FNF Coaches Talk for Wednesday, Nov. 28

FNF Coaches Talk

Good afternoon, Coaches. Here are some of the stories we’re talking about today.

1. An inside look at the play call that sealed Aquinas’ first football state title (Kansas.com)

Yesterday, we showed you a funny video of St. Thomas Aquinas coach Randy Dreiling taking issue with his players after getting a Gatorade shower following the team’s state championship win in Kansas. Well, Aquinas had to put itself in position to win long before the Gatorade shower went horribly wrong, and this story breaks down how they did it.

Aquinas saw its 35-0 lead dwindle down to a 35-21 margin in the second half, when Dreiling decided to go for the jugular rather than continue to try to run the clock out. Here was his play call on third and 16.

The article goes in depth as to why the play fake worked, how Aquinas set up its blocking, and how they got the entire right side of the field cleared out for the pass.

Coaches — How do you decide when it’s time to go for the jugular in a game vs. running out the clock?

2. Weight room transformed Waverly’s senior class (Lincoln Star)

If you want an article that will help motivate your players to commit to your offseason strength program, this is the article for you. Waverly (Neb.) High coach Tim Williams reflects on his team’s road from bottom-feeder in 2014 to a state semifinalist in 2018, and he attributes much of the success to his team’s commitment to the weight room.

Williams did something in 2014 that every coach should be doing when it comes to setting up a feeder program to the varsity level.

In his first season as coach, “I went to the middle school and set up lunch with seven- and eighth-graders to talk about a lifting program,” said Williams, whose seventh-ranked Vikings (9-2) host No. 1 Omaha Skutt at 7 p.m. Friday in the semifinals of the Class B playoffs. “The eighth-grade group that are seniors now were eager and ready to go,” Williams said. “When I set something up for those kids in January, I didn’t know how many would be interested, and I think close to 60 or 70 kids from all sports showed up that first day.”

Waverly senior quarterback Rhett Jordon also credits the weight room for helping him accrue 1,413 yards and 17 TDs on the ground this season.

“Back in seventh and eighth grade, I didn’t even get on the field much. I wasn’t that good of an athlete back then,” Jordon said. “The lifting I did leading into my freshman year made me more athletic and I could outrun kids that previously I had not been able to keep up with.”

What more can you do to streamline the strength program between your middle school and high school?

3. N.J. High School Football Team Trains With Mechanical Dummy (Claims Journal)

Ocean City High (N.J.) purchased the Mobile Virtual Player Drive, which costs around $8,000. The motorized padded tackling dummy helps players learn safe tackling techniques. It weighs 195 pounds and can run 20 miles per hour.

The dummy helps reduce head injuries from unnecessary helmet-to-helmet collisions and allows players to tackle at game speed, according to Ocean City coach Kevin Smith.

“We got it because we thought it could reduce some of the wear and tear on our players throughout the course of the season,” he said. “You can’t do certain drills live because of the risk of injury against your teammates, so we kind of plugged in the dummy in those scenarios, and it allows us do those things that we normally couldn’t do.”

Smith believes the MVP Drive is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to improving player safety.

“I think the future of football is going to be one where a lot of concern is on the health and safety of the players,” Smith said. “I think football is safer than it’s ever been because of things like this and the guarding helmets and even the helmet technology, so it is trending in the right direction.”

What equipment are you using at practice to make up for the decreased full-contact reps?

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!