Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Recruitment: Don't Forget About the Linemen

The last two defending Super Bowl champions - the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers - will kick off the 2011 season tomorrow night at Lambeau Field. How's that for starters?

Consider the Quarterbacks:
Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees might as well be Clint Eastwood and John Wayne. They're some of the best quarterbacks in the league and looking to stay on top for the 2011 season. Rodgers is a gunslinger; a moniker often attached to quarterbacks who can sling the ball and take some risks while doing it.

Then, of course, there's that guy the Miami Dolphins painfully passed on - twice. Brees is only a five-time Pro Bowl selection, has a Super Bowl ring and Super Bowl MVP, and was named the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the year in 2010. No big deal. Oh, and the fact he's the only player other than Marino to ever throw for more than 5,000 yards in a season counts for something.

The Supporting Cast:
But, anyone who follows football - or any sport for that matter - knows the quarterback is only one person. Sure, many other team members don't have any hope of being on the next cover of Madden Football, but they still exist. This year, the Packers own perhaps the most disjointed roster in their history; as it stands, they have a mere 24 players on offense, two fewer than their average since 1993. The Packers' decision to keep five tight ends has been called amazing, heavy, or just plain stupid.

Our friends in the Big Easy, however, have lots of good returners: notably the same group of wide receivers (gotta have someone to catch those 5,000 yards) and second-year tight end, Jimmy Graham. Sure, they've got some new folks but opted to make just a few key additions rather than a full overhaul.

Some argue that despite the small offensive line of the Pack, they'll still be able to exploit the Saints' defense . Others are saying the Packers' defense are the ones in trouble because the Saints' passing offense is a force to be reckoned with.

Sure, football is awesome, but what does it have to do with fraternities and sororities? Well, in case you haven't noticed, fall is also the time for fraternity/sorority recruitment, not just football season.

What's your strategy when putting together your roster for the year? So many fraternity/sorority leaders [over]use the phrase "quality over quantity" but we're not sure it's really a good phrase. Sure, in concept it makes sense, but at the end of the day we all want chapters with enough people, right? We need to pay the bills, those of us with houses need to fill the rooms, and in the least we want to be able to fill the positions on the executive board. On the other hand, we can't be handing out bids left and right JUST to fill the rooms and pay the bills.

Quality vs. quantity - think of it like this. The Packers have five tight ends - FIVE. Sure, the tight end is a little like a rover (they're athletic and versatile) but there's typically only one in an offensive line formation - does any team really need five?  The tight end position is oftentimes held by the most athletic players; they have to be strong enough to play like a lineman but need the speed and hands of a receiver. Okay, we get it, they're terrific. The potential new members who are super leaders, have great grades, and are extraordinarily good looking are like the tight ends. They look good to us - and make us look good.

Think about this: in your chapter, who is your quarterback? Your wide receivers? Your tight ends? How many do you have and how many do you need? What positions do you need to fill in order to have a complete roster that's going to win games? Yes, we realize your chapter roster is a bit different than a football team. Mainly, you can't trade people when they suck. You can't trade the underperforming senior tight end (he used to be strong and fast but ruined it with a Wednesday through Saturday beer drinking regimen) for a new, spry freshman tight end. But, at the end of the day, there IS such a thing as too many tight ends.

Recruitment is a rush - no doubt. We all want the "best" new members in the pool. However, we too often fail to really look at what makes a potential new member the "best." The students who are uber-outgoing and have a long list of leadership experiences may stand out in the crowd, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're the best. On the same note, those who've never been involved in the past and are pretty shy aren't the worst. Just like quarterbacks and wide receivers - and tight ends - get a lot of visibility in a football game, we'd be stupid to overlook the linemen. Linemen are important because they have to be strong enough and heavy enough to give the quarterback enough time to find an open receiver. Linemen might not move very far, but they make a huge impact. In your chapter, these linemen might be the ones who balance the budget for the first time in ten years, finally take a stab at ending hazing, or engage a faculty or chapter advisor who can really help your group.

Is your chapter disjointed or strategically created? Which positions are vacant?

And, who are the linemen in your new member pool?

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