Will Coach Lanning Duplicate Georgia’s Leadership Program?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials

Kirk Herbstreit recently stated that, “Georgia leadership is why the Bulldogs finished on top,” and while I’ve written about the building of connections among the players, this internal growth of leaders within a team can certainly determine their ultimate results. Every coach at every level will refer to the importance of leaders on the team, and we have witnessed Oregon teams in the past that had great leaders, and other teams that appeared rudderless, without leaders the players would follow.

What did Georgia do, and will Coach Dan Lanning emulate it? My research found that the Bulldogs implemented some strategies to stimulate player-leaders emerging, and I had to take a break from my gaming action on Bwin, to study their approach. Like other coaches, Head Georgia Football Coach Kirby Smart wants player-led teams, as it is more effective when team leaders care more about “doing it right,” than worrying about offending someone or whether he is liked or not.

Creating leaders like that is harder than it sounds.

Coach Smart decided, “we’ll take our leadership guys off location this summer and spend time together,” Smart said, “and try to do some things different to change it up.” They spent some time on the beaches at the Gulf of Mexico with Trever Moawad, a college football mental consultant, as many of the top college programs have adopted his mental conditioning methods. It was an important time of the leaders bonding and coming together.

There is a ton of experienced players on the offensive line.

“How we’ll play and how this team will perform together is going to be decided this summer,” Smart said before their leadership trip. “Ultimately it’s going to boil down to what they choose to do this summer, and how they choose to take on leadership roles.” It makes me wonder what Coach Lanning has in store for many of the Duck upperclassmen after the Spring Game?

Herbstreit went on to rave about stud Bulldog linebacker Nakobe Dean with, “…that guy (Nakobe Dean) was determined to get Georgia to a national championship. That was his focus and you could see that in the game-the leadership that he provided. You could see it if you were ever away from the television and got around their team…It was a special bond and I’m not shocked.” (At winning a National Championship)

You know you have succeeded in building team leaders when they come through at the clutch moments in the key games. Georgia linebacker Channing Tindall had a monstrous sack of Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, but watch what happened in the play before the big sack…

Nakobe Dean got in the face of Tindall, who then responded to the defensive leader by pinning the ‘Tide back. Every team can only hope to create a unique player such as Dean, but also have players who will react in a positive way to such leadership. Another example is when linebacker Nolen Smith explained… “I do exactly what he (Dean) tells me.” Great players will do great things for great leaders.

What do you think Coach Lanning has in store for this team concerning the leadership? It might make sense to allow the natural leaders, such as Noah Sewell to take over, but there are also veteran defensive linemen, older offensive linemen and a senior transfer quarterback. So many factors to consider and follow this spring and summer because….

“Oh, how we love to learn about Our Beloved Ducks!”

Charles Fischer   (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo by Tom Corno

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