FNF Coaches Talk — Adding an Empty Set Wrinkle, Football Coach Facing Charges After Confronting Ref, Kyle Trask’s Inspiring Story


FNF Coaches Talk

Good afternoon, Coaches. We’ve got some interesting stories for you today!

1. Adding Empty as a Mid Season Wrinkle (X and O Labs)

Coaches — It’s that time of year when we’re all looking to introduce some scheme or play design that we haven’t shown on film.

Adding the empty formation is a simple way to create wrinkles without having to completely change your team’s offensive philosophy. This article gives a great overview of the possibilities that can come with the empty formation and will provide you will multiple ways to use as part of your offense starting this week.

Coach Chris Parker, head coach at Pickens High School in Jasper, Ga., introduces the scheme. He has taken over two different programs that have struggled and turned them around. In 2012, Pickens set school records for points per game and yards per game in Coach Parker’s first season.

Our offensive philosophy at Pickens is to give our players a great chance for success on each play. When utilized properly, Empty formations can create great matchups for your players and give them a chance for success regardless of how the defense aligns.

Give the article a read to learn about this formation, which can likely work with the base offense you already have in place.

What new wrinkles are you adding to your scheme in the closing weeks of the regular season?

2. Football Coach Could Face Charges for Confronting Referee After Controversial Play (NBC 13, WhoTV.com)

This is a familiar topic for us on the heels of our preseason edition of FNF Coaches, which had a “Coach vs. Ref” theme. In that edition, we touched on the increasingly strained relationship between coaches and refs. Most refs point to the abuse they face in-game as the reason they are leaving the sport. Participation numbers for officials have dropped across the nation in recent years.

This story is an example of that trend coming to life.

A helmet-to-helmet hit during a game in Des Moines, Iowa, on Friday night has already cost a coach his job and might even evolve into criminal charges.

A hit on a Lincoln’s quarterback caused Jason Storm, a 15-year assistant coach and father of the player, to erupt when a referee did not throw a flag for targeting. Storm confronted the referee and now West Des Moines police are involved.

“My first reaction was ‘How do you not call that a penalty?’” said Gary Dickey, who is Storm’s attorney. “That`s a sensitive issue for Mr. Storm. His son had a concussion last year and had to miss a significant portion of the season, so when you have these types of calls involving player safety, that`s when emotions get high,” said Dickey.

The Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) is reviewing the video and plans to speak with those involved. Regardless of whether the hit was legal or illegal, the association says the issue is about what happened after the whistle blew.

“I’m saying if I’m an official, that’s my goal. I strive to be perfect, just as a player I strive to be perfect and as a coach I strive to be perfect. The reality is that officials are not perfect, no matter what level we are talking about. Inevitably, an official is going to miss a call and it’s our responsibility as adults to disagree respectfully and keep our cool and keep our emotions in check,” said IHSAA Executive Director Tom Keating.

The story on the NBC 13 website has video of the hit.

What are some of your strategies to avoid blowing up at officials during a game?

3. Until two weeks ago, Kyle Trask hadn’t started a varsity game … well … ever (ESPN College Game Day)

I’m not sure how many high school coaches out there are spending Saturday mornings watching ESPN’s College Game Day. If you missed it last week, you should check out this inspiring story about new Florida starting quarterback Kyle Trask.

Trask is starting at quarterback for the first time since he was a high school freshman, making him a 2019 college football unicorn. He’s filling the void left by starter Feleipe Franks, who suffered a dislocated ankle in the Kentucky win that ended his season. It’s not the way he envisioned it, but Trask’s opportunity has finally arrived.

How do you motivate players who are not getting playing time to keep working hard?

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