THE CARDS DIDN'T WIN IN 1925!
WHY DIDN'T THEY FIRE KRZYZEWSKI?
|"Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it." (Proverbs, Chapter 8, Verses 10-11)|
NEW! The 2009 Coach Wyatt SoCal Clinic will be held Sat Feb 21 at Saugus HS- 21900 Centurion Blvd, Saugus
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FRIDAY, JANUARY 30, 2009- “Would any serious nation let itself be ruled by people whose every waking moment is dedicated to accumulating enough votes and enough money to keep themselves in office? How, exactly, is that better than a dictator?" Daniel Henninger, Wall Street Journal
*********** I can deal with the fact that the last time the Cardinals won a title was in 1947, even though the memory is a painful one. It was the first NFL championship game I can remember and I remember it all too well because the Chicago Cardinals beat my Eagles to win it (although they Eagles turned the tables on them the next year).
But don't let anybody try to tell you that the Cards also won another title, in 1925, because they didn't. Not really. They were awarded it by league edict. Sort of. Even then, the Cards' ownership officially refused the award, because they themselves knew that if ever there was a tainted title, that was it.
If the title belonged to anyone, it was to the Pottsville Maroons, conquerors of the Cardinals in their only meeting. But the Maroons had their NFL franchise suspended - and their claim to a title vacated - when they encroached on another NFL team's territory by playing an exhibition game in Philadelphia.
If you want to read a decent account of the Maroons and the NFL title that people in little Pottsville, Pensylvania will tell you they won fair and square, I suggest "Breaker Boys," by David Fleming. After reading this and numerous other accounts of the 1925 season, I have made my ruling and here it is: The 1925 NFL title rightfully belongs to Pottsville. Home of Yuengling's.
MORAL: Don't believe everything the NFL tries to tell you. Just as the Soviets used to do, the NFL writes its own history.
*********** "The feedback we've gotten from readers is that only every third issue of MAD is funny, so we've decided to just publish those." Editor John Ficarra, explaining (in classic MAD fashion) the magazine's decision to publish quarterly, instead of monthly, as it had been doing since the 1950s.
*********** A youth coach whom I've known for some time, and who puts everything he has into working with kids, writes... The popular thing among many of us as we “mature” seems to be talking about how easy kids have it today and lamenting the future of the country. Perhaps it’s my contrarian nature, but I cannot agree. How easy I had it or the youth of today have it is very subjective… But from the opportunities I have had to work with the future of the country, I am very optimistic about our future. Many serious challenges lie ahead, but I think today’s youth will be up to the challenge, if they continue to learn the hard lessons that sports, and especially football, teach.
Not to disagree violently, but I really do think that kids have it easy today. Not just spoiled suburban kids, who've never worked a day in their lives yet drive better cars than you or I do. Even inner-city kids have it easy, in the sense that they don't have to do anything they don't want to do. (And as a result, they don't do the things - such as studying - which could help them escape poverty.)
So we do agree that football is essential if our society and its values are to be preserved. It helps keep the good kids good and, good or bad kid, it presents them with more physical demands and more tests of their toughness and courage than anything else most of them will ever face as youngsters.
Keep up your good work.
*********** Good Morning Hugh--
Wonderful here on the "Right Coast" this morning --cold temperatures not above freezing for over three weeks and one place in Maine this week approaching 40 below. Tomorrow we are expecting another foot and half of snow--so it goes.
The story of the coach arrested in the heat stroke death of his player is certainly tragic. Even in North Beech were it never got very hot I remember how you always scheduled regular water breaks throughout the practice sessions. Coaching today requires that that all reasonable precautions are taken to protect the players including the proper instructions on how to do the drills, player match-ups in drills, proper fitting of equipment, etc. All things you were meticulous about doing. I don't know how this is going to turn it out but it will certainly send a message about making sure we as coaches are always doing things right for our players.
Have a great day -- I am going out and getting the snow blower ready.
Jack Tourtillotte, Boothbay, Maine
PS: Your mayor gives new meaning to "kiss and tell" HA HA
*********** In case someone in your family is looking around for something to do pre-Super Bowl...
*********** Q. In your playbook, do you show the plays designed against different defenses??
A. Not really. Here's why... We as coaches draw up plays against different defenses, but continuing the lessons of the the Wing-T as I learned it from the Delaware people, we don't teach our kids anything about specific defenses, or refer to them by name (“this week you’ll have to learn how to block a 4-4”). We seldom refer to a defense by name in the presence of our players, because we want them to understand that it makes no difference to them whether it is a 4-4, 5-3, 5-2, 4-3, etc.
I think it's a lot easier to teach a player a few simple rules for a particular play than it is to say, "against a 4-3 you do this, against a 5-2 you do that, etc." Kids don't need to know what an entire defense looks like. Hell, there are plenty of coaches who couldn't draw up a 4-4.
We give them the tools to handle anything they might see. We equip them with rules that apply to whatever they might encounter in their own little area.
Their major concern is what's in that area.
For example, on a particular play our playside TE's assignment might be:
In the illustration at left
*********** Probably not a lot of you have ever heard of "The Cooz," as Boston Celtics' great Bob Cousy was known to schoolkids of my youth, but next time you see a basketball player go behind his back with a dribble, think of this story from Sports Illustrated, way back in 1956...
With the score tied 57-57 and about 10 seconds to go in the Holy Cross-Loyola of Chicago game in 1949, Bob Cousy of Holy Cross was fed the ball and drove hard for the basket, hoping to get a half step ahead of his man and get off a fairly close-in shot, preferably a lay-up, with his right hand. He never got that half step ahead. The man guarding him, Ralph Klaerich, had held Cousy scoreless from the floor during the entire second half and was right with him again this time. If anything, Klaerich was a fraction of a step in front of Cousy, overplaying him to his right side as he had been doing with remarkable success, ready to block any shot Cousy might try to make as he finished his dribble.
This time, however, Cousy finished his dribble somewhat differently than Klaerich - or, for that matter, Cousy - was expecting. Realizing that the only way he could get free for a shot was somehow to get to Klaerich's right (his left), Cousy, hearkening to some distant drum, reached behind his back with his right hand and slapped the ball to the floor, found the ball with his left hand as it came up on the bounce to his left side, and then, without a break in his stride or dribble, drove to the left (yards away from the flabbergasted Klaerich), leaped into the air and sank a florid left-hander that won the game.
"There was some talk at the time that I had been practicing that behind-the-back dribble and had only been waiting for the proper occasion to use it," Cousy recently recalled. "The fact of the matter is that I had never even thought of such a maneuver until the moment the situation forced me into it. It was purely and simply one of those cases when necessity is the mother of invention. I was absolutely amazed myself at what I had done. It was only much later that I began to practice it so that I could make it a reliable part of my repertoire."
*********** I like and respect Tony Dungy, and I enjoyed his book. I felt he really bared his soul, and showed us what a good man he is. But now- another book? So soon? Hasn't he been coaching? Does anyone realize the time and effort it takes to actually write a real book? Please don't tell me he's had the time to coach an NFL team and write a book, too.
*********** The death of NC State women's basketball coach Kay Yow is sad, and it's understandable that women's college basketball teams wish to show their respect. But as a tribute to her, the University of Washington women wore pink uniforms against Arizona Thursday night. Pink uniforms? Nice gesture and ll that, but you'll excuse me, won't you, if I ask where the money to pay for them might have come from? Hint: not revenue from the Washington women's basketball program.
*********** Based on this, sent to me by Mike "Spike" (rhyming slang and all that) Kent, a coaching friend in England, they have the same problems with the nany state that we have here...
According to today's regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 50's, 60's, and 70's probably shouldn't have survived, because...
Our baby cots were covered with brightly coloured lead-based paint which was promptly chewed and licked.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, or latches on doors or cabinets and it was fine to play with pans.
When we rode our bikes, we wore no helmets, just flip flops and fluorescent 'clackers' on our wheels.
As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding in the passenger seat was a treat.
We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle - tasted the same.
We ate dripping sandwiches, bread and butter pudding and drank fizzy pop with sugar in it, but we were never overweight because we were always outside playing.
We shared one drink with four friends, from one bottle or can and no one actually died from this.
We would spend hours building go-carts out of scraps and then went top speeddown the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into stinging nettles a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back before it got dark. No one was able to reach us all day and no one minded.
We did not have Playstations or X-Boxes, no video games at all. No 99 channels on TV, no videotape movies, no surround sound, no mobile phones, no personal computers, no Internet chat rooms. We had friends - we went outside and found them.
We played elastics and street rounders, and sometimes that ball really hurt.
We fell out of trees, got cut and broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits. They were accidents. We learnt not to do the same thing again.
We had fights, punched each other hard and got black and blue - we learned to get over it.
We walked to friend's homes.
We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate live stuff, and although we were told it would happen, we did not have very many eyes out, nor did the live stuff live inside us forever.
We rode bikes in packs of 7 and wore our coats by only the hood.
Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected.
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law. Imagine that!
This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers and problem solvers and inventors, ever. The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, we learned how to deal with it all.
And you're one of them. Congratulations!
Cosseted kids, tell me about it. My boys can't take a Rugby ball to school because it's considered too rough to play at breaktimes (and we live in tough amateur Rugby League Country here, we moved to West Cumbria, NW England in case i hadn't mentioned it).
I'm desperately trying to get on the School Governors board to have my say, Claire thinks i may not last very long.
Also "British Bulldog" the playground game is banned and recently a nearby school banned conkers for fear of child injury.
Here is all you need to know about Conkers
Don't know about Conkers, but we have (maybe "had" is the better term) a game called Red Rover, which sounds about the same. Way too rough for today's kids. Or I should say, today's educators.
*********** Gayle Sierens, of Tampa, was once given the opportunity to do play-by-play of a Chiefs-Seahawks game, with Dave Rowe doing the color. That was in 1987, and no woman has done an NFL game since.
The New York Times writes, "That Sierens is the only woman to have called an N.F.L. game is not surprising. Calling games continues to be predominantly a male world at the high school and college levels, especially in football, and as a result, few women get the opportunity to develop for the precious jobs in the pros."
I get the impression that the Times thinks this is a bad thing.
Now, there's probably a gentler, more tolerant group of male sports fans out there, getting ready to replace crusty old traditionalists like me, but Pam Ward has been doing college games for seven years now, and I still have trouble listening.
***********At the Left, COL Tom Grady, a hero of the Battle of Ong Thanh (I wrote that, knowing full well that his buddies are sure to give him grief about the "hero" bit, but it's true) presents the Black Lion Award to Tremayne Harris, of Hardeeville High School, in Hardeeville, South Carolina.
Among the things coach Tremayne's coach, Blake Raley, wrote in nominating Tremayne...
Tremayne will be honored as a permanent team captain at the conclusion of the season. His greatest attribute is playing unselfishly. Tremayne is a tremendous athlete whose first love is basketball and he will have the opportunity to play on the collegiate level. However, it became evident that Tremayne was willing to sacrifice those dreams and played numerous times throughout the season while being injured. He came back many times through the season to sacrifice himself, and possibly his future, for the team.
This was very evident the night we played Baptist Hill. Our team needed to win the game to help keep our playoff hopes alive. Tremayne played through injury and had the best game of his career. He set the record for yards passed in a game and completed the longest touchdown pass in our short history. It was a 75-yard touchdown.
Tremayne was re-injured at the end of the third quarter; thus, his season was cut short. And at the last game of the year, when our camera crew did not attend, Tremayne volunteered to step in. The former starting quarterback and Team Captain went to the booth and filmed the concluding game for his team.
I could not think of a more deserving recipient than Tremayne. He has shown his teammates, his classmates at Hardeeville High, and the city of Hardeeville that there are still men out there who possess honor, loyalty, courage, and sacrifice just as Major Donald W. Holleder showed his team, his country, and the world some 50 years ago.
*********** Attention NFL owners and D-IA athletic directors. You need to read this...
Stories we never did get to read, but might have, if certain Greatest Coaches of All Time had gotten their coaching starts in today's quick-results-or-else atmosphere...
BOSTON (SUMMER, 1953) -- Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach was dismissed yesterday after three seasons at the helm. The Celtics finished with winning records in each of Auerbach's seasons, but they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs in each of his first two seasons and lost in the second round this year. "Regular season success is nice, but everyone knows the name of the game in this league is winning in the playoffs, and that's something that Red just hasn't been able to get done," said the Celts' owner. Fans seemed pleased with the change. "Let's face it," said one sports radio caller, "Red just can't win the big one."
DURHAM, N.C. (SPRING, 1983) -- Duke officials terminated basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski's contract today after three seasons in which the Blue Devils went a combined 38-47. Krzyzewski arrived three years ago amid high hopes that he would resurrect the Duke program, but he had only one winning season, and after Duke finished 10-17 and 11-17 the past two years, athletic department officials felt a change was in order. "He's just a little guy from Chicago," said one insider. "He'll never be able to recruit."
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (SPRING, 1964) -- The Dean Smith era at North Carolina has come to an end. Smith was fired as the Tar Heels' basketball coach yesterday after failing to get the Heels into the postseason in any of his three years at the school. After going 8-9 in his first season, Smith appeared to have the Tar Heels on track with a 15-6 mark in his second year. But this year the team slid back to 12-12, fifth in the ACC, and the pressure to fire Smith grew. University officials disputed claims that they didn't give Smith enough time to build the program. "The guy just wasn't winning," said one member of the athletic department. "What were we supposed to do, name the arena after him?"
By Phil Taylor in Sports Illustrated
TUESDAY, JANUARY 27, 2009- “Soldiers are intelligent. Give them the bare tree; let them supply the leaves.” Gen. George C. Marshall
*********** Hey Coach,
Coach, I wouldn't modify them in the slightest.
But I would pay special attention to the business about being patient and going slowly and not moving on to the next step until they are very good and very confident.
Make sure you get your assistants on board with the pace of teaching. You may have some who will want to have the kids start banging heads right away.
And you might want to look for smaller shields. I used to sell them but I dropped the line.
*********** Good morning, Coach.
We just got back from San Antonio/Lackland AFB last night. We went down to attend Sean's graduation from Air Force Basic Military Training. What a fantastic experience. We knew Sean would be different after eight-and-a-half weeks down there, but he really impressed us with how much he has grown up! He's always been respectful and hard-working, so Basic was pretty "easy" for him (if easy is ever the right word for Basic). He was voted "Outstanding Airman" of his squadron by his peers -not a huge surprise for a Black Lion Award winner!
One of the really interesting things was the time spent talking with Sean and several of his buddies over dinner one night. The trainees who had the easiest time fitting into the routines and teamwork of Basic seemed to be the kids who had either played football, wrestled, or did both in High School. The TI for his flight - who is a woman and considered one of the best TI's in the Air Force - asked all of the Trainees who had played football in High School, and those were the guys who became the Element Leaders, Dorm Monitors, etc - all the positions of leadership. So all those years of hard work and dedication really paid off for Sean down there. On the flip side, the guys said that Trainees who had not competed in any sport had the hardest time with Basic, followed closely by the three Trainees who had been the soccer "stars" at their High Schools!! I thought that was hilarious.
I cannot begin to describe the feeling of pride that came over me as Sean and his Flight passed by the stands, marching over the "Fallen Heroes Walkway" and then - on command - turning "Eyes Right" to acknowledge the CO of Lackland AFB. What a moment! Just wanted to share a brief note to let you know how Sean is doing!
Have a great day.
*********** Wow - talk about a way to bring a beer back from the dead... Ship some to our troops in Iraq.
Around the time I was in college, Schlitz, self-styled as "The Beer that Made Milwaukee Famous," was the number one beer in the country. For a year or two, Schlitz actually outsold Bud.
As one of the three "premium" beers (along with Bud and Miller), it commanded a higher price than "regional" beers such as Narragansett, Schaefer, Ballantine, Schmidts, National, Iron City, Stroh's, Old Style, Lone Star, Pearl, Lucky Lager, Olympia, Rainier, etc. Although the price difference worked out to just a nickel a bottle (or can) at the bar, that was a significant barrier to older drinkers already set in their ways. On the other hand it was no big deal to younger drinkers, who for only a nickel could show that they were discerning beer drinkers, but just as important in that age of rebellion, rejecting the tastes of their fathers.
But amazingly, despite the advantageous position it was in, Schlitz somehow managed to go out of business, too. Who would have thought it possible? By the time Schlitz bit it, I was out of the business, and I'm not familiar with what happened, but let's just say that whoever was responsible could have screwed up a Green Bay tailgate.
So there I was, in 2009, looking at the TV Sunday and watching pallet loads of Schlitz - Schlitz! - being loaded on planes headed for the Middle East.
For our troops. For Super Bowl Sunday, when General Petraeus has allowed each soldier to have two beers.
They'll be happy to drink Schlitz. Hey - when you like beer and you're hot and thirsty, your favorite beer is cold beer. In the trade, what the Schlitz people are doing is called "sampling," the idea being that some of those soldiers might actually develop a taste for Schlitz.
Then comes the real problem for them, and for whoever it is that's making Schlitz now - getting it out into stores and taverns where those people can find it when they come home.
I'm betting it ain't gonna happen.
*********** Shortly before his recent election, Portland Mayor Sam Adams, who has been "out" - openly gay - for at least five years, denounced one of his opponents for spreading a rumor that he'd been having sex with an underage intern. A teenage male. A boy.
Why, huffed the 43-year-old candidate indignantly, the accusation was scandalous. He thought Portland was above that sort of politics.
But then, last week, under pressure from a local alternative paper to come clean (I"m still wondering what they had on him), he admitted that, well, he'd lied. And instructed the teenager to lie as well. But - he was quick to assure everyone - although he had met the kid when the youngster was 17, they hadn't "had sex" until the kid was 18. All he did prior to the kid's 18th birthday was "mentor" him.
Believe me now, he told us. Yeah, I lied. But now I'm telling the truth.
The young man in question, one Beau Breedlove - sounds like the star of a stag film - confirmed His Honor's story that they hadn't "had sex" until after he turned 18. But - uh-oh, Mr. Mayor - Mr. Breedlove said they had kissed twice when he was 17. Once while Mr. Mayor's car was stopped at a red light. And once (avert your eyes if you have a weak stomach) while "both used the men's room."
The men's room kiss lasted, according to young Mr. Breedlove for about a minute. A minute! Do you realize how long that is when two people are kissing?
No big deal, says the Mayor's attorney. There is nothing that Mr. Breedlove has said that is inconsistent with what the mayor has said. The mayor has said there was no sexual activity. Kissing is not sexual activity.
Ohoho, Mr. High-Priced Lawyer. Maybe not, but you might want to talk to coaches and school teachers about it.
You might want to ask them what would happen to them if they had kissed a 17-year-old - male or female. At the least, they'd lose their jobs. At the worst, they'd face an angry father with a shotgun.
You also might want to talk with people who have to deal with sexual deviants on a daily basis. Maybe you think all His Honor did was kiss a 17-year-old, but in the jargon of the sexual predator, what he did is called "grooming."
Naturally, there are vocal members of Portland's large and vocal "gay community" who have rushed to His Honor's defense. See, he's only being picked on because he's gay.
Gimme a break. In gay-friendly Portland, Sam Adams' homosexuality is not a liability. It hurts him about as much as Barack Obama's race hurts him.
By no means are all members of the "gay community" defending the creep. There are plenty of hard-working, law-abiding citizens who other than (in my opinion) having gone in the wrong direction sexually espouse mainstream values. They know right from wrong, and they're embarrassed by the way Mr. Mayor's actions reinforce the ugly stereotypes of gays - "the fact that there's promiscuity, there aren't long-term relationships, gay men are only interested in sex," as a member of the "community" put it.
Add to that the taboo - sex with a minor (there are guys serving time for that) and you have an embarrassment for gays and straights both.
So tell me once more, you homophobe, you, why you wouldn't want Sam Adams as your kid's scoutmaster. Or coach.
*********** I happened to be watching a little of the NHL All-Star game, and they happened to be talking with Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis, who was mic'ed up and leaning against the boards in his team's bench area.
Noting that he was a native of the Montreal area, they asked him if he was surprised at the reception he'd received from his hometown fans. He had trouble hearing the question, so they repeated it, but before he could answer, it was his line's turn on the ice. "I gotta go play, guys," he said, hurriedly jumping over the boards and onto the ice.
And I'll be damned if less than 30 seconds later, he didn't on a score to put the East ahead, 5-2.
*********** Then there's the Best Buy commercial where the sales guy in the blue polo shirt tells us about the customer who bought a wide-screen TV as sort of a present to himself.
See, Mr. Sales Guy tells us, "He had to sell his season tickets in order to pay for the wedding..."
Wow. Marrying a real sports nut, isn't he? Why do I think that one isn't going to last?
*********** Regarding what I wrote about Rochester Aquinas, Don Holleder's high school, Pete Porcelli of Lansingburgh, New York, wrote,
Read the Don Holleder thing. Yeah- we lost to them in the state championship in 2007. Great tradition
*********** In Britain, the land that gave us Monty Python, humor can be found in the strangest places. Sometimes in the very names of those places.
A recent New York Times article < http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/23/world/europe/23crapstone.html?em > lists some of them:
Crapstone... East Breast... North Piddle... Spanker Lane... Crotch Crescent... Titty Ho... Wetwang... Slutshole Lane.
And Penistone. It's not what you think. If you get lost and ask for directions to "Penis-tone," or "Penis-stone," you'll likely stay lost.
Said the manager of a local hotel, “It’s pronounced ‘PENNIS-tun,’ ”
She told the New York Times that when she's asked to spell her address for outsiders, she breaks the word in two: “p-e-n” - pause - “i-s-t-o-n-e.”
*********** How many of these guys have you listened to? At one time or another, I've heard them all. My favorite is Chuck Thompson, voice of the Orioles and, before the NFL went all-network, the Baltimore Colts.
ASA's Top 50 Sportscasters of All Time
John Madden a sportscaster? Chris Berman? Bill Walton? Dick Vitale? Gimme a break.
*********** Coach Wyatt, I plan on attending your Atlanta clinic again this year. I am working on getting our booster club to pay for some of the expense. The direct snap seems to be an interesting topic. I am still not sure if this is something I will work into my offense. Our games are played with 8 minute quarters. Normally we get between 3 or 4 series per half. Sometimes we may only get two if the other team recieves the kickoff and the drives take 8-12 plays. On average we get 30-34 plays per game excluding punts and kickoffs. That means I don't have may cycles or series. I am a believer that the direct snap must be run as a series of at least 3 or 4 plays and although it can encorperate the plays I nrmally run I would rather spend the time making my core better or using other formations. I could make the direct snap my base formation, the highschool would love this because they run the spread. On another note. "freezing the balls off a brass monkey was a term a 1sr gunny taught me when I took a naval history class as part of Naval ROTC in High school. I used the phrase two weeks ago when we had an unusual cold snap. A few mornings it was in the twenties. We are now back to normal. Highs in the 50's lows in the upper 30's. So a girls team gets beat 100 to 0 and they get the headlines and sympathy. Somehow this bothers me. First their coach should have a plan to slow the game down against a superior squad. How about making your players better so this doesn't happen? Dan King, Evans, Georgia. PS- The Dan King who doesn't refer to the 2wing as smash mouth football on his website.
*********** Billy Werber died last week in Charlotte at the age of 100. At the time of his death he was the oldest surviving former major league baseball player. (As a middle infielder, he had a lifetime batting average of .271, and never made more than $13,000. Nowadays his batting average alone would command a contract of at least $5 million a year).
In a March, 2008 interview with Steve Politi of the Newark Star-Ledger, he recalled long train trips with the Yankees from New York to Chicago and Detroit when he and Bill Dickey would pass the time playing bridge against Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
"We'd get on the Green Diamond Express and Babe would say, `Cut the cards!'" Werber said. "Then he'd take a fifth of Seagram's and he had a glass about this big" -- he holds his hands about 8 inches apart -- "and he'd pour out most of that bottle, put a little ice in it and maybe this much water" -- not surprisingly, he is holding his thumb and index finger about a half-inch apart.
In a 2008 interview with the Charlotte Observer, Werber also recalled his first at-bat in the major leagues in 1930, with the Yankees. He managed to draw a walk because, he said: “I was too scared to move.”
Ruth then came up and slammed one to deep right field.
“I knew it was going into the right-field bleachers,” Werber said. “But I said to myself, ‘I'll show these Yankees how fast I can run.' So I put on a burst of speed and ran around the bases. The third-base coach was hollering for me to slow down, but I ran on in at full speed.
“I crossed home plate before Babe got to first base - he took those little mincing steps, you know. When Babe came in to the dugout, he sat on the bench beside me. He patted me on the head and said, ‘Son, you don't have to run like that when the Babe hits one.'”
He told Politi that he didn't watch baseball any more. He said he was watching the Red Sox play in the 2004 World Series, and after one look at Johnny Damon with his long hair and beard, he wrote a letter to commissioner Bud Selig demanding action.
He was also Duke's first All-American basketball player, and to the end, he remained a huge fan of Blue Devils basketball.
Even into his late 90s, he would stay up past his normal 9 PM bedtime to watch Duke basketball games on TV.
“For the past few weeks, though,” his daughter told the Charlotte Observer this past Thursday, “Daddy said he was too tired to watch the Duke games. That's when we knew it was time.”
*********** Nashville voters on Thursday rejected a proposal to make English the city’s official language, mainly to prevent government workers from communicating in other languages. That means they'll still be able to ask if they can he'p y'all.
*********** Regarding the supposed origin of "Freezing the balls off a brass monkey," I heard from a few authoritative people...
*********** I heard from Chad Beermann, of Elgin, Iowa, who presented convincing evidence that I'd fallen for another Internet hoax. (At least I didn't believe that Bill Gates and AOL were waiting to pay me a fortune for sending lots of e-mails.
*********** And I heard from Nick Leroy, a former student and player of mine at Ridgefield (Washington) HS who's now a career Navy man. (He was, as you can tell by his writing, an excellent student with a very good sense of humor.) You will note his many references to common expressions of naval origin.
Hopefully everything is hunky-dory with you! As you know I'm a Chief in the Navy, so I was taken aback when I read the story of how and where the phrase, "freezing the balls off a brass monkey" came from. I don't want to take the wind from your sails, but I could not fathom allowing a former coach of mine (who is known for keeping everything above board) to unknowingly put out naval scuttlebutt, otherwise you'd have the devil to pay with your readers. Hopefully this correction does not leave you feeling blue, or listless, and I look forward to chewing the fat with you next time I'm in the great state of Washington (although with both our schedules that may be a long shot). Hopefully we'll have that opportunity over a nice cup of joe or a beer (but let's not get three sheets to the wind, my wife will give me quite a wallop).
"Son of a gun" is a tougher one to pin down, and has everyone stumped. There are a few variations:
The first is the story below passed to you. Sailors were given shore leave unless they were tied up in a hostile port and the captain felt they needed to be at the ready to leave on a moment's notice. That rules out wives coming aboard, but not "girlfriends" (aka prostitutes). Conceiving children between the guns would be one of the more private places to do so (if privacy was even possible). To take the argument to its logical conclusion, it's entirely likely working women did not stop making money just because they were pregnant, and could have given birth aboard ship while paying a visit to their customers.
The oldest printed definition we have is from Admiral William Henry Smyth, of the British Royal Navy from the 1860s:
Son of a gun, an epithet conveying contempt in a slight degree, and originally applied to boys born afloat, when women were permitted to accompany their husbands to sea; one admiral declared he literally was thus cradled, under the breast of a gun-carriage.
The problem with this definition is it's highly unlikely the crew would have been given permission to bring their wives to sea. Sailors were gone for months and years at a time, and that would be a serious investment in space and rations that ships normally couldn't spare. The most likely scenario, if this is true, is that officers' wives were making the voyage. (Now that I think of it, there's the possibility a ship would have a working girl or two aboard while making the voyage, which would require Adm. Smyth's definition to be a very politically correct interpretation. While possible, I don't have any evidence this was the case.)
Then there's a more simple variation, and that any boy born to a man under arms (a gun), is a
The last thing to consider is alliteration. "Son of a gun" rolls off the tongue quite nicely, and the repetition of sounds has always been popular in the military. Just look at our cadences, for example.
So, I'm sorry I don't have a definitive answer for you on this one. It may be some combination of the above. Either way I think it's fair to attribute it to naval etymology, even if we're not entirely sure of its exact origins.
*********** Our Secretary of the Treasury-to-be, the guy responsible for collecting our taxes, is a tax cheat. He's also got some "nanny issues," which is a euphemistic way of saying he probably hired an illegal alien and probably didn't pay her social security taxes, either. But no matter, Senators of both parties say. We need the guy. He's the best man for the job.
They also say that when they add a Terrell Owens to the squad.
Said Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning (a former baseball great) about our Secretary of the Treasury-to-be, "If he's the best man for the job, then we are really hurting in America."
You could also say that about adding a Terrell Owens to your squad.
*********** I was looking at a football video, and a guy from Virginia Tech was giving us his recipe for hot wings. Iniital instructions: "Marinate them overnight in Texas Peat."
Haw, haw, haw! Say, "Peat?" Some New York-based TV intern heard the guy say that and went with what he thought the spelling was.
Anybody who's spent any time in that part of the country knows that the pepper sauce of choice - good on pork barbecue and in Brunswick Stew - is Texas Pete, made in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
*********** Headline in our local paper said it all: "MAN HELD IN BEHEADING DESCRIBED AS ERRATIC"
*********** Dear Coach Wyatt,
*********** The photo showed a woman outside the Supreme Court building, celebrating the anniversary of the abortion-enabling Roe v Wade decision by carrying a sign declaring, defiantly, "MY BODY, MY CHOICE!"
Uh, Lady - apart from the fact that there is another body besides yours involved in an abortion... if your body is so f--king sacred, why didn't you think about that before you went to bed with that guy?
*********** Hugh- Not sure if i've sent you this before, but I thought you might be interested in a form of football played in a town near me. The website is still under construction I believe, but it'll give you the general idea.
*********** A Washington high school English teacher, writing in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, calls for eliminating from the curriculum all books that contain the "N" word. That would include "To Kill a Mockingbird," and, of course, "Huckleberry Finn." He writes...
Yes, it's daunting. It's called educating kids. It's why they pay you upwards of $50,000 a year plus generous benefits and a state retirement plan with two months in the summer to do as you please. These days, a lot of Americans would like a gig like that.
The guy also claims that Huckleberry Finn is too tough for kids.
(Uh, not to be overly picky, fella, but Shakespeare isn't Old English.)
Wow. I'm assuming from what he says that he chucked Shakespeare long ago. What a dope. Instead of teaching our kids, he wants to make them comfortable. Like a football coach who finds teaching blocking and tackling "daunting," and so devotes practice time to playing games.
Huckleberry Finn provides an invaluable insight to race relations in an America of another time. Without a base line - without a basic understanding of what race relations in America were once like - how would all those precious young people who helped Mr. Obama get elected truly comprehend what, exactly, the older black people at the inauguration were celebrating?
*********** I've suggested here that the BCS mix needs to be flexible, along the lines of the European relegation system, so that if one BCS conference is not measuring up, it can lose its place at the trough to a stronger, non-BCS conference.
Now comes the commissioner of the Mountain West Conference, asking to be allowed into the party. His plea is likely to be ignored, but it raises the question of what two of the BCS conferences - the Big East and the ACC - are doing with guaranteed places while the MWC is kept on the outside.
Consider the rankings of the three top MWC teams in the BCS's own final standings: Utah (6) , TCU (11) , BYU (16).
Then consider the ACC and Big East.
Neither one of them had more than a single team ranked higher than 19th, and neither had a team ranked higher than 12th.
***********The story about the coach in Louisville accused of criminal recklessness in the death of one of his players is tragic from many perspectives.
It is of course a tragedy for the family of the young man who died; it is a tragedy for the coach and his family; and it is a tragedy for the rest of us, who coach what I consider to be the most important of all sports in the development of our young men.
Please understand that I in no way presume to judge the coach. I don't know the facts. I only know that a young man died after practicing in the summer heat and humidity, and we all share in grieving with his family. And, knowing how it would crush me to have to deal with the death of a player, my heart goes out to the coach.
But on top of the anguish, which is bad enough, the coach faces a criminal trial, and the possibility of five years in prison.
Emotions, understandably, are running high.
"I felt betrayed," the boy's father says in an interview on the Louisville Courier-Journal's Web site. "I felt that someone I trusted let my son die."
The father says that he had just arrived at the practice and saw the players running - sprints, presumably. He said he was told that the players were running because the coach was disturbed at how slow they were to return from a water break. He said he was told by others that the coach told the team, "If you all don't want to practice, we'll run." And then they ran. And his son collapsed on the field and was taken to the hospital where he died.
Summer heat and humidity isn't much of an issue in the mild climate of Western Washington, especially near the coast, where even in August our cheerleaders sometimes have to wear sweats to work out, but I've spent plenty of time in the South and East and the Midwest, where it gets hot as hell, not to mention humid.
The coaches I've worked with have always been careful about the heat, even to the extent of installing cooling "misters" for their players to stand under. Water is always close by and accessible.
But based on the careless disregard for players' safety with which some coaches approach the teaching of tackling, based on the kids I see who lead with their heads, I think it's fair to assume that coaches who don't understand the concept of liability as it applies to teaching tackling might be similarly careless regarding practice in extreme heat.
There is talk that the coaching staff in the Louisville case was withholding water from the players. Again, I am not qualified to comment on this situation, but I do have a feeling that the prosecution will be all over that "If you all don't want to practice, we'll run" comment. It sure can be made to sound to a jury like punishment.
*********** A team from Phoenix will play a team from Pittsburgh. In Tampa, Florida.
The idea of a pro championship game at a neutral site seemed somewhat unusual when the first Super Bowl was played, but there was precedent.
It was 1936, and as all-time Redskins great Cliff Battles told Myron Cope ("The Game That Was," 1970), the Boston Redskins had finally started to win, but the Boston fans were slow to show their appreciation.
On top of that, Redskins' owner George Preston Marshall had tried raising the price of tickets. On game day, yet. It was not well received.
"There was a lot of hue and cry," recalled Battles, "and one thing led to another and darned if he didn't take the team and move us bag and baggage out of town."
Not that there was any place to move to, so Marshall switched the last game of the season, against the Giants, to the Polo Grounds, the Giants' home field. And he moved his team to the Westchester Country Club in the northern suburbs.
The Redskins won the game, and with it the eastern championship (the idea of splitting into eastern and western divisions and playing a title game was Marshall's), and the next week the Boston Redskins met the Green Bay Packers for the NFL title - in New York's Polo Grounds.
The next year, the Redskins played in Washington, D.C. where, thanks to the efforts of Battles, who led the NFL in rushing, and a sensational rookie passer out of TCU named Sammy Baugh, they won the NFL championship.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 23, 2009- "It's hard to find a man who will not lie to you, but it's harder still to find a man who will lie to you only once." Anonymous
*********** My local Staples and Office Max stores are all out of Turbotax Honest Mistake Version.
*********** "Wildcat by Wyatt" is a brief introduction to the Wildcat, taken from my video, "Dynamics III"
*********** Several years ago, I visited Don Holleder's high school, Aquinas Institute in Rochester, New York. It's a classic big-city Catholic school, an old building in an old, established neighborhood. It has a rich football history, dating back to the post-war days when it would travel anywhere and play anybody.
Yet looking at its trophy case, I sensed that they didn't truly comprehend what a tremendous impact one of their greatest athletes - Don Holleder - had had beyond the small world of Aquinas Institute. General Jim Shelton told me about the time he was visiting Aquinas and saw a couple of students standing in front of a painting of Don Holleder in full-dress Army uniform, hanging on a wall. Not being the slightest bit bashful, General Shelton asked the kids if they knew anything about the man in the painting, and their response was, "No - we just call him 'The General.'" Hoo, boy - did they get an on-the-spot history lesson, from General Shelton, who served in Vietnam with Don Holleder.
I thought of this the other day when I read an article in the Columbia, South Carolina paper - http://www.thestate.com/sports/story/620947.html - about the small town of Bishopville, South Carolina, which thanks to the efforts of an interested outsider, has awoken to the realization that one of football's all-time greats came from there.
More than 60 years later, they are finally getting around to erecting a statue of all-time football great Doc Blanchard. Blanchard, Army fullback and Heisman Trophy winner who along with Glenn Davis formed one of the most famous backfield combinations in football history, spent his boyhood in BIshopville, where as the son of the town doctor, he acquired the nickname "Little Doc."
Blanchard who went on to a distinguished career in the Air Force, is now retired and living in Bulverde, Texas.
But the circle to my story was completed back in 1952, when Doc Blanchard, serving as an assistant to Col. Earl Blaik on the Army staff, was dispatched to recruit one of New York State's outstanding football players. A multi-sport athlete at Rochester's Aquinas Institute named Don Holleder.
*********** Steve Bilafur, in Sports Business Weekly, noting what people have had to say about the quality of Matt Millen's credentials to appear as an analyst on NBC:
Awful Announcing had this: “Ummm, are you really going to expect us to listen to the thoughts from someone who just destroyed a franchise, NBC?”
Saginaw News columnist Greg Mancina wrote, “As a sportswriter, I can tell you that credible sources are crucial, and Mr. Millen is not credible. Anything he says on television cannot rise above the body of work he left in his wake at Ford Field in downtown Detroit.”
The Detroit Free Press’ Drew Sharp, upset that Millen wasn’t forced to give a fuller accounting of his disastrous Lions’ tenure, wrote, “NBC should insist that the erstwhile Lions chief executive wear an 0-16 stamp on his forehead for future network appearances.”
And Brian VanOchten, in his “Two-Minute Drill” blog for the Grand Rapids Press, added: “NBC lost all credibility when it put a buffoon such as Millen in front of a camera and let him comment on NFL personnel like some sort of expert.”
*********** In the wake of the recent inauguration, Larry King told Robert Woodward of the Washington Post that his eight-year-old son told him he wants to be black.
Hahahahaha. Where you been, Larry? This is nothing new. Check out where rap sells the most. Check out all the suburban white wannabes all over America who be saggin'.
*********** The following is dedicated to Albert Gore, Jr., Nobel Prize winning scammer...
It was necessary to keep a good supply of cannon balls near the cannon on old war ships. But how to prevent them from rolling about the deck was the problem. The best storage method devised was to stack them as a square based pyramid, with one ball on top, resting on four, resting on nine, which rested on sixteen.
Thus, a supply of 30 cannon balls could be stacked in a small area right next to the cannon. There was only one problem -- how to prevent the bottom layer from sliding/rolling from under the others.
The solution was a metal plate with 16 round indentations, called, for reasons unknown, a Monkey. But if this plate were made of iron, the iron balls would quickly rust to it. The solution to the rusting problem was to make them of brass - hence, Brass Monkeys.
Few landlubbers realize that brass contracts much more and much faster than iron when chilled. Consequently, when the temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would shrink so much that the iron cannon balls would come right off the monkey.
Thus, it was quite literally, cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey. And all this time, you thought that was just a vulgar expression, didn't you?
(This was mailed to me and I couldn't find anything online to confirm or refute it. Nor did I find much about well diggers or witches. HW)
*********** We're told that Portland mayor Sam Adams has gone into seclusion. Hey- it's been a tough couple of days for him. Life's like that when you just admitted "having sex" with an 18-year-old boy when you were 43. Or was it a 17-year-old boy? Adams admitted on Monday that he'd lied about the nature of his relationship with an 18-year-old male intern (he said it wasn't sexual - that he was just "mentoring" the kid about how to be gay and still get ahead in politics) yet still expects us to believe that even though they expressed interest in each other when the young fella was 17, the sex (ugh) between them didn't begin until he turned 18.
Adams was scheduled to give a keynote address Friday to a student group at Portland State University but he cancelled. You couldn't make this one up. The topic was to have been "Ethics and Personal Responsibility."
*********** Amazing when you come across names from years ago. Especially when you discover that they've gone on to great success in fields other than football. Maybe you've seen my single-wing video showing the 1947 Michigan team. Its tailback was a guy named Bob Chappuis, and its fullback was a guy named Dan Dworsky.
And the other day, while chasing down something else, I happened to come across this in jewsinsports.com...
*********** Scott Baker, a law professor at the University of North Carolina, published a study last year in the Boston University Law Review that considered whether society would be better off were judges paid more.
Money appears to have almost no impact on the quantity and quality of the work judges produce, Professor Baker found, and lots of capable people are eager to take the jobs at the current salary.
Take this sentence and in place of the word "judges" you could substitute "professors," or "football coaches," or "politicians," or "CEOs" or "High Level Government Officials" and it would be just as appropriate.
*********** A TV guy pronounced it "PUN-a-hoo." Hey guys - Barack Obama's going to be President for at least four years. So let's learn how to pronounce the name of Punahou, his high school (actually, a rather prestigious private school). The correct pronunciation (as close as I can get to the real Hawaiian pronounciation) is "PUN-a-hoe" Pronounce the "U" in "PUN" like the "U" in "PUT."
*********** I - rightly - hammer Florida State for the many miscreants its football program has harbored over the years, but it's only fair to give FSU its props when it somehow is able to persuade a really classy young man to go there to play football. Myron Rolle, FSU defensive back, has announced that he will honor the terms of his Rhodes Scholarship and study at Oxford (that's England, for those who don't know) next year instead of entering the NFL Draft. Myron Rolle brings credit to Florida State.
*********** In their book “Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores The Hidden Side Of Everything,” published in 2005, authors Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner examined baby names and socio-economic status, When you listed those names from the all-star game , I immediately flashed on their conclusions regarding nontraditional names versus traditional names and socio-economic status. Mark Kaczmarek, Davenport, Iowa
I've read the book and it is great.
I also think that the trend to creative names that now crosses nearly all socioeconomic groups is the proof of the feminization of our society.
I mean, you take a look in the paper at the names being conferred on newborns these days and you know that they're not being thought up by men (if there's a man even in the picture).
And God help the grade-school teachers who have to deal with five or six different cutesy spellings of the same name.
*********** On the inauguration coverage Tuesday, I heard more than one person pay tribute to numerous religious groups, including "non-believers." This is scary, because giving atheists equal football with Christians and Jews means that they've got their foot in the door. Which means they're just a step away from taking the "G" word off our currency and out of our oaths, lest we offend them and what, if anything, they stand for.
Maybe you think that's welcome, all a part of the unspecified "change" we've been promised.
But to be honest with you, I think this is already a pretty damned good country, and I fear it's in danger of being ruined by certain people who see themselves benefitting from unspecified "change."
*********** I loved the three motorcyle "wedges" that swept clean the Obamas' path down Pennsylvania Avenue.
*********** Good Morning Hugh--
Hope the air stagnation has not got you and Connie under the weather.
I got to tell how much fun it is reading your news and seeing the advice you give--especially after living it for a season.
Two things come to mind today--
1. Tackling--do you think anyone spent more time on the fundamentals of tackling (and blocking) then we did? As a result we got pretty good at tackling with our "eyes to the sky" and chest to chest. We practiced this skill every day for three months--I believe as a result we did not have a major injury do to tackling in a game. Please at the risk of seeming to want to help you sell tapes, I think every coach should get a copy of Safer and Surer Tackling and practice those skills every day in practice.
2. Unbalanced line--We ran unbalanced a lot and very effectively. What amazed me was that often teams did not we were unbalanced and often gained a man advantage at the point of attack. However we did all of this with in limits of our offense staying true to our core principals. One often goes to clinics and hears clinic talk about these kinds of things but having worked for you for a season we actually do the things you talk about on the News-- a refreshing thing to see this day and age.
Anyway keep at it !!
Jack Tourtillotte, Boothbay, Maine (Guys who get bored easily might not understand that when we say "every day" we literally mean that. But Jack, truly a kindred soul in Double Wing football after years of success in Maine, was right there with me at North Beach and knows exactly how we did it. He was a big part of it. HW)
*********** One of the beautiful things about keeping up this NEWS page - I still resist the term "blog" because I really think of this as a lot more - is the people it's connected me with. And re-connected. On the latter group is Frank Lovinski, who was a young sports editor in Hagerstown, Maryland when I was a young football coach in town. Frank was a great supporter at a time when it wasn't necessarily politically popular to support a bunch of mercenaries who wanted to play football on the sacred turf of the school stadium. We went our separate ways, and Frank moved up the Gannett newspaper chain until he finally retired as editor of the Detroit Free Press.
Now living in Wintersville, Ohio, not far from his hometown of Weirton, West Virginia, "Pope Franjo" remains a passionate follower of West Virginia football. But he doesn't confine his interest to the Mountaineers - he has seen more than 100 college football teams play. Live.
And he remains an avid sports fan. During lulls in the newsroom - he used to employ me to cover basketball games during the winter months - we'd try to stump each other with sports trivia. I'm still pissed at the time I wasn't able to tell him that Youngstown's nickname was the Penguins.
Recently, he sent me a copy of a copy of a baseball scorecard from an 1885 game between "Brooklyn" and Yale. He knew I'd notice who was pitching for Yale. Pitching, and batting second, was a guy named "Stagg."
"Stagg," of course, was Amos Alonzo Stagg, the "Grand Old Man of American Football," and one of the true pioneers of our game. When he came to Yale, baseball was his first love.
He's shown below in a photo of the 1888 Yale football team taken in the traditional pose on the old campus fence with New Haven's famous elms in the background. (Nowadays, the official photographer of Yale teams and captains keeps a section of fence in his studio, as well as a backdrop of elm trees.)
Amos Alonzo Stagg is farthest left. Note that there are just 11 men in the photo. The tall guy in the middle of the back row is Pudge Heffelfinger, three-time Yale All-American who in 1892 would be paid the then astonishing sum of $500 to play in one football game for Pittsburgh's Allegheny Athletic Association, making him the first professional football player.
*********** We just lost Dante Lavelli, one of the first truly great pass-cathching ends (back before they called them receivers) of football's modern era. Paying homage to a player of his stature is a major job, so I', grateful to Frank Lovinski for sending me an article from the Columbus Dispatch:
TUESDAY, JANUARY 20, 2009- "Investing is like dieting. It's simple, just not easy." Warren Buffett
*********** May God give President Obama the strength, the wisdom and the courage to perform his duties. It will be interesting to see how he looks in four years with gray hair. The job will do that to a guy.
*********** He's in Washington for the coronation, but Portland's newly-elected mayor Sam Adams, first openly-gay mayor of a major US city, will be doin' some 'splainin' today.
That's because His Honor just admitted that he'd been lying about a relationship he'd had with a teenage intern (male, of course) back in 2005. Told the young lad to lie about it, too. Said then that it wasn't sexual, and said the same thing as recently as a week ago, but now he says it was. Says that although the kid was 17 when he was hired, he was 18 when the sex occured. So it was okay, right? Adams at the time was 42.
You'll have to excuse me. After writing this I need to go take a shower.
*********** "Wildcat by Wyatt" is a brief introduction to the Wildcat, taken from my video, "Dynamics III"
*********** This week's impossibly stupid announcer cliche: "That's a hard call for an official to make..."
Uh, if they all were easy, would we even need officials?
Come to think of it, as badly officiated as the Steelers-Ravens game was, they wouldn't have been any worse off with a half dozen police officers to keep the peace, and a coin to flip whenever there was a disputed play.
*********** "Unfortunately, there's only one happy team." So said Andy Reed, following the Eagles' loss to Arizona - and that's the main reason why I hate the idea of a college playoff. With bowl games, 32 teams go home happy.
*********** In one way, perhaps the Eagles' loss was a blessing for our family. My mother-in-law, who has lived her entire life outside Philadelphia, is a long-time sports fan. Her younger brother, Wayne Ambler, played three seasons for the old Philadelphia A's after Connie Mack paid his way through Duke, and she's followed the Phillies and Eagles as long as I've known her.
She's 100 years old, and after the Phillies' World Series win, an Eagles' win in the Super Bowl might have been enough to satisfy her. Now, like every other Philadelphian, she's back in for another year with the Iggles. That's a blessing.
*********** At least the Philly fans have Wing Bowl to look forward to...
*********** Lower Township Raiders Football Teams 2008 Seasons Football Banquet (Cape May, New Jersey)
The Lower Township Raiders Football Team had their 2008 seasons football banquet Sunday afternoon. The banquet was held at the Villas Fishing Club.
All players received a trophy of participation for the 2008 season, and the 8th. graders that will graduate to high school were also given medals and certificates in honor of their years of participation in the Cape May County Youth Football League.
The Lower Township Raiders finished the season with a 9 and 2 record. Hoping to avenge their only regular season lose to Galloway Township in the Championship game (was not to be). After a hard fought, heart breaking last minute lose, in the Championship game (again), to the Galloway Township Renegades, finishing the season as the league's runner up.
Coach Simonsen expressed all the coaches' profound pride and joy that this year's team provided with their hard work and team first attitudes. The coaches all feel that although they did not win, they should take tremendous pride because they (the coaches) feel they lost to one of the best youth football teams ever to have had the opportunity to play.
The highlight of the affair was the presentation of the prestigious Black Lion Award. Many colleges, high schools, and youth football teams across the nation are enrolled in this program. It is a very influential award for college acceptance. The Raiders football team has been enrolled in this program for the past 12 years.
We are proud to announce that this years honorable winner of the Black Lion Award was William (Pat) Dunn. Pat was a team leader and a captain. Although he never carried the ball, or played defense, he was our center and called the line blocking to match the defenses alignment. Pat is also an extraordinary young man in school and on the streets. As he continues to work hard to improve his athletic skills we expect him to be a good player at the next level.
We know Pat will wear this badge of honor with the highest level of pride.
*********** The fans up in the stands have all spent an average of at least $100 a ticket to watch the championship game. They spent hundreds - some of them even even thousands - more, just for the right to pay that $100. And now their team has won. And they stick around for the championship trophy to be presented, and they cheer loudly. But their loudest cheer is saved for - themselves!
That's because, without fail, every owner accepts the championship trophy and then says into the mic something along the lines of "... but this trophy really belongs to THE GREATEST FANS IN FOOTBALL!"
It's guaranteed to get applause, like a politician saying, "Let's hear it for our troops!"
Just once, I'd like to hear an owner say, "And to all our fans... Thanks for nothing. It cost me millions in free agent signings before I could get you cheap bastards to even buy tickets. If we'd had better fans, we'd have been here long ago. So just keep buying tickets and shut up."
*********** My daughter, Julia, a Duke graduate who still lives in Durham, North Carolina, wrote to tell me about the recent visit of a college classmate and her family...
You Duke-haters out there - whoever you root for, I sure hope your guys are as classy as these guys.
*********** I wrote... "In a nation obsessed with youth, it's worth noting that the pilot who guided a powerless US Airways jet to a safe landing in the Hudson River is 57 years old. Wonder how many of those passengers looked into the cockpit as they boarded and thought he was too old. Wonder how many do now"
Ned Griffen, in New London, Connecticut, couldn't resist...
"Yeah, but he left his left turn signal on during the entire flight..."
*********** I was looking at the rosters of the recent Army All-Star game. Man - the Mamas who named them sure were creative. Gave 'em names like Tariq, Vontaze, DeAndre, Shaquelle, Barkevious, Jamarkus, Cierre, Tyrik, Rolando. And Christine. A running back named Christine Michael.
Hold the jokes, fellas. Christine is not a she. Christine is a he. Christine is 5-11, 202. He benches 335 and squats 545.
*********** Big Sports (ESPN) is so sure of its male audience, and so afraid of losing its female audience, that it even has to change foreign words to please feminists.
There is a Swedish word for a person who investigates citizens' complaints about government, and now its common for members of the news media to have a person on the staff whose job is to serve as the voice of the readers or viewers, and to provide objective criticism of the product.
The word is "ombudsman." Not at ESPN, though, where theirs will be leaving them soon. Said Norby Williamson, ESPN vice-president of production, "we're anxiously looking for the next ombudsperson."
*********** Did anybody catch the hit on the opening kickoff of the Steelers-Ravens game? The one that sent the Ravens' Daren Stone reeling? Whew. Talk about unloading.
Hard to argue with Sports Illustrated's Peter King, who writes, of Steelers vs Ravens, "This is now officially the best rivalry in football."
*********** If we're not going to waterboard those f--kers down in Guantanamo, how 'bout we just have them run down and cover a few kickoffs against the Steelers?
*********** This Larry Fitzgerald - he's pretty good, isn't he?
*********** Haha I laughed my a.. off at that soccer column, Hugh. It cracks me up when people talk about that silly activity being "the most popular sport in the world." Of course it is! It's played in the poorest countries, and it's an incredibly simple sport that requires nothing more than a ball. Any kind of ball. Preferably round and inflated ... but beyond that" You got ball? You got soccer! The minute you introduce soccer to a country that's already got a battery of sports where the teams actually score points, it becomes the bastion of the inconoclast.
I love the line "the only sport where you can't f--k up." I really do think that soccer increases in popularity in direct relation to the feminization of our society and the neutering of our boys. I joke about it, but it really does worry me.
Mike writes about the fact that soccer is "the world's most popular sport" largely because so much of the world has nothing else to do. But there are those countries where soccer's tendrils didn't reach, and they had to develop their own sports. Such a country is Afghanistan, where the national sport is something called Bushkazi. (Afghans actually spell it "bOzkashI," but since I am not as fluent as I once was in Afghani, or whatever they call it, I thought it best to spell it phonetically for my readers.)
The simplest explanation of Bushkazi is that it is a game of keep-away. A very rough game of keepaway. A very rough game of keepaway on horseback. Teams of horsemen compete to see who can sieze an object and carry it to the goal area. The "object" is the stuffed, beheaded carcass of a calf or goat. Not everyone wants the rider to score, which is where the fun comes in.
Here is an official Afghan description of the game. Be sure to overlook certain problems with their English translation...
*********** In a local girls' high school basketball game, the final score was School A 79, School B 7. The score at the half was 37-1.
Both schools are in Washington Class 3A, the second-highest classification. Both schools have enrollments of 1000+
School A, a suburban school, has been a girls' power around here forever. School B is what you'd call a city school, to the extent that Vancouver, Washington has anything at all resembling an inner city (it really doesn't).
You still see these scores in girls' basketball, and you have to wonder why it's still happening. Can't blame this one on the men. After all, Title IX's been with us since 1972.
And compliance with Title IX means that School B's girls' coach is paid the same as its boys' coach, and the girls' basketball team shares the use of facilities equally with the boys. And it's getting results like this.
*********** Ryan White writes in the Portland Oregonian...
(Hey - anybody else notice that "deified" is a palindrome?)
*********** It's automatic. An offensive player flinches, however slightly; play is whistled dead, and the referee marches off five yards. No exceptions.
C'mon, ref - how many times does a slight movement by an offensive player make any difference?
Meantime, the holding that goes on is scandalous . It gives the offensive player a huge fair advantage. It goes on all the time and yet it's called, oh, maybe one per cent of the time.
*********** Good Morning Hugh--
Cold in New England today about 30 below around the Maine today but only about 5 below along the coast. Cold even for us--I had to get the car warmed up for Susan this morning it was so cold.
I read the news this morning -- great advice to the coach worried about defensive lineman diving at the feet. Many don't understand that you don't need more but you do have to execute and do the little things. Our experience at North Beach sure makes the point. Take what the defense gives you and I think that was one of the things we did very well. The case in point the coach was worried about only having the sweep and pass against this tactic -- Your advice to work on Technique and do the little things and run what the defensive gives is just what we did. Coaches run a successful play and then don't repeat it--Why? if it is working why go away from it? Remember the end of the South Bend game --four or five 47-C's in a row. All gaining positive yards and we were giving the ball to player we knew would not fumble. Our days and days of practicing that play and doing all the little things over and over again until they were right sure paid off that night.
Have a great day!!
Jack Tourtillotte, Boothbay, Maine
*********** On a coach's question about running unbalanced as a basic set...
This past season, I would venture to say that we ran unbalanced in one form or another maybe 10-15 per cent of the time. Much more than that, I think, and we risk losing the element of stealth which is one of the things that makes it successful.
I personally wouldn't run unbalanced as a steady diet because that would get me into a whole new offense, with problems all its own, after spending years trying to keep my basic offense updated to stay ahead of what defenses do. Instead, I use unbalanced to augment my basic system, as a way of catching a defense off guard, and - should they even be able to recognize what we're doing - to force them to play against something they didn't prepare for.
*********** The cover story in the latest American Football Monthly is called "The Tackling Crisis." Like nearly every other article in the magazine, it's something of an informercial for a DVD that the publishers just happen to be offering for sale (actually, in this case, three DVDs at $39.95 each), but it does seem that somebody else has noticed a problem that in my opinion is one of the major factors making NFL football increasingly a joke.
It's not as if NFL coaches can't teach tackling, and it's not as if players came to the NFL without ever having been taught properly in college. But something happens once these guys become pros.
If the awful tackling demonstrated on an average Sunday were confined to the NFL, the rest of us could ignore it, but unfortunately it has a damaging effect on our efforts to teach our kids good tackling.
The solution, unfortunately, does not lie in proper techniques and good teaching.
Actually, it's probably beyond solving, because it's inherent in the very mercenary nature of today's professional football player.
I think that there are three very big reasons why we will never see good tackling return to the NFL. Two relate to showmanship, one to asset protection.
(1) Showmanship. The drive to get on SportsCenter with the Big Hit. What do you suppose that sort of exposure is worth to a player's market value? Unfortunately, the Big Hit is seldom what any coach would call a good tackle. It usually results from the defender's launching himself, arms at his side, as a human missile. All too frequently, the defender misses, and the receiver is off to the races.
(2) Showmanship. Defenders seem preoccupied with batting or grabbing the ball and causing a fumble rather than stopping the ball carrier. Without doubt, causing a fumble is more highly prized, more likely to get a player's name in the paper or his celebration on camera, than merely making a tackle. Next time you watch a game, check out the number of players who could have been in on a tackle but chose instead to try to bat or pry the ball loose. Watch how many times this allows the runner to advance or even escape when he could have been stopped cold. (Is it only me, or has the term "gang tackling" disappeared from the football vocabulary?)
(3) Asset protection. Whatever skills a player may have, they're nothing without a healthy body. That's his major asset, and he knows it. Today's players are highly paid, and they're smart enough to know that in a pass-oriented game, they're paid first and foremost to defend against passes. Consequently, I think that a lot of bad tackling stems from players' making conscious decisions to save their bodies. Watch most open-field tackles, even the Big Hits on a defenseless receiver. Watch the way the tackler's arms are tucked, and you'll realize that the tackler is deliberately avoiding the sort of collision in which he himself might get hurt. There are exceptions, of course, but by and large, the "sacrifice your body" ethos is disappearing. It's not due to cowardice, though. These guys are plenty tough. It's purely a business decision. Hey - They pay me to cover receivers. With the kind of money I'm making, why should I risk my career making a tackle? (And if a player isn't smart enough to figure that out, his agent is.)
*********** Asked what I thought about a certain offense featured in a certain magazine...
I don't pay any attention to anything that hasn't passed the test of time and distribution.
I'm not interested in something that's being run in isolation, in being anybody's guinea pig.
And if I were to run something different, I'd want to know I had someone really knowledgeable and competent that I could go to if I ever needed help.
But then, I'm not looking.
One offense is more than enough for me.
My time is best spent making what I do better and finding ways to counter the things defenses keep trying to do against me.
*********** A friend writes, I want to change up my coaching style - I'm a perfectionist when it comes to execution, but I'm a conservative coach when it comes to play calling - everything I do is pretty safe. I would like my teams to be more aggressive then they are and also I need to learn how to teach situational football...could you assist in helping me in that area?
It sounds as though what you're saying may be that you want to occasionally do something wildass but you're being held back because in doing so you may get out of your comfort zone.
I don't think you necessarily need to change your "coaching style." That's you, and it works for you. But you may be able to alter your approach to play-calling somewhat, and the solution may be something as simple as having a couple of plays where you can swing for the fences, and the making sure that you make a note somewhere - maybe on your game plan - to make sure that you do so.
Obviously there are good times and bad to do these things, but just as a business sometimes has to reach into the till and spend some money on advertising because it's good for future business, we occasionally have to throw it deep, or run a reverse, or even a reverse pass, because even they're not successful, they're like advertising the fact that you will do it - which could be good for future business!
I don't think that there's anything wrong with being conservative. The best part about being conservative is that a surprise play out of you is even more of a surprise than if it comes from someone less conservative than you.
*********** If I may, I'd like to give you all an elementary lesson in investing. A VERY elementary lesson.
Here are the facts...
(1) Right now, you can buy five different DVDs on the A-11 offense from American Football Monthly. They're $39.95 each, $119.75 for all five.
(2) The NFHS Rules Committee will meet January 24, at which point it may or may not rule on whether to allow the A-11 to continue to operate
Now, with those facts in hand, answer the following question...
If the NFHS rules committee were to close the loophole in the rules that the A-11 currently exploits - a rule intended for kicking plays only - what would happen to the price of A-11 DVDs?
*********** We already have more trouble with income tax compliance than the government would like to admit, yet our new President proposes taking one more giant step toward anarchy with the appointment as Secretary of the Treasury - the person who oversees the Internal Revenue Service - of a big-time tax dodger.
*********** Whew. Considering all the good work that they do, I'm hoping that the Shriners weren't counting on much in the way of gate receipts from Saturday's East-West All Star game in Houston. The crowd was, um, sparse. Let's just say that for a typical Texas high school game it would have been a disappointing turnout.
*********** You know how much the college basketball regular season really means when it's still January and we go back to the studio at halftime and they're already greeting us with, "Welcome to the Road to the Final Four..."
*********** There's a new advertiser on my favorite radio station called "The Oregon Male Performance Clinic."
It says we can expect "a positive reaction" on "the first visit..."
Excuse me... "a positive reaction?" on "the first visit?"
Portland used to have plenty of places that did the same thing. They called them massage parlors.
The commercial also asks "if you want to perform for ninety minutes or longer." Whew. At a massage parlor that could be very expensive.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 16, 2009- “If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much.” Donald Rumsfeld
*********** Will any announcer this weekend be literate enough to know that Monday (January 19) is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, whose dissolute life came to an end in Baltimore, where he's buried - and that the Baltimore football team is named for perhaps his most famous poem?
*********** In a nation obsessed with youth, it's worth noting that the pilot who guided a powerless US Airways jet to a safe landing in the Hudson River is 57 years old. Wonder how many of those passengers looked into the cockpit as they boarded and thought he was too old. Wonder how many do now.
*********** You probably saw this, but it was in Jason Whitlock's "10 Things" column last week:
I didn't see it. it's great. "When it is not necessary to change, it's necessary not to change." (Not sure where I heard that) HW
*********** Like everyone else, I'm sorry to see Tony Dungy go, although quite frankly, after reading his book, the wonder to me is that a man of such Christian values could have lasted as long - and had as much success - as he did in the soulless NFL.
At 53, he's still a young man, with another career or two ahead of him - maybe even another one in coaching! - and I'll be interested in seeing where his life leads.
*********** I've been listening to this same commercial on the radio for some time now, and it's piqued my curiosity. In the same way that people come on an accident scene and slow down to sneak a glance at the body lying there, I don't really want to look, and neither do you, but admit it - there's something weirdly interesting about cleaning "20 pounds of spackle" from somebody's colon, isn't there? Seems to me that's a lot of spackle to be carrying around in a colon. What do you suppose 20 pounds of it looks like?
*********** The Yankees, who not so long ago barged in on the headlines during football season by agreeing to pay a guy named CC Sabathia $160 million over five years, are already into the taxpayers of New York for some 300 million as they build their new Yankee Stadium. Now, they've asked the city for another $400 million in tax-free financing to finish the deal. Maybe.
But, oh, what a ballyard the New York taxpayers are going to be getting for their money, according to the New York Times: Seats for $1,500 a game? Suites fit for the royal family? A scoreboard fit for the Big Board? A fabulous steakhouse and granite ramps (no ordinary cement for this crowd)? This $1 billion-plus pavilion and park financed with a lot of taxpayer help is beginning to sound like something fit for the Wizard of Oz.
*********** From his essay entitled "George Will vs. Nick Hornby", Chuck Klosterman on soccer ("the only sport where you can't f--k up")...
I've spent the last fifteen years of my life railing against the game of soccer, an exercise that has been lauded as "the sport of the future" since 1977. Thankfully, that dystopia has never come. But people continue to tell me that soccer will soon become part of the fabric of this country, and that soccer will eventually be as popular as football, basketball, karate, pinball, smoking, glue sniffing, menstruation, animal cruelty, photocopying, and everything else that fuels the eroticized, hyperkinetic zeitgeist of Americana. After the U.S. placed eighth in the 2002 World Cup tournament, team forward Clint Mathis said, "If we can turn one more person who wasn't a soccer fan into a soccer fan, we've accomplished something." Apparently, that's all that matters to these idiots. They won't be satisfied until we're all systematically brainwashed into thinking soccer is cool and that placing eighth (and losing to Poland!) is somehow noble. However, I know this will never happen. Not really. Dumb bunnies like Clint Mathis will be wrong forever, and that might be the only thing saving us from ourselves.
Soccer unconsciously rewards the outcast, which is why so many adults are fooled into thinking their kids love it. The truth is that most children don't love soccer; they simply hate the alternatives more. For 60 percent of the adolescents in any fourth-grade classroom, sports are a humiliation waiting to happen. These are the kids who play baseball and strike out four times a game. These are the kids afraid to get fouled in basketball, because it only means they're now required to shoot two free throws, which equates to two air balls. Basketball games actually stop to recognize their failure. And football is nothing more than an ironical death sentence; somehow, outcasts find themsevles in a situation where the people normally penalized for teasing them are suddenly urged to annihilate them.
That is why soccer seems like such a respite from all that mortification; it's the one aerobic activity where nothingness is expected. Even at the highest levels, every soccer match seems to end 1-0 or 2-1. A normal eleven-year-old can play an entire season without placing toe to sphere and nobody would even notice, assuming he or she does a proper job of running about and avoiding major collisions.
Soccer fanatics love to tell you that soccer is the most popular game on earth and that it's played by 500 million people every day, as if that somehow proves its value. Actually, the opposite is true. Why should I care that every single citizen of Chile and Iran and Gibraltar thoughtlessly adores "football"? Do the people making this argument also assume Coca-Cola is ambrosia? Real sports aren't for everyone. And don't accuse me of being the Ugly American for degrading soccer. That has nothing to do with it. It's not xenophobic to hate soccer; it's socially reprehensible to support it. To say you love soccer is to say you believe in enforced equality more than you believe in the value of competition and the capacity of the human spirit. It should surprise no one that Benito Mussolini loved being photographed with Italian soccer stars during the 1930s; they were undoubtedly kindred spirits. I would sooner have my kid deal crystal meth than play soccer. Every time I pull up behind a Ford Aerostar with a "#1 Soccer Mom" bumper sticker, I feel like I'm marching in the wake of the Khmer Rouge.
That said, I don't feel my thoughts on soccer are radical. If push came to shove, I would be more than willing to compromise: It's not necessary to wholly outlaw soccer as a living entity. I concede that it has a right to exist. All I ask is that I never have to see it on television, that it's never played in public (or supported with public funding), and that nobody -- and I mean nobody -- ever utters the phrase "Soccer is the sport of the future" for the next forty thousand years.
*********** It falls under the category of WTF will promoters think of next. From the same people who gave us that delightful exercise in excess, the Army All-Star game, comes a Middle School All-Star Game. I am not kidding.
After all, when a basketball coach at USC will offer a scholarship to an eighth grader (hell, the guy doesn't even know if he'll be at USC when the kid graduates from high school), you can't start the recruiting too soon...
And then there's the insatiable appetite of all those recruiting service addicts. Why, how else are they going to know which seventh graders to keep an eye on.
This pretty well sums it up for me: “College?” one kid replied, when asked where he wanted to go to college. “I don’t even know where I want to go to high school.”
On second thought, maybe what he meant was, "I haven't heard what the high schools on the West Coast have to offer yet."
*********** This'll help you understand Pittsburgh, one of a handful of American cities with a distinctive culture...
*********** For years now, a farmer along I-5 around Chehalis, Washington has maintained a large billboard which he updates from time to time with some rather pithy, usually conservative, observations on the sad state of our national and state governments. His latest: ALASKA: WANT TO TRADE GOVERNORS?
*********** Dr. Khayat has been chancellor of the University of Mississippi since 1995, and will be retiring at the end of April.
Others may know him as Dr. Robert Khayat, but I'm old enough to remember him as Bob Khayat.
Bob Khayat played football for Ole Miss from 1957 through 1959. Like everyone else in those days, he was a two-way player as a lineman, but he was an outstanding kicker as well. Following graduation from Ole Miss, he played three seasons for the Redskins, and was named to play in the 1960 Pro Bowl. It was a different era - he was not a kicking specialist. His 15 field goals in 1960 were second-best in the NFL, as was his field goal percentage (65.2%).
Dr. Khayat (he has degrees from Ole Miss and Yale) has been awarded both the NFL Lifetime Achievement Award and the National Football Foundation Distinguished American Award.
*********** I know I'm getting old and jaded but I've followed college football pretty closely for a long time, and it seems to me that we've reached the point where college football is being downplayed to the point where guys are being nominated for the College Football Hall of Fame largely because of the names they made for themselves in the NFL.
*********** At a time when it's oh, so very important to "reach consensus," a valuable lesson in leadership comes from Abraham Lincoln...
President-elect Barack Obama seems suddenly to have discovered Lincoln, which is good - better late than never - because Lincoln had a set of stones, and it will sure help us if Mr. Obama turns out to be similarly endowed. His courage and will is certainly going to be tested.
In his book "Presidential Command," Peter Rodman gives us a look into Lincoln' courageous leadership.
Lincoln, the story goes, asked his cabinet secretaries for a vote on whether he should sign the Emancipation Proclamation.
The vote was unanimous - "NO!"
Said Lincoln, undeterred by the opposition from his staff, "The ayes have it!"
*********** I've seen dozens of these "You know you're from ----- if" lists, but this is among the best. Perhaps the World-is-Warming guys will enjoy reading it while waiting for the oceans to rise...
60 above zero: Floridians turn on the heat. Minnesotans plant gardens.
50 above zero: Californians shiver uncontrollably. People are sunbathing in Duluth .
40 above zero: Import cars won't start. Minnesotans drive with the sunroof open.
32 above zero: Distilled water freezes. The water in Bemidji gets thicker.
20 above zero: New Mexicans don long johns, parkas and wool hats & mittens. Minnesotans throw on a flannel shirt.
15 above zero: New York landlords finally turn on the heat. People in Minnesota have one last cookout before it gets cold.
Zero: People in Miami all die. Minnesotans close the windows.
10 below zero: Californians fly away to Mexico Minnesotans dig their winter coats out of storage.
25 below zero: Hollywood disintegrates. Girl Scouts in Minnesota still selling cookies door to door.
40 below zero: Washington , D.C. finally runs out of hot air. People in Minnesota let their dogs sleep indoors.
100 below zero: Santa Claus abandons the North Pole. Minnesotans get upset because the Mini-Van won't start.
460 below zero: ALL atomic motion stops (absolute zero on the Kelvin scale). People in Minnesota can be heard to say, "Cold 'nuff fer ya?"
500 below zero: Hell freezes over. Minnesota public schools open 2 hours late.
*********** The law of unintended consequences...
President Bruce Shepard of Western Washington University, who has been in office for only a few months but apparently long enough to decide that football had to go, now admits that the University will probably have to fund a special program or programs to encourage, entice or recruit minority students to the campus to replace the minority football players who will leave following the cancellation of the football program.
*********** I enjoy reading your website very much. Last year we went full time DW the last 5 1/2 games;so we still have a lot to learn. How do you handle teams who want to dive at your playside OL feet? We ran rocket sweep and threw the ball. Still this diving causes piles of bodies. We kept our OL as deep as possible. We won 4 of last 6 games and moved the ball but we need to solve playside diving because 6-7g,counters,power,and super power struggled some. Our A-back averaged 9.1yds.per carry so everything is not bad.
Coach, This is something you have to deal with. People try it with us all the time and we manage. You could probably benefit from getting a copy of my 2008 North Beach Highlights DVD.
There is nothing you can do about the other team, and there is nothing in particular you have to do to "handle" this.
As with any offense, defenses can sacrifice themselves to stop one, maybe two, maybe even three of your plays, but they can't stop them all.
Needless to say, you have to be able to block down successfully. This is not as easy as some of the youth football experts make it sound when they sit down and draw up plays.
Beyond that, I really don't know enough about your level of understanding of the offense to be able to offer you much help.
*********** In his autobiography, "Footsteps of a Giant," written in 1966, Hall-of-Famer Emlen Tunnell proved to be prescient when he recalled playing for Iowa and being trounced by Michigan's single wing:
"There were two things that happened in the Michigan game that I relate to modern professional football. The first is the single wing offense. Vince Lombardi, who was on the Giants' staff before he went out to rebuild the Packers, re-emphasized the importance of the ground game in pro football by taking the time to school all eleven offensive players, instead of just the passer and receivers. In this era when the defense is dominant in pro ball... a variation of the single wing, complete with spinners, might be just the thing to bust up the 4-3-4 defense. "
Unfortunately, I believe that the current dabbling in single-wing football will go only so far as the pros' willingness and ability to "school all eleven offensive players." That means linemen, too. And as it is now, their linemen seem to be incapable of the type of blocking necessary to run an effective single wing.
There is one other factor that no one mentions in discussing NFL offenses, and that is the way the much greater size and speed of defenders have essentially shrunken the field.
The NFL could make defenses less dominant simply by widening the playing field. I'd recommend the width of the Canadian field (65 yards, or 195 feet, as opposed to the American field, which is 160 feet). Now's the time to do it. What better use of stimulus money than to widen 32 NFL fields?
*********** Dad...check out this photo of our new guy Donta Smith. Needless to say, he can jump. Good news on my end - Channel Ten has asked me to be on their Super Bowl panel. I won't host, which is fine with me, but will analyze and provide colour. The game will be on Ten and Ten HD, so there will be more viewers than SBS. Also, with the Cardinals/Eagles game featuring Aussie punters on both sides, there is a lot of media interest. An Aussie will play in the Super Bowl for the first time ever. And it comes after an Aussie pitcher played in the World Series (Grant Balfour, Tampa). Love, Ed (My son, Ed, works with the South Dragons in the NBL, Australia's pro basketball league. Donta Smith is their latest American import. )
*********** Imagine the stories for the news guys if the Eagles face the Steelers in the Super Bowl. Things could get a bit rowdy. Both teams travel really well. Both have a hard-core, blue-collar element not unlike English soccer fans. Yuengling - best-selling beer in PA - has a brewery in Tampa, but they'll have to put on another shift for Super Bowl week just to keep up.
Funny thing is, there 's never been much of a sports rivalry between the two cities - they pretty much ignore each other and go their own ways. Philly is an East Coast port city and its big rival in any sport is one New York team or another. Pittsburgh, which was west of the Alleghenies and pretty much shut off from eastern influences for almost 200 years until the railroads were built, has traditionally faced westward. It grew up trading as a river city, connected by the Ohio River to the midwest. Its big rival for a long time has been Cleveland.
As "recently" as when I was in college, football annuals such as Street and Smith put Pitt in the Midwest.
Western and Eastern Pennsylvania high school sports have tended to be separated by the mountains until they instituted playoffs - Pennsylvania came to them relatively late - and Eastern teams seldom played Western teams before the playoff. On the other hand, Western PA and Ohio teams have long played each other.
Of course a Baltimore-Philadelphia game could get a little rowdy, too.
Three chances out of four of getting real, blue-color fans at the Super Bowl ain't bad.
*********** A Portland treasure, gospel singer Willa Mae Dorsey, died Wednesday. Ms. Dorsey was 75. According to the Portland Oregonian, Ms. Dorsey began her professional career at 19, singing gospel songs written by her father's cousin, Thomas A. Dorsey. Among the hymns he wrote was "Precious Lord," one of her favorite songs.
http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/p/l/pltmhand.htm (Is that a cool site or what?)
Her first solo album, "The World's Most Exciting Gospel Singer," was nominated for a Grammy in 1969. A Billboard review at that time called her "one of the most original singers to ever emerge in the gospel scene."
*********** Tacoma, Washington police are looking for a guy who held up one of those espresso kiosks where the help (female) dress in bikinis.
They're asking for the public's help in finding the guy.
Based on the surveillance video and the employee's description, and what the police already know about him, it may be hard for him to hide...
He's a long drink of water - 6-3, 150. He has numerous visible tattoos, including a large tattoo of "666" on the back of his head, the words "Anti-Christ" on the right side of his neck, a burning cross on his throat, a teardrop below left his left eye, and the words "Game" and "Over" on his eyelids. And his entire scalp is shaven, and covered with one large, demonic tattoo ending with fangs where the hairline should be.
*********** Hi coach, 2009 will be my 6th year as a youth football coach (following my son ). Last year was my first year as head coach and I 'm really enjoyed my experience.... also as a coach who wants to improve his team, I'm very interesting by your double wing system.
As I'm from ------- Canada, the football's rules are a little bit differentm starting with 12 players on the field.
Do you think that I can apply the double wing system to my team ? How long would it take to implement that system to young players with 4-5 years football experiences? Try out camp will start in April for 10 weeks ( one session/week) . Pre-season is 4-6 weeks ( 2 hours x 2 times practice/week ) and regular season is 10 games ( with 1-2 practices per week depending on parents "opinions" ! )...
Short answer: Yes, it works in Canadian football. I have a video of a high school team from Alberta winning its provincial championship running my Double Wing.
Most coaches find that they can be up and running my basic system fairly quickly.
I can teach anybody my entire system in less than a week. Granted, I have more than 25 years' experience in teaching my system, and I've taught it to hundreds of teams, and granted, I had some very knowledgeable assistants helping me, but for what it is worth, my team this past season had never seen my system before and after three days we were running it reasonably well. I doubt that my players were any more experienced than yours will be.
That's the good news.
The tough part, and the challenge that many coaches simply aren't up to, is taking the next step - identifying and ironing out the small details that make the difference between a good double wing team and a coach that will be looking for another magic pill next year.
*********** I was reading not so long ago about the great John Wooden, and his relationships with his former players, many of whom found him a bit strict when they played for him, then came to realize as life went on what valuable lessons he had been teaching them.
One such player is Swen Nader, a big guy who never started at UCLA because it was his misfortune to be there at the same time as Bill Walton, yet went on to a 12-year career in the NBA.
"I really understood the concept of team basketball," he said, "not just in the games, but in the roles you play in practice. Some guys didn't understand it and pouted. I didn't. No one outworked me, not even Bill. I had fun challenging Bill. I gave him everything he could handle. That was an investment on my part and it paid off."
TUESDAY, JANUARY 13, 2009- "Adversity brings out talents that would have remained dormant under prosperous circumstances." Ara Parseghian
*********** THEY AIN'T DEAD YET ---- The administration at Western Washington felt so-o-o-o-o bad about having to discontinue football. You could tell it in the voices of the two (female) spokespersons they put in front of the TV cameras. They said it was such a difficult decision. Why, before they made it, they'd tried everything. They'd left no stone unturned in their effort to save WWU football. Blah, blah, blah.
Yeah, they'd tried everything. Everything except contact the people best positioned to try to save the program - the coaches, the players, the alumni. Those people had absolutely no inkling that euthanasia was being contemplated for their football program until its death was announced as a fait accompli (French for "accomplished fact"). The program is now officially dead, and it may very well remain so, but it's not going to be buried without the fight that the administrative weasels undoubtedly hoped they'd avoided with their preemptive announcement. Unfortunately for them, those testosterone-addled football brutes aren't just going to slink away and let them get back to shuffling papers. Within hours of the announcement, former WWU players had mobilized, and right now their efforts are being channeled through a Web site -
My wife and I have already made our pledges to the campaign to save WWU football.
*********** Among the e-mails that the "Save WWU Football" guys have received was this one...
"I would like for you to add me to the e-mail list so that I can have a voice in saving the program. I am currently a medical student at the University of Washington School of Medicine and I know that without my football experience at Western I would not be where I am today. Viking football was much more than a sport to me. My fellow teammates and coaches were my family and they provided a venue for me to mature and maximize my potential as a member of society. I am sure that the thousands of former VIking football players have similar stories. Western Washington Football is a special program to be a part of. The wins and losses columns are irrelevant to the fact that this program provides the opportunity for many young men to receive a high level of education in football, life, and academics. This opportunity may not be present without football."
*********** A little over a year ago, Ben Rushing wrote from Colorado to ask, "Ever notice that the NFLHS.com has no actual high school news?"
It was funny, except that it was so typical of the NFL's inability to do ANYTHING pro bono - for the good of others - without making sure that the NFL was the beneficiary, first and foremost.
Since I never spent any time visiting it, I decided to check it out recently, and what I got was a switcheroo. "We've called an audible," they said. And then they switched me to the Web site of USA Football, the umbrella organization by means of which Big Football hopes to one day control football at all levels.
I'm tellin' ya - watch out for USA Football. It is a Trojan Horse.
You think the NFL doesn't one day plan to take it ll over? I guarantee you, should the NFL Network continue - and there are predictions that the NFL owners are growing tired of its money-losing ways - we will soon be seeing high school games on there two or three nights a week and, thanks to Pop Warner's being in cahoots with them, youth football as well.
Now, we all know that only the elite programs, the ones that kids already want to play for, are going to be on TV. You don't suppose that the fact that they're going to be on national TV will make them any less attractive to star athletes, do you?
And you youth coaches out there - in your years of coaching kids, have you ever run across a coach or two who would cut a corner or two if it could mean getting his team on TV?
*********** When I was a kid, the only men who wore their hair long were concert musicians. Old-timers would see guy with hair like Chris Berman's and say, "all he needs is a violin..."
*********** Hmmmm. Not so very long ago, President Bush was accused of defiling our constitution, depriving people of their civil liberties through "warrantless wiretapping" and "torture" and detaining "innocents" at Guantanamo Bay. Judging from the letters to the editor I read every day in Portland, this leftist hotbed, there are some who will go to their deathbeds calling for his impeachment.
But just yesterday, President-elect Obama, sold to the public as the anti-Bush, said on national TV “...part of my job is to make sure that, for example, at the C.I.A., you’ve got extraordinarily talented people who are working very hard to keep Americans safe. I don’t want them to suddenly feel like they’ve got spend their all their time looking over their shoulders.”
Furthermore, he said that the closing of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, which he had been calling for throughout the campaign, was probably not going to happen during the first 100 days of his administration.
Please. No calls for impeachment. The man hasn't even been sworn in yet.
*********** Considering the hassle over the switch from analog to digital TV signals, it's a miracle our politicians didn't try to find a way to postpone Y2K.
*********** No fashion these days is so repulsive that it won't eventually go mainstream, so it was just a matter of time before women took to saggin'.
A newspaper ad last week:
"FOXERS - THE FEMALE BRIEF WITH A BOXER TOP"
(slogan: "THEY STICK OUT")
*********** I keep hearing that our schools aren't doing a very good job of teaching our kids about economics. To that, I say, "hogwash."
At least one school in our area is teaching kids all they need to know about economics in 21st Century America.
As supporting evidence, I offer Evergreen High School in Vancouver, Washington.
The Evergreen High School band, 150 strong, made arrangements a year or so ago to take a trip to Washington, DC. The cost was estimated at over $800 per person, which with chaperones and instructors came to 165 of them, but a year seemed plenty of time to raise the funds.
In the meantime, the fundraising took on added meaning when the band was selected to march in the inaugural parade. (To "represent the state of Washington," as we're always told in the newspapers, whenever a band needs to raise money.)
I'm not sure how the money works here. A band trip is not an officially sanctioned school activity, so the school district has no money involved, and apparently, in order to book plane space and lodging far enough in advance the band boosters made the arrangements with a travel agent and went on the hook for the expenses.
(Aside: It's my belief that the Democratic National Committee has plenty of money for this sort of thing. Maybe former president William Jefferson Clinton could make a speech or two and donate the money. Fat chance.)
Anyhow, despite the added cachet of being the official band, etc., by this past Christmas nearly half of the band members still didn't have their money in. All told, the band was some $25,000 short of its goal.
Now, in the old America, the one that got through the Depression and won a World War, those 60 would have stayed home. But this is a kinder, softer America, America post-bailout, and so the band instructor went on a media blitz, asking "members of the community" to "step up" so that everyone could go.
And damned if the community didn't step up. After all, being taxpayers, they're used to paying for people who won't do things for themselves. So as a result, everybody's going to go.
That was the feel-good story of the week on all the news media.
So the indolent members of the band, being used to having things done for them, will go to Washington, DC, courtesy of the hard-working members of the community who "stepped up" to pay for them.
The school and the community have provided them all with a great lesson in modern economics:
*********** "I wish I was sitting right out there with you, ready to start the adventures of my naval aviation career all over." Former president George H.W. BUsh, to the sailors getting ready to serve on board the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush, at its commissioning in Norfolk, Virginia.
HIs son, President George W. Bush, joked, "What do you give guy who has been blessed and has just about everything he has ever needed? Well, an aircraft carrier."
*********** Considering the way we're throwing money at irresponsible banks and near-bankrupt automobile companies, we might as well build a few more aircraft carriers while we're at it. Yes, I know, they're very expensive. They're $6.2 billion apiece, but think about how much better aircraft carriers are than bailouts:
The money's not lining executives' pockets (at least not all of it)
All Americans benefit from the expenditure
Our investment is entrusted to a naval officer who will be held accountable
And, maybe best of all, we can actually see what we're getting for our money.
*********** Steve Tobey, of Malden, Massachusetts, wrote to tell me that Joe Sullivan, retired sports columnist for the Manchester, New Hampshire Union-Leader, will receive the Karl Lundholm Award, for distinguished service in youth athletics, at the annual Parade of Champions luncheon on January 25.
Beyond being a great columnist, Joe impressed me as a great person and a good citizen of his community. As a sports columnist, Joe's experience as a youth coach gave him credibility in writing about coaches and the issues they dealt with, and gave him a working knowledge of the players he wrote about when they got to high school. He wrote like a guy who loved the town he lived in and the people in it. Well, most of them. There were a few he didn't mind taking to task when they needed it. I was privileged to know him, if only for a short time, and I thank Steve Tobey for introducing me to his work!
*********** Watching the Eagles-Giants game, my wife commented on the excessive number of stupid penalties - illegal procedure, etc - the pros get.
I asked her, rhetorically, what do you expect? These guys are chosen for their football skills, and NFL people do not seem to consider discipline to be one of those skills.
Isn't this reflected in the number of their guys who run afoul of the law? And remember - what we read about in the papers is just the tip of the iceberg. With all the PR spinmeisters and information control people they employ, you know that there are many, many minor incidents that get covered up and never reach the newspapers.
I love the way the announcers call those guys "warriors." I wonder how many of them could make it through basic training. Hell, I wonder how long any of them could even stand at attention?
Which got me started on a killer script...
*********** Not that I wouldn't like to see an Eagles-Steelers Super Bowl, but does anybody else out there agree with me that it's not exactly in the best interests of the NFL to have the Colts, Giants, Titans and Patriots eliminated from the playoffs? There is an outside chance that TV viewership could be jacked by the completely unique matchups we're being offered, but I suspect the opposite - that no matter how they hype the first championship meeting of the Eagles and Cardinals since 1947, ratings are going in the tank from here on out.
Can anyone except the most diehard fan say with a straight face that the winner of this year's Super Bowl can truly be recognized as the best team in the NFL?
But wait - how come we're told a college playoff will deliver a "true champion" when the NFL playoffs won't?
*********** When I wrote that NFL fans are conditioned to thinking that the playoffs really give them a legitimate champion, Adam Wesoloski, from Pulaski, Wisconsin, wrote:
It reminds of a story I came across not too long ago regarding the 1967 Packers that you may enjoy: Lady Luck and the Lombardi Legend - http://www.coldhardfootballfacts.com/Article.php?Page=484&Category=11
(Coach Wesoloski also sent me a link to the Bingo Card below. It's on www.deadspin.com Sheesh. Wish I'd had it for the game. Actually, this idea would be a LOT of fun for any TV game. When John Madden works a game, "I Mean" and "Y'know" would be bonus squares.)
*********** AT A TIME WHEN MANY BUSINESSES GIVE CUSTOMER SERVICE A LOW PRIORITY, I HAVE TO GIVE THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ITS PROPS FOR THIS VERY CLASSY MOVE...
The Wall Street Journal shares in our nation's concerns for the citizens of Washington who are under a severe weather alert.
As you may be aware The Wall Street Journal is printed in Federal Way, Washington.
Currently all four mountain passes are closed for avalanche control, and Interstate 5 is also closed due to flooding. The road closures are affecting our ability to get the Journal into our Eastern Washington and Oregon Markets.
At this time it is undetermined when the Interstate and mountain passes will re open to traffic.
It is very unlikely that you will receive your Friday January 9th issue of the Journal. This may also affect the delivery of your Saturday edition.
While we realize that newspaper delivery may be the last thing on the minds of those affected by the storm, we also recognize the importance of staying connected to the news that's important to you. For that reason, we are offering subscribers complimentary access to The Wall Street Journal Online (WSJ.com) for the next seven days.
(WE MISSED OUR PAPERS ON THURSDAY AND FRIDAY. ON SATURDAY, WE RECEIVED OUR SATURDAY JOURNAL. AND THURSDAY'S AND FRIDAY'S AS WELL.)
*********** Coach, thought you'd get a kick out of the first sentence in the second to last paragraph. Pretty good article on how Oklahoma's offense ended in a dud Thursday night, though.
P.S. One day I'll take the time to list everything that is wrong with the University of South Carolina program in regards to your question from the other day.
Here's the article...
If you don't care to read it all to get to that line, here's the sage advice a Big 12 writer gives to pass-crazy Big 12 teams if they want to win it all...
It can’t just be a basketball game. Because, occasionally, a football game breaks out.
OU’s second-quarter implosion Thursday night should convince you that the best way to win the biggest games against the best defenses is a standard, balanced attack with a huddle. The offense USC runs. The offense Nebraska runs. The offense LSU runs. The offense the best Miami teams used to run. Multiple. Deliberate. Not resembling a fire drill
1/2 yard and the Titans kick the field goal rather then go for it on fourth down and loose the game. The announcers applaud the decision to kick the field goal. The NFL is so predictable in these situations. Hind sight is great but at the time we were all hollering go for it!! Will they ever learn. What a shame for those fans and their supporters. I love the Ravens and was cheering for them but what a coaching decision!! Very frustrating to watch that kind of decision making. Make the safe, politically correct call and don't have to take the heat even if you loose the game -- I wish they would get a set of stones and play to win rather not loose.
Jack Tourtillotte, Boothbay, Maine (I really think that this is what we'll see more of in college ball if there's ever a playoff. (Fat chance.) With so much at stake, teams would go strictly by the book ("always take the points").
I guess if I had as much on the line as those NFL coaches, I'd be playing closer to the vest, too.
But geez - If we just reduced the value of a field goal to two points, we'd cure a lot of this.
I was distressed to see how many times teams went for it on short yardage and failed, almost assuring us of more field goals in the future. HW)
*********** Hi Coach. Hope all is well. I'm real happy with results of National championship. Did you hear that Tebow's eye black message John 3:16 was one of the most googled subjects that week? Message delivered. Also like you I'm glad he is returning next year instead of going to the cess pool of the NFL.
Glad to see you are back addressing the tackling situation. I attended a clinic by Bill Williams, And he was showing the proper tackling techniques like you write about. I'm surprised more players are not seen being carried off the field on stretchers. Because I know for a fact that the head to ball and the head down and shoulder technique is still being taught. Shame.
I looked up occasionally at the pro games this weekend and couldn't believe the tackling. Did you see the clown from San Diego throw himself at the legs of the Steelers' punt returner? I'm really beginning to think that when most NFL defensive backs tackle, their main goal is not getting hurt. Saving themselves for pass defense, a la Deion Sanders. HW)
*********** Coach Wyatt:
Do you want to see the end of excessive celebrations in college football? I guarantee we would never see another one called if the officials started calling the touchdowns back when some goon dives or splashes into the end zone.
Thank you. Right now there is no punishment for the fool who celebrates. If I were king, celebration would not be a deal-ball foul; and the penalty would be 15 yards from the spot of the foul or the goal line. That would mean that a touchdown celebration nine yards deep in the end zone would mean no touchdown - first and goal from the 15.
*********** Hugh, My wife gave birth on the Jan 1st to our second child - another girl (I have two daughters now). We named her Sophia, and I am sure that in time she will enjoy coming to the games like her big sister does (my older girl is 2 /12 and thinks she is a coach and tells me that I am her assistant!). Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Years - I know I did. It was extra special for my wife and I, and that fact that my mother was in the country and was able to come to the hospital to see her 2nd grandchild made it even better (she works overseas in S. Africa). Looking forward to a Wyatt Clinic this spring.
John Dowd, Oakfield, New York (May Coach Dowd's daughters be the blessing to him that my three daughters have been to me! HW)
*********** As we old-time Baltimoreans observe (not celebrate) the 40th anniversary of our beloved Colts' loss to the Jets in Super Bowl III (it didn't go by that name at the time), I dragged out one of my son's first writing samples. He was eight years old at the time, and so the writing may seem a trifle over the top, but not so much if you knew Baltimore Colts fans in general, and his old man in particular. This was our first inkling that he might some day make his living as a writer...
FRIDAY, JANUARY 9, 2009- "Freedom means the opportunity to be what we never thought we would be." Daniel J. Boorstin
*********** CLINIC NEWS --- The 2009 Coach Wyatt Atlanta Clinic will be held Sat Feb 28 at the Hilton Garden Inn Atlanta Airport - 2301 Sullivan Rd - College Park (404-766-0303)
As always, it will start at 9 AM sharp and go until 4 PM with a one-hour break for lunch. Advance registration fee is $100 per coach, $125 at the door.
For more information http://www.coachwyatt.com/clinics09.htm
*********** You know it's a big game when the trot out a woman who turns our National Anthem into something that invading aliens would play if they wanted our citizens to think that their leaders had surrendered.
*********** For a guy who loves watching college football the way I do, I find Oklahoma's offense very hard to watch. It drives me nuts. I call it the "Mother May I?" offense - they line up to run a play, then whirl around and look at the sideline as if seeking mother's permission to actually snap the ball, before getting resetting and running a play. Some hurry-up.
And for a team that gains yards by the hundreds when it can stand back and throw, Oklahoma looked very ordinary down on the goal line when it lined up in the I and couldn't get two yards in two tries.
*********** I actually heard the announcer say this: "Bob Stoops falls to 1-3 in national championship games."
Gimme a f--king break. Falls?
*********** Didja catch Tim Tebow in the postgame interview with the "JOHN" under one eye and the "3:16" under the other?
*********** Sure hope Tim Tebow comes back next year. Besides giving us the pleasure of watching him play college ball for another season, it would also postpone for a year the inevitable day when he gets lost in the miasma of the NFL, another gifted college player sacrificed to the stultifying sameness of pro offenses.
I think the guy could be the best all-around college player in my lifetime, and it bugs the crap out of me to think that he could go to waste in pro football.
*********** I'm bummed that we've seen the end of the bowls, but really, really happy that we've heard the last of the "so - are you going to be back next year?" questions being asked of the stars of the bowl games.
*********** 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?"
*********** Coach, I don't know if you saw this: Western Washington University is dropping football from its sports program.
The Bellingham school announced the move Thursday to protect 15 other sports from budget cuts. The cost of travel is one reason football is being cut.
Western is an NCAA Division II team in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
In 98 seasons the Vikings had a 383-380-34 record. The best season was 1996 when they reached the division championship. They finished 2008 with a 6-5 record and a win over Colorado School of Mines in the Dixie Rotary Bowl. (From the AP)
Yes, travel is a problem for them. Scheduling is a problem. There were only five D-II programs in the western US, and now there are only four.
Other places add football, but Western Washington cuts it. Tells you something about the people in our state, doesn't it? I suppose in the Peoples' Republic of Washington, anything is possible.
This should tell you something: "In my 22 years as director of athletics at Western, this is by far the toughest decision that I have been a part of," said WWU Director of Athletics Lynda Goodrich...
Meantime, Western Washington will "pursue excellence" in its other sports, which include, for men, basketball, soccer, golf, track and field and cross-country. Women's sports are volleyball, basketball, softball, soccer, golf, rowing, cross-country and track and field. HW)
*********** For a long time, on several levels, I've liked Jack Kemp. In my mind,he's a great man and a great American, and it saddens me to hear that Congressman Kemp, the last QB to lead the Buffalo Bills to a championship, has cancer. I pray for him.
***********Dear Coach Wyatt,
WTF??? Kansas State? Or was it Arizona? Or maybe Northwestern? No, wait - Linfield College?
Time to stop mincing words. When I told SI, "I believe Gus Malzahn has a selective memory," I was trying to be charitable. Diplomatic.
Look, I have respect for Gus Malzahn as an offensive coach. He has his work cut out for him at Auburn.
I'd prefer to think he didn't say that, but if he really did say that he got it from Kansas State, then I would have to downgrade my assessment of his veracity to something like, "The man is full of sh--." But not until I actually hear him say it, or see him put it in writing.
*********** For those who've been wondering about our weather in the Northwest...
First of all, we're fine.
Spokane, way to the east of us, has really been hammered this winter. They've had 78 inches of snow so far this winter. In an average winter, they'd have maybe 16 inches by this point. With a lot of winter still to go, they're sure to break the record of 90 inches, which has stood for over 50 years. (Paging Al Gore...) Now, rain is falling on the snow, and roofs are collapsing under the weight of snow estimated to weigh 25 pounds per square foot.
In Western Washington, the problems are more spread out, depending on the elevation and the proximity to streams. It's not as if those areas never flood, and it's not as if the people are unaware of the flooding danger, but normally it's on a much lesser scale. This time it's especially bad because of the double-whammy of heavy rain and the snow runoff from the mountains.
The combination of heavy snow followed by a fairly quick thaw has cut the state in two. Washington is divided by the rugged Cascades, which run north-south, from Canada to the Columbia River, and the few east-west passes through them have been closed because of the threat of avalanches. In places where snow is not the problem, heavy rain is. We seldom get really heavy rain, the kind that easterners are used to, but a Pacific storm dumped more than 20 inches in some places on Wednesday, and floods and mudslides have closed roads and taken out houses. Slides have stopped AmTrak service between Portland and Seattle. Twenty miles of I-5, the main highway - in many places the only highway - between Portland and Seattle iare under water and so, unfortunately, are any alternate routes.
We are blessed. Our home is plenty high and well above any streams. We really had it easy Wednesday: we got about 1/4 inch of rain, but less than 15 miles to the north of us they had nearly five inches.
Sure hope I-5 is open by Saturday. We have to drive to Bellingham, up near the Canadian border.
*********** Hi Coach. Hope all is well at The Wyatts. I can't wait after today to see how many idiot led high schools around here go to the no huddle spread. Specially if Oklahoma wins. I read you giving props to the schools in your part of the world. All is well. I did read how you mentioned how USC looked like my old thuggish Canes. Brought me back to the good old days. Race riots, Police beatings, Cocaine cowboys, National championships, Good times. All is well. You are still my main man. Even though you beat us up a little bit on your site. GO GATORS! Come on in this age of tattoos, dreadlocks, scum student athletes. You have to root for a young man like Tebow. I will.
*********** ESPN is running another one of those bogus "Greatest Ever" polls. This one purports to determine "Who is the greatest player in Colts history?"
Are you kidding me? Edgerrin James? In the same breath as Johnny Unitas? You're joking, right?
This is just one reason why I hate the late Bob Irsay. And the NFL. Yes, Irsay owned the football team. He bought it fair and square.And he had the right to move the franchise. But he never should have been allowed to take Raymond Berry, Arthur Donovan, John Mackey, Gono Marchetti, Lenny Moore, Jim Parker and Johnny Unitas when he left for Indianapolis. Those guys belonged to Baltimore, along with the name, the records, the colors and the horseshoes.
It's also why I hate any "greatest ever" poll, because they're always slanted in favor of the guy who's played most recently. Hey - if you never saw Lenny Moore play, you might actually think that Edgerrin James could carry his jock.
And nothing against Peyton Manning, whom I greatly admire as a person and a player, and who reminds me more than any player alive of the guys I grew up watching, but...
I'd love to see any of a dozen old-time quarterbacks play under today's rules: legalized holding... the five-yard chuck... legalized intentional grounding... the spike... the hook slide... plays called for you... radio communication with the coach... liberalized application of the roughing-the-passer penalty... hash marks so far in from the sidelines that their influence is negligible... 33% more games in a season
*********** I don't know of any coach who works harder in using the game of football to teach his kids the virtues of respect and responsibility, sportsmanship and academics, than Dave Potter, of Durham, North Carolina, so I know it has to disturb him when he sees adults of dubious character using youth football for their own pleasure and gain...
*********** Just the facts, Ma'am, as Sergeant Joe Friday used to say. In pushing their thesis that the 1958 Colts-Giants championship game was THE game that made the NFL, the producers of "The Greatest Game Ever Played" may have withheld a very significant fact. As part of their proof that the NFL of the time wasn't that big yet, they noted at least once that the game was not a sellout.
But consider: returning as I often do to "When Pride Still Mattered," David Maraniss" magnificent biography of Vince Lombardi, I came across an amazing fact that the producers left out, perhaps conveniently. The game took place during a New York newspaper strike. For more than two weeks prior to the game, New York was without a newspaper, and as David notes, that was a time when "This was still a newspaper town": New York had nine daily newspapers.
Now, in a desire to make our point, omitting that important detail was either dishonest or sloppy research. Maybe a blackout of a city's major news media accounted for those empty seats, maybe not. But it had to have an effect. As David wrote, "Every aspect of life in the city was affected by the strike."
Need proof? During the strike, without obituary notices, funeral attendance in the city was off 20 per cent.
*********** "He was a young man who needed the opportunity to be in treatment, and he got the treatment he needed. He came out of there a better person and a healthier person because of that." That was Pacman Jones' attorney
That guy is good. He could make Charles Manson sound like a Cub Scout leader.
*********** Hi Coach, We ran the DW last year at all levels in our youth program. We limited the number of plays (88/99 P/SP, 38/29 G-O, 2 Wedge, 47/56C, 4/5 Basic Lead, and 6/7G for running plays, and Red Red, Halfback pass, and Brown/Black for pass plays), and ran only out of the TIGHT formation.
It was successful for most, but for some of the teams there wasn’t enough variety in the offense. Some coaches added a twist or a play here or there on their own. (I’m the OC for the program.)
I have a couple of questions for you:
What are your favorite running plays out of the spread formation, and are there any you shy away from?
Last year I coached 3rd and 4th graders. One of the plays I installed that worked great was the 38-Basic Option. Believe it or not I had a 4th grader at QB who could stare down a DE and make the pitch reliably. We didn’t bother too much with the fake to the B back – it was NOT a triple option. Is this the type of option play you refer to in question 133 on this page: http://www.coachwyatt.com/tips126-150.html ?
With all due respect...
That's a pretty extensive play list for 3rd and 4th graders. I really didn't run many more plays than that with my HIGH SCHOOL team last year.
Frankly, I think that coaches who feel the need for "variety" are headed down the path toward "grab-bagging it."
Once they go there, I don't care where you are -- they are not going to run the Double Wing very well, and I suspect that that's what happened in the ase of your organization, and those other coaches blamed their problems on the Double-Wing, rather than on their not coaching it as well as it needs to be coached.
I think the road to running my offense poorly lies down the path of "adding plays."
My point has always been that variety for me comes from running basic stuff from different formations. But not new plays.
Spread formation certainly has its uses, particularly if you don't have tight ends, or if you have very talented passing-type people, or if you need to get a few minimum-play kids in the game.
I can and will run anything from spread except 6G/7G, which requires a tight end. And instead of power I have to run "O".
Tip #133 is my thinking on trying to run option as a significant part of a Double-Wing offense. You can add it, but something has to go, and in my opinion, that will be a useful base play, or it will be the execution of your base Double-Wing. In the latter case, you may not even notice that you are no longer running your base stuff as well as you once did, or that you are not continuing to improve, as you should. But trust me - it will almost certainly happen. My concern is that I will miss what I have to give up more than I will gain from spending much practice time on an option.
Hope you understand my need to be blunt, but very few offensive systems can survive tampering.
*********** Talk about your playoffs determining a true national champion, but I've found s better way. Washington State is better than USC and I can prove it.
This amazing site is guaranteed to start - and end - quite a few arguments http://www.myteamisbetterthanyourteam.com/
*********** Brad Knight wrote me from Iowa defending the Big Ten's honor. Well, at least that of the Iowa Hawkeyes (the only Big Ten team to come out of the bowls with a win). He argues for giving them extra credit for beating the Old Ball Coach.
I would also give one star to the Northwestern Wildcats, who played their asses off against one of those Oh, So Mighty Big 12 teams.
*********** Cool - Very cool. Where has this recipe been all my life???? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fytQdXByY7g&feature=related
********** According to a recent study, most people would rather make $50,000 when others around them are making $25,000 than make $100,000 when others around them are making $200,000. Helps you understand Title IX, doesn't it?
*********** Where are the complaints?
11-5 New England sitting home...
8-8 San Diego in...
I thought the NFL was the perfect system to get a true champion?
MVP of the Music City Bowl was the Vanderbilt punter
Coach, You are so right. But NFL fans have become conditioned to thinking that this is the way it 's supposed to be.
*********** Dear Coach: I steadfastly concur with your Jan. 2 assessment that most kickers are created equal--without stones. Fortunately, the Kansas Jayhawks' Jacob Branstetter is an exception. His open-field tackling technique probably needs work, but Coach Mark Mangino thinks the 5'10", 175 lb. sophomore actually makes too many hits.
Hi Coach- nothing against the keekers themselves, actually. If I had the chance to do what they're doing, I'd do the same thing. My complaint is with a game that has allowed this sort of specialization to occur. Something like a guy like me working on my free throw shooting and standing in for Shaq whenever he's fouled.
That's pretty bad when a coach would rather give up a touchdown than lose his kicker! So much for dying for old Alma Mater.
Thanks for writing! Nice job by the Jayhawks against Minnesota.
*********** You wanna read something about a keeker that'll make you puke? How about a 29-year-old guy playing college football? Well, not playing, exactly - kicking?
I ask you - can this be the game we work so hard at? "a sport in which all you have to do is kick?"
Just finished reading your News section this morning. Great read, as always. I wanted to let you know what I heard on the radio broadcast of the Colts-Chargers game over the weekend - just so we don't think all the asinine comments come from the TV guys! I was driving back from Tacoma, and so was listening to the second half and Overtime on the
"Now the Colts have a tough decision. Should they let the Chargers have the 1st down, or stop them and risk getting pinned deep again by another long punt?"
I almost drove off of I-5!
*********** "In most cervical spine injuries, somebody came in and put their head down." Ron Coulson, Director of Sports Medicine, University of Georgia
Fiesta Bowl: An Ohio State player lies on the field, motionless, as fans pray for his safety. Fox TV expert Tim Ryan views the replays (from which the above series of stills is taken) and says "Nice form tackle there... he did everything right... his head's up... it's just a hazard of the game."
WTF? I got enraged watching the replay of that player coming in with his head down and injuring himself, and then having to listen to the "expert" on TV say things that those of us who know anything about the game knew were simply not true: "Nice form tackle there... he did everything right... his head's up... it's just a hazard of the game."
Take a look at those photos and tell me how anyone could say such things.
"Just a hazard of the game," huh? In other words, it couldn't have been prevented? Not even by coaching? Not even by drilling players, over and over, to make sure they don't lower their heads to make a tackle?
If I were a parent of a young boy and I was watching that game and I saw that collision, one which could have endangered the very life of that player, and I heard someone who is passed off by a network as an expert on the game tell me that the injury was "just a hazard of the game" - something that could happen to anyone no matter what precautions were taken - I don't think I'd want my kid playing that game.
And if that's what that guy thinks is "keeping his head up," and if he really believes that the injured player "did everything right," I wouldn't want him coaching my kid. Or anybody else's kid.
Football is a rough game. Random inuries will occur. But the likelihood of injury can be minimized through proper equipment, proper conditioning, and proper training in techniques. An injury caused by unsafe tackling technique is NOT a "hazard of the game". Teach tackling correctly! Safer and Surer Tackling - $29.95
*********** The Texas people were said to be hoping that their "big win" over Ohio State would give them a claim to the AP share of the National Title. Get serious, guys. You would have to play two halves of football to beat USC. Or Utah.
*********** Got to hand it to Larry Flynt. The guy has a great appreciation for the absurd, which sure comes in handy with all this bailout business going on. Flynt, on behalf of the "Adult Entertainment Industry", says all the economic problems are taking peoples' minds off sex, and as a result the "industry" is hurting, and he's going to ask the US taxpayers for a bailout.
*********** My candidate for free sterilization is the mother of the 6-year-old kid who missed his school bus, and, as mom still slept, took the family's car and drove to school. Because he didn't want to miss breakfast.
He had a few problems along the way, but he did get there.
He said he learned to drive by playing Grand Theft Auto.
A six-year-old playing Grand Theft Auto?
*********** Despite the fact that fans are rushing to defend BC's former coach, Jeff Jagodzinski, I'm beginning to wonder if college coaches aren't maybe as ignorant of the real world as professional athletes. I know from my years in business that if one of my bosses ever found out that I was talking on the sly with another employer, I'd have been gone immediately. No warnings about not interviewing with other people, either. It was understood: You don't like it here? Go. We want people who are committed. Clean out your desk.
I'm still waiting for the first college to have the stones to put it in a coach's contract that if he wants out of it, he'll have to to sit out a year - without pay.
*********** Hugh--Good Morning Again--
Just read the News and sure is a lot in it today but one thing struck a chord with me. The piece you did on the uniforms--I am sure you remember the hard time the officials gave us in Seattle over our uniforms and the gloves. (They made our kids remove their gloves so they could inspect them for the "NFHS" tag, and outlawed any that didn't have that imprimatur. HW) Kind of made one wonder what their function really is -- I am all in favor of enforcing the rules but good common sense in enforcing those rules seems to have been lost for the argument a rule is a rule and should be enforced. Too bad because a lot of harm is done to the game because of this. I can remember the Washington loss ( I know there were a lot of them) but the one that stuck in my mind was the celebration rule on the QB (Jake Locker's celebration of his last-second TD against BYU) that cost them the game. A perfect of example in my mind of rule in that case should have been ignored. First the celebration as so small ( flipping the ball behind his back) but had such a consequence on the game as to lead to the loss that it would have been better to ignore the infraction.
I am sure there a lot of people who will say the rules need to be enforced regardless but just because it is "rule" does not always make it right nor reasonable.
Anyway have a great day.
Jack Tourtillotte, Boothbay, Maine
TUESDAY, JANUARY 6, 2009- "I know God will not give me anything I can't handle." Mother Theresa
*********** It's been a great bowl season. I'm happy. I couldn't care less whether USC should get to meet the winner of the Oklahoma-Florida game. Hell, I'm so happy with the bowl season that I don't care one way or the other whether Oklahoma and Florida even play. One of the first games I ever saw in its entirely was the Army-Notre Dame game of 1946. I pestered my mother to take me to see it, days later, on film at the Trans-Lux Theatre on Market Street in Center City (that's what they call it there) Philly. There were two of the greatest football teams of all time, battling away to a 0-0 tie. I was only eight years old, but I do remember coming out of there feeling unsatisfied - as if I'd just been fed but was still hungry. Yes, I did get to see my heroes - Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis and Johnny Lujack - but I was puzzled that such an important game could amount to nothing. Since then, I've seen many more of these "Game of the Century" games, way too many of them to allow myself to be buffaloed by the hype. They seldom live up to it. Actually, it's going to be such an NFL-type production anyhow that it wouldn't bother me a bit if they'd just flip a coin and be done with it.
*********** Anybody else see where this bailout business is really headed? Look - newspapers are losing their asses, too. With the exception of USA Today and the Wall Street Journal, there's not a newspaper in the United States that isn't hemorrhaging readers. In response, they're laying off reporters, cutting out sections, shrinking in size. The Detroit Free Press has cut back to three-days-a-week delivery.
Yes, they've been the victims of the economy - car companies and car dealers, among others, do not have the money to advertise the way they used to. And, yes, they've been hit hard by the growth of the Internet. Classified ads, once their cash cows, have been siphoned off by eBay and Craigslist.
But to some extent, they are the victims of their own hubris. Just as the passenger railroads once took a screw-the-public approach because they just knew that the public would always need them, major newspapers still live in the days when they could manipulate the opinions of their readers.
But those days are rapidly coming to an end. As more and more people turn to TV, the Internet and talk radio for their news and for reinforcement of their opinions, newspapers look almost silly in their predictability. Name the issue, and you can predict the side a typical newspaper will take. Democrat good, Republican bad. Tax user good, Tax payer bad. Four legs good, Two legs bad (for those of you who've read "Animal Farm").
I look for major newspaper chains (most are owned by chains) to ask for government bailouts, and I fully expect our new administration and its partners in Congress to approve taxpayer "investment" in large newspapers.
But don't worry about the effect of government involvement on editorial policy. There won't be any noticeable change. Newspapers will continue, as usual, to read like house organs of the Democratic Party. If anything, this'll just make it official.
*********** I don't know why they let pro football players introduce themselves on TV. The intros ought to be for the benefit of the TV audience, which doesn't have a program to look at, and might actually like to know a little more about the players, such as where they went to college. But there's always some fool from Miami who says he's from "The U," and there's always another one who insists on telling us what high school he attended.
Of course, he undoubtedly spent more time - and more time studying - in high school than in college.
*********** I came across this while doing some other research...
"Football is now a reasonably safe game and the danger of permanent injury very slight. The most serious danger to be guarded against is that of allowing the men on the team to use up too much vital energy and reserve strength in the game of football, so that not enough is left for the rest of college work. Every man has a certain amount of energy and vitality at his disposal. These young men are willing to give almost their very lives to help Yale win. It is the task of those in charge to see to it that the strain is not too heavy. I have learned not without some apprehension that an annual game against Pennsylvania in addition to the game with Harvard and Princeton is being considered. This would make three annual games of championship caliber. Yale owes it to her men to protect them from too heavy a drain on their vital resources."
It was the Yale Daily News, October 24, 1917, quoting Dr. H. L. Williams, coach of the University of Minnesota and himself a Yale alumnus
So Coach Williams thought three tough games ("games of championship calibre") in a single season would be "too heavy a drain" on the players' "vital resources," did he? Wonder how he'd feel about a playoff.
Of course, if he realized that what passes these days for "the rest of college work" often consists of playing video games, he probably wouldn't be so concerned.
*********** Edgerrin James evidently is pissed - "has a chip on his shoulder," according to Cris Collingsworth - because he's been required to pass block more than he wants, been called on to run the ball less than he wants. Been saying he's outta town after this season.
Now, wouldn't it be nice if somebody could say to him, "Look, fella. You're making millions to do what we pay you to do. For a guy with your education, I would suggest you do what the team wants you to do. Or there's always the car wash."
Of course, no one's ever going to say that, because if there's room on somebody's roster for T.O. or Pacman Jones or Plaxico Burress, there's room for anybody.
For those of you who care about the NFL, that's what the owners and the players' union have given you - way too many teams and way too many players on a roster, so there's always a place for a malcontent somewhere.
Too many teams and overly large rosters mean bad football. To that, I'd add free agency, but without the first two, free agency wouldn't be nearly so destructive.
*********** Did you see the way the Dolphins' Ted Ginn tried to take the handoff on that abortion of a reverse? The one that lost 20 yards and killed their drive? (And, ultimately, their playoff hopes?)It looked as if he'd never been taught how to take a handoff.
Geez- if they're going to run that "high school sh--," you'd think they'd ask a high school coach how it's done.
*********** Want a real-life Rudy story to tell your kids? I don't pretend to watch a lot of NFL football, so I have to admit it was a shock to learn that Jim Leonhard, of Wisconsin, has been a fixture in the Ravens' secondary for four years!
Where have I been? What a story! For some reason I was just thinking about the kid yesterday - wondering whatever happened to that little kid from the little town in northern Wisconsin who walked on at the University of Wisconsin and simply played his ass off to the point where he was an indispensable part of the Badgers' defense. He went undrafted by the NFL, but here he is, I'm pleased to see, a major factor in one of the best defenses in football.
Screw Rudy. Rudy's story is warm and fuzzy but it's only "based on a true story" - if you know what I'm sayin'. Jim Leonhard's is real.
*********** Dear Coach Wyatt,
(Great points on the bowl stuff. You forgot that they frequently call any sweep an "end around." Interesting thing about this "Wildcat" business - Arkansas changed to saying "Wild Hog." Mississippi says "Wild Rebel," and Virginia Tech says "Wild Turkey" (Get it? They used to call themselves the Gobblers). Do you suppose that when Arizona or Northwestern tries it, they'll call theirs the "Wild Wildcat?"
Something else people forget about an 8-team playoff: assuming that they will rise up from their current mediocrity, Notre Dame will be awarded a spot, too, simply because they're Notre Dame. That will leave one spot remaining for a Utah or a worthy BCS conference runnerup. (Alabama, Texas, Ohio State). I already hear the calls for a 16-team playoff. That skims off eight more good teams from the bowl games.
My major opposition to a playoff system - and it can't be overcome - is that it sends every team but one into the off-season with a loss in their last game, simply to please a segment of the American public that seems to think every sport has to be played until there's one man left standing. Isn't it enough that they have NFL football, Division IA, IAA, II and III football, Major League and minor league and college baseball, the NBA and WNBA and men's and women's college basketball, the NHL and men's and women's college hockey, men's and women's college lacrosse, the MLS and men's and women's college soccer, and God-knows what else? For the sake of us old dinosaurs, couldn't they leave just one sport - college football - alone?
I still live - very happily - in Camas, although we do have a place in Ocean Shores, where I coach. Camas is the red dot east of Portland. You can see Ocean Shores on the coast. As you can see, there's not a lot to the north of Ocean Shores. Forks was chosen as the location of "Twilight," because it gets more rain - and less sunshine - than any other town in the lower 48. Great for vampires.
I'm not advertising II, III and IV until I go over to DVD with them.
*********** The proposition of the "Plus One" playoff won't go away. It proposes to take the "two best" teams from the bowl games and match them in one more gigantic, humongous, overhyped game. (You think Florida-Oklahoma is bad?)
I do think that such a game this year would get us close to a "best team." I think that USC would beat either Oklahoma or Florida if there were a "Plus One." But then, who is to say that Utah doesn't belong in a "Plus One?" Or Texas (if they win)? Texas has, after all, already beaten Oklahoma. That should have meant something.
But here's the catch: If there were a Plus One, Oklahoma and Florida would not be playing each other in a bowl game. No, no. The TV people who pay the big money are smarter than to match One and Two in a prelim. There would be seeding, so as to arrange for the most attractive match possible in the final game. (For TV, don't you know?) That means that while USC and Penn State would play in the Rose Bowl, as their conferences are contracted to do, we'd see Oklahoma or Florida against Virginia Tech, and Oklahoma or Florida against Cincinnati. Now there's a couple of bowl games to get really excited about. And after Oklahoma and Florida win their blowouts, the "Plus One" game would pit Oklahoma against Florida. That's progress?
*********** Hard to believe that the NFL still has an "excessive celebration" penalty left in its rule book, but the officials actually called one against the Cardinals Saturday. That'll tell you how bad it was. I wouldn't have called it a celebration, exactly. To be frank, it looked more like an audition for, um, Brokeback Mountain.
*********** I had to laugh, watching that pompous-ass pseudo-intellectual Keith Olbermann discussing, in all seriousness, the condition of Ladainian Tomlinson's groin.
Like Dr. DeBakey having to empty a bedpan.
*********** "Flacco's out of the game!" they said. "Troy Smith's in. I wonder if they (the Dolphins) know that!"
Right. The Dolphins only have four, maybe five defensive guys up in the box looking at the goings-on down on the field.
Oh - and if it helps any, Flacco is 6-6 and white. Smith is 6-0 and black.
*********** Cris Carter caught grief for suggesting that shooting might be solution to the Cowboys' biggest problem. "If it was me," he said, "I'd get rid of T.O. - T.O. got to go from the beginning. Right from the giddy up. I'd take one bullet and put it right in him. Bam!"
Not that I would risk my life trying to knock the gun out of anyone's hands if he tried to carry out the suggestion, but come on, Cris - you have to be more subtle than that.
When King Henry II decided that Thomas Beckett, the Archbishop of Canterbury, needed to be rubbed out, he said aloud, to no one in particular, "Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?"
Four of his knights, eager to please and quick enough on the uptake to know exactly what would please His Majesty, went out and beat Beckett to death.
Now that's the subtle way to do it.
Jerry Jones isn't going to shoot anybody. He's too rich and powerful to have to get his hands dirty. But with all the flunkies that surround your typical NFL owner, all he'd have to do would be to say, to no one in particular, "Will no one rid me of this obnoxious wide receiver?"
*********** Personally, I think that the Big Ten is in danger of becoming an anachronism, its football in decline along with the industrial base that once gave theRust Belt its political and economic power.
I think it's time that the Big Ten stopped living off its reputation - and off Ohio State - and got its act together. For the last ten years or so, Ohio State has been carrying them.
Ohio State's tough shwoing against Texas notwithstanding, I think we may one day look back and mark this year as the official start of the Big Ten's devolution into a mid-major conference.
I'd like to see conferences lose - or gain - BCS spots for the next year based on the bowl performances of their members this year. Under my plan, the Big Ten sits it out next year, and the Mountain West - following Utah's win - takes its spot.
*********** Oklahoma's Dominique Franks, a sophomore cornerback, is being widely quoted as saying that the nation's three best quarterbacks are in the Big 12. Whoa. Florida people, realizing that this means that in the opinion of one college sophomore, Tim Tebow is no better than fourth best, are taking umbrage.
Stop for a minute, folks. Did you ever say anything stupid when you were a sophomore in college?
Kids may or may not be dumber and/or mouthier than they once were, but when you consider how many media outlets there are now, including bloggers who pose as legitimate news media (and very well may be), and when you consider that all these kids have cell phones, the wonder is that that's the strongest comment anybody's been able to get out of a player.
You think it's easy for a coach to control the mouths of some of these guys? Anybody else catch that clown from Alabama who just had to start his trash talking during the coin toss?
*********** Does it really make any difference whether Donovan McNabb never knew there could be a tie in the NFL? Could any of those announcers who continue to make fun of him please tell us what a "muff" is? (We already know they don't know what a chop block is.)
*********** Some equitable overtime those pros have, huh? Peyton Manning, announced just days ago as the league's MVP, never even touched the ball.
If only the colleges didn't use the overtime they do. Then maybe the pros would use it. But as long as it's someone else's idea, you'll never see it in the NFL. Despite the way they leach off the colleges, despite the hundreds of millions the colleges save them by providing them with a free minor league, the NFL can't stand to admit that there is such a thing as college football.
*********** Two reasons why college football running backs are more exciting than pro football running backs. (1) Guys like Ole Miss' Dexter McCluster can make cuts. Sharp cuts. Several of them on the same play. Very few pros can. They run hard, and they run fast, but most of them run on tracks. I think it's because they're too muscular. As a result, throwing one's body at their legs is a valid tackling technique. (2) Given the option, pro runners will run out of bounds every time rather than take a chance on getting hit. There were several instances in the bowls of runners whose refusal to quit on runs resulted in their scoring.
*********** A cello - or maybe it's a musical saw - plays in the background. On the floor of an empty field house, a "diverse" group - men and women of different ages, sexes and races, wearing different garb in accordance with their occupations (doctors, judges, police officers) - is playing a game of basketball....
(Voice over) "There are 380,000 NCAA student-athletes..."
(To which I would add) "And they can thank a couple thousand football players and basketball players for paying the bills for their sports."
*********** Don't know if there's such a word, but if there is, Sam Adams is rooster pecked.
Adams, Portland's new mayor, is the first openly-gay mayor of any large American city.
He didn't originally intend to make his sexual orientation public, but it sort of became obvious when he began taking his "partner" (lord, I hate that use of that word) with him to various city functions.
This was after his partner had complained about being left out of things.
*********** WTF? Upon further review, the Ole Miss punt return man did not score on a long return, but instead he was ruled out of bounds, the referee informed us (I swear he said this), on the "Nine and two-thirds yard line."
*********** A friend back east told of a conversation he overheard:
Parent/Critic: "He's running the same plays he did 20 years ago"
Response: "And it still works"
And on a related topic .... during the two hours between our state's football finals, I got to talking with a friend of mine who used to be a high school assistant
I had been wanting to ask him if coaches are getting dumber nowadays, i.e. why do so many of them compelled to go away from what's been working? I used the Thanksgiving Day game I had covered as a talking point, a game which, one of these days, I should send you a detailed account. It was one of the best games I'd ever seen
My friend, in a roundabout way, agreed with me
A member of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference football committee had heard what I said and succinctly answered my question with a question
"You ever play Madden football," he asked me
I said yes
He responded: "That's what these guys think they're doing"
*********** Hi Hugh,
I think that all college announcers should be required to say nothing about the NFL. I'm tired of them implying that pro football is more important than college football. It's not. Each has its own audience, and there's a surprising lack of overlap. Why else, other than to accomodate the pro-only bozos who stumbled onto a college game, would the TV people feel the need to explain the college overtime every time it's called for?
Not that they'll ever stop promoting the NFL on college games. All the networks are heavily invested in the NFL. Will CBS ever stop promoting "60 Minutes" on NFL telecasts>
Your playoff deal won't work because if the bowls weren't a part of a playoff system, I think they could put together attractive enough packages that some schools would forego the playoff and go to a bowl instead. At least they would if they left it up to the players. (Remember the days when coaches would leave it up to the players to vote on whether or not they went to a bowl game?)
This idea of the bowls' providing competition for the playoffs is not so far-fetched. The NIT in basketball was once a rival of the NCAA playoff, and the NCAA eventually bought the NIT so it wouldn't ever happen again.
I can just see a coach asking his kids - "you fellas want to travel to State College, Pennsylvania (or Columbus, Ohio) to play a playoff game at Penn State - in December - or do you want to go spend a week in Phoenix and play in the (Tostitos) Fiesta Bowl?"
No brainer for me.
But not to worry. We won't see a playoff in our lifetime.
************ I cringed when the announcer addressed Willie Evans, running back from the 1958 Buffalo team, as "Willie..."
A**hole, I wanted to say, have you no sense of dignity? To you, he is "MISTER Evans."
Mr. Evans wouldn't allow the guy to suck him into the racial story, the story of the 1958 Bull team's voting not to accept an invitation to play in a bowl game that their two black players couldn't play in. He said their reward was in playing together, and in the season they had. And he said that for the past 48 years, he and his teammates get together on a Friday night before a football game. In other words, MISTER Evans had put that behind him. Way behind him. And got on with his life.
But Mr. A**hole Sideline Reporter couldn't let it go, saying good-bye to "Willie" and saying, "Thanks for the sacrifices you made..."
*********** When the ACC let Miami in, they had dollar signs in their eyes thinking of all the bowl money that the then-powerful Hurricanes were going to bring to their basketball rich, but football poor, conference. Boy, you talk about a corrupt bargain. Here were schools like Duke, North Carolina, Wake Forest and Virginia - Virginia, where boys still go to the football games in shirts and ties, for God's sake! - getting into bed with a school whose "student-athletes" had been known to pack guns.
And now, to protect Miami and the arbitrariness of its coach, the ACC is apparently going to be a party to an action that could bring down the whole NCAA house of cards - the one that's built on a college's supposed right to exclusive claim on an athlete's services - even on his ability to transfer.
The action has been taken by Miami coach Randy Shannon, in agreeing to permit quarterback Robert Marve to transfer - but not to any of the other 12 ACC schools. (Or, for that matter, to any SEC school or any other Division IA school in Florida. Shannon has since charitably lifted the ban on all SEC schools except Florida, LSU or Tennessee.)
The kid evidently had some issues that put him on the outs with his coach. Don't know, don't care. In that case, if true, you'd think Shannon would be glad to be rid of him, and wouldn't mind foisting him on an opponent - sort of like slipping them the Queen of Spades.
But at a time when duplicitous coaches can look their players straight in the eye - the players they recruited - and tell them they have NO intention of leaving, all the while they're scheming to jump to another, more lucrative job; at a time when those same players are held in virtual bondage, unable to transfer and play immediately at another Division IA school - can a coach really have this power? Can it be enforced? Can Miami or the ACC or the NCAA or anyone else actually tell any school that it can't accept Robert Marve, if he meets their admission standards? Provided that Robert Marve sits out his transfer rule, can they really restrict his freedom to attend - and play football for - any school that will take him?
Is there no such thing as institutional integrity? Is it possible that a Duke or a Wake Forest or a Boston College would really allow itself, in effect, to be dictated to by a coach, anywhere else in the country, who can't get along with a kid - er, "student-athlete?"
Does Miami - or the ACC, or the NCAA - really want this to go in front of an American jury?
*********** I was watching - briefly, about as much as I could take of the drivel - the Army All-Star game or whatever the hell it's called, and the announcer said he'd asked a soldier who'd spent some time in the MIddle East what he was proudest of, and the guy said it was "opening a girls' school in Iraq."
Now, few people support our troops any more than I do, but "opening a girls' school?" - are you kidding me? Do you feel safer yet?
SCENE: A wooded area, someplace in America. Middle-school boys are playing "war," shooting their airsoft guns at each other.
FIRST "SOLDIER": "Gotcha! You're dead!"
SECOND "SOLDIER": "This is boring. Let's play 'open a girls' school.'"
*********** I got my American Football Monthly mailer and I see that a high school coach in Kansas is marketing a "WIldcat Spin" package. Now, his stuff may be good, but - due diligence - it appears his school was 4-5 in 2008, and was shut out twice.
*********** Skip Holtz pulled out all the stops to get his East Carolina Pirates ready for their Liberty Bowl game with Kentucky. He even had his dad, Lou, give one of his patented pre-game speeches. (Or was it one of those canned jobs he used to deliver on ESPN?)
Nevertheless, Kentucky won.
"I know it wasn't the Sugar Bowl or the Cotton Bowl or anything like what (former Kentucky coach) Bear Bryant did when he won his two (in-a-row), but it's very, very significant,'' said Kentucky coach Rich Brooks, after the Wildcats won their school-record third bowl game in three years.
Rich was way too gracious.
He failed to mention that The Bear never had to go up against Doctor Lou.
*********** Kentucky's Rich Brooks was asked at halftime, "What do you have to do, down by 13 points and only three points on the board offensively?"
Rich, who I can assure you is a no-bullsh-- guy, replied, "Score! Doesn't take a genius to figure that out."
*********** Hey playoff fans - if there'd been a playoff, Texas Tech might have won it, right? Wasn't that the thinking before the bowls?
But if there had been a playoff, Ole Miss wouldn't have been in it, right?
But doesn't Ole Miss' thumping of TT mean that Ole Miss might also have been capable of going on to win the national championship?
*********** I've heard from a surprising number of guys who told me they liked Army's camo helmets. Okay, guys. You like 'em that much, I'm going to do you a favor. If you really want one, I can send you to a site where you can buy one of those puppies for your trophy case. Tip: bring money. They're asking upwards of $300 for one of them.
*********** The whoredom of high school sports - A weekend dedicated to trotting out the top high school seniors to play in all-star games. Also to give us ludicrous little vignettes in which kids choose their colleges, while their adoring families look on.
First there was the Army All-Star game. Good grief - they even had some JUNIORS on hand. I saw lots of soldiers in uniform in the stands. Guess they had their orders. Beats peeling potatoes, I guess.
Then there was the UnderArmour game --- Four players were wired for sound... Giant UnderArmour logos on the helmets. A kid "committing" to USC before the game even got underway.
Lots of empty seats in both places. Lots and lots of empty seats at the UnderArmour game.
Can things get any worse? (I did miss the Skills Challenge because I had to trim my toenails.)
*********** Joe Montana's son has already been selected to play in NEXT year's UnderArmour game. Gee, you don't suppose they'd select him simply because of who his father is, do you? No, no no. He really is that good, right?
*********** I had to laugh at the UnderArmour commercial (I don't laugh at most of them because I don't care for their thuggish edge) that features the youth player on the team bus, decked out in UnderArmour attire of course, leading cheers as the bus zips along.
I got news, UnderArmour. Any place I've ever coached, that bus ain't goin' nowhere until Mister UnderArmour sits his ass down.
I'm watching your favorite.........a h.s. all-star game. They just put Ray Ray Armstrong (a highly recruited DB/LB) up in the stands while the game is going on, so he could be with his family and announce his college choice. After 10 seconds I was able to eliminate all schools with high academic standards(Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Cal etc.) and since University of Miami was in the running, it was a no brainer!
During the exhibition contests yesterday one of the players confirmed that he was verbally committed to the "University of U.C.L.A." Unbelievable! And now I am listening to "Ludacris" rap! I'm sick..........
*********** Hey Coach!
*********** Central Florida finished 119th in D-IA offense this past season. There are 119 D-IA teams.
Can't say that UCF coach George O'Leary didn't do anything about it.
He went out and hired Charlie Taaffe. Taaffe was Army's offensive coordinator from 1984 through 1986. How'd he do? Army was 23-13.
In 1987, he became head coach at The Citadel, and in 10 years there his teams were 55-47-1. He is the winningest coach in Citadel history.
He was let go in 1996 after a DUI arrest, even though he was acquitted of the charge.
He headed to Canada as offensive coordinator of the Montreal Alouettes and after two years became head coach in 1999.
From 2001-2005 he was offensive coordinator at Maryland. In 2001 the Terps won the ACC title and in 2002 they set the school scoring recod of 451 points.
He returned to Canada in 2007 as head coach at Hamilton, but after getting off to a 2-8 start in 2008, was fired by the Tiger-Cats.
*********** I can't stand Fox's NFL-centric converage of the BCS, but there was one occasion where Pat Summerall and his buddy's lack of college football exposure helped the broadcast.
Ole Miss came out on 4th down and shifted the punter to the flank, snapped to the upback and optioned for the first down.
Pat says "looked like a punting formation." His color man simply described the guts of the play. Neither of them used knee-jerk application of the term "Wildcat."
Summerall then praised Houston Nutt's (man, that guy can coach) willingness to be unconventional.
Christopher Anderson, Arlington, Virginia
Fox is bad, but at least they didn't give us the cheesy graphics and that gruesome robot/transformer that uglifies their NFL broadcasts.
I found Summerall's low-key approach, which I once thought soporific, to be a refreshing change. He was economical in his use of words, like the late Ray Scott, once the Voice of the Packers. (In retrospect, maybe it was the NFL football that was putting me to sleep.)
And I was surprised that Johnson's analysis was pretty good. He went critical a few times, but overall he made the transition to the college game pretty well for an NFL guy.
It did help them that it was a good game and that Ole Miss played their tails off. I am very pleased to see the way Houston Nutt vindicated himself this season. He deserves Coach of the Year honors as much as anyone. He should thank Mitch Mustain's mommy for going behind his back to meet with Frank Broyles, and Frank Broyles for meeting with her, because after leaving the mess at Arkansas he was out of work oh, maybe a minute or two before Ole Miss snapped him up.
I'm actually surprised that they didn't dwell more on Leach and the myth of Texas Tech's unstoppability.
*********** My, weren't those two Texas Tech linemen, numbers 71 and 76, gracious in defeat? Thanks to their good sportmanship, Texas Tech, down 47-34, had to kick off from the 7-1/2 after two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.
One of the kids yanked his helmet off to "talk over" his penalty with an official. I don't understand how a kid can get a penalty for taking his helmet off in celebration, after scoring a touchdown, but as one of those kids did, take off his helmet to confront an official and not also get a penalty?
*********** Did the USC players dancing and acting the fool on the sideline look disturbingly like the Miami bunch of years ago, the ones that did the Cotton Bowl dance that started Miami on its way to a reputation it has never been able to live down?
*********** After watching the Liberty Bowl and its officiating ... No wonder kindly old Joe Paterno once chased Big Ten officials off the field. Why'd he quit?
*********** Jesse Palmer: "They're calling Peter, Peter, Peter - the universal code meaning stay away from the ball." Actually, the NFL came up with the term. It honors Commissioner Goodell's Great-Uncle Peter.
Just kidding. (I think. The NFL's liable to claim anything).
I first heard it from Don James, at Washington. It was code for "Don't play with it!" (Get it.)
I remember watching a Boston College game once and they were using one of those dish microphones. I wondered what people in other parts of the country thought of all those BC guys yelling "Pita! Pita! Pita!")
*********** Wonder if some poor production schlub at CBS got the axe for booking MIke Leach for a segment on "60 MInutes" on the Sunday after the Cotton Bowl? Actually, since the game was also on CBS, they must have had the assurance of their resident sports experts that - not to worry - Texas Tech would soundly beat Ole Miss.
*********** Georgia Tech won the toss and deferred. I questioned the strategy. LSU took the opening kickoff and drove it down their throats and the Yellow Jackets had an uphill fight the rest of the way.
Utah won the toss and deferred. I questioned the strategy. They kicked off and stopped Alabama and then ran off three scores before Alabama knew what hit them.
So much for my second-guessing.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 2, 2009- "A lie can travel halfway round the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." Mark Twain
Happy New Year from Maine to you and Connie. It is 3 above on the coast this morning and the wind chill approaching 30 below. You might say it is cold.
Great comments to the coach about teaching tackling in the news this morning. I can certainly vouch for your comments after spending and entire season with you and teaching tackling and blocking every single day in practice. We were teaching the same fundamental principals the last day we practiced as we did the first day. This had to be a major reason for the way we blocked and tackled so well during the season. The commitment to doing it right every single day from every player and not moving on to the next rep until all were correct played great dividends for us. Our teaching of tackling and blocking with shoulders is so similar that all those reps during the season made a difference for us and would for anyone who would follow your philosophy.
Have a great day watching the games!
I should point out that blocking, especially, is not glamorous, and not necessarily fun to teach - or learn. A lot of coaches settle for "HIM Blocking" - "you block him, you block him, you block him," etc.) and during the games they take the "Block Somebody!" approach - they try to make up for what they didn't do in practice by standing on the sidelines, yelling "Block Somebody!"
I have a friend who believed in our approach but got so tired of listening to his assistants (ones that he inherited) bitching about it that he finally gave in to them, and he says that from that point you could see the decline in play. He is going back to what he believes in, and his assistants will buy in - or screw 'em. HW)
*********** From the very first time I presented my system to another high school staff, I've been asked the same question: "what's the toughest defense you see?"
My answer is the same now as it was then: "A very good defense." I wasn't being a smartass then, and I'm not being one now. I go on to say, "A well-coached, disciplined defense with better athletes than we have - with very good players at every position who know their jobs and know how to make the necessary adjustments. A defense whose coaches have taken the time to learn - in depth - what we're about, and have the time, and the athletes on their scout team offense, to prepare for us."
Let's just say that, using LSU as an example, Georgia Tech ran into "a good defense."
In addition, though, they made some horrible mistakes on special teams, and they couldn't stop LSU.
Before they knew it, they were four scores down, and at a time like that, it does help to have a better passing game than Georgia Tech did.
*********** Yee-haw. Forget some of the disappointmenting bowl results. My bowl season is made. The Oregon Ducks beat the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Oregon State Beavers beat - make that shut out - the Pitt Panthers...
The thing that I liked was Oregon's "physicality."
I hate that cliche, but it does get tiresome hearing the Big 12 and SEC people talk about how tough and physical they are, and how wifty the PAC-10 is. It's dismissed as a "finesse" conference. So it was rather enjoyable watching the Ducks beat up on the poor Oklahoma State QB, and watching the Oregon runners ran right over Cowboys' tacklers on their way to the end zone. (Please don't tell that one poor Oklahoma State tackler that that was the Oregon QB that knocked him on his ass. Not that his teammates haven't already.)
Maybe you don't like a 3-0 game. I happen to be partial to them, because that was the score by which my Munkka Colts team won the 1989 Finnish national championship over the East City Giants. Going in, we knew we were in trouble. Our best running back, Timmo Everi, was hurt and our quarterback, Vellu Kalllislahti, the league's best passer, was playing with a bad shoulder and couldn't throw with anywhere near his usual effectiveness. But we managed to hold onto the ball a little, played our tails off on defense, and converted a big turnover deep in their territory into a late field goal, and that was enough. A win is a win, and I've got the gold medal to prove it.
So I really admire the job that Oregon State did in beating Pitt 3-0. The Beavers were playing without the two Rodgers brothers, one of whom, Jacquizz, was PAC-10 Offensive Player of the Year), and therefore without 90 per cent of their running game. I give a lot of credit to coach Mike Riley and his staff for finding a way to win, rather than whining about all the things that had gone wrong. The Beavers did it with a smothering defense that held Pitt's rushers to 89 yards and standout running back LeSean McCoy to 85, while shutting down the Panthers' passing game (9 of 28 for 89), and handing Pitt its first shutout since before World War II. Bear in mind that this was the same Beavers' defense that in its final regular-season game gave up 65 points to the archrival Oregon Ducks in the Civil War.
*********** USC is my "true national champion."
Look, I have loved Penn State for a long time. But I have lived in the Pacific Northwest for almost 35 years, and in that time, I've developed loyalties to its schools. I like the Northwest schools, and I like the Pac-10.
So after all the claptrap we've had to listen to about this conference or that (remember Les Miles last year?) beign better than the Pac-10, you'll have to excuse us out here on the Left Coast if we gloat a little over the Pac-10's unbeaten mark in the bowls.
And while I was sorry to see Penn State get hammered - yes, hammered - in the Rose Bowl... wouldn't you say that USC's win says something? About the strength of the Pac-10? About the BCS poll?
And you eastern and southeastern and southwestern and midwestern media guys - I'm accepting apologies for all those nasty things you said about the Pac-10, and while you're at it, would you be so good as to explain once again why USC hasn't been mentioned in the same breath as Texas, Oklahoma and Florida?
*********** What is it with South Carolina? They have the funding, they have the facilities, and they sit smack in the middle of a state that produces good football players. They have had good coaches. Yet they just can't ever seem to get over the hump.
*********** I found this on the Army forum:
Prior to the GA Tech vs. GA game this year, there was a young boy watching the GA Tech team practice the week of the game. He was wearing a UGA T-Shirt and a Hat. Some of the GA Tech players noticed this and told Coach Johnson that he needed to get the kid away from the team and that he shouldn't be allowed to watch practice wearing this UGA gear. Coach Johnson replied; 'Boys UGA has embarrassed you for the last 7 years. If I was a kid growing up in this state I'd be wearing UGA gear also.' In other words, you better strap it up on Saturday and win your respect back otherwise you can plan on generations of kids wearing UGA apparel.
*********** Hello Mr Wyatt my name is ------- I am looking to coach for the first time next season and am looking for an offense to run. I've bought things on the single wing, but do not like it bacause it does not have a true qb. What i want is an offense the will work in youth football, but also develop a youth qb for the next levels. IS THE DOUBLE WING THAT OFFENSE? Before buying more of something that is not going to be used..please help. I'm looking for all I can get. Thank you.
I think that your job is to help your kids be successful. With that in mind, the Double Wing is as good an offense as anything that you could choose.
On the other hand, with all due respect, I think that the idea of "developing a quarterback for the next level" should not play a part in your decision.
I think that a coach's job is to develop his quarterback to play at the present level.
*********** Leading 38-3, with 9:37 left in the game, LSU pulled a fake punt.
With under 8 minutes left - still leading 38-3 - LSU's QB (the starter) was throwing deep.
With under a minute left in the game - still leading 38-3 - LSU's starting QB was still in the game.
So, tell me - does this make Les Miles a pr--k? Your call. I have my suspicions.
*********** It's one of those questions that all real football fans should know the answer to...
"Where did the only Rose Bowl game that was not played in Pasadena take place?"
(Full disclosure: I knew this when I was 12 years old. Evidently, I was the only person in our school gym who did, and it won me a gym bag. It was at our school's Father-and-Son banquet - remember back when they used to hold functions with names like that? - and the MC, a Philly sports guy named Jack Whitaker, who would go on to become a well-known national TV guy, asked the question. Boy, was I proud.)
So the question was posed during the Nevada-Maryland Humanitarian Bowl game.
The color guy, Brock Huard, didn't know.
When the answer was provided (memo to the producer: next time, remember to give the TV guys the answer in advance), the play-by-play, a guy named Bob Wischusen, trying hard to be funny, quipped, "Who could forget the 1942 Rose Bowl game played in Durham, North Carolina?"
Wow. There he was, as exposed as if someone had pulled his drawers down, but he wouldn't f--king quit. He really thought it was cool to show his ignorance. The Rose Bowl would be coming up on New Year's Day, he told us, and "All eyes will be on Pasadena. Unless they're on Durham... if they decide to shift it there..."
Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.
Well sh--head, I wanted to tell him, since you don't know, and since you persist in making a fool of yourself... it's actually something all Americans ought to know,
You at least ought to know why it was played in North Carolina, and not in California.
January 1, 1942, as even you may be smart enough to understand, was less than a month removed from December 7, 1941.
That was the day, you may recall, that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. The very next day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called it, "A day that will live in infamy."
Even in the mind of an empty-headed sportscaster.
There was genuine concern that the Japanese might next attack someplace closer than Hawaii - on our West Coast, to be precise. It was a concern that would lead to a hysteria that would lead to the relocation of Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Americans from their homes on the West Coast. Anything was possible, and because of the immediate, post-Pearl Harbor fears, the President banned large gatherings on the West Coast. And the Rose Bowl, easily the biggest sports event on the West Coast, if not the entire nation, was certainly a "large gathering."
The game was cancelled.
To its rescue came the Duke Blue Devils.
The Rose Bowl tradition then was to match up the best possible team from elsewhere in the country - usually the East or the Southeast - with the the champion of the West Coast. Those were the days before jet planes made cross-country travel routine, and since teams seldom left their sections of the country to play, the Rose Bowl was a sort of BCS matchup before its time.
That year's eastern representative happened to be Duke, and the Blue Devils, after getting over the disappointment of not being able to make a trip to sunny California, offered to host the game. In Durham, North Carolina. (Are you following me, sh--head?)
The West Coast champion was Oregon State.
Duke was good in those days, by the way. Very good. Going into the Rose Bowl game, they were 9-0. Five of their wins were shutouts. They defeated, in order, Wake Forest (43-14), Tennessee (19-0), Maryland (50-0), Colgate (27-14), Pitt (27-7), Georgia Tech (14-0), Davidson (56-0) - everybody's got to have a breather -North Carolina (20-0), and North Carolina State (55-6).
Oregon State's 20-6 Rose Bowl win was considered quite an upset. Duke coach Wallace Wade would later say that he felt he'd spent too much time acting as host, and too little time getting his team ready to play.
While we're still on Duke... just three years before, the Blue Devils had gone through their entire season without giving up a point. They outscored their nine opponents, 114-0, and remained unscored-on until the final minute of the Rose Bowl game, when USC scored to defeat them, 7-3.
Back to the Humanitarian Bowl, though.
Several minutes after showing what a dimwit he was, Sh--head read something to us, no doubt something someone had slapped together in a hurry and passed along to him. It said approximately what I just wrote.
Hahahaha. My guess is the network got a few e-mails and phone calls from people who knew more football than their experts.
But Sh--head wasn't the slightest bit chastened at having to have an interesting piece of American sports history pointed out to him. He simply read the paper and moved on. A real man would have said, "I just learned something interesting that a person in my job certainly should have known. My bad."
*********** *I wanted to ask what you thought of the Army hire, but I read your website. I thought it was a good hire to begin with and I didn't even know his background!
*Agree 100% on Ed Cunningham. "I wouldn't do this," "I think this is a bad decision" etc etc. He went on an on about Northwestern punting to Macklin, then advocated Missouri just fall on the ball and kick the FG on second down. As you know the kid missed the "chip shot."
*I think the ND/Hawaii game shows just how good Colt Brennan was. That Alexander kid just couldn't run the offense.
*From what I've seen this year, I am MORE convinced that a playoff would be a disaster. Bobby Bowden went on an on about how a win lifted the program and will help his recruiting...West Virginia QB Pat White went out a winner in what was a no holds barred, exciting football game...Cal and Miami did the same...you wouldn't see this type of football if you had a playoff. You'd have conservative, defensive-oriented games. Ed Wyatt, Melbourne, Australia
Your last point is especially good.
Everybody has played hard - with the possible exception of Hawaii. (They will get the apostrophe back when they play like Hawai'i used to play)
When Cal kids are excited about winning - in San Francisco, yet - you know the kids care about the bowl games. And in all this talk about a playoff, I have never once heard anyone talk about the players. I have heard things said from and about fans, coaches, the media, the networks, the college presidents, politicians - even a certain United States president-elect, who I pray, for the sake of our country, is not as out of his depth in foreign and domestic affairs as he is on the subject of college football.
But I have not heard one damn thing about how a playoff would benefit the players.
*********** I watched the Texas Bowl on the NFL Network. I was probably alone, because most people who knowingly pay to get the NFL Network would immediately change channels once they realized it was a real (college) football game.
Anyhow, Rice killed Western Michigan in the Texas Bowl. Nothing against Western Michigan - I like the Broncos - or the MAC, but jeez- it was great to see Rice win. It wasn't more than a couple of years ago that Rice seriously considered giving up football. A toast to the alumni and friends of Rice football who worked so hard to change the administration's mind.
So there they were, joyously celebrating their Texas Bowl win. Tell me what they'd have been doing if there'd been a playoff (come on, let's hear the chorus) to determine a "true national champion."
*********** The color analysts on the bowl games are getting worse. I really didn't think that was possible. They must be getting instructions to crank it up a notch. Or down, depending on how you view criticism of coaches and players.
They decide on a "story line," as they like to call it, and then won't let go. This guy is hurt and shouldn't be playing... that guy is hurt but he should be playing anyhow... they're not running enough... they're running too much... blah, blah, blah.
Whatever. They get on it and they won't f--king quit. Aaaaargh.
All I want for 2009 is a return to the days when "color analysts" actually had coached or played the game long enough to qualify as experts on how the game is coached and played. I'm thinking of Paul Christman, long time quarterback of the Chicago Cardinals (back when they actually won an NFL title - you can check it out) and Frank Broyles, who set a standard that none of today's analysts can even see from where they are. After him came the likes of Bud Wilkinson and Ara Parseghian.
Now, we get...
*********** Very clever, the way Miller High Life, once a so-called premium beer that billed itself as "the champagne of bottle beer," now positions itself as the beer of the ordinary fan. Of Joe Sixpack.
I love the Miller High Life driver-salesman, who barges into the stadium sky box with a bunch of his co-workers, and is taken aback by all the dilettantes in the box, nibbling on their hors d'oeuvres and making small talk. When none of them knows the score of the game going on down on the field, he turns to his co-workers and says, "All right boys - we takin' back the High Life!"
And the Miller guys confiscate all the ice-cold bottles of Miller, sitting - untouched - in a tub of ice.
Moral: those rich stiffs up in the luxury boxes - they aren't worthy of a real beer.
He glances out at the field and notices that the box is glassed in - why, you can't even hear anything!
Stomping out in disgust, he mutters, "Need to smell me a hot dog or something, just to know I'm alive..."
In another TV spot, he circulates through the parking lot, visiting tailgaters, and comes upon one group of guys who are grilling ostrich burgers.
After trying to show them that Miller goes better with burgers made of real beef, he walks away, shaking his head.
"Ostrich?" he says, disbelieving. "That's not a burger... that's a bird!"
*********** Seems like only yesterday that USC and Ohio State were getting to play, and an anxious nation held its breath waiting for the latest Beanie Wells update.
*********** An outdoor hockey game is must-see TV, but what was with the Detroit Red Wings shedding their iconic sweaters with the winged-wheel, recognizable anywhere, for something that looked like the Detroit Tigers' "D".
All to sell souvenirs. What does the NFL think it is, anyhow? The NFL?
*********** Got to like West Virginia's Pat White, for a lot of reasons.
But I loved hearing him say what his favorite play was: "Taking a knee."
*********** You can't say West Virginia's Bill Stewart doesn't know where his bread's buttered. Signing off his interview with the ESPN guy, he said, "Any night you need us, give us a call."
*********** Sure hope we can look forward to the "Shon/No Shon Show" next year.
"Shon" would be Shonn Greene, Iowa's stud running back. "No Shon" would be Georgia's Knowshon Moreno, an equally good runner.
Both, sadly, could be headed prematurely for the NFL after this season.
Interestingly, they're both Jersey kids. Greene is from Sicklerville, in South Jersey, not far from Philadelphia. Moreno is from Belford, in North Jersey, closer to New York. New Jersey may be a small state geographically, but to those who live there, there is a vast difference between "North Jersey" and "South Jersey."
*********** Wow - Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." Even if it was between periods of a hockey game.
*********** Jason Whitlock on Missouri's lackluster showing against Northwestern...
"Yeah, they cooed about averaging 10 victories during the Daniel-Christensen era. Uh, 10 victories is like 1,000 yards in the NFL. It used to mean something when the NFL season was 12 and 14 games. Ten victories used to mean a lot before teams started scheduling four nonconference victories."
Hahahaha. 10 wins is like 1,000 yards rushing in the NFL. I love it.
I think that sports is ultimately going to kill itself with this record inflation, and I said so when Roger Maris was given eight extra games to break Babe Ruth's record and nobody stood up to protect the game and the integrity of its records, without which most of its games become, truly, "meaningless games."
*********** To me, Lou Holtz has become a giant bore, and that "Doctor Holtz" schtick is about the worst. But occasionally he shows flashes of the guy who was once the wittiest speaker I've ever heard.
He was discussing the fact that Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen had had to discipline several of his players, including his star running back, from Boise's Humanitarian Bowl game for missing curfew.
"I've been to Boise, he said. "I want to know where he went in Boise to violate curfew."
*********** I was watching one game when a guy broke a kickoff return, and I heard the announcer say, "KICKER TO BEAT..." and I almost choked, Right. Like the kicker was going to make the tackle. (He didn't.)
Those guy and their limp-ass attempts at tackling are a travesty. Is it really worth it to get that big foot into it, knowing that you're covering with only ten men?
*********** I'm happy to hear that Dick Jauron will be back at Buffalo. Please tell me if I'm wrong, but so far as I know, that still leaves just two of us Yalies coaching football anywhere.
*********** Those of you who have read Michael Lewis' interesting book, "The Blind Side" will enjoy this follow-up story on Michael Oher in The New York Times
*********** I really can't understand why Jeremiah Masoli, Oregon's quarterback, wasn't sent off the field, and the Ducks penalized, for his failure to be properly equipped. His pants stopped maybe two inches above his knees. Even allowing for the diamond-plate designs on the knees.
Actually, s ince it became a fashion statement for players, especially the so-called "skill guys," to wear their pants in clear violation of the NCAA rule requiring players to wear knee pads fully covering the knees, I haven't noticed any great rash of severely bruised knees.
So if knee pads don't matter that much, isn't it time to change that rule, rather than continuing to flout it?
*********** Coach - Great stuff the past couple of weeks.
Coach I think this was a great Hire by Army, at least we know It was a better hire than Todd Berry no matter what happens, although I commended the brass for going after Bobby Ross. That just never got off the ground ( I'm including Stan Brocks two years also ). Hopefully Ellerson can at least get them off the mat instead of being a punching bag for Navy. Coach you think a lot of those West Point Alums have been a tad jealous & envious of Navy the last few years? - Dominating the Commander in Chief Trophy, Bowl trips & Bowl victories, beating BCS schools, Pitt, Rutgers, ND, Stanford, Wake,etc a Top 25 finish,almost winning the Lambert Trophy, being part of the "national discussion" and to make matters worse to top it all off, giving Army an annual ass kicking that last 6 years. Hopefully Ellerson can make that thing a series again.
Like you, I watch those teams at the end of those games, and I see an awful lot of happy kids. And coaches. I could care less whether they advance to the next round, and neither, apparently, could they.
My argument is that everybody has his say about the playoffs - everybody except the players. Nobody asks them what they want. They don't seem unhappy with the bowl system.
So big-time football is the only NCAA sport that doesn't determine a "true national champion," eh?
It's also one of only two sports that make any money for colleges. When D-IAA football starts paying the bills for all the minor sports (and women's sports), then maybe it's time for the big guys to listen to their bright ideas.
*********** Pro Bowl game? The week before the Super Bowl? Are you guys serious? You really think that after a 20-week season, any of the guys on the losing side in the previous week's conference championship games are going to be up for an all-star game the following weekend? So who's left to play?
I keep wracking my brain to figure out what they were thinking about this idea, and all I could come up with was the NFL wanting to lay claim to that weekend, just in case someday the colleges do decide to do a playoff.
Or maybe, somewhat like the way baseball's all-star game now determines the host league in that year's World Series, the Pro Bowl game could serve as the de facto coin toss for the Super Bowl. The conference that wins the Pro Bowl game gets the option of kicking, receiving, deferring, or defending a goal in the next week's Super Bowl.
Whatever the case, though, before you start thinking that surely those NFL guys must know what they're doing, let me remind you that they're the same dolts who blew millions over in Europe thinking they had the marketing smarts to turn soccer fans into football fans.
They're also the same type of geniuses who think you can build a winning team by paying a king's ransom to a Terrell Owens.
*********** Charles Barkley, who has made noise at various times about running for Governor of Alabama, was arrested in Scottsdale, Arizona on a DUI.
The story said that he refused to take a breathalyzer test. Could that mean that he actually kept his mouth shut?
*********** Hugh, I turned on the Humanitarian Bowl game when I got home from work, but apparently I actually tuned into a new type of simulcast - part of a football game paired with a protracted discussion of Mike Shanahan's dismissal. I have forgotten where ESPN got this idea that we couldn't just pay attention to one event - that we were all 'Coors Light fans' who don't care what's on as long as we're "watchin' sports."
Christopher Anderson, Arlington, Virginia (They really must think that there sit, we numb TV viewers, eyes glazed over, watching college only because that's what's on, when what we really we crave is another episode of the soap opera. HW)
*********** Jerry Jones is the George Steinbrenner of football. Like Steinbrenner, Jones has little concern for the overall good of the game, and in my opinion, hard as this is to believe, he's even more self-aggrandizing than Steinbrenner.
First of all, Steinbrenner was smart enough to know how stupid an owner looks down on the field.
Second of all, I think that George Steinbrenner really wanted to win.
I think that Jones would sort of like to win, too. At least that's how he justifies signing some of the teamkillers he does. But first and foremost, he is driven by money. He is obsessed with making as much money as he can, as fast as he can, in any way he can, and that's why he's been so bad for the game.
He almost singlehandedly has turned the sport of football itself into a mere game within a game. The bigger game, which trumps the actual football, is one in which the object is to grab the most dollars from the most sources as fast as possible, whatever the cost to the smaller game of football.
I have zero compassion for anyone who coaches for Jerry Jones, just as I had no sympathy for anyone who chose to be George Steinbrenner's manager. Yes, there is always the chance that they'll make it to the top of their profession, but it's a slimmer chance than they think, and there's a hell of a price to be paid.
*********** Every time they announce that Mike Shanahan was fired - which is roughly every 20 minutes, it seems - they take us to Denver and another interview with another person - player, reporter, fan - who tells us how shocked they were to hear the news.
Frankly, I'm surprised that Mike Shanahan lasted as long as he did. He has had an unusually long stay in one place for any NFL coach. Yes, there are those two Super Bowl rings. He has proved that he can coach good players.
But those rings are more than 10 years old.
And with Shanahan wielding power and control to a far greater extent than 90 per cent of his fellow NFL coaches, and Denver's performance stagnating, who else could be at fault?
Too bad and all that, but as I write this, I'm reading that he's getting $20 million in walking away money, and suddenly he's a much less sympathetic figure, not all that different from an executive of a failed bank getting his golden parachute. I said that I wouldn't coach NFL players for any amount of money, but you know what? For $20 million you can fire me.
*********** I see the Browns are already talking to Mark Mangini. They should, of course, because only a month ago the guy had the Jets at 8-4, until Favre started acting his age.
But isn't the NFL becoming more and more like the NBA in its recycling of coaches? Isn't the very small gene pool from which they draw the reason for the inbreeding of ideas? Isn't this the reason why the NFL is to football as Wonder Bread is to baking? Isn't this why ignoramuses in the news media are going ga-ga about something as simple as a direct snap to a guy who runs the ball instead of passing it?
*********** Speaking of Mark Mangini, how would you say the Brett Favre deal worked out for him?
Based on some of the things that are just now being said in New York, by such respected members of the Jets as Thomas Jones, there might be a totally different Brett Favre, one that the public never sees, from the good ole boy who plays touch football with the fellas in those Wrangler ads.
Writes Gary Myers in the New York Daily News...