FNF Coaches Talk for Friday, Jan. 4

Happy Friday, Coaches! Here are some of the stories we’re discussing in our newsroom.

1. The wheel route is college football’s rudest play. Here’s how it works. (SB Nation)

The wheel route is known to create problems for defenses at every level of football. What coach wants to put a linebacker in a situation in which he has to cover a running back on a horizontal plane and then a vertical one?

Here’s an example of former Penn State tailback Saquan Barkley getting wide open on a wheel route.

Here are the running back’s coaching points on a wheel route, from Steve Spurrier’s 2000 playbook:

Run flat route. Show eyes back to QB, then wheel up sideline no closer than four yards.

Coaches — How do you set up a wheel route through your play-calling?

2. Xenith Shadow Aims to Up Football Safety (Engineering.com)

We’re all looking for the safest helmets for our players, and Xenith is claiming the crown of “safest helmet” with its new Shadow. The helmet features a matrix of shock absorbers and internal suspension system that helps prevent the outer-shell transmitting to a player’s head.

Of course, we’ll have to see how the helmet rating systems grade the helmet, but it certainly sounds like a winner in this article.

The new helmet works to balance weight distribution, providing players a light headgear that fits well and lets them focus on the game. Its design enables the outer shell to twist independently of a player’s head, potentially filling a safety gap previously missing in the sport.

What helmet have you found to be the safest for your players?

3. The Tsunami Bar, used by Clemson, powers high school football’s top dogs (Independent Mail)

Gordon Brown developed a flexible barbell that high school football players across the South, including those at Anderson’s T.L. Hanna High School (S.C.), have used on the way to deep playoff runs and even state championship victories.

Brown’s “Tsunami Bar” from a distance looks like any other barbell, but it’s made of a flexible fiberglass composite, not steel. The bar bends when weights are added to each end, and through the power of physics, the resistance on an athlete’s muscles increases the faster the bar is moved.

The Tsunami Bar certainly has its advocates. In Anderson, T.L. Hanna’s football team started training with the Tsunami Bar in 2015 and now has 48 of them, said Daniel Rochester, the school’s strength and conditioning coach.

“It’s changed the way we train dramatically,” Rochester said in an August interview. “Instead of everybody just looking for brute strength all the time, now we can apply speed to our program.”

What new product have you incorporated into your program’s strength training?

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!