“If you could have every one of your players wake up in the morning and think of one thing, what would it be?”

That was an actual question posed by an audience member during one of Matt Rhule’s recent off season speaking engagement stops, and Rhule was taken aback a little bit by the depth of the inquiry.

After responding with “I’d say be at class on time,” which drew some laughter from the crowd, Rhule reflected some more and offered an outstanding, eye opening response.

“I was an an FCA thing with Chad Morris the other day. He had this great thing where he asked every player, in 25 words or less, tell me who you are and he said most kids cant’ do that.”

“Then he says, well tell me what you want to be someday, how you want to be remembered, and that’s kind of your mission statement. So I think the biggest thing that I want to talk to our players about all the time, if I can get them to think about, is ‘Who am I? And what’s my purpose?”

“See, one of the reasons why football players struggle when they’re done playing in the NFL, and one of the reasons why some of our young football players struggle in this transition to college, is they confuse their purpose with their passion so often.

My purpose in life is not to be a football coach. That’s my passion. I love it. I would do this, don’t tell Mack [Rhodes], but I would do this for free. My purpose in life is to minister to kids, that’s what God put me on this Earth to do, is to work with young people. My passion is to do it through football. And our kids sometimes think that their purpose is to play football. No – it’s their passion. What their purpose is, is to be wonderful fathers, and sons, and people to grow in their walk with the Lord.”

Then Rhule circled back around to answer the original question.

So I would just want them to always say ‘Who am I?’ Because when you forget who you are, sometimes you start to think that you’re a hotshot and you make mistakes. And then you forget who you are and football’s not going your way, you start thinking that you have no worth. When you think your worth is tied up in how many touchdowns you catch, or how many games you win, you get distorted one way or another.

“That’s something that my parents instilled in me, and that’s something that hopefully we instill in the young people on our team.”

Hear Rhule’s full response below.

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Content manager - Doug took the reins in 2011 and the website has been better ever since. A former college player and small college coach, Doug now serves as assistant head coach / offensive coordinator at West Ottawa HS (MI).