“Back in my day…”

Last Saturday as I pulled out my phone to help guide me to a location I was not quite sure of, my thoughts drifted back to my early days recruiting at the University of Central Missouri, and how much technology has impacted that job. I have written at length regarding how technology has changed various aspects of our profession… game planning, practice planning, video evaluation, etc.   Many things we take for granted today that make our lives (and jobs) easier were not available in 1987 when our staff hit the recruiting trail.

OK, I have become that guy… “back in my day we had to walk to school every day, uphill both ways in a blizzard”… I have become that coach… “back in my day we didn’t have no stinkn’ Google Maps”.

Here are a few of the changes:

phone boothCell phones? We didn’t have them… In order to contact a coach (or a prospect) while on the road you became an expert at where the payphones were located… and not just any old payphones, but the kind you could drive up to and call from you car. It was frustrating… you could not retry the number every 5 minutes from your Bluetooth enabled smartphone while driving. You had to pull off the road, find a phone, look up the number on a printed contact sheet and hope that they were available.

Google Maps? Nope…. there was no pleasant voice giving us turn-by-turn directions as we drove. We usually had either a Mapco street guide (a huge book with about 100 different maps of about 3-4 city block on each page), or a giant folding map of the city. Both were cumbersome and impossible to use while driving. You had to figure out your best routes the night before and hope that the map was not dated too badly.

Hudl recruiting packages? Nada… Remember VHS tapes? We tried to get 2-3 game tapes for each athlete that we wanted to evaluate. Multiply that by 4-5 schools a day, and 3-4 days per week, and we came home each recruiting trip with easily 40-50 videotapes. With 6 or more of us on the road, the process of copying the tapes was a never-ending job for the people back in the office.

The NCAA Clearinghouse? HA… It wasn’t in place in the 80’s. At that time, each school certified their own athletes regarding eligibility… meaning, that for each prospect we were recruiting we had to obtain (from the counselor) a transcript for each student, and a list of core courses for that school. We then had to calculate each student’s Core GPA to determine their eligibility.

And there is much more… text messaging, email blasts, Facebook, twitter feeds… on and on. But my wife reminded me of an accompanying truth – Being teachers and coaches, as each new technological breakthrough brings us a few extra minutes or hours, we just invest that time in another aspect of our job… it is what we do… we will not ever have “spare” time. I am not complaining… I am chuckling!

Related posts:

You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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Seven Days in Season

cmsu football25 years ago, during the 1989 football season at Central Missouri State University (now named the University of Central Missouri) Mark Hulet filmed a documentary chronicling a week in the life of a college football coach. The name of the movie was Seven Days in Season.

Mark went on to become a successful college football coach himself, coaching with me at the University of Central Missouri as defensive back coach, at William Jewell College as defensive coordinator, and defensive coordinator at St. Cloud State University.

The 40 minute movie is classic, and offers a pretty realistic glimpse into the life of a football coach at any level. If for no other reason, it is worth watching to get a good laugh at the fashions and technology of the 80’s.

Enjoy!

 

You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Starstuff

I really enjoyed reading the PrepsKC profile of Van Horn head coach, Jeff Tolbert… especially this part:

Tolbert said he has taken a lot from his former head coaches both on and off the field but one man’s influence stands out.  “The top of that list is Harold Wambsgans,” Tolbert said. “I learned about how to be not just a good coach but to be a man. I admire him as much as anyone I’ve ever been around and I’ve been around some good coaches.”

As a young coach, I remember hearing coach Wambs (then at Shawnee Mission West) speak at a clinic and thinking to myself, “I want to be like him”.  A couple of years later, one of my best LB’s at the University of Central Missouri had played for Wambsgans at West.   Reading Coach Tolbert’s profile reminded me just how connected we all are in this profession.

spaceship of the imaginationYears ago, in 1980, Astronomer Carl Sagan had a show on PBS called Cosmos.  It was a great show, and I enjoyed it so much that I taped the entire series on 14 VHS tapes (VHS tapes – not a DVR) and kept them until about a year ago!

In one episode, Sagan explains how humanity is all connected…. we are all made of “starstuff”… elements that were created when stars in the universe go supernova and explode.

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.”

And he was not speaking metaphorically… this is how the “heavy” elements in our universe are created.

I think it is very much the same in coaching… in us, we all have a little bit of the “stars” that preceded us…. Coach Tolbert has some of Coach Wambs “starstuff” in him, as do I… Fred Merrell, Terry Noland, Mike Foster, Roy Witke, Bill Feldkamp …. and many more have contributed their “starstuff” to me and countless other coaches.

Whose coaching “starstuff” has helped make you the coach and person you are today?

What “starstuff” are you passing on… what stuff of yours will be around 50 years from now?

You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!

Related Posts:

Thanks to PrepsKC, the home of the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association for running this post on their site today.  I hope you can take some time to visit PrepsKC, and “Like” this post!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

NCAA DII Football and Geography

Last week the NCAA announced that beginning in 2014 and running through 2017, the NCAA DII Championship Football Game will be held in Sporting Park, in Kansas City.  The game has been held for the previous 26 years in Florence, Alabama.   They have done a great job of hosting the event, and the phrases “Getting to Braly Stadium” or “Making the trip to Florence Alabama” have become motivation for many DII schools.  So it is tinged with a hint of nostalgic regret that the contest is being relocated… but only a hint!

Here are the reasons that I think this will be a great move for the contest and NCAA DII football.

It is in my back yard!

Although actually in Kansas City, Kansas, the venue for this event, Sporting Park, is less than 15 minutes from my home in Kansas City, MO.

The location is closer to participating schools and conferences

Kansas City sits geographically in the middle of two NCAA DII conferences – the always-strong MIAA, (Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association) and the newly formed GLVC (Great Lakes Valley Conference).  It also is in striking distance of two other power NCAA DII Conferences, the GLIAC (Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference), and the NSIC (Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference).

DII champions

In the last 16 years, the MIAA, GLIAC or NSIC has had a representative (or two) in the title game all but 4 years.  Out of the 34 participants in the championship contest over the past 17 years, 2/3 of the schools are closer (23 out of 34) to Kansas City than Florence, Alabama.

NCAA DII schools have a great following in this area.  The annual Fall Classic held at Arrowhead Stadium, which pits Northwest Missouri State University against Pittsburg State University (KS), typically draws more than 20,000 fans and drew a record 26,695 fans in 2004.

Sporting Park is a great venue.

Sporting Park, home of the MLS Champions, Sporting KC, is a state-of-the-art facility that was completed in 2011.  The venue will seat nearly 20,000 for the contest, and includes 2 video boards, a club level, 3 TV and 4 radio commentary booths, and is fully lighted for HDTV.  The stadium is adjacent to the Kansas Speedway and is located 15 minutes from downtown Kansas City, Missouri.

This can be a showcase for DII football and athletics.

People will come to, fans will support, and media will cover this contest.  The population of the KC metro area is 2.34 million people.   While Florence Alabama is nice city and did a great job of hosting the championship game the last 26 years, its population is less than 40,000.   Florence is not a destination… the attendance at the game hovers around 6,000 and seldom gets above 8,000 in attendance.  I think playing in Kansas City will give many more people an opportunity to see the outstanding football that is being played at the NCAA DII level. (see recruiting post – Expanding Your Pool)

On a side note

Regarding the nostalgia, excitement and hospitality of playing in Florence Alabama, I can speak from experience after coaching for 14 years at the NCAA II level.  While not making the trip to Florence for the Championship Game, when I was at the University of Central Missouri,  we did journey to Braly Stadium to play North Alabama in 1992.  We ended up losing that game 17-16 when we blocked a field goal attempt by North Alabama that did not cross the LOS…. they picked it up and ran it in for a touchdown to win the game.  North Alabama went on to the NCAA quarterfinals that year and were DII National Champions the following three seasons, 1993,1994 and 1995.

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

“Dirty Red”

wrightWhen I joined the staff at the University of Central Missouri as a Graduate Assistant football coach, they had already established a tradition of playing very good defensive football.  Head Coach, Terry Noland, had a defensive background, and believed in populating the defense with good athletes.

 

grubbMike Foster was the defensive coordinator and had instituted the slogan “Dirty Red” (red and black were our school colors).  “Dirty Red” was an attitude that we instilled in our defense… a rallying cry… a clarion call.  It wasn’t about playing dirty (illegal, unethical) but rather giving everything you had on the field of play.

  • It meant being completely spent, exhausted, muddy, sweaty, bruised, and sore.
  • It meant doing everything you could to make a play… sacrificing your body, running, crawling, jumping over people, or laying out… whatever it took.
  • It meant everyone ”bought in” completely… you trusted that the guy on each side of you, in front, and behind you literally had your back… resulting in great team effort and great team defense.

We carried on the tradition and the slogan during my tenure as defensive coordinator at UCM.

The phrase was more than words… our players believed.  In one seven year span, from 1987 to 1993, the University of Central Missouri had the MIAA Defensive Player of the Year five times!

  • 1987 – Jeff Wright
  • 1988 – Mark Peoples
  • 1990 – Mike Glass
  • 1992 – Bart Woods
  • 1993 – Bart Woods

peoplesI am sure that all of these honored players would agree that one reason they were selected for this individual award, was because each of these years we played great “team” defense.  We had more than one player or position that teams had to account for – which freed up these great players to make great plays.  We were typically at the top of the league in most defensive categories, and many years ended up being nationally ranked as well… as high as 2nd in the nation in scoring defense in 1992.

576568_10201543079120020_2097547888_nPlayers still use the phrase “Dirty Red” as part of their post football vernacular.  I think it is a reminder of that bond… that attitude… that brotherhood.   They use it as a sign off on Facebook, a greeting, or even name their home brewed beer (Coach Hulet), “Dirty Red”.

 

When Coach Hulet left UCM as my DB coach to become the defensive coordinator at William Jewell College (colors red and black), he instituted the phrase and attitude there as well, and continued it the next year when I became the Jewell head coach.  In fact, I was fortunate to be able to carry on the “Dirty Red” slogan and attitude at a string of schools that had red as one of their colors: UCM, William Jewell, Wester, Derrick Thomas Academy, and Truman High School.  At each stop along the way, I enjoyed telling stories about the original “Dirty Red” defenses and players at the University of Central Missouri.  And at each stop along the way, the players at the new school came to know, admire and emulate the players of old.   The only bad news… the school I am at now (Bridger) has green and gold as their colors.

“Dirty Red”

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

A Busman’s Holiday

This week I took what my father would have called a Busman’s Holiday…. which basically is doing something on vacation that you do at work… like a bus driver taking a vacation driving across the country… or a football coach taking vacation to watch football practice.  I think coaches in general are notorious for this… sneaking in a basketball clinic, or a softball tournament, or a football practice under the guise of “vacation”.

lobos football

I had the chance to travel with my wife this week.  As I have mentioned before, she flies frequently… in fact she logs so many miles that I have a “companion pass” (thank you Southwest Airlines) and can travel for free with her anywhere in the country.  This past week she was heading to Albuquerque, NM to one of her communities … so I tagged along and had the opportunity to watch the first day of practice at the University of New Mexico.

It is always good to watch coaches at the top of their game work, and this was the case at the Lobo’s practice under Coach Davie’s guidance.  Very organized, great teaching, very efficient, up tempo work by the coaches and players.

lamarThis trip was especially fun for two additional reasons.  I got to see a former player who is playing at New Mexico this season, Lamar Jordan.  Lamar, from Frisco, Texas, is a freshman QB in the Lobo’s pistol offense.

 

boomI also had to chance to touch base with longtime friend and colleague, Coach Scott Baumgartner, who is the WR coach for the Lobo’s.  This is Coach Baumgartner’s first season with New Mexico, after spending the last nine at the University of Nevada.  Coach Baumgartner was on Coach Chris Ault’s staff at Nevada when they first installed the Pistol offense.  If you want to talk to an expert on the Pistol, Coach Baumgartner is the guy.  His talks at the Glazier clinics are always standing room only.  Scott and I were on the same staff at the University of Central Missouri.

Have a great week.. You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you… Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Defensive Game Planning – Genealogy

While I was at the University of Central Missouri and William Jewell College, I had the opportunity to work with and learn from some very good defensive coaches –  Terry Noland, Mike Foster, Mark Thomas, Mark Hulet, Rich Jahner, Corey Batoon, Jackie Shipp, Mike Armstrong,  Cornell Jackson , Joe Grubb, and Bart Woods to name just a few.  Coupled with the fact that we were also fortunate to have some very good athletes play on the defensive side of the ball, this lead us to a string of some very good defensive units, perennially ranked nationally in many categories.

One thing that also helped was a process for defensive game planning that we developed and refined during the 10 years I was at UCM.  During my time there I presented this information many times at clinics, sharing the process and tools that we used putting together our weekly defensive game plans to combat some of the best offensive units in the country.

A year ago I was attending the Glazier football clinic in Kansas City, and during one of the breaks, was visiting with several of the vendors.  I walked by the Hudl rep and there was a young coach visiting with the rep and showing him the defensive call sheet that he used… the same defensive call sheet (see below) that we developed at UCM and that I will share in this series of posts!  I was honored to know that some of the tools and procedures we developed are still being used successfully.

LUCall

This series of posts will detail the entire process, from organization, to film breakdown, computer entry, staff and practice organization, call sheet development, and game day procedures.  Some of the information I will be sharing is probably nothing earth shattering for most coaches – much of it is pretty basic.  But there are a few tools and procedures that we developed that may be new to some readers.  If that is the case, and it helps a few coaches, then these posts will have been worth it.

In order to make it easier to read and process, I am going to break this up into several posts, each one dealing with a different aspect of defensive game planning.  This first one will detail the genealogy and history of the procedures we developed.

When I became the defensive coordinator at the University of Central Missouri, one of the first things that we did as a staff was to visit other good football programs who were known for playing good defense, and pick their brains on everything from scheme and technique to drills and game planning. 

The one thing that I was trying to figure out was what would be the best way for me to make calls during a game.  A few concepts that drove this process for me…

  • I am not particularly good at doing things “off the cuff”…
  • I like to be organized…
  • I like things based on data…
  • I needed a tool that could be used effectively during the “heat of the battle” on game day.

The quest for that perfect tool was what drove my conversations during the spring of that year.

The process and the tools that we came up with have their roots in several programs and coaches.  Mike Foster was the defensive coordinator that preceded me, and many of the things that we did were a continuation of processes he implemented.  We also took pieces (most notable a variation of the call sheet that we used) from John Smith, the long time defensive coordinator at Eastern Illinois University.  Finally, we took pieces from what Billy Miller, who was the defensive coordinator at Oklahoma State University at that time, was doing.  Coach Miller’s defensive pedigree can also be traced back to Dave Wannstedt and Jimmy Johnson. 

As is usually the case, the coaching fraternity came through for us with a wealth of good information to get us headed in the right direction

Tomorrow – General Organization and Weekly Workflow

You Can Do More… your brain is lying… don’t believe it!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Alphabet Soup

ncaa logonaianjcaa

NCAA DI, NCAA DII, NCAA DIII, NCAA FBS, NCAA FCS, NAIA DI, NAIA DII, NJCAA.

Whew!

There is always much confusion and misconceptions regarding all the different collegiate “levels”.  In this post, I will try to clarify and demystify this Alphabet Soup.  Here are my Top 10 Misconceptions regarding the different collegiate playing levels:

Misconception #1 – DI or Bust

Many athletes have the attitude that if they don’t get a NCAA FBS offer that they have failed; that playing at a so-called “lower level” would be beneath them.  Let me assure you that at most of the so-called “lower level” programs, the athletes are very good.  If you think you are just going to waltz in and earn a starting spot just because the football team is not classified as an FBS program, you will be in for a rude awakening.

Misconception #2 – I didn’t get a DI offer – I must not be good enough to play at the next level.

If you want to participate in intercollegiate athletics, there is a level and a program out there for you.  It will be challenging (see above) and rewarding, but if you want to play and are willing to work, there is a program out there with your name on it.

Misconception #3 – DI schools are larger than their counterparts at the other levels.

The level that a college or university operates on has nothing to do with the size of their campus or student population.  SMU (an FBS school) has an enrollment of 7,000 undergraduate students…. Washington University in St. Louis (an NCAA DIII school) has an enrollment of 7,300 undergrad students.   NCAA DI basketball powerhouse Butler has fewer than 4,000 undergrad students… The 2013 NCAA DII Basketball National Champions, Drury University in Springfield, MO has a student population of over 4,500.  I think this misconception has something to do with the way high school activity associations label and group their schools, which is completely based on student population.

So what does determine the collegiate level?  There are 340 NCAA DI institutions.  The FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision – formerly NCAA I-A) has 120 schools, FCS (Football Championship Subdivision – formerly NCAA I-AA) has 122 schools, and NFS (Non Football Subdivision) has 98 schools. All D-I schools must field teams in at least seven sports for men and seven for women or six for men and eight for women, with at least two team sports for each gender.   There are several other NCAA sanctioned minimums and differences that distinguish Division I from Divisions II and III, such as average attendance and facility size.

Misconception #4 – NCAA FBS schools offer more scholarships.

This is partly true, although it comes with a caveat.  NCAA FBS schools have 85 full scholarships in their program, while FCS schools have 63 and NCAA DII have 36.  But, (the caveat) in all divisions except FBS, the scholarships can be divided up into partial awards.  So, although FBS has more full scholarships to offer, the total number of scholarship athletes in the program is about the same.

Misconception #5 – The atmosphere at the “lower level” programs is lacking.

While not the same as an SEC game day experience I am sure, the atmosphere at many DII schools such as Northwest Missouri State University or the University of Central Missouri can rival the experiences at many “larger” universities.

Misconception #6 – Class sizes at NCAA DI schools are going to be much larger than at an NCAA DIII or NAIA school.

While this is often the case, again there are other factors, such as student population, faculty size and course offerings that will ultimately determine this number.

Misconception #7 – The NAIA is like the NCAA DIII.

The NAIA and NCAA are two different governing bodies of collegiate athletics.  NCAA DIII schools cannot offer any athletic scholarship aid.  NAIA schools CAN offer athletic aid (football 24, soccer 12, etc)

Misconception #8 – NCAA DIII does not offer scholarship aid.

While NCAA DIII schools cannot offer athletic scholarship aid, then can and do offer need based and academic aid to students… including student-athletes.

Misconception #9 – You have to go to a FBS school to have a chance at playing in the NFL

See #1 again… there are very good players at every level.  In 2012  22 players were drafted from non-FBS teams, and over 220 non-FBS players were on NFL rosters.

Misconception #10 – The DI mascots are way cooler.

OK – tie – St. Louis University Billikens (NCAA DI) vs Washburn University Ichabods (NCAA DII)

billiken06_2001ichabod

I hope this helped in digesting at least a portion of your Alphabet Soup.

In addition to these written posts, I have recently launched my YouTube Channel that deals specifically with the recruiting process.  The channel can be found here : The YouCanDoMore YouTube Channel, and the complete playlist can be viewed here.

 

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Upcoming Posts… Recruiting… Defensive Game Planning

This week I will finish my series, Recruiting – Gauging Their Level of Interest with the final two posts, The Letter of Intent, and a bonus post, Alphabet Soup.

I will also begin a new series of posts this week detailing a defensive game plan process we implemented while at the University of Central Missouri.  I have given many clinic talks discussing the process, and have been asked to share via this medium.

Basically, I will be showing how to get from this:

down distance

And this:

 runpass

And this:

runpass

And tons more information at your disposal, to this – A single, “game ready” defensive Call Sheet:

LUCall

I am looking forward to sharing this information with you!

Questions and comments are always welcome!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Flipping Their Switch

As I was checking the stats of my blog yesterday, I realized that a good portion of my posts dealt with motivation.  I think that is OK.

switchMotivation is a big part of a coach’s job; we try to get athletes to perform at a higher level.  I have tried to make several, consistent points in my posts, often saying the same thing with a slightly different twist.  I think it is the same way when we are motivating our players.  All of our athletes are different, and all have slightly different “hot buttons”.  What motivates one of your players may not flip another’s switch at all.

I was reminded again of what Seth Godin has to say about delivering your message:

“Repetition increases the chance that you get heard.

Repetition also increases the authority and believability of what you have to say. Listeners go from awareness of the message to understanding to trust.

Delivering your message in different ways, over time, not only increases retention and impact, but it gives you the chance to describe what you’re doing from several angles.”

It surprises (and delights) me when I hear from former players of mine, and they share what motivated them, or helped them perform better.  Recently, a former player, and now coaching colleague, was talking about a defensive goal board and goal chart we used when I was coaching at the University of Central Missouri.  He said:

“I liked it because it gave me a constant reminder of what we were trying to accomplish week in and week out.  It “defined” our defense.”

For one player, it might be looking at a goal board every week, every day; for another it might be a highlight video of great plays from the week before.  The thing is, you seldom know with certainty which method is going to resonate with which players… they probably aren’t going to say (until 10 years later) what worked with them… what “flipped their switch”.

Keep motivating… keep repeating your message in different ways, from different angles, using a variety of motivational and teaching techniques.  You never know what is going to stick, or when it will stick.  Just know, if it sticks with the right player, at the right time, you win.

You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you… don’t believe it!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com