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#TakeASide: Should a new coordinator adopt your existing terminology, or bring his own?


Atlanta Journal Constitution

While out on his off season speaking tour of Georgia, Mark Richt spent some time talking about his new offensive coordinator, Brian Schottenheimer. Schottenheimer, who has nine years of coordinating experience in the NFL, takes over for Mike Bobo, who previously held the offensive coordinator title under Richt dating back to 2007, before taking the Colorado State head coaching job this past off season.

"Coach Schottenheimer has been hired to coordinate the offense, and call the game, so it's important for whoever is calling the game to have a comfort level with what he is about to say. One of the reasons we hired coach Schottenheimer is because, philosophically, he likes to do what we do and what we've been doing."

"We like to run the football, we like to play action pass, and we want to be able to spread it out and throw it as good as anyone in America," Richt explained. "We do have a few new things terminology wise, but concept wise it's almost identical."

Richt brings up a really good point about wanting his play caller to have a certain comfort level. But a lot of other head coaches in the profession believe in what lies on the other side of the coin; if you bring in a new coordinator, and decide to use the same terminology that you've used in the past, only one person (the new coordinator) has to learn a new system, and the other 50, or 70, or 100 guys on the roster don't have to learn a bunch of new terminology.

There are valid points to each side, so I'm going to ask you to pick a side, and defend your opinion in the comments below, or via Twitter (@CoachSamz). For the sake of the argument, let's assume you're bringing in a new coordinator after your previous one spent four seasons with you.

Side 1: The new coordinator adopts your previous terminology

In this situation, you decide on a new coordinator, and instead of having your entire team and coaching staff learn a new system, you have your new hire adopt your previous terminology and try to hit the ground running.

Pros: Your team and coaching staff retain a sense of consistency with the previous system.
Cons: Your play caller on game day has to learn a whole new system from what he's accustomed to.

Side 2: You allow your new coordinator to bring his own terminology and system

This is more along the Mark Richt train of thought. You want your coordinator to feel comfortable calling plays on game day, so you allow him to bring his own system, complete with his own set of concepts and terminology. This means that your coaching staff and your entire roster dig into a new playbook so that everyone can get on the same page.

Pro: The new coordinator has an immediate sense of comfort in his new surroundings and has a command for the system, which could really help with the learning curve with players and the staff.
Cons: Your coaching staff and entire roster have to get up to speed with a new system and new terminology, which could easily set you back a step or two from where you want to be.

There are a lot of other variables to consider (for example, you wouldn't bring in a proven guy like Will Muschamp and ask him to adopt your system), but at face value, where do you stand?

Over the next few weeks, we'll take a look at a number of issues like this that divide the coaching profession and get your input, and share it with the rest of the profession. Have an idea on the next issue we should tackle? Send suggestions to or via twitter @CoachSamz.