FNF Coaches Talk for September 25

It’s Tuesday, one notch closer to game night. Are you on track to hitting your goals this week?

Let’s dig in. Here’s what we’re talking about today at FNF Coaches HQ.

1. Report: Ex-N.C. coach offered playbook, signals to foes (USA Today)

We know this one looks ugly. But stick with it, there are some real good guys in this story.

“Aaron Tuttle is the now former assistant coach in question, an ex-Smoky Mountain assistant who wasn’t retained on the Smoky Mountain staff for the 2018 season, then responded by allegedly offering up inside intel — including the team’s playbook — to coaches at Tuscola, which faced off against Smoky Mountain Friday.”

Now, of course, the other team’s coach refused the offer. It’s the right thing to do. But let’s be real, they’ve got a squad of their own, they’ve got their own goals. No, we wouldn’t hate them if they didn’t send the rat back across the Berlin Wall without at least hearing them out first. It wouldn’t be right, it would be ugly, but let’s not kid ourselves about the pressure.

But Tuscola’s coach Austin Chambers wasn’t just looking out for the win, and he wasn’t just making some principled point about sportsmanship. He knew the real consequences of his decision.

“His youngest son was listening to this, and saying, ‘Yeah, we have all those signals and stuff,” Chambers told WLOS. “To me, that’s like teaching your kid that it’s OK to cheat.”

There it is. They’re watching us, and Chambers knew it. We own the performance, we own the victories, but we also own what our squads will become. That’s a hard concept to remember when you’re offered an easy victory on a silver platter.

Info Sec: How would you react if you were offered another team’s playbook? How do you set an example for your squad both on and off the field?

2. Jerry Jones: Pro football needs to be different from college, high school (ESPN)

Don’t worry, we aren’t opening the roughing can-of-worms here today. But that’s the context that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was speaking on when he said this:

“It’s real important that pro football distinguish itself as a very physical game relative to the game at college, relative to the game at high school and amateur,” Jones said Tuesday. “That’s very important. Now, where to find that balance, that’s one thing. But when we get to a point in the future in time, you’ll see pro football where they’ve put the 6-ounce gloves on and where the men are playing.”

What has us talking is this broader notion that the at each level – high school, college, and professional – the games need to somehow differentiate themselves, with the professional level obviously raising the highest stakes. Jones has singled out the new roughing rule to back his belief that physical force is the specific stake for the pro level to raise.

But is there a different perspective on the premise itself? Do the games need to differentiate themselves? Sure, from a viewer’s perspective, i.e. a broadcaster’s perspective, each level of play needs to have its own drama and storylines. But from a coach’s perspective, what do we gain from the game being altered at every stage?

Are we able to adequately hone young athletes if what they’ll ultimately face is completely different? And in the case of something like roughing, do our lessons about fair play and protecting against injuries just fly out the window if you throw enough money at the player?

The Journey: Do you think that each level of the sport should play with different rules? And who are we kidding, tell us what you think about the roughing rule.

3. Fruitport High’s “Trojan Strong” Game Helps Those Impacted By Cancer (HSFA)

We never get tired of these stories.

“Through the Great American Giveback social media competition, Fruitport won fifty “cause game” jerseys from Addix for its game against Union High School. Each jersey had the name of a loved, who has been affected by cancer, on the back. The Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids logo was also placed on each jersey.

All of the proceeds from Fruitport’s jersey sales are going back to Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids, and the t-shirts/spirit wear sales are going to families in the community who have loved ones dealing with cancer.”

Click through to see how it affected the squad, it’s pretty amazing. Coach Nate Smith deserves major credit for pulling this off with Addix.

The reason we love highlighting these stories, though, is not just to highlight a good deed, or get on our high horse about setting an example. We love these stories because they can help us see how very real these people are. Nate Smith is a real coach, with a real squad, and he’s getting real results.

Helping your squad give back to the community is more than a nice idea, a bit of good news to share on Facebook. It’s a real goal you can have, just like Coach Smith, and real results you can achieve.

Squad Leader: How do you help your team give back to the community? How are you turning your ideals into results?

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!