Every Flower Doesn't Bloom On First Day of Spring

After spending their first night on campus, the newly arrived freshmen face a full day--the first day of the rest of their football and college life. It is scheduled strictly, and coaches are watching them closely to determine not only fooball skills and talent, but leadership skills and character. In another piece in his series, former ND recruiting coordinator Bob Chmiel takes a look at the first full day of a freshman football player's life on campus.

Copyright by Global Electronic Telecommunications, publishers of IrishEyes.Com®

August 13, 2001
Third in a Series

‘Every Flower Doesn't Bloom on the First Day of Spring'

By Bob Chmiel
For The IrishEyes.Com NewsService

NOTRE DAME, Ind. (IE) –After their first night on campus, the newly arrived freshmen awake to face the first day of the rest of their college and football life.

Since they arrived and as they head into their first full day on campus, they are being watched closely and every action is being evaluated to determine character, dedication, football ability, leadership and smarts.

It is important that from the staff's point of view, the day runs as smoothly as possible, as true to form as possible so that the proper evaluations can be made with confidence. Each day during training camp, one member of the coaches' staff, along with a graduate assistant coach, is assigned the title of "duty coach." The responsibility is to ensure that one person on that particular day is totally abreast of details organizationally that go into the efficient operation of that twenty-four hour period.

Each day has its own nuances, and these need to be addressed. As an example, if a coach's assigned day is media or picture day, he is responsible for having the team and coaches arrive on time. Communication with the sports information department on that day is critical. Any special situations that may arise are reported to the head coach.I always felt that as a staff it was critical to meet early and review each day's activities for possible administrative differences.

 The day should also close with an evaluation of the events of the day. I liked to keep things tight and you can always improve through constructive evaluation. This is what the first day of a newly arrived freshman might look like:

7:00 am - Wake-up (Continental breakfast at the dorm);
 7:45 am - Report to the weight room- testing
      1) Strength Testing
      2) Cardiovascular Testing
8:30 am - Breakfast;
9:00 am - Team and Position Meetings;
9:55 am - Practice Field- Stretch;
10:00 am - Practice;
11:30 am - Leave Field;
12:00 am - Lunch;
2:30 pm - Position Meeting (taped and dressed);
3:25 pm - On Field- Stretch;
3:30 pm - Kicking game Practice;
4:00 pm - Begin Regular Practice;
5:30 pm - Leave the Field;
6:00 pm - Begin Dinner;
7:30 pm - Meetings (kick game);
8:15 pm - Position Meeting;
10:10 pm - Snack;
10:30 pm - Lights Out!

It's important that as freshmen go through this schedule, they remember this is their first day. But as the saying goes, he must "hit the street running."

 During each phase of this day the young men are being evaluated. Is he in the right position? Should he move to offense? Should he move to defense? Can he contribute in the kicking game? And yes, should we have recruited him?

I always found the evening coaches meeting interesting. The initial impressions the young men gave the staff would be scrutinized beyond belief. The recruiting coach is now going to the position coach for his reaction to a particular player. And yes, politics can enter into the practice. The head coach will want an oral report from each position coach. This report is given at a staff meeting.

 I distinctly remember one year a rookie coach saying, "This guy will never play at the collegiate level." His statement galled me. The young man became our captain, and played four years in the National Football League.

Hey pal, "Every flower does not blossom on the first day of spring!"


Bob Chmiel is a former recruiting coordinator and assistant coach at Notre Dame and at Michigan. He is a regular contributor to IrishEyes on TheInsiders.Com sports network.!

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