In previous years, we have shared blogs of a practice our staff does of drafting the players on our team in the order we would choose them if we were picking teams. We do it around the time of the NFL Draft. The post-draft staff discussions are always interesting as reasons are shared as to why one coach ranked a player so much higher than another.
It is not uncommon for coaches in our draft or executives in the NFL draft to get caught up in the “measurables”. College coaches do it as well in the recruiting process. Quarterbacks need to be 6′ 3″ or taller and offensive linemen need to be at least 6′ 4″. The athletic test know as “The Combine” tests players in the 40 yard dash, vertical jump, bench press, broad jump, shuttle, and three cone drill. Coaches have rows and columns of “measurables” yet some players find ways to surprise. Personally, I became a fan of the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers when I saw their offensive success with a 5′ 9″ Center. As a former 5′ 9″ college Center, I have an appreciation for overcoming those stereotypes and delivering above cursory expectations.
While the NFL draft and the college recruiting process affords coaches the luxury of being picky in player selection, high school football does not offer such indulgences. We coach the boys who live in our town and try to put the best 11 on the field regardless of their size. As my high school defensive coordinator, Ed Heffernan used to say, “do not prejudice a player based on his size.”
A “higher maxim” found in 1 Samuel 16:7 teaches us, “…the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Others seem to echo similar sentiments as in Admiral William H McCraven’s famous University of Texas commencement speech stating: “if you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart.” Unfortunately, the NFL has yet to find a way to track heart size as a measurable. While I claim to be no better at measuring heart, I would like to emphasize the importance in a high school coaches’ role in leading, guiding, teaching, and mentoring our student athletes to build as big a heart as bench press or squat. When adversity finds our players later in life (as it finds us all), adversity never checks the tangibles. Our athletes’ hearts are measured in resilience, endurance, and perseverance. As coaches, our charge is to help them do more than they thought possible, so that some day when tested by adversity, they will find themselves equal to that task (Combine or no combine!)
Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at firstname.lastname@example.org and share http://www.olineskills.com with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for supporting this blog and joining our conversations, and as always, thanks for your time!