The Miller MeetUp
What is good everyone? This is Jason Miller back at you again and this time we are doing something different. This is not a Miller Report or The Friday Five. I am using my on-field credentials to get access where most of the SFL community don't have access to. I'm talking about at team facilities, during practice, or after a meeting to catch up with players, coaches, or even ownership to ask the hard questions that most SFL media people won't think about asking.
My first interview takes me to the place where football has been around since 1903. The place where if you have an amazing career, you can be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That's right SFL, I am in Canton Ohio where the Canton Classics are 3-0 and the big reason for that success has been the defense. Who better to ask about the defense then Defensive Coordinator Kanye Rockafella or “Coach Ye” as some will call him.
JM: Coach Rockafella, thank you for taking the time to sit down with me today.
CY: Please Jason, call me Coach Ye
JM: Ok no problem. Coach Ye, what has been a key factor in the way your defense has played this season?
CY: Not really a major key factor, there are tons of factors. Tendencies play a huge factor on how our defense plays. Personnel is another key factor. Like to make each player have accountability for opposing teams personnel. Ex. If they are run heavy & have multiple TEs, FBs, RBs we need our LBs to load up & safeties to be ready for the opposing teams oline aggressiveness & apply SFL football principles, concepts, & schemes in mind to help alter or control what they are attempting to do against us.
JM: Ok. Speaking of personnel, is there a player that in the first 3 games exceeded your expectations as a coach? Someone that you weren't expecting to have an early impact
CY: Good question Jason…well we work as a unit. The defense is a muscle that’s constantly pumping & flexing. It’s not just one player in particular. Replacing Porter was a huge task, so we had to get the right players involved & move them around to make great fits into our defensive line. We wanted to make an immediate impact. We needed to build a line, a team that would be able to compete within the North. Your Baltimores, your DCs, the non-North divisions Red Seas out in Arizona, the Storms. This is a tough league, very competitive! I wouldn’t say a player, but more in the trenches. Coach Donaldson always says “it’s the battle in the trenches that decides who will win the game”. The defensive line has exceeded the plan/expectations & intend to improve as the season progresses.
JM: I would agree with the statement that battle in the trenches wins the game. You mention HC Ray Donaldson. We don't ever get to hear from him. As a member of his coaching staff, tell us what it's like to work with HC Ray Donaldson?
CY: Blue Collar skill set best describes what it’s like to work with Coach Donaldson as he provides us with passionate leadership & stern championship mentality. Encouraging suggestions & what he’s looking for us to be successful in order to become elite. Words of wisdom, pure nuggets that he shares continues to uplift the #WeCan culture identity. He knows what buttons to push, he will check you quickly. I mean he has been there… a Super Bowl, All Pros, Pro Bowls. We The Hall of Fame City!
JM: That's great you are able to work with a coach that has that pedigree.
So final question for you. I wouldn't be doing my job as a reporter if I didn't ask. There is "chatter" out publicly and privately that say you are not putting in the work. That someone who has remained nameless is actually doing the coaching and not you. How do you respond to that, and do you have anything to say on your behalf to those people?
CY: What?! In Canton, we do things as a unit. Defense is a unit / Offense is a unit. One leadership team. So, with that being said, it's a collaborative effort. We all bounce ideas and other things off of each other, and that has contributed to the success we've had thus far this season. Check resume as most organizations I’ve coached at, teams have made it to the playoffs & have had top tier competitive defenses.
JM: Well Coach I appreciate your time and answering these questions for me. Congrats on the early success.
CY: Thanks Jason, really appreciate the time & great questions. Glad you are back; you do great work.
And there it is folks. My interview with defensive coordinator Kanye “Coach Ye” Rockafella. Make sure you follow @jasonmillersfl on X for all the latest news, nuggets and notes about the Simulation Football League