Monday, July 30, 2007

Rome wasn't built in an afternoon.....

Heading into our last 'serious' engagement of the summer, was a prestigious tournament of some of the best teams in the state. A tournament we won not more than 5 weeks ago....

Our expectations were high, we felt we had put in considerable work and were confident that our players knew their assignments and adjustments.

I'm still wondering what actually happened......

Series after series of "coulda" and "shoulda" - not necessarily a total breakdown, just a lack of urgency to FINISH the job. I was amazed at how much of our play had developed into emotional "hostages", we had to be pumped up to make plays - immediate motivation, because to a man, we just couldn't sustain EFFORT. To succeed in any situation, you have to perform the same whether you feel like it or not, whether you think you can do it or not - the performance must match the standard.

Maybe it was good that we experienced set backs before the season. Maybe we aren't as mature as we once believed.

To be great TOMORROW, you must build TODAY. It doesn't happen over night, or because you "want to".

Here's hoping this report becomes the start of something that builds a foundation for change.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

North vs South

Chicken or the Egg argument

I guess I don't have enough to do in practice to keep me busy, but out of curiosity on trying to maybe pinpoint a cause for the reason for discrepancy in quality of football played in the country, I took a look at the EXPECTATIONS / ORIENTATIONS of the demographic culture of football in America, with the underlying root being directed at the proliferation of DI schools in the country.

Using the traditional Mason-Dixon line as the DMZ of college football we split the United States into the "haves" and the "have nots", sort to speak.

Out of 250 total DI (+ sub division) football programs in the 50 States...

58 DI NCAA Sub Division Football programs exist in the "Southern" states, for a total of 115 DI programs in the country.

Nearly 1/2 of all Top College Football programs reside in these 15 "Southern" States.

Is it because this is the hotbed for athletic football talent?

Does so many DI schools raise the level of play at the lower levels in those states?

Does the lack of many DI schools in Northern states diminish the potential talent in their states?

Also, another thing I'd like to consider is the proportion of Military Bases in these states, and their contribution of local tax dollars (as well as a steady influx of families supplying young athletes) to support community football.

Personally, being a Yankee, I have to believe that YES those DI schools DO matter and DO have a significant contribution towards the development and "athletic maturity" of young athletes.

In the North, you have your pick of DIII schools, but the DI program is largely out of reach. In the South, you have your pick of DI schools in your area and the STANDARD for how football is supposed to be played, gives you a good idea of physical expectations of play ( making the likelihood of knowing someone that went to a DI program more likely).

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Are You Ready For Some Football??!

Feeding my addiction (read compulsion) this year will be TWO teams at a 4A Defensive Coordinator and a Head Coach of a 10 Year Old team.

Time is fast approaching.....I will be enduring "hell week" sort to speak

The week day will look something like this....

4:15 - 5:00 AM workout
6:00 - 3:00 "work"
3:00 - 6:00 HS practices
6:00 - 8:00 10 Year old practices
8:00 - 10:00 prepare for next day's practices / week game plan

Yeah, well, I never thought it would be easy, but I will enjoy the challenge. I mean, its not like I have any other hobbies to keep me busy.

Last year, I moved to the Texarkana area after being in Iowa most of my life. Since college, football has always been a big part of my life and has defined who I am as a person. Looking to get tapped into the hot-bed of "Southern Football" once I arrived, I stalked all the area high school ADs looking to help out in any capacity. No Dice.....I ended up helping coach and organize the local adult women's football team.

It was a frustrating ordeal for me, and although there are some really good people involved with that team, I had to step away in February as I had my son full-time.

I committed to coach a youth team for a program I have the utmost respect for in December, and thankfully, I will also be able to coach my son in his first year of organized football. The only sour note is that they run the double-wing offense at the youth level, which has left me nauseous on more than a few occasions. Of course, the most important thing at that age level is coaching the fundamentals correctly, anyway. I just hope I can stay awake while calling plays......

I then was able to get in contact with a coach I'd been in contact with since 2005, since I knew I would be moving to Louisiana in 2006. One thing led to another, and I'm on board helping to turn the program around from a 0-10 record from the previous season.

I honestly feel good about both teams am confident both teams will be advancing through the post-season (prolonging my personal extended daily schedule).

Another week or so, and the NFL preseason kicks off...not long after that starts the college season....then, a never-ending emotional seige that will last until February.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Best Quarterback Instruction................EVER! we're drawing near August.

Obviously, it signals the time for a new football season.

After going the last 7 weeks or so of off-and-on practices and 7-on-7 matchups, the kids are receiving a week break of organized activities.

In the first year of a new (spread / 5-wide) offense, and with marginal development in our was decided early in the summer that we were sending our quarterback to the Peyton Manning Passing Camp or the Darin Slack Quarterback Academy in July.

We were blessed to have a new player arrive via basketball in early June who showed considerable promise, so we moved #1 QB to defense where he would make the greater impact and solidify a key position.

As the date grew closer, we had two candidates that were going to go. Two weeks out, we had yet another promising candidate arrive (freshman) with loads of potential.

I was supposed to be helping out at the Les Miles Youth Camp Tuesday night, but committed an hour before (asked) to take the quarterbacks down to the Slack camp.

Probably the best decision I've made in a while (can't remember the last GOOD decision I made).

I started making arrangements to take our promising young athletes to the camp, got a great deal into the planning, then realized that I had lost my wallet two weeks earlier......kinda hard to check into a hotel without your ID or drivers license. This now helped pull in the services of our offensive coordinator, who was supposed to be attending the Louisiana High School Coaches Clinic in Baton Rouge during this time. It was probably best that things worked out the way they did, though.

Day OF, as the 11th hour approached, our Freshman phenom was no where to be found and his parents were talking of moving to another school. Plan B! Go with the former QB who is now playing well on defense....well, lets just take him instead - we'll make a good backup better. Calls to his parents reveal he is planning on moving out of the state!

Cripes! Get back to fundamentals.

We ended up taking our starting quarterback who had a shoulder injury for more than 3 weeks, and his #1 receiver (who would now be our #2 QB in a pinch).
The conversation at 20 minutes to departure went something along the lines of, "Good morning.....Get're going to Lafayette for two days .......we're picking you up in 15 minutes!"

Two good student-athletes that were able to receive top notch quality instruction at the hands of unequivocally THE BEST football instructor in the world, Darin Slack.

My friend and I were greeted by a enthusiastic Coach Slack, who knew exactly who we were (from submitting video of our QBs prior for analysis), and let us know that this was the beginning of a partnership / relationship in the development of young men....who happen to be quarterbacks.

The first 45 minutes of introduction were the most passionate arguments for athletic and character development I have ever heard. The kids were pumped and steered in the proper path to achieve greatness.

The next 24 hours would be filled with hands-on instruction and correction of the proper mechanics and thought-process for quarterbacks. All the quarterbacks had to be stripped of their ineffecient and sometimes dangerous throwing habits. Not only were they taught how to correctly throw, they were taught WHY this was an efficient method for throwing - as well as being able to pinpoint when and where errant throws happen.

Of course, one cannot travel on I-10 without taking in some of the finest cajun cuisine.......

For a more complete write-up of our encounter with Coach Slack in Lafayette, check out;

Saturday, July 14, 2007

11th Hour

With three weeks remaining until the season 'officially' gets underway......

The monsoon season has washed away numerous attempts at practice and 7 on 7 competitions with local schools. We have a basic defense in thanks to accelerated implementation schedule and some pretty serious passing tourneys in June.

Being the first year for this school running the Nickel, the learning curve is HUGE. The delays and cancellations have forced a necessitity upon me to get the information SOMEHOW to the kids when we can't meet. I burned about two dozen DVDs with powerpoint animations of our base coverages and adjustments with college skelly cut ups , then game film of my previous programs running them.

I am blessed to be with such an athletically gifted and 'mature' group of students at this school - it is rare. I am looking forward to some very rewarding experiences this season.