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Friday, August 22, 2014

Team First

I can vividly remember my college head coach, Danny Rocco, saying these words: "Your most subconscious thought must be of the team." Meaning, you should put the team first and yourself second. When I was a Sophomore at Liberty, that did not make much sense to me. I thought it was all about me! I transferred from East Carolina University to Liberty because I wanted to play and earn individual honors. I was a very selfish player that was disrespectful to my coaches and teammates during my sophomore year, but by the GRACE of GOD that began to change over the last two years of college. I split playing time during my sophomore and junior years at Liberty and got the chance to start at left tackle my senior year. I played all 5 positions on the offensive line and on a couple of occasions I played two positions in a single game!! We finished 10-2 my senior year (2008), won the Big South Conference and finished the season ranked #14 in the FCS.

As I look back on my playing career, I can see God's providence in my life. If I would have started from my sophomore and junior year, I would still be a very arrogant and selfish person. Now, I am still a wretched, black - hearted sinner that is only saved by the GRACE of God, but that experience humbled me and made me much more of a team player.

The humbling I received my sophomore and junior years has prepared me to be a better coach. I can empathize with a player who is not getting the playing time he wants, and I can tell him that I have been in his shoes. Also, I make sure a lot of guys get reps at practice, because if you have earned the right to play, you deserve to be in the game.

Love your players, earn their respect, and BEST OF LUCK THIS YEAR!!


Thursday, August 14, 2014

We're Talking About Practice....

Football is a unique sport because you spend far more time practicing than you do playing games. In order to be a good football player or have a good football team, practice must be efficient and productive. I have been around a lot of good football programs during my years as a player and a coach, and each program is different but the good ones demand that their players and coaches perform well at practice. The players need to be held accountable for their actions during practice, but the coaches must also be accountable for theirs.

In order to have a productive practice, every coach must be actively coaching on every play / rep of practice. As a coach, you should be fatigued at the end of practice because you have been moving and coaching during practice. Coaches should NEVER be socializing with one another while the players are working. This sets a bad example and you are misusing your time on the practice field. There should never be any "down" time during practice, except for water breaks or when the head coach is talking to the team.

It is also the coaches' responsibility to ensure that practice is efficient. The practice field is not the place for "sermons", it is the place for ACTION. You should film your practices so you can watch them with you position group / team and at that time you should do a fair amount of talking. We use Hudl as our film software and it has a lot of great features that allow coaches to make cut - ups and type corrections on the film.

 "We are either coaching it or allowing it to happen" is one of my favorite phrases because it is an ABSOLUTE TRUTH!! Do not blame your players if they did something wrong and you have not coached it. They will see right through you and will not play hard for you when the rubber hits the road.

Now, I know A LOT of you are doing a great job coaching your football team and getting the most out of your players!! We have all been guilty of the things I mentioned above, but we most hold each other accountable so we give our players a chance to succeed.

Blessings to each of you this season!!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Simplicity

As we prepare for this next season, we must remember that it is not what we know (coaches) but it what our players know. I am guilty of spending hours drawing different defensive fronts and coverages that look great on paper! However, in order to play great defense, you must commit to your scheme and PERFECT YOUR defense.

Our players have a lot going on in their lives and football is often at the bottom of the list. So, we must make our schemes simple so they can master their stance, keys, assignments, alignments and responsibilities. We do not have the extended film and install time that colleges rely upon to implement their scheme. It is important that you are flexible enough on defense to change - up your look, but it must be simple enough so you can execute the call against whatever formation / play an offense runs.

Great defenses are ones that fly to the football and do not commit mental errors. You can only accomplish those two objectives if your defense is simple. The Seattle Seahawks just won the Super Bowl playing cover 3 and a little bit of cover 1. NFL offenses knew they were going to be in 3 or 1 and they still had the best defense in the NFL. Defense will always be about execution, and you must be simple if you are going to execute at a HIGH level.

1. DEMAND EXCELLENCE from your players and yourself
2. Your players must give PERFECT EFFORT on every snap
3. BE SIMPLE so you can accomplish #'s 1 and 2