Thursday, March 31, 2011

Michigan Thursday: Teaching vs Scheming

When you go to college you learn the knowledge and maybe a few skills to become a professional.  No matter what your profession is; Lawyer, Doctor, Architect, Business Professional, etc. ............

The same goes with football players and at times I see a coaches that come from the NFL that don't understand that.   My first example is Charlie Weiss, he talked about there wouldn't anyone out scheming him at ND.  That was clear and so was his inability to be a college head football coach.   In college you need to be able to see an all state running back that might be a step slow is a perfect linebacker prospect.  In college you have to teach technique and football skills over drawing up complex plays.  In the NFL, you have elite athletes and to win you need to out scheme your opponent. 

What makes me excited about Michigan football is Greg Mattison gets it and I don't think Greg Robinson ever did.  Yes, Mattison came from the NFL Ravens but his experience in college football way out weighs Robinson's.   You can tell Mattison is a teacher in some of his comments yesterday when he met the press about Spring Practice:  

On learning the new schemes:  Even though installation is going slowly, "There is no disappointment whatsoever in me. I get excited and more enthused every day we meet." They get to mold the players into what they want to see, and the players are all excited to learn.

Talent and Technique: " There hasn't been any moping or negative attitudes, guys come in wanting to learn. When the coaches make corrections, the players demonstrate those by the next day. The entire D has tons of work to do on basic techniques. "But I would have said that about any time I've had, unless they're perfect with their technique, I'm not satisfied." First step, punch, etc. - all the basic techniques need work.

Big Will?  Campbell is coming off the football better at times, but not always. Quinton Washington "has been neck and neck with [Will Campbell]... When you see Quinton Washington and Will Campbell battling for a position, that says 'great, because now we can roll them.' Because I believe in that, and I always have." Will Heininger has stepped up, and can rotate with Jake Ryan. Jibreel Black looks as good as Craig Roh on some days.

LB's?  "The one guy probably that has improved the most and I have really become excited about him is Cam Gordon. I've really got high hopes for him." He's playing SAM backer, and has a chance to be good. "Has a tremendous attitude." He has safety athleticism, just need to get bigger. "Cam's a really long way away, but as a coach you see things in a young man you say 'this guy really could be one of those really good players some day.'" He's battling guys much bigger than him right now, and they want him to get as big as he can while still being able to run.

I know the proof will be on the field on Saturday's but it sounds like to me that Mattison is teaching the defense on how to be play their positions where Robinson used a stuffed Beaver to motive his players to be better. 

At the end of the day you want your football coaches to be good leaders and teachers.  This also maybe an area where RR could improve as well.  He was known as a the mastermind behind the spread but could he really teach 18-22 years old kids on how to be better football players?    His teams didn't get better during the season at Michigan, they got worse which makes me believe he was more of a scheme guy then a teacher.  To quote Charles Barkley, "I could be wrong but I doubt it!".

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