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Coaching 101


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#1 Mr. Scot

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 10:44 PM

Since we’re in the mode of looking for a new head coach (fans that is, not the team…yet) it’s worth asking just what sorts of things you need a head coach to be able to do.

Here are some of the important aspects of being a head coach.


EVALUATION

One of the first things you have to be part of is building a roster. Depending on the structure of the team you’re part of, you may or may not have a voice in the player selection. In fact, some teams prefer that you don’t. The reason? Scouts say coaches have a tendency to “fall in love” (so to speak) with a particular player while watching workouts and say “I want that guy”. Scouts and personnel people are usually trained to be more objective. Thus, you have to be able to play the cards you're dealt.

Still, once they’re on the team, you’re the guy in charge of determining just how good they really are. Workout warrior, one-year wonder, or true football player? That’s why you practice. Preseason games help a lot because you get to see your guys hitting someone else for once. You pretty much have to be aware of everything that’s happening on the field. If you miss something, it can affect your ability to make a good personnel decision, something which generally isn't easy to begin with.

Assuming you determine the guys who are indeed ready to be a pro though, the job isn’t over. In fact, it’s just begun.


ORGANIZATION

Once you have an idea of just how good your guys are (or aren’t) then it’s time to start comparing. Is Receiver A better than Receiver B? Is Lineman X better suited to play on the interior or the exterior? Would he work best on the left side or the right? How about determining whether your old veteran quarterback still has enough gas in the tank? If not, is your young guy ready for the big time? And what about that guy who isn’t as good a position player but is a real special teams ace? Who do you sit so he can play?

These are the kinds of decisions coaches have to make while filling out a depth chart, but even the depth chart isn’t the final word. On a weekly basis, you have to account for injuries, sometimes suspensions, maybe even for your star player being a knucklehead and doing something stupid. Did I mention that the guy you downgraded to a backup role isn’t especially happy about it?

Anyway, let’s say you have the lineup you want. Time to move to the next step.


PREPARATION

Now you’ve got to get the guys ready for their big game. That means not only knowing your guys, but knowing their opponents as well. How’s their run game stack up against your run defense? Is their defense aggressive or reactionary? What parts of your attack match up well against them? Perhaps more important, where are you vulnerable? This is where the coordinators, your best Xs and Os guys, are invaluable, so you seek their input as much as possible.

All these actors (and many more) go into a game plan. Then you and your position coaches set about to teach the guys you chose to be in the lineup what that game plan is and what part they play. Hopefully, the guys catch on. After all, you did pick the right guys, didn’t you? Having second thoughts? Might be a bit too late for that now.

Still, you do the best you can to get what the guys need to know into their brains, but you also have to do something about their hearts as well.

MOTIVATION

So what’s your angle to light a fire under the guys you chose to play and taught the game plan? Build the other team up as unstoppable like Belichick, or tell your guys that they’re the ones who can’t be beaten like Ryan? If you’ve been around a while, they’ve likely heard all your favorite speeches by now. Can you come up with something new that’ll rekindle their fighting spirit and inspire them to greatness? If so, what is it?

Of course, you have to remember that what motivates one guy might not motivate another. Thus you might have to leave some of those duties to the position coaches. After all, they’re the ones who work most directly with the players. And hey, you hired them, so you know you got the best guys for the job, right? Right?

Hopefully, but ready or not, it’s game time. Now you’ve got to shift into a higher gear.

MANAGEMENT

Now the game’s started. Just like in the preseason, you have to know everything that’s going on, only this time it counts. What down and distance is it? How many timeouts have you got? Is your best linebacker tired? Who’s in at runningback now? How many carries has he had? Too many, or not enough? Oh great! Somebody’s hurt on the field. Is it one of yours? If it is, how bad is it? Is his backup ready? Is his backup even active or did you have to sit him to make room for that special teams guy? How much time is left? Can we get the ball back? Should I have gone for two on that last score? Wait, how many timeouts do we have again?

Sound complicated? It is. That’s why some guys who make great coordinators don’t always make great head coaches. Being lord and master over one aspect of the team isn’t quite the same as being responsible for all of them. A dozen different things are happening at any one time, and if your mind isn’t capable of multitasking, you’re likely to make a bad decision that may cost your team the game (and you, your job).

And again, even that’s only half the battle.

ADJUSTMENT

So you’re into the game now, and parts of your game plan seem to be working. Unfortunately, other parts are looking like a disaster. You’re learning that your primary corner is no match for their top receiver, or perhaps their best pass rusher is making a turnstile out of your best tackle. Maybe the other side is doing something they've never done before and you weren't ready. Whatever it is, it’s got to be fixed, and fast.

You have to do it on the fly, of course. There will, however, be some time available at the half where you can make the big changes. Of course, the coach on the other side is making changes too. Do the changes you’re making account for the ones he might be making over there? If not, you might have to make yet another change, teach your guys what it is on the sideline (when you have time) and hope they execute.

Okay :(

So is that it?

Not really. There are plenty of other factors that affect the outcome of a game, everything from crowd noise to weather conditions to plain old dumb luck. Sometimes the ball bounces your way, and sometimes it doesn’t. Of course, as the guy in charge, you have to account for those things, and handle them. While you’re at it, your agent called to remind you that your contract is nearly up, and he and the owner have very different ideas about how much you’re worth.

Yeesh :willy_nilly:

You might notice that a good number of the above sentences are questions. There’s a reason for that. Questions are what a head coach deals in, and lots of them. After the game is over, you’ll be answering even more questions from guys who have a story to write for the local paper or TV outlet. If you lost, the press isn't likely to be forgiving, and the fans even less so. How they portray you may or may not be fair, but you don’t have much control over that (realistically, none at all).

For all those questions, you have to have an answer, and you have to have it now.

This is what the team will be looking for in a new head coach. Someone who has those answers.

So when you’re looking at potential candidates, ask yourself these questions.

- Is he good at recognizing talent?

- How are his organizational skills?

- Do the players he coaches come to games prepared?

- Are guys willing to go to war for him?

- Does he make smart in-game decisions?

- How well does he adjust to what the other team is doing?

We need a coach that’s not just good at one or two of those things, but all of them.

Being bad at even just one of them can mean the difference between championships and mediocrity.

#2 2jakefansinva

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 10:54 PM

wish someone would have had the answers to these questions 9 years ago.


especially the one about adjustments.......

#3 Mr. Scot

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 10:59 PM

wish someone would have had the answers to these questions 9 years ago.

especially the one about adjustments.......

It's been said that Fox is at least decent at adjustments when he's losing. Not so good at accounting for possible opponent adjustments when he's winning, tied, or close.

Game to game, he's got a decent record. It's generally been his history that a team that beats him in the regular season is the same team he beats in the playoffs (or the later game, for divisional opponents).

Of course, for that first part to work out, you have to make the playoffs :(

#4 coxc63

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 11:00 PM

So is there a coach in mind that you feel would improve this team? Who has all the aspects that you listed.

#5 Mr. Scot

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 11:05 PM

So is there a coach in mind that you feel would improve this team? Who has all the aspects that you listed.

The Candidate List

The guys that get the most buzz are Leslie Frazier, Mike Zimmer and Jim Harbaugh. This past Sunday, Frazier and Zimmer's respective units both had subpar games (how much is coaching...how much is personnel...debatable). The guy who's probably the easiest to evaluate at this time is Harbaugh because he actually is a head coach while the others are still coordinators. For them, you have to take what you can get and extrapolate the rest. For Harbaugh, it's whether he can make the transition from college to the pros (though he does have experience as a pro position coach).

Overall, Zimmer is probably still my top choice. I could go with Harbaugh though. Frazier? I'd be okay with it, but I have some doubts.

Been lax this week on the Potential Coaches thread. Probably get back to that next week.

Edited by Mr Scot, 26 October 2010 - 11:33 PM.


#6 lymelizzard

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 11:11 PM

Flame away but I think Gruden is a good possibility. Not perfect in any means but he has some swagger about him.

#7 Mr. Scot

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 11:17 PM

Flame away but I think Gruden is a good possibility. Not perfect in any means but he has some swagger about him.

I don't see it being any of the retreads, for cash, history and preference reasons.

Biggest concern about Gruden is the story that he was let go in Tampa because his players hated him. Defensive guys didn't want to work for him without Monte Kiffin as a buffer.

That, plus his habit of constantly needing a new quarterback.

#8 mav1234

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 11:21 PM

I just can't imagine it being Gruden anymore. I felt like he was trying to audition for the job for a while, but I don't think we'll go his direction.

I really think that JR & Marty will try to pick someone who they think is young and the next "big thing," though 'young' is more relative to HC experience than necessarily age.

#9 Kevin Greene

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 11:23 PM

It's been said that Fox is at least decent at adjustments when he's losing. Not so good at accounting for possible opponent adjustments when he's winning, tied, or close.

Game to game, he's got a decent record. It's generally been his history that a team that beats him in the regular season is the same team he beats in the playoffs (or the later game, for divisional opponents).

Of course, for that first part to work out, you have to make the playoffs :(


Really? Because Fox loses a lot. After this year it will be 6 seasons in 9 without a winning record. The only thing he seems to adjust is which side he's chewing his gum on.

#10 coxc63

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 11:26 PM

I don't see it being any of the retreads, for cash, history and preference reasons.

Biggest concern about Gruden is the story that he was let go in Tampa because his players hated him. Defensive guys didn't want to work for him without Monte Kiffin as a buffer.

That, plus his habit of constantly needing a new quarterback.


Yea but other than Keyshawn Johnson who has been a legit wideout for the QB's Gruden put out there every sunday. Galloway was pretty solid, but he's been bouncing around teams, so I can't classify him as a legit wideout for the Bucs this past decade. Bryant had a few good games (especially the one against us) but look where he is now, again not a legit wideout.

Im just saying he bounced around QB's to see if any of them could get chemistry with their lackluster receiving corpse. And Gruden loves smitty, I feel that Gruden can get the best out of our QB's the clip of him and Clausen showed that he would nitpick at any flaw that our QB's have and try to help them correct it.

If Gruden came in I'd hope we keep Meeks as DC. Get rid of Davidson and Fox and see who the new coach will bring in, hopefully all that will improve this team and we become a competitor for years to come, because mediocrity is just frustrating.

#11 Mr. Scot

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 11:37 PM

Yea but other than Keyshawn Johnson who has been a legit wideout for the QB's Gruden put out there every sunday. Galloway was pretty solid, but he's been bouncing around teams, so I can't classify him as a legit wideout for the Bucs this past decade. Bryant had a few good games (especially the one against us) but look where he is now, again not a legit wideout.

Im just saying he bounced around QB's to see if any of them could get chemistry with their lackluster receiving corpse. And Gruden loves smitty, I feel that Gruden can get the best out of our QB's the clip of him and Clausen showed that he would nitpick at any flaw that our QB's have and try to help them correct it.

If Gruden came in I'd hope we keep Meeks as DC. Get rid of Davidson and Fox and see who the new coach will bring in, hopefully all that will improve this team and we become a competitor for years to come, because mediocrity is just frustrating.

Keenan McCardell was pretty good (which I hate saying because he really screwed over Kavika Pittman on a dirty block).

If you go with Gruden, you're going West Coast Offense. It'd suit Clausen's skill set better than Moore's. But for that attack to be at its best, you need a very solid receiver corps (especially strong route runners). While we've seen good signs, not sure we have that just yet.

It's possible (anything's possible). I just don't see it.

#12 coxc63

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 11:41 PM

Keenan McCardell was pretty good (which I hate saying because he really screwed over Kavika Pittman on a dirty block).

If you go with Gruden, you're going West Coast Offense. It'd suit Clausen's skill set better than Moore's. But for that attack to be at its best, you need a very solid receiver corps (especially strong route runners). While we've seen good signs, not sure we have that just yet.

It's possible (anything's possible). I just don't see it.


I forgot about him, yea he was pretty solid, but 2 out of his entire coaching tenure at TB doesn't fit well with the type of offensive scheme he ran.

I meant to hit the quote button, but gave u pie, oh well pie is pie enjoy it :D

#13 Mr. Scot

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 11:45 PM

I forgot about him, yea he was pretty solid, but 2 out of his entire coaching tenure at TB doesn't fit well with the type of offensive scheme he ran.

I meant to hit the quote button, but gave u pie, oh well pie is pie enjoy it :D

Truth is in real life, I don't actually like pie.

(I'm sure more than one person will tell me I'm nuts)

#14 coxc63

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 11:54 PM

Truth is in real life, I don't actually like pie.

(I'm sure more than one person will tell me I'm nuts)


Im the say way, I like cheescake instead of pie, unless it's a hershey pie from BK that sh*t is awesome.

#15 Kevin Greene

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 11:55 PM

Joey Galloway had 3 consecutive 1000 yard plus receiving years for Gruden, dont know how you could say he's not legit.


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