Talkative Bill Belichick winning offseason like never before

Sporting News
Bill Belichick continues to win the offseason, and he's doing it by talking a little more.

Talkative Bill Belichick winning offseason like never before

Bill Belichick continues to win the offseason, and he's doing it by talking a little more.

COLUMBUS, Ohio —Bill Belichick simply can't lose.

Fresh off the heels of an interview with CNBC's Suzy Welch, Belichick doubled down by addressing the Ohio State Coaches Clinic at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Thursday.

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This isn't the Belichick you're used to seeing on TV. Insteadof the hoodie, Belichick wore a designer suit with matchinglavender shirt and pocket square. Instead of delivering monotone two- and three-syllableanswers, Belichick dove into aspeech delving into a coaching philosophy that has produced five Super Bowl championships with the Patriots— with detailedexamples for every step.

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer introduced Belichick and talked about a conversation the two had backstage.

"(Belichick)said, 'At this point in my career I want to coach guys I like. I want to coach guys I want to be around. I won't coach anybody else,'" Meyer said.

The high school and college coaches in attendance recorded every minute of Belichick's 45-minute speech on their cell phones and video cameras; looking for the secret to Belichick's success. That success is easy to see on the field: Belichick followed upan incredible 34-28 comeback victory over the Falconsin Super Bowl 51 by giving Tom Brady another weapon inacquiring receiver Brandin Cooks from the Saints. Yet Belichick lit up when talking about the off-the-field-process.

This is where Belichick appearscomfortable. Dare we say Belichick, who turns 65 next week, is having fun?If you want to see that side, then find him at one of thesecoaching clinics. Hebuilthisspeech around his No. 1philosophywith players andcoaches.

"We can't win," he said."Untilwekeep from losing."

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He repeated it three times. Belichick then preached ball security, preparation and four familiar concepts, starting with the one that gets the most attention and even has its own hashtag:"Do your job" (or #DYJ).

"I know that term gets thrown around a bit, but to me it's not 'Do your job,'it's 'Do your job well,'" Belichick said. "We're not getting paid to show up, we're getting paid to perform well professionally."

Pay attention. Work hard. Put the team first. Belichick has weaved simple coaching concepts into a process that has formed a NFL dynasty stretching two decades.

He also repeated three adjectives that describe his ideal football players.

"Tough, smart, dependable, in critical situationsyou can depend on those players to perform under pressure," he said.

Belichick drew the first laughs from the audience when he offered his thoughts on social media.

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"There's nobody that's less on a social media program than I am," Belichick said. "I don't think that would be possible. I don't think it's good for our team. I don't think it's good for our players as it relates to football. I'm not trying to go on asocial commentary here, but it's not really about for a player;I don't think it's important how many likes, or dislikes, are on 'Snap Face' orwhateverit is."

Instead, Belichick prefers that players bond through team experiences — which, he conceded, is a challenge, considering players regularly come and go.He pointed to a training camp in which he made a deal with former Patriots tackle Matt Light to catch a punt from 50 yards.

"You catch it, we'll take the night off;you drop it, we'll double up on sprints," Belichick said. "You good with that?"

Light took the offer and former Patriots Kevin Faulk and Troy Brown schooled him for 30 seconds. Light caught the punt, and thePatriotsgot a night off. Belichick then said something that might only make sense in his mind — or might explain the genius behind hisprolongedcoaching dominance.

"We've lot of won a big games in New England," he said. "We've won a lot ofgames through the years. A lot of great wins, a lot of team victories. But you know,a night off training camp is pretty close to some of our biggest wins."

From there, Belichick thanked the coaches and praised the state of Ohio — where his NFL head coaching career began with the Browns. He waved through an applause while exiting stage left. Tim Hinton, the Ohio State executive director for football relations, then took the mic and called for an encore.

"If you could take a minute for one moreapplause for the bestcoach in the United States of America?" Hinton asked.

Everyone obliged, and few could argueat this point. Even if he'll never admit it, it's clear Belichick is enjoying this victory lap. When will it end?

Not until someone keeps him from winning.

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