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Another Coaches Clinic Recap

WestEndzone

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Context and qualifications:

I've been relatively dormant for some years. For those of you who don't know me: I played at a local high school in the early-mid 2000's, played D3 college ball, then came back to coach at my alma mater for some years before deciding to pursue a career in law. I was on a staff that took down some of the top teams in Dade and I spent most of my time coaching defensive backs and linebackers. I have been out of the game since 2013 mainly because this career (and the firm I was at) absolutely consumes your life. Upon hearing about the coaches' clinic, I reached out to some old colleagues and they were cool enough to let me tag along the group for the weekend. The comments below are based on my own observations and opinions, and feedback from my colleagues.

*excuse the stream of conscious nature of my notes--if I don't make sense, let me know and I will explain*
*I will do my best to not overlap some of the notes from other people--I haven't read anything factually different from my memory/notes*

Day 1:
- Aside from parking, the whole registration process and general organization was great. The IPF is above average, but the facility could use some upgrades--this is not a secret. Overall, though, it seemed sufficient to run a top tier program. The registration period served as a mixer.
- The staff is enormous; they were everywhere, coming from all angles to chat it up. Of note, Kevin Steele was super cool and welcoming. Mario was happy and talking to everyone--it was a great vibe. Once the speakers started, it seems like the staff partially retreated to their offices to get some work done.
-- Kevin Steele: He was my favorite speaker of the night. Really focused on mentality, philosophy, game planning and how to coach tackling. A whole post could be dedicated to his presentation.
-- Jahmile Addae: focused on Press Man coverage. He has a very nice blend of intensity, professionalism and detail orientation. He was able to clearly present exactly what he is expecting from the guys. I was able to watch the DB drills on Day 2 and you could tell his classroom teaching was translating to the field. He ran drills specifically tailored for each phase of the technique.
-- Josh Gattis: I had a caffeine headache, so I couldn't stay for his whole presentation--went to get some coffee. What I caught in the beginning was all I needed to hear, however. He and I are of the school of thought that whatever you run on offense (scheme and philosophy) has the most effect on what becomes of your defense's mentality. In other words, if you're a finesse offense, your defense will be soft. This is where you see his defensive background coming through. Btw, our offense is essentially a modern WingT. I know because I'm a WingT guy. Its more of what I expected from Lashlee (less the pace) than what we actually got from Lashlee, which was air raid.
-- Alex Mirabal: this dude gets me fired up. He's the same guy from when he was at FIU--but interestingly enough, his teaching points have changed. I don't want to throw him under the bus, but he had some cutting edge techniques that had me upset hearing as defensive guy.
-- Coach O: Dude was an absolute trip. Shared the story of him coming to Miami; explained the importance of learning more than just your position group, but also staying in your lane and only coaching your own position; talked about the kind of dedication needed to be great; went into some technique stuff too. He presentation was kinda everywhere (like him) but made sense in a circular kind of way.
-- Jimmy Johnson: This was a dream come true for me. The whole thing didn't seem real. He spent most of his time talking about leadership and the importance of having good players and elevating your players and staff. If you watched the NFL films documentary on Jimmy, then you got the gist of his share. The thing I got most out of his share is the importance of investing in your people and keeping them on a sliding scale based on their value to the organization.
- I couldn't stick around for the position group breakout sessions. I regret taking my wife out to dinner instead of this. Lesson learned.

Day 2:
- I got in at 7 to make sure I got enough coffee to make it through the day. Breakfast was sufficient--just the standard continental breakfast items. Enough food for everyone and more.
-- Coach Feld: buddy came in like a bat out of hell around 7:45 to get his presentation going. I came away impressed. He spoke briefly about building mental toughness and how they define each of its aspects. One quote I liked was "You start to love the things that are hard once you get good at them." He said this in the context of coaching kids who don't necessarily love football and don't always want to participate in its rigors. It kind of gives them hope that pushing through the tough times will be worth it.
- Feld took us into the weight room and allowed his staff to present their training philosophy. They listed a hierarchy of 7 movements: neck strength>core strength>loaded hip hinge>leg strength>press strength>hamstrings>pullups (this is my recollection--might be wrong). They were super welcoming and cool. I am going to reach out to them to get some more info.
-- Darren Rizzi: took us outside and ran us through what felt like 50 special teams drills in like 5 minutes. It all made sense and it was all very fast--it was remarkable. What I got out of it is to avoid 11 on 11 special teams drilling and teaching. You should break special teams up into multiple individual units and specialize your teaching. The whole staff should be very involved in this. No one takes a break during special teams practice.
-- Sean McVey: Importance of having good players; philosophical stuff about blending the run and pass. I can expand this later if requested. This post is already too long.

[Practice]:
- We got a copy of the practice schedule and I did my best to follow along. Seems like we were either on time or early with the period schedule.
- Again, we have a million coaches. They were all fired up and they were all engaged. The player/coach(staff) ratio is clearly better than ever.
- I was able to watch DB and LB individual periods about 60/40 percent, respectively.
- Coach Strong is TOUGH on the guys. Sheesh. The kids were responding well, however. Their effort during individual period was outstanding. If there was a whiff of a player cutting a rep short or making a mental mistake, they were hearing about it in an uncomfortable way.
- There are probably 3-5 guys that all look roughly the same to me. No one really stood out other than 31. His twitch, bend and fluidity really stood out to me--seems to have wiry strength. I hope he doesn't have any setbacks--we need his help.
- The DB group was a little slower speed than the LBs. Their individual included brief teaching periods sprinkled throughout. Steele was working with the safeties, while Addae was working with the corners and vice versa. DVD was helping both groups where needed. Steele wasn't happy at all with one of the safeties for not paying attention and really let him know. Overall, the groups looked well organized.
- Check out my notes above on Addae's presentation regarding the corners. 7 looks surprisingly good and locked in. I'll be shocked if he doesn't help a lot this year. It looks like the staff is grooming him to be utility knife. His health will give us depth at safety, star and corner. 8 was doing 8 things like guessing on routes; 23 did a good job in coverage and gives consistent effort; 2 was back and looks head and shoulders better than the rest of them; no one else from that group got my attention. We need help here.
- Safety looked to have more serviceable guys. Seems like Steele himself will be the main one getting them coached up. I'm of the opinion that safeties should be an extension of the defensive coordinator. 0 looks fine in drills; he wants to be a leader. 3 is valuable; he's constantly coaching up the younger guys and was helping 7 learn star/safety; he looks just fine in drills. 15 is so twitchy and explosive that his footwork is a little awkward sometimes, but I don't think the coaches care too much. His physical talent is obvious and he gave good consistent effort during drills from what I saw. 27 looked ok. Steele chewed him out pretty good during drills for mentally busting a footwork drill. 15 made the same exact mistake and Steele was way more patient with him.
- Caught some QB drills right before the team periods started. 11 is freakish with his size and arm strength, but makes awful throws sometimes. Good thing he has plenty of time to work on his craft. We already know that 9 is in a league of his own. 13 looks good. I wouldn't be nervous to see him in the game.
--Team periods:
- Effort and energy was outstanding. Offensive ball carriers were running dudes over; tacklers were going beyond thud and knocking guys down.
- The offense looks good. 9 started off slow before eventually torching the defense repeatedly.
- OL will be a pleasant surprise I think.
- Defensive line is undersized and thin. Too many guys looking like 95 and not enough looking like 33. 12 seems to be a leader on the front; he is regularly getting guys lined up and helping with their assignments. 55 will help us quite a bit. 56 looks ok. 39 looks like he needs a red shirt year and a COVID year before he can help. This unit doesn't get me excited based on what I saw at practice. That being said, they did show good effort. Effort and tackling will go a long way on defense. I think Steele and Co. will squeeze the most out of them.
- On offense I felt like I was watching us run the WingT as times--it was great. We had quick motions on most plays, wingbacks (slot receivers) getting handoffs off misdirection, gap blocking, play action of the quick motion, toughness, etc. Things had rhyme and reason; I felt like I was watching series football.
- 15 and 22 are great fits for this offense. 15 would crush it as a WingT wingback and 22 would be a great WingT fullback.
- Our formations still allow us to run our regular passing game--TVD showed his regular timing and accuracy in the quick game.
- The offense excites me.


Summary:
I don't have the same points of reference as some other coaches who have been plugged into the game recently. However, based on the experience I do have, it was evident that the program is already being run at much higher level than in the past. If every practice is like what we saw, the aggregate needs to yield better results than the past administration (all things remaining equal, obviously). The roster needs a lot of work, but we have stud at QB, a few other very good players and we have the Avengers as a coaching staff. There is an sense importance in the building that I haven't witnessed during prior regimes (maybe that's just my perception). I'm really happy I got the opportunity to get out there.

Go Canes.
 

Baba Yaga

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Thank U GIF
 

WestEndzone

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Do me/us a favor and explain to people what you mean by "modern Wing T". I'm afraid if you do not some heads will explode as some posters don't know the difference from the Wing T and Wishbone.

Wishbone or splitbone share a few formations with the WingT and that’s where most of the similarities end. The wishbone seeks to run the veer (triple option) on every play, with a number of answers for what teams do to stop the veer. It’s an offense completely dedicated to one play. Wishbone teams use balanced bone or split bone formations to play a numbers game or front formation game to always get in the best possible play. They want to gain a numbers and/or angles advantage. They also use balanced formations to use best misdirection, just like the WingT.

One way to think of the WingT is as a pro style I formation offense, but run through balanced formations that allow you gain numbers and angles, while maximizing misdirection. The WingT doesn’t seek to run any specific play as a base. In reality, it’s a balanced offense that puts importance on misdirection and having the flexibility, through balanced formations, to have a whole playbook of blocking schemes available as answers to a defense. You can run a WingT and not even have the option in your playbook.

Just as in a pro style I, the WingT doesn’t need the quarterback to run the ball any considerable amount to be effective.
 

LuCane

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You're a "WingT guy," eh? Ha. That narrows down your HS.

I'd love to read more about Sean McVay, if you're willing to share anything he might have shared about how he views the Xs and Os.

I'd love to read more about what you'd expect Steele to change about our approach to Safety play. I think many around here have understated how difficult it was to get left in no man's land as a Safety in Diaz's D. I expect almost the opposite from Steele.
 

tsimonitis

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@WestEndzone

Question about Mirabel… you would be pissed as D coach about technique because of the advantage it gives O? Difficulty to teach DL to overcome? Can you explain a bit more?
 

WestEndzone

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@WestEndzone

Question about Mirabel… you would be pissed as D coach about technique because of the advantage it gives O? Difficulty to teach DL to overcome? Can you explain a bit more?
Probably a little of both. I don’t want to quote anyone. I don’t want this getting back to anybody and it negatively affecting us.
 

CANE

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"He (Gattis) and I are of the school of thought that whatever you run on offense (scheme and philosophy) has the most effect on what becomes of your defense's mentality....Btw, our offense is essentially a modern WingT"

Makes sense, but may not sit well around here.
 

WestEndzone

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"He (Gattis) and I are of the school of thought that whatever you run on offense (scheme and philosophy) has the most effect on what becomes of your defense's mentality....Btw, our offense is essentially a modern WingT"

Makes sense, but may not sit well around here.
Malzahn was a WingT guy and I don’t think anyone here would be upset with his offense. Sounds like an education problem to me. We should get more informed as a fan base.
 
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