FNF Coaches Talk for 10/16

Good afternoon on a Tuesday! Here’s what we’re talking about in our newsroom today.

1. Addazio’s Fourth-Down Decisions Mirror Growing Trend in FBS (BC Heights)

Boston College football coach Steve Addazio is credited in this story for following a trend started by high school coach Kevin Kelley, whose philosophy involves never punting and calling for onside kicks on every kickoff. Kelley, who coaches at Pulaski Academy (Little Rock, Ark.) presented at last year’s USA Football National Conference in Orlando, Fla. We had a sense then that he had started something big.

“Five years ago, the sports blog Grantland did a story on Kevin Kelley, a high school football coach wrestling with the bounds of reason—Kelley’s team never punted, never attempted to return punts, and only attempted onside kicks. In the eyes of conventional wisdom surrounding the game of football, Kelley was very much the odd man out.”

Kelley’s philosophy has evidently made it to Boston College, as well as many other FBS schools. In fact, Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson rode the same philosophy of going for it on fourth down more than any other NFL coach last season all the way to a Super Bowl.

“College football as a whole has seen an increase in attempts—Air Force, a run-heavy triple-option team, is on pace to try 50 fourth-down conversions, a mark that is nearly an attempt per game higher than last year’s leaders in Florida Atlantic and Northwestern. It’s a refreshing shift that should, in several years time, be regarded as totally normal. Kelley’s strategy might seem drastic, but the coach that never punts presides over a team that has won several state championships in a dominant manner.”

High school coaches: Are you aware of this trend toward more aggressive calls on fourth down? Have you shifted in this direction?

2. Former NFL DL turned coach runs through door to inspire high school team (Instagram)

Coaches — We thought you’d get a kick out of this one. This video shows a motivational stunt pulled by first-year Christopher-Zeigler-Royalton (Ill.) head coach Anthony Hargrove, the former New Orleans Saints defensive lineman. Looking for a way to motivate his team before a game, Hargrove literally ran through the locker room door, knocking it off its hinges.


Unfortunately, the stunt didn’t work for Hargrove, as his team went on to lose 41-6.

Have you done anything crazy to inspire your team? Promised to shave your head or cancel practice? We want to hear about it.

3. ‘Father Figure’ High School Football Coach Awarded $25K by Ellen DeGeneres (People)

Here’s a nice story about a high school football team of at-risk players that wrote to Ellen DeGeneres to share how important their coach is to them, and she awarded the team a $25,000 donation.

“Howard Brown coaches football at McCluer South-Berkeley High School in Ferguson, Missouri, and has devoted much of his 15 years there helping his young players transition to responsible men. This dedication has led Brown to use his own money to purchase things like food, uniforms and other gear for the team, according to KSDK.”

If you have six minutes, we encourage you to watch the video. It’s a great reminder of what we got into coaching.


What’s the nicest thing your players have ever done for you?

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!