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  • Writer's pictureTerry O'Neil

Doubleheader in South Carolina

Sam Wyche, Super Bowl coach of the Cincinnati Bengals, and PLP founder Terry O'Neilpresented Tuesday to South Carolina coaches at the South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association (SCACA) Clinic in the Charleston Convention Center.

As a former Furman University quarterback. resident of Pickens, SC, and former volunteer coach at Pickens High School after his NFL career ended, Wyche has deep ties in the state.  He playfully addressed the audience, "Now I've got something very important to say.  I want you to write this down:  The team with the better players has the better chance to win the game on Friday night."  After a pause and a smile, he continued, "Actually, the team with the better players who are healthy and ready to play, not standing on the sideline leaning on crutches, is the team with the better chance to win."

Wyche traced the history of limited-contact practice from legendary Coach Paul Brown, who signed Sam as a player in 1968, to Bill Walsh, who served eight years as a Bengals assistant under Brown.  When Walsh became head coach of the San Francisco 49ers in 1979, he hiredWyche as his quarterback coach.  Five years later, Sam was named head coach of theBengals.  

"These concepts from Practice Like Pros are not new, they've been tested over time," saidWyche.  "During my years with Paul Brown, his longest practice was an hour and 15 minutes.  And he used to cringe at big hits in practice.  Actually cringe.  When Bill Walsh went to San Francisco, he took Paul Brown's philosophy with him.  And those of us who worked underBill took it along when we became head coaches."

The next morning, O'Neil presented to the Board of Directors of the South Carolina Football Coaches Association (SCFCA), asking members to consider significant reduction in practice contact.  Similar proposals are being drafted in three states -- New Jersey, Connecticut and Mississippi.

Reaction to Recent Clinics

  • Y'all were great and the coaches are still talking about it.  The presentation was great.  Thank you again for coming.  -- Johnny Mims, Executive Director, Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC).

  • Really enjoyed your presentation at the MAC Coaching Clinic in Jackson, MS.  I would love any films you have to better educate our players and coaches.  We, as a staff, have been talking about moving toward this type of practice.  Any help or educational references will be greatly appreciated.  -- Marc High, Head Coach, Gautier (MS) High School

  • My 8th grade coach didn't do contact drills back in the '80s.  Then when I got to high school, we hit all the time in practice.  I learned the difference at a young age.  -- Mike Bush, Defensive Coordinator, Smithville (MS) High School

  • I LOVED your presentation today.  We have been doing most of this (at least during team periods) at my previous stops as a head coach over the last 10 years.  I would LOVE any videos or further information you may have that I can show to coaches and players to help with our education to make the game safer.  I would even love to do some type of workshop with our recreation program in Pickens to teach our youth and middle school coaches how to do this as well.  We are in Year #2 of developing our culture at Pickens High School, and I would LOVE for Practice Like Pros to be a MAJOR part of it!  -- Chad Smith, Athletic Director/Head Football Coach, Pickens (SC) High School

  • Thanks for speaking to us at the clinic today.  I learned a lot from your session.  I would love to have copies of the videos you showed and whatever resources you have to help protect my players.  -- Ricky Reyes, RB Coach, Stratford High School, Goose Creek, SC

  • Would you please send me the videos you shared at the SCACA clinic.  I really enjoyed your talk.  -- Dean Boyd, Athletic Director/Head Football Coach, Marlboro County (SC) High School

  • I was at the coaching clinic this morning and would like the videos and any other info you can send.  I am the strength trainer and inside receivers coach at Andrew Jackson High.  I'm always looking for better ways to help the kids.  Thanks to you and Coach Wyche for bringing this informatiom. -- Clarence Stover, Assistant Coach, Andrew Jackson High School, Kershaw, SC

  • I am the head football coach at Spring Valley HS in NY.  Could you send me the videos and information about proper tackling in practice with minimal contact.  I was at the clinic in New Canaan, CT, and thought it was very interesting.  I want to implement a lot of the things you talked about.  -- Andrew Delva, Head Football Coach, Spring Valley (NY) High School

Correction re Arch Manning Correction regarding Arch Manning, grandson of Archie Manning, 13-year-old, 8th grade quarterback at Isidore Newman School, New Orleans, referenced in last week's newsletter:  He is 5-feet-10, 135 pounds.  No correction is necessary for other news in that story:  Arch has already been offered by four big-time college programs. 

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