Coach and Coordinator Podcast
Coach and Coordinator Podcast
Keith Grabowski
Keith Grabowski interviews the most knowledgeable head coaches, coordinators, and position coaches from professional, college, and high school football. Keith and his guests discuss the philosophy, concepts, schemes, and strategies that they have learned throughout their careers. Each show includes a specific idea that can be applied to help coaches at every level find the winning edge.
Mid-Season Practice and Game Planning Considerations – Jaime Elizondo, XFL Offensive Coordinator
Jaime Elizondo joins us again on the podcast. Elizondo has coached at both the college and professional levels, most recently serving as offensive coordinator for the XFL San Antonio Brahmas in the 2022 and 2023 seasons after serving as head coach of the CFL Edmonton Elks in 2021. In this episode, Coach Elizondo provides a wealth of great ideas from his 20-plus year career that are helpful to coaches today as we get later into this season. Show Notes: The Balance of Physical and Mental Keeping Players Fresh How Much Hitting Do We Need to Do? You Can’t Cut the Fundamentals Looking at Adjusting Team and Group Conscious of Play Count Team Run-Play Action Buffalo Bills Two-Minute Jog-Through Different Practice Plans Week-to-Week Being Prescriptive in the Practice Plan What Is the Day to Take the Load Off? Wrinkles and Tendencies Building Complements Importance of Self-Scout Look at Base Offense How Can We Run the Same Plays from a Reduced Split? How Does It Fit What We Already Do? Ken Dorsey’s Input Thinking About Complementary Football Ravens Color Code System to Communicate Amongst Coordinators Additional Jaime Elizondo Episode: OC Office Hour: Approaching the Game with a Situational Focus Follow All We Are Doing: Visit to listen to the entire library of episodes in The Season. Follow us on Twitter/X @CoachKGrabowski. Sign-up for our weekly newsletter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Sep 28
31 min
Communication for a Positive Second Half of the Season – John Tomlinson (USFL), Mike Judy (Smyrna HS), Brendan Walsh (Colgate)
Communication becomes even more critical as we get into the second half of the season. It keeps our players focused as well as properly manages the mental-emotional side of the game. In this episode, three coaches share approaches for clear and strong communication with players to have a positive impact on the remainder of the season. Coaches Featured in This Episode: John Tomlinson, Offensive Coordinator, USFL Mike Judy, Head Coach and Four-Time Delaware State Champion, Smyrna High School Brendan Walsh, Offensive Line Coach, Colgate University Show Notes: Honesty Repetition of the Message Useful Communication for Coaches Who Have Limited Time with Players Positive Communication for Players Different Approaches with Older Players Versus Younger Players Related Episodes: Creating a QB-Friendly Offense Developing a Passing Attack for a Young QB Additional Resources: Brendan Walsh: Going Downhill: GT Counter and Other Variations OL Fundamentals in Gap Schemes John Tomlinson: Building a Passing Attack for a Young Quarterback - Part 1 Building a Passing Attack for a Young Quarterback - Part 2 Follow All We Are Doing: Visit to listen to the entire library of episodes in The Season. Follow us on Twitter/X @CoachKGrabowski. Sign-up for our weekly newsletter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Sep 27
17 min
Stay Sharp in the Trenches – Steven Ciocci (Bryant), Siddiq Haynes (UTSA), Kyle Segler (Louisiana-Monroe)
When coaches think of player workload, we often focus on skill players and the amount of running they are doing. But we also need to be aware of workload in the context of linemen and the amount of contact they are experiencing over the course of the season. We must also effectively adjust what those players do to keep them performing at their best every week. Ultimately, the healthiest teams have the strongest finishes. Coaches must pay attention to practice loads, rep distributions, and even the drills we run in the second half of the season to keep our teams sharp and ready for game day. In this episode, three line coaches, two on offense and one on defense, discuss how they maintain peak performance for their guys in the trenches during the season. They share methodologies for rotations in practice and in games. These approaches apply to all levels and not only have a positive impact on the physical side of the game for players but also the mental and motivational sides as well. Coaches Featured in This Episode: Steven Ciocci, Offensive Line Coach, Bryant University Siddiq Haynes, Defensive Line Coach, UTSA Kyle Segler, Offensive Line Coach, University of Louisiana-Monroe Show Notes: Depth and Tracking Player Loads Rep Counts Practice Reps in the Second Half of the Season Efficiency During the Week Player Rotations EBE: Everybody Eats Limiting Veteran Reps During Individual Periods Emphasizing Younger Player Reps as the Season Progresses Motivational Impact Related Episodes: Mental Warfare and Calculating the Pass Rush Plan Get to Sack City Creating Individual Drills and Practice Periods That Translate to Game Day Additional Resources: Siddiq Haynes: Pass Rush - Get to Sack City Kyle Segler: TE Utilization in Multiple Set Offense Follow All We Are Doing: Visit to listen to the entire library of episodes in The Season. Follow us on Twitter/X @CoachKGrabowski. Sign-up for our weekly newsletter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Sep 26
21 min
Evaluating Defensive Performance and Making Adjustments – Eric Kasperowicz (Mars HS), Shane Dierking (North Central), Ty Gower (Princeton HS)
In this episode, three coaches give us their approaches to adjustments to their defensive units. These mid-season evaluations are crucial to remaining on the right track or getting back on the right track when necessary. Each coach gives unique insight into how he views the successes and challenges a defense faces and how to continue to coach the unit throughout the season. Coaches Featured in This Episode: Eric Kasperowicz, Head Coach, Mars High School (PA) Shane Dierking, Defensive Coordinator, North Central College Ty Gower, Defensive Coordinator, Princeton High School (TX) Show Notes: Eric Kasperowicz Success Indicators Point Per Series Areas of Weakness Asking Yourself the Right Questions Making Adjustments  Get an Outsider's View Shane Dierking Finding Your Identity Weekly Goals as Motivation Focus on the Now But See the Bigger Picture Presenting the Results to the Defense Ty Gower Approach to Mid-Season Adjustments  Looking at the Impact of Injuries Self-Scout Focus on Getting Better  Keep Enough Bullets to Fire Additional Episodes: Shane Dierking Manipulating Gaps to Limit Explosives An Obsession with Learning and Growing Plus Coaching the 4-2-5 Eric Kasperowicz Challenges to Culture and Defensive Disguise Uptempo Defense Related Resources: Shane Dierking Defending Empty Formations Manipulating Gaps Eric Kaperowicz: Defending Stacks & Bunch Sets Defending Spread, Tempo & RPOs with the 4-3 Building a Successful Program at the HS Level Basics of the 4-3 Defense Stopping the Run in the 4-3 Defense Stopping the Pass in the 4-3 Defense Defending 10 Personnel from an Even Front Ty Gower: Adding More Tools For Your Defensive Toolbox Defensive Weekly Game Prep-Saturday To Game Day Guide To Winning The Battle Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Sep 25
17 min
Keeping It Simple and Continuing to Evolve Your Style – AJ Smith, OC, XFL Houston Roughnecks
In this episode, AJ Smith, offensive coordinator for the Houston Roughnecks, helps us keep our call sheets and game plans simple, while continuing to evolve as coaches. Show Notes: Keeping It Simple Process for Adding/Deleting Have More Things That Beat Everything If You Didn’t Use It in a Week, Retrain It Be Disciplined to Not Add Too Much 80% of Your Game Plan Should Be Stuff You Have Been Doing Since Camp Put New Things in the Openers The Conversion Rate of Two-Pointer Take Weeks to Develop a Concept Building Confidence Trying to Replicate Plays from Twitter Developing Your Style Building and Adjusting While Staying True to Style Stay on the Cutting-Edge at the High School Level Additional Episodes with AJ Smith: OC Office Hour The Most Important Components of Offense Related Resources: Official Air Raid Certification Air Raid Blog 2023 National Air Raid Convention 2023 Official Air Raid Masters Follow All We Are Doing: Visit to listen to the entire library of episodes in The Season. Follow us on Twitter/X @CoachKGrabowski. Sign-up for our weekly newsletter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Sep 21
33 min
Mid-Season Workload: Understand Player Needs – Cris Reisert (Tiffin University) and Chris Softley (Lubbock Christian)
As your team gets to the middle part of the season, it is important to be in tune with what your players are feeling physically as the reps of the season begin to take their toll. Today, coaches have access to all kinds of technology to help be in sync with our players. These tools allow us to better understand what reps to give players in practice, how to scale back, and how to push them when necessary. In this episode, two coaches share their philosophies and approaches to keeping their teams healthy and performing optimally as the season rolls on. Coaches Featured in This Episode: Cris Reisert, Head Coach, Tiffin University Chris Softley, Head Coach, Lubbock Christian School Show Notes: Recovery Workouts Everyone Practices/Suits Up Practice Plans Lifting Plans Game Day Lifts Know Their Fatigue Meters Visit to listen to the entire library of episodes in The Season. Follow us on Twitter/X @CoachKGrabowski. Sign-up for our weekly newsletter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Sep 20
12 min
Self-Scouting Your Calls and Your Culture – Dante Bartee (Oregon) and Morgan Scalley (Utah)
The mid-season self-scout provides insight into the calls we move forward with as well as what we need to do to keep our culture at the heart of our team’s performance. In this episode, two coaches put together these two aspects of your team’s performance to this point in the season, providing actionable data to optimize your chances for success in the second half of the season. Coaches Featured in This Episode: Dante Bartee, Analyst, University of Oregon Morgan Scalley, Defensive Coordinator, University of Utah Show Notes: A Methodical Approach to Self-Scouting How Plans Have Worked So Far Where to Go Next Four Aspects of the Data Self-Scouting Culture RSNB: Relentless, Smart, Nasty, Ballhawks Visit to listen to the entire library of episodes in The Season. Follow us on Twitter/X @CoachKGrabowski. Sign-up for our weekly newsletter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Sep 19
17 min
Adding Wrinkles to Meetings, Practices, and Drills for Continuous Improvement – Eric Marty (Michigan Panthers), Scotty Walden (Austin Peay), Tommy Zagorski (Otterbein)
The mid season is definitely a time to keep a focus on developing fundamentals and football IQ for how those fundamentals are applied within the context of the game. In this episode, we talk with three coaches about how they use competition and accountability to keep their teams engaged, as well as what is emphasized in meetings, practice periods, and drills to accomplish that end. Each coach shares an idea on how they keep their teams focused so that execution on game day is as sharp as possible. These ideas can provide great value to your team here in the mid season. Coaches Featured in This Episode: Eric Marty, Offensive Coordinator, Michigan Panthers Scotty Walden, Head Coach, Austin Peay State University Tommy Zagorski, Head Coach, Otterbein University Show Notes: Unit or Team Video Quizzes For The Brand (FTB) Situational Competitions Developing EDD with Situational Focus Visit to listen to the entire library of episodes in The Season. Follow us on Twitter/X @CoachKGrabowski. Sign-up for our weekly newsletter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Sep 18
16 min
The Strategic Power of the Self-Scout - James Vint
The self-scout is an invaluable tool for any offensive coordinator. It involves a thorough analysis of one's own team's offensive tendencies and performance. It helps you identify patterns in your play calling and maximizes your strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately, self-scouting promotes adaptability and unpredictability, key elements in outsmarting opposing defenses. It provides a roadmap for improvement, making us more versatile and better equipped to win by constantly evolving and staying one step ahead of the competition. That’s what we will be discussing with James Vint today. We take a look at simple ways to look at the data that are efficient with your time yet produce actionable information to put your offensive in a position to win. The actionable part is the wrinkles and adjustments that you strategically implement as the season rolls on. We cover all of that with Coach Vint. Show Notes: Importance of the self-scout Don’t be out-coached How to think about tendencies Setting up tendencies The data does not lie What is our identity based on the data   Finding and using the right data Key data points STING  Learning from the data and adjusting  Who is the ball going to? Every concept has a compliment If-thens Borrow dynamic players from the defense  Building in wrinkles and the right time to use those Think ahead Coach Vint Resources: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Sep 14
32 min
Keeping the Team Focused and Motivated Mid Season -  Levi Nelson (PCA), Loren Johnson (Highland Springs HS), Matt Drinkall (Army West Point)
When we hit the middle of the season one aspect to pay attention to is the mental and emotional state of our team. To this point in the season, there’s a range of successes or failures a team may have experienced. Things may be 100% on track for your goals as a team for the season, or the goals your team was focused on may be out of their control. This is something that my coaching staff and I had to deal with at one of the high school programs I was leading. We hit the midpoint of the season expecting to be doing much better than we did. We hit adversity early and struggled. In our first game, we lost to a team that I scheduled because I knew it would be a challenge and we were looking to push our program forward with a stronger schedule. We won two games then lost a tight game and a double overtime game to two of the tougher opponents in our conference, so we sat at the midpoint with a conference championship and the playoffs out of our control.   We could see emotionally that our team was drained after an adversity-packed beginning of the season that also included some injuries. So what we decided to do was restart the season. When our players reported on Monday we said the way we see it is we have a five-game season. The past is out of our control, but we have five games that are in our control. We won four in a row starting with an overtime win over another tough conference opponent, and stood toe-to-toe with our rival losing late in our last game which became known locally as the mud bowl. The restart gave our players new energy and truthfully it did the same for the staff. In today’s episode, three coaches talk about keeping the team’s focus through celebrating things outside of wins and losses, focusing on a theme each week, and even outsourcing to the players the vocal messages before and after practice and even on game day Show Notes: Levi Nelson -Positive Coach Alliance He talks about how he used a whiteboard and helmet stickers to recognize and award players for demonstrating the core values of their team and the impact it had on the team. Loren Johnson, Head Coach of 5x state champion head coach of Highland Springs High School(VA) Loren Johnson. He talks about how utilizing a weekly theme helps keep the team focused on the game in front of them rather than looking ahead or dwelling on previous games. Matt Drinkall, Army Co-Offensive Coordinator Coach Drinkall talks about the two things that do keep a team focused and motivated, but also what he has done to involve the players in leading more vocally and taking that out of the hands of the coaches. Keeping a team focused and motivated in the grind of a long season whether it is going well or not as planned is important and really starts to come to light at the midpoint. Hopefully, this gives you a few ideas to help your team as you progress through the season. Be sure to check all the episodes of this designed to address the issues and aspects of the season. Go to for the entire catalog of episodes in this series. For a quick rundown of the ideas shared, sign up for our weekly tips sheet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Sep 13
18 min
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