I’ve always contended even though coaching figures into the equation, if you have enough good basketball players on a team, you could roll the ball out and let them coach themselves.
The Golden State Warriors would usually be the best team in basketball, with or without Steve Kerr. However, I do think great coaching greatly matters with a poor team.
Football, though, is a different deal. It has all those coaches, all those moving parts, all those strategic and injury adjustments as the game rolls on. Coaching matters a ton on the gridiron.
I’m not alone in that assessment. In an interview this week with longtime football coach Norm Chow, late of BYU and Utah, he essentially confirmed my suspicion.
He referenced a phrase coaches use regarding preparation: “The hay is in the barn.”
The phrase means that all the groundwork is done during the week of practice, then on Saturday you hit the "on" switch.
“I’ve learned from a lot of guys that you never minimize the coaching quality,” Chow said. “Game-day coaching is critical. Some guys say, ‘The hay’s in the barn!’ No, the hay is never in the barn. You do have to have good players, but you also have to coach the heck out of it on Saturday.”
It’s no mystery why coaches such as Nick Saban and Urban Meyer keep winning, year after year. In farm terminology, they both put the hay in the barn and have the horses. And yes, they coach the heck out of every game.