FNF Coaches Talk — Yelling at Refs Works, USC’s Strength Coach Vacancy, Rush Propst Fired

FNF Coaches Talk

Happy Friday, Coaches. We’ve got some good stories for you today.

1. NFL Coaches Yell At Refs Because It Freakin’ Works (FiveThirtyEight)

Has anyone ever told you it’s a waste of time and energy to yell at the referee during the game? Turns out, that’s not true.

It turns out, a sideline bias in the NFL is real. To prove it, FiveThirtyEight looked at the rates at which refs call the NFL’s most severe penalties, including defensive pass interference, aggressive infractions like personal fouls and unnecessary roughness, and offensive holding calls, based on where the offensive team ran its play.

For three common penalties, the direction of the play — that is, whether it’s run toward the offensive or defensive team’s sideline — makes a significant difference. In other words, refs make more defensive pass interference calls on the offensive team’s sideline but more offensive holding calls on the defensive team’s sideline. What’s more, these differences aren’t uniform across the field — the effect only shows up on plays run, roughly, between the 32-yard lines, the same space where coaches and players are allowed to stand during play.

Granted, you don’t want to spend all game trying to influence the ref. We all know how many other responsibilities coaches have on game day. But it’s certainly worthwhile to pick your spots — like when you see an offensive holding call and the ref is on the defensive team’s sideline.

For offensive flags, that association is reversed, at least on holding penalties.3 Here’s the rate of holding calls made on outside run plays, which shows how the defensive team’s sideline can help draw flags on the offense. Around midfield, offensive holding gets called about 35 percent more often on plays run at the defensive team’s sideline.

In what ways to you try to influence the referee in-game?

2. USC football roundup: No strength coach? No problem for some (Reign of Troy)

Here’s one most high school coaches can surely relate to: USC football went over a month this offseason without a permanent strength and conditioning coach. It’s unusual for a big-time college program to spent much time during the offseason without a strength coach, but we know many high school coaches who double as the program’s head strength coach.

USC head coach Clay Helton laid out what he’s looking for in a new strength coach to replace Ivan Lewis, who went to the Seattle Seahawks at the beginning of January.

“Ivan’s replacement will be someone who can develop our players’ total body as well as design programs for their skill specific needs,” Helton said. “…They should have the leadership skills and confidence to lead a group of 110 young men, being firm but fair and holding them accountable to their responsibilities. Someone who will coach them hard, but also develop relationships built on trust and honesty. And someone who will establish toughness, discipline and teamwork that will carry over to the practice field and games.”

Helton found his man in early March when he hired former USC strength coach Aaron Ausmus to be the Trojans’ new strength coach.

What traits do you look for in the leader of your strength and conditioning program?

3. Rush Propst fired as Colquitt Co. football coach (WCTV)

We wouldn’t normally have a post about an individual coaching change, but Rush Propst is arguably the most famous high school coach in the nation, dating back to his time at Hoover (Ala.), when he starred in the MTV series, Two-A-Days.

Propst, who was most recently at Colquitt County in Ga., was placed on administrative leave for an internal investigation into personnel issues. The school board has not publicly stated what those issues are.

Following a more than two-hour closed session yesterday afternoon, the Colquitt County Board of Education voted unanimously to fire Propst.

A total of fourteen people signed up to speak on Propst’s behalf at the meeting. In a packed room, each speaker defended Propst’s character and coaching abilities. A current Colquitt County Packer went to the podium and asked for all current and former players in the audience to join him in presenting a petition to the board. The petition garnered more than 1,000 signatures in 42 hours.

The show of support for Propst was not enough to save the coach’s job.

What is the first thing you’d do if you were fired from your position?

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!