FNF Coaches Talk

Happy Friday, Coaches. Good luck tonight! We’ve got three stories for you to get you in the proper mindset.

1. A Slogan That Keeps Purdue’s Players, Coaches Connected to Each Other (Journal & Courier)

Coaches — We sometimes laugh or roll our eyes when we see another team wearing t-shirts with a confusing slogan on it. So, we’ll forgive you if you have a hard time believing the slogan “Salty” is keeping the Purdue football team together during a rough start to the season.

Since Jeff Brohm became a head coach in 2014 at Western Kentucky, “salty” has been a part of his program. It was always designed to remain an internal message and motivation, but it moved into the mainstream when Purdue’s coaching staff and players started wearing black shirts with the word “Salty” on the front and “Life Preserver” on the back during summer workouts.

“Salty is Salt of the Earth,” said Sean Pugh, who serves as Brohm’s director of football player development, referring to the passage from the Bible, Mathew 5:13.
The Boilermakers use the words as a foundation for the culture they want to create and maintain inside their locker room, throughout the Kozuch Football Performance Complex, extending to Ross-Ade Stadium and reaching deep into the community.

The players are encouraged to be “life preservers – salt of the earth people,” Pugh said. “Salty to each other.”

The phrase is about encouragement, helping teammates in difficult times, staying connected to their lives and willing to say the good, the bad and the ugly to help an individual improve.

“A salt of the earth person will grab a person out of a bad situation who’s getting ready to do something not so smart,” Pugh said. “That’s what we want. Staff, players and everybody here to have that salty mentality.”

What is your team slogan, and how has it brought your team together?

2. 5th grade football player goes viral with pre-game pep talk (Today)

Friday motivation for ya, Coaches! If you’re considering what to say to get your team fired up before tonight’s game, take a minute to check out this video of fifth-grader Lane Bridges from Rising Star, Texas.

At 66 pounds, Lane doesn’t get much time on the field. But Lane’s Eastland Mavericks teammates will tell you, he’s an unstoppable force. What he lacks in size, he makes up for in heart.
“You’ll see Lane in his uniform cheering the loudest,” Bridges told TODAY Parents. “When the kids come off the field he gives them a big pat on the back and tells them they did a great job.”

How do you empower players to take on leadership roles for your team?

3. The Onside Kick Is Dead. Here’s How To Fix It (Deadspin)

Coaches — Which is a more likely play to convert successfully: a Hail Mary pass from the 50-yard-line or an onside kick? As it turns out, the Hail Mary is converted at a higher success rate — at least in the NFL.

Last year in the NFL, only four onside kicks were recovered all season long, down from 12 in 2017 (with Miami having recovered four of them on their own!). So far this year, no team has recovered one. Two weeks ago, the Colts were down to the Raiders with just 70 seconds left to play. They had all three timeouts left. With that in mind, Frank Reich elected to kick away and hope his defense could stop the Raiders on successive plays. And really, it was the only choice he had.

This writer for Deadspin has a proposal that would put some life back into the end of games, when onside kicks used to give teams hope.

And the way you do this is simple. You move the receiving team back.
That’s it. The rule now is that the receiving team must be 10 yards off the ball prior to kickoff. The rules also state that the kickoff has to travel 10 yards and hit the ground before it’s a live ball that can be recovered by the kicking team. Without cluster formations, unbalanced formations, and other dangerous wrinkled permitted, that setup reduces current onside kick attempts to a simple handoff, with the kicker forced to boot a 10-yarder directly into enemy hands.
So move the receiving team back another five yards. They gotta start 15 yards away, which gives the kicker a chance to dribble the pigskin into the tiniest of openings before the hands team can get there. The team in front would still be at a massive advantage to recover the ball, seeing as how the kicking team would still have to run twice as far to get to that spot. But at least there’d be SOME chance to recover. That’s all I ask. I don’t need it to be 50/50. I just need there to be enough of a chance that it’s WORTH trying every so often.

Do you have a rule change that would keep the game exciting when a team trails by multiple scores 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

About the author

Dan Guttenplan