**Remember, the link to watch the Franklin & Marshall Diplomats’ games will be shared each Saturday prior to kick-off on the facebook page so that you can watch how Bryce’s team get on each week**
As we head into the 4th weekend of the Diplomats’ season, we take the opportunity to catch up with last Saturday’s action, and of course speak to The Big Man™, who follows up last week’s Monday blog (available here if you missed it), with part 2 of his ‘A Week in the Life’ blog, which unsurprisingly details what he got up to during Tuesday this week of his ‘Reasearch trip’ to the land of the free:
With the McDaniel Green Terror coming to the Shadek Stadium to face the Diplomats, both teams would face their toughest test of the season so far with a tight game expected between the two 2-0 sides.
Surprisingly - wearing not green - the Green Terror (in white) got the best of the early action, turning a 1st quarter field goal deficit into a 4 point lead in time for the half time break. Capitalising on an F&M interception McDaniel added a field goal to an earlier touchdown to make it 10 - 6 with the Diplomats kicker adding his second of the day before the interval on what was a warm Pennsylvanian day.
The second half would be all different however as the Diplomats kicked into another gear and took control of the game. Two rushing touchdowns and two through the air would see the Diplomats surge into a 34 - 10 lead, with the defence standing resolutely throughout the second half and the rushing attack taking control. Allowing an impressive touchdown - reeled in on a diving catch - in garbage time the Green Terror reduced the Dips’ lead to 17 but that is how it would finish.
Moving to 3-0 the Diplomats this weekend face the Susquehanna River Hawks who as recently as 2015 were the Susquehanna Crusaders - The vote which saw River Hawks chosen as both nickname and mascot also saw Bobcats, Explorers, River Otters and Phoenix considered as finalists. The River Hawks currently sit at 2 - 1 on the season having lost in overtime at the Muhlenberg Mules last week.
As a result the River Hawks will be keen to get back on track and knock off the Diplomats, but of course Bryce and the rest of the coaching team have been hard at work all week in their efforts to stop this from happening, and here’s what he got up to on Tuesday (24th September):
“Despite working 7 days a week, Tuesday and Wednesday seem to be the busiest days of the week and have the least amount of time available for doing anything except work. We start by arriving at the office at 0630HRS and then go on to work on the game plan for this week's game. This includes marking on our board all of the personnel packages that the opposition run and the most effective way to counter their tendencies in these formations.
Then myself and the DL coach, Coach James Cinciaola, head to the weight room to oversee 3 groups of players who lift on a Tuesday. Every week in season the players lift twice a week and it is all part of a progressive programme dating back to spring training. This is a good opportunity for the players to crank up the music and make a lot of noise keeping the energy and intensity high is our key role in this part of the day and I have done this recently by introducing the players to the music of Big Mike, Stormzy.
We then head back quickly to the office where we get started on drawing our scout cards and run fit cards for the day. This is perhaps the most time consuming part of the day as we are given a list of plays from the Defensive Co-ordinator and we have to look up HUDL (the website/app used to store and view the video footage - split play by play - from previous games) and see exactly how the opposition run each play. All the way from when the route runners make their cuts, alignment, blocking scheme and other tendencies which will help the players get an insight into what exactly it is they are going to be facing. This takes up the duration of the day before practise as we have approximately 45 cards each to draw up in around 3 hours - whilst checking the way in which our opposition plan to attack us and adding any scouting points or ways in which we will defend certain plays or looks.
Now it’s time for practise, we follow a schedule of 15 x 8 minute periods beginning with a 15 minute walkthrough of the formations we expect to face and the plays which we will run to defend them. We then begin team practise with the specialists running through their warm up drills, I am responsible for the punt returners at this part of the practise and oversee them in varying situations throughout the period. Then we begin our Indy (Individual) period which is 7 periods long with 14 drills, as the Defensive Secondary Coach it is my responsibility to take the Defensive Backs through their drills which are all relevant to what type of coverage and pressures we expect to run that week. Following on from this we go onto Team, Skelly (Skeleton), Run Fits and Scout periods.
Team period consists of our offence going against our defence. We split it into 3x4 play periods with varying different scenarios. For example, this week we concentrated on 3rd down and Red Zone offence and defence but we change week to week dependant on a number of factors.
Next we run Skelly which is exactly the same format as the team period except without the Offensive or Defensive lines [to allow a cleaner look at formations and plays]. We then move onto run fits where the Offensive Scout team run the top 10-12 runs we are to face from our opposition this week. This is a quick fire period as we have to get approximately 30 plays into an 8 minute period and allow for any adjustments to be made. Using the scout cards which I mentioned earlier we run through this period as quickly and effectively as we can.
Our final periods consist of 2x Special Team periods and 2x Scout Periods with our focus being on what type of coverage our opposition run on Kick Off and Punt. Following this we have our Offensive Scout team run a number of plays in the following categories; Early downs, 2nd and long, Red Zone, Goal-line, 3rd and Short, 3rd and Long. Again we take this information from the scouting we do on the previous Friday and Sunday by using the analytics on HUDL and when used correctly can win any game before taking the field.
This concludes our Tuesday practise where after we head back to the office and begin drawing up more scout cards as there are more periods of Scout and Run fits in what has been fondly named “Wild Card Wednesday” by the Assistant Coaches as we have to draw up A LOT of cards. But enough about Wednesday until next week. Thats my typical Tuesday out here which the Scout Card process was made considerably easier this week as I managed to catch up on my fantasy leagues podcast hosted by the witty Darren Henderson, a team captain of the Aberdeen Roughnecks.
We look forward to hopefully extending our winning ways as we travel to Susquehanna, a team who are Nationally Ranked and have already knocked off the conference favourites, John Hopkins.”
Join us again next week for Bryce’s Wednesday edition of his ‘A Week in the Life’ blog, and to catch up on what happened during the tussle between the Diplomats and River Hawks on Saturday. We will again be posting the link to the game on our facebook page so keep an eye out for that if you want to watch the action!