If you play for the New England Patriots, you definitely don’t want to run into Bill Belichick anywhere if you haven’t been studying film.
In the middle of the week, the Patriots head coach pop quizzes his players to keep them on their toes, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. The questions all focus on upcoming opponents, and they’re certainly not easy if you haven’t been doing your homework.
“I would hate to walk by him in a hallway on a Thursday if I was unprepared,” former Patriots fullback Heath Evans said, per WSJ. “He’s stopping and asking me about a player on special teams. ‘Can he wiggle? Who did he match up against last week on kickoffs, and how did he win that matchup?’ There’s no limit to the knowledge Bill expects you to have on an opponent, and the craziest part is he has the answers to all of it.”
Quiz master Belichick even pits teammates against each other. Sometimes, when a younger player answers a question, the head coach will ask a veteran if he gave the correct response. It can be “bone chilling,” according to cornerback Kyle Arrington, but for the most part, the players don’t take it personally.
“Sometimes he’ll hit you with a couple real tough questions. But you’ve got to know that,” safety Patrick Chung told WSJ. “And it’s not him just asking questions — it’s him trying to depend on us, us showing that we know what’s going on. It keeps our minds going, it’s a daily thing… if you can anticipate certain things, or you know the game plan inside out, it makes it a lot easier to play fast. If you’re thinking about stuff, it’s impossible to play fast.”
In fact, Evans added that Belichick’s methods even help weed out players who might not be a fit for the Patriots.
“Everything he does to train the mind of the athlete is perfect,” Evans said. “When guys get there, they either buy in immediately or they are so overwhelmed that they want out.”
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images