Want to know how long it took Chuck Amato to leave an impression on the FSU linebackers?
About five seconds. Just ask junior Geno Hayes.
"We were in a meeting (and) the first time he came in the room he said he was going to organize the whole room," Hayes said. "Usually, everybody would be scattered out in certain areas. So he had the starters get in the front, the second team get in the second row and stuff like that.
"Then he started going on talking about being late to class and if we are lazy he's going to run us. He let us know off the top what he was going to do. I think that was a good thing when he came in."
Amato returns to Tallahassee after serving as NC State's head coach for six seasons. Prior to his time Raleigh, N.C., he worked under FSU Coach Bobby Bowden for 18 seasons.
Hayes said that his new coach is preaching discipline.
"He says that the more disciplined off the field the more disciplined we'll be on the field," said Hayes, who is the only returning starter at linebacker. "He says that they've done research showing something about the more you do off the field the less penalties you get. It shows because when we played NC State they didn't have that many penalties against us."
Amato's presence has already been felt in mat drills and in the players' free time.
"If you mess up, you are in trouble," Hayes said. "He's gonna run you, he's gonna put you in a situation where you've got to move your arms for 30 minutes straight so when you can't get done you can't even pick you arms up. He's big on clean locker rooms, have your locker with no dirt and no extra shoes. No (hooded sweatshirts) in the stadium. No hats in the stadium. No earrings."
In addition to a renewed focus on matters off the field, there will be some changes in the way the game is played by the linebackers.
In fact, Amato uses a different philosophy than that of former linebackers coach Kevin Steele.
"I can tell you that Coach Steele would rather have linebackers put offensive linemen in the hole," Hayes said. "He wants more physical. Coach Amato is more like a speed guy. You use your speed if you have to. You don't have to get into contact situations you just go ahead and run past offensive linemen."
With spring practice set to begin in in just a short time, the Seminoles will be looking to start the 2007 season with the hopes on improving on last year's misfortunes.
With several new coaches on the offensive side of the ball, and the addition of Amato to the defensive unit, the players hope that's the right ingredient in getting the 'Noles back to where they used to be.
"Bringing in Coach Amato, everybody feels like when he was here we were winning games and championships," Hayes said. "That brought a real good spark to the defense when we found out he was coming. At first we didn't think he was coming so when we found out, we were like ‘yeah, we good now.'"
Added sophomore defensive tackle Budd Thacker: "He's one heck of a coach."
Amato all about discipline, utilizing speed
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