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1809, 2016

Coach Longo Part IV of IV- Situations in Coaching

By |September 18th, 2016|Football, Sports|Comments Off on Coach Longo Part IV of IV- Situations in Coaching

Play calling

Play calling makes your life easier. If you are in this coverage then I have certain things I will run but I’m not going to go to a ‘cover X beater’. I don’t want to make a play call BE wrong. This way if I don’t make the best call they can still have a high probability of success. I’m in the minority, I have heard a lot of coaches say that play calling is overrated or not as important but I disagree because I know how difficult this is. I’m a much better play caller now than before. It comes from instinct and knowledge. I take that part of my job very very seriously because if I don’t it can negatively effect a game. I don’t make a play call without watching the opponent inside and out. I want to have knowledge of what the defensive coordinator wants to do. Yes we need to know what coverage or down linemen they are in but the human nature aspect is more important. You can play four cover two teams in a row but each team they are going to play it differently because of details – everybody has their own take on it. Even if you coach it the same way the players may play it differently. So instead of coaching out of a rigid playbook we approach it this way. Here is your route. If the corner attacks you do this, bails you do that, runs with you do this. What matters is what a player does. Just because a linebackers coach teaches them to read the offensive line and not the backfield, that doesn’t mean that’s what they do. Even though the […]

1309, 2016

Coach Longo Part III of IV – The Air Raid Way of Life

By |September 13th, 2016|Football, Real Deep, Sports|Comments Off on Coach Longo Part III of IV – The Air Raid Way of Life

In Part III, Coach Longo discusses the Air Raid offense!
Air Raid Takes: Leach and Kingsbury

The greatest coaching influence I have is the Air Raid purist, Mike Leach. Mike is still running what he ran ten years ago at Texas Tech. When I visit with him each year I am reminded of one of the main rules of the Air Raid, and that is to remain simple in order to be really good at a few things. In his world they can beat anybody with what he is running, it doesn’t matter what he calls, they can beat any coverage. It comes at a high premium because it is hard to play instinctively at a high level consistently. He caters to his talent base and he wants to be really good at a few things. The other influence I have is Kliff Kingsbury at Texas Tech, he was Leach’s quarterback at Tech. Where Kingsbury excels is that he thinks outside of the box, he is the master of game planning and wrinkles. He is not restricted by what people say you can do. He is as good as it gets with game planning outside of the box and offense, putting the defense in conflict and getting the ball in space. They are two high-character guys, two of the best people in college football. They are also exceptional coaches and surprisingly humble for their success. They have been really good to me both personally and professionally. How much can you ask for when you embrace somebody’s approach for an offense?

Air Raid Theory

We at Sam Houston State are no different than Mike Leach’s offense. We are going to run a few good plays that will beat the defense […]

2508, 2016

Coach Longo’s Road to Success Part II of IV – Recruiting

By |August 25th, 2016|Football, Sports|Comments Off on Coach Longo’s Road to Success Part II of IV – Recruiting

Recipe Football: Coach Longo’s Road to Success
To continue the series with Coach Longo, we will learn about recruiting at the FCS and Division II level before learning about the Air Raid in Part III.

Recruiting in Division II

The big difference from Division II football to Division I football is that we give nothing but full rides. Most schools in Division II have to break up the money. Some guys get quarters, others get halves, and so on based upon need and value. You have to make the money go further because you have scholarships in the mid-thirties while the FCS schools have above 60 and the FBS have 85. When you are competing with a bigger school in Division II, you don’t have the money to offer that the other schools do. But at Sam Houston State we offer what everybody else does, a full ride.

Recruiting in FCS

The challenges of the FCS-level are different. Here, we recruit FBS-level athletes. Two years ago we had a receiver choose us over Iowa State. He started as a true freshman and gained over 100 yards against Texas Tech. Sometimes when you have an FBS offer you will wait on the depth chart to play, but here we have fifteen games a year and that’s great exposure. We have played and won more games than anybody else except North Dakota State in the past five years. Here, you are going to play early and a lot, and win early and a lot. We usually compete against the mid-level FBS teams (commonly known as the “Group of Five” schools), and we beat them with fewer resources than they have. The receiver I talked about earlier was interested in playing and winning; […]

908, 2016

LONGO’S ROAD TO SUCCESS (PART I of IV)

By |August 9th, 2016|Football, Sports, State, Texas|Comments Off on LONGO’S ROAD TO SUCCESS (PART I of IV)

23 YEARS OF COORDINATING THE
AIR RAID THROUGHOUT THE NATION
Introduction
Over the past year, I have been privileged to study the Air Raid offense through various experiences – observing the Eastside Eagles and Rich Hargitt, reading books, watching coaching videos, and talking with coaches on twitter as well as one on one. I had the chance to interview the Offensive Coordinator at Sam Houston State, Phil Longo. Located in Texas, SHSU is one of the premier FCS programs in the country and has both played and won more games in the last five years except for North Dakota State. Coach Longo is an excellent coach who has enjoyed many successes as a coach in both well known and less known places. In order to understand his successes, we must understand his coaching history.
Before Sam Houston State – The Beginning
Before arriving at Sam Houston State, he has coached at the FCS non-scholarship level, Division III, and Division II levels. His break into coaching came when he received an internship with the Philadelphia Eagles. His head coaches as college players were John Bunting and KC Keeler. John Bunting was the defensive coordinator for the Super Bowl Champion Rams, and Bunting helped him obtain the internship with the Eagles. KC Keeler is now the head coach at Sam Houston State and has helped Longo throughout the years.

Longo was the most successful coach in Parsippany Hills High School’s history for four years and then became the offensive coordinator at William Patterson University, a Division III school in New Jersey.
‘One of the Best Coaching Jobs We Ever Did’
His career then took a different turn as he moved up to a unique level of football – the FCS non-scholarship level. This is a […]

308, 2016

Recipe of Champions (Recruiting) Part III of III

By |August 3rd, 2016|Football, Real Deep, South Carolina, Sports, State|Comments Off on Recipe of Champions (Recruiting) Part III of III

Clemson Tigers: Recipe of Champions (Recruiting) Part III
The final ingredient to a recipe of champions is the players that choose to come to Clemson University. As the well-known football saying goes, “It’s about Jimmies and Joes, not X’s and O’s”. Any college football team needs depth and talent in order to compete for conference and national championships, and recruiting is how the players are acquired. Since there is no draft, it is up to coaches to convince teenagers into playing for their program for the next few years. Once the players are on campus, the coaches must help the players develop to the best of their ability. While rankings don’t matter once you are on campus, the talent base a team draws in has a correlation to their level of success. Regardless, recruiting is the lifeblood college football and if you can’t recruit, you can’t coach.

In order to fully appreciate how far Clemson football has come, lets take a look at the recruiting classes from 2002 onwards (when data was consistently available). It is worth noting that in 2001, Clemson signed the third best player in the country in WR Roscoe Crosby whom had a mental breakdown and did not pan out. Here is a chart of the recruiting classes from 2002 until 2008, when Coach Tommy Bowden was fired. The data is drawn from 247Sports Composite Rankings:

Year
National
ACC
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
Total

2002
29
5
0
3
13
21

2003
43
9
0
2
14
18

2004
46
10
0
3
9
22

2005
18
4
0
2
18
25

2006
13
3
2
4
13
22

2007
17
5
0
4
14
24

2008
10
2
1
8
12
23

Swinney first came to Clemson in 2003 and was the WR coach and recruiting coordinator. It is obvious that it took some adjustment for him to get the hang of the job because the 2003 and 2004 classes were mediocre. It appears that in 2005 he finally found his niche, because he pulled in top […]

2507, 2016

Recipe of Champions: Clemson Tigers – Part II of III

By |July 25th, 2016|Football, Real Deep, Sports|Comments Off on Recipe of Champions: Clemson Tigers – Part II of III

Coaching:

Tommy Bowden helped to resurrect Clemson from the dark ages, but Coach Swinney is a perfect fit for Clemson’s football program. Coach Swinney is a hard worker and excellent coach, but he is not a ‘villain’ like Saban, nor is he a statue on the sideline. Swinney is an enthusiastic man whom has a passion for building excellent men and winning football games. Swinney’s personality is a perfect fit for Clemson (and despite speculations, not a good fit at Alabama). Some places have to engineer slogans to make fans feel good, but at Clemson they come naturally. People in Clemson testify that the ‘Clemson Family’ is real – letter-men and fans alike. ‘All In’ is one of Coach Swinney’s signature phrases that was so catchy that other programs would occasionally ‘borrow’ it.   People sometimes get the perception that Swinney does not know schematics because of his expressive personality. Opposing fans often call him a ‘cheerleader’ in order to degrade his coaching skills.

This is far from the case – in fact he has ascended into a higher order of coaching. New head coaches (and coaches in general) feel the need to micromanage and to have their fingertips on everything. If they are going down, at least they outworked everybody until they have heart attacks. Swinney has football knowledge – he played college football for Alabama, was a graduate assistant, and finally a wide receivers coach. But Coach Swinney is the opposite of a stereotypical head coach who spends hours poring over schematics. He focuses on maximizing people’s potential and using this to create a winning culture. I don’t know if he knows it, but he is carrying out this Ronald Reagan quote to a ‘T’: “Surround […]

2007, 2016

Recipe of Champions: Clemson Tigers – Part I of III

By |July 20th, 2016|Football, South Carolina, Sports, State|Comments Off on Recipe of Champions: Clemson Tigers – Part I of III

Throughout the years, Clemson football has varied between average, good, and great. Clemson has had excellent coaches such as John Heisman, Frank Howard, and Danny Ford; and won the national championship with the young Ford in 1981. Clemson is not a traditional blue blood in the vein of Michigan, Alabama, Texas, USC, or Notre Dame; instead the Tigers reside in the next tier down. This tier is the schools that have storied football programs in their own rights, but not the schools that dominated the twentieth century. This is not to put down Clemson’s incredible achievements, but instead to give an accurate historical context of where the Tigers stand.

Currently Clemson is in a golden age of football, playing at possibly the highest level the Tigers ever have. The Tigers are certainly the most consistent they have ever been in their history under Coach Swinney, so how has Clemson created a recipe of Champions?

Branding

Clemson has always loved football, but support from administration has varied throughout certain decades. Ever since Coach Bowden took over and was embarrassed to show the locker room to recruits, so much has changed. Death Valley has had facelifts, the press box was changed from below average to enjoyable, the locker room has been remodeled and the West Zone was born. A new indoor practice facility was built, and now an over-the-top football operations facility (complete with a new weight room) will be completed within a year. While throwing money at something doesn’t solve all problems, it certainly helps in the facilities department. Facilities are so finicky and ever changing that a school does not need to have the absolute best ones, they just don’t need to be sub par.

Outside of facilities, Clemson […]

507, 2016

To Play and To Serve – English Chooses Air Force

By |July 5th, 2016|Football, Maryland, Sports|Comments Off on To Play and To Serve – English Chooses Air Force

One of the most patriotic signing decisions
of all time can be credited to Beau English,
a 2017 two star quarterback
from DeMatha Catholic.
DeMatha is the three time defending state champion (two championships behind the arm of Beau English) in Hyattsville, Maryland. On July the 4th he revealed his final school from a list of three finalists – Army, Air Force, and Navy. English chose to go to Air Force which is his father’s Alma mater. Within the neat story, it must be clarified that he was not pressured from his father as he chose to follow his footsteps.

Beau started playing football when he was five as he played both quarterback and defense. He eventually specialized as a quarterback, but he strives to keep a balance in his play style. English prides himself on being an all-around quarterback who is able to run and pass with equal ability; as the first play in his highlight reel shows:

While English is not a highly ranked recruit, he looks to transition seamlessly in the Air Force offense. While Air Force uses the flexbone a la Georgia Tech, they also have more diversity in their offense and will use different formations at times.

He started receiving interest once he became the starting quarterback as a sophomore. Navy gave him his first offer and then he acquired offers from Army and Air Force. Headlines from earlier in the process predicted him staying in Maryland to attend Maryland, or attending Army. English investigated all three schools and he visited all three service academies. His father helped him and presented him with facts, but he did not pressure or influence him in his decision.

English had positive words to say about all of the academies. He loved […]

1205, 2016

BREAKING NEWS: Eric MacLain on Panthers MiniCamp Roster

By |May 12th, 2016|Football, Sports|Comments Off on BREAKING NEWS: Eric MacLain on Panthers MiniCamp Roster

You will hear it hear first from William Corbin on PNN:

Eric MacLain will go to the Panthers Rookie mini-camp this weekend and is very excited for this opportunity!

605, 2016

NFL Draft Results and the Clemson Tigers

By |May 6th, 2016|Football, Sports|Comments Off on NFL Draft Results and the Clemson Tigers

Nine Clemson players were selected in the NFL Draft from April 28th through April 30th in Chicago. Some surprising things happened to the Clemson players on draft day both positive and negative. Clemson was projected to have anywhere from one to four first round picks but only ended up with one. However the Tigers had three second round selections and nine in total, almost tying the school record of ten in 1983. They also had the second most players drafted (beating Alabama), only losing to Ohio State whom basically had an NFL roster, especially on defense. Thus, a player by player analysis is in order.

Player: Shaq Lawson

Team: Buffalo Bills
Selection: First Round, 19th Overall
Pre-Draft Early Declaration Grade: 5 Stars
Post-Draft Early Declaration Grade: 5 Stars
Analysis: The Bills did not care about his shoulder injury that may require surgery because they were in shock that he fell to the nineteenth pick. If viewed from a lens of wanting to be highly selected, the draft did not work out for Lawson because of various factors including the Laremy Tunsil video. Aside from money reasons, Buffalo is an excellent landing spot for him and he should thrive there. I was nervous about him playing outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme but he should be able to transition well. He will make an instant impact in the Bills defense as both a run defender and a pass rusher. This is a rare case where the best player available was at a position of need so this is a match made in heaven.

Player: Kevin Dodd

Team: Tennessee Titans
Selection: Second Round, 33rd Overall
Pre-Draft: Grade: 4 Stars
Post-Draft Grade: 4 Stars
Analysis: Kevin Dodd was not on […]