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Aug 30, 2014; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke yells to his team in the first quarter against the Appalachian State Mountaineers at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan Wolverine Football: Coaches Orchestrating The Big Game

GBMWolverine Coach's Corner2Posted at 4:00pm — 9/4/2014

Michigan Wolverine Football: Coaches Orchestrating The Big Game

Michigan at Notre Dame

Fandom has a perception of coaches preparing for the big game. It involves emotion and energy. This is true, but emotion and energy are mere factors, such as two bees in a hive. Much more is involved. How a coaching staff chooses to prepare a team for a monster and epic rivalry game that has taken on a grudge match exterior is important, very important. Just like conductors decide on how to play the bizarre Symphonie Fantastique by Berlioz, coaches must set a total tone for preparing a team for a game such as Michigan and Notre Dame. Note this: the preparation began long before Monday, when exactly is anyone’s guess.

Aug 30, 2014; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke during warm ups before the game against the Appalachian State Mountaineers at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Aug 30, 2014; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke during warm ups before the game against the Appalachian State Mountaineers at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Set the Stage:
Coach Hoke did this last year before the “Chicken Game.” Yes, that comment can be attributed to last year, but make no mistake the effect is residual and the stage remains the same, just a different Act and a different Scene. The importance of the game has been defined, the reasons to win have been delineated, and the urgency has oozed out of Coach Hoke’s pores.

Do the research, out-plan the opponent- There is already a thick file at Schembechler Hall on the Notre Dame offense and defense. The file material is to be expanded and the coaching staff must develop a best option plan on how to take the Michigan talent and get the most out of a game plan. The game plan will result from a mixture of strengths, weaknesses, and philosophical beliefs of the coordinators.

Understand and practice master psychology- Some coaches have it in this realm. The stage is set, the plan is in motion, but there must be constant and master psychology at work. Psychology may not substitute for blocking, running, and tackling, but it cannot be dismissed.

The master of game preparation immediately projects a supreme confidence; the players are convinced beyond any doubt that they will win the game. They end up with total faith in the staff and become an instrument of this confidence. There is no hesitation, no angst, and no internal conflict. Instead all of the energy is used for preparation.

Doug Nussmeier and Brady HokeKeep the focus:
There is no tolerance for any distractions in the game preparation period, excepting an occasional boys will be boys disagreement on the field. Even these episodes can be manipulated by the staff and used for further motivation. There is no need to worry about a lack of focus if everyone buys into the mission. The orchestrators (coaches) go bonkers when a player strays off the path and causes some sort of unnecessary distraction, typically an overactive mouth. The coaches do not want the opponents to have further motivation; there is already an ample supply.

The sermon:
Before the game there must be a way to congregate all the energy into one simple theme: the glory and rewards of winning. This can be the classic pre-game pep talk, or a given cause to play for, or just pure hatred. Whatever it is, at this moment the coaches must turn the power switch on, but not to the extent that the team hits a short or runs out of power before the game.

January 1,2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke talks with defensive coordinator Greg Mattison against the South Carolina Gamecocks during the first half of the 2013 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Last, Poise and courage:
A common thought is that the hay is in the barn and the game will now be determined by the players. This is only so to some degree. Coaches must instantly engage in the chess match between staffs and early results must show that the planning stage yielded positive results. Coaches must show controlled energy that enables good decisions and demonstrates poise, a trait that enhances focus and eliminates panic and fear. There will be critical times within the game that decisions must be made with quickness and intelligence. The staff that prepared for such contingencies has an advantage. Courage comes into play for coaches to have confidence not only in players but also themselves.

It is an exciting event to live through, but coaches earn their money in games such as what will play out Saturday night.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu

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