When Todd Graham arrived on the Arizona State campus last year, the first-year head coach established what he wanted from his Sun Devils – and that was for them to be a team in every sense. From the start of summer workouts, he instituted a few new rules, and one was that players had to wear the same socks, same shoes, and same shirts in the weight room.
The Sun Devils went on to post an 8-5 record and a victory in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, completing the program’s first winning season since 2007. Finding that he’s onto something, Graham is going one step further in 2013 and taking a page from Tom Coughlin’s actual book “Earn the Right to Win.” He has assigned the manual to his coaching staff for summer reading.
“I think it really fits us right now,” Graham told azcentral.com. “If you get a chance, just read the beginning of it. Michael Strahan says, ‘Hey, Tom Coughlin, I couldn’t stand the guy. He comes in here, he has all the stupid, petty rules. I didn’t understand why you had to wear the same colored socks to practice. What does that have to do with winning?’ And so it really correlates to what our players went through our first year here and about building trust. Strahan said, ‘When I decided to start taking pride in those stupid, petty rules, that’s when I became an All-Pro and that’s when we won the Super Bowl.’ I thought it was a great testimony for us.”
The book, which Coughlin released in March, centers on the theme of “how success in any field starts with superior preparation.” Graham hopes his staff will identify.
“We came in and tried to establish who we are – our character, our discipline, our work ethic – but we’ve just kind of installed the minimum,” Graham said. ”I want to be a smart football team. And there are just a lot of illustrations (in that book) that will be good for us. We’re just trying to get everybody to improve.”
Tags: Michael Strahan, Tom Coughlin
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