FNF Coaches Talk

FNF Coaches Talk — Miami Fakes a Jet Sweep, Ryan Day’s Mental Health Awareness, No-Contact Practices

Good afternoon, Coaches. We’ve got three good stories today.

1. Miami fakes jet sweep to Tate Martell on his first play (247Sports)

We’re all trying to design game plans that will lead to quick starts to the season and inspire confidence in the players. How about this play call from Saturday night’s Miami vs. Florida season-opener in college football?

Following the second forced turnover of the game by the Miami defense, the Hurricanes got the ball near midfield and went with a wildcat package on the first play with Deejay Dallas taking the snap. Martell, who was lined up out wide, was sent in motion before the snap and Dallas faked the jet sweep to Martell before keeping it himself and picking up a big chunk of yardage.

What is your favorite combination of play calls that includes a set-up to lure the defense and another to hit a big play?

2. How Ryan Day’s past inspired a push to raise awareness about mental health (Yahoo! Sports)

Ryan Day’s father, Ray Day, died by suicide in 1988. Ryan Day was 9 years old at the time and had two younger brothers, Chris (7) and Tim (5). That singular moment shaped his life more than any other.

Over the years, Ryan Day’s emotions over the suicide of his father evolved through phases of anger, resentment and confusion. He recalls occasional playground teasing and being upset watching his youth basketball teammates run to their fathers at the conclusion of their games. “I’d get pissed,” he said. “How come I can’t have a father? I used to get angry that way about it.”

As the years went on, and the portrait of his father’s struggles with depression became clearer, Ryan Day came to better understand mental health and the stigmas attached to discussing it openly in society. So soon after Day became the full-time head coach at Ohio State in December, he and his wife, Nina, decided they were going to use that powerful philanthropic platform to bring the discussion about mental health – especially in the childhood and adolescent space – to the forefront.

How do you talk to your players about mental health? When do you make time for them to confide in you about their struggles?

3. This high school football team never tackled in practice last year. Then it won a state title. (Washington Post)

Ramapo High (N.J.), the defending state champions, will practice during the regular season in adherence to New Jersey’s sweeping new rule, considered the most aggressive statewide player-safety measure ever instituted for high school football. The rule, implemented at a time of dwindling participation numbers and amid continuing concerns over head injuries that can be sustained while playing the sport, restricts teams to 15 minutes of full contact drills during the regular season, down from 90 minutes in 2018.

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Association trumpeted the rule change as “historic” in a February news release, adding that full contact in the state “has been reduced to the lowest level in the history of football.” Ramapo didn’t tackle to the ground at all during practices last season.

The change has reverberated across the country, where some longtime stakeholders believe the move is a breakthrough that will permeate the game at all levels in the years to come.

The 57-year-old Drew Gibbs, who has coached 18 years at Ramapo, was a catalyst for the move. Members of the New Jersey Football Coaches Association all gathered inside the defensive lineman room at Rutgers’ football facility last December, arguing the merits of the proposed change and whether the new limit should be 15 or 30 minutes. Gibbs, who just two weeks earlier had led Ramapo to a 13-0 record — the first in state history — cut through the commotion.

Ramapo had only two players suffer concussions last season, according to Gibbs. He considered that as much of a success as the 13 wins. His thinking on the issue changed back in the mid-2000s, when of the the best players he ever coached suffered a nasty concussion in a rivalry game. Chris Hogan, who now is a wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers, was coached by Gibbs to keep his head in front and tackle chest-to-chest. Gibbs blamed himself as Hogan took a knee to the head and exited the game. Ramapo blew a 19-point lead and lost that night.

What percentage of your practices include full-contact periods?

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!