(Photo: Jodi Vosika/ASU Lacrosse)
Entering his fifth season as an assistant coach for Arizona State, Todd MacRobbie is now switching sides of the field. After occupying the role of the defensive coach over the past two seasons for the Sun Devils under former head coach Chris Malone, MacRobbie has been reassigned to work as the offensive coach now that new head coach Joe Thon is in town.
With 14 years spent as the Head Program Director of Gilbert High School’s lacrosse team and him coaching every area of the game while there, MacRobbie does have experience teaching offense. He says he feels just as comfortable coaching the players attacking the net as he does coaching the ones defending it.
“Experience is experience,” MacRobbie said. “It transitions everywhere you go.”
The transition from stopping goals to scoring them is well-known to MacRobbie. The biggest changes, however, won’t be taking place on the field.
“I don’t think our offense is going to be different than in the past,” MacRobbie, a 1996 ASU, said following practice on Thursday. “I think the track record has proven that the offense works. I don’t think I’ve done anything different than what Coach Malone did in the past. It works, and the kids like it. You do what works. No sense in changing something that works.”
With the attack system experiencing only subtle changes, MacRobbie began in his new role by going back to the basics with his players. The level of talent that he now oversees should have an easy enough time grasping any schemes they are asked to follow.
For MacRobbie, it’s the fundamentals that remain the most key component in building a winning offense, and even given his new coaching perspective, the drills remain largely the same, just with an offensive spin to things.
“The drills are more offensive-driven than what I ran before,” he said. “The catching, the throwing, the ground balls—all those basic skills are the same. If you don’t have the basic skills, it doesn’t matter if you can’t play offense. Doing all those things early are key to be able to get the offense to where you want.”
MacRobbie hopes to get the offense back to what it was in 2014: a lights-out unit that ranked 10th in the nation in goals per game and carried Arizona State all the way to the MCLA title game.
This year’s Sun Devils will have to do without two key offensive players from that squad, as Justin Straker (now an assistant coach for the team) and Logan Quinn were both lost to graduation. Those that remain from last year’s team, however, will have an edge in adjusting to MacRobbie’s style, the coach says.
“The kids that have been here in the past will benefit from having (Coach Malone) because they know what it’s like to play high speed, up-tempo and intense,” MacRobbie said. “I’m just hoping I can match some of his intensity.”
You can reach Brett Deckert via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.