Head coaches attract a lot of attention, but the chess game in football starts with the coordinators. Whether its offense or defense, a coordinator’s primary job is to articulate the system to each player in order to obtain a clear understanding.
Defensive coordinators are on the field most of the time. They are ones who are barking out assignments and trying to get everyone set in the right position. Offensive coordinators are focused on running set plays. It’s their job to make sure everything flows smoothly.
Unlike defensive coordinators, offensive coordinators have an alternative. An offensive coordinator can operate either on the field or in the press box.
Both venues have their perks, but let’s start with the press box first.
Press box Advantages
- The press box is spacious (offensive coordinators need room to work).
- Being inside gives a coordinator time to process thoughts.
- With head phones in the press box, communicating to quarterbacks is crisp.
- When coordinators are on the field, they get a better view of the game.
- The communication is faster because you see what the team sees.
- If an offense doesn’t understand the play called, adjustments can be made quickly.
Despite the perks, both venues have their disadvantages. We started with the press box on advantages, so let’s dissect the field drawbacks first.
- A lot of crowd noise disrupts an offense’s timing. This causes a coordinator to constantly change plays or burn timeouts.
- Some coordinators perform better in space. It’s crowded on the sidelines and being packed in tight doesn’t allow enough room for thinking.
Press box Woes
- Technical difficulties happen in college football. It’s just part of the game.
- If there is a breakdown in communication, a coordinator would have to leave the press box and go to the field. Time and strategy are both wasted when this happens.
Being an offensive coordinator in this league is a lot of work. Offensive coordinators are constantly changing plays, creating different packages and trying to combat defensive coordinators.
In Alabama’s game against West Virginia, Nick Saban wanted Lane Kiffin on the sidelines. Kiffin preferred the press box because of the advantages stated earlier, but Saban knew that Alabama’s offense would be nervous against the Mountaineers and he needed Kiffin on the field to maintain balance.
The Crimson Tide defeated West Virginia 33-23 and its offense totaled 538 yards. Kiffin was able to keep Blake Sims calm by going no huddle and Sims passed for 250 yards. Kiffin’s simple, yet aggressive play calling helped Alabama total 288 yards rushing with three scores.
The phrase “different strokes for different folks” is significant. Both venues are nice, but some coordinators will prefer press box over field and vice versa. The important thing for an offensive coordinator is to find an area that’s conducive to helping him run a productive offense.
Field view gives coordinators a better perspective on the team, while press box view is better for thinking. Fans, you decide. Which area is better suited for offensive coordinators, the field or the press box?