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The myth of halftime adjustments?

While discussing the oft-mentioned topic of halftime adjustments this week, Virginia Coach Al Groh provided a book recommendation.

"Phil Simms in his book writes he can't remember a meaningful halftime adjustment that was made," Groh said, referencing the former New York Giants quarterback who played while Groh served on the Giants' staff. "Now this was with some real good coaches on some real good teams. So he's obviously not saying I didn't have very sharp coaches. He's saying in his book 'Sunday Morning Quarterback', which is a good read; okay. It's a fun read, and it's a good football book, too. He writes, 'I can't remember when a halftime adjustment was really meaningful.' "

"I guess that kind of negates the commentators making great halftime adjustments speech, right?"

That was Groh's take. Here are some numbers: Virginia is outscoring opponents 40-10 in the first quarter of games, and is even 46-46 in the second quarter. That is an 86-56 halftime margin this season.

The Cavaliers have been outscored 40-34 in the third quarter and 50-34 in the fourth quarter. That's 90-68 in the second half.

Virginia has entered halftime with a lead in four games this season and won just two of them. The Cavaliers entered halftime trailing in three games this season, and came back to win once. So what exactly happens during halftime?

"Very frequently what happens at halftime is whatever adjustments were made during the course of the first half are just confirmed and more clearly defined for the players," Groh said. Frequently those adjustments have to be made on the run, often in between -- often during the course of the series when you don't have a chance to talk to the players.

"But you change your play selection. That's more the case on defense than it is offense. Okay, here's something that just a lot of offenses do, is they'll package their plays by series. Okay, in this -- in a lot of game plan will look literally like a box.

"They'll have boxes on the sheet; okay. Just like a package. And in box A … okay, these are the players that are going to run during this series. And in box B, these are the plays they're going to run during that series. And the intent of that is to stay one move ahead of the defensive team.

"So if they ran a package of play B in this series, and the players come on off, and the coaches are discussing the series with the players and making adjustments about what just occurred, well, that's not going to occur in the next series because they're going to box C with a different package of plays."

By Zach Berman  |  October 29, 2009; 9:45 AM ET
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Hmmm maybe if we made more halftime adjustments, like our opponents seem to be, we'd win more games.

Posted by: TheSuperhoo | October 29, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

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