Tony DeMeo

Bear Bryant’s Plan for Winning Football

Paul “Bear” Bryant is arguably one of the greatest coaches of all time. Not just football but all sports. He said of himself that he was nothin’ but a winner. And winner he was. He made The Alabama Crimson Tide the standard for great college football. The following plan was taken from the book: Rising Tide by Randy Roberts & Ed Kazemienski which is an excellent chronicling the Joe Namath years at Alabama. This was Coach Bryant’s formula for winning football.

Have a Plan – Winning Theory at Alabama – 1962

1. Beat your opponents physically
a. Better physical condition
b. Be aggressive & “out-mean” them
c. Consistency – 110% on every play

2. Genuine All-Out Desire for Team victory
a. Goal – to win them all
b. Personal sacrifice instead of personal glorification
c. What one can contribute, not what you can receive
d. When you win there is enough glory for everyone

3. Winning Edge
a. Second & third effort (Run Beyond Initial contact)
b. No penalties, broken signals, fumbles, or interceptions
c. Sudden Change
d. Something extra when behind, & in the 4th Quarter
e. Know & play zone & field position

4. Press Kicking Game
a. Type kick for particular zone
b. Protection
c. Coverage & defense
d. Rush
e. Returns
f. Field the ball

5. Defense
a. No long runs
b. No passes for touchdowns
c. Force mistakes
d. Score on defense

6. Offense
a. Never give up the ball without a kick
b. Extras in danger zone
c. Score – 4 down zone
d. Discipline
e. Intelligent Recklessness
f. It takes eleven to move the ball

Coach Bryant’s approach was very similar to Nick Saban, Bill Belichick & Vince Lombardi. The common threads are Play great defense, win the kicking game and score when you have the opportunity. This is a sound approach that has withstood the test of time. This plan was for the 1962 season yet 54 years later it is still a plan Champions use. Oh the game has changed in style – formations, new plays, the zone blitzes, unique options etc. BUT the same basic principles are the same.

I would recommend the book Rising Tide it is an interesting period in the history of this country & it’s interesting how 2 football guys, Paul “Bear” Bryant & Joe Namath played a role.