Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Moving


I just wanted to let those that have sent me emails that I'm in the process of moving back to Tennessee this week and will not be able to reply until this coming Sunday-Monday.

Keep me in your prayers as the rig I am traveling in has over 180K miles on it, is loaded from floorboard to ceiling, and is pulling a travel trailer. Oh, and I have 4 dogs with me as well.

Like I said - prayers, people!

I promise pics as soon as I make it home!


Coach Smith

Sunday, May 13, 2007

My Other Favorite Commercial

Chuck Norris. 'Nuff Said.

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My New Favorite Commercial

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Mr. T... a tank... and soccer players scurrying for cover. Hmmm... could it get any better than this! (Coach Wyatt said "I would have fired," lol!)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Florida Is Burning.

Gee, just when you thought you had seen everything...

I've missed school due to snow, flood, Tropical storm... and now, forest fire.

Read a few of my observations concerning it here.

A Map of Florida on Fire.

Fires near our area (Live Oak, FL.)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Bad News

At the risk gaining the nickname, "Hard Luck Charlie," I guess I'll go ahead and bring you guys up to date. I finished my first and last year here at Suwannee High School as OLine coach. I basically was the head coach's right hand man, which was nice. It probably pissed off some folks, but as far as I'm concerned, that wasn't my problem to fix. Anyway, I had a job to do, and I did it as well as I could. At Christmas the coach that brought me here got the can, and the best the new coach could find for me was a spot in the JV staff. Gee, thanks for the vote of confidence. Here's mine; good luck next season.

But all was not lost. I landed a job at a half-decent 4-A program in Tennessee as offensive coordinator and was excited to be installing the Navy style option. Coach B was hired as head coach of a school in North Carolina and things were looking good.

Then I find out the coach in Tennessee that hired me was leaving for another job. That possibility strangely had failed to come up in any of our discussions. Needless to say, I'm screwed. The good jobs are mostly gone and I'm just too old and set in my ways to just take a crappy job and be miserable. I have a couple of things in the works, but I honestly just don't know. You get one kind of offer when your stock is high, and quite another when your stock has dropped. I'd probably be better off just making a fresh start somewhere else.

So at this stage of the game, the author of veersite.com is thinking that finding a part-time job making widgets sounds pretty good. I think it's time to stop trying to make sense of head coaches, boosters, and principals. I'm not sure I'd believe anything any of them would tell me at this point, anyway.

One thing is certain, wherever I end up, the little league coaches there better get ready for some righteous ass-kickings on the gridiron! I might not be working at a high school next year, but I will be coaching it up on some field somewhere. On the bright side, I guess I'll finally have the time to keep Veersite more up to date!



Coach Smith

Friday, May 04, 2007

Rant

First I want to mention that I'll be putting up an article on running the Trap and Trap Option package this weekend.


...now, on with my rant.

I've taken some heat over the past couple of months by mentioning that I am learning to run the flexbone variant of the option these days.

I get long passionate emails or replies to posts on message boards regarding this. They usually fall along these lines...

1. The Curious Camper. This coach just wants to know how it's going and why I'm considering it. I rarely get attacked by one of these mellow dudes and 99% of the time I enjoy the exchange.

2. The Zealot/Purist. This guy is typically all-or-nothing in his viewpoint and usually begins by telling me what a mistake I'm making. Or that I'm an idiot. Another tact is to accuse me of not "selling" out to the offense (!) and thus having problems. (Dude... 4 years spreading the word and running the split back veer.... I think I "sold out.") Anyway, this coach basically feels like I'm pissing on the honor of the split back veer if I don't line up in 2 Tights and run OSV 30 times a game. I'd tell you more, but I usually end up deleting the message at this point and really don't know what else they say. God bless them... we need people in this world who are always correct and never need to stop and say, "what if..."

3. The Gotcha Guy. This guy needs a hobby. Or to get laid... Something. He has spent the last four years cross-referencing all my posts to every coaching site I've ever visited as well as all my blog entries - just waiting for the day he can catch me in an inconsistency or reversing myself.

Hey, Einstein, make it easy on yourself and just catch me any morning where I haven't had my Coca Cola or my coffee... you'll get all the inconsistencies you would ever dream of.
I'm gonna let you in a little secret... shhhhhhh... I DON'T FRIGGIN KNOW EVERYTHING!!! Hell, there are coaches who have forgotten more stuff than I'll ever know. I am going to make mistakes. I actually do change my mind from time to time as well. I might hate a play one year with a certain QB and absolutely love it the next with another. Or I learn more about something over the course of a year... maybe at a clinic or talking to another coach. I used to hate the thought of having a pitch read on the midline - "you're wasting a blocker" I always said. Then I got hold of some vintage Georgia Southern and I had to eat crow. They make a living getting to the pitch on the midline in some games I've seen of them. So I guess there's good points to running it both ways. Big deal - run it the way that screws the defense the most.

I guess I should be thankful for the fact a few are keeping up with everything I've posted before. I know I sure as hell can't.

I guess my point is this: Veersite is just a big old sloppy burrito of option football knowledge and opinions... nothing more and nothing less.
I'm not evangelical about it, I just try to put up informative posts on what has worked for me or for others at some time or other. Feel free to try any and all ideas presented here... or not. If you think I've put something up that's unsound or needs correcting, then by all means let me know. But odds are I've ran it successfully at some point and I'm comfortable with it.

In fact, I've taken the time to change the title of the website here to "The Multiple Option Offense." I wanted it to more accurately reflect the direction I'm heading. I'm not going to turn my back on running the option from split backs, but I would like to help out the guy wanting to run some option from the "I" or the flex as well. I think the Trap Option is even harder to find out info about than even the split back veer. Where's a coach going to find out stuff about that?


I'll tell you where... veersite.com.


"...Hell, we'll take anybody!" - paraphrasing Coach Jack Lengyel from the movie, "We Are Marshall."


next up: The Trap Option.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

"The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry"

Long time no post.

I had fully intentioned to have some new articles up on Veersite over these past weeks. Funny how things can change! I accepted the position of offensive coordinator about 6 weeks ago at a 4A high school in Tennessee which has traditionally been a 2 and 3 win team - until the last coach managed to get them hovering on the edge of respectability. I had two other offers from quality programs but decided on my eventual choice because I especially empathized with the coach ...and thought if there ever was a place I could make a difference, it would be at this school.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.

I've noticed in my 15 or so years coaching high school football that very few programs have middle-of-the-road records for long. Teams at the top tend to remain there and teams in the basement tend to linger and rot. You're either on your way up or on your way down ...and seldom does the escalator stop and leave a program hanging in the middle.

This is probably due to several factors: the inertia of a winning tradition... and the inertia of a losing one. Winning seems to have a way of "recruiting" kids for you because everyone wants to be associated with a winner. On the other side of the coin, once a mindset of losing sets in, it's awfully hard to change it. As Coach Bennett says, "In 21 days you've built a habit - either good or bad." I believe that. And while it's pretty obvious that a lot of blood, sweat, and tears goes into the building of a quality football program, I've come to believe that it takes just as much negative energy to keep a bad program just that - down and out.


You Reap What You Sow.


Take my prospective school in queston. Bring in a good coach and turn him loose with a team of eager young men anxiously searching for the solution to what many may come to refer to as "the curse." If you sit back and watch only the coach and the players, you've already missed the action. Look a little closer. See who covets the job... and who is insanely jealous of any success the new coach might have. Listen to them sow the seeds of doubt among the fans and parents and players who are gullible enough to listen. Watch as they never miss an opportunity to belittle and complain... all the while hoping with each new barb that it will be one one that finally "does in" the coach. In this person's mind, it should be them heading the program and receiving the accolades - regardless of whether or not they actually were the best man for the job. No, their plan is simple: destroy the program, run off the coach, and then "graciously" step in and pick up the pieces for the humbled and thankful school.

Unfortunately, it never works out that way. You see "the Backbiter," as I like to refer to the sorry bastards, while they are persistent and single-minded, they are definitely not the sharpest tools in the sled. The very process needed for them to steal the team from the good coach renders it incapable of winning without a huge effort later. These coaches are invariably "no-go showboats" or as some call them "A Bag of Hot Air" and sometimes "Old Yeller." Regardless, they are going to need a lot of quality assistants on staff if they are to have any hope of looking good - or even competent.

This is not going to happen.

For one, the word always get's out. I had heard that this school had a tradition of bad luck. It was my hope to help turn things in the other direction. Oh, the boundless enthusiasm of youth! My Grandfather Bob had a saying that, "you make your own luck." The same might be said for football programs.
Coaches aren't stupid (well, with the possible exception of one I know... hardy, har, har...) They know when trouble is afoot. So quality coaches may just decide to pass that job on up for the next one down the road. "El Tigre" (as the Backbiter is also known in some circles) will not be a magnet for loyal assistants. It will worse when the losses start to pile up.

Next comes apathy on the part of the administration of the school itself. By this time, the Principal and Superintendent have heard so much wailing and gnashing of teeth by the fans, parents and boosters, they just want a quick fix and feel that simply changing one personality (i.e. the head coach) is all they have to do in order to "turn it around" or "rebuild the program." Many will hand it off to a committee and just wash their hands of the whole process.

It's never quite that easy.

A great teacher I had at Tennessee Tech, Doctor Romines, had a wonderful saying that summed-up his views on making decisions by concensus:

"For God so loved the World, He did not send a committee to save it."

Doctor Romines, I couldn't agree with you more.



So what do you have left at the end of the day for your troubles?

What you're left with is a man in charge with questionable morals, no principles, and probably not as much of a football mind. At least not a great as they would like you to believe. You also have a beat-down staff and a beat-down team. And you get the win-loss record to go with it. Thus you have a self-perpetuating system which breeds more "Backbiters" ...and so the sorry tale just recycles itself again with new faces but with the same old results.

It takes a lot of effort to keep a program on it's knees. But if you really try hard, and a few of the right people just look the other way, it can be done.



On Monday night of this week, I was told by the head coach that hired me roughly six weeks ago that he was taking a job at another school. He had just "had enough," as he put it. I can't blame him really. Shitty timing for me,I thought to myself, but I understand his sentiment more than he will ever know. I only went through one year of that crap as a head coach while he has hung in there for five.
No, I was pissed, but I could not bring myself to stay mad at him for long.
He was apologetic and gracious and suggested that he would love to have me go with him. But the school he is going to has recently consolidated and it will be late into the summer before staff openings are known.

This, my friends, is how I'm now standing here "holding the bag." And trust me, you don't want to know what's in the proverbial "bag" or what it smells like. Trust me on this.


It has been suggested to me by the former head coach and a few others that I might consider applying for now-vacant head coaching position. None of these people has done so with much enthusiasm, however. In fact, I can sense that in his heart, the former coach hopes I stay as far away from it as possible. As for myself, having gone through a poorly-executed coaching transition during my single year as a head coach, I know all too well how hard it is to keep a program on it's feet with little or no support.

It's downright impossible with people in the system actively trying to destroy you at every turn.


So now, at this late date, I'm faced with having to start the process over and search for a job after turning down coordinator positions at two quality programs.

And I thank God for it.


The alternative would have been to have gotten tangled-up into a bad situation that will rapidly
get worse in a big hurry. This will happen as surely as the sun will come up tomorrow - of that there is no doubt. Players are already roaming the halls with petitions for and against possible coaches (two days after the head coach has unofficially resigned!!) The word "boycott" is also being bandied about. This is very similar to the situation Coach Bennett walked into two years ago when he took the Suwannee job.

No, the next coach at this unnamed school has my sympathy. And by game five the Principal may want to consider putting the poor bastard on suicide watch.
No, I had my dose of this at Sequoyah High School, and I'm just not stupid enough to want another. Regardless of what I have to do, I will not repeat this mistake ever again. I feel sorry for the Principal at this school. He seems like a great guy. But I don't envy what he's about to go through with his football program. Not one bit.


Epilogue

Oh, you'll get a kick out of this. I know I did.
As far as I have heard, I'm on one of the negative petitions. Seems that I was "too tough" on the players and didn't seem to really "care" about how they "felt."

Too tough? Chief, I don't know who you are, but let me tell you something. A real football player would know better. I shudder to think how soft a kid would have to be, both mentally and physically, to think that the sugar-coated Coach Smith they experienced during spring practice was "too tough."

Kid, my advice is this: go buy a soccer ball.



So I guess some didn't like my four days installing the option. I'd say my brusque manner could be attributed to attempting to fine-tune a finesse offense in a matter of four days. And here I thought I was on my best behavior! No worries, though. The true football players, the kids you could really go to war with, they seemed intrigued and somewhat hopeful that the option might prove to be an equalizer. Now those guys, I'll miss getting to know you and to coach you in the upcoming season. It was just not meant to be.


So, that's my current situation. Not the best in the world, but far from the worst. I was very happy with running the Veer, Midline, Trap and Trap Option from the flexbone and it's variations. In fact, transitioning from split backs to the flex will be the subject of my next series of articles on Veersite.

And yes, I'm keeping the domain as veersite, even though I've changed the underlying title somewhat. I'm going to be looking at different formations and series and the pros and cons of each as well as keeping the flame burning for the split back veer. Who knows, maybe in ten years I'll even switch over to the shotgun option!



Some say the Veer is a formation, a series, and a football play... and they're right. I say it's more a way of thinking... a mindset... a thought process that looks at a defense and says, "now here's the dive read and here's the pitch read... boy, this is going to be fun!"

I also say that it's a word that when translated correctly simply means "the best damned play in football." Period.




So don't worry about me. I'm going do do more than just "be around."

I'm back with a vengeance.



Coach Smith