Good afternoon, Gopher fans!
Pitino said the Gophers must "stay the course and be positive every day."
I just finished reading a great article by Joe Posnanski about Pete Carroll and the culture he is building with the Seattle Seahawks. I talk with my staff constantly about how we have to be innovative and forward-thinking with everything that we do. Coach Carroll certainly has gone against the "traditional" way of coaching and it appears to be working. I love how the writer describes Pete Carroll as "relentlessly, even absurdly, positive. He's constant energy. He never stops being cheerful and enthusiastic and encouraging." He has built a culture of positive thinking regardless of what people around him may say.
As we embark on our season it is so important for our players and staff not to succumb to any negativity. People are constantly reminding me that some magazine or media member is picking us to finish at the bottom of the league. It's crucial for me and my staff to remind these guys every day that this will be a process. This will not happen overnight. Embrace the challenge, stay the course and be positive every day. There will always be critics and naysayers. It is so important for us to block all that out.
Nobody is doing that right now better than Gopher football's own Coach Jerry Kill. Coach Kill loves the game of football, relishes the opportunity to coach and appreciates every day he has with his team. It will take a lot more than a tough disease to keep him from it. He is truly an inspiration and I am proud to be able to work with him. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind he has this program going in the right direction!
Excited to see Coach Kill back on the field on sat. Easy 2 see why his guys play so hard for him. He has us headed in the right direction!-- Richard Pitino (@MNCoachPitino) September 16, 2013
Before our first practice I showed the team some clips from the HBO series "Hard Knocks." I tried to show them how professional they need to be every day in regards to their "job" as student-athletes. I have been fortunate to inherit a team with a bunch of guys who like to work hard in both areas - on the court and in the classroom.
This week, we did two 1-hour team practices for the first time since these guys have returned from summer break. For the first time we put in our "white" press. This full court press consists of our power forward guarding the inbounder, and it's the guard's responsibility to force a speed dribble. Speed and athleticism certainly is crucial to playing this style. We have to be in great shape in order to do this. Last year at FIU, we finished eighth in the country in steals per game (9.8). That was a stat we took pride in. We have a long, long way to go but our guys are embracing the challenge. See everybody on Saturday at the football game!