Manny Matsakis

Episode 8: “Coaching Team Defense” By Fritz Shurmur

Analysis and Application with Jovon Johnson

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On this episode of The Manny Matsakis Show, Jovon Johnson (Def. Coordinator, Defiance College) joins Manny for an Analysis and Application review on “Coaching Team Defense” by Fritz Shurmur. They discuss a number of things covered throughout the book, including discipline and physicality on the field, defending the run and pass, and practice organization and preparation. Manny and Jovon take a deep dive into the book by one of football’s great minds, and there is much to learn from their discussion.

Summary: On this episode of The Manny Matsakis Show, Jovon Johnson (Def. Coordinator, Defiance College) joins Manny for an Analysis and Application review on "Coaching Team Defense" by Fritz Shurmur. They discuss a number of things covered throughout the book, including discipline and physicality on the field, defending the run and pass, and practice organization and preparation. Manny and Jovon take a deep dive into the book by one of football's great minds, and there is much to learn from their discussion.

(00:00)- Show Intro and Top Introduction

Manny: Manny Matsakis Show with me Manny Matsakis, where you will gain insight by how to win on the field and optimize your life. This is episode number eight. Today, we're going to analyze a book that directly relates to coaching to a specific side of the ball. Written by one of the legends of the game, Fritz Shurmur. The book is called “Coaching Team Defense”. And let me just give you a little bit about the author here so if you're younger and don't really know who this guy is, which is understandable, certainly want to study the game, and he is a key guy in the game. Here's a little bit about Fritz. Over the course of his 45 year coaching career Fritz Shurmur was regarded as one of the top defensive coaches in the game, the defensive units he coached college and professionally were characterized by their tenaciousness, as well as their physical and intelligent play. They were described as intense. The major characteristic used to describe their coach both on and off the field. Fritz, who coached in the National Football League for 24 seasons was a firm believer in the potential for greatness that is possible when people work hard together, his coaching philosophy was built on a strong commitment to the team, its goals, and its objectives. He believed that without exception, the most successful teams, always have been those who placed a strong emphasis on the team. And we'll come back to that here as we get into the book now, he had a long career fantastic career. Coached in college actually graduated from Albion College in Michigan, which is a team that we play here Defiance College, sort of neat to know, that’s something I didn't know, but I didn't know in 1962 he was a defensive coach on the University of Wyoming staff, a place that I actually coached and I remember people still talking about Coach Shurmur because in those days, he was one of the top NFL defensive coordinators of his time, back in the late 80s when I was there. His career started in the National Football League in 1975 for the next 19 seasons from 1975 to 1993. He coached in the NFL for a variety of teams, including the Detroit Lions, the New England Patriots. The Los Angeles Rams and the Phoenix Cardinals. In ‘94, that's when things really started to accelerate for Coach Shurmur, he accepted the position as defensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers three seasons later his defense played a significant role in winning Super Bowl 31, in 1997 over the New England Patriots. And every stop of this exceptional coaching career Shurmur was renowned for having an innovative mind on defense, his impact on the defensive side of the ball, as well as the game itself was profound and has been and will continue to be highly regarded in the coaching community, almost two decades after his death in August of 1999. He remains one of the most respected individuals to ever coach the game at any competitive level. And that is Fritz Shurmur. And as we get into this. Now I want to introduce you to my co host Jovon Johnson, how are we doing coach?

(03:30)- Jovon Johnson

Jovon: All right.

Manny: Well Jovon and I coached together but we've known each other since 2009. Right,

Jovon: Yeah.

Manny: When I was with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Jovon was a fantastic football player for us, played in the league up there and played in the National Football League playing the Canadian Football League. Career, lengthy career well How long did you play totally in the pros?

Jovon: 13 years

Manny: 13 years, and been influenced by some great coaches. When he was an all big 12 performer, or big 10 performer at the University of Iowa. A Hawkeye, and you know you were there Kirk Ferentz was the head coach.

Jovon: Yep.

Manny: Yeah, and your defensive coordinator?

Jovon: Was Norm Parker, when I was there but now it's Phil Parker who was our defensive backs coach when I was there.

Manny: Yeah, so it gives you a little idea and they've always had. Iowa’s been known for great defense, and I thought, at one point, I wanted to give you this book and say Hey, take a look at this. And, and then we'll take a deep dive into this baby on a podcast.

Jovon: Oh yeah!

Manny: You know, and I think sometimes. What's fun for me is when we do these. These types of analysis of the book, and you see how you can apply it. When you do this and you know you have a show coming up, totally different. Right.

Jovon: Yeah it’s definitely different.

Manny: I mean you gotta know because you have to teach it.



(05:13)- Goals&Objectives

Manny: Right. And that's the beauty of it all and that's why I think there are so many good things in this particular book. You know, I want to get into the book and take a really good look at this baby because, you know, there anybody watching this on our website at or on the YouTube channel this is what the book looks like, we'll make sure that on the website we have a link. If you want to go buy the book I highly recommend that but you know reserve your judgment. Take a look. As Jovon and I get into this little bit. Let's get back to the book here. Chapter One: Goals and Objectives. Coach Shurmur has some interesting viewpoints on coaching defense that maybe not all defensive coaches espouse you know maybe that's not really what they're offering because I see the game today maybe some guys are a little bit different than others but you guys decide as we go through the key points of playing great team defense. because the book isn't called coaching defense. You see what I'm saying. It's called coaching team defense and the biggest font on the cover is team. that's the thing that it's like, oh, that's what this guy is really about

Jovon: Yeah,

Manny: right. And let us take a look how I want to read out of the book here and then get your insights Jovon and see what you think. Number one, prevent the score. And there's no question that the number one objective of a defensive football team is to keep the opponent from scoring. I know this point would seem to be so obvious that it need not be mentioned. However, in the past few years there's been such a widespread emphasis on statistics. It appears at times that the number of yards gain rushing or passing or the opponent's first down sacks for interceptions are more important than the number of points scored on a defense. How about that? Right.


That means that the defense is stopping them front getting in the endzone. yeah.

(07:17)- Goal of a defense

Manny: And that's really what job number one is right?

Jovon: Yep.

Manny: Yeah. Now, here's the thing. Coach, I'm looking at this and, and he says something that I see so much in the game. And maybe it's always been there I just notice it because after I read a book like this it's like sometimes when you become more attuned to something like you notice it out there, you know, whatever it might be. He says down here goes a defensive line coach obsessed with the number of sacks linebacker coach only concerned with the number of tackles or secondary coach who sees only the number of interceptions as his major concern, are all examples of ways that men responsible for reinforcing the major objective of a defensive team may by intent or accident, which I think a lot of time is an accident. You raise obstacles to the success of the group. Whenever this situation occurs, it is the responsibility of the coordinator or whoever is in charge of the defense to redirect or refocus the individual or group that is involved, basically, to prevent the score. Alright. And a lot of times, do you ever notice that you've got a team that maybe has a good defense, but they're not, they're not winning a bunch of games.

Jovon: Yeah.

Manny: All right. And what's the first thing they do we get so many interceptions or worse so many turnovers right

Jovon: Yeah.

Manny: It's all stats, it happens on offense too Right?

Jovon: Yeah.

Manny: I mean, I see teams like oh we're losing, you know, losing records awful, whatever, but we're the number one passing team in the league. What's that really matter

Jovon: right it doesn't correlate

Manny: right so what have you noticed in your career, have you seen this happened at times?

Jovon: Yeah, I mean, there've been numerous times where you've been on teams that that win a lot of football games have some outstanding players, and it's crazy that the teams that win. How much emphasis they put on the statistics of those individual players. It's like they broadcast it and they show boat it and talk about it all the time when the most important factor is how well those guys played together as a team. You know you've seen it. I've seen it in the NFL, you know guys get rewards for getting statistics so it's like a big deal. You know, being in a Pro Bowl, even though you're playing on the losing team. I mean, it's kind of overshadowed by the success of the team. Sometimes this is the amount of statistics that you have.

Manny: Yeah, it really does and it's amazing that that's what happens. Because in the end, it is at least on the defensive side it's about preventing the score on offense. It's about scoring, you know, if you look at it, it's the way I look at it as a head coach, it's important to understand that any head coach out there, you want to make sure that either side of the ball you're on. I think it's really important to have a team mentality. You know it's like, I think you definitely want an identity for each side of the ball and your kicking game, but an identity should not take away from the team. And I've seen that before.

Jovon: Yeah,

Manny: right. I mean, how many times have you seen or it could have been a team you're on, or maybe an opponent. And it's all about their offense.

Jovon: Yeah,

Manny: right. That's all you hear about their offense, and you don't realize how good that defense might be

Jovon: right. I mean, we went through that and Winnipeg in, and 2011. Our defense was number one in all categories throughout the league. And we were playing at an all time high. But nobody ever really talked about our offense, but our offense is the one that we're putting up the points keeping us in the game, keeping our defense fresh and off the field, our offense move the ball I mean just moving the ball alone, you know they were moving the ball closer to our endzone and then if that if they had the punt, then that team would be backed up and then when we get the ball back we'd be closer to our end zone. And, you know, they played the field position game and eventually they got an end zone, regardless of how great our defense was our offense still played a major factor in how well we were able to play as a defense, so I mean it all correlates and it's all team specific, but you know nobody really talked about our offense but our defense was top notch so I mean it kind of overshadowed the offense.

Manny: Oh yeah.

Jovon: Happens all the time.

(12:20)- TEAM Mentality

Manny: Yeah, I mean I think in the power five level you get a team like Alabama. For the longest time it was Nick Saban's defense it was whatever that was right. And, you know, you got a score so that’s the thing and then all of a sudden, they got what, Tua then, as quarterback, I was sending out this explosive offense, and the defense is still really good but nobody's even talking about it, you still got like what eight or nine. First, you know, like high draft choices on the offense and the defense. But, you know, I think it does come down to that team mentality, which, like them or not. When we look at a team like Historically, the New England Patriots. It's like they win because of the team and there is no I mean you could say that for years Tom Brady was the star but, you know.

Jovon: He had a really good defense.

Manny: Yeah, great defense and they all understood. Yeah, I think that's why they won so many championships together

Jovon: Yeah they understood that, that Tom was gonna get all the credit. Yeah, and that was fine with the team, because at the end of the day everybody still played their role, and everybody supported one another, regardless of who was getting the attention. It's never about that.

(13:04)- Domination

Manny: No question now here's the second one of the goals that coach Shurmur talks about physically dominate the opponent. Okay, the physical aspect of the game of football is the factor that makes it different from any other sport, I mean too often, you know, a lot of coaches, you know they'll get caught up in the X's and O's and you know the try and out finesse everybody but in the end, it's still a physical game, it is blocking and tackling. And, you know, when you've been on the best defenses that make great things happen, were they not physical.?

Jovon: Oh yeah, I mean, we like to refer to it as imposing your will. At defensive football, You want to take in control, the line of scrimmage. First and foremost, but you want to impose your will on a ball carrier, whether you know it's a guy with a football or a guy trying to block you. You want to make sure that your physical and all aspects of it and. And that, in turn, aware on the offense and it'll, it'll start, you'll find out what a lot of guys are made of at that point.

Manny: Oh yeah, you really do and you know, I think in the book what I thought was interesting was. You're just back to the book for a quick sentence. He goes with a good coach makes some phase of hitting toughness and physical dominance, a part of every meeting he has with his team.

Jovon: Mmhmm

(14:55)- Physicality of the Game

Manny: See that makes a lot of sense. See, and I'm guilty of this, and other other places I've been as a head coach is like, you know, some I coached the offense, and I always have. And I seen this me reading this book makes me understand like you know what you're talking to the whole team. And when you're done you know the defensive coordinator talks to the defense and the offensive coordinator talks to the offense, but what as a head coach returning the team, it's important that you talk about on all sides of the ball and the kicking game about hitting, toughness, physically dominating the opponent, because that's what football is. And even if, like for us we're Run&Shoot style team, doesn't mean you cannot hit, you know, or you're not physical on offense.

Jovon: Right

Manny: So I think there's a certain amount of, you have to coach it.

Jovon: Yeah, and I honestly believe that a lot of people look at physicality as being a physical thing just because of the nature of how we, the world has evolved but physicality can be a mindset too. You have to train your mind and be physical. You can't, you're just not gonna walk in a room and just know you're gonna just run through a wall and hit somebody. Some guys will do it, some guys won't. So you can you just as a coach you have to continue to put that in your mind that, you know, being physical is important and imposing your will on the opponent is important so it's a mindset as well.

Manny: Yeah, and it is and and what I like is he gets into the book here, and he's just talking about a key factor in this is body position, what you're coaching. And in order for a player to hit with authority and make plays. He has to have his body in proper position to physically dominate a ball carrier, you know, or anything that's happening if his body is not in proper position. You know, you're not really going to ever make the hits you need to make that impose their will, your will on the opponent. Right, so, so you got to teach that all the time.

Jovon: Yep.

Manny: You know, it doesn't matter. You know, however you do it, but eat here's a guy that says this right here and some people I've heard different things. And in this day and age with the advent of rugby tackling and all the different types of ways that you want to teach defense safety, safety for the head, the helmet and so forth. And he talks about defensive players must be coached to two hand touch every ball carrier or receiver below the waist is interesting.

Jovon: Yeah.

Manny: Yeah.

Jovon: It's practicing good habits, being in the right body position if you, if you're able in practice to get in position to two hand touch a guy on the waist, then that means that in the game. If you ran through an tackle, you will be able to bring them down to the ground. I mean it is putting you in a, in a great body position to be able to make that play.

(17:47)- Coaches responsibility

Manny: No question. And and he has certain things is, as our, you know as our listeners and people watching this out there, as you're engaging in this book I think you're going to notice that you need to one, you need to get this book because we're just gleaning our, you know key concepts and talking about it there's so much more to this, but here's another thing that he brings about in the same area here right now. And I've seen this, and I never thought about it quite this way. He goes teams, whose players engaged in spearing hitting after the whistle hitting players out of bounds, or any other type of illegal activity or exhibiting a type of behavior I detest. He goes, they are only admitting by their actions that now here's the key. They are not good enough to play the game well within the rules. They're just not good enough, right, I feel that these types of actions are reflections on the coach and his inability, now coaches out there here's the key here, and his inability to teach his players to play the game well from a physical standpoint within the rules, it also reflects on the coach's inability to discipline his team and demand that they play the game as it is meant to be played physical, but clean and within the rules. Now, I know when I said that the hair had to stand up on the back of your neck because you are very disciplined.

(19:25)- Discipline

Jovon: I am. I am, we had, we had a few incidents. Just this past season with a couple of our guys you know getting a little carried away, letting their emotions get the best of them, and I had to pull him to the side a couple times I had to take guys out, off the field and guys would get upset, but at the end of the day, you're hurting the team by playing outside of the rules and, you know, kind of doing your own thing. So, if you don't discipline guys for doing stuff like that, then they're going to continue to do it and then it's going to continue to hurt the team so yeah I'm a big disciplinarian I'm major on being disciplined if you can't play discipline you can't play football.

Manny: Yeah, and it's so right. I think that that's a key in that, in that section in and of itself you know I mean you're still talking about physically dominating the opponent. It's just how you do it.

Jovon: You know, and you got to be controlled I mean it's football is a violent sport you got to have controlled violence, if you can do it within the whistles, then it's okay but anything after a whistle is not.

(20:05)- Prevent the big play

Manny: Yeah, no question, you know, the next big area here and the goals and objectives is prevent the big play, the explosive play it's often called, right, it's like the big pass, the big run. You know nothing has a bigger impact on a defensive team. When the opponent makes a long run or completes a long pass.

Jovon: Oh yeah.

Manny: So it's like defensive players, he says, have to constantly be reminded of the importance of breaking or running to the ball when it is thrown, you know, making sure that everyone gets in position. You know Jovon, I was the other day I was watching something on YouTube, it just went to come up on my Facebook feed. And this guy is a coach, down at Angelo State in Texas, a young coach talking about a drill that they do and I thought was a really good drill. It's like they spread, they go down and hit the balls on the 30, and you've got a guy on the top of the numbers, offensive going in and the redzone Top of the numbers hash mark hash mark the other top of their numbers spread across the field out there so you got these four guys on offense, and they'll have the ball. Alright so they got the ball. The defense, there's four of them, right, and they're 10 yards away, and the coach is back in the endzone behind the defense, and he picks one of the four guys on the offense to be the ball carrier. The defense doesn't know. Right, so it could be 1,2,3, or four, he picks the guy that guy takes off, and then what happens is it's a play for offense and defense. The offensive guy can you make a guy miss to get to the endzone. Basically, defensively. Are you taking the right angles to prevent the big play from happening and so forth. It's just four on four but actually then becomes one going against the for and how the defense reacts to it.

Jovon: Oh Yeah

Manny: it made a lot of sense and then like, let's say the guy gained eight yards on offense now the ball moves up and they keep going into the point, it might be on the three yard line. But the defense never goes into the-

Jovon: Endzone

Manny: Yeah, they're on the goal line if the ball’s on the three, and they're all reacting from that same distance away to make the play.

Jovon: Right,

Manny: I'm like, wow, that makes some sense, you know, it comes here as a good way to prevent the big play.

Jovon: Right. I mean, it gives you a great illustration of how to, to be able to align and take the proper angle. Make sure that you have like Fritz talks about a being, who's the force player will have the outside receiver is the guy running with the football that outside defensive back has to be the force which means he has to force the ball back to those other three defenders coming on an angle to go to get to the football, so I mean everybody has a role and defensive football when we talk about preventing the big play a lot of it is like he talks about pursuit to the football, and that is a great illustration of how to pursue the ball. By doing that drill, that drill gives you a great illustration of it.

Manny: Yeah, you want to do that training camp?

Jovon: Oh yeah, we could do that during training camp. That’d be great!

Manny: Those things make- We'll find out all offensively, who can make plays yeah you know make a guy miss. And then you know, defensively, they’re on an island.

Jovon: Yeah.

Manny: And it's important that they understand the role within that.

Jovon: Yeah.

Manny: The next key point and the goals and objectives is three and out, it's the responsibility of the defense to put its offense back on the field. In as good of field position as possible.

Jovon: Yup.

Manny: You know, so that's the goal three and out, you're trying to get offense back on the field, and you know it's you know there's a whole bend but don't break some teams are like that some are like hey let's get the ball back as soon as possible but it's like you know how many times have you seen defenses that maybe bend but don't break but they don't get any three and outs and they wonder, oh you know we're not getting our offense on the field enough to score.

Jovon: Yeah, you know it’s a big part of the game, especially defensively to try to force three and outs. Again, fill position is a big thing in the game and when you force an offense to have three plays, and then punt the ball. It puts you in a better field position offensively to be able to go down to score. So if the offenses back they'll be three and out there punt from their end of the field, you get the ball at midfield, which is a big difference between the offense moving the ball out to the 50 and then punting and then you’re getting the ball backed up inside the 20. So now that field position is, is the reason for the main reason for pre announcing it changes the field, gives the opposite form an advantage.

Manny: No question. That does make a big difference. I think that if we can get three and outs, that that has to be a big indicator, and a successful defense. We know to prevent the score, number one I get it but, you know, three and outs, have a big part that's why it's in the very beginning of the book. Let's go back, back to the book. The next key area is turnovers, interceptions and fumbles. Those are the things you want to be able to focus on interceptions and fumbles to get turnovers. And, you know, he says here I know that many coaches claim coach turnovers on defense, you know, and I remember seeing that when I was at Texas Tech and I watched the turnover drills of Greg McMackin, and you know I coached special teams at that point as well. So I would always go and help coach the defense. During the turnover drill, and we would use that it was, it helped me to understand, you know the different parts about how we would do it, how we tackle, how we would strip the ball, how we use the mechanics of that to make that workout, what have you seen as far as turnover drills that you like.

Jovon: You know you got the usual, the strip drill. You know I like the punch out row where you seek to punch the ball out when you're going in to make a tackle I seen it, where you got two guys, vicing a tackle where you got a ball carrier, two defenders. One of the guys, forcing the ball back to the other guy. The guy's taking the ball away depending on where the ball is in location, in reference to the defenders. You know you Got the interception drills, you know, you could create so many different drills. When it comes to taking the ball away. That there's a bunch of them out there. But you can just kind of create whatever you want that works best for the team but you have to teach it. You have to get the players in mentally to be able to, you know, always know that even when they're in practice, they're looking to try to take the ball away. So if a guy's running, and he's not secure with the football go take it away. And then you know it's gonna create good habits for when you get in the game it's gonna happen naturally.

(27:10)- Scoring on defense

Manny: No doubt, And it's worked. I mean teams get to turnovers. Often, winning teams. That's also for those offensive guys out there listening to this. It's like the offense. Don't turn the ball over and you can win. It’s about that, you know, and that's a whole other presentation or a whole other podcast on just playing offense that way. And being able to handle that. The last goal and objective he hits on which I love is scoring on defense. Scoring on defense usually occurs more with teams whose Basic scheme is pressure, dogging, and blitzing. Those teams score by forcing the offense into making a huge error and capitalize on it. Although he says here. Some teams are not as apt to score on defense by forcing the big error by applying pressure, they have the capacity for scoring defensive touchdowns. What are your thoughts? Obviously we want to score. How do you get that mentality to your players, how important scoring on defense is? How do you coach it?

Jovon: You got to preach it. Yeah, you got to preach it. you gotta put it in their minds that anytime you get a turnover

on defense, we want to try to put the ball in the endzone. That's going to have a direct effect over the ball towards our end zone so even if we don't score, we're trying to be offensive and are going to get the ball closer to the end zone so they can score the touchdown. You know I've been on teams where we take pride and practice, you know, scoring a football and we got a turnover. So, back in Saskatchewan, for example, coach Chris Jones, he made a point of emphasis that defensively when we got to turn over we wanted to score with the football. So we would get an interception And then we would figure out ways to get the ball to the end zone so even if it was you know a guy ran into he was about to get tackled and one of his teammates within the vicinity, we would pitch the ball to a teammate, but we wanted to get the ball to the end zone and we would practice that. So in the event that in a big game late the game we’re down and we need a score, and we get a turnover, you know, we've already practiced how to get the ball to the endzone. And do it so you could practice, putting the ball in the endzone. You get to take away on defense. I mean it's definitely something that you got to, you got to work on it. You got it, you definitely got to coach it and you gotta put it in there, the guys mind that they have the ability to do it when they got the football.

Manny: Yeah, I think that's great, as far as from a team perspective I mean, here I am coming from the offensive side of the ball and I'm thinking well it's seven on seven, if you get an interception, you Take it to the house

Jovon: Right. You should practice it

Manny: right and then offensively those guys. When that happens, you need to react to stop that.

Jovon: Right, right

Manny: Get in proper position, you're the quarterback and throw to the running back that's back there. You need to get the right angle to stop that from happening. And oftentimes it's like I see an interception and like maybe the guy will catch it and he'll sprint for 5/10 yards and then that's it. They don't stop,

Jovon: that's never been my way. for me when I used to intercept the ball, I would run it all the way to the end zone. Even if the coach didn't want me to, I would do it just practicing good habits. I got cussed out in Seskachewan my first year in CFL. We were, I was on scout team. And, and the guy ran a route on me and I intercepted the ball and ran a ball back to the endzone. And then Coach LaPolice is like you're killing our practice like you like we not getting in plays it because we gotta wait for you to come back, like we need you to just intercept the ball and get it back to the quarterback and let us reset so we can do the play over or whatever.

Manny: Interesting.

Jovon: It is.

Manny: I think of that and if that would happen in our practice like, well, we would just have another defensive back go in for the play, the offense and go

Jovon: right.

Manny: It's such a great mentality to have. You go into game knowing that I would have to think statistically, you may know more than I on this one with a defense scores, there's a pretty high percentage you're going to win the game.

Jovon: Yep, the percentage goes way up. If a defense scores.percentage you're gonna win the game. percentage goes way up like a special team score if you return a kick for a touchdown. The winning percentage goes way up. If you score defensive touchdown winning percentages go skyrocketing.

Manny: Yeah, it’s amazing and as we get into the book a little bit more so we've got a general pretty good idea, and shoot right there. Some of the podcasts. We can be done right now, you know we just get it all, but there is so much more to get out of this book. The cool thing is the book itself, like some books are lengthy this thing's 121 pages.

Jovon: It's not very long.

(32:00)- Putting things into perspective

Manny: No, it's a read and reread. And I think it's valuable to coaches, as you get into the summer, which the timing of this podcast is great, and you're in the summer as a great summer read for anybody I think offensive coaches defensive coach, it doesn't matter I think you gain insight by learning from a master of the game. How did this book help you identify ways to put things into perspective?

Jovon: Fritz talks about having a coach is on the same page. Being a player, you never really pay attention to what the coaches do or how they operate collectively as a unit, but he talks, specifically about making sure that the coaches have the same objectives for the players. So, you know we're all harping on the guys teaching the guys and telling the guys the same things, and it's gonna make us more likely to have success because everybody's preaching and talking about the same language. And that is a big thing for me. He also talks about the mental breakdown and the physical breakdown, or makeup of the players, and the personnel that you have. So it allows you to kind of get a

good grasp on you know what you want to do defensively because of what personnel you have, you can't kind of put a personnel on the field and do something defensively that they're physically unable to do otherwise it's gonna hurt you. And he talks a lot about that, you know, talks about different things that you could do for practice prep, you know, game prep in practice, you know, it goes back to doing all the little things, and how they all equate to the team as as a whole as a whole defense so he gives you valuable insight I mean this book right here was that one of the best books that I could ever have read. Now that I'm in my short career coaching. I've learned a lot just from, you know how he views things and things some things I knew but then there was other things that were more detail. It was going on so it gives you valuable insight

Manny: You know when coach Shurmur gets into this. And then, when we started the podcast going into this guy's career. Now it's like, you know, just the sheer amount of information in a book, this. I keep going back it's 121 pages.

Jovon: Right.

Manny: But there's so much to this. I think it's a great for anybody to get some insight and then just to reflect on Oh, okay, this is what I this is what I'm doing but it may change some things. Because what I've noticed on all sides of ball, where as coaches. We're a product of, maybe, who we played for, and who coached us along the way. These mentors that we have. Here's a chance to be mentored by one of the greats. And we're able to get so much good information. You know, what are some key things, the book brought out and brought to light for you in regards to coaching TEAM defense?

(34:30)-Team defense in the light

Jovon: I mean, it talks about playing hard. Playing efficient and playing together. three key mental aspects of the game that you don't really think about how it equates to the whole team, the whole team defensive mentality. But when you get guys that could buy in commit to playing hard being efficient and playing together. It takes you from being average to being really good because everybody's committed to doing the same thing and accomplishing the same goals, he also talks about coaching standards which is one of the parts of the book that that I thought were very beneficial. He says, the really good coaches are those who are coaching, emphasizing and reinforcing the same points with the same emphasis. During the last practice or game of the season as a fall camp. So, you know guys that are consistent guys that, you know, again, talk the same language. Hold the guys to the same standard. And they, they coach and they emphasize things on a day to day basis that, you know, we want to get accomplished and that's major. He also says coaches have the responsibility to encourage players to work toward optimal levels of performance and execution, which optimal levels of performance and execution are doing all the detailed things and the minor things that create automatic success for the defense, you know, again, it takes you back to the little things doing all the little things the right way and demanding the high level execution from the players at all times. And that That in itself. When you do that, you know, you see that level of play increase throughout the season from where they were in fall camp to how good they become by the season.

Manny: There's no question about that because it's all about just getting a little better every day.

Jovon: Yeah.

Manny: And that's one of the great ways to be able to do that you know the really good coaches are those guys they're the ones that make a difference that way. Right. And, you know, for that reason you know coaches have to demand a very high level of execution from their players at all times. makes that statement I think it's true on all sides of the ball. It's like, how you do anything, is how you do everything.

Jovon: Oh yeah.

Manny: All right. It's like you just can't be disciplined here, and then expected, you know, and then, then all of a sudden, you think oh it's just gonna automatically carry over for either way because back. Now, you have to be that way all the time, right, because if your players don't see if you're not… If you're wishy washy about the way you're being shown the kids know, the players now. So the example you give makes a big difference.

Jovon: Oh yeah, oh yeah they follow your lead, being the guy in charge. They have to see you put putting the work in,

in order for them to have ultimate success and then they're gonna feed off of that. That's what he talks about by developing the standards of the way he coaches and how to coach a staff as a whole works together.

(37:42)-Defending the run

Manny: Let's move a little bit to defending the run from a defensive perspective. So defending the run, just talk a little bit about this book and how it helped you better understand that concept of defending the run. I mean he devotes a whole chapter to it here, you know, and he talks about pressure being a game of angles/ alignments and so forth. And it's like, what is it that you got out of this book like I don't like a lot of times like we know something, but then when you get it like this it's like, aha, what were the aha moments for you?

Jovon: Yeah, man he talks about the different alignments and positive gap control and. And when you defend around. Everybody has a gap responsibility. And in order for you to be successful versus to run, which is the number one thing you have to stop defensively is run, otherwise you can have a long Saturday evening or afternoon. But being in the right place with gap control is essential to be an effective versus the run. common defensive lineman and get off blocks use their hands strike blows. Being able to be in a great body position, like he talks about earlier. Having leverage. Who's the force player who's the field player, but these are things that we need to know, on every defensive sequence, when we're trying to stop a run. Because at the end of the day everybody has the responsibility in order for us to be successful everybody has to fulfill her responsibility to the best of their ability.

Manny: Let me ask you in this chapter specifically, what did you think it's on page 28 once you get the book. The five on five.

Jovon: I mean it was interesting. It's interesting, but it's definitely something that could teach you some skills on how to be able to attack and play in shorter spaces for linebackers is very interesting drill though. I think that it could be beneficial depending on what kind of run scheme you run or 5 on 5 drills more for inside zone.

Manny: Yes

Jovon: You know inside running teams. So it gives you the opportunity to see it and be able to see how the blocks are unfolding for defense alignment is that guard pulling or is he base blocking or reach blocking and you know these different types of blocks are going to change the responsibility of the defensive lineman in order for him to stay in his gap and remain in that positive gap control allignment.

Manny: Yeah, I mean he firmly believes that it's the best way to teach gap control response for the front, and I can see that. I mean there's value and then he has a couple diagrams there. Here's how you do it out of a four two alignment. There's how you do it out of a four three defense, and you know basically how you line that deal up so it makes some sense, the way they're doing it here so I think initially. What happens is on the diagrams I saw it wasn't it was a three- four, which is an odd front or a four-three defensive front and you're looking at how you want to play because you got five of you on the defensive side. And it's basically you got five linemen, there's no tight ends in this particular drill here, the way they have it set up, so it's five on five but there's six gaps and five defenders there so somebody has two gaps.

Jovon: And I think that's it puts the defensive guys at a at a disadvantage. So it forces the defensive linemen to remain in their positive gaps. Otherwise, you know, you're going to get gassed because you're already down a gap, because we're losing a defender in that particular run formation. The way you gotta set up.

Manny: Yeah, without a question now let's, he talks about pursuit drills in the run game and so forth. And that is vital you know I just, I think every place I've been where we've had really good defensive coordinators they do some type of pursuit drill or they pick a different one they do every day I've seen that too. I mean, Bob Stoops was with us at Kansas State, you know, we had certain pursuit drills, you know that we would run and he had obviously learned it when he was at Iowa and so forth as well. But, you know, those are important.

Jovon: Oh yeah. Heck Yeah,

Manny: and I think when you look at this, the idea of having daily drills for teaching pursuit run and pass.

Jovon: Right.

Manny: And so, how do you see that playing and what are some of the, the emphasis you like to put in to pursuit drills?

Jovon: Again, when he talks about pursuit. He always talks about the force and field, that contain a cut back on every play there's a guy for all of those responsibilities. The force players, the guy who's going to make sure that the ball doesn't get outside of him, but could be a linebacker could be a safety, corner. Those guys are typically force players to, they want to cut the ball off and try to bring the field to bring the Cylon from 52 yards to cutting that, you know, down to whatever it may be, within the field players are the guys that are going to you know go tackle the ball carrier after the force player cuts it off, and then you got the contain guy who's, you know the backside of a cut back so if the, if they they ran the reverse play the contain guy has to keep everybody all 11 guys, or 10 guys in front of him, and then to cutback guys the guy who's you know if the ball was to cut back he's the player to cut back so they all have a responsibility. And when you teach for suit. You don't want guys to over pursue you want guys to remain on the backside of the hip of the ball carrier, just in case if he does try to cut back against you.

You have a better leverage position to be able to make the play.

(44:18)- Teaching tackling on target

Manny: Without a doubt. Now let's go back to the book here on page 38. One thing defenses have to be able to do is tackle. He talks about tackling, and I thought it was interesting here what he said, and I'd be curious what you think. Here he goes. I have always had some basic rules to which I tried to follow when teaching tackling. I never like to teach tackling full go or live. I think it is always better to walk through tackling drills gradually picking up the tempo, but never do these drills, more than at half speed, that's one part, the other is that I always try to get the ball carrier and tacklers as close together as the particular drill will allow this factor of course minimizes the collision by reducing the distance players have, in which to gain momentum before impact, in my opinion, it is not wise to turn technique teaching periods into toughness drills. How about that?

Jovon: That last line tells the story. The not turning technique teaching drills into toughness periods. I mean, you want to make sure that the guys understand, you know what they're doing when they're trying to go in for a tackle, which keeping them closed is going to give them a better view of better vision of what they're trying to get accomplished and walking through it and doing it half speed is going to show them how their body should align when they're going into making a tackle, and it's not really about who's the toughest guy in the room. So you want to you want to try to eliminate that factor and, you know, teach them, you know, they call it in the book he calls it the teaching alphabet you want to teach them A before you get to B. And then you want to teach them A again and then teach them B, as he goes through that and and you know that's how you break down every aspect of tackling, and you could do that with many different positions and techniques.

Manny: Yeah, it makes a difference, doesn't it?

Jovon: Makes a huge difference.


Now here's some other what I call profound knowledge like you get to master certain things like, like we said you might know, but then you see it, and you see it in writing, it's like, Holy smokes, it’s a little different. He goes, after many years of teaching tackling. I think that aside from the importance of body position. There are only two critical coaching points. One is the focus or the ability to keep the head and eyes up focused on the target. The other is the ability to use the hands and arms to grab the ball carrier and get him to the ground. There's just two things. After body position that's all he's talking about there, and the ability to see the target adjusted to change the direction is very important right now that's really what he's talking about the defensive man has to have his eyes focused and on target.

Jovon: Right. You got a laser in, lock in on that near hip. We do drills where we call it near the hip, nearr shoulder. You want to stay on the inside hip of the defender, or if you're an outside guy you want to stay on the outside guy outside him for that, at a ball carrier. But again, you got to keep your eyes focused on your target, as always, even in Little League I heard coaches say you got to see what you hit, you got to see what you hit. And then when you don't see the target. It's kind of hard to zero in on something that you can't see, then it's hard to make a tackle on something that you can't see. So you got to be able to be ready to change direction if that guy's not just going to run into you for speed. He's going to look to make a move, maybe try to stiff arm or something like that so you gotta keep your eyes focused on the target. And then he talks about that and it's a basic element and something that's so simple but so hard for so many different guys

Manny: yeah here's what I like about this and I'll give you a quick story here and he you know he does say in the book here because I feel that more tackles are missed because players take their eyes off the target than for any other reason.

Jovon: Yeah,

Manny: Number one. So here's a story for you that I think has nothing to do with football, but has everything to do with this lesson. And it dawned on me and has changed the way I've coach from when I heard this and I was, years ago in the woods would have been in the 1997 or so, I was in Denver, Colorado, right. And I'm there. And I was listening to add I went to a seminar by Tony Robbins, okay, motivational speaker, life coach guy, and he gave a lesson. And one of the lessons had to deal with this. Specifically, and here's how it worked, he talked about going to a driving school. Right, a driving school where literally, you are going around the track at extremely high speeds like for you and I. Unless you've driven a car 150 hundred and 60 miles an hour on the, on the site and you're going around. Right. You. You don't understand. The amount of focus those guys have to have when they're going NASCAR and all these things right. So he's at the driving school and he said, what happens is they put him in this. It's called a skid car. Right, and a skid car is you're in the car and there's a guy with you next to you the instructor. So you got the helmet on, you're going, and you're driving around, and as you're going around the turn right, what happens is the you don't you don't know when. But the instructor will hit a little lever, right, and it'll be one of the, one of the cars, one of the tires in the car will lift up and it'll start to spin. So he creates a spin for you while you're driving at the time when you least expect it usually, right. So, as you're going around the spin now you have to redirect and what he says is, You have to, as you're coming out of a spin. You have to take your eyes and put them where you want to go, or you'll spin, and you’ll go crashing into the wall, he goes and add insult to injury. If your eyes go to the wall. Guess where you're going

Jovon: to the wall

Manny: To the wall, like that makes sense, years later, I bought a Porsche Boxster. Okay. And I, and I wanted to test this deal out. So, you know, there's this driving school down in Alabama, and the Porsche had a driving school, and you go through and lo and behold what Tony was talking about is true. I mean that is really, it has happened that way. And it all led off with the idea that, do you realize that you could be in the desert, you know like, imagine some driving down the road, and most accidents and it's just a two lane road. Most accidents, when people are driving their car in their desert or the car, hitting a telephone pole. Right. What's that mean is, when they're driving going down the road. Their eyes are on the telephone pole. Right. And then, and then you start noticing your car starts going away, bam, they hit the telephone pole. And that's the accident so it's like, just what he's saying if you take your eyes off the target. You're gonna miss the tackle.

Jovon: Yeah,

Manny: now. So those are some things I like to bring to the plate and say look this is what I noticed. And it's the same thing at every position your eyes if you're a running back and you've got the ball and you know you run the daylight but if you can't see daylight. You're not gonna run to it, right you know you might think so it's naturally you can train that

Jovon: Yeah

(51:45)- Defending the pass

Manny: Right just like you're gonna train their eyes, you know in training camp so they can make the tackles. What is it, when we shift gears here about defending the pass now. You know, he gives you some insights. I mean you've been a secondary guy, all your life extensive playing background you've been coached by some fantastic coaches across the board. What are some things, a guy even a viewer experience because, I mean, you play how many years in the pros?

Jovon: 13

Manny: 13, how many years in college?

Jovon: 4.

Manny: 17 how many in high school?

Jovon: 4.

Manny: 21, plus peewee.

Jovon: Yeah.

Manny: I mean, you know, you got a quarter of a century of playing this position and defending the pass, at some point, right,

Jovon: right.

Manny: I know you're a quarterback. At one point, I get that. But you see this, what did you glean from this chapter on defending the pass?

Jovon: He taught me a lot about, you know, the front and the linebackers, and what their responsibilities are pass rush and the alignment and, and how to get off the ball for defensive lineman. He taught me a lot about, you know, leveraged positions and things like that pass rush moves, and these types of things. Different gap alignments and stuff like that all the different rush techniques that you could possibly do, how to make sure that a guy is aligned in the right position so that if you did run a stunt. He can performance. Be performance aligned so that you know he'd be in a better position because he talks about two man stunts and three man stunts. And if you got a three man stuck on, but the defense attack or nose is in a position not beneficial for him to run miss that that's being called, he's never gonna get to where he has to get to. So he got to performance align and things like that teaching you different pass rush things in there. You know it's a lot to it. I didn't think it was that extensive, you know, but, um, you know, being able to gain ground and get upfield and different things like that for the rush is, is, is crazy how, how many different skill sets these guys have to have up front. You know it's a lot to it. I didn't think it was that extensive, you know, but, you know, being able to gain ground and get up field and different things like that for your rush is crazy how, how many different skill sets these guys have to have up front.

Manny: Yeah makes you makes you respect those guys a little bit

Jovon: Oh yeah, I mean, these guys are masters of their craft. Not only do they have to try to get up field and try to be strategic on how to get to the quarterback, but they also have to avoid and, you know, these disruptions of offensive linemen that are trying to stop them from getting to their quarterback so I mean it guy there's a lot going on up there. And they got those guys, they have to be just as smart as the guys in the back end, because this less communication. But you know more of a skill set to be able to get to where they need to get to.

Manny: Now how’s about actually playing coverage. He's got a couple chapters in here

on that specifically you know pass coverage and and understanding, you know, zone coverage, man coverage and so forth. What did you get out of that because I mean there are four chapters in here on defending the paths.

Jovon: Oh yeah I mean, he, he talks about different pre snap alignments. You know, one thing I try to emphasize to our guys is you don't always want to give the offense the same look, if you give them the same look they're going, they're going to expose you down because they're going to get used to you doing the same things over and over and over again, and they watch film just like we do and they prepare the same way we do so, you know, you can’t always give them the same look you got to change it up a little bit, whether it's just a little subtle change, or if it's a drastic change, but you don't want to over emphasize, trying to do too much so that you are taken away from executing your own responsibility, but you still got to give them a different look. Every time you can't just, you know, plan out the same way all the time.

Manny: So, you’re just talking about the pre snap reads you need to change it up.

Jovon: Oh yeah.

Manny: So these guys do that right?

Jovon: Right.

Manny: Now, you know, here's what's interesting. Oh I know what it was I sent this to a buddy of mine, there was something. I don't know I saw it, like, you know you're sort of looking on the internet for stuff. I know it was an interesting article or it wasn't, it was, it was an interview with Patrick Mahomes. Okay, I mean he’s an amazing passer and all this stuff right. And he's in there he's talking, and he goes, because yeah he didn't read coverages. And he didn’t say this till middle of college. Just recently, I never read coverages. I've never read coverages, isn't that crazy?

Jovon: That isCrazy!

Manny: Yeah. So until he got withAndy Reid, where he started to learn that and whoever's quarterback coach had been, You know it's interesting played in an offense, all through college. Looks like he wasn't just said to throw to the open guy.

Jovon: Yeah.

Manny: Isn’t that crazy?

Jovon: That is crazy.

Manny: right, so you’ve got a dude that is at the top of his game, but he's like now that I know how to read coverages and I see what's happening. There's so much more to it. I'm excited about how good I can get.

Jovon: I would hate it. I would hate to saw how amazing he would have been in college if he’d just read coverage.

Manny: Yeah maybe!

Jovon: I mean, year one or year two in the NFL, it was a big difference. He was what the MVP Super Bowl champion. You know, but I mean when you get those little details of being able to read coverage. He's gonna be a force to be reckoned with.

Manny: Now, you know, let's get back to the coverage concept a little bit you know you know there's different kinds of offenses out there. And we're talking about passing offenses right now. Some of them, I put them in different schools of thought one of them might be a progression type of deal where almost like what mahomes was talking about, not so worried about the coverage, maybe on a player but but it's like okay I look at 1, 2, 3, or 1, 2. Tuck it and run or whatever it is, and they're just looking at a progression, then there's other passing offenses that are reading a coverage and literally seeing how it reacts.

Jovon: Right.

(58:05)- Preparation of the defense

Manny: Is there anything when you know that that's the way an offense is built, any insight you have, and how you're developing or during the week you know what what are you doing, knowing that?

Jovon: Right, I mean there are different types of offenses, and those offenses kind of evolved from different zone defenses so offenses that are more, What is the defense doing? They're get they're going to try to get their receivers in position to be able to sit down in zones. They want to get into an open spot and sit in a window, give the quarterback a target to throw to. Whereas when you got those progression offenses that you know he got the deep ball, you got the intermediate that you got, the check down. Those type of offenses are built off of system, what they what they want to do, how they want to attack the defense they want to put more guys to the side of the play where you know that now the quarterback has options. So, if he gets the one on one, throw the deep ball. If they double cover the deep ball. Throw take the intermediate if he got a zone defender dropping underneath. If you got a zone defender and he’s deep and he can’t get that intermediate throw, then go ahead and check it down to the back, and typically teams don't cover the running back, or don't cover the check down so you know those check down plays turned into 6, or 7/8 yard gains. Then you get second and short, and you get an opportunity to win on second down instead of third down so you know progressions are great, but I would teach our defenders to, you know, were going to rally to the check down throw. You know, obviously you don't want to defend a five yard no cover area. Unless you're in man to man. But in zone, I always teach match the route. Don't drop to space, because if you were if you get a curl flat concept. And you got cover two cover call the, the corners gonna take the flat. And then that that curl window is going to be open. So, we want our inside hook curl player to go match the curl, don't just drop to 12 yards, and sit there. Go match the route, make it a little bit tougher of a throw.

Manny: Yeah, so, and the advent of the whole match coverage is what we're talking about.

Jovon: oh yeah,

Manny: and that does make a big difference. I mean, so, In the book, you know, you'll see all these different ways that he's dealing with the pass. And then as you're moving forward, he talks about playing man pass coverage. And what did you gain out of that, you know, as far as playing man. That seemed interesting to you.

Jovon: You know he talks about different issues. In man, the different techniques that they can play different ways to double team receivers and stuff like that gives you some valuable insight there. How to allign, based off of you know where receivers are aligned. I teach the DBS to be able to. We call it the divider rule, where we got we will align based off of where that receiver aligns so whether I'm gonna take inside shade or an outside shade is based on where our key is. So our man, if he’s lined up between the hash and the numbers, I’m gonna play outside because 9 times out of 10, the percentages say if he lines up there, he’s gonna run an outside breaking route. you're not going to cut his split down-

Manny: Kind of tight enough to go outside.

Jovon: He's going to tighten down to go out.

Manny: Yeah.

Jovon: So, you know, we're going to play the percentages and line up based on where he aligns so if the balls in the middle of the field, the receivers at the top of the number. Now I'm gonna play the inside shape because that's a normal alignment for a receiver with the ball in the middle of the field but we teach them, you know, how to be aware of where they are on the field, in order to take away what the offense is trying to do to you, because a guy's gonna line up to give him himself, the best position to be able to be where he needs to get to because all teams have to get to a certain spot on the field.

Manny: Absolutely, yeah, this makes sense. As soon as you do that. And it's interesting to me that when you look at it like I like the best offenses I've been around, the ones that historically have done very well, are the ones where the quarterback and receivers are on the same page. It's like, I think it takes reps to get there, it gets to the point where all of a sudden, the coverage doesn't matter, and you're actually reading the coverage as you're running, and it's like 1, 2, 3 and it's like I always. I'm always curious from a different offensive standpoint what defensive coaches think about if you think if you're going to show this look pre snap, whatever it is one Hi, so it could be cover three, man free, or you can change it up. And your disguise. Now, if the receiver is taken off, and he's three steps into his route. And the quarterback, if he’s, dropping back. He's three steps into it. At that point, I've always believed and correct me if I'm wrong because I always learned something here that three steps into the route is the coverage right. Nobody disguises something after three steps. It's too late the ball could have been gone by now,

Jovon: Right.

Manny: So, so I think the offenses that one guys are on the same page. That can read and react to a coverage. Now, mind you, that is a pretty high level thing to do. You've got four or five receivers all running reading, reading and reacting to coverage, and the quarterback sees it, and he gets a hint, pre snap, but later, what's happened is, he didn't care until till these guys are three to five steps into it because you could show me a one high look that becomes. Now, two man. I mean you could you can shift it down, you can make anything because you're the master of disguise

Jovon: Right, right.

Manny: That's what we're trying to do. Right, so, so if you play a really mature team that knows what's happening. That may be the most difficult thing defensively to deal with. Would you say?

Jovon: Yeah, I mean, there's times where pre snap and post snap, you know pre snap you're gonna show something post snap they're gonna know what it is.

Manny: Yeah.

Jovon: Then you get into, you know, playing the proper technique, doing the proper response.

Manny: Yes, that’s your key right there.

Jovon: Your duty right so once, once those guys get into, you know, three steps down the field as a defensive back, we should have already read through the three step. Now we should be eyes on our man depending on what coverage we're playing. So then you can read and react and pattern read so that you can try to make a play. When you get a good quarterback and a good receiver that are on the same page, makes it a little bit tougher but it just challenges you to be better

Manny: Yeah, you got to get to your level too.

Jovon: Right.

Manny: Yeah, so it all comes, with, who I believe and I think we agree to this it's reps, it's playing with the guys that you're going to be playing on Saturday or

Jovon: yeah

Manny: you know on and you guys are on the same page.

Jovon: Yep. It is. And like you said it's repetitions. And then, you know, having that hunger to win the one on one, when you want to win the battle. And if you can win more one on ones in the offense, then it gives you a better chance to win it defensively

(01:05:20)- Practice Organization

Manny: Yeah, you're good. How about Practice Organization, he devotes a whole chapter and appendix in there that has some pretty good charts and insights and so forth. You know scouting the opponent. So, let's look at just things regarding Practice Organization and planning. You know, let's talk about how this helps a defense operate effectively.

Jovon: Yeah, he talks about this in this chapter, that there's two types of football practices. One is the preseason or spring ball type in which the basic goal of the defense are to develop skills and techniques and teach and learn defensive schemes. There's not really much attention to game or opponent specific preparation. And then there's the, you know, in season where you're zeroing in on an opponent. And now that we know the two types of practices. Call for different responsibilities. You know, in the preseason or spring ball type of practices you want to place more emphasis on individual technique improvement skill development. You're not really, I mean we're not prepared to play against Bluffton, although we are in the spring, but I mean that we're still honing in on our skills and development of our players. And then, once you get into season, you don't really have as much individual time because you have to develop. You know the team defense as a whole for what the offense wants to try to do to you. So we have to be able to distinguish between the two and give ourselves the best opportunity to win football games, and I think he does a great job of illustrating it. He talks about tempo and practice, and how you can coach tempo but you have to preach it, and it starts in meetings where you know you want to talk about tempo, you want to talk about getting to the football. You want to make it so that is early. Because once you get, once you get to the later parts of practice guys start to fall off, fatigue starts to set in, but you still want to push those guys for tempo because if you push a when they’re tired, in tempo, they can do it when they're tired and they'll do it in the game. Then he also goes into a few other things in here about practice plays. He says, The coach is the biggest critic, when it comes to practices, long practices usually occur as a result of poor planning with the coaches behalf

Manny: Exactly. I’ve always believed that.

Jovon: I know you practice scheduled for an hour and a half and the end up there two hours, 15-

Manny: yeah

Jovon: because you know you're not happy with something. And it creates frustration amongst the players, guys. It gives you the reverse effect like you're not getting quality reps you're not doing things. That's going to be beneficial to the players, so he goes into a lot of different parts of this practice preparation thing that gives you some valuable insight on how to schedule and set practices. It gives you a good illustration of how that goes.

Manny: Yeah, I mean, putting this practice together. I think it is really important and I like the idea of. I say shorter practice, and more focused practice because I've, years ago, and take myself here a little bit but it would’ve been in the mid 90’s.. I was coaching at Emporia State. The Division Two program right and that's between Wichita and Kansas City. On I-35 there And one of the things, one offseason I'm looking at this, we decided to do our scholarship, a little bit different. We just didn’t have a big roster. That was just how we chose to compete. Other teams we play might have 100, 120, 130 players. We carried about 60, like a lot less players right. so I'll never forget I go up to, I had an idea and said, let me go up and visit with the Kansas City Chiefs, because it's just up the road. And I knew a couple people up there from my days in Philadelphia, and I was able to get an audience with Dick Vermeil. And so, we’re sitting and we're talking about stuff. And I asked, How do you guys practice because that's about what they had, you know, once the season got going and the way that they practiced in the pros they didn't have 100 hundred 20 guys in the Pros. So back then I said I gotta find a way to do this. And that was back then and a lot of teams in college weren't doing this, we practiced only in uppers. You know, we never brought people to the ground. We learned to. We didn't even condition at the end of practices because we would go every practice was less than two hours probably about an hour and 15 minutes shot for, and it was fast tempo, intense we get a lot of reps, and then we were done. That was that, you know, and then we let guys stay out there to catch balls off the jugs machine, and do those other things that are not tiresome on the body. And we switched to that. We went from pretty good to fantastic, to top 10 team in the country. It is interesting. When you decide to change the practice, but you got to really focused. What I noticed is every rep is even more vital. Right, so it is so you gotta decide what you're scripting seven on seven or inside drill you better make sure you get the right plays in, and you're practicing defensively and offensively, what it is you're going to see on game day.

Jovon: Right, right.

Manny: but you can't put everything out there, you can't get good at everything but you gotta get good at what you do. And I like that idea that he brings up about having that shorter intense practice but there's a lot of planning in it right?

Jovon: Yeah. Because like we did in Saskatchewan. Again, with Chris Jones, the way we did practice was very interesting. We would have the one defense, and the two offense on one end of the field, and then we would have the two defense and the one offense on the other end of the field, and we would go rapid fire. So once I would go run a play the other side go run a play, and we will go back and forth. Rapid Fire and we will get so many plays in throughout practice.

Manny: I like that.

Jovon: And then it allows you to focus on what the offense does. The defense is focusing on what the defense does but the offensive, second team is running scout for advice vice versa. The defensive second team is running scout for the offense but you get so many plays in throughout our practice like I'm talking about. We would probably run 100 plays in practice, like it was nothing.

Manny: Really?

Jovon: Yeah.

Manny: Alright, Make sure you bring that back up at our staff meetings, and for training camp. I like that. Especially after you get out of training camp.

Jovon: Yeah.

Manny: You know when you start to get into the preparation for opponents. That makes a lot of sense I'm all in with that because it just makes you better. You do need reps. Let's look at chapter 11 here scouting the opponent's. Right. And, you know opponent scouts a major part of it. Game practice prep and how you're putting everything together. What insight to the book did it give you in regards to this aspect of coaching?

Jovon: He gives you some, some great insight on how to break down and scout the opponent. Some of it I knew, other parts of it was new to me. He talks about personnel formations, you know, down a distance, those are your three key categories here. Scouting opponent, but it goes into, you know, running game, play action pass, drop back. You know those things, you know that they happen, but you never really understand that we had to break it down by individual plays. You know I just kind of looked at the tendencies, how often are they running on third or second or first and ten. What plays do they run, you know, how often are those plays. It gives you a good, very good insight. First and ten, when you start breaking it down by personnel, you know personnel is going to tell you a lot, based on you know who's in the game, what they want to do, how they're going to try to attack you, gives you very good insight, allows you want to allow the players to also, you know, try to break down what the guys are our strengths and weaknesses are going to play against. you know he talks about coaches should encourage their players to study their opponent carefully, which, if you get them because those are the guys who are going to be on the field, those are the guys you're going to line up against. So if you don't know anything about this guy that you bought it up against. It's gonna come back to haunt you because you're not going to know what to expect from him. He talks about for personnel he says not to watch the game as a fan, and you know oftentimes players, you know they'll watch the game they'll just let it run, but they don't really know what they're looking at. They don't know what they're looking for. So you got to kind of break it down to them in terms that they understand and personnel is one of them. That's one thing that was big in our spring meetings, was, how do we identify the offensive personnel. How do we identify labeled formations? We broke all those different things down so that they better understand that okay, if it's 11 personnel how many different formations can offense come out in and then personnel, they could come out in trips, they could come out in pro twin, or they could come out in tight, tight end in the back side of the formation coming and there's not many ways they can align. But when you know personnel, you know, formations then it allows you to be able to get lined up, which is half of the battle, you could get up and communicate you could win football.

Manny: That's right.

Jovon: You break it down for these guys, play action passes, you know, drop back passes you know those are those are things that you get from film study from writing, or creating the tendency report and things like that. But down a distance, personnel, and formations are the ones that give you, you know, the most valuable insight to what the offense wants to do and how they want to attack you then you also get into special situations which, you know, different special plays that they'll run. Everybody has a wrinkle or two that they'll put out to make you have to prepare for it. And it gives you a lot about, you know, developing. You know, this part of the game, which is a major part of the game, because if you could play. If you can, you can scout the opponent to a tee and it gives those, that information to the players it’ll allow you to play faster to put them in a better position.

Manny: Yeah. And in the end, it's what they know not what you know right?

Jovon: That’s right.

Manny: Whenever we get ready to play the game where it’s a test on the coach but you gotta know it to teach it.

Jovon: Yep.

(01:16:55)-Steve Belicheck/ Scouting Forms

Manny: How about the last part of the book where he has a nice appendix there on scouting forms, you know, I know that's the first thing I saw when I took a look at this. I started thinking a year ago, when I got all you guys the book remember Steve Belichick’s book.

Jovon: Yeah, I remember.

Manny: You know, Coach Belichick’s father or he's the original coach Belichick on scouting football, you know, and, and everybody read it and everybody did the report on an opponent, and then you guys gave me these huge manuals like hey here's the information on this guy, you know, which takes scouting to a whole other level. That's a podcast, in and of itself to go through that book. But, you know, what did you get out of these forms. Did you find anything interesting, anything new, anything that you think has value?

Jovon: Yeah, I mean, I think, I think this, this whole part of the book gives you a different idea of how to scout like you know it gives you. You know the blocks of five linemen. So you could draw in you know all the different formations and stuff like that and they kind of go through and you write down, down and distance, this is what the play is that they’re running, and then you go over. You could write in the stuff so when you go back and look at it. I mean, it's gonna tell you a lot about how they want to attack you. When you write it down, Like he talks about writing it down and, you know, seeing it from a different point of view because now all of the Scout things have to have escalated. They're advanced you know film and all this stuff are readily accessible but when you write it down like this How he has it broken down here. It gives you a different illustration of it. And it puts you in a different mind frame and it gives you, you know a lot more insight and things that you could call versus certain plays that they run, and when they're going to run them, and things like that so you get it gives you a lot. It's a lot there. And then he has also the scouting things for, you know, with the blocks and whatnot so you can do the illustrations for, you know, scout team, and things like that so you know you write all these plays in there. And then you'll see the ones that come up, more so than not, It gives you a lot of insight to what they do offensively.

Manny: It does and you know what it reminds me of Jovon, is like it's, it looks like an old school way of doing it. Because nowadays everyone's you know you're breaking the film down and you click reports and there they are.

Jovon: Yeah right.\

Manny: But you brought up something interesting to me that getting back to an old school way of doing this because when you write it down. When it goes from your mind, to a pencil, to writing it down, to drawing your own cards, those kind of things. I've got to believe that there's tremendous value to that, as opposed to just, oh let's just print whatever Hudl says, here's what it is and we broke it down. But when you write them down, it's like you write them down and when your players write it down, as opposed to like, oh, here's the electronic playbook or here's this, and they're not writing anything I don't know that they're learning as fast to the core of what you want. And it reminds me of when I'm a being up at Winnipeg, and you know we used come in the office pretty early go to Tim Hortons and, you know, get the coffee and whatever breakfast sandwich about five o'clock in the morning and then pop in about 5:30 and there's Mark Nelson, you know, in the office or defensive coordinator That year and, and he's in there and he's got. I think he was sleeping in the office too. But that’s Mark and, great coach and, you know, he would sit there and literally draw everything it's like I say, well, you have the computer you just gotta punch in those reports and his thing was always like no I need to do this because I need to know this to the core to teach it,

Jovon: right,

Manny: do you-

Jovon: I agree, I agree I think part of being a student of the game is taking what you see on film and putting it on paper. And it allows you to see things a lot differently. Like, when we play games, I can call out what the offense is going to do. By the way they line up on down in distance because I've written it down. And I've seen it on film. I've seen it on paper, you know, so it's I've seen it in my mind I've, I've already kind of drew out what they can do out of this formation, based on what I've seen on film and what I've written on paper so it's kind of a correlation of the two. Being able to see it, visualize it, and then write it down, gives you a little bit more of an advantage. So it gives you

allows you to play a lot faster because you've seen it before.

Manny: You're spot on and so would you recommend the book.

Jovon: Oh heck yeah! I mean any defensive coach, you know, that is especially in for me being a first time coordinator,

gives you, it breaks down things in a hole that would make you be able to coach your team defense with no issues at all whatsoever so I mean it's definitely highly recommended. I mean obviously he's one of the greatest coaches that ever did it so I mean why not listen to one of the greats.

Manny: Yeah, and that's nor fortunate that he wrote this book and it's sort of neat. It includes an online access to some video about this and you know you in the book there there's a spot there I saw this little deal where you can hit on what they call these little... scan them with your smartphone deals there and you can, it goes to a video and that's worth taking a look at too, you know. So I think that's valuable. And, you know, it's interesting Jovon as toward the end of the week just like at the end of this podcast we do a section on tips and reminders, just like we do with our players right, tips and reminders. So these are some tips and reminders for coaches, right, so now what I want to do is, we're just gonna sit and talk I want to share some information on something, you know, have you ever been, you know you're in the season or offseason and your mind, you know you want to get to bed and you just can't sleep very well.

Jovon: Oh yeah.

Manny: Now, I've been there right you know sleeping. During the season, or in high stress times seems to always be. It's been an issue for me. And to get quality sleep is important. So you can have good energy throughout the day.

Jovon: Absolutely

Manny: right so you can see the value of that. And what I want to do is I want to share a secret that I have that helps me get good sleep at night. And when I don't use it I do notice a difference and what it is is this this is called serenity it's a restful blend essential oil. So that's what this looks like here right and it's a blend of oils, that is, I think it's fantastic for using in your routine in the evening and you can put it on topically, you know, I like on the back of my neck. And then, literally, like for people just listening. When the Monday podcast is out you're just gonna, you're not gonna be able to see what I'm doing but I put some oil, put a couple drops in my hands. And then you smell it and it really relaxes you there, you know, here you take one or two there, and then what we do is that helps you there and then you can put it on the back of your neck, so that's applying it topically and aromatically, you know, putting it in, how's that smell?

Jovon: Amazing.

(01:23:05)- Tips and reminders

Manny: Right. And it's good because it helps you relax and get and get rest and you do, I used to do this a couple hours before maybe an hour before I'm ready to go to bed. And then my wife even tells me cuz we've got these. Yeah, I think of it like sort of acupuncture points you know how to the nervous system works. And if you get your feet massage a certain way it'll make it so she's just gonna drop and you put it on your big toe, and somehow it stimulates you to sleep faster. So just one drop right so I'm like well this is cool. So I said hey I'll Hocus Pocus at first and then all of a sudden when it works I'm like I'm in. So, this is “serenity”, and we'll have something on the website if you want to learn a little bit more about it, then they even have these soft gels, which if I've had a rough day or I really want to make sure I get, it's just these little, you take two of these before you go to bed, and it's got some of that blend in it. And it helps you, you know, I take these for about an hour before you go to sleep take two of those and you go in there and you feel good when you're done you know and it's I think it's a good bedtime routine works great as a coach, there's some other things that you can do like hacks to sleep better you know like a cooler room that says always good. I've seen some good things out there so I like to, you know, use that as like, you're like when you're in a hotel and you're on the road, you put the temperature of the AC on it's like it sleeps really good?

Jovon: oh yeah I love it when the AC is on.

Manny: Yeah. So little things like that, but it makes sense because I think in coaching. There's so much stress involved, and I really believe that you do want to be able to sleep well because what you bring to those meetings in the morning in training camp, what you bring to you know your day to day is a product of how effective your body is recovering. During the time of sleep, and I think that's a pretty valuable thing. So I want to thank you for joining me on the show Jovon.

Jovon: Any time.

Manny: Yeah this was fun and it's good to, you know, I think. I get a lot of value out of this because I feel like I get to learn so much and I enjoy. Actually I enjoy re listening to these podcasts myself, you know we just did it but I actually oh yeah what do you say now I get it, I so I think there's a lot of value in like you get these classic books rereading them classic podcasts, listening to them and taking the notes, you know and what happens is here. You know, it's fantastic and I think we're getting a lot of great feedback on the podcasts right now so for you out there, I want to thank you for joining us on the show. If you're listening to this podcast, make sure to subscribe in iTunes, give us a rating, comment on the show, that stuff all shows up, and it helps us in those ratings. If you're watching this on YouTube, right, we do have a YouTube channel, subscribe to the YouTube channel, just Google in there on YouTube or check the search bar where it's just the Manny Matsakis Show and you'll see it there. And if you hit the bell in the corner. if you like YouTube and that's the way you get the information, fantastic, and you'll get. You'll get something on that so feel free to make comments on a specific episode you'll make a comment on this and I can hit it in the QA, on a different podcast. The other thing is, if you'd like to get all kinds of updates, just go to the website Well you'll get up to date, and here's how we release the information. Every Monday, you're around, we have a podcast that goes out that's what this is. And that's the audio version on Wednesdays, I, there is a blog post or insight access feature that sometimes as a video sometimes a blog post gives you some information. And a lot of times there, it could be anything, could be something relating to something we feel that can help you as a coach to optimize your life could be. Heck, a few weeks ago I did one on. I was at home. It was interesting. I was in my mom's kitchen, and I had her, teach me how to make a Greek soup with eggs and lemons and stuff like that. And, as I put it off and it like blew up the internet for me. I met so here's my mom you know teaching us how to make soup you know so i, that was sort of neat, so that was a blog post that came out on a Wednesday. And then on Friday. This video version of the Monday podcast shows up where you get to go into and see that so all this has great information. You get the transcription, so they literally type up every word we're saying so you don’t have to write notes, just hit a button and it’s all there. That's a pretty cool deal. So it shows up on the Monday so we got links to things we were referring to, and so forth. so that's how this is working for us. So, please feel free to subscribe with your email on the website. And that'll give you regular email alerts. You’ll also receive my latest report called “Fill The Stadium”. It’s like 30/40 pages about us having to do this, and I see labelers, it's a coach's secret formula to build the program, and fill your stadium to capacity. It takes time to do it. But here's some insight of things I've learned from Mike Leech, Bill Snyder, and a lot of other great coaches have been fortunate to have been around. So, all you do is put your email in there to get a download of that and then you’re in the tribe. Once again Jovon, that was fun. W’ell have to go relax after this. Alright, well thanks once again I appreciate everybody and we'll see you next week.

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