FLAGFRIDAY, MAY 29, 2009- "There is something that is much more scarce, something rarer than ability. It is the ability to recognize ability." Robert Half

*********** Coach, I’d say that if there is one thing I learned last year, it was that I need to get back to basics! Although we had a successful season, we could have done better. After only 3 years of running your system, I broke the cardinal rule of the Double Wing and got bored and put in too much. I’m still kicking myself about it. And reading your News You Can Use every week is like rubbing it in (well deserved I might add). How am I suppose to be able to run more of an offensive than the guy who put together this system in the first place? There is no way that’s possible! (“My strong suggestion - don't try to reinvent the wheel. Run the stuff that I've already run and proven to work. And strive to run it as well as it can possibly be run.” – Hugh Wyatt)
I was not happy that my schedule didn’t allow me to attend your clinic here in Chicago this year, I had so many questions to ask. Your Website has been extremely valuable in guiding me on where to go from here though. This year will be a bigger challenge in some ways and a greater opportunity in others. We will be starting over with a new group of 8th graders that have never run your system. You can be sure I will be taking this opportunity to do it better this time. We will be going back to the basics and really working on the fundamentals of the system and limiting ourselves to 10 to 12 plays, depending on the personnel. Saying all that I have three quick questions. 1) Why didn’t you run 7 G as much? 2) Is Tackle Over your preferred unbalance set? And 3) Why are you running 88 and 99 G Reach instead of 38 and 29 G-O Reach?
Bruce Fisher
OC -130lb Golden Eagles Football
Glen Ellyn, Illinois

*********** Not that I would presume to tell anyone what kind of pet he should have around a 2-year-old, but I tend to lean more toward golden retrievers rather than pit bulls.(Pit bull fanciers - please don't bother to respond.) Now, Steelers' linebacker James Harrison didn't ask me, but I think a person with the IQ of a turnip can understand that pit bulls have been known to attack little kids. Well, I'll be damned if little 2-year-old James Harrison III wasn't attacked by the family pit bull and hospitalized. The dog, "Patron," apparently got upset by the child's crying and had to be pulled off the kid by his mother and a friend, who were both also bitten during the incident. Harrison's agent was sympathetic to all victims - including James Harrison, who - boo hoo - may lose his dog: "I'm a dog lover," he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "and I don't know what I'd do if I lost my dog. James was that close with Patron. One of the things James and I talked about was that this was a real tragedy - the injury to his baby, and the baby's mother, and the loss of the dog. It's hard."

*********** It's not over till it's over department...

A woman who claims to have been engaged to Dirk Nowitzki is now pregnant, and although no paternity test has yet been taken, she says that he's the only man she's had sex with in the last seven years.

Nowitzki has yet to comment, and the expectant mother, obviously a glass-half-full gal, seems to be taking this as good news: "he still hasn't told me we're no longer engaged."

*********** You want to see how President Obama's target of 39 miles per gallon is going to wind up? Look at Washington.

In January 0f 2005, our governor, the Honorable Christine Gregoire, set a goal of having biofuels supply 20 per cent of the fuel needs of all Washington state vehicles and ferries by June 1, 2009.

Lotsa luck, Guv. With just days to go until the deadline, the actual figure is going to come in at about 2.07 per cent.

Nevertheless, says the Governor, "We're going to get there."

Yeah, right. Only a few minor problems. First of all, a blend of 20 per cent biofuel and 80 per cent diesel costs 33 cents a gallon more than straight diesel.

Second, there aren't enough suppliers.

And third, there's economic illiteracy.

Just to give you an idea where the kind of thinking that leads to stimulus packages gets its start, permit me to quote a Washington state representative, one John McCoy (I will leave it to you to guess his party), who has the answer to the problem: "We got to figure out a way to get the price down. And the only way to get the price down is to get the demand up."

I swear he said that. If you have any understanding at all of economics, you are already laughing.

If you don't, no problem. You can still make it in politics.

*********** Hi Hugh!
It’s been a long time but I hope you remember me from my days at Jasper Place High in Edmonton.  I though you may be interested in this media release from our school board.
I haven’t been coaching since I left but I have been very involved in my own kids athletics particularly in hockey.  Both my girl and son are playing.  True Canadians eh?
I hope when my son turns 7 he will want to play football and I will be able to coach and communicate with you again!

Kyle Wagner, Edmonton, Alberta
PS I liked your little news article on the Stanley Cup!  We actually have a large statue-like replica in Edmonton I will have to check our whether it includes spelling mistakes!

Coach Wagner, who in his coaching days helped take Jasper Place High School of Edmonton to the provincial championship (running a 12-man Double Wing), was kind enough to send me this release from the Edmonton School District...

Johnny Bright School - Heritage Valley, 1327 Rutherford Road NW.

Johnny Bright was a beloved and esteemed educator. He was a highly respected athlete competing in football, track and field and basketball and was the first black player to win the Schenley Award as the CFL's most valuable player. He was subsequently named to the CFL Hall of Fame in 1970, and is also a member of the Iowa Sports Hall of Fame, the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, the Edmonton Sports Hall of Fame, and the Edmonton Eskimos Wall of Fame. Johnny earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education at Drake University in 1952, putting his degree to use as a teacher, coach, and school administrator, both during and after his professional football career. He was the principal of D.S. MacKenzie Junior High School and Hillcrest Junior High School.

In 1984, a year after Johnny passed away, the Edmonton Journal presented the first annual John Bright Memorial Award to recognize exceptional high school students who excelled in the three integral areas of Johnny's life: academics, athletics and citizenship; this award continues to be bestowed every year on two Grade 12 students - one male and one female - who have excelled academically and athletically, and who have demonstrated their leadership qualities by volunteering in the community. Johnny was not just a great football player; he was also a dedicated teacher, coach, school administrator and an ideal citizen of the City of Edmonton who made a significant impact on generations of students.

Read the amazing story of Johnny Bright, a football great who made an even greater impact off the field.

*********** Hugh, I'm sorry to not get back to you sooner. It has been crazy here at Forman trying to wrap up the year.

Looking for coaches!!! It would be great if you could put something in the News section of your website. We are looking for assistant coaches who can come and work in the afternoons and also coach Saturday games. I am not really particular about what they can coach, I am just looking for good solid coaches to help out in any way and who also understand that we are dealing with kids with LD's, which can be very challenging but also very rewarding. We will pay a stipend, but the amount has to be worked out between the coach and my AD...a very supportive AD who also happens to be our Soccer coach...yes miracles do happen! Thank you so much Hugh!! (Coaches, reply to me and I'll put you in contact with Coach Keator)

Sam Keator
Forman School
Litchfield, Connecticut

Oh yeah, I loved the Army Single Wing film you put on the website awhile back with Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis. Great stuff. I noticed that all the backs were in a 3-point stance. Any idea on why they did that? Also, I can't seem to get back in the archives to see it again...is there any chance you could send that along to me? Thanks!

*********** Coach Wyatt:

I just finished watching all of your videos and feel I have a good understanding of your system and core principles.  I know I will end up watching the "Dynamics" video a few more times before I really feel comfortable teaching it.
I'm coaching a 9-10 year old team in our competitive city league.  One of the best teams in the league has already been running your offense for a couple of years. They used to run single wing to one side only, but now stick to your double wing and run balanced. They mostly run your power, super power, counter, and traps, but they also mix it up with the "Over" formation to run unbalanced on occassion. 
My question for you......... besides the "T-N-T" look, what defensive "things" have traditionally given your offense the greatest fits?  I'm asking for two reasons. First, to know what defenses most youth football coaches will try to use against me, especially from an opposing team who has experience running your offense. Secondly, to know where my "potential weak spots" could be so I can better prepare in practice or watch for them as coaching keys during a game.


Not to be unhelpful, but the very first time I met with a high school staff to explain my system I heard this question from one of the coaches: "what defense gives you the most problems?"

My answer then was, "a good defense.  One that's sound and well-coached, with very good people at every position."

That was 14 years ago and my answer hasn't changed.

We have rules developed over the years by smarter people than me that work against any defense.  If we get the right people in the right positions, and we teach them the rules and work on their techniques, and we eliminate mistakes, only a team with better people will beat us.

*********** Why do some people feel the need to promote their sport by attacking another sport?

I was driving up to Ocean Shores Tuesday, listening to ESPN radio, and there was Stan Van Gundy, lauding the NBA and its playoff system, saying, "This isn't the BCS where people get to vote who gets to play. This is real sports where it's decided on the court."

WTF???? I almost drove off the road.

Look, the guy's doing a great job of coaching. And there really are times when the NBA actually looks legit - like 10 very athletic guys who all care about their team.

But if he'd been in the car, I'd have said, "Look a**hole - college football's the real sport. It's not the one that rivals Roller Derby in its contrived endings. It doesn't allow a team that's been scored on start its next drive at midfield simply because it called a time out. It doesn't let a long touchdown count half again as much, and it doesn't give a team a penalty kick (or two) worth half the value of a touchdown when an opponent commits a foul. Oh - and it doesn't stretch out the last minute of game time into 20 minutes of real time, calling time out after time out, until the stage is set for LeBron or Kobe to take the last shot."

(Notice how I got all the way through that without once mentioning NBA officiating?)

*********** After 17 years without a football program, Pacific University, in Forest Grove, Oregon has just announced that it will resume playing football in fall, 2010. As with its other varsity sports, Pacific football will compete as a NCAA Division III member of the Northwest Conference.

“Athletics is a key component for the continued growth of the University and, in particular, its undergraduate programs,” said Pacific's President Phil Creighton. “Our football program will aid our recruitment efforts significantly, helping Pacific to continue to grow into one of the finest health professions and liberal arts institutions in the west.”

“It is an exciting day for Pacific University, Boxer athletics and the Northwest Conference,” said Pacific Director of Athletics Ken Schumann. “The program will also add a tremendous amount of spirit and excitement to campus life. I am grateful to the Board in their confidence that we can build a competitive, successful Division III program.”

Schumann said part of a four year study was a 2004 survey of students, faculty, and staff showing football to be the number one choice of respondents who were asked which sports they'd like to see added. "The sport of football also fits with the University's strategic growth plans," he added, "and would add a significant number of male students to help balance the male-female enrollment numbers. Also, the sport of football raises the visibility of the athletic program and University like no other program can do."

Pacific trustee named Brian Doherty has pledged financial support for the revival of the Pacific program, saying his experience as a player at Notre Dame had a lot to do with his enthusiasm for a Pacific football team. He recalled that famed Notre Dame President Father Theodore Hesburgh often mentioned all the new academic buildings he was able to build because of the visibility of Notre Dame football.

Conceding that Pacific's situation is vastly different from that of Notre Dame, Doherty added that "Football can be, particularly a highly regarded, ethical, straightforward program, a great asset... it can bring all boats up" bringing attention to teaching, research, and other programs that they might not get otherwise.

*********** Ever try to talk the big, muscular so-so basketball player into playing football? You know and everybody else who understands knows that the kid isn't going beyond high school in basketball - but he has the tools to be a college prospect at tight end. No matter - the kid is going to concentrate on football because he knows he's going to play in the NBA some day.

Or how about the tight end who resists a move to tackle? Or the defensive lineman who doesn't want to move to offense? Or the linebacker who doesn't want to put a hand down?

We've all been there, but before blaming those kids, ask yourself how many times you suppose they've heard well-meaning do-gooders tell them, "you can be anything you want to be."

Good Lord, I find myself thinking. Do we really want every kid in the United States thinking he's going to be an NFL quarterback or an NBA star? Could this be one of the reasons why our boys are such dolts in the classroom? Could it be that they've heard the "you can be anything you want to be" crap so many times and for so long that they really believe it? Could this be why our inner city playgrounds are jam-packed with kids playing hoop, when the reality is they're blowing any chance they might have had at a future?

Isn't one of the unfortunate results of our self-esteem movement the thinking among our kids that they're going to be the one who makes it to the NBA? Haven't they hear one motivational speaker after another tell them that they could be anything they wanted to be?

Have you sat and shaken your head in wonder as you listened to that nonsense?

You might want to know that you're not alone. Successful people all over the United States will tell you that those do-anything, be-anything people are lying to our kids.

One W. Randall Jones, founder of Worth magazine, has written a book entitled "The Richest Man in Town: The Twelve Commandments of Wealth," a series of interviews with the richest man or woman in 100 different towns across the US, and he found out some very interesting things.

(I should add that these were not people who inherited their wealth.)

First of all, he found that most of the people he interviewed did not set out with wildly ambitious plans to become rich.

They didn't even set goals for their lives or businesses.

Becoming rich just happened, as a byproduct of the way they live. They seldom borrow money and they live within their means.

And they love what they do. They have no plans to retire. "They love the thrill of the hunt," Jones said, "and they love their lives and doing what they do. They could never fathom the concept of moving top some sunny village and playing golf every day."

But here's the biggest thing - they learned what things they couldn't do, and they moved on. They found something they were good at, and that's where they found success - and happiness.

He told the story of the wealthiest man in Providence, Rhode Island, who learned in a music class that he simply didn't have the gifts that some of his more talented classmates had, and it wasn't going to make any difference no matter how much he practiced. So he moved on.

The point?

"In America, we always say that you can be anything you want or dream of being," said Jones, "but the richest men in the country believe that's an absolute lie. Realizing the power of relative skill differences and figuring out what you are instinctively good at, that is the key to being successful both financially and psychologically."

*********** I'm old enough to remember when...

Coaches smoked on the sidelines

Cheerleaders used megaphones. And wore woolen sweaters. And led cheers.

California spectators did cool card tricks.

FLAGTUESDAY, MAY 25, 2009- “There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle, or you can live as if everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein

*********** The Wall Street Journal ran an article last week about the Stanley Cup. No, not the usual stuff about its adventures in the offseason, when it makes the rounds of the hometowns of the winning team's players.

This was about misspellings.

As you may know, the cup started out as a plain silver cup, but over the years the names of the members of the winning squad have been engraved on it, necessitating the addition of silver bands as the league ran out of room.

With all the names came some classic misspellings, and since the letters are hammered by hand into silver - the NHL refuses on the grounds of tradition to use the more accurate lazer etching - it's all but impossible to make corrections.

The New York Islanders came out as "ILANDERS." The Toronto Maple Leafs are on there once as "LEAES." Boston in one case is "BQSTQN." (That was a long time ago, as my friends in New England will attest.)

Toronto goalie Turk Broda is on twice, once as Turk, but also under his given name of Walter.

The person who does the engraving at the Montreal jeweler that has had the contract for years is said to be especially concerned as more and more NHL players come from Russia, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia and earn the right to have their often hard-to-spell names engraved on the cup.

The best of all - quite the inside joke among hockey players, eh? - is the abbreviation of the job title of Frank Selke, assistant manager of the 1945 Maple Leafs. He's listed as "Frank Selke - ass man."

*********** Canyon, Texas police said former NFL first-round draft choice Ryan Leaf is suspected of breaking into an apartment back in October and stealing Hydrocodone. Poor guy. If only drugs were legalized, he wouldn't be in trouble. No, wait - the drug he's accused of stealing is already legal.

*********** I see little kids talking on cell phones, and I think of all the well-meaning mothers everywhere who buy their kids cell phones because "I feel better knowing that he/she can always get in touch with me."

And they never consider the Law of Unintended Consequences...

A Woodland, Washington 10-year-old was hospitalized with a head injury last week after skateboarding into the path of a car. He was talking to his mother on a cell phone.

*********** It appears that Tennessee's rookie coach Lane Kiffin has already dumped his strength coach.

Now, though, his strength and conditioning coach Mark Smith is said to be gone. Smith had been the strength ccoach at South Carolina, and at the time of his hiring at Tennessee it was reported that he received a $50,000 raise (to $190,000) to come to Tennessee.

What could a guy worth that kind of money have done so wrong so fast?

*********** A guy walked into the local welfare office to pick up his regular check. Marching straight up to the counter, he said, ' Hi. You know, I HATE just collecting welfare. I'd much rather be working."
The social worker behind the counter said, "Your timing is perfect. We just got a job opening from a very wealthy old man who wants a chauffeur and bodyguard for his beautiful daughter.

"You'll be required to drive her around in his 2008 Mercedes-Benz CL. He will supply all of your clothes, and because of the long hours, all your meals will be provided.

"You'll also be required to escort the daughter on her overseas vacations. This is rather awkward for me to say, but she's in her mid-20's with a rather strong sex drive and part of your job assignment will be to satisfy her sexual urges.

"There's a two-bedroom loft type apartment above the garage for your personal use. It comes with a plasma TV, a stereo, and a bar.

"Oh - and the salary is $200,000 a year."

The guy looked at her, wide-eyed, and said, ' You're bullsh--n' me!

"Well, yes, I am," the social worker said. "But you started it."

********** Hi Hugh,

Have not had much time to chat with you but I just wanted to leave you with a quick progress report regarding the Peewee team and double wing we are running.  So far we are 9 and 0.  Looks like an undefeated season in the making (2 games to go).  Sooke Seahawks have never won a gold cup so it looks like this may be our year.  The offense dominates.  Most coaches up here are used to CFL version football (12 man with 6 eligible receivers that can motion at any time).  I think I have frustrated some very notable coaches this year.  Thanks kindly for your materal and knowledge. 

Matt Mortenson
Sooke, British Columbia

*********** Yes, but...

In an interview Carmelo Anthony's fiancee said that among numerous other indignities, Dallas fans in the last series called her son a "bastard."

"Yes, my son's dad and I are not married," she said - "but we are engaged!"

*********** You decide for yourself whether you can watch any more of "Michael Irvin, Pro Talent Evaluator."

I can't watch it because that means watching Joe Avezzano. I can't look at the guy without being reminded of his only head coaching position, a five-year stint at Oregon State.

What a five-year run it was - 0-11, 1-10, 1--9-1, 2-8-1, and 2-9. Wins over Long Beach State, Montana, Portland State and Wyoming. Two conference wins - against a 1-10 Stanford team and a 2-9 Cal team. The best he could do in five tries against Rich Brooks at Oregon was an ugly 0-0 tie in 1984. Who could have known that when he was fired after the 1984 season, the Beavers had only reached the halfway mark en route to 28 straight losing seasons?

Has anyone ever done a worse job of coaching? He was 6-47-2 - that's .127, if you're scoring at home - with two different 14-game losing streaks.

That was on the field.

Off the field, he had a reputation as, um, a swordsman. There were rumors - and that's all they've ever been- of "dalliances" with cheerleaders. If true, it proved that things at OSU were at such a low point that not even the cheerleaders expected much.

*********** A truism sent me by a friend:

The less skilled the player, the more likely he is to share his ideas about the golf swing.

I've noted how in another sense this is also true of football coaches offering advice.

*********** "If a team has some success throwing the ball it does not demoralize the defense. But when they are hitting at the gut of the defense it will demoralize them if you can't stop them." Bill McCartney, national championship-winning coach at Colorado

*********** Dad, With regards to my Top Ten sporting events, I've gone with diversity.  And I'm assuming you can only pick one other college game besides Army/Navy!  And I'm not including things I've been to like the AFL Grand Final. Love, Ed

*Duke vs Carolina at Cameron I agree with
*Army vs Navy I agree with
*Big game at Tennessee, Florida, Clemson, Ohio State, Penn State etc
*Cardinals vs Cubs at Wrigley ----  (AGREED)
*Packers game at Lambeau ----  (YUP)
*Yomiuri Giants home game in Japan ---- (NOT WITH YOU ON THAT)
*Celtic vs Rangers in Scotland ---- (YES, BUT TO WATCH THE FANS, NOT THE GAME)
*Daytona 500 or big race at Talladega --- (I THINK MAYBE BRISTOL)
*All Blacks game in New Zealand --- (DEFINITELY)
*Canadiens v Leafs in Montreal ---- (ANY CANADIENS GAME - One of the things that always pisses me off when I think about it - which, fortunately, is seldom - is that back in 1981 we were in the f--king LOBBY of the Montreal Forum and they wouldn't let us look inside. Probably because I didn't ask in French.)

*********** The United Football League (they're supposed to start in October, but do you think they'll ever actually play a game?) says it will provide an "integrated sponsorship package" that it says is "assault proof."

The idea is never to have a television sponsor look at a broadcast that he's paying for - and see a competitor's advertisement displayed on a sign at the stadium.

Look for sponsor logos on uniforms and fields, as well as "vendor relationships" for everything from helmets to tackling dummies.

On TV, "We’d like to be a professionally produced football game," said its broadcast consultant. TV people will be allowed more sideline and locker-room access, and coaches will be made more available for on-camera interviews, but “We’re not planning any tricks. There’s no comparison to the XFL. We’re going to show football the way football fans want to see it.”

The league will have "teams representing four markets." That's a good one. Besides Orlando, the "markets" are "Las Vegas/Los Angeles", "New York/Hartford," and "San Francisco/Sacramento."

Are they serious? They really think somebody's going to drive from LA to Vegas to watch a minor league game? From New York to Hartford?

Sounds like they must be having trouble finding places to play.

*********** Georgia Tech has hired an outside firm to handle ticket sales for football and men’s basketball.
It's believed to be the first case of a university outsourcing its ticket operations, and many believe it could lead to schools' outsourcing more of their athletic departments' business.

You could make the argument that most big-time schools have already outsourced their entire athletic departments.

*********** I'm old enough to remember when...

Cleats were screwed onto threaded posts that stuck out from the sole of the shoe. On frozen fields, certain unscrupulous coaches would instruct their players to unscrew their cleats, leaving just the posts.

"Mud cleats" were at least an inch long.

Aluminum cleats were really cool.

FLAGFRIDAY, MAY 22, 2009- "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


*********** 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




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 (coachwyatt@aol.com).

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.

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.


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

*********** 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 1864 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.

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.

*********** Hugh Brodie, an Australian, enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force in Melbourne on 15 September 1940. In 1942, Sergeant Brodie was listed Missing in Action. Before he left us, though, he wrote "A Sergeant's Prayer"

Almighty and all present Power,
Short is the prayer I make to Thee,
I do not ask in battle hour
For any shield to cover me.

The vast unalterable way,
From which the stars do not depart
May not be turned aside to stay
The bullet flying to my heart.

I ask no help to strike my foe,
I seek no petty victory here,
The enemy I hate, I know,
To Thee is also dear.

But this I pray, be at my side
When death is drawing through the sky.
Almighty God who also died
Teach me the way that I should die.

*********** "I learned one thing from Bill Hess. When he became our offensive line coordinator, he did so well that I turned almost everything over to him. If he came to me with a question, I very often would say, 'Bill, you know how to do it, so you go ahead.' That was the confidence I had in him. However, when he left to go to Ohio U. (as head coach), I was at a great disadvantage, because I had to go back and relearn many of the things I turned over to him. Since then, I have sometimes been thought of as a nosey coach, because never have I depended on one man." Woody Hayes, "You Win With People", 1973

*********** Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers were scheduled to play the Nuggets at Denver's Pepsi Center on Monday night. At 7 PM Mountain Time. A sure sellout.

But so, at 6:30 was Monday Night Raw, in front of a packed house of screaming WWE wrestling fans.

How did this happen? Simple. A lack of belief in the Nuggets.

Hey - they'd lost in the first round of the playoffs for five straight years, so who would have expected them to make it to the conference finals?

Not their owner, Stan Kroenke, who also owns the Pepsi Center, and who as a good businessman has undoubtedly instructed his employees to make sure the building doesn't sit empty.

So sure were they that the Nuggets' season would be over by this late date that as recently as April 15, the last day of the NBA regular season, they sent WWE - promoters of Monday Night Raw - the final contract.

"Even though the Denver Nuggets had a strong team this year and were projected to make the playoffs, obviously Nuggets and Pepsi Center owner Stan Kroenke did not have enough faith in his own team to hold the May 25th date for a potential playoff game," said WWE chairman Vince McMahon.
Now, there was no way in the world that the NBA, if it wished to remain a major professional league, could have allowed wrestling - wrestling, for God's sake! - to trump a playoff game, so magically, arrangements were made for Monday Night Raw to move to LA. Amazing what money can do.
Despite having to move, this whole thing was a huge windfall for McMahon.

The consummate promoter, he made headlines by challenging Kroenke to a cage match. Loser leaves town.
Now, though, we learn that Monday Night Raw will go on as scheduled - but at LA's Staples Center. And with four days' notice, I'm betting they'll fill the place. With the Lakers' game on TV. Guess wrestling draws a different crowd, huh?

And in return for moving and keeping his mouth shut, McMahon undoubtedly pocketed a nice bit of change. Okay, okay - I lied. There's not enough money in the state of Colorado to get Vince McMahon to keep his mouth shut.

*********** If California goes broke and the US bail it out, will the US government take over California? (Not as funny as it sounds, guys. We could all wind up picking up the tab for theirl politicians so they can continue on their wastrel ways.)

*********** How well I remember the days when I worked for a brewery, and advertisers of consumer goods, awakening to the fact that black people bought things, too, were beginning to face the "diversity" issue in their TV commercials.

Today, they've got diversity in commercials down to a fine art. Next time you look at a commercial on TV, go down a check list and you'll see how careful they are to show (1) women, (2) blacks, (3) Asians. Maybe even a white or two.

At the National Brewing Company, in a city where race relations were still a bit tense, we were not about to drag racial politics into selling beer. So we finessed the "diversity" issue in our commercials by using cartoon characters. Our tag line was "Brewed on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay" (Baltimore Harbor, actually), and a favorite character was a little bird named "Chester Peake." (Get it?)

Which brings me to Red House Furniture, in High Point, North Carolina. In a clever if amateurishly-done commercial they have produced a hilarious spoof on the diversity pimps, saying "screw the sublety," and cutting right to the chase.

OPEN - Two white guys and a black guy sitting on a coach

(Black Guy) "Can't we all just get along?"

(1st White Guy) "At the Red House Furniture..."

(Black Guy and the Two White Guys together) "WE CAN!"

(Black Guy) "I'm Richard, aka Big Head. I work at the Red House, and I'm black. I like pumpin' iron... and pumpin' furniture into peoples' homes."

(1st White Guy) "I'm Johnny, aka Ten Gauge. I work at the Red House, and I'm white. I like deer huntin', bass fishin', and extending credit to all people."

(Black Customer 1) "I'm black, and I love the Red House."

(White Customer 1) "I'm white, and I love the Red House."

(Black Customer 2) "I'm a black woman, and I lo-o-o-o-ve the Red House."

(White Customer 2) "I am white... and the Red House is for me."

(Big Head, flopping on sofa) "Look at this sofa... It's perfect for a black person... or a white person."

(Ten Gauge, flopping on mattress) "This mattress is perfect for a white person... or a black person."

(Chorus) "At the Re-e-e-e-d House... Where black peo-ple and white peo-ple buy furniture!"

(B & W Salesmen) "And Hispanic people, too!"


*********** Remember that Nike commercial? The one where a series of little girls tell us about all the good things that will happen to them ( "I'll like myself more"; "I'll have more self-confidence"; "I will be less likely to become pregnant before I want to") "if you'll let me play sports?"

Well. It's been 27 years since Title IX, and 14 years since that Nike spot aired, and...

Nine of the top 20 - and four of the top five - women's college tennis players are foreigners.

In 1985, the first year such rankings were available, it was three.

Title IX. Expanding opportunities for American women.

*********** We all saw what happened to cigarettes, once they became Public Enemy Number One: as the tax on them increased, so, then, did the price of cigarettes; as the price of cigarettes increased, sales of cigarettes fell off; and as the sales of cigarettes fell off, so, too, did cigarette tax collections. As the tax collections fell off, governments did the only thing governments know to do: increase cigarette taxes. Again. Which further increased the prices, which further decreased the sales, and so on.

So those who say that the way to make us "energy-independent" is to reduce our consumption of gas and oil are either stupid or dishonest, because a drop in gasoline usage is going to result in a decline in gasoline tax collections, and governments are going to respond by doing the only thing they know to do.

*********** Travis Henry's in trouble with the law again, arrested this week by U.S. Marshals in Auburndale, Florida.

It's believed that the arrest has something to do with a "release violation" related to a plea deal with prosecutors in April in which he admitted to a charge of conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute. (Henry and a co-defendant were arrested in Denver back in October, after authorities in Montana found six pounds of marijuana and more than six pounds of cocaine that they "allegedly" had supplied.)

Henry's last brush with the law was in March, when he was arrested on charges that he owed $16,600 in child support.

Damn shame for Henry there's no money to make in the one field in which he shows talent - guy's sired 11 children by 10 different women.

*********** I read of the shooting death of an "up and coming rapper" named Dolla (real name: Roderick Anthony Burton II) and I thought of George Carlin.

In "Brain Droppings," Carlin noted the importance of a first name, venturing to say that 19th-century London would probably not have been terrified by someone named "Wally the Ripper," and World War II might not have lasted so long - might not even have taken place - if Germany had been led by a guy named Skip Hitler.

*********** The Ridley Township/Aston Knights, with whom my Hagerstown Bears went at it hammer and tong on many an occasion nearly 40 years agho, held a reunion recently.

Sheesh, I wish I'd been there. Harry Chaykun wrote a nice story about it in the Delaware County Times, a Philadelphia suburban daily - a story about a bunch of old-time footballers getting together and hoisting a few and forgetting for a few brief moments all the years that have passed since they last strapped it on. (Lord, they were tough guys.)

Chaykun even quoted former Eagle Vince Papale, further corroborating my part in the "true story" on which the movie "Invincible" was "based."

(You may recall that the movie portrayed Papale as a "down-on-his-luck bartender" who came out of nowhere, never having played football before, to win a spot on the Philadelphia Eagles' roster. Heartwarming story - chicks undoubtedly loved it - but the truth is that I scouted Vince when he was playing in the Seaboard League, and I signed him to a World Football League contract. And Vince had two years (with pay) in the WFL under his belt when the Eagles signed him. http://www.coachwyatt.com/vincepapale.htm)

Said Vince at the reunion, “Hugh Wyatt, who was the coach of the Hagerstown Bears, became the player personnel man with the Philadelphia Bell when the World Football League started in 1974,” Papale said. “I went to a workout they held looking for players and he signed me. That’s when I quit teaching (at Interboro) and became a pro football player."


*********** Lane Kiffin probably never heard of Fred Williamson. Pity.

Williamson, who played defensive back for the Kansas City Chiefs in the 1960s, was one of the earliest of the sort of self-promoting blowhards who now infest professional football. His self-conferred nickname "The Hammer"derived from the forearm blow with which he allegedly disabled opposing wide receivers, and he drew a lot of attention to himself in the days prior to Super Bowl II (which at the time wasn't even called the "Super Bowl") by threatening to administer the hammer to Packers' receivers Boyd Dowler and Carroll Dale. “Two hammers to Dowler, one to Dale should be enough," he boasted.

The reaction of most sports fans to this outrageous act of braggadocio was WTF? That's because, you see, those were the days when a man didn't boast, a man didn't brag, a man didn't call attention to himself. (Those were good times, kids.)

And besides, he was dissing the Packers! Vince Lombardi's team.

So in the eyes of real sports fans, it was justice amply served when the game rolled around and the Hammer himself got knocked cold trying to make a tackle, and was carried off to the jeers and taunts of the real pros on the Packers' sideline.

Thus always to braggarts.

Now along comes Lane Kiffin, 34-year-old rookie head coach at Tennessee. The Boy Wonder of the Smokies has already (falsely) accused Florida's Urban Meyer of cheating (while himself engaging in some questionable tactics). He's said some uncalled-for things about a town (Pahokee, Florida) which may be lacking in certain amenities but produces large numbers of good football players. And he's signed a kid who may or may not have straightened his life out after his participation in an ugly sodomy/rape case.

Stupidity and ethics aside, though, he also seems to have a boastfulness about him that would make a pro wrestler envious. At his first news conference, he said he looked forward to "singing Rocky Top all night long after we beat Florida next year."

Now, Coach Kiffin is young, so there's still time to learn some of the lessons of history. Here's one on me: for every Muhammad Ali who can shoot his mouth off and back it up, there are a thousand Fred Williamsons who can't.

*********** Years ago, I heard Lou Holtz (back when he was still coaching and still witty) tell about an important coaching lesson he learned, back when he was at N.C. State. In the week before a game with Penn State, he'd made a few comments to the news media about something the Nittany Lions were doing that he disagreed with. Joe Paterno, refusing to rise to the bait, had said nothing to the media in reply, but on game day, when the two coaches met at midfield during warmups, he said to Holtz, "You know, Lou, you can only coach one team at a time."

So WTF was rookie Oregon coach Chip Kelly thinking, going off on the Washington Huskies and the way they conducted their spring game?

In trying to make his point that Oregon was going to stage a really competitive spring game, he said, "We're not going to line up our best against the rest like the Huskies did in their spring game. They ran their number one offense against the number two and number three defenses so Jake Locker could go 16 of 18 with two drops. And they had their number one defense up against the second and third offense so they could shut them out."

Replied Washington's Steve Sarkisian, also a rookie, "We're never going to be concerned with another football program. We've got our own issues to be concerned about. We're not going to be concerned about what other people are saying. We need to focus all our efforts on what we are doing,"

Point, Mr. Sarkisian.

*********** Coach Wyatt, reading your news about rivals reminds me of a story Vin Scully tells about Jackie Robinson. Upon learning he was traded to San Fransisco,he chose to retire rather than wear a Giants' uniform.I doubt that would happen today.   Kurt Heinke  Atascadero, California (A great story from the days when teams were made up of guys who cared about their teams and teammates!  And people wonder why I can't get excited any more about watching a professional game. HW)

*********** What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?

Delaware State is going to Ann Arbor on October 17 to play Michigan.

The payoff? $500,000.

The cost to Delaware State?

An ass-whipping.

And the loss of its soul.

See, Delaware State was already scheduled to play conference rival North Carolina A & T on the same date.

But this is today's college athletics, and money talks. So Delaware State goes for the moolah, and A & T gets - a forfeit. Whoopee-doo. And the league they play in is made to look bush.

Oh, well. We're in the business of teaching young men, aren't we? And shouldn't the first lesson be that when you have a chance to "better" yourself, prior commitments mean nothing?

Faced with the loss of a home game - leaving him with only four - A & T Athletic Director Wheeler Brown tried to put a positive spin on the deal, saying, "it's good to know in May you are already 1-0.”

*********** Shaquille O'Neal, evidently concerned that he won't have any income after his basketball days are over, has been undergoing a crash course in broadcasting at Syracuse, the breeding ground of so many radio and TV guys.

Forget the fact that over the years the guy's been probably the worst interview in professional sports. Doesn't matter. He's Shaq, so he'll go right to the front of the line when he decides to retire as a player.

It's not as if he doesn't have anything to offer basketball fans. As one of the people at Syracuse said, in awe, "He showed the expanse of his basketball knowledge by dropping John Wooden's name."

Wow. He's heard of John Wooden. Guy really knows the game.

*********** I'm old enough to remember when...

Coaches dressed like players at practice (with the exception of shoulder pads and helmets); the reason for this, initially, was that assistants were often expected to get right into the thick of the action to demonstrate techniques.

On game day, coaches wore coats and ties and often fedor hats. Some southern coaches would defer to the heat by taking off their coats. But never their ties.

Unless they were out on the field, players all remained seated on the team bench throughout the game.

FLAGTUESDAY, MAY 19, 2009- "There are only two truly infinite things: the universe and stupidity. And I am unsure about the universe." Albert Einstein

*********** Joe Ross, a friend who now coaches at Army, played his high school football at Bishop Walsh High in Cumberland, Maryland. Cumberland, nestled in among the mountains of western Maryland, is far enough west of Baltimore and Washington that it's actually closer to Pittsburgh, and its residents root for neither the Redskins or the Colts/Ravens, but for the Steelers.

The two public high schools in Cumberland are Allegheny High and Fort Hill High, and when the two play, the place - Fort Hill's beautiful hilltop stadium - is sold out.

The odd man out for the city title is usually much smaller Bishop Walsh, but on occasion BW has beaten both Allegheny and Fort Hill. One such occasion was when Joe played there.

Joe's coach at Bishop Walsh was a guy named Wally Mahle (pronounced MAIL-ee), who passed away earlier this year.

Coach Mahle played his college ball at Syracuse, quarterbacking some pretty good teams.

At running back in his backfield was Floyd Little, who went on to become an All Pro. At fullback was a big kid from Ohio named Larry Csonka. He didn't do too bad in the pros, either. And at wingback in Ben Schwartzwalder's unbalanced-line wing-T was a guy from Waterloo, New York named Tommy Coughlin. (Yes, the same Tom Coughlin.)

*********** The Pac-10 track and field championships were held this past week at Eugene, Oregon. The meet drew a respectable 5,200 for Saturday's session in "Track Town," but if you needed any convincing that track and field is about dead as a spectator sport everyplace else, there's this - not a single set of press credentials was issued to any newspaper outside the state of Oregon.

*********** My answer to a coach who asked me why my wingbacks have been squared-up to the line of scrimmage (after I told him I've been doing it that way for years) ...

Leave them turned in and eventually they will continue to  turn until they are facing each other.  Not much of a threat to do anything except run to the opposite side of center.

In many ways, because I just don't seem to be able to get the big strong athletic tight ends I'd like, my tight ends and wingbacks are often interchangeable as to the things I ask them to do.

And my wingbacks can release into a pass pattern a lot better.  It is not difficult for defenses to hold them up when they can barely go straight ahead, let alone release outside.

Squared-up doesn't prevent them from doing anything they did before.

Actually, there is no compelling reason for them to be angled in.

The coach wrote back, "Good Lord, I've been fighting this for years for no reason."

*********** I got all your material a few months ago and its great stuff.  I was just wondering why you did not run any Wildcat plays this year?

Good question, coach.

(1) I didn't think we were ready.

I was new to the kids and didn't know a thing about them. And the kids were brand-new to the system, and my stress was on taking baby steps as we worked on executing the basics.

(2) We were moving the ball very well using our base stuff. We averaged 35 points per game

(3) It took me the better part of the season to realize what a good athlete my QB was.  Turned out he was our fastest player and, although small, very tough and a good runner. As a result, I may look at some Wildcat this year

I should add that we did have a small Wildcat package ready in case that QB went down.

*********** "Any running attack, to be successful, must be able to direct the ball at any spot along the line of scrimmage from one end to the other. It should move the ball through any opening with deception and the utmost possible speed. Plays in their origin should appear identical, and yet maintain the option of putting the ball through different spots in the line of scrimmage. In coaching terms, plays which look alike in origin are called "cycles." Single-wing teams have many cycles of plays. On one cycle, the tailback fakes or gives to the fullback. This cycle in its entirety will put the ball through every spot in the defensive line while maintaining the same origin or start. If the faking is good, the defense will not know as the play starts where the ball will ultimately go. This theory is the essence of all offensive football." Bud Wilkinson, "Modern Split-T Football," Prentice-Hall, New York, 1952 (We are not running the Split-T, of course, but you can see some resemblance on philosophy to what we do: "Plays in their origin should appear identical, and yet maintain the option of putting the ball through different spots in the line of scrimmage." HW)

*********** Just when I was kinda getting used to Tony Kornheiser, they go and replace him with Jon Gruden, noted standup comic.

Kornheiser reportedly was not fired, but instead resigned, citing a fear of flying. "My fear of planes is legendary and sadly true," he said in a statement released by the network. "When I looked at the upcoming schedule it was the perfect storm that would've frequently moved me from the bus to the air."

Wonder if he first looked to see if the Madden Cruiser was listed on Craig's List or EBay.

*********** Robert Tuchman, President and Founder of a company called Premiere Corporate Events is the author of a book called "The 100 Sporting Events You Must See Live". He says it's all about "the overall onsite experience"

Here's his Top Ten (with my comments)

1 - The Masters ----- Maybe. But Four days' worth???
2 - FIFA World Cup ---- Yeah, right. Soccer.
3 - The Super Bowl ----- Save the money and watch it on TV
4 - The Summer Olympics - Even if it's rhythmic gymnastics?
5 - The Army-Navy Football Game - Sure - once Army gets competitive again
6 - The New York City Marathon - How/where, exactly, do you watch a marathon?
7 - The World Series - In November? At night?
8 - Winter Olympics - Sorry. All I could get you tickets for was curling.
9 - Red Sox-Yankees at Yankee Stadium - Why not at Fenway?
10 - UNC-Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium - Okay. Agreed. But one out of ten is not a very good average.

What - no Tour de France? No Indianapolis 500? No Kentucky Derby? No running of the bulls at Pamplona? No Wing Bowl?

This guy, I am convinced, is a dilettante. He is a superficial fan. He goes to the Super Bowl for the halftime show.

I liked this one: "As far as rivalries go," says Tuchman, "nothing tops Yankees versus Red Sox."

Gimme a break. It's a phony rivalry, one generated by the media and existing only among the fans. How can you call it a rivalry when it doesn't matter to the players? Proof - for the right amount of money, this year's Yankees might easily wind up being next year's Red Sox.

You want a rivalry? There isn't enough money in the world to get an Auburn fan to go over to the Alabama side. Or vice-versa. Now, that's a rivalry.

The Sporting Events I Must See Live? Top Ten - (College Football only, of course - not a damn soccer match in the bunch)...


*********** Michael Josephson interviews the great John Wooden http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvX0fkEp0cs

*********** Gee- and here I always thought body building was on the up-and-up...

The Belgian Bodybuilding Championships more moved across the border into The Netherlands this year in hopes of dodging the sort of testing that resulted in large numbers of positive results last year. But doping officials, wise to the game, obtained the necessary permits to perform the testing in The Netherlands, and when they announced their presence just before the event, the bodybuilders, preferring to quit rather than submit to doping tests, got up and left.

Last year, 22 of 29 tests were positive, either for steroids or for refusing testing.

I'm reeling with disillusionment. Please don't kick me when I'm down and tell me that professional wrestling is fixed.

*********** Maybe it's the economy. Maybe it's steroid hangover. Maybe it's the outrageous prices the Yankees tried putting on seats in "their" new stadium (built for them by New York's - and therefore America's - taxpayers). Whatever, baseball's attendance this year is off by more than five per cent. This, despite all sorts of discounts and promotions. Both the Yankees and Mets are playing in brand-new parks, but they're not coming close to selling out, despite their new parks' smaller capacities.

Leading losers...

Washington -33.40%
Detroit -29.40%
Mets -22.10%
Atlanta -18.20%
San Diego -16.00%
Toronto -16.00%
Colorado -14.10%
Houston -13.00%
Yankees -12.60%

*********** Whoa. Waymon Tisdale is dead of cancer. Man was only 44.

*********** Anybody think that those defranchised automobile dealers are just going to roll over and die? Think they're just gonna let those big old lots and showrooms sit there empty? I'm willing to lay money that as soon as they get rid of all the unsold cars that the companies stuck them with, they'll be selling cheap little cars made in China and India (can you say "Tata?"), and beating the brains out of the ham-handed US government/UAW-run companies that gave them the shaft.

*********** Whew. It's a good thing for Don Imus that he does a morning show and has to get to bed early. If he'd stay up late enough to see the tats on the Denver Nuggets, I guarantee he'd say something to get himself in trouble again.

*********** Is there a bigger doofus anywhere than Chad Johnson? Last year he was pissed because he couldn't play under his self-conferred new name of Chad Ocho Cinco - because, the NFL told him, its "official supplier" had so many unsold "Chad Johnson" jerseys still on hand.

Well. 2009 may be a new year, but Chad is still pissed. This time it's because the NFL will allow him to use his new name, but he can't spell it "Ocho Cinco. " Instead, it'll have to be "Ochocinco," which is exactly the way the dolt spelled it on the name-change application.

So much for all those jokes about giving guys like him a couple hundred points on the SAT just for spelling their names right.

Could be worse. At least he chose Spanish. In Finnish, he'd be Chad Kahdeksankymenntäviisi.

*********** Q: If you had (or have had) a really good QB with college potential, would you stick with the double wing, throw more out of the double slot and avoid having him block?

A: First of all, I wouldn't do anything to "showcase" a kid at the expense of the overall success of the team.

Actually, "If I had a really good quarterback" isn't so much the condition as "if I had some really good receivers."

But if I had the kid with the gun and we had kids who could catch, we would certainly throw more.

Just not likely from a different offense.

I'm not going to devote an entire season to doing something different from what I believe in, when any kid can be gone in a heartbeat, and then I'll have wasted all that time that I could have spent getting our entire program better.

I know coaches who have accomodated unusually skilled players by getting away from what they believed in - just for one season. They threw the ball all over the place and put up big numbers. And then the next year they went back to what they "believed in" - and they weren't as good as they were before they strayed.

This is all speculation, anyhow, because by the time he got to me, if a kid was good enough to warrant my considering changing my offense for him, his father (with the advice and counsel of a QB guru) would almost certainly have enrolled him at a more passing-friendly place, anyhow.

Maybe I can win with that kind of kid. I don't know. I'd rather not have to try. I'm partial to team players.

I always think of the Bear Bryant-era Alabama QB (it may have been Jeff Rutledge but I can't be sure) who said (I paraphrase) , "I didn't come to Alabama to be a star - I came to Alabama to win."

*********** I'm old enough to remember when...

Game films were just that. Films. Games were shot in 16 millimeter film, and the film often had to be sent away to a lab to be processed.

"Film Clips" were just that, too - to show a series of specific plays, individual plays were "clipped" (cut) from the master game film and the clips then spliced together into a new reel. (It was a monster job.) As a result, the "clipped" plays no longer appeared in the original game film. (Extra copies of game films were prohibitively expensive.)

Some teams didn't even film their games.

There was no film exchange. Coaches depended on live scouting.

FLAGFRIDAY, MAY 15, 2009- "In the 1950s, the players were tougher because they came out of World War II. We had a different mentality. We were raised to love your God, respect your elders, and fear no son of a bitch that walks." The late Frank "Bucko" Kilroy, famous bad-boy lineman for the Eagles, and later a long-time NFL personnel executive.

*********** I stumped all but one or two guys at my clinics this past winter/spring with this: He was the first black player to play for the New York Giants; he was the first black man inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame; he was the first purely defensive player to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame; and he was the first black man in pro football's modern era to be an NFL assistant coach. CLICK HERE

*********** If there seems to have been a delay in the NFL's plans to discuss adding two more regular-season games to the schedule, while ditching two "pre-season" games, it's because agents aren't stupid.

They've been doing some calculating, and, um, it's going to cost...

“The issue goes beyond if you play two more games you get two more paychecks,” Tom Condon, top football agent at CAA Sports told Sports Business Weekly. “There would certainly have to be a consideration for the health risk, the additional wear and tear, and the potential of shortening of players’ careers.”

Then, too, additional regular-season games could have an effect on benefits and free agency.

"If you are playing two more games a year, over a period of time, you could have an extra year of credit towards benefits,” Condon said. “For a rookie player who normally would reach free agency after year number four, potentially, he would have played in 64 games. Now, [in an 18-game schedule] it would be 64 plus eight. There would be eight more games for potential injury. ”

Drew Rosenhaus, an agent who represents about 100 players, said he is curious about how players who are under long-term contracts negotiated on the basis of a 16-game regular season would be paid if two more regular-season games were added.

gerber ad*********** Portland isn't known for making big-ass items like steel, or automobiles, or furniture. Most of its really big companies bailed when the government decided owls were more important than workers in the forest.

But Portland does have a few companies with a reputation for making very good stuff: Columbia sportswear sells good outerware, even if it is actually made overseas; Leatherman has become a household word for all-in-one tools; Langlitz Leathers is the gold standard of bikers' wear; outdoorsmen know about about Danner Boots and Gerber Legendary Blades. I had to laugh at Gerber's announcement of a factory sale...

*********** Remember when NASCAR seemed poised to challenge the NFL for sports dominance? As my late grandmother would say, "Not no more."

Through the first 10 races this season, the Nielsen ratings on Fox are down 11.5 percent and viewership is down 10.8 percent from 2008.

Before last Sunday's race, Fox’s average rating for the season was a 5.4 (8.9 million viewers) vs. 6.1 (10 million viewers) in 2008.
The New York market is actually up 5 percent, but in other big markets Chicago is down 25 percent, Los Angeles 23 percent.

Scarier still are the ratings from traditional NASCAR markets. Atlanta is down 10 per cent and Charlotte, home of many of the racers and racing teams, is down 22 percent.

It's not as if NASCAR is dying, certainly. But it stands to reason that a lot of its decline has come about because its growth consisted of drop-ins, fans looking for something new. And those johnny-come-lately fans are a lot more fickle than the hardcore folks NASCAR abandoned when it pulled out of places like Rockingham and North Wilkesboro in order to expand into more glamorous markets.

*********** (Regarding the Dolphins' selling the naming rights to their stadium for one season...)

Coach Wyatt,

I just inquired into naming rights for the first snap of the of the second series.

Mark Hundley
Dublin, Ohio

*********** Coach, I hope you are doing well.  You probably don't recall, but we were in contact about four years ago, and occassionally since.  I can remember when I first bought your videos, the thrill I felt as a first year head coach viewing them and preparing to run the double wing.  For three years, as a head coach, I ran the offense.  My teams went a combined 35-4, with one of those losses coming in the American Youth Football national championship game, one in the Arizona state/regional championship game, and one in the city championship (Tucson) game.  In short, we lost just one regular season game in three years, and defeated teams from Utah, Southern Cal, New Hampshire, Phoenix and Colorado during our three seasons and collected one state championship, two city championship and a national runner-up title.  We played a heckuva lotta games each season because we always advanced well into the playoffs.  (My son counted and at the end of his freshman year of football he had played in over 70 games including all his youth experience)

Of the 23 boys who played youth football for me two seasons ago (last season I watched my own son play high school ball and helped coach a youth team as the defensive coordinator) all 23 finished the season healthy and injury-free, thanks in large part to your tackling video.  And of those 23 boys, 21 played and started as freshman footballers, and I know that at least 18 are playing as sophomores this next season.

Anyhow, I was just asked to run another youth team's offense, so I know I'll be ordering from you again soon.  Pretty exciting to be able to run this offense again.

Adam Watters
Tucson, Arizona

*********** Good Morning Hugh--

I liked the changes to the web page certainly updated and modern.

I couldn't help but focus in on the quote from the "Bear" on fumbling the football. Thinking about our issue with fumbling last season your readers might be interested in knowing that you do not tolerate fumbling the football no matter how good the athlete. I distinctly remember how you handled this situation in our last game of the season-- a lesson young coaches should learn. No matter how good one might be  if he can not hang on to the ball he can not carry it!! A tough lesson but one well worth learning.

Secondly--you may have mellowed and that is could be open to some debate but nevertheless the advice you gave on running the veer from the DW was sure classic Wyatt if given in a somewhat gentle way.


Ps: I am currently reading "The Last Coach; A Life of Paul "Bear" Bryant" by Allen Barra. It is quite good and a must read for anyone but especially for those who coach.  (Jack refers to a very important game in which a kid fumbled one time too many and I had to basically walk out to the mound and ask him for the ball. Not an easy thing to do to a senior. But the coach always has to think of the team first. The book is very good. I like Allen Barra, who writes on sports regularly for the Wall Street Journal. HW)

*********** Coach,
It's football time again in South Carolina!  We start spring practice next week, and after a nice long golf season I am ready for some football.
One of the issues that we are looking at for the spring is what to do with the wing back.  I know this came up at the clinic in Atlanta but I wanted to get your thoughts again.  We like the idea of putting him down in a stance to help keep him low, to hide him on super power, and to prevent false starts.  But, in the past one of our best plays has been the "Rocket-Toss" sweep. We are concerned that if the WB is in a 3 point stance this might hurt that play. Just curious as to what you think about this issue.
Thanks again and I look forward to hearing from you.


After playing around with the 3-point stance over the years, I went to it full-time this past season and I have absolutely nothing negative to report. 

We run (in practice) everything that's ever been run by a Double Wing team, and I see mostly positive and nothing negative.

Among other things, I NOW only have one stance to teach my ends and wingbacks. And it makes it easy for them to move up and back, on and off the line.

The point that I am really firm about is keeping them squared up.  I've been squared up now since 2003 and I'd never go back to turning them in.

Hope spring ball goes well.  Stay in touch.

*********** How many of you guys who despair because you think you're at a dead end in your career happend to notice in the obituaries of Chuck Daly that the man, who coached the Dream Team in the 1992 Olympics, he didn't make it to the NBA until was 48?

*********** (After my relating a couple of Army wishbone QB Rob Healy's thoughts on running the 'bone...)

Coach, I watched the Army - Illinois game just last week (Just bought a reconditioned Beta VCR just so I could see all the old stuff...)

Young QB Healy was amazing to see.  The field conditions were pretty poor that day.  If you EVER get a chance to see the Coach Young Army Wishbone with either Nate Sassaman or Rob Healy at QB, spend some time to really see what they are doing.

The astonishing thing is how quick the Mesh was in those days.  Nate Sassaman seemed to just start out running at full speed with FB Doug Black at the Mesh point blasting past.  By the time the ball is placed in the FB's pocket, the Linemen could not have engaged downfield, it seems.  Yet, the "90%" level of correct reads appears to be true.

Rob Healy had a interesting variation also.  He frequently appeared to use two hands with his pitch motion.  The ball came out quick but was a very "soft" pitch to catch.

This was at the start of the Massively Wide Line Splits.  Good ol' T Football. The splits from Center to Guard appears to be ~ 3 feet but the Guard - Tackle gap is just huge.  This combination of Quick Mesh and Wide Splits placed tremendous pressure on the Defensive Front.

For those who want to judge what has happened in the last 25 years, find the picture in the "Coach Wyatt News" archives of the Navy Splits vs. Double Wing Splits.

It was the End of Football, Coach, just as the DW is today.  There is a play or two that will work against any defense, with good coaching and lots of heart..  If you are a coach or a fan of the DW, get the games recorded and keep them.  Years later, you'll be glad you did.

Thanks for the Waltz Down Memory Lane, Coach Wyatt.

Charlie Wilson
Seminole, Florida (I just got hold of a copy of a DVD of the 1974 Sugar Bowl, in which ND beat Bama 24-23 to win the "National Championship" - back in those pre-BCS days. It is really fun to watch. Two of the greatest coaches ever - Ara against the Bear. Bama is running wishbone, and one of the Tide running backs is Wilbur Jackson, one of the very first black players recruited by the Bear. Another of his first black players is playing center. Guy named Sylvester Croome. You talk about quick! Playing DE for Bama is John Croyle, whose present-day work with young people is an inspiration, and whose son, Brody, is a quarterback with the Kansas City Chiefs. Notre Dame is running Wing-T, occasionally running out of double-tight, double-wingback. Gerry DiNardo is playing guard. Tom Clements is the Irish QB. DiNardo would go on to coach at Vanderbilt, LSU and Indiana. Clements would go on to an outstanding career in the CFL and is now quarterbacks coach of the Packers. Better football then. HW)

*********** Hugh,
 I had a chance to review most of the DVD’s and the Playbook before our first game last weekend. I have Sons in Both Tyke (10yrs old and Under 10 man ball) and one is Peewee (12 and 13- 12 Man ball), The Tyke team is the Brockville Raiders the Peewee team is the Brockville Bucs
 I help out a bit with the Tyke team (call plays and help the young coaches) and I am the Assistant Coach on the Peewee team in charge of the offence.

The First year I coached we were unbeaten and un scored against the entire season and playoffs we had a bunch of very good kids that were fast and strong.

The Second year we were 4 and 8 and in the Fall All Star season we did not win a game!
 As you know we switched to the Double Wing this year, so far it has only been implemented on the Peewee team.
I will start tonight implementing it at the Tyke level. The Tyke team lost 18 to 0 on the weekend and they have many small first time players.

Their Head coach has his appendix burst the Day before the game and was not able to make it so I had to fill in and it was a little disjointed as I did not know the kids and the capabilities.

The double wing (changed for 10 men) will help out the smaller faster players I think.
 The Peewees were another Story all together. We only had 5 running plays and 4 passing plays and the boys executed every play perfectly. We had over 400yrds rushing mainly on the power 88 and 99 and the Wedge never came up short of 4yrds per carry.
 The Team we played was a little inexperienced and the coach was a first timer so I have to give a little to that but the final score was 26 to 6 in our favor and after the First quarter we had put in all the second and 3rd stringers and pulled out the folks we could and still were able to run and pass at will. This is “House League” football so we did not want to run up the score in the name of good sportsmanship so we did a lot of Running up the middle and short screen passes etc to stop the big plays outside.
 For the Peewees we are in a 12 man set (Canadian football) but still run 4 downs like the US. We simply added a Wide receiver to the layout to pull the corner away.
I must admit being a old O-Lineman myself and working with the kids on this Offence I have never in my past 10yrs or so of coaching seen the enthusiasm of the Offensive line!

They simply love the Double Wing and the Pulling and the raw Power at the point of attack and you should hear the squeal when we call in the Wedge! They would run it every play if they had their choice everyone always talks about how the game is won in the trenches. This is the first offence that makes believers out of the O-Line! They know they are the ones that are making the plays happen with this Offence.
 We have a good bunch of Kids this year in PeeWee but only have 3 “True” Offensive Lineman as far as size and power go but that does not seem to make much of a difference.

The QB was getting a little bored (he is one of the best athletes on the team and has a great head and arm) but he also liked winning by grinding it out better than losing by airing it out!.
  If we can keep injuries to a minimum I think there is a very good chance we will be top in our league this year. We still have not seen the more experienced competition but we all are looking forward to it next week.
 Thanks Again.
 Happy Canadian Youth Football Coach and new believer in the Double Wing
Coach Kingsley Grant
Brockville, Ontario

*********** A coach asked me how I choose captains. Actually, to me, "captains" are unnecessary - as long as I have seniors.

As a high school coach, my seniors are my leaders.

And maybe, if he's not a senior, my QB as well.  (He has to be a leader or I wouldn't have him at QB.)

I tell them that they're the only ones who have to be successful this year - they're the only ones on the squad who won't be back next year. I tell them that I'm going to put them on a higher level, and in return for that privilege I'm going to give them responsibility. I'm going to expect them to act like MEN and never to take unfair advantage of the power I'm giving them.

I talk with them a lot about it, and tell them stories about what a leader does, and I encourage them not to be afraid to get out in front of the group and take charge.  And I give them opportunities to take charge.

I tell them that the minute they stop leading I have no further use for them.  Not in so many words, but they get the picture.

And, of course, I also make sure that the other kids understand that I consider the seniors to be special, and I expect them to follow the seniors the same way they'd follow me.

Leadership is a fairly involved topic and I touched on it a bit at the clinic but if you ever want to talk about it it might be easier.

*********** Coach,
I've had your videos and playbook for a while now and can't wait for August. I'm not an experienced or trained coach, just a Dad coaching youth football. I know the kids have enough ability and I've got plenty of other Dads to help teach them the system.

My questions come from inexperience I guess. Last year I was in the huddle showing the kids the play I was calling from our playbook. This year (older age group) I have to call plays from the sideline. Can you recommend 20 or so plays for me to teach my kids? At this age, should I stick with the basic tight or add another formation or two? Keep passing simple: thunder, lightning, liz 2 blue, rip 3 red, thun/light throwback?

Any advice you can share will be greatly appreciated.

Hi Coach.

My recommendation is to teach them four plays right away, in this order...

88 Super Power
Red-Red (or as we call it now, 88 Brown - same thing)

That way, the linemen are all involved, and every one of the backs and ends has a play on which he touches the ball.

And for quite some time, until you are very good, I'd stick with one formation.

As your kids get better, you'd next want to go to 99 Super Power and (maybe 56-C)
And then 99 Black (formerly known as Blue-Blue, but same thing)

When the kids get really good at this, then - and only then - take a look at another formation.

I would recommend Tackle Over and introduce 6-G.

As you get good, you might next look at a trap.  You only have time to do it one way.

*********** For those of you who sympathized with same-sex "marriage" and didn't see how it could possibly harm the traditional concept of "marriage" that has kept our civilization intact through the ages... on Thursday I heard my first reference to "opposite-sex marriage."

*********** According to data provided exclusively to SportsBusiness Journal by StubHub, nearly two-thirds of Major League baseball, NBA, NFL and NHL teams have seen the average price of their tickets decline on the so-called "secondary market." This might not seem like bad news to teams, since the econdary market represents tickets they've already sold, but it is. Apart from the fact that this indicates a decline in speculation on tickets, it also means that a person is less likely to purchase season tickets without the confidence that he can resell the ones he doesn't use.

*********** I would have to say that we are really in deep sh-- if Nancy Pelosi is more to be believed than the CIA.

*********** I'm old enough to remember when...

Every summer, the previous season's senior all-stars would play the defending NFL champions in Chicago's Soldier Field in the College All-Star game. And then they'd report to their respective NFL training camps.

Bowls in New York and Philadelphia failed because clearly it was insane to try to play football in those places in December. (And now they hold playoff games in Green Bay in January.)

There were no computers. Electric typewriters were considered cutting edge. You either wrote it by hand or you typed it. The "cc" at the bottom of a letter meant "Carbon Copy." (How many of you knew that's what it means on e-mails, long after carbon paper outlived its usefulness?) No Xerox-type copy machines, either. Scouting reports and game plans meant to be distributed in large numbers were first typed and hand-drawn, and then duplicated by mimeograph or ditto machine. They also had to be hand-collated.

flagTUESDAY, MAY 12, 2009- "When you run out of guys that love to win, look for guys that hate to lose." H. Ross Perot

*********** Coach Wyatt,
What do you think the possibility of successfully running the veer option (if well coached) from the doublewing is? The splits are tight, but the backs are close and the d linemen are often on their face.


With all due respect, I think that if you are going to run veer, you should run veer.

I think I do a pretty good job of coaching my Double-Wing.  But I know I can do better.  If only I had more time.

Time is the coach's enemy.

If I did have more time, I think I would best spend it doing a better job at what I already do, rather than on something different.

You were wise enough to add the condition "if well coached."  Therein lies the problem. By splitting my attention between two different philosphies, I wouldn't coach either well. I wouldn't do justice to my Double Wing, and I sure wouldn't do justice to the veer, which is a very practice-intensive offense.

(By the way, I expect a barrage of e-mails from the Double-Wing fraternity telling me I was way too soft in my answer - that in earlier days I would have been a bit sharper in my response. Guess that's what age does to all of us!)

Hope that helps.

*********** For the great story of how General Petraeus brought a young soldier back from near-death by reminding him of his team...


Caution - If you're a liberal, don't let your eyes stray from this feature. This is definitely not what you'd call a liberal site.

*********** First, the teacher sent this e-mail to fellow faculty members:

Good morning,
It has just come to my attention that 2 members of my photo class came into various classrooms 1st hour today without permission and disrupted what was going on.
According to a teacher I spoke with they opened a closed door, turned on the lights during a lesson, took various pictures and were disrespectful before leaving.
This is in total violation of the rules the students agree upon while talking pictures for class room projects. 
I am sorry that this happened and I will be writing up a referral on these two individuals.
Please contact me or an administrator if this happened to you today.

Then came this, from the principal:

My question is why would this go to an administrator?  If you have classroom policies, do you have consequences in the classroom for this type of behavior?

And then this, from Coach Wyatt (who by and large worked for some excellent principals), doing his best imitation of the principal:

"Why would this go to an administrator?  Can't you see we're busy planning the next inservice?"

Damn.  A teacher handles a situation as professionally as possible under the circumstances, and this is the support he/she gets!

With "leadership" like that, you'd expect the school to be a zoo. 

But no, it's not. As is all too often the case, a strong faculty keeps the place going in spite of the administration, and then the administration takes credit for providing great leadership!

*********** To someone whose earliest memories of pro football were of the Bears playing in Wrigley Field, the Redskins playing in Griffith Stadium, the Lions in Briggs Stadium and the Steelers in Forbes Field, there's something weird about the Dolphins selling the naming rights to their stadium -for ONE F--KING YEAR. "Land Shark Stadium?" Gimme a break. On the other hand... wonder what it could cost me to buy the naming rights to the stadium for one series of downs?

*********** Rob Healy is a successful Chicago businessman, and lately he has played a major role in the new direction Army football has taken, serving on the panel that selected Rich Ellerson as head coach. In 1985, though, Rob Healy was a wishbone QB on Army's (yes, Army's) 9-3 team that beat Illinois 31-29 in the Peach Bowl.

In a recent interview with Rob O'Sullivan of goblackknights.com, he had some interesting things to say about playing quarterback in a wishbone offense...

Q: You successfully made the switch to the option with great success. What is the biggest challenge for a quarterback making that transition?

Rob Healy: On the mental side, it was thinking like an option QB. I had never thought that way before so it was 100 percent new to me. The reads, the running lanes, the fast-break style, the extreme focus on ball protection…these were all new to me.
On the physical side, I think the toughest challenge for folks is the demand for quickness. Speed is fine but an option QB must be quick. I am talking about the 5 yard burst vs. the 40 yard dash. Some folks are just not quick and this presents problems in the option offense for a QB.

Q: In your mind, what is the single biggest key to successfully running the option?

Rob Healy: If a QB has the physical talent, then I believe the biggest challenges are the FB read and the extreme requirement for ball control. A QB has a split second to get the FB read correct and must do it at about a 90 percent correct rate to be successful on a consistent basis. This is challenging. Furthermore, in the option offense, you just cannot turn the ball over. It is a ball control offense. If you turn the ball over, you will not be successful. We were possessed with ball control in the 80s and we had a lot of success holding onto the ball and getting turnovers.

*********** My favorite AM DJ, Bob Miller, was reading a news story about an exchange that you just knew couldn't possibly end pleasantly:


"Dumb blonde!"

"White trash!"

KAPOW! (As Jackie Gleason would say, "Right in the kisser!")

Observed Bob, whose roots are in Appalachia, "Somebody calls you white trash, the best thing you can to to prove them wrong is to pick a fight."

*********** We all agree that Wikipedia can be a valuable resource, mainly when it comes to gathering material that can be easily verified. But it is not a primary resource - a term that most "college-educated" people are never introduced to - and unfortunately, that's how it's being used.

Tyler Sellhorn, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, sent me the following example of hopw and why Wikipedia can lead astray...


Beware of a "resource" than anybody can contribute to. A real education develops a healthy skepticism, our only safeguard against the potential wide distribution of false information.

As Mark Twain said, "It's not so much what we don't know that gets us into trouble - it's what we do know that just ain't so!"

*********** (Following up on the Bear Bryant Mother's Day commercial) Here it is, Coach

On top of everything else, he had one of the great voices in history.

Coach Chad Beermann
Valley Community HS
Elgin, IA
(Chesterfields will do that. HW)

Thanks also to Mike Bordeau, of Plattsburgh, New York for sending me the link

*********** When we bought our house In Camas nearly 20 years ago, it was a paper mill town. Housing was reasonable, mainly because the odor of the mill kept outsiders at bay. What we found when we moved to town was that the joke was on the outsiders - the prevailing wind blew the offending odors in their direction, and spared those of us who lived here!

In the years since we moved here, a great transformation has come over our town. The mill, passing through a series of owners, has undergone odor-abatement that pretty much eradicated the "smell of money."

And Portlanders looking to escape the city lined the pockets of developers who saw them coming and threw up McMansions as close together as possible on the once-beautiful hillsides surrounding our town. Seemingly overnight, we doubled in size. And became affluent in the process.

The affluence has helped our schools academically. They are among the best in the state, a fact which attracts more and more upwardly-mobile types.

The growth has helped our schools athletically, too. Facilities are first-rate. There's a Field-turf field at the stadium, and there's a Fieldturf field at the high school. Camas high's football program, a joke when we first moved here, is now an area power. (In fairness, coaching had something to do with it.)

But the sport that has benefitted most, as you might have guessed, is soccer. The fields near our home are covered with little twerps kicking balls around as mommies and daddies watch lovingly. Boys and girls indistinguishable, both because at young ages they are quite similar in athletic ability, and because the boys favor long locks that sweep behind them as they run.

To give you an idea of the way the soccer twerpism works its way upward, our high school soccer team (very good, very well coached) won a crucial "match" the other night on its own "pitch" and the local newspaper ran a photo of a Camas kid who had just scored a goal. Like a good little European, he is running back up the field and blowing a kiss to the fans.

I can NOT picture a football - real football - player doing that.

*********** A friend who applied for a job advertised over the Internet told me that he'd learned, also through the Internet, that finalists were being interviewed - and he wasn't one of them.

The job was in another part of the country, and I told him that based on my experience, it is a real crapshoot to try to land any job long-distance unless you know somebody on the scene.

My suspicion is that people advertise a head coaching job on the Internet so they can solicit a few out-of-state applications and then brag that they conducted a "nationwide search."

It is a fact of coaching life that most jobs go to applicants who are known beforehand to the AD or the principal - or both.

In the cases where they are not known beforehand to the school administration, the edge then goes to applicants who are known to someone else influential in the community or the school system.

And, finally, assuming that no one knows any of the candidates - given roughly equal qualifications, the edge would go to the candidate who made a solid effort to make himself known to the administrators, and who was best able to summon good people to speak on his behalf. (Which is hard to do from a distance.)

It's certainly not a reflection on you when you're a couple hundred miles away and they don't call.

*********** Thanks for sharing Gen.MacArthur's speech. Man, that was something. I appreciate you always telling me about West Point when I start saying what the F... is going on in our country? Where is, The Honor,Duty,Country? It is still alive in places like West Point. 
In these times we live in I wish they would teach things like this in our schools. Speeches like this were heard. I did see the Passback video. Interesting concept and a heck of an invention. Great marketing strategy on your part. Good product. I'm getting ready on June 12th to go down to Miami. I'm going to try to go into Miami Uigh and take some pictures of the big trophy case they have at the lobby. Will share them with you if good ones. I hope they have not torn the old trophy case down they had a lot of neat things there.
Glad to see Durham was a big success.
Armando  Castro
Roanoke, Virginia

*********** COACHING WISDOM: "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

*********** There used to be a baseball expression to describe how tough a guy was - he was an "Old Oriole." They were tough guys. Baltimore lost the original Orioles in 1903, and didn't get them back again until 1954, when the St. Louis Browns, easily the worst team in baseball, moved east. I remembered a poem of celebration written at the time by the great Ogden Nash, summoning the ghosts of the greats of the past - the Old Orioles - and I found it on the Internet.

Wee Willie Keeler
Runs through the town,
All along Charles Street,
In his nightgown.
Belling like a hound dog,
Gathering the pack:
Hey, Wilbert Robinson,
The Orioles are back!
Hey, Hughie Jennings!
Hey, John McGraw!
I got fire in my eye
And tobacco in my jaw!
Hughie, hold my halo.
I’m sick of being a saint:
Got to teach youngsters
To hit ‘em where they ain’t

*********** From the Internet...

In 1986, Peter Davies was on holiday in  Kenya after graduating from  Northwestern  University .
On a hike through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air.

The elephant seemed distressed, so Peter approached it very carefully.

He got down on one knee, inspected the elephants foot, and found a large piece of wood deeply embedded in it.

As carefully and as gently as he could, Peter worked the wood out with his knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot.

The elephant turned to face the man, and with a rather curious look on its face, stared at him for several tense moments. Peter stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled.

Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned, and walked away.

Peter never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.


Twenty years later, Peter was walking through the Chicago Zoo with his teenaged son, Cameron.

As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to near where Peter and Cameron were standing.

The large bull elephant stared at Peter, lifted its front foot off the ground, then put it down.

The elephant did that several times then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at Peter.

Remembering the encounter in 1986, Peter could not help wondering if this was the same elephant.

Summoning up his courage, Peter climbed over the railing and made his way into the enclosure.

He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder.

The elephant trumpeted again, then wrapped its trunk around one of Peter legs and slammed him against the railing, killing him instantly.

Probably wasn't the same f--king elephant.

This is for everyone who keeps sending me all those heart-warming bullsh-- stories.

*********** I'm old enough to remember when...

Otto Graham, the Cleveland Browns' star quarterback, wore #60

There was no such thing as a kicking specialist. The best place-kicker in the game, the Browns' Lou "The Toe" Groza, was a real football player - six times an All-NFL offensive tackle.

There was no football - college or pro - after New Year's Day. Actually, with the exception of Army-Navy (always the last regularly-scheduled game of the season) there was no college football at all between Thanksgiving and the New Year's Day bowls. And the pros were done before New Year's Day.

flagFRIDAY, MAY 8, 2009- "Not being able to govern events, I govern myself. " Michel de Montaigne

HOPE YOU LIKE THE CHANGED FORMAT... You might want to set a new bookmark to open www.coachwyatt.com, rather than this "NEWS" page, so that you don't miss the opening stories...

The 2009 Coach Wyatt Southern California Clinic will be held Sat May 16 at West Ranch HS, 26255 West Valencia Blvd., Stevenson Ranch CA

*********** It's every coach's dream to be able to start up a new high school program. Few of us get that chance. But last Saturday at the Carolinas clinic in Durham, North Carolina, the coaches in attendance got to do just that. Following the "inside" clinic, the coaches teamed up to introduce the basics of the Double Wing to a group of players at Kestrel Heights School who will make up the school's first-ever football team.

A charter school with grades 7-12, Kestrel Heights has roughly 200 students in the top four grades, but it has had a tendency to lose students to larger area schools once they hit high school age.

The solution? In the mind of Principal Tim Dougan, it's offering Kestrel Heights kids the same "high school exerience" as the bigger schools. And that means football. Then cheer. Then band.

Well-known Durham-area coach Dave Potter has been hired to coach the offense, and he's managed to bring with him several of his fellow coaches from the Durham Eagles' orgnization. And the new Kestrel Heights staff, plus the other coaches at the clinic, combined to run a group of young and eager footballers through their very first practice Saturday!

*********** Sunday is Mother's Day, which brings to mind the greatest Mother's Day-related commercial ever made.It's been more than 25 years since South Central Bell (telephone companies back then all had "Bell" in their names) commissioned Bear Bryant to do a commercial.

After several unsuccessful takes, the Bear, perhaps growing impatient with the advertising types, ad-libbed this:

"Have you called your mama lately?  Sure wish I could."

The ad guys decided to go with it. They were smart enough to recognize what they had.

*********** "If you're a comedian and you die and go to heaven, Bill Clinton is your president. If you're a comedian and you die and go to hell, Barack Obama is your president." Robert J. Thompson, director, Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University, speaking on the way comedians find themselves treading lightly around the race issue.


dave p

*********** I just finished reading "Rebel Coach," by longtime Ole Miss Coach John Vaught. Good read - maybe because I remember so many of the teams and players he coached, from 1947 to 1969.

And last week I met with Coach David Cutcliffe at Duke. Coach Cutcliffe's last stop as a head coach before coming to Duke was Ole Miss.

That meant I just had to call Mrs. Conerly. That's Perian Conerly, widow of former Giants' great Charlie Conerly, and one of the most delightful people I know of. She still lives in Clarksdale, Mississippi, the town she and Charlie grew up in, and she remains a rabid Ole Miss fan. Coach Vaught was Charlie's coach his senior year, the year he made All-American. And Mrs. Conerly lo-o-o-o-o-ves "Coach Cut."

Mrs. Conerly told me that a friend had sent her a DVD in black-and-white of a long-ago popular TV show named "What's My Line," on which the panel had to guess a person's occupation. At the time, Charlie was the Giants' quarterback, and Mrs. Conerly, in an unusual role for a woman, wrote a syndicated column that appeared in the New York Times' sports section, letting readers in on life among the Giants' families. She said that the audience at first didn't seem to know who she was, but when she said she was from "Clarksdale, Mississippi," (she has a beautiful Mississippi accent) she could hear a "titter" as they realized she was the wife of the Giants' quarterback. (The panel went on to guess her occupation.)

I suggested that she had to be one of the first female sportswriters in America, and she said that she definitely was the first female member of the Football Writers Association of America.

She said that since she was in fact writing a column about football, a reporter friend suggested she join.

When she demurred, saying that they wouldn't likely admit a woman, he said, "With your name, spelled the way it is, they'll never know!"

And the rest is history.

*********** "Our" Curt Warner was named recently to the College Football Hall of Fame. A great running back at Penn State and then with the Seahawks, he is now a Chevy dealer in nearby Vancouver, Washington. But he lives in my town, Camas, and he's an assistant coach at Camas High, where two of his sons attend.

curt warnerThose of you who've seen the highlights of my 1999 Washougal High team may remember the guest coin-tosser at our game against our rival Camas High. That was Curt Warner, at the time new to the area, who very graciously accepted my invitation.

I wrote, back in June, 2000,

"I grew up thinking about being a pro, but how legitimate is that? You don't know when you're 10 years old if you can play at the pro level. I took it one season at a time, concentrating on what I was doing every day - every game - every practice." Curt Warner (Not Kurt Warner - Curt Warner). Now the owner of Curt Warner Chevrolet in Vancouver, Washington, he played running back for the Seahawks and Rams, and before that, played on Penn State's 1982 National Championship team, finishing in the top ten in that year's Heisman Trophy balloting. At Pineville, West Virginia High he was all-state two years in a row in football, basketball and baseball. He told me that he is opposed to the idea of specializing in one sport, and thinks that in high school kids should play all the sports they can; college, he believes, is time enough to decide which sport to concentrate on.

Curt Warner is a very impressive individual who embodies everything that Joe Paterno has always said he wanted his football players to be. Now, my hope is that he and his dealership will weather the hard times.

*********** Just in case you needed a little firing up...

The Hate Crime law, HR-1913, will protect certain people in our society, including those identified by their "sexual orientation."

Not that I think that any individual, race, religion, age or sexual orientation is more entitled to protection than any other, but this bill is a monster in the making.

That's because Congress appears unwilling to define "sexual orientation."

That would appear to leave it up to The American Psychiatric Association (APA), which has published 30 "sexual orientations" that, presumably, would be protection under the new law.

They include - but are not limited to...

Exhibitionism - the act of exposing one’s genitals to an unwilling observer to obtain sexual gratification

Frotteurism - the non-consensual rubbing against another person to achieve sexual arousal. The contact is usually with the hands or genitals and may involve touching any part of the body including the genital area.(Think: approaching an unknown woman from the rear and pressing or rubbing the penis against her buttocks)

Kleptophilia - obtaining sexual excitement from stealing (Why didn't some defense attorney think of this one?)

Pedophilia - Sexual activity with a prepubescent child (generally age 13 years or younger). The individual with pedophilia must be age 16 years or older and at least 5 years older than the child. For individuals in late adolescence with pedophilia, no precise age difference is specified, and clinical judgment must be used; both the sexual maturity of the child and the age difference must be taken into account; the adult may be sexually attracted to opposite sex, same sex, or prefer either

Prostitution - the act or practice of offering sexual stimulation or intercourse for money

Sexual Sadism - the intentional infliction of pain or humiliation on another person in order to achieve sexual excitement

Telephone Scatalogia - sexual arousal associated with making or receiving obscene phone calls

Toucherism - characterized by a strong desire to touch the breast or genitals of an unknown woman without her consent

Zoophilia/Bestiality - engaging in sexual activity with animals

So you're out someplace and some guy rubs his schlong up against your wife/girlfriend/daughter. What to do? beat the sh-- out of him. Just take care not to call him a "f--king queer." And then tell the jury you did it because you're a sexual sadist and you achieved great sexual gratification from the act.

*********** Coach Wyatt, unfortunately I will be unable to attend this year's Southern California clinic.  I had been looking forward to it.  Please let me know when you are making your season hilights available, I would love to get them.  

Thanks for adding paypal to your site, I just ordered the new wildcat DVD set!  This season I will be moving down to the Pee Wee level, my youngest son is entering high school, this will be my first experience with Pop Warner without a son involved.

Matt Marrs
Imperial, California

p.s.  Yes I will be inheriting kids from 2 teams that ran the Wyatt Double Wing last season!!!

*********** I'm betting that this one is DOA... North Carolina State Senator Charles Albertson  proposes doing away with sports at schools scoring under the 50th percentile on state exams.

*********** I was listening on the radio to some baseball guy explaining why he believes that baseball's problem with finding enough talented American kids is actually a problem with the kids themselves: "They don't want to play baseball. They want to be baseball players, but they don't want to play baseball."

*********** Coach;
Just wanted to say thank you for great clinic this past Saturday in Durham....!!!    It's always a pleasure being with my coaching  brothers....but it's  a privilege to work with an eager group of kids learning the system for the first time......  Even after 20 years of coaching I'm still learning and enjoying every minute of it......
The family & I can't wait till next year..........!!   see  ya soon
Dwayne Pierce
Coolidge HS
Washington, DC

*********** The Wall Street Journal ran an article last week on the lengths to which colleges now go in phrasing their letters of rejection. One even went to far as to say that it was rejecting the application - but not the student. Oh, nononononono - never the student.

Which prompted the following letter in response, from a gentleman named Stanley Riggs, of Sarasota, Florida...

This is the maturation of the generation where everyone was chosen for the team, all were allowed to play regardless of level of skill, and all received some award or trophy. Now they are squinting as they enter the blinding reality of the real world where only the qualified get hired, only the best get promoted, and where there really are winners and losers.

The colleges go to great lengths to avoid hurting feelings by "denying the student's application and not rejecting the student" when in reality it is the student and not the application who wasn't as qualified as those who were accepted. They lost, a better student earned the spot, and they are upset because they didn't receive a blue ribbon for trying. The generation protected from failure and rejection is now coming of age and they expect special treatment from the world.

*********** Coach Jody Hagins, of Summerville, South Carolina, coached at a small private school last year, and every player he could convince to turn out for football was a major win for him.

When one Dad said he didn't want his son playing because he didn't want him getting hurt, Coach Hagins gave him his copy of my "Safer and Surer Tackling" DVD and let him take it home.

The next day, after watching the DVD, the dad asked, "You teach it like that?"

When Coach Hagins said yes, indeed, he sure did, Dad relented and said, "Then he can play."

*********** Jack Cochran, a Connecticut high school coach who has won state titles at three different schools, has become legendary for, among other things, pounding weaker opponents so mercilessly that the state adopted a rule named after him in hopes of ending the practice.

He has been accused of having lineups studded with transfers from other districts who may or may not have moved legitimately.  And of  employing questionable fund-raising tactics.  And of getting into a fistfight with a rival coach. 

Friends of mine who've chronicled his career can cite plenty more instances in which he has been accused of affronts to coaching ethics. To say the least, his has been a melodramatic career.

And now his latest gig, at New London High School, appears to have come to an end. Maybe.

In his first year as baseball coach, Cochran was relieved of his position last week, accused of holding illegal off-season practices. And then the superintendent went him one better, firing him as football coach as well.

Cochran is appealing his firing. Students are protesting it. Stay tuned. The guy has many lives.

*********** There is nothing less civilized than rewarding evil and thus guaranteeing more of it. High-minded as it is commonly made to sound, it is not civilized to appease evil, to treat it with “dignity and respect,” to rationalize its root causes, to equivocate about whether evil really is evil, and, when all else fails, to ignore it — to purge the very mention of its name — in the vain hope that it will just go away. Evil doesn’t do nuance. It finds you, it tests you, and you either fight it or you’re part of the problem.

Andrew McCarthy

*********** I wonder how many people opened theirs...

At the bottom left of the envelope it read "FREE Pre-Paid Cremation! Details Inside."

*********** On May 12, 1962, General Douglas MacArthur returned to West Point, his alma mater, to receive the highest award the United States Military Academy can bestow, the Thayer Award. It's presented annually by the Association of Graduates to "an outstanding citizen of the United States whose service and accomplishments in the national interest exemplify personal devotion to the ideals expressed in the West Point motto, 'DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY.'"

The General was 82 years old, and he knew it was to be his last visit to the place he so loved. He delivered the finest speech I have ever heard.

Here it is in its entirety - http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/douglasmacarthurthayeraward.html

I shiver at his closing words...

The shadows are lengthening for me. The twilight is here. My days of old have vanished, tone and tint. They have gone glimmering through the dreams of things that were. Their memory is one of wondrous beauty, watered by tears, and coaxed and caressed by the smiles of yesterday. I listen vainly, but with thirsty ears, for the witching melody of faint bugles blowing reveille, of far drums beating the long roll. In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield.

But in the evening of my memory, always I come back to West Point.

Always there echoes and re-echoes: Duty, Honor, Country.

Today marks my final roll call with you, but I want you to know that when I cross the river my last conscious thoughts will be of The Corps, and The Corps, and The Corps.

I bid you farewell.

In 1977, while shooting the movie "MacArthur," Universal Studios arrived at West Point to re-enact the speech. The Commandant of the Academy graciously consented to provide a number of West Point cadets for an audience. But not the entire Corps of Cadets, which had heard the original speech. No matter. Clever film editing was able to create the impression of a large audience.

Those in attendance had to sit through four takes by actor Gregory Peck, who played the General.

The General's speech took 31 minutes, but movies being movies, and fortunately for the Cadets, for the purpose of the movie the speech was abridged to 12 minutes. That's sacrilege enough, because in my mind every word in the speech is essential. But in the final movie version, it was sliced and diced to just three minutes.

Gregory Peck's preparation for the re-enactment is a great lesson for anyone who wants to be good at anything. As told in Gray Matter, a publication of the West Point Association of Graduates...

A few minutes before the filming began, Jere Forbus (the Academy's Public Affairs Officer) was passing the time with Peck at the bottom of the steps to Washington Hall and asked if there was any difference between giving a speech before an actual live audience and giving a speech to merely a camera and crew. His reply surprised Jere: “In this case, I don’t think it will make a bit of difference to me. You see, I have given this speech into a mirror 350 times.” 

*********** This year's winner of the Thayer Award is H. Ross Perot, Texas businessman and patriot who ran for president in 1992. Mr. Perot is the founder of Dallas-based Perot Systems, Inc.

On April 14, Mr. Perot, along with members of his Perot Systems team, attended a ceremony at a Dallas-area senior living center to honor 1st Sergeant William Johnson, a North Texas World War II veteran, as he received the Legion of Honor, the highest award given by France for outstanding service to the nation.

Sgt. Johnson was awarded the honor, along with the title of “Chevalier,” for the bravery and heroism he showed in France during the European Campaign.

American recipients of the Legion of Honor include aviator Charles Lindbergh, astronaut Jim Lovell, and General George S. Patton. Prior to 2004, the Legion of Honor was given only to World War I veterans, but in the past five years France began honoring World War II American soldiers, and more than 800 have been recognized.

In 1944, Sgt. Johnson led his men through stiff enemy machine gun and mortar fire to break through and take their objective at Ottenville et Recrange. For his actions he received a Bronze Star.

Before the ceremony, Mr. Perot spoke quietly with Johnson, and then later honored him during the event.

"I've had the pleasure of knowing many of our great national heroes," Mr. Perot told the Dallas Morning News, "but none are more deserving of that title than this man."

During his speech, Mr. Perot quoted Abraham Lincoln: “Any nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure.”

He then led the crowd in a cheer for the Sgt. Johnson.

*********** "I think the sweep is the worst play in football, but you have to stop it. We run it so we can fake it and run rollout and bootleg." Jim Sweeney, Montana State/Washington State/Fresno State (Pacific Northwest Football Coaches Clinic, 2-10-84)

*********** I'm old enough to remember when...

In the NFL, just because a runner was tackled didn't mean he was stopped. The play wasn't whistled dead until the ball carrier could no longer move.

The Cleveland Browns not only dominated the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) for the four years of its existence, but after they joined the NFL in 1950, they won its championship in their first year as a member

The team the Browns beat in the 1950 NFL title game was the Los Angeles Rams, who only four years earlier had moved out of Cleveland rather than try to compete with the Browns at the gate.

flagTUESDAY, MAY 5, 2009- “Civilization is not an evolution of mankind but the imposition of human good on human evil. It is not a historical inevitability. It is a battle that has to be fought every day, because evil doesn’t recede willingly before the wheels of progress.” Andrew C. McCarthy, columnist


HOT and new! Maybe you've noticed, as I have, that not enough kids come to us with the ability to throw and catch a football. Maybe it's because they don't play catch the way they used to - maybe because even when they do play baseball they're not taught to catch with two hands. Whatever, as football coaches we've just had to live with it. Until now. Now, though, we can do something about it. Better still, the kids themselves can do something about it!

Now, for the first time ever, there's a training device that looks, feels, throws and catches just like a real football - and a player can use it by himself. No having to find someone to throw to!

It's the Passback. It's not a toy. A patented nose is fused onto a real football and it throws just like any other football - but it bounces back to the thrower! Watch a young QB demonstrate or Check out some receiver and DB drills

The Passback is NEW and I predict it will revolutionize coaching the skill positions. I was so sold on it that I worked out an agreement with the US licensee to become a Passback dealer. I took a quantity with me to my recent Providence and Philadelphia clinics and sold all I had!

I'm now selling them for $19.95 + $3 shipping ($22.95) for the youth-size ball or $29.95 + $4 shipping ($33.95 total) for the regulation size. Trust me - you're not just going to want one for each of your quarterbacks - you're going to want enough for your receivers and backs. DB's, too.

The 2009 Coach Wyatt Atlanta Clinic was held Sat Feb 28

The 2009 Coach Wyatt Chicago Clinic was held Sat Mar 21

The 2009 Coach Wyatt Philadelphia Clinic was held Sat Apr 4

The 2009 Coach Wyatt Providence Clinic was held Sat Apr 11

The 2009 Coach Wyatt Carolinas Clinicwas held Sat May 2

The 2009 Coach Wyatt Southern California Clinic will be held Sat May 16 at West Ranch HS, 26255 West Valencia Blvd., Valencia

Every registrant at 2009 Coach Wyatt Clinics will receive a complimentary copy of my 2008 North Beach Highlights

*********** Former Congressman Jack Kemp, 73, died last Saturday of cancer. I am greatly saddened, because he was a great American, and because he was living proof of the good that's in our sport. Mr. Kemp starred at Occidental College, but was cut by five different teams in the CFL and NFL before catching on with the Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers of the AFL and going on to star as a quarterback for the Chargers and then the Buffalo Bills. He led the Bills to back-to-back AFL titles and was named AFL MVP. He was a co-founder of the AFL Players' Association. After football, he stayed in the Buffalo area and won election to Congress for nine terms, representing Western New York. He was a member was a member of President George H. W. Bush's cabinet as Director of Housing and Urban Development, and ran as candidate for Vice President in the 1996 election with Republican Presidential nominee Bob Dole. He leaves behind his wife of 50 years, Joanne, who was his college sweetheart, and their four children. Two of his sons played pro football, Jeff in the NFL and Jimmy in the CFL.

*********** A little more on Red Sanders, the terms of whose notorious death I alluded to last week.
The great coach died August 14, 1958, shortly before football practices were to get under way. While "visiting a friend" in a less-than plush Los Angeles hotel room, he died, it was reported, "with a smile on his face."

Jake von Scherrer, of Palmetto Bay, Florida, writes...

Always a pleasure to read the NEWS.
Your blurb about Red Sanders of UCLA made me remember an OLD email I got from a buddy.  It was basically an obit written by the ledgendary Jim Murray for Sports Illustrated.  It was a great read back the first time I saw it and it still was. 
Here's the link - its in the SI archieves.
Hope all continues to go well.  Our Black Lion from the fall, Nic Benenati, is going to attend Villanova.

*********** I had the opportunity last Friday to visit with Duke coach David Cutcliffe, and I must say that I came away highly impressed by both the man and the coach.

He's already proven himself as a good head coach (at Ole Miss) and I'm convinced that he's going to be the one to return Duke football to respectability.

And beyond that, until another teacher of quarterbacks can come up with a couple of pupils to compare with Peyton and Eli Manning, I'm going with Coach Cutcliffe as the best in the business.

With it all, though, he is warm and real, not full of himself like so many of today's big-time college coaches, who simply can't be bothered talking with a high school coach.

*********** A friend just told his players that he's not going to be back as their coach. It was his decision to leave, so the meeting was not something he'd been looking forward to. You can't work with a group of kids and develop relationships with them and then sever your ties without hurt on both sides. But as I pointed out. football coaching is full of hard calls...

It's never easy doing this, but if a football coach can't be decisive, who can?  One of the things that makes an effective football coach is the ability to face a tough decision - and make it. And live with the consequences.  And move on.  It's the inability to do that that gives us so many weak and ineffective school administrators.  I do believed that  American public education was at its best when it was common for  the high school principal to be the former football coach.

*********** Coach Wyatt
I enjoyed your clinc this past weekend and thank you for taking the time to talk to me about the Black Lions. Coach Martin and I are exicited about starting the award this year at South Meck. I enjoy your blog and was catching up the past few months and and read what you had written about the University of South Carolina, and growing up in Columbia and having a father play for USC (while they were still in the ACC) and the rest of my family , I thought I would send you an indepth list of the problems they have with the football program - and I hope the fact that I am a Clemson grad does not make this info look like I am attacking the school because I am a rare fan who has deep respect for his rival (hey, one can't change your upbringing.) I hope these facts clear up the picture.
1.  Tradition-This is an area that kills South Carolina within the SEC.  The Gameocks alltime record in football now stands at 528-529-44(includes forfeits).  This record ranks them 11th in the 12 team SEC in winning pct only ahead of the Mississippi State Bulldogs.  In bowl games it doesn't get better for USC as they have a 4-10 bowl record.  It took the Gamecocks 102 years to win their first bowl game and another 6 to win their 2nd.  At one time the program held the record for the most consecutive bowl losses at 8(a record since broken by Notre Dame).  Every SEC school, with the exception of Vanderbilt and South Carolina has won the SEC.  This stat isn't all that fair considering the Gamecocks didn't join the conference until 1992, but while being a member of the Southern Conference and the ACC the Gamecocks only won 1 conference title(1969).    The best season in Gamecock history was in 1984, a season that included a double digit loss to Navy.   The program even had a 21 game losing streak just 10 years ago. 
2. Poor Athletic Decisions- In the past the Gamecock Athletic Department has made some very poor decisions that have killed the football program.   In 1971 South Carolina decided to leave the Atlantic Coast Conference.  Many will argue as to why they did, some say it was for easier academic standards, others state its due to basketball coach Frank McGuire's feud with the Tobacco Road Schools.  Doesn't really matter why, but athletic director Paul Dietzel truly hurt the program with this decision.  It took away the school's identity and hurt it in recruiting and it helped Clemson.  The Tigers own a 26-9-1 series lead over the Gamecocks since they left.  The school likely could've won some ACC trophies in the 20 years they were an independent(84 and 87 they whipped a few ACC schools), but instead they became lost among Independents like FSU, Miami, West Virginia, and Penn State.  The decision killed some good rivalries with UNC and NC State and also hurt USC's image in some key recruiting grounds in North Carolina.
Another poor decision has been USC's refusal of bowl games. For a school that only has 14 bowl appearances you would think they would jump at any bowl bid, but three different times they rejected them.   After the tragic death of coach Joe Morrison early in 1989, AD King Dixon had to scramble to hire coach Sparky Woods from Appalachian State.  Not much was expected from Woods in his first season, but an upset of Georgia excited the Gamecock fanbase as did a 6-4-1 record.  The "Sparky Rock" was heard all across the Palmetto State and a bowl bid was coming.  Unfortunately for the loyal Gamecock fans, Dixon rejected an Independence Bowl bid in 89 and in 90 due to exams being held at the same time.  This would've given the Gamecocks 4 straight bowl bids, a first in the school's history.  The decision killed Sparky's momentum and he would never have a winning season again. 
In 2004 the Gamecocks were once again looking at a bid from the Independence Bowl.  That is, until a fight broke out in Death Valley at the USC-Clemson game.  The Monday following the fight, South Carolina declined a bowl bid despite Lou Holtz encouraging University officials to play it.  South Carolina had been in fights before.  In 1992 they got into a fight with Louisiana Tech at Williams-Brice Stadium.  In the final game of the 1987 season they had a brawl with Miami (and still accepted a Gator Bowl Bid).  The only reason South Carolina declined the bowl bid in 2004 was because Holtz was retiring and they wanted to make a good PR move after the NBA brawl the Friday prior to the Clemson-USC game. 
Possibly the poorest athletic decision that the Gamecocks have made is that for years they distanced themselves from former players.  The reason for this is not known, but it's certainly hurt the Gamecock program. One of the greatest NFL wide receivers of all time played for South Carolina, Sterling Sharpe.  But a bad relationship was built by some previous administrators with guys like Sharpe.  Players looking to work out at USC facilities were told they couldn't at one point.   This problem is one being addressed now,  but for many years it has hurt the Gamecock family.   South Carolina needs to look closer at the Miami program and see how the Canes support their former players.
3. The Chicken Curse-  No, I don't believe in some crazy curse, but there there have been some strange events in Gamecock History that killed the program.  1984 Navy is the first to come to mind.  In 84 the Gamecocks were the talk of the college football world.  2nd year coach Joe Morrison had the Gamecocks 9-0 after a wins over FSU, Georgia, and Notre Dame.  South Carolina was ranked #2 nationally and looked certain to be headed to the Orange Bowl.  They were so certain that they turned down an offer from the Sugar Bowl.   Navy was 3-5-1(2 wins over 1-AA teams) and coming off a 29-0 loss to Pitt.  All Morrison's boys had to do was beat Navy and they were likely to be #1 in the next week's Associated Press Poll.  On a cold night in Annapolis, the Gamecocks lost 38-21sending many in tears that watched the game on closed circuit TV at the Gamecocks basketball arena.   The National Title hopes were over. 
The 88-89 athletic year was a bad one for the football program, but it started off with some hope.  Following an 8-4 season in 87, there was much hope in the 88 preseason for the team.  Todd Ellis was on the cover of Street & Smith's Magazine being touted as "The Gamecocks Heisman Hopeful"  Some publications had South Carolina as high as #2 in their preseason magazines.  The season started strong as the Gamecocks beat Georgia and Virginia Tech to start 6-0.  Led by players like Ellis, Robert Brooks, Patrick Hinton, and Harold Green  South Carolina went into Atlanta, Georgia as a 29 point favorite over Bobby Ross' 1-5 Georgia Tech team.  The result, a 34-0 whipping by the Yellow Jackets over the Gamecocks.  The team would end the year 8-4 and unranked.  Then a couple months later the very popular coach Joe Morrison would die of a heart attack. 
In 2001 the Gamecocks once again looked headed to glory.  At 5-0 and ranked #9 the Gamecocks headed into Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium to play the 2-3 Arkansas Razorbacks for a 3:30 nationally televised CBS game.  In a defensive struggle the Gamecocks appeared to have escaped an upset, until a 4th and 10 scramble by freshman QB Matt Jones ended in a 1st down.  The run helped set up a Hog touchdown and the Razorbacks were up 10-7.  Phil Petty led his team down field for a FG that would've tied the game, but Carlos Hall blocked the kick and the Hogs upset the Gamecocks to end any dreams of an undefeated season. 
The final example of how crushing this curse is would be the 2007 game with Vanderbilt.  The Gamecocks entered the game 6-1 and ranked #6 nationally. In a season where top 10 upsets happened every week, this would be the week the Gamecocks got hit by the bug.  The 'Dores would win 17-6 for only the 3rd victory ever for the program.  South Carolina would go on to end the season 6-6. 
Pacific, Appalachian State, Furman, and The Citadel are some other pathetic performances for the Gamecock, but we won't bring back these memories for Gamecock fans. 
4. Columbia-   Columbia has high crime rates, gang issues, a Confederate Flag at the State House, and lacks the true feel of a college town.  The area known as "Five Points" is not only a hang out for college kids, but also for many individuals not associated with USC looking for trouble.  This part of town has in the past led to many arrests of USC student athletes and caused coaches to discipline players. 
Businesses in town feel the need to not only support the Gamecocks, but also the Tigers.  Many places tend to put up Clemson and South Carolina schedule posters or flags in their business.  This isn't the case in towns like Tuscaloosa, Oxford, Athens, Fayetteville, or Auburn.  In those towns its 1 team and you know who that team is. 
The media in Columbia is split as well.  The State Newspaper, based in Columbia, at least 4 pages every Sunday to Clemson football.  In 2005 this newspaper put up billboards of columnist Ron Morris around town stating "Hate Him, Read Him".  Morris is disliked by many Gamecocks due to his heavy critisism of the athletic program.  Even radio stations like 107.5 FM, who calls itself "The Home of The Gamecocks", will have segments with members of the Clemson media.  ESPN Radio 93.1 in Columbia tries to market itself towards the Clemson crowd by being the home of Clemson Tiger football, baseball, and basketball broadcasts. 
5. Facilities- When you compare the Gamecock Facilities to others in the nation they rank among the best.  Unfortunately, they fall near the bottom when you compare it to other SEC schools.  The Gamecocks are in the process of building an academic learning center, but by the time its built another SEC school will have built something better. 

Williams Brice Stadium is an impressive site.  Miles away on I-77 you can see this structure that at night looks like a giant space ship.  The problem is that its located about 2 miles off campus and has the worst location in the SEC.  Warehouses and condos surround the stadium and none of it gives you the feel of a college football stadium.  The State Fairgrounds offer plenty of parking, but its not a scenic area.  Sure, the Rocket is a great place to meet your mom when loss, but even the biggest Gamecock fan has to admit they'd rather tailgate in the Grove.  Plans are on the way to improve the area, but its still an off campus facility.  Something is loss when a student can't walk across campus and see their stadium. 
6. Clemson- Clemson University was founded in spite of USC.  Ben Tillman wanted an institution to stress the education  of agriculture and mechanical arts to the citizens of The Palmetto State.  If USC had done this, then Clemson University might not exist or have the influence in the state it does today.   Instead, in 1889 federal funds for agricultural education were transferred from Columbia to Clemson and the school that would dominate the Gamecocks would be established. 

Clemson has for years not only appealed to its alumni, but also those living in rural South Carolina.  The University is located by the scenic Lake Hartwell and Blue Ridge Mountains.  On game day the shirts on the fans match the leaves on the trees, creating a truly great college atmosphere.  The fans take pride in their Tigers and there does seem to be more of a family feel to Clemson than USC. 

Clemson has a national championship in football, 24 top 25 finishes, 31 bowl appearances, and 17 conference titles.  These achievements exceed anything USC has accomplished, thus the Tigers have a 65-37-4 record over the Gamecocks.  Even with Hall of Fame coaches Spurrier and Holtz, the Gamecocks are 2-8 against the Tigers.   Until USC can beat Clemson consistantly, they will never win big in the SEC.
7. The SEC Tradition- When USC joined the SEC in 1992 it joined the best football conference in America.  Florida, Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas, Georgia, LSU, Tennessee, and even Ole Miss have won national championships.  Each one of these schools appeared in over 30 bowl games.  Names like Bryant, Jordan, Vaught, Broyles, Dooley, and Neyland are associated with these schools.  Who would you associate with South Carolina?  Bob Fulton? 
These schools are where high school players grew up admiring and wanting to play for.  These are universities that have been on TV in Orange, Sugar, and Cotton Bowls.  When you think of great football, these teams come to mind.  Tradition means more to the South than any area of the country and South Carolina is far behind these 8 schools. 
8. Money- South Carolina is one of the nation's poorest states.  This fact hurts the University when any new facilities need to be built.  The Palmetto State doesn't have the financial resources that Florida does due to its huge population that draws in big money from all over the country.  It lacks the large financial city that Georgia has with Atlanta.   LSU is in a poor state as well, but a larger population and some rich oil money helps the Tigers.  Arkansas is helped by having Wal Mart, Tyson Chicken, and J.B. Hunt within minutes of its campus. 
Tennessee, Auburn, and Alabama all are from poor areas, but these schools win, and winning opens the pockets of fans.  This is something South Carolina could certainly use.  A large number of fans are frustrated with Athletic Director Eric Hyman, who is putting PSL prices on seats for the 2009 season.  These fans wouldn't be so angry if South Carolina was winning big, but 13-12 the past 2 seasons isn't making many happy about giving more money. 
9. Recruiting- The Palmetto State is a top 15 producer of NFL talent, but the problem is that for years the best players tend to go to Clemson or leave out of state for schools like Georgia, Tennessee, FSU, or Florida.  Also, much of the state's top talent comes from upstate schools(Clemson territory) or rural areas(appealing more towards Clemson).  The schools within the city of Columbia just don't play great football anymore.  This season the nearest school to make it to  a State Championship game from the Columbia area was Sumter High School, located 30 miles outside of Columbia. 
Out of state South Carolina doesn't have the appeal to bring in many big name recruits.  Few kids outside the state grew up dreaming to become Gamecocks, while in South Carolina many kids grow up dreaming to become Bulldogs or Gators.  The kids South Carolina pick up from out of state are usually kids looking for immediate playing time or just leftovers from the other big schools in those states. 
On average South Carolina will put together top 25 classes.  The problem is that 7-8 other SEC schools usually put together top 15 or higher classes. 
10. Instability in Coaching- Since World War II the Gamecocks have had 14 different coaches, by comparison Georgia has had 6, Clemson 9, Tennessee 8, and Auburn 8.   It seems every 4-5 years the Gamecocks are going through another coaching search. 
The coaching hires aren't always bad ones.  Paul Dietzel, Lou Holtz, and Steve Spurrier had all won National Championships at previous schools.  Jim Carlen left Texas Tech after having 11 wins with the Red Raiders.  Joe Morrison had 10 wins at New Mexico before appearing in all black on the Gamecock sidelines.  For whatever reason these guys just couldn't get it done.
Carlen gave the school its only Heisman winner and in 7 seasons only had 1 losing record, but issues with school officials led to his resignation.  Morrison was National Coach of the year in 84, but died of a heart attack.  Holtz took the program from being the joke of the nation to being middle of the pack in the SEC, but was ready to retire.  Richard Bell lasted 1 season due to a loss to 1-AA Furman. 
Without stability, the Gamecocks not only have lacked consistancy, but it has also hurt the program to establish a true identity. 
Again thank your for a wonderful weekend in Durham and best Wishes.
Parker Richardson
Assistant Coach
South Mecklenburg High School
Charlotte, North Carolina
*********** "How many watched the Obama speech on Tuesday night? If you didn't see it, I'll give you the short version. 'We're completely broke and deeply in debt, but we're going to do a bank rescue, universal health care, give everybody a college education, have a bigger war in Afghanistan, cut the deficit in half - and cure cancer.'" And that was Bill Maher!

*********** Seems that some doofus Congressman from Texas named Barton is upset with the BCS. Another one from Illinois accuses the BCS system of not being "fair and equitable."

And they're loving the attention they get as they accuse the BCS of being exclusive and - ohmigod - discriminatory.

So now, the deal the Texan proposes in Congress will make it illegal for the BCS or, I suppose, anyone else, to call their final game a "title game" or "championship game."

The Honorable Congressman from Texas has even gone so far as to call the BCS "communistic."

Communistic, eh? Hey, Your Worship - in a country that values free speech to the point where people are able to send us unsolicited e-mails pitching colon cleansers and joint enhancers, where publicly-built stadia can be named for whoever pays the most for the naming rights and bowl games sell out to naming sponsors, I'd say it verges on communistic for you to think you can use the power of our government to tell people that they can't call a f--king game any damn thing they want to call it.

*********** Since when did college football coaches start talking like social workers? Two Marshall University football players were arrested and charged with possession with intent to deliver. According to the paper I read, the Marshall coach said he was "disappointed in the players' decision-making."

*********** More on Friday about this past Saturday's Durham, North Carolina clinic. The clinic was coordinated by Coach Dave Potter, who can safely be called hyperactive in his work with Durham-area football. Dave is a very good coach, but his coaching doesn't stop at x's and o's. He and the other coaches in the Durham Eagles' organization (www.durhameagles.com) do an incredible job of stressing citizenship and academics, and this past week they presented a total of $27,000 in $1,000 scholarships to their players. Here is an article on the Eagles and a few video clips of the presentation...

Durham Eagles are Flyin' High
by John McCann
Durham Herald-Sun

Apr 29, 2009
Some big paydays over the weekend as some of the best players in college football signed sweet NFL contracts.

But some great, young football players around here just got paid, too. Guys like Toney Smith -- dude's just 9 years old!

"They're a good organization," Smith said of his franchise, the Durham Eagles (www.durhameagles.com). "And they have some pretty good coaches who can teach you what you need to know about football."

And kids like Toney who listen to those coaches and hit the books as hard as good running backs hit holes on the line of scrimmage get paid.

Toney was among 27 aptly named Elite Eagles awarded $1,000 scholarships for demonstrating outstanding performance both on and off the field.

What? Oh, the big deal about $1,000? Look, $1,000, $100, $10 or even $1,000,000, it's all the same to a kid. The point here is when talk turns to Hillside High School football players Corey Gattis and Desmond Scott having scholarships to Duke University, these Elite Eagles legitimately will be able to tell folks they have scholarships, too. Which is the sort of thing that can lead youngsters who never really thought much about college down the road of getting their homework done and prepping for the SAT and all of that.

Sherman Ragland III came up through the Durham Eagles. Don and Bobetta Jones founded the organization 16 years ago.

The Durham Eagles not only equipped Sherman with the fundamentals of football but also presented an academic target in that he knew he wouldn't play in the games on Saturdays if he didn't bust his tail in Ms. So-and-So's classroom Monday through Friday.

Sherman last season played football for Southern High School. He's a sophomore, and the Elite Eagle plans to use his scholarship at UNC.

But if an Elite Eagle wants to use his scholarship for barber school, then that's cool, too, said Scott Stankavage, who, by the way, is the only UNC quarterback ever to have taken a snap under center in the NFL.

What made these scholarships possible was Stankavage, Jones, Tee Moorman and Johnny Ratcliffe establishing the Durham Eagles Foundation. What's making the foundation and the league itself work are community folks who actually give a hoot, be they financial supporters or committed coaches like Dave Potter.

The scholarships are waiting for the Elite Eagles at the Triangle Community Foundation. Stankavage quipped that the reason he had the awards ceremony at the foundation's offices at the American Tobacco Campus is so the boys will know where to come to get their money.

Which is the thing: These Elite Eagles now have to actually make it to college. See, the bulk of them aren't in high school like Sherman. So they have to get through middle school and even elementary school. A whole lot can happen between now and high school graduation.

But Oak Grove Elementary School teacher Freda Andrews isn't worried about Toney. The third-grade teacher said she can tell whether or a not a student is going to succeed, and Toney's going places, she said.

Andrews cared enough to attend the presentation. Mayor Bill Bell was in the house, too, and he spoke to the boys.

VIDEO --- http://durham.mync.com/site/durham/news%7CSports%7CLifestyles/story/32782/young-durham-football-players-get-1000-scholarships

VIDEO --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wC_t5SQ_yl8&feature=channel_page

*********** The Duke University community was saddened by the passing last week of one-time All-American end Dr. Claude "Tee" Moorman. Dr. Moorman was 69 years old. In his storied career after football, he was a doctor, a lawyer, and an Army officer.

An all-state player at Miami Senior High School, Tee Moorman was a three-time letterman at Duke, and as a senior in 1960 was named All-American by both the Football Writers Association and the Football News. That season, Duke won the ACC title and ranked 10th in the nation in the AP poll, and Tee Moorman, deployed by Coach Bill Murray as a "Lonely End" in imitation of Army's Bill Carpenter, helped the Blue Devils cap off their season by catching a fourth-quarter touchdown pass to defeat sebenth-ranked Arkansas, 7-6.

After graduation, Dr. Moorman attended Duke Medical School, and went on to train in Orthopaedics, also at Duke. He volunteered for medical service in Vietnam. In 1979 he received his law degree, and served with the Army Department of Legal Medicine, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, D.C.

Moorman subsequently commanded US Army Reserve Units, forming and directing anesthesia groups in Leesburg, Va., Stuart, Fla., and Port St. Lucie, Fla.,and retired as a colonel in the US Army Reserve.

This past season, Dr. Moorman was honored as a member of the 2008 ACC Legends at the ACC Championship game in Tampa, Fla. He was honored with the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, and was named one of Duke’s Top 50 Athletes of the Century and one of Florida’s all-time Top 100 Football Players. He was named to the Miami Senior High School and Duke University Halls of Fame.

His son, Dr. Claude T. Moorman III, currently serves as Duke's team physician.

flagFRIDAY, MAY 1, 2009- 'The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program.' - Ronald Reagan


HOT and new! Maybe you've noticed, as I have, that not enough kids come to us with the ability to throw and catch a football. Maybe it's because they don't play catch the way they used to - maybe because even when they do play baseball they're not taught to catch with two hands. Whatever, as football coaches we've just had to live with it. Until now. Now, though, we can do something about it. Better still, the kids themselves can do something about it!

Now, for the first time ever, there's a training device that looks, feels, throws and catches just like a real football - and a player can use it by himself. No having to find someone to throw to!

It's the Passback. It's not a toy. A patented nose is fused onto a real football and it throws just like any other football - but it bounces back to the thrower! Watch a young QB demonstrate or Check out some receiver and DB drills

The Passback is NEW and I predict it will revolutionize coaching the skill positions. I was so sold on it that I worked out an agreement with the US licensee to become a Passback dealer. I took a quantity with me to my recent Providence and Philadelphia clinics and sold all I had!

I'm now selling them for $19.95 + $3 shipping ($22.95) for the youth-size ball or $29.95 + $4 shipping ($33.95 total) for the regulation size. Trust me - you're not just going to want one for each of your quarterbacks - you're going to want enough for your receivers and backs. DB's, too.

*********** As I write this, I am in North Carolina, doing my best to ease the locals' fears about Swine flu by showing them that it's perfectly all right to eat pork BBQ. Also ribs.

*********** I read through the Black Lion Award letter of nomination and the coach's name jumped right out at me.

LaVance Northington... Could it be?

I flashed back to a day in 1985... It was a big day in Oregon State football history, especially coming as it did in the deepest trough that any major college football has ever been in. The Beavers, 37-point underdogs, upset the Washington Huskies, blocking a 4th quarter Washington punt and recovering for a TD, then kicking the extra point to win, 21-20.

Check out the game highlights - - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LFBplLflI8&feature=related

The Beaver who recovered the punt in the Washington end zone for the winning TD was LaVance Northington. The same LaVance Northington, it turns out, who's now a youth coach in Irvine, California.

It was Coach Dave Kragthorpe's first year at OSU, and after 14 straight years of losing seasons, Beavers' fans dared to hope - could this be the start of the turnaround?

Alas, it was not to be. Coach Kragthorpe had the same problems winning at OSU that others had had before him and would have after him, and the Beavers would go another 14 straight losing seasons before finally getting on track.

(Coach Kragthorpe's son, Steve, is now the head coach at Louisville.)

*********** GM plans to shed thousands of dealers as it downsizes. Don't think the loss of those GM dealers won't hurt sports in America, especially in small towns. Car dealers by and large have been generous, supportive members of their communities, willing to step up to help the places where they do business - and that has often meant sponsorship of youth sports teams and financial support of the local high school teams.

*********** Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (or is it Hillary Rodham Clinton again?) told a forum on "energy and climate change" that any global agreement requiring the US and other developed nations to reduce emissions must also involve China and India.

Which is exactly what George Bush said, except that when he did he was accused of wanting to destroy the planet. And Al Gore said mean things about him.

*********** The Oregon legislature is busy crafting a law requiring any Oregon college looking for a new coach to interview at least one person "of color."

As founder of Older Leaders Dedicated to Furthering Age Relations Through Sports (OLD FARTS), I plan to insist they interview at least one person "of years."

*********** Hey coach, I'm a high school football player, captain and looking to play at Central Connecticut. I was on your website about the single wing and im just a little confused and I was hoping you could fix that. We play a team that runs the single wing but the two "Quarterbacks" are like kneeled down and they have running backin a 3 point stance right behind the tackle, and then there wingback. Ok so now you say there are many versions of the single wing, so does any formation that has one wing back considered a singlewing no matter what they do with the rest of there back field. Because the pictures you showed all have one wing back but have all kinds of crazy backfields. So is any formation with one wingback a "Single Wing" regardless of the backfield? and lastly what type of singlewing is the one I described to you and do all "singlewing" formations have the quarterbacks kneeling down? If you can help me with this is will be greatly appreciated. Tanner Tate.

Hi Tanner-

I think that you might like this little video I've put together.  


It does a fairly good job of explaining the workings of a typical single-wing backfield.  (The line play is another subject entirely and it's as much a key to the offense as the backfield play.)

You are right in saying that generally a single wing formation has someone in a position to take a "direct snap" from center, and, usually,  a back positioned on a "wing" outside a tight end.  (A "wingback") But complicating matters is that not all "single wings" have a back lined up in what most of us would call a "wing." Sometimes he is positioned deeper than where we'd expect a wingback to be.

Pop Warner is given major credit for its invention, as well as for the "Double Wing" (a wing on both sides).

The one you described sounds fairly conventional (given that the single wing itself is not very conventional) in the backfield, but it's important to know whether it has a balanced or unbalanced line.  That's really a major dividing point between single wing offenses.

Hope that helps.  Good luck at Central Connecticut.

*********** In view of the crowds people are drawing for their spring intra-squad games, I'm waiting for some bright guy to jump on the idea of putting on spring scrimmage/games against other colleges.
The revenue possibilities are enormous, and it seems to me preferable to adding an extra game to an already-long regular season.  

There are a few minor problems. It would require synchronizing spring practices with your opponents, and considering that you might have to do a home-and-home, agreeing to synching for two years in a row. Just as likely as a home-and-home arrangement, though, a D-IA team would pay a guarantee to a D-IAA or D-II team. (Sorry, I still think in D-IA/D-IAA terms, and refuse to use CBS or BSF or whatever the NCAA wants us to use.)
In order to get a look at a lot of players in a reasonable amount of time it might be necessary to do something along the lines of high school scrimmages, with your offense going in one direction from midfield, and the other team's offense going in the other, or your First Units on one half of the field and Second Units on the other.

Otherwise, what's the problem? What - there's a college in American that doesn't need the money?
I'll leave it to the ADs to work out the finances.  It seems to me that if a school can draw 20,000 or more (70,000+ at Ohio State, Alabama, Nebraska, Penn State) to watch a team's offense play a sham game against its defense, it certainly ought to be able to promote - and charge good money for - a scrimmage/game against a real, live, outside opponent. And maybe sell sponsorship rights to the game at that.

I ran this past a friend who's a head coach at the D-IA level in another part of the country, and he said, "I have brought this up for years and it falls on deaf ears. No takers. It would be a no brainer and you would have less chance of injury because you would have half of your players on the field at any time. And it would be a better way to check your players out. You could do it with smaller teams that could bus to your school so there would be less expense."

***********Black Lion Veterans,

We some GREAT NEWS here at K-State - Kansas State defensive end Ian Campbell has agreed to an NFL free-agent contract with the St. Louis Rams.  As all of you know, Ian was the K-State Captain and wearer of the 28th Infantry Crest as the Black Lion Football Award recipient.

A BLACK LION in the NFL!!!  Now that is HOOAH!!

Very Respectfully,
LTC Pat Frank
Fort Riley, Kansas (This is indeed great news. Ian Campbell performed with distinction at K-State as a defensive end and outside linebacker and was a nominee this past season for the Bronko Nagurski Award, presented by the Charlotte Touchdown Club to the best defensive player in college football. This is very exciting. As most of you know, our criteria don't really emphasize playing ability, but instead such character aspects as leadership, toughness and self-sacrifice.   By all accounts, Ian more than measured up. For him to wind up his college career with a shot at playing in the NFL is a tremendous thing for the Black Lions! Our congratulations to Ian Campbell, who started out as a walk-on and made it through hard work to the heights of college football.  Best wishes to him and the K-State program. HW)

*********** Yee-haw. Arlen Spector is making it official and changing parties. It's not unlike having a guy on your staff that you were forced to hire for political reasons, who never bought into your offensive philosophy, coming up to you and telling you he's leaving to take a job with a spread-no-huddle team. The really difficult part is having to wait until he's left the building to start the celebration.

*********** Wow. Talk about the passing of an icon... One-time Portland wrestling fixture Playboy Buddy Rose died Tuesday. Thanks to Rose and such characters as Rowdy Roddy Piper and Dutch Savage, Portland Wrestling was one of the last small-market holdouts against the nationalization of the "sport" that took place under the marketing genius of Vince McMahon.

*********** The season ended abruptly this week for the University of Oregon's national powerhouse (I am not kidding) Ultimate Frisbee team. A student board that governs club sports decided that the Third-rated (I am not kidding) Ducks' history of conduct violations and flouting of school rules did not warrant their continuing to represent the university.

There have been keg parties with minors present. There were speeding tickets on the way to a tournament at Stanford. And earlier this month, at a tournament at Oregon State, the Ducks' A and B teams played each other in a new twist on shirts and skins - one team was naked from the waist up, the other from the waist down.

In his appeal to the student board, the Ducks' co-captain didn't seem to understand what all the fuss was about. "Speeding, drinking, nudity - they're not bad things," he said. "They're things a big portion of the community doesn't think are wrong."

Let's hope the Oregon football team doesn't get tired of those uniforms that Nike designed for them...

*********** From an editorial in the Portland Oregonian...

King Ptolemy is said to have asked Euclid if there was an easier way to learn geometry than studying. Euclid tactfully informed Ptolemy that even kings have to do their homework. "Oh Great King," he said, "in the real world there are two kinds of roads - roads for the common people to travel upon and roads reserved for the King to travel upon. In geometry there is no royal road."

In football, they used to call it "paying the price."

*********** All nine of Mexico's First Division soccer matches this weekend will be played in front of empty stands, as a result of the swine flu epidemic.

Despite a pronouncement by the Centers for Disease Control that there was no danger in attending US soccer matches, Americans stayed away anyhow.

*********** You may keep hearing about the Rise of the "Nones" (those who profess to have no religion), and reading that we are entering the "Post-Christian Age," but don't you believe either claim. Stephen Prothero, chair of the Department of Religion at Boston University, writing in USA Today, rebuts them both.

As for the first claim: "If you meet a random American walking down the street," he writes, "the odds are only one in 62 that he or she will self-identify as atheist or agnostic."

As for the second: "The United States today has more Christians than any other country in human history. The current US population is more Christian than Israel is Jewish or Utah is Mormon."

So where is the Mainstream Media on this story? Hahahaha. They're way too busy reporting on the Death of Christianity.

*********** You wrote... I'm old enough to remember when...
Every football player in America wore white sweat sox, at practices and games
College football was much, much bigger than pro football.
There were several All-American teams, and fans paid far more attention to them than to draft projections.

I can relate to this….isn’t it so true! Shows like ESPN and all they do to propagate the current sickness that is Pro Football and the draft is entertaining to say the least!
Hell, I remember watching Bill Enyart of Oregon State (a bruiser of a senior FB and All American that year) and Ed Podalak (then a 1st year SR QB turned Runningback, now member of the NFL Hall of Fame) having a hell of a battle leading their respective teams in Kinnick Stadium in 1967 or 1968 I think (I was a freshman then). Our entire squad would bus 2.5 hours from our hometown on a Saturday just to see the Hawkeyes and whomever they were playing. If you weren’t there, you listened on the radio or awoke with great anticipation on Sunday morning to read the accounts and look at the frame by frame pictures of the Big Game!

We would pay $2 for a Knothole seat (that’s what they called them then, Endzone seats 10 rows up from the field). All the scoring was at our end of the stadium that day and the final score was 21-20 Iowa! Ray Nagel was the coach then and in the midst of one of Iowa’s longest dry spells!
Wow! Those were the days! White sweat sox, jocks, and metal cleats! Stuff real football players remember with fondness, not to mention the aroma of the Endzone when you were inside the 20 and driving!
Having equipment checked out to you and earning a varsity uni were coveted items back then. Pep assemblies at the end of the day each Friday! I guess the only one’s who remember this stuff are the ones who still have a “passion for the game!”
My best to you!
Don Capaldo
Keokuk, Iowa

*********** A Letter to the Editor of the Roanoke Times...

I would like to share a different point to the two articles about Cuba and the new rules recently signed by President Obama. I'm an American born in Cuba in 1959. I arrived as a young boy with my family during the first freedom flights set up during the Kennedy Administration. All the stories I heard growing up were a lot different from the ones being shared with the American people today. I  grew up in a Miami where when a Cuban arrived on a raft he made front page news.During those days not many people were able to escape. If you got caught building a raft or launching a raft, prison or worse awaited. Out at sea many got shot and left there. So not too many Cubans attempted it.
I have family members who fought in the Bay of Pigs invasion. I remember bombs going off in Miami from anti-Communist groups against companies doing illegal business with Cuba. I remember family members hiding anti-Communist organization members because they were wanted for shooting it out with Cuban patrol boats when caught trying to smuggle arms into Cuba. My mother was literally forced out of the country because of the taking over of her family's estate. Went from college professor to garment factory worker overnight. In those days there was no government help. My father in law served three years in a forced labor  camp. His crime: wanting to leave the island with his family. I share this because there are only 1.4 million Cubans in the United states. There are over 11 million Cubans on the island. In 1999 Pres. Bill Clinton did the same thing and I went to Cuba.
Many Cubans from Miami and a lot of foreigners were traveling to Cuba. I saw the worsening of dollar apartheid. I saw young Cuban women selling their bodies to obtain dollars. I met doctors and engineers driving cabs and working in hotels to get dollars. I saw the Cuban people that did not have access to money from Miami suffer just as they had been suffering for the past 40 years, only more now. Recently Cuba's' communist oppressive regime has been putting people in jails for no other crimes other than wanting freedom. I saw in Cuba how counter demonstrators or government agents were used to beat up peaceful protestors. So yes, for the few people in  Cuba who have family in the US that are able to send them dollars or visit them to take money and goods - great. But the rest of the Cuban people still suffer. I wish President Obama would've come up with something that would really help the Cuban people. The sending of money  has been tried before and hasn't helped. The United States will stop being the United States when we don't stand up against  Tyranny anywhere in the world where it exists. Just thought that the people in Roanoke needed to hear another side.
Armando A. Castro
Roanoke, Virginia

*********** Can Army win with lean, trim linemen aure to be outweighed by 40-50 pounds or more a man? New Army coach Rich Ellerson told Sal Interdonato of the Middletown, New York Times Herald Register that he thinks so...

Some Army faithful are concerned about the team's size coming out of spring practice. The first-team offensive line averages 263 pounds. Freshman left tackle Mike McDermott is 248 pounds. The top five defensive linemen average 247 per man.

Ellerson said he isn't concerned. "You don't get any points for how much you weigh," Ellerson said. "It's what happens when you snap the ball. Our style of offense and defense does not lend itself to a bunch of big, fat guys. You've got to be strong, athletic and explosive. ... There are some exceptions. But as a group, we are going to routinely go into football games where people are going to outweigh us by 20-30 pounds. No problem. Good. Gotcha!"

Ellerson isn't worried about the lack of 300-pounders on his roster. Several players have told Ellerson they are losing weight but getting stronger. Ellerson's response: "Perfect."

Ellerson is bent on turning what have been long-considered negatives into positives at West Point. This summer's Camp Buckner is one of Ellerson's projects. Football players typically drop weight during the cadet training.

"If somebody goes to Buckner and loses a bunch of weight, they needed to lose it," Ellerson said. "We need to go twice because you need to lose more."

"You watch in a few years, the University of Michigan will be down here saying, 'Can we go to Camp Buckner, too?'"

*********** When a Saanich, BC police officer heard noises coming from a large dumpster, he called out to the people inside. Getting no response, he looked inside, and much to his surprise, saw two naked adults, um, "sexually engaged."

According to the police report, the officer ordered the couple to put their clothes on and get out of the dumpster.

The man was arrested on an unrelated charge and the woman was told to go home.

(And take a shower?)

*********** Very, very cool recruiting site, employing google maps...


*********** The sports world lost two prominent Barneses recently...

*********** First, Bill Barnes, one of the very last of the big-time college single-wingers.

Bill Barnes, the UCLA football coach who succeeded the great Red Sanders' legacy in the late 1950s and early '60s, and led the Bruins to the 1962 Rose Bowl, died last Thursday in Santa Monica. He was 91.

Barnes spent 15 years at UCLA, eight as an assistant under Sanders and seven as head coach. Hist best season was 1961, when the Bruins won their conference before losing to Minnesota, 21-3, in the Rose Bowl.

Barnes was a running back at Tennessee, playing on the 1939 Vols' team that did not allow a point until losing to USC 14-0 in the 1940 Rose Bowl.

He served in the Army during World War II, in the South Pacific operating behind enemy lines to gather intelligence. He was awarded the Legion of Merit, Silver Star and two Bronze Stars.

He began coaching football after the war, spending three years as an assistant at the Arkansas before being hired by Sanders and brought to UCLA in 1950. He was on the staff of the Bruins' 1954 national championship team. Sanders died before the 1958 season ( I am NOT going to tell you the circustances of his death) and was replaced by assistant George Dickerson, who resigned after three games because of nervous exhaustion.

Barnes took over and built a 31-34-3 record overall in seven seasons as UCLA's head coach.

After the 1962 Rose Bowl game, his record suffered, and his devotion to the single wing he played at Tennessee and coached under Sanders made him a target of criticism.

His attachment to the old single-wing offense drew criticism, as the Bruins were one of only three college teams using the offense in 1961. Although he made the switch to the T-formation, he resigned after the 1964 season when he learned that Athletic Director J.D. Morgan was not going to renew his contract.

Years later, in 2002, Barnes recalled Morgan telling him, "How do you tell an old friend that you have to let him go?"

"Heck," said Barnes, "We were never friends."

Barnes left UCLA well stocked. His last recruiting class included Heisman Trophy winner Gary Beban, and the Bruins went 24-5-2 over the next three seasons.

Barnes remained close to UCLA over the years, and maintained a longtime friendship with basketball coach John Wooden.The Red Sanders line was a long one: Bill Barnes was succeeded by another former Sanders assistant, Tommy Prothro. On Prothro's staff at UCLA were future Bruin head coaches Pepper Rodgers and Dick Vermeil. And playing for Prothro was future Bruin coach Terry Donahue. Playing for Prothro at Oregon State and coaching on his staff at UCLA was current Kentucky head coach Rich Brooks.)

*********** Then Ernie Barnes.

Ernie Barnes, a former professional football player who became a successful figurative painter, known for depictions of athletes and ordinary people whose muscled, elongated forms express physical and spiritual struggles, died Monday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 70.

His death was caused by complications of a rare blood disorder, according to his longtime assistant, Luz Rodriguez.

Barnes was a child of the segregated South who transcended racial barriers to play for the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers before pursuing his real dream: to be an artist. He became the official artist of the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, whose insights from his trials on the gridiron resulted in powerful, sometimes haunting portraits of agility, strength and the emotional costs of fierce competition.

His style, which critics have described as neo-Mannerist, became familiar to a prime-time television audience in the mid-1970s when producer Norman Lear hired Barnes to "ghost" the paintings by the Jimmie Walker character "J.J." in the groundbreaking African American sitcom "Good Times."

As the backdrop for the show's closing credits, Lear used Barnes' 1971 painting "Sugar Shack," his most famous work. Singer Marvin Gaye later adapted the painting as the cover art for his 1976 album, "I Want You."

"Sugar Shack" shows a Brueghel-like mass of bodies, writhing and jumping to the rhythms in a black jazz club. There is joy, tension and despair in the canvas, which Barnes once said was inspired by a memory of being barred from attending a dance when he was a child. As in nearly all of his paintings, the subjects' eyes are closed, a reflection of the artist's oft-stated belief that "we are blind to each other's humanity."

Singer-songwriter Bill Withers, who was close to Barnes during the last decade of his life, said the artist often spoke of wanting to educate people through his art.

"He meant getting people to look past the superficial into the real vulnerable parts of themselves," said Withers, for whom Barnes completed his last major commission, a painting inspired by Withers' 1971 hit "Grandma's Hands." "He wanted to help people peel away that layer of protection that we all wear to ward off any intrusion into our real private thoughts. He didn't mind people looking deeper into him. I found that fascinating."

Barnes was born into a working-class family in Durham, N.C., on July 15, 1938. His father was a shipping clerk for a large tobacco company, and his mother was a domestic for a wealthy attorney. She brought home books and records that her employer no longer wanted and used them to broaden the cultural horizons of her three sons. She encouraged them to draw pictures from their imaginations instead of using coloring books. The shy and overweight Ernie began drawing to escape from the taunts of his schoolmates.

He was still chubbier than most kids when he reached high school, but a teacher there helped him turn his size into advantage. He started lifting weights, lost his extra pounds and began excelling on the playing field. He became captain of the football team and by graduation had scholarship offers from 26 colleges.

He chose North Carolina College (now North Carolina Central University), a historically black institution in Durham, where he played football and majored in art. He left before graduating in 1960 to turn pro. A 6-foot-3, 250-pound offensive guard, he played for a succession of American Football League teams, including the Chargers and the Broncos, for the next five years.

He had kept up with his art when he was playing football, sketching fellow players, who nicknamed him "Big Rembrandt." With little money and a family to support when he left the game, he took a gamble and flew to Los Angeles with several of his canvases and carried them on foot several miles to the office of Chargers co-owner Barron Hilton, who paid him $1,000 for a painting.

After a brief stint as the AFL's official artist, he met with New York Jets owner Sonny Werblin, who offered to pay him $15,500 -- $1,000 more than Barnes had earned in his last season in football -- to develop his skills as a painter for a year. Werblin was so impressed with Barnes' work that he arranged a showing for critics at a New York gallery.

Some critics compared him to George Bellows, the American painter known for his masterful depictions of boxers in the ring.

Soon Barnes was winning commissions from entertainers such as Harry Belafonte, Flip Wilson and Charlton Heston. His works from this period were often commentaries on the brutality of professional football, depicting players with fangs and other grotesque features. "I was reaching for the absurdity of what men can be turned into with football as an excuse," he told Sports Illustrated in 1984.

By Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times

*********** I'm old enough to remember when...

College teams played nine games, ten at most. The pros played 12.

When videotape replay of games first came into being, and guys who already knew the real results won bets from guys who thought that game on the bar-room TV was live.

At the end of the NFL regular season, the first-place team in the East played the first-place team in the West for the championship. Everyone else packed up and went home. (Baseball was the same)

The season started after Labor Day.