Check The Tape – Indiana October 30, 2012
I had a class once that did a bridge building exercise. You know the drill – build a bridge out of balsa wood, then they weigh the bridge, then they put weights on the bridge until it breaks, and the bridge that has the best material-to-strength ratio wins.
Mine didn’t win. In fact, it didn’t win so much that on the final, there was this essay question:
“Despite an ENORMOUS amount of material, Robert’s bridge failed because…”
That’s an exact quote. And the word “enormous” was in all caps. I was more excited about the fame than I was embarrassed by the call-out. Good times.
I’m reminded of that story when watching this tape. I feel like this tape could be it’s own coaching clinic. And there could be a quiz at the end of the clinic, with questions like “despite an ENORMOUS amount of yards, Illini Football failed against Indiana because…” Man, I could write a great essay under those parameters.
What would the clinic cover? I’m glad you asked.
Bullet Point #1: Encourage Your Teammates
Before the game your team is fired up. The losing streak must end. Let’s do this. Here we go.
Given that this is the first play of the game, and the team is fired up, certainly his teammates are going to celebrate, right? I mean, this is prime slap-on-the-helmet time, right?
The lesson. If your team doesn’t congratulate the guy who made the ankle tackle on the opening kickoff – if he just walks to the sideline without a single person saying a word to him – you’re not much of a team.
Bullet Point #2: When it’s third and goal at the one, DON’T TAKE THE SNAP AT THE SIX.
I’m only going to use one photo for these last three points. We’ll call this one “things that make Woody and Bo roll over in their graves”.
OK, fine, it’s a shotgun spread. Urban Meyer at Florida would put Tim Tebow in the shotgun on third and goal from the one.
Like I said, it’s a shotgun spread. So most plays will start there. But that play right there was my least favorite play call of the season. Third and goal from the one, we MUST get a touchdown, and we run the same play that just got us to the one. “Hey, it just worked there, so it has to work again”.
The lesson: running a wildcat play for the quarterback on third and goal from the one is inviting trouble. Running a wildcat play for the quarterback on third and goal from the one when you just ran that same play on second and goal in the second quarter (our second touchdown)… foolishness.
Bullet Point #3: Be Disciplined Or You Won’t Play
…you need to revisit your practice structure. The defense had, what, two late hits and a 15 yard facemask? With each of those penalties coming from a senior leader? Incomprehensible.
The lesson: Disciplined play on the field in late October starts with spring ball. We have four games left and we’re still trying to figure it out.
Bullet Point #4: When You Fumble A Punt By Diving For It, Maybe Don’t Dive For More Punts
Tommy Davis screwed up. A punt started to fade on him in the wind, and he should have bailed, but he kept on, thinking he could get to it. He dove. He fumbled. We lost.
And Davis lost his return job (at least for the rest of the game). The next time Indiana punted, Darius Millines was back to receive.
Can you IMAGINE if Millines would have dropped that punt after he dove for it? Do you understand how many fans would have had enough and made their way onto the field to have a chat with the coaching staff? Seriously, if Millines had dropped that punt, it’s all Illinois fans would be talking about this week. “We fumble a punt by diving for it, we bench the guy who muffed it, and then his replacement dives for a punt and fumbles.” It would have been a story we tell our grandkids.
The lesson: Teach discipline the first chance you get with every player you coach. Because if you don’t, you might have two players dive for punts in the same game.