FNF Coaches Talk — Cross-training coaches, shortage of officials, recruiting changes

FNF Coaches Talk

Happy Friday, Coaches. We hope you have a great long weekend.

1. Matt Rhule trying to cross-train coaches, be adaptable (Pro Football Talk)

Here’s an idea for coaches. Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule is asking his assistants to sit in on meetings with other position groups to see if they can pick up any tips on how things are being taught.

Rhule has defensive coordinator Phil Snow sit in on offensive coordinator Joe Brady’s meetings, and vice versa. He’ll drop by at a moment’s notice, the kind of “walk-around coach” move he picked up from Bill Parcells. He’s also giving assistants more specific teaching points to present to the rest of the staff, mini-clinics such as tackling technique or specific route concepts against particular coverages.

“Over the years,” Rhule said, “I just felt like there was a real disconnect between how much offense the defensive coaches know, and how much defense the offensive coaches know. And so that’s just allowed me I think to be really confident as a head coach. I’m not some guru, but I do know enough about every position on the field. The ones I haven’t been an expert at, I’ve hired really good coaches there. I’ll learn from them. It’s my job as a head coach to have players play their best football when they play for me. . . .

Why do you think it’s important for coaches to learn how to coach multiple position groups?

2. Lack of officials could affect fall sports (Greene County Messenger)

We had an entire edition of FNF Coaches with this theme last fall, and it’s still a timely topic today.

For athletic directors, the hope is that the fall sports season gets underway, not only to provide an athletic outlet but to generate revenues to cover the cost of the sports year, especially officials.

Even if that happens, there might not be enough officials to handle the large load of contests throughout the football season. The number of officials to work athletic events in the school district has fallen each year for quite some time now. Add a pandemic to the equation, and you get an even more dire situation.

In the fall, it would not be a surprise to see varsity games played on three nights out of the week simply because there aren’t enough officials to work all the games on the schedule for that night.

“The ranks have been falling,” said the 77-year-old Don Woodward, assigner for the Eastern Association of Intercollegiate Football Officials. “This (virus) is a life-changing situation. Do I think it will hurt sports? Yes I do. I talked to one group and they told me they don’t expect to have high school football this year. I book the Tri-County South football and there are something like 60 games. I’m still six games short. It’s not a pretty picture.”


What can be done about the shortage of officials in high school football?

3. College football recruiting challenges during the coronavirus pandemic (ESPN)

I bet this is an issue all coaches are dealing with. The current NCAA restrictions have left college coaches and recruits in limbo.

Whether it’s a new coach or not, all football coaches are hurting in recruiting from losing spring visits. In a normal calendar year, coaches would have from March to June 21 to get prospects on campus.

Now, with the dead period created by the NCAA, all schools are missing out on that valuable time to get prospects and their parents in front of them and sell the school in person. Penn State coach James Franklin believes that is a detriment to everyone, but more so to the schools in the Northeast that get a delayed start to spring activities and visits because of the weather.

“Some schools have gotten done spring ball, some people have gotten done half of spring ball, they’ve had junior days,” Franklin said. “For us, the way the calendar fell, one of the things that was really challenging is our players were home on spring break when this hit, so I wasn’t even able to have a team meeting. A lot of our players didn’t have their books with them and weren’t able to come back to campus.”


What are you doing to help your players get recruited during this period?

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