Interview: Vojin Мilić - From A Veteran Player To A Coach, Before 30

Photo: Ivan Miladinovic

Sometimes, we take young coaches for granted. Most of the times - they surprise us. Just like Vojin Milić did. The Serbian who hasn't even hit the "big" 3-0 (in years), is already a football veteran from Belgrade, with 11 championships won under his belt  - is now pursing a coaching career. And, it looks like that becoming a coach will be just as successful, and even more, than him under the gear.

The Sudden Change

By the end of the 2017. we already began our offseason program. We had our HC and imports signed, but as always, we started without them because they arrived around month later. We were missing the OC, and import QB was late due to personal issues. On the other side, beside TE and WR, I was the backup QB, and also played all those positions for National Team. I was coached by different coaches with college and NFL experience, so I had a chance to see different styles of the game. So temporary, I took all of the duties of the Offensive Coordinator and since I do not have a ton of experience with it, the organization as big as Vukovi are, decided to bring in former Vukovi Coach Barnes to serve as the OC.

He was not there for too long, he left the team to join a college program back in the US. At that point I earned the trust of our HC Malik Jackson, and talking with the board, I got a chance to be the Offensive Coordinator for Vukovi for 2018. season. Previously, I coached Youth and Junior programs with some success, but this was something else, it was a great challenge for me!

Photo: Jacek Stańczak

Earning Respect

In my case it was not so hard to gain respect of the players because I shared the field with them for so many years. They are well aware of my effort and dedication, and playing TE and QB gave me an opportunity to showcase all that. In a sense, Football is like war, if you bleed with your teammates, you will be brothers for life.

In the beginning, there was a period of adjustment from my side. I did not know how will they react to my authority. But as mentioned, I went through good and bad with guys from OL and skill position, so it was a smooth transition. We had a same goal from day one. We wanted to be strong Offense that puts a lot points on the board. They are awesome guys and great players, so my job was easy!

Proud Moments

The biggest moment for me was the CEFL Cup Finals. We played Gdynia Seahawks, and offense did phenomenal. We scored on every possession! Players were very motivated, because we did not win a trophy since 2014. Everyone was on the same page and ready to execute. I was very proud!

Toughest Moments

Tough time, of course, were the Serbian League Finals. After only 7 points and two turnovers inside the 10yd line in first half, and also heavy injury one of our OL players, it was hard to pick the team up. We did dome adjustments, and did much better in the second half. We scored 28 more points, and had a chance for a comeback, but, the game is played for 48 minutes, not just 24.

For sure, I can say, that second half is the real Vukovi team. Strong play, team spirit, that's the same thing that will lead us next year to defend the CEFL Cup and win back the Serbian League. Losing the Championship game was hard for my players and me, but I'm still proud to be the coach of that Vukovi generation. Every loss is a learning lesson, I got mine, and for sure I will do much better job next year!

Photo: BalkanLife

Young Coaches

It's is very important that coach understand his players. To know them well, and let them adjust football with everything going on in their lives. Also as a player, I saw some coaches implementing an offense, that does not suit the skill of the players that we have.

So, I think that is very important part, to shape the playbook to your personnel, create a very strong base, and from there implement more staff that will allow you to play some more complex stuff.

For 12 years I was collecting knowledge and writing notes, in order to get to know football better. Never have I believed those notes will help me put together a modern playbook that will be great for this level. Also, huge part is practice. Using creativity to help players improve their game. With coach Adkins, I realized that as many reps as you can get, and putting yourself in game situation will allow you to progress faster. We scored 41 point per game, and played very well in second halves what was the area where team struggled in previous years.

What Does The Future Hold

Plan for the future is to be the coach. If there is a need, I will also play, but as of right now, all my focus is on coaching. It's something that I have great passion for, and motive to work with a lot of different players.

It would be great if European Coaches have some kind of network to share experiences, or to organize seminars, because that is also a great way how we can get better. Just picking the brain of other minds and getting to know their philosophies. In 2019, I will try to visit some big European teams as a guest, and just to see how they run things from organization stand point.