Shifting gears: Providence changes offensive philosophy to fast-paced, up-and-down style

first_img Related Stories Where the light is: With more experience, Syracuse searches for way to reclaim past gloryLong way home: Maltz living boyhood dream after years on lacrosse outskirtsBall hawk: After decorated high school football career, Mullins thrives as defender on lacrosse fieldNet natural: Wardwell becomes force in cage after years of preparing for Division-I spotlightSyracuse No. 2 in preseason Big East outlook Published on February 14, 2013 at 3:16 am Contact Kevin: [email protected] The Providence lacrosse team has carried a reputation in the past for playing a keep-away type of game, holding the ball in an attempt to limit the opponent’s possessions.This season, with a new rule enacted to begin a 30-second shot clock when officials call a stall warning, teams like Providence will no longer have the option to play that way.“On the field, with the rule changes, we’re moving to an up-pace, up-tempo, transition type of offense,” Providence senior attack JT Weber said. “We were a set-play team in the past, but with the new changes, we can’t really have set plays anymore. We’ve got to be up-tempo.”The new era perpetuated by the rule changes provides a perfect complement to the new coaching regime at Providence, led by former Duke defensive assistant Chris Gabrielli. After going just 5-38 in its past three seasons under former coach Chris Burdick, who resigned last May after 14 seasons at the helm, Providence will immediately implement its new philosophy in an attempt to push the program back on a winning path.Joining Gabrielli in the rebuilding effort is John Galloway, the former Syracuse standout goaltender who worked as a volunteer assistant last season with Gabrielli at Duke. Galloway’s background at SU and Duke has involved an up-tempo style of play, made possible by the presence of highly skilled athletes who excel in that philosophy.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFor Galloway, the players couldn’t have had a better attitude in implementing the new system during the fall and winter.“We’ve inherited a disciplined program,” Galloway said. “They’re never late for practice, and they’re well-coached kids. They’re itching to win some games, they’re hungry and they want it.”Weber opines that the Providence team wasn’t built to play a quick, back-and-forth game, and that the old regime implemented its tactics as a simple recognition of this fact, to give the team the best chance to succeed. Now, tasked to change its mentality to better reflect its coaches’ attitudes, Weber and the rest of the team are excited to test the style on the field.“There’s a new wave of enthusiasm across the board,” Weber said. “A lot of guys were excited when they found out that coach Gabrielli was hired. He brings a certain atmosphere and culture, with the experience and ability to win at every level.”This culture is made up of various on- and off-field components. Upon returning to school from Winter Break, the veterans led a team workshop that focused on fundamental concepts, Weber said. The team is now expected to organize the locker room in a specific order, and the coaching staff is striving to implement a blue-collar mindset across the board, Weber said.Although transitioning to a more free-flowing style could have its drawbacks if players lack the athleticism to match up with higher-level opponents, Galloway thinks it gives the team the best chance to succeed. It may increase the potential to be blown out on occasion, but it also gives the team the chance to win some games that it wouldn’t in the past.“We’re going to play the same way we did at SU and Duke,” Galloway said. “At those two places, the formula has worked. We’re going to play intense, with pressure, and we’re going to roll the dice.”Gabrielli echoed the sentiment, pointing to the rule changes as a natural transition into a more dynamic style.“The new rules in place really embody a faster style of lacrosse, so that will influence how everyone plays, I believe,” Gabrielli said. “Certainly, I want to teach our guys and help our guys play lacrosse the way it’s supposed to be played. Up and down, fast, athletic, aggressive.”Galloway is an S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications alumnus who switched his major from broadcast and digital journalism to public relations midway through his Syracuse career, and was never really sure what he wanted to do after college. But a chance meeting with Duke head coach John Danowski at Casey Powell’s lacrosse camp in Boca Raton, Fla., led to his first job at Duke and the subsequent one at Providence. Now, he said he finds himself extremely happy to walk into the office every day.As a young, 23-year-old coach, Galloway appreciates the trust Gabrielli has in him.“At Duke, he could’ve completely taken the reigns, but he’s allowed me to do a lot of different things,” Galloway said. “That means a lot to me. I’m fortunate to work under him, someone who has the drive to be great.”The trust on the coaching level extends to the players, with Weber expressing team-wide support for the job done by the new staff so far. Weber remembers playing against Galloway his freshman year, in a 14-5 Syracuse win against the Friars, and recalls regarding him as a “legendary statue.”Weber notes a hands-on approach throughout the coaching staff, bringing with it a genuine desire of coaches to connect with Providence players.“Talking to the ‘D’ guys, they’re excited how open he is for conversation,” Weber said of Galloway. “He encourages one-on-one meetings. He has knowledge of everything that entails a defensive unit, and the guys appreciate it. He has the knowledge and ability to connect, and he knows where we’re all coming from.”Syracuse head coach John Desko oversaw Galloway’s development in his four seasons at SU, and finds little surprise in his star goaltender’s progression to coaching upon graduation. Galloway’s decision to serve in an unpaid capacity at Duke was critical for the valuable experience it provided, as well as the connection with Gabrielli, Desko said.Galloway was always a great communicator on the field, a trait that should lend itself well to the sideline, Desko said.“It’s a great opportunity for him to go on and, first of all, get paid for what he’s doing, and also get more top Division-I experience,” Desko said. “Not only playing at a top Division-I school, coaching at a top Division-I school. He’ll have a great opportunity to help build the program at Providence.”With Gabrielli and Galloway leading the new regime, along with new assistant Brett Holm, the Friars look to make their mark in the Big East, even though Gabrielli readily admits the transition may take some time.“It’s not going to happen overnight,” Gabrielli said. “It’s a process. You’ve got to be willing to put in the hard work and take your lumps along the way. There’s a lot of teaching to do.” Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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