MAY 2008
Coach Wyatt's Offensive System
Coach Wyatt's Football Materials
Coach Wyatt's Clinics
Coach Wyatt
2008 clinics
Black Lion Award



"Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it." (Proverbs, Chapter 8, Verses 10-11)




FRIDAY, MAY 30, 2008-"Time makes heroes but dissolves celebrities."
Daniel J. Boorstin

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SANTA CLARITA - Golden Valley HS - 27051 Robert C Lee Parkway
MAY 31
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA LATHROP - Holiday Inn Express (I-5 at Louise Exit)

LATHROP IS ABOUT 10 MILES SOUTH OF STOCKTON, JUST NORTH OF THE INTERSECTION OF I-5 AND I-205 (Take I-5 to the Louise exit. Exit Louise and go about a block to Harlan. Make a right on Harlan and the Holiday Inn Express will be on your right


*********** I was watching your Virtual Clinic video on the Stack I. You talk about running it for the power play. Have you ever run 3 trap 2 from it? Is there anything else you try to run from it?

Coach, We run it mainly for the Super Power, of course.

But we also run
2 Wedge/3 Wedge
22 Wedge/33 Wedge
2 Trap 3/3 Trap 2 (to either the first or second back)
44 Lead/55 Lead
58 Black-O/49 Brown-O

But again, without Super Power - and a good tailback to run it - Stack I is nothing special

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

When you get a chance, check out my web site Your feedback would be much appreciated. The site and my book are still a work in progress, but they are both coming along, the book will be done soon.

I have created a link from my site to yours and I want to be sure you are ok with that.

Thanks again for everything!

Coach Gary Creek
Lake Havasu City, Arizona

*********** Coach, I'm curious to know how you are playing your wings these days, square or 45? Do you know of any teams running them in a three point. We moved our wings to a three point for simplicity reasons. Our kids are required to learn all three back spots for depth in a smaller school. We play them square, but I do think it causes problems with our vision playing in a three. Thoughts?

Shane Strong
Head Football Coach
Pine Island High School
Pine Island, Minnesota

Coach, I have never played my wings in a 3-point, going back to I first started running the run-and-shoot in 1982. After a spell of running them angled in with the Double-Wing, I have been squared-up since 2000 or so.

But I know successful coaches who have their men down in a 3-point, and angled in.

It seems to be a matter of individual preference, and my preference is to have them up, with their eyes up. I do believe that that way it's easier for them to reach block and to release into patterns, and I have never experienced any problem with them going in motion or running normal plays.

The only "3-point" stance we use in the backfield is the B-Back's, but it is really a false 3-point stance - he has practically no weight on his down hand.  It's just to keep him down so it's harder to find him.  But I want his tail down and his eyes up.  

"Eyes down" while in the stance can be a real problem, I think. It happens when a player - back or lineman -  is tired and in my opinion it leads to a lack of concentration and a lot of careless mistakes and blown assignments.

*********** The PR release read...

The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame announced today that Grammy award-winning American country music singer-songwriter Travis Tritt will perform in South Bend, Ind., Friday, July 18 at the Morris Performing Arts Center as part of the 2008 Enshrinement Festival.

"Producing a string of platinum albums, Travis Tritt has set the standard in the world of country music," said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. "We're excited that he's coming to South Bend as part of the first-class entertainment that will celebrate the careers of college football's greatest legends."

"We are pleased to partner with the Morris Performing Arts Center as we expand the 2008 Enshrinement schedule," said Hall of Fame Executive Director Lisa Malin. "We look forward to welcoming country music super-star, Travis Tritt, to South Bend as well as thousands of football and country music fans from across the country."

What - they couldn't get anyone from American Idol?

Excuse me, but isn't this supposed to be about football? And isn't football already infested with enough popular entertainment. (Can you say "Our national anthem as performed by......?" or "Super Bowl Halftime Show?" or "Pressbox interview?")

Jeez - is it just me, or does this sort of imply that a mere Hall of Fame induction ceremony isn't enough - that to validate it, to make it really mean something, requires someone fromthe world of entertainment?

*********** Hmmm - maybe that there ruling junta in Myanmar knows what it's doing, refusing UN aid...

From Haiti and other such needy countries are coming accusations of sexual abuse of children by assorted UN "peackeepers" and aid-givers.

*********** Jack Mildren, "The Godfather of the Wishbone," died last week in Oklahoma City. He was 58.

As a high schooler in Abilene, Texas, his recruitment was the subject of a Sports Illustrated feature article. Oklahoma won the battle, and in 1970 a mid-season switch of offenses by Sooners' coach Chuck Fairbanks made Mildren the first in a long line of OU wishbone quarterbacks.

In 1971, he led OU to an 11-1 record and a number-two national ranking. The Sooners, whose only loss was to Nebraska, 35-31, in the so-called Game of the Century, set an NCAA Division I-A record of 472.4 yards rushing per game that still stands.

What a run he started. Beginning with that 11-1 1971 season, Oklahoma would go 12 straight seasons without losing more than two games in a season.

After graduation he played three seasons with the Colts (Baltimore) and New England Patriots, then went into the oil business. In 1990 he was elected lieutenant governor of Oklahoma, and in 1994 he ran unsuccessfully for governor.

At the time of his death, Mr. Mildren was vice-chairman of an Oklahoma City bank and hosted a daily radio sports show.

Known in Oklahoma as "The Godfather of the Wishbone," he clearly was loved by Oklahomans, many of whom consider him to be the greatest of all Sooners - last I checked, the guest book full of tributes to him was 27 pages long, and growing. To read them, Jack Mildren must have been as good a man as he was a player.

Here's a nice tribute to Jack Mildren, on YouTube...

*********** I came across this great interview of the late Jack Mildren by Blake Jackson in the November 12, 2006
"Daily Oklahoman"

Jack Mildren wasn't Sooner born. He wasn't Sooner bred. He didn't even hail from the Sooner State. But from 1970 through 1972, the feisty quarterback out of Abilene Cooper led one of the greatest revolutions in college football history -- all the time wearing the crimson and cream.

Mildren became a household name in Oklahoma after ushering in the wishbone era. And years later, he would parlay that fame into a political career in the state. "Godfather of the Wishbone," or "Lt. Gov. Mildren," November is always an exciting month for the Sooner legend.

JACK MILDREN: Abilene started organized football in the fourth grade. And it had some interesting rules. If you could play in the first quarter, you couldn't play in the second quarter. The idea behind it - and it was a good idea - was to get more players participating. Because you never know. You never know what some undeveloped fourth-grader is going to be as a junior.

My dad was an ex-coach, so he'd heard all the excuses. I was lucky in that both my dad and mother thought that school was important as well. I couldn't blow it off. My dad would ask and, on those rare days when you didn't quite tell the complete truth, he'd figure it out. Then, you were in deep trouble. There was no foolin' my parents.

I didn't appreciate learning to run, but speed's an asset. There were summer track programs for youngsters. That was another advantage. The quickness is no longer there, trust me. But the quickness wasn't developed overnight either.

Barry Switzer and I are going down North First Street (in Abilene). Switzer's driving and he's talking about how I could be better. He stops the car - it's 7:30 at night or something like that - and gets out and it was about getting depth. North First is one of the major streets, and here are people coming around everywhere. So, he's getting depth on North First Street. We've always laughed about that through the years.

When people start attacking Oklahoma, as some who recruit do, it's a sad thing. I wonder why they're doing that. I wonder why they can't talk about what's good about their place only.

There was a time- when I was a player - that some folks thought Chuck Fairbanks ought to be fired. The ‘Chuck Chuck' signs and things like that, which I was partially responsible for. It wasn't all good. It wasn't all easy. It wasn't all successful. So, the lesson of being able to get back up off the ground is a good lesson for anybody. It's a good lesson for politicians. It's a good lesson for athletes.

We learned the wishbone from ground zero. In the middle of the season? You gotta' be kidding me. What coaching staff would make you do that? We learned it from films and watching somebody else. We knew nothing. Hello? You gotta' have some courage. People have never given the coaching staff enough credit for that decision. And their jobs were on the line. There were some dark nights as assistant coaches. I gotta' believe there were. And yet they stuck with it. Ultimately, who would have thought OU would have the best record in college football with that offense, over the course of the next 15 or 20 years.

There was no 20-hour work week back then. We spent a lot of time out there in those days, before and after practice. It was novel, the way it worked out.

(After the loss to Nebraska), we had a lot of people in the locker room. A lot of non-players. Politicians. Nebraska people. Governor David Hall. The players were quiet. Some left quick. The press looked for John Harrison — he was gone. Nobody was happy.

I get incensed if (The Game of the Century) isn't the No. 1 game in the best games ever. I saw one list where it was No. 3, and said, ‘You gotta' be kidding me. What else can be better?' Inevitably, it's going to happen and probably already has. But no one envisioned that going in.

I had been what I would call a ‘complainer.' Like my friends. It was easier to complain (about the government) — we're all guilty of that in some ways — and so somebody challenged me one night. I said, ‘OK, you got it.' Lieutenant Governor's an office that to me offered someone, with what I perceive as my skills, an opportunity to contribute.

The planning was about five minutes. It was not a life-long thing. It was not something I worked on forever. I'm very lucky to have had my brother Richard, because he knew the political insiders.

As garrulous as I think I am, try going through a courthouse introducing yourself. You've got to have some courage, because somebody might say something that's not nice to you. And you've gotta' get used to that. It's much easier to stand off in the corner and not be involved.

I never did well in Payne County. That was OK, I guess. I can understand their logic.

My opponents would spend their time talking about who they were, and I could spend my time talking about what I wanted to do. Everybody didn't know Jack Mildren, but (playing for OU) gave me a leg up. It doesn't sell or close anything, but it gets you in the door.

*********** Mike Strain, in the Tulsa World, wrotes...

Here are some revenue numbers for the Texas athletic department and a few other randomly chosen schools around the country. You will quickly see why some places are so good in so many sports:

Ohio State: $109.3 million
Texas: $105 million (revenue in all sports)
Tennessee: 95.4 million
Michigan: $89.1 million
Alabama: $81.9 million
Southern Cal: $76.3 million
Nebraska: $71.1 million
Oklahoma: $69.4 million
Texas Tech: $53.6 million
Connecticut: $52.8 million
Oklahoma State: $46.7 million
Baylor: $40.5 million
Memphis: $29.3 million
SMU: $27.7 million
Tulsa: $24.2 million

Cash doesn’t always equal success. But schools loaded with lots of money have a big head start on the rest. Which tells you that Tulsa fights an uphill battle against a lot of schools and wrings quite a bit of success out of a budget that’s smaller than most.

*********** Coors is the official beer of the NFL, right? Of course, you knew that. And Miller just renewed, at a cost of about $8 million a year, its deal to be the exclusive malt beverage of the Dallas Cowboys. Miller also has an exclusive with several other NFL teams. Yet most consumers, when asked, think that Anheuser-Busch (Bud, Bud Light, Busch, Michelob) is the official beer. Reason? All those cute Clydesdale-and-dalmatian commercials on the Super Bowl, where A-B is the exclusive beer advertiser.

*********** Speaking of Anheuser-Busch... the American brewing giant, headquartered in St. Louis, is the target of a takeover by InBev, a Belgian/Brazilian brewing giant that owns such brands as Beck's and Stella Artois.


Not to say that that our economic power or world clout is shrinking or anything like that, but this could be a serious kick in the ass, even for guys on barstools who don't usually pay much attention to the financial pages.

An InBev takeover of A-B, whose brands account for more than a 50 per cent share of the US market, would mean that, along with SAB Miller (British) and Molson-Coors (Canadian), more than 80 per cent of the beer consumed in America would be produced by a foreign concern.


I loved the poems you posted for Memorial Day. I think it's too much of a shame that this day of remembrence is just seen as the kick-off of summer. A couple of things: first, I'm fortunate to live in KC where the National WWI museum is located. It is an unbelieveable institution that honors the memory of all those who fought and seeks to pass on knowledge with the authentic artifacts and detailed records of the war. If you are ever close to KC, you must go and see the museum. Second, there is a website,, that has a wealth of information regarding true American heroes. They have orginal citations and stories for many Medal of Honor recipients from nearly every war. In addition they are cataloging recipients of other medals and attempting to compile a complete index. This list is where I found information that allowed me to obtain the General Order that showed my great-uncle, Rueben Kolpack, being awarded the Silver Star. Please provide a link to this website as it is worth exploring to learn more about true heroes.


Joel Mathews, Kansas City

P.S. - The story of Walt Ehlers, a soldier in the 1st Division on D-Day and MOH recipient, is located on the site. He was with the 18th Regiment and not the Black Lions, but his story is still incredible.

*********** Is there something wrong with this picture?

The government of China, showing that it does, indeed, have a warm, compassionate streak, announced that families who had lost children in the recent earthquakes can apply to replace them. They can apply for permission to have another baby. (The Chinese government enforces a so-called One Child Policy.) I am guessing that the government will require some proof of death, but I'd rather not get into those details.

It gets better (or worse, depending on your point of view).

Chinese couples who break the law and have more children than the one permitted by the government are required to pay fines as their penalty for having "illegal children." But now, in a great act of benevolence, the government has announced that in the event of the death of an illegal child, the parents will no longer have to continue paying those fines. Gee, that was kind. But not so fast - even the Chinese government's compassion goes only so far - there will be no refunds of fines already paid.

Wait - there's more.

Should a couple lose a "legal" child but still have a live but "illegal" child under the age of 18, the lucky couple can now register that child as "legal," entitling it to all rights (such as an education) formerly denied to it.

Now, that's compassion!

*********** Wanna guess who made this gaffe?

"On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes... and I see many of them in the audience here today..."

If you said George W. Bush, you'd be wrong. (If he had said it, it would have been all over the Mainstream Media.)

*********** More discussion from the joint Football Forum held last week by The National Football Foundation and the Football Writers Association. This time the subject is a Division IA playoff...

JIM TRESSEL (Ohio State): I think there's one other issue we found in the 1AA playoffs, it's a little bit of a financial strain on the parents. For instance, we played at Eastern Washington one week and then the next week we played Villanova and then we played down at Chattanooga for the National Championship. Now, that's tough on a family to try to get to those places, and we got to the point where some of our home game playoffs even, our fans would say, you know what, I'm not going to buy a ticket for this home game, I'm going to save my money when you go to the finals. I'd say, when we go to the finals? We've got three more games to win. So we'd sit there with half empty stadiums in the early rounds.

KEVIN WHITE (AD, Notre Dame): I suspect the regular season college football season in 1A represents, on average, and I'm making it up, 85 percent of the revenue that we generate to support all of these athletics programs that we all have.

And the majority of it, 85 percent, almost all of it, comes from the regular season. So protecting the regular season is really important. If I think in these terms simplistically, the regular season represents this much resource, and the postseason, regardless of what we have or what we don't have, might represent this much resource.

So for me as an operator of an athletics program, that has to generate $70 million in revenue. Or Jim's program generates $100 million in revenue, so you have to protect the regular season. That's one.

Secondly, we have a playoff, we have a tournament. It starts the first week in September. I know that sounds trite, but that's what we have. Every game is important, and it ties into protecting the regular season. The Bowls are Americana; nobody wants to negatively impact the Bowls. And if you talk to the student athletes myopically, when I talk to the kids on our campus, they love the Bowls. They're not interested in a playoff.

COACH TRESSEL: I think in our case it's very important for us to have a significant number of home games. That's big. We have 36 sports, as we mentioned, a $110 budget that football raises a considerable amount of. We need home games, so we're not going to get marquee games where they only come to Ohio State.

So our philosophy is to have a marquee out of the area great experience for our players and fans like USC, Texas we just finished with and so forth, have one of those always on the books, and then try to have a lot of home games because we need that to run the comprehensive program that we choose to raise.

So do our players like that? I think they would like playing anyone rather than an open week because open weeks aren't fun. They came to play football, and they know on an open week they're going to practice, and they've had enough practice.

MARK MANGINO (Kansas): What I would say is the way it looks at Kansas is they like the Bowl system because they're going to go to a tournament in the spring (laughter). The fans only have so many dollars to spend at Kansas. They'd like to go to one Bowl game and the Final Four (laughter).

DR. T. K. WETHERELL - PRESIDENT, FLORIDA STATE: (Dr. Wetherell attended Florida State on a football scholarship and played on the 1963-67 football teams. He still holds the record for the longest kickoff return in Florida State history. HW)

The amount of money unfortunately is going to drive the train. The 12th game right now is solving the problem, and the reason there's a 12th game in football is the money. People may not want to admit that, but that's the facts of the matter. Talk to Kevin or any of these ADs. Take the 12th game away and then ask them to balance the budget. We're not playing the 12th game because the fans get to come and tailgate in FSU stadium or they enjoy driving up there to watch us whip up on Chattanooga, Tennessee, or somebody, I don't know who they are or where they are. That's being played strictly so we can make money, and if you look at what we're having to pay Chattanooga to drive there, it's kind of outrageous to look at it.

What'll happen is we'll spend all that money. We're not going to bank it. And coaches and athletic departments, they love to spend money. If you look at how much it's costing me to run my athletic department versus percentage increase versus the university, we're going to start at Florida State University with $50 million less this August than we started last August. Now, I'm not starting my athletic department with less money in August than I started last August. They did pretty good, and we only won seven or eight ball games.

So what will happen is they'll spend all the money, and then the options will be, where do I get me some more money. You TV guys are about tapped out. You can't do much more. Some of those smaller Bowls are about tapped out. Most of us can't afford at the big schools to go to a small Bowl.

Somebody has got to make that up, usually from the BCS Bowl and the redistribution in the conference, so it's going to run out of money. And everybody is going to be sitting here, probably not in my lifetime at Florida State, saying, you know, we really could move this back, and by the way, well, we do play 63 baseball games and we play baseball through two final exam periods, not one, and somehow they all seem to graduate and do pretty good. Or them basketball players, they've got a real problem with academics in basketball, but we seem to play right on through the tournament, and everybody is pretty happy.

It will get figured out. My guess is that the small Bowls will be a part of that system, and somehow that will be worked into it and it'll work itself out. It'll start off with a plus one, then we'll go to four or eight or sixteen at some point in time, just like the NCAA tournament started off at 16 or 32, I think


DR. WETHERELL: Okay, then it went to 16 and 32 and 64 and now somehow we bought the NIT (laughter), and I've got a sneaking hunch somewhere along the line it's going to go to 84 or 124 or something.

So it's not a question of if there's going to be a playoff, it's a question of when. And it's not a question of what's going to drive it; it's going to be driven by the money, but none of us sitting at this table, and particularly my colleagues, are ever going to admit that.

But they'll have to come running up here saying, Mr. President, I've got to have some money. And that's what got you the 11th game and that's what will get you a playoff in my judgment. Now, I don't think it's going to be this year or next year or whenever, but it is going to happen, no doubt about it.

FLAGTUESDAY, MAY 27, 2008- "You can't stop at every dog that barks or you'll never get the mail delivered." Phog Allen, famous Kansas basketball coach

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SANTA CLARITA - Golden Valley HS - 27051 Robert C Lee Parkway
MAY 31
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA LATHROP - Holiday Inn Express (I-5 at Louise Exit)

LATHROP IS ABOUT 10 MILES SOUTH OF STOCKTON, JUST NORTH OF THE INTERSECTION OF I-5 AND I-205 (Take I-5 to the Louise exit. Exit Louise and go about a block to Harlan. Make a right on Harlan and the Holiday Inn Express will be on your right


*********** Coach- I tend to side with Belichick on the Walsh issue.  I have seen some footage on ESPN (could be footage that was given to them by Belichick I suppose) that shows Walsh dressed plainly in Patriots gear filming the opponent sideline from near the scoreboard.  I am guessing this is pretty much in full view of everyone in the stadium, would have been hard to miss him.  I am guessing that Belichick "knew" he was cheating, but figured out a way to give himself an out as far as the league went were anyone to ever call him on the carpet for it.  He could always use the "misinterpret" the rule alibi, saying the were not trying to be "secretive" about it.  I think Walsh is a snake, he has an agenda he is trying to solve.  Belichick is a snake as well, a bigger one.  I would have so much respect for him as a coach if his actions weren't so unethical.   He is a genius in preparation and game planning, and in the modern day era of football seems to be the "team" type guy, getting the "me first" ball players to buy into the concept of playing team ball.  He also seems to be able to get and KEEP quality players with the organization in a day where guys change uniforms like you and I change shirts on a hot and humid day at camp.  Too bad, he was one that I had hoped we could induct into the DW club.  But when you break the ethics of the game, you need your legs broken.

Brad Knight
Athletic Director/Head FB Coach
Clarinda, Iowa

*********** Hi Coach. Today on Memorial Day you again have "KEEP COACHING" in a different way. I gathered my family around partly because my daughter Brooke (Middle) stated that all she saw people do on this day was drink and go to the lake, etc. I read to them "Young Fellow My Lad," that you always provide on this day. Not a dry eye in the family room. I really think she got the meaning of this day now. Always appreciate your tribute on Memorial Day.

Went to D Day Memorial. Learned that the reason it was in Bedford,Virginia was that per capita, Bedford lost more men on D Day than any other place in America. See? Learn something new every day. Got a lot out of the trip. How can I get a signed copy of ,"The Beast Was Out There?" I know you told me once but I forgot and I want one now. Again great job in tribute again. Big hello to Connie.
Armando Castro, Roanoke, Virginia
*********** Anyone watch the "Warrior Lacrosse" commercials that ran during the Lacrosse Final Four?

I was reminded of the days, long ago, when I would see a bumper sticker that read "IT TAKES LEATHER BALLS TO PLAY SOCCER," as if it could somehow brainwash those of us outside the soccer community into believing that you had to be a tough guy - a really tough guy - to play soccer.

The bumper sticker didn't work. We saw. We knew better.

Now, it was Warrior Lacrosse's turn. To put it mildly, their commercial spots were an absurd attempt to foster the myth that lacrosse requires toughness on a par with Ranger training.

Gimme a break.

Not to put lacrosse in the same category of soccer, you understand.

Lacrosse does require toughness. Stamina, too. Not to mention coordination and quickness.

And yes, there is contact, within limits. Less than ice hockey, rugby and football. More than soccer and basketball.

And, true, there is sometimes room on a team for a few kids with limited lacrosse skills who are simply hard-nosed.

But make no mistake - toughness helps, but it is not necessarily a requirement. Lacrosse is a game of skill. No matter how tough a kid is, no matter his physical condition, lacrosse coaches themselves will tell you that it takes so much practice to become proficient at the unique skills of the sport that the earlier a player takes it up the better his chances are of eventually becoming a college player.

Lacrosse is a sport, not Mixed Martial Arts, and in my opinion to try to mislead the public by selling it on the basis of toughness alone is to do the sport an injustice.

*********** Try to see how many things you can find in this story to tell you it could never happen in today's NFL...

A member of a family of Michigan football players, Al Wistert was captain of the Eagles from 1946 through 1950. During that time, the Eagles played in three NFL championship games, and won two of them.

And during part of that time, while playing NFL football, Wistert also served as the head football coach at Riverside High School in New Jersey.

Not only did Eagles' head coach Greasy Neale not disapprove... he even allowed Wistert to borrow his car to get to high school practice.

"As a coach," Wistert recalled later, "I really looked for kids who had an enthusiasm and a real love for the game. Those kids thought a scrimmage was sweeter than ice cream on a summer day. I took the tools I learned from Neale and applied them to my kids. We ended up winning the league championship, but I had to give it up because it was hard to balance that with a playing career."

*********** I was talking with a friend in the Seattle-Tacoma area who said that a couple of his kids had been told by their rowing club coach (crew has always been a big sport around there) that he didn't want them playing football. His threat - as always - was that if they player football they couldn't row for him, and concentrating on rowing was their only chance of getting a scholarship.


Get real, guy. Years ago, as now, the University of Washington was among the elite of college crew. Yet every year, I would get recruiting letters from Dick Erickson, the Huskies' rowing coach. Huh? I was a football coach. Why was he writing to me and to other football coaches? Because, as he was always careful to explain, he was looking for big, tall, athletic kids who weren't being recruited to play football.

So what did my friend do? He told the kids that he was going to go right to the top - to one of the best programs in college rowing. And he picked up the phone and called the current coach at the UW, a guy named Bob Ernst.

Problem solved.

Coach Ernst told him, "We recruit the athlete - and then we teach him to row."

Makes sense. If he were to limit his recruiting to onlythose high school kids who already row, he would be restricting himself to a very small pool of athletes, and - no offense to high school rowers - it's been my experience that there are some awfully good high school athletes playing other sports.

It's also been my experience that club-sport coaches will stretch the truth - okay, lie - to kids about their future prospects in order to keep them under their control.

*********** Ahem. The top two finishers in the Coca-Cola 600 were both Washington guys - Kasey Kahne from Enumclaw, and Greg Biffle from... tada!... Camas.

*********** It's summer. In Portland that can only mean that the rain will be stopping sometime soon. Also that it's minor league sports season. The Trail Blazers are done for the season, and college football is more than a month away, and all that's left is AAA baseball and soccer. Minor league soccer.

Portland's got this minor league team called the Timbers, and - get this - they've got at least seven foreigners on it. Guys from all over the world. The coach said he'd had to scour the world to find them.

Are you sh--ting me?

You mean to tell me that with all these long-hair kids being hauled to practice from the time they're three years old... with all the fields the taxpayers have been building so they could kick their little heads off... with all the camps, private coaches and elite travel teams... with all the kids doing double-duty by playing for their elite futbol team (usually callled "Something-or-other FC") and, when it doesn't interfere with the elite team's practices, for their high school team... we can't even produce enough American players to staff a minor league soccer team?

Shame on the people who've been pushing soccer down our throats for the last 30 years.

*********** The National Football Foundation and the Football Writers Association of America held their first-ever joint Football Forum last Thursday and Friday, and some of what went on was especially interesting.
Coaches in attendance were Mark Mangino of Kansas, Jim Tressel of Ohio State, and Tyrone Willingham of Washington

Some excerpts...

COACH WILLINGHAM on recruiting in general...
I've always said I have to win two recruiting wars. One is the publicity war, and one is the actual war in terms of getting the right kids. You have to win both of those, because the day you don't, then you don't build up the enthusiasm in the public about your program, so therefore you don't get the energy, you don't get the funding, you don't get the support. All those things seem to be minus. And if you don't get the right players, you're certainly not going to win on the field.

On closed or open practices...

Obviously almost every coach in the country will be different in how they handle this, but I have never limited a player or assistant coach's access to the media, nor for the most part have I ever limited mine, even though I still respect what they do, but I have that distrust of what they make mistakes on.

But I do limit practice. I limit practice for this reason. In many cases, the error that is often reported by our reporters is not an error by the individual that they reported on. Some days my receivers drop a lot of passes, and yet it'll be written that our quarterback had a terrible day, okay, didn't have completions, didn't do this, and I'm the one that has to go back in there and build my quarterback back up when he's had that public embarrassment about what happened that day, and the accuracy of what is being reported is a problem with me. So therefore I limit that aspect of it, and then I can answer to what did or didn't happen at practice, et cetera.

On acquainting players with the rules and the law...

We first, in my case, I think what I've tried to do is make sure our young men understand that they're not above the system, and I think that's important, and I think that's a mindset that we try to create in the program, that there's no one bigger than the team and there's no one bigger than our society, so therefore you have to be responsible to all aspects of your life.

And when that moment happens, then you simply let the nature of our laws run their course is what I do.

There's no interceding on my part based on the individual. What happens after that, okay, is probably more in my control than at any other point.

What we try to do, and I think what all of our coaches try to do, I try to sit down with every department that has any interaction with our football program, and I tell them the story about pouring water on a table, and if you notice anything about water on a table, it goes to the lowest point. We want to eliminate the lowest points in our program. We want everybody to share the same values, to have the same beliefs for our program.

Therefore you're creating an environment that the kids see. They can't turn to a low point and expect a different level of behavior or acceptance of behavior at any point in our program. So therefore you're creating a culture that believes in doing the right things, and you win more with kids doing the right things than with kids doing the wrong things.

MODERATOR: what's the biggest difference in recruiting today as opposed to 15 years ago? What's the biggest challenge for you?

COACH WILLINGHAM: I would say it's obviously the exposure that the kids get today. But I'd also say it's the way that the young man has developed. I think most of the young people that we recruit nowadays are all superstars, and I think that changed. I think there was some time ago that some of us went off to college knowing that we were a role player and maybe we got to be a superstar with a lot of work and development. But I think because of the nature of the kid today, that he is a superstar, the exposure and the coverage, you get a parent that invested a great deal in that young man's development, from camp here, camp there, and now you have a whole environment that's looking for a return on investment with product, and that develops a totally different mindset than you've ever had, I think, to deal with before in coaching.

COACH TRESSEL: Personal trainers and all this stuff.

COACH MANGINO: Well, I think that the exposure that these kids have before they're actually recruited and then when they're in the recruiting process is a problem. They have a lot of people writing about them, they're on the internet. It has an effect on recruiting.

I think some of the internet sites that cover recruiting and what I mean by that is we have run into it, and I know all the other coaches here have run into it from time to time, is that a young guy will commit to a school in March or April, and then he realizes about June or July that he committed so nobody is calling him, no more internet services calling him, because he's committed. They're not writing any features about him, but the guy across town at a school that hasn't committed to anybody yet is getting all this publicity and all the companies and websites are calling him every night and writing about him every night, and they feel like they're not getting attention. So what do they do, they open up their recruiting again and start over so all the recruiting services will call him every night and they can get on the websites and read their name and their quotes and coach's quotes and things like that.

There is an impact that the media has that really concerns me, if you can call it media totally, are the recruiting websites. I think kids say the darndest things on there, they tell stories, they lie, they a kid accused me of having lunch with him. His father said I had lunch with him. Yeah, I did; it was a junior day, and in the Naismith Room at Allen Fieldhouse we got 20 tables with 20 families and I went to all 20 tables to talk to everybody, and they paid for their lunch.

But my point is there's disinformation, there's misinformation, because the kids even play games with these guys now and stroke them about they're going to take a visit here when the school is not recruiting them, and saying that they're considering Kansas and we talked to the guy the night before and we can't get to first base with him.

That's one area, that I think kids get too much exposure in this recruiting process, and it's brought out all the little league dads, and it makes it a little bit more complicated, I think, for coaches.

You have to put a lot of time and effort into it to find the right kids.

COACH WILLINGHAM: I would say, also, that the statement that Mark made about the information and the source of the information is critical because there are very few communities that you go into that someone wants to be known as the person that denied Johnny a scholarship. There are not going to be many of those in most of the communities you go into. So even for the assistant coach to get the information is very difficult.

Hopefully that's where the experience of the staff comes in, when the coach says he's all right, you understand that there's something in that statement, he's all right. And that's very difficult.

So the gaining of the information I think is probably the most difficult thing in the process, which allows you to gauge and really understand the character. I think we can assess the academic information; I think that's pretty straightforward. But the character issues I think you have to reach deeper. And if you were to have a young man that at a youthful age did have a problem, anything on him is probably sealed, so how do you get that information? Even with a service working for you, it's very difficult to get to the heart of what all the problems were.

COACH MANGINO - When I first arrived at Kansas, we had a low level of talent. That's the politically correct way to say it. Others in here have said we stunk. So we made a decision we were going to get some really talented players, some good junior college guys, and we really did a lousy job of checking their character and their background, and we found out it wasn't really much fun being around those guys.

We made a conscious decision in the winter of 2004 that we were going to do extensive background checks, even if we had to hire an outside firm, which we do sometimes. We felt, number one, you're better off being around kids of character. Sometimes they won't be the most talented but they'll do the right things, you can count on them when things are tough in a game, and also, which I think is key, I spend more time around our players than I ever have around my children.

My wife and I, we've worked hard to try to raise our kids with good values and try to do the right things. I don't want to go to work every day with 105 knuckleheads running around and you're like a warden rather than a football coach. So I had some assistant coaches on my staff who thought that was a terrible idea, that you have to that old saying, you need a couple of thugs or criminals. I don't buy that. We may recruit some kids that had some problems in the past, but we've checked them out and they've made a mistake.

I think it goes all the way back to recruiting, and I know all the coaches sitting on the panel here, they have a reputation for recruiting kids with character. It's made a world of difference in our program. It's made it much more fun to go to work, it's much more fun to be around the players. And when we were in tough games, those kids everybody said were a step slow or too short but they were good kids, they helped us win a lot of games.

*********** It is a rare list of great US presidents that does not include Theodore Roosevelt. The following excerpts from a speech by President Roosevelt, given October 12, 1915 to the Knights of Columbus, at New York City's Carnegie Hall, are an example of the straight-spokenness for which he was respected...

"There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all. This is just as true of the man who puts "native" before the hyphen as of the man who puts German or Irish or English or French before the hyphen. Americanism is a matter of the spirit and of the soul. Our allegiance must be purely to the United States. We must unsparingly condemn any man who holds any other allegiance. But if he is heartily and singly loyal to this Republic, then no matter where he was born, he is just as good an American as any one else.

The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality, than with the other citizens of the American Republic. The men who do not become Americans and nothing else are hyphenated Americans; and there ought to be no room for them in this country.

The man who calls himself an American citizen and who yet shows by his actions that he is primarily the citizen of a foreign land, plays a thoroughly mischievous part in the life of our body politic. He has no place here; and the sooner he returns to the land to which he feels his real heart-allegiance, the better it will be for every good American. There is no such thing as a hyphenated American who is a good American. The only man who is a good American is the man who is an American and nothing else.

For an American citizen to vote as a German-American, an Irish-American, or an English-American, is to be a traitor to American institutions; and those hyphenated Americans who terrorize American politicians by threats of the foreign vote are engaged in treason to the American Republic.

*********** For three years, Kevin Furlong of Livonia, Michigan was a Detroit Lions' season ticket holder. And then he ran into what seems to be the Lions' hitherto-unpublicized customer-relations philosophy:

"F--k 'em."

According to a story last week by Pat Caputo in the Oakland Press, a suburban Detroit paper, Furlong bought two tickets the first year, and added two more the second year. The third year, he requested two more seats, and despite a reconfiguration of the stadium, the Lions went along with his request to keep his same location, on an aisle, and gave him a total of six season tickets.

When he went to sit in his regular seats at the first home game, though, someone else was already sitting there. He asked them to leave, but then he looked at his tickets, and realized that his seats had been moved.

He contacted the Lions, but was told nothing could be done about it during the 2007 season. He was, however, promised aisle seats for 2008.

But when he received his invoice for his 2008 season tickets, it was for the same seats he had in 2007.

In an e-mail to the Lions, he canceled his season tickets, worth more than $5,000. The Lions e-mailed him back with an offer for better seats, but he refused to accept their offer, saying it was a matter of principle.

And then - let this be a lesson to anyone who composes nasty stuff on their e-mail - someone in the Lions' offices hit the wrong "send" key at the wrong time... and Furlong received an inadvertent e-mail from one Lions' employee to another, suggesting what might some might call the Lions' official fan relations policy:

"F--k 'em until next year."


"F--k 'em," eh? Sounds like it could be the NFL's business plan.

flagFRIDAY, MAY 23, 2008- "No people in history have ever survived who thought they could protect their freedom by making themselves inoffensive to their enemies." Dean Acheson, Secretary of State under President Harry S. Truman


"They never fail who die in a great cause." Lord Byron

*********** Memorial Day, once known as Decoration Day, was originally set aside to honor the men who died in the Civil War. (There was a time when certain southern states did not observe it, preferring instead to observe their own Memorial Days to honor Confederate war dead.)

The Civil War soldiers called it "seeing the elephant." It meant experiencing combat. They started out cocky, but soon learned how suddenly horrible - how unforgiving and inescapable - combat could be. By the end of the Civil War 620,000 of them on both sides lay dead. Hundreds of thousands of civilians were left dead or homeless.

"I have never realized the 'pomp and circumstance' of glorious war before this," a Confederate soldier bitterly wrote, "Men...lying in every conceivable position; the dead...with eyes open, the wounded begging piteously for help."

"All around, strange mingled roar - shouts of defiance, rally, and desperation; and underneath, murmured entreaty and stifled moans; gasping prayers, snatches of Sabbath song, whispers of loved names; everywhere men torn and broken, staggering, creeping, quivering on the earth, and dead faces with strangely fixed eyes staring stark into the sky. Things which cannot be told - nor dreamed. How men held on, each one knows, - not I."

Each battle was a story of great courage and audacity, sometimes of miscommunication and foolishness. But it's the casualty numbers that catch our eyes. The numbers roll by and they are hard for us to believe even in these days of modern warfare. Shiloh: 23,741, Seven Days': 36,463, Antietam: 26,134, Fredericksburg: 17,962, Gettysburg: 51,112, and on and on (in most cases, the South named battles after the town that served as their headquarters in that conflict, the North named them after rivers or creeks nearby. So Manassas for the South was Bull Run for the North; Antietam for the Union was Sharpsburg for the Confederacy).

General William T. Sherman looked at the aftermath of Shiloh and wrote, "The scenes on this field would have cured anybody of war."

From "Seeing the Elephant" Raw Recruits at the Battle of Shiloh - Joseph Allan Frank and George A. Reaves - New York: Greenwood Press, 1989

Probably the best known poem from the Civil War, The Blue and the Gray, by Frances Miles Finch illustrates the truth that as bitterly as the men of the two sides were divided, as ferociously as they fought, the fallen - winner and loser alike - are finally united, "Under the sod and the dew... Waiting the judgment day."

The Blue and the Gray, by Frances Miles Finch
By the flow of the inland river, Whence the fleets of iron have fled,
Where the blades of the grave-grass quiver, Asleep on the ranks of the dead;
Under the sod and the dew, Waiting the judgment day;
Under the one, the Blue; Under the other, the Gray.
These in the robings of glory, Those in the gloom of defeat;
All with the battle-blood gory, In the dusk of eternity meet;
Under the sod and the dew, Waiting the judgment day;
Under the laurel, the Blue; Under the willow, the Gray.
From the silence of sorrowful hours, The desolate mourners go,
Lovingly laden with flowers, Alike for the friend and the foe;
Under the sod and the dew, Waiting the judgment day;
Under the roses, the Blue; Under the lilies, the Gray.
So, with an equal splendor, The morning sun-rays fall,
With a touch impartially tender, On the blossoms blooming for all;
Under the sod and the dew, Waiting the judgment day;
Broidered with gold, the Blue; Mellowed with gold, the Gray.
So, when the summer calleth, On forest and field of grain,
With an equal murmur falleth The cooling drip of the rain;
Under the sod and the dew, Waiting the judgment day;
Wet with the rain, the Blue; Wet with the rain, the Gray.
Sadly, but not with upbraiding, The generous deed was done;
In the storm of the years that are fading, No braver battle was won;
Under the sod and the dew, Waiting the judgment day;
Under the blossoms, the Blue; Under the garlands, the Gray.
No more shall the war-cry sever, Or the winding rivers be red;
They banish our anger forever, When they laurel the graves of our dead.
Under the sod and the dew, Waiting the judgment day;
Love and tears for the Blue; Tears and love for the Gray.

*********** Following World War I, Americans began to celebrate the week leading up to Memorial Day as Poppy Week.

It was all because of a poem by Major John McCrae, a Canadian surgeon, that the poppy, which burst into bloom all over the once-bloody battlefields of northern Europe, came to symbolize the rebirth of life following the tragedy of war.

Long after World War I ended, veterans' organizations in America, Australia and other nations which fought in the war still sold imitation poppies at this time of year to raise funds to assist disabled veterans.

After having spent seventeen days hearing the screams and dealing with the suffering of men wounded in the bloody battle at Ypres, in Flanders (a part of Belgium) in the spring of 1915, Major McCrae wrote, "I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days... Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done."

Major McCrae was especially affected by the death of a close friend and former student. Following his burial - at which, in the absence of a chaplain, Major McCrae himself had had to preside - the Major sat in the back of an ambulance and, gazing out at the wild poppies growing in profusion in a nearby cemetery, began composing a poem, scribbling the words in a notebook as he went.

But when he was done, he discarded it. It was only through the efforts of a fellow officer, who rescued it and sent it to newspapers in England, that it was ever published.

Now the poem, "In Flanders Fields", is considered perhaps the greatest of all wartime poems.

The special significance of the poppies is that poppy seeds can lie dormant in the ground for years; only when the soil has been turned over do they flower.

The violence of war had so churned up the soil of northern Belgium that by the time Major McCrae wrote his poem, poppies were said to be blossoming in a way that no one could ever remember having seen them do before.

In Flanders Fields... by John McCrae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

It's not the worst thing in the world to live across the street from a cemetery, as we do - not when the cemetery is as beautiful as our town's cemetery. And it's especially beautiful on Memorial Day and Veterans' Day, when the lush green hilltop is studded with flags and flowers. The tall evergreens, silhouetted against the sky, stand guard in the background.

My wife and I look forward to Memorial Day as the informal kickoff to summer, but also as a reminder that Americans still care.

Every year, the routine is the same: on Saturday a local Boy Scout troop places flags on the graves of veterans at the town cemetery while each Veteran's name is read aloud by a member of the local American Legion post; then, for the rest of the three-day weekend, a steady stream of visitors passes through to place flowers and pay their respects.

*********** Robert W. Service is one of my favorite poets. I especially like his poems about the Alaska Gold Rush, but this one, about a young Englishman and his loving father, is especially poignant on a day when we remember our people who gave everything, and extend our sympathy to those they left behind.

"Young Fellow My Lad" by Robert W. Service

"Where are you going, Young Fellow My Lad, On this glittering morn of May?"
"I'm going to join the Colours, Dad; They're looking for men, they say."
"But you're only a boy, Young Fellow My Lad; You aren't obliged to go."
"I'm seventeen and a quarter, Dad, And ever so strong, you know."
"So you're off to France, Young Fellow My Lad, And you're looking so fit and bright."
"I'm terribly sorry to leave you, Dad, But I feel that I'm doing right."
"God bless you and keep you, Young Fellow My Lad, You're all of my life, you know."
"Don't worry. I'll soon be back, dear Dad, And I'm awfully proud to go."
"Why don't you write, Young Fellow My Lad? I watch for the post each day;
And I miss you so, and I'm awfully sad, And it's months since you went away.
And I've had the fire in the parlour lit, And I'm keeping it burning bright
Till my boy comes home; and here I sit Into the quiet night."
"What is the matter, Young Fellow My Lad? No letter again to-day.
Why did the postman look so sad, And sigh as he turned away?
I hear them tell that we've gained new ground, But a terrible price we've paid:
God grant, my boy, that you're safe and sound; But oh I'm afraid, afraid."
"They've told me the truth, Young Fellow My Lad: You'll never come back again:
For you passed in the night, Young Fellow My Lad, And you proved in the cruel test
Of the screaming shell and the battle hell That my boy was one of the best.
"So you'll live, you'll live, Young Fellow My Lad, In the gleam of the evening star,
In the wood-note wild and the laugh of the child, In all sweet things that are.
And you'll never die, my wonderful boy, While life is noble and true;
For all our beauty and hope and joy We will owe to our lads like you."


"THE BIG RED ONE", the 1st Infantry Division, of which the Black Lions are a part, is a very proud U.S. Army division.

The 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry "Black Lions", the U.S. battalion which fought the Battle of Ong Thanh on October 17, 1967, was part of a rich military tradition.
The first U.S. victory of World War I was won when the 28th Infantry Regiment of the !st Division attacked and seized the small French village of CANTIGNY on the 28th of May 1918, earning for The 28th Infantry Regiment the nickname "Black Lions of CANTIGNY".

General John J. Pershing, Commander of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I, said of the 1st Division: "The Commander-in-Chief has noted in this division a special pride of service and a high state of morale, never broken by hardship nor battle."

These words have never been forgotten by the 1st Infantry Division. All military units seek to be known as special and unique - the best. The 1st Infantry Division has been able, over the many years of its existence, to retain that esprit, and most of those who have served in many different US Army divisions remember the special esprit which the 1st Division was able to imbue throughout its ranks.

Several years ago, while visiting the First Division (Big Red One) Museum in Wheaton, Illinois I read these lines, and thought of those men...

If you are able
Save a place for them inside of you,
And save one backward glance
When you are leaving for places
They can no longer go.
Be not ashamed to say you loved them,
Though you may or may not always have.
Take what they have left
And what they have taught you with their dying,
And keep it with your own.
And in that time when men feel safe
To call the war insane,
Take one moment to embrace these gentle heroes
You left behind.
by Major Michael D. O'Donnell... shortly before he was killed in action in Vietnam, 1970
K I A ... Adkins, Donald W.... Allen, Terry... Anderson, Larry M.... Barker, Gary L.... Blackwell, James L., Jr.... Bolen, Jackie Jr. ... Booker, Joseph O. ... Breeden, Clifford L. Jr ... Camero, Santos... Carrasco, Ralph ... Chaney, Elwood D. Jr... Cook, Melvin B.... Crites, Richard L.... Crutcher, Joe A. ...... Dodson, Wesley E.... Dowling, Francis E.... Durham, Harold B. Jr ... Dye, Edward P. ... East, Leon N.... Ellis, Maurice S.... Familiare, Anthony ... Farrell, Michael J. ...Fuqua, Robert L. Jr. ...Gallagher, Michael J. ...Garcia, Arturo ...Garcia, Melesso ...Gilbert, Stanley D. ...Gilbertson, Verland ...Gribble, Ray N. ...Holleder, Donald W. ...Jagielo, Allen D. ...Johnson, Willie C. Jr ...Jones, Richard W. ...Krischie, John D. ...Lancaster, James E. ...Larson, James E. ...Lincoln, Gary G. ...Lovato, Joe Jr. ...Luberta, Andrew P. ...Megiveron, Emil G. ...Miller, Michael M. ...Moultrie, Joe D. ...Nagy, Robert J. ...Ostroff, Steven L. ...Platosz, Walter ...Plier, Eugene J. ...Porter, Archie ...Randall, Garland J. ...Reece, Ronney D. ...Reilly, Allan V. ...Sarsfield, Harry C. ...Schroder, Jack W. ...Shubert, Jackie E. ...Sikorski, Daniel ...Smith, Luther ...Thomas, Theodore D. Jr. ...Tizzio, Pasquale T. ...Wilson, Kenneth P. .... M I A ... Fitzgerald, Paul ...Hargrove, Olin Jr.




By retired Air Force General Perry Smith (Don Holleder's West Point classmate, roommate and best man)

"If you doubt the axiom, 'An aggressive leader is priceless,' ...if you prefer the air arm to the infantry in football, if you are not convinced we recruited cadet-athletes of superior leadership potential, then you must hear the story of Donald Walter Holleder. The saga of Holleder stands unique in Army and, perhaps, all college gridiron lore." Hence begins the chapter, "You are my quarterback", in Coach Red Blaik's 1960 book, You Have to Pay the Price. Every cadet in the classes of 1956, 57, 58 and 59, and everyone who was part of the Army family at West Point and throughout the world will remember, even 50 years after the fact, the "Great Experiment". But there is much more to the Holleder story. .

Holly was born and brought up in a tight knit Catholic family in upstate New York. He was an only child whose father died when Don was quite young. Doc Blanchard recruited high school All American Holleder who entered the Point just a few days after he graduated from Aquinas Institute in Rochester. Twice turned out for academic difficulties, he struggled mightily to stay in the Corps. However as a cadet leader he excelled, serving as a cadet captain and company commander of M-2 his senior year.

Of course, it was in the field of athletics that Don is best known. Never a starter on the basketball team, he nevertheless got playing time as a forward who brought rebounding strength to a team that beat a heavily favored Navy team in the early spring of 1954. That fall, the passing combination of Vann to Holleder quickly caught the attention of the college football world. No one who watched those games will ever forget Holly going deep and leaping into the air to grab a perfectly thrown bomb from Peter Vann. Don was a consensus first team All American that year as a junior.

Three football defeats in 1955 after Holly's conversion to quarterback brought criticism of Coach Blaik and Don from many quarters but the dramatic Army victory over Navy, 14 to 6 brought redemption. Shortly thereafter, Holly received the Swede Nelson award for sportsmanship. The fact that he had given up all chances of becoming a two time all-American and a candidate for the Heisman trophy and he did so without protest or complaint played heavily in the decision by the Nelson committee to select him for this prestigious award.

Holly's eleven year career in the Army included the normal schools at Benning and Leavenworth, company command in Korea, coaching and recruiting at West Point and serving as the commanding general's aide at Fortress Monroe. After graduating from Command and General Staff College, he was off to Vietnam.

Arriving in July, 1967, Holly was assigned to the Big Red One--the First Infantry Division-- and had considerable combat experience before that tragic day in the fall--October 17. Lieutenant Colonel Terry Allen's battalion was ambushed and overrun--the troops on the ground were is desperate shape. Holleder was serving as the operations officer of the 28th Brigade--famous Black Lions. Hearing the anguished radio calls for help from the soldiers on the ground, Holly convinced his brigade commander that he had to get on the ground to help. Jumping out of his helicopter, Holly rallied some troops and raced toward the spot where the wounded soldiers were fighting. The Newsweek article a few days after his death tells what happened next. "With the Viet Cong firing from two sides, the U. S. troops now began retreating pell-mell back to their base camp, carrying as many of their wounded as they could, The medic Hinger was among those who staggered out of the bush and headed across an open marshy plain toward the base, 200 meters away. But on the way he ran into big, forceful Major Donald W. Holleder, 33, an All-American football player at West Point..., going the other way--toward the scene of the battle. Holleder, operations officer for the brigade, had not been in the fight until now. ' Come on Doc, he shouted to Hinger, 'There are still wounded in there. I need your help.'

"Hinger said later: 'I was exhausted. But having never seen such a commander, I ran after him. What an officer! He went on ahead of us--literally running to the point position'. Then a burst of fire from the trees caught Holleder. 'He was hit in the shoulder recalled Hinger. 'I started to patch him up, but he died in my arms.' The medic added he had been with Holleder for only three minutes, but would remember the Major's gallantry for the rest of his life." Holly died as he lived: the willingness to make great sacrifices prevailed to the minute of his death.

Caroline was left a young widow. She later married our West Point classmate, Ernie Ruffner, who became a loving husband and father to the four Holleder daughters. All the daughters are happily married and there are eight wonderful and loving grandchildren.

The legacy of Donald Walter Holleder will remain an important part of the West Point story forever. The Holleder Army Reserve Center in Webster, New York, the Holleder Parkway in Rochester and the Holleder Athletic Center at West Point all help further Don's legacy. In 1985, Holly was inducted into College Football Hall of Fame. A 2003 best selling book, They Marched into Sunlight, by David Maraniss tells the story of Holleder and the Black Lions. Tom Hanks has purchased the film rights to the book.

An innovative high school coach, Hugh Wyatt, decide to further memorialize Don's legacy by establishing the Black Lion Award. Each year at hundreds of high schools, middle schools and youth football programs across the country, a single football player on each team is selected "who best exemplifies the character of Don Holleder: leadership, courage, devotion to duty, self-sacrifice, and--above all--an unselfish concern for his team ahead of himself." Starting in 2005, this award is presented to a member of the Army football team each year.

Anyone who wishes to extend Holleder's legacy can do so by approaching their local football coaches and encouraging them to make the Black Lion Award a part of their tradition. Coach Hugh Wyatt can be contacted by e mail (

All West Pointers can be proud of Donald Walter Holleder; for him there were no impossible dreams, only challenges to seek out and to conquer. Forty years after his death thousands of friends and millions of fans still remember him and salute him for his character and supreme courage.

By Retired Air Force General Perry Smith, classmate and roommate, with great assistance from Don's family members, Stacey Jones and Ernie Ruffner, classmates, Jerry Amlong, Peter Vann and JJ McGinn, and battlefield medic, Doc Hinger.


In 1954-55 I lived at West Point N.Y. where my father was stationed as a member of the staff at the United States Military Academy.

Don Holleder was an All American end on the Red Blaik coached Army football team which was a perennial eastern gridiron power in 40s and 50s. On Fall days I would run home from the post school, drop off my books, and head directly to the Army varsity practice field which overlooked the Hudson River and was only a short sprint from my house.

Army had a number of outstanding players on the roster back then, but my focus was on Don Holleder, our All-America end turned quarterback in a controversial position change that had sportswriters and Army fans buzzing throughout the college football community that year.

Don looked like a hero, tall, square jawed, almost stately in his appearance. He practiced like he played, full out all the time. He was the obvious leader of the team in addition to being its best athlete and player.

In 1955 it was common for star players to play both sides of the ball and Don was no exception delivering the most punishing tackles in practice as well as game situations. At the end of practice the Army players would walk past the parade ground (The Plain), then past my house and into the Arvin Gymnasium where the team's locker room was located.

Very often I would take that walk stride for stride with Don and the team and best of all, Don would sometimes let me carry his helmet. It was gold with a black stripe down the middle and had the most wonderful smell of sweat and leather. Inside the helmet suspension was taped a sweaty number 16, Don's jersey number.

While Don's teammates would talk and laugh among themselves in typical locker room banter, Don would ask me about school, show me how to grip the ball and occasionally chide his buddies if the joking ever got bawdy in front of "the little guy". On Saturdays I lived and died with Don's exploits on the field in Michie Stadium.

In his senior year Don's picture graced the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine and he led Army to a winning season culminating in a stirring victory over Navy in front of 100,000 fans in Philadelphia. During that incredible year I don't ever remember Don not taking time to talk to me and patiently answer my boyish questions about the South Carolina or Michigan defense ("I'll bet they don't have anybody as fast as you, huh, Don?").

Don graduated with his class in June 1956 and was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division in Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Coincidentally, my Dad was also assigned to the 25th at the same time so I got to watch Don quarterback the 14th Infantry Regiment football team to the Division championship in 1957.
There was one major drawback to all of Don's football-gained notoriety - he wanted no part of it. He wanted to be a soldier and an infantry leader. But division recreational football was a big deal in the Army back then and for someone with Don's college credentials not to play was unheard of.

In the first place players got a lot of perks for representing their Regiment, not to mention hero status with the chain of command. Nevertheless, Don wanted to trade his football helmet for a steel pot and finally, with the help of my Dad, he succeeded in retiring from competitive football and getting on with his military profession.

It came as no surprise to anyone who knew Don that he was a natural leader of men in arms, demanding yet compassionate, dedicated to his men and above all fearless. Sure enough after a couple of TO&E infantry tours his reputation as a soldier matched his former prowess as an athlete.

It was this reputation that won him the favor of the Army brass and he soon found himself as an Aide-de-camp to the four star commander of the Continental Army Command in beautiful Ft Monroe, Virginia.

With the Viet Nam War escalating and American combat casualties increasing every day, Ft Monroe would be a great place to wait out the action and still promote one's Army career - a high-profile job with a four star senior rater, safely distanced from the conflict in southeast Asia.

Once again, Don wanted no part of this safe harbor and respectfully lobbied his boss, General Hugh P. Harris to get him to Troops in Viet Nam. Don got his wish but not very long after arriving at the First Division he was killed attempting to lead a relief column to wounded comrades caught in a Viet Cong ambush.
I remember the day I found out about Don's death. I was in the barber's chair at The Citadel my sophomore year when General Harris (Don's old boss at Ft Monroe, now President of The Citadel) walked over to me and motioned me outside.

He knew Don was a friend of mine and sought me out to tell me that he was KIA. It was one of the most defining moments of my life. As I stood there in front of the General the tears welled up in my eyes and I said "No, please, sir. Don't say that." General Harris showed no emotion and I realized that he had experienced this kind of hurt too many times to let it show. "Biff", he said, "Don died doing his duty and serving his country. He had alternatives but wouldn't have it any other way. We will always be proud of him, Biff."

With that, he turned and walked away. As I watched him go I didn't know the truth of his parting words. I shed tears of both pride and sorrow that day in 1967, just as I am doing now, 34 years later, as I write this remembrance. In my mind's eye I see Don walking with his teammates after practice back at West Point, their football cleats making that signature metallic clicking on concrete as they pass my house at the edge of the parade ground; he was a leader among leaders.

As I have been writing this, I periodically looked up at the November 28, 1955 Sports Illustrated cover which hangs on my office wall, to make sure I'm not saying anything Don wouldn't approve of, but he's smiling out from under that beautiful gold helmet and thinking about the Navy game. General Harris was right. We will always be proud of Don Holleder, my boyhood hero... Biff Messinger, Mountainville, NY, 2001

*********** "They never fail who die in a great cause: the block may soak their gore, their heads may sodden in the sun; their limbs be strung to city gates and castle walls--but still their spirit walks abroad. Though years elapse, and others share as dark a doom, they but augment the deep and sweeping thoughts which overpower all others, and conduct the world at last to freedom." Lord Byron

Like many other phenomena in life, history has a tendency to be fickle. In 2001, some thirty-four years after the Battle of Ông Thanh, and the subsequent withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam in 1973, which was followed by the "honorable peace" that saw the North Vietnamese army conquer South Vietnam in 1975 in violation of the Paris Peace Accords, most historians, as well as a large majority of the American people, may consider the U.S. involvement in Vietnam a disastrous and tragic waste and a time of shame in U.S. history. Consider, however, the fact that since the late 1940s, the Soviet Union was the greatest single threat to U.S. security. Yet for forty years, war between the Soviet Union and the United States was averted. Each time a Soviet threat surfaced during that time (Greece, Turkey, Korea, Berlin, Cuba, Vietnam, and Afghanistan), although it may have been in the form of a "war of national liberation," as the Vietnam war was characterized, the United States gave the Soviet Union the distinct message that each successive threat would not be a Soviet walkover. In fact, the Soviets were stunned by the U.S. reactions in both Korea and Vietnam. They shook their heads, wondering what interest a great power like the United States could have in those two godforsaken countries. They thought: "These Americans are crazy. They have nothing to gain; and yet they fight and lose thousands of men over nothing. They are irrational." Perhaps history in the long-term--two hundred or three hundred years from now--will say that the western democracies, led by the United States, survived in the world, and their philosophy of government of the people, by the people, for the people continues to survive today (in 2301) in some measure due to resolute sacrifices made in the mid-twentieth century by men like those listed in the last chapter of this book. Then the words of Lord Byron, as quoted in this book's preface, will not ring hollow, but instead they will inspire other men and women of honor in the years to come.
From "The Beast was Out There", by Brigadier General James Shelton, USA (Ret.)

Jim Shelton is a former Delaware football player (a wing-T guard) who served in Korea and Vietnam and as a combat infantryman rose to the rank of General. He was at Ong Thanh on that fateful day in October, 1967 when Don Holleder was killed. He had played football against Don Holleder in college, and was one of those called on to identify Major Holleder's body.

Now retired, he serves as Colonel of the Black Lions and has been instrumental in the establishment of the Black Lion Award for young American football players. General Shelton personally signs every Black Lions Award certificate.

The title of his book is taken from Captain Jim Kasik's description of the enemy: "the beast was out there, and the beast was hungry."

*********** "Major Holleder overflew the area (under attack) and saw a whole lot of Viet Cong and many American soldiers, most wounded, trying to make their way our of the ambush area. He landed and headed straight into the jungle, gathering a few soldiers to help him go get the wounded. A sniper's shot killed him before he could get very far. He was a risk-taker who put the common good ahead of himself, whether it was giving up a position in which he had excelled or putting himself in harm's way in an attempt to save the lives of his men. My contact with Major Holleder was very brief and occured just before he was killed, but I have never forgotten him and the sacrifice he made. On a day when acts of heroism were the rule, rather than the exception, his stood out." Dave Berry


"We have shared the incommunicable experience of war. We felt - we still feel - the passion of life to its top.... In our youths, our hearts were touched with fire." Oliver Wendel Holmes, Jr.

Oliver Wendel Holmes, Jr. was born in Boston in 1841, the son of a famous poet and physician. In his lifetime he would see combat in the Civil War then go on to become a noted lawyer and, finally, for 30 years, a justice of the Supreme Court. So respected was he that he became known as "The Yankee From Olympus."

He graduated from Harvard University in 1861. After graduation, with the Civil War underway, he joined the United States Army and saw combat action in the Peninsula Campaign and the Wilderness, and was injured at the Battles of Ball's Bluff, Antietam, and Fredericksburg. He was discharged in 1964 as a Lieutenant Colonel.

The story is told of Holmes that in July 1864, as the Confederate general Jubal Early conducted a raid north of Washington, D.C. President Abraham Lincoln came out to watch the battle. As Lincoln watched, an officer right next to him was hit by a sniper's bullet. The young Holmes, not realizing who he was speaking to, shouted to the President, "Get down, you damn fool, before you get shot!"

After the war's conclusion, Holmes returned to Harvard to study law. He was admitted to the bar in 1866, and went into private practice in Boston.

In 1882, he became both a professor at Harvard Law School and a justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. In 1899, he was appointed Chief Justice of the court.

In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt named Holmes to the United States Supreme Court, where he served for more than 30 years, until January 1932.

Over the years, as a distinguished citizen who knew what it meant to fight for his country, he reflected on the meaning of Memorial Day, and of the soldiers' contribution to preserving our way of life...

On Memorial Day, 1884, 20 years after the end of the Civil War, Mr. Holmes said,

Accidents may call up the events of the war. You see a battery of guns go by at a trot, and for a moment you are back at White Oak Swamp, or Antietam, or on the Jerusalem Road. You hear a few shots fired in the distance, and for an instant your heart stops as you say to yourself, The skirmishers are at it, and listen for the long roll of fire from the main line.

You meet an old comrade after many years of absence; he recalls the moment that you were nearly surrounded by the enemy, and again there comes up to you that swift and cunning thinking on which once hung life and freedom--Shall I stand the best chance if I try the pistol or the sabre on that man who means to stop me? Will he get his carbine free before I reach him, or can I kill him first?These and the thousand other events we have known are called up, I say, by accident, and, apart from accident, they lie forgotten.

But as surely as this day comes round we are in the presence of the dead. For one hour, twice a year at least--at the regimental dinner, where the ghosts sit at table more numerous than the living, and on this day when we decorate their graves--the dead come back and live with us.

I see them now, more than I can number, as once I saw them on this earth. They are the same bright figures, or their counterparts, that come also before your eyes; and when I speak of those who were my brothers, the same words describe yours.

On Memorial Day, 1895, Mr. Holmes addressed the graduating class of Harvard University.

The society for which many philanthropists, labor reformers, and men of fashion unite in longing is one in which they may be comfortable and may shine without much trouble or any danger. The unfortunately growing hatred of the poor for the rich seems to me to rest on the belief that money is the main thing (a belief in which the poor have been encouraged by the rich), more than on any other grievance. Most of my hearers would rather that their daughters or their sisters should marry a son of one of the great rich families than a regular army officer, were he as beautiful, brave, and gifted as Sir William Napier. I have heard the question asked whether our war was worth fighting, after all. There are many, poor and rich, who think that love of country is an old wife's tale, to be replaced by interest in a labor union, or, under the name of cosmopolitanism, by a rootless self-seeking search for a place where the most enjoyment may be had at the least cost.

I do not know the meaning of the universe. But in the midst of doubt, in the collapse of creeds, there is one thing I do not doubt, that no man who lives in the same world with most of us can doubt, and that is that the faith is true and adorable which leads a soldier to throw away his life in obedience to a blindly accepted duty, in a cause which he little understands, in a plan of campaign of which he has little notion, under tactics of which he does not see the use.

Most men who know battle know the cynic force with which the thoughts of common sense will assail them in times of stress; but they know that in their greatest moments faith has trampled those thoughts under foot. If you wait in line, suppose on Tremont Street Mall, ordered simply to wait and do nothing, and have watched the enemy bring their guns to bear upon you down a gentle slope like that of Beacon Street, have seen the puff of the firing, have felt the burst of the spherical case-shot as it came toward you, have heard and seen the shrieking fragments go tearing through your company, and have known that the next or the next shot carries your fate; if you have advanced in line and have seen ahead of you the spot you must pass where the rifle bullets are striking; if you have ridden at night at a walk toward the blue line of fire at the dead angle of Spottsylvania, where for twenty-four hours the soldiers were fighting on the two sides of an earthwork, and in the morning the dead and dying lay piled in a row six deep, and as you rode you heard the bullets splashing in the mud and earth about you; if you have been in the picket-line at night in a black and unknown wood, have heard the splat of the bullets upon the trees, and as you moved have felt your foot slip upon a dead man's body; if you have had a blind fierce gallop against the enemy, with your blood up and a pace that left no time for fear --if, in short, as some, I hope many, who hear me, have known, you have known the vicissitudes of terror and triumph in war; you know that there is such a thing as the faith I spoke of. You know your own weakness and are modest; but you know that man has in him that unspeakable somewhat which makes him capable of miracle, able to lift himself by the might of his own soul, unaided, able to face anniliation for a blind belief.

On the eve of Memorial Day, 1931, at the age of 90, Mr. Holmes wrote to a friend:

"I shall go out to Arlington tomorrow, Memorial Day, and visit the gravestone with my name and my wife's on it, and be stirred by the military music, and, instead of bothering about the Unknown Soldier shall go to another stone that tells beneath it are the bones of, I don't remember the number but two or three thousand and odd, once soldiers gathered from the Virginia fields after the Civil War. I heard a woman say there once, 'They gave their all. They gave their very names.' Later perhaps some people will come in to say goodbye."

Justice Holmes died on March 6, 1935, two days short of his 94th birthday, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He once said, "taxes are the price we pay for civilization," and in keeping with that sentiment, he left his entire estate to the United States government.

So spry and alert was he, right up to the end, that it's said that one day, when he was in his nineties, he saw an attractive young woman and said, "Oh, to be seventy again!"

A 1951 Hollywood motion picture, The Magnificent Yankee, was based on his life.

*********** I'm an 8th grade football coach in ---- ---- ---- and have purchased your double wing materials.  This year I finished my second season of using the double wing offense to mixed results.  The first year I coached football we ran the "I" formation and it was a miserable year in which the only game we won was the toilet bowl, a game for the worst teams in the conference to compete in because we didn't make the playoffs.  I decided something needed to change so I purchased your double wing materials.  I implemented it and the first year I used it I did see a big improvement in the way my offense played, but it still wasn't were it needed to be as we improved over the last year, but still only won one game.  This second season of running the double wing was the best yet, as we went 3-2, but lost in the first round of the playoffs. Even though we had a fairly decent year, I'm still struggling a bit scoring points and feel like I have hit a brick wall. Defense won most of our games as our offense only put up 7-14 points a game. The things I am struggling with are:
1.) I can do well against poor teams with the offense, but any good teams figure it out and stop us
2.)I just can't seem to get the 88 power or 99 power to work.  Most of our offensive production comes off 47-C, The wedge, and Red-Red Blue Blue. I barely got any yardage off the 88 or 99 power at all and can't figure out what I'm doing wrong. 
3.) once teams figure out our counter and passing plays they stop us, thus in the first half I look like an offensive genius and in the second half my offense looks like a whole different team. I can't seem to use the power running game at all.
I am sure most of my problem is with the play calling, blocking, and running the plays incorrectly(my poor coaching), but there in no one in my area that runs the offense I can ask for advice.  Would it be possible for me to send you a game dvd of our team to look at? Maybe you will see something I don't. If not I understand, but I'm not really sure where else to look for help on this. I really want to stick with the offense, but I need some help.

Coach- You may get the sense that you have hit a brick wall, but you have, as you say, taken your program from Toilet Bowl to 3-2, so you also may be the victim of your own overly-high expectations.   You are, after all, making progress.

The chances are that if you are being stopped, it is a combination of  (a) they are simply better at every position,  (b) you're not running the offense as well as you could, and (c) you're not able to troubleshoot, and correct the things you're doing wrong.  

The things that you're doing wrong are always magnified when you play a better team.  I liken it to turning up the pressure in an old firehose and finding where all the leaks are.

And you need to fix those leaks immediately.  They will not go away and they will not fix themselves.

One thing for sure, though - do not give defenses the credit of thinking that they have "figured it out."  The chances are you are stopping yourselves.

Again, though - be secure enough in what you're doing to recognize when you are making progress.

Please feel free to send me a video.  I'll take a look at it. Assuming that it's of decent quality, I may be able to help.

*********** Coach, The school handed out yearbooks yesterday and one of the fun things is to read the senior reflections. Our tailback was a terrible blocker on the Super Power, but ran it really, really well. So we put him opposite our big TE and LB who we put on the wing and watched them destroy people on the double-team down block. Anyway, his quote under "What will I miss most?"

"Super Power Right."

On the last play of our season, and the last of his career, he took a Super Power 60 yards for a TD as the clock expired. He said he started crying on the 10 yard line...


*********** Bill Simmons writes: "All right, I'll ask: How come it took three seconds to euthanize Eight Belles, but the WNBA is starting Year 12?"

*********** With all the people sending aid to China - a medical team from the Northwest is on its way over - I do have to wonder where our friends the Chinese were after Hurricane Katrina.

*********** Several Portland area companies are sending goods to help the victims of natural disasters in Myanmar and China. Leatherman is sending some of its well-known tools. And Nike is sending soccer balls. Soccer balls? Haven't they suffered enough?

*********** With Sam Adams triumphant on Tuesday, Portland, Oregon now has the first openly-gay mayor of any American city

*********** Hugh, As for the girls coming out - we have it every year (always middle school aged girls looking for attention). We have never had one make it past the initial spring team meeting. My boys always freak out and I always tell them the same thing... If shes 250 lbs and can run like a truck I don't care if she's a girl or boy. However, Ive never met that girl yet and my experience has always been that they sign up but don't make it to camp. The boys always say something like, "well you don't know _____ she is serious." I understand why guys get fired up, but Im careful to tell kids anyone can try out, but everyone will be held to the same expectations. And then if it ever came to - I think the first days of hitting would take care of it.
John Dowd,
Caledonia, New York

*********** I think that having to discipline kids (although rewarding in the long run, when you see the changes you help bring about it people) can really wear on a coach and is the reason so many guys don't want to be the head man. I know I am good at being strict but fair - but I have a heck of a time with it and I often agonize over what to do about certain situations. So many situations come up that are "gray areas" that can make for difficult decision making. Missing practice and being late are my big no no's. Being late is easy - I make no exceptions. If you are 10 sec. late or 10 min. you run after practice - it seems to work. Of course missing practice is more difficult. I don't start players who miss any practices at all for the next game (depending on the reason it could range from a series to the whole game). The only exceptions I've made are funerals, and (hasn't happened yet) but something like an SAT exam. This has sort of carried over into being sick or injured as well. If a player misses any practices during a week I don't start them. My general rule has been that if they were sick or injured and sat our for a day then they merely don't start (maybe a series or a handful of plays), if they skip it is a half (on the first offense). Then there are those in between things. I just had a kid (good kid) the other day tell me his Aunts wedding is on a SUN (we play Friday so he will have SAT/SUN off) in NYC. He is going to get back by 3PM MON for practice (not sure if the school will let him practice since he wasn't in school). If he can practice - no problem, if he can't, gray area. To me the kid makes the effort to be there, but school rules won't let him, well I don't feel that is the same as Im going to the wedding and see you on Tues. I was thinking if he couldn't practice I might go with my first series rule (since he made the effort). On the other hand - and I think this is a tough one, what do you do with the kid who doesn't come back until Tues.? Do you treat him like a kid who skipped and sit him a half, or do you go somewhere in between (say a quarter) since he had to go with his family. I hate these sorts of situations. I think I tend to err on the side of being too harsh rather than too soft, but there are always different situations. We tell our kids and parents our rules in a preseason parents meeting and give them a general outline of consequences, but with the caveat that each situation will be handled according to the circumstances of that situation. So my kids know - miss practice sit a half (but that we interpret each situation differently ie. skipping practice vs. being injured). What do you think? The other situation that I get stressed about is the people who ask to leave practice early. Again I cover this in my preseason meeting (try not to schedule doc' appts. etc. during practice), but it still happens once in a while. We haven't punished kids for Doc. and Dentist appts. (so long as they are at practice at some point) because it is their health and I have had parents tell me they didn't want them missing school etc. We certainly do discourage it though. Then you get kids who want to miss for drivers tests and hockey practice etc. To which I tell them they can't leave early for that stuff, football comes before those. If the parents take them anyway what do you do? (My thought is to run them as I would if they were late, and if it was continuous then we'd talk loss of playing time). Certainly kids have to leave sometimes for legitimate school things, and we have always let them, as long as they do their conditioning before practice. I don't know, I get so excited for football, I love to work with the kids and I love my kids, and you know I love the game - BUT this stuff drives me nuts every year. I know I am lucky, because I barely have to deal with any of this sort of stuff, but it is never easy. I don't like making exceptions (I truly want to be fair) and I don't want to do wrong by the team or by the kids individually. What are your thoughts on this stuff. This and parents are the only things that could ever push me out of coaching some day (at least head coaching - Im sure I'd still be around the game coaching in some fashion). I look forward to your response as you have never "burned out" - and I am hoping that I can also be like you in that regard.

I agree with you that it can wear on a guy.

I think the only guys whom it doesn't bother are the guys with no guts or the guys with no heart.  Not all that long ago, just like the rest of our society, football coaches had a lot more guts and a lot less compassion and that, combined with the fact that people had more respect for authority and fewer things on their schedules - not to mention administrators who weren't in love with students' rights - made team discipline a whole lot easier.

You seem to be doing all right, but for sure, practice attendance is increasingly a problem, and I think a large part of it is that kids and parents grow up with the casual approach of certain youth sports, along with an overall lack of discipline in society.  (For what it's worth, if you think attendance is a problem in the US, you should try coaching in Europe.  It is the single biggest complaint of anyone I've spoken to  who has coached over there.)

There is no question that curtailing playing time is effective punishment where the individual is concerned.  The trouble with it is that you come to a point where it can affect the other kids by costing them a win, and then it spreads to the community, most of whom haven't the faintest clue what responsibility to a team is all about.

Years ago, I heard Woody Hayes say that he had learned, as a Navy officer in World War II, the "discipline is 90 per cent anticipation," and I have found that to be true.  I can anticipate a lot of potential problems by dealing with them before they ever come up - by laying it all out in advance,  This is what I expect.   No one gets equipment until he signs off on the rules. (Rule Number One: Don't piss me off)

I have added to my rules as kids and parents have become more creative in their excuse-making, but I have always had one hard and fast rule - skip a practice, miss a game; skip a second practice, miss two more games. Skip a third practice - AMF.

We always have to deal with faith and family.  We can't tell kids that we consider those things more important than football without demonstrating that, but of course even a player who misses a practice with a valid reason covered by faith and family will still have to yield some playing time, not as punishment but simply   as a statement that someone else did have to practice in his place.   I'm not so liberal where missed time because of   "schoolwork" is concerned.  If a kid is missing practice to make up work that he should have done in the first place or classes that he should have been to, that to me is the next thing to skipping practice.  Same for being late because of detention.

I understand that from time to time a kid may have to leave practice early for a special reason. But I think that asking to leave early for a job or for another team's practice is prima facie evidence that a kid has chosen to ignore all the things we told him, and put something other than faith and family  ahead of football, and that is not allowed.  That's not in his or the team's best interest.  (I remind him about the meaning of the word "commitment.") Should we ever reach that point, I do have the guts to tell him that he's spread too thin, that something has to give, and I will offer a suggestion to help him manage his schedule - drop football.  

Hockey practice? Gimme a break.  He should be having that talk with his hockey coach ("I'll have to be late because I have football practice.")  Except I know how it goes with these outside-the-school programs. Parents are paying big bucks for their kids to participate, and those coaches don't have to answer to pussy administrators the way the school coaches do, so they don't mind putting the screws to the kids.

No, it's not easy.  But that's why they pay you the big bucks.

*********** 14 of the 40 candidates going to West Point next fall from the State of Washington were varsity football players - and only two of those players were actually recruited to play football for Army. Moral: keep your eyes open for the great people on your team - even if they're not scholarship athletes, they could get a free educaiton at one of America's top universities.

*********** I wrote my friend Armando Castro, a Cuban-American from Miami who now lives in Roanoke, Virginia, to ask him if he knew anything about a type of cooker called La Caja China...

Hi Coach.Caja China. Man that is the BEST roast whole pork you can have. Scroll down to last picture and you will see end result. When I went down to Miami in march pictured is a friends father that invited us to his house for a pig roast with all the trimmings. You will speak Spanish after a feast like that. Man that was some good pork. Concept was originally from Cuba where they would dig a hole filled the bottom with coal and lay the pork whole on grill and cover it with banana leaves. Guy in Miami marketed same way but in box above ground like a barbecue. It is great.

Great, did he say? Check this out...

*********** By Kathleen Parker...

Or this from Obama in Roseburg, Ore., last Saturday: “We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say O.K. That’s not leadership. That’s not going to happen.”

We can’t?! It’s not?

By all means, let’s roll out the hybrids and hold the fries, but are other countries now the judges of American lifestyles? Perhaps while human-rights investigator Doudou Diene is in the United States the next few weeks probing racism for the United Nations, he can take a measure of American gluttony. What would Senegal have us do?

*********** I had a Little League mom like this one about 15 years ago.
The first minute after I met her she told me she was a single parent. Twenty minutes later I knew why.
Tim Brown, Jackson, Tennessee

*********** The University of Portland Pilots, er, Lady Pilots, er, Pilotettes - whatever - women's soccer team led the nation in attendance this year. Wanna guess what they drew?

Try 3,771. That's TOPS in the country.

Yet there they are, giving out scholarships and flying to away games.

And they don't even have a football program to leech off of.

*********** Trophies for everybody...

A local high school baseball league selected 16 players on its all-league first team.

FLAGTUESDAY, MAY 20, 2008- "Time never runs out on the grandstand quarterbacks." The late Joe Williams of the now-defunct New York World Telegram, 1963


Hi Coach, just wanted to let you know how we did.

We won yesterday 30 - 28 against the heavily favored Bremerhaven Seahawks.

The funny thing is they played the 54 from Bruce Eien's website about defending the DW. They pretty much took the perimeter away from us but the B backs had a field day. We scored twice with 3 Trap 2 and once with 7 C. We really hammered them up the middle with the wedge, as the NG was playing pretty soft. I guess he was trying to read the wingback. In the 4th quarter they loaded the interior and my A back broke 88 SP for an 86 yds TD.

(Well, maybe the 54 just doesn't work against the DW - who knows?)

We still struggle on D as we lack experience, only 3 starters from last year returned and especially the linebackers are very inexperienced.
Many thanks for everything and give my love to Connie.
Mathias Bonner,
Hamburg, Germany

(Hahahaha. Another desperate opponent searching for relief. One search Google can't help you with. HW)

*********** American education on parade...

A poster on an Oregon Web forum noted that a quarterback who can run adds another "demention" to the attack.

*********** You'll enjoy this - a Stanford Daily editorial complaining that cops giving out tickets for bicycle infractions is unfair and enforces "obscure traffic laws" like running stop signs and using headphones, and reduces police effectiveness because it biases the students against the cops. It suggests we're special and
don't need to follow the little people's laws.

Christopher Anderson, Palo Alto, California

Huh? Enforcing the law biases the students against the cops? Didn't people also say we shouldn't go after terrorists because we'd just make them hate us more?  

This is the same "we'll just turn them against us" thinking that's going to turn those spoiled brats into terrible parents. HW

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

I ordered a copy of "Brown's Town" after hearing you talk about it at the clinic. It is tough to find good books with insight on coaching etc. these days. I about a third of the way through it and it is an easy read, with some cool stories. It is funny, but I think a lot of people (myself included) think of the Browns as a running team b/c of Jim Brown, but they were actually quite the passing team before him. I of course knew who Otto Graham was, but I didn't know how much they were a passing team. Kind of funny though that most of the players credit Graham as the passing game orchestrator - as they said Brown just kind of let them do their thing - working on the details on their own before and after practice. Anyhow, I bought a used copy off of Amazon and when it arrived I opened it up and noticed it was signed by the Author Alan Natali and by Dante Lavelli with HOF (Hall of Fame) 1975 and Best Wishes. Seems like it is the real deal - pretty cool for a measly 15 dollars.

John Dowd, Caledonia, New York (REAL cool.  The Browns were so far ahead of everyone else in the passing game - except maybe for the Rams, whom they played in the 1950 title game.  When the Browns joined the NFL (in 1950) they beat the NFL champs, the Eagles in their opening game, and the Eagles' coach, Greasy Neale, said something like "all they do is pass."  PB was so pissed that the next time they played, the Browns didn't throw a pass.  And won. HW)

*********** Rush Limbaugh, on what what he'd tell graduates if he were their speaker...

The world does NOT revolve around you... you are NOT "the future of our country" - not yet, anyhow. Go out, and roll up your sleeves, and be productive...

*********** 2009 BCS Schedule

Jan. 1: Rose Bowl presented by Citi - Pasadena, Calif., ABC
Jan. 1: FedEx Orange Bowl - Miami, Fla., Fox
Jan. 2: Allstate Sugar Bowl - New Orleans, La., Fox
Jan. 5: Tostitos Fiesta Bowl - Glendale, Ariz., Fox
Jan. 8: FedEx BCS National Championship Game - Miami, Fla., Fox

Some day your grandchildren will ask you if you remember when they used to play all the bowl games on New Year's Day...

*********** It wasn't long after I arrived in Baltimore, many years ago, that I sat at the bar in a tavern on Eastern Avenue, and listened as a "discussion" between two of the other patrons grew a bit heated.

After it had gone on for a few minutes, one very analytical if not very articulate third party stood up and in a loud voice got right to the point in indicating what their problem was.

"One 'a youse," he said, "is a f--kin' lahr!" (That, I quickly discovered, was the East Baltimorese pronunciation of "liar.") "Which one 'a youse is it?"

It's a question that arises once again in the "contrasting" stories of Bill Belichick and Matt Walsh.

Walsh, who spent three seasons, from 1999 until after the 2002 Super Bowl, with the Patriots, said he was surprised when he heard that Belichick had told The Boston Globe that he couldn't pick Walsh out of a lineup.

Walsh said he still has a sweater - charcoal, V-neck - given to him at Christmas in 2001 by Belichick and his wife, Debby. When asked about Belichick's saying he didn't know him, Walsh said, “Well, could he pick me out of one of the three team pictures we were in together?”

Interesting. Because now Belichick's story is no longer that he didn't know Walsh, but that Walsh's role with the Patriots was something on the order of a ballboy, and besides, he was fired for "poor performance."

"When I was doing it, I understood what we were doing to be wrong," Walsh said. "Coach Belichick's explanation for having misinterpreted the rules, to me, that really didn't sound like taking responsibility for what we had done, especially considering the great lengths that we had gone through to hide what we were doing."

Belichick, on the other hand, denies ever telling Walsh to hide what he was doing.

Not takin' sides, here, you understand. But one 'a them's a f--kin' lahr!

*********** I heard from a reader named Mike Moran who'd come across a reference to the Frankford Yellow Jackets in my article about the early days of pro football, and wrote to tell me that his dad had played for the Yellow Jackets - the predecessors of the Philadelphia Eagles - in 1926 and 1927.

(Quick, Hugh! To the reference section!)

Oh, boy - do I have stuff on the Frankford Yellow Jackets!

I spent the entire summer of 1994 in Philadelphia doing research for a book on the World Football League, and in the process, in a library not far from their ancestral home of Frankford (now a part of Philly), I came across a trove of materials on the Yellow Jackets.  

I leafed through my material and by golly, there in the backfield was right halfback "Moran," from "Carnegie." And right next to him was the fullback, a guy named Stockton. Houston Stockton. From Gonzaga. In Spokane, Washington.  

Made the connection yet? Yes, he's related to that Stockton, John Stockton, of Gonzaga and NBA fame. Houston Stockton was John's grandfather.

John Stockton has a son named Houston, and Houston Stockton, namesake of a true pro football pioneer, is now a sophomore defensive back at the University of Montana.

*********** Mike Moran also noted that another member of the Yellow Jackets was a fellow from Colgate named "Crothers."

Actually, that was Rae Crowther, and he was the line coach at Penn when my high school coach played there. Apparently he earned his living as a contractor - he was just a part-timer at Penn - and started building blocking sleds as a sideline.

Most people who know the company he founded now pronounce the "CROW" in his name like how-now-brown-cow, but he pronounced it to rhyme with "Brother."

No matter. In the Yellow Jackets' programs it's misspelled as "Crowthers."

*********** COACH W: You don't seem to buy into the notion that professional coaches (high school  and college) are, by definition, "better" than those that coach in youth leagues.  Is that just a false perception on my part, or an accurate observation?

For the record, I tend to believe there are talented coaches at all levels. I've coached with guys in youth leagues who could teach and motivate every bit as effectively as any high school or college coach I've ever seen.

Obviously, youth football also has it share of clueless dads just looking to leverage their "participation" into a starting job for their kids.  But overall, I'd say the coaching "talent pool" isn't much different at youth levels than it is in high school.
Your thoughts?
Mike Brusko, Zionsville, Pennsylvania

Obviously,  for the most part high school and college coaches know a lot more about football than their youth league counterparts. But that doesn't necessarily make them "better."

Yes, there are plenty of knuckleheads coaching youth football who are in it mainly for their self-glorification, and think that kids are simply pieces on a human chess board.

But I have often said that I would love to take over a high school team with a staff made up of a half-dozen or so of the best youth coaches I know.

These are men who bring to their coaching the traits and skills that make them productive in a wide variety of fields other than football - good work habits, a concern for fellow workers and employees, organizational and communication skills,  an ability to work with a team and to build a team, the skill to deal diplomatically with a wide variety of constituencies, and high moral and ethical standards.  And common sense.

They have developed and  honed those skills in occupations where failure can be even more costly than in football. 

And, of course, on top of all that, they love the game of football. Passionately.

When you add to those qualifications a basic knowledge of the game and a thirst for more knowledge, you've got the kind of people any of us would like to have as assistants or as our kids' coaches.

Conversely - and it pains me to say this -  I have seen far too many high school coaches whose morals and ethics - and common sense - are so lacking that I wouldn't want a son of mine playing for them.  

I heard one of my teachers say one time, "Long after they've forgotten what you taught them, they'll remember the kind of man you were."

*********** Coach Wyatt,  just wanted to let you know my oldest son, Eric Marrs, has accepted a half scholarship to play TE at Sterling College in Kansas.  They play in the NAIA in the KCAC.  I am so excited that he will be able to continue playing football while he reaches his goal of a college degree, he is enrolled in their athletic trainer program.  Eric will be 1290 miles away from home,  I am so proud of him!!

I am wondering if you might have had an opportunity to watch the DVD's I left with you in Santa Clarita?  My favorite quote from last season came from the Head Coach of North Long Beach, "what kinda double wing are you running?  You're backs are split way out and facing forward!"  He ran double wing, they were good, but with thier offset Bback they narrowed the number of plays they would run, it was a Jimmy v. Joe's game, our only loss!  I just told him we ran Wyatt!,  and then I gave him my complete scouting report on his team in hopes it would help them succeed in Florida.

Thanks again for a great offense,
Matt Marrs
Imperial, Ca.

*********** Hugh, I read this a.m. where you mentioned the girl in Texas that won a state track title for her team all by herself by winning four events. This is not a first.
This happened in Iowa back in the 70’s. A team from Corning, IA where my brother assistant coached Track & Field had a young man named Leroy McKuen who won four events in the IA State Track meet. 110 M High Hurdles, 400 M Hurdles, Long Jump & High Jump. Corning won the state class 2A title that year with 28 points. 7 points awarded to first place back in those days. I believe it’s not the first time this has happened in IOWA either.
Old Leroy was quite an athlete. I believe he later was inducted into the high school Hall of Fame.

His track team didn’t have a track either (although the school has since built a new all weather 8-laner).
His track team was called affectionately…..the JOHN STREET TRACK CLUB……after the name of the street the squad practiced on in town!
Don Capaldo, Keokuk, Iowa
PS-If I’m not mistaken, I believe old Leroy (a farm boy) was a one-pack a day smoker back then. Quite a feat!

*********** I don't know about you, but I find it demeaning when our President jumps into Air Force One and flies to the Middle East so he can stand at a busy intersection in Saudi Arabia holding a sign reading WILL WURK FOR OIL.

*********** Charles Barkley, it's been revealed, owes a Vegas casino $400,000, money that he borrowed to keep on gambling.

"Gee, I forgot," was the gist of his response when the news broke.

Note to Sir Charles: they tell me there are some fellas out there who can work wonders with a bad memory.

*********** Greetings Coach Wyatt, I hope you and your wife are doing well. My name is ------- ------- and I am the head coach of a middle school football team in a small town in -------. I have attended your clinic in Atlanta, and I enjoy reading your news section every week. I have run the Double Wing for the past two years which has led to a conference championship undefeated season, and a one loss season. I find it insightful to see how many of us double wing coaches seem to feel the same about the direction that society is going in.

Anyway you speak often about the differences in boys in girls and Title 9 and its ill effects for young men. Last week I had my football meeting for next year. All rising 7th and 8th graders interested in being part of the team come, and I explain the summer conditioning program, expectations, rules schedules, etc... Every year it seems that I have a number of young ladies show up for the meeting, trying to get out of class. I usually tell them the volleyball meeting is upstairs or cheer leading is meeting next week and they leave with no problems.

Well the same sort of thing happened this year except after I started my meeting my assistant principal came in with a young girl. I continued with the meeting and finished it. Right after the meeting was over my assistant principal came up to me and asked why I told this poor girl she cannot play football.

Well to make a long story short we get into a huge argument. Her parents are now involved. The county attorney is looking into the rules. I met with the young girl's parents yesterday. This girl is going in seventh grade. Maybe 5'5" tall, about 180 pounds. She is like a little butterball. I took the time to watch her in PE before I met with the parents, and she could not even complete a regular fitness routine that the kids do daily without sitting down.

I told the parents that I have a daughter and that I thought this was a bad idea for many reasons, but for practical matters she could be injured very easily. Boys and girls have different body structures and that it starts to show at her age. I have two linemen that are about 5' 10 230 lbs and can run and they are as nasty as they come on the field. I asked why would they put her in a situation where she would go against young men like those two.

They said they were not happy she was wanting to play, but they didn't think it was their place to tell her no. I suggested to them letting me tell her then. They let me and my administration know that they would be seeking legal counsel if she was not allowed to be put on the team. My administration then sent me out so they could talk to the parents. Well let's just say I now have a young lady on my team, and a bunch more are planning on joining her.

My assistant principal let me know that he had plenty of girls play on his boys soccer team when he coached. I laughed and told him that he was clueless and made some cracks about soccer that I have read on your news page. He then got angry at me and told me that he would be watching to make sure I was going to be fair. I told him while he was at it to go ahead and coach the football team, that I was sure that his experience in coaching soccer would be very insightful. I told him while he was at it not to piss his pants when he heard one of the assistant coaches actually yell at one of the players.

So anyway my future as a coach here is up in the air to say the least. I asked my principal what would happen if we had a boy wanting to play girls volleyball (we do not offer a boys team). He said that was different - a boy cannot do that. I said the only thing that is different is that it is a boy and not a girl.

Have you ever heard much about this happening? I am preparing these young men for high school football. She will never play high school football. Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated.


PS. Please delete my name or use initials from this article if you post it in you blog. I may be looking for a job soon.

Hi Coach-

First of all, I wouldn't think of using your name.

Second, you are in the sort of spot that, thanks to political correctness, more and more football coaches find themselves in.  

Unfortunately, our society continues to be neutered to the point that this problem - and that's what it is -  is not going to go away.  The news media, which cater to the female audience, are all over the story any time a girl plays football. To me, it's the equivalent of the freak show on the circus midway, but to a newspaper's readers, it's the definitive feel-good story.  You go, girl.

So unless lightning strikes and educational administration once again finds itself in the hands of people with balls (male or female), a coach has two ways to go: deal with it or resign.

I don't think that the threat of resignation is an option, because I don't think the sort of people who would force a football coach to take a girl on his team care that much about football and its value to the rest of the kids anyhow.  To them, football is a necessary evil, a sport that they have to provide in order to accommodate the barbarians of the school. If they could do away with it, they'd do so happily, but in this case they can at least use it to make a grandstand show of "gender equity."

So unless you choose to resign, which in my judgment is not fair to the rest of the kids, you'll have to deal with it.

That means no comments about her not belonging out there, because that's  courting a nasty sexual harassment lawsuit.  Right or wrong, you won't win that one.

You have to have the understanding with the administration, and the girl(s), and their parents, and the boys on the team, that you will not tolerate anything that will make those girls feel unwelcome on the team because they are girls.  You will make sure to explain to the boys what sexual harassment entails, and you will make it clear that you will not permit it on your team.  (And if you're wise, you'll have an administrator on hand when you give that talk, and you'll want tohave all the boys sign off on it.)

But at the same time, in the interests of complete equality, you should also make it clear to all that no one will be cut any special breaks, either.  Girls and boys will be held to the same standard, on and off the field.  There will be no compromise: boys and girls will perform all drills at the same level of intensity, and boys and girls will hit one another as hard as possible.

And - all in the interest of safety, you understand - I think that you have the obligation to establish a minimum level of physical conditioning that must be met by all players before being issued gear.  You should have been doing this anyhow, and if you haven't, you will probably be accused of instituting it just to exclude girls, but I believe that you will be able to find a reputable doctor/trainer/nurse/health care professional in your community who will attest to the importance of not letting any player - boy or girl - on a football field who is in less than top condition. 

And then, of course, you have to give all the kids sufficient advance notice so that they can't say they weren't given enough time to get in shape.

You will need to keep careful records of the players' performances on the test.

And you will have to give kids who fail the test a reasonable opportunity to retake.

If girls really want to play football, they will show enough respect for the game to get in the same shape as the boys, but the reality is that most kids who've never played football - boys and girls alike - don't have sufficient respect for what's required in order to play, and won't show up in shape.  

Frankly, my experience with the relatively small number of girls I've had to deal with is that, just as with boys who've never played football and then turn out for the first time late in their high school careers, they have no idea how much work is involved, how much pain and discomfort there is, how much sheer drudgery they'll have to go through that's only remotely related to playing in a game. Once they find that out, I've noticed, they begin to drift away.

Sadly, all this means sending a damaging message to your boys.  You are going to have to make them think, because of your demeanor and conduct, that you approve of all this, that you tolerate this ridiculous exercise in "gender equity."  That means they will be deprived of seeing what today's boys really need to see -  a strong man pushing back against the forces of political correctness and saying, "this is bull----."

On the other hand, I'm betting that by their performance the girls will make that clear enough, anyhow.

Best of luck

*********** Hey Coach, I am in the process of finishing my playbook and wondering what you think about this possible play to really attack the outside. With your rules: 88 G-O Reach I know your concern would be the backside guard pulling, which would leave a huge gap. But, that can be filled by the backside tackle. Thanks for any feedback

It's doable.   Rip 88-G Reach - not pulling the backside guard - is probably my favorite sweep. What I've found is that when I get the really fast motion that I want, the running back is so far ahead of the backside guard that that guard isn't much help anyhow and I might as well save him the running - but that's not to say you can't do it. But if you pull the backside guard and they are blowing through the backside A gap, that can be a problem and I'm not sure that the backside tackle can make the cut off. 


While at Assumption HS in Davenport, IA. We instituted your numbering system after running the Delaware wing-t for 8 years.  Jim Brainerd made the observation that one element of the Delaware system finally made sense to him now.  I’m referring to 43/52 tackle trap as opposed to the Delaware call system of 34 or 36 tackle trap. 
Jim was what I considered “the best freshman football coach in America”.  The kids moved up to the Soph/varsity levels with a love of the game and their teammates while being fundamentally sound.  I wouldn’t let Jim retire until he coached my son, which he said was “high praise”.
It also helped to have Joe Bush as frosh line coach.  Joe was a 3 year starter for Frank Leahy at ND during the undefeated run and at an age where the independently wealthy are seeking a more restful existence, coached his butt off.
Coach Kaz
Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

*********** Note to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell...

Last summer, while on temporary duty in Maryland, a West Point cadet was involved in a drunken driving accident, then allegedly fled the scene and gave a false official statement.

Not being an NFL player, he paid dearly.

He was formally charged in December with violating two articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice: drunken and reckless operation of a vehicle, and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.

Last week, less than three weeks after he was due to graduate from the US Military Academy, he was found guilty by a military judge, who sentenced him to dismissal from the Army and forfeiture of all pay and allowances - and one year and one month confinement. (In other words, 13 months in a military stockade.)

One year and one month! With his record, if Chris Henry had been a West Point cadet, he'd be serving a life sentence by now. Of course, when a Chris Henry is a West Point cadet, pigs will fly.

*********** Well, we missed our chance to send the United Nations packing years ago, when we should have, so now...

A special United Nations human rights investigator is visiting the United States to look into racism. I am not making this up.

The investigator, a Senegalese named Doudou (no jokes, please, about our being in deep doo-doo) Diene, will meet with federal and local officials and others during his May 19-June 6 visit.

According to a United Nations statement, "The special rapporteur (must be a fancy French word for "reporter") will gather first-hand information on issues related to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance."

And then, after he's filed his report and the corrupt UN is done solving our racism problem, maybe those worthless turds can figure out how to get aid to the people in Myanmar.

*********** Every few years we read another story about women's pro football. For some reason they always refer to it as "pro" football when you and I know that no one's getting paid.

In fact, the president of a team named the New York Sharks, admitted as much in a New York Times article. But, as is so often the case with any article on women's sports, she managed to inject into the story her resentment of males.

“What we’d like is to earn a living at this,” she said. “Boys and men have no idea how lucky they are to have this just handed to them. It breaks my heart.”

"Make a living?" Gimme a break. There's maybe, oh, three or four million men out there who can play the game better than you can, and they ain't making a living at football, either.

But the thing that really got me was the "just handed to them" business. Sweetie (I bet she hates it when men call her that), do you realize how hard men have worked to get the game of football to the point where now it appears to people like you that it's "just handed to them?"

Do you realize how many guys went without paychecks, how many times a guy named George Halas had to go to the bank to borrow the money to keep his team, the Chicago Bears, going?

Give me a call in another 125 years, sweetie, and maybe I'll listen.

*********** By now you may have heard about the Little League mother who failed to show up for her turn at the league's concessions stand, and then raised hell when the league benched her son, because - because that's the deal. That's the league rule.

She immediately started playing the old "you're punishing him for something I did" game. (Coaches get this one all the time.)

My response to that: "You damn right." You signed the agreement. He's not 18 so you signed for him. You made the deal. Now honor it.

Can't make it?  You got a phone, girl.  Use it.  Work out a trade with somebody.  

She says the rule should be changed.

But why? Why does the rule have to be changed?  It seems to be working there. And it seems, based on interviews I've seen, to be acceptable to other parents in the league.

But see, she's special - rules don't apply to her. 

Let's suppose she skips her duty and the kid's allowed to play. Where does it stop? My guess: "He won't be able to make it to any of the practices all year but it's not his fault."

Note that Mom's little game here is to blame somebody - anybody - besides herself. She refuses to be accountable for her dereliction, and instead of apologizing to her son, turns the kid  against the wicked people in authority. In reality, the kid has every right to be pissed off at her for being such a selfish ditz.

flagFRIDAY, MAY 16, 2008- "The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons." Ralph Waldo Emerson

*********** You might want to read an excellent article from last weekend's New York Times Magazine (warning - it's long) about the damage that intense girls' sports competition is doing to female knees.

If you don't want to read it, the gist of it is that, in studying sports which both girls and boys play, such as basketball and soccer, girls are many times more likely than boys to suffer torn ACLs. Soccer appears to be the main culprit.

There are lots of reasons given, from the basic structure of the female body, to the fact that as puberty sets in, boys become more muscular, while girls add fatty tissue.

There is also overuse, with evidence cited of girls playing the same sport year-round, often in tournaments that may require them to play as many as six matches in a weekend.

And, something which might come as a surprise to coaches of male sports, girls may be more driven - to insist on playing in spite of injury - than boys.

There is no question that much of the intensity of girls' sports is driven by the desire, among their parents if not among the girls themselves, to strike it rich with an athletic scholarship.

The Title IX gang is not happy with this news. They've been quick to jump on it as a threat to their hard-won gains in girls' sports, often after insisting that boys and girls are fundamentally no different, and that girls can do anything boys can do.

Of course, if it would serve their purposes, they would claim that the law of gravity was invented by the Old Boys Club.

*********** Now that it's playoff time, I occasionally watch an NBA game, but it's never long before I'm repulsed by the way those guys dishonor the Creator who gave them those magnificent bodies by disfiguring them with all manner of graffitti.

*********** By now you may have heard of the girl in Texas who won the state Class 1A track title all by herself, scoring all of her team's points.

Get this - her school doesn't have a track.

Simply for persevering - and triumphing - under conditions that would have discouraged most people, she should be considered for Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year.

*********** Not too far from where I grew up, there was a tavern ("taproom", or just "tappy" in Philadelphian) called Mickey McGuire's. No phoney, made-up Irish-sounding name like Bennigan's. That was the actual owner's name. No doubt he'd be behind the bar most nights.

It wasn't uncommon for Irishmen, whose names often began with "Mc", to be nicknamed "Mickey."

(A tip to the wise - a very good way to get your Protestant ass chased down Durham Street and out of the Irish-Catholic neighborhood was to call someone living there a "Mick.")

Similarly, McIntyre, as everyone knew, was "Mack-Intyre," and the bearer of the name might well be called "Mack."

So it drives me nuts to hear radio guys nowadays use the "schwa" sound ("uh") in turning a good Irish name like McCarthy into the atrocious-sounding "Muh-Karthy." And I grind my teeth whenever I hear some on-air imbecile turn a good Scottish name like MacArthur into "Muh-Karthur."

Somehow, Muckey MuhGuire's just doesn't sound right.

*********** The polar bear population has doubled since 1960. Nevertheless, the big white mammals are such an important symbol to the environmental cause that they have just been listed under the endangered species act. Not because they're actually endangered, but because they might - someday - be endangered. See, a study has predicted that their population will start to decline. Maybe the people who made that prediction will be good enough to tell me what tomorrow's weather will be. Also who will win the Preakness.

*********** It's certainly not fair to say that New York City is consciously bankrolling terrorism, but dang - there's that ole Law of Unintended Consequences again. New York, seeing smokers as a goose that lays golden eggs, has over the years kept jacking up the tax on cigarettes; but every crank of the jack has made smuggling cigarettes more lucrative, to the point where it's now estimated that the majority of the cigarettes sold in New York City have been smuggled in from places with taxes far lower than New York's. The difference in taxes is enough to provide healthy profits, and wherever there are illicit profits, organized crime is sure to be close by.

In this case, much of the ill-gotten gain is believed to be headed to the Middle East. To finance terrorism.

*********** "I have only one firm belief about the American political system, and that is this: God is a Republican and Santa Claus is a Democrat. God is an elderly or, at any rate, middle-aged male, a stern fellow, patriarchal rather than paternal, and a great believer in rules and regulations. He holds men strictly accountable for their actions. He has little apparent concern for the material well-being of the disadvantaged. He is politically connected, socially powerful, and holds the mortgage on literally everything in the world. God is difficult. God is unsentimental. It is very hard to get into God's heavenly country club. Santa Claus is another matter. He's cute. He's nonthreatening. And he loves animals. He may know who's been naughty and nice, but he never does anything about it. He gives everyone everything they want without thought of a quid pro quo (something in return). He works hard for charities, and he's famously generous to the poor. Santa Claus is preferable to God in every way but one: there is no such thing as Santa Claus." P. J. O'Rourke

*********** Sportswriters are complaining that Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania should worry less about the Patriots and more about the economy and the war. As if a US Senator, with a staff of well over a hundred eager beavers on payroll, couldn't worry about all three and still have time for a long lunch with a lobbyist.

Actually, my wish is that Alaska had an NFL team, so that a Senator from Alaska would get so worked up over Spygate that he wouldn't have time to stick the taxpayers with the cost of a multimillion-dollar bridge between Ketchikan and an airport that serves maybe a half dozen scheduled flights a day.

*********** After 9-years (away from the Double Wing) I have a couple of questions....

3 trap at 2; how are you clearing out QB and making handoff to B-back? I watched film where B-back is taking a side step.

Coach- QB takes what I call the "spin step" - left foot at 5 o'clock - and continues on the 5 o-clock hand, handing the ball as he passes the B-Back.  I want to get the QB out of the way so that the B-Back can go. I do NOT want the B-Back to take a side-step. I have never taught that. If he does, there is a real good chance that he and the QB will not mesh closely and we will have a fumbled handoff.  I would like the B-Back to stay hidden behind the QB.  When he steps to the side there is a greater chance of his being seen.  He needs to wait in place until the QB gets out of his way.

- Has there been any more adjusting with the wing and TE on 6 and 9 call since Dynamics IV?

No change, although I usually say something other than "6" and "9," but that's just a matter of personal preference.   But I do stress more and more that the wing needs to be one yard outside the TE.  And I have my wings squared up to the LOS to improve their reach blocking and their release into pass patterns.

*********** Charlie Weis at a spring banquet said something to the effect of "when we play Michigan we'll have to listen to all their excuses about how we've got a new coach and all hell with Michigan."

This starts with the irony that Weis preceded it by saying they were going to do their talking on the field. Bo said to hell with Notre Dame, but he was retired and he'd earned it. So far as I can tell, Michigan fans to a man are laughing at the big guy. Weis has issued a fatwa against excuses (it's even the title of his book), but I think the man doth protest too much. Christopher Anderson, Palo Alto, California

Charlie Weis said that? That sort of talk is more appropriate to pro wrestling than to the Notre Dame football coach.  Where have you gone, Ara Parseghian?

At least Rich Rodriguez knows what it's like to be a successful college coach. 

*********** "We can't drill our way to lower prices, " said Richard Durbin, the "other Senator" from Illinois, in explaining his opposition to drilling in ANWR and off our coasts and, as a byproduct, advancing the cause of economic illiteracy

*********** How hard would the Mainstream Media have been on a Republican who slipped up and said he'd been to "57 states - all except Alaska and Hawaii?"

*********** Whether you're a high school coach or a college coach, if the man in charge doesn't support your sport, you are in for tough sledding. In case you think the man at the top doesn't make a difference, read these two articles about university presidents who made a huge difference...

At Kansas State...

And at San Jose State...

*********** In sorting through some old papers, my wife came across this, from the school our kids attended in Hagerstown, Maryland...

Lincolnshire Elementary School Directory, 1970-1971


Blessed are the parents with a sense of humor; for theirs is a smoother life.

Blessed are strict parents; for they shall inherit orderly children.

Blessed are the parents who hunger and thirst after the things of God; for their children shall be filled.

Blessed are the consistent parents; for they shalll obtain their children's trust.

Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, you wise parents, for your children will honor and respect you.

*********** I'm amazed that I came across this. I rarely look at NBA scores, and I can't remember the last time I looked at a baseball box score, yet there I was the other day, perusing the stuff in agate (very small) type on the last page of USA Today's sports section - you know, the place where they list the standings in the Arena Football League , the National Lacrosse league, minor league baseball and the like.

Somehow, my eye was drawn to the standings in Europe's top four soccer leagues - the English Premier League, the Spanish Primera Liga, the Italian Serie A, and the German Bundesliga.

Just for the hell of it, I looked at the top teams in each league (confession - I do know the names of several of them) and divided their games played into their goals scored.

The results would surprise even the most soccer-unfriendly American football coach:

All told, the 78 teams in the four leagues (all have 20 except Germany, with 18) have played 1417 games. That's more than enough to give us a good read. Of all those teams, only three - THREE - are averaging more than two goals a game.

In the 1417 games played in the four leagues, there was a total of 3686 goals scored. That's a total of 2.6 goals per game - by both teams!

Put another way, if you go to one of their games, the final score's going to be something like less-than-two-goals to less-than-one-goal. Be still, my beating heart.

There isn't that much variation from league to league, either: goals per game ranged from a high of 2.77 in the German Bundesliga to a low of 2.51 in the English Premier League. (I guess they must play a much more wide-open game in the Bundesliga.)

And they really think they can sell this to Americans, with their thirst for home runs and long bombs and slam dunks?

*********** Not to say that they're not a little nuts out here in the Land of the Greens, but...

(1) As Oregon's lefter-than-left Democratic governor (huh?) looked on, John McCain did a smashing Al Gore impersonation, all but reading to the crowd from "An Inconvenient Truth."

(1) On June 8, the Archdiocese of Portland (that's Catholic, folks) is going to hold a "Blessing of the Bikes". I am not making that up. The promoters say that it's no different from a Blessing of the Fleet in a fishing village. I'm not going to challenge their equating of spandex-clad cyclists with men who risk their lives at sea, because what the hell - if it'll get a bunch of atheists into a church...

(2) A judge "sentenced" a woman to five years' probation because, although she had embezzled more than $200,000 from her employer, her lawyer argued that the medication she was taking for "restless leg syndrome" had caused an addiction to gambling that led to her filching the funds.

*********** Hey Coach, I hope you are doing well. I discovered something in regard to the PVC circle drill you showed me at the clinic in Charlotte. The top of the key on a basketball court is almost the exact same size as your PVC hoop. We started running the drill in our gym after weight lifting one afternoon. At least it gives you a rainy day option. Also, check out this article in the Charlotte Observer:    I guess character really doesn't count as long you can win ball games.

Jim Crawley
China Grove, North Carolina

Good tip on the circle! The upshot...

You may remember that South Mecklenburg High in Charlotte wound up having to forfeit its season - and a legitimate shot at a state title - because, it was claimed, the parents of a player who transferred to South Meck in January of his junior year had not done their paperwork. This, despite some earlier assurances by the school district that everything was in order.

But some good, apparently, did come out of the injustice done to the South Meck kids: a closer look into a school system notorious for highly successful teams built on highly suspicious transfers.

In February, a Charlotte-area coach who in his first year at a school had "led" his team to the North Carolina state 4AA semifinals resigned as a result of a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools investigation into the use of ineligible players.

Subsequently, the N.C. High School Athletic Association banned him from coaching at any member school for one calendar year.

No problem. Charlotte is on the North Carolina-South Carolina border, and just a couple of months into his North Carolina suspension, the coach has resurfaced at a school in South Carolina, within commuting distance of Charlotte.

Moral: If you're going to get banned in a state, make sure you live near the border...

*********** Jeff Rice, of the Centre Daily Times, State College, Pennsylvania, asked Joe Paterno to reflect on his installation into the College Football Hall of Fame...

"I've always been a little bit embarrassed about that stuff because there are so many people that are not around," Paterno said. "If I could bring back Jim O'Hora and Rip Engle and J.T. White and Bob Phillips and all those guys, and we could all go down there together and have a little fun and say, 'Hey, look, here's what we did. Wasn't it great?'; it would be a little different."

Those men, and others, who played no small roles in Penn State's storied football tradition themselves, kept coming to the surface Thursday as Paterno told, in parts at a time, the well-known tale of his journey from Brooklyn to Brown to State College.

Engle, the man Paterno succeeded at Penn State, brought him down from Providence, R.I., in 1950. Paterno recently had concluded four fruitful years as a quarterback and defensive back at Brown. As a graduate assistant that spring, he had, at Engle's wishes, served as a mentor to a young quarterback named Dave Carter, so when Engle left Brown to take the Penn State job and his backfield coach, Bill Doolittle, decided not to join him, Engle offered Paterno the job.

Paterno, who at that point had planned on completing his degree and attending law school, resisted. What did he know about coaching?

Engle responded by handing him six reels of football film.

"Go look at these," he instructed Paterno, "and then come back and ask me questions."

Three years later, Paterno called his parents, who had until then assumed law school was still on the horizon for their oldest son, and told them he was going to stay in the place that would become known as Happy Valley and make coaching his livelihood. Angelo Paterno was miffed.

"I always thought you'd be president of the United States," he told Joe.

"They were disappointed," Paterno said. "And that was tough for me. But I just had a feeling I could do some things here with Rip. ... I just felt this might just be something I could grab hold of and run with."

During the next few years, Paterno honed his skills as a coach, which he quickly discovered were in direct correlation to his skills with people. When Engle decided to retire in 1965, he tabbed his eager young assistant as his successor. But Paterno's days of learning from elder coaches were not over. Penn State's defensive line coach had a few more lessons for him.

"Jim O'Hora had more influence on me than anybody," Paterno said.

After his move to State College, Paterno initially stayed in Engle's house, sleeping on a cot. He spent the next 11 years living with the O'Hora family, who granted Paterno access to the refrigerator and provided him with a lasting friendship. It was that bond that allowed O'Hora, who died in 2005, to gently urge his new boss, 12 years O'Hora's junior, to delegate responsibilities during Paterno's first few years as a head coach.

"I had all the answers," Paterno said. "Jim sat me down and said, 'Hey Joe, you're driving the staff nuts. Let up.' And I think that probably helped me as much as anything."

*********** Writes George Will:

General Douglas MacArthur said that every military defeat can be explained in two words: " too late." Too late in anticipating danger, too late in preparing for it, too late in taking action.

*********** Coach Wyatt, Miller now owns Leinenkugel’s, but it certainly isn’t theirs.  Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company merged with Miller in 1988 and Miller was wise to not mess with a good thing.  They have let Leinenkugel’s operate independently and therefore retain all the original character that made it so great in the first place.  If you are ever near Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, the brewery is a must see.
Joel Mathews
P.S. – my folks live in Chippewa Falls now, so I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the brewery a few times and even meeting some of the Leinenkugel family.
Hi Coach-

I've been in Chippewa Falls. Really nice town. I put on a football camp there, and the football coach, Chuck Raykovitch, is a friend. I've seen - but not toured - the brewery.

Yes, it is a separate brewery, but make no mistake - that was only a "merger" in the sense that the minnow merges with the whale. It serves Miller's marketing purposes to cultivate the image of an independent operation, but  the people at SAB Miller  headquarters in London call the shots.  ("SAB", by the way, once stood for South African Breweries, but for obvious reasons that name was seen as a liability in some parts of the world). 

I know the beer business pretty well, and trust me - the day that old brewery in Chippewa Falls proves too costly to run, SAB Miller (British-owned) will close it down and brew the stuff in Milwaukee.  Maybe in the "Plank Road Brewing Company," a clever device they already use to disguise the fact that it is really SAB Miller.  Or maybe the label will just say, "Leinenkugel Brewing Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin." 

Sad, but true.  Since I worked in the beer business more than 40 years ago, I've seen it happen way too many times, including the company I worked for.  That old brewery is long gone, but somebody is still making its products somewhere. 

*********** Regarding a coach claiming my Numbering system was "a little too heavy" for youngsters...

They have to be able to count to 9 and know their left from their right. If you as a coach can't teach that, maybe you should consider soccer.

Dennis Cook, Roanoke, Virginia

*********** Regarding a coach claiming my Numbering system was "a little too heavy" for youngsters...

I enjoyed your blog today as always. Nice pic of the "Maineiacs".

If you don't mind, I'll throw my 2 cents' worth in about the play numbering question. As you know, I was with the same group of boys for 5 years running the DW using your numbering system. For some reason unknown to me now, I switched to a more traditional numbering system for one season. It didn't create any huge problems, because I could go back and forth b/t the 2 systems with the boys, since they knew the DW so well. But, I can emphatically state that your numbering system is the easier and more logical system IMHO. This was especially evident in situations when you wanted the FB to go to a spot different than the point of attack. It just didn't work out with the traditional numbering system.....the FB had to remember where to go on those particular plays, he had to go someplace different. I'm pretty conservative, and don't like to burden my kids with a lot of "thinking" on the fly, which is why I'm convinced that your numbering works best for our system. We don't give our 8 or 9 year-olds enough credit....these kids are more tech savvy than most adults, and they play video games that require remembering codes and multiple characters, so I think that they can handle the numbering for half a dozen football plays (which BTW, we're going to rep about a gazillion times before the first game).


Rick Davis
Duxbury, Massachusetts

flagTUESDAY, MAY 13, 2008- "Honor is not the appendage of any social class. It is a way of life which may be freely chosen by any man or women, regardless of race, color, or creed."
T. Braxton Woody, professor emeritus of French, University of Virginia


*********** Cannon School ( in Concord, North Carolina is seeking an experienced Defensive Coordinator to help start their football program.  Cannon is a K-12 college preparatory school with a strong commitment to academics.  Cannon is also committed to building a quality football program. The football program will begin with 7th, 8th, and 9th graders (we will add one grade level each subsequent year). Teaching positions are available in the following areas: English,  Biology/Life Sciences, Spanish, and Guidance (no PE positions available at this time). Off-campus coaches are also encouraged to apply.  Interested coaches should contact Cannon's AD, Ron Johnson at or Head Football Coach, Donnie Hayes at  

Donnie Hayes is a long-time friend, from his days as a successful Double-Wing youth coach in suburban Detroit to his more recent career as an offensive coordinator and then head coach in Central Florida. I think that this would be a wonderful opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a football program at an excellent school with great facilities in a very nice area about 20 miles north of downtown Charlotte. Charlotte is a good football area - the newspaper does a great job of covering high school sports, and the TV stations devote a lot of time to high school football highlights on Friday nights. Cannon School strikes me as the sort of place where a guy could settle in and stay for years.

*********** Fair disclosure - I have been a Mac user since before there were Macs. I started on an Apple IIc in 1983 or so, and grew good enough with it that when the Mac first arrived, like most people I resisted the idea of having to learn a whole new system. Even if it meant I could do more. (I often use that analogy in telling people that I think they'd be better off not trying to adapt their present numbering system to my Double-Wing, but instead to just suck it up and learn the new system.)

I have owned eight Macs, including six laptops. Amazingly, I have had my "newest" one for over four years. Yes, I spent a fair amount on it, but I have given it a lot of use, and except for the time that wasn't its fault - I dropped the damn thing and destroyed my hard drive - it has never let me down. I take it everywhere I go, and I use it for everything I do, including writing, video editing and clinic presentations. I keep trying to come up with a justification for getting a new one, and as much as I keep checking out those those new models at my local Mac store, I have to admit that there's nothing wrong with the one I've got.

Recently, a coach asked my recommendations on selecting a Mac.

I said, if you want a desktop, the iMac is a great computer, but you probably ought to get a laptop, because there will be times when you will want to take your computer with you to show something to your kids right on the practice field.  Or show other coaches at a clinic.
I think that your best bet is a MacBook - for $1299 you can get one with a 160 gig hard drive; for $1499 you get one with 250 gigs. (Don't look for better prices. Apple has done an amazing job of not getting caught up in the discount wars.)

Both MacBooks have 1 gig of ram; they both have 13-inch screens; they both have super drives, which means they will burn DVDs as well as CDs.

They both come with "iLife" which is Apple's own program containing iTunes, iMovie, iDVD and GarageBand and iWeb.  It is one great program.

With that and Quick Time Pro, which costs only $30, with either one you are ready for most of the uses any football coach will ever have for video.

If you want a Mac with a larger screen you would have to move up to a MacBook Pro. They start at $1999 for a 15-inch, $2799 for a 17-inch. They really kick ass, but you don't really need one.

If you need a larger screen for video editing (not a bad idea) you can always buy a separate monitor.

*********** Hugh, It sounds like you had a good time in Providence. Again, I wish I could have made it, but my girls are really enjoying lacrosse which thrills me to no end. 

I was wondering what your thoughts were on this Indiana basketball mess. The latest I heard was that the former assistant coach swooped in and talked one player into transferring to his new team. Tom Crean appears to be a good guy and enthusiastic about the job. Too bad he has to bascially start from scratch, but then again maybe its for the best. I just hope  the fans give him a decent measure of patience to pick up the pieces. It's a sad state of affairs that Kelvin Sampson can so quickly move on to an NBA job... he probably is a better fit for the NBA anyway!

Sam Keator, Litchfield, Connecticut

I am sad about the whole deal because first of all, I have followed Kelvin Sampson since he was at Washington State and I thought he was a straight shooter.  Evidently I was wrong.

I'm not overly impressed with the character of a lot of basketball coaches at any level, so it didn't surprise me that he'd get another job somewhere.

I imagine Tom Crean's a good guy, so I'm sorry at the way his dream job seems to have blown up on him.  He could have stayed at Marquette and been successful, but historically, Indiana has appeared to be one of those career jobs that a guy just can't turn down.  On the other hand, maybe it's not, really, because nobody's done all that well since Knight left, and Knight himself hadn't done all that well in his last few years, either.

Fortunately for Crean, college basketball has such a short life cycle now that he'll have Indiana back in a year or so.

*********** Whew. Hillary must be really bad. Ted (The Lifeguard) Kennedy says she's not fit to be Vice-President. 

*********** I'm not going to get involved in a discussion of the pros and cons of what is shaping up to be a battle royal among Democrats over rules.

But does anybody remember the election of 2000, and all the bleating about Al Gore's having won the "popular vote" yet somehow being denied the presidency?

No one wanted to hear anything about the fact that there were rules involved, and the rules for electing the president say nothing about any so-called "popular vote."

The rules, see, are spelled out in something called the Constitution (amazing how few people at the time seemed to know this), and they are simple: You do not win the election by winning any "popular vote." You win the election by winning a majority of electoral votes, which are apportioned to each state roughly according to its population - one for each of its representatives, and one for each of its two senators.

Win a state and you win all its electoral votes. Winner take all. Win enough states - and enough electoral votes - and you are elected President.

When we lose, and we see rules as standing in the way of the results we want, it's tough to have to admit that without them, we would have chaos.

George Will, a knowledgeable baseball fan as well as an astute commentator on the political scene, wrote recently about the 1960 World Series. I remember it well, as the one that was settled in the bottom of the ninth of game seven when the Pirates' Bill Mazeroski hit one of out old Forbes Field.

It was a strange series, very tough on a Pirates' fan like myself, because the games went back and forth, alternating between Yankees' blowouts and Pirates' narrow victories.

The three Yankees' wins were by an average margin of almost 12 runs per game. The four Pirates' wins were by a margin of seven runs. Total.

The Yankees outscored the Pirates, 55 runs to 27. So they should have won the series, right?

Wrong. There were those damn rules standing in the Yankees' way.

We may not know anything about the Constitution, but we do know that the rules of baseball stipulate that the World Series will be won by the first team to win four games. And we all know they don't say a thing about total runs.

*********** Newberry College finally caved in to Big Brother, aka the NCAA, and agreed to stop calling its teams "Indians."

Meantime, one of the top cricket teams in India's Premier League is the Mumbai Indians, and there is no more uproar than there is about a hockey team in Rochester, New York, calling itself the Americans.

(Although, come to think of it, it's probably just a matter of time before some "Immigrants Rights" group claims that that name is "threatening" and "exclusive.")

Anyhow - just wondering - with US soccer teams taking the names of European clubs, and kids' teams everywhere pretentiously calling themselves "FC" this and "FC" that, why hasn't it occurred to any college being bullied by Big Brother to claim (wink, wink) that it's simply honoring a cricket team?

Interestingly, the Rochester Americans were just purchased by a group called Arrow Express Sports, headed by a guy named Curt Styres - from Ontario. Canada, that is. Meaning that the Americans are owned by a Canadian. And he's a member of the six nations. Meaning he's a Canadian Indian - er, a Canadian Native American - er, a Canadian Aborigine.

*********** Now that it apppears that O.J. Mayo will probably be taking a cut in pay when he turns pro, you can be sure that there will be lotsa people keeping an eye on those eighth graders already "committed" to USC and Kentucky. If one of them buys a new Esacalade and he claims he earned it mowing lawns...

*********** Dear Coach Wyatt

My name is Fred Klauke, and I’m a long time reader of your “News” section.  I am not a coach, and unfortunately I grew up on a small farm with a small family in Iowa, so morning and evening chores kept me from participating in sports as a kid, but I love football and have grown to love a good running game going against a good defense.  Luckily for me, my job entails directing/producing telecasts of high school games for a small cable network in Iowa and Illinois, and so I get to see a lot more angles of each play than we could possibly show our viewers.  A few teams we follow do a lot of mis-direction (I don’t know that they’re always running a true double wing, but Rock Island, Alleman, and Moline high schools here in Illinois, as well as Augustana College, seem to be running at least some double-wing sets), and I’ve grown to appreciate how hard it must be to defend, because it takes a heck of a cameraman to keep up!
Anyway, I just wanted to say I appreciate your weekly news sections and to feel free to give my name and email to Coach Gary Creek, as I’d love to purchase a copy of his book when he’s completed it.  Someday when I move on from television producing I would like to help out on a youth football or small high school staff (even if just as a scout or for film breakdown).  Thanks, and keep writing – I especially enjoy reading your comments about the stupid things the big TV networks are doing, because it gives me a guideline on what NOT to do (as well as ammunition when a corporate head asks us to do the same thing)!
Thanks again,
Fred Klauke

Coach Wyatt sent me a copy of your email to him.

I am going to consider this some form of divine inspiration. I have written an outline for a book and formulated some ideas in my head over the years, but just recently I have been seriously considering writing it all down.

Your timely email is very much appreciated. I especially liked how you have grown to admire a good running game. I have always preferred the running game and use it to set up play-action passes, sometimes use the play-action pass to make the running game even better. Many times we have come out throwing just to get the defense to respect the fact that we might, and that has created more favorable match-ups defensively. Scoring on a pass play actually disappoints me. Long runs are nice but I prefer to score from no more than 10 yards out. The defense is supposed to protect their goal line, and I like to get them backed up so that they are lining up on or inside of their goal line. Something psychological happens there.

You may have seen this quote from Marcus Allen before. I carry a copy with me in my wallet. It defines my belief in the running game:

“The small picture is to gain yards. The big picture is to wear teams down. That’s what the running game is all about. Passing does not destroy a teams’ will. You destroy your opponents’ will by running the ball.”

Marcus Allen

I had this made into a poster to hang in the locker room.

Thanks for taking the time to write to Coach Wyatt. I have never met him that I  know of, but I have watched his tapes so many times that he feels like a next door neighbor to me. I read his NEWS YOU CAN USE column weekly and have realized that I agree with his take on just about everything. His system works. I have had many arguments with coaches about what to run offensively. The newspaper in our home town of Longmont, Colorado called me the "Double Wing Commander". It was a very nice article before a playoff game about our consistently leading the state in rushing yardage and, I think more importantly, rushing attempts. Rushing attempts means you are controlling the ball and goes right back to the Marcus Allen statement.

Thanks again for the inspiration!


Gary Creek
Lake Havasu City, Arizona

*********** We recently observed the 25th anniversary of the famous "A Nation at Risk" report, in which it was predicted that unless our nation's schools got their act together, we were headed for problems as a nation.
Well, as it turns out, our nation's schools didn't spend the last 25 years getting their act together, and, coincidentally or not, we do seem to have our share of problems.

Face it - educationally, we suck. Yes, we have universities that are the envy of the world. (They must be, because every year foreign students make up a greater percentage of their student bodies.) And, yes, we have high schools that consistently turn out top-quality graduates well-prepared to do the work of any of those colleges.

But in comparing our younger students with those of other nations in the world, we are getting our clocks cleaned. Surprisingly to some people, Finland ranks at or near the top by an measurement.

As someone who spent seven summers in Finland coaching football, it was no surprise to me.

For one thing, the Finns read. It's a major chore taking any work in English and translating it into Finnish, and since the population of Finland is about that of the state of Washington, book publishing can't be all that profitable, but all sorts of books are available, and they gobble them up.

Their population is relatively homogeneous. They do not struggle with large numbers of children who do not speak their language. Instead of "Finnish as a Second Language" they are able to concentrate on teaching their kids two and three languages - while we struggle to teach our kids one.

Education is a matter of national pride. Finns take pride in being educated. It matters to them that they learn. There is a respect for knowledge, and there is nothing comparable to an inner-city culture that demeans the educated and takes a perverse pride in being uneducated.

Students are tracked. For the last three years of high school, they are put into separate tracks, one to prepare for university, the other to prepare for a trade. Only 53 per cent make it onto the college track. The college-bound - and their teachers - are not held back by "reluctant learners." In America, of course, we spend billions indulging ourselves in the myth that everyone should go to college. What successful football coach would spend as much time with the kids with bad attitudes, low ability and poor attendance as he does with his starters?

Teachers are well-educated in the subject they teach. In America, we frequently assign teachers to teach subjects they're unqualified to teach. Few American "educators" would think of asking a soccer coach to coach the football team, but the classroom is another thing entirely.

In Finland, high school kids don't drive. They have to be at least 18 to get a learner's permit, and on top of that they have to spend thousands to take a mandatory driver's education class. Maybe this explains why they read - and do their homework.

Although they are a nation heavily invested in technology - telephone giant Nokia is a Finnish company - they do not see technology as taking the place of a teacher or covering up for poor teaching. The emphasis is still on the teacher and on texts. Their texts are to educate, not indoctrinate - they do not waste class time and resources trying to make this group or that feel better about itself.

I hate to add this, but - for good or bad - although Finns are crazy about sports, they do not have high school sports.

*********** The NCAA Academic Progress Rates (APR) were released last week. The Top Five football scores among Division I-A members for 2007-08 were Stanford (986), Navy (979), Rutgers (977), Duke (977), and Air Force (976).

How about a little respect for Rutgers! And on top of that, when Notre Dameinsisted on playing a game - a Rutgers home game, no less - at the Meadowlands, instead of Rutger's new, on-campus stadium, they told the Irish to take a hike.

*********** We all know that whatever connection there is between big time football and the college's mission grows more tenuous every day. But there is no solution. Thanks to Title IX, colleges are addicted to the money that football can bring in.

Somewhere I read the suggestion that colleges should simply shuck their football programs and let become what they have, de facto, been for some time - minor leagues, devoted to preparing talent for the NFL.
Utterly absurd. Totally impossible. Too many women's sports depend on the money.

How, without the money that football brings in, do these well-intentioned people think that colleges are going to support such feel-good extravagances as a 64-team softball NCAA tournament? Where, exactly, without football, will they find the money to fly Arizona's softball team to Hempstead, NY, Washington's to Houston, Texas, Stanford's to Amherst, Massachusetts?

*********** The Wall Street Journal, editorializing about the alll-but-certain Obama victory, wrote, "It took 10 years, but you might say Democrats finally voted to impeach."

*********** In an article by Paul Zimmerman in Sports Illustrated July 30, 1984, Steelers' Hall of Fame linebacker Jack Lambert spke about his approach to speaking before groups...

"In the old days players would go into a place, tell a couple of locker-room stories, talk about the team, take the money and run," he said. "I decided I wasn't going to cheat people."

So he began to talk about drugs, and senseless vandalism, about respect and the pride that he felt when he stood at attention before a game and heard the National Anthem played. The audience would stare at him. Is this a put-on or what? Then they'd applaud. At one affair someone asked him what he'd do to the drug dealers. His reply was typically blunt. "Hang them by their feet in Market Square until the wind whistles through their bones."

"I read about sports figures who say the idea of their having an impact on kids is overrated," Lambert says. "I can't believe that. I've had kids at my camp who I damn well know would listen to me before their parents or their teacher. We have a responsibility, and if I can keep one kid from going on drugs I've accomplished something."

*********** Aloha Coach!
Just wanted to drop you a line and thank you for sharing your offense.  I adopted your "Double-Wing T" about four seasons ago.......our first year we completed our season at 9-3, second 8-4, third 4-5 (many injuries....freak type) and last season 11-0 - Island Champions.
I will be ordering your DVD's soon, my VHS tapes are wiped out.
Thanks again for all your help.  I will be sending you some questions when our season begins in July.
Take care!
Coach Rob Lee
Kaneohe, Hawai'i

*********** Coach Wyatt, I could use your advice.
My offensive line is very young and small. I thought if worked on our schemes , down blocks, doubles, traps etc, we would be alright. we are not.

Our defense has way better players , and they are playing great. On offense we are struggling to move the ball.

As I see it I have 2 choices

1 Split the good players , put half on the offense and let the defense adjust and adapt, of course they won't be as strong.

2 Have the best players play offense and defense and have the backups give them a rest
Is there a better way?

------- --------
PS Last year I started a JR High program in a school with no football. We faced teams that emulated the pros and threw the ball all over the park. We ran DW. our best play was the wedge, in one game we ran it 7x in a row, from our 5 to their 5. We ran 6G great better than we have ever run it.

We made the playoffs....some games we did not complete a pass.

Coach- This one is easy. Choice number 2.

Obviously, there is a lot to be said for platooning. To be able to to platoon requires (1) sufficient quality talent and (2) sufficient quality  coaches.  The NFL and major colleges attest to that.  They have the talent and the coaching to make it work.

But relatively few are the high school programs in America that have two discrete units, one for offense and one for defense.  For the most part, those that do are  the super-large schools, with enrollments of more than 2,000. 

The vast majority of American high schools do not fall into this category. In their cases, two-way play is the rule:   the best players are on the field the entire game.  Based on what you say about the disparate distribution of talent on your club, I would venture to say that this should be the case with you, too.

While your organization may have the coaching to bring it off, it is obvious that you don't have the athletes, and the only solution to your problem is to have your best players playing both ways.

In my opinion, there are two strong arguments in favor:

(1) Making sure that you always have the best player at every position at all times; (2) Making sure that an organizational decision to platoon, one made irrespective of actual talent considerations, doesn't force you to  have to make do with lesser players while better ones stand on the sidelines  (a form of "welfare football," in which positions are given to players who have not earned them on merit.)

Kids getting tired? I've never had a good player who wanted to come off the field.

Kids are young and strong and resilient.  Playing an entire 48-minute game will not exhaust a player to the point where he won't be able to make a quick recovery in plenty of time for the after-game party or dance.

Maybe kids will get tired at times, but in a tough situation, I will always go with the good athlete, even when he's tired, over the poorer player who might be fresh.

It's a whole lot easier to get a good player in better condition than it is to get a poor player better.

*********** From ESPN- The Uncensored History by Michael Freeman - 2000

The network asked and was granted permission by Jerry Jones, the NFL's top showman, to place cameras in the team's office on the day of the draft, as they did with several other teams. Showing the raw reactions of the executives and coaches as they plotted their moves live on TV made for great theater. In Dallas, the cameras had an unintended consequence. Jones, always sniffing for ways to grab a little publicity to prove to a skeptical public that he was an astute football guy, approached head coach Jimmy Johnson, who ran all football operations, shortly before the draft was scheduled to begin.

"Jimmy, I have a favor to ask, Jones said. "Before you make the pick, since we'll have these ESPN cameras in the room, I want you to lean over to me and act you're whispering something in my ear. I want to look like I'm doing something."

"What?" the Dallas coach said. "F--k that. If it's about you looking good, then you pick the motherf--king players." Johnson stormed away angrily, returning less than an hour before the draft. ESPN had played an unintentional part in one of the most volatile relationships in NFL history.

*********** Good day Coach, My name is --- ---- and this year I have come full circle and am back to coaching my sons  (8-9 year olds) I want to run the DW as I started last year with a few plays(Wedge and 88-99) and had great success.FYI ..I was a DC for 5 years and our team's offense ran the DW,so that is why I would like to take this group of boys that I will have for the next 5 years and introduce them to the DW.
My Question is  I find the numbering system a little heavy for my kids age group.Do you have any sugestions….


My numbering system IS my system.  It is unique to me. In nearly 40 years of coaching I have run other systems (including the familiar "2 back at the 4 hole" routine) and I believe that this is the best way to teach a misdirection offense. I created it in 1982 because I needed a way to make sure my backs would not crash into each other.  I haven't made a single change to the numbering system in all that time.

I have personally taught my system to more than a hundred teams, including kids of all ages, and to countless  others through my videos, and I have to say that I haven't run into any problems. 

I have no suggestions  other than what I would tell anybody:  run my system  exactly as it comes, right out of the can.

You didn't say  how familiar you are with my system and how I teach it.  Like so many aspects of football,  every bit as important as what you teach is how you teach it.

Bud Ale*********** After watching so-called craft brewers cut into the sales of Budweiser, while at the same time continuing to require their distributors to carry Anheuser-Busch products exclusively, the people at A-B have decided to fight back.

Perhaps you've already noticed the ads for a full line of Michelob brews.

And now, in October, Budweiser American Ale is due to hit the streets.

According to its label, “Budweiser American Ale defines a new style of ale – The American Ale – created by Anheuser-Busch brewmasters to deliver robust ale taste that’s full-bodied, but not too heavy nor too bitter.”

To all of which I say, "Good luck."

I think the A-B people would have been smarter to go the stealth route - the way Coors has done with its Blue Moon and Miller has with Leinenkugel's. At least those giants understand that among many beer drinkers there is a built-in prejudice against "industrial" beer.

Part of the reason craft beers have been successful is that they are NOT Budweiser.

Plus, of course, you can taste them.

*********** One way to explain the fact that NFL coaches go against their better judgment and sign known malefactors is that whereas they once got a little time to prove themselves, it's not uncommon for a guy to be fired after two seasons.

On top of that, free agency, the worst thing ever to happen to the professional sports fan, makes it very difficult to build and sustain any sort of team culture.

When you don't have the time to build a team, talent trumps character.

The ability to overcome those obstacles and create a team culture is at least as important as talent in explaining why Bill Belichick and Tony Dungy have been so successful.

flagFRIDAY, MAY 9, 2008- "I'm proud to pay taxes in America. The only thing is, I'd be just as proud for half the money." Arthur Godfrey

*********** Photos from the Providence clinic on Monday.

*********** Coach, Had a very unique experience today when an assistant coach from Liberty University in Virginia stopped by to see me about my A-back, Eric Samuels. Eric is 6', 185 pounds, and was our leading rusher last year with 126/956 and a 7.6 average per carry. I probably should have run him 226 times, but will do better this year. He has a tape on and it has generated quite a bit of interest. Auburn has called me about him and Vanderbilt will be here to look at him on the 19th of May, and he is getting a lot of mail from Middle Tennessee State, Cincinnatti, Louisville, and FAU, just to name a few. Well, this coach started looking at the tape and said I see you run the "Double-Wing", and I said yes. He asked if I knew you and I said Yes, I have been to Coach Wyatt's clinics in Denver and Atlanta. Well he played and then coached at Abbington, PA. His name is Coach Roberts, and he talked about how they had this fullback who ran for over a thousand yards on just 6/7-G after he altered his steps to receiving the ball. I said I am well aware of that and Coach Wyatt changed his way of teaching it because of this young man. I thought what a small world.

He was also very impressed when he met Eric and said "wow, he has such a presence about him. He has a firm handshake, looks you right in the eye and says yes sir, and no sir." I then told him about how we started having the players shake hands with each coach and look them in the eye after each practice a couple of years ago. He said, "you know I never could do this until my coach taught me how important it was." He talked at length about how much more we are giving our kids, than just the football experience. I thought this was great and I was very impressed with this coach.

Just thought you would like to hear about this very impressive young coach, because you had always talked about what good players Abington had and about their fullback.

Keep Coaching

Ron Timson, Umatilla High School
Umatilla, Florida (That is a GREAT story. I remember coach Roberts.  Marshall Roberts was a young coach then, just starting out. He had been a very good football player at Abington, and then had lettered for four years at Rutgers.

Abington High, outside Philadelphia,  is my wife's alma mater, and it's where I had my first opportunity to "field test" my system - to try it with a team other than my own - thanks to head coach Doug Moister, a good friend who wasn't afraid to take a chance on it.   And what a test it was!  Abington played in the Suburban One Conference, perennially one of the toughest in the state, against the likes of Central Bucks West, coached by Mike Pettine, Sr., Pennsylvania's winningest coach, and North Penn, coached by his son, Mike Pettine, Jr. The classic rivalry between those two powerful Pennsylvania programs would later be captured in an excellent documentary entitled "The Last Game."  Thanks to Doug Moister and his staff and players, I came away knowing that I was on the right track, and that, yes,  this "small school offense" could work at a big school, too. Those kids did a nice job of moving the ball against some very tough defenses. Interestingly, I think it was Coach Roberts' brother who, as I was explaining the offense to the Abington staff, was the first coach ever to ask me, "What defense gives you the most trouble?"  Which means he was the first to hear the answer I've given a thousand times, not trying to be funny: "A sound, well-coached defense with better players than we have." 

As for Coach Timson and Eric Samuels' "presence" - good for Coach Timson. Those things don't happen by accident. We do our kids a disservice if we DON'T insist that they say "thank you," and "please," and "excuse me, " and don't look people in the eye - and use their names - and shake their hands firmly - when they meet someone. Dave Potter, a youth coach in North Carolina, stresses this with his "Meet and Greet Drill." It is an impressive thing that he does for those kids, and it will give them an edge in life over kids who've never been taught the social graces. In the overall scheme of things, that sort of lesson will be more valuable to your kids than any football drill you ever put them through. Where football comes in, of course, is that if it weren't for football, you wouldn't have the opportunity to teach kids such important life lessons. HW)

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

Just wanted to be sure that you knew we have an In 'n' Out Burger right here in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
If you ever get over this way, a "Double Double" is on me.

Since it looks like 28 years of coaching is all for me (they don't need or want my help here at the high school) I am considering writing a book. Not an X's and O's book, I'll leave that to you, but just a book about my experiences as a coach, the learning-to-coach process, discovering your double wing in 1997 and the 138-16 won-loss record that followed. I'm thinking of calling the book "So, you want to coach football?", sort of a textbook for new coaches or coaches just looking for something that works. I would leave the nuts and bolts for you and others that have developed systems. My input would be more of a coaching handbook, how to handle stuff that comes with the territory with examples and stories of what I did right and plenty of what I didn't. Could you give me any advice as to how to go about getting a book like that published and do you think there is a need for it?

Thanks again for all the help you have given me!

Gary Creek
formerly Lyons High School, formerly Skyline High School, formerly Longmont High School (all in Colorado) now in the boat business in Lake Havasu City, Arizona

Thanks for the offer of the burger!

Hard to believe that so many coaches know so much football they can't benefit from the know-how of a guy who's already been where they'd like to go.

I have long maintained that the best thing a young head coach could do would be to find a "retired" head coach who could serve as an extra set of eyes and ears and an extra brain. So many guys find themselves in the sort of trouble - on or off the field - they could esily have avoided by having someone take them aside and say, "You might want to think about..."

As for your book --- is there a need? Yes.

Can it be published? Yes and no. Many people have the same idea, and commerical publishers, whose sole interest is in how many books they can sell, are less interested in the quality of the material than in the name of the author. (Don Shula's name will sell a whole lot more books than Hugh Wyatt's.)

You can deal always get a book published by a so-called "vanity press," which will publish a book for anybody - at a price. They don't care whether the book will sell or not, because essentially, they are high-tech Kinkos - they will sell you the books, and then it's up to you to sell them. Most people who go this route wind up with garages full of unsold books.

I would suggest that you get on the Internet and look into self-publishing. There are all sorts of resources for someone interested in that approach. You will still have to market your book, but you can publish it with a lot less investment than if you were to deal with a vanity press.

*********** It has leaked out that a panel of leading physicans has come up with an order of priority in which people would be treated in the event of a serious epidemic or disaster that exceeded our ability to treat everyone.

Last on their list are the very elderly and those suffering from serious dementia.

There was no mention of parents who got in coaches' faces.

At the very least, they should all be given tattoos reading "DO NOT RESUSCITATE"

*********** A former Double-Wing coach whose job required a relocation wrote to inform me that he'd taken a job at a local high school in his new town...

To make a long story short, they had the least amount of experience on the defense, so I took a spot where I could have the most impact. I am working under the varsity linebacker coach during spring ball and we have a great working relationship. For the first time in six seasons I get to work on an experienced staff that can teach me many new skills. The varsity coaches are an incredible group that always has time to help the JV coaches.

We are running a 3-3-5 so I have to study hard every day. It is a home grown system that is not like any of the other variations I have found, so I really have to pay attenton during team defense. If you know of any great books or other resources for defense in general or the 3-3 specifically, please feel free to send them my way.

Since it is a home-made system, I'm sure that nobody knows more about it than the guys right there on the scene, and just like with the Double Wing, it is possible to corrupt what you are already learning by bringing in stray ideas.

If you haven't already done so, you will want to watch all the video of it you can, and write down questions as you go - and where on the video those questions arose - and then see if someone is willing to take the time to answer them. From the sound of things, someone will be.

*********** In a passage in John Feinstein's "A Season on the Brink", Bobby Knight, then at Indiana, rhapsodizes about an eighth grader named Damon Bailey. Coach Knight is almost apologetic about it, as if admitting to having a crush on the kid. The idea of actually offering the kid a scholarship seems that unnatural.

My, how things have changed.

For the second time in as many years, USC's Tim Floyd has offered a scholarship to an eighth grader

Kentucky has just done the same.

It will be interesting to see how these arrangements work out, but we do have one example to go by...

Not too long ago, a kid named Taylor King, dissatisfied with his playing time at Duke and apparently displeased with Mike Krzyzewski's assessment of his chances for more playing time, transferred to Villanova. Before signing with Duke, he'd "committed" to UCLA prior to his freshman year in high school.

*********** Rick Davis, of Duxbury, Massachusetts said that my observations of New England wwere "spot on," but as a native Mainer he felt I'd left something out when I failed to spell "lobster roll" phonetically - as "lobstah roll."

*********** It's come to my attention that a great product of two of the ethnic groups attracted to New England by its cotton mills is noted chef Emeril Lagasse, a native of Fall River, Massachusetts and the son of a French-Canadian father and a Portugese mother.

*********** A former Guantanamo detainee recently carried out a suicide attack in northern Iraq.

No doubt the bleeding hearts will say that he was just an innocent choir boy who happened to be in the wrong place when he was arrested and shipped to Gitmo, where he was turned into an anti-American radical.


*********** This is why I could never coach soccer...

There was an article in our local paper about a kid who had played in two big soccer "matches" (that would be "games," to the rest of America) last Saturday.

His "elite" team (elite - now there's a word that will never be part of the vocabulary of football) had a very, very important playoff "match" at 1 PM in Beaverton, Oregon.

His high school team, meanwhile, had a very, very important playoff "match" at 4 PM in Vancouver, Washington.

Under the best of conditions, the two cities are about 45 minutes apart.

Well. The kid played the game ("match") for his "elite" team (they won) and then hustled back to Vancouver to play for his high school team, arriving just in time. To play the second half.


Interestingly, his high school coach was quoted in another article as saying that there was no problem- that he'd told the kid that he had to be fully committed to the high school team, and that his playing on the "elite" team would not be an excuse for missing practice.

Maybe not. But he didn't saying anything about missing half a game (er, "match") - so I guess that's okay.

You and I know what's going on with these high school soccer coaches, of course - they know full well that if they were to ask kids to commit fully to their high school team, their best kids would choose the allure of "elite" soccer. (In the case in question, the "elite" team's win meant a trip to Hawaii.

Why, if they were draw the line, they might not even have enough players for a high school team.


*********** I mentioned that Army coach Stan Brock had closed all this spring practices to the media and the public, and since then he has announced that the policy will apply to all pre-season practices as well.

Now, I'm not happy about not being able to watch a team pracrice, but I do fully support a coach's right to determine what is the right course for his football team. He is vested with the responsibility, and it isn't reasonable to expect him to succeed without doing things his way.

Most of the comments I see and hear seem to be opposed, to the closed-door policy, but I found  these comments from the book "Hayden Fry - A High Porch Picnic" to be a good defense of it.

When Coach Fry took over at SMU in 1962, it was a major turnaround project, and he felt the need to take drastic action in several areas. One of those was practice...

"Another change I made did not go over too well with some fans and members of the news media. I closed practices, because there was too much information coming out of them. Injuries are a part of football, and if all the minor ones are reported daily, it sounds like your practice field has become a war zone.  Sometimes players are moved up and down the depth chart for motivational or disciplinary purposes, and there is no reason to report the moves. And, of course, there are lots of times changes are made in the offense and defense, and you don't want your opponent to know about them.  The fans and media eventually became accustomed to closed practices, and most understood why we were doing it."

*********** I heard a radio commercial in which some woman was saying, "Guys, Mother's Day in Sunday..."

I thought, why "Guys?" Don't women have mothers, too?

And then it hit me - I think they are trying to turn this thing into Wife's Day.

*********** While in the LA area a couple of weeks ago, I walked past one of the meeting rooms at the hotel where I was staying, and pulled up short when I read the sign on the door: "COMEDY CLUB"

Now, this was on Sunday morning, an unlikely time to be learning comedy routines, and the people inside didn't look to me like aspiring comics.

And then I realized what I had stumbled on - it was a traffic school. You know - the kind you agree to attend as an alternative to a fine or increased insurance premiums.

In California, where traffic school has been privatized, enterprizing organizations have hit on the idea of having comedians give the lessons, and apparently the concept has been quite successful.

It even appears you can now "attend" online.

*********** If you would, could you please let all of your readers know that Cannon School, in Concord, NC is seeking an experienced Defensive Coordinator to help start their football program.  Cannon is a top-notch K-12 college prepratory school with very high academic standards.  They are also very committed to building a quality football program.  We will start the program next season with 7th, 8th and 9th graders and build from there.  We are willing to talk to coaches interested in being community coaches as well as those interested in teaching at the school.  Unfortunately, there are no PE positions available at the school but, they are looking for an English Department Chair, a Biology/Life Sciences teacher, a Spanish teacher as well as a Guidance Counselor at the Upper (High) School.  Interested coaches can contact Cannon's AD, Ron Johnson at or myself at  
Thanks for your help!
Donnie Hayes
Head Football Coach
Cannon School
Concord, North Carolina

flagTUESDAY, MAY 6, 2008- "When men cease to believe in God, they will not believe in nothing. They will believe in anything." G. K. Chesterton

*********** You couldn't watch the Kentucky Derby (excuse me - make that The Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum Brands. Sheesh) without feeling deeply saddened by the fatal injury suffered by second-place finisher Eight Belles.

Fortunately, although TV had the ability to show us, we didn't see the doomed filly going through her death throes,

Instead, NBC made the right decision and chose to spare us the scene.

"She was writhing," said NBC producer Sam Flood. "It was gruesome. I elected not to go for it for the simple reason it's not something I'd like my wife and children at home to see."

Not that such a decision required any great courage, because all hell would have broken loose if he'd shown the poor horse down on the track.

But where was he when we needed him - when they started talking about erections lasting longer than four hours?

*********** It's not every day that I come to the defense of Senator Hillary Clinton.

But after the tragic death of poor Eight Belles, Mrs. Clinton was castigated by PETA for placing a small wager on the filly,.

Sheesh. Is there nothing people can do to have a little enjoyment without somebody throwing a tantrum?

*********** By now, you may know that Polo Ralph Lauren has been chosen as "official outfitter" of the US Olympic team. They call the outfits "preppy," but the ones I've seen look a little, um, gay.

In any event, surprise - the line of clothing inspired by the Olympic outfits will go on sale in June.

*********** Quick impressions on my recent trip to New England...

The Providence area has to have more good restaurants than any area of comparable size that I've ever been to. We're not talking Olive Garden/Red Lobster/Tony Roma's, either. The nearest thing you'll find to them is Legal Seafood, an upscale New England-based chain that puts them to shame. The ones I'm talking about are, for the most part, family-owned and operated. On Federal Hill alone there must be a dozen good Italian restaurants. Two out-of-the-way places, known only to the locals, are probably my favorite restaurants. Twin Oaks, in Cranston, is a long-time Rhode Island favorite. The Governor Francis Inn, in Warwick, is at least as good. You name it - seafood, Italian, steaks, roast beef or chops - it's on the menu. The food is delicious, the portions huge, the prices reasonable.

You'll find ethnic groups in New England that you won't find in large numbers anywhere else in the US. Around Fall River and New Bedford, Massachusetts there's a large population of Portugese-Americans, and the signs on storefronts reflect that fact. Some are recent arrivals, but many have been in America a long time. Some of their ancestors came here to work as crew on the whaling ships that sailed out of New Bedford, others to work in the giant textile mills that sprung up along New England's rivers. Actually, it's not unreasonable to trace the Portugese in America back to Prince Henry the Navigator.

Among more recent arrivals, Providence has a fairly large number of Cape Verdeans, who speak Portugese. (Take a look at an atlas to see where the Cape Verde Islands are.) And among the Portugese-speakers around Boston are a large number of Brazilians.

Many New Englanders are descended from French Canadians who came south long ago to work in those mills.

The textile industry that made New England wealthy and attracted workers both from nearby farms and faraway lands is long gone, and there's scarely a town in New England whose skyline isn't dominated by the hulk of at least one abandoned mill. Fall River alone, once the most important textile city in the world, must have dozens of the huge old buildings, built to last from brick or locally-quarried stone. In some towns, mainly those nearer the big cities - and in some of the big cities themselves - old mills are being renovated and converted into trendy and expensive "loft" dwellings for wealthy urbanites, who couldn't possibly fathom what went on when those mills were running non-stop, their machines tended in many cases by workers no older than 14 or 15.

You don't have to drive too far from any New England city to see the rock walls that are a regional trademark. They're only a couple of feet high at most, and they've been built without any mortar. The rocks were just set in place, many of them a couple of hundred years ago. You can almost see the Minutemen crouched behind them, waiting to take a shot at the red coats. Although they look great, their purpose wasn't adornment. They started out as rocks in the farmers' fields that had to be cleared before anybody could scratch out a living on the land. But typical of New Englanders' ability to turn a negative into a positive, they wound up making great-looking walls. (Robert Frost's poem, "Mending Wall," describes the New England farmers' annual routine of going out in the fields and putting rocks back in place after a hard winter.)

The New England countryside is dotted with quaint little towns full of old buildings and old houses so well kept up that it doesn't take much of an imagination to think that you've gone back in time.

Back to the present: Wildass drivers to whom red lights and stop signs and solid no-passing lines are mere suggestions. They are at their best in traffic. Tip: Do not start out too fast at a red light, because that guy across from you, coming in the opposite direction, is probably going to hang a left in front of you.

Red Sox hats and Patriots' jackets. Everywhere.

When you don't live in a major league baseball city, you forget that there are places where people care about baseball. Really care. On the day I left to fly home, the news out of New Hampshire was that a Nashua woman had struck and killed a guy with her car. Seems he went after her because she'd been telling everyone in the bar that she was a Yankees fan. Being a Yankees fan in New England should allow her to cop an insanity plea.

Someone has produced a musical about the Rhode Island mob. (Yes, it may be a small state, but Little Rhody has a franchise in the major leagues of organized crime.) The show is called "The Altos."

All over New England, you can get great fried clams. Some roadside cafes offer "lobster rolls." A lobster roll is very simple - think of chunks of lobster meat on a hotdog roll.

In Rhode Island, there are "Stuffies" - a local delicacy. A large clam called a quahog is cooked and its meat is chopped and mixed with spicy bread crumbs and packed (stuffed) back into the two halves of the late clam and baked. And served with your favorite pepper sauce.

Starbucks, fahgeddaboutit - New England is the land of Dunkin Donuts. There's one on every corner. And sometimes another one in the middle of the block.

Narragansett Beer, once New England's leading brand, has been revived and is making a nice comeback.

Living can be expensive in New England, a fact of which you are reminded in some very strange ways. For example, Boston charges you a $3.50 toll just to drive your car out of the airport.

In Boston, the capital of one of the most liberal all all states, there is no shortage of conservative talk show guys.

*********** "I have flaws. I have sometimes made choices which have not been right." Roger Clemens.

Well, not Roger Clemens, exactly.

Actually, Roger Clemens' spokesman, allegedly speaking for the Rocket

*********** I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that the Olympic gold medal in table tennis will be won by a guy from.... drum roll, please.... China.

In the world's most populous country, it is by far the most popular sport.

There are so many good Chinese table tennis players that there is scarcely a nation whose "Olympic Table Tennis Team" (does that sound as strange to you as it does to me?) isn't made up mainly of people of Chinese extraction. Not unlike Americans who head to Europe to play professional basketball once they realize they aren't going to make it in the NBA, these are Chinese who saw the writing on the wall back home and realized that their best chance to make it as a table tennis pro was to head to Poland, or England. Or the US.

*********** “The great divide in this country is not by race or even income, it’s by those who think they are better than everyone else and think they should play by a different set of rules.” Bill Clinton.

He really said that.

*********** When you are plagued with one of those guys who is blessed with great running ability but cursed with a tendency to fumble, you have to be enough of a hardass to put the team first - to sit the kid down. But don't take that from me. Take it from Bear Bryant.

"When a player has the ball in his possession and fumbles it, he has committed the unpardonable sin in my estimation. The ball carrier should remember to have one point of the football in the palm of his hand with the fingers around the end of the ball, and gripping it tightly. The other end should be in the crook of his arm, which should force the football up close to his body. If the football is carried properly, and the ball carrier is determined to hang on to it, the football should never be lost due to a fumble. The ball is the most valuable object on the football field. Consequently, if the ball carrier fails to hang on to the ball, he is letting down his entire team. Once a player has control of the ball and fumbles it, this is no accident. It is either carelessness or lack of courage. I can't build a winner with this type of player."

Bear Bryant, "Building a Championship Football Team," Prentice-Hall, 1960

*********** Author David Maraniss ("When Pride Still Mattered," "They Marched Into Sunlight," "Clemente") describes his latest book project, "Rome 1960 - The Olympics That Changed theWorld" on his Web site -

*********** Dentists must be behind energy drinks. Just kidding. But according to a study conducted by the University of Maryland's dental school, so-called energy drinks are far more likely than ordinary soft drinks to cause tooth decay. Or worse.

Most soft drinks contain such high levels of sugar - roughly three tablespoonsful (or the equivalent in high-fructose corn syrup) in 12 ounces of Coke, for example - that they would be too sweet to be drinkable. And energy drinks contain even more sugar than soft drinks.

The soft drink manufacturers add various acids, such as citric acid, as a way of cutting back on the sweetness.

The energy drink manufacturers have to add even more acids.

Problem is, the low pH (high acidity) which makes it possible for you to ingest all that sugar without gagging has a destructive effect on teeth.

A pH level of 4.0 is enough to dissolve teeth, and all energy drinks tested had pH levels of 3.3 or lower. In other words, they were even more likely to corrode teeth. By comparison, beer has a pH higher than 7.

Recommendations by dentists involved in the study...

1. If you must drink energy drinks, use a straw, which makes it more likely to prevent the drink from coming in contact with the teeth

2. After drinking an energy drink, rinse your mouth well with water

If I may, I'd like to make a third suggestion: drink beer instead.

*********** Sir, Buzz Bissinger is all over the internet right now thanks to his pathetic and unintentionally hilarious tirade on Bob Costas' show last night.  His sanctimonious lecturing on credibility and integrity and stuff like that reminded me of his book, "Friday Night Lights."  When I played football in high school someone asked our coach what he thought of the book.  He replied that he didn't like it because he knew the AD at the high school and Bissinger took some events out of context and misrepresented others in order to make a point.  I also once read your criticisms of the book.  I've only read the Google Books preview.  He goes out of his way to describe these people as unemployable, racist, rednecks and to paint the town in the most negative way possible.  It makes me wonder if people have ever made a serious effort to find out whether or not what happens in the book is true.
I was wondering if you knew anything about this or just your opinion of the book in general.  Thank you.
Cliff Evans, New York, NY

Cliff, I happen to have the (now old) video of a state title game between Odessa Permian and Aldine Nimitz. I forget who won.  I do remember that a kid named Stony Case played QB for Permian.

At some point in the game, they did a sideline interview with this Bissinger guy, who at that point was not yet known by the friendlier "Buzz" that I gather he goes by now. (Somewhat like a politician.)

He mentioned that he'd been spending the season in Odessa, and he mentioned the book he was doing research for, which he described somewhat innocuously as a look at small town America and the role football plays. Words to that effect.

I started to read the book some time ago but I couldn't finish it. It sits on my shelves, but I'll never read it.

What the guy did was accept the hospitality of small town people who opened their hearts and their homes to him - and then he paid them back by portraying them as racists, who clung to their guns and their God. No, wait - that's Pennsylvania, not Texas.

But you get the idea. As put off as I was by the way he betrayed his hosts, there was also his literary style - he described situations he could never have actually seen or been a part of, and created conversations he could never have heard, as if he were a fly on the wall.

He put words in peoples' mouths.  To me, that makes it fiction, and I don't like to see fiction being passed off as fact. What else did he make up?

In other words, I think Friday Night Lights is junk.

*********** Many of the innovations of the legendary Paul Brown, whose Cleveland Browns were the best team in football from the mid-1940's through the 1950's, are now common practice in football. One of them was his then-radical idea, of calling plays from the sideline, sending them in to the quarterback by way of "messenger guards." (The long-time football practice was for the quarterback to call his own plays.)

In his memoirs ( "PB: The Paul Brown Story" by Paul Brown with Jack Clary , 1979, Signet Books) coach Brown explained his thinking. Although his idea had long been adopted throughout pro football, you can tell by his words that the criticism he once received still stung...

"The one area of our football that drew a special amount of public attention was our play-calling and the use of messenger guards to shuttle the plays to our quarterbacks. On the basis of the number of victories and championships we won, it was a sound and very successful system, and today (1979) most of the NFL's coaches use it. Back then, though, we wre belittled, and our quarterbacks, especially Otto Graham, ridiculed for being something less than complete players. Much of this nonsense was based on ignorance, deliberate or otherwise, of how our play-calling system really worked and on sour grapes over our great successes. I know some coaches really wanted to adopt it but shied away at the time because they did not want to assume the responsibility. Others, because of their non-quarterback background, did not feel qualified, Ironically, I never understood why there was no criticism of defensive signals' being called from the sidelines. This was a common practice for most teams for many years.

"All this had nothing to do with questioning my quarterbacks' intelligence, nor was I ever worried about building character and intiative, two other criticisms that were tossed at us. I cared about winning games - period - and I stand on that record. We were a team, coaches and players together, and if we won, that's all that mattered. If we lost, then we went down together, and I never respected any quarterback who felt the system kept him from looking like a great leader. A quarterback is an important cog in the machine, but still a cog, and I wanted to give him all the help possible. I knew no quarterback ever worked as hard preparing for a game as our coaching staff did."


FRIDAY, MAY 2, 2008- "It's easy to have high self-esteem - just aim low." Albert Bandura, Professor of Psychology, Stanford

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SANTA CLARITA - Golden Valley HS - 27051 Robert C Lee Parkway
MAY 31

"It's easy to have high self-esteem - just aim low." Albert Bandura, Professor of Psychology, Stanford

SHOTS FROM LAST WEEK'S CLINIC IN SUNNY SANTA CLARITA, CALIFORNIA... The clinic, hosted by John Torres and the Santa Clarita Wildcats organization was held at Golden Valley High School. On hand to demonstrate were Coach Torres' 12-year-old team. The kids are good!

*********** Soccer may appear to have a lock on the little boys and girls, but it doesn't seem to be hurting football in the Santa Clarita-Valencia-Castaic-Saugus-Canton Country area, up in the mountains about 30 miles north of downtown LA.

The Santa Clarita Wildcats organization, born just three years ago, now has 12 teams, and has to turn kids away.

When another youth organization nearby held its signups, many parents camped out overnight to make sure they'd be able to sign their kids up when registration began the next morning.

*********** My wife and I noticed over the last few years of our teaching that as parents tended more and more to give their little darlings designer names (perhaps not trusting God to be able to sort us all apart), they insisted that there be no shortening of those names - "His name is Timothy. It's not Tim, and we expect you to call him Timothy."

God help the teacher - or the classmates - who gave the kid a nickname like Shorty, or Lefty.

But interestingly, nicknames seem to be a part of John Torres' team building. While working with his Santa Clarita Wildcats 12-year-old team, I noticed one kid being called "Elmo." But I knew he name was Conner. Another answered to "Buddha." And so forth.

Coach Torres said that there was nothing derogatory about the nicknames, but every kid got one, and every kid took pride in his.

He said he's had one parental complaint about the nicknames. Not long ago, a mother called him to say that her son, who was new to the team, was upset - he was the only player on the team who didn't have a nickname.

*********** Good Morning Hugh-- I was reading the News this morning and saw the comments by Mike Brusko, Zionsville, Pennsylvania-- Mike is coming to Maine this weekend to see the spring game and visit his son. I don't know how the Maine staff managed to recruit a player from the heart of football country but I am sure they got a good one! Anyway, his comments about changing offenses struck a chord with me because we have run the same basic 6-8 run plays and 4-6 pass plays for the last 15 years. Rather then changing when things have not gone right we made a decision to fix our execution and correct mistakes. If you believe that what you are doing is sound. If you fully understand and have learned everything there is about your offense, then I believe it will work and can be constructed to work with the talent available. Although, there have been times when we questioned what we were doing the record speaks for itself. We have averaged 8 wins a year over the 15 year period.

Looking forward to the visit this weekend and the clinic-- Hope we can get together Friday for dinner, maybe Twin Oaks? Susan is coming so I hope Connie will be with you. We should be arriving between 4-5 see you then.

Jack Tourtillotte, Boothbay Harbor, Maine

PS: I have heard from several coaches inquiring into our job and spent an hour on the phone with --------- last night. Don't know if he is really interested but he asked all the right questions and we had a great conversation. Thanks for putting the plug into the news.

PSS: I really appreciated the kind words from big John T and thanks for adding them to the NEWS. I have heard from several other coaches as a result all saying good things-- hell it almost made me cry.

I just finished reading Tony Dungy's book, and Coach Dungy speaks of the influence Chuck Noll - and Coach Noll's mentor, Paul Brown - had on him:

"Chuck Noll developed much of his coaching philosophy from Paul Brown, and I got mine from Chuck.  I tell people that I'm from the Paul Brown school of coaching."

A major part of that philosophy, Coach Dungy stresses in his book, is

"Do the ordinary things better than everyone else."

He also quotes Dr. George Washington Carver along those same lines: "When you can do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world."

Which is exactly what Jack has done, and a major reason why he's had such success. HW
*********** For a senior project, a Yale "student" claimed to have impregnated herself numerous times, and to have terminated her several pregnancies with self-induced abortions and - get ready for this - passed off this farce as "performance art."

Not so fast, wrote Michael Lewis in the April 24 Wall Street Journal. Mr. Lewis is a Professor of Art at Williams College, in Massachusetts, and he argues that "immaturity, self-importance and a certain confused eagerness will always loom large in student art work," and when given a choice between real artistic training and simply doing their thing, students will always choose the latter.

But, he says, "it is not a choice that undergraduates should be given."

Before creativity, he says, must first come a solid grounding in the basics:

"Great achievement requires in one's formative years two teachers: a stern taskmaster who teaches the rules, and an inspirational guru who teaches one to break the rules. But they must come in that order.

"Childhood training in Bach can prepare one to play free jazz, and ballet instruction can prepare one to be a modern dancer, but it does not work the other way around.

"One cannot be liberated from fetters that one has never worn."

Yet in a lot of art classes in our schools, "art" is smearing something - anything - on a piece of paper (or anything else that's handy), and calling it whatever you want. And the teacher goes gaga. "Ooooooh. That's really good."

Writing's no different. Ever read the semi-literate entries on a MySpace page? It's what you get when kids who've never been forced - yes, forced - to write correctly finally get passed along to high school.

We "teach" kids how to "write" by first encouraging them to be "creative." Without bothering with such minor details as spelling, grammar or punctuation. What the hell - that's bo-r-r-r-ing. And hey - they'll learn that stuff when they have to, right?

If you taught football the way "writing" is "taught," your team would never even be able to form a huddle.

*********** You're never too old to learn something new.

After years and years of renting cars... and pulling up to gas stations and having to guess which side of the car the fuel filler's on... and invariably guessing wrong... and having to turn the car around...

Tuesday I heard a guy on the radio say that on the instrument panel of most cars, right next to the little gas pump icon by the fuel gauge, there's a little triangle-shaped arrowhead. It points to the side of the car the fuel filler's on.

The DJ was so excited at learning this that at the next commercial break he dashed outside to check his car, then raced back inside to share with us the news that it's true!

Naturally, my wife had to go check it out on our BIG, HUMONGOUS, GAS-GUZZLING, SUV'S (hear that, Al Gore?) - and damned if isn't so.

*********** A Boston sports guy named Don Gillis died last week at the age of 85. His obituary said he had once been the host of a TV show called "Candlepin Bowling."

Wow. Candlepin bowling. Did that bring back memories! My wife went to college in Western Massachusetts, and when I'd got to visit, we'd spend many a cheap date bowling. In the northern New England of those days, that meant candlepins.

Candlepin bowling differs from what most people know as "bowling" (and what New Englanders then called "Ten-Pin Bowling") because although the lanes are the same width and length, the ball is smaller - a little larger than a softball - and the pins are thin and elongated - think of a two-foot tall beer can.

But despite taking up less space than ten pins, candlepins are spotted in the same locations as the much fatter ten pins, which leaves a lot of space between them. That, combined with the smaller ball, means that in candlepins it's common, to use one very aggravating example, to hit the one pin and take out just it and the five pin.

Candlepins is a game of great skill. Spares are tough enough. Strikes are really hard to come by. And a perfect game in candlepins has to be one of the rarest feats in sport.

In the likely event that you don't get a strike or spare, you still get a third ball in that frame to enable you to pick up the remaining pins. That means it's possible to score a "10" in a frame even without getting a strike or spare,

The inventors of the game weren't totally merciless: as a concession to the fact that you don't get much help from fat pins knocking each otgher over, or a big ball wide enough to take out several pins in its swath, any candlepins that get knocked over and don't fly off the alley are allowed to lie where they fall, enabling you to hit them - the "dead wood"- to help knock down the remaining pins.

After the third ball of the frame, the pins are cleared and re-set.

A score of 100, as I recall, was not bad.

When I moved to Baltimore in the early 1960s, I discovered to my surprise that in Maryland, "bowling" meant "duckpins" - smaller, shorter versions of tenpins. Like candepins, they used the same size lanes, and the smaller ball. And three balls per frame. Strangely, not three hours' drive away, in the Pennsylvania where I'd grown up, duckpins were unheard of.

One of the most popular shows on Baltimore TV was called "Strikes and Spares." It was duckpin bowling.

It was a much tougher game than tenpins - again, as with candlepins, 100 wasn't a bad score - and, realizing full well that that Americans would be happy to switch over to tenpins once they discovered their scores jumped by 100 points or so, the big bowling equipment manufacturers - Brunswick and AMF - moved in.

One of the first ten pin operations in Baltimore was Johnny Unitas' Colt Lanes. And almost overnight, ten pins overtook duckpins in popularity.

And duckpins, although not exactly doomed, were ever after relegated to a place as something of a regional oddity.

*********** There was an article about the Army All-American Game (for graduating high school seniors) in Friday's Wall Street Journal.

For the most part, I think it's a sick project that glorifies high school kids, but this is America, and the promoters are free to try to make a buck doing things like that. If they didn't, someone else would. In fact, someone else has, and that someone else, promoting a rival all-star game, happens to be Disney, which just happens to own ESPN and ABC. Stay tuned.

I personally question whether it helps Army recruiting, which is the only justification for the Army's spending recruiting dollars to sponsor it, but I'm told that there are Army marketing guys who think it's a great idea.  Of course, there were also Army marketing guys who thought "An Army of One" was a great idea.

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

Tonight on the air I played a clip of Terrell Owens saying "get your popcorn ready" and it got me thinking about the NFL watching experience.

There are few more incarcerating positions I can think of than spending three hours on the couch focusing on the pros. (Soccer might have it beat.) I wish I could have some popcorn, sit down and just enjoy it - end zone dances and interminable commercials are only the start of the trouble.

I've been able to enjoy watching the Patriots probe and grind their way to victories; they didn't have to have a bunch of highly-paid superstars, but it's possible their entire resume was augmented with cheating so that might be out the window next season anyway.

I guess I'll just have to be content with 50 college games each Saturday.

Christopher Anderson, Palo Alto, California (I'm still able to block out the knowledge of what's really going on under the surface in big-time college football, so consequently I find fall Saturdays to be absolute bliss.

In the case of the NFL, however, the scum is above the surface. There's always someone breaking the law, someone acting the fool, or some lickspittle commentator reminding us how much someone who has a good day is going to be worth at the end of the season when he becomes a free agent.

Not to mention the complete reversal of fundamentals -  blocking in which they use the hands,  tackling in which they don't.

If there were 50 NFL games on every Sunday I still doubt that I'd watch the equivalent of 60 minutes all told. HW)

*********** The NFL, which has sponsors for most of its major awards (Pepsi Rookie of the Year, Motorola Coach of the Year, Fedex Air and Ground Players of the Year), no longer has a sponsor for its Man of the Year Award. (It used to be sponsored, oddly enough, by Miller Lite.)

A simple name change could open up a lot of sponsorship possibilities. My suggestion: The Pac Man of the Year Award, sponsored by a bail bondsman near you.

*********** New, from Reebok - "Helmet Hoodies" - a line of hoodies in the colors of your favorite team, with hoods resembling the teams' helmets (you aren't going to believe the Bengals' hood.)

At last! A way to support your local NFL team while holding up a convenience store.

*********** Not sure what this means, but ratings for ESPN's NFL draft coverage were down 15 per cent from last year. They'll probably blame it on the fact that the Dolphins ruined the suspense by going ahead and signing Jake Long in advance, and that there weren't enough highly-rated quarterbacks.

*********** Look out for something called the United National Football League (UNFL).

There have been at least four pretender leagues to come down the pike since the All-America Football Conference in 1946, but this one differs in one respect: it claims that it has no intention of competing with the NFL, but will instead serve as a "feeder," stocking itself with players who could possibly make an NFL roster with another year or two of experience.

In other words, a minor league.

Good luck.

They point out that there are plenty of good players available. I agree.

They also will have no problem finding good coaches.

But as a business model? A minor league?

My example of what they can expect: the CBA (if it's still in business). Plenty of good basketball players, plenty of good coaches.

Not enough space on the sports pages. Not enough time on the 11 o'clock sports. No television revenue. Not enough fans.

This all translates to a l;ack of sponsor interest, and a lack of revenue.

How do you explain the large crowds of the NBA and major college basketball on the one hand, and the precarious financial situations of minor league pro basketball on the other ? Simple. The NBA and the big colleges have fan bases that they've spent years - and dollars - developing. Colleges even have built-in fan bases called student bodies and alumni. And even then, too much losing keeps fans home.

If that weren't enough, the economics of football make it a much riskier venture than basketball. With a roster at least three times that of a basketball team, a football team costs far more to staff, equip and transport. Add to that the fact that it's not prudent to play more than one football game a week, and that in many parts of the country you run the risk of bad weather wiping you out at the gate. (You're dreaming if you think you will be able to depend on season ticket sales.) I have managed a minor league football team, and I can attest to the financial disaster caused by a hard rainstorm an hour before kickoff.

There may be places where the initial excitement will draw decent crowds, but in the main, while Americans like pro football and college football, they don't like football enough to shell out good money to support a minor professional league.

"Feeder?" Aren't we overlooking the obvious - doesn't the NFL already have the colleges?

*********** Supposedly the thing that's standing in the way of a "Plus One" playoff - an additional game following the bowl season to determine a "true national champion" - is the Rose Bowl contract between the Big Ten and the Pac 10.

The Rose Bowl, as the old-timers among us know, was once the biggest football game in America. By far.

So out of respect for the great tradition of the Rose Bowl, and a Big Ten-Pact 10 rivalry dating back to the 1940s, when the whole BCS thing was cranking up, I thought that the Big Ten and Pac 10 should have just stood firm against the whole scheme and protected the Rose Bowl. Who was to say that the Rose Bowl winner wouldn't have an equal claim to the national championship?

But now that they've allowed the BCS to present a game between Miami and Nebraska as the "Rose Bowl," the cat's out of the bag. There's no longer any Rose Bowl tradition.

So, hey, you BCS guys - screw the Big Ten and the Pac 10. If they really cared about the Rose Bowl, you wouldn't have seen Texas or Oklahoma playing in it.

Plus One, fellas. Go for the gold.

*********** Prom time is almost here.

Time to reserve those stretch limos... to buy the prom dresses and rent the tuxes.

Maybe a corsage?

Don't forget dinner reservations, either.

And be sure to let the photographer know which package you want.

Maybe reserve a hotel room for the after-prom party. With booze, or course.

Cost? Easily north of $500 a couple.

Nothing too good for our kids, right?

Yes, there's a lot of suffering out there, or so the politicians tell me.

*********** A mini-screenplay ("based on a true story")

DIRTY OLD MAN (to voluptuous young girl): Come away with me... I'll show you major league cities...

FATHER: Hey, you dirty old man! Keep your filthy hands off my daughter!

DIRTY OLD MAN: Would it make a difference if I told you I was one of the greatest pitchers in the history of the game of baseball?

FATHER: Maybe you didn't hear me. I said get your filthy hands off my daughter!

DIRTY OLD MAN: How about I give you a bag of golf clubs?

































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































american flagTUESDAY, MARCH 4, 2008- "Never suppose that in any possible situation or under any circumstances that it is best for you to do a dishonorable thing however slightly so it may appear to you." Thomas Jefferson

*********** The Arena Football League is going to be experimenting with a special helmet containing a light that will turn red in the event its wearer suffers a concussion.

It gives new meaning to the term "Light 'em up," and considering how many young male fans are already used to watching the mountains on the Coors labels turn blue, I can envision promotions based on the number of red lights the home team can turn on.

*********** If ever there were an incongruous matchup of city and sport, it has to be the decision of Major League Soccer (otherwise known as the Oxymoron League) to locate a franchise in Chester, Pennsylvania. Chester, Pennsylvania, for God's sake! Ever been there? Rough town, to say the least. Rough as they come.

Once the home of major industries long since shuttered, Chester was a hardscrabble town even when I was in high school. And it has gone downhill since.

Now they plan to spend government funds (aka taxpayers' money) to build a soccer stadium there. On the Chester waterfront, no less. I laugh to think of all the effete suburbanites in their Priuses and Volvos driving past all the run-down projects and boarded-up buildings on their way to watch a game of futbol.

*********** Joe Daniels, wrote from Sacramento... ah yes the A-11, from Piedmont HS, in Oakland . lets just say these guys couldn't compete any other way HAHAHAHA...sad part is there are a couple of school in our area thinking about going to it..

My answer to the abomination-11 would be to assign my very best athlete to the QB, and have everyone else tackle an opponent at the line.  (Except the center, who gets protection.)

It really goes against everything I believe in to advocate deliberate violations, but if they are going to make a travesty of the game, they don't give a guy much choice.

At the very least, I will make them play tackle football. After a week of practicing against that stuff, I doubt that a defense is going to be ready for real football.


*********** Coach Wyatt, I went to News You Can Use today (Friday 2/29/08) to be vain and see my mom & dad’s greatest creation, me.  (smile)  In all seriousness, I wanted to thank you and Kevin for the Atlanta Clinic.  I kicked myself because I didn’t think to bring MY video camera to the afternoon session but I took lots of notes so I have new wrinkles to explore with the knowledge of new plays that I walked away from the clinic with.  But I will love to put my order in first for the DVD version of the plays.
Kevin has a very athletic team and being that I work with the QBs I couldn’t help but to admire the silky smooth composure that his starter has.  I watched his mechanics and was thoroughly impressed.  The kid has been taught well.
As I scrolled down and read “NEWS” I couldn’t help but read the insert from yet another coach asking you “HOW TO STOP THE DOUBLE WING”.  I think that you are getting softer as you age gracefully, that or in this election year you are being politically correct because I remember you frying coaches previously that dared ask you that asinine question.  (smile)
I do have one clear cut answer to the fools that ask me (us) what defense gives us the most trouble or what info can I (we) give them to stop us.  I ask them have they ever heard of the STUD 11 defense.  They usually reply “stud 11, I never heard of it.  Who runs it and how can I get info on it?  Do you know about it?”  To which I reply sure I know about it, because it will take eleven studs at every defensive position to stop the Double Wing!  I have yet to face the STUD 11.  (smile)
What stops most DWers is lack of execution, poor play calling, lack of defensive recognition, tinkering, lack of attention to detail, piss poor coaching, personnel in the wrong position(s) and I could go on but one that I will end on is lack of faith in the abilities of our players.  These are the things that stop the Double Wing and not one Cure All Double Wing Stopping Defensive. 
Respectfully & Keep Coaching,
Brian Mackell
Archbishop Curley & AAYFA, Baltimore, Maryland
*********** For a great article about Greg Gadson, former Army football captain whose bravery in battle and courage in dealing with his combat injuries was an inspiration to the Giants in their Super Bowl run (they awarded him a Super Bowl ring)---

*********** Back in 2006, Andy Smith, Director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, conducted a poll for the Boston Globe, asking people who'd moved from Massachusetts to New Hampshire within the last year why they'd done so. Reason Number One: cost of living. Reason Number Two: lower taxes. Reason Number Three: Too many liberals in Massachusetts.

*********** Hugh: I just read your latest column(good color pictures) and something struck me about how we worked at Delaware in the fall of 1953 as a freshman team to prepare the varsity for their opening game against Glenn Killinger's West Chester team which had beaten Delaware in 1952 primarily by putting defensive lineman on the inside shoulder of the Delaware offensive guards and at the snap of the ball literally dived and pinched in between the guards and the center, sometimes turning sideways to penetrate. If those defensive lineman were quick and made a powerful thrust they could penetrate enough to screw up the pulling game. I was one of the guys who successfully could beat the center's check block on some occasions. It drove those varsity guys(guards and center) crazy and it really screwed up the offense until we did it so much that they tightened up and became quicker and more aggressive in their blocking.Mike Lude was behind this, and he drove myself and several other quick defensive linemen to give the varsity offensive linemen a lot of trouble. They hated us. That year we beat West Chester 45 to 7 (or something like that.) That type of defense against a DW team that isn't ready for those type tactics can be beaten.You probably already know about these tactics but we practiced it so much before that West Chester game that those varsity linemen were really ready to defeat the pinch and penetrate defense.  Black Lions.  Jim Shelton, Englewood, Florida (Jim- General James - Shelton, USA retired - and Honorary Colonel of the Black Lions, was a two-way guard at Delaware under legendary coach Dave Nelson and legendary line coach Mike Lude. HW)

*********** Coach - That was a fascinating  breakdown, by Mr. Babb, but when he states  1.1 Million kids play in High School, is that Just  Kids in there Senior season or kids in all 4 classes Fr,SO,JR,SR  ?
 Coach - one thing that has always cracked me up,  and I have I heard this for years, in almost every community and every type of community, is something along these lines  -  " Johnny Jones the Head Coach of  XYZ  High School that my  son played for didn't help my Kid  ( or didn't do Enough ) get in to College and play ball ( or Not play )  " but there main beef is  that the coach didn't do enough to  help there  Kid
   A )  Isn't that what the Guidance Councilors  get paid for ?  &  B )  If you're Kids is a Good enough athlete and student  the correct college  be it D1 D1-AA, D II or DIII will find the kid ? for athletics, academics or both ?
 Coach do you remember  Sports Illustrated  did a breakdown similar to Mr. Babb, Like 10-15 years ago, it was an estimated breakdown  I thought it went something like this, 300,000  Sr.  boys dress up for the Fall to play High School Football,  only 30,000 will move on to play college Football at all levels - D1-A,D1-AA, D II, D III, NAIA, JUCO,   3000 will play at the 1- A level,   300 will get drafted by the NFL,  90 will make  an NFL roster  and  play  at least  1 year in the  NFL,  30 will play at least   3 years ,   10 will play  5 years or more  ?  My numbers could be way off but it was a fascinating  breakdown by S.I.  that I thought every parent  with kids in High School Football should see it, with the basic message  You're kid will only come down this road once playing High School Football  ENJOY the experience  , IF you're Kid is one of the fortunate  30,000 to play at the next level  Enjoy that , but don't get caught up in it ,  I Think that SI article should be posted by every High School Football program in America  to give the parents a dose of reality  -  see ya Friday Coach  -  John  Muckian   Lynn, Massachusetts

That's 1 million kids is all kids in all grades.  So in any one year there are some 200,000 coming out (allowing for some dropouts along the way).

If there are 30,000 playing college football, that means that some 7,500 openings will be created by graduation and dropping out.

You are so right - parents put too much responsibility on the coach.  But by the same token, I see all sorts of garbage about this coach or that one "sending" players to major colleges, or "sending" them to the pros, as if the coach did it, when you and I know good and well that God and good fortune (and far too often, good recruiting) sent those kids to those high school coaches in the first place, and that's the primary reason they're at a major college or in the pros.

As for guidance counselors... they should be doing what you suggest, but in most high schools they're  tied up with making sure that the ever-growing number of  knuckleheads get the credits they need to graduate (so that the school doesn't get a failing grade from the Feds).

I sure wish that we weren't so hung up on the Big Time.  I realize that it is impossible for any kid to resist the lure of  today's big NFL money, but going back to a different time, when I was in college, I believe that football-wise I would have gotten more out of playing in a good D-III program than I did from the Big-Time Ivy program that I chose.  

And for those who dispute the "Big Time" label, and don't realize how much the power structure of the game has changed since I was in school,  I offer this:

In 1957, my freshman year, the Yale Bowl seated 71,000. Only seven other colleges had larger stadiums. (Those of such odern-day giants Alabama, Florida, Penn State and Tennessee were smaller.) That year, Yale averaged 217,000 in six games. That's an average of more than 36,000 a game.

That was more than the average attendance at such modern-day giants as (get ready for this)

Washington (35,000), Tennessee (34,000), Auburn (34,000), Texas A & M (33,000), Florida (32,000), Nebraska (31,000), Penn State (28,000), Kentucky (28,000), Georgia (25,000), South Carolina (21,600), Clemson (19,000)

Here's some good ones for you --- Florida State, which wasn't all that many years removed from being a women's school, (16,000); BYU, still a small church school somewhere out West (9,000); Virginia Tech, at that time an aggie school hidden away in the mountains of Appalachia (9,000)

And - get this -  Holy Cross (16,000) outdrew BC (14,000)

How things have changed!!!!

*********** Speaking of the Ivy League...

Coach Wyatt....Just fyi. I am a big Ivy League FB fan and thought you might enjoy this. Hope all is well and I look forward to seeing you in RI. For what it's worth Brian Dennehy lives about a 1/4 mile from me in Woodstock CT. Interestingly enough there are several "celebs" that live here and in neighboring Pomfret CT. One of the two nicest towns in New England in my opininon.

Take care, Scott Wendel

The following notice is from the National Football Foundation...

Former Ivy League Standouts Featured in New Documentary

For Love & Honor Productions has completed the documentary, "Eight: Ivy League Football and America," an original feature-length documentary film (TRT 96 minutes). A world premiere, hosted by the Ivy Football Association, will be held on Thursday, Apr. 24, 2008, at the Yale Club in New York City.

"Eight," which tells the history of Ivy League football from its earliest days to the present, is narrated by two- time Tony Award-winning actor Brian Dennehy (Columbia '60). It also features interviews with Academy Award-winning actor Tommy Lee Jones (Harvard '69), College Football Hall of Fame coach from Penn State Joe Paterno (Brown '50), ESPN anchor Chris Berman (Brown '77), General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt (Dartmouth '78), former Secretary of State George Shultz (Princeton '42), College and Pro Football Hall of Famer Chuck Bednarik (Penn '49), four-time Pro Bowl running back Calvin Hill (Yale '69), Chicago Bears' star Dan Jiggetts (Harvard '76), College Football Hall of Famer and Heisman Trophy winner Dick Kazmaier (Princeton '52), College Football Hall of Famer Ed Marinaro (Cornell '72), Intuit chair and NFF Board member Bill Campbell (Columbia

*********** I have to say that I am glad to have you helping me out.  Coaching is a funny thing - we learn it in so many places.   There is a University or College where you can sign up for double wing 101 or west coast passing game 101 etc.  And it can be difficult at times to find a mentor - as it is unlike many other professions.  I have tried to find crumbs of knowledge, philosophy etc. here and there.  It is funny how you take this from one guy and that from another, how you can work with a guy who you don't agree with on philosophy, but you learn x's and o's from him, and then how you can go work for a guy who you don't agree with x's and o's but you like his philosophy etc.  It is a great service that you offer those who are willing to buy in, because we get the whole deal, philosophy and x's and o's.  Maybe you should get some accreditation (spelling?)  For Wyatt University of Football Coaching (ha ha).  I'd like to think Im finishing up my Masters Degree with you and getting ready to begin my PHD in the double wing and coaching young men, but just when it seems to think you've got the answers - there is much more to learn.  John Dowd, Oakfield-Alabama, New York

Interesting that you mention it, because the idea of a "Wyatt University" (I would certainly use a less self-promoting name) is something that has occured to me many times, simply because (1) so many guys have no place to turn to for help, and (2) although there are ways such as ASEP to give guys certification in the "human relations" aspects of coaching, there is no way of certifying that a guy might know what to coach or how to teach it.

In any case, I would say that you have earned your Master's in the Double Wing and are on your way to earning your doctorate.

*********** Gabe McCown, an Oklahoman whom I've grown to know through coaching, knows of my beer business background, and was kind enough to send me a bottle of something called Choc Beer.

The name comes from its having been brewed in what is now Krebs, Oklahoma, in the "Choctaw Nation" of Indian territory, since the early days of the 20th century. It was the product of an Italian immigrant named Pete Prichard, who first came to Oklahoma to work in the coal mines, but after being injured on the job, turned to making and selling beer ("home brew," to be truthful), and eventually opening a restaurant called Pete's Place.

As the story goes, Pete continued selling his beer even after Prohibition (perhaps the news hadn't yet reached Krebs, Oklahoma), until 1932 when - according to the label on the bottle - "Pete was arrested for the illegal brew and had to spend a little time in a federal jail at Muskogee."

Afterward, when the rest of the country repealed Prohibition but Oklahoma chose to remain dry, Pete continued to produce his beer anyhow. Eventually, this got him in trouble again, but fortunately for beer drinkers, things are more up to date in Oklahoma these days, and now, under the supervision of Pete's son, Bill, Pete's Place is as popular as ever, and the beer is back in production.

My son's birthday was yesterday and he happens to be visiting us here in the states, so we decided to start the celebration off by popping open the Choc Beer.  Great stuff!

*********** From the Internet...

The Ant & the Grasshopper - 2008

OLD VERSION (Aesop's Fable): The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays
the summer away.

Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Be responsible for yourself!


The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.

CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. America is stunned by the sharp contrast.

How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so ?

Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper, and everybody cries when they sing, 'It's Not Easy Being Green.'

Nancy Pelosi & John Kerry exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.

The EEOC drafts the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer.

The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government.

Hillary Clinton gets her old law firm to represent the grasshopper in a defamation suit against the ant, and the case is tried before a panel of federal judges appointed by Bill Clinton.

The ant loses the case.

The story ends with the grasshopper finishing up the last bits of the ant's food while the government house he is living in, which just happens to be the ant's old house, crumbles around him because he hasn't maintained it.

The ant has disappeared in the snow.

The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident. The house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the once peaceful neighborhood.

*********** Uh-oh. One of the things that really suck about growing old is that the deaths of players you remember from your boyhood, and even some contemporaries, begin to happen with increasing frequency...

Former stars Buddy Dial of Rice and Jerry Groom of Notre Dame died on February 29.

Buddy Dial was born in Ponca City, Oklahoma, and went to Magnolia (Texas) High School. From 1956-he was an All-America and All-Southwest Conference end at Rice, leading coach Jess Neely's Owls to the 1957 SWC title and an appearance in the Cotton Bowl, and being named to the bowl's all-star team. In 1958, he was named team co-captain and MVP. In the NFL, he was twice selected to play in the Pro Bowl.

Originally from Des Moines, Iowa, Jerry Groom was a standout football and baseball player at Dowling High School. At Notre Dame he was a three-year starter at center and linebacker for Frank Leahy from 1948-50. He led the Irish to a national title in 1949 and was named team captain en route to becoming aconsensus All-American in 1950. Mr. Groom was named to the Pro Bowl in 1954 while playing for the Chicago Cardinals.

*********** NFL Players' Association executive director Gene Upshaw has been criticized in some quarters as being "cozy with management," and he is under attack by old-timers as being stingy with financial support for them, but it would be hard for any current player to build much of a case against him.

Since 2006, the percentage of league revenue paid to NFL players has jumped from 54 percent to 59 percent.

That's higher than for any other sport. Baseball's percentage now varies between 51 and 55 per cent; NBA players are guaranteed 57 per cent of league revenue, and NHL players 55.6 per cent.

*********** Hey coach, hope all is well with you. I have a question for you when and if you have time. Is there any place you can go to get a history of Double wing success as far as high school play off appearances, scoring and yardage records etc. I would love to have something printable I can just hand to the constant parade of idiots and naysayers I have to talk to about the offense. We went to the Junior division championship last year with a team that has never had any success until we switched to the double wing and came within a whisker of winning it. You would think that would shut some of these people up but it does not seem to help. You are something of a historian , help us out coach ! I bet theres a bunch of guys like me that would love an updated hand out with some info like that ! Thanks, Kirk Melton , Burlington Tigers, Burlington, Washington

Coach, Take a look here...

This page is dated, but it will show you that FIVE YEARS AGO my system was kicking butt and it hasn't let up since. If people are not yet aware of that fact, I'd have to say that it's more a reflection on them than on the Double Wing!

Hugh Wyatt