The Game has Changed

  1. #1

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    The Game has Changed

    Based on several threads I've read on here, here are some interesting shifts and occurrences that seem to have garnered the attention of this board and have gained popularity but that also still command a crowd of faithful to the old ways or the opposing view...

    1. Safety - More and more coaches are bypassing the argument that "kids need to get tough" in favor of the argument that "the game needs to get safe". There is a fine line out there, but it is a dangerous one to walk and one that I believe is deeply impacting #2. How safe can the game be made while maintaining the integrity of the sport?

    2. Quality Assistant Coaches Grooming to be Head Coaches - The liabilities of #1, the parents, the D1-or-bust-generation, the money, the teaching expectations...all of it is leading to what many claim is a decline in the quality of football coaches who are also employed inside the schools for which they coach. Is this in fact the case?

    3. Time - Like #1, it seems there is a shift from the extreme to the growth-through-precision-moderation way of thinking. More and more, coaches are embracing the Dead Period, in fact , many want it to be longer. Summer, through limitation, has lost a good deal of its umph when it comes to development. People simply value their time these days in a way that demands a change in the demands of football. To what extent will it go?

    4. Why Kids Play and What They're Told at Home - Fading are the days of the prominence and importance of the team mystique of a letter jacket, the school pep rally, and the pep buses (see Chief's post) and roaring into their place is, "Blessed to have received an offer from...". The idea of playing football because it is something to be a part of is being threatened by the idea that everyone can play at the next level...especially when this is what kids go home and hear. Is the concept of true team dying?

    5. The Lie that is Small School College Football - "I've committed to play for (insert small private college) may be the most dangerous notion financially for student-athletes we have ever seen. In comes a small school with an offer of a "scholarship" of $2,200 plus a grant, plus "some loans". Kid Commits...to a school that costs 24k a year. Shows up and there are literally 80 Freshmen there. Kid washes out quickly, transfers back home...along with the 17k in student debt he incurred. Are small college football teams abusing the division of their scholarships?

    Just some thoughts I've had recently.
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  2. #2
    Slinging Sammy's Avatar
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    Combination of #1 & #2... I think this is what is killing the sport. Parents are scared to let their son play because of safety concerns due to negative information on the safety of the game and the crazy expectations that are being placed on Coaches. A lot of them are getting out because of it.

  3. #3

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    Safety is becoming and should be becoming the most important aspect of the game. We now have more information. Hopefully, the days of "well he just got his bell rung" are gone.

    While every sport now seems to require a lot of time investment football is unique. The ratio of time involved during the year to prepare for games to actual time playing the game is the worst of all sports. You play 10 regular season games. That's it. My son played at CCH and they basically did something football-related year round. That's a huge commitment for so few games. That makes the rosters smaller. Kids who may have enjoyed the team jacket, the pep rallies, etc even though there was playing time now say "not for me." I get that.

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    1. I don't buy the argument that kids aren't tough anymore. Just because they don't do two a days anymore, or old barbaric drills like bull in the ring, doesn't make kids soft. Having kids needlessly beat on each other day after day was, in hindsight not necessary. Every generation labels the next as soft. Football making the game safer by taking out the unneccesary violence will allow the game (and it's players) to survive.
    2. I sort of agree with this. Although, I think the reason you see less teachers coaching is a result of greater demands on teachers. The parents with delusions of grandeur have always existed from the dawn of sports.
    3. I think demands of time are greater now than ever. We never had June practice in the 80's. No spring football either. We did have summer lifting which was lightly attended. Practice didn't start until August 1st. Yes we had two a days, but that was only for 2 weeks.
    4. I think now there are more opportunities to play other sports and do other things. Why hold a dummy, get beat up in practice, while doing all the conditioning to stand on the sidelines on Friday nights?? Whether it's soccer, fall baseball, cross country, or the band or chess team, there are many more opportunities to get involved in other activities where you can be more involved and not get beat up. It's got nothing to do with the letter jacket or any of that "mystique".
    5. This is true. These "signing events" where kids are scrawling their name on a piece of paper to play D3 football for the most part are pipe dreams. In many ways, D3 football is tougher than D1. At least at the D1 level, most of the time the coach has a financial investment in you and you will get a chance. At a D3 school, no financial commitment and almost 150 guys in camp, your chances of lasting 4 years is not very good. And you'll be paying (and likely borrowing) a lot of money to go to school.

  5. #5
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    1. For me, the fine line is are we legislating protection to the point we are making it tougher to prepare our kids, from a SAFETY standpoint, for the first game? At some point, they have to hit and they have to get acclimated to heat. I am not big on meat grinder practices. Once we hit summer practices, our guys rarely hit the ground in live action. But, I still believe our guys were more prepared for the first game when we had 3-a-days and therefore safer in the first couple games. For safety reasons and to protect the game, I still believe backing up the season toward cooler weather would make a difference.
    2. My number one job as a head coach…. Keep my assistant coaches happy. They are very good and have many demands on their time as husbands, fathers, teachers, and finally coaches. The best thing I can do for my players is provide for them great men/coaches for their position coach.
    3. We have been ones to give our guys the entire month of June free…. especially if we got out of school in early June. I wanted June to be for other sports and our players to attend camps. We had been lifting since July 10(11 months) so a break was needed. Some times we would bring in our bigger kids to make sure they kept some conditioning. At the end at Mason and now at Mercer, we are lifting & conditioning 3 times a week. No more than an hour total for each session. Baseball & basketball are not required to attend in June but they are welcome. The biggest reason June workouts have merit for me…. Gives me a chance to keep an eye on my guys that may be at loose ends during June. But, if they have other opportunities in June or vacations, that is great with me. I saw the “law of diminishing returns” referenced earlier. I am an economics major and thought that was a great point and relevant. I hate wasted time and inefficiency. Regardless of the time of year, I want things streamlined and we value the time of our players and their families.
    4. At Mercer, the adults really want their kids to play football. That may sound bad, but I think it is good because most kids want to be football players, but they need that encouragement when they don’t feel like showing up. We all have days we feel like quitting. It is good that the adults here appreciate the value of football and get their sons to continue to play on the days they feel like hanging it up. I have had a bunch of kids say they regretted quitting. I have never had a guy play football and then say it was a mistake. Just last week, the leading 3 point shooter in SEC history told me that he wished he could play wide receiver one more time.
    5. Small college football is like all endeavors…. A lot of great opportunities and also instances where the fine print may be an issue when it comes to student loans. Overall, there are many more positives. I need to do better as a head coach in helping a family navigate the financial agreements. What we have started doing more of is have our staff that played college football give our kids a realistic view of what they are getting themselves into. The experience can be worth every dime that is spent. But, incoming freshmen don’t always understand the physical and financial sacrifice that may be required to achieve success in college football. I think it is always a wake up call when they arrive on campus and realize…. these division 3 players or NAIA players are really good!

  6. #6
    PurplePride92's Avatar
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    Excellent thread.

    1. I know people who won't let their kids play football because of safety concerns. I can understand that as more and more information is coming out yearly detailing the long term effects that some people have as a result of playing football. Everyone's body is different and reacts differently. I understand that totally. I've always been in the boat that the game isn't safe no matter how hard people try to make it safer. You know the risks when you sign up. I still wish my kids would have played football. Hopefully my grandkids will try it and like it.


    2. Does availability of teaching jobs inside the school also play a part? I know some great assistant coaches in football and basketball that are teachers at School A and coach at School B. I also know of assistants content with being an assistant and I know assistants who can't get a head coaching gig because they can't get hired as a head coach because they are said to not have enough experience. Teaching certification/classification also comes into play as well.


    3. No argument there. There never seems to be enough time for anything.

    4. Yes. The concept of team concept is dying. It may already be dead. Hell, things have changed drastically from 2011 IMO.

    5. Folks absolutely have to read the fine print with small schools. Ask a ton of questions and explore all options.

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    We allowed this by giving them june off from 7 on 7 competitions.

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    oldgrappler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjs4470 View Post
    ... 5. This is true. These "signing events" where kids are scrawling their name on a piece of paper to play D3 football for the most part are pipe dreams. In many ways, D3 football is tougher than D1. At least at the D1 level, most of the time the coach has a financial investment in you and you will get a chance. At a D3 school, no financial commitment and almost 150 guys in camp, your chances of lasting 4 years is not very good. And you'll be paying (and likely borrowing) a lot of money to go to school.
    Maybe the toughest part of this for the player who goes to the small college intending to play but ends up NOT playing football is that the scholarships (academic and otherwise) that may have made his local school, like NKU, affordable are no longer available because he turned them down to go to the Div III school. It's a hard lesson in economics and opportunity costs.

  9. #9

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    I think these are all valid and correct. Although, I think one thing I would alter would be saying that "the game has changed." Football is always changing and always will, in just about every capacity. The game IS change.


    1. I've always said that safety has to be the first goal. That's not something that can be negotiated, nor should it be. People can spin it about making the kids "tough" by whatever metric they determine, but at the end of the day it's simply about being either pro safety or pro risk. Period.



    2. I could have an entire post solely devoted with how parents, fans, players, boosters and school administrators view and treat coaches. They're being asked to devote their time to someone's kids who aren't their own, spend time away from their families, have minimal life outside of coaching. They're expected to teach, and teach well. To win every game possible, regardless of talent. If they don't do these things, they're not committed or are a bad coach. And have zero financial incentive to do any of this. The people who watch the game will always "know more" than the coach. An alarming number of school administrators are increasingly refusing to support coaches who have to make tough decisions. And none of this mentions the fact that coaches are being asked to move wherever in the state, to coach at Occasional Talent County High School. If this were any other job, would we even be having the discussion on why there is a hesitancy to get into the profession?


    3. Everyone needs a break. And I think there is an increasing trend to a longer break over summer, both official and unofficial. While I don't think there will ever be a full June dead period, I won't be surprised if June practice ends up being a thing of the past within the next few years.


    4. I don't think the team aspect is dying. I just think the kids who are talking and tweeting about their offers are the ones who get noticed. I still think ultimately, at the end of the day, the team kids far outnumber the "D1 Dream Supastarz," it's just that social media has given a voice that wouldn't have been there before. Selfish kids have always been selfish, unselfish kids have always been unselfish.


    5. I think the same thing could be said about kids who are playing on any level other than FBS, and high level FCS. I don't have problems with kids tweeting about their commitment to a certain NAIA school, I don't have any problems with them having a signing day and it being in the local papers. The cost of higher education is what it is, and that won't be changing for awhile. I think the real issue in that situation is lack of honesty from parents, teachers, counselors, high school coaches, college admission counselors, and college coaches. If a kid who hasn't really ever had to work for anything, personally or athletically, gets his ego inflated for 4 years, goes to a school 5 hours away, has never really been away from home, has never really competed; suddenly he's in a completely brand new environment and he can't handle it. He hasn't be prepared correctly, he hasn't been given the proper tools. Someone needed to have a seat with that kid and go over what it was like. They didn't, so he felt compelled to come back home. Some kids need to stay close to home, some kids need to go away. People around them need to better control the situation around them.

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