By Patrick Crawford
Arkansas Media Relations
New to the Arkansas football coaching staff for this season is a familiar face from within the Southeastern Conference. Steve Caldwell joined the Razorback football program in January of 2010 as an assistant coach for defensive ends. Caldwell recently spent 14 seasons at Tennessee where he also coached defensive ends.
While at UT, the Volunteers’ defense was ranked in the top four among conference schools in total defense 10 times. Caldwell attended and played football at Arkansas State and also began his coaching career there.
Q: Coach Caldwell, how has your adjustment been to the Fayetteville area and the University of Arkansas?
A: It’s been a whirlwind. As soon as I got in town, I hit the road recruiting and started preparing for spring practice. It’s been a non-stop situation for me and it’s been exciting.
Q: You were at Tennessee for more than 10 years and are very familiar with the SEC, but do you have any sort of special connection with this area and state?
A: My family is so excited to be close to home. I went to school at Arkansas State and started my coaching there and it’s been great being back in this part of the state. Lots of friends have been in contact with me. When it comes to it, all of my roots are here.
Q: How did you originally get into coaching football?
A: When I was in high school, I thought I was going to grow up to be an electrician. I missed football so much after high school, after a year I went to Arkansas State and walked on to the team. At some point, I knew this was what I wanted to do.
Q: Life in coaching can be demanding; what do you like to do in your spare time?
A: I think as you get older, your priorities change. A lot times when I was younger, I’d be out playing golf. Now, I love to spend time with my family. Its things like that, I like to get away and relax. My family is my hobby. Once I get away from my office, I try spending a lot more time with them.”
Q: Coach Caldwell, when you have time, I’m sure you like to get away. What would your ideal vacation spot be?
A: I have a small cabin in the Smokey Mountains. It’s about 1,100 square feet. It has an outdoor fireplace. I go there to just get away from all of it. I just sit out there and relax.
Q: Do you have a certain approach to coaching the defensive line?
A: It needs to get to the point that where if I were gone for a day, they’d be able to do everything the way I would have wanted it done. And I always try to tell them that there is no time to take a play off. Every little thing they do needs to be done with perfection.
Q: Recruiting is so important to a football team’s success. What do you look for when you’re out on the trail?
A: I look for athletic ability and if they guy can run. This game is so fast. The first thing you recruit for are the guys that have speed. The most important thing you have to find in this league, above all other things, is speed. It is speed and work ethic. The kid has to be able to make himself better.
Q: Coach Caldwell, you were the defensive coordinator at Nevada at the same time that Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino was the offensive coordinator. How was it coaching against Coach Petrino in practice?
A: Coach Petrino’s football mind, not just offense, is unbelievable. That spring we were together at Nevada, he kept me on my toes. I knew he was scheming against the defense for practice. It comes back to how well he knows both sides of the game.