The BAC Theory

Welcome to October. I hope everyone is off to a healthy and successful start to their seasons. This month, considering the grind of the regular season and the stress it often provides, I thought I’d showcase the “lighter side” a little bit.

Over the course of a decade in college coaching, I’ve found myself in many different situations and scenarios which were often frustrating, occasionally humorous, and frequently inexplicable. Wrapping my mind around the actions of 18-22 year old men has led to the formulation of more than one theory and/or philosophy. Something I’ve often tried to figure out is why, when you tell a player what to do, he does not do it and often does the opposite. I’ve come up with a couple of theories for this. This particular blog post will focus on a theory which I’ve finalized just this fall. I call it (for public consumption) “The B.A.C. Theory”: B = Brain, A = Attitude, C = Courage. You can adjust the letters/words as necessary; I may or may not do so in private!

Let’s explore this further –

BRAIN: Frankly, it’s very possible that the player in question is not (from a football standpoint) smart enough to do what you’re asking him to do. This is a problem. As a matter of fact, it is a major problem. However, it is not insurmountable. There’s always a possibility, no matter how small, that we can find a way to better communicate our point, or simplify the mission, so that this player can do what we need him to do to help us win. Do not give up on this player – at least not until you’ve exhausted all options.

ATTITUDE: A player with intelligence, talent, courage, toughness, and a work ethic should be able to execute your instructions. He should, actually, be able to do so fairly easily. If these characteristics are present, and you can confirm that they are legitimate, there is – in my opinion – only one possible reason he is not doing what you ask him to do: he’s a jerk. The player is smart enough to understand the job. He has the talent and ability to execute the instruction. He is not afraid to attempt what you’re asking him, and he is tough enough to withstand whatever punishment the job may entail. He is willing and able to work hard enough to do what is required. If all these things are true, but he is not doing what you ask him to do, he is intentionally not doing it. He knows better than you, and he will not let you tell him what he is going to do. This is a far bigger problem than his brain. However, I still believe this player can be “fixed”. Frequently, maturity is the root of the attitude problem. This player needs to grow up, and he needs to do so quickly. If a “shake down the thunder” meeting doesn’t work for this guy, it’s probably time to cut him loose.

COURAGE: This guy is the real sticking point. He is probably a great kid. He probably works his rear end off. He may have a ton of talent, and he most likely performs well in drills, etc. He understands the assignment you’ve given him; he understands it perfectly. He just won’t do it. He’ll try some ego-saving explanation, but it will be clear to you. He is scared. It happens – I’m sure you’ve all seen it. This, men, is irreparable. It cannot be fixed, taught, or coached. If you have room on your roster, let him be a part of it. However, understand that he will never, ever be able to help you win. It is sad, but it is what it is. Some of the best kids I’ve coached, from a character standpoint, fell into this category. They can’t help it, and you can’t do a thing about it.

So, there you have it. In my humble opinion, if one of your players just IS NOT DOING what you ask, it’s one of those three reasons. The B.A.C. Theory – it plays all.

Best of luck to all the coaches throughout the remainder of your seasons. Feel free to contact me with questions, concerns, or criticisms. I can be reached at