Bumped. Interesting discussion. GO BRUINS. - BN Eds.
There seems to be a great deal of conjecture on who are next FB coach should be. But, what I find the most distressing, is the repeated suggestion that we should get an NFL coach.
First of all, let's remember that basic rule of thumb that NFL coaches make poor CFB coaches, and CFB coaches make poor NFL coaches. In just recent memory, both Nick Saban and Steve Spurrier had both won National Championships before moving on to the NFL game where they failed miserably.
I'll discuss the why's and wherefore's after the jump.
The first thing everybody needs to understand is the complete difference between the NFL and CFB game. Everyone seems to think they are the same, but they are not. There is a reason High School seniors can make the jump to the NBA but it could never happen in football.
First of all, the NFL is stocked with not only full grown men, it is stocked with the cream of the CFB crop. The worst guy on the worst NFL team would be a star in CFB. We've all heard the comparisons of the NFL draft combine to a slave market. The men are measured and weighed, and timed in a number of seemingly innocuous drills. There is a reason for that. No NFL owner is about to drop millions of dollars on someone that is not immediately able to compete. Josh Smith would never get drafted by an NFL team. The NBA can afford to take chances on 'potential,' because they don't have to stock rosters of 82 players.These men are then conditioned to an extreme that far exceeds anything the College guys are subjected to because their only concern is winning on Sundays. They do not take classes in 'intro to Basic Biology' they study the 3-4 defense or the Colts' passing attack. And, they are tested every Sunday. (Incidentally, this is why it's such a crock when SC fanboys would claim they could beat the worst NFL team. Nope. Never going to happen.)
This lack of disparity between athletic abilities among players has an effect wherein the playing field is leveled at the Pro Level. This in turn affects the way NFL coaches are viewed either as successes or failures. The offenses and defenses are largely homogenized with the wrinkles being based on specific star players, rather than huge system shifts the way we seen in College. Other than the brief experiment with the Wild Cat a few years go, you are pretty much only going to see Pro Style offenses in the NFL. Game plans have much more to do with player mismatches than actual Xs and Os. If the Ravens play the Colts for example, the Colts game plan is going to be much more based on accounting for Ray Lewis than on accounting on a whole new defense as in CFB. This is why Rah Rah guys like Cheat Carroll and Herm Edwards do not succeed as NFL coaches. These guys (players) are professionals. They do not need to be motivated more so than they already are. They need a clear idea what their assignments are in every particular permutation of the opposing team's system they are likely to see. Again, this is why Harbaugh has succeeded so well with the 49ers. Beyond being a guy that can get you motivated, he is a master strategist that gets his guys in beneficial mismatches. This is also why he has dominated Cheat Carroll at both CFB and NFL levels.
College Coaches work harder than NFL coaches. It's true. Remember what I said about NFL players being consummate professionals? That makes it easier for Coaches to scout the opposition and develop their 'game plans.' They can rely on their players to know the play book and push themselves in practice and the weight room. Installing a weekly game plan is more about tweaking their system to their new opponent, where in college, coaches are installing new plays every week. This is why in College you constantly hear about coaches making comments to the percentage of the play book they have installed. I remember at one point CRN commented how much of the playbook Prince had mastered in comparison to Brehaut. In the NFL, if you aren't going to get that playbook in your head quick, you will not be collecting a paycheck very long. And, again, this is the genius of guys like Chip Kelly and Mike Leach. They have each stated they can install their entire system in 3 to 4 days. They have each declared they then spend the rest of fall camp perfecting the execution of said plays. NFL Coaches like Dorrell never once in 5 years got the entire West Coast offense installed and it doomed him. Add to that mixture the fact that every year you graduate your best players and bring in entirely new players, and you can see why NFL coaches generally fail in the College ranks. The reason Cheat Carroll succeeded was he was A) a defensive coordinator first and foremost and B) a very Rah Rah guy. He was able to sit back and be the figurehead of that team while Norm Chow (a career and brilliant CFB guy) ran the offense. When Chow left, the offense was handed over to Sarkisian who had been Chow's understudy for something like 10 years. Of course there was going to be no drop off in performance.
This means that essentially, NFL coaches coming to the CFB game, are overwhelmed with: implementing their system, scouting other teams vastly different systems, accounting for that, and watching the high school game to decide what players to recruit, plus making all the calls and visits involved with recruiting. Needless to say the High School Football world is much much larger than the 100 or so D1 CFB landscape. This is why future NFL All Stars slip by the perennial BCS schools and come out of schools like Minnesota. There is no way any one school or coach can keep tabs on every single HS footballer out there. NFL coaches get vacations. We went ballistic when CRN took his first vacation in 3 years last year. Therefore, any NFL coach that comes to the CFB game does so for only one of 3 reasons: A) to rehabilitate his wounded resume B) to collect a check until he can get back to the NFL or C) He was a College coach that couldn't cut it in the NFL.
Thanks for reading my rant. I pretty much ejected all that material in a form of automatic writing. I'm sure I've missed some crucial points. Let me end by adding, if you're going to suggest we hire an NFL coach please don't say it's so he can run a Pro Style offense, or get our guys ready for the NFL. Only two things can get a guy ready for the NFL: skipping classes to hit the gym and/or steroids. Most often both. If you are going to suggest someone like Herm Edwards, please keep in mind he will most likely only be a Rah Rah figure head; please consider who we should get to actually run the team for him. Someone with a distinguished college resume and who is willing to fly under someone else's radar.