FLAGFRIDAY, JANUARY 29, 2010- "Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." Physicist Niels Bohr

*********** I just purchased "A Fire To Win" a biography of Woody Hayes. It will be my first read on Hayes and its due to you. My only knowledge of Woody is what I have seen on TV and it wasn't a good view of him and so I had a bad impression but at one of your clinics you had very kind words and so I decided to read up on him. I hope it's a good read.

Kevin Rivas,
Montebello, California

Woody Hayes was a great coach.  Yes, he was a character.  Maybe "complex" would be a better way of putting it. It is possible - popular, nowadays - to define him by a couple of hot-tempered acts, but those oughtn't be allowed to overshadow the enormous accomplishments of an illustrious career.  There is an awful lot of coaching wisdom to be gained from learning about Coach Hayes.   Yes, he would have to be considered somewhat eccentric, especially in comparison with today's buttoned-down, colorless CEO-type coaches, but anyone setting out to write a book dedicated to making him out to be a monster would soon run out of material and adverse witnesses.  It would be an awfully thin book.

JOHN DOWD*********** John Dowd, a friend and a long-time Double Wing coach, has just been hired as head coach at Spencerport, New York, just outside Rochester.

Spencerport, a AA (largest classification) school, was 1-7 last fall, and has gone 11-32 over the past five seasons. Coach Dowd will be the Rangers' fourth coach since Spencerport restored its football program in 1997.

At Oakfield-Alabama High School, Coach Dowd's teams went 50-12 trom 2003-08, winning four Genesee Region titles, and Section championships in 2006 and 2004. His 2006 Hornets made it to the state title game.

Coach Dowd's teams have been honored five times by the Rochester Chapter of Football Officials as Sportsmanship Team of the Year. He was three times Genesee Region Coach of the Year and was twice named his section's Coach of the Year.

Before coaching at Oakfield-Alabama, Coach Dowd was offensive coordinator at Rochester Eastridge HS, and before that was on the staff of longtime Double Wing coach Mike Johnston at Corning, New York West High School.

After spending the 2009 season coaching outside linebackers at Division III Brockport State, Coach Dowd says he's happy to return to high school coaching.

"It was a great learning experience," Coach Dowd said about his year at Brockport. "I learned a lot about football, but I also learned that high school is the level I fit best. I really missed the whole Friday night high school thing."

(I should add that John Dowd is hard-core, joining me, Brad Knight and Gabe McCown to work with Greg Koenig and his kids at their summer camp in Beloit, Kansas.)

*********** Know any American names with a ü or an ö in them? How about an æ... or an ä... or an ø... or an å...?

I didn't think so. Those are all letters used in places like Germany and Sweden and Denmark, places from which many Americans have come. But when they arrived here, they became Americans. They learned English, and they changed those letters to ones used in our alphabet. (And on our typewriters.)

So why are sports writers tripping all over themselves to spell Pierre Garcon's name "GARÇON," with that little hook under the "c" (it's called a cedille)?

Yes, yes, I know - it's French, and it's the way his name's spelled in his family's native Haiti.

Nice touch, and all that, what with the tragic earthquake in Haiti, but how far are we prepared to go with this? Are we really ready to start letting immigrants use Greek or Cyrillic or Arabic or Hebrew to spell their names?

Are all those politically-correct sportswriters willing to honor Americans of Hispanic descent by starting all their questions with an upside-down question mark?

*********** Hi Hugh--

Glad to see your getting your clinic schedule organized and hope to see you in Providence in April. 

Loved the News section yesterday, especially the quotes you gave to coach looking to stop the DW. When done correctly the only thing I have seen that stops our offense is better personnel that is well coached or our own coaching decisions that stop ourselves. 

I applauded the suggestion from the coach that it is time for you put out a third edition of the Gold Standard Double Wing. Not that you don't have anything else to do or need more suggestions lol. Without question the best coaching video I have ever seen and I have seen most of them is the first Double Wing Gold Standard video you did it is today an instant classic as they say. I really believe that it is time for number three - there is so much new material from the WildCat to the HockeyStick to your updated passing game that DW coaches would gobble  up. Anyway I thought it was a great suggestion especially given all the knock off stuff out there and it is time for more of the real thing.

All the Best!!


PS: I hope the coaches out there realize the information you put is out is not just clinic talk but has actually been done in games and proven to work. 

*********** I'm watching a basketball game between UCLA, in its classic light blue uniforms, and Oregon, in its white uniforms with pink numbers. And pink shoes. Dear God. More awareness-raising.

Look. Breast cancer is awful. I wouldn't want any woman - or her family - to have to go through it.

But, jeez - is there anybody in the United States of America who still needs to be made aware that there is such a disease as breast cancer?

Can we maybe take a short break from pink everything?

*********** Dear Hugh,

Don't forget the dirt tracks of Indiana that have produced Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, John Andretti, et. al.

Tyler Sellhorn
Fort Wayne, Indiana


I guess Indiana - south of Indianapolis, where they speak with a drawl - might qualify. (I'm surprised I haven't had my but kicked by the dirt track people in Maryland and Pennsylvania.)

ELK POACHER*********** When a guy goes out and gets drunk and causes an accident, what usually happens? Why, they take his license away, right?

And then what happens? Why, he still drives, right?

So a couple years ago, a guy who lives not far from me went hunting inside Olympic National Park, in the northwesternmost part of Washington state. Inside the park live herds of Roosevelt Elk, majestic creatures which can go upwards of 1,000 pounds. Not supposed to hunt there, fella, but what the hell - the guy hunted down a trophy bull, lured it within range and killed it with a bow and arrow.

He field dressed it and packed it out over several days - we're talking a lot of meat, guys - until he was caught by Washington Fish and Wildlife officers while in possession of the animal's head and cape.

So he was found guilty just the other day, and the judge really slammed him. Hard. Placed the guy on probation. Ooooh. Fined him $2,500. Guy'll never pay it.

And took away his hunting license for three years!

Wow. Loss of his license! That'll keep him from hunting.

*********** Good Morning Hugh!
I can’t tell you enough how much I enjoy reading your Tues-Fri rants! The ESPN article by Ohlmeyer was insightful! Especially to me since I am a friend of Mike Leach from his days @ Iowa Wesleyan in Mt. Pleasant, IA.  I think when the dust settles Mike’s reputation will rebound and he will become a quirky coach with an offense that stupefies DC’s at whatever level he lands in coaching.
He’s fun to be around and you would enjoy spending time with him…..his take on kids is a lot like most of us old guys! If you want to work, do things right and win, you might have a spot in our program. He’s no nonsense, let’s get to work kind of coach.
On another note, the coach from I suspect, Illinois who wants your help in defending the DW must be stupid! You gave him more to ponder in defending the DW than any other coach in the past has received from you and he doesn’t even send along a thank you! And he’s a DC? At a big school in IL? From my experience, most of the coaches in Illinois, who are at successful programs have little time for us! I think DW coaches in Illinois would agree!
Now that I’m retired, I’m relegated (by my wife) to cleaning out my stuff! I finally got around to doing just that a couple of weekends ago! Yeah, I’ve purged all my football files……except the DW stuff! It took me a while because I had to stop and read the countless notes I’ve taken over the years from your clinics or the clinic presentations of mine about the DW. I even read over notes Jack T has shared with me from your Providence clinics over the years!
Then there is the video’s. I still have every tape and DVD. Plus, game footage of our DW at Keokuk. Playbooks, all editions. I’ve kept them all along with some Fly stuff from Mark Speckman and Zone Fly from Bryon Hamilton @ Foothill, CA. All great stuff…..
Not sure why I’ve kept all this stuff except to say that your DW stuff, to me is like the HOLY GRAIL of ‘POWER FOOTBALL”. God I miss the day when we trucked people with the DW! Maybe the guy from Illinois could call me…..I surely could convince him to change to the DW!
Simple, become a head coach…..run the DW, your defense will get better too!
Can’t wait to hear from you every Tuesday and Friday!
It Takes A Set!
Don Capaldo
Keokuk, Iowa (Coach Capaldo, who has coached in both Iowa and Illinois, was one of my earliest converts to the Double Wing while at Keokuk High School. Actually, although I did invite him to the Chicago Clinic, the ingrate was not from Illinois. I guess I should have just told him to f-off, the way I used to. It was nice to see Ohlmeyer point out that there were definitely two sides, which most sports fans realized even if ESPN didn't.  When you're a conservative, you expect to see "your" side of a story get buried, but this handling of the issue by ESPN was so unfair to Mike Leach - and those of us who have do deal with the Craig Jameses in our daily dealings as coaches - that as I mentioned, it was borderline jury tampering.  I mean, if you know anything about jury selection, you know there are going to be people who don't know squat about sports who thanks to Mike Patrick have already conjured up  mental pictures of a "child" being "confined" in a "shed" as "punishment" for having a concussion.HW)

*********** Imagine..

(a) The final game of the World Series goes into extra innings. The two teams flip a coin to decide who bats first. Team A wins the toss and chooses to bat first, and in the top of the 10th, Team A scores. Game over. Team A wins the World Series.

(b) The final game of the NBA finals goes into overtime. Team A wins the coin toss and takes the ball in. Team A works the ball in to its big man, who's fouled in the act of shooting. The big man (not Shaq) misses the first free throw, but makes the second. Game Over. Team A wins the NBA title.

(c) The final game of the World Cup goes into a shootout. Team A wins the toss and goes first. Its first shooter makes his goal. Game over. Team A wins the World Cup.

(d) The NFC championship game goes into overtime. Team A wins the coin toss and elects to receive. Team A drives to within field goal range and - NFL kickers being accurate on roughly 80 per cent of their attempts - makes the field goal. Game over. Team A wins the NFL championship and goes on to the Super Bowl.

All fantasy, right? Couldn't happen. Not in sports, where both sides are entitled to a "fair go." Every American kid grows up knowing that.

Except that last Sunday, (d) actually happened! And amazingly, so caught up is everybody in the excitement of the Saints' finally going to the Super Bowl that they're conveniently overlooking the simple fact that the Vikings never got their turn at bat. The Vikings - and America's football fans - were wronged.

I'm telling you - one of these days the Super Bowl itself is going to be decided the same way the Saints-Vikings game was - by the toss of a coin - and there'll be hell to pay. Big Football will be, to say the least, greatly embarrassed. And all because the high and mighty NFL, which believes it created the earth in six days and then on the seventh gave us football, can't bring itself to admit that football is played on other days than Sunday, and that those people who play on Fridays and Saturdays (and in the case of the MAC, Wednesdays and Thursdays) might actually have a good idea or two of their own.

*********** Tom Grady, honorary "Mayor" of Cypress Hollow, South Carolina, is a Black Lion, a veteran of the Battle of Ong Thanh. By the most amazing of coincidences, he grew up "two doors down" from my wife in Abington, Pennsylvania. He has a razor-sharp wit, which he annually puts to use in coming up with one of the more unusual Super Bowl pools you're likely to come across...


*********** The abortion (sorry - "right to life") folks and the ardent feminists are walking around with permanent wedgies at the thought that Focus on the Family is being allowed to spend $2.5 million on a Super Bowl commercial on CBS. The commercial stars Tim Tebow and his mom, and it evidently tells about the time Tim's mom and dad were on a mission to the Philippines while Mrs. Tebow (yes, they actually were married) was pregnant with their fifth child. While there, Mrs. Tebow was diagnosed with amoebic dysentery, and knowing that the medicines she was taking threatened her unborn baby, doctors advised an abortion. She ignored the advice and on August 14, 1987, gave birth to little Tim Tebow.

Wow. The geeks are going wild. CBS can't allow this to go on! I actually heard one right-to-lifer whining on TV that this video would deprive young women of their "reproductive rights."

Another harpy calls the ad "divisive." Say, "divisive?"

How, exactly, would this ad divide people? What - there are creeps out there who think Tim Tebow should never have been born?

This ad doesn't deprive anyone of any "right." And it isn't the slightest bit "divisive." What it is is scary as hell to people who think that unborn babies are just globs of tissue, and don't seem to believe that a woman's "right to choose" includes the choice to have the baby.

But, hey, right-to-lifers - you got a nice, heart-warming abortion story you'd like to tell us? We'd love to hear it. Hahahaha. It'll cost you $2.5 million.

*********** Nude photos of Portland Trail Blazer have been on the Internet for a couple of days now. Evidently, he sent them to a "lady friend" a year or so ago. After word of the pictures go out, he immediately apologized and said he's "matured" since the incident. Holy sh--. Does that mean he's grown since then?

*********** I'm blessed to know Mike Lude, one of the co-inventors of the Delaware Wing-T, one-time head coach at Colorado State, former athletic director at Kent State, Washington and Auburn, and long-time member of the NCAA Football Rules Committee. I thought you might enjoy a bit of his wisdom, from his book, "Walking the Line", published in 2004.

I totally believe that those involved in the leadership of intercollegiate athletics are held to a higher standard. They should be held to a higher standard and conduct themselves with the knowledge of that standard.

In my view, anybody who says he or she shouldn't be or doesn't want to be a role model shouldn't be a teacher.

When I was athletic director at Kent State, Washington and Auburn, I made a point of meeting personally with each squad and their coaches in every sport once a year and talked about this responsibility. I made it an absolute must to go over the rules and regulations and the forms the athletes had to sign for the NCAA.

I would read the rules and emphasize my philosophy and beliefs. I emphasized that each of them would be identified as an athlete the rest of their lives. I told them, "Good or bad, you will carry that label."

Right now I may be retired, but if I go out and misbehave - whatever way - the media will refer to me as "former athletic director at the University of Washington."

When coaches and athletes said they didn't want to be considered role models and protested, "I'm on my own time," I had a standard response: "You are until you get into trouble."

Mike sent along the following column written for the Green Valley (Arizona) News http://www.gvnews.com/sports/ by his good friend Corky Simpson, retired sports columnist and sports editor of the Tucson Citizen. It's reprinted with Corky's permission.

To protect football players' heads, the people in charge of the sport had better start using theirs.

Congress would be only too happy to turn it into a game of touch and put the touch on taxpayers in the process, most likely.

Hearings have already begun in Washington, and the National Football League has asked for players and former players to consider becoming brain-donors in the name of research.

But before Congress outlaws tackling and football becomes unrecognizable -- and unwatchable -- some fundamental changes need to be made in the sport.

Starting with the Wing-T would be a good idea.

In addition to being the most exciting and cerebral offensive formation ever invented, the Wing-T promotes and in fact relies upon blocking with the shoulder and not the head.

In other words, no blocking with the face-guard or helmet, either of which can cause devastating brain-related injuries.  

Trap-blocking, encouraging a defender to rush in and grab the shadow of a ball-carrier and general deception rather than helmet-to-helmet warfare, are trademarks of the Wing-T.

The Wing-T became a national phenomenon after it was developed in the early 1950s by the late Davey Nelson at the University of Delaware.  One of his assistants, Mike Lude, carried the tradition of this great offense to Colorado State when he became head coach there.

Coach Lude, who later became athletic director at the University of Washington and at Auburn, lives now in Tucson.

"It's a great offense," Mike says. "It's still used in many, many high schools and I think it should be brought back to the college campus."

In his 2004 book, "Walking The Line," Lude said the offense caught on like wildfire when he and Nelson invented it. "Forrest Evashevski, the Iowa coaching guru, wanted the Wing-T and eventually won a national championship with it," Lude said.

"Paul Dietzel of LSU couldn't wait to learn its intricacies.  Ditto for Frank Broyles at Arkansas and Eddie Robinson at Grambling."

Ara Parsheghian at Notre Dame did pretty well with it, too.

The Wing-T philosophy is keyed to the anticipation of certain adjustments it forces on the defense because of the positioning of the wing back (to the left or right).

It is a four-back system that forces the secondary to play three-deep coverage because of the passing possibilities.

OK, what's all that got to do with head injuries?

Well, the Wing-T utilizes T-formation offense with single-wing blocking.  That is, traps and double-teams and lead blocking in which
the shoulder -- not the helmet or face guard -- takes out the enemy.

An occasional shoulder bruise (or at worst, a separation) is nowhere near as bad as a concussion.  You don't get dementia late in life from a sore shoulder.

And let's take a look at the helmet.  This equipment is wonderfully put together with the emphasis on safety, but but it has become a weapon.  The modern helmet fits so well, cushioned around the noggin with air bags and suspension straps, that it gives the wearer a false sense of security.

Risks are taken that shouldn't be.

Why go to the trouble of executing a shoulder block, which requires concentration and dexterity as well as physical ability, when you can just stick a helmet on your opponent?

Unfortunately, from peewee football on through high school and into college, some kids are encouraged to block with anything BUT the shoulder pads.

So, why did we get away from the Wing-T?

Because the National Football League is a passing circus and since it's the highest level of football, the game we watch on Sunday, there's a natural trickle-down. College boosters accustomed to watching the NFL demand more passing. College coaches get fired when they don't pass enough.

The Wing-T, on the other hand, requires a balance between the running game and passing. That's one of its fascinations.

But football at all levels has become grass-basketball. Pass, pass, pass.  The only surprise is whether it'll be a long pass or a short pass.

And there's no shoulder blocking in pass-protection. It's about putting your face in the defender's chest.  And grabbing and holding his jersey, if you can get away with it.

Since it was first discovered in football's antiquity that the sport was better played by large, thick-shouldered sons of iron mongers, farmers and other heavy laborers, it's been a game of brain and brawn.

The Wing-T offense puts the emphasis on brain -- and protects it much better than all-out passing attacks.

Congress will be only too happy to ruin football as we know it, if something isn't done about cutting down on concussions leading to dementia.

Football headgear should be constantly studied and where possible, improved. But that's not the only answer to the problem of head injuries.

We've got to get back to fundamental football, even in the NFL, and emphasize the block as it was originally intended: a technique that requires striking the opponent with the shoulder, not the head.

The Wing-T formation won't end all concussions. Players can get their bells rung by crashing into goal posts or by slipping in the tunnel on the way to the field and banging their heads on concrete.

But going back to the future and encouraging the Wing-T would help enormously.


FLAGTUESDAY, JANUARY 26, 2010- "The leaders of our firm should never ask anyone to do anything they are unwilling to do themselves. The leader exists for the benefit of the firm, not the firm for the benefit of the leader." C. William Pollard, former CEO, ServiceMaster




*********** Apparently a lot of other people joined me in writing to Don Ohlmeyer, ESPN's onbudsman (think of that position as the spokesman for the viewers) about the despicable job ESPN did in "covering" the recent Craig-and-Adam James and Texas A & M vs Mike Leach debacle.

He said it brought ESPN six times the letters and e-mails of any other sports issue all year.

And Ohlmeyer, to his credit, agrees that ESPN did a horrible job of (1) ignoring the Texas Tech-Michigan State game while yacking about the Leach situation, and (2) being totally one-sided.

Ohlmeyer noted that disgusting comment by Mike Patrick (whose regular broadcast buddy Craig James was pulled off the game when the whole situation erupted) to the effect that poor Adam James "was punished for having a concussion," while totally failing to acknowledge that by many accounts, young James was a spoiled brat and Dad Craig was a highly intrusive parent.

It's a long read, but it's worth it



*********** Nice feature on Samoa and its leading export - football players - on CBS 60 Minutes last week.

If you aren't aware, American Samoa, with maybe 60,000 people, has an enormous number of players in the NFL.

There are many reasons why this tiny land in the South Pacific is such a signiticant factor in our sport: First of all, Samoans - all Pacific Islanders for that matter - tend to be big people... Theirs is a warrior culture. They are not taught, as our little boys are, that fighting is bad... Samoan kids are not strangers to hard work. They do not spend a lot of time in their bedrooms playing video games... They are obedient and respectful of their elders.

And, in a great article in the New Zealand Herald, Oscar Knightly, an islander himself, writes, there is pride and their is shame...

"There are probably fewer than half a million Samoans in the world. In Samoan culture, the individual is less important than the group. When something happens to one of us, it happens to all of us. When one of us does something good, we all bask in the reflected glory. When one of us does something bad, we equally feel the shame. When one of us is suffering, we all suffer."


Shame, of course, is something that our culture did away with sometime since the 1960s, in our determination not to be "judgemental."

(To give them their due, there are also a lot of Tongans - from the South Pacific Kingdom of Tonga - playing football as well, many of them having been introduced to the game by Mormon missionaries. It is therefore no coincidence that BYU and Utah have had a number of outstanding players of Tongan descent. And New Zealand's All Blacks, perennially one of the world's best rugby teams, have numerous native Maori players as well as players from other Pacific Islands. The 60 Minutes show, by the way, showed young Samoan players doing the haka, a dance which we were led to believe is a part of their culture, but which actually seems to be totally Maori in origin and only recently adopted by other Pacific cultures. If that's wrong, I welcome proof.)

*********** According to a Wall Street Journal study of four recent broadcasts, and similar estimates by researchers, the average amount of time the ball is in play on the field during an NFL game is about 11 minutes.

In other words, if you tally up everything that happens between the time the ball is snapped and the play is whistled dead by the officials, there's barely enough time to prepare a hard-boiled egg. In fact, the average telecast devotes 56% more time to showing replays.

So what do the networks do with the other 174 minutes in a typical broadcast? Not surprisingly, commercials take up about an hour. As many as 75 minutes, or about 60% of the total air time, excluding commercials, is spent on shots of players huddling, standing at the line of scrimmage or just generally milling about between snaps. In the four broadcasts The Journal studied, injured players got six more seconds of camera time than celebrating players. While the network announcers showed up on screen for just 30 seconds, shots of the head coaches and referees took up about 7% of the average show.

If you think the networks are a little too fond of cheerleaders, you may be mistaken: In these broadcasts, only two networks showed cheerleaders at all. And when they did, they were only on camera for an average of three seconds. "We make it a point to get Dallas cheerleaders on, but otherwise, it's not really important," says Fred Gaudelli, NBC's Sunday Night Football producer. "If we're doing the Jets, I couldn't care less."

*********** Coach: I was looking through an article of yours that was located at the direct snap website and you were writing about the VMI "Wildcat" and mentioned that you had experimented with what you called the Wildcat I.
What can you tell me about those experiments? Alignments, timing, trouble-shooting etc. We ran your offense out of your Wildcat with a lot of success last year, and we absolutely love the direct snap approach. Also, we do have a kid next year that fits the mold of an I-formation tailback. I was hoping that your Wildcat I would be a logical step for us, because we want to be able to maintain our double-wing/10-gap front.

One of the things I've scribbled with and repped just a couple of times has been using "C" blocking at the point of attack and using the B back (our stud) to widen and call it something like 86-C. I recall that at last year's Chicago clinic you mentioned briefly looking at either a 64 or 84 Trap if my memory serves me correctly.
By the way I was thrilled with the Jets win vs. San Diego for no other reason than a power running team beat arguably the most athletic team in the NFL. What was even better for me was that our kids have fallen in love with the power running game and 3 of them came to my room at separate times this past Monday commenting on how they were pulling hard for the Jets...because they choose to pound it out on the ground!
Thanks in advance,
Jeff Degner
Head Football Coach
River Valley High School
Three Oaks, Michigan


Funny that you bring this up, because after having a fair amount of success running Wildcat the last four games of this past season,  I've been giving a LOT of thought to this, and I plan to make it a focus of my clinics this year.

As you know, in my Wildcat I normally position my two "QB's" next to each other, "splitting the ball."  Except that they're seldom two QBs - they're usually a QB and a B Back, and depending on what I want to run, I have to move the B-Back to one side or the other.

Going to this "Cat-eye" formation (maybe I'd better register this before someone in the NFL gets any bright ideas) has its advantages.  The B-Back doesn't have to declare a side, and either back is now capable of running almost any play to either side. If the B-Back is not a good ball-handler, it puts all the snap work in the hands of the QB.  It's quite simple to deploy the B-Back or send him in motion either way to get him outside, or into an option-pitch relationship, or just into a better blocking position.  (It's also easy to send the QB in motion as well as the B-Back.)

There's an awful lot you can do without having to do a thing with our terminology or blocking.  It's all in place. 

Play action has great potential.

There is the ability to go unbalanced and still have a very strong shortside game.

And those who seem taken by the allure of option football like moths drawn to a flame will like messing with it.  Sure, it'll take a lot of their practice time from them, but what the hell.  (Actually, though, a straight-ahead wedge play with the QB riding the B-Back and reading people coming off the playside edge does appear to have some potential, although you would have to control backside pursuit.)

The ability to G-Block to both sides is a must.  No problem for most of us - this originated as the "down" play with the Delaware Wing-T, from which my system derives, and it's been a foundation of my system from Day One, but it is where I differ from a lot of  Double Wings that don't teach G-blocking as a part of their game.

This was made for "G" and variations from it.

Of course C-Blocking is essential, but most people already have it in place, and that is how you'd have to run your "powers" with your wingbacks carrying.  You may need a TE on the backside to shoeshine (cut off) because it might be hard for the B-Back to get to the line in time to check block.

If we ran a 64-84 trap it would be best run by the QB, with the backside wingback going in motion playside.

A few immediate disadvantages of the Cat-eye are (1) you lose the deception of the snap possibly going to one or the other back, (2) your B-Back is no longer in a good kick-out position for power plays (leaving you the option of using "G" blocking at the Point of attack on all powers, or having the backside wingback do it; (3) you lose the quick direct snap to the B-Back on a wedge.

I've included a video I assembled a few years ago for showing at clinics - before Nevada started making a lot of noise with its "pistol."  


It's really good stuff. There are a few clips of Penn from the late 1950s and there's one from UCLA in the 1950s, but most of the plays are Princeton in the mid-60's running its classic unbalanced single wing,  with stacked backs - Cat-eye or Pistol, if you will.  In fact, this was about the same time that the veer was coming into play, and you can see one play that either anticipated the veer or was inspired by it.  Damn shame that that was the single-wing's swan song at Princeton, because I think they were onto something.

In my case, I have had the two Cat-eye backs a yard or so closer to the line than Princeton, and I'm usually balanced - but not always - and I usually have two tight ends - but not always -  and I usually have two wingbacks - but not always.

If for no other reason,  this stuff is VERY useful in case you run into anyone who thinks brilliant football ideas spring spontaneously from the brains of today's coaches.

*********** Ben Kotwica, Jets' special teams assistant, is a former Army football player who got into coaching after fulfilling his service commitment. He tells how his military service prepared him for coaching...

Kotwica believes his military experience serves him well in the NFL. In Iraq, he took part in Operation Iraqi Freedom II, serving as a platoon lea! der, an Apache helicopter pilot, a Battalion executive officer and a company commander. He flew more than 1,000 combat hours and earned a bronze star, among other citations.

"I think because of my background - going to West Point, being captain of that (football) team, then going into the military and being an air mission commander and flying Apaches - standing up and fronting a group and presenting, whether it be a mission brief or a game plan in football, is something I am very comfortable with," he said.

"Not everybody can go up and stand in front of a group, especially the kind we have here in the National Football League. I mean these are guys where this is their profession. You've got to have a knowledge and an expertise and the ability to communicate in order to effectively get the game plan across and sell that, 'Hey guys, this is the way that we can and will implement our plan and win football games.' "

*********** And on the same subject of how military service can affect a man for the good...Writes Mark Leinovich in the New York Times, Scott Brown lives by what he calls “Army values,” instilled 30 years ago when he joined the Massachusetts National Guard.

*********** Internet Wisdom...

After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says W T F

*********** Coach, I am very intrigued by the double wing, but I do not see lt much at the varsity level here in (------) .  I do not see it in college either which makes me wonder if I could be successful at the bigger HS level.  I am an I formation team and we run a ton of power.

Hi Coach- It certainly can be successful at the big school level, and it has been.

A lot of things have to come together to make it so:

(1) Recognition by the head coach and his staff that something has to be done and going along with the crowd is not the answer

(2) Total commitment by the head coach and his staff - his entire staff -  to installing it right and fussing over the little details and  defending it against naysayers

(3) Total buy-in by the kids

(4) A good job of selling it to the community

(5) A supportive administration

(Notice I didn't mention great talent.  Talent always helps, but without the other factors, it won't make any difference how talented you are.)

What usually brings those things in line with each other is a program that has been down, and is willing to go along with anything that will help it's kids be successful.

It's rare to find all those things line up, which is why Double Wing teams tend to be scattered around.

You will never see it at the college level - except maybe D-III - because for one reason coaches are looking to move up and running something old-fashioned is a dead-end track.

*********** I read someplace where somebody is calling the Saints' "Who dat"( t'ink gonna beat dem Saints) cheer "racist."

Gimme a f--king break. Somebody needs to reset their racism detector.

Seems to me I recall hearing people at LSU chanting, "Who dey t'ink gonna beat dem Tigahs?"

Not that a takeoff on black dialect (notice how, unlike Senator Harry Reid, I didn't say "Negro dialect?") would be racist, anyhow, but I suspect this was imitation Cajun English, wid all da lack of aitches (h's) common when French-speakers, as Cajuns are, speak English.

***********I have a sneaking suspicion that at least one member of the Saints will be playing the Super Bowl for fun. Or, at most, for a ring on his finger.

Based on some of the shots those guys took at Brett Favre - including that late, low dive into Favre's legs by one Bobby McCray - I think a healthy fine or two might be in order. I can't imagine the league office will let it pass.

I'm not one for putting dresses on quarterbacks, but when punters get better protection than quarterbacks, the league is headed for trouble.

*********** Much to the NBA's relief, Steve Nash and Chris Paul edged out Tracy McGrady for starting guard spots on the West team in the NBA All-Star game. McGrady has appeared in only six games this season, and has basically been in exile, working out on his own, but since the NBA has prostituted itself (what a surprise!) by allowing fans to select the All-Star teams, he was in close contention for a spot. Alan Iverson, who has played in only 19 games this season, for some strange reason remains a fan favorite, and so he will start at guard for the East.

Charles Barkley has already suggested that Iverson should do the right thing and not show up for the game.

*********** NASCAR is struggling to stop the decline of its TV ratings, which are in free fall.

NASCAR and its millionaire drivers share a problem with other sports, which - in my opinion - were all a lot better when they were played by guys who loved the game, and would have played it for free.

In my judgment, the sport has become too sanitized. No more swearing. No more grabbing a tire iron and chasing after the SOB who cut you off and knocked you into the wall.

Probably more other sport I can think of, the players and the core of fans are disconnected. Good ole boys turn out for an afternoon of racing and wind up watching guys who look and talk like executives and can't say three words without getting a sponsor's name in there.

Now, I feel a sense of nostalgia for the good old days of auto racing, so as a favor to the folks at NASCAR (no charge to them, although I wouldn't mind seeing my "stones" logo on the hoods of a couple of cars), I offer a few suggestions...

Start with requiring guys ether to be born and raised in the South, or to spend at least four years driving on dirt tracks somewhere in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky or Virginia.

Go back to racin' - in places like Rockingham and North Wilkesboro.

Require drivers with fancy, citified names to change them to names on an approved list, such as Junior, Buck, Cale, Dale, Ned, Sonny, Darrell, Rusty and - of course - Richard.

Finally - let 'em fight.

*********** The job by the broadcast crew doing the East-West game Saturday was easily the worst I've ever heard. They all thought they were draft experts, and kept ripping the plays. They were a generic voice named Bob Wischusen, former QB Brian Griese, and draft nerd Todd McShay, a Mel Kiper wannabe.

They couldn't just call the game. They had to take over. They had to become the show themselves. And they were harshly critical. They had to evaluate every player in NFL terms, which in the case of this collection of players generally meant telling us why they weren't going to make it. So who gives a crap? STFU and call the game.

How far has this once-great game fallen, from the days when it was played on the West Coast and every college senior coveted an invitation to play in it? It's played in Orlando now, but judging by all the empty seats, fans apparently haven't gotten to word and thought it was still being played in San Francisco. What a shame - proceeds from the game are supposed to go to Shriners' Hospitals, but without the TV rights, they probably didn't cover expenses.

*********** A writer recently told of sitting down in front of the TV with his young son and trying to explain the game of football to him. He said between the incessant close-ups of this player and that, to shots of coaches on the sideline, to face-painted fans in the stands to cuts from one camera to another during the actual plays themselves, he finally gave up. He said that not once was he able to show the kid that football is played on a rectangular field.

*********** HI Coach   Hope you and Connie had a wonderful year.  I see you are beginning your clinic season.  Looking forward to it!!
     Probably get to see you in either Phila, or Providence.  Incidentally, the clinic dvd's from a few years back were really great.  I know that coaching and attending to family is very time consuming ( I have 13 Grandchildren) but the information you could share is gratly appreciated and extremely helpful.  There is so much nonsense being sold re: the doublewing, your "Gold Standard" would be greatly appreciated!!

Fred Gallagher
West Islip, New York

*********** Good morning, Coach.

Hope you had a great weekend. The boys and I enjoyed the games yesterday- and the East/West Shrine game on Saturday. Our thoughts on the Sunday

   -How can anyone root against Peyton Manning? The guy is a machine. How he can look over the defense and know - KNOW - which receiver will be open is truly amazing.

   -We love watching all four of these teams run the ball. All of them have plays where they pull linemen around the end as lead blockers. Not necessarily well, but they do pull. Watching those mouthy CB's have to actually come up and take on the blocker is loads of fun!

   -We are split. Do you think Coach Childress called the last pass play, or did Favre decide that one on his own? I just can't see the Coach taking that kind of gamble, but the boys think it was the Coach.

   -How can all these guys who are making millions of dollars - players and coaches - come out of a timeout in the last seconds of a huge game, and have 12 men in the huddle????

D.J. Millay
Vancouver, Washington

Agreed that it was a good weekend.  Manning really is in a class by himself, isn't he? The amazing thing is that year after year, the Colts come up with new receivers to replace ones who were seemingly irreplaceable. I'm guessing that Manning has something to do with that.

If you are referring to that last INT by Favre, the call may have come from the sideline, but the "trying to be Superman" throw back to the middle was pure Favre.  It goes against everything we've even taught or been taught, but he's made a career of going against conventional wisdom and succeeding more often than not, so you can't really blame him for thinking he could do it one more time.

Of course, they probably wouldn't have been doing that if it hadn't been for that knucklehead 12-men-in-the-huddle penalty.  As many cooks as they have in those NFL kitchens, all those layers of coaches  (upwards of a dozen assistants, with associate head coaches and assistant head coaches and assistants to assistants) I'm surprised it doesn't happen even more often.

*********** I can overlook almost anything that Brett Favre might do to upset people simply because he doesn't wear his f--king hat backwards like Romo and Roethlisberger.

*********** I really laughed my ass off when I heard the PA announcer ask spectators to stand, remove hats, and join with the singer in singing our national anthem. Good luck, the way those creeps sing it. Before the Jets-Colts game - was there anybody in the United States other than the singer who knew the tune she was singing?

*********** I heard one of the geniuses in the booth (probably Joe Buck, who likes to give us his version of football history) say that the Jets' win over the Colts in Super Bowl III "validated" the American Football League. Give me a break. Not a chance. That game was - still is, by many of us - looked on as a fluke.

"Validation" didn't occur until a year later, when Hank Stram's Kansas City Chiefs, clearly the better team, handled the NFL champion Vikings, 23-7, in Super Bowl IV, the final one before the leagues merged.

*********** I used to say years ago that TV wouldn't truly be able to replace the actual game experience until it could show us the scoreboard and give us a program. At the time I said that, neither appeared to be possible.

By now, they've pretty much handled the scoreboard thing with all the score-down-distance-time remaining graphics on every screen.

But the game program? They barely give us introductions. I love to look through a program and see where the players are from, but if anything, TV has gotten even worse at giving us information about the players. We all know that the NFL hates to mention their colleges in the intros (despite the fact that the colleges save the NFL tens of millions of dollars every year in the sort of player development costs that baseball's minor leagues incur), but jeez - the best CBS could give us for player introductions Saturday was tiny little mug shots - and no first names. Just first initials. WTF?

*********** Didn't the ending to the NFC championship make you sick!  A great game decided by a keeker while a future hall of fame QB sits on the sideline helpless to do anything. 

Gabe McCown
Piedmont, OK-USA
What really pissed me off was Joe Buck, afterward, saying, "So here is the play of the game!" And it's the f--king FIELD GOAL!

And who do they interview afterward? A twerp keeker with his f--king hat on backwards.

*********** There was Joe Buck again, stuffing his foot into his mouth BIG TIME in talking about the Saints and New Orleans. "Never," he said, "has a team been more closely tied to a city."

WTF? Uh, Joe... You ever heard of Green Bay? Baltimore? Pittsburgh? Buffalo?

Surely even you, Joe, know all know about Green Bay, which is owned, essentially, by the people of Green Bay.

And, Joe, there has yet to be anything happen in New Orleans comparable to the many ways Baltimoreans showed their love for their Colts.

Joe, the collapse of industry hit Pittsburgh and Buffalo so hard that there are now former Pittsburghers and Buffalonians scattered all over the country, and in every major city there's at least one Steelers' bar, at least one Bills' bar where their fans gather on Sundays. In Portland, they are packed by kickoff for games that start at 10 AM on the West Coast.

*********** Hey coach,

I'm not to big to say I need some help, because I do. Our biggest district rival is a DW team.

We return alot and can challenge for the district title this year BUT we have lost to them 4 years in a row. I've tried a 6-3, 5-4 and did beat them 5 years ago BUT that was before the addition of Rocket and Rocket pass.

Do you have anything on defending the DW? I sure could use your help. A few years ago, I knew I had to stop toss(24), counter/joker(45), trap and wedge. NOW If I put 11 in the box they kill us with rocket outside and if I don't we can't stop the toss play(power). PLUS the unbalanced formations from it.

I SURE COULD USE YOUR HELP COACH! We are a Belly team, I am the D-CORD. I love the DW offense BUT I hate to defend it. It takes away from everything we work on and forces us to wholesale change for DW teams......Do you have anything on DEFENDING THE DOUBLE WING? Thanx coach...

First of all - the fact that it was 1997 when I first went on the Internet and started putting on clinics and selling videos (they were tapes back then) and the Double Wing - and its various permutations - is still going strong is proof that no one - including me - has come up with the silver bullet that kills it.  In that time, I have coached at seven different high schools in two different states and every year I see dozens of videos from other Double Wing coaches and I have seen nearly every defense imaginable - and unless there is a significant disparity in talent I have yet to see the defense we can't handle.

Second, with all due respect, it's not fair to all the Double Wing guys who count on me for help to be giving technical assistance to the "other side."

But I will give you credit for being wiser than a lot of defensive coordinators who really don't know what they're up against and spend a lot of their time belittling the Double Wing.

The terms you are using are not familiar to me, so I have to assume that you are not  facing one of "my" Double Wing guys.  I don't know, for example, if your opponent runs the Wedge, which is one of my trademarks, or a "G," which is one of my carry-overs from my Delaware Wing-T days.  Or my Wildcat. And you didn't say how well they pass.  But if it is a fully-armed Double-Wing team it will be capable of attacking you anywhere, and from a variety of sets.  In my opinion, that's a handful.  So unless they're one of these one-formation/four or five play Double Wings that they got off the Internet,  I don't think that you want to get too far from your base defense.  

There's an old expression, "familiarity breeds contempt."  I've heard a football version of it that goes "familiarity breeds defense."  In other words, the more familiar you are with an opponent's offense, the better you ought to be able to defend against them.  But that means you need to see the Double-Wing a lot, and that's tough when you only have one Double Wing team on your schedule.   You might take a page from coaches I know who have one or two option teams on their schedule, and so from the first day of camp, they include 10 or 15 minutes daily of defending the option.  

And you need to be able to see it reasonably well-run.  There's your biggest problem, in my opinion.  I see an awful lot of opponents in pre-game whose scout offenses are running the most halfass Double Wings you can imagine.   I suggest that you assign a staff member - maybe yourself - to learning everything you can about what that Double-Wing opponent is trying to do -  and how and why - and put that person in charge of the Double Wing scout offense.  You're not going to do it nearly as well as a lot of my guys who really know the ins and outs and fine details, but at least you won't have to try cobble together a scout team the week of the game that can't possibly give your defense a good look.

Maybe you should come to my Chicago clinic.  The only danger is that you might be converted.

(Follow-up - I take the time to answer this guy and not a word of thanks do I get. So let him go get a defense off the Internet. HW)

FLAGFRIDAY, JANUARY 22, 2010- "Alas, tens of millions of US soccer moms have left quite a carbon footprint shuttling their kids to games and yet haven't produced a single first-class world-wide soccer superstar." Author Michael MacCambridge




***********Hugh, I smiled when Pierre Garcon, from D-III Mount Union, was recognized for his hustle in stripping the ball from from the defensive back following Peyton Manning's interception.  What they didn't recognize in the telecast was the good technique he used to strip the ball.  There was no doubt in my mind that Garcon's D-III pedigree allowed him to have the excellent technique (on both sides of the ball!) that many others from D-I programs would not.

In fact, at a clinic a few years ago I listened to the Mount Union coach talk about how his line coach had moved to D-I (Bowling Green?) and that he would now be allowed to "teach holding," something that wouldn't fly at the D-III level.

If you've ever watched Mt. Union play, you may agree that they could give many D-I programs a run for their money.  The big boys would have too many substitution packages, I'm sure, but on guts and technique, plus some darn good talent, I bet Mt. Union would beat some of the below .500 D-I guys.  Your thoughts.
Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois
Agreed.  I'm assuming you mean "D-IAA", and I agree that a Mount Union could beat a lower-level non-scholarship I-AA (FCS) school.

But as for a scholarship D-IAA school (Big Sky, Colonial Conference, Southern Conference) , I don't think so. Not even one below .500.

We have a situation out here in the Pacific Northwest that makes it convenient to make the comparison - a very, very good D-III school in nearby Linfield College, and a (currently) bottom-level Big Sky school in Portland State.

Generally speaking, PSU's athletes are kids who for one reason or another don't meet the needs of an Oregon or Oregon State, but they're not bad - they are scholarship athletes. The Linfield kids are not. This is not to say that Linfield may not have a few kids who turned down an offer from PSU, but for the most part a talented football player will accept an offer of a full ride at Portland State over having to pay tuition at a small private college.

D-IAA teams don't play D-III teams, but based on PSU's ability to play just one step down and beat D-II teams, I think they'd just be too much for any D-III program.  We simply can't ignore the importance of talent.

Although the D-III guys would not necessarily concede anything in the area of coaching, and certainly not in the "intangibles" that we coaches all love so well, they would give up quite a bit in terms of the measurables, and there would be a few mismatches in favor of the D-I school.

It would be a classic David and Goliath game, but without his sling, David loses

*********** College Football Hall of Famer Herschel Walker (Georgia) will make his MMA fight debut on January 30 in Sunrise, Florida... Guy's 47 years old. Yes, I know - Randy Couture is 46. But does Herschel, as great an athlete as he has been, really want to get into a cage with someone who wants to beat him into submission?

KIFFIN HEADLESS*********** This is what some people in West Tennessee think of Lane Kiffin.  For some reason, I think you would like the person who cut his head off this display!  My brother saw this in a local grocery store and I thought I would share with you.  I'm not a Tennesse fan, but thought this was pretty funny.

See you in Atlanta!

Brooks Rawson
Alamo, Tennessee

*********** George Dormann, in si.com's "Inside College Basketball," notes that the days of a college paying severely in sanctions for violations committed by a rogue coach who's now safely ensconced in another job could be numbered.

In the wake of the economic collapse, "clawback" provisions have become more common in the contracts of Wall Street executives. These clauses enable companies to recover compensations such as bonuses for a variety of reasons, including the uncovering of a scandal or if certain performance goals are not reached. A recent editorial in The New York Times called for clear clawback provisions for board members of major banks as part of a financial reform package.

Colleges should do the same: Insert clawback provisions into their coaches' contracts calling for a coach - wherever he may be - to reimburse his former employer should he or his program violate NCAA rules.

***********  From the Internet - TEXAS RULES

1. Pull your pants up.  You look like an idiot.

2. Turn your cap right, your head ain't crooked.

3. Let's get this straight: it's called a 'gravel road.' I drive a pickup truck because I want to. No matter how slow you drive, you're gonna get dust on your Lexus. Drive it or get out of the way.

4. They are cattle. That's why they smell like cattle. They smell like money to us.. Get over it. Don't like it? I-10 & I-40 go east and west, I-17 & I-15 goes north and south. Pick one and go.

5. So you have a $60,000 car. We're impressed. We have $250,000 Combines that are driven only 3 weeks a year.

6. Every person in the Wild West waves. It's called being friendly. Try to understand the concept.

7. If that cell phone rings while a bunch of geese/pheasants/ducks/doves are comin' in during a hunt, we WILL shoot it outta your hand. You better hope you don't have it up to your ear at the time.

8. Yeah. We eat trout, salmon, deer and elk. You really want sushi and caviar? It's available at the corner bait shop.

9. The 'Opener' refers to the first day of deer season.. It's a religious holiday held the closest Saturday to the first of November.

10. We open doors for women. That's applied to all women, regardless of age.

11. No, there's no 'vegetarian special' on the menu.. Order steak, or you can order the Chef's Salad and pick off the 2 pounds of ham and turkey.

12. When we fill out a table, there are three main dishes: meats, vegetables, and breads. We use three spices: salt, pepper, and ketchup! Oh, yeah ... We don't care what you folks in  Cincinnati call that stuff you eat .... IT AIN'T REAL CHILI!!

13.. You bring 'Coke' into my house, it better be brown, wet and served over ice.. You bring 'Mary Jane' into my house, she better be cute, know how to shoot, drive a truck, and have long hair.

14. College and High School Football is as important here as the Giants, the Yankees, the Mets, the Lakers and the Knicks, and a dang site more fun to watch.

15. Yeah, we have golf courses. But don't hit the water hazards - it spooks the fish.

16. Turn down that dang car stereo! That thumpity-thump  ain't music, anyway. We don't want to hear it anymore than we want to see your boxers! (Refer back to #1!)

*********** Coach:

Last night I was dealing with a bit of insomnia and thank god for OnDemand from my cable company. I found a documentary on Showtime called Harvard Beats Yale that I think is fairly new about the 1968 game between the two undefeated squads. Maybe you have already talked about it on your site and I am late to the party, but I found this show incredibly interesting, entertaining and very thought provoking from a football standpoint. This show has everything.......

The loaded and 16th ranked Yale team vs. the "rebuilding" Crimson
Two undefeated teams playing in a packed Harvard Stadium
Backup junior comes in to lead Harvard to the come from behind tie
Vietnam veterans playing with anti-war protesters
Yale fullback Levin dating Merryl Streep
Mr. Do Everything (Michael Vick of his day) Brian Dowling - nicknamed "God" by his teammates making almost every play into a human highlight film
This Yale All-American linebacker named Mike Bouscarin that was a mad man on the field who comes off as one of the creepiest people I have ever seen on a documentary.
Tommy Lee Jones as the starting Harvard guard
First round draft pick Calvin Hill in the Yale backfield (only person not interviewed in the show and seemed to be the only African-American that was a starter from what I could tell)
Conversations about Tet Offensive and Free Love/Cheap Birth Control in the same sentences
A 1:47 comeback by Yale after being down by 16
Yale admitting that the great Carm Cozza only had one kick return set. They had never practiced against an onside kick which perhaps ended up costing them the game
Tommy Lee Jones talking about hanging out in the dorms with Al Gore
Players talking about partying with George W. Bush and how he was arrested for hanging from a goal post after a victory.
More bad neckrolls then you could shake a stick at
Bouscarin talking about how he felt his job was to "hurt people and get them out of the game" and how he states "I used my helmet as a spear" - What would the NFL Commish do with this guy???
Yale fans chanting "Hold that line!", "We are number one!", "You are number two!"
Yale male cheerleaders blowing off real mini cannons on the sidelines and almost blowing off their fingers
Rolls of toilet paper seemed to fly on to the field every ten plays or so......never thought about sneaking that into a college game before
Student section smoking "various" items during the game and puffs of smoke everywhere
Damn.....I had never seen so many side plots and stories in my entire life......what a great historical viewpoint for a person that wasn't born for another couple years........

The football related items that I found interesting was that both Yale and Harvard ran a lot of Double Wing sets.......wide splits but definitely double tight double wing along with a good amount of compressed I formation.

Brian Dowling was the deep man on punts and kicks (THE QB!)

Both punt teams kept THREE (3) blockers five yards deep behind the line on punt formations. Something many coaches have begun to do the last few years BUT act like they just invented it.........as if it is a modern thing to do.

What a crazy time to be alive..........don't know what your feelings are about it but I would have loved to be at that game........Bill Lawlor, Crystal Lake, Illinois

Thanks for telling me. I haven't seen it and I'd give anything to be able to.

That was possibly the best Yale team of all time. The name of the film is "HARVARD BEATS YALE 29-29" - it was the gloating headline in the "Harvard Crimson," the Harvard Daily newspaper, and it's still painful for old Yalies to have to think about.

Brian Dowling, as it may have said, was the "BD" in Doonesbury. Garry Trudeau, the cartoonist, was at Yale at the time, and his original comic strip, "Bull Tales," done for the student newspaper, the Yale Daily News (aka the "Yalie Daily") featured Dowling, Calvin Hill and others.

*********** The Wall Street Journal ran an article a week or so ago on the apparent surge in the pro running game. It attributes it to two main factors: (1) defenses are set up to defend against the pass, so the run catches them off-balance; (2) "Misdirection." I know, I know - they wouldn't know real misdirection if you sent them a DVD of the Delaware Wing-T. But evidently the simple zone cutback is driving the pros crazy. Funny how in their own way, they're a lot like youth defenses in that they're so easy to fool.

Frankly, I think NFL rushing seems to be so effective effective because the tackling is so lousy. Especially in the secondary, where the emphasis on either stripping or targeting has led to an almost total absence of tackling skills. What does pass for tackling is normally a dive at the runner's ankles. I couldn't believe what a horrible tackler the Eagles' #42 was. He sure must be a hell of a cover guy. Take a look at the games this weekend and I'll bet that you won't count more than a dozen tackles - total - in which a defensive back has a runner completely wrapped up with both arms.

*********** Bear with me for a few articles. You have to understand - I was honestly afraid might go to my death bed to the strains of the "Internationale," so after Scott Brown's shocking win in Massachusetts Tuesday night, I am positively giddy. It may not be too late for the America I grew up loving.

I ain't much for political rallies, but I would go to a Brown rally.

Even move to Massachusetts. (Actually, other than the high cost of housing, that wouldn't take all that much. My wife and I both went to college in New England, and we love it there.)

Barring something damning in his past - and pending his ability to avoid trouble from here on out - h e's definitely going to be presidential material.

His biggest obstacle is going to be all the other Republicans with presidential aspirations of their own. Losers, the lot of them, they will act like his buddies, but they will be waiting to stab him in the back.

*********** A friend in Massachusetts sent me a poster of George W. Bush over the caption, "MISS HIM YET?" and I wrote back to tell him,"Miss him? Hey - he's still hard at work for us - Barack said that the reason people elected Scott Brown was the reason they same elected him -  they're still pissed off over the last eight years!"

I also thanked my friend for whatever part he took in the recent election, and told him I'd written to my Representative (a Demo) requesting that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts be readmitted to the United States with all the rights and privileges of any other patriotic state.

*********** Welcome to Scott Brown for President Headquarters.

Finally - a politician with a real sense of humor. Unscripted.

After a year under Obama Rule - who can forget his World Apology Tour? - it is impossible to understate the importance to our nation of this one election.

This really was a mini-revolution. Dems will run from Obama like rats from a burning building, because they realize that when a Democrat can lose in Massachusetts - and lose Teddy Kennedy's seat at that - no one's seat is safe. (With the exception of those few like John Murtha, who've built a veritable security bunker with taxpayer dollars, and those like Alcee Hastings, Charlie Rangel,  Maxine Waters  and Sheila Jackson Lee, who enjoy gerrymandered racial security.)

I used to teach my classes that there's really only one thing they really need to know about how our system of government works - politicians like their jobs and will do anything they can to keep them.

Congressional Dems, who being politicians like their jobs and will do anything to keep them, have not missed what happened in Massachusetts and they realize it can happen to them if they ride the wrong horse. So no matter what direction Our Great Leader might try to lead them, they're not about to go back into a burning building to try to rescue him.  That means, I believe, that we have likely seen the end of (1) Health Care Reform; (2) Cap and Trade; (3) Immigration Reform; (4) Card Check; (5) Civilian Trials for Guantanamo Detainees; (6) Attorney General Holder's Re-opening of CIA "Torture" Cases; (7) Repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell;  (8) Gay Marriage; (9) More stimulus programs

We might even see GM go on the auction block.  

Now, if no one can find any scandal in his background, and if he can find an acceptable Vice-President - I suggest a long, hard look at J.C. Watts -  Scott Brown has got to be a favorite for the Republican nomination in 2012.   He's the first Republican I've seen since Ronald Reagan who can actually get people excited.

Unknown?  Give me a break. Can you say Barack Obama?  A lot of us are convinced we still don't know the guy.

Inexperienced? By the time the election rolls around, Scott Brown will have had more experience in national office than Barack Obama did, and all he has to do now is replicate the senatorial career of Senator Obama -  one of being careful not to do anything of significance that might pin a target on him.

And Scott Brown will probably let us see his report cards from Tufts and BC Law School.

*********** My predicton - unless Scott Brown has had sex with a monkey, he is Number One in the 2012 Republican presidential race.  Of course, with his looks he could be a womanizer, but I thank the Mass Dems for having vetted him on that score.  Surely they left no stone unturned.

He will have far better qualifications than Barack Hussein Obama did when he ran. Hell, by 2012 Brown will have served in the Senate longer than Barack did.  And before that, he had lots of positions more responsible than "community organizer." He still serves in the Army.  We know where he was born and raised - even saw his mother and father on TV (unless those were actors playing them) - and he's probably willing to let us see his report cards from Tufts and BC Law.   

In my lifetime, there have been only two Republicans with great popular appeal - Eisenhower and Reagan.  He has the potential to match them.

He talks eloquently, but like a normal guy, unrehearsed and without a teleprompter.  And he actually has a sense of humor.

Above all - like Justice Potter Stewart on pornography, I can't define it but I know it when I see it - he has IT.

Where do I get on the bandwagon?

*********** I think that as much as anything, the Massachusetts election was a statement for the old American value of fair play and a repudiation of the imperious, underhanded way the Democratic congressional leadership (Reid, Polosi) have been trying to cram their programs down the unwilling throats of the American people. (You do remember, don't you, the Massachusetts legislature hastily changing the state law that would have allowed a Republican governor to appoint the interim successor to Teddy Kennedy?)

*********** Considering Teddy "The Lion of the Senate" Kennedy's dark background (he left the scene of an accident while a young woman drowned in his car, but because he was a Kennedy he paid no price for his criminal actions), you'd think someone at the Boston Globe would have caught the headline that started out "COAKLEY DROWNS..."

*********** How nice to jump from a President with an, um, "uncertain" background who didn't even notice that his pastor was spewing racial, um, "dissonance," to a guy that everyone in Wrentham, Massachusetts knows.


*********** Rubbing salt in the wounds --- One person gloating after a campaign in which he perceived that a certain Boston Globe columnist had leaned toward Coakley...

One can only imagine the gang of left-wing loons at Joan's neighborhood New Years party. All wearing "Coakley" buttons, and scores of Volvo's outside with Obama bumper stickers, and at least two more with some sort of anti- Bush/Cheney/Halliburton sticker. Oh, and one of those little PBS stickers,too. LOL!

*********** As much as I LIKE George W. Bush personally, I can't forgive him for letting the TSA boondoggle happen.  As if hiring tens of thousands of drones who couldn't find productive work anywhere else and putting them between us and our flights was going to allay our fears of flying, or convince us that our government was really serious about making flying safe.

It's as if they took the nastiest, least competent people from the Department of Motor Vehicles and shipped them to airports all over America.

Anything to dodge the simplest, most fail-safe solution: PROFILE

*********** A friend who took over a new program told me about his interviewing people from the previous staff, including a couple who had applied for the head job:

"Another guy put in for the job, too, and was ticked he didn't get it.  Our first conversation was not good - I sensed resentment and I told him so.  We had an official interview and I think it went fine - (I sort of told him you're in or you're out).  He said he is in, but asked to be put on a lower level (which is fine with me).  He said time commitment, but I think it is also to not have to feel humiliated.  Either way - fine with me - BUT I will keep a close eye on him.

I wrote,

You may be surprised how difficult this "keeping a close eye on him" can be with all the other  things you will have to worry about.  (Unless you have another eye in the back of your head.) My inclination when I come across a guy that on first meeting I don't like is to trust my guts.  I'm currently reading a book by Malcolm Gladwell called "Blink" which - stretching his premise a bit - deals to some degree with how often initial gut feelings are correct. How sometimes, without being able to say why, you just know.

It's only January. If I'd hired the guy, it would only have been on a "prove yourself" basis.  I think letting him go to a lower level leaves him free to sabotage and criticize.  What are you going to do when you're three weeks into the season and you see his team running plays you don't recognize? The longer you let the branch grow, the harder it becomes to prune it.

*********** You think official NFL apparel is already expensive? Prepare to pay a lot more, if the NFL's latest scheme, allowing only online stores that bought at least $3 million worth of licensed merchandise from Reebok last year to apply to sell again this year. Conventional stores must have bought at least $2 million worth of NFL merchandise.

This will especially pare down the number of online sellers, which could result in higher prices for consumers. “If the league gets rid of everyone online except them, they can enforce their prices,” said one online retailer.

Of course, if you don't want to pay those high prices, you don't have to - if you don't mind buying knockoffs.

In fact, Brian McCarthy, an NFL spokesman, said the league’s reason for consolidating its sales to a smaller number of larger retailers was not to create a situation where it can jack up prices, but to combat counterfeiters.

“It’s the same as Tiffany or Levi’s or Ralph Lauren,” he told the New York Times. “Wal-Mart doesn’t sell our top of the line. The game day stuff is our best stuff, and that’s why we need to protect it.”

Good luck stopping counterfeiters. Last week alone, more than 2,100 fake NFL jerseys were confiscated at one Cincinnati sports show.

The NFL estimates that it loses tens of millions in sales every year to counterfeiters. It's no wonder, considering the opportunity the NFL provides them: NFL "game day" jerseys sell for $109 on the NFL's own online shop, but you can find one (or a reasonable facsimile) on some Web sites for as little as $19.

*********** In a column last week on statecollege.com, Penn State quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno, son of Joe, deplores the current state of college football. "This profession has lost touch with the reality of the world around us, and some coaches have lost touch with what the mission of our profession should be,'' he wrote. "We are starting to look as arrogant as the Wall Street bankers raking in seven-figure bonuses. The astronomical explosion in coaching salaries continues at a time of 10 percent unemployment in America and exploding tuition costs burdening working class families ... Coaches walk into a recruit's home and talk about how they will look out for that young man's future. The expectation is that the coach will help to guide him through a very formative time. A year later the same coach is off to another job for more money and left behind are the young men he promised to nurture towards their future.''

Not to disagree with what Coach Paterno says about the outlandish coaching salaries that make big time college football a runaway train headed 70 miles an hour toward a washed-out bridge, but I do take issue with this  idea of parents turning over their son to a coach, and the coach "guiding him through a very formative time"  business.

I say it's time we put a little of the burden on these poor, helpless children and their parents.

For the most part, kids who are recruited to major college programs are not virgins.  They know the score. They are Hessians - soldiers of fortune - and they know the price of their labors. They are looking for the best deal they can get.  As they should.

By the time a kid signs with a Florida, or a Texas, or a Penn State, he has heard it all and weighed all the offers, and he's had plenty of advice, good and bad.  And he knows what he's worth.  And just as it's true that every scam depends on a degree of larceny in the heart of the victim, let's not kid ourselves - he's a willing accomplice in any chicanery that might take place.  And if he's really going to a particular school because he expects the head coach to be the father he never had, he's going to be surprised the first time he steps onto that practice field.

Why isn't there someone who can tell a kid to stop for a minute and put his Heisman fantasies aside and think for a minute about the downside of it all? Yes, yes, I know - the coach is going to be there forever.  He gave you his word. But just suppose... What if he moves on?  What if he gets fired?

Yes, yes, I know - your future is in football. You're going to start as a freshman and win the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore, and go pro after your junior year.  But just in case... what if those things don't pan out?  What if, for example, you get hurt?

Years ago, I spoke with a high school kid who faced a choice between Stanford and a couple of higher-profile programs.  From my perspective, I told him, it was a no-brainer.   Things can go wrong in football, I said. There are a lot of unpredictables along the way, and there's an awful lot of life after football.  What if you get hurt?  Where would you be better off if suddenly you didn't have football -  Knucklehead U or Stanford?

Don't know what effect that little talk had, but he wound up going to Stanford and having a decent enough career.  Nothing that got him to the NFL, you understand.  But that's okay - he's got a diploma that reads STANFORD.

As a means of ending the coaching carousel, Jay Paterno proposes giving coaches tenure.  I can't think of anything dumber.   I happen to think that tenure - combined with teachers' unions - is the single biggest impediment to improving American education.  No one, including Supreme Court justices, should serve for life.

*********** Good Morning Hugh,

It is the clinic season and over the years I have sure have attended my share. Anyway the comment from the coach yesterday on speakers who use so much bad language that it takes away from the presentation inspired me to give you a short list of the speakers I have liked the best. It might help some as they attend clinics this season. In no particular order:

Rich Ederly ( Carnegie Mellon- Wing T) Witty and intelligent: The material is well presented, supported by film, and topical. I have never failed to take something away from his presentations.

Wes Elrod / Hershel Moore  (Retired Cumberland University--Wing T) They have a unique play calling system and do a great job presenting  Wing T information and their system. They do a terrific job around the use of formations to create an offensive advantage. Both are fun to listen to. Moore is something of coaching Legend.

Denny Creehan (West Virginia Wesleyan College--Wing-T)  Although rumor has it he has gone to the spread offense he does a great job of presenting the Wing-t offense fo high school coaches--one of the best.

Hugh Wyatt The best DW presenter out there. His one day clinics on the Double Wing are the very best and always include something important for coaches. I have never attended on of his clinicse (I have attend a bunch) Without taking something away from them.

As you might have noticed there is a theme to my choices but thought others might have suggestions that would help your readers look for presentor at clincs.

Jack Tourtillotte
Boothbay, Maine
(Jack is too kind. He knows his Double Wing. As offensive coordinator, he helped build Boothbay Region HS into a state contender, and the program hasn't been the same since he retired. He flew west to assist me in 2008 and we had a great season. I'm hoping I can get him to present at the Providence clinic. HW)

GREG GADSON*********** ATLANTA -- Former Army football player Lt. Col. Greg Gadson was presented with the 2010 Award of Inspiration by the NCAA Honors Committee during the NCAA Convention in Atlanta.

West Point Superintendent Lt. Gen. Franklin Hagenbeck presented Gadson with his award Friday evening. Athletics Director Kevin Anderson and Deputy Athletics Director Gene Marshall were also among the crowd.

A four-time football letterwinner, Gadson embarked on his military career following his graduation from West Point in 1998. He was wounded in action and later received his master’s degree.
“This means a lot,” said Gadson. “I suppose I am still shocked and really humbled by an award at this level. I am truly humbled by the recognition.”

Gadson was leading soldiers in Baghdad as Commander of the 2-32 Field Artillery Battalion in 2007 when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device during an operational surge. The four-vehicle patrol was returning to battalion headquarters following a memorial service.

During the explosion, Gadson was badly injured and lost nearly 70 pints of blood. He was transported to Walter Reed Medical Center and had to have both legs amputated above the knee because of the irreparable damage.

While no longer able to lead soldiers in Baghdad because of his injures, Gadson earned his master’s degree in Executive Master of Policy Management from Georgetown University and continues to be a frequent guest speaker on courage, perseverance and teamwork.

Gadson lettered as a defensive tackle during his football career and helped the Black Knights to a 9-3 mark his senior season. During the 1997 season, Army beat both Navy and Air Force and played in the Sun Bowl.

“My time as a football player and cadet has been very helpful,” said Gadson. “One of the first things I said when I regained consciousness was about Army-Navy. Certainly, the lessons I learned at West Point and on the football field, in terms of working hard, never giving up and always looking forward helped. One of the things I share with people is that if you make a good play or a bad play, it’s in the past. You have to play the next play. That was one of the bigger lessons I learned. You can’t live in the past, you have to continue to prove yourself, continue to play. Not that I don’t enjoy things, but you can’t live in the past. Maybe that mentality has helped me look forward.”

A veteran for 20 years, Gadson continues to work with the medical community to test the latest prosthetic knees, encourages fellow soldiers at Walter Reed Medical Center and served as an inspiration and honorary captain for the New York Giants on the way to their Super Bowl championship during the 2007-08 season.

“I am begrudgingly beginning to understand this,” said Gadson. “It’s hard for me to look at myself as inspiring. I just feel like I am trying to live my life the best I can and contribute what I can. I am just trying to do what needs to be done. Sometimes the label of inspiration is uncomfortable.”

Read more about Greg Gadson and his inspirational story... http://www.coachwyatt.com/GregGadsonStory.pdf

GUTIERREZ AWARD*********** You may recall my telling you of the tragic death in combat of David Gutierrez, a semi-pro football player who was scheduled to receive his team's Black Loion Award when he returned on leave this month.

I asked his coaches if there were some way those of us who honored his service and respected him as a Black Lion Award winner might be able to make a contribution to his family (he leaves a wife and two boys).

Send a contribution of any size - it;s the support tht matters. And say it's "from the Black Lions."

Mr Wyatt-
I have the bank information for donations to the family of SSG David Gutierrez:

Commonwealth Central Credit Union
PO BOX 641690
San Jose, CA 95164
C/O Patty P. Gutierrez Family

I have attached a photo for you to share with the Black Lion community.  We presented Patty with the framed items at a ceremony following his military memorial at Fort Lewis, WA.  Tomorrow, Jan 16 was the day David would have been presented his award during his leave at Fort Lewis.
Thank you.
Mark Meadows, Lacey, Washington

FLAGTUESDAY, JANUARY 19, 2010- "Football is nothing but composed accidents. The great art is to profit from such accidents." General Robert R. Neyland, a real Tennessee football coach

*********** My initial reaction to Derek Dooley was "desperation hire," but I have to admit I didn't know enough about him to make anything other than a snap judgment,  Further investigation leads me to believe  that Dooley may not only be a good hire. He may even turn out to be a very good hire.

Immediately in his favor is that he is the anti-Lane Kiffin.  He has a good, varied coaching background.  He's a UVa grad. Has a law degree.  (So, of course, does Mike Leach, but Dooley actually passed the bar and practiced for a couple of years.) Good family man (hard to carry on a secret second life in Ruston, Louisiana). Wife is an OBGYN.   Served as AD at Louisiana Tech, so if nothing else, he'll appreciate what he has to work with at Tennessee.  Has been on earth longer than Kiffin, lessening the chance of adolescent behavior. Also, he knows how not to insult his audience.  Contrast his first appearance at Tennessee in a suit and orange tie with Kiffin's last - in an open-neck polo with the shirttail hanging out.

As for his  three years as a head coach at Louisiana Tech - I'd say he managed pretty well, if you take the time dissect the record.  His overall record was 17-20, but take away six losses in "fundraiser" games that teams like Lousiana Tech have to play to stay afloat financially - LSU (twice), Ole Miss, Cal, Auburn, Kansas - and replace them with more reasonable opponents and then assume that LT goes 4-2 against them, and it would be 21-16, which would be enough to get him hired most places on the strength of the job he did.

And then there are the six losses to Boise and Nevada.  Take them away and he was 21-10 against everybody but the BCS guys and the two conference teams that are pretty much in  a class by themselves.

By the way, LT only lost to Boise State by 10 and LSU by 8 this past season.

Is Kiffin over .500 as a head coach yet?  (Hahahaha.  Answer: No. He's 12-17) Best anybody's been able to say about him so far is that he almost beat Alabama.  Well, yeah.  But Kentucky almost beat him, and if he doesn't beat Kentucky in OT, he's 6-7 and the first Tennessee coach to lose to Kentucky in 25 years..

Yes, the SEC is merciless, but Derek Dooley's already gone up against SEC teams. With lesser talent, and at their places. I think that, put into a situation like Tennessee where he's swinging the same size bat as everyone else, he could turn out to be a good one.  

I do like this quote from him at his introductory news conference: "If you're going to look for sound bites and things from me that are going to attack other programs and disparage people, that's just not how I am."

*********** It wouldn't seem right to write about Derek Dooley and not give Lane Kiffin a mention, too, so here goes, courtesy of Charles Barkley...

"He has to have pictures of someone having sex with a monkey.  He's had three really good jobs and did not deserve any of the three.  He has to have pictures of someone having sex with a monkey, theres no doubt in my mind."

*********** After watching the scenes of unbelievable suffering in Haiti, it's hard to believe that just a couple of weeks ago people's hearts were going out to the spoiled child of a powerful, meddling father who had to spend a couple of hours inside a "shed."

*********** I think that the NFL has gone way too far with the "blow to the head" crap in trying to protect quarterbacks, but after the dirty hit on Kurt Warner (which seemed to be perfectly okay to the guys in the booth, even though it was delivered to the side by a man clearly behind Warner) following an interception, I think it's time to say, in the interests of the league, that on any interception return, the quarterback becomes a non-player: he can't tackle and he can't be blocked.

Also, while they're at it, a peelback block in ordert to be legal should require contact with the defender to take place "inside the frame" of his body. (Maybe we'll also get to see if the officials ever pay any attention to "the frame.")

*********** The biggest story at this month’s International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was 3-D television.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell enthusiastically announced his support of 3-D, saying, "With surveys showing us that more American youngsters get their football from video games than from watching actual NFL games, our future depends on our ability to make our on-the-field product resemble video games as closely as possible. Studies show that kids are disappointed on discovering that real NFL football games don't resemble video games closely enough. We're working on this at our end, and we feel that 3-D can give our product that 'almost-realistic' look of video games that research shows young consumers miss the most when they watch one of our games."

*********** Dallas Cowboys linebacker Keith Brooking called the Vikings "classless" as Minnesota ran up the score against the Cowboys in a 34-3 loss on Sunday. Brett Favre's 11-yard touchdown to tight end Visanthe Shiancoe with 1:55 to play prompted Brooking to follow Favre to the sideline and yell at Vikings coach Brad Childress. Already up 27-3, the Cowboys felt the Vikings ran the score up at their expense. "I thought it was totally classless and disrespectful," Brooking said. "This is the NFL, that's not what this is about. I don't think there's a place for that ... I was looking for Childress. I didn't think it was right." si.com

Vikings running it up at the Cowboys' expense? Give me a break. The Cowboys don't like it? F--k 'em. F--king crybabies. Somebody remind them they're millionaires and they're paid to play. Hard and well. For the entire f--king game.

"Classless and disrespectful?" How about a performance like the one you guys put on? You sure showed a lot of respect for the people who make it possible for you to live like lords.

What a buncha spoiled pussies. They thump their chests and mug for the cameras whenever they do the slightest little thing that they're paid to do. They love to brag about being "warriors," but contrast them with boxers: when a boxer's on the ropes he doesn't expect his opponent to stop throwing haymakers and just step back and start bobbing and weaving.

I do agree with Brooking on one point, though - this is not what the NFL is about. The NFL is definitely not about scoring touchdowns. The NFL is about getting inside field goal range and turning things over to the kicker.

*********** Not necessarily happy to see the Chargers' great season end, but with a more-than-80-per-cent chance that an NFL kicker will make good on a field goal attempt, and far too many games ending when a team runs the clock down to a second or two before applying the coup de grace with a gimme field goal, it sure was refreshing to see a team lose one because its kicker missed three field goals.

*********** Hi Coach,

Whether you like Rex Ryan or not you have to respect what he has done with a team that has less talent then those that he has beaten. He has put together a formula where they play great defense using a combination of pressure, zone and man principals. But what I really is the way they play situational defense maybe the best in the league where they all play that way. They play sound offense by running the ball and using play action passes (heck they even repeat successful plays unusual for the NFL) and never get beat in the special teams department. Even Sunday they refused to kick the ball deep with game still in doubt.

Come to think of it is this NFL version of a DW team?

Jack Tourtillotte
Boothbay, Maine

It is definitely old-school offensive football, a bruising contrast to the dink-and-dunk we're used to seeing.  I could definitely see the Jets lining up in the Double Wing as a change-up without feeling it was beneath them as professionals.

Defensively, they are really a handful.

It's uphill for them the rest of the way, but it's hard to go against them.

*********** Peter King in si.com predicts that Tim Tebow will be drafted as the 13th pick overall by the 49ers. Now, Peter King has a lot more access to NFL insiders than I do, but my unsubstantiated belief is that whoever takes Tebow - and when -  they either won't know how to use him, or won't be willing to take the necessary steps to making best use of his talents, and he will wind up being considered a "bust" by all the pundits.

*********** A company in New Jersey bought 10,000 square feet of the natural turf on which Alabama beat Texas and plans to sell 3-inch square pieces of it, encased in plastic, for $99 each. For an additional amount, you can get pieces from the end zone, the logo at midfield, or - Hollywood couldn't make up a scam like this - from places where big plays occured.

*********** "I would feel a lot better about it if I felt that what they are doing was meaningful. For the life of me, I don't understand what they are achieving." Douglas Laird, aviation security consultant and former Director of Security for Northwest Airlines.

*********** Read this and tell me you'd like to be an athletic director in today's gender-equity driven climate...

A recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education looks at the discrepancy between the price of admission for men's and women's college basketball games and sees a "gender gap" or what the authors call "Ticket Office Sexism." Like, surprise - tickets to men's games cost more than tickets to women's games.

The authors of the article - another surprise: they're women - noted that a study of the top 25 men's and women's teams revealed that colleges charged an average of three times as much for tickets to men's games, which I was shocked to learn. Really? Only three times as much?

For season tickets, it was even worse - an average of $233 for women compared to $2500 for men.

The two authors, who seem unaware that a grasp of basic economics might have been useful in writing their article, claim that by charging appreciably less for women's games than for men's, colleges are practicing "institutional discrimination that is camouflaged as sensible economic practice."

I didn't get to the place (although I'm sure I would have) where the authors suggest that since the public clearly won't pay higher prices for women's games, that college athletic departments bring mens' ticket prices down to the womens' level.

*********** Wrote Keith Thursby in the LA Times last week, "Bill Mulligan was a good basketball coach. But he was a great quote."

I didn't know Bill Mulligan, who died last week, but obviously the newspaper guys loved him.

Wrote Thursby, "UC Irvine, where he coached for 11 seasons, once lost a televised game and Mulligan found a silver lining: 'This was a good game to be on TV. Now every kid in Orange County and L.A. will say, 'I want to go to Irvine. They really need players.'""'

FLAGFRIDAY, JANUARY 15, 2010- "Never interrupt your opponent when he's destroying himself." Paul Begala, Clinton advisor

(This quote seemed so appropriate to Lane Kiffin's grand arrival on the Pac-10 scene that it had to be carried over.)

Two of my newest favorites (plus anybody who's playing USC)

*********** Well.

Now that Lane Kiffin has taken the latest Dream Job on his rapid ascent to Wherever He's Headed, I can resume liking Tennessee and hating USC.

I couldn't root for anybody coached by that a**hole Kiffin, and it really was hard to dislike Pete Carroll.

But now? Bring out my UT hat and my UCLA sweatshirt!

Did you catch the self-congratulatory way Kiffin described his hiring as a "perfect fit?" Actually, he didn't realize how spot-on he was: out here on the West Coast, USC is short for University of Spoiled Children. Kiffin and USC? Perfect fit.

Despite Kiffin's vaunted ability to recruit, his hiring is not exactly striking fear among Pac-10 rivals. In fact, between the likelihood of NCAA sanctions and his yet-to-be-demonstrated ability to actually coach, Kiffin's arrival at USC has the potential of increasing the job security of every other coach in the Pac-10, not the least of whom is just across town - Rick Neuheisel.

So detestable is Kiffin that he makes Neuheisel downright likable, not to mention trustworthy and loyal. And unlike Urban Meyer, who chose not to return Kiffin's fire, Neuheisel will fight back. It won't take long for loudmouth Lane to discover that Slick Rick is a pretty handy guy with the jab himself.

Oh, and by the way - with Kiffin's loss to UCLA this past season, he's already 0-1 against Neuheisel. So go Vols! Go Bruins!

And Go Beavers! Go Cardinal! Go Cougars! Go Ducks! Go Golden Bears! Go Huskies! Go Sun Devils! Go Wildcats! Go anybody that plays USC! (Yes, even Notre Dame!)

Beat Kiffin.

*********** It was only a year ago, in December of 2008, that I wrote this...

But I do have to wonder what there is about a guy whose only head coaching experience has been a year and a half in the NFL, at the head of one of the worst teams in pro football at that, that prompted the people at the University of Tennessee to make him next in a long line of coaching giants such as General Robert Neyland, Bowden Wyatt, Bill Battle, Johnny Majors and, yes, Philip Fulmer.

*********** (also from December, 2008) Unless there's more to the Tennessee hiring than simply getting the best coach...

At the time of his firing at Tennessee, Philip Fulmer said he got a call from Doug Dickey, former outstanding coach at Florida who as AD at Tennesee had hired Fulmer. Coach Fulmer said Dickey explained why he was fired: "You don't have a football problem," he said. "What it is is a 'marketing' issue."

Hmmm. Evidently Philip Fulmer was fired - and lightly-qualified Lane Kiffin, a guy without much of a track record, was hired - because people at Tennessee demanded "change, " without thinking too much about what that might mean.

Hmmm. Demanding change without thinking too much about what that might mean.

Sound like any country you know?

*********** The only reason I don't feel completely sorry for the folks at Tennessee is that the whole time Kiffin was there, acting the mouthy brat and tugging on Superman's cape, they were yuckin' it up and lovin' every minute of it. Give 'em hell, Lane! If only they knew how demeaning the whole act was. I mean, this was Tennessee - Tennessee for God's sake! One of the most storied of all college football programs! And they laughed as this sock puppet destroyed it. Surely they had to know that sooner or later, after an act like that, they were going to have to pay the band.

*********** The whole Kiffin caper (reminds me of the Johnny Carson and Jack Webb " Clean Copper Clapper caper" comedy routine- see below) is a big hoot to me, but it could have repercussions disastrous to a school I care about - Duke. I'm a Duke dad, and between you and me, I think Blue Devils' coach David Cutcliffe would be the perfect fit (if I may borrow a Kiffin expression). He knows the SEC. He's been a successful head coach at Mississippi and he's getting Duke turned around. And he spent years at Tennessee as an offensive coordinator. He's given credit for developing Peyton and Eli Manning, both of whom still go to him for help. Coach Cut, I'll understand if you go, but please stay at Duke.

*********** Johnny Carson and Jack Webb: "Clean Copper Clapper caper" -


*********** One big problem for me with the whole Kiffin gang is that whenever I read "Orgeron" I always think for a brief instant that I read "Oregon."

Uh-oh. I hope the guys who write the headlines are very careful, and I hope the folks at the NCAA read the headlines very carefully, because I have a feeling we're going to be seeing some stories headed "ORGERON ACCUSED OF RECRUITING VIOLATIONS."

*********** With the NFL playoffs going on and everybody talking about Leach and Leavitt and Kiffin, it must be killing the NFL to see college football still getting all the attention.

*********** Rich Brooks wrote this on Twitter late Tuesday: "How crazy is this profession! I have seen it all now!"

*********** A caller to a Knoxville station said it best: "Monte Kiffin has failed miserably at raising his son."

Amen to that. Which prompts the question: Is this Adam James in 10 years?

*********** Hard to believe that this time two years ago we never thought we'd see anything to top the disloyalty and treachery of Rich Rodriguez.

*********** Mike Bianchi, Orlando Sentinel

This is how scummy Kiffin and his assistant coaches are. According the Knoxville News-Sentinel, former Tennessee recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron has already contacted multiple UT mid-term enrollees and encouraged them not to attend class today so that they can easily leave UT and enroll at Southern California. According to the newspaper, by  attending class today, the nine mid-term enrollees who have been at UT since Monday, would have to follow strict transfer rules, which include sitting out a year.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Lane Kiffin is the only coach in history who could turn Al Davis into a sympathetic figure.

(Back in June, the Raiders issued a statement that read: "Lane Kiffin is a flat-out liar. He lied to the team, he lied to the fans, and he lied to the media. He will try to destroy that university like he tried to destroy the Raiders.")

*********** Jim Rome

"No one has gone farther, faster, while achieving less, than Lane Kiffin."

*********** Stewart Mandel - si.com

In an age of mercenary coaches like Nick Saban and Bobby Petrino, Kiffin's sudden about-face is hardly unique. The difference is, those guys had actually accomplished something.

*********** Michael Rosenberg - si.com

Now, with the NCAA finally dragging its USC investigation(s) to the finish line, USC athletic director Mike Garrett just hired ... Lane Kiffin.


Lane Kiffin, Mike?


What happened?

Did Barry Switzer say no?

Kiffin's mouth poses such a danger to the people around him that when he goes through airport security, he has to remove his tongue.

I think Garrett saw the recent ESPN documentary on Miami's football program and thought it was an instructional video.

Sorry, but you can't trot Lane Kiffin in front of the NCAA and say things have changed. USC must know that. USC just doesn't care.

Tennessee let Kiffin do pretty much anything he wanted to whomever he wanted. As he told SI's John Ed Bradley last winter: "You can't count the number of people we've run off because they couldn't keep up, and I'm including secretaries. They had to go because they weren't going to make it, and they knew it."

Maybe I'm not tough enough for Kiffin's world, but I have a problem with a coach who makes millions of dollars bragging that he ran off a secretary.

*********** At the end of every season, Tennessee lawmakers routinely pass a resolution honoring Tennessee's football coach. Not this season.

When the House Speaker asked them on Wednesday to vote on whether to congratulate the just-departed Kiffin for his first and only season (a 7-6 effort capped off by a bowl-game drubbing by Virginia Tech), the response was a unanimous "NO."

*********** I was just thinking about Bo Schembechler and how he enthusiastically embraced the responsibility of his position, but never embraced the limelight or thought of himself as a celebrity. I think deep down, he never really "got" being famous for coaching a game. He loved being the guy in charge, but outsider recognition never filled his ego.

Coaches like Kiffin would appear to be the opposite - caught up in the trappings of the exposure but lacking in respect for the responsibility.

Christopher Anderson
Arlington, Virginia ( I think that with those Miami of Ohio guys, it was all about getting the job done.  They were all the sons of hard-working, middle-class people, some of them immigrants.  And for all of them, belonging to that Miami coaching fraternity meant so much that they would never risk  ostracism by putting on airs -by acting like a "tall poppy," as the Aussies would say.

Of course, not so long ago most of America was that way.)

*********** Coach Wyatt;
As far as football is concerned....  a few years ago Al Davis of the Raiders; gave a press conference on the firing of Lane Kiffin......  at the time I thought ol' Al was just talking out the side of his neck.....but  NOW..... ?? after Lane Kiffin showed NO RESPECT or  Loyalty to the university of Tennessee......  I think Al Davis may have been of sound mind after all and knew what he was talking about.....
Dwayne Pierce
Washington, DC

You may remember my saying a year ago when Tennessee hired Kiffin that there had to be at least ONE black coach somewhere in America who had better qualifications than him.

So they kind of got what they asked for, because Al Davis isn't aways wrong.

Out here, we can go back to hating USC the way we used to.  And I can go back to liking Tennessee!

*********** Dear Hugh, How is everything? Send Connie greeting from me and my family.  Steve Addazio grew up in Connecticut forget where he went to college tried out with the pro's.  He was offensive line coach at Western Connecticut under Paul Pasqualoni.  I worked as the filmer and staff gopher after my one year of playing.  Coach P a very intense man scared me at times but I never heard him swear he would say "SON OF A BUCK" Dougie Bilodeau you missed the ending of that play on the film.  Never did he drop an F bomb, he was very humorous like saying "GET YOUR FANNIE PARTS TO CLASS".  I don't remember hearing the staff swear at all.  Coach P is a man of conviction I would bet lunch he doesn't cuss while coaching in the pro's. I do appreciate the fact the gave me those jobs I believe it humbled me to know what needs to be done and who cares who gets the credit just get it done. Thanks and God Bless you Hugh and Connie. Doug Bilodeau, Aurora, Oregon (Sadly, Paul Pasqualoni, a very good coach at Syracuse, had to took the fall for Miami's poor defensive performance and was just let go as Dolphins' defensive coordinator.)

*********** Hello Coach Wyatt!
We are planning on returning for a 3rd year to the Atlanta Clinic.  Any ideas on  the date?  Just trying to stay away from scheduling something on the weekend you will be there.  Looking forward to seeing you again.  We finished a 3rd straight year unbeaten with the DW!  Thanks for helping answer my questions and being available whenever needed.

Look forward to seeing you in Atlanta!

Brooks Rawson
Alamo (TN) Red Devils

*********** Coach, The rule requiring that 7 men be at the line of scrimmage was rewritten by the NCAA. It now reads no more than 4 men in the backfield. You can now play short a man without losing a back, this rule pretty much still requires 7 at the line of scrimmage, but the semantics were changed. That is why the refs were saying it that way. They didn't change the numbering rule for the seven men either, just that they couldn't be eligible to receive a forward pass if they were wearing 50-79. I can source it if you need, but this is what I saw on a ref's board.

Ben Rushing
Kabul, Afghanistan

It appears that you are correct - no change in the actual rule but a change in semantics

Rule 7- Section 1- Article 3-b-1
1. All players must be either on their scrimmage line or legally positioned as a back. At least five players wearing jerseys numbered 50 through 79 must be legally on their scrimmage line, and no more than four players may be in the backfield. [S19].


*********** Anybody else notice that Tom Brady's first fumble last Saturday came about because he used a baseball windup and brought the ball down below the waist, where it was swatted down from behind?

*********** Remember Marvin Harrison? Remember the brief stories about the mysterious shooting near his Philly "nightclub?" Read about this Hall of Fame receiver that not even his closest teammates knew - http://www.gq.com/sports/profiles/201002/marvin-harrison?currentPage=1


*********** Coach Wyatt,

My name is Andrew Tuccio and I am the Head Football Coach at David Prouty in Spencer, MA. I am the former OC at Worcester North, under Coach Mike Ross. I also e-mailed you earlier in the season about the tackle box rule. Thank you for your help, keeping the rule book with the page ear marked in my back pocket came in handy in a few games.

I wanted to let you know that another school has turned around its football program with the double wing. At David Prouty we went 13-0 and Won the Central Mass Division 2A Super Bowl over offensive power house Northbridge, averaging over 36 points per game. This is the school's 1st ever Super Bowl Win and our first trip back to a Super Bowl since 1982. In my first year at the school we went 2-9 but the kids bought into what we were doing and hit the weights hard. Fall came and showed that in fact they loved the offense this year.....

I just wanted to drop a line and say thanks, see you in Providence.

Andrew Tuccio
Head Football Coach
David Prouty HS, Spencer, Massachusetts

*********** Hey Coach!
Haven't contacted you in some time, but read as much as possible.  I couldn't resist responding when I read the comment made by a parent after Coach Richard Scott's Tracy team won a youth championship in California: "yet, a final departing fan, overheard talking to his spouse on the way out of the stadium after the game:..."They need to throw the ball more!"  I can really relate to that.  I had a 9th grade double wing team several years ago that won the division championship in Utah in a very close and exciting 13-12 game.  As we walked away after the game one of my player's dad said "Congrats...but you guys are so boring on offense!"  His kid was my B back who on 4th down, and trailing in the 4th quarter, ran the wedge for a 1st down on a fake punt, which led to the winning td.  Yeah...I guess that's boring to some folks.  BTW, we averaged 38 points per game during the regular season.
Al Andrus
Salt Lake City, Utah

*********** Coach Wyatt,
Thank you so much for the amazing write up you did on the Tracy Cougars and Super bowl run. I was honored to be included in the pages of your Website.  I sent you a copy of our highlight film. While I am sure you get tons of them, if you get a chance to take a look, please note the consistency of the Super Power. 
I was visiting with Steve "Dipper" Popovich last night and he commented on how we ran the Super Power so effectively and so often. I did reveal that we ran a lot of Power Hour and Fence Drills in practice, which gave us the ground work tone successful. However I think three additional points helped us run the Power so well this season. 
1.) The players liked running over the opponent.  They became good at it and that kept them excited. Also being able to feature three backs, not just one, helped them to be able to share the success, continuing to foster the "team" philosophy. 2.) We put such a focus and expectation on the performance of our O-line. Coach Gabe Townsend continued to keep the bar pretty high all season. Whenever things got sloppy or the kids were not sharp, he would go back to our basics...bird dog, correct shoulder and arm placement during the block, and correct pulling paths.  He also instilled a sense of pride in the O-Line. 3.) I was not afraid to run the Power over and over, whether we got 2 yards or 22 yards.  
I think that the one singular thing I want to do for next season (or in the future) is insure that we run more trap plays.
Anyway. Thanks again. 
Richard Scott
Tracy, California
(Coaches out there - if you've been running my system successfully for a few years, you might have a story worth sharing my your fellow coaches. Feel free to drop me a line - coachwyatt@aol.com


FLAGTUESDAY, JANUARY 12, 2010- "Never interrupt your opponent when he's destroying himself." Paul Begala, Clinton advisor

STEVE STAKER*********** Coe College's Head Football Coach Steve Staker has been named the Liberty Mutual National Coach of the Year for NCAA Division III. 
In his second year as head coach of the Kohawks, Coach Staker took his 2009 team to a 10-2, winning 10 games for just the third time in school history, and reaching the second round of the Division III playoffs. 

Coe's ranking of #10 in the nation by D3football.com was the school's highest-ever.

Coach Staker was head football coach at Fredericksburg, Iowa for 35 years and head baseball coach for 31 years before moving to Coe as a defensive coach in 2005. At Fredericksburg, Coach Staker's teams won six district titles and a state championship in 2001 when he was names Class A Coach of the Year. In 1994 he was named to the Iowa Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame. 

Coach Staker was a Double Wing coach who helped out one summer at Brad Knight's Double Wing amp in Holstein, Iowa, and in 2002, when Fredericksburg faced Manning, coached by Floyd Forman, in the Iowa Class A state final, it was the first time two teams running my system played each other for a state championship.

When Steve Staker sells recruits on Coe, he can prove he believes in his school: all five of his kids are Coe graduates. His son Tyler is his offensive coordinator for Coe. His daughter, Shannon Cook, and daughter-in-law, Julie Staker, work in the Coe Admissions Office, and his son-in-law, Steve Cook, is Coe's head baseball coach

Thanks to Chad Beermann, Elgin, Iowa for the following link



*********** I've known Coach Richard Scott, of Tracy, California for several years now, beginning with the early days when he assisted my friend John Torres, and then after Coach Torres' job required a move to Southern California, when Coach Scott took over the reins. He has been extremely helpful to me in putting on my clinics in the Central Valley, and quite successful as a coach - always running my Double Wing. And, despite his successes, facing doubters every year. So it was very exciting when he wrote to tell me that he'd made it "to the top" - to the Super Bowl championship of in the Central Valley area...

Super Bowl Champs!  Hey, it only took 9 years!  Wish you could have been there.  88SP, 99SP, 6G, 7G, 3 Trap @ 2,  Wedge, 47C, Red Red, 49 Brown O!  All out of Tight formation (ran out of Spread once and Slot Right once). That's it. All Game!
That was our formula for the big game.
After working on so many formations all year long...it came down to the core plays and clock management...on offense for 8 mins in the 1st Qtr, 7 mins in the 2nd Qtr, 7 mins in the 3rd Qtr, and 8 minutes in the 4th Qtr, including the last 5:32 and the opponent out of time outs. We controlled 30 minutes of a 40 minute game.  Wow!
Making our extra points was critical to the win. We blocked their PAT attempt after their second TD to make it 15-14. That was huge!
Our A back had 22 carries for 182 yards and a TD and our C back had 12 carries for 90 yards and TD. Our B back has 15 carries for 57 yards.  337 yards of offense.
Hey, we played pretty good defense too! We bent a few times, but did not break. The opponent was very fast and ran multiple motions out of spread and a team who loved to throw...go for the big play.  We shut down their passing game with outstanding play by our secondary, forcing them to stick to the run.  We just tried to play position football and make tackles.
As one fan put it...it was the Blue Collar, hard running, grind it out team from the South vs. the finesse, big-play speed team from the North...and the running team won it!
I think we proved that the Double Wing works!
....yet, a final departing fan, overheard talking to his spouse on the way out of the stadium after the game:..."They need to throw the ball more!"
Unbelievable! LOL!

I fired a few questions at Coach Scott, in the belief that he would have a few thoughts and reflections that would be useful to other coaches.

Q. How long have you been coaching youth football?
I have been coaching football for 30 years, all in California. 17 years of youth football (in the Bay area and the last 9 in the Central Valley), and 13 years of high school football. I even coached a couple of years of semi-pro football!

(In youth football) I coached for 7 years in Lathrop (the Titans) and the last two in Tracy (the Cougars).

Q. Any other championships?
We were able to capture the Freshman football league title at Petersen High School in Sunnyvale and JV league titles at Pioneer High School in San Jose in 1987 and Cupertino High school in 1998. These were all with some sort of triple back offense.  I was also blessed to win a league championship in girl's Jr. High basketball in San Jose 1986.

Q. How long running my system?  (9 years?)
This will be the 9th season we have been running your system. Actually I have personally been running your system as a head coach since 2005. The 4 years prior, I was the DC with the outstanding coach John "JT" Torres, who introduced me to your system. I saw firsthand how successful we were running it. As a defensive coach it allowed me the confidence to get very aggressive because I knew our offense was always going to score. It was a natural progression for me to run it when JT left (to move to Southern California). The success we had running your system at a completely different program the last two years and winning the championship is proof that your system is worth its weight in gold...or at least gold plating!

TRACY COUGARS - Delta Youth Football League

@ Oak Park Buccaneers (Sac.)*          16-6                                                
Stockton Yellow Jackets*                      6-7                                                 
Manteca Chargers*                               43- 0                                    
Tracy Raiders                                       20- 0                                             
@ Modesto Vikings                             36- 0                                                  
@ Ceres Cowboys                               19- 0                                              
@ Delta Rebels (FORFEIT)                 6- 0              
Dublin Falcons                                     20- 0                                                
S. Stockton Vikings*                            20-32                            
@ Modesto 49ers                                  6-14                           

1st Round Playoffs (2vs3)
Tracy Raiders @ Ceres High                26- 0                                 

2nd Round Playoffs - Division Championship 
Modesto 49ers @ Home                      18- 0              

Super Bowl
@ North Stockton Bengals                  15-14                                                       

Q. What age kids, and how many kids did you have?

12-13 year olds. (We actually had a couple of smaller 14 yr olds also.) We had 31 players on the team. We lost a few players to injury late in the season and finished with 27.

TRACY STAFFQ. How many assistants did you have?

For the first time in my coaching career I had a full complement of coaches. The league allows us eight, I had six: O-Line - Gabe Townsend and myself on offense. Our defense was fantastic this season with 8 shutouts.

Our defense was fantastic this season with 8 shutouts. It was coached by: Phil Lomas (DC), John Correia (D-Line), David Silva (D-Ends), Benny Allen and Miguel Barriga (D-Backs)

We also had an equipment manager, Gabe Townsend, Jr. and a team manager, Jenny Townsend (handled all my parent communications and paperwork). We had a statistician, Gina Townsend and, of course, my lovely wife Shirley took all the video.

Q. How do you feel the Double Wing helps you as a coach?

The Double Wing allows for implementation and repetition much quicker than most offenses. I have run Wing-T, Spread, Fly, Power I, Wishbone, and many others, and your DW system is the easiest to teach and install. With limited practice time and only a few weeks to get ready for the season, your DW package has proven to get the most information in within truncated time schedules. I also like how it pisses off opposing coaches! They cannot prepare for it properly during the week.

Q. Any advice to any coach running the Double Wing for the first time? 
I really believe the Double Wing is the true "team"-oriented offense.  It requires ALL players to be fully involved. It requires each player to accomplish a task to be successful. Conversely, each play does not have to be run to perfection to be successful. This makes it an excellent offense for first time coaches or for those who may not have the size or talent of other teams.  My advice to coaches, whether running the offense for the first time or not, is (1.) repetition, repetition, repetition!  This means having an understanding defensive staff and a very organized practice plan. (2.) Stick to the system. Try not to deviate too much from the basic plan. Everything you could ever want to be successful is in the book and videos. (3.) Once in the playoffs, don't add too much. Dance with the one that brung ya! (4.) Get total buy in from your staff. Believe me, you will have naysayers (board members, parents, sportswriters, opposing coaches, etc.) You can smile and laugh those off, but your staff has got to be completely on board. If not, cut 'em loose. The sooner the better. You are better off coaching it by yourself than to have even one coach who doesn't like or believe in it. (5.) Sell it to the kids. It won't be too hard. Sure you'll have those little Johnnies whose dad has "groomed" them to be wide receivers...my answer? Our wings and TE's catch passes, they will learn to BLOCK, and hey, we will need DB's! Get buy in from the players and they will take the offense way past what you expect.

Q. The future?
I am leaving the Central Valley and headed to Southern California to accept a new job working in federal law enforcement.  As it so happens, I will be re-joining coach JT's (John Torres') coaching staff in search of a Southern California football championship!

Richard Scott and John Torres on the same staff. Now, that will be a Double-Wing team to contend with!

Tracy Cougars running a wedge the way a wedge ought to look!
Tracy Cougars' Black Lion, Marcus Lomas, carrying the ball

*********** Now that Mark McGwire has "come clean" (lots of potential plays on that expression), baseball should only allow his cheating ass to return if he agrees to vacate his records and bar him from election to the Hall of Fame. And immediately make Pete Rose eligible. Fat chance.

*********** I forget what I used to do on Monday nights before there was football on TV, but I'm about to find out.

*********** Consistent with the Heisman selection, which appeared to place total emphasis on players' performances in one game, I hereby submit my Top 25 Based on One Game -

Top 25 Bowl Winners... (Totally subjective, and based on strength of win and quality of opponent)

1. Alabama
2. Boise State
3. Ohio State
4. Florida
5. Iowa
6. Penn State
7. Virginia Tech
8. Oklahoma
9. BYU
10. Nebraska
11. Wisconsin
12. Pitt
13. Utah
15. USC
16. Clemson
17. Texas Tech
18. Air Force
19. Navy
20. Central Michigan
21. Rutgers
22. Florida State
23. Mississippi
24. UConn
25. Auburn

*********** Got to give Columbia, perhaps the most liberal of the very liberal Ivy League, some credit ---


*********** Hugh,

Great news as always.  One other point on the Texas game though for all the spread fans out there.  See what happens when your all world QB is out!!!!  If you'd been running the Double Wing, you'd be home by now.

John Dowd
Caledonia, New York

PS - Amen on Paul Johnsons call to pass from the 10 with 8:30 left.  WTF
*********** Roy P. Benevidez --- a true American hero ---


*********** Lakeland, Florida had its first snow since 1977. Miami recorded its coldest January 10 temperature in over 80 years.

The only concolation for you guys stuck in snow country... the ALGOREMOBILE...


Thanks to George Honeycutt, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for the link!

*********** And FROZEN GORE - a great tribute by the folks in Fairbanks, Alaska to the guy who wants socialism for the rest of us while making out like the most capitalistic of capitalists with his "Global Warming" scam...


Be sure to enter their contest: Frozen Gore "Local Warming Contest"
Guess the number of days that our '96 Ford F-350 (460ci) would have to run (at idle) to equal the carbon output of a round-trip flight from Tennessee to Copenhagen on a Lear jet.
The winner will receive a warm Ski-doo jacket, long underwear, thermal socks and an Al Gore bobblehead doll.

Thanks to Tom Hinger, of cold, snowy Winter Haven, Florida

*********** This past weekend I saw some pro peacocks score touchdowns and then actually push away teammates who had the gall to dare to steal the spotlight by celebrating with them.

*********** The Jets and Ravens both won the old-fashioned way. Damn, I like Ray Lewis. You simply aren't going to have guys going easy as long as he's on your team. Every coach should have one player like that in his career.

The Cards and the Packers did put on a good game, but there were two really serious officiating errors that direcrly affected the outcome:

(1) On the Card's last regulation-time TD,  Fitzgerald was open because decked Woodson 30-40 yards downfield, a collision that should have been impossible to miss.

(2) On the TD that won it in OT, the guy who knocked the ball loose grabbed Rodgers' face mask.

*********** Hope you heard the Network Nitwit getting excited during the Jets' game because "THE WILDCAT'S UNDER CENTER!"

*********** South Florida coach Jim Leavitt is suing to get his job back.

Can't blame him for that. He had five years remaining on a contract worth close to $2 million a year. If he'd been fired "without cause," he'd have been due 75 per cent of the remaining contract, or $7.1 million.

But, no-o-o-o-o. Because he was fired "with cause," he's going to get one-month's base pay, or $66,667.

He was fired - if you haven't been following the story - after the university concluded that he slapped and choked a player at halftime of a game. After interviewing a number of player and other who were present, the university concluded that Leavitt committed "serious violations" of the school's policy on conduct. The university also said Leavitt lied about the incident and tried to impede the investigation, mainly by trying to influence witnesses to change their stories.

Damn! If you've been a teacher, did you ever find yourself wishing you could slap the sh-- out of some smartass kid?

But you didn't, did you?

But if you ever did anything close, I'll bet you'd have had the good sense to admit what you did, to apologize and ask people for their understanding and forgiveness, and assure one and all that it would never happen again.

So what's with college coaches?

*********** You wrote: That blonde hen down on the sideline (who started out talking to Paul Johnson with... "You're introducing your offense to a lot of people around the country who've never seen it...")

Didn't she say "spread offense"?

Dennis Cook
Roanoke, Virginia
You are correct. I went back and re-checked and her exact words were...

""You're introducing your spread offense to a lot of people around the country tonight who've never seen it..."

Which makes it even worse. "Spread offense," eh?

As anybody who's ever taught school can confirm, we are surrounded by among large numbers of ignorant people.

*********** Floyd Little is one of 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He hasn't played since 1975. What took them so long?

*********** Hugh, How the heck are you? I haven’t been in touch for a while but I read you regularly. With all the BS going on right now I finally broke down and had to send you an email after the Iowa game. I’m sure you’ve heard other coaches or been contacted by such but how about the last TD to seal the game for Iowa. Now, I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but did that not look just a little like maybe a 99 power…block down, kick out and lead thru?? And all the announcers could talk about was how Iowa loved 9 guys in the box, they practice it all the time. Yeah!! Don’t we just call that blocking at the point of attack?
I know how pissed I get reading some of this crap and hearing it on TV, I can only imagine how mad you get sometimes. There’s not much “new” in football, huh?

Anyway, it was good to see some teams, especially Wisconsin and Iowa who still know how to run the football.

Greg Myers,
Lakeland, Florida

*********** Hi Hugh,
Can’t argue with you about the game last night but I wanted to tell you that I met Mack Brown a while back and he’s probably the most personable man I’ve ever met.  Really classy, pleasant, genuine.
I haven’t been able to stand Musberger for decades.

A politician's job is to get people to like him.  Mack is a politician, and a very good one. 

It's how he raises money and keeps his job.

I do not think he's a good football coach and to me, his dereliction in not having another quarterback ready proves it.

Of course, back when he had a pretty good backup QB named Major Applewhite, he kept him on the bench and instead played Chris Simms, the son of a powerful, famous father.  Wait - that sounds like a politician, too, doesn't it?

Oh well.

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

I absolutely love Norm Parker's defense.  Jim Tressel says it best: "When you play Iowa you always know that everyone is lined up properly and they
all can tackle."  But I wonder if HS players could play his zone blitz scheme, especially our Indiana Class A.  BTW, I'd like to see the IHSAA BAN the spread offense in at least Classes A and B.  There are about THREE teams in Class A that can run a spread properly.  The rest, like our Carroll Cougars, just throw interceptions.

Charles Davis is on Big Ten Network, which is an arm of Fox Sports.  He is the BEST analyst they have.  Very smart, articulate, and doesn't use a lot
of jargon.

And did you see the player intros at the Jets-Bengals' game [ :(  I'm from the Cincy area].  Braylon Edwards called Rich Rod out: "Braylon Edwards, from LLOYD CARR's University of Michigan.  OUCH!!!

Lastly, The Nazi and Communist Athletic Assn should ban Gatorade baths. Note also that the towels have "G" or "G2" on them.   Douse a coach and the COACH gets suspended for the first game of the next season and also forfeits a paycheck.  That will put an end to this nonsense. I think we can blame The Tuna for that one, though it may go back to one of the 1980's Miami of Fla teams.  Parcells got an orange baptism after Scott Norwood's infamous "Wide Right" field goal attempt, and he didn't put a stop to it. But you're probably correct, there is money involved.  Which is worse: Nike or Gatorade?  Take your pick.

Jim Franklin
Flora Indiana
Nice to hear from you.

Although there are some nice things to be said for an NCAA with the power to ban Gatorade baths (that being one of them), I'm not in general in favor of expanding the powers of an agency that punishes a coach for buying a kid a cheeseburger.

I like your idea of banning spread offenses at smaller schools.  Fat chance.  In the march toward flag football for all, I'm betting that running offenses will be banned first.

*********** Note to Pete Carroll: Back when Jackie Sherrill was at Texas A and M and Bud Adams was talking to him about coaching the Oilers, one of the Houston sports guys cracked that Sherrell probably wouldn't win with the Oilers because in the NFL both teams got paid.

*********** A friend of mine was speaking to a high school football player recently and the kid told him his 40 time was 4.35.
Always the skeptic, I checked some track sites and learned that the kid's best time in the 100 meters last summer was 11.2 in an AAU meet (he finished fourth).
I told my friend:
1. No way does 11.2 translate into anything close to 4.35
2. I once had a football player who won the state class 4A  (largest school) 300 high hurdles championship -  and I never clocked him in a 4.35
3. EVERY kid exaggerates his 40 time
And then I did some further digging...
Mark Zeigler of the San Diego Union Tribune wrote that in 1988, when (steroid-enhanced)  Ben Johnson broke the existing 100-meters world record, he posted a time of 9.79 seconds. Officials were able to break down his times in 10-meter increments and discovered that he had also broken the world records at 50 and 60 meters.

His time in the 40?  4.38

(More on the 40, and combine preparation in general
http://speedendurance.com/2009/12/07/40-yard-dash-set-up-nfl-scouting-combine-preparation/ )

*********** Good morning, Coach.

Enjoyed your News again this morning.

I can't really say that the "National Championship" game lived up to its billing. The announcers kept talking about the Alabama QB and how he hadn't lost a game as a starter since 8th grade - and made it sound like he was doing something totally awesome out there. Basically he turned and handed off the ball. His passing was not that impressive (when they even let him throw). And I can't remember him ever checking off or calling an audible. So why were they gushing over him so much?

A question: With all of the teams that are calling plays in from the sideline, why are the offensive linemen not being called for false starts? They all line up, the QB steps up to the center, and then steps back - everyone turns and looks over to the sideline - and the linemen rock back on their heels, turn their bodies, look over there, and then turn back to the LOS. Sure seems like they are false starting to me.

DJ Millay
Vancouver, Washington

Agreed on McElroy. The pros call this "managing a game" - in other words, we don't need you to try anything heroic so don't do anything to screw up a good team. Maybe they were gushing because his dad is VP of Marketing for the Dallas Cowboys.

So long as the offensive linemen haven't put a hand down, they are free to turn and look around. But then they - the entire team - must be set for one full second before the ball is snapped.

*********** Did you notice all the "five men in the backfield" calls this past bowl season?  That's actually officialspeak for "not having seven men on the line of scrimmage," when in actuality the rule reads that there must be at least even men on the line of scrimmage, and in most cases the violation occurs because one or both of the offensive tackles is lined up as deep as a slot receiver, with only their front foot as far forward as the center's beltline. They're trying to They're trying to get a head start on a fast "edge rusher," and force him to run a little wider route on his way to the pocket.

Of course, it's cheating, but then so is holding (which any passing coach will tell you isn't holding unless it's called).

*********** Good Morning Hugh,  I was listening to an ESPN analysis before the game and during the conversation they suggested that Texas had a great chance to win because the Bama defensive line and there young three hundred pound D lineman was not the talent of of Nebraska's D-line and their outstanding individual D-lineman. All true of course but I did notice that in the game the Alabama kid put McCoy out of the game,  intercepted a pass for a TD, and was part of the rush that caused the fumble that secured the win. Off curse the dynamics of the game changed with the loss of McCoy but still a good nights work for those Bama D-lineman.

The Mike Leach situation is disturbing for all the reasons you have stated but still no matter who the kid is or is dad if the reports are true and they locked him in the room to punish him not good!! If your so arrogant to believe your bigger then the system then you have not learned anything from history.  It will be interesting to see how this all plays out in the end but for me the whole incident is a black spot on the sport we love.

All in all I found this bowl season less then expected and right from the begining did not care for the way the BCS matched the teams. The Boise / TCU matchup causing me the most heartburn!!. The endless chatter from most announcers and lack of knowledge was another distraction. The inability of spread teams who got into trouble to be able to run the football was interesting and I wonder if they will ever learn.

Finally, I loved the fact the options teams and Iowa, once again proved and old DW trueism-- "a good running game, play aciton passes, a sound solid defense and refusal to get beat by the special teams will win you many games. " How many times Have I heard you say that or somting similar over the years!!

Now we wait for Next Fall!!

Jack Tourtillotte
Boothbay Harbor, Maine

Jack, A high school coach wouldn't last long if he mistreated his players.

Neither would a pro coach.

So why do you suppose there are still college coaches who think they can get away with it?

I suspect it's because of the one-year transfer restriction.

PS - 45 degrees here and drizzling.  Does that beat snow?

*********** Coach Wyatt,
I had the (dis)pleasure of hearing Urban Meyer speak at a clinic about three years ago.  He was utterly incapable of delivering a complete sentence without uttering a plethora of expletives everytime he opened his mouth.  His players, other players and coaches were referred to in the most "colorful" vernacular..  Now I am no prude and have certainly heard it all, but he was so engrossed in HIMSELF and in trying to convince us of how bright he was, that he had no idea how offensive he was being.
Evidently, I'm not the only one who felt that he was being disrespectful to his core audience.  There was even an article written where he appeared at a Nike Clinic in Allentown, PA and others complained:
His Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Steve Addazio is even worse.  I heard him at a Glazier clinic and you could actually see some coaches shifting in their seats, Addazio's presentation was so profanity-laced.  The next year, I heard him speak again.  At the beginning of his presentation, he said (in a shocked manner) that he'd gotten complaints about his use of vulgarity in his presentations.  He couldn't understand why it was a big deal, and gave plenty of excuses why his behavior was justified: "we're all football coaches," "it's a tough sport," etc.  He started off carefully enough, but after a while was right back where he'd been the year before.
My point is this:  It's one thing for me to think that Meyer and Addazio are out of line.  It's another thing for articles to be posted about Meyer's presentation in Allentown, PA.  and that Addazio had said at a clinic that he'd gotten complaints about his language.  Keep in mind, these weren't complaints coming from nuns at a church banquet; these were complaints by FOOTBALL COACHES who are Meyer and Addazio's core audience.  If COACHES are complaining about their language, what does that tell you in regards to how bad the language was, and the context in which it was used?

Some coaches are humorous because you can tell they're taking pains not to cuss, and their presentation only hit s a bump in the road when they're sailing along and they get ready to utter a "foul" and then pause, obviously looking for a "clean" word to substitute.  Other guys just apologize all the way through their presentations.  lol  But Meyer was unique in that when he was showing film, he was referring to the players as "this dumbass," "and that dumbfuck," etc.  I had never seen a coach point out players that way.  Some coaches in the audience snickered, but he didn't even seem to pay attention to them, and he would get so pissed off during the "WATCHING OF FILM" that I assumed he wasn't doing it for effect, as he never "played" to the crowd when they responded.
Addazio was a whole 'nother nut, entirely.  He's one of those ultra-macho guys who picks on the dum guy in the front row and beats him to death as the "volunteer who demonstrates."  He's one of those, "I'm not gonna hit ya hard, Coach." and then WHAM, knocks the breath out of the guy.  I would have thought Addazio was "on something" as he was flying around, spitting, animated, frenetic, sweating and throwing out expletives left and right.
I thought he was just wound too tight  What was surprising was when I saw him the next year and he "sincerely" apologized for the language he used as he said there had been complaints about his language in his presentations.  He was low key about it.  Then, just as you think the guy is serious about his "apology," he roars "F--k it!  This is football!"  And then went right back to his routine from the previous year.  So while he may have gotten some complaints, it was also obvious that he felt no remorse or responsibility to those he had offended.  His approach seemed to be, "F--k it.  If you have a problem with it, you must be a pussy!" 

Personally, I couldn't care less if a coach cusses during his presentation.  But Meyer seemed so quick to anger, referred to his players and his opponent's players in such a negative way and seemed genuinely pissed off about what he was seeing in his video.  lol  I thought that perhaps I was the only one that felt that way, but when he did the Nike clinic in PA, it made the papers.  I think you've got to be pretty bad if your cussing makes the news!
I've since heard about Meyer's tirades, both as an assistant at Notre Dame and in his head coaching stops.  He and Addazio seem cut from the same cloth.  Which surprised me so much when Doc Holliday went down to Fla as coach with them.  Coach Holliday is one of the real class individuals I've been around and talking with him gives you the same sort of feel that speaking with Bobby Bowden does, he's warm, friendly.  It's easy to see why Coach Holliday has been such a great recruiter wherever he's gone.  I hope he'll do well at Marshall.

Name withheld
*********** I heard someone on the radio talking about being a vegan and being able to get vegan bacon.

And I thought, screw you. You're so high and mighty about not eating anything from animals. If you want the taste of bacon you should have to eat bacon. From a P-I-G pig.

Sheesh. I can just see myself digging into a broccoli-flavored steak.

*********** Next time you feel sorry for the players left behind...

The USC basketball coach had to tell his players that the school - in advance of any NCAA action - was imposing sanctions on itself for illegal payments made to O.J. Mayo. Amonf other things, this mean no NCAA tournament for the Trojans this year.

Dwight Lewis, an actual fourth-year player (a rarity in this day an age), commented, "Having him here, it was worth it to me and what he brought to the school. I wouldn't change any of that."

Wow. Kid's really taking the punishment hard.

There's probably a lot of guys in prison right now saying, Yeah, this sucks. But it sure was fun stealing that car and picking up all those women and shooting out all those windows. And that 7-11 clerk. And so was spending all that money we stole from the 7-11. I wouldn't change any of that. It's worth it.


FLAGFRIDAY, JANUARY 8, 2010- "Eliminate the mistakes and you'll never lose a game.  To eliminate mistakes, you have to pick the right QB.  And the pass is a weapon of surprise -- don't overuse it." Woody Hayes

*********** I've mentioned this in the past, but I think it's time that the BCS employ a relegation system, somewhat like that used in European sports, in which bottom finisher in a higher classification moves down for next season, and top finisher in a lower classification moves up.

In the case of the BCA, I propose looking at BCS bowl results from the past five bowl seasons, and if a conference's representatives haven't been able to hack it in the BCS bowls, out it goes - and another conference steps up.

Taking a look at BCS bowl scores over the past five years, here's how my plan would work.


Notre Dame. Notre Dame, 0-2 in BCS bowls, loses its special exemption. The Irish now have a choice - keep rolling around in the riches of that exclusive NBC contract, or join a conference.

The ACC. The ACC, 1-4 in BCS games, has had its chance. The ACC is out.

In ---

The WAC is 2-1 against in BCS bowls (Two wins by Boise, a loss by Hawai'i). The WAC earns a spot.

The Mountain West is 1-1 (A win by Utah, a loss by TCU). The Mountain West earns a spot.

Surprise! The much-derided Big East is 3-2. (Two wins by West Virginia, one by Louisville)

The Big East keeps its spot.

*********** Listening to the President talk about how hard it is to fix blame for the panty bomber incident, I have to wonder whatever happened to the old expression, "heads will roll?"

*********** I can't believe they miked the ref for the coin toss at the BIG HUMONGOUS GAME and didn't think to put a mike on Keith Jackson.

*********** The so-called national championship game sure was a dozer, a thriller along the lines of the never-to-be-forgotten Texas-Nebraska Big 12 championship game. But at least we got to see Mark Ingram display all the brilliance that made him the Heisman Trophy winner. Yeah, right. Look, the guy's good. But best football player in America? Give me a break. He wasn't even Alabama's best back last night.

You guys who insist on having a "true National Champion?" Relax. Just do as I do and enjoy all the bowl games. There were plenty of good ones, and from all the excited and happy players I saw at all those games, I would venture to say that the sportswriters who love to tell us that there are too many bowl games haven't spoken to many players. Unlike the pros college games don't have to "mean anything" for them to be exciting.

And if you absolutely insist on watching a playoff, you've always got the NFL and Division II and Division III and the FCS. And NCAA soccer.

*********** If we must have this "national championship" game... in the best of all worlds, Boise State or TCU would have been in it. Not Texas. There may have been some questions about Boise and TCU, but none at all about Texas. They had an easy schedule - very soft non-conference - and they struggled in their last games against A & M and Nebraska. Thanks to luck and one second put back on the game clock, they beat Nebraska by the skin of their teeth, a win which turned out to be conclusive evidence of Texas' lack of strength. All the BCS guys feared the "chaos" that would have resulted from a Nebraska win, but that chaos would have been preferable to having to watch Texas' performance. And the chance to coach in that game might have keep Brian Kelly at Cincinnati.

*********** I feel bad for all of you who, like me, were looking forward to seeing Colt McCoy play one last college game. And I feel really, really bad for the kid, a total class act.

*********** I'm sorry, Mack Brown, but as much money as you're being paid, as much talent as you have, as much money as you have to spend on your program, you owed the American public a better game.

You are not in the Ivy League. You are in the business of big-time football, and you have advantages that few of your peers have. You had an obligation to put a better-prepared team than that on the field.

You have a program worth a hundred million dollars (according to Forbes) and rich alums lined up to give you even more money. You have well-paid assistants - your defensive coordinator makes $900,000 a year - and you yourself are paid a king's ransom. You get your pick, every year, of the best players in the state of Texas.

Yet suddenly your quarterback goes down, and you have nothing. No Plan B. No offense. No nothing. You were so dependent on one player that without him, you were no better than half the teams in your conference.

Hey - it wasn't lost on me or anybody else who watched the Alamo Bowl that Mike Leach (remember him?) had two quarterbacks and had them both ready to run the whole offense.

*********** WTF? Mack Brown, $5 Million Dollar Coach, isn't content to run out the clock and go in at halftime 11 points down, 17-6. His offense hasn't peed a drop all the first half, but he seems to have this idea that somehow, some way... So he calls a time out, sends in a shuffle (shovel?) pass - and it's intercepted. Touchdown, Alabama. Halftime score, 24-6, enough points, as it would turn out, for Alabama to win the game.

*********** Said Kirk Herbstreit about Texas at halftime, "They've got to find something he (McCoy's backup, an untested freshman) can do..."

WTF? Find something? Hey- they recruited the kid. They thought enough of him to take his redshirt off. They coached him and they evaluated him. And he was their number two man. The number two man at the University of Texas. And now they have to "find something he can do?" WTF were they doing with him all season?

*********** Speaking of Herbstreit, what was with him? He wouldn't STFU.

*********** Ingram scores for Bama and Musberger says, "He gets one for Dad."

Later, after he scored a second TD - "And we hope that Mark, Senior is able to watch."

Brent. Please. Spare us the melodrama. Dad is not up in heaven.

*********** If he gets hurt he can always fall back on his Alabama education... Said Marc Ingram the student-athlete, "I couldn't have did it by myself."

*********** Central Michigan and Troy - hell of a game.

In the very next to last bowl game, Central saved the bowl season for the MAC - as well as the state of Michigan - by staging a great second half comeback to tie the game and then win in overtime.

Central's quarterback, Dan LeFevour, a great one, pulled yet another rabbit out of the hat and got the Chippewas into OT, where they won by a field goal. Along the way, another Central kid returned a KO for a touchdown just after they'd fallen behind by 12. And still a third kid put the win within reach by blocking a Troy field goal attempt in the top of the second overtime.

Heroes and heroics to burn. So who gets carried off the field by the joyous Chippewas? Why, of course - the f--king keeker!

*********** MAC teams - Bowling Green and Central Michigan - were involved in two of the best bowl games. Out of gratitude for all those great efforts, plus all those times when our work weeks were shortened by middle-of-the-week MAC games on TV, I propose rewarding the conference. If there were only some place where all of us who appreciated those midweek games could just send them $1 apiece, think of the good it would do schools that aren't exactly rolling in dough.

BL ELMWOOD*********** Hugh, Attached are pics from our Black Lion presentation this year.  Retired colonel George Basso, who was present the day that Major Holleder was killed, presented the award for the second year.  Colonel Basso told those in attendance how his high school football career provided a blueprint for success that kept him and those in his charge alive while in Vietnam.  In effect, it was drill and practice, drill and practice, drill and practice.  Nothing fancy.  Sound familiar? 
Junior captain Tony DePalma was a very deserving recipient this year.  We had a down year and needed help at many positions.  During the season we asked Tony to switch from running back, where he played the previous two years, to offensive guard.  About that same time we asked him to move from outside linebacker, where he was a starter, to defensive tackle.  Tony not only did so willingly, he did so enthusiastically.  With a player like Tony coming back for us next year, I know our program will rebound.
I have asked Tony to write a letter to you to detail what the Black Lion award means to him.  Once I receive it I will forward it to you immediately.
Todd Hollis
Elmwood/Brimfield Coop
Elmwood, Illinois


*********** (From the Kansas City Star) Jason Whitlock's take on Charlie Weis' new job ...

I just don’t see Haley and Weis as equally yoked.

Weis is a self-made football coach. He coached high school football in the ’70s and early ’80s. He did four years at the University of South Carolina. While coaching a New Jersey high school team to the state championship, he moonlighted as an assistant in the Giants’ pro personnel department. He spent 15 years as an NFL assistant and won three Super Bowls before he landed the Notre Dame job.

After completing his college golf career, farting around and shadowing his dad (Jets' personnel director Dick Haley), Haley became an NFL position coach for the Jets in 1999. He became a play-calling offensive coordinator late in the 2007 season at Arizona.

And now he’s Charlie Weis’ boss. Wow!

Again, Weis’ previous bosses were Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick.

If Haley decides to F-bomb and belittle Weis the way cameras caught Haley chewing out his “respected” friend Maurice Carthon, I just don’t see Weis taking it without complaint. Notre Dame owed Weis $18 million when it fired him.

Weis doesn’t need money. He doesn’t need Todd Haley. And that’s just how I expect Weis to treat Haley, like someone whose suggestions and interference are unnecessary and unwanted.

Short of Haley swallowing a gallon of humility, this is going to be a short-lived love affair.

*********** In regards to your News...
(You wrote) What those two ESPN announcers, Mike Patrick and Bob Davie did during the Alamo in their near-nonstop chatter about the Mike Leach situation was borderline jury tampering. I actually heard Patrick say (close to these words) "He was punished for having a concussion.".

I can't stand Mike Patrick even on his best day.  He was a Carolina-homer, I mean ACC announcer for years before he became an ESPN lap dog.  But when he said, "He was punished for having a concussion" I wanted to give Mr. Patrick a concussion.  Irresponsible statement which made HIM look like he knows NOTHING. Davie, on the other hand, sounded as if he wanted to agree with Mike while knowing that he'd said and done worse in his years as a coach. 

This is the pious Mr. Davie who earlier, in referring to Mike Leach, said you should never humiliate a youngster.

I laughed out loud when I heard that one.  <<insert sarcasm here>> I'm sure Coach Davie was never guilty of that in all his years as a football coach. <<exit sarcasm>>

I have no idea as to whether Ruffin McNeill is the right man for the job.  He has certainly campaigned for it though, like a politician in the final hours of an election.  But for all of his "Mike Leach is my best friend" stuff,  but I couldn't believe it when he said, "I love kids.. I promise the parents that for one - that I'll take care of their most prized possessions - their sons - if they'll let me have them." Unbelievable stuff.  I know he's in a tough situation that was pressure-packed.  A lot of eyes were on him.  But if you want to be a head coach, act like a head coach.  Don't campaign, don't beg, and stop with the "IF THEY'LL LET ME HAVE THEM" crap.

As for the email to Mike Hance in which a booster wrote::  "I know, you know, and Mike knows there are only 10 or 12 better jobs in the country."

Heck, I took that to mean there were 10 to 12 better jobs that were available RIGHT NOW.  When last I checked, coaches weren't exactly beating down the door lining up to coach in Lubbock.  I mean, when their choices are an assistant (McNeill), an out-of work guy (Tuberville) and the Baylor guy (Briles), I think it would be obvious that on any given day there were already 10-12 AVAILABLE jobs that were better than the one at Texas Tech.
Undoubtedly in the interest of political correctness, and in total rejection of historical accuracy, West Virginia had a female mountaineer. 
I saw that.  And it confused me.

Happy New Year.
Dave Potter
Durham, North Carolina

***********  Coach Wyatt,
Great column as always.
Random Bowl thoughts, from interrupted viewing (family, travel, work, refereeing, etc.)
Watching the Texas Bowl. ESPN gives you the Mel Kiper draft analysis. Missouri has more than 10 draft prospects, led by their big wide receiver (Alexander, I think his name was). The USNA followed by this crawl at the bottom of the screen "No Navy players are projected to be drafted in the 2010 NFL Draft." They won't even have their interdisciplinary studies or sports & recreation degrees to fall back on. I was worried when Missouri took the first 3 yard pass and ran for 70 yards, but Navy turned it around. Game was actually a bigger blowout than the final score.
Humanitarian Bowl. Idaho goes for 2 instead of settling for OT. I just love that call, the % makes sense. Get 3 yards and you win, versus the uncertainty of OT, even the college OT that gives a fair shake. In comparison a couple of nights later, dying a slow death on Monday night as the Vikings played uninspired football for 30 minutes, come alive in the 2nd half, score to make it 29-30 in the final minute. Make 3 yards you win. Kick it, play OT. NFL think takes over. We even had 2 OT possessions and lost, seldom see that.
Rose Bowl. Enough said. My only hope is that I live long enough & healthy enough so my son and I can watch the Gophers someday in Pasadena. As long as they don't change things. New Years Day - check, the scenery - check, national anthem played by the marching band - check, F18 Hornet flyover - check, Brent Musberger - check. Good football game to boot.
Have enjoyed watching Stanford this year. Tight End, Wingback, Fullback, and Running back, only 1 wide receiver. QB under center, radical formation there. El Paso is a nice scene for a game also. The Gophers have made a couple of stops there in the Glen Mason era.
Tim Tebow is great.
Will Boise State benefit from an early preseason, top ranking next year? Meaning, if they run the table again in 2010, will they get the chance to play in the spotlight game? There will be a lot of public pressure. 
Is RB done for good? Would take him at Minnesota in a heartbeat.
Is Mike Leach going to get another HC job, or will he have to "re hab" himself by serving as an O Coordinator someplace for a couple of years?
Take care,
Mick Yanke
Cokato Minnesota (Lots of great observations. Maybe someday you and your son will see the Gophers in the Rose Bowl. I strongly suggest you take very good care of your health because it might be a while. Sorry - it looks as if Rich Brooks is done. He put an awful lot of energy and passion into that Kentucky job. But he loves to fly fish and maybe all those lakes in Minnesota would entice him.

Boise might - should - start out higher next year. TCU, too. And from there, who knows?

You had it VERY good in the 30s and 40s with Bernie Bierman's teams.

And Murray Warmath didn't do too bad in the late 50s and most of the 60s.  Minnesota actually beat Michigan SIX times in the 1960s!  Part of Warmath's success, like that of Duffy Daugherty at Michigan State,  was due to recruiting black players from the South, where there home state schools didn't recruit them.  He also was willing to let a black player play quarterback at a time when even most northern schools were reluctant to do so. That player, Sandy Stephens, became the first black QB to be named to an All-America team,  and was fourth in the Heisman voting in 1961. He may be the first black player to quarterback a team in the Rose Bowl (1961 and 1962).


It can be done.  I hope the new stadium will help.

There are lots of major companies headquartered in the Twin Cities, and Minnesota is one of the few decent-sized states with only one Division I football program (Missouri is another) but I think that the fact that MSP is one of the few areas with all four major pro sports franchises takes away  a lot of interest in the U.

Maybe one day...HW)

*********** TCU's Gary Patterson, commenting in USA Today, doesn't think that a playoff would fix anything.

"This is the thing about the playoffs - who says the playoff system would be any different than the BCS system is now? If you put in an eight-team playoff system and you have six automatic qualifying groups that are in the BCS, there's six teams. Another one of those conferences feel like they have another one (Florida, for instance). There's a seventh.

"Show me right now how a playoff system is going to make it easier for Texas Christian University and Boise State, unless you give us an automatic qualifying berth into that playoff system.

"If you're asking Gary Patterson to jump on the bandwagon, my answer is no right now, because you haven't given me the guidelines of what a playoff system would be about."

So, supposing an 8-team playoff... There is no way that any of the current BCS conferences would give up a spot, so that means their champions take up six of the eight spots. Surely at least one of their second-place teams will also be deemed worthy of a spot. This year, that was Florida. In any event, there would be one spot left. TCU and Boise State wouldn't both make it.

"Second thing is, my kids have been here at the Fiesta Bowl for five, six, seven days. It has been an unbelievable experience. I played in Division II, I coached in Division II and I-AA, and been in the playoff system.

"Every week you practice at your own place. You practice for seven days, you get on a bus or plane and fly to that place, you go play the game, if you lose, you're done. There is no experience to it.

"You win, you go back to your place, you practice for seven days, you go play again. Where do we reward the players?"

How about a 16-team playoff?

"I don't think you can, number one, because of academics, because of health of players. I think what you will find out is all these guys will go in the first round of the draft, and you are going to tell them they are going to play four more games?

"You'll get guys who say, 'I don't know if I can do that. Why should I risk the rest of my career with four more games? I want to support my team, but I also have a family back home that doesn't have much, so why do I do that?' "

Great point. And if the players don't figure that out on their own, you can be sure that their agents - sorry, prospective agents - will.

*********** I meant to comment on this earlier, but I figured what the hell - give Ole Bobby (Bowden) a break. He cajoled his way into the Gator Bowl with a 6-6 team, and he went out a winner. Let him enjoy himself.

But he had to go an open his mouth after the game, so I couldn't let it go.

Last Friday at his postgame press conference, he told the media and fans that he had 22 wins at South Georgia Junior College that aren't recognized by the NCAA.

Sheesh, Bobby. Don't you have some youth league wins you'd like to count, too?

“Will somebody mention please that I do have 400 wins during a lifetime, although they don't count with them sweet, old NCAA people who took away 14 of our games,” Bowden said.

Yup. Finally, a court has decided pays for FSU's cheating. How many other wins came using players that didn't belong in a place that calls itself a university.

So it's going to mean 14 wins off his total, leaving him at 375. (Joe Paterno's at 394, all of them at Penn State.)

Taking away the 14 that the NCAA says were ill-gotten, and the 31 at Howard (now Samford) that he really shouldn't be able to count toward the total, and Bowden's still seven games ahead of Bear Bryant, at 323.

*********** NBA note: Houston's Tracy McGrady has played only 47 minutes this season, yet it appears he will start in this year's NBA All-Star game.

Here's how it happened: The fans vote for the all-star team. But not necessarily "the fans" that you may have pictured.

McGrady, you see, is a teammate of Yao Ming, which makes McGrady known to millions upon millions of Chinese NBA followers. Which gets him their votes. What they hell do they know - or care - how much he plays?

In anticipation of the NFL's growing popularity in China, The Receiver Formerly Known as Chad Johnson is reportedly scrambling to find out what "85" is in Mandarin.

*********** The New York Times' Pete Thamel argues that Boise State has nothing further to prove - it belongs with the Big Boys.


*********** Fox's player-intro graphics are tiny and the info scanty, but overall Fox did a decent job of covering the Orange Bowl. Dick Stockton was unobtrusive, and Charles Davis was actually pretty good.

He can be excused for misuse of the term "chop," because no one else knows how to use it, either.

But then there was that blonde hen down on the sideline --- how insulting was it to real football fans to have her start out with the old Fox "NFL is the One True Football" assumption by saying to Paul Johnson, "You're introducing your offense to a lot of people around the country who've never seen it..."

*********** Whew. Iowa didn't just beat Georgia Tech. They whipped their butts on both sides of the ball.

This mainly means that Paul Johnson's clinics this winter will be attended by serious coaches, and not all those flavor-of-the-day weenies with hopes that the triple option might be the answer to all their problems (chief of which is that they can't coach).

It was not a fluke. Iowa's defensive coordinator, Norm Parker, is a legend in coaching circles. Plus, as Jimmy Johnson pointed out after the game, Iowa had plenty of time to teach (and drill on) the responsibilities of defending against a triple option team. (Don't let Jimmy Johnson fool you - they pay him to talk pro football, but unlike most of those guys on the TV set, he knows his college football. His college coaching credentials, at Oklahoma State and Miami - are solid.)

So - having plenty of time to prepare is a major factor in stopping a good triple option team, eh?

So what's Missouri's excuse?

*********** Coldest Orange Bowl in history... What's that we keep hearing about global warming?
A WTF for Fox: what's with naming "impact players of the game" before the end of
the third quarter?

Christopher Anderson
Arlington, Virginia

*********** What the hell - I've given Paul Johnson his props, and then some. I have great respect for the man as a coach.

So I've earned the right to ask... After forcing Iowa to punt, you've got the ball, first and ten, in your own territory. You're down, 17-14, there's 8:39 to play in the game, and your running game is starting to come alive.

Your passing game is about what one would expect from a run-first team.

So you PASS. And it's intercepted.

Game (as good as) over.

*********** Had to love Iowa's QB Ricky Stanzi. If they'd had him all year, they might have been playing in the Rose Bowl.

Kid was asked post-game something about representing "middle America," and asked some question about how it felt, and he must have misheard, because he responded, "If you don't love it, leave it! USA! Number One!

*********** Fox's Charles Davis asked, "Why can't they just carry the coach off the field?"

He was referring, of course, to the mandatory dumping of a sports drink on the winning coach's head.

Have you noticed it's always a big orange bucket? (And not the school's colors?)

Have you heard the announcers refer to the "Gatorade bath?"

It's so choreographed. And, yeah, it's good for a couple of yucks. But as powerful and controlling as big-time coaches are, there's not a one of them who can't tell his manager that he wants all the Gatorade buckets emptied at the end of the fourth quarter. And as thorough as they are in their preparations, there's not a one of them who wouldn't have thought of that simple end to the practice.

Which leaves only one possible explanation for coaches' allowing this absurd, disgusting, no longer original, tradition to persist.

And that would be...

Naw... You don't suppose that money is changing hands, do you? You don't suppose that Gatorade could actually be paying off someone, do you? Since when did big-time coaches (and their agents) become such money-grubbers.

*********** Now that the REAL football season has wound down, I'm already looking forward to 2011 and a season free of "PICK SIX," "TAKE IT TO THE HOUSE," "DIAL UP (A PASS OR A BLITZ)" and "TAKE A SHOT DOWNFIELD." Among others.

*********** WTF? What is with this "AT&T All America Player of the Year" business that invites you to vote for McCoy, Tebow, Ingraham or Suh - and doesn't include Toby Gerhart? That is really dirty.

*********** Hugh,

Some random football thoughts.  First off - Amen about the jetsweep end around business.  Most announcers are horrible (kind of like NFL quarterbacking) - can't they find decent guys... I mean they're aren't that many spots to fill and there are a heck of a lot of people in the world out there.  Next - Fox is sooooooooooooo bad it makes me sick.  I don't enjoy watching their games at all.  The announcers are stiffs and pro football guys (who are also stiffs) and their studio guy is a young know it all jerk).  I don't even like their into music or their on screen score/time and the way they roll into's over the play as it is happening etc.  It is really bad.  Give me Herbstreit or Musberger any day.  Go find Keith Jackson and tell him he can't retire.  It is really bad.  I laughed when I read the news -- who the hell is Tom Brennaman?    How about Brian Billick during the Florida game.  I knew they'd do the whole "Tebow to the Pro game" talk, but that is about all we heard.  For crying out loud - you are watching the final game of one of the all time greats and you are going to talk him down!!!! How about celebrating what he did and the fact that he is a good human being who did it.  (I am personally not a big fan of everyone thanking Jesus as if he roots for one team over another, but I respect the kid and his beliefs and that he has good values.)   Did it seem to you as if Meyer ran it up a little bit (I suspect he wanted to let Tebow ride off into the sun a bit and wanted to shove it up the A$$ of guys like Brian Billick, but I thought maybe they'd run him more and slow it down a bit.  Also - didn't that game seem to go forever.  I know it got boring, but man all that passing makes the game go long.  On to Mike Leach - seems to be an arrogant pain in the rear, but looks like they were just waiting for the most minute offense to get rid of him.  Craig James just lost my respect and his kid seems like a reall loser.  On the same note, what is really going on w/ Urban Meyer (I think that Fla. asked him to reconsider and told him that if he'd go on leave it might save some recruits etc.  For him it leaves the door open, but nonetheless leaves the program in better shape than if he just quit.) The thing I don't  get is if they had to call 911, what the hell is he doing on the sideline looking fine (unless he suffers from panic attacks or something that could mimic a heart attack and he didn't know it).  Weird situation.  Finally, that Braylon Edwards Lloyd Carr thing is more than interesting.  It doesn't look good for Rodriguez in Mich.  Tradition is super important to the Penn State, Michigan, ND, Alabama, Texas type schools.   When the alums want you out - that is it.  He'd better hurry up and win a BCS bowl game and beat Ohio State and Mich. State in a hurry.

Hope you had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,

John Dowd, Caledonia, New York

PS - looking forward to either Providence or Philly
Of course Meyer was rubbing it in/pouring it on, and I went back and forth on it at the time ---

(1) Yes, he's showing off, and he's got other kids who've earned a chance to play

(2) But on the other hand, It's our last look at Tebow playing real football...

(3) After all the Cincinnati kids have been through, this is really nasty...

(4) But on the other hand, they're scholarship athletes, and they put 70 points on Southwest MIssouri State earlier in the season

Selfishly, I went with (2)

*********** In debating where (and whether) to set up clinic locations, one coach (to whom this doesn't apply) noted that many coaches in his area would be reluctant to drive to the other side of town - maybe an hour's drive.

I said I find it kind of funny, after years of having to drive 3 hours to Seattle to attend the Coach of the Year clinics, and with guys coming from all over the South to come to my Atlanta clinics, and all over the Midwest to come to my Chicago clinics, to mention two of them, that some guys bitch about having to go from one end of their metropolitan area to the other.

But that's human nature, and that's why some guys stay in the game and others drop out.

My attitude has always been that if a guy isn't willing to put in a lot of effort to learn, f--k him. He'll fail as a Double Wing coach anyhow, because for all the Double Wing's attractiveness in concept, if you're going to succeed there's a lot of work to do.  

You're either a football coach or you're not.

*********** Not saying that Seattle's teams have seen tough times lately, but in the Seattle Times' recently-published Best Coach of the Last Decade, a high school coach - Butch Goncharoff, whose Bellevue Wolverines won four straight state CVlass 3A titles and ended DeLaSalle's 151-game win streak, came in fourth:

Mike Holmgren......... 37%
Lou Piniella.............. 29
Lorenzo Romar......... 11
Butch Goncharoff...... 8
Nate McMillan......... 7

*********** Here's something we football coaches can learn from a tennis player's experience - it's from my January, 2003 NEWS....

Double-Wing coaches couldn't have found a better example of what it takes to win than tennis player Serena Williams. Thursday night, she was dead on her ass in the semi-finals of the Australian Open, losing to Belgian Kim Clijsters in the third set (of a best two of three sets match) 5-1. Clijsters needed to win only one more game to take the third set - and therefore the match - 6-1. Twice Clijsters had what's called "match point" - win just one point and the match is over. But Williams just wouldn't die. When things were bleakest, she played her hardest, and kept from being put away. And then - the lesson that tennis teaches Double-Wingers when they fall behind - she started chipping away. I've heard tennis people say "there's no grand slam home run in tennis" - there's no way you can get it all back with one swing of the bat. You can't win by throwing long bombs. You have to hang tough, play every shot as if it's your last, and chip away. And damned if Serena Williams didn't do just that, and fight her way back to win the set, 7-5, and the match. Asked after the match about what she was thinking when things looked hopeless, Williams said, "I really didn't think I'd win it at that stage. I just kept fighting, one point at a time. Next thing I knew, the match was over."

*********** We've all been over the Mike Leach situation and I think it's coming down to this:

1. Leach's superiors resented his hardnosed negotiating and his cavalier treatment of them and were just waiting for an acceptable reason to can his ass - and not pay him the $800,000 bonus due on December 31. And he gave it to them.

2. Adam James is a d--khead who never should have been given a scholarship. And Daddy Craig is every coach's nightmare - rich, powerful, influential and totally focused on reliving his life through his kid - and may even have been in cahoots with the TT administration in trying to depose Leach

2. Leach was dumb, dumb, dumb. I'm suspecting that he was at the end of his rope, and yes, a kid like the one I've heard described can get under any coach's skin, and, no, he didn't torture the kid... but he had to be aware of today's issues of embarrassment and humiliation and damage to a child's precious self-esteem. If the TT people can get a few soccer moms on the jury, they are home free, because this isn't going to play well with them.

*********** Coach,
I agree wholeheartedly with your take on the Mike Leach situation.  It is a no-win situation, and when all is said and done, it is possible that the biggest loser is the 21 year old Adam James, who clearly has never been taught (or allowed) to deal with adversity on his own.  Kids like that make me wonder if we should require a 2 year military stint for all young men in our country.  Daddy wouldn't be able to come to the rescue when the drill sergeant held him accountable.
My best to you and Connie for a great 2010.
Greg Koenig
Beloit, Kansas

I can tell you that the military has been all over the issue of a draft and they don't want it - precisely because they don't want to have to deal with the Adam Jameses - not to mention the great numbers of American kids that we football coaches never even have to deal with.

*********** I had two sons play college football and a daughter play college volleyball.
All three would give you the same response....

"Hey dad I am having a problem with my coach ...can you help?


You are in college now. Resolve your PROBLEM.

First, you need to learn how to do this and now is the time to learn.

Second, if this person is a difficult person to deal with , well guess what - it will not be your last.

This is a training ground. This is not your last time that you will have to deal with people... co-workers that stab you in the back... difficult bosses

Handle it yourself !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tim Brown, Jackson, Tennessee

*********** Who among us hasn't been pissed off to the point where he punched a blackboard or kicked something? Largely because he let his temper got the best of him, a friend of mine was asked to "resign." He did not take anything out on a kid, but his actions did result in some property damage, and that was enough for his administration.

And now my friend is in the job market, and he's concerned about what to say. My advice was, "whatever the incident was about, you have to try to turn that to your advantage by being frank and open about it and using it to show that you learned things about yourself that you didn't know before, and say something along the lines of, "I set high standards for myself and I expect a lot of myself and I made the mistake of letting my frustrations get the best of me."

*********** Hugh, I couldn't agree with you more regarding the commentary during the Alamo Bowl...Atrocious. I think I may have screamed at one point, "Just call the game!!!!!!!!"

I was a little surprised that you did not rate Wisconsin as a better than Texas Tech coaching position. I am certainly looking forward to the big game tonight.

Sam Keator, Litchfield, Connecticut

Definitely my mistake on Wisconsin. It is a better job. Correction made.

*********** Dad- Interesting game (Fiesta Bowl).  Not too exciting until late.  TCU's defense negated any running game Boise had.  But Boise put the clamps on the TCU QB, who I thought had a poor game.
I called the fake punt.  With end zone camera angle, you could see on the punt before that TCU had no one guarding the middle of the field.  Voila.

One good thing about Fox - they seemed to hit the hometowns a lot, even showing a recruiting map where players came from.

Bad thing - "I watched shots of fans in a crowd on TV last night and a football game broke out."

Ed Wyatt,
Melbourne, Australia

PS  All three Aussie punters have made the NFL playoffs again.

*********** I exchanged a cople of e-mails on the subject of concussions with old friend Paul Herzog, in Woodbury, Minnesota, who concluded with.
"I read a book by Daniel Amen over the Christmas break; he’s a psychiatrist and brain specialist.  After reading about the impact of alcohol and head contact on the brain I’ve decided that if it hadn’t been for beer and getting my head knocked in on a regular basis, I might have been a lot smarter."

*********** A company named Home Team Marketing is busy assembling the broadcast rights of high school associations all over the US.

The company just acquired the rights to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, giving it 13 state associations so far.

“This gives us access to state championship events across about a quarter of the country,” said its president, Pete Fitzpatrick, a former Anheuser-Busch and Fox Sports executive.

In addition to the rights to broadcast state postseason events and championship games, Home Team has made a deal with Fathead, to sell its wall graphics with logos and designs to a number of high schools it has contracted with.

“The high schools are very much an untapped resource,” Fitzpatrick told Sports Business Journal. “When you think about 5 million people attending playoff events in Ohio, nothing comes close to that fan base. The question has always been, as a property, how do you create the platform to reach those fans?”

FLAGTUESDAY, JANUARY 5, 2010- "Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate." Greg Nickels, recently-replaced Mayor of Seattle

*********** Rich Brooks has retired as head coach at Kentucky.

For ten years, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, I worked at Rich's University of Oregon summer camp and I got to know him pretty well and observe him closely. He is a man of great strength, courage and integrity, a rare combination among today's multimillionaire college coaches. I've never had more admiration for any coach than I have for Rich Brooks.

After 18 seasons at Oregon and seven at Kentucky, Rich's record is 130-156-4. I'm not sure that any college coach ever did more with less for so long than Rich Brooks did.

Taking over an Oregon program that hadn't had a winning season in six years, Rich slowly and steadily built until in 1994 the Ducks made their first Rose Bowl appearance in 36 years.

It took him three years to start winning at Oregon , but right from the start - despite Oregon followers' misgivings about his being an Oregon State grad himself - he won Civil War games. Consistently. His record against the Beavers was 14-3-1.

When he left Oregon to become coach of the Los Angeles Rams, he turned the reins over to his offensive coordinator, Mike Bellotti, who continued to build on the foundation Rich laid.

Caught up in the politics of Rams' ownership and then in their move to St. Louis, he was ungraciously dumped after two seasons with a record of 13-19, with the Rams on the verge of going to the Super Bowl.

But he did make it to the Super Bowl in his next assignment, as defensive coordinator at Atlanta. Under head coach Dan Reeves, Rich helped take the Falcons to their only Super Bowl appearance, and actually served briefly as interim head coach when Reeves experienced health problems.

At Kentucky, he stepped into a program rocked with NCAA sanctions, facing probation and scholarship restrictions. He ended his first three seasons with an overall record of 9-25, but then he turned it around, going 30-22 over the next four years and taking the Wildcats to four consecutive bowl games for the first time in their football history.

His overall record at Kentucky (39-47) may have worked out to only .453, but wait - in the 48 years since Blanton Collier left in 1961 with a .531 overall record, only native son Jerry Claiborne (.470 in eight seasons) had a better record at Kentucky than Rich Brooks.

And his string of four winning seasons in a row was the first at Kentucky since 1956.

Just as Rich Brooks arranged a smooth succession at Oregon, he has done the same at Kentucky. The new Wildcat coach is Joker Phillips, whom Rich named to be his successor over a year ago. The irony is that while the "designated successor" ploy has been derided by some as a way of getting around having to interview minority candidates, Joker Phillips is black.

"Rich Brooks changed the culture and the direction of the University of Kentucky football program," said Kentucky President Dr. Lee Todd. "He was willing to take the heat and face the critics in the early years and build our program the right way. His no-nonsense, high-integrity approach earned the respect of his players, our fans and the media."

*********** Yessir, the NFL - an example to us all. The guardian of our sport, defender of all that's good about it ...

Straight from Monday's New York Times, as written By Pat Borzi...

MINNEAPOLIS - With a lineup depleted by injuries and nothing to play for, the Giants ended a disappointing season with a listless, embarrassing 44-7 loss to Minnesota that made last week’s 32-point blowout by Carolina look competitive by comparison.

("Nothing to play for," eh? In the days before the NFLPA and a 32-team league and bloated rosters, they had plenty to play for - they were playing for their f--king jobs!)

*********** Ahem. Kellen Moore, Boise State QB... from (ahem) Prosser, Washington, where his dad's the high school coach. Ahem.

*********** Okay, okay - The perfect year for Plus One. Boise State against the winner of Alabama-Texas. Now, that I could buy.

*********** I've been working for some time on my idea of a "Classic Football League", and I got an e-mail from ben Rushing, in Kandahar, Afghanistan, proposing ways to improve the NFL...

The biggest problem with the NFL, too many games and too many rematches in the same season.


Shorten the season by five games (eliminate the preseason, and one regular season game.)

Never happen.  Not without reducing players' pay, and the NFLPA would never permit that.  The NFL is actually talking seriously about increasing the regular season by, essentially,  converting the preseason games into regular season games

Expand the roster to 99 players (1 for each jersey number).

I would like to reduce rosters to 35-40.  They are too big as it is. Large rosters create excessive specialization. With less job security, players would give more effort. 

Actually, I would like to see about six fewer teams.  Good luck.

Eliminate the divisions and just leave teams in the AFC and NFC.

May be a good idea, but they won't change the way things are set up now, because it deceives the public with the illusion that there are three "first place" teams in each conference, and even the worst teams are no lower than fourth place.

Every team has to play an opponent that they haven't already played, no second chances. (unless it is the playoffs)

Sounds good to me, except that I would allow each team one "designated rival" which it would play twice, home-and-home.  I'm thinking along the lines of Pittsburgh-Cleveland, Washington-Dallas, Chicago-Green Bay.

If you are in the AFC, you have to play every team in the AFC and vice versa.

Likewise.  I am also no fan of inter-conference play.  I thank that there should be no possible way that Super Bowl opponents can have met during the regular season, and I think it would add greatly to the interest in the Super Bowl if there were no common opponents.

Use the college overtime rule, or steal the similar XFL rule, or just modify it and make your own.

They can't continue with this silliness.  I would hate to see a Super Bowl decided by the coin toss/short drive/field goal method of overtime.

Obviously, this wouldn't make the season any better because the NFL knows everything about football. Did you know that most of their coaches have never even coached at the high school level?

Pro coaching has pretty much a career path all its own.  Even those who started out in  college coaching got onto the pro gravy train at the first opportunity.

Good luck to you.  Stay safe.

*********** While waiting eagerly in line to watch Craig James get flogged in the public square (I'll pay top dollar)...

It is really a disgrace the way ESPN has handled the Mike Leach story.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if this arrogant misuse of its enormous power to shape stories didn't finally bring ESPN's near-monopoly on TV sports news to the attention of Congress. Not that anything's going to happen to ESPN/Disney, once Congress does get on it, but it's going to be a great opportunity for Congress and an expensive lesson for ESPN, because once the politicians get on your back, it takes more than the usual "campaign donations" to get them off.

*********** What those two ESPN announcers, Mike Patrick and Bob Davie did during the Alamo in their near-nonstop chatter about the Mike Leach situation was borderline jury tampering.

I actually heard Patrick say (close to these words) "He was punished for having a concussion."

That's when I sent off another e-mail to the ESPN ombudsman asking what we were going to have to do to get them to just call the GD game.

*********** Davie, who knows his football, miscalled a couple of things - said an MSU LBer missed a tackle when replay (complete with Davie's telestrator) showed him hanging onto the ball carrier, and later an MSU receiver missed a ball that Dave said "hit him in the hands" when replay clearly showed the kid was stumbling and had no shot at catching the ball.

This is the pious Mr. Davie who earlier, in referring to Mike Leach, said you should never humiliate a youngster.

*********** I hate watching the Texas Tech offense. It truly is grass basketball, but it's really tough to stop. It's spawned an awful lot of imitators, too, but few of them can approach TT's effectiveness. What they don't understand, all these wannabes, is how deadly accurate the Texas Tech quarterbacks are, how amazingly sticky-fingered the TT receivers are (and how well they run after the catch), and how well they protect. And also that they have - make that had - Mike Leach coaching it.

*********** Yes, the Tech Tech shotgun is powerful. But it is nice to be able to have a quarterback get under center and take a snap every now and them. I did have to laugh when Tech faced a 4th and one and tried a quarterback sneak and fumbled the snap.

*********** Ruffin McNeill, Texas Tech DC who acted as head coach for the Alamo Bowl, certainly deserves a shot at the head job. For the overall good of the program, I think it's a no-brainer.

He says he and Mike Leach are good friends, and I believe that, but he did take a not-so-subtle shot at Leach in his postgame (job) interview when he told Heather Cox, "I love kids... I promise the parents that for one - that I'll take care of their most prized possessions - their sons - if they'll let me have them."

*********** Hi Coach.it was great communicating with you again.May the New Year bring you and yours many of God's blessings.Not to keep beating the Coach Leach thing but we will take him in Miami. Our kids won't even notice if you stick them in a closet plus their mommas pobably will say "Closet? I would've whooped his ass for being such a pussy." That is how we roll in Coral Gables.Maybe this year i can catch one of your clinics.Remember i will be applying for the HC job again for Detroit and Raiders job this year.Come on this is the kind of stuff books are written about.Will apply this week.Remember where i go you go.I will keep you informed.


Armando Castro, Roanoke, Virginia

*********** I heard them say that Northwestern sold 11,000 tickets to the Outback Bowl - "and they only have 8,000 students."

Dismissing the fact that generally, it's meaningless because it's not students that buy bowl tickets, I also passed up the chance to crack wise and say "that's all right - Auburn sold 25,000 tickets and they only have five students." (Northwestern just happened to be playing Auburn, but feel free to insert the college of your choice.)

*********** Can you save money on car insurance at Geico?

Are we sick and tired of the Too Tall Jones commercial?

*********** I am growing weary of...

hearing any type of sweep referred to as "the end around"

pass plays and blitzes being "dialed up"

*********** Air Force runs all over Houston; Navy embarrasses Missouri and its Big 12 athletes.

Hey, passing guys - If you can't beat 'em - outlaw 'em.

Better get your people on the NCAA rules committee to require everybody to go from two-point stances and titty-bump block just like you.

*********** Doggone Tressel had to wait until the Rose Bowl to take the wraps off of Pryor. Damn. Even when you have Pryor trapped you don't have him trapped. Sucker won't go down. Didn't throw too bad against Oregon, either.

*********** Ohio State wins the Rose Bowl. Wisconsin thumps Miami. Penn State beats LSU. Northwestern takes Auburn into OT. Minnesota loses a close one. MIchigan State, short 14 players and a heavy underdog, plays Texas Tech tough. Now can we get off the Big Ten's case?

Actually, we should have gotten off long ago, said Darren Everson in this past weekend's Wall Street Journal. BCS-bowl futility aside, the bowl inferiority of the Big Ten is a myth. For example, he notes, over the past 12 years, the Big Ten is 13-11 against the SEC in the Outback and Capital One Bowls.

(Dammit. I knew you'd bring up the Pac 10.)

*********** Sure wish when Lou Holtz is talking about a college football team he wouldn't refer to the university it represents. Let's say Texas is behind at half time and Holtz is asked what what the Longhorns will have to do in the second half. "The University of Texas," he'll start out, "has to establish the passing game."

Say, "University of Texas?"

Like the school of engineering and department of foreign languages are going to have to get off their dead asses and give the quarterback better protection.

*********** Florida-Cincinnati. Yikes. I know Florida is very good. Tebow was sensational.

I know the Cincinnati players had a lot of crap dumped on them, but how much better would they have played even if they'd had Brian Kelly coaching them?

Even allowing for all the problems they've had, Cinci's trouncing by Florida should point out to BCS destractors that being unbeaten is not enough by itself to qualify a team to play in the title game.

Speaking of Brian Kelly... are Notre Dame's fans really going to want to watch that spread sh--? My guess: not unless ND comes out and plays sensational football. Immediately. It hasn't gone well in Michigan so far, has it?

Hell, Charlie Weis' teams threw it around and moved the football.

************ John Rothwell, of Fort Worth, Texas send me this link to a video of a revolutionary shock-absorbent product--


*********** Ohio State is once again the best college team in Ohio; but barring a loss to Troy on Wednesday night, Central Michigan will remain the best college team in Michigan

*********** Sam Bradford - what a damn shame. For him. For Oklahoma. And for college football. He's destined to become the patron saint of Coming Out Early.

*********** Not to dredge up the Heisman farce, but - do you suppose that after Tim Tebow's 533 yards of total offense against a previously undefeated team, they'd still give the Heisman to a guy who wasn't even the top rusher in his own conference?

*********** Thom Brenneman, one of the many nameless, faceless interchangeable guys in suits that they've dispatched to call bowl games, was talking about Bryan Kelly, and said, "This is the first guy that Notre Dame has hired in really a decade and a half that is a legitimate winning football coach at the collegiate level for an extended period of time."

I guess he didn't consider George O'Leary as having been "hired," but he was, and he was certainly "a legitimate winning football coach at the collegiate level for an extended period of time."

Consider: he was at Georgia Tech from 1994 through 2001. That's an "extended period of time." Overall he was 52-33, making him a "legitimate winning football coach."

He was only 1-10, 6-5 and 5-6 in his first three years. But in his last five years, he was 40-22, and Tech went to five straight bowl games. Even beat Notre Dame in one of them.

His winning percentage at Tech was .612. (At ND, only one coach since 1980 - Lou Holtz - has done better.)

One can only imagine where ND might be today if it hadn't been for George O'Leary's needless embellishment of his resume.

*********** I guarantee you, the bowl games showed us the kind of exciting, daring plays and calls that we'd never see if they'd been playoff games.

*********** While I deplore ESPN's biased treatment of the Mike Leach case, I sure do notice the difference when ESPN's not broadcasting the game.

I absolutely hate the NFL treatment Fox gives college games.  The announcers don't know the game, and they act as if they are doing us a big favor by condescending to even do a college game.

They need to understand that a college game isn't over when it's over - there's still a lot of milling around goijg on down on the field.

Fox, used to doing pro games, can't wait to take us to the studio so the stiffs can tell us what we just saw.

*********** I told a guy today Monday after a solid week of bowl games, watching the NFL Sunday was like watching ice fishing.

*********** So after a Sunday of teams laying down, what does the NFL plan to do to make next week's games more exciting? Why, give us more of the same. Three of next week's four games will be replays of Sunday's games. The big difference will be that next week everybody will really try to win. Really. Because the games will really matter. Really. Would the NFL lie to us?

*********** Braylon Edwards introduced himself on Sunday Night Football as being from "Lloyd Carr's University of Michigan."  Interesting, huh?

Ed Wyatt,
Melbourne, Australia

*********** I was listening to the Liberty Bowl on the radio and I heard the color guy say, "I'd put the ball in Ryan Mallett's hands. He's the best athlete on the field - for either team."

Wait - would that be the same Ryan Mallett that Rich Rodriguez ran out of Ann Arbor?


*********** In a Texas Tech internal e-mail dated Feb 8, 2009 to chancellor Mike Hance from some booster whose name has been marked out, the writer suggests that the chancellor and Mike Leach sit down and talk things over. He scoffs at the notion that Leach might leave Tech for another job, saying - "I know, you know, and Mike knows there are only 10 or 12 better jobs in the country. And you would only say better because of recruiting possibilities, because of tradition."

I would say first of all that if Texas Tech is a good job, it's because Mike Leach has made it so. Not top 10 or 12, mind you, but pretty attractive. But now, take whatever he has done and subtract all the ugly internal politicking that has come to light, and it moves the Texas Tech job down the ladder.

Quite arbitrarily listing jobs using criteria such as compensation, facilities, attractiveness to recruits, administrative support, ability to win consistently, I came up with a lot more than "10 or 12" that most reasonable people would consider better than Texas Tech, and quite a few at least as good. (Because of the way the BCS screws "lesser" conferences, there are no WAC or Mountain West teams.)


Florida State
Virginia Tech
Michigan State
Ohio State
Penn State

BIG 12
PAC 10
Arizona State

Georgia Tech
North Carolina
West Virginia
South Carolina
BIG 12
Oklahoma State
Texas A & M
PAC 10
Oregon State

*********** Undoubtedly in the interest of political correctness, and in total rejection of historical accuracy, West Virginia had a female mountaineer. She carried a rifle and wore a coonskin cap. And dangling earrings.

*********** Coach Wyatt,
I'm on the fence in regards to a playoff for DI football.  I would like to see a champion from a playoff as opposed to the BCS system we have now, but then again I love this time of year because of all the matchups and games that are on.  In regards to mostly the same teams being in the lower division championship games a lot of that has to do with coaching and recruiting.  The coaches at the schools mentioned have built solid programs and recruit wisely since they don't have 85 scholarships to burn through.  D2 schools get 36 max. and those are almost always divided up.  Besides, at the D2 level you have to win at least 4 games in the playoffs to be a national champion...if this same scenerio were true at the D1 level you would probably have the big dogs dominate most years, but whenever a lesser known team had a great group they could make a run at things. 
I attached a link to Northwest's media guide that shows their results in the recent years.  http://www.nwmissouri.edu/sports/football/mediaguide/09fbmg13.pdf 
God Bless,
Joel Mathews
Indpendence, MIssouri
P.S. - Either you were off base or I don't know politics b/c I thought Clinton was full of hot air and the blizzard that came through was certainly cold!

NW MISSOURICoach - I sure wasn't saying that those schools didn't build great programs, and honestly at that.  My point was that if people think that the big guys monopolize Division I (FBS) under the current system, they shouldn't think that a playoff will make it any better.

You may see the "lesser known team" win an early-round game, but they won't be able to keep it up because a multi-round playoff would be the equivalent of a mini-regular season against much tougher competition than they're used to playing.

Big admirer of NW Missouri - here's a photo I took when I passed through Maryville a couple of summers ago, on my way to Clarinda, Iowa

*********** Matt Millen's internship as an analyst isn't going any better than his internship as an NFL General Manager.

*********** I feel awful about Chris Spielman's personal tragedy, but geez - he's had this college football gig for at least ten years now, and he simply hasn't improved from day one. He goes on and on, relies on the jargon that he used as a player, and occasionally comes out with this one, when he was trying to explain whether something was or was not a fumble (I forget which) "The forearms were between the body and the ball and the ground." Isn't there such a thing as quality control where announcers are concerned?

*********** Joe Suhey made the key block to allow Penn State's Daryl Clark to get off a first-quarter touchdown pass... And that sent me back to this, which I wrote in July, 2000---

Steve Suhey was 19 when he arrived at Penn State in the fall of 1941, but with World War II going on, he left State College following his sophomore year to serve in the Pacific, and didn't return for another three years. Back at Penn State, he had two years of eligibility left, and in 1947, was captain of Coach Bob Higgins' unbeaten Nittany Lions' team, and an All-American guard. Years later, in 1985, he would be inducted into the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame. After Penn State, he played a couple of years with the Steelers while earning his degree in the off-season, then spent a couple more years as a high school coach in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania before returning to State College and entering a career in sales. Along the way, he married Virginia Higgins, his coach's daughter, and the Suheys had seven children. Steve Suhey died on January 8, 1977 - his 55th birthday - but he left quite a legacy. In 1976, the football season preceding his death, he had the rare opportunity of seeing three of his sons - Larry, Paul and Matt - play on the same Penn State team. Larry is now a sales representative in State College. Paul is an orthopedic surgeon in Jacksonville, Florida. And Matt is an investment banker in the Chicago area. He is also the executor of the late Walter Payton's estate. You may or may not remember Matt, but for eight seasons with the Chicago Bears, he was the fullback in front of Payton. The guy who did the blocking. "He was the toughest person I've ever known," Matt Suhey said of Payton to USA Today. "People talk about this great back or that one. I don't care. I know they're not like Walter." Suhey stayed close to Payton throughout his final battle, and said that the trust that they developed on the playing field is the reason why Payton chose him to administer his estate. "We trusted each other when we played," he said. "We had to, because we depended on each other. I think he trusted I would try to do the right thing for his family."

Joe Suhey, who threw the block for Daryll Clark, is Matt Suhey's son.

*********** "As for what many are calling racial profiling in the aftermath of September 11th, well, get ready to be pissed off, you ACLU-Morons, we're dealing with a massive threat and limited manpower, so, you want them to check everybody out equally? Sure, fine okay, but let's at least compromise and put the Swedish dwarf a little further down the list than the Iraqi explosives expert carrying a Belgian passport with more eraser marks on it than Kid Rock's trig final" - Dennis Miller

FLAGFRIDAY, JANUARY 1, 2010- "I'm not trying to win a popularity poll.  I'm trying to win football games.  I don't like nice people.  I like tough, honest people." Woody Hayes


*********** My e-mail to the ombudsman at ESPN...

I do not attempt to defend Mike Leach, but I can't believe that although Craig James is a major factor in the Mike Leach firing, he not only continues to appear on telecasts of bowl games while the controversy rages, but is actually provided a forum by ESPN to tell us what "victims" he and his family are. You have not told your viewers all that you could have. The son appears to be a malingerer and the father a classic stage parent, yet you managed to find - and quote - one player willing to condemn Mike Leach while ignoring the far larger number of current and former players and assistants who have come out in support of him and in condemnation of the Jameses and their role. This is not ESPN's proudest moment.

*********** There's an old bit of cautionary wisdom that most coaches are well aware of: don't get into a fight with somebody who buys ink by the barrel. In other words, if you pick a fight with a newspaper, you are not going to win.

I don't know what the TV equivalent of that is, but Mike Leach is finding out that it works the same way.

Whatever his side of the story is, he is not getting it out there, and every minute that he delays allows ESPN, which ought to be recusing itself from the story, to continue to pound him while giving its employee, Craig James, a fortune's worth of free air time to shamelessly refer to himself as a victim.

*********** I read this day that Mike Leach coached in Finland. I may have known that and forgotten. May have asked before but did you have any Fin connection to him?

Leach was coaching a lower-division team in a small city called Pori, on the west coast, while I - ahem - was coaching a top division team and enjoying the good life in Helsinki (a very nice city).  I know he was raised Mormon and went to BYU. I don't know how devout he was at that point (late 80's) but Finland, with its love of strong drink as well as coffee, would have been a bit difficult for a devout Mormon to accept.  

I can assure you that he was not running that offense of his - we weren't allowed to have an American at QB (the idea was to force development of Finnish QB's), and even if we were, those guys had the worst hands in the world - they all grew up playing soccer or hockey.

He is a good coach.  He is also a bit of a nut case.

I don't think for a minute that this is a firing offense, but evidently he'd reached the point where he started th throw his weight around and the powers that be - AD, chancellor, and a few trustees - were looking for the right chance to get rid of him, and he handed it to them.

I don't know what he was thinking when he got involved with the James family.  There was no football upside to giving a scholarship to a kid that every single Division I school had passed on.  And if the kid was a malingerer and malcontent, and Craig a Little League father, as Leach supposedly has said, then Leach was crazy to stick by his inflexible policy of not giving releases to a kid to go to another Division I program. 

Compounding it all is that he got into a pissing contest with a skunk. He got into an argument with the cable TV equivalent of someone who buys ink by the barrel.  With their employee James involved, ESPN, which in my opinion should have recused itself or suspended James, has chosen to craft the story so as to provide cover for him, hammering Leach while giving James thousands of dollars worth of air time to tell us that he's a victim in all this.

Not to get into Leach's actions, but you have no idea how much coaches despise fathers like Craig James, and how miserable they make our lives.  Our fondest wish is that he take a fall in this, to serve as an example to all like him who infest the lower levels of sport but seldom come to the attention of the larger sporting public.

*********** The only people who are going to come out ahead in the Texas Tech/Mike Leach/Adam James/Craig James/ESPN incident are the lawyers.

Well, actually, Mike Leach might. Guy can coach, and I don't hear any charges against him that register very high on the Mangino scale, so he's probably still employable.

But regardless of what ultimately gets worked out, one thing is becoming abundantly clear:

The combination of Adam James and his stage father Craig sound like every coach's nightmare. Adam James is 21 years old and Daddy's still fighting his fights for him.

Leach never should have scholarshipped the kid in the first place. BY all acounts he had more warning signs beforehand than the TSA did before they let the would-be bomber on board the Christmas day flight.

Nor should he have kept the kid around once it was clear what the kid was like. Whatever the reason that he made his bargain to take the kid (big donation by Daddy?) he had to know that at some point this would not end well, and he should have cut his losses by taking quick action.

"Keep your enemies closer?" people like to say. That's a laugh. It's a line from a movie, invented by a script writer.

It couldn't be further from the truth. You ever heard of the Trojan Horse? If you're smart, you'll get 'em the hell out of town.

If Leach had let young James transfer, Daddy would have been gone, too. Guaranteed. End of problem.

Good luck, SMU. (Like passing them the queen of spades.)

Moral to coaches everywhere:

Youth, middle school, high school college - when you've determined you've got a kid who's a cancer? When his father won't let go? Stop thinking you're Superman - that you are magically endowed with the power to change them. Act now. It isn't going to get better.

*********** Does it raise any questions in your mind when you think about the fact that the Texas Tech AD who was so shocked about Mike Leach's alleged mistreatment of Craig James' little boy is the same Texas Tech AD who hired Bobby Knight?

********** The followoing e-mal was sent to CBS Sports by Graham Harrell. Harrell, the son of a Texas high school coach, was the starting QB at Texas Tech for three seasons - 2006-2008. There was a good reason he and several other supporters of Mike Leach sent this to CBS Sports, and not ESPN - ESPN would have ignored them because they didn't help Craig James' case.

To Whom It May Concern:

Texas Tech University and the athletic department is filled with great people from the top down, starting with the chancellor all the way down to the student athletes involved in the programs. In the football program, Gerald Myers and the rest of the administration have put together an unbelievable staff that believe success only comes from hard work and doing things right. The staff expects the players and everyone involved to buy into their beliefs, but like anywhere not every player agrees with or buys into what the coaches and program stand for. At Texas Tech the majority of the players do everything the coaches ask of them and anything possible to improve the team. Adam James is one of the few players who has never bought into what Texas Tech football was built on and in my years there with him had a negative impact on the team because of his attitude and work ethic on and off the field. Coach Leach demands a lot out of every player in the program and pushed his players and coaches as hard as any coach I have ever been around, but he is fair to every player and would never make and decision or action that is not best for the Texas Tech football program.

Before Adam James ever entered the football locker room at Texas Tech I heard how spoiled and selfish he acted in a team atmosphere from many of my baseball friends. Adam was on the baseball team his true freshman year at Tech, before he ever joined the football team, and did not make it through the baseball season because of his selfish attitude. After a baseball game in which he felt like he did not get enough playing time, but the team still won twenty to one, he came into the locker room after the game and “pouted and threw a big fit” according another player on the baseball team. A few weeks later in the middle of the season, he just stopped showing up to practices or game and quit because he was not happy about how he was being treated. One of my roommates was a baseball player on the team and many of my friends were a part of the team that witnessed all of this. These baseball players told me he was “spoiled and selfish” before he ever came to the football team. After quitting baseball he came out for football and his selfish attitude was very evident, as was his laziness. During off-season workouts he often would be caught skipping lifts in the weight room or finding ways to cut corners/get out of conditioning exercises. When we had player organized seven on seven throwing in the summer, when he would show up he was much more interested in playing his own games on the side of the field or telling people that he wasn’t going to run any routes because the coaches do not get him a “fair opportunity” anyway. During the season he was often “injured” (it usually seemed like a very minor injury that could keep him out of practice but never out of any other activity, including games) so he would not participate in some drills in practice.

None of these acts were productive for our team, but the most detrimental part of Adam was his off field attitude and actions. In the locker room and away from the facility, Adam used any opportunity he had to tell other players how he was being treated unfairly, how the coaches did not give him a fair chance and how we did not have to do everything the coaches told us because they had no option but to play some of us. When I heard these kinds of things I usually tried to put an end to them but Adam pretty consistently talked bad about the coaches or down played the importance of working hard, when he was off the field. When he talked to young players or players that were usually on the scout he would explain how the coaches were not fair to certain players and only played favorites. When he talked to players that did get some playing time he would talk about how we didn’t really have to do what the coaches asked of us because the coaches had to play us anyway. And it almost always tied back to how he was not getting a fair chance to play just because the coaches were unfair. The coaches were always more than fair to Adam I felt, because he came in the game during certain formations and situations last football season, but because of his work ethic and attitude, many of the players on last years team had a hard time trusting him or relying on him because he was not always practicing and we had seen his laziness during the off-season. Adam was a kid that seemed like he had been given everything he wanted his whole life and acted like if things did not go exactly how he wanted someone was treating him unfairly or someone needed to be blamed for his failures. He was a selfish player on and off the field that was counter-productive for our team and would be for any other team.

Mike Leach was not only my head coach, but he was my position coach all five of my years at Texas Tech. I spent more time with him than any other player during my five years and had meetings with him every day. He was very hard on me and every other player in program and he held very high expectations for every player. He would push us all every day during the season and during the off-season. He felt that hard work, dedication and doing things right was the only way we could be successful and compete in the Big XII conference. He worked harder and longer than anyone else in program and was committed to winning at all cost. He would never have been unfair to a player or not played the best players he had because he wanted to win more than anything else. Coach Leach also expected us to be tough but smart at the same time. He would not pressure a kid to play with a serious injury or play when he did not feel ready to play. Coach Leach is a man that cares about his player and puts his players, coaches and the well being of the Texas Tech football program above all else.

Coach Leach is a great coach at Texas Tech that emphasizes the importance of hard work and doing things the right way so that the football program has the best opportunity possible to be successful. He, along with the administration and the rest of his staff, have built a great football program at Texas Tech that is built on the virtues and principles that give any program an opportunity to be successful. Every single player may not buy into the program’s beliefs, but Mike Leach has almost everyone on board with him and the Texas Tech football program on a successful track.

Graham Harrell

Read other E-mails to CBS Sports - http://dennis-dodd.blogs.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/6270202/19238949

*********** I'll leave the final say on the Leach matter to one of my favorite columnists, Jason Whitlock, who comments on Craig James...

The guy is making Todd Marinovich’s dad appear rational. James had been one of my favorite broadcasters. I’ve lost all respect for James. His attack on Leach wasn’t about protecting his son’s health. It was about protecting his son’s bloated, shattered ego.

I don’t have a problem with Texas Tech firing Leach for insubordination. My problem is with the tantrum James has thrown on national TV for the past three days. Standing in a dark garage with a mild concussion isn’t waterboarding.

*********** Say what you want about Mike Leach - it's sad to lose one of the few Big Time coaches with a personality. Most of them are such zeroes.

I mean, come one - don't you get the impression that Nick Saban or Urban Meyer or Mack Brown or Jim Tressel have never laughed - hard - at anything in their lives?

They're paid like Wall Streeters, and - excepting bratty types like Kiffin, Neuheisel, Spurrier - that's the public image they project: buttoned-down and humorless.

*********** While we're on the subject of Lanie Kiffin...

I have many good friends in Tennessee, and I know how much they love their Vols, but it's simply not possible for me to root for a team whose coach is such a punk.

He got his ass whupped by Virginia Tech and then barely gave Frank Beamer the time of day during their post-game "hand shake."

Man up, you snot-nosed puke and take the time shake the hand of a real coach. That's Frank Beamer you just dissed. You'll never be half the coach he is.

*********** Hugh
Merry Christmas to you and Connie!
Here is a photo of our 2009 Black Lion, Patrick Kalbac, along with (from Left to Right) Steve Goodman, Head Coach Darryl Maple, Patrick, Sergeant Steven Schwartz, and myself. 

As you know it's been my privilege to be involved with the Black Lion program since the beginning and Steve Goodman has been our presentor every year!  Jim Shelton was under the weather on our awards night so Steve had Sergeant Schwartz attend to help present.  Needless to say there wasn't a dry eye in the house when "Goodie" was done.  It never fails to stir my heart when I see the responce this award brings.  Our parents, students, and fans were extrememly moved with no fewer than 3 standing ovations during their talk. 
Steve also showed me about 100 pictures of the Black Lions trip to Lambeau Field.  He is quite a friend!  Thanks for helping to make this very special award available for our young men.
Jake von Scherer, Ath. Director
Palmer Trinity School
Palmetto Bay, Florida

*********** Big day for the service academies...

Air Force 47, Houston 20

Navy 35, Missouri 13

Whew - look what happens to good teams that spend their seasons playing against titty-bumping, push-and-grab spread attacks and then have to play an honest-to-God, in-your-face, block-with-your-shoulder-pads running attack.

*********** Hugh,
Merry Christmas.
I couldn't wait to see what you had to say on the Colts game.  Frankly you were kinder than I would have been.
I don't know how anyone can call themselves an athlete (like Manning) and just roll over and wet on himself sticking up for the Coach and management.  I cannot conceive of any circumstance that those players didn't just walk off the field and into the locker room in disgust and perhaps not return for practice this week, knowing they will not play on Sunday...
I have a suggestion to the NFL; once a team qualify's for the playoffs their season ends and the remaining teams are re-scheduled at large to finish the season.  The league could add a "most improved bracket that allows the team that scores the most points in the final 2-4 weeks a super-wild card spoiler berth against the Division Champion for a shot at the super bowl....
But it really sucks to watch the second round of pre-season games for the last two weeks of the season each year.
Happy New Year's....
Rich Golden
Montville, Connecticut

Merry Christmas to you, too!

Surprisingly, I haven't received a single "but they just didn't want their players getting hurt" message.  Maybe more and more people are coming to their senses and realizing what a fraud the NFL is allowing itself to become.

I don't hold anything against Manning et al.  To my knowledge, it would be the first time he would ever have criticized coaching, and I just think he's above that.  But that doesn't mean he agreed or approved, and despite his disclaimer, I swear I saw some body language indicating anything but agreement or approval.

His was the modern-day version of what John Unitas' reaction would have been.  Not that Unitas would ever have been asked to sit down like that - I doubt that the coach ever lived who would have asked him for the ball - but if he had, his response to media questions afterward would have been a shrug of the shoulders and something on the order of "I just work here."

Your "reverse-elimination" suggestion may have been made with tongue in cheek, but it makes some sense.  Players would play their asses off if finishing first meant a week or two off at the end of the season.

Obviously, there would be some serious financial challenges, such as the lost gate revenue from the cancelled games, but  they've already got all these season-ticket holders staying home from dull-ass late-season games anyhow, so maybe fans wouldn't mind so much.

Maybe the NFL could offer the season ticket holders the option of donating the price of their unused tickets for the cancelled games to the fund for  NFL old-timers who retired before today's gargantuan salaries and aren't adequately covered by pensions.

*********** The Idaho game was a great game. LOTS of Washington kids on the Idaho roster, undoubtedly because Idaho coach Robb Akey spent eight years at Washington State.

The guy is great - with that gravelly voice of his all he has to do is grow a mustache and he'd pass for Yosemite Sam.

And then at halftime of the Humanitarian Bowl, he told the bimbo (and, I presume, the nationwide TV audience), "watch the second half, you're gonna love it!"

It's not often a Nebraska kid leaves the state. So how did NU miss a kid from North Platte, Idaho QB Nathan Enderle? Kid can throw the ball.

*********** On comes the Holiday Bowl and I find myself looking at the Ole Coach Killer himself - Craig F--king James. I almost threw up listening to that creep tell us how bad he felt for everybody and how his family was looking forward to putting this behind them.

What a f--king jerk.

I can't believe ESPN would have so little regard for objectivity that it would let that a**hole do any bowl game.

The game that followed, Nebraska-Arizona, was possibly the worst bowl game I have ever seen.  It was so bad it could have passed for an NFL game.

And then, to further enhance our viewing pleasure, ESPN gifted us with a delightful segment of that prick James telling us what a victim he is, and how tough this has all been on his family.

Suh is good, all right, but Nebraska had several very good defensive linemen. (Imagine having to play against him in HS, as we had to do at Madison in 2004. He was, uh, pretty tough.)

*********** Sure hope Les Miles was watching the Air Force-Houston (Armed Forces Bowl) game. If he wasn't, this is for him...

Air Force on the Houston 2. 3rd and goal. 16 seconds to go. No time outs left.

Got to pass. Can't run - no way to stop the clock and kick a field goal if they don't score.

So AF runs a bootleg - and the QB slips. On the 11 yard line. With 11 seconds to go.

But, being a well-prepared team (you still with me, Les?), the Falcons had their field goal team ready to race onto the field (are you still reading this, Les?) and they managed to line up and get set and get the snap off with 2 seconds left. And they made the kick.

*********** Coach - too bad Temple's  big running back went down in the second  half, I really would of loved to see them knock UCLA  off. Coach  I'm praying they can keep  Golden at least  two  or three more  seasons  I highly doubt it  but I'm hope,   what Golden he has done at Temple  is nothing short of a miracle.  and I tip my hat to Temple  when all the clowns in the national media  laughed at them for a two decade bad stretch  they stuck with it survived  self inflicted  mistakes and the administration with a small  band of Loyal Temple football boosters invested in the program( The Football building- practice facility  is better than some in the Big East & ACC ) and they  are knocking on the door  of being a Top  25  program caliber program and being major  player in the MAC  and  the East
John Muckian
Lynn, Massachusetts (It's amazing to realize that not that long ago Temple was drummed out of the Big East.

Al Golden should stay there forever but too many other schools are going to want him!

(Note to Al Golden:  if you go to Texas Tech, cut the James kid.)

*********** Hugh:   One more thing and then I'll quit pestering you.  A year or so ago I asked Veryl Sorgen, then the head of officials of the Pac-10, official Jim Fogeltance, and a couple of other officials about long hair.  Specifically, can you tackle a guy by the hair?  I know you've seen the NFL dudes  with hair hanging out of their helmets down to their butts.  "Warriors," they like to call themselves.  "Nuts" is how I view them.

Well, the answer to my question was a group "yes."  So, as far as I know, except for a holding call maybe, on offense, hair is fair game.  At least in tackling.

I'm waiting eagerly to see it happen.

I really have a difficult time looking at all that hair hanging out.

Funny how after all those years of hair not showing outside the helmet, this suddenly became a "cultural" thing. Ummm - you sure it's not exhibitionism?

The NFL could have cut it off before it got to this point by simply requiring that the name plates on the jerseys be legible.

And if the NFL wouldn't tolerate it, I doubt that you'd see much of it at the college level.

*********** To think that I'm able to get the NFL Network on our Dish and I still missed the Pro Bowl Selection Show.

*********** Coach Wyatt,
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year !
Minnesota Vikings: The Complete Illustrated History by Pat Reusse (longtime St. Paul & Star Trib columnist). Great read, great insight especially to the 1960's NFL and the 1970's glory years.
On the subject of sports historical, in an earlier News update, you mentioned the ESPN 30 for 30 piece on the "U." I have watched that a couple of times, I remember despising all things Hurricane, still do, but that film was excellent. Of the interview subjects, very little personal growth, or humility has managed to creep in. But . . . they could play . . .
Have you seen the Ali - Holmes preview documentary on 30 for 30? It was also outstanding. I have always been a Larry Holmes fan, brutally honest and always willing to stand by his words. Ali finally got what he seemingly deserved.
The program on Jimmy Snyder was very good as well.
D1 playoff. Getting harder to keep arguing this, especially with TCU and Boise State not getting a shot at it. One argument that I resort to is that there already is a D1 playoff, it begins in Sept. and lasts through December. Every game is vital, if you screw up once you might be cooked. Consider the holy of holies for D1 tourneys, the Men's D1 March BB tourney. A great event, especially the first two weekends, but tell me 1 important regular season game that has occurred in the first month and 1/2 of the season. No regular season game is really important, nor will it ever be.
Take care,
Mick Yanke
Cokato, Minnesota 
I know of Patrick Reusse as a sports columnist (from all my plane changes in MSP) and I'm a big admirer of Bud Grant, so I'm sure I'll enjoy the book.

I'm also a fan of Larry Holmes, probably because he's from Easton, Pa., not far from where I grew up, and he's spent most of his life there.  Easton is a small, blue-collar town with a great sports tradition.

Your point regarding the overall lack of importance of regular season basketball games is apt, with two exceptions: Duke-UNC, twice a year. HW

*********** Did you see how much single wing Stanford ran with Gerhart at tailback? I know, I know - they kept calling it the Wildcat, but it was as single wing as you can get. And all they did was run Gerhart off tackle, strong or weak. Imagine if they had a third play!

*********** The final margin of the Wisconsin-Miami game was only a touchdown, but  don't let it fool you - it was an ass-kicking.

*********** It didn't do anything to change Miami's image as an undisciplined team when that knucklehead raced like hell downfield so he could deliver a block in the back - 10 yards back upfield - as his teammate was crossing the goal line at the end of an opening kickoff return.

*********** Was it my imagination or is Miami not all that talented?

*********** It broke my heart to hear that the cold weather was affecting those poor Miami kids against Wisconsin.  Haw, haw, haw.  Fifty degrees, was it?  Damn.  

At the least, it's poetic justice.  It's about time a northern team caught a break.  Hell - whenever a northern team plays a southern team, it's  either early in the season when - wherever they play the game - it's warm, or at the end of the season in a bowl game where (usually) it's also warm.

*********** Man, that  Scott Tolzien, the Wisconsin QB, can really zing that sucker.

*********** Good Afternoon, I am going to be a brand new youth coach next year and I am mainly looking for at the double wing as our system.  My question is if it would be possible to use a short shotgun snap, only about 2 yds with the FB being right next to the QB (shoulder to shoulder) and both are crouched down low to conceal where the ball is snapped?  The reason I think this would be a little better for a youth team (opposed to QB under center) is to allow more space for the pulling lineman, conceal the snap, hide 2 players, less chance of fumbled snaps/pitches (the QB still would make a quick spin and pitch to the motion-back on the powers), and getting the ball in the ball carrier hand's quicker.  Also on traps, wedges and FB counters, we can use a direct snap to the FB instead of a hand-off...the motion back and QB will still carry out the power fakes.

I listed out what I perceive as some advantages, do you know of any obvious disadvantages I am over looking?

Thank you for your help, it is really appreciated.

Coach, When you see the video I am going to link to, you will understand why I am suspicious that you are setting me up.

But in the belief that you are on the up and up, the answer is "Yes" and it is my Wildcat, which I invented - and named - in 1997, long before the Big Guys "invented" it.


The major disadvantages are (1)  it is difficult to have a quick passing game because they QB can't take his eyes off the snap, and (2) the rules prevent you from spiking the ball to stop the clock (in my opinion, they shouldn't allow it under any circumstances anyhow).

*********** MORE JASON WHITLOCK - http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/whitlock-nfl-truths-123109

The next time someone tells you that a playoff format would make college football perfect remind him/her of the Colts laying down against the Jets and the legitimate allegations the Patriots and Bengals will lie down this weekend to keep the defending champion Steelers out of the playoffs.

The NFL isn’t going to discount tickets for its second exhibition season. It’s still going to cost $25 to park your car. But, as is prone to happen this time of year, the league will treat us to a string of meaningless games pitting players mostly trying to avoid injuries.

Oh, there will be a handful of AFC teams giving their all, making last-ditch attempts to secure one of two remaining playoff spots. The problem is, their opponent won’t care much about winning or losing. Or, in the case of the Pats and Bengals, the opponent might have incentive to lose.

“Cincinnati is probably going to go into New York and lay down for the Jets and not play them hard just because they’re not going to want to see Pittsburgh in (the playoffs),” Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley told the media on Wednesday. “No one wants to see Pittsburgh in it. That’s just how it is. Everybody knows we’re a dangerous team once we get into the playoffs, no matter how we played the whole year.”

It’s true. Pittsburgh can’t qualify for the playoffs if the Pats and Bengals both lose.

If you were Cincinnati or New England and had an opportunity to eliminate two-time Super Bowl winner and fourth-quarter assassin Ben Roethlisberger by keeping the playoff hopes of New York’s Mark Sanchez and Houston’s Matt Schaub alive, wouldn’t you lay down?

New England plays at Houston. Cincy plays at New York. The Pats and Bengals, winners of their divisions, have secured playoff spots, and there’s little difference between being a No. 3 or No. 4 seed. Bill Belichick and Marvin Lewis are expected to rest numerous starters on Sunday.

I’m not suggesting the college BCS system is superior to the NFL’s playoff system. I’m saying there is no perfect system, and the media ignore the obvious flaws in the pro format.

Last Sunday, the Colts spit on history, pulling Peyton Manning and several other starters from a game that could’ve put Indy one win from regular-season perfection. We’ve heard a plethora of excuses and rationalizations for the Colts’ decision. The only one that makes a kernel of sense is the Colts, too, want Big Ben on a couch with a remote at playoff time.

Sound crazy? Did you see Roethlisberger’s 503-yard masterpiece against the Packers two weeks ago? Did you see his game-winning dart to Mike Wallace as time expired?

If the Steelers qualify and safety Troy Polamalu returns for the playoffs, Mike Tomlin and the Steelers could raise the hell he promised a month ago. Smart football people know this. The Steelers are a great defensive team when Polamalu is on the field. If he’d remained healthy throughout the year, Pittsburgh is 13-3 rather than 8-7 and gasping for life.

So, yeah, it makes sense for the Bengals, Patriots and Colts to lay down. Why not let Denver (Kyle Orton), Baltimore (Joe Flacco), Houston (Schaub) or the Jets (Sanchez) into the tournament and eliminate the champ before the postseason begins?