Learning on the Job PDF Print E-mail
Posted by Brian   
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
I appreciate the Coachs situation. Its complicated, with loads of responsibilities and intricacies. He manages 150 people, maybe more. Hes constantly expected to do personal appearances, speak to alumni groups, and be in the homes of 30-50 recruits a year (sometimes multiple times). Thats a lot of traveling, and that doesnt even cover his main duties. Hes got morale and discipline to handle for 120 or so college kids some who havent lost a game in their high school careers and others who have been indulged by teachers and coaches their whole lives. All the while hes expected to raise the team GPA. Its not an easy job and hes done most of it better that any of us expected. Maybe 5% of us have the skill set to manage and handle these numerous responsibilities. And maybe 5% of those have the insight, foresight, and savvy to be an offensive coordinator in the NFL. Thats why hes Charlie, and were sitting here talking about Charlie. He is one of us, but then again hes much more.

However, I have heard enough about learning on the job. Imagine a CEO or company president in his third year on the job relying on that explanation. Im sorry I cost the shareholders X number of dollars, but in my defense Im still learning or a doctor, Im sorry I cost you your husbands life, but in my defense Ive only been a doctor for 3 years. Hes gone through 3 recruiting cycles. Hes gone through 3 seasons (well 2.5). Hes coached for just short of 30 years. Hes been a head coach (albeit on the high school level) for 10 years. Hes been a position coach in the NFL for 7 years. Hes been an offensive coordinator in the NFL for another 7 years. Lastly, and more importantly, this is his 3rd year on the job as the head coach for the Fighting Irish. If he hasnt learned his lessons yet, I wonder when he will. For instance, while at New England the common complaint about Charlies play calling was that it tended to be too cute. Has Charlie learned his way out of that one? Or is he still calling reverse naked bootlegs on 3rd and short? Enough is enough, we know hes smart, probably smarter than most of us and most defensive coordinators he faces, he doesnt need to beat us over the head with it. If the offensive line cant get a 3rd and short with Robert Hughes or James Aldridge then maybe more time should be spent working on technique and less working on scheme.

This team has shown signs of life the past few weeks. Ive been impressed with the offensive line (at times). Ive been impressed by the skill players as well. The offense is starting to look like what I had expected a month ago. Good at times, bad most of the time, but overall just very inconsistent. Its not uncommon for a team with a lot of youth. The defense has come and gone and is difficult to evaluate as long as the offense isnt quite gelling. Ive liked the play of certain guys at time. John Ryan gets beat on mercilessly at times in message boards, but he plays like a man. Hes got a nose for the ball and should be a starter in this system. Crum and Laws look great as well. However there are hitches. The Stephenson/Brown combo at defensive end is atrocious. Talent is the issue here. Brockington consistently shows a lack of foot speed coupled with a lack of knowing which angle to take on a running back. This is an issue that needs to be corrected in the tape room. The next tackle Zibby makes will likely be his first in my eyes. Last year he had an injury excuse, this season get him the hell out of here and let the kids play. Lets remember, they are installing a new defense, and it will get better.

Learning on the job isnt an excuse. Lets be clear, Charlie hasnt made that excuse. Charlie doesnt make excuses. Again, thats why hes Charlie. I dont buy that excuse myself. However, about half of Irish fans have made that excuse, and many others for him. Meanwhile, the other half are calling for his head. I say let cooler heads prevail, but dont tell me hes still learning on the job. The biggest problem most sports teams have right now is a quick trigger finger. People call for coaches and managers heads every time something goes wrong. Give Charlie his 5 years (he unlike his two predecessors has proven he deserves it), but dont give him the learning on the job excuse.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 28 November 2007 )
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