In previous years I’ve written articles relating to the correlation of a college football team’s experience with their success in the upcoming season. For this season I’ve written this 4 part series which will point out to readers many of the important facets involved in quantifying a team’s experience. This can serve as a “Do it Yourself” guide for the self handicapper who wishes to draw his own conclusions on the ATS success, or lack thereof, of the 2011 season’s 120 college football teams on whom there will be a wagering line every Saturday.
Look for Part 2 on Wednesday....
PART 1: THE COACH AND HIS STAFF
The head coach and his coaching staff are clear indicators of a team’s potential success in any season. In this regard, it is important to not only look at the length of time a head coach has been with the program, but also the number of years his offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator have been with the program. At the most positive end of the spectrum you will find a coaching staff that has been with their team, as a unit, for 4+ years. This means they have been involved in not only recruiting the players but also nurturing them in the same system from their freshman through senior seasons. This is of immense importance as it builds team unity, chemistry and cohesion among team members. In systems such as these, by the time a player gets to be a senior he is virtually a “coach on the field” as he mentors and grooms the younger players. When these teams are dominated by upper classmen, the value of experience is most meaningful. At the other end of the spectrum is a team that has been through a series of unsuccessful seasons resulting in the dismissal of a head coach, and usually his staff. The administration at the school is usually looking to make a fresh start, often going in an entirely opposite direction with their philosophy. The blocking schemes are wholly unique for the linemen, and skill position players recruited for a running game are often not suited to a passing attack. Likewise, it is hard for a defense that has been taught to react and be more passive, to turn into an attacking, blitzing unit. Do not underestimate how hard it is for college athletes to adjust in just several short weeks of spring training and pre season practices. Lack of continuity in the schemes is a major negative when evaluating a team’s overall experience. Never underestimate the value of a coaching staff on a team’s experience.