COACH SPEAK : WEEK 3
By Leo Haggerty

Still working on trying to get head coaches from other conferences to participate in the COACH SPEAK column.  Hopefully, will be able to get a few join in starting next week.

This week, we again stay with the American Athletic Conference as well as the Big 12.  The individuals that I talked with are as follows:

Central Florida HC Josh Heupel
Tulane HC Willie Fritz
Kansas State HC Chris Klieman

Thought I would throw out a couple of questions this week that were a bit hypothetical.  Funny thing is that hypothetical became a reality for UCF at Pittsburgh Saturday.

The Knights had at least three, and probably more, short yardage situations on third and fourth down that Central Florida failed to convert that cost them the football game.  Catch Coach Heupel’s answer to Question 1 and how it had a huge impact on the outcome of the contest.

The two questions are below.  They are:

QI : In the Spread offense, when you have third or fourth and short, in reality it’s third or fourth and seven.  I’ll freely admit that I’m old school.  Do you have a formation where the quarterback gets under center in short yardage situations?

Q2 : How frustrated do you get when one of your players blocks someone in the back on a special teams return?

JOSH HEUPEL

Q1 : Not one that we’ve shown this year.

Q2 : The same frustration that every coach feels when there’s a yellow hankie out on the field.

WILLIE FRITZ

Q1 : Yeah, we do.  We’ll get under center on occasions.  Sometimes it’s hard to go back and forth if you don’t do it often.  We do it fairly often.  We’re probably under center around 15 or 20 percent of the game.

Q2 : I just heard you ask that question of Josh and I have the same feelings.  Very frustrating and, what really gets you, when it’s a guy that has nothing to do with the play.  There are times when a player gets over aggressive.  We talk about being smart aggressive.  You’re 30 or 40 yards away from the football play and you’re trying to make something happen.  You’re trying to make something happen that’s not there.  That’s very frustrating to be there and see that happen.

CHRIS KLIEMAN

Q2 : Big frustration. It’s something we talk about each week. We put them into situations in practice. It’s those hidden yards that in a tight football game come back to bite you. In at least one of those situations we had a big punt return and we lost 10 yards. It’s something we’ll address in film today with the guys. We can’t make those critical errors in tight ballgames. It’s something we’re going to emphasize and find the right guys that don’t make those mistakes.

There you have it.  I hope you’re enjoying the commentary and look for COACH SPEAK : WEEK 4 coming out this weekend.