A walk-on quarterback for three years with the Florida Gators before deciding to head into coaching, Noah Brindise has found success at all levels of the game. He returned to Florida as a graduate assistant from 1999-2001 before joining his former head coach, Steve Spurrier, in Washington as the quarterbacks coach of the Redskins from 2002-03. After a year as the offensive coordinator at East Carolina, Brindise spent two more in the same position with UNLV before retiring from the game and to pursue business interests outside of football.
From time to time Brindise will share his knowledge about the game from the perspective of a former player and coach.
In this edition of Coach Speak Brindise shares his thoughts on Florida's offense, the Tennessee game and more.
ITG: What is your take on the Florida offense in general and John Brantley in particular after seeing the first two games?
Brindise: They look well-coached and fundamentally sound to me. They appear to be utilizing the strengths of the players to build an offense around, as opposed to building the players in to an offense that doesn't suit them. Chris Rainey looks explosive and Brantley has been solid.
Obviously we will need to get some more production from some position groups (receivers) as we get into SEC play but all-in-all it has been a good start. Charlie Weis is worth every penny!
ITG: At UNLV it may not have been the case, but when you were coaching at Florida was the game-plan pretty much kept vanilla during the games against teams considered to be 'cream puffs'?
Brindise: As far as game-planning for some of the weaker opponents I can assure you that we would always go into each game with a full arsenal of offense at our discretion. Depending on the flow of the game we may become more conservative with the play-calling, but we would never limit ourselves by the amount of offense going into the game. It would be very difficult to get your players to prepare well for a game if you gave them the feeling that as coaches you weren't taking the opponent seriously enough to put a full game-plan together.
ITG: Because of the difference in talent level, Florida had the game well in hand against Alabama Birmingham this past weekend. Though they didn't need it to win the game, the coaches still unveiled their version of the Wildcat Formation during the game. Do coaches do things like that in order to give Tennessee something to think about this past week?
Brindise: All coaches are paranoid, especially defensive coordinators. I am willing to bet that Tennessee will line up against the Wildcat look at some point during the week just in case. The biggest thing you don't want to do in a big game like this is out-trick yourselves. Do what you're good at and do it until they stop you. I'm sure there will be some wrinkles we haven't seen yet but very rarely do you get an SEC win by tricking your opponent.
ITG: This past week a couple of players have said that it is different this year in that there are no posters on the walls concerning Tennessee. No extra motivational tools. That the staff is treating all opponents the same. That is easy for a coach to say, but isn't it harder for a player to actually do?
Brindise: No I don't think so. Look these players understand that this is a different test. All you have to do is watch the tape of your opponent to understand that it is much more of a challenge. I frankly feel like all that motivational stuff is overrated and kind of dumb. I think that you can get guys over amped-up by making them feel like this game is more important than all the others. The fact that it an SEC divisional opponent should be all the motivation needed.
ITG: As a player, isn't it harder to get up for Florida Atlantic than it is for Tennessee?
Brindise: No. A game is a game. It's an opportunity to go out there and perform in front of your fans. For veteran teams, who have won championships together, they still treat every opponent the same. It's a business mentality. Get your work done and go home. You only get so many opportunities in life to go out there and perform…they all need to be taken advantage of.
ITG: Was there a difference in how you treated each opponent as a coach compared to when you were a player?
Brindise: I think as a player you take on the persona of your head coach. We knew that Coach Spurrier would ramp up each year for the Georgia game. As players we didn't really get it because we beat them every year, but we would follow his lead. He would also downplay huge games like FSU and Tennessee. I think it was his way of getting us to perform at our best. He knew that we were better at that time than Georgia, so he wouldn't let us be stagnant. At the same time he realized that if too much pressure was put on us for the FSU and UT games than we could under-perform. It worked masterfully on most occasions.
ITG: What are some of your memories from the UF-UT game?
Brindise: Never losing! The 1996 game up there was awesome because we got out to a 35-0 lead and shut Neyland stadium up. I also remember Lawrence Wright's hit in 1995 and how it sparked us to a huge win after being down by 23 points in the first half. I vividly remember Reidel Anthony putting the ball on Smoky the Coon Hound's head after he caught a TD pass!!