Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Clawson Presser: "Who Really Loves Football?"

Coach Clawson held his final weekly presser yesterday, as the team prepares for the Buffalo game on Friday.  The theme for much of this talk was "Who really loves football?"

This is one of those is late in the season and neither team has anything at all to play for.  Coach pointed out that if you don't love football, you have an excuse not to try.  If, however, you love football, you prepare this week as if it is any other week.  In a week like this, those guys stand out.  You build your future teams around them, and the other either "turn them or beat them out."

He said that Buffalo is a better team than their record indicates and has played very tough at home, beating OU and nearly beating NIU.

The other part of the presser was sort of an early recap of the season.  He usually does one other presser to wrap up, but he did have some things to say.

First, he said we practiced much better than we had last year.  He claimed that our worst practice this year was better than our best practice last year.  And, he said, if nothing else, a win Friday rewards the guys for all that work and launches them into the post-season with the right frame of mind.

He reminded everyone that while BG today is 4-7, we started 3-1, so it has been a while since the team has felt that feeling.

He does think we were improved over last season.  "We were in every game" except WVU...which, to me is a stretch, but that's what he said.

He said that on defense, we have to begin to make plays and not just complete their assignments.  In the OU game, for example, if one player makes one play on defense during that long 4th Q drive, then we win.  If someone makes a sack, breaks a pass up, catches Tettleton from behind, one of those plays could have won the game.

He said that last year there was a talent gap, which he feels is closed.  But everyone has talent.

This year, the team completed their assignments on defense---they were in the right gaps, in the right coverage, etc.  Now, the next step is to take that defensive unit that returns almost everyone and turn them into playmakers.

Finally, there was some talk about Thanksgiving.  The team will be travelling to Buffalo on the holiday, so it won't be much of a holiday for our guys, but when you are involved in football, it is expected.  In fact, when he coached in I-AA, he said that being home for Thanksgiving meant you didn't make the playoffs, which made for an unhappy dinner.

He said he had been married "15 or 16 years" which is kind of funny....I assume he was joking.....or, I hope that his wife doesn't watch the pressers.  Which I suspect she does not.

Anyway, he said that we are on the cusp of moving ahead.

There was some talk about the frustration of coaching.  He said something I really liked, which is that everyone's job has stress.  Sometimes I hear coaches talk about the pressure they are under and they can lose their job anytime, etc, and I just think they have no idea the pressure people are under in other jobs...people without five year (or five day) contracts.

So, it was good to have someone recognize it.

Anyway, I am sure the post-season presser will be very interesting.  We'll do some work in the off-season to look at where the improvement came.  Coach said, finally, that with all the guys coming back, if they all get just a little better in the off-season, than we get better.  If everyone got 10% better, or 20% better, than the team could make one of those quantum leaps we see when we look back on Clawson's coaching record.

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