Back in November, Dirk Koetter scoffed at football statistics and analytics, calling them a "freaking joke."
"I trust my eyes, OK?" Koetter said. "I trust my eyes. I watch the tape. Trust me -- I watch a lot of tape, and I trust what my eyes tell me. So I don't need a freaking piece of paper with a bunch of numbers on there to tell me something that my eyes can see."
Apparently, that got blown out of proportion. In fact, Koetter suggests he'll rely on his head of analytics to get him whatever he needs -- and that consists of a 25-page(!) list of things. Or so Koetter told The MMQB anyway.
Oh, that whole analytics thing got so blown out of proportion this year.
It's so much a part of the NFL. Your guy Andy Benoit [The MMQB's tape-studier and game-reviewer] is a perfect example. There's so much out there to know. Pro Football Focus has added a lot. It's such a broad topic. But absolutely we'll use it. The very first day after I was hired, when I saw our head of analytics, I gave him a 25-page list of what I wanted. Actually, I am very fired up about it. I am a huge believer in it. As an assistant, I never had the power to say, "This is what I want." Now I do, and I'm really going to work with it. For instance, this season we were the most penalized team in the league. Every coach can say to plays, "Don't jump offside!" I need to find a way to educate our players. Now I need to tell them, "This is the way it affects us winning and losing games." So I want to know the numbers on that.
Analytics are a useful tool to give you a little more insight and a different perspective. They are not, however, the be-all end-all of football analysis. They're just one tool in a much larger toolbox, and in that sense Koetter was right that you can't just look at statistics and rely solely on that to tell you what to do. Hopefully, his newfound love for analytics more accurately reflects his views on the topic than the "freaking joke" comments from last November.
That interview with The MMQB contained a few other interesting nuggets, too. Apparently, he has a 150-page book outlining his program as a head coach and he's been carrying it around since 1998 when he interviewed for Boise State. It's presumably been updated since then, but Koetter's thorough: the book includes "everything from what is our practice schedule for a Thursday night game, a Monday night game ... how you use your time during the week and on game days ... how we use analytics. I mean, every single thing about my program is there in that book."
Koetter also briefly talked about coaching Jamies Winston (they're going to be "rowing that boat in the same direction for a long time") and hinted that he'll do a few things differently from Lovie Smith, not just in how he uses analytics, but also in his play-calling, saying that he can now play "100 percent to what I think are [Winston's] strengths."