FNF Coaches Talk for Monday Jan. 14

FNF Coaches Talk

Good afternoon, Coaches. We hope you enjoyed your weekend. Here are some of the stories we’re talking about today.

1. Sean Payton dials up fake punt, doubles down in red zone with Saints trailing early (Yahoo! Sports)

New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton found his team in a 14-0 hole against Philadelphia yesterday, and he took it upon himself to impact the game with some aggressive play-calling.

When the Saints faced fourth down in the second quarter facing that two-touchdown deficit, Payton did not play things safe.

He sent out the punt team on fourth-and-1 at the Saints 30-yard line. But instead of hiking the ball to punter Thomas Morestead, long snapper Zach Wood snapped it to backup quarterback and do-everything utility player Taysom Hill, who was lined up near the line of scrimmage. Hill barreled ahead through a pile to gain a Saints first down.

The interesting part of that play was that Philadelphia left its defense on the field — rather than substituting its punt return team — and Payton stood by the call.

Here’s how that drive ends — with Payton doubling down on fourth and goal for a touchdown pass.

Coaches — When your team falls behind in a game unexpectedly, are you more likely to call a trick play or leave it up to your players to take control?

2. How Rams DT Aaron Donald became the NFL’s most unstoppable force (ESPN)

This is a great motivational article for coaches who want to stress the importance of offseason strength training. The NFL’s Defensive MVP, Aaron Donald, credits his ability to break the all-time sack record for defensive tackles to the strength training workouts he did in his father’s basement as a youth player.

It was built in the basement of that unmistakable two-story brick house with the red-and-white awning, in the homemade gymnasium that Aaron began to work out in before sunrise as a high school freshman. It was built, in many ways, by Archie, a former nose tackle and longtime workout junkie who introduced Aaron to strength training as a way to inject structure into his son’s life, igniting the obsession that precipitated greatness.

Here’s more motivation for linemen who may not agree that speed work is important for them. Donald has spent the last two offseasons training with a speed coach.

Dewayne Brown provides speed-and-agility training for athletes of all ages in the Pittsburgh area and has been working with Donald since he was in high school. Over the past two offseasons, while Donald held out in hopes of a lucrative contract extension, the two spent basically 14 of 24 months together.

How do you stress the importance of your strength and conditioning program?

3. Why Dabo Swinney’s Success Story Sounds a Whole Lot Like Facebook’s (Sports Illustrated)

I think we all agree that having the country’s best quarterback helps a program get to the top, but Dabo Swinney shares in this story how branding and marketing have become a big part of the Clemson program. There are some lessons to be learned for high school coaches.

For Clemson’s clearest embrace of tech thinking, head to Twitter. The school upped its creative content payroll this decade and quickly became the most followed account in the sport, recognizing that the staff needed to speak recruits’ language.

The social media push is common for football programs at every level. But Swinney’s branding strategy might be what separates the ACC school. He has dubbed Clemson “Receiver U” and had great luck in recruiting receivers and quarterbacks.

A former Alabama wideout and later a receivers coach for over 10 years, he could speak to pass-catchers. In 2010, he got DeAndre Hopkins to pick Clemson over Michigan. In 2011, he nabbed Sammy Watkins from Florida. In 2016, Swinney got his first title with six pro pass-catchers headed to the NFL on the roster. Ta-dah, a minimum viable product: Receiver U.

How could you better use social media to market your program?

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!