UCF Knights coach George O’Leary is 67 years old, and he sounded like a crotchety old man during a recent rant on 740 The Game. During his own weekly radio show, O’Leary began with talking about the issues players are having acclimating to new tackling rules before quickly moving into “the good old days.”
The “good old days” being, apparently, when players were not quite so “soft.”
“In the NFL, you can only hit for 14 days in camp. That’s why the tackling and blocking is so poor. They’re not doing it. They’re not practicing it. In college, every day used to be doubles. Now, you have 29 practice opportunities. We go one a day. Most of these kids when it was 2-a-days, they would have struggled making it.
“There is no question the kids today are softer than kids in the past, in my mind. I think it comes from too much parental babying. I think that’s why it takes kids a little bit longer to play. The game is about contact. You can try to hide it any way you want, but you got to hit people whether you blocking or tackling.”
O’Leary then got back on the subject of form tackling before again losing his train of thought and dating himself. This time it was all about reality television. Yes, reality television.
“I always talk about contact speed. Even when you watch the NFL, a lot of those guys run 4.5 but they hit you at 4.9. You can’t win with those guys. All you got to do when you’re watching TV is watch the back leg, whether they’re blocking or tackling, and see if it comes through. You can’t play that way. We got a bunch of them that almost break their hip trying to put the brakes on before they hit someone. You can’t win that way. I’m always looking at contact speed in a football team whether it’s offensively or defensively. That’s what wins games.
“I think kids have so many other things going with themselves with peer pressure and before, 10 or 15 years ago, there wasn’t that much going on in my opinion. Now, they have all these shows and stuff. It’s just ridiculous, the reality show. You can’t watch TV now. It’s all stuff that really doesn’t matter.”
O’Leary’s Knights are making the transition from Conference USA into the newly-formed American Athletic Conference. UCF, with a large student population and within a massive recruiting area, is expected to evolve into one of the crown jewels of the league.
Hopefully, O’Leary’s players are tough enough to handle it. Or are practicing their tackling enough. Or are not watching too much television.
Or are eating their vegetables? Who knows.
[H/T: Coaching Search]