Friday Q&A: June 26, 2009

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If you aren’t perusing the message boards over the summer, then you missed an
excellent thread from earlier in the week in which Raleigh Hokie and Hokie Phil
gave a great lesson on the Virginia Tech offense. We’ve converted that thread
into a Friday Q&A, and it’s worth a read if you want to become more familiar
with Tech’s offensive philosophies and tendencies.

HokieDelNorte: Raleigh, how does an offensive coordinator get a
better feel for calling the game (beyond just another year of experience)?

How does an offensive coordinator continue to improve his feel for the game?
Is it mostly about studying film and being ready for the defenses they will
throw at you (and how to respond to such defenses)?

I understand that you also have to take into consideration your personnel and
what you do well (and what you do not do well), but in general how do
coordinators raise the level of their expertise beyond just
additional experience?

I am not interested in this becoming a bash Stiney post, I’m just looking for
techniques that coaches use (beyond simply visiting other programs – which is
probably a pretty important one).

Raleigh Hokie: There are a lot of factors involved.

Experience is a big one – decisions have to be made quickly, so play calling
in real time has to become almost a reflex. The only way to get to that point is

The biggest factor is that any coordinator MUST know the strengths and
limitations of his players. What they can and can’t do on a consistent basis is
formulated in practice and translated over to the weekly game plans. Those game
plans lead to play sheets that drive play calling in that 40 second window
between plays. A coordinator has to know what his players are best at (and worst
at) in every down/distance situation against the particular strengths and
weaknesses of the defense they are facing that day.

I think the key for Stinespring is what happens before the game – not during
it. Preparation is 90% of the battle and developing the offense in practice and
carrying that over to a successful game plan is the key to a successful offense.
Having the confidence to know that a game plan is going to be successful for
that next game. That confidence comes from hours and hours of breaking down the...