Kansas football offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki doesn’t take a dictatorial approach to play-calling.
A longtime Lance Leipold assistant who coordinated the offenses at both Wisconsin-Whitewater and Buffalo before joining Leipold at KU, Kotelnicki recently explained he prefers working jointly with other assistants when he’s compiling a play sheet for any given game.
In the middle of the week, Kotelnicki shared during his introductory KU press conference in May, he approaches the team’s other coaches with the same questions.
“If you were the offensive coordinator, how would you plan out the first 15 plays? What would you do?”
When Kotelnicki pores over the responses, he looks to see which plays are suggested most often, and the ones that his coworkers are most convinced will be effective inevitably make it into the offense’s game script.
KU’s offensive coordinator said he considers that part of the process the starting point for that week’s game plan. He thinks highly of the merging of ideas, because that gives him multiple perspectives — “What do they see with their eyes and the position that they’re working with?”
In the past, while he still worked at Buffalo, Kotelnicki during coaching clinics has presented his philosophies, including his thoughts on building a play sheet. He has shared that the staffs he has worked on might come up with 30 to 40 plays for a game. Additionally, Kotelnicki has gone through the same exercise with his quarterbacks to test their knowledge.
Seeking feedback regarding the best plays to call is a tactic he enjoys, though he didn’t make any false claims about coming up with it on his own.
“Where I stole it from I have no idea, but I stole it — I’m sure of that,” a grinning Kotelnicki said during his recent media question and answer session at KU.
The exercise gives him some “openers” for a game that he and his coworkers think will put the team in a good spot — “scripting for success,” he calls it.
According to Kotelnicki, he values collaborating as a staff, because as he has heard Leipold say on many occasions, “one man can’t do it” all.
“Just like one player can’t get it done on offense or defense or special teams,” the Jayhawks’ O.C. said. “And for us to go through the week and to game plan together and just grow together, I always talk about tributaries to a river. We all kind of need to come together, and by the end of the week it’s all going the same direction, in alignment for what it needs to look like to beat these opponents.”
The 2021 season will mark Kotelnicki’s ninth calling the offense for a Leipold-coached program. He said the head coach’s trust allows him as a coordinator to go into an offensive meeting and pool ideas the way he likes.
“The fundamental foundation of any organization is going to be trust,” Kotelnicki said.