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Q&A With Machine Coach Ted Garber

By Steve Guglielmo |  3/29/12 3:45 PM

Q&A With Machine Coach Ted Garber


You are taking over for a new MLL team this season. What challenges come along with being an expansion team?

Well I think that one of the biggest challenges is just getting the fans on board and introducing the team and the league to the area that we will be playing in. I think we have a pretty good handle on it right now.

Tell me about the process that the team has gone through this off-season. How difficult was it to construct a roster on the fly?

Well I’ve been in the league probably longer than anybody. I’ve been a coach of five different teams. So as far as the MLL Expansion Draft and Supplemental Draft, I already knew a lot of the players. Once we saw who was unprotected, we already had an idea of what kind of player and what kind of person we wanted to have on our team. From there President and GM John Algie and I put together a plan and it actually worked out really well. Then for the MLL Collegiate Draft we did a lot of research and spent a lot of time looking at films and talking to coaches. We put together a good plan there as well. We were really happy. John is really organized and he has been in the league a long time so we sort of knew what the expectations were and I think that knowing the players and being in the league as long as I have, that helped too. I’ve had a lot of personal relationships with these guys, coaching them and knowing what they’re all about.

In going through the MLL draft season, were there any specific types of players you looked to add?

I’ve been thinking about it for a while, since we first started this. I want to find guys who are lacrosse players first. Not guys that worry about running off the field if they’re a midfielder and they want to get off because they don’t want to play defense or defenseman who think they can just stand around half the field and not take the opportunity to push up the field to get into transition. We’re looking for all-around lacrosse players and not guys who are one-dimensional.

I spoke with Greg Bice last week and he mentioned that all of the players on the roster are high-character locker room guys. Is this something that you really focused on? How important is team chemistry and veteran leadership in this sport?

Yeah that was our main focus. They’re all really good players but over the course of the season things don’t always go as well as they can or should at times for various reasons. So you need guys who are going to stick together when you have a little adversity. I tried to take guys that understood what was best for the team and that may not always be what is best for them. I think all of those guys are players that understand that. The players are all coming from different college systems or from different pro team systems but I think they all understand the different approaches and we discussed with them ahead of time when we started talking to people about playing in Ohio. They were all excited by it. These guys want to win as a group and they don’t really care who gets the credit doing it.

How do you get a group of players who maybe haven’t all played together to gel as a team?

I think that there has to be a little give and take between the coaches and players and some compromise. They all have their different ideas about how the offense should be played and how the defense should be played. I think communicating with them and getting some of their input and taking it for what it’s worth and then putting together a game plan is important. I think if you get the players involved, especially the guys who have been around the league for a while like Greg Bice and Chazz Woodson, it’s good for the team chemistry. They have a say. But they also know that at some point, somebody has to make a decision and that’s going to be me. I think they understand that. But it’s definitely important to get the players involved because obviously they are the ones out there on the field and if they feel comfortable doing certain things more than others, so I hear what they have to say. It’s going to be a key point in team chemistry.

What kinds of things are you doing to prepare for the upcoming season?

We’ve had some meetings regarding type of defense we want to try to run. We’ve been doing some behind-the-scenes phone calls and I talked to John about some logistical things like travel and game day and getting those things planned. I’ve done it long enough that I know to prepare for the unexpected. You have to let the players know that sometimes things don’t go the way you expect them to go, whether it’s the flight arriving on time or what have you. As long as they know that that’s part of the process, I don’t think they will panic over it. We’ve had guys who have told us that because of their jobs coaching they might have to miss a practice or something. I told them that we will take away their million dollar signing bonus, but that’s alright. You have to have a sense of humor with these guys.

What are your expectations for the upcoming season?

I think our expectations are to win and to make the playoffs. The guys we drafted have all proven to be very successful in the league. We’ve got a really good group of players and they have all seen their share of success in the league; it’s not like they don’t know what to expect going into the season. With the way the game is now, each team is stacked with talented players. That’s what is great about this league; there is so much parity for any game. Anybody can win. We certainly want to make the playoffs. We want to play well as a team and be successful and have it be a fun team for our fans to watch and that’s what we expect to do.

How have you seen fans react to the prospect of having a franchise in Ohio?

Yeah. John and his staff and the main office have been going to various high school tournaments and it’s catching on quickly. My assistant coaches have been promoting it and the response has been great. People are really looking forward to it, as are we. 



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