Who is Andy Kotelnicki?
That’s the question Kansas football fans might be asking themselves, as new head coach Lance Leipold begins assembling his coaching staff just days after returning to the schedule. Kotelnicki is said to be one of seven assistants who have followed Leipold from Buffalo to KU, according to a report released Monday by Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel.
Given that Kotelnicki has spent the previous eight seasons as an offensive coordinator under Leipold, he will likely hold that title at Lawrence. Kotelnicki was the CO for the past two years at Wisconsin-Whitewater before completing six seasons with Leipold in Buffalo. Kotelnicki has also coached all groups of positions on the attacking side of the ball during his career.
But all of this is the standard information you can find by looking at Kotelnicki’s bio.
Kotelnicki participated in a virtual coaching clinic on June 29 from last summer, which really helped give those concerned a better understanding of his general offensive philosophy. The full hour video is available on the Virtual Football Clinic channel on Youtube.
While Kotelnicki didn’t reveal any secrets about his plan, the video still provided a nice glimpse of what KU fans can expect from the team’s new caller.
Here are three things that stood out about Kotelnicki after watching the full video:
Kotelnicki believes in keeping it simple
Don’t expect Kotelnicki’s offense to be too complex, especially with the condensed offseason due to the arrival of the coaching staff in late spring.
During the practice clinic, Kotelnicki revealed that his typical match day call sheet consists of around 90-105 different games. He noted that this includes games like quarterback or a Hail Mary pass, which typically appear on any team’s call sheet.
But that wasn’t always the case for Kotelnicki, who admitted to having more coins in his playbook earlier in his career before having a reveal. There is only a short time to practice all of these games, so he decided to only include the games his team had practiced in an 11v11 setting before the game.
To better illustrate this idea, Kotelnicki refers to his philosophy as the “80/20” rule. An offense will likely get 80% of its offensive output (yards and touchdowns) from 20% of its playbook. This often leads to focusing on the basics and ensuring that the offense can do things right.
“When you do the simple right, you are probably a very good football team,” Kotelnicki said.
Preparation is extremely important for Kotelnicki
Kotelnicki spent much of the show talking about the importance of team preparation and organization.
It could mean a macro sense, like having an annual calendar. He stressed the importance of self-scouting evaluations during the offseason and used this time to study other teams to implement new program ideas. He noted that the offseason is a good time to study the defensive structures of a team’s “go-to opponents”.
But where that preparation really showed up was when Kotelnicki broke a typical schedule in the week leading up to a game. He ran through the daily schedule about 42 minutes from the podcast, depending on how Buffalo operated during the 2019 season.
In a normal week, the first team’s attack went against the first team’s defense for 15 games on Tuesday and another 15 shots on Wednesday. They also faced each other in the two-minute workout on Thursday.
The offense also got about 168 reps against the scout squad, which breaks down into 60 reps for team games, 54 games for team assists and around 20 reps for pressure passing games. Kotelnicki noted that his first-team attack would get around 60% of reps in practice.
It’s a week that really starts on Sunday because the staff are on the same page on the calendar. All practice scripts are scheduled the night before to ensure that no one scrambles to get things done before the team enters the training ground.
“Just my take, the team that spends more time trying to be right Sunday through Friday generally has a better chance of succeeding on Saturday,” said Kotelnicki.
Others will have their say, including KU quarterbacks
Throughout the week, Kotelnicki watches a movie and sets up the game plan with all the attacking staff. Jim Zebrowski, who served as the offensive co-coordinator at Buffalo and also comes to KU, is also a big part of it.
At the clinic, Kotelnicki recognized that it would be more efficient to put everything in place himself. Still, getting staff input is an essential part of their process throughout the week.
So much so that every Wednesday, Kotelnicki will ask each member of the offensive staff to choose the 15 games with which to open a game. It does this to see how many specific reads end up on multiple lists, as those calls always end on the opening script.
All of this leads the staff to finding the top 30-40 games for a given game.
Kotelnicki also admitted to having his quarterbacks do this same drill, citing that it helps quarterbacks start to think of the game like a coach. This should be something to watch out for as you watch KU’s young quarterbacks develop over their respective careers.
This all just speaks to Kotelnicki’s general state of mind, as he is willing to take comments from others while trying to get on the same page as an offense.