FRIDAY, JUNE 25, 2010- “There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”  John Adams

*********** Blame it all on Joe Pa.  Penn State started it all.

It’s been 20 years since Penn State, an Eastern school, joined what was originally called the Western Conference – an association of Midwest universities that we now call the Big Ten – turning its back on all the non-Midwest opponents it had grown up with: Army, Boston College,  Maryland, Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse, West Virginia. 

Although Penn State people will talk about the high academic standards of the Big Ten schools, it was about money.  Also ego – Joe wanted to play in the Rose Bowl.  He said as much, and I don’t blame him for that, after all he’d accomplished.

But how different would college sports look today if in 1990 the Nittany Lions had spearheaded a real Big East?


*********** I write this from one of the most beautiful places I've ever been, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The provincial capital and the second-largest city in British Columbia (after Vancouver), Victoria is on Vancouver Island, reached only by air or ferry. For us, that means a 4-1/2 hour drive north to Port Angeles, Washington, then a 1-1/2 hour ferry boat ride across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. On the sort of beautiful day we had for the crossing, the scenery in all directions - mountains, sea and blue sky - was spectacular.

*********** I forget to mention another thing about soccer that we’ll never accept – ties.

Have you seen the celebrations over ties? Ties, for God’s sake.

The day that Americans accept the idea of celebrating ties is the day I start digging my bomb shelter.

*********** My son, Ed, visited us recently. Since the World Cup on the telly, he and I discussed at great length soccer’s failings in its attempt to appeal to Americans.  Unlike me, he knows and likes soccer – he’s been covering international soccer for several years,  since working for Fox Sports World, now Fox Soccer Channel – but he’s not one to indict Americans because they haven’t fallen in large numbers for the Beautiful Game.

Earlier this week, I wrote an article explaining where I thought soccer came up short as a sport that hoped to appeal to Americans, and, totally coincidentally, Ed did the same on his blog.  I assure you that we did not collaborate, but our points are similar.

One of the comments he received included this…

“…Americans are too narrow-minded and not capable of broadening their horizons. Not that they should... just not capable. It's how they grew up.

I couldn’t let that one stand. Despite my reluctance to enter into online pissing contests, I responded...

Narrow-minded Americans? Give me a break. In the last month or so, Americans have been occupied with college football, the professional football draft, NBA basketball and NHL hockey playoffs, Major League Baseball's regular season, the NASCAR circuit and the Indianapolis 500 (open wheel) race, the NCAA track and field championships and horse racing's Triple Crown.

So, you worldly types out there - if soccer is your main interest, we think you're the one with the problem.

Damn. I was in such a hurry that I neglected to add the College World Series, the Lacrosse Final Four and the US Open...

Also to say, "look, you one-world soccer types - you want to talk narrow-minded? Most of the nations on earth have little other than soccer to keep them occupied. One f--king sport. It's all they know or care about. That's what I call narrow-minded.

"Here in America, there’s a sport for everyone. And except for a couple of weeks every four years, most of us don't give a big rat's ass about soccer.

"That makes us narrow-minded? So what?"

*********** The story out of South Africa was sent me by Dave Potter, of Durham, North Carolina…

Police say a South African man who wanted to watch a World Cup match instead of a religious program was beaten to death by his family in the northeastern part of the country.

David Makoeya, a 61-year-old man from the small village of Makweya, Limpopo province, fought with his wife and two children for the remote control on Sunday because he wanted to watch Germany play Australia in the World Cup. The others, however, wanted to watch a gospel show.

"He said, 'No, I want to watch soccer,'" police spokesman Mothemane Malefo said Thursday. "That is when the argument came about. In that argument, they started assaulting him."

Malefo said Makoeya got up to change the channel by hand after being refused the remote control and was attacked by his 68-year-old wife Francina and two children, 36-year-old son Collin and 23-year-old daughter Lebogang.

Malefo said he was not sure what the family used to kill Makoeya. "It appears they banged his head against the wall," Malefo said. "They phoned the police only after he was badly injured, but by the time the police arrived the man was already dead."

Most Americans don't care enough about soccer to die over a remote. Of course, most of them don't care enough about religion to kill over one.

*********** Law schools all over the United States, concerned that in this economic climate their graduates, who borrowed up to the gills to pay for tuition, might claim that the schools aren't doing enough to get them jobs, are doing something.

They're faking the numbers, inflating their grades in order to make their graduates appear more attractive to potential employers.

According to the New York Times, in the last two years at least 10 law schools, including Loyola (Los Angeles), NYU, Georgetown and Tulane, have deliberately changed their grading systems to make them more lenient.

Great idea.  NFL teams are so hung up on numbers that maybe agents and college football coaches can get together and do something similar.  I can envision a world with no combines, one in which colleges keep NFL scouts away from their “student-athletes.”  A world in which every wide receiver runs a 4.25, every lineman benches 225 pounds 75 times and vertical jumps 34 inches.  Oh - and every football player has a 3.5 GPA and belongs to FCA and works with DARE and is nearly finished his Eagle Scout project.

*********** Soccer player Landon Donovan was asked, in a post-game interview,  “What emotions are coursing through your system?” 

WTF? "Coursing through your system?"

*********** Another reason to detest soccer: I saw a guy holding up a sign that said "YES WE CAN."

At least it didn't say "SI, SE PUEDE."

*********** Ever sat in the coach’s office and cracked jokes about the new principal, that slick pantywaist who arrived at his/her current job in lightning fashion, without any significant experience, who spent very little time in the classroom and never coached a sport in his/her life, who doesn’t understand your problems and needs (much less care about them), whose only concern seems to be advancing his/her career?

"Girly man! Wussie! Phony!" Haw, haw, haw. Delightfully wicked.

Why do you do it? First, because it's fun. Second, because it's so deserved. Third, because you can.

General Stanley McChrystal and his aides apparently liked to do the same thing.  But they made a mistake you would never make. Oh, no - you're way smarter than a four-star general and his officers, most of them colonels or higher. They dissed higher-ups in the presence of an outsider, somebody clearly not a part of the culture of the locker room. Worst of all, the outsider was reporter. And he reported what he heard.

General McChrystal and the guys should have known not to do that.  They do now.

Thanks to the General's lack of PR savvy (wait - you telling me a four-star doesn't have a savvy PR guy as an aide?),  a reporter from a publication decidedly unsympathetic to the military was able to ingratiate himself, a la Buzz Bissinger in Odessa, Texas while he wrote "Friday Night Lights," until the aides felt safe enough to let their hair down, giving him the juicy quotes he wanted.

Or could it be... Gen McChrystal was savvy enough to realize that, given the President's incompetence, his delaying tactics in responding to his requests for more troops, his seeming "disengagement" in their (one) meeting, his sending to Afghanistan people who appeared to undercut General McChrystal, this was his way to get across to the American public how out of touch this administration is. For that, he was willing to fall on his sword.

Not bloody likely.  Instead, what we got from him was his resignation from his command.

Thus comes to an undistinguished end a distinguished military career. We can only hope that now that he is the one "disengaged," he will enlighten the American public on how this President fights a war.

Moral: you or your assistants got something to say about the boss? Unless you're ready to fall on your sword, be very careful where you say it. Better yet, don’t say it.

*********** Dennis Miller says General McChrystal should look at it not as losing a job, but as not having to buy a drink or play for a round of golf as long as he lives.

*********** Funny that the guy who was conveniently on hand when President Obama needed someone in a hurry to replace General McChrystal was General David Petraeus, who was scorned and derided by Democrats, including former Senator Obama, and referred to in a full-page ad paid for by ultraleftist organization as "Betray us."

*********** General McChrystal must be one charismatic leader if he was able to inspire men whom he didn't allow alcohol or eat fast food.

*********** I told my friend Pope Franjo that I did not leave my seat in excitement over the last-minute US soccer goal, because I knew that it would mean column after “sports of the future” column engorging our sports pages.  He wrote back…

in my view the sport of the future is this newest iteration of animal type staged fighting the kids adore and adults slather over. the name escapes me just now.

I will take soccer over that WWF horsepoop or what I thought it would be and that is Rollerball.

Rollerball had been one of most upsetting films I have ever seen.

Now, I do fear the sport of the future will involve fights to the finish and of course death. TV ratings will demand it.

And, we still may see prime time executions in our lifetime.

I responded,


It is generically called Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and it seems to have grown in inverse proportion to the feminizaton of our culture - perhaps it's a reaction to the way our schools now routinely suspend fighters, even kids who merely defend themselves.

I do think we'll see the day that limits are put on "ultimate fighting."

Blood  sports such as cockfighting and bull-baiting were once popular, but they're now banned (which is not to say that they don't still go on, right Michael Vick?).  Bare-knuckle boxing, fights to the finish with rounds ending only when a fighter was knocked down (or fell down), was so dangerous that it was finally outlawed in the United States.

Prime time executions are another thing entirely.  If they're ever on pay TV, I would consider getting HBO.

*********** Have you noticed how many times you step outside your door and find a phone book - another damn phone book - lying there?

The Seattle City Council plans to do something about it, estimating that between 5 and 13 pounds of phone books per resident  are delivered every year.

*********** Good Morning Coach,

I hope everything is well.

Coach -----  and I were hoping you could give us some suggestions for working as a two Coach Staff.

Budgetary issues have cost us assistant positions and it looks like it will just be the two of us this fall. How do you recommend breaking down coaching assignments with 2 Coaches?


Hi Coach-

I am familiar with your situation.  I coached in Europe for seven years and never had an assistant.

The best I was able to do was develop a few players who knew what I wanted done so that my last two years or so they could take care of my scout teams.

That is step number one, I think - develop a very strong leadership cadre and explain to them that they are going to have to serve as your sergeants.

Practice planning is simple:

Full team for blocking, tackling, etc

Special teams

Offensive groups, offensive team

Defensive groups, defensive team


You can't break up into individual position groups where there are only two of you, so it's necessary to do a lot of your work with the entire team together.  That's when you teach and drill on blocking and tackling.  That's the way I've always done it, anyhow. 

The most you'll be able to do is divide up on offense - one takes line, one takes backs and ends.  When you scrimmage, one of you supervises the scout team.  If you are able to get scout team help, maybe from your leadership cadre, maybe from a volunteer, you are golden.  You can both coach offense.

On defense, the natural split is DL with one coach, DB's and LBs with another for group work.

For scrimmage purposes, there are two ways to go:

(1) First, Inside drill (offensive core vs DL & LBs) and then, Outside drill (offensive perimeter vs defensive perimeter)
One coach takes offense, one takes defense


(2) Half-line drill

The best thing is that you both know and trust each other and agree on what has to be done.  It's amazing how effective you can be simply by eliminating a bunch of assistants who all think they're the head coach. 

You can do it. I've done it.  

Let me know how it goes.

*********** After the French soccer team, millionaires all, disgraced themselves by first refusing to practice and then earning a quick ticket home by losing to South Africa, a team it had no business losing to (how do you know when a soccer team quits, anyhow?), I  was all set to resurrect all those jokes about the cowardly French from back at the start of the Iraq invasion.

And then a young man named Nicolas Mahut showed me that there's at least one Frenchman who won’t quit, working hard for every point in a tennis match at Wimbledon that lasted almost ten hours (9:58, if you're scoring at home). It went three hours on Tuesday and more than seven hours on Wednesday  – an all-time record – and it still wasn’t over when officials called it a day.

They had to come back the next day and play to the finish.

My wife and I had been caught up in it, until, with the fifth (and final) set tied at 58-58, ESPN cut to a soccer match - a f—king soccer match! – between Austria and Serbia. 

Fortunately, this being America in the 21st Century, we have a solution for everything. Quickly switching to ESPN 360 – amazing how good that has become – we watched two more games of the tennis match before officials finally suspended play with the set tied, 59-59. That was Wednesday.

Great show, fellas. If this had been World Cup Soccer, they'd have gone home with a point apiece.

But it wasn't. I was tennis, and they had to come back and resume play on Thursday because – get this, soccer fans – someone had to win!

*********** So you're a comedy writer for Leno or Letterman, and here's your setup...

Former Vice-President, Global Warming expert and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore was charged in October, 2006 with inappropriate sexual contact by a masseuse he'd hired for $540 to visit his "upscale hotel" while in Portland, Oregon to give his usual speech on Global Warming. (This was back when he still had credibility.)The 54-year-old masseuse later withdrew the complaint but now she is back with it. The story first appeared in National Enquirer (which, you will recall, also nailed John Edwards) and has been confirmed by the Portland Police Bureau. Since it is a sex crime involving an out-of-state resident, the statute of limitations goes to 2013.

Some of the details that came out - Algore was registered as "Mr. Stone." The woman said it was difficult resisting his advances because he was large - "rotund," was the word she used. She said she told him, "Get off me, you big lummox."

I thought the best line of all was supplied by the masseuse herself, who said she didn't follow up on her report because she was afraid it would harm her reputation.

My submissions -

(1) $540? Sheesh. Portland's really expensive. What do you suppose a 27-year-old masseuse would have cost him?

(2) The massage was free. The $540 was for having to listen to him.

*********** So the question is, "Why did the woman wait so long to go after Al Gore?"

My answer: She was bought off originally, and so long as the checks kept coming in, she kept quiet. But then, when Al and Tipper split up recently, Al figured he no longer needed to keep making payments.

*********** While I'm hammering the spoiled millionaires on the French soccer team, I can't overlook the Washington Redskins. Albert Haynesworth worked them for a $100 million contract, and now he's skipping off-season practices because he doesn't like the idea of playing in a 3-4 defense. And his teammates are cool with that, saying that he's only looking out for himself.

*********** You've probably seen the video of the Seattle cop slugging the young woman who was stupid enough to put her hands on him while he was arresting a friend. The video was available because of all the fools who stood by with cell phones, recording the whole deal.

It all started when neighborhood and school people complained that the police weren't doing anything about a dangerous situation: kids going to and from a high school were jaywalking across heavily-travelled Martin Luther King Street instead of using the pedestrian overpass built just for them.

And so it came to pass that a lone police officer pulled over a young lady on a jaywalking offense - remember, this was at the request of the people in the neighborhood, who often charge that police neglect certain areas of town.

The young woman resisted the officer, unleashing a foul torrent of f-bombs as she did.

And that's when her buddy intervened and grabbed the cop - and got a knuckle sandwich.

I could point out that both young women had already had significant dealings with the law, far in excess of jaywalking, and had every incentive to keep their noses clean. But they just couldn't.

So here we are. The citizens of Seattle aren't exactly divided on the issue. Those writing to the Seattle Times in support of the officer outnumber the usual "police brutality" crowd by maybe 200 to 1.

But the issue is not dead, and now chiming in is a Boston woman named Lisa Thurau who, "angry with how police were treating kids,"started an organization called Strategies for Youth. She thinks that we all have to change the way we - especially police - deal with teenagers. It did occur to me that maybe we really need to change the way teenagers deal with police.

Anyhow, in a phone call to Seattle Times columnist Jerry Large, she offered advice to the Seattle police on how the officer could have handled the situation.

He should have said, "Excuse me, miss. I'm scared you're going to get hit by that car. If you could please use the overpass, it's safer."

Or he might have said, "this time I'll make sure you get across safely, but promise me next time you'll use the bridge."

I couldn't possible make that sh-- up.

FLAGTUESDAY, JUNE 22, 2010- “No people in history have ever survived who thought they could protect their freedom by making themselves inoffensive to their enemies.” Dean Acheson

*********** When you go overseas for the first time, you're constantly struck by the differences in even the smallest aspects of life. When I started coaching in Europe one of the more humorous differences I noticed was that they just didn’t know how to make a baseball-type cap.  Or wear one.  To someone from America, the land of the ball cap, there always seemed something amiss, often downright comical, about the whole attempt.

But now here we are, doing our best to screw up something that already worked.

First it was the backward cap look, then the cap-askew fashion statement.

Now, maybe the worst of all, the dweeb look.  When did all the college baseball players get together and decide to wear those fool flat-billed caps?

*********** Thought you might like this article, sent out to the West Point Association of Graduates...

In July 1970, a young widow received a letter from her late husband, who recently had died in Viet Nam in a helicopter accident with MG George W. Casey ‘45.  It was a self-written obituary he had prepared with instructions that it be forwarded to his wife in the event of his death. He said that he wrote it for several reasons, none of which he hoped would be considered trite: to spare his friends the usual clichés about being a good soldier; to avoid perpetuating harmful and inaccurate images of war, such as glory; and because he was “quite simply the last authority on my own death.” 

John Alexander Hottell, III, Class of 1964, lettered in swimming, played football and rugby, graduated near the top of his class and was selected as a Rhodes Scholar. While at Oxford he won the British National Diving Championship two years in a row but lost to Cambridge in boxing. Afterwards, he commanded an airborne Infantry company in Germany and an Infantry company in the 1st Cavalry Division in Viet Nam before being selected as aide de camp to MG Casey.

He had lived a rich and satisfying life until that day in July 1970, referring in his obituary to living in Japan, England and Germany, skiing in the Alps, camping in Turkey, climbing Mount Fuji, visiting Greece, Ephesus, Rome, and Gordium (where a similarly young Alexander the Great cut the famed knot with his sword), attending the opera in Munich and plays in London, and enjoying and reciprocating the love of a wonderful woman. Likewise he had been an exchange student at the German Military Academy and the German jumpmaster school.

Perhaps the most quoted portion of his self-written obituary is as follows: “I loved the Army: it reared me, it nurtured me, and it gave me the most satisfying years of my life. Thanks to it, I have lived an entire lifetime in 26 years. It is only fitting that I should die in its service. We all have but one death to spend, and insofar as it can have any meaning, it finds it in the service of comrades-in-arms.

And yet, I deny that I died FOR anything—not my country, not my Army, not my fellow man, none of these things. I LIVED for these things, and the manner in which I chose to do it involved the very real chance that I would die in the execution of my duties. I knew this, and accepted it, but my love for West Point and the Army was great enough—and the promise that that I would someday be able to serve all the ideals that meant anything to me through it was great enough—for me to accept this possibility as a part of a price which must be paid for all things of great value. If there is nothing worth dying for—in this sense—there is nothing worth living for.”

When this self-written obituary appeared in the New York Times, it struck a chord with a 1953 Naval Academy graduate, H. Ross Perot. He mentioned the leadership and character of this young West Point graduate many times and handed out countless copies of the obituary to friends and business associates. When selected to receive the 2009 West Point Sylvanus Thayer Award, he praised MAJ Hottell in his acceptance speech. Then, he took a generous step to insure that this brave young man’s legacy would not be forgotten by the Corps of Cadets of today and generations to come. He gifted the Military Academy with an endowed John Alexander Hottell, III ’64 Chair for Character Development. The future occupants of this chair will serve in the Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethic under director COL Ronald Clark ’88 to provide research, curriculum development and assessment as the Academy continues to improve its integration of character development into all facets of every cadet’s 47-month West Point experience.

In recognition of the sacrifice of MAJ Hottel and the generosity of Ross Perot, a small, dignified ceremony was held in the Thayer Award Room of Taylor Hall on the morning of 16 June 2010. There, LTG Buster Hagenbeck ’71; MAJ Hottell’s widow, Mrs. Linda Pickett; Mr. Perot; and COL (Ret.) Bob McClure ’76, West Point Association of Graduates president, unveiled a large bronze plaque formally dedicating the new Chair for Character Development. In his remarks, Ross Perot quoted from the obituary penned by this young major poised on the threshold of star-bound career so many years ago. On 15 October 2009, when praising MAJ Hottell during his Thayer Award acceptance speech, Ross Perot noted that “Everything worth doing is done on a foundation of integrity and honor.” To continue the tradition of integrity and honor of MAJ Hottell and countless other Academy graduates into the future, Thayer Award recipient Ross Perot has honored John Alexander Hottell by endowing this Chair of Character Development in his memory.

*********** Couldn't they just say that athletes were taking part in an internship and were compensated with the ability to earn a degree if they so choose? I really wish they would get rid of the sham that is the student-athlete and just admit that this is nothing more than a simple exchange of their play for the ability to get an education, but not a promise. We can't save people from themselves if they are dumb enough not to completed their education can the university really be held accountable? It doesn't seem that the lower levels of education desire that, why should the NCAA?

Ben Rushing
Fort Worth, Texas

Couldn't agree with you more, and I have an item on this below.  it is a sham, and it exists mainly to dodge the issue of paying players.

A major reason why the NCAA makes such a show of insisting that a certain percentage of players graduate is that unless athletes take advantage of the educational opportunity, they are truly wage slaves. Their compensation is nothing more than room and board and a chance to play a sport, in return for services that bring in enormous amounts of revenue to the colleges and on an open market might be worth a considerable amount of money. HW

*********** Let me go on record as saying that athletes who participate in revenue-producing sports should be paid.  This is fantasy, of course, because of a political climate that insists that if you provide scholarships for, say, 85 male football players whose labor brings in tens of  millions of dollars a year, you must come up with ways (such as rowing teams and “equestrian teams”) to give away scholarships to 85 female “athletes” whose sports cost colleges tens of millions of dollars a year.

But indulge my fantasy:

Give football players free room and board, and a cash stipend the equivalent of what their tuition would be.

Those truly interested in an education would still be able to obtain one free of cost.

Those not interested - the majority - will never make it to the NFL and therefore, since they face a bleak future once their eligibility is up, they would at least have a few years of living the life of a professional football player, albeit on a slightly less grand scale.

They’re young, they’re strong, and they’re hedonistic to the extreme (even though they haven’t the faintest idea what “hedonistic” means). They’ve got some spending money, and without having to go to classes, plenty of time on their hands.  So bring on the NFL life: the drugs, the whores, the jewelry, the Escalades.

Me, I’m investing in a chain of strip clubs near several major college campuses.

Meantime, should the day come when the colleges adopt my tuition/pay plan, here is my predicted Top Ten, (ranked according to tuition, and therefore their "salary cap"):

  1. Vanderbilt - $37,897
  2. Boston College - $37,729
  3. Stanford - $37,636
  4. Duke - $37,555
  5. Northwestern - $37,491
  6. Tulane - $37,451
  7. USC - $37,324
  8. Miami - $34,608
  9. Notre Dame - $34,542
  10. Wake Forest - $34,090

And based on their ability to “pay” in-state players (out-of-state tuition in parentheses), here’s the Bottom Ten.

  1. Florida - $3,206 ($17,790)
  2. Florida State - $3,307 ($16,439)
  3. LSU - $4,449 ($12,749)
  4. Mississippi State - $4,596 ($10,552)
  5. Mississippi - $4,602 ($10,548)
  6. Georgia Tech - $4,926 ($20,272)
  7. Georgia - $4,964 ($18,040)
  8. Oklahoma State - $4,997 ($13,569)
  9. Auburn - $5,020 ($14,029)
  10. Oklahoma - $5,110 ($13,399)

*********** With the news of Jimmy Dean’s death last week, I got to thinking of Dick Flood.  Dick played a guitar and sang, and for a while appeared as one of the “Country Lads” on Jimmy Dean’s TV show back in the 1960s.

I knew Dick Flood because I played high school ball with his younger brother, Jimmy, and because Dick was my counselor at Camp Carson, a YMCA camp in the mountains of Central Pennsylvania, when I was 12 years old.

Dick was a  Philadelphia guy but he was a real outdoorsman.  He took us camping. Taught us things like how to make sassafras tea. He took us snake hunting and taught us how to identify various snakes, including the copperheads that were so common in thre area. He’d catch them by the dozen, then ship the damn things to a guy in Florida named Ross Allen, who milked them to make anti-venin. And he’d entertain us by the hour playing his guitar and singing Western songs. I can still sing the "Ballad of Sam Bass."

For me, he was as cool as it got.

I was excited to see him on the Jimmy Dean Show, and then, years later, I learned that he’d been living the life of a recluse in the Okefenokee Swamp in south Georgia, where he’d combined his musical talent and his love of the outdoors and invented a character called “Okefenokee Joe” – played by him.

Okefenokee Joe’s still alive, and still going around to schools teaching kids about wildlife.

*********** Villanova’s Matt Szczur (pronounced “Caesar”) is quite an athlete.

As a football player, he's, um, not bad...Check out his 2009 season...
Consensus first team All-American ...
Conference Offensive Player of the Year ...
Conference Special Teams Player of the Year ...
MVP of the national championship game ...

Played in all 15 games; second on the team in rushing, receiving, scoring ...

Only player in all of Division I (FBS or FCS) to account for a touchdown as a receiver, rusher, passer and kick returner ...

Caught 51 passes for 610 yards (12.0 yards per catch) and four TDs ...
Rushed 108 times for 813 yards (7.5 yards per rush) and 10 scores ...
Completed four passes in four attempts for 22 yards and two TDs as a passer
Returned 30 kickoffs for 816 yards, including an 87-yard return for a TD
Had 2,239 all-purpose yards (149.3 yards per game).

Only a junior, he had quite a senior season to look forward to, except he’s a pretty good baseball player, too. He batted .443 this season, finishing the regular season as Villanova’s first .400 hitter since 1997, and the top hitter in the Big East Conference, and was chosen fifth by the Cubs in the 2010 draft.

Needess to say, there’s been considerable speculation around the Villanova campus about whether he’d return to play another season of football, or leave to get started on a baseball career.

But both baseball and football are going to gave to wait. Sports have both been put on temporary hold for Matt after he recently donated blood stem cells to an anonymous one-year old leukemia patient.

Matt's from Cape May, New Jersey, and he was a Double Winger as a seventh- and eight-grader,  playing for my old friends Frank Simonsen and Floyd “Flash” Hughes.

*********** I am really bummed about the the Pac-10 commissioner’s decision to add two teams that may or may not add something to the conference but definitely do not elevate it.

Plan B, after being turned down by Texas?  It should have been NO EXPANSION.

Forget the argument about adding the Denver and Salt Lake City markets.   Denver is a pro sports town. Half the people in Denver grew up someplace else, with no allegiance to the University of Colorado.  If they had to add anyone, Boise State would have been a much better  addition than either Colorado because Boise State, currently a media darling, is a much stronger brand nationally.

You want to know what scares me?  Watch what happens when the Pac-10 makes that much-anticipated 2012 TV deal, but makes it with Fox. Uh-oh.  Good-bye, ESPN, guaranteeing that the  Pac-10 will practically disappear from SportsCenter.  And for America's fans - and high school recruits - if you aren't on SportsCenter, you don't even exist.

Talk is that the conference will split into north and south divisions. Aaargh. The only consolation for the Northwest schools is that their route to the conference championship could be easier than that of teams in the southern division.  Sound eerily similar to what existed in the Big 12, before it downsized?

But apart from dividing the conference into haves and have-nots, the north-south divide would drastically curtail appearances in southern California by the northern schools. In the West, everyone recruits in southern California, and under the current plan, the northern schools have been able to assure recruits from the southland that they'd be back to play in their home area at least once a season. Not so under a north-south plan. Boo.

Bad idea. Bad, Commissioner!  Bad! Go sit in the corner.

I personally like the idea of some guy online: Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Cal, UCLA and Arizona State in one division; Utah, WSU, Oregon State, Stanford and Arizona in the other.

Play each team in your own division play your arch-rival (who's in the other division), and play two more opposite-division opponents, one home and one away, on a rotating basis.  That makes eight games.  If nine games are desired, play three opposite-division opponents.

It makes a lot of sense. It will work.

It will never happen.

*********** The Yankees, showing a disregard for South Africa’s heritage, confiscated a vuvuzela from a fan at a Yanks-Phillies game last week.

FYI: according to the Yankees’ Web site, “blow horns and all other distracting noisemakers” are prohibited.

*********** I loved this writing from the Guardian talking about how inept England is (in soccer).  For reference, Stephen Fry is an eloquent comedian, Lucian Freud an acclaimed artist an Capello the England coach.   Love, Ed

One can only observe, yet again, how perfectly good, even excellent players seem automatically to malfunction the minute they don the accursed garment. The England shirt is the precise opposite of a superhero costume, turning men with extraordinary abilities into mild-mannered guys next door. Were Stephen Fry to pull it on, he would struggle to string a sentence together. Were Lucian Freud to slip it over his head he would turn his easel round to reveal a childlike scribble of a cat. Psychological meltdown is now part of the warp and weft of its wretched fibres and it will clearly take someone other than Capello to fix it.

*********** God rest Manute Bol, a good man who in his basketball-playing days was sometimes unfairly derided because people thought a guy 7 feet 7 inches tall should be able to do it all.  But did a good job at what he could do, which was blocking shots.   And all this while making one of the most difficult of cultural adjustments, from African tribal herdsman to American athlete.

*********** Tony Hayward, the CEO of BP, has been catching hell because he went to watch yachts race last weekend, while the oil crisis in the Gulf continued on unabated.  Bad form, that.

It's much, much worse than the President of the United States taking in a baseball game on Friday night – nine innings worth - and then playing a round of golf with Joe Biden –  six hours, 18 holes – on Saturday. 

*********** Our President's been working non-stop on the Gulf oil disaster (aside from the occasional baseball game or golf match), so none of us will begrudge him a little time away from plugging the hole so he can host a White House reception on Tuesday for “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens,” in observance of – I am not making this up – “Gay Pride Month.”

I’m sure the residents of the Gulf Coast will understand that the President has other pressing demands on his time.

***********  Hello Coach Wyatt,

I was wondering if you ever hold Football clinics in Florida? I’m going to start running the Double wing offense this year with a Junior team 11-12 year olds and I want to learn all I can about the offense.

Hi Coach,

The closest I get to Florida is Atlanta.

Actually, though, the clinics are not intended to teach my system but to help people who already use it run it better.

My advice to anyone is that if they intend to run a Double Wing they've acquired from someone else, they should stick with that guy, and listen to him exclusively, rather than pick up a little here and a little there, because there is really are considerable differences in experience and approach.

And my advice to people if they want to run my system, is that they should start with "Dynamics of the Double Wing,"  "Installing the System," and "A Fine Line." And not listen to anyone else.

*********** Six things that soccer is going to have to change if it’s ever going to win over Americans…

(1) Unfairness to the extreme:

a. Teams in the World Cup are averaging less than a goal a game, yet under certain conditions, one single player is given an unobstructed shot at the goal, one-on-one with an all-but helpless goalie.  So an entire team spends an entire game trying to score one stinking goal, and then suddenly,  one guy stands 12 yards from the goal, given the equivalent of a basketball free throw worth 80 points.

b. When a player is ejected from a game, his team plays a man short for the rest of the contest.  And the ejected player has to miss the next game. (Yet here’s the amazing thing – soccer is so lame that this doesn’t assure that the shorthanded team will lose!  Or that the team with the extra man will even score! Australia gave up a penalty kick to Ghana and, after the ejection of a player for the rest of the contest, played a man short for more than half the game and didn't give up another score. Is there any other team sport where you could do that and not guarantee the result?)

(2) Stall ball.  A good team can get one goal ahead and then shut ‘er down - bring all its people back on defense.  In baseball, you still have to pitch the ball to the batter. In basketball, there's a shot clock.  In football  you may choose to run rather than pass, but you still have to gain ten yards in four plays or your opponent gets the ball. In hockey, the players and the puck move so fast and the rink is so relatively compact that it’s all but impossible to stall.

(3) Crookedness. Soccer has to be the crookedest sport this side of pro wrestling. It’s so easy to fix - just get to the ref.  Officials have unbelievable power and are almost totally unaccountable.  They're under no obligation to explain calls, and with soccer’s refusal to acknowledge any need for replay, there’s no chance to chance to right even the most egregious wrong (such as France’s win over Ireland on a goal made possible by a player’s use of a hand.)

(4) Arbitrariness.  Because the rest of the world seems not to understand that scoreboard clocks can be stopped and then restarted – you’d think the Swiss could show them how to do it – the game clock runs continuously, leaving the referee to add on whatever amount of “extra time” he deems necessary to make up for assorted stoppages of play.  It’s totally up to him, and we don’t even get to see the extra-time running off.

(5) Cowardice. This thing they call “tackling,” this feet-first slide into the legs of an opponent, is not only dangerous, but even worse, it’s chickensh--.  It endangers the opponent, at no risk at all to the “tackler.”  Its football equivalent is the defensive back “launching” himself, arms at his side, into a defenseless receiver.

(6) Soccereno, the lottery that rewards dishonesty with no corresponding cost to the player.  World Cup fields – sorry, “pitches – are strewn with the bodies of players, writhing in great pain after collisions that TV replays reveal to involve minimal or non-existent contact.  They're not hurt, of course. They’re feigning injury in an attempt to win at Soccereno – maybe they'll get an opponent a yellow card for minor contact; maybe a red card, which means his expulsion for the rest of the game. An Ivory Coast player put on such an act that he caused one of Brazil's star players to be ejected for that game - and for the next game, too. Maybe the faker will really hit  the jackpot – a penalty kick.  And there's no cost to the player faking the injury. Should the ruse fail, there’s no penalty for trying, nothing comparable to a charge in basketball, since the referee seldom sees the play, and even if he does, he’s unable to guage intent. So within moments, the “injured” player is back on his feet and back in play.  Miracle cure.

*********** First it was Fedex  dropping sponsorship of the Orange Bowl.  Now it’s Citi, out as “presenting sponsor” of the Rose Bowl.  Please tell us, in this world of change and uncertainty, that we can still count on there being a Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

***********  The NCAA requires a conference to have two teams before it can play a conference championship game.  With the addition of Nebraska, the Big Ten is now there.

It’s only been the Big Ten Plus Two for a couple of weeks, and already there are some great places being mentioned for its league championship game – Minneapolis and Indianapolis and Detroit all have indoor facilities capable of hosting a mid-December game.

*********** Hugh, good to hear from you, I took the family down to Fresno for a week, my brother had a big celebration for his 30th wedding anniversary, so it was a good time by all, saw a lot of people I haven't seen in 30 years but you know how time goes.. I do have a great story to tell you about the topic of teammates... A teammate of mine from when I played at Fresno City College, he was a wide receiver, a tough guy who would go across the middle to catch the tough pass, anyway he was at my brother's wedding anniversary and he was talking to my boys and I and as he was leaving he said Mike, you know it has been over 30 years but you did something for me I will be eternally grateful for till I go to my grave. Well, Hugh it was a long time ago but he brings up the event that I had forgotten about but just blew my boys away - he went on to tell the story of when we were in LA playing Fullerton JC and it was a tough game and he caught a slant and got lit up big tme, he was on the ground and can't breathe and the safety was standing over him taunting him and he told my boys out of nowhere your father hit that guy and he flew about 5 yards in the air and then proceeded to rip the guys helmet off and beat him till the refs and coaches pulled him off and he got 15 yard penalty for it.  He said it was the only time he can remember in his life where someone stood up for him when he was down, and he told me it meant a lot to him. Hugh, I just did what I always did but I guess it was something to him , and I know after I went to Oregon and got into coaching and teaching he fell on hard times.. It humbled me to realize that the dee[pths of this game and being a team mate is special, also a team mate of mine at Oregon who played for Gordie Gillespie (legendary Illinois football and baseball coach at Joliet Catholic – HW)  flew in from Orlando to be at my brother’s anniversary party. It was a good night, and brought back some things that were special so long ago, sorry to bore you but it was something I thought I would share.

That's a cool story.  Sometimes it seems that football is the only opportunity (outside of a gang or outside of combat, neither of which are desirable options) that kids have to show what they'll do for a buddy.

*********** Read about the implosion of the French World Cup team? Call it the revenge of the Irish.

The French qualified for the World Cup – and knocked the Irish out – with a hand-assisted goal seen by everyone in the world but the referee.  As we all know, soccer refuses to use replay. They say it’s a tradition thing – makes you wonder why they ever advanced from kicking a Dane’s skull and went to the more modern  inflated ball.

Redress? Fugeddabout it. Sepp Blatter,  the head of FIFA, scoffed at the very idea of trying to make things right by giving Ireland a pass to the World Cup.

The Irish, meanwhile, remain pissed, and they’ve made a point of cheering for their favorite team: whoever happens to be playing France.

So when France played Mexico a few days ago, shots of tequila were being downed in every Dublin bar;  many patrons wore sombreros.  And their newfound favorites rewarded them with a 2-0 defeat of the French, which in soccer is an ass-kicking.

From the Irish point of view, it’s got to be kind of sad to see the French team coming apart, one of its stars kicked off and the rest of the team refusing to practice, because if the French are eliminated, they’ll have no one to root for.

FLAGFRIDAY, JUNE 18, 2010- “I hate it so much, probably because the rest of the world likes it so much.” Glenn Beck, on soccer

*********** Damn.  Here I thought we might see the beginning of the end of the NCAA. I so looked forward to the day when would we no longer have to watch those dishonest NCAA promos (the kid plays a violin while bouncing a soccer ball off his foot) that talk about all the "student-athletes" who will be "going pro" in something other than sports.  

Great. So violinist/soccer players and mathematician/volleyball players get their educations paid for through the efforts of a bunch of semi-literate football mercenaries who, unless they’re among the small minority wise enough to get an education or talented enough to go pro in their sport, have no future.

I was really looking forward to a day when we would no longer have to hear that phony term "student-athlete,"  which is just an NCAA sham to dodge the argument that the players – the ones who generate the revenues – should be paid. 

*********** That there Pac-10 fella should have known he was out of his league when he started dealin' with Texans - people who spend their lives dealin'.

So the Texas guy strung him out with promises of delivering six teams, even if that meant letting A & M go to the SEC, and then at the last minute, with the Big 12 all but dead, said to the soon-to-be-former commissioner of the soon-to-be-defunct Big 12, "You know, there is one way we could still keep this thing together..."

Damn.  And now we're stuck with Colorado and no place to put it.


*********** Craziest events I've ever seen in college football - and happened at light speed!  Regents who normally take 24-36 months to decide on a new color for the carpet in their office can all of a sudden make decisions like they are Ross Perot!  crazy, crazy, crazy!! Sorry to see the Huskers leave, but good riddance to Colorado!   If we could only have a do over with Arkansas, then we could add TCU and have make a serious upgrade to the conference on top of just "saving it". 

Scott Barnes
Rockwall, Texas

Hahahaha.  Bring back the SWC - and all the cheatin' that broke it up in the first place! (Scott Barnes knows whereof he speaks when he mentions Ross Perot's decision-making ability. He has been a trusted aide of Mr. Perot for years. HW)

***********  There are good reasons why the Roman Catholic process of canonization – recognizing a person as a saint – is long and painstaking. 

A writer in Pittsburgh says we ought to hold off on canonizing John Wooden just yet;jsessionid=F9DFF8E43C4767DE3C21D3A7A638EAB4?contentguid=W40xkYEx

*********** As a war veteran and a coach, I feel strongly about this (Black Lion) award but do you think I am  going to have serious issues with giving this award to a 6 or 7 year old? It’s kind of tough to feel the lil buggers out. I have a couple that I think would have qualified last year but I’m not real sure about how you would really be able to see it in kids that young.

When I saw you had put this together, I immediately thought of Bob Kalsu... if you know his story, you’d probably agree with me. Jim Stilwell, Yukon, Oklahoma

Jim Stilwell, Yukon, Oklahoma

Coach,  I don't see anything wrong with starting kids in this age of selfishness thinking about putting their team and their teammates ahead of themselves.

That's what football's all about. Might as well start  'em young.

Tell them about the award and remind them every day that you're looking for things that a Black Lion does!

Coach Stillwell was referring to Bob Kalsu, the only NFL player to be killed in action in Vietnam.

Read about Bob Kalso...

*********** I love the way Sepp Blatter, head of FIFA, the world-wide soccer authority, (how many times do you suppose the headline “Blatter Control?” has been used) rationalized his decision not to ban the vuvuzelas, those obnoxious plastic horns being blown incessantly at World Cup matches.

He went and gave us some lameass explanation about respecting the traditions of the home country. Something about their "heritage."

My ass.

Hell, he knew that banning the foolhorns would probably have resulted in massive riots.  And considering that South Africa often gives the impression that it’s a mere spark away from the Mother of All Riots,  you can’t really blame him.

But tradition? Blowing cheap little plastic horns?  Gimme a break.  (Dennis MiIler says they look like a “$2.99 funnel we use to put transmission fluid in.”)

You want to talk noisemakers?  How about the cowbells at Mississippi State? Now that's a tradition! The president of the university says he got his first cowbell when he was nine. And when he became president, he was given a chrome-plated cowbell. I'd take my chances going around to every damn World Cup stadium and confiscating every damn vuvuzela in South Africa before I'd try to take away one Mississippi State fan's cowbell. Try as they might, the SEC hasn’t been able to put an end to them. Never will.  The best they’ve been able to come up with is a compromise with Bulldogs’ fans to use them at “appropriate times.”

And then there’s Legion Field in Birmingham. I was there in 1974 when our Philadelphia Bell played the Birmingham Americans.  We drew some 34,000, which was a good crowd for us, but only half filled the place, and yet the noise those people made was almost terrifying.  Legion Field’s all steel, and when the fans began to stomp their feet, it sounded like a freight train roaring through a thunderstorm. I can’t imagine what Legion Field sounded like when they used to play the Alabama-Auburn game there.

No plastic horns for those people.

*********** Mike Rodsky of Staten Island, New York sent me this excellent explanation of the free blocking zone...

It's done by a guy named Joel Barnes. If anyone out there knows him, tell him, “Great job!”

*********** Maybe soccer teams would work harder if they'd spot the underdog a goal or two. That way, a game like Switzerland against Spain, where the Swiss had no chance, would be more interesting.

What's that? You say the Swiss beat the Spanish, 1-0, without the spot?

Never mind.

*********** Gregory Kane, in the San Francisco Examiner, writes...

Watching the first week of the World Cup, it’s easy to reach several conclusions about the game of soccer.

A score of 1-1 or 1-0 might be considered a barnburner.

A score of 2-0 could be considered a rout.

A score of 3-0 would be a blowout.

*********** If anybody out there wants Americans who aren’t soccer nuts to ever give a fig about the sport, they’re going to have to stop portraying it as something akin to the United Nations, never a favorite use of American tax dollars.

I can deal with a Brit calling World Cup games.   But what I absolutely can’t deal with is...

1. That same Brit using the term “football” when he means soccer. Look, fella – you can call it anything you want in England, but guess what – you’re not in England. When you call a game on ABC, you’re in my f—king living room, and in my living room, that sh--'s not football.

2. An alleged English-speaker who uses a plural verb with a singular noun. Even if grammar's not your strong point, you just know something's wrong when you hear a guy say, “Spain are having trouble scoring.”  “England have been playing hard.”  WTF?

murphys*********** Bill Murphy, a Chicago coach and police officer, is a Black Hawks’ fan.  When I held my Chicago clinic the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day, Bill showed up at wearing an emerald-green Hawks’ jersey.

Recently, after years of pulling for the Back Hawks, he finally realized the dream of every hockey fan…

That's Bill and his kids on the left, posing with the Lord Stanley's Cup. The real thing.

Now, he writes, “I can die happy. I have seen the Bears, the Sox, the Bulls and now the Hawks win championships in my lifetime. Got all of Chicago's professional teams covered!! “ (Hahahaha.  Notice how, Bill, a South Sider, deliberately  ignores the Cubs. HW)

Also… “And you were dead on talking about Jim Cornelison and his version of the National Anthem - it is incredible in person. I went the Hawks - Predators game — think I was deaf for a day or two.” 

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

I really enjoy the "News" and look forward to each installment as a way of keeping our connection. There always is something interesting and I believe in the Conservative common sense approach you bring to the "Blog".

I have long ago been converted to the multiple formation approach to the DBL Wing as a way of manipulating the defense and running power football with a flair. My advantage is having seen it work at North Beach. There is so much flexibility that given the right touch the DBl Wing, which was already tough to begin with, becomes a real problem for defensive coordinators. My favorite is slot on one side and the tight end and wing on the other. But, with good preparation the use of formations with the DBL wing offensive is must for coaches who want to give their teams the best chance of being competitive. Experience is a great teacher!! 

I think no one puts together a better video presentation then you and have always felt a DVD directed at the DBL wing Passing game with multiple formations would be a real winner. In spite of perception the DW is a very good passing offense and in conjunction with the play action pass and the multiple formation approach is a real winner.

All the Best!!

Jack Tourtillotte
Boothbay, Maine

(Jack, as many of you know, came west and worked with me at North Beach High, in Ocean Shores, Washington, during the 2008 season. He was enormously helpful - very knowledgeable of the game in general and my Double Wing in particular, and a very good teacher. Really good with kids. Jack as offensive coordinator and Tim Rice as head coach saved football at Boothbay at a time when the town was considering dropping the sport, and wound up winning two state titles in their eleven-year run. In their last year together, 2007, they took the Seahawks to the state final game for the fifth time. In the two years since Jack and Tim retired, the program has returned to life-support. HW)

campbell*********** Shown at left is Jordan Campbell, the first USC player to leave after the NCAA announced that juniors and seniors could transfer out and play immediately, without having to sit out a year.

Speculation is that he could wind up at Boise State, but based on the tattoo, it would be a lot simpler to go to South Carolina or Southern Connecticut.  Or maybe Santa Clara, which no longer plays football, where he can just be a student.

*********** Notice how under the terms of the NCAA sanctions on USC, players can transfer out and play immediately – provided they don't transfer to another Pac-10 Conference school?

This is stupid for two reasons:

First, most of USC's players are southern California kids, and I’m willing to bet that for most of them, a rival Pac-10 school was their second or third choice. (Until USC decided to close the deal by upping the ante to a Porsche Cayenne.)

Second, the way to really hurt a cheater is to let his players transfer to a conference school so he’ll have to worry about very kids he recruited coming back and beating his ass.


(Yes, those skies are gray. Just remember, though, that while you're someplace dealing with heat in the 90s, we're very comfortable down around 60-65 degrees)

stadium1 stadium2
stadium3 stadium4

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

It’s been a while since I emailed in but it’s been a wild ride the last 2 years traveling around looking for work. Here is an update. We moved from Yukon, Oklahoma to South Illinois (Scott AFB) and was able to help get a new youth football club started and introduced the double wing to them. 4 out of the 8 teams decided to run the DW system. After moving from S. Ill we found ourselves in South Texas in the Rio Grande Valley, now working for the Border Patrol, Needless to say life in the valley is great (weather is fantastic – no more ice storms) and also a big change in culture. We love it here and the food (Mexican/Hispanic) is just fantastic. I have also found a new Pop Warner club to coach out of and they were looking for a system to run at all ages and I have now introduced the Double Wing to this new club and they are really buying into the concept of what it can do for them. I am really excited about teaching the system to the club coaches and my new team of players here. Plus the fact I plan on taking advantage of the speed these kids down here have. They are small (which has always been my preference) but so far they are easy to coach and seem to like the Double Wing.

I saw this on the news the other day and it just struck a chord and really pissed me off. The news story about the group of teachers in Yarmouth MA protesting at the enlistment ceremony for students of the high school just irks me beyond measure.

How much longer to we have to put up with the edu-quacks pulling these stunts. Had it been a group of students they would have been suspended or expelled. (Remember the kids who wore the American flag shirts on Cinco de mayo?)

I think an even better scenario would be to invite the news media to these events where HS students are enlisting in military service and do it much like how athletes pick a college to play football. Line up four hats, Army, Air force, Navy, Marine Corps and have the potential enlistee suspenseful choose a hat to where they wish to pursue their military career. The crowd cheers and everyone is happy, except for the edu-quacks.

Mike Watts
Mission, Texas
Rio Grande Valley Cowboys


Nice to hear from you.

I have long maintained that our schools are necessarily not doing a bad job.  It's just a matter of what you think their job is.  Yes, they are doing a bad job of teaching English, math and science - the things that you and I think they should be teaching.  

But at teaching the things that teachers shaped by liberal colleges prefer to teach -  a politically-correct, one-world (without borders), anti-capitalism, America-is-evil, environmentalism-as-a-religion, you-are-a-victim, government-can-and-should-solve-all-your-problems point of view -   they are doing a marvelous job.

Remember "Outcome-Based Education?"  One outcome of years of this sort of indoctrination  has  been tens of millions of kids who can go on for hours about this liberal cause or that, but can't write a cogent sentence, can't compute without a calculator, and can't even spell "science." Basic economics, including where government gets “its” money?  Might as well be nuclear physics.

Another outcome: the election of a President  that they really  believed was their saviour.

*********** Universal Sports Network, NBC Sports, and the International Rugby Board (IRB) today announced a partnership that will televise the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cup tournaments in the US.

All 48 matches during the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand and the 2015 World Cup in England will be shown on a "multiplatform" basis: two matches in each tournament, including the Finals in 2011 and 2015, will air either live or on a same-day delay on NBC Sports, and live and delayed video of other games will be accessible at, and on Universal Sports' mobile platforms.

*********** Les Richter, one of the best players in the history of the NFL not to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, died last Saturday at the age of 79.

Mr. Richter was a two-time All-American at Cal, in 1950 and 1951. Cal was a power then under coach Pappy Waldorf, and Mr. Richter, a two-way starter as well as a placekicker, played in two Rose Bowls.

His 40 PATs were a Pacific Coast Conference record.

He graduated as class valedictorian (!), then served in the Army for two years during the Korean War.

Meanwhile, he was drafted second overall in the 1952 NFL draft by the Dallas Texans, then traded to the Los Angeles Rams for 11 other players.

Anyone deemed that valuable had a lot to live up to, but live up to it he did, going to the Pro Bowl in eight of his nine NFL seasons. A linebacker, he also played on the offensive line and did the Rams’ placekicking, making 106 extra points and 29 field goals (kicking conventional-style, of course).

After his NFL career, he got deeply involved in auto racing, and in 1992 was named senior vice president of operations at NASCAR.

He is a member of both the College Football hall of Fame and the Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Les Richter’s obituary from his hometown Fresno Bee-

A great web page devoted to Les Richter

FLAGTUESDAY, JUNE 15, 2010- “I would rather have a good plan today than a perfect plan two weeks from now.” General George S. Patton

*********** Eight smaller Southwest Washington high school teams wrapped up their spring practices this past Saturday morning by taking part in a jamboree in Woodland, Washington.

There were three “rounds,” in each of which each school ran 20 plays – 10 offensive and 10 defensive.  After three rounds, each team had faced six different opponents – three each on offense and defense.

All but one school fielded both Varsity and Junior Varsity teams.

It took three hours start to finish, and it was a great spectacle, with several hundred kids in gear, and  a decent crowd on hand.

A highlight for me came when paramedics had to wheel a young woman offin a gurney. No, the highlight was not that someone was ill or hurt.  It was that the crowd gave her an ovation.


*********** This was the story in …

Mexico and South Africa got the World Cup off to a flying start. After South Africa scored first, Mexico equalized on a goal by Rafa Marquez as the two nations settled for a 1-1 draw.

And this was the headline over the story:


(Are you shi—ing me?)

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

I am absolutely convinced, as you probably are, that Richard Rodriguez is not the answer for Michigan football. My guess is the new AD will fire Rich Rod. He will choose either Les Miles or Jim Harbaugh to be the new head coach because of the "doctrine of apostolic succession," i.e. the new man either coached or played for Bo Schembechler. Rich Rod must beat Ohio State and go to the Rose Bowl in order to save his job, nothing less.

My opinion is worth the price I charge you to hear it. But in my opinion the next offensive coordinator of the Michigan Wolverines should be one Hugh Wyatt. I don't know if you have the required masters degree, but I would love to see you take Rich Rod's players, teach them your system, and then show the players and the Big Ten Conference WHY Michigan has wings on their helmets!

It probably won't happen, and you may not want the headaches associated with the very spoiled Michigan alums and fans. My son goes to Purdue (and is NOT an athlete!), but I want to see you confound the Big Ten and revive the Wing in college football.

Jim Franklin, Technical Sergeant, USAF (Retired)
Flora, Indiana

Dear Jim,

I was very disappointed that Michigan embarrassed all the people who had grown up expecting it always to represent class on and off the field by doing the things it did to lure Rodriguez away from West Virginia, and then by the things Rodriguez did (calling Terrelle Pryor to tell him before telling his playes at WVU) after taking the job.

I think that either MIles or Harbaugh would be great. To quote Bo (under different circumstances), "A Michigan man will coach a Michigan team." I am pulling for Miles because as a Stanford dad, I'd rather see Harbaugh stay at Stanford for awhile.

I think the best thing about Rich Rod's miserable experience to date is that it could make Michigan fans receptive to a return to power football.

I am flattered that you think that I would measure up to the MIchigan job. Yes, I do have a master's degree, and yes, I'd love to take a shot at it, but there are far more qualified guys than me who could get the job done if they'd take the right approach. I have to agree that with the right coaching, a double-Wing type system with Michigan players running it would show the world that those guys with the wings on their helmets are hard dudes. I would trust the next head coach to hire the right OC, but I'd sure like to be able to assist him as he installs his power offense.

Thanks a lot for your confidence in me!

*********** Sports Business Journal reports: NASCAR’s viewership on Fox dropped 7.1 percent from 2009.

The male 18- to 34-year-old demographic that advertisers expect NASCAR to deliver were down 29 percent.

*********** Good day coach,
Your offense has brought me my first championship. Just want to thank-you..

Wilford Lane
Philadelphia, PA

*********** Danica Patrick comes to football….

Natalie Randolph, female head football coach at Coolidge HS in Washington, D.C., has yet to coach a game, but she has just signed a deal to represent a Pittsburgh-based apparel company called Crons.

*********** Give the college guys credit – with the world waiting breathlessly for the latest 1-1 score from the World Cup, and the NBA Finals heating up as well, the talk about the possible end of College Football as We Now Know It took over the sports pages and the talk shows.

*********** Evidently some TV network made an insane offer to a downsized (10 teams) Big 12, and threw in lotsa money to Texas, a school that needed money about as bad as Ohio State does. And just like that, the 10-member Big 12 lives. Now all that remains is to work out a name swap with the 12-member Big Ten.

One big winner is the guy who pulled the chestnuts out of the fire, Dan Beebe, who on Friday was being ridiculed as the loser who presided over the death of the Big 12.

Good luck getting a championship game with only 10 teams. The Big Ten and the Pac-10 won't forget that you wouldn't let them do it when they were your size.

The loser? Undoubtedly it is Larry Scott, Pac-10 commissioner. He comes off as a blowhard. Or a poor poker player who overplayed his hand - who showed his cards way too soon. Or, at the least, a marketing slickster who came over from the Women’s Tennis Association (say that slowly and tell me you’re impressed) and got his ass handed to him by a bunch of dumb college football guys.

Another loser is the Pac 10 itself, which trades its great round-robin football and basketball schedules, for... what? A conference championship? Whoopee-do.

It winds up settling for Plan B - the addition of Colorado and Utah - an idea whose value is lost on me.

*********** With the Pac-10’s expansion to 12 teams, the question becomes how to split it into two six-team divisions. The logical way would be to go north-south, with the California and Arizona schools in a southern division and the newcomers Colorado and Utah joining the four Northwest schools to form a northern division.

Not so fast, say the Northwest schools (Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State). Their recruiting depends on making regular trips to southern California, and their gate relies on football visits from USC and basketball visits from UCLA. And if the four Northwest schools had nixed expansion (it took four votes to make it happen) we wouldn’t be talking about it.

Here’s one proposal by John Willner in CollegeHotline…

* Arizona State, UCLA, Cal, Oregon, Washington and Utah in one division.

* Arizona, USC, Stanford, Oregon State, WSU and Colorado in the other.

The nine-game conference football schedule would involve playing every team in your division, plus your natural rival (for Utah, that wold become Colorado. HW) , plus three teams in the other division.

*********** Back in February, Ken Goe wrote in the Portland Oregonian that expansion to 12 teams would not be good for the Northwest schools:

As it now stands, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State are guaranteed football games in Los Angeles -- against either UCLA or USC -- and in the Bay Area -- against Cal or Stanford -- every season.

This is the West Coast's prime recruiting ground. It's an opportunity to show off for recruits, and allows the families of players from California to see their loved ones play in-person without having to make the trip north.

Let's say the Pac-10 expands. If it does -- and, I still don't think it's likely -- the most obvious candidates would be Colorado and Utah.

That would give the Pac-10 12 members. A round-robin schedule in football would be impossible and in basketball extremely unlikely.

We're probably talking about two divisions. I don't see any scenario where, say, Oregon, OSU, Washington and WSU wind up in the same division with the Los Angeles schools. And, I suspect, they wouldn't be in the same division with Cal or Stanford either.

That means the Oregon and Washington schools can kiss goodbye their annual football games in Southern California, will no longer see the USC football team in their stadiums every other season, and won't annually play the UCLA basketball team at home.

It also means we're looking at a two-tier conference, where the money, attention and television markets are concentrated in the other division.

*********** In my opinion this conference re-juggling was aimed at eventually breaking away from the NCAA. We aren't likely to see a football playoff until they do, because there is NO WAY the big football schools are going to let the NCAA get its hands on football playoff money the way they do with the basketball tournament.

Breaking into four super conferences would set up a pretty easy four-team playoff coming out of the bowl games.

The "minor" bowls could operate as usual (including some 6-6 teams), but the four winners of that year's designated four major bowl games (played between two division champions of each conference) would then meet over the next two weeks.

The extra money involved in the playoff would make the so-called "conference championship" games irrelevant.

*********** From Dennis Cook, Roanoke, Virginia…

"The super conferences could cut out the N.C.A.A., form their own division of college sports and start their own basketball tournament. The N.C.A.A. has been quiet on the expansion topic, but there are probably some sweaty palms at the organization’s headquarters in Indianapolis. "

How does this make cutting out the NCAA easier?

Is it just because 4 big conferences would be easier to unite behind an issue ( television contracts )?

The Big Guys pull out of the NCAA and immediately have the bargaining chip (stack of chips, actually) of a football playoff when they sit down with the networks.

Without the Big Dogs, the NCAA has nothing to offer a TV network except a much-watered-down basketball tournament.

One of the major things standing in the way of a playoff has been the fact that under the current setup, it doesn't happen without the involvement of the NCAA. That means sharing the proceeds with a couple hundred small schools that will never be participants in the playoff and don't contribute anything to creating the wealth the playoff would generate.

With the NCAA out of the way, the playoff money is divvied up among the participants.

Sounds simple to me: the NCAA must go.

Good riddance.

*********** One major way the Pac-10 would have really benefitted from the addition of numerous Big 12 schools was that it would have jumped two time zones closer to the East Coast. With certain “Pac-10” games now in the Central Time Zone and starting two hours earlier than usual on the East Coast, the conference would have added millions of potential eastern viewers who now doze off by halftime of a West Coast night game.

*********** I predict …

At some point in the next ten years, there will be at most 64 "Big Time" teams, defined as those in the "Major" conferences.

The rest of them - the Sun Belts, the WACs, the Mid-Americas and the Conference USAs - will have to give up their unrealistic dreams of D-I glory and form a second tier. There is not one of them whose football program makes money as it is, and they simply won't be able to keep up with the big-money guys.

There will still be TV networks in need of programming, so they'll still get on the air, and there will still be bowl games for them.

But essentially what we will see eventually will be a shakeout, the same as we've seen in the automobile business, the television business, the beer business and many others. Grow or die.

I don't like it, but it's the nature of business. And college football - surprise! - is a business.

*********** Hey Hugh!

I just read your blog on USC forfeiting games in 2004 and who then should be the national champion. You mentioned Auburn who was undefeated. I think you probably remember that Utah was undefeated that year under Urban Meyer, and crushed every team they played, along with Pitt in the Fiesta Bowl. Just sayin'.

I'm sickened by what's happening with the conference realignments. Those teams with the big tv markets will win out. The Pac-10 likes Utah for a number of reasons. Probably the only negative in their minds is the small tv market. As you have heard, it looks like Texas A&M is leaning away from the Pac 10, which would give the Utes a chance. It appears Kansas is in the running too. My gut tells me that someone will be picked over the Utes because of the market. I have accepted that fact, but someday, not in my lifetime, the Salt Lake tv market will be big. Then they will get their chance. Until then, GO UTES!!!

On another note, I have friends in Denver who sent me an article from the Denver Post on the retirement of Tony Manfredi, long time football coach at Overland High in Denver. He built Overland into a national high school powerhouse with with his veer offense, and his philosophy of putting his very best athletes on the defensive side first. As he says, "This is not about me". He is leaving Overland so he can attend to his sick wife who is battling cancer for the second time in her life. As the article says, coaching his wife he is 1-0 in this regard and wants to make it 2-0. As I read it the school would not grant him a leave of one year to take care of his wife. If things go well with his wife, he may be back coaching, but not at Overland. It's a great story.

Al Andrus
Salt Lake City

Al, Good to hear from you.

Simply because there was an unbeaten BCS team ahead of them - actually two, if you give Oklahoma the "win" over USC - Utah can't finish higher than second.

But maybe if we can get the Utes into the Pac-10 we can fix that.

A prayer for Coach Manfredi to go 2-0.

*********** I will miss Jimmy Dean the country singer and Jimmy Dean the sausage maker.

*********** After last Friday’s note about some one-formation coach out there announcing plans to “invent” something that’s already been invented comes this note from long-time double-winger Pete Porcelli, in Troy, New York…

Running spread double wing this year for a local semi pro team the Troy Fighting Irish. We won last night 35-20 over the Watertown Revolution.

We had over 350 yards rushing.

C Back Aundre McCauley had over 150 yards rushing.

We punted once.

For this being a new offensive scheme to them, I was impressed with the way the guys executed the offense.

Reach, 4x and 5x were big plays as was 3trap@2

Pete Porcelli
Offensive Coordinator
Troy Fighting Irish

*********** Prompted by the notion of a high school coach's announcing intentions of “inventing” a “multiple wing” (50+ years after Delaware did it), John Dowd, of Spencerport, New York shows a gift for satire …

I just recently invented a game you might be interested in. I call it collision ball. It is played on a field much like soccer, but there are set plays. 11 men of offense and 11 men on defense facing an imaginary line of .... deliniation (thats what Im calling it). Our ball is a little more oblate than a soccer ball and our game will resemble rugby a bit. If teams cross the endline and wind up in the "scoring zone" we will give them 6 pts for a "break through." If they can't do that then they can kick it through the "downrights" and we'll call it a "wuss goal." I have been tinkering with giving the offensive team 4 tries to move 30 ft. in order to get 4 more tries. If they can't do it they can always use the 4th try to "Wail" the ball by kicking it downfield. Let me know what you think and if you are interested in learning more about collision ball. Startup cost for my clinic is $199.99.

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

Beginning the First week of May I watched the DVD's All over again to prepare for Spring Ball.

I watched Practice W/O Pads, Dynamics of the Double Wing, Safer and Surer Tackling, A Fine Line, Installing the System, the Checkpoints (Troubleshooting) and all Six DVD's of the Clinics. It is amazing how much you pick up when you watch them again. (It is also amazing how much your hand has been in my pocket Coach Wyatt!!)

STILL my favorite part is the Disc One's of both the Clinic DVD's. I love the 2005 clinic when you take us on a trip around the country and show us the Subway sandwiches in Atlantic City and the "Grafitti" wall in Philly.....I also love when you show us the players you have coached and when you say, "These guys are old now......." Your philosophy for working with kids is awesome......

If I could tell somebody to watch and one DVD in would be the Opening of Installing the System. You really hit some good points in there!!

You really answer a lot of questions when you watch the DVDs over again!!

Are you producing anymore clinic DVDs soon?

Juan Cotto
Burien, Washington

(Coach- Thanks for the testimonial. I hope your spring practice has gone well. I expect to have a DVD – maybe a two DVD set – of this year’s Providence clinic by mid-July. HW)

*********** And you wonder where the Flyers find the kind of turds who will sit in the stands and boo the Chicago Blackhawks' Stanley Cup presentation and celebration...

According to a study, 90 per cent of people in Philadelphia of "military age" are unfit to serve in the military for moral (a criminal background), physical (obesity), or mental (duh) reasons. Or a combination of the three.

Lest the rest of you get too complacent - the figure nationwide is 75 per cent.

Rest well, America.

cannon beach*********** Coach,

That friend of yours driving up the coast has to spend a day in Cannon Beach, Oregon. On our first trip up there Drea and I spent a day there and it is still one one of our favorite spots.

Gabe McCown
Piedmont, OK-USA

(On left - the Oregon coast just north of Cannon Beach)

*********** Pope Franjo sent me a link to a story about Sam Gilbert, the money man behind John Wooden’s powerhouses:

The dark side of the UCLA basketball dynasty,0,5934983.column

John Wooden didn't know about Sam Gilbert.


And Pete Carroll didn't know about the agent who provided rent-free digs to the Bush family, nor did he have any idea how Joe McKnight, portrayed as near-homeless in "Hurricane Season", a book about his high school program, got the Land Rover he was driving around L. A.

Yeah, sure.

Actually, though, both scenarios are plausible.

Back in the post-war days, when Penn - not Penn State - was a national power, it was rumored that Penn had a sugar daddy or two taking care of the players, and that coach George Munger, absolutely the most honest and dignified of men, remained blissfully ignorant of what was going on. I knew coach Munger - worked two summers at his camp in New Hampshire - and I choose to believe that.)

*********** Internet humor...


Ozone created by electric cars now killing millions in the seventh largest country in the world, Mexifornia, formerly known as California… White minorities still trying to have English recognized as Mexifornia's third language… Spotted Owl plague threatens northwestern United States crops and livestock… Baby conceived naturally! Scientists stumped... Couple petitions court to reinstate heterosexual marriage… Iran still closed off; physicists estimate it will take at least 10 more years before radioactivity decreases to safe levels… France pleads for global help after being taken over by Jamaica; No other country comes forward to help the beleaguered nation… Castro finally dies at age 112; Cuban cigars can now be imported legally, but President Chelsea Clinton has banned all smoking… George Z. Bush says he will run for President in 2036... Postal Service raises price of first class stamp to $17.89 and reduces mail delivery to Wednesdays only… 85-year $75.8 billion study: Diet and exercise is the key to weight loss... Average weight of Americans drops to 250 lbs… Global cooling blamed for citrus crop failure for third consecutive year in Mexifornia and Floruba… Japanese scientists have created a camera with such a fast shutter speed they now can photograph a woman with her mouth shut… Abortion clinics now available in every High School in United States... Senate still blocking drilling in ANWR even though gas is selling for 4532 Pesos per liter and gas stations are only open on Tuesdays and Fridays... Massachusetts executes last remaining conservative… Supreme Court rules punishment of criminals violates their civil rights... Average height of NBA players is now nine feet seven inches with only 3 illegitimate children… New federal law requires that all nail clippers, screwdrivers, fly swatters and rolled-up newspapers must be registered by January 2030.., IRS sets lowest tax rate at 75 per cent… Floruba voters still having trouble with voting machines.

*********** A poster on the Army football forum wrote about watching the USA-England soccer game (sorry - "match")...

I gave it my best effort and watched the second half for 15 minutes. That was all I could take. Later on in the afternoon I learned the game ended in a tie. That sport will never be main stream in the United States. And pulleeease, stop with the announcers with the British accent who are trying to tell an American audience how much better we Americans have become at soccer and how evident it is that America is truly beginning to embrace the sport. The U.S. soccer team sucks because soccer sucks and our best athletes are not playing the sport, uhmm, because it sucks. And because soccer inherently sucks the overwhelming majority of Americans couldn't give a rats ass about it. This is the sport that introduced us to the term "Soccer Mom" and it was the Soccer Moms that introduced 'snack' to the end of baseball, basketball, and football practices/games. That's right!!!! At the beginning of each season for any of these sports the "Team Mom" hands out a schedule for which parents are responsible on each practice/game date to bring 'snack' (not plural apparently, they don't put an 's' on it). Snack consists of chips/donuts/cookies and a drink (usually juice boxes or a sports drink). Each of the kids gets a snack (even the 60% of the team that are grossly obese). Doesn't matter if you won or lost, worked extra hard or barely expended any energy, did something special or showed up a half hour late...nope...they're all getting Snack!!! And when I asked several years ago where the hell this whole snack thing got started I was told by several other parents, "Oh, it's a Soccer Mom thing that caught on to all activities." Activities?!!! These are supposed to be sporting events, not play dates. No thanks Soccer Mom, we'll opt out of the snack rotation and go home and eat dinner. "What's your problem?" Oh, no problem, we just prefer a dixie cup and jug of ice water. Bunch of Nancies this world is turning into...fat ones too! But I have some suggestions to help the sport of soccer. For the most part it needs some fundamental change. Here are some ideas:

1. Score more goals.

2. Get some premier athletes involved.

3. Score more goals.

4. Get some physicality (NFL/NHL style hitting)

5. Score more goals.

6. Have some smoking hot scantily clad babes hand out the yellow cards and give spankings.

7. Score more goals.

8. Cheer leaders...lots of pretty cheer leaders for each team...boobs bouncing everywhere (nothing else to watch anyway)

9. Score more goals.

10. Wet towel snaps to the ass of the goalie while he's standing around doing NOTHING all game.

FLAGFRIDAY, JUNE 11, 2010- "It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once. Slavery has so frightful an aspect to men accustomed to freedom that it must steal in upon them by degrees and must disguise itself in a thousand shapes in order to be received." David Hume, 18th-century Scottish philosopher

*********** The luckiest dog in all of college football has to be Washington State.  With all the conference shakeups taking place, Wazzu is the homely girl in a sorority full of babes. And they won't go anywhere with you unless you take her along.

Look, I Like WSU. I have lots of friends who are Cougars. One of my daughters went there.  It’s a cool place.

But come on – Pullman, Washington is small and it’s remote. Martin Stadium,  where the Cougs play their home games, has just over 35,000 seats, and they’re seldom all needed. WSU’s budget is a fraction of those of most Pac-10 Conference members. WSU, sad to say, is your classic have-not.

Ah - but unlike other have-not schools around the country whose conference big sisters   are running out and leaving them home, the Cougs are secure.  They're charter members of the Pac-10, going all the way back to when it was the Pacific Coast Conference, when Idaho  and Montana were members, too, and that means that if things go as it seems they will, once every 10 years or so the Texas Longhorns will be playing in Pullman, Washington.

***********  I recently saw on a forum that another coach is going to sell a "comprehensive multiple wing system" which he has "created".  In the past this coach has preached a one formation is king approach.  Seems to me the multi-wing has already been done before in several systems, some of which are very old.  What are your thoughts?

Gabe McCown
Piedmont, OK-USA

Uh, not to spoil anybody’s picnic, but it's been done. The “comprehensive multiple wing system” has already been invented, and I doubt that this guy can do better.

Back in the 1950s the staff at Delaware began devising their own “comprehensive multiple wing system.” (I guess they couldn’t wait for him.)

In 1957, when Dave Nelson (of Delaware)  and Forrest Evashevski (Nelsons’ college teammate who was then coaching at Iowa) collaborated to write “Scoring Power With the Winged T,” the system they described consisted of a only a couple of formations.

By 1960, though, it had started to become multiple. Nelson explained why, in “The Modern Winged T Playbook,” published in 1961...

With adequate time, the defense in football halts any given play, sequence or system, and forces a shift in the emphasis of the offense or destroys it. An accepted premise is that the initiative belongs to the defense and although the offense has the advantage of knowing when, where and how a play will be run, the defense determines what plays will be run. The defense can force a team to pass whether it chooses to or not by placing nine or ten men on the line of scrimmage.  It can also discourage running up the middle by placing a man on each gap of the center with a backer behind them. It is because of the defenses Iowa and Delaware have faced during the last five years that this book has become necessary for those who have an interest in this particular wing-T system.

What they put in their book were not theories or pipe dreams, but real plays that they’d run in real college games, using formations and motions that they had devised. 

Their Wing-T became more than a formation. It became an “order of offense,” the subtitle Nelson’s successor Tubby Raymond chose for his 1986 update of the offense, "The Delaware Wing T."

The Delaware Wing-T is the core of the offense that I’ve been running since 1983.  One of the many (“multiple”)  formations I used, even in my first year of running it, was a Double-Tight, Double-Wing.

I’ve been growing with it ever since.  From the very first, I’ve employed my own numbering system and terminology, because I found it easier to teach, and I’ve departed from the Delaware system in the spacing of my linemen and the depth of my backs. But my thinking remains pure Delaware Wing-T, and the line play and blocking rules are very close to the way Nelson’s line coach, Mike Lude, drew them up and taught them. In no more than one or two practice sessions, I could be back running a pure Delaware Wing-T.

Why try to invent the wheel?  Why not see how Delaware’s been doing it since at least 1951 (and I’ve been doing it since 1983)? To help those Double-Wingers with an interest in being multiple, I’d like to begin sharing some of what I’ve been doing over the years.

*********** Coach Wyatt, I picked up Sporting News 2010 football annual a couple days ago.

Cannot remember if I ever got it this early.

Something troubles me about this. Probably tradition .... yes I am sure it is the tradition of getting the

annual in late summer ... until a couple years ago when they were available in July which was a jolt ...

and now this. 

Well, I guess i can pick up the 2011 annual before the final snow melt.

I don't follow pros much but I think the various versions of the pro football annuals never leave the shelves.

And, I am sure that you have noticed that Fantasy annuals have all but relegated the notion of the traditional annuals to memory lane.

I don't care for some things modern.

Pope Franjo

Franjo- Used to be you didn't get it until July.

Soon enough, our stores' magazine racks will be cogged with pro football previews, but every year I look high and low and can't find a Street and Smith's.

Boy, it's got to kill the NFL and MLB that they can't squeeze any money out of the Fantasy guys.

*********** I guess by now you’ve heard about the group of  incoming freshman boys at Landon School, an elite private school for boys in  suburban Washington who last summer conducted a “draft” of incoming freshman girls, based on the usual physical characteristics. And a certain perceived "willingness."

Before they  got caught, the boys, who had split up into teams, had planned an “opening day party.” The idea was to invite the girls who’d been drafted and then score points by, um, scoring with the unwitting girls.

“They evidently got points for first, second and third base,” one outraged father of a drafted girl told the New York Times. “They were going to have parties and tally up the points, and money was going to be exchanged at the end of the season.”

Sick, sick, sick.  But, in view of the fact that they were freshman boys – and not predatory seniors – I’ll chalk some of it up to adolescent bravado.

Feminists, of course, have been coming out of the woodwork, blaming it all on the "jock culture."  Screw them.

Sure, this is sick, but I submit that, teenage girls in the Twenty-first Century being what they are, these young ladies hadn’t just come out of the abbey.

Seen how teenage girls dress?  How they dance?  Heard how they talk?

You want sick? In our how-low-can-you-go culture of depravity, I’ll bet there were girls who cried their eyes out when they learned how they hadn’t even been drafted.

*********** Our President just announced that he’s sending $400 million of his own personal money to the f—king Palestinians. 

Okay, okay, I lied – it’s your money. And mine.

But he’s going to be sending it all the same.

I suppose it’s too much to ask them not to lob missiles at Israel, but you’d think that any time we send aid to a foreign country, the least we could ask them to do is to turn in all their soccer balls in exchange for American footballs. No baseball bats. No weapons of any kind.

***********  A good friend who lives in Texas wrote me a couple of days ago after I stuck the needle in by welcoming him and UT to the Pac-10.

He wrote back,

Ha!  Man, I don't know how this is going to shake out but I've got $'s that say Texas will never join the Pac 10.  In fact, me and my buddy were talking today and thinking that Texas might pull a ND and go indy!   Either way, I'm really disappointed because I was an SWC fan, then warmed up to the Big 12 in a pretty big way.  Now this!?  I dunno -- I already quit the might be time to quit D1!  geezee...the money is ruining everything!! 

Independent? I asked.

Not so fast, Texas guy.  The way these things are going to fall, I can see them restructuring the BCS to the point where they all pull out of the NCAA and set up their own collegiate athletic assn - and it ain't going to be wise to be an independent.

Of course, if Texas does go independent, with all the rest of the big guys locked up in their own three or four super conferences, scheduling will be a piece of cake - the Longhorns will have their pick of Iowa State, Kansas State and Baylor and all the WAC and Conference USA schools.

You can blame Title IX for some of what's going on, because as fast as the colleges bring in the money, the women get their hands on it.

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

Colorado makes the first move...this is going to be wild.

Is it possible that part of the expansions is an attempt to stave off a long playoff? The more conferences have championship games, the tougher it will be to say "forget your championship game, we're starting a four-round playoff at the beginning of December."

Christopher Anderson
Arlington, Virginia

If anybody should be quaking right now, it's the NCAA.

I believe that this is the first step in the football powers' move to leave the NCAA and set up their own playoff.  

Until the split with the NCAA takes place, though, no true playoff can take place outside the NCAA and its socialist system of sharing the wealth.

*********** What a shocker.  I wonder what the real motivation is for so many teams leaving the Big 12 at once.  There has to be more than meets the eye.  This could be the end of the Big 12 or the return of the big 8 (which was way better).  From what I hear if 9 teams want out the conference dissolves with no notice, otherwise they must give two years notice.  My question is, what does that do to the BCS?  That would leave an automatic BCS bowl seat vacant, it would be interesting to see who fills the hole. 

Look out Pac-10...Boomer Sooner!

Gabe McCown
Piedmont, Oklahoma

It's not what it does to the BCS.  It's what it will do to the NCAA.

If the BCS aligns properly - say, four 16-team conferences - they'll be strong enough to tell the NCAA to f-off and then they'll have their own football playoff.

*********** You wonder what’s driving the Pac-10 expansion?  How about the chance to play the conference championship game in Jerry Jones’ new stadium?

*********** I don't see Rutgers adding value to the Big Ten.  I don't see any evidence that Rutgers delivers the New York market or provides the Big Ten Network with much leverage to get onto cable systems that it's not on now.

I think that the Big Ten Network can get onto NY cable systems without Rutgers.

Not that basketball matters much in all the goings-on, but Rutgers really hurts the Big Ten in that regard.

*********** Anybody looking for a quarterback? Not so long ago, Jeremiah Masoli was running Oregon's high-powered offense about as well as it can be run. He was being mentioned for the Heisman. Now? Maybe some meatball program out there can still use a very talented football player with a lot of baggage. A LOT.

If there was any doubt that he was out of control, he confirmed it recently. On a year's suspension from the team after a conviction for stealing from a fraternity house, he got nailed for driving without a license and possession of weed. He had had "issues" back in high school, so it's not as if Oregon didn't know this could happen.

End of story, as far as Oregon coach Chip Kelly is concerned. His meeting with Masoli to tell him it was all over was a brief one, he told the Portland Oregonian's John Canzano: "It wasn't a heartfelt discussion. There wasn't any room for conversation. We had a plan in place for Jeremiah, and he failed."

The plan? Go to class. Be on time. Don't embarrass us.

***********  This is a joke, right? General Motors recently circulated a memo to its executives stating that from now on they are to refrain from using the term “Chevy” and are to use “Chevrolet” whenever referring to the brand.

Yeah, and the folks at Coca-Cola want you to stop saying "Coke."

What's that? You say you want a Bud Light? Don't you mean Budweiser Light, fella?

I am not making this up. Nobody could make this up.

Only the government or a government-owned company could be this f—king stupid. We hear a lot nowadays about the value of a brand, and how important it is to build one, whether it's The Cowboys or The Lakers or Nike or iPhone. If you were to ask an advertising agency to estimate the value of the brand "Chevy," I'm guessing they'd put a figure of several billion dollars on it.

And now the fools at GM want to piss it away.

This is a joke, right?

 *********** If you wonder why Americans don’t care for soccer, the senseless violence seems as good a reason as any. Typically when Americans hear about international soccer, it’s in the context of some riot, murder, deadly stampede, stadium collapse or rash of hooliganism.

Soccer, in other words, has generated decades of really, really bad PR in the United States. And all the David Beckham press conferences, and all the soccer-ball-washing pieces about him in ESPN the Magazine can't do much to change the perception.

I don't mean to sound all jingoistic here, but when you grow up hearing these awful stories, it reminds most Americans of why their grandparents fled the festering sh*thole of their ancestral homeland for the U.S. in the first place.

We got yet another reminder when 15 people were injured during Sunday's stampede in South Africa for a World Cup prep game between Nigeria and North Korea (speaking of festering sh*tholes).

Kerry Byrne - Cold, Hard, Football facts
Thanks to Adam Wesoloski, Pulaski, Wisconsin

*********** If you believe, as I do, that soccer is a major force in the emasculation of America – or the Europeanization (same thing) – you won’t feel any better after reading this article, but you’ll feel vindicated.

The elite media all favor soccer. Why? Well, soccer is un-American, and the elite media are un-American. What could be simpler? 

So that’s why, with the World Cup upon us, we’re being bombarded with all the “World’s Biggest Sporting Event” articles, as if there must be something wrong with us, that we just can't appreciate the Beautiful Game the way even North Koreans can.

But what’s really scary is the knowledge that they are right about one thing: time is running out on us. Given that we have lost the will to defend our culture, and  given the rate at which the Old Guard, those who espouse what used to be values that we all agreed on, are dying off, it is just a matter of time before our nation is overrun with Spanish-speaking soccer enthusiasts.

*********** Scientists can't say exactly why, but it appears that there really may be something to the notion of pickle juice fighting cramps…

*********** Hahahahaha. So Pete Carroll's not such a genius after all, eh? Actually, I think he's a hell of a coach, and USC really was good for a while there.

And now that the NCAA penalty has gone down, a couple of thoughts...

Finally, a Big Dog gets it. If they can do it to USC, if I'm Utah State I am being very careful.

Tsk, tsk, tsk, I hear people saying. Boo-hoo. It's not fair to the players on this USC team. They didn't do anything wrong. Well, actually they did. They listened to the wrong people. They listened to the USC people who assured them that nothing would happen, because we're SC and the NCAA wouldn't dare come down on us, blah, blah, blah. Instead, they should have listened to all the other people who kept saying, "they're going down."

The fact Reggie Bush was ineligible means that the Trojans will forfeit their 2004 schedule and go from 0-13 to 13-0.

Virginia Tech - Forfeit
Colorado - Forfeit
BYU  - Forfeit
Stanford - Forfeit
California - Forfeit
Arizona State - Forfeit
Washington - Forfeit
Washington State - Forfeit
Oregon State - Forfeit
Arizona - Forfeit
Notre Dame - Forfeit
UCLA - Forfeit
Oklahoma – Forfeit

So who winds up as National champion?  Oklahoma, which lost to 55-19 to USC in the so-called National Championship game?  Unbeaten Auburn, which many people (okay, okay, a lot of them were Auburn fans) thought should have had a shot at the championship game? How do they decide? Does the AP try to round up all the people who voted in 2004?

More to the point, what would a forfeit at the time have meant to a couple of the coaches? Could a Stanford "win" (and a 5-6 record) have saved Buddy Teevens’ job? Probably not.

Could a Notre Dame "win" and 7-4 record have enabled Tyrone Willingham to keep his job long enough to coach in a bowl game? Would his presence have made a difference in the bowl game (the Irish lost to Oregon State). Would an 8-4 record have kept the ND administration from going haywire on a search for his replacement, first pursuing Urban Meyer before finally settling for Charlie Weis?

Does Bush's ineligibility mean that Bush will have to forfeit the Heisman? Does it then go to Vince Young? Could we go back and look at films this time? Could we just accept the results of the NFL draft? Can we re-do the ceremony, and the ESPN show, and the acceptance speech?

Can you say "Death Penalty?" Lane Kiffin was an assistant coach at USC from 2001-2006. Hmmm. His chief assistant, renowned recruiting whiz Ed Orgeron, was at USC from 1998-2004. Orgeron was also at Tennessee with Kiffin and after leaving UT tried to get Tennessee commits to switch to USC. So with USC losing scholarships and missing out on bowl games, what's a cheatin' staff to do but double down and cheat some more?

*********** The Dodgers' Al Campanis said that blacks lacked “the necessaries” to be big league managers and general managers.

TV commentator Jimmy the Greek stated as fact that blacks were superior athletes because as slaves they were bred to be bigger, stronger, faster.

Agriculture Secretary Earl Butz told a crude joke about blacks.

None of them lasted longer than it took to say "You're fired."

But after saying that Jews should “get the hell out” of Israel and “go home” to Europe (where the last time they lived there in large numbers things didn’t work out so well for them), long-time White House press corps termagant Helen Thomas “retired.” 

That's what they said. That’s the way-too gentle way her fellow newspapermen couched it, instead of reporting accurately that the venomous, hateful bitch had finally crossed too far over the line and gotten her ass fired.. And now, from her fellow members of the media, there's no condemnation of her words - nothing but fulsome praise for this "first lady of journalism."

Talk about the media looking out for their own.

***********  An SI study of recruiting data for the 65 BCS-conference schools and Notre Dame during the five-year span from 2004-2008 showed that major college football programs that draw at least 50 percent of their players from their home state or from within 200 miles of their campus generally do better.

To illustrate SI's point: of the nine programs that won 50 or more games during that period, seven  met the 50 per cent standard : Texas (93.2%  in-state, 71.8%  within 200 miles), USC (72.0, 61.0), Georgia (63.6, 70.1), Florida (62.3, 47.9), Ohio State (55.8, 66.3), Virginia Tech (54.3, 44.0) and LSU (50.4, 56.5). Oklahoma narrowly missed, with 49.1 percent from within 200 miles.

Of the 22 schools that won 40 or more games in that time period, 16 of them drew more than half their players from within 200 miles of campus or from within their state.

*********** Typical of Portlanders’ thinking, a recent letter to the editor of the Oregonian read,

“As a member of the human race and a direct and indirect consumer of oil, I am responsible for the oil spill in the Gulf.

“I am sorry.”

My reply:

"Apology accepted.  Big of you to come forward. 

"But there is a small matter of reparations.  Send me a check for $15 billion and I’ll see that it gets into the right hands."

*********** A friend who plans on driving from California to Seattle this summer asks, "Is there anything that is a 'Can't Miss' as we explore the Oregon coast???"

I realize that your schedule is tight but I would consider a stop at the Wyatts to be a "can't miss."

Crater Lake would be one, but  if you're coming up the coast, it's quite a ways inland.

If you plan on coming up along the Oregon coast, it's all "can't miss." In other words, unless you keep your eyes closed, it's all spectacular.

It isn't fast.   It's two lanes. It's hilly and curvy. In the summer, you're sure to get stuck behind an "honored citizen" in an RV, and there aren't many place to pass.

So relax and enjoy it.   The road threads its way through coastal forests and hugs steep cliffs high above the ocean. Just around every curve is another knockout view.  

Lots of neat little towns along the way.

Partway up the coast, Oregon Dunes are spectacular.

At the very northernmost point on the Oregon coast, one highlight for sure is the town of Astoria, at the mouth of the Columbia River.  Very quaint old fishing town that's been discovered by wealthy Californians and lovingly restored.  A bit south of that is Cannon Beach, a great place for walking along the beach, kite flying, etc.  (Notice I did NOT include swimming.  The water is COLD all year-round, and there are dangerous rip currents everywhere.)

Portland is a good base for seeing a lot of things.  I joke about its ultraliberal occupants, but Portland really is a pretty cool city.  About two hours to the east and you're in great cowboys-and-Indians country; the same time puts you at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood, which has snow even in summertime.  Get to either place driving through the beautiful Columbia River Gorge, where the river cuts through the Cascades.  Stop along the way at Hood River, a neat little town considered the windsurfing capital of North America.  An hour to the southwest of Portland and you're in the famous Oregon wine country.  An hour and a half to the north and you're at Mt. St. Helens.

On the way to SeaTac Airport, about 1-1/2 hours north of Portland is Great Wolf Lodge, a VERY cool waterpark/resort.

FLAGTUESDAY, JUNE 8, 2010- “When you try to dodge ownership of a problem, when you try to hide from responsibility, life will give you ownership and responsibility the hard way.” Peggy Noonan

***********  Antti Niemi is the goaltender for the Chicago Blackhawks, and he’s Finnish.  The talking heads on TV been pronouncing his name “ANT-ee nee-EM-ee,” which has to grate on the ears of every hockey-loving Finn - in other words, about all of them.

Free lesson: the correct pronunciation is AHN-tee NEE-em-ee. In Finnish, the accent is ALWAYS – without fail – on the first syllable of a word. Every very vowel is pronounced.  And there is no vowel sound like the  “a” in “ant,” the common household insect.

Look, you geniuses in the media -  after learning how to pronounce Ndamukong Suh and Mathias Kiwanuka , Antti Niemi should be a breeze..

***********  It’s been more than 20 years now, but one of the nicest vacations my wife and I ever spent was a few days’ stay at Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Our place was right on the beach.  Out the sliding doors and a short walk across the sand  and we were in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.  Oh, the sand - they call it “sugar sand,” and it’s absolutely the finest, whitest sand you’ve ever seen.

The waters were blue and warm.  And full of jellyfish.  My wife got stung pretty good.  And then, to add insult to injury, while body-surfing she got flipped, ass over teakettle.  I was too busy laughing to realize that she was hurt, but we later discovered she’d torn her rotator cuff.

But despite all that, we look back on our brief stay there with nothing but  the fondest of memories, and now it breaks our heart to think of that lovely area being despoiled.

*********** Eric Felten, writing in the Wall Street Journal, noted that Bud Light sales are down 5.3 per cent this year, and sales of Miller Lite are off 7.5 per cent.
Never having drunk light beer, he went out to a liquor store and bought some of every major brand for some blind tasting (wrapping up the can/bottle in a paper bag).

Some of his notes:

Natural Light: “Flavorless”

Michelob Ultra: “Bland”

Coors Light: “Blah” - “although it did have the slightest hint of sweetness, as if and ounce of (bad) ginger ale had been diluted with a pint of club soda.”

Miller Lite: “had a slightly foamier consistency (the cortex bottle at work?) but no particular taste that could be discerned through the suds.”

Bud Light: “Least awful, but just barely.”

Writes Mr. Felten, “No wonder these beers are so heavily advertised.  No one would think to drink them otherwise.”

Mr. Felton has an idea. Remember the recent Domino’s campaign, admitting that their pizza hadn’t been all that good, but that they’d done something about it, and they wanted you to give them another shot? As a result of that total honesty,  their same-store sales were up 14.3 per cent in the first quarter of this year.

Mr. Felten suggests that the brewers do the same: admit that they’ve been making really, really bad light beer, and pledge to do a better job from here on out.

*********** I spent a little time over the weekend watching something called Rugby 7’s.

Seven men to a side (instead of the usual 15). Seven minute halves. Halves! Damn game’s over before at starts. Think Rugby Lite. 

It’s an okay sport, I guess.  There's a lot of running and a lot of tackling and, because they play on a regulation-size field, a lot of long runs. But if you like real rugby it’s not very satisfying, and if you like real football you’re likely to find yourself wondering why they don’t just play 8-man, and then they could throw the ball forward.  I mean,  American football is generally seen as another step up the evolutionary ladder from rugby, and this ain't even real rugby.

Here’s what mystifies me: rugby 7’s – not real rugby – is going to be an experimental Olympic sport in  2012, and then a full-fledged Olympic sport in 2016.  Yet so far as I can determine, it’s pretty much a novelty sport anyplace it’s played, and in real rugby countries, it is taken as seriously as flag football is here.

I wonder - has any sport that’s little more than marginal anyplace it’s played ever been given such a swift entry into the Olympics?

***********   In case you were wondering how Michigan was able to pay off Rodriguez’ buyout at West Virginia…  In 2007, Michigan received a $6.5 million signing bonus from adidas.

***********  Hope everyone is well in the northwest.Just starting to read the autobiography of Lewis "Chesty" Puller. Man he certainly lived up to his high school motto of "Keep climbing the mountain even though the rocks may get jagged." You don't talk about him much - what is it your Army affiliation? He played fullback in high school but did not make the VMI team. Or maybe you have. Just testing.

I plan to pass finally by West Point weekend of the 4th of July. I have to drive up to drop Alan off in Scranton.He is starting summer term on the 7th.We are going to make it a week of driving around vacation. First stop will be West Point.That place always has intrigued me much more historic than the other academies I think. 

Armando Castro
Roanoke, Virginia

My Army affiliation doesn't in any way diminish my regard for great men in other branches of the service.  I hope I don't give that impression.

Believe it or not, Chesty Puller's daughter was a college classmate of Connie and we have visited her and her husband, Bill Dabney, at their home outside Lexington, Virginia.

Bill is a retired Marine colonel, a Vietnam combat veteran and a survivor of the siege at Khe Sanh.  He is also highly decorated, winner of the Navy Cross, the highest award a sailor or marine can be given other than the Medal of Honor.

Needless to say, Bill had some great Chesty Puller stories to tell.

The best place to stay in/near West Point is the Holiday Inn Express in Fort Montgomery.!

There are other motels close by but they're not very good.  Otherwise, your best bet is Newburgh, about 15 minutes away, which has plenty of hotels. Caution: Newburgh is NOT a very nice town.  Highest crime rate in the entire state, which is saying something.

My favorite pub is the South Gate Tavern in Highland Falls, which is the little town that adjoins the Military Academy.  The owner, Eamon, is a great guy and might be able to show you the Black Lions emblem I gave him.  The Park Restaurant, also in Highland Falls, is decent.

The West Point Museum is great - a look at the development of weapons of war through the history of civilization.

*********** Over the years I have had as much difficulty running sweeps as anybody.  I have tried them all.  There are so many ways to run sweeps that you don't have time to run them all - you have to choose one and stick with it. 

The problem with seeing somebody else running a sweep successfully is that you have to be smart enough to stop and say,  "yes it works for him, with his people - but will it work for me?"  Not enough inexperienced coaches are that smart, and so they see, say, Wofford or Georgia Tech or Navy running their toss sweep and they assume all you have to do is draw it up and teach it to your kids and you've got yourself a sweep..

When I had speed I could run almost any sweep I wanted and when I didn't have speed I couldn't run any of them.  After years of trying, I find that Rip 88 g-reach/Liz 99 g-reach is by far the easiest to teach, offers by the far the best risk-reward ratio and can be run from the widest variety of sets, including Wildcat.

Even if a sweep doesn't gain us any yardage, we have to have one. Jim Sweeney said it best - the sweep is the worst play in football but you have to run it if you want to run a bootleg. (In our case, it sets up trap and "G" as well.)

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

(Regarding the blown call in the "perfect game") I thought you might go with the "it's baseball, everybody get over it" line, but my feelings were very close to what you wrote. I knew there was some ego involved when the ump was quoted as saying "I was sure he was safe until I saw the replay" - the things you know that just ain't so. I would bet he just called what he wanted to call to get some attention, looking like Mr Courageous for not bowing to the wishes of the home crowd.

I'm not advocating selective enforcement, but in a three-run game with one out to go, is it really going to affect the outcome that much to give the defense the benefit of the doubt on a bang-bang play? But he didn't even admit it was a close call, he said he was "sure." Riiight.

I've been in games with refs like this - even if one side is committing all the penalties, they've just GOT to throw a flag on the other guy to show they are calling it both ways. Or, they just start to ignore the recidivist team's infractions so they don't look too harsh.

Christopher Anderson
Arlington, Virginia

A little common sense is all it would have taken:  The umpire says to himself, “the kid’s got a perfect game going, and if this is at all close, the runner’s out.”

Instead, he throws common sense aside - not to mention judgment - and makes the nonsensical call.  And then afterward he tells us how bad he feels.

I'm sick of officials who want to be the center of attention.

We’ve all heard of football officials who decided that one team was winning by too big a score and they simply were not going to let them score again.  I've even had coaches tell me that the officials had admitted they were doing that.

That's a major reason why I like ice hockey so much - officials have less impact on it than on any other team sport.

*********** Washington Huskies’ QB Jake Locker isn't playing baseball this summer, despite being under contract with the Angels.  He wants to devote his full attention to getting ready for his senior season of football.

Angels’ GM Tony Reagins is quoted in the Orange County Register as saying this could “cost Locker financially… any time you have a contract and one party doesn’t live up to those provisions, there are recourses you can take.”

Uh, Tony – he was given a $250,000 bonus to sign.  That’s the most you can get back.

Now, that’s a lot of money to most of us, but not to an almost certain first-round NFL draft pick who has just one season left with his teammates and wants it to be as good as it can be.

*********** Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on Coach Wooden…

“He set quite an example. He was more like a parent than a coach.  He really was a very selfless and giving human being, but he was a disciplinarian. We learned all about those aspects of life that most kids want to skip over. He wouldn’t let us do that.”

*********** Said a Peruvian father, whose 21-year-old daughter had been lured by the notorious Joran van der Sloot to his room and then murdered…

“She was still a girl, who didn’t know the other side of life, the hard side.”

Oh, Dad – if only your little girl had listened to you.  If only more more young women caught up in the empowering but misleading message that “girls can do anything boys can do” could hear you.

*********** The headline numbers for May suggested reason for optimism — employers added 431,000 jobs and the jobless rate fell to 9.7 percent, from 9.9 percent in April. But the underlying numbers showed that almost all of the growth came from the 411,000 workers hired by the federal government to help with the Census. Most of those jobs will end in a few months.

*********** When the administration informed us (taxpayers) that we now owned General Motors, they didn’t ask us how we felt about giving a $53,000 sports car to a millionaire baseball player who had come within an out of pitching a perfect game.  GM just went ahead and did it.

I know, I know – they call it PR. 

I call it BS.

At least one congressman agrees.  “Until GM has repaid the taxpayers in full for the money they have borrowed, every action that G.M. takes should advance them in that direction,” said Kurt Bardella, a spokesman for Representative Darrell Issa, a California Republican.

Mr. Issa was also critical of another GM stunt – those advertisements that took credit for repaying a government loan. Never mind that we still own $2.1 billion in GM preferred stock.

*********** Confession is good for the soul: My name's Hugh, and I watched a soccer game on Saturday.  An ENTIRE soccer game.

God will understand.

No, I haven’t been possessed by aliens.  See, my son has been visiting from Australia.  He covers soccer as part of his job as a sports reporter there, so we watched the US play Australia in an exhibition.  I got through it okay, and now, more than a day later,  I haven’t noticed any ill effects. I don’t  say “nil,” I don’t refer to the field as the “pitch,” and I didn’t go out and buy a stupid scarf that I can hold up at games so the people behind me can’t see.

I suppose I’ll watch a few more “matches.”  Oops, sorry – almost lost it there.  “Games.”  

I mean, this is the World Cup and this is going to be my soccer fix for the next four years.

One thing I did learn.  If any South Africans ever show up to one of your games, frisk them.  And if they have any of those godawful plastic horns on them – vuvuzelas, they call them – confiscate the damn things and break them in half over your knee.

The sonsabitches start well before the game and they blow those f--kers non-stop the entire time.  They are high-pitched and whiny, and if you weren’t watching the screen, you'd think you were listening to a midget auto race.

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

Thank you so much for posting a link to the web site, what a humbling web site to look at for very long at all. Vietnam was my fathers war and to look through his letters home and see some of the same names online that he'd written about is nearly as powerful as seeing them in person.

Tony Douglas
Kenova, West Virginia

*********** From Character Counts…

I once received a note from Gwen, a youth coach who learned that Bill, a close friend who coached another team, lied about the age of some of his gymnasts to increase their chances of winning.

Gwen could confront Bill to give him a chance to fix the problem. If he didn’t, she had to report him.

Yes, this would probably destroy their friendship, but the gap in their values had already made that inevitable. It was also likely that some colleagues would take Bill’s side. There will always be a split between those who cheat and those who don’t.

As Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.”

*********** David Biderman in the Wall Street Journal (May 21) reveals some interesting statistics about where major league baseball players come from.

Not surprisingly, California leads the pack. 17.6 per cent of major league baseball players went to high school there.  Florida is second (7.7 %) and Texas is third (7.1%).  North Dakota, Rhode Island and West Virginia have one player apiece; Australia has three.

On a per-capita basis, Mississippi leads the pack, with one major leaguer for every 211,000 residents.  California is second and (ahem) Washington is third, ahead of Florida, Hawaii, Georgia, Oklahoma and Louisiana.

*********** Did you ever think you’d see the day when Russia would berate Israel – or any nation, for that matter - for human rights violations?

*********** Hello, Coach Wyatt

This is coach Fred Braswell from Atlanta. I was offered the head coach position in my middle school program. I am happy I went to your clinic this year, it was significant in their decision to make me head coach, they want a plan now! Coach, in keeping with a plan I wanted to know if you have a install script for the double wing that I can follow to guide my install and a typical middle school practice plan to as well follow. I so I want to thank you in advance, and thank you for giving so many of us a PLAN!

Fred Braswell
Hampton Middle School
Henry County Schools, Henry County, Georgia

Coach Braswell-

Congratulations.  They made a good choice.

Here's a video of me introducing the Double Wing to a high school team at a clinic---

Beyond that, my "Installing the System" video will be a great help.

Here's a typical practice plan- I'll be glad to interpret it, but basically...
1. BRIEF Pre-practice Talk - Couple of points I want to stress
2. Flex, Cals, Form run, Block & Form Tackle
3. Kicking Essentials
4. Offensive Groups (2 of them - O-Line, Backs & Ends)
5. Offensive Team vs Defense scrimmage
6. Defense - Inside Drill 
7. Defense - Outside Drill
8. Conditioning
9. BRIEF Post-practice talk

*********** Have you noticed how what we once called “minor” sports, and then called “non-revenue” sports, are now called “Olympic” sports?

*********** Pope Franjo writes,

I still think Big East’s best bet is to invite ND for football and rename the conference The Notre Dame Conference with a guaranteed bowl for ND regardless if they win one game or 12. ND would always be credited with a spotless conference record even if they lose all. ND would play all conference games at home every year and so forth and so on…

*********** If I ever show up missing, Portland’s Red and Black Café would not be a good place to go looking for me.

It is vegan. And it has a reputation as a hangout for the homeless (after they’ve finished the day’s panhandling, I suppose), and anarchists.

It is worker-owned, and advertises that all workers are members of the IWW (no attempt to explain why a place that’s worker-owned needs a union.)

So it came to pass a little while ago that a Portland police officer who’d stopped in at the Red and Black for a cup of coffee was approached by one of the worker/owners and asked to leave.

The guy told the officer that his presence made him “uncomfortable.”

The officer, no doubt under strict orders not to stir anything up among the counter-culture types, got up and left.

"It was not personal," the officer said. "He was being hostile to my uniform,.”

Hey,  officer – that’s precisely the point that that a**hole was making.  You allowed him to insult your fellow officers.

Asked about his rudeness, the worker said, "I never expected a police officer to come into the space. If it happened again, I wouldn't serve him."

Wait - am I missing something here? Does this guy really have the right to refuse service to someone?  Wasn't this supposed right to refuse service to anyone one of the things that the Civil Rights movement was all about?

Apart from the legal aspects, the police will no doubt stay away, Portland being Portland.  But if this were Chicago, or Philly, or some normal city where the police haven’t been trained to tiptoe around society's derelicts, I guarantee you that the Red and Black Café would be well patronized by cops. They’d see a different cop come through that door every hour. At least.

Haw, haw, haw. Make you uncomfortable, do they, guy?  Can’t get ‘em to leave? 

Why don’t you just call the police? Haw, haw, haw.

*********** Thoughts on courage, by Michael Mukasey, former US Attorney General, in a Memorial Day address in Easthampton, New York…

 “Courage is the highest public virtue because, as philosophers from Aristotle to Winston Churchill have taught us, courage is the one virtue that guarantees all the others; without it, all the others are useless."

“Courage does not mean the absence of fear. Indeed, without fear there can be no courage, because it is the willingness to proceed even in the face of fear, to do one’s duty even at known risk of life and limb, that defines courage."

“Even physical courage involves making moral judgments, because willingness to sacrifice in the name of evil can be seen as bravery of a sort, but without moral contact we cannot call that real courage."

“Moral courage – the willingness to put reputation or fortune at risk in order to stand for something simply because it is right – is just as essential to the preservation of liberty as physical courage."

FLAGFRIDAY, JUNE 4, 2010- "One of the most ridiculous aspects of democracy will always remain... the fact that it has offered to its mortal enemies the means by which to destroy it." Joseph Goebbels

***********  Joe Gardi died on  Wednesday. He was 71 years old.  I considered Joe a mentor. He knew the game about as well as anyone could.

He was a high school head coach in New Jersey, an assistant coach at Maryland, a special teams coach in the World Football League and then with the New York Jets; he was defensive coordinator of the Jets’ defense made famous by its “New York Sack Exchange” front four, NFL assistant supervisor of officials, and for 16 years head coach at Hofstra.  And in retirement, he served as an observer of officials for the Colonial Athletic Conference.

Back in 1974, Joe and I were “riding buddies” with the Philadelphia Bell of the World Football League.  We would sit together on team flights and share our hopes and goals and commiserate about the miserable pr--k we both worked for.

Joe was a Jersey guy, born and raised in Harrison, where he was an all-state lineman. At Maryland,  he was the Terrapins’ co-captain and  in 1959 won the Unsung Hero Award as an offensive tackle and linebacker.

Joe had a cup of coffee with the Redskins and then with the Bills before becoming a high school coach. In 1964, he took the head job  at The Oratory Prep in Summit, New Jersey, which had a 37-game losing streak going.

He went 0-9 in his first season there, but then went 6-3 and 5-4. In 1967 he moved on to Roselle Park, which had not had a winning season in 10 years. After going 2-7 in his first season, he went 6-3 in 1968 and in 1969 went 9-0 and won the mythical state chamionship.

In 1970 he returned to Maryland as head freshman coach and chief recruiter.  His first recruiting class was heavy on players from the New York-New Jersey metro area and would form the core of the 1973 team that would go 8-4 and land Maryland its first bowl appearance since 1955.

joe gardiIn 1974, Joe and I worked together with the Philadelphia Bell of the World Football League (that's Joe, front and center, in the photo at left) and in 1975, we were briefly reunited in Portland, shortly before the league folded.  More about that later.

After the WFL folded, Joe wound up on Lou Holtz’ staff with the New York Jets, and following Holtz’ departure after just one season, Joe stayed on to work under two more coaches, serving four years as defensive coordinator - two under Walt Michaels and two more under Joe Walton.  His 1981 defense led the AFC, and its league-leading 66 sacks earned his front four – Marty Lyons, Joe Klecko, Marc Gastineau and Abdul Salaam – the nickname “New York Sack Exchange.”

In 1985 he accepted a position with the NFL office as Assistant Supervsor of Officials, assisting in the implementation of instant replay, as well as  evaluating, recruiting and training college officials for positions in the NFL.

In 1990, he was hired as head coach by Hofstra, then a Division III school with aspirations of moving up. Why leave a great job with the NFL? he was asked. "Because," he said, giving an answer any football coach would understand, "I wanted to be called 'Coach' again."

In  his 16 seasons at Hofstra, from 1990 through 2005, Joe posted a 119-62-2 record. During that time, Hofstra made the jump from NCAA Division III to I-AA, and built the Pride in to a national power.  He had 10 winning seasons, and in five of his final 10 seasons took the Pride to the NCAA D-IAA playoffs.   His 1995 team was 10-1-0, losing only to eventual finalist Marshall, 30-28. The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame named him the Division I-AA Coach of the Year, and the National Football League Players Association selected him its I-AA College Coach of the Year.

A number of his former players at Hofstra have gone on to play in the National Football League, Arena Football League and Canadian Football League including former Jets receiver Wayne Chrebet and current NFL players Marques Colston with the New Orleans Saints, Willie Colon with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Stephen Bowen with the Dallas Cowboys.

Several of his former assistants  are currently coaching in the NFL including Raheem Morris, Head Coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers,  Dan Quinn, Defensive Line Coach of the Seattle Seahawks, and Joe Woods, Defensive Backs Coach of the Minnesota Vikings.

Joe is survived by his wife, Audrey, two grown children Joanne and David, and four grandchildren. David, who played football at Brown,  is an attorney who works in labor relations with the NFL Management Council.

How many men can say that they were head coaches of two NFL teams in the same season?  Joe Gardi could.

After head coach Ron Waller "left" the Philadelphia Bell following an incident near the end of training camp, Joe took over the team on short notice and came out to Portland and beat us (Portland Thunder) in an exhibition game.   Joe and I had become pretty close in my season with the Bell, and while unhappy about our loss, I was very happy for Joe.

"You just don't know the trials and tribulations we went through this past week," he told Jon Nolen, our beat writer from the Oregon Journal following the game.

Unfortunately, that performance wasn't enough to get Joe the Bell head coaching job permanently, but he was kept on the payroll, given a token job as "administrative assistant" to owner John Bosacco and, essentially, sent off to Siberia.

In mid-season, when our GM Bob Brodhead decided to let our head coach, Greg Barton, go, I reminded him of the job Joe had done earlier, and so when we played in Philadelphia I arranged for them to meet,  and Bob, who at that point had temporarily assumed the head coach's role, was impressed.

Bob's plan was to fill in for two games until we had a bye week, which would give a new coach two weeks to prepare for his first game. Playing our best game of the season, we beat Philadelphia, 25-10, and then at home, before our largest crowd of the season - at home or on the road - we played Memphis tough before losing 16-3.  Memphis coach John McVay called us "the best damned two-and-six team I've ever seen."

Enter Joe Gardi, who accepted Bob's offer and flew out to take over. He quickly won over the players and assistants, but just as important, the news media and the town.

He said and did all the right things.  He said he planned no great changes: "I'm not so sure that sticking with good people and coaching them isn't better than constantly breaking in new personnel."

He said, "Once I get the learning process out of the way, I can foresee a turnaround like last year's," (when Portland, after a sluggish start, finished as one of the WFL's better clubs).

In his first game, at Jacksonville, the Thunder built  a 29-18 fourth-quarter lead before losing 32-29. The Thunder outgained the Express, 377-255.

It was another encouraging performance by a team that clearly was turning things around, but Joe was not happy. "I don't want our players to be satisfied with playing Jacksonville close," he said. "That's crap!"

The next week, the first game of the WFL's "second half" - a scheduling stunt designed to give turnaround teams some hope - Joe got his first win, 28-25 over San Antonio in sudden death, and the following week Portland defeated Jacksonville 30-13 in a rematch to go 2-0 in the second half.

In front of an appreciative home crowd, the players were excited to the point of wanting to carry Joe off on their shoulders,  but Joe, who always  fought an on-and-off battle with his weight, declined. "If they'd carried me off the field," he said afterwards, "We'd be faced with six hernia operations!"

Earlier that week, Joe had told the Oregon Sportswriters and Sportscasters at their weekly luncheon that we'd serve lasagna and chianti in the press box, and he was as good as his word (catering by yours truly).  George Pasero, legendary sports editor of the Oregon Journal, had quckly become an admirer of Joe and his work, and he was especially touched.

A day or two later, Shreveport announced it wouldn't be able to come to Portland the next week to play us, and the WFL crumbled. And that was that.  

In all, Joe coached just three games in Portland, but in two pinch-hit appearances in the same season, had demonstrated that he had what it took to be a head coach.  He wouldn't get another chance to be one for 15 more years.

God rest his soul.

*********** Nothing is as useless as an unsold ticket to a game that’s already been played, right?

Right. Yet here the Florida Marlins are, offering for sale all the unsold tickets to a game that’s already been played. And asking face value for them, yet.

Let me explain. See, it's the nature of certain people to claim - falsely -  that they were on hand to watch this famous event or that.

As a kid, I remember old-timers saying that if everybody who claimed to have been there to see Joe Louis’ first-round knockout of Max Schmeling, Yankee Stadium would have had to hold 500,000 people.

So now, thanks to a clever stunt by the Marlins to make a little extra money, liars will be able to back up their stories that they were there when the Phillies’ Roy Halladay threw his perfect game.

Big mistake, I think, selling them for face value.  Way too cheap. There are so many liars out there that I predict a brisk secondary market.

*********** It’s well known that there are no clocks in casinos.  Makes sense.  They want gamblers to get lost in the action -  to lose track of time.

But as someone who travels a lot, I wish someone would please tell me why you can’t find a clock in an airport.

*********** I’ve heard of packing heat, but this is ridiculous.  In a Lynwood, Washington department store, a guy’s gun went off, um, “injuring” him.  The gun was tucked in his waistband, and shot him in the, um, cojones.

***********  In 1984, Big Brother  would give the proles repeated updates on how well “the war” was going. Who knew whether it was the truth or not? The government controlled everything that the proles knew, and they'd heard Big Brother's line for so long that none of them could remember who they were even fighting, or where, or why.

Imagine Pittsburgh fans not being able to go to the Super Bowl themselves, having to sit at home with no radio, no TV, no cell phones, no text messages, no Twitter. No word on how their heroes were faring except what the Mayor told them. 

That’s North Korea. North Korea is a closed country. And North Korea, like many a worthless nation whose little kids grow up kicking a round ball, will have a team in the World Cup.  Unfortunately for North Koreans, they won’t be able to follow their team, because there won’t be any TV.  Not that anybody has any sets to watch the games on, anyhow.  Or cell phones, either.

What an opportunity for Kim Jong-Il, North Korea’s fearless leader, to tell his people about their team’s glorious triumphs over the likes of Italy, Brazil and the hated United States on their way to winning the World Cup, proof positive of the power of communism.

*********** Oklahoma’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals tells the story of Carlisle (Pennsylvania) Indian School football stars with ties to Oklahoma (ever heard of Jim Thorpe?).

Author Dr. Tom Benjey, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at the 2007 Single Wing Conclave, explores the lives of 15 athletes who attended the government’s Indian boarding school – and played on its national-power football teams.

Recommended reading for history buffs and football fans alike, from middle school to senior citizen, Oklahoma’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals contains numerous never-before-seen photos, newspaper cartoons and drawings.

Oklahoma’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals is available in paperback for $14.95 from Tuxedo Press, bookstores and on-line booksellers. For more information: .

unitas statue*********** Thanks for the photo at left - The GREAT Johnny Unitas - sent me by Lou Orlando, of Sudbury, Massachusetts. Lou, whose son, Jason plays on Duke's lacrosse team, was in Baltimore last weekend to watch the Blue Devils win the national championship.

*********** Whatever happened to the National Safety Council? It used to be we knew there was a holiday weekend coming up because for days ahead of time we’d hear its gruesome predictions of the number of highway deaths the holiday would produce.

*********** Talk about a great Web project - a directory of every name on the Wall, including his hometown and the decorations won ---

*********** (Concerning personal coaches) One of the advantages to being in a small rural community in north central Kansas is being isolated from many of the issues that are cropping up around the country.

I don't know much about the personal coaches, but they don't have a good reputation in Kansas because of this guy:

I just can't see any real benefit to having them around.

Greg Koenig
Beloit, Kansas

*********** On Memorial Day my wife and I went across the street and stood in a drizzle while they raised the flag (and then lowered it to half-staff) at our local cemetery.

A group of Boy Scouts handled the flag raising, and afterward, as the small crowd dispersed, the scouts posed for a group photo in front of the flagpole. One them lay on the ground in front of them, head resting on his hand, and I hollered at him, "Stand up! This is Memorial Day!"

Hahahaha.  You should have seen how fast he got up.  And not a single offended parent  upbraided me. (They were probably still at home asleep.)

Not his fault.  He didn't know know. Nobody taught him. But somebody had to, and it might as well be me.

*********** Army great Doc Blanchard was honored on Memorial Day in his hometown of Bishopville, South Carolina


When the city of Bishopville holds its Tribute to Doc Blanchard Statue Unveiling gala on Monday at the Opera House, one of the main reasons it will do so is because Blanchard won the Heisman Trophy in 1945 while playing on the second of two straight national championship football teams at Army.

However, just as the sculpture will depict, there was much, much more to the life of Felix "Doc" Blanchard than the three years he was "Mr. Inside" to Glenn Davis' "Mr. Outside" while playing football at Army.

Many of his formative years were spent in Bishopville with his family. After his stint at Army as a three-time All-American, Blanchard distinguished himself as a fighter pilot in both the Korean and Vietnam wars.

More on Doc Blanchard

*********** The announcement that the Gores were divorcing prompted a couple of interesting reactions among certain members of the news media.

One was that Al just hasn’t been the same since that damn Supreme Court  cheated him out of the presidency.

See? Just like the BP Oil Spill and the Iceland Eruption, it’s George Bush’s fault. 

The other was that if it can happen to the lovey-dovey Gores, is any marriage safe?

To that, I would say that, well, if one of the partners is a delusional, egostistical fool named Al Gore, no - no marriage is safe.

*********** Routine play – first baseman to the pitcher covering (3-1 if you’re scoring at home) – for what should have been the last out.  Of a perfect game.

But the umpire called the runner safe.

Worse, after seeing the replay, he admitted he'd made a bad call.  

“I blew the call,” he said. “I took a perfect game away from that kid over there."

Awww. You poor guy.

No pity here. Consider for a minute this possibility: Suppose the guy let his ego get in the way, decided to show everyone that he was Mister Super Ump, and now that he realizes that it didn't work, he's remorseful.  I’ll bet if that had been only the second out, and the manager had come out to argue the call, he’d have run his ass in a heartbeat, and in typical umpire fashion, boasted about it afterward.

I’ve seen something similar happen in football, and, I suspect, for much the same reason.

On more than one occasion,  I’ve seen a high school official cost a kid a touchdown by ruling him down – or out of bounds – an inch short of the goal line.

My reaction to those calls has always been the same: what the hell was that official trying to prove?

Being cynical by nature, I immediately assume that some arrogant ass wanted to show everyone what a great official he was.  Yes, he was moving and the ball carrier was moving, and things were happening fast, but his eyesight was so keen, his judgement so unerring, that he could see exactly where the ball was when the kid’s knee came down. And you know what? It was precisely an inch short of a touchdown. (And  no replay to prove him wrong either.)

My suspicion is that in cases like this ego crowds out judgment.   That official just has to let you to know that he’s out there, too. It’s part of today’s look-at-me culture. 

Yes, officials do make it a better game, and yes, there are plenty of good officials, and when you see those good ones show up at your game, you know it’s going to be a good one. 

Too bad there aren’t more of them.

*********** Don’t give me credit for pointing you to this poster, which ought to go on every football coach’s wall.  Thank Dave Potter, of Durham, North Carolina…

*********** With the possibility of USC getting hammered for Reggie Bush’s turning pro at least a year before he decided to stop playing for USC and bolt for the NFL, Christine Brennan in USA Today trotted out the old argument that sanctions ruling out postseason play would be unfair.

Who does that punish? she asks, and then answers her own question: “a bunch of kids who were in middle school when this mess began.”

Bullsh--.  Those “kids” knew what they were getting into. Every kid who signed with USC from the point when accusations were first made about Bush knew damn well that sanctions could happen.

Rival recruiters made certain of that.

flagTUESDAY, JUNE 1, 2010-

"A pitcher needs two pitches. One they're looking for, and one to cross them up." Warren Spahn

*********** NFL teams will have the option this year of replacing the NFL Films highlights feed on their stadium screens with RedZone. RedZone, which I have and which has become the only way I can watch pro football,  takes viewers live to league games whenever a team is at or inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.

It’s one more step by the NFL to “enhance fans’ in-stadium experience” - in other words, to give people who’ve paid big money to sit in the stadium the same experience they’d have if they’d just stayed home.

And in a little-noticed move that brings the NFL ever closer to trash sports, the league two months ago voted to allow teams to use their stadium video display boards to encourage fan noise. You know - flashing NOISE on the board, not unlike the days of radio shows in front of a live audience, when cue cards called for APPLAUSE. 

Somehow I doubt that this action - to give the illusion to the people at home watching on TV that the stiffs in the stadium really care – will ever be necessary at, say, LSU or Alabama.

*********** Our local paper on Monday, Memorial Day, ran TWO FULL PAGES of "In Memoriam" notices, sad little memories of departed loved ones. Trust me - the newspaper charged the writers for their notices. Problem was, no more than 10 per cent of the people remembered were even veterans, much less Americans killed in the service of their country. Now, it's not for me to tell people they can't mourn the loss of a loved one. Or to tell them when they can or can't do it. But come on, folks - this was Memorial Day! Is this the price we pay for the enormous disconnect between a complacent society and an all-volunteer military?

*********** Anybody hear Jim Cornelison sing the national anthem before the Black Hawks-Flyers games?  What a voice! After hearing all those little girls and improvosationasl grammy award winners mangle it, it was nice to hear the song sung by a real man. I was ready to enlist
And then, at the Indy, back to earth again – back to weenie, touchy-feely America and somebody named Jewel purring the national anthem – our national anthem – as if it was the sound track to a stag film

*********** If I’d been there I would have jumped Brent Musburger when he made note of Indianapolis and its “33 brave men and women.” On Memorial Day.

*********** I never watch the entire Indianapolis 500, but I never miss Jim Nabors signing “Back Home Again in Indiana.”

*********** I am sick to death of Danica Patrick and her sleazy sex kitten act on  Is there anyone reading this who’s such a loser that he actually clicks on to see what happens next?

*********** ESPN side-by-side (Presented by Firestone) did a tribute to the Indianapolis 500 to the tune of “Take me out to the Ball Game.”  Hey, fools – get your own f—king song.

*********** Writes Peter King in “Monday Morning Quarterback” on

What should every commencement speaker do at this time of year? Simple: Tell kids how to get jobs. Goodell's advice began when he graduated from Washington & Jefferson College just outside of Pittsburgh in 1981 and wanted to work in football. Anything in football.

"I wrote more than 40 letters to the NFL,'' he said. "Everybody. The results: a big pile of rejections. Some plan, huh? But I was determined and persistent and kept writing. Finally, there was a polite but somewhat dismissive reply from a weary executive at the NFL to, quote, 'Stop by if you're in the area.' So I told him, 'I'm in the area.' ''

Sort of.

"I got in my car,'' Goodell said, "and drove all night from Pittsburgh to New York, and I was on his doorstep the next morning. Six months later, 12 or 13 more letters later, they offered me a three-month internship. So it doesn't matter how you get in that door. Just get in that door. The lesson: Seize every opportunity.''

*********** Frank Lovinski writes from the Ohio Valley…
POPE FRANJO QUESTION -- If The Big 10 adds one, will schoolchildren in the US be able to do the math? Will the question-answer be: 10 + 1 one equals ... ah ... 12? Subtraction by addition by one of the most academically heralded group of institutions in the universe. This "New Math" has baffled sextillions of us all.

Your question is apt. I continue to be amazed that the media don't continually rag on the ridiculous idea of ten plus one equals ten. It's been 20 years now. I guess they grew tired of it.

*********** I just got woke up from a 20-year snooze. Will somebody please tell me WTF this is all about?

Georgia won the "Equestrian National Championship" over Texas A & M when the "Equitation on the Flat" event was won in a "sudden-death ride-off."

*********** Mike Studer, of Kittitas, Washington, wrote to tell me that the TALLEST FOOTBALL PLAYER AT ANY LEVEL is Brendan Adams, who goes to school not far from Mike at Morgan Middle School in Ellensburg, Washington.

Added Mike, “Great kid and wonderful parents.”

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

Hope your annual pilgrimage of Clinics was a smooth one. I know now why the Southeast is scheduled in February, as we hit 94 degrees in mid-May the other day. If you're like many of my other Oregonian/NW colleagues, heat and humidity are not for you.

I had a question that I forgot to ask you during your tour stop in Atlanta...It concerns Wedge Blocking...Is it still legal for lineman to push on one another when wedging? For instance, can their hand be placed on the lower back of the blocker to their inside as they form and drive the Wedge?

Last year, in our 5th game, the opposing coach complained to the referee that by doing this, it was, in essence, the same thing as locking arms. The referee agreed and mid game/season, I had to adjust our Wedge accordingly.

We are supposed to be following the National High School rules. As is always the case, the interpretation of those rules can be subjective. If, perhaps, you know which chapter I can refer to should this point be raised, that would also be helpful.


Ed Campbell
Land o' Lakes, Florida


The rule is quite specific about what constitutes "interlocked blocking":

RULE 9  SECTION 2  ARTICLE 1 An offensive player (except the runner) shall not (b) Grasp or encircle any teammate to form interlocked blocking

Pushing on a teammate is not interlocked blocking, and is therefore not prohibited.

Now... if you can find a very diplomatic way of suggesting that those officials read the rule book...

***********Dear Coach Wyatt, I thought I would write what we already talked about. I also attached a picture worth 1000 words!

If you have ever lived a real life wonder then you will know what I am talking about. We had a game Yesterday and for half the team it was their first! It did not start out so well and they scored first. We came back and then they came back. Anyways it was not looking good for us at half time. We were down 34-16.
I did not know what to say to the team but we went and I spoke to them. Made some corrections on Defense and talked to them as a whole. I did not yell but just told them about having heart and going back to the Basics of our system of play. (DW) I told them to have the Heart of a Lion.

lucerne lion

Our name Luzerne Lions comes from the Lion Monument here in Luzerne. It is cut out of Stone in to a Mountain wall. It is in memory of over 700 Swiss mercenaries who gave their lives in defending the residence of the King of France during the French Revolution. They all died fighting or were executed. The memorial is a Lion laying on the shield of the King with a Lance through his Heart. At Half time I thought I had a lance through my heart. I thought my team had a lance in their hearts and we were about to die!

Anyways the other team got the ball first and Drove down the Field and Scored again! 41-16. The Lance went even deeper. Death seemed curtain. But something happende that I really do not understand. We got the Ball back and boom we scored. (77 Cris cross counter) Then again and again!  I used only the base formation and 4 plays. 88 Super power, 77 Kris Cross Counter, 3 trap 4 and 800 pass play.

With 2:35 left in the game, we were down 41-40 with only one time out left. We had to stop them if we were going to have the smallest chance to win. There team had some problem and call a time out. They had none left and only needed to get the first down to close it out. I had one lft. It was 4th Down and only 2 meters for the first. I used my last time out. The Defense knew they had to Stop them to give us a chance. They Did! We Got the Ball back with 58 seconds remaining in the Game and NO time outs! We were 30 yards to get the game winning Touchdown! I gave the Quarterback 3 plays. 88 Super power, 77 Kris Cross Counter, 88 Super power. Boom we only needed 2. The second Play scored on a 24 yard run. 2 point conversion we were up 48-41. They still had time. They got the ball back and tried to throw a pass. Under heavy pressure he threw the Ball direct to one of my players who took it back for the TD. DO you believe in Miracles!

We actually won the Game that looked like there was no chance of winning. 56-41. I am so proud of these guys and that they showed a true Lion Heart!

Thank you Coach Wyatt for your advice and no matter what anyone says,  When the system is carried out correctly by the players. No one can stop it!

God Bless!

Coach Delmus Pinkston
Head Coach Luzerne Lions
Luzerne, Switzerland

(Mark Twain called the Dying Lion "the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world." HW)

*********** My (unsolicited) advice to people hiring a coach (assuming all references check). Look at the candidates in this order.

(1)  an assistant from your present staff, assuming that he has held a position of responsibility for at least three years and that he has made a significant contribution to a successful program and that his selection will not cause dissension on the staff

(2) an outside coach with at least three years' successful varsity head coaching experience (or has a plausible explanation for why he has not been successful in the W-L column)

(3)  an outside coach who has spent at least 3 years as a coordinator in a successful varsity program OR an outside coach who has spent at least 3 years as head coach of a successful middle school or a successful junior varsity program

(4) roll the dice

*********** Hi Coach, I was looking at the CD I bought at your last clinic.  Under the section "10 for the road"  I saw you had a formation called Tiger I.  I was wondering what you ran out of this formation.  Looks like on the video there was trap, C, wedge, and a screen.  Are there any other plays you run out of it.  Also is the X split wide and the A to the opposite side? Is that the B back deep in the I ?  Thanks again for all your help.

Steven Rivas,
Montebello, California

In the Tiger I, that is the X end split left (“LEE”), and the A Back flanked right (“ARTIE”).  

It's something of a 2-minute package. What we did was sub a QB for our B-Back in order to get a passer into the game while still keeping most of our Wildcat run package.

The running back is technically our Wildcat Q-Back who was a good runner but only a so-so passer. 

You saw Trap, C, Wedge, 88 Brown, 88 Brown Screen Left.

We also ran G and Sweep (88 G-reach)

And a handful of  passes.  That’s about it.

*********** I keep reading that it is essential to our nation’s security that we repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Which prompts the question:  if it’s so essential, how did we ever win World War II (back when the point of fighting was still to win) without  openly-gay soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen?

*********** After being acquired on draft day, LenDale White lasted just 35 days with the Seahawks before being waived.

You had it to hand it to Seahawks’ GM John Schneider for one of the great statements of all time: "It became apparent at this time LenDale was not ready to be a member of the Seattle Seahawks.”

*********** Everybody should be able to take pride in his college, but after reading about the recruiting of Eric Bledsoe, it has to be a challenge to admit to association with your college when it happens to be John Calipari’s employer.

*********** "It's an assault on our shores, on our people, on the regional economy and on communities like this one," the President said. Hey – he finally gets it on illegal immigration. What’s that?  You say he wasn’t talking about illegal immigration but  about an oil spill? Never mind.

*********** From Toronto comes this Associated Press story about some particularly nasty thieves…

Toronto police say robbers are squirting people with feces at cash machines to distract them before stealing their money.

Constable Tony Vella said Friday that the robbers use squeeze bottles to squirt the victims who are making cash withdrawals. The offenders then help them clean the feces off their clothing, and in the process, they steal their money.

Vella said the robberies have happened four times in downtown Toronto in the past week.

He explained that in groups of four, one person squirts the victim's clothing, another points out the offending spot, a third person tries to remove it and the fourth person grabs the cash.

*********** I used to be able to watch tennis on TV with the sound on. Not any more, not with the women all sounding as if they’re in labor every time they hit the ball and the men as if they’re constipated.

*********** If they can hang RRod, then they can and should hang Calhoun too

Might as well get them all now instead of just a couple to be used as examples which is exactly what this is.

See, I still think the NCAA is a horsesh-- organization. Every single NCAA team cheats. Every one. Some more than others. And some like Paterno U always get away with it because he is the eternal gladhander. Besides the NCAA went after Bowden. So why bother another senior senior senior Saint. Do you you for a second think Florida runs a clean program? Or Georgetown? Or South Carolina? Or Alabama? Good for you if you do there in la la land.  Franjo.

Out here in la la land, most of us truly  believe that the best teams in America try to model themselves on the Ivy League, and they are so successful in doing so that the NCAA is able to ignore them and concentrate its scarce enforcement resources on catching those that don't, such as Middle Tennessee, Louisiana Monroe and New Mexico State.

I believe that Rodriguez' biggest mistake was calling Harvard and Yale recruits after they had already committed to tell them that if they came to Michigan he'd hold up practice for them until their afternoon lab classes were over. That wouldn't have been so bad in itself but the wiretaps also showed that he split infinitives and dangled participles.

*********** Coach Wyatt --

I have recently become interested in the Single Wing offense. What books, in your experience, would be good sources of info on the "Offense That Refuses To Die?"

Also want to say that the Double Wing is alive and well with the semi-pro team that I am coaching in Portsmouth, Ohio. The wedge and superpower were a large part of the 300 yards rushing we had in our inaugural win last Saturday.

We are playing our home games at Spartan Stadium, the old home of the Portsmouth Spartans. I figured that a football historian like yourself would appreciate that fact.

Dan Polcyn
Oak Hill, Ohio

Coach,  I do appreciate that fact.  I also honor the area as the home of the great George McAfee, from nearby Ironton, Ohio.  (My regular AM disc jockey, whom I wake up to every AM, is a native of "Ahrntnohio," as he likes to say.)

Best book on single wing - although it is the Michigan/Princeton unbalanced-line single wing - is Simplified Single Wing Football, by Ken Keuffel.  If you can't find a copy I may know where you can get one.

The easiest way to transition to a balanced-line Single Wing, if you're aleady running Double Wing, is to start with my Wildcat and use your "A" back as your blocking back.

Good luck.  Glad to hear that you opened with a win.

*********** I'm looking for a little general info.  What do you know about these "Personal Coaches" that are cropping up around the country.  What are your experiences with these guys, what leads a coach into that line of work, how much do they charge, are they good for the players, etc.?

How would you respond to someone in this line of work in your community and what would they need to do to ensure they help and not hinder your program?

I think that in way too many cases, no matter what the sport, they are a team coach's worst enemy.   The whole concept of a personal coach is antithetical to the goals of a team.  Except at a very young age, or in the case of people who really know how to work with quarterbacks, I would do anything I can to discourage high school kids from working with personal coaches.

Even when they know their stuff, they walk a fine line between being helpful to the kid and interfering with the kid's team and his coach.  Far too many of them cross the line and become real problems for the coach.

Because they'll never admit that they didn't come through as advertised - that's bad for business -  they pump up the parents' expectations by telling them how good their kid is, and then when the kid flops, they blame it on the coach and/or his strategy.

*********** Pete Vann died early Sunday morning in Kerrville, Texas. At Army, he was a two-year starter at quarterback for Coach Earl Blaik; his backfield coach was Vince Lombardi. Graduating a year after his original class, he spent a final season helping All-American end Don Holleder make a sometimes-uncomfortable switch to quarterback.  For a better tribute to Pete Vann than I could write, go here…

*********** On the subject of the 25-year-old high school basketball player at Odessa (Texas) Permian High, John Dowd, of Spencerport, New York, wrote…

What I don't get (outside of baseball - where guys are lying about their age to go pro) is why the heck a 25 year old would want to play H.S. ball.  I would feel like such a loser.  Best story ever though - a few years after I graduated from HS a lacrosse coach got fired for putting himself in the game for a half.  When word leaked out - the media supposedly approached the other coach to find out what he thought and he said something to the effect of "he must not have been very good, we didn't even notice him out there." 

*********** Welcome to the United States of Sweden, an America where we can have everything we want - until we run out of people to pay for it...

The White House recently issued a ruling allowing young adults to remain covered by their parents' health insurance policies up to age 26, regardless of whether a child...

  1. lives with his or her parents
  2. attends college
  3. is a dependent or receives financial support from the parents
  4. is or is not married

As James P. Gelfand  at the US Chamber of Commerce noted the absurdity of 26-year-old "children": “Adult children can live 2,000 miles away from their parents, be married and not have spoken to Mom and Dad in a year, and they could still be added to the parents’ employer-sponsored health plan just like any other child.”

*********** After years of walking through insincere, perfunctory post-game handshake lines (“nice game… nice game… nice game… nice game… nice game… nice game…” ad infinitum), it’s nice to watch NHL skate-bys.  They are sincere.

Of course, they only do it at the end of a playoff series, instead of after every f--king game.

That way, when they do it, they actually take the time to stop and talk with each other as they skate by.