COACH SPEAK – ACC STYLE – APRIL 25
As Herman’s Hermits said musically, and I know I’m dating myself again, “Second verse. Same as the first.” But before we get there, a quick reminder as to what is transpiring with these four columns.
I will be asking the same question of head coaches in four of the Power 5 Conferences. The Southeastern Conference doesn’t let me in like the other four but that’s no surprise. When you’re as big a fraud as the SEC, you don’t want people willing to expose you close by but we’ll deal with that assertion the closer we get to playing for real. Had to put that back up to remind those pompous fans of the Ivy League South.
The two questions are as follows:
Question 1 – In your opinion, what’s the hardest position to develop in spring practice?
Question 2 – What was your major goal going into spring practice?
I hope you find the answers as interesting, as well as diverse, as I did. So read on and enjoy installment #2 from five of the ACC head coaches. The Big 12 will follow next week.
VIRGINIA HC BRONCO MENDENHALL
Q1 – That really depends on what your roster looks like. For us, at our stage in our development of our program, offensive and defensive line, our numbers simply are very limiting in the type of practices we’d like to have, the volume we’d like to have, and the contact we’d like to have. So when you’re talking about a position that needs physical play and needs contextual play and needs development and coordination with other players, especially offensive front-wise, when the depth and volume doesn’t allow that to happen, it makes it very difficult.
Q2 – It’s pretty simple. We’re looking to become a stronger and more physical football team. Any format and measures that we can put in place that will promote it and measure it, that’s what we’re after. We think that that has to be addressed, especially in our fronts on both sides, for us to have the kind of team and sustainability that we want, so that’s what we’re targeting.
FLORIDA STATE HC WILLIE TAGGERT
Q1 – I think all of them. I think they all are unique. I think it takes really good planning and a good understanding of what you’re trying to develop. Like I said, but I think each of the positions are different, and I think each coach is different. Rather than trying to develop a complete person, I think you develop certain things to eventually get the player to be what he needs to be. Each position is different, quarterback is different than the O-line. O-line is different from the receivers. But they’re all difficult because of all the distractions and everything else that comes with playing big-time college football, and not as much time.
Q2 – Well, our guys have a clear understanding of what we want to do offensively. Also, defensively. I thought it was really important that we teach our guys the foundation of what we’re doing in every aspect so that they can go into the off-season when they have to train and do things on their own, they have an understanding of what the coaches want. I thought our guys, coaches did a great job of implementing that with our players, and they did a good job of understanding it. It’s going to be key for them going into the off-season to get better with some of those things that we went over in spring ball.
LOUISVILLE HC BOBBY PETRINO
Q1 – Yeah, you’ve got to develop them all. I’ve never been one on the hardest or biggest. I think what you try to do is first get better as an individual player, and then get better with your group and take pride in your group. The D-line, the linebackers, the secondary. But they’re all important and they all work together.
Q2 – Yeah, I mean, you have a lot of goals going into spring. You sit down and first you make them individually for each player and go through those and what they need to get done and need to accomplish. Then you sit down and have objectives for offense, defense, and special teams. You know, it’s a big game. It’s a team game where you have to put all the parts together. So that’s kind of how we approach it and we evaluate it on an individual basis. That’s the fun thing about spring ball because, in the end, I get to sit here and have an individual meeting with every player on the team, and go back through that and how they did and what they accomplished. Then we do it on an offense, defense, and special teams basis. It’s really just trying to get the improvement at each position.
SYRACUSE HC DINO BABERS
Q1 – I don’t know about the hardest one. I think you’ve got to obviously work an entire football team. The cool thing about football is you really have 23, 24 positions that you need to get ready. Any one of those positions can cost you a football game, so you’re really developing all those positions. I’m not sure I could pick just one.
Q2 – I think it’s a combination of both. If you’re going to hit your big goals, you better start with a bunch of little ones. You talk about the discipline and being in shape and doing the little things and taking those six-inch steps, right, those small, six-inch steps, and you do those things and it gives you an opportunity to do some big things. I thought the big thing we got accomplished was the physicality that we had this spring.
GEORGIA TECH HC PAUL JOHNSON
Q1 – You know, that’s a good question. I’m not sure. I think it just varies on the people. It’s probably different, depending on the personnel you have. You know, certainly there’s a lot of moving parts for the quarterback no matter what the offense is. That’s probably the most complicated position for any team, I would think.
Q2 – Just to get better. No different than probably any other team. Try to set the depth and, for the guys who played, to get reps and to get better at what we do. So it’s probably not any different than what everybody’s team goes into spring looking to do, actually.