Our ultimate goal every year is to make it to the CIF Finals and play at the stadium. The ďQ,Ē as it is also known, is located at 9449 Friars Road. We want to give this address a meaning over and beyond a location. Playing in the stadium can be made possible only if enough people are willing to combine their athletic skill with strength of character.


One only has to look at all the athletes out there who are not playing because they showed no social responsibility. Look at all the athletes who have been pushed out of their sports because they lacked mental toughness. A complete player not only has skill, but he also possesses those intangibles that will carry him when skill alone is not sufficient to get the job done. As such, all members of the Star Chamber will look at the stadium address not only as motivation to reach the championship game, but will also look at it as a constant reminder that it takes more than physical prowess to reach our goals. Letís take a look at these responsibilities.



N    No Excuses! This, as you know, is our defensive motto. The complete player prepares himself with complete dedication and then plays the game. Once the game is over, he takes full responsibility for his actions. Losers make excuses.

I      Intelligence. Our defensive playbook has the following quote in the front:
The amount that can be consumed and executed by a team
 is controlled by the weakest man on it. And while others
can give him physical help, he has to do his own thinking

Coaches can experiment with different schemes. They can give a weaker player help and at times resort to trick plays to defeat an opponent. The one thing that a coach canít do is think for you. Thinking is something that you have to do for yourself. I have never coached a player that went on to play successfully on the next level who wasnít an intelligent player.

N   Never give up. People often set goals for themselves and then fail to reach them. Ninety percent of the time the reason that they fail is because they give up. Perseverance is one of the four essential qualities that an athlete has to have if he is to be successful. The other three are intelligence, dedication and self-confidence. It is important that you not get in the habit of giving up. Once you give up you lose all opportunity for success.

E   Enthusiasm. One of the traits that all great defenses possess is enthusiasm. Great defenses enjoy being on the field. Great defenses have fun. I want our defenders to exhibit their exuberance with class. Remember that you are players and not performers. Save the dances and gestures for the theater.


The first ď4Ē stands for four quarters. The game is played for 48 minutes and sometimes an overtime. Our 1999 team was a good example of a defense that played well but couldnít sustain it for four quarters. We outscored our opponents in every quarter except the last quarter. Needless to say it cost us some wins. The most difficult and challenging time in any sporting event is the last part. This is when a true champion is at his best. One of our defensive goals is to win the fourth quarter. I want our defense to be like a great racehorse when it hits the top of the stretch. This is when we pick it up and dig in all the way to the finish line. If we are ahead, no one should pass us, but if they do we will come back at them. If we are behind, we will run the opponent down. Donít give up.


The second ď4Ē will serve to remind you about the team concept. Everything that we do is for the team. You must all be willing to place the best interests of the team first. You are often going to have to make decisions both on and off the field that will have a direct effect on the team. Sometimes these decisions are difficult and often there is no one there that can give you guidance. During these times you must ask yourself one question: Will my actions be in the best interests of the team? A selfish player can only hurt the team.


Dr. Dennis Waitly a renowned sports psychologist whose son once played defensive back at La Jolla High School proposed a formula for success. It is composed of nine words and looks like this:

Conceive + Believe = Achieve
Visualize + Internalize = Realize
Imagination + Simulation = Realization

When you set goals and believe in them you are taking the first steps toward achieving them. You must not be afraid to set challenging goals. Use your imagination and donít be afraid to dream. Dreaming doesnít cost you anything. But donít stop with simply dreaming. Internalize your dreams and put them into action. Practice your skills physically and mentally and eventually you will realize your dreams.

The F stands for FRIENDSHIP. Friendship is a trait that operates to make a team closer. The importance of this character trait is often overlooked. In the team setting, friendship will pave the way not only for lasting relationships between players and coaches, but it will also be a source of strength for individuals in times of adversity.

It is important to ask yourself what true friendship really is. You can give it your own definition. Iíll tell you what I think a true friend is. A friend is a player who comes out of the game early in the 4th quarter without complaining so that a teammate who doesnít often get a chance to play will get an opportunity to do so. A friend is a player who shows emotional support for a teammate who made a critical mistake when the game was on the line. A friend doesnít blame anyone for a loss and he doesnít seek all the credit after a win.

A friend will go out of his way to pick up a teammate for practice and not ask for compensation. A friend will offer to take a teammate home without having to be asked. A friend will invite a teammate to his home before a game when he knows that he has no where to go. A friend will ask this same teammate to stay over after a game so that he doesnít have so far to go to get to next dayís films.

A friend will tell a teammate to not go to a party that appears to be a source of trouble. A friend will discourage a teammate from fighting even when the adversary deserves to get his butt kicked. A friend will discourage a teammate from drinking at a party and heíll do it even if there are twenty other friends there who are encouraging him to do so.

A friend will tell a teammate not to cheat on a test even if they both know there is very little chance of getting caught. A friend will tell a teammate to close a teammateís open locker instead of quietly watching him reach in and take $20.00.

I once shared this story with a few of you and I think it is appropriate to share it with all of you. During my senior year in high school we were at a pep rally in our school gym and the team was sitting on the gym floor. It wasnít a particularly good rally and the team sensed it. One of my best friends, a fellow DB who was a team leader and a great athlete who went on to play in the NFL, told me that he was going to tell the team to get up and walk out. I told him that I agreed that it was a bad rally, but that I felt obligated to stay for the few who were supporting us. He passed the word around to the team and they all got up and walked out. I stayed in my seat and when one of my best friends walked by me I asked him if he was walking out because he thought it was right or because everyone else was doing it. He sat down and we were the only ones left sitting there.

I wasnít afraid to break ranks with my friends because I knew that our friendship had a solid foundation and that we would still be friends even if I didnít follow their lead. When the rally ended and I walked out to the court area, I didnít have to go up to my teammates to explain why I did what I did. They came up to me and told me they understood. They were my friends and they remain so to this day.


The R stands for RESPECT. We live in a society that has rapidly shown a willingness to show disrespect not only for individuals, but for institutions as well. Motorists will lead police officers on one hundred-mile chases endangering the lives of thousands of others, all the time showing no respect for the officerís authority. Computer hackers will compromise internet businesses for the thrill of simply doing it, all the time ignoring the hardship they cause to consumers and the financial losses that the companyís suffer. Taggers will vandalize schools and places of worship with no regard for the people who have a deep respect for the buildings. Television programs draw millions of viewers that thrive on watching people who have no respect for each other or anyone else for that matter. They fight, scream and curse and the audience sucks it up and the ratings go sky high.

This lack of respect is something that we can not let permeate into our team fabric. It is important that both players and coaches show respect for each other. It is equally important to realize that respect is something that a person has to earn. You earn respect by your actions. As a player, your actions will speak for you. It is often said that character is what you do when others arenít watching you. If you are a player who doesnít train or skips workouts, you have no respect for training. If you are a player who comes late for practice and offers a false excuse you have no respect for your coaches. If you are a player who misses practice with no legitimate excuse you have no respect for your teammates. If you are a player who taunts his opponents you have no respect for your adversary. Worse yet, you have no self-respect.

Positive relationships are built on respect. If you donít respect an individual it becomes very easy to lose confidence in him. If you have no respect for a coach, you will not become a better player and if a coach has no respect for you, you will eventually be replaced or you will suffer a diminished role on the team. In either case, it is the team that suffers.

Make respect one of your primary concerns. Show respect for your parents and they will trust you and reward your demeanor. Show respect for your teammates and they will support you both on and off the field. Show respect for your coaches and they will go out of their way to see to it that you get the care and attention that you deserve. Show respect for your girlfriends and they will treat you like a gentleman. Show your girlfriends disrespect and they will treat you the same way. Show respect for your friends and they will help you in times of need. Show them disrespect and they wonít be your friends for long.

Lastly, and certainly not least, show respect for yourself and your body. Be concerned about what others say about you. Be concerned about how others view you and what they think about you. Train clean and keep illegal substances out of your body. If you are a person who thinks getting high, throwing up and not remembering where you were or what you did the night before is cool, you have no respect for your body and some day your body will let you know it.


The I stands for INTENSITY. Intensity is an on the field character trait that can be possessed by both individuals or a group. The degree of intensity evident on the football field is controlled by the defense. Defenses control the tempo of practices and games. Offenses prefer ďcontrolledĒ situations. During practices the offense will call for semi-live sessions. They donít want you to hit the quarterback. They donít want you to hit the receivers. They want trench sessions with no live tackling.

During games, much of the same is evident. You get penalized for roughing the quarterback. Notice that there is no such penalty as roughing the safety or the linebacker. In the NFL you canít touch receivers once they get 5 yards past the line of scrimmage. On all levels offenses get penalized for taking too much time to put the ball in play. A defense never gets called for delaying the game. A defense never runs out the clock. Defenses want to play. All these rules are designed to take some degree of intensity out of the game. Intensity, however, is at the heart of the game.

You canít play the game on defense if you are not intense. The key is in executing your responsibility in an intelligent manner. I donít think you need a whistle to coach or play football. Players know when a play is over. As such, I expect all our defenders to always play with great intensity until the play is over. A good player plays within the rules and with full intensity until the play is over.

Being intense will raise the tempo of both practices and games. It challenges the players on offense to challenge you. If you are a true competitor this is what you want. You want to be challenged. During the game you want the opponent to know that you will be a formidable and fierce competitor for the entire duration of the contest. This will send a strong message to your opponent. It can be the source of great frustration to them. In fact, it can even lead to your opponent giving up. Being intense will ensure that no one is ever going to go through the motions. In practice, if people are simply going through the motions it will give rise to bad practices and bad practices will give rise to bad games. You donít beat teams on game day, you beat them in practice. Lastly, if you are going through the motions in games, you are cheating yourself and your teammates and you should probably find another sport to play.


The A stands for ATTITUDE. We often speak about the concept of ďteam attitude.Ē Team attitude is the mental disposition of the collective unit. To be a successful unit you must have a positive attitude about your abilities as a group and as an individual player. A group that plays well together reflects a good team attitude. The individual athletes have confidence and trust each other. They believe that each member of the unit will do his job unselfishly and do it well. In addition, the individual members of the group will offer help to one another without hesitation.

However, an individual with a bad attitude can easily undermine a good defensive unit. Players with bad attitudes are often selfish and quite often have an unrealistic and distorted view of their abilities. Their selfish attitudes keep them from making an honest assessment of their contributions to the collective unit. Bad attitudes can take many forms and can be exhibited by both starters and non-starters. It might be evident in a starter who wants more carries, passes or playing time. It might be evident in a non-starter who is criticizing his teammates or coaches and blames everyone except himself for his lack of athletic success.

Just like peer pressure can often lead to trouble, it can also go a long way towards helping teammates adjust their attitude. A player with a bad attitude needs one thing; he needs some type of confirmation from a part of the team letting him know that they support his actions. With this support he is able to continue with the negative behavior that ultimately has a detrimental affect on the entire group. Without a support group, he will eventually sense the isolation that will motivate him to become part of the group again.

You must also remember that showing a positive attitude is something that you must exhibit beyond the football field. A complete player will show a positive attitude at home, at school and in social circles. It is part of your total character. A good attitude on the football field is hardly worth anything if your attitude at home or in class is such that it diminishes your efficiency as an athlete. If you can do what your coaches tell you to do without hesitation you can also do what your parentís ask you to do without hesitation. If you can come to practice on time you can also come to class on time. The positive attitude that motivates you to act responsibly in athletics is the very same attitude that should operate to motivate you to act responsibly in other settings.


The second R stands for RESPONSIBILITY. Responsibility will take on a number of forms for our players. You will have responsibilities at practice, in games, at home, at school and in social circles.

The responsibilities that you have at practice and games are often quite obvious. You have a defined role on the team and if you donít fulfill it, you will suffer some type of consequence. At practice you have a responsibility to come on time, pay attention, help the team prepare for games, help prepare yourself for games and you have a responsibility to always hustle. If you fail to do any of these you are hurting the team and you are cheating yourself.

In a game, you are responsible for carrying out the game plan, you are responsible for your position and you are responsible for playing within the rules and conducting yourself with class at all times. If you fail to do any of these you are hurting the team. Our defensive success depends a great deal on each player taking care of his on the field responsibility. We play a gap-control defense that is effective only when each offensive area is accounted for. If we have a player who is out of position or who is out there free lancing, the defense will collapse.

The responsibilities that I worry most about as a coach are those that all players assume at home, school and social settings. I say this because coaches, in these settings, are not able to monitor their players in the same way that they do on the field. Coaches have the most problems dealing with lack of player responsibility in the off-field setting. Irresponsible behavior in class leads to bad grades and lack of academic progress. Players become ineligible and this hurts the team. Players will fall behind and consequently miss practice time trying to catch up, making up tests or seeking academic tutoring. On occasion, irresponsible behavior will lead to suspensions that cause players to miss practices and sometimes games.

Irresponsible behavior at home can also detract from your personal growth and frustrate the teamís progress. If you donít get up on time in the morning you will be late for period one and this will lead to negative consequences. If you fail to act responsibly at home your parents will not trust you and if you can not be trusted, you will not be able to assume the duties associated with being a student-athlete. Parents will have to discipline you and this too will have an adverse affect on the team. In addition, parents will often call coaches as a means of trying to resolve problems at home. If this happens, it becomes an additional problem that your coaches have to deal with.

Irresponsible behavior in social situations is the single most pressing problem facing coaches today. Like it or not, athletes are singled out for such behavior and the problems are compounded simply because you play sports. The problems and vices that athletes encounter in our society are the same ones that all other students must face. If you are drinking alcohol at a party and get in trouble, your coaches usually find out. People will provide us with this information even though we arenít actively requesting it. Do they tell your other teachers? Usually not.

The reason that your coaches are often brought in on these matters is that the adults who are responsible for you are trying to find a way to give you some guidance. They view your coaches as people who have some kind of influence on you, perhaps more than most other adults in your life. They are asking us to help you. Knowing this, we ask our players to show social responsibility because it is important to team success and personal growth. In addition, believe it or not, we want to do what is best for you in athletics and in your life. I guess we could ignore social irresponsibility and worry only about our on the field problems, but if we did, we would be acting irresponsibly and we would be doing exactly what we are asking you not to do.

Responsibility is a team duty. This includes coaches and players. Counsel your teammates when necessary and offer them support in difficult times. Just like peer pressure can operate to get you in trouble, it can also operate to keep you out of trouble. Donít let social irresponsibility or any other type of irresponsibility get in the way of reaching your personal and team goals. Be responsible. No excuses.  


The S stands for SELF-MOTIVATION. The most important type of motivation is self-motivation. An individualís athletic improvement is dependent on his willingness to make the self-sacrifices necessary to promote success in his sport. An extensive support group that will set everything in place for the athlete to put in motion the process of personal training often surrounds athletes. Coaches will open training facilities, provide you with training programs and when possible, put at your disposal state of the art training equipment. Parents sometimes will hire personal trainers or send children to private coaches or camps in an effort to maximize their childís performance. All of these things are great to have, but they are of little value if the athlete fails to invest his personal effort and time in the training process.

The decision to invest effort and time in the training process is prompted by self-motivation. It is a conscious decision to seek self-enhancement through hard work and sweat. A self-motivated individual defines his training goals and sets out to reach them without offering excuses whenever obstacles are placed in the way. What we are talking about here are priorities. If something is truly important to you, you will see to it that it gets done. The most common mistake that athletes make in the weightroom is not showing up and the most common reason for not showing up is a lack of self-motivation.

If training were easy everyone would be bigger, faster and stronger. But everyone isnít bigger, faster and stronger. On the high school level athletes can find success for a number of reasons. Some athletes become successful because they work at it. Some find success because they have a natural affinity for their sport and others find success by default when there is no one to challenge them. The problem for athletes that rely on the latter two is that when they start to climb up to the next level, success depends largely on hard work.

It is also important to note that it is often very easy to settle for less. If you are an outstanding athlete you should be motivated to work harder than everyone else should. Not only does it make you a better athlete; it will also set an example for your teammates. You raise the standard for everyone.

Donít wait for a coach to motivate you and donít blame coaches for failing to motivate you enough. This is the weakest excuse in sports. Coaches will do what they can in this regard and some athletes are more fortunate than others are. Some coaches are great motivators. Others may not be as adept in this area, but they may have other strengths that will be of great help to you. The bottom line is whether you are willing to motivate yourself to be the best that you can be. Are you an athlete who often finds himself offering excuses such as, I had to work, I couldnít get a ride to the weightroom, I had to study, there is no place to workout near my home or Iím going to start working out soon? If the answer is yes you lack self-motivation and you lack planning. Remember the old saying, plan your work and work your plan. Be self-motivated and encourage your teammates to be self-motivated. No excuses!