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College Football Quotes that Apply to Lacrosse


It’s five weeks into the college football season and I’ve been crisscrossing the country. I do enjoy it. I’ve been to Atlanta for an HBCU game. At the Big House at the University of Michigan, I ran into Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach Kevin Conry and staff with some baby-faced recruits. I’ve flown to BYU, Washington, and was just at Auburn last weekend. There’s no doubt that BYU should push for Division 1 status in men’s and women’s lacrosse and that Auburn would be an ideal spot for a Division 1 women’s program. Don’t get me started about the potential at the University of Washington. But this isn’t about that.

During my weekly coverage, I have had incredible access to head coaches, coordinators, position coaches, and players. Many of their quotes, coach speak, along with their gems and pearls of wisdom, apply to lacrosse. Here are some college football quotes that I find compelling or thought provoking that may aid young players and coaches as they navigate their path to success.

“Narrow the focus. Up the quality. Increase the speed.”
– Dave Aranda (Baylor)

Quote on what Aranda wants to see in practice leading up to the next game. For the player, these are three digestible bullet points. Narrow your focus to the things that matter most. Do them the right way. Details make the difference. Do it right. When you keep it simple, you can play fast. Those that think too much, don’t play fast. Those that can play fast, win.

“Don’t let the home team dictate the style of play.”
– Eli Drinkwitz (Missouri)

This is interesting. Crowd noise in enormous stadiums impact the pace of play for the road team. It’s difficult to run a NASCAR tempo offense when the decibels are deafening. This isn’t true for lacrosse. The arenas have no bearing on style of play. Tempo is established by groundballs, possession, and by the intent of the offense or the defense. Lacrosse style and tempo are rarely impacted by the environment in which the game is played. 

“Good teammates are always in style.”
– Eli Drinkwitz (Missouri) 

“Are you the final or finished version of yourself? No. So keep getting better every week.”
– Eli Drinkwitz (Missouri)

This is the everyday challenge for young athletes, parents, and even employees. Well coached teams improve day-to-day, week-to-week, and month-to-month. 

“Design the offense around the playmakers. Players bring life to an offense. Formations are cheap. Plays are expensive. Shifting and movement creates an advantage. Get the defense to talk, to communicate.”
– Kalen DeBoer (Washington)

This is big for lacrosse. Offensive player movement and ball movement changes the responsibility of each defender. Those role changes will inevitably strain a defense. The more you move and the more the ball moves, the more confusion you create. Don’t start a play with the players in their optimal spots without having to earn it. Instead, finish the movement and the set up players in their ideal spots following the confusion of movement. Build your scheme around the talents in your huddle. Tailor everything you do to their strengths. 

“We want to be able to play at three speeds – slow, medium and fast.”
– Kalen DeBoer (Washington)

True success in any athletic endeavor requires a team to be diverse in their pace of play. Slower teams struggle to play fast when asked. Up-tempo teams can more easily tap on the brakes when they have to. So train to play super fast and then slow down if you must. 

“Keep the main thing, the main thing.”
– Mel Tucker (Michigan State) 

“I like guys who love football…the weight room, the treatment, film and practice.”
– Jim Harbaugh (Michigan)

Understand the massive step up in commitment going from high school lacrosse to Division 1 lacrosse. College requires hours and hours of work. A twelve month commitment. At times it feels like a job. Burn out is real. The system too often takes the fun out of the sport. The race to win can rob your joy. So, falling in love with the process is imperative for long-term success. That, along with committing to the good of the team. Players with a strong WHY become achievers. If the WHY is love of the game, then you can do special things. When the WHY is the love of your team, great things can happen. Loving the process is ultimately more important than talent.

“First, be your best. Then you’ll be first.”
– Kalen DeBoer (Washington)

It’s OK to be you. At the most intense moments of stress, tell yourself, “I just gotta be me.” Embrace your strengths while not being blind to your weaknesses. Just try your hardest, that’s always good enough.

“FaceTime your Mom”.
– Kalani Sitake (BYU)

How true. It’s often the chicken soup for your soul. Wonky on-the-field performance is usually tied to academic, family, friendship, or social life problems. Calling Dad is OK, but not the same. Dad, while he means well, tends to be less of a soothing influence than Mom. Call your Mom. Look at her face. She’s your rock. 

Some coach speak I’m not comfortable attributing.

“Learn to do more, with less.”

Winning is not about stadium size, financial resources, bricks and mortar, fancy weight rooms, or facilities. You win with people and great effort. The arms race in college sports is not designed to improve performance as much as it’s been constructed as a recruiting tool. Wall ball is free. Hammering extra reps after practice is priceless.

“We are building our story.”

There is no period on the sentence of the season until that last whistle sounds. Keep putting commas on setbacks and continue writing the story of your season. Perhaps you can end it with an exclamation point. 

“Focus is a skill.”

In this era of cell phones and constant distraction, those who can lock onto a task, those who can block out the unnecessary noise, have a huge edge. 

“I’m recruiting the entire locker room, staff and the boosters everyday. That’s the unsettled nature of CFB and the transfer portal.”

“Transfers must be starters. I don’t want transfers who are backups. It’s like buying a used car, they aren’t straight out of the show room. They have some mileage and some dings. They all have a story. You better do your research.”

“Don’t yell at em, just coach em.”

“Don’t play defense like water.”

“Stop counting. Stop ranking. Stop measuring.”

“Your ego has to die.”

“What you do, speaks loudest.”

“Player leadership can be uncomfortable. Sometimes it requires being not cool. Look inside the room to fix problems.”

I’ve got Oklahoma at TCU this Saturday at noon on ABC, with my team of Mark Jones and Robert Griffin III.