Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Roll Tide!

Posted by admin January - 9 - 2018 - Tuesday

We got a “ton” of snow last week… 10 inches!! For the Norfolk/Virginia Beach/Tidewater area of Virginia, that is a “ton!” I was so bored that by Saturday, I actually watched (some of it) a little NFL. I figured the play-off’s would be a good time to see what I’d been missing. Come on, man!!! Boring! Give me college football anytime! and… that anytime was last night! WOW!!! What a game!! I like both teams; both programs and both coaches… so I just wanted to see a good game. The Bulldogs and Tide did not disappoint. It was entertaining and educational. Studying the strategies employed by the coaches always intrigues me. Saban and Smart both managed great game plans.

Here are some things that I saw that any coach can file away to use with his own team some day:

1) The Alabama players (the front-line starters anyway… cuz #48 needs to spend some time running stadium steps at 6 in the morning for a few weeks! Awful display and an embarrassment to the Crimson Tide program) just kept hammering! I shared a couple of years back on this blog site The Legend of the Stonecutter. It was tagged to Stephon Curry of the GS Warriors. It stresses the importance of persistence. Never give up and never give in! That was how Bama played.

How do you teach this to your players? It’d be nice if high school athletes just came to us with perseverance as one of their chief character traits. Unfortunately, in this day and age of instant gratification, it’s hard to find. My suggestion would be that you just keep repeating (many times!) stories of people who’ve overcome adversity by sticking to their goal. There are some exercises/activities that I’ve done (which are too detailed to type up here… write me if you want the ideas!) that help but it is just too important to just ignore. How many times has your team fallen behind in a game and basically “cashed in their chips.” They just stop playing hard! We need to find a way to teach/coach our players to have a “never say die” attitude.

HINT: Think Facing the Giants movie scene!!! Have you seen it?

2) Coach Woody Hayes of Ohio State had a statement that is soooooooooo good. He said, “Don’t attack walled cities!” (Another plug for all of you to study military strategy and tactics!)

I said that I like both programs because both coaches build their offense around a power running game. That’s MY style of offensive football. However, Georgia realized it early (first 7 plays were all passes) and Saban realized it by the end of the first half. You’ve heard it said: “There are 3 things that can happen when you throw the ball… and ALL of them are bad!” Not true… you Negative Nelson’s out there. There are 4 things that can happen. The 4th is: you throw a long pass on 2nd and 23 and it not only goes for a 42 yard TD but, it wins the National Championship for you!!! Every team needs to be able to throw the ball efficiently.

You only need a limited package of pass plays but you need to work on them so when needed, you can be confident in your QB and receivers being able to complete them.

3) Don’t be afraid to make the “big change” when things aren’t going right. Alabama limped off the field dazed and frustrated at half time. I will give credit to God’s Holy Spirit for this one! but… I sensed in my spirit that, “If Bama is going to win, Nick knows he’s going to have to change QB’s.” And as the first series of the 3rd quarter began, here came Tua!!

Persistence is important. I already established that. However, the flip side of that is Woody’s point of “don’t beat your head against a brick wall.” The only thing that’s going to crack is your skull. Fortunately, Saban had a 5 star QB waiting in the wings. But no amount of physical ability could help a true freshman step onto that stage and perform like he did unless there was mental and spiritual strength involved too!!!

I loved Tua’s statement after the game: “ALL the praise goes to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!”
Tua’s spiritual maturity obviously spilled over into this young man’s mental maturity. Even taking that bad sack just before The Bomb didn’t seem to phase him. He got right back up and went to his 3rd read (on the other side of the field!) for the game-winner.

My point is: sometimes you just HAVE to change. This was a calculated risk taken by Saban and his staff. But, it was the “wake up call” that the Tide needed.
Do you need to shift around your coaching staff? Do you need to dismiss a coach? Do you need to take a look at a new player at QB in your program? Do you need to tweak your offense? Do you need to be more demanding of your players and their work habits? Are you afraid to change because some kids might quit? Don’t be afraid to take a calculated risk and change some things about your program if you recognize that “change” is the only fix.

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