FNF Coaches Talk — Teach Dig Breaks, High School Track Gives Football Players a Boost, Learning on the Job

FNF Coaches Talk

Welcome back, Coaches. We hope you enjoyed your long weekend.

1. X’s and O’s: Teach Proper Dig Breaks (FNF Coaches)

Here’s a story from our Playbook section of the Summer edition. It was written by Keith Grabowski, who was a football coach for 26 years, most recently as an assistant offensive coach at Oberlin College in Ohio.

We adapted the Air Raid settle and noose drill to accommodate both quarterback pocket movements skills and teaching the proper dig break. The dig is an effective route when executed correctly. It brings the receiver into a window that the linebacker or safety cannot defend. However, just a slight error in how the receiver breaks can change the window and allow defenders to react to break up the pass or, worse, intercept the ball.
The dig break drill is one that we start practice with one day per week to emphasize many of the same skills as the settle and noose. However, instead of working back and forth between the cans, we work upfield and break perpendicular to a line to the point of exaggeration in getting the hip open on the break. The quarterbacks simultaneously are working a route progression that has them scanning across and moving right or left in the pocket before throwing the ball.

How do you coach technique on a dig break?

2. How high school track gives college-bound football players a boost (Michigan Live)

Most coaches we talk to prefer multi-sport athletes, and they rarely encourage student-athletes to specialize in one sport. However, we know players seem to believe that they can improve in football if they stop competing in other sports and focus 100 percent on football training.

This article proves otherwise.

With 324 players currently on Division-I rosters, the state of Michigan is well-represented on the college football circuit.
But before those athletes went on to start their college football careers, most made their marks on high school tracks across the Great Lakes State.

Every year in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, data emerges regarding how many players from the AFC and NFC championship rosters competed in multiple sports while in high school.

Prior to the 2019 contest between the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots, TrackingFootball.com found that 90 percent of athletes from each team were multiple-sport athletes, and that 68 percent of the Rams’ roster competed in track while in high school.

How does running track help your players when they return to the football field?

3. Replacing a Legend: Learning on the Job (280 Living)

Here’s an interesting story about a coach going through his first offseason as a head coach after replacing a local legend. New Briarwood Christian School head football coach Matthew Forester is still adjusting to his new normal.

Forester was announced as legendary coach Fred Yancey’s successor Dec. 26, meaning his daily routine changed significantly during the second semester of the recently completed school year.

Forester expected the changes in the schedule now that he is leading weight-lifting sessions and offseason meetings. But he didn’t expect to be inundated with so many emails and texts.

“The hardest part is getting the emails and texts, but you’re constantly around people,” Forester said in mid-April. “That’s been a transition, is the amount of stuff that comes in on your phone and kind of learning howto handle.”

Forester played for Yancey for two seasons, in 1997 and 1998 as a star linebacker. He helped lead the Lions to a 15-0 mark and a Class 3A state championship as a senior.

He is already appreciative of the program’s credibility and hopes to maintain the same high standards as the Lions’ new head coach. During the winter, he sat down with offensive coordinator Bobby Kerley and made a list of answers to the question, “What makes Briarwood special?”

“We just wrote down as many things as we could think of,” Forester said. “I’ve tried to take those down to the pillars: what are the core things of Briarwood football and the school itself?”

What aspect of your coaching are you looking to improve the most this summer?

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!