The two newest additions to Bearden’s football program may still be learning about America’s most popular sport, but they need no lessons in the mental toughness that teams need in order to be successful.
“No matter what the odds are, I will fight,” Coach Noam Dalal said.
This is the motto that Coach Dalal and Coach Ariel Back are bringing to the team. Coach Dalal and Coach Back are both players in the Israeli Football League (IFL).
They play for the Tel Aviv Pioneers, but they’ll be in Knoxville until the end of the season in November. They’ll be on the sidelines Friday night when Bearden (1-1) hosts Jefferson County (2-0) for the Bulldogs’ region opener.
The two have come to the U.S. to advance their knowledge in the sport of football.
“My goal is to learn more about football in general, to learn more schemes, strategy, and, especially personal techniques and coaching points,” said Coach Dalal, who is working with the offensive line.
The two are adamant about improving themselves.
“I’m still not satisfied nor will I be satisfied at the level I currently am,” Coach Dalal said.
Coach Dalal and Coach Back have also had the opportunity to visit the Miami Dolphins, where they met with head coach Adam Gase. Coach Back said he appreciated Gase’s straightforward approach to coaching that involves as much simulation as possible of real game experience.
At Bearden, Coach Dalal and Coach Back have mostly worked with freshman coach Ron Rupard and the freshman football team.
“Their knowledge of football is very extensive,” Coach Rupard said. “They provide unique ways of dealing with certain circumstances because of their path.
“They definitely had some good ideas.”
Coach Rupard helps to further their knowledge of the sport.
“On Monday, they get to be very involved in the coaching process itself,” he said. “I think that is the best way I helped them develop as coaches.
“The freshman team helps provide them the avenue to actually coach in game time situations.”
The IFL has been around for 11 years. However, there are a few different rules in their organization.
For example, teams consist of a 9-man team opposed to a 11-man team in America. They also play on 80-yard fields and use college rules.
Despite the rule differences, Coach Dalal said their time learning has been valuable.
“Overall football is football,” he said.
As they’ve developed their understanding of football, they also want to give something in return – even more than the “bit of Hebrew” that Coach Dalal joked that they are sharing. They hope they’re contributing to the coaching staff’s philosophy on attitude and mentality.
“The mentality of toughness and dealing with whatever,” Coach Dalal said. “Having the attitude of, I will get there. I will get it done.”