What Was Latina Coaching?

In watching the video interviews over on und.com I was particularly struck by something said by senior offensive tackle Sam Young. When asked what his initial impressions were of new offensive line coach Frank Verducci, the three year returning starter has this to say:

He’s a technician. For me that’s a really good thing because I think that’s something that I’ve been lacking is my technique. It’s something that I needed to work on. It’s a different perspective. there’s a lot of stuff he brings to the table that I haven’t heard before and a lot of the guys on the line have heard. It’s a different perspective. it’s a different way of doing things.

I’ve said numerous times that I thought Latina was a good coach but just didn’t work out well within Weis’s offense, but if a three year starter is saying that his technique is lacking and that it’s something he’s needed work on, it makes me wonder what exactly Latina was coaching over the last few years.

Now, take this witha  grain of salt since whenever there is a coaching change at any level, there’s always quotes about how much better or different the new coach is.  We were all excited when we heard the players talk about Latina after Mike Denbrock left with Ty Willingham originally too.  Still, it is a little telling when a senior who has started since day one says that his technique has been lacking and needs work.

One other note from Young’s interview of note was him saying that one of Verducci’s favorite terms is “suffocate” as in suffocating the defender they are blocking.  It’s still early and everything always sounds great this time of year, but at least it sounds like so far so good from our new offensive line coach.

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  1. I’ll believe dumping Latina was necessary once I see some improvement on the field. I won’t get my hopes up.

  2. who cares what term we want to use to make our team better. We are all a little nervous about this season and everything needs to go well.
    just win and lets stop wimpering about what term is better. I want us to win and clausen needs to have a break-out season. and obviously we all wanna see Manti have a “Katzenmoyer like” freshmen year.

  3. I agree, “Suffocation sounds more like a matter of (play-action) technique.” And the bottom line is this; our offensive line has not dominated anyone in decades. I am not willing to endorse an early personal talent contest of the new coaches (we seem to have a bad case of revolving door snydrome) – as we all know, the honey moon is over when the coaching technique does not translate onto the field (Just ask Latina). So, maybe good old “smash-mouth championship” football is better terminology. However, I am not highly optimistic about a well known play-action coach for the O-Line in regards to improving the running game. Only Darius Walker had the patience to make his own holes recently to compensate for a poor offesive line. After decades of mediocre performance, show me on field results, then I’ll be glad to hype the hype.

  4. On ‘pancake’ versus ‘suffocate’ we’re talking about two different things. A pancake is about utter physical dominance. All our linemen can show high school highlight tapes where they pancaked lesser opponents. Hard to do at Division One.

    Suffocation sounds more like a matter of technique. You stick with your block, countering each move like a wrestler, shielding, crowding, and obstructing. If the defender doesn’t have room to breathe, he can’t make a play.

  5. We’re all trying to get a read on the new coaches and the 2009 team. We inspect every crumb and morsel that falls from the table. There’s not much else to do between now and September.

    We’re still trying to understand why the team underperformed so badly these past two seasons. Clearly, offensive line play was poor. But why? And what does the coaching change portend for the future?

    When Verducci was hired, he said he had seen things on tape that were ‘correctable’ -implying poor technique. Now Sam Young is saying that he’d been concerned about his own technique, and after three years he’s finally learning ‘a lot of stuff’ he’d been missing.

    Multiply that by every man on the O-line, and we have our reason for 3-9 and 7-6. We also have a reason to expect great improvement in ’09.

    It’s clear the players were fond of Latina. He seems like a great guy. And who knows, maybe Verducci won’t fare any better with these highly-recruited linemen. But we have reason for optimism.

    Think what a juggernaut this offense can be if this O-line can dominate the line of scrimmage.

  6. Whatchamacallit or thingamajig? I like football “Pancake” for it’s tougher attributes. It’s the ultimate block.

  7. i know what pancake means in football that is why i said “i know its a term” in my previous post. i was just questioning what your definition of a strong word was. suffocate sounds good to me.

  8. @ Frankie, great post.

    @ Jason_h537, it is well known in football that “pancake” block means you just got your ass slammed-off your feet.

    Further, “suffocate” matches Verducci’s well-known play-action credentials noted by every sports-pundit out there.

    By the way, Webster’s dictionary doesn’t always apply to football.

  9. I have long held that the basics in run blocking were deficient and that the o-line pad levels did not let them drive through a d-line especially in short yardage. I think publishing Young’s comments are OK. Guess you could look at it as running Latina down. That would be typical myopia. It should be viewed as a player seeing his deficiencies and is now willing to address them. Let;s get with it. Great piece of reporting Frankie V. Give me confidence that we are moving in the right direction.

  10. @ JC

    wtf. pancake is a tougher word than suffocate? i know its a term but pancake is breakfast ma, suffocate is to choke out

    @ frankie

    i think your gettin a lil excited. i know i like what i see from verducci also but its spring.

  11. It’s a scary thought, 3 year starter worried about his technique?? Albeit not surprising considering the lack of a running game for two years. Boy, just a little too revealing for me. Well, all we can hope for is a turn around miracle on the O-line in regards to the running game. Sounds like experience is not going to carry the day.

    Further, “suffocate?” what ever happened to “Pancake?” Or good old fashion smash-mouth destroying the defender off the line on the run? Words do mean something and leave an exact impression. Sorry, “suffocate” sounds wimpy.

  12. At no point in this article did Frank say technique WASN’T taught. I think the point was to question the quality of technique that was being taught. He didn’t run anyone down, he was merely doing his job by critiquing, in all fairness, a coach on the ND staff. This is also a topic that has come up throughout the past few years, so it’s not all in hindsight. UHND does a good job of assessing ND coaching, without being overly biased in either direction. Also, I don’t see the “complaining” aspect of this post… Get it together… GO IRISH

  13. Go to the Rivals site and Watch the two free clips of Latina coaching and compare it to the clip of Verducci. Pretty much all Latina did was yell “hike”. He never corrected anyones technique, just ran them through drills. Go see and hear for yourself. Verducci in comparison is a real teacher of the position, not just a guy in stretch pants with a whistle.

  14. It seems so easy for someone to critisize and complain when one is not actually involved. How do you know Latina did not teach technique? I say forget it and move on. NOTHING is ever gained by running down a person AFTERWARDS.

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