Happy Friday, Coaches! For those of you who have a game tonight, good luck. Here are some of the stories we’re talking about in our newsroom today.
1. Football Playbook: Chip Kelly vs. Jim Mora (Daily Bruin)
If you like talking play design and scheme, this is a story for you. The UCLA football playbook underwent an overhaul this past offseason when coach Chip Kelly was hired to replace Jim Mora. This article shows how play designs have changed with the transition.
The author first shares one of Kelly’s favorite concepts in the passing game.
This is a staple Kelly passing concept commonly known as “mesh.” Two receivers – junior Theo Howard and redshirt sophomore Demetric Felton – line up tight to the offensive line and run shallow crossing routes. Howard and Felton intentionally almost run into each other to create a natural separation from their defenders. The receiver in motion, redshirt sophomore Dymond Lee, runs a fade to clear out space in the right flat for one of the crossing receivers.
Of course, we know that one of Kelly’s favorite plays in his base offense is the inside zone run.
Kelly calls what looks like an inside zone run here – each offensive lineman either blocks the defensive lineman directly across from him or double-teams the nearest defender if no lineman lines up directly in front of him.
Check it out if you’re hoping to add new plays to your playbook this offseason.
What is your process for updating your playbook each offseason?
2. How a 1968 high school title explains Nick Saban’s legendary career (ESPN)
We all love a good Nick Saban story, and this one focuses on his high school playing career at Monongah High in West Virginia. Saban is remembered as the third-best quarterback on the team in terms of talent, but he earned the starting job because of his brain. He was the rare high school quarterback who called his own plays.
Tom Ramsey can still recall Saban noticing how an opposing defense was cheating to stop the inside run. So Saban ran it up the middle once. “Pow!” Ramsey said, mimicking a stop for no gain. Then they ran it up the gut again. “Pow!” Ramsey said, again mimicking no gain. Then Saban initiated yet another inside handoff. “Pow!” Ramsey said, only grinning this time because the defense had tackled the wrong ball carrier. By the time they realized it was an end-around, Hulderman was trotting into the end zone.
Many of Saban’s former teammates reflect on his contributions to the team as a leader. The Alabama coach still has a great appreciation for the work that went into that high school championship season.
“I always say that the first championship that we won in 1968 means as much as any national championship or any other championship that we ever won,” Saban said. “And that’s because of the players on the team and the guys that are there today that that all was possible.”
It’s a good story if you want to learn more about the experiences that shaped college football’s top coach.
What experiences during your playing days shaped the way you coach?
3. Roswell High football players include special needs students on team (Fox 5 Atlanta)
Here’s a nice story to wrap up the week. The Roswell High (Ga.) football team is integrating the school’s special education students into its weekly athletic traditions as a way to bring all students together, no matter their background. This year, the team started a weekly tradition of having a special education student run out onto the field before the game.
Assistant coach Scott Hamilton, who is also the special education teacher for the Community-Based Instruction, started the tradition.
During the week, the football team visits the CBI students in their classroom to eat lunch, and then on Fridays, the CBI students join the football team for pre-game festivities and running out onto the field.
Hamilton notes that the partnership benefits his players as much as it does the special education students.
Coach Hamilton is hoping to teach his team empathy while giving the CBI students the chance to feel like all the other students at Roswell High School.
Kudos to Coach Hamilton and the Roswell football team.
What are some of the things you do with your players to build character?
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!