Ohio State football | Belichick likes passion Ohioans have for football
By Tim May
The Columbus Dispatch
Bill Belichick didn’t hesitate when he was invited to speak Thursday night to the Ohio State football coaches clinic, and there were two main reasons why.
One is the friendship the New England Patriots coach has developed through years with OSU coach Urban Meyer and OSU defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, former head coach at Rutgers and with the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Another, he said, was the respect he developed for the state in his five years as a first-time head coach of the original Cleveland Browns in the mid-1990s. Belichick was at the helm when the team left for Baltimore after the ’95 season.
“One of the many things I learned is the passion for football in this state,” Belichick said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for the high school coaches and college coaches in this state, and the passion that the fans have for the game of football. It’s really an honor to be asked to speak to you.”
He looked out at a packed seating area on the Woody Hayes Athletic Center indoor field, the crowd made up of coaches from across the football spectrum in the state. With it being Easter week, Meyer said he knew the timing of the clinic and Saturday’s spring game wasn’t ideal this year. He appeased the ranks by bringing in, “I would argue, the top coach in the history of professional sports,” Meyer said, citing Belichick’s record five Super Bowl wins, including two of the past three.
What followed was more than a half hour of Belichick being Belichick — no bells, whistles and jokes, just a straightforward talk about what it takes to put together and mold a winning program, from the demands he places on coaches to what he seeks from his players.
“In the end, as an organization, I want to be competitive at every spot,” he said. Toward that goal, the four components are “No. 1, do your job. I know that term gets tossed around a little bit. For me, it’s not really do your job, it’s do your job well. ... If your players aren’t improving, what are you there for?
“No. 2, pay attention. Be alert, accept coaching, understand what you need to do, pay attention to little details. ... No. 3, work hard (in study, meetings, practice and games). ... And finally (No. 4), it’s teamwork, putting the team first. ... The best decision for the team has to take priority over anything else.”
While much is made of X’s and O’s and schemes, Belichick said in critical times it usually boils down to one thought for him, which is why he has often leaned on Tom Brady, the quarterback of all five of his Super Bowl wins.
“I want to make sure we give our best players, our toughest, smartest, the most dependable players, an opportunity to win the game,” Belichick said. “I don’t want to come out of a game and feel like, ‘Well, we put our eggs in this other basket and it didn’t work out’, and we didn’t give our best guys a chance to win the game.”