FNF Coaches Talk — Iowa Players Worried About Recruiting Opportunities, Kevin Stefanski’s Team Building, California HS Football Is Back

FNF Coaches Talk

Welcome back, Coach. We’ve got three good stories for you.

1. “It’s More Than Sports” Des Moines Athletes Worry No Season Will Cost them Chance at College (WHO 13 News)

Football is a ticket to college for a small percentage of high school athletes, and while that percentage of student-athletes might be marginal, it’s a life-changing opportunity for those that can pull it off.

After the Des Moines Public Schools (Iowa) announced it would suspend sports and activities, seniors began to worry about if they would ever get to play this fall.

Students who opted for virtual learning in surrounding districts are still able to participate in sports, because their districts are adhering to state law.

In the interim, the Des Moines students will continue learning 100 percent online, in defiance of state law. In a Wednesday news conference, Gov. Kim Reynolds said this decision was “disappointing.”

As long as the district is not in compliance with the state, athletics and activities must remain suspended.

“They are fighting over something, but we’re the people that have to suffer over their decisions,” student athlete Asante Scott said.

Read the entire story.

Should students who opt for remote learning be able to play sports?

2. Cleveland Browns coach Kevin Stefanski borrows team-building idea from VCU basketball (Akron Beacon Journal)

Here’s a cool team-building exercise coaches can borrow.

The basketball coaching staff at Virginia Commonwealth University wanted to pick Cleveland Browns coach Kevin Stefanski’s brain about how the NFL was handling a virtual offseason during the coronavirus pandemic and how the new coach planned to change a losing culture remotely.

The suggestion Stefanski received might turn out to be more valuable than what he gave.

VCU coach Mike Rhoades told Stefanski about the “4 H’s” — history, heartbreak, heroes and hopes — an exercise Rhoades has been using for three seasons. Rhoades picked up the idea of sharing personal stories, whether tales of hardship or revelations of those who have impacted their lives, at a coaches’ convention at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

The discussion with Stefanski was set up by Jimmy Martelli, VCU’s director of basketball operations. Martelli, 37, has known Stefanski since 1996, when two kids whose fathers had careers in basketball bonded as freshman basketball teammates at St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in Philadelphia.

“He’s always been a, I don’t know if connector is the right word,” Martelli said of Stefanski during a Sept. 11 phone interview. “He’s one of the guys in the hallways of high school, he can walk into anybody, you pick any walk of life they were in, and he was friends with them, could connect with them. He’s just a genuine person.”

Read the entire story.

What is one team-building exercise you’ve done with your team during the pandemic?

3. California coaches share how they are mapping out the training calendar with winter football (VC Star)

California coaches have finally gotten the green light to start conditioning workouts, and that’s led to some creative scheduling for coaches who are preparing for winter football.

It’s provoked catch-up modes and unique workout schedules for coaches as they press forward.

“This is all new for everyone,” said Pacifica coach Mike Moon. “I feel like whoever comes up with the best plan moving forward will have a big advantage this season. But don’t ask me what the best plan is. We’re still working on that.”

The good news? There’s still several months to work everything out. CIF-Southern Section schedules will allow official practices to begin Dec. 14. Week 1 games are set for Jan. 8.

One key benefit from in-person workouts will be an opportunity for coaches to finally bond with their players.

Jon Mack, even with all the success he’s produced in years past, is in his first season at Hueneme after being hired in February. He’s had scant opportunity to connect with his new players.

“We’ve had Zoom meetings over the past several months, and those have been very successful,” he said. “But that can’t replace the opportunity to get to know your players in person. We finally have that chance.”

Read the entire story.

How would you treat the fall season if your football season didn’t start until Jan. 8?

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