FNF Coaches Talk for Thursday, Dec. 13

Good afternoon, Coaches. Well, it’s midweek and the high school season has come to an end for nearly every team in the nation. So, there aren’t many football stories circulating today. However, we are just getting ready to publish our December/January issue, so I’ll share three stories that may interest you.

1. National Coach of the Year: 6 Tips to Energize a Program This Offseason (FNF Coaches)

We were pretty excited to land an interview with 2017 National Coach of the Year John Rollinson, who last weekend led Mater Dei (Calif.) to its second straight CIF State Open Division championship game.

The reigning National Coach of the Year has mastered the art of motivating everyone associated with his program over his 30 years as head coach. He offered five tips for energizing a program to FNF Coaches.

He was most emphatic about this one:

“What I emphasize to any coach is this: It is your responsibility as a head coach to motivate and re-energize everybody involved with your program. That includes the administration, coaches, parents and players. It’s a new year. You’re responsible for generating that excitement.”

Another one that surprised us is he advised against having exit interviews with players after the season. He feels it’s a waste of time.

“I personally don’t do closure meetings with every returning player. I used to do it, and I found it to be an exercise in futility in the sense that they have selective hearing. They already know the expectations of the program. I prefer to spread out meetings with players throughout the offseason as I see the motivational levels and attitudes. We’ll give every kid a fresh slate when we restart the race card. You’re better served to meet them at their motivational levels.”

Coaches — What are some of the things you do to try to bring energy to your offseason program?

2. 5 Trends from the 2018 High School Football Season (FNF Coaches)

Every coach wants to integrate new schemes and strategies, but it’s hard to stay on top of things going on in other areas of the country. We spoke with Mark Colyer, who runs Spreadoffense.com, to find out some of the trends that emerged around the country this season.

The Jet Motion Sweep is one we’ve seen at every level of football. In fact, we included the West Virginia’s use of it in a recent FNF Coaches Talk post.

Collyer explains the effectiveness of it.

“It becomes a chess match for the defense to account for that movement before the snap. A lot of times, it will move a linebacker. They don’t want to get outflanked on the edge with a jet sweep.”

Another trend we’re seeing more and more is coaches going for it on fourth down. Collyer explains why that’s effective.

“With analytics ingrained in the sport,we’ve seen more head coaches take on that personality. Through studying it, we know that if you do go for it on fourth down and less than 3, you have a 42 percent chance to convert. I’ll sign up for that. We make a conscious effort to practice fake punts so we’re ready when the situation calls for it.”

What are some trends that you noticed during the 2018 season?

3, 10 steps for bouncing back from a disappointing end to the season (FNF Coaches)

Hattiesburg (Miss.) coach Tony Vance has led his program to a steady climb since he took the job in 2013. His record, by year:

2013: 4-8
2014: 5-7
2015: 8-4
2016: 10-3
2017: 14-1
2018: 12-1

But he’s still never won a state title. He shared his 10 steps for bouncing back from a season-ending loss. This is an important one.

“The first thing we do is meet with players during their athletic period. I congratulate the guys and thank them for their service.”

Vance also made the point that the head coach is responsible for crafting the narrative for the next season.

“We’re losing 22 seniors so the expectation is we might not be very good. Not being good is not an option. We’re going to be good. That message has to be clear to coaches and players.”

What are you doing to change the energy surrounding your team during the offseason?

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!