Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

“Saturdays In The South”

Posted by admin October - 10 - 2019 - Thursday

If you are as big a college football fan as I am, you need to watch the ESPN series in conjunction with the SEC Network called Saturdays In The South– The History of the SEC Football. It is grrrrrrrreat!!!

They’ve broken the conference’s history down by decades and presented the key players, coaches and games that were highlights for that particular decade. My first recollection of college football goes back to the late 1950’s. I remember someone talking about the LSU Tigers defense being called the “Chinese Bandits.” I thought that sounded pretty cool. Then I read about their star RB, Billy Cannon, and I was hooked! I’ve followed college football ever since. Cannon and LSU were highlighted in part 3 of the show.

Last night I watched Part 6, the 90’s. A lot of it was about Steve Spurrier and his Florida Gator “Fun ‘n Gun” offense. They also talked about Tennessee’s unlikely run to a national championship— right after Peyton Manning had graduated! Tee Martin was the QB and Phillip Fulmer was the coach.

They had a segment where the UT team was in their pre-game meeting and Coach Fulmer was “charging the troops!” There was a huge poster mounted on the team room wall and Fulmer had obviously written on the chalk board something that he was using as his “prop” to inspire the team. There were 7 things that he had written on the chalk board and as he read each thing, he had the players repeat it back to him… out loud! I thought that was pretty cool! So, I hit rewind and listened/looked again.

What Fulmer was using was “Coach Bob Neyland’s 7 Maxims.” I’m not going to go into detail here about each one. I looked them up on the internet and found them on

The 7 maxims themselves are what I’d call “Keys To Victory.” What I think is so important here, though, is that the Coach was emphasizing those 7 maxims to his players before a game. They were obviously important enough to Fulmer that he used them as the basis for his pre-game talk. More importantly, he had the team repeat them OUT LOUD to him.

If something is important enough to post on the wall of your locker room, you must have the self-discipline to be sure that you bring the team’s attention to what those posters say— over and over again. If you don’t, they’ll be ignored! If they were important enough to hang on the wall, you need to reinforce what they say from time to time. In UT’s case, apparently he did it every week.

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