Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What sets some coaches apart

I read the interview with Scott Mitchell over on the Dolphins website. 
 
Here was one exchange:
What was it like to play for Don Shula? “I didn’t really fully appreciate how good of a coach he was until after I left Miami. We did the same thing every day. We had the same schedule, it never changed, and it probably never changed the whole time he was there throughout his entire career. He really didn’t ever run a play in the game that he just didn’t have a 100 percent confidence in that he hadn’t practiced that you know was going to work. He put a lot of onus on the quarterback having responsibility. You were responsible to get the team into a good play. From day one he said call your own plays in practice ... I didn’t even know any of the plays and I had to call my own plays and he did that for two reasons: to make you learn the offense but also to call the plays you had confidence in and I didn’t really fully appreciate all those things until I went other places and other people just didn’t do those things and how complicated they made things and how hard and how they really took that instinct out of you and just made you more of a robot-type thing. You had to learn new offenses almost every week. He just drilled the fundamentals into you and you just did the same thing over and over. It could become boring but it was very effective and he brought out the best in his players.”

What struck me was the way he came to understand Shula and what made Shula successful.  Its no wonder Shula was a success in football, and left the game as the all-time winningest coach.  And it also strikes me that a comment I made a while ago about Bill Belichick rings through here as well: he teaches fundamentals and that gives him an edge.
 
 
...on a totally unrelated note, Scott now lives in Orlando.  I had a feeling that might happen.  He was allocated to the Orlando Thunder of the World League back in 1992, and as I recall, he really enjoyed playing there and had always said he wanted to make it his home...
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