Q&A With Cannons Coach Steve Duffy

By Steve Guglielmo |  3/21/12 11:45 AM

Q&A With Cannons Coach Steve Duffy

MLL's Steve Guglielmo caught up with Boston Cannons head coach Steve Duffy to discuss the upcoming season, his past three years with the team as assistant coach, and how they're going to "reload and repeat."

In addition to coaching the Cannons, you have had lots of success as a head coach at the high school level, winning several coach of the year awards. Talk about your success in high school and how that will translate into the MLL?

Well, it’s tough to gauge that because obviously being a head coach in that capacity is different than coaching MLL. But I think as a head coach, you need to know your players, their strengths and weaknesses and you need to know where to put players in order to be successful. Inevitably that comes down to the head coach making those decisions. I’ve done that in my career, so I think that will help me move forward and be the head coach of the Cannons.

You have been with the Cannons for three seasons as an assistant. How has that prepared you to take over as head coach? Does it put you at an advantage?

Yeah, I think I do have an advantage at this time. The fact that I do know a bulk of the players on the team and I know the organization and our system and the way things have been done in the past. I think it’s definitely an advantage for me coming in as a new coach and having been here.

What are your thoughts about being named head coach this year?

It was exciting for me and my family. I’m proud to represent the Boston Cannons. It’s an outstanding organization in the MLL, a rising league within the professional sporting ranks. It’s definitely an honor to do it. I’m looking forward to moving forward.

What kind of different approaches will you institute as head coach?

Well, of course I’m going to try to bring in some of the things that I think will help us stay successful. When you look at our squad and the success that we had last year, we were very consistent. We played an up-tempo game and we were disciplined to the point where we were incredibly consistent. I’m hoping that we can maintain that consistency with the number of players that we have. Also, when you look at the games that we won, we had a lot of guys contributing in those games. I’m hoping that that’s a model for successful that we can forge ahead with and maintain.

What kind of things are you doing in the off-season to prepare for the new season?

To begin with, we worked hard to maintain our roster as best as we could, through the MLL Expansion and Supplemental Drafts. I think that we were successful in maintaining the core of our team. We lost guys and that’s always tough, but I think that we’re coming into the season strong.

With all of the changes and expansion, your team ran into some questions about who to protect. What was it like putting together a roster with two new teams?

When you look at our roster after the Championships, it was very hard to decide who to protect. It wasn’t something that we did in a haphazard or light way. We took it very seriously and developed our 12-man protected roster for the expansion. It was hard to see our guys left out there and a couple of our guys taken and knowing the kinds of players that they were and the success that we had last year with them playing for us. That’s the nature of the game, though. We understood that. We’re going to move on and hopefully as a result we will be successful.

Is there any specific area that you will be looking to improve or repeat what you did well last year?

We were strong on defense coming out from the goal with Jordan Burke. On offense we were the leading scoring team in the league. I hope to bring in a little bit of recognizing special situations to what we have done in the past. Hopefully recognizing those special situations will help us continue to be successful. A lot of programs and teams know who we are and what we do. Hopefully by creating and developing those special situations, we will be able to continue to be successful.

What are you and your staff doing to get ready on the Xs and Os side?

A lot of what we have done hasn’t necessarily been Xs and Os, it’s mostly been personnel. We will probably get into Xs and Os in the next few weeks. With the personnel understanding that they’re going to bring a certain skillset to what we envision them to do, that, I guess, is part of Xs and Os and what we’re going to look at.

What are your expectations going into the season?

It’s to win an MLL championship. Having coached in the league and winning the championship, it’s extremely satisfying. I know the players are satisfied and I know that as a coach it’s satisfying. Not winning it is extremely unsatisfying. Having walked off the field twice as a coach in the semi-finals, was a hard way to end the season and our goal is to be the MLL champions once again.

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