The New England Patriots are spending this week preparing for a visit from the Ravens Sunday, but that didn't stop Patriots coach Bill Belichick from talking a little lacrosse during a conference call with media members who cover the Ravens on Wednesday.
Belichick, who grew up in Annapolis and graduated from Annapolis High School, spent at least five minutes of his 15-minute conference call discussing lacrosse.
Regarding his relationship with Johns Hopkins and coach Dave Pietramala, Belichick said, "It’s a strong one. Coach Pietramala has been a good friend. Certainly enjoy talking to him and exchanging ideas about coaching and preparation and things like that and stats and players. I know the sports are different and all, but coaching is still coaching to a large degree and handling your team, there’s a lot of carryover even though the sports are different. He’s given me the opportunity to be around his teams, on the practice field, at games, and in meetings and in preparation. I’ve learned a lot and I’ve taken a lot of things that he’s done and incorporated them into some of the things that we do – more in terms of coaching and preparation style and that type of thing. He’s come up to visit us here a few times in training camp and at games, and I have a great exchange of ideas with him, and he’s been a huge help. I have a tremendous amount of respect for what he’s done and what he’s done with that great program, which I’ve always admired – even though I grew up at the Naval Academy and bleed blue and gold. But being that close to Hopkins and the program that they run there from when he was a player until now as a coach, I just have tremendous respect for him and the entire Johns Hopkins lacrosse program. It’s first class and they do things the right way. It’s been a great opportunity for me to watch them up close and see how they do some of the things they do so well."
Lacrosse runs in the Belichick family. Bill played the sport at Wesleyan and his son Stephen plays at Rutgers. Belichick took a moment to compare lacrosse and football.
"The difference between lacrosse and football is that at the end of each play, we get to go back in the huddle and get re-organized. In lacrosse, the game never stops," said Belichick, who also named current and former Blue Jays Paul Rabil, Stephen Peyser, Michael Evans and Michael Kimmel. "There’s always a flow and there’s no real time to set up a play for the most part. The game is a free-flowing game, so the decisions and the parameters you set up for your players to deal with a game like that are very interesting and in some ways, they’re a lot more complex than a game like football. Football’s a lot more complex from the standpoint that you have more time in between plays to put in new formations and new personnel and new plays and things like that. It’s different, but there’s a lot of good learning and application going both ways."
The conference call ended on a lacrosse question: Can Syracuse win its third consecutive national championship?
"They’re pretty good," Belichick said of the Orange. "Coach [John] Desko has done a great job up there, and I have a lot of respect for what he’s done and certainly for this year, coming back and doing it again after the ’08 team. That was a great accomplishment, especially after the year that they had in ’07 when everybody was on them. That’s a great program, but my heart’s with Navy and Hopkins and with the people, it’s really with Coach Pietramala. That’s really where it starts. I certainly recognize what Syracuse has done. They run a tremendous program up there, and I have a lot of respect for Coach Desko and the job that he has done."