Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Junction Boys, Mat Drills, etc.

by Lennie Mac

The Orlando Sentinel has done some outstanding work on the death of Ereck Plancher of Central Florida. The latest one comes from a couple of days ago:


Although I graduated before the George O'Leary era, enough people have told me about George O’Leary and the way practices were run at GT, and that O’Leary and his staff are firmly planted in the “fear” style of coaching. What the “fear” style of coaching basically boils down to is to implant the fear of what price a player will have to pay if the player does not perform at the level that the coaches expect of him. Any who read Junction Boys (hands down the best book about college football ever written - although hands down the worst performance by an actor by Tom Berenger as Bear Bryant) knows what I mean. Along with this “fear” approach, one almost always finds coaches that believe that personally demeaning and singling out players in front of their peers is a big part of building a championship football players, and thus a strong football team.

I believe that toughness is as critical as talent to success at the BCS level of college football. Part of the problem over the last season of the Chan Gailey era is the lack of toughness in the face of adversity, specifically mental toughness (a few players excluded). All players back from last year have said how much more have been asked of them physically and mentally.

I think Paul Johnson fits the mold of O'Leary, Ross, etc. and will build championship football players very soon. However, I have three questions that I am curious about:

1. Did George O'Leary use mat drills at GT?
2. Does Paul Johnson use mat drills at GT?
3. Are there equivalent drills that can build physical and mental toughness?