It’s almost too easy to picture Michigan-era Tom Brady in a Duke Blue Devils basketball jersey sitting next to Shane Battier and Carlos Boozer, being coached by Mike Krzyzewski. Brady undoubtedly ranks among Coach K’s favorite players in this frightening alternate reality.
It’s easy to hear Coach K’s admiration for the New England Patriots quarterback every time the Duke men’s basketball coach talks about Brady. For the second time in three offseasons, Kryzyzewski had Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on his radio show, SiriusXM’s “Basketball and Beyond with Coach K,” to talk about a New England Super Bowl victory. The show was taped last week and airs Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Coach K turned the conversation to Brady, praising the quarterback for having “guts like no one else.” Krzyzewski asked Belichick how much he relies on Brady’s instincts. Belichick went long on the topic.
“I think it depends what comes up, but that definitely happens,” Belichick said. “Sometimes if we can anticipate if something’s going to happen, and it turns out that way, then it kind of unfolds the way you thought it would. There’s certainly plenty of times when we kind of have a certain play or idea, and then what he sees at the line of scrimmage or what happens after we get that called, we’ll send him in a different direction.
“More than anything, just like you’re trying to get a good shot, we’re trying to run a good play. The last thing we want to do is run a play that, when it’s over, we look back and say, ‘We really didn’t have a chance on that one.’ We want to at least be able to get to something where we feel like it’s a fair fight and it’s competitive.”
It helps to have the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL to avoid those bad plays.
“The biggest thing Tom does for us is to try to keep us out of those bad plays where we have 5 to 10 percent chance of really being successful, whether it’s a coverage or a blitz or an alignment that they give us, and he sees that what we’ve got called just isn’t what we want to be in,” Belichick said. “That wasn’t why we called the play, was to run it against that particular look. Then sometimes he’ll be able to get out of those and get us something that, like I said, gives us more of a fair fight.
“That’s a big job of the quarterback in our league is to not just manage the game in terms of getting the ball out of bounds and the clock and stuff like that, but also managing the game in terms of giving the offense the chance to run plays that are competitive because defenses can get in certain alignments and really make it tough on you. Tom does a great job of that.”
And there are certainly quarterbacks who don’t do a great job of that. Brady always ranks among the top quarterbacks in lowest interception percentage because he’s the king of avoiding mistakes.
Here are some other highlights from Belichick’s talk with Coach K.
Belichick on Super Bowl LI: “Our guys played like champions in the last 20 minutes, and we really were able to have a lot of things go right, which they needed to pretty much just had to fall the way they did or we would have been in trouble. So it was a great year and a great victory for our team.”
Belichick on getting focused for next season: “I really enjoy the different phases of the season. Right now we’re in a team-building phase with free agency and then next month the draft and then all the players will be in and we’ll start. As you know, you can’t pick up where you left off last year, you’ve got to start all over again, so the kind of starting all over again process has really already begun for us.”
Belichick on what keeps him young: “I enjoy working with young people, that certainly keeps me young, even though the gap’s widening. And I do my best to absolutely take on the whole social media thing, you know, head on, on a collision course. But other than that, being with young people certainly keeps you young, and that’s been important for me. I’m sure you feel the same way.”
Thumbnail photo via Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports Images
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