It’s the end of the summer heat wave and fall is quickly approaching and whistles are blowing and pads are thumping. Consistently throughout each drill you hear coach yelling “it’s the little things”. What are the little things? Reflecting on an 0-2 start of the season the most consistent message we preach and harp on is “the little things”. The “little things” are the small yet pivotal elements of the game of football that can dictate whether a team loses a game or wins a game and 9/10 those little things MATTER! Starting a new era at Grand Junction High School under a new scheme and system that suits the ability of the players, an 0-2 start can often be discouraging, however when film is broken down and the reality is that “THREE” plays dictated whether we would be 0-2 or 2-0.
Game 1 of the season with a relatively young defense (3 seniors, 1 freshman, 1 junior, 6 sophomores) and a 33-31 loss to in town rival Central High School, the game consisted of 3 over the top passes, in hindsight take one of those away and you are 1-0. Game 2 against in town rival Fruita Monument High School we found ourselves down 17-0 in the first quarter. The second quarter approaches and we make the score 17-7 at halftime. In the third quarter we score a TD on fourth down to make the score 17-14. Our relatively young defense made great strides in adjusting in the second half and in the third quarter forced a couple turnovers and forced three and outs. Grand Junction ball and we are moving it down the field. FUMBLE. The ball goes to Fruita Monument who scores on a counter reverse to put them up 24-14. We’re alright, we’ve faced adversity and we can battle this! Our running game was bursting off 8 yards, 10 yards, 7 yards, 6 yards and Fruita’s defense was tired, hands on their thighs trying to catch a breath. Next play at the 40 yard line, safety breaks on a pass and intercepts it. Fruita scores. At that point in the fourth quarter the heads hung a tiny bit, a young team discovering that the little things do matter begin to wonder how to fix those mistakes! We preach it every single day to work on the little things!
As a Coach it’s important to preach about the concept of the little things because they do end up becoming BIG things when it comes to wins or losses! The positive message out of an 0-2 beginning with so much time left on the year is that it isn’t how you start, but it’s how you finish! Three plays are the difference in being 0-2 and 2-0 and many coaches would agree that the little things do matter and that the little things have a big impact!