Exploring The Off-Season: Mott Gaymon, Wroclaw Panthers

Photo: Miroslawa Lukaszek 
What is "the off season"? Does it exist in football?
For me, the off season doesn't exist. When I'm working with the University team, I'm always in contact with the EU guys about different issues, workout plans, possible position changes, signing imports, setting things up for the following year. I really start going to work around October. 

As soon as my season ends in The States, I'm normally up around 4:35am to speak with the EU team president. For example if we need a player, once the meeting is done, I will look through film, looking for the players we need. 

Around November, I'm starting to put together a workout plan which will run until January for the guys to follow. 

What are the main goals coaches work towards during this time? 
Having a clear cut plan. We set our goals. There are certain things you need to do on a daily basis to achieve these goals.

For example, November plan would be to get the playbook sent to the guys and come up with a draft or an outline on how we want to do our training camp.

Once we know who are the guys we got, then we'd set up a dept chart. 

When do you start looking for imports. What things do you consider when shifting through options? 
I start looking for imports maybe 2 days after the last game of the season. We want to have the guys returning. Once we set the guys from the previous season, then we look for our position needs. We want to have a baseline of who we want and at what spot. We want to sign early so we can eliminate the rush of trying to get the players at the last minute.

What things can an import do to increase their chances of gaining a teams interest? 
I always look at character. On the field I'm looking for leaders, because my imports serve as position coaches. They have to be able to lead their position. They have to be the guys who love the game. We do have a lot of free time, but a lot of domestic guys want to learn as much football as they can, so I want the imports who are willing to help the guys. If the import is only worried about their social life, I can't deal with him. 

They have to understand that they're not just representing themselves, but the entire organization. I don't want guys that get into trouble. 

What is the worst thing an athlete can do to hurt their chances? 
Attitude. Some people have the premadona attitude, where everything they do is sunshine and rainbows. I want someone who is willing to put in work for the organization we're with. I can't do everything myself, and I'm definitely depending and leaning on the imports to echo the message that we're trying to get accross to the team.

Do you have any interesting off season stories? 
Everything has been pretty smooth this year. It was my first job as a head coach, I took the job late, so I don't really have much. 

Once you have narrowed it down, what factors go into furthering your selection process? Basically making sure that the imports fit. We have to set the offensive and defensive system. Depending on the guys skills it will determine if and where they fit.

Also, I like guys who want to coach in the future, because this is an opportunity for them to get that first hand experience coaching the guys and then being on the field where they can be an example. 

What type of team building events do you do between seasons? 
We're trying to do something at least twice a month. Last year I pulled a prank on the guys. I called a meeting like I was upset about something that took place before our last scrimmage, and what I did is that I bought pizza for everybody. 

We go bowling, do barbecues. Anything where we can all get together, and where the guys can see me outside the football realm. On the field I am what I am, I have certain vision of what I want my team to be, and I just want to make sure we're working towards that vision and moving forward, but off the field I'm a lot more relaxed, I'm a person. 

Do you have any advice to players about how to approach their own off season and recruiting seasons? 
Do your research, and most importantly, be honest with the information that you have on. Make sure all your info is set before you present it to teams. You only get one opportunity to make the first impression. If people think that you will lie to them - you will lose them.

Lance Kriesien
Mia Bajin