This is the kind of team that drives a coach crazy.
by Kayo (2019-02-08 19:24:46)
Edited on 2019-02-08 19:25:26

Turn it off. Turn it on. No problem. They kept winning.

It finally bit them in Chapel Hill, but they learned their lesson... for two games.

We talked about leadership at the beginning of the season. Kathryn Westbeld was an outstanding leader because every last player respected her, listened to her, didn't want to disappoint her. Neither Westbeld nor the coaching staff asked anything of another player that Kathryn wouldn't do herself.

I don't have any inside information, but I have been observing leadership professionally for more than 40 years. I have a well developed approach to leadership that has worked for me and has worked for managers I've groomed. I've observed some great leaders and some rudderless ND men's teams over the last 11 seasons. I teach the subject. I'm telling you all of this because I believe I can observe a lot from the outside looking in.

This team does not have a leader. It has a bunch of talented peers. They aren't bad teammates, but there isn't that one player the others follow. The players like each other, but they don't seem to push each other. That's where a leader comes in.

The leader pushes everyone else. Whether it's Tory Jackson with his lovable personality not hesitating to get in the face of a teammate who isn't hustling, Rob Kurz knocking teammate on his ass in a scrimmage because the guy is sleepwalking through the drill, or Pat Connaughton combining fun with badass toughness, someone has to earn the respect of the others... not the respect of a peer, looking up to and admiring the leader type of respect. I was able to observe the reverence for Westbeld last season. I haven't seen anything resembling that with this season's team. Likable, appealing young women. Tough competitors most of the time. But no leader.

A coach or a coaching staff can fill the leadership void, but it's difficult because players tend to tune out the coach after a while. Sometimes anger is the last remaining arrow in the coach's quiver, and that's never more than a short term fix.

This group is capable of winning a repeat championship, but it's just as capable of losing in the regional like the 2016-17 team did. Whatever happens, it's taking several years off of Muffet McGraw's life.