Riverboat Gambler? Maybe. But Know What You’re Doing.

By FirstDown PlayBook on May 19, 2021

This is part three of what you should do at half time if you are getting your ass kicked. As we have mentioned in Part 1 and Part 2, for our scenario, it that lays squarely on your shoulders.

What we mean is that the other two phases are performing exactly like they advertised in your full staff meetings that week. Your unit? Not so much. What now? You are down by 16 at half and this is what you signed up for.

Being a coordinator is not about when your quarterback just takes off and runs the ball when your plan or the numbers are not great. It’s not about when your corners can lock down the other team’s deep threats and you dial up pressures.

Being a coordinator is having a plan when things are not going very well. You are down by 16 at half. That’s the definition of not doing well. Yesterday we talked about staying the course and trying to do a better job at what you are already doing.

Today we talk about a different approach. This time you walk in at halftime and say “Ok, forget all that you have been doing. This is what we are going to do in the second half to get this straight”.

If you are going to do this then you better have a resume to back you up. This is not the preferred way to go and not for the faint of heart.

However, here is the reasoning. What is happening in the first half is so bad and you are very aware of what the problem is, that you fix it. This is more than likely not for you young coaches out there. Nobody wants to get fired on Saturday or Sunday and if it doesn’t work there will some “coachsplaining” going on.

Here is the key though. If you know you are going to walk into that staff meeting the next day and say “Johnny just didn’t do this or Simon didn’t do that” you might as well create change. In other words don’t just lay the blame at the feet of the players. Try to fix it.

I have seen the ability to do this. I watched long time assistant coach, Carl “Bull” Reese who is a better football coach than 90% of any who have coached, shut down Georgia at half time. He took away what they were doing with our Vanderbilt defense. He made half time adjustments that maybe were or were not practiced that week.

Now keep in mind. Carl Reese had coached a lot of football at the time. He was a veteran coach at the time and that day it worked. We won. Gerry Dinardo (and Bull) moved on to LSU soon after.

The point is if you know you can’t fix what is happening by staying with your game plan, then change it. As Herm Edwards pointed out, the object of the game is to win.

The adjustments that you make should not be without purpose. Change for change sake is a really bad idea in the middle of a football game. If you need something to stop that odd front cross dog from hitting your quarterback in the ear then this is the time to adjust.

On Friday we will come back and meet the two opposing philosophies in the middle. Standing pat or adjusting at halftime does not have to be a spur of the moment decision. In our opinion a lot of these things can be worked out right now before the live bullets start flying.

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