April 22, 2014

Duck LB coach should be recruiting asset

At the Division I level, college coaches have an unbelievable workload. Between football, recruiting, planning, fundraising and media requirements, most college football coaches are in their office or on the road every day for eleven months out of the year.

Despite this, they still require a lot of help in order to focus their time on the most important parts of football. Graduate assistants, interns and other staff assist with all aspects of logistics for both the team and for prospective student athletes. At the lower levels of college football this is not necessarily the case. At a Division II or III school, a coach performs a larger spectrum of duties, including recruiting.

Before arriving at Oregon for the second time, outside linebacker coach Erik Chinander had already experienced a breadth of responsibilities that helped him become the coach he is today. He spent five years at Northern Iowa coaching tight ends fullbacks and recruiting coordinator, three years with Oregon as an intern and GA then the 2013 season assisting Jerry Azzinaro with the Philadelphia Eagles' defensive line.

"When you are a GA and an intern you recruit a little bit," said Chinander. "You're allowed to be on the phone, you're allowed to do some of the Facebooking. When the guys get on campus you have to do a nice job there because you are around them a lot when they are on campus. The only thing you can't do is go off campus and recruit them.

"But I spent seven years at the JUCO level and then 1AA as a recruiting coordinator and/or recruiter so I've been on the road plenty. I enjoy it. Obviously the travel gets tough but I enjoy meeting the young men, I enjoy meeting their families and developing relationships with them and the high school coaches. Is it new to me? Yeah, it's a little new because I haven't done it for a couple years but I think I'll fall right back into the saddle."

Last year Chinander helped land one top prospect in Arlington (Tex.) Martin DE Justin Hollins and had a role in a number of other prospects' commitments, despite being hired in January, about a month before 2014 LOI.

"It was kind of set up for me when I came back because we were getting to the point where they had all the guys targeted, everybody was offered so they just gave me the list of guys," said Chinander. "I met up with the guys and away we went."

For the Class of 2015 Chinander is pursuing a large crop of top prospects, including Keisean Lucier-South, Malik Jefferson and Jeffrey Holland amongst others.

"Now we have to start over and we are building the process again of targeting the guys we want putting out some early offers and building those relationships," said Chinander. "So that's what I'm excited about. I kind of went in cold last year and did as good a job as I could. This year I'll have a chance to really develop some ties with these guys."

After coaching under Chip Kelly for three years at Oregon and another year with the Philadelphia Eagles, coupled with his familiarity with Mark Helfrich and the Ducks, Chinander is well-versed in the way that this staff does business and the type of athletes they recruit. One of the biggest attributes is character and how they would fit in the with the locker room.

"I think that started with Chip and has continued on with Mark," said Chinander. "They are looking for good people first. The other thing they are preaching is let's not worry about the ones we don't get, let's focus on the ones we do get and so they have to be the right guys."

And despite his relative youth at 34-years old, Chinander has a veteran's understanding of what Oregon football is all about, and the type of recruits required to achieve their goals.

"To be honest with you, everybody loves the way we practice, the way we play in games, but it's not for everybody," said Chinander. "You have got to find the ones, the guy who is not only are going to be a great player but be able to make it through our system and be a good person when they walk around Eugene, Oregon. This place is a special place and the people are used to having good guys around."



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