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PAT FITZGERALD
MATT GAGNE
August 21, 2012
TALKS GROWING GUARDS AND HAT-HAPPY RECRUITS
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August 21, 2012

Pat Fitzgerald

TALKS GROWING GUARDS AND HAT-HAPPY RECRUITS

SI: Last season was streaky. Why?

PF: Our inability as coaches to get the young players to play consistently led to that roller-coaster ride. Through spring ball there were glimpses of that [consistency].

SI: You're moving 6' 5", 285-pound sophomore Jack Konopka from superback to right guard. What's the thought process?

PF: We had a long-term plan, and he knew it. Other schools that recruited him were saying he was going to be a tight end and we said, "Listen, do you like food?" He's like, "I love it." We said, "Do you like working out?" He's like, "I love it." We said, "Great. You're going to get big!"

SI: YOU HAVE THREE SONS. YOU WANT THEM TO PLAY FOOTBALL?

PF: ABSOLUTELY, IF THEY WANT TO. BUT FIRST I'LL RESEARCH THE COACHES. MY SEVEN-YEAR-OLD IS WORKING OUT WITH THE NORTH SHORE TITANS. HE GOES TO CONDITIONING ON TUESDAY NIGHTS.

SI: You've said you don't want "hat dance" recruits—players who lay out hats from several schools [on TV] and then pick one. Why?

PF: It plays on ego. Kids get overhyped and then can't live up to expectations. Recruiting should be about helping you prepare for the next 40 or 50 years, not about being star-rated. ... We are not going to get caught up in garbage that does not matter.

SI: How well has the player-oriented leadership council you created in 2008 worked?

PF: Our trust in each other is as rock-solid as we've ever had. As I tell the players, I have 51% of the vote, and they have 49.

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