'Don't think, just play': MIT engineers football success

Fri Nov 14, 2014 4:18pm EST
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By Steve Ginsburg

(Reuters) - The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's reputation of academic superiority is well chronicled. But the private research university is now excelling in a sector of society once deemed unthinkable for a bastion of brainpower: football.

MIT is undefeated going into its last regular season game on Saturday against the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and headed to the Division III playoffs.

"I hate to say it - because people say it a lot - but back in high school I wasn't even sure MIT had a football program," said senior wide receiver Brad Goldsberry, a Colorado native majoring in electrical engineering and computer science.

"I'm hoping that's becoming less common."

The architect of the school's new-found gridiron greatness is 42-year-old Chad Martinovich, a soft-spoken coach who has the team riding a never-before-seen three-year winning streak.

He endures the kinds of problems you might expect coaching a bunch of rocket scientists.

"It's both rewarding and challenging at the same time," Martinovich said. "You can throw a lot at them from a mental standpoint in terms of memorization - scheme and techniques.

"What we have to break them of is paralysis of analysis, where they tend to overthink things and it slows them down as athletes. We're always saying, 'Don't think, just play.'"   Continued...

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Engineers football players attend practice in Cambridge, Massachusetts November 13, 2014.  REUTERS/Brian Snyder