Read a Wolfpack Excerpt

Read a Wolfpack Excerpt
The Simple Life

Read 1 John 1:5-10.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (v. 9).

When Tom O’Brien took over as State’s head football coach in 2007, things got a lot simpler around the place. For one thing, O’Brien doesn’t like his quarterbacks to wear arm bands with the plays on them. Even the Wolfpack playbook is simpler. Once asked if his offense had more than 100 plays, O’Brien replied, “I can’t remember that many. How can they?”

O’Brien’s approach was no accident. He understood that the college game is not the NFL. Life for collegiate players is not just about football or hour after hour of practice and film watching. “Our coaches know about our schedules and the time conflicts and what we have to do outside football,” said center Luke Lathan, who would go on to earn a postgraduate scholarship.

O’Brien kept it simple for himself also right from the first, not ending practices with a speech and not riding into the sunset in a golf cart but walking with his players to the Murphy Center.

All this was a change from the regime of Chuck Amato, whose approach to football was based on complexity. “There were a lot of plays,” said tight end Marcus Stone. “Maybe it was a bit too complex for some to pick up. I thought personally we should have simplified it. The crazy thing was we’d only run 25 percent of it.”

O’Brien’s offensive coordinator, Dana Bible, who spent some time coaching in the NFL, said with a smile that he had never measured the Wolfpack playbook. “It’s not about how many plays we have. It’s about being able to execute the offense,” he said.

It’s about keeping it simple. And winning along the way. Perhaps the simple life in America was doomed by the arrival of the programmable VCR. Since then, we’ve been on an inevitably downward spiral into ever more complicated lives. Even windshield wipers have multiple settings now, and it takes a graduate degree to figure out clothes dryers. But we might do well in our own lives to mimic the simple formula Tom O’Brien uses. That is, we approach our lives with the awareness that success requires simplicity, a sticking to the basics: Revere God, love our families, honor our country, do our best.

Theologians may make what God did in Jesus as complicated as quantum mechanics and the infield fly rule, but God kept it simple for us: believe, trust, and obey. Believe in Jesus as the Son of God, trust that through him God makes possible our deliverance from our sins into Heaven, and obey God in the way he wants us to live. It’s simple, but it’s the true winning formula, the way to win for all eternity.

It’s just simple. You get the simple plays right. You pound them until they don’t want to fight anymore. -- Luke Lathan on the O’Brien approach to offense

Life continues to get ever more complicated, but God made it simple for us when he showed up as Jesus.


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