The Art of the Turnaround: How Your Team Can Get Good in a Hurry
While coaches are being treated as heroes and geniuses, while assistant coaches and schemes get all of the credit, there doesn't seem to be any magic solutions to turning around college football teams in a hurry.
In fact, there are tried and true methods which seem to work time after time.
While some of these seem almost too easy and some just seem like common sense, these basic factors are ignored when they're handing out the hardware at the end of the season.
Let's take a look at some of the quickest ways that these turnarounds happen.
Your Tough Games Become Easier
Your opponents aren't as good as you thought they were going to be. If you catch them early enough in the season, it can really give your team a boost in the rankings and polls as well.
Who knew Tennessee and Michigan were going to stink so bad they wouldn't even make a bowl though their conference has enough tie-ins that a .500 record will clinch one?
If your team was lucky enough to beat one of the dregs while they were ranked, it's tough to move your team down after the fact, especially as long as they are winning.
Hold Onto the Ball and Don't Let Your Opponent Do the Same
It has been proven time and time again that teams that win turnover battles win games. In an age where players leave early all the time and scholarships are limited, turnovers are of the utmost importance.
If you look at the teams who had the worst turnover margin this season, I would guarantee that those teams have the best chance to be the most improved teams next season.
The teams who had the best turnover margin are those most likely to under perform what they did this year. This one is like clockwork.
Get Corners Who Play Man Coverage
While this sounds easy enough, it's one of the toughest to do. Simply put, there aren't too many athletes out there who can play man.
This is a simple numbers game, if you need one or two fewer guys to cover a receiver, you have one or two more players to defend other areas of the field.
Avoid the Injury Bug
While it's tough to avoid them, the risk can be reduced. Next time your star player gets injured with your team up by four scores late in the ball game, remember what could have been.
Get a Big Nose Tackle Who Can Run
If you can dominate the line, you can dominate the game. If you have a 330 pound-plus guy who can dominate any other player, coaches will have to use two or three guys to stop them.
As the two or three blockers are used, it frees up other tacklers. Good field position is usually the result.
If you look at all great teams, they all have the formula of a huge nose tackle who can run and lock down corners.
Make Extra Points and Chip Shot Field Goals Gimmes
How many times when a team a team misses and extra point do we hear that it could come back to cost them? We usually hear this because so often it does.
Why not just get a guy who can kick them through like clockwork? There seems to be enough people who can do it that we pretty much take it for granted. While you're at it, get a guy who can hit a chip shot all the time. It's amazing how many games come down to these or missed opportunities early in a game. These count more in a tight game than a TD in a 10 point win and all wins and losses count the same in the record book.
Avoid Dumb Penalties
It's hard enough to get the yards needed to sustain a drive and hard enough to stop an opponent from getting a first down or scoring, why give the other team a second chance? I see more bad penalties than ever before.
Of course a lot of the times the rules are inconsistent we don't know what is a penalty in one game and what is a penalty in another so this can be a tough one.
A win on a last second Hail Mary in the endzone counts just as much in the win/loss column as a 66-0 drubbing. The ball takes funny bounces and it can bounce either way, why not in the right direction for your favorite team? It can be the difference between a winning and a losing season.