304 episodes

Inside the Headset with the AFCA takes you in-depth with interviews, anecdotes, and breakdown of X&O's with football coaches around the country.

Inside the Headset with the AFCA American Football Coaches Association

    • Sports
    • 4.8 • 210 Ratings

Inside the Headset with the AFCA takes you in-depth with interviews, anecdotes, and breakdown of X&O's with football coaches around the country.

    Jeremy Hawkins, DL - Eastern Kentucky

    Jeremy Hawkins, DL - Eastern Kentucky

    This week on Inside the Headset, we are featuring the Defensive Line Coach and Defensive Run Game Coordinator from Eastern Kentucky, Jeremy Hawkins. Coach Hawkins discusses the adversity faced in the profession, the financial sacrifice of being a coach, and his professional development with the AFCA.
    Jeremy Hawkins joined Eastern Kentucky's staff as the defensive line coach in January 2020. Coach Hawkins has also spent time as player personnel director at LSU and UAB. He was a four-year letter winner at Troy and earned his bachelor's degree in sports and fitness management in 2009 and a master's degree in sports administration in 2014. Coach Hawkins was also recently selected as a member of the 2022 AFCA 35 under 35 class this past winter.
    1:45 What drives your passion to coach?
    3:55 How do you stay consistent with your energy?
    6:35 Time as Player Personnel Director
    7:30 Hard times in the coaching profession
    12:00 How did you address difficulties financially?
    18:20 Professional development with AFCA
    21:47 NFL Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship
    26:30 Setting the bar for next year’s class
    27:00 Social Media/Conclusion

    • 29 min
    Bryan Nardo, DC - Gannon University

    Bryan Nardo, DC - Gannon University

    This week on Inside the Headset, we are featuring the Defensive Coordinator at Gannon University, Bryan Nardo. Coach Nardo discusses his start in coaching and his career path, his defensive and recruiting philosophy, and the impact the AFCA has had on his career.
    Bryan Nardo is currently coaching at Gannon University as the Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers coach. He was appointed in February 2022 after 2 years at Youngstown State and 8 years at Emporia State. Coach Nardo was named the Great Lakes Football Conference Assistant Coach of the Year in 2011 while working at Missouri S&T in Rolla, MO. He was also selected as a member of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) 35 Under 35 Coaches Leadership Institute in 2019.
    1:20 When did you decide to coach?
    2:45 Who did you reach out to for beginning your career?
    4:25 Experience as student coach
    6:15 Family in the coaching profession
    8:20 Work/Life Balance
    10:52 How to separate work from home
    14:00 Transitioning to a new job
    17:25 How long till you got your next job?
    18:50 Defensive Philosophy Going to Gannon
    21:45 Who do you go to for X&O’s help?
    24:12 Experience recruiting at different levels
    28:12 What does being a part of the AFCA 35u35 Class mean to you?
    30:10 Social/Conclusion
    Twitter: @CoachNardo27
    Email: nardo001@gannon.edu

    • 32 min
    Jameson Croall, Head Coach - United States Merchant Marine Academy

    Jameson Croall, Head Coach - United States Merchant Marine Academy

    This week on Inside the Headset, we are featuring Jameson Croall, the Head Coach at the United States Merchant Marine Academy. Coach Croall explains the unique opportunity coaching at a service academy, his coaching path, and some key takeaways from his involvement with the AFCA.
    Coach Croall was recently named USMMA Football's head coach in August 2022. This will be his 11th year with the program, first as HC. The previous 10 years Coach Croall served as the Offensive Coordinator and Offensive Line Coach. A 2009 graduate of Springfield College, Croall played for four years as an offensive lineman for the Pride while earning his bachelor’s degree in physical education. He graduated with his master’s degree from Springfield in 2020.
    Show Notes:
    0:51 Start of Interview
    1:07 What sets apart military academies from other football universities
    3:12 Is military service commitment required, what does that look like?
    6:30 What is your approach when recruiting at high schools?
    9:02 Is your current position the end goal?
    12:44 What are the first stats you look at after the game (excluding the score)?
    13:48 Magic conversion percentage
    14:30 How much of a priority is time of possession?
    18:27 How have you developed your offensive philosophy?
    21:00 What games do you want to watch the most during a bye-week?
    22:06 What are the rewarding parts of coaching a player at a service academy?
    25:15 What roles have you played as a coach and within your community; the correlation to serving your team and becoming head coach
    28:18 Coaching Volleyball
    30:10 What has been your experience with the AFCA and what growth have you seen within yourself sense becoming a 30 Under 30 member?
    33:45 Social Media
    34:36 End of Interview

    • 36 min
    Eli Gardner, Head Coach - Stonehill College

    Eli Gardner, Head Coach - Stonehill College

    This week on Inside the Headset, we are featuring Stonehill College’s head football coach Eli Gardner. Coach Gardner discusses the new changes in a coach’s career, the change to Division 1 FCS for Stonehill College, and his experience with the AFCA 35u35.
    Coach Gardner is in his seventh year as the head coach at Stonehill. He served in other roles at Stonehill before taking over the head coaching position with experience as the special teams & defensive coordinator and associate head coach. Coach Gardner was a part of the 2018 AFCA 35U35 class at the 2018 AFCA Convention in Charlotte, NC. Coach Gardner is a 2008 graduate of Western New England University, where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Management. Gardner completed his Master’s Degree in Athletic Administration from Endicott College in 2014.
    1:44 Journey of Climbing the Coaching Ladder
    3:16 When did you meet your wife?
    4:53 How to prepare family for reality of coaching
    7:33 Coaching goals when you first started?
    9:54 What changes have you created at Stonehill?
    12:11 Any new hires at Stonehill?
    16:01 What are some unforeseen responsibilities for you as the HC
    19:56 Changes from D2 to D1-FCS
    24:32 How prepared were you for the change in divisions
    27:16 Prepping players for the jump
    29:46 Spring Recruiting - Post D1 Announcement
    32:46 Experience with 2018 AFCA 35u35 class
    36:13 Social/Conclusion
    Twitter Accounts to Follow For More:

    • 39 min
    Julian Griffin, RBs - UTSA

    Julian Griffin, RBs - UTSA

    This week on Inside the Headset we are featuring Julian Griffin, the running backs coach at UTSA. Coach Griffin discusses his role as NFL Liaison, his recruiting approach, and the importance of having mentors in the profession.
    Julian Griffin played wide receiver at ULM from 2008-2012 before becoming a coach at Texas A&M Kingsville. His coaching stops include ULM, Central Methodist, SMU, Arkansas, and is now present at UTSA as the running backs coach. Coach Griffin earned his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and exercise fitness from ULM in 2012 and his master’s degree in education from Texas A&M-Kingsville in 2015.
    2:11 What do NFL scouts look for?
    4:07 Experience with PRO Days
    6:29 Working with athletes outside of current discipline for NFL
    9:44 What do you look for in a RB?
    13:57 Who do you look to for advice?
    16:01 Relationship with Coach Callaway
    19:57 Playing with a target on your back
    23:14 Approach when coaching an athlete
    26:07 Conclusion
    26:39 Social
    Twitter: @Coach_Griffin_

    • 29 min
    Juwan Lewis, RBs - Davenport University

    Juwan Lewis, RBs - Davenport University

    This week on Inside the Headset we are featuring Davenport University’s running backs coach, Juwan Lewis.
    Coach Lewis discusses his passion for educating others, shares how his faith guides him to pour into his players and his family, and reflects on his community's impact on his coaching career.
    Coach Juwan Lewis joined the Davenport staff in 2021 as the running backs coach and high school recruiting coordinator. Prior to coaching at Davenport Coach Lewis was an influential leader at the University of Findlay. Coach Lewis has also coached at Hiram College and Mount Union. Coach Lewis started coaching following a career in Arena Football. Coach Lewis played college football at Eastern Michigan University and Ferris State University. In high school Coach Lewis played in the Army All-American Bowl.
    0:56 Spring Ball and Recruiting
    1:40  How do you adapt to a new OC?
    3:35 When did you decide you wanted to coach?
    6:15 Player Knowledge vs. Coaches Knowledge
    9:40 Why is sharing knowledge so important?
    12:30 Who has influenced your coaching style?
    17:30 How has becoming a father impacted you as a coach?
    19:55 How have you adjusted your time to present for both your team and your family?
    23:08 The Stable mantra
    25:59 Social Media
    Twitter: @Coach_Jlew

    • 28 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
210 Ratings

210 Ratings

Bear757 ,

Great Interviews

Coach Mint showed how full person coaching and planing can help a program!

Mike Sierra 46 ,

Love it BUT….

Absolutely love this podcast. The content is always great no matter who is on to discuss ball. BUT please turn the volume up on your audio. The volume is very low despite my speakers being on max volume. Thank you and appreciate all of y’all’s great content!

K. Jack ,

Love it!!

Awesome insight!!! Great journey!!

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