FNF Coaches Talk for Thursday, Feb. 14

Happy Valentine’s Day, Coaches! We’ll give you three stories to ponder in between shopping trips for flowers and chocolates.

1. DB Drills: Coverage and tackling drills for Corners and Safeties (@CoachDanCasey)

We know playing defensive back is a difficult job, and technique is so important. The job requires a lot more than speed and tackling ability. Here’s a perfect drill for teaching defensive backs to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage.

We also recognize that a strong defensive backfield is one that can be relied upon to make open field tackles. There’s less time to practice that these days with the restrictions on contact, but here’s a great drill for the limiting full-contact periods you have.

Coaches — What are some of your favorite drills for defensive backs?

2. A zanier Belichick? John Fassel’s bold approach to special teams (NFL.com)

We all remember the Rams calling a fake punt in the NFC Championship against New Orleans. Down 13-0, the fourth down conversion ended up being the play that shifted momentum in the game for the Rams. The man who called the fake? Rams special teams coach John Fassel.

Fassel, affectionately nicknamed “Bones” for his lanky stature, notes that special teams are unique because there is no set playbook for plays or fakes. Every game is different — plays are specifically designed for that week’s opponent. Some special teams coaches keep a database for fakes attempted around the league, but Fassel appears to discount that approach, noting that plays have to be tailored to his players’ strengths and weaknesses, so cribbing off others wouldn’t work. And like a firework, most fakes can only be used once.

Of course, the key to any coach who wants to be aggressive is having the players who can execute. Fassel recognizes that he has a weapon in his punter.

It doesn’t hurt Fassel, of course, to have a pupil in Hekker with so many obvious gifts. Belichick has called Hekker a “weapon” repeatedly because of his track record as a superior punter who can also spin the ball like a backup quarterback.

What is your process for installing fake punts and kicks on special teams?

3. Editorial: Don’t wait to commit to excellence (Sandusky Register)

This is a great editorial written by a Hall of Fame high school football coach. Tony Legando is a lifelong educator, an OHSFCA Hall-of-Fame football coach and motivational speaker who has inspired leaders for many years.

The editorial offers life advice, but this part in particular caught our eye. Legando shares that Alabama football coach Nick Saban presents this story in his book How Good Do You Want to Be?

Many centuries ago, Roman soldiers attempted to invade the island of England by attacking the cliffs of Dover. Just across the English channel from France, the cliffs served as a close entry point for invading soldiers. But they weren’t easy to climb and overtake, especially when they were being defended. For years the Romans tried to take the cliffs, failing and retreating each time. They’d get into their rowboats, which they launched from their ships, row to shore, try to scale the cliffs, only to return in defeat. Finally, a Roman captain made a bold decision. On the next attempt, he ordered the rowboats to be burned on shore. There’d be no means of retreat. The soldiers would either succeed in taking the cliffs, or they’d perish. With no option of failure, they finally succeeded and took the cliffs.

What a great story to share with your players!

How do you inspire your players to give you everything they have?

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!