HARRY: You hear a lot in the offseason about coaches going to visit different schools and exchanging ideas with other coaches for the sake of the program and professional development. How's that work here?In my opinion, there is a lot more sharing between football coaches than basketball coaches. I started this blog and the forum because I felt that there were too few places on the Internet to share coaching information for free. Just do a search on google, you'll find dozens of people sharing/trading football notes/video. The same search for basketball will point you to very few resources for basketball info, and a bunch that are for pay.
MEYER: "That's a big part of what we do. For example, our strength coach and my administrative assistant, every year -- and they have no choice -- have to get on a plane and go visit the best places in America and find out if we're doing the right stuff. I've always encouraged our trainers, our academic people. It's the ones who sit around and do nothing. At some point, [everybody's] going to catch you. No, that is a must. You are graded on your professional development. That's part of your evaluation. And we don't want to be frivolous. We run a certain style, so we don't want to waste time. Go see your buddy? We don't want to do that. There has to be a reason. [The concept] is kind of amazing. I tell people, I'm sure Pepsi doesn't visit Coca-Cola and figure out how to make pop"
HARRY: Where do you draw the line?
MEYER: "It's hard. We've drawn it more. It got out of control a little bit. You have so much work to do. All of a sudden, people are walking in saying, 'Hey coach, you got three hours?' No. You just don't have time. So the last few years we've kind of made it off limits. We do allow some in. If Jon Gruden calls? Absolutely. Bill Belichick comes down every year. We're certainly not going to say no to them. So we handpick who we allow to come in."
HARRY: A guy like Gruden, you never know. He could be standing across from you on a sideline one day.
MEYER: "True. But you have to get something. This is a two-way street. For Jon Gruden to come in and just take? We're not going to do that. We're not into supplying information. We're into exchanging information. A guy like Bill Belichick? I get 10 times more than what he gets from us. Same for Jon Gruden. . . . I could go on and on and on. [California's] Jeff Tedford. He's one of my great friends. We always do it. Rich Rodriguez? We used to do it all the time [when he was at West Virginia], but now he's at Michigan and a competitor in recruiting so we don't anymore. [Rutgers'] Greg Schiano. I could go on and on. Mike Leach at Texas Tech. We often have conversation. [Utah's] Kyle Willingham and I talk twice a week."
HARRY: Give me an example of something Bill Belichick could share with you.
MEYER: "Where do I start? I am amazed at the how he handles elite athletes. You never hear about issues with off-the-field stuff. I am amazed to the point that I got on a plane and I went up and watched over three days and saw how he handled these, um, some of these elite guys. For some reason, the Patriots do this, but you hear about the Cowboys and these other teams just falling apart because of chemistry issues. And then there's Bill Belichick. Our whole program is based on what we learned from him; the core of the team has to be strong."
When I first started out coaching in basketball, it literally took years to learn even just the basics. Even when working as an assistant, many head coaches would not share all their "stuff" for fear of losing their advantage. When I started coaching football, I knew almost nothing save for the few things I remembered from my playing days. Thanks to both the online community and other coaches I've worked with, I learned more in 3 years coaching football than I did in 10 years coaching basketball. The point is, share as much as you can, its for the benefit for everyone.