We're heading into the dog days for sports fans, as b-dowd will often tell you. College football feels miles away, but we all know how fast summers seem to go by, and before you know it, the BS twitter feed will be starting fights all over the place by pouring gasoline onto brush fires. (We really should talk to those guys, lest they get blocked by someone like @BoilerFootball -- oops, too late.)
Anyway, whenever possible, you know we like to gush about the positive hire Purdue made in bringing in Coach Hazell. While this isn't ground-breaking by any stretch, it reminds me of the sometimes simple things that need to be done and said to begin to change a culture, to change attitudes, to change mindsets. Everything thinks they can flip a switch and act differently -- but that's not the case. For Coach, it's a simple plan, as he told USA Today a while back:
It's a simple plan. Be respectful, Hazell says. Watch your language. Have class. Be proud of your image.
Well, that's a good start. His "three-point plan" is simple, yet heartening, as well:
1) Win with what you have. "We're going to win with the guys that are in this locker room," Hazell said. What does this mean? That the system is tailored to the players, not vice versa, and nothing is more important than trusting your teammates.
2) Have confidence. "We've got to change the way we see ourselves," Hazell said. "That's the most important thing."
3) Win in November. "You win championships in the game of college football in the month of November," he said.
Mold away, Coach. Change the culture. Restore the pride of wearing the Old Gold and Black.
By comparison, Danny Hope's three point plan was as follows:
1) Collect whistles to wear around your neck during games -- everybody respects a coach ready to blow the play dead.
2) Be the players' best friend. Have sleepovers. Make marmalade together.
3) Focus your offense around a kicker.
4) Use timeouts to give the other time time to catch their breath -- it's only sporting.
5) Make sure the team focuses for Ohio State. Everybody else is just gravy. Mmmm, gravy is delicious.