Patricia used to sleep as a luxury; RPI grad honed strong work ethic.
PHOENIX -- Who knew studying aeronautical engineering at RPI could prepare one for a coaching career in the NFL?
But that's exactly the case with defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, who considers getting four hours of sleep a night during the season a gift due to the long days -- and nights -- he and the rest of the Patriots' staff put in. Just like when he was a bleary-eyed student in Troy, New York, from 1991 to '96 and later at UMass, where he earned a master's in education.
"I think the biggest thing in going back to college is that college was a grind with the curriculum and the course study,'' Patricia said. "There were a lot of sleepless nights and all-nighters just trying to figure out what they were talking about. For me, it's just about continuing that work ethic. It's more than science, it's problem solving.''
The next problem facing Patricia and his defense is how to slow down the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday.
Patricia entered coaching as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, where he had played football. Then he took a typical career route -- for a time, that is.
"I got out, did engineering for a couple of years and it just wasn't what I wanted to do,'' Patricia, 40, said. "I didn't want to be in a cubicle in front of a computer, working with numbers. I just thought, as a college player, looking at coaches that I had, just what an influence you could have on young men's lives and people in general. I thought that was great.''
Patricia returned to the field in 1999, coaching the defensive line at Amherst College for two seasons before finding work at Syracuse for three seasons. The Patriots hired him as an entry-level coaching assistant in 2004 and after working with the offensive line, linebackers and safeties during various seasons became defensive coordinator in 2012.
"I'm very fortunate,'' Patricia said. "Bill has been great to me. When I made the switch here from offense to defense and began coaching the linebackers, I spent a lot of time with Coach Belichick, picking his brain and he really taught me the ways of how he wanted things done. That experience was invaluable. I've just been very fortunate to have been put into those positions.''
Patricia hasn't been as popular with Patriot fans as innovative offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels due to his typically safe approach to play calling. But he does feel he's improved in that area and it's shown this season in a number of ways, most visibly with the pass rush via blitzes up the middle by linebackers Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins.
Having improved personnel helps. Same goes for personal experience.
"I think you definitely feel more comfortable in certain situations when you've coached for a while,'' Patricia said. "There's so much going and there's so much that could happen on every single play and in every single situation that, as you gain the experience through those situations, you can kind of draw back on those to help you make faster and better decisions.''
A stuffed-up Tom Brady said his cold is getting better and "I expect to be 100 percent on Sunday. I'll be ready to go.'' ... For the second straight night a fire alarm went off just prior to 5 a.m. in the Patriots' team hotel. Whether it was a coincidence or a conspiracy matters not as the players slept through the incident, at least Thursday morning, at the sprawling spa in which they're staying.
Contact Rich Garven
Follow him on Twitter @tgsports.
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|Publication:||Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)|
|Date:||Jan 30, 2015|
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