Good teams must be able to make tactical adjustments. This is one of those things that makes teams like the Denver Broncos so formidable. Peyton Manning is the master of reading a defense and making tactical adjustments. Watching Manning back in Indy for Sunday Night Football, I found myself thinking about tactical adjustments and just how critical they can be in changing the temperature of the game.
With the Broncos down by 12 at halftime, and playing somewhat poorly, I had a feeling Peyton Manning would come out in the second half having made some major adjustments. I had no doubt that he would be able to get the Broncos back in the game despite the margin at half and the sense that the Colts were controlling the game. Sure enough, the Broncos were able to expose weaknesses in the defense in the second half and pull the game within a score. In typical Manning form, what was a blow out ended up being a nail biter down to the end.
On Saturday, like the Broncos, we found ourselves needing to make some critical tactical adjustments in our scrimmage against UC Davis. Davis came out fired up from the start and managed to win most of the draws in the first half. With possession in their favor, Davis capitalized offensively and the game was quite close. We just didn’t have many quality offensive possessions and defensively we had several significant breakdowns.
Tactical adjustment time!
After any goal we have our players quickly huddle to talk about what broke down. Sometimes it’s major, often times it’s minor, but unless we’re all on the same page of what went wrong, we can’t prevent it from happening again. We clearly made great use of that time, as well as our time at half, to make some much needed adjustments.
It’s always encouraging for a coach to see your players reading and understanding what’s happening on the field. Our goal is not to create robots that follow every play and defensive scheme to the letter, but rather develop players that can read the defense, read the offense and make smart decisions about what needs to happen next. This only happens when your players become students of the game. On Saturday, we saw our team get better with time as they made those tactical adjustments against a sharp Davis team. Whether it was on the draw, on attack or our defensive end ,our play improved over time in all facets. It was great to see our players recognize tendencies and weaknesses and capitalize.
By the end, we were able to gain some momentum and separation from a very talented and physical Davis team. It certainly wasn’t a perfect game but no game ever is. As we keep emphasizing, it’s not about the mistakes you make but how your respond to them on. On Saturday, our Bears responded. It was an exciting game and it gives us a lot to build on (as well as work on this week!)
We’re back in action for an all day play day at Stanford where we will see conference foes St. Mary’s, Fresno State, Stanford and San Diego State. If you’re in the area, come out for some great fall ball lacrosse action! Go Bears!