A Q&A With Football GA Coach Jody Wright

Mississippi State offensive graduate assistant coach Jody Wright talks about what part he plays in the behind the scenes activity of Mississippi State football.

What are some things you do behind the scenes that fans might not know about?
Jody Wright - "Basically, we are in charge of breaking down our opponent's film during the week. We'll break it down, then type it in the computer. As an example, if we want to watch every time a team blitzes in a certain situation or how they play a certain formation, then all we have to do is click on it and pull up every time they ran that blitz or coverage.

"We'll also make the scout team cards every day.

"When you are a graduate assistant you do jobs to try and save the coaches time because Coach Croom and all the coaches work such long hours. They are here all day and they are watching so much film, meeting with players, coaching players as well as recruiting next years players. It's amazing how many hours they work each day and the energy they keep with the kids, especially Coach Croom because he's constantly doing interviews and gameplans. I don't know how he manages all that he does, but his drive to see us succeed is amazing."

Explain what you mean by typing it in.
"We type the breakdown data in a computer and it filters. Then, Brock Dulaney, our video coordinator, matches up the film, captures all the film. We then break it down to make it easier on the coaches. The players and coaches can watch the opponent film in the football meeting rooms and Brock will also burn DVDs for the players so they can take them home watch DVDs in their rooms after practice. "

When do you break the games down?
"During the season we will try to have four or five games broken down. We'll also break our own games down to see our tendencies. Coach Croom is big on that because it is real big in the NFL. It's kind of like quality control, seeing where you are, seeing your strengths and weaknesses."

What is your week like? Let's start after the game Saturday.
"After the game Saturday, we will type the call sheet. You have to make sure all the plays match up with the game film. The coaches will be in early Sunday morning to grade the film, so you have to have the play call sheets on their desks. A lot of times Brock is up here really late, as well as the other GAs getting that ready. Sometimes you will go ahead and start breaking down the next week's opponent."

What is Sunday like?
"Sunday, we will work with our coaches. They'll come in and grade all the film. We'll then total the grades. And Coach Croom will get an evaluation of each player. Then, as an offensive staff, we'll watch the game after everybody has graded it. Then, as soon as that's over we'll start the gameplan for the next week's game.

"We have to have everything broken down for the next week's opponent, from the depth chart, to their tendencies, to their film breakdown, as well as our quality control ready for the coaches by Sunday afternoon."

What do you do Monday?
"We'll start doing our base gameplan for our next opponent and get things ready for Monday's practice. We watch the tape with the players, then we draw the scout cards. The scout team uses those cards to see what they are to do during a play.

"We also have to make wrist bands for every practice."

What is a normal Tuesday like?
"Tuesday, we start game planning for the third downs and other situations. We'll also do all our play sheets and do a power point of plays for the players to watch in their position meetings with the coaches so they will be able to learn the plays for that weeks gameplan.

"After practice, a lot of times the coaches will come in and script the practice for the next day. And we'll also watch film of our next opponent. The coaches are up here until 9 or 10 o'clock at night watching the opponent. After they leave, we do things such as power point the next days plays."

What about Wednesday?
"The next morning we watch the previous day's practice film. All of our coaches are normally here by 6 or 7 o'clock. Somebody like Coach Grimes will come in at 4 or 5 o'clock in the morning and watch practice. You have to do this in case a player is doing something wrong in practice. You then try to correct it in the players meeting.

"You also start putting the gameplan on paper. And Brett Morgan, another graduate assistant, does an excellent job. And Brian Anderson, a student assistant coach last year, helps us as well. We all three worked together."

Thursday's up next.
"It's usually lighter on Thursday. The gameplan will get finalized. That sometimes takes four or five hours. But you have to make sure everything is right on the gameplan because we want to make it as easy on the coaches as possible come gameday There is so much stress on them during a game. We'll also check all the wrist bands three or four times because that is what the calls come off of. And the way Coach Croom has our system set up, nobody can steal our signals because of the way we have them set up and because we change them every week."

What do you do Friday?
"Friday, we start working on next week's opponent. And if you are going on the road you have to pack everything - wrist bands, scripts, power point. You double check to make sure you don't leave anything."

What is it like gameday?
"There is nothing better when you get to the stadium and see the fans and feel the atmosphere. One of my favorite things is seeing the coaches interact and dealing with the players and preparing them to do their best. Our coaches do an excellent job of keeping everyone poised and confident on gameday. I really love hearing Coach Croom give a pregame speech; if you are not ready to put on the Maroon and give it your all after his speeches, you shouldn't be a football player."

What drives you as a graduate assistant coach?
"I want to be a major college head football coach. And God has really blessed me by allowing me to come to MSU. Coach Ellis Johnson gave me an opportunity to come here and he asked Coach Croom if he could bring me in to work for him my first year. I consider Coach Johnson one of the best coaches and one of the best people in the game today. And when you get here and work for a man like Coach Croom and all the other coaches like Coach McCorvey, Coach Grimes, Coach Washington, Coach Felker and Coach Stringer and our whole staff.

"I also have a great family that has always supported me. My whole life I watched my father who was a head high school coach for 23 years make an impact on so many people's lives. Coach Croom reminds me so much of my father in that they try to produce winning people and they will always make sure their football program has class and character. They don't coach for the money, or to receive awards. They, as well as all our coaches, coach to make a difference and to produce winners on and off the field and the winning of championships will take care of its self. I strive everyday to be like them. I know how lucky I am to be given this opportunity and how many people would love to be in my shoes."

It sounds like you graduate assistants put in a lot of hours yourselves.
"All of our GAs work really hard and well together - Wesley Goodwin, Marcus Loving and Brian Kilgore do an excellent job on defense, Brock Dulaney and I work together a lot. And former GAs such as Ryan Hollern and Reed Stringer have helped me tremendously. Reed was the offensive GA Coach Croom's first year. Just looking at Reed as a young coach, you see how hard he works at recruiting and learning the game, and just what a good person he is. And Ryan is such a good story. He came in as a volunteer coach and is now head of our recruiting operations. Ryan has brought our recruiting to a whole new level. What we are able to get accomplished in recruiting with the budget that we have compared to other SEC schools is amazing and he is a huge part of that. I can't tell you how much he has helped me. Some nights we would be up here until 12 and 1 o'clock and I know I must have been driving him crazy asking questions. And he's now one of my best friends. Kevin Murphy, who was here when I first got here and now works with the Houston Texans, really worked with me and helped me out a lot. Brad Pendergrass has also helped me a lot. Our secretaries have also gone above and beyond the duty for us Mrs. Nancy, Mrs. Susan, and Mrs. Linda and we just added Mrs. Angie. And one of our secretaries, Jane Ballard, is recovering from an operation. Our prayers are with her.

"And when you have bosses like Coach Croom, Coach McCorvey, Coach Grimes it's easy. If you want to be a head coach someday, what better man to work for than Coach Croom, a man who worked under Coach (Paul) Bryant and who is one of the most respected and best coaches in the NFL and college. Like with the players, he truly cares about you. You have so much respect for him. And you want to do above and beyond because he cares so much about you and you see his commitment and passion in his plan in taking this program to a championship level."

You mentioned the coaches. You actually work with one, Coach Grimes, most of the time don't you?
"Yes, it's been great working for Coach Grimes. I really enjoy seeing first-hand the way he conducts himself in being great coach and recruiter but more importantly a great father, husband, and man. He's the definition of a first-rate professional. I can't describe the impact he has had on me and the many great things he has taught that I will take with me the rest of my career.

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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