Spartan Nation Sat Down for an Exclusive One on One Interview with New Co-OC Jim Bollman

Spartan Nation Sat Down for an Exclusive One on One Interview with New Co-OC Jim Bollman

Q: First of all, Coach, thanks for your time. Thanks for doing this with us.

A: My pleasure. It’s great to be here.

Q: One of the things I love about you, is you’re just an old school football coach. I mean I think you could coach punters, offensive line, quarterbacks, defensive backs. Would you talk about that part of you?

A: Well, I’ve been fortunate, through the years, to have a lot of various experiences. When you’re… back when you’re a young coach and you switch from offense to defense you have maybe some concerns. Maybe you think that this is not gonna be a good situation for you, but it ends up being a really big benefit in the long run, to have spent been four years coaching defense. And then have the chance to coach tight ends in the NFL, that’s another big learning experience which certainly helps in furthering your knowledge of all sorts of different things. And how people are approaching things. Serves as beneficial now in my position here.

Q: You want staff people who are loyal, but you want some that will speak up if they think, Hey I think we can do it better. Does that help you? That you are a guy that’s able to say, because of that friendship, Hey let’s take a look here.

A: When you go back to where Mark and I started to coach together and first to know each other back in 1986 at Youngstown State, I was the defensive coordinator of all things and he was the secondary coach. And that was three years, so yeah you get to know people very well, work closely with them, respect their opinions, understand their knowledge of the game. And then when I switched back to offense…it’s interesting how we’ve remained close through the years. And our families have been extremely close. Our daughters, it’s a very unique situation, my daughters are much older, but it’s like they’re little sisters. It’s a very unique situation. It’s very neat to be here and I’m really looking forward to it. I’m really excited about it.

Q: Coach, you’ve had a chance now to watch some film and look at the guys you have on your offensive line. What’s your assessment of what you have?

A: Well, it’s a pretty unique group. There’s a lot of experience. There’s some pretty good young guys too who are gonna be fabulous or are just getting ready to be. I think it can be a group with a lot of potential. I think as with any offense there are certain things we need to work on. I think the number one overriding thing for us is the passing game, and part of that is the protection of those guys up front. The quarterback is always the most criticized guy and the most rewarded guy. People forget sometimes that without a little protection he has a hard time operating. And we’ve made some big improvements I think already this spring and I think we’ll continue to do so. But I think that we also need to continue to be a very good running team, which we’ve been in the past, and there’s no reason that we shouldn’t strive to do that in the future.

Q: Coach, what are you most pleasantly surprised with coming in raw?

A: Interesting question, but probably easy to answer. The overall attitude of the entire program. All the players are awesome to be around, they’re very cordial, they’re outgoing, welcoming. Really, really outstanding. Very fun to be around, fun to coach. Again, just the whole atmosphere, environment is super.

Q: What’s changed in college football the most over your career?

A: Uh, social media. It’s become a big part of everyone’s lives. Good and bad. There’s very few secrets anymore. You have to be aware of everything, on your toes every single place you are. Puts a lot more pressure on our players. They always have to be aware of who’s around them, and certainly pay extra attention to what they’re doing. You’ve always been in the spotlight and this even magnifies that all the time. Just during my career…wow. You go from cell phones to GPS’s to… A lot of things over the years that I can remember, but some of those aspects have been very helpful. But if I were to say one thing, I would say that social media aspect is a big deal.

Q: You’re quite a teacher. Is that maybe strength about Jim Bollman that maybe a lot of people don’t know, is you are such an exceptional teacher?

A: Well, I don’t think I ever sit around and analyze that aspect of things. But I think that, I do believe this…Whatever we’re doing, I try to sit and analyze it myself. And I’m gonna try to get you to believe in it and see the reasons for doing it that way. And I think that, I’m convinced that, if I can get you to believe it you’ll do it a little bit harder, with a little more energy and fight to make it work a little bit more. And then on the other hand, I have to be open that if I can’t convince you of that then maybe we shouldn’t do it either. But I try to take a little more time explaining things. I don’t like to ask people to do something just because I said to do it. I like them to really understand why they’re doing it and believe it for the reason that I mentioned.

Q: When you look at your style, when you look at everything you bring, without being specific, because I know you’re not gonna be specific, what are some things you can tell us that maybe we’re gonna notice differently with the program next year with you?

A: Well, that’s hard to answer also. If I knew, I don’t know if I should tell you anyway. But there’s been a lot of really, really fine things done here since this program has gone in place the last 6 years. The wheel is certainly not broken. To add a little change here or there, maybe a little formation change, maybe there would be a concept change in a couple areas. But the main overall objective is to just keep getting better at what we’re doing. Just keep winning, no doubt about it. Always have that threat of balance. As I mentioned earlier, try to be…continue to be good at the run, prove being good at the pass so that (???)

Q: You are a perfectionist for detail. Where does that attention to detail…or did you get that from whoever your mentor was?

A: I suppose you have to go back years and years and years ago. I’ve been with some great teachers that have brought me up. And when I think back on it there was a lot of those guys who are…that’s the way they taught. They thought that was important. We’re probably all victims of our own experiences. And probably has carried over in that regard.

Q: But it says something about your character that Mark worked for you…

A: Mark worked with me.

Q: Well, but you were his defensive coordinator. You were his boss and he hired you. It says something about character that character counts for Jim Bollman, doesn’t it?

A: I think relationships, I think the neat thing about this business and this profession is some of the relationships that you have a chance to build over the years. It’s a long line, it can be a long line. And like any other profession, there’s certain people that you become really close with and for whatever reason remains that way.

Q: When Mark worked for you could you tell then he had the makings of a great coach?

A: Oh yeah, yeah. All the attention to detail you talked about and being very finite in what he’s teaching and demanding. Absolutely, could see all that in the first 10 minutes.

Q: Or when you meet Becky you know he can recruit.

A: That’s exactly right.

Q: Last one for you, coach. How does co-offensive coordinators work?

A: Well, I think I can answer that question better in another year. I think that’s an evolving thing for Coach Warner and I. My main objective right now is to get in here and learn everyone and everything as much as I can. And to help, try to help everywhere that I can, anywhere in the offense. What’s the saying… If you’re gonna be a great leader you gotta be a great servant. And to try to generally help everybody as much as I can and we’ll kind of go from there. Let things evolve as they evolve.

Q: Michigan State’s very fortunate to have you, Coach. Thanks for your time.