The Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation on Thursday hosted the Washington Redskins High School Coaches Clinic for 100 high school coaches from the Washington, D.C., region.
Friday night's second preseason game for the Redskins, in which they will host the New York Jets, will be a flashback to where it all began for both players and coaches – under the Friday night lights.
100 high school coaches from Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia participated in the Redskins High School Coaches Clinic, which included a panel with Sean McVay, Joe Barry and Ben Kotwica.
On Thursday, the Redskins were able to give back to those who gave their career a start during the Washington Redskins High School Coaches Clinic at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va. The clinic, which was hosted by the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation and presented by Inova Sports Medicine, allowed roughly 100 coaches to watch the Redskins complete their walkthrough practice prior to a speaker's panel that included a bevy of special guests and lunch in the team dining room.
After a welcome from Redskins President Bruce Allen and head coach Jay Gruden, former Redskins general manager Charley Casserly led an insightful panel discussion that included Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay, defensive coordinator Joe Barry and special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica. The panel discussion was followed by keynote speakers Redskins team physician Dr. Brandon Bryant and Mike Burnett, the Tuscarora High School head coach and winner of the 2015 Don Shula High School Head Coach of the Year award.
McVay, Barry and Kotwica addressed a wide range of questions from using and defending the read option to drills for kickers and punters. The coaches, which came from the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia area, could be seen jotting down notes and discussing strategy with fellow coaches.
"I think it's awesome. I think it's a wonderful deal. I know all of us as coaches, as players, we were influenced by our high school head coach. I've been very fortunate to work for great head coaches while being a coach, but the first guy I owe everything to is my high school head coach," said Barry, who still keeps in touch regularly with his high school coach. "I kind of have an annual deal where on my way to training camp, that's the phone call I make (to my high school coach) and talk to him."
McVay, like his fellow coordinators, preached consistency and sticking to team philosophies established early on. Much of what McVay has learned came from early on in his football life.
"Some of the most influential people in my coaching career were some of my high school football coaches," he said. "Those guys were very influential in my life and kind of shaped my core philosophy in what I believe in as a coach. I think it's excellent that these guys get to come out here because we learn just as much from them as well."
Following the panel discussion and speeches, all of the participants enjoyed lunch at Redskins Park.
"I learned a lot," said Jerron Joe, the head coach of Washington, D.C.'s Dunbar High School – the alma mater of Redskins tight end Vernon Davis, "Just to hear the insight from professional coaches – I've met college coaches and high school coaches at different levels – but just to have professional coaches reiterate what you've learned over the years is always good."
"For every single player in the National Football League, it started in high school," Barry said. "For us to be able to give an hour today back to the high school coaches, the local coaches, it's great – I love it."