Editor’s Note: This story was written by and republished with the permission of the Big Red Sports Network, which provides excellent Cornell sports coverage throughout the year for alumni, parents, students and fans everywhere.
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We sat down for an interview with Cornell football coach David Archer, whose team went 1-9 last year.
Here are 5 questions from the interview:
Q: When you were hired as a head coach, at the time the youngest in the country, what was your plan, and what have you done to carry out that plan?
A: There are many groups that as head coach you must be a leader of. Current players, former players, future players, high school coaches, the Cornell Football Association etc., and each group needs to have a different strategy. The biggest part of the plan is to have a vision that each of those groups can get behind. The most visible results are the 10 games in the fall, but there is so much more to that. That structure to a program is what makes a championship-caliber team.
Q: How far did the team come this season in terms of the development on the field?
A: It definitely was a tough season. I take the responsibility for the results. But we’ve established a few things, especially the effort with which we play. People from all over have told me how impressed they are with the effort our team’s effort for a full 60 minutes. We also were able to be good with the ball, as we lead the league with 20 takeaways, and had the third-fewest giveaways (a major accomplishment due to having to play four different QBs, who came in with a combined one career college start). We were also able to develop our run game, which allowed the offensive line to improve and develop as well. Defensively, we were able to go from having a very vanilla base defense on all three downs, to being able to be more flexible and exotic on third down.
Q: How will you go about fixing the protection problem, both in the passing and run game?
A: A lot of it comes down to getting more experience within a system. Because of the presence of Jeff Mathews my first year, the system we played this year was the first time the guys played in this offense. Our protection got better as the season went on, especially with the development of QB Robert Somborn, which allowed us to open up both the passing and run game. Offensive linemen often take a longer time to develop, especially with putting on muscle, so it’s important to make sure they are in an environment where they can improve. Our offensive linemen will also definitely be able to improve with the new weight room our very generous alumni donated to us!
Q: Who are some of the personalities in the locker room that make your job so enjoyable?
A: Well I honestly don’t think there’s enough film to talk about this! What’s so great about my job is the unique personalities and stories that all these young men have. One of the coolest things is when I can tell recruits is that they will walk into a locker room where there will be 100 guys who share your same values of excelling both academically and athletically. To be able mentor these kids and then to have them go out and make a positive impact on society, is really important to me.
Q: You have a contagious level of energy, where is the source of that?
A: Well a lot of that is coffee! But from the time I came here, I looked at this as a chance to do something special, and that’s an opportunity that some people go their whole lives without getting. I love the vehicle that this game can provide to shape the lives of these men, especially with a Cornell degree. I know that my ending at Cornell is going to be awesome, and even through losses, I know that the ending will be worth it, and I am excited for that journey.