10 Things I Learned … Spring Practice 2010


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Mike London is trying to make things more simple for the players.

If there is one thing I have learned over the years, it is that you only learn so much from spring practices.

But what can emerge from spring practices are some general principles of how things will be done and how the staff and players might go about doing them. Themes, if you will. And this spring, like others, there certainly were several themes that emerged over the course of time. Here are 10 of them.

1. Making It Simple. If you want to easily differentiate the Al Groh philosophy on the field from the Mike London philosophy, I think the simplest way to do it is this: Groh was a scheme guy while London is an execution guy.

Of course, both Groh and London are well versed in schemes, and both want quality execution from their players. But my sense always was that Groh would love to out-scheme you to win a game, and that showed in his system, his schemes, and his game plans. For starters, the 3-4 defense is about as complicated as it gets for a college defense, particularly with the way Groh generally rolled it out. On offense, Groh likewise tended to fall in love with the most innovative offensive schemes he saw on film, a big reason he wanted to implement Texas Tech’s offense the year after he scouted Texas Tech. In Groh’s world, schemes should win … and he coached as such.

In London’s world, however, the view seems to be that schemes cannot be too complicated for today’s college players. London wants his teams to play fast – something he certainly stressed all spring long – and his view is that they have to be able to play instinctive to play fast. That, in turn, means that the schemes have to be instinctive.

You can see these adjustments on both sides of the ball. On offense, just take a look at the running game: in the past, many of the running plays required the back, running without a lead blocker, to stretch the play out until he read a seam. This spring, however, the fullback was in use again,

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