One of the problems a coach has in taking over a program is that you have to teach players how to pick up a different system, some of which has to do with practice and preparation. There is also a fair amount of “undoing” from the previous coaching staff in how players approach games and prepare for them. So far it would seem the lessons have not quite been learned yet.
From the Rocky Mount Telegram:
The Tar Heels’ coaching staff will continue to do its part, but eventually, just like the Cowboys did, players will have to make the difference.
“We will never be any good until the players take ownership of their own preparation and performance,” Davis said. “Coaches have to be responsible for creating that culture, but at some point and time, you have to hand the baton to the players. It’s one of the challenges of a new program.”
Davis doesn’t expect his players to have a full grasp of his philosophy quite yet. The Tar Heels have only 51 scholarship players. Davis is waiting for the entire squad to understand that looking through notes, studying extra game film and taking home DVDs are things winning programs do. He sees players who are, in his words, “fighting for their lives” on the football field.
“One of our biggest challenges right now is creating the culture and environment about preparation,” Davis said. “There is absolutely zero way you can snap your fingers and expect to play well Saturday unless you prepare well during the course of the week.”
The fact Butch Davis is pointing to a serious issue with players not “owning” them team and doing the necessary things to be prepared for the upcoming game is not shocking in the least. The lack of prep has been obvious for the past few years and there were games last season in which I was blown away by the lack preparedness on the part of the players to handle certain situations. At the time I laid full blame on the coaches for not getting the team ready but as it turns out some of the blame for that falls on the players for not taking to time to prepare for a game.
The idea of taking responsibility, owning something and putting forth an effort to make sure you are in a position to win are not only lessons for the football field but they are also the kind of skills that help you in almost anything you do from being a member of a church to working for a company. As it pertains to the task at hand, obviously this level of commitment was not pushed by the previous coaching staff or they did not facilitate it. We know that Davis is doing both and the fact he invested thousands of dollars into new game film equipment and studio to provide DVDs to the players for their use speaks to how much priority the staff is placing on game prep and review.
This is a program that is dealing with vast inexperience and some talent gaps at certain spots. Any edge the players can gain by watching game film could be the difference between winning and losing. In fact any edge that can be gained, no matter how small, has to be helpful.