FNF Coaches Talk

FNF Coaches Talk for Oct. 22

We hope you’re motivated heading into another game week. Here are some stories from the world of high school football.

1. MASE suspends nearly half its football roster over academics (Memphis Commerical Appeal)

We often ask coaches how they prioritize academics in-season, and this story shows one of the strongest actions we’ve seen a coach take to make academics the top priority. Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering coach Julius Jackson has imposed his own academic standards on his team and suspended 11 players entering the team’s biggest game of the year against a rival.

Report cards come out next week, and Jackson, who doubles as the school’s athletics director, was blown away by the poor grades that he saw when he checked in Monday. His rule is that any player with an “F” has to sit out for two weeks. He said the soonest a suspended player can play again is next Friday’s season finale against B.T. Washington.

Jackson said he made his players aware of the “F” rule at the start of the season, so no player should be surprised by his enforcement. He could have waited another week for the school to determine which players were academically ineligible, but he wants his word to mean as much to the players as wins and losses.

Said Jackson:

I’m not perfect, but the discipline that we do is important. It’s stuff that these kids need to hear. I wish I didn’t care so much because … it would make my life so much easier. Like, ‘Oh, if you make F’s, you can continue to play.’ Some coaches are like that. But the world doesn’t work like that.

Hopefully Jackson’s players can turn it around in the classroom and maximize their potential as student-athletes.

What actions do you take to show players that you prioritize their performance in the classroom?

2. ‘We need this’: High school football game stirs hope after Hurricane Michael (Pensacola News Journal)

We’ve all seen the way football can pull a community together, and this story is an example of that. Hurricane Michael left Panama City, Fla. devastated — flattening homes and leaving thousands without power. Lynn Haven Mosley High and Pensacola High played a game originally scheduled for Friday night on Saturday, and all fans received free food and free admission.

Fans were treated to hot dogs, hamburgers, snow cones, water, sports drinks and sodas, provided by BSN Sports and state Sen. George Gainer, whose district encompasses Bay County. After the game, players and families from the Niceville and Choctaw football programs provided meals for the players and coaches from Mosley and Pensacola High.

Coaches were left to game plan for this game without knowing which of their players would even be able to attend. As of game time on Saturday, not all players had returned to their homes.

Mosley head coach Jeremy Brown, who has been repairing damages to his own house as well as his neighbors’ houses after Michael hit, had limited practices this week with his team. They met for the first time post-Michael on Thursday and 30 of the team’s 56 players were there. Friday’s practice had 45 as more players returned home.

In what ways has football brought your community closer together in the wake of a tragedy?

3. USA Football National Conference: Why I Attend — Part 1 (USA Football Blogs)

We attend the USA Football Conference every year, and it’s always one of our favorite weekends in terms of professional development and inspiration. This year’s conference will — per usual — include a list of high-profile, legendary speakers from the pro, college and high school ranks. Coaches will have opportunities to go over X’s and O’s on the whiteboard and other experts will lead instructional sessions on the live field.

In this blog, Ron White, commissioner of the Golden Empire Youth Football League, shares his reasons for attending the annual conference.

Through these experiences, Commissioner White has developed a list of his top five reasons to attend National Conference:
  • Tremendously beneficial content provided during sessions
  • Networking opportunities with leagues that face the same problems
  • The diversity of speakers and topics that they speak about
  • Unlimited chances to build relationships with peers from across the country
  • The size and duration of the overall event

The sixth annual USA Football National Conference returns to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., from Feb. 22-24.

Commissioner White’s Pro-Tips for Attendees:
  • Prepare to take notes at every session you attend
  • It will be difficult to decide which workshops to go to because there are so many
  • Get ready for countless opportunities to build relationships with other peers

Want to experience USA Football’s 2019 National Conference for yourself? Register now at nationalconference.usafootball.com

What are your top reasons for attending the USA Football National Conference?

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!