Manny Matsakis

Episode 9: Jason Phillips (Utah State)

Interview with Jason Phillips

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

This episode, Manny sits down with Jason Phillips from Utah State.  The two were able to catch up at the 2020 AFCA Convention and discuss a number of topics. Learn more about Jason Phillips’ background, some of the memories him and Manny have shared together, as well as some great Run and Shoot insight.

Summary: This episode, Manny sits down with Jason Phillips from Utah State. The two were able to catch up at the 2020 AFCA Convention and discuss a number of topics. Learn more about Jason Phillips' background, some of the memories him and Manny have shared together, as well as some great Run and Shoot insight.

(00:00)- Intro

Manny: Welcome to the Manny Matsakis Show with me, Manny Matsakis. Where you will gain insight on how to win on the field & optimize your life. This is episode number nine. In this interview, which I did in the American Football Coaches Association Convention in Nashville, I spoke to Jason Phillips. Jason Phillips, is the passing game coordinator at Utah State, and a longtime friend of mine. We go way back and it's interesting and you'll hear some of our stories in this podcast today, where he actually came to New Jersey and worked a camp of mine, a Run & Shoot football camp, and he is the finest Run & Shoot receivers coach I've ever seen. And he's doing a fantastic job at Utah State. So without further ado, here's Jason.

(00:53)- Jason Phillips

Manny: Well, I'll tell you why I'm so excited about this Jason Phillips is here.

Jason: How’re you doing Manny.

Manny: My man. I’m doing good, god to see you.

Jason: You too man, pleasure to be here.

Manny: Well, you know, it's funny, after the introduction I gave on you, I want you to just give some details on a few things about your career, and it's fascinating to me. You were. I mean, arguably, as a player, one of the, one of the best receivers ever in college football and people don't realize like, it didn't take… There’s not a lot of receivers that are in the ring of honor in their stadium. Like at the University of Houston you know?

Jason: That’s right.

Manny: You know, so there's. I mean, you're up there with some other great players and Heisman Trophy winners like Andre Ware.

Jason: Yeah.

Manny: So it's, you go, you had an interesting path, just to get to Houston.

Jason: Sure.

Manny: because you're from Houston.

Jason: Correct

Manny: Right, so let's start with that, you played High School ball in Houston,

(02:02)- Jason Phillips Playing career

Jason: Correct. High School ball, Houston, Texas. Houston Sterling high school, I graduated in 1985 and like you said, you know my path here was a little different than most. but it's a path that's out there for a lot of people. I was sitting in the coach's office one day and Al Baldock, the head coach at Taft Junior College at that time came through looking for a couple guys and had a couple guys on this list, and fortunately for me, those guys decided that they didn't want to go to taft. I was actually one of the guys already had a scholarship to Oklahoma, and the other guy was going Southern so my head coach kind of mentioned it to me and kind of showed him some video and I was playing quarterback at the time and so Coach Baldock said, Look, I'm not looking for a quarterback right now has you ever have you ever played receiver. And I indicated to him, Coach I’ll play wherever you need me to play. You know, that typical response. So anyway, long story short, he kind of doubled back. There was an opportunity for me to join Taft, And so I went out there and with the intention of playing receiver the first year, but some things didn't work out at the quarterback position so I ended up playing quarterback my first year so.

Manny: So, a junior college quarterback.

Jason: Yeah junior college quarterback, I never would have thought that right so. But anyway, did pretty well, played the Potato Bowl, and was All conference quarterback, MVP. And that kind of led to the offseason you know I wanted to work out and continue to work on some things obviously you know, gym rat type of guy you know work on my passing, and get better there and the funniest thing happened. Coach Baldock called me into his office one day and this is where my life changed, and basically said, Jason. Here's a list, he said, a list of paper he slid it to me and basically gave me a highlighter and said hey, I'd like for you to highlight all five foot nine, black quarterbacks in the National Football League. Obviously you know I took that piece of paper with the intent of finding that what he described. But I wasn’t able to do that. You know, and he then slid me another list and said, now I’d like for you to find and highlight for me all the five foot nine receivers. And man, I was able to do that I was highlighting this guy, this guy, this guy, like Mark Clayton, and Mark Duper all these guys. So I looked at him, I said, I got you coach and that's when I started playing receiver.

Manny: And that was the beginning. Really what got you to where you are today as a fantastic football coach. And I just want to get a little bit more into your playing career because it's easy for me, and people who understand. I think you're the best receiver coach in the country at any level, I mean, and there's no doubt in my mind I've seen some really good ones in the NFL. There's none better than you and I know it's hard for me to tell you that but I've seen enough guys and I get it I mean, but it's like the path towards that is different when you've been a fantastic player, because not all great players become great coaches and I'll get back to that in a second. but let's go now so you go to the University of Houston, right? Take me through that because you know you only got two seasons there right?

Jason: Yeah so I only have two seasons, so as I go in there. My mindset’s look different. And I understand, I hate to use the word “Urgency”. But understand, the sense of purpose that I have there. So I go in there. The first year there with John Jenkins, Jack Pardee. Pretty much, an entire NFL staff and had the pleasure of playing for Ron Calcagni, and Car Hargreaves, those are the two guys that basically mentored me while I was there playing the position, and I think the biggest thing for me in being there was the fact that they were NFL guys a place where I aspire to be and play one day, they kind of cultured, nurtured and cultured by attitude. As far as the approach of what you have to have and it's something that I like to do today with the guys that I have an opportunity to coach is that this was for me. I didn't realize it at the time but it was perfect training grounds. If you want to be a pro. You know, You'd have to do things a certain way, you have to act a certain way, you have to prepare a certain way.

Manny: What are those ways?

Jason: Well, basically, you'd have to be committed, you have to understand what it is you get yourself into a situation where you are responsible for your actions your accountability and being able to inspire others, and listen to teammates and be able to play with in a structured environment. Those are the things that I had the fortune of learning when I was with those guys. And that's the thing you try to teach guys today is how to do those things so you know that experience was second to none. I wouldn't give that back for anything in the world because it was a part of my growth. It's part of my development. And it's basically the things I learned there as a player, are the things I do today are very regimented, very detailed, very organized and how we did things and how we were structured. Andre Ware was probably one of the greatest competitors that I've ever been around from the standpoint of a guy that basically came in as they recruited him as... Well a lot of people recruited him as a DB.

Manny: Oh sure.

Jason: And finally ended up playing quarterback for us through some injuries, and some disappointment with some of the other guys. you know his story is remarkable as well, you know to him eventually winning the Heisman Trophy but as far as being a competitor. I mean he was the guy that, you know you drop one of his passes Manny.Not only will you hear about it but it could be a physical confrontation.

Manny: You know what We need to do in the future, we'll set this up in Texas. So the three of us get together and just have one big podcast That'd be great

Jason: That'd be great man cuz I know he’d love to do that, because he loves talking football, he loves talking Run & Shoot. He definitely loves talking about his competitive spirit. I just remember dropping a pass once, and he took, he snatches his helmet off in and starts running down the field. And I'm like, Oh my god, I get it, man I know I dropped the pass but there's a lot of great experiences there to kind of develop me to where I am today and what I am today.

Manny: So, a great career at the University of Houston. And then you move on to the next level. Tell us about that.

Jason: I tell you what I was very fortunate to have a great experience there being with June Jones, and Miles Davis had the pleasure of playing for both those guys and the big thing for me and i think that the thing that allowed me to play in that the number of years that I played there was the fact that when I went in Detroit my rookie year. I didn't have to learn anything. You know the system was the same, the calls were the same. The only thing that Miles used to get on me about is the landmarks right because I didn't quite understand the landmarks at the NFL. They were different right? The hashes would mainly be different so when we communicated. The way we talked, we talked in terms of four yards outside the hash.

Manny: Yes.

Jason: You know, two, or three yards from the boundary. So all those dynamics all those dimensions change in NFL by just the hash marks himself and the numbers-

Manny: are different.

Jason: Exactly and all that so that was the only learning curve for me so and again, it was a new environment. you're one or two guys drafted. There’s 25 receivers in the room, and they're only keeping eight. And out of the 25 guys, there’s three rookies.

Manny: Right, wow.

Jason: So, you're sitting in a situation and the biggest thing for me I tell young guys. You don't have to be first in line all the time so I took a backseat every day. I just kind of watch veterans play and try to learn the game from their perspective and watch them and when the drills came around I got in line last, and I was able to see who did it right and wrong with what the coaches were able to say and so

Manny: Good insight.

Jason: Because I already knew what I was doing. I just wanted to make sure I did it right and it was pleasing to other people so yeah man was a great experience.

Manny: Now, in Detroit, was that Mouse's first year up there as an OC?

Jason: Yes. Yes. It may have been, I'm not sure if it was his first year but I think Mouse was there.

Manny: Okay, we’re talking about Mouse Davis?

Jason: Mouse Davis, correct. I think he was already there and then I came in I think June, it may have been June's first year.

Manny: Okay so Fontes was the was the head coach?

Jason: Fontes was the head coach, correct.

(10:20)- Barry Sanders

Manny: And you had a pretty good little super back

Jason: We did. Barry Sanders.

Manny: Now he wasn’t bad.

Jason: No he wasn’t bad at all. He was actually a great guyto have in the locker room, we lockered next to each other, and I actually lived with him for about two to three months. At his place, so I mean he's a great guy.

Manny: Oh my god, I'll tell you it's funny. Just to just to step aside, I can remember when I was at Kansas State. We played Oklahoma State, and it was, I think it was our first conference game and they came into Manhattan. And they had just graduated Thurman Thomas,

Jason: Right

Manny: you know, so he was gone. And it was just because they were right after each other. They were actually overlapped a little bit.

Jason: Right.

Manny: I believe, you know, we were punting to this guy. And I don’t know, I think he had three returns for touchdowns that day.

Jason: That doesn’t surprise me.

Manny: I think he ran for Almost 300 yards against us, and I'm like who is this guy? and then after the game I just sort of walked behind him. And I said Oh my. I mean I don't look down at a lot of people but.

Jason: Yeah. Right. He is one of them. Yeah we kind of have a similar experience with actually identical experience with him when I was at Houston, and I first played Oklahoma State in the opener, and actually Thurman Thomas was there. And so, Thurmon kind of ripped us pretty good and they put this backup guy. Barry Sanders. We had been Kicking and punting to him all day. And he took us apart, and we were like, stop kicking and punting to this guy.

Manny: Yeah.

Jason: But yeah, so we can experience both of them.

Manny: Sure, yeah. So that's awesome. So you're at Detroit you guys really the offense was clicking, silver stretch. You had it going.

Jason: Yeah we Did, you know?

Manny: What years was that?

Jason: this was at ‘89 and ‘90.

Manny: Okay

Jason: So my rookie year was ‘89 and my last year there was ‘90 so offensively we were doing pretty well, obviously, you got a guy like Barry Sanders, it helps out a lot. You know, Rodney Pete was our starting quarterback at that particular time. So, we were doing things offensively, but you could also see, we wasn't quite where we wanted to be, but you could see that we're on our way to being special.

Manny: Yeah. And then, then all of a sudden you depart the Detroit Lions and you’re a Falcon.

Jason: I’m a Falcon. I kind of, I don't know, I wouldn't say whether or not I’m welcome in Detroit, I just think guys got opportunities. I know June Jones got an opportunity to join Jerry Glanville again, in Atlanta, so he did that, and I was one of the guys he called. And I was actually a free agent at the time and so he called and asked if I would like to come and play for Atlanta, and who could pass up that opportunity to play for June Jones again? I knew the type of system we were gonna be running and so All the pieces just kinda lined up.

Manny: Really? No doubt. And As we get through, and then afterwards you went to Canada and played. And that was a different experience but I think when you look at Atlanta, The sort of neat thing for me is to realize how big a deal practice is. And the guys that you practice against. How you can make each other better. Great teams do that.

Jason: Sure.

Manny: So, you know you're playing receiver. There's a pretty good player on the other side of the fence on the defensive side, you guys would go against each other on a regular basis right?

(13:45)- Deion Sanders

Jason: Yeah we decided, it was by choice actually, so Deion Sanders. So yeah he's on the other side. You got to understand the NFL. The NFL, I tell kids all the time you know just kind of be careful with what you ask forl, that's, you know, there's nothing wrong with having aspirations, but you need to understand what you're getting yourself into. It's a game of lions. Everyone's lions on the field so there's no Gazelles out there and you'll get eaten alive if you don't come in with the right attitude and preparation and commitment to what it is you want to do and so it was a challenge for us every day. We used to fight over who’d get a piece of Deion. we all used to fight because you know this was one of the greatest guys of all time. You could tell that this guy's special, and to have an opportunity to go against him every day. He has this running joke we see each other all the time. The first thing we do immediately is to take a stance against each other. He’ll get in his stance and I’ll get in my stance. That's how we greet each other. That's how we were every day. It was about business, it's about making each other better like you said, it's about practicing the right way in order for us to have a chance on game day.He says it all the time. He never got the card because I ran a lot of scout team for those guys. He never got the card, because I knew how much work was put into studying and preparing for his opponent so there was no need for me to give him the card he already knew the cards.

Manny: Yeah.

Jason: So the quarterback we had was Brett Favre there for a while. But Billy Joe Tolliver And I used to work together quite a bit against the defense and so whatever the card said if it was a curl he may have gotten curl and up. Or a curl dig, so he never got the card, so that was one of the things that you hear him talk about those things that kind of helped him prepare. And make him so great for his career. I mean he mentioned me in His Hall of Fame speech, which I think is pretty special.

(15:34)- Jason Phillips coaching career

Manny: Yeah No doubt, that's tremendous. So you have a great career, all this stuff, and then you get into coaching. Why? Why did you get into it?

Jason: You know, it was simple for me. Manny just growing up and just kind of reflecting and looking over my career. I mean career, as far as an athlete. Just looking back on my days and small town Crowley, Louisiana. How coaches invested in me going to high school, coaches investing in me in college, and obviously coaches investing in me. You know I just felt the love for that, I just felt the love for the coach player relationship. And that's just something I want to be there for my players the way my coaches were there for me. That's always been the driving force for me in this profession and why I do what I do on a daily basis. Doesn't really matter where. I have a slogan that I like to use You know, every player needs a coach that believes in them. you know I had that throughout my entire time playing this game and it's just a way of paying it forward man, just being involved with these guys’ lives, helping change lives because a lot of these guys don't understand how sports can directly affect their lives, their commitment, and playing the game the right way, just committing to doing things the right way will transform their entire lives you know so just bridging those gaps, makes it very special.

Manny: I can definitely see that you've done that and so your first coaching job was?

Jason: University. I got into the business University of Houston. Dana Dimel was the head coach at the University of Houston at the time and I came back to finish my undergrad. He gave me an opportunity, allowed me to be a part of his program at that particular time and you know I met some great people. Obviously you of course, you know doing that experience. You know, and from there, just doig it and being passionate about what I was doing. some people took notes, and some one of the guys on the staff, Bradley Dale Peveto, knew a guy over at Texas State, and they were looking for a receiver coach at the time and I got a recommendation from coach Peveto And so my first job was Texas State in 2002.

Manny: That's right.

Jason: Yeah it was pretty special. First opportunity to work for Bob DeBesse.

Manny: Right. Yeah. So after that,

Jason: after that, I was only there a year. and it's kind of funny man because when I was leaving, preparing to go to that job, our athletic director Dave Maggard at the time, basically told me, don’t unpack one bag. They’d be bringing me back to Houston. That was pretty special right because that's kind of the place where I wanted to be, be at my alma mater just kind of do the things that I wanted to do there, because it's such a special place for me. So, anyway, I was only at Texas State for the season, and I came back to universitie of houston, to Art Briles. And I was there with Art Briles for three, maybe four years. And then from there, I went to Baylor for a year and then I returned back to Houston with Kevin Sumlin. So, I was with Sumlin for, you know, four years and then had an opportunity to leave there and go to SMU and work for June Jones so that was really special too.

Manny: 18:46

Mmhmm Wow. So, now what are you doing?

Jason: So now, I am the passing game coordinator/ wide receivers coach at Utah State working for a great guy by the name of Gary Anderson in Logan, Utah. That's been an eye opening experience for me, just the simple fact of being and seeing other parts of the country and another part of the world. I've seen as much snow, the first year I was there than I've seen in a lifetime. So for me that’s a little different. But the experiences never changed how you interact with players. The “Why” you know, why you do this, it's still there every day, it’s present every day. And you wanna see these guys succeed in whatever it is they want. Your job as a coach is to mentor your players to get them to the closest reality of their dreams that they want, as you can, you can provide. I mean this is fun so no matter where you do it. If you're doing it for the right reasons you will enjoy doing it.

Manny: I agree, And that's really what it's all about, you know, when you look for… I mean I know you’re recruiting speaks for itself you know and that's a big part of the game. You do a Great job in Louisiana. And then, Texas, Houston, Dallas areas specifically but you know what you're looking for a young, young man out of high school where you get the kid out of junior college, whatever it might be, what are the characteristics of a receiver that you can take and help him get to where he can't even imagine he can be.

Jason: Well, I'll tell you man. It's not as difficult as you might think. right. This to me is a coaching personality, right. So, I would describe it like this, there are some coaches out there that like finished products guys at a five star, four star, whatever the case might be. a six foot whatever it is the measurements are that he’s looking for. If they run as fast as he likes for him to run. So there's minimal work that he has to do. Me on the other hand, I look for a tough guy and I want a tough guy. I want a tough physical guy that loves playing football. And I'm not necessarily looking at some of the traits, because those are the things they're coachable traits. Okay, and I've watched over the years and experienced over the years and was part of over the years I've watched John Jenkins shoot thousands and thousands of balls at us through a Jugs Machine, and taught guys that couldn’t catch, how to catch.

Manny: That’s right.

Jason: So those intangibles right? To look for. For me, toughness, love the game of football, loves to compete and is coachable and willing to learn, anything else that can be fixed. Yeah. And also if you're committed to your players, you'll get the best out of them.

(21:30)- Mentored Players

Manny: Now what, what's been the most, if you could pick like a particular player that you've mentored coach that you're the most proud of the gains that this. This guy has made over his career from when you got to him, to where he moved on and then whoever it may be, but what did you notice about where they started and where they ended up?

Jason: Well, I'll tell you what, the first guy that comes to mind and I'm sure a lot of the other guys are gonna be upset that their names not gonna be mentioned here but you know just recently. My Last year at Houston, I'll have to say Patrick Edwards. Patrick Edwards is a guy that was a walk-on for us at the University of Houston and you can tell he had those traits that we talked about earlier. Loved football, was very coachable and committed to being great. He was physical in the sense that everything he did. He did it the right way. He ran hard, finished hard, and blocked hard. Everything he did was physical. He just had a physical presence on the field. Now, he wasn't the biggest guy, only 5’9”. Maybe 5’10”, and he had good speed. I wouldn’t say great speed but it was good speed. He's a under 4.5 guy. But anyway, just committed to being the best was the thing that I noticed right offhand obviously coach Sumlin noticed it. And so we awarded him with a scholarship and from that point on, went from a walk on kid to a kid and also you guys may remember a kid who broke his leg in the Marshall game.

Manny: That's right

Jason: You know, and ran into a structure there. But from that point in time went on to become the all time leading receiver at the university of Houston. So, that was a big feat, considering all the receivers that have come through there. you know i was able, I was fortunate enough. Now, Tyrod Carry is another guy that comes to mind. A guy that came in as blue shirt, or gray shirt when we recruited him with Art Briles, just to watch his, you know, his maturity and how he matured as a player through the Art Briles transition and coming in with Sumlin, Dana, and Cliff, all those guys just watching him mature, and be a player. Same thing, he was physical, mindset, he had a physical mind set. He had a commitment, and a love of football and now he's a receivers coach at university of Houston, has won the receiver award in college football for receiver Coach of the Year. And just to watch his maturity throughout his career, and I’m very proud of him. He set a number of records at the University of Houston as well. And, you know, it's just been a joy man, to watch guys like I tell people all the time and I've broken the records at the University of Houston twice, once as a player and once with guys I coached, so it's kind of, it's kind of fascinating to kind of go back to those record books and kind of see yourself, along with a long List of guys, that's, that's pretty incredible.

(24:26)- Influences for coaching career

Manny: Now, when you look at now, we talked about where you've been. And. Who were some of your key influences in coaching, you know, you obviously had a great trip along the way, and it's nowhere near done. So it's like you know who's influenced you the most and in what particular way.

Jason: Well, you know, as a coach who is always looking to get better. Always looking to see who's out there doing something innovative to kind of help you out in your career, how to reach and affect lives as far as your kids and that kind of deal. so I mean I've had several guys along the way, June Jones I would have to say is probably the biggest influence on me. Biggest mentor throughout this profession but I can't mention June without mentioning guys such as Ted Gilmore receives coach at Wisconsin right now. When I first got into business, him and Carnell Jackson. You know those guys just took me in and just kind of showed me the ropes. You know that's the one thing I'll say this and I’ll sidetrack this a little bit you know that's the one thing and I don't see a lot of coaches in this profession anymore is older coaches, mentoring younger coaches. And I think that's a lost art. I think that that needs to be. It needs to be more of that. Because I was very fortunate to be where I am today because I had that and just kind of watching how that is today. So everybody you know they want to get to the top, they want to do things for themselves to get there. You know I hate watching coaches criticize other coaches and not taking necessary steps to mentor those guys to get it done the way they want to get it done. But, you know, June Jones, getting back on that, John Jenkins obviously, his offensive mind was brilliant, brilliant, he has a brilliant offensive mind and just the way he taught us at university of Houston and the way he made us do things a certain way, it just helped propel us into being the best and not being fearful of any type of defense we were going to face. All right. Just a quick note on the Run & Shoot offense. Just so everybody here can understand. It's an offense to where you go into a game and the defense is wrong, the minute they jog on the field, they're wrong. And I like to say this is that, you know, the only thing that can stop an Air Raid or Run & Shoot type system is personal error. It's not schemes, you can't stop it scheme wise Run & Shoot was never stopped by scheme it's always personally error whether it be a drop ball on pass, interception, or fumble, or missed block here. It was never because of a scheme.

Manny: Yeah. I've seen it, you know, lived it, enjoyed it.

Jsaon: Yeah.

Manny: and I think, you know, we talked about like the Run & Shoot itself, because there's not a whole lot of people doing it anymore. You know, and at the major college level I know there's, I'd say Hawaii. Nick is doing it out there.

Jason: Sure.

Manny: and not really anywhere else right you know there's people dabbling parts of it. And some of them don't even realize that's what it is, which I think is really funny.

Jason: You’re exactly right. That’s a true statement.

Manny: But, if you don’t study history, you know. The offense in and of itself, what I have noticed is, there's also a certain error of confidence, not cockiness, confidence.

Jason: Sure.

Manny: That must come in order to execute at the top level, the highest level, and it has to come from the top.

Jason: Sure.

Manny: I mean it has to come from the head coach from the, you know coordinators position, which is, every single guy, and it is not, you know, having been around, obviously the Run & Shoot and the Air Raid. they're different.

Jason: Mmhmm.

Manny: And it seems to me that in order to do it. It may be more difficult to be a Run & Shoot team than an Air Raid team.

Jason: Yeah.

Manny: Initially, because, like, one thing I noticed is, it's just not around as much

Jason: That’s right.

Manny: you know so nowadays these high schools are running air raid

Jason: That’s right.

Manny: Now they're doing it, and it is. It's different to me in a way that you have to understand spatial relationships, the width of the field, the landmarks, and so forth.

Jason: That’s right.

Manny: The adjustments of coverages as opposed to just you know it's, reads as opposed to progressions, those types of things.

Jason: Correct.

Manny: And you know you've been on both sides of that.

Jason: I have.

Manny: I mean you’ve been around Hal, and June, and Mouse obviously.

Jason: Mouse obviously yes. And a bunch of Leach descendants

Manny: Yeah right? From Dana Dimel and all those other guys.

Jason: Yeah.

(30:00)- Run & Shoot

Manny: So it's like, what would be your take on the two systems? I mean, pros, cons, and can the Run & Shoot still get going today are what?

Jason: Absolutely! There's no reason why I don't think that the Run & Shoot couldn’t keep going today because as you mentioned, Hawaii is doing a lot of it. They're very successful. June Jones Obviously, in the XFL is doing something with it. The differences to me, obviously both those are families, correct?

Manny: Mmhmm.

Jason: That Run & Shoot family and Air Raid family and unfortunately, you know, they're a tight knit family.

Manny: Yeah, as we know.

Jason: Yeah, exactly. So they're a tight knit family so they're not willing to give away a lot of secrets or invite a lot of people in and show people what they're doing, the only guy that’s obviously done that, and certain degrees, you know he's probably been alienated because he's been forthright and forthcoming with a lot of information in the Air Raid system. And I know John Jenkins was not giving you information in regards to the Run & Shoot.

Manny: No, no.

Jason: But I think because of that, you know, there's a lot of people that are uncomfortable with it because they don’t know it and it's hard for someone to commit to doing something that they're unfamiliar with. And so you get a head coach. you know, worried about playing complimentary football, and those types of things to where you know defensive minded guys, they want to slow it down and you know are so offensive minded guys defensive guys are mad because you're not considering us in this preparation in practices and notify defense so it's become a tug of war between offensive defensive coaches. But there is a place for both, and you want success that they're having with air with the Air Raid I mean obviously it's the latest and the hottest thing going. So, a lot of high school coaches and a lot of people are gravitating toward that because that's the new, new.

Manny: Yeah.

Jason: And so people are doing that, you know, the Boise State System. When Oregon was doing what they're doing, you know, they kind of put some stuff together to what Oregon run game and Air Raid pass game and that's a new nuance, and people are doing that. But it's all a derivative of the Run & Shoot, from what I can see just sitting in those meetings, there's a lot of similarities in what the base product may be but then you got guys breaking off and doing that, and their own spin to it which I think its grea,t its added a lot of excitement for football, and this is what we need to do and we need to keep them competitive here it's on offense it's kind of stay ahead of the game, making these defenses change each and every year so. But I think there's a place for both and, again, this just boils down to whatever particular head coach what his level of commitment will be to that system, because you have to commit to it because it's completely outside the box.

Manny: Oh it is and I know I've been through, you know, ebbs and flows of it over the years you know being primarily run & shoot but it's more of them. Unless you got it you know. I think both these offenses are similar in this fashion, unless you have a trigger man, a quarterback. both of them can be really bad,

Jason: it could be.

Manny: I mean, it's hard because if you can't deliver the ball downfield and make... I'm not talking about mentally as much as just face if you don't have that guy can do it. I've seen some of the most brilliant minds look very pedestrian and it's not their fault they just haven't developed the young man or they haven’t recruited him or have really put the guy in there but that quarterback position is critical. But then again, if you don't have those linemen in it no matter who the quarterback is.

Jason: That’s a true statement Manny and I think, you know, a lot of it has to do with the development of the player.

Manny: Yeah,

Jason: I think a lot of guys like I mentioned earlier, you know, you have to go into it with the development of the player, you know, that player, he wants to be coached needs to be developed and you have to go in there with the right mindset to help develop that guy. I'm a fundamentalist and technique guy. I mean, that's one of the things that I've always prided myself on. I'm gonna go into a system, and learn whatever system you want to run, and I'm gonna coach my guys to learn that system, but if they don't have the fundamentals and technique. I'm a firm believer they can't execute any system, because it all starts with fundamentals and technique

(32:55)- Skills, Drills, and Fundamentals


Thetre’s no doubt you know it's funny. And it's sometimes I think we get so caught up in the X's and O's, and it's it's tremendous I get it, but it's like I can remember way back years ago when I was coaching at Hofstra okay who doesn't play football anymore, you know, and, you know, and I had these receivers they're running the run & shoot coming in and, you know, had Wayne Chrebet, right, it was played for us there. And you know what, I, I think, when I was younger I understood even more that.

Jason: Mmhmm.

Manny: It's all about fundamentals, drills, and skills

Jason: That’s right,

Manny: you know, even though it was all about stretchThis is how we do these crazy things you know that you know really you guys were the ones doing that because I think by your three years I was at Hofstra for 1990, ‘91, ‘92, & ‘93. So that was right after guys

Jason: Yeah.

Manny: So I had all y'all film and everything and that was the things we study at the time and then Mousewas out there with the Knights coach in the world League this guy just go there, but it's like I where I started to click for me. And I don't know if you have any similar occurrences in your career. I started watching basketball practice. And I'm thinking, hey, look what they're doing. Yeah, you know, drills, and skills, are learned over and over. And, you know, and then when I was in Lubbock I'd see, we had Bobby Knight was our head basketball coach, so I would watch the practice, you know, Hall of Fame coach but it comes down to drills and skills.

Jason: Exactly.

Manny: So what can you do to develop that I mean have you ever?

Jason: Yeah I mean obviously our Run & Shoot practice is drills and skills. I mean we kind of broke the offense down, how we practice every day with John Jenkins was broken down into segments, and it was broken down in the right route segments. Okay, whether it was the choice route, switch route, whether it was the dig route, or whether it was a bubble. Alright, so it's broken down into segments and it was all drills and skills and it's all this. I mean the net drill was a drill, and skill. We ran routes into that net and it was funny, you know because I kind of do a lot of similar things today as far as how I teach but it's all connected. It was all connected as far as the drill was connected to the route, he ran a certain drill that was connected to whatever route.

Manny: Yeah if you’re running go

Jason: Yes. that was exactly what we were doing, it was what we were doing for those drills and it was that way for me as a player in the system. And a lot of people have gotten away from that. It’s More scheme now. The scheme to me, The guy that wins is the guy that has the pin last.

Manny: In the scheme right?

Jason: In the scheme yes. But drills and skills and fundamentals, you know, there is no pin with that. That's work.

Manny: That's right.

Jason: Then you get that work you put that work in and the kid gets better, you develop things and you know kids have gotten away from playing multiple sports they don't do that anymore, They gotta develop all those, basketball is a big tool, you know, as for instance, one on one.

Manny: Oh yeah,

Jason: Build up your release skills to play basketball. Kids don't do it anymore but you get to develop all of your physical skills and your cognitive skills because you think in different games so you're playing different games so you got to think different games, you think in games, and you understand situations-

Manny: and it clicks.

Jason: And it clicks.

Manny: Yeah, I hear you. You know Jason, I mean, the more I think about it, it’s fast and, you know, I'm excited about where you're going in your career, you know, I think, I think it's fantastic that you have been out of the state of Texas for a little bit, you know, and I think it's good you've met some great coaches on way. sharpening your craft, you know, I mean that's that's the deal. Yeah, it's all about that, I think, You know your guys are fortunate to have you there coaching I know know, wherever you are, you make it the best it's gonna be.

Jason: That's right

Manny: and that's what I've seen that that's the trail along the way.

Jason: Well I appreciate that.

Manny: And I hope everybody out there that is watching this, and obviously listenening to it as well on our podcast, you know you have an opportunity in life to be around some really special people and I've been very fortunate that we have hooked up over the years you know.

Jason: Yeah man, definitely a benefit to me and my career Manny, just our friendship and relationship. I mean you’re a guide and I didn’t mention that in the piece but you’re also a guy that when I have something, I always call you and run it by you as well. Like, what do you think, what do you think? So that's definitely a, you know, it lifts a burden when you have people that you trust, that you can call and talk to about certain decisions that you make that will ultimately change your life. And that's what we're here to do.

Manny: Well, and another thing I guess I am gonna give them. I'm gonna give them some inside info right now. A lot of guys don't realize this. we would do something and have done this numerous times where, you know, we'll be on what's called a zoom call.

Jason: That's right.

Manny: Right. And it's just a private call, you and me, video.

Jason: Sure.

Manny: And I've got the film on and I've got a University of Houston, 1988, you know, and we're watching it, And I record it. And we talk through the routes and then I can show you, you knowe. Here’s my film at Hofstra or wherever I was, and it’s like, we’ll sit there for hours.

Jason: Yeah.

Manny: Just watching film together. I’m in Philly or Ohio, or wherever I’m at and you’re wherever you’re at and it’s like we’re sitting like this. And so, I record those and then I go back and I study them. It’s like, I get it you know? It’s sorta neat that we can help each other out and our friendship is one of those deals. You know, it's like when you do this. In coaching, that is an opportunity for guys out there, if they’re not already doing this, to reach out to people and once you have a great relationship, and you’re open to sharing stuff, there’s so much more we can do.

Jason: There is so much more that we can do. And none of it is ours.

Manny: No.

Jason: We’re talking about things that were here before us and are gonna be here long after us. And that’s the thing that amuses me at times, when guys claim things. You know that’s fine but again, non of it is ours and so I love talking about it. I mean those times for me have been, I look forward to that. We got a commonality and we’re talking about somethign that we’re both interested in, and that’s football. I mean that could be anything. I mean I’m sure guys can call each other and talk about the veer. It doesn’t matter.

Manny: It’s funny you say that none of it is ours, because you know how many times I’ll be Speaking at one of these Glazier clinics or something like that and somebody comes. Hey, aren't you the guy that, invented the Jet sweep because years ago we majored in that stuff right and I go to them. I'd love to tell you that that's the case, but let me show you this book and I always used to carry this book, it was a book written in the early 1950s called “spread formation football” by a guy named Dutch Meyer, who was the head coach at TCU and he's had Sammy Baugh back their quarterback and I said, watch, look at these pages but, you know, just flip through it and watch him do this. And it was like, that's where I got the idea, right you know so a lot of this stuff is like yeah it's like you can learn from one thing to another you talk about Gus Malzahn you know.Yeah, he has it he has a cool different offense right so it's the single wing that he put in and spread it out and he's doing that and I think you know he'd be the first to tell you, you learn from others.

Jason: It goes back to what we said earlier man, is a guy that can learn from others but put his spin on it, and he's committed to it.

Manny: That's right.

Jason: And that's what people do, if you committed to something you'll make it great when you have ownership of it. You will exhaust every possibility that there is to do it.

Manny: When you can't sleep at night because you've got this idea, and it's over and over and you're just convinced it's it.

Jason: Destroying defenses.

Manny: That's it. That's what you do. I love it, I love it. Well, I just want to thank you for coming on.

Jason: Thanks for having me, I appreciate it.

Manny: It's always my pleasure for sure and, you know, I think, for everybody out there. This segment certainly helps you understand how to win on the field. And when I come back, I'm going to share with you some tips and insights on how to win in life, and to optimize your life, because it doesn't matter you can't be single, focus on football, and then you don't take care of yourself.

Jason: That's right and helped me a great deal with that.

Manny: Yeah, that's what we do and, you know, and I think I you know, we, together, help each other outso much. so i think you know great opportunities out there and and I'll be right back with a few tips and reminders as they say in the industry.

Jason: Sounds good.

Manny: Okay. All right. Well, that was an awesome interview and I'll tell you what, now it's time for our tips and reminders where we wrap up each episode with some information you can utilize to optimize your life and in this case, it's really a solution for dealing with muscle cramps. And it's one of our secret weapons I've used with athletic trainers here and it's pretty neat because what we use is an essential oil called lemon grass. And that's what she looks like right there. This is a very warming essential oil in other words if you put it directly on your body will feel like it's burning your skin a little bit, and lemon grass is used oftentimes by runners and anybody when they have deep muscle cramps and issues like that but the key to using this is to make sure that you dilute it, what we do is we will dilute it with fractionated coconut oil, so we'll pump that in so just take a couple drops, just like this. just maybe a drop or two right there. Boom. There we go. And then we'll put some of that oil in there with it and that just dilutes it so now it's not burning your skin so much. So then you basically take it and you can put it on before, you know, in a preventative way. And it smells just fine. I've even had people do that. And this specific one here, you can actually, if you're a Thai cuisine. You can put a drop in, in your Thai food, to get a lemongrass flavor and it's very powerful so you just need one drop. So that's how that works and myself, you know there's sometimes like I'm sitting there I'm in training camp and you're working long days and so forth and what I've done is, I'll be there I'll always keep this in my room at night. Because sometimes I'll cramp up. You know you're out in the heat of the day and you cramp up in the middle of night. I've had like literally cramping up so I will use the lemongrass diluted with the coconut oil. And a lot of times, like, you know, you get a body cramp or like you know like around the rib area or something like that. You just put it in, and it literally happens. It brings it down fast, and I like to have that there for myself as well. So, you know, just make sure you hydrate but even then hydration isn't always enough to handle that. So that's how I use lemon grass, myself and in the program. Now, I want to thank you for coming on the Manny Matt second show and enjoying this episode. If you're listening to this podcast, make sure to subscribe in iTunes, give us a rating and comment on the show. If you're watching this on YouTube subscribe to our YouTube channel at the Manny Matsakis show, hit the bell up in the top corner there and you will get notifications when we release the next show. We also have all types of things on the YouTube channel, not just this podcast. Feel free to comment below on this specific podcast and then I will answer it in a q&a on another podcast. If you'd like to get all kinds of updates, go to our website at, where you will be up to date on Mondays, this podcast goes out and the audio version, Wednesdays. We usually release a blog post or some type of insight access feature. And then on Fridays, this video is released. Every Friday so you get a chance to catch the video version of this, so feel free to go to our website, subscribe with your email, and along with your regular alerts, you'll receive my latest report fill the stadium for a limited time only because you won't always have that, as, as a freebie for you when you sign up so it's basically a 30 something, or on a coach's secret formula to build your program, and fill your stadium to capacity.

Links to check out:

Comment Below

What did you think of the conversation between Manny and Coach Phillips? Did you learn anything you can bring back to your program?

Leave a reply and let me know!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Posts

Episode 13: George Matsakis (North Texas)

Manny sat down with his brother, George Matsakis (University of North Texas), at the AFCA Conference in Nashville. They discuss George’s career path and how he got into Football Operations. For coaches wondering about what goes into the administrative side of running a football program, this episode will definitely open your eyes to some of the things that goes into it.

Read More »

Special Report: The State of Football in America!

The Covid-19 Pandemic has taken a strong hold on our country, and football in the fall is slowly slipping away from a lot of different areas and leagues. On this episode, Manny sits down with Lynn Groll of Black Swamp Football, and Jerry Buti, the Athletic Director at Defiance High School. They discuss what is currently happening in Northwest Ohio at all levels of football, as well as around the country. A great listen to stay up to date on what’s happening with fall football, as well as getting an inside perspective on how different places are dealing with the pandemic.

Read More »

Inside Access: The Unfair Advantage of Aging

On this Inside Access Episode, Manny discusses how to embrace the effects of aging and use them to your advantage. Not everyone views growing older as a good thing, but you should! In this short episode, Manny tries to open your eyes to how you can appreciate your later years and use your life experience to help Optimize Your Life.

Read More »

Episode 12: Dale Carlson (Program Creator)

Dale Carlson spoke with Manny at the 2020 AFCA Convention in Nashville about his career in college football. The former Head Coach at Tri-State (now Trine University), Ohio Dominican, and Valparaiso, Dale discusses what it’s like starting programs from scratch and also walking into some different situations. This interview is a great listen for anyone wanting to know more about what goes into creating a successful program, and how to avoid some mistakes along the way.

Read More »
Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial