Standing out on a Shelf


  • What are you doing well?
  • What are you keeping?… throwing out?…
  • What are you changing?
  • How can you improve your teaching/ coaching?
  • How can you best utilize your (and your staff’s) strengths and improve your weaknesses?

During this time of the year, many of us are going through this self-evaluation process with our programs.   Baldwin Wallace Offensive Coordinator, Keith Grabowski shared some great info to guide you through the Strategic Planning and Quality Control steps in his post: Plan Your Work.  Work Your Plan.

I have shared some ideas as well in these posts:

Today I would like to pose another question as we enter this evaluation phase of the year.  If, after your evaluation, you decide to makes changes, offensively, defensively or in special teams, what are you going to “Put On the Shelf”… what are you going to display?

Marketing/ business guru, Seth Godin recently wrote in his post Getting Lost on the Shelf:

“A friend got some feedback on a new project proposal recently. “It will have trouble standing out on a shelf that’s already crowded.”

The thing is, every shelf in every store and especially online is crowded. The long tail made the virtual shelves infinitely long, which means that every record, every widget, every job application, every book, every website, every non-profit… all of it… is on a crowded shelf.

And the problem with a crowded shelf is that your odds of getting found and getting picked are slim indeed, slimmer than ever before.

Which is why ‘the shelf’ can’t be your goal. If you need to get picked from the shelf/slush pile/transom catchbasin then you’ve already lost.

The only opportunity (which of course, is the best opportunity ever for most of us) …. is to skip the shelf and be the one and only dominator in a category of one, a category that couldn’t really exist if you weren’t in it.

That’s hard to visualize, because it doesn’t match what you’ve been taught and what our culture has (until recently) celebrated, but it’s what’s on offer now.”

You might be asking “What does this have to do with football?”

Texas_Bevo_Wishbone_08142012Emory Bellard developed the wishbone offense (which actually has roots back to a Junior High School in Fort Worth, TX) and implemented it at the start of the 1968 season at the University of Texas.   UT, under Darrell Royal, tied their first game that season, lost their second, and then won the next 30 games and two national championships using the wishbone.  They were the first, and for a time the only team using the formation…. consider the problems preparing for that game.  They stood out on the shelf.

Tom Landry took the nose tackle and moved him back to Linebacker depth and created the 4-3 defense when he was coordinator with the NY Giants.  In 1956 the Giants won the NFL championship, and played for the championship again in 1958 and 1959.  Landry took his 4-3 defense to the Cowboys, and modified it into the “Flex” 4-3.  His Giant squads were the first, and for a time the only team lining up in that defense… consider the problems preparing for that game.  They stood out on the shelf.

Do you remember the first time you had to prepare for a spread offense?… a no huddle offense?… a Split 6 defense?… a “Bear” defense?… Is there a way you and your program can Stand Out On the Shelf?  Can you be a dominator in a category of one?

Jeff Floyd –

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