FNF Coaches Talk — Emmitt Smith Wins Signing Day, Lincoln Riley’s Genius, 8 Tips for Communicating with Parents

Welcome back, Coaches. We’ve taken the time to find three stories so you don’t even have to look.

1. Emmitt Smith Wins Signing Day By Supporting His Son’s Decision to Commit to Stanford Over Alma Mater (Athlete Swag)

The big story of the day around the football world is Emmitt Smith’s approach to his son’s decision to snub his alma mater, Florida, while committing to Stanford. Emmitt handled it like he’s been here before — expressing full support for his son’s decision.

“At the end of the day, my son has his own journey. And it is his journey, not my journey.”

How do you avoid injecting your bias into your players’ college selection process?

2. What does innovator Lincoln Riley mean for the sport? (The Ringer)

Lincoln Riley is one of the hottest names in the coaching profession at the moment with his team in the FBS Playoffs and his name buzzing as the potential replacement for Jason Garrett as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

Riley’s rise has been long coming, according to The Ringer.

It didn’t matter that he lacked the outward quirkiness or bravado of his colleagues on the Texas Tech staff, like Mike Leach or the hot-tempered Dana Holgorsen. Riley slowly became proof that the Air Raid was a philosophy, and all you needed to deploy that philosophy was a surfeit of creativity.

“That whole time, I think he was putting together his ideas about how he could make his mark,” says one of those former Tech receivers, Eric Morris, who is now the head coach at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio. “Me knowing him as the young guy and the coffee guy, he could never have that crazy personality. I think he knew his place. He didn’t have to sit there and scream and yell and be something that he was not. That wasn’t his approach. He’s cool and collected. He’s an intellectual thinker.”

For Riley, it’s been a different story. He’s the first Leach-Mumme disciple to become the head coach at a school with the size and stature of Oklahoma; when he took over for longtime Sooners coach Bob Stoops in the summer of 2017, he was 34, the youngest major-conference college head coach in the country. And it’s not exactly an accident that he landed in Norman. As far back as the early 1900s, when a coach named Bennie Owen revolutionized the passing game on the dusty plains, and carrying through the wishbone-era of Barry Switzer in the 1970s and ’80s, Oklahoma has relied on unconventional ideas to gain an advantage over its hulking neighbor to the south, the University of Texas.

The three quarterbacks Riley has built around over his first three years “are all so different,” says private quarterbacks coach Quincy Avery, who has worked with high-profile prospects like Deshaun Watson. “Riley’s created offenses in the college game that have principles that people see they can bring to the NFL level. He’s given the NFL the vision that these quarterbacks can be successful maybe at a smaller size than before. It used to be such a condensed game, and no one thought you could take these Air Raid philosophies and apply them to NFL quarterbacks. But Riley’s incorporated pro reads and pro concepts.”

What are you doing this offseason to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to X’s and O’s?

3. 8 Tips for Communicating Your Goals to Players and Parents (FNF Coaches)

Communication is so important in coaching because players have been proven to perform better when their expectations are aligned with reality. The best coaches communicate clearly and efficiently so that players are rarely surprised by coaching decisions. Do not assume players know what you’re thinking; share it.

Dr. Justin Anderson has a wealth of experience working as a sports psychologist with collegiate, Olympic and professional athletes. He is also a former quarterback at University of Minnesota-Duluth.

He founded Premier Sports Psychology in Minneapolis, Minn. He is a licensed psychologist who specializes in high performance psychology and leadership. Over the last 20 years, he’s had the opportunity to work with the best of the best in sport and in business. He’s helped countless professional, Olympic, and collegiate athletes gain an advantage in their mindset and mental preparation.

Click on the link for tips for coaches who are looking to communicate goals to players, parents and the local community.

What is your No. 1 piece of advice to coaches for avoiding confrontations with parents during the season?

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