Football Focus | The Coaches

When people think about the members of a football team, they usually refer to the men who carry the ball, catch passes, block opposing lines and protect the end zone. However, the most crucial element of a team is the coaching personnel. While players execute on the field, their success depends on the leadership of their staff. The number of coaches varies from team to team with each school employing at least 10 including the head coach and coordinators. The standard staff is comprised of a head coach, offensive and defensive coordinators and an assistant coach for each position. Most teams also employ a performance/strength and conditioning staff as well as assistant directors of football operations and an equipment staff.

The head coach is the most essential member of the staff. While it may seem like his assistants carry the brunt of the responsibilities, the head coach is in charge of directing recruitment, planning overall game strategies, providing a face for the football team, delegating tasks to assistant coaches and keeping track of compliance. He or she also must execute everyday tasks such as interviews, press conferences, media appearances, administration meetings, etc. The head coach’s right hand men/women are the offensive and defensive coordinators. The OC calls all of the offensive plays and is arguably of equal value to the HC. OCs work with quarterbacks to develop passing and rushing strategies, especially when one is difficult or unusual. DCs have the hardest job of any coach in my opinion. When your main task is to stop the opposing team from scoring, I can imagine every DC’s gameday is full of stress. Quarterback, runningback and receivers coaches all work with their position players in the passing and rushing game. They don’t necessarily develop plays but rather help the players to execute them successfully. The offensive line coach works with his/her linemen to protect the QB and tailback during the running game. It is extremely difficult to have a successful QB if his line doesn’t protect him from sacks or tackles. The defensive line coach is in charge of developing pass rushing and run stopping techniques to keep the QB from connecting with his receivers. A linebackers coach works with the players who are in charge of tackling the ball keeper and close pass coverage. The secondary coach works with defensive backs in preparation of pass coverage and quick footwork. The special teams coach has a difficult job as most of the players on kick coverage are younger players on the roster. He/she must develop the kicker, holder, snapper and the reserves who are making their debut. The strength coach is the most underrated member of the staff. He/she must train the players in strength and conditioning while making sure they are safe. Their responsibilities also include off-season training and tending to on-field injuries.