FNF Coaches Talk — What to do if no fall football, pandemic plans, analytics

Welcome back, Coaches. Here are some stories for you.

1. How teacher revolutionized school’s football statistics (The News and Observer)

Gavin Gilbert — a social studies teacher at Starkville High (Miss.) — has become the go-to resource for football analytics throughout his state.

“He’s got stats going all the way back to the beginning of time,” head coach Chris Jones said of Gilbert. “He’s done a lot of digging and a lot of research, and if you’ve got any question about any record, you just ask him, and he’ll know what was going on.”

Utilizing StatBroadcast — a system used by more than 275 colleges and universities, 37 athletic conferences and all 42 bowl games — Gilbert’s job has simplified from the early days of his tenure spent calling newspapers around the area to report Starkville scores.

Beyond the intricacies of statistics and film clipping that Gilbert has added to his responsibilities, he remains an educator at heart. Since joining SHS’s staff, he’s enlisted the help of current students interested in sports statistics or film to shoot games and keep stats on Friday nights.

Read the entire story.

What statistics are most important to your staff when evaluating your players?

2. Coaches don’t know what to do with themselves if there’s no fall football (Banner Society)

Over the course of the last two weeks, Banner Society asked a variety of coaches the same question: If there’s no 2020 college football season, what are you going to do with the significant amount of time you’d normally spend coaching?

Here are two of the funnier responses.

POSITION COACH, FCS SCHOOL: I wouldn’t mind teaching. Some of us are certified to do that. Hell, I’ll mow grass. At our level, our school is really invested in our program and in football but there’s a reality financially. Right now I’m more worried for the assistant coaches in other sports. I think they’ll touch football last if they have to at all.
POSITION COACH, DIVISION THREE SCHOOL: I have three new job titles: Admissions Counselor, Academic Counselor, Grounds Crew.

Read the entire story.

How will you spend your extra time this fall if there is no football?

3. UVa’s athletic programs grapple with mental health challenges of uncertain fall sports season (The Daily Progress)

University of Virginia football coach Bronco Mendenhall is confronting one of the challenges affecting student-athletes across all levels.

Mendenhall’s mind is on mental health.

“Quite frankly, maybe the biggest competitive work is the psychology of just trying to care for the mental health of our team and keep them positive and optimistic and focusing on just one horizon at a time, and again, what they can influence and focusing on that because there’s so many things we can’t, even though they’re occupying our thoughts,” Mendenhall said.

The worries outside the UVa football program’s control include the fall schedule, cancellations and postponements. Numerous reports suggest Power 5 football conferences will postpone or cancel fall football seasons in the coming days.

This leaves UVa to wonder about what’s next. The football program opened camp Friday, but will it make it to its first game on Sept. 11?

“I think the most significant mental challenge college athletes are facing is the uncertainty,” Eric Bean, an executive board member for the Association of Applied Sport Psychology, said. “There’s still a significant amount of unknowns to what their sport is going to look like, what the bench setup is going to look like, to are they going to have social distance on the bench, to are their parents going to be allowed to attend, to are they only going to play in conference?”

Read the entire story.

How do you show your players that you are available to speak about mental health issues?

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