Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sideline discipline

Early in last year's Ohio State game, Coach Rod lost control of his sideline. It was chaotic, it was frantic and (frankly) it was pathetic. Players and coaches were screaming at each other. A strength and conditioning assistant (Chris Allen) grabbed the face mask of a player (Charles Stewart) and a timeout had to be called to straighten out the pandemonium that had overtaken the Wolverines' sideline during the rivalry game. When Bo was the Head Coach, order was the rule of the day on the sidelines. Bo was in control and no assistant (and certainly no S&C asst.) was going to cause chaos and force the Wolverines to burn a timeout during the biggest game of the year.

In his book, Bo's Lasting Lessons, Bo wrote at p. 174:
So every Friday before a game, we'd practice something we called our
"sideline discipline." We'd line up all the offensive starters in
their positions: linemen in front, backs right behind them, wideouts on the
sides. Then we put the second-string player at each position right
behind the starters, all up and down the bench. Everyone had a
particular place to sit, so we knew immediately if someone was injured or
missing. It was the backup's job to watch the game and be ready the
second the starter came out, for any reason. And we'd do the same thing with the defense. You
have to make sure everyone is indoctrinated.

When it was time to do this in the games, we'd get
everyone together right before the offense or defense
took the field. We could get it all done in seconds.
I'm sure what we were doing
looked like chaos from the stands, but it
wasn't. Everyone knew what they
were doing. Do this correctly,
and you will never get called for too many
men on the field.

Coach Rod needs to spend some time during Fall Practice with his players and coaches refreshing them on sideline discipline so that when they are faced with a pressure-packed situation during the season that they don't lose their heads. More importantly, Coach Rod should ban Chris Allen from the sideline for the 2009 season. There is apparently no in-game function that Allen performs and he has already proven beyond any doubt that he cannot conduct himself in a professional manner on the sidelines. Allen should be left in the locker room during the games for this season. Hopefully, Coach Rod will have a more disciplined sideline in 2009 than what was on display during the nationally televised game versus Ohio State last year that made the Wolverines look foolish. Go Blue!

UPDATE ON 7/22/09: The Athletic Media Relations Dept. did a puff piece this week on Chris Allen on in an attempt to repair the damage caused by the fallout from the nationally televised debacle instigated by Allen last season versus OSU. Fine, there is no problem with retaining him on staff. Just keep him off the sidelines during games where he has already shown himself to be a liability. Go Blue!


At 1:04 AM, Blogger Rasmus said...

Couldn't agree more. But I blame this one on Shafer. Stewart was a fifth-year senior defensive back and two-time defensive captain. The defensive coordinator was sitting up in the booth fantasizing about becoming an NFL coordinator. Shafer should have been down on the sideline coaching these kids and maintaining discipline, instead of leaving it to unqualified messengers like Allen.

At 1:37 AM, Blogger Markusr2007 said...

Bo was big on discipline. No question. But I don't think Bo had to intervene very often or micromanage such ridiculousness. Bill McCartney, Gary Moeller and Lloyd Carr were Michigan DCs at different periods in the 1970s and 1980s. Each was a royal bad ass when it came to coaching the defense.

In my view, Greg Robinson was a very good hire by Rodriguze to run the UM defense. The question is whether Michigan will continue to land top quality defensive players.
What Greg Robinson/Bob Field achieved at UCLA 1982-1989 was borderline unfair.


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