Wednesday, November 26, 2008
One of the most important aspects of coaching in todays environment is balancing the motivation of individual players while also getting them to buy into the team philosophy. Every squad needs players to fill roles that are not glorious or name making spots. At universities such as Florida, USC, Texas, etc. where ninety percent of the recruits are four or five star athletes with NFL aspirations it's immensely important to get them to buy into the team philosophy.
In many college jobs you only get one or two 5 star recruits and that player is slotted in as an immediate starter, motivating a player to work hard when he knows he's going to get a lot of action isn't very difficult. But what about having that freshman 5 star athlete and motivating him to continue to get better even though he's frustrated with a lack of consistent playing time or a shared role. Motivating that player to continue to improve and getting them to buy into the team concept is a much more difficult task.
Pete Carroll is a perfect example of a coach with the job of motivating players and getting them to buy into shared duties. Take his running back situation for example. This year USC has five running backs with 20 carries or more. Stafon Johnson (5 Star) was the #2 running back recruit in America in 2006. CJ Gable (5 Star) was the #4 ranked Safety in the country with aspirations to play tailback in 2006 and Stanley Havili (4 Star) was the #16 running back recruit in America in 2006. Joe McKnight (5 Star) was the #1 running back recruit in America in 2007. Marc Tyler (5 Star) was the #2 running back recruit and Broderick Green (4 Star) was the #12 running back recruit in the same recruiting class as McKnight. Each of these players could have gone to a program and been 'THE STAR' but at USC they need to do what's best for the team. Sometimes they need to take a back seat to other players and eventually when their number is called they need to be ready. Creating this depth is what makes USC the program they are year in and year out. They build incredible depth at every position and Pete Carroll gets players to stay with the program and buy into the system. Coaches win mostly on talent and nobody in the country is better at recruiting great players, continually motivating them, and getting them to accept that their time will eventually come.
So when you vote for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year, make sure you take this into account. At the best of the best teams win and lose on depth and it is incredibly important for Coaches to get a 5 star athlete or two to buy into the system even if it doesn't immediately showcase them to the NFL.