Saturday Practice Caps Football Coaches Clinic

April 17, 2010

SEATTLE - The crowd at Washington's spring practice had a little bit of a different feel on Saturday afternoon, more so than the usually strong contingent of Huskies fans and members of the media. This time, the Huskies were the focus of nearly 300 coaches from high schools both local and out-of-state, along with various small-college coaches as well.

This weekend marked the 2010 Husky Football Coaches Clinic, a two-day event where a wealth of information is shared by the current staff and guest speakers. Attendees exchange ideas with their peers and learn from established coaches in the business, and take home new information to impart to their respective teams.

For Bob Beveridge, an offensive line coach at the University of British Columbia, this was a perfect venue to discuss everything from schematics to coaching philosophy to motivation techniques. Beveridge and other members of the UBC staff drove down from Vancouver this week, and left with a mental notebook full of info that will be implemented when the Thunderbirds play next fall.

'You look at the level of expertise here, with the UW coaches and the guest speakers and it was a no-brainer (to come down),' Beveridge said.

On Friday, the coaches in attendance listened to a speech from Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian. This was followed by breakout sessions with the UW assistants, and then dinner and a social hour at the Don James Center. There were several distinguished guest speakers too, ranging from former Seahawks coach Jim L. Mora (a UW alum) and longtime Denver Broncos linemen Mark Schlereth, now an analyst on ESPN.

Schlereth, who owns a pair Super Bowl rings from his time with the Broncos and another as a Redskin, also met with the current Huskies team during an early morning meeting.

'He spoke about what it means to be a great teammate and why championship teams are able to accomplish what they've accomplished,' Sarkisian said. 'Obviously, with Mark having three Super Bowl rings, he has a vast array of knowledge of what it means to win championships. And he was able to share that with our guys.'

Even the current Huskies coaches took away something from the clinic. Running backs coach Joel Thomas said the biggest nugget of info he's always taken away from clinics is that there's 'more than one way to skin a cat.' To key for coaches, he added, is to always be open to new, fresh ideas.

'I still take notes about what's going on in the sport,' Thomas said. 'I've always felt that you shouldn't pigeonhole yourself into thinking this is the way things are done.'

That's exactly the philosophy Beveridge and the rest of his group have taken with them here in Seattle. Because of the clinic, practice was a little more fractured than normal so coaches could watch the position heads work in small groups. The UBC staff monitored closely how linemen coach Dan Cozzetto was instructing the Huskies during drills. Beveridge was particularly impressed with how the Huskies ran practice at an efficient but upbeat tempo in their live-action drills. Most importantly, he noted how the coaching staff contextualized their philosophies during the speaking portions of the clinic.

'There are simple things, like `Expect to Win.'' Beveridge said. 'Anyone can say it, but how do you measure it? (The Huskies) do a good job of explaining a lot of their culture here.'

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