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Billick keeps on teaching in county

April 08, 2000|By BOB PARASILITI

There's only one thing Brian Billick might enjoy as much as coaching football - talking about coaching football.

Billick has reached the pinnacle of his career - becoming a National Football League head coach with the Baltimore Ravens - but he doesn't pass up the chance to talk football.

cont. from sports page

That's why an appearance at the Ravens Roost No. 7's 37th annual "Extra Effort" Awards banquet appealed to Billick. It wasn't the opportunity to honor Washington County's top football players or to meet the new breed of Baltimore football fans.

No, Billick came to the Hagerstown's Sheraton Four Points Hotel a little bit early for the chance to meet with Washington County's football coaches.

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"When I was coaching in college, I got to interact with high school coaches a lot," Billick said. "Now, I don't get the chance to do it enough.

This gives me the chance to talk football to a bunch of guys who talk football. I enjoy it."

Billick quickly did his media obligations, then made a run to the hospitality room to greet the Hagerstown fans who helped backed the Ravens to an 8-8 record in his first season before the real fun began.

It may have only been a handful of high school coaches, but it wasn't a case that he was far superior over the rest just because he was in the NFL.

"Football is football," Billick said. "It doesn't matter where you are coaching or what level it is, it's all the same game. I coached at high school, small schools, an NAIA school, small Division I and big Division I and now I am in he NFL. No matter what level you are or the players you coach, the game is the same."

Billick's game on the field is a high-powered passing game. Off the field, he plays a highly technical game of numbers, percentages and computers.

"This is the wave of the future," Billick told the coaches. "We are in the MTV generation where everything is digitized. The days of the (thick) playbook is gone. Now it's all here and you can find all you need in your school's computer lab."

Billick used his laptop to show slides during his talk and emphasized the ideas of organization, streamlining practices and offenses to keep players focused on the game and "making an impact on your team" at practice, not in games.

Billick and his staff started hosting a regional coaching clinic in Baltimore last season - 150-200 high school coaches attended. He's planning another one for May.

And he does it for one main reason.

"I was once told that any opportunity you get to sit and talk football, it only helps your development (as a coach)," Billick said. "Even if there are only two guys in the room, that would be fine with me."

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