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Monday, March 31, 2008

Meeting the Staff

I quickly found out why Timpview was so good at football. The coaching staff is second to none in the state of Utah. Just to give you an idea there are currently four former or current head coaches on the staff. Coach Wong played for BYU and in the NFL. He had been a part of the 1984 National Championship team and had almost gotten the job coaching offensive lineman at BYU in 2006. The offensive coordinator Chad Van Orden was the former head coach at Timpview who stepped down to give Coach Wong a chance. He had almost gotten the job at BYU as the QB coach and could have become a GA at the University of Utah. Then we have Coach Frank Henderson who co-authored the West Coast Offense book with Mel Olson. Then Coach Bobby Kauo has been a head coach as well. Needless to say I was excited to say the least for what I was about to learn.
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First Season Done

After that first season was over I prepared for the upcoming season. I asked the head coach if I could run the offense this time around and he said sure. I at first thought about running the Flexbone triple option offense but wasn't sure how complicated that would be for youth.

I decided to attend a Nike Coaches Clinic in Portland, OR where I am from and picked up one of Tony DeMeo's books. I liked what he did there so I thought I could do both Flexbone and DeMeo's since the formations are similar. I also love the zone read play so I had a lot to think about. Then I decided to attend the BYU coaches clinic. I spent two hours listening to Coach Doman the QB coach at BYU explain their offense he explained that when they throw they do it so that whatever the defender does is wrong and I fell in love with that plan. I later contacted him and sat down for an hour as he explained what he did with QB's and some of their plays they run. So I decided to do a combo of both BYU and DeMeo's offense.

While at the BYU clinic I ran into Coach Wong again. I told him I never really thanked him for letting the kids in the game and he said no problem anytime you need it let me know. Then he asked where I was coaching this next season. He obviously recognized me from before and I said nowhere right now. He said we might have an opening on the Sophomores get back to me later this month. I remembered from before and knew that I had to be persistent. I contacted him by email but also sent an email to a new coach at another area high school. I wasn't going to put my eggs in one basket. I waited and waited for about two weeks. Then finally I got an email back from Coach Wong that there was an opening on the Sophomore team and to call him about it. I called him later that day and we talked about the opening. He asked me the areas I was strong in coaching position wise and where I was weak. I listed the positions in order and he said "Well I am only looking for a line coach I don't know if you were looking at doing that." I told him oh no I would love to learn how to coach the line it was just my weak point cause I didn't really play line. (Just so everyone knows, I knew that Timpview consistently sends lineman to D1 schools that's why I jumped at the chance, plus they had just won the state title again.) He told me to come by tomorrow for the workouts and we would get everything ironed out.

I went to the school as my work let me go for this meeting, they were supportive of this goal and I appreciate them for that. We met in his office and he explained the schedule and everything to me. After out meeting we went downstairs for the workout for the players. Unfortunately it was raining so I wasn't able to learn much that first day. After running back to work, ok I didn't run but I was so happy I couldnt' stop smiling. I called my father telling him I was gonna coach at Timpview and he said really? He said he was proud of me and that coaching there was the equivalent of starting at Jesuit High school in Portland. Throughout the rest of the next month I would show up for two days a week as I learned the drills that we ran to coach the line.

Now imagine if I had sent that nasty email when I was just angry?
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First Coaching Stint Part Two

Immediately the season started off rocky. On the first day of workouts for the teams we had a total of two players arrive for our team. After two weeks we finally were able to get a team together with the players basically getting their friends to come out. Not only that all the coaches but the head coach and I quit before the first real practice. Nevertheless we plugged on as we prepared for the first game of the season.

Prior to the first practices the coach bought a system online that utilized the Single Wing offense. Not a problem since the Single Wing is an effective offense. We just didn't know how to coach it that well. Many of our players were first year players as well so in the first game we played like first year players do whereas the opposing team had players that had played before. We got blown out and the offense was anemic. We kept plugging away though at the offense as we prepared for the second game. This time we lost 12-0, but the offense just couldn't get going. Looking back we were hamstrung by the players we had on the line and the fact that we didn't know the offense that well. We scrapped the offense and went back to the drawing board. This time we drew up plays in an offense we knew better. The lesson I learned was coach what you know. I learned hard the importance of sticking to your offensive and defensive philosophy.

We struggled through the season but the team got better and better. However one night we did have a meeting with parents because they were unhappy with us. We smoothed things over but I found out later that many parents weren't happy with me especially. For a team building exercise I contacted Coach Wong and took the team to see Timpview play on Friday Night. He let us in free and the kids were excited and amazed at the speed of the game as they got older. Finally to make the playoffs in this small league we had to beat the last team we would play. If we beat them then we had to play a play-in game the same day. The first practice of that week I told the boys that if they could make the playoffs I would let them shave my head. They got excited and said are you serious? I told them yes and we got down to work.

The day of the game arrived and I knew we were better than this team and should have won the first time we played. I hate saying refs play a part in determining the outcome of the game but they did. (example of this was our X was called ineligible receiver down field on a pass negating a gain to the 8 yard line of the opposing team. We had the momentum on your side and would have sealed the game I believe.)

However we started the game and soon showed we were better than them. We blew them out in both games and the kids said yes we get to shave your head. Here is a picture from that night. We were the last seeded team in and unfortunately had to play the dominating team. They blew us out but at least the kids got to make the playoffs. After turning in the equipment I was excited for the next season.
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My First Coaching Stint Part One

After the 2005 season had ended I became busy and engrossed to the point that the months passed and all of a sudden I didn't have anything lined up for the 2006 season. I emailed another local coach at Provo High School and he responded that he had no positions available. Then I thought why not look at youth teams. Work with older youth and get some experience then contact the high schools.

The first youth league I contacted never got back to me after I sent an email. I got discouraged there too. Crap I can't get onto a youth team staff even? Then one day while walking by the grocery store I saw an ad for a different youth league. I went to their website and left a message. I received a phone call back from the league director asking me what my goals as a coach were and what age I would like to coach and what town I wanted to be in. I told him the oldest in the league and the town I was in. I received a call back from the head coach of the local youth team and we got together for a meeting. He said I would love to have you help out and so away started my coaching experience. At the first meeting of the coaches I volunteered for the defensive coordinator position and received it. So even though it was for a youth team I was going to be the one calling the defensive plays. I was excited for the upcoming season to start.
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Attempting to get my first job

At the end of one class period I asked Coach Olson if there were any high schools nearby that needed help and if he could give me an idea of who. He said high schools always need help and suggested Timpview High school as they had just won the state title and a former player of his was the new head coach.

Excited I went home and emailed Coach Louis Wong the head coach of the Timpview Thunderbirds. Explained who I was and who told me to contact him. He replied that there could be a possibility of me helping coach the Defensive Backs and Receivers on the Freshman team. I went in to talk to Coach Wong. I thought I had the job to coach and went home excited as could be. In Utah it is a little different with Freshman and the conference they would play in was still getting set up. I contacted Coach Wong about two weeks later to get any update since I hadn't heard and he said he would still get back to me.

So I left it at that and didn't contact Coach Wong again. The months passed and I heard nothing back. The month of August came and I realized I wouldn't be coaching this season. I was hurt and angry that Coach Wong had never gotten back to me. I thought about sending a nasty email to him but decided not to. I remember what my father told me to do when thinking of doing something somewhat drastic think about it for the night and wait till the next day. I realized it would accomplish nothing and burn bridges. Not a good thing to do if you want to coach. So I spent the 2005 season not coaching any football not a great start to a coaching career.

I did learn something though about coaching. I let too long pass before speaking to Coach Wong again. I needed to be more proactive and make sure he knew I still wanted to coach. Plus my schedule wouldn't have worked at that time for coaching with school and work. So I learned my first lessons even though I failed in my first attempt.
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Friday, March 28, 2008

Before Coaching

What got me really interested in coaching football was the fact that I loved the game. I had played in high school but not in college. At that time I had a scholarship for the Air Force ROTC and decided to go that way instead of play. The game however never left me. Some things occurred which prevented me to go into the Air Force as an officer so I was being forced to look towards doing other things.

Many times when I would play football with others I found myself explaining to them what to do. Others starting suggesting that I should go into coaching and that I would make a good coach. I blew off those ideas for a few years but then decided to give it a real look.
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Getting started

So really my story begins about 3 years ago. That was when I first took the real true steps to trying to be a football coach. I was attending BYU and signed up for the Coaching Football class. It was taught by Mel Olson who also co-wrote Football's West Coast Offense. Of course we had to buy his book for the class, but I didn't mind since it is a good read. I recommend anyone to get a copy and you will gain a basic understanding.

The class was a real eye-opener though, never thought of how much went into having to be a coach. One of the things that really stood out most was developing my personal coaching philosophy. Developing a philosophy of what kind of coach I was going to be. What style of offense would I run? What type of defensive coach am I?

I have been asked by some who want to be coaches what they should do to get started. I tell them develop that philosophy first. It will help determine your style and will help you and a coaching staff know if you will mesh.
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