Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Philosophy over celebrity

Former NFL All-Pro defensive end Fred Dryer talks candidly when outlining a plan for turning around the football program at San Diego State, his alma mater, which went 2-10 this season and recently fired its coach.

According to Dryer, it's simpler than it seems.

"It looks complicated when you have all the parts spread out on the garage floor. Once you get all of them in the right spot, putting everything together is pretty simple."

Dryer offers three rules for turning around the program.

First, philosophy is far more important than celebrity: "Hiring a big-name coach does not guarantee success. It's a combination of things, and I think it starts with analyzing the conference we play in and how to beat the teams within it. I've always wanted to have a coach here who's very aggressive, with a lot of energy on the recruiting trail. If you look in the candidate pool and shop for character guys with that pedigree, I think you have the greatest chance of success."

Second, focus on defense: "You must be able to dominate defensively if you want to beat the best. It might be fun to watch, but you cannot sustain success if you're in a shootout every week. What you want is a head coach who can build a powerful, dominating defense. He can delegate offensive responsibility to an assistant, which in turn makes the offensive coordinator job very attractive."

Finally, re-establish a killer instinct: "This will date me, but it goes back to something that Don Coryell (pictured here) told me years ago at San Diego State. He said, 'The object of this game is to break your opponent's will as quickly as possible.' Everything about a team... philosophy is wrapped into that statement."