Texas' latest coaching hire, defensive backs coach Jerry Gray, was one of Texas' most exciting. He's a former Longhorn great. He was a candidate for the defensive coordinator job.
He's also a man who hasn't coached college football since 1996, when he coached defensive backs at SMU. He was the Buffalo Bills' defensive coordinator from 2001-2005 before moving back to coaching defensive backs for the Washington Redskins and spending a year under Pete Carroll with the Seattle Seahawks this past season.
He says the transition to coaching teenagers instead of millionaires won't be a difficult one, however.
"Well, [coaching] grown men is more like having to be a psychiatrist," Gray told reporters at his introductory news conference on Wednesday. "Grown men don’t tell you a thing. You’ve got to really pick their brain and have them talk to you. I can remember when I coached at SMU -- you’ve got to be more like a parent to younger guys. They’ll tell you just about everything and that’s the difference."
And he's looking forward to getting plenty out of his new players.
"I’m going to invite the guys over when I can within the rules, make sure it’s all legal," Gray said. "I want to get to know their mom and their dad. I didn’t recruit you, but I just recruited you. Even though you’re already here, I want to know that you’re part of me."
Gray's still figuring out exactly what is and isn't legal, navigating a complex NCAA rulebook. He was scheduled to take his compliance test on Wednesday, but he sounded antsy to hit the recruiting trail once he passed.
He said Wednesday he planned to tell Texas' incoming recruits to focus all their energy on finishing their senior year before shifting their focus to UT.
"Recruiting, to me, is easy," Gray said. "What you do is go out and compete against somebody else. Everything you’re doing is always competing, and that’s what I’ve done my whole life. I’ve competed, not just on the football field, but off the football field. To me, now I have to go compete against some of the top programs in the country and lucky enough I’m at one of the top programs in the country."