FNF Coaches Talk for Oct. 25

On this Thursday, we’ll take you for a walk-through (get it?) of the best stories in the world of high school football.

1. Situation: 5 Yard Line Going In… 1 Play to Win (X & O Labs)

We love breaking down the X’s and O’s of football, and HUDL’s partner, X & O Labs, is among the best in the business at doing this. Here’s a situation that all coaches face at some point throughout the season: You’re driving inside the 10, and you have one play — either on fourth down or the last play of the game — to score.

West Ottawa High (Mich.) coach Sam Nichols polled 10 coaches at this year’s AFCA show to find out what they’d call in this situation.

Few things define a play caller’s success more then how they call plays in crunch time. The best coaches know exactly what they want to do when they are in critical moments.

Most of the 10 coaches stress the importance of simplifying the play call and removing the risk of a turnover. Here’s an example from Hendrix College offensive coordinator Jordan Neal.

Concept: We like fly sweep goal line flick when it comes to crunch time. It is a hitting play that is simple to execute and only relies on a few key blocks to execute. Since it is an unusual formation, defenses tend to struggle lining up against it as well. This is a high percentage of success for us and keeps the ball safe from the potential of a turnover.

We like the idea of using an unusual formation to create confusion on the defensive side of the ball.

What’s your go-to play call when your offense is on an opponent’s 5-yard-line?

2. Recovering CBA football player saw his own funeral the night he almost died (Syracuse.com)

This is a scary story and certainly a situation no football coach wants to face. Christian Brothers Academy (N.Y.) running back Melvin Beard collapsed on the football field on Sept. 14 during a game after going into cardiac arrest.

What was going on was the manifestation of an undetected birth defect called a left coronary artery anomaly. It had struck right in the middle a game against Elmira as Beard was walking off the field following a CBA touchdown. Beard was suffering a cardiac arrest, and was just a few minutes away from death. His heart stopped for about 90 seconds as he lapsed into unconsciousness.

Almost immediately after Beard collapsed, five trained medics went into action and ended up saving his life.

Seconds after Beard hit the ground, he was getting medical help. Joe Reagan, a retired anesthesiologist, is a defensive line coach for CBA and Mike Picciano, a family practitioner, assists with video and replay. They rushed onto the field along with team trainer Randy Kinn. They were soon joined by Ben Connor, a physician’s assistant, Upstate spinal surgeon Rich Tallarico, and EMT Amber Irby, who were all in the stands.

Certainly, luck was a factor in saving Beard’s life, as not every team is lucky enough to have so many trained medics in the stands. But preparation also factored in Beard’s treatment. The medics used an automated external defibrillator, which was stored nearby, to restart Beard’s heart.

What is your action plan if a player collapses on the field during a game?

3. Texas orders big high schools to report football-related concussions (Associated Press)

Texas’ University Interscholastic League has ordered the two largest districts in the 6A division to begin reporting concussion data to the governing body for high school sports. Coaches must now answer more than a dozen questions — including when the concussion occurred and how it happened — in an effort to provide more information that might prove useful in decreasing the number of concussions suffered each year.

Staff at those schools must answer more than a dozen questions on each player — such as when the concussion occurred, whether it came from contact with the ground or another player, and so on — that are relayed to researchers with the O’Donnell Brain Institute at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

The findings could lead to conclusions about whether field turf is safer than grass as a playing surface, whether playing at night puts players more at risk than day games, or whether the length of time between games factors in concussions.

A primary goal is to determine the frequency of concussions, Cullum said. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that upward of 3.8 million athletic- and recreation-related concussions occur each year in the U.S., but Cullum noted that CDC figures are based on emergency room visits and many cases go unreported.

We suppose gathering and analyzing more information surrounding concussions will only make the game safer.

What is your protocol for documenting and reporting concussions?

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!