Football: More on, and from, Bill Lazor
Just got off the phone with Bill Lazor, Virginia's new offensive coordinator (and quarterbacks coach). Lazor has connections to the Washington area, having been the Redskins' quarterbacks coach under Joe Gibbs from 2004 to 2007 and then going to the Seattle Seahawks to replace former Redskins coach Jim Zorn during the past two seasons.
While Lazor coached the Redskins, he lived in Leesburg and made treks to Charlottesville. Once the coaching staff is completed, I'm going to go in depth on all the coaches in this space, but for now, here are some quick nuggets from Lazor:
- The timeline of his hire started "two to three weeks ago" when Lazor and Coach Mike London were put in touch with each other through "mutual friends." London was in the process of speaking to other offensive coordinator candidates, but the phone conversations between London and Lazor and discussions with mutual friends prompted the process to intensify last week. They spoke "very specifically" on Sunday. Lazor flew to Charlottesville on Monday, met with London, and it "moved quickly" since then.
- Lazor said the offense will be "an extension of what Coach London believes in." London and Lazor have spoken to specifically about the visions for the offense, which includes "being explosive."
"In football today, you got to find ways to score and being explosive is part of that," Lazor said. "And it's also very important to be physical. It doesn't matter how many times you decide to run the ball in a game, but when you do, you better be very physical. You better be able to come off the ball. Probably when people watch from the outside, they will say it's a pro-style attack because they'll see us be under center as well as being in the shotgun. But really, the specifics of that, will match the strengths of the players that are here and playing for us in that first game."
- Lazor has worked with some notable coaches in his NFL career. Here's what he learned from a few of them:
From Dan Reeves: "I watched a man who had been doing it a long time and had such great poise, such great control and just understood what he was going to do in that football game. He was excellent at calling plays, and putting the whole package together and seeing the big picture."
From Joe Gibbs: "If you tried to pin him down, he would tell you what's important is to try to run the football and throw it deep for big plays. I wouldn't always say that's the case on the every play. But spending a lot of time with someone who really understood how to play offensive football, knew how to build a team, knew how to be physical and had a great attitude on offense."
From Mike Holmgren: "When I went to the Seahawks, one of the things coach told me is, 'If you're going to coach the quarterbacks for me, you better wear an iron jock strip.' Coach Holmgren had a really unique way of coaching the quarterbacks. He was very honest with me up front. He had a real specific vision of what he thought offensive football should look like. He was very quick to see when his team did not look the way he wanted it to look, and he corrected it. ...And he also had a very specific way that he believed you coach the quarterback. It wasn't a very touchy-feely way, but it's a way that's been proven over time to develop quarterbacks."
- Lazor is excited to recruit again, citing past players who've gone on to have success outside of football -- including one who's a priest, and another who's an investment banker. He said he needs to study and learn the recruiting book.
- Lazor does not expect a big hurdle in calling plays again. It's something he enjoyed doing during his last college stint at Buffalo, and believes his training in the NFL will only improve those skills.
- Lazor said a big reason for taking the job is his belief in Mike London and confidence in what Virginia football could -- and should -- be.
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