FRIDAY, JULY 31, 2009- “It’s true I am only one, but I am one. And the fact that I can’t do everything will not prevent me from doing what I can do.” Edward Everett Hale
*********** I FIRST PRINTED THIS IN FEBRUARY, 2004 -
Some 25 years ago, while studying for my Master's Degree at the University of Portland, I took a course in World History taught by Professor James Covert. The guy was something of a legend at the U of P, and he was really good. I had majored in history at Yale and I'd been taught by some of the best in their field, but as a teacher, Professor Covert was the equal of any of them. One lesson really left an impression on me, and I transferred the gist of it to a note card, which for years, I've kept pinned to a bookcase for ready reference. (In parentheses, I've suggested ways in which our own culture replicates the decadence of Rome.)
THE CAUSES OF THE FALL OF ROME
1. COST OF GLADIATORIAL GAMES (OUR TAXES BUILD STADIUMS, WHILE OUR SCHOOLS CRUMBLE)
2. HIRED ARMIES, RATHER THAN CITIZEN ARMIES (DON'T SERVE YOUR COUNTRY - HIRE OTHERS TO DO IT FOR YOU.)
3. POPULATION PRESSURES FROM OUTSIDE (12 MILLION ILLEGALS NEED MEDICAL CARE.)
4. GOVERNMENTAL CORRUPTION (THERE IS A REASON WHY OUR SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES ARE SO POORLY THOUGHT-OF)
THAT WAS 2004. IT'S BEEN FIVE YEARS SINCE I PRINTED IT. SO BASED ON WHAT YOU SEE AROUND YOU TODAY, WOULD YOU SAY THAT SINCE THEN WE'VE BECOME MORE - OR LESS - LIKE ANCIENT ROME?
*********** Coach- Greetings from your old friend Jeoff Robinson from Orange Co. California. I hope all is well. We are starting on Sat Aug 1st, and in seven years of coaching Pop Warner, I have never been more excited, or anxious, about running an offense. I have poured over the videos, damn near memorized the playbook, and talked up the system to the assistants. Despite natural anxieties with something new, I really believe this will be the best system our kids could be given. Considering that the kids are moving up to the one division in Pop Warner that has age differences of 2 years, and we are the youngest, we will need every advantage we can get. With that, I just have a couple of foundational questions before we get started.
2- Likewise, in some of the Hamburg tape where you are starting out, I notice just the guard pulling on some of the powers. Should we consider pulling just one guard, with an “o” call, or should we remain steadfast in pulling guard and tackle ?
Your powers of observation are good, and what you've observed is the evolution of our Wildcat.
At first, we made all handoffs outside, in order to simplify the QB's job ("just do the same thing you do on normal powers").
We have evolved, though, to where we hand off in front for powers, cutting the runner's path shorter (1) to make sure that the runner is closer to his blockers, (2) to accomodate the fact that we no longer use motion on our powers, which reduces the possibility of the runner's "bouncing" outside the hole.
But we do make the outside handoff on sweeps. We use RIP/LIZ to get a head start on sweeps, as well as a diversion.
As always, when we use RIP/LIZ motion the aim point for the motion man is the heels of the B-Back; since we use motion to get a head start on sweeps, the sweep handoff has to be outside.
With a power, with the handoff in front, I wouldn't want motion because of the risk of the back and the snap colliding.
If the QB should somehow screw up the timing and be unable to make the handoff, his instruction is simply to follow the intended runner - to turn the play into Rip 88 G-Reach FOLLOW or Liz 99 G-Reach FOLLOW (not bad plays themselves if your QB can run).
here are video clips the sweep run both ways, from our base set as well as slot
Unless it's just not possible, I urge people to pull both the tackle and guard on power plays. The tackle probably won't block anybody anyhow, but if he "runs his circle" properly he will provide escort for the runner - we tell the runner to try to push on the tackle's back while looking for the chance to cut back off his tail.
Here's how we teach "running the circle."
"Running the circle" correctly is extremely important because 9 times out of 10 what you think is a tackle who is so slow that he's getting in the runner's way is actually a tackle who is drifting too wide, out of his lane and into the runner's lane. We have to keep stressing "stay on the rail," and "stay in the inside lane," and "stay in your lane." The tightness (or lack of tightness) of the circle of the pulling backside linemen is an instant tipoff as to how well coached double-wing linemen are. This is not, by the way, something you can "teach" once or twice and then move on to the next technique. If you do not stay with this drill throughout the season, linemen will fall back into the old ways of drifting outside and clogging the hole.
I do think that now that pros have essentially stolen Wildcat and popularized it, more high school coaches will feel safe to say "I run the Wildcat."
BONUS: We no longer force our best athlete to stay on one side or the other. If we want our QB on the left we say "TREY" (on the "three side"), and if we want him on the right we say "DEUCE" (on the "two side")
BONUS: If we want the QB to carry on an 88/99 Power and lead with the backside wingback, we say "88 (or 99) Power FOLLOW" and the A-back leads through the hole ahead of the QB and gets the playside corner. Try it. You will be surprised at the way the timing works out - as the QB is fielding the ball, the A-Back has time to get ahead of him. (It is the Wildcat version of Super Power.)
BONUS: If we want the QB to carry and the backside wingback to do something else, we might send the back in motion and say "88 (or 99) Power KEEP". We might send him in extended motion - If we want to extend RIP or LIZ we say "RIPPER" (more RIP) or "LIZZER" (more LIZ); because of the duration of motion, we start the motion with the flick of the heel if the QB's under center, or a flash of the hands if he's in Wildcat. In that case, the motion man is just a diversion, but we do have ways of getting him the ball.
We call 88-O and 99-O when we have no TE on the backside to cut off ("shoeshine") a defender who might chase our tackle (and catch our runner from behind). That would result from our splitting that end out, or moving him to the other side to create an unbalanced line.
Not a problem with your asking. This helps keep me sharp and provides me with material that might benefit other coaches.
*********** The nation’s top party schools, according to Princeton Review’s 2009 survey of 122,000 students.
1. Penn State
*********** Is this a legal alternative to the traditional 3 point stance and is this something you would consider teaching your players?
*********** As if giving the world Joe Biden weren't enough, now tiny Delaware is poised to destroy professional sport as we know it.
So far, only Nevada offers legal betting on individual games, but Delaware plans to offer betting on NFL games this fall.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is not happy. See, it's going to corrupt the game. Why, he said, it's going to "greatly increase the likelihood" that some people will become less interested in rooting for teams and more interested in winning bets.
Yeah, like those fantasy guys really care which team wins.
(The Commissioner is pissed that there's no way the NFL is going to get cut in on the deal. Remember back when, in an effort to extort money from fantasy leagues, pro sports leagues were trying to claim that their scores and their stats belonged to them?)
I am watching a DVD I have of Michigan-Ohio State 1995, where Tim Biakabutuka upstaged Eddie George with a 300-yard rushing game.
The announcers were a lot better than today's. They discussed John Cooper's contract, which was extended in 1995 for the whopping sum of $130,000 per year. (Just three years later, Barbara Hedges would up the ante to a cool million for Slick Rick.)
He also had performance incentives, of course - one of which was winning nine games in a season. The catch? The nine victims had to include Michigan.
*********** If there's one thing I can't stand it's sham. Which brings me to the White House Beer Garden stunt. The Beer Summit.
Remember all the white guys - Al Campanis, Jimmy the Greek - who were professionally beheaded after letting slip some unfortunate comment on race?
Yet here the President of the United States comes right off the top and without knowing at all what he's talking about says police acted "stupidly" - you know, white cops are always out to get black folks - and he gets away without even so much as an apology. He did go as far as saying he probably could have "calibrated" his words differently, whatever the f--k that means.
And then, he turns his own racial gaffe into an opportunity to show what a regular guy he is. Wow. A beer with the guys. In the ad business we used to call that "hanging a set of balls" on a product.
Actually, the Great Teaching Moment was also a step towards globalization.
Notice what beers they drank?
Obama: Bud Lite ("I love you, man"), made by InBev, the Belgian/Brazilian brewing giant;
Officer Crowley: Blue Moon, a phony "microbrew" made by Molson/Coors in Canada and sold in the US by MillerCoors, a Canadian/British aggregation. (WTF? A cop? Drinking a beer with a fruit slice in it? Cambridge, Massachusetts is obviously not your usual beat.)
Professor Gates: Sam Adams Light! Yes!!!!!
Sam Adams!!!! Yes!!!! It's made in America. By an American firm. And it's named for a guy who actually brewed beer. So how did they get it past the White House staff, since Sam Adams was best known for his hatred of tyrannical government?
PS: Who invited this guy Biden, who "drank" Buckler, a next-to-no alcohol brew made by Heineken, a Dutch company?
*********** It's been a rough last couple of weeks for Truth in Government...
First, we learned that Big Government stifled studies several years ago that showed conclusively that cell phone use while driving - handheld or not - is at least as dangerous as driving with .08 blood alcohol content. So while Our Leaders continued to criminalize people who at one time would have driven home safely and legally, they caved in to the cell phone industry and allowed distracted drivers to kill roughly 1,000 people a year.
Then we learned that all that business about mercury-based dental fillings slowly poisoning us was bogus.
And the latest, from a British journal, revealed that organic foods are no better for us than foods grown "industrially."
But man-made global warming? Trust us on this one. It really is a threat to the planet, and you really do need to get rid of your SUVs and cut back on your standard of living and we really fo need to preach the Gospel of Environmentalism to our schoolchildren. This time we really mean it. Honest.
*********** Army has announced that it's going to be playing some games in Yankee Stadium. Over the next few years, they'll play Notre Dame, Rutgers, Air Force and Boston College. Probably makes good marketing sense for Army, which at one time was seen as almost New York's team (sorry, Syracuse), and whose home field, Michie Stadium, seats only about 40,0000.
Football in a ballpark sucks, but this is Yankee Stadium, and, yes, it does have something of a football tradition. Some very big games, college and pro, were played in the old Yankee Stadium. Of course, it was built in the days when baseball was the sport and pro football was simply something that some former college players played on Sunday, so it was the only place in New York City suitable for a big football game.
Now, though, the Wrigley Field people are in on the act, too, talking to Northwestern and Illinois about playing their annual game there. Great. Play it in the big city. Excitement, etc., etc. But have they done the math? Northwestern's stadium seats 49,000; the Illini's seats 62,000. At most, they'll get 45,000 people into Wrigley.
And on the heels of the Wrigley news, Fenway appears to want to get into the act as well. Excuse me - Fenway Park? New England nearly lost the Patriots because Fenway was such a bad football stadium. Who would play there - Boston College? BC's Alumni Stadium seats only 45,000, a lot more than Fenway would seat, and as a football-only stadium, it seats them better.
There is no good reason, from the standpoint of fans or players, to play a major college football game in a baseball park. Other than money. Uh-oh.
Maybe the stadium owners, eager to find out-of-season uses for their places, are waving around bucks, but don't fall for it, colleges. Don't do it to your players, your fans, or your coaches.
Baseball is played into October, by which point colleges are into conference play. So unless a college team is planning on moving a conference game to another site - not likely to go down well with fans - that means playing a fnon-conference game earlier in the football season, when baseball is still going on. And that will means having to play on a skinned infield, or on sod hastily put down without enough time to knit. Neither situation is good for football.
Football fields never have fit well into baseball parks. For sure, fitting a football field into almost any baseball-only stadium requires some tailoring. It's almost certain that a couple of the end-zone corners will end right where the grandstand begins, if not actually requiring the removal of some seats.
And then there are walls. Baseball fields tend to have them. Anyone remember players running into the wall at Wrigley Field? The ivied wall at one end? It was maybe a yard past the end line, and it's still there. There is no other way to position a football surface in Wrigley Field.
Yes, the Bears once played there (which is why they're called Bear - bigger versions of the Cubs), but those were different times. Wrigley Field was actually a giant step up from anyplace else they could play. Now, though, in these days of million-dollar salaries, I would imagine that if the Bears were to talk about playing some sort of "Retro" game at Wrigley, the NFLPA would have something to say about the working conditions.
Besides the scarcity of tickets in a smaller stadium - not to mention the prospect of being relocated to less-desirable seating - fans used to being close to the action in a football stadium may be surprised to discover how far the baseball seats are from the football field. They will also be surprised to discover how many of the seats are in the end zones. Some will learn to their dismay that all those field-level seats considered primo for a baseball game aren't worth a sh-- for a football game.
Worst of all, both teams share the same sideline. Anybody seen the Emerald Bowl, played every year in San Francisco? It's a farce. This is not basketball, with a dozen players on a side. Nor is it hockey, where the players can be contained in relatively small box-like areas. This is football, with 50-60 players per team and an additional large number of coaches and assistants. If you've ever had to share a sideline with another football team - I have - you will never want to do it again.
*********** Government Motors (GM) has axed hundreds of dealers and numerous divisions, including Pontiac Motors.
Along with the demise of the Pontiac will go, no doubt, the "Pontiac Game-Changing Performance."
Remember how the NCAA danced around the fact that it was using college athletes to promote Pontiacs?
The poohbahs said, no, no - it wasn't a "Pontiac promotion" at all. What it was was "a big play promotion that happened to be sponsored by Pontiac."
Dumb me. I never could figure out the difference.
*********** Coach Wyatt, Do you have any videos of TE shoe shine or any drills for it? We are a team of 8 year olds and are flirting with the idea of pulling the tackles. Last year we just did guards but want to switch this year. Anything you have that can help would be greatly appreciated.
Your kids will like this. Generically, we call the technique the "scramble block."
Tips- throw your backside arm past his playside knee and bear crawl
Tips on bear crawl - (1) don't let a knee hit the ground; (2) Keep your head up; (3) Keep your head upfield; (4) Keep scrambling
In the drill, we let the man finish by rolling. That teaches him to stay with the block.
*********** The argument over which is the best college team ever continues...
I will make a claim for Army, 1945. It had two Heisman Trophy winners - Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis - running the ball, and a Sullivam Award winner - Arnold Tucker - under center.
In nine games, they outscored opponents 412-46.
Yes, they did play (and beat) a couple of weakies, but they also beat six ranked teams - #3 Navy (32-13) , #6 Michigan (28-7) , #8 Penn (61-0), #9 Notre Dame (48-0), #13 Duke (48-13) and #19 Wake Forest (54-0) - and their opponents overall had a winning percentage of .691.
Navy that year lost only to Army; Duke lost only to Army and Navy; Notre Dame tied Navy and lost only to Army and a powerful Great Lakes Naval Training Center Team coached by Paul Brown and loaded with college stars; Michigan finished second in the Big Nine (Michigan State, the tenth school to join the conference, had yet to be admitted).
(So impressed, by the way, was Army coach Earl Blaik with Michigan's use of two separate units - one for offense and one for defense - that he adopted the system himself at Army, where the military terms "platoons" was first applied to football.
Eight members of that 1945 Army team were named first-team All-America, and Blanchard swept the nation's individual honors, winning the Heisman and Walter Camp Trophies and the Maxwell Award. Davis would win it the next year.
*********** Good Morning Hugh-- Back in town for story hour with the grandkids so I have a few minutes to check the computer and get caught up on the news.
Of course I got a chuckle out of the comments about passing out of the DW and the poor fellow who's head coach gave into the pressure to go the the spread from the DW after making the play-offs. It confounds me how many who follow the Dw have so little understanding of it. Better for those of us who have seen it work. I truely can appreciate your wish that all teams that can go to the spread that will keep us going for years to come. A final passing thought if they rated our QB using the pro rating system I have to believe he would lead in passing effeciency--lets not tell anyone that you can throw that well out of the DW it will be our secret--lol
All the best on your 50th -- and Connie is a saint--lol
Jack Tourtillotte, Boothbay, Maine
*********** Some of the Big Ten football coaches are making noise about wanting to add a twelfth team to the league (like the SEC, Big 12 and ACC) so it can have a post-season championship game. But won't the addition of a twelfth team mean they'll have to call it the Big Eleven?
*********** When it comes to Title IX enforcement the numbers that count are the ratio of boys and girls enrolled at the school compared with the ratio of male and female athletes.
According to the gender-equity pointy-heads, that means that if 53 percent of a school's student body is female, then girls should make up 53 percent of its athletes - or come within at least within five percentage points of the enrollment ratio. Once the percentage-point difference exceeds five, the Office of Civil Rights deems a school to be out of compliance.
One Florida AD (female, by the way) said there haven't been complaints from girls at her school that sports they want to play aren't being offered. She said she thinks that since Title IX wasn't created strictly for athletics, all opportunities in extracurricular activities should be considered when determining compliance. "If you take the dance teams and the drill teams, and you start adding those numbers up, I think we would move very close (to full compliance)," she said.
She said that she's had to tell boys that they can't field a volleyball team because it would adversely affect the ratio.
She added that it's just not possible to force girls to participate. "It's all based on demand," she said, "and the demand for girls' sports is just not there as much as it is the men's programs."
"I'm all for girls having what they want," she said, " but I think they've got it."
Added a former AD, "The law doesn't look at this very closely, but the fact is girls sports aren't as popular."
Personally, I think Florida high schools should solve this whole mess once and for all - and make the Title IX folks happy -by giving up football.
*********** It was around 2:30 AM last Friday, and a guy in Vancouver, Washington was doing 80 in his pickup on a city street when he lost control, hit two trees, spun and overturned. Killed him. Not that it would have saved him, but he wasn't wearing a seat belt.
The guy had had numerous DUI convictions, leading investigators to hazard a guess that perhaps - just maybe - alcohol was a factor. In one of this year's great examples of Copspeak, an officer at the scene told the Vancouver Columbian, "He had a long history of alcohol prevalence."
TUESDAY, JULY 28, 2009- "Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it." Ronald Reagan
*********** The folks at Syracuse are all pushed out of shape about being snubbed by the folks at Yankee Stadium.
Oh, they have no problem accepting the fact that the first college football game in new Yankee Stadium will be Army-Notre Dame. Lots of tradition behind that one.
What galls them is that the next one up appears to be Army-Rutgers.
Rutgers? they ask. You mean that team in New Jersey that we used to routinely beat up on, back when we were good?
Rutgers? Why, we're "New York's College Team?"
That's right - "New York's College Team?"
That's what the 'Cuse is claiming.
To be sure, Syracuse IS in New York. New York State, that is. But so is Buffalo, which last year went to a bowl game while Syracuse stayed home, and Buffalo isn't claiming to be "New York's College Team."
We're not talking New York State, either. Syracuse actually is trying to stake a claim on New York CITY, with ads on taxicabs and banners in Times Square.
One slight problem. Syracuse is more than 250 miles away from the city. To most residents of the Big Apple, Syracuse might as well be Edmonton.
Rutgers? That's different. Rutgers could plausibly call itself "New York's College Team."
True, Rutgers is in New Brunswick, New Jersey, but it's no more than 40 miles from Yankee Stadium, and if the Jets and Yankees can both pose as New York teams while operating in New Jersey, why not Rutgers?
What can I say? You don't have to agree with me or even say anything, but here goes - anybody who does what he does for any other reason than what's the best thing to help the kids be successful is a worm.
*********** Can't say we didn't raise our kids with good senses of humor. To celebrate our 50th - and to finally let my wife visit her 50th state (she's missing only North Dakota) - they chipped in and gave us an all-expenses paid trip to --- Fargo.
I said our kids have a great sense of humor, so I half expected them to give us tickets to a soccer game. Good thing. They may have great senses of humor, but mine isn't that good.
*********** I wrote this back in the fall of 2006...
The other day I heard from a player I hadn't heard from in over 30 years. I have written about him, though, because he was one heck of a player, and he had quite an influence on my career. His name is Phil Petry, and he came to me as a guy who had been a legendary high school player in our town - Hagerstown, Maryland - and had gone to the University of Maryland, where he started some games at quarterback in his sophomore and junior years before his life got off track for one reason or another. And now here he was, a few years later, back in Hagerstown with his act together, the local hero ready to play for my team, the Hagerstown Bears. An awful lot of people in town expected him to play quarterback for us. To be honest, he really was good, and I was getting a little pressure from the team's owner, because unquestionably, Phil at quarterback would be an attraction. The problem was, I already had a quarterback. Fortunately, as I wrote earlier, Phil volunteered to move to tight end. In his letter, though, Phil gently corrected me...
And then King Corcoran, a teammate (and backup) of Phil's at Maryland, died recently, and it was time something was done about the injustice Corcoran had been doing to Phil over the years. Google "Corcoran Staubach" and you'll come up with something like this:
James "King" Corcoran, a former University of Maryland and NFL football player made famous in the 1960s when he quarterbacked a Maryland victory over the Naval Academy squad led by future NFL great Roger Staubach.
What????? Total fabrication. Almost certainly the work of Corcoran himself, a one-man PR firm with only one client.
Yes, Maryland did defeat Staubach-led Navy in 1964, 27-22. That's a matter of record.
But the hero for the Terps was a sophomore quarterback from Hagerstown, Maryland named Phil Petry. In front of a full house of 40,000 fans in College Park, Petry led Maryland to the win by running for one touchdown and throwing for two more. Corcoran? He didn't even get into the game. In fact, for the entire season, he completed only 10 passes, and none were for touchdowns.
Years later, in 1971 and 1972, Phil Petry would play for me when I coached the Hagerstown Bears. He was a tremendous athlete and still a fan favorite in Hagerstown, where he'd been a HS All-American. By then he was 6-2 and about 215, with hands so big that in practice he'd make one-handed catches - catching the ball by the nose. Didn't take a genius to project him as a tight end.
Finally, thanks to Dan Daly in Sunday's Washington Times, the truth begins to come out... (I helped the Times with the details, and promised I would not run the story first)...
*********** Coach - thanks for the update on Jim "King" Corcoran on the website. In 1974 I was entering my junior season at Glassboro State College in Glassboro, NJ where you guys held your summer camp. The stories of King Corcoran and the Bell players quickly circulated through Glassboro that year and, although we went on to win two New Jersey State College Athletic Conference championships in '74 and '75, Head Coach Richard Wackar always said that, as much as he loved us, we were one of the most challenging groups he ever had to manage. Nothing criminal, mind you, just a lot of good mischief that got Coach Wackar more than one call from the Chief of Security or Dean of Students. We always attributed our free spirits not only to the chemistry of the guys we had on the team, but the wonderful example the Philadelphia Bell players had provided for us that summer in how to work hard and have fun....lots of fun (the Franklin House was always a jumping off point!!!)......much to the dismay of the coaching staff.
*********** You know it's getting pretty bad when the nannies even tell us when to take a pee. Every year we get one or two days of over 100 degrees in Portland, and it looks as if this week is our time. Experts, the TV people tell us, are reminding people that if they absolutely have to go outside they should drink plenty of water and try to stay out of the sun's rays. And to urinate every two hours. I actually heard that.
*********** Speaking of the nanny state...
this appeared on the site of cancerproject.org
Imagine a USA in which hot dogs are illegal...
*********** Not sure whether you'd call it an undeveloped sense of self-sufficiency or an overdeveloped sense of entitlement, but... my wife and I were walking around the perimeter of a lake near our home. It's maybe a mile and a half around, and the trail is heavily wooded and quite hilly. We were most of the way around when we came on a couple of women, a mother and daughter, coming in the other direction. They weren't more than a quarter mile from the parking lot at the trailhead, but one of them, pointing at the steep hill we'd just descended, asked us, "Is there a rest room up there?" I answered as politely as I could that their best bet was back at the parking lot, but I wanted to say, "IDIOT - YOU'RE IN A F--KING FOREST!!! THERE'S NO CONCESSION STAND UP THERE, EITHER!!!"
*********** News flash from last weekend's Ocean Shores (Washington) Sun and Surf Ride, an annual biker bash, as reported in the Aberdeen Daily World...
*********** For every passionate ND fan there is an ND hater, but on the Army football forum, one Army fan's animosity for the Irish seems to run unusually deep...
*********** Hello Coach Wyatt,
My name is Jose Espinosa and I am a Pop Warner youth football coach for the NW Raiders Mitey Mite division in San Antonio, TX. Please share your thoughts on teaching the o-line to use a 2 point stance. Is this a legal alternative to the traditional 3 point stance and is this something you would consider teaching your players?
Thanks in advance for sharing your insight.
It is legal so long as your linemen's shoulders are parallel to the line of scrimmage and their helmets are at least as far forward as an imaginary line drawn through the center's waistline.
I would not consider it because I am comfortable with the stance I teach, which enables us to do all the things we require a lineman to do. It is essentially the stance that Delaware taught since the 1950s in developing its Wing-T, an offense that has stood the test of time and doesn't do so well when people monkey with it. In fairness, though, I have to admit I have not spent any time seeing what can be done from a two-point stance, so I can't say from experience that it wouldn't work in our system.
I am a big advocate of finding something I like and believe in and sticking with it, whether it's a make of car, or a favorite restaurant, or a lineman's stance, until someone can show me something that's definitely better.
*********** So Terrell Owens thinks Michael Vick should be reinstated immediately by the NFL, does he?
He says any further suspension would be like "kicking a dead horse."
Uh... didn't he mean "dead dog?"
*********** I laughed my ass off at Mister Regular Guy President, the one who came to the All-Star game in jeans and then threw the first pitch like a girl (and not a girl softball player), offering to sit down over a beer with the angry Black Studies professor and the white cop. I thought back to the campaign when he was in Pennsylvania and it was reported that he "sipped" a Yuengling. Im wondering what will happen if he daintily sips his beer and the cop, a Boston Irishman, starts to snicker?
*********** “We had to put Tennessee in the national media,” Kiffin said at Southeastern Conference media days. “Do I love every single thing I’ve done for my seven months? No, I haven’t loved having to do it. But it needed to be done, in my opinion, for us to get to where we needed to be.”
Did you get that "having to do it" bit? Boy, those people at Tennessee must be tough ones to work for. Imagine making some poor guy go out and act like an a**hole.
*********** Former Florida coach Steve Spurrier, now at South Carolina, confessed that it was South Carolina, alone among all the SEC teams, that left Tim Tebow off the preseason all-SEC ballot.
But it wasn't his fault. No, sir. It's not like Steve Spurrier to piss people off.
No, sir. It was his director of football operations who filled out the ballot for him - and voted for Mississippi’s Jevan Snead.
*********** I was in Chicago several years ago and I chuckled at the radio ads promoting "the new Bears' stadium at Soldier Field."
WTF? I thought. At Soldier Field? The greedy bastards knew that veterans - and the politicians who love the veterans' votes - wouldn't stand for changing the name of Soldier Field. But if there were just some way to slip a sponsor's name in there...
Well. It didn't work in Chicago. The Bears did get their new stadium, but it's not something-or-other at Soldier Field. It's still just Soldier Field, and likely to remain so as long as veterans can still vote.
Meanwhile, in Minnesota the Vikings, boxed in because their stadium, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, honors one of Minnesota's favorite sons, are trying to peddle naming rights to the playing field itself.
(Think, "Big Rich Corporation Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome").
Three "gate sponsorships" are up for sale as well.
What - no Charmin Rest Rooms?
*********** Coach, Read your News, and have a similar situation to your 2 players missing practice. My 6'4 210# senior end/FS informed me he will not be attending our FB camp the week before official practice starts because "My mom said we are taking vacation that week because I've been going to camps all summer and that is our first chance to take a vacation."
I responded "So, the camp you are going to miss is ours."
"Um, I guess so."
FRIDAY, JULY 24, 2009- "Slump? I ain't in no slump. I just ain't hittin'." Yogi Berra
Happy Anniversary to Connie, my wife of 50 years. No coach could ask for a better wife. At this time in 1959 we were spending our honeymoon in Hershey, Pennsylvania, watching the Philadelphia Eagles train. The Eagles - Tommy McDonald, Tom Brookshier, Chuck Bednarik, Norm Van Brocklin, Pete Retzlaff, Pete Pihos, Ted Dean and Jesse Richardson - would go on, under Buck Shaw, to finish 7-5 and lay the groundwork for their 1960 NFL championship season. I mentioned Jesse Richardson (1) because he was a Philly guy, but also (2) because he , a defensive tackle, and McDonald, a wide receiver, were the last two guys in the NFL to play without face masks.
*********** Apparently, it's official - Jim Corcoran died some time recently.
Boy, could I tell a story or two about Jim "King" Corcoran, the egomaniacal quarterback of our 1974 Philadelphia Bell World Football League team.
The proof that Jimmy (I refused to call him "King") was a career minor leaguer is that he couldn't even manage to be a loveable rogue. He was so self-absorbed, a user of others right to the end, that there was little loveable about him.
A selfish me-first guy as a player, Corcoran was despised by his Bell teammates. And the coach did nothing to help Corcoran's popularity by allowing him such perks as the right to park his car (Maryland license plate KING 9) in a special place underneath the grandstands, while all other players parked theirs out in the JFK Stadium lot. And so it was that one time, former NFLers Tim Rossovitch and Rick Cash went out and gathered up handfuls of "dog feces" from the stadium parking lot and - using only their bare hands - smeared it all over the windshield of Corcoran's Lincoln Mark IV.
The ultimate irony is that Corcoran, the consummate self-promoter, died without fanfare - not so much as an obituary.
But do I have a great story about his ability to promote himself. Trouble is, you'll have to wait - after providing documentation to the Washington Times, I promised I'd give them the break.
*********** How come the run and shoot was considered a gimmick aka chuck and duck but the spread is thought of as the best thing since sliced bread? Except for being under center vs being in a shot gun, what is the difference between the two? I am a double wing guy but I do want to have an understanding of other offenses and defenses. Also, teams have a hard time with the double wing because a lot of them are playing the 3-5-3 against us.
One reason why the Run and Shoot was considered to be a gimmick is that it put a lot of emphasis on the passing game, at a time when nearly everyone ran the ball. Also, it originated at the high school level, so, like the Double Wing, it was often derided as something that wouldn't work at higher levels. And even when it did work its way up, it did so first at the small college level (Portland State) and then in an off-brand pro league (Houston Gamblers).
To a certain degree, the run and shoot, with its two wide-outs, no tight end, and motion to trips, was a predecessor of the different forms of spread football we see today.
Unlike the run and shot, the current spread offenses have not had to deal with the stigma of being branded a "high school offense." The run and shoot was truly innovative, but the spread, despite some of its more objectionable (to me) aspects such as the no-huddle and the zone running game, is rooted to some degree in sound, old-school football. It has taken many time-tested elements of the past (the TCU spread, the single wing, the option read) and combined them with today's impressive development of young passers, plus rules changes that, one by one, have favored the passing game: near-elimination of rules outlawing use of the hands (which facilitates pass protection and makes it possible for even diva wide receivers to "block" on the perimeter), allowing of blocking downfield on passes completed behind the line of scrimmage, reduction of the offensive holding penalty from 15 yards to 10, etc.
Add to that the ability to practice essential skills in the off-season (ever notice how many of the better quarterbacks now come from warm-weather states?).
And, because spread football scarcely requires linemen, 7-on-7 competition provides a way for all but the linemen to play football year-round. That's certainly appealing to coaches, if not kids.
The proliferation of artificial playing surfaces has eliminated sloppy fields and along with them a major reason why coaches might otherwise take a more conservative approach offensively.
Because it's wide open - because so much happens out in space - spread offense is a lot easier for fans to see and understand.
Spread football more closely resembles the sort of open-field games (soccer, lacrosse) that many of today's kids are gravitating toward. Not to mention basketball. The term "grass basketball" dates at least to the late 1970s and early 1980's when football traditionalists predicted what would happen when the NCAA rules committee began to liberalize rules pertaining to blocking. First it was retreat blocking with extended arms, and then it was allowing open hands on the theory - if you can believe this now - that it would be easier for officials to detect holding if the blocker was required to keep his hands open.
Another argument that popped up during the short life of the so-called A-11 offense is that the wide-open passing game is a safer game. (actually, I suspect that a receiver who's come across the middle and been the recipient of a launch tackle by a human missile might disagree with that.)
Other major factors in its great popularity are the exposure it gets in video games, the ubiquity of college games on television, and the fact that most major clinics emphasize various forms of the spread.
Spread teams have certainly been conspicuously effective, but as always, impressionable coaches tend to underestimate the importance of coaching know-how and playing talent. Know-how? There are few people who are better at it than Rich Rodriguez, and still he struggled at Michigan last year. Why? Talent. The spread is personnel-intensive. It is not a no-talent deal where coaching and hard-work can overcome deficiencies in skills. (Question: will there be enough really good players when everyone's running the spread?)
Other than not liking to watch it, I personally and professionally have no problem with the growing popularity of the spread. In fact, I pray that everyone I play will go to some form of the spread. Then, we'll be the only ones around running an old-fashioned ass-kicking offense, and everyone else - coaches and kids alike - will dread having to play us.
It will be a lot of fun. A little like making them play us in the mud.
Until they come up with a way to outlaw us.
How are you? I hope your summer is going well. I just got back from a trip to British Columbia to visit my in-laws and friends from my time in Vancouver. I enjoyed your latest news section and took note of your musings on sports in Australia. While I was in Victoria, BC I had a chance to watch some Cricket at a local park. I have to say that I was pretty intrigued by it. There is actually a lot more scoring in Cricket than Baseball. There are never no-hitters in Cricket. I even picked up a book on the sport in a local bookstore and was fascinated to find out that Philadelphia was a Cricket hotbed in the U.S. back in the day. There was even a man named Bart King, considered one of the all-time greats in the sport, who hailed from Philly and repeatedly turned down offers to play in England. It is nice to see that Philadelphia has played a significant role in a sport that carries the historical pedigree of Cricket.
In my Philly days I saw just one bit of cricket being played at Haverford College. But the Germantown Cricket Club was not far from where I went to school, and of course, the Philadelphia Cricket Club was right across from Chestnut Hill Academy, where your dad was headmaster. In neither case, it seems to me, did they actually have room for a cricket oval, which is quite large.
It is conceivable, given the passion for cricket in India, that it is the world's second most popular sport.
It is huge in Australia, but there it really seems more like an opportunity to sit out in the sun and party. I am reminded of the crowd at a rowing regatta.
An interesting side note - the sport of Australian Rules was designed to fit a cricket oval, whose great size is one very good reason why the sport will never expand to other countries.
*********** In your playbook you make it clear that the double wing is not much of a passing offense. I would like to know if their is any type of pre-snap reads, reading coverages, or a simple pass progression. I'm a double wing guy but I run spread also and you know how that's sweeping the nation. I talked to a coach from Florida who's a wing T guy but he was forced into the spread because the kids pick their high school and the rival team in the same town was running the spread and all the studs want to play in a spread offense. Are you being pressured by anyone who thinks that you should "Get with the Times" and run spread?
Although you have every right to your own conclusions, I'm not sure where I "make it clear that the double wing is not much of a passing offense."
Actually, it's a pretty good passing offense. But it's a GREAT running offense, and the simple fact of the matter is that you're always wise to do most what you do best. Go through the open door.
But "pressured?" Me? Gimme a break. I have never run into anyone with the temerity to suggest that I "spread it out." In fairness that might be because I am somewhat known to be closely associated with the Double Wing and no intelligent person would think that I would drop what I know and believe in order to appease them.
Where would this pressure come, anyhow, from other than a selfish dad wanting to promote his own son ahead of the team?
Every head coach has earned the right to choose his offense (are you listening, assistant coaches?) and I won't condemn any coach who might believe that he can improve his program by running a spread offense - so long as his main motivation is to do what he thinks is best to help his kids become successful. Ditto the coach who runs a full house or a Power I or a single wing. Or the Lonesome Polecat.
But to any coach who feels that he needs to "open it up" for fear of losing "all the studs", I say, "be careful." Look, we all know that "all the studs" really means "quarterbacks and receivers", because offensive linemen and running backs get a lot more action playing in, say, the Wing-T. And defensive players have no dog in the fight. I would suggest that that coach has only taken the first, tiny step in trying to satisfy the sort of kids (and their parents) who will never be satisfied. There is only one ball and they will all want it. On every play. (Can you say "T.O?")
I'll conclude by quoting Homer Smith, who few people would deny is one of the brightest men ever to coach our game. It's from the introduction to his classic, "Handbook for Coaching the Football Passing Attack."
"There are some obvious dangers in excessive throwing. One is the danger of starting to believe that the impressive yardage that can be amassed with the passing attack has a value for its own sake. Winning is the objective, of course, but it seems that the losing team will sometimes get a satisfaction out of its passing records which it could not get with other types of records. A second danger is that of missing the opportunity to develop the potential to pound an opponent into submission. A man who beats an opponent by knocking him down feels stronger at the end of his game than does an opponent who wins by throwing the ball over his opponent's head. There is just something different about making yardage by knocking opponents down."
With all due respect - knowing nothing about your program, but knowing what I know about the Double Wing and how much time and know-how it takes to run it really well - I'm guessing that you would almost certainly run your Double Wing better if you were to devote the time you spend on spread to perfecting your Double Wing.
I wish you well.
*********** The federal government said Wednesday that it would take over the pension plans of the bankrupt Delphi Corporation at a cost of $6.2 billion, despite years of demanding that the assets of Delphi and its former corporate parent, General Motors, be used instead. Those of us on social security are pleased to learn that our tax dollars will be used to continue paying the huge pensions extorted from the weaklings at Delphi and General Motors by the UAW.
*********** Apart from my difficulties in trying to videotape naked women through hotel room keyholes (uh... when was the last time you stayed in a place that doesn't use card-keys?)... you don't suppose, do you, that John Madden stands naked in front of a mirror primping for five minutes at a time?
*********** It arrived and I have been reading it and watching the video. I really like it and it seems easy to instruct.
Coach, I would make sure that you can run 88 and 99 Super Power. You do need to run a power play both ways.
Then, you want to run a counter play - 47-C, and if you have the time and the kids have the ability, 56-C. But you don't have to be able to run it both ways.
Next I would recommend 2 Wedge.
Finally, a pass. Both ways if you can - RED-RED (which I now call 88 Brown) and BLUE-BLUE (which I now call 99 Black).
You can run things without pulling linemen, but you wouldn't be nearly as good as you can be. The play of the line is really the secret to our offense.
*********** Scott Ostler, of the San Francisco Chronicle, noting the inflation of the rosters at baseball's All Star game to 33 players per squad, says it should be renamed "The All-Fairly Good Game."
*********** Notre Dame and California don't have a lot in common - other than their ability to run a good thing into the ground. Notre Dame, with its own f--king TV network, is nevertheless claiming serious budget problems, and asking coaches of its "minor" teams to schedule more games closer by. Charlie Weis is reportedly being asked to take only one helping.
*********** Is there a Texan who loves his state this much?
Victims of a Tampa-area home invasion were able to identify the burglar by the outline of the state of Florida tattooed on his face.
(In addition to the Florida tattoo, he also has the words "Crazy Cracker" - one of his nicknames - tattooed on his head.)
*********** Get this - recently, one of my players informed me that he and his brother would be going on vacation for a week, starting August 15. When I asked him if his dad knew that two-a-days started on August 19, he said yes - and within a minute I was on the phone with dad, "having words." He pretty much told me that yes, that was what they were going to do. So what?
I told him, "Thanks a lot - I appreciate it" - and hung up on him.
Q. Is there another father anywhere in the US taking two sons, both of them returning two-way starters, on vacation during two-a-days?
Q. Is there another high school program that would tolerate that?
*********** THE MEANING OF LIFE IN 13 WORDS:
TUESDAY, JULY 21, 2009- "How did we get to where we don't defend rights in the Constitution while defending those not in the Constitution?" Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma
*********** America's newspapers don't have enough problems. Now, ESPN appears to be launching an attack aimed at what was once thought to be the daily newspaper's strongest point - local sports coverage.
According to an Internet measurement company ESPN Chicago a Web site devoted to Chicago-area sports, has become, in less than three months, the city’s top sports site, attracting about 590,000 unique visitors in June. The Chicago Tribune’s own online sports section attracted 455,000.
On the strength of those numbers, ESPN, backed by the power and wealth of its owner, the Walt Disney Company, is embarking on the next stage of a national rollout, with immediate plans to launch local sports Web sites in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas.
And ESPN executives say this is only the “first inning."
By relying to a great extent on bloggers and other locals to handle a lot of the coverage ("Picture fathers uploading scores from their daughters’ soccer games," joked the New York Times) ESPN hopes to delve deeply into local sports, even the recreational variety, without incurring major costs.
How "local?" Consider - ESPN Chicago can even assist someone wanting to organize a neighborhood softball league.
It remains to be seen whether local readers will accept the imposition of a national brand on their local sports, a la McDonald's, or whether they'll resent the continued spread of ESPN's octopus-like reach, but anyone who thinks that the newspapers aren't worried has only to look at what the Internet has done to their once-lucrative classified ad sections.
2009 BELOIT FOOTBALL CAMP
For the fourth year in a row, I was in Beloit, Kansas to help Coach Greg Koenig with his summer camp. Beloit, with four state titles to its credit, has a great football tradition, and this past season the Trojans went further in the state playoffs than any recent team.
For Coach Koenig and his guest coaches, the days and evenings were filled with coaching, and the afternoons with watching football. With a whole gang of Double Wing adherents right there in Beloit, you might think that the time would be spent tinkering, tampering and "innovating" - but you'd be wrong. The Trojans already know the offense and run it well, and the stress was on better ways of teaching things that we already know will work.
Especially impressive was the Beloit freshman team, coached at the camp by Gabe McCown of Piedmont, Oklahoma, and P.J. Hedrington of Clarinda, Iowa.
After two and a half days of intense work on offensive basics and one half day on defense, camp ended - and the kids took part in one of the damnedest traditions I've seen. They celebrated by jumping into their vehicles - mostly pickup trucks, this being a farm community - and, lights or and horns blaring, formed a caravan that wove through the streets of town. Watching them was like going back in town.
The high point for me was looking at one particularly large pickup and realizing that the driver was the freshman quarterback - a great kid who weighed maybe 110 pouns soaking wet. WTF? I asked Greg Koenig about that and he said that, with the "ag license" for farm kids, it was not all that unusual for eighth graders to drive to school!
The Beloit kids and coaches at the conclusion of the camp (photo by Mike Meier)
Following the traditional caravan through the town, the Beloit kids celebrate the end of camp
The Beloit camp staff - Front Row (L to R) Gabe McCown, Piedmont, Oklahoma; P.J. Hedrington, Clarinda, Iowa; Greg Koenig, Beloit; John Dowd, Oakfield, New York; Brandon Cox, Beloit - Back Row (L to R) Coach Wyatt; Brad Knight, Clarinda, Iowa; Ryan Isbell, Beloit; Casey Seyfert, Beloit; Andy Niemczyk, Beloit (photo by Mike Meier)
Beloit head coach Greg Koenig and his guest coaches (Front Row, L-R): Gabe McCown, Piedmont, Oklahoma; P.J. Hedrington, Clarinda, Iowa; Coach Wyatt; Back Row: Brad Knight, Clarinda, Iowa; John Dowd, Oakfield, New York; Greg Koenig
*********** A little-known Beloit fact - great Purdue coach Gene Keady's first basketball coaching job was at Beloit High School.
*********** "We want to defend the open end of the field first. If a team is on the hash mark, we want to defend the open 2/3 of the field. Most of the long runs come to the open end of the field. The sideline counts as half a man." (George Welsh quote on my NEWS page)
*********** Not that Mississippi State didn't hire a good man when they selected Dan Mullen, former Florida offensive coordinator, to be their new head coach, but...
Rather than hire the absolute best man for the job and trust him to know how to go about winning, the Mississippi State folks first investigated offenses, then decided on what they wanted run, and then went about finding the man to run it.
Convinced that they needed to do something different, they settled on... the spread.
Different? The spread? WTF?
Commented Ned Griffen, of New London, Connecticut, "Miss State wanted to be 'unique.' The administration decided that 'unique' meant adopting the spread. You know, because nearly no one else in America is running this spread. So the suits first decided on an offense, then hired the coach."
Without coming right out and saying so, many colleges' choice of a coach is as much a marketing decision as a football decision. At least Mississippi State was honest about it.
This, of course, is why so few people actually run the ball.
So everyone, in their effort to be unique, winds up doing the same thing. McOffense. The homogenizing of college football continues.
Eventually, of course, like taking one too many little, non-lethal doses of arsenic, they will eventually kill themselves. They aren't going to be successful without that killer QB, and there are only so many Pat Whites out there, as Rich Rodriguez discovered to his chagrin, first at West Virginia when White got hurt, and then at Michigan when there was no White.
Soon enough, as the become more and more "unique," colleges will suffer from the same insoluble problem as the NFL, where the offenses are wholly dependent on good quarterbacking, and there aren't enough good quarterbacks to go around.
In 1986, Chris Chronis was a senior captain of my football team at Hudson's Bay High School in Vancouver, Washington. A good football player with the self-conferred nickname "The Galloping Greek," he was an ace in my US History classes. He had a great sense of humor and a love of the outdoors, especially duck hunting.
From "Bay," he went on to Central Washington University, where he graduated in 1991 with special honors. And also, as an ROTC student, with a commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Army.
Now, he's Lieutenant Colonel Chris Chronis, Post Commander at Fort Greely, Alaska.
*********** The Portland Timbers just tied the United Soccer League record for longest unbeaten streak - 15 games.
But this is soccer, remember, where they play a "match" on a "pitch" and zero is "nil."
And a 15-game "unbeaten" streak can consist of eight wins and seven ties.
*********** One of the kids that was a captain for us joined the Marines and was severely wounded in Afghanistan. He is back and recovering in San Antonio Burn unit. He received his Purple Heart the other day. As a Marine and a coach I have sent 20+ kids into the service with 2 accepting appointments to military academies. So I worry everyday they are in harm's way. Ken, the young man that was hurt, still says that it was the best decision he made and would not change it. The bonds that are built playing football and being part of the military are like no others! I live for these guys and wanted to personally thank you for your role in honoring them with the "Black Lion Award" and recognizing them "the football players". Please use any info in the email for anything you feel is appropriate.
*********** Explain, please.
For all his energy and reckless play, Allen Iverson has never been a very good shooter. He is generally considered to be a selfish jerk with an aversion to practice, a resistance to coaching and a reluctance to grow up. You can get a headache trying to think of any teams he has made better by his presence.
Peyton Manning, on the other hand, is one of professional sport's good guys, and a consummate team player. He is perhaps the best quarterback in the game, and he is amazingly durable. With him as their quarterback, the Colts - or any other team - are always going to be contenders.
Yet over the years, NBA owners have ratcheted Iverson's salary up to where it's more than half again that of Manning's.
Explain? I guess I answered it when I said "NBA owners," didn't I?
*********** While we were watching Oklahoma run up and down the field in its 82-42 win over Colorado, we kept asking each other, "How in the hell did Stanford beat these guys?"
Well. Stanford not only beat the Sooners - it was a blowout. In Norman.
This from the USA Today College Football Encyclopedia...
"Stanford 31, Oklahoma 14. QB John Elway (20-34/237y, 3 TDs) engineered one of his most memorable collegiate wins, leading rebounding Cardinal (3-1) to road upset that snapped Oklahoma's 20-game home win streak. Despite absence of of HB Darrin Nelson, out with bruised hip, Stanford built 17-0 halftime lead that they stretched to 31-0 as Sooners (1-1) committed seven turnovers in rainy conditions. Elway threw for 187 yards in the first half, scoring TDs running and passing. Cards' WR Andre Tyler (6/78yds) caught two TD passes. It took most of the day, but QB J. C. Watts (6/12, 153yds, 2 INTs) finally cranked up Oklahoma and ran for a pair of fourth quarter TDs to get Oklahoma on board."
Stanford, in head coach Paul Wiggin's first season, was not exactly untalented... There were three future NFL first-round draft picks on that Cardinal roster: Elway, Nelson and Brian Holloway. In addition, Ken Margerum (3rd round), Chris Dressel (3rd round) and Milt McColl went on to have solid careers in the pros.
Stanford also had a defensive back named Rodney Gilmore, who's made a name for himself as a TV color analyst.
*********** I wanted Tom Watson to win the British Open, but I liked what winner Stewart Cink had to say about not wanting to go overly conservative once he took the lead in the four-hole playoff: "I've watched a lot of football, and - prevent defense - the only thing it prevents is winning."
*********** Anybody catch Rick Reilly on the British Open telecast doing his "essays" in that all-white Mistah Pimp suit?
On top of that, his essays sucked.
After 59-year-old Tom Watson nearly pulled off the unimaginable - winning a major - Reilly referred to Watson's "deal with the devil." WTF?
And then he mentioned Watson's "killer wife." WTF?
*********** Friday afternoon it was 94 degrees in Camas, where I live. Three hours away in Ocean Shores, where I coach, it was 56 degrees. Hmmm.
*********** Portland police, the TV guy told us, were looking for "a transgendered man wearing a floral dress, with a tattoo on his right arm."
Other than that, though, they didn't have much to go on.
*********** Years ago, this used to be a trick football quiz -
Name two great quarterbacks whose initials were Y. A. T.
One, of course, was the Giants' (and before that, the 49ers') Y. A. Tittle. Everybody got him.
But nobody got former Army All-American Arnold Tucker, because nobody knew that his first name was actually Young? (Young Arnold Tucker - sounds like the son of a Scottish golf pro, as in "Young Tom Morris.")
Arnold Tucker would have been a lot more famous if he hadn't spent so much of his time handing the ball off to two of the greatest runners of all time, Heisman Trophy winners Glen Davis and Doc Blanchard, but last Saturday he was honored with induction into the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Indiana.
In his three years as Army quarterback, he never lost a game: with Tucker under center, the Cadets were 27-0-1. He quarterbacked two national champions and narrowly missed a third - by the margin of a 0-0 tie with eventual champion Notre Dame in Yankee Stadium.
*********** While on the subject of Army-Notre Dame in Yankee Stadium, the two old foes have signed to renew their rivalry in 2010. In Yankee Stadium.
Army hasn't beaten Notre Dame since 1958, Colonel Earl Blaik's last year as head coach.
As an Army fan, I figure our best shot will be to have Charlie Weis over on the ND sideline, so I'll be pulling for him to have a good enough year this season that they'll keep him around for another year.
*********** Coach Wyatt, In running tight rip 88 and 99 power, can you run a bootleg from this play, or do you recomend running a bootleg from a different set.
I strongly recommend the naked bootleg set up by the power. But before you make the call, you want to be as sure as you can that it's been properly set up. To do that, you must make sure that every time he hands off on the power, your quarterback fakes backside at full speed, watching the reaction of the defense.
If you have someone on your staff to do so, you should always look at the backside when running 88/99 power.
Depending on whether your QB is trustworthy or not, you can assign HIM the job. Let him of tell you when they are no longer paying attention to him. That's when it's time to call it.
I had such a QB at North Beach last year, and twice he gave me the call - told him they were ignoring him. Both times they went for touchdowns.
By the way, when I do call the bootleg - when I do tell the QB to keep - it's just between him and me. We do not tell the rest of the team. He just calls the play and keeps it.
*********** Jack Mitchell, former Oklahoma quarterback and Kansas coach, died at age 85.
Coach Mitchell was the split-T quarterbacks at Oklahoma on the 1948 team, which legendary Sooner coach Bud Wilkinson called "the first good team we had here."
His successor at QB for the Sooners was a young fellow from Hollis, Oklahoma named Darrell Royal. (The same.)
On those Oklahoma teams of 1948 and 1949 were five players who would go on to become big-time college coaches: Mitchell, Royal, Dee Andros, Jim Owens and Wade Walker.
After briefly coaching at an Oklahoma high school and then taking a succession of college assistant coaching jobs, he served as head coach at Wichita State and Arkansas before moving to Kansas in 1958.
At Kansas, Coach Mitchell managed to compile a record of 44-42-5 over nine seasons, no small feat at a school where everybody had had trouble winning. He did it with players of the calibre of John Hadl, Bert Coan, Curtis McClinton and Gayle Sayers.
In 1961, his Jayhawks defeated Rice, 33-7. (And he was still running the split-T.)
That would turn out to be Kansas' last bowl win until 1992.
As an example of the kind of man Jack Mitchell was, in Dave Camerer's "Winning Football Plays" (1962), the author writes that once, while an assistant at Texas Tech, Coach Mitchell had promised scholarships to 12 kids in his recruiting area. Unfortunately, budget considerations caused Tech to have to cut his scholarships back to six. And so Coach Mitchell got on the phone to deliver the bad news - and then continued to work the phone until he'd managed to place those six other kids in good programs. "Sure, it took him days," the author wrote, "but he stuck with that phone until that twelfth boy was taken care of."
*********** In an age when every ethnic group yearns for identity (if not victimhood), it's hard to imagine someone coming up to Nomar Garciapara and suggesting he change his name. Ditto your Turkuglus, Tuiasasopos and Umenyioras.
But there was a time when for various reasons, athletes and entertainers believed the fastest way to the big time was with a shorter, more Americanized name.
Take Johnny Pesky, the all-time Red Sox great. As Johnny Paveskovich, he was the pride of Portland's large slavic community, a local boy who made good with the Pacific Coast League Portland Beavers. It seemed just a matter of time until he made it to the majors, but his manager and the sports editor of the Oregonian both agreed on one thing - his last name would hold him back. Not prejudice, you understand - a simple matter, as the sports editor put it, of a long Slavic name confounding the scorekeepers and the sports reporters, not to mention the typesetters.
In view of the fact that he was a light hitter but a tough out, "Pesky" seemed appropriate, and after getting his father's blessing, Pesky it became.
After a Hall of Fame career with the Sox, Pesky now lives in Massachusetts.
Meanwhile, back in Oregon, they're still Paveskoviches.
*********** Wow. We sure have come a long way, haven't we?
From an article in the New York Times about the 2010 Winter Olympics...
Every Olympics includes temporary, carefully designed places for athletes and officials from various countries to socialize — a U.S.A. House, a Canadian Pavilion, a Russia House and so on. Holland House, sponsored by Heineken, is often the biggest and boldest.
Pride House is believed to be the first such house for gay and lesbian athletes and their friends and families.
*********** Our President calls it sharing the wealth. Aesop called it killing the goose that laid the golden eggs. ("Cut it open! Cut it open! There's got to be more eggs inside!!!")
Follow me on a little excusion into wealth-sharing...
Half of all of California's revenues come from income taxes.
And half of all of California's income taxes - in a state of 38 million people - are paid by the wealthiest 144,000 Californians. (That's .004 per cent of Californians footing a quarter of the bill for the other 99.996 per cent.)
And there are plans afoot to squeeze them even more.
Nevada, which adjoins California, has no income tax. Now, you don't suppose there are folks in Nevada trying to lure those 144,000 wealthiest - and their companies - to Nevada, do you?
FRIDAY, JULY 17, 2009- "Vision without execution is hallucination." Thomas Edison
*********** Several Double Wing coaches sat in a living room in Beloit, Kansas between sessions and watched the video of the 1980 Oklahoma-Colorado game
Final score: Oklahoma 82, Colorado 42)
The combined 124 points scored is still an NCAA Division IA record.
And s o, to the best of my knowledge, is Oklahoma's 758 yards rushing. Say that slowly... Seven hundred and fifty-eight yards rushing. 870 yards total offense. The Sooner wishbone at its best.
Oklahoma's backfield consisted of runners of the quality of David Overstreet (who had to have rushed for 300 yards, Stanley Wilson and Buster (not Rapper Busta) Rhymes.
The starting quarterback for OU was J.C. Watts, who would go on to become a U.S. Congressman. Watts' backup, Darrell Shephard, is now a judge. (So much for those who claim OU coach Barry Switzer built his program with a bunch of outlaws.)
Two interesting things about this astonishing offensive outburst: (1) it came against a good Colorado team whose coach, Chuck Fairbanks, certainly knew the Wishbone - he coached it at OU before Switzer; (2) it was sandwiched between OU losses to Stanford (31-14) and Texas (20-13).
And despite some sensational plays, there was nothing that would come close to taunting or celebrating by today's standards.
*********** While most American professonal athletes make no pretense of knowing or caring about the history of their game, it's touching to read of the homage paid by Ichiro Suszuki to a great from baseball's past.
Back in 2004, when Mariners' star Ichiro Suzuki broke the late George Sisler's 84-year-old record of 257 hits in a season, several of Sisler's descendants were on hand to witness the event.
This past weekend, while in St. Louis for the All Star Game, Suzuki paid homage to Sisler by visiting his grave.
"I wanted to do that for a grand upperclassman of the baseball world," Ichiro told MLB.com. "I think it's only natural for someone to want to do that, to express my feelings in that way."
Accompanied by his wife and some friends, Ichiro laid flowers on Sisler's grave. Sisler, whowas inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1939, batted .407 in 1920, the year he had 257 hits, and had a lifetime batting average of .340.
"There's not many chances to come to St. Louis," Ichiro told the Seattle Times. "In 2004, it was the first time I crossed paths with him, and his family generously came all the way to Seattle."
*********** Coach Wyatt –
This is ----- from -----. I met you earlier this spring at your Chicago clinic.
What do you think?
Nice to hear from you and I hope things are going well.
First of all, I would reconsider the commitment to two-platooning. I don't know many programs of any size that don't make maximum use of their best players by playing them both ways as much as possible.
For sure, you do not help yourself by weakening your self at the guard positions. You won't have much of a Super Power if you put your best linemen on the backside, only to get crushed on the playside.
And then what about counters? Or are you planning on flip-flopping the line? (This will lead to other complications.)
Unless you have to have the ability to come to the line and run the Super Power well in either direction, you sacrifice the balance that's the basis of our attack.
My advice on this has never changed - be as good as you can at the guard positions, and coach up your tackles.
And in this case, it would be bestto give up on the idea that you can afford to have your best athletes play on one side of the ball. It is a nice luxury to aspire to, but in your turnaround stage, in my opinion you need your best ahtletes on the field as much as possible.
Best of luck to you. Keep in touch.
*********** Peggy Noonan, writing in the Wall Street Journal last week, theorized that Sarah Palin could very well be a product of the self-esteem movement, which repeatedly informs our young people they can do or be anything they want, without any regard for competency.
This could also explain the rise of certain other seemingly unqualified people to positions of great power.
Hahaha. I'm talking about Lane Kiffin.
Meantime, if Sarah's old man is such a stud, why hasn't he dealt with that c-nt David Letterman and the things he's said about his wife and daughter?
*********** Oxymoron of the Week - I was at the airport last week and saw a young guy wearing a tee shirt that read "LOGGER SOCCER CAMP"
*********** Coach George Welsh, on leaving Navy to take over at Virginia, said, "We want to defend the open end of the field first. If a team is on the hash mark, we want to defend the open 2/3 of the field. Most of the long runs come to the open end of the field. The sideline counts as half a man."
*********** Coach Brad Knight's continuing tribute to the late Ed Thomas...
1. Always look sharp. (Coach T always got a fresh haircut on Friday morning...high and tight)
I could go on and on....I have over 100 of these things written down in my notebook from when I coached with him.
(Coach Ed Thomas, legendary Iowa coach, was shot to death recently. Coach Knight worked on his staff at Aplington-Parkersburg High School while student teaching. HW)
*********** Travis Henry just got sentenced to three years in prison. Considering he's the "father" of nine illegitimate children by nine different women, scheduling conjugal visits is going to be a nightmare.
*********** Larry Craig was lucky it didn't happen to him...
Authorities say a bullet from a gun that was accidentally dropped injured a Tampa woman sitting in a bathroom stall.
The woman was taken to a hospital with minor injuries. She was sitting on the toilet in a hotel bathroom when a woman in the next stall accidentally let her handgun slip out of her waist holster. The weapon discharged when it hit the ground.
*********** Coach Wyatt, I hope you are enjoying your summer and looking forward to teh upcoming season. I though I's update you on one of my former players. In 2004 I nominated Bryan Andrews as a candidate for the Black Lion award.
After moving on to high school Byran continued playing and became an oustanding defensive back at Greenbrier Hiigh School in Evans Georgia. He has accepted a scholarship to play football at Lehigh University. I was able to speak to Bryan recently at a community swim meet where his sister was competing. He seemed eager to get started in August. He and his family are without a doubt some of the nicest people I have ever met. Dan King Evans Georgia
*********** How many of us would have had the class to put their hard feelings aside and do what Stan Brock did? Fired after last season as Army's coach, he couldn't be blamed if he harbored some bitterness about being let go, but he nevertheless sucked it up and returned to West Point for graduation, in order to pay tribute to his former players on their big day.
*********** And you thought spelling and punctuation weren't important. Ever spent any time actually reading all those money scams coming to us from the remotest corners of our Global Village? Some even come from right here in the Land of the Free. Fortunately, no matter how hard they try to pass themselves off as legit, there's always something - some comical misspelling, some outrageous syntax error - that gives them away.
Hah. No self-respecting American corporation would ever send out such a piece of garbage, right? American companies are too careful about those things, right?
But wait - as obsessed as our young people are with texting, ignoring all the rules of proper English usage, where are American companies going to find the people to write their stuff correctly?
India, I suppose. Problem solved.
Meanwhile, a scammer's delight - how are all our young texters going to spot the phony from the real thing when they don't know any more about correct English than the average Eastern European scammer?
*********** "The old lessons (work, self-discipline, sacrifice, teamwork, fighting to achieve) aren't being taught by many people other than football coaches these days. The football coach has a captive audience and can teach these lessons because the communication lines between himself and his players are more wide open than between kids and parents. We better teach these lessons or else the country's future population will be made up of a majority of crooks, drug addicts, or people on relief." Bear Bryant
*********** From my NEWS page, June, 2000-
Perhaps you have heard the term "Machiavellian," (MACK-ee-uh-VELL'-ee-yun). It means using whatever means are necessary - cunning, trickery, guile, ruthlessness - to stay in power.
Morality is not a consideration.
The term comes from Niccolo Machiavelli, whose book, "The Prince," written in 1513, was possibly the first book ever written specifically for managers. Or coaches. Except that there were no "managers" or "coaches" when he wrote it. Only princes.
His "how to" book was directed at those who would rule people, and suggested what a "prince" ought to do to remain in power and strengthen his rule - essentially, anything.
His philosophy, understandably, is not popular with anyone who is not a prince or in a similar position of leadership - meaning most people. Certainly, he is in no danger of being called Politically Correct. His writing has been widely derided, and, in fact, he himself has been called the Devil Incarnate - possibly because he was the first to put into writing certain truths that make idealists very uncomfortable in their idealism.
His writing is nearly 500 years old, but try reading the following selection from "The Prince," and see if you don't find in it a fundamental question facing a modern-day manager, coach, politician, military leader or teacher. Or parent:
"Upon this a question arises: whether it is better to be loved than feared or feared than loved? It may be answered that one should wish to be both but, because it is difficult to unite them in one person, it is much safer to be feared than loved when, of the two, either must be dispensed with. Because this is to be asserted in general of men, that they are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, covetous, and as long as you succeed, they are yours entirely; they will offer you their blood, property, life and children, as is said above, when the need is far distant; but when it approaches, they turn against you. And that prince who, relying entirely on their promises, has neglected other precautions, is ruined; because friendships that are obtained by payments, and not by greatness or nobility of mind, may indeed be earned, but they are not secured, and in time of need cannot be relied upon; and men have less scruple in offending one who is beloved than one who is feared, for love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails."
FRIDAY, JULY 10, 2009- "In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensable." Dwight D. Eisenhower, who as General Eisenhower was in charge of the planning - and execution - of the D-Day Invasion
*********** Let this be a lesson to kids who don't want to change positions...
From the St Petersburg Times, May 1, 1978 (sent to me by Charlie Wilson, Dunedin, Florida)
As we all should know, Collinsworth did not make it at Florida as a drop-back passer, but, switched to receiver, he turned out to be very good - good enough to go on to become an NFL Pro Bowler. Wonder what kind of a career in broadcasting he'd have today if Florida had stayed with the wishbone.
(Words were few, eh? Barely audible, eh? Hard to believe they were writing about the Cris Collinsworth we all know.)
*********** My long-time friend Paul Herzog, in St. Paul, Minnesota, told me about a physical education presentation he sat in on recently. One of the presenters was Dr. Dave Joyner, a distinguished orthopedic surgeon from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Ahem. Back when I signed him to a World Football League contract with the Philadelphia Bell, he was still just plain Dave Joyner, former Penn State football captain. It was in Harrisburg, at the airport, and the only other person on hand was his agent, Bob Mitinger, another former Penn State football player who'd played professionally with the Chargers and then gone on to become an attorney in State College. As soon as the deed was done, I called our PR people in Philly so they could break the news.
Dave Joyner's signing was pretty big news, because he was a living, breathing symbol of Joe Paterno's "noble experiment" - his contention (since-disproven, sadly) that winning football and solid academics could co-exist at a big-time school.
In 1971, Dave was captain of the Penn State football team and a consensus All-American. But in addition, he was a heavyweight wrestler, and a damn good one at that. He was captain of the team, a three-time Eastern Intercollegiate Champion, and a runner-up in the 1971 NCAA National Championships.
Recalls one of his wrestling coaches at Penn State, "He was one of the most mentally tough people that I've ever been around. He also had great focus and intensity and a fantastic work ethic. Unfortunately, he was always working at a disadvantage in that he never had a full season. We usually didn't get him until January because of his football commitments. The NCAA Tournament was in early March, so this didn't leave Dave much time to get his conditioning and timing down. One year, however, he was able to start practice with us in December; that was the year Penn State didn't go to a bowl game (1970). As soon as football ended he came right out and hit the mats. He also ran up and down Mt. Nittany every day. That year he went all the way to the National finals, where he barely lost. That was his junior year and his senior year he had an especially short season as Penn State not only went to a bowl game, but Dave was selected to play in the Hula Bowl (all-star game) after that. It was just too short of a season. He still made it to the National quarterfinals, however. "
And in addition to his athletic accomplishments, Dave was a Dean's List student, a member of the National Pre-Med Honor Society, and an academic All-American.
Since he was already enrolled in Penn State's Milton Hershey Medical School in Hershey, about 100 miles from Philadelphia, when we negotiated with him, the only way we could get him to agree to sign was to work out an arrangement for him to continue his studies at Philadelphia's Hahnemann School of Medicine while he played for us.
After a short career in the WFL (in a league that lasts less than two full seasons, there are no long WFL careers), Dave graduated with his MD in 1976.
From there he went on to an outstanding career in sports medicine. He has served as Head Physician for the US team at the Winter Olympic Games (1992), and as Chairman of the US Olympic Committee's Sports Medicine Committee.
Dave is a member of the All-Time Penn State Football Team and in 1985 received the Outstanding Football Alumnus Award from the Penn State University Quarterback Club. He has received the Penn State Wrestling Club's Distinguished Alumnus Award, and is a member of the Pennsylvania Wrestling Hall of Fame and the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. In 1991 he was named a Penn State University Distinguished Alumnus.
Dr. Dave Joyner currently serves on the Penn State Board of Trustees.
He represents everything that big-time football woulda/coulda/shoulda been. No doubt Joe Paterno is very proud.
*********** The cover of this week's Sports Illustrated shows two guys wearing New York Mets' uniforms. But... but... but...those guys couldn't be major league baseball players, could they? They're too slim. Too trim. Too - athletic-looking.
Couldn't possibly be major-league baseball players. Hell, I'll bet neither one of them could bench 225 pounds even once. Or squat 350.
But it turns out they are, indeed, major leaguers. Well, former major leaguers. Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan, pitching aces of the Miracle Mets of 1969.
And if SI wanted to show us what steroid use has done to the face of baseball and the people who play it, it couldn't possibly have found a better "before" photo.
*********** Which brings me to the fact that baseball players are breaking down in record numbers.
According to the New York Times, The amount of time players spent on the DH increased 26 percent from 2006 to 2008 - and so far this year's numbers are right on pace with last year's.
Nearly 25 per cent of this year's New York Mets' opening-day roster is now out because of injuries. That comes at a cost - those Mets on the DH are due to make more than $50 million this year.
There are many theories for the jump in injuries, including: players making as much money as today's players are making are less likely to play hurt; advances in sports medicine have enabled team doctors to diagnose more injuries.
There are some who say that the introduction of testing for amphetamines, which players once freely used to get them through the long season, has also led to breakdowns.
And then there are... steroids. Barry Axelrod, former player agent, told the New York Times, “I know the powers in baseball said they had no idea, but everyone in baseball knew dating back to the late ’80s it was prevalent. The side effects from the steroids was the increased injuries because players were more fragile and their muscles were becoming too big, and the training was too intense for the body.”
*********** Tuesday I derided the NCAA for jumping on people for buying players cheeseburgers while the NCAA itself gets fat selling the rights to players' images to EA Sports.
In case you thought I was kidding about the NCAA's nitpicking, I found this, in my NEWS back in May, 2000...
Another out-of-control Nebraska football player. This time, it's quarterback Eric Crouch, who made a campaign appearance a few weeks ago on behalf of a friend who is a candidate for the University of Nebraska Board of Regents. To get there, he accepted a plane ride worth $13.41 (now, how did they arrive at that figure?), and then, at the home of a friend of the candidate, he "accepted" (and presumably ate) a ham sandwich said to be worth exactly $4. The NCAA is investigating.
What the %$#@& is the matter with the NCAA, anyhow? While campus activists hold universities hostage to one radical liberal cause after another, let a football player get involved in a political campaign and it's time to start working on the hangman's noose - especially if it's one of those Nebraska Cornhuskers. In view of the severity of the offense here, there is no telling what kind of penalty the NCAA will assess. I'm guessing loss of eligibility for Crouch for at least a season, forfeiture of ten football scholarships next year, and no television games or bowl appearances for the Cornhuskers for an entire year.
*********** Five birds are sitting on a telephone wire. Two decide to fly south. How many are left? Most people would say three.
Actually, all five are left. You see, deciding to fly isn’t the same as doing it.
If a bird really wants to go somewhere, it’s got to point itself in the right direction, jump off the wire, flap its wings, and keep flapping until it gets there.
So it is with most things. Good intentions aren't enough. It’s not what we want, say, or think that makes things happen; it’s what we do.
I frequently think of writing thank-you, birthday, and congratulatory notes. Unfortunately, only a sad few of these good sentiments ever make it to paper. Still, if I don’t look too closely, I can delude myself into thinking that based on my good thoughts I’m a gracious and grateful person. A truer and less admirable picture of my character is drawn by my actions.
In the end, we either do or don’t do. We either make the time to do the things we want to and should do or we make excuses. As Alfred Adler said, “Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.”
Michael Josephson - Character Counts
*********** I said I wouldn't have anything more to say about Steve McNair. But I lied. Well, technically, I didn't. See, I had this guy named Jason Whitlock in Kansas City write it for me. He writes very well (for the Kansas City Star and foxsports.com) and he says it better than anybody else I've read...
You see, this is my problem with McNair, with American men as a whole.
We shirk our responsibilities as fathers. We don't have time for it. We think it's a part- or no-time job. We think our career is more important. We think charity work is more important. We think some young tail is more important.
We foolishly believe we're unnecessary in the rearing of children. This mindset must die.
I pass no judgment on McNair kicking it with a woman 16 years his junior. I don't agree with it, but I pass no judgment on McNair "cheating" on his wife.
However, I think it's ridiculous and embarrassing that he spent so much time chasing after a Nashville waitress that he created the impression he lived with her.
Many have tried, but you can't maintain two homes, two families. If HBO has shown us anything, it's that kids are the losers when it comes to Big Love.
You can't live with a waitress in a condo/apartment, take her parasailing, clubbing, to Vegas and raise a brood of boys living in a home on the other side of town.
Kids are game-changers. Kids require sacrifice. Kids are a daily and sometimes hourly responsibility. You don't properly raise them in your spare time with money, fame, gifts and glowing newspaper and magazine stories about your courage to play on Sundays despite injury and pain.
*********** From Scott Russell - With profuse apologies to any of my Italian friends who might be offended. ("If I offended anyone...")
*********** The Wall Street Journal Looks at Orin Hatch Who Looks at the BCS By William McGurn
Write to MainStreet@wsj.com
*********** Hi Coach,
Greetings! I hope your work is going well, and all is good in the Wyatt family!
The boy had a Doctor's note for a week off after having been cleated at the base of his big toe, and was attending practice for support and sideline-duty (showing commitment in spite of his injury).
I know you support all that is honorable in the game, and would rather abusive buffoons be drummed out of the coaching profession.
Glad I'm not the boy's father (who is currently separated, and living with his lover = completely immoral and ineffectual), as I would have horsewhipped this abusive son of a b---ch.
Thanks in advance.
I hope you understand that I have heard of so many cases of this nature that I always counsel people to first make absolutely sure that they have all the facts.
This is by no means a blanket defense of football coaches. There are misfits and jerks in every profession.
*********** "Taxes from California's marijuana industry could pay the salaries of 20,000 teachers." They're actually saying that on a marijuana legalization ad. Like... you don't suppose there'd be a black market, do you?
*********** Digging through an old NEWS entry from nearly 10 years ago, I came across this...
Here I was almost sympathizing with Nike because of all those whining punks in Eugene holding this corporate giant responsible for every sweatshop abuse in every Third World country... And then the young zealots responsible for marketing the Nike swoosh went right back to their old pattern of using sports to advance their liberal, politically-correct social causes. Acting as if none of them has taken Economics 101, Nike's marketing geniuses are currently inflaming the feminists and the ignorant (same thing, you say?) with their "Mrs. Jones" campaign, in which a rather surly Mrs. Jones - who I would imagine out-earns most of us by a factor of at least 10 - demands to know why "our sisters" (pro women athletes) are "making less."
Excuse me, Mrs. Jones, but cut the crap... I can't believe an intelligent woman wouldn't already know the answers to those stupid questions you were paid to ask, but here goes anyhow: with rare exceptions - the Olympics, which only come around every four years and only last a week or so, and a couple of major tennis events in which there is both a men's and a women's tournament - there is simply not enough interest in women's professional sports to justify paying women as much as male professional athletes. It has nothing to do with busting butts, bleeding red blood or sacrificing. It has everything to do with putting fannies in the seats. Economics 101 again - Can you dig it? (You do, by the way, have my standing offer to march with you any time you want to crusade for lowering the pay of male professional athletes. "The less, the better," I like to say. You are right about one thing - if we buy that garbage Nike asked you to read to us, we are suckers.)
So based on events since then, was I wrong?
By the way, whatever happened to Marion Jones, anyhow? (Is it possible that by "bustin' their butts" she meant injections?)
And where's Nike's apology for using a druggie to chastise us?
*********** July 10 was "R-Day"
As the Class of 2013 was being selected, 10,131 young men and women applied by opening files with the Admissions Office. Of these, 3,479 were nominated, and 1,851 were deemed fully qualified. From these, 1,302 were offered appointments to enter West Point very early on the morning of 29 May 2009. Those with social security numbers ending in 0-3 were required to be at Eisenhower Hall by 6:30 a.m. For most, this meant leaving motels in the surrounding area by about 5:00 a.m. in order to clear gate security in time. The next group was due at 8:00 a.m., and the last at 9:30 a.m. Even before the earliest group arrived, the candidates from the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School were on the scene in uniform, with appropriate military haircuts. All this was prelude to the Oath Ceremony at Trophy Point at 5:40 p.m., when 1,297 of these former carefree civilians, now uniformed and groomed to Army standards, would swear to support the Constitution and defend the United States.
After the parents, family and friends of the new cadets had the traditional 90 seconds to say their goodbyes, the members of the Class of 2013 were marched off by members of the first Beast Detail to waiting buses and whisked away to Thayer Hall for administrative processing that included everything from an inventory of any existing tattoos (none could be visible when wearing standard uniforms nor could any be added during the next four years as a cadet) to a “no questions asked” bin for any contraband. Thayer Hall is also the place where the actual, legally binding oath is sworn, signed and witnessed by an Army attorney. The international cadets swear to and sign a somewhat different oath, submitting to the authority of the Academy’s leaders for the duration and promising to do nothing to reflect discredit upon their native country. Then, attired in black athletic shorts and white shirts, the new cadets begin rudimentary training in saluting, facing movements and marching in preparation for their first public appearance at Trophy Point. They also will receive haircuts and a basic cadet uniform consisting of gray trousers, a short-sleeved white shirt, and white gloves and meet the infamous Cadet in the Red Sash and their new cadet company First Sergeant. Perhaps their most impressive experience in the first few hours will be their first meal, lunch, in cavernous Washington Hall, during which time they will discover that meals at West Point are different from those at any civilian college or university in the world.
Those parents, family and friends left behind were free until the Superintendent’s official welcome at 3:00 p.m. There was a military display on Daly Field near Trophy Point, and the new library, Jefferson Hall was open, along with Herbert Hall, Fort Putnam, the West Point Museum, and all of the chapels. Although the weather was threatening, boats were standing by at South Dock for those hardy souls desiring a tour of Constitution Island as well. Mothers and younger daughters gravitated in that direction, while fathers and younger sons tended to prefer land-based attractions. Shuttle buses were available for tours of West Point and access to all food service venues, including some concession stands at Trophy Point.
But the place visited by most was the Class of ’63 Lounge in Eisenhower Hall, where members of the 50-Year Affiliate Class of 1963 were on hand to greet the parents, families and friends of the new cadets, offer them a Continental breakfast, answer questions, and provide assurances that their sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, grandsons and granddaughters were in good hands and embarking upon a proud career of service to God and country. Most parents appreciated the fact that every new cadet had a squad leader plus a chain of command up to the King of the Beasts looking out for their son or daughter, plus a parallel chain of Tactical Officers and NCOs. Not only would that chain be reinforced when the academic year began, but someday in the not too distant future, their new cadet would be an integral part of it, perhaps even the King of the Beasts or the First Captain. At the lounge was a large red, white and blue mailbox, courtesy of the WPAOG and Maryellen [Conway] Picciuto ’86, where parents could mail their first letter to their new cadet. Newly installed flat screen TVs displayed a continuing slide show of all of the cadet competitive club sports teams and other organizations under the aegis of the Director of Cadet Activities (recent national collegiate champions in Boxing, Orienteering, Men’s Team Handball, Combat Weapons, Pistol and Women’s Pistol) and supported, in part, by donations from the annual Parents Telethon.
Up in the ballroom, ASSEMBLY magazine staff explained the intricacies of the Acceptance Day parade in August 2009 and its mirror-image relationship to the Graduation Parade in May 2013, except to the parents who were themselves West Point graduates. Yet again, tote bags bearing the names of all (hopefully) of the incoming Class of 2013 were a popular item, as were the “Proud Parent” tote bags provided by USAA. Season tickets for the fall football season vied with order forms for DVDs of Beast Barracks from Academy Photo. Over a dozen Parents Clubs manned desks to recruit new members, while a few vendors offered to provide “First Boodle” deliveries after the restrictions were relaxed a bit towards the end of Beast Barracks.
Soon the Superintendent’s welcome was over, and it was time to queue up for the Oath Ceremony and attempt to spot their son or daughter among the 1,297 amazingly similar-looking new cadets. The ceremony concluded, the parents, families and friends returned to their motels and other accommodations for a meal and some needed rest. For the Class of 2013, however, Beast Barracks had only just begun.
TUESDAY, JULY 7, 2009- “You can't use tact with a Congressman! A Congressman is a hog! You must take a stick and hit him on the snout!” Henry Brooks Adams
*********** The sanctimonious NCAA enjoys telling college athletes that they can't accept so much as a free cheeseburger from one of their coaches. But then, after the kid and the coach have walked away from the table, the NCAA guys grab the cheeseburger and eat it themselves.
So here we are again. The NCAA tells athletes that they can't profit from advertisers' use of their faces, names or voices to sell products, then peddles the rights to college football to EA Sports - with players' likenesses as part of the deal.
It's hard to say how much the NCAA earns in royalties, but as a general guideline, the NFL Players' Association made $35 million in royalties from Electronic Arts in 2008.
Sam Keller, former Arizona State and Nebraska QB, has filed a class-action lawsuit against Electronic Arts and the National Collegiate Athletic Association, arguing that they illegally profit from the images of college football players.
Electronic Arts (EA Sports) doesn't actually name the players on the various college teams, but sometimes the coincidence, um, defies belief. For example, in NCAA Football 2009, the quarterback for the Florida Gators wears number 15, is 6 feet 3 inches tall, and throws left-handed. Amazingly, Tim Tebow, the real Gators' quarterback, also happens to wear number 15, is also 6-3, and also throws left-handed. Now, what do you know about that?
Several legal experts say that Keller makes a strong case that Electronic Arts has violated his right of publicity, which prevents the commercial use of someone’s likeness without that person’s consent. In other such cases, including one in which game show hostess Vanna White sued Samsung for using a robot that resembled her in an advertisement, celebrities have won.
Said Keller, “We signed a paper at the beginning of college saying we couldn’t benefit from our name. So why was the NCAA turning a blind eye to this and allowing EA Sports to take our likenesses and make big bucks off it?”
*********** Lord Levene, chairman of Lloyd's, the insurance giant, in presenting Lloyd's Medal for Saving Life to US Airways Captain Chesley Sullenberger recently, said, "He simply did what he was trained to do. If only the banking industry had been following that philosophy over the last few years."
*********** A year ago, Army safety Caleb Campbell was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the seventh round. Campbell and the Lions thought it would be possible for him to play, despite the usual service commitment required of all service academy graduates, because of a policy then in effect allowing professional athletes to defer (some would say finesse) their military commitment in the event of such an opportunity.
But then the Department of the Army - or the Department of Defense - perhaps concerned about how it would look for a guy to be playing football while his classmates were off to Iraq or Afghanistan, rescinded the policy.
So Campbell had to give up his dreams. Back to the Army, soldier. We're at war.
Yeah, right. War or no war, he's no closer to the action in Iraq or Afghanistan than he would have been had he made the Lions' roster.
Now, just to show you how our military just can't seem to get its act together, we may still be at war, but Caleb Campbell is somehow part of something called the World Class Athlete Program, which makes it possible for people in the armed forces to, yes, finesse their military obligations while honing their skills in one little-known sport or another. As a "world class athlete," he is training with - I am not making this up - the US Olympic bobsled team.
*********** I simply refuse to believe that any professional athlete is as good as his PR people make him out to be. But Steve McNair's death, is no less sad. Beyond that, I'm not touching the story. I just wish that people who've never been within 10,000 miles of combat (or even basic training) would refrain from referring to any football player as a "warrior."
*********** I may have been too harsh on Jerry Glanville. Not so long ago, I wrote about his letting the great Mouse Davis go as offensive coordinator at Portland State, and I attributed it to the well-known Glanville ego.
Not that that may not still be the real reason, but the other day, Glanville did try to shed some light on Davis' departure following spring practice.
Davis' story appeared to be that he had been pressed to make some changes to his beloved offense - that despite putting up NCAA division-leading numbers last season, he was asked to employ another formation or two besides the one-back, four-receiver run and shoot that he popularized at the college and pro level.
Glanville's story, told the other day to the Portland Oregonian's Jim Beseda, is that when it appeared they might not have enough slot receivers to run the base offense, Davis had nothing else to turn to, yet refused to adjust.
"I don't want to be held hostage by the depth of our roster," Glanville told Beseda. "I'll never forget this spring, I was told, 'If we lose one more slot, we won't be able to practice.' Well, then you better have another plan to go to.
"Maybe you have two running backs. Maybe you use a tight end. I will not be held hostage by a position, by an injury or by a guy not passing his classes. You've got to have another plan so that the lack of depth at a position doesn't stop you from continuing to play well."
*********** Where can I go to find out question like when and why things like hash marks wear added and other rule changes through out the years? I went to wikipedia but there are things that are tough to find even there.
Since you appear to have a genuine interest in digging deeper into the making of our game, I urge you to do what it takes to get a copy of "The Anatomy of a Game," by David M. Nelson. University of Delaware Press, 1994
Dave Nelson, known as the co-inventor of the Delaware Wing-T (still a potent offense), was also a prolific writer on various aspects of our game. He was a student of our game and its history, and for 35 years he served on the NCAA Rules Committee, where he saw first-hand how our game evolved.
"Anatomy of a Game," which was published after his death, is a magnificent effort of chronicling the history of our game by showing the history of (and reasoning behind) its rules changes.
He even goes into the politics of rules changes, including the way those who favored the passing game gained a majority voice on the rules committee, and thereby brought about college football's relatively rapid change into a wide-open game biased in favor of the passing offense.
I find myself frequently referring to "The Anatomy of a Game."
*********** I like rugby, but I've been spoiled.
Not by my college experience, either. Although I played it for two years, I have to admit that other than knowing that you couldn't pass the ball forward, and that the ultimate object seemed to be to run the ball "into touch" (the end zone) and "touch it down" for a "try," or to tackle the other guy to prevent him from scoring a try against you, I had only the vaguest idea of what was going on. I was simply a football player at a school where there was no spring football, doing his best at a game which to me represented a primitive form of football, before a Yalie named Walter Camp came along and introduced the concept of having to advance the ball a certain distance in a certain number of "downs" in order to maintain possession.
And then my son moved to Australia, and began sending me tapes of games, and I got spoiled. In Australia, Rugby is second only to cricket as a truly national game. (Contrary to popular belief, Australian Rules, while close to a mania in one large state - Victoria - plays second fiddle everywhere else in Australia to one form or another of rugby (league or rugby union). The national team, the Wallabies, enjoys a huge following. See The Many Faces of Football in Australia
A small hop across the pond to the east of Australia is New Zealand, a small nation that plays a disproportionately large role in world rugby. The NZ national team, the All Blacks, is one of the world's best known sports names, and the All Blacks' Haka, the warlike dance of the native Maori people, has been widely copied by American high school football teams.
Together with a third southern hemisphere nation, South Africa, the Aussies and the Kiwis compete for the Tri Nations Cup, the winner of which more often than not is the top rugby team in the world.
Rugby fans there are sophicticated. Rugby matches draw huge crowds, and the televising of the games reflects the sophistication of the audience. In other words, they know the game and know how to televise it, because their viewers would raise hell if they didn't.
Which brings me to this past weekend. I tried watching the USA-Canada rugby match on ESPN, but it was unwatchable. ESPN clearly didn't know the sport, and therefore didn't know how to televise it. Knowing the sport would have required doing a little homework, and ESPN is above that. See, we're ESPN, and we give people what we want to give them, and they'll bloody well like it. Hey, we televise the NFL, don't we?
Now, the first thing to remember in watching rugby is that it flows, like soccer or lacrosse. It is not an intermittent sport like football, broken into discrete plays separated by pauses in between.
And because the game flows, and the viewer gets caught up in the flow, the director has to be very, very careful about changing cameras. It is extremely disconcerting to a knowledgeable viewer to have to endure cuts in camera shots while play is going on.
But the guys at ESPN didn't seem to understand that. So they gave rugby the only thing they did know - the NFL treatment. Lots of quick cuts and closeups - even in the middle of action - so that all hope of continuity was lost. And, of course, plenty of tight shots of players' faces at even minor stoppages of play - the ESPN folks evidently thought there was going to be a huddle. Somebody should have told them that there are no huddles in rugby, and the few interruptions of play are short, so that any time the director tries to show us how many cameras he has and how creative he can be with them, we're going to miss action.
Oh- and then there was the color analyst, clearly chosen more for his knowledge of rugby than for his ability to interpret it for an American audience. The guy kept dropping rugby terms like "knock on" and "ruck" as though everyone watching understood what to most Americans is a very mysterious sport.
I stopped recording it at halftime. Presented like that, even a great sport like rugby has no chance of ever being anything more than a novelty in the US.
*********** It was around 2:30 AM last Friday, and a guy in Vancouver, Washington was doing 80 in his pickup on a city street when he lost control, hit two trees, spun and overturned. Killed him. Not that it would have saved him, but he wasn't wearing a seat belt. The guy had had numerous DUI convictions, leading investigators to hazard a guess that perhaps - just maybe - alcohol was a factor. In one of this year's great examples of Copspeak, an officer at the scene told the Vancouver Columbian, "He had a long history of alcohol prevalence."
*********** Dusty Rhodes died a few weeks ago.
A good old Alabama country boy who loved a good time, he earned a place in baseball history with one of the greatest pinch hit performances of all time.
It was in the 1954 series, in which the New York Giants swept the heavily-favored Indians, that Rhodes attained baseball fame.
Early that the season, Giants' manager Leo Durocher had threatened to quit unless Rhodes was traded. In his autobiography, "Nice Guys Finish Last," Durocher called Rhodes "the worst fielder who ever played in a big-league game."
But the Giants were unable to trade him, and Rhodes went on to have a good season at the plate, hitting .341 with 15 home runs.
Durocher was fed up with Rhodes' love of the night life, not to mention his inability to do anything besides hit. "I decided Rhodes couldn't run or field a ball and I decided I didn't want him around," Durocher said after the series. "Get rid of him. He can't do nothing. He convinced me now how wrong I was."
In that World Series, Rhodes won Game number one with a 10th-inning pinch-hit homer; in game 2 he tied the game with a pinch-hit single, and then, staying in the game, added a home run as the Giants won; and his two-run pinch-hit single in Game 3 led the Giants to their third win.
His two home runs were the only ones hit by the Giants in the entire World Series.
Although born and raised in the then-segregated South, Rhodes, according to black teammate Monte Irvin, was "color blind."
"He was like a brother to all the black players," Irvin told the New York Daily News. "He sure did like the good life, though, which would drive Leo crazy."
My favorite Dusty Rhodes story came from Durocher, who told about times when he'd need a pinch-hitter, scanning the length of the dugout looking for someone to step up. Not a player would. Many of them pressed their backs against the dugout wall, the better to escape Durocher's eyes. But always, down at the end, there would be Dusty Rhodes, picking a bat out of the bat rack and saying, "I'm your man, Skip!"
FRIDAY, JULY 3, 2009- "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." Thomas Jefferson
*********** Three years ago, when he took the head coaching job at Beloit, Kansas, Greg Koenig asked me if I'd come and help him and his new staff install our system. Within short order, Brad Knight and Gabe McCown were on board, too. I'd been helping at Brad's camp in Holstein, Iowa for at least four years before that, and Gabe, a successful middle-school Double Wing coach in Oklahoma, became the fourth member of a group that's now worked four straight camps in Beloit. This year, John Dowd of Oakfield-Alabama, New York, will also be joining us.
Greg's kids at Beloit are good, and they know the system, so they have provided us with a real Double Wing laboratory, where we insiders can get together before the season starts and look at new and better ways of teaching what we're already doing - and maybe even look at a new wrinkle or two. Truly, it's as valuable to me as anything I do.
Up to now, we have always had a closed-camp policy, but this year, after getting several requests, we have agreed to offer a limited number of invitations to select Double-Wing coaches who wish to join us. Invited coaches will be free to wander and work side by side with the camp coaches, and to sit in on informal "clinics". Cost to attend will be $150 per coach, covering all sessions (two per day).
You are on your own for meals and lodging. Beloit is in North Central Kansas, about two hours from Kansas City.
A similar opportunity, perhaps more suited to the needs of beginning Double-Wingers, is available a couple of weeks later- July 31-August 2 - at Clarinda, Iowa, where we'll be on hand to help Brad Knight install (for the third year in a row) the Double Wing at Clarinda, Academy. Clarinda Academy is a correctional facility, which means kids rotate in and out, and consequently Brad - and the rest of us - are constantly having to teach the offense anew.
There will be four sessions - Friday afternoon July 31, two sessions on Saturday August 1, and Sunday morning August 2. Cost to attend and take part in this hands-on camp will be $100 per coach. As with Beloit, you are on your own for lodging and meals. Clarinda is about two hours southeast of Omaha and three hours north of Kansas City.
Anyone interested in attending either camp should contact me ASAP. firstname.lastname@example.org
*********** Recollections of the late Ed Thomas, by a friend who served for a year on his staff...
To those who didn't know him well he was Coach Thomas, or Ed Thomas, or Mr. Thomas depending on how formal/informal the situation dictated. But to those of us who knew him well he was simply "Coach T". I was going into my senior year of high school (1988) and had a teammate who had an uncle (Al Kerns) on Coach Thomas's staff at A-P. He invited us up for conditioning camp, and we of course took him up on it.
This was a camp like no other. Two times daily we met on the practice field and went through series after series of gut wrenching, wear-your-butt-out drills. And every time I felt as if I couldn't make it another step, another rep, there was Coach Thomas pushing me to go just a little further. Now understand, I did not even PLAY for him. To him that did not matter - he wanted me to see that I could always press on further, I could always give just a little bit more. After the 5 days of camp were over, I was exhausted. I thought maybe Coach Thomas and his staff were just a little crazy, but I left with a great deal of respect for all of them, and his players.
Fast forward to 1995. I had just been given my student teaching assigment in Texas, and I was not crazy about it. I wanted to stay close to Cedar Falls, Iowa where I could continue to work out, and work so I could pay rent where I lived. I ran into Coach Thomas at a spring scrimmage. He immediately remembered who I was, and asked how I was doing. As I told him of my dilemma, he said to give him a couple of days and he would get back to me. Two days later I was informed by the UNI education office my student teaching assignment had been changed to a nearby school district, Aplington-Parkersburg. Coach T had called the education office and set everything up for me, 6 weeks in kindergarten and 6 weeks in a 4th grade classroom with one of his assistant coaches. He called me a few minutes later to ask me to join his football staff as a volunteer assistant, and I accepted immediately.
In that one season I learned more about football and life than I ever had before. He taught me how to watch film, how to put defenders in conflict, and how to watch a game and call just the right play in a given situation. He also reaffirmed the lessons I had been taught by my own mother and father - that anything worth doing is worth doing to the best of your God-given ability. He treated me like family. His family treated me like family as well. Aaron and Todd (his two sons) were both on the team that year, Aaron a senior QB who was 100% a leader, Todd a freshman QB who had leadership abilities beyond his years. Needless to say I witnessed exactly what I wanted to do when I earned my first head coaching position - I wanted to treat my players and everyone else just like Coach T. He was hard on them, yes, demanded more of them than they thought they could give, BUT - he loved them and cared for them like they were his own children. He made sure they knew every day just how much he cared for them, how much he respected them, and how much they meant to him.
Not a day has gone by in the last 14 years that I have not strived to meet the expectations he laid out for me that year. Not a day has gone by that I have not heard myself using his words with my players and students. The man known as Coach Thomas is one of the greatest men I have ever known. I hope that while he is enjoying his time in Heaven he will look down and be proud of the coach he had a large part in creating. I love him, and I will miss him, and I will never forget Coach T.
*********** Coach Wyatt, It was a tragic state of events last week to hear about Coach Thomas over at Aplington-Parkersburg. Having competed on the gridiron as a player against Coach Thomas' teams, his guys always did compete with class...even when they were whipping your butt! I remember being thrashed my junior year and thinking, "Wow, these people are so passionate about their football." A game at A-P is a sight for anyone.
They replayed the Aplington-Parkersburg first home game from this past season after the 10 PM news. It was against West Marshall High School, which has another very storied tradition in Iowa. A-P is just fun to watch. They run Wing-T, and will do it with a variety of unbalanced lines. They ran our criss-cross 47-C, and pulled the backside guard and tight end. They execute so well. They ran 38 and 29 G-O with GREAT success all game. The most unique thing about their offense is that they use a 'quick huddle' and rush to the line and off they go. They will use a long count, and it ALWAYS draws the defense.
I have another short article that my mother had cut out of some Christian magazine. Coach Thomas wrote the article and submitted it. His article was published this past December. Coach talked about the struggles of helping the town and school survive and flourish after the tornado last May. It was very touching.
Coach Thomas was an inspiration and will be missed by all. You may share this in your news if you would like.
God bless you, and all the other coaches out there.
*********** Dad...ESPN is getting 30 filmmakers to do "their stories" on sports...check what Barry Levinson (Diner, Tin Men, Rain Man) is doing...love, Ed
And The Band Marched On: The Colts Sneak Out of Baltimore (Barry Levinson)
In late March of 1984, a moving company secretly packed up the Baltimore Colts' belongings and its fleet of vans snuck off in the darkness of the early morning. A city of deeply devoted fans was left in shock and disbelief. What caused owner Robert Irsay to turn his back on a town that was as closely linked to its team as any in the NFL? Academy Award-winning filmmaker Barry Levinson, himself a long-standing Baltimore Colts fanatic, will probe that question in light of the changing relationship of sports to community. Through the eyes of members of the Colts Marching Band, Levinson will illustrate how a fan base copes with losing the team that it loves.
*********** I am dropping you a line to see if you have any advice for calling plays? Do you have a set of plays worked out ahead of time and then you adjust as necessary?
Play calling is more art than science. A lot of it is feel and intuition. I do have a long, long list of things I advise coaches on regarding play calling, but the number one piece of advice that I think all young coaches need is this: don't stop yourself. Make the opponents stop you. By that I mean that if you are having success with a particular play, keep running it. Run it until you're forced to do something different. Nothing is more demoralizing to a defense than not being able to stop that play.
Get over the idea that you have to show people how many plays you've taught your kids, and learn to be satisfied with moving the ball! That is, after all, a major purpose of an offense. Too many guys get bored way too easily and as a result they wind up doing for the defense what the defense couldn't do on its own - stop the offense.
No, I do not have a set of plays worked out in advance. I do have a pretty good idea what particular play I'll start out with, and then I'll see how the defense plays us and whether they're going to keep giving us that play, or whether they've decided to load up to stop that one, and in doing so give us something else. If the latter is the case, we are a series offense and because we have the complete offense ready to go, we can take advantage of that. That latter point is my argument against someone running "a little Double Wing" as part of an overall offensive scheme - I think you need to run it all. If you can't run it all, you will have a weak spot, and once the defense finds it, you won't have an answer.
*********** A claim of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York is "much of the history we teach was made by people we taught." Great American military leaders such as Ulysses Grant and Robert E. Lee, John J. Pershing and Douglas MacArthur, Dwight D. Eisenhower and George Patton, Norman Schwarzkopf and David Petraeus, West Point educated and trained, make that claim more than just an idle boast.
The Battle of Gettysburg, which took place at this time 180 years ago, provides an illustration. This from a publication put out by the West Point Association of Graduates...
Early July evokes a number of memories for West Pointers. For classes as early as 1924, 1 July was the date they reported to begin their West Point experience in Beast Barracks. Later, the date became the first Tuesday in July. More recently, classes have reported at the end of June. Then, of course, there is the 4th of July 1776, the date of the birth of our nation (celebrated in Beast Barracks by slightly reduced discipline at noon meal and, more recently, a parade of state flags at a band concert at Trophy Point attended by the new cadets). But most of all, there is the battle of Gettysburg on 1-3 July 1863, pitting the Army of Northern Virginia under Robert E. Lee, Class of 1829, against the Army of the Potomac under George G. Meade, Class of 1835.
After his stunning victory at Chancellorsville a month earlier, Lee began moving his army north in early June to seize the initiative and relieve pressure on Richmond and the rest of Virginia. On 1 July he encountered advance elements (mainly John Buford, Jr., Class of 1848, and his cavalry) of the Army of the Potomac outside of Gettysburg, PA, and slowly drove them and elements of the recently arrived I Corps, commanded by John F. Reynolds, Class of 1841 (killed by a sharpshooter early in the battle), and XI Corps, Commanded by Oliver O. Howard, Class of 1854, through the town to the high ground just to the southeast. Eventually the Union occupied a fishhook from Culp’s Hill on the right to Little Round Top on the left. Both sides suffered heavy casualties, but Lee ordered Richard S. Ewell, Class of 1840, to drive the Union defenders off the high ground “if practicable.” Ewell delayed, and additional Union reinforcements raced forward. The opportunity for a quick Confederate victory vanished.
On the following day, Ewell’s forces attacked Culp’s Hill on the Union right but were frustrated by the heavily wooded terrain and heavy Union fire. On the Union left flank, near Little Round Top, James Longstreet, Class of 1842, delayed his attack long enough for arriving Union forces to organize their defense. Another Confederate opportunity was lost when Longstreet was unable to take full advantage of an unauthorized (and unknown to Meade, just recently placed in command of the Army of the Potomac) move forward by Sickles into a peach orchard. Longstreet attacked this aberration in the Union lines and almost destroyed Sickles’ corps but could not break the actual Union defensive line. The second day ended with significant casualties on both sides again, but the Confederate cavalry, commanded by J.E.B. Stuart, Class of 1854, finally had returned to Lee’s control after riding a circuit around the Union forces.
On 3 July, Lee sent Stuart’s cavalry around the right flank of the Union to disrupt the rear area while an artillery bombardment softened the Union center for what would become known as “Pickett’s Charge.” Recent research by Dr. Tom Carhart ’66, chronicled in his book, Lost Triumph, suggests that the cavalry action may have been part of a master plan by Lee to secure a complete victory at Gettysburg. Had Stuart been successful, his mission would not have been disruption of the rear but an attack upon the rear of the Union line that would force the Union center to fight in two directions, against Stuart and Pickett, with the Confederate cavalry then firing captured artillery into the Union lines in support of Pickett’s attacking infantry.
In any event, Stuart’s cavalry ran into the cavalry of David Gregg, Class of 1855, and an audacious maneuver by the Michigan cavalry of George A. Custer, Class of June 1861, that frustrated any attempt to penetrate the Union flank, Thus George E. Pickett, Class of 1846, made his charge directly into the artillery and small arms fire of the Union center, just reaching the Union defensive positions but never taking them. It was a magnificent, but ultimately meaningless, display of raw courage under fire. Lee went to his grave without ever revealing what his actual plan was on that fateful third day, although he accepted full responsibility for its failure. On the following day, as Lee retreated south with his wounded, another blow was struck against the Confederacy when Vicksburg surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant, Class of 1843, on 4 July 1863. The town of Vicksburg would not celebrate Independence Day again for 81 years, until World War II.
*********** Good Afternoon Coach--
We have been in the Western Maine Mountains for the last week and don't get to the computer as often. We have to go to local library for web access. I did read the last couple of news pages today and was excited to see the North Beach kids you took to Oregon to help your friend. The kids looked great in the picture and Kevin Braden looks as if he has gotten bigger. Anyway as usual your comments have struck a chord.
1. "Run the circle" - how many times have I use that phrase or made our North Beach kids run those pipes. In my humble opinion the best drill invented for double wing linemen, and it can adapted in many ways to run all the basic plays for the lineman from trap, down (G), to sweep as well as the super power of course. One of the best things for lineman you invented is the circle drill. A good segment for tapes to sell would be circle drills for linemen--anyway it is a thought.
2. I get so sick of hearing that someone has invented a sure fire way to stop the "DW". We both know that any offense can be stopped with better people, poor coaching, or just a bad day. However, given the flexibility of the DW it is certainly an offense that gives defensive coordinators nightmares and I believe if run properly and everything else being equal will consistently provide winning seasons. For the last fifteen years teams I have been associated with, running the DW, have never failed to win at least six games.
Anyway good to read the News and probably won't get back to it for another week but high in the mountains life takes a different pace.
Jack Tourtillotte, Boothbay, Maine (It was my great privilege to have Jack, long-time successful Maine Double-Winger - winner of two state titles at Boothbay Region High School - assist me last season at North Beach HS. HW)
*********** I always believed that there was nothing Tim Murphy wouldn't do for the kids at Central Catholic, and a couple of weeks ago he dispelled any doubts anyone might have on that score.
I first met Father Murphy in 1979, when I taught and coached at Central Catholic High, in the heart of Portland.
To me, he symbolized everything that was good about Catholic education. He was firm but fair. He was well-educated. And although he had a wonderful sense of humor, he took his responsibilties as an educator seriously. Above all, he loved Central Catholic and its kids, and they loved him back.
Back then, coaches were expected to be on hand the post-game socials of the Ram Boosters (which, because drinks were served, we coaches nicknamed the Ram Boozers). At the first such get-together, we coaches were called on to introduce ourselves. Last as I always seem to be whenever anything is done in alphabetical order, I stood up and mentioned having a son and three daughters.
Central Catholic was all-male then, and when it came Father Murphy's turn to introduce himself, he brought down the house when he said, "I'm Father Murphy, and I have four hundred sons."
Tim Murphy had been a student at Central himself, and then he returned to teach. He never left, eventually becoming principal, then president, and now, at 69, carrying the title of President Emeritus.
Somehow, back in April Monsignor Murphy agreed, as part of the school auction, to sky-dive for a substantial bid. Very quickly, a group or parents pooled resources and bid $16,200, and there would be no backing out.
So on Sunday, June 14 (Father's Day, appropriately), wearing a maroon-and-gold Central Catholic rugby shirt (and, needless to say, a parachute), Monsignor Murphy jumped out of an airplane 13,500 feet above Molalla, Oregon. (He called it his "leap of faith.")
"Everything happened so fast," he told the Portland Oregonian afterward. "At some point, I had to remind myself to breathe."
And as a couple hundred onlookers cheered and applauded, he was asked if he'd do it again.
"If it helps the kids," he said, "Yes."
*********** I wrote this in October, 2001. See if it doesn't still have some application to today's America...
New Zealand's world-renowned national rugby team is called the All-Blacks. The name refers to the uniform, not the team's racial makeup. But there's little likelihood it'll ever be called the All-Whites.
That's because New Zealand sport appears to be undergoing a cultural shift not unlike that of the United States. The latest monthly issue of New Zealand Rugby reports that Whites are fleeing rugby union, referring to it as "white flight." Just as in the US, large numbers of its white, middle-class boys are switching over to less-rigorous soccer. In fact, figures show that New Zealand, long considered once of the world's rugby powers, now has more registered soccer players than rugby players.
The big difference between the Kiwis and us is that at least they are frank in dealing with the racial issue, attributing it to the unwillingness or inability of white kids to compete with kids of another race - which in New Zealand means Polynesian.
New Zealand's total population is 17 per cent Maori - New Zealand's native people - or Polynesian, but 56 per cent of the players on New Zealand's four Super12 franchises are Maori or Polynesian. (Is it politically incorrect for me to point out an uncanny parallel with American blacks as a percentage of the US population and a percentage of all players in the NFL?)
Of the 150 or so seniors who took part in top competition in the city of Auckland this year, fewer than 30 were white.
Dave Atkins, coach of Auckland's Ponsonby club, said that at one time his club was "the Mighty Whities against the rest". Then Maori started joining and it became whites and Maoris against Pacific Islanders.
"Now," he said, "it's the Mighty Whities, Maori and Tongans against the Samoans. There are lots of reasons why it's happening but it generally comes back to one thing ... the sheer athletic ability of the Polynesian versus the European." (That's the sort of a statement that would get a guy fired in the U.S.)
Coach Greg Kasper of the Pakuranga Rugby Club, once mostly white and middle-class, blamed what he called "Soccer Mums Syndrome".
"Mothers are concerned their kids are going to get a bit of a hiding at the hands of the Polynesian kids of the same age," he said. "They realize that their kids are probably going to be swamped because the Polynesian kids are strong, bigger and have more skills than Caucasian kids of the same age."
*********** I laughed when President Barack Obama sounded off on the subject a college football playoff. Why, what does he know about college football? I thought. But then came General Motors. What did he know about making automobiles? Now, with stirrings in Congress about the BCS - led by Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, no doubt seeing a chance to grab a few more votes from the folks back in Utah - and the need for some sort of BCS "reform," anything's possible. If the Feds can take over General Motors, if they can grab of 30 per cent of CitiBank, if they can pass trillion-dollar bills without even reading them, they have signalled to us that they can pretty much do anything they damn well please, confident that ƒwe'll take it lying down.