Stein: What’s a football coach to do during a bye week?


TAKING A TIME OUT: Randy Shannon ponders his next move while on the sidelines during the Charleston Southern game earlier this season. Photo by Steve Root // Hurricane Staff.

What exactly do coaches do during a bye week?

Obviously there is always opponent game film to break down and recruiting calls to be made. 

However, recruiting cannot be the main focus during a season or even an off week. It is certainly omnipresent, but players have classes and practice, and coaches have their work days. Game film study usually follows a pattern, and the pattern usually takes place over an entire week. 

The coaches will use the extra week to become ultra prepared for Texas A&M and probably to do some advance scouting, but I imagine there will probably be some time left over if the staff is efficient (and I say this staff is). 

Here are some of the key objectives I think the coaching staff will be zeroing into during the bye week.

1. They will be working on offensive timing. I did not have a huge problem with the offensive play calling against UF like every Monday morning quarterback on this campus did. The offense is based on timing and play action. The timing was disrupted by bad routes and drops. The play action was crippled by the running game. Receivers were not coming off of their screens quick enough and, as a result, were in position a fraction of a second too late. This led to drops and the inability to sustain drives. The way to fix these problems? Repetition – and possibly a cutback in the number of receivers used. I understand that no one has separated themselves as a go-to guy, but it might be time for head coach Randy Shannon to use a core group of six or seven receivers.

2. They will be working on staying aggressive and hungry on defense. The defense was great against the Gators. If they play like that the rest of the season, they should be able to lead the team into the ACC championship game. However, that is a big if. Bill Young needs to make sure his players do not get lazy and keep implementing new blitz packages.

3. They will be looking to keep serving the youth. Several youngsters had big impacts against Florida. The staff wants to keep working them in. Look for Jordan Futch to be amongst the next group to get worked in.

4. They will look to find a replacement for Baby J. Javarris James looked pretty dinged up. Don’t be surprised to see Damien Berry start receiving more carries in the “Big Back” role that James usually fills.

Texas A&M is a tough place to play. They are struggling, but they will be looking to take out their frustrations on someone. Any letdown will result in an embarrassment. 

Look for the coaches to work even harder than usual during the off week and make sure the players are ready for another battle in two weeks. This list alone should keep them busy.

September 11, 2008


Dan Stein

Senior Sports Writer

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