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Want to build a Danasty call the guy that has Done it Twice!

Jim Donnan-

jimdonnanga8.jpg

Great Talent Scout for College Football/ Great Coach/Great OC!

I believe,

he is the best talent scout,

thats right McKay,

even better than U at it!

Combining these two would lead to a dynasty, IMO!

Donnan: """""""""""""""""Make them believe"""""""""""""""""""""

"Jim Donnan was a college football coach and is now an on-air television analyst for college football games.

Jim Donnan was the Offensive Coordinator at the University of Oklahoma from 1985-1989. From 1985-1988, he coached under Barry Switzer, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and Super Bowl winning coach. Donnan coached the legendary Oklahoma Sooner Wishbone Offense that helped the Sooners to impressive 11-1 seasons from 1985-1987, including a national championship in 1985. In 1986, the Sooners scored 508 points, which at the time was the second highest point total in the schools storied history, trailing only the Sooners 1971 NCAA record setting rushing offense that scored 534 points. [1]

Donnan was head football coach at Marshall University, where he led the Thundering Herd to a 64-21 record from 1990 to 1995, including five consecutive 11-plus win seasons and the 1992 NCAA Division I-AA national football championship. He was named the Division I-AA Coach of the Year twice.

Donnan was then the head football coach at the University of Georgia from 1996 to 2000. He compiled a 40-19 record during his tenure. He was the first football coach in school history to lead Bulldog teams to four consecutive Bowl victories. Under Donnan, the Bulldogs won the Outback Bowl in 1997, the Peach Bowl in 1998, the Outback Bowl in 1999, and the Oahu Bowl in 2000. Before the 1997 against Mississippi State, Donnan drove a steamroller into practice and told his players they "were either going to be the steamroller or the pavement"; Georgia won the game 47-0.[1]

Donnan currently works as an analyst for [ESPN]"

----

Ambush leads to upset for underdogs

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/columns/story?id=1882939

By Jim Donnan

Fans, players and coaches are constantly amazed at what they deem improbable or unbelievable victories by teams that seemingly had no chance. We saw some notable upsets last week -- Notre Dame over Michigan among them -- and it's likely there will be more this weekend.

"What goes into those victories? I will go over the coaching philosophies I used when preparing my teams for a so-called upset when no one else gave us much of a chance.

We'll focus on game week, of course, but everyone knows the development of a team starts in the spring, carries over into the fall and through the season itself. Every member of the program must commit to team victory. All individual goals must be centered around the team's ultimate goal. As the saying goes, "There is no greater reward than team victory."

Team members must know their roles and know that whether they are a starter or on the scout team, they are part of the bigger picture.

Coaches have to be realistic in their delivery to the team. They have seen the tape. They know the size and skill of the opponent. Coaches must have a plan that acknowledges an underdog will need help from the opponent. "We'll have a difficult time beating this group, but they could lose to us."

I stressed that protecting the ball, taking calculated risks and avoiding major mental mistakes and penalties would give us a shot. Sell the team on fighting for every inch of field position, seizing the moment and protecting your own territory with good decisions on the little things (hidden yardage in the kicking game, no lost yardage plays, no major penalties).

The theme I liked to use -- an ambush -- came out of a Western movie. No one is expecting us to win, no one is worried about our poor little team, and no one is prepared for what we are about to do. We have a battle plan and will fight to protect it at all costs. Sell them on that, the players will not even consider that the plan will not accomplish the goal. The trap has been set, now they have to execute.

At the pregame meal I would ask each player to stand up and dedicate his performance to someone -- parents, siblings, friends -- who would receive his game ball after the win. By doing so he was committing himself, saying there is no way he would let that person down without giving his best individual performance ever. I asked them to visualize how great the moment would be when they were sharing the victory with teammates and that game ball with someone they love.

During practice that week we focused on situational work. We knew what won for us last year or last week, and we knew what got us beat. It is important to learn from success, but more importantly how to react in those situations where we were beaten. We did not say "if only" we would have done this or that. Instead, the words "next time" were on our lips. We were ready for the next time.

Teams suffer through tough losses because of inability to react to the pressure, but they have to expect to win because they're prepared to win. Victory does not always go to the bigger, stronger, faster man, but often to the one who believes he can win.

I've been involved in some big wins and gut-wrenching losses, but the few games we won against seemingly insurmountable odds stand out more than the Oklahoma national championship team on which I coached and my Marshall team that won a Division I-AA title because of the tremendous belief that the group as a whole would not be denied.

------

Plenty to be done

http://espn.go.com/ncf/columns/donnan/1456884.html

By Jim Donnan

Special to ESPN.com

In my days as a head coach I delegated various aspects of the offensive game plan to each member of my staff. Here is a look at how weekly preparation was organized and the different aspects handled by the coaches

Game Plan Organization

1. Opponent breakdown

2. Emphasis - Cut-ups

A. Situations

1. Fronts/stunts/dogs/blitz

2. Formations

3. Red Zone

4. Goal line

5. Short yardage

6. Coverages

7. Special Plays

8. Down and distance

a. P and 10

b. All 1st downs

c. 3rd and medium (3-6 yds.)

d. 3rd and long (7 or longer)

3. Handouts to players

4. Staff weekly organizational chart

A. Team schedule

B. Staff schedule

C. Game plan

D. Bulletin board

5. Self-scouting

A. Down and distance

B. Formation hit chart

C. Field position chart

6. Go-for-two chart/Kill-clock chart

7. Pass check list

8. Run check list

9. Specific situations game plan

A. Overall game plan organization

B. Fronts/games/stunts

C. Coverage

D. Red Zone

E. Goal line

F. Short yardage

G. Screens

H. Base runs

I. Base pass

J. Blitz pick-up

K. Two-play huddle

L. Play action

M. No backs

N. Options

O. Two-minute offense

P. Two-point plays

Q. Victory offense

R. Slow and fast safety

S. Freeze play

T. Special plays

U. Shifts and motions

V. Must-runs

In addition to game-planning responsibilities, each coach was in charge of one or more more of the following areas for practices

Practice Organization

1. Position

A. Offensive line

B. Tight ends

C. Running backs

D. Wide receivers

E. Quarterbacks

2. Practice schedule

3. Scripts

A. Inside

B. Inside skelly

C. Skelly

D. Team pass

E. Team

F. Blitz pick-up

4. Distribution of practice schedules and scripts

5. Equipment

6. Practice areas

7. Filming of practice

8. Meeting rooms

9. Scout team

10. Center-quarterback exchange

11. Team take-off

12. PAT and go-for-two

13. Gauntlet

14. Inside drill

15. One-on-one WR/DB

16. Inside skelly

17. Skelly

The staff duties for game week begin on right away on the Sunday following a game. As you can see, actual practice time makes up a small fraction of the game preparation.

Coaches Duties

A. Sunday

1. Grade film

2. Run game stats

3. pass game stats

4. Game summary

5. Turn in grades

6. Staff meeting

7. Review tape as a staff

8. Injuries

9. Self-scouting

10. Breakdown of opponents last game

11. Formulate scouting report

a. Base fronts

b. Coverages

c. Stunts/dogs/blitzes

d. Down and distance hit chart

e. Field position hit chart

f. Personnel

g. Cover page

B. Monday

1. Complete scouting report

2. Copy scouting report for distribution

3. Concerns vs.

a. Base runs

b. base protections

4. Formations - Shifts and motions

5. Lits runs by formation

6. List passes by formations

7. Goal line package

8. New ideas

9. Individual meeting

10. Goals meeting

11. Review Saturday game tapes (players)

12. Practice

13. Scouting report distribution

14. Kicking game responsibility

C. Tuesday

1. Options

2. Two-play huddle

3. Red zone

4. Play action

5. Sprint package

6. No backs

7. First down

8. Screens

9. New ideas

10. Review Monday

11. Individual meeting

12. Special teams

13. Practice

D. Wednesday

1. Complete goal line package

2. Short yardage upfield

3. Special plays

4. No huddle

5. Third down

6. Must-runs

7. Special motions or shifts

8. Fourth down

9. Two-point play

10. Review Monday and Tuesday

11. Individual meetings

12. Special teams

13. Practice

14. Begin tape breakdown of next opponent

15. Recruiting

E. Thursday

1. Pre-game plan ready

2. Wristbands

3. Review

a. Short yardage/goal line

b. Red Zone

c. Third and long

d. Two-minute offense

e. Blitz pick-up

f. Down-and-distance tendency

g. Two-play checks

h. Two-point play

i. Special plays

4. Begin tests and tips

5. Individual meeting

6. Practice

F. Friday

1. Give tests and tips

2. Final adjustments

3. Final game plan

4. Game objectives

5. Emphasis

a. Game plan

b. Special situations

c. Special teams

d. Offensive substitutions

e. Review anything new

f. Overtime

g. Victory offense

----------

What goes into a game plan?

http://espn.go.com/ncf/columns/donnan/1456847.html

By Jim Donnan

Special to ESPN.com

Rather than predicting what each team's game plan will be in the Miami-Tennessee matchup, this week I will give you an idea of how those game plans are formulated and what the teams may be doing in the days leading up to the game.

Game planning actually starts in the offseason, especially for the non-conference opponents teams do not see on a regular basis. The coaching staff will watch tapes, break down games from the previous season and spend plenty of time preparing a winter report for each opponent after the recruiting season ends in February.

That will be followed by some work during spring practice and a summer report that will set up a lot of the plans for the upcoming season.

Such early preparation gives coaches plenty of time and takes some of the pressure off. Staffs can spend a month looking at film in the offseason rather than cramming everything into one week during the season, leaving game week free to polish and perfect the plan already in place.

Few big changes are made during the week leading up to a particular game, but a lot of what happens is dictated by injuries.

As far as this game is concerned, Tennessee likely did not watch Miami's last few games and come away deciding to make wholesale changes. The Vols have probably not decided they are going to run right at the Hurricanes suddenly-weak rush defense on every play, but an injury to wide receiver Kelley Washington and the return to full health by running back Cedric Houston may result in some minor adjustments.

While preparing his players to face the No. 1 team in the nation a coach has to build up his motivational plan throughout the week, stressing what strengths can be utilized. False hope is always a poor way to communicate -- the coach needs to be concise and to the point while shooting straight with his players.

It is also good to keep the team loose but not being dead-serious all the time. I once rode a steamroller into practice to emphasize to my players that we could either be the pavement or the steamroller.

Daily short talks about pride, teamwork, unity and putting forth a great effort are vital. Tradition must be be stressed, as well as the fact that big games are often lost with turnovers, penalties and special teams mistakes.

Finally, I always maintained that we had to avoid mistakes and playing loose and constantly used the slogan "We are the best third-down team in America!"

--------

What's on the minds of coaches?

http://espn.go.com/ncf/columns/donnan/1464020.html

By Jim Donnan

Special to ESPN.com

As the college football season nears its climax and games take on added drama, preparation and coaching also have extra significance.

Both Miami's Larry Coker and Ohio State's Jim Tressel come into this week's games needing victories to remain undefeated and on track for a meeting in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Washington State's Mike Price and Oklahoma's Bob Stoops must avoid upsets to be able to exploit possible losses by the Hurricanes and Buckeyes.

Coaching philosophies evolve and grow constantly and become even more important as the stakes get higher and championships are decided. The following is a look at what some of the best coaches might be thinking about right now.

Encouragement, teaching, analysis

The first thing a coach needs to remember is to avoid over-coaching. He should let his players use their skills, because athletes will become confused and lose confidence if they are constantly questioned. Coaches should stress that football is a game, and encouragement and praise are always better than negative action. False praise, though, leads to false hope and is the worst thing a coach can give his team

A coach is always a teacher and that is especially important late in the season. What he knows is not as important as what he can get across to his players, and he has to be sound in getting across even the smallest details. And since the best players often decide games, they have to be ridden the hardest. They must be ready to use their skills.

While evaluating his team the coach should also recognize his own mistakes. Jim Tressel and Larry Coker have to ask themselves "Did we practice too hard or not enough?" They have to analyze every situation and respond accordingly the next time, because recognizing a problem is useless unless it is fixed. Repeated mistakes can lose games at this point in the season.

Preparation is paramount

This point must also be made to the players: Be physical! Superior mental, physical and emotional toughness are huge in games of this magnitude and have to become part of a team's trademark. Ohio State has to continue to run the ball well and Washington State quarterback Jason Gesser needs his celebrated toughness now more than ever.

Players must know, though, that they are the ones that win games, not coaches. The staff can only do so much. I used to tell my players "There is no greater reward than team victory."

If a coach can do all of the above things, coach his team up and get his players to realize their highest potential, good coaching and average personnel can win over poor coaching and great personnel. Something for the favorites to remember, as well.

That is where preparation comes into play. The Michigan-Ohio State game is being played on Saturday but it will be won from Monday through Friday of this week. Whichever coach can find the extra factor during the practice week -- taking off the pads or cutting back schedules -- increases his chances of winning.

A prepared team will react to sudden-change situations with poise and confidence and rise to the occasion more often.

In-game considerations

And as guys like Mike Price are readying their teams for Saturday they will likely focus on a few key points.

First, football is a game of third downs. Each team gets an average of 12-13 possessions in a game, and if a defense can force seven punts there is a good chance the opponent will stop itself with mistakes on most of the remaining possessions. The team that makes the fewest mistakes will win about 80 percent of the time.

There will also be five to seven plays between the 20-yard lines that are considered big plays, but the remaining big plays will take place in the red zone. This week, it will be important for a team like Oklahoma to score touchdowns inside the 20 and make Kliff Kingsbury and Texas Tech settle for field goals, because the longer the underdog hangs around the more it begins to believe it can win. The Sooners need to penetrate the enemy with scores and demoralize them with stops.

Those third-down and red-zone situations also play a big part in the field-position battle. Teams have to fight the entire game to get field position and keep it. They have to punch out first downs and keep drives alive but also know when is the right time to take shots down the field. The last thing Tressel wants is for Michigan to start drives in Ohio State territory with a short field.

The little things in the game plan also take on added significance, and since an average of one out of every six plays is a kick of some sort, it is important to stress those aspects of the game. A team never wants to lose out on something big because of a small mistake.

It's not just this week

And while the task at hand is important, it must also be remembered that building a winning program is a year-round job. Things like offseason conditioning and weight-lifting programs build togetherness and toughness, and from that a coach knows who he can count on in crunch time.

That becomes especially important for a team like Ohio State, which is facing its biggest rival with even more than usual on the line.

All this makes for a team that goes into every game, especially the biggest ones, with confidence. Belief is born out of demonstrated ability and players should not be asked to execute things that are beyond them. The risk-reward ratio is in a teams favor if the players feel they can make something happen, which is important because teams must be ready to be more daring when the stakes are high.

So what does all this mean? Well, it leads to the most important thing teams and coaches with national championship aspirations must do at this point in the year: avoid losses.

-----

Xs and Os are just part of being a great coach

http://espn.go.com/ncf/preview03/columns/donnan/1471120.html

By Jim Donnan

Special to ESPN.com

As the new season gets under way, more than 100 Division I-A coaches will go to work each morning and find about 200 people waiting for their marching orders.

Players, assistant coaches, strength and conditioning staff, trainers, managers and doctors, along with academic support staff and office staff are all depending on the coach. They look to him to provide leadership and direction in their various responsibilities to the success of the team.

So rather than dwell on the obvious -- the Xs and Os abilities that all good coaches have -- let's take a look at two traits which I believe separate the great coaches from the merely good.

The first is how well he handles pressure. Every coach in the country can tell people what to do before and after games, and they all can break things down on talk shows.

But what about when the band is playing? The ability to function with a clear mind and total focus is a rare trait in such situations. Decisions have to be made in 25 seconds that will affect the outcome of the game, many lives and championship hopes, and a coach must be able to thrive in that environment.

That means a coach has to prepare his team in such a way that it reaches its zenith on Saturdays, because confidence and performance -- not potential -- make the difference in those situations.

Away from the field, great coaches have the ability to look toward the future. There must be a contingency plan for everything. A great coach will never give up on any player and always looks for a way he can contribute to the team, be it by position change or on special teams

And there must always be an eye on recruiting and replenishing the program. Every player a coach signs must be compared to those the best teams in the league brings in. When I coached at Marshall I asked my staff if a given kid would help us beat Georgia Southern, and at Georgia the question was whether he could compete against Florida and Tennessee.

Consider the following if you want to know how important contingency planning can impact everyone involved with the team:

I was hired as the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma in 1985 and asked to install a basic passing game to complement the wishbone option attack. We wanted to take advantage of the skills of quarterback Troy Aikman, and ended up taking a 3-0 record into an early-season game against Miami.

Aikman broke his leg in that game and it turned into our only loss of the season. But we had a good contingency plan in place and went back to the wishbone with freshman QB Jamelle Holloway, and that, combined with a great defense, went on to help us win the national championship.

I was the head coach at Georgia in 2000 when a similar situation arose. We had a veteran team with Quincy Carter as its only experienced quarterback, and he ended up injuring his thumb against Florida. I opted not to play talented freshman David Greene over the last four games of the year -- in order to save his redshirt year -- and we went just 2-2 the rest of the way.

We had saved David a year of eligibility, but the losses to archrivals Georgia Tech and Auburn probably cost me my job. I looked toward the future, and while it was an unfortunate situation for me it was a positive for Georgia because David has turned out to be a great player over the last two years.

---

Various factors go into possible system change

By Jim Donnan

ESPN.com

Updated: August 1, 2007

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Every football coach has his own philosophy on all phases of the game. Players come and go but most coaches usually don't make radical system changes.

John W. McDonough/Icon SMI

Quarterback Jamelle Holieway led Oklahoma to a National Championship in 1985.

I always felt that I needed to establish my offensive and defensive schemes based on what it would take to beat the top teams in my league. Obviously, talent and the recruitment of players who fit those needs play the most prominent role, as do preparation, teaching, weight training and physical conditioning.

When a new coach takes over a program, he must decide if he'll adjust the offensive system to the quarterback's strengths and weaknesses.

These assessments, however, aren't made in a vacuum. You first must evaluate the strengths of the defense and kicking game, then the skill players on offense and finally the ability of the offensive line to run and pass block.

If you have a really good defense and a really good kicking game, you have a tendency to, as you're setting up your offense, be a little more conservative, especially if you're breaking in a new player. But that also depends on the level of your skill players.

If you don't turn the ball over and give the ball to the other team in easy field position, your offense can play around your defense. But if your defense gives up a lot of points and a lot of big plays, then you've got to set up your offense with more risk taking.

In setting up any offense, you always look at your passing game and how you're going to launch the ball because if you can't protect the passer you have no shot. If you have good one-on-one blockers and one-on-one pass protectors, then you can utilize more people in the routes.

There's always going to be a certain amount of leeway on both sides of the ball, but the bottom line is I'm always going to look first at how good my defense is.

As for the quarterback himself, I'm not too big on experience compared to talent, but you must factor in the QB's maturity and athleticism.

Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Quarterback Chad Pennington fit right into the Marshall system.

Certainly you would want an experienced guy because he's had the practices, but even beyond the practices is the meeting time. The guy has been on the trips and he's done the preparation -- that's invaluable. At the same time, when it gets down to the kind of athletes you play in the SEC, Big Ten or Big 12, a guy has to have the physical ability regardless of what kind of decision-maker he is.

A good example is Georgia's Matthew Stafford last season. He made some early-season mistakes and turnovers but it was obvious he had the talent and as he got more experience, he took over the job because of his physical ability. A lot of times I'm going to err on the side of letting the guy make a few more mistakes because of what he can do to help you win.

Jamelle Holieway took our team to the national championship in 1985 at Oklahoma and Chad Pennington took my Marshall squad to the final game for the I-AA championship. Both of those guys were true freshmen! Our systems were flexible enough to utilize our existing personnel and blend in the young quarterbacks' abilities.

At Oklahoma, it was really a backup system that Holieway ran because we had made the move earlier toward emphasizing more of a passing game with Troy Aikman and tight end Keith Jackson. We ran some option with Troy, but when he broke his leg we went back to the pure wishbone with Holieway.

Pennington was recruited to fit our system -- the one-back offense -- at Marshall. But we didn't know Pennington would be called upon so quickly to be our starting quarterback after Larry Harris tore up his knee in the second game.

No matter what style of quarterback is under center, your best chance of winning comes from having a good audible attack, having an insurance plan for injuries and preparing your players for every situation in practice.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

I really like Donnan and I really appreciate what he did for my BullDogs!

He is one on the best OC period!

I remember that he never calls the same play on offense from the same formation!

Talent Scout- Great, probably best!

Head Coach,

he should be the Falcons next year,

but you have to hire him now,

so he can get started turn us into a winner!

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i think you should come to realize that a college coach very rarely succeds in the nfl as a head coach..even though he was unbelievable at the college level...i can think of **** vermeil actually succeded in the nfl after college..but lou holtz did the exact same thing that petrinafag did to us this year...same college...same record of nfl team...1st year..college coaches are pussys and cant handle it when one of his players tells him to screw off...its simple...the nfl is for men and college is for little babies who cant handle it..so i think we need a coach with some nfl pedigree..that understands the game..and also understands how to run a team..

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iDash (12/13/2007)
Want to build a Danasty call the guy that has Done it Twice!

Jim Donnan-

jimdonnanga8.jpg

Great Talent Scout for College Football/ Great Coach/Great OC!

I believe,

he is the best talent scout,

thats right McKay,

even better than U at it!

Combining these two would lead to a dynasty, IMO!

Donnan: """""""""""""""""Make them believe"""""""""""""""""""""

"Jim Donnan was a college football coach and is now an on-air television analyst for college football games.

Jim Donnan was the Offensive Coordinator at the University of Oklahoma from 1985-1989. From 1985-1988, he coached under Barry Switzer, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and Super Bowl winning coach. Donnan coached the legendary Oklahoma Sooner Wishbone Offense that helped the Sooners to impressive 11-1 seasons from 1985-1987, including a national championship in 1985. In 1986, the Sooners scored 508 points, which at the time was the second highest point total in the schools storied history, trailing only the Sooners 1971 NCAA record setting rushing offense that scored 534 points. [1]

Donnan was head football coach at Marshall University, where he led the Thundering Herd to a 64-21 record from 1990 to 1995, including five consecutive 11-plus win seasons and the 1992 NCAA Division I-AA national football championship. He was named the Division I-AA Coach of the Year twice.

Donnan was then the head football coach at the University of Georgia from 1996 to 2000. He compiled a 40-19 record during his tenure. He was the first football coach in school history to lead Bulldog teams to four consecutive Bowl victories. Under Donnan, the Bulldogs won the Outback Bowl in 1997, the Peach Bowl in 1998, the Outback Bowl in 1999, and the Oahu Bowl in 2000. Before the 1997 against Mississippi State, Donnan drove a steamroller into practice and told his players they "were either going to be the steamroller or the pavement"; Georgia won the game 47-0.[1]

Donnan currently works as an analyst for [ESPN]"

----

Ambush leads to upset for underdogs

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/columns/story?id=1882939

By Jim Donnan

Fans, players and coaches are constantly amazed at what they deem improbable or unbelievable victories by teams that seemingly had no chance. We saw some notable upsets last week -- Notre Dame over Michigan among them -- and it's likely there will be more this weekend.

"What goes into those victories? I will go over the coaching philosophies I used when preparing my teams for a so-called upset when no one else gave us much of a chance.

We'll focus on game week, of course, but everyone knows the development of a team starts in the spring, carries over into the fall and through the season itself. Every member of the program must commit to team victory. All individual goals must be centered around the team's ultimate goal. As the saying goes, "There is no greater reward than team victory."

Team members must know their roles and know that whether they are a starter or on the scout team, they are part of the bigger picture.

Coaches have to be realistic in their delivery to the team. They have seen the tape. They know the size and skill of the opponent. Coaches must have a plan that acknowledges an underdog will need help from the opponent. "We'll have a difficult time beating this group, but they could lose to us."

I stressed that protecting the ball, taking calculated risks and avoiding major mental mistakes and penalties would give us a shot. Sell the team on fighting for every inch of field position, seizing the moment and protecting your own territory with good decisions on the little things (hidden yardage in the kicking game, no lost yardage plays, no major penalties).

The theme I liked to use -- an ambush -- came out of a Western movie. No one is expecting us to win, no one is worried about our poor little team, and no one is prepared for what we are about to do. We have a battle plan and will fight to protect it at all costs. Sell them on that, the players will not even consider that the plan will not accomplish the goal. The trap has been set, now they have to execute.

At the pregame meal I would ask each player to stand up and dedicate his performance to someone -- parents, siblings, friends -- who would receive his game ball after the win. By doing so he was committing himself, saying there is no way he would let that person down without giving his best individual performance ever. I asked them to visualize how great the moment would be when they were sharing the victory with teammates and that game ball with someone they love.

During practice that week we focused on situational work. We knew what won for us last year or last week, and we knew what got us beat. It is important to learn from success, but more importantly how to react in those situations where we were beaten. We did not say "if only" we would have done this or that. Instead, the words "next time" were on our lips. We were ready for the next time.

Teams suffer through tough losses because of inability to react to the pressure, but they have to expect to win because they're prepared to win. Victory does not always go to the bigger, stronger, faster man, but often to the one who believes he can win.

I've been involved in some big wins and gut-wrenching losses, but the few games we won against seemingly insurmountable odds stand out more than the Oklahoma national championship team on which I coached and my Marshall team that won a Division I-AA title because of the tremendous belief that the group as a whole would not be denied.

------

Plenty to be done

http://espn.go.com/ncf/columns/donnan/1456884.html

By Jim Donnan

Special to ESPN.com

In my days as a head coach I delegated various aspects of the offensive game plan to each member of my staff. Here is a look at how weekly preparation was organized and the different aspects handled by the coaches

Game Plan Organization

1. Opponent breakdown

2. Emphasis - Cut-ups

A. Situations

1. Fronts/stunts/dogs/blitz

2. Formations

3. Red Zone

4. Goal line

5. Short yardage

6. Coverages

7. Special Plays

8. Down and distance

a. P and 10

b. All 1st downs

c. 3rd and medium (3-6 yds.)

d. 3rd and long (7 or longer)

3. Handouts to players

4. Staff weekly organizational chart

A. Team schedule

B. Staff schedule

C. Game plan

D. Bulletin board

5. Self-scouting

A. Down and distance

B. Formation hit chart

C. Field position chart

6. Go-for-two chart/Kill-clock chart

7. Pass check list

8. Run check list

9. Specific situations game plan

A. Overall game plan organization

B. Fronts/games/stunts

C. Coverage

D. Red Zone

E. Goal line

F. Short yardage

G. Screens

H. Base runs

I. Base pass

J. Blitz pick-up

K. Two-play huddle

L. Play action

M. No backs

N. Options

O. Two-minute offense

P. Two-point plays

Q. Victory offense

R. Slow and fast safety

S. Freeze play

T. Special plays

U. Shifts and motions

V. Must-runs

In addition to game-planning responsibilities, each coach was in charge of one or more more of the following areas for practices

Practice Organization

1. Position

A. Offensive line

B. Tight ends

C. Running backs

D. Wide receivers

E. Quarterbacks

2. Practice schedule

3. Scripts

A. Inside

B. Inside skelly

C. Skelly

D. Team pass

E. Team

F. Blitz pick-up

4. Distribution of practice schedules and scripts

5. Equipment

6. Practice areas

7. Filming of practice

8. Meeting rooms

9. Scout team

10. Center-quarterback exchange

11. Team take-off

12. PAT and go-for-two

13. Gauntlet

14. Inside drill

15. One-on-one WR/DB

16. Inside skelly

17. Skelly

The staff duties for game week begin on right away on the Sunday following a game. As you can see, actual practice time makes up a small fraction of the game preparation.

Coaches Duties

A. Sunday

1. Grade film

2. Run game stats

3. pass game stats

4. Game summary

5. Turn in grades

6. Staff meeting

7. Review tape as a staff

8. Injuries

9. Self-scouting

10. Breakdown of opponents last game

11. Formulate scouting report

a. Base fronts

b. Coverages

c. Stunts/dogs/blitzes

d. Down and distance hit chart

e. Field position hit chart

f. Personnel

g. Cover page

B. Monday

1. Complete scouting report

2. Copy scouting report for distribution

3. Concerns vs.

a. Base runs

b. base protections

4. Formations - Shifts and motions

5. Lits runs by formation

6. List passes by formations

7. Goal line package

8. New ideas

9. Individual meeting

10. Goals meeting

11. Review Saturday game tapes (players)

12. Practice

13. Scouting report distribution

14. Kicking game responsibility

C. Tuesday

1. Options

2. Two-play huddle

3. Red zone

4. Play action

5. Sprint package

6. No backs

7. First down

8. Screens

9. New ideas

10. Review Monday

11. Individual meeting

12. Special teams

13. Practice

D. Wednesday

1. Complete goal line package

2. Short yardage upfield

3. Special plays

4. No huddle

5. Third down

6. Must-runs

7. Special motions or shifts

8. Fourth down

9. Two-point play

10. Review Monday and Tuesday

11. Individual meetings

12. Special teams

13. Practice

14. Begin tape breakdown of next opponent

15. Recruiting

E. Thursday

1. Pre-game plan ready

2. Wristbands

3. Review

a. Short yardage/goal line

b. Red Zone

c. Third and long

d. Two-minute offense

e. Blitz pick-up

f. Down-and-distance tendency

g. Two-play checks

h. Two-point play

i. Special plays

4. Begin tests and tips

5. Individual meeting

6. Practice

F. Friday

1. Give tests and tips

2. Final adjustments

3. Final game plan

4. Game objectives

5. Emphasis

a. Game plan

b. Special situations

c. Special teams

d. Offensive substitutions

e. Review anything new

f. Overtime

g. Victory offense

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What goes into a game plan?

http://espn.go.com/ncf/columns/donnan/1456847.html

By Jim Donnan

Special to ESPN.com

Rather than predicting what each team's game plan will be in the Miami-Tennessee matchup, this week I will give you an idea of how those game plans are formulated and what the teams may be doing in the days leading up to the game.

Game planning actually starts in the offseason, especially for the non-conference opponents teams do not see on a regular basis. The coaching staff will watch tapes, break down games from the previous season and spend plenty of time preparing a winter report for each opponent after the recruiting season ends in February.

That will be followed by some work during spring practice and a summer report that will set up a lot of the plans for the upcoming season.

Such early preparation gives coaches plenty of time and takes some of the pressure off. Staffs can spend a month looking at film in the offseason rather than cramming everything into one week during the season, leaving game week free to polish and perfect the plan already in place.

Few big changes are made during the week leading up to a particular game, but a lot of what happens is dictated by injuries.

As far as this game is concerned, Tennessee likely did not watch Miami's last few games and come away deciding to make wholesale changes. The Vols have probably not decided they are going to run right at the Hurricanes suddenly-weak rush defense on every play, but an injury to wide receiver Kelley Washington and the return to full health by running back Cedric Houston may result in some minor adjustments.

While preparing his players to face the No. 1 team in the nation a coach has to build up his motivational plan throughout the week, stressing what strengths can be utilized. False hope is always a poor way to communicate -- the coach needs to be concise and to the point while shooting straight with his players.

It is also good to keep the team loose but not being dead-serious all the time. I once rode a steamroller into practice to emphasize to my players that we could either be the pavement or the steamroller.

Daily short talks about pride, teamwork, unity and putting forth a great effort are vital. Tradition must be be stressed, as well as the fact that big games are often lost with turnovers, penalties and special teams mistakes.

Finally, I always maintained that we had to avoid mistakes and playing loose and constantly used the slogan "We are the best third-down team in America!"

--------

What's on the minds of coaches?

http://espn.go.com/ncf/columns/donnan/1464020.html

By Jim Donnan

Special to ESPN.com

As the college football season nears its climax and games take on added drama, preparation and coaching also have extra significance.

Both Miami's Larry Coker and Ohio State's Jim Tressel come into this week's games needing victories to remain undefeated and on track for a meeting in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Washington State's Mike Price and Oklahoma's Bob Stoops must avoid upsets to be able to exploit possible losses by the Hurricanes and Buckeyes.

Coaching philosophies evolve and grow constantly and become even more important as the stakes get higher and championships are decided. The following is a look at what some of the best coaches might be thinking about right now.

Encouragement, teaching, analysis

The first thing a coach needs to remember is to avoid over-coaching. He should let his players use their skills, because athletes will become confused and lose confidence if they are constantly questioned. Coaches should stress that football is a game, and encouragement and praise are always better than negative action. False praise, though, leads to false hope and is the worst thing a coach can give his team

A coach is always a teacher and that is especially important late in the season. What he knows is not as important as what he can get across to his players, and he has to be sound in getting across even the smallest details. And since the best players often decide games, they have to be ridden the hardest. They must be ready to use their skills.

While evaluating his team the coach should also recognize his own mistakes. Jim Tressel and Larry Coker have to ask themselves "Did we practice too hard or not enough?" They have to analyze every situation and respond accordingly the next time, because recognizing a problem is useless unless it is fixed. Repeated mistakes can lose games at this point in the season.

Preparation is paramount

This point must also be made to the players: Be physical! Superior mental, physical and emotional toughness are huge in games of this magnitude and have to become part of a team's trademark. Ohio State has to continue to run the ball well and Washington State quarterback Jason Gesser needs his celebrated toughness now more than ever.

Players must know, though, that they are the ones that win games, not coaches. The staff can only do so much. I used to tell my players "There is no greater reward than team victory."

If a coach can do all of the above things, coach his team up and get his players to realize their highest potential, good coaching and average personnel can win over poor coaching and great personnel. Something for the favorites to remember, as well.

That is where preparation comes into play. The Michigan-Ohio State game is being played on Saturday but it will be won from Monday through Friday of this week. Whichever coach can find the extra factor during the practice week -- taking off the pads or cutting back schedules -- increases his chances of winning.

A prepared team will react to sudden-change situations with poise and confidence and rise to the occasion more often.

In-game considerations

And as guys like Mike Price are readying their teams for Saturday they will likely focus on a few key points.

First, football is a game of third downs. Each team gets an average of 12-13 possessions in a game, and if a defense can force seven punts there is a good chance the opponent will stop itself with mistakes on most of the remaining possessions. The team that makes the fewest mistakes will win about 80 percent of the time.

There will also be five to seven plays between the 20-yard lines that are considered big plays, but the remaining big plays will take place in the red zone. This week, it will be important for a team like Oklahoma to score touchdowns inside the 20 and make Kliff Kingsbury and Texas Tech settle for field goals, because the longer the underdog hangs around the more it begins to believe it can win. The Sooners need to penetrate the enemy with scores and demoralize them with stops.

Those third-down and red-zone situations also play a big part in the field-position battle. Teams have to fight the entire game to get field position and keep it. They have to punch out first downs and keep drives alive but also know when is the right time to take shots down the field. The last thing Tressel wants is for Michigan to start drives in Ohio State territory with a short field.

The little things in the game plan also take on added significance, and since an average of one out of every six plays is a kick of some sort, it is important to stress those aspects of the game. A team never wants to lose out on something big because of a small mistake.

It's not just this week

And while the task at hand is important, it must also be remembered that building a winning program is a year-round job. Things like offseason conditioning and weight-lifting programs build togetherness and toughness, and from that a coach knows who he can count on in crunch time.

That becomes especially important for a team like Ohio State, which is facing its biggest rival with even more than usual on the line.

All this makes for a team that goes into every game, especially the biggest ones, with confidence. Belief is born out of demonstrated ability and players should not be asked to execute things that are beyond them. The risk-reward ratio is in a teams favor if the players feel they can make something happen, which is important because teams must be ready to be more daring when the stakes are high.

So what does all this mean? Well, it leads to the most important thing teams and coaches with national championship aspirations must do at this point in the year: avoid losses.

-----

Xs and Os are just part of being a great coach

http://espn.go.com/ncf/preview03/columns/donnan/1471120.html

By Jim Donnan

Special to ESPN.com

As the new season gets under way, more than 100 Division I-A coaches will go to work each morning and find about 200 people waiting for their marching orders.

Players, assistant coaches, strength and conditioning staff, trainers, managers and doctors, along with academic support staff and office staff are all depending on the coach. They look to him to provide leadership and direction in their various responsibilities to the success of the team.

So rather than dwell on the obvious -- the Xs and Os abilities that all good coaches have -- let's take a look at two traits which I believe separate the great coaches from the merely good.

The first is how well he handles pressure. Every coach in the country can tell people what to do before and after games, and they all can break things down on talk shows.

But what about when the band is playing? The ability to function with a clear mind and total focus is a rare trait in such situations. Decisions have to be made in 25 seconds that will affect the outcome of the game, many lives and championship hopes, and a coach must be able to thrive in that environment.

That means a coach has to prepare his team in such a way that it reaches its zenith on Saturdays, because confidence and performance -- not potential -- make the difference in those situations.

Away from the field, great coaches have the ability to look toward the future. There must be a contingency plan for everything. A great coach will never give up on any player and always looks for a way he can contribute to the team, be it by position change or on special teams

And there must always be an eye on recruiting and replenishing the program. Every player a coach signs must be compared to those the best teams in the league brings in. When I coached at Marshall I asked my staff if a given kid would help us beat Georgia Southern, and at Georgia the question was whether he could compete against Florida and Tennessee.

Consider the following if you want to know how important contingency planning can impact everyone involved with the team:

I was hired as the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma in 1985 and asked to install a basic passing game to complement the wishbone option attack. We wanted to take advantage of the skills of quarterback Troy Aikman, and ended up taking a 3-0 record into an early-season game against Miami.

Aikman broke his leg in that game and it turned into our only loss of the season. But we had a good contingency plan in place and went back to the wishbone with freshman QB Jamelle Holloway, and that, combined with a great defense, went on to help us win the national championship.

I was the head coach at Georgia in 2000 when a similar situation arose. We had a veteran team with Quincy Carter as its only experienced quarterback, and he ended up injuring his thumb against Florida. I opted not to play talented freshman David Greene over the last four games of the year -- in order to save his redshirt year -- and we went just 2-2 the rest of the way.

We had saved David a year of eligibility, but the losses to archrivals Georgia Tech and Auburn probably cost me my job. I looked toward the future, and while it was an unfortunate situation for me it was a positive for Georgia because David has turned out to be a great player over the last two years.

---

Various factors go into possible system change

By Jim Donnan

ESPN.com

Updated: August 1, 2007

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Every football coach has his own philosophy on all phases of the game. Players come and go but most coaches usually don't make radical system changes.

John W. McDonough/Icon SMI

Quarterback Jamelle Holieway led Oklahoma to a National Championship in 1985.

I always felt that I needed to establish my offensive and defensive schemes based on what it would take to beat the top teams in my league. Obviously, talent and the recruitment of players who fit those needs play the most prominent role, as do preparation, teaching, weight training and physical conditioning.

When a new coach takes over a program, he must decide if he'll adjust the offensive system to the quarterback's strengths and weaknesses.

These assessments, however, aren't made in a vacuum. You first must evaluate the strengths of the defense and kicking game, then the skill players on offense and finally the ability of the offensive line to run and pass block.

If you have a really good defense and a really good kicking game, you have a tendency to, as you're setting up your offense, be a little more conservative, especially if you're breaking in a new player. But that also depends on the level of your skill players.

If you don't turn the ball over and give the ball to the other team in easy field position, your offense can play around your defense. But if your defense gives up a lot of points and a lot of big plays, then you've got to set up your offense with more risk taking.

In setting up any offense, you always look at your passing game and how you're going to launch the ball because if you can't protect the passer you have no shot. If you have good one-on-one blockers and one-on-one pass protectors, then you can utilize more people in the routes.

There's always going to be a certain amount of leeway on both sides of the ball, but the bottom line is I'm always going to look first at how good my defense is.

As for the quarterback himself, I'm not too big on experience compared to talent, but you must factor in the QB's maturity and athleticism.

Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Quarterback Chad Pennington fit right into the Marshall system.

Certainly you would want an experienced guy because he's had the practices, but even beyond the practices is the meeting time. The guy has been on the trips and he's done the preparation -- that's invaluable. At the same time, when it gets down to the kind of athletes you play in the SEC, Big Ten or Big 12, a guy has to have the physical ability regardless of what kind of decision-maker he is.

A good example is Georgia's Matthew Stafford last season. He made some early-season mistakes and turnovers but it was obvious he had the talent and as he got more experience, he took over the job because of his physical ability. A lot of times I'm going to err on the side of letting the guy make a few more mistakes because of what he can do to help you win.

Jamelle Holieway took our team to the national championship in 1985 at Oklahoma and Chad Pennington took my Marshall squad to the final game for the I-AA championship. Both of those guys were true freshmen! Our systems were flexible enough to utilize our existing personnel and blend in the young quarterbacks' abilities.

At Oklahoma, it was really a backup system that Holieway ran because we had made the move earlier toward emphasizing more of a passing game with Troy Aikman and tight end Keith Jackson. We ran some option with Troy, but when he broke his leg we went back to the pure wishbone with Holieway.

Pennington was recruited to fit our system -- the one-back offense -- at Marshall. But we didn't know Pennington would be called upon so quickly to be our starting quarterback after Larry Harris tore up his knee in the second game.

No matter what style of quarterback is under center, your best chance of winning comes from having a good audible attack, having an insurance plan for injuries and preparing your players for every situation in practice.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

I really like Donnan and I really appreciate what he did for my BullDogs!

He is one on the best OC period!

I remember that he never calls the same play on offense from the same formation!

Talent Scout- Great, probably best!

Head Coach,

he should be the Falcons next year,

but you have to hire him now,

so he can get started turn us into a winner!

I like that you copy and pasted the entire internet into your message.

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