Coaching Clinics

AUGUST, 2009

FLAGFRIDAY, AUGUST 28, 2009- "The humblest individual exerts some influence, either for good or evil, upon others." Henry Ward Beecher

*********** You were worried about what outsourcing has done to American manufacturing? How about outsourcing college football?

Syracuse playing Notre Dame "at home" in New Jersey was bad enough, but now comes Indiana, playing Penn State in - Washington, DC????

Indiana, based, as most of us know, in Bloomington, Indiana, has agreed to play a 2010 "home" game against Penn State in Laurel, Maryland, at FedEx Field, the home of the Redskins. Hell, Hoosiers' fans - that's just a hop, skip and a jump from Bloomington. Okay, okay - a 12-hour drive.

Money is believed to have played a part in Indiana's decision.

*********** WEST POINT, N.Y. - Members of the Class of 1956 returned to West Point on Wednesday to participate in a dedication ceremony for a new display that was unveiled in honor of their fallen classmate and College Football Hall of Famer Don Holleder. The display is housed in the lobby of the Holleder Center, one of the main athletics facilities at West Point erected 21 years ago that is home to the Army basketball and hockey teams.

Several vintage team and individual pictures of Holleder during his days as a football and basketball player were included in the display, along with his plumed firstie hat, a cadet saber and an authentic game-used football thrown for a touchdown by Holleder during his senior year. A portrait of Holleder that the class had commissioned to be painted was also revealed during the ceremony.

In addition to his former teammates and classmates, members of Holleder's family, including his three daughters, were in attendance.

"On behalf of my sisters and our family, I thank you very much. This is a great tribute to our father," said Holleder's eldest daughter, Susan. "We appreciate the generosity that made this possible. We think that it is a testament to his class as a whole and their vision and generosity. I know that even though we were very young when he was killed, you have all kept his memory alive for us. And so for that, and for this honor and for continuing to celebrate his life, we thank you very sincerely."

Holleder was presented with the Nelson Award in 1955, given to the player who "by his conduct on the gridiron, demonstrates a high esteem for the football code and exemplifies sportsmanship to an outstanding degree." Holleder, a highly respected leader who had attained the rank of Major, was killed in action in Vietnam on October 17, 1967. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1985.

"This magnificent building, complimented by this fantastic display adequately shows the transition from cadet-athlete to commissioned officer of character," explained Army Athletics Department Chief of Staff Col. Sam Johnson. "Don Holleder represents everything we want our cadet-athletes to be and we can't thank (the Class of 1956) enough for letting us display his name on this facility and to talk about him daily with our athletes. Because we hope they all turn out like Don Holleder."

The most prestigious and important award the Army football coaching staff hands out every year, the Black Lion Award, is presented in memory of Holleder and the men of the 28th Infantry Regiment (nicknamed the "Black Lions") who died with him.

"We only have one award hanging in our locker room: the Black Lion Award," explained Army football coach Rich Ellerson. "It is a large plaque on the wall that has the Black Lion Crest and an image of Don Holleder next to a list of past award winners. Much of what goes into a player winning the award is selflessness and perfect effort. Leadership and fierce competitiveness manifested through perfect effort. That is Don Holleder. His name, his story and his example are alive on the Army football team today."

(Sign up your team to give the Black Lion Award)

*********** Hey Coach, I hope all is well. Practice starts Monday and we had a good turnout this summer. Got all the base plays in. I have a couple of questions. I just read your news column about the coach with three players missing practice. One thing I have always struggled with: how do you deal with players who miss practice because of illness?

My second question is unrelated to the first but one I have been thinking about over the summer. What is your philosophy and experience been with pregame? Do you jack the kids up so that they are foaming at the mouth, or take a calm reserved approach, or somewhere in between? What about the pregame speech?

Thanks and good luck this season.

Coach- Illness bad enough to miss practice usually calls for a note, but it will always result in some curtailment of playing time.  We are dealing with precious playing time and somebody else has earned it.  Obviously, this sort of policy is a lot tougher in a small-school situation, where there's always the danger that certain kids will figure out that you "need" them. I once heard a coaching legend named Paul Briggs, from Bakersfield, California tell a clinic that once you let a kid think that way, "he's got you in the shower with a bar of soap in his hand." (Sorry, kids, but Coach Briggs had a pretty graphic way of making his point.)

For sure, we are not well preparing them for a world in which they're expected to put in a day's work for a day's pay (yes, that world still exists in some places) by allowing them to miss work (practices) and still get paid (playing in games).

As for your second question - I was asked in a job interview what I did to motivate kids, and I said that I motivate kids by preparing them - by giving them confidence that they are ready to play.

The fire of a pre-game talk lasts maybe through the first two or three plays.  Maybe.

Perhaps age has done this to me, but I am calm in getting ready for a game.  I see that as my job.  The kids are plenty excited as it is, and I think it's important that they see me as stable and under control. And confident. I talk to them matter-of-factly and I go over things that they can't afford to lose sight of in their excitement, such as

(1) When substituting, run on, run off, call the man's name
(2) Unless you are a captain, don't talk to an official
(3) Don't talk to anyone except a teammate or one of your coaches
(4) Walk away from trouble and pull a teammate away
(5) Protect the ball at all times
(6) If you make a mistake, flush it
(7) Be a tower of strength for your teammates
(8) Understand that something is going to go wrong - it always does - and how you deal with it will make all the difference

I think that taking care of stuff like that is more important than getting kids "fired up."  

I might give a little talk in which I point out something about this particular opponent ("never forget what they did to you last year") and I might try to sneak in some little thing that might serve as a rallying point should we need it.

But nothing you can do pre-game will come close in importance to solid preparation.

*********** Before our first offensive session I told the kids that talent was always nice but it wasn't going to be enough

That if you want to play...

1. Be here (When you're not here you create an opportunity for someone else)
2. Be coachable (Take correction positively)
3. Don't make mistakes (fumble, jumping, not knowing assignments)
4. Give maximum effort at all times

If I were a soccer referee I'd give them (figuratively) a yellow card the first time I told them to hustle, and the second time they'd get a red card.

*********** We are looking to add SLOT to our offensive package.  Could you please share the in/outs of slot. We have your playbook on paper, but were wondering if your 2008 highlight film or video playbook would be a great teaching tool.  If so could you please give me a price

The highlight would be very helpful.  it's $29.95 Order here

With slot are you running Super O or Super Power?

Super O - most defenses won't let you get away with pulling the tackle and with your end outside the free blocking zone you have no way of cutting him off

47/56 - C stays the same correct? 

Yes - but without that TE on the backside to shoeshine you can't lead with the fullback

6-G/7-G are good or not good??

Not there.  But 4-X/5-X are usually good.

How large is the split between the ends & tackles???

Base is 1-2 men outside the wing.  The wing is tight with the tackle, just as if he had lined up as TE and taken a step back.

Do you put TE type players or WR type kids @ X/Y??

Tough question - we usually wind up with a hybrid kid. Maybe not fast enough to be a WR, and not big and strong enough to be a TE.  I think of a bigger, slower running back.  The more athletic the better.

Is there anything you will not run from slot???  What are some strengths/weaknesses of slot??? 

Not many weaknesses. You really can't run G, and you can't run power (have to run O). Advantages - a look that people never see. Better releases for pass routes. You usually see a guy in a "5" technique. You can make use of smaller, faster ends (they still have to block, but they get some great angles on inside LBers).

for a quick look at my slot at practice...

*********** Hugh, DC must be some kind of secret Steeler Nation outpost. I'm sure the Super Bowl has produced some front-runners, but they are incredibly popular for an out of market team. I see car magnets with "luv ya black and gold" and the Stiller logo all over the place. When I went to the Monday Night game between the Skins and Steelers, 30% of the crowd was Steeler fans.

Christopher Anderson, Arlington, Virginia

Stillers fans do travel well, but also, the collapse of the Steel industry sent so many people from Western PA packing, so now there is a diaspora of former Pittsburghers in every city in the US.  I doubt that there is a major city  US that doesn't have a Steelers bar someplace  where fans from the Burgh get together on Sundays.  In Portland (which has one), that means starting to drink shots and beer at 10 AM.

It's the same thing with Buffalo fans, too.  They're everywhere, and very passionate about the Bills.

In soccer, it's the Mexican National team. Anytime they play in the US against an American team, no matter where it is, their fans always outnumber the host team's.

It's the opposite of Jack Kent Cooke's statement when he first brought NHL hockey to the LA area and it was not exactly a success.  When someone remarked that that was strange, since there were so many Canadians living in Southern California, he said, "and they all must moved here because they don't like hockey."


A former assistant coach at a high school in San Antonio is responsible for the rule change.  He was in the box last year and was knocked down by an official as he was following the play.  He suffered a head injury and according to the lawsuit is permanently disabled.  He is suing the official and his crew claiming that they were negligent in performing their duties by not making sure that everyone was out of the way.  The brief also states that the official was “aggressively” running down the sideline.  The National Association of Sports Officials filed an amicus brief with the Fourth Court of Appeals to challenge this ridiculous lawsuit.  Here’s the link to it: http://www.naso.org/Amicus_brief/Amicus_brief.pdf.  The overall tone is that anyone who is even remotely familiar with the game understands that being on the sidelines is a potentially dangerous place to be and you are there at your own risk.  Apparently, this coach is trying to get money for an incident that he created (he’s a coach he knows officials are running the sideline) and now the rest of us are affected.
Joel Mathews,
Independence, Missouri
(Well, that certainly makes sense. Just like the reasoning that took slides off our playgrounds and diving boards from our swimming pools. Now, after the article in Sports Illustrated about Mark Buonoconti and his courageous life since his catastrophic football injury, I suppose someone will suggest outlawing tackling. HW)

*********** Coach Wyatt, I agree, this rule is absurd and will cost several games.

I think this is the reason for the rule.  I've read several other articles.  Basically, the coach's insurance company sued the referees and their union saying the referees were responsible for the injury because they did not enforce the existing rules.


Jody Hagins, Summerville, South Carolina

Make me laugh. I'm just waiting till someone breaks his neck lowering his head and his lawyers (rightfully) get on the officials for not enforcing the rule against leading with the head. HW

*********** Coach,
A kid I used to coach is now a ref, and when I asked about it, he said the reason for it is because some side judges were injured while running with a play. I have been involved in football since 1964 and have been coaching since 1977, this is bullshit. Do they get these guys from soccer?  

Bert Ford Jr.
Head Football Coach
Army and Navy Academy, Carlsbad, California
(When I first heard of the rule, that's what I suspected, seeing as how sideline officials have been dropping off like flies after collisions with coaches, but apparently this one is just one more in a long line of "proactive" moves to avert a lawsuit. HW)

*********** Coach, Looked at the X Post Y Crossing route yesterday for the first time, wow...that's a good one!  I couldn't believe how open it was and how our DC didn't even know where the open reciever came from.  They were totally confused by it. 

Gabe McCown                                         
Piedmont, OK-USA  

One of the great benefits of our tight formation is that it's easy to get guys across the field, and if the defense happens to be playing man, your receiver automatically has the jump on the guy covering him, who has to line up outside as part of his run responsibility!

*********** Coach, We scrimmaged ------ this past Saturday.  They are a very senior-heavy team that is ranked #1 in AAA in several polls.  Our kids did a great job.  While we failed to put it in the end zone, we moved the ball more effectively than we had in the past two years.  I'm very proud of my kids and excited for our first game.  One thing we did have trouble with was wedge.  We had trouble getting push, as the DL was going low.  Any suggestions?  Also, the down blocking worked well against their 3-5 scheme.  Hope all is going well for you and your team.

I'm pleased to hear that things went well.

It is always possible that the wedge will not be there, but usually what that means is that they have decided to give up their line to stopping one play.  That's a good trade for you, because it makes them vulnerable to down blocks, makes them likely to overpenetrate and therefore be susceptible to traps, and will also make it difficult for them to pursue.

We are just two days in with a lot of work to do, but we do have some very good speed at the wings.

Continued good luck

*********** Hi Hugh. I’m working on the play sequence now for the first game. Can you share with me the any play sequence ideas or recommendations I should install or a general thought about your approach to play order? When would you pass?

I have no prearranged play sequence.  The pros do it and it works for them, but our games are too short,  our ability to observe and analyze is so inferior to theirs, and our dependence on controlling the ball is so important that we could blow a couple of drives and find ourselves down by a couple of scores before we figured out.  Then, too, there is the fact that they pretty much know what they're going to see on the other side of the ball, while we frequently have no idea what we'll see.

I'll have a play or two that I intend to start with - maybe wedge, maybe Super Power - because they're the sort of play that people know they have to stop, and I want to see how they're set up to stop them.

If they don't stop it, they're going to see it until they do.  Why should I stop it?

But I am also trying to see what they're doing, so that if they do stop it, I have some idea why.  At least 50 per cent of the time, I'd say, the play is stopped because of something we failed to do, not something the defense did.

It's hard to say when to pass.   For sure, the best time for a running team to throw is when your running game is working and the last thing they're worried about is pass defense. But then, since your running game is working, why would you pass? 

 If it succeeds, you're a genius.  If it fails, you're an idiot. Certainly, you have to consider the downside, including the effect of an interception or sack on your kids' morale.

To use a boxing analogy, you keep jabbing and picking up points (running the ball) and setting him up for a knockout punch (the pass). But to throw the big one, you expose yourself to a punch.

If your jabs are rocking him, it may be best to keep sticking the jab in his face.

For sure, I am unlikely to pass when I am supposed to pass - in long-distance situations.  On the other hand, I don't plan on being in those situations. One of the reasons I run the offense I do is to avoid long-yardage situations, and everything I do in our coaching is directed at not losing yardage.  Usually, the culprit is holding, and that's why we work so hard on how we block, making sure we keep our hands in.  Unlike passing teams, which treat holding as just a part of the risk you take when you teach blocking the way they do, we don't have the ability to make it up in one play and we're nuts to think we can.

There are certain passes that the defense gives us in gearing up to stop the run, and we know what we're looking for.

But when you get down to it,  it's still largely a matter of feel - an art, not a science. After a while, you just feel it in your gut.

*********** It mystifies me that we continue to debate the merits of allowing Michael Vick to play a game, while celebrating the life of a man who for the sake of his career left the scene of an accident - and left a young woman to die - and yet was allowed to spend 47 years in the United States Senate.   

*********** Arizona State has a 6-8, 237 pound true freshman named Brock Osweiler. At quarterback. He originally committed to Gonzaga to play basketball, and when he had a change of mind and decided to play football, said ASU coach Dennis Erickson, "Gonzaga doesn't have a football program; that helped." The kid's from Kalispell, Montana, and Erickson said he had heard about him from "all my friends in Montana," where Erickson played his college ball.               

*********** Coach, You will notice that my tailback is running at full speed when he catches the ball and still has room to run to daylight. His initial depth of 9-10 yards makes this possible. He does not run at a pre-designated hole but actually runs straight up the center line until he catches the ball, and then he is free to run anywhere along the front (although he knows where he is most likely to be successful). This is only successful if the kid is a natural tailback type.

Coach-- I noticed on your Hyak Highlight video that your TB in the stack I is very deep.  Obviously it works for you, but could you explain your reasons for putting him that deep?  My TBs when I ran the I formation were at 6.5-7 yards.

*********** was just watching this movie that was loosely based on football back in the 1920's called "Leatherheads."   There were a couple of terms used of illegal plays that I never heard and they never explained what they were.  I was wondering if you ever hear of pig in a poke, chasing a cat tail or, crusty bob.  I've researched this online but found nothing.

Never heard of them, but I've always had a few plays myself, "specials", whose names were known only to our team.

*********** Say what one may about Coach Carroll, but this is just awesome: Todd Bross


when practicing a play, should I just read off and walk thru their assignments or give a copy of the written play to them or what?  This is all new to me.  I know I can do it but what is the best approach the first year doing this?
An old coaching adage is - "TALK IT, WALK IT, RUN IT, REP IT" (some say, "CHALK IT, WALK IT, RUN IT, REP IT") --- In other words, explain the play (diagram it if you have to) and demonstrate things yourself; next, have the players walk through it until it's apparent to you that they understand. Then gradually pick up the tempo until they are running it full speed. Then, once it appears that they can run it - REP it - they need many, many successful repetitions. Emphasis on "successful" - you have to be able to make corrections. They won't learn anything good if they merely rep the play poorly.
I haven't given out play sheets since 1982.

*********** Suggestions on troubleshooting the Wildcat snap---

First of all, it could be  simply a matter of their needing reps. 

But reps won't help if they're doing it incorrectly.

Typically if it rolls on the ground he's got too much weight on the ball... If it goes too high it's the tail coming up but it's also his hands coming too high on the follow-through.  


Move their grips closer to mid-ball.

Get weight off the ball. 

Keep their heels on the ground. 

Make sure their heads are up. 

bungeeIf problems persist, stretch a band (bungee cord?) between the snapper's knees. The photo at left shows how it serves as a restrictor, teaching the snapper where his snapping motion should stop. This will end the problem of the high snap caused by a high follow-through.

We have practiced the snaps against one of those low beach chairs with the plastic webbing - the kind that sit flat on the beach. It's about the right height and if the snap us too hard it'll knock it over. 

*********** Tyrone Willingham of Washington. Gone. Stan Brock of Army. Gone. Both good men, both unable to turn losing programs around. And both, I submit, victims to some degree of their decisions to close their practices to "outsiders."

In Coach Willingham's case, it meant the Seattle media and big-buck Husky donors.

In Coach Brock's case, it meant Generals having to take orders from their alma mater's football coach. Coach Blaik, maybe. Coach Brock, uh, no.

Now comes new Oregon coach Chip Kelly's announcement that Oregon's practices, at least until the opener with Boise State, are... closed. To everyone. He was very emphatic about that.

Well, it turned out, not everyone. At practice the other day with a small group of friends was Oregon alum Phil Knight, co- founder of Nike, writer of large checks to assorted U. of O. causes.

Chip Kelly is not stupid.

Not for nothing did former UCLA head coach Bob Toledo call Phil Knight "the best owner in college sports."

*********** Hey Coach I have been given the honor of being the offensive coordinator of our varsity football team this year and of course I wasted no time installing the Double Wing. A former assistant coach of the school who has retired helps from time to time and was excited about the offense. The coach said he actually coached with Markham during the early 90's and understood the offense. While installing the power and super power me and him began to disagree on the fullback Kick out block. He believes that you kick out the defensive end no matter where he lines up and I use the 6 and 9 call to determine the kick out. There are some other differences in system we run into. I do enjoy his help most of the time but when we differ in strategy it disrupts practice. I have the support of the Head Coach who says it's my offense to run. Is there a way I could better explain the 6 or 9 to him to get him on board or should I just make the decision and move on?I don't want to lose him but know the 6 or 9 makes more sense.


"Disrupts practice?" Out on the field is no place to hammer out your differences.  

But the main point is that, if you know what you want taught, then there can be no differences. It's his job to help you, not provide advice. He does it your way or he is no help at all.

You need to let him know that the offense is your responsibility and you accept that responsibility and you are looking for help in coaching your offense, but not suggestions on alternative ways to run it or teach it. In short, it is your offense, and if it fails, you fail.   If he can't accept that, cut him loose.

No assistant at all is better than an assistant who bucks you.

*********** Just curious...

Whatever happened to all the war protestors? Anybody remember Cindy Sheehan?

And w here are all the photographs of the flag-drapped caskets at Dover Air Force that the Bush-haters fought to have released?

Come on, lefties. For once, be consistent. Are the American lives being lost in Afghanistan these days any less precious just because of your worship of the current occupant of the White House?

*********** Remember Caleb Campbell, the West Point graduate who was drafted by the Detroit Lions last year only to be told that because of a change in Department of the Army policy his NFL career needed to wait until he'd completed his service?

Now, while his West Point classmates dodge bullets in Afghanistan, the same Caleb Campbell has managed to wangle a place in the Army's "World Class Athlete" program - pushing a f--king bobsled.

And now, with a 10th place finish last Saturday at the U.S. Bobsled Federation's "push championship qualifier" in Lake Placid, New York, he has probably earned himself a spot in the national team trials in mid-October.

To say the least, there are some West Point people who are unhappy, not just about Campbell's borderline shirking, but about an inconsistent Army policy which seems to state that somehow pushing a bobsled is an appropriate form of service while playing in the NFL is not.

A couple of letters to the Army football forum...

***I think many of you miss the point.

You see, the Army's NFL policy was a bad idea, because it didn't contribute anything to the Army and allowed players to not serve with units. 

The army's bobsled policy, on the other hand, makes a TON of sense because it doesn't contribute anything to the Army and allows players to not serve with units.

See how this works?  This is army ingenuity at its finest.  It is so top secret and clandestine that NOBODY can figure it out--therefore, it must be a wonderful idea.

*** Caleb Campbell is really training for an elite counterinsurgency force that will be used in snowy climates in the future. This expands the Army's ability to fight and win in all weather. When the C-130s and 141s can't get troops on the ground, we'll bring in the "bobsled" team.

If you look REALLY carefully at the pictures, there's actually a M240 mounted on the rear of the sled. Caleb Campbell is, in essense, the tail gunner.

The "Olympics" *wink* is just an elaborate and well thought-out cover for this covert operation. In fact, CC has been on board with this all along -- do you actually think someone would be happy to be signed by the LIONS? No, this conspiracy not only includes Department of the Army and Department of Defense, but the NFL, USAOC, and countless others.

*********** I’ve been studying the 6, 9 call from the play book concerning the TE, A and C back blocking assignments. I’ve been watching the DVD’s over and over again and maybe not looking at the playbook as much. First game is this weekend.

Drill them over and over on their calls.

Whenever we practice it with just the QB, backs and ends, I have two people with shields lined up in the area of the playside TE and WB and I move them around before each play.

*********** Starting with the 2010 season, the Pac-10 has agreed to send its number 2 team to the Alamo Bowl to meet the Big 12's number 3 team. Wait a minute, the Pac-10 fan in me said. Our number two plays their number three?

Kind of insulting, right?

Not so fast, Hugh - we're talking about some pretty tough opposition here. The way the Big-12 is set up, North against South, either Texas or Oklahoma is going to miss the conference championship game, and wind up number three.


FLAGTUESDAY, AUGUST 25, 2009- "Nothing more detestable does the earth produce than an ungrateful man." Ausonius

wyatt love*********** It was the opening game of our grandson's senior season, and my wife and I were able to sneak off this past weekend to see it. Wyatt Love is a tight end/linebacker for Jordan High in Durham, North Carolina, and considering how proud of him we are, and how hard he's worked, there was no way we were going to pass up the opportunity.

We'd flown back a couple of years ago only to run into a postponement because of wet grounds that meant we had to fly home unsatisfied. Friday, as game time approached, it was warm and humid, and the skies darkened and the winds started to blow. As we entered the parking lot we caught a few raindrops on our windshield. And electrical storms were predicted.

But this time our luck held, and the Jordan Falcons came through with a 17-7 win over a game Orange County squad. Playing its first game under a new coach, Orange misplayed the opening kickoff with an "I've got it/You take it" miscommunicaiton between the return men that started them off deep in their own territory, and two plays later they fumbled. But Jordan couldn't score from close in and had to settle for a field goal.

And that was it for the Jordan offense for more than a half. The four-wide spread, the one that everyone seems to want to run, relied almost totally on the passing game, and ran into problems with errant and dropped passes and a host of sacks. There was no running game to speak of, other than the yardage the QB himself picked up when he was forced to run.

And then - voila! - the Jordan staff decided to jump into the I, and what do you know? With two tight ends and a flanker, and a tailback who up to that point had been used exclusively as a wide receiver, the line began to fire off the ball and the Falcons began to shred the Orange County defense. The tailback scored on runs of 40 and 20 yards, the fullback picked up good yardage up the middle, and the quarterback, although not throwing so often, threw more effectively.

Other than the fact that there would undoubtedly be some grumbling among the unemployed wide receiver corps, it would appear to most coaches to be a no-brainer that that team is well suited to the I formation, but who knows? Yes, I know that I'm sounding like a meddling grandparent here, but I'm also a long-time coach, and based on what I know about today's coaches, I'm willing to bet that they'll continue to devote most of their offensive time to the spread.

I mean, hell, it works so well for major colleges (such as Michigan in 2008).

And, besides, it makes you look smart. And it looks so cool.

Wyatt, meanwhile, managed to play on offense whenever they needed a tight end, and when one of the starters at inside linebacker hurt his shoulder, he stepped in on defense, too. And he snapped on punts and PATs and field goals.

And, as big as anything, his team won.

All in all, a night to make grandparents glad they made the trip.

*********** Coach, Moments ago I just finished reading your news. Your comments regarding practice attendance were excellent and I hope that all coaches were able to read it.  Excellent points on making a stand.  Suspending a player for unexcused absence makes a bigger impact on the team than any words ever will.

Just curious, how do you deal with a kid that misses a practice in the pre-season because they say they were sick, but shows up the next day not having called or not having a note.  They just say there were sick/hurt.  Do you consider that unexcused?  I assume that your rules say that players need to contact you if they are going to be absent.


"Sick" doesn't cut it without a note, and no absence is excused if a player doesn't contact me or a designated coach in advance.

I hear - and read - story after story about young people who are aghast to discover that their employer expects them to be at work. On time. Every day.

If we are to justify football as an educational activity, we have to instill in kids the kind of accountability and dependability that an employer will expect, and that is how I justify it.

On that basis, I don't see how we can duck our responsibility to young people.

*********** Coach,

I recently bought the Dynamics of the DW DVD & Playbook and we are very excited as we are implementing it with our 13 yr old youth team.  We have established the following plays as our 8 "core" offensive running plays with the idea of being able to attack each area of the defense with traps, powers and counters: 1) wedge,  2) trap at 2,  3) trap at 4,  4) 88 super pwr,  5) 38 G-O reach,  6) counter trap at 2,  7) lead 47-C inside handoff and  8) lead criss-cross 47-C. (Of course each play has it's mirror to the other side.)  In addition, we have a couple of the play action pass plays off of this series as well (Rip Red Red, and Rip Stop 88 Blue), giving us a total of 10 core plays out of one basic look.  We would expect that we may add in some of the other wrinkles/options in your playbook as the season progresses, depending upon how things go.

My question is that if I were to scout ourselves, I would tell my LB's to read the Guards, as they will always lead you to the play.  If the LB's can flow to the LOS fast enough they could disrupt the the play by taking on the blocks at the LOS, creating congestion, etc. Having not run the offense yet, I don't know if this is an issue or not. Have I left out some important plays from our "core" set of plays that would address this? Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks,


I wrote this in 1996 in an article in Texas Coach magazine--- http://www.coachwyatt.com/texascoach96.html

I would be less than candid if I didn't point out that there are certain pitfalls to running the offense, many of which are familiar to Wing-T coaches:

(1) People claiming they key your guards. First of all, don't let them worry you. "Keying the guards" sounds great at clinics, but they've only got a week to teach it, and even if they do teach it, at some point in the game their linebackers are going to begin standing up a little straighter, looking into your backfield, trying to find the ball! In any event, here is our clinic response:

(a) Key-breakers. For example, it's possible to run the power while pulling both guards to the backside, crossing the guards, or not pulling either guard;

(b) Unbalanced sets. This forces a defense either to stay put, and be outflanked, or to shift over, and play against unfamiliar keys.

Nothing has changed in the years since. There's one thing I didn't add at the time, and that's the ever-present possibility that the guard is going to be in their face with a base block or wedge.

Here's my favorite keybreaker. I call it "88 Base, Guards Left" - http://www.coachwyatt.com/keybreaker.mov

Looks like you are well prepared with your play list.

*********** Coach Wyatt, Yesterday was my first youth football game this year using your offensive system that I purchased from you 4 months ago. I have been working on it with my 8 & 9 year olds for 1 month now implementing the system. At first I had parents questioning whether or not it would work. I told them" be patient give it some time, trust me it will work", now they are all believers. Here are some stats from my game. My offense gained 250 yds on 5 possessions, my FB had about 100 yds rushing, my QB was 3 of 4 passing for 56 yds and he had 1 carry for 25 yds, his only incompletion was on the 2-point conversion, my A-Back had approximately 30 yds rushing and a 16 yd reception and my right TE had 2 receptions for 40 yds. This was all done using only the following 7 plays, Tight Rip 88-O, Tight Rip 88 Super-O, Tight Rip 3 Base(TD), Tight Liz 2 Base, Tight Liz 99-0, Tight 2-Red(all three passes completed 2 for 40 to TE, 1 for 16 to A-Back), Tight Liz 29 G-O Keep Right, Tight Rip 6-G Pass(2-pt. conversion). We only won 6 - 0 because we fumbled three times, 2 of the times were within the opponents 15 yard line. I can't wait until next week for our next game. I also attached some pictures from yesterdays action.


Coach Craig Kolnick

Head Coach Prep Chargers of the WCFL in Wellington, Florida


Coach, Thanks for sharing that with me.

It offers another testimonial to those who wonder if younger kids can run my system. The answer, of course, is "Yes" - if the coach is willing and able to teach it.

By the way, I sure do like the looks of that little QB's set up. It appears he's been well coached! (Coach Kolnic replied, "Thanks again!!! By the way the QB is my son. He learned the system in only 3 weeks of practice. He has to sometimes remind me of the plays because I sometimes call them incorrectly."

I know my quarterback has arrived when he can get me out of a bad call! HW

*********** On Friday I mentioned the Marine vet who challenged my weeinie Congressman Brian Baird.

Turns out the guy is - ahem! - from Camas, Washington, and damned if Charlie Wilson of Dunedin, Florida didn't send me a video clip of the scene - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rRE5UK6NQU

Now, the guy's becoming a national hero. I listened to Laura Ingraham while driving home from practice and heard her pronounce it "Cam-OO" Washington, no doubt thinking it was named for Albert Camus (pronounced "Cam-OO"), the French philosopher.

Actually, our town was named for the Camas plant, a sort of lily that grew all over the area. Its bulb, something like a sweet potato, was a source of food for the native people who once lived here.

*********** Yesterday at practice, a kid came up and asked "when are we going to get our positions? Because I'm going to be gone for the next six practices." As if we hand them out of a hat like seats in a classroom.

Every teacher has had at least one kid who comes in and says "we're going to Disneyland (or wherever) and I'm going to be gone for two weeks.  Can I have all my work?"

And this is a week after you got back from Christmas (sorry - "Winter") Break.  See, they can get better deals on vacation packages if they're willing to wait.  And inconvenience the teacher.

*********** I was reading about Senator Arlen Specter's town hall meeting in Lebanon, Pennsylvania recently and I came across this: "Because of concerns about a potentially unruly crowd, the Capitol Police sent three extra officers from Washington."

Say, "Capitol Police?" In Lebanon, Pennsylvania? Doesn't Lebanon have its own police force? Doesn't the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have its state police?

To think that my representative, the Honorable Bryan Baird, actually accused protestors of using "Brown Shirt" tactics, when back in Washington, D.C. we have our very own Stazi.

*********** As I noted earlier, I was in North Carolina this past weekend to watch my grandson's team play in its season opener.

We weren't four minutes into the 2009 season when we had our first violation of the obnoxious new rule that says even head coaches must be behind a restraining line at the time the ball's snapped. The penalty was called twice more during the game.

Now, wait a minute, I thought... do those officials really need to be watching that? Doesn't what's going on out there between the sidelines require their full attention???

Was there any reason on God's earth why three plays had to be called back?

I never did hear the original reason for this beyond-stupid rule (did anyone?), and I hope those who pushed it through will hear from enough coaches and fans to realize that in their overzealous efforts to solve a problem that didn't exist, they have created what is going to turn out to be a big one.

Just wait till the first time a team loses a big game because an official flagged a coach for being two feet away from the sideline instead of three.

*********** No question - Oregon's economy continues to slip. From June to July, construction lost 2,500 jobs; leisure and hospitality lost 1,300; manufacturing lost 3,100; financial activities lost 900.

But government added 3,400 jobs.


*********** Hugh, Great comments today to the coach (Signed, Befuddled, but OPTIMISTIC) who is trying your system anew this fall!
I wish I would have employed your thoughts during my first game experience with my new team two seasons ago! A 5-3 team with sound plan and great personnel….we lost 19-6 and could only muster one good possession the entire game. The kids and the coaches quickly went south on the DW. That spelled the beginning of my end after only two seasons. Name Wthheld (But a very good coach)

*********** Coach, Although I think I’ve purchased every video and DVD you have I can’t locate the Wildcat DVD’s I picked up at your Providence clinic in April. I was wondering if you could explain the footwork for the FB on the 6G and the 88 and 77 from the wildcat spin series. I checked with the two other coaches in the Pop Warner program who are running the DW and they didn’t have the Wildcat DVDs.
I was running it at practice last night and it didn’t seem right with the FB in a full spin.  I just realized that one of my assistants took those DVDs on a business trip with him and he returns on Friday.
Coach, If you are running the spin as shown in the video of the 8-man team, he actually does a full spin.
I have found that you don't need to overcoach it - the main thing I do if they're having trouble is have them step so with their outside foot so that it is right in front of the inside foot - up against the toe, and not an inch farther away and pivot on it (the outside foot). 
Hope that helps.

Coach, Thank you that fixed everything. The kids are having a blast with the Wildcat, so am I.

*********** Hi Coach, I've been catching up on News You Can Use and read a couple of interesting points you brought up.  I am sure it was a hard decision to leave your team up in North Beach.  I for one am glad you are back in Oregon.  I will make it a point to come watch a Woodburn Bulldogs football game.  I know the kids will be well prepared and more importantly will be positive ambassadors for the great game of high school football.

Coach I totally agree with you on the six classification situation in Oregon.  I am waiting for our state to throw out scoreboards and give a big group hug and declare everyone the winner!  Here is another great idea OSAA is tinkering with because of the cost of travel etc.  We may have hybrid leagues in our state the next go around.  So in the case of our school (class 2A) we will mix with other 2A schools as well as 3A schools in our area.  The 3A schools that will most likely be from a league that dominated the 3A level, but also the 4A and some 5A schools as well (incidentally one the teams run the Double Wing).  That could spell some long nights for our team.  I am glad my three boys are gone.  Congratulations Coach Wyatt and I look forward to watching a Bulldog game this fall.

With Respect

Norm Barney
Chiloquin High School

Oregon is REALLY nuts with this idea that you can get kids ready to play your first football game in only 10 days.

See you at a game!

(Did I say Oregon was nuts? We had our first practice Monday. Because our teachers are now subjected to (my choice of verb) in-service, we can't start until 4:30, so we're going from 4:30 to 9:30 all week. We have no choice. HW)

*********** Coach, I have a problem and wanted your advice please.  I have only about 15 kids on my team and we have been hit hard by injuries.  I have 2 pretty good WB's and I have a WB who played last year, has good speed, pretty good hands, but runs soft, forgets plays, and doesn't block that well.  I have moved him out as a  WB for a kid who runs hard.  Now my problem is I Have to put this other kid at either TE or FB until a couple injured kids can get healthy. Where would you suggest I put this kid to basically hide him, which spot can I hide him the most- I know it sounds ridiculous, but this is my only option at this point. Desperate times call for desperate measures I guess in this case.  I was thinking about putting him at TE because he has pretty good speed and hands. His blocking is poor, but I thought if I keep him at FB he could really screw up our other 2 backs who are tough kids running the ball.  The only other option I have is to keep him at WB, but then I have only 1 tough WB and would have to hope and pray that he steps up which he hasn't done for the past year now. He's a great kid, just soft!  Thanks coach,  

Coach- For sure you don't want to be soft at B-Back, so that is out.

You could swap your TE's so you always have a good blocker on the playside.  Defenses would probably never figure it out. Or you could split him out and flip him and the TE.

A major yet seldom-mentioned part of coaching, especially when you're short on players or talent,  is using your offensive and defensive systems to make optimum use of the kids you have.

*********** Jason Whitlock calls Brett Favre's starting an exhibition game Friday night after ZERO practice reps with his new teammates "a remarkable sign of disrespect for the game and the difficulty of playing quarterback at any level.."

He goes on to say" We know Favre’s ego is out of control. Years of listening to John Madden compare him to Jesus Christ have justifiably warped Favre’s perception of himself. Favre believes he can complete passes with both hands tied behind his back."

"But why," he asks, "would Brad Childress allow Favre to disrespect the game in such an obvious manner? Why send Favre into battle in a meaningless preseason game?"

And then he answers his own question.

I mentioned in my Saturday column that the Vikings are desperately trying to get a new stadium built. The Twins and the Minnesota Golden Gophers are moving out of the 27-year-old Metrodome. The Twins will have a baseball-only facility. The state anted up for the Gophers to get a new football stadium.

The Vikings are stuck in the Metrodome. Their lease runs out in 2011. It appears the 2010 election season (new governor) will be a make-or-break time for a Vikings stadium initiative.

Brett Favre is a swiftboat. He’s a political football. He’s a tactic in a $700 million negotiation with Minnesota taxpayers.

Zygi Wilf gave the Hall of Fame QB a two-year, $25 million contract so he could use him as a prop in a game that has little to do with winning a Super Bowl.

The Vikings signed Favre to sell tickets and jerseys and generate excitement for a new stadium.

It’s so freaking obvious that I’m embarrassed I didn’t recognize it before I canceled my trip out West.

Read it all:


Thanks for the tip to Matt Oravetz, of Milford, Connecticut


FLAGFRIDAY, AUGUST 21, 2009- "The celebrity is a person who is known for his well-knownness." Daniel J. Boorstin

*********** What is it about Notre Dame that they get caught up in these things?

Back in the 1920s, the NFL title was taken from the Pottsville Maroons because they played an exhibition game against the famed Four Horsemen (they had no more eligibility) - in Philadelphia, which happend to be the territory of another NFL club.

But colleges do not respect each other's territory, and now Syracuse, which has been making the ludicrous case in New York City, hundreds of miles from Syracuse, that it is "New York's Team," seems to want to be New Jersey's team as well.

And once again, Notre Dame's involved.

Starting in 2012, Syracuse will play three games in the Meadowlands - one with USC and two with Notre Dame.

Forget the fact that Syracuse is a long, four-hour drive from the Meadowlands, and fellow Big East member Rutgers is a half hour down the turnpike.

Perhaps this is Notre Dame's way of giving the finger to Rutgers, which last year turned down a chance to play Notre Dame at the Meadowlands on terms highly favorable to the Irish.

Don't expect the ESPN guys to have much to say, because a large percentage of them are Syracuse grads.

The people at the Meadowlands, undoubtedly miffed at Yankee Stadium's booking Army-Notre Dame, are the ones who initiated talks about the game. For Syracuse it's all about the big money in a game in the New York metro area, but shame on Notre Dame and USC, both big enough draws that they can make money in more legitimate ways than being party to Syracuse's encroachment on another college's turf.

*********** Follow-up on the coach who had three starters miss the first week of camp...

I may be in a real mess this time.  Our HC has now decided to reverse positions on the boys we discussed who missed the first week of practice.  They will miss no games or scrimmages, in fact I've been asked to start repping them with the #1's today.  I guess the prospect of a potential loss because of starting 2-3 JV players at key spots to teach a moral lesson is just too much.  Now more players are starting to miss, yesterday it was a starting wingback...he even made up an excuse that turned out to be totally false.  How the heck do I handle this one while remaining loyal to the HC and at the same time not totally bowing to something that is way off base?


Sounds as if you are in a mess.  I am older and I have a few more coaching options, and I probably wouldn't be in bed with a guy like that in the first place, who can't think of anything but winning. But that doesn't help you.

I don't know the head coach, so I'm only able to judge him by a few actions, but I couldn't be loyal to a worm like that.  I think that a program like that is hard to justify to taxpayers on the grounds of developing character or teaching good work habits. Is winning that f--king important?

You do not owe loyalty to a person like this, but you do need to inform him that he has lost your loyalty.

I would tell him that I was working "under protest," and that I would "work to rule,"  but beyond that he has lost the right to my loyalty, and my remaining on the staff was not out of loyalty to him but out of loyalty to the kids.

I would tell him that I will not badmouth him publicly, but if asked what I think, I will say,  "you'll have to ask Coach ----.  That was his decision."

If asked whether I support it, I would repeat, "That was his decision."

Oh. And he - not you - has to tell the team and those "JV" kids (and their parents)  that it was HIS order - not yours - that those kids be inserted in the lineup. Let's see if he has the balls to do that.

Funny you say it that way cause that is how I handled it.  I told him if he was going to pull our three kids who had been at TE and guard to insert these kids he would have to tell them.  I explained again my objections and he said "I just want to win ball games, there going to end up there eventually so we might as well do it now".  He said we don't owe them an explanation, just call them out with the first huddle and call the guys we yanked with the second huddle. 
I'm staying for the kids but this really is a heart breaker for me, yanking those kids in that way just plain hurts.  You could see it on their faces and you could see their effort level drop from it, that's the type of thing some kids don't get over.  I'm ashamed to be a part of it but walking now would not help the kids at all.  I figure it's my role to stay on and be a positive example to the kids at every possible opportunity.

All you can do is coach your kids, and that ought to be enough to keep you occupied.

You are more valuable than ever as a man that they can look to for an example.

My real concern is how those coaches might act if/when you lose a game.  Sounds like they have way too much of their egos invested in this.

*********** What does it tell all the poor schlubs who've been sweating it out at Vikings' camp when a 39-year-old guy who hasn't been in camp at all starts at quarterback in their first exhibition game?

What does it tell all those agents who'd just as soon their clients didn't go to camp, either?

What does it tell anyone who's been buying the NFL's B-S about what a great brand of football it plays?

*********** Coach: We just finished up our first week, and here's what we have in from tight formation:
Power, O, Criss-Cross, Red/Blue, G (both sides), G-O Reach, Trap, and Wedge
Do you try and run those basics from a new formation starting week 2? We have a scrimmage this Saturday, and our first game will be next Friday August 28th.
I really appreciate any response you can give...I know how busy this time is.
All the best,


Just looking at last year...

First game, we ran only from TIGHT

Second game, we added STACK and TORONTO

Third and fourth games we added RIGHT, LEFT and SPLIT

By the fifth game, we had added SLOT.

Sixth game we added A-UP and C-UP, and TORONTO OVER

Seventh game we added TORONTO LEE

Eighth game (weather starting to get nasty) we added TORONTO STUD (Unbalanced, offset I)  

That's about it.

If I had it to do again, I'd have added SLOT sooner.

*********** "It seems to me that there are three stages in the evolution of a ball carrier. In high school he learns where the play is going. In college, he learns who is blocking for him. In the pros, he learns what the defense is doing. A good player will visualize a play while he is running it and where everybody on the field is going to be, or at least supposed to be. His reaction is so fast it seems instinctive, but it comes from a highly developed sense of awareness. And the only way that awareness can be cultivated is to study films, work, study, and work again." Frank Gifford, "The Whole Ten Yards" 1993

*********** 18,000 people on Facebook are calling for a boycott of Whole Foods. How many of them do you think have ever even shopped at Whole Foods?

*********** Thank God the Obama Express is slowing down, or the next thing up might be the resurrection of the old metric system bunko and this time he might win, and we could be looking at first and 9.144.

*********** Notice how fast the NFL had official Michael Vick number 7 jerseys on sale, following the announcement of his signing? For only $259.95, you have your choice of black (?), white, or "midnight green", that hideous color the Eagles wound up with when someone at the dye works showed up drunk and spilled some black dye into the Eagles Green vat.

You may have to order yours direct from the NFL or the Eagles, though. Dick's Sporting Goods, probably the nation's largest chain, has announced that it's not going to be selling the jerseys. Yet.

(Can you believe that there are fools in the US who would pay $260 for any f--king football jersey, much less to publicly honor a lowlife? You say that soon rappers will be wearing them? Ho, ho, ho. The rappers aren't fools. They'll get their Michael Vick Eagles' shirts free - their fawning fans are the ones who'll pay the $260 for their jerseys.)

Before we give any humanitarian awards to Dick's - they're probably just waiting until things die down. And they start getting calls for the jerseys.

*********** You forgot one other thing McNabb has had to deal with during his career - the Neanderthal segment of Eagles' fans

Think about it - they booed him before he even signed a contract

McNabb isn't the best quarterback I've ever seen, but history is going to be very good to him

Some will knock him for never winning the Super Bowl, but pro sports are littered with greats that never won a ring

Put Archie Manning in a Steelers' uni during the seventies and I'm sure he would've won a Super Bowl (or two) and be considered a legend. Ditto Ken Anderson

McNabb has carried an Eagles' offense with pedestrian receivers. He's the least intercepted passer in NFL history (2.09-percent of attempts) despite playing in one of the most pass-heavy systems of this decade. And he's taken his team to five NFC title games and a Super Bowl. That qualifies as a winner in my book

Ned Griffen
New London, Connecticut

Believe it or not, although McNabb did get a horrible introduction to Philly fans, I get the sense, in my visits to the old home town, that the fans have come around.  They won't admit it - they have openly loved very few athletes - but I think for the most part they actually love him.

Right on about the Iggles' receivers.  I won't judge a QB by whether he's won a Super Bowl. Lots of great ones did great things just keeping their teams competitive.

*********** Todd Bross, a Pennsylvania native, writes, "by 1 vote it's still the same." Pennsylvania will not shorten its football season, which doesn't surprise me. But it also voted to continue with the present four classes.


I must say that I'm surprised that a state that large persists with just four classes.  Oregon, with a little less than a third of PA's population, has six.  More trophies for more kids.  So what's not to like?

*********** (You wrote) "there are going to be occasions when he will bounce outside and it will cost you a first down.  Or a game. Take that from someone it has happened to."

Or, take it from someone that lost a Championship game last year. 

Frank Simonsen, Cape May, New Jersey
*********** A guy blows up an airplane and kills 280 people. Pretty cold-blooded, wouldn't you say?

But thanks to great detective work, he's caught and sentenced to life in prison.

Now, a mere eight years later, the guy's dying of cancer. So authorities in Scotland have granted him a release.

They call that "compassionate."

*********** By now, you've probably read about the Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane, beting the sh-- out of a Buffalo cab driver because the cabbie was so thoughtless as not to come up 20 cents short of giving exact change.

Kane said some things about apologizing to all the people he "let down", but the funny thing was, he never got around to mentioning the cab driver - you'd think that after a 62-year-old guy got through being whipped up on by a 20-yer-old professional ahlete, he'd at least feel let down - and said it was time to move on. (Where did this crap come from, anyhow - the idea that the perp should the one to tell us when it's time to move on?)

But we've moved on, and now young Mr. Kane is trying out for the US Olympic team. No, not the elder bashing team. The hockey team. You know, the Olympics, whose most-watched event is the opening ceremonies, where all those glamourous, athletic young people march in wearing their designer outfits, and some stiff says something about the Olympic ideals, and they carry the giant BIC up to the big urn and light the Olympic torch? Those Olympics!

And while we're worried about Michael Vick playing for dough, we're going to sit back and watch them select this goon to our Olympic team.

Of course, this is different. Nobody really needed Michael Vick. But we need Patrick Kane on our Olympic team, because - he can score goals!

Brian Burke, the general manager of the US men's Olympic hockey team, said the incident "does not affect my judgment of Patrick Kane."

"I do believe character is a vital element in putting together a winning team," he said. "I've always stressed it. I always will. I think it's possible for a young man to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and make a poor decision. I know when I was Patrick Kane's age I did a couple of things I would not want to talk about up here."

Besides, said Kane, "I haven't really told anyone my side of the story."

Hey - who knows what that means? Maybe the old cab driver faked all his injuries - got a friend to beat him up so he could claim the rich hockey player did it and sue the guy.

*********** Notice the way President Obama extended an olive branch to, uh, "white, lower-middle-class folks" (he loves the word "folks"), by hosting NASCAR drivers at the White House? Actually, things have reached a sorry pass when the drivers show up in suits, looking like a bunch of bankers.

*********** Larry Stone, in the Seattle Times, claims that Willie Davis, who played for the Dodgers in the 1960s, is the fastest baseball player ever.

There's no way to win this argument anyhow, so I'm going to put in for Deion Sanders.

Yes, the Cowboys' Deion Sanders. For those of you too young to remember that he played both sports at the highest level, Sanders played major league baseball.

For all his nauseous self-promoting, he gets my vote.

He is considered to be one of the fastest men ever to play in the NFL, where speed is prized - and measured - far more than it is in major league baseball.

In his baseball career, he stole 186 bases. And as further evidence of his speed, in 1992 led the majors in triples with 14.

*********** Coach,

That pre-game handhshake that the NCAA wants, is it with every player or just the captains?

Also, two seasons ago, when a big deal was being made out of the postgame meetings between Bill Belichik and Eric Mangini, this article came out in the Boston Globe.
I found Bud Grant's comments interesting, that if you could turn it off that quickly after a game, then it didn't mean that much to you. I'm not sure if I agree with that or not.  I guess every sport has its own traditions, but if two boxers could beat the living daylights out of each other for 10 or 12 rounds and hug after it's over, I don't see why football players or coaches couldn't shake hands. I don't think the three fights between Micky Ward and Arturo Gatti were any less competitive than anything we see in the NFL.

On the other hand, when Grant, and Lombardi and Halas were coaching, players' and coaches' jobs were probably less secure than they are now. After losing a game, I could understand not wanting to shake the hand of somebody who may have just put you out of a job.
Good luck this fall.

Steve Tobey
Malden, Mass.


As I understand it, it is entire teams.  Given the sheer number of players and the number of them who are knuckleheads, there's always the potential for one loudmouthed fool to cause problems.

I'm with the fighters.  They don't, for the most part, come from the upper echelons of society, and there's no question about their toughness or desire to pound the other guy, but along the way one of the great traditions of their sport - shaking your opponent's hand after thr fight - has been ingrained in them, and they uphold it.

*********** The best thing about this Town Hall business is the up-close look it gives the American people at the shysters they send to Washington, and how shocked those knaves are when ordinary people don't genuflect in their presence, but instead dare to ask them questions they'd rather not answer.

Which brings me to my congressman, Brian Baird. After accusing protestors of "brown shirt" tactics, and holding a bogus "telephone town hall," he finally gave in to community pressure and held a real town hall the other night, in an outdoor concert amphitheatre that holds maybe 18,000.

He stipulated that there be no signs brought in. No bottles, either.

It was 90+ degrees at 6 PM, with the meeting set for 7, and when people waiting outside in the sun began to grumble about the fact that concessionaires were selling water for $4 a bottle ($6 for a Polish dog, $5 for popcorn), the Baird people relented and said it was okay to bring in bottles of water - provided the caps were removed.

The tone was set early when the moderator, the president of the local Washington State University campus, looked out and saw the audience (abetween 2500 and 3000), and, unwilling to pass up a chance to speak, began to tell of his experiences in such places as Sweden and Cuba, and how they had infant mortality rates superior to ours. Some guy in the crowd brought the harangue to a stop by hollering, "Don't advocate - moderate!"

After a warmup act like that, things could only go downhill.

Baird really caught heat when he suggested the government needs to provide help for parents, including federal guidelines on "potty training."

My favorite was the Marine vet (at least he said he was) who said to Lord Baird, "I kept my oath - when are you going to keep yours?"


FLAGTUESDAY, AUGUST 18, 2009- "I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen." Martin Luther

*********** In a sign that threatens Doomsday for professional sports, corporations are bailing on the idea of luxury boxes, which have become an increasingly important source of revenue for teams.

It came too late to affect basketball and hockey, but just in time to hit baseball. And football's next up.

The feds, getting deeper into the economy every day, are seriously questioning the idea that business actually takes place when companies entertain clients in $100,000 a season sky boxes or, in the case of the Yankees, $2500-a-seat box-seat sections behind home plate.

Large clients are so sensitive to government scrutiny that they've begun issuing directives to their employees that if they accept anything from a supplier worth more than a certain amount - say, $100 - they're on their own for the difference.

The Yankees' $2500 seats have since been slashed to a low-low, everything-must-go $1250 - and still there are no takers. Surely, visibility has something to do with it. Hell - everybody and his grandfather can look at who's sitting there and draw his own conclusions.

Think the feds couldn't?

Remember the story of the 1954 Giants? Their long-secret was that they won the pennant by stationing guys with binoculars out in the centerfield scoreboard, stealing opposing catchers' signals?

Wonder if the feds have thought of that one yet. Of course, they wouldn't be stealing signs. They'd be taking pictures of the fat cats in those box seats.

*********** Hugh: I remember my grandpa telling me a story about a Jewish fella at Maryland who stepped up and helped recruit and then roomed with the first black football player at Maryland (Then somewhat considered the "South" to a point).  I want to say the first in the ACC but I could be wrong.  Fishman, the only Jew on the team, would go and eat with him on the road and on campus and it caused quite a few bare knuckle brawls at some local establishments.  Is this the same guy that is on your web site that flipped them the bird?  This guy was definitely a free spirit, ahead of his time and not about to back down from prejudice...... Bill Lawlor, Crystal Lake, Illinois

You learn something new every day... The first "negro" to play in the ACC - at any major southern school, for that matter, was Maryland's Darryl Hill, in 1963. I was living in Baltimore at the time. It's the same Jerry Fishman from the "flipping off the Middies" incident. I did not know that he and Darryl Hill were roomies. The Maryland of that time, while not so overtly segregationist as the Deep South, was nonetheless very southern in a lot of its thinking, and Jerry Fishman (and Daryl Hill) were not seen then by a majority of Marylanders as the heroic figures that hindsight now shows them to be.

This from Wikipedia...

Fishman attended Norwalk High School in Norwalk, Connecticut,[2] where he played football and baseball.[3][4] In 1960, he became the then second all-time single-game rusher in the state of Connecticut when he rushed for 342 yards against Danbury.[5]
Fishman (#31) and others close in on Roger Staubach (#12) during the infamous 1964 Maryland–Navy game.
Fishman attended the University of Maryland where he played football primarily as a linebacker. He also served as a tailback, and in 1963 was the team's leading rusher with 480 yards on 116 carries.[6] In 1964, he was named to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) first team as a guard.[7]

Fishman gained notoriety and is most known for his actions in the 1964 game against the Naval Academy, an intense in-state rival. Rough play marked the game, and Fishman responded on two occasions to taunts from the stands with an extended middle-finger. Afterward, with respect to his rough play, Navy head coach Wayne Hardin called Fishman, "a disgrace to the game."[8] Maryland head coach Tom Nugent conceded that Fishman may have been "a little wild-eyed, [but] I can't chastise him publicly. I didn't see him do anything deliberate."[8] Navy officials cited that incident as the main reason for refusing to renew the series for 40 years.[9] Several times, University of Maryland officials asked Fishman to apologize for the gesture, but he refused and said, "What for? It's a game. It's a silly game. It's football, it's not a diplomatic blunder."[10]

Fishman was the only Jew on the team at the time, and became close friends with Darryl Hill after he transferred from Navy.[11] was the first black player on any ACC football team. Fishman said, "He being the only black and me being the only Jew, we used to call ourselves 'The Onlys.'"[12] Shortly after Hill's arrival, Fishman cut a deal with Hill, offering to help him survive his redshirt season in exchange for tutoring in economics.[13] Fishman was fiercely protective of his friend, Hill, who was the subject of mistreatment from the fans and opposing players, especially when the Terrapins traveled to play schools in the Deep South. Against South Carolina, which had threatened a boycott of the game because of Hill's participation, Maryland led 13-0 at halftime. As the team walked to the locker room, a fan poured a drink onto Hill. Fishman responded by hitting the man with his helmet.[14] At Wake Forest, Hill was knocked unconscious by a late hit, and Fishman applied the oxygen mask when the medics refused.[15]

Fishman was selected in the 14th round (196th overall) of the 1965 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts.[16] The Colts waived him during the preseason camp, and in 1965, he instead played for the Hartford Charter Oaks in the Continental Football League. In June 1966, he was signed by the Washington Redskins,[17] but did not make the roster.[18] Fishman is now an international lawyer[19] and currently resides in Boca Raton, Florida.[20]

Daryl Hill started out at Navy and would have been the first black football player at the USNA had he not transferred to Maryland.  Now here's a good one for you - the Maryland assistant who dealt with him during the time he was making up his mind about transferring (evidently there was nothing underhanded involved) was... LEE CORSO


*********** Coach-
I wanted to present a little more cogently, as I had attempted to drown sorrows, after the realization that we could be up against it this year. With that, however, I have known this for some time, and went to your offense for this very reason. We are light years away from running this efficiently, but I have to believe we can get there. There is a temptation at this point to go to the easy "band aid " fix, and get under center and run the full house like we did the last 2 yrs. Yet, the reason I made the switch was that I did not believe we could move the ball consistently on older and more athletic teams, with our old offense.

Probably one of the most frustrating things yesterday, was the inability to get (our best runner) in space, where he can usually bail us out with a big one or two. I realize I cannot have that mindset with this offense, but when you are struggling, you tend to want instant gratification.

Now that I have given all the doom and gloom, here are some of the more objective points from yesterday. On the front side of the powers, there seemed to be a significant push, causing penetration past LOS, which caused pullers and backs to get off track. The fact that they ran a 5-3 stack, and brought the lb's most of time, was difficult for off linemen, especially so early in their development.( I have not seen film yet, as the filmer had to leave town right after game. I will see it first thing tomorrow ) with that, there were several times there were creases for the backs to cut up into. As stated earlier, often times, the backs kept trying to bounce outside. We clearly have to change up a couple of the backs, especially the two who did this last year also. We found a new back, who turned it up, getting 4-8 yds on about 5 occasions.

The pullers were at times slow to the hole. With that, more often than not, they were in a position to get us 4 yds, had the backs, and front side executed. We ran one effective wedge for about 8 yds. The other couple of times, we had a stalemate , prob due in part to their blitzing, and our poor execution. On the power follows, there was penetration on front side routinely for some reason. I will have to check film. We ran only tight reg power and power follow; Wedge; a couple of g-o sweeps/keeps that were not real effective with their speed; 4-5 counter plays that presented a good hole to run through.....

In summation, I suspect that scrimmaging this type of team so early on, exposed our issues. Maybe that is not such a bad thing, as it was a wakeup call to our kids. Defensively, we really got better after giving up a few big plays. I know my job is to keep the boys, and the asst coaches on track, and to keep buying in. As you surely know, when there is a little adversity, a few start questioning the efficacy of the offense. I do believe that we can run this efficiently, and have success. I just have to figure out the best way to progress. I obviously have been obsessing over this, the way many coaches do. But, I am as determined as ever to chip away, and get better each day. I suspect that I just have to go through growing pains, and man up. Yet, if there is a panacea, could you please unfold the Holy Scrolls, and give me some of your magic dust ?

Befuddled, but OPTIMISTIC

In my experience over the years, in the beginning one of two things happens: with equal or superior talent, you will overwhelm people, and with lesser talent you will be overwhelmed. 

In the former case, the danger is that you will give yourself too much credit and not realize that dangers lurk undetected.  In the latter, the danger is that the naysayers will come to the fore and you will give up on the system without realizing that it is not a panacea.

There is no panacea.

The system works.  That's been proven over and over.  But it does take more work and patience and dedication to fundamentals than a lot of people are willing to give it.  And it does take faith, because if things are going a little rough,  it's hard to get complete buy-in. 

Specifically, the lack of push on the playside might be solved by (1) checking on the stances, splits (cut them down to zero) and alignments, and (2) working hard on the "12-step cure," meaning it isn't a block unless you take 12 steps after contact.

Problems with pulling probably have to do with failure to stay in the "inside lane," as I just wrote in my news a few days ago.  The "circle drill" will help a lot.  

It's quite possible that if you backside linemen are not running tight circles, staying "on the rail," they are drifting out a bit and forcing the runners wider.

The tough early opponent would have been a boon in another weeks or two, after your kids had gained a little confidence.  This early, it can reveal weaknesses ("winning conceals...losing reveals") but it will also make it difficult for the kids to gain confidence.  I would address this with the kids and tell them that this early in their development as a team,  if I had had my preference, I would have scheduled an opponent that wasn't so good. I  would look for whatever positive signs I can find ("you lined up correctly... we ran a really good wedge... etc., etc.") and dwell on them and tell them that I was encouraged by how well they stood up to a very good opponent.

I have had teams that sucked in the early going, but in analyzing a game I've found that there's always something they've done well, and they need to hear about those things, in addition to hearing about all  the areas where they need to improve.

I do think that confidence is an important factor in your getting better, and I believe that the kids will get their confidence from you.  Challenge your coaches to be positive and look for - and recognize - the slightest signs of improvement.  Improvement and confidence feed off each other, and they are going to come in small steps. Sometimes the steps are unrecognizeable to the average person, but not to the observant coach.

Just some things to consider.

*********** For various reasons, I have made the painful decision not to return to North Beach for a second season. I worked for some great people, and I do think we had a chance to be pretty good.

Instead, I'm going to be working with old friend Tracy Jackson, whom I coached with at Madison High in Portland back in 03-04. We're at Woodburn, Oregon, a 5A school in the heart of the Willamette Valley about 40 miles south of Portland. Woodburn football has not had a lot of success over the years, but from what I see things could be on the upswing...

Here's some video of our pre-season workout last Friday--- Oregon doesn't start until August 24, if you can believe that.


Tracy may not have realized how astute he was when he told me about having dinner with some good friends, and he said, "We're in a business where some people are going to hate you and they don't even know you, so you really have to value your friends."

*********** Wrote Steve Chapman in the Chicago Tribune...

Some of those foreign (medical) systems are great, as long as you don't get sick. Samuel Preston and Jessica Ho of the Population Studies Center at the University of Pennsylvania examined survival rates for lung, breast, prostate, colon and rectum cancers in 18 countries and found that Americans fared best.

Some 62 percent of uninsured Americans are satisfied with their medical care. That is probably because they get a lot of uncompensated treatment from the most advanced, ambitious and capable medical system in the world.

In Britain, by contrast, having guaranteed access to care doesn't mean you'll actually get it. Twenty percent of British cancer patients who might be cured become incurable while awaiting the treatment they need.

*********** (In our league) if a kid shows up on Saturday for a game, he has to play, and our substitution rules give every kid a minimum of about half the game (all kids out of the game have to go in on a change of possession). So a kid can make zero practices a week, suit up for Saturday and get serious playing time. Whew.

Welfare Football.  Socialism at its best. What a wonderful way to instill in kids (and their parents) a sense of entitlement - of having a right to a full share in the fruits of someone else's labor.

*********** The news release said that Missouri's football games on Sept. 12 and 19 against Bowling Green and Furman respectively, will be available on FSN pay-per- view. I didn't know that Missouri fans were that rabid, but who else would pay to watch those games when there's so much else on for free?

*********** Mark Bergen, in Keller, Texas, alerted me to the following solicitation---

• We offer every league/team the opportunity to buy a package that will allow them to show their games, in their entirety, on O-DTV.com

• For $99.99, the league/team will receive space for 10 full games on a webpage custom-created for them. All you’ll need to do is record the game (there’s a parent at every event already doing this!) and send the footage to us. We will put this footage on the league/team’s page in a viewable format.

• Check it out at: ---------------------

This is a great feature for out-of-town relatives who would love to see the game, parents away on business, the confidence of the player to be able to watch himself improve, an instructional tool to show mistakes or plays performed well, not to mention the fact that it’s an immediate revenue generating tool for your league: You can sell sponsorships for local ads to be on your O-DTV.com website! Current leagues are making a minimum of $250 per month from their annual advertising. IT'S LIKE HAVING YOUR OWN TV CHANNEL. Players and parents and especially league administrators are eating this up...

This doesn't require a league meeting. For this price, any parent can provide the league this amazing, unique, limited-time opportunity!

OMG - Show and Tell Meets Mass Media... Am I the only one who's concerned that one of these days the World Wide Web is going to collapse under the weight of stuff like this?

*********** This may surprise some readers, but I'm for letting Michel Vick play. It bugs the crap out of me to think that after the second chances we've given some real scumbags, Michael Vick is a pariah because he mistreated dogs that aren't exactly golden retrievers or cockapoos or Yorkies or Shih Tzus. People are up in arms over his treatment of dogs, but let's face it - to an awful lot of us who consider ourselves dog lovers - and in our married life my wife and I have had two Weimaraners, two goldens, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever and two Cairn Terriers - pit bulls are the Mideast terrorists of the canine world. This is not in any way to excuse what Vick did. He's done time for it. But it's a well-known fact that nationwide, our animal shelters are clogged with pit bulls whose owners suddenly discovered that, um, they didn't really want such a badass dog after all. And many of them - the dogs, not the people who gave them up - wind up being euthanized. Those dog lovers who are so opposed to Vick's return to the NFL - why don't they show us how much they love dogs by adopting a couple of those abandoned pit bulls?

***********  On the Tight Liz 99 Super Power my best back had a bit of a hard time until he cut up early and went the full length of the field. Do you think that we need to be absolutely true to the play were the C back must follow the pulling G, T and QB to the 9 man or if he sees an opportunity to cut up early he should take it? It almost looked like he was running the Tight Liz 56 C. It was sweet.

Your question is a good one.

If a player cuts up early - and gains yardage - I would not question him because evidently he has that God-given ability to see a hole.

On the other hand, I would be very strict about a player who bounces outside, even though he might have enjoyed some success, because he couldn't possibly have seen what was out there, and if he isn't corrected there are going to be occasions when he will bounce outside and it will cost you a first down.  Or a game. Take that from someone it has happened to.

*********** I got a kick out of the RBS ads on the PGA telecast, telling us about a program called "The First Tee - Golf Helping Kids." The spots showed underprivileged kids playing golf, while famous golfers told us about all the wonderful things (cheating on your scorecard?) that golf teaches kids.

Undoubtedly, it does. But how can it reach more than a handful of kids?

My question --- how about someone at the AFCA getting all those people who make their bucks selling beer on football broadcasts to start promoting the virtues of football for ous kids?

*********** Dave Potter, of Durham, North Carolina, could teach the NCAA something with his "Meet and Greet" drill, in which players learn to shake someone's hand, look him (or her) in the eye, and address that person respectfully.

The NCAA is expecting players of both teams to shake hands before this year's opening games. In the interest of sportsmanship and all that.

Just for one game, though. One can only speculate as to why...

(1) One game is all it'll to take to reverse the downward trend in sportsmanship
(2) We really can't expect these "warriors" to do it before every game
(3) They're going to phase it in gradually, adding a game a year over the next twelve years

Question: Since many of these guys have never actually shaken someone's hand... does a fist bump count?


FLAGFRIDAY, AUGUST 14, 2009- "A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." Henry Brooks Adams

***********Coach, The 09 season kicks off today with a 4-8pm session.  Last night I got a phone call that presents a problem that I haven't had in the past.  This year we are blessed with 3 triplets who are highly athletic and hard working, and they have picture perfect attitudes.  One is a national champ wrestler and the other two are state champs.  They are most likely going to start at RE, RG, LG.  They are far better than the #2's at each spot.  The problem is that their parents have decided that this week, the first week of practice, is a great time for a family vacation.  They will  miss all 4 days of practice and the traditional Saturday intrasquad game.  In speaking with the parents and players it is pretty apparent that the boys would much rather be at football.  What I'm struggling with is how hard I should be on them when they return.  I'm not certain how to balance what is fair to the players who are here, best for the team in the long run, and fair to 3 great kids who really don't have a choice in the matter.  How would you deal with this?

Coach, Whatever you do, don't accept the argument that this is a "family activity " This is not Grandma's 100th birthday. I'll bet that this was simply the only week "free" because they were busy with wrestling camps all summer. 

Since you are not the head coach your hands are somewhat tied. 

I have softened in many respects over the years, but not where practice attendance is concerned. 

Football is a team game and those people are making it an individual game. 

If it were my call, they would come back next year and try it again and see if they can get it right the second time.

For sure, if you don't want to have to deal with this every year, you are going to have to send a message. In terms of building a program, you have no other choice. 

That's not what's going to happen here, of course. As for what you do otherwise, I have no idea because it's an aspect of Today's America that I have never deal with, and as you know I have no plans to start now. 

My rules have always stipulated "miss a practice, miss a game" for an unexcused absence, and I would consider these to be unexcused absences. Four practices, four games. 

They tell me that football is a great teacher of life lessons. One of them is that if you don't show up for work you don't get paid. The other guy does. And game day is pay day. That's when you get paid for practicing. 

This situation is a tough one.  Ultimately it will be up to the HC but he will most likely do whatever I suggest short of dismissing the players.  I think he will go for a one game suspension, but no way he will agree to 4 games in an 8 game year.  The shame is that these are good kids, in fact they are probably the three hardest workers on the team.  I was actually thinking that one of them might turn out to be a Black Lion kid, I'm not thinking that now.

It's not my program, and not my call. But I can comment, from the perspective of one who has walked away from parents like that.

Yes, those kids may be good kids, and yes, they may be talented, but you're about to give a very nasty lesson in favoritism to the rest of the kids - that talent trumps all the things you've been telling them.  

If I may say so, it does sound to me as though you might be thinking too much about these kids, when a coach's responsibility is team, team, team.  What about the kids who are there?  How true are you to your word?   How much do you actually value loyalty and dedication and hard work?   When do you tell the stand-ins to step aside, that they're just not as good as kids who missed practices to do fun things while the team was sweating? 

You may say that they're so young, blah, blah, blah, but I say that it's better the parents learn this lesson now than try pulling this sh-- when the kids are in high school.

In my rule book, these absences are unexcused and the "miss a practice, miss a game" penalty applies.  We excuse kids from practice for school activities, sometimes for religious reasons, for illness or injury, or for family emergency requiring the kid's presence.  An emergency is sudden and unplanned. A vacation is neither.

It is like dealing with Iran and its nuclear program. If your HC doesn't deal with this problem aggressively now, when he has the opportunity,  he will certainly be dealing with it in the future.

You can stand up in front of parents all you like and tell them their kids need to be there, blah, blah, blah, but so long as they know there will be minimal consequences, they will go ahead and take their chances. And their vacations.

The ironic thing to me is that coaches of "elite" soccer teams make their rules clear in no uncertain terms,  and then they have the stones to enforce them. 

And football coaches don't!

Coach, Thanks for the reality check. 
This has been a tough one for me and I must say that I think after reading that last email coming down hard on those kids is the only option.  Maybe I was loosing sight of the team, or maybe I let myself associate the good of the team with wins/losses.  I know that when I suggest the miss a practice/miss a game route it is going to meet a lot of opposition from the DC and the HC will most likely not do it.  The HC and DC are salivating over the chance at back to back titles (so was I) and without those three players we simply won't have the talent up front for that to be a realistic goal. 
I think the kicker is how do you bring them back into a starting role and boot a player out of a position who has done nothing wrong and who hasn't missed.  You're right, if I did that I wouldn't be much of a coach and I sure wouldn't be the type of coach I set out to be 10 years ago. 
Sometimes standing on the right side of the fence isn't an easy thing to do. 

Man, you ain't kidding on that one.  That's how we get such worms in government.

I often quote John Neff.  He was a highly successful coach in Waukegan, Illinois:

No player is more important than the team;

No coach is more important than the staff;

No game is more important than the season;

No season is more important than the program.

*********** Poor Donovan McNabb. He has to wonder what he's done wrong. First they drop T.O. on him, and now he's got to compete with... Michael Vick?

*********** The Secretary-General of the United Nations says that we have only four months left to save the planet. Yeah, and the entire world economy was going to crater if we didn't bail out corporations so they could pay multimillion dollare bonuses to the same people who ran the economy into the ground.

Four months, eh? That'll about take us through the end of football season. Actually, based on what's happening to our game, that may be all the time we have left to save the sport of tackle football from the five-wide guys.

*********** I had a little "conversation" recently with a sportswriter from Oklahoma City who happened to mention that Army won national championships in 1944-45-46.

Alas, that was not so, prompting me to write him. Alas, for more than 60 years Army people have had to deal with the fact that although Notre Dame and Army tied, 0-0 in Yankee Stadium, and that was the only smirch on either team's record, the Associated Press went and gave the 1946 title to Notre Dame, and that was that. The AP alone made the rules back then. There may have been other pretenders to the AP's role as official selector, but no one has ever accepted them.

The sportswriter wrote back,

Notre Dame did carry the AP vote, but Notre Dame and Army actually are both recognized as split national champions in 1946.




And I found myself forced to write again -

Not to be overly argumentative, and with all good intentions,  in 1946 the AP poll was widely acknowledged to determine the One True National Champion, and Col.  Blaik admitted as much in his autobiography, "You Have to Pay the Price."

"In the national championship poll, conducted by the Associated Press, Notre Dame was rated No. 1, we were rated No. 2. It is not clear to me, to this day, on what basis the poll majority arrived at that decision."

And in the records in the back of the book, following the 1946 season record are the notations "Eastern champions" , "Ranked No. 2 nationally" "Blaik chosen Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association"

Col Blaik was not one to sell his men short. It is fair to say he would have mentioned any countervailing polls.

I agree with him that Army was done an injustice, but I submit that any "split national title" that now exists represents an after-the-fact attempt to go back and right a wrong by rewriting history.

We may disagree, but in any event,  keep up the good work.

*********** Coach:
We had some problems in a scrimmage the other day with this look, your thoughts on it.
5-2 Look  2 inside backers walked down to heels of the nose or closer
2 hard corners on the line  outside the defensive ends and two high safties
2  5 technique tackles pinching and 2  9 technique ends
When our guards pulled the inside lbers read them and came hard  A gap
What would be you first thoughts?

I would treat those walked up backers the same as if they were linemen, which means a T-N-T, which calls for down blocking.

I would also make sure to sweep them, without pulling any guards. Guards fire and block LBers.  Just a plain reach sweep (rip 88 reach) with your playside TE scramble-blocking the 9 techs, the playside wingback on the playside safety and the B-Back on the playside corner. (Or kick out the corner with the wingback and run the B-Back through for the safety.)

Just a couple of quick thoughts. I'm interested in what you think.

*********** EXCLUSIVE! A prominent member of the President's cabinet appears to side with the health care protestors...


***********In case you thought that politcally-correct euphemisms were an American phenomenon, Mexican prisons are known as Centers for Social Rehabilitation.

*********** Rick Pitino, admitting to having had consensual sex on a restaurant table with the woman who later him with rape, has apologized to his family and friends and to University of Louisville officials and to the people at the table whose meal he interrupted.

*********** Other than a European soccer playing feigning a near-death injury, is there anything in sports sillier-lookingthan a baseball fight?

*********** When the Revolution comes, is there a single member of our Regal Congress who deserves to be spared the guillotine?

***********In Pennsylvania, the state HS association (PIAA) is considering proposals that would reduce the football season from 16 to 15 weeks and expand from four to five or six classifications, because, according to its executive director, "we need a way to eliminate the overlap of the fall and winter seasons. That is the main issue."

The PIAA championship football games are set for Dec. 18 and 19, but the winter sports season starts Dec. 11, which causes some football players to miss early season practice time with their winter sports teams.

Hey - if you're talking about basketball, f--k 'em. All summer's not enough?

*********** The Presidential Medal of Freedom was awarded to... Ted Kennedy? Billie Jean King? Harvey Milk? Mary Robinson? Desmond Tutu?

But not Rick Rescorla? Someone who gave his life to save others? Are you kidding me?

*********** Can you believe that they're going to play something called The AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl?

*********** Man, if you haven't tried a "doughnut peach" yet, you are in for a treat.




FLAGTUESDAY, AUGUST 11, 2009- " Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it." Mark Twain

*********** It came a shock to the nation when it was revealed in the summer of 1951 that 90 West Point cadets had been dismissed from US Military Academy for, essentially, alerting students who had yet to take a test of what sort of questions might be on it. Some cadets were dismissed simply because while they themselves had not exchanged any information, they were aware of such "cribbing" and hadn't informed the Academy higher-ups.

What made it front-page news all over America was the additional fact that 37 of the dismissed cadets were Army football players.

The result for the 1951 Army football team was a season unimagined by anyone familiar with college football. From 1944 through 1950, a period of seven seasons - Army had lost only three games. The 1951 Army team lost seven in one year.

Read about the "cribbing scandal" - http://www.coachwyatt.com/blaik5.html

and then

Read about the comeback from the depths - http://www.coachwyatt.com/blaik6.html

The Army team of 1953 is held in great esteem at West Point as the team that brought Army back from the abyss, and a great page on the Web has been devoted to that team and its season...


*********** My wife and I were surfing around up there around Channel 430 or thereabouts and we came upon a replay of the 2000 Oregon State-Washington game. Great game. Washington was still good. Its QB was Marques Tuiasosopo. And its coach was Rick Neuheisel, who was only partway through his project of turning the Huskies into pussycats. Oregon State was very tough. The Beavers would finish 11-1 (this game would be their only loss, 33-30) and they'd end the season by kicking the sh-- out of Notre Dame, 40-9, in a bowl game. Dennis Erickson was the Beavers' coach. They had a very good QB in Jonathan Smith, and an outstanding runner in Ken Simonton.

And they had two fairly good wide receivers - couple of guys named TJ Houshmandzadeh and Chad Johnson. Yes, the same Chad Johnson now known as Chad Ochocinco, except this one, although fast enough to outrace the Washington secondary en route to an 80-yard touchdown, merely crossed the goal line and placed the ball on the ground. And then knelt in prayer. ("Dear God, you and I know that I am always open, so would you please tell Jonathan Smith to throw to me more? And would you please tell the people at Nike that I've got some great touchdown dances ready to go, except these college fools won't let me use them?")

*********** TJ Houshmandzadeh's name is clearly Persian (Iranian), and research shows that his father is Iranian and his mother African-American. Which got me to thinking of Iranian-born Jim Bakhtiar, star fullback of the University of Virginia back in the 1950s. He was nicknamed "the Plungin' Persian." And that got me to doing a little "where is he now?" research, and that got me to his amazing story: http://www.iranian.com/main/singlepage/2007/jamshid-bakhtiar

*********** The state of Oregon was gloating about creating 3236 new jobs. (Amazing how precise those figures can be, isn't it?)

True, the jobs cost $176,000,000, but putting 3236 Oregonians back to work? Priceless.

Except that further research showed that they lasted an average of 35 hours each.

That's $1,554.95 per hour.

*********** Like so many school districts, ours has an "Alternative High School." Basically, it's a way of dealing with kids who "just can't make it" in conventional schools. Usually, "just can't make it" has something to do with resistance of authority, or poor work ethic, or inconsistent attendance, or a combination of the three.

School districts, sensitive to charges that they're not doing enough to keep kids from simply dropping out, and eager to keep receiving the state funding that accompanies each kid, set up alternative schools, where, in my observation in my years as a teacher, school-resisting kids are coddled.

Our district's alternative school has moved to new quarters, and as my wife and I walked past it the other day, we noticed, next to the school name plate, a school coat of arms, and - a nickname!

Say, nickname? Don't you first have to have something to nickname? Like a team? I mean, alternative schools don't have sports. First of all, there are not skateboarding teams. Yet. Second of all, resistance of authority, poor work ethic, and inconsistent attendance are not conducive to success in sports.

And trust me - even if you could get those kids to try out for a sport, the few who made it through the first practice wouldn't show up for the second.

Wait - I didn't say what the nickname is, did I?

Would you believe "Renegades?"

Excuse me, but "Renegades?"

Beautiful. A nickname that celebrates the very defiance and antisocial traits that result in our diverting large sums of money from our regular schools to provide special schools for... renegades.

*********** 1. How far back should the QB be to avoid tripping a lineman on the Super Power 88 play and are the feet shoulder width apart?

His feet are approximately shoulder width apart, and we want him back as far as possible.  To accomplish that, we tell him we want his arms extended ("elbows locked out")

Here's how I teach the exchange...

2.  Was reading from your Q and A page. Are you know not putting the C back in motion in Super Power 88 (do you have the C back move on the R of ready)?

I haven't used motion in Super Power since 1999. We snap on "GO"

Check this out - http://homepage.mac.com/coachhw/99SP/iMovieTheater6.html

*********** It may surprise longtime Notre Dame fans to hear me say that Gerry Faust is the winningest coach in the long, revered history of Irish football.

Gerry Faust? they'll say. But he was fired after going 30-26 at Notre Dame!

Well, yes, I'll tell them. But he also won 43 games at Akron. And overall, he won 251 games, edging out Lou Holtz (249), and putting him far in front of such coaching greats as Dan Devine (172), Ara Parseghian (170), Frank Leahy (127), and Knute Rockne (105).

Okay, okay. So Faust's other 178 wins came at a high school - Cincinnati Moeller. But if they tell me thpse wins shouldn't count, I'll invoke the Bobby Bowden rule, which says that it doesn't matter where you got the wins.

The news media makes a lot of noise these days about Bowden's ranking one win behind Joe Paterno as the all-time winningest Division I (FBS) coach. But all of Paterno's wins came at Penn State, while 31 of Bowden's were at little Samford, definitely not a Division I college.

To those who scoff at the parallel between Faust and Bowden, Faust's Moeller teams were pretty good, and probably could have beaten some of Samford's opponents.

Since Bowden spent four years at Samford, it is interesting to compare what he and Paterno were doing in their first four years of coaching:

Bowden was beating up on the likes of Maryville, Suwanee, Millsaps, Carson-Newman, Georgetown (Ky) , Delta State, Southwestern of Memphis and Livingston (two wins each), plus such powers as Gordon Military College, Mexico National University (?) and the Tennessee Tech B team. (I do think that Cincinnati Moeller could have beaten the last three.)

At the same time, Paterno was facing - and beating - teams such as Maryland, BC, West Virginia, Cal, Pitt, NC State, Miami, Army, Navy, UCLA, Kansas, Kansas State, Colorado, Syracuse, and Missouri. And at the end of Paterno's first four seasons, against competition like that, Penn State was riding a 30-game unbeaten streak, marred only by a 17-17 Gator Bowl tie with, of all teams, Florida State.

Extending the Bowden rule to the NFL, while Lou Holtz had only three wins in his one season as coach of the New York Jets, those three, when added to his 249 wins at six different colleges, give him 252 career wins, and move him into fourth place all-time among NFL coaches, behind only Don Shula, George Halas and Tom Landry.

Warren Moon would also benefit from the Bowden Rule. There he is, in fourth place in all-time passing yardage, back of Favre, Marino and Elway, with 49,325. But wait - before coming to the NFL, Moon had a highly successful career with Edmonton in the CFL. Threw for 21,228 yards in six seasons. Add that to his NFL total and he's got 70,553 yards, leapfrogging him into first place ahead of Favre, Marino and Elway. Career touchdown passes? Add his 144 in the CFL to his 291 in the NFL and he shoots from sixth place all-time to second, behind only Favre.

What's that got to do with Bobby Bowden? Come on - the CFL is a lot closer to the NFL in level of competition than Samford was to Penn State.

*********** You wrote "Add free agency and the roster turnover it produces to the fact that NINE of the 32 NFL teams have new head coaches, and you've got a lot of guys unfamiliar with each other and the systems. The result is bound to be a lot of offensive ineptness this season. So what else is new?"

How will we be able to spot the ineptness?

Tim Brown
Jackson, Tennessee

*********** Coach Wyatt

Found a couple of photos of Phil Petry I thought I'd send you for kicks. (See Left, from the '64 Maryland-Navy game)
Your story about Phil Petry beating Staubach's '64 Middies reminded me of a couple of things:
#1 One of the Maryland players in that game gave the finger to the Navy bench which Wayne Hardin called 'a disgrace to college football.'

(That was Jerry Fishman. Pretty tame by today's standards, but caused quite a stir at the time. On the other hand, if he had called them "f-gg-ts," that would have been the end of that. Nowadays, he'd have been kicked off the team until he'd undergone sensitivity training and performed hours of community service in an AIDS shelter.)

#2 the Terrapins had a kicker that year named Bernardo Bramson who changed his jersey every time he kicked a point to reflect his point total to date. He started the season wearing #0.

(See photo above right from the Maryland 1965 media guide)
Caption: A big moment... and the beginning of a new custom. Bernardo Bramson, Maryland kicking specialist whose jersey number was to change with every point he kicked (to correspond with the number of points he scored) getting his first number of the 1964 season... seconds after kicking the field goal which gave the Terps a 3-0 lead over Oklahoma with little more than 12 minutes to play in the season's opener.

Take it easy,
Jim Stovar
Houston, Texas

(Then-Maryland coach Tom Nugent was a VERY innovative guy. He is credited with inventing the I-formation while at VMI. Ditto the "typewriter huddle," the open huddle so common nowadays, in which the QB stands and faces two lines of five players each. And, of course, his changing the number of Chilean-born kicker Bernardo "Chili Bean" Bramson every time he made a kick. HW)


FLAGFRIDAY, AUGUST 7, 2009- "No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is as formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women." Ronald Reagan

*********** Army's Carson Williams started three games at quarterback last season. He now ranks fourth in West Point history with 233 completions, and headed into this, his senior season, he'd ordinarily have a strong shot at the starting job. But Army's switching to a triple option system, and since he's primarily a drop-back passer, it appears that his chances of starting are slim. Nevertheless, he's got a real team-first attitude, as he revealed in an interview in the Middletown (NY) Times Herald Record...

"I'm a competitor and I don't think I would be at this position if I wasn't. But more important than competing at my position level is at the team level. There were times last year where I found myself being able to help out more keeping Chip (Chip Bowden, this year's likely starter) in the right mind-set and helping him seeing things he was not able to see. There's not any period that I will ever say me being in a starting position would be more important than us winning the football game."


*********** Last weekend I helped with a camp at Clarinda Academy, in Clarinda, Iowa, where my friend, Brad Knight is AD and head football coach.

Clarinda Academy, a residential foster care facility for at-risk and delinquent youngsters, contracts with the juvenile justice systems in places like Baltimore, Sacramento, Detroit, Omaha and elsewhere to send them kids who they believe might benefit from the Clarinda dorm-style experience in lieu of conventional incarceration.

For coach Knight, now entering into his third season at Clarinda, every year is a brand-new start. The population is constantly turning over and there are few holdovers. Besides, many of the kids are new to football, so it's necessary to introduce the Double Wing from scratch every year. That's where we come in - Greg Koenig, of Beloit, Kansas, Gabe McCown, of Piedmont, Oklahoma, and myself, serving as guest coaches to supplement Coach Knight and his staff.

Last season, the Clarinda Eagles won four games - most in their history - and they could have won a few more. They sure did move the ball, thanks in large part to the efforts of an A-back who is now back home in Flint, Michigan with offers from Iowa State and Michigan State, and a C-back who was released to his home in Baltimore just three days ago.

The Eagles may not have those same runners this year, but the ones they have ain't bad. And while they have to teach everything all over again to a brand-new group of kids, this year's kids picked things up fast. They could actually exceed last year's win total.

We worked with about 50 kids. There are more than 100 kids in the Clarinda football program, and in order to maximize playing opportunities and minimize learning (since there is no retention from year to year), the squad is divided equally into offensive and defensive platoons. (We all teased defensive coordinator PJ Hedrington that the division may not be as equal as Coach Knight - who doubles as offensive coordinator - claims it is, but it does seem to me that there is enough talent to go around.)

Emphasis at the camp was on fundamentals (shown above). I guarantee you, those kids will know how to block. But we also managed in a very short time to put a couple of decent offensive units together to run the core of plays, and we found a couple of promising quarterbacks who looked very good at running the club. (At left: the QBs from left, Davion Smith, of Des Moines, Iowa, Davonta Williams, of Omaha, Nebraska, and Coach Wyatt)

Those who attended my clinics this past winter and spring will understand what made it possible for us to get those QBs up to speed so quickly.

The kids come there street-hard, and the people at Clarinda do a remarkable job of instilling in them accountability, responsibility, respect and civility.  Stripped of their hard veneer, they are like little kids in their enthusiasm. Few of them have ever been treated with real respect, and they are grateful for the coaching you give them.

Clarinda Academy's stated mission is to prepare its students to lead responsible lives by teaching behavioral accountability, providing high quality academic, physical, and vocational education, and facilitating career opportunities within a safe, structured, dynamic environment.

The best testament to its effectiveness is the kids themselves. They shake your hand and look you in the eye. They are friendly, enthusiastic, respectful and coachable. They are hard workers, and they're good learners, too.

If I didn't know the nature of the institution, I'd never have guessed that I was in a correctional facility. I felt as safe, and as professionally fulfilled, working with a field full of Clarinda Academy kids as I have at any place I've ever coached.

*********** In case you didn't know, the "G" in that stupid advertising campaign is Gatorade. Pepsico, maker of Gatorade, is evidently concerned about the brand's lack of growth and is putting it through a "rebranding." I somehow doubt we'll see a similar campaign referring to Pepsi as "P."

I wrote that back in January.

Since then, the geniuses behind the rebranding have sat back and watched sales of Gatorade/G decline 17.5 per cent.

Some of the drop in volume is attributable to competition from teas and juices and "enhanced waters," but Gatorade/G's share of the overall sports drink category itself also dropped 4.5 per cent (to 75 per cent).

No word on any plans to bring back Gatorade in time for football season so the doofuses will have something to dump on coaches.

************* Aberdeen, Washington was once a prosperous town. In Aberdeen's mills, the logs of the nearby forests were converted into lumber, plywood, paper and God knows what else. And from its port, the Port of Grays Harbor, those products were shipped all over the world.

Alas, the forests are still there, but they might as well be a national park. Partly to protect the Northern Spotted Owl, they're largely untouchable, and without the raw materials to keep them going, one by one the factories that depended on supplies of timber to keep running were forced to shut down.

The Aberdeen of today is a shell of what it once was. Its once-busy streets are now lined with empty storefronts. Aberdeen High School, once one of the largest in the state, now competes in Class 2A, the third largest, and there's not a lot to keep its graduates from leaving.

One who did just that was Kurt Cobain, who hit it big in the 1980s and 1990s as the lead singer and guitarist of the grunge band Nirvana. Finally, though, drug addiction took its toll on him, and in 1994 he committed suicide.

The townsfolk seem somewhat ambivalent about how best to acknowledge him - or whether to do so at all. There are a few indications around town that Cobain came from there, including a polished granite stone monument newly installed in a city park.

It's been causing some consternation, because carved prominently on it is a Cobain quote:


On the stone itself, there are no hyphens between the "F" and the "K," and the fight goes on over whether to erase the F-word or leave it intact. (Little kids will see it, and all that.)

I personally think that in terms of a lasting legacy they ought to leave it as is. You have to admit, it's a lot stronger message to kids than "Just say no."

***********In the photo at left, that's a Smart car crushed between the two trucks. God help anyone inside.

Me? Guess I'll hold onto the Expedition a little longer.

*********** Kinda slipped this one past us, didn't they? According to the Wall Street Journal, the NFL has approved advertising on practice jerseys at training camps.

*********** Lou Holtz is said to be checking out a run at a congressional seat in Florida. He is not necessarily a shoo-in.

Yes, he does have tremendous name recognition. But so did Bud Wilkinson, and he lost. No one could have been better known, or enjoyed a better reputation, than Bud Wilkinson in Oklahoma, after a 17-year run at OU that included three national titles. Yet in 1964, shortly after retiring from coaching, he ran for the Senate and was defeated.

I'm betting that in his years on TV, Dr. Lou has given his opponents ample material to use against him.

*********** Sounds like my kinda place...

A Newburgh, New York bar, described as "notorious", had its license lifted by the State Liquor Authority recently after...

(1) a bartender "allegedly" sold cocaine to undercover police;

(2) all of the employees were working "off the books";

(3) the owner admitted buying alcohol from "unauthorized sources," and then (3a) refilling empty liquor bottles

*********** Apart from wondering WTF those American "journalists" from some bogus media outlet owned by Al Gore were doing in North Korea in the first place, I can't help feeling that the whole liberation deal was a giant PR triumph for Kim Jong Il. Skeptical Americans have a right to wonder what kind of a deal we gave the North Korean tyrant.

Chief Negotiator Bill Clinton: Please, sir, in the interests of world harmony and all that's right, turn those women loose.

Kim Jong Il: Only if you agree to send us five shiploads of those clunkers that you've been crushing. And leave our nuclear program alone. And stand aside when we invade South Korea.

Clinton: Haw, haw, haw! Kim, ole buddy, you just get me laid tonight and we got ourselves a deal.

Kim: Deal.

From Kim Jong Il's point of view, the only better PR than a photo-op with a former US President would have been a chance to sit down over a beer with the Old Lefthander himself.

*********** Add free agency and the roster turnover it produces to the fact that NINE of the 32 NFL teams have new head coaches, and you've got a lot of guys unfamiliar with each other and the systems. The result is bound to be a lot of offensive ineptness this season. So what else is new?

*********** Hey Coach, Hope all is well. With our 6th year running your system, we are taking the Gremlin division this year(8,9,10yrs old) we have introduce the offense and they have respond well to it. The kids have picked up the rules very quickly. However, I am having a problem getting the younger kids to give me their maximum effort. I don't want to punish kids all the time, but everything else has failed, they even know that there is going to be cuts. If you can give some advice on some motivation. any thoughts will help.

Coach, My wife, who taught third graders for 30 years, shudders at the idea of having to keep 8 year olds motivated for any length of time. Her PE classes were 30 minutes maximum and she found that was "just about perfect."

She suggests many brief periods of instruction with short breaks in between.

Also some competitive activities such as relays employing the skills you just taught them.

Let me know what happens.

*********** Former Louisiana congressman William Jefferson's stashing of $90,000 in bribe money in a freezer brought new meaning to the term cold cash. Found guilty of corruption by a jury, he will be doing a little chillin' himself.

*********** Asked by Adrian Peterson in this week's Sporting News how the game has changed over the years, the great Jim Brown had this to say...

I think it's a great entertainment spectacle. They've done a fantastic job of promoting it. I think it's exciting. I think the playoff system is good, and I think you have certain who are great because they love the game. But I think money has affected the game, cheapened it, and I think the buffoonery has taken a lot of dignity out of the game. A lot of players think those antics are amusing, but it's buffoonery. If you're conscious about images and history, African-Americans had to fight off the caricatures of buffoonery all through history; they made mockery of watermelon eating, big eyes, shuffling, dancing, shaking your booty. We had to fight to get rid of those stereotypes, then the modern-day football player comes out and shakes his butt and all that (expletive), excuse my language, but it's embarrassing because the population likes it in one sense, they laugh at it, but then they ridicule it. So if you're Ochocinco, he thinks he's cute, but in essence it's a lack of dignity.

But I'll tell you this: if you look at Troy Polamalu, that kid's a player. You look at Ray Lewis, that's a player. You look at Shawne Merriman, that's a player. Peyton Manning, that's a player. The real players don't deal with a lot of foolishness. Polamalu just gets ready for the next play.

*********** The best college in America?

From the latest Forbes Magazine...

The best college in America has an 11:30 p.m. curfew. It doesn't allow  alcohol in the dorms, which must be kept meticulously clean. Students  have to keep their hair neat, their shoes shined, their clothes crisply  pressed. They also receive a world-class education, at no cost, and  incur no debt - except for a duty to their country.

The college, of course, is the U.S. Military Academy, or West Point, and  it tops our second-annual ranking of America's Best Colleges, compiled by Forbes and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP). In  this report, the CCAP ranks 600 undergraduate institutions based on the  quality of the education they provide, the experience of the students  and how much they achieve.

From Thursday's USA Today...

The U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., is the top college in Forbes magazine's list of America's best colleges. The magazine entered the rankings fray last year and focuses on five criteria: graduation rates, number of national and global awards to students and faculty; student satisfaction (from RateMyProfessors.com), average debt upon graduation and postgraduate success, based on average salaries of recent graduates and listings in Who's Who in America

*********** From "Gray Matter," a publication of the West Point Association of Graduates
A New Age  

At precisely 8:16 a.m. local time, 6 August 1945, a device called “Little Boy” was dropped over the Japanese city of Hiroshima by the Army Air Force from the bomb bay of a plane named “Enola Gay.” It was the culmination of a massive, highly secret research effort called the Manhattan Project, led by MG Leslie R. Groves, Class of November 1918. Earlier tests of an implosion-type device at Trinity Site in the New Mexico desert demonstrated that a massive explosion could be produced, but the test involved the suspension of the device from a tower, not flying the device for five and a half hours into enemy air space and then dropping it from an altitude of 32,000 feet to fall for about 57 seconds before detonating at 1,900 feet. If it failed to detonate, there would be the likelihood of only one more immediate attempt with existing stocks of weapons—and that in an implosion configuration instead of the inherently simpler, gun-type device using Uranium-235 that was “Little Boy.” Estimates were that a third warhead could be ready for use by 17 August, with possibly three more in September and another three in October, but these could not be squandered if a major amphibious attack on Japan was deemed necessary.

Many questions faced President Truman and those involved in the Manhattan Project. Generals of the Army Douglas MacArthur, Class of 1903, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Class of 1915, and George C. Marshall, the War Department, and the entire United States would be affected by the outcome. If the device did detonate, would it be as powerful as anticipated, powerful enough to convince the Japanese government to surrender, in contravention of their warrior code that caused them to brutally treat British and American prisoners of war with such disdain? If it did detonate, would the “Enola Gay” and accompanying aircraft be able to avoid the blast effects and survive? If unsuccessful, the only viable option to compel Japanese surrender was a massive, ultimately costly, long range amphibious assault on the home islands of Japan. This dire forecast was based upon the experience of earlier devastating attacks upon other cities in both Europe and Japan and the Japanese rejection of the Potsdam Declaration of 26 July 1945, establishing the terms of the surrender of the Japanese Empire acceptable to the United States, United Kingdom and Republic of China. 

In August of 1943, a British bomber night attack on the German industrial complex in Hamburg produced an immense firestorm due to a combination of dry air and a significant level of wind. Later, the phenomenon was repeated in February 1945 at the rail hub of Dresden. The resulting firestorm actually melted the sandstone of a church in the city. Neither had a sustained effect upon Germany’s war effort.

In early March of 1945, MG Curtis LeMay, of the 21st Bomber Command, ordered his B-29 Superfortresses to attack Tokyo’s “shadow industry” factories in the Sumida District, at night and at low altitude, with tons of small, six- to seven-pound, M-69, napalm incendiary devices. As wave after wave of the bombers, stripped of all machine guns and ammunition except in the tail turret to increase speed and bomb capacity, concentrated on the factories and port, the resulting immense fire storm did damage as great as or greater than that eventually accomplished at Hiroshima or Nagasaki, but with little apparent effect upon the resolve of the Japanese military leaders. Subsequently, the fire-bombing campaign was extended to a number of other Japanese cities, but the Showa regime still ignored the ultimatum decided upon at Potsdam and delivered at the end of July 1945.

“Little Boy” did detonate over its primary target, Hiroshima, releasing energy equivalent to 13 kilotons of high explosives. It was considered to be relatively inefficient. President Truman subsequently announced, "If they do not now accept our terms, they may expect a rain of ruin from the air the likes of which has never been seen on this earth." There was no response from Japan. The second device was scheduled to be dropped on 11 August, but approaching bad weather caused the mission date to be moved up two days.

On 9 August 1945, a “Fat Boy” device, relying upon the simultaneous detonation of a sphere of high explosives to compress its Plutonium-239 core into a critical mass, was detonated over Nagasaki, Japan. This more complex design was the same as that tested earlier under the more controlled conditions at the Trinity Site and would become the standard configuration thereafter. The city of Kokura was to be the primary target, but a delay caused by the failure of another plane to rendezvous with the B-29 “Bockscar” carrying the bomb resulted in cloud cover moving in over Kokura. “Fat Boy” would be dropped instead onto Nagasaki’s industrial Urakami Valley, between an arms works and a torpedo works. It detonated at 1,540 feet, releasing the energy of approximately 21 kilotons of high explosives.

Faced with the detonation of two major weapons within one week and the entry of Russia into the war in the Pacific, the Emperor of Japan capitulated. Veterans of the both the Pacific and European Theaters of Operations, preparing for the invasion of Japan, stood down. The massive research and production effort of the Manhattan Project had not been in vain. As the Japanese Emperor expressed in his announcement of surrender, “Moreover, the enemy now possesses a new and terrible weapon . . . .”


FLAGTUESDAY, AUGUST 4, 2009- "Nothing fixes a thing so intensely in the memory as the wish to forget it." Michel de Montaigne

*********** I have a lot of admiration for a local sportswriter named Ken Goe, whom I've known for many years, but I did have to get on him last week when he included Michigan's Gary Moeller in a story about coaches who tried to succeed legends - and flopped.

I told him that I believed he was unfair to coach Moeller, who followed Bo Schembechler, and didn't do a bad job of it.

Maybe Gary Moeller wasn't Bo, but then, who could have been? Bo was one of a kind.

But by the standards of winning and losing, until his untimely self-destruction, Gary Moeller was anything but a flop.

Consider: Schcmbechler retired with a .796 winning percentage in 21 years. Moeller, his successor, spent five years at Michigan and went 9-3, 10-2, 9-0-3, 8-4 and 8-4. That's 44 wins, 13 losses and three ties, for a winning percentage of .758. Who knows what might have happened had he not offended the UM powers that be in a night club incident whose details are now murky?

But as it is, .758 is not bad, in view of the fact that Lloyd Carr, who followed Moeller, was considered successful, and he retired after 13 years with a .753 winning percentage.

Granted, it's still early in the game, but multimillionaire Rich Rodriguez, the current Michigan coach, has a winning percentage after one year of .250. Hey - it's not easy having to follow Lloyd Carr.

*********** ESPN is planning a movie on Vince Lombardi. Since all anybody ever could want to know about the man - and the coach - is covered magnificently by Davis Maraniss in his biography "When Pride Still Mattered," I am assuming that ESPN will be aiming this one at the people who (1) don't know football or (2) do know a little about football but are too lazy to read a book and (3) don't really care whether it's true or not as long as it's a good story. God help us all.


*********** Dave Potter, of Durham, North Carolina, sent me this link, adding, "My first Black Lion Award winner (Michael Morken, 2002) and what's he's doing now."

*********** Change we can believe in...

Do NOT utter the F-word.

Not the one you think I mean, either. Not the one that's now heard routinely in movies and on late night TV, not to mention in high school hallways or other places where teenage girls gather.

No, no, no. I'm talking about another F-word, the very utterance of which can cause the user to be struck dead or turned into a pillar of salt. Or, at the very least, to be made the object of the wrath of the liberal media.

Hawai'i coach Greg McMackin uttered it the other day, and while he wasn't struck dead, he has been suspended without pay for a month. The F-word he used is not the sysnonym for copulation, but rather an uncomplimentary term for those among us who are, um, "sexually diverse," and he used it in telling how Notre Dame players did a "F-@#^^$t dance" before the ND-Hawaii bowl game last year.

His audience, to their everlasting shame, laughed. Brutes.

I certainly won't say the word here because this is a family page and lots of young children read it. I also respect the sensitivities of gay football coaches everywhere.

But if you're into Wheel of Fortune, the word has an f , two g's and a t. You will have to buy two vowels.

In addition to the loss of a month's pay, McMackin has been reprimanded by the WAC, and warned that any further violations of the WAC Sportsmanship Code will result in an automatic one-game suspension - at a minimum.

But wait - we're not done yet. The O'ahu chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) released a statement saying "PFLAG O'ahu is appalled that the head coach at UH-M would be so unprofessional, so homophobic and so prejudicial that he would voice a gay slur even in jest. Behind closed doors is bad, but to voice the 'F' at a press conference at the Western Athletic Conference Football Preview is unacceptable."

Ohmigod. The guy's already out a month's pay, and now I can see diversity training looming on the horizon. AIEEE! The only reason we used waterboarding on suspected terrorists is that diversity training is even worse.

My advice to coach McMackin would be to defuse the issue by offering to wear a muumuu on the sidelines at all Hawai'i home games.

*********** The Tennessee Titans' LenDale White reported to camp at a feather-light 228 pounds. Said he dropped 30 pounds in the off-season by giving up - tequila.

*********** Not for no good reason has American been called the disposable society. Disposable diapers. Kleenex. Plastic water bottles. And now - are you kidding me? - automobiles.

Only in America would someone concoct the idea of reviving slumping car sales by paying "cash for clunkers" - paying people anywhere from $3500 to $4500 to turn in perfectly serviceable cars - and the crush them.

That's right - in a world in which many people could use those cars - ever seen video of Cuba, where they're still driving 1950s-era cars? - we're going to crush them.

And then we're going to ship the scrap metal to South Korea, where it'll be made into steel, and shipped to Japan, where it'll be made into new automobiles, to be shipped to the US and sold to Americans, whose old clunkers will be bought - and crushed.

Many of these cars are less than 10 years old. Their only defect is that they get fewer miles per gallon than the new cars they're traded for.

What we should do is send these cars to Cuba. The influx of new cars would shake the Cubans out of the economic doldrums they've been in for 50 years, thanks to Castro's failed experiment with Communism.

We just have to make sure that the Cuban people know where the cars came from. Then, once we're fully socialized and all our society's productive members are taxed to capacity and our economy's dead on its ass, maybe the Cubans will have pity on us and lend us money.

*********** It used to be said of the great New York Yankees teams of the 1950s and 60s that the key to their continued success was not in beating up on other contenders. For the most part, the Yankees just broke even against them. But - here's the key - the Yankees of the dynasty years seldom lost to teams they were expected to beat.

And, according to the Wall Street Journal, it's still the case with World Series winners.

Of all the Series champions in this decade, only four of the nine played better than .500 regular-season ball against good opponents - defined as those who finished with records above .500.

The 2004 Red Sox had the best record against opponents who finished above .500, but they were no better than .575.

The 2002 Angels were only 38-42 (.465) against good teams, and the 2006 Cardinals were even worse - 21-26 (.447)

Last year's world champion Phillies were just .483 against over-.500 teams.

*********** Old friend Frank "Pope Franjo" Lovinski brought back fond memories of our days in Maryland when he sent me this great article on the crab houses (crab restaurants) of Maryland's Eastern Shore - http://travel.nytimes.com/2009/07/12/travel/12crab.html?em

*********** Noted marksman Plaxico Burress was offered a deal - plead guilty and serve a year in prison.

Ho, ho, ho, he said. Me? Prison? Do you know who I am? Haw, haw, haw. I'll take my chances.

Bad call, Plaxico.

And now a grand jury has indicted him on charges that could result in three years or more in the slammer.

An interesting little note near the end of the story in foxsports.com - "No one called police to report the gunshot wound, as required by law: Not the players, nor NFL officials, nor the hospital where Burress was treated."

Hmmm. As required by law, eh? Think somebody at NFL headquarters ain't a little worried?

*********** From charactercounts.org

One of the toughest jobs in the world is being a teenager. Everything's in transition. Everything's intense – even apathy.

Kids on the brink of adulthood have to cope with inconsistencies and conflicts. The desire to be different clashes with the need to fit in. The desire to be independent collides with the aversion to self-reliance and personal responsibility.

Here are five ways to improve your journey through adolescence:

1. Be yourself. Mindless conformity is a prison. Express yourself authentically and don’t be afraid to stand out. But don’t dress or behave in extreme ways just to be different or to prove you can. You don’t need orange hair, a nose ring, or tattoos to be special. It’s more important to be respected than noticed.

2. Don’t expect too much or settle for too little. Don’t expect anyone else to make you happy, but don’t allow others to treat you badly. Hang out with people who bring out the best in you, and be the kind of person who brings out the best in others.

3. Responsibility is a privilege, not a penalty. Dependability and self-reliance are your tickets to freedom and independence. Don’t waste energy resisting what you have to do. Instead, win others’ trust by doing what you should do.

4. Think ahead. Every act has a consequence. The choices you make today will shape tomorrow. Pleasure lasts for a moment, but happiness lasts much longer. Just because it feels good doesn't make it good.

5. Take charge of your life. Your life is your ship, so be the captain, not a passenger. Figure out what needs to be done to improve your life, and then make it happen. Your attitudes are more important than your aptitudes. You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control what happens in you. Don’t whine, win.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

*********** Q. How far are you telling your TE to split out in slot formation?

As a base to start out from, we are 1-2 full men outside the wingback - another way of saying it is a 2-3-yard gap between the end and the tackle.  But it depends on how the defense plays us and what play we've called.

Our wingback, I should mention, is tight against the tackle - inside hand next to the tackle's heel.

*********** It's for damn sure I ain't banking at Key Bank. At one of its Seattle branches a teller, told by a guy to hand over all the money, asked the crook to show him his weapon. At that, the thug bolted, with the teller in hot pursuit. The teller caught up with the would-be thief, took him down, and held him until the cops arrived.

Grateful bank officials fired the guy for violating bank policy against resisting any robbery attempt.

*********** I wrote this 10+ years ago...

1998 December 6- Just finished talking to my high school coach, Ed Lawless, back in Pennsylvania. He is a single wing guy, and he agrees with me that the offense is made to order for the so-called "slash"  player - imagine Kordell Stewart as a single wing tailback!  In fact, a lot of what Kansas State does with Michael Bishop out of their "shotgun" sure looks like single wing stuff to me. Some of the guys I've seen just this year - Akili Smith at Oregon, Ortege Jenkins at Arizona, Corby Jones at Missouri - convince me that it's just a matter of time before somebody brings back the single wing. (Whether they'll have the guts to call it by that name is another matter!)  Ed played his college ball in the late '40s, at Penn, then a single-wing power whose center was Hall of Famer Chuck Bednarik. Penn's George Munger was one of the East's top coaches, and year in and year out, his Quakers held their own against the nation's best, but when Penn's administration decided to join the no-scholarship Ivy League, while still honoring its long-term scheduling commitments against the likes of Notre Dame, Penn State, Virginia Tech and California, Coach Munger said no thanks - and retired. His successor, Steve Sebo, was a good football man, but he should have listened to George Munger: his teams would lose more than 20 games in a row before Penn's schedule finally came down to the level of its talent. Coach Munger, incidentally, made do with a staff of only three assistants, one of whom was his long-time line coach, Rae Crowther . In coaching the offensive line, Coach Crowther (rhymes, by the way, with "brother") was considered a master technician who had few equals. So into the techniques of blocking was coach Crowther that he invented and patented the blocking sled that still bears his name, and eventually got out of coaching to devote full time to the sled business.  Ed speaks with reverence of Coach Crowther, and like me, can't stand watching a lot of today's offensive line play. He says, "if Rae Crowther saw some of the 'blocking' that goes on today, he'd throw up!"

*********** from "New Thinking Man's Guide to Pro Football", by Paul Zimmerman (1984)

… To someone who’s never seen the single wing, believe me, it can be a thing of beauty… In college it’s been abandoned, and why I’ll never know, because it seems that some of those nifty running quarterbacks would be just right for the run-and-pass tailback duties…

In the pros, its drawbacks are obvious. Your passer couldn’t take the pounding.

“I’ve reflected on the single wing,” [Bill] Walsh says. “Those blocking schemes would just chew up NFL defenses. You could double-team every hole and trap at every hole. You’d have six men blocking three. Plus you’d have the power for the sweeps.

“Joe Montana might be able to play tailback, to run and pass, but you wouldn’t let him do it unless you had another Joe Montana to spell him…”

*********** Just another sign of the way the downturn in the economy is affecting sports... The home-improvement business had been hit hard, and after 11 years, Lowe’s has decided not to renew its naming-rights deal at Lowe’s Motor Speedway after this year. Barring a change of mind by Lowe's or the signing of another naming sponsor, the track will once again be known as Charlotte Motor Speedway.