B-CU's Trade Secret: How To Create Turnovers
By Dan Ryan
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The question at Bethune-Cookman football Head Coach Brian Jenkins' media luncheon Wednesday was a philosophical one: How do you teach a defense opportunism?
"Ancient Chinese secret," the third-year coach replied.
Yes, that's right. Brian Jenkins made a joke. Not a great one, but let's not spoil the moment.
Bethune-Cookman's success in forcing turnovers is more present-day Wildcats than ancient Chinese, but it is a trade secret that Jenkins will not reveal in detail as B-CU prepares to face North Carolina A&T in Saturday's Homecoming game.
"I'd be giving away one of the pillars of our program," Jenkins said. "Forcing turnovers is something we drill with our guys daily, something we drill yearly and embed into their form of thinking and training. We all know that trained behavior becomes instinct."
Following Saturday's seven-turnover performance, the Wildcats defense is once again leading the FCS in turnover margin (+2.8 per game). B-CU finished Jenkins' first season in 2010 as the season leader in that category, but fell off slightly in 2011.
"Teams know we try and force turnovers," Jenkins said. "They prepare for us by trying to limit turnovers. We still have work to do."
B-CU needed those turnovers in the 38-26 win over Hampton, which registered over 500 yards of total offense on the Wildcats defense.
"Had it not been for those turnovers, we may have been on the other side of the coin," Jenkins said. "No doubt, those turnovers may have masked some things, but also remember that Hampton is a good football team and it wasn't a surprise they had some success. We were able to lean on our strengths, which is an instinct to force mistakes."
Other comments from Wednesday's luncheon:
On North Carolina A&T's success:
"Coach Broadway's team has bought into what he's trying to do, and it is obviously showing in positive results."
On B-CU's many uniform combinations:
"I let players handle that. That's some of the enjoyment they should have. As long as they do things we require and demand, off the field first, and then that same quality and detail, then the reward is to have the different uniforms, something no one else in the conference may have. Hopefully, we will make that a traditional part of the program ... We won't wear the same uniform twice."