Shawn Quinn Mail Bag: Coach Quinn’s Football Philosophies
Welcome to the Coach Shawn Quinn Mail Bag! Your direct line to Savannah State football! Each week we’ll ask Coach Quinn your submitted questions!
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Christian Goeckel : What does the schedule look like when it comes to recruiting this summer?
Coach Shawn Quinn: Well, it really never stops. It is the lifeblood of your program. As we speak I have recruits on campus and in the building. It is a 24/7 deal. If you can find good players, and we have had a ton of interest and some FBS transfers here. We have made some room to make that work. It is a never ending process reshaping the roster here like in the NFL.
Goeckel : What is going on with the team right now?
Quinn: Right now they are in workouts. They limit us. It is a non-mandatory phase for us coaches, but as players it is mandatory for them to stay in shape, do a great job and be ready to roll. So they are working out together, getting ready to go and doing on-the-field and off-the-field work in the weight room. We have a great facility in town that our guys use in training and getting ready for the season. They are out there every morning getting after it. I am excited to see what kind of shape they are in when we get to training camp on August 7th.
Goeckel: You have used the analogy that you are taking coins and putting them in a piggy bank for later in the year. How full is that bank right now?
Quinn: Well it has a long way to go. It is never fully deposited in my opinion. It started in the spring when we put in really good work and did a good job recruiting. Now, summer is the next phase and training camp will be our last deposit. Then you start taking those withdrawals out on Saturdays during the season and you hope you have enough in there. I am excited about what we can get done. We have a lot of work still to be done but I am excited to see what the end product looks like.
Goeckel: We got a really interesting question from Matt Johnson in Savannah. He said that he is really excited about what is going on with the program, and he loves the energy around it, but you are new to Savannah Tigers fans. We are going to take this show and have you explain what your philosophy is as a football coach. I thought we would start with the foundation and how you think a football program should be built.
Quinn: Foundationally, I am a Pete Carroll guy and I have said that a number of times. I have worked for some really good head football coaches. Number one is: compete and work like heck when you are here. Number two is: be coachable. Number three is: don’t be afraid to fail. Number four: is have fun. We will follow those things and I think some good things will happen. We don’t have a ton of rules here. I am a big Erk Russell guy. His big mantra was “do right” and we talk about what the right thing to do it. I am going to come in and compete and work my butt off, be coachable, be super positive, have a great attitude and not worry about making a mistake. As a coach, I am a big believer that we need to create a productive environment and an atmosphere where guys can really maximize their potential. They may be a seven at their best but we have to make sure that we are doing everything to get them to a seven. There have some great years and some not so great years. Our job as coaches is to maximize their potential and in the process, help them grow as people. How I am different than other coaches is that I think the personal development is super important where they know that you care about them and are there to help them grow as people. A win will come. As a coach over my career I have learned that part is really important.
Goeckel: Tell us a little about about what the offense is going to look like once it gets fully developed and what you want it to be?
Quinn: I like it to be the edge of the sword, the point of the sword where people have to worry about preparing for us and how physical we play and the style we play. We want to be a different animal than what people see weekly. We are in a spread league and I know that when you see something that nobody else does and you come in and run that style it is like boxing against a different opponent. You have to prepare differently. We not only want to do that on offense but defense and special teams too. We want to attack people and runt the football that is the biggest component that you have to have to control the game and set the pace. If you let others dictate the pace of the game it could be a long day. If you have control, you are generally going to win most football games.
Goeckel: What is the offense coordinator/head coach relationship like?
Quinn: I have told everyone who has asked what my philosophy is “Do whatever gives us the best chance to win.”. I have it written on my board right here. When we got in here as a staff we felt that we had option that would help our team. We came in to a really poor turnover ratio so we knew we needed to control the turnovers, set the tone and bring a physical presence to our program. When we play a quality football team that is physical we want to be able to match it. Offensively, I have got a couple guys that I am really excited about. They are working as co-offensive coordinators and philosophically they know what I want to do: score in the red zone, convert on third down and dictate the pace and flow of the game.
Goeckel: How big of an advantage is it that you were the defensive coordinator last year?
Quinn: It’s like riding a bike, the more you ride it the better you get. Familiarity with terminology, style, the way we want to practice and what the pluses and minuses are is big. Last year we didn’t have spring football and it took until about game three or four to really get in the groove and figure out what our guys are good at because we only had a few practices before we played. Now, we have spring football, a fresh roster, and a shaped defense. We have two really good corners and I am excited about what they can do. Every place you go, you can find your strengths and play to those as you get more experience. Also, the kids have a better understanding of what you are doing day in and day out and how the defense works and what they need to do in their positions.
Goeckel: What style of attack should the fans expect to see from the defense?
Quinn: Our number one priority on defense is to get the ball back. Whoever owns the ball wins the game. If we have to be a big blitzing team we will do that, if we have to go play base defense then we will do that. I am an amoeba when it comes to defensive philosophies. The questions are: what do we have to do to get rid of their best players, what fits our guys best and lets them be successful. That is a Belichick-ism who is probably the best defensive coach in the history of football. He does a great job of going in and eliminating people and making the fourth, fifth, sixth option. That has always been a philosophy of mine. Obviously, whatever we do is what I think our guys can do best.
Goeckel: What is the philosophy when it comes to recruiting and what kind of guys are you looking for?
Quinn: We need guys that love football. Guys that are not worried about getting recruited but want to go play football. Self-made guys. Guys that have a football IQ and come from good programs that have won state championships and regions. We want them to have a winning expectation. Guys who love to play and who enjoy the prep and outside stuff. There are a ton of good programs around here and in this state. We have purposely recruited from those programs. Places like Camden County and other places who have won. Those guys are going to help us.