Chasing The Dream: College Football Coach

The kids are with my in-laws. Pru is seeing patients. So I am home. Watching college football. And reading about college football. This article is a Q+A with a former college quarterback, Joe Bever, who wants to be a head coach one day.

I found it interesting to compare his path -- becoming a coach -- to our enterprise (preparing folks to become a teacher).

How do you get your start in this field? You become a "Graduate Assistant." You get a few hundred dollars a month, plus a dorm room. You work about 90 hours a week. Theoretically, you are a masters degree student. Joe says:

Oh ya and let me tell ya, that is the absolute worst part of the job! Very rarely does someone become a GA just to get their Masters, so school work is honestly an after thought. And by that I mean you have to find a way to make it work, it’s not like as a player where if you have a class during practice you get to miss practice, as a GA it means you either don’t take the class or if its required you don’t get in that Master’s program.

I actually changed the program I was in when I first got there because there were going to be two classes during times that I had football responsibilities. I was fortunate enough to end up being able to get into a program where I could download the classes off the internet, but not all schools or programs offer that. There were times I’d get up at 3 in the morning to watch class before going into the office, you make it work or you find a new job.

Then he describes a typical week as a GA during the season. Check this out.

Sunday: We don’t have to be in the office till noon (Coach Hawk gives Sunday mornings off for those who want to go to church), but I’ll come in early before church and input the data from the game the night before. I’ll come back in at noon with everyone else, we’ll grade the game film, have a staff meeting, team meeting, player meetings, and then go out to practice. While they go out to practice I stay in and break down the game from Saturday of our next opponent. When they come back in from practice we’ll watch an hour and half or so of game film of that next opponent as a staff and then call it a night.

Monday: This is our long day (every staff is different). We’ll come in about 6. As a staff we watch film separately before coming together, so we have the entire morning to our self. I use that time to watch blitzes we’ll be running that week on scout team and put together my scout calls for the week, meaning what we were going to call each defense and blitz, every team uses a different technique so I’d have to make sure the scout team understood the differences in technique from one week to another (we were no huddle, which means the scout team didn’t have time to look at cards, so I had to teach them calls for the week). I also used that time to finish the special teams breakdown if I didn’t finish it the prior week.

We’d come together in the afternoon as a staff put our thoughts on the board and talk through everything. Once pass plays started going on the board I had to start drawing them on the computer. A typical game plan would take me about 4 hours or so to draw, assuming there was no technical difficulties with the program, which is a very bad assumption. Ultimately I’d get out of there around 10 or so.

Tuesday: In at 6 again, we’re on our own for the morning again. I’ll usually breakdown 2 games for the follow weeks opponent (as GA you’re always at least a week ahead), put together scripts and practice plans for practice that day, and then usually draw 7 or 8 pass plays that were added to the game plan that morning.

Then the afternoon and evening is meetings and practice. After practice if I hadn’t finished the break downs I’d do those or if those were done I’d doing some recruiting or random organizational stuff (I hate being unorganized). Evenings and early mornings were the times when I’d either get caught up or try to get ahead on different things, there’s always things to be done.

Wednesday: In about 5, usually to finish up some thing I hadn’t finished the night before or get some class work done. We’d watch practice as a staff at 6 and then the rest of the day would be much like Tuesday.

Thursday: In about 5 for the same reasons, full staff at 7, then practice film, and the rest of the day much like Tuesday and Wednesday.

Friday: If it’s a home game we come in at 9 and have a recruiting meeting and if we’re on the road than it’s just our travel schedule. All the work has really been done by this time, if I got behind on a breakdown I’d use Friday to get it finished, but I very rarely had to do that. I usually busted my hump through the week to get stuff done so that Friday I could relax a bit, I love plane flights and the last thing I wanted to do on a plane flight was homework or breakdowns. Plane flights and the hotel room Friday night was my own time to kind of relax and not have to worry about getting something done.

The great thing about our schedule and Coach Hawk will say this is he gives you enough rope to hang yourself, the bad thing is he gives you enough rope to hang yourself. He’s not a micro manager, you have your job and it’s up to you to figure out how you want to get it done.

It’s awesome and very family friendly. We are free after practice we don’t have to hang around if we don’t want to or need to, but that might mean you have to come in earlier than everyone else to get your job done.

It’s awesome, one our coaches comes in at 4am sometimes but leaves right after practice and he’ll tell you “I can choose when I get up, I can’t choose when my kids need to go to bed.” There’s a lot of time spent in this profession away from family, but Coach Hawk gives his coaches every possible opportunity to be with them.

By the way, Saturday is not off. Saturday is game day. I'm counting about 100 hours a week. Gee.