Brett Favre had a rough first day at the office.
The 42-year-old legend admitted in an interview with the Hattiesburg NBC affiliate WDAM that he was out of shape, struggling to learn the playbook, and that his NFL experience meant absolutely nothing when it came to teaching the high school game.
Favre, a former Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and New York Jets quarterback, headed into the job without much stress and not taking it too seriously, but he learned quickly that high school coaching isn't as easy as it looks.
"We got a long ways to go, including me," Favre said. "I'm way out of shape. I think I was struggling there towards the end, but it was a lot of fun. It's totally new to me. The good thing is...there's three other offensive coaches..really four."
NFL Experience Has No Meaning?
He added "These guys have been a lifesaver for me because I'm still struggling with this run system, what the number is, what 34 means, is it inside, outside?"
You would think an NFL legend who has 20 years of pro experience under his belt, along with one Super Bowl ring and 11 Pro Bowl selections, would be able to use some of that knowledge in teaching football fundamentals to the high school students.
Not so, says Favre.
"My experience in pro football really means zero here," he noted. "I think there's some people who may think differently, but the high school game is totally foreign to me. It really is. I ran the wishbone in high school. These kids have no idea what the wishbone is. It's a learning process for me, and I think I'll be learning all year."
I saw this coming from a mile away. Plenty of great players struggle as coaches because the game came so naturally to them that it's difficult to teach.
Wayne Gretzky, one of the greatest NHL players of all-time, is the perfect example. He was a master on the ice, playing 20 seasons and notching more points than anyone else to ever play the game. But when it came to coaching, Gretzky was a major bust. He notched a record of 143-161 in four seasons for the Phoenix Coyotes, and the team never finished higher than fourth place.
Favre had no prior coaching experience, and he wasn't even a fundamentally sound quarterback at the pro level.
"Everyone Gets To Play"
One thing I thought was interesting was that Favre wants everyone on the team to get some playing time, regardless of skill level. Typically, the idea of "everyone getting to play," ends after middle school. At the varsity level, it's fairly common that playing time is based solely on skill, except maybe in a blowout.
"I think all of our guys are going to play," he said. "I couldn't tell you time, but I told all of our guys the same thing. I want everybody to play, but I want everyone to offer something that I think that they have."
Hattiesburg (Miss.) Oak Grove High has just one returning starter, so there's going to be a steep learning curve. If the team starts falling behind early in games, we'll see if Favre sticks to his plan of getting everyone some playing time, or if his competitive side will come out.
There's still plenty of time before the season for Favre to get in shape, learn the playbook and have his team ready for the season ahead. If anyone can do it, it's Favre.
Eric Holden has been covering high school sports since 2009. He's a lifelong New York Jets fan, and he enjoyed Brett Favre's stint in the Big Apple in 2008. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.
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