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Coaching, Attitude Adjustments Have Pacers On The Rebound

Frank Vogel insists it isn't him.

As Ian Levy explained in this post, one of the biggest areas of improvement for the Indiana Pacers under Vogel has been rebounding, especially on the offensive glass. When asked to explain what adjustments he could point to that have quickly turned the Pacers into a strong rebounding team, Vogel pointed toward his locker room.

"Nothing I'm doing," Vogel said. "We have great rebounders on the court."

He then went on to name all of his front court players and give them individual credit for being great rebounders. But is it all attitude and positive thinking from the coach? These are the same players that have been playing all year and now they're great rebounders?

There are rare nights when the ball bounces your way, but usually winning the rebound differential requires heavy doses of "can do" and a willingness to keep battling your opponent for every ball that's up for grabs. So while Vogel deflects credit, setting the tone and encouraging a tough-minded effort on the glass is among the adjustments the players point toward when trying to explain the rebounding improvement.

A bigger reason, literally, is Vogel abandoning the small ball lineups and instead going big without concern for matching up with the opponent.

"We're not playing small any more," Roy Hibbert excitedly explained.  "No more small ball! Coach wants two big guys out there crashing the boards and we just want to leave them with only one shot."

HIbbert and Tyler Hansbrough think the change in attitude and approach presented by Vogel makes sense which in turn makes it easy to buy in.

"He (Vogel) said, no matter what the lineup is we're just going to play big and I think it works," Hibbert said. "We're just going to keep pounding guys inside and we have size so we're just going to use it. Before in the past we were trying to matchup to what the other team was doing, but now we're just going to play our game and our game is a power game and we're going to stick to it."

Dictating the style of play is always preferable, acting instead of reacting, but that requires taking care of the basics which includes hitting the glass relentlessly. It also takes some belief by the players that they can and will get the job done.

"Frank came in and told us, we have to dominate the boards and rebound well," Hansbrough said. "I think before the season, Coach O'Brien was saying how big of a weakness rebounding was for us. I don't know if we bought into that or not, but that's something we really concentrate on with Frank and really try to improve."

Needless to say, Hansbrough has embraced the coaching change and the old school, blood and guts style of play that highlight the new team identity Vogel is trying to instill.

"I love it," Hasnbrough said. "I've definitely bought into it. It's the way we need to play, with a chip on our shoulder and tough-minded."