FNF Coaches Talk for Tuesday, Jan. 29

Good afternoon, Coaches. Here’s a roundup of the top stories for high school football coaches.

1. Film Review: Breaking Down the Patriots’ Nine Third-Down Conversions Through the Air (CLNS Media Network)

If you’re looking for third-down plays to add to your playbook, this article gives you nine of them that worked in the AFC Championship. It’s a great way to break down video from the quarterback’s perspective. First, it offers the down and distance.


Then, the video:

And then a description of why the play worked.

The Patriots came out in 11-personnel (3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB) with Rob Gronkowski flexed out wide to Brady’s right in a three-by-one set. The New England offensive line and running back James White did a fantastic job of picking up a blitz and right tackle Marcus Cannon had a great rep against Chiefs pass rusher Justin Houston. But my biggest takeaway from a Chiefs perspective in this game is the usage of their deep safeties. Here, Daniel Sorensen is playing 20 yards off the line of scrimmage on third and seven. Plus, Kansas City is in a cover-3 zone leaving a linebacker on Edelman in the first eight yards.

We can’t stress it enough, Coaches. Sit down with your quarterbacks this offseason and go through these nine plays. Find out what each quarterback likes, what he doesn’t, and revamp the section of your playbook for third-and-long plays.

Coaches — What is your process for adding a new play to your playbook once you see something you like on film?

2. Multiplayer tackle drills lead to most severe head impacts (Healio)

Here’s an important story for coaches to consider when planning tackling drills for practice. Multiplayer tackle drills led to the highest frequency of head impacts, according to findings recently published in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics.

The article is pretty scientific, but here’s the key takeaway:

“Instead, interventions such as reducing the speed of players engaged in contact, correcting tackling technique, and then progressing to contact may reduce head impact exposure,” she added.

We know a lot of state associations have rules now restricting full contact in the opening days — or even week — of preseason workouts. If your state doesn’t, consider easing into the full-contact portion of your practice schedule, and give yourself time to teach the proper technique to players.

How do you structure your practices to teach tackling technique without putting the players in danger?

3. The 2018 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year is no longer coaching high school football (Philly Voice)

On Sunday evening, the NFL Foundation announced that St. Joe’s Prep head coach Gabe Infante, who helped lead his team to four of the last six state football titles, including the 2018 PIAA 6A title this past season, has been named the 2018 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year.

Infante has been the head football coach at St. Joseph’s Prep since 2010, compiling a record of 91-23 (.798 winning percentage). In nine seasons at the Prep, his teams have played for five state titles, while capturing four of the last six – including the 2018 and 2016 6A state title.

Infante is certainly a worthy recipient, particularly for the way he gives back to the game as a USA Football Master Trainer and his charitable endeavors with St. Joseph’s Prep.

In addition to coaching at the Prep, Infante is on the USA Football’s Advisory Committee and works with the organization’s Heads Up program.

The most interesting part of the story to us is that Infante is no longer coaching high school football, as he’s moved up to the college game this winter.

Back in December, PhillyVoice broke the news that Infante would be stepping down as head coach at St. Joe’s Prep to take the linebacker coach job at Temple University under recently hired Manny Diaz. When Diaz abruptly left to return to Miami and take over for Mark Richt as head coach, Infante was left in limbo for a bit until it was revealed earlier this month that he’d be staying at Temple, this time as the running backs coach, under newly-hired coach Rod Carey.

What factors do you think should be considered in naming the High School Coach of the Year?

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!