FNF Coaches Talk — Help Players Play Fast, Steve Spurrier’s Curtain Call, Mark Richt’s Football-Family Balance

FNF Coaches Talk

Happy Friday, Coaches. Here’s today’s set of stories.

1. Fast Flag Football Is Good Flag Football (FirstDown Playbook)

One of the hardest things to do as a football coach at any level is to teach your players to play fast. We all understand the value of team speed and how it can help your football team. We normally think of speed as a physical trait that our team either has or doesn’t.

Coaches constantly are trying to get the most out of their team speed. We urge our players to “hustle” “play hard” and “go full speed”. Effort is very important and we will always be coaching that as long as we wear a whistle but there might be other reasons why your team is not be playing as fast as they can.

NOT KNOWING ASSIGNMENTS: It is hard to do anything fast when you don’t know what you are doing. There are some players who will play fast even though they don’t know their assignment but not many. Most players will tip toe through the play hoping that they are right or hoping that they are not exposed for not knowing.

On defense, coaches must also be careful not to force players to make too many checks when the offense is moving fast.

On defense I know you must have an adjustment to every formation the offense can line up in but if you are smart you will prepare for what they do the most and have one check for anything different from that. Your players will end up making you right more often than not if they are playing fast.

How do you balance outscheming the opponent with trying not to outsmart your own players?

2. Steve Spurrier was ahead of his time. Now 73 and in the minors, he hopes to go out a winner. (Washington Post)

If you’re a fan of winning, which we know all of you are, Steve Spurrier is a great role model.

Before Nick Saban was intimidating opponents just by walking onto the field, Steve Spurrier was. Before Sean McVay was the trendy coach with the photographic memory, Steve Spurrier was.

So while these days we’re used to up-and-coming coaches with bold styles and innovative offenses, Spurrier was borderline heretical when he brought his no-fear, no-apologies vibe to football. Now well into his 70s, Spurrier has a chance to remind everyone how unique he really was.

When asked after Apollos practice about McVay, the 33-year-old coach of the Los Angeles Rams, and his famous recall of plays, Spurrier scoffs: “Sean McVay? Hell, he’s only coached two years as a head coach! I’d hope he can remember all of them! Wait till he gets to 30.” Spurrier then asks to be challenged about some plays from the 1980s: “What game do you want to talk about?”

Spurrier, a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, still considers himself a quarterback whisperer. He harps on head position and eye position, keeping the widest possible field of view during the five-step drop, rather than focusing on the left or right third of the field. Then, when the last back foot hits the ground, the quarterback can make the best possible choice and fire it.

That, plus the play-calling, is empowering, Gilbert says. There have been several passes thrown by non-quarterbacks already this season and the promise of more to come.

What will you miss most when you walk away from the game?

3. ‘Trail of Tears’: Family and the football coaching life (Dawg Nation)

The sudden resignation of Greg Schiano from his position as New England Patriots defensive coordinator got our attention. Schiano explained that he was stepping away from a position he accepted only two months ago to focus on faith and family.

That got us thinking about the balance between football, faith and family, and how we coaches struggle to find the right balance.

This story was published four years ago back when Mark Richt was coaching at Georgia, but the theme still holds true. At every level of football, it’s almost impossible to find the right balance between coaching excellence and family harmony.

“You can go chase a dream, but then sometimes you look back and there’s a trail of tears behind you. And the tears are usually your wife and your kids,” Richt said. “I didn’t want that in my life, and I think there’s a lot of coaches that didn’t want that in their life as well.”

Richt, who is now the head coach at Miami, explains that the football-family balance is so difficult because every coach tries to outwork his next opponent.

“We out-scheme each other. When somebody finds an answer then somebody else has gotta find another answer,” Richt said. “If you just said: Hey everybody’s gotta play base defense and everybody can only play base offense and then let’s go home after practice. But that’s just not the way it is.”

What is the key to finding the right balance between family, faith and football?

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!