Coaching duties, headsets and charting plays

FOOTBALL FANS LAST Saturday may have seen former Husky great Marques Tuiasosopo -- now the UW's assistant strength coach -- wearing a headset and mouthpiece during Washington's season-opening loss to LSU. It's so unusual to see a "strength coach" in such a role during a game that we asked Washington State about its policy on who can and can't wear a headset during football games..

Steve Robertello, Washington State's associate athletic director in charge of compliance, didn't want to comment on UW, but he did answer questions about what Washington State does in the area of game day coaching.

"Our strength coaches are not wearing headsets during games...Obviously, only your full time coaches and two GA's can be involved in coaching duties during a game. We have had the discussion that there is really no need for a strength coach to have a headset on," said Robertello.

Which begs a number of reasonable questions. If you're putting a headset onto a strength coach, for what reason? They're not a countable coach, should they really be charting plays? Isn't their school-specified contribution to the football program in the area of strength and conditioning, rather than charting plays?

When you put a headset and mouthpiece on a strength coach, it certainly then makes it a lot easier for them to be involved in coaching related duties, does it not?

A blog entry by Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times this week on the matter read: "(Steve) Sarkisian said that former UW QB Marques Tuiasosopo has a headset on during game days so he can listen to all the plays and then chart them, which school officials say is legal for a strength coach. A UW official said "Marques cannot perform any coaching activities, which he is not. The headset is to help communicate amongst the staff." He said there are additional non-coaching staffers on head sets during games other than just Tuiasosopo."

Robertello says that at Washington State, the headsets the Cougar student assistants wear are different than those worn by the coaching staff.

"For our two student assistants, not our GA's but our two student assistants, if you look at their headsets they are earpieces only. They do not have the ability to speak or make any comments to the coaching staff members," said Robertello.

So at WSU, the "non-coaching staffers" can listen, but they can't communicate directly with the staff on headsets during the game, thereby eliminating potential involvement in coaching duties.

Screen captures sent to CF.C by message boarders show Tuiasosopo wearing a headset that has a mouthpiece.

The Seattle Times blog entry quotes the unnamed UW official saying Tuiasosopo is wearing a headset, "to help communicate amongst the staff."

Asked if a Cougar assistant strength coach were to wear a headset, and if he were to communicate amongst the WSU staff that, for example, he noticed something, and they should therefore run this or that, Robertello said that would be against the rules.

"The rule that spells all of that out is they cannot be involved in -- and it's very specific within the rules -- non-coaching staff members cannot be involved in coaching related meetings, discussions, anything along the lines of coaching activities during practice, games, etc. They cannot be involved in those activities," said Robertello.

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