FNF Coaches Talk — FNF Coaches digital edition is live, 3 preseason conditioning drills, Redskins’ new players learn playbook

Happy Friday, Coaches. Check out today’s stories, and enjoy your weekends!

1. The digital edition of FNF Coaches Aug./Sept. is live! (FNF Coaches)

We are proud to present our sixth edition of 2019, which has a “Coach vs. Ref” theme. The number of game officials has decreased on a national level over the last decade, forcing some states to push games to Thursdays or Saturdays. In some instances, games have been cancelled.

What is the cause of this crisis? Most officials attribute their decisions to leave the profession to the abuse they take from coaches, players and fans. We reached out to coaches and officials to determine how we can address this situation.

We also spoke with coaches about the process of starting a new fall season. So many times, the season starts with a flurry of unexpected activity (injuries, new leaders emerge, unexpected players struggle). Players and coaches are left scrambling as to how to recalibrate their goals. The head coach has the ultimate responsibility of providing energy, enthusiasm and inspiration throughout the season. Some legendary coaches offer their advice of this topic.

Read the digital edition of the Coach vs. Ref issue!

The August-September print edition of FNF Coaches will hit mailboxes the week of August 19. If you do not have a subscription to the print magazine you can get one here.

2. 3 Preseason Conditioning Drills (Drees Performance Training)

Here are three progressively more challenging football conditioning drills for your players. Football is a game of short bursts of all-out effort, followed by long periods of rest. Your conditioning drills should reflect that.

What are your go-to conditioning drills during the preseason?

3. Flash cards, iPads and lunch-break quizzes: How new Redskins learn the playbook (Washington Post)

Looking for ideas of how to get your players to learn their playbooks this preseason?

For the Redskins’ rookies, comprehending and executing the playbook is crucial. It’s the baseline expectation, and coaches have drilled into all players that there are fewer days, and fewer practice reps, remaining until Washington kicks off the regular season at Philadelphia on Sept. 8.

How players best digest information can often be traced back to how they learned in school. Some scribble in notebooks, such as offensive tackle Donald Penn and McLaurin, who calls himself “a really active learner.” Others prefer video on an iPad, such as offensive lineman Ereck Flowers and rookie wide receiver Kelvin Harmon. A few applied learners, such as wide receiver Steven Sims and guard Wes Martin, can’t execute until they’ve walked through the play on the practice field. It’s stressful.

Often, players and coaches describe Gruden’s offense as complicated. The concepts hue close to a West Coast, pro-style scheme, but what first-year players find tricky is not the plays themselves. It’s the volume of them.

Skill players from spread offenses in college only needed to memorize a numbered route tree. Now, their team runs several formations, and some plays can be called out of multiple formations. Sometimes, parts of a play, such as the receivers’ routes or the linemen’s blocking assignments, automatically change depending on the defense’s coverage or movement before the snap. The Redskins call those preplanned adjustments “conversions.”

How do you account for your players’ differing styles of learning when you’re teaching?

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!