FNF Coaches Talk — Coach Suspended for Finding a Player a Home, Coach Forfeits Game Due to Injuries, TackleBar and Riddel Partner

FNF Coaches Talk

Welcome back, Coaches. We’ve got a few good stories for you today.

1. Plant High coach facing 6-week suspension, says he helped student-athlete who had ‘no place to go’ (ABC Hillsborough County)

This is a local story for us, and one that certainly leaves us shaking our heads. We’ve worked with Plant High coach Robert Weiner on various projects over the years. So we’ll start with that in the interest of full disclosure.

That being said, we can’t imagine that the enforcement of this rule is what the Florida High School Athletic Association had in mind when it was implemented.

Plant High School football coach Robert Weiner is facing a six-week suspension after the school self-reported a pair of violations.

According to the Florida High School Athletic Association, Plant self-violated policies related to athletic recruiting and improper contact with a player.

“The story is actually very simple,” said Weiner. “There was a child in need and we answered the call.”
Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Weiner outlined how he stepped in to help a student-athlete who he says had no place to go.
That player, who only practiced with the team, moved to Tampa from out of state. When his elderly caretaker could no longer look after him, Weiner put him up with a former Plant High parent, where he still lives today.
“My only thought was at that time was let’s find a place for this kid and let’s get him in a safe and healthy environment.”

To repeat, this player did not have a guardian to watch over him, and he didn’t even play in games. Weiner found him a safe place to stay while his life was in transition, and now the coach is facing a 6-game suspension.

The story stirred up quite a bit of reaction on Twitter.

We actually did a story on Weiner’s philosophy of building better men and citizens by encouraging his players to volunteer at a Muscular Dystrophy Camp. We have no hesitation in saying Coach Weiner is doing it the right way.

What should the Florida High School Athletic Association do in this instance?

2. High school football coach forfeits game because of too many injured players (KUTV 2)

Here’s one you don’t see every day.

The head coach of Judge Memorial Catholic High School (Utah) forfeited last week’s game because he had too many injured players.

We’re not sure we agree with this decision either. At first, we figured the coach must have had fewer than 20 players available. That certainly would be forgivable considering players would be forced to play both ways and put themselves at further risk.

However, Coach Hawes says he had about 35 players available.

“It was tough. I kind of let them down easy, but we just thought it best to leave our kids out of harm’s way,” Hawes said.
Hawes says of the 54-player roster, about 20 players are injured. The team lost three of their best players to season-ending injuries, and three of five linemen have suffered a concussion.

Judge Memorial was set to play a much more experienced and bigger group of kids from Morgan High School.

Hawes said he just couldn’t go against his instinct from 21 years in coaching.

“The game is not more important than the kids’ future, their brains, their injuries, their health, and we’re going to protect our kids at all costs before anything else.”

How many players would have to get injured for you to consider forfeiting a game due to injuries?

3. TackleBar™ Partners with Riddell to Advance Game of Football (American Press)

Here’s some news on two of the leaders in football safety.

TackleBar™ Football, and Riddell, the football head protection leader, have entered a strategic partnership designed to advance and grow the game of football. Riddell’s team of direct sales representatives will help expand awareness and accelerate adoption of TackleBar with coaches and league administrators so more athletes will benefit from the use of the tackling tool.

The TackleBar technology, worn with traditional football equipment, includes a harness that is attached around players’ midsections and holds two removable foam bars on the lower back. The TackleBar design teaches and requires players to use proper tackling technique while engaging ball carriers and then ripping off a foam bar to end the play.

With this approach, players learn to refine their technique without tackling to the ground. TackleBar teaches proper skills and sound fundamentals, preparing youth players for an eventual transition into tackle football. At the high school and college football level, programs use TackleBar as a tool in practice to refine technique and teach tackling without added contact and impact exposure.

What technology are you using to offset the fact that players are getting fewer full-contact reps in practice?

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