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  1. #1
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    Mentor to Linehan will serve as a scout

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Tuesday, Aug. 14 2007

    On no less than three occasions during his climb up the coaching ranks, Scott
    Linehan was hired by John L. Smith. Linehan is now returning the favor.

    Smith, 58, who was fired last season as head coach at Michigan State, has been
    hired by Linehan and the Rams to do advance scouting. Beginning this weekend in
    San Francisco, Smith will provide scouting reports on opposing defenses. He'll
    make presentations on most Tuesdays to the Rams' offensive coaching staff.

    "John L.'s a great evaluator," Linehan said. "He can see strength and
    weaknesses of the personnel we're going to play."

    As head coach at Idaho in 1989, Smith gave Linehan his first job in coaching —
    as wide receivers coach. It was the equivalent of a graduate assistant's job.
    Linehan wasn't in school at the time, but his pay was a scholarship check.

    After two years doing that at Idaho, Linehan got his first "full-time" job as
    quarterbacks coach at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. It was a disaster,
    and after just one season he wanted to bail out.

    "It was the only year in my entire coaching career that I didn't enjoy,"
    Linehan said. "I almost got out of coaching."

    Smith, still at Idaho, came to the rescue in 1992. The plan was for Linehan to
    again coach wide receivers, but after just a couple of weeks Linehan was moved
    up to offensive coordinator. With current Rams quarterbacks coach Doug
    Nussmeier as his quarterback, Linehan's Idaho offenses were the scourge of
    Division I-AA.

    "We had great offenses," Linehan said. "We averaged almost 50 points a game,
    and about 500 yards a game."

    But after two seasons, Linehan and Smith parted ways once again when Linehan
    joined the University of Washington staff as receivers coach in 1994. In many
    ways, it was a dream job for Linehan. It was the Pacific 10, in his home state,
    at the school he once dreamed of playing for coming out of high school.

    Linehan would've been content to stay at Washington forever. But those dreams
    were dashed after the 1998 season, when head coach Jim Lambright and his staff
    were fired.

    "Went to a bowl game and got fired," Linehan said. "They'd take us back now, I
    promise you."

    Nonetheless, for the first time in his coaching career, Linehan was out of a
    job. But only for a month. Again, Smith threw a life preserver Linehan's way,
    hiring him for a third time — this time as offensive coordinator-quarterbacks
    coach at Louisville.

    "In this profession, as you know, there's two kinds of coaches," Smith said.
    "Those that have been fired, and those that are about to get fired."

    It happened to Smith last season at Michigan State. So after he hired Linehan
    three times, maybe Linehan owes him one.

    "I would hire him three times again," Smith said, laughing. "He was that good.
    Whenever Scotty's been the coordinator, we've been awful good offensively. And
    every place he's gone in the NFL, they've done the same."

    Linehan still rates Smith as one of the most influential mentors in his career.

    "He's just a salt-of-the-earth (person)," Linehan said. "Grew up in southern
    Idaho. Big family. He's the uncle of the quarterback of the *****, Alex Smith.
    He taught me how hard work pays off. He doesn't have a big ego."

    Linehan also learned from Smith just watching the way he interacted with, and
    treated people. One thing that stuck out, too, was Smith's expertise as an
    evaluator.

    Linehan plans to put those evaluation skills to use.

    "Hopefully, I can pick up some things," Smith said. "You can always come away
    with a little bit of value at least in things that you can't see on tape."

    By scouting in person, Smith might be able to detect hand signals. How a team
    handles substitutions. Whether a player appears to be favoring an injury.
    Sometimes, game film won't even reveal if a team is in the no huddle.

    "All of those things," Smith said. "And you might get to see some things in
    pregame warmup."

    Smith is scouting San Francisco this week because the Rams play the ***** in
    Game 2 of the regular season. He plans to scout Carolina next week, the Rams'
    foe in their opener.

    This doesn't figure to be a long-term assignment. Eventually, Smith wants to
    get back into college coaching. But, Linehan insists, the Rams aren't helping
    Smith. ... "He's helping us."

    Of course, there's no guarantee that Linehan will agree with all of Smith's
    suggestions as a scout and evaluator. Twenty-five years ago, for example, Smith
    — then Idaho's defensive coordinator — tried to talk Linehan, a freshman
    quarterback, into moving to defense as a safety. Linehan vetoed the idea.

    "I told him, 'Absolutely no way,'" Linehan said.


  2. #2
    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Re: Mentor to Linehan will serve as a scout

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Tuesday, Aug. 14 2007

    On no less than three occasions during his climb up the coaching ranks, Scott
    Linehan was hired by John L. Smith. Linehan is now returning the favor.

    Smith, 58, who was fired last season as head coach at Michigan State, has been
    hired by Linehan and the Rams to do advance scouting. Beginning this weekend in
    San Francisco, Smith will provide scouting reports on opposing defenses. He'll
    make presentations on most Tuesdays to the Rams' offensive coaching staff.

    "John L.'s a great evaluator," Linehan said. "He can see strength and
    weaknesses of the personnel we're going to play."

    This is just one more example of Linehan's attention to every detail. Some may view this as just a "buddy hire", but I see it as an astute move that likely will pay immediate dividends. Any time you can gain an advantage even if small, it is still an advantage that can be exploited. In today's NFL, parity for the most part having been achieved, smart coaches take advantage of every slight edge proffered to WIN !!!
    __________________

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