|Coach Giles ponders his next move (he's the none shouty one)|
Pretty in pink, NTU Head Coach Adrian Giles let us interview him before the Challenge trophy in the final...
DC: First of all coach, congratulations on reaching the first finals game for the NTU program. How does it feel to be going to the big show?
Thank you, it’s been a while in the making, we always seemed to get close, but stumbled at the last step. Even going into the 4th quarter last Sunday i had that dreaded feeling, that maybe, we were going to fall at the final hurdle again! But now we’re there, it’s great and we’re trying to treat it as just another week of prep, planning and training for a game. In the back of your head though there is a voice going “ITS THE NATIONAL FINAL!!”
DC: How much forward planning has gone into developing NTU into one of the stronger MAC programs?
When i took over as Head Coach at the beginning of the 2011/12 season i wanted to build a strong and perennial program. I looked around at those teams that have always competed year in and year out, to see what made them so good and then imitate them. Closest to us were Birmingham and Loughborough, and Wayne and Paul (Birmingham and Loughborough head coaches respectively) have been a font of knowledge for us, which we have acted upon, and this has allowed us to grow year on year.
Previous years with NTU we had approximately 4-6 coaches, but i knew we needed more, so I called a few old football heads that I’d played and coached with over the years and added to an already steady staff. I brought in Offensive Coordinator Scott Messom, someone I’d coached at youth and had played with at senior level for many years. I knew that we had the same ideology of football and in fact, many times, I’ll chip in with a play, only to be told that it had just been called!!! I’m in his head!!
Defensively we were solid, Defensive Coordinator Karl Walkinshaw and i shared Coordinator duties in the previous 2 years, so we had again, same ideology, play tough, solid defence. We have built on that coaching staff each year and hope to extend it even further for next year.
One thing I’ve learnt is that you can never have too many coaches!!!!
Hopefully now with BUCS increasing our potential sway with the AU, we can get bigger and better, we have a good relationship with them and it can only get better.
DC: A lot of focus on your team has gone on Danny Miller, how important has he been to the team not only as a player, but as a leader as well?
Danny is a coach’s dream. His attitude and enthusiasm are palpable for all to see. He came to us as a linebacker in his first year, but when Scott came on board we moved him to running back to great effect last year, and when we looked at running a zone read offence this year it seemed that his abilities would suit at QB as we had depth at RB compared to QB. Once again, it has been a good move! His on and off field leadership is second to none, his pre and post game speeches are a joy to listen to... as long as you’re not too easily offended!!
DC: Southampton feature a very fast and tough defence, are you concerned they may cause a match up issue for your offence, which has struggled to put up points in the post season?
Struggled to put up points? We've coped ok so far, but Southampton will be next level. They are well organised and, as you say, quick and tough. We’re looking to game plan for them and see if we can find a chink in their armor, but I think it will be a tough and tight game, worthy of a final.
DC: Your defence has been particularly strong all season, what goes into creating such a tough unit? Who are the stand out players for you?
Going into the season we had lost a lot of experience and play making veterans, but we managed to have some 2nd year players step up, and a great crop of rookies who took to the game like fish to water. We try to get the fundamentals installed with the lads early on, so as a coach you can feel confident that everyone of your players can take their man down in a one on one situation, which in this age of spread offences is more and more important. Our defence is a unit and play like one, every man has an assignment, and if they all “do their job” we make plays!
Jamie Johansson-Otoo is a beast of a LB! Speed and size, and rookies Levi Ross and James Baffour have added their own flair to what was a solid defence from last year with the likes of Patches, Tim and Rocket who had a career game last week with 5 INTs. As a team they’ve stepped it up in the post season having 2 shut outs against 2 decent offences, and they are always a threat to score on a turnover!
DC: Do you think Inkspot media create a distraction for your team, or do you see it more as an asset?
Andrew has been a godsend to us and this sport. I approached him after the end of the senior season, and enquired if he’d be happy to cover NTU, he was, as always, more than enthusiastic! A lot of people seem to think that it’s detrimental to a program to give away “free” scouting, but for me, it increases the “footfall” on the social media of the team, creating more interest in the NTU Renegades.
His highlight packages are driving interest in the game, especially off Facebook and Youtube. I now have work colleagues, who had no real knowledge of Football previously, pestering me if his highlights aren't up before Monday lunchtimes! And it’s good for the lads to see themselves “up in lights”!
DC: Do you ever get annoyed at having to play in pink?
When i was told last year that the NTU AU colours needed to be across all sports, meaning 70% pink on the shirts i was annoyed to say the least, but, once it sunk in, we embraced it, and for me, not having shirt clashes is one less thing to contend with!
I think it’ll be easy to spot the NTU fans in the stands...Get Your Pink On!