It’s Game Day! Let’s get ready to roll. Here are some of the topics we’re talking about today.

1. Nike Signed Their First Athlete With Cerebral Palsy (Sports Illustrated)

This isn’t a football story, but it’s an inspirational one that we’ve been saving for Game Day. This one is bound to inspire you and remind all of us why we got into this profession.

“Runner Justin Gallegos became the first professional athlete with cerebral palsy to sign a contract with Nike. Gallegos, a junior at Oregon and member of the school’s running club, was told the news at the end of a recent practice. John Douglass, Nike’s insight’s director, showed up to give Gallegos his contract and a film crew from Elevation 0m was there to capture his reaction.”

The video below says it all.

Gallegos posted about the moment on Instagram and said: “You don’t realize how realistic and emotional your dreams are until they play out before your very eyes!”

View this post on Instagram

Today on world Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day, I reached a milestone in my running journey! Today I made Nike history and became the very first athlete with Cerebral Palsy to sign a contract with Nike! You don’t realize how realistic and emotional your dreams are until they play out before your very eyes! Signing this contract was a huge success for me and I would not have made it without my friends and family and teammates! This was perhaps the most emotional moment in my seven years of running! Growing up with a disability, the thought of becoming a professional athlete is as I have said before like the thought of climbing Mt. Everest! It is definitely possible, but the odds are most definitely not in your favor! Hard work pays off! Hundreds of miles, blood, sweat, and tears has lead me here along with a few permanent scars! But the journey is damn sure not over!!! Looking back, I would guess there is only a few select people who would see me were I am today! I have gone through just about everything in the book to be where I am today! I was once a kid in leg braces who could barely put on foot in front of the other! Now I have signed a contract with Nike Running! Trust the process! And most of all trust in God! God is good! Thank you to all my friends, family, and teammates on running club, and now a brand new atmosphere on teammates with Nike! This moment will live forever! Thank you everyone for helping show the world that there is No Such Thing As A Disability! #ProfessionalAthlete #SWOOSH #Nike72 #NikeTrackandField #NikeXC #ThereIsNoFinishLine #StrongerEveryMile #NoSuchThingAsADisability #NikeRunning #Limitless #Breaking2 Video Credits: @elevation0m

A post shared by Justin "Magic" Gallegos (@zoommagic) on

We had goosebumps watching that one. Keep that one in mind if you’re searching for perspective after tonight’s big game.

Do you have an inspiring story to share with FNF Coaches?

2. Dedicated weight training in offseason boosts stock of East Aurora’s Julian Cuttie (The Beacon News)

Here’s another inspirational story — one you should show any player who is looking for a path to playing time. This Illinois offensive lineman parlayed his work in the weight room to a starting role on a powerhouse high school team and a potential college scholarship.

“NCAA Division III powerhouse Wisconsin-Whitewater has expressed some interest in Cuttie, who enjoyed weight lifting in gym class as a freshman and then took it to another level.”

Nothing fancy here — just a story about an uncoordinated high school freshman working his tail off to become a team leader and college prospect.

“We work a lot on technique and only max out to a point that technique allows,” Kukuc said. “Julian’s first perfect squat three years ago was 85 pounds and first power clean was 95.”

He maxed out last winter at 385 and 225, respectively, in those lifts.

If you see a young player looking discouraged tonight due to a lack of playing time, show them this story. Hard work creates opportunities.

How do you inspire players to improve when they’re not getting playing time?

3. How Many Iowa Fans Fainted When Kirk Ferentz Ran This Trick Play? (The Big Lead)

Finally, it’s Friday so we know you have X’s and O’s on your mind. Are you a coach who embraces creative ways to out-scheme your opponent? If you’re not, that doesn’t mean you can’t be. Take this example of historically conservative Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz running a trick play in the red zone to put an easy touchdown on the board.

This was a 4th-and-goal play call, and it sure beat settling for a field goal. Don’t be afraid to call your most creative plays when the opponent is expecting a more conservative approach.

Do you have an exciting play call that you’d be willing to share?

What’s driving the conversation in your locker room? Email Managing Editor Dan Guttenplan or Tweet us @fnfcoaches. Don’t forget to use that hashtag #FNFCoachesTalk!

About the author

Dan Guttenplan