Finishing Games and that Killer Instinct

da Coach's Mother always told him to finish what he started.<br> But not finishing games has become a criticism of the 2003 Wildcat football team. Coach Roy has some thoughts on teams that learn to put away opponents, and finish games...

Coaches always talk about developing a killer instinct because its almost impossible to teach. A team either has it or they don't.

The New York Yankees seem to always have the ability to put a team away. They take pitchers deep into counts, then get hits. They continue to score runs until they demoralize pitchers. Along with their fans, the killer instinct is one reason so many fans of other teams hate games with the Yankees, the D*** Yankees expect to win.

On the other hand, back when I lived in Dallas, I remember Tom Landry decrying the fact that at time the Cowboys, wouldn't [or couldn't] put teams away. You could count on columns and commentaries each week about the lack of a "killer instinct" on "America's Team."

Northwestern under Gary Barnett had teams that had the instinct, and so have some Randy Walker teams.

Players like Zak Kustok led teams that had the ability to go for the Jugular, and he led teams that didn't.

In our 2 games this year, we seemed to pull back when we got ahead. For some reason, our Cats haven't developed the ability to finish the game.

Not that we're not trying -- I've heard a lot of whining about our play calling after the loss Saturday. If you read all the opinions, we should have sat on the ball, thrown long, played ball control, all contradictory opinions.

But if you read the comments from the Coaches and the Players, we lost because we were aggressive, continuing to pass with the lead. Jason Wright, echoing QB Brett Basanez, even commented that he wants the offensive coordinator to be aggressive on the field, sounds promising, doesn't it?

But all this discussion of finishing an opponent also speaks to a broader stage than just Football.

On this anniversary of 9-11, the Attack on America, we hear many voices asking us to pull back from finishing the job in the middle east. Forget that certain factions overseas declared war on us and our way of life, we're being told to hold back from finishing the job. They want us to "sit on the ball, and play out the clock."

I suspect that if you ask these people about their favorite team, they'll tell you that they want their favorite team to be aggressive, and finish off their opponents completely and decisively. Maybe this mixed message is the problem, but this isn't the forum for a discussion of politics.

In any case, I'm not sure how you get an entire team to develop a desire to finish off an opponent. Its one of the reasons why I've never wanted to be the head coach anywhere, I'm not sure how, or if you can do it.

Every team that I've worked with that developed the "killer instinct," developed it from inside, the players just decided to never let up until they had completely beaten the opponent.

The Wildcat players who have been interviewed this week sound like they now believe that they have to finish games.

They had a good lesson last Saturday from a group of guys who are trained never to give up.

I think we'll all see this Saturday, if the lesson stuck.
-- da Coach

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