This episode featured the Outlaws, their athleticism and their mismanagement. As mentioned in previous posts, they just have too many coaches and they continue to get in each others way. Even in the semi-final game head coach Fred still doesn’t have down who is supposed to be calling the defense or have a chain of command communication structure in place.
In the Outlaws first playoff game their opponent, the Steelers come out in several empty sets with five receivers split out. The Outlaws struggle to align correctly and Fred tries to get a timeout as we see seven or eight coaches all frantically yelling out alignment instructions to the confused Outlaw defenders. Fred doesn’t get the timeout and the Steelers make a big play. It looked like Keystone Cops, not a championship caliber youth football coaching staff.
On defense, the defensive coordinator is the only coach who should be making the formation, defense, stunts or coverage calls. The rest of the defensive alignment in youth football should be simple enough and been practiced enough during defensive recognition that there should be no need for the other eight or nine coaches to be screaming out instructions. This doesn’t really surprise me though, when we see the Outlaw practices they are full of full contact hitting drills, I have yet to see a full team defensive recognition drill. Their alignment instructions are a lot of long one on one talks and descriptions instead of just aligning and showing the various offensive alignments and sets and having the defense quickly realign. So much wasted time in the practices leading up to these playoff games.
If there IS a need for further instruction it should come from ONE position coach for each group, the Defensive Tackles, Defensive Ends. Linebackers and Defensive Backs. The problem is you have eight, nine or even ten coaches seemingly all coaching all the kids instead of each coaching their own position group. Even when coaching a position group, only ONE coach from that position group should be in a position to speak onto the field during the game. Those instructions should be one or two word, key word instructions, not the long sentence gibberish we see from the Outlaw coaching staff. They all yell over each other and the kids are obviously confused.
After struggling a bit early alignment wise, the Outlaws sheer athleticism overwhelms both opponents and they win both games, not in blowout fashion but with just enough of a cushion to be pretty comfortable and confident. The Outlaws are flawless open field tacklers. Last years star Running Back Mizell Miller, who hadn’t even been featured so far, comes up with two monster games to lead the Outlaws. Yes, they are that deep. Several star players from last years teams are now backups, yet play key roles in both games.
This causes some heat in the Outlaw camp. Defensive Coordinator Tony Coley’s son Lucas Is kind of left out in the cold. After suffering a wrist injury earlier on the season he returns to action. But instead of starting at Quarterback or Defensive Back he is now relegated to a backup role on the defense. Early on I said Coley should have been the starting Quarterback and move Daiboo Johnson to a Running Back spot. But after returning from the broken wrist injury I totally understand not playing Coley at Quarterback in a semi-final playoff game, especially with the three backs the Outlaws have in their backfield. Any of them would be the feature back on any other team in the league. More on that in another post.
Tony gets frustrated with his sons lack of playing time. Early in the game he encourages his son to keep his head up and stay engaged. As the game progresses and Coach Fred takes over the defense and tells all of his coaches to quit instructing on the field, Tony has less to do and he starts making sarcastic comments about his sons lack of playing time. We don’t see everything, but it looks like the Coley kid does get some playing time on defense later in the game, but he’s no longer a starter or star like he was last season. At the end of the game Tony walks off the field in frustration with his son in tow, prior to the teams post-game meeting.
We don’t see everything that has transpired this season but I said in previous posts that this youth football coaching staff was poorly managed and was ready to blow. It did blow and now we have an assistant coach who has been integral in helping build this team, quitting on this team as they head into the State Championship game. With just one game left in the season, Tony shouldn’t have quit, especially if the majority of his frustration flows from his sons lack of playing time. Personally I’m not one that feels one year should carry over to another or that a player never loses his position because of injury. Injuries change things, players progress and regress, that’s part of life. No matter the reason, Tony should have sucked it up for one more game, then moved on the following season.
We get a quick scene with Coach Mareques Goodloe from the Colts. He talks about why it was more important to attend the funeral of one of his players caregivers than it was to be focused on winning a game last week. You have to take your hat off to Mareques, he totally got that one right. If coach reigns in his language he could be one of the most valuable assistant coaches of all time. Very few people connect with their youth football players like this guy.
On the other side of the bracket the Austin Ducks lose their Semi-Final playoff game to a team from the Valley, Mission. I’ve done a LOT of coaching clinics in Texas and the Rio Grande Valley gets the least amount of respect in the state as far as football goes. From the youth to High School level, no one respects the Valley, their teams always lose big in the playoffs.
The problem as I stated before is the Ducks have little team chemistry and I predicted they would fall apart because of it. Their star player #1, Mckutchin is a specimen no doubt on both offense and defense. However he lacks heart, selflessness and is a poor teammate. He trash talks in practice and games and it finally catches up to him. Missions star player #42 catches several balls right over the top of Mckutchin, so #1 starts turning on his teammates who have made mistakes. The kids look up to their star player for leadership and he shows none. The Ducks get behind, panic, turn on each other and lose to a team with less talent that is better coached.
The Ducks head coach is up in the stands thanks to an altercation he had after a game with one of his parents. What a shame, great talent and poor leadership doom this team from the start. Everyone including the Ducks coaching staff were already looking at playing the Outlaws in the Championship game. The head coach didn’t even think the game would be competitive, NO ONE thought this game would be close, let alone a Mission win. I wasn’t surprised in the least. Next week is the Championship game between the big bad Outlaws and the upstart Mission team.