FNF Coaches Talk — School Gets Funding for Athletics by Pointing to Academic Performance, Andy Reid’s Timeouts, Pete Carroll’s Decision to Punt

Welcome back, Coaches. We hope you enjoyed the weekend. We’ve got three new stories for you.

1. New Jersey school gets funding for new athletic facilities with promise to improve team GPAs (North Jersey Record)

This is an interesting approach to getting district funding for field house renovations, but one that worked in New Jersey and is certainly worth sharing.

West Milford High coaches got approval for about $1 million in athletic renovations by showing that participation in sports translates to better academic performance.

The field house is one of four major athletics-focused infrastructure projects approved by school board members since October 2018. The total bill was about $1 million, an amount roughly equal to this year’s school tax increase, with more than two-thirds going to a lease-purchase agreement for McCormack Field’s new grandstand and press box.

In July, the varsity baseball team won a conference title and earned a 2018-19 American Baseball Coaches Association Academic Excellence Award for maintaining a cumulative GPA of 3.05 during the school year. The school was one of three New Jersey high school programs honored with the award, which recognizes college and high school baseball programs that post an average GPA higher than 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

The recognition has triggered a new program that is setting goals for average GPA on high school teams using baseline data from 2018-19, Trentacosta said.

“Research shows that when students are involved, particularly in athletics in clubs, at a high school level they do better academically,” he said.

What impact does the football season have on your players’ grades? 

2. Does Andy Reid Really Not Understand How to Manage the Clock? (The Ringer)

In his two decades as an NFL head coach, Andy Reid has been criticized for apparent lapses in judgment when it comes to timeout usage and pace of play. But he may have a better understanding of it all than you’d think.

The main thing associated with Reid is that he’s never won a Super Bowl, with the ways he has failed following closely behind. Clock mismanagement, questionable timeouts, and blown leads in the winter overshadow his accomplishments in the fall.

Reid is not afraid to use timeouts earlier than most coaches, who usually try to save them for after the two-minute warning.

“There are times at which he’ll take a timeout because he just thinks, ‘We need to settle things down, pause for a moment, and think everything through,’” former Eagles general manager Joe Banner says.

When called for, Reid approaches timeouts the same way basketball coaches do: He uses them to draw up the right play.

Anecdotally, Reid is an excellent play-caller out of timeouts, but it’s true in larger samples. In 2018, the Chiefs led the league in expected points added per play on the first play out of timeouts.

What is your philosophy behind using your timeouts during a game?

3. Pete Carroll explains why he punted on fourth down late in fourth quarter of Seahawks loss to Packers (CBS Sportsline)

We feel like the criticism of Pete Carroll has gotten a little overblown in the last 24 hours.

The Seattle Seahawks were fighting for their season with under three minutes to play against the Packers on Sunday night, and Peter Carroll decided to bank on his defense to stop Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers late in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s NFC divisional playoff loss.

Trailing by five points and facing a fourth-and-11 with 2:41 left, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll decided to punt on Seattle’s own 36-yard line instead of going on the first down and extending the drive. Giving the ball back to Rodgers turned out to be a mistake, as Green Bay got the two first downs it needed to finish off Seattle, advancing to the NFC Championship Game.

There was a reason why Carroll decided to punt: He didn’t like the odds of Seattle getting a first down, even with Russell Wilson at quarterback.

“We were thinking about going for it in that sequence but not at fourth-and-11,” Carroll said in his postgame press conference. “We thought our odds were so low. We had all the clock, we had the time, we had all the opportunities to stop them to get the ball back. So we didn’t want to put it all on one play. If it were fourth-and-5 or 3 — we went through the whole discussion, but it winds up being a sack unfortunately.”

What would you have done differently in the closing minutes?

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