FNF Coaches Talk — Lincoln Riley Exclusive, Refs on Strike, 7 Social Media Influencers in HS Football

Welcome back, Coaches. We’ve got some stories for today.

1. Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley: ‘No part of this is easy’ (FNF Coaches)

We’ve been doing our College Q&As for each edition of our print magazine for the last two years, and we landed our biggest one to date this month. We had an exclusive interview with Oklahoma University coach Lincoln Riley, who is arguably the third-best coach in college football at the moment — behind Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney.

Riley, the reigning Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year, joined us for about 20 minutes. Here are a couple of our favorite parts of the interview.

You’ve been the play-caller for the highest-scoring offense in college football since 2015. How did you develop that ability? Does it come easy to you?
“Oh man, it’s definitely not easy. There’s no part of this that’s easy. First, I’ll say I’ve been lucky to have been around and learn from a lot of great coaches and people. We’ve had a lot of good minds in the room and good people who are all on the same page. I can’t begin to explain how critical that is to success. It’s never one person, it certainly hasn’t been here. It takes good players, and I’ve had a lot of good players. We’ve always had a clear picture in mind of what we wanted to do offensively. We haven’t gotten too far outside of our beliefs. But we have had the creativity and flexibility to adapt to the talent we have each year when teams try to stop us. We always have a clear vision of who we are and what we want to do.”

We also loved his advice for coaches who are trying to find ways to play faster.

So many coaches want to play fast now. What advice would you give a coach who is trying to find ways to call plays more efficiently?
“The best thing we’ve always found is to reevaluate ourselves each year. Find things that slow you down and are unnecessary and eliminate them. It’s amazing how many times we’ll go back on a play call or protection call or adjustment and find a word that’s unused or a signal we can do without. Those little things add up when you’re trying to make things faster and more efficient. My advice is to keep trimming the fat.”

What college coach would you like to see us interview for our next edition? What question would you like to see him answer?

2. Broward high school football officials agree to work preseason games; Palm Beach referees still threatening work stoppage (The Sun-Sentinel)

This one actually falls in line with our most recent cover theme — the officiating crisis.

It’s gotten so bad in Florida that games might be postponed or cancelled.

Preseason games in Broward County will go on as scheduled, according to Broward County Athletic Association president Shawn Cerra and Broward Football Officials Association president Phil Serfass.
Referees in Broward were threatening to join protests by Palm Beach and Lee county officials over a pay dispute, the but the BFOA voted Monday to work the games.

In our conversations with officials, many cited the abuse they take from parents as the No. 1 reason they’re getting out of the profession. It’s worth wondering whether they’d be willing to work for the current compensation if they didn’t have to take the abuse.

Although the BFOA agreed to work this year’s preseason and regular-season games, he said that if fees were not raised, officials could consider sitting out next season.
“The games will go on for now, but if that issue isn’t addressed in a meaningful way, then we’re going to be back in this same situation next year,” Serfass said.

What can be done to make the work environment more enjoyable for officials?

3. 7 Social Media Influencers in HS Football (FNF Coaches)

Some high school football coaches simply have a knock for controlling the conversation on Twitter. These coaches use the medium for promoting their programs, talking X’s and O’s, sharing insider tips, and making recommendations for products that help their teams win. We put the spotlight on these social media influencers.

We picked these seven based on their number of followers and trends/discussions they’ve started on Twitter.

If you’re not following these seven individuals on Twitter, you should do so now!

In what ways can you do a better job of using social media to help your program this fall?

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!