Friday, March 26, 2010

Great Expectations

Coach Self's comments about expectations were right on the money. At Kansas, where basketball tradition is long and great players are everywhere, a loss to Northern Iowa really stings.

It is a terrible habit of mine, but I coach every football game with a certain expectation. I should know better, but I do it anyway. Consequently when we meet or exceed what I thought we'd do, I'm a pretty happy guy. When we fall short, it is a personal failure.

I will give you two games from last year as examples.

ONW Black played Garder-Oropoza and lost 26-14. We were tied at half, but we'd out-gained them substantially. In the second half they scored on two long touchdown runs, and returned a punt to the one yard line to set up their final score. We finally scored a meaningless late touchdown, but were three touchdowns behind in the fourth quarter.

That game makes me angry to this very day. We were better in the first half, by a wide margin. They took a full minute between plays to try to keep the ball away from us. I used a timeout when we were ahead in the first half to get the ball back, and that actually backfired, leaving time on the clock for them to tie the game. I was mad at myself for that error, and I could not wait for the second half to begin. I knew that they could not stop us. But critical penalties and turnovers damaged our offense in the second half, and they had that big punt return. The expectation I had throughout the game - that I hold to this day - was that we were better. And that particular loss will stick with me for a long time.

As the other example, ONW Blue played SM East Luetje and lost 22-14. We ran out of time, 25 yards from the game-tying touchdown. At that point in the season the Blue team was still winless, and by the end of the game we were showing what I thought was marked superiority to our opponent. They could not stop us. With two more minutes, we'd have won the game.

Was I frustrated? Actually, not so much. We'd met my expectations for that game. We'd competed, improved, and played better, and made great progress. By the end of the game I knew we were better than they were - but that improvement happened during that game, and the strides we made to become better exceeded my expectations for that point in our development.

In both cases I thought the better team lost. The Black squad lost by a wider margin, and the Blue squad just missed it's first win. You might think that the Blue squad's near miss would have been more frustrating than the Black squad's debacle.

But such is the weight of expectations, that I was far happier after the heartbreaking close loss. And now my emotions have run the entire gamut that Self described. I'm just past angry, right in the heart of competitive, and desperately anxious to arrive at teaching football again.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Coach could Play

Not me - I couldn't play a lick compared to this guy.

Before he went on to play at KU, Coach Schriner played for the Shawnee Mission Northwest Cougars. In this first clip, have a look at his interception of future NFL star Rodney Peete.

And he was known as a speedy guy too - here's a punt return. Evidently coach was P. Browne before there was a P. Browne.

Finally, I'm always looking for running backs that block. Watch the tailback - yep, coach Schriner again - lay out the defensive tackle: