Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Triple Option Volume 15

Well, my clinic season is finished, and so I figured time to blog about my experience, and what I think is an ever-growing poor trend among clinics.  Hopefully the boys over at Nike and Glazier will take notice.

The Give
First off, I've been going to clinics, on a regular basis, for over a decade.  I"m going to be honest, they are getting worse.  The content is stale, and it's the same crap just spun another way at each session.  It's the same rhetoric at each one of these things and to be quite honest, I may be done with clinics for awhile.  At least the generic ones put on by Nike and Glazier.  I think I'd rather just schedule visits with college or high school staffs.  I think it would be time better spent.

My issue is this, it's 500 dudes all in windbreakers talking the same shit.  Have you ever stepped back and noticed this?  Maybe I'm being cynical, but damn, it's like 10 years ago they hit record on a Nike clinic and then have just kept replaying it year after year.  Lord Jesus, get some new material, displays, something.  The topics are pretty stale too, especially defensively.  This is what almost epitomizes the state of defensive football right now.  You can go to the offensive clinics and probably get some good stuff (hell I even sat in on a few to see what those boys were thinking when attacking a defense).  I mean, there's stuff out there on belly read, zone read, no-huddle, power read, fling-t, power run game out of pro sets, and the dreaded double wing.  What did the defense have?  Quarters coverage, quarters coverage from the 4-3, from the 4-2, from the 3-4, adaptations in quarters coverage to defend the spread offense, fronts, stunts from the 3-4, 4-3, 4-2, coverages from the yadda, yadda, yadda.  Shit man, I can sit home in my pajamas and research every single thing you just wasted your money on driving to a location, staying in a shitty hotel, and wading through 400 douchebags to sit in on!  Holy fuck, I actually wasted my money for this shit!

When did guys looking like this become football coaches?!

Now I digress.  I used to go to these things and come away with some solid foundations of things I wanted to do and wanted to change.  Maybe I was just a young, hungry coach.  I now only come out of these things with one or two items that I would like to add to what we do.  Most of it is now drills and things that are done in practice, which is good, but it's an awful lot of money to spend, when you can easily get the stuff from the Internet.  I had a coaching buddy of mine Tweet me yesterday "clinics are dead".  The dude, as usual was spot on.  I'm done with them.  I'm going to clinic with staffs now, schedule visits etc.  I may still go to one "generic" clinic just to network, but after that, I'm not wasting my money, and neither should you.

The Keep
I actually heard a guy speak on transitioning from the 4-2 back to the 4-3.  I heard guys talking about why the 3-4 was better than the 4-3 and vice-versa.  I cannot believe, as we sit here in 2015, that dudes are really spitting this game.  Are you serious?!  If one defense was better than the other, then why in the hell isn't everyone running it?  We all saw it with the TCU craze back around 2009 or so, when everyone jumped ship and had to run Gary Patterson's vaunted TCU defense.  Shit, who am I kidding, I got on that bandwagon too.  Now don't get me wrong, I love that defense, but since that period, I've grown to learning this one important thing.  Defense isn't a front, it isn't numbers, it's a philosophical means of stopping offensive football.  You can choose to be one front, or label yourself as a "4-3 guy", but at the end of the day, the good ones do whatever it takes to stop the offense.  That may mean running a 3-4, 4-3 and 4-2 all out of 4-3 personnel.  Who knows.  Just look at any college or pro defense right now and there are times they have anywhere from 2 to 5 down lineman at any given snap.  DC's have found ways to be multiple without being overly complicated.

Clinics suck...

I'll actually give Will Muschamp some props here (yeah, yeah, don't fall out of your chair) as he's a guy that regularly would go between a 3-4 and a 4-3 with a hybrid player called the "Buck".  Charlie Strong goes between 4-3 and 3-3 quite regularly.  The reason, it creates confusion for the offense.  Fronts are, to the defense, what formations are to the offense.  The only inherent problem with this is that some fronts require players to play a different technique than they would in, say their base defense.  Keeping this technique change to a minimum is what makes the good DC's great.

Going back to the first point I made about the head coach that spoke on his defense going from a 4-3 to the 4-2 I was actually shocked at the way they played their 4-2.  All 3 safeties were expected to know all 3 positions (Strong Safety, Weak Safety and Free Safety).  I cannot believe that a Division II coach, would actually be that thick-headed.  Are you serious.  The guru of all gurus, Gary Patterson, doesn't even do that.  In recent months it has come to my attention that many coaches are doing this.  I hate to again, sound cynical, but that ain't right guys.  The SS is taught nothing but how to play in the low position.  The WS and the FS can be cross-trained (as they are in many defenses), but you cannot ask the SS to be a deep post player like this guy was.  Then he went on to bash the 4-2, saying it was complicated because of having to train all three safeties like this.  He said it left them with little time to cover fundamentals.  This guy is a Division II head frigging coach?!  Sign me up!  I could not believe my ears when I heard this rubbish.  Now don't get me wrong, I do think there's a tiny bit of merit when it comes to the fact that the 4-3 is less complicated than the 4-2, but I think it's minute to be honest.  Anyhow, I thought I'd just share that with you guys, just to remind you that because a guy is a "college guy" doesn't mean he knows Jack Dick about football.  Watch who you listen to would be the point of this post.

The Pitch
One thing I cannot stand is when a guy gets up there and starts talking about his scheme, and then starts talking about his 6'3" 290 lb noseguard that's going to Boston College, or his 6'2" 190 lb corner that just signed with Miami.  For Christ sake, if I had those guys, I probably wouldn't be at your clinic to begin with.  Sure long sticking with that 6'5" 250 lb DE you have isn't a problem.  My 6'1 175 lb Johnny's gonna have a bit of a time doing it though.  That shit gets under my skin worse than anything at clinics.  What I cannot stand is it's like Nike and Glazier go and get the guy with the most accolades.  This guys won 4 state titles in the last 7 years.  Yeah, he's also had over 30 FBS signees come from his high school as well.  HE SHOULD BE WINNING STATE TITLES!!!  News flash!  I want the guy that is a perennial contender, that does more with less.  I want to talk to the Paul Johnson's of the world.  The guys that do with less.  Some of the guys I've sat in on that are good with this are:

  • Paul Johnson
  • Ken Niumatalolo
  • Kirk Ferentz
  • Gene Chizik (when he was at Iowa State, don't shoot me here)
  • Any member of the USF staff when Leavitt was there

How many of these guys do you have on your roster?

I've heard all these guys talk, and taken TONS of information away from them because, for the most part, they are in the same boat I'm in.  I don't get 4 star and 5 star athletes.  We've only EVER had 1 FBS player in the 57 year existence of the high school I currently coach at...yes, you heard me ONE.  So I don't need to hear about how your noseguard can hit the center so hard his girlfriend dies and then run cover #2 on a seam route down the field (ok, ok, I'm embellishing, but you get my drift).  These guys, although they don't always get the cream of the crop, they are competitive and they find ways to win.  That's all I'm looking for.  These guys utilize schemes that work for the type of athlete they have.  

The worst is the high school coaches they find.  I mean, yes I tip my hat to a guy who's willing to travel to go speak at one of these things, but let's be honest, most of these guys have some cats that can play.  If they just won the state championship with 7 FBS players, I don't want to hear them talk, as I actually doubt their ability to coach.  I believe it was Dean Smith that said "I'm a much better coach when I have talent".  Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.  I want to talk to the guy that just won the state championship with 7 Division III players.  I'll talk to that guy, especially if he beat teams with FBS and FCS players on it.  That's the dude I want to sit in on.  

For some reason, probably because it's easy, and requires little research, the folks at Nike and Glazier simply go through the state champions from your area and start making phone calls.  The reason, they know the "sheep" (us coaches stupid enough to pay for this shit), will flock there by the hundreds to listen to some guy, with great players, talk about what they did that was so "revolutionary" that it won them a state championship.  No it wasn't the DE going to Notre Dame, or the safety headed to Florida State, or the two OLB's, one going to Texas, the other to Georgia Southern that won them the game.  It was the fact that they played the 4-3 with Quarters Coverage and their way was what got them there.  Bullshit.  The old saying "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard" is a good one, but is become ever more cliche' in that every one's working hard now, not everyone has talent though.  Most coaches now, understand you can't sit on your laurels and win a championship anymore.  Coaches are working year round now to develop their players, to develop and work their talent.  Never more has the game been JUST about talent than it is today.  So please don't preach to me about how in your Quarters scheme you just "lock up" your corners cause "Das what we do".  

As for Nike and Glazier, I think I'm done with you until you can prove to me that your willing to do a little homework, instead of perusing the state championship winners and making phone calls.  When you start giving me the Navy's, Virginia Tech's, and Boise State's of the high school world, I'll come back.  Until then, I'll keep my money, and start traveling to these places, in search of what we all want in the off season, the edge to get better.

The Two Point Conversion
Now I know this has been a negative post, but I'm really, really disappointed in the clinics I went to this year, especially Glazier.  The speakers were unprepared, the technology was for shit, and quite frankly most of the speakers acted like they didn't want to be there.  You got to do better than that if you're going to offer what you're offering.  Don't get me wrong, they have a great deal where you pay once and can go to several clinics, but damn, man, get some quality speakers.

Not this guy...

I did take a few things away from the clinics.  I got a little better feel for press quarters, and the fact that I don't think we have the guys at corner to do it.  I got some decent tackling and turnover circuit drills, as well as some special teams stuff.  In all though, I could have just spent a Saturday browsing the Internet, and found everything I found, for a lot less money.