FNF Coaches Talk — QB Grooming, Air Raid in Arizona, Wet Bulb/Thermometer

Good afternoon, Coaches. Here are some stories for you today.

1. QB Grooming: Trevor Lawrence Leads a New Wave of QBs Ready-Made for Prime Time (Sports Illustrated)

College coaches in this story share that quarterbacks have never been as prepared or trained to succeed when they get to the college level. We wonder how this translates to the high school level. Some of the quarterbacks used as examples in this story seem like they arrived at the high school level prepared to excel.

Example: Trevor Lawrence, the star Clemson quarterback who last season became the first true freshman since 1986 to lead his team to a national championship.
And so, on a sizzling day in suburban Atlanta, under the watchful eye of Veal, Julian is running a drill in which he backpedals just over five yards and then, off his back foot, slings the football across his body. T.C. calls it “the Trevor,” named after what became the Clemson QB’s signature move during his blazing rookie season.
All of Veal’s students must master the Trevor. It is a football exercise designed to improve a quarterback’s instincts against on-coming pressure. It is also a maneuver that most quarterbacks, especially the 11-year-old kind, avoid: throwing off your back foot and across your body. But Veal, 51, teaches advanced studies, drilling his charges on what to do in highly specific situations—like, for instance, when protection breaks down. The upshot: He and other coaches like him are giving young QBs tools that their predecessors simply did not have.

This youth movement at quarterback didn’t suddenly arrive on the scene with Lawrence. After all, in just the last three seasons, four first-year quarterbacks—all true freshmen like Lawrence—have played meaningful snaps in a national championship game. There was Jalen Hurts in 2016, and after that Fromm and Tagovailoa in ’17.

And last year, five rookie quarterbacks started a season opener at the Power 5 level—more than in any season in the previous decade. Overall, 12 true-freshman QBs started at least one game among the 65 major college programs, a fifth straight season in which that number hit double digits. Those quarterbacks combined to start 88 games, which is nearly twice the average of freshman starts from 2009 to ’13 (47.6).

Why do you think quarterbacks are so much more prepared to start immediately when they get to the college level?

2. Desert Heat: The Air Raid Invades the NFL (MatchQuarters)

Behind new Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury is a wealth of success from his Air Raid “family.” You could say, Kingsbury, is the first to get his NFL “shot.”

Schematically, Kingsbury has a foundational knowledge that will bring new ideas into a league that has only begun to scratch the Air Raid surface. When studying Kingsbury at Texas Tech one will notice multiple different concepts are being run from week to week, some only used to take advantage of a defense’s coverages. The illusion of complexity hinders a defense’s ability to correctly identify key concepts and tendencies.

In short, no one really knows what this offense will look like in the NFL. One thing is clear, it will definitely have an Air Raid feel. Will it be an infusion/meshing of schemes, or “screw it, we are going four-wide“?

But here’s an example of a play Kingsbury might run for Kyle Murray.

What pieces of the Air Raid offense would you consider implementing into your offense?

3. New technology helps high school football teams navigate the heat (WLTX 19)

It’s a constant balancing act for high school coaches and trainers. The players have to practice in the heat so they will be able to play up to their potential on Friday nights. But that doesn’t mean the players go full pads for two hours when the temperature is hovering near 100 degrees.

The Airport football team (S.C.) was practicing in the afternoon last week where the heat index was well above 100 degrees. But the coaches and trainers exercised caution with the players thanks to new technology.

The wet bulb\thermometer is a hand-held device that literally displays the temperature that the players are feeling. Airport trainer George Harkness says the device measures not only the temperature, but wind speed and wind direction, humidity, even the angle of the sun.

The special thermometer uses a graded scale and as the temperature goes up the scale, different precautions are taken whether it’s increasing water breaks, removing equipment and in certain cases, shortening practices.

On Wednesday, the practice ended with the players wearing nothing but shorts, shirts and shoes. While the practice may not include the full gear that will be used in heavy contact, it allows the players a chance to still get work done and acclimated to the heat in as safe as possible environment.

What technology do you have at your disposal to help ensure that no player suffers from a heat-related illness?

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!