FNF Coaches Talk — Troy Aikman Coaching HS Football, WSU’s Social Media Ban, How to Use VR In-Season

Welcome back, Coaches. We’ve got a few stories for you.

1. Troy Aikman, high school football coach? How the Cowboys legend joined Episcopal School of Dallas’ staff (Dallas Morning News)

Here’s a fun story we just stumbled upon. If you’re familiar with hearing Troy Aikman call Thursday night NFL games, you’ll be surprised he’s spending his Friday nights coaching high school football at Episcopal School in Dallas.

The Cowboys legend decided to give it a shot as the quarterbacks coach at ESD.

While the UIL prohibits coaches who aren’t full-time teachers in a school’s district, private schools aren’t subject to the same set of rules.

That allows Aikman to get out on the field with ESD, although he isn’t there every day.

Aikman aims to make practices Tuesdays and Wednesdays as well as Friday night games, working around his regular broadcasting schedule for Fox, which includes Thursday Night Football as well as one game each Sunday.

“Troy’s goal was not to try to change the way Preston throws the ball or change his form or anything,” coach Richard Williams said. “It was just him learning how to take advantage of his weapons and better decision-making in terms of protecting the ball and not making careless, forced throws that in the past have resulted in interceptions.”

Fittingly, one of the first moments in which Morway was able to take what he’d learned from Aikman was one of those turnovers that had plagued him in years past.

“It was fourth-and-15, and instead of getting sacked or throwing it away, I just threw it up and they ended up intercepting it,” Morway said. “But they lost 25 yards, so that was a situational thing that I learned.”

What former NFL player have you seen make the transition to a successful high school coach?

2. Washington State coaches and players have instituted a social media ban (WSU Football)

We all walk a fine line between implementing rules that help our players to avoid distractions and allowing them to let their personalities shine.

Social media is a potential land mine for players, who all seem to like to post their own highlights and promote their own “brands.” But we know sometimes that turns into talking trash to opponents or posting inappropriate content on Twitter or Snapchat.

Washington State coach Mike Leach has eliminated the possibility of those distractions by restricting his players from posting to social media in-season.

“I think we entertain too many distractions…and if I had it to do over again, I would’ve done it when we started camp. But, I think we entertain too many distractions. I think we’re a little too distracted right now, but I think there’s a team-wide determination to be less distracted.”

How can you encourage your players to use social media in a positive way without restricting them from visiting particular websites?

3. How to Use VR In-Season (USA Football Blogs)

We’re hearing more and more about football players using virtual reality technology to visualize plays and develop muscle memory during training. For some of us, the development makes us nervous because we know our budgets are limited and we don’t have a lot of wiggle room for new technology.

Rob Everett spoke with host USA Football podcast host Keith Grabowski to talk about how coaches can use virtual reality (VR) during the season.

There are not only mental but physical benefits to working with VR during the season according to Everett.

“With the physical demands that a season has, you have to think smart,” begins Everett, the former assistant coach of the AAF’s Memphis Express. “Everybody is starting to get ready for the playoff push. The goal is not 10 games, nine games. The goal is 15, depending on your state, 16, 14 whatever it might be. That’s essentially an extra third of the season that you have to play! Legs get tired, that’s a real thing … So, what are the things that can be taken off the field that won’t harm the process? Virtual reality can really take the place of those walkthroughs or those things that you’re doing that every coach is doing on the field.”

The two uses of VR Everett highly recommends involve pre-snap recognition.

“They’re the easiest things to duplicate in simulation because it all happens before the snap. The most powerful are blitz pick up for the offensive line and protection identification, which involves the quarterback and running backs in addition to the offensive line,” says Everett. “[The other is] formation recognition for the defense.”

What position groups on your team could benefit the most from virtual reality technology technology?

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