2014 AFCA Convention: The best of Days 2-3

Earlier I posted my least favorite moments of this year’s convention HERE, but overall the quality of the speakers and the presentations have been great. (You can read about the highlights from the first day of AFCA by clicking HERE)

Below I’ve included highlights from the past two days here in Indianapolis. If you’d like the FULL version of my notes from all the speakers I attended, you can sign up for the Life After Football Insider Email for FREE by signing up HERE.


Grad Assistant/ Career Forum

Q: How do you develop relationships with coaching mentors?

Jake Spavital of Texas A&M

Jake Spavital of Texas A&M

A: Jake Spavital – Texas A&M: I always tried to be around those guys as much as possible, because they always brought good people with them who I may not know. This lets me expand my network while still staying close to guys who I trust.

Q: What characteristics do you look for in a good GA or when deciding whether or not to hire a GA on as a full-time coach?

Chad Morris, OC at Clemson University

Chad Morris, OC at Clemson University

A: Chad Morris – OC Clemson: I want someone who I don’t have to ask to do something, they already know what I want, what I need done. Doesn’t mean they have to read your mind, it just means they’re familiar enough with your needs and preferences that they can anticipate what you or other coaches will need next. Shows that you’re paying attention (Read more from Chad Morris on the Clemson offense HERE)

Q: What aspects of the interviewee do you focus on the most?

Gus Malzahn

Gus Malzahn

A: Gus Malzahn – Auburn: If I bring a guy in, I already know a lot about him, who he’s worked with, etc. I want to know what kind of person they are, are they the right fit? I’ve already read your resume, tell me about yourself. I can tell within the first five minutes whether a guy is telling me what he thinks I want to hear or if he’s being genuine.

Dr. Brian Hainline – NCAA Chief Medical Officer

An athlete who is 90% trained will perform better than an athlete who is 105% trained.

Dr.Brian Hainline

Dr.Brian Hainline

College football players are typically the most sleep-deprived athletes on campus. For proper recovery from physical activity, an athlete needs an average of 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

Overtraining is responsible for a large percentage of athletic-related injuries

David Cutcliffe – Duke

“There’s a name for people who aren’t passionate about what they do, they’re called the unemployed!”

David Cutcliffe of Duke University

David Cutcliffe of Duke University

On the importance of forming real relationships: “Make sure your relationships are real. There’s no bigger fool in the world than those who think they can fool young people.”

When hiring a staff, surround yourself with football people. When Coach Cutcliffe hires staff, he wants to make sure football is important to them. This applies not only to the coaches, but to the equipment guys, video guys, secretaries as well.

Nick Saban – Alabama

It’s true that there is no ‘I’ in team, but there is an ‘I’ in win.

With these kids today, the reality is that if you don’t make it about them, and show them how what you’re doing will benefit them, you’ll lose them.

If I have to tell you who this guy is, you're on the wrong site.

If I have to tell you who this guy is, you’re on the wrong site.

When I’m recruiting players, I tell them and their parents that you’re not my guys for 3-5 years, you’re my guys forever.

The human condition is to survive, not to be great. Most players don’t want to be the best, they just want to survive. That doesn’t mean they’re bad, it just means they’re a normal person.


Art Briles – Baylor

“If you ever feel like you’ve arrived in this profession, then you’re through.”

Art Briles of Baylor University

Art Briles of Baylor University

When you come into a situation where they haven’t had a lot of success (Houston, Baylor) you need to emphasize the positives. People see what they want to see, so if you want to see positives on your team, you’ll see positives; if you want to see negatives, you’ll see those too.

One of the traps a successful team can fall into is failing to change and continue to get better, because they’re winning and don’t feel like they need to continue to improve. Make sure that whether you’re winning or losing, you’re always looking to do things at least a little differently so no one passes you by.

Mark D’Antonio – Michigan State

It’s important to realize that I didn’t get here on my own, this didn’t just happen. This is a people business, first and foremost.


Mark D’Antonio after beating Stanford in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day

“We always tell our players to dream beyond the scope of what’s possible.”

On zone defense: A good way benchmark for success when playing zone coverage is being able to break 1/3 the distance that the ball is thrown. In other words, if the ball is thrown 15 yards to the deep third, the corner should be able to cover a distance of at least five yards on his break before the ball gets there.

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