TUESDAY, JUNE 30, 2009- "The ultimate result of shielding men from folly is to fill the world with fools." Herbert Spencer
*********** Sent to me by Chad Beermann of West Union, Iowa
Back in 2005, Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette interviewed coach Ed Thomas, who last week was slain in his school's weight room, gunned down by a former player. After Coach Thomas' death, Hlas reprinted some of Coach Thomas' words from that interview. Those who knew Coach Thomas mourn him deeply; those of us who weren't privileged to know him can see from these words what kind of man he was...
I’ve always said my job is not to prepare our kids to be college athletes. My job is to make football a learning experience, and there are so many things they can learn from being a part of our team that will help them be successful later in life as a father, member of a church, or member of the community. There are so many intangibles we can teach that they can take with them.
I don’t have captains anymore - I went to a system of senior leaders. Around the end of February, I go over our senior leadership program with all of the next year’s senior football players and ask if they want to be involved. For seven weeks, I teach a morning leadership class to those who do. They are then responsible for the other players—whether it’s behavior, succeeding in the classroom, or working in the weightroom, they provide leadership for our program. I decided to teach leadership because I think it’s something that isn’t present in kids as often as it used to be. We have to show kids how to be leaders today.
I talk about leaders setting an example, the responsibility of being a leader, and the idea of being a servant and a giver. I talk about standing up to do what is right when nobody else will, and letting other players know when they’re doing something wrong. I also explain the importance of being a role model - that leaders have to set the tone for other players to follow. I talk about the respect that they have to gain with other young people. I tell them that everyone might not always like you, but you should act in such a way that they respect you.
Ethics is doing what’s right. It’s following the rules, and teaching football the way it ought to be played. Ethics is teaching young people about sportsmanship and how to conduct themselves in a first-class fashion regardless of whether they win or lose. I tell our kids that we’re going to go out and play hard, and we want to win as much as anybody. But when the game is over, we’re going to line up, shake hands, and be gentlemen, knowing that we did the very best we could. To me, that’s all part of ethics.
I especially loved this observation by Coach Thomas...“To me, there’s not a patch of God’s earth more beautiful than a high school football field.”
*********** Did I miss something? Did something happen to Michael Jackson that I didn't hear about? Somebody said he died, but I get four newspapers every day and I watch my share of TV and listen to radio, too, and I haven't read or seen a damn thing. You'd think the media would be all over something like that, wouldn't you?
*********** Back to the (un)real world, the TV ratings of the NBA draft on ESPN were down 13 per cent this year, a decline attributable to the attention given to the death of the so-called King of Pop. How quickly the adoring mob brushes aside the fact that for all his talent, the guy was a pedophile.
*********** Last Friday, I settled in to watch the 2d disk of your Wildcat DVD with my 9 year-old son. When the disc got to the part where the plays are shown in practice and in games he looked up because of the accompanying college fight song soundtrack. The next thing we knew, my six-year-old daughter was tying her tap shoes, and with a baton and a plastic hat from St. Patrick's Day, she was dancing to the music on our stone hearth. We were howling, and she loved the music! Maybe you can market the discs as wholesome family entertainment. We had to watch it again later with the volume lower. Thanks for a great DVD!
KC Smith, Walpole, Massachusetts
BUDDY THE DOG DEMONSTRATES THE WAVE DRILL
*********** When newspapers started making people pay for the obituaries of their loved ones, they also left it to those people to write the obits, and the attempts of amateurs writing for publication sometimes produce results that, despite the sadness of their topic, can be somewhat amusing.
For example, it has been a long-established practice of professional obituary writers to list those whom the deceased is "survived by," usually members of the immediate family - spouse, children, grandchildren and, on those sad occasions when a person predeceases them, parents and even grandparents.
And in the case of those who would not ordinarily have died before the deceased person, such as a child or a mate, we read with sorrow that the deceased "was preceded in death" by that person.
Unfortunately, a certain unawareness of convention has led to such as this, in a recent obit in our local paper:
"He was preceded in death by his great-grandfather..."
If space had permitted, they might have gone on to mention his great-great grandfather, his great-great grandmother, his great-great-great grandfather, etc. All the way back to Adam.
*********** I read a great story last week about Ann and Bob Gilbert, of Riddle, Oregon, who turned their ranch in the mountains of southern Oregon into A Place of Promise - a horseback-riding camp for "at risk" kids. (Although Ann contends that given the pernicious influences of TV and peer pressure on today's kids, they're all at risk.) The kids love riding the horses and taking care of them, and unbeknownst to them, they get a good dose of the things they need to be successful: Respect for others... Accountability... Resourcefulness... Resilience... The virtue or right and the consequences of wrong.
Exactly the things that every good football coach teaches.
*********** Robert B. Pamplin died last week. Mr. Pamplin was 97.
He was a giant among Oregonians, but like so many who made their fortunes out here, he satrted out someplace else.
A Virginian, he graduated from Virginia Tech (then known as VPI- Virginia Polytechnic Institute) and in 1934, at the height of the Depression, went to work for a company called Georgia Hardwood Lumber Company. He was only the fifth person the company hired.
Rising through the ranks, in 1954 he persuaded the company to move its headquarters to Portland to take advantage of the abundant timber in the forests of the Northwest. Under its new name, Georgia-Pacific, the company became Oregon's largest, and Mr. Pamplin's wealth grew to where he was a regular on Forbes Magazine's annual list of America's wealthiest families.
He was a major donor to colleges. Lewis and Clark College's indoor athletic facility is named for him, as is Virginia Tech's School of Business.
Lewis & Clark's gym. Virginia Tech's business school.
His son, Robert B. Pamplin, Jr. owns several Portland-area radio stations and a Portland-area newspaper.
In an interview with the Portland Oregonian several years ago, Mr. Pamplin described himself as "decisive."
"If you're fair," he said, "you can be tough. I don't deal in personalities, but you have to have discipline in an organization. If anyone needs firing, I'll do it today. A decision may not seem right at the time, but it's all right if it's best in the end. Everyone knows when I make a decision it will be for the best interests of the company."
*********** Coach Wyatt, I recently visited West Point. I was very impressed by the facilities, the tradition. In my research, I came along information related to the Black Lion Award. If possible, I would like more information related to this prestigious award. I am the head football coach at Mitchell High School, in Mitchell SD. I appreciate your time and assistance.
*********** Liberal debate opponent to conservative Ann Coulter: "Are you willing to be waterboarded?"
Ms. Coulter's quick reply to the liberal: "Are you willing to have an abortion?"
*********** Before Ed McMahon hit the national stage as Johnny Carson's sidekick, he was a radio guy in Philly, and before that he was a pitch man on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. Pitch men would demonstrate the virtues of this gadget or that to crowds of onlookers, speaking very quickly and very animatedly about the product. They sold their products right there, on the spot. Talk about quick-witted. Talk about sets of stones. What they were doing was infomercials before there were infomercials, and they were doing them in front of live (and not always appreciative audiences).
What I didn't know about Ed McMahon was that he served on the Liberty Bowl committee in its early days, when it was played in Philly and then (indoors) in Atlantic City.
*********** From a reader who is a true Wishbone/Triple Option devotee and frequently shares his thoughts and expertise with me...
Coach W -- I finally got to download a BitTorrent of GT - FSU. Remember what I said about "All Wishbone Defenses go back to the Wide
Well, looky here. I remembered FSU's Defense as a Wacky WT-6 but now I see that it was worse than I remembered. I got the Front 4 correct but the alignment of the LBs was wrong. Here is a GREAT example of "Dreamin' 'n Schemin' ". Paul Johnson had 'em going every which way but Sunday and Saturday afternoon wasn't but half over. VS a Pro 4-3 with DOUBLE Free releases by the Gs and Ts. A 7 Front with a Straight Across 4 Deep.
Charlie Wilson, Dunedin, Florida
Not that I suggest wide-tackle six as a steady diet against a triple-option team, but it does have its uses.
In the FSU case, though, it's doomed from the start. If this is meant to meant to do what a wide-tackle six does, there are three major flaws in the design of this one...
(1) The wide-tackle six definitely can't be successful using those guards (that's what they called them, hence the name "wide tackle") as A-Gap players. In my opinion the best of the modern-day wide-tackle six coaches was Jerry Claiborne and he would play his inside guards a yard or so off the ball. They were "1" technique players, split no more than "fingertip width" apart, and their weight was back - they had their knees up under their chests. They were definitely not penetrators, but instead they read center-guard, defeated their blocks, and reacted along the line accordingly. These FSU guys, weight forward and arms bent, are clearly penetrators, about to give themselves up - for what?
(2) The tackles' enormous splits ensure that when they block down, the tilted "7" techniques simply won't be able to close down fast enough to stop the base dive. Game over.
(3) The Outside Linebackers should be roughly head-up on the tackles and reading them. Perhaps their intent was to help on the dive. Didn't work.
You're right - it almost looks like a variation of a pro 4-3, which was good against the offenses it was designed to stop, but not worth a damn against a wishbone team.
I'm guessing that FSU went and did what an awful lot of young coaches do when they face a Double-Wing team - they tried to devise a defense of their own, instead of drawing on the wisdom of the old-timers who had already fought the wars - who faced the Wishbone and made their mistakes and learned from them.
I do believe, by the way, that it is just a matter of time before the spread push-block guys on the NCAA rules committee push through a rule outlawing all blocking below the waist. That ought to be enough to get the triple option out of their lives once and for all!
*********** Hello, my name is Beverly Mosteller and my son Tom Kessel received this award when he was younger and played for the Danville Panthers in Danville, WV. We had to put a lot of stuff in storage a few years ago and when we got it out there had been some water damage to a lot of my sons things and his certificate was one of those things. He is 18 years old now and when discussing what to do with all his trophies recently he told me that all of his "trophies" didnt mean anything and that I could just throw them away if I wanted - the only thing that meant anything to him had been ruined and he was refering to the Black Lion Award. I was wondering if there is any way I could get a replacement? I will pay for it if that is necessary.
Thank you, Beverly Mosteller, Rossville, Georgia
Dear Ms. Mosteller,
It is our belief that the Black Lion Award should mean a great deal to the young men it honors.
I have shared your letter with other members of the Black Lion Award Board of Advisers and we agree that because the Black Lion Award obviously means a lot to Tom, he simply has to have a replacement certificate.
One is on the way.
Thanks for thinking of your son. Coach Green was very complimentary of Tom when he nominated him in 2003.
FRIDAY, JUNE 26, 2009- "There are some defeats more triumphant than victories." Michel de Montaigne
Not to try to upstage Michael Jackson or anything - you'd think no one else had ever died in the history of the world - but may God watch over the family of Coach Ed Thomas and the communities of Aplington and Parkersburg, Iowa. May He watch over all those of us who like Ed Thomas work with our young people while always just a heartbeat away from the actions of a deranged relative or disaffected player. And may He provide us with an answer to the evil of drugs that take control of young people.
*********** Coach: I was thrilled to see your blog include the piece from character counts. Last year we used a motto of "Live with ICE and play with FIRE". We talked to kids about what they need to succeed off the field is Integrity, Commitment, and Excellence. On the field we play Fast, with Intensity, we are Relentless, and Emotional. The bottom line is that in my first year at this school, we had a lot of positives come out of addressing these issues. First, we had very few discipline issues in school, we also didn't lose a single guy to academic ineligibility...the only team in our conference to do so.
*********** In view of my efforts on behalf of running the ball, and thereby shortening games and enabling field lights to be shut off sooner than for games involving pass-first teams, I have been informed by my many friends in the Obama Administration that the Double Wing has just received its coveted "enviro-football" award. With it comes a substantial government grant to produce and market "SAVE THE PLANET - RUN THE FOOTBALL" bumper stickers.
*********** I spoke on the phone the other day with a middle-school coach who was seriously considering running the Double Wing this coming season. He happened to mention that he'd just hired a bright young assistant. Only one problem - he doesn't like the Double Wing, and the head coach said he hoped the could "sell him on the Double Wing."
Nonononononono, I told him. It don't work like that. You've inverted the triangle and put yourself on the bottom, when that's where the assistant belongs.
In actuality, it's the assistant's job to sell himself to the head coach, and one of the ways he does that is by learning what the head coch wants taught, and then teaching it the way he wants it taught.
Tell that young genius, I said, that one of the privileges of being a head coach is that in return for taking all the sh-- that the job entails, you get to choose the offense you're going to run.
*********** Hi Coach, I received the DVD's . Thank you. I wanted to show you my last year's Jr. varsity football team (9-1 )big island champs from Honokaa , Hawaii. They are on google-video - type in honokaa high school . It shows 88/99, over and under 6 blast , straight up blocking. All year the defenses never adjusted to the unbalanced. Thanks coach for all your help
Charlie Martin, Honokaa, Hawaii
*********** As a service to many readers who've asked me about Slot Formation, I've posted a few clips:
Slot 88 Super-O... Slot 44-X Lead... Slot Rip 88 G-reach... Slot Rip 47-C... Slot 88 Brown... Slot 88 Brown X-Corner... Slot 88 Brown Throwback... Slot 88 Brown A Screen Left
Here's the link - http://www.coachwyatt.com/slotsampler.mov
Wait a minute for it to load. If you have problems viewing it, it could be that you need Quicktime Player. If you don't have it, it's available as a free download at apple.com
Slot formation can be very useful to you (1) as a way of running Double-Wing when you aren't very strong at tight end, (2) as a change-up formation (trust me - people may have seen a double-wing formation before, but few people have seen a Double-Slot)
It has its drawbacks. For one thing, without any playside tight end, you can't run 6-G/7-G. For another, since the flexed backside end is outside the free blocking zone, he can't legally "shoeshine," and you really shouldn't expect to get away with pulling your backside tackle on power plays (which is why we call Super "O"); and finally, if you're in the habit of leading though on counters with your B-Back, you can't do that, because without that backside TE to shoeshine, you will need the B-Back to fill for your pulling backside tackle.
At North Beach we ran from slot about 25 per cent of the time last season. You can see what we did with it (and other formations) on our 2008 North Beach Highlights DVD.
WOODBURN AND NORTH BEACH KIDS JOIN FORCES!
*********** Last Saturday I got together with my old friend Tracy Jackson, with whom I coached at Madison High in Portland. Tracy just took the head job at Woodburn, Oregon - easily one of the most, uh, "challenging" positions in the state.
It has been an eternity since Woodburn last had a winning season. Or a league win. For several years, Woodburn played an independent schedule in vain hope of booking a few beatable teams.
In the last four years, Woodburn has gone 3-36. The Bulldogs were outscored in that span 440-1635.
And the Bulldogs play in one of the state's toughest 5A conferences.
But there's light. Last year, Woodburn won two games for the first time in several years. And there's some talent. And there's that new coach. Tracy has put together a good staff of hard-working guys, many of them Woodburn men who've been building a strong youth program.
And, of course, there's the Double Wing, which is why I was there Saturday, along with five of my kids - a backfield, to demonstrate the base plays, and a guard recent grad Nick Poplin, to help demonstrate some of the key techniques.
One of the coolest parts of the long day was lunch - watching my five kids fraternizing with a group of Woodburn kids. They'd met just a few hours earlier, but you wouldn't have known it.
*********** From charactercounts.org
Chris’s parents were proud of him when he graduated from college. But it’s been six months and he hasn’t gotten a job yet. In fact, he hasn’t even looked seriously. He has no idea what he wants to do and is thinking of grad school.
He’s living at home with his parents and things are getting tense, especially with his father, who says he’s lazy and afraid to enter the real world.
Chris thinks his dad is unreasonable. After all, you’re only young once and he needs some space. During a recent argument, Chris said, “I’m not you, Dad. I have my own way of doing things. I want a job I enjoy.”
His dad replied, “That’s a nice idea, but in the end they call it ‘work’ because it’s about making a productive living – not having fun.”
There are many youngsters like Chris who are having trouble getting started and becoming self-reliant. Some, like Peter Pan, just don’t want to grow up. Some are afraid of making a wrong decision or of being rejected. Others are victims of what psychologists call “magical thinking.” They believe when the time is right, everything will fall into place. So they wait for opportunity to come knocking or until they feel inspired or excited enough to take the next step.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way. What’s crucial is to begin. Things happen and opportunities appear most often when we’re moving, not standing still.
Momentum is vital. Basic physics stipulates that it’s easier to alter the course of a moving object than to start movement initially. In the end, it’s not really about finding yourself. It’s about making yourself.
The first steps are the hardest, but the key to success in anything is getting started.
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.
*********** On super powers, I used to have a terrible problem with my pulling backside linemen drifting out of their lanes and getting in the way of the running back. I simply could not get them to turn upfield as soon as possible and, above all, stay to the inside. Instead, they wanted to drift outside, which got them in the way.
And then about five years ago I came up with the circle drill, and I've been using it, and demonstrating it at camps, and showing it at clinics, ever since.
I stress that I want the linemen "hugging the inside rail." We tell them "stay in your lane." Using a NASCAR term, we talk to the tackle about drafting behind the guard. I also like to stand on the other side of the line and make them run the circle with their eyes locked on me the whole time.
The reality of this assignment, which we simply call "running the circle" ("What's your assignment?" "Run the circle.") is that those linemen don't have to go looking for somebody to block because usually the defenders will find them.
One thing I've noticed about the drill - It has to be a regular thing. If you get away from it for any length of time, your pulling linemen will soon begin to revert to their old habits of lugging out and clogging the hole.
(The circle drill, along with other drills we use to teach the offense, is shown on my "2008 North Beach Video Playbook")
*********** Tom Benjey, of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, a football historian who has devoted a lot of time to the study of Pop Warner, the Carlisle Indian School and Warner's single wing offense, sent out this note along with the photo below...
Tom wrote, "Attached is a photo from the 1897 Cincinnati-Carlisle program of the Carlisle players waiting for the ball to be snapped. Note the distance from the quarterback to the center and how the center is holding the ball. He either slid the ball back or snapped it end over end."
Great shot. The original T formation. It was not until the late 1930's that the snapping of the ball directly up into the quarterback's hands came into prominent use.
In this picture, I'm guessing the center rolled it back. The between-the-legs-snap was two steps removed from the original rolling it back with the foot, the same as rugby.
And just like rugby, the QB could not run with the ball himself, but was required to handle the ball first before handing it to arunning back - leading to the term "direct snap" for when the ball by-passed the QB and went directly to a running back.
TUESDAY, JUNE 23, 2009- “You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.” Albert Einstein
FLASH! APPARENTLY IN THE BELIEF THAT EVEN PERFECTION CAN BE IMPROVED ON, OREGON HAS ANNOUNCED THAT IT WILL "UNVEIL" NEW FOOTBALL UNIFORMS TODAY. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP
*********** The women's swim teams of Dickinson College and Bryan Mawr College, about 110 miles apart, held a "virtual swim meet" last week. Each team swam in its home pool, and the winners were determined on the basis of times. (“We probably saved $900 on bus travel,” said Dickinson’s president.)
At North Beach High this season, we have scheduled games against Ohio State, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Penn State, Texas, Florida, USC, Alabama, LSU, Virginia Tech, Michigan and Nebraska. All at home. The local folks are really excited. I'm getting a 10 per cent commission on all season ticket sales, and we've sold 10,000 so far, at $500 each. I figure I'll be long gone by the time our fans discover what a "virtual game" is.
*********** I continue to be amazed at the sheer number of people writing knowledgeably about football for one Web site or another, and knowing how many good writers newspapers have laid off, and how difficult it is for newspapers to make money on the Internet, I can't help wondering how many of those guys, who often lead the charge to fire football coaches, are actually waiters in their real lives.
*********** Ross Tucker writes in SI.com that the Jets may talk about a quarterback competition, but given all the money the they've committed to Mark Sanchez, Kellen Clemens has no chance. He elaborates...
That is a real shame in my mind because Clemens was once a hot prospect out of the Pac-10 and never really has had an opportunity to show what he can do outside of starting some games for a horrible Jets team in 2007. It is hard for me to imagine that a young quarterback with only 16 college starts can beat out a guy going into his fourth season working with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. Alas, it doesn't really matter. As soon as their production appears to be even close to comparable in the eyes of the Jets front office, Sanchez will be taking the snaps. It has already been predetermined.
*********** A reader who was rummaging through my site came across something I'd written about a coach who, like so many others, claimed to have the answer..
Hello Coach Wyatt -
I believe I acknowledged that Coach Bruich has amassed an admirable record.
But he wouldn't be the first person to claim that he has the poison pill that will put the Double Wing out of business once and for all. It's been well over 10 years and I haven't seen it yet. If a team is well-coached and has superior personnel, they're likely to beat us. Simple as that.
I have an article in which Coach Bruich describes a way of stopping what appears to be a very simplistic Double Wing offense. (One of those five-or-six-plays-from-one-formation-and-we-don't-believe-in-passing deals.)
Now, I'm sure that with the success he's had, he's had success against Double Wing schools. But I do doubt that he has run "my" Double Wing offense, nor do I believe he has played against a school running my multiple system.
Therefore, as all coaches are accustomed to doing, I will remain skeptical about whether what has worked for him against a rudimentary form of Double Wing, given his proven coaching ability, will work for a lesser coach facing a more complex version.
But I wouldn't discourage people from buying his video and trying to run it against us. Because unless they run that defense as a steady diet, and can make all the adjustments, and have pretty good personnel - not to mention Coach Bruich's know-how - I doubt that they can be ready for us in a week.
Nice hearing from you,
*********** Graduation days are over around here, and with them the annual furor over who gets to "walk" - to walk across the stage at graduation.
Students fail for various reasons to qualify for a diploma, yet they - and their until-now unconcerned parents - descend on school administrators insisting that they still be allowed to "walk." To take part in the ceremony.
Clueless and lazy is a bad combination, and it's absolutely hilarious to me to see the excuses that these losers come up with for failing to meet the simplest of requirements. But not everyone finds it as funny as I do. Oh, no. To them it's a real human tragedy, not connected in any way with laziness or ignorance.
Welcome to the land of Hope for the Hopeless, where newspapers feed their gullible readers front-page feature stories about kids whose lifelong desires to graduate with their classmates have been thwarted by cruel, heartless school officials.
The amazing thing is that to these dolts it's all about the ceremony. Screw the diploma. They just want to walk across the stage to the cheers of their drunken relatives. Forget the fact that they haven't met the standards to become a graduate and take part in graduation. They'd rather walk and never get the diploma than miss the ceremony and have a real diploma mailed to them a couple weeks later.
Not that this concern with form over substance is confined to those at the bottom of the barrel. There are plenty of National Honor Society kids who would take the guaranteed "A" and take a pass on learning anything.
Just as there are plenty of them who would take the guaranteed win without having to play the game.
*********** Internet Humor -
An elderly man was going to bed when his wife told him that he'd left the light on in the garden shed, which she could see from the bedroom window. He opened the back door to go turn off the light, but saw that there were people in the shed stealing things.
The police dispatcher said, "All patrols are busy. You should lock your doors and an officer will be along when one is available."
Enjoyed your Q+A on the Wildcat in yesterday's blog.
I've been giving the Wildcat a lot of thought this preseason as kind of a back-up in case I have problems at QB. I can't wait to give the hockey stick a look-see on grass next week at my clinic, but I was wondering about the possibility of using it with the Wildcat. Are you going to run your Wildcat powers as usual with an outside hand-off and bootleg? Not sure if the timing would work, but would the "QB" in the Wildcat have enough time to get the snap, quick pitch it to the wing on the power in the same way that he does using the hockey stick, and then roll out like he does using the hockey stick? I know that in the past you've indicated that pitching the football on the powers in Wildcat didn't really work, but am wondering it that was still the case using the hockey stick? You wouldn't be able to use motion on the powers, but I don't anyway. Thanks for your thoughts on this.
With the Wildcat we hand off in front of the QB on powers, and behind him (with rip/liz motion) on the sweeps.
On powers, I may have the QB boot opposite, but I also have him roll playside.
On sweeps, he definitely boots opposite. (Unless I tell him "follow," in which case he fails to hand off and keeps the ball, following the intended runner.
The only way you can replicate Super Power is to run "Keep" and lead the backside wingback through and onto the playside corner. He has time to do this, believe it or not, because of the time lapse in the QB's handling of the snap.
There is no sense in tossing the ball and running off tackle. There may be some ways of tossing and sweeping. That would be through use of Ripper and Lizzer motion, which starts on the QB's heels when he's under center, and his hands when he's in Wildcat, and goes full bore a little deeper and a lot farther than rip or liz. For depth on rip and Liz we still aim at the heels of the B-Back, but for Lizzer and Ripper we aim a yard deeper.
The hockey stick has been a great help to me in teaching QBs, but it does lose most of its usefulness in Wildcat.
*********** Coaching for Character, by Michael Josephson
I’ve spent lots of time with some of the world’s most successful coaches, and many think about character a lot, especially traits that are important to winning: self-discipline, perseverance, resiliency, and courage. They pay less attention to virtues that make a good person, citizen, spouse, or parent: honesty, integrity, responsibility, compassion, respect, and fairness.
The problem is, even at the amateur level, many coaches are hired and paid to win, not to build character. Unless it interferes with performance, worrying about the kind of people athletes are off the field is a waste of time.
Coaches who seek to hone the mental and physical skills of winning while ignoring moral virtues of honor and decency too often produce magnificent competitors who are menaces to society.
Perhaps coaches of elite athletes not connected with educational or youth-serving institutions can operate in this moral vacuum, but all others have a responsibility to teach, enforce, advocate, and model aspects of good character such as trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.
Whether it’s sports, business, or politics, whenever we divorce issues of competence from character, we create a class of amoral professionals who think they’re exempt from common standards of honor and decency. This discredits and demeans the moral standing of everyone involved.
*********** Back in 1954, when Boeing decided on 17 inches as the standard width for airline coach seats, the average American man weighed about 166, and the average American woman weighed in at 140.
Now, 55 years later, the average American man weighs 194 and the average American woman 164.
Yet the seats on the planes are no wider. Flying coach is not a pleasant experience in any event, but flying in a middle seat would easily qualify as torture if we tried it on captured enemy combatants.
And it's even tougher when you're squeezed in between two super-sized passengers. (There are more of them, too.)
Now, a irlines are now moving to make larger individuals pay for two seats. Expect a lot of controversy over that one.
In Canada, meanwhile, the argument's already been settled. In that oh-so-liberal country, overweight is considered a disability, and therefore the airlines must accommodate the disability by providing two seats for one fare if necessary.
"Could you call me 'Senator' instead of 'Ma'am?'" she said. "I worked so-o-o-o-o hard to get that title."
Bear in mind, she was talking to a f--king General, who knows a little about working hard to earn (not get) a title himself.
Wow. She'd really go off if she knew what I call her.
*********** When I die and come back as King, I will send my henchmen out to round up...
Female tennis players who can't hit a shot without sounding like they are giving birth to Shaquille O'Neal.
Golf fans who yell "You da man!" and "Get in the hole!"
Saw your musings about (Epiphany) Prince and reckoned I'd shed some light on the situation.
I've spent the last seven years covering the WNBA's Connecticut Sun, so I've gotten to know the lay of the women's basketball land. It's an awesome beat, too.
I realize that women's hoop and the WNBA get ridiculed, but the games are generally fun to watch. And the majority of the players are tremendous to deal with. The AAU system hasn't ruined the current generation with a sense of self-entitlement, and them having to go overseas to supplement their income has made them more well-rounded than their male counterparts.
(One of the Sun's former veterans used to tell amazing stories from her years playing in 11 different countries, including Israel when Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated. She ended up becoming fluent in several languages, too.)
And that leads me to Prince and her salary. There are women's pro leagues all over the world and they pay pretty well.
The WNBA's CBA has set the max salary at $98,000 this season.
Candice Parker, who at the age of 23 is one of the top players in the world, was paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $40,000 in her first season last year due to the league's rookie pay scale (and she was the top pick),
The players receive room and board, so there are worse jobs in life than playing hoops for four months a season and getting paid $40,000 (although having to fly coach is a bit of a hang-up for them - especially if you're a 6-foot-4 post).
Still, an athlete has only so many years to maximize their earning potential, so most women's players spend their late fall, winters and early springs in making good scratch overseas.
They play in the WNBA because it's their "home" league (and a sense of pride), their families and friends can watch them play in person, and the money is pretty good.
They play overseas to pad their bank accounts and retirement funds.
The pay overseas varies from country to country. The lower level players might go play in Iceland, which has a self-contained league.
The top players head to Europe and Russia and play in the FIBA Euroleague,
Many of these teams are expensive toys to their owners, much like an NFL, MLB or NBA team is in this here country,
There are a few owners who take that to a whole another level. As it's been explained to me, you have guys who are the big (and rich) fish in their little pond and their team is a way to flaunt their wealth.
In the case of some owners, their women's team is, for lack of a better phrase, an extension of their success. They spend top dollar for players in order to have the best team and, as such, have bragging rights over their fellow owners when their team wins.
My mansion is bigger than your mansion.
My Lear jet is faster than your Lear jet.
My women's team could kick your team's ass.
Russia is currently where the most money is being thrown around. The top three teams - Spartak Moscow, UMMC Ekaterinburg and CSKA (Moscow) - have been the top powers in the FIBA Euroleague. Their owners are uber-loaded and have turned women's basketball into an arms race of sorts.
Spartak has been the biggest spender. Shabtai von Kalmanovic, a former Soviet spy and ka-gillionaire, is paying his top players around $500,000. He's also lavishing them with assorted other riches and housing them in estates that would make their male counterparts envious.
Imagine a men's team with Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett and Josh Howard. That's essentially what Spartak is, and that isn't an exaggeration.
Adding a layer of wackiness to the spending is that some of these teams don't even charge the fans. Instead, the fans show up for free to cheer on their local billionaire's team.
I believe Spartak's arena holds something in the range of 4,000.
So billionaries + ego = big money for the women.
I'm sure that they'd be paying millions for the top men's players if it weren't for the fact that the NBA renders such a thing moot.
The men's leagues overseas are comprised of either local players or Americans who aren't good enough to play in the NBA.
As for Prince, I'd be skeptical of her getting $125,000 as a starting salary. I have a hard time believing that a 21-year-old who is not among the top 30-or-so American players could attract that salary.
Then again, given the cash being thrown around wildly in Russia and Europe, who knows - I could be wrong.
Ned Griffen, New London, Connecticut
*********** "KEEP PORTLAND WEIRD" is a popular bumper sticker in these parts.
Starting at the top... His Honor the gay mayor is facing a recall prompted by the revelation that he had an "affair" with a young fella who was either 17 or 18 at the time. If he did, indeed, wait until the lad was 18, as he claims, then at the very least he had been "grooming" the kid until he was no longer jail bait. All we have to go on is his word, which really isn't worth sh--, since it has been clearly established that during his last campaign he lied to keep the affair secret until after the election, even going so far as to viciously attack his opponent for suggesting that there might be something sordid going on.
Now, Portland seems poised to sacrifice baseball for soccer - to give up its AAA baseball team, the Beavers, in order to get a "Major League" Soccer team.
Talk about weird.
See, the guy who owns the Beavers also wants to bring an MLS team to town. He's a rich young Easterner (never a good thing to be in Portland, where Easterners are distrusted) named Merritt Paulson, whose father happens to be the multi-millionaire former Secretary of the Treasury - you know, the one who started all this TARP business - and young Mr. Paulson is willing to pay some $40 million for the MLS franchise. (Can you believe that? FORTY MILLION DOLLARS for a soccer team?)
Just one problem. Two, actually. The MLS supposedly insists that its teams must play in a soccer-only stadium, and Portland doesn't have one. So Prince Paulson, who generously offered to provide the soccer team (strictly out of charity, you understand), wants the city taxpayers to turn PGE Park, a primarily-baseball stadium where baseball has been played since the 1930s at least, into a soccer stadium. (Overlooking the fact that the last renovation of PGE Park not too many years ago is still unpaid-for.)
PGE Park also doubles as the home field of Portland State football as well as a local soccer team, but MLS insists that most of the seats at its venues be on the sidelines, and that's not how a baseball park works.
So what about the baseball team, which won't be able to play in a soccer-only stadium? It means that in order to get a "Major League" Soccer team, the taxpayers are not only going to have to renovate PGE Park, but they're going to have to build Mr. Paulsen a baseball stadium, too.
Up to this point, the politicians sounded like hicks from the sticks. really? You'll bring a Major League Soccer team to town? And all we have to do is spent 80-some million dollars improving a playing field for your soccer team and building a ballpark for your baseball team? Cool.
But where to put the ballpark?
First proposal was on the site of Memorial Coliseum, an old but gorgeous building that was once the home of the Trail Blazers and now goes unused a good bit of the time. Great location, not far from downtown. And convenient to public transportation, which would endear even a slaughterhouse to Portland's car-hating greenies.
But up spoke the architects and art types, in praise of Memorial Coliseum's place in the city's architectural history. It was tough enough dealing with them, but then the veterans' groups weighed in - it wasn't called "Memorial" Coliseum for nothing - and the politicians, including a mayor who by now has zero credibility or power, decided to look elsewhere.
"Elsewhere" was the Lents neighborhood, an area in the southeast part of town that has been making a slow and shaky recovery from the days when it was known as Felony Flats. Smack in the middle of the neighborhood is its one jewel, Lents Park. And Paulsen and the city fathers and mothers proposed to drop their ballpark smack in the middle of it. Oh-ho-ho-ho. Nice so fast. Talk about getting riled up. In a public meeting, hundred of people from the Lemts neighborhood raised hell about the traffic and the parking issues, not to mention the defiling of their nice, leafy, green park. Oh - and the young elitist owner, using nasty terms like snotnose rich kid in referring to him. I doubt that Harvard Business School prepared Mr. Paulson for that.
So now the Lents Park site is out, and that seems to just about have exhausted all places in the city of Portland to house the Beavers. (I did mention that Mr. Paulson also expected the taxpayers to pay for the baseball stadium, too, didn't I?)
So now, it appears that the city is about to go ahead pay to renovate a recently-renovated stadium, to house a f--king soccer team that is "Major League" in name only, while kissing Triple-A baseball goodbye.
*********** Baseball was once a tough game. For tough men. An especially tough player was called an "Old Oriole." Opponents were shown no mercy. Injuries were scoffed at. Treating a spike wound consisted of taping a wad of chewing tobacco over it.You didn't tag a guy out, you "pegged" him - hit him with a thrown ball. Catchers didn't wear masks. Runners slid into bases with spikes high. Sharpened spikes. Pitchers would "brush back" any batter who dared to crowd the plate. Batting helmets? Get serious. Leadoff hitters took pride in getting hit by pitches. Shin guards? What the hell are they? A player named Pete Rieser crashed into so many outfield walls that after one such collision he was given the Last Rites of the Church. Gloves were half the size of today's Jai Alai baskets. Batting gloves? Gimme a break.
Starting pitchers were measured by the number of games they completed.
Now, they... don't... even... bat.
Since the American League instituted the Designated Hitter rule, thereby providing lifetime employment for good-hit-no-field guys, pitchers haven't even had to stand in a batter's box. The National League, for some reason deciding to show respect for the basics of the game itself, chose not to go along.
So now, with interleague play, when an American League team plays in an National League park, they play by NL rules, which means that pitchers have to hit. OMG.
Twice in the last two years, American League pitchers have been lost to their teams because of injuries suffered while batting. Last year it was Yankees' pitcher Chien-Ming Wang, lost when he injured a tendon in his foot while running the bases. This year, Toronto closer Scott Downs sprained a toe running to first.
Oh, the humanity.
Enough of this carnage, say the American League guys.
Toronto manager Cito Gaston has ordered his pitchers to stand in the box with their bats on their shoulders and take every pitch. He insists that the DH be used in all interleague games. One more giant step toward the pussification of baseball.
And the Yankees' Hank Steinbrenner, who did the seemingly impossible by proving to be an even bigger jerk than his old man, referred to the National League's stance as "that traditionalist crap," and said, "I think it's time the National League joined the 21st Century."
Cito Gaston? Somewhere, John McGraw is shaking his head. Somewhere, Leo Durocher is spouting profanity.
FRIDAY, JUNE 19, 2009- "Civilization is not an evolution of mankind but the imposition of human good on human evil. It is not a historical inevitability. It is a battle that has to be fought every day, because evil doesn't recede willingly before the wheels of progress." Andrew McCarthy
*********** Found while reading through the WIAA (Washington Interscholastic Activities Association) Handbook...
Q. My starting quarterback was ejected from the last soccer game of the season last spring. When does he have to sit out a contest?
A. If the athlete is unable to complete a suspension during the sports season in which the ejection occurs, the suspension shall be carried over into the participant's succeeding season of participation. (In other words, because Washington high schools play soccer in the spring, he'll miss at least one football game.)
Which prompts me to add ...
WTF were you thinking, handing over your starting QB job to a soccer player?
*********** From my son, in Australia... "Here's a good one for your site - the AFL (Australian Football League) has sent former Collingwood star (and sure to be coach next year) Nathan Buckley to Notre Dame to observe their football operation...INSERT JOKES HERE.
*********** "The supposition that underlying every undesirable behavior there is a hidden psychological secret awaiting therapeutic exposure has taken a deep hold on society at all levels. I remember a burglar asking me, in the prison in which I worked as a doctor, why he continued to burgle, expecting me to say that it was because of his terrible childhood. When I told him it was because he was lazy and stupid, and because prison sentences were not nearly long enough, he burst into laughter."
Theodore Dalrymple, writing in the Wall Street Journal.
We ran a lot of stack because I had a stud tailback type last year so I could stack him back there and run off tackle to either side. This year we are a lot smaller and I'm not sure we'll get the same results. But of course we'll still run some out of stack.
We don't do a lot from it. We run power to both sides, we wedge, we trap, run a fullback counter, and a fullback lead dive. And we roll out to both sides and bootleg to both sides. But our main deal is to run off-tackle.
Our highights DVD shows a lot of this.
I don't think I'd want to do it as a steady diet unless I had the time to delve into option, which would mean cutting into the time needed for my base stuff.
But then, I don't like to be restricted to any one set.
*********** Onetime Oregon State coach Craig Fertig was a USC quarterback under the legendary John McKay and then served as McKay's offensive coordinator before coming to OSU. While Coach Fertig, who passed away last year, couldn't duplicate McKay's success at Oregon State, he did prove to have the same dry wit as his mentor.
In 1977, before the Oregon State-BYU game, the Cougars' QB Gifford Nielsen was quoted as saying to the effect that BYU was successful because God was on its side. After the Beavers upset the 13th-ranked Cougars, Fertig told Paul Buker of the Portland Oregonian, "somewhere, there must be a defensive God.''
*********** Hugh, Somebody has written a book about managing 'Generation Y'ers, and their allegedly high-maintenance style.
The first comment left immediately challenges the author: "FTA: "For managers, Tulgan suggests offering a lot of guidance to Gen Y hires: Don't just give assignments; detail exactly how to do them. Closely monitoring progress must become standard. Tulgan's approach sometimes sounds more like parenting than managing."
I am your manager and you have (hopefully) been hired because you met a set of basic requirements.
I am not your mommy.
Do the job or find another one. I have a responsibility to ensure the morale of those workers who want to be here and work.
Honestly, non-refutable failure might do some people some good.
Christopher Anderson, Arlington, Virginia
************* Coach: In your video and the Dynamics book, you explain very well the 6 or 9 rule. How do your interior lineman communicate and ask for covering down blocks on the TNT, etc.?
(What followed was a fairly complex system of calls - for example, "D20" means "2 block down on 0" -- Playside Right Guard confirms/acknowledges by stating “D20” or by making a request of his own from the Tackle.. “D42” … Tackle 4 block at 2., etc. -- Playside Right Tackle confirms/acknowledges by stating “D42” or by making a request of his own from the playside TE. “D64” … Tackle 4 block down at 2., etc.)
In concept, it all made plenty of sense, except...
I wrote back...
With all due respect, I think that you are making it way too complicated for your kids.
"A confused player can't be aggressive."
All that our center has to recognize is the TNT, and when he sees it he calls DOWN or DOG or DUCK (sometimes kids will bark or quack).
That is all I ever ask our linemen to do. Nothing further is necessary. It is all I can do to make sure that they know their rules.
None of us is any better than our kids' ability to comprehend what we're teaching.
I started out as a 400-page playbook guy, but the last 25 years or so of my high school coaching career has been devoted to trying to simplify things for my players, and it's made me a more effective coach.
The Double Wing is such a nuisance to most opponents that in most cases, whatever defense a team plays is the defense you'll see the whole game.
*********** Hi Hugh,
The Sooke Seahawks (grade 7 & 8) went 13 - 0 winning the gold cup game 29 to 24 over last years (actually this team wins every year) champions. We were down 21 to 7 after 1/2 time (1 point for running conversion and 2 points for a kicked conversion). We had to score 3 times to win. The other team loaded the box with 10 players (remember we are CFL so 12 players and only 3 downs). Our blue and red passing picked them apart. At the end, our team was dancing on the goal line and the other team looked like they were coming back from the front lines. The double wing, cross block and aggressive nature was just too much for this team to handle. I will forward some pics when our team photographer has them ready.
Guess you can add us to your succes list. Please feel free to use our name, outcome etc.
*********** I surmised that the same economy that has caused people to put their second homes on the market has also made some of them look at that collection of football books as a source of cash, and I was right. When I made one of my regular visits to Powell's Books in downtown Portland a couple of weeks ago, I found a decent stock of old football books. Over the past few years I'd come up empty several times as interest in used football books had either driven their prices sky-high or even worse, off the shelves altogether.
But not this time. This time I picked up some classics.
Normally, I don't buy any new books, most of which are ATT ("as told to") books, "written" by this or that current player or coach, few of whom are capable of writing a cogent paragraph without the help of a professional writer (the "as told to" guy, whose job it is to translate the star's taped mutterings into print).
But I did buy one new book this time. I bought Bill Curry's "Ten Men You Meet in the Huddle." I've long been an admirer of Bill Curry, ever since I lived in Maryland and he played for the Colts. The real Colts. The Baltimore Colts.
And it wasn't ghost-authored, either. He wrote it himself.
Bill Curry played center for championship teams in Green Bay and Baltimore. He snapped the ball to the two greatest quarterbacks of his time, Bart Starr and John Unitas. (Baltimoreans never called him "Johnny." That was for the out-of-town sportswriters. In Baltimore, he was a member of the family, and everybody called him "John." Never needed a last name.)
I am no less an admirer of Bill Curry after reading the book.
It's a collection of life lessons learned from some of the great people football brought him in contact with: his high school coach, Bill Badgett) ; his college coach, Bobby Dodd; two of his NFL coaches (Vince Lombardi and Don Shula); assorted teammates (Starr and Unitas, plus Packers Ray Nitschke and Willie Davis and Colt Bubba Smith); and writer George Plimpton, with whom he collaborated on another book, "One More July".
Bill Curry went on after his playing career ended to become a coach. After seven years as head coach at his alma mater, Georgia Tech, during which time Tech joined the ACC, he took the Alabama job. Now, anyone could have told you how that one would turn out. There were plenty of Bama fans still around who remembered the bad blood between Georgia Tech and Bama that resulted in Tech's pulling out of the SEC, and not even a 9-3 record in 1988 and a 10-2 finish in 1989 could keep the powers that be from offering him a contract he couldn't they knew he wouldn't accept, one which took away his power to hire and fire assistants.
He was hired almost immediately by Kentucky, then a graveyard of coaches, and for seven years he struggled unsuccessfully to win. When he left Kentucky, he spent years as a football analyst - one of the best, in my opinion - until finally giving in to the coaching bug once again and taking on the job of building a brand-new football program at Georgia State.
Knowing that he had played for Bill Curry at Georgia Tech, I once asked Ted Roof, then the head coach at Duke, if Coach Curry was as good a person in real life as the public image he projected, and he confirmed that he was, indeed. "What you see with Coach Curry is what you get," he said.
How about this little-known fact about Bill Curry? When he played in Super Bowl III (Colts vs Jets) he became the first player to play in Super Bowls for two different teams.
*********** I was going through my old stuff, and I came across this bit I'd written back in 1998, after a visit to San Antonio and the Alamo...
It had been 23 years since I last saw it, and I'd forgotten what an awesome place it is. If you are a football coach, someone who preaches courage and dedication to a cause, I promise you that you will be awed when you enter the building.
Everone knows that the Alamo is a symbol of Texas heroism, but what few people realize is that in a larger sense, it is a monument to American patriotism: the nearly 200 heroes of the Alamo came from 20 states besides Texas, and from six foreign countries as well. Amazingly, at least 30 of them - "Volunteers" - came from Tennessee.
On the ground outside is where Colonel William Travis, the commander, with his calls for help unanswered and his men hopelessly outnumbered, drew a line with his sword, challenging all those willing to stay and fight to the finish to cross over and join him. (All but one did.) Coaches - tell that one to your football team some time!
On the wall inside is a copy of the last letter Colonel Travis wrote, in a final, deperate appeal for outside help - "I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor and that of his country - victory or death." Wow - while you're at it, tell them that one, too.
*********** A Rutgers basketball player is passing up senior year to go play in Europe. What's so shocking about that? Well... it's a female basketball player. Epiphany Prince.
Granted, I've only been back and forth to Europe a dozen or so times. And I've only been in a half dozen or so European countries. So I can't claim to know "Europe."
But in a Europe that's hurting even worse than the US economically, I find it hard to believe there's a country where interest in women's basketball is such that some team can justify paying an American woman, no matter how good she might be, a large sum of money (in excess of $250,000) to play basketball.
Hell, they can't justify it economically in the US, even with the NBA subsidizing them.
*********** Hi Coach Wyatt,
I recently purchased both the Dynamics and Installing the DW videos. Great stuff....logically presented. I also appreciate the swift delivery of the videos.
I am going to be taking my several years of youth coaching experience and hopefully installing your system without too many hiccups. I have two questions for you, though. 1) Are there any plays that you feel might be tough for 8-9 year old to effectively execute? No sense wasting time on plays that, from your experience has been tough, even for oldder players. And 2) Would either of your Coaching Clinic videos be a better resource for someone coaching a Youth team? I'd like to pick that video up, as well.
I appreciate your time and feedback.
I recommend teaching Super Power both ways - 88 and 99. That forces defenses to balance up.
I also recommend teaching 47-C. I don't know that you have to run a counter both ways, but if you can run 56-C, fine.
You definitely must run Wedge. Run it just to one side, because it takes a lot of work to get your kids doing it right. Running it to both sides require double the amount of time and work.
I would roll out right and left. Red-Red (which I now call 88 Brown) and Blue-Blue (which I now call 99 Black).
I think that Virtual Clinic II would be very useful, but I also think that my "2008 Video Playbook" (which I haven't advertise) which I made up for my kids last year would be a huge help in showing how I teach my own kids and coaches. It's $39.95 and I'll provide an upgrade for $10 more when I produce this year's version (some time in July).
*********** The Rutgers-Texas Southern contest originally scheduled for October 3 has been pushed back a week to October 10. No doubt to give Rutgers an additional week to prepare.
*********** Hats off to Montana and Appalachian State, who just announced a home-and-home series, starting in 2013. Maybe there's something to this playoff business, because not many poll-conscious D-IA schools would have scheduled a potential national title contender for an out-of-conference game.
*********** Counting LA Memorial Coliseum (USC) and the Rose Bowl (UCLA) there are at least 20 college stadiums with capacities of 80,000 or more, and I can name them. I can also show you pictures of them all, thanks to a promising new college football site --- http://rivalryfootball.com/
*********** An article in the Gainesville, Florida paper tried to put the Florida Gators' unseemly number of arrests (21 over the last four years) in perspective.
First, it argued that the Florida footballers were no worse than the general student population in terms of arrests per thousand, or whatever statistic they use. But wait - haven't most of us tried to hold our players to a higher standard of conduct than the rest of the students?
And then it noted that when put up against "comparable" schools, Florida didn't look so bad. In the same time period, Georgia had 30 arrests and Tennessee 21. Hmmm. Don't know about Georgia, but if you were to take away Tennessee's running backs, the rest of the Vols would look more like West Point.
Most interesting to me, as a friend in Florida (not particularly a Gators fan) pointed out, was an article showing the stats of the other two notorious Florida schools, the ones so often held up as examples of thugs gone wild.
Since 2005, much-maligned Florida State has had 13 football players arrested. But get this - Miami, once associated with rappers on the sidelines and assorted thug tactics on and off the field, has had only two. Say that again. Slowly.
Nevertheless, my friend told me, the photo that accompanied the article was of Miami players getting off the plane at the Fiesta Bowl in their camo costumes. That was 1987 and they still haven't lived it down.
(Just in case you might be looking for a way of illustrating for kids how hard it is to shake a bad reputation.)
MONDAY, JUNE 15, 2009- "People try to live within their income so they can afford to pay taxes to a government that can't live within its income."
*********** We held our spring training camp the last two weeks at North Beach High in Ocean Shores, Washington and I had the privilege and pleasure of having two guest coaches, both highly knowledgeable of my system, to help.
The first week it was Gabe McCown, of Piedmont, Oklahoma.
The second week it was Greg Koenig, from Beloit, Kansas, who also brought his wife, Rhonda. Greg and Rhonda are well-travelled, but the rugged Northwest coast was a new experience for them, and Mother Nature was at her best, with beautiful weather and sights such as (1) seal pups on the beach; (2) does and their tiny fawns everywhere; (3) a bald eagle flying over our practice field. Take a look at a couple of Rhonda's photos...
The camp itself went really well. Gabe and Greg were enormous helps to me at practice. Our kids, I find, really respond well to the idea of a Guest Coach. It doesn't hurt, of course, for the coaches to be as knowledgeable as Gabe and Greg.
After two weeks, it looks as if we are going to be okay up front, despite losing three starters from last year. In the backfield we lost our 6-2, 210 horse, so we will have do do some things other than line up in Stack and pound people, but while we're small we've got very good speed, so we could be decent.
We were very young last year, but amazingly, we're still young. We have only three seniors on the team.
I was really impressed by the stuff our first unit kids were able to do. One of the things I always tout to other coaches about my system is how well their kids will retain what they've learned from one season to the next, but even I was shocked by the way our kids executed. It was as if we had last practiced just the day before, instead of seven months ago.
NORTH BEACH HIGH SPRING CAMP - photo by Rhonda Koenig
*********** There's a Pac-10 Conference rule prohibiting anybody younger than 18 from being on the sideline during a football game. When UCLA's Rick Neuheisel proposed a waiver of the rule for coaches' children, the vote was 9-1 in favor.
The lone dissenter? USC's Pete Carroll. (He'd prefer, evidently, to have the likes of noted youth coach Snoop Dogg on his sideline.)
Neuheisel later told a UCLA gathering that after the vote he looked over at Carroll and said to himself, "I'm gonna get you. I'm gonna reel you in. I don't know how, I don't know when, but I am not going to rest until I reel you in."
Actually, considering the O.J. Mayo and Reggie Bush scandals and what they seem to say about corruption at USC, Neuheisel had better hurry up - the NCAA may get to Carroll before he does.
*********** What a sick f--ker David Letterman is.
In his monologue last Tuesday night, Letterman, noting that Sarah Palin had attended a Yankees game during her recent trip to New York City, said the Alaska governor had the style of a "slutty flight attendant."
But he didn't stop there.
"One awkward moment for Sarah Palin at the Yankee game," he said, "during the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez." (Remember how everyone was told that the Obama girls were off-limits?)
Letterman later uttered a lame, halfass, non-apology. And so leftward do the media lean that since then I have actually heard some of them defending the creep. Hey, she's a Republican, for God's sake, so she's not a real woman.
Memo to Dave - you think you had problems with that woman stalker? Try going for a cheap laugh by insulting of one of my daughters or granddaughters.
***********The NCAA placed Alabama's football program and 15 Bama sports on three years' probation for major violations, taking away 21 football wins over a three-year period.
The NCAA said Alabama athletes received "impermissible benefits" by using their scholarships to get free textbooks for other students. 22 athletes, including seven football players, were identified as "intentional wrongdoers" who knew that they were receiving improper benefits.
The NCAA ruled that the football team must forfeit any wins in which any of those seven players took part from 2005 through 2007, which would mean 21 games, including the 2005 Cotton Bowl win over Texas Tech.
Wow - I wonder how many of those 21 wins came over schools who later fired their coaches for not winning enough. Would three forfeit wins over Alabama have been enough to save their jobs?
As recently as 2005, Oklahoma had to forfeit its entire season.
And that wasn't the first time for the Sooners, either. In 1972 they had to forfeit several games, one of them a 14-0 win over Penn State in the Sugar Bowl. State's Joe Paterno, with his usual candor, dismissed the forfeit ruling, saying "We know who won." Another 1972 OU win was a 68-3 trouncing of Oregon. After hearing of their being awarded the win by forfeit, Oregon's SID asked if OU would mind sending the Ducks the game ball.
*********** Dennis Dodd.cbssports.com - Someone is still paying for something.
That someone is us and the something is college football and basketball. Everything else is filler. Athletic departments exist to squeeze as much money as possible out of their cash cows -- basketball and football.
They are constricted by having to follow the NCAA mandate of sponsoring 14 sports (at least seven must be women's sports). That's the NCAA minimum for Division I membership. They are burdened by academic, legal (Title IX) and ethical forces that try to balance big-budget quasi pro-sports with graduation rates.
They finance (at least) 12 money-losing propositions in hope that one or two others pan out to support the entire department. That kind of business model goes against every economic tenet ever taught.
It works at Ohio State and Texas. It doesn't at New Mexico State, Florida International and most everywhere else. Even when football teams are winning national championships, there are only a handful of athletic departments making money. The average Division I department lost $5.7 million in 2007, at least a year before the economy became an issue. That was up from an average $4.1 million loss in 2004.
Where was the screaming then? Florida State president T.K. Wetherell had it right last summer when he stated plainly: We'll have a football playoff when the financial hardships get bad enough.
A playoff will be a lot easier to rationalize, he said, when everybody is running out of money -- fast. That's the college mentality: It has only one commodity when market forces apply: Play more games. The NCAA basketball tournament expanded because it could. The interest from television and sponsors was there.
No matter what you think of the BCS, it has been wildly successful in the areas where it counts -- delivering ratings and attracting sponsors. The sport is at its financial peak. That explains why while schools are trying to cut back elsewhere, the number of bowls keeps growing. Orlando wants three.
Departments continue to lose money because it costs more to fill the van for the track team. Hotel expenses are higher for the softball team. It's clear we haven't reached critical mass yet. The suits will continue to trim from the fringes. A travel budget here. A wrestling team there. But never touching the central treasury of football and basketball.
Essentially, the two cash cows give athletic departments the right to lose money. They are the department.
The Pac-10 delivered a telling message recently when it asked the NCAA to consider reducing the number of games in every sport -- except basketball (men's and women's), women's volleyball and ... football.
In the same economy that has caused it to recommend these cuts, the Pac-10 is considering starting its own network. That network would be built on telecasts of football and basketball. No wonder the Pac-10 wants those schedules untouched.
It's hard to get the answer right when the question is so messed up. The same NCAA that is cutting travel costs and has a hiring freeze is looking into adding sand volleyball as a sport.
As I said, I'm no expert but apparently neither are the guys and gals running a lot of these departments. That hit home last week when it was discovered that former Kansas State AD Bob Krause was allowed to set up the former football coach with a $3.2 million parachute.
Start, then, with these meaningful measures to begin balancing athletic department budgets:
Cut football scholarships: Start with 10 across the board. That's lowering the scholarship limit from 85 to 75 in I-A. Tell me what athletic department couldn't use an extra $1 million. That's multiplying 10 extra football scholarships by $25,000 annual tuition multiplied by four years. The savings would be less at some places, more in others.
Take the money and redistribute it to the minor sports. The coaches, of course, will scream but they screamed when the limits were at 120. Somehow the sport survived. Their opinion doesn't count much because as scholarship limits have been lowered, the sport has gotten better.
Furloughs for coaches: What do coaches always say when they're asked about their outrageous salaries? They're market driven.
What does the market say now? No one is worth what they're being paid. Employees are being laid off, taking salary cuts. Employees in various industries are being made to take an unpaid leave.
If coaches were truly reacting to the market, they would become a part of the cost savings. Donate a week's salary to the athletic department. LSU coach Les Miles already has said he is OK with a week-long furlough for all campus employees to offset $34 million in budget cuts.
A week of Miles' pay is worth $72,000. The entire staff would be giving up $108,000.
Here's a challenge for the American Football Coaches Association: put your money where the market is. Call on your head coaches (at least) to donate a week's salary to the athletic department. It would be a show of good faith. Football helping the athletic department in these tough times.
Somehow I don't think it's going to get done, but it should.
Really trim the fat: A Division I-A football squad can do without nine coaches. When a major basketball program leaves the floor at halftime, take a look at the ratio of players to coaches and managers. If this were the classroom there would be one-on-one teaching.
Plus, do athletic departments really need all those assistant/associate ADs? Internal relations, external relations, fundraising, marketing. Start chopping.
The money for that sand volleyball team has to come from somewhere.
*********** It's been fun for the sports media to knock the problems of the NHL, but there is at least one big difference between the NBA and the NHL: I saw lots of empty seats at an NBA final game. I saw no empty seats during the NHL finals.
I was greatly impressed with Detroit Red Wings fans. Despite their disappointment at losing the seventh game of the finals - which hadn't happened since 1971 - they remained in their seats and watched the presentation of the Stanley Cup, followed by the greatest post-game celebration in all of sports, the skate-around, as one by one, the players of the winning team exultantly hoist the giant cup over their heads while doing a turn on the ice.
And while we're still on hockey... after oh, maybe hundreds of insincere post-football game walk-by handshakes ("good game... good game... good game... good game... good game... etc., etc." until all the ball boys and cheerleaders have passed by) it really is nice to see the one time it really means something - following the last game of an NHL playoff series, when guys who've been going at it hammer and tong take a moment to exchange expressions of mutual respect.
*********** Based on some of the footage I've seen of the post-election riots in Iran, our state department ought to send several hundred baseball players over there on a goodwill mission. And while they're there, they could show them the right way to throw a rock.
*********** Where has college football scheduling gone? Into hiding, writes ESPN.com's Pat Forde. "Everyone at the high end of the sport has taken their ball and their competitiveness and gone home -- to play Directional Tech and count their cash."
Major intersectional games, he writes, "have gone the way of the Wishbone."
As evidence, he points out that in 1988 there were 15 games matching Top 20 teams. By 1998 the number was eight, and last year, 2008, it was four.
Few are the teams nowadays that will risk their records against tough non-conference opponents.
Take Texas Tech for example: remember how close they came last year to playing for the national championship? Although their record included wins over Eastern Washington, Nevada, SMU and Massachusetts, if they had won out they'd have been in the BCS title game.
In 2007, Kansas was ranked Number 2 in the polls after opening the season with wins over Central Michigan, Southeastern Louisiana, Toledo and Florida International.
Remember all the hoopla when they added the 12th game? What a farce that turned out to be - they added it simply so they could add another weakie (at home) to pad their schedules while at the same time extorting more money out of their season ticket holders by charging them full price for the NCAA equivalent of an NFL exhibition (sorry - "pre-season") game.
Forget "strength of schedule" and computer ratings. A win over a pushover still outweighs a close loss to a BCS power.
I'm no playoff guy, but this sort of scheduling is a travesty, designed to game the BCS ratings system, and it's playing right into the hands of those who call out for a playoff. (I am assuming that if there were a playoff system, teams would be chosen to a great extent according to their conference finish, minimizing the effects of landslide wins over weak non-conference opponents.)
I remain an opponent of playoffs, but I'm equally opposed to a BCS system that rewards teams for loading up their schedules with Compass Colleges.
*********** Book Review from http://positivesharing.com
(Coaching Tip: wherever the word "business" occurs, substitute "football"; for "workplace", substitute "football team.")
When Bob Sutton started to write a book about the hidden costs of jerks at work he wanted to go full monty and call the book “The No Asshole Rule.” (Sorry- that's the title. HW)
His first choice of publisher, The Harvard Business School Press, were happy to publish the book if he would change the title to something less offensive. So he changed… publishers.
Once in a while a book comes along where you just immediately think “Yes! What a great idea for a book!” You know, the right book at the right time. A book that simply deserves success and wide recognition.
The No Asshole Rule by Bob Sutton is such a book. This book and Bob’s excellent blog have already generated massive amounts of well-deserved buzz, and I’d like to add my whole-hearted recommendation! It’s a great book, highly readable and massively important.
Why exactly have we tolerated jerks in business for so long? Bob convincingly demonstrates using surveys, psychological studies and anecdotal evidence that workplace jerks are far more trouble than they’re worth. They mat be getting results and making the numbers, but they do so at a huge cost to the rest of the organization and to the well-being of the people around them.
Not only that, but assholes breed. No, not with each other (a horrible thought in itself)! But not only do jerks tend to bring out the worst in others (creating more jerks) they also tend to hire jerks like themselves. Or they make sure to hire people who are too weak to oppose them.
The book has some very gripping (in the same way that car crash footage is gripping) stories of workplace assholes, including some flaming assholes like the Hollywood studio boss who goes through hundreds of personal assistants, firing them for such gruesome offenses as bringing him the wrong kind of coffee.
But more interesting than this, are the stories of workplaces that do NOT tolerate this type of behavior. Successfactors, a Californian HR company make every new hire agree to 12 rules of workplace behavior, including a “no asshole” rule.
I have always been convinced, that jerks should never be tolerated in a workplace. Quirky personalities are fine. Occasional disagreement and conflict are a necessity. We don’t all need to be slick, polished and on our best behavior all the time.
But the people who systematically abuse other people for their own gain or just for fun should never be tolerated and it’s nice to read in Bob’s book that more and more companies are coming to this realization and are implementing “no asshole rules.”
“The No Asshole Rule” is a great read and a crucial addition to any business library. Read it if your workplace is beset by assholes, if you’re afraid you might be one or if you just want to be convinced once and for all that jerks have NO place in a modern business.
(Or, I might add, a successful football team. HW)
Thanks to Christopher Anderson for putting me onto "The No A**hole Rule"
*********** I'm a member of the National Football Foundation and I support most of the things it does for our sport, but I have to question seriously its decision to present its Gold Medal, which it calls "the highest and most prestigious award bestowed by the Foundation and awarded annually since 1958 to outstanding Americans demonstrating integrity and honesty, achieving significant career success and reflecting the basic values of those who have excelled in amateur sport, particularly football," to Nike co- founders Phil Knight and the late Bill Bowerman.
Nike? Gimme a break.
*********** This year Western Michigan will become the first Michigan team to play every other Division IA (sorry, you can NOT get me to use "FBS") team in the state in the same season, playing Michigan, Central Michigan, Michigan State and Eastern Michigan, in that order.
*********** Good stuff, by Brian Arnold, Special Education Director, Muleshoe Independent School District, Muleshoe, Texas
How to Win a State Championship…
I couldn’t help but notice that not one of our football players received a division 1 scholarship. During the season I couldn’t help but notice that we were a little small in places and perhaps just a little slow in others. To get to 15-0 season record is nearly impossible even if things go pretty well.?
Somewhere, someone is going to bring better athletes. They will be division 1 caliber… they will be bigger and they will be faster. So how do you win if you don’t actually have the best talent? Perhaps it is summed up in one word “character.”
Sometimes you have a team whose personal characteristics are so strong, so true that they carry the team in the face of the impossible. They are the characteristics of determination, of trustworthiness, of honesty, of selflessness and hard work.
The determination to say I may not be perfect but I will give perfect effort on every play. I may not be the fastest but you can trust me, I’ll be where I’m suppose to be doing my job to the best of my ability… you can trust me. You will know by my actions that when I say I’ll do it, I will.
If others score I will celebrate, if others make the game winning play I will congratulate and if I am never noticed I will be totally satisfied that I played the game. And I may not be the best athlete but I will outwork the best athlete. I will make him wish he had run one more time, done a few more reps and I will make him wish he had never met me.
Many teams have these characteristics and they go far because of them… but they don’t win championships. However, sometimes these characteristics are so strong and so true that they are seen not just on the football field but in the everyday lives of the players. It is then that you realize that these character traits must go deeper… they must dictate life and when they do you see the heart of a champion… which brings me to Prom 2009.
In our high school we have a senior girl. She is mentally retarded. She can read some words. She gets “mad crushes” on the boys and must be taught how to appropriately respond. She is a wonderful girl and she so wanted to go to the Prom. And so some very caring MISD staff members made sure she had a dress.
They took a school car and with the permission of her parents, took her to the prom and chaperoned her through the night. And that in itself would have been enough. But her dreams were fulfilled when she found herself dancing. Dance after dance. You see members of the football team called one more play and it may well answer the question of how you win a championship.
First one and then another demonstrated just one of the character traits that served them so well during the season. As this young lady laid her head on one big athletes shoulder it spoke profound words about the character it takes to win in life. It expresses the truth that your only chance to win is to embrace those “winning characteristics” so deeply, so profoundly that they become the very essence of your being and they are clearly seen on the field and in real life.
So what can we as the faculty and staff of a school district learn from this? I am afraid the demographics of our student group are too complex. We might be a little too small or perhaps overmatched in some areas. But could the same qualities apply to us?
Perhaps if we as a district are to “win a championship” we must first embrace these same personal characteristic that always produce winners.
As a faculty and staff we must internalize the need to be determined in the face of adversity, we must trust each other and be found trustworthy ourselves, we must be truthful and honest when dealing with our students, colleagues and parents.
We must be selfless as we give our all to the profession for which we have been called and quite frankly, we may have to outwork some people so that our district can win.
But we will never win a championship until we are willing to dance with the less fortunate, embrace the average, celebrate the capable and blast our best into their tomorrow.
My prayer for our district in 2009-10 is to concentrate not on academic excellence per se, but on the personal characteristics that produce the impossible for the students we strive to reach.
Thanks to John Rothwell of Fort Worth for putting me onto this. What's this "prayer" business, anyhow? HW)
*********** Wildcat Questions from a youth coach...
1- Should I use my best athlete ( 75lbs) at A-back,or at L-back to get him in more action ? or a combo of both ? Most definitely, the "L" or "R", whichever side you assign "the player formerly known as the quarterback" to (with apologies to Prince), should be your best player. One of the strongest points of the Wildcat is its ability to allow your quarterback to run more, and I intend to run more Wildcat this year simply because my quarterback is such a running threat. It is also a way you can plug in the good athlete without taking the time necessary for him absorb the footwork and ball-handling requirements of the under-center QB position. I should also mention that you will want to have a code to enable your QB and B-Back to flip sides. In my case, we say "DEUCE" if the QB lines up on the "two" side (right) and "TREY" if he lines up on the "three" side (left). But I have also used "GREEN" if the QB's on the right and "GOLD" if he's on the left. Whatever works for you.
2- Would it be ok to have L-back (QB) 4 yds off ball when better athlete in there ?or is that taking away from the deception ? I suggest that you experiment and see what works best for you. If you wanted, you could actually have them both at 4 yards. The major reasons for the shallow depth are (1) even if the ball rolls on the ground, we can still pick it up and play, a la rugby, and (2) there is less chance of the defense seeing who has the ball, since it is hidden behind the linemen. The farther back we move, the greater the likelihood that the ball will be snapped higher than the linemen. As for having the backs at different depth, I just find it easier for me to coach the ball-handling and the snap. I ask the center to snap the ball straight back and leave it up to the backs who's supposed to get the ball. So if it's supposed to go to the QB but the center snaps it a little too far the other side, the QB could still reach over and catch the ball. With him a little deeper, that same wayward snap might hit the B-Back. But again, there is an element of coach's choice here, and you need to go with whatever you find works best for you and the players.
3- Since the defenses (at our age level) are not yet that sophisticated, is it ok to flip-flop line to strength ? You can do that, but I wouldn't. In my scheme of things, since we want to have a balanced attack, with the ability to do certain things both to the right and to the left from any formation. If I have two good linemen, I don't put them both on the same side. I put them both at guard. Guards do our heavy lifting. So long as we are double-tight, with a TE next to them, our tackles don't have to be ll that good. It helps, of course, but it sometimes happens that we have to make do with less. But if we are not decent at guard we are not going to be as good as we can be. I won't even get into the fact that you will have all the work you need teaching kids to pull and "run the circle" in one direction only, without complicating their lives by making them do it both ways. With younger kids especially, I would limit the things you ask them to do as much as possible, and despite what people will tell you about flip-flopping, it may be the same assignment to the right and to the left, but there are different techniques.
4- Since you have recommended the off linemen putting inside hand down, would you recommend against their favoring their dominant hand down ? It's a matter of body mechanics that if the outside hand is down the player will not be able to step as quickly to protect his inside gap (which is Job One in our system), and won't be able to pull as well to the opposite side. I see that you don't have my "Dynamics" DVD or "Installing the System" or "A Fine Line," all of which deal with this issue. (Not trying to sell you anything) Essentially, we are in something of a "false three-point" stance, with little weight on the down hand, so that it doesn't inconvenience a kid to get in either stance. I tell kids that it's not as if we're teaching them to shoot a free throw or pitch a baseball game with their off hand. And every day in practice, while we are still in our lines (that's another DVD - "Practice Without Pads) we get everybody into a right-handed stance and then, on command, shift immediately into a left-hand stance, and back to right and back to left, and so on.
5- If we on occasion go to more of a spread wildcat, should we have exchanges occur in front of QB/TB rather than behind as in the more compact Wildcat ? I saw it both ways in your film. As we have evolved, as a general rule we make Power handoffs in front of the QB and sweep handoffs (and most fakes) behind the QB. The players learn the difference because when we run power we do not use motion and when we run sweep (or want to fake) we use RIP or LIZ motion, and the landmark for those motions is "heels of the B-Back." I should add that in working with our incoming freshmen, as "training wheels" I add a word for the QB's benefit, such as "Deuce Rip KEEP 88 Power" or "Trey GIVE 99 Power" or "Deuce Rip FAKE 2 Wedge"
Hope that's of help. If I've confused you, feel free to get back to me.
*********** After taking Lansingburgh, New York High to the most successful run in its history, Pete Porcelli has accepted the head coaching position at much larger Albany High School.
While at Lansingburgh, Coach Porcelli led the Knights to a 67-19 record, including six consecutive trips to a Section II Super Bowl, four Super Bowl titles - three in Class B and one in Class A - and the state Class A title game in 2007.
Running Coach Porcelli's Double Wing, Lansingburgh had three different running backs rush for more than 1,000 in three different seasons.
Coach Porcelli will have his work cut out for him: Albany finished 0-9 in 2008 and hasn't been in the sectional Super Bowl since 1995.
*********** The Seattle School District, like so many in the United States, is having a rough go of it financially. So it's asking its 3,300 teachers to give up one day of work next year in order to offset a decrease in state funding.
Well, not asking, exactly. It's telling them that if they don't agree, they might not have jobs next year, (which may or may not be an empty threat). And, as required by union contract, the district had to provide every member with a written notice.
But get this - rather than handing out the notices, which is permitted, the district sent out 3,300 of them. By certified mail.
At a cost of $5.63 per letter, that's more than $18,000.
All to tell the teachers that the district's short of funds.
*********** A fellow coach referred me to some pretty scary footage on YouTube of a bunch of high school players practicing "tackling" (that's what it was represented to be) in a version of the Pancake Drill shown in my original Dynamics video. They were going full speed, wearing no pads, ducking their heads to one side and hitting with one shoulder and wrapping with one arm. The toughest part for me is that I know a coach on the staff, and I respect his coaching ability, but I felt it was my responsibility to write him...
As a friend and fellow coach, I strongly urge your staff to take down this and similar videos on YouTube and spend more time teaching those kids how to tackle correctly before one of them is seriously injured. Apart from the effects of a catastrophic injury on a young man and his family (not to mention the sport of football itself), you wouldn't have a leg to stand on in a court of law.
In my professional opinion those kids are clearly not ready for this drill yet, and now, among other things, you are going to have a hell of a time breaking bad habits.
The shoulder tackle as I see it being employed on the videos assures a lot of arm tackling and missed tackles. And from the safety standpoint I saw several heads-down shots. If a lawyer were to put me on the stand I would have to testify that it does not appear that that staff is making every possible effort to assure that its players tackle with their heads up. Also that I have never seen that sort of tackling taught by properly trained coaches. Those videos are a horrible example for impressionable coaches who might watch them, and they are also evidence that can be used against you.
As you know, I have a lot of respect for what you do, and I know that you consistently put your players' welfare uppermost. What concerns me here is that if you are a party to this sort of football, how many bad coaches are doing the same thing (or worse) to their kids?
Upshot: the videos are down, but they are still tackling that way. I tried.
*********** SICK OF ALL THE LOGOS ON FOOTBALL FIELDS AND BASKETBALL COURTS? Frank DeFord nails it, in SI.com
You know those fantasy-type things or charity auction items where you win the chance to meet your favorite hot-shot sports star or go to the championship game of your dreams? Well, me -- now if I could dream to have one thing in sports, it would be to have a groundskeeper from a major league baseball team do my lawn the way they cut outfields. That's my sports wish.
Really, is there anything on God's green earth that looks neater than an outfield, all sparkling clean, undefiled, and cut in swaths of dark green and light green? How do they do that? Wouldn't you just love to have your yard that way?
And the reason baseball fields look better all the time is because the playing areas of other sports have gotten all cluttered and tacky. Isn't it enough to have all the advertisements around the field without writing all over the football fields, basketball courts, hockey rinks and boxing rings themselves? Clutter.
Football fields are the worst. Everything else is trending green. Football fields are the anti-green movement. The writing on the midfield takes up more space and grows uglier all the time. Soon it'll be down to the red zone. And the red zone will be red -- cerise, magenta, cinnamon, scarlet. Every team will have its own special red. Already, they scribble all over the middle of the field so much now, splashing logos and letters and all sorts of colors that when the teams are scrimmaging around the 50-yard line it looks like they're playing football on a Jackson Pollock painting.
And speaking of cluttering up the football field, my friend The Sports Curmudgeon asks: can't we do something about limiting the number of football captains? I mean, how many mesomorphs does it take to call one coin toss? OK ... co-captains. Two guys, max. But now teams send out whole phalanxes of so called captains, cluttering up the midfield. Football is like a children's birthday party now, where everybody gets a present. Everybody gets to be a captain, cluttering up the field. Clutter, clutter.
And at all games, there's artificial noise cluttering the air and blinking, flashing scoreboards cluttering your vision and wholesale tattoos cluttering the players' bodies, and people talking on cell phones with the bases loaded cluttering up the best seats.
And now -- well, we knew it was going to happen someday in the United States -- the dam has been broken, and a team in the WNBA, the Phoenix Mercury, is going to wear uniforms that don't say Phoenix or Mercury, but tout a commercial product. Apres la WNBA, le deluge. The Houston Texans of the NFL are selling advertising space on their practice jerseys. Of course, this has long been the custom abroad and in auto racing -- uniforms all cluttered up with advertisements.
So only expect more clutter down on the American field. Thank God for pristine outfields. And, ah, excuse me: now I have to go and cut my lawn the old-fashioned way.
*********** One of my major goals for spring ball was to introduce the newcomers and the younger kids to our culture - the way we do things at North Beach. Before we even started, I asked our returnees for their help, and judging from the note I got from a coach who drove to Ocean Shores to watch a practice, they are coming through...
Good morning Coach.
Thank you again for letting me come up yesterday and watch your practice! I actually learned as much as your players did, if not more.
You always hear coaches say things like "I've got a great bunch of kids this year", but you really do have the real deal going on out there. I always look for two things with a new class of kids every year - 1)how they treat each other, and 2)how they treat "outsiders". I cannot tell you how impressed I was with the way your veteran players dealt with the
Beautiful weather. Learned a lot from watching Coach Koenig work with the linemen. Enjoyed watching your players run through the plays. And enjoyed laughing with them at some of the things that happened - that poor kid that wrapped the tire around the goal post will stick with me for a long time!
Thank you again, and hope the rest of your week goes well.
(The "wrapping the tire around the goal post" incident was one of those moments we all live for. A player sprints while dragging a tire attached to a rope with a harness that goes around his shoulders. One unfortunate young man, assigned to sprint 40 yards or so around the goal post and back, didn't swing wide enough around the post, and although he made it around - the tire didn't! It stuck there, the rope wrapped around the post, and the kid was jerked to an abrupt stop. It was a scene straight out of a Tom & Jerry cartoon as he flew up in the air and fell flat on his butt, much to the delight of his teammates. And coaches. HW)
*********** “We want a strong America that protects us, we reject a bureaucratic America that mechanically applies nitpicking rules.”
Wouldn't you like to hear our President say that? Lotsa luck.
That quote is a rephrasing of the words of a couple of - believe it or not - European leaders. In a joint letter, France's President Nicolas Sarkozy and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “We want a strong Europe that protects us, we reject a bureaucratic Europe that mechanically applies nitpicking rules."
*********** Q. How do you teach the "punch step"?
A. The "punch step", which I've been demonstrating at clinics for several years now, is my term for the false step my QB takes at the snap, facilitating reverse pivots. When doing a reverse pivot, the first real step with the backside foot must be at either 5 o'clock or 7 o'clock; the "punch step", which he takes first with his pivot foot, enables him to make a much wider swing with his backside foot than if he were to keep his pivot foot planted in the ground.
As the QB takes the ball and brings it to the "stones," he picks up his playside (pivot) foot slightly, turns it 90 degrees to the inside, and punches it to the ground. It happens very quickly. (Left to his own devices, he would probably figure it out on his own eventually.)
In teaching it, tell him to do the punch step of 88 Super Power and then just freeze in place. He should have the ball tucked away, nose down and elbows against his side, and his right toe should be pointed at his left heel. His left foot will still be on the ground.
Now, though, when it's time to step with his left foot, it's going to be a lot easier for him to swing it past the center line. We employ this on all the plays involving my "hockey stick" setup.
For a quick illustration - http://www.coachwyatt.com/punchstep47.mov - watch the QB's right foot
What type of Mac Laptop do you use, and what software are you using when you do your video work?
I have a Mac Book Pro 15". I am a Mac lover. This is the seventh Mac I have owned since 1988 and I love it. I still have a 17" Powerbook which I bought five years ago and it's still very useful.
Most of my video editing work is quite straightforward so I'm able to do most of it with iMovie (a very simple, easy-to-use but effective program which comes bundled with every Mac) and QuickTime Pro, available from Mac for another $29.95 http://store.apple.com/us/product/D3380Z/A
For creating DVDs I use either iDVD (another free Mac product) or Toast Titanium.
For some of my graphics I use Adobe PhotoShop, but there are plenty of other programs you can use to do simple graphics.
TUESDAY JUNE 9, 2009- “It's not that I'm so smart. it's just that I stay with problems longer .” Albert Einstein
*********** Jim Owens, one-time Washington coach who took the Huskies to consecutive Rose Bowl wins in 1960 and 1961, died last week. Coach Owens learned from the best, playing his college football under Bud Wilkinson at Oklahoma, and coaching under Bear Bryant at Kentucky and Texas A & M.
*********** Thanks for the (Passback) balls. The kids love them and the coach was amazed. I love it. John D. Simar, Director of Athletics, The Lawrenceville School, Lawrenceville, New Jersey
*********** Dad, Forgot to tell you this. I'm watching Conan O'Brian's new show and he's interviewing an actor named Bradley Cooper (is in the new movie "Hangover" and also was on the TV show "Alias"). He starts telling a story and says "I'm from Jenkintown, Pennyslvania and my parents used to take me to a place called Hot Shoppes." I just about fell off my chair. Turns out he went to Germantown Academy too...Hilarious! Love, Ed Wyatt, Melbourne, Australia (Germantown Academy is my alma mater. Ahem. HW)
*********** From Town Hall web pages (6-2-09) that addresses a part of your theme for today's "News".
Pretty good stuff from a young columnist. Keep up the great work "represent'n" the "old school"
Coach Kaz - Mark Kaczmarek, Davenport, Iowa
*********** A cheerleader at Silsbee, Texas High School claims three young men raped her at a party last October. One of them was a basketball player at the school.
A grand jury did not charge him for assault, did nothing about his alleged threat of a teacher, did nothing about his alleged threat to shoot the occupants of the party house for not returning clothing he left in the room where the reported assault took place, and did nothing about his attending the party where alcohol was served.
Neither the school nor the athletic department did anything either, and he remained on the basketball team.
At Silsbee, the sh-- didn't hit the fan until the cheerleader refused to cheer for the guy during his free throws.
Well. Both the cheerleading coach and the principal kicked her off the team for violating something called the Cheerleader Constitution, which required her to "cheer for the entire team.
*********** Hugh -
*********** Coach, Just read Tuesday's news sitting in Seatac. You might let that coach know that the key to not getting kids hurt is that they have to be on their heels with their toes pulled underneath them so that they can roll back on their toes on contact. If they point their toes they could possibly hurt an ankle.
*********** Global warming my ass. It snowed in Northern SD and Southern ND today. It is freakin June.
*********** If the Jets gave out the Black Lion Award, Kellen Clemens would be their man.
From the Newsday website talking about Kellen Clemens and Mark Sanchez competing for starting job with the Jets...
Barring a dramatic change of heart from either player, this will be as respectful a competition as you could ever envision. This despite the fact that anger and disappointment occasionally bubble to the surface for Clemens, the presumptive starter before the Jets pulled off the blockbuster draft-day trade for Sanchez.
Call it Clemens' version of paying it forward, a lesson learned from former teammate Chad Pennington."I came into this league and learned from one of the greatest men - and I don't use that term lightly - that I have ever met," Clemens said of Pennington, who was released last year after the Jets traded for Brett Favre. "I have so much respect for Chad Pennington as a person, as a husband and a father. He taught me a lot about the game, because he taught me about being a professional."
Part of Pennington's professionalism was to help Clemens as much as he possibly could during their time together - even though Pennington knew Clemens was drafted to potentially replace him, as is the case now with Clemens and Sanchez.
It helps that Clemens and Sanchez are represented by the same agent, David Dunn.
"Chad helped me a lot and he didn't have to, so I'm going to try to do that now with me and Mark," Clemens said. "For me, it's the concept of paying it forward. I don't think I'm as good of a guy as Chad, but I'm going to try my best."
*********** Coach Wyatt,
I recently purchased your double wing series and a series from another coach. It is funny how I am having the same issues you talk about in the beginning of the tapes with regard to acceptance from assistant coaches. First, I have been an assistant coach for my son's first and second grade team and then took over as the head coach in third grade. As you can imagine, my first head coach season was not good, although once tournament time came I had corrected enough issues that we made it to the final eight teams.
Anyway, you included with the package some game film of a team running the double wing from California (I do not have it in front of me and the name escapes me). I also have some game film from other sources.
Getting to my question, in all the tapes I watch, where the offense is regarded so highly, it seems there is one or two dominate athletic kids. Numbers 34 and 44 on the California team to be specific. I suppose it could be the offense that makes them look so good, but these kids were spinning, cutting back, catching the ball, and running through arm tackles making it look, as most teams I have faced, like the success is more of a function of those teams being blessed with the one or two studs versus the offensive system the coach is using.
Just curious what your comments would be as I evaluate what system to run this coming year and put my practice planning together?
I suspect the system still works, just those teams that make the "highlight films" also have the one or two amazing naturally talented kids that make the system even more lethal and impressive to watch. Currently, I have six or seven reasonable to superior athletes, for our league, and to be honest, I feel having me for a coach is doing them a disservice, but that aside, I am missing the one or two kids with break away speed, natural ability to seek or find daylight, or aggressiveness. As I read more, again, I accept that the teams faults are mine, I made things overly complicated trying to blend systems, and that likely made them hesitant and therefore stole aggression.
Thank you for your time and work on the series, sharing your knowledge and experience.
In fairness, yes, most "highlights" teams have some good players.
But without a system in place to provide opportunities for those kids to run, they would look ordinary. Even good backs look ordinary without blocking.
I used to tell people in my early days that my system will make ordinary running backs look good, and good running backs look great.
I suspect that you find yourself in a situation where you may have to make do with ordinary backs. No problem. We've all been there. Provide them with the blocking and show them where to run and they will surprise you.
So, yes, those kids from Atascadero look very good, but in another system they wouldn't look nearly so good.
And as for the naysayers - you really don't need them around. There aren't any atheists in the Vatican.
*********** Urban Meyer's success at Florida has come at a price - 24 of his players, the equivalent of one entire recruiting class, have been arrested.
*********** (You wrote) "Like me, he's from another time, a time when rivalries were real, and the idea of ever playing for your team's archrival was unthinkable. A former Viking, he can't fathom the idea of Favre, Mr. Packer, dancing the courtship dance with the Minnesota management.
But to the vast majority of today's sports fans, who have grown up knowing nothing but free agency, he's a crank. What's all the fuss? they ask.
On Favre's behalf, despite the resemblance in his style of play to old-timers, he is nevertheless a product of the newer generation of players, one which doesn't see anything wrong with pushing loyalty aside when it means getting whatever you can."
--Coach Wyatt, I agree with your remarks. Free agency has pretty much killed rivalries. I think that part of the hatred of a rival was because (back in the day) players of opposing teams were lining up against the same players over the years. Successful teams were kept together so that the Packers of 1963 still looked like the Packers of 1967. The Steelers of 1972 still looked like the Steelers of 1977. Fran would have never have signed to play for the Lions because Larry Hand, Alex Karras, LeBeau, Lucci and Rush would then have to be his teammates. And that could be difficult knowing that twice a year for 4, 5 or 6 year span (or even longer) these guys were trying to end your career. But in today's game, even though Fran may have gone against them twice last year, Larry Hand would have already signed with another team, Karras would have been cut because of the salary cap, Lucci would have been dealt because he was not planning on re-signing when his contract expired, etc. Before you know it, the team you lined up against last year has completely morphed into a new team.
I think it's easier to "hate" a rival when you're lining up against the same players, year after year. I think it would be more difficult to maintain that dislike when teams are overhauled one year after another, as they are now.
Another thing that has helped erode rivalries is allowing more teams into the play-offs. In '63, the Packers finished in SECOND place with an 11-2-1 record. Their two regular season games against the first place Bears (11-1-2) became even more important during the season. The '67 Colts finished 11-1-2 and did not qualify for the play-offs, so all of the regular season games become even bigger. Nowadays, being barely over .500 will get you in the play-offs so the stakes in most regular-season games aren't nearly as high.
Just my two cents.
Dave Potter, Durham, North Carolina
*********** Coach Wyatt,
After reading the article on self esteem and how the girls mother promptly took her misbehaving daughter on a shopping spree since the school barred her from attending the last dance because of spraying perfume AFTER she was specifically told not to do so reminded me of a little life lesson my son had to learn who at the time was 8 years old.
Apparently he had decided to steal a little candy from the video store. After learning of this little incedent, I punished him the best way I knew how. First he got his little fanny tanned and a long speach about how he will not steal. Second he was promptly taken back to the store and made to pay for the item and also apologize to the clerk for stealing. All in front of the customers in line. (older customers were smiling at this by the way). Embarrassing? YES, but he got the point.
Third, during the baseball practice session 30 min later he was told to run the length of the field (80 yds) back n forth for the entire 1 hour practice, not to stop, not to walk, just run and think about what he did. Last, he sat out his first game with his team.
When the other players asked why my son was being made to run he had to explain to them what he did and that by those actions he was letting his team down because he was barred from playing 2nd base in the first game of the season and also tell them how wrong it is to steal.
I am sure this embarrased him and I am possitive his self esteem was damaged because of the whippin he recieved, the apology and sitting on the bench. (He was made to suit up but had to sit on the bench with his team) However, I can promise you this, he will never steal again and I am quite possitive that his self esteem was not permanently damaged because of the incident. He did learn a valuable lesson about consequences to his own actions and how they can affect not onlyhimself but those around him. He recovered and we haven't had any
Too bad Mom couldn't have used that opportunity to teach her daughter that lesson.
Your comments on Chevrolet giving "Thousands" in scholarship money reminded me of THE greatest moment in Player Bio splashes on the Little Screen.
It's 1-AA Championship Time and Delta State is about to administer the worst whuppin' in a Cham-peen-chip game since 73 - 0 in the NFL some many years ago.
So they show the Delta State QB:
O - M - G !!
Charlie Wilson, Dunedin, Florida
*********** Legendary single wing coach John Aldrich passed away last week. I got this e-mail from his daughter...
Just wanted to let all of you know that my dad passed away June 1, 2009 at 6:40 pm here at home with his family. If anyone would like to contact our family to send their condolences and/or any memories they have of our father, please feel free to call us at 319-266-4160 or 319-404-4160.
Our mailing address is:
As you all know, the Single Wing was his passion in life. He enjoyed speaking to you all and hearing your success stories. Our family would love to start some sort of scholarship fund of Single Wing players if it all possible. I will keep you all informed on that situation.
*********** I'm old enough to remember when...
Girdle pads didn't exist. You wore hips pads and buckled them on with a belt.
The Big Ten won 13 straight Rose Bowls (1947-1959)
Option quarterbacks made the pitch underhanded
TUESDAY, JUNE 2, 2009- “There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men.” Edmund Burke
*********** As I write this, we've just wrapped up our first session of spring ball at North Beach High in Ocean Shores, Washington.
We are losing some really good seniors, but we have seven starters returning on offense, and a few other returnees ready to step in. These kids have been through quite a run of coaches, and now they're seeing the benefits of a little continuity. Based on the way they came out and ran Super Power today, it had to be something of a shock to them to see how much it helps to run the same offense two years in a row.
It also had to be pleasantly surprising to our incoming freshmen to discover that all the stuff they'd learned last year as middle schoolers would be so helpful to them now that they're running the same thing at the high school level.
*********** The Phoenix Mercury have become the first WNBA team to follow the European model and put a sponsor's name on their jerseys.
Under a three-year deal the name "LifeLock" will replace "Phoenix" on the road uniforms and "Mercury" on the home uniforms.
Before we start to talk about how this is the future of professional sports, quick - how many of you could have even told me what the "Phoenix Mercury" was until you read it here?
Come on - this shouldn't be seen as anything more than the desperate act of a league that would have died long ago if the NBA hadn't felt compelled by political correctness to keep it on life support.
*********** As one who has always done my best to keep my players' shirts tucked in, knowing how painful it has to be for them, it did this old fart good to watch the Orlando Magic after Saturday night's game, wearing their championship hats. No flat brims, no hats on backward or askew. And no tags left on. Hahaha. Had to be commissioner's orders. Give the players credit. As uncomfortable as it must have been for them to have to look out from under brims - bent brims at that - they suffered through it. And then, when the TV cameras went off, they discarded the mainstream hats and put on their flat-brim, three-sizes-too-large caps - with the tags still attached - and turned them 30 degrees to the side.
*********** Mouse Davis, the man who took the Run and Shoot to national prominence, coaching it at every level of the game, has resigned as offensive coordinator at Portland State. Despite leading the nation in passing the last two seasons, Davis' efforts apparently were not sufficient to please the Vikings' egotistical head coach Jerry Glanville. This is not good for Portland State, a program that has been on the edge before and could be headed for more problems. Davis is well liked in Portland, where in the 1970s he put the program on the map with his then-radical wide-open passing attack. Glanville, on the other hand, is being seen more and more by Portlanders as the blowhard self-promoter that people outside Portland already knew he was. More to come, I'm sure.
Here's an interesting WSJ story about 'maximizers' and 'good-enoughers' as two types of decisionmakers. Some people fret over choices to make the best possible decision and sometimes worry after the fact about whether they made the right one; others accept an option that meets their criteria and aren't nervous afterwards if they see something better could have been chosen. (Interestingly, I've trained myself to change from the first to the second
I relate this to football in that training the team to forget the previous play can be a big issue for a coach. I'm expecting this to be a big issue with youth players.
Christopher Anderson, Arlington, Virginia
The perfect is the enemy of the good.
Football is great teacher of that. You simply have to make the best possible decision and then move on. The game won't allow you to worry about whether you made a bad call two or three plays ago.
A little time working in the news business will also cure people of perfectionism.
In trying to get this across to my HS TV production classes I would tell them "good on time beats great too late."
*********** Hello Coach Wyatt,
NIce to hear from you.
It's been a while since I used that drill, but Gabe McCown, a coach from Oklahoma who is spending the week with me while we go through spring drills says he usew it a lot and has never had a player hurt. Basically it is a pancake-drill sort of thing. My blocker lunges and knock the shield-holder on his back.
With his butt on his heels, the shield holder just gets rolled onto his back.
I hope that that helps.
I'm pleased to hear that you have had the strength to insist that kids tackle correctly. It pays great dividends in player safety.
Thank for writing. HW)
*********** Good morning, Coach.
Thanks for working with the guys yesterday. I know they really appreciate it a lot, as do I!
I just finished reading your "News" section. Loved the part about the "You can be anything you want to be" attitude. You know as well as I do how prevalent that has become in the classrooms of our country, especially at the elementary levels. Then they get to me at 7th grade, we give them a test, and place them in Math classes based on their abilities. You should hear the parents howl when little Susie or Johnny doesn't make the Pre-Algebra class! Occasionally they will make such a stink that the Principal will put the kid into the class, and they usually make it about 2 or 3 weeks before we have to move them back out.
Two years ago, the District brought in a special speaker for our beginning of the school year in-service. She was to be the kick-off speaker for the year and spoke to all 700+ teachers. This lady caused quite an uproar in the auditorium when she talked about the disservice we do to kids when we put their self-esteem above their academic progress. She even went so far as to say that a child's self-esteem is built up when they succeed at something - not when we put a smiley face on their paper, or reward them for "trying hard".
About half of the teachers there (including me) gave her a standing ovation, and the other half actually booed her! I couldn't believe it.
Have a great time up in Ocean Shores. Hope you have a good turn-out.
*********** Still on the subject of self-esteem, a teacher/coach writes,
I had a situation just a few weeks ago where a student was specifically told by the Principal NOT to spray her perfume in the classroom again as I have a student with severe asthma in the class. This girl came back from the office, and within 10 minutes had purposefully sprayed the perfume again. She was sent back to the office with a referral for
The mother of this little jewel actually asked me - to my face - what I thought not being able to go to the dance would do to her daughter's self-image!!! My response was very simple - I told the mom that I didn't care. It was a natural, logical consequence for the daughter's behavior.
So the mom kept the girl home last Friday (the day of the dance) and took her on a shopping spree at the Mall...and made sure to send an e-mail to all of the teachers and the Principal telling us that was what she was doing!
(To think that there once was a time when there was such a thing as truancy, and that mother could have been hauled into court.
If we tried that nowadays, the news media would ridicule the "system" for hassling that mother.)
*********** I wish that Fran Tarkenton hadn't taken the shots he did at Brett Favre, because it makes Tarkenton, a very good player no longer known to many of today's youngsters, look small and petty.
But I can understand. Like me, he's from another time, a time when rivalries were real, and the idea of ever playing for your team's archrival was unthinkable. A former Viking, he can't fathom the idea of Favre, Mr. Packer, dancing the courtship dance with the Minnesota management.
But to the vast majority of today's sports fans, who have grown up knowing nothing but free agency, he's a crank. What's all the fuss? they ask.
On Favre's behalf, despite the resemblance in his style of play to old-timers, he is nevertheless a product of the newer generation of players, one which doesn't see anything wrong with pushing loyalty aside when it means getting whatever you can.
*********** SEC presidents voted unanimously to limit member schools to a maximum of 28 football signees a year. The NCAA allows each school to admit only 25 new scholarship football players each academic year, but it has no rule limiting how many players can sign. After receiving 37 letters-of-intent on national signing day, Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt said, truthfully, "...there's no rule that says we can't sign 80."
*********** Coach Wyatt,
You quoted W. Randall Jones, founder of Worth magazine, and author of "The Richest Man in Town: The Twelve Commandments of Wealth,"
"In America, we always say that you can be anything you want or dream of being," said Jones, "but the richest men in the country believe that's an absolute lie. Realizing the power of relative skill differences and figuring out what you are instinctively good at, that is the key to being successful both financially and psychologically."
I am a health teacher and several years ago seeing the need for character education I began to "get on my soap box." I literally stand on a metal crate (my soap box) for every class that I instruct (not when I bring in a guest speaker).
One of my 'soap box talks' that I got from someone (maybe Bill Hybels) is on this point that you make with Mr. Jones' quote.
I use Shaquille O'Neal as my example. He is pretty confident in his athleticism and believes in his abilities. But what if he got a 'Michael Jordan moment' and decided he could do another sport for example as a horse racing jockey. All of his confidence and beliefs will not make him a competitive horse jockey. You have to have the skill and ability to go with your confidence and beliefs.
Keep up the great news and...
*********** I'm old enough to remember when...
Between shows in a double feature, movie theatres would show cartoons and and a newsreel, which, if you were lucky, would include some football highlights.
Chevrolet gave out thousands of dollars in scholarships, $1,000 a time, to its weekly "Players of the Game"
During TV player introductions they would tell us height, weight, hometown and academic major - which made it helpful in finding out where each college hid its non-scholars.