So, I was online and I happen to see this snippet of an article and a picture of Dorrell. I invite you all to read the article and read for yourselves how others feel we need to continue giving losing coaches an opporutnity to shine. Here is the link and a piece of the article that struck out to me. My mouth dropped to the floor reading it and I felt as if I was being told to settle for what you have now...cuz maybe one day...you'll be good! Maybe!Poise under pressure
Try to imagine that you are coach Dorrell of UCLA. You are the first black head football coach at your alma mater. You have brought your well-prepared team to Notre Dame, the most famous of the legendary venues. Your team has stared down Touchdown Jesus, the Notre Dame Mystique, Charlie Weis and Brady Quinn for 58 minutes and 58 seconds. There is 1:02 on the clock. Notre Dame has the ball on its 20-yard-line with no timeouts, and you have the lead, 17-13. Your defense has played brilliantly. You know that the odds of any offense scoring a touchdown in this situation are very slim. You know you are on the verge of a legend of your own. You can feel it. You can taste it.
Then you try to keep your knees from buckling as it goes up in smoke in a matter of three plays. Your dream becomes an instant nightmare. Can you identify? You cannot. I cannot. Callahan, Willingham and Shula can identify.
So, how can a team and coach grow from such difficulty? Is it possible to achieve a modicum of success and maintain a sense of perspective? First and most important, understand that none of these men is asking for sympathy. These are tough, smart, resilient competitors -- or they would not be where they are. All enjoy certain advantages as they attempt to revive the tradition and winning expectations of their programs. How those advantages are understood and accessed determines how rapidly the team learns to stay focused the entire 60 minutes.
The good news at a traditional power in the sport of football is that you are a traditional power. You can overcome the distractions, you can win big, and you can do it without ever considering any sleight of hand or skirting of the rules. You can connect with and build upon the positive past. One thing is certain -- the football team will win big again.
These teams always come back. Good players want to be there. There is a tremendous competitive advantage to taking the field with outstanding players who are thrilled to be in your university, in your jersey, on your team.
Dorrell is bright and creative enough to show his men the fact that one more play in any phase of the game, whether on offense, defense or special teams, would have secured the victory. He will practice the specifics with each unit, building confidence that the next time there is a cliff-hanger, everyone will be ready. Callahan, Willingham and Shula will do the same.
As mundane as it seems, the truth is that traditional powers that have slipped return to the top with the same principles and practices that made them great. The modern zest for personality contests, motivational speeches, fancy spread offenses or gimmick plays has little to do with the desired result.
Football is a game of leadership, ball security, field position and physical dominance. Positive team expectations are built by establishing deeply ingrained habits in each of those areas. Consistent winning is the product of positive expectation combined with those habits.
Although it is an impossible mission to match Terry Donahue, Tom Osborne, Don James or Bear Bryant in the public's imagination, it is possible to build on their legacies. Long forgotten are the difficult moments those great men endured while earning their status. All four of last week's near miss teams will return to prominence in the near future, and we can hope it's with their present coaches. Who knows, we might even have a new legend or two in the bunch!