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Annual KU football coaching clinic mixes good entertainment with wealth of knowledge and coaching advice
The Kansas University football program wrapped up its annual coaching clinic on Saturday with the back end of a two-day clinic that drew dozens of college and high school coaches from around the area and focused on everything from X's and O's to the way KU coach Charlie Weis and his staff run the program.
The clinic was structured in a way that allowed every coach that attended a chance to interact with KU's coaching staff in small groups and also allowed time for the coaches to give presentations on a variety of topics that focused on their areas of expertise.
Defensive coordinator Dave Campo talked coverage concepts. Recruiting coordinator Rob Ianello shared with the coaches ways for them to help their athletes get recruited. And so on and so on.
All of the coaches who spoke at the event showed genuine enthusiasm and did not mail it in in any way. In fact, several of them seemed legitimately bummed when the time ran out on their Saturday sessions. Here are but a few of the more interesting and/or entertaining points:
• Weis kicked things off bright and early Saturday morning with a brief overview of who he was, where he came from and where he was headed. His message was simple and he repeated it often: “You have to change with the times and be able to adapt you to your personnel not your personnel to you. It's a big difference, fellas.”
Weis, who emphasized a football coach's role as a teacher, said he first learned that extremely important lesson from the first coach who ever hired him in Morristown, N.J.
“When I understood that football is nothing other than the subject you teach, that's when I really became a football coach,” Weis said.
• Linebackers coach Clint Bowen, who diagramed run fits and discussed them in terms of concepts the way Campo described Read, Mix and Cloud coverage concepts, shared with the coaches in attendance some words of wisdom he first heard from former KU defensive coordinator Bill Young.
“The more times you can say always and never the better chance you have,” Bowen said.
Most of the material covered by both Campo and Bowen focused on generalizing your defense and the buzz words within it to make it as easy as possible to adjust quickly from one look to another.
• Offensive line coach Tim Grunhard, in wrapping up his session, made a genuine plea to the coaches in attendance to come up and hang out in the summer from time to time. Grunhard, who coached for six years at Bishop Miege High, said he never got the feeling during that stretch that KU's coaching staff reached out to the prep community, and he's proud to be part of a staff that values that and sees its importance.
• Strength and conditioning coach Scott Holsopple may have stolen the show by talking with great enthusiasm about the ins and outs of his job and laying out not only his personal philosophies about strength training but also outlining a year in the life of the KU football program. He talked fast and covered everything, from what the Jayhawks do and how often they do it during spring, the offseason and in season to what they do on a daily basis and why it's important.
At the end of Holsopple's talk, which went 10-15 minutes longer than scheduled, several coaches in attendance were so fired up that they turned to one another and simply said, “Let's go get a workout in.”
Perhaps the best part of Holsopple's session was not the behind-the-scenes look at how KU football operates, but the way he tailored his talking points to what could best help the coaches in attendance. Throughout the hour-long Q&A, Holsopple kept going back to the fact that he wanted this to be worth these guys' time and wanted to help them get as much out of it as they could, stuff that they could learn and take back to their programs and utilize.
• Friday night's portion of the clinic included two guest speakers, legendary Florida high school coach George Smith and Smith Center, Kan., high school coach Roger Barta. Before the room broke up into buzz sessions by positions, the two coaching giants held court on everything from their humble beginnings in the business to detailed
More than a couple of coaches, including Campo, told me Saturday that the hour-long session run by those two guys was as cool a moment as they had enjoyed in coaching in a long time.
• In addition to the individual time with KU's coaching staff, the coaches at the clinic were invited to watch Friday's regular practice and a 90-play scrimmage on Saturday.