Sorry I missed last week – I was on vacation. I fully planned on writing something anyway, but when Tuesday night rolled around and I had nothing….well, that’s what you got! Heads up, it’ll happen again in the middle of February when I head back to Cleveland for a little while, and then to Vegas for the Glazier clinic.
We saw an epic football game between the Packers and Seahawks a couple of weekends ago. Shawn Slocum, the Green Bay ST coach, is an old acquaintance, from back in ’96 when I visited Texas A&M for the first time. Then, he was maybe into his second year as a full time coach. He was a good guy, and I certainly feel for him now. Pat Ruel, with the Seahawks, has helped me out even longer – since 1993, when he was at Kansas. He is one of the nicest, classiest guys in the business and I count myself lucky to have been taught by him early in my career, and then on occasion whenever I had an issue. Pat has always been gracious with his time. So…..go Seahawks!
The other thing that came to mind is “situational football”. Similar to the ‘Bama-Auburn game of a year ago, with the failed FG being returned for a TD, there were situations in that game that could have been handled better by the players involved. I bet the Packer player that intercepted the ball late wishes now he would have run for the 20-30 more yards he easily could have. At the time, no one probably thought too much about him downing himself, thinking, “OK, he didn’t want to take a chance on fumbling the ball.” However, unlike the Chargers/Patriots playoff game in 2007 (or whenever, it is a painful memory) when a Chargers player was returning an INT late, got into traffic and then fumbled, this Green Bay player had LOTS of open field in front of him. The lesson? Take the free yardage! There was what – about 5:00 left? That’s too much time to be thinking that you’re in the clear and can afford to give up yards. The real reminder here, to you coaches out there, is that you need to at least cover these things with your players! They may not remember, they may brain fart, but trust me – it’s going to come back to you – did you cover that situation or not?
The other situation was the onside kick return that failed for the Packers. I haven’t gone back and looked at the film to confirm yet, but from what I understand, Jordy Nelson was in position to field the ball that was dropped by a player who was supposed to be blocking. Now, the player in question had an 80 number….but if there’s a play on, then do your job! I’m not sure how he was coached in that case, but if he didn’t do what he was coached to do, there’s a problem. Who knows “what if” but generally speaking, plays work out better when everyone does their own jobs instead of trying to do someone else’s.
Last Friday night, I presented the offensive changes I’ve been working on since September to the Bears (my men’s team) offensive staff. The defensive staff was there as well, and had some questions and “what ifs” and it was a good give ‘n take. You know, when you make these types of changes, you (at least I do) go through that first presentation in your head countless times, trying to smooth out the kinks. After all, as the OC, it is your job to sell the rest of the staff. At this point, I wasn’t looking for input as far as possible changes are concerned. I’d already gone over any possible question in my head. Once we get things installed, then I’m open to tweaks of course, but first things first: Get the basics down and installed, get everyone comfortable with the new terminology, and then we can look at things that can be streamlined or tweaked.
I got a little pushback from my QB. He’s a good guy and we work well together. He’s concerned about how the guys will react to new terminology. I can understand that – I’m a little concerned also. But for big picture thinking, what we had was too confining. He (and the rest of the team) are going to have to trust me when I say that everything will be installed in a flow. The first couple of practices, the defense may get after us a little, because we’ll be limited in what we run. But that’s OK….I don’t think I’m going to get fired if our defense kicks our butt a couple of practices. But I may if the Hollywood Stars or Inglewood Blackhawks do! Again, it is my job as the OC to sell the team just like I did the staff.
Sunday was spent meeting with the Surge offensive staff. We’re going to a new communication system there. I’m excited to see how it works out. I’m also excited to be back down on the sidelines. When I call plays, I prefer being up top, detached from the chaos that sometimes a sideline can be. But when we do something well, I sure miss the emotion down there! I’ll have some new people on my OL for the Surge, so it’ll be nice to be able to talk to them as a unit more than I have the past couple of years.
See you next week! Remember, I’m always open to answer questions or talk about topics that you want to see.