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Q&A with Coach Mike Schultz

New OC has over 30 years experience

March 24, 2010 · Athletic Communications

Mike Schultz joined the Middle Tennessee Coaching Staff in early March, replacing Offensive Coordinator Tony Franklin. Like Franklin, he will also coach the quarterbacks. Schultz came to Middle Tennessee from the University of Illinois where he was the OC and tight ends coach. His 31 years of experience also includes stops at TCU (11 years), New Mexico (6 years), Tennessee Tech and SW Texas (2 years) and Texas, Kansas State and UTEP (1 year each). At TCU, Schultz coached, among others, a running back named LaDainian Tomlinson. Here are his impressions on certain topics in his three weeks here at Middle Tennessee.

Q: Before you came here, you had not been on the same team or staff with Head Coach Rick Stockstill. How did you meet him?

SCHULTZ: Actually, I did not know him. Of course, I knew of him and knew who he was. We had a couple of ties, people that knew both of us, so it was thru a couple of guys that had known me for a while, but had also known Coach Stock, so that is how we got together.

Q: Looking back on your career, you had coached both offense and defense at various stops, but from the time you coached running backs at New Mexico until now, it has been solely offense. Was that by choice, or chance?

SCHULTZ: More by chance, it just worked out that way. But I do feel very strongly that coaching defense as long as I did helped me prepare in being an offensive coach, and I think that goes both ways. If you coached offense, it would help you prepare as a defensive coach. I am fortunate to have had that opportunity, and to have been in that situation. There is no question that coaching defense helped prepare me to coach offense.

Q: WHAT WILL BE YOUR STYLE HERE? WILL MIDDLE TENNESSEE BE MORE RUN ORIENTED?

SCHULTZ: We'll do what we need to do to put us in the best position to win. Offensively, they had a very strong nucleus here last season and what I hope I can do is add a few things that can contribute to that success. But it is not "my" style. This is Coach Stockstill's offense, and this is his defense. Our style is going to be Coach Stockstill's style. My deal is to make sure I keep him happy.

You have to remember that Coach Stockstill is a great offensive coach. He's been on offense, he understands offense, and he is a darn good offensive coach. All I am trying to do is come in and take what they already have in place, which has been very successful, and maybe add a few things to it.

Q: Is the fast-paced tempo of practice sessions at Middle Tennessee something that you have done in other places before coming here?

SCHULTZ: It is very similar to what we did at TCU. There, we were very, very up tempo, fast-paced, lot of reps on offense. We practiced very much like this at TCU when I was there. And, actually, we did some of that at New Mexico as well. Going fast and being up-tempo has a lot of advantages to it.

Q: You have inherited a very good quarterback in Dwight Dasher. As QB coach, what is your initial impression of him?

SCHULTZ: There is no doubt that Dwight is a heck of a football player. He has the ability to; as I call it, get you out of trouble. And he has done that in the past. He is very exciting and very explosive, he can make people miss, and sometimes he can take a bad call and make it into a good call. He has a tremendous amount of ability and he has a good grasp of the offense. Is he perfect? No. Are there things we need to work on? Yes. It is my job to make sure he blends in with what we are trying to do, and keep trying to cultivate that situation and get everybody to do a little bit better job.

Q: Despite having been practicing only a little over a week, have you had a chance to form an opinion on junior college QB Logan Kilgore, who came in at the start of this semester?

SCHULTZ: I think Logan Kilgore has a huge upside. I didn't know a lot about Dwight, Logan or Brent (Burnette) before I got here. I had watched a little film on Dwight, and knew what kind of football player he was, but I really had no idea about Logan or Brent. After a couple of practices, I felt like Logan would be able to come in if something happened, knock on wood, to Dwight. I feel that we've got some other guys in place, in addition to Kilgore, that could come in and help us win football games.

Logan is a coach's kid. His dad is a coach and I think that has benefited him. He's had a very enriched background as a coach's kid, you get to hang around, a little bit of a gym rat, and I think Logan does that. He has a great understanding of the game at a very young age, and I just think that he's a long way in terms of understanding coverages and the things we are doing. The more reps he takes, the more comfortable he is going to feel in our offense. I am real excited about him and his future.

Q: When you were at TCU, you coached a fellow named LaDainian Tomlinson. We don't have someone of that stature here, so will our running game be by committee, or will one back get most of the carries?

SCHULTZ: You know, we only had LaDainian for three years, but we also had a couple of other 1,000 yard rushers during that span. Right now, I think it is too early in the process to get into that as far as which way we will go, but from what I have seen, I think we have a couple of guys that can be pretty good at tailback.

Q: Will you use a fullback in this offense?

SCHULTZ: We used a fullback a little bit at both TCU and Illinois. I'm not going to tell you what we are going to do, or not going to do, here because I want Minnesota and the rest of our opponents to have something else to think about. I want those guys out there wondering what is going to be different.

Q: Our receiving corps lost several key players from last year. Have you had a chance to evaluate our current receivers yet?

SCHULTZ: I have taken a look at a few of them. We have some junior college transfers, and we will get some help in that area. We had some guy's red-shirt last year that are starting to grow up and do a few things better. From what I have seen so far, I think our receivers have a chance to be as good as we were last year.

Q: The offensive line only lost center Mark Thompson off of the starters last year.. How good can that unit be in 2010?

SCHULTZ: The center position is a big deal, and Jimmy Ray (Stephens) has done a nice job with that group. We have to do a good job of grooming our next center and bringing him along. When you talk about the offensive line, the first thing you have to talk about is staying healthy. First of all, we have some junior college guys and transfers that will help us. I think there is a chemistry that is usually built between five offensive linemen. They get used to working together, each one of them has to make different calls on different plays, and do different things and have different assignments. Not to undersell the depth issue, but I think injuries become very important, because when you get five guys who are working well together, you don't ever want to tinker with that continuity. We have to stay healthy upfront. If we stay healthy, and they keep progressing like they are, I think we have a chance to have a pretty solid offensive line.

Q: You have only been here three weeks. Have you had a chance to look around yet, to get settled in? Is your family here yet?

SCHULTZ: My youngest daughter, Jordan, is probably going to end up transferring here to Middle Tennessee from TCU. My two oldest daughters, Taylor and Kendall, have already graduated from college and are living in the Fort Worth area. One graduated from TCU, the other one from the University of Texas.

We have looked around and are very excited to be here. The city, or The 'Boro as they call it, has a lot of things to offer, and its only 30 minutes from Nashville if you want even more things to do. If you can't find it here, it is probably in Nashville, and if you can't find it in Nashville, you probably can't find it at all. Cindy and I are excited about being here. I am a southern guy, being from Texas, and its just warmer here. I like being in the south. My oldest daughter, Taylor, was born while I was at Tennessee Tech so she is already a real Tennessean.

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