X's + O's = Life Skills

Mark Dantonio & Marvin Lewis

Day seven of spring practice was part of the University of Cincinnati, Dick Kerin/SWOFCA Football Coaches Clinic. Weather stoped the on-field events, but the best was yet to come.

On Friday afternoon, the Cincinnati Bearcats football staff hosted the Dick Kerin / SWOFCA Football Coach Clinic on campus. With a full afternoon and evening planned for coaches from around the Tri-State, the Bearcats were ready to teach, show and even learn a few things before the evening was over.

Starting around one o'clock Friday, coaches started showing up and going through open registration with position meetings set to start by two. On field demonstrations were getting started as heavy storms (tornado warnings) came through the campus area. The day seven on field practice was called because of the weather, but that didn't hamper the mood of the many coaches in attendance. They knew the best was yet to come.

By five all the coaches had gathered in the Great Hall-Tangeman Student Center to listen to Moeller High School coach Bob Crable talk about the principles of the Moeller defense. While teaching X's & O's was part of the clinic, before all was finished many life skills would be learned along the way. But while many were happy to hear what the former Notre Dame and NFL player had to say, many couldn't wait for the main attraction of the event.

Cincinnati Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis was the keynote speaker for the day. While Coach Lewis didn't do much X & O talk, his message was heard about how coaches need to deal with athletes at all levels of competition. Using his own life experiences, along with many different skills he's learned during his travels in high school, college and now the NFL, Lewis made it clear football coaches can empower those they have contact with on and off the field of play.

Talking about everyday life, Coach Lewis spoke about how everyone has adversity in their life at some point or another. He stressed while these events have pain, greatness doesn't come without it. Listening to this speech was many members of the Bearcats football team. Like Coach Lewis, Coach Dantonio has always stressed the importance of developing the whole person not just the football player in each of his young men.

By the time Coach Lewis was finished, the many coaches sitting in the room knew they learned some new area in helping them develop the young men they coach in high school.

But Coach Lewis wasn't the last coach to speak on this night. Coach Jim Place, now at Hamilton High School soon followed. Coach Place followed Coach Lewis with a great speech about "Creating Goals to Build a Program" to the coaches in the room. With his goal card in hand, Coach Place explained how the youth of today is no different then the youth he's coached during his thirty-seven years of coaching.

While Coach Place may have joked about having to follow Marvin Lewis, just as many coaches were taking notes during his speed as those who were busy writing during the Bengals main man.

Following the class talk, coaches joined together in the press box to share war stories and enjoy some food before turning in for the night and coming back on Saturday morning to hear Coach Dantonio talk about the "Zone Pressure Package" and Covington Catholic Head Coach John Rodenberg talk about the spread offense.

By ten the coaches will hit the turf at Nippert and be part of some interactive individual drills with Bearcats coaches and players. The Bearcats will also take the field at 10:45 a.m. for a jersey scrimmage before ending the clinic.

From the looks of things all of the coaches who came have enjoyed themselves. Football is being learned, but the main thing being learned, is how to deal and improve the next group of leaders through football.

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