Coach Russell’s Ruminations – August

Welcome to August, football season, and my “Camp Edition” of Coach Russell’s Ruminations.

My first thought for this month is something I think far too many men in our profession struggle with. There seems to be an eternal struggle between being a good coach and a good father. If you’re fortunate enough to have children, you know exactly what I mean. I’m lucky enough to have three children at home, so this particular topic is important to me – especially as the grind of training camp kicks in.

In our society, there are many men who don’t have enough time to be around their children, nurturing them. These men are soldiers/Marines/sailors/airmen, law enforcement personnel, or simply the guy busting his hump working multiple jobs to provide for his family. This is a sad reality. In the coaching field, there are many men who have convinced themselves that they don’t have the time to be the type of father they want to be. This is a tragedy. I would ask you all to make sure you know the difference. We often think players aren’t paying attention, but they’re paying much closer attention than we think. If you talk about family, they’ll want to see you practicing what you preach. Work hard, be prepared, but don’t neglect what’s important. Time can never be replaced.

On a much lighter note, if you’re school is like mine, training camp means team meals in the dining hall. We’re fortunate at Norwich, because our dining hall is really, really good. It’s always tough to maintain discipline with dietary intake when there are so many available options. If you’re making a decent living coaching football, practice some “push-aways” during those meal times. However, if you’re a GA or a restricted earnings coach, I offer this piece of advice: anyone can eat until they’re full – it takes a man to keep going. Get it while you can, men!

Finally, camp is a grind. That’s no secret. Keep it focused, but keep it fresh and fun. At the end of the day, football is a game. Games which aren’t fun are easily discarded. Your players have to believe you have their best interest at heart. Whether it’s a joke thrown into a drill, or a fun competition to break up the monotony, it’s a small price to pay to keep your guys engaged. There’s a reason the most successful programs in our sport take teams on random bowling trips, etc.

My final training camp thought is: take care of your feet! My first boss told me that after my very first practice, and I’ve lived it ever since. I’m off the field, through the shower, and into flip flops as quickly as possible. I’ve gotta let ’em breathe!


Best of luck to everyone this fall. I can’t wait to see what camp brings, and what thoughts I can share with you. As always, I can be reached at for any questions, criticisms, or concerns.