FNF Coaches Talk for Thursday, Jan. 17

FNF Coaches Talk

Good afternoon, Coaches. Here are three great stories for you.

1. Film Review: Unbalanced Buckeye Defense Needs Fixed for 2019 (The O Zone)

Last we saw Ohio State, the Buckeyes were closing out Urban Meyer’s coaching career with a Rose Bowl victory. One thing we didn’t realize was the way in which OSU’s defense struggled to prevent the big play this season. Only four teams in the nation gave up more runs of at least 40 yards than OSU did (12).

This article does a nice job of pointing out the mistakes Ohio State players made that allowed opponents to spring some of those big runs. For instance, in this clip, you can see the OSU linebackers filling the wrong gaps.


Against Maryland, the Buckeyes had problems with linebackers and members of the secondary over-rotating.

Coaches — How do you stress the importance of preventing big plays?

2. The motivational secrets behind Notre Dame’s star defensive coordinator (Yahoo! Sports)

Notre Dame assistant coach Clark Lea was a master motivator this season — if you take the Fighting Irish players’ word for it. His pregame lectures became legendary this season.

When he’s up there,” Irish redshirt senior Drue Tranquill says of the defensive meetings, “you would think you’re in a lecture hall.”

Lea starts every lecture with a slide that reads, “National Championship.” He thinks it’s important to reinforce the ultimate goal daily. He is also renown for calling players late at night to offer positive and negative feedback.

Julian Love, who projects as a first-round NFL pick, got a call from Lea at 10:30 p.m. one night during camp. It started with bouquets of compliments about Love’s talent and how glad he was to have him as a mainstay on the defense. Love listened, and waited for the flip side. “That’s Coach Lea,” Love said. “He’ll gas you up and tell you the good things he loves about you, so then he can come in with the stuff you need to improve.”
The conversation continued with a plea for Love to work before practice on technique, stressing nuances he needed to improve like his feet getting too wide and trying to punch while moving laterally. “That just shows,” Love said, “how much he cares.”

What are some of the more creative motivational tools you’ve used with your players?

3. Even if you are skeptical of Adam Gase, Sam Darnold should do really well in his offense (Gang Green Nation)

It’s been well-documented that Adam Gase had some … ummm … eye issues during his opening press conference.

The author of this article had his doubts about Gase after that press conference, but he has some hope in the new coach after breaking down his offense with plenty of photos to emphasize his points.

He believes the Sam Darnold will thrive with the freedom Gase gives his quarterback in his offense, whereas Ryan Tannehill struggled with the same freedom.

Another analogy I’d use is that Gase is like a high school English teacher who doesn’t give his students any firm assignments and gives them the freedom to read the books of their choice. I think Darnold is going to turn out really good no matter who coaches him or what freedom his has. But he is the honors student. This freedom might turn his B into a B+ or A into an A+.

How do you decide how much freedom to give your quarterback to change plays at the line of scrimmage?

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!