Step Back and Reassess Your Priorities
How Can We Improve? What Can We Do Better?
Any doubts I had about how good we were going to be in the 2004–2005 season were erased in December. First came a game at Notre Dame, and three weeks later we played at University of Connecticut.
There are really very few games after which a coach can simply sit back and view as a piece of art. We pretty much tear every game apart when we watch film afterward, win or lose, since we’re always looking for ways that we can do better. Honesty is key when we are in film and require each individual to abandon their own sensitivity to allow growth for the individual players and the team. A team very rarely plays a perfect game—and even when they do, most coaches are reluctant to admit it or the team will (at least subconsciously) relax and possibly let their guard down during the next game.
The Notre Dame game in South Bend was our sixth of the season, and the Irish were ranked third in the country. We had won four of our first five games, losing only to TCU in the Rainbow Classic in Hawaii; however, we already had some hurdles to overcome. The first player I recruited when I came to Michigan State, Candice Jackson (who was now working as our graduate assistant) lost her father just as we were getting ready to leave for Hawaii. We literally had just gotten on the plane when I got the news, so there was no way I could go to his funeral. Larry Jackson was a great man and a very special person, ...