special things can happen.
Because that's what happens internally, players lead each other. When players lead, then here is what happens: there's player accountability to each other, which is more powerful than a coach-to-player accountability. When that happens, you win a close game. As soon as you win a close game, you start feeling pretty good about yourself. Then there's confidence. Then there's something called mojo, juju, whatever you call it down here. Give me a second. I said, Give me a chance yesterday, all right? I'll get it. When that stuff starts rolling, here come the wins, watch out. That's when special things happen.
This program will be a player-led program. Don't know how long that will take. It will be interesting to see. We're going to attempt to do it year one, right out of the gate.
I'm excited to implement this program. Let me talk about it. I'm always going to talk about what we do and how we do it. The how we do it. I'll start with the how we do it, then I'll talk about what we do.
How we do it. We're going to develop the student-athlete in three different ways. I told these guys this yesterday. We're going to try to be a champion off the field, a champion in the classroom, then after that you have a chance to be a champion on the field. Doesn't go the other way around. Champion off the field, giving back to the community. What a great community in Lubbock and in West Texas to give back because you guys are all in. So we give back.
Obviously the choices you make on a daily basis. Being a champion in the classroom means being an overachiever. We'll go to class around here. We're going to graduate. I'll talk about that here in a second. You be a champion in the classroom. That's two-thirds of your day. If two-thirds of your day you're being a champion and an overachiever, when you walk into the football training facility in the afternoon, whenever it is, now you have a chance if you have the right talent and you're coachable. That's all we're going to ask.
Coach Patterson says this all the time. I wasn't planning this, I'm going to steal it. Coaches teach the man. Players play and perform. So that's our jobs. That's their jobs.
We're going to mold guys into who we are. Who we are is similar to what I said that attracted me to Texas Tech. We'll be a blue-collar, tough program. That toughness is mentally and physically. That's going to start in January, February, June, July. That's when you become a tough football team and a tough program. January, February, June and July. That's done in the weight room, in the strength, running, all those things that are going to take discipline, mental and physical.
Last thing I'll talk about is being football junkies. I'll say it a million times. I want guys that love football and they love their teammates because that stuff's important.
Now, the easy stuff for me. What we are, okay? This is what's fun. The what we are is offense, defense, special teams and the weight room.
What we are on offense, we're fast-paced, spread, tempo, no-huddle. We're going to go as fast as we humanly can, as fast as Coach Yost can get the call out of his mouth is how fast we're going.
We're going to score points. That's the offense's job. We're going to run the football when we want to run it. We'll be a physical running team. You cannot win games in the month of November in this league if you don't run the football in November, okay? I promise you that.
On defense we base out of the odd front. We'll be a multiple pressure package team that are going to be coached and played in a major aggressive manner, all right? We have tweaked, my whole thing, when you hire Matt Wells, you're going to high our team, our program, all right? That's what gets me motivated, juiced every day, is how these two guys work together, how we all work together with the strength and conditioning because it's all works together.
I'm going to tell you what. We don't have it figured out by any means, but we're getting closer. How you play defense, how you coach defense, how you evaluate defense in today's day and age has completely changed. It ain't all about yards given up any more. It's about turnovers, all right? It's about fourth down stops, three-and-outs. Why? Because you got to get the ball back to the offense. If we're going to play that fast, that's how you got to do it.
Special teams, first and foremost I'm majorly involved in special teams, it will a major part of this program. That's how you can win a game you're maybe not supposed to. All you people tell us we ain't supposed to, I'll get y'all in a second. We are going to be very, very aggressive, very sound in special teams. I think you're going to like what you see.
Last thing is in the weight room. End of story, this is the foundation of our success is the weight room, all right? The total body transformation, when you talk about strength training, conditioning, diet, nutrition, the program that we have I think is very unique and very, very special, very cutting edge. I think you guys are going to really buy into it and really like it.
Let me tell you about a vision. The vision for me, it's not a goal, it's just a vision, is to put a program together that all of West Texas and Lubbock can be proud of. You guys can come to the stadium, to Jones Stadium, every Saturday, say, Yeah, we got a fighting chance. These guys are to going to play their tails off. We're going to get loud, rowdy and pack that place.
I remember 1996, this guy right here, we rolled into Lubbock, little old Utah State, and this place was rocking. I'm going to tell you what, the tortillas were flying. It was crazy. Coach Dykes, Zebbie Lethridge, Byron Hanspard, they boat raced us. I mean, it wasn't even close. That was when tempo was different back then. They huddled up, boom, down, boom. That daggum horse needed water.
Anyway, I need to get on, don't I?
Last thing is this. I'm going to give you a little insight. There will be two promises made in recruiting, two promises made to these kids and their families. Two and two only.
Number one, we're going to coach them hard, we're going to love them hard. That's how we roll. I'll define it for you. Some of y'all are looking at me like that's two. That's one. Coach 'em hard, love 'em hard. We're going to set a standard on what it takes at every single position, because it's a little bit different. We're going to teach it first, all right? Then we're going to motivate it, discipline it.
You know what. We may have to drop down here and reteach it again. Everybody learns different, that's fine. What we ain't going to do is we ain't going to lower it. There's the standard, that's coaching them hard every single day, all right? By multiple people, weight room, academics, how you act in the community, obviously how you play between the lines.
Loving 'em hard, that's easy, too. One arm around the neck, two arms around the neck, that's telling a kid, doesn't matter what his skin color is, white, brown, black, doesn't matter, in state, out of state, I don't care, it says love you. We're going to say it, mean it. It will be weird for them for a while, y'all will buy in eventually. Sometimes it's a size 13 Under Armour, right up their butt, all right? It's all together. That's it, two promises.
I just want y'all to know, Red Raiders, we're going to be your team. We'll be your team. To all the football alumni out there, we need you. Talked to a couple of them yesterday that I've had great relationships with for a long time, all right, and I told them, We're here, our doors are open, we're going to be accessible. I want you here at spring ball, I want you to come through the complex. I want some of those NFL quarterbacks to come back and throw around here. I want it to be that because we're your program. We're going to play for the guys that came before us, I promise, every single Saturday. We'll connect.
Our staff will connect. I'm connecting. Whether it's fans, alumni, boosters, a former player, that's how you do it is one handshake, one hug at the same time. You're going to get a total program with us. When you hire me, you hire us want. We're a we, are and us program. It's Coach Yost, Patterson, the head strength coach, the rest of the guys we have, how we do it in the community, academically. All I have to say is wreck 'em.
Good? All right.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions from the media.
Q. How do you like Lubbock so far?
MATT WELLS: Pretty cool. I like it. I tell you, the biggest thing that I see is the facilities. The town, I haven't seen everything. Jen has seen more of the town than I have. Just the facilities, the layout. I think just to hear the plans that are coming up. I think it gives these guys every opportunity to be successful in every way of their life, if they choose to be, and they will.
I think what's really neat, to see the stadium, visualize touchdowns and people celebrating. That's what I was looking at yesterday. The indoor facility is unbelievable. Just the vision that these guys have. You see what's going on around here. Already had some of the coaches here reach out to me. It starts to make it feel like family, kind of like I thought it was going to be.
Q. What is the key to really just building a new locker room's trust, that was heavily invested in the last head coach here?
MATT WELLS: I'll share what I told them yesterday, I mentioned the team we left was special. They're going to be good next year. I sat in every one of these living rooms. Those are my guys, okay? You know what, I chose these guys. Now they're my guys. I'm going to win them over one handshake at a time.
Q. You had your name floated around for other jobs. You had Utah State, which is so special. What pulled you in the end to come to Lubbock, Texas and Texas Tech?
MATT WELLS: Those three things that I said earlier honestly. You watch Texas Tech football, we don't see many games because of our schedule, but you know what's going on here offensively. I know absolutely what we do on offense is going to be really close to being a lot more same as than different. I think it's the current talent, the players right now, and it's recruiting Texas football. You don't have to go very far to get your guys.
I think all of that is conducive to having great success. That's what I knew from the outside, okay? Once I got a vision to the inside, the visionary thoughts of both the President and Kirby, I think that's what ended up selling me.
Q. Love what you said about a player-led program. I think that's true at every level in any sport. Can you share an example when you saw that happen during your stay at Utah State?
MATT WELLS: I think when you look at that stuff, you're trying to help teach leadership. We have a leadership council, a players committee, of those captains. You're trying to invest in those guys.
I can't give you one specific moment. But that is stuff that's built through the off-season, through relationships with these guys. You get in games, obviously you look at and go, It flipped on a win. It didn't. I think there's things that are evidence of a player-led program. Come out of meetings, you're around the office, you see a bunch of guys bringing their lunch in, they're bringing others in, they're watching tape. I've already seen some early examples of that just in the last 24 hours. They want to know. They're hungry. They're bringing teammates with them. They're holding teammates accountable for actions off the field, for the way they practice. That's a big thing.
You talk about respecting the game of football, respecting your opponent. That became kind of a big theme for us as the season went on, for us last year, is respecting your opponent. I believe how you respect your opponent is how you respect the game of football. That's what you do on Monday through Friday. If you do everything right, the way you practice, the way you invest, the way you get your training room, academics done early in the week so you're not scrambling at the end of the week, all that stuff, the way you practice, you only earn the right to win on Saturday. You don't deserve the right. You only have the chance to do it.
But if you don't do that Monday through Friday, now you take your talent, if you're more talented or less talented than the team you're playing, oftentimes you can't control that, but now you minimize talent, now you're equal, now you're putting a win and loss, roll the ball out, hope the ball bounces our way. We're not going to roll like that around here. You have to give yourself a chance to win on Saturday by what you do during the week, and your players have to be a part of it.
It's our coaches holding them accountable, then you start hearing players talk like we talk. You're like, Okay, something special is about to happen.
Q. You mentioned your experience recruiting in Texas. Give us a little more insight about that.
MATT WELLS: I've recruited this state. Shoot, I have to do the math. I'm from Oklahoma, remember I'm slow (smiling).
The vast majority of my career, I've spent time in east Texas, mainly Dallas, the Metroplex, North Texas. Lost a guy out of Lubbock, landed, last time I was here I got beat on a recruit.
Keith Patterson's high school coach, Allen, Texas. These guys have recruited Texas. David Yost has never coached in Texas but recruited quarterbacks all over the state. A lot of guys know him. We are going to have a lot of guys with Texas ties as well as Texas recruiting ties.
You know what, recruiting is about relationships. It's not the hometown you grew up in. Trust me on that one. It's time spent. These guys want to know that you care first, then they want to know are you going to offer my kid, are you going to recruit my kid. Just like players, people are like that. They don't care what you know till they know how much you care.
Recruiting is about relationships. Trust me, I've already had a lot of people reach out. That's what fires me up, is because the opportunity to recruit this state, the respect that I have for this state, for the Texas high school coaches and the junior college coaches. Honestly, it's second to none here.
Q. How quickly are y'all going to hit the trail?
MATT WELLS: Quick. But I'm not going to rush it. The number one most important thing right here at the very beginning is these guys, the ones in your locker room. They're the most important ones. We'll always take care of in-house. Our guys in our locker room are most important. The ones that are committed are absolutely probably 1B, all right? We'll get going quick, but we're not going to rush it.
The high school coaches that I've talked to, they know we'll be out by mid to a week or so.
Q. For those commits in this year's class who committed to Kliff, the old guard, thinking do I stay, do I go, what pitch do you give them?
MATT WELLS: I think the biggest thing is you're going to have to -- first of all, we're going to have to get to know them, they're going to have to get to know us. If that's a relationship that wants to continue once we figure each other out, then absolutely let's roll.
I just think it's about getting out and knowing them. Obviously I've already taken a peek at them. There's some guys we already know about, some guys that we already tried to recruit. There's some relationships actually that some of my guys on my staff already have with those guys.
Again, I think it's mutual. There has to be a mutual interest on both sides. We only want guys around here that want to be here, okay? We'll take these guys right here, we'll take the ones that want to be here, we'll go find some more, then we'll get rolling.
Q. We know Coach Yost is here, Coach Patterson, been reports of a lot of your offensive staff coming here. Can you share any specifics on others?
MATT WELLS: I'll confirm this. David Yost will be our offensive coordinator, Coach Patterson will be our defensive coordinator. Dave Scholl's will be our head strength and conditioning coach, with others to be named later.
Handled that good, didn't I?
Q. How quickly would you like to have those guys in place, given the recruiting you were discussing?
MATT WELLS: Quick (smiling). Don't worry, we got a plan in place. We got planes ready, a plane. That's a solid question. I'll announce them quick.
Q. Trust is a very big part of this, especially getting the trust from your student-athletes. In the short 24 hours you've been here, what have your players taught you?
MATT WELLS: What have these guys taught me?
MATT WELLS: I think they're just hungry. I think they just want somebody to coach them and love them. Both these coordinators talked yesterday. I sat in both unit meetings. I'm going to tell you what, I don't know if they taught me this, but it's the first thing I noticed. They're little things that these two guys and myself will pick up on.
I walked into the room, every one of them were sitting up, had eye contact with every one of them. I didn't see one guy looking down or up. Had they been, I still chose them. But they weren't.
That tells me they're hungry. I would assume that hunger will transform to passion for what they do. You got to love what you do, man. This thing is too hard. It takes too much time for administrators, coaches. You better love what you do and you better have passion about it.
But I saw just I think a hunger, attentiveness. Coach mentioned to me, Matt, they're sitting straight up, had you dialed in. That tells me they care. If they care, you got a fighting chance.
Q. Your last six years at Utah State, obviously you had the three seasons where you won at least nine games, three seasons that were not so good. Kirby said he thought your variety of experiences made you better. The places you have been having to do more with less helped you. What did you learn through all these different stops, particularly over the last six years?
MATT WELLS: I think I personally, we collectively, a little bit of product of all those successes and all those struggles. The places that I've been was always the have not's. They were always the places that didn't have this, didn't have that.
I'm going to tell you what, we had players that played with a chip on their shoulder, they had a why. First of all, you better have a why. Why do you do it? You play that way. I think that's something that's always ingrained in me. We're going to strain our guys to be overachievers.
When I say that, I'm going to transition into the last six years. We've had great success. We had especially one year where we struggled. That was a culmination of probably several things. I'm going to tell you what, that December, I'll never forget it, December 2016, the worst month of my life, horrible. That's the only bowl game we missed in the eight years I was at Utah State.
Right now it's the golden age of Utah State football. 120 some years of Utah State football, last eight years been to seven bowl games. A remarkable run. Hope they can keep up. That one year we didn't go, it was tough.
I'm going to tell you what, me and a couple of the close confidants of our program, had a lot of heart to hearts. To be real honest, everything that came full circle, I had the biggest resolve it would never happen again on my watch, ever. We turned over every rock, whether it was recruiting, it was development, how we practiced, how we recruited, what kind of kids we were recruiting, everything, scheme, O, D, all my coaches, the personnel.
When we came out of that, I mean it was extensive and exhaustive, came out of that, number one, there was a whole lot more same as than change. When I say that, our core values and our plan to win didn't change, because I still believed in them. After thoroughly dissecting it, the recruiting foundation, the recruiting areas, the development, all that stuff did not change. Our scheme on defense didn't change. I made one major decision from a schematic standpoint, that was to hire David Yost, to go faster and to be more dynamic on offense.
I also learned some things about myself as a head coach. To be real frank, I don't mind saying it, I wouldn't spend enough time with the players. I'm a guy that meets with these guys constantly, especially in season. Two-minute meeting, 10-minute meeting, doesn't matter. Half a dozen a day. You add that up over a week and a month, that's the entire team one-on-one. It ain't behind a desk, it's somewhere else in the complex, let's take a walk.
To be real honest with you, I wasn't doing a very good job of that. Apparently I'd done a good job of it at the beginning. Maybe we did a little bit better the last year or so. But it's humbling. It's hard. You have all the resolve in the world that it's never going to happen again on my watch.
That was something that was bad, but out of something bad came something really good because two more bowl games, a 10-win season, those guys are going on to win number 11. Proud to be a part of that. Proud to learn. Honestly, I was humbled.
Q. I saw you were actually born in South Carolina, but Oklahoma is what you consider home. When did you go from one place to the another?
MATT WELLS: I was only 18 months old, so that's hard to remember (smiling). My dad was a dentist in the Army. He was stationed at Fort Jackson in Columbia. My baby sister, she's watching, I'm in trouble, she is a year younger than me. When she was born, parents moved to Oklahoma. My dad grew up in a small town in Oklahoma, wanted to raise a family. Sallisaw my whole life until I left for college. That's it.
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