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Greg Blache Talks Winning, Frogs, and Strongside Linebackers

Posted by Matt Terl on April 1, 2009 – 5:05 pm

Redskins defensive coordinator spoke to a group of students at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia, today — yes, that’s the school from Remember The Titans, and Blache remembered recruiting players from there back when he was a college coach — as part of the Redskins’ partnership with the National Guard.

The speech focused on leadership, teaching, and other positive messages; Gary Fitzgerald has done an excellent job covering it over on Redskins.com, and I recommend his article. For my part, I was mainly interested in any of Coach Blache’s characteristically unusual turns of phrase, and on that score, I was a little disappointed.

Blache stayed on-message the entire time — “Coaching is teaching,” he said, “My specialty is teaching. My guys have their test on national TV every Sunday” — and largely delivered that message without entertaining stories about hunting and what-not. Mostly. Except for the story he said he tells his players about how dealing with criticism is like a frog climbing a water tower.

I’m paraphrasing, but essentially the story dealt with a whole bunch of “little green frogs clinging to a water tower.” As they all tried to climb up, people at the bottom shouted how they couldn’t possibly make it up — and sure enough, one by one they fell off. Except for one frog who finally made it up, and when the people asked how he had pulled that off, didn’t give any answer.

“The only frog to make it to the top was deaf,” Blache said. “He couldn’t hear all of the people telling him he could not do it. Sometimes who you’re around, your friends, you have to be deaf. So many people try to pull you down because they don’t believe in you or they’re afraid of success.”

It’s no “south end of a northbound skunk,” but it was a nice little story, and the Blachiest element of his (very good) talk.

Even more interesting, though, was the Redskins personnel news that came out in the post-speech Q&A.Most of the questions covered the topics you would expect, and most of Blache’s answers were similarly predictable. (On if the Redskins would make the playoffs this year: “I don’t know. If I knew the answer to that, I’d be in Vegas right now.” Or acknowledging that a pass rushing defensive end might be something the Redskins would look at in the draft.)

But there was one interesting tidbit, one that explained Chris Wilson’s comment from yesterday that “I’m pretty excited to see how they’re gonna use me this year” — because Blache mentioned that the team was looking at Wilson to potentially help fill the role of strongside linebacker.

“Yeah,” Wilson told me, “I’m pretty excited for that. I’ve played the position before, and it’s all stuff that I can do.”

Wilson, at 6-4, 246, is similar in size to 6-3, 248 pound Marcus Washington, who played the strongside position last year, so it makes some kind of sense, and he’s also known for his speed as a lineman. It’s still an experiment at this point, barely more than an idea, but it at least offers a solid glimpse at the team’s plans as the 2009 season gets closer.

And that glimpse certainly goes a long way toward making up for the lack of mildly amusing quotes.

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