“The player development is the main thing I like (about Michigan),” Williams said. “You can see that they develop their players. They get them in the gym and they work them hard. And their hard work pays off.”
Lately with all the pondering about the football staff and expectations for them, I've been wondering about what might be some commonalities amongst the most successful head football coaches. Not people that took over at schools loaded with 4/5 star guys, but the ones like Jim Harbaugh of whom prior to gaining the 'elite' status, took jobs with traditionally unsuccessful programs and quickly began fielding solid teams while creating a winning culture. Personally, I never played football past middle school so by no means do I have an in-depth knowledge of the game. I'm always thinking, though, if there's a sort of 'it' factor shared amongst the top coaches.
Unlike most other team sports, when I think about the role of a head football coach whose team has well over 100 guys, I imagine position coaches, and coordinators to some degree, are the ones handling most of the teaching and development of players. Then of course the coordinators have the major responsibility of schematics and game management.
In a sport such as basketball, on the other hand, a good head coach probably works much more closely with all their players seeing as they have like 10x fewer guys. For instance, I've heard many times that Beilein regularly has individual workouts with everybody on the team in which they focus on some particular aspect of the player's game. With football though, it's obviously not feasible to work intimately with every single player frequently like that.
I do realize that many head coaches are often very well versed on at least one side of the ball which may even involve their own unique system, as was the case with Rich Rodriguez. Although we all know how horrid the defense was during his three years. That of course involves GERG and rubbing his stuffed beaver all over Kenny Demens. OBLIGATORY:
Hence, it was quite clear RichRod wasn't a big defensive guy. Hell, that Illinois game in 2010 had a combined score of 127 points. It was pretty exciting to watch, but the 65 scored on us by Illinois of all teams must be up there in the record books.
As for Rodriguez, he obviously called the shots on offense, but Hoke seems to leave nearly all the play calling up to his coordinators. Then during practices I imagine most the teaching/development of guys falls on the assistants as well. So I'm really curious what it is about the Jim Harbaugh type of guys that, in general, helps them reach such a high level of success? I realize all coaches take a somewhat different approach based on their individual football philosophies, personal characteristics, the specific style of play they want to implement, etc. And certainly there are some exceptionally innovative people like RichRod who thrived (just not at Michigan) based off of a new, unique system they established. However, it just seems like there's got to be something very significant that really sets a guy apart in order to become one of the game's elite coaches.
That said, I feel like all coaches need to be great leaders and have the ability to establish very good chemistry amongst the team. However, my best guess as to what could be an important quality for reaching a high level of success involves a coach being able to fully earn every possible bit of respect and trust from his team; one that can really motivate his guys to play with a great deal of heart and passion. Traits such as these are pretty obvious though and can be applied to any coach, regardless of their sport.
So it would be cool if anyone that has more football knowledge than me could provide some input on what might be potential key characteristics and attributes of the best head football coaches. I'm sure people here on The Blog have personal experiences that could have shaped their opinions on the matter as well. I'm just all around very curious, particularly when we have a guy like Brady Hoke who has so much faith in his staff, namely the coordinators of whom are really integral to his success.
Wow I definitely just went on a tangent there...probably could use a lesson on concision.