Eric Musselman talks about stealing tactics from cowboys, why he hates the practice


It’s one of the most iconic moments in Allen Iverson’s 11-year Hall of Fame career.

And that didn’t even happen during the season. Four days after Philadelphia’s 2001-02 season ended with a rushed exit in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, Iverson agreed to a press conference to answer questions surrounding his mercurial relationship with the head coach of the era, Larry Brown.

The conference did not go as planned. Just as Gators football coach Dan Mullen got thorny Monday when asked about his dedication to recruiting, Allen Iverson went on the defensive when answering reporters’ questions about his dedication to coaching.

“We’re sitting here – I’m supposed to be the franchise player, and we’re talking practice here,” Iverson said, starting one of the greatest sports soliloquies of all time.

“I mean, listen: we’re talking about practice. Not a game. Not a game. Not a game. We are talking about practice. Not a game. It’s not the game I’m going for and I play every game like it’s the last. Not the game.

“We’re talking about practice, man. “

In short: Iverson was not a fan of the practice.

Turns out it’s not Eric Musselman, either.

Eric Musselman makes a confession

The Arkansas basketball coach is known as a die-hard tactician, marketing master, and heavyweight recruiter, but he’s not.

As important as practice is to a team’s success in the field, too much of it can lead to the Law of Diminishing Returns. Better to get in and out with as little wasted time as possible, Musselman said during a recent episode of Hog Pod with Bo Mattingly.

The key, he says, is to vary things and “eliminate the boredom.”

“I hate training too. I know a lot of coaches say they like to train, ”he adds. “I like games, man. I want to compete. I’m training to try and win a scary game.

Musselman has done a lot so far, with 45 wins in his first two seasons – the most early in Arkansas basketball history. Heading into 2021-2022, CBS’s Garry Parrish places the Hogs at No.2 in the SEC just behind Alabama.

Musselman can’t wait for the season to kick off Nov. 9 against Mercer.

Likewise, he can’t wait for most of the exercises to end. No need to drag things out longer than necessary.

“We don’t want any downtime,” he told Bo Mattingly. “Sometimes it can frustrate assistant coaches because I tell them, ‘Hey, in your exercises or stations you have to come in and out with your exercise explanation. I want to teach before training and after training, and in training I don’t want to stay long …

“Do the 1.5 hour practice. Don’t drag out a workout for longer than two and a half hours and really develop guys in those workouts.

The brevity can be a blessing for the players this time around, so who frankly are fed up with only playing against each other. “October is tough, man,” Musselman said. “It’s a dreadful task to come and practice and not play a game for five or six weeks, but it sets you up for success later.”

Keys to Keeping Arkansas Basketball Practices Bold

As much as Musselman and his team aim to keep things fresh for fans when it comes to social media posts, they strive to constantly mix them up in practice to avoid complacency.

Musselman, for example, assigned all of his players the task of learning to juggle (as if being a full-time student-athlete in the modern NIL landscape wasn’t already skilled).

“We want to try to mix new exercises,” he says. “We want to try and hit them with a funny movie clip that they’ve never seen. We stole mojo moments of what the NFC East leading Dallas Cowboys 6-1 did to break practice and how we want to try and affect our late-game execution – so we’re playing music. from Austin Powers to signify that we are in our mojo moments.

This fall, the Razorbacks also released two new signs – one that says TNT (Takes No Talent, stolen from the Miami Dolphins) and the other that says “Shot on Goal.”

“They have to go and touch that [TNT] sign if they don’t get down for a loose ball, things that don’t require any skill. If you don’t set a screen correctly you have to go run and hit that TNT sign… If we return the ball and don’t get a shot on goal, you have to sprint and hit the “Shot on goal sign.”

What separates Arkansas Basketball from the rest

Over the summer, before the Arkansas basketball team were allowed to meet 20 hours a week, they met for “pre-practice talks” to review the statistics. keys.

Now, however, they’re spending a critical time watching and breaking down the film from their practices and scrums.

“We can watch a movie, break it down and show the guys stuff and missed missions. He wants to get a feel for how his players will understand the second, third and fourth options on offense, and how many positions they can learn.

Studying the movie theater allows Musselman and his assistants to troubleshoot what they glean from practices and scrums.

“I enjoy reading coaches across the country who think their teams are great,” Musselman recently told Brian Hamilton of The Athletic. “And we were actually thinking the opposite, ‘Hey, here are our holes. This is where we need to improve. There is angst with me, in a lot of different areas. And we talk to our team about it every day.

Ultimately, Eric Musselman hates the idea of ​​practicing for the sake of practice.

Instead, he wants to use the practice as a tool to diagnose how his Razorbacks can improve in the short, medium, and long term. And he wants to use this tool as quickly as possible to devote himself to the important work of studying the film – and the even more critical pleasure of playing the games themselves.

Listen to the full interview here:


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