FNF Coaches Talk for Nov. 1

Well, it’s the first day of November, and we’re all hopefully gearing up for a postseason run. Grab your candy from last night, and take a look at some of the stories we’re talking about in our newsroom.

1. Maryland’s Firing of Football Coach DJ Durkin Marks a Watershed Moment for Athlete Activism (Time)

The death of Maryland offensive lineman Jordan McNair and subsequent firing of coach DJ Durkin is perhaps the biggest story of the football season — as we all try to make sense of how it happened and what can be done to avoid this scenario again. This story was back in the news yesterday because the University of Maryland’s board of regents concluded that head coach DJ Durkin could return to the sidelines.

Some players publicly opposed Durkin’s return to the team. One player in particular, McNair’s former high school and college teammate, Ellis McKennie, posted his opposition to the board of regents’ decision on social media.

The University of Maryland reconsidered its decision this morning and dismissed Durkin from the position of head coach.

This column by Sean Gregory of Time argues that the university’s decision to act on player complaints marks a watershed moment in sports.

Such a public callout of a college football coach, by his own players, is practically unprecedented. So often, college athletes are taught to conform to the rules. Get paid, lose your spot. Don’t talk to the press without permission. Respect your coach, or suffer the consequences. Stunt your expression.
These tweets revealed a rupture within the Maryland locker room. It was nearly impossible to picture Durkin coaching players who felt his presence dishonored their deceased friend. Durkin could no longer work in College Park.

Coaches — In what situation would you encourage players to speak out publicly in opposition to an administrative decision?

2. 10 steps to a great training protocol (Team Conditioning Systems)

The season is drawing to a close for some of us, so it’s time to start thinking about installing an offseason training program. We’ve featured some of Graig White’s strength and conditioning programs in the past, and he recently published a blog about some of the things you need to consider when building a program. White, who is a former strength coach for the Atlanta Falcons, had a couple of noteworthy tips for coaches when it comes to programming to avoid offseason injuries.

Progressive Overload:
A crucial component in maximizing performance and keeping injuries to a minimum is the application of the load. Overload happens when the body responds to loads greater than normal. Volume and intensity are key factors used to progressively increase the volume. Increasing the weight and keeping reps low develops strength and power; whereas increasing the reps and keeping the weight low causes improvement in muscular size and endurance.

We hear it from almost every trainer at this time of year, but it can’t be stressed enough. Build slowly toward strength gains; it’s not going to happen overnight.

Here’s a tip that might be music to the ears of football players.

Train The Correct Energy System:
For effective conditioning, training must occur at the same intensity and duration that is used during competition in order to develop the proper system predominately used, this means no long distance running for athletes in power sports like football, basketball, baseball, tennis golf, tennis, ice hockey, etc.

No distance running for football players? What player is going to argue with that?

How would you describe your philosophy when it comes to designing an offseason strength and conditioning program?

3. Odem Owls football team draws inspiration from 5-year old fighting Stage 4 cancer (Corpus Christi Caller Times)

This is a feel-good story that just goes to show how much high school football can inspire the local community. Odem High (Texas) coach Armando Huerta and his players recently developed a strong relationship with a local 5-year-old who had been diagnosed with cancer. Huerta promised the boy’s grandmother his team would score a touchdown for Logan Newkirk-Martinez on the opening drive.

“I was never as nervous as I was this past Friday night because of that,” Huerta said. “I told them you all know we are fighting for Logan and everything we are doing is to make that little boy proud.”

Huerta’s team honored its promise and scored the opening touchdown. Just a couple of weeks after being diagnosed with cancer, 5-year-old Newkirk-Martinez had the night of his life.

During the game, Newkirk said Logan had become a local star.
“He was on cloud nine,” Newkirk said. “Everybody was so nice, and we couldn’t even walk to the bathroom, there were people who said, ‘Can I have a picture with Logan?’ It was pretty overwhelming.”

It’s a great story about a community rallying around a sick child through the sport of football.

In what ways do you use your role as a football coach to lift up members of the community?

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!