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January 18, 2013
Darrell Hazell was driving to visit another Purdue recruit, his fourth state in four days, on Thursday and wasn't quite sure where the school was.
So he was on the phone asking the prospect before preparing to turn in.
The kid asked the color of car Hazell was driving. Hazell said black.
Uh, it wasn't.
"I was driving a silver car. I had turned the black car in three hours ago in a different city," Hazell said. "But it's been like that for the last couple weeks, (also) going to the wrong hotel room.
"It's all going to work out."
Hazell touched on several topics on Friday, including those "very fast" last six weeks since he was hired as Purdue's new football coach, during his first interview with a group of local reporters since his opening press conference.
Here's a quick glance at some of the topics discussed:
He confirmed the six assistant coaches GoldandBlack.com had reported - Greg Hudson as defensive coordinator, Jon Heacock as a defensive backs coach, Marcus Freeman as linebackers coach, Jafar Williams as running backs coach, Jim Bollman as offensive line coach and Kevin Sherman as receivers coach.
The search still is on for the final three, which will include an offensive coordinator who also will coach the quarterbacks, a defensive line coach and a tight ends coach who also would have recruiting duties and potentially also be the special teams coordinator. Four coaches will be assigned certain special teams units and report to a coordinator, Hazell said.
"Like I said before, I want to make sure we do it the right way and get the right guys," Hazell said. "I've talked to a lot of guys and I'm going to make sure I feel 100 percent certain of the guys I hire.
"The right way is getting the right people and if it takes another couple days, then I'll take another couple days to get those other three guys. I have a lot of names. It's not for a lack of names. It's making sure we get the right blend.
"We're six-for-six right now. I want to be nine-for-nine when it's all said and done. That's the most important thing for me right now."
Hazell said Hudson's scheme is based in a 4-3 with "quarters" (zone) coverage primarily. Obviously, there can be variations on schemes, but Hazell said "we'll plug guys in to where we think they fit into the scheme of things based on their ability."
In terms of someone running the offense, whomever Hazell hires will call the plays. Hazell was very hand's on with the offense while at Kent State, both in practices and in the sidelines during games, and there was a thought he could try to call plays at Purdue. Not quite, but he'll still be involved, he said.
"I can't turn that over completely," he said. "That's my background and I love the whole chess match of it all. I like being in communication with the offensive coordinator. I'm going to hire an offensive coordinator. He's going to call the plays. But I will have my little input when we need to."
His recruiting emphasis has been on the Midwest, looking to find about eight more players to complete the class that will sign next month.
Hazell said the current amount of staff members has been "more than enough" personnel to do recruiting.
He met with that staff to go over tape and evaluate available players in the "local states" for about a day before targeting recruits.
"I think it's very important now that these eight guys that we get have the academics that we need to have, have the integrity that we need to have and also are able to play great college football to help us win championships," Hazell said. "When we first started evaluating the board, we had to make sure that the academic numbers were right, accurate, so we are making sure we are recruiting the right guys.
"You've got to be careful now that you don't get too many guys trying to get into the boat right now. You're trying to balance the numbers."
He said he wouldn't speak to specifics about positions of need - he hasn't evaluated any of Purdue's current roster.
The players walked in to assigned seats in the film room and quickly noticed another difference: Hazell politely asked players who were wearing hats to remove them.
It's a Hazell rule they hadn't learned yet.
It'll be only one in a list of guidelines Hazell has set.
"There's a lot of things that you say 'no bending.' If you don't have those things in place, then it gets a little bit messy," he said when it comes to accountability and discipline. "When it's time to make that play - it all correlates back to what happens on the game field. They have to understand that. They're learning. You've got to give them a little bit of leeway while they're learning the new rules, but then once they learn them, there are no grey areas.
"The big message first of all is being accountable for everything that we do and making sure Purdue is no longer thought of as a middle team. We need to rise to the top and stop being perceived a team that's hanging in the middle."
The commitment will start in the winter workouts, and Hazell will expect discipline there, too.
If a player is supposed to start a drill behind the line, he better. If he's supposed to finish, he better finish through the line.
"(It's) all of those little things that set the discipline that you need to have to win championships," Hazell said. "We're going to make it as hard as we possibly can. It's going to be hard. I want them to understand that to win games, it is hard. But we'll address that every single time and we'll bring them back if they don't do it the right way."
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