Teevens Q&A

Buddy Teevens Answers Your Questions (Part One and Two)

The call went out earlier this week for Questions for Coach, an opportunity to get your questions asked of, and answered by Dartmouth head football coach Buddy Teevens. Of the two dozen or so people who submitted questions in the past couple of days more than a handful asked variations of the exact same question.

Today’s BGA report will start with that question and include a representative sampling of the others that came this way. The questions and answers have been edited for clarity and/or to meld similar submissions by multiple readers. Given the number of excellent questions you sent along, some of the best were saved and will be asked for next Wednesday’s BGA. If you have others you want answered there will be a link at the bottom of today’s report.

And now by far the No. 1 question you asked . . .

Why has quarterback Dalyn Williams been kept in games that you already have locked up, and if you have to leave him in, why isn’t he just handing off rather than risking injury by running with the ball? Very good questions. The Georgetown game, we left him in too long. There was some concern about their ability to come back, and you learn a little bit more about your team having him in there in the opening game. The Penn game we pulled the whole team off in the fourth quarter. Then we turned the ball over and it becomes a little bit more of a concern. Yale had been a second-half team that put a lot of points on the board.

We would like to get a second QB in and, if we have an opportunity, have him in with the first line, which is a little bit more of a realistic opportunity.

It is a legitimate question. In retrospect, we definitely should’ve taken him out earlier against Georgetown.

Has the success that Dalyn Williams has enjoyed, and the success you’ve enjoyed with Dalyn Williams, changed how you approach recruiting quarterbacks? It definitely has modified it but that had already started. I have always liked to throw the football with the prototypical drop back, pocket type guy. But the game has changed and we have evolved. Certainly we are looking at the mobile QB, the QB-A as we term them. The nice thing is you can recruit a numbers of those guys because if they don’t work out at one spot, they work out at another. We’ve been doing that for a while now. Guys like Kirby Schoenthaler, Jordan Aré, the McManuses. We are definitely looking for that athleticism.

Is the Army contract for 2022 firm, and would you like to play other FBS teams? Yes it is set in stone. The contract is signed. Now having said that, they can buy their way out of a contract. That’s one of the things that you find. The challenge a IA program faces is that wins over all IAA teams no longer qualifiy to determine bowl berths. So it deters the IA’s from scheduling the IAA’s. That said, we would like to schedule some good teams from around the country. Like a Montana or Montana State. We would like to go out to that section of the world. We feel like, programmatically, we can compete successfully with some of the top teams at our level.

The Patriot League doesn’t seem to have made much improvement with scholarships. Do you think that moving away from scheduling Patriot League teams in the future was premature? No. The scheduling is done now so many years in advance. They changed their schedule and our schedules are locked in. We were looking for variety. We had an opportunity to go to different sections of the country. If it’s between playing a Colgate or playing a Georgetown, I would rather take the guys on a trip. I would rather go out to Butler.

I don’t understand playing teams like Sacred Heart and Central Connecticut instead of traditional rivals like Holy Cross or Colgate. Why the change? Some of it was just availability. A lot of guys are booked up. People don’t appreciate or understand how tough it is to find  opponents. The scheduling used to be just about year-to-year and now it is 10 or 15 years in advance. You sign contracts and you’re locked in. That has been a frustration. In the Ivy League, with a limited number of games and a late start point, it further narrows the choices that we have. Playing Patriot League guys is not a problem. It just wasn’t fitting into the schedule.

It seems other teams are pursuing transfers more than Dartmouth does. Is that correct? Between the quarter system and the way the process works here it is a little bit more challenging to find guys. We have looked, and we have had a couple that we considered. We do have Emmanuel Soto (a transfer wide receiver from Air Force who is practicing this fall but not eligible to play). We will continue to look. What can happen is you develop a rapport with a recruit and he opts to go someplace else. Sometimes he doesn’t enjoy what he is experiencing. We are monitoring some of those guys. Keeping our eyes open.

Who were some of your coaching mentors? Rick Taylor at BU. Steve Spurrier. Jerry Berndt at DePauw. Larry Zierlein, an offensive line coach for me at Tulane. 

What can you say about Steve Spurrier now that the Head Ball Coach has retired? What did you learn from him? Not retired. Resigned. He’ll correct you on that. He always had a great rapport with his players. He always took care of them. He was feisty on the sideline but always with kind of a twinkle in his eye. He has a good sense of humor. He made the game fun.

He had a mindset and he had a plan. A lot of the stuff he did in practice I really agreed with. Protecting his players. We were not a real physical team in practice, but we cut loose on game day and that was a nice lesson. What I had experienced before was a little more physical.

He was wonderful with families. His wife was a great role model for Kirsten, always with the little things. The brownies for the players. Birthday cards for kids of the coaches and so forth. A lot of the personal stuff was really wonderful.

Obviously, people know about him as a coach. What they didn’t know about were a lot of the things he did, never for credit. Stopping at the hospital down in Gainesville seeing kids. Things like that. He was always very, very thoughtful and very supportive. He really cared about his players.

I’m going to invite Coach and his wife Jerri up. They don’t like the cold weather so it may have to be in the future, but there will be an invitation.

What are some of your favorite nicknames of current players? Brandon Chu – Chewbacca. Jake Young – The Tongue. Chatty Jack Friedman, because he talks a good bit. The Dark Knight, Jimmy Knight because  he’s quiet and just kind of walks out there. Those are the ones that come to mind right off the bat.

Oct. 21 – Q&A No. 2 With Coach Buddy Teevens, Prt 2

Given the number and quality of questions you submitted for Coach Buddy Teevens it would have been a disappointment not to ask them, so here goes the second edition of Questions for Coach.

The questions and answers have been edited for clarity and/or to meld similar submissions by multiple readers.

You left Dartmouth before when the program was on the rise. Would you consider a possible return to the major college ranks? Or are you committed to staying here for years to come? This is where I want to stay. I’ve been around. As my wife said, “Why did we ever leave in the first place?” It was a wonderful experience to go out and see different things. That has made me a better coach and allowed me to do things here at Dartmouth that I would have been unaware of if I had stayed way back when but this is where I want to be.

 I have seen some very late hits on our quarterback. Does the Ivy League review game tapes for serious offenses? They do. I sent a lengthy one in a few weeks back and I know that action was taken. It was addressed within the league. We have a very talented quarterback and people will target him, thinking, stop that guy. The head of officials has said we need to take care of our quarterbacks and our players, and so far so good. Some of the late hits have been called and I hope there’s no more. But if there are, I expect them to be called.

If you could have played some position other than quarterback, what would you have played? I think strong safety. You run around, tackle people and knock down passes. You might get to handle the ball occasionally. I played a little bit of it in high school but it’s not something we ever talked about when I was playing here.

With the new presidents in the Ivy League, do you think the chances are better for getting the 11th game or participating in the FCS playoffs? (Lengthy delay) I am the pessimist who is always the optimist. I am not sure anyone will step up and carry the flag on that one. But if it’s one over the other, I would say they probably would choose the playoffs.

A hypothetical question. If the NCAA were to offer Dartmouth a berth in the playoffs after this season would you choose to pursue it with the Ivy League? There’s no grounds for anything like that, but if there were I certainly would want to try. We would pull out any stops that we could, but it wouldn’t happen.

What have you learned about yourself in the 10 or so years you’ve been back? (Laughs) I’m dumb as a stump? I learned that I can delegate a little bit more effectively than I could in the past. I don’t have to do everything. Hire good people and let them work. I think my players are able to know me in a different way than they did before. I have been more involved from an alumni standpoint, partly out of necessity and partly out of enjoyment.

To reduce the chance of injury in junior varsity games, quarterbacks are no longer tackled. Neither punts nor kickoffs are returned. Scheduling appears to be a problem and from a spectator standpoint the junior varsity games no longer attract very much interest. Where do you think the JV program is headed? We would love to have it where we flat-out play but it’s a numbers game. Williams and Middlebury did not want their quarterback touched either. Safety is a concern. It is a challenge with the reduced numbers of recruits and the attrition rate at most Ivy League schools. Some just don’t have enough people to play but we are about the only schools in the country that have jayvee opportunities. I like it because it gives our guys a chance to compete against somebody else. You get better by playing, not by watching. We’ve had to drop down a bit, as we will against Norwich Sunday. Against Norwich we will do a pass skeleton, which is not a scrimmage situation. We will do some offensive and defensive line work, which is more experience than guys would get if they just went out and practiced. It’s helpful to see a different-color jersey.

Has there ever been talk about moving the home team to the other side of Memorial Field to be in the sun on colder days and maybe give the TV camers an opportunity to show the home stands? I have thought about it. But that is the home stands, so it would be a tough sell. We would also have the sticks on the sideline here, and visiting stands behind us. If we could move the sun I would be more in favor of that.

Some of your explosive defensive linemen might be helpful in short yardage situations on offense because of their quickness and strength closer to the ground. Would you consider that option? A few guys have actually pushed for that. They wanted (A) Zuttah and (Cody) Fulleton and a few of the other guys like Diesel (Davaron Stockman). Just load them up. We have looked at the appeal of that, but haven’t done anything.

The University of San Diego has a schedule opening early in 2016. Any possibility of the Big Green taking a trip to the West Coast? We have looked at San Diego in the past and it has been a question of making our schedules match up. Scheduling is not easy, but it is something we will be looking at. Years ago the scheduling might be two years out. Now it is 15 and that makes it hard when you have contracts. Dartmouth historically does not want to breach contracts. 

How does having back-to-back great seasons help in recruiting? And what is your recruiting philosophy? There’s been a lot more attention to Dartmouth with the success we’ve had, the improvements facility wise, the uniforms. The exposure with the MVP and the non-tackling thing. We’re talking to more high-quality guys who are legitimately interested in Dartmouth. There’s a greater awareness of our football team and that only increases with the ranking and exposure. My approach continues to be just to take the best football players. I always want to bring in better guys than I have and develop guys that I have into better players than the guys we are bringing in. That has pretty much happened over the course of time.

How about this recruiting cycle? We are probably not going to go as high with early decision numbers as we have in the past. Rather than load up early we will wait and try to get some people that we might have passed on before.

© Big Green Alert 2015