Five weeks down, eight weeks to go in the ACC college football season. After reviewing tape and then taking a look at the standings in each division I’ve come to a conclusion. It’s clearly time a number of coaches need to take a look at the man in the mirror. If you aren’t capable of clear-headed self-examination, maybe you’ll listen to a friend. You need to change what you’re doing because it sure as hell isn’t working.
This isn’t the time for excuses. We can blame players until we’re blue in the face. The reality is worker bee’s are only as good as their managers. And, if they aren’t given the tools to succeed, you shouldn’t be blaming anyone other than yourself.
Good managers (coaches) surround themselves with a top-notch supporting cast. Example: Brent Venables. Should something go awry on one side of the ball or the other then you may want to take a look at the person calling the plays.
If players can’t wrap their heads around schemes perhaps you should start with recruiting. Are you reaching out to the right players? I mean, look, unless the high school the player attends has a complicated playbook then maybe you should look closer at their grades. Maybe implement a more intense and in-depth interview? Lord knows they’ll be facing a similar gauntlet if they make it to the NFL.
You can’t make promises to players regarding their future unless you know what you’re working with. If you have an athlete carrying around a box of rocks up top but still want him, then you need to build around that player. It’s called flexibility….playing to their strengths. There are weeks in which I watch games where I seriously wonder if coaches have forgotten how to be flexible. Some have the ability to change on the fly while others wait until half-time to adjust.
And the, there are those of you who seem oblivious to your surroundings. I would be far more forgiving (and fans as well) if it were a game here or there. But week after week? Houston, we have a problem.
The meat of the ACC schedule is now upon us and that means these early season gaffes will be amplified if no changes are made. The storm clouds are already hovering at Virginia Tech, Boston College and Miami. We all know, as fans, we’re short on patience when our favorite team(s) are losing.
Let me be frank. The three aforementioned teams aren’t the only ones that need a dose of self-awareness.
The pressure is about to increase substantially should coaches fail to take a closer look at the man in the mirror. Yes coach(es), it all begins and ends with you. Your coaches, staff, players, fans and administrators are looking for an answer. Do you have one?
The back half of the season is where you get an opportunity to prove your worth. To kick nay-sayers to the curb and smugly call them out. That will only happen if you get on the stick and make the necessary adjustments.
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Are you the man? The man in the mirror that you think you see? Self-confident, resolute, a leader and capable of leading your team out of the doldrums? There’s plenty who say that you aren’t. Most likely far more who say you can.
This is where we find out, this back side of the season, if you are indeed that man, that coach and that leader. I won’t say, ‘good luck’, because we know it isn’t about luck. We’ll all be watching intently to see if you have what it takes to dig down deep and deliver. Don’t let yourself down.
Jim Quist is Managing Editor of ACC Nation and Co-Host of ACC Nation Podcast. He’s a member of NSMA (National Sports Media Association), FWAA (Football Writers Association of America) and USBWA (U.S. Basketball Writers Association). He is enrolled in the Beer Brewer Professional Certificate program at the University of Richmond. Follow him on Twitter @ACCTheQ.