Challenging Spring for Coaching Staff.

Brett RichinsSenior Analyst IMarch 25, 2010

Sorry DSB fan you aren’t rid of me just yet. Teaming up with Brett has been a great choice as readers will get both a professional writers and a hack players perspective. I hope you are enjoying the coverage.

With Spring practice in full swing I thought I would drop by and add to some of the conversations. Spring practice is a crucial time in the development of individual players and team chemistry. This years practices are especially important because the Cougars are replacing some key positions on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. I would venture as far as to say, this is going to be the toughest spring for the BYU coaching staff since the first spring in which Bronco took over.

Coach Mendenhall will need to employee every ounce of his head coaching ability to manage both the physical and mental growth of some young inexperienced players. Physically, the practices need to be fast and contain enough contact to get a sense of how players are competing. Yet, keeping players healthy for the off-season training and upcoming fall is always paramount in the mind of coaches. This balance between contact and non-contact is difficult, and Coach Mendenhall has come under fire throughout the past two season for his “softer” practices. In my opinion with young players and key positions needing to be filled the contact and speed need to be as close to game day as possible. This might mean a few more players become injured and it could possibly mean you lose a couple of players.  Yet, the benefit of physical and fast practices will pay off when fall practices begin.

As a player you can’t be worried about getting hurt or slowing down on non padded days. Your intensity and focus need to be amped everyday your on the field. During the first couple of days of practice it isn’t hard to compete at a high level. As the practices near the end of spring it can become routine, but reevaluating your individual goals and desires helps keep your intensity and focus at a high level despite what your competition is doing.

Another aspect of spring ball is the mental growth of young players. Spring ball is normally where changes and new schemes are installed. This means players are not only learning the offense and defense but they are also learning how to change and manipulate those schemes to fit their individual strengths and weaknesses. Managing how players are absorbing the information is important. If your team is struggling to learn new plays or remember defensive coverages more time must be allocated during meetings or on the field to ensure complete understanding. This will take reps from players, or your practices might need to be altered to better create an atmosphere where players can learn what they are supposed to do. Again this will involve a lot of managing skills and communication from assistant coaches in order to evaluate daily performances and growth.

I am excited to see how the coaching staff will develop this new crop of Cougars.