It’s Game Day, and the playoffs are right around the corner for many of us. We hope you enjoy these stories as you prepare for tonight’s game.

1. Football play-calling is a language all its own (Kitsap Sun)

This is a fun read about the communication between coaches and players on game day. One new trend that was revealed in this story is that Kitsap Peninsula (Wash.) coaches are making the transition to hand signals rather than length play calls.

Hand signals allow play calls to be relayed promptly from sideline to huddle. Since the play clock between in high school football is 25 seconds, teams with signal-based play-calling systems can get set at the line of scrimmage quickly, allowing for audibles if needed and limiting the potential for delay-of-game penalties.

It’s also always interesting to see how other coaches organize their play sheets.

During games, Weible carries a playsheet with roughly 100 offensive plays, listed 1-100. The plays are color-coded and grouped into categories. If the Vikings are facing a short-yardage situation or 3rd-and-long, Weible quickly knows where to look on his sheet.

What is your process for getting plays called and communicated?

2. Trying to tackle high school football’s head injury problem (VC Star)

We’re all learning more and more about concussions, and this is a pretty extensive look at the impact of concussions on the sport as well as preventative measures being taken on high school teams across the country.

One thing coaches can do to decrease the likelihood of a concussion is teach the proper tackling technique.

Royal High School Coach Matt Lewis tells players to keep their heads up and to drive forward into tackles with the shoulder and foot nearest to the offensive player. They learn the technique in live-contact practices that are limited by design and by a 2014 state law aimed at reducing injuries. Most of the teaching comes in drills involving padded tackling dummies.

Another preventative measure coaches can take is outfitting the team with Riddell InSite Training Tool technology. Riddell’s InSite Training Tool (ITT) is an easy-to-use system that utilizes Riddell smart helmets and wirelessly connected devices that monitor and alert sidelines to significant impacts and records nearly every head impact that occurs to build player-specific impact profiles.

Lewis took the initiative to purchase the sensors two years ago, figuring he could hurdle financial barriers by fundraising. Now the burden — about $150 per sensor plus maintenance costs — is shared by parents and the Simi Valley Unified School District.

What steps have you taken to try to prevent concussions in your program?

3. WATCH: The Art of the Long Snap (7:56) (HBCU Gameday)

This is a pretty good look at the position of long snapper. If you’re in need of one on your special teams unit, use this as a recruiting video for your players. North Carolina A&T long snapper John Davis talks about his experience with the position — from volunteering to do it as a youth player to earning a college scholarship.

He also shares the proper technique, so it can be used as a teaching tool for players.

How do you encourage players to become specialists on special teams?

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!

About the author

Dan Guttenplan