Just as coaches evaluate players every chance they get, head coaches and coordinators are evaluating their staffs as well on a daily basis. It’s safe to say that many assistants are evaluating one another constantly to prepare for the moment they’re putting together their own staff as a head coach or coordinator.
Evaluation has always been, and always will be, a staple of the profession. At the end of every season a coach evaluates his entire staff, from top to bottom, and decides on changes for the good of the program.
Yesterday, Brian Kelly pulled back the curtain a bit to explain how he evaluates his coaches. The Irish staff saw quite a bit of turnover after their 4-8 finish last season, so Kelly’s insight is quite interesting as new coaches step into roles on both sides of the ball. Both Irish coordinators are new (Mike Elko is the new DC and Chip Long the new OC), Tommy Rees will coach the quarterbacks (technically, as a GA), Clark Lea will handle the linebackers, and DelVaughn Alexander will coach the wide receivers. Mike Balis is also new on staff, overseeing strength and conditioning.
So what is Kelly evaluating as the head coach of the program?
“My evaluation is making sure the teaching and the programming stays consistent to what I’ve laid out. Our players should know what to expect on a day to day basis, as well as the teaching. I want positive teaching. I want everything to be followed up with good communication, so when it is being taught, they clearly can understand what is being taught to them and they can settle into it being replicated after it’s being taugh.”
“So I’m listening to the teaching, the communication, making sure there is a consistency in how they are communicating.”
“I think of it as, the coaches are responsible for the engine of those players. So they have to build competency with those players, in other words they have to build them up so they feel like they can be effective players and execute what they’re asked to execute. Then there has to be that buy in to that particular drill, and them understanding the drill. Then they have to relate it to the big picture, ‘Why are we doing this drill?'”
“That’s all very important. That’s motivation. They have to be motivated through those forms. That’s what I’m looking at and evaluating from a drill to drill and station by station basis.”