Hello, Coaches. We hope you enjoyed the weekend! Here are a few stories we’re talking about today.
1. A Date To Remember: The Evil Genius’ masterpiece (Big Blue Review)
If you like reading about legendary game plans, this is a story for you. It’s about Bill Belichick’s game plan in Super Bowl XXV when he was the Giants’ defensive coordinator coaching against the Buffalo Bills’ K-Gun offense.
Belichick’s defensive game plan for Super Bowl XXV sits behind glass in Canton, its impact resounding loudly enough to earn a place on display in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Belichick’s unorthodox but ingenious scheme was the foundation for the Giants’ 20-19 upset victory over the Bills, a win that became official when Buffalo’s Scott Norwood sent a kick sailing wide right into the Tampa night from 47 yards out.
The Giants had a defense that had smothered the run all season, so Belichick was met with surprise when he unveiled a plan to let Bills running back Thurman Thomas rush for 100 yards.
“He said, ‘We’re going to let Thurman Thomas run for 100 yards,’” said Banks, an All-Pro linebacker for the Giants from 1984 to 1992 and an analyst on the team’s radio broadcasts. “Then he explained why.”
The more the Giants forced Buffalo to run, the less opportunities quarterback Jim Kelly would have to throw to Andre Reed, James Lofton, Don Beebe and Thomas out of the backfield.
The scheme also kept those pass catchers in front of the defense, preventing big plays and slowing the Bills’ fast-break attack.
To do that, Belichick played only two defensive linemen — nose tackle Erik Howard and defensive end Leonard Marshall — instead of three. Then depending on the situation, he would use three to five linebackers and four to six defensive backs.
What is the most creative game plan you have ever taken into a game?
2. Colorado football team strength coach Drew Wilson Q&A Part I: Transitioning under a new coaching staff (247Sports)
Drew Wilson enters his fourth season as the Buffaloes’ head strength and conditioning coach for football, and his first under coach Mel Tucker. One part of the Q&A that caught my eye is Wilson’s philosophy on adding weight during the offseason. The new coaching staff wants bigger linemen. Wilson clarifies that it’s a request that should be considered during recruiting — not just strength training.
“It all starts with the structure they were given as a kid. Obviously bigger framed kids can hold more weight. I tell parents all the time in recruiting, ‘When you go add an addition to a building, you bring in an Engineer and he talks about adding support beams in.’ With a human body you can’t do that. Your skeleton structure is what it is. So you have to look at that mom and dad when you are recruiting a kid and think about how big this kid can get before he loses his ability to play football.”
Wilson also shared that the Colorado players — even the linemen — are doing more running this offseason so they have better stamina in-season.
“He told me, ‘Get them in shape.’ So we’re running. We are running a lot more than we have in the past for spring ball. One thing he said during his press conference that resonated with me is that he wants to be the best conditioned team in America. And if you are the best conditioned team in America you are probably the most resilient team in America and you won’t fold and you won’t quit and you won’t give up when things get tough.
What is the key element of your offseason strength and conditioning program that translates to the field in the fall?
3. The Lost Season: A wealthy coach used his money to build a powerhouse high school football program. But what’s the point of creating a great team if no one in your league will play you? (Washington Post)
This is a story to file in the category of, “Be careful what you wish for.”
The coach of Maryland’s top high school football team couldn’t get opposing teams to play his team this season. St. Frances Academy was abandoned by its league shortly before summer workouts began, and the athletic director was forced to create an independent schedule at a time when many teams at his team’s level were already booked.
Only three years ago, the St. Frances Panthers were a laughingstock. They were from a tiny, under-resourced black Catholic high school in a bleak pocket of Baltimore. There was little money for coaches or uniforms or travel. Their MIAA rivals regularly beat them by double digits. In 2010, they lost every game. In 2015, they won only two.
That all changed with the arrival of Poggi, who had led the tony Gilman School — his alma mater and one of the MIAA’s richest schools — to 13 league championships in 19 years. In addition to being a successful coach, Poggi is a wealthy businessman, and when he came to St. Frances, he brought his money with him — so far pouring $2.5 million into the football team and the school. In just three years, he has helped build a juggernaut of a program, with players receiving football scholarship offers from the likes of Clemson, Alabama and Oklahoma.
Not everyone — actually, very few people — outside of the St. Frances Academy program respect Poggi’s method of program-building. He recruits players in-state and out-of-state and foots the bill for housing for up to 30 players in Baltimore as well as a $150,000 tab for his coaching staff’s salaries.
One of the biggest complaints about Poggi is his recruiting methods. Recruiting athletes is nothing new for the region’s prep schools, but St. Frances’s year-round efforts have been more aggressive than most. The coaches scout youth leagues for future stars, and they poach players from other schools.
How can a state athletic association level the playing field for teams with varying athletic budgets?