FNF Coaches Talk — An App to Organize Practices and Meetings, Mike Zimmer’s Run-Game Philosophy, WVU Football Drills

Good afternoon, Coaches. Here are some of the stories we’re talking about today.

1. Coaches, teachers, trainers, nutritionists. The story of how Zach Maurides built an app that offers to rule them all. (Inc.)

Coaches are always looking for new apps to help streamline their coaching process, and this former Duke football player created one.

In 2005, Zach Maurides was an offensive lineman on the Duke University football team, struggling to juggle his class and practice schedules–plus meetings with coaches, advisers, trainers, nutritionists, and team doctors.

In a computer science class that year, Maurides’s professor tasked students with building an app that could solve a problem in their lives. The sophomore designed a scheduling platform through which staffers could book time slots with student-athletes. When an appointment was reserved or changed, the student would be alerted via text.

Through a mutual friend, he met an engineer named Shaun Powell, and the pair constructed a cleaner, more robust version of the Teamworks platform. It housed student-athletes’ daily schedules and served as a messaging hub between them and coaches, trainers, and other staffers.

Coaches — If you’re not using the Teamworks app, it’s certainly something to consider. Duke basketball players, and Zion Williamson in particular, are logging in several times a day to review their schedules.

The biggest adjustment you have as a student-athlete when you get to college is learning how to manage your time,” says Jon Scheyer, the starting point guard on Duke’s 2010 national championship-winning squad and now the program’s associate head coach. Duke players are expected to check the Teamworks app every morning. Star center Zion Williamson logs in an average of three times per day; the app is where the freshman keeps track of workouts, plus photo shoots, interviews, and other duties that come with being the consensus No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA draft.

Coaches — What coaching app do you use that you could not live without?

2. Lunchbreak: Zimmer’s Run-Game Philosophy ‘Goes Behind Carries’ (Vikings.com)

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer mentioned on more than one occasion during the 2018 season that he wanted Minnesota’s offense to be more committed to the run game.

He explains that philosophy is not necessarily rooted in the fact that he thinks it’s the best way to gain yardage or score points. It’s about controlling the game.

“We want to be great running the football … but it’s not always about running for 200 yards,” Zimmer said. “The defense was on the field four minutes more a game [in 2018], I think that’s what it was. It’s time of possession, it’s controlling the game, it’s the mentality, the physicality of all that. If you look at the teams that played really good on offense this year, or the final four teams or whatever you want to call them, they ran the ball.”

Zimmer explains that establishing the run about controlling the line of scrimmage and giving your linemen a chance to do what they do best.

“I’ve talked to a couple coaches [at the annual league meetings last week]. Part of it is just the mentality of your football team,” he added. “The offensive and defensive lines and being physical, because that part of football is never going to change. It’s what I believe in.”

How do you quantify “being balanced” on offense?

3. WVU Spring Football Practice: Emphasis on Footwork (Blue Gold News)

Footwork is an important factor in football, especially during spring practices.

West Virginia’s spring football practices are chock-full of work on taking the right steps and getting into the right position to make plays.

Here are some of those drills for defensive backs.

And here’s another for running backs.

Coaches — What footwork drills do you have in place this spring?

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!