Running Out of Time: Clock Management

Here is Michael McKnight’s article from the August 29th, 2016 issue of Sports Illustrated regarding clock management in the NFL.

Article link: Second Nature

Even at the highest level, mistakes are made in critical junctures of the game. It is our responsibility as coaches to ensure that our players are comfortable playing in a multitude of scenarios in the critical moments of competition, no matter what your sport is.

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Quotes from the Jungle: Tigers, Huskies and Cougars

Here are some insights from some of the best college football coaches in the game today:

On the experience of the coaching profession: “You have to enjoy the whole journey. Enjoy all it. You have to enjoy the bad, you have to enjoy the good.” – Dabo Swinney, Clemson Tigers Head Football Coach (August 23, 2016 – Jim Rome Show)

On defining yourself in regards to your coaching career: “My identity is not tied up in being a football coach or being the coach at Clemson. My identity is tied up to who I am as a man, and being a father to three sons, and being a husband and being a good citizen, you know, trying to serve my community. That’s what my identity is tied up in. I love coaching football, I’m passionate about it, that’s what I do. But I’m so much more than that.” – Dabo Swinney, Clemson Tigers Head Football Coach (August 23, 2016 – Jim Rome Show)

On building a program and the patience it requires: “I think the results are probably slower to come than we had hoped for and expected. You know, it’s been an awesome, and a hard, and a frustrating, and a rewarding two and a half years. And what I mean by that is that, this just a tough process. And I think a lot of times when you come in from the outside and your trying to establish your way of doing things it just takes some darn time to get things done. After two and a half years, we feel like the process is in place and we feel really good about it.” Chris Petersen, Washington Huskies Head Football Coach (August 18, 2016 – Jim Rome Show)

On keeping players focused despite social media: “It’s hard because they’re bombarded with messages each and every day. The social media is a blessing and a curse. It allows us to get our message out to our fans and recruits but it also bombards our players.I think our culture is so insulating though that I’d be a fool to think that our guys didn’t hear it but, the thing I’m probably most proud of is that they don’t listen to it. They understand that our goals internally are the only ones that matter and that our goals will never change. It doesn’t matter what last years team did or how good last years team was. What matters is this is the 2016 team and quite frankly we haven’t done anything yet.” – Tom Herman, Houston Cougars Head Football Coach (August 18, 2016 – Jim Rome Show)

“You can win as many games as you want but if the culture is not there it’s not sustainable.” – Tom Herman, Houston Cougars Head Football Coach (August 18, 2016 – Jim Rome Show)

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Post Fundamental Drill

Here is a short video that Kevin Clifford, Head Women’s Basketball Coach at Buffalo State, sent me today:

Two things coaches at any level cannot forget to teach is proper footwork and the basic rules of the game (travelling, double dribbling, etc.).

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

Dabo Swinney & The Clemson Way

Here is an article from the most recent AFCA Magazine that features on Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Football program.

AFCA Magazine – Eye of the Tigers – Paul Markgraff – May-June 2016

I think his sentiment regarding relationship and culture building stood out for me the most.

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

Lovie’s New Gig and the Rest of the Story

In the coaching world when one person gets a chance, another coach is getting their pink slip.

So was the case at the University of Illinois, who announced that Lovie Smith would be the next Head Football Coach for the Illini (see Shannon Ryan’s article in the Chicago Tribune).

Smith, a well respected NFL Head Coach and great person, himself was done dirty by the brass in Tampa Bay. After just his second year, Smith was surprisingly fired despite his team showing progress with a rookie QB at the helm.

With this in mind, I am ecstatic for Coach Smith to get this opportunity to run his own program again.

Nevertheless, every hire means a fire (or non-renewal). In this case, Bill Cubit was on the chopping block. Several programs within the athletic department were said to be in turmoil, including the football program before Cubit was the interim and then eventual head coach.

What stood out to me was a few things:

  1. A new athletic director and former Illini Tight End, Josh Whitman was hired in mid-February (was D3 AD at Washington University in St. Louis in his prior position).
  2. According to Ryan’s article: “Whitman worked at lightning speed to bring Smith to Champaign. Through a common friend and colleague, former Illini coach and Bears offensive coordinator Ron Turner, Whitman connected with Smith shortly after Whitman was named AD in mid-February. The two met at Smith’s home in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, and each was impressed with the other. On his first official day on the job Saturday, Whitman fired coach Bill Cubit, who had been promoted from interim status at the end of last season with a two-year contract. Smith flew to Champaign on Sunday.”
  3. According to an AP article (see article): “I just came in and (Whitman) said, ‘I’m letting you go,'” Cubit told The Associated Press of the meeting on Saturday…The Illini finished 5-7, 2-6 in the Big Ten last season under Cubit, whose son Ryan was also fired as offensive coordinator. The elder Cubit said he wasn’t given a detailed reason for the firing. ‘Everybody told me I had (at least) this year,’ he said. ‘There’s a lot of shock going on. I don’t know what to tell you. It’s a funny place.'”
  4. Also, current student-athletes in the football program learned of Cubit’s dismissal through social media.
  5. Whitman had obviously been negotiating talks with Smith while Cubit still had the position and before Whitman’s first official day.

It seems as though, despite a glamour hire by Whitman, Cubit was not the problem and he was not even given the courtesy by Whitman to talk to him, evaluate him and get to know what his culture and philosophy were about.

This hire pulls at me in both directions because Lovie was dismissal by Tampa Bay was just as shameful as Cubit’s by Illinois.

The bottom line is: Great for Lovie. Thoughts go out to Cubit and the former Illini Football staff. Shame on Whitman.

I do understand (see Brian Hamilton’s of Sports Illustrated’s take), but do not agree with Cubit’s abrupt firing, but no matter what Whitman’s decision, it was handled entirely unprofessionally.

Not to mention, why were the student-athletes not afforded the respect to be told before the media was notified? It has to be about the student-athletes. Period.

It begs the question that I always ask myself…”who is evaluating the evaluators?”

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

 

 

 

Saban’s Culture Makes it a Smart Choice to Keep Kirby On

nick-saban-kirby-smartjpg-6d0c51832a480e6c

Tonight’s College Football Playoff National Championship features three college football head coaches: Alabama’s Nick Saban, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and Georgia’s Kirby Smart.

Smart is currently the Alabama Defensive Coordinator who was recently named Head Coach at the University of Georgia.

Due to college football’s schedule, Smart has had to assume both roles, as Saban has allowed him to remain on staff and finish Alabama’s run at their fourth national championship in seven years.

Clearly, Saban feels comfortable that Kirby will be ultra focused on getting his defense ready to the best of his ability, even though Saban knows Kirby will be dedicating some of his time to putting a staff together at Georgia and recruiting against Alabama and other SEC rivals.

Here are a few articles that give some perspective on Kirby’s unique situation:

http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/14414965/what-kirby-smart-learn-dan-mullen-tom-herman

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/kirby-smart-juggling-alabama–georgia-roles-ahead-of-playoff-214830041-ncaaf.html

This dual role is interesting for me to fathom as a college basketball coach.

Due to the calendar/schedule, this is much more of a possibly in college football than college basketball. As a matter of fact, I have never heard of a team making a Final Four run with an Associate Head Coach/Assistant Coach who was already hired in another program, have you?

I think the sheer logistics on the coaching staff allow college football staff members to share some of the load of losing a coordinator or position coach. This would be much more difficult in my opinion on a college basketball staff because of 1) a small staff size and 2) the fact that in the tournament teams play Thursday/Saturday or Friday/Sunday on the first two weeks of the tournament. These back to back games would severely limit a coaches ability to do both jobs to the best of their ability.

Either way, the fact that Saban is allowing this shows the confidence he has in himself, his culture and Alabama as a brand.

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo