FNF Coaches Talk for Monday, Nov. 12

Good afternoon, Coaches. It’s starting to feel like playoff season, and we’re hoping your team is still rolling along. Here are some of the stories we’re talking about today.

1. Houston football turnaround led by Navy commitment who credits hockey for his success (Memphis Commercial Appeal)

We often hear high school and college coaches stress the importance of developing multi-sport athletes. Maybe 10 or 15 years ago, specialization was all the rage, with blue-chip prospects like Todd Marinovich playing and training for football year-round. Quarterbacks had personal coaches, and spent 12 months a year working on throwing technique and footwork while other athletes played basketball and baseball, or ran track.

Lately, more football coaches have been encouraging their players to compete in other sports, move and train in other ways, and compete for wins, regardless of the sport.

Here’s a good example of an athlete who has excelled through that philosophy. Houston High (Tenn.) offensive guard Kip Franklin has been dominating on the football field this fall, and he credits his success to his experience as a youth hockey player.

Frankland stopped playing hockey in eighth grade to focus on football. He said his hockey background helped him become a better football player. Like football, hockey is a physical sport so he was able to get used to hitting early. But unlike football, hockey is a continuous sport — there aren’t many breaks in between plays, which can help with conditioning.

Franklin is committed to Navy, where he will lead-block in the triple-option offense next year.

“That offense is perfect for him. He’s going to be cut-blocking a little bit, but a lot of straightforward just smashmouth football and he’s going to be awesome,” said Thomas.

In what ways — if any — do you encourage your players to become multi-sport athletes?

2. Three Bay Area high school football teams will put a new sensing technology to the test to better understand concussions (Stanford Engineering)

Students in the Stanford engineering department are working on a mouthguard technology that will measure the motion of the head after impacts in an effort to help players avoid dangerous situations in practices and games. About 100 football players from Menlo School and Sacred Heart Preparatory, which are in Atherton, and Archbishop Mitty High School, in San Jose, are participating in the first year of the study.

“This will be the first study in kids where we’ll be measuring rotation and full motion of the head during impacts,” said Camarillo, assistant professor of bioengineering and the co-principal investigator for the study. “It’s important to expand our research to the high school level and younger because that’s where there are the most athletes.”

The testing takes place during and after practices. It’s worth asking whether some coaches might bristle at a potential interruption to their team’s schedules.

During practices and games, players will wear special mouthguards equipped with sensors that measure motion in three directions — up/down, left/right and front/back — as well as three types of rotational acceleration: roll, pitch and yaw. Practices and games will be filmed so that researchers can confirm collisions and assess players’ speeds prior to impact. Eye tracking data will be collected as part of an effort to understand whether erratic eye motions after a head impact indicate a concussion.

What stipulations would you place on a group that wanted to use your players as guinea pigs for concussion research?

3. Five Alabama High School Football Players Injured In Locker Room Wall Collapse (ABC 33/40 News)

We occasionally do stories on facilities — stuff like, “5 Options for Improving Your Locker Room on a Limited Budget”. This is kind of a worst-case scenario for schools that aren’t able to make those improvements.

Friday night’s Alabama high school football Class 3A playoff game between Oakman and Pike County was postponed until Monday after a freak accident in Oakman’s locker room. According to media reports, a brick wall collapsed onto the players sitting on a bench before the game began.

How do you ensure that your facilities are not a safety risk for players and staff?

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!