Often time, as a defensive linemen, the problem with not being able to progress is not skill or knowledge, but contentment.
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Whassup Big Dawg? This is Coach Rolle and welcome to another episode of Big Dawg Trench Talk. Thank you for subscribing to Big Dawg Trench Talk, where you know your progress is our success. I do this for one reason and one reason only, and that is to make sure that as coaches and as players, that we are the best dawgs in the trenches that we can be. The topic that we're going to discuss today is very important to me. I've experienced this as a coach, as well as a player.
As a player, there were times when I sat in the film room and I watched film, trying to figure out why was I not playing to the best of my ability. There were times as a coach that I would watch my athletes, my dawgs, and I would try to reason and figure out why are they not playing to their fullest potential? Well, I think I know the problem.
Episode number five. I found the problem, Big Dawg. You satisfied. Now, let's talk trenches. I have taught linemen, all kinds of different tricks and schemes and how to be proactive in your pre-snap and that's another podcast, when we'll talk about being proactive in your pre-snap. There are different things that I have discussed with my linemen and I've done all kinds of drills to have the mass of those skills, because we know, as coaches, and as players, we know that drills develop skills. Why do we do drills? Because they develop skills. That's why we do drills. They develop skills. The proper drill will establish and develop the necessary skill. It's important that you have the right drill for the necessary skill.
But, I've done that. I've done all of that. And yet still I've worked with young men that were not productive in the trenches and I was as creative as I could be. So here I am as a coach, trying to figure out, "Gosh, how do I get my linemen to be run stoppers? To be, persistent and determined, to make a play or make a tackle" and I realized that I was fighting against something that was almost impossible to win against. To me, this is a curse word, this is a bad word, this is an enemy of mine and I realize that I saw it in the nature, or I saw it in the mentality of the guys I was trying to train.
And I realized that this thing was in them and it was preventing me from progressing them and I recognized it as an enemy and as a villain. To me, it's a bad word, its an evil thing that was keeping me from progressing them or keeping them from progressing, and that was satisfied. The word satisfied.
I'll give an example. Watching these young men play, this was a long time ago, a long, long time ago, but I always think about this. I watch these young men play and I know they had loads of potential to be great and to do great and look good in the preseason, great summer training, thought they were well, thought they were developed and ready to go. First game came, first game was not what I expected. I didn't like that. I didn't like how they performed, so we took it up a notch, you know, more drills, quicker, faster, harder, again, again, again. Trying to make it muscle memory. And it was. So, second game came, same thing. It was not productive. This is what I did coach, hear me out.
So, we circled up and I took them behind the goal post and I needed to have a conversation with them. I needed to stop what I was doing because evidently what I was doing wasn't helping. Something was wrong. So, here we are, behind the goal post and I had them circle and I stand in the middle. And when I do that, I'm looking in their eyes, I'm looking in their eyes and I'm trying to identify their mentalities and their will. You know, dawg means driven attitude wills greatness. That's the acronym, D A W G.
I didn't see it. I didn't see the will. I didn't see the hunger, so I'm sitting there lookin' at 'em and I looked in everyone in their eyes and I said, "Oh, I see, you're satisfied. You're satisfied with your production. You're satisfied with being a football player. You're satisfied that you have a jersey on and you get a chance to play in front of people. You're satisfied that you're not being productive. You're okay with that."
I told 'em, I said, "Where I'm from and you look at the guy's eyes across from you or when you look at your teammates' eyes, you see hunger, you see thirst. You're looking at a young man, or a man, that has a desire to eat. It's almost like you have two dogs and one piece of meat and somebody gotta eat and I ain't eaten in three months. And whey you look at that guy, your teammate, from where I'm from, that's what you see, you see hunger, you see thirst, you see a man that's not going to take failure as an option, that's what you see. You see, like their eyes are on fire, what they call the eye of the tiger. You see it. And they in hunt mode. that's what you see. That's how it is where I'm from and the guys around you are ready to do whatever it takes to eat. It's huntin' season. And that's how you it's time to play some football, 'cause something clicks on the inside of 'em, when you look at 'em and you know its time to go to work.
These guys have actually had knots in their stomach and these were knots of hunger pain and these guys wanted a way out and these guys wanted more for themselves. They didn't want to be the statistic. They wanted to do more with their lives and they knew that football was that way. The didn't have a choice. They didn't give themselves a choice. Their will told them to out will the guy in front of them. No, they didn't have the technique. They didn't have a lot of great coaching, but one thing they did have was the will to win, they had that.
So, I'm looking at my athletes and as I'm looking at them, you just see this conviction that begins to rise in them. They're convicted because I called 'em out. I actually was trying to call them out, I wanted to call them out. I wanted to call out satisfaction and at that moment they had to make a decision as to what they were going to do. But, I told 'em I wasn't satisfied with the fact that you just playin' football. If that's your goal, was to just be a football player and not accomplish anything, left me know so that I can lower my expectation or lead the team or not coach you as a D-line coach, cause you can do that all by yourself.
If I'm gonna be your coach, you gonna be one of the best to do it. Let me know what your goal is, cause without a goal, you don't have no go. You got no purpose and no drive without a goal. What's your goal? What are you trying to accomplish? Are you satisfied with being blocked, with not making plays, with not making tackles? I think I've found the problem. Big Dawg, you satisfied. And there isn't any coach in the world that can feed somebody who's satisfied. I can't feed you if you full. Question is, what are you full on? What's your meal look like? I get to wear a jersey, I get to play football, I'm popular cause I play football, it's cool cause I finally made it to college football, so I'm good. No, you're not good! What else do you want out of this?
Even sometimes you see NFL guys that have arrived and that's it. They're satisfied, because their eyes light up when they see their checks and the drive is gone. Because their goal was to get there, but not do anything once they've arrived there. Satisfaction is the enemy of a progressor. Satisfaction is the enemy, it is the constant feud with progress. It's hard to progress when you're satisfied. You can't eat if you're full. I looked at 'em and that's what I saw. I was disgusted by it and I told 'em. I told 'em the truth and they were convicted because that's exactly what it was. And at that moment, I realized that there was not a drill, a skill, wisdom, coaching points that I could give these young men to get better, cause I kept running into a wall called satisfied. It was a very interesting conversation I had, and nobody had anything to say.
The next week I watched these young men play. I trained 'em, did different drills, things that I saw they could tighten up on and do better. Well, coach, Big Dawg, let me tell you, the next game we played, it was a different group of guys. The way that they came off the ball, the way that they used their hands, the way that they played flat on the line of scrimmage, and pursuit was great. They were just persistent in what they did, determined in what they did. You saw a different dawg. You saw a different animal out there playing within those four quarters. It was different. Because I had broken through a wall.
So we had a conversation when I met with them again that Monday and actually, no, it was two weeks after that game. They started picking things up and they started making a lot of progress in their game and I went back and said, "You know, you guys are playing great right now. Technique is great, you know, you're doing really good with your hands, your feet placement where it needs to be. I made some adjustments depending on the athlete, made some different things that I was now tweaking to make them that much better individually.
Fast forward to Thursday walk through, a young man came to me, a couple of them came to me and said, "Coach you remember that conversation we had over there behind the goal post?" I'd kind of forgotten about it and I said, "Oh yeah, okay yeah, I remember when we was talking about you guys being hungry." He said, "Coach we'll never forget that." He said, 'When you told us that we weren't hungry enough, that's when it clicked. You were right. We were satisfied and we didn't want to play the game just to be playing the game. We realized to you it meant more than to us and it needed to mean that much more and we did a self-check. We even met afterward and said, 'You know what, coach is right. What are we doing this for? What's the purpose of why we're doing this?' And ever since then, our goal was for you to not to have that conversation with us again. That's our goal. Our goal, after that day, we talked about it, was for you to never, ever tell us that again. That we were satisfied."
And, they had an excellent year. They did some fantastic things that season. I was proud of what they accomplished as a unit. But, it took for me as a coach to look them in the eyes and identify that villain, satisfy. As a dawg, you're never satisfied, never satisfied. Always looking to get better, always looking to progress. Another Big Dawg proverb from the Big Dawg bible that I always live by is this. Date perfection, but marry progress. Date perfection, but marry progress. And to me that means, that I know what it means to be perfect, but I'm committed to getting better. I'm committed, I'm married to progress. Progress is something that I will do every day. Good is not good when better is expected. I learned that from a very wise coach. Good is not good when better is expected. Absolutely. That is good, but its not good anymore, because I'm not satisfied with what I just called good. How can I make good better? Absolutely.
That's what makes a lineman better. Truthfully, when you talk about stopping the run, if you can't get past a lineman being satisfied, its gonna be hard to coach that young man. It's hard to feed somebody who's not hungry. It's hard to feed somebody who's full. How can you teach a man that doesn't want why you're trying to teach him? Can't be greater than he is, so sir. So for me, when it comes to stopping a run, there are a lot of things that are essential and very important on the technical side that we'll certainly get into in more detail. I just wanted to let you know that the bigger problem that I've had to deal with is the attitude, is the desire and the will.
Where I'm from, I've had people stand in front of me and prevent me from trying to go where I want to go. You understand? See, now you askin' for a fight, right? I'm goin' straight and you stand in front of me and prevent me from going straight. There's a reason why I'm trying to go straight, I'm going straight because there's something I have to do or there's something I have to retrieve and it requires for me to go straight. And for a man, and I've had this happen, where a guy steps in front of me and he's trying to keep me from going straight, that's a problem. And so politely ask, "Excuse me, can you move out the of way?" Or I'll try to walk around and then they refuse to move and they are still in front of you because they want to try to control you. That's not a good situation.
Now, I don't know if you've ever been in a fight before and I was definitely not the person to go looking for them, but the one thing that I didn't like ever was when somebody tried to control me and step in front of me and keep me from going where I need to go or where I want to go or where I'm suppose to go. I have a problem with that.
And so I tell my defensive line, "You are trying to go straight and there's a person in front of you that is trying to control you and keep you from going where you want to go. If you want to take this this situation and put it into a real life scenario... Let's say you're, and I tell 'em coaches, you know, Big Dawg, let's say you are married and your wife and children are over there and you are going to to go with them and somebody gets in front of you, preventing you from going to them. Listen, there is nobody and nothing in the world that would keep me from uniting with my family. There's nothing you can put between me and my house that will keep me from going to my house. You will wish you had never attempted to do such a thing. Why? Because of my love for my family.
And I mentioned this to another athlete. I said, "Man, listen, I know you love your daughters, right? And let's say your daughters are over there and as you're walking to go with your children, I step in front of you, preventing you from going forward. Are you okay with that?" All of the sudden, the mentality changed. No, I'm not going to let you step in front of me and keep you from being with my children, or your brother or father, or whomever you love, whatever it is. The principal and the concept the same. How can you allow a man in front of you to keep you from going where you want to go?
Take that mentality and apply it to football. There's something on the other side of the line of scrimmage that you need, that you want, that you've gotta have. And this guy in front of you has the audacity to stand in front of you, to let you know that he's going to stop you from getting where you want to go. There is nobody, if I can envision my family on the other side of that line of scrimmage, that's going to stop me from going where I need to go. You gonna wish you had never stepped in front of me and tried to stop me and control me to keep where I need to go, where I want to go.
Change your mentality. Their mentality has to change. It's not okay that I keep getting stopped. It's not okay that that man in front of me is controlling me, that's not okay and neither will I keep allowing this to happen. So, whatever I have to do to make sure this does not happen, you do what yo have to do. That's where it starts. That's where progress starts, when you're not satisfied, and when you're not satisfied, that's where you'll begin to see progress. Sometimes progress happens in the absence of satisfaction. Remove satisfaction and maybe you'll see progress. You're not going to stop me from going forward. I'm not gonna let anybody stop me from progressing. I'm committed to that.
Try it. Good luck. That's my mentality, a driven attitude will always will greatness. As a coach, I'm asking my athletes, "Are you satisfied with that?" Something precious is on the other side of the line of scrimmage and he keeps stopping you from getting it, what are you gonna do? Are you okay with that? I wouldn't be. Make a decision and make it quick. What are you gonna do? It takes a special kind of person to play in the trenches. That's why I call it the trenches.
I love history and you look at World War I, where we begin to see trenches in play. Trenches wasn't nothing to be messed with. Hats off to all my veterans and every man and woman that has ever served this country. Trenches are things I've read about. Trenches, never been in one, are things that blow my mind. The things that these men and women have had to deal with in the trenches.
But, in the trenches you've gotta be a special kind of person to not only survive it, but to accomplish and get what you went there for. If you in the trenches, you have a mission in the trenches. That's something you want to retrieve and it takes a special kind of person that would not be denied, that would not be stopped. You can drill and drill and drill, every single day and you can teach them the best techniques and everything you could be saying could be right on point, but your enemy is satisfaction. Are they satisfied with not getting better? Are they satisfied with not being great? If that's the case, stop what you're doing and ask them, "What do yo want out of this?" Call 'em out! Call that sin we call satisfaction out. If we gonna strap up and line up, then we gonna link up and eat up. That's what dawgs do. We hunt and we eat.
As a coach, I challenge you look at your athletes in the eyes and as a player, I challenge you to look at your dawg next to you and when you look at 'em, don't say nothin'. His eyes should tell you everything and your eyes should tell him everything he needs to know and that should be one thing and one thing only, that it's time to go to work.
Woo, Big Dawg, don't get me started, man. Sometimes, we take for granted. If only I could go back in time and play one more rep, one more series, man I'd play it like it was my last. Coaches, don't let these young men take these reps for granted and players, don't play with the attitude that there's always another rep. They only thing that's certain is the present and even that is a gift, that's why we call it the present, because the present is a present, its a gift. Maximize your gift, take advantage of every moment you have and every time you put your hands in the dirt, every chance you get, you go to work, and if you satisfied, go sit down! Let that hungry man over there plow the ground. Hey you! Go eat up Big Dawg! Go eat!
As always Big Dawg, I appreciate your time, because I know its valuable. Thank you for subscribing and listening to another episode of Big Dawg Trench Talk. I would also like to thank you for those that have been visiting bigdawgfootball.com. Several coaches all across the world have been benefiting greatly from the plethora of content that we have on bigdawgfootball.com. We've been receiving several testimonials of athletes and coaches watching their big dawgs get better and do great things in the trenches. We appreciate you joining Big Dawg Football's mission, which is to make coaches and athletes the very best they can be. Remember, it takes a village to raise one. Let's keep growing the Big Dawg Football community in assuring that our young men are tacticians in the trenches.
All right, Big Dawg, enough talking. Look 'em in the eyes, see if he hungry, strap up, and line up, and together we'll eat up! Stick those cleats in the dirt and let's go to work!