Spring Ball? Count Me In
In the sense of full disclosure, I must admit that I’m not a big fan of spring football practice. There, I said it. Nothing against the game of football, I love football like Charlie Sheen likes crazy, but I like mine when it really matters.
Spring football is like getting dressed in a tux and then never going out to dinner. I need a real game against a real opponent to make the practices really compelling - not to mention that some of the greatest cold I’ve ever felt has come while standing on the sideline watching spring practice while my teeth were doing the cha-cha.
You get the point. Given the choice between watching spring practice or Dr. Phil, I’m staying in to watch the good Doc.
However, that’s all about to all change. Insert the Righteous Brothers music here, that’s because I’ve just found my loving feeling when it comes to WVU spring practice 2011. The reason for my intrigue is because the Mountaineer offense is about to be given an Extreme Makeover that would make even Ty Pennington blush.
Offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen said it would take three days, that’s three days, to install his offense that’s been ranked among the nation’s best in its recent stops at Houston and Oklahoma State.
Wait a second. Hold on now. Three days? Such a preposterous thought would have certainly sent Dr. Seuss into book writing mode.
(Entering Dr. Seuss mode)
Three days he said.
Three days he said.
Three days to install an offense that defenses would dread.
That just can’t be.
It must be false.
Three days to make an offense waltz?
He must use smoke.
He must use mirrors.
Three days to bring a defensive coordinator to tears?
Does he pass? Does he run? Is everything from the gun?
What about the pistol and the line splits?
Three days to teach all that will lead to fits!
(Leaving Dr. Seuss mode)
Well, the truth is that there won’t be any fits. Fortunately, this has already been accomplished at Holgorsen’s previous two stops, and the proof is in the final stats his offenses produce.
What has me intrigued is that this offense is predicated upon simplicity and repetition rather than complexity. How many times have you heard a coach say that a certain player isn’t ready to participate because he’s still learning our system? How many times after a game do you hear a coach say a player had a missed assignment or lined up in the wrong position?
Guess what? If the mistakes keep happening and it’s November, or the kid is an upperclassman, then it’s the coach’s fault because what he’s trying to teach isn’t being absorbed.
The legendary Alonzo Stagg knew of this malady when he said, “No coach ever won a game by what he knows; it's what his players have learned.”
Enter Holgorsen, who has jumped to the other end of the spectrum with an offense built on simple assignments that are refined to the highest level of precision through repetition. His goal is to stamp out paralysis by analysis and create players who are so comfortable in their assignments that they just go out and play.
It’s an ingenious concept. Quite honestly, I’d be skeptical if it had not worked at his other stops. But the good news is that it has, and as a result, I’m honestly and truly fired up for spring ball.
Sorry Dr. Phil. You’re headed to the DVR for now.
Dana Holgorsen, Dr. Seuss, Dr. Phil, Tony Caridi
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