Remembering the rules of the road

Former head coach Jim Donnan breaks down the rules of the road for a Thursday night game.

Originally Published: September 18, 2003
By Jim Donnan | Special to ESPN.com

When a team goes on the road, no matter what day the game is on or where it's played, the players not only represent the football family but also the university and their own families.

It's up to the head coach to set the rules of the road and make sure the players know and follow them. During my coaching days I stressed to the players that we were on a mission when we went on the road, and that nothing was to come before the team. Here's quick checklist of dos and don'ts I might have distributed to my team:

  • Be on time! That's JD time. Give yourself plenty of time on elevators and in all-access areas to get where you're supposed to be.

  • Eat only at designated team events. No snacks!

  • Keep the noise down during all meals and at the movies. Be respectful of your fellow teammates and anybody at the theatre.

  • Protect your game plans, tips and reminders, knowing you have to turn them in prior to getting on the bus to the stadium. We've worked too hard for somebody to pick up our battle plan because of your carelessness.

  • Stay out of the lobby, and absolutely no visitors in your room.

  • No cell phones allowed.

  • Headsets are allowed until 15 minutes before we take the field for warm-ups.

  • Absolutely no card-playing or gambling. You need to focus on the game, and we don't need anyone mad because he lost his per diem playing cards.

  • Ride on the designated team bus. Offense and kickers on Bus One, defense on Bus Two.

  • You must return from the game with the team. Absolutely no exceptions.

  • You are issued team gear for every function on the trip, so make sure you wear it. Look like a team, play like a team.

    That's not all the players have to remember on a road trip, though. Following is a sample itinerary for a team playing a Thursday game:

    WEDNESDAY
    3:00 p.m. -- Team meeting
    4:00-4:15 -- Flex and warm-up
    4:15-4:30 -- Offense and defense review
    4:30-4:45 -- Special teams review
    5:00 -- Practice OT
    5:30 -- Offense and defense team meeting
    6:00 -- Depart for dinner
    6:30 -- Dinner. Make sure you work hard on sitting with different people on trips. Get to know your teammates, managers and trainers.
    7:30 -- Movie
    10:00 -- Meeting with head coach
    10:30 -- Snack
    11:00 -- Lights out

    THURSDAY
    8:00-9:00 -- Continental breakfast (optional)
    10:30 -- Team breakfast
    11:00 -- Position meetings
    3:00 -- Chapel (optional)
    3:30 -- Pregame meal
    5:00 -- Meeting
    5:10 -- Depart for stadium
    6:50 -- Kickers, punters, snappers on the field
    7:05 -- Quarterbacks, receivers, DBs, tight ends
    7:15 -- Offensive and defensive line
    7:20 -- Offense and defense plays perfect plays vs each other
    7:26 -- Dressing room
    7:40 -- Take the field
    7:45 -- Kickoff
    Postgame -- Depart for airport

    FRIDAY
    2:00 -- Training room opens for treatment

    ESPN.com college football analyst Jim Donnan takes part in chats and makes observations on Saturdays as part of College GameDay Online.

    Jim Donnan

    College Football
    Jim Donnan was the head coach at Georgia and Marshall and is an ESPN college football analyst.