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Photo Credit: Camron Smith

Hello PrepsKC Community. My name is Camron Smith and I am the Head Football Coach of Washington High School. I also teach Journalism, and Digital Media, and have a Degree in Communications. It is with great enthusiasm that I enter into this realm and It is my goal to give you an in-depth look at the mind of a high school head football coach. There are so many topics to discuss so let’s get to it!

Each coach is equipped with a myriad of specialties. You have your organizers, your X’s & O’s technicians, your motivators, your skills and drills specialist, and conditioning gurus, with some possessing multiple attributes. Players coached by a well-balanced staff will come away prepared mentally, physically, socially, and emotionally for the various paths that the game of football can take them down. But, if there was one trait that I could pinpoint as the most garnered attribute that coaches love for their athletes to possess, it would be ‘The Dog Mentality’.

A ‘dog mentality’ is a mindset that doesn’t allow you to quit. An athlete with this trait will never quit on a play, on the team, or on themselves. This is the athlete you want in the trenches. This is the kid that will get the stop on 4th and goal, or on offense they will push the pile until they hear a whistle. Ball carriers with a dog mentality never allow the first tackler to take them down. Linemen with this trait, have an unquenchable thirst for domination whether it be by bull rush, speed rush, or offensively a good old-fashioned pancake.

Wide receivers with a dog mentality will try and snag everything thrown their way, while defensive backs with dogs in them will put you on an island. Linebackers that possess a dog mentality will anchor your defense in a manner that will cause offenses to completely change their formula. Quarterbacks with a dog mentality, will guide the offense down the field in such dominant fashion that it will seem as if they are in control of both sides of the ball. Last but not least even kickers and punters can possess this mentality as they are often the last line of defense on a break-away return.

With this much knowledge of the dog mentality and what it can do for a player and even a team, why don’t coaches emphasize it more in practice, in drills, or preparation for a game? The answer to that question is simple. “YOU CAN’T COACH DOG.” There is absolutely nothing that I can do or any coach can do to make an athlete want it more than the next man. You have to have your own reasons for why you want to dominate. To be a ‘dog’ you have to decide that there is simply not one other man that can stand in front of you in a position of dominance. Even then it’s not enough to think about it, you have to live it, and breath it. You have to carry it with you to the classroom, weight room, and even in conditioning.

‘It’s not the dog in the fight, but the fight in the dog’, is a popular saying that can be heard anywhere from football fields, to sales conferences, to the pulpit. That said, I will take the dog over the stud any day of the week and twice on Friday nights!