Several years ago, Al Golden was the guy who thought getting the seniors away in the offseason on a trip would be a nice bonding experience and beneficial to team leadership and unity during the season.
The place was camping in the Poconos and roasting the marshmallows and setting up base camp served its purpose. No members of the Owls were eaten by Bears and, the nightly camp fire discussions seemed to center on how to be better leaders and winners.
Like many innovative ideas Golden had, the theory seemed to work. Steve Addazio and Matt Rhule did the same thing, sending the team off to the mountains for bonding sessions.
This year, Geoff Collins has taken the idea to a whole other level.
Several leaders of these Owls were chosen along with some coaches and a few staff members to spend a week in Japan, ostensibly teaching the game to another culture.
Bonding was just an ancillary benefit and we really won’t know if it will work until the end of the season when the kids give interviews after the AAC championship win, if it happens.
Expect quarterback Frank Nutile to say something like this: “The leaders came together on the trip to Japan. It’s one thing to have a road trip that lasts for a couple of days, but to spend an entire week with these guys in another country, that really brought us together.”
At least the hope that bringing the leaders together will light a fire under the followers.
Upon returning home, another symbol of the bonding was installed in the $17 million Edberg-Olson Complex—an air hockey game. One of the first victors was Collins himself, who vanquished Scott Wallace, 2-1.
After hearing about the Owls playing air hockey in Boca Raton before a damaging loss to Toledo, I’m not sure about that one. Less air hockey and more film study probably is a more valuable pursuit.
Still, since the jet lag should be long gone by the opener, the Japan trip—like the Pocono excursions—probably should be beneficial when all is said and done.
Friday: Injuries and football
Monday: Perception Versus Reality