Saturday, January 28, 2017

So You Wish You Were A Football Coach . . .

It's the weekend. You've got time.

CLICK HERE to go back and read my 3,000-word story from the Winter 2015 PEAK Quarterly, The Defense Never Rests, a look at a week in the life of veteran Dartmouth defensive coordinator Don Dobes.

Here's how it starts _____________________________

The Big Green is coming off a 24-21 Homecoming win over Holy Cross. After three consecutive victories Dartmouth is returning to Ivy League play at Columbia on Oct. 25.

Sunday, Oct. 19, Six Days Until Kickoff
It is the proverbial day of rest but not for the defensive staff. By 9:30 in the morning Don Dobes is visiting the training room to check on injuries from the Holy Cross game, and by 10 he is in his office on the third floor of Floren Varsity House grading video from the game against the Crusaders.

Defensive line coach Duane Brooks and secondary coach Sammy McCorkle are in their own offices doing the same thing.

“Each one of the position coaches breaks  down their guys,” Dobes explains. “We call it a production chart. It will have plus, minuses and zeros. Each week you can see who is highly productive.”

The players will receive copies of their grades when they meet.

“They are actually sitting there with the whole game sheet with down, distance, play and formation,” Dobes says. “They can see my notes, Sammy’s notes and Duane’s notes. So they can actually see why they got what they got grade wise, and what our coaching point is.”

After a full staff meeting at noon in which the Holy Cross game is reviewed there is a quick team meeting at 2. By 2:15 Dobes is in the special teams meeting after which he he runs a 2:45 defensive unit meeting where the coaches' video of the second half of Holy Cross will be shown.

“We only have X-amount of time on Sunday, so I am trying to make sure we see the most impactful part of the game when there are enough teaching moments, and coaching points that we want to make sure we cover as a staff,” Dobes says. “We like doing that as a defensive staff together because our whole philosophy on defense is we are a unit together. It’s not my linebackers, it’s not Duane’s ‘D' line, they aren’t Sammy’s ‘DBs.’ We are all in this together.

“I tell the guys early on, ‘If Coach Brooks says something at linebacker, that’s the same thing as me saying something.’ Same with Sammy about the line, or me with the DBs.”

From 3:45-4:30 there is a light session for the players on Memorial Field, getting the kinks out from Holy Cross.

Starting at 5:30 the defensive staff meets to bat around final thoughts from Holy Cross and to watch Columbia’s 31-7 loss at Penn the same afternoon.

The Lions began the year with their transfer quarterback from Stanford leading the offense but when he left the team the defensive staff had to scramble to build up a dossier on replacement Trevor McDonagh and to understand what that meant for this week’s opponent.

“We need to see what the new kid is good at,” Dobes says. “So we are trying to think along with their offensive coordinator to try to find out what they are going to do with him.”

Because McDonagh played the fourth quarter of last year’s game in Hanover, that video draws a look.

Around 7:30 the defensive staff begins its breakdown of the next opponent. In brief, the Columbia picture looks like this:

“The quarterback is a kid that who is going to get rid of the ball quick,” Dobes says. “We think he actually has better accuracy and might be a little bit of a better leader than the previous guy. It seems that the guys will play for him.

“We really like the tailback (Cameron) Molina. We know they are young at offensive line with both guards being young kids so we want to try to take advantage of them with our defensive line and defensive tackles. We want to start creating matchups for them. Receiver-wise, we have to figure out who is their go-to guy.”

By 9 p.m. Dobes is back home making recruiting calls. It has been a short day for the defensive coordinator.

Monday, Oct. 20, Five Days Until Kickoff

Dobes’ alarm clock goes off at 5:07 a.m. It is just a 12-minute commute from his place in Lebanon to Floren but given the crazy hours he puts in this time of year likes to have a decent breakfast with a little fruit and a cup of tea before heading out. . . .

 CLICK HERE to keep reading.