FNF Coaches Talk — Nick Saban Welcomes NFL Scouts, LSU’s RPO Offense, FNF Coaches Photographer of the Year Contest

FNF Coaches Talk

Welcome back, Coaches. We hope you enjoyed the weekend. Here are three stories for today.

1. Welcome to Tuscaloosa: Why NFL Scouts Love Visiting Alabama (Sports Illustrated)

This story is about Nick Saban’s approach to welcoming NFL scouts to the Alabama campus, but it also can be applied to high school coaches hosting college recruiters.

Saban has realized that being open and accommodating to pro scouts on their visits boosts the overall image of his program—and helps his players’ draft status. And the more successful he is in getting players into the NFL, the more top high school recruits will want to come to Tuscaloosa. It’s a virtuous cycle that more schools should follow.

“If you call ahead and say, ‘The only time I can watch tape is at 3 a.m,’ they will unlock the facility for you,” says Phil Savage, who was a Browns scout when Saban was Bill Belichick’s defensive coordinator in Cleveland in the early ’90s and later became the team’s general manager.

In addition to creating an open-door policy for recruiters, it’s important to realize what not to do when you get those recruiters on campus. Joe Paterno (Penn State) and Greg Schiano (Rutgers) were known as two of the most unwelcoming coaches during their coaching days.

Current Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy, who worked for the Patriots, Chiefs, Seahawks and Packers during an 18-year NFL scouting career, explained that on the assigned days the Nittany Lions were open, scouts would pile into a meeting room where an assistant would either read from the players’ bios in the media guide or say that every player was a great person who loved football. This was useless information for scouts, who needed to get honest answers to bring back to their teams. College teams may think that hiding flaws makes all their players more desirable, but Nagy explained that this made it impossible for scouts to identify the players that they should be standing up on the table for when their teams were looking at late-round picks or free agents. “When you’re getting the company line on every single guy, you don’t know who that [great] guy is,” Nagy says. “They were hurting the kids who did all the right things.”

How do you make sure college recruiters feel welcome on your campus and get honest feedback from your staff?

2. What is the Run-Pass Option? A deep dive into LSU football’s new offense (Star Local Media)

LSU head coach Ed Orgeron called Joe Brady a “game-changer” when he hired him to help retool LSU’s offense with the run-pass option schemes he learned as an assistant with Penn State and the New Orleans Saints.

Brady spoke to a collection of Louisiana high school coaches Friday in a curtained area inside the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Brady admitted everyone had been asking him about what he was going to say during his presentation. He shared his offensive principles.

See, like most offenses that have developed over football’s history, there are several variations of the RPO, and their origins are blurry. Some reports say most of its concepts in modern college football likely were created on high school football fields.

The Run-Pass Option is all about putting blockers and skill position players in 1-on-1 situations, as you’ll see here.

3. FNF Photographer of the Year Nomination Round (FNF Coaches)

Nominate your favorite high school football photographer for the FNF Photographer of the Year contest! The winning selection will be featured in the print edition of FNF Coaches magazine and will also have their school and work featured in an article on the FNF Coaches website.

When the photographer wins, your program wins as well! This is a great way to not only recognize your team photographer, but gain added exposure for your school.

The nomination round will conclude on April 30, so be sure to nominate your photographer now.

The FNF editorial staff will select 10 photos to be featured in an online contest, with online voting to take place from May 3 through May 11.