With the AFCA Convention coming up in Nashville, FootballScoop is once again outfitting you with the need-to-know guide for getting the most out of your time in Music City.
One quick suggestion before we get into the schedule - if you're fortunate enough to have some graduate assistants or interns coming along, try to make it a point to grab a meal or drink with them at some point during the trip. Introduce them to someone else who can help them along in their career. Something as small as that can mean a lot to people just starting in the profession, and most of us can remember going to the convention early on in our careers and needing every bit of help we could get.
Also, this is always topical this time of year - 11 types of coaches you'll see at the AFCA.
Catholic Mass will be held at the AFCA Convention, hosted by the Association of Catholic Coaches & Athletes. Saturday, January 11 - 5:30 p.m. & Sunday, January 12 - 8:30 a.m. Both celebrated in Bayou C Room of the Opryland Hotel in Nashville.
First things first, get registered starting at 9am on Sunday.
The popular Skills and Drills (9:30am - 5pm on Sunday and Monday) setup is back again this year highlighted by some instruction on Sunday from quality coaches like Austin Peay's Kevon Beckwith talking defensive line play, Steele HS (TX) assistant Adam Harvey talking defensive back play and First Baptist Academy (TX) head coach Jason Lovvorn talking the finer points of quarterback play, among a host of others.
Spend some time in the exhibit hall, where some truly great people and innovative products are just waiting to be seen.
For first-time attendees, it's recommended that you attend the first-timer's meeting from 4-5p, led by Alabama A&M head coach Fred Farrier.
Duke's David Cutcliffe is talking at 2pm on the importance of high school football, followed by some notable high school coaches taking the stage to talk about program development. That is followed by a high school coaches forum at 4pm featuring Georgia Tech's Geoff Collins and Tennessee-Chattanooga's Rusty Wright.
PJ Fleck will formally kick off the convention at 5pm with a general session that is sure to be both well attended and full of enthusiasm.
The first round of Buzz Sessions will run from 6-7pm and feature Seth Wallace (Iowa), Aaron Fletcher (Tulsa), Kwahn Drake (Kansas), and Kerry Thompson (Allen HS, TX). Another round of Buzz sessions will get rolling from 7-8pm highlighted by sessions from Woody Blevins (Hawaii), Marcus Woodson (Auburn), Jason Eck (South Dakota State), and Brennan Marion (William & Mary).
While the hotel has a number of options under their roof, the honkey tonks and bars on Broadway are always a very popular place to spend the evening as well.
The Skills and Drills sessions continue starting Monday morning at 9:30am and the segment is highlighted by North Texas' Marty Biagi talking special teams and Louisville's Pat Ivey talking strength and conditioning.
High school coaches Trent Dilfer (Lipscomb Academy, TN), Jeff Conaway (Shiloh Christian HS, AR), and Dave Nelson of Minnetonka HS, MN) will lead a High School General Session form 8a-11a Monday Morning.
One of the convention's more well attended events - the Graduate Assistant / Career Forum will take place from 9a-11a and will be headlined by Louisville's Scott Satterfield, Samford's Chris Hatcher, Iowa's Seth Wallace, Virginia Union's Alvin Parker, and South Florida's Steve Ellis. I know Zach attends this annually, and I remember last year's was exceptional.
TCU's Gary Patterson, Arkansas State's Blake Anderson, and new Panthers head coach Matt Rhule are scheduled to speak during Monday's General Session that runs from 1:30p-5p.
FOOTBALLSCOOP PARTY INFO
Beginning at 5:30, make your way to the annual FootballScoop party at Fuse Sports Bar in the Gaylord. Scott won't be there this year (he's going to the National Championship game), so we'll need some guys to pick up his slack. Come celebrate a great year in the profession with some of the best coaches in the game.
LSU-Clemson begins shortly after 7 p.m. local. The AFCA is hosting a watch party beginning at 6:30, as are several groups of coaches. Find your jam, grab a seat and enjoy what should be the best football game of the year.
General sessions get going bright and early (8:30a-12p) with SMU's Sonny Dykes, Wake Forest's Dave Clawson, and Penn State's James Franklin talking about culture and how they've built programs.
Remember, the exhibits pack up about noon Tuesday, so make your rounds before then.
A few sessions going beyond the X's and O's as a part of the Outside the Lines segment, as well as a new topic on analytics titled "Understanding Traditional vs. Advanced Football Analytics" will debut Tuesday evening from 4p-5p.
A few more Buzz Sessions, including a handful of Division I coaches, will take place Tuesday evening from 5p-6p.