Posted by: petemangurian | May 14, 2012

Two Teams

Now it begins. The next phase is the stuff that doesn’t show, but is incredibly important. The era of good will is over, the honeymoon, so to speak. The players are gone. We wait to see their grades – did they do better? We evaluate our roster – what does it look like after the emotion of the moment passes? What does it look like when we just look at it for what it is, and not for what we hoped it would be?

What will our players do when no one is watching? Will the novelty of a new voice and a new system fade? Will we choose to do what we have been asked, or fall back into the world of “good enough” and “better than before”?

My own approach will still remain the same. We will continue to find the players we need to get better. We have one more week of spring recruiting left, and three more days to continue to build our team and our identity with high school coaches all over the country. The coaches in schools we have been in before have heard about what we are doing, the energy around our program, and the way our players have responded. Even more exciting is the response we have gotten from those schools we have never been in, the ones off the well worn paths. There are young men all over this country who have the talent, drive and capacity to excel at Columbia, and to contribute and thrive in this environment. Student-athletes and their families who will not be blinded by the hype, will listen to our message, and understand what a unique opportunity Columbia presents.

Everyday I am re-energized by the attitudes of the people around our program. I am energized by our efforts to create programs that are unique and give us an advantage. We are behind right now, but we will close the gap quicker than most might think. Don’t think for a minute that the other guys aren’t watching, they are. Don’t think for a minute they “believe” we can’t do it – they know we can.
We will take our hits, but it won’t last forever. We have too many advantages, too much to offer and all the resources we need for now. Right now I’m sure they are just keeping an eye on us. They are not foolish enough to ignore us.

Wednesday the seniors graduate. Quite an accomplishment. It’s hard to appreciate how hard they have worked to compete in the classroom and on the field unless you have seen it, or more importantly done it. I look forward to each class’s graduation. I know they will be in a better position when they go, than when they got here. There is tremendous promise in what we are doing, I don’t know how you ever grow tired of creating something every year. We will never try to recreate history – each year is different. Each team is different and dealing with the changes is the challenge. We will always have to change, evolve and adjust. We will always have to face our doubts. The only way is to be honest about where you are, know where you want to go, and not get distracted along the way.

When we went on he road three weeks ago, the new year began. Right now we are faced with the challenge of getting better without the players. Friday, I met with a representative from every department that touches our football program in any way. These people are our management team. I felt it was important for everyone to hear what each of them do. When we all sat down I was stunned by the collective quality of the group. We didn’t cover all I had hoped, but what we did do, was communicate and share ideas, open, free discussion, collective wisdom. I’ve be fortunate to be a part of great organizations, the Giants, Patriots and the Broncos, all of them were great “teams” on and off the field. I refuse to believe we cannot win. There is always a way. We have the right people, we have a common goal, the enemy within is the only one who can stop us.

My job is to coach this team, and create an environment conducive to learning and maturing, in mind, body and character. I will protect my team, my staff and myself from distractions. My door is always open, but the team comes first. I will do what is best for my players. Every decision will be based on what is best for our team, individually and collectively. That is my top concern.

We will spend the month of June on opponent evaluation. We will be putting the collective wisdom of the group to work, as it relates to football and everything that effects us. I like both our teams.

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