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BIG RED HEAD ZONE

Kansas State Game: October 12, 2005

By Jim Meier

Note: Sorry, I missed writing for the past three games. I was out of the country and basically out of reach of any information other than the final scores, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas…OUCH!!!

THE CRUX:

A win! PHEW! More relief than enthusiasm. As I read the papers about the past four games what has been clearly mounting is fear. Again, I don’t talk to the teams or the coaches so I don’t know what their thinking or emotions are. So when I say fear, I mean what is written and spoken in some cases on radio and TV. The fear of losing, going 5-6, no bowl game, even humiliation. And the crux of the crux is that locking onto this picture of failure leads to tension, jitters and anxiety and the resulting tightness and unneeded, added pressure.

THE QUOTE(S):

All three quotes are from the Omaha World Herald article PLAYERS TAKE THE BLAME, November 9, Sports page 2C

Kevin Cosgrove:

“Defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove said his group isn’t playing as carefree, as loose, as it was early in the season. Technique and hesitation have caused execution problems. What’s wrong is we’ve got to get a win, and we’ve got to play better. That’s what’s wrong”.

Nate Swift

“Swift attributed the loss (Kansas) to little things that snowballed and turned in a mess”

Zach Taylor

“When we watched the film, you see too many mental errors. We’re in the right position. We’re calling the right plays. Something’s just breaking down every play that’s holding us back. I wish there was a magic formula to help fix that, but we’ve just got to dig down deep”

note: I added the italics, bold and increased font size where this appears

Mental Muscle:

Each quote helps us and can help the team with their mental game:
1) It is lala land lunacy to be completely carefree in the Nebraska Football environment. I mean hey! Pop Warner football isn’t even carefree. But Kevin Cosgrove’s point is a must for success. The best athletes just
play. They just play! And without question having a natural self induced dose of carefree sprit is the ticket. Sometimes the ability of the head and heart to produce enough of it from within the system doesn’t exist. This requires a vitamin Carefree shot from press, supporters and fans. If I could physically transport each player and coach to their earliest days of playing football to watch those game films, seeing the free and ease in which they played I’d do it in a heartbeat. be done, given the power of the brain’s memory is to project back and remember. Each player and each coach CAN do that.

2) “The little things” execution is directly correlated to laser focusing mental skills on your assignment EVERY play. This requires mentally simulating plays AND your movements on those plays. Of course there will be times you get beat but getting beat and mentally beating yourself are entirely different things. My professional guess is that happened on at least one of the two third quarter safeties (but I’ve not viewed the film).

3) I’m glad they review and see the mental errors. Review the failure ONCE. Review what was done well OVER AND OVER AGAIN. Then there won’t be this, “too many mental errors” quote again. There will be mental errors
Football players AND coaches are not programmed robots in spite of desires, hopes and expectations from the
Husker “faithful” and even at times faithful that they function that way.

WEEKLY MENTAL GAME TIP:

Candid, honest and specific constructive assessment, advice and feedback are needed for correction and improvement.

However, excessive criticism does not win football games!!!!