FNF Coaches Talk: Play Sheets on Wrist Bands, New Stadiums Offer Improved Tech, California Coach Resigns After Parents Complain

Good afternoon, Coaches. We hope you find these three stories interesting.

1. Changing signals: Pittsburgh team’s wristbands illustrate the evolution of play calling (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

When Brian DeLallo became the new coach of the Bethel Park (Pa.) football team this past spring, one of the first things he did was get $1,000 out of the team budget to buy 50 wristbands for his players.

The wristbands weren’t some kind of fashion statement for the Black Hawks. They weren’t meant to keep sweat off his player’s hands.

Wristbands are an integral part of Bethel Park’s offense.

Bethel Park runs a no-huddle offense. The Black Hawks hurry to the line to run every play. All players stop and look over to the sideline to get a signal for a play call. Then everybody gets a little wrist action.

The wristbands have all of Bethel Park’s plays on them. It is not uncommon to see a quarterback or maybe a few skill-position players wear a wristband with play calls. But it is unusual to have an entire offense wear wristbands with play calls. The bands have a see-through, plastic compartment to them where small play sheets are inserted.
Bethel Park is an example of how different high school offenses and play-calling is today compared to even just 20 years ago. Since the start of football, a coach might send plays in with a player from the sideline. A coach would tell the play to usually a receiver, who would run into the huddle, relay the play to the quarterback, who would then tell it to the rest of the team.

How do you get the play call to your players when you switch to an uptempo pace?

2. High school football: With new stadiums comes updated technology (The Oklahoman)

We often hear from coaches who have to pitch school boards and town selectmen for new stadiums, and here’s something to consider if you’re considering going down that road. Be sure to include the ways in which it will help the team due to improved technology.

Putnam West and Putnam North (Okla.) opened new stadiums this fall, and each one has different technical aspects that make them state-of-the-art.

With a push of the button from a cell phone, a coach or administrator can turn the lights to the fields off and on. The stadiums are Wi-Fi accessible, and the new video boards can do a bevy of things.

The Wi-Fi allows for improved technology on the sidelines for coaches, allowing them to get the film of previous plays almost instantly, which helps coach and adapt during games.

The suites are wired for sounds, hospitality rooms designed to host a bevy of fans, media and administrators. It’s a smart stadium, which is impressive for each coach in the district.

What piece of technology does your stadium offer that you couldn’t live without?

3. California high school football coach resigns after parents complain he took a knee late in 21-3 loss (The Union Democrat)

Most of us identify parents as the thing that makes the coaching profession most difficult, but I’ll be interested to hear what you think of this story.

Casey Kester, head coach of the Bret Harte (Calif.) varsity football program since March 2015, announced his immediate resignation Tuesday morning, three days after he told his offense to take a knee rather than run a play while trailing in the final minute of a 21-3 loss.

Kester said in a phone interview his resignation was in response to a parent’s concerns raised Monday night at a meeting of the Bret Harte Union High School District board.

“A parent got upset with me and went to the school board,” Kester said. “The kid quit. He’s a disgruntled parent. He was upset with me for what was going on.”

Bret Harte varsity football, like some other Sac-Joaquin Section programs, has been plagued by low player turnouts in recent years. This year’s team has dressed 15 to 16 varsity players a game, endured the suspensions of three players for vaping, and injuries. Kester has been open about it. A roster for the Sept. 7 Bullfrogs game at Delta Charter outside Tracy listed nine ineligible players.

Damien Stephens, father of one of Bret Harte varsity football’s captains, said he spoke to the school board Monday night about Kester’s coaching and Kester’s interactions with his son, Kodiak Stephens, at the end of the El Dorado game Friday night at Bret Harte..

“They kneeled at the end of the game with about 40-45 seconds left,” Damien Stephens said. “They were trailing 21-3, by 18 points, and they kneeled to run the clock out. That’s not what I expect coaches to be teaching young people on the football team. Taking a knee like that is like asking a wrestler to lay on his back and wait to be pinned.”

When is it OK to concede the game to an opponent and take a knee?

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!