Southern Miss

USM BLOG: Monken will speak his mind and recruit like heck

Newly-hired Southern Miss football coach Todd Monken was introduced a little over 24 hours ago in Hattiesburg, but there's still plenty to contemplate.

You can't fit everything in one story, so here are some other topics of note from the event:

* While he didn't give names, Monken said that he already has five men on board to join his staff.

* A report out of Columbia, Mo., today said that Missouri co-offensive line coach Josh Henson is potentially the next offensive coordinator for USM, but he's holding out to see if he can get the same position at Missouri.

"They give me only so much money," Monken said Tuesday about his staff. "It's not an open check. I have to save some money for defensive coordinator and obviously strength coach is very important. You've got to make sure you get the right people. I'm going to run the offense and coach quarterbacks so I gave myself a raise."

* It's obvious that whoever the offensive coordinator is, he will answer to Monken and Monken will make the play calls.

* While it wasn't direct, Monken did give a slight dig to recently fired head coach Ellis Johnson and his staff. Johnson faced some criticism during the 0-12 season for placing too much of the blame for the poor season on the players and injuries.

"It comes down to doing it better than everybody and not blaming the players," Monken said. "It's got nothing to do with players. It's figuring it out. It's easy to fall into that and that's not our job. We all know the problems. The object is to fix it. That's what we're paid to do. No one cares who plays. They just want the end product."

* USM athletic director Jeff Hammond said that Monken's contract will be incentive-laden. It will be a 4-year deal comparable to Ellis Johnson's annual salary of $750,000.

* Hammond said he was impressed by the way Monken handled tough questioning from the search committee.

"He was quick," Hammond said. "He took on the line of questioning as a competitor would. Instead of answering, he competed with the answer. It was really a remarkable matter back and forth. When we walked out of there - 'This guy, he fits.' He had the profile of what we're looking for."

* Monken was reminded that Fedora's motto was "Attack" when he first arrived in Hattiesburg. Monken joked, "Do I need a buzz word"

He lined out his philosophy - "Toughness, effort, discipline, no excuses, finishing."

* Monken is obviously confident that he'll be able to recruit with ease to Southern Miss.

"You want to be in a place where families don't have to drive 5-6 hours to come see them play," Monken said. "You have to have faith in yourself to recruit and develop and coach better. If you believe in yourself, you don't have to fly to get players.

"(USM) has a history of winning because it has good players and good coaches."

* Monken is a very blunt, honest individual.

"Don't ask me a question if you don't want what's on my mind," Monken said. "I've always been that way. I don't like to really beat around bush. I won't with players. I won't with (the media). I think there's a time when you have to keep things (under wraps). I have to do a better job now that I'm actually the guy rather than just being some slappy. It's different now. I have to hide certain things and protect players, which I will still do. I don't believe in not speaking your mind."