DAYTONA BEACH, FL—Sit down for five minutes with Bethune-Cookman head coach Brian Jenkins and you’ll immediately recognize that he’s a very insightful man. The fiery, larger than life personality that is frequently displayed on sidelines on Saturdays is a stark contrast to the soft-spoken, mild mannered, introspective coach you get when he talks about his coaching philosophy and responsibility of shaping young men’s lives and molding them into productive citizens.
Thus far, Jenkins and the Wildcats have used two huge come from behind performances to propel them to a 2-0 (1-0 MEAC) record leading up to this week’s game with the University of Miami (FL). At the center of the 20-5 record he’s compiled since taking over the head coaching job at the Daytona Beach institution has been his mantra of “stay in the moment.” It’s a catchphrase that has been adopted not only by the players and coaches on his staff, but by fans and supporters of B-CU as well.
“It is something I truly believe and truly live by. My wife and I teach our kids that and share that same philosophy, Jenkins said.
“Staying in the moment is a philosophy I adopted from (current Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach) Greg Schiano. It was something he taught to us as assistant coaches (while at Rutgers) and something he shared with us that we were able to do a lot of research on. We had psychologists come in and work with us as coaches and get us to understand that when you are in a leadership position, you have to exemplify staying in the moment and exemplify how to work the moment good or bad, so that you are prepared for the next moment.”
There certainly seems to be some merit to what Jenkins and his staff have been preaching to his kids in regards to this philosophy. In their first two games, they’ve found themselves looking up at a 21-0 and 14-0 deficit, before roaring back and outscoring their opponents 38-7 and 27-0, all while completely taking both of them out of their games offensively and defensively. More importantly, during those slow starts, B-CU never showed any signs of panic or frustration, they just continued to plug away until positive things started happening for them, as if they knew it would.
“We do psychological training with our players here at Bethune, Jenkins said. We make sure we do a lot of mental development with our players in the offseason. We have a lot of mental drills that we do daily that have helped us not only on the field but in the classroom as well.
“Since being able to install this stay in the moment philosophy, our guys have started to see success in their lives, period. This is not just a football term we’re preaching to our guys, this is a term that’s going to help them develop into productive men.”
Bethune-Cookman faces their toughest test of the season this week when they travel down to Miami Gardens, FL to take on the Hurricanes. And while Jenkins and the Cats are preparing to pull off the upset against the ACC conference member, the odds are not in their favor, based on the scholarship disparity and talent level at FBS schools vs. FCS schools (85 scholarships—FBS; 63—FCS ). What I can tell you is this—there won’t be any intimidated players from Bethune-Cookman on the field on Saturday. Their coach simply will not allow it. He’s not asking them to do more than they can handle, or get outside of themselves and try to make plays they normally don’t make, rather, just play Wildcat football and more importantly, stay in the moment.