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Coaching 101

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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.


[B][U]EVALUATION[/U][/B]

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.


[B][U]ORGANIZATION[/U][/B]

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.


[B][U]PREPARATION[/U][/B]

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.

[B][U]MOTIVATION[/U][/B]

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.

[B][U]MANAGEMENT[/U][/B]

Now the game’s started. Just like in the preseason, you have to know everything that’s going on, only this time it [I]counts[/I]. 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 [I][B]all[/B][/I] 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.

[B][I]ADJUSTMENT[/I][/B]

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 [I]questions[/I], you have to have an [I]answer[/I], and you have to have it [B][I]now[/I][/B].

[I]This[/I] 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 [I]one[/I] of them can mean the difference between championships and mediocrity.
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wish someone would have had the answers to these questions 9 years ago.


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

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[quote name='2jakefansinva']wish someone would have had the answers to these questions 9 years ago.

especially the one about adjustments.......[/QUOTE]
It's been said that Fox is at least decent at adjustments when he's [I]losing[/I]. 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 [I]make[/I] the playoffs :(

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

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[quote name='coxc63']So is there a coach in mind that you feel would improve this team? Who has all the aspects that you listed.[/QUOTE]
[URL="http://www.carolinahuddle.com/forum/carolina-panthers/47106-potential-head-coaches.html"]The Candidate List
[/URL]
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.

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

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[quote name='lymelizzard']Flame away but I think Gruden is a good possibility. Not perfect in any means but he has some swagger about him.[/QUOTE]
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.

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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.

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[quote name='Mr. Scot'][B]It's been said that Fox is at least decent at adjustments when he's [I]losing[/I]. Not so good at accounting for possible opponent adjustments when he's winning, tied, or close.[/B]

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 [I]make[/I] the playoffs :([/QUOTE]

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.

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[quote name='Mr. Scot']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.[/QUOTE]

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.

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[quote name='coxc63']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.[/QUOTE]
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.

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[quote name='Mr. Scot'][B]Keenan McCardell[/B] 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.[/QUOTE]

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

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[quote name='coxc63']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[/QUOTE]
Truth is in real life, I don't actually like pie.

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

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[quote name='Mr. Scot']Truth is in real life, I don't actually like pie.

[I](I'm sure more than one person will tell me I'm nuts)[/I][/QUOTE]

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

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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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[quote name='Kevin Greene']Joey Galloway had 3 consecutive 1000 yard plus receiving years for Gruden, dont know how you could say he's not legit.[/QUOTE]

Yea that's true, ok so 3 in his entire coaching tenure. But I can say that is better than what fox has produced in his tenure here.

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The thing is, we may want a certain coach or coordinator but the fact is there are going to be a few other teams looking for coaches also. I think Fox has been a good Qb away from having consistently good years. But then again that's where coaching comes in.

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I would prefer someone that can keep up the defense side of things like Fox did or does. It took us to the promised land once before and I'm sure it will again.

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Heres your chance Catdaddy. I want to see a link or better yet pull up some other article Mr.Scot wrote and post the link.

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[quote name='jackson113']The thing is, we may want a certain coach or coordinator but the fact is there are going to be a few other teams looking for coaches also. I think Fox has been a good Qb away from having consistently good years. But then again that's where coaching comes in.[/QUOTE]
Buffalo Bills were said to be interested in Frazier before and may be again.

It's valid that the guy we want the most may not be the guy we get.

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One other thing worth mentioning...

I've never been that much of a Steve Spurrier fan, but I did once believe that he'd probably be a really good NFL coach. Didn't care much for his personality (and his colossal ego) but was okay with the idea of him as the Panthers head coach if he made them a perennial winner.

When the Panthers went for John Fox instead, I thought they'd whiffed.

Turns out Fox was way more successful than Spurrier.

Realistically, there's more than one candidate out there that'll make someone - potentially us, of course - a good head coach. Likewise, some of the guys that seem to have the most potential might turn out to be colossal failures.

Many of us have our favorites, but it'd be a mistake to take the approach that if the Panthers don't get "my guy" we're going to suck. It may not be the guy we predict, or the guy that we want, but it'll be the guy we hope succeeds. Unless of course, you're one of those folks who'd rather see the team flame out than prove you wrong.

[I](and yeah, there [B]are[/B] some fans like that)[/I]

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[quote name='lymelizzard']Flame away but I think Gruden is a good possibility. Not perfect in any means but he has some swagger about him.[/QUOTE]

I'm no expert, not even all that knowledgeable when it comes to coach candidates.....but I like Gruden. Many say he wasn't that great of a coach, or that there are far better, more experienced options.

But there are 3 things that I personally like about him that I believe to be just as important as the things coach scouts look for.

1. Personality. Honestly this is the FACE I want for my team. I want that fire. I want that passion. I know it's actually better to have a level-headed coach, because everyone knows when you are angry you're at least twice as stupid as you are when you are calm. But a few guys, can actually benefit from that and can still make good decisions when they are pissed off...and I have seen our laid-back coach lay down and punt that ball one too many times for my tastes when my gut feeling was f**k JUST GO FOR IT! I think John has all of those things.

2. John's less experienced but he is also young when compared to other coaches. That means two things. First, just like a player can improve, so can a coach. He CAN get better and I'm sure he's learned his fair share of lessons and had plenty of time to look back and reminisce on his past coaching. And two, he may not have any of the old-school coaching mentality that is clearly beginning to hurt some teams whose coaches still stick by it today.

3. Superbowl WIN experience. Sure some credit the coach prior to him for building the team to get there. But the actual coaching of the team TO the Superbowl and TO GET THE WIN goes to him. It always helps when a coach has done it once. You get there so rarely as a team and as a coach that whenever this team may get there again, they would have a coach they can rally around that would make them a little less nervous and more confident to go and get it all.

Just my two cents.

Oh and it also helps that he seems to REALLY want to be here. Plus he also seems to like Jimmy, so if Jimmy does end up being the guy later down the line....could work out just fine.

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Still waiting for Catdaddy to reappear

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[quote name='TheRealDeal']Still waiting for Catdaddy to reappear[/QUOTE]
Doubt he will. Don't really care if he does. I was going to write this thread anyway. Just hadn't sat down to do it (on vacation and being lazy).

The one worry I had was that he'd post a link to supposedly prove his charges which would turn out to be a link to a virus or some such.

On the flipside, I have actually found stuff that I've written before (minicamp reports and such) posted elsewhere with no attribution.

Granted, my posts here aren't exactly copyrighted material, but still...

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Yeah it will probably never happen but here is the Wiki link on him. Second Ive herd the rumors about how defense didn't like him, nothing against a players coach but sometimes being their friend hinders the team performance.

[URL="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Gruden"]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Gruden[/URL]

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