FNF Coaches Talk — Football Coaches Are Burning Out, Matt Rhule’s Recruiting Pitch, An Ohio Team Combats Participation Decline

Welcome back, Coaches. We’ve got three stories for you.

1. Football coaches at every level are burning out (CBS Sports)

This is the time of year we start to hear about coaches burning out after a long season, and it certainly happens on every level.

This story asserts that burnout is occurring at an increasing rate. Since June 2017, Bob Stoops, Urban Meyer and Chris Petersen have left their jobs at the height of their careers. All of them cited — in one way or another — the difficulties of enduring the day-to-day.

They left rather than continue to face the grind. Sure, they can fall back on a sizable income, but that’s not the point.

These guys love what they do. At the time of their departures, they couldn’t love it as much as they once did.

The fact they were in the prime of their careers shows the impact of the grind. The three coaching superstars were generally the same age. Meyer was 54 when he left Ohio State a year ago. Petersen is 55. Stoops was 56 in 2017 when he stepped down at Oklahoma. Petersen and Meyer were born within three months of one another in 1964. Forty-nine months separate all three.

Having enough money is one form of peace of mind. Here’s another: having a quality of life.

“There is no break anymore,” said Todd Berry, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association. “The most precious thing you have is 10 free minutes. While I know these guys are making significant money at times, the quality of life is at an all-time low right now.”

How do you protect yourself against burning out after a long season?

2. Baylor coach Matt Rhule explains how to ‘be where your feet are’ (KJJR TV)

If you have 2 minutes and 9 seconds, this is worth a lesson. We hear so many coaches talk about “being where your feet are.” It’s an expression that talks about doing the best possible job you can do — regardless of whether or not it’s your dream job.

But it can also mean staying focused on the task at hand, and for Rhule, that’s preparing for the Big 12 title game. He was asked if he’ll be making recruiting calls this week. He said, “No,” and then delivered his own recruiting pitch.

How do you prioritize your varied responsibilities as a coach?

3. An Ohio Coach Was Able to Boost Participation Numbers — Bucking a Local Trend (New York Times)

We all know high school participation in 11-man football has fallen by more than 10 percent on a national level since 2009. In Ohio, it has plummeted by 27 percent.

What makes Marion Local an outlier here is that the football team has players — lots of them.

In Goodwin’s two decades as head coach, Marion Local has suited up anywhere from 60 to 80 players each year — or roughly half the boys in the 260 or so student body.

The usual culprits for football’s decline — sport specialization, video games, concern about brain injuries — have not skipped over the western edge of central Ohio. But Goodwin and his staff have built a culture of embracing both old and new approaches to the game. Players work on conditioning year-round, they don’t hit in practice, and seniors are paired with freshmen and serve as their mentors.

Goodwin knew how much his players, their families and the community had to buy in for his Marion Local program to stay on top of the Ohio high school football universe and get back to another state title game on Saturday.

He knew that people rolled their eyes when he said the success of Flyers football is merely a byproduct of a community that values love, patience and labor.

“It’s putting the work in, doing the off-season preparation and competing like crazy when you are out on the field,” Goodwin said. “As long as they live up to that, I’m good.”

What is your coaching staff doing to combat the recent trend of participation numbers declining?

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