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Published continually since 1998, "NEWS YOU CAN USE" was a Blog before  "Blog" was  even a word! It's intention has been to help inform the football coach and the interested football observer on a wide variety of to
pics, usually - but not always - related in some way to coaching or leadership.  It contains news and views often (trigger alert!) highly opinionated but intended to be  thought-provoking.  Subjects cover but aren't limited to coaching, leadership, character, football history and current football happenings, education, parenting, citizenship and patriotism, other sports, and even, sometimes, my offense.)


american flagFRIDAY,  DECEMBER 15,  2017  “A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kickboxing.” Comedian Emo Philips

"OPEN WING VIRTUAL CLINIC" -  5-DVD SET -  Priced as a set so that you can purchase all five DVDs for less than the cost of buying four  separately.    THE DVDS ARE $39.95 EACH, BUT $150 FOR ALL FIVE - A SAVINGS OF $49.75! TO BUY - http://www.coachwyatt.com/prod.htm

LIKE #4, DVD  #5 IS LONG: 1 HOUR AND 23 MINUTES.  LIKE #4, IT INCLUDES A LOT OF MATERIAL THAT WASN'T COVERED AT THE KANSAS CITY CLINIC.    

IT COVERS...

(1) MY SLIMMED-DOWN DOUBLE WING PACKAGE - A MUST FOR ANY DIRECT-SNAP COACH WHO'S EVER THOUGHT ABOUT A LIMITED BUT EFFECTIVE "SURPRISE" OR GOAL-LINE PACKAGE.  (EVEN IF YOU'RE ALREADY RUNNING THE DOUBLE WING, I BET THERE ARE SOME TIPS THAT WILL HELP YOU RUN IT BETTER)

(2) DETAILED VIDEO ON HOW I TEACH THE UNDER-CENTER SNAP - IF YOU'RE A SHOTGUN GUY, WOULDN'T IT BE NICE TO BE ABLE TO SPIKE IT OR SNEAK IT?

(3) A SIMPLE BUT EFFECTIVE STACK-I PACKAGE - I'VE BEEN RUNNING THIS FOR 20 YEARS NOW AND I'VE NEVER PUT IT ON A VIDEO.   IF YOU'RE A DOUBLE-WINGER, YOU OUGHT TO TAKE A LOOK. 

(4) BRAND-NEW IN 2015: A BASIC "OPEN WING" PACKAGE WITH THE QB UNDER CENTER.

(5) THE RAM AND LION FORMATIONS - COMBINED WITH AN UNBALANCED LINE, THEY PRODUCE A REALLY NASTY WEDGE THAT'S BEEN A MAINSTAY OF MY OFFENSE SINCE THE MID-90'S.  THIS HAS NEVER BEEN ON ONE OF MY VIDEOS, EITHER.

FOR THE FOOTBALL HISTORY BUFF, THERE ARE SOME CLIPS OF 1950'S PRINCETON TEAMS RUNNING THE WEDGE,  AND  OF WYOMING'S "SIDE SADDLE T",  FROM 1954

EVERY PURCHASOR OF THE SET WILL BE ADDED TO THE OPEN WINGERS' MAILING LIST - AT INTERVALS,  I WILL MAIL OUT SUGGESTIONS,  IDEAS, COACHING TIPS AND IN-DEPTH EXPLANATIONS


TO BUY - http://www.coachwyatt.com/prod.htm

I’ve been selling my “EVOLUTION OF AN OFFENSE” DVD for $49.95 and it’s been a good enough seller - but not nearly enough Double Wing coaches have seen it, nor have they been to any of my clinics or camps - which means that in many cases they’re running a 20-year-old Double Wing. Still plenty good, you understand - but not as good as it could be.

So, for a limited time, I’m offering a SPRING SPECIAL - just in time for your pre-season planning -

“EVOLUTION OF AN OFFENSE” at HALF PRICE!  $24.95

And if you’re new to the Double Wing and you purchase my basic package - I’ll include EVOLUTION OF AN OFFENSE at no charge.

http://www.coachwyatt.com/EVOLUTIONDVD.html



*Anyone who purchases the DVD Series will also receive the playbook at no additional charge. (You heard right - the $150 price includes video and playbook.)


*********** Following up on Chuck Knox, Mike Benton wrote, from Colfax, Illinois

Being a Vikings fan, I always remember the rivalry in the 70's between the Rams and Vikings.  In 1969, the Vikings beat George Allen's Rams 23-21 in the Western Conference Finals.  In 1974, The Vikings beat Knox's Rams 14-7 in the NFC championship, and in 1976, the Vikings beat the Rams in the NFC Championship 24-13 (The last Super Bowl the Vikings played in).  In 1977, The Vikings were the underdog and played the Rams in the coliseum.  There were torrential rains before the game, which was known as the mud bowl.  Knox's biggest coaching liability was that he couldn't beat Bud Grant!

That’s very interesting. Bud Grant, an all-time great coach, has taken so much crap over the years, because he “couldn't win the big one!”

So where does that put Chuck Knox, the guy who couldn’t beat Bud Grant?


*********** Nike spends millions, and still it’s a crapshoot - literally. Sometimes their uniforms look good.  Just as often,  they’re sheer crap.

And then there’s the story behind the Vikings’ uniform - a classic design that’s stood the test of time and pretty much resisted all attempts to change it..

Story sent to me by Greg Koenig, Cimarron, Kansas

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/21409647/the-full-story-how-viking-uniforms-came-minnesota


*********** There’s nothing quite like seeing a boy you’ve coached grow into a man.  Watching him move on to high school ball…  Go to college… Go in the service… Learn a trade… Get married… Have a son of his own.

Coaching youth football has  enormous rewards.  

But it can also break your heart.

An outstanding Philadelphia high school running back, a Penn State commit and a product of an outstanding youth program, was arrested the morning of his school’s state semi-final game for an armed robbery he’s accused of having committed last summer.

http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/isheem-young-robbery-penn-state-football-recruit-imhotep-wawa-20171202.html?betaPreview=redesign

1942 Army_Navy Program

*********** This is the program cover from the 1942  Army-Navy game, not quite one year into World War II.    It was a time before America’s little boys played soccer,  a time - a much tougher time - when America truly realized how important a role football - and manliness -  played in its culture.  Now, in the eyes of far too many Americans, manliness is something to apologize for.

*********** It’s been years since either Army or Navy has been nationally ranked, and growing fewer every day are the people who can remember when they were in the Top 25 at the same time, but the Army-Navy game continues to be a one of the top games of every season in terms of TV viewership.

This past Saturday’s Army-Navy game got a 5.9 Neilsen Rating.  To put that in perspective:

Georgia-Auburn…………. 8.0
Alabama-Auburn………… 7.6
Ohio State-Wisconsin…… 7.3
Alabama-Florida State…..  6.9
Ohio State-Michigan……..  6.1
Army-Navy………………..  5.9

Not only that, but in the final 15 minutes of the game, the Army-Navy rating peaked at 8.5

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

That Army-Navy game was one for the ages.  I enjoyed every second of it.  Just wish I could have been there.  I had planned to go but the cost of the flight, the hotel, the game ticket, and everything else connected to a two-night stay was just too much.  Aside from all that the weather would have likely grounded me!  Oh well...I guess the best I can hope for to cross the Army-Navy game off my bucket list would be to have the military brass agree to hold one of the future games here in Texas.

Agreed that the single biggest play of the game was Voit's hustle to trip up Perry on that long run.  Second biggest play(s) were the two uncharacteristic penalties toward the end of the game that eventually cost Navy the game.

Jeff Monken is a class act.  Ken Niumatololo is pretty classy too.  I've always dreamed of being a coach at a military academy, and I would hand out towels to do it.

I believe you will eventually start seeing more high school teams taking a page out of the Arrny-Navy playbooks, and YOU may start seeing more and more coaches asking you about your "Open Wing".

Have I ever mentioned how much I despise the NFL??

I plan on watching both the Division II and Division III games on Saturday.

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe,

You have to keep Army-Navy on the list. As long as I continue to contribute to USMA I’ll have the right to buy a number of Army-Navy tickets,  provided I act far enough in advance.  Maybe some year we should have some sort of reunion of “insider” coaches and I’ll arrange a tour of Philly sights.

Keep coaching!

Hugh


*********** I read an article recently in the Portland Oregonian by their lead columnist, John Canzano, who suggests, in view of all the guys with overall losing records who’ve been hired to big jobs - Arkansas, SMU, Arizona State, Florida State, Oregon - that it may have something to do with the ADs’ desire to “control” the coach.

Hmmm.

Not to try to put myself in a victim class, you understand, being the beneficiary of white privilege and all that, but it does seem to me that not too many of the guys being hired are over 50.

*********** I haven’t written anything about Oregon’s hiring of Mario Cristobal, promoting him from offensive coordinator to replace Willie Taggart because it took me a while to mull it over.

My first reaction was, “This is Oregon.”  They can do better than that.

My second reaction, after hearing that the players went overboard in trying to persuade the administrator to hire him was, “Great.  A players’ coach.   Everybody’s pal.  That sh— never lasts long.”

My third reaction was, “He’s only been a head coach at one place - Florida International - he spent seven years there and went 27-47.”  Not impressed.

And my fourth was, “Didn’t you just lose one Florida guy when a big-time Florida school came calling?”

And then I chewed all that up and spat it out.  Ptui.

My conclusion?  Good hire. 

Oregon had to move to hold onto a highly-rated recruiting class.   The Ducks are going to be playing Boise State in a bowl game the Saturday, and game preparation has cut deeply into recruiting efforts.

Cristobal has coached under Nick Saban at Alabama.  That’s a big plus in my book.  For four years, he was Saban’s assistant head coach, offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator.  As far as I’m concerned, Stop the Music!  Hire that sumbitch.

As for Florida International - As I understand it, you and I, with Vince Lombardi and Don Shula and Bill Belichick assisting us, wouldn’t have done any better there.  The story is that the program was drastically underfunded and the facilities were substandard at best.

And keeping him in Oregon?  He said all the right things at his intro press conference.  Not that Willie “He Who Speaks With Forked Tongue” Taggart didn’t.  But Cristobal has evidently told all sort of people that he and his family love Oregon, which is just the sort of thing that Oregonians love to hear.  They live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet and yet they’re in constant need of hearing others tell them that.

Afraid of losing him to a Florida School?  If, after f—king up once with Taggart, you can’t structure a contract to keep your Florida guy in Oregon, you need to get a new AD.

The fact that the players like him and want to hold onto him is certainly not a strike against him.

And now, Mario Cristobal becomes my second-favorite Cubano coach,  right behind my old friend Armando Castro, of Roanoke, Virginia (formerly of Miami).

And my new favorite team becomes whoever is playing Florida State.

*********** Kevin McCullough of Lakeville, Indiana found the photo I mentioned of Blanton Collier’s star-studded Kentucky staff. Said, “googled blanton  collier kentucky football greatest staff 1959...clicked images....was in bowling green daily news.”  Now, if I could just find a sharp copy…

*********** No doubt the Bud Light ad agency thought this “Dilly Dilly” sh— was really clever, because they’re spending a fortune on commercials  in an obvious attempt to make it into a byword that young, hip drinkers will use, showing how cool they are when they order their Corona.  Or their PBR.

Now, I’m starting to see "Dilly Dilly" tee-shirts.  Look at me.  I'm so cool.

Time to bring back Spuds MacKenzie.

“Dilly Dilly” apparently was an old English children’ song, and I remember it as a popular song many years ago (1948), by Sammy Kaye -

https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=spigot-chr-ffmac&p=lavender+blue+dilly+dilly#id=14&vid=29e8c2583347b9dd6ea023fecfeef534&action=view


*********** North Carolina’s state association (NCHSAA) is expected this week to take up the issue of allowing home-schooled students to play on high school teams. 
 
Not sure what the problem is.  There are now 22 states that allow home-schooled kids to play on public-school teams, and Washington is one of them. 

Home-schooled kids are a bonus for local schools:  their parents pay school taxes but they don’t use the school facilities and they don’t take up classroom space.

My only reason for skepticism - and a problem I must admit I’ve never encountered - is the fact that since parents are the teachers, parents can fudge a kid’s grades to keep him eligible.  But that, it seems, is less an issue for a coach to worry about, and more an issue of compliance with state academic standards.

Before you go out and start recruiting the next Tim Tebow (probably the most famous of all home-schooled athletes) to play for you… in Washington, and presumably in other states which permit those kids to play sports in the schools, kids have no choice of schools - they may only participate in the district in which they live.

https://coachad.com/news/north-carolina-association-discuss-homeschool-participation/


*********** QUIZ: Joe Don Looney  was big - 6-1, 230 - with sprinter’s speed. He could run like a bull or a deer, and he could punt.

Sports Illustrated once titled an article about him, “The Greatest Player Who Never Was.”

In many ways, he was way ahead of his time.  He augmented his weight training with whatever performance-enhancing drugs were then available.   And in the days when few questioned the notion that football was a team sport, he did.  He broke team rules and challenged coaches.  He was the definition of the individual, the guy who did his own thing.

Once famously asked about his tendency to miss a practice here and there, he answered, "If practice makes perfect and perfection is impossible, why practice?"

Coach after coach thought he would be the one to harness all that ability. One after another, every single one - some of them the best in the business - failed.

He flunked out of Texas, was kicked out of TCU, helped a junior college win the national Juco championship, and then transferred to Oklahoma, where he became Bud Wilkinson’s first-ever Juco transfer.

He was named to All-American teams his first year at OU,  but he wore out his welcome, and in his second year, after playing in only three games, he was thrown off the team.

He was drafted in the first round by the Giants, but traded during training camp to the Baltimore Colts.  It was said that in his four weeks in Giants' camp, he’d racked up more fines than the entire team had had in the previous three seasons.

The 1964 Colts lost the NFL title to the Browns, but by any other standard they were the best team in football.  They were loaded.  Somehow, the GM thought that head coach Don Shula could get him straightened out.  He couldn’t.

Among the highlights of his one-season stay in Baltimore:

Once, practicing his punting,  he looked to the sky and shouted, "How do you like that one, God?"

Once,  leaving a team party, he  said, "I'm going to sleep in the cemetery; it's nice and peaceful there."

Once, he broke down the door of an apartment while looking for some women he’d met.  When he didn’t find them inside, he slugged a guy who was.  He told the judge he was angry because Barry Goldwater had just lost the presidential election. The judge fined him $100 and added, "had you broken down my door, I would have shot you." 

Once, attending a wrestling match, he jumped into the ring to help champion Bruno Sammartino finish off an opponent.

Running back Alex Hawkins,  himself a bit of an eccentric, refused to room with him on road trips, saying, “I’m not rooming with anyone crazier than I am.”

Traded in the off-season to Detroit for linebacker Dennis Gaubatz, he remarked, “I think the Colts made a hell of a deal.”

He had a decent year in Detroit, carrying  114 carries for 356 yards and five touchdowns.  But at one point, when ordered by the coach to take a play in to the quarterback. he refused, saying, ”If you want a messenger boy, call Western Union."  That was that in Detroit.

Detroit shipped him to Washington, where the high point of his season was slugging an opponent and breaking his jaw while protecting quarterback Sonny Jorgensen.  The low point was refusing to go into a game because he claimed he wasn’t sufficiently warmed up.

His Army reserve unit was called up in 1968 and he was sent to Vietnam, but not before arguing in court that his reserve unit couldn’t be sent overseas to fight in an undeclared war. He lost.   His time in Vietnam,   Sports Illustrated noted,  was at least a success in the sense that he “wasn’t shot for insubordination and he didn’t trigger World War III.”

He came back from Vietnam and tried football one more time and with one more team - the Saints, a team so bad then that they’d give anyone a shot.  But it turned out that he had figured out that all he needed for an NFL pension was to be on the roster for three more regular season games, and knowing he couldn’t be cut while injured,  he came up with a hamstring pull, real or imaginary,  and managed to make it for the three games before being cut.

And that was it,  his NFL career over at 27.  In all, he’d rushed for 724 rushing yards in 42 NFL games.

From there, he descended into a life of serious drug use and “marketing,” serving as a mule for drugs from coast to coast and then from Latin America to North America.

There’s more, so  much more, but to cut the non-football part of it short…

He took up with a Yoga - not the exercise but a quasi-religious leader - and followed him around the world.

And he got into survivalism, preparing for the end of the world.

In 1988, riding his motorcycle somewhere near the West Texas town of Alpine, his motorcyle went off the road at a high speed and he was dead at the age of 45.

Bill Walsh called him a “coach killer.” The late NFL Films president Steve Sabol called him “the most uncoachable player in NFL history.”  "He didn't have both shoes tied," recalled Giants Hall of Fame  linebacker Sam Huff.

Leon Cross, a captain of the Oklahoma team,  recalled, years later, that he  was ”one of the most talented athletes  of his day, and that’s why all the pro teams took chances on him. Every coach thought, ‘I can handle him,’ but none of them could.  Joe Don  was one of football’s first rebels.  He’d fit in very well today.”


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING  JOE DON LOONEY-
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
DAVE POTTER - CARY, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN IRION - GRANVILLE, NEW YORK
JERRY LOVELL - BELLEVUE, NEBRASKA - ("Never was a man more aptly named" My dad always used this quote about Joe Don Looney.  Looked up who said it originally... It was New York Jets wideout George Sauer Jr.)
JOHN VERMILLION,  ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA - (We've all experienced that one player...My dad always called those players the "ones that are good enough to get you beat!”)
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS (Sounds more like some of the kids we deal with now.  I always said, "talent is wasted on the wrong people.”)
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
SHEP CLARKE - PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON (If he had never lived, Dan Jenkins would have had to invent him.)
TIM BROSS - KIRKWOOD, MISSOURI
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON

http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/bs-sp-daffy-dozen-joe-don-looney-0725-20150725-story.html

http://www.pardonpower.com/2010/03/very-colorful-joe-don-looney.html


https://www.dmagazine.com/publications/d-magazine/1989/november/sports-the-kamikaze-quest-of-joe-don-looney/

https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/other-sports/kevinsherrington/2015/04/11/sherrington-mercurial-joe-don-looney-was-a-great-athlete-with-a-knack-for-defying-conventional-wisdom

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jul/3/joe-don-looneys-place-history/

*********** My friend Doc Hinger is a real baseball fan.  He knows ‘em all, remembers ‘em all. 

He agrees with me that Joe Don Looney should have been a baseball player.

Football being a disciplined, militaristic type of sport, Looney was unusual.

If he'd been a baseball player, he'd have been just another head case.

*********** QUIZ: When  he arrived at the University of Virginia from Bluefield, Virginia, he was 5 foot 8-1/2 and weighed 148.  Four years later, he was the first draft choice of the Pittsburgh Steelers. By then he was 5 foot 10-1/2 and weighed 168.

He was a terrific runner, and although he wasn’t especially fast, at college he was nicknamed the Bluefield Bullet.  Over time, that morphed into Bullet Bill, the nickname that followed him through his NFL career.

As a senior at UVa, he led the nation in touchdowns, points scored, yards rushing per play, and touchdowns responsible for. Virginia finished  8-1, losing only to Yale, 21-19. In his final game. a 28-7 win over North Carolina, he scored three touchdowns and kicked four extra points. He was awarded the Maxwell Trophy as the nation's outstanding college player.

In 1942, his rookie year in Pittsburgh, playing tailback in the Steelers' single wing attack, he led the NFL in rushing.  He helped  the Steelers improve from last place in the NFL to second, and was named All-Pro.

And then, he enlisted in the Army and became a pilot.  Every where he went, though, he was expected to play on the local service football team,

He returned after the War in 1945 and picked up where he left off, but as good as he was - he was the League MVP in 1946, leading the NFL in rushing, punt returns and interceptions -  he had difficulty getting along with the Steelers’ hard-nosed coach, Dr. Jock Sutherland, who for some reason didn't like him, and after the season he retired and got a job coaching at Virginia.

Realizing he was serious, the Steelers traded him to the Lions. He was persuaded to abandon his plans to coach,  and in three years at Detroit, from 1947-1949, he was team captain and led the team in scoring every year.

In 1950 he was traded to the Redskins, and after missing the entire 1951 season, he returned for two more years before retiring.

He was named first- or second-team All-Pro six times.

Playing for three different teams, he led his team in scoring every one of his nine seasons in the NFL.

Despite his lack of size, he was a true 60-minute man.  In addition to his great ability as a runner - he was named to the backfield of the NFL All-Decade Team for the 1940s, along with Steve Van Buren and Marion Motley - and as a safety - Steelers’ owner Art Rooney claimed that opposing coaches fined their quarterbacks for throwing near him - he was an all-purpose kicker, punting  and place-kicking. (His place-kicking form, which I still remember marveling at, required absolutely no steps.  He simply stood in place, swung his leg back, and swung it forward.  I can’t imagine any of his kicks ever being blocked.)

Career stats:
Rushing: 765 attempts for 3057 yards (4.0 average) and 20 TDs
Receiving: 123 receptions for 1383 yards and 18 TDs
Punt Returns: 124 for 1515 yards and three TDs
Kick Returns: 78 for 1743 yards and one TD
Interceptions: 23 for 469 yards and two TDs
All-Purpose Yards: 8217
Punting: 191 for 38.2 average
Place-kicking: 121 PATs, 33 FGs

He is the only player in the history of the NFL to have thrown for a touchdown and scored a touchdown rushing, receiving, returning a punt, returning a kickoff, returning an interception and returning a fumble.
He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.



american flagTUESDAY,  DECEMBER 12,  2017  "I am not young enough to know everything."- Oscar Wilde


*********** Very perceptive of John Vermillion, of St. Petersburg, Florida, to notice that on my Friday page, Frosty Westering (“Make the big time where you are”) and Dr. King (“sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry“) were both saying the same thing.  Wish I could say that the resemblance was planned, but I can’t.  It was just happenstance.

John also pointed out an interesting - and equally unplanned -  coincidence regarding the Army-Navy game: the all-white Army uniforms were meant to pay tribute to the famed 10th Mountain Division, whose commanding general in the 1980s was none other than the great Bill Carpenter, once nationally famous as Army’s “Lonely End.”

*********** When Army fans awoke Saturday morning to see snow pouring down on ESPN Game Day, with Philly’s Lincoln Financial Field in the background, they had to be encouraged.  A snowy field was made to order for Army’s stout , straight-ahead attack, with its big fullbacks and its veteran QB, Ahmad Bradshaw. The tricky footing, we figured, would work against Navy’s more finesse-oriented option attack.

It took a while, but that’s basically how things worked out in Army’s 14-13 win.

Army, normally an under-center team,  started out cute with a series of shotgun plays, including a couple from a stack alignment that I’d only seen previously from New Mexico. A nice shotgun buck sweep helped their opening drive, and the departure from form got Army a score on its first possession - a machine-like drive of 68 yards in 11 plays, that left some of us thinking that this one could be a blowout.

No chance of that.  Not in Army-Navy. From that point until halftime, Army got just one more first down.

Observed analyst Gary Danielson - who in my estimation is as good as there is -  “Navy has adjusted, and Army hasn’t.“

Navy, with Malcolm Perry, a converted wingback making just his second start at QB, was running its own version of cute, junking its option and fullback-up-the-middle stuff and running Perry out of shotgun on nearly every play. He would wind up with 250 yards - mostly between the tackles -  including a 68-yard touchdown, and Navy took a 10-7 halftime lead.

But for all of Navy’s cleverness, it would result in just that one TD.

The single biggest play of the game may have come on Navy’s first possession of the second half, a 46-yard run that Perry wasn’t able to finish.   On a cutback play not unlike the one that had gone for the long touchdown earlier, Perry seemed on his way to another such score when Army defensive end John Voit, in  an amazing example of hustle and determination, pursued, dove, and caught Perry’s ankle,  tripping him up.

Stalled by the Army defense, Navy had to settle for a field goal, giving it a 13-7 lead that it took into the fourth quarter.
 
Finally, down by six with time for a long drive, it was as if Army coach Jeff Monken had said, “Okay, enough - back to the basics.” Army became  Army again, and  began to punish Navy with its patented fullback- up-the-middle, quarterback-off-tackle attack, finally crossing up the Middies with one triple-option pitch to a wingback that put the ball on the one yard line. A sneak by Bradshaw on the next play tied the game.  It was a classic Army drive - 65 yards, 13 plays. Seven minutes, 40 seconds off the clock. The PAT gave Army the lead, 14-13.

But if Army was once again Army, Navy, for its part,  became - well, even less Navy.  There was plenty of time - five minutes - left to put on a scoring drive, but part-and-parcel with the new, trick-oriented offense was what seemed to be an NFL mentality: Navy seemed to be thinking “field goal.”

And that’s where the New-Navy thinking let them down. There were botched plays in crunch time - some, no doubt owing to great play by the Army defense (can you say “adjustments?”) and some, perhaps the cumulative effect of all the hits that Perry had taken (in running for 250 yards, he carried the ball 30 times, and on all but one of those carries he was tackled at least once).  Worse, though, for Navy - there were two damaging last-minute penalties - reflecting an uncharacteristic lack of poise and discipline - that meant that Navy’s last-second field goal attempt would be one of 48 yards, not 38.

Fortunately for the game itself - Navy people will not agree - the kick barely missed.

The game was hard-fought and it was a shame that either team had to lose, but it would have been even worse if a game like that had been decided by what the pantywaist sports guys like to call a “walkoff” field goal.


*********** John Voit, Army’s senior lineman who made the sort of play in the Army-Navy game that every coach likes to show his kids as an example of why you should never quit, is a St. Louis-area kid whose older brother, Luke, plays first base for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Younger brother John is the real deal.  He is not only an Army football player, but he has chosen to “branch” infantry on graduation this May, and he aspires to become an Army Ranger.

http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/ben-frederickson/benfred-another-voit-in-the-spotlight-at-landmark-army-navy/article_8da59858-f6f4-505c-968e-da067d6eb5b4.html

*********** John Voit’s play was reminiscent of a play by a great lineman named Bob Mischak  in the 1953 Army-Duke game that old-timers remember as the great comeback of Army football after the down years following the dismissal from the Academy of most of Army’s football players.

This is from my story about great Army coach Earl Blaik:

It was in their fourth game, in New York's Polo Grounds against eventual Atlantic Coast Conference champion Duke, that they solidified as a team.

Taking a 14-13 lead into the fourth quarter, Army launched a long drive to the Duke 19, where, on fourth down, Blaik ordered a substitute sent in with instructions to go for a field goal. Astonishingly, though, a young assistant named Tiger Howell countermanded Blaik's order, chasing after the substitute and recalling him. And instead of the field goal attempt, the Cadets went for the first down - and failed.

(Howell later recalled that Blaik walked over to him afterward,  handed him an Army blanket, and said, "Take this. You'll need it in Korea!")

Now, with under four minutes to play, Duke sprang a reverse good for 73 yards to the Army seven,  where runner Red Smith was caught from behind only by a heroic effort by Army defensive end Bob Mischak.

With time-out called and Duke on the Army seven with three minutes left, the excitement in the Polo Grounds was too much for the Corps of Cadets, who streamed down out of the stands and surrounded the field of play.

Three Duke running plays took the Blue Devils to the Army two. Now, with fourth and two, a kicking tee was thrown onto the field, but the Duke quarterback threw it back. No field goal for him - he was going for the touchdown. And with the Corps of Cadets on the sidelines and standing behind them on the end line screaming encouragement, the Army defenders stopped the fourth-down play - a quarterback sneak - inches short of the goal line.

*********** Two powerful Philadelphia youth teams won Pop Warner national championships Saturday, both running (ahem) my stuff.

In the JV Class, the North Philly Aztecs shut out the North Raleigh Bulldogs, 28-0.

And in the Varsity Class, the Northwest Raiders beat the Pompano Beach (Florida) Chiefs, 33-12. It was the Raiders’ fourth straight Pop Warner national title, and their 57th consecutive win.

Both teams did a nice job of mixing their attacks, but at the base, both ran Super Power from a pure Double Wing attack.

I was able to text congratulations to Aztecs’ coach Greg Bonner, who replied, “Thanks, coach.  That’s your system out there.” 

Maybe so, I told him, but while I may have provided the paints, it takes an artist to paint the picture.

*********** Willie Mosconi was a South Philly guy (“South Philly Italian” used to be a redundancy) who was the greatest pocket billiards (pool) player who ever lived.  It’s not likely that anyone will ever be able to challenge that claim, because the game he dominated - straight pool - is seldom played any more.

Straight pool is also called 14.1 pool, referring to the fact that in order to keep play continuous, when the person shooting has sunk all but one ball, the other 14 are brought up and  racked (with the head ball missing) and the shooter then tries to sink the ball that was left on the table while sending the cue ball into the rack to break it up.  Then, assuming he broke up the rack, he resumes his run.

Really good pool players can run several racks before finally missing.  Games were usually played to 150, and it was not unknown for a player to run out - to sink 150 balls in a row - before his opponent had even had a chance to shoot.  Such artistry was a thing of beauty to real pool afficianados, but not to today’s short-attention-span audiences, and not, therefore, to the TV people. (Something like the way the public insists that football teams pass the ball.)

What they want is action, so what you see on TV is nearly always  nine-ball, a game that’s better suited to TV audiences because games are over with quickly. 


So between the demands of TV for a quicker game and the fact that most pool nowadays is played on coin-operated tables that hold balls for ransom once they’re sunk, straight pool is all but dead.
(Something like the way running the ball in professional football is all but dead.)

Like most straight pool professionals, Mosconi dismissed  nine-ball and games like it  as the province of hustlers, people who gave his profession a bad name.  More than once, though, after being offered big money to play on TV, he reluctantly agreed to take on opponents in nine-ball. 
Although playing their own game, they might as well have tried beating him in straight pool.   He never lost.

He was simply the best.   The master.

He wrote in his book, “Willie’s Game,” with Stanley Cohen (1993),  of one such case, when he was preparing to play a hustler, a guy named Rudolph Wanderone who had built a reputation around his claim that he was the  inspiration for a character named “Minnesota Fats” in a hit movie called “The Hustler.”  Going by that moniker - he was obese and he was a pretty good pool shooter with a great standup comedy line to go along with his game - Wanderone  made quite a name for himself. 

And he - Fats - enjoyed bragging about having beaten Mosconi, despite the fact that he never had.

Fats finally got under Mosconi’s skin, to the point where the champion consented to play him. On national TV. With Howard Cosell commentating. There was, to be sure, considerable money on the line.

Recalled Mosconi, “We were scheduled to play short-rack games - eight-ball, nine-ball and rotation.  Each of these games involved a measure of luck since the shooter did not have to call each shot.   Anything that fell on the break counted, and a player could sometimes fire into a cluster of balls and take his chances. Nine-ball, in fact, could be won on the break, without another ball being made.  These were all trick games that required the mastering  of a particular technique, rather than the overall proficiency that was needed in straight pool. They were like the spinoff basketball games that kids often play in the schoolyard - “around the world,” or “h-o-r-s-e.”  They require a certain amount of skill, but you just have to be a shooter or a trick-shot artist to win them; you don’t need the medley of skills it takes to be a quality basketball player.”

In the competition, Mosconi left no doubt who the real champ was, defeating Fats in every category and reinforcing his scorn for "spinoff" games other than straight pool.

I mention this because in looking for a Pop Warner football game this past weekend I happened onto the “Watch ESPN” site, and out of curiosity I found myself watching a team of pool shooters from the USA facing  a team from “Europe." They were  competing for something called the “Mosconi Cup.”

And damned if they weren’t playing nine-ball.

***********  Hi Coach,

Enjoy the game tomorrow.

Go Army! Go Navy!

Look forward to this one most of all, not just for what the teams represent, the quality of the men involved, players & coaches; but really to see something out of the routine.

As much as I enjoy college football, the sameness of the offensive schemes is bland. In the power 5 conferences + the American conf. (which I really enjoy) every team now takes a majority of the snaps from shotgun, 1 back, spread formation.

I went to 2 Div III games this year, St. John's and both teams likewise spread

Minnesota has a strong Div. II conference, the Northern Sun (Minn Duluth, Mankato State, Winona State & Bemidji State) and they all run spread.

Was just looking back at 1995, my senior year in college we were a DIII school no scholly $$ playing in a DII league). The different teams were varied: Minn Duluth, 2 tight split back, and pound it at you. Moorhead State ran the Nebraska I back option, Northern State and Southwest State were shotgun no back spread.

In Div I back then, you had more variety:
Nebraska, Power I option
Florida, Spurrier's spread
Florida State and Miami more of a pro style
Ohio State & Michigan and Northwestern pro style

Guys who know a lot more football than me love the spread, I would just like to see more teams out of the box than just the service academies, Georgia Tech and New Mexico.

Take care,

Mick Yanke
Cokato Minnesota

I, too, look forward to Army-Navy.  When you realize that there are more than 30 states represented on the rosters of each team, it truly is America’s game.

I think the “march-on” of the cadets and midshipmen is one of the great sights in all of America, in or out of sports.

I find that more and more, your observation about the sameness of the college offenses is spot-on, and with the proliferation of 7-on-7, the AAU basketball of our sport, it will only become more uniform.

There may be guys who know more about football than we do who love the spread, but the problem is that there are a LOT of guys who DON’T know more about football than we do who REALLY love the spread.  And they’re the people who buy the tickets and watch on TV.

Anyhow, Go Army.  (Sorry, BUT there’s one game a year that I root against Navy.)


*********** The despicable conduct of the Seahawks (coached by Smilin’ Pete, the Sunny Sunshine Guy) at Jacksonville reminded me of how much I hate the NFL and what it’s done to our game - and our culture - and how it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest if it went away.

But I am saddened by two blows to The League-  two recent injuries.

First, the knee inury suffered by the Eagles’ Carson Wentz, whose torn ACL could conceivably bring an end to a most promising career and cost his team - and the league -  the services of the kind of good person it definitely doesn’t have enough of.

But I’m even more saddened by the spinal injury to the Steelers’ Ryan Shazier.  For years, I’ve predicted that, without strong League action to stop players’ from leading with their heads,  the day would come when one of them would lie still on the field after a tackle - and never walk again.

Ryan Shazier did, in fact, lead with his head and as everyone coaching football players should know, making contact in that manner can result in catastrophic spinal injury.

Yes, all the reports from his hospital sound encouraging: he’s “showing gradual improvement,” his condition is “stabilizing” - what does that mean, exactly? However, they add, “it’s not known yet whether he’ll play football again.”

“Play football again?”

Call me skeptical - I take pride in that - but I’m concerned that the NFL’s vaunted PR people are carefully controlling the narrative here, and that Ryan Shazier’s condition may be worse than we’re being told.

Please, Lord, don’t let that be the case.  Let him live a long a productive life with full use of his limbs.

*********** An 85-year-old Korean War vet in Western Pennsylvania shot and killed a guy who’d invaded his home, and scared off a second.

“I’ve never been afraid in my life. God has always been with me and I’m a hard believer in God and Jesus Christ,” he said.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/dec/9/don-lutz-korean-war-veteran-shoots-and-kills-home-/

*********** One of the most amazing performances in college football Saturday wasn’t put on by Army, but by another team 250 miles from Philadelphia in a small western Pennsylvania town called Indiana. There, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, long a small-school football Powerhouse, fell 27-17 in the NCAA Division II semifinals to… West Florida.

West... who?  You mean there's another Florida school?

Even hard-core college football fan can be excused if they’ve never heard of West Florida, because this is only the second year of its existence as a football-playing school.  And yet here they, the Argonauts - that ought to win you a few bets - now 11-3 and preparing to take on Texas A & M-Commerce in the Division II final, this coming Saturday evening in Kansas City, Kansas.

No team in college football history has had such success so soon.

The Argonauts are story enough, but their coach's story is just as  interesting.

His name is Pete Shinnick, and he’s been around. West Florida is his 10th stop in a coaching career that started in 1988 as line coach at Richmond.

West Florida is his third head coaching job.  His first was at Azusa-Pacific, a California NAIA school, where in seven years he was 53-22 and made the NAIA playoffs five of those years. From there, he moved cross-country to UNC-Pembroke, a Division II school, where he was 50-24 in seven seasons.  His 2013 team was 9-2 and made it to the second round of the NCAA playoffs.

And then, in 2014, he took the West Florida job. He spent two years getting ready, and last year, 2016, the Argonauts hit the field for the first time, finishing a respectable 5-6.

With this season’s 11-3 record to date,  his overall career record stands at 129-53.  Not bad.  In 16 seasons, he’s had just one losing season, 4-7 his first year at Pembroke.

If the name Shinnick sounds somewhat familiar, it’s because Coach Shinnick is the son of the late Don Shinnick, who was an All-American at UCLA and spent 13 seasons as a linebacker with the Baltimore Colts.

After  starring on UCLA’s 1954 national championship team, he was a second-round draft choice of the Colts, and his NFL career spanned the 1950s and 1960s; he played in the so-called “Greatest Game Ever Played,” in 1958, and in 1968, when the Colts lost to the Jets in Super Bowl III, he became the first former UCLA Bruin to play in a Super Bowl.

After retirement as a player, he was an assistant coach for four different NFL teams, Bears, Cardinals, Raiders and Patriots, from 1970 until 1990.

In addition to Pete, he had four other sons.

Don Shinnick died in 2004 of something akin to Alzheimers. (CTE?)

*********** You’ll never find many NFL players at a Mensa meeting, but I have to admit, after the dirty shots that took place in last week’s Steelers-Bengals game, that I was shocked at the number of players, Steelers especially, who complained about the severity of the penalties dished out for dirty play.

*********** QUIZ ANSWER - A native Kentuckian, Blanton Collier succeeded two of the greatest coaching  legends in the game.   He is the last coach to leave Kentucky with a winning record - it was 36 years ago - and he is the last coach to win an NFL title in a city that hasn’t won one in 33 years.

During World War II he met Paul Brown, a well-known college coach who was coaching a service team, and after the war, Brown hired him as an assistant on a new AAFC team to be named (for him) the Cleveland Browns.  After assisting Brown  for seven seasons, during which time the Browns won five league championships,  he left to take the head coaching job at his home state university.

At Kentucky, he was SEC Coach of the Year in 1954, and even more impressive - he was 5-2-1 against Tennessee.  (His predecessor, a fellow named Bear Bryant, could do no better than 1-5-2 against the Vols.)

He could recognize - and assemble - great coaching talent.  There is a photo that I’ve been trying to locate of the 1959 Kentucky coaching staff, on which are eight coaches who would go on to coach in the NFL, and four (besides him) who would become NFL head coaches: Howard Schnellenberger,  John North, Bill Arnsparger and Don Shula.  A fifth, Chuck Knox, would join his staff two years later, and isn’t in the photo.

Collier  was fired by Kentucky after the 1961 season.  Big mistake,  Wildcats.  He was 41-36-3.  In the 36 seasons since then, Kentucky has had no fewer than 10 coaches, including the present one, Mark Stoops, but none has left UK with a winning record.

(Stoops, just wrapping up his fifth year, had better get busy: he’s now 26-35, and  it’s going to take a combination of booster patience and a string of 8-win seasons to get him above the .500 mark - if he hasn’t already left  for a bigger job.)

After being fired by Kentucky, he was hired back by Paul Brown,  and when Cleveland owner Art Modell fired Brown , he offered the job to Collier who only took the job with Brown's blessing.

It’s never easy to succeed a legend, but in 1964, in the days before there were Super Bowls, he took the Browns to the last NFL title ever won in Cleveland.

Said the great Jim Brown, who played under him, ” I was prepared for his football genius……but I wasn’t prepared for his humanity.”

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BLANTON COLLIER
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI - WISCONSIN
MICK YANKE - COKATO, MINESOTA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASINGTON
SHEP CLAKE - PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON
DAVE POTTER - CARY, NORTH CAROLINA

*********** QUIZ: Sports Illustrated once titled an article about him, “The Greatest Player Who Never Was.”

He was big - 6-1, 230 - with sprinter’s speed. He could run like a bull or a deer, and he could punt.

In many ways, he was way ahead of his time.  He augmented his weight training with whatever performance-enhancing drugs were then available.   And in the days when few questioned the notion that football was a team sport, he did.  He broke team rules and challenged coaches.  He was the definition of the individual, the guy who did his own thing.

Once famously asked about his tendency to miss a practice here and there, he answered, "If practice makes perfect and perfection is impossible, why practice?"

Coach after coach thought he would be the one to harness all that ability. One after another, every single one - some of them the best in the business - failed.

He flunked out of Texas, was kicked out of TCU, helped a junior college win the national Juco championship, and then transferred to Oklahoma, where he became Bud Wilkinson’s first-ever Juco transfer.

He was named to All-American teams his first year at OU,  but he wore out his welcome, and in his second year, after playing in only three games, he was thrown off the team.

He was drafted in the first round by the Giants, but traded during training camp to the Baltimore Colts.  It was said that in his four weeks in Giants' camp, he’d racked up more fines than the entire team had had in the previous three seasons.

The 1964 Colts lost the NFL title to the Browns, but by any other standard they were the best team in football.  They were loaded.  Somehow, the GM thought that head coach Don Shula could get him straightened out.  He couldn’t.

Among the highlights of his one-season stay in Baltimore:

Once, practicing his punting,  he looked to the sky and shouted, "How do you like that one, God?"

Once,  leaving a team party, he  said, "I'm going to sleep in the cemetery; it's nice and peaceful there."

Once, he broke down the door of an apartment while looking for some women he’d met.  When he didn’t find them inside, he slugged a guy who was.  He told the judge he was angry because Barry Goldwater had just lost the presidential election. The judge fined him $100 and added, "had you broken down my door, I would have shot you." 

Once, attending a wrestling match, he jumped into the ring to help champion Bruno Sammartino finish off an opponent.

Running back Alex Hawkins,  himself a bit of an eccentric, refused to room with him on road trips, saying, “I’m not rooming with anyone crazier than I am.”

Traded in the off-season to Detroit for linebacker Dennis Gaubatz, he remarked, “I think the Colts made a hell of a deal.”

He had a decent year in Detroit, carrying  114 carries for 356 yards and five touchdowns.  But at one point, when ordered by the coach to take a play in to the quarterback. he refused, saying, ”If you want a messenger boy, call Western Union."  That was that in Detroit.

Detroit shipped him to Washington, where the high point of his season was slugging an opponent and breaking his jaw while protecting quarterback Sonny Jorgensen.  The low point was refusing to go into a game because he claimed he wasn’t sufficiently warmed up.

His Army reserve unit was called up in 1968 and he was sent to Vietnam, but not before arguing in court that his reserve unit couldn’t be sent overseas to fight in an undeclared war. He lost.   His time in Vietnam,   Sports Illustrated noted,  was at least a success in the sense that he “wasn’t shot for insubordination and he didn’t trigger World War III.”

He came back from Vietnam and tried football one more time and with one more team - the Saints, a team so bad then that they’d give anyone a shot.  But it turned out that he had figured out that all he needed for an NFL pension was to be on the roster for three more regular season games, and knowing he couldn’t be cut while injured,  he came up with a hamstring pull, real or imaginary,  and managed to make it for the three games before being cut.

And that was it,  his NFL career over at 27.  In all, he’d rushed for 724 rushing yards in 42 NFL games.

From there, he descended into a life of serious drug use and “marketing,” serving as a mule for drugs from coast to coast and then from Latin America to North America.

There’s more, so  much more, but to cut the non-football part of it short…

He took up with a Yoga - not the exercise but a quasi-religious leader - and followed him around the world.

And he got into survivalism, preparing for the end of the world.

In 1988, riding his motorcycle somewhere near the West Texas town of Alpine, his motorcyle went off the road at a high speed and he was dead at the age of 45.

Bill Walsh called him a “coach killer.” The late NFL Films president Steve Sabol called him “the most uncoachable player in NFL history.”  "He didn't have both shoes tied," recalled Giants Hall of Fame  linebacker Sam Huff.

Leon Cross, a captain of the Oklahoma team,  recalled, years later, that he  was ”one of the most talented athletes  of his day, and that’s why all the pro teams took chances on him. Every coach thought, ‘I can handle him,’ but none of them could.  (He) was one of football’s first rebels.  He’d fit in very well today.”



american flagFRIDAY,  DECEMBER 8,  2017  - “If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause and say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

***********  I read a nice article Thursday about Army football and coach Jeff Monken on The Athletic, a fairly new sports site that shows great promise.

No sense posting a link to the story because The Athletic is a subscription-only site. (Don’t you hate clicking on a link only to be told “you have four free articles remaining” or “you have reached the number of free articles?”)

So. I’ll do my best to summarize:

Army - if you didn’t know - runs the ball.  A lot.  They run from a flexbone set, occasionally showing some unbalanced, and the triple option is their base play.  They have three really tough fullbacks, and a quarterback in Ahmad Bradshaw who in his third year of running the offense finally has it down pat - and he’s a very good runner, with close to 1500 yards rushing.

Army is first in FBS is almost every rushing category and averages 372 yards rushing per game.

But the flip side is that Army doesn’t pass much.  Or pass very well.  (Which may partly explain why Army doesn’t pass much.) 

In four of their games this season, they didn’t throw a single pass.  (They won three of those games.)

Army coach Jeff Monken doesn’t feel the need to explain any of this. “We're just doing whatever we think we need to do to win the football game,” he told The Athletic. “What we do best is run the ball. Block for the run, and run the ball.”

“Sometimes we've thrown it, and when it's incomplete it's just a wasted down — because we could line up to run the ball and gain a yard,” he said. “Our Tulane game, I thought it was a great call to throw the flash and pass down there close to the goal line, but we threw an interception. It was very calculated. We had run a run play out of the same formation, with the same action, and saw how the defense reacted. When we threw the pass, they reacted differently. Either they realized that, ‘Hey, if they get in this formation again …’ they might have talked about it; I don't know. … But we threw an interception and we lost the game by four points.

“It's agonizing for me to throw a pass and throw an interception because we've been really good about taking care of the football when we run it. We're not pitching the ball in the ground or getting knocked out. At least we haven't to this point a whole lot. To turn the ball over on a pass play just makes you want to kick yourself. Why are we even throwing? Ever.”

“Our philosophy is just trying to be a good team that really plays into our personnel,” Monken said. “I don't want to be our defensive guys out there against really talented offenses, 12, 13, 14 possessions a game, which happens a lot in college football. Teams are getting a lot of shots to get out there and chuck it around and put their athletes out there in space against ours. Running the football also helps us control the clock and keep it away from the other team. It's very much a philosophy of thinking about the entire team and what we're capable of from a talent standpoint.”

“When you know they're doing everything they can to defend you, and you're still able to be productive, it is very satisfying,” Monken said. “Because they know that teams are geared up to stop the run, and it's just a matter of their assignment, the execution of the fundamentals and their will and toughness that allows us to be able to continue to run the ball even though people are committing just about everybody on the field to stopping that.”

Although Army lines up with two split ends most of the time, none of their receivers has more than 11 catches this season, and only one of them has more than 100 yards receiving. They are very effective blockers though - an extremely important factor in a triple option offense - and they call themselves, not entirely in jest,  “wide tackles.”

(A friend, John Simar, coached wide receivers at Army back when  Hall-of-Fame coach Jim Young was running the Wishbone.  John says his guys used to call themselves “wide blockers.”  I join John in  wishing that Army could throw well enough to take advantage of  defenses, and to play catch-up when necessary.)

*********** I read with great interest your commentary on the decline of participation in football. I found myself nodding along with all of it. I have been saying for years, that concussions are just window dressing for something else. That something else, is the decline of the American male.

I do, however, have a different take on the cause of this decline. I think it is not so much from the rise of feminism (although it is related), but more to the rise of the duel-income family. Without delving too deeply into is complexities, because both parents are working, there is an equal division in decision making and life is more complicated. The decision to play football, which is inherently more inconvenient of a sport than the alternatives, is no longer left up to the breadwinner. This was typically the father, who used football introduce his son to the skills necessary to lead and provide for a family. Now it is, at best, a discussion about whether a family can commit to the time requirement of three practices and a game each week.

As life becomes busier, and busier, this choice become more and more inconvenient.    

Men are no longer the controlling shareholder in this decision and that is the key reason for the decline.

This is all very interesting, but the key questions we should be asking is, how do we audible to this changing defence?

Here is what we have decided. It is broken down into a list of “Do’s and Don’ts”:
    •    Do market your program as a solution to “Sloppy Boy Syndrome”. Tell moms that football players will be the man that they hoped to marry and raise their kids (see attached recruitment poster).
    •    Do make speeches within earshot of parents about not quitting football and how that will translate into not quitting on your job or your partner (I took that line from the movie All the Right Moves).
    •    Do yell at the kids and tell them that you love them equally. The things that kids hate the most about yelling is that they loose face in front of their peers. (my toughest kid hugged me when I called him up at out banquet).
    •    Don’t coach like we were coached. The drill sergeants of the past will not keep these kids or these parents.
    •    Don’t swear. Sounds simple, but you would be surprised at how this will be used against you if you do not win every game.
    •    Don’t try to make the kids happy. Names on the back of jerseys, passing all the time, and letting the kids call the plays just sets them up for disappointment when they get jobs (my boss doesn’t care much for what I think, and I’m a teacher!).

Obviously our game is changing and if we hope to continue to “spread the faith” we have to adjust to the changing times, while retaining our core values. That is easier said than done. However, I think my final though is that we should not be so much concerned with the decline in players, but rather,  what we should be concerned with is the decline of coaches who can walk this fine line. Without them, football will truly be lost.

Football is fun.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Tom,

You make good points.

The dual-income family certainly causes people to make some strange decisions.

And the idea that Dad is not necessarily the breadwinner - and certainly not the sole breadwinner - is a huge factor in the family decision-making.

I do question whether football is that much more inconvenient than, in our travel teams in soccer and baseball and, in your case, ice hockey.

And based on all the yuppies I see on Saturday mornings watching adoringly as their precious little ones play soccer, I have to say that there’s something more at work.

I think it’s that football is just too damn tough for kids;  and fathers - if they’re around - aren’t tough enough to tell the kids to get off their asses.  The kids have ruled the roost for so long that there’s no chance that Dad can tell them what to do.  He missed the bus years ago.

Your idea of selling football as a way of making a son a better man is excellent.  What’s sad to me is that your goals, as admirable as they are, are not as important as they ought to be to a large number of people who are so benumbed by drugs and alcohol and handouts that they have no effective relationship with their kids.

But I don’t want to be totally negative, and I do think what you are doing is admirable.


*********** The Double Wing/Open Wing community will be well represented at the Pop Warner national championships this Saturday.

Two Philly teams, the North Philly Aztecs and the Northwest Raiders,  will be playing.  Both run a variety of things from a variety of rotations, but both, at their core, are Double Wingers, and I know from personal dealings with them that both coaching staffs are really on top of the game.

And - it never hurts - they have some amazingly talented kids. The Raiders have a fleet of runners that most of us would die for, and an Aztec player made an interception - okay, although I hate to say it, a “pick six” - that any pro or college player would be proud of, getting the ball at the high point in a way that’s hard to teach.

At 10 AM (Eastern) the Aztecs will meet the North Raleigh Bulldogs in the Junior Varsity National Championship. The Aztecs defeated the Goulds, Florida Rams 42-8 in their semifinal game and the North Raleigh Bulldogs were 25-0 winners in their semifinal over the Dorchester, Massachusetts Eagles.   I have known Coach Greg Bonner for quite some time and I admire the stuff that he does.

And at 5:15 PM  (Eastern) In the Varsity championship,  the  Raiders will be going for their fourth straight Pop Warner championship (and their 57th win in a row) when they meet the Pompano Beach Chiefs. The Raiders won their semifinal game 34-6 over the Ramapo-Spring Valley NY Hornets, and the Chiefs  earned their way in with  a 37-8  win over the Hartford (Connecticut) Chiefs.

As a Philly guy and a Double Winger, too, I wish those two teams, the North Philly Aztecs and the Northwest Raiders,  all the best.

***********  Over the years I’ve spoken to a number of guys who’ve been successful at smaller high schools, and as a result of their success they’ve had opportunities to move to larger schools.

Some have moved on, and others have stayed where they were.

Almost without exception, those who decided to stay where they were have had no regrets.

I’ve talked it over with them, and the conclusion they invariably came to, once they wiped the stars out of their eyes and once they forgot about the bigger headlines that the bigger school gets, is that a bigger school doesn’t necessarily mean a better job.

There may be more money at the bigger school, but not necessarily.  In Washington, for example, teacher’s pay is based on a statewide salary schedule.  Big or small, rural or urban, the pay is the same.  Teacher’s pay in a rural town 100 miles from the nearest  interstate is the same as in Seattle.  And while there may be some difference in the coaching stipend, ranging from roughly $4000 at the lower end to $9000 at the top, the coaches at the bigger schools more than earn the higher sum.

But money aside…

It’s reasonable to assume that if they’ve been successful someplace, they’re appreciated by the majority of people there.  (If not, I would ask them, then why are we talking?  If you’re not appreciated, why are you even thinking about staying?)

Along with appreciation goes “buy-in”: they’ve already got it where they are.  At any new school, they’re going to have to go through the process all over again, and at a bigger school they’ve got more and varied people to win over.

At a smaller school, the chain of command and the lines of communication are trim; at the bigger school, not only are there likely to be more levels of administration, but there is a strong possibility that it will be just one of several schools in a larger district, which means there is a bureaucracy to deal with.

I was a head coach at a reasonably large school, one of three high schools in its district, and while my experience overall was a good one, the school district seemed more interested in moving administrators around than in running school smoothly: in my eight years there, I went through three ADs and three principals. At another large school in a big-city district, I coached for three years  - one year as head coach - and never saw the principal. I wouldn’t know her if she were to knock on my door.

At a small school, a guy can do the things that he wants to do, the way he wants to do them. People already accept that he’s in charge and it’s his program.    At the bigger school, even the slightest decision can affect a number of people, and there’s no guarantee they’ll all be supportive.

More kids, very simply, means more potential headaches.  Every personnel problem the head coach has  to deal with is time away from  focus on football, time away from classroom preparation, time away from family.

Similarly, a bigger school, with its bigger coaching staff, means more potential problems: hiring, training, supervising and evaluating, and, unfortunately, firing.  Until a coach can build his own staff of trusted and trusting individuals, a process that can take years, there can be a lot of dealing with issues such egos, disloyalty and selfishness.

The scales finally dropped off my eyes when I finally realized that it didn’t matter how big the arena was.  That happened  when I heard the late, great Frosty Westering speak. Frosty was a highly successful coach at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma.  His philosophy, which he preached - and lived - was “Make the Big time Where You Are.”

Once I recognized the wisdom in what he had to say,  and how it applied to me and my situation, I put aside the notion of doing my present job as well as I could in the hope of getting a bigger, better job - and I began instead to concentrate on doing it as well as I could,  because I was already in the “big time.”


10th mountain*********** The all-white uniforms Army will be wearing against Navy Saturday are intended to be a tribute to the storied 10th Mountain Division (motto: “Climb to Glory”).  I’m not usually much for departing from a team’s traditional uniform, whatever the reason, but (1) The 10th Mountain Division’s story is really cool, and (2) at least it’s not camouflage


https://www.climbtoglory.football/?utm_source=pacmail&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=FB17%20-%20Uniforms%20-%20DEC4&utm_content=microsite

http://www.skinet.com/warrenmiller/causes/climb-to-glory-legacy-of-the-10th-mountain-ski-troopers


*********** Since college football can always use more money, it will should come as good news that Oregon has just signed an $88 million, 11-year contract with, of all people, Nike. (Nike’s founder, Phil Knight, is a former Oregon athlete.)

The deal will provide a minimum of $2 million cash and $5 million in shoes and apparel every year, increasing each year.

Oh - and there will be “performance bonuses” for the football team.

Not that the opposition has been asleep: year and a half ago, UCLA entered into a deal of its own with Under Armour, an arrangement that provides the school with $18.6 million in cash and apparel every year for 15 years.

So as my friend John Torres noted, the Bruins were able to pay Jim Mora $12 million to go away and still pay Chip Kelly a king’s ransom.


***********  Hugh,

Agreed, the championship games (with the exception of the UCF-Memphis game) were truly anti-climatic.

I was right about the USC-Stanford game.  USC fans were there.  Stanford fans were out to dinner.

Boise State may want to buy stock in the computers that kept them home against Fresno State part 2. 

I'm with you.  Enough of this SEC nonsense.  Your idea of the Big 10 and Pac 12 is great! 

Coach Fullmer may be a lot of things but dumb isn't one of them.  I just heard he's been in touch with none other than...Les Miles.

My sweep...the Reach Sweep (the very same one you see Army and Navy run nowadays) has made my power and counter even more effective in my offense.  A big reason why when the defense is expecting sweep I don't make a dumbass call and run it.

Speaking of Army-Navy...this year's edition should be a barn-burner.  Can't wait! 

I wonder if anyone in the marketing world of the academies has ever thought about running a TV commercial with a clip of Mike Viti, and then a clip of Colin Kaepernick, and ask the question..."Courage...You Decide".

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


Army-Navy ought to be good.  The big factor is that Navy is used to winning it and Army isn’t - yet.

Vitit and Kaepernick - Some comparison.

I just wish Mike Viti (Black Lion Award winner - ahem) could have played in today’s Army triple option offense.  He’d have been a killer wishbone fullback.  Now, he coaches them, and he’s doing a hell of a job.



***********  To be honest, I didn’t think any coach in the Pac 12 did an especially remarkable job this year,  but they had to give the Coach of the Year award to someone and I don’t have any strong objections to their choice of Stanford’s David Shaw.

I could make a case for Cal’s Justin Wilcox, simply because the Cal program he and his staff inherited was so bad.

Anyhow, I got a good laugh out of the way the AP story reported Shaw’s selection:

“Shaw helped the Cardinal bounce back from a 1-2 start to clinch the PAC 12 North.”

Read that again, please, and then tell me:  Who the hell was the coach that got them into that 1-2 spot in the first place?


*********** Be sure to call me on my 900 number and I’ll tell you the winners of all the bowl games and for a small extra charge I’ll tell you the winner of The Playoff.

Full disclosure: ON AUGUST 18, I MADE THESE PREDICTIONS…

* Ezekiel Elliott will not miss a single game;

* Ezekiel Elliott will sue the Commissioner, and win - big;

* Roger Goodell will within a year  be known as “the former NFL commissioner.”


*********** Stewart Mandel in The Athletic, on Herm Edwards’ hire (by his former agent)…

I’ve only ever given one school an “F” in my coaching hire grades. That was Kansas when it hired Charlie Weis. ASU will be the second.


***********  An interesting observation in the Eugene Register-Guard: Oregon and Florida State have made two outside hires in 83 combined seasons, and both were Willie Taggart

As readers here may recall, even before he appeared on Oregon’s radar, I thought Willie Taggart would be a good hire.

I had no idea how opportunistic and ambitious he was, but it’s the job of an AD to find these things out.

I also had no idea that Oregon would roll over and give him such an easy contract to get out of.  That’s on the AD, too.

Everybody wanted to talk to Matt Campbell,  at Iowa State, but the Cyclones were astute enough to put a rather large buyout clause in his contract.  Oregon let Taggart go with the coaching-compensation  equivalent of two-weeks’ notice.  

That same AD will probably screw this hire up, too.

Sadly, Oregon, long a model of coaching staff stability, looks like the last one standing in the game of musical chairs.


*********** Just when you’re ready to resign yourself to the fact that pro football is a cold business, with no room for sentimentality, the New York Giants go and bench Eli Manning, and the fan eruption is so great that it finally costs the head coach his job.  The GM’s head rolls, too.

See,  what the marketing geniuses of the NFL seem not able to understand is that a lot of the "business" of
football IS sentimentality.  It’s a major part of what they sell. Unless a team is really hot, there’s always  talk among its fans about the good old days, and - among Giants’ fans at least - faith that if they keep coming back for more, the glory days will return.

Eli Manning has remained as one tangible link to those past glory days, and  to the fans, sitting him down was the equivalent of going to the store and learning that they don’t carry your favorite brand of coffee any more -  or having Coca-Cola tell us that we’re going to have to like  New Coke.

They probably rationalized  benching Eli as a business move, and it was.  A dumbs— business move.

PAPPY LEWIS*********** QUIZ ANSWER  - “The Los Angeles Rams selected 30-year-old Sean McVay, as their head coach, making him the youngest head coach in modern league history.”

So went the stories last January. 

But just make sure, when you talk about McVay as being the youngest NFL head coach, that you leave that “modern” in there, because in 1938, four games into the season, Art “Pappy” Lewis was named head coach of the Cleveland Rams at the tender age of 27. He remains the youngest head coach in NFL history.

He was a native of Middleport, Ohio, but after high school he didn’t start college right away, and as a 21-year-old freshman he was given  the nickname “Pappy,” and it stayed with him the rest of his life.

He was a Little All-American at Ohio U, and in 1935 he was the New York Giants’ first-ever first-round selection.

He spent a year as an assistant coach at Ohio Wesleyan, then joined the Cleveland Rams, where he played two seasons in addition to serving as head coach for part of a season.

From 1942 through 1945 he served in the Navy, and after discharge became head coach at Washington and Lee.  After three seasons there, he left to become line coach at Mississippi State.

In 1950 he became head coach at West Virginia, and  in ten years there he would win 58 games, lose 38 and tie 2.  For 28 years, until Don Nehlen won his 59th game in 1988, he was the winningest coach in WVU history.

He liked his players big and tough.  He conditioned them hard and he believed in being sound fundamentally.

And he could recruit.  A writer from Saturday Evening Post once spent a week with him recruiting and wrote afterward, ”With a safety lamp on his cap, he'll go into the belly of a mine to talk to a coal-digging father about a football son. He'll drink straight vodka with an immigrant mother, go trout fishing at dawn with a boy who loves the rod, or seek out a prospect deep in the back woods where modern transportation couldn't budge. It's not for nothing that Lewis is referred to in some quarters as `America's No. 1 football recruiter.’"

From 1952 through 1955 Pappy Lewis’ teams went 31-7.  His 1952 team went 7-2, defeating nationally-ranked South Carolina and Pitt. The win over Pitt was the school’s first-ever win over a ranked opponent.  His 1953 team went 8-1, and earned a spot in the Sugar Bowl against Georgia Tech, its first-ever bowl appearance.  The highlight of the season was a 19-14 win over a Penn State team that featured future All-Pros Rosey Grier and Lenny Moore. In 1954 they went 8-1 but missed out on a bowl berth, and in 1955 they went 8-2 again, and again missed a bowl invite.

In the six-year stretch from 1952 through 1957 his teams went 44-13-1.

Unfortunately, he went 4-5-1 in 1958 and 3-7 in 1959 and he was fired. Or resigned.  Take your pick.  You know how that goes.

He took a job as a scout with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but in less than two years  he was dead of a heart attack.  Pappy Lewis was just 51 years old.

Several of his players went on to solid professional careers:

Bruce Bosley made the Pro Bowl four times as an offensive lineman with the 49ers. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame;

Chuck Howley was five times named All-Pro as an outside linebacker for the Cowboys and is a member of their Ring of Honor.  He was MVP of Super Bowl V;

Sam Huff was one of the first of the NFL’s famed middle linebackers. He was a 6-time Pro Bowler and is a member of the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame;

Larry Krutko played four seasons as a running back for the Steelers;

Joe Marconi played 11 years in the NFL as a fullback, six for the Rams and five for the Bears;

Fred Wyant didn’t have much of a pro playing career - he played just one season with the Washington Redskins and one season in Canada - but he would later spend 24 years as an NFL referee. A QB at WVU, he graduated with a degree in chemical engineering.

 
CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING PAPPY LEWIS
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED WAS THERE WHEN WEST VIRGINIA PLAYED AT PITT
https://www.si.com/vault/1955/11/21/598533/a-mountaineer-dream-is-over

QB FRED WYANT REMEMBERS PAPPY LEWIS
http://www.register-herald.com/mickeyfurfari/fred-wyant-talks-about-pappy-lewis-and-other-items-of/article_f0d72133-0abd-5509-a3dd-fcb746f364c0.html

PAPPY LEWIS' SON, CAM, DIED RECENTLY.  HE WAS A HIGHLY-RESPECTED ATTORNEY IN COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA, AND BEFORE THAT HE WAS A PRETTY GOOD COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYER AT ARMY.  HOW HE BECAME A LAWYER IN SOUTH CAROLINA IS A STORY IN ITSELF.

http://www.timeswv.com/sports/pappy-lewis-son-cam-has-had-great-careers/article_e9f8babc-44e9-11e4-b5ae-4f3d22453df0.html

http://www.thestate.com/news/local/crime/article186689143.html


*********** QUIZ - A native Kentuckian, he succeeded two of the greatest coaching  legends in the game.   He is the last coach to leave Kentucky with a winning record - it was 36 years ago - and he is the last coach to win an NFL title in a city that hasn’t won one in 33 years.

During World War II he met a well-known college coach who was coaching a service team, and after the war, that coach hired him as an assistant on a new AAFC team to be named for the coach.  After assisting on that team for seven seasons, during which time the team won five league championships,  he left to take the head coaching job at his home state university.

At Kentucky, he was SEC Coach of the Year in 1954, and even more impressive - he was 5-2-1 against Tennessee.  (His predecessor, a fellow named Bear Bryant, could do no better than 1-5-2 against the Vols.)

He could recognize - and assemble - great coaching talent.  There is a photo that I’ve been trying to locate of the 1959 Kentucky coaching staff, on which are eight coaches who would go on to coach in the NFL, and four (besides him) who would become NFL head coaches: Howard Schnellenberger,  John North, Bill Arnsparger and Don Shula.  A fifth, Chuck Knox, would join his staff two years later, and isn’t in the photo.

He was fired by Kentucky after the 1961 season.  Big mistake,  Wildcats.  He was 41-36-3.  In the 36 seasons since then, Kentucky has had no fewer than 10 coaches, including the present one, Mark Stoops, but none has left UK with a winning record.

(Stoops, just wrapping up his fifth year, had better get busy: he’s now 26-35, and  it’s going to take a combination of booster patience and a string of 8-win seasons to get him above the .500 mark - if he hasn’t already left  for a bigger job.)

After being fired by Kentucky, he was hired back by the head coach of the pro team, and when a new owner fired the head coach, he offered the job to our guy, who only took the job with blessing of the deposed head coach.

It’s never easy to succeed a legend, but in 1964, in the days before there were Super Bowls, he took his team to the last NFL title ever won in that city.

Said the great Jim Brown, who played under him, ” I was prepared for his football genius……but I wasn’t prepared for his humanity.”


american flagTUESDAY,  DECEMBER 5,  2017  - “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Thomas Edison

*********** "December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy..."


*********** I watched Hockinson High, coached by one of my former players and assistants, Rick Steele, win the Washington  Class 2A title, 35-22 over Tumwater.

Streamed on the NFHS network, it was a very cheesy production.  Every time Tumwater would run a buck sweep from its Wing-T/shotgun offense, the announcer would call it an “end-around.”  Fool probably never saw a real end-around in his life.
 
The color guy seemed to either love the word “ensuing” or think that  “ensuing kickoff” is actually the name of the play.  And easterners like my wife and me will NEVER get used to hearing “Hockinson Hawks” pronounced “Hockinson Hocks.”

Hockinson threw on almost every play. Tumwater mostly ran, and didn’t throw especially well. I almost punched my computer when the color guy asked, “If you’re a quarterback, do you even WANT to play at Tumwater?” Grrr.

I do have to admit that while I had a rooting interest, to an old-school guy like me, the football was bo-o-o-o-ring.

To give you an idea, the Hockinson offense went something like this: pass-pass-pass-pass-QB run-pass-pass-pass-pass-pass-QB run-pass-pass-pass-pass-pass-pass-QB run…

If you're like me and you like running, you get the point:  7-on-7 has its place, but it’s in the summer, before they put the pads on.

True, Hockinson wound up with 121 yards rushing, but the figure is deceptive : the QB ran for 65 of those yards, and they picked up another 48 yards on one play - a reverse.

But that's me.  And all that aside, my congratulations to Rick, his staff and kids on a great game, on both sides of the ball.


*********** Good Afternoon Coach!

I've been reading a lot about the double wing, and I saw you were a traditional wing-t guy prior to running the double wing. One of the things I've learned about the Wing T is that they really base everyone thing on "series" of plays, which is what can make buck sweep look like cut trap look like waggle.

Have you done similar things with the double wing? I'm trying to build our playbook and I want to try to teach most of the plays as a series so the kids can understand our play calling and we can start to let our QB go into the huddle with 2 or 3 plays (we are a high school team) and then have him make a decision at the LoS or even run a series of consecutive plays.


Thanks in advance,

Coach,

I do think in terms of series, just as I did with the Wing-T.   I want to have a number of plays that after the snap look the same as long as possible.

Using generic terms, since I don’t know whether using my terms would confuse you:

One very simple series, not employing motion, is Super Power/Super X/Super Criss-Cross/Roll-out/Wedge

Wedge for me is a stand-alone play, but all the others look the same for the first several steps of the QB.

Another, now using motion, is Reach Sweep/G/Counter/Trap/Tackle Trap/Roll-out/Bootleg

Similarly, those plays all look alike for the first several steps of the QB.

Rather than teach my kids to think in terms of series or anything like that, I leave that up to me and I put their assignments on the wrist coaches which I issue them.

It’s a lot easier to teach assignments with reminders on the wrists than it is to expect kids to remember them.

Hope I haven’t confused you!


*********** I was sorry that Scott Frost had to leave Central Florida, but excited by the job he did and happy for his opportunity to coach Nebraska.

I had to agree with him that it’s a damn shame that things have to happen so fast that he almost had to be rude in refusing to talk to an interviewer about his job prospects, telling him that all he wanted to do was “celebrate with my team.”

The game between UCF and Memphis was as exciting as a football game could get.  Of course the NFL could never provide us with that kind of entertainment, but neither could most of the schools in Power 5 conferences.

One of the things that made UCF football so great: they tried just 12 field goals all season!

*********** With the exception of that fantastic 62-55 America Athletic Conference game, I was disappointed by the conference championship games.

Oklahoma-TCU? meh.

Clemson-Miami?  Pass the remote.

Ohio State-Wisconsin? Where’s the drama?

USC-Stanford?   How come they closed off the entire upper deck of the stadium?  What did they think it was, a 49ers game?

Georgia-Auburn? Auburn-Alabama was a lot better.

Maybe the sense of let-down that I felt was due to the great drama of the previous week’s games, so many of them between ancient rivals.

Maybe it’s because it all seems so contrived, just a mean-nothing way of extracting more money from the TV people.

And maybe it’s because the so-called Playoff has made these games less than meaningful.

I mean, yeah, if TCU had won, they’d be - sort of - the Big 12 champions.  But they wouldn’t have been in the playoff.  By defeating favored Oklahoma, they’d have cost their own conference a spot in the Playoff - and the money that goes with it.

You doubt me?  Ohio State beat Wisconsin, and in terms of the Playoff it didn’t do the Buckeyes a bit of good.  What it did do was cost the Big Ten - and all its members - a share of the Playoff money.

Could Miami have earned a spot with a win over Clemson?  Doubtful.

Is it possible that Auburn could have beaten Georgia and, with its two wins, been kept out of the Playoff?  (Can you imagine the howls if Alabama had been jumped over Auburn?)

*********** This “Doctor Pepper Challenge” - trying to see who can “throw” the most footballs into a hole in a giant Dr. Pepper can at halftime of conference championship games - has become such a farce, with the contestants using two-handed chest passes, that I really laughed when Wisconsin QB Alex Hornibook, under duress, got off a desperation chest pass and the play-by-play guy called it a “Doctor Pepper pass.”

*********** I can understand a conference commissioner going in on a 4-team playoff deal with four other conferences, knowing full well that with just four spots - and five conferences - there would be years when his conference would be left out.

But I can’t understand how anyone charged with looking out for the best interests of his conference’s teams can stand by while one conference gets TWO teams in the so-called “Playoff” and TWO conferences go unrepresented.

The argument is that the job of the Playoff committee is to find the best four teams.  But the point of the Playoff in the first place - besides making obscene amounts of money - was to eliminate as much as possible the sort of subjective evaluations that polls, whether by sports writers or coaches, represent.

Who is to say that Alabama…
which had one tough team on its schedule - and lost to it…

which played seven of its 12 games at home…

which played a warmup game against MERCER(!) not in the first or second week of the season, but in the 11th week…

which sat home while its conference championship was being played by one team that had beaten it and another than it hadn’t played at all…

Is a better team than Ohio State? I'm no big fan of the Buckeyes, but...

They made it to their conference championship game, where they beat an undefeated Wisconsin team.

In the space of four weeks, they played three ranked teams: Penn State, Michigan State and Michigan.  Alabama doesn’t have a single win that measures up to any of them.

They played a much tougher schedule than Alabama, and they paid for it, because unfortunately, in that four-week span they also lost - big - to Iowa.

And that Iowa loss is cited as the main reason why Ohio State missed out.

No, Alabama doesn’t have a bad loss.  Auburn proved that it was a very good team.  But neither does Alabama have a good win.

It’s impossible to escape the conclusion that no matter what Ohio State did in the Big Ten championship game, a win over Wisconsin would open the way for Alabama.

Of course Alabama is good.  That’s not in dispute.  Maybe they really are better than any other team in the country.  But that’s opinion. When it was on the line, they came up short.  They had to beat Auburn, and they didn’t.  Ohio State had to beat Wisconsin and they did.  Isn’t that the way a playoff is supposed to work?

It’s like celebrities who are famous for being famous:  Alabama’s good because they’re good, and everyone accepts it unquestioningly.

*********** If I were Commissioner of the Big Ten … I’d be on the phone to my counterpart in the Pac-12.  ASAP.

We’d exchange a few pleasantries, and then I’d get down to business: how the hell do we get out of this Playoff bulls— and get back to the good old days when our conference champions played in the Rose Bowl?

Mock you may, you other conferences, but without the Big Ten and the Pac 12, your “Playoff” is a joke.  Let’s see how the ACC and the Big 12 enjoy fighting it out for the last bone on the floor, after the Big-Dog SEC takes up its three places.

Meantime, there’s real power, and we’ve got it: we’ve got four of the top five TV markets - New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia. We’ve got  six of the top ten, and 16 of the top 25.  That’s eyeballs, guys.

You can talk all you like about Alabama and Auburn and Texas A & M and Clemson and blah, blah, blah but the fact is that TV calls the shots, and it’s been said more than once that the TV people don’t care about fans in the seats: they only care about eyeballs on the screen.  That’s what they pay the big money for.

While we’re at it, let’s merge our conferences into one giant conference, with Pac-12 and Big Ten divisions.  No need to play anybody on the outside. And then let’s invite a few other schools to join us.  Texas and Oklahoma come immediately to mind. Maybe Houston.  They would bring in the Dallas-Fort Worth (#5) and Houston (#10) TV markets. Maybe Central Florida and South Florida. That brings in Tampa-St. Pete (#13) and Orlando (#19). Maybe BYU, because it's a national brand. I’d give Notre Dame a take-it-or-leave-it, one-time-only invitation. Let’s see them try that independent, own-your-own-network crap while they try to put a schedule together.

We’d shoot for 32 teams, 16 in each division, with an NFL-type playoff. 

Maybe someday, Alabama and what’s left of the Old Power 5 would be interested in meeting our champion in a Super Bowl, but we’re in no hurry.

The details still have to be worked out, but I’ll leave that up to my people.  That’s why I pay them the big bucks.

*********** What really sucks about the Playoffs is the way, every couple of years, like cowbirds laying their eggs in another bird’s nest, they take “our” Rose Bowl - the one that for generations was the ultimate goal of Pacific Coast and Big Ten teams - and sully it with teams and fans who have no sense of its tradition and what it means to play in it.


*********** Butch Jones had a bad year at Tennessee, so bad that it got him fired -  4-8 overall, 0-8 in the SEC, with losses to Kentucky and Vanderbilt, teams that in the past  had “W” printed next to them on Tennessee schedules before the season even began.

But before throwing Butch Jones on the trash heap, consider - in 2015, the Vols were 9-4.  The losses were to Oklahoma by seven points,  to Florida by one, to Arkansas by four and to Alabama by five.  And the Vols beat Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl.

If Butch Jones made any mistake,  that was it - deluding the Tennessee faithful into thinking that they were one step away from being back on top.

The Vols went 9-4 in 2016, too, but it wasn’t the same.

They opened the season with a narrow win over Appalachian State.   In overtime.  And they had close losses to Texas A & M (overtime) and South Carolina (3 points). But they were blown out by Alabama, 49-10, and - omigod - Vanderbilt, 45-34.  And although they won nine games, including a bowl game,  Vols’ fans could read the tea leaves.  This wasn’t a 9-4 team headed to the top; this was a 9-4 team already on the way back down.

And that’s why this past season,  short of earning a spot in the SEC title game, Butch Jones was a dead man walking.

***********  Just last Thursday the Tennessee AD was having lunch in LA with Mike Leach.

By the next day, the Tennessee AD was the ex-Tennessee AD.

The new Tennessee AD?

Why, former Tennessee coach Phil Fulmer.

How’d he get the job?  Well, he does have a following in Knoxville.   And he’s said to have been lobbying for the AD job for some time. Quite some time.  And while he’s never been an AD, since July he’s held a nice sinecure as “special advisor” to the President of the University.  And if it’s true, as some say, that he was meddling in the former AD’s attempts to find a new coach, you could call that a form of on-the-job experience.

By the time you read this. may have found a new coach. But maybe not.

One problem is, Tennessee isn’t the job it was when Phil Fulmer last coached - 2008. 

A major cause of that problem, in my opinion,  is that in replacing Fulmer they sold themselves short.  Instead of hiring the best person possible, as the Tennessee of that time was in a position to do,  they puzzlingly hired Lane Kiffin -  and it’s all been downhill since.

But it’s a problem, because today’s high school kids, who live in the moment, don’t know of a time when Tennessee was a football power.  The Vols haven’t won 10 games in a season since 2007, when today’s high school seniors were in second grade. And even then, LSU, Florida and Georgia finished ahead of them in the rankings.

In the meantime, changes have taken place elsewhere in the SEC East, none of them good for Tennessee.

Georgia is set for a while, having just won the SEC title with a freshman at quarterback.

Florida has a new coach with solid SEC experience, and it won’t be long before the Gators are strong again.

South Carolina is building.  So, surprisingly, is Kentucky.

That leaves Vanderbilt, which will always suffer because of its quaint insistence that its athletes read and write and go to class.

Oh - and Tennessee.

The legendary Johnny Majors is said to believe that Fulmer overthrew him when Majors was the Vols’ head coach and Fulmer, his offensive line coach, served as interim head coach during Majors’  recovery from heart surgery.

If that’s true, it ought to be enough to make you wonder if that’s the kind of AD you want to work for.

*********** Why hasn’t Les Miles been hired?

What do people have against him?

How about 141-55 at Oklahoma State (28-21) and LSU (114-34)?

How about a winning percentage at LSU of .770?

How about a national title (2007) and a national runner-up (2011)?

How about 11 bowls in 11 seasons at LSU, winning seven of them?

How about five top-ten finishes?  Nine top-25 finishes?

Okay, okay.  Enough, already.

Let’s just put it this way: among all the guys who’ve been hired in this year’s coaching go-round, only Jimbo Fisher can touch his record.

By all accounts he’s a good family man with not a hint of scandal to him.

So what do people have against him?

*********** I’ve always told my guys that if we executed our offense, only three things could stop us: turnovers, stupid penalties, and dumbass calls.  You take care of the first two, I’d tell them, and I’ll take care of the third.

That brings me to Jim Sweeney. Great coach.  Many years ago, I heard him tell a clinic, “The sweep is the worst play in football.” He added, though, that you had to have a sweep because you had to force defenses to prepare for  it, and because it would set up play-action passes and bootlegs.”

I think of Jim Sweeney when I see a team kill its own drive by running a sweep when it’s just not a good call.

A sweep is simply not an “anytime” play - a staple play, something you can run at any time, against any defense.  A sweep is akin to a counter play,  something you run to counteract what a defense is doing to stop your staples.

But I constantly see people reach into their grab-bag and for no good reason call a sweep - and it’s tackled for a loss. End of drive.

There was USC in its opening drive Friday night against Stanford.  The Trojans were moving the ball so well it was frightening when suddenly, out of nowhere came a jet sweep -  Stanford was ready, and the Trojans lost five yards on the play. In the simplest of terms, the sweep wasn’t there.  There was no good reason to call it when the other stuff was working.

Now, the Trojans found themselves looking at second and 15.  (If you’re a Double Wing team, getting off-schedule like that is often a drive-killer.)

They threw incomplete on second  down, and on third-and-15, they again threw incomplete.

Result? They had to settle for a field goal instead of a touchdown. All because of one dumbass call.

*********** Thanks to Brian Mackell, of Baltimore, for letting me know that the Northwest Raiders were on ESPN3 Sunday, playing in the Pop Warner national playoffs in Orlando.

The Raiders are from my old stomping grounds, the Germantown section of Philly - the Northwest part of town.

They are really good. They have won 56 straight games, and three straight Pop Warner National Championships in the D-1 “varsity” - 12-15 age group.

Sunday, in the quarterfinals of the playoffs, they made short work of the Colts from Harvey, Illinois, a Southside suburb of Chicago. The Colts obviously were a good team or they wouldn’t have been in Orlando, but they were no match for the Raiders.

The Raiders have some incredible talent and they are very well coached.  They ran some Double Wing and some open wing and a few of their own variations of both and built a 24-0 halftime lead. They have some running backs with speed and moves that I’d love to have on my team, and they have a quarterback who can run and pass quite well, but mainly does an exceptional job of running the offense.

I should add that the Raiders ran a very nice 5-3 also.

By late in the 3rd quarter they’d increased their lead to 30-0, and in Pop Warner ball a 28-point lead means a running clock.

The Raiders relaxed a bit from that point, and Harvey did manage to score, but this one was never in doubt.

On Wednesday at 3:15 PM Eastern, the Raiders play the Ramapo-Springs Hornets, from Spring Valley, New York in a semifinal game, and, should they prevail, they will play in the final - the Super Bowl on Saturday at 5:15 PM Eastern.  Both games will be on ESPN3.

I couldn’t let this go without a plug: Raiders’ coach Donte Riley, wrote me a month or so ago to say, “open wing has done wonders for us this year with my Varsity Pop Warner team....we're on our way to our 4th straight Pop Warner national championship using your DW and Open Wing.”


*********** For a lousy $9.95 for a month I’m able to watch all sorts of playoffs from any number of states through the NFHS site. (If only the day was 48 hours long I could watch them all.)

In addition to a Washington playoff game, I caught the Maryland championship game between Fort Hill of Cumberland and Dunbar of Baltimore. 

Of course I rooted for Fort Hill - Cumberland is in Western Maryland, about an hour west of Hagerstown, where I first coached, and it’s a great football town.  Cumberland is a good sports town, and Fort Hill has a great football tradition. It’s got a neat old hilltop stadium, and the team enters the field by descending a long flight of steps from the school down to the field.  The Fort Hill Sentinels were going for their third straight state title.

Dunbar is the classic inner-city school.  I remember it from my days in Baltimore as a basketball powerhouse, but I’ve been gone so long that I didn’t realize that it spends as much time in the playoffs as Fort Hill.

Fort Hill, almost entirely white, ran the Wing-T.  Dunbar, entirely black,  ran a spread. Fort Hill controlled the ball; Dunbar scored on big plays.

It was a great game and Dunbar prevailed, 30-26.


*********** I’m trying to think of a bigger a$$hole than Marcus Peters and I can’t for the life of me come up with one.

He was so good that he was projected to be a first round draft choice, but so big an a$$hole that Coach Chris Peterson at Washington finally had enough and kicked him off the team.

How big? F—ker hasn’t stood for the national anthem all season.

How big? F—ker threw a tantrum Sunday (I had to read about it - the things you miss when you don’t watch much NFL) and threw an official’s flag into the stands.  Then, apparently assuming that he’d be ejected for it, walked off the field, only to be called back from the locker room.  When he returned, he had nothing but bare feet inside his shoes - no tape, so stockings, no socks.

The big question - who was the dumbass who told him to come back on the field?

They have guys like this on their team and they wonder why the Chiefs have been folding?

https://sports.yahoo.com/marcus-peters-throws-officials-flag-stands-walks-off-field-come-back-213327951.html


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

You may not want to take any credit for the success of those two men you mentored, but they had to learn what they know from someone! 

My former Offensive Coordinator is a Nebraska guy through and through.  Graduated from NU, and as big a Big Red fan as you'll ever see.  He longs for the good ol' days and is openly campaigning to Bill Moos for Scott Frost's return!  He's one of many doing the same.

I give Herm Edwards 2...maybe 3...years.

Jonathan Smith will do a fine job at Oregon State.

Tennessee is a hot mess.  They may not ever find another head football coach.

Championship Week:

SEC - Edge to Auburn in probably one of the two best games of the year.

BIG 10 - Edge to Wisconsin if they can get a cameraman on the OSU sideline.

BIG 12 - Edge to Oklahoma but Gary Patterson's defense will keep it close this time.

ACC - Edge to Clemson with the game in Charlotte.

PAC 12 - Edge to USC.  The game is in Santa Clara and USC fans will be there, but Stanford's fans may be at dinner.

MWC - Edge to Boise State because it never snows in Fresno.

C-USA - Edge to North Texas State because they won't want to play a bowl game in Boise.

AAC - Edge to UCF as the Golden Knights say good-bye to their head coach.

MAC - Edge to Toledo since it is closer to Detroit.

And finally...although it is not this Saturday...ARMY over NAVY in the other best game of the year.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas



*********** QUIZ  ANSWER A native of Altoona, Pennsylvania, Mike Reid was team captain both his junior and senior years at Penn State, when the Lions went 22-0.

He was a unanimous All-America selection as a defensive tackle.

He won the Maxwell Award and finished fifth in the voting for the Heisman Trophy In his sophomore year, he won the Eastern heavyweight wrestling championship.

He was a first-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals, and in his rookie year,  the Bengals won the AFC Central Division, and he recorded 12 sacks. (Sacks were not yet an official stat, but the Bengals kept records of them.)

He was All-AFC his rookie year, and in his second year, again with 12 sacks, he was All-AFC and All-Pro. In his third year, he recorded 13 sacks, was again named All-Pro, and for the third straight year was named All-AFC. In his fourth year was slowed by injuries and his sack output declined.  He was still good enough to make All-AFC, but he retired after the season.

In his brief pro football career, he made the Pro Bowl twice.

And then he embarked on his real career - music.

Mike Reid majored in music at Penn State,  and was trained as a classical pianist.  While still playing football with the Bengals he’d played with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, with the Utah Symphony Orchestra, and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

After retirement he formed a band and began playing in the Cincinnati area, then left the band to perform on his own and to write music. In 1978, Country singer Jerry Jeff Walker was the first to sing one of his songs.

In 1980 he moved to Nashville, and  songs he wrote there were recorded by such famous artists  as Ronnie Milsap, Larry Gatlin, Tanya Tucker and Conway Twitty and the group Alabama.
 
In 1984,  his “Stranger in My House" won him a Grammy Award for Best Country Song.

In 1990 he sang his own Number One Country song, “Walk on Faith.”

Between 1980 and 2000, he wrote twelve Number One singles.  In all, he has written more than 30 Top-10 Country and Pop songs.

In 2005, he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

In 1987 he was  elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.  In 1995, he received the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award.  In 2017, he was named to the Bengals' 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.

https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=spigot-chr-ffmac&p=walk+on+faith#id=1&vid=ddd9d3d80a949cf86da11cbc42e9c4ba&action=view

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/page/music1502029/mike-reid-nfl-all-pro-turned-country-music-hitmaker

*********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING MIKE REID
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
CHARLIE WILSON - CRYSTAL RIVER, FLORIDA
RODNEY LUNSFORD - DUBLIN, INDIANA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
RALPH BALDUCCI - PORTLAND, OREGON
DAVE POTTER - CARY, NORTH CAROLINA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA

***********  That piano playing defensive line maestro is none other than Mike Reid.  It is because of him I was able to convince the parents of one of my former students in MN to allow him to play football.  He turned out to be one of the best FB/LB kids I have coached, played college football, and continued to write music and play the piano flawlessly.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** Once met him when we lived in Nashville.

Tim Brown
Florence, Alabama

*********** Another Renaissance football man! Not much publicity about his amazing careers...I’m guessing it may poke some holes in football’s enemies’ arguments!

Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

*********** QUIZ - “The Los Angeles Rams selected 30-year-old Sean McVay, as their head coach, making him the youngest head coach in modern league history.”

So went the stories last January. 

But just make sure, when you talk about McVay as being the youngest NFL head coach, that you leave that “modern” in there, because in 1938, four games into the season, this man was named head coach of the Cleveland Rams at the tender age of 27. He remains the youngest head coach in NFL history.

He was a native of Middleport, Ohio, but didn’t start college right away, and as a 21-year-old freshman he was got the nickname “Pappy,” and it stayed with him the rest of his life.

He was a Little All-American at Ohio U, and in 1935 he was the New York Giants’ first-ever first-round selection.

He spent a year as an assistant coach at Ohio Wesleyan, then joined the Cleveland Rams, where he played two seasons in addition to serving as coach for part of a season.

From 1942 through 1945 he served in the Navy, and after discharge became head coach at Washington and Lee.  After three seasons there, he left to become line coach at Mississippi State, and in 1950 he became head coach at the school where he would become famous.

In ten years there he would win 58 games, lose 38 and tie 2.  For 28 years, until Don Nehlen won his 59th game in 1988, he was the winningest coach in the school’s history.

He liked his players big and tough.  He conditioned them hard and he believed in being sound fundamentally.

And he could recruit.  A writer from Saturday Evening Post spent a week with him recruiting and wrote afterward,

”With a safety lamp on his cap, he'll go into the belly of a mine to talk to a coal-digging father about a football son. He'll drink straight vodka with an immigrant mother, go trout fishing at dawn with a boy who loves the rod, or seek out a prospect deep in the back woods where modern transportation couldn't budge. It's not for nothing that (he) is referred to in some quarters as `America's No. 1 football recruiter.’"

From 1952 through 1955 his teams went 31-7.  His 1952 team went 7-2, defeating nationally-ranked South Carolina and Pitt. The win over Pitt was the school’s first-ever win over a ranked opponent.  His 1953 team went 8-1, and earned a spot in the Sugar Bowl against Pitt, its first-ever bowl appearance.  The highlight of the season was a 19-14 win over a Penn State team that featured future All-Pros Rosey Grier and Lenny Moore. In 1954 they went 8-1 but missed out on a bowl berth, and in 1955 they went 8-2 again.

In the six-year stretch from 1952 through 1957 his teams went 44-13-1.

Unfortunately, he went 4-5-1 in 1958 and 3-7 in 1959 and he was fired. Or resigned.  Take your pick.  You know how that goes.

He took a job as a scout with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but less than two years later he was dead of a heart attack.  He was just 51 years old.

Several of his players went on to solid professional careers:

*Bruce Bosley made the Pro Bowl four times as an offensive lineman with the 49ers; He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame

*Chuck Howley was five times named All-Pro as an outside linebacker for the Cowboys and is a member of their Ring of Honor;  He was MVP of Super Bowl V

*Sam Huff was one of the first of the NFL’s famed middle linebackers. He was a 6-time Pro Bowler and is a member of the College Football hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame

*Larry Krutko played four seasons as a running back for the Steelers

*Joe Marconi played 11 years in the NFL as a fullback, six for the Rams and five for the Bears

*Fred Wyant didn’t have much of a pro playing career - he played just one season with the Washington Redskins and one season in Canada - but he would later spend 24 years as an NFL referee. A QB at WVU, he graduated with a degree in chemical engineering



american flagFRIDAY,  DECEMBER 1,  2017  - “An army is a team. It lives, eats, sleeps, fights as a team.  This individuality stuff is a bunch of bullsh--.”
General George Patton Jr


*********** Last weekend, two Washington high school coaches who once played for  me and coached under me had teams playing in state semifinal games. 

Full disclosure: while they both played for me and  coached under me, I take no credit whatsoever for the success they’ve had at their respective schools.  All I do is look on in admiration at a couple of really good guys - really good family men - who are excellent coaches and have built strong programs.

In Class 1A, John Lambert of La Center had his Wildcats in the semifinals for the second straight year.  They were 9-2 going into the game, the two losses coming in the first two games because  John likes to open the season  against bigger schools.  Unfortunately, in the semifinal game LaCenter  committed some early turnovers and fell behind early to Meridian High, of Bellingham, and lost, 34-14.  The fact that they had to go to triple-overtime to win their quarterfinal game a week earlier might have been a factor, but John would never say so.

Hard to believe that this was John’s 19th year at LaCenter, but he followed me as head coach there in 1999.

In Class 2A, Rick Steele has built a powerhouse at Hockinson, a once-rural-now-suburban school where he started the program from scratch in 2004.  The Hawks went 0-7 that year, but Rick was building well.

Rick  had to take a year’s leave in 2013 because of the demands of his “real” job - he’s a Battalion Chief with the Vancouver Fire Department - but in the four years since his return, the Hawks have been 42-5.

Now, going into the state final game in the Tacoma Dome, they are 13-0.  They’ve scored under 42 points just once this season - they were “held” to 34 points in the quarter-finals.  In Saturday’s semifinal,  they handed previously unbeaten West Valley of Spokane its first loss, 53-20.  Those 53 points were more than the total  West Valley had given up in its previous four games.

In the finals, the Hawks face a perennial state power in Tumwater.  A suburb of Olympia. Tumwater is 11-2 in its first year under coach Bill Beattie, who’s done a great job of succeeding Sid Otton, the winningest coach in Washington history. Coach Otton, a Wing-T man all the way, won 394 games overall, and in 43 years at Tumwater he was 361-112-0, with 26 playoff appearances. Between 1987 and 2010 his Thunderbirds won five state titles,  in three different classifications.


*********** Josh Montgomery, of Berwick, Louisiana, writes

Here's a thought: Is Tennessee now the Nebraska of the SEC?  A once proud program now in shambles due to its inability to recover from letting go of a successful coach who had a couple down years?

Excellent analogy. There are a few others like that, schools that are living in the past. The ridiculous comments by the AD at Arizona State after firing Todd Graham are a good example. Especially when your home state doesn’t produce enough talent and you have to recruit outside your state, the fact that kids in faraway states see you in a different way from the way you see yourself can be fatal.

(New Nebraska AD Bill Moos has his work cut out for him.  He needs a coach, and he needs Scott Frost.

If Nebraska is haunted  by what it did to  Frank Solich, it’s for good reason.   Solich, a former Cornhusker player, had carried on the long, proud line of Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne, but was let go after the 2003 regular season by an overly-ambitious suit of an AD who thought a 10-win season was a fireable offense.

In his six years at Lincoln, Solich  had gone 58-19, and he had the Cornhuskers in bowl games every year.  Five of his teams were ranked in the Top 20, and three of them in the Top 10.

His teams won 12, 11, 10, 9 (twice) and 7 games.  (Actually, his final team won 10 games, but he’s only credited with 9 of those wins, since he was fired before the bowl game - which HIS Nebraska team, under an interim coach,  won.)

After Solich, it would be another six years before Nebraska had its next 10-win season, and it hasn’t had one since 2012.

Since Frank Solich’s dismissal in 2003, the Cornhuskers have finished in the AP Top Twenty just twice, and no higher than 14th place.


*********** Haven't followed the Not Football League since 1999.  Knew they were going to destroy the game as we knew it even back then......just took a couple of decades to come to fruition.

Jerry Lovell
Bellevue, Nebraska
 
It’s become easier to be anti-NFL, but I can recall, many years ago,  being part of a lonely cult of anti-NFL high school football coaches who realized that the emperor wasn’t wearing any clothes.

*********** The word is coming out of Tempe that after Arizona State paid Todd Graham $11 million to go away they're planning to hire … Herm Edwards?

You had to know the Sun Devils AD had something like that in mind when he indicated that the guy they hired would be expected to retain the offensive and defensive coordinators.

Hmmm. Could it be that  he was planning to hire a guy who hasn’t coached since 2008, hasn’t coached in college since 1989, wasn’t a successful NFL head coach,  and has never been a college head coach?  That would be Herm Edwards.

An unsuccessful NFL head coach who’s never been a college head coach, eh? So what,  you say? After all, Pete Carroll was an unsuccessful coach in the NFL and look at what he did at USC.  Oh, wait…  You had to bring up Reggie Bush, didn’t you?  You gotta admit, though, it was a great run until they got caught.

Pete Carroll  notwithstanding, there’s a lot of truth to the old saying that past performance is generally the best predictor of future performance.

So let’s take a look at Herm Edwards’ past performance: he was 39-41 with the Jets and 15-33 with the Chiefs.

His last winning season was 2006.

In his last two seasons as a head coach, he was a combined 6-26.

Recruiting experience?  He hasn’t been a college coach since 1989, when he coached DBs at San Jose State.

Yeah, yeah, I know.  He’s kept his hand in the game by  coaching the Under Armor All-Star Game the past few years.  Wow.  That’s really day-to-day head coaching experience.  With all the players already recruited for you.

But see, that means he can work with today’s young players.  Wow.  Well, guess what?  There are 11 other coaches in the Pac 12, and with the exception of Chip Kelly who’s been in the NFL for a few years, that’s what they’ve been doing for a living.  Every day.

Wait - maybe there’s something else I missed. Oh -  He’s known, so he’s going to be welcomed into the homes of recruits because he’s well known.  Wait till he finds out what a grind recruiting really is.

Oh - but he’s black, and that’ll give him an edge in recruiting.  Hmmm.  You mean over real college coaches, like David Shaw at Stanford, or Willie Taggart at Oregon?

Okay, okay.   There are those motivational speeches of his. He’s never motivated me with his shtick, but that aside - what does a motivational speaker do? He gives a speech - and then moves on. Doesn’t want his message to get old.  Can you really expect kids to listen to that sh— every day?

Yahoo Sports columnist Pete Thamel summed it up for a lot of us:

“Arizona State athletic director Ray Anderson must have been jealous. He must have seen Tennessee athletic director John Currie’s flailing coaching search and tried to top him for short-sightedness, puzzling decisions and potential to ostracize his fan base.”

I saved this for last:   Would it help if I told you that in a previous life the Arizona State AD used to be an agent?  And Herm Edwards was one of his clients?


***********  Twice in the same week Don Shipley, my best connection to the old days in Maryland and in the World Football League, had the hard duty of passing along to me the sad news that some very special people had died.

Two first-class people.

Ron MabraThe first was Ron Mabra, who died recently in Atlanta.

Ron was a native of Talladega, Alabama, and was a graduate of Howard University, where he played defensive back.

I signed him to a contract with the Philadelphia Bell in 1974.   He’d been to camp with the Kansas City Chiefs, and after being cut he played for a minor-league team in upstate New York.  That’s where I found him, and we brought him in for a tryout and he impressed our coaches. I do seem to recall that at the time of his signing it was believed that he was the first Howard grad ever to sign a pro contract.

Ron proved to be an excellent cornerback and a great team man. We had a pretty good secondary - players like Ed Hayes, who’d come down from Canada, Lorenzo Brinkley from Missouri, Bill Craven from Harvard, Marvin Pettaway, who’d played for years in the old Continental Football League and Bryan Marshall from Oakwood. And there was Frank Polito, from Villanova.  He was the only white guy, and to include him, they called themselves the “Soul Patrol Plus One.”

After the WFL folded, Ron caught on with the Falcons for a couple of years and then spent a year with the Jets.

He retired to Atlanta where he was successful in a number of businesses, and where he and his wife raised two children.

His son, Ronnie Mabra, played football at Georgia Tech, where he was named to the All-ACC Academic team.  He is now a member of the Georgia House of Representatives.

I’ll always remember Ron fondly as a bright, affable, determined  young guy who was grateful for the opportunity to play pro football and made sure to make the most of it.


http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/dailyhome/obituary.aspx?n=ronald-edwin-mabra&pid=187274876&fhid=5381



john landThen, a few days later, came the news that John Land had died.

John Land was a running back, and a very good one.

John Land was a professional in every sense of the word.  It just took him longer than some to become a true professional football player: he was a World Football League rookie at the age of 29.

He’d played at Delaware State, a historically black college, and after graduation had started playing with the minor league Wilmington Clippers.  He continued to play football, and after tryouts with the Colts (Baltimore)  and Eagles, he wound up in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, playing for a powerhouse minor league team called the Pottstown Firebirds.

The Firebirds, loaded with former and soon-to-be professional players, were an exceptionally good  team, and when a feature by NFL Films called “Pro Football, Pottstown, PA” ran just before the telecast of the 1972 Super Bowl, they became nationally famous. In 2000, long after the Firebirds had gone out of business, NFL Films returned to Pottstown to do “Pottstown Revisited.”  John Land appeared in both.

When John’s offensive coach in Pottstown, Ron Waller, was named coach of the Philadelphia Bell, John and his backfield mate, Claude Watts, were two of the first players we signed.  They were old, true, but they knew Waller’s system.  And - they were very good players.

In 1974, John, the smaller, slashing halfback, was our leading rusher and Claude, the bigger, stronger fullback-type, was second.

The night that John went over 1,000 yards rushing - a big deal in those days before 16-game regular seasons - it seems to me that they made a big deal about the fact that he was the first Philadelphia pro football player since the legendary Steve Van Buren to do so.

More than a good player, though, John Land was a good man. He was greatly admired by his teammates. He was gentle and soft-spoken, with a great sense of humor, but there was a stolid toughness about him, the sort of toughness forged by years of laboring in the bush leagues of football. He was truly a team leader by his personal example.

What I admired most about him was that he had ability, the people skills, to work side-by-side, day-to-day with two less-than-admirable characters - Waller and quarterback Jim Corcoran - without being tarnished by the association.

After football, John worked in sales with Xerox,  then went to work with Delmarva Power and Light Company and from 1998 until he retired in 2005 he served as Vice President of Procurement and Corporate Services. 

In 2005, John was presented with Honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters from both Delaware State University and University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

The first word that comes to mind when I remember John Land is Nobility.

http://www.congofuneralhome.com/notices/John-Land

*********** Oregon State has filled its head coaching vacancy.

A few days ago, former OSU head coach Dennis Erickson - who was at the controls the year the Beavers went 11-1, destroyed Notre Dame 41-9 in the 2001 Fiesta Bowl, and finished Number Four nationally - proposed a novel solution:  he would come in as head coach for a year or two, accompanied by Jonathan Smith, now QB coach at Washington, as Head Coach in Waiting.

I thought it was an interesting idea.  The Oregon State situation is desperate, as bad as any I’ve seen in the Pac-12 since I first arrived out here in 1975, and it’s going to take a steady hand to get things back on course.  At the same time, it’s going to take a young guy with the energy to do all the things that have to be done.

But the Powers That Be at Oregon State decided to skip a step in the process - and go right to the hiring of Jonathan Smith as their head coach.

I like Jonathan Smith - he was the QB on that Fiesta Bowl team and the MVP of the game, throwing for 305 yards and three TDs against the Irish,   and I like the job he’s done at Washington.

I also like the fact that he's an Oregon State guy and he loves Corvallis.  It’s the classic small college town, but small-town life is not for everybody.

I’m just afraid that for a young guy in his first job,  Oregon State could chew him up, and he'll never get another head coaching job.  It’s not as if the other teams in the Pac-12 don’t have good coaches and scholarship athletes, too, and if they get a chance to  beat his brains out, they won't hold back just because he's a nice young guy in a tough spot.

http://www.oregonlive.com/beavers/index.ssf/2017/11/oregon_state_beavers_get_to_kn.html

*********** If you saw the Pitt-Miami game last weekend you may remember the Pitt touchdown scored on a shovel (“shuffle?”) pass.  I noted earlier in the season that Pitt likes to do the play in various ways.

Longtime Double-Winger Mike Pucko, who’s coaching the defensive line for Assumption College (now 11-1 and in the third round of the D-II Playoffs) tells me they’ve seen A LOT of shovel passes this season.

***********  A generous reward awaits any reader who can  find one knowledgeable football person able to make a convincing argument that the NFL’s brand of football is better than the college game.

All you need to know about what’s wrong with the NFL: last weekend I saw one of the great performances ever,  by South Florida’s quarterback, Quentin Flowers.  One of the commentators in the booth asked, “Is there a place for him at the next level?”

My answer?  FIND a place for him!  Instead of worrying about whether he’ll fit into your scheme of things, CHANGE YOUR F—KING SCHEME!

How sacred can NFL offensive schemes be, anyhow, when most  teams struggle to score touchdowns?  And the fans are catching on: with all the NFL’s other problems, the biggest one of all may be the growing awareness among the public that the NFL product isn’t very good.

Baseball doesn’t sign sluggers and then try to turn them into banjo hitters.  But the NFL knows better - it takes exciting kids like Quentin Flowers and forces him to become pocket passers.  Or cuts them.

***********  CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND

ACC: Clemson vs.  Miami in Charlotte.  The winner will likely make the Playoff.

BIG 12:  Oklahoma vs. TCU  in Arlington, Texas.  In previous years, the lack of a conference championship game has cost the Big 12 a spot in the Playoffs.  The irony is that this year, its first-ever conference championship will cost it a spot  if Oklahoma loses.

BIG TEN: Wisconsin vs Ohio State in Indianapolis. A Badgers win would make things easy. They met in the conference championship game in 2014 and the Buckeyes blew the Badgers out and went to the Playoff.

SEC: Auburn vs Georgia  in Atlanta.  The winner is almost sure of a spot in the Playoff. Auburn beat Geogia soundly just a few weeks ago.  But that game was at Auburn, the Tigers suffered some injuries last week against Alabama - and it’s always hard to beat a good team twice in the same season.

PAC-12: (FRIDAY NIGHT) USC vs Stanford in Santa Clara. Trojans beat the Cardinal back in September.  Neither team is likely to rank high enough to make the playoff.

AMERICAN ATHLETIC: Central Florida vs Memphis in Orlando.  UCF beat Memphis in September.

CONFERENCE USA: North Texas at Florida Atlantic. Could be Lane Kiffin’s last game at FAU.

MAC: Akron vs Toledo at Detroit. Finally - the MAC plays a game on the weekend!  Nice to see Terry Bowden winning at Akron.

MOUNTAIN WEST: Fresno State vs Boise State in Boise.  Hope the folks in Boise like rematches. The two teams met LAST WEEK - in Fresno - and Fresno State won, 28-17.  Maybe someone can tell me why they’re playing this in Boise.

SWAC: Alcorn State vs Grambling State at Houston. I don’t know a thing about either team and I missed this year’s Bayou Classic between Grambling and Southern

AP POLL -  THE TOP 25 TEAMS BY CONFERENCE

SEC — 5 - AUBURN, ALABAMA, GEORGIA, LSU, MICHIGAN STATE

BIG TEN — 5 - WISCONSIN, OHIO STATE, PENN STATE, MICHIGAN STATE, NORTHWESTERN

PAC-12 — 4 - USC, STANFORD,  WASHINGTON, WASHINGTON STATE

ACC — 3 - CLEMSON, MIAMI, VIRGINIA TECH

BIG 12 — 3 - OKLAHOMA, TCU, OKLAHOMA STATE

AMERICAN ATHLETIC — 3 - UCF, USF, MEMPHIS

MOUNTAIN WEST — 1 - FRESNO STATE

INDEPENDENT— 1 - NOTRE DAME


*********** I have yet to see anyone else say this:

Even if football were shown to be 100 per cent concussion-free, its participation numbers would still continue to decline.

There are several reasons, a major one of which is that we are rapidly becoming a matriarchal society, and to feminists and their allies, football, one of the few places left that women have been unable to penetrate, represents one of the  last vestiges of male dominance in our society.  

Football is associated by feminists with male aggressiveness.  With manliness, if you will.    And manliness, in our kinder, gentler society,  is increasingly devalued.

Our young kids are pumped full of self-esteem,  so there’s no longer any need to prove themselves by playing a tough sport.

Close to 50 per cent of our children are born out of wedlock, so it’s obvious that fathers play less of a role in the American family - and the raising of boys. And even when there is a father present, it’s more than likely that he’s a wuss  who’ll let Mom decide what sport Sonny will play.  (Mom will choose soccer.)

Our obesity epidemic is conclusive evidence that our kids have grown lazy and soft.  Video games are a lot easier  than football if they want to play a sport: they are the star of the team, they don’t have to do what a coach says - and they don’t have to break a sweat. Video games are to sport as robots are to sex.

Today’s kids have been kept in protective bubbles since they were old enough to crawl. Nothing wrong with protecting kids from real harm, but after years of being cosseted, they become risk-averse.  And even if they do want to play,  it’s almost impossible for a mother  to flip the switch from protective mommy  to letting little Skyler go out and get knocked on his ass.

It’s not just football that’s being affected by these factors. Football is just the canary in the coal mine, the first sign that our society is rapidly becoming soft.  Europeanized.  

It’s more than football that’s at stake - t’s our very security as a nation.

The military is  having such a hard time finding qualified recruits that it has proposed lowering standards in order to meet quotas.

Good luck,  football guys.  We’re the frogs in the pot - and the water’s getting warmer.


*********** Jim Leavitt's situation has puzzled me for years. He was made to be a head coach, not an assistant. I'm sure you know the details of his work at USF, where he did a brilliant job. I thought he got run out by a weak university administration, which USF still has. I would've hired him a dozen times or more over the years as jobs came open. Linebacker coach for the 49ers? A waste. DC at Oregon? Good but still wasting talent. Yep, he deserves to succeed Coach Snyder.

John Vermillion
St. Petersburg, Florida

*********** Jim Nabors has died.  His singing of “Back Home Again in Indiana” before the Indianapolis 500 was one of the highlights of my sports year, and  the Indy 500 hasn’t been the same for me since he retired.

*********** Holy Cross' teams may no longer be the Crusaders.

I suppose next to go will be  all those statues around campus of infidels like saints and popes and the Virgin Mary and the Lord Jesus.


Perhaps, to appease Muslims, they’ll consider calling themselves the “Jihadis.”


http://www.bostonherald.com/news/local_coverage/2017/11/holy_cross_may_shed_crusader_moniker

*********** QUIZ ANSWER: Bernie  Casey was tall - 6-4 -  and fast.  At Bowling Green he was a star in football, playing wide receiver for legendary coach Doyt Perry,  and in track, finishing sixth in the hurdles in the 1960 Olympic trials.  He was also a talented artist.

In 1961 he signed with the 49ers, and stayed with them through 1966, when he was traded to the Falcons, then sent to the Rams.

In his eight years as an NFL receiver, he caught at least 50 passes in five seasons, and finished among the top ten receivers four times.  He was selected for the Pro Bowl in 1967.

At the time he came out of college, the NFL was competing for talent with the AFL, and he said he chose San Francisco over the New York Titans because locating there would better help him advance his career as an artist.

While playing football, he began to develop a reputation as a serious painter, once telling a Life Magazine interviewer, “I think of myself as an artist who plays football, not as a ball player who paints.”

After retiring from football, he balanced a life of painting and acting.

One of his first roles as an actor  was in something called “tick … tick … tick …,” in which he appeared with Jim  Brown.
IN 1971, he played Brian Piccolo’s teammate, J. C. Caroline in “Brian’s Song,”;  In 1973, he played paralyzed former NBA player Maurice Stokes  “Maurie”; and in the James Bond movie “Never Say Never Again,” he played a CIA agent.

He also appeared in several “Revenge of the Nerds” movies and in “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.”)

Such notable people as Sidney Poitier, Burt Reynolds and Maya Angelou have collected Bernie Casey’s paintings.

“Just because I’m a football player,” he once told New York Time columnist Dave Mr. Anderson, “doesn’t mean I can’t be something else at the same time. Most of us live on a small portion of our capacity. I don’t want to let the limitation of others limit me.”

In a 1977 interview, he told the Washington Post that football “was just a gig. But it limits the way people perceive you. That can be frustrating. People have tremendous combinations of talents. A man can be a deep-sea diver and also make china."


http://beta.latimes.com/sports/rams/la-sp-bernie-casey-obit-20170920-story.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/20/arts/bernie-casey-dead-actor-football.html

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BERNIE CASEY
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JERRY LOVELL - BELLEVUE, NEBRASKA
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK (from lambda lambda lambda   the tri lambs  lol)
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS (Also plays the history teacher Mr. Ryan in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure - A cult classic).
DAVE POTTER - CARY, NORTH CAROLINA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA (I remembered the ‘61 catch beating the Packer & his appearances in various “Blaxploitation” movies, but didn’t know about his painting )


*********** When I first started teaching in Bellevue, there was a football player here with the name Bernie Casey Sipp.  His actual name was Bernicasey Sipp.  Mom or Dad must have been a big fan, but I never got the chance to ask him, as he moved the first week of practice.

Jerry Lovell
Bellevue, Nebraska



QUIZ GUY AT PSU*********** QUIZ  A native of Altoona, Pennsylvania, he was team captain both his junior and senior years at Penn State, when the Lions went 22-0.

He was a unanimous All-America selection as a defensive tackle.

He won the Maxwell Award and finished fifth in the voting for the Heisman Trophy.

In his sophomore year, he won the Eastern heavyweight wrestling championship.

He was a first-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals, and in his rookie year,  the Bengals won the AFC Central Division, and he recorded 12 sacks. (Sacks were not yet an official stat, but the Bengals kept records of them.)

He was All-AFC his rookie year, and in his second year, again with 12 sacks, he was All-AFC and All-Pro.

In his third year, he recorded 13 sacks, was again named All-Pro, and for the third straight year was named All-AFC.

In his fourth year he was slowed by injuries and his sack output declined.  He was still good enough to make All-AFC, but he retired after the season.

In his brief pro football career, he made the Pro Bowl twice.

And then he embarked on his real career - music.

He’d majored in music at Penn State,  and was trained as a classical pianist.  While still playing football with the Bengals he’d played with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, with the Utah Symphony Orchestra, and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

After retirement he formed a band and began playing in the Cincinnati area, then left the band to perform on his own and to write music.

In 1978, Country singer Jerry Jeff Walker was the first to sing one of his songs.  In 1980 he moved to Nashville, and  songs he wrote there were recorded by such famous artists  as Ronnie Milsap, Larry Gatlin, Tanya Tucker and Conway Twitty and the group Alabama.

In 1984,  his “Stranger in My House" won him a Grammy Award for Best Country Song. In 1990 he sang his own Number One Country song, “Walk on Faith.”

Between 1980 and 2000, he wrote twelve Number One singles.  In all, he has written more than 30 Top-10 Country and Pop songs.

In 2005, he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

In 1987 he was  elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.  In 1995, he received the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award.  In 2017, he was named to the Bengals' 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.




american flagTUESDAY,  NOVEMBER 28,  2017  - “Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals could believe them.” George Orwell


***********  It was 75 years ago,  on November 28, 1942,  when undefeated and Number one-ranked Boston College was upset by then-archrival Holy Cross in their traditional end-of-season game.  Holy Cross always played BC tough:  even in 1940,  when BC, under Frank Leahy, went undefeated, defeating Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl and claiming the national title, the score against Holy Cross was just 7-0.

But this wasn’t just a defeat - this was a drubbing. The final score was 55-12. 

Boston College had already accepted an invitation to play in the Orange Bowl against Alabama, but there was nothing to celebrate.  Not after this humiliating loss to their hated rival. 

So shocked and dejected were the Boston College team and their supporters that a huge post-game party scheduled for later that evening at a Boston nightclub, the Coconut Grove, was cancelled.

And as the BC people were drowning their sorrows elsewhere,  492 people perished in the deadliest nightclub fire in American history - at the Coconut Grove.

On January 1, 1943, Boston College lost to Alabama in the Orange Bowl, 37-21.

(
Thanks to Tim Brown, of Florence, Alabama for suggesting the  story.)


*********** As recently as 1960, it was a big deal to make it to a bowl game.  A very big deal.  When Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd took the Yellow Jackets to 13 bowl games between 1945 and 1966, it was an enormous coaching accomplishment.

Then, there were just the Rose, Orange, Sugar, Cotton, Gator and Sun Bowls.

There were minor bowls that popped up after World War II, such as the Harbor Bowl, the Lodi Grape Bowl, the Oil Bowl, but they came and went quickly.

But in 1960, there came the Liberty Bowl, in Philadelphia (“Liberty Bowl - Liberty Bell” - get it?). It’s still in existence, after its founder very wisely moved it to Memphis.  And the Gotham Bowl, in New York. It lasted two years.  And the Bluebonnet Bowl, which would later move inside the AstroDome and be renamed the Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl. Its last year was 1987.

In 1969 the Peach Bowl was born.

And in 1972, the Fiesta Bowl.

(The Tangerine Bowl started in 1947, but for years it was a smaller-school bowl. In 1982 it was renamed the Citrus Bowl.)

Bowls then were still really selective.  And  the Big Ten and PAC-8, protective of their interest in the Rose Bowl, banned  members from participating in any other bowls, so
lots of very good teams stayed home over the Holidays. 

Now, there is a plethora (I promised myself I’d use that word, a favorite of sportswriters, even though it’s never crossed my lips in conversation) of bowl games, to the point where it’s something of a disgrace NOT to qualify for one.

There are now 39 post-season bowl games “certified” by the NCAA, and all a team has to do to qualify for a bowl invitation is to win six games.  When you realize that in these days of multi-million-dollar coaches’ contracts and the high expectations that go with them, coaches have been fired for “only” winning nine games, six wins is setting the bar rather low.

Even so, last year not enough teams qualified on the basis of wins, so the NCAA, rather than tell some minor bowl “tough sh—“,  decreed that certain five-win teams could  “qualify,” depending on some nebulous thing called the “Academic Progress Rate.”

This year, there were enough “bowl eligible” teams  (those with at least six wins)  to fill the 78 slots in the 39 bowl games, so there went the bowl dreams of the  highest-rated five-win teams -  Air Force, Minnesota and Vanderbilt.

My suggestion for future years, and a potential revenue-producer for the NCAA:  a College Bowl competition among team captains of all five-win teams. (“Within five years, when was the War of 1812 fought?”)

*********** Greg Koenig, of Cimarron, Kansas, is a Kansas State fan, and through my association with Greg, I’ve become one, too.  Like Greg, I’m a great admirer of Bill Snyder and what he’s done, but like Greg, I am really concerned about what happens when it’s time for Coach Snyder to retire…

Hugh, In my opinion, it's a no-win situation for Coach Snyder and for the school. One article that I read included the information below. There is quite a bit of speculation that Coach Snyder will wait until late summer and announce his retirement, which would limit the school's options for replacing him and allow him to designate his son as his replacement. To be honest, I can't imagine who is going to want the job. It's hard enough to follow a legend, but it's basically impossible when the legend's name is on the stadium and the legend maintains an office across the hall from the head football coach (which was the arrangement that Ron Prince had to deal with). I'll admit that I've lost some respect for Coach Snyder as the details of this situation have come to light.

(Snyder’s K-State contract stipulates when he’s done coaching at KSU he will be a “special assistant to the athletic director” and “shall also have appropriate input … regarding the selection of the next head football coach.”)


As you know, I have enormous respect for Coach Snyder.  But there does seem to be a conflict now between his stature as one of the greatest coaches in college football history and his aspirations for his son, and it threatens to erode the respect he’s earned from you and other K-State people just like you.

The current Kansas State situation sounds like something out of English history where a King dies and his heir is a six-month-old infant son.

That was not intended to compare Sean Snyder to an infant, but only to describe how messy things are likely to become.  I have had dealings with Sean regarding K-State’s participation in the Black Lion Award program, and I’ve found him to be a great guy to deal with.  But that has nothing to do with his ability to take over the K-State program or, just as important, his acceptance as the head coach by the K-State fan base.

I’ve heard (read) more than one fan  ask why, if he’s qualified to coach Kansas State, no one else has ever tried to hire him away.

There is no precedent that I can think of in Big-Time college football where father-to-son succession, either contemplated or carried out,  has worked, and in every case a major reason has been the fan base’s opposition to  it.

Holtz, Bowden, Spurrier all proposed it, or tried it.

The most prominent example of a failed plan of succession was Joe Paterno.  Most people think that the reason he hung on as long as he did was that he hoped to be able to name his son, Jay, to succeed him. Just as there is now opposition to Bill Snyder’s passing along the job to Sean, there was opposition to JoePa’s naming Jay. I’m a great fan of Joe Paterno, and I wish he could have coached Penn State forever, but realistically, if he had left sooner, he might have been spared all the disgrace that now attaches to his name.

Of course, if he’d left when some people thought he would, his successor might have been the one everybody thought it would one day be - Jerry Sandusky.  Imagine what that would have done to Penn State!

In my opinion, Jim Leavitt would be the ideal guy for K-State.  He is a very good coach who’s proven he can build a program from the ground  up (South Florida), and he’s shown he can coach on both coasts (DC at Colorado and now at Oregon). Being a Bill Snyder guy, he would make sure that Coach Snyder is treated with the respect he’s earned, while still keeping him at a proper distance from the program.

But it does sound as though Coach Snyder ruled that out last spring when - if we believe what’s being put out there - he was willing to take on Leavitt as an assistant, but not with the understanding that he would be head-coach-in-waiting, because his intention was for Sean to succeed him.  (The fact that apparently it’s in Coach Snyder’s contract that he will have “appropriate input” into the selection of his successor means that it may take a team of Philadelphia lawyers to define “appropriate.”)

But while K-State dithers and debates how best to deal with a situation that grows uglier by the day, attractive positions keep coming open - just yesterday, Texas A & M and Arizona State fired their coaches - and there’s always a possibility  that Jim Leavitt could get one of them, leaving K-State waiting alone at the altar.

I know there are plenty of K-State people who know that it's only been 20 years or so since the Great Snyder Turnaround started, and the short interregnum between Snyder eras, when Ron Prince was in charge,  was enough to remind them that K-State will  always be just one or two bad years away from going back to the dark days when it was a national joke.  Nowadays, being a bad team in a small market can be very dangerous, because there is always the possibility that the Big 12 could dissolve, with the more prominent of its teams - Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, West Virginia - apportioned out among  the other Power Five conferences.  (West Virginia’s included because it would be attractive to the ACC for rivalry reasons,  or even to the SEC or Big Ten.   Kansas might be attractive because of its proximity to the Kansas City market and, to a lesser extent, its basketball program.)  Small-market teams like K-State, Baylor, Iowa State and Texas Tech would, I’m afraid, be left high and dry. That means they’d be cut out of the big TV money coming from the major bowls and the Playoff - money that supports all the rest of their sports programs - and for scheduling purposes they’d be forced to find homes in American Athletic, Conference USA,  or Sun Belt. (I’m ruling out Mountain West and MAC for geographic reasons.) Who knows? Maybe they’d form a new conference of their own and pluck the stronger members from the Group of Five conferences - Houston, Memphis, South Florida and Central Florida come first  to mind.

In any case, these are scary times for Kansas State if they don’t handle the succession question properly, and based on the fact that Coach Snyder has already refused to accept Jim Leavitt as his successor, it doesn’t look as if they’re going to.

Go Cats.

***********  THE RIVALRY WRAPUP-

FRIDAY


SOUTH FLORIDA AT CENTRAL FLORIDA - ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING  GAMES I HAVE EVER SEEN.

IOWA AT NEBRASKA - HO HUM

VIRGINIA TECH AT VIRGINIA - THE WAHOOS (UVA) STILL  HAVE A WAYS TO GO

CAL AT UCLA - WITH THE WIN, UCLA GETS TO GO TO A BOWL GAME WITH AN INTERIM COACH

SATURDAY

GEORGIA AT GEORGIA TECH - I SAID IT COULD BE A BLOWOUT

OHIO STATE AT MICHIGAN - CALL IT THE TEN MILLION DOLLAR WIN:  HARBAUGH IS NOW 1-5 COMBINED AGAINST MICHIGAN STATE AND OHIO STATE

KANSAS-OKLAHOMA STATE -  I  WONDER IF THE JAYHAWKS' CAPTAINS SHOOK HANDS

FLORIDA STATE AT FLORIDA - WHO WON?

LOUISVILLE AT KENTUCKY - SURPRISING RUNAWAY WIN BY LOUSVILLE

INDIANA VS PURDUE - PURDUE WINS THE OLD OAKEN BUCKET AND GETS TO GO TO A BOWL GAME

ALABAMA VS AUBURN - WOW.  NOT TO TAKE ANYTHING AWAY FROM AUBURN, BUT I USED TO THINK ALABAMA’S STRENGTH WAS THAT IT DIDN’T MAKE MISTAKES,  WAS I WRONG. I CAN’T HELP WONDERING IF THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU “TUNE UP” WITH MERCER THE WEEK BEFORE

WISCONSIN AT MINNESOTA - MAYBE NEXT YEAR, GOPHERS

NORTH CAROLINA AT NC STATE - I’M TELLING YOU, THIS ALL STARTED WHEN THEY STARTED MAKING THE PLAYERS GO TO CLASSES.  REAL CLASSES.

VANDERBILT AT TENNESSEE - VANDY TOOK ADVANTAGE OF  THE DYSFUNCTION THAT IS TENNESSEE FOOTBALL AND CAME OFF WITH A RARE WIN

ARIZONA AT ARIZONA STATE - SUN DEVILS BEAT UP ON THE WILDCATS BUT THAT WASN’T ENOUGH TO SAVE TODD GRAHAM’S JOB

OREGON STATE AT OREGON - WHEN A TEAM CAN SCORE 70 IN A RIVALRY MATCHUP, SOMETHING IS WRONG.   AND
AT OREGON STATE,  SOMETHING IS SERIOUSLY WRONG.

CLEMSON AT SOUTH CAROLINA -  NO SURPRISES THIS YEAR. CLEMSON OWNS THE PALMETTO STATE

TEXAS A & M AT LSU - THIS LOSS MAY HAVE COST KEVIN SUMLIN HIS JOB

NOTRE DAME AT STANFORD - EVEN ON ONE BAD WHEEL BRYCE LOVE DIDN’T DO TOO BAD, BUT NOW THAT THEY HAVE A QB, STANFORD IS TOUGH

WASHINGTON STATE AT WASHINGTON - THE HUSKIES’ TOTAL DOMINANCE MADE ME WONDER IF THESE TWO TEAMS WERE EVEN  IN THE SAME CLASSIFICATION, LET ALONE THE SAME CONFERENCE


*********** “It’s that time of year again,” Tim Brown, of Florence, Alabama reminds me.

He sent along a famous quote by a famous coach that he said he first saw in a book written by famed sportswriter Fred Russell in 1945:

“No athletic director holds office longer than two losing football coaches.”

The quote is attributed to the great Bob Zuppke, who coached Red Grange at Illinois.

Added Tim, “Ain’t that true.  Especially if he’s hired them both.”

Shoot - nowadays, they don’t even have to be losing coaches. 

*********** Hmmm.  Coaches, if your AD isn’t the one who hired you… better get that resume up-to-date.

Tennessee - Coach Butch Jones, hired in 2013 - Firing AD John Currie, hired in 2017

Arkansas - Coach Bret Bielema, hired in 2013  - Firing AD - Julie Cromer Peoples, interim since November 15, 2017

Florida - Coach Jim McElwain, hired in 2015; Firing AD Scott Stricklin, hired in 2016

Arizona State - Coach Todd Graham, hired in 2012 - Firing AD Ray Anderson, hired in 2014

Texas A & M - Coach Kevin Sumlin, hired in 2012 - Firing AD Scott Woodward, hired in 2016

Nebraska - Mike Riley,  hired in 2015 - Firing AD Bill Moos, hired in 2017

*********** Jobs that a smart coach will take only in the knowledge that if he can deal with the bulls— for a couple of years, when he’s fired, he can walk away with so much of their money that he’ll never have to work again.

1. Arkansas, which had every right to fire Bret Bielema, but did it in the clumsiest of ways, now has to hire another coach who, with only an interim AD - a female who’s been on the job a little over a week - doesn’t even know who he’ll be reporting to.

One exception to my evaluation:  Gus Malzahn. He can make it work. He’s a Arkansan. I don’t see how he can feel any loyalty to Auburn when those people were calling for his neck earlier in the season. If he’d lost to Alabama Saturday, he’d be out on the road recruiting for Arkansas right now.  But the win over Bama postponed things for another week.  Now, after losing to Georgia on Saturday, he’ll be on the job in Fayetteville by Sunday evening.  It doesn’t matter who the AD is because  if Malzahn's smart, he’ll have it in his contract that he reports directly to the President of the University. 

2. Arizona State, where Todd Graham went 46-31 overall, beat Arizona in the Territorial Cup, and finished 7-4 this year.  The new guy will have the misfortune of working for a suit, a former NFL executive who’s never been a coach himself and seems to have forgotten where he is:

“We want to compete for championships and we want to win consistently across the board in all of our sports.  In football, we have not done that in the four years that I have been there. Not consistently. We have been average.  7-5 and second place in a riddled Pac-12 South is not our aspiration. We deserve more.”

It also sounds as if the new coach won’t be hiring his own coordinators: “

In my view Billy Napier has done an outstanding job with our offense. In my view, Phil Bennett has helped us make progress with our defense. I made it very clear to both of those guys that we want them to have the opportunity to come back. And in fact, any head coach who comes in here who doesn't see that value is not the guy for us.”

Step right up, fellas, if you like the idea of working for a micromanaging AD.  (And one who really expects to stay up with the USCs and UCLAs of the world. )

Graham’s unceremonious dumping by Arizona State is  definitely turnabout, because he has a nasty history of sh—ting on his former employers - from Rice, from Tulsa, from Pitt.  Ah, what the hell - he’s walking off with 10 million or so.

http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/the-desert-devil-todd-graham-finds-a-home-at-arizona-state-no-really-20141110

3. Texas A & M, where they seem to have this idea that because they’re in Texas and they have enthusiastic cheerleaders and large crowds they’re automatically entitled to a place in the football pantheon.  Kevin Sumlin’s record of 51-26 was plenty good by most peoples’ standards.  But they can’t say it was a financial decision  - not when they paid him millions to coach, and now they’ll have to pay him even more millions to go away, and they’ll probably have to pay his successor even more than they paid him.

The interesting thing is that Kevin Sumlin’s record at  A & M (51-26,  .662) was almost identical to his record at Houston (35-17, .673) - the one that got him the A & M job in the first place.

I guess this job is supposed to go to Jimbo Fisher.  Welcome to the SEC, Jimbo.  Wait till he finds out that this isn’t the ACC, where Florida State once walked over everybody until they faced Clemson once a year.  Wait till he finds out he has to play Alabama every year.  LSU and Auburn, too.

4. Tennessee, where the large fan base, unhappy with the about to-be-announced selection of Greg Schiano, attacked him as a child molester and pervert because  of a totally unproven claim that when he coached at Penn State he was somehow involved in the coverup of the Jerry Sandusky ugliness.

I have no idea who they’ll hire, but this does appear to be a place in turmoil.

This should be one of the prime jobs in the country, but they proved they didn't realize it themselves when they gave it to Lane Kiffin.

(I can never forget this is the place that once fired Bill Battle, who was 59-22-2 (.723) - because he couldn’t beat Bear Bryant.)


*********** Hello Coach,

Your question about running down the clock before scoring is a difficult one to answer, to say the least.  Personally I would hand the ball off straight ahead and take the score.  Minimize the risks on offense and hope the opponent misses a high stress field goal.

I wanted to share what SDSU did at the end of the game against USD (the South Dakota schools) this past weekend to run off the clock.  Unfortunately I couldn't find video of the end, but it seemed very risky.  SDSU recovered a wild onside kick from USD with around 2 minutes to play.  They put their mobile/elusive QB in shotgun and just had him weave back and forth for big losses until the defense caught up. It seemed to be asking for a holding call because the blockers had no idea where the QB would scramble next.  Amazingly they did this for 3 downs and SDSU backed themselves down to their own endzone!  They could take a safety and still keep the lead, but on 4 down they had the QB scramble AGAIN inside their own 5 and he managed to run all of the time off.  High risk high reward I guess.

https://youtu.be/2P4Uw-y1a5g?t=6m24s

Here are some highlights from that game and NDSU's game in Normal, Illinois.  Check out the snowy conditions.  Although NDSU was on the road and is technically an indoor team, they ultimately handled the snowy weather better than the Redbirds.  NDSU gets plenty of practice outdoors in the North Dakota winter!

Mathew Hedger
Langdon, North Dakota


Hi Coach-

There is no “correct” answer to the question I posed, although there is such a thing as scoring too soon.  Unfortunately, when you’re already on the one, it’s hard not to score.

In the case I described, the team scored on first down, made the extra point to tie it up, then kicked off with about 1:30 remaining.  And the opponent, with three time outs, moved into field goal range and with time for one play kicked the winning field goal.

What SD State was clever as anything, and makes sense so long as you always have the assurance of being able to take the safety.

But two minutes is a lot of time to run off, and since recovering an onside kick gives you decent field position already, it’s no riskier trying for a first down than it is running around going ground. But again, there is always the escape hatch - the end zone.

As for NDSU - very ironic that the “indoor” team goes on the road and plays in snow.  But this time of year in the Midwest, anything can happen.

Nice to hear from you.  Happy Thanksgiving.

***********  Thanks to a tip from Joel Mathews of Independence, Missouri I was able to watch much of Friday’s Michigan Division 8 state championship game, won by Ottawa Lake Whiteford, 42-21 over Saginaw Novel.

Ottawa Lake Whiteford is coached by long-time Double Winger Jason Mensing, and while they’re obviously a Double-Wing team, the Bobcats do more than run Double-Tight, Double-Wing.

They ran out of the base Double Wing set maybe a third of the time, but they did a number of other things, including, when they had a commanding lead and wanted to take some time off the clock, an unbalanced-I package.

Naturally, they had a nice power game and a nice inside game with the fullback, but they also had a gifted quarterback and they used him more than most Double-Wing teams, both running and passing.

Congratulations to Coach Mensing, whose Bobcats made it to the state final game last year and finished 13-1.

That’s 27-1 over the last two seasons.

http://www.freep.com/story/sports/high-school/2017/11/24/division-8-saginaw-nouvel-ottawa-lake-whiteford/891721001/


*********** Good morning Coach And Happy Holidays to you and Connie,
 
After I watched the video I noticed that when the RG did his Skip Pull that the RT cut block and the RTE also appeared to cut block (shoe shine) but looks like he aimed his helmet for the outer knee of the defender to his inside.
 
My question is has cut blocking in the no longer existent free blocking zone only been eliminated in high not college?
 
I ask because I watch Navy and Ga Tech and I see they still cut block.  I also noticed that Navy's line puts their inside hand down with their inside foot back.  I haven't paid attention to Ga Tech's line stance but I did with Navy.  I also watch Navy on Showtime's A SEASON WITH series.
 
Something else I noticed about Stanford's line, when in Goal Line or Short Yardage, they are foot to foot and in four point stances.
 
During my time off this season I have actually done more studying than in previous seasons and I have always wondered two things with stances, 1...what is the real purpose or advantage of the "normal" outside hand down that I see in the NFL and down thru the ranks of football?  And 2...what is the purpose or advantage of the O-Line in four points other than the obvious lower man wins?
 
Just two things I've always wondered but never asked since I've been doing it 3 point inside hand down inside football for over 15 years and prior to that in my ignorance I taught right hand down (in my youth days before being a DW coach).

Brian Mackell
Glen Burnie, Maryland

Your answer - cut blocking (I hate to use the word because they turn around and use it against us) is still legal in the free blocking zone IF it takes place in the free blocking zone and IF both players were in the free blocking zone AND on the line of scrimmage at the time of the snap.

Couple of problems lying in wait for us if we have the TE shoeshine:

* There is always the chance that the the TE will block low on a man already being blocked by the center. 15 yards for a chop block

* The free blocking zone disintegrates once the ball has left it.  That means, depending on the depth of your shotgun/wildcat snap, it’s possible that by the time the QB catches that snap, the ball is deeper than three yards, and therefore out of the free blocking zone.  I could argue that with my QB’s heels at four yards, he catches the ball at three yards so the free blocking zone is still; intact, and I could argue that my TE makes contact on a shoeshine block before the ball hits the QB’s hands.

But here’s the real issue:

* Despite what the rule book says - that the free-blocking zone extends four yards to either side of the center -  the free- blocking zone is increasingly being defined, for the officials’ enforcement convenience, as being “from tackle to tackle.”  We can argue our hearts out and even bring out yardsticks or tape measures to show that with our right splits our TEs are well within the zone described by the rules, but if the officials choose to consider our tight ends as outside the free blocking zone they apparently have the go-ahead to do so.

(Neither Navy or Georgia Tech employ a TE to any great extend, and if they did, they wouldn’t be able to have them “cut.”)

The outside hand down on most college teams is so that they can stagger their outside foot back, the better to set up in pass protection against an outside speed rusher.

The four-point stance is to allow them to get low and also to get their weight forward, because they’re firing out.  If you don’t care whether the defense knows that you’re going to fire out, it’s not bad.  (The slide seemed to help the guard run the circle our of that stance!)

Take care and keep me up to date!


STANFORD SLIDE*********** I sent a video clip from the Stanford-Notre Dame game to guys who’ve bought the Open Wing DVD series.  It shows a Stanford guard “running the circle” as we say when a backside lineman is pulling and walling off to the inside on a power, counter or “G” play, and it’s a perfect example of the “slide” technique I’ve been teaching for the last two or three years.

As anyone who goes back with me to the early Double Wing days knows, I’ve been on a long and frustrating search for the best way to teach the “circle" for backside linemen on powers, backside tackles on counters, backside guards on “G-O” and “X-O” plays - and now,  in place of shoe shining, the tight ends.

To make sure that your pulling backside linemen are able to head upfield at the first opening; to make sure they wall off to the inside; and to make sure that they don’t drift out into the runner’s path, it’s essential that they keep their eyes upfield, and that means keeping their shoulders square to the LOS. The best way to make sure that they keep their shoulders square is to keep their hips square.  And the best way to keep their hips square is to keep their toes pointed upfield.  And the only way to make sure that the toes keep pointed upfield is to “slide” - to make sure their feet don’t cross over.

In other words, as in so many cases, it’s all in the footwork.

In my opinion, if you don’t teach it this way, you won’t be running the Open Wing (or the Double Wing) as well as you could be running it!

If you’d like me to send you  the clip, shoot me an email: www.coachwyatt.com

*********** Anybody catch the Grey Cup?  It was POURING snow.

*********** I have to confess that I watched a couple of plays of NFL Football.  And what I’m saw disgusts me even more than ever.  After years and years of officials ignoring players who illegally pushed on runners from behind, the rules makers finally gave up and legalized it.  But, they insisted, it was STILL illegal to PULL a runner. Oh, no - NO PULLING.  Right.  And you had to know that as soon as players were permitted to push on the runner, it was just a matter of time before they decided to pull.  Sure as hell, that’s what they’re doing.  And sure as hell, the officials are ignoring it.

*********** QUIZ ANSWER - Charlie Tolar came out of Northwestern State in Louisiana, and was an original Houston Oiler.   A running back, he shared ball carrying duties with Billy Cannon.  He gained 3277 yards on 907 carries in his career, and scored 21 touchdowns on the ground.  In 1962 he led the AFL with 244 carries and finished third in yards gained with 1012.  Packing 215 pounds on his 5-6 frame,  his aggressive running style made him a fan favorite  and earned him the nickname “The Human Bowling Ball.”  In the off-season, he worked for famed oil-well fire fighter Red Adair.

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/01/sports/charlie-tolar-65-fullback-known-as-human-bowling-ball.html

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING CHARLIE TOLAR -
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
RODNEY LUNSFORD - DUBLIN, INDIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA

*********** While researching Charlie Tolar - raise your hand if you found anything about Red Adair…

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2004/aug/09/guardianobituaries.usa


*********** Thanks for the quiz....in researching (Charlie Tolar) I saw that Houston also had Dave Smith who played at Ripon College……Ripon, Wisconsin also being the home of…..Ripon Good Cookies…..Anderson's Grocery in Westport, Indiana carried Ripon Good Cookies...the best being macaroons...each year going on vacation to the American Baptist Assembly in Green Lake, Wisconsin we would get to stop in Ripon to visit their bakery.....the best part of vacation……a flood of memories....thanks.

Kevin McCullough
Lakeville, Indiana


*********** QUIZ He was tall - 6-4 -  and fast.  At Bowling Green he was a star in football, playing wide receiver for legendary coach Doyt Perry,  and in track, finishing sixth in the hurdles in the 1960 Olympic trials.  He was also a talented artist.

In 1961 he signed with the 49ers, and stayed with them through 1966, when he was traded to the Falcons, then sent to the Rams.

In his eight years as an NFL receiver, he caught at least 50 passes in five seasons, and finished among the top ten receivers four times.  He was selected for the Pro Bowl in 1967.

At the time he came out of college, the NFL was competing for talent with the AFL, and he said he chose San Francisco over the New York Titans because locating there would better help him advance his career as an artist.

While playing football, he began to develop a reputation as a serious painter, once telling a Life Magazine interviewer, “I think of myself as an artist who plays football, not as a ball player who paints.”

After retiring from football, he balanced a life of painting and acting.

One of his first roles as an actor  was in something called “tick … tick … tick …,” in which he appeared with Jim  Brown.
IN 1971, he played Brian Piccolo’s teammate, J. C. Caroline in “Brian’s Song,”;  In 1973, he played paralyzed former NBA player Maurice Stokes  “Maurie”; and in the James Bond movie “Never Say Never Again,” he played a CIA agent.

He also appeared in several “Revenge of the Nerds” movies.

Such notable people as Sidney Poitier, Burt Reynolds and Maya Angelou have collected his paintings.

“Just because I’m a football player,” he once told New York Time columnist Dave Mr. Anderson, “doesn’t mean I can’t be something else at the same time. Most of us live on a small portion of our capacity. I don’t want to let the limitation of others limit me.”

In a 1977 interview, he told the Washington Post that for him, football “was just a gig. But it limits the way people perceive you. That can be frustrating. People have tremendous combinations of talents. A man can be a deep-sea diver and also make china."

american flagFRIDAY,  NOVEMBER 24,  2017  -“We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing.”   First stanza of traditional Thanksgiving hymn.


*********** HOPE YOU HAD A HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

IT’S RIVALRY WEEKEND - NO NEED TO SAY “RIVALRY GAME” - “RIVALRY” IS ENOUGH

SOME OF THEM HAVE PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS… SOME OF THEM ARE FOR HIGHER RANKINGS… SOME OF THEM CAN SCREW UP THEIR RIVAL’S AMBITIONS… AND SOME HAVE NO MEANING OTHER THAN THE FACT THAT THEY’RE PLAYING THEIR IN-STATE RIVAL OR AN ADJOINING-STATE'S SCHOOL AND THEY CAN’T ABIDE THE THOUGHT OF AN ENTIRE YEAR OF LISTENING TO THEIR FANS'  CRAP

*********** TONIGHT - THE EGG BOWL

OLE MISS AT MISSISSIPPI STATE - A great rivalry that once was dominated by Ole Miss:

From 1947 through 1962, the heyday of Ole Miss’ great John Vaught, the Rebels dominated the series with 14 wins and two ties.

From 1965 through 1990, Ole Miss won 18 games to just seven by MIssissippi State.  One game ended in a tie.

But then a sea change took place: from 1991 through last season, State won 14 games to Ole Miss’ 12, and since Dan Mullen arrived at State in 2009, the Bulldogs have won five of the last eight games.

As I’m writing this, Bulldog QB Nick Fitzgerald is being carted off the field…

Damn Shame.  There went his season, there went the game.

*********** FRIDAY'S RIVALRIES

SOUTH FLORIDA AT CENTRAL FLORIDA - A relatively recent rivalry between two relatively new powers.  This game promises to become a classic rivalry.

IOWA AT NEBRASKA - Re-alignment destroyed some great rivalries (Kansas-Missouri, Pitt-West Virginia, Texas-Texas A & M) but it did create some like this

VIRGINIA TECH AT VIRGINIA - It’s a matchup between stereotypes - southern gentlemen vs rednecks, urban vs rural, elite university vs cow college.  VPI (as Virginia Tech was once known) has been a national power and it has a fanatical fan base; UVA has never been a factor nationally,  and Bronco Mendenhall has been trying hard to shake off the lethargy of recent years.  Virginia showed against Miami last week that they can hang with the best.

CAL AT UCLA - Both teams are coming off tough losses to rivals with more talent, Cal to Stanford and UCLA to USC. Cal is a program on the rise; UCLA, whose coach Jim Mora was fired, is awaiting the arrival of the next in a long line of aspiring saviors.

SATURDAY'S RIVALRIES

GEORGIA AT GEORGIA TECH - Tech and its triple option could cause problems for the Bulldogs, but if not, this one could be a blowout. 

OHIO STATE AT MICHIGAN - Who would have thought that when Michigan offered the sun, moon and stars to Jim Harbaugh three years ago they’d be staring, three year down the line,  at the real possibility of his being 0-3 against the Buckeyes? Michigan has a great defense, but so does Ohio State - with an offense, too.

KANSAS-OKLAHOMA STATE -  It’s not exactly a rivalry, but I had to include this one just to see if the same Kansas captains who were dumb enough to insult Oklahoma’s captains last week will try that crap this week  against Oklahoma State.

FLORIDA STATE AT FLORIDA - Close your eyes and try to imagine a game between two perennial powers in a recruiting-rich state - with nothing at stake. Well, not exactly nothing - actually, after last week’s 77-8 win over Delaware State,  a win over the Gators would make the Seminoles bowl-eligible.

LOUISVILLE AT KENTUCKY - The rest of the nation probably doesn’t realize what a fierce rivalry this one is.  This year, they’re both 7-4, without a big win between them.

INDIANA VS PURDUE - Call this one the Bowl Bowl: both teams come in at 5-6 and the winner goes to a bowl game. Indiana has won its last two games; Purdue is coming off a big win over Iowa.

ALABAMA VS AUBURN - Strange things have been known to  happen in this one.   The X-Factor: it’s a rare away game for Alabama, one of only four for the Tide all season, and at Auburn, it’s never easy for visitors to win.

WISCONSIN AT MINNESOTA - This won’t be much of a rivalry until Minnesota is strong again.  Nevertheless, the feelings of a rivalry are there: It's the barbaric “Sconnies” against the effete Minnesotans.  Sparta vs. Athens.   Wisconsin has too much at sake to let this one get away.

NORTH CAROLINA AT NC STATE - The bumper stickers used to read “Honk if you’re from Carolina… Moo if y’all fum State. ”   It’s the elite university against the cow college.  A very disappointing year for the Tar Heels, one with moments of brilliance for the Wolfpack.

VANDERBILT AT TENNESSEE - This is the definition of a one-sided rivalry - Vandy has won just six times in the last 50 years.  But three of those Vandy wins have come in the last five meetings of the teams, and UT is playing in this one with an interim coach.

ARIZONA AT ARIZONA STATE - As the state itself has grown, so have its two universities and so has their rivalry. The bad feelings run deep, and go all the way back to when Arizona was the only state university and fought hard in a statewide campaign to keep “Arizona State College” from becoming Arizona State University.

OREGON STATE AT OREGON - The Civil War is often unpredictable, but with the Ducks' fleet of good running backs and the return of star QB Josh Herbert, the undermanned Beavers and their interim head coach could have trouble staying in the game.

CLEMSON AT SOUTH CAROLINA - A fierce rivalry that doesn’t get the national attention it deserves. They’re in different conferences, so it won't affect Clemson’s place in the ACC championship game, but a Carolina win would definitely cost Clemson a chance to play in The Playoff.

TEXAS A & M AT LSU - Another rivalry brought about by conference realignment.  They’re in neighboring states and they fight over the same recruits.

NOTRE DAME AT STANFORD - This has become a great end-of-the-season rivalry, maybe as big as USC-Notre Dame. With a win, Stanford can win the Pac-12 North if Washington should beat Washington State. With ND’s QB situation in flux, I’m going with the Cardinal.

WASHINGTON STATE AT WASHINGTON - U-Dub is out of the running in the conference race, but with a win, the Huskies can knock the Cougars out of first place in the Pac-12 North.  The Cougs are a pass-first team, but they are strong on defense.  (Watch DL Hercules Mata'afa).   Washington has a lot of talent but they’ve played soft in big games.  Possible edge to WSU: Wazzu had a bye last week.


*********** QUIZ ANSWER - Although he never coached in a Super Bowl, Chick Knox was the first NFL head coach to win Division titles with three different teams.

He grew up in the Pittsburgh area, the son of a steelworker.

He captained the football team at Juanita College, and after graduation spent three years coaching high school in Pennsylvania.

He got his first college job at Wake Forest under Paul Amen, then moved on to Kentucky as an assistant to Blanton Collier and then Charlie Bradshaw.

From Kentucky, he was hired by Weeb Ewbank to coach the New York Jets’ offensive line.

He left the Jets to coach the Lions’ offensive line under Joe Schmidt, and in 1973 he was hired as head coach of the Los Angeles Rams, succeeding Tommy Prothro.

He traded QB John Hadl to the Packers, and replaced him with James Harris, the first black man to be a regular starter at quarterback.

From Los Angeles he went to Buffalo, and from Buffalo he went to Seattle.

He wound up his career by returning to the Rams for another go-round.

At Los Angeles, Buffalo and Seattle, he had winning records.

In all, Chuck Knox won 186 games and lost 147.

His fondness for the running game earned him the nickname “Ground Chuck.”

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING CHUCK KNOX
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JERRY LOVELL - BELLEVUE, NEBRASKA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
DAVE POTTER - CARY, NORTH CAROLINA


*********** QUIZ - He came out of Northwestern State in Louisiana, and was an original Houston Oiler.   A running back, he shared ball carrying duties with Billy Cannon.  He gained 3277 yards on 907 carries in his career, and scored 21 touchdowns on the ground.  In 1962 he led the AFL with 244 carries and finished third in yards gained with 1012.  Packing 215 pounds on his 5-6 frame,  his aggressive running style made him a fan favorite and earned him the nickname “The Human Bowling Ball.”  In the off-season, he worked for famed oil-well fire fighter Red Adair.



american flagTUESDAY,  NOVEMBER 21,  2017  -“A good plan executed today is better than a perfect plan executed at some indefinite point in the future.”
General George S. Patton, Jr


*********** HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

*********** I really like Wisconsin.  I like their style of play, I like their coach, I like the fact that they have a lot of Wisconsin kids on their team, I like their colors and their uniforms and I like what I see of the overall game atmosphere.  Oh - and their quarterback is a Philly kid whose uncle played at Miami and played against me many, many years ago.

I’d like to see them win a national title.

They play “big-boy football.”

But there’s that inescapable question:  who have they played?

There’s no getting around it - their best win so far has been over a so-so Michigan team that’s likely to get blown away by Ohio State.

There’s no question that Wisconsin’s unbeaten status owes a lot to the poor quality of opposition in its division, and you could make the argument that there are three teams - Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State - at least as good as they are in the other division.

But I won’t, because I like Wisconsin.

*********** K-State beat Oklahoma State.  Can Bill Snyder coach, or what?

*********** Army put 500 yards on North Texas, but couldn’t stop the Mean Green and lost, 52-49, at the gun.


*********** UVa  QB  Kurt Benkert was on fire Saturday, and the Cavaliers took Miami into the fourth quarter before the Hurricanes could put the game away.

Bronco Mendenhall is getting the job done in Charlottesville.

Meanwhile, his old school, BYU, suffered the indignity of losing to UMass.  How much lower can this once-mighty program fall?

It would be interesting if somebody with more time than I have  were to analyze the difference his presence has made at Virginia and his absence has made at BYU.

*********** Cliche alert:

“Positive yardage,” always used as “he gained positive yardage.”  (So how in the hell do you “gain” negative yardage?)

“Agression” when they mean “aggressiveness.”  Aggressiveness is spoiling for a fight; aggression is what results from aggressiveness.


*********** These people who wanted to change the names of schools named after persons named Lynch - what do they think of the latest football fad of rewarding good performance by draping chains around players’ necks?

*********** When UCLA’s punter hit one off to the right, the return man, who was on the other side of the field, did a masterful job of pretending the kick was coming to him, and he drew the attention of all the UCLA coverage guys.

Meanwhile, on the opposite side, a USC defender had sprinted back into position to field the sliced punt, and after doing so, ran in practically unopposed.

*********** Oregon got a good look at what might have been when QB  Josh Herbert, who broke his collarbone weeks ago, returned to the lineup. His passing, combined with the running of Royce Freeman and Tony Brooks-James and a defense that kept Arizona QB Khalil Tate bottled up, led the Ducks to a big win over the Wildcats.

*********** TOUCHDOWNS THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN BUT WEREN’T

An Arizona defender intercepted a pass and raced 60+ yards for a score but - tsk, tsk - he had to put on  show along the way. As he crossed the 10 yard line he felt compelled to turn and wag his finger at the pursuing Ducks.

North Carolina State was down 30-24 to Wake Forest in the closing minutes and a Wolfpack receiver dove for the goal line and reached out with the ball - and lost it.  It was ruled a touchback and Wake’s ball.  Wake held on to win.

*********** Wake Forest was up 30-24, deep in their own territory with :49 to play.  It was fourth down. NC State was out of timeouts.  My suggestion was to do the safe thing - avoid the possibility of a blocked punt and take the safety.

They didn’t listen.  No matter.  They got the punt off and then sealed the win by intercepting a State pass.

*********** Who would have thought that the matchup between two of the best passers in the country would turn out to be a defensive game?  Halfway through the third quarter, USC led UCLA 14-7.

*********** Duke lost to Army a week ago, but it wasn’t a total loss: going against Army’s triple option was great preparation for Georgia Tech, and the Blue Devils won, 43-20, holding Tech to just 83 second-half yards.

*********** Edmonton trailed Calgary, 32-25 in the final moments of the CFL’s Western semifinal.

The Eskimos had driven deep into Calgary territory, but on third down (that’s last down in Canada) with 1:50 remaining, Edmonton coach Jason Maas went for the field goal.

WTF? I was thinking.  Is there something about the Canadian game that I don’t know?

Apparently, whatever Maas’ thinking was, it wasn’t apparent to the announcers, either.

Edmonton kicked off and held, and at :24, Calgary had to punt - but the Edmonton return man fumbled the kick, and Calgary recovered.  Game over.

WTF?

After the game, the best explanation the announcers could offer for Coach Maas’ decision:  “Maybe he thought it was a six-point game.”

http://3downnation.com/2017/11/19/jason-maas-makes-inexplicable-decision-may-cost-esks-grey-cup-chance/

REAL PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL  WITHOUT THE NFL!

THE CFL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME - THE GREY CUP - IS  THIS COMING SUNDAY AT 6 PM EASTERN, 3 PM PACIFIC

*********** The Giants won a game!  The score?  12-9.  One touchdown and FIVE field goals.  And they still sell that sh— as entertainment.

Meanwhile the Eagles scored 37 points against the Cowboys, and only one of them was scored by a kicker.  It was 7-0 when their kicker was hurt.  From that point on, they didn’t attempt a place kick.  They were three-of-four on two-point PAT tries.  NFL football without a kicker can actually be fun to watch.

*********** Funny how last year Washington opened with a weak team or two and its strength of schedule was being questioned  at playoff time, but evidently it doesn’t matter when you play the weakies at the end of the schedule.  Alabama vs, Mercer?  Clemson vs. The Citadel?  Are you kidding me?

*********** It was all over for Michigan when QB Brandon Peters was knocked cold briefly in the third quarter.  Not sure now if he’ll play against Ohio State.

He wasn’t doing that poorly - 9 for 18 for 157 yards - before being hurt, but his replacement, John O’Korn, coming in cold and on short notice, struggled.

Wilton Speight, who opened the season as the starting QB, has been out since he cracked three vertebrae back in September, and although he’s cleared to practice, it’s only in a non-contact role.

So what to do?

Rather interesting that Jim Harbaugh, whose strength was supposedly quarterbacking, has come up so weak in that area: Michigan has started three different quarterbacks so far this season, and combined they are 147 of 269 for 1828 yards, eight TDs and eight interceptions.  Michigan ranks 11th in the Big Ten in passing yardage per game.  Think of it - right off the top of your head, any of you could name the three worst teams in the Big Ten - Indiana, Maryland and Rutgers.  And two of them have better passing games than the mighty Wolverines and the Nation’s Second-Highest Paid Coach.

*********** I’m not a socialist by any means.  I’m not so jealous of wealthy people that I think we ought to punish them by taxing the hell out of them, and I’m certainly not in favor of taking their wealth so it can be redistributed - passed along to our least productive citizens (let alone non-citizens).

But the rich sure do play in a different ball game.

Just to let you know where we - you and I, who still think being a “millionaire” means you’re rich - stand…

In Forbes Magazine’s list of the 400 Richest People in America, a personal wealth of $2 billion would leave you in a 12-way tie for 400th.


*********** The opposing quarterbacks lent a definite Washington flavor to the CFL’s Western semifinal game Sunday: Edmonton’s Mike Reilly played at Central Washington, while Calgary’s Bo Levi Mitchell played at Eastern Washington.

*********** Just as usually happens in the US, the young singer of the Canadian national anthem gave a beautiful song a mugging.

But the players endured it with dignity and poise, every single one - at least half of them American - standing until she was done.

*********** And then there’s super patriot Marshawn Lynch.  In Mexico City Sunday, before the Raiders faced  the Patriots, he sat out our national anthem, as is his custom - but stood for the Mexican national anthem.

Not surprisingly, since he is, to say the least, a rather uncommunicative sort, no one seems to know what his problem is with America and standing for the national anthem.

*********** No doubt you’ve heard about - or seen - Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield’s childish actions on the sidelines Saturday, in which he (1) evidently grabbed his crotch while suggesting that a Kansas assistant coach go f—k himself, then (2) evidently “showed disrespect” to Kansas fans sitting behind the OU bench, reminding them that their team had only one win and maybe KU should stick to basketball.

The argument goes on about whether this conduct should disqualify Mayfield from consideration for the Heisman Trophy, conveniently overlooking previous winners such as Newton, Winston and Bush.

He did deliver the required apology afterward, which, based on the number I’ve seen, sincere and insincere, I’d give about a 9 on a scale of 10, in which 10 is “he really is contrite.”  Unlike the “apologies” of the Three Thieves of UCLA, which were read, and sounded suspiciously as if they had been written by someone in the UCLA sports information department,  Mayfield’s was off the cuff, which immediately gave him sincerity points.

But perhaps in the furor over Mayfield, you didn’t come across the real story.  The news guys, in journalism terms, “buried the lead.”

The real story was that at the pre-game coin toss, the Kansas captains refused to shake Mayfield’s hand, declining even to make eye contact and keeping their hands down below their waists.  Mayfield, realizing what they’d done, clapped his hands three times, turned and ran to the OU bench.

The captains gave some lameass excuse for their unsportsmanlike action,

“Obviously, it wasn’t meant to be super disrespectful to them,” said one of them. “It was really just us trying to get our guys motivated and let Oklahoma know that we were there to play.”

They added that the snub wasn’t aimed at Mayfield - it’s just that he happened to be the first Oklahoman to extend his hand.

And from there, Oklahoma proceeded to give Kansas a well-earned 41-3 whipping.

Meantime, the Kansas head coach initially seemed not all that upset with his captains’ actions.  “I get it,” he said, adding,”I got a classy bunch of kids.”

http://www.kansascity.com/sports/college/big-12/university-of-kansas/article185465043.html

Hmm. Undoubtedly, someone got to him not long after that and suggested that if he intended to have a long career as a head coach, he was going to have to say something stronger, something to acknowledge his obligation to the game of football to leave it better than he found it.  So on Monday - two days later - he changed his tune, calling the players’ conduct  “unacceptable.” 

At the very least.

It was rude and unsportsmanlike and potentially inflammatory.  It could easily have led to an ugly scene before the game even started.

The NCAA Rule Book anticipated the sort of crap that those Jayhawks pulled :

The rules committee reminds head coaches of their responsibility for the behavior of their players before and after, as well as during, the game. Players must be cautioned against pre-game unsportsmanlike conduct on the field that can lead to confrontation between the teams.

Such action can lead to penalties enforced on the opening kickoff, possibly including disqualification of players.

Repeated occurrence of such unsportsmanlike behavior by a team may result in punitive action by the conference against the head coach and his institution.


Meanwhile, considering the blatant lack of sportsmanship and its potential for further problems, why didn’t the officials deal with it on the spot?

“Captain, am I to understand from what I’m seeing that you’re refusing to shake the opposing captain’s hand?”

“Yeah.” (I am assuming he wasn’t well-enough brought up to say, “Yes sir.”)

“That’ll be 15 yards assessed on the opening kickoff.”

“Hey!  You can’t do that.”

“Watch me. And one more word out of you and it’s your second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and you’re out of the game.”

Simple as that.  You’ve got the rules. Enforce them.


*********** We shouldn’t hold the University of Kansas’ lack of success in football against it.  After all, it’s got a more important goal - educating the young minds of America.  Unfortunately, KU sounds like a loser in that arena, too,  as evidenced by the Jayhawk student athlete who during the game against  Oklahoma took a dirty shot at Sooner QB Baker Mayfield, then later, on reflection, said, “I shouldna did it.”

http://www.kuathletics.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=8433

*********** A clock-management situation from Saturday’s action.

1. You’re down by seven.

2. It’s your ball, first and goal to go from the one.

3. Approximately 1:45 remains in the game.

4. Your opponent has all three time outs remaining.

5. Your opponents have the ability to drive into field goal range, and your defense hasn’t demonstrated the ability to stop them.
 
Q:  Do you score immediately,  on first down,  leaving your opponent with 1:30 - and all three timeouts - to set up a field goal?

Or do you run off two “don’t score” plays, in the expectation that they’ll either call time out or let the clock run down?


yale bowl***********  Yale defeated Harvard, 24-3, making it two in a row for Yale over the Crimson.

But to me, the big story was how in hell a school with all its facilities and all its money could play a game on a field that looked as sorry as the Yale Bowl did.  On national f—king TV.

I was somewhat prepared by a fellow Yalie who’d been to a game earlier in the season and was dismayed by the look of the grass.

But I wasn’t prepared for how bad it really looked.  It was brown in places, and mud started to show on the white shirts of the Harvards.  The commentators remarked on several occasions about the poor footing.

How does this happen where there's a real groundskeeper?  Raise your hand if you’ve ever been chased off a game field by a groundskeeper who was as proud of his grass  field as he was of his own children?    Maybe prouder.

What do you think a really dedicated groundskeeper would do if the head coach insisted on practicing - every day - on the game field?

That, my friend heard, is what has been going on at Yale.  Despite acres of green practice fields surrounding the Yale Bowl, they’ve been practicing on the f—king game field. 

Damn. I’ve coached at a resource-poor school for the past six years, and we had to practice on our game field.  We had no other field.  Counting our middle school team, which also practiced there, there were 40 kids on that field every day, and despite our best efforts to keep moving the drills around, we chopped the sh— out of it.  

Now, just imagine how much wear and tear a college team of 100 or so players can do to even the best of grass fields.

Here’s the worst: the word is that the coach had an ulterior motive for doing so - by beating the crap out of the field, he could graphically demonstrate to the powers that be the need to install artificial turf in the Bowl.

*********** Jim Mora is out at UCLA.  You don’t like guys to lose their jobs, but Holy Hell - he hasn’t been paid enough over the last six years (at least $3 million a year), now he’s getting a $12 million severance package to take a hike.

This is guaranteed to rouse strong feelings around the non-football parts of UCLA - maybe the entire University of California system.

What AD agrees to such a contract?  What coach is worth that kind of money?

Somebody fire me.  Please.

*********** No good deed goes unpunished.

I was opposed to President  Trump doing ANYTHING to facilitate the release of the Three Thieves of UCLA, moving them to the front of the line ahead of people who’d been held in China a lot longer than them but didn’t have the fame that comes from being American athletes.

Here's why:

(1) I believe that a slightly longer stay in China would have made for a more lasting lesson;
(2) I suspect that UCLA’s “indefinite suspensions” will last only until conference play begins;
(3) I wanted to see Lavar Ball try his line of bulls— on the Chinese;
(4) I knew that no matter what the President did, that fool  of a father would be ungrateful. 


*********** Arkansas announced a commitment from an outside linebacker named Bumper Pool.

*********** INNOVATIVE FOOTBALL 101

Good morning Coach,

While sitting here 8am my time drinking coffee and just swiping thru my phone on Facebook I came upon these pics that I've attached.

The ignorance of commentators and analysts still amazes me when even the ones that have played at the highest levels of football still lack knowledge of the history of the game and seem blind, ignorant or just plain out disrespectful to the past.

Any time a Spread team ads a new wrinkle these overpaid fools want call it innovative.  As if it has never been done before, that's the part that has me shaking my damn head...anyway, thought I share this with you because funny, I've seen this somewhere before Iowa State made it innovative...lol

Always look forward to chatting with you via email, text or live...give Connie and the family my best and happy upcoming holidays.

Regards,

Brian Mackell
Glen Burnie, Maryland

Coach Mackell has been with me almost since Day One.  He’s been at my clinics in at least five different cities - he’s always the first one in the room and he always sits in the front row - and he’s been helping me “field-test” the Open Wing. (I give him credit for suggesting the name.)

Like me, he enjoys a good laugh at the expense of “experts” whose knowledge of the game comes from what they see on TV. Take, for example, this screen shot he sent me...
IOWA STATE WILDCAT
Wow.  How innovative.

I’ve been working with this concept - the idea of being able to snap the ball to either one  of a pair of “quarterbacks” - since 1997, and I got it from someone else who'd been doing it before me.  And God knows where he got it.  The photo below was from an article I wrote in 1998 for Scholastic Coach Magazine.  This was the original “Wildcat.”  I first got the idea from a coach in Virginia, and over the years I got to compare notes with a great coach named Jerry Carle, who ran something similar at Colorado College. It’s fair to say that this original Wildcat, which some guys still run, was the foundation for my “Open Wing.”

LA CENTER WILDCAT


BUY THE WILDCAT VIDEOS: http://www.coachwyatt.com/prod.html

In fact, in 2016, I ran a fair amount of Open Wing  with the QB and Running Back  side-by-side, just like those innovative guys at Iowa State.

NB DBL QB


BUY THE OPEN WING VIDEOS:  http://www.coachwyatt.com/prod.html

THE HISTORY OF THE WILDCAT     http://www.coachwyatt.com/SCWildcatarticle.html

*********** INNOVATIVE FOOTBALL 101

stanford splits

Coach,

Check out the screen shot of Stanford OL during a 4th and one against Cal.

Look familiar?

John Bothe
Oregon Illinois

I laughed when I heard the announcer say something like “there aren’t any gaps!”

This, despite detractors saying “where are the holes?” is the basis of our offensive system.

Always nice when bright people show that we’re not as stupid as stupid people say we are!


*********** By now you may have read about the Navy skywriters - pilots, actually - who drew what was described as “an obscenity” in the skies over the small town of Okanogan, Washington.

The obscenity, we’re led to believe, was a human phallus.

Of course the crew will be punished.  It might even cost us a good pilot, which is a damn shame because any pilot good enough to produce nude art in the sky with a jet plane ought to be more than a match for any North Korean ace.

As a male, of course, I’m deeply offended at the idea that this was an “obscenity.”  As a free-living, tree-hugging Northwest liberal, I  defend nudity in all forms because the human body is beautiful.

Seriously, though, I had to laugh.  I told my son, who lives in Australia,  about it and, Australians being notoriously fun-loving, he said it sounded like a “very Australian” sort of thing to do.

I pictured myself as the crewman, trying to escape blame by claiming that I had absolutely no idea why the pilot was doing all those loops and rolls.


*********** QUIZ ANSWER - Long before there was Bear Bryant at Alabama, this man was  putting SEC football on the map.

A native Texan, he was an All-American lineman at TCU.

After service in the Navy in World War II, he wound up at Ole Miss and in 1947 he got the head coaching job there.  In his first year, with a Marine combat veteran named Charlie Conerly at tailback, he won the first conference title in school history.

That was just a start: in his 25 years at Oxford, he won 190 games, losing just 61 and tying 12.

HIs Rebels won five SEC championships. They played in 18 bowl games and won ten of them, including five Sugar Bowls.

His 1960 team finished 10-0-1 and won a share of the national championship but not the most prestigious - the AP and UPI - which were awarded  to Minnesota before the bowl games were played.  Minnesota lost to Washington in the Rose Bowl, which means that the Rebels almost certainly would have been national champions had the polling been done as it is now, after the bowl season.

Only two rival coaches had winning records against him: Bear Bryant of Alabama (7-6-1) and General Bob Neyland of Tennessee (3-2).

He is given credit for helping build high school football in the state of Mississippi to the point where most of his talent was home-grown.  (Mississippi still produces more Division I football players per capita than any other state.)

*********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JOHNNY VAUGHT
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON

***********  Former Ole Miss Chancellor Robert Khayat, who once played for Coach Vaught, remembered him as a coach:

“He was a quiet, strong and thoughtful man. I believe that his leadership skills would have led him to success in any endeavor. Regarding football, he kept it simple on offense and defense and prepared to attack the weaknesses of any offense or defense where they were most vulnerable. One unusual habit was to “run the same play until the other team stopped it.

“He emphasized blocking and tackling and special teams. We were kicking field goals at Ole Miss as early as 1954. Very few college teams worked on the special teams to the extent we did. Finally, and maybe most important, was his emphasis on conditioning. Every practice ended with 20 fifty yard sprints. He also assembled a staff of coaches, some of whom could have been head coaches at any university in the USA.”
(Couple of things that sounded like Old Coach Wyatt)

http://hottytoddy.com/2014/12/15/john-vaught-tcu-alum-ole-miss-legend-who-lit-up-square/

*********** QUIZ - Although he never coached in a Super Bowl, he was the first NFL head coach to win Division titles with three different teams.

He grew up in the Pittsburgh area, the son of a steelworker.

He captained the football team at Juanita College, and after graduation spent three years coaching high school in Pennsylvania.

He got his first college job at Wake Forest under Paul Amen, then moved on to Kentucky as an assistant to Blanton Collier and then Charlie Bradshaw.

From Kentucky, he was hired by Weeb Ewbank to coach the New York Jets’ offensive line.

He left the Jets to coach the Lions’ offensive line under Joe Schmidt, and in 1973 he was hired as head coach of the Los Angeles Rams, succeeding Tommy Prothro.

He traded QB John Hadl to the Packers, and replaced him with James Harris, the first black man to be a regular starter at quarterback.

From Los Angeles he went to Buffalo, and from Buffalo he went to Seattle.

He wound up his career by returning to the Rams for another go-round.

At Los Angeles, Buffalo and Seattle, he had winning records.

In all, he won 186 games and lost 147.

His fondness for the running game earned him the nickname “Ground Chuck.”





american flagFRIDAY,  NOVEMBER 17,  2017  -  “If the government made beer it would cost $80 a six pack.” President Gerald R. Ford


*********** Neil deGrasse Tyson is a world-renowned astrophysicist and director of New York’s Hayden Planetarium, but when he was asked in a Wall Street Journal interview what he would do if he was given a month off, he sounded as if he could have been a football coach:

“(I would) ask the people who gave me a month off why they pulled me away from what I love the most.”

*********** I hate to promote the idea of starting Christmas season a week or so before Thanksgiving, but  I’ve heard from a few coaches who’ve asked me about posting a list of books they might want to put on their Christmas list.

(This is by no means a complete list.  They're selected books that are in my library. Many of them are quite old and out of print and hard to find.  They’re likely to be expensive, too.  The reason so many of them are old is that there hasn’t been much really good inside-football stuff written by coaches in the last 30 or 40 years. In the old days, coaches wrote books to supplement their rather meagre incomes.  Today, they don’t need the money; they earn millions, and as it is they're paid by one shoe company or another to speak at their clinics, and - perhaps because they have so much at stake - they’re not inclined to share anything important  anyhow.)

WHAT I’D CALL “NUTS AND BOLTS” BOOKS - “HOW-TO” STUFF.

Aldrich, John - Single Wing With the Spinning Fullback - 1983 - Great illustrations and photos showing how to install and run this great offense

Andros, Dee and Smith, Red - Power T Football - 1971 - Dee Andros’ Oregon State teams had running backs with names like “Earthquake,” and his Beavers were always tough

Bible, Dana X - Championship Football - 1947 - The author is the man who built Texas into a Southwest Powerhouse.  There’s even a picture of Bobby Layne throwing the ball!

Bryant, Paul W. - Building a Championship Football Team - Prentice-Hall, 1960 - The Bear's master work - includes his explanation of Bum Phillips' defensive numbering system

Caldwell, Charlie - Modern Single-Wing Football - Lippincott & Co - 1951 - The first football book I ever owned, given to me as a Christmas present when I was a kid. Very technical, it took me years to understand it, but the section on the wedge alone was a real eye-opener for me

Camp, Walter - The Book of Foot-ball - 1910 - A collector’s item.  It’s written by the man who turned rugby into American football. Note the title: "Foot-ball" had not yet become one word.

Crisler, H. O. “Fritz” - Modern Football - 1949 - This is the Michigan program that Crisler developed at Princeton.  The architects of the Delaware Wing-T were Michigan men, and they adapted Crisler’s single wing to the newfangled T-formation to produce their offense.

Dietzel, Paul - Coaching Football - 1971 - As the title suggests, this is an overall treatment of all the things a coach needs to do to be successful

Dodd, Bobby - Bobby Dodd on Football - Coach Dodd enjoyed a fabulous career at Georgia Tech. He was an early adopter of the Belly Series, and one of its most successful practitioners, so as you might expect, there's a lot devoted to the offense.  But his defensive section is really interesting, and - perhaps because he had to face his old mentor, General Robert Neyland and his Tennessee single wing every year - he includes a look at defensing the single wing.  HIs section on special teams has been helpful to me on more than one occasion.

Dooley, Vince - Developing a Superior Football-Control Attack - 1969 - Lots of full-house and Wing-T stuff

Ecker, Tom and Calloway, Bill - Athletic Journal's Encyclopedia of Football - Parker Publishing, 1978 - A compilation of offensive and defensive ideas from top college and HS coaches

Ecker, Tom and Jones, Paul - Championship Football by 12 Great Coaches - 1962 - Broyles, Bryant, Curtis, Dodd, Engle, Faurot, Nelson, Nugent, Owens, Royal, Warmath, Wyatt (Bowden, that is)

Ellison, Glenn "Tiger" - Run and Shoot Football - Parker Publishing, 1965 & 1984 - The original offensive system, described by the Ohio high school coach who devised it

Evashevski, Forest and Nelson, David - Scoring Power With the Winged T Offense - Brown Co., 1957 - The original book on the offense now known as the Delaware Wing-T that took the football world by storm  (Nelson, coach of Delaware, actually wrote it - he invented the offense -  but Evashevski, coach at Iowa, was better known, so he got top billing.)

Faurot, Don - Football: Secrets of the Split-T Formation - 1950 - Coach Faurot invented the Split-T before World War II; when the War brought college coaches together from all over the US to coach service teams, he taught it to numerous other coaches who went on to success after the War.

Gather, Jake - The Split-Line T Offense -  1963 - Coach Gaither of Florida A & M had REALLY wide line splits, and with backs like Bob Hayes and Willie Galimore the Rattlers killed people

Graves, Ray - Ray Graves’ Guide to Modern Football Defenses - 1966 - A great overview of base offenses.

Hayes, Woody - Football at Ohio State - 1957 - (Soft Cover) Coach Hayes shows you the Ohio State stuff from stem to stern

Kramer, Roy - The Complete Book of the I Formation - 1966 - Coach Kramer was a championship coach and he became Commissioner of the SEC.  This is real background stuff.

Leahy, Frank - Notre Dame Football - The T Formation - 1949 - Leahy was one of the first big-time schools to adopt the T-formation and the Irish were so successful with it that lots of other coaches went to South Bend to learn from them

Lombardi, Vince - Vince Lombardi on Football - 1973 - a 2-part set that’s not overly technical but great reading.

Martin, Ben - Ben Martin’s Flexible T Offense - 1961 - The guy who built the Air Force Academy program used a lot of unbalanced Double Wing.

McKay, John - Football Coaching - Ronald Press, 1966 - The basics of the USC I-formation attack and his 5-2 Rover (Monster) defense - and much more

Meyer, L. R. “Dutch” - Spread Formation Football - 1952 - Dutch Meyer of TCU was so far ahead of his time, he was lining up in shotgun with “five wides” - in the 1930s!

Munn, Clarence “Biggie” - Michigan State Multiple Offense - 1953 - The Spartans ran from the T formation and the single wing - and sometimes they did both, direct-snapping the ball between the quarterback’s legs.  They won a national championship doing it.

Nelson, David M. - Football Principles and Play - Ronald Press, 1962 - The absolute best book ever written on the basic principles of offensive and defensive play. Although Dave Nelson is considered to be the father of the Delaware Wing-T, this book is general in nature and even in these days of spread, no-huddle offenses it could still be used as a coaching textbook.

Nelson, David - Anatomy of a Game - 1994 - Dave Nelson is most famous as the inventor of the Delaware Wing-T, still, more than 60 years later one of the most popular offenses ever developed.  But he also served for years on the NCAA Rules Committee, and this book, a history of the rules and how and why they came to be, was his life’s work.  In fact, it was incomplete at the time of his death, and was finished afterward. It is a wonderful reference work. If you can find a copy, you'll need money - it’s VERY expensive.

Olivar, Jordan - Offensive Football (The Belly Series) - 1958 - This was written by my college coach, a very bright guy who was one of the first to exploit the “new” Belly series.  It is an excellent resource.

Parseghian , Ara - Parseghian and Notre Dame Football - Doubleday & Co, 1971 & 1973 - Coach Parseghian's adaptation of the Wing-T offense and his Split-4 defense - and a whole lot more

Peterson, Bill - Building From the Start - Waco, Texas - 1971 - Coach Peterson was way ahead of the pack in employing the passing game.  He truly did build the Florida State program from a mere afterthought to one of the nation’s powerhouses, and he tells how to build a program in its entirety.  The book may be old but a lot of the stuff in it is timeless.

Pool, Hamp - Fly-T Football - Prentice-Hall, 1957 - I have to include this, because it first got me interested in coaching - it was my senior year in college, I was injured, and I was pressed into service coaching our intra-mural (yes, tackle football) team - Hamp Pool's Los Angeles Rams of the early 1950s put up incredible numbers because (1) he had one of the best assemblages of offensive talent ever put together on one team, and (2) he was light years ahead of other coaches in his offensive thinking. After four years of having played belly-T football, mostly from a full-house T backfield, I was blown away by the stuff I saw in this book. And doggone if it didn't work when I tried it!  That hooked me on coaching.

Reade, Bob - Coaching Football Successfully - Human Kinetics, 1994 - Back in the 1980s, several of the Wing-T coaches in the Portland area pooled our resources and flew Coach Reade out to put on a clinic.  He was great. His Wing-T wasn't my Wing-T, which was the Delaware version, but no matter - I got so much from listening to Coach Reade talk about offense, defense and football in general.  This,  clearly, was a man with information we could all use in our own programs.

Rice, Homer - Homer Rice on Triple Option Football - 1973 - The author was a successful high school coach in Kentucky and then at Cincinnati, and his concept of marrying a quick passing game with a veer running attack is really compelling

Rodgers, Pepper and Smith, Homer - Installing Football’s Wishbone-T Attack - Parker Publishing - 1975 - If you’re serious about running the ‘bone, even in a modern form, you ought to get this book.  Even if you just want to learn more about this offense that revolutionized our game, it’s a great resource.

Royal, Darrell and Sherrod, Blackie - Darrell Royal Talks Football - Prentice-Hall - 1963 - Not exactly “nuts and bolts” - Just some plain old coaching wisdom that I was badly in need of in my early days as a coach

Shaughnessy, Clark and Halas, George - The Modern “T” Formation with Man-In-Motion - 1946 - The offense that within weeks of each other won the Rose Bowl for Stanford and the NFL championship for the Bears

Smith, Homer - Handbook for Coaching the Football Passing Attack - Parker Publishing, 1970 - The great offensive coach's book on the passing game and its very basics - the fundamentals necessary for the simplest or most sophisticated passing attack

Tallman, Drew - Directory of Football Offenses - 1978 - incredible resource - pocket-sized diagrams of common formations - their strengths and weaknesses

Tallman, Drew - Directory of Football Defenses - 1980 - likewise

Waldorf, Lynn “Pappy” - This Game of Football - 1952 - Pappy Waldorf built the Cal Golden Bears into a West Coast powerhouse with a multiple offense as he transitioned from single wing to T-formation

Warner, Glenn Scobey - Football for Coaches and Players - 1927 - A collector’s item. Glenn Scobey Warner is THE Pop Warner.  Great drawings and illustrations of the football of that time.

Wilkinson, Charles “Bud) - Oklahoma Split-T Football - The master of the Split T discusses the ins and outs of what was forerunner of all of today’s option offenses

Zuppke, Robert - Coaching Football - 1930 - A real collector’s item.  The great Zuppke of Illinois was Red Grange’s college coach, and a true innovator

Coach of the Year Clinic Manuals, any and all you can get your hands on (I go back to 1970 with them) - contact Earl Browning, PO Box 22185, Louisville, KY 40252 (telecoach@mindspring.com)


Next,  I’ll try to put together a list of historical books and biographies.

*********** Okay, okay.  I’ll buy the NFL’s claim that Kaepernick has nothing to do with its declining ratings and attendance.  At least as far as Thursday nights, anyhow.  I mean, who in the hell likes watching football played in those gooney Thursday night costumes?

*********** Yale plays Harvard Saturday, and for that one day a year I put aside my disgust with my alma mater’s leftist leanings and pull for The Blue.

Yale’s freshman running back Zane Dudek is really good.  He’s got decent size: 5-10, 190. He’s really fast: in the spring of his junior year in high school he won the Western Pennsylvania 3A 100 meter dash with a time of  10.88 and last summer 4.43 40.  As a senior he averaged 300 yards a game in a tough western Pennsylvania conference, and this year he’s lighting it up in the Ivy League.  All the Ivies wanted him because on top of that he had a 4.- GPA in high school, but the only FBS schools to offer him were Kent State, Army and Air Force.

The obvious question is why?  Why did the Big Guys pass on him?

The most plausible answer is seldom mentioned  because it’s as stupid as it is ugly.

http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/high-school-football/2016/10/21/Why-doesn-t-Zane-Dudek-have-major-college-scholarship-offers/stories/201610210047

http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/high-school-football/2017/10/27/Zane-Dudek-running-back-Yale-football-Armstrong/stories/201710270019

*********** Last Saturday’s Alabama-Mississippi State was a classic.  I will confess that I was pulling for State because I like underdogs, and I admire what Dan Mullen has accomplished in Starkville, Mississippi, the Pullman, Washington of the South.  (No offense meant to Starkville or to Pullman - nice enough places, but far enough off the beaten path that they’re tough places to lure recruits to.)

The game went back and forth, with State jumping out to a lead that it could have held against anyone else.  But not against Alabama.

Bama showed me that it’s a championship team by the way, facing the specter of defeat, it went the length of the field to score the winning touchdown with under a minute to play.  And Bama’s Jalen Hurt, who is either the hardest running quarterback or the best throwing running back in America, earned my vote for Heisman.  Ironically, the fact that he plays for the best team in the country and his heroics are seldom needed will almost certainly cost him the honor.

*********** Sure is great to have the MAC back again in late season on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights.  It’s like the annual runup to Thanksgiving. Only one problem: I can’t think of a single team in the MAC that I don’t like, so it always hurts to see one of them lose.

*********** This weekend’s games:

First the tough ones:

Alabama over Mercer - I know that Bama had a tough one against Mississippi State, but I’m being on the Tide to snap back.

Florida State over Delaware State - We’ve got laws against sexual misconduct and child abuse - so how come we allow games like this to take place?

Clemson over The Citadel - isn’t it a little late in the season for “tuneup” games?

Now, then - on to real football…

Virginia at Miami - hate to say this, but Mark Richt notwithstanding, this Miami Cinderella story is going to get ugly again.  Fast.  Can you say, “Swagger?”

Michigan at Wisconsin - You just watch: Michigan beats Wisconsin.  And then the one-loss Badgers lose to Ohio State in the Big 10 championship game.  And the Playoff is up for grabs.

UCF at Temple - My upset of the day.  Because I’m a Philadelphian.

Fresno State at Wyoming - Two Mountain West  powers meet.  I go with the Cowboys at home.

Kentucky at Georgia - Oh, look! While everbody’s been looking elsewhere, Kentucky’s now 7-3. Georgia had better be careful.

Navy at Notre Dame - Not this year, Navy.  Navy beat SMU with a kid who’d never played before - how the hell does Niumatololo keep doing that? - but I think that ND will kick their ass this year.

Kansas State at Oklahoma State - Go KSU

Army at North Texas - Army is bowl eligible and in a month or so will be going to the Armed Forces Bowl, where its opponent will be - get ready for this - NORTH TEXAS. Again. 

LSU at Tennessee - Watch Tennessee, with an interim coach, play their butts off and beat LSU.

UCLA at USC - If the Trojans win, and then win the Pac 12 championship game… and Wisconsin loses to Michigan and then loses to Ohio State in the Big 10 championship game…and Auburn beats Alabama and then beats Georgia in the SEC championship game (can that happen?)… USC could still conceivably be in the Playoffs.  And if my aunt had balls…

Cal at Stanford - Cal isn’t ready to challenge the Cardinal in The Big Game.

Air Force at Boise State - Go Broncos!

Utah at Washington - anything’s possible with this Husky bunch.  They’d better be sharp, because next week they play the instate-rival Washington State Cougars, who have this week off.



*********** A little over a year ago, I received this from a friend who's a West Point graduate and said he got it from a classmate…

    In  Nashville, Tennessee, during the first week of January, 1996, more than 4,000 baseball coaches descended upon the Opryland Hotel for the 52nd annual ABCA's   convention.

    While I waited in line to register with the hotel staff, I heard other more veteran coaches rumbling about the lineup of speakers scheduled to present during the weekend. One name, in particular, kept resurfacing, always with the same sentiment — “John Scolinos is here? Oh, man, worth every penny of my airfare.”
    
    Who is John Scolinos, I wondered. No matter; I was just happy to be there.

    In 1996, Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948. He shuffled to the stage to an impressive standing ovation, wearing dark polyester pants, a light blue shirt, and a string around his neck from which home plate hung — a full-sized, stark-white home plate.

    Seriously, I wondered, who is this guy?
    
    After speaking for twenty-five minutes, not once mentioning the prop hanging around his neck, Coach Scolinos appeared to notice the snickering among some of the coaches. Even those who knew Coach Scolinos had to wonder exactly where he was going with this, or if he had simply forgotten about home plate since he’d gotten on stage.Then, finally …“You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck,” he said, his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility.

    “I may be old, but I’m not crazy. The reason I stand before you today is to share with you baseball people what I’ve learned in my life, what I’ve learned about home plate in my 78 years.” Several hands went up when Scolinos asked how many Little League coaches were in the room.

    “Do you know how wide home plate is in Little League?”
    
    After a pause, someone offered, “Seventeen inches?”, more of a question than answer.
    
    “That’s right,” he said. “How about in Babe Ruth’s day? Any Babe Ruth coaches in the house?”

    Another long pause.
    
    “Seventeen inches?” a guess from another reluctant coach.
    
    “That’s right,” said Scolinos. “Now, how many high school coaches do we have in the room?” Hundreds of hands shot up, as the pattern began to appear. “How wide is home plate in high school baseball?”
    
    “Seventeen inches,” they said, sounding more confident.
    
    “You’re right!” Scolinos barked. “And you college coaches, how wide is home plate in college?”

    “Seventeen inches!” we said, in unison.
    
    “Any Minor League coaches here? How wide is home plate in pro ball?”

     “Seventeen inches!”
    
    “RIGHT! And in the Major Leagues, how wide home plate is in the Major Leagues?”

    “Seventeen inches!”
    
    “SEV-EN-TEEN INCHES!” he confirmed, his voice bellowing off the walls. “And what do they do with a Big League pitcher who can’t throw the ball over seventeen inches?” Pause. “They send him to  Pocatello !” he hollered, drawing raucous laughter.

    “What they don’t do is this: they don’t say, ‘Ah, that’s okay, Jimmy. You can’t hit a seventeen-inch target? We’ll make it eighteen inches or nineteen inches.  We’ll make it twenty inches so you have a better chance of hitting it. If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.'” Pause.

    “Coaches…” pause, "… what do we do when our best player shows up late to practice? When our team rules forbid facial hair and a guy shows up unshaven? What if he gets caught drinking? Do we hold him accountable? Or do we change the rules to fit him? Do we widen home plate? The chuckles gradually faded as four thousand coaches grew quiet, the fog lifting as the old coach’s message began to unfold.

    He turned the plate toward himself and, using a Sharpie, began to draw something. When he turned it toward the crowd, point up, a house was revealed, complete with a freshly drawn door and two windows. “This is the problem in our homes today. With our marriages, with the way we parent our kids. With our discipline. We don’t teach accountability to our kids, and there is no consequence for failing to meet standards. We widen the plate!”
    
    Pause. Then, to the point at the top of the house he added a small American flag. “This is the problem in our schools today. The quality of our education is going downhill fast and teachers have been stripped of the tools they need to be successful, and to educate and discipline our young people. We are allowing others to widen home plate! Where is that getting us?”
    
    Silence. He replaced the flag with a Cross. “And this is the problem in the Church, where powerful people in positions of authority have taken advantage of young children, only to have such an atrocity swept under the rug for years. Our church leaders are widening home plate for themselves!  And we allow it.”
    
    “And the same is true with our government. Our so called representatives make rules for us that don’t apply to themselves.  They take bribes from lobbyists and foreign countries. They no longer serve us. And we allow them to widen home plate and we see our country falling into a dark abyss while we watch.”
    
    I was amazed. At a baseball convention where I expected to learn something about curve balls and bunting and how to run better practices, I had learned something far more valuable. From an old man with home plate strung around his neck, I had learned something about life, about myself, about my own weaknesses and about my responsibilities as a leader. I had to hold myself and others accountable to that which I knew to be right, lest our families, our faith, and our society continue down an undesirable path.
    
    “If I am lucky,” Coach Scolinos concluded, “you will remember one thing from this old coach today. It is this: if we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses and our children to the same standards, if we are unwilling or unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet the standard; and if our schools & churches & our government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve, there is but one thing to look forward to …” With that, he held home plate in front of his chest, turned it around, and revealed its dark black backside, “… dark days ahead.”
    
    Coach Scolinos died in 2009 at the age of 91, but not before touching the lives of hundreds of players and coaches, including mine. Meeting him at my first ABCA convention kept me returning year after year, looking for similar wisdom and inspiration from other coaches. He is the best clinic speaker the ABCA has ever known because he was so much more than a baseball coach. His message was clear: “Coaches, keep your players—no matter how good they are—your own children, your churches, your government, and most of all, keep yourself at seventeen inches."
    
    And this my friends is what our country has become and what is wrong with it today, and how to fix it.  "Don't widen the plate."  An absolutely great speech


    http://www.sperrybaseballlife.com/stay-at-17-inches/

Interestingly, the author of the piece turned out to be a guy named Chris Sperry, who was a high schooler in Vancouver, Washington when I was coaching there.  He went to a different high school and didn’t play football, but he was an American Legion teammate of several of my players who also played baseball.  After his playing days were over, he had a long and successful career as head baseball coach at the University of Portland.  I was so impressed that I had to write him to compliment him on his writing skills - and tell him how important a piece he’d written.


*********** I jumped the gun a little bit by making it sound as if the Florida job was going to be Scott Frost’s to turn down.  It seems there’s a LOT of interest in Gainesville in Chip Kelly.  John Canzano of the Portland Oregonian  writes that Florida would make a lot of sense to Kelly from the standpoint of his professional ambitions  after Oregon’s loss in the national title game to Auburn.  The big question, of course, is how he will answer the critics who claim that (1) defenses have caught up with his fast-paced offense and (2)  what he was doing at Oregon is no longer unique.  Who knows? Regardless, Chip Kelly is likely to have his choice of any number of jobs with the means and the desire to take it to the top.

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

OK...I know I've told you a number of times now how much I despise the NFL.  Well...if it's possible for me to despise them more than I already do...OK...I DO!

What the NFL pulled this past weekend goes beyond hypocritical.  And you can include FOX Sports in the mess broadcasting their pre-game show from Norfolk!  All of a sudden the NFL and its minions CARE about our veterans?  Just because it was Veterans Day we are suddenly gorged with NFL patriotism?  What a CROCK!!  The ONLY reason the NFL engaged in that over-blown salute to our veterans was to COVER THEIR ASSES, AND THEIR LOSSES!!

And I don't give a rat's ass if they widen the field or not, or make it mandatory for all all coaches to wear military clothing.  I ain't watching anymore so it won't matter a hill of beans to me.

I could just hear Bear Bryant's voice in that description of his encounter with the restaurant owner.  Great story!

That whuppin Auburn put on Georgia was something.  That whuppin Miami laid on Notre Dame was...embarassing.  Miami outplayed ND.  Miami out-coached ND.  Miami had a great game plan against ND.  Miami's support was like it was back in the days of the old OB, and when it really WAS the "U".  Brian Kelly better get his troops ready in a hurry this week because if they show up like they did against Miami...Navy just might put a whuppin on ND too!

Fresno State beat the distractions in Honolulu.  This week they will have to beat the weather, the altitude, and a heckuva Wyoming football team.  Tall order for the Bulldogs!

Minnesota beating Nebraska the way they did just about sealed Mike Riley's fate.  The Gophers will have to play like that again this week if they want to beat a surging Northwestern team in icy cold Chicago.

Have a great week.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** The world’s tallest shoplifters are safely back home,  in the warm, protective bosom of the UCLA basketball program.

They faced the possibility of years in a Chinese prison,  but thanks to some good words on their behalf from President Trump, who happened to be in China at the time, they were given special handling.

The President could have let their asses rot in China.  But being the racist that he is, he used his influence to bring them back to face the  “oppression” of a racist America.

Meantime, not so long ago, the State of California, in a grand bit of virtue-signalling, banned travel by sports teams from its state universities to several of our states that it deems to be guilty of human rights violations.  So there they are in the ludicrous position of telling teams they can’t go to North Carolina, because trannies aren’t free to use the bathroom of their choice - but they can go to China.

*********** Ever gone on Amazon to see how much they want for a left-handed monkey wrench, and then after that, every time you go online - doesn’t matter what the site -  there’s that damn monkey wrench popping up everywhere?

You might call it stalking. 

Or, you might call it taunting.

Monday, I went online to find  a picture of that toy-soldier jacket that the Steelers’ coaches wore Sunday, ever since then I can’t open a page on the Internet without seeing that damn coat.

*********** If you doubt that Notre Dame is a tough job, hard on a man, consider:  when Brian Kelly turned 56 a couple of weeks ago, he became  the second-oldest coach in Irish history.

Lou Holtz, 59 when he left, was the oldest.

Kelly nosed out Dan Devine for second place by a couple of months.

Knute Rockne, who was killed in an airplane crash, was the youngest, at 43.

Frank Leahy was only 45 when his health forced him to retire, and Ara Parseghian was just 51.

Of the Big Five - Devine, Holtz, Leahy, Parseghian and Rockne - who won at least one national championship at South Bend, only Holtz ever coached again after Notre Dame.


*********** Seems to me the week after you got your ass spanked on national TV is scarcely the time to be dressing in costumes, but I suppose when you’re Notre Dame and  have your own TV network called NBC, you can do whatever the hell you please…

http://www.espn.com/sportsnation/story/_/id/20380966/notre-dame-fighting-irish-unveil-new-rockne-heritage-alternate-uniforms

*********** A Tennessee State player has been expelled from school after twice punching the strength coach on the sidelines

https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/ncaafb/video-tennessee-state-player-expelled-after-punching-strength-coach-on-sideline/ar-BBEWebr?li=BBnb7Kz


*********** QUIZ ANSWER:  This was Duffy Daugherty talking, in 1976:

“The greatest thrill that I have had that I can remember in coaching is to see my colleague and close friend FRANK KUSH as Coach of the Year.

"I recruited Frank out of Windber, PA.  Frank was from a coal mining town near my home town of Barnesboro.  He came to Michigan State at 5-9 and 165 pounds.  He played first string for us in 50-51 and 51-52.  We lost only one game in his years at Michigan State. He played on a national championship team.  He was a unanimous All-American, playing middle guard at 180 pounds. 

"He went into the service and later came back to Michigan State.   Frank went to Arizona State with Dan Devine and later Dan moved to Missouri and Frank moved up as head coach at Arizona State and the rest is history.  He was 12 and 0 at Arizona State this year.  He is Kellogg’s Coach of the Year.  He has been my Coach of the Year for many years."

(Frank Kush built Arizona State into a national power.)


CORRECTLY IDENIFYING FRANK KUSH

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
DAVE POTTER - CARY, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
TIM BROSS - KIRKWOOD, MISSOURI
CHARLIE WILSON - CRYSTAL RIVER, FLORIDA (Frank Kush, who was every air conditioning salesman's favorite friend ("It's not the heat, it's the humidity".)   "I know fellas!  Let's go for a run in the Arizona country.  It's only 103 out…”)
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH, LAKEVILLE, INDIANA (Who reminded me that Frank Kush was the coach of “both” Colts - he was the Baltimore Colts’ head coach when that drunk, Bob Irsay, moved them to Indianapolis under cover of darkness)
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA


*********** In 1975 - ASU was 12-0 and beat Nebraska - and finished #2 - Oklahoma,  11-1 with a loss to Nebraska, is #1

Kush: ‘When we played our games on Saturday nights, the papers in New York were already out on the streets.”

*********** In an interview, Frank Kush reflects on his life…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PN1-mNODaNA


*********** Frank Kush was tough…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nNRK-TQfpE


*********** QUIZ - Long before there was Bear Bryant at Alabama, this man was  putting SEC football on the map.

A native Texan, he was an All-American lineman at TCU.

After service in the Navy in World War II, he wound up at Ole Miss and in 1947 he got the head coaching job there.  In his first year, with a Marine combat veteran named Charlie Conerly at tailback, he won the first conference title in school history.

That was just a start: in his 25 years at Oxford, he won 190 games, losing just 61 and tying 12.

HIs Rebels won five SEC championships. They played in 18 bowl games and won ten of them, including five Sugar Bowls.

His 1960 team finished 10-0-1 and won a share of the national championship but not the most prestigious - the AP and UPI - which were awarded  to Minnesota before the bowl games were played.  Minnesota lost to Washington in the Rose Bowl, which means that the Rebels almost certainly would have been national champions had the polling been done as it is now, after the bowl season.

Only two rival coaches had winning records against him: Bear Bryant of Alabama (7-6-1) and General Bob Neyland of Tennessee (3-2).

He is given credit for helping build high school football in the state of Mississippi to the point where most of his talent was home-grown.  (Mississippi still produces more Division I football players per capita than any other state.)


american flagTUESDAY,  NOVEMBER 14,  2017  -  “I feel that retired generals should never miss an opportunity to remain silent concerning matters for which they are no longer responsible.”   General H. Norman Schwarzkopf


*********** Call it whatever you want, but there was a certain element of karma in Saturday’s two biggest wins - Miami over Notre Dame and Auburn over Georgia.

Three years ago, Georgia told Mark Richt it was “going in another direction.”

Not that he was disliked at UGA - he’s a hard guy to dislike.  He’s a Christian gentleman. He’s personable, he lives a clean life and he treats people well.

And not that he wasn’t a good coach: in 15 years at UGA,   his overall record was 145-51 (.740) and his SEC record was 83-37 (.692).  Twelve of his 15 teams were nationally ranked.  He took the Bulldogs to 15 straight bowl games, and his bowl record was 9-5 (he was canned before he could coach in one final bowl game).

No, he was plenty good as a coach.  They just thought they could “do better.” What they really meant was they could “beat Alabama,” and since he didn’t do that (who did? who does?) he had to go.

So there the Bulldogs were, Saturday, losing not to Alabama but to Auburn.   Almost as bad.

And there, at just about the same time, moving up to take Georgia’s place in the polls - right up there with Alabama, of all people - was Miami.

Miami’s coach? Mark Richt.  The same.

*********** If you think power and influence don’t count for anything in college football, perhaps you can explain why Georgia and Notre Dame, who both got their clocks cleaned Saturday, are still in the Top Ten.

*********** Hoist by their own petard…

The Big 12, excluded from the playoff the past couple of years, seemed to feel that their problem was the fact that they didn’t have a conference championship game.  So it maneuvered and finagled and got itself a championship game, even though it doesn’t have the previously-required 12 teams, and now - oh, dear.  There’s Oklahoma, almost a sure thing to make the playoff under the old setup, now having to beat either TCU or Oklahoma State in the conference championship in order to qualify.  What the Big 12 has to fear is the possibility that, should either TCU or Oklahoma State upset OU, neither of them will get a Playoff spot.

And then there’s Notre Dame, which until Saturday’s defeat by Miami was in the catbird seat - keep winning and they’re in.  Being an independent means no conference championship to worry about.  But now, that lack of a conference - and a conference championship game - means there’s no chance for a meaningful win, nothing the Irish can do to improve their position.  They’re out.  Call it the price of selfishness.

*********** Larry Scott, Commissioner of the Pac-12, may be bringing in the money for member schools, but in terms of building the conference, he’s been a total failure. The Conference he inherited was co-owner (with the big Ten) of the Rose Bowl, one of football;’s most valuable franchises. Now, thanks to his mismanagement, the Pac-12 is fifth among the Power 5 Conferences in terms of power and prestige.

1. The addition of Colorado and Utah hasn’t done a damn thing for the conference except give it the 12 teams it needed so that it could then hold one of those useless “Conference Championship” games. There was a lot to be said for the round-robin schedule that was lost. 

2. The Pac-12 Network is a joke - it’s apparently several small networks devoted to games within each conference  region, which means that instead of getting the game that you want to see, you get the game that the Powers That Be have decided is the one you should be watching.  The Saturday daytime games are  limited in their reach, while the big-deal Game of the Day comes on in the evening, too late for all but the most dedicated fans and gamblers back East.

3. The Pac-12 is in bed with Fox, which in my opinion doesn’t know how to broadcast a game to serious viewers, defined as those who would still watch even if they didn’t have those dumbass transformers accompanying their graphics.

4. The Fox Saturday Night Pac-12 game is a real pain in the arse for anyone who has to travel a distance to get to the game - and then drive home afterward.  For people in the Northwest,  that  can mean late-night driving over snowy mountain passes.

5. The Pac-12 has allowed itself to play second fiddle to stupid events that no one watches. 

Example: those of us who tuned into Fox Sports 1 (FS1) - now there’s a network with a lot of reach - Friday night, hoping to watch Washington play Stanford, were dismayed to find that we were watching a truck race.  Well, actually, tow trucks, semi-racing to clear the track after a wreck, as a graphic informed us there were 19 laps to go.  And then racing resumed and - I don’t know where they have to go to find  drivers  who can’t make it once around the track without hitting a wall - another wreck.  Clear the track and restart. And then  another wreck. And then another restart.  All this in front of empty stands.  Who really cared?

We’ve tuned in to watch two ranked teams play FOOTBALL and the best the people at FS1 could do was to inform us with a tiny little crawler that the game we wanted to see was “CURRENTLY AIRING ON FS2.”  FS2? WTF?  I’d never even heard of it.  I didn’t even know whether we got it. 

Those of us wanting to see the football game that we’d already set our DVRs to record? “We’ll have it on here as soon as we’re finished,” we were informed by the announcers.  “Finished?”  It was like the Race With No End.

I finally found FS2.

Meanwhile, 45 minutes later, the Pac-12 game that was advertised nationally but  was shoved aside by a f—king truck race, came on FS1.

Now I ask you - what genius at Pac-12 headquarters negotiated a deal with Fox that allows them to give such short shrift to a big conference game with a national viewership?

Thanks a lot, Larry.  It doesn’t seem to have occured to you that from the standpoint of national exposure, the Pac-12 already starts out with the huge disadvantage of being in the Pacific Time Zone.  And when you finally have a chance to get a game between two ranked conference teams on national TV, you can’t allow it to be superseded by a f—king truck race.


***********  FROM JANUARY 2016 -

I don’t usually care much for All-Star games, but I made it a point to watch the East-West Shrine game Saturday, mainly because my friend Ralph Balducci’s son Alex, an Oregon Duck, was playing.

Naturally, I enjoyed watching Alex play on the defensive line, although I can’t imagine anything more boring than the drudgery of playing defensive line against an offense that seldom runs the ball and when it passes, gets rid of the ball immediately on some sort of wide receiver screen.

Although I had a hard time dealing with the idea of Indiana and Purdue in the West (I gave them a break on Western Kentucky) it did look almost like a real game simply because nobody swapped helmet decals.

But for me, this game was really worth watching because of former Oregon QB Vernon Adams.

To put it mildly, he was spectacular.  He made all kinds of throws, both on the run and in the pocket.  He extended plays in ways that a lesser athlete couldn’t have.  He threw long and short, with power and with touch.  He threw lasers and he threw them with accuracy.

Analyst Mike Mayock, who’s pretty knowledgeable about college players and their pro prospects, was excited.  Really excited. Said it was the best all-star game performance by a QB that he’d ever seen.  He all but said that the kid would get drafted, and said that if nobody in the NFL wanted him, he’d have a long career in the CFL.  Said he couldn’t wait to start looking at Oregon film.

Afterward, West Coach June Jones, a Mouse Davis disciple  who knows the spread passing game as well as anyone alive, was effusive in his praise.

Jones noted how accurate Adams had  been all week in practice.  And then he said something that I’d never heard - or thought of - before:  “There are two types of quarterbacks : the ones who get better during a game and those who get worse during a game.”

He clearly meant that Adams was one who got better.

Bear in mind, though, he didn’t get any taller.  He’s still just 5-11, which means he’s probably 5-9. Which means, of course, that  he’s too short to play in the NFL.  You know, the way Russell Wilson is too short to play in the NFL.

So why would he be good in the CFL, and not down here?

BECAUSE THE CANADIAN FIELD IS WIDER!!!

It’s 65 yards (195 feet). That’s 35 feet (11-1/2 yards) wider than the American field.

Look - is there anyone in the world who isn’t aware that today’s players are bigger and faster than they were just 20 years ago?  How about 50 years ago? 

So how come they’re still playing on a field that’s the same size  it was 100 years ago?

Come on, NFL owners - wake up!  Take that $650,000,000 that Kroenke’s going to pay you as a “relocation fee” so he can move from St. Louis to Los Angeles (Inglewood, actually) and instead of blowing it on large yachts and small islands - invest it in your game.  It works out to about $20,000,000 a team.  Take that money and remove the first half dozen rows of seats from your stadiums (they’re the crummiest seats in the house anyhow) and...

WIDEN THE FIELD!

After all the rules changes over the years, you’re about out of ways to goose the offense, but you could do it instantly  without having to change a rule.

You’d reintroduce into the game  the small, fast running back, and the small, fast receiver.

And you’d overcome your current quarterback deficiency by opening up the game - and the position - to smaller guys who can run - you know, what they used to call “black quarterbacks.”  Instead of turning a Vernon Adams into a slot back or a return man, or chasing him north to Canada, he might turn out to be the saviour of your franchise as your quarterback.

Yes, it would force your offensive coaches to get out of the box they’re in right now. Why, we might even see  some of the exciting stuff we’re used to  seeing  in  college games.  Maybe some option, even.

An unintended benefit - with defensive backs spread out more, there’d be fewer opportunities for them to  take those cowardly shots at defenseless receivers that threaten our game.

Wait!  What was I thinking?  That's it!  This is a safety measure!  It’s for the good of the players!

That alone ought to be enough to sell it to Congress.

But just to be sure,  a few  free tickets to the Super Bowl ought to be enough to help persuade our nation's lawmakers to pass the Omnibus Football Workers’ Safety Act  providing $2 billion of US taxpayer dollars to widen all stadiums in which “Football Workers” are employed. (For their safety.)

So go ahead, NFL owners - go ahead buy those yachts and islands.

*********** In terms of usefulness, it doesn’t get much better than my collection of Coach of the Year manuals, dating back to 1970.  To go through them is to see the evolution of our game over the last 40 years.

I strongly recommend them. Go online and check them out.

I was just looking through the 2012 Manual the other day and I came across a presentation by Chip Kelly entitled “Practice Organization: The Key to Success.”

Reading through it, I found a great illustration of what commitment to the success of the team means.

    When you sacrifice for the team, the ultimate success of the team is bigger than any success the player could gain individually.  If they cannot understand that, they need to go play an individual sport. Tony Dungy’s son Eric is on our team. Two years ago, Tony came to speak to our team in preseason camp. He said he had one message to get across: “The ultimate teams have one thing in common.  They have players on their team that are willing to sacrifice.” He asked the team if they wanted to be in Glendale, Arizona on January 10, 2011, playing for the national championship.  All the players raised their hands.

    All our receivers sat in the same area. He asked them to hold up their hands if that was their goal. They all held up their hands.  Then, he asked them if they would want to be there in the championship game if it meant not catching a ball all season. Some of the players took their hands down.  He told them he appreciate their being honest with him, but that that was what a team is all about.  The individual has to sacrifice his individual accolades for a team accolade.  That is the ultimate sacrifice for a wide receiver.  He has to be willing to do that.

    It’s interesting that the wide receivers have to think about the question, when the offensive line does that all game long. No one asked them what they were willing to sacrifice because they do it all year long. That group is a unique group in their own right.  They shop for clothes at True Value Hardware.  The only thing they want is to change the snap count occasionally. 

*********** I don’t know where I found this, but it’s a great story attributed to famous Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant…


I had just been named the new head coach at Alabama and was off in my old car down in South Alabama recruiting a prospect who was supposed to have been a pretty good player, and I was having trouble finding the place.

Getting hungry, I spied an old cinderblock building with a small sign out front that simply said "Restaurant." I pull up, go in, and every head in the place turns to stare at me. Seems I'm the only white fella in the place. But the food smelled good, so I skip a table and go up to a cement bar and sit. A big ole man in a tee shirt and cap comes over and says, "What do you need?"

I told him I needed lunch and what did they have today?

He says, "You probably won't like it here. Today we're having chitlins, collard greens and black-eyed peas with cornbread. I'll bet you don't even know what chitlins are, do you?"(small intestines of hogs prepared as food in the deep South)

I looked him square in the eye and said, "I'm from Arkansas , and I've probably eaten a mile of them. Sounds like I'm in the right place."

They all smiled as he left to serve me up a big plate. When he comes back he says, "You ain't from around here then?"

I explain I'm the new football coach up in Tuscaloosa at the University and I'm here to find whatever that boy's name was, and he says, "Yeah I've heard of him, he's supposed to be pretty good." And he gives me directions to the school so I can meet him and his coach.

As I'm paying up to leave, I remember my manners and leave a tip, not too big to be flashy, but a good one, and he told me lunch was on him, but I told him for a lunch that good, I felt I should pay. The big man asked me if I had a photograph or somethingI  he could hang up to show I'd been there. I was so new that I didn't have any yet. It really wasn't that big a thing back then to be asked for, but I took a napkin and wrote his name and address on it and told him I'd get him one.

I met the kid I was looking for later that afternoon and I don't remember his name, but do remember I didn't think much of him when I met him.

I had wasted a day, or so I thought. When I got back to Tuscaloosa late that night, I took that napkin from my shirt pocket and put it under my keys so I wouldn't forget it. Back then I was excited that anybody would want a picture of me. The next day we found a picture and I wrote on it, "Thanks for the best lunch I've ever had."

Now let's go a whole buncha years down the road. Now we have black players at Alabama and I'm back down in that part of the country scouting an offensive lineman we sure needed. Y'all remember, (and I forget the name, but it's not important to the story), well anyway, he's got two friends going to Auburn and he tells me he's got his heart set on Auburn too, so I leave empty handed and go on to see some others while I'm down there.

Two days later, I'm in my office in Tuscaloosa and the phone rings and it's this kid who just turned me down, and he says, "Coach, do you still want me at Alabama ?"

And I said, "Yes I sure do." And he says OK, he'll come.

And I say, "Well son, what changed your mind?"

And he said, "When my grandpa found out that I had a chance to play for you and said no, he pitched a fit and told me I wasn't going nowhere but Alabama, and wasn't playing for nobody but you. He thinks a lot of you and has ever since y'all met."

Well, I didn't know his granddad from Adam's housecat so I asked him who his granddaddy was and he said, "You probably don't remember him, but you ate in his restaurant your first year at Alabama and you sent him a picture that he's had hung in that place ever since. That picture's his pride and joy and he still tells everybody about the day that Bear Bryant came in and had chitlins with him..."

"My grandpa said that when you left there, he never expected you to remember him or to send him that picture, but you kept your word to him and to Grandpa, that's everything. He said you could teach me more than football and I had to play for a man like you, so I guess I'm going to."

I was floored. But I learned that the lessons my mama taught me were always right. It don't cost nuthin' to be nice. It don't cost nuthin' to do the right thing most of the time, and it costs a lot to lose your good name by breaking your word to someone.

When I went back to sign that boy, I looked up his Grandpa and he's still running that place, but it looks a lot better now. And he didn't have chitlins that day, but he had some ribs that would make Dreamland proud. I made sure I posed for a lot of pictures; and don't think I didn't leave some new ones for him, too, along with a signed football.

I made it clear to all my assistants to keep this story and these lessons in mind when they're out on the road. If you remember anything else from me, remember this. It really doesn't cost anything to be nice, and the rewards can be unimaginable.

Steelers army jacket*********** It’s called “stolen valor,” and it’s an unspeakable insult to any honorable service member.  It’s falsely claiming to have earned a medal or ribbon or other military honor.

No, it wasn’t “stolen valor” that I saw on Sunday, but what the NFL did was at the very least unseemly, outfitting the coaching staffs on all its teams with faux Army jackets which Nike, always eager to make a buck, called the “NFL Salute to Service.”

(We used to be able to go to an Army surplus store and get stuff like this - made in America - for maybe $20.  These, official Nike gear - made someplace in Asia - will set you back upwards of $100.)

I have to admit that I was a big angered when I saw Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin wearing a jacket that even looked as if there was some sort of ribbon on his chest.  The same Tomlin who reprimanded tackle Ali Villanueva, a real Army veteran who saw real combat in three tours of duty in Afghanistan, for standing alone on the field and saluting the flag while his teammates cowered* unseen in the tunnel. (* If any NFL player is reading this, no one is calling you a “coward.”)

But it was Veteran’s Day weekend, and we all know now that the NFL players never meant to disrespect our service people (they told us so) so there was Generalissimo Tomlin and his staff looking almost like real soldiers in their “NFL Salute to Service” costumes.

I don’t blame the coaches for wearing this stuff.  They get their orders from Headquarters and they do what they’re told.  I did notice one guy conspicuously out of uniform, though - Bill Belichick.

*********** You could have made a lot of money if you’d offered to bet me back in July that I’d be taking Jerry Jones’ side on anything.  I’d have taken that bet for sure,  but here we are, with Ole Jerrah fixin’ to take on Roger the Dodger Goodell -  and I’m waving my GO JERRY GO! pennant.


*********** With all that it’s been through the past couple of seasons - post Kaepernick -  I hear the NFL people saying they wish they could get people back to talking about football again.

But it’s hard to believe they’re serious  when the halftime “entertainment” on Sunday night’s NFL game was an interview with Uncle Joe Biden. (Remember him?)

The NFL doesn’t have enough problems as it is - it had to drag Old Joe out of wherever he’s been.  He’s certainly not controversial. They thought it would be cool to hold the interview in a tavern - a football-type setting, to be sure, but a highly unlikely place for a non-drinker whose beverage of choice at the so-called Beer Summit years ago was non-alcoholic “beer.”

Why Joe?   Well, Hillary wasn’t available.  (Actually, I lied.  We all know that Hillary, being a great football fan, would have loved to do the interview, where she’d tell us that she’d just learned that she was not named for Sir Edmund Hillary, as she’d once mistakenly claimed, but for Hillary Chollet, a star Cornell running back from the 1940s. )

No, the reason was that like every other guest you see on TV shows these days, Joe, a reformed plagiarizer, is pushing a book he “wrote.”

*********** My attempt to have a little fun at the expense of Hillary Clinton led me to do a little research into Hillary Chollet (pronounced “sholl-LAY” - it’s Cajun French. (I remembered the name from when I was a kid and the Penn-Cornell game was THE Thanksgiving Day game in Philly.) And this is what my research produced:

“White Coat and Sneakers” by Hillary Chollet

Description: It’s a story that engenders pride and determination in the hearts of Americans everywhere: a young man, Hillary Chollet, is born the great-grandson of a slave – he’s accepted at Tulane University but they rescind their offer because his skin is too dark. So he moves on…to Cornell University, where he is a football and basketball legend, earns his medical degree and becomes a surgeon. In the incredible new book White Coat and Sneakers Hillary Chollet’s son, Hillary Chollet Jr., takes readers on a thought-provoking journey from modern day Los Angeles to turn-of-the-century Louisiana.

https://www.amazon.com/White-Coat-Sneakers-Hillary-Chollet/product-reviews/0615757863/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_show_all_btm?ie=UTF8&reviewerType=all_reviews

*********** Add “matchup” (as in the matchup of a running back against a linebacker) to your list of dreary football announcer cliches

*********** QUIZ: Marv Levy is a graduate of Coe College, and he has a Master’s Degree from Harvard in English History.

At three different colleges - New Mexico, Cal and William and Mary - his overall record was only 45-60-5.

But his pro record, with one CFL team and two NFL teams was considerably better: 186-143-4.

Mark Levy is considered to be the first of all special teams coaches, given that title by George Allen, under whom he served in Los Angeles and Washington.

He ran the wing-T at Kansas City - and led the league in rushing.

Marv Levy won two Grey Cups as head coach at Montreal and coached the Buffalo Bills  to four consecutive Super Bowls.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING MARV LEVY

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS (I have an old VHS tape somewhere where he explains how he coached special teams.  Really good stuff!
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH -LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
BILL BRUNING - BARKER, NEW YORK
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
DAVE POTTER - CARY, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN GRIMSLEY - JEFFERSON, GEORGIA
MIKE FORISTIERE - MATTAWA, WASHINGTON

*********** They called them “Marvisms:”

"Where else would you rather be than right here, right now!"

"When it's too tough for them, it's just right for us!"

"What it takes to win is simple, but it isn't easy."

"If Michelangelo had wanted to play it safe, he would've painted the floor of the Sistine Chapel."


*********** A poem by Marv Levy - I wish I had found it before Veterans' Day:

But now, faster and faster the years fly by.
And many of my dear pals have said, 'Good-bye.'

And even if today's world now considers us old,
They should have seen us when we were young and bold.
I'll remember that time when we went off to war
And then returned to a world that was better than before.
I'll remember all those with whom I served,
The Greatest Generation, a title deserved.

*********** A great article on Marv Levy -

https://sports.vice.com/en_us/article/ez39q4/the-long-wondrous-life-of-marv-levy

*********** It was late winter, 1975, and I was out of work.  The World Football League had gone broke, and while assorted owners tried to pick up the pieces and maybe make another go of it, I was unemployed.

A great place to go if you’re an unemployed football guy is the American Football Coaches Convention, and that year it happened to be in Washington, DC, less than two hours from my home in Hagerstown, Maryland.  (Although I’d spent the previous year in Philadelphia,  I very quickly saw how shaky things were in the WFL, so moving my family to Philly was never a consideration.  Fortunately, I was able to stay with my wife’s family and I managed to get home when I could.)

At the AFCA convention, I heard Marv Levy, the coach of the Montreal Alouettes speak, and I watched his team’s  highlights.  Between sessions, I walked up to him, introduced myself, and handed him a resume.

The weeks  went by.  I worked at odd jobs and worked the phones, trying to land another job in football.  One thing led to another and I got to know a football executive named Bob Brodhead.  He was highly recommended as a football guy, with a background as a player at Duke and then with the Continental League champion Philadelphia Bulldogs (coached by Wayne Hardin), as Arthur Modell’s right hand man with the Cleveland Browns and - briefly - as General Manager of the Houston Oilers.  (He’d been hired as the Oilers’ GM and had held the job for exactly one day before leaving and returning to Cleveland. Bob’s dead now, and I regret never pressing him to find out why he walked away, but I suspect he quickly found out that Oilers’ owner Bud Adams was not the easiest man to work for.)

Bob and I continued to talk regularly, and as it began to appear that the WFL was going to come back for another try, he was in demand, courted by ownership groups in San Antonio, Jacksonville and Portland, and he asked me if I would be interested in working with him.  Of course, I told him.  By that point, there was no question about my interest, but I was still unemployed and I was still a bit gunshy and I half-jokingly said that, given my choice, after having been to all three places the previous season and now looking at them as places to be stranded if the league should fold once again, Portland was easily my preference.

Bob made his choice - he'd go to Portland  as GM- and in late April I drove out to his home outside Cleveland and had dinner with Bob and his wife and he formally offered me a job as assistant general manager and PR Director. 

I arrived back home rather excited. My wife and I had talked many times over the past few months about all that we’d have to do in the event I got a job and we had to move, but now it was serious - I had to get to the West Coast in a couple of weeks, and my wife and our four kids had to get ready to move cross-country as soon as school was out.

I can still picture the scene.  It was a Saturday afternoon.  As we sat and talked, the phone rang.

It was Marv Levy. He was calling from Montreal.  His Player Personnel Director had just left for another job, and he wondered if I’d be interested.

Are you kidding me? What were the odds?

Two days before, I’d been unemployed.  Now, there I was, looking forward to starting a great job in a great location, working for a guy I knew that I would like - when out of the blue came an offer to work for another very impressive person in one of the most exciting cities (to me) in the world.

And I had to turn him down.

Who knows where it could have led if he’d called two days earlier?

I do believe, after all I’ve seen and done since, that I’m where I was meant to be, and it wouldn’t be that way if I hadn’t come to Portland, Oregon to work with Bob Brodhead.

No regrets.  I’m happy with where my life has taken me.

But I do know that Marv Levy is one man that I really would have enjoyed getting to know.


*********** QUIZ:  This was Duffy Daugherty talking, in 1976:

The greatest thrill that I have had that I can remember in coaching is to see my colleague and close friend _______   _______ as Coach of the Year.

I recruited —— out of Windber, PA.  ———- was from a coal mining town near my home town of Barnesboro.  He came to Michigan State at 5-9 and 165 pounds.  He played first string for us in 50-51 and 51-52.  We lost only one game in his years at Michigan State. He played on a national championship team.  He was a unanimous All-American, playing middle guard at 180 pounds. 

He went into the service and later came back to Michigan State (as an assistant coach).   ——  went to Arizona State with Dan Devine and later Dan moved to Missouri and ——— moved up as head coach at Arizona State and the rest is history.  He was 12 and 0 at Arizona State this year.  He is Kellogg’s Coach of the Year.  He has been my Coach of the Year for many years.

(He built Arizona State into a national power.  Who was he?)




american flagFRIDAY,  NOVEMBER 10,  2017  -  “The best way to change a bad law is to rigorously enforce it.”  Abraham Lincoln


HAPPY BIRTHDAY USMC!


*********** In the United States, we now call November 11 “Veterans Day.”

For the Allied Countries that fought in World War I, November 11 was originally Armistice Day, or Remembrance Day.  It commemorated the end of fighting on the Western Front at the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918.”

For years it was the custom in the United States - in many parts of the world,
it still is - to observe a moment of silence at  11:00 AM local time.  As a sign of respect, one minute of silence is devoted to the approximately 20 million people who died in what was once called  “The War to End All Wars,” and a second minute of silence is dedicated to the mothers and fathers, wives, children and families of those who fell in battle.

Wherever you happen to be at 11 AM on the 11th (Saturday),  take a couple of minutes to honor our veterans, who gave years of their lives - in many cases, life itself -  so that we could live our lives safe from foreign enemies.

And if people ask why you're so quiet - tell them.


*********** MY WEEKLY COLLEGE SCHEDULE - SUBJECT TO CHANGE ANY TIME THE GAME I’M WATCHING STARTS TO SUCK OR I GET WIND OF ANOTHER GAME THAT’S WORTH WATCHING

THURSDAY NIGHT
North Carolina at Pitt - Tar Heels are 1-8.  Unbelievable.  It’s probably because they’re not used to having to wake up to go to class every day.  Damn, those Dorsett-era Pitt uniforms look good

FRIDAY NIGHT
Washington at Stanford.  Watch - this is the game Stanford puts it all together - and there goes any chance the Pac-12 had of getting a team in the Playoff

SATURDAY 9 AM
Michigan State at Ohio State -  My heart says Spartans but my head says never bet on a college team that’s coming off a big win.

Oklahoma State at Iowa State - I think the Cyclones are going to have to pay for the Cowboys’ loss to OU last Saturday

Duke at Army - I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Army is very physical and if Army plays the way it played against Air Force last Saturday, it will win.  However - see what I say about Michigan State-Ohio State

Nebraska at Minnesota - a game that still has meaning for the participants

Georgia at Auburn - I’m going with Auburn, mainly because I want the Iron Bowl to be REALLY big

Iowa at Wisconsin - Wisconsin (See what I say about Michigan State-Ohio State)

West Virginia at Kansas State - Two teams that I like, but EMAW! 

Washington State at Utah - Hope the Cougs can keep winning

Alabama at Mississippi State - State could be tough in Starkville, but Bama is just so damn good.  Like all the great teams I’ve seen over the years,  in various sports, they just don’t beat themselves.

Notre Dame at Miami - Could be the game of the day.  They’ve tried to play up the Catholics vs Convicts theme, but that was another lifetime ago.  Today’s Miami players are at lot better behaved, and there are those who’ll tell you Notre Dame doesn’t always act like it’s a Catholic school.

TCU at Oklahoma - I’ll pull for the Frogs, but I think OU smells a spot in the Playoff

Arizona State at UCLA - Because there's not much else on then

Oregon State at Arizona - Likewise

Wyoming at Air Force - Come on, Cowboys!

Boise State at Colorado State - Worth watching

Fresno State at Hawaii - It comes on at 8 PM Pacific, so I won’t stay up to watch it all, but what a job Jeff Tedford has done in getting Fresno State back to prominence, and what a job Marcus McMaryion has done at QB for the Bulldogs.  (He transferred from Oregon State after losing his job to a JC transfer. And then the JC transfer got hurt, and the offense that was built around him crumbled - and so frustrated by events was OSU coach Gary Andersen that he quit in mid-season.)

http://www.oregonlive.com/beavers/index.ssf/2017/11/marcus_mcmaryion_happy_with_li.html



IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO BE A BLACK LION AWARD TEAM THIS SEASON!

Black Lion Page
Black Lion Cert and Patch


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BLACK LION AWARD!

SIGN YOUR TEAM UP: blacklionaward@mac.com


*********** I don't give MVP awards in a team sport.  We award for perseverance, community service, academics, etc. and of course, the Black Lion.  If you want to change the culture, then reward the behavior you'd like to see.

Dave Potter
Head JV Coach
East Wake High School
Wendell, North Carolina


*********** Funny how the mainstream media seem not to be doing much with the story of the three geniuses on the UCLA basketball team who are accused of having shoplifted while in China on a “goodwill” tour.

Forget that most of us who take high school teams on out-of-town trips expect - and get - better behavior from our kids…

Let’s just assume for a minute that they turn out to be guilty. (It’s said that Chinese prosecutors  win 90 per cent of their cases.)  If so, they are in deep sh—.  They are in China now,  not The Land of the Second Chance.

They could be looking at years in stir.   For what? For a pair of sunglasses?

The first thing we have to do is dispense with any of the usual lameass excuses we hear in the States, especially the poverty bit.  Not  in any way were these deprived young men,  forced by family circumstances to steal in order to feed their families.

Why, other than because of an enlarged sense of entitlement, would privileged young college basketball players steal something they could easily have afforded to buy?

This story needs to get more play, as a great lesson for young people everywhere:  behavior that may be acceptable in the circles you run in isn’t accepted everywhere.

*********** Like it or not, the jackals are creeping in, waiting to feed on the corpses of failed college coaches.  (NFLPA Figure of Speech alert:  There aren’t really any jackals running wild in North America, and even if there were, there wouldn’t - literally - be corpses of college football coaches for them to feed on.)

Jim McElwain is already gone at Florida. 

Other high-profile places that could be looking for coaches: Nebraska, Tennessee, Texas A & M, UCLA.  Maybe Arkansas.

And then there’s the domino effect: maybe after one or more of those jobs comes open it’s filled by a coach at another big-time school.  And so it goes.

One thing you can bet on: Scott Frost will be employed next year.  Somewhere.

He can probably stay at Central Florida as long as he likes.  They might even find a way to match the bigger schools dollar-for-dollar (although I doubt it).  And without leaving the state of Florida he can find all the players he needs to be a consistent winner at UCF . 

Just one problem.  Like any good coach, he has to be ambitious, and it ought to be pretty clear to him right now that his ambitions aren’t going to be realized at Central Florida.  Look, they’re undefeated - one of only five undefeated teams remaining in FBS - and yet they’re ranked no higher than 18th.  He’s smart enough to figure out that even if there were a 16-team playoff, Central Florida wouldn’t be in it!

Therefore, I predict that the only reason he’ll stay at UCF is if he isn’t given everything he wants at some Power Five school, and surely one of them will meet his terms.

So where’s he going to go?

He’s a Nebraska native, and he played for the Cornhuskers.  And based on what new NU AD Bill Moos had to say at his first press conference, he’ll be at the top of the list if Mike Riley gets the boot:  “Scott has a great résumé. He has both coached and played the game on both offense and defense. He has learned from some of the great football minds in the business. … He’s got the full package. Of course he does have the roots here, raised in the state of Nebraska and playing for the icon that Tom Osborne is. Scott is going to coach in a Power Five conference and probably sooner than later.”

But I predict that he turns Nebraska down. Nebraska doesn't offer the advantages that it once did.  Television money means that EVERY Power Five school has the means to go head-to-head with the Cornhuskers for coaches and recruits.  

Where will he go, then?

Florida.  It's got everything a coach could want. Of all the projected openings, Florida is the last to win a national championship - the only one of those schools to win one in this century. Florida, in my opinion, is the place where it’s most reasonable to expect another championship any time soon.  The big hitters at Florida - the Bull Gators - are tired of SEC mediocrity and I predict they’ll see to it that Florida is a good fit for Scott Frost.

*********** Meanwhile, there’s Iowa State.   Can’t we get some kind of agreement to let the Cyclones’ fans enjoy their season? Their team won some very big games over Oklahoma and TCU, and brought an excitement to Ames that hadn’t been felt in years.  Yet before the season was even half over, the guys doing their broadcasts were already speculating about coach Matt Campbell’s “future” (broadcasters’ code for “where’s he going next?”).

*********** I wrote this back in December of 1998…

Just finished talking to my high school coach, Ed Lawless, back in Pennsylvania. He is a single wing guy, and he agrees with me that the offense is made to order for the so-called "slash"  player - imagine Kordell Stewart as a single wing tailback!  In fact, a lot of what Kansas State does with Michael Bishop out of their "shotgun" sure looks like single wing stuff to me. Some of the guys I've seen just this year - Akili Smith at Oregon, Ortege Jenkins at Arizona, Corby Jones at Missouri - convince me that it's just a matter of time before somebody brings back the single wing. (Whether they'll have the guts to call it by that name is another matter! )  Ed played his college ball in the late '40s, at Penn, then a single-wing power whose center was Hall of Famer Chuck Bednarik. Penn's George Munger was one of the East's top coaches, and year in and year out, his Quakers held their own against the nation's best, but when Penn's administration decided to join the no-scholarship Ivy League, while still honoring its long-term scheduling commitments against the likes of Notre Dame, Penn State, Virginia Tech and California, Coach Munger said no thanks - and retired. His successor, Steve Sebo, was a good football man, but he should have listened to George Munger: his teams would lose more than 20 games in a row before Penn's schedule finally came down to the level of its talent. Coach Munger, incidentally, made do with a staff of only three assistants, one of whom was his long-time line coach, Rae Crowther . In coaching the offensive line, Coach Crowther (rhymes, by the way, with "brother) was considered a master technician who had few equals. So into the techniques of blocking was coach Crowther that he invented and patented the blocking sled that still bears his name, and eventually got out of coaching to devote full time to the sled business.  Ed speaks with reverence of Coach Crowther, and like me, can't stand watching a lot of today's offensive line play. He says, "if Rae Crowther saw some of the 'blocking' that goes on today, he'd throw up!"

(You'll notice that there are lots of teams running a form of single wing nowadays -  but nobody calling it that.)

*********** Perhaps you’re aware that there is a movement afoot in several states - a  movement sponsored, I suspect, by big-time electronic game makers - to have “e-games” sanctioned as official school sports.

It’s the ultimate revenge of the nerds! Putting on the head phones, sitting in front of screens, and working the controllers. And earning letters - getting the hot girls - getting cheered at pep rallies.
 
Great! One more reason for kids not to play real sports.  So much for the nationwide obesity epidemic we keep hearing about.

(A survey of its readers by Coach and AD Magazine found 93 per cent of them opposed to the idea.)

https://coachad.com/news/survey-readers-say-no-sanctioning-esports/


***********  Hugh,

Air Force cadets wearing camo is like Army cadets wearing flight suits.

Ahmad Bradshaw is in the same conversation as some of the great option quarterbacks to play the game.  I LOVE watching the Cadets play football.

Minnesota's boat is slowly sinking for this year.  They're not quite ready for prime time, but next year they will be tough.

If I could have I would have also charged the field at Kinnick.  That was a complete beat down, and I about fell over when Iowa ran that lonesome polecat and almost scored!  Kirk Ferentz doesn't get enough credit.

This Saturday's game against Miami will determine if the Irish are in the college football playoff or not.  Mark Richt has done a magnificent job with the Canes, and he can flat-out coach football.  If Miami wins they would have to be given strong consideration.

My alma mater Fresno State bounced back against BYU.  Their last 3 games (at Hawaii, at Wyoming, and home vs. Boise State) will determine whether they play for the MWC championship or not.

I agree 100% with your observations of the Counter.  My teams always had success running it because we always emphasized to our guards and tackles to "scrape paint" while pulling along that fence.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

I wouldn’t yet put Ahmad Bradshaw in there with the greats of Alabama, Texas or Oklahoma - or even some of the Army and Navy guys - but he sure has come a long way.  He is really good. The lesson to me is how long it has taken them to get him to this point.  And here’s what's scary  - the dropoff to number two is deep and steep.

Kirk Ferentz has been getting a lot of heat.  I like the guy and I hope he gets some credit for this one.

Tedford has done a great job at Fresno.  


*********** The NFL, proud steward of our game, showing the way for young kids everywhere - 

Josh Gordon admits he drank and did drugs before practices and games

https://www.yahoo.com/amphtml/sports/josh-gordon-details-drank-drugs-every-game-223022661.html

*********** Washington Huskies’ coach Chris Peterson, on preparing to play Stanford, one of the last of the I-formation teams…

“There’s a lot of stuff we haven’t seen...we’ve got to be able to play a fullback. We explained what a fullback is to our defense today. They were very intrigued. “

(He was joking. I think.)


*********** QUIZ ANSWER - A native of Smackover, Arkansas, WAYNE HARDIN moved west with his family during the Dust Bowl years and went to high school in Stockton, California.

After a college career playing at College of the Pacific, Hardin got his first coaching position there, and then after two seasons as head coach at a California junior college he came east as an assistant at Navy under Eddie Erdelatz;  when Erdelatz resigned after the 1958 season, Hardin took over as the head coach.

He became one of only two service academy coaches ever to coach a Heisman Trophy winner.  In fact, he coached two of them - JOE BELLINO and ROGER STAUBACH -  in the span of four years.

Hardin took Navy to a Number Two national ranking in 1963, and was the first Navy coach to beat Army five straight times.

In 1966 he coached the Philadelphia Bulldogs to the Continental Football League championship.

At Temple, from 1970 to 1982, he won 80 games, making him the winningest coach in the history of Temple Football.

(The captain of his 1963 Navy team was Tom Lynch, who would go on to become Superintendent of the Naval Academy and is now recognizable to millions of TV viewers as “Admiral Tom Lynch,” the spokesman for NewDay USA.)

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING WAYNE HARDIN

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA (Wayne Hardin...his years at the USNA, as well as a respected naval aviator uncle, made me dedicate my efforts academically & athletically to get an appointment by Rep. Charlotte T. Reid my Senior year at DeKalb. Rick Forzano was the coach by then & there was emphasized pushed toward engineering...thus the matriculation to Western Illinois & Darrell Mudra)
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON (Roger Stabach was my idol in the sixth grade …….. I remember doing a report on him)

*********** QUIZ: He’s a graduate of Coe College.

He has a Master’s Degree from Harvard in English History.

As head coach at three different colleges - New Mexico, Cal and William and Mary - his overall record was only 45-60-5.

But his pro head coaching record, with one CFL team and two NFL teams, was considerably better: 186-143-4.

He is considered to be the first ever special teams coach, given the position - and the title - by George Allen.

He ran the wing-T at Kansas City - and led the league in rushing.

He won two Grey Cups as head coach at Montreal and coached an NFL team to four consecutive Super Bowls.



american flagTUESDAY,  NOVEMBER 7,  2017  -  “Only strength can cooperate. Weakness can only beg.” Dwight D. Eisenhower



*********** EXPLODING THE MYTH…

The late NFL Commissioner Bert Bell was famous for having  to have said,  on numerous occasions, “on any given Sunday, any team in the NFL can beat any other team."

The media lapped it up - why, if you needed any further proof of what he said, they’d point to the lowly Packers upsetting the mighty Lions (shows you how long ago this was) on Thanksgiving Day.

It became sports myth, and it used to annoy the hell out of baseball owner and promoter Bill Veeck, who said it was bullish—.  Actually, I  knew Bill (he served as a consultant to the brewery I worked for) and I never heard him use strong language,  but  he never passed up a chance to argue that the NFL was pulling the wool over our eyes - that even the worst baseball team won more than a third of its games,  and even the best team rarely won two-thirds of its games.  What that meant mathematically was that in baseball you were far more likely to see a bad team beat a good team than you were in pro football.

He’d point to the NFL,  where it wasn’t uncommon to have a couple of teams with only one or two losses in an entire season, and a couple of others with only one or two wins in that same season.

He was right.  Now, at the halfway point of the NFL season, is  a good time to show why:

Major League Baseball 2017

1. The two teams with the best records in their leagues this past season were the Dodgers and the Astros.

The Dodgers’ winning percentage was .642.  Roughly, that works out to a football record of 10-6.

The Astros’ winning percentage was .623,  close enough that it would also equal to a 10-6 football record.

2. The two teams with the worst records in their leagues were the Giants and the Tigers, which both finished with winning percentages of .395

That winning percentage equates to a football record of 6-10.  Think about that a minute - that’s not a whole lot of difference between the top teams and the bottom teams. 

NFL 2017

1. At the halfway point of the 2017 season, there are eight teams with better winning percentages than the Dodgers:

The Eagles, with .889.

Five other teams (Patriots, Steelers, Rams, Saints, Vikings)  have records of .750

The Chiefs and Panthers at .667

2. At the other end, there are eight teams with records worse than that of the Giants and Tigers.

The Bears, Chargers and Texans are close, at .375.  Then we go  down to the Colts at .333, the Buccaneers at .250 and the Colts at .125.

Finally, at rock bottom, there are the Browns and 49ers at .000

Now, if I go out to the old ball park to watch the Giants play the Dodgers, the team with the worst record in baseball against the team with the best record, there is a reasonable chance that I will see the Giants win. 

But with all due respect to the late NFL Commissioner Bell, whom I hold in great regard, what do you suppose the chances are of your going out to an NFL stadium - on any given Sunday - and watching any team from the bottom eight beat any team from the top eight?

This past season, in their 19 meetings, the Giants beat the Dodgers eight times. 

If the Eagles and the 49ers were to play 19 times, would the 49ers win even once?



*********** On any given SATURDAY…

(Thursday, actually) -

Not sure what’s happened to Navy, but Temple handled the Middies

(Friday)

Utah sent UCLA to the bottom of the Pac-12 South.

(Saturday)

Michigan State over Penn State at the gun.  Hell of a game, even if it did have to be played it two parts, hours apart.

Auburn-Texas A & M was over fast.  Auburn-Alabama could be a good game.  But I doubt it.

I didn’t watch, but if you did, please confirm - did Missouri really beat Florida?

Kansas State over Texas Tech.  In OT! EMAW! (Very un-PC , it means “Every Man a Wildcat!”)

Baylor over Kansas.  Somebody had to get their first win, and Baylor did it convincingly.

Virginia over Georgia Tech.  Bronco Mendenhall is getting the job done at UVa.

Notre Dame over Wake Forest. Deacons gave them a game, but…

Clemson-NC State.  Wolfpack ought to get some sort of award for coming up short against top teams.

Iowa over Ohio State.  Unbelievable effort by the Hawkeyes. Are you kidding? 55-24?  When the game ended, it looked like the Mother of All Rushing-the-fields.

Washington State over Stanford.  Poor Stanford kids had probably never seen snow before, and they played like little kids who’d never seen snow before.  Two bad games in a row for the Cardinal.  What gives?

Army over Air Force - sensational performance by Army.  Air Force held to 95 yards rushing and 95 passing,  shut out at home for the first time since 1980.  Army QB Ahmad Bradshaw carried 23 times for 265 yards.  Army is now in position to win its first Commander in Chief Trophy since 1996.

Cal over Oregon State.  Beavers still looking for an FBS win.

TCU over Texas.  Frogs getting tuned up for this Saturday’s game at OU.

Michigan over Minnesota.  Michigan may not be able to throw very effectively, but with tailbacks like Chris Evans and Karan Higdon, who combined for almost 400 yards,  they don’t run the ball too bad.

Alabama over LSU - LSU stepped out of their class.  But who doesn’t when they play Alabama?

Miami over Virginia Tech.  I can’t believe I’m going to be rooting for Miami next week, but I like Mark Richt and his team plays hard.  And, of course, they’re playing Notre Dame.

Washington over Oregon.  About as I expected.  Dante Pettis ran a punt back for a touchdown, the ninth of his career - an NCAA record.

Wyoming over Colorado State.  In the snow at Laramie.  Great fun to watch.   Wyoming QB Josh Allen, mentioned pre-season as a top NFL draft pick, has sort of dropped out of sight, but he sure showed how tough he was in getting the Cowboys the fourth-quarter win.

USC over Arizona.  Damn those Trojans.  They lay an egg against Notre Dame, and then they go out and look like they’re unstoppable.  Khalil Tate looked good in spots, but overall the Trojans kept him under control.

*********** RANDOM OBSERVATIONS-

Air Force Academy Cadets wearing camo?  Give me a break.

When was the last time - if ever - two guys on the same team wearing the same number (one playing offense, one defense) each scored a touchdown in the same game?  (#20, Stanford)

Ohio State’s Bosa got DQ’d for a targeting penalty that was clearly unintentional

The Iowa “Wave” - to kids in the children’s hospital that overlooks Kinnick Stadium - is really heartwarming.

Iowa ran a Lonesome Polecat play on a FG attempt and scored a TD

Georgia and Alabama both won by 24-10 scores

It wasn’t just snowing at Wyoming - it was pouring snow

*********** Not that it would make any difference to those dolts who kneel during the national anthem (when they aren’t hiding in the tunnels or the locker rooms) and claim that they’re not disrespecting our flag, but I think a couple of items might help them understand how real Americans (take that any way you want)  feel about our flag.

The first was written by Bill Dabney, a great Marine - and son-in-law of the greatest Marine of them all, General Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller - who was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions during the 77-day siege of Khe Sanh.

What those Marines went through while surrounded and bombarded is almost unimaginable, and in the interest of time and space I have to summarize: From January 21, 1968 until April 8, US Marines,  including Captain Bill Dabney and his company, were surrounded and constantly bombarded by a superior force of North Vietnamese. Their only means of supply - their only contact with the outside world - was by heroic helicopter pilots, risking their own lives to fly in under heavy enemy fire.

For most of those 77 days, the situation seemed hopeless, until finally, on April 8, US forces broke through to end the siege.
But for every one of those 77 days, the American flag few over Khe Sanh.

As Bill Dabney told it…

 "Three Marines would race from the bunker to a 15-foot radio antenna. Two of them would raise our nation's colors, then stand at attention, while the third sounded a rusty rendition of the 'Call to Colors' with a battered bugle. We were never without volunteers for this ceremony. They were proud of themselves and our flag and were willing to get shot at to raise it.

"At night this process was reversed as we retired the colors. Often the retired flag was folded, packed and shipped to the family of a Marine slain on the hill. We had a substantial stockpile of flags sent to us by people all over the country."

http://www.coachwyatt.com/billdabney.htm

The second was written by my friend Mike Foristiere, the head coach at Wahluke High in Matawa, Washington.  Mike’s son, Randy, is a junior at West Point, and last year, Mike attended the Army-Navy game in Baltimore with his wife, Cielo, and their youngest son, Rock.

Mike knew I’d lived in Baltimore (many years ago) and before going he asked me about a few places I’d recommend seeing.   I told him that they ought to visit Fort McHenry, where 200 years ago a young Baltimore lawyer, Francis Scott Key, spent the night as the Fort was being bombarded by the British and then, the next morning, elated at seeing the American flag still flying,  wrote a poem to describe his feelings.

On his return to Washington, Mike wrote to tell me about their experiences, including this…

the coolest thing of all happened at Fort Mc Henry. We walked there from Camden Yards.  Saw a lot on the way thru Federal Hill. But as you know - but I didn't -  the flag flies 24/7 at the Fort. As is customary, at 4 pm they bring the one down and put up another for the night. Well, you guessed it, while we were there we went to see it and they needed help to bring the one down as the other went up. Rock and I  with the help of 4 others got to bring down the flag and fold it into a triangle. Rock was just jacked to be a part of that. To tell you the truth so was I. It was cool.

Before the game that was all Rock could talk about - that there was an actual battle on that spot and he got to be a part of it. We even walked by Francis Scott Key Middle school on the way there. Things you only read and learned about. I told him he needs to share that with his History teacher at school. Just appreciate you directing us, if not I don't think we would have had that experience.

What an amazing experience! For the rest of his life Rock will be able to tell people that he helped take down and fold the flag that flies at the very same spot where 200 years ago “the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air” enabled Francis Scott Key to see that the flag was still flying!  And he did it  “at the twilight’s last gleaming!”

That’s Rock Foristiere, #21 in the photo below of Wahluke’s seniors. A standout A-Back and middle linebacker, Rock rushed for 1,100 yards and made 81 tackles in helping to lead his team, the Wahluke Warriors, to a 5-4  season - the school's second winning season in the last 10 years.

WAHLUKE SENIORS


*********** As if the NFL doesn’t have enough problems - now, sports gamblers have discovered college football.

College football has generated more betting dollars than the NFL at the South Point Hotel sports book for the third straight weekend, the Vegas Stats & Information Network has learned. It’s a trend that would have been unthinkable in the past, but other Las Vegas sports books directors are seeing it as well.

Jimmy Vacarro, who made his fame in the 1990s at the Mirage and is now with the South Point, has been saying the past few years that college football was gaining on the NFL in terms of betting handle and would soon surpass it.

But even Vacarro was surprised to see three straight weeks with the bigger handle in college football’s favor. Vaccaro said the South Point handled $175,000 more on colleges than the pros last week.

Couple of reasons given:

1. There are a lot of college games on the tube, and they’re on the air from 9 AM Pacific until late Saturday night.  (“People like to watch what they bet on,” Vaccaro said.)

2. Unlike the NFL, there are plenty of good games to offset the “dead games.” (The NFL this past weekend had just two games between teams with .500 or better records.)

3. There also are “stand-alone” games on Thursday and Friday nights

https://www.vsin.com/with-controversy-swirling-around-nfl-college-football-takes-run-at-the-king-of-sports-betting/


*********** Did I hear you say you wanted the College Football Playoff to expand?

Let me tell you how it’s going to happen.

Let’s suppose that Notre Dame wins out, and Alabama and Georgia finish undefeated and then play some game-for-the-ages in the SEC championship game?

Do you see where this is going?

Notre Dame will be in the Playoff for sure.   (We can argue at another time about the stupidity of the power five conferences, caving in to Notre Dame and creating an exemption that allows it, in effect, to be a conference unto itself - to make it possible for Notre Dame to bank an ENTIRE CONFERENCE SHARE.)

And then,  because we all KNOW that the SEC is the best conference BY FAR, dwarfing all the other conferences in the excellence of its coaching and the toughness of its out-of-conference scheduling, why, it only makes sense for Alabama and Georgia both to get Playoff spots.  (Before you say “can’t happen” - you do remember that there Alabama-LSU BCS title game back in 2012, right? LSU had beaten Bama in the regular season - and  Bama , you recall, didn’t even make it to the conference championship game.)

So let’s just suppose this happens.

That would leave 1/4 of the Playoff pie to be fought over by the other four Power Five conferences.

Let’s further suppose that Oklahoma runs the table, which means that it would get the fourth sport as as the highest-ranked remaining team.

Those moans you would hear would be the people from the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12, three conferences entirely shut out of the Playoff that they helped create.

But they're resilient -  they’ll get right up off the mat  - and  vote to expand the Playoff to eight teams. 

And the TV networks, sick to death of what the NFL has been doing to them and their ratings, will stumble all over each other for the rights to those four extra games.


*********** When pulling for 'Counter' do you use the same slide (skip-pull) technique but have the Guard get more depth than he would on a normal C Block or would you use use more of a traditional pull technique where he rotates and turns his shoulder 90 degrees to the LoS for the kick-out?


Hi Coach-

The pull of the kickout man would benefit if he were to slide at first, simply because I’m for anything that prevents him from running flat instead of running along the “butt line.”

We definitely don’t want a 90-degree turn.

As you can see in the drawing, the player who runs flat along the line of scrimmage will often run right past his real target:


Counter Block


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

If a team is playing cover 0 who do you have the back side TE go after on the Powers & Counters?

Roger

p.s.

I attended your clinic in Providence in 2004.

Coach,

Regardless of the defense, our backside TE has an two-part assignment - he slides to the inside sealing down against the center but he doesn’t double-team with the center.  Instead, if no one has tried to penetrate between him and the man the center’s blocking, he turns back and picks up anyone.  But the important thing to note is that he doesn’t “go after” anyone - they come to him.  It’s a rear-guard action.



***********  Hugh,
Loved the piece you did on Carson Ketter. Reminded of two similar issues years ago when you ran our stud A Back from the team meeting because he was five minutes late. It sure made an impression on the team and later when you took him out of a game for fumbling more then once. I remember you telling the team the football belonged to the team and if you can not hang on to it you can not carry it. Two great lesson not lost on any of those kids. Both about doing the right things as you did when you picked character over ability. But most interesting when I watched Ketter on ytube score on the hundred yard fumble recovery, he tossed the ball back to the referee, no spike, no dances, no foolishness, here ref just take the ball. Now that was a sure sign of a coach Wyatt influence. Like I said I loved the article and there still is a place in our game for doing things the right way.

Jack Tourtillotte
Rangely, Maine

Thanks, Jack-

You know the lay of the land and the kind of kids we had at North Beach - kids who’d been allowed to run loose before we got there and took a little time to adjust but, like kids everywhere, were quite willing to accept structure when we explained it carefully and enforced it without hesitation or exception. Like many of those  North Beach kids, Carson has turned out the way you’d want your own  kids to turn out.

And I’m sure glad that you remembered that young man who really was a “stud A back,” showing up late for the first team meeting. He walked in as if that was the customary thing around there.  I believe “blistered” was your term for the way I dealt with him in front of the team.  There sure were some shocked faces in that locker room.

Fortunately for us all, he was a good kid and he responded, because he really was a good player.  

Every new coach should be lucky enough to have a chance like that to show that he means business. I couldn’t have set that up better if I’d paid him to do it.  

Whenever I think of that, I’m reminded of Emlen Tunnell recalling how Lombardi in his early days at Green Bay once ran him - a respected NFL veteran - off the practice field at Green Bay for loafing or somesuch, and the players looking at each other and figuring that if this new coach would climb all over the great Emlen Tunnell, he must really mean business - and then Tunnell later confessed that the whole thing had been staged!

And you’re right - we coaches at North Beach took a lot of pride (still do) in the way our kids acted (and still do) and Carson’s respectfully tossing the ball to the ref was a perfect example of that!

(To this day that “stud A Back" probably hasn’t forgiven me for pulling him in the final game of the season, but after his third fumble of the night,  what was I supposed to do?  I remember telling him something like, “I love you and you’re a heck of a player, but I have a responsibility to the team, and we can’t have any more of this.”)


QUIZ ANSWER - Duffy Daugherty grew up in small western Pennsylvania mining towns, He spent his early years in a tiny “patch” called Emeigh, but he went to high school in the “bigger city” of Barnesboro, now known as Northern Cambria.  (Both place are hidden away in the hills. Neither is “near anything.”)

At Syracuse, he played guard and was captain of the team his senior year.

Following graduation, he helped coach the frosh team at Syracuse, but in 1941 he entered the Army as a private.  Four years later, after attending Officer’s Candidate School and serving in the South Pacific, he came out a major.

After a year as a high school coach in New York, he was offered a job as line coach at Syracuse under new head coach Biggie Munn, who had been on the Syracuse staff when he played there.

A year later, Munn was hired by Michigan State, and our guy went with him.

They had great success there, winning the AP national title in 1952 and in 1954, Michigan State’s first year as a member of the Big Ten, they tied for the conference championship and beat UCLA in the Rose Bowl.

Following that Rose Bowl, he succeeded Munn as the Spartan’s head coach and when he retired 19 years later his record was 109-69-5.  His 1965 and 1966 teams were national champions.

At a time when southern colleges were still segregated, Duffy Daugherty took advantage of the opportunity to recruit southern black players, players such as Bubba Smith and George Webster, and he was one of the first college coaches in American to field a completely integrated team.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING DUFFY DAUGHERTY
JOSH MONTGOMERY - Berwick, Louisiana
RALPH BALDUCCI - Portland, Oregon
JOHN VERMILLION - St. Petersburg, Florida
DAVE POTTER - Cary, North Carolina
DENNIS METZGER - Richmond, Indiana
MARK KACZMAREK - Davenport, Iowa (Duffy Daugherty...The man who allowed Bob Devaney to lead the Huskers out of the wilderness...Sick as a dog with the flu, I remember watching that '66 game of MSU v. ND between trips to the loo in DeKalb, Illinois)
ADAM WESOLOSKI - Pulaski, Wisconsin
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - Lakeville, Indiana
JOE GUTILLA - Austin, Texas
TIM BROSS - Kirkwood, Missouri
KEN HAMPTON - Raleigh, North Carolina
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - Woodland, Washington


*********** The first college game I saw was his '65 Spartans v. Iowa in Iowa City. That MSU team had to be among the most talented teams ever in college football. The score that Saturday was 35-0, but Daugherty could have doubled that.  The Spartans were so loaded at running back that Jess Phillips, who later had a long career as an NFL running back, played DB at MSU.   Daugherty pulled a lot of talent out of Beaumont, Texas, including Phillips and Bubba Smith. (Bubba, btw, was not the best fb player in his family,  That was RB Willie Ray Smith Jr.   He played at Iowa and later Kansas, but  his college career never took off because of bad knees. At KU, one summer he brought home a teammate, and Willie's father, the legendary Beaumont HS coach, Willie Ray Smith Sr., added some finesse to the player's running style.  That player? Gale Sayers.   Consider: If Willie Jr. had good knees, Sayers may have ridden the bench.) 

Tim Bross, Kirkwood, Missouri

*********** Duffy Daugherty was one very funny guy.

For years, he and Bud Wilkinson co-hosted the Coach of the Year Clinics, first sponsored by Kodak and then by Kellogg’s.

Here’s a tiny sampling of Duffy’s humor from his talk at the 1974 San Francisco clinic…

The Irish have a faculty for taking advantage of opportunities.   I can tell you best about opportunities by telling you about little Paddy Hogan.  One day, in Ireland, he decided to visit the Guinness Brewery.  He was wandering along this catwalk and he accidentally fell into a 30,000 gallon vat of ale and drowned.

The manager of the brewery summoned some of the workers and instructed them to retrieve poor Paddy’s body.  He said he would assume the unhappy chore of informing the widow Hogan of this great tragedy.  He walked down three blocks where the widow Hogan lived. She didn’t know she was a widow at that time.

He knocked on the door and Mrs. Hogan answered.  He said, “Oh, Mrs. Hogan, such a sad thing has happened.  Poor Paddy came to visit our brewery and the poor man was walking along the catwalk and he accidentally fell into a 30,000 gallon vat of ale and drowned.  Such a sad, sad tragedy.  He is with us no longer.”

Naturally, Mrs. Hogan was upset.  She started to cry,  She said, “My poor Patrick.  The poor man couldn’t swim a lick.  He never had a chance.”

The manager said, “Oh, Mrs. Hogan.  He had several chances when he came out to pee.”

***********  In all, during the time he operated his “Underground Railroad,” Duffy Daugherty recruited 44 southern black players to Michigan State.  Interestingly, few northern coaches emulated him. “You have to remember the mentality of the era,” recalled former Daugherty assistant Vince Carillot. “In both the North and the South, too many coaches believed black athletes weren’t that good.  Duffy said blacks were as good as anyone else.  He said, ‘Why not recruit them?’”

*********** From “Raye of Light - Jimmy Raye, Duffy Daugherty and the Integration of College Football” by Tom Shanahan…

He did not wait for approval from the alumni to tell him when the time was right to recruit black athletes.  He did not wait to defy Jim Crow, and put on clinics for black high school coaches in the South.   He did not balk when his 1966 team voted in two black captains,  Clinton Jones and George Webster, believed to be the first pair of black team captains in major college football.  Daugherty also knocked  down the last position of white supremacy on the football field when he decided the time was right for a black quarterback, Jimmy Raye, to be his starter.  Daugherty later encouraged Raye to join his staff in 1971 as a pioneer among black assistant coaches.

“(He) was one of the most courageous persons I’ve had the privilege to be associated with in my athletic career,” Raye said. ‘I can only imagine the pressure he must have been under and received when he made the decision to make me the starting quarterback in the mid-1960s.   Most of the things that happened to me in my coaching career - if not all - came as a direct result of the opportunities he gave me. I will be forever grateful for the courage he had and the kind of individual he was to give a chance to a young man who was denied a chance in the South to pursue an academic and athletic career.”

A smaller legacy within Daugherty’s overall legacy was the number of black players on his roster who did not turn out to be stars, starters, or even play.  It is important to remember that  the 1950s and 1960s ws a time when professional teams only kept black athletes who were starters.  Daugherty was willing to take  a chance on a lightly-recruited black player who might not turn out to be a star.

Michigan State All-American tight end Billy Joe DuPree was lightly regarded when Spartans assistant coach Vince Carillot found him in West Monroe, Louisiana.  In the 1972 season, DuPree was Daugherty’s last All-American player among his Underground Railroad recruits.  He was an NFL first-round draft pick by the Dallas Cowboys and a three-time Pro Bowler in 11 seasons.

DuPree said he had considered either attending historically-black Southern University in Baton Rouge or joining the military before Carillot invited him to take a trip to Michigan State.  His college options in the South were limited.  Not only were Louisiana’s high schools still segregated, Louisiana State University’s football program remained all-white until 1972.

“I knew about Michigan State’s great teams,” DuPree said.  “I knew they recruited black athletes from the South, and that was inspiring to me.”

Dupree met Daugherty on his recruiting trip and came away feeling that Daugherty and Grambling coach Eddie Robinson were men of similar character.  Dupree had originally wanted to play at Grambling, until he met the great Robinson on a visit to Grambling’s campus.  When DuPree said he wanted to major in civil engineering, Robinson candidly told him Grambling lacked a civil engineering program and he should consider another school.

“I have to give Duffy and Eddie a lot of credit,” DuPree said. “Eddie showed me he was looking for more than a football player. He asked you what you wanted to do with your life. When I went to Michigan State I heard about big schools that offered to take care of you and your family.  But Duffy said the only think he was offering me was a chance to play football and an education.  That’s all I was looking for, and I committed to Michigan State.”

*********** And then there was Gene Washington, who would go on to a great NFL career with the Vikings. A Texan,  Washington recalled that the Michigan State recruiter who came to visit was the first white person ever to enter their house.  And he recalled his trip to Michigan State - a two-day bus ride (“I think we stopped in every town in Texas and Oklahoma”) and in those days of segregation, with no place to sleep, he had to stay on the bus.

He said he liked everything about Michigan State.  “You knew when you went home what it would be like, and it wasn’t like Michigan State. After my freshman year, I didn’t go home often. There was no way I wanted to go back to Texas.”

He appreciated the fact that black athletes were treated fairly and equally.  “We would go to class, to football practice, and we supported each other.  We didn’t get into racial discussions. We didn’t say ‘you’re black’ or ‘you’re white.’ We were a family.  Duffy never had to say anything to anybody.”

Washington recalled how far ahead of his time Daugherty was in the area of race relations when he would invite southern black high school coaches to the Michigan State campus for clinics:

“I remember we would  be doing our conditioning in the summer and Duffy would have me run patterns with Jimmy Raye throwing passes for the coaches to watch. The first time I saw all these black coaches, I was wondering where they were from. I asked some and they said they were from all these places in the South.  I was surprised.  Duffy never said anything about what he was doing.  As I got older, I began to understand the leadership he was providing.  Duffy led the way in setting aside time for black coaches.  He really enjoyed those clinics.”


*********** This from “Duffy: An Autobiography”

“At Michigan State we used to host an all-state football banquet on campus. It really wasn’t a good recruiting gimmick, because you didn’t get a chance to spend much time with the high school seniors.  But at least they got a taste of the campus and became aware of our interest in them.  (This was in the days before they offered scholarships to eight graders. HW) It was my custom to go up and down the line, shaking hands with each of the honorees. When I shook hands with this one big lineman, I congratulated him on being selected to the all-state team, but he curled his lip and snarled at me, “You don’t have to be nice to me, Coach. I’ve already decided I’m going to Michigan.”

“I probably shouldn’t have been so testy, but I snapped right back at him and said, ‘That’s right where you belong, and I’ll tell you one thing more - you’ll never play on a football team that beats Michigan State.’

“He didn’t, either.”

*********** Duffy on discipline…“We are very strict about discipline .  We have strict rules and we strictly enforce them.  When one of our players breaks a rule, we bring him into the office and tell him to turn in his gear.  Unless he is very good.”


*********** Good morning!

That would be Duffy Daugherty.  Great teams with great players but also a great tie!

Also was good with a quote, here are some I found:

Football isn't a contact sport, it's a collision sport. Dancing is a contact sport.

My only feeling about superstition is that it's unlucky to be behind at the end of the game.

When your are playing for the national championship, it's not a matter of life or death. It's more important than that.

Have a great day!

Dennis Metzger
Richmond, Indiana

*********** QUIZ - A native of Smackover, Arkansas, he moved west with his family during the Dust Bowl years and went to high school in Stockton, California.

After a college career playing at College of the Pacific, he got his first coaching position there, and then after two seasons as head coach at a California junior college he came east as an assistant at a service academy under Eddie Erdelatz, and when Erdelatz resigned after the 1958 season, he took over as the head coach.

He became one of only two service academy coaches ever to coach a Heisman Trophy winner.  In fact, he coached two of them in the span of four years.

He took his team to a Number Two national ranking in 1963, and was the first coach at his school to beat his service rival five straight times.

In 1966 he coached the Philadelphia Bulldogs to the Continental Football League championship.

At Temple, from 1970 to 1982, he won 80 games, making him the winningest coach in the history of Temple Football.



american flagFRIDAY,  NOVEMBER 3,  2017  -  “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”  Frederick Douglass

*********** I first met Carson Ketter in 2011, when I returned to North Beach as an assistant, two years after being the head coach. It was the summer before his sophomore year.  He was, I was told, a quarterback.  He was maybe 5-7, and maybe 140 pounds.  He wasn’t fast, and he could hardly throw.  We did have another quarterback, a senior. He was a better athlete than Carson. I’d coached him a couple of years before, when he was a freshman, and I liked him then.  But things change, and now, two years later, although he was something of a leader, he didn’t seem to be leading other kids in the right direction, if you understand what I’m saying.

Carson, physical attributes aside, was everything you’d ask for in a quarterback.   He was smart and hard-working.  He took coaching well and he was a quick learner.  He was very positive. He could be trusted, I believed, to run our Double-Wing offense.

And then the other quarterback made a bad move. He didn’t show up for the first practice. Or the second.

And when he showed up the next day, we informed him that while he could rejoin the team - after some “make-up work”, of course - he wasn’t going to play quarterback.  I could tell from the look on his face that he wasn’t expecting that. He pleaded, wanted to know why. We told him that in our program, the quarterback had to be a near-perfect team man, and that his mini-holdout had made it impossible for us to present him to our team as their quarterback.

He had inadvertently given us the opporrtunity every new staff needs to show they mean business.

And so we went with Carson.  And what follows ought to be a lesson to any coach out there who’s tempted to go with ability ahead of character.

That year, with Carson at QB and a large number of freshmen and sophomores starting, we finished 3-6.   (That wasn't all that bad - three wins was all they’d had in the previous two years combined.)

In his junior year, 2012, Carson got a little better, and so did we.  We were 4-6, counting a first-round playoff loss.  I can still see Carson standing in the locker room after that playoff game,  tears in his eyes as he removed his shoulder pads.  I told him not to take the loss so hard, but he shook his head. That wasn’t the problem.  What made him sad, he said, was, “I can’t believe it’s all over.” The kid loved the game.

The following winter, I decided that we had the talent to incorporate some of the run and shoot that I’d run years ago into our Double-Wing , and during spring ball, no longer under center but instead back in my “Wildcat” set, Carson really looked good . We spent a lot of time during the summer working on his passing, and once the season got under way his throwing showed great improvement.  He’d grown quite a bit, too.  He was now about six-feet tall and he’d put on some muscle.  He threw well and we had some kids who could catch.

Serendipity (discovery by accident)  also played its part. Starting in mid-season, once or twice  a week, instead of conditioning at the end of practice, we’d play “Philly Ball,” a form of touch in which a player could pass the ball anywhere on the field, a team got three downs, and in the event of an incompletion, the ball changed hands at the spot from which the ball was thrown. We were shocked to see Carson, who had always been shy and reserved, take charge.  He wanted that ball - and he knew what to do with it.  We’d never seen this assertiveness in him - or this athletic ability. And we’d certainly never noticed that Carson - little Carson - had speed!  Real speed!

With five games left to play, we created more ways for Carson to run, and in each of those games he had at least one long touchdown run.  In our final game, a narrow playoff loss, he threw for 150 yards and ran for 236 and nearly took us the length of the field in the final two minutes.  We finished 7-3, and thanks to Carson, my eyes were opened to what we could do with a running quarterback in our new offense, something we came to call the Open Wing.

Following the season, Carson continued to help our program  by working with his successor, a sophomore named Alex McAra, who had never thrown a football in a game.  In Washington, you can’t work with your players out of season during the school year - but another player can.  So Carson, who knew my drills and by then could probably mimic me word-for-word, worked with Alex right up until the next  spring practice.  Carson’s teaching helped me tremendously: with Alex at QB, we went 10-1 in 2014 and 9-1 in 2015.)

In the spring Carson ran track.  His junior year, he’d played baseball, but after being encouraged to turn out for track by head football coach Todd Bridge, he really showed off his speed: his only defeat all season in the 100 came in the state Class 2B 100-meters final, when he finished second to an opponent who dove (and landed face-first) at the finish.

In that spring’s practice, we used him as a coach, showing him what we wanted our receivers and defensive backs to do . (And saving old Coach Wyatt all that throwing). And he continued to grow.  He was now 6-1, and getting rather muscular.

That summer, he played in the All-State game in Yakima, and did quite well as a defensive back and receiver. With plenty of quarterbacks on hand, those coaches were smart enough to see that a kid with Carson’s size and speed might have a future at another position.

Carson looked at a number of D-III colleges, many of whom were quite interested after they saw a video I’d put together, and in the end, he chose to attend Pacific Lutheran University, in Tacoma. PLU, as it’s known, has a great reputation in the Northwest for athletics and academics, and he liked its people and its academic program.  Any time I’ve spoken to him since, the first thing I’ve asked him was whether he was happy with his choice, and he’s always answered, “Yes.”

Playing safety, he’s had a good career at PLU - he was honorable mention All-Northwest Conference in 2016 - and he’s been having a really good senior year.  He’s now 6-3, 190 and he hasn’t lost any speed - in track, he’s the defending conference 100-meter champion. 

A few weeks ago, after his performance against arch-rival Puget Sound in which he made 11 tackles and ran back a fumble 100 yards for a touchdown, Carson was named to the Division III Team of the Week, the first PLU player to be so honored since 2007.

In my opinion, he’s so talented and so versatile - he’s also a good receiver - that he’d be worth a look by an NFL team.

I wish I could say that we North Beach coaches could foresee that Carson would develop as he had. All we knew back then was that we weren’t going to be a very good team for a while, but no matter how tough things got, Carson was the kind of kid we could depend on.  And I do think it’s safe to say this: if we had decided back in 2011 to go with that other quarterback - if we had succumbed to the temptation to go with the better player rather than the better person -  Carson would not have become the football player that he is, and we would not have become the program that we became.

TACOMA, Wash. – D3Football.com released its Team of the Week for week five of the college football season on Tuesday with Pacific Lutheran University safety Carson Ketter among the 11 defensive players to be recognized for their outstanding play over the weekend.

Ketter led the Lutes (1-1) with 11 tackles, including seven solo in the squad's 23-13 victory over crosstown rival University of Puget Sound on Saturday at Sparks Stadium.

The Ocean Shores, Washington native additionally recovered a fumble and ran it back 100-yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, giving PLU the 14-7 lead while also providing a key fourth down tackle in the fourth quarter.

The D3football.com Team of the Week, presented by Scoutware, features 11 offensive, 11 defensive, and four specialists every week for their exploits on the gridiron. This week Ketter was one of four Northwest Conference players to be recognized, joining defensive end Stephen Jahn of Willamette University, along with linebackers Jason Farlow of Linfield College, and Charles Riga of George Fox University.

An Honorable Mention All-Northwest Conference selection in 2016, Ketter becomes the first Lute to earn a spot on the D3Football Team of the Week since defensive lineman Robert Thomsen earned the accolade in week two of the 2007 campaign and is just the 11th Lute all-time to land the weekly honor since the award began 19 years ago.

http://golutes.com/sports/fball/2017-18/releases/20171003hylt1k

The 100-yard interception return: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nos998tDrI4&feature=youtu.be

*********** Who among us has more courage than the black man or woman who risks being a conservative ?

And who among that group has shown more courage in the face of derision and outright hatred by his own people than Justice Clarence Thomas, a great American?

Justice Thomas, one of the Americans I most admire,  made a rare public appearance on Laura Ingraham’s show on Fox News Wednesday night, primarily as a favor to Ms. Ingraham, who once served under him as a law clerk.

To get a better understanding of the man, I strongly recommend reading his book, “My Grandfather’s Son,” so-titled because of his being raised by - and influenced by - his grandfather, a black working man in segregated Savannah, Georgia.

He told Laura Ingraham that as a kid, whenever he’d tell his grandfather than he couldn’t do something, the old man would reply, “Old Man ‘Can’t’ is dead.  I helped bury him.”

Bemoaning the divisions in our society, Justice Thomas asked, rhetorically, “What binds us? What do we all have in common anymore?”

“We have the pluribus,” he said.  “What’s the unum?”

(Also: he likes Nebraska - especially Husker football and volleyball.)

https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=spigot-chr-ffmac&p=clarence+thomas+on+laura+ingraham#id=5&vid=f3ebbe2ff58b1e68d1f6557de3422bab&action=click

***********Good Morning Coach Wyatt!

A have a question on the tight tackle's rule on 6/7 G-O which says "Gap, Down". We play against a 5-2/5-3 defense this week and the guards are uncovered. Based on your last email, that would take the tackle all the way down to the nose, correct? I'm really tempted to take the double team with the TE and T but I have a feeling you would say "No". Their DT's are very good. I do see the danger of a LB run through when the guard pulls if the tackle doesn't go down. I don't have a lot of experience with this scheme.

6-G BLOCKING



6-G-O…  A TE-Tackle double-team is fool’s gold. That rule for the tackle is a must.  You have to fill for the void left by the pulling guard.  Believe me, I learned this the hard way, running it against a 5-4 and having those inside linebackers blow up a play that I thought we’d blocked perfectly.








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

A quick question... What is the rule that makes it illegal for a defensive end to cut our FB on the power play?

Applicable here in Massachusetts with NCAA rules?


I can’t answer for the NCAA because I know that its rules permitting blocking below the waist are much more liberal than the NFHS rules, which all states except Massachusetts use.

But in layman’s terms, the NFHS rules state that blocking below the waist is permitted only in the free blocking zone (4 yards to either side of center, 3 yards forward and back of center) and it can only take place between two people who were BOTH ON THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE AT THE SNAP.  (Such as an offensive guard on a defensive tackle.) By NFHS rules, therefore, if one of the participants in a block below the waist, either delivering the block or receiving it, is a back (who by definition is not on the line of scrimmage at the snap), it is an illegal block and the person delivering the block is guilty of a foul.

Funny how they keep adding officials to their crews, but they’re no better at calling this illegal, unethical and dangerous tactic than they were when they first made it illegal back in the early 1980s. (And defensive coaches are no better at playing by the rules.)

*********** LAST WEEKEND’S MOST MEMORABLE GAMES (FOR ME)

*** THURSDAY NIGHT -
EASTERN MICHIGAN, the most snakebit team in FBS, blows a fourth-quarter lead and loses to NORTHERN ILLINOIS

STANFORD over OREGON STATE - Barely.  Beavers played inspired ball for interim head coach Cory Hall, and Stanford acted as though they’d rather be almost anyplace else, but in the end the Cardinal pulled it out.

*** FRIDAY NIGHT -
BC beats FSU.  BC looks pretty good.  FSU? A senior defensive player saunters off the field and fails to get off in time to avoid a too-many-men penalty. A lot of the guys on the FSU sidelines look like they’re not at all concerned about getting their ass whipped.  Some of them look like they’re texting.  The body language is horrible.

*** SATURDAY -
OHIO STATE shocks the sh— out of PENN STATE - and me - with a stunning come-from-behind win. The Lions just went absolutely dead in the fourth quarter. The Bucks’ defensive front was awesome,  and J. T. Barrett, if I may use a dreary cliche, put the Buckeyes’ offense on his back.

IOWA STATE beats TCU - I like the Frogs, but Iowa State, the perennial whipping boy, is now doing some of the whipping.   This one wasn’t exactly a whipping - between TCU turnovers and penalties it could almost have been called a suicide.

MIAMI thumps NORTH CAROLINA - Maybe those Carolina guys have been spending too much time on their studies.

ARIZONA beats WASHINGTON STATE - For no apparent reason other than wanting to make a change, Mike Leach benches QB Luke Falk in mid-game.  His backup throws for 500+ yards but he also throws four interceptions - one a pick-six. 

NOTRE DAME beats NC STATE - The Irish are the real deal.

USC beats ARIZONA STATE - The Trojans made it clear that they’re not dead yet.

KANSAS STATE over KANSAS - It was tougher than I expected.  The Jayhawks are showing signs of becoming a football team again.

AIR FORCE over COLORADO STATE - Zoomies are looking tough.

OREGON over UTAH - Ducks, like USC, aren’t dead yet.  Utes continue their tailspin

IOWA over MINNESOTA - Hawkeyes another team that’s not ready to be declared dead.

KENTUCKY over TENNESSEE - What??? Kentucky NEVER beats Tennessee!


*********** When Kevin Sumlin’s Texas Aggies blew a huge lead against UCLA - he was crucified for it.

(Note to any member of the Houston Texans who might be reading this: Coach Sumlin wasn’t actually “crucified.” No one really drove spikes through his hands and into a wooden cross.  It’s just what’s called a “figure of speech,” see, another way of saying that he was treated cruelly.)

Anyhow, that was so long ago that people may have already forgotten.

I’m thinking that possibly the reason why Sumlin was treated so brutally was that there were a lot people who  were already predisposed not to like him even before UCLA happened.

Forward to last Saturday,  and there was Penn State, twice blowing 18-point leads against Ohio State as it pissed away a game it should have had in hand - and yet I’ve heard nothing negative since then about James Franklin. The difference, I suspect,  is that Coach Franklin has become a media darling.

*********** Did'ja see the end of the Northwestern  game in OT?  Guy for NW pulls in the desperation floater at the Goal Line and seals the victory!

Q: Where are his teammates?

That would be "Behind him".  Where is this Greatest Football Player of All Time running? It appears that there is a mother-huge CAMERA not far away.

Which is more important?     Stupid question...

Charlie Wilson
Crystal River, Florida

Got to say I sure am glad I didn’t see it.

*********** I don’t know whether a Wednesday night game falls under last weekend’s or this weekend’s games, but Eastern Michigan sure played a whale of a game in coming from behind  last night to beat Western Michigan, 35-28. (In the first quarter, with Western ahead by a couple of scores, the announcer had said “this could get ugly”)

I guess I’ve been spoiled by living  in the Northwest, where every self-respecting high school stadium has a roof over the grandstands on at least one side of the field, but there’s no way I would sit and watch a football game in the kind of cow-pissing-on-a-flat-rock rain that fell the entire time.


GAMES I’LL WATCH THIS WEEKEND

*** FRIDAY NIGHT - UCLA at UTAH - two teams with high pre-season expectations duke it out for last place in the Pac-12 South.

*** SATURDAY AM-
PENN STATE at MICHIGAN STATE - with teams coming off tough losses
SYRACUSE at FLORIDA STATE - Are the Seminoles really as bad as they looked last week at BC?
CLEMSON at NC STATE - the big winner here could be Notre Dame
OHIO STATE at IOWA - Hey, the Hawkeyes damn near beat Penn State in Kinnick Stadium
IOWA STATE at WEST VIRGINIA - Got to love the Cyclones, but how long can it last?

STANFORD at WASHINGTON STATE - Leach appears to be losing control of his team but he’s fooled me before. Stanford has had nine days to wake up from the coma they were in against Oregon State
ARMY at AIR FORCE - I’m afraid that if the altitude doesn’t get Army, Air Force’s speed will
OKLAHOMA at  OKLAHOMA STATE - Two really good QBs go at it.  With a grandson going to OSU, I have to go with the Cowboys
OREGON STATE at CAL - Will the Beavers finally get a win against an FBS opponent?
TEXAS at TCU - The Frogs may still be the best team in the Big 12, but will they snap back after last week?
MINNESOTA at MICHIGAN - Gophers seldom win the Little Brown Jug, but I can hope
LSU at ALABAMA - Alabama is so strong that I seldom watch them, but I’ll watch this one.  At least until the blowout starts
VIRGINIA TECH at MIAMI - a HUGE ACC game.  If Miami wins, their game against Notre Dame next week could be for an eventual spot in the playoff
OREGON at WASHINGTON - Huskies hammered the Ducks last year, and I expect that the same thing will happen Saturday
ARIZONA at USC - You Easterners - try to stay up to watch this, or at least set the DVR.  USC is coming off a big win over Arizona State.  Arizona has won four straight.  Wildcats’ QB Khalil Tate is really fun to watch - he’s been the Pac-12 Players of the Week a record four times now.  First place in the Pac-12 South is on the line.


*********** Find the hidden lesson…

A headline from last weekend’s high school games:

McMinnville (Oregon) 50, West Albany 43

Game summary: Colton Smith’s fifth touchdown of the game was a 75-yard kickoff return with 17 seconds left - moments after West Albany had taken a one-point lead.

The lesson? There's 17 seconds to play and you give them a chance to return a kickoff? When they’ve got a guy who’s already scored four touchdowns?
 

*********** If ever there was anything designed to make you think your fellow coaches are a$$holes, it’s an All-League meeting, an annual late-season horse trading session that high school coaches have to endure in hopes of getting some of their kids All-League recognition. 

Looking back, I’m now able to laugh at some of the  absurd things I used to see, especially the inevitable guys who’d finished winless in the league and yet nominated damn near everybody on their team for the All-League team. (Did they realize how it would reflect on them as a coach if every one of their players were to make All-League - after they went winless?)

A friend wrote to tell me about his recent All-League meeting.  He said that his last year’s team finished 2-5, and he understood when he managed to get only one player on the first team and two on the second team.  But he thought it strange, to say the least, that after this year’s team went 5-2,  he still got only one player on the first team. As a consolation, though, this year he got all of three on the second team.

His middle linebacker was put on the second team because, other coaches argued,  a lot of his tackles came while he was playing as a down lineman in one of their defensive packages.

So while he was named to the second team, when it came time to vote for the league’s defensive MVP, he finished second - by one vote.

Here’s the best: the Coach of the Year was a guy whose team didn’t win a league game.


*********** Fact: Chuck Bednarik, a Hall-of-Fame middle linebacker, played two ways in the 1960 NFL championship game.  But he did not play middle linebacker in that game  - or in any other game that year.  The Eagles’ middle linebacker was another Chuck - Chuck Weber, who died recently.

Chuck Weber was a graduate of my wife’s high school in Abington, Pennsylvania.  He was a tough guy.  He was an outstanding wrestler and football player at West Chester, then known as West Chester State Teachers, and before coming to the Eagles he’d served in the Marines and he’d played linebacker for the Browns and Cardinals.

In “The 1960 Philadelphia Eagles,” he told author Robert Gordon about his first encounter with another tough guy, Mike Ditka.

“When Mike was a rookie in ’61, he was the Bears’ big threat. Jerry Williams (Eagles’ defensive coach) put me on Mike and told me not to let him off the line of scrimmage.  So I didn’t.  I was all over him, grabbing him, holding him.  One play, I grabbed his neck and shoulder pads and dragged him down, like a wrestling move.  When the Bears were in the huddle, I told the ref, “Watch this Ditka guy - he’s grabbing me.” Next play, out comes Mike, swinging away.  The ref sees him and throws a flag.  Well, now, it’s years later, 1985, and I’m coaching in San Diego and Mike is coaching the Bears. Before the game, you know, sometimes the coaches get together and talk. I went walking over to Mike and I said, ‘Hi, Mike.  I’m Chuck Weber.’  Mike just looked at me and said, ‘I know who you are,” and walked away.

*********** A couple of Chuck Weber stories from philadelphiaeagles.com…

Weber often joked that he was the answer to a trivia question: Who was the middle linebacker on that Eagles championship team? Ask that question in any bar and the immediate response will be, "Chuck Bednarik."

That's how most people remember it but that's not how it happened.

Bednarik started that season playing center and Weber was the middle linebacker. One month into the season, outside linebacker Bob Pellegrini suffered a broken leg and coach Buck Shaw put Bednarik into Pellegrini's spot. That's when Bednarik started playing both ways but he was playing outside linebacker. Weber was in the middle.

"Most people don't remember it that way," Weber said, "but that's OK. That other Chuck you're talking about, he was pretty good."

Bednarik, the legendary Pro Football Hall of Famer, credited Weber for helping him through that season.

"I went in there cold, I didn't know all the assignments but Chuck talked me through it," Bednarik said. "Before every play, he'd tell me what to do. He didn't get enough credit. He was a good football player."

+++++

"We had a tough team, physically and mentally tough," Weber said of the 1960 NFL champions. "Alex Webster (Giants fullback) swore I hated him. He asked me about it one time. I said, 'No, Alex. I play that way against everybody.'

"You get a lot of hard-nosed guys, it makes everyone tougher. Look at our leaders, Bednarik and (quarterback Norm) Van Brocklin. You'll never find two tougher competitors. If you didn't have that bulldog in you, you didn't last long in that locker room."

The lasting image of that season was Bednarik's thunderous hit on the Giants' Frank Gifford forcing the fumble that secured a huge win at Yankee Stadium. Most people recall the classic photo of Bednarik standing over the unconscious Gifford. Few people notice Weber, No. 51, pouncing on the fumble that ended the game. He didn't mind being overshadowed.

"I'm just glad I didn't get in the way," Weber said. "When Chuck hit Frank, it sounded like an explosion. I'll never forget it."

http://www.philadelphiaeagles.com/news/article-1/Chuck-Weber-Much-More-Than-The-Other-Chuck-On-1960-Title-Team/b8f80a5e-d756-4678-9a3e-ff5a2abd3962

*********** “Quarterback’s probably the worst-coached position in football because they have so many guys coaching it who never stood back there themselves,”  Sonny Jurgensen

*********** QUIZ  ANSWER - Pete Retzlaff  has to be the greatest athlete ever to come out of “The Dakotas” - plural. For his having participated in sports in both North AND South Dakota, and for what he did when he left there, he has to be the best.

The  best athlete ever to come out of North Dakota must be Roger Maris, a high very good high school football player who turned down a  football scholarship at Oklahoma in order to pursue a baseball career - a decision that you’d have to agree turned out pretty well for him.

Phil Jackson was from North Dakota, too.  Most people know him as a pretty doggone good basketball coach, but anybody who can play in the NBA for 14 years, as he did, is a good athlete as well.

And now there’s Carson Wentz, the Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback. If his NFL career plays out the way it’s begun,  Wentz, who won a couple of FCS championships while at North Dakota State,  could possibly go on to pass Maris.

But Pete Retzlaff ranks near the top in North Dakota, and in a list of athletes from South Dakota, he’s at the top.

He played high school sports in his home town of Ellendale, North Dakota, and his college sports at South Dakota State.

At South Dakota State he was an outstanding running back, rushing for a school record 1,016 yards his senior season, and he starred in track and field as a weight man, twice winning NAIA championships - and setting NAIA records - in both the shot and discus. In all, he set 16 school records in football and track.

He was drafted in the 22nd round in 1953 by the Lions, but he couldn’t make it as a fullback and was cut. After serving two years in the Army, he returned to the Lions, and was put on waivers and claimed by the Eagles.

Playing several different positions - including one exhbition game where he played defensive back -  he caught a total of just 22 passes in his first two years in Philadelphia.   But then Buck Shaw arrived as head coach and Norm Van Brocklin arrived as quarterback,  and Retzlaff’s career took off.   Van Brocklin took a liking to him, and in 1958, Retzlaff led the NFL in receptions with 56, and was the leading receiver on the Eagles’ 1960 championship team.

Starting as what we would now call a wide receiver, he became one of the very first of what we now call tight ends.

He was twice named first team All-Pro and twice second team.  He went to the Pro Bowl five times, and when he retired after 11 years with the Eagles, he held the team career records with 452 receptions and 7412 yards receiving and 47 touchdown catches.

In 1965 he caught 66 passes for 10 touchdowns, and won the Bert Bell Award as NFL Player of the Year.

He served as Eagles’ Player Representative and for two years was President of the NFL Players Association.

After he retired, he served for four years as the Eagles’ General Manager.

His number 44 is retired by the Eagles.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING PETE RETZLAFF:
MARK KACZMAREK - Davenport, Iowa (The original "Pistol Pete!"....Pete Retzlaff...solid player & a crucial cog for the "Iggles" their championship year & championship game...It was over Christmas break, right after Christmas & was the 1st game I remember being completely involved in as a youngster, fanwise...I still remember Chuck Bednarik laying on Jim Taylor as time runs out on my Packers)
JOSH MONTGOMERY - Berwick, Louisiana
MIKE BENTON - Colfax, Illinois (sounds like for a guy that didn't catch many passes in college, he turned into a great receiver!)
JOE GUTILLA - Austin, Texas
JOHN VERMILLION - St. Petersburg, Florida
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - Woodland, Washington
JERRY LOVELL - Bellevue, Nebraska
KEN HAMPTON - Raleigh, North Carolina
TIM BROSS - Kirkwood, Missouri
DAVE POTTER - Cary, North Carolina (When I was a kid, I collected a series of books published by Random House called "The Punt, Pass and Kick Library."  They were great books, written for kids about the NFL, past and present.  One of these books (I still have them) was titled, "Great Receivers of the NFL."  In it, there was a chapter on Philadelphia Eagles great, Pete Retzlaff.)
ADAM WESOLOSKI - Pulaski, Wisconsin
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - Lakeville, Indiana


*********** Selections about Pete Retzlaff from “The 1960 Philadelphia Eagles” - by Robert Gordon - 2001

*** On his working to become better

Dick Bielski: “When Pete got to Philadelphia he was just a body beautiful guy - big and strong with a great physique - but he wasn’t loaded with natural football talent.  He didn’t know how to catch a football.  I told him, ‘If you’re going to make it in this league, you’ve got to be able to catch the ball.’ I wish I hadn’t said it.  He wore my ass out.  He made me throw passes to him for hours.  Everybody else would be long gone and the two of us would still be out on the practice field, throwing and catching.  You could see Pete’s determination, though. I spent 30 years in football, 21 of them as a coach for the Colts and Redskins, and Pete Retzlaff was the most successful self-made player I ever saw.”


Bob Pellegrini recalled, “Pete had that Joe Palooka body. He was one of the few players in those days with that kind of physique.  We didn’t have trainers and weight programs. Pete worked on his own personal program.  He worked hard at everything. That was his style.  And since he didn’t catch the ball in college. he had to learn how to do it up here, which wasn’t easy. So Pete was always looking for people to throw him the ball - guys like Bielski and me.  I always felt Pete was the guy on our team who grew the most in every facet of life.   He grew as a player, a person, a leader - everything.  He commanded respect, without having to scream or yell. He could settle disputes in his own, cornpone, Midwest way. He turned into a terrific leader.”



*** How he got his nickname “The Baron”  (“Baron von Retzlaff.”) The name was conferred on him by Tom Brookshier, Eagles’ great defensive back who went on to a great career as a broadcaster.

“I had just come to Philly from the Lions,” Retzlaff recalled, “and we were at training camp in Hershey. A bunch of us went over to Indiantown Gap (a nearby Army base).  We ended up at the rifle range, firing rifles. I had been a First Lieutenant in the Army a few years before, and I was a decent marksman. When I hit the bullseye nine times in nine shots, Brookie started calling me The Baron.  It stuck.”

They still call him that.

Wrote Gordon, “Retzlaff had and retains the physical traits of a baron: statuesue bearing, light hair, steely eyes.”  In addition, there was his ancestry: “I have more relatives in Germany than in the U.S.,”  he told Gordon.

*** On the influence of Norm Van Brocklin on his career

Retzlaff caught a total of just 22 passes in his first two seasons with the Eagles. Then Norm Van Brocklin arrived in 1958.

“There’s no question that Van Brocklin started me down the road to success,” Retzlaff told Gordon. “Dutch thought I had potential, and just knowing that he felt that way made me start to believe in myself. The first time Van Brocklin saw me at Hershey, he said, ‘That guy runs patterns like Crazy Legs Hirsch.’

“‘Crazy Legs Hirsch!’ I thought. ‘That’s great!’

“Hirsch was one of my idols at the time, and I gained confidence just hearing the comparison.”
 
(Van Brocklin had been obtained from the Rams, where Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch had been one of his favorite receivers.  The Rams played an exciting, wide-open brand of football and they were very popular in Los Angeles.  So popular was Hirsch that in 1953, Hollywood made a movie called - get ready for this -  “Crazy Legs,” with Elroy Hirsch in the title role. HW)

“Van Brocklin also said, ‘Watch that guy.  He’s going to lead this league in pass catching.’  Turns out, I did. I tied Ray Berry that year for most catches.  I owe a lot to Dutch.”

*** On why he belongs in the Hall of Fame

Retzlaff became a tight end in 1963 (it was first recognized as a separate position in 1962)

ALL PRO SELECTIONS in the years that Retzlaff played Tight End):
1963: Mike Ditka, Ron Kramer, Pete Retzlaff
1964: Mike Ditka, Pete Retzlaff
1965: Mike Ditka, Pete Retzlaff
1966: Mike Ditka, Pete Retzlaff, John Mackey, Jackie Smith
(All the above except Retzlaff and Kramer are in the Hall of Fame)

*********** Does Pete Retzlaff belong in the Pro Football Hall of Fame?  I say YES.

No one would deny that Mike Ditka or John Mackey belong in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but consider the stats of Pete Retzlaff alongside those two, the only tight ends from his era who are in the Hall...
Retzlaff stats
Table from "The 1960 Philadelphia Eagles" by Robert Gordon


QUIZ - He grew up in small western Pennsylvania mining towns. He spent his early years in a tiny “patch” called Emeigh, but he went to high school in the “big city” of Barnesboro, now known as Northern Cambria.  (Both places are hidden away in the hills. Neither is “near anything.”)

At Syracuse, he played guard and was captain of the team his senior year.

Following graduation, he helped coach the frosh team at Syracuse, but in 1941 he enlisted in the Army as a private.  Four years later, after attending Officer’s Candidate School and serving in the South Pacific, he came out as a major.  And with a Bronze Star.

After a year as a high school coach in New York, he was offered a job as line coach at Syracuse under new head coach Biggie Munn, who had been an assistant on the Syracuse staff when our guy played there.

A year later, Munn was hired by Michigan State, and our guy went with him.

They had great success there:  in 1952 Michigan State won the AP national title and in 1954, Michigan State’s first year as a member of the Big Ten, they tied for the conference championship and beat UCLA in the Rose Bowl.

Following that Rose Bowl, he succeeded Munn as the Spartans' head coach, and when he retired 19 years later his record stood at 109-69-5.  His 1965 team was #1 in the coaches' poll, and his 1966 team was #2 in both the coaches' and AP polls.

At a time when southern colleges were still segregated, he saw  opportunity, and  recruited the South for talented black players such as Bubba Smith from Texas and George Webster from South Carolina. He was one of the first college coaches in American to field a completely integrated team: his 1966 team had 20 black players - 10 starters and nine backups -  of the 44 players on its first two units.



american flagTUESDAY,  OCTOBER 31,  2017  -  "When you compete at the highest level in any sport, talent is never enough.  Knowing how to win is a skill all its own, and it takes time and experience, and there are no shortcuts.”  Willie Mosconi, 15-time World Straight Pool Champion

*********** When I was a kid - yes, a long time ago - I once played catch with the captain of the Philadelphia Eagles.  His name was Al Wistert, and he was in some kind of business with my uncle. (Few pro football players could make a living just playing football.)  Afterward, he sent me a team photo, autographed by him and defensive lineman Jay MacDowell. (I still have it.) 

When I was in my 20s and living in Baltimore, I stopped occasionally at a place on Greenmount Avenue called the Bear’s Den, owned by a former Baltimore Colt named Marv Matuszak.  I can recall sitting in there and watching Lou Michaels and Jimmy Orr (aka “Captain Cutty” for his preferred brand of scotch) enjoying a drink or two. Or four or five.

The wife of a friend of mine used to bowl with John Unitas’ wife. I once ran into an all-time great running back named Joe “The Jet” Perry, who was then winding up his career with the Colts but at the time we met was selling something or other in the off-season.

Future Hall of Famers Jim Parker and Art Donovan owned liquor stores, and during the week you could find them behind the counters.

My point - those guys were part of the community.  Yes, they were a lot better at football than we ever dreamed of being, but otherwise, they had a lot in common with the rest of us.   They were well enough paid, sure, but not so much that they didn’t live in the same neighborhoods as ordinary people.

We actually believed that when those guys - our neighbors -  played, they were our surrogates out on the field.  They were playing for us. 

And you know what?  There was some truth to it.  You listen to those old Colts years later and it’s obvious that our love was requited.

I’m sure most people in other NFL cities who can remember the old days have similar memories.

That notion of a mutual lovefest has been an invaluable asset to the NFL.  People weren’t just buying tickets to watch a football game - they were going out to watch “their” guys take on some enemy on their behalf.

But then, free agency came along and players’ pursuit of more money elsewhere made a joke of the idea that they had any loyalty to your team. 

And as the NFL and its owners grew richer, so, too did the players, to the point where they became  royalty, entertainers as much as athletes.  They no longer drink beer - they drink cognac.  And they don’t hang out in places like the Bear’s Den.  Now, they frequent “Gentleman’s Clubs” - but in the VIP Room.

They also started  to behave unlike people we chose to associate with, yet for some reason,  their aberrant behavior, both on and off the field, was tolerated.

Through it all, though, the myth of “our guys playing for us” persisted.

And the NFL and its teams continued to capitalize on it, gulling taxpayers into paying for lavish new stadia in which “their” teams could play.

That, boys and girls, is the myth that’s being shattered right in front of our very eyes as week after week we watch NFL players, guys we deluded ourselves into thinking were playing for us, act in ways repugnant to us.

It took us long enough to figure this out, and if they hadn’t started with this whole damn taking-a-knee business, we might have gone on believing in the myth a little longer.

But now it’s over.  The myth is gone, and with it,  the NFL’s biggest strongest selling point.

*********** Yes, the NFL’s numbers are down, but before anybody gets the idea that the American public now cares as much about baseball as it does about the NFL…

Remember how we nearly had a national crisis over underinflated NFL footballs?

Well, here’s major league baseball, in the middle of a World Series, with  an issue concerning its balls that could turn out to be a lot more serious, and - you watch - nobody will give a sh—.

HOUSTON – Pitchers and coaches from both the Dodgers and Astros complained Saturday night about the World Series baseballs—and this time the controversy is not just about liveliness. They say there is a new problem: the baseballs used in the World Series are slicker than the ones used in the regular season because of a difference in the grain of the leather. The slicker World Series balls particularly make it hard to throw a good slider, they claim.
“We had a well-pitched game tonight from both sides,” Astros pitching coach Brent Strom said after Los Angeles won Game 4, 6-2. “I’m not taking anything away from the players. I just want to know why? Why in the world would the baseballs in the World Series be different? Because you can see the difference. You can feel it. I don’t understand it at all.”

Said Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, referring to his Game 3 starter, Yu Darvish, “Yu noticed the difference. He told me the balls were slicker and he had trouble throwing the slider because of how slick they were. He wasn’t able to throw his slider the same way.”
Peter Woodfork, senior vice president, baseball operations, of Major League Baseball, said World Series balls are tested at the time of manufacturing and are made from the same materials and to the same standards as regular season baseballs. “The only difference is the gold stamping on the baseballs,” he said, a switch from the blue ink used during the regular season.
https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/10/29/world-series-baseballs-leather-justin-verlander-yu-darvish-ken-giles-kenley-jansen?utm_campaign=si-mlb&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&xid=socialflow_twitter_si

*********** There was an old expression that was  roughly equivalent to today’s “it is what it is.”  (Loosely translated, it meant, “it’s not good, it’s not what we’d prefer, but it’s happened and there’s not much we can do about it, so we might as well make the best of it.”)

That old expression was, “When rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it.” Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard it.  If you’re under 40, it’s not likely you raised your hand, because it’s been almost 30 years since the expression rode off into PC-induced oblivion. 

It was back in April, 2018 that Bobby Knight, then the basketball coach at Indiana, used the expression, in an interview on national TV, to explain how he, as a coach, dealt with stress: ''I think that if rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it.''

And then, somehow realizing that it might not be a bad idea to clarify what he meant - that he wasn’t in any way condoning rape - he felt compelled to explain to the interviewer, Connie Chung,   ''That's just an old term that you're going to use. The plane's down, so you have no control over it. I'm not talking about that, about the act of rape. Don't misinterpret me there. But what I'm talking about is, something happens to you, so you have to handle it - now.''

Too late, Coach. The sh— hit the fan. Did it ever.

Why, here was one of the most famous coaches in America suggesting - on national TV, yet - that women should simply submit to rape!  And enjoy it! The storm blew over eventually, and he kept his job.  It would take more than that to get him fired - in time, he would provide his employer more than enough reason - but it did bring to an immediate end the use of that particular figure of speech.  Nowadays, of course, its use would be instant grounds for termination at any place of employment.

Which leads me to a prediction that, thanks to its recent misuse by an NFL owner, we’ve seen the last of a rather innocuous way of describing a bizarre  situation in which the most unlikely people imaginable are somehow in charge.

The expression? “The inmates are running the asylum.” 

The way it was misused? “The inmates are running the prison.”

Uh-oh.  Literally - which is the way unlettered people tend to deal with the subtleties of a figure of speech - that had to mean that he was likening his employees to  prison inmates. 

I think “asylum” might have slipped by simply because most of his players  wouldn’t have had any idea what an asylum was - but prison?  That they know. And “inmates?”  Whoa.

Listen - I know exactly what he meant, but that’s not important.  What’s important is that his inept choice of words led to an unfortunate conclusion.  (Just another reason why they should still teach English in schools, instead of something called “Language Arts.”)

My advice to owners: next time, remember what the late George Stanich, one of my all-time favorite innkeepers, used to have on a sign behind his bar: “Silence is the only substitute for brains.”

And whatever you do, if you simply must  say something, don’t say “the animals are running the zoo.”

http://www.nytimes.com/1988/04/27/sports/knight-is-criticized-over-rape-remark.html

*********** Bob McNair, the owner of the Houston Texans,  may be a complete prick for all I know, but I do know this: Houston probably wouldn’t have the Texans if it weren’t for him.  It was his reputation, his influence, his vision and - yes - his money that won the day for Houston.

You do remember, don’t you, that  after Bud Adams moved the Oilers to Nashville, Houston was without NFL football for five years?

Now, I hear calls for Bob McNair to be drummed out of the league, much in the way Donald Sterling was run out of the NBA.

The idea that this could happen in our society is something that ought to scare the crap out of anyone owning - or thinking about owning - any professional sports franchise. 
Any business, for that matter.

*********** I don’t care how big a state you live in. How many high school football stadiums seating 10,000 or more does it have?

None, most likely.  Five? Ten? Probably not.

Ten or so would definitely put you in the Big Time.

But compared to Texas, your state would be a piker.  Just to give you an idea of how BIG Texas high school football really is - not necessarily in terms of national power rankings or the numbers of five-star recruits it produces, but in terms of the all-encompassing community interest it generates -

In Texas, a 10,000-seat high school stadium doesn’t even make the Top 50 list.

12,000 doesn’t make it into the Top 30.

15,000 doesn’t make the Top 10.

http://www.star-telegram.com/sports/dfwvarsity/prep-football/article170468092.html

*********** Several years ago, just to show what a hoax the NFL was perpetrating by claiming to be putting on such an exciting show, I would look at Monday’s game reports, and find proof, week after week, of The League’s offensive ineptitude.

Viewing a field goal as a failure of the offense to complete its mission, I would find that invariably, the number of field goals made in that week’s games would exceed the number of offensive touchdowns scored.

Just for the hell of it, I looked at this Monday’s sports section to see if the NFL was holding true to form, and - what do you know? - nothing’s changed.

11 games were played Sunday.

In all, there were 46 field goals made and 44 offensive touchdowns scored.

Overall, in six of the 11 games there were more field goals.
In three of them, there were more TDs.
In two of them, there were an equal number.

The figures were somewhat skewed by the Seahawks-Texans game, an  outlier in that only three field goals were made compared to nine offensive TDs.

But offsetting the offensive fireworks of the Seahawks-Texans game was the dismal (even by NFL standards) offensive performance of the Steelers and the Lions in the “Sunday Night Football” game: 7 field goals and 2 offensive touchdowns.  Monday’s entire game story was devoted to one lone play - the Steelers’ 97-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to Juju Smith-Schuster.  If it hadn’t been for that one play, the story could just as easily have been the Lions’ managing to squander 485 yards of passing, coming up  with five f—king field goals and not a single TD.

*********** Enforcement of marijuana laws, the argument goes, requires police and police resources that could be used to take violent offenders off the streets.  The solution? I’ve heard it so often it rings in my ears - legalize marijuana.

Come on, I hear. Stop wasting everybody’s time and go after the big fish.  The real criminals.

Assuming there might be something to the idea,  let’s see how we can apply it to the NFL,  beset as it is with claims that it’s not doing enough to make the game safer.

My suggestion?

Legalize marijuana. 

Just kidding. 

What I meant to say was, legalize holding, at least by offensive linemen. Put boxing gloves on them and let them have at it.

Time to  face reality - holding’s happening on every play.  It’s accepted practice. If it’s not actually being taught, it’s certainly not being discouraged.

Holding on the offensive line is as common as speeding  on our Interstates and its enforcement is about as random. Yes, every so often some poor schlub is caught, but otherwise, on and on it goes and everybody knows it.

The problem with this type of law enforcement in a football game is that way too often, when that “state trooper in the striped shirt” does pull somebody over,  it wipes out a spectacular play - the kind that The League hypes and the kind that fans pay to see.

And, too, the seeming selective enforcement of rules can lead to questions about the integrity of officials.

So get real, NFL,  and let the offensive linemen hold.

Here’s how you do it:

You sell it “as a safety issue” - now, you announce, your officials will be able to devote more  attention to enforcing rules that  “make the game safer.”

The public (and the media) will surely buy that.  And more importantly, so will the players’ union, which really runs the game.

We’re all for safety, of course - who isn’t?

But the real benefit to The League will be a speeding up of the game and an improvement in offensive performance - running and passing both - which is what fans, real and fantasy,  want.  


*********** They dedicated a statue of the great Don James outside Washington’s Husky Stadium Friday.  My friend Mike Lude, who as AD at Kent State gave James his first head coaching job and then became James’ boss at Washington, told me they had no difficulty at all raising money for the statue.

Two former Kent Staters contributed. One was was Nick Saban, who was a graduate assistant there, and the other was Gary Pinkel, who played under James at Kent State and assisted him at Washington.

Mike said that when they called Saban, he asked just one question: “How much did Pinkel give?”

They told him $5,000.

Saban said, “Put me down for $6,000.”

(For a nice little story about how Mike Lude and Don James got together…http://sportspressnw.com/2236219/2017/thiel-huskies-james-rises-again-to-the-heights


*********** Seattle Sportswriter Art Thiel tells of the last bit of advice the late Washington Huskies’ coach Don James gave Gary Pinkel, his former player (at Kent State) and assistant, as Pinkel left to take his first head coaching job, at Toledo:

When Pinkel earned his first head coaching job at the University of Toledo, he had an exit interview with James. At the end, after they stood and shook hands, Pinkel stepped to the door. He asked James for any words of wisdom.

In his ever-serious manner, James peered out over his glasses and gave him The Look, the one on the statue.

“Things are going to get tough, really tough,” Pinkel quoted James. “Keep your focus hour to hour.   If you don’t, the pressure will eat you up.”


***********  Thanks for the mention, Coach, even if I'm undeserving. Love the advice you proffer in answering all those great coaches out there.

Also loved all the comments on the Fat Man from NOLA. Best I can ascertain, he was a pretty understated guy. In fact, I was making a wild connection between the 5'5" Fats and the 5'6" (or so) Jose Altuve. Altuve reportedly pretty often randomly uses other players' bats and gloves, seeming to play with the enthusiasm of a Little Leaguer. I love him even more after hitting on ESPN (only while flipping the channel) for one of those shots of the team getting off the bus in an underground location. Whatever the sport, we're accustomed to seeing the players with their sound systems or sound cancellers attached to their skulls, wearing shades and expensive clothing. Here comes Altuve among these guys, and he's wearing a plain old white t-shirt, regular jeans, and nothing on his head, not even a cap. Oh, and not carrying a high-priced bag. No ink, no strutting, just a purposeful walk straight ahead. Hope I ain't wrong about either or both.

ANSWER: Chuck Foreman, sometimes paired with that Hill Street Blues Ivy Leaguer, Ed Marinaro, if memory serves.

John Vermillion                
St Petersburg, Florida

You’re much too modest.  In the case of a compliment, it seems to me it’s up to the one giving it to decide if it’s deserved.

I enjoy passing along lessons I’ve learned, mostly the hard way. But anybody can give advice (and usually does).  It’s a wise man who can take it and weigh it and use it, and I have no idea how much of mine falls on deaf ears.

You’re right about the Fat Man.  It seems he was totally without pretension, a homebody not at all given to self-promotion,  and that’s probably why he isn’t better known to today’s younger music aficionados.  I don’t know about Altuve, but I think that we had enough time to evaluate Fats.

And way to go on Ed Marinaro, the pride of Cornell.  He and Foreman were backfield mates for three seasons!


*********** A coach writes...

Over a week ago our head sets were stolen out of our equipment room. I reported it to the AD and . We have cameras right outside the door, and the head sets were  in a large yellow suitcase. We went thru last week’s game old school, with no head sets, and won. Here we are 9 days later and no word from security on Video. My AD said he does not know what’s going on and has done nothing to replace them. So with  advice from (my wife) I got a hold of an old friend from (another state) who is an AD at one of the high schools and I explained the situation and I asked him if they had an old set lying around. Well, less then 3 or 4 hrs he responded that he has some, he gave them to my oldest son and he’s on his way here from (another state)  for tonight’s game.

Amazing to say the least I couldn't count on my Admin to help - I had to go out of state.

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

He may have been a bit before my time but kids my age in the late 60's and early 70's still enjoyed listening to Fats Domino music.  We all found our thrill with Fats.

I'm finding more and more young men showing an interest in Hillsdale.  Not only for football, but they know there they will receive a bonafide education.

Have I mentioned how much I despise the NFL??

I noticed in that volleyball photo that the majority of those young girls look to be Hispanic.  My youngest daughter (32) now lives in Denver and last we spoke she commented on how surprised she was to see such a large Hispanic population living there.

My picks:

Texas over Baylor (I'll take the Horns - I live here)
Penn State over Ohio State (I'd pick anyone over Ohio State - lived there and still didn't like them)
Notre Dame over NC State (I'd pick ND over anyone - never lived there but I gotta support my kid's alma mater!)
Minnesota over Iowa (I'd pick the Gophers over anyone - lived there and got to really like the Gophers, and besides...it's my other kid's alma mater!).
Georgia Tech over Clemson (Never lived in either place - but I love Georgia Tech's offense!)

Ever since they outlawed the "shoeshine" block I too was forced to adapt.  Like you I started teaching the BSTE's to slide and turn.  Delivers the same result as the old "shoeshine" without the wear and tear on my guys.

QUIZ:  Hard to believe that Chuck Foreman has not been voted in to the Pro Football HOF.  He put up some very impressive numbers with a number of current guys in the HOF.

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe,

Lots of Hispanics in the Denver area and my daughter enjoys the challenge of working with the kids.

Hillsdale is a special place.  They still espouse traditional values and they still believe that the Constitution mean what it says.  They don’t take a nickel of federal money - and their students don’t take  nickel in federal loans - so they don’t have to pay attention to any of the crap coming out of the Department of Education.  

I believe you have mentioned before how much you despise the NFL, but keep saying it.  I enjoy hearing it.

I’m going to print your picks on Tuesday so we can have our fun!

Have a great weekend!



*********** QUIZ - At 6-3, 200 Chuck Foreman played tight end on his high school team in Frederick, Maryland.  But in addition to being big, he was fast, and when he got to the University of Miami, they turned him into a running back.
Good move.
He was a first-round draft choice of the Vikings.  The year before,  they had finished  7-7.
Over the next five years,  he would be named NFC Rookie of the Year and NFC Player of the Year, and play in five straight Pro Bowls; he wold have three 1,000-yard rushing seasons, and in one 14-game season he would score 22 touchdowns.  In 1975 he led the NFL in receiving.
During that time, his team would go 12-2, 10-4, 12-2, 11-2-1, 9-5 (54-15-1) and play in three Super Bowls.
Injuries slowed him down the next few seasons and in 1980 he was traded to New England, where he played one season before retiring.
He ranks third all-time among Viking runners, and ninth among the team’s receivers - by far the highest of any running back.
For some reason Chuck Foreman is not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  He rushed for 5,950 yards, not an eye-popping number, but you have to add to that another 3,156 yards receiving, on 350 receptions.
LOOK AT HOW CHUCK FOREMAN COMPARES WITH RUNNING BACKS FROM HIS ERA WHO ARE IN THE HALL OF FAME:
TOTAL YARDS PER START
1. Walter Payton 115.57
2. O.J. Simpson 115.33
3. CHUCK FOREMAN  108.41
4. Earl Campbell 100.13
5. Floyd Little 93.99
RECEIVING YARDS
1. Walter Payton 4,538
2.  CHUCK FOREMAN   3,156
3. Floyd Little 2,418
4. Franco Harris 2,287
5. Leroy Kelly 2,281
His son, Jay, played football for Nebraska and played professionally for the Bills, Texans and Giants.
CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING CHUCK FOREMAN
Josh Montgomery - Berwick, Louisiana
Kevin McCullough - Lakeville, Indiana
Tim Bross - Kirkwood, Missouri
Mark Kaczmarek - Davenport, Iowa (Oh, those were tough years for the Pack!)
Joe Gutilla - Austin, Texas
Adam Wesoloski - Pulaski, Wisconsin
Mike Benton - Colfax, Illinois (One of my all time favorites for the Vikings was Chuck Foreman.  What a great and complete running back he was.  He could catch it, he was a great blocker and man could he spin!  I have an autographed picture of him in my man cave, and one of my greatest memories of Chuck Foreman was the 1976 NFC Championship vs. the LA Rams, nursing a 17-13 lead, Chuck Foreman caught a short pass from Fran Tarkenton on 3rd down and ran it all the way down to the 11 yard line. The Vikings scored three plays later to win the game 24-13 and go to the last Super Bowl they have ever been in Super Bowl 11.  Another Viking that belongs in the Hall Of Fame!)
John Irion - Argyle, New York (I was in HS then and was a big fan.  He and Joe Kapp were my favorite Vikings players.)
John Vermillion - St. Petersburg, Florida
Jerry Lovell - Bellevue, Nebraska
Rodney Lunsford - Dublin, Indiana
Ossie Osmundson - Woodland, Washington
Pete Porcelli - Watervliet, New York
Ken Hampton - Raleigh, North Carolina
John Bothe - Oregon, Illinois


*********** #44 (Chuck Foreman) and #88 (Alan Page) getting traded and waived were my introduction to football being a business.

Jerry Lovell
Bellevue, Nebraska

You’ll be pleased to learn that the NFL is no longer a business, but instead, as of last week’s players-owners meeting, a social justice advocacy organization.


*********** QUIZ - I believe he’s the greatest athlete ever to come out of “The Dakotas” - plural. For his participation in sports in both North AND South Dakota, and what he did when he left there, this guy has to be the best.

The  best athlete ever to come out of North Dakota has got to be Roger Maris, a high very good high school football player who turned down a  football scholarship at Oklahoma in order to pursue a baseball career - a decision that you’d have to agree turned out pretty well for him.

Phil Jackson was from North Dakota, too.  Most people know his as pretty doggone good basketball coach, but anybody who can play in the NBA for 14 years, as he did, is a good athlete.

And now there’s Carson Wentz, the Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback. If his NFL career plays out the way it’s begun,  Wentz, who won a couple of FCS championships while at North Dakota State,  could possibly go on to pass Maris.

But our guy ranks near the top in North Dakota, and in a list of athletes from South Dakota, he’s right at the top.

He played high school sports in his home town of Ellendale, North Dakota, and college sports at South Dakota State.

At South Dakota State he was an outstanding running back, rushing for a school record 1,016 yards his senior season, and he starred in track and field as a weight man, twice winning NAIA championships - and setting NAIA records - in both the shot and discus. IN all, he set 16 school records in football and track.

He was drafted in the 22nd round in 1953 by the Lions, but he couldn’t make it as a fullback and was cut. After serving two years in the Army, he returned to the Lions, and was picked up on waivers by the Eagles.

There, the coach, Hugh Devore, had the foresight to make a receiver out of him.

And two years later, when Devore’s successor, Buck Shaw arrived and the Eagles acquired Ram’s veteran QB Norm Van Brocklin, his career took off.   Van Brocklin took a liking to him, and in 1958, he led the NFL in receptions with 56, and was the leading receiver on the Eagles’ 1960 championship team.

Starting as what we would now call a wide receiver, he was one of the first crop of what we now call tight ends.

He was twice named first team All-Pro and twice second team.  He went to the Pro Bowl five times, and when he retired after 11 years with the Eagles, he held the team career records with 452 receptions and 7412 yards receiving and 47 touchdowns receiving.

In 1965 he caught 66 passes for 10 touchdowns, and won the Bert Bell Award as NFL Player of the Year.

He served as Eagles’ Player Representative and for two years was President of the NFL Players Association.

After he retired, he served for four years as the Eagles’ General Manager.

His number 44 is retired by the Eagles.


american flagFRIDAY,  OCTOBER 27,  2017  - “We are here on earth to do good unto others. What the others are here for, I have no idea." W.H. Auden


***********  “A lot of people seem to think I started this business,” Elvis Presley told Jet magazine back in 1957. “But rock ’n’ roll was here a long time before I came along. Nobody can sing that music like colored people. Let’s face it: I can’t sing it like Fats Domino can. I know that.”

We all knew that, we kids of my generation.   If you had to ask me to name one person whose music I love and treasure the most, I’d have to answer, “Fats Domino.”

And now, the Fat Man is gone. Rest in peace, Fats Domino.

I hear a Fats Domino song and it takes me back to my freshman year in college - to those days of new freedom, of being away from home and free to do just about anything I wanted (and could afford). Seems like Fats was always along.

I think of Fats Domino and I think of his music coming out of open dorm windows, on warm fall evenings.

Fats’ music was real music.  You could sing along with it.  You could dance to it.  You could listen to it on the car radio. Or you could just let it play in the background as you studied or partied or made out (which old-timers will remember as something we had to settle for in the days before women became so easy).

He was big in the days when records were, literally records - when you bought one of his songs on a 45-rpm disc, or a number of them on one  33-1/3 rpm LP (long play) disc.

Here’s the amazing thing - with most recording artists, in order to buy one of two of their popular hits, you had to buy a whole LP record full of songs that you’d never heard before and, after one hearing, wouldn’t ever care to hear again.

But not with Fats Domino. The guy never made a bad record.  The guy never sang a bad song.  EVERY song on a Fats Domino LP was a good one.

To me, Fats Domino was rock ’n’ roll.  Real rock ’n’ roll. He was real - a black guy singing black music, not a white guy singing black music. Actually, he was R & B - rhythm and blues - long before it became co-opted by the rock ’n’ roll brand, which has somehow devolved into the mindless, tuneless crap that inspires tens of thousands of its cult followers to wave their arms overhead, or  hold butane lighters (and now cell phones)  aloft.

No, he was real.

“Fats, how did this rock ’n’ roll all get started anyway?” an interviewer asked him back in 1957.  Replied Fats,  “Well, what they call rock ’n’ roll now is rhythm and blues. I’ve been playing it for 15 years in New Orleans.”

In the same sense that good country music touches on the experiences of its people - unpleasant jobs, courtship, unrequited love - so did a lot of Fats Domino’s music do the same for his people.

Sociologists could make the argument that Fats Domino first introduced white middle class college kids to black culture -  a black guy, singing black music.

If you didn’t live the life he described in “Blue Monday,” you could certainly understand it.

But even when telling about the humdrum weekly routine of a working guy, his music was upbeat.  It made you feel good.  It made you want to dance.  It made you feel young.  Even now, more than 50 years out of college, it still does.


Here's an LP I put together…

(In common with R & B songs of the time, his  almost always contained a sax solo)

What’s the reason I’m not Pleasin’ You?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OchF9QCYJMI

Ain’t That a Shame
https://www.fatsdominoofficial.com/news/-ain-t-that-a-shame-

Blueberry Hill
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKQZy2PJtq8

Blue Monday
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fy5WM1xYbGo

I Hear You Knockin’
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BVrdj6CMzY

I Want to Walk You Home
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqq363lxcWk

I’m in Love Again
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3DKloy17u0

I’m Walkin’
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjUZUWHoAqI

It’s You I Love
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkfyRZ3v8Jo

My Girl Josephine
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAYceC0p1DU

Valley of Tears
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtkiXtAQ81A

Walkin’ to New Orleans
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DND5Cy6M2Cs

(He could sing a white Cajun song and do it convincingly) Jambalaya
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eab0NY5pwEc

(He could cross over and do country, too) Your Cheatin’ Heart
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbLkS1PLjwI

FATS DOMINO AND HIS BAND-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vgf0effW-xI

FATS; OFFICIAL SITE
https://www.fatsdominoofficial.com/

*********** How "New Orleans" was Fats Domino?

* There was the accent - "In Blue Monday," the line "Got to work like a slave all day" sounded like "woik like a slave"...

* When he went on tour, he would bring along his own pots and pans so he could cook New Orleans food.

* He stopped touring in the early 1980s, saying that he decided he didn’t  want to leave New Orleans, because it was the only place where he liked the food.

* When Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans in 2005, he refused to leave, staying at his flooded home until he was rescued by helicopter. “I wasn’t too nervous”  he told The New York Times. “I had my little wine and a couple of beers with me; I’m all right.”

***********  My friend Shep Clarke, from Puyallup, Washington, was in Hillsdale, Michigan to watch his son, Wain, an outside linebacker for the Hillsdale College Chargers, play against Walsh University, of Canton, Ohio.

I’ve mentioned that Wain was given the number 37, the same number worn more than 60 years ago by Hillsdale grad Mike Lude, who helped comvince Wain (and his dad) that Hillsdale would be a great college for him.

Saturday, Hillsdale defeated Walsh, 38-0, and with Dad looking on, Wain made the biggest play of his career.

From the local newspaper:

Wain Clarke provided the most dramatic play of the day for Hillsdale. He picked off a pass, ran across the field and dove into the end zone for the program's first interception return for touchdown since 2013, making the score 21-0. Clarke did a terrific job of dodging traffic, locating the pylon, and extending himself into the end zone when it appeared he might have gotten tackled short of the goal line.


*********** And then Shep returned to the real world, and wrote me this…

So I get back from Hillsdale, where all the players are polite, and the day after a game they’re back in the library writing papers on some esoteric topic --  and I open my local sports page.
 
What do I see?
 
Seahawk Doug Baldwin, who claims his dad is a policeman, SHOVES a Seahawks coach on the sideline in a fit of pique.  The response from Pete Carroll and the other coaches?  Nada. Zip. Zilch.

Pssst!  Here’s a tip:  That’s Assault 4.  (Only a misdemeanor, but it’s a start.)
 
Then another (former) Seahawk Solid Citizen SHOVES a game official.  Why?  I dunno.  Maybe he “dissed” his lovely long braided hair.  See the suggestion above.
 
Finally, a Boy Named Sue (pardon me:  “Steph”) who plays professional bouncyball, throws his mouth piece at a referee.  Why?  Because he can.
 
I will never voluntarily watch the NFL or the NBA again, unless and until they stop the gangsterization of their games.  (Or as Jim Brown would say, the “minstrel show”.)
 
Here are my substitutes coming off the bench:
 
    1    MMA
    2    Seattle Sounders (sorry, but at least they ain’t thugs)
    3    Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge
 

*********** One of the great rewards of coaching is seeing the joyous looks on your kids’ faces after all their hard work results in a win. My daughter, Vicky, has been coaching the volleyball team at a Denver middle school, and she excitedly texted us and her sister, Cathy (who also coaches volleyball) to tell us that her 8th-graders had won their first match - “The first one these girls have ever won.”

Very cool.

Vicky and volleyball team

*********** The things you learn looking through old media guides…

Miami’s colors are orange, white and green.

They honor the orange tree, which has long been Florida’s staple crop:

Orange for the fruit itself, white for the blossoms, green for the leaves.

*********** COLLEGE FOOTBALL THIS WEEKEND

THURSDAY NIGHT:


THE MAC IS BACK!  I LOVE THAT CONFERENCE!  TWO MAC GAMES ON TV TONIGHT!

Also:

Stanford at Oregon State: The BIG question:  Will Bryce Love play?  I know he twisted his ankle two weeks ago, and the rest will do him good,  but Stanford  can't complain that a lack of nationwide exposure hurts his Heisman chances and then hold him out because it's "only" Oregon State.


FRIDAY NIGHT

Tulane at Memphis - Memphis may be as good as there is outside the Power 5.

Florida State at Boston College - How often does BC get a chance to beat FSU?

SATURDAY FIRST FLIGHT (9 AM PACIFIC)

Miami at North Carolina - I have to watch some of it just to see those cheaters from UNC get beat

Oklahoma State at West Virginia - My head says OSU; my heart says WVU

Texas at Baylor - Is this the week the Bears break through?  Or is this the week Texas puts it all together?

NOON GAMES

Air Force at Colorado State - Army is off this week but they play the Zoomies next week so I have to watch

Penn State at Ohio State - The Game of the Day.  Go Lions.

Georgia vs Florida at Jacksonville - Unless Florida finds a way to score, the Bulldogs romp

NC State at Notre Dame - State is tough and I’ll be pulling for the Pack, but I think Notre Dame is too good

UCLA at Washington - If the Huskies play their game, they will win.

MIDAFTERNOON-EARLY EVENING

Utah at Oregon - I’m afraid that the Ducks are still punchless.  What a damn shame that Royce Freeman, who might have gone pro, came back for this.

Minnesota at Iowa - Minnesota may be a team of the future; for some reason, Iowa seems mired in mediocrity

Mississippi State at Texas A & M - Aggies should win - since the opening game fold against UCLA, they’ve lost only to Alabama

Duke at Virginia Tech - Could be ugly but Duke is one of my teams

Georgia Tech at Clemson - Tech has lost just two games, by one point each.  I’m calling  for a Tech upset.

EVENING

Washington State at Arizona - Watch out, Cougs - Arizona has won three in a row.

USC at Arizona State - USC got hammered last week by Notre Dame - since their bye three weeks ago, the Sun Devils have beaten Washington and Utah.  I’m going with ASU.


*********** And you thought the reason why Michigan paid Harbaugh the big bucks was to hold tryout camps in the South and Spring practice in Rome.

Well, Saturday he gets to earn his paycheck, when  his Wolverines, with fourth place in their division (is it Legends or Leaders? I forget) on the line,
host mighty Rutgers.

That's when he'll show 100,000-plus people in the Big House that's he's worth every penny of the $5+ million a year he's being paid.

And on a  personal note - a Michigan win will put the much-celebrated Harbaugh one win up on the much-maligned Brady Hoke at the same stage of their Michigan tenures.

Except, of course,  that Hoke by this point had already beaten Ohio State.

*********** A youth coach allowed me to take a peek at his team on Hudl, and I have to say I was impressed with the job he was doing.  He stayed very close to the way I teach the Double Wing, with one glaring exception - he didn’t pull his tackles on Super Power.

I noted that, and he wrote me,

My logic on not pulling the tackle was that teams must only run a 6 - 2 defense and thought it would be too diffult of a down block for the TE.  What are your thoughts on that?


I wrote back,

As I said before, I think you did an excellent job with those kids and overall you stayed on script.  That impressed me. My experience over many years of doing this is that the further away guys get from the script - the less that they run my stuff exactly as I teach it - the worse they  do. Part of the problem is that when things start to go wrong, they have no way of fixing it, and I don’t, either.  It’s only when it’s run exactly as I teach it that I can help  to troubleshoot and figure out what might be going wrong.

Please take this correctly…  I have spent years on this offense and I work with line blocking rules that are older than I am.  

It’s best not to tinker like this because the very idea of getting that tackle over to the playside is one of the things that gives you a manpower advantage that defenses can’t match.  To me, that tackle is the escort that keeps people from getting to my runner, which is why I teach my runner to push on the tackle’s back ASAP.

In your case, quite often your tackle winds up blocking the same man that the center does - it’s a waste of a man to be double-teaming a guy so far away from the point of attack.

It’s quite easy for your TE to cut off that defender.   In the video clip I’ve linked you to, look at the Left End’s Technique on the second play of this clip:  (By the way, it’s not a “down” block, which is defined as a block toward the center, which is th last thing you want him doing.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQbajo1nuSI

Besides, so long as you keep your tackle home, your TE will never learn to do his job.

Again, I urge you to email me any time you have a concern that might tempt you to change a play.  It might very well be that it’s a good idea, and if it is, I’ll tell you so.  But it might also be taking something important away from the play, and if that’s the case, I’ll try to give you the reasoning behind it.


*********** A coach whom I’ve gotten to know over the years wrote me from Turkey.  He is not an American coaching in Turkey.  He is a Turk,  and he’s a good football man.

He wrote me recently about a problem that American Double Wingers will recognize:

Hi Coach

Long time no see :)

So here is my latest update, and question.

I am currently running a spread-pistol formation in the team I am coaching. However the DW is still alive over here in Turkey, as a good friend of mine is coaching another team in the DW. I was recently informed by the referee institution in Turkey that the "tackle box extends from tackle to tackle"....and not 5 yards as is frequently mentioned in your site/comments etc ( also the rulebook in ,NCAA). Keep in mind that Turkish leagues play by NCAA rules. I asked the official referee institution , and they said that the implementation was that - the 5-yard being too tough to measure - it was , and will be , always considered as being tackle-to-tackle. Hence the TE shoeshine on superpower is not allowed. The NCAA rulebook says specifically that the box is 5- yards from Center, which our TE is inside of. I filed a formal request regarding the issue, and they cited an NCAA "expert" as saying that it is indeed implemented as tackle-to-tackle, since it is hard to measure the 5 yard from centre.

All this obviously limits Superpower plays. I do know that we can always run Power, and other plays. But I believe this weird implementation contrary to what the ruling says is hurting my friend's team.

I do believe that you have touched on this topic many times in your blog, yet I was not able to find a specific wording on this.

What is your take on this? How can we battle the referee institution, who claim that they have already asked NCAA about this, and think that. - despite the wording on NCAA rulebook - is this is how the rule is implemented?


MY TAKE: You have run up against a brick wall with the officials.

But relax.  Things are not hopeless.

In fact, I have been  running the Double Wing quite effectively for four years now without shoeshining.

Recognizing some four years ago the direction in which the rules are headed,  I’ve been dealing with this topic at some length.

Here’s something I wrote that should ease your mind:



*********** Sayonara, shoeshine block.    Hola, slide and turn.  Bon jour, Cutoff/Turnback

Anybody who knows me well knows that I’ve been saying for several years that the days of the shoeshine block - the backside tight end’s perfectly legal cut off of an opponent’s pursuit - were numbered.

So long as the block took place in the free-blocking zone - three yards to either side of the line of scrimmage and four yards to either side of the ball - and so long as it complied with other requirements, it was legal,  even when it took place below the waist and from the back, which anyplace else on the field would be clipping.

    Not no more, as my grandma would say.

    Now, even in the free blocking zone, there will be no more clipping.

I have to confess I didn’t even know we had a problem.  Maybe, because I’ve been way out there on the edge of the continent, I’ve missed what’s been going on, but I just haven’t seen  all those young men on crutches,  and in wheelchairs,  hobbled by low blocks.    Maybe we have another epidemic on our hands, a lower-extremities version of the concussion hysteria that’s being used by football haters to bash our sport.

Otherwise, I have my suspicions that it’s people who have no use for blocking low, and hate to play people that do,  who successfully convinced the NFHS rules makers that it was a serious safety issue that required immediate action.  And if it just happens to hamper an opponent with a powerful running game, well…

But life goes on.  And until the day when NFHS finally makes it official and mandates that we play either flag or 7-on-7, we still have an offense to run.

Relax.  If you’ve been depending on your tight end to shoeshine a defender on the backside, don’t despair.

    There’s the "cutoff/turnback"

It’s the assignment we give our tight end to cut off anything between him and the center - without the shoeshine.

It starts with a big slide step with the inside foot.  One big slide should do it, but if not, two quick, smaller ones will.

He slides - square - until he has to block someone or he can contact the center’s man with his inside hand.

He slides because he has to stay square.  He has to stay square because if he gets to the center's man  and isn’t needed, he has to turn back. (Contacting  the center’s man with his INSIDE hand assures that he stays square. He must NOT turn toward the center. 
We don't want him wasted on a double-team with the center.

That’s the cutoff-turnback. I used to call it the “pull-hinge” but I changed for two reasons: “pull” could give the player the idea that I want him turning and running to playside, and “hinge” could give him the idea that I want him to give ground, as if he were pass protecting.

Take a look at this clip of 77 Super Power (to the left) and 66 Super Power (to the right).

Especially on the 66 - watch the way the TE slides inside fast enough to turn back and unload on the defender.  If he can make it to that point fast enough, his job is 90 per cent done.  If the center has already engaged that man, the TE will turn back and take the next thing coming.


 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQbajo1nuSI

Here’s where you’ll be at an advantage if you’ve been running “my” Double Wing - if you’ve been listening to the things I’ve been preaching for, oh, close to 20 years now.

I realize that other double wings do things differently,  lining up on the ball, for example, and they must have their reasons for doing so, but I have my reasons for doing things the way I’ve been teaching this, and - trust me - your Tight End’s chances of getting his job done are greatly enhanced if:

    a. Your splits are tight.  This applies to most Double Wingers.  Very simply,  the farther your TE is from the center, the harder it is for him to do his job

    b. Your TE’s stance is “light” - if he doesn’t have his weight forward (check his down hand to make sure he’s got almost no weight on it)

    c. Your TE has his inside hand down.  If instead he has his outside hand down, it’s likely that his inside foot will be forward, and he might get it tangled with the tackle’s outside foot.

    d. Your linemen are back off the ball.  Lining up as deep as legal (basically, the rule states that the top of their helmets must not be deeper than the center’s waist) gives your TE more time to get to where he needs to go before any defender does.

Another advantage to the slide-and-turnback technique is that it’s legal against a blitzing linebacker. It’s always been illegal to go low on that guy - even in the free-blocking zone - unless he started out on the line of scrimmage.  And where a blitzer may or may not have started out is a judgment call by an official,  who may only know that he saw your Tight End blocking a linebacker at his knees.

So that’s it, Coach.

You do have to work with your tight ends on it. You have to convince them that NOTHING gets between them and the center’s man.

Good Luck!


*********** A New Hampshire Father sued his son’s school after  the kid was given a one-year suspension from the football team.

http://www.unionleader.com/courts/Dad-sues-school-district-after-son-suspended-from-playing-football-10102017

*********** From the pages of the New York Times…

By the time you finish reading this article, the upstart sports news outlet called The Athletic probably will have hired another well-known sportswriter from your local newspaper. In a couple of years, once The Athletic has completed its breakneck expansion, perhaps that newspaper’s sports section will no longer exist.

“We will wait every local paper out and let them continuously bleed until we are the last ones standing,” Alex Mather, a co-founder of The Athletic, said in an interview in San Francisco. “We will suck them dry of their best talent at every moment. We will make business extremely difficult for them.”

The Athletic is a subscription sports website and app featuring pages of local articles that roughly replicate newspaper sports sections. It launched in Chicago in January 2016 and has expanded to full coverage in seven cities, hockey coverage in eight more, national college basketball and football sites, and plans for more. Subscribers get access to all of it.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/23/sports/the-athletic-newspapers.html?em_pos=medium&emc=edit_sp_20171026&nl=sports&nl_art=5&nlid=23696377&ref=headline&te=1


***********  Coach, I know how much you respect Army and West Point. I just finished a book by John M. Vermillion called The Supe. It's about an old, retired jarhead General Simon Pack who takes over the Superintency and peels away a lot of the political correctness and liberal thinking that has pervaded even West Point. It's the best book I've read this year and I read a lot. It's also the first in a series of three and I've just about finished the second. I highly recommend it.
 
John C.Harris
Martinsville, Virginia

Coach Harris,

Thanks for the tip.  It’s very interesting that you should mention “The Supe."

In fact, I happen to know the author - he’s a regular reader of my site -  and I have a great deal of respect for him.  I have read "The Supe" and I, too highly recommend it.  When I read it the first time I didn’t really understand how close to the truth he came with his description of the inner workings of West Point.  I’m only now beginning to realize how well he understands what’s really going on, and that he writes with inside knowledge.

He is also what I would call a solid college football fan - you may have noticed that " John Vermillion" is a regular (and correct) responder to my football quizzes.

He is, by the way, a native Virginian himself - from Big Stone Gap.

Thanks very much for thinking of me and writing.  I very much appreciate it.


*********** Coach we are 17-2 the past two seasons running the Open Wing. We have thrown for 2500 yards and rushed for 2500 yards. This year our varsity has been out of the game by halftime in 5 of our games keeping our stats down a little. We are running the ball 70% of the time and defense can’t stop the pass. We see a lot of 5-2 and 5-3 defenses. Our last regular season game is Friday. Thanks for all your help.

Thomas Caudill
Offensive coordinator
Sciotoville Community School
Sciotoville, Ohio


***********  Hello Coach:

I was curious if you were still sponsoring the Black Lion Award.  If so I would be interested in nominating a young man from my 8th grade double wing team. 

As an update, we finished the season 7-2.  Our two losses came from teams in a much higher division that had over 100 kids to pick a team from...... where we took the 20 kids that walked through the door at registration in our small town.  Our playoff bracket has a lot of equal teams and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top.  It has been a fun year as we have run out of Over, Omaha, East, West, Tight, Slot and even pulled out the old 5-1 unbalanced set for a few plays.  That might go back to Dynamics 2 or 3???

Have a great day.

Bill Lawlor  
Palatine, Illinois

Coach-

The Black Lion Award is very much alive and well and like all high school, youth and middle school coaches, you are invited to participate.  I believe you know the procedure.

(With all those formations, you are taking me WAY back!)

Good luck in the playoffs!



*********** Joe Gutilla, of Austin, Texas, has  been a head coach in five different states. He's taking taking this year off but he stays on top of the game and he often writes me to exchange ideas and send me items of interest.

His latest is an article by Tony Robichaux, head baseball coach at Louisiana-Lafayette, in which he points out something we’ve all seen:  today’s kids, told from the time they’re still in diapers that they’re special,  see coaching as criticism.

This makes it very difficult, he points out,  for coaches to instill toughness in their kids. The real challenge for coaches, Coach Robichaux says, is “How far can you go to get your team tough before you get reprimanded by soft people? That’s just where we are in athletics.”  

Writes Joe,  “I think he nailed it.”
 
He sure did. Any teacher or coach will tell you how true that is.  

Compounding the  problem, I think,  is that more and more, the teachers and the coaches are soft people themselves.

http://footballscoop.com/news/kids-today-believe-correction-criticism/


*********** QUIZ - Randy White  is probably the best football player ever to come out of the state of Delaware.  He was a high school All-American as a fullback and linebacker.  He was captain of the football team his junior and senior years, and captain of the baseball and basketball teams his senior year.   

As a  freshman at Maryland, he played fullback, and in one game at fullback, he gained 57 yards on five carries, including a 17-yard touchdown run in which he ran over six opponents.  His sophomore year, he was switched to defensive end by new coach Jerry Claiborne, who observed that as big as he was, he was at fast as any of the team’s backs.  He became so dominant a defensive lineman that he was named All-American his junior and senior years. In his senior year, he won the Outland Trophy and the Lombardi Award, and was named ACC Player of the Year.

The Dallas Cowboys' first draft choice - and second pick overall -  he was at first tried at middle linebacker, and spent two seasons backing up All-Pro Lee Roy Jordan.  Then,  during his third season, he was moved to defensive tackle, and at that position he would go on to become one of the best in the game.  Nicknamed “Manster,” and feared throughout the NFL, he was named first team All-Pro nine straight years and went to nine straight pro bowls.  In 1978 he was credited with 16 sacks and was named NFC Defensive Player of the Year.

Playing on one of the greatest defensive lines in NFL history, he played in six NFL championship games and three Super Bowls.  He was named co-MVP of Super Bowl XII.

Randy White is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING RANDY WHITE:
Josh Montgomery - Berwick, Louisiana
Ken Hampton - Raleigh, North Carolina
Ralph Balducci - Portland, Oregon
Kevin McCullough - Lakeville, Indiana
Mike Benton - Colfax, Illinois
Adam Wesoloski - Pulaski, Wisconsin
Dave Potter - Cary, North Carolina
Mark Kaczmarek - Davenport, Iowa (I remember him being the poster boy for Bigger-Faster-Stronger)
Joe Gutilla - Austin, Texas
John Bothe - Oregon, Illinois
John Vermillion - St. Petersburg, Florida
Ossie Osmundson - Woodland, Washington
Pete Porcelli - Watervliet, New York (loved that guy)
Thomas Walls - Lewes, Delaware (Randy White, the pride of Lower Delaware!)
Tim Bross - Kirkwood, Missouri
Dave Kemmick - Mt. Joy, Pennsylvania


*********** Thanks to Adam Wesoloski, of Pulaski, Wisconsin, for the link to this great article about Randy White…

10 things to know about Cowboys legend Randy White: From his brief Hollywood career to fighting an ex-teammate

https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/dallas-cowboys/cowboys/2017/07/10/20150712-10-things-to-know-about-cowboys-hall-of-famer-randy-white-including-boxing-joe-klecko

*********** QUIZ - At 6-3, 200 he played tight end on his high school team in Frederick, Maryland.  But in addition to being big, he was fast, and when he got to the University of Miami, they turned him into a running back.

Good move.

He was good enough to be a first-round draft choice of the Vikings. 

Over the next five years,  he would be named NFC Rookie of the Year and NFC Player of the Year, and play in five straight Pro Bowls; he would have three 1,000-yard rushing seasons, and in one 14-game season he would score 22 touchdowns.  In 1975 he led the NFL in receiving.

The year before he arrived,  the Vikings  had finished  7-7.  In the five years after his arrival, they went 12-2, 10-4, 12-2, 11-2-1, 9-5 (54-15-1) and played in three Super Bowls.

Injuries slowed him down the next few seasons and in 1980 he was traded to New England, where he played one season before retiring.

He ranks third all-time among Viking runners, and ninth among the team’s receivers - by far the highest of any running back.

For some reason he is not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  He rushed for 5,950 yards, not an eye-popping number, but to that you have to add another 3,156 yards receiving, on 350 receptions.

TOTAL YARDAGE PER START (COMPARED WITH HALL OF FAME RUNNING BACKS FROM HIS ERA)
1. Walter Payton 115.57
2. O.J. Simpson 115.33
3. XXXXXXXX  108.41
4. Earl Campbell 100.13
5. Floyd Little 93.99

RECEIVING YARDS (COMPARED WITH HALL OF FAME RUNNING BACKS FROM HIS ERA)
1. Walter Payton 4,538
2. XXXXXXX   3,156
3. Floyd Little 2,418
4. Franco Harris 2,287
5. Leroy Kelly 2,281

His son, Jay, played football for Nebraska and played professionally for the Bills, Texans and Giants.


american flagTUESDAY,  OCTOBER 24,  2017  - “When people get used to preferential treatment, equal treatment seems like discrimination.”   Thomas Sowell


*********** COLLEGE FOOTBALL WRAPUP


*********** Utah’s Kyle Wittingham did more than ruin his team’s season last week when he eschewed going into overtime against USC and instead went for two points and the win.  As a result, he got his team the loss and, it could be argued, damaged its morale to the point where it was hammered Saturday night by Arizona State.  I contend that when a team plays its ass off to come within a point of its opponent with just seconds left to play, its coach’s decision to pass up overtime and go for two is an admission that he doesn’t think his team is good enough to win in overtime. Now, there was certainly no guarantee that Utah would have beaten USC in overtime, but taking nothing away from Arizona State, which has been playing very good ball lately,  I can’t help thinking that a Utah team which had beaten USC last week would have beaten Arizona State Saturday night.

What Whittingham  did, unwittingly (no pun intended) was to set up the entire Pac-12 for failure, because the win over Utah sent USC into its game against Notre Dame Saturday as the top team in the Pac 12 South.  And with Notre Dame walloping the team that could wind up as the Pac 12 champion, you can argue that Whittingham cost the Pac 12 a spot in the playoffs.  So tainted is USC by the beat-down by the Irish that even a decisive win in the conference championship game by, say, Stanford or Washington or Wash
ington State might not be enough.

*********** Army went the length of the field against Temple and sent the game into overtime with :06 left.  And it did it with, of all things, a passing attack.  Army brought in a backup QB, one not so adept at running the triple option that they hang their hat on, but one who clearly was a better passer than the starter, Ahmad Bradshaw.  The backup got them into scoring range, and then, interestingly, with time for at most two plays, Temple called back-to-back timeouts.

Now, it seems to me that when you’ve got a team playing an offense that it’s not used to in a situation it’s not accustomed to being in, it’s not wise to give it time to collect its thoughts.

But there you are.  Army scored and kicked the Pat, and won it in OT with a field goal.

*********** Everyone who reads this page knows that I’ve been an Army fan for quite some time.  And most of that time has been hard times. Like years without being bowl eligible. Like 14 straight losses to Navy. 

But I can deal with that, because I know the kind of kids they are - the best America can find.  Not necessarily the best football players, you understand, but while your typical SEC player is leaving college with at most a degree in something meaningless, and, unless he makes it in the NFL, few career prospects, these guys are training to lead troops into battle.  They’re the kind of guys who will stand for the national anthem in full view of everyone in the stadium, while the rest of their team skulks out of sight in the tunnel.

So I have to admit that it bothered the sh- out of me Saturday when the Army punter took an obvious  flop and drew a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty - and then was caught by the TV camera  laughing about what he’d just gotten away with.

It bothered the sh— out of me because West Point, like all service academies and military colleges and a few civilian schools as well, has an honor code:

"A cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do."

In my coaching book, 
pretending to be roughed - taking advantage of a rule that only exists to protect you - is cheating.

And if that’s what you think you have to do to win, Cadet, you’re playing on the wrong team.

*********** Got to feel bad for Texas freshman QB  Sam Ehlinger. Down 13-10 in OT against Oklahoma State, Texas had a whole new set of downs after a bogus interference call in the end zone against the Cowboys, when Ehlinger, under pressure, tried to throw the ball away.  But he didn’t put enough on it, and it was intercepted.  Game over.  The kid will win plenty before he graduates.

*********** Kansas State led Oklahoma until the start of the fourth quarter, when the Sooners finally took the lead.  But K-State came back, and tied the game up at 35-35 with 2:25 to play.

And then, with :07 to play, OU’s Rodney Anderson ducked around the left side for the winning score.  Hmmm. I thought.  How does a guy get outside like that unless there’s holding?  Well, I couldn’t find anyone holding, but I did see a K-State defender - the last guy who could have made the tackle - get blocked in the back, causing him to fall on his face.  How could eight f—king officials have missed something that important? I wondered.  But I’m going to keep quiet on this one, because the next thing you know, the officials will be complaining that they need a ninth man.

K-State QB Alex Delton, making only his second start, looked really good.  He is fast and tough and he’s a Kansas kid, from Hays.

A K-State DB, Denzel Goolsby, made one of the most amazing interceptions I’ve ever seen, taking it away from a Sooner receiver in the end zone.

Several times in short yardage situations Oklahoma lined up in what the announcers called the Wildcat (in complete violation of the copyright, owned by yours truly), but which was really a single wing. It was a total flop. Once they failed to make 3rd and one and then 4th and one, and later they failed to score from the one and then the 1/2, winding up settling for a field goal.

*********** After a dropped pass and then a sack, Mike Leach made his entire offensive unit do up-downs on the sideline.

*********** A Tennessee DB ran an interception in for a touchdown and then “celebrated” by giving Bama fans the We’re Number One sign.  With middle fingers.  With both hands.  Any guy who’s able to celebrate anything  when his team is getting the sh— kicked out of it is NFL READY.

*********** UCF beat Navy to remain unbeaten.  You could tell Navy had their backup QB in the game when, with no one attacking him, he pitched the ball to a man who definitely had someone attacking him.  Almost certainly, the green QB had instructions to pitch.

*********** God, I love to see displays of good sportsmanship.  After the Miami-Syracuse game, Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz went out of his way to cross the field to Syracuse QB Eric Dungey and congratulate him. Said Hurricanes' coach Mark Richt, post-game, "He's one tough kid."

*********** LSU got the job done against Ole Miss, but to me the highlight of the game was hours earlier, on GameDay, when LSU coach Ed Orgeron said about the only thing he was looking forward to on his return to the place that fired him - the only thing he missed about Ole Miss -  was the “chicken on a stick at the Chevron Station.”  Laughed my ass off. (At first, he said “Exxon” but he was corrected.)

https://www.barstoolsports.com/barstoolu/chicken-on-a-stick-from-the-chevron-station-is-all-ed-orgeron-misses-most-about-ole-miss/

*********** I was sorry that Penn State didn’t put 49 on Harbaugh’s pretenders, but nevertheless the whipping was for real.  Saquon Barkely has yet to disappoint, and Trace McSorley is doing a great job at QB for the Lions.  How about three TD’s apiece? Hard to tell how good the Penn State defense is because Michigan’s offense is so poor. Highlight of the game for me was when McSorley scored and Penn State’s 6-6 tight end, Mike Gesicky, jumped up and with his hands on McSorley’s helmet, vaulted over him.

*********** USC finally came alive and scored twice to make the score 35-14, Notre Dame.  But on the next play from scrimmage, ND running back Josh Adams bolted 70+ yards up the middle to make it 42-14 and game over.  Adams, big and fast, is from Warrington, Pennsylvania, near my wife’s hometown of Abington.  Between him and QB Brandon Wimbush, the Irish have a heck of a one-two punch.  They have a tough schedule remaining - NC State, Wake Forest, at Miami, Navy, at Stanford - but if they win out, there’s no way they’ll be kept out of the playoff.

*********** Just four weeks ago,  both Arizona and Arizona State looked as if they’d be in the market shopping for coaches at season’s end. Now, the two Arizona schools are the hottest teams in the Pac 12.

*********** Arizona beat Cal in 2 OTs, 45-44, when Cal went for two and threw incomplete.  I think after what Justin Wilcox saw of Arizona in two overtime periods, he didn’t think his Bears could stop the Wildcats, and I agree.

Arizona QB Khalil Tate is pretty good, and he’s made all the difference in the ‘Zona offense, but damn - he is the worst I’ve ever seen at throwing the ball away to avoid sacks. It’s a total travesty the way he scrambles around back there and then, cornered and with noone to throw to, he avoids a big loss by simply flinging the ball out of bounds.

I’m sorry, but just as the punter loses his special protected status when it’s no longer reasonably apparent that he’s going to punt, so should the quarterback lose his when he’s clearly not looking for a receiver.

Karma? At one point, he got a teammate thrown out of the game.  As he was scrambling, his running back peeled back and blindsided a Cal defender, hitting him high with his helmet.  At the same time, Tate was throwing the ball into the stands.

*********** Credit where it’s due.  I watched a lot of the Princeton-Harvard game Friday night, and I was shocked at the way Princeton handled the Crimson.

Princeton QB Chad Kanoff was 31 of 35 for 421 yards and two TDs.

I know, I know. I can already hear you saying, “Well, yeah - but that’s the Ivy League.”

I say, “Ivy League, hell.  31 of 35?  How many QBs at any level can do that against air?”

*********** PRO FOOTBALL CRAPUP

*********** Did I hear you say you liked field goals? Is seven of them enough?

TO RECAP: A 54-yard CLEVELAND field goal with :47 to play ties the Browns with the Titans at 9-9.

But in overtime, Tennessee kicks a field goal to win,  12-9.

That’s seven field goals - SEVEN f—king field goals! - without a single touchdown.

Be still, my beating heart.

All this time, the players’ protest has been a bright, shiny object that’s distracted people from the NFL’s real problem. But if every player in the NFL were to stand and SING the national anthem - and then enlist in the Marines -  it wouldn’t change the fact that  The League has a bigger  problem than the protests: its product sucks.

*********** Okay, okay.  You wanted excitement, I’ll give you excitement.

The Bills, tied with the Buccaneers 27-27, won with a field goal in the last 14 seconds.

You may recall that several years ago I spent weeks demonstrating with game statistics  the offensive ineffectiveness of the mighty Kings of All Football:  week after week,  there were more field goals kicked in NFL games than there were offensive touchdowns scored.

Excitement, you say?

What if I told you that at any one time, the chances of an NFL kicker making a field goal are greater than those of an NBA basketball player making a free throw? (True fact)

Field goals are such a sure thing that teams base their end-of-game drives on nothing more than getting into good field goal position and delivering the kill shot.

It reminds me of a bullfight, where the bull is teased and stabbed and worn out to the point where the matador  can walk  up and drive his sword between the poor animal’s shoulders.

But what makes a bullfight better than the NFL: at least there’s a chance the bull, weak as he is,  might still gore the f—ker.

*********** You know things are getting bad for the NFL when even football-starved foreigners have figured out that pro football is boring.  With the score of the Rams 35, Cardinals 0 in the fourth quarter, we got mostly tight  shots of the field and the players so the TV audience couldn’t see that London fans had left the stadium in droves.  Still football-starved.


*********** I have to decide whether to take my son, (our leading rusher this season at C back) and make him our QB, or just get by with a kid similar in talent to what we had this year.

Depends on how much you’ll use him at QB or whether he can do more for the team at C Back.

If the idea is for him to do more than hand off, and he’s capable of it, I would say do it.  Don’t let the fact that he’s your son influence your decision negatively.

The number one positive is that you know you will be able to trust your QB.  He doesn’t have to earn your trust and you don’t have to earn his.  In addition, you can spend as much time with him in the off-season as you need to.  (And - never forget - you don’t have to worry about his stage father complaining that you aren’t throwing enough.)


*********** “Can Western civilization survive the passing of the European peoples whose ancestors created it and their replacement by Third World immigrants?  Probably not, for the new arrivals seem uninterested in preserving the old culture they have found.”  Patrick Buchanan

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

I thought you might enjoy our game film from 'Senior Night'.

We're currently 6 - 1 and should have the #2 seed in the playoffs.

Our loss was  22 - 20 in overtime. We tied the game at 14 - 14 with less than 3 minutes to play.  I went for a 2 point conversion and it failed.  We hadn't practiced the P.A.T. kick but a few times and since we had made six 2 point conversions in a row I thought that was the way to go. Damn.

The local community TV does an outstanding job of covering our games and a local radio station did the play by play.

I think you'll enjoy our TD with only seconds remaining in the first half.

I remember you saying that the X Corner gets better the closer you get to the endzone. No defender within 20 yards of my X End!

We use some unbalanced formations but not much else changes.

And please sign up Frontier Regional for the Black Lion Award again. It's an important part of our TEAM and football program.

Don Gordon
Frontier Regional HS
Deerfield, Massachusetts

Not too late to sign YOUR team up for the Black Lion Award - coachwyatt@aol.com


*********** There are at least three pretty doggone good college QB’s right now who hail from the Charlotte, North Carolina area.

Everyone knows about Okahoma State’s Mason Rudolph - he’s from Rock Hill, South Carolina, just a stone’s throw south of Charlotte.

But there’s also Logan Ferguson, of Memphis.  He’s really good.  He’s from suburban Mathews, North Carolina.

And there’s Will Grier, who’s helped get West Virginia into the national picture.  He’s from north of Charlotte in Davidson, North Carolina


*********** Almost got myself in trouble this week with the refs (again). Playing a Middle School team that had the QB in shotgun, 2 fullbacks beside him, and a halfback behind him. Then they would pull their tight end back into a slot formation. The refs refused to call it an illegal formation because they said that the TE's head was breaking the plane of the Tackle's hip. When I pointed out that it was supposed to be the Center's hip, and the tackle and guard were already set back, the Referee told me "Why don't you try reading the rule book for once!"

Sigh...already having been flagged once this season, I just gritted my teeth and shut my mouth.

It’s a good thing that unlike football officials, our judges all know the law and strictly follow it and don’t make rulings based on what they think the law should say.  Oh, wait…


*********** Hello Coach, my name is ————— I'm an assistant football coach to a small town in ———— vWe're running the Double Wing and having pretty good success with it. But as the teams around us are catching on they're having success stopping the flow of our offense by diving at the knees and gaps of are pulling lineman. It's legal here to dive in the gaps provided they don't Target the knees of the opposing player. The targeting never gets called because they seem to think that there needs to be some level of intent. That's about impossible to prove. Of course I maintain with our tight splits it's impossible to dive in the gaps without targeting the knees. Do you have any suggestions that can help us combat this issue. Are there any specific plays you've had success with running the Double Wing that will help stop them from diving in the gaps.  We are not a very deep team and have struggled when this occurs. Not to mention a couple trips to ER with kids and knee injuries. We brought it up to the officials but since it occurred in the free blocking Zone they're unwilling to call a penalty.  Or is there an effective way to bring it up to the officials attention so they will consider  calling a penalty  when that occurs . Thanks for your time sincerely —————

Coach,

Unless they’re actually grabbing your kids’ legs (which is holding, and is illegal) the defense isn’t doing anything you can’t do to them on offense.

The problem is that there’s no way your “pulling linemen” should be such easy targets for those defensive linemen.

Don’t know where you got your double wing from but I’m going to bet that your offensive linemen aren’t far enough back off the ball because I guarantee you that the defensive lineman hasn’t been born who is fast enough to touch one of your offensive linemen if he’s far enough off the ball (and, of course, if he’s been taught the correct stance and the correct steps).

The diagram on the right below shows a major reason why I have taught for years the importance of being back off the ball as much as legal.



right and wrong



*********** Saturday’s Game Day was at State College, Pennsylvania, in advance of the Penn State-Michigan game, and they ran a nice feature on the traditional Penn State yell, where “WE ARE…” Reverberates from one side of huge Beaver Stadium, and from the other side comes the response: “PENN STATE!”  Back and forth it goes.  It is pretty cool.

The origin of the cheer is said to date back to the 1940s, when the largely-white Penn State football team served notice on segregated southern  schools that it would not play without their black teammates.

All played or none played. In fact, they wouldn’t even meet to discuss the issue.

“There’ll be no meeting,” said the Nittany Lions’ captain, an All-American guard named Steve Suhey.

Why not?

Because “We’re Penn State.”  All of us.

One of the two black members of the Penn State squad was Wally Triplett.

More than four years ago, I wrote this:

Wally TriplettWhile visiting Philadelphia recently, I was talking with my brother-in-law, Wayne Cunningham, when he suddenly stopped in mid-sentence and said, "Wait - you've got to see this!" He reached for his wallet and pulled out a business card - a very unusual business card.

"Holy sh--!" I said.  "Wally Triplett!"

Wayne's been active in sports in the Philly area all his life, except for four years when he played soccer at Duke.  He played professional (fast-pitch) softball and he's in the Philadelphia softball Hall of Fame. He officiated wrestling until a few years ago.  And he's active in the Philadelphia Area Sports Hall of Fame, and was on hand the night Wally Triplett was inducted.

If you grew up in the Philly area when I did, you knew who Wally Triplett was.

Wally Triplett, from Cheltenham, PA, just outside Philly, was the first black man to play football at Penn State, the first Black man to play in the Cotton Bowl, and the first black man to be drafted by the NFL.

Cheltenham is a quite wealthy area.  It is heavily Jewish. (Benjamin Netanyahu is a graduate of Cheltenham High.)  A small part of Cheltenham is known as LaMott, named for abolitionist Lucretia Mott, whose home there was a stop on the Underground Railroad. LaMott was originally settled  by black people who worked as servants in the homes of the wealthy. Wally Triplett came from LaMott and so, too, did another well-known athlete, Reggie Jackson.

Here's a link to a very enlightening video about Wally Triplett’s story,  and also about Penn State's All-American lineman and captain, Steve Suhey (whose marriage to the coach's daughter produced sons and grandsons who also played at Penn State)…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Afot8ypldsg&feature=related

*********** QUIZ ANSWER - Princeton’s Charlie Volker broke a 65-year-old record last Saturday with a 96-yard run from scrimmage in a 53-0 trouncing of Brown.

The old record was set on November 15, 1952, when a fullback  ran 93 yards for a touchdown against Yale.

The fullback’s name? HOMER SMITH

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING THE “PRINCETON FULLBACK”:
Josh Montgomery - Berwick, Louisiana
Adam Wesoloski - Pulaski, Wisconsin
Joe Gutilla - Austin, Texas
Mark Kaczmarek - Davenport, Iowa
John Vermillion - St. Petersburg, Florida
DJ Millay - Vancouver, Washington
Ken Hampton - Raleigh, North Carolina
Kevin McCullough - Lakeville, Indiana
Ossie Osmundson - Woodland, Washington

*********** QUIZ - He is probably the best football player ever to come out of the state of Delaware.  He was a high school All-American as a fullback and linebacker.  He was captain of the football team his junior and senior years, and captain of the baseball and basketball teams his senior year.   

As a college freshman, he played fullback, and in one game at fullback, he gained 57 yards on five carries, including a 17-yard touchdown run in which he ran over six opponents.  His sophomore year, he was switched to defensive end by new coach Jerry Claiborne, who observed that as big as he was, he was at fast as any of the team’s backs.  He became so dominant a defensive lineman that he was named All-American his junior and senior years. In his senior year, he won the Outland Trophy and the Lombardi Award, and was named ACC Player of the Year.

The second pick overall in the NFL draft,  he was at first tried at middle linebacker, but spent two seasons backing up All-Pro Lee Roy Jordan.  Then,  during his third season, he was moved to defensive tackle, and at that position he would go on to become one of the best in the game.  Nicknamed “Manster,” and feared throughout the NFL, he was named first team All-Pro nine straight years and went to nine straight pro bowls.  In 1978 he was credited with 16 sacks and was named NFC Defensive Player of the Year.

Playing on one of the greatest defensive lines in NFL history, he played in six NFL championship games and three Super Bowls.  He was named co-MVP of Super Bowl XII.

He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

american flagFRIDAY,  OCTOBER 20,  2017  - “Ultimately, the ‘learn-it-all’ will always do better than the ‘know-it-all.’”  Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft

*********** A bit of me died last week, when  I got the news that Mike Creamer had passed away, in Oxnard, California .  Our friendship went back to when we were teammates and fraternity brothers at Yale, nearly 60 years ago.  Although I was a Philadelphia city kid and he was an Alabamian, from Birmingham, we hit it off  quickly.  It made no difference  that we were rivals: we both played the same positions - halfback on offense and corner on defense (in those days of playing both ways, your offensive position dictated what you played on defense).   Two-platoon  football would have been great for Mike and me because I was the better offensive player, and he was the better defensive player - by far.  He was as hard a hitter as we had on our team -  my first exposure to the way football was played in the South.)

He was a lot of fun to be around.  He laughed a lot, had a great sense of humor, and could more than handle himself in any kind of banter.  And I never saw him lose his temper.

On a team that was pretty regimented, we were sort of renegades.  We shared an intense dislike for our offensive backfield coach (the guy really was a prick), and, resigned to not get much playing time, we shared a liking for beer and cigarettes and late-night card games.  What kept us in football was a big, jovial Irishman named Stu Clancy, who’d once played for the New York Giants and, in addition to his part-time job  coaching the Yale scout team, was a funeral director in nearby Branford, Connecticut.   At practices, Mike and I were the halfbacks on the scout team, and with Stu’s encouragement, we did our damnedest to make the starters look bad.  In retrospect, thanks to  Stu Clancy, we probably enjoyed our Yale football experience as much as any of the first-stringers.

My wife and I were married my senior year, and Mike would often come out to our place in East Haven, where we’d stay up all night - smoking, drinking, and playing cards.

After graduation, Mike and I stayed close for a couple of years when my wife and I were living in Baltimore and he was in the Army, stationed in Virginia, but then he fell in love, married, and moved to California. 

Maybe his wife - his first wife, I should add - had something to with it, but over the years, for various reasons, we rarely talked to each other and saw each other only once or twice.

And then, in 2008, when I took the head coaching job at North Beach High, in Ocean Shores, Washington, I happened to be talking with Mike, who by then was retired from a career in business.  One thing led to another and I said, “How about coming  on up and staying with us for a couple of weeks and just watch what’s going on, and maybe help out where you can?”

We had a place in Ocean Shores with plenty of room, and Mike thought it sounded interesting, so with his second wife,  Sandy’s, encouragement, he flew up. A retired coach, Jack Tourtillotte, from Boothbay, Maine, had joined me as an assistant, and as anyone who knew either of those guys would have predicted,  he and Mike got along famously.

Mike was like a little kid. He rediscovered the fun of football.  He found that he  liked being around the kids, and the kids liked him, and we began giving him some light coaching responsibilities, and by the end of the “couple of weeks,” he was telling Sandy that he’d like to stay for a couple more weeks.  And so it went, until he wound up staying for the season. 

I can only imagine what an experience it was for him, after so many years of being away from the football field, but every time we spoke on the phone after that, he’d mention it.

He’d also mention the Crimson Tide and Bama football.  Sandy told me after Mike died that he’d always wanted to go to Alabama, but his parents insisted that he go to an Ivy League school instead.

He began having some health issues in the last few years, issues more serious, Sandy later told me, than he let on to me, but you know how it is with old football players - never let ‘em know you’re hurting.

And now he’s gone.  Rest in Peace, Bama.

*********** My must-see football this weekend:

FRIDAY
Colorado State at New Mexico - love that Lobo offense

SATURDAY
9 AM
Temple at Army - down year for the Owls, but they’re still tough

12:30
UCF at Navy - UCF is still unbeaten.  I really like this American Athletic Conference.

Arizona State at Utah - ASU coming off the big win over Washington; Utah coming off a 1-point loss to USC when its coach didn’t think it could win in overtime.

1:00
Oregon at UCLA - Ducks in a tailspin

4:15
LSU at Ole Miss - LSU should romp, but it’s still a rivalry game

4:30
Michigan at Penn State - Michigan clobbered State last year.  Not this year.

USC at Notre Dame - the annual game when I wish it was possible for both teams to lose big.  I have to go for USC because  a ND win could mean they wind up taking a playoff spot from a legitimate conference team.

5:00

Arizona at Cal - Just because I’ve grown to like Cal

7:45

Colorado at Washington State - Do you suppose Luke Falk could throw the ball just a little sooner?

***********  After watching Marshawn Lynch's ugly  act on Thursday night (you're sure to see it on the "lowlights") how can he not be suspended for at least as long as Ezekiel Elliott?

*********** Considering what pro football receivers are paid, and considering that they're supposed to be the very best in the game, why do we see so many dropped passes? Baseball players are charged with errors.   It's part of the game.  So when are wide receivers going to be charged with drops?

*********** Scott Frost is a Nebraska kid who left the state (how many ever do that?) to go to Stanford,  but eventually he returned to play - and star - for the Cornhuskers. Since then,  he has gone on to show that he’s a pretty decent coach.  He was OC at Oregon during the Ducks’ heady run at the top of college football, and right now, he’s in his second year as head coach at Central Florida, where after going 6-7 in his first year, he’s off to a 5-0 start this season.

Why, he’s a lock for the Nebraska job, right?  A restoration of the Bob Devaney-Tom Osborne-Frank Solich line, whose abrupt termination Husker football has yet to recover from?

Uh, not so fast, my friend.  Central Florida knows what it has, and it’s begun marshalling the resources required to keep Frost in Orlando, recently  launching a “Football Excellence Fund.”

“Actually,” writes Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel, “It should be called the “Keep Scott Frost in Orlando Fund” because much of the new money would presumably be used to pay Frost and his staff of highly respected assistant coaches.”

Money aside, there are two very important factors working against Nebraska that can’t be overcome: geography and demographics.

Geography?  For anyone other than a native Nebraskan, this one would be easy.  Most people would consider Florida’s climate preferable to Nebraska’s.  That would include recruits, too.

Then there’s those damn  demographics.  While Nebraska’s small population requires Huskers’ coaches to recruit far and wide,  Florida’s  large and growing population means a coach  can recruit  enough good football players to win consistently without even leaving the state. In fact, from Orlando,  Scott Frost can go out in the morning and go in any direction and sweep up a half-dozen or so four-star recruits and still be home in time for dinner.

Just saying - don’t bet the farm that Scott Frost leaves UCF for NU.

 *********** Speaking of Scott Frost… Charlie Wilson, of Crystal River, Florida, sent me this article, and the accompanying video clip, of Scott Frost, the old Nebraska option quarterback, getting under center and showing his Central Florida defense what the Navy option offense looks like.  Wow. He’s still got the mechanics. Damn shame he doesn’t have any eligibility left.

https://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2017/10/19/16503056/ucf-navy-scott-frost-scout-team-quarterback-option-offense

***********  I saw a game last week on an upcoming opponent....sometimes they didn't have 7 on the LOS...then they completed passes to some covered TE's. I was thinking I was having an out of body experience and I was no longer part of this realm.

Then, I snapped back to reality and realized the ref's were just blowing it and still taking the pay!

Ed Campbell
Land o’ Lakes, Florida


When Equifax can’t keep our most carefully guarded personal and financial information secure,  when two US Navy ships can’t avoid colliding with super-sized cargo vessels, we shouldn’t be surprised when incompetence somehow finds its way into football officiating!

I have to laugh when I read on one hand that local associations are having trouble getting guys interested in becoming officials, while at the upper end, major college conferences are using eight - EIGHT - officials in games.

And where do you suppose those extra officials come from? Ultimately, the colleges wind up skimming off the best officials from lower levels.

So the associations that provide  us local yokels with our officials not only have trouble getting new guys, but they wind up losing whatever good ones they may have had.

Eight f—king officials!  What a damn joke!  To over-officiating add  replay of every close play, and it’s no wonder games take forever.

I'd take aim at two factors: this damn spread passing game and the liberalized blocking rules allowing use of open hands.  

I’m willing to bet that two-thirds of all penalty yardage is attributable to defensive pass interference and offensive holding. 

My suggestions to improve play:

Allow more physical play in the secondary;

Require offensive linemen to wear thumbless boxing gloves

And go back to five officials.


*********** I was reading through my copy of Forbes Magazine’s 100th Anniversary Issue, and I came across some great insights and quotes on a number of topics by what Forbes called “The 100 Greatest Living Business Minds.”

T. Boone Pickens, a fabulously wealthy oilman who has been, to put it mildly, “generous” to the Oklahoma State football program, told how, despite being 89 years old  and facing a number of health issues (“in the fourth quarter and the clock is ticking”), he remains upbeat:

“When you’re in the oil business like I’ve been all my life, you drill your fair share of dry holes, but you never lose your optimism.

“There’s a story I tell about a geologist who fell off a ten-story building.  When he blew past the fifth floor, he thought to himself, ’So far, so good.’

“That’s the way to approach life. Be the eternal optimist who is excited to see what the next decade will bring.  I thrive on that, and I’m going to stick around until the game is over.”


*********** I can understand that certain NFL players are upset over something called “social justice.”  But that doesn’t condone their way of showing their displeasure with their country:  sitting, kneeling, or standing disrespectfully during our national anthem.

They act as if they’re the only people who’ve ever been pissed at some of the things that go on in America.  Well, guess what, guys - there are a lot of people, myself included,  who aren’t at all pleased with things.  My beefs are way too numerous to list here, but no matter how pissed I might get, I would never consider disrespect our country’s flag.  That’s the way I was raised, and that’s the way others of my generation, and generations before me,  were raised.  (I wish I could say that about succeeding generations, but I have my doubts.)

The NFL dissidents contend  that they’re not disrespecting the flag or the anthem when they kneel, and I will suspend disbelief and take them at their word.  But, to tens of millions of their fellow Americans, disrespect is exactly what they see. Anyhow, just for the sake of argument,  I’ll accept that the protesting players really don’t understand  the importance of paying respect to our national symbols, or, therefore, why so many people are offended by their actions.

Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I suspect that  their demonstrations are as much generational as they are racial.   They’re young,  relatively recent products of America’s pathetic,  values-free educational system. It’s  a system that has ceased to teach our nation’s history and refuses to  impart the essentials of what made America great and what being an American means.  

In fact, rather than celebrating   a country that,  despite its wrongs,  has afforded its people opportunities found nowhere else in the world,  a country that, more than any other nation in history, has welcomed and successfully  assimilated people of differing nationalities, races, religions and beliefs, today’s public education defines America by its wrongs.

As a history major and a long-time public school history teacher, I have witnessed with great dismay the gradual degradation - actual elimination in some cases - of the American history curriculum, and I suspect that the only fix is going to be a total, top-to-bottom  overhaul of our entire system of public education.

While waiting for that to happen, though, for starters I recommend that this speech, given in 1991 by Medal of Honor winner, Master Sergeant Roy Benevidez,   be required viewing for all American school children - and all professional athletes.

SGT ROY BENEVIDEZ

https://www.facebook.com/raiderfit/videos/1699621613390306/


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Benavidez

***********  So the protesting NFL players want a “platform,” do they?

I suggest  they  go  to the NFL’s “partners” (the networks,  heavily and expensively on the hook to broadcast NFL games)  and demand (not request)  time for a weekly  panel show.

“Guys With Grievances,”  I’d call it. One by one, a panel of three contestants would compete for cash prizes by telling stories of oppression, and what’s wrong with America.  Topics would vary from week to week, but would include cops wantonly killing unarmed black men, mass incarceration, social injustice, income inequality and so forth. 

Stories would be judged on emotional content, and need not be factual.

A “jury” made up of reporters from liberal news outlets such as the New York Times, the Washington Post ,  the Los Angeles Times would determine each week’s winner. Here’s where they might run into a snag:  these are guys who are used to throwing money away - literally, in the case of Pac Man Jones - so they’d have to make first prize at least $1 million, with at least $250,000 for the runners-up.

Actually, there’s one other snag, potentially more serious:  I have a suspicion  that the networks, already  experiencing declining ratings in their NFL broadcasts,  might not  be all that interested.  But then, maybe they didn’t hear the word “demand.”

“The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.”  Oliver Wendell Holmes

***********  A 6-3, 220 pound  “transgender female” (a guy pretending he’s a female) wants to play in the woman’s Australian Rules League.

An article by an Aussie named Adam Piggot is entitled, “A Pretend Woman Plays a Pretend Sport.”

I’m appalled by the whole thing, but in a way, it might  do the (real) women good to get some idea of  what it’s like for men whenever women move in on once-all-male activities.

http://www.news.com.au/sport/afl/aflw/transgender-player-hannah-mouncey-waits-on-bid-to-enter-aflw-draft/news-story/ab265fb439cfde2891e302846bf4c6a7

*********** You can take your much-hyped  “Hawk Tackling” and shove it.

It’s a typical NFL stunt in which people who spend zero time on football fundamentals try to pull the wool over the eyes of coaches who teach them every day.

Me, I’ll go with a great instructional video sent me by Shep Clarke, from Puyallup, Washington.  Call it “Cop Tackling.”  

https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=spigot-chr-ffmac&p=epic+police+tackles#id=51&vid=aaba057a7517750f578f5acb855f6025&action=click

*********** The National Weather Service seems determined to stay in the news, coming up with ever-new ways to sensationalize weather “events,” and now, maybe because someone noticed that we northwesterners have been left out of the action lately, they’ve told us to brace ourselves this weekend for a…(drum roll, please)…5,000 MILE LONG RIVER IN THE SKY!

Sounds like a science fiction novel, so I'll translate:

Rain’s on its way.  Snow in the higher elevations.  Well, duh - this IS the Pacific Northwest.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2017/10/18/5-000-mile-long-river-sky-deliver-heavy-rain-feet-snow-northwest/776060001/

*********** I really admire Peggy Noonan, who for years has written a column in the Wall Street Journal.  In the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting and the calls for various restrictions on firearms, she argues that the reason Americans own so many guns is that they don’t trust the “protected elites” to protect them…

I think a lot of Americans have guns because they’re fearful—and for damn good reason. They fear a coming chaos, and know that when it happens it will be coming to a nation that no longer coheres. They think it’s all collapsing—our society, our culture, the baseline competence of our leadership class. They see the cultural infrastructure giving way—illegitimacy, abused children, neglect, racial tensions, kids on opioids staring at screens—and, unlike their cultural superiors, they understand the implications.

Nuts with nukes, terrorists bent on a mission. The grid will go down. One of our foes will hit us, suddenly and hard. In the end it could be hand to hand, door to door. I said some of this six years ago to a famously liberal journalist, who blinked in surprise. If that’s true, he said, they won’t have a chance! But they are Americans, I said. They won’t go down without a fight.

Americans have so many guns because drug gangs roam the streets, because they have less trust in their neighbors, because they read Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road.” Because all of their personal and financial information got hacked in the latest breach, because our country’s real overlords are in Silicon Valley and appear to be moral Martians who operate on some weird new postmodern ethical wavelength. And they’ll be the ones programming the robots that’ll soon take all the jobs! Maybe the robots will all look like Mark Zuckerberg, like those eyeless busts of Roman Emperors. Our leaders don’t even think about this technological revolution. They’re too busy with transgender rights.

Americans have so many guns because they know the water their children swim in hasn’t gotten cleaner since Columbine, but more polluted and lethal.

The establishments and elites that create our political and entertainment culture have no idea how fragile it all is—how fragile it seems to people living normal, less privileged lives. That is because nothing is fragile for them. They’re barricaded behind the things the influential have, from good neighborhoods to security alarms, doormen and gates. They’re not dark in their imagining of the future because history has never been dark for them; it’s been sunshine, which they expect to continue. They sail on, oblivious to the legitimate anxieties of their countrymen who live near the edge.

Those who create our culture feel free to lecture normal Americans—on news shows, on late night comedy shows. Why do they have such a propensity for violence? What is their love for guns? Why do they join the National Rifle Association? The influential grind away with their disdain for their fellow Americans, whom they seem less to want to help than to dominate: Give up your gun, bake my cake, free speech isn’t free if what you’re saying triggers us.

Would it help if we tried less censure and more cultural affiliation? Might it help if we started working on problems that are real? Sure. But why lower the temperature when there’s such easy pleasure to be had in ridiculing your mindless and benighted countrymen?

http://www.peggynoonan.com/the-culture-of-death-and-of-disdain/

*********** Tim Brown , of Florence, Alabama, sent me this gem about Harlon Hill -

i saw coach Hill at a junior high basketball game
He told me about their comeback against Middle Tennessee
They were down two touchdowns late in the game
Florence State scored and after an onside kick scored again
He said they had gone for two and now had the lead.
Goober in the huddle before the last kickoff said
"Hey Harlon, my Daddy can whip you daddy"
Harlon asks him how do you know that?
Goober said "because he fights with rocks"
All this in the huddle before the last kick off

*********** Arkansas State almost scored on a throwback pass to the quarterback.  Crack analyst Ray Bentley very helpfully explained that the quarterback was eligible “because be took the snap from shotgun.”

Uh, Ray - thanks a lot, but… it doesn’t matter how the hell the quarterback takes the snap. And it doesn’t matter where he lines up, either - so long as it’s in the backfield (and he wears an eligible number), he is an eligible receiver.  To catch a pass, though, he’s first got to get the ball to someone who can throw it to him, and that means either handing off or lateraling the ball, because there can only be one forward pass per play.


*********** QUIZ - John Hadl came out of a high school program in Lawrence, Kansas that was one of the best in the nation in the 1950s and 1960s and he never played in a losing game in high school.   From 1951 through 1960 Lawrence was 152-12-5 with 13 state titles and 12 undefeated seasons. From 1955 to 1960 Lawrence won 47 straight games.

At Kansas, playing both ways, he started out as a halfback (running back) and made All-America his sophomore year.

He was switched to quarterback his junior year, and still wearing his halfback number (21) he again won All-America honors.

With him at quarterback his junior and senior years, the Jayhawks were 15-5-2 and finished in the top 20 both years.

As a punter, he led the nation one year with a 45.6 yard average, and he still holds the Kansas records for longest interception return (98 yards against TCU) and longest punt (94 yards against Oklahoma.)

He would later be named Kansas Jayhawks’ Player of the Century, and he is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

He was named MVP in both the East-West game and the College All-Star Game.

Drafted in the first round in the NFL and the third round in the AFL, he signed with the Los Angeles Chargers. He remained with the Chargers as they moved to San Diego, then played with the Rams, the Packers and the Oilers.

After sharing the Chargers’ starting QB job, he took over in 1966 and over the next four seasons, running Sid Gillman’s supercharged offense, he threw for more than 3,000 yards and more than 23 touchdowns per season.

As a pro quarterback, he was the AFL’s leading passer in 1965 and 1968 and was a four-time AFL All-Star.

After the leagues merged, he led all NFL passers in 1971 and was named the NFL’s Man of the Year that year. He was All-Pro in 1973, and played in the Pro Bowl in 1972 and in 1973.

He had his best years with the Chargers, but his trade by the Rams to the Packers for five draft choices near the end of his career was, shall we say,  “highly beneficial” to the Rams.

Except for a handful of games, John Hadl wore 21 for his entire career, and is the last quarterback in the NFL to have worn a number higher than 19.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JOHN HADL

Tim Brown - Florence, Alabama
Adam Wesoloski - Pulaski, Wisconsin
Tim Bross - Kirkwood, Missouri
Dave Potter - Cary, North Carolina
John Vermillion - St. Petersburg, Florida
Josh Montgomery - Berwick, Louisiana
Joe Gutilla - Austin, Texas
Dennis Metzger - Richmond, Indiana (He played for For Sid Gillmann’s Chargers and I think that his main receiver was Lance Alworth aka Bambi.  He also had Keith Lincoln and Paul Lowe as running backs.  They were a great team as their defense was also good.  They won several division championships and one AFL championship before the merger.)
Ken Hampton - Raleigh, North Carolina
Mark Kaczmarek - Davenport, Iowa (One of my favorites from my Strat-O-Matic days...Unfortunately, I remember his days with Green Bay)
Joe Ferris - Florence, Wisconsin (The trade to the Packers was not only beneficial for the Rams, but set the Packers back for several years. Keep the quizzes coming, they are always interesting.)
Ossie Osmundson - Woodland, Washington - (he was one of my favorites growing up - As was Roberto Clemente #21 in Baseball)

*********** QUIZ - Let's see who's been paying attention...

Princeton’s Charlie Volker broke a 65-year-old record last Saturday with a 96-yard run from scrimmage in a 53-0 trouncing of Brown.

The old record was set on November 15, 1952, when a fullback  ran 93 yards for a touchdown against Yale.

The fullback’s name?



american flagTUESDAY,  OCTOBER 17,  2017  - "If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions?" Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert

*********** 50 years ago today - October 17, 1967 - men of the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Brigade - the famed Black Lions, who first got their name in World War I - were ambushed in a jungle in South Vietnam by a superior force of North Vietnamese regulars.

64 of them were killed in action, 75 were wounded, many of them severely, and two were missing in action.

13 of the Black Lions were awarded the Silver Star. Three, including  Major Don Holleder, were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. And one, Second Lieutenant Harold “Pinky” Durham was awarded the Medal of Honor.

The Army tried to portray the Battle of Ong Thanh as an American victory, and did everything it could to discount, incorrectly,  the soldiers’ stories that it had been an ambush.

David Maraniss tells the story of the battle in his wonderful book, “They Marched Into Sunlight.”  The research for the book required him to interview men who had survived the battle, and that meant earning the trust of men who, once back in their stateside lives, had done everything they could to put the memories of that horrible day behind them.

Bit by bit, he won them over, and in the process  helped bring  many of the men of the Black Lions  together again - men who hadn’t seen each other in years.

In the book’s epilogue, David describes one such meeting - after 33 years -  of fighting men men who had been as close as brothers.

It was at a Las Vegas reunion in October 2000 that Clark Welch saw his old first sergeant, Bud Barrow, for the first time since they had been in the hospital together in 1967. I was sitting with Welch at a table in the Black Lions hospitality suite when Barrow walked in, and I’ll never forget the look that washed over his face. “There he is! You sonofabitch!” That said it all, and he rose and engulfed Barrow in a tearful embrace. (I told you we often used it as a term of endearment.)

 THE MEN OF THE BLACK LIONS, AND DON HOLLEDER, FORMER ARMY ALL-AMERICAN, WHO DIED IN THE VIETNAM JUNGLE IN THE BATTLE OF ONG THANH, OCTOBER 17, 1967 (Names taken from The Vietnam Wall)

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

Honor a player on your team who’s worthy of being called a Black Lion!

Sign up your team to participate in the Black Lion Award program.  There is no cost to you.

coachwyatt@aol.com


*********** In Rochester, New York, where Don Holleder grew up and went to high school, a local resident named Jim Lanson has arranged a number of events to honor Don Holleder on the 50th anniversary of his death in Vietnam.

Leo Roth, of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, wrote this beautiful tribute to Rochester's own Don Holleder, the inspiration of the Black Lion Award.

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/sports/columnist/roth/2017/10/14/don-holleder-vietnam-aquinas-army-west-point-hero/747902001/

Sign up your team to participate in the Black Lion Award program.  There is no cost to you.

coachwyatt@aol.com


*********** Mea culpa.  Mea culpa.

Apologies to anyone who on my recommendation decided it wouldn’t be worth watching Clemson-Syracuse.  Or, worse yet, who bet on Clemson or Washington State because of me.

Okay, okay. I know.  I should stick to my day job.  No more 800 phone numbers that you can call to get my Mortal Lock of the Weekend.

But I didn’t feel so bad about my failure as a tipster after talking with my son, who lives in Australia and through his involvement in sports does promotional work for a (legal) bookmaking firm.

He says the word in the trade is that the Vegas sports books have been losing a bundle on college football this season because it’s been so unpredictable.

Except for Alabama.

*********** Biggest win of the day?  It has to be LSU’s comeback from 20 points down to beat Auburn.  Or else it was Miami’s narrow win over Georgia Tech to remain unbeaten.   Or Cal’s win over previously unbeaten Washington State. Or Syracuse’s upset of Clemson.

*********** Watching games around the Midwest, between the rain and the lightning, I was happy to be sitting, warm and toasty, watching games on TV. Western Michigan’s stadium looked as if they could have held boat races there.

*********** Two head coaches - Chris Creighton of Eastern Michigan and Kyle Whittingham of Utah - really disappointed me Saturday.  Both coaches’ teams scored with seconds remaining to come within a single point of going into overtime, Creighton against Army and Whittingham against USC. 

Both coaches chose to go for two points and the win.

Both attempts failed, and both team lost.

Eastern Michigan, a passing team, ran for it. They had a QB who can throw a fade, and a wide receiver who could catch any thrown near him.  But against Army, an option team - they ran an option!

Utah tried a roll out, and when the passer found himself running out of room and receivers, he tried running for the corner - and came up a yard short.

But how they tried to do it isn’t important. What’s important is that both coaches let 59+ minutes of super effort by their teams go down the drain.

I almost threw up listening to the announcers talking about how “courageous” the coaches were, “going for the win.”

I call bulls— on that.  What is so f—king courageous about putting everything your team has just spent the entire week preparing for - and the better part of the last 60 minutes busting their asses for - on one roll of the dice?

Going for an iffy two instead making an almost certain kick - and going into overtime - is dumb on so many counts. 

Consider two of them:

First of all,  how come more people don’t go for two during the course of a game?  Everybody knows why - because there’s about a 50-50 chance they won’t make it, while there’s a 90+ per cent chance of making the kick.  Yes, if you went for two points every time, and you made 50 percent of your attempts, you’d be as well off as if you’d kicked and made 100 per cent of your kicks.  But when it comes down to a single play,  your chances of making two are no better than 50-50.

Second, there is the impression that you’ve lost faith in your team. You busted them hard all week, telling them that the hard work will pay off - at the game, you’ve told them they’re every bit as good as those guys over on the other sideline.  And, they believed you.  And now you’re going to tell them that you don’t trust them in overtime?

*********** It was a bad weekend in Pullman, Washington.  It started out on Friday night with the Washington State Cougars getting throughly thumped by Cal and knocked from their position in the Top Ten,  and then on Sunday Bill Moos,  the AD who personally sought out Mike Leach and convinced him to come to Pullman, abruptly announced  that he had accepted the AD job at Nebraska.

Moos had been AD at Oregon when he got taken down by some internal politics, and after he served out his non-compete severance terms on his Washington cattle ranch, he was hired in the same position at Washington State.

When Moos,  a WSU alum who was a star offensive linemen there under Jim Sweeney, took over in early 2011, the football program had gone 5-32 over the previous three seasons, and had just finished the 2010 season 1-11.

He set out to hire Leach, traveling to the coach’s home in Key West to persuade him to leave beach life for the wheat fields of the Palouse. He didn’t screw around. When asked who was on his search committee,  he replied, “You’re looking at it.”

He gave Leach plenty of support.   When Leach, who’d been caught up in a nasty situation at Texas Tech when he’d had to discipline the son of former ESPN star (and helicopter parent) Craig James,  was accused of verbal abuse by a WSU player,  Moos commented, “I played under Jim Sweeney.  I know what verbal abuse is.”

Leach repaid his AD’s confidence, taking the Cougars to three bowl games in the past four seasons, and to a ranking as high as Number 8 in the national polls, until this past Saturday’s 37-3 loss to Cal.  (The Cougs are Number 15 in the most recent poll.)

Washington State now has two problems.  Obviously, they have to replace Bill Moos, and that’s not going to be easy.  But the other, and in my mind far bigger, immediate problem is going to be retaining Mike Leach.  There are going to be all sorts of very attractive jobs coming open, and I suspect that the President of the University, who in the absence of an AD becomes the de facto AD himself,  may have to mortgage his property to help keep Mike Leach in Pullman.

As Nebraska’s new AD, Bill Moos  inherits some problems of his own, one of which is what to do with Huskers’ head coach Mike Riley. It appears that the Nebraska football program is in free fall, and if history is any predictor, once those things start to happen, the guy in charge is not going to turn it around.

I like Mike Riley.  Knew him back in   the days when he was a young assistant at Linfield College and I was a somewhat-young high school head coach and we worked together at Rich Brooks’ Oregon camp.  Good guy, smart guy, solid folks.

But in my estimation, and as evidenced by the way recruiting fell off in his last few years at Oregon State - and by the talent deficit that his successor, Gary Anderson inherited - he got worn down by the heroic effort required for Oregon State to remain competitive against better-funded programs in better recruiting states and at places more enticing to recruits.

I can’t imagine that he would have thought that efforts any less  heroic would be required to get Nebraska - which doesn’t produce any more home-grown talent than Oregon - atop the Big Ten, but there they are, slumping at 3-4 after taking two straight shellackings from Wisconsin and Ohio State.  They get next weekend off before playing at home against Northwestern, traveling to Minnesota and then Penn State, and finishing at home against Iowa. A 6-5 season is achievable; 5-6 (or worse) seems more likely.

Anyhow, there’s Bill Moos, in my opinion as good an AD if you could ask for, ready to take charge in Lincoln.  And the football team has a bye week.  Could this mean a change is imminent?

Not likely. Moos made clear in his introductory news conference that Mike Riley will finish the season as the Huskers’ coach. "I'm not a guy who ever changes a coach mid-season," he said. "I don't think anything is accomplished - and I never have - in dismissing a coach mid-season."

A Leach-to-Lincoln move?  Maybe, but it's far from a foregone conclusion.  Bill Moos knows his way around the world of football. He’s a real AD,  the kind every big school used to have - a guy who knows the football end of the business.  He’s definitely  not one of the new type of slickster - a suit with a marketing degree whose first order of business when he needs to find a new coach is to go out and hire a search firm.

What really has to endear Bill Moos to Nebraska fans - almost as much as his proven ability to hire a winner - is the fact that he’s also a cattle rancher.

https://nebraska.rivals.com/news/twitter-reaction-to-the-hiring-new-ad-nebraska-bill-moos

*********** One bit of good news for Washington State fans is that Kevin Anderson won’t be their next AD.  In a bizarre series of stories over the weekend,  Anderson, the Maryland AD,  was reportedly going to be fired for pursuing AD jobs at Texas and then Cal.  But now, out of College Park, comes the amazing announcement that he’s going to be taking a six-month “professional development sabbatical.”

Sabbaticals - time off with pay to pursue professional development - are common for professors, but  not for athletic directors. It’s fair to say that there isn’t quite the same urgency - the same need for a person to be on hand - in the philosophy department as there is in the athletic department.

Somebody has to be on the scene, to make some very important decisions.  How in the hell, I wonder, can a major university allow its athletic director to walk away from his duties? On full salary?

Full disclosure: I have long believed the guy to be a total faker.  He was hired at West Point as AD, where he claimed in his bio that in his previous job - at Oregon State - he was instrumental in hiring Mike Riley as head coach, and he “had oversight” of the football program. At the time of his hiring at West Point, I inquired about him at the Corvallis, Oregon newspaper. The guy I spoke to in the sports department had never even heard of a "Kevin Anderson."  He laughed when I mentioned the “oversight” claim.  Another person I spoke to who had connections in the athletic department at OSU reported that then-OSU AD Bob DeCarolis had evidently suggested to Mr. Anderson that he might want to  start looking for another job.

Kevin Anderson  did nothing at West Point to impress the people who follow football - Army never beat Navy during his tenure - and when Maryland hired him, very few people were sorry to see him go.

Once at Maryland, practically his first act was to fire football coach Ralph Friedgen.  Friedgen, a Maryland alum,  had just finished an 8-4 season, and had been  named ACC Coach of the Year.

Friedgen’s replacement, Randy Edsall, famously jumped ship at Connecticut - technically, he jumped ship in Phoenix,  failing to accompany his  UConn players back to Connecticut after a Fiesta Bowl defeat - in order to get started at Maryland.  Despite the head start, his term at College Park was a failure: he was 22-34 before being relieved  six games into the 2015 season.

The jury is still out on Edsall’s successor, D. J. Durkin.  He went 6-7 in 2016, his first year, but this year the Terps are 3-3, with likely losses coming up at the hands of Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State and and Penn State, and potential wins against Indiana and Rutgers. Sounds like 5-7 to me.

Interestingly, there were some statements at the time of Friedgen’s firing that it had somethig to do with lagging attendance.

So how about this? In Friedgen’s last year - 2010 - average attendance was 39,168.

Attendance got a big goose in 2014 when Maryland joined the Big Ten,  and home games against Ohio State, Iowa and Michigan State drew big crowds (thanks in large part to all the Ohio State, Iowa and Michigan State alumni in the Washington, DC area) and the Terps averaged 46,981.

The next year, 2015, playing Penn State in Baltimore in front of 69,000, plus big crowds for Wisconsin and Micihigan, they averaged 44,341.

But here’s the indictment of Mr. Kevin Anderson: in 2016, despite being in the Big Ten, their average attendance was 39,615 - less than 500  more than the figure that supposedly cost Ralph Friedgen his job. True, the Terps’ Big Ten home schedule contained only one big hitter - Ohio State - and that game draw only 48,000.  But clearly, rather than hustling to put Maryland fans in the seats, Anderson was counting on visitors from Big Ten schools to pad his home attendance.

To show that Maryland has not been pulling its weight in the Big Ten, the 2015 Terps played in front of 100,778 at Penn State, 110,626 at Michigan, and 89,707 at Nebraska.

My guess is that this "sabbatical"  is some fancy sort of severance to spare Mr. Anderson the indignity of being asked to clean out his desk and turn in his keys.  So  instead of being fired, he gets a six-month "sabbatical."  My bet: after six months, he does not return to the job. He is, in French,  histoire.

One Maryland newspaper article I read had only one lone reader's comment, and it got right to the point:

“What the hell is going on?”

http://www.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football/news/maryland-ad-kevin-anderson-taking-six-month-sabbatical/1fg2kzb0w77ri1annn4uwapzcv


*********** You’ve probably seen this - Cal QB Ross Bowers did a full front-flip (layout position) when he was hit as he tried to leap over the goal line Saturday night.  I took away some points for his landing, but he did land on his feet. It was not a fluke. The kid did the same thing in the state championship game his senior year at Bothell, Washington High.  I submit this for your consideration: his mother, Joanne, was head gymnastics coach at the University of Washington from 2006 to 2016.

Back when Bothell won the state championship, I learned that Ross’ dad, John Bowers, was an assistant coach at James Madison, and after checking online, I noted that he was originally from Hagerstown, Maryland. 

Hagerstown is where I got my coaching start, with a minor-league team called the Hagerstown Bears.   We got to where we were very popular and drew large crowds.

I emailed Coach Bowers to tell him how proud I was, as a former Hagerstonian, of the way his son played but more important, the way he handled himself in the post-game interviews.  You could tell he was a special kid.

To help authenticate my Hagerstown roots, I mentioned that I knew a few Bowerses (Bowers is a fairly common name there), and that I had coached the Hagerstown Bears back in the 1970s.

Replied John Bowers, “I went to all Bear home games.”

Needless to say, I’ve been following Ross Bowers’ career ever since, and I am delighted to see that he’s playing a part in Cal’s great comeback.

https://www.seattletimes.com/sports/wsu-cougar-football/cals-ross-bowers-front-flipped-touchdown-hes-done-it-before-as-qb-at-bothell-hs/

*********** Hi Coach

By Formation, if a team ran a Quad set, where the Quad side featured a normal TE on the LOS, with two slots off the LOS and a WR on the LOS, is the TE considered covered, and therefore, ineligible?

Saw that formation this week for an upcoming opponent and the TE ran a post???

Coach-

Only two men on the line of scrimmage can be eligible, and only when they are on their respective  ends of the line AND they are wearing eligible numbers.

You have to be alert for this stuff and point it out to the official on your side. They have a lot to watch with all this spread stuff, including making sure there are seven men on the line (which for convenience sake they call “too many men in the backfield”)

(For some reason, the NFL persists in that farcical “tackle eligible” crap, where a lineman, still wearing an ineligible number, can line up on the end of the line and be eligible - provided he reports in to an official. )


*********** Jim Crawley, at China Grove, North Carolina, middle school, had been running my Double Wing and attending clinics for over ten years, and this year he decided to go all-in on the Open Wing. (Maybe, considering North Carolina’s well-earned reputation for pork barbecue, I should say he decided to go whole-hog.) 

Coach Crawley wrote me a couple of weeks ago, “I have to say that I don't think we could have put up these kinds of numbers in the Double Wing (as much as I love the DW!). Instead of 9 in the box, defenses now play us spread out and loose. It helps when you have a kid who can throw pretty well and the defense has to honor that. I'm having a good time and so are the kids!”

Coach Crawley’s two teams - seventh graders and eight graders - are both 3-2; the 7th graders have outscored opponents 182-90, and the 8th graders 140-68. The losses have been close: two weeks ago, the eight graders dropped a close one to their toughest rival, 48-44. (Imagine all those points in eight-minute quarters!) He’s been sharing video with me, and I would have to say he’s done a heck of a job.

This past week, after wins of 34-22 by the 7th graders and 34-26 by the 8th graders, Coach Crawley wrote, “The best compliment came from their coach, a stand up guy that I've coached against for 10+ years. He said, ‘Coach, you need go to back to running that stuff you used to run!’”

He went on,
As a side note, we ended 7th grade practice yesterday with a game called "Inside Out". It's kind of like "Bacon" but for the offense. The starting offense got in the huddle and I told them to exchange wrist bands, lineman for skill and vice versa so that the backs were the OL and OL were the backs and receivers. Then we told the defense to put DB's and LB's on the line, and the linemen were the DB's and LB's. Then we lined up and ran 6/7 G-O, wedge and counter. Funniest thing I've ever seen! We only did it for 10 minutes but the kids had a blast. My QB got a huge thrill out of running circles at open guard and I found out that my open guard would make a heck of a FB in a double wing. He ran the ball like a beast! Nobody wanted to tackle him. The kids left practice smiling and laughing and they also learned an appreciation for another position.


*********** QUIZ ANSWER - A wide receiver,  Harlon Hill came out of little-known Florence State Teachers’ College as a 15th-round draft pick by the Chicago Bears and shocked the football world by winning NFL Rookie  of the Year honors.

In his nine-year NFL career, he went to three Pro Bowls, he was three times All-Pro, and he was named NFL MVP in 1955.

He caught 233 passes for 4717 yards and 40 touchdowns, and he led the NFL in touchdown passes in 1954 and 1955.

The Harlon Hill Award, named in his honor, is given annually to the top player in Division II .

(Florence State is now known as North Alabama.)

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING HARLON HILL

A few coaches have apologized for having to look up an answer.  One even disqualified himself because he felt guilty for not knowing the answer right off the top.

Gentlemen, please… No doubt, a few of the guys  already know the answers without looking…

But my aim is to help increase overall knowledge of the people who have made our game great (one reason why I avoid the use of the word “trivia”) and it pleases me greatly when someone looks up an answer and then tells me “I never knew that.”

It’s the teacher in me.


NOW THEN,  HARLON HILL…

Mark Kaczmarek - Davenport, Iowa (dominated the Pack as a receiver for Da Bears…seemed he converted every crucial 3rd down!)
Josh Montgomery -Berwick, Louisiana
Joel Mathews - Independence, Missouri (Your clue about the D2 honor gave me the answer...having played at Northwest Missouri, I'm familiar with it.  Interestingly enough, I can't think of anyone from Northwest who has won it despite all the standout players that have been there.  I know nobody cares though, the national titles are way more fun.) - NM Missouri’s long-time coach Mel Tjeerdsma (“Church-mah”) is an all-time great -
Mick Yanke - Cokato, Minnesota (Thank you Coach for the long excerpt on West Point)
John Vermillion - St. Petersburg, Florida
Mike Benton - Colfax, Illinois (also known as Junious Hill - Junious was his middle name)
Adam Wesoloski - Pulaski, Wisconsin
Pete Porcelli - Troy, New York
Ken Hampton - Raleigh, North Carolina
Tim Bross - Kirkwood, Missouri
Ossie Osmundson - Woodland, Washington

*********** I’m  grateful to Tim Brown of Florence, Alabama for suggesting Harlon Hill.   Also for adding, “Harlon Hill's  college team also included George "Goober " Lindsey.”

Quite so.  George Lindsey, aka Goober, played quarterback.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/07/arts/television/george-lindsey-tvs-goober-pyle-dies-at-83.html

*********** QUIZ - He came out of a high school program in Lawrence, Kansas that was one of the best in the nation in the 1950s and 1960s and he never played in a losing game in high school.   From 1951 through 1960 Lawrence was 152-12-5 with 13 state titles and 12 undefeated seasons. From 1955 to 1960 Lawrence won 47 straight games.

At Kansas, playing both ways, he started out as a halfback (running back) and made All-America his sophomore year.

He was switched to quarterback his junior year, and still wearing his halfback number (21) he again won All-America honors.

With him at quarterback his junior and senior years, the Jayhawks were 15-5-2 and finished in the top 20 both years.

As a punter, he led the nation one year with a 45.6 yard average, and he still holds the Kansas records for longest interception return (98 yards against TCU) and longest punt (94 yards against Oklahoma.)

He would later be named Kansas Jayhawks’ Player of the Century, and he is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

He was named MVP in both the East-West game and the College All-Star Game.

Drafted in the first round in the NFL and the third round in the AFL, he signed with the Los Angeles Chargers. He remained with the Chargers as they moved to San Diego, then played with the Rams, the Packers and the Oilers.

After sharing the Chargers’ starting QB job, he took over in 1966 and over the next four seasons, running Sid Gillman’s supercharged offense, he threw for more than 3,000 yards and more than 23 touchdowns per season.

As a pro quarterback, he was the AFL’s leading passer in 1965 and 1968 and was a four-time AFL All-Star.

After the leagues merged, he led all NFL passers in 1971 and was named the NFL’s Man of the Year that year. He was All-Pro in 1973, and played in the Pro Bowl in 1972 and in 1973.

He had his best years with the Chargers, but his trade by the Rams to the Packers for five draft choices near the end of his career was, shall we say,  “highly beneficial” to the Rams.

Except for a handful of games, he wore 21 for his entire career, and is the last quarterback in the NFL to wear a number higher than 19.




american flagFRIDAY,  OCTOBER 13,  2017  -“We must remember that one man is much the same as another, and that he is best who is trained in the severest school.”   Thucydides

*********** The revelation that Spenser Rapone, a West Point cadet who made no secret of his love for communism and his disdain for America and for West Point, somehow managed to  graduate - and is still serving in the Army - has raised a number of questions.

Spenser rapone hatspenser rapone che shirt

http://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2017/09/29/former-west-point-cadet-in-che-guevara-shirt-is-an-afghanistan-combat-veteran-and-other-rumors-clarified/

Chief among those questions  is how a guy like this failed to come to the attention of the people in charge , who surely would have “separated” him from the Military Academy.  Or would they?

Not according to a letter written by Lieutenant Colonel Robert M. Heffington, of the West Point Class of 1997.

In the  letter to  West Point graduates LTC Heffington charges in the strongest words possible that the Rapone incident is just one example of the way West Point leadership, often in the interests of “diversity, ” has systematically  been lowering its admission standards, softening its discipline,  and watering  down its curriculum:

Dear Sir/Ma’am,

Before you read any further, please understand that the following paragraphs come from a place of intense devotion and loyalty to West Point. My experience as a cadet had a profound impact upon who I am and upon the course of my life, and I remain forever grateful that I have the opportunity to be a part of the Long Gray Line. I firmly believe West Point is a national treasure and that it can and should remain a vitally important source of well trained, disciplined, highly educated Army officers and civilian leaders. However, during my time on the West Point faculty (2006-2009 and again from 2013-2017), I personally witnessed a series of fundamental changes at West Point that have eroded it to the point where I question whether the institution should even remain open. The recent coverage of 2LT Spenser Rapone – an avowed Communist and sworn enemy of the United States – dramatically highlighted this disturbing trend. Given my recent tenure on the West Point faculty and my direct interactions with Rapone, his “mentors,” and with the Academy’s leadership, I believe I can shed light on how someone like Rapone could possibly graduate.

First and foremost, standards at West Point are nonexistent. They exist on paper, but nowhere else. The senior administration at West Point inexplicably refuses to enforce West Point’s publicly touted high standards on cadets, and, having picked up on this, cadets refuse to enforce standards on each other. The Superintendent refuses to enforce admissions standards or the cadet Honor Code, the Dean refuses to enforce academic standards, and the Commandant refuses to enforce standards of conduct and discipline. The end result is a sort of malaise that pervades the entire institution. Nothing matters anymore. Cadets know this, and it has given rise to a level of cadet arrogance and entitlement the likes of which West Point has never seen in its history.
Every fall, the Superintendent addresses the staff and faculty and lies. He repeatedly states that “We are going to have winning sports teams without compromising our standards,” and everyone in Robinson Auditorium knows he is lying because we routinely admit athletes with ACT scores in the mid-teens across the board. I have personally taught cadets who are borderline illiterate and cannot read simple passages from the assigned textbooks. It is disheartening when the institution’s most senior leader openly lies to his own faculty-and they all know it.

The cadet honor code has become a laughingstock. Cadets know they will not be separated for violating it, and thus they do so on a daily basis. Moreover, since they refuse to enforce standards on each other and police their own ranks, cadets will rarely find a cadet at an honor hearing despite overwhelming evidence that a violation has occurred. This in tum has caused the staff and faculty to give up even reporting honor incidents. Why would a staff or faculty member expend the massive amount of time and energy it takes to report an honor violation-including writing multiple sworn statements, giving interviews, and testifying at the honor hearing-when they know without a doubt the cadet will not be found (or, if found, the Superintendent will not separate the cadet)? To make matters worse, the senior leadership at West Point actively discourages staff and faculty from reporting honor violations. l was unfortunate enough to experience this first hand during my first tour on the faculty, when the Commandant of Cadets called my office phone and proceeded to berate me in the most vulgar and obscene language for over ten minutes because I had reported a cadet who lied to me and then asked if “we could just drop it.” Of course, I was duty bound to report the cadet’s violation, and I did. During the course of the berating I received from the Commandant, I never actually found out why he was so angry. It seemed that he was simply irritated that the institution was having to deal with the case, and that it was my fault it even existed. At the honor hearing the next day, I ended up being the one on trial as my character and reputation were dragged through the mud by the cadet and her civilian attorney while I sat on the witness stand without any assistance. In the end, of course, the cadet was not found (despite having at first admitted that she lied), and she eventually graduated. Just recently a cadet openly and obviously plagiarized his History research paper, and his civilian professor reported it. The evidence was overwhelming-there was not the slightest question of his guilt, yet the cadet was not found. The professor, and indeed all the faculty who knew of the case, were completely demoralized. This is the new norm for the cadet honor system. In fact, there is now an addition to the honor system (the Willful Admission Process) which essentially guarantees that if a cadet admits a violation, then separation is not even a possibility. In reality, separation is not a possibility anyway because the Superintendent refuses to impose that sanction.

Academic standards are also nonexistent. I believe this trend started approximately ten years ago, and it has continued to get worse. West Point has stated standards for academic expectations and performance, but they are ignored. Cadets routinely fail multiple classes and they are not separated at the end-of-semester Academic Boards. Their professors recommend “Definitely Separate,” but those recommendations are totally disregarded. I recently taught a cadet who failed four classes in one semester (including mine), in addition to several she had failed in previous semesters, and she was retained at the Academy. As a result, professors have lost hope and faith in the entire Academic Board process. It has been made clear that cadets can fail a multitude of classes and they will not be separated. Instead, when they fail (and they do to a staggering extent), the Dean simply throws them back into the mix and expects the faculty to somehow drag them through the academic program until they manage to earn a passing grade. What a betrayal this is to the faculty! Also, since they get full grade replacement if they must re­take a course, cadets are actually incentivized to fail. They know they can re-take the course over the summer when they have no other competing requirements, and their new grade completely replaces the failing one. ST AP (Summer Term Academic Program) is also now an accepted summer detail assignment, so retaking a course during the summer translates into even more summer leave for the deficient cadet.
Even the curriculum itself has suffered. The plebe American History course has been revamped to focus completely on race and on the narrative that America is founded solely on a history of racial oppression. Cadets derisively call it the “I Hate America Course.” Simultaneously, the plebe International History course now focuses on gender to the exclusion of many other important themes. On the other hand, an entire semester of military history was recently deleted from the curriculum (at West Point!). In all courses, the bar has been lowered to the point where it is irrelevant. If a cadet fails a course, the instructor is blamed, so instructors are incentivized to pass everyone. Additionally, instead of responding to cadet failure with an insistence that cadets rise to the challenge and meet the standard, the bar for passing the course itself is simply lowered. This pattern is widespread and pervades every academic department.

Conduct and disciplinary standards are in perhaps the worst shape of all. Cadets are jaded, cynical, arrogant, and entitled. They routinely talk back to and snap at their instructors (military and civilian alike), challenge authority, and openly refuse to follow regulations. They are allowed to wear civilian clothes in almost any arena outside the classroom, and they flaunt that privilege. Some arrive to class unshaven, in need of haircuts, and with uniforms that look so ridiculously bad that, at times, I could not believe I was even looking at a West Point cadet. However, if a staff or faculty member attempts to correct the cadet in question, that staff/faculty member is sure to be reprimanded for “harassing cadets.” For example, as I made my rounds through the barracks inspecting study conditions one evening as the Academic Officer in Charge, I encountered a cadet in a company study room. He was wearing a pair of blue jeans and nothing else, and was covered in tattoos. He had long hair, was unshaven, and I was honestly unsure ifhe was even a cadet. He looked more like a prison convict to me. When I questioned what he was doing there, he remained seated in his chair and sneered at me that he “was authorized” because he was a First Class cadet. I proceeded to correct him and then reported him to the chain of command the next morning. Later that day I received an email from the Brigade Tactical Officer telling me to “stay in my lane.” I know many other officers receive the same treatment when attempting to make corrections. It is extremely discouraging when the response is invariably one that comes to the defense of the cadet.

That brings me to another point: cadets’ versions of stories are always valued more highly by senior leaders than those of commissioned officers on the staff and faculty. It is as if West Point’s senior leaders believe their job is to “protect” cadets from the staff and faculty at all costs. This might explain why the faculty’s recommendations are ignored at the Academic Boards, why honor violations are ignored (and commissioned officers are verbally abused for bringing them to light), and why cadets always “win” when it comes to conduct and disciplinary issues.

It seems that the Academy’s senior leaders are intimidated by cadets. During my first tour on the faculty (I was a CPT at the time), I noticed that 4th class cadets were going on leave in civilian clothes when the regulation clearly stated they were supposed to be wearing a uniform. During a discussion about cadet standards between the BTO and the Dept. of History faculty, I asked why plebes were going on leave in civilian clothes. His answer astonished me: “That rule is too hard to enforce.” Yet West Point had no problem enforcing that rule on me in the mid-1990s. I found it impossible to believe that the several hundred field grade officers stationed at West Point could not make teenagers wear the uniform. This anecdote highlights the fact that West Point’s senior leaders lack not the ability but the motivation to enforce their will upon the Corps of Cadets.

This brings me to the case of now-2LT Spenser Rapone. It is not at all surprising that the Academy turned a blind eye to his behavior and to his very public hatred of West Point, the Army, and this nation. I knew at the time I wrote that sworn statement in 2015 that he would go on to graduate. It is not so much that West Point’s leadership defends his views (Prof. Hosein did, however); it is that West Point’s senior leaders are infected with apathy: they simply do not want to deal with any problem, regardless of how grievous a violation of standards and/or discipline it may be. They are so reticent to separate problematic cadets (undoubtedly due to the “developmental model” that now exists at USMA) that someone like Rapone can easily slip through the cracks. In other words, West Point’s leaders choose the easier wrong over the harder right.

I could go on, but I fear that this letter would simply devolve into a screed, which is not my intention. I will sum up by saying this: a culture of extreme permissiveness has invaded the Military Academy, and there seems to be no end to it. Moreover, this is not unintentional; it is a deliberate action that is being taken by the Academy’s senior leadership, though they refuse to acknowledge or explain it. Conduct and behavior that would never be tolerated at a civilian university is common among cadets, and it is supported and defended by the Academy’s senior leaders in an apparent and misguided effort to attract more applicants and cater to what they see as the unique needs of this generation of cadets.

Our beloved Military Academy has lost its way. It is a shadow of what it once was. It used to be a place where standards and discipline mattered, and where concepts like duty, honor, and country were real and they meant something. Those ideas have been replaced by extreme permissiveness, rampant dishonesty, and an inexplicable pursuit of mediocrity. Instead of scrambling to restore West Point to what it once was, the Academy’s senior leaders give cadets more and more privileges in a seeming effort to tum the institution into a third-rate civilian liberal arts college. Unfortunately, they have largely succeeded. The few remaining members of the staff and faculty who are still trying to hold the line are routinely berated, ignored, and ultimately silenced for their unwillingness to “go along with the program.” The Academy’s senior leaders simply do not want to hear their voices or their concerns. Dissent is crushed-I was repeatedly told to keep quiet at faculty meetings, even as a LTC, because my dissent was neither needed nor appreciated.

It breaks my heart to write this. It breaks my heart to know first-hand what West Point was versus what it has become. This is not a “Corps has” story; it is meant to highlight a deliberate and radical series of changes being undertaken at the highest levels of USMA’ s leadership that are detrimental to the institution. Criticizing these changes is not popular. I have already been labeled a “traitor” by some at the Academy due to my sworn statement’s appearance in the media circus surrounding Spenser Rapone. However, whenever I hear this, I am reminded of the Cadet Prayer:

” … suffer not our hatred of hypocrisy and pretense ever to diminish. Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half-truth when the whole can be won. …that scorns to compromise with vice and injustice, and knows no fear when truth and right are in jeopardy.”

West Point was once special, and it can be again. Spenser Rapone never should have been admitted, much less graduate, but he was-and that mistake is directly attributable to the culture of permissiveness and apathy that now exists there.

Sincerely and Respectfully,

Robert M. Heffington
LTC, U.S. Army (Retired), West Point Class of 1997

*********** LTC Huffington’s letter would be disturbing at any time.

But coming as it does, not long after the publication of John Vermillion’s “The Supe,” it makes author Vermillion’s novel as much an accurate depiction of the forces   undermining one of our most treasured institutions as it is an entertaining mystery.

John’s bio: John M. Vermillion graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point and retired from the US Army as an Infantry Colonel after almost 25 years. For the next 10 years he worked overseas (Germany, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Iraq) in a variety of quasi-military positions. In addition to a long slate of military schools, including the Airborne and Ranger programs, he also graduated from the School of Advanced Military Studies and the National War College. Along the path of military assignments he served as a platoon leader in Vietnam and as instructor of English at West Point.

(In addition, he’s pretty doggone good at answering my twice-weekly quizzes.)

Here are some reviews of “The Supe.”

“John Vermillion has hit a home run with this first novel about West Point. The author is himself a West Point graduate and decorated Vietnam-combat-veteran. But the story is a very current one that could be taken from the headlines of today's news. The author really seems to describe the terrible cost of Washington, DC. PC political correctness run amok - making West Point a sociology experiment, where enhanced diversity, reducing sexual harassment, and religious and sexual preferences are higher priorities than the United State's Military Academy's true mission - to develop LEADERS OF CHARACTER, and ultimately to lead soldiers and win America's wars.”

“This book is compelling on two levels: it is a first-rate story of suspense, weaving the thread of a counter-terror cat and mouse plot through the book. On a higher level, it is a morality play about leadership. The author, a West Point graduate and combat veteran, understands and personifies the 200 year old mission of the Military Academy: to graduate leaders of character to win America's wars. He delivers this message in the person of Marine Lieutenant General Simon Pack, a West Point graduate who is coaxed out of retirement to re-orient the Academy on this mission and recapture the essential spirit of the Corps of Cadets. The author doesn't pull any punches with his views of the rampant political correctness that has afflicted the US Army and its leadership. The writing is natural and flowing; the plot is captivating; the message is powerful.”

“A really entertaining story and great read--a very good novel that's worth more than one visit. The work is also a hard hitting examination of where our society and country are in understanding our liberty and how to defend it. From personal experience the work develops themes in the course of the storyline that are more than plausible--they've happened. The author uses the character Simon Pack as a contemporary champion of the most essential components of what an effective leader is--military or civilian. He becomes the last great warrior for the soul of a great national institution of American leadership. And the battle for the soul of American leadership plays out on the campus of the U. S. Military Academy. It is a contemporary battlefield that arrays the most destructive forces assaulting our liberties and the national character ideal that West Point represents in what becomes a battle to the death.”

“The Supe” is on sale at amazon.com : https://www.amazon.com/Supe-Novel-West-Point/dp/1511525738

*********** “The courage of these women coming forward now is really important because it can't just end with one person's disgraceful behavior and the consequences that he is now facing.  This has to be a wake-up call and shine a bright spotlight on anything like this behavior anywhere, at any time."

That was  Hillary Clinton, praising the alleged victims of Harvey Weinstein.  But she could just as easily have been talking about the accusers of one William Jefferson Clinton.

*********** It’s a good thing the major colleges aren’t ranked by a computer-rating system or LSU would have taken a huge hit Wednesday night.   Fresh off their upset of LSU, the Troy Trojans got bopped, at home, by South Alabama. 

*********** It’s been a tough season for Oregon State coach Gary Anderson.  Week by week you could see the guy suffering as his team got weaker and weaker, and after last Saturday’s whipping of his Beavers by the Washington Huskies,  he’d had enough.  He threw in the towel.

It’s a very sad time for Oregon State fans, whose Beavers  not that long ago could go toe-to-toe with anyone in the Pac-12, and for Anderson, who walked away from a big job at Wisconsin to take the OSU job in the first place,  and as recently as the end of last season appeared to be on the upswing after the Beavers pounded the Oregon Ducks.

Here’s the amazing thing, though:  he could have continued just going through the  motions, with a contract that ran through 2021.  Or he could have tried to walk away with some sort of settlement.  But while some people are calling him a quitter, I have to say that it takes a man of rare integrity to essentially rip up a $12 million contract, as he did.

A couple of names mentioned as possible replacements: Beau Baldwin, now OC at Cal, and Jim Leavitt, DC at Oregon. Baldwin has been a head coach at Eastern Washington, where he won an FCS title; Leavitt built the South Florida program from the ground up and did an oustanding job there.

*********** Slim pickings on the college football TV front this weekend:

FRIDAY NIGHT:

Clemson at Syracuse.  Watch this? Are you serious?
Washington State at Cal.  Cougars’ defense is good enough by itself to win this one. And then there's Luke Falk.

SATURDAY EARLY GAMES:

TCU at Kansas State - KSU got screwed last week at Texas
Texas Tech at West Virginia - I like the Mountaineers
Florida State at Duke - FSU lost a killer to Miami; Duke needs the win
Eastern Michigan at Army (sorry “Army WEST POINT”) - Eastern, now 2-3, is not bad. They’ve lost three games by a total of 16 points, and lost only 24-20 at Kentucky. Army is 4-2 but they haven’t beaten anybody: Fordham, Buffalo, UTEP and Rice are a combined 5-19.

NOONISH GAMES

Auburn at LSU - Call me nuts, but I’m going with LSU
Georgia Tech-Miami - THE GAME OF THE DAY.  Of course, I’ll go with the triple-option team
Oklahoma-Texas at Dallas - Two first-year coaches who could use a win.  I don’t particularly care for the Horns, but I think that they may be the better team.
Navy at Memphis - Memphis is explosive but Navy can wear your ass down.  Does anybody out there realize that Navy is unbeaten?

LATE AFTERNOON GAMES

Can’t be bothered watching “games” like Arkansas at Alabama or Missouri at Georgia
Utah at USC - Utah (4-1) just lost to Stanford last week. We’ll see how good the Trojans are.  I’m picking the upset, but that’s because I want it to happen
Michigan State at Minnesota - Will the Spartans be down, after beating “Big Brother” last week?
Washington at Arizona State - This could be a tough one for the Huskies
Oregon at Stanford - Both teams are 4-2, but with starting QB Justin Herbert the Ducks aren’t the same team that went out and won those 4 games

*********** Look good, play good. This Saturday, Florida is going to dress like actual Gators - scales and all.

http://dailysnark.com/florida-gators-wear-craziest-uniforms-season-vs-texas/

*********** There, there.  You’ll get over it.  I know the USA Soccer Team’s loss to mighty Trinidad and Tobago hit you hard, especially (knowing how you follow these things) after you learned that “our” loss, combined with Panama’s win over Costa Rica and Honduras’ win over Mexico, meant that “we” would not be taking part in next year’s World Cup.

That dopey “I BELIEVE THAT WE CAN WIN!” chant?  Not this time.

Which brings up the question: is there a bigger fraud being perpetrated on the American public than soccer?  Bit by bit, soccer has insinuated its way into American culture until now it’s so (supposedly) mainstream that any time you see a TV commercial advertising a minivan, it’s a “soccer mom” (a term that needs no definition) driving a group of little kids (diverse, of course) to soccer practice.

You’d think that after years and years of soccer people taking over our parks and athletic fields for peewee soccer,  after hours and hours  of mommies and daddies in lawn chairs watching their pre-schoolers kick soccer balls around in what resembles a sort of child worship, the soccer pooh-bahs at the top would have something to show for it.

(The standing joke has been, “Soccer is the sport of the future - and always will be.”)

I’ll tell you why - all those adorable little 5-year-olds?  As they grow older, most of the real athletes among them will switch over to baseball or basketball or - gasp! - football. Or even hockey and lacrosse.  Real sports, if you will.  The vast majority of those who remain with soccer are the ones whose worshipful mommies and daddies watched every practice and every game and then, with visions of college scholarships and World Cups dancing in their heads,  fell for the recruiting spiels of travel-team coaches and comitted their kids to a misspent youth of soccer-soccer-soccer, year-round.

I said, years ago, that if American soccer were ever to make it, the soccer people would have to recognize that unlike elsewhere in the world, soccer in the US is perceived as a soft sport; they’d have to deal with the fact that American soccer is stuck where it is because it starts out with soft, suburban kids whose parents don’t want them to do anything dangerous, and those soft kids are kept soft because they never play any other sport than soccer.

Soccer’s problem is how to recruit tough athletes - kids in the inner-city, if I may use that euphemism - to play a sport that those kids see as soft, especially when they can get recognition and approval - wealth, even - by playing another sport.

And in the US, unlike most other nations in the world, there are other sports to play.   Yes, there’s cricket in India and baseball in Japan, and  in Australia, Canada and South Africa they play a variety of codes of football.  Finland worships ice hockey. And basketball is making great inroads globally.  But in nations that dominate soccer, the Number Two sport is usually so far behind in popularity or participation that most of their people couldn’t even tell you what it was.  I once asked a German friend what Germany’s second most popular sport was and after quite a bit of thinking, he said, amazed at the absurdity of the thought,  “Maybe American football?”

Whenever I hear somebody say that we’re behind the rest of the world because we don’t put a soccer ball on an altar and worship it, I answer that actually, soccer’s popularity in other parts of the world is a sign of how far behind us they are  in the development of their sports. Of course their best athletes go into soccer.  What the hell other opportunities are there in Brazil? In Spain? In Germany? But given the opportunity to play another sport at the highest possible level,  how many of those soccer players might have chosen  baseball… or basketball… or football?

In America, where kids have a choice, soccer continues to be the sport of the future: among boys’ high school sports, soccer ranks no better than fifth in the number of participants, behind football, track and field, basketball and baseball. Where it’s played in the fall, it’s a distant second, far behind football; where it’s played in the spring, it’s in third place, behind track and field and baseball.

Anyhow,  as tragic as the US team’s loss is for us, think about Omar Gonzalez, a defender on the US Team, whose “own goal” helped contribute to “our” defeat. Poor guy.   He’s taking the loss hard.  “We let down an entire nation today,” said Mr. Gonzalez, in a statement rivaled in hyperbole only by the protestors at the 1968 Democratic Convention who chanted,  “The Whole World is Watching!” as Chicago police dragged them off to the slammer.

“Omar,” I’d like to tell him, “It’s okay.  We’ll get over it. All 300 million of us.”

*********** ESPN has really been whipsawed lately.  Conservatives are pissed off at it for its openly liberal agenda; liberals are pissed off at it for suspending a female named named Jamele Hill for shooting her mouth off about things that have nothing to do with sports. Both  claim to be boycotting the Worldwide Leader.

But out of the wreckage of the US Soccer Team came good news for ESPN: they won't have to  broadcast the 2018 World Cup.

That dubious prize goes to  Fox, which bid $200 million, and planned on spending “tens of millions more” on facilities in Moscow, in the expectation of drawing US audiences like the ones that watched the World Cup in 2014. 

But uh-oh.  Those 2014 viewers were  drawn mainly by the US team’s surprisingly good performance, and with the US team out of this year's  compeittion, most of those viewers are likely to be watching something else.

Fox stands to lose  “tens of millions.”  ESPN is off the hook.

*********** Sitting on Commissioner Goodell’s desk, awaiting his signature, is my suggestion for getting the NFL and its players back in the good graces of the American public.

It’s all very simple: before they could be eligible to play in the NFL, all rookies would first spend six months’ active military duty, just like any other enlistee, with a branch of the Armed Forces.  They would start with basic training, which would teach them how to take instruction and correction without mouthing off, and then they’d split their time between some sort of menial job, giving them an idea of how hard people in the real world have to work, and recruiting duty, working with real soldiers, sailors and marines.

If they did anything that would be considered improper conduct, they’d have time added to their term of service.

The NFL and the United States Government would split the cost of insuring players against loss of income resulting from any service-related injury or illness.

Talk about a win-win-win-win.

The players would benefit from the maturing influence of the service; the NFL would benefit from the players’ added maturity and from the good public relations; fans would benefit because after this most of the players would act more like adults and not overprivileged asses; and America would benefit because one day every NFL will be a veteran, and as a result of the players’ recruiting efforts,  there would be some young people out there whose eyes would be opened to the life-changing opportunities afforded them in the Armed Forces.

The only losers would be the agents, who would have to wait a little longer for their money.


*********** OPEN WING MAKES ITS DEBUT ON MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL!

If you weren’t boycotting the NFL, you may have seen the play that the Bears ran on a 2-point conversion attempt Monday night.

Jon Gruden couldn’t find words to describe how magical it looked to him. To him, it was as if he had just seen Pop Warner and Jim Thorpe and the trickery of the Carlisle Indians.

Bears criss-crossYou, of course, who know a lot more about (non-NFL) football  than Jon Gruden, immediately recognized it as a staple of our offense - the Criss-Cross.  Some of you probably jumped up out of your seats.  Maybe a few of you tested the credulity of your mates at the tavern by telling them about all the times you’ve run that same play.

Technically, it was not Cross-Cross 54-C; it would have to be called Eastern Criss-Cross 54-O, because they didn’t use “C” blocking. The tackle did not pull. The guard pulled, but he did not kick out; instead, he “wrapped around” (ran a circle) and blocked the scraping linebacker.  

Instead of kicking out the End man, they “optioned” him.  It wasn’t really an option, though - the Bears knew that the end man would play the running back, because everybody “knows” that in the NFL, the quarterback isn’t a threat.  That meant they could safely plan on pitching to the QB, Mitchell (the quarterback formerly known as Mitch) Trubisky.

The defense in my diagram is only drawn accurately at the point of attack.  But with trips to the Tight Side, down on the goal line it’s reasonable to assume that they will have a man covering each receiver, with perhaps a man over the top to support on runs and help on in-breaking routes.  That leaves “six in the box,” and the Bears did a great job of attacking it.

As most of you know, the criss-cross is not a new play.  There are lots of variations on it, and since I was running it from “Wildcat” as early as 1997, I guess I have to be among the first to run it from anything resembling shotgun.

A lot of people will be like Gruden and give the Bears credit for “innovativeness,” but that’s football.  That’s history in general.  If it happened before last Sunday, it might as well have never happened.

I give the Bears credit for actually running - and executing - a play that requires timing and coordination between the backs and ends.  A running play, even.  And a misdirection play at that.  Imagine - a play that starts in one direction but winds up going in another! A play in which the defense doesn’t immediately know who has the ball.

Dust off your old Wing-T playbook, guys!  Your local NFL team wants a look inside.  Hey - now that we know there’s at least one open-minded team, might as well go all the way and show them your Open Wing videos.  


*********** XX Option by the Bears....care to guess how many minutes of practice time will be eaten up by people trying to recreate that magic?
Jerry Lovell
Bellevue, Nebraska

Yes  Let them try to reverse-engineer it. I’ve seen how successful most guys are at doing that whenever I’ve sneaked a peek on Friday nights at opponents’ scout teams trying to run “our” offense!


*********** It started with peewee sports until now we have girls playing high school football and - almost unbelievable to an old-timer - girls wrestling with boys.

“Boys Clubs” have become “Girls and Boys Clubs.”

Now comes the news that Boy Scouts of America, which not all that long ago opened its membership to homosexuals - how’s that working out? -  will admit girls to the Cub Scouts program. 

"Cub Scout dens will be single-gender — all boys or all girls," the Boy Scouts announced.

Is there any doubt that soon enough, Boy Scouts will be “Boy and Girl” Scouts?  Or “Single-Gender Scouts?”

At a time when fewer and fewer boys are growing up with a father in the home… will there be a single f—king place left in the entire world where men can teach boys how to be men?  (That’s a rhetorical question. I already know the answer: no.)

They say it’s to accommodate busy modern families.  So why TF didn’t they just go all the way and merge with USA Soccer so they could hold soccer practice and Cub Scout pack meetings at the same time and place?


*********** QUIZ: A native of Ruston, Louisiana, DUB JONES played on a state championship high school team, and attended LSU before he was transferred to Tulane as part of the Navy’s World War II training program. He played two years at Tulane and one year for a service team in New London, Connecticut before signing to play in the All-American Football Conference.

Although drafted Number One by the Chicago Cardinals of the NFL, he accepted a higher offer  by the Miami Seahawks of the AAFC.  The Seahawks  traded him to the Brooklyn Dodgers, who then traded him to the  Cleveland Browns, whose coach, Paul Brown, had seen potential in him.

Because he was tall (6-4) and fast, able to run and catch,  Brown used him to run the ball out of the backfield or split wide as a receiver.  Brown often sent him in motion out of the backfield as a receiver.  At a time when most offenses employed two tight ends, Brown’s deploying him as a wide receiver made him  the pro game’s  first-ever “flanker back.”

While with the Browns, he played on five championship teams in two different leagues (two times in the AAFC, 3 times in the NFL).

Playing on an offensive unit with such great stars such as Otto Graham, Marion Motley, Mac Speedie and Dante Lavelli, he was twice named All-Pro.

Dub Jones  once scored six touchdowns in a single game, an NFL record he shares with Ernie Nevers and Gale Sayers.

As a Browns’ assistant coach under head coach Blanton Collier, he coached running backs (including Jim Brown and Leroy Kelly) and receivers (such as Gary Collins and Paul Warfield). But he also called the plays, making him somewhat of a modern-day offensive coordinator, and with him in that position, the Browns won the NFL title in 1964.

Dub Jones  and his wife had seven children.  Four of their sons played college football.  One of them, Bert, played so well that he was drafted out of LSU by the Baltimore Colts and played 10 years as an NFL quarterback, earning league MVP honors in 1976.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING DUB JONES
Josh Montgomery - Berwick, Louisiana
Ken Hampton - Raleigh, North Carolina
John Vermillion - St. Petersburg, Florida
Kevin McCullough - Lakeville, Indiana
KC Smith - Walpole, Massachusetts
Jerry Lovell - Bellevue, Nebraska
Adam Wesoloski - Pulaski, Wisconsin
Mick Yanke - Cokato, Minnesota
Mark Kaczmarek - Davenport, Iowa
Tim Bross - Kirkwood, Missouri
Dave Potter - Cary, North Carolina
Mike Foristiere - Mattawa, Washington
Ossie Osmundson - Woodland, Washington


*********** FROM THE “DON’T TAKE ANYTHING YOU READ AS GOSPEL   WITHOUT FIRST CHECKING IT OUT” DEPARTMENT

In his book   “On Any Given Sunday,” a biography of NFL Commissioner Bert Bell, author Robert S. Lyons penned these regrettable words in reviewing the 1946 draft:

The top pick was multipurpose back Dub Jones of Tulane, whose selection by the Chicago Cardinals was not announced until a few days later. Keeping his name secret was a waste of time.  He was lured away by the new league and ended up playing four unspectacular seasons for Miami-Brooklyn, and Cleveland of the AAFC.

“Four unspectacular seasons,” eh? 

In doing his research,  Mr. Lyons shouldn't have quit  so soon. He’d have learned Dub Jones’ pro career didn’t even get started until the AAFC folded and the Browns joined the NFL.


*********** The day Dub Jones Tied Ernie Nevers’ 22-year-old NFL  Record

By Harold Sauerbrei
Plain Dealer Reporter

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- As Dub Jones roamed in all directions for six touchdowns - the most stunning National League individual scoring performance in 22 years - the champion Cleveland Browns demolished and humiliated the pugnacious Chicago Bears, 42-21, yesterday at the stadium.

Geared to a feverish pitch by the Bears' avowed intentions of delivering a physical beating, the Browns turned the game into a masterpiece of irony by administering the worst thing you can do to a football team - licking it soundly on the playing field.

The boys understood this better than any other treatment - even a group as disposed to extra-curricular fight as the Bears.

Browns Win 8th in Row

The best halfback in the National League, Paul Brown calls him, and that is what Jones was yesterday as he commuted between the end zones. He ran for four touchdowns and caught passes from Otto Graham for two others as the Browns staged another superlative show for their eighth straight victory before 40,969.

Six touchdowns in one game - all the Browns scored - ties the National League record established by the famed Ernie Nevers of Chicago's Cardinals in November of 1929. This, too, was made against the Bears, Ernie also adding four conversions in a 40-6 rout.

Jones slashed over left tackle for five yards and his first touchdown early in the second period, then got well behind John Lujack to take a pass from Graham on a play that covered 34 yards.

Runs 12 and 27 Yards

He put the Browns three touchdowns ahead with a 12-yard sprint around left end and followed this up with an almost supernatural sprint good for 27 yards.

A 42-yard run was good for his fifth, and he closed out his day's work by flagging a long pass from Graham, a play on which he said he never saw the ball until just before he stretched his long arms to take the throw.

But even as great an individual show somehow ranks second to the final result. The decisiveness of the Browns' triumph over a team that everyone respected for so many years cannot be found in that final score.

It was 21 to 0 before the Bears scored, and it was 42 to 7 before the now decaying Monsters of the Midway got their final two touchdowns - one a freak by Ed Sprinkle on a play on which Graham has his nose broken, and another on the last play of the game.

That the Browns didn't win by 60 or 70 points can be attributed partly to a bad break in the officiating, a couple of fumbles when they were at their offensive peak, and a tendency to let down once the game was under control.

It is merely in strict adherence to good reporting, not the intention to question the officiating, to record that the Browns were assessed 299 yards for 21 "infractions."

In one series of downs with the Bears on the offensive, the Browns three times were charged with 15 yards for a personal foul. Two of them nullified intercepted passes, the second of which was returned 94 yards to an apparent touchdown by Don Shula.

The three penalties put the Bears on Cleveland's nine-yard line, but still they couldn't score.

Few times in their six-year history, even through four years of the All-America Conference, have the Browns had a football game so well under control. They were at their season offensive peak in registering a total of 550 yards. Their defense once more was great, holding the great Chicago running attack to 74 yards and yielding only 182 in the air.

Somehow, the triumph produced a mark of finality about the greatness of the Browns. They had won championships and conquered all opposition, but never before had beaten the Bears in a league game. Now they have accomplished this, and there is nothing left to do - except win a second straight championship in the National League.

Browns Near Playoff

The Browns are heavy favorites to win again. They have won eight and lost one and need only two victories in their final three games to qualify for a playoff berth.

By whipping the Bears, the Browns helped jumble the National division standings. The loss dropped the Bears into a second-place tie with Los Angeles, which lost to Washington, while Detroit's Lions eased into first place.

Jones' touchdowns boosted his point total for the season to 66 and put Dub in contention for the league's scoring championship.

The last five times he touched the ball yesterday, Dub scored a touchdown. He carried the ball a total of nine times for 116 yards and he caught three passes for 80.


*********** Post-game sidebars:

“I knew Dub needed one more TD to tie the record," said Otto Graham, "so when Paul Brown sent in a running play I ignored it and called for a pass. Dub cut down and then in and I hit him for the sixth TD. It was one of the few times I ever disobeyed a Brown call," chuckled Otto.

"I was really glad it happened to a guy like Dub Jones. He was truly a real team man. He didn't give a darn about the records just as long as we won. He was by far one of my best receivers at analyzing defenses. When he would come back to the huddle and tell me what he thought would work, I listened because you could count on him being right."

"Otto generally threw a soft pass," said Jones, "but like all great passers, he could throw all types. Our pass offense was years ahead of the defenses. We had it so perfected that Otto could release the ball almost a fraction of a second before the receiver made his cut. To my way of thinking, Paul Brown was one of the grealest innovators the game has ever seen, a true genius."

"The game was a very emotional one," recalled Dub. We were leading our division and the Bears theirs. For me it was certainly a very unusual game for I scored the last five times I got my hands on the ball. We also set a record for penalties that still stands" On that dramatic day, the Browns logged 209 yards in penalties and the Bears, 165.


*********** From the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame:

In 1950, when the Cleveland Browns moved from the All-American Football Conference to the National Football League, schedule-makers wasted no time testing the new kids on the block.

The Brown’s first NFL game was a Saturday night game with the Philadelphia Eagles one day before the other teams opened their seasons—a match up of the defending champions of both the NFL and the defunct AAFC.

“It was like the first Super Bowl,” William "Dub" Jones recalled later. “Two league champions, with a crowd of nearly 90,000 people. It was probably the biggest game I’d played in my life.”

He scored the first touchdown on a 59-yard pass from Otto Graham and set up the final touchdown by turning another Graham pass into a 57-yard gain as the Browns rolled past the defending champions, 35-10.

When Paul Brown died in the summer of 1991, he was remembered as one of the great innovators in National Football League history. None of his innovations had as much impact on the game as the position he created for William A. “Dub” Jones—flanker back. It revolutionized the game by introducing the concept of three wide receivers.

Jones was the prototype flanker back because he was equally effective as a runner and pass receiver.

Dub Jones led Coach L.J. “Hoss” Garrett’s Ruston High Bearcats to the state football championship in 1941, and played at both LSU and Tulane during World War II—switching schools because of the wartime V-12 training program.

He won All-American honors as a junior at Tulane in 1944, and was preparing to return to LSU for his final year of eligibility when the Miami Seahawks made him an offer he couldn’t refuse-$12,000 a year.

Miami sank in a sea of red ink after winning only three of 14 games, needing financial aid from other clubs to finish the season. Jones was sold to the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Playing with a cast on one hand in an injury-plagued 1947 season, Jones saw more action at defensive back than he did on offense. But Brown was impressed with the long-legged speedster from North Louisiana. He traded former Michigan All-American Bob Chappius, who had been runner-up to Johnny Lujack in 1947 Heisman Trophy voting, to the Dodgers for Jones.

It was announced as a straight trade. Until he read Brown’s autobiography 25 years later, Jones didn’t know the Dodgers also threw in $25,000 cash. Brown called it the best deal he ever made.

In a 10-year pro career, Jones caught 171 passes for 2,874 yards and 20 touchdowns. He also had 2,209 yards rushing—and ran for 21 touchdowns. Those statistics were especially remarkable considering the plethora of talent that surrounded Jones. Six of his teammates made it to the pro football Hall of Fame, and Brown always insisted that Jones was as deserving as any of them.

In the eight seasons that Jones played with the Browns, they lost more than two regular-season games only twice. This was a team that won championship games by scores of 49-7, 56-10 and 38-14. The Browns won five league championships, and finished second the other three years.

Of course, no account of Jones’ pro career is complete without mention of a Nov. 25, 1951 game with the Chicago Bears. Both teams were leading their respective divisions going into that game, with the Bears defensive unit called the “Monsters of the Midway.”

Jones equaled Ernie Nevers’ NFL record by scoring all six Cleveland touchdowns in the Browns’ 42-41 victory.

“That game meant something,” he understated. “It seemed like everything went right for me. I scored five of the last six times I touched the ball.”

In the fourth quarter, Brown learned that Jones was one touchdown away from Nevers’ record and asked his flanker what play he would like for a shot at the record. Jones suggested a post pattern, and Lujack chased him into the record book on a play that covered 50 yards.

Forty years later, the record of six touchdowns has been equaled by only one other player (Gale Sayers of the Chicago Bears, in 1965).  Nobody has broken it.

Jones, who went into the construction business after his football career ended, made his football debut on a Ruston High “Pee Wee” team coached by Jimmy Mize in 1938.

“It was a great experience,” he said of his high school career. “I can’t emphasize how much those coaches (Mize and Garrett) meant to me. Nobody has ever taught me anything about running or hitting that superseded what Hoss Garrett taught me. And, really, that’s most of the game.”

When Jones retired after the 1955 season, he was the only member of a team that many people considered the greatest ever assembled who had a career total of more than 40 touchdowns.

Four of his sons played college football—one at Louisiana Tech, one at the University of Arkansas and the other two at LSU. One of them, Bert Jones, joined his dad in the NFL record book for a few years when he completed 17 consecutive passes. But his record didn’t last as long as the one his dad set.

Later, they became the first father-son combination in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

http://www.lasportshall.com/inductees/football/william-dub-jones/?query=display_name.like.jones&xsearch_id=inductee_search1&xsearch[0]=jones&back=inductee

http://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/2012/11/cleveland_browns_100_best_all-_7.html

*********** Here's a little side story: In 1990 I was a student at the National War College in D.C. The last six months we got to select our electives, and mine were on the "warfighting" menu. An Air Force Colonel was in every small group with me, and we became friends. Handsome galoot, great Louisiana near-Cajun accent, offhandedly witty and smart. In that I'm always having fun with people, poking at them locker-room style, I said jokingly to this officer--whose name was Hoss Jones--"yeah, I guess Bert Jones is your cousin, too." "Nah, he's my brother," Hoss said. After months together, Hoss hadn't mentioned Bert or his Dad. Went on to say Bert was then running LA Fish and Wildlife, or whatever they call it there. Said Bert was having the time of his life hunting and fishing, and getting paid for it, in a way.

Incidentally, Hoss Jones was once flight lead for the Thunderbirds. A mighty fine American patriot, as I suspect that entire clan is.

John Vermillion                
St Petersburg, FL

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-margie/2872534793/in/photostream/


*********** QUIZ - A wide receiver, he came out of little-known Florence State Teachers’ College as a 15th-round draft pick by the Chicago Bears and shocked the football world by winning NFL Rookie  of the Year honors.

In his nine-year NFL career, he went to three Pro Bowls, he was three times All-Pro, and he was named NFL MVP in 1955.

He led the NFL in touchdown passes in 1954 and 1955, and in his career he caught 233 passes for 4717 yards and 40 touchdowns.

An award given annually to the top player in Division II is named in his honor.

(Florence State is now known as North Alabama.)



american flagTUESDAY,  OCTOBER 10,  2017  -“We believe that talented people with bad values can do far more damage than virtuous people with lesser talents.” Charles Koch, CEO of Koch Industries

*********** The latest issue of Sports Illustrated contains a great article by Tim Layden about small-town football in years past.  Specifically, it’s a look back at his senior year playing ball in little Whitehall, New York, and the recollections  of his fellow seniors from that team.

It’s a great look at what football can mean to a town and to the guys who play it, and at the same time a rather sad look at what’s happened to small towns all over America, when  once-proud towns with enough industry to keep generations of their people working no longer have anything to keep their young people from leaving.

Ironically, Whitehall’s big rival was Granville, which now happens to be where my old friend John Irion coaches. Coach Irion won a state championship at nearby Queensbury, and after retiring from there, he’s taken on a major rebuilding assignment at Granville.

Irony of ironies, this is the week that Granville and Whitehall play.

*********** I’ll fess up: I missed most of it.  Who’d have thought that Iowa State at Oklahoma would be worth watching?  My wife and I took our dogs for a walk on the beach, and as we headed home, I checked my phone and saw that the Cyclones were making a game of it.

That put it mildly.  Suckers won!

I knew a little about the Cyclones QB, Kyle Kempt, because he’s from Massillon, Ohio - a legendary football town - and he spent a little time at Oregon State.  It’s not everyday that Oregon  State brings in a kid from Massillon, Ohio, so I paid a little attention to him.

Why Oregon State?  The kid originally committed to Cincinnati, but then Butch Jones left for Tennessee, and he wound up at Oregon State.  He was there for two years, but never started, and when Mike Riley left for Nebraska, new Beavers’ coach Gary Anderson had no use for a pro-style passer. (Right now, Anderson could use any kind of quarterback but that’s another story.)

After transferring to  Hutchinson JC in Kansas, Kempt contacted Iowa State coach Matt Campbell, who had tried to recruit him when Campbell was at Toledo and Kempt was an Ohio schoolboy star.  Campbell offered him the opportunity to walk on.

He finally got his chance to start - the first start of his career - against Oklahoma when regular starter Jacob Park was unable to play because of “personal medical reasons.” (There’s one, for those of you who like mysteries.)

What Kempt did against the Sooners was phenomenal: he was 18 of 24 passing, for 343 yards and three touchdowns, and he threw a game-winning pass with just over two minutes to play.  For his efforts, he was named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week.

But his wasn’t the only unusual QB story coming out of Ames. Some of the quarterbacking chores were handled by Joel Lanning, who carried nine times for 35 yards, and completed 2 of 3 passes.  Lanning, who was the Cyclones’ starting quarterback for a part of last season, was switched to defense this season, and he started - and played most of the game - at middle linebacker.


Michigan circle

*********** Several Michigan players locked arms and formed a circle during the national anthem Saturday.  Then, the major order of business out of the way, they turned to football.  Sort of. They went out onto the field and lost to in-state rival Michigan State.  At least one smartass suggested that they had actually formed an “O” as a tribute to that team one state  to the  south that The Legendary-Before-His-Time Coach Jim Harbaugh has yet to beat.   For what it’s worth,  Chief Holds-Camps-Everywhere is now 1-3 against the two schools that Michigan coaches are expected to beat.  Call it karma: never forget that Harbaugh is the guy who first gave us Kaepernick.

*********** Australian Rules Football’s Big Game is called the Grand Final.  The final two teams are playing for the “Premiership” (pronounced Down Under as the “PREMM-ership”) and it’s customary to play the game in Melbourne at “the G” - the MCG - officially known as the Melbourne Cricket Grounds.  It’s one big-ass stadium, and you can count on 100,000 fans being on hand for the Grand Final.

This year’s Grand Final was won by the Richmond Tigers, their first Premiership in 37 years.  They think it’s a big deal, and it is, but they don't know about the Detroit Lions (60 years without a championship)
or the Cleveland Browns (53).

Scott Van Pelt does a pretty nice job of covering the Grand Final.

http://www.espn.com.au/video/clip?id=20879587

***********  It’s no secret that Australians can play the game of basketball.  There are Aussies all over college basketball, and a number of them in the NBA.
But when a team from Australia’s pro league, the NBL, comes to America and nearly knocks off one of the NBA’s top clubs, it’s a huge boost for Australian basketball.
Melbourne United, playing in front of one of the most raucous crowds in the NBA, lost 86-85 to the Oklahoma City Thunder, but came within a blocked shot with five seconds to go of pulling off one of the biggest upsets in pro basketball history.

http://www.espn.com/nbl/story/_/id/20959470/melbourne-united-pushes-nba-oklahoma-city-thunder-limit

*********** Mark Kaczmarek, longtime coach at Assumption HS in Davenport, Iowa,  can be excused for taking a little pride in his college, Western Illinois. 

“Speaking of FCS…Western Illinois vs. Northern Iowa was a huge win for WIU & an exciting game…streamed it on ESPN3…UNI scored with 1:12 in the 4th to go up 25-29…WIU scored a TD with :06 left to go up 31-29 & on the KO picked up one of the laterals to score so final was 38-29”

We share an experience: the World Football League.  It was 1974, and “Coach Kaz,” just out of Western Illinois, played center for the New York Stars.  I was Player Personnel Director of the Philadelphia Bell.  Those suckers beat us twice, in two of the ugliest games imaginable.

The first was in Philadelphia’s huge and decrepit JFK Stadium, built in 1926 and never renovated.  The game took place in front of a very large crowd, many of whom were “admitted” free after they stormed the gates. Security, insufficent to keep the rabble out, was similarly unable to keep the mobs from roaming the sidelines, and  we missed a last-minute potential game-winning field goal because - this is no lie - one of those bastards stole our kicking tee and our kicker’s kicking shoe.

The second was on New York’s Randall’s Island, a real relic of a stadium in the middle of the East River that was even more depressing than JFK.  Hard to believe that there was  no other place in the entire New York area for them to play, but it was a sad fact.  The Jets had a lock on Shea Stadium, and Yankee Stadium, where the Giants normally played, was closed to everyone while it was being modernized.  (The Giants had to play that season in New Haven, in the Yale Bowl.)

*********** Y.A. Tittle, a Hall of Fame quarterback and a good man, one of the oldest former NFL players, died Monday.  He was 90.

The attached link to the story in the Baton Rouge Advocate does a great job of telling much of his story.  And there’s a lot to tell.

First was the reason why LSU coach Bernie Moore decided to go to the T-formation (with the QB under center):

With him in the fold, Moore went to the T-formation in 1945, Tittle’s sophomore season — but with halfback Ray Coates calling the plays. Coates later said that decision was made because, if Tittle had that responsibility, every play would have been a pass. Moore loved the single-wing, but the tailback, the primary ball-handler in that offense, had to be able to run and throw.

Tittle could only do one.

“I was so slow that, when I ran,” Tittle said, “opponents thought it was a fake — a slow-developing fake.”

The article tells how, although Y.A. was from Marshall, Texas, and his older brother, Jack, was an All-SEC player at Tulane,  he  wound up at LSU:

“Every year,” Y.A. recalled, “we’d go see Jack play against LSU, and I was impressed even as a young kid with the enthusiasm, the tiger in the cage, the campus — just the whole LSU atmosphere. I was recruited by a number of schools, but I wanted LSU, and I committed to LSU right after my senior season. But I got so much pressure from the people in Marshall about going to a Texas school that I finally agreed to visit the University of Texas. I went down there and, after a week of, shall we say, ‘good recruiting,’ I agreed to attend Texas.”

Texas coach Dana X. Bible got Tittle a summer job and put him up with another in-coming Longhorn player: Bobby Layne. Layne was a carousing, wild man — just the opposite of the shy Tittle, who was unhappy with the situation he found himself in.

LSU assistant Red Swanson, in Texas to pick up a couple of recruits, called Tittle to see if he’d reconsider.

“I said I would, but I felt embarrassed about it,” Tittle said. “Swanson said it was OK if I called Coach Bible about it, that he would have no hand in taking a boy off campus without the coach’s knowledge and that it was, after all, his own decision.

“I pretended to call him, and then I had an imaginary talk in the phone booth, nodding my head occasionally. It must have been a pretty good piece of acting. They were convinced I really talked to him. When they asked me what Coach Bible said, I told them, ‘He didn’t like it, but he understood.’ ”

http://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/sports/lsu/article_181f7c0c-6b24-11e6-b30c-579aaba33b8e.html

*********** Hey, fellas - if you had a job coaching in the NFL,   would you be snorting crack?  Before meetings? And if you were, would you be filming yourself doing it?  And if you did, would you be sending the video to a Las Vegas, um, “model?”

The Miami Dolphins’ offensive line coach was able to  answer “Yes” to all four questions, and that’s why he’s now out of work.  

To show you how stupid this guy is:  He was making a couple of million dollars a year, and he had a job for life.  Here’s the thing: once you catch on with the NFL, you are set.  If the whole staff gets fired, you’ll be okay - someone else will hire you.  Proof: this guy spent 25 years knocking around  in The League. And now, with more money than sense, he’s pissed it all away.

http://amp.miamiherald.com/sports/nfl/miami-dolphins/article177815721.html

*********** There’s such a thing as taking it too far.  A woman named Jan Welter who seems to be making a career out of telling  - and writing - about her football “experience” coaching (she spent the 2015 pre-season with the Arizona Cardinals, doing who knows what) and playing (a little) with an indoor team called the Texas Revolution.

In a column in the Wall Street Journal (September 23-24) she tells about her first experience as a player:

“During my first game, I received a handoff. The play was to dive up the middle. I gained a few yards before two guys hit me. When they got off, I was still on the ground, but I was fine.

“I jumped up and shouted at them, ‘Is that all you got?’”

Look - hats off to her for having the guts to get in there with the guys. But it’s hard to defend that kind of posturing from anyone, let alone someone 5-2, 130 pounds.

Besides, I don’t think she could have survived “all they got.”


*********** Just got my 100th varsity win!

Could not have done it without your assistance thru the years! Thank you!

Pete Porcelli
Troy, New York

*********** Will forever be thankful that Coach (Homer) Smith encouraged a 160 pound  punter/place kicker to come play football at west Point. only spent one year there on the J V team ,but thankful for the experience.

Tim Brown
Florence, Alabama

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

Agreed.  The Minnesota - Purdue game should be a good one.  

Everyone down here is gearing up for the A&M - Bama game.  Central Texas is an interesting college football region.  If you live in Austin you're presumed to be a Longhorn fan (although many are Aggie fans).  Outside of Austin you're presumed to be an Aggie fan (although many are Longhorn fans).  If you are not a Longhorn fan, or an Aggie fan, you are likely a Baylor Bear fan (Waco is only an hour and a half north of Austin).

Agreed.  Sportswriters who make up such asinine columns like "The Bottom Ten" haven't a clue what college football players and coaches must go through on a DAILY basis.  Especially when their efforts don't produce the end result of victory week in, and week out.

Joe Tiller's pass happy Purdue teams caused more grief for Glen Mason and the Minnesota Golden Gophers.  I remember attending one such game at the Metrodome when the Gophers squandered a big lead and lost to the Boilers on a desperation end of the game touchdown pass. Of course, in due time, squandering big leads was a major cause of Mason losing his job.  But Tiller probably did more for the spread offense, and passing game at the college level as anyone. Just ask Drew Brees and Kyle Orton.

Did I mention how much I dislike the NFL?

QUIZ: Roosevelt "Rosie" Grier.  Talk about an anchor of two of the greatest defensive lines in pro football.  But it was with the Rams that he proved to be a real thorn in my side.  (After moving from Chicago to California as a kid we no longer could see the Bears much on TV, so I ended up settling on the 49ers).  Watching Grier, Olsen, Jones, and Lundy continually send John Brodie to the sidelines year after year drove me nuts.

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** Hi Coach Wyatt!

I wanted to let you know how things went this week. We played Mooresville Middle School who are always athletic and big on both lines. Their 7th and 8th grade teams are probably the class of the conference this year. Anyway, we lost both games, 7th grade 32-20 and 8th grade 48-44. In both contests, we lost our starting B-backs to cramps for significant amounts of time in the second half. It's still hot here although the humidity has lessened. This cramp thing is frustrating because we condition in practice and preach diet and drinking lots of fluids.

In the 7th grade contest, we put a scare in them but in reality they had a few more bullets in their gun than we did. Turnovers  and a cramping B-back got us in this one. Our TE is still struggling with the cutoff block but we are very thin depth-wise and he's the best we have there.  

In the 8th grade game, we jumped out 22-8 late in the second quarter. However, they were able get two quick scores and we matched one right before halftime, making the score 28-24. The second half, they were able to score three times and we were only able to score twice. Two missed PAT's on our part were the difference in losing or going to OT. Our kids left everything on the field against a talented opponent.

Hugh, I have to say that I don't think we could have put up these kinds of numbers in the Double Wing (as much as I love the DW!). Instead of 9 in the box, defenses now play us spread out and loose. It helps when you have a kid who can throw pretty well and the defense has to honor that. I'm having a good time and so are the kids! Thanks again for all of your help.

The video is pretty good this week except for the angle of the sun and the ability of the iPad to zoom in only so far.

I hope you and Connie have great weekend!

Jim Crawley
China Grove, North Carolina

***********  We were down in San Diego last weekend to watch eldest son play Association Football for SDSU.  At a sidewalk cafe, I picked up the 9-28-17 copy of the San Diego Reader, and I came across this gem in a story about Burt Reynolds:

"He couldn't wait to talk about Robert Aldrich's The Longest Yard. 'I was playing ball and getting paid for it' says Reynolds, fondly recalling his time making the picture...Instead of a stuntman doubling the hits, Reynolds went up against such guys as pro footballer Ray Nitschke.  After filming, the NFL great pulled Reynolds aside and said, 'You know, kid, you could have played.'  There's a pause before Reynolds adds, 'I'll take that to my grave and put it on my tombstone.'

'I kept saying to him, "Ray, it's just a movie", and he would say, "Not to me".  He would always put his hand on the back of my helmet to use as leverage when he stood up.  I'd be pulling grass out of my face guard.'"

Shep Clarke
Puyallup, Washington

(“Association Football” is what soccer was originally known as in England, and the word “soccer” is derived from the abbreviation "Assoc." HW)


*********** Perhaps you’re aware that there is a movement afoot in several states - a  movement sponsored, I suspect, by big-time electronic game makers - to have “e-games” sanctioned as official school sports.

We’re talking about sitting on your ass… putting on the head phones… staring at screens… working the controllers.

And earning varsity letters! Getting the hot girls! Being cheered at pep rallies! Being recruited!   All for doing the very things that have kept them from playing real sports.

Just what we need!  One more incentive for kids not to do anything physical.  So much for the nationwide obesity epidemic we keep hearing about.

(A survey of its readers by Coach and AD Magazine found 93 per cent of them opposed to the idea.)

https://coachad.com/news/survey-readers-say-no-sanctioning-esports/


QUIZ ANSWER:  Rosey Grier has been an  actor, a singer, an author and an ordained Protestant minister.  Oh -and an all-pro defensive lineman.

Roosevelt "Rosey" Grier was born in Georgia but grew up in Roselle, New Jersey and played college football for Rip Engle at Penn State, where, playing both ways,  he was a fearsome presence on the Nittany Lions’ line.

He was drafted 31st overall by the New York Giants, and teamed up on a great defensive line with Dick Modzelewski, Jim Katkavage and Andy Robustelli at the time that New York first fell in love with the Giants. 

In 1962 he was traded to the Rams, and there he became part of an even more famous defensive line, the Fearsome Foursome, along with Deacon Jones, Lamar Lundy, and Merlin Olsen.

After his retirement as a player, he was serving as a bodyguard for Robert Kennedy during his presidential campaign, and on the night Kennedy was assassinated, he grabbed the shooter and took the gun from him.

He has been an actor on a number of TV shows.  He has recorded songs on a number of labels.

He became know for doing needlepoint (!) and wrote a book about it.

He was ordained as a Protestant minister and has travelled all over the country as a motivational speaker.

Rosey Grier  was named to the NCAA’s 100th anniversary list of 100 most influential student athletes.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING ROOSEVELT “ROSEY” GRIER
Josh Montgomery - Berwick, Louisiana
Ken Hampton - Raleigh, North Carolina
Shep Clarke - Puyallup, Washington
John Irion - Granville, New York
John Vermillion - St. Petersburg, Florida
Adam Wesoloski - Pulaski, Wisconsin
Rodney Lunsford - Dublin, Indiana
Tim Brown - Florence, Alabama
Tim Bross - Kirkwood, Missouri
Kevin McCullough - Lakeville, Indiana
Dave Potter - Cary, North Carolina
Ossie Osmundson - Woodland, Washington

*********** In answering this week’s QUIZ, Kevin McCullough of Lakeville, Indiana wrote…

Rosey Grier - great football player and shot putter for the Nittany Lions......made easy by the fact that i've been home the last 4 days trying to recover from medial and lateral meniscus surgery.....during which i've watched way too many of the NFL Films presents.....one of which was on the Fearsome Foursome……Joe Tiller was as well liked as any college coach could be......open and willing to share with any coach that asked.....very sincere……Cam Cameron was a Hoosier hardwood hero that did not have the personality  to put people at ease.....his step-father Tom Harp was a long time college coach, and he had a great player in Antwann Randle El.....it didn't work out.....if you’re still looking for a game  in the morning i suggest broadcastsports.net.....click on New Prairie High School.....we played them tonite and you would enjoy watching them.....i think after five games this year they were leading the nation in rushing



*********** QUIZ: (THIS ONE WILL CHALLENGE YOU BUT HE DESERVES THE RECOGNITION)  A native of Ruston, Louisiana, he played on a state championship high school team, and attended LSU before he was transferred to Tulane as part of the Navy’s World War II training program. He played two years at Tulane and one year for a service team in New London, Connecticut before signing to play in the All-American Football Conference.

Although drafted Number One by the Chicago Cardinals of the NFL, he accepted a higher offer  by the Miami Seahawks of the AAFC.  The Seahawks  traded him to the Brooklyn Dodgers, who then traded him to the  Cleveland Browns, whose coach, Paul Brown, had seen potential in him.

Because he was tall (6-4) and fast, able to run and catch,  Brown used him to run the ball out of the backfield or split wide as a receiver.  Brown often sent him in motion out of the backfield as a receiver.  At a time when most offenses employed two tight ends, Brown’s deploying him as a wide receiver made him  the pro game’s  first-ever “flanker back.”

While with the Browns, he played on five championship teams in two different leagues (two times in the AAFC, 3 times in the NFL).

Playing on an offensive unit with such great stars such as Otto Graham, Marion Motley, Mac Speedie and Dante Lavelli, he was twice named All-Pro.

He once scored six touchdowns in a single game, an NFL record he shares with Ernie Nevers and Gayle Sayers.

As a Browns’ assistant coach under head coach Blanton Collier, he coached running backs (including Jim Brown and Leroy Kelly) and receivers (such as Gary Collins and Paul Warfield). But he also called the plays, making him somewhat of a modern-day offensive coordinator, and with him in that position, the Browns won the NFL title in 1964.

He and his wife had seven children.  Four of their sons played college football, one of them so well that he was drafted out of LSU by the Baltimore Colts and played 10 years as an NFL quarterback, earning league MVP honors in 1976.


american flagFRIDAY,  OCTOBER 6,  2017  -“It is absurd to believe that soldiers who cannot be made to wear the proper uniform can be induced to move forward in battle. Officers who fail to perform their duty by correcting small violations and in enforcing proper conduct are incapable of leading.” General George S. Patton Jr.

*********** It’s going to be one of those Saturdays…

I might sleep in.  (Doubtful.) Or go out to breakfast.  (Not likely.)  Or take the dog for an extra-long walk on the beach.  (Very possible.)

For once, though, I’m not at all worried about  making sure I’m in front of the TVs at 9 AM (When the noon Eastern Time games come on in the West).

That’s because there’s not a single early game that on its face looks like it’s going to be competitive, or, if the teams are evenly matched, it's because neither one is very good.

Wake Forest  at Clemson… Iowa State  at Oklahoma … Penn State  at Northwestern… Georgia  at Vanderbilt …  Ole Miss  at Auburn … Temple at East Carolina … Eastern Michigan  at Toledo … Illinois at Iowa … Texas Tech at Kansas … Tulsa at Tulane

The second flight of games, starting between noon and 1:30,  includes  a few games of interest to me: West Virginia at TCU, Miami at Florida State (Miami could blow them out),  Minnesota at Purdue (nice seeing two former Big Ten doormats playing competitive football again) and Air Force at Navy.

The 4:00-5:00 flight brings some interesting games: Kansas State at Texas (come on, Wildcats!); Alabama at Texas A & M (maybe the Aggies can drag Johnny Football away from the  party and play 60 minutes of football under an assumed name); Michigan State against Michigan (let’s go, Moo U); Washington State at Oregon (Wazzu is ranked #11 and Oregon is beat up)

Only two late-night (for youse Easterners) games interest me: Stanford at Utah (Utes are unbeaten); and Cal at Washington. (U-Dub’s coach Chris Paterson is pissed at the Pac-12 office for giving the Huskies two 7:45 kickoffs on two consecutive Saturdays, as good as ruling out any chances that pollsters in the East will see them.)

(Bear in mind, I’m just talking about the FBS lineup. With Apple TV and the ESPN lineup, it’s possible I’ll find a good  FCS game or two.

***********  Back in the 70s a smartass reporter named Steve Harvey produced a column every week during college football season called “The Bottom Ten” .

It was funny.  Week after week, Kansas State and Northwestern, both wearing purple and both named Wildcats - Harvey called them the “Mildcats” - had a lock on Rock Bottom (or the top, depending on our outlook.)  Kansas was in there, too, earning the state of Kansas special recognition.  Purdue was “Pur-don’t.”  And so forth.

He would end every week’s listing with a Crummy Game of the Week selection.

Yes, it was funny. But in a cruel way. Of course, back then, cruel humor was common -  people still told jokes about little morons, and drunks, and crippled kids and dead babies. Now, the sick jokes are pretty well gone but the Bottom Ten, or something like it, still exists, its torch carried on by someone else who’s never strapped it on and thinks it’s funny to ridicule hardworking guys who do.

Sure must be hard on the morale to be part of a Bottom Ten team.

http://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/page/bottom100217/bottom-10-lsooo-lolsu-bottom-10-production

*********** The young female reporter at the news conference asked the big, strong NFL quarterback some vacuous question about “physicality” of  “routes.”

The quarterback, Cam Newton,  found her question amusing.

“It’s funny,” he mused,  “to hear a female talk about routes…”

And that was all he had to say to brand him as a - gasp - misogynist!

And then, to make matters worse, when he saw her afterward,  HE DIDN”T APOLOGIZE!!!  He didn't even KNOW he was a sexist!!!

Omigod. The uproar has been thunderous.   The NFL itself said his actions were reprehensible:  “They do not reflect the thinking of the League.”

Now comes word that Dannon Yogurt is dropping him as an endorser. (My personal suspicion is that he hasn’t been a very effective spokesman and they’d been looking for a good way to cut him loose and this was all they needed.)

I’ve made it pretty clear on numerous occasions that I'm no fan of Cam Newton. I think he is an immature brat whose athletic ability has taken him much further than his intellect or character would have otherwise,  but I’m with him on this one.  The woman is a sports reporter. Sports reporters tend to be a hardbitten lot - as least they used to be - and they should be able to take as well as they give.

Cam Newton obviously doesn’t yet realize that in this  America of Today no one has the right to offend anyone, and not realizing that you’ve offended someone is NOT AN EXCUSE!!!  (Free speech, anyone?)

Just to be clear, though - after giving the Black Power salute following a touchdown last Sunday - he’s still an a$$hole.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2017/10/05/cam-newton-loses-dannon-endorsement-over-sexist-comment/


*********** Found this one in comments on a Free Republic article…

At this point, is there any way the NFL can save itself?  Perhaps they could give billions to conservative groups, air Public Service Announcements showing why America is great, fund college departments in real American History, and educate their players about the greatness of the USA.

Isn’t that what a smart organization usually does when it’s offended a large segment of the public?

***********  Hugh,

Sumbitch!  That was a dang good explanation for all those sons-a-bitches out there!

Well...I know of at least one high school coach in Houston, TX (former Marine) that kicked two players off his team for kneeling...told them to turn their gear in right there and then!

I met an admissions rep from Penn and asked how the football team was doing.  Answer:  "not sure".

But coach...didn't you know?  Gray and black are neutral colors and go with everything!  

Kevin Sumlin can save his job with a good outing vs. Alabama.  Not necessarily a win, but close.  
Now...if they WIN...well...contract extension?

Maryland is better (even with a third string QB) than people think.  And Minnesota...when they get healthy will be a real spoiler.

But coach...didn't you know?  White is a universal color that is used with anything!

My school's football team won their first game.  52-0.  The other team only had 14 players suited out.

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** Detroit Lions Owner Martha Ford found the  perfect  way to get players to stand for the national anthem:

Mrs. Ford  calls it “donations” to certain causes (“Black Lives Matter,” maybe? )

Me, I call it bribery.

Liberal Headlines:

New York Daily News: Lions owner Martha Ford offered to donate to player charities if they don’t kneel for national anthem

USA Today: Martha Ford asked Lions not to kneel, promised to back players' agenda

Conservative Headlines:

American Thinker:  NFL: Bribing them to stand for the National Anthem

Daily Caller: Lions Owner Had To Sweeten Players With Deal To Stand For Anthem

http://dailycaller.com/2017/10/02/lions-owner-had-to-sweeten-players-with-deal-to-stand-for-anthem/

***********  Saving the Planet... A recent study estimated a single, indoor marijuana plant takes the equivalent of 70 gallons of oil to grow. Energy demand at Colorado’s largest utility grew about 2 percent after marijuana was legalized.

http://www.thedailyworld.com/business/a-growing-problem-lightening-the-carbon-footprint-of-cannabis-farms/


*********** Missouri State Association Rules Interpretation #5

Thanks to Joel Mathews, Fort Osage HS, Missouri for sending these every week

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnFbcx1gEfA&feature=youtu.be


***********  Joe Tiller died last week.  What an impact he had on the Purdue football program.
 
I was putting on my very first clinic in Evansville, Indiana, in spring, 1997. 

The two state universities - Indiana and Purdue - had just hired new head coaches, and the guys at the clinic  were sharing their experiences at the two spring practices.

The consensus was that the new guy at Indiana, a fellow named Cam Cameron, was aloof and standoffish and not particularly interested in getting to know high school coaches.

But the guy at Purdue, they said, a big dude named Joe Tiller, was Cameron’s exact opposite.  He was friendly and outgoing and made the coaches a promise that he would visit every one of them at his school.  They loved the guy.

It’s over 20 years later, now, and Joe Tiller, who died last week, became the winningest coach in Purdue history. In 2008, he was honored by the University as someone “whose commitment to the university goes well beyond the call of duty, and whose strength and vision have greatly benefitted the institution.” Three different National Football Foundation chapters have honored him as a “Distinguished American.”  He is a member of the Indiana Football Hall of Fame and the Purdue Athletics Hall of Fame.  A road leading to Purdue’s stadium is named Joe Tiller Drive.

Cam Cameron?  He has had a nice, long career as an assistant coach, in both college and in the pros, but his experiences as a head coach were not successful ones.  After five years at Indiana, with a record of 18-37, he was fired.  In 2007, he was hired as head coach of the Miami Dolphins, but the Dolphins lost their first 13 games and finished 1-15, and that was it for him as a head coach.

http://www.footballfoundation.org/News/NewsDetail/tabid/567/Article/55942/joe-tiller-staunch-nff-advocate-passes-away.aspx


*********** There was no singer auditioning for stardom by putting his or her own spin on the national anthem Monday night. No, it was the Kansas City Symphony playing it - and what a beautiful job they did.

*********** Only one player sat out the anthem on the Monday Night Football game - the Chiefs' Marcus Peters.

If the players are really, seriously trying to bring attention to their cause, they sure picked a hell of a person to represent them.

Peters was  a very good college player, so good he turned out to be a Number One draft pick, but he was such a pain in the ass - one of a number of bad actors that Chris Peterson  inherited  from Steve Sarkisian when he arrived at Washington -   that after several outrageous incidents that included head-butting an opponent, throwing a sideline tirade and going off on an assistant coach or two, he was finally thrown off the team his senior year when we went off on Peterson, too. (Do you realize what it has to take to make a coach throw a player projected to be a Number One Draft choice off his team?)

The Chiefs and their fans are welcome to him.  But he still needs to get his sorry ass up off the bench and stand for  the flag and the national anthem.

https://www.seattletimes.com/sports/uw-husky-football/marcus-petersrsquo-dismissal-from-uw-football-team-latest-disciplinary-development-for-chris-petersen/

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2015/02/12/marcus-peters-admits-he-deserved-to-be-kicked-off-team-at-washington/


***********  You telling me THIS guy is your spokesman???

Some Beast

“Anybody who lives in this country should kiss the ground every day.”  Gary Player, all-time golfing great and native South African, expressing amazement that Americans could disrespect our flag and our national anthem.


*********** ANSWER TO THE QUIZ

Homer Smith dies at 79; former UCLA assistant football coach

Chris DufresneLos Angeles Times

Homer Smith, who served three stints as a UCLA football assistant coach and may have been college's most intellectually gifted offensive mind, died Sunday in Tuscaloosa, Ala., after a long battle with cancer. He was 79.

Smith, who spent 37 of his 39 coaching seasons at the collegiate level, never received the acclaim of the headliners he served — UCLA's Pepper Rodgers and Terry Donahue and Alabama's Gene Stallings.

Smith was introverted and nomadic by nature, never spending enough time in one place to establish a school-specific legacy.

He was an assistant coach at Stanford, the Air Force Academy, UCLA, Alabama, Arizona and the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs. He also was head coach at Davidson, Pacific and Army.

Smith will be remembered as one of football's most creative and meticulous minds. Donahue has called Smith the best teacher of football he has ever known.

Smith was a thinker, philosopher and play-calling tinkerer. No other coach in history, perhaps, brought such mental acumen into a meeting room. Smith had degrees from Princeton, Stanford and Harvard.

Corky Simpson, the longtime Tucson sports columnist who covered Smith in his last two coaching seasons at Arizona in 1996 and '97, wrote: "Homer was grossly overqualified to be a football coach, let alone somebody's assistant … the man was worthy of a higher calling — teacher or author or minister. But come to think of it, he was all those things rolled into one amazing professor of football."

Smith was an eccentric and innovative coordinator who demanded perfection from his players. He first coached at UCLA in 1972-73 under Rodgers, was rehired by Donahue from 1980-86 and again from 1990-93.

At UCLA, Smith helped develop future NFL quarterbacks Steve Bono, Tommy Maddox, Rick Neuheisel, David Norrie, Tom Ramsey, Jay Schroeder and Matt Stevens.

Ramsey, the nation's leader in pass efficiency in 1982, said Smith was a stickler for details.

"Homer Smith demanded you soak up knowledge," Ramsey told The Times in 2009. "You not only had to know what 11 guys were doing on the field, you had to know what all 22 guys were doing. If you didn't you weren't going to be on the roster."

Smith once invited a surgeon from the university's medical center to speak about the importance of repeating the same thing over and over.

Smith could have excelled in several other professions. He earned an economics degree at Princeton, an MBA at Stanford and a master's in theological studies at Harvard.

Yet he was fascinated with the intricacies and possibilities of offensive football.

He wrote several books, including "Handbook for Coaching the Football Passing Attack." He even published, in 1995, a novel, "A Game to Play."

Smith, who was born Oct. 9, 1931, and grew up in Omaha, played fullback at Princeton, earning All-East and All-Ivy League honors. He rushed for 273 yards in a 1952 game against Harvard.

Smith began coaching in 1958 at Stanford before a four-year stint at Air Force. He spent seven years — five at Davidson and two at Pacific — as a head coach before joining Rodgers' UCLA staff in 1972.

Running the wishbone offense, Smith's 1973 UCLA offense set school records for total yards (470.6 per game) and rushing yards (400.3 per game).

He left UCLA in 1974 to become head coach at Army, where he spent five years before a bitter firing in 1978 coincided with the auto accident death of his brother Dean.

 Smith left coaching to pursue his theology degree at Harvard.

Donahue coaxed him back to UCLA in 1980, with Smith accepting the job in part, he said, because he needed the money.

Smith stayed through 1986 before taking a job with the Kansas City Chiefs. Two years later, Smith was back in college, at Alabama.

The highlight of that stay came in 1989 when the Crimson Tide, after spotting Mississippi a 21-point lead, scored 62 unanswered points.

Recalling that game this week in a tribute column, Tuscaloosa News writer Cecil Hurt said he asked Smith after the game what he was thinking during the comeback.

Smith responded with two words, in Latin: "Deo Gratis." (Thanks be to God.)

Smith returned to UCLA in 1990. He gravitated back to Alabama in 1994 and 1995, where he worked under Stallings.

He spent his last two years as a coach at Arizona before retiring in 1997.

Simpson, the Arizona columnist, wrote that Smith "had the burning curiosity of a child and it drove him to scientific methods of investigation, critical thought and common sense."

Smith is survived by his wife, Kathy; two daughters, Cari Carpenter and Kim Hall; and four grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held in Tuscaloosa. UCLA will hold a memorial service on campus June 12.

chris.dufresne@latimes.com

http://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-homer-smith-obit-20110413-story.html
 

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING HOMER SMITH
Josh Montgomery - Berwick, Louisiana
John Vermillion - St. Petersburg,  Florida
Tim Brown - Florence, Alabama (“All coaches need to read coach’s Clock Management book)
John Bothe - Oregon, Illinois (I have an old clinic tape somewhere with Don James talking about defense and why they made their change from a reading 50 defense to the pressure package and combo coverage they went to late in his career.  It all came about after Homer Smith coordinated a UCLA offense that had 600 yards and beat them in a big game that knocked Washington out of the national championship picture.  He beat all their coverage that day, man or zone, and prompted a big change in the Washington defense.)
Joe Gutilla - Austin, Texas (“Football innovator extraordinaire.”)
Mark Kaczmarek - Davenport, Iowa (“Read all his books from clock management, complete guides to coaching, to passing”)
Dave Potter - Durham, North Carolina
Mike Benton - Colfax, Illinois (“I have several books by him and a series of coaching manuals that he produced, they are invaluable resources in my library.”)
Adam Wesoloski - Pulaski, Wisconsin
Kevin McCullough - Lakeville, Indiana (“I remember his article in Scholastic Coach on how they beat the fast flow line backer of Iowa with a cut back play.”)

*********** Back when I started out doing clinics, I had the good fortune to get to know Homer Smith.  I’m not sure how it came to be - maybe it was because we were fellow Ivy-Leaguers - but it was extremely flattering (not to mention enlightening)  to be able to talk football with a man who was  universally admired by his peers as the nearest thing there is to a football genius. (As Joe Theisman reputedly  said, “Nobody in the game of football should be called a genius. A genius is somebody like Norman Einstein.”)

At a clinic I held in Birmingham back in the late 1990’s, I was shocked to see him walk in the door and take a seat in the back of the room - and begin taking notes. Are you kidding me?  

And then, he very graciously stood up at the end and shared some thoughts and ideas with the guys in attendance.

He’d already published some books - I love his “Handbook for Coaching the Football Passing Attack.”  It’s a classic - and the culmination of his life’s work was a series of “manuals” which his daughter, Kim, offered for sale.

Kim Smith Hall is a great story herself.  She was a diver at Indiana, which had great swimming teams, and while her dad was coaching at West Point, she and his star quarterback, Leamon Hall, met and fell in love and subsequently married. (Leamon Hall, originally from Apopka, Florida, still holds most of Army’s passing records.)

When I offered Homer Smith as a person for you to identify, I contacted Kim and asked if Homer’s manuals were still offered for sale. She said that while she no longer maintains a Web site, they definitely are for sale.  She will sell them individually ($9.95 each) or as a set, and she said that any of you interested in obtaining any of Homer Smith’s manuals should contact her.

You can call her at  678-860-3915 or email her at   kimhall@mindspring.com.  

The list of manuals:

Stop-The-Clock and Run-The-Clock Offense
Targeting On Defenders
Identifying Threats Posed By Defenses
Teaching
Blocking, And Running on Blockers
Protecting The Passer
Organizing Pass Patterns
Making Plays Look Alike
Handling The Ball
Optioning
Practicing
Formationing
Attacking
Calling Plays
A History Of Football Concepts
Quarterbacking
Receiving

In the words of Homer Smith:

"You do not memorize football -- you work with it and it soaks in.”

QUIZ: He has been an  actor, a singer, an author and an ordained Protestant minister.  Oh -and an all-pro defensive lineman.

He was born in Georgia but grew up in Roselle, New Jersey and played college football for Rip Engle at Penn State, where, playing both ways,  he was a fearsome presence on the Nittany Lions’ line.

He was drafted 31st overall by the New York Giants, and teamed up on a great defensive line with Dick Modzelewski, Jim Katkavage and Andy Robustelli at the time that New York first fell in love with the Giants. 

In 1962 he was traded to the Rams, and there he became part of an even more famous defensive line, along with Deacon Jones, Lamar Lundy, and Merlin Olsen. (If I gave you the nickname they went by, this would be too easy.)

After his retirement as a player, he was serving as a bodyguard for Robert Kennedy during his presidential campaign, and on the night Kennedy was assassinated, he grabbed the shooter and took the gun from him.

He has been an actor on a number of TV shows.  He has recorded songs on a number of labels.

He became know for doing needlepoint (!) and wrote a book about it.

He was ordained as a Protestant minister and has travelled all over the country as a motivational speaker.

He was named to the NCAA’s 100th anniversary list of 100 most influential student athletes.



american flagTUESDAY,  OCTOBER 3,  2017  -“Be wary of the man who urges an action in which he himself incurs no risk.” Seneca


*********** I think it’s amusing that so many people got so excited over the President’s use of the term “son of a bitch,” even to the point where Colin Kaepernick’s mother took offense at being called a “female dog.”

Stop.  Time out.  Take a deep breath.

Obviously, our betters, the aristocrats who live on the other side of that fence that keeps us street schlubs at a proper distance, couldn’t be expected understand that among us, the phrase “son of a bitch,” is seldom used as a term of denigration.  More often, it’s  a general term synonymous with guy, and it's often used admiringly.”  (“Look at that son of a bitch run!” “Look at the arms on that son of a bitch.” "Big son of a bitch, isn't he?")

When it’s used in a derogatory sense, it’s usually preceded by a derogatory adjective, such as “dirty,” or “rotten,” or “no-good.”

I can’t say I’ve ever heard it used literally, as an insult to a person’s mother.

You might say that it’s the redneck’s version of mother—ker, an all-purpose term which I have never, ever heard used in the literal sense.

South of the Mason-Dixon Line, “son of a bitch” is not a phrase.  It’s one word: “sumbitch.”

Years ago, in my first year of coaching, in Hagerstown, Maryland, we lost our first seven games.  I had put together  a halfway decent team, but we lacked a quarterback.  How bad was the quarterbacking?  For two games, I had to come out of retirement and play quarterback myself.  That bad.

And then one of the players on the team told me about a guy he’d met who was stationed in the Army at nearby Fort Ritchie (aka Raven Rock, the top-secret site deep inside a mountain which would be our government’s control center in the event of a nuclear attack).

The guy’s name was Chuck Reilly, and he’d supposedly played quarterback at Kent State - and evidently he was interested in playing for us.

One 10-minute look at the guy in action was all I needed - here was our quarterback. 

Chuck Reilly, an Irishman from Peekskill, New York, saved my career.  After starting out 0-7, we went on a seven-game win streak with him at quarterback.  He loved Joe Namath, so like Namath he insisted on wearing white shoes (not many guys had the nerve to do that back in 1970).  But it didn’t bother me - the guy could play. He was tough, he was smart, and he could throw.

We were still amateurs that first year.  We wanted to give younger players a chance to go on to college (plus we didn’t have the money to pay players anyhow).  Later, we would get into paying players a small amount every game, but at that point, all we could do was give them gas money.

One night at practice, after we’d won a few games with Chuck as our quarterback, I was getting on our offensive line about the need to protect him. I said that if Reilly started to get banged around, he might come to me wanting money - and then what the hell was I supposed  to do?

Dave Lewis, a big West Virginian who’d been through the losing times and had no interest in revisiting them, spoke up: “Pay that sumbitch!”

*********** I wonder how Michael Bennett’s lawsuit against the Las Vegas Police Department is coming along, now that a police investigation said it found no evidence of excessive force.

*********** The NFL players who chose to kneel or otherwise show disrespect for the flag and those of us who love our country are afflicted by the same myopia that affects liberals everywhere.  Living in bubbles, surrounded by people who think exactly like they do, they’re deluded into thinking that that’s the way it is everywhere.  They simply can’t imagine that a substantial number of people might see things differently from them. (Remember all the people who were interviewed after the Presidential election and expressed shock at Trump’s win because “I don’t know a single person who voted for him?”).

*********** I wonder if the NFL players who seem not to understand what all the fuss over the flag is about mightn’t benefit from seeing “Glory.”  Released in 1989, “Glory” is a magnificent Civil War movie about the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, an all-black unit made up of free black men that was sent south to fight. As the unit prepares to make its assault on a Confederate fort, quite a big deal is made over who will have the honor of carrying the unit’s colors into battle.

*********** There was a photo in the Tacoma News Tribune of players from Todd Beamer High, of Federal Way, Washington taking a knee during the anthem Friday night. 

The irony was probably lost on the players that they represent a school named for a hero of 9/11. Their coach stood, but predictably, he defended their “right to protest.”

Coming into the game 4-0, Beamer went down to defeat Friday night, 49-20.  Call it Karma.

*********** You know the end times are almost near when you tune in the Ivy League Game of the Week and the entire Penn and Dartmouth teams stood at midfield before the game jawing at each other like a couple of inner-city teams.

*********** Penn and Dartmouth met on Friday night and one of the announcers noted that for the players it was like “a throwback to their high school days.”  In big old Franklin Field,  where in the pre-Ivy League days  the great Penn teams of the 1920s, 30s and 40s and early 50s would pack in crowds of 70,000 to watch the Quakers play the likes of Army, Navy, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Georgia and Michigan, on this night there might have been 500 people on the Dartmouth side. 
I thought, what the hell high schools did those guys go to, that their crowds were that small?

*********** Whoever thought it was cool to send college teams out onto the field in ugly gray uniforms (Duke, Tennessee) deserves a place in hell right next to the guy who thought all-black looked good. The two of them will be standing on the shoulders of the idiots who dress teams in all yellow and all orange. And this sweater-vest look is  gay. (Take that any way you want.)

*********** Can Kevin Sumlin come up for air now?  Texas A & M scored twice in the fourth quarter to beat South Carolina.  Since the epic fold against UCLA in the opening game, the Aggies have won four straight.  But uh-oh.  Next week, it’s Alabama.  Let’s assume that that one is not winnable. But after the Tide goes out, the remainder of the schedule  - Florida, Mississippi State, Auburn, New Mexico, Ole Miss and LSU - is winnable. If that were to happen, that would be a 10-2 regular season.  What was that people were saying about Coach Sumlin’s chances just a month ago?

*********** Really good games were few and far between this past weekend.  Saturday was the Day of the Blowout…

Alabama 66, Ole Miss 3
Auburn 49, Mississippi State 10
Central Florida 40, Memphis 13
Colorado State 51, Hawaii 21
Georgia 41, Tennessee 0
Georgia Tech 33, North Carolina 7
Louisville 55, Murray State 10
Miami 31, Duke 6
Nebraska 28, Illinois 6
Notre Dame 52, Miami (OH) 17
Ohio State 56, Rutgers 0
Penn State 45, Indiana 10
Pitt 42, Rice 10
South Florida 61, East Carolina 31
Washington 42, Oregon State 7

*********** Best games:

Washington State 30, USC 27 - What’s going on?  A Mike Leach-coached team that also plays defense?  Sideline bimbo Molly McGrath to Mike Leach at halftime: “USC is a second-half team. What do you say to that?” Leach: “Well, so are we.”

Postgame, Leach’s observation about the Wazzu fans on-game celebration: “It’s like Woodstock except everybody’s got their clothes on.”

Utah State 40, BYU 24 - Wow. I wasn’t planning on watching until I saw that the score was 7-7 after one. Hard to overstate how much it means for the little brother to knock off one of the state’s bigger schools. Aggies outscored the Cougars 16-3 in the second half. BYU is now 1-4, its only win coming over FCS Portland State (which, by the way, is still winless).

Maryland 31, Minnesota 24.  Terps are talented.  A kid named Max Bortenschlager (I swear that sounds like a beer I once had) is Maryland’s third starting quarterback this season after the first two got hurt.

Florida State 26, Wake Forest 19 - Pissed me off to see Wake lose, but it was a heck of a game.  Seminoles finally got a win - in the last minute.

Oklahoma State 41, Texas Tech 34 - Mason Rudolph is a hell of a passer but he  scored what would be the winning touchdown by running it in.

Troy 24, LSU 21 - I wasn’t going to watch until Josh Montgomery of Berwick, Louisiana, who was at the game, texted me, “I’m watching Troy kick our ass.”  Well.  Despite having their asses kicked, LSU still made a game of it.  Troy was leading, late, 24-14, and driving for the score that would put the stake in the Tigers’ heart when they fumbled inside the LSU 10.  (Announcer: “That’s what you don’t want.” Well, no sh—, Sherlock.)  LSU then drove for a score to make it 24-21 with a minute or so to play but then Troy covered the onside kick.  Would have been a shame for the LSU fans, in a way, if the Tigers had won, because by that point roughly 70,000 of them had left in disgust. It was LSU’s first loss to a non-conference opponent in 50 games, since 2000.

*********** Troy led LSU 7-0 and put on a last-minute drive that ended the half with a Troy pass completion deep in LSU territory. The teams headed in and the LSU band got ready to march onto the field.

And then - and then - it was determined that Troy had made a first down on that last play, and that the clock should have stopped with two seconds left. So out the two teams came, and Troy, able to get its field goal team lined up, snapped the ball on the ready-for-play signal - and made the kick.  Hmmm.  If the officials had stopped the clock correctly and given Troy the first down, they almost certainly would not have been able to get their field goal team onto the field in time. And,  as things turned out, those three points proved to be the winning edge for Troy.

*********** Not to pile on Ed Orgeron, but as one disgruntled LSU poster on a forum noted after the Tigers loss Saturday, “Every school to employ Ed Orgeron in the last 22 years lost today” and he listed them: Syracuse, Tennessee, Ole Miss, LSU, USC.

*********** Love those classic Ole Miss uniforms.  They take me back to my high school days when my buddy and I took the bus and then the subway  all the way to South Philly to watch Villanova play Ole Miss.  Damn, those Rebels were good.  And other than the “Ole Miss” decals that now adorn the helmets, they looked exactly as they did Saturday.

*********** WTF?  UCLA in white helmets?

*********** Stanford’s Bryce Love ran for over 300 yards but we couldn’t see it because we get “Pac 12 Network Northwest” and the Powers That Be at the Pac 12 Network know that we hicks in the Northwest would rather watch a nothing game between two Northwest teams (Washington and Oregon State) than a good matchup between Stanford and Arizona State.

*********** We weren’t six minutes into the Alabama-Ole Miss game and after an interception return, it was already 14-0, Bama.  What’s worse, I swear the intended Ole Miss receiver simply quit on the play and stood and watched the return.

*********** Clemson and Bama are the two top teams in the nation.

*********** Why is it that in basketball, a non-contact sport, guys push each other around and never get called for a foul, but in football, a contact sport, the slightest little contact downfield is pass interference?

*********** When I saw the name on the back of a Minnesota jersey - “PICKERIGN” - I figured the equipment manager had screwed up.  No, it wasn’t a misprint.

*********** During Saturday's game, Alabama’s strength coach went over to a guy standing and texting in the Bama sideline area and snatched the phone right out of his hands. Priceless. Just one of the reasons why Alabama wins.  Imagine - If this guy had been on the San Francisco sidelines a year ago he might have been able to “persuade” Colin Kaepernick to stand up, and then none of this sh— we’ve been seeing would have happened.

https://www.saturdaydownsouth.com/alabama-football/watch-alabama-strength-coach-rips-phone-away-someone-crimson-tide-sideline/

*********** Former Wisconsin Badger DB Jim Leonhard, a walk-on from a small town in Northern Wisconsin who had a great career as a Badger and then played in the NFL, is doing a great job in his first year as the Badgers’ defensive coordinator.

*********** This season’s first of many likely coaching vacancies was created Sunday when UTEP head coach Sean Kugler resigned, a day after the Miners’ loss to Army. Obviously, the Miners will have to name an interim head coach to finish out the season. I’m going with Tom Mason, the defensive coordinator.   The offensive coordinator’s only had the job for two weeks.  I got to know Tom Mason nearly 30 years ago when he was defensive coordinator under Pokey Allen at Portland State. Tom’s a Washington guy, from Walla Walla, and played his college ball at Nevada.   Should Tom be named the head guy, it would be - get this - his third such assignment. After going to Boise State with Pokey Allen, he served as interim head coach of the Broncos when Allen, fighting cancer, was forced to step aside, and then, in 2014, he was named interim head coach at SMU when June Jones resigned early in the season.

*********** I didn’t stay up until the end, but UCLA beat Colorado, 27-23.  It took a great performance by UCLA QB Josh Rosen - 28 of 45 for 372 yards and a TD. The Bruins did play a little bit of defense, but only a little. They “held” one of the worst offenses in the Pac 12 to “only” 434 yards of total offense, 191 on the ground.

*********** New Mexico, down 21-14 at the half to Air Force,  scored 42 points in the second half - 21 in each of the final two quarters - to defeat the Falcons, 56-38

*********** Oregon’s win over Cal was a Pyrrhic Victory - a victory that comes at such a cost to the winner that it’s not really a victory.  The term comes from an ancient battle in which a king named Pyrrhus defeated the Romans, but in the process suffered such tremendous losses that he declared that another such victory would totally wipe him out.

Oregon beat Cal, 45-24, but paid a severe price, with the possible loss of their great running back Royce Freeman, who left in the first half, and the loss of QB Justin Herbert with a broken collarbone suffered while running in for a score on a zone read.  According to Ducks’ coach Willie Taggart , Freeman is a day-to-day thing, while Herbert is lost to the team “for a while.” Meantime, backup QB Taylor Alie had to leave the game in the fourth quarter, forcing Taggart to take the redshirt off freshman Braxton Burmeister. On the defensive side, starting linebacker Kaulana Apelu fractured his ankle and is done for the season.

*********** One of the main knocks on soccer is that there’s not enough scoring to suit the American sports fan.  So what does the NFL do to sell its brand of football to the English than play a game in London between the Saints and the Dolphins that’s 13-0 after three quarters and 19-0 at the end.  Anyway you slice it, that’s about the equivalent of a 3-nil (did you like that?) soccer match (pretty good, eh?). 

I can just hear a Brit seeing the game for the first time:  “I say, isn’t that an awful lot of pushing and shoving for so little scoring?”

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

Texas won, but didn't look especially impressive against an Iowa State team that did as good a job of stopping themselves as did the Longhorn defense.  Texas will continue to improve, and could knock a few of the big boys off their feet.  Iowa State will improve too.  They have a good young coach in Matt Campbell, and have a fairly young team with some talent.

I enjoyed your summation of the 3 Double George.  We used it when I was coaching in Minneapolis and popped it a couple of times for big yardage.  Had a really good fullback who usually did a good job of reading the Center's block on the Nose.  I tried running it down here in Texas but never found another FB who could run it quite as well, or a center who could prevent penetration by the Nose.

I've been watching high school and college football on TV.  Have to say I'm quite bored watching the same old same old spread offenses.  I find it a real treat when I see a high school team on TV running the Wing-T, or some form of it, and find myself cheering for that team whether they're good or not (usually are pretty good!).  Also have started making it a habit of watching Army, Navy, Air Force, or Georgia Tech play, and pulling for them.

Also watched a local high school team play on TV last night (Liberty Hill).  They run a pretty mean version of the South Texas Slot-T.  An offense that in my estimation combines the best of the Slot I, Wing-T, and Double Wing.  A number of schools in Texas run that offense, and run it well.  So much so that many of them have trouble finding non-district opponents to play them.  As a result many of them play each other!  It's not unusual to see a Texas Slot-T team playing in the Texas state tournament in various divisions.

Enjoy the weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe,

Enjoyed your note as always.

I think a major reason why a lot of Texas high schools run the ball and use “old-fashioned” offenses is that in Texas they know that  they will be fired if they don’t win, so their chief concern is winning, not looking good or doing the in thing or producing players for colleges.

I have to confess I didn’t enjoy last week’s high school game between two very good teams as much as I should have, because they are very well-coached and their kids are talented.  But other than the power read and a couple of other options that the Idaho QB ran, I couldn’t get excited about a “running game” consisting of a single back - the QB  never runs - running inside zone.

Funny that fans will tolerate that but they’ll complain about a well-run wing-T.

I remember years ago talking with Pepper Rogers at a clinic.  He was then coach at UCLA and was very successful running the wishbone (Mark Harmon was one of his QBs) but he said that alumni hated the wishbone “because they can’t find the football.”

They’d rather see an incomplete pass, because at least they can see the ball.



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

We made a nearly two-hour drive to Carthage, IL on Friday to play the Illini West Chargers.  The Chargers own two state championship trophies and a semifinal appearance in the last ten years following a school consolidation.  Prior to that, Carthage High School, the Blue Boys, was the model of small-school consistency and excellence in the state.  Going to "Fuzz Berges Field" for the first time was a bit of a thrill.

The Trojans played their most complete game of the season.  Save for two lost fumbles it was a good as we've been this year.  Those two fumbles, both in the first half, allowed for a score that was closer than what was happening on the field (22-6).  Just a few minutes into the fourth quarter the running clock started with a score of 54-6.  The subs and JV team scored with about a minute to go after a long, Trojan-like drive, to make the final 60-6.

This week  the Farmington Farmers come to town.  They are 6-0, ranked #2 in 2A.  We are 6-0, ranked #8 in 3A.  Eight miles separate our towns.  Should be a heck of night.

Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois


Great win.  As you know, I know Farmington. Had a beer there once.  Go get ‘em!


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

It's great to hear from you and I have been using your system successfully for years.  The last couple of years I have stepped down to coach at the 10-11 year youth level (the ages of both my sons) and this league by rule doesn't allow the double wing formations.  Everyone has to run the same offensive and defensive formations.  Its more about teaching kids the basics than outcoaching or tricking the other side.   However, I will be moving up to the next level again next year with my sons and I look forward to getting back into coaching the double wing or with heavy use of your creation the "Wildcat."  We have won several Championships over the years and your system has been an instrumental part of that.   Thank you again for that.  

I do love the old VHS tape for showing all my parent volunteers the systems each year .  I still REQUIRE anyone who wants to help at ANY level of our Silverado Football program watch your Tackling DVD.  It was so far ahead of its time and thank you for that.

Sincerely,

Ian J. Pratt
Silverados Football
Calais, Maine


Coach Pratt,

Glad to hear you’re still making use of the my Safer and Surer Tackling video.  Funny how the NFL-financed USA Football now forces people to get certified in something they call “Heads Up Tackling.”  Funnier still that while they’re pushing that, the Seattle Seahawks are pushing something almost diametrically opposite,  called “Hawk Tackling.”  My recommendation always is to stick with my way. It’s safe, it works, inexperienced coaches can teach it and beginning players can do it.

Nice hearing from you.  Hope your boys are having fun.

(Coach Pratt - who owns a Chevy dealershio - hence the name Silverados - is the Easternmost Double Wing coach in the US - check it out)



*********** From the Baton Rouge Advocate…

Marcus Spears,  former LSU All-American, now one of the top football analysts on the SEC Network, got on his show “Thinking Out Loud” Monday night and spoke truth to power.

Or, more to the point, he spoke truth to the program he believes isn’t a college football power anymore: LSU.

“LSU fans, as an LSU alumnus, we aren't who we think we are," Spears said. "We've become a mediocre football team, and a middle-of-the-pack, very average college football program. We have to stop believing that we are one of those teams that at the end of the year is going to be standing tall.”

Spears’ words take on a projectile-like sharpness in the wake of the Tigers’ 37-7 blowout loss Saturday night at Mississippi State. It was LSU’s worst loss ever against State, and the most points the Bulldogs have ever scored against the Tigers.

Spears took particular note of the downturn the LSU program has taken since its loss to Alabama in 2012 BCS National Championship Game. Since the 2011 season, in which LSU went 8-0 in the Southeastern Conference and beat Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, the Tigers are 25-16 in SEC regular-season games with no appearances in the SEC title game.That’s a winning percentage of 61 percent. Overall, LSU is 47-19 since 2012, a winning percentage of .712. It’s not awful, but as Spears noted, “that’s average.“That’s mediocre,” he said. “We’ve got to stop thinking of LSU as what we thought LSU was. A 61 percent winning percentage over the last five years? We’ve got to do better.We are no longer a championship team.”

Spears’ point is a well-taken one. LSU’s program hasn’t derailed like Texas, where new coach and one-time LSU target Tom Herman is trying to get it running again, but it has dimmed in comparison to the program that is the standard bearer in the SEC and nationally: Alabama. As Saturday night’s game showed, LSU isn’t even the second-best team in its division. At least not right now.      

 http://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/sports/lsu/article_ebe90554-9d59-11e7-9c8f-372f3324ddad.html

*********** Good Morning Coach!

I wanted to give you an update on our games this week. We got two wins this week, 7th grade 50-20 and 8th grade 22-0.

In the 8th grade game, we wore them down after halftime. Their kids got tired and ours didn't. I did mess up on the bubble, though. I didn't notice until I saw the video that our split end should have been blocking the man over the slot. Duh! Chalk that one up to the learning process. The QB's and I feel comfortable enough to add "smoke" this week so that should give us another wrinkle.
 
After three games, I have no doubt that moving to the Open Wing was the right decision based on the kids we have, especially 7th grade. Thanks for your help and hopefully you can see improvement! We play probably the toughest team in the conference this week. We are going to need to play well and catch a few breaks to win.

One comment on the NFL protest fiasco. If the NFL is not careful, they will find themselves in the same situation as NASCAR. In the 90's and early 2000's, NASCAR could do no wrong. They were growing, building new tracks, and expanding existing tracks. Then their hubris, corporate influence, high ticket prices, and changes they made to the core of the sport, ticked a lot of people off and alienated their most ardent supporters. People quit watching and attending and figured out they didn't really miss it. I was one of those fans. They've yet to recover.

This weekend, if the Panthers protest, I'm done. They are only team I really followed anyway, the local team. Sarah is a huge Panther's fan and we've had a lot of fun times together going to training camp and watching games on TV. But I can't support what they are doing and I probably won't miss it that much. Does that mean when Sarah is home for a weekend that I won't watch a game with her if she asks me to? No, I won't miss out on spending precious time with her, but that would be the only exception.

Jim Crawley
China Grove, North Carolina

(Coach Crawley, a long-time Double Winger,  has been an “early adopter” of my Open Wing at the middle school level.)


QUIZ - What do the following football coaches, winners of championships in several different eras, all have in common?

Fielding Yost… Greasy Neale… Ben Schwartzwalder… John McKay… Lou Holtz… Rich Rodriguez… Jimbo Fisher… Nick Saban

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING THE COACHES AS ALL HAVING BEEN BORN IN WEST VIRGINIA (“West by God Virginia”)

Josh Montgomery - Berwick, Louisiana
Ken Hampton - Raleigh, North Carolina
Mark Kaczmarek - Davenport, Iowa
Tim Brown - Florence, Alabama
John Vermillion - St. Petersburg, Florida
Adam Wesoloski - Pulaski, Wisconsin
John Harris - Martinsville, West Virginia
Joe Gutilla - Austin, Texas
Kevin McCullough - Lakeville, Indiana
Ossie Osmundson - Woodland, Washington

*********** It’s not close to Ohio in the number of coaches it's produced,  but for a small state, West Virginia has turned out more than its share of great coaches.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2314854-the-coaching-cradle-that-claims-nick-saban-jimbo-fisher-and-15-national-titles

QUIZ:   (———-)  dies at 79; former UCLA assistant football coach

Los Angeles Times - April 12, 2011

(———), who served three stints as a UCLA football assistant coach and may have been college's most intellectually gifted offensive mind, died Sunday in Tuscaloosa, Ala., after a long battle with cancer. He was 79.

(———) , who spent 37 of his 39 coaching seasons at the collegiate level, never received the acclaim of the headliners he served — UCLA's Pepper Rodgers and Terry Donahue and Alabama's Gene Stallings.

(———) was introverted and nomadic by nature, never spending enough time in one place to establish a school-specific legacy.

He was an assistant coach at Stanford, the Air Force Academy, UCLA, Alabama, Arizona and the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs. He also was head coach at Davidson, Pacific and Army.

(———)  will be remembered as one of football's most creative and meticulous minds. Donahue has called (-------) the best teacher of football he has ever known.

(———) was a thinker, philosopher and play-calling tinkerer. No other coach in history, perhaps, brought such mental acumen into a meeting room. (-------) had degrees from Princeton, Stanford and Harvard.

Corky Simpson, the longtime Tucson sports columnist who covered (———)  in his last two coaching seasons at Arizona in 1996 and '97, wrote: “(———) was grossly overqualified to be a football coach, let alone somebody's assistant … the man was worthy of a higher calling — teacher or author or minister. But come to think of it, he was all those things rolled into one amazing professor of football."

(———) was an eccentric and innovative coordinator who demanded perfection from his players. He first coached at UCLA in 1972-73 under Rodgers, was rehired by Donahue from 1980-86 and again from 1990-93.

At UCLA, (———) helped develop future NFL quarterbacks Steve Bono, Tommy Maddox, Rick Neuheisel, David Norrie, Tom Ramsey, Jay Schroeder and Matt Stevens.
Ramsey, the nation's leader in pass efficiency in 1982, said (———) was a stickler for details.

“(———)  demanded you soak up knowledge," Ramsey told The Times in 2009. "You not only had to know what 11 guys were doing on the field, you had to know what all 22 guys were doing. If you didn't you weren't going to be on the roster."

(———)  once invited a surgeon from the university's medical center to speak about the importance of repeating the same thing over and over.

(———)  could have excelled in several other professions. He earned an economics degree at Princeton, an MBA at Stanford and a master's in theological studies at Harvard. Yet he was fascinated with the intricacies and possibilities of offensive football.

He wrote several books, including "Handbook for Coaching the Football Passing Attack." He even published, in 1995, a novel, "A Game to Play."

(———) , who was born Oct. 9, 1931, and grew up in Omaha, played fullback at Princeton, earning All-East and All-Ivy League honors. He rushed for 273 yards in a 1952 game against Harvard.

(———)  began coaching in 1958 at Stanford before a four-year stint at Air Force. He spent seven years — five at Davidson and two at Pacific — as a head coach before joining Rodgers' UCLA staff in 1972.

Running the wishbone offense, (———)  1973 UCLA offense set school records for total yards (470.6 per game) and rushing yards (400.3 per game).

He left UCLA in 1974 to become head coach at Army, where he spent five years before a bitter firing in 1978 coincided with the auto accident death of his brother Dean. (———)  left coaching to pursue his theology degree at Harvard.

Donahue coaxed him back to UCLA in 1980, with (———) accepting the job in part, he said, because he needed the money.

(———)  stayed through 1986 before taking a job with the Kansas City Chiefs. Two years later, (———) was back in college, at Alabama.

The highlight of that stay came in 1989 when the Crimson Tide, after spotting Mississippi a 21-point lead, scored 62 unanswered points.

Recalling that game this week in a tribute column, Tuscaloosa News writer Cecil Hurt said he asked (———) after the game what he was thinking during the comeback.
(———)  responded with two words, in Latin: "Deo Gratis." (Thanks be to God.)

(———)  returned to UCLA in 1990. He gravitated back to Alabama in 1994 and 1995, where he worked under Stallings.

He spent his last two years as a coach at Arizona before retiring in 1997.

Simpson, the Arizona columnist, wrote that (———)  "had the burning curiosity of a child and it drove him to scientific methods of investigation, critical thought and common sense."




american flagFRIDAY,  SEPTEMBER 29,  2017  -“Go forward until the last round is fired and the last drop of gas is expended…then go forward on foot!”
General George S. Patton Jr


*********** The Seahawks’ Michael Bennett has been in the forefront of the NFL players’ protests and there’s never been a question about where he stood on the issue.  He may not know exactly what or why he’s protesting, but he’s expressed support for BLM, he has announced plans to “write” (dictate, let's be honest) a book entitled “How to Make White People Uncomfortable,”  and he was proudly and defiantly among the first to sit out the national anthem. But I swear I just saw him on TV, making nice-nice and saying, basically, “can’t we just get along?” in his best Rodney King imitation. WTF is going on here? You don’t suppose his agent finally talked some sense to him, do you?

*********** Concerned about vandalism, Baltimore police have posted extra security around the statue of Ray Lewis outside the Ravens’ stadium.  The sight of Lewis’ kneeling during the national anthem before the Ravens’ game in London last Sunday has so enraged Ravens’ fans that by noon Thursday more than 50,000 had signed an online petition calling for the statue’s removal.

Hmmm - do you suppose this might be why we used to  wait until people were dead - and they couldno longer do stupid things - before we erected statues of them?

http://nypost.com/2017/09/28/ravens-fans-turn-on-ray-lewis-and-statue-after-anthem-kneel/


*********** LAST WEEKEND’S BEST - OR MOST IMPORTANT - GAMES

NC State over Florida State - Wolfpack are for real.  FSU may be in trouble.

Texas A & M over Arkansas - In OT, Aggies ruined the Hogs’ planned honoring of former Razorbacks’ player Jerry Jones

Tennessee over UMass - It may not have been a loss, but the puny win has UT fans just about as unhappy

Central Florida over Maryland - Not a good look for the Big Ten

USC over Cal - Last year’s Cal team would have been blown out by halftime.  This year’s Cal team was tied going into the fourth quarter

TCU over Oklahoma State - Wow. And at Stillwater, too!

Wake Forest over App State - App State missed a potentially winning FG at the wire but got another chance - and it was blocked.  Deacons are unbeaten

Duke over North Carolina - Yessss.

Michigan over Purdue - Wolverines are not all that good, but they were better than the Boilermakers

Oklahoma over Baylor - Barely.  This was one of those games that I wouldn’t even have thought about watching until I saw the score on the crawler and switched over

Georgia over Mississippi State - Sheesh.  And I thought MIssissippi State had a chance.

LSU over Syracuse - But I doubt that a 35-26 win over a Syracuse team that wouldn’t go away will be enough to calm down the Tiger fans.

Penn State over Iowa - on the last play.  Broke my heart.

Florida over Kentucky - How in the hell can you leave a wide receiver  uncovered - twice?  Give Florida credit for seeing it.  Twice.

Washington over Colorado - Huskies pass their first real test.

Arizona State over Oregon - Ducks lay an egg in the desert.

Stanford over UCLA - Stanford found a quarterback but UCLA is still looking for a defense.


*********** Took the easy way out last Friday and watched the game right here in Camas, at our local high school stadium.  Easy?  It’s a little more than 100 yards from our front door to the  stadium gate.

Camas High, which I seldom mention for fear of being accused of bragging, is the defending 4A (largest class) state champion, and currently the Number One team in the state of Washington.

The Papermakers (not kidding) had already knocked off two highly-ranked Oregon teams - Portland Central Catholic and Sherwood - on their way to a 3-0 record, and had won 17 in a row since losing in the playoffs at the end of the 2015 season.

In town to take them on was Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, one of that state’s top teams.  And leading the Coeur d’Alene attack was a 6-3, 200 pound quarterback named Colson Yankoff. Yankoff is a Washington Huskies commit; he’d de-committed from Oregon after Mark Helfrich was fired.   In pre-game he showed a really nice release and a strong arm.  During the game, he showed a nice ability to run - mostly on power read (aka “horizontal veer)  and excellent speed.

Despite a number of miscues and penalties (our local officials are no more hospitable to outsiders than officials are anywhere) and the loss to injury of a really good-looking 6-3, 225 pound all-purpose H-back, Coeur d’Alene was leading, 25-14 late in the fourth quarter, and inside the 10 with a 1st and goal.

But Camas held -  on their own one - and with under three minutes to play, they drove 99 yards to score with just over a minute to play to make it 25-21.

The onside kick was successful, and Camas again drove.  A knucklehead out-of-bounds hit on a Camas receiver gave Camas the ball inside the Coeur d'Alene 15.  But Coeur d-Alene held,  it appeared,  when Camas threw incomplete on fourth down. And then, from out of nowhere,  a dubious pass interference call gave Camas first and goal, and this time, on fourth-and-four, they converted. 

Final score Camas 27, Coeur d’Alene 25, in one of the better games you’ll ever want to see.  Sure was  a damn shame that anybody had to leave there a loser. 

*********** MY TV LINEUP THIS WEEKEND


THURSDAY: Texas at Iowa State.  Will it be the Texas that got blown out by Maryland or the one that took USC into OT?  Cyclones got edged by Iowa.  Now that they have the QB, I’d bet on the Longhorns.

FRIDAY: HOLY SH—!  LOOK AT THIS LINEUP!

Miami at Duke:  Has it really been 2 years since Duke got robbed at their own place?  Devils are unbeaten and we’ll know they’re real if they can beat Miami.

Nebraska at Illinois: How can the Huskers’ morale be good after what they’re going through with a coach who’s hanging on by a thread.  I’d bet on the Illini.

BYU at Utah State: I think I’ll have to pass on this one.

USC at Washington State: Go Cougs.  They’re unbeaten and they get a rare visit from the Trojans.  I hate to say it, but it’s the perfect setup for them to Coug it.

SATURDAY

EARLY GAMES
Northwestern at Wisconsin - might be over quick

Maryland at Minnesota - two Big Ten programs on the move (I think). I go with the Gophers

North Carolina at Georgia Tech - Don’t look now, but UNC is already 1-3, and there’s a good chance they’ll be 1-4 after this visit to Atlanta.

NOON (WEST COAST) GAMES

Georgia at Tennessee - Georgia is really good.  Tennessee is 3-1. They do have that opening game win  over Georgia Tech, but they’re coming off an unimpressive   4-point win over UMass.

Florida State at Wake Forest - One of them is unbeaten and the other has lost two in a row.  Guess which is which.

UTEP at Army - Army didn’t play very well in a loss to Tulane, but UTEP may be the worst team in all of FBS.

Arizona State at Stanford - I’m betting that Stanford is back now, and I’m betting that the Sun Devils don’t have another game in them as good as the one they played against Oregon.

LATE AFTERNOON (WEST COAST) GAMES
Mississippi State at Auburn - How much did last week’s drubbing by Georgia take out of the Bulldogs?

Air Force at New Mexico - I just love watching that New Mexico triple option. Imagine if they could pass!

Clemson at Virginia Tech - I’m predicting a Clemson blowout.

Oklahoma State at Texas Tech - I think the Cowboys got stung last week by TCU and they’ll be fighting mad

EVENING GAMES

Ole Miss at Alabama - I think this one is payback for all the trouble Ole Miss has given Bama in recent years

Colorado at UCLA - A very important game for both teams.  I’m going with the Buffs

Northern Illinois at San Diego State - Aztecs are unbeaten and they’re not going to lose this one.

Cal at Oregon - Cal coach Justin Wilcox returns to his alma mater - Cal O-line coach Steve Greatwood makes his first return to the school where, until the staff was fired after last season, he’d played and coached since the 1970s.  I like the Ducks but Greatwood is my man, so Go Bears.

Colorado State at Hawaii - This one starts at 9 PM Pacific so it’ll still be on when I fall asleep.

*********** When I read the lameass attempt by Steelers’ President Art Rooney, II to explain what his players really meant, and how the fans just didn’t understand, I thought of the old adage, “shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves in three generations.”

Simply stated, the first generation starts with nothing - no money, no education - but through hard work and entrepreneurial skills, amasses wealth.

The second generation - their kids - starts out with opportunities their parents never had.  But they take advantage of  the opportunities and get good educations and become  professionals.  They earn good money and they’re able to give their children all the advantages  they had.

The third generation have no material needs  and can do whatever they want.  They are not driven to succeed nor do they have to. Consequently, they go to college and take soft majors and  become musicians, poets, playwrights and artists.  And activists.  They have no connection with the generation that made possible their lives of leisure.

And they piss away the family fortune.

By the time their children take over,  the money is gone, and  the family is back where it  started.

I heard it several times when I was in college.  I went to school with a lot of VERY wealthy people, who probably had been told it by their parents and grandparents in the hopes that it wouldn’t happen in their families.

Every rich family knew of at least one other rich family that it had happened to.

Which brings me to a perfect illustration of the adage: From  Art Rooney the elder to Dan Rooney to  Art Rooney, II in three generations…

Now, if you want to see something that ought to scare the crap out of the Rooneys - the entire NFL, for that matter - read the comments following this article…

http://triblive.com/local/allegheny/12776065-74/steelers-president-art-rooney-ii-says-team-didnt-intend-to-boycott-anthem

*********** No, Dissent Is Not the 'Highest Form of Patriotism'
 
By Ethan Epstein ,  Weekly Standard

Few if any Americans are associated with more apocryphal quotes than Thomas Jefferson, but the false notion that he said, “dissent is the highest form of patriotism” is among the easiest to dispel. Because Jefferson never would have said something so idiotic. Of course dissent can be patriotic, but it isn’t inherently so. What one is dissenting from matters. Were members of the German American Bund, who protested the U.S.’s anti-Nazi policies in the 1930s and ‘40s, enacting the “highest form of patriotism?” I’d like to think the question answers itself.

This most basic form of moral reasoning is newly relevant today, as supporters of NFL players’ taking a knee during the national anthem have spurred a new, hip slogan: “Protest is patriotic.” None other than George Takei, who somehow parlayed a small role from a low-rated, quickly canceled 1960s television show into widespread Internet fame, tweeted as much this week, garnering legions of likes and retweets:

Again, we are confronted with the fallacy of the fake Jefferson quote. (By the way, the phrase appears to have actually originated during protests against the Vietnam war.) “Protest” alone is no more patriotic than, say, the general act of fighting in a war is. It matters which side you’re fighting on. And I’m sure if Takei and his ilk thought this through for a moment they might realize this. After all, if all “protest is patriotic” than those white supremacists marching in Charlottesville, Virginia, last month were the greatest patriots of all.

Of course, we’re not exactly living in a golden age of nuanced thinking. Recall that for many, any and all opposition to the policies of Barack Obama was rooted in racism. Which is why, when President Kamala Harris is in office in a few years, we can expect that protest will go from being “patriotic” to something more akin to “literal Nazism.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/no-dissent-is-not-the-highest-form-of-patriotism/article/2009843

*********** The destruction that Hurricane Maria has visited on Puerto Rico demands that our country do what it can to help its people in distress.

Puerto Ricans are “its people.” There is no question that Puerto Rico is America and Puerto Ricans are Americans. They can come and go to the mainland without need for any passports or visas, and when they move to one of the 50 states they are eligible to vote in its elections.

And they need our help.

This is certainly not the time to be dealing with this, but some time, when the island begins to come back, would someone please tell me the reasoning that has enabled Puerto Ricans to compete in every Olympic Games since 1948, not for the United States but for “Puerto Rico?”


*********** A youth coach in New York State whom I’ve worked with for over the years  asked me about a play I’d once shown him.  He told me he expected to see a 5-4 defense, and he remembered my telling him one time about Double George.  I showed it to him and he installed the play, and then was kind enough to send me a video clip of his B-Back going 91 yards right up the middle for a touchdown. (You would be surprised at the guys I give advice to who never even thank me, let alone tell me how things worked out.)

Double GeorgeA “George” block is a fold between the Guard and Tackle with the Guard going first, blocking out,  and the Tackle folding behind him for the Backer.  The Center “Drives the bus” - lets the nose man go whichever way he wants. 

The B-Back squats in place, same as he does on the trap, and once he has the ball he breaks off the center’s block. (It sounds easy enough, but don’t assume that your B-Back will choose the open door without some practice.)

Against a 5-4 as shown here you don’t have to block the DE’s because your guards should be able to push the DTs into them.

It’s a killer play when you KNOW that you will see a man on the nose. It works best against a 5-4 (Oklahoma) front but it will also work against a 5-3 and an Eagle front.  (It also works great against a split front.)

(Shown here: RIP 3 Double George)

***********  I thought of you and your argument for a wider field in 11-man football. I like your idea of the Canadian Football sized field. I know 8-man plays on a bit smaller field but there seems to be adequate space for that game...I think. I am not familiar enough with it other than it is big in the U.P. now and more teams are going to it in Wisconsin as well. What are your thoughts?

Adam Wesoloski
Pulaski, Wisconsin

Coach,

I’m pretty familiar with 8-man football, since it’s a fixture in western states where there are lots of small schools so far apart that consolidation isn’t an option.

Washington has an 8-man (I abhor the politically-correct “8-person” that sneaks into articles) classification and in the rural area where I’d been coaching, there were numerous 8-man clubs.

It’s not uncommon for 11-man teams to play non-league games with nearby 8-man teams.

On occasion, at places where I’ve coached, small numbers have made it necessary to play 8-man games at the JV level.  It was either that or not play at all.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise: it is football.

It’s 11-man football without two lineman and one back.

Yes, with fewer players, it’s much more wide open. (In Washington and Oregon, by the way, it’s played on a regulation-size field.)

Tackling is especially important, because one missed tackle will often result in a touchdown.

Scores are high. Long before we had running clocks when games got out of hand, the 8-man people had rules ending games once a team got 40 or 45 points ahead. 

There is a premium on speed.  The downside to that is that it means that football becomes another  sport without a place for the big, slow, not especially talented kid.

Several years ago, I did a camp in Wells, Nevada, installing the 11-man Double Wing.  The next year, Wells was reclassified to 8-man, and it just so happened that their coach, Steve Rodriguez, was visiting family in our area.  We got together and spent the better part of a day devising a way to translate what they had been doing with 11 men into what they could do with 8 men.  I went back and spent a week helping install the 8-man version, and that season, Wells won the state championship.  Full disclosure:  they were a talented group of kids, with tough linemen,  a couple of good running backs and a very good quarterback who could run as well as pass.

Wells NV offenseOur conclusion was that we had to go to Wildcat - a direct snap.  With only 3 backs, it made no sense for one of them to be a guy who mainly handed off.  The logic was that what we would be doing was by-passing the middle-man - the under-center QB - entirely. The direct snap eliminated  the need for a  QB to take the snap and hand off or toss.

Now, we had three backs capable of running the ball on any play.

Wells was definitely a running team. Despite what people may say, there is plenty of room in 8-man for a good running game, because as I mentioned above, you usually  get only one good shot at the runner and then he’s gone.  People shouldn’t kid themselves where the passing game is concerned - they still need to be able to protect the QB, they still need to run routes correctly, they still need to throw the ball accurately, and they still need to catch a pass thrown to them.)

A lot of what I advocate now in my Open Wing offense got its start at Wells, Nevada.

It’s inevitable that 8-man football will grow, as schools find themselves without enough players to play the 11-man game. Although in some cases they may be able to combine with another small school and still play 11-man,  it’s just as likely that their choice will be either to change to the 8-man game or discontinue football.

It will take some adjustment, mainly to the change in optics, but it’s a whole lot more like “real” (11-man) football than other variations of the game such as Arena Football. Don’t even mention flag football.  7-on-7?  It definitely isn’t football, and yet that hasn’t kept it from spreading.

If going to 8-man saves our game in the best possible form, okay by me.  The colleges will bitch.   Just as the pros now complain that the colleges aren’t properly preparing their players,  the colleges will complain that 8-man teams have only three linemen - and one of them is a center!  Let them complain.  Our job is not to be their minor league.

Maybe the 8-man game will become so popular that someone will start  an 8-man professional league.  It would be as much “real football” as 3-on-3 basketball is "real basketball.”  There are a couple of organizations planning on making a go of professional “Rugby Sevens” (7-man rugby).  Good luck to that.  Change it to 8-man football and they’d have a chance.

One real benefit to going to the 8-man game, as I see it, is that it would  separate the high school game from the pro game so clearly that we wouldn't have to listen to those asses from the NFL trying to pontificate on what’s best for our game.

(As I write, NFL lawyers are probably already hard at work trying to trademark  the terms “8-Man” and “8-Man Football.”)


*********** Two North Carolina high school football players have been charged with the rape of a female student in the boys’ locker room.

Without knowing anything at all about the school - It makes you wonder how/when/why the three were out of class.

And how they got into the locker room.

http://www.wbtv.com/story/36477075/2-north-carolina-prep-football-players-charged-in-rape


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

This week we play a team that shifts into a 4-4. How would you attack that from the Open Wing? We are pretty basic with the offense.


Without a diagram the best I can do is talk about - and diagram - a generic 4-4

I find the best way to attack a 4-4 is between the down linemen on each side.


I am assuming that they will cover your twins with #1 and #2.  If they do not you should be throwing bubble and smoke at them until they do.

Now then - attack between the G and T on the open side with 5 X-O Follow, and Criss-Cross.

WEST 4-X-O
On the Tight Side- 6-G-O can be a problem if your TE can’t block the DE in the gap.

So run 4-X-O - to the Tight Side.  Tackle blocks down on #1 DL, Guard kicks out on #2 DL. The TE will block the #2 man - the FBI.

How he gets there depends on where the DE lines up.

Split your TE a yard outside the Tight Tackle.  Make the DE decide whether to line up on the tackle or on the TE. “On" the TE (top diagram) is like Christmas in September. You have widened the gap between the two defensive linemen. Have the TE release inside the DE for #2.

But if the DE stays on your tackle’s outside shoulder (bottom diagram), it’s the same situation you have on the Open side.
And the TE comes over the top.

Please be sure to let me know how it works out.




*********** You KNOW this basketball pay for play scandal  has to be bad when Louisville runs out of excuses for Rick Pitino.And fires an AD who's been there for 17 years.

Trust me, though - this thing isn’t going stop with Pitino, Louisville,  and Adidas. (Sorry, you soccer fairies - this is America and that means you get a capital “A” at the start of your name whether you like it or not.)

Does anyone really think that there’s one of the small handful of companies in the  ultracompetitive apparel business that hasn’t been up to its ass in funneling millions of dollars through corrupt AAU and college coaches and street agents to greedy high school kids to entice them to attend Nike Tech or UnderArmour State or Adidas U?

(Please try to remember as this stuff bubbles to the surface that these   companies are the same smug bastions of liberalism who’re always quick to promote the leftist cause du jour. )

https://uk.sports.yahoo.com/news/rick-pitino-expects-fired-louisville-142841298.html

***********  It’s hard to believe that Odell Beckham (“Junior”) attended Isidore Newman High School,  the same high school as the Manning boys.  Could there ever be more disparate examples of the merits of a Newman education?

It’s impossible to believe that he made it through one of New Orleans’ most elite private schools acting the way he does. But it’s almost as hard to believe that he once acted like a normal human being for an entire high school career.

For sure, I doubt that’s  where he learned to “celebrate” a touchdown by lifting his leg, like a dog on a fire hydrant.

Now, as if in total ignorance of what’s acceptable in society, he claims he did nothing wrong -  because nowhere is it written that he couldn’t simulate urination on a football field. Have we really reached that point?

(Predictably, Giants’ management, which sees “unity” where we see disrespect for the flag, says that Beckham is actually making strides toward maturity.)

I know nothing about Odell Beckham, Junior or Senior, but
acting like a jackass while wearing a  "Junior” tag on your  jersey sure seems like a strange way of honoring your father.

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/giants-odell-beckham-jr-refuses-grow-article-1.3518586

*********** A suburban Chicago High School has had its varsity football season “suspended” following “reports” of “possible hazing” on the team.

By being so vague, school officials leave us with an unpleasant choice: Either this is something ugly that definitely warrants such strong, immediate action, or it’s gutless administrators overreacting. 

I know nothing, so I can’t accuse or defend, but it sure is convenient nowadays to blame football.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/more-sports/niles-north-suspends-varsity-football-season-after-learning-of-possible-hazing-incident/ar-AAstJuy

QUIZ: Everybody knows Alex Karras - either as a football player, a pro wrestler or an entertainer.

Karas was a native of Gary, Indiana.

He went to Iowa where he had a very contentious relationship with his head coach, Forrest Evashevski, and was thrown off the team his sophomore year, but he went on to become such a good lineman that he won the Outland Trophy and was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy.

He was not a great student, and once joked that he “spent two terms in college: Truman’s and Eisenhower’s.”

A first-round NFL draft pick, before he played a down of pro football, Karras embarked on a career as a pro wrestler.

He was an outstanding defensive player, a three-time All-Pro, and he and another All-Pro, Paul Horning, were suspended for an entire season (And fined the enormous sum of $2000) for betting on games and associating with “undesirables.” (The difference between then and now is that now it’s the players that are the undesirables.)

While on suspension, he returned to wrestling.

Hornung never did return to his pre-suspension form, but Karras did come back and earn one more trip to the Pro Bowl.  Once, when asked to call the coin toss, he refused, telling the referee, “I’m sorry - I’m not permitted to gamble.”

His introduction to acting came when he played himself in the movie version of “Paper Lion,” a book about the Lions at training camp  written by George Plimpton.

That led to a number of appearances on the Tonight Show and a memorable part in the movie “Blazing Saddles”  in which he punched a horse.

He went on to an acting career in movies and on television, and spent three years as an announcer on Monday Night Football, when it was the biggest show in all of sports.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING ALEX KARRAS:
Josh Montgomery - Berwick, Louisiana
Ken Hampton - Raleigh, North Carolina
Greg Koenig - Cimarron, Kansas
Chris Hilliker - Northport, Alabama
Tom Walls - Winnipeg, Manitoba
Tim Brown - Florence, Alabama
Adam Wesoloski - Pulaski, Wisconsin
Mike Benton - Colfax, Illinois
John Vermillion - St. Petersburg, Florida
Mark Kaczmarek - Davenport, Iowa
Mat Hedger - Langdon, North Dakota
Ossie Osmundson - Woodland, Washington
Joe Gutilla - Austin, Texas
Mike Foristiere - Mattawa, Washington (I remember when I was a kid he was the Monday night guy in the box. He made me laugh hard when he talked about a player I tried to model my play after. It was Conrad Dobler, and he talked about somehow being able to bite someone right thru his face mask.)
Todd Hollis - Elmwood, Illinois
Shep Clarke - Puyallup, Washington
Kevin McCullough - Lakeville, Indiana


*********** Coach Todd Hollis of Elmwood, Illinois wrote,

“My assistant coach's sister was married to Alex Karras during his playing days with the Lions.  Coach Dutton is a fan of that forlorn team to this day because of it.  One of his favorite stories is of a Thanksgiving meal (I think it was Thanksgiving) and the number of turkeys needed to feed the rather large men in attendance.

“Funny that guys my age know Alex Karras as "Webster's dad" more so than as the outstanding football player he was.  My sons have even watched the show and are amazed that "Webster's dad" was a defensive tackle in the NFL.”

I am constantly reminded of the fact that millions of Americans never knew that the “Mister Coffee” they saw on TV was once a great baseball player named Joe DiMaggio.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/lions/2012/10/10/alex-karras-obituary-detroit-lions/1623419/


*********** On Alex Karras’ dislike for his college coach, Forest Evashevski

“Despite the big tackle’s outstanding ability and the success of his Iowa teams, he didn’t get along with Evashevski and he didn’t enjoy his years in Iowa City.

“‘Karras hated Evashevski and he still does,’ quarterback Randy Duncan, a teammate of Karras, recalls now. “I think Karras hated Evy for a lot of reasons.  Evy was on everybody’s back, and he was on Karras’ big-time.

“‘Karras was a great football player, but he didn’t really like offense, and in those days you had to go both ways.  So he didn’t block anybody.  What he wanted to do was chase down quarterbacks and play defense. Alex has no good memories of Iowa.’

“Bill Reichardt, the former standout fullback at Iowa who starred just before Evashevski became Iowa’s coach, said he, too, was familiar with Karras’ problems at Iowa.

“‘Evashevski was a bully,’ Reichardt said. ‘Karras had a mind of his own.  He didn’t do everything Evashevski wanted him to do, and Evashevski was on him all the time. So Alex totally disliked him.’”

“Tales From the Iowa Sidelines,” by Ron Maly (2003)

*********** Alex Karras’ famous brawl with Dick The Bruiser…

https://fornology.blogspot.com/2017/02/alex-karras-and-dick-bruisers-detroit.html


QUIZ - What do the following football coaches, winners of championships in several different eras, all have in common?

Fielding Yost… Greasy Neale… Ben Schwartzwalder… John McKay… Lou Holtz… Rich Rodriguez… Jimbo Fisher… Nick Saban



american flagTUESDAY,  SEPTEMBER 26,  2017  -“It’s awfully important to win with humility. It’s also important to lose with humility. I hate to lose worse than anyone, but if you never lose you won’t know how to act. If you lose with humility, then you can come back.” Bear Bryant


*********** I usually keep my personal correspondence to myself, but I thought this was important enough to share with my readers…

Goodell letter

***********   Good morning, Coach!

Trust you and Mrs. Wyatt are doing well.

I attended a basketball coaches clinic yesterday, and one of the college coaches who spoke at the clinic told us that his mentor, who coaches for the Chicago Bulls and has coached in over 300 NBA playoff games said:

"The biggest problem with NBA players today is that they simply cannot deal with in-game failures."

He added that if those millionaire players can't, how do we expect 14-18 year old kids to deal with in-game failures?

Just thought that was a powerful thing to think about as a coach. Sure made me do a double-take mentally and I am doing some reevaluating of things I say to players during a game.

He also quoted General Hal Moore several times, and shared his personal faith with about 100 strangers, both of which made him one of my new heroes!

DJ Millay
Vancouver, Washington

A major reason why they can’t deal with failure is that until they got to the NBA they’d never experienced it.  All their athletic lives, from the time they were in junior high, through high school and AAU and college,  until they finally made it to the NBA, they’d always been  The Man.

*********** I’m not someone who has suddenly decided that he’s had it with the NFL.  Oh, no.  As anyone who’s read my site since its early days back in the 1990s  knows, I was on Big Football’s ass back when that was a radical thing to do - back when the NFL was almost the state religion. 

But just because the players and owners and coaches have been exposed as opposing things I’ve long held sacred,  just as the NFL has shown for all to see that it’s every bit as evil as I’ve long said it was, that doesn’t mean I’m going to boycott or ignore it.

Why should I pass up such a rich vein of material? I’ll just go on pointing out the idiocy, the ugliness, the sheer hubris and hypocrisy of The League and its players. 

Now that we’ve got those a&&holes on the ropes, why would I stop punching?

*********** Several years ago the Democrat Party made a conscious decision to write off the so-called white working-class.

The Democrats’ leaders made clear how they felt about those people, first with Obama passing them off as “bitter” (“they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them”) and then Hillary dismissing them as a “basket of deplorables.”

The predictable result of this cavalier attitude was the angry uprising that cost them key states and brought about the election of Donald Trump.

And now, the NFL and its owners seem hell-bent in their own way on imitating the Democrats.

Showing how out of touch they are with their market, they’ve chosen to give it the finger by defending  their players’ defiance of our national symbols and traditions, and now they must reap the whirlwind.

*********** The NFL players (who don't know better) , with a big assist from the news media (who do),  have been making a bogus argument.  They have framed this about the players’  ”first amendment right” to “freedom of speech.”

First amendment rights are not extended to people in a work place.

It has been amply demonstrated - in some cases by the media themselves, who've been known to fire  employees for things they’ve said - that employers have the right to curtail employees’ speech.

*********** Everybody wants an official NFL Alejandro Villanueva jersey, and I have to admit that that’s one NFL jersey even I would wear.  But why give all that money to the NFL?

Instead, why not buy a replica of his Army football jersey?

Well… For one thing, Army - sorry, “Army West Point” -  doesn’t put names on the backs of jerseys, so how would anyone know whose jersey you were wearing?

For another, nobody would believe it was his jersey because  - get ready for this - Army used him as a wide receiver (!)  They seemed to take some pride in the fact that at 6-9 he was the tallest WR in the country.  (Maybe also the slowest.)

It’s really an amazing story: without any significant college experience as a lineman, the guy returned from three tours of Army combat duty in Afghanistan and  made himself into a pro football player.

I’ll bet Army wishes right now they’d decided to put names on their jerseys.  They could balance the athletic dept budget from the sales of VILLANUEVA jerseys
.
*********** In 2016, coach Brant Anderson took over a program at Council Bluffs (Iowa) Jefferson High that had won a total of only 10 games in the previous seven seasons, and coached his Yellow Jackets to  a 5-4 record.

This year, averaging 36.5 points per game running mostly Double Wing with a little bit of Open Wing thrown in, they’re now 4-1 after a 50-0 win over Des Moines North.

One reason for the Yellow Jackets’ success is 6-2, 215-pound running back Cameron Baker, who two weeks ago in a 56-21 win over Sioux City West carried 15 times for 336 yards and five touchdowns.

A clip of him breaking a half dozen or so tackles on his way to  a touchdown  went viral.

(Veteran Double Wing coaches will recognize the play as  66 Super Power.)

http://www.omaha.com/neprepzone/football/white-council-bluffs-thomas-jefferson-s-cameron-baker-power-ways/article_943ccd46-9424-59f2-b32e-6241b72c1f3d.html

*********** Army , down  14-10  to Tulane at the  half,  drove 71 yards in 15 plays, eating up 8:07 to take a 17-10  lead with 5:23 left to play.   But damned if Tulane didn't play turnabout, driving 75 yards in 19 plays to score the winning TD with 00:23 left. 

*********** If targeting were something to be proud of,  they might name the Targeting Award after Hardy Brown.  He is quite likely the Father of Targeting.

He wasn’t a big man - he was 6 foot, 190 - but he was one of the most feared hitters in the NFL, and took great pride in knocking opponents out of the game with his patented “humper,” springing up out of a crouch and hitting a ball carrier in the chin with his shoulder. (In fairness, he didn’t confine his hitting just to ball carriers.  He didn’t discriminate - no one on the opposing team was safe so long as he was on the field.)

He was born in Childress, Texas, and events of his childhood might explain why he would grow up to become one of the most feared, most intimidating players in the history of the NFL.

When he was four, he was in the room when his father was murdered,  shot to death.  Shortly after,  his mother sent him along with three brothers and sisters to the Masonic Home in Fort Worth.  There, as he grew older, he learned how to play football, and how to play it rough, developing what he called the “Humper.”  His senior year, he led the Masonic Home team, called the “Mighty Mites,” to the state semifinals.

After service in World War II as a Marine paratrooper, he played college football at Tulsa, and then with a variety of pro teams, where his reputation as a vicious hitter often caused some people to nickname him “Hatchet.”

One of only two players to play in the AAFC, the AFL and the NFL - Ben Agajanian was the other -  he played for seven different teams from 1948 to 1960.

His best years were in the early 50s with the 49ers.

In his book “Fatso: Football When Men Were Really Men,” the Baltimore Colts’ all-pro defensive tackle Artie Donovan wrote about some of the NFL’s tough customers, and paid special tribute to him:

How about San Francisco’s Hardy Brown. Ever heard of him? He was one tough bastard.  I can’t count how many people (he) put in the hospital. His style was an intent to maim. He had this knack, this technique of blaming a shoulder into a running back’s face; to this day, I don’t know how he did it.  He was like a snake uncoiling. He’d get under your chin and, bang, you’d be seeing stars. Ball carriers looked for (him), rather than an opening, coming around that corner.”

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING HARDY BROWN:

K.C. Smith - Walpole, Massachusetts
Josh Montgomery - Berwick, Louisiana
Adam Wesoloski - Pulaski, Wisconsin
Mike Benton - Colfax, Illinois
Ken Hampton - Raleigh,  North Carolina
Tim Brown - Florence, Alabama
Kevin McCullough - Lakeville, Indiana
John Vermillion - St. Petersburg, Florida
Ossie Osmundson - Woodland, Washington
Mark Kaczmarek - Davenport, Iowa

http://profootballdaly.com/hardy-brown-the-orneriest-critter-who-ever-buckled-a-chinstrap/

QUIZ: Everybody knows this guy - either as a football player, a pro wrestler or an entertainer.

He was a native of Gary, Indiana.

He went to a Big Ten school where he had a very contentious relationship with his head coach, Forrest Evashevski, and was thrown off the team his sophomore year, but he went on to become such a good lineman that he won the Outland Trophy and was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy.

He was not a great student, and once jokes that he “spent two terms in college: Truman’s and Eisenhower’s.”

A first-round NFL draft pick, before he played a down of pro football, he embarked on a career as a pro wrestler.

He was an outstanding defensive player, a three-time All-Pro, and he and another All-Pro were suspended for an entire season (And fined the enormous sum of $2000) for betting on games and associating with “undesirables.” (The difference between then and now is that now the players are the undesirables.)

While on suspension, he returned to wrestling.

The other guy never did return to his pre-suspension form, but our guy did come back and earn one more trip to the Pro Bowl.  Once, when asked to call the coin toss, he refused, telling the referee, “I’m sorry - I’m not permitted to gamble.”

His introduction to acting came when he played himself in the movie version of a book about his team written by George Plimpton.

That led to a number of appearances on the Tonight Show and a memorable movie in which he punched a horse.

He went on to an acting career in movies and on television, and spent three years as an announcer on Monday Night Football, when it was the biggest show in all of sports.





american flagFRIDAY,  SEPTEMBER 22,  2017  - I’ve seen parents spend a couple of hundred thousand dollars pursuing a college scholarship. They could have set it aside for the damn college.”Travis Dorsch, Utah State University
 
*********** Instead of sending off low-interest NFL teams to play in London, in the misguided belief that one day the NFL will expand to Europe, I suggest sending them across our northern border, for no reason other than to see if it’s possible to improve the NFL’s product.

It would be a great test of my theory that the solution to the offensive gridlock that’s killing the pro game is to widen the field.  Players are much bigger and incredibly faster than they were just 50 years ago, and yet the game’s being played on the same size field they were playing on in the 1800s. 

Although we hear offensive coaches talking about “spreading it out,”  in reality, offenses can’t spread out any further than the limits of the field itself.

My idea is to play an NFL game  in Canada.  On a Canadian field.   American rules - eleven men on a side, four downs, only one man in motion - on a Canadian field. 

The length of the field is immaterial.  The Canadian field is 110 yards long as opposed to the standard American  field, but that wouldn’t affect the game in any way.  And it wouldn’t be at all difficult to shorten the Canadian end zone from 20 yards to the NFL’s 10.

It’s the added width of the field - 65 yards Canadian,  53-1/2 NFL - that’s going to make all the difference.  Think of it - you might actually see a running game.  Running quarterbacks, even.

Why a Canadian field?  Simply because there’s no NFL stadium in which you can place a Canadian-sized field.  And the NFL powers-that-be are going to need some convincing before agreeing to alter their stadiums (removing some field-level seats) to make more room.

The NFL has to be careful not to think of this as a chance to export the League or even to make money on the game.  Its only reason is as a test of the Wyatt Hypothesis.  They should thank the CFL for allowing them to invade its territory (hell, they own a major piece of the CFL anyhow) by keeping ticket prices to a bare minimum.  And letting any CFL season ticket holders in free.

I know, I know, the defensive coaches will bitch.  F—k them. They couldn’t care less about the overall good of the game - which in fairness isn’t their job - so somebody has to sit down and explain to them that the League is in a nose-dive, and if something isn’t done about it, and fast, the day may come when they’re all out of work.

The logistics won’t be tough.  Most CFL cities are within 100 miles of the US border. 

The best time would be after the Grey Cup, the CFL’s championship game, which this year is scheduled for November 26 in Ottawa.

By that time, it would be easier to find a game between two losing teams, a game whose result will have absolutely no bearing on the rest of the league (the late Howard Cosell used to use the term “meaningless game”). Jets-Colts or 49ers-Rams come to mind.  They’ll have to compensate the home fans for moving the game, but otherwise I doubt that many of them would mind.  And if those teams can put on an exciting NFL game, with plenty of offense, my point is made.

My suggestion for the game site would be Vancouver, because by late November bad weather is a strong possibility in most other CFL cities.  Vancouver not only has a milder climate, but it also has a domed stadium. 

(And it’s close enough for me to get to.  That’s one NFL game I’d pay to see.)

*********** The Rams-49ers game, featured the worst taste in uniforms in the history of the NFL. The Rams' all-yellow costumes made me nostalgic for the days of black-and-white TV. And the 49ers ghastly dark-red numbers on all-black jerseys? They never would have been permitted back then.

*********** Taking their cue from the NBA’s annual lottery dance to the bottom, a lot of UCLA people have begun pulling for the Bruins to continue to suck so they can win the lottery - so that Jim Mora will get fired and they can hire Chip Kelly. 

Considering the buyout that Mora will require, it seems to me it would be more affordable  if instead of cheering for losses, they would go the moral turpitude route - set him up in a compromising  situation (with pictures, of course) so he can be fired with cause.

*********** The talk radio people have been having a field day with the fact that you could buy two tickets for tonight’s Rams-at-49ers game for less than the price of two pretzels.

*********** Six hundred years ago, the French writer Rabelais made a universal observation: “l’appétit vient en mangeant.”  Translated literally: “Appetite comes with eating.”

Its meaning: When someone makes demands, don’t expect that giving them what they ask will be the end of it.

Demands once met will escalate.

What you tolerate you encourage.

And so it goes with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, whose reward for blowing his chance to nip national anthem protests in the bud  is a request by group of present and former NFL players  that The League endorse their efforts to promote  something called “Activism Awareness Month.”

(Speaking of special months, Pink Kevlar Month - aka The NFL Goes Pink to Pay Tribute to the Feminists - is less than 10 days away.)

 http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2017/09/21/group-of-players-ask-nfl-to-support-activism-awareness-month/


*********** A friend in the Midwest, after a very successful run as a youth (Double Wing) coach, moved up to the high school level about 10 years ago.  He had to take a break from coaching a few years ago because of the press of business and the time demands of his young family.

This past season, though, he has returned to youth football, getting his “coaching fix,” as he put, it by coaching the offense for an 8th grade team. 

He noted that this has been 20 years of running my Double Wing, and he said that overall he’s really enjoying himself (and his team is 4-0). But he did tell me of one very distressing thing he’s noticed on his return to youth football after some ten years away:

On the downside, refs out here have become true puppets of the USA Football Pussification of America.  On more than one occasion we have been flagged for our counter kick outs being "unsafe" and “unnecessary roughness away from the play.”  Huh?  The ref actually said that I need to get rid of that shoulder blocking immediately as we need to teach our kids to use our hands and push players safely.   WHAT?

I couldn't help but think of all those years high school and college line coaches laughed at me about using forearms and shoulders.  They would always say that they could teach a player to hit harder with hands than forearms and shoulders.  And now we have refs trying to outlaw our "outdated" and "old" football technique.  It is incredibly depressing to think that my 3 1/2 year old son will probably never play anything close to the type of football we have been used to over the last half century.  This is not a world I would have wanted to grow up in given the choice.  It is quite embarrassing what is going on right now.  

What’s scary for all of us is that the emphasis on “unnecessary roughness” allows officials quite a bit of subjective interpretation of what constitutes “roughness.”


*********** John Canzano of the Portland Oregonian wrote that Wyoming’s AD, Tom Berman, told him that he’d given 18 NFL scouts credentials for last Saturday's Oregon-Wyoming game in Laramie, ostensibly to  see Cowboys’ QB Josh Allen.   It was a costly day for young Mr. Allen: he completed just 9 of 24 passes for 64 yards.


***********  Down 56-0 to Penn State with 11 seconds to play, Georgia State averted a shutout by kicking a  field goal.

But wait - the kick didn’t count. Just before the ball was snapped, unbeknownst to anyone in the stadium except a sideline official and the Penn State head coach, Penn State had called one of those sleazy, sneaky, stealthy timeouts, designed solely for the purpose of icing the opposing kicker.

On the next attempt, the kicker missed, and Penn State had its dubious shutout.

Oh, no, said Penn State coach James Franklin after the game.  That timeout wasn’t to ice the kicker.  Oh, no.  See, it was because State had its fourth-stringers in the game - and they didn’t know how to line up to block a field goal.  Oh, dear.  You mean there was a chance that Georgia State might have made a field goal and cost you your precious shutout?  Gee, if it meant that much to you, why didn’t you just put your starters back in  the game a few minutes earlier and then maybe Georgia State wouldn’t even have made it into field goal range?

There is simply no explaining this away. It was an a$$hole move. Every coach in the world knows exactly what kind of a pr--k a guy is when he calls a time out at a time like that.  And to do it against a team that you’ve totally manhandled is the grossest form of poor sportsmanship.

Franklin could simply have said afterward that in the heat of battle he made a decision that he regretted, and that would have been that.  But no, he had to say something about how competitive he is (referring to one of his core values: “compete in everything you do”) as if that would justify his rubbing a beaten opponent’s nose in dirt.

Come on, Coach.  A week ago you were dissing Pitt, and this past week you took uncalled-for steps to shut out a team you clearly outclassed, as if that was some great achievement.  A shutout of a team you were able to score 56 points on is like shooting a deer in a petting zoo.  Now, when you can shutout Ohio State or Michigan -  that’s a trophy you can mount over your mantel. (Remember to save your timeouts.)

I am very disappointed in this guy. He can coach another 20 years and it’ll be hard for him to erase this from my memory.

Character finds strange times and ways of revealing itself, but it always does.

This is not the classy Penn State that I grew up respecting.

This Saturday Penn State plays Iowa. Go Hawkeyes!

http://triblive.com/sports/college/pennstate/12739062-74/penn-state-coach-james-franklin-insists-he-called-controversial-timeout-for-personnel


*********** Coach, My answer is Ben Agajanian,

I honestly had never heard of this guy, sounds like he had an interesting career!  

You are right on with your critique of the NFL.  My thoughts are it's just too damned expensive.  Direct TV has NFL sunday ticket so you can watch all of the games on Sunday.  The price was raised again this season!  If I want to watch my Vikings play, Ill just head to the local bar I think!  

We are 2-2 currently, we play another 2A school in Tremont this week, we have had a few injuries (My Right guard may be done for the season) but we are in good spirits and ready for the challenges!  Ill try to keep you informed on how we are doing.

Mike Benton
Colfax, Illinois

Correct on Toeless Ben. I’m always glad  when guys meet players they’d never heard of!

The NFL is in a spot because if they give fans a break on prices now that they’re getting hammered from all sides, it’ll look like they’re admitting that we’ve been right all along.

2-2 isn’t bad for a program that a year ago was still looking for its first win in a couple of years.

Sorry about your right guard.  That’s a tough one to replace.


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

Notre Dame and Minnesota both played well.  The Irish just need to get back to old-school ND football to have a successful season.  Quit trying to be so fancy-schmantsy.  The Gophers found another bruising RB and get a much needed week off to get their other bruisers healthy.

Watching the Texas-USC game I told my brother that while the Horns came alive late in the game, and the USC kicker sent it to OT, Texas would lose it in OT.  But...I agree with Clay Helton.  Texas will be a pretty good team this year.

The only time I took a senior on the team late was if he was a transfer and had previous playing experience.  Otherwise if the kid had no HS experience it was always no.

Have a great week!

*********** Hmm.  I mentioned on Tuesday that Nebraska’s Mike Riley had been given a contract extension the week before the Huskers lost to Northern Illinois. On Thursday, the AD was fired.

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

We did what we had to do on Friday night against an outmatched opponent, beating the Havana Ducks 64-0.  With proper intensity and focus we worked on things we needed to work on and executed effectively.  Every player who stepped off the bus (47) played in the game.  It was a good night and a time for the second group (and third) to "get paid" for all of their hard work.  

Like I said, we did work on some things.  Ran out of Open Wing effectively.  Ran some overload and even what we call "Big" (TE to the left, everyone else to the right).  Got into Stack I and even ran our Rhino package (bring in a tackle as a blocking back).  Also ran out of double spit gun.  I really tried to limit the use of the double wing as I challenged myself and the team to work on these other aspects of our offensive game.

4-0 Bushnell comes to town this Friday.  A T and Wishbone team, they are not fancy and everyone knows what is coming.  It should be a good test and a night where we get to "let the horses run" for more than a half of football.

I've had a copy of When Pride Still Mattered on my bookshelf for years.  For some reason I've never picked it up.  Thanks to your endorsement, it's the next book coming off that shelf for me.  Thank you.

Bye the way, thanks to our discussion at the KC clinic, we have gone to 2pt conversions following every touchdown.  We are converting over 75%, so we are WAY ahead of where we were when we were kicking the ball.  Maybe on of the most impactful things I took away from that clinic.  "If you take just one thing away from this clinic then it has been worthwhile."  Just about every clinic speaker says that, and it is so true.  Thank you.

Todd Hollis
Elmwood High School
Elmwood, Illinois

It’s nice to have a game or two like that, and I think that that’s  a good use for it.  It presents the kids with  a challenge to do more than simply beat an undermanned team, and it gives you a better look, in game conditions, at a lot of things that you wouldn’t ordinarily get against a scout team.

Very glad that you got something worthwhile from the clinic.

The important thing to remember is that going 50 per cent on  2-point conversions is better than going 90 per cent on placekicks. Overall, that is.  But when it comes down to one play to win it, 90 per cent is better than 50 per cent (assuming that you have that good a kicker!)

Good luck this week!


*********** My son Ed sent me this one.  He knows how I feel about high school kids transferring, and he wanted me to know of at least one case where a transferee seems to be a good kid from a good family that’s willing to make great sacrifices for the sake of his future.

http://www.presstelegram.com/sports/20170920/st-john-bosco-football-star-jaiden-woodbey-shining-on-and-off-field?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

***********   It’s way too late, of course, to ask why, exactly, we need to have the national anthem played/sung/“performed” before an NFL game.

Oh, no.  You’re not going to call me unpatriotic… unappreciative of our armed forces… anti-cop…  an enabler of Colin Kaepernick… blah, blah, blah…

Oh, no.  We’re riding a tiger now, and we can’t get off.   You know how it goes - the minute the NFL decides to leave the teams in the locker rooms until after the anthem, or decides  not to come on the air  until after the anthem, why - the protesters have won!  The great mass of fans will go nuts.

Dispensing with the anthem entirely? That would end the protests, but that’s out of the question.

But should it be?

What, exactly, is  the national anthem’s purpose before a sporting event?  Is it to confer some sort of blessing on the occasion, or on  the participants? Hardly. Not in our officially non-religious America.

Is it to “honor America?”  Looking at the way a hell of  lot of people in the stands and on the sidelines act while it’s taking place, they  don’t seem to think so.  What about the cameramen who stick their cameras in the faces of the players who kneel or sit while the anthem’s going on?  Is what they’re doing any less disrespectful than what the protestors are doing?

Ever been to a high school game on Friday night and watched all the kids screwing around during the anthem?  Some honor.

Or is its purpose, as I have long contended, to provide an opportunity - and an audience - for some  “artist” to show us how creative he or she can be in “performing” it? 

So given that it doesn’t accomplish its stated purpose,  why, exactly, is it necessary?

The news media are going nuts about an 8-year-old team in Cahokia, Illinois that knelt during the national anthem.  A despicable display, and shame on that coach, but more to the point - why, exactly, is it necessary to have the national anthem before  8-year-olds play a football game?

Consider:

It isn’t played in theatres before the feature showing.

It isn’t played before concerts.

It isn’t played before Broadway shows.

So, why sports events?

I coached in Finland for seven seasons, and in all that time I estimate that I heard the Finnish national anthem no more than four times.  It had nothing to do with a lack of patriotism or  love of country. The Finns love their country every bit as much as we do ours. They're right up against Russia, and they're always ready to put it all on the line for their beloved homeland if needed.  Less than a century ago their grandfathers defended Finland against attacks by the Russians and then by the Germans.  Just as special to them as their country is their national anthem.  It’s so special its played only on special occasions.  In the world of sports, that means at international competitions.  Period.  Not at 8-year-old hockey games.

I love the Finnish national anthem.  It brings tears to my eyes whenever I hear it. Partly it’s because I have such wonderful memories of Finland, but partly it’s because hearing it is so special.

Our national anthem? I hear it at least two or three times a week and it, too,  brings tears to my eyes.  But that’s because of the way we mistreat it: fans and players fidget, or ignore it totally, and performers act as if it belongs to them, not to all of us.

https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=spigot-chr-ffmac&p=finnish+nationl+anthem#id=13&vid=17c690798f0bbde10c886bbd7de5673f&action=view


*********** You know the NFL sucks and I know the NFL sucks. The NFL also knows it sucks but there’s nothing it can do.  To a great extent it’s because of a horrendous, poorly-thought-out  deal it made with the player’s union, the NFLPA, which is hurting union members as much as it’s hurting the NFL.

First of all, put away any idea you might have had that NFL teams are doing everything they can to field the best teams possible.  They may be strong at some positions, but they’re shockingly weak at others, and they know it, there’s not a damn thing they can do about it. The fact is that there’s a specified amount of money that they’re required by contract to pay out to their players. But in reality the great percentage of that money goes to a handful of players - quarterbacks, of course, along with a handful of stars at a few other positions - and then teams are forced to fill out their lineups with whoever they can obtain with whatever money they have left.  Often, this means having to  let good players go simply for economic reasons.  Teams frequently have so little money left after signing the big-money guys that they have to release veteran starters, good players whose salaries they can no longer afford,  and replace them with guys who’ll be paid  the league’s minimum salary.

So teams fill out their rosters with inexperienced guys whose chief virtue is their affordability.  And then - here’s that dumbass deal again - with contractual limits on the number of practices permitted in and out of season, there’s little chance of improving their skills.

The result?  The public is not seeing the quality of football it has a right to expect.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/lousy-football-blame-newly-re-elected-demaurice-smith-and-the-nflpa/ar-AAsiEz4?li=BBnba9I

*********** Must-watch games for me this weekend:

FRIDAY

Virginia at Boise State. Broncos are tough at home.  But Bronco (Mendenhall) has been there before.

SATURDAY

* Army at Tulane.  Army is coming off a drubbing
at Ohio State;  Tulane almost beat Navy at Annapolis.

* Texas A & M at Arkansas. Can Kevin Sumlin right the ship at A & M?  Can Brett Bielema finally get it done at Arkansas?

* USC at Cal.  Cal is 3-0 but I’m afraid it comes to an end Saturday.

* TCU at Oklahoma State. Can the Frogs stop Mason Rudolph?  Can anybody?

* Duke at North Carolina.  It’s a big basketball rivalry but thanks to David Cutcliffe it’s a pretty big football rivalry now, too.  Duke is 3-0 but Carolina has played a tougher schedule.

*Cincinnati at Navy. Middies didn’t look so good last time out.

*Michigan at Purdue. Biggest game in West Lafayette in years. Purdue is off to a great start and Michigan has underperformed so far but it’s still Michigan. Question:  Is it still Purdue?

*Nevada at Washington State. Cougs lost all-Pac 12 linebacker Peyton Pelluer for the season with a broken foot but they have that high-powered offense. Plus a heck of  a defensive lineman named Hercules Mata’afa.

*Mississippi State at Georgia.  Two unbeatens. I think MSU's NIck Fitzgerald, a Georgia kid,  will make the difference. How did Georgia let him get away?

*Penn State at Iowa.  I’ve already weighed in on this one. I have my doubts about James Franklin but none about Kirk Ferentz. Go Hawkeyes.

*Notre Dame at Michigan State. I’ve been a Spartans fan in this series for a long time and I’m not changing now.

*Washington at Colorado. Huskies’ first real test.

*Oregon at Arizona State. Are the Sun Devils in trouble? Are the Ducks for real?  I sure like what I see Willie Taggart doing with Justin Herbert at QB and Royce Freeman and a fleet of other good running backs.

*UCLA at Stanford. UCLA is explosive offensively; Stanford is not.  But Stanford plays defense; UCLA doesn’t.   I’m going with Stanford.


QUIZ - If I'd given you his nickname - “Toeless Ben” or “The Toeless Wonder” - you’d have gotten this one easily. While in college, Ben Agajanian had four toes on his kicking foot amputated after a work accident, but he recovered and went on to become a pro football player.  Okay, okay - a kicker.  A kicking specialist. But a damn good one, good enough that at a time when rosters were much smaller and few teams could justify having a kicking specialist, he always found work.   Between 1945 and 1964 Ben Agajanian kicked for ten different teams: Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles Dons, New York Giants, Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers, Dallas Texas, Green Bay Packers, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers.

Ben Agajanian is one of only two men to have played in the AAFC, the AFL and the NFL.

He kicked until he was 45, and after retirement he was the Cowboys’ kicking coach for 20 years.

Now 98, Ben Agajanian is the oldest ex-Ram.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BEN AGAJANIAN
Josh Montgomery - Berwick, Louisiana
Ken Hampton - Raleigh, North Carolina
John Vermillion - St. Petersburg, Florida
Ossie Osmundson - Woodland, Washington
Mike Benton - Colfax, Illinois
Adam Wesoloski - Pulaski, Wisconsin
Tim Brown - Florence, Alabama
Joe Gutilla - Austin, Texas
Mark Kaczmarek - Davenport, Iowa

QUIZ: If targeting were something to be proud of,  they might name the Targeting Award after him. 
Although he was doing it before it even had a name, he may very well be the Father of Targeting.

He wasn’t a big man - he was 6 foot, 190 - but he was one of the most feared hitters in the NFL, and took great pride in knocking opponents out of the game with his patented “Humper,” springing up out of a crouch and hitting a ball carrier in the chin with his shoulder. (In fairness, he didn’t confine his hitting just to ball carriers.  He didn’t discriminate - no one on the opposing team was safe so long as he was on the field.)

He was born in Childress, Texas, and events of his childhood might explain why he would grow up to become one of the most feared, most intimidating players in the history of the NFL.

When he was four, he was in the room when his father was murdered,  shot to death.  Shortly after,  his mother sent him along with three brothers and sisters to the Masonic Home in Fort Worth.  There, as he grew older, he learned how to play football, and how to play it rough, developing  the “Humper.”  His senior year, he led the Masonic Home team, called the “Mighty Mites,” to the state semifinals.

After service in World War II as a Marine paratrooper, he played college football at Tulsa, and then with a variety of pro teams, where his reputation as a vicious hitter often caused some people to nickname him “Hatchet.”

One of only two players to play in the AAFC, the AFL and the NFL - Ben Agajanian was the other -  he played for seven different teams from 1948 to 1960.

His best years were in the early 50s with the 49ers.

In his book “Fatso: Football When Men Were Really Men,” the Baltimore Colts’ all-pro defensive tackle Artie Donovan wrote about some of the NFL’s tough customers, and paid special tribute to him:

How about San Francisco’s ——— ———. Ever heard of him? He was one tough bastard.  I can’t count how many people (he) put in the hospital. His style was an intent to maim. He had this knack, this technique of slamming a shoulder into a running back’s face; to this day, I don’t know how he did it.  He was like a snake uncoiling. He’d get under your chin and, bang, you’d be seeing stars. Ball carriers looked for (him), rather than an opening, coming around that corner.”



american flagTUESDAY,  SEPTEMBER 19,  2017  - “If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” George Washington

*********** THE THIRD WEEKEND OF FOOTBALL

Thursday - Boise State over New Mexico. Boise was better, but New Mexico lost most of its exciting triple option offense when its quarterback was taken out by a dirty hit to the head.  There’s only one way to stop this vicious stuff that’s making me have doubts about whether I’d want a kid of mine playing, and that is to go right at the millionaires who let this sh— go on.  Time to start suspending and fining the head coach anytime targeting is called.  You’d see it come to an end overnight.

Friday - South Florida over Illinois.  South Florida is really good and they appeared to have a nice crowd in Tampa.  And for all those people who care more about diversity than they do about football - both teams had black coaches.

Arizona over UTEP.  Can there be a worse FBS team than UTEP?

Saturday-

Started out with Oklahoma State over Pitt.  I didn’t stay long.  This one became a blowout fast.  Mason Rudolph showed the Pitt people that he’s the best quarterback in the US, which includes Oklahoma (sorry Baker Mayfield). Things got so bad that to try to keep students from leaving at halftime, they were promised a “free beverage” (unspecified) if they’d only stay.

That meant a quick switch to:

Michigan over  Air Force. AFA is not bad.  Michigan is not that good. Had to kick FIVE field goals. But Michigan had more highly-recruited players and that was enough. 

and

Northern Illinois over Nebraska.  Holy sh—!  Just wanted to see how Mike Riley’s team was doing and I quickly found out - not well.  Nebraska was shut out in the first half. And this in the same week that the Huskers’ AD gave Riley a contract extension.  Is this how they set up guys for firing nowadays?

Memphis over UCLA.  Another stunning loss handed to a Power 5 school by an AAC team.   Would have watched more but having to listen to Beth Mowins gargle chased me away.

Josh Montgomery of Berwick, Louisiana texted me to get on the Louisiana-Texas A & M game, where the Cajuns were beating the Aggies.  A & M did wind up winning, but not in convincing fashion.

Couldn’t get Baylor-Duke on my Hulu.  Glad that Duke won, to remain unbeaten, but things have to be getting uncomfortable in Waco for new coach Matt Rhule.

Also was unable to get Wake Forest-Utah State. Wake is now 3-0, putting a lot of points on the board and playing good defense. But uh-oh - Florida State is coming in this Saturday.

Wisconsin-BYU.  Didn’t watch long.  Wisconsin is good, BYU is not good at all.  How could a school fall so far?  Would they like to have  Bronco Mendenhall  back?

TCU over SMU.  The Mustangs surprised me by giving the Frogs a game.

Tennessee-Florida.  I just couldn’t watch this SEC slog long enough to stick around for the final play, which is supposed to have made an otherwise boring  game exciting.

Switched to Notre Dame-Boston College but it was a timeout so I switched back.

Purdue-Missouri.  Jeez, Brohm has done a great job with Purdue.  They are looking good.  Speaking of looking - Missouri, in all-black with a grotesque tiger face on the helmets, is easily the ugliest-looking team in all of football.

Army-Ohio State.  First half was classic triple option frustration for Ohio State as Army, down 14-0,  put on an 18-play, 99-yard drive that consumed 9-1/2 minutes of the second quarter. They stopped an Ohio State drive and the Buckeyes settled for a field goal to go in at the half leading only 17-7.   Second half was a demonstration of the immutable fact that not a single player on Army’s team was considered good enough in high school to be recruited by Ohio State. The Bucks wound up with 586 yards of total offense, with 316 yards and three TDs on 29 of 37 passing.  Final score: 38-7.  To Urban Myer’s credit. Ohio State took a knee on the Army 9-yard-line at game’s end.

Washington State over Oregon State. Cougars remain unbeaten. Beavers are now 1-3, and things are not looking bright: QB Jake Luton, whom coach Gary Anderson had built his attack around, was hit in the fourth quarter while scrambling for yardage and suffered a fractured spine. Last year’s starter, Marcus McMaryion, transferred to Fresno State after Luton, a JC transfer, was named the Beavers’ starter early in fall camp. I didn't blame him.

LSU-Mississippi State. Wow.  37-7.  Coming in, we knew the Tigers had problems on offense.  But where was the defense? State’s Nick Fitzgerald is a really good QB and one hell of a tough kid.

Oregon-Wyoming.  That poor doggone Josh Allen, the Cowboys’ QB.  Heck of a player but he can’t possibly live up to the hype and the early schedule is beating him and the Cowboys down.

K-State - Vanderbilt.  Vandy wins at the buzzer. Sure sorry that one of them had to lose.

Clemson-Lousville.  Didn’t watch.  Not sure why.

Texas-USC.  An incredible game.  Texas held USC on fourth and one on the goal line. The score was 0-0 with 2:40 to play in the half, and suddenly it was 14-7 when the teams went off.   There is no way the NFL can give us a game like that, and please don’t tell me it’s because the colleges don’t play defense. The game was 17-17 at the end of regulation, after Texas drove the length of the field to go ahead 17-14, but  with :39 left to play, Sam Darnold drove the Trojans 52 yards in 8 plays to set up the tying field goal. Trojans win in OT.  Texas has its quarterback - a freshman named Sam Ehlinger.

Fresno State-Washington. Score was 27-0 after one.  (Click.) I missed seeing Dante Pettis return another punt for a TD - his third in three games and the  eighth of his career, tying the NCAA record. 

Stanford - San Diego State.  Aztecs are undefeated.  Stanford loses its second in a row.  Been a while since that happened.

Ole Miss at Cal.  Ole Miss is in decline and Cal is on the mend. Very good game if you live on the West Coast and you’re able to stay up to watch. Ole Miss’ Shea Patterson is a decent QB and Cal’s Ross Bowers is looking good, too. Cal led, 20-16 but a late interception return for a TD (I can’t bring myself to say”pick six”) put the game on ice.

*********** College football had better be careful not to  let those damn replays turn its games  into NFL snoozefests.

*********** Not naming the kid, but styling has gone too far when a QB throws an interception that dooms his team to a loss, and as the camera focuses on him after he realizes what just happened, he’s bent over, rolling his knee pad up under the pants leg so that he can still maintain the in-fashion bike shorts look.

*********** How low have the once-proud New York Giants sunk?

With a 1st and goal on the Lions one-yard line, they ran it up the middle - and earned a well-deserved holding penalty when a knucklehead lineman tried squeezing the life out of a Lions' defender. They needed one f--king yard! Time to put pads on pads - except none of those linemen  have blocked with a shoulder in years. (Seen the Pop Warner-size shoulder pads they wear?)

Three plays later, the Giants are on the two, fourth and goal. They decide to go for it. But they take too much time, and have to settle for a field goal.
Dumbass penalties.

Dropped passes.

Missed tackles.

Sloppy uniforms (shirts out, "pants" up to mid-thigh, varying types and arrangements of stockings)

"Look at me" antics

Insulting political postures
The quality of the product continues to decline, but the salaries continue to escalate.

*********** NFL coaches continue to whine that the college game doesn’t prepare quarterbacks for the pro game.

Is it at all unrealistic to think that for all the money they’re paid, they might consider adapting their game to the talent available, the way high school coaches do all the time?

Yes.  It is unrealistic, because it's an unwritten NFL rule that you have to run The Official NFL Offense (I'm surpised it doesn't have a sponsor).

Don't believe me? When you watch two college games on two TV sets, side by side, there's  a chance you'll see  four different offenses.  Try that with the pros and you'll notice very quickly  that they all run basically the same offense.

Here’s the reason: job security.

Pro coaches know that once they’re in The League, unless they screw up, they’re set for life. The offenses are so similar that coaches are to a great extent interchangeable, so they can always step into a job and go right to work. Check the way they move around from team to team.

Coaches know that at some point they’re going to get fired - it’s inevitable - and  their job security depends on being able to step right in and be able to coach the Official NFL Offense.

The trick is never to deviate from the orthodox.

Coaches know that if they dare do anything radically different,  it will  mean that when the time comes for them to look for another job, they’ll be unhirable.

*********** From my otherwise wasted year in college as an architecture major, I did manage to learn a few principles of basic design.

One is that when you must put a solid dark color next to another solid dark color, (such as a navy blue number on a red jersey) it’s important to separate them with a light color, preferably white. See, sometimes the people in the stands enjoy being able to read the numbers. Are you listening, Arizona?

Another is that when you put a light color next to another light color (such as a lime-green number on a white jersey) it’s important to separate them with a dark color, preferably black. Are you listening, Oregon?

The designers at Nike sure didn’t let those basic principles stand in their way when designing those hideous uniforms Arizona wore against Houston.

*********** Army lined up unbalanced, as it often does, with a Tackle over and a split end to one side, and a guard-tight end on the other, and the genius announcer, pointing to the short side, said, “This is a tight end playing tackle.”

*********** Mississippi State was penalized for what I swear sounded like “jumping over the punt shield.”  So evidently it’s now illegal to jump over the punt protectors to try to block the punt.  The pussification of football continues.

*********** It took me years to finally get around to it, but I just finished John Grisham’s “Bleachers.”

It’s a good read - a football novel. Sort of.

Briefly, a guy in his 30s returns to his home town for the first time in years for the funeral of his high school coach.

There are, of course, ad hoc mini-reunions with former teammates, whom he hasn’t seen since he left town.

They’ve gone off on different life paths, but there’s an element of democracy forged by their long-ago membership on the high school team.

And there’s the universal contrast, unique to small towns, between the ones who stuck around and never left town, and the ones who ventured out to try their luck in the outside world.

Throughout, there’s the ambivalence that so many players feel, years later,  about a strong coach who drove them mercilessly to win. And, in this case,  the realization that there was a side to him that he never permitted them to see.

The title comes from the place where the former players choose to gather informally, drinking beer and reminiscing and talking about life.

Fun reading.

The best “football book” ever, in my opinion, is Willie Morris’ “The Courting of Marcus Dupree.”

I put “football book” in quotes because it’s more than that. Mr. Morris, a native Mississippian, tells the remarkable story of the high school career of Philadelphia, Mississippi’s Marcus Dupree and his recruitment by major colleges, and he tells it well.  But that’s just the lure that pulls you in, because chapter-by-chapter, he switches back and forth between the Marcus Dupree story and the ugliness of what happened years earlier in Philadelphia, in one of the darkest stories of  the Civil Rights struggle.

A close second is “When Pride Still Mattered,” David Maraniss’ biography of Vince Lombardi.  I have dozens of bookmarks in my copy from all the times I’ve gone back to it as reference. I know David  Maraniss - he’s on the Board of the Black Lion Award -  and I admire the thoroughness of the research that goes into his work. If David Maraniss writes it, you know he’s checked it first. (And double-checked it if necessary.)   And on top of the inerrancy that results, David is a great writer.

***********  Forget marveling at Tom Brady still playing at the age of 40.  Anybody can do that when he eats right and lives clean and takes good care of his body.

But what about Todd Marinovich? Over the past 25 years or so he’s been a poster child for not taking good care of one's body. He's probably spent more time in rehab than out.  And he’s still playing football.  And he's 48.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/13/sports/football/todd-marinovich.html?em_pos=medium&emc=edit_sp_20170914&nl=sports&nl_art=0&nlid=23696377&ref=headline&te=1


*********** Are you a grown man who goes out in public wearing a team jersey with your  favorite player’s number on it?

Before going to a game, do you paint your face? Do you dye your mohawk in your team’s colors?

Do you really believe - as teams’ marketing people would like you to - that you’re a reason for your team’s success?

Welcome to the American public’s concert mentality, where you don’t just go to the show - you ARE the show.

Jonah Goldberg is wise to you…

“I’ve never much liked events where spectators get too into anything. I like music, but I find concerts where everyone is all agog vaguely creepy. I sometimes feel like everyone else has been hypnotized and I’m expected to play along. Or sort of like I’m the only stoned one in the crowd (when it’s actually closer to the other way around).”

************ Bill Bruning, of Barker, New York, sent e a link to a story about the high school in Greece, New York, where they’ve decided to cave - and make dressing for PE optional. 

There are still many of us who can remember when kids were required to shower after PE class.

That was already phasing out back in the 80s, when I taught PE-weight training.

We were required to end the class ten minutes early to give the kids time to shower, but none of them would shower - they’d just put on their school clothes and go hang out in the halls until the bell rang.

http://13wham.com/news/local/after-student-feedback-greece-schools-changes-phys-ed-policy


************ A friend asked me about how to deal with two kids who wanted to turn out for football, two games into the season.  One was a sophomore and one was a senior. The senior had played before, but had previously decided not to turn out  for his senior season.

His inclination was to say yes to the sophomore, no to the senior, and I concur, but he was concerned about problems with the parent of the senior.

Here was my reasoning:

There is no comparison between a sophomore turning out late for football and a senior wanting to do the same.

The sophomore joins the team at an entry level.  He is a JV player and he is in an atmosphere where he can learn to play the game safely.  The players he practices and plays with are smaller and not as fast and not as proficient at the game yet, and the contact is less intense.

He has time to get stronger and learn the game. We can be patient with him as he learns, and he can be patient with himself and with the coaching staff, because he still has time.

The senior, however, comes in at the expert level.  The JV option is not available to him. Although he has played previously, there is every reason for concern that he is not properly conditioned and probably not ready to participate safely with  upper-class players who are bigger and stronger and faster and harder-hitting than JVs.

In the event that safety were not an issue - which we believe it is - there is the fact that there will be no playing time for him.

He would be too far behind his teammates to ever be in a position to make a contribution to the varsity team or to earn a spot ahead of a player already on the varsity squad.  Two games into a ten-game season, he has already missed 1/3 of all the team’s practices for the season.  

It’s not unlike a student walking into an honors math class several weeks late.  He is already far behind the rest of the class. He has missed the key lessons. And while he struggles to catch up, the rest of the class moves on. No matter how hard he works, he will never catch up.

And as for giving him token playing time in “mop-up” conditions:  It would be highly unfair to the other players - varsity and JV - who have done everything required to ask any of them to give up precious playing time so that this senior can get in a game.


*********** Did you see the 30 for 30 about the NFL strike and the Washington Scabskins? Then after that they had a 30 minute show about a sting the U.S. Marshals set up in Washington DC in the mid-80s using a Redskins game as a front. Interesting.

Adam Wesoloski
Pulaski, Wisconsin

Saw both shows. Loved them.

One of the reasons why the NFL decided to play despite the strike was that back in 1974 when the WFL started, the NFL players were on strike, and that gave the WFL a toehold in signing players that proved to be very expensive to the NFL.

I remember the sting.  One of the lures that got guys there was that Boomer Esiason was coming to town and he was a big favorite in the area, having played at Maryland.


*********** Used to be the NFL could put a shoddy product on the field and gullible people would still show up, simply because - IT WAS THE NFL!

Those days are gone for good.

In Los Angeles, the 20- year absence of the NFL taught the public that they could get along fine without a pro football team.

On Sunday, the Rams and Redskins drew 56,000 people to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.  In the same city, at the same time, the Chargers drew somewhere in the area of 25,000 (failing to sell-out a built-for-soccer stadium that seats less than 30,000).

Consider: the  combined attendance of those two NFL games was less than the 84,000 that attended the Texas-USC game the day before.

And in case anyone in the Chargers’ organization hasn’t been told, back in the San Diego that they jilted, on Saturday night the San Diego State Aztecs drew 43,000 for their game with Stanford.

*********** Saw a kid named Kylan Touch, from Aberdeen (WA) High score seven touchdowns Friday night, in a 54-36 win over Elma.  I’ve seen him a couple of times this year, and he is the real deal. He’s listed at 6, 190, but I doubt it. He is very quick with great feet and good speed. His scores came on runs, receptions, and returns.

***********I don’t necessarily put a lot of stock in professional reviewers, and this is why: according to Sports Business Journal, Beth Mowins received rave reviews for her job on the Chargers-Broncos game last Monday night.

Beth Mowins earned "positive reviews" on social media last night for her call of the Chargers-Broncos "MNF" game, where she "became the first woman to ever call a game for the famed television franchise," according to David Ubben of SPORTS ON EARTH. Mowins "carried the show in her MNF debut" alongside analyst Rex Ryan and sideline reporter Sergio Dipp, both of whom also were making their first "MNF" appearances.

ESPN The Magazine's Mina Kimes tweeted, "Been watching the NFL since I was a little girl, and seeing @bethmowins up there makes my heart sing." Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel: "Shouldn't be a surprise @bethmowins crushed MNF. She's always been good at her job." The Athletic's Sam Vecenie: "Shout out Beth Mowins. She did incredible work tonight dragging Rex Ryan over the line. ... Give her a better partner next time."

SI's Robert Klemko: "Hating on the knowledgable and crisp Beth Mowins while giving mumbling Rex Ryan a pass is a great way to tell on yourself." Procter & Gamble's Secret Deodorant brand posted a video on social media congratulating Mowins, with commentary from Gayle Sierens, the first woman to call NFL play-by-play, as well as Jets Dir of Football Administration Jacqueline Davidson, NBC's Michele Tafoya, Bengals Exec VP Katie Blackburn, Fox' Charissa Thompson, NFL Special Assistant to the Commissioner Kimberly Fields and ESPN's Samantha Ponder.

My suspicion: Rex Ryan was a diversion.  They put him (and Sergio Dipp) on with Beth Mowins so that she’d look good by comparison.

There’s an old saying: “Swans seems whiter if crows be by.”

*********** The CFL has taken two radical steps in the interest of improving player safety, beginning next season:

1. The CFL’s 18-game schedule schedule will be played over 21 weeks and every team will have three bye weeks. CFL teams  play only two preseason games.

2. There will be no contact practices during the season. (The NFL restricts its teams to 14 contact practices - total - during the regular season. 11 of them come in the first 11 weeks of the season., and only once during those  11 weeks can they have two padded practices in the same week.)

Coaches, understandably, are concerned about the ability to bring their backup linemen along without contact in practice.

(Veteran linemen have to like the job security.)

https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/09/13/cfl-contact-practices-bye-week-player-safety

*********** Good morning Hugh,

Agreed.  This weekend's slate of college football games won't raise many eyebrows (with the exception maybe of Louisville and Clemson).

ESPN lost me as a viewer of their regularly scheduled programs long ago.  Only time you'll see an ESPN trademark or hear ESPN music on my TV is when I'm watching a college football game.

I also mute the TV when Beth Mowins does play-by-play of any football game.

Is it true that NFL viewership is down 10%, and that overall attendance is down?  I ask because I'm finding it increasingly hard to swallow anything I hear on TV these days.

Isn't Bellevue also the name of a mental health hospital?

I saw Don Horn to Haven Moses, and their Aztecs in 1966 play against Fresno State in old Ratcliffe Stadium in Fresno.  The hated Aztecs prevailed and hung on to the Old Oil Can Trophy.

Probably not a lot of folks north and east of lower California (that would be almost the entire U.S.) who are aware of the fierce rivalry between the Aztecs and Bulldogs.

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

QUIZ ANSWER - You might consider Don Horn obscure by the standards of big-time super stardom, but I knew him once - he was our QB when I worked for the Portland Thunder in the WFL - and I’ll never think of him that way.  He was a good football player and a class act. To help honor him, I chose to use this unconventional method, a great article written about him for the Los Angeles Times in 1991…

SAN DIEGO — The trailblazer of San Diego State's quarterback tradition almost followed a different path.

Don Horn wanted to go to USC. He was accepted at Stanford, briefly attended Washington State. He spent a season at Harbor Junior College, then committed to Florida State.

San Diego State?

All it took that day in 1965 for Don Horn  to become one of the first of Coach Don Coryell's prolific passers were John Madden, Chuck Noll, Rod Dowhower, Joe Gibbs and Sid Gillman.

"One day the Harbor JC coach called me into his office and said, 'You've got a call from San Diego. Coach Coryell wants to talk to you,' " Horn remembered. "(Coryell) said, 'You've got to come down here,' so I drove to San Diego.

"When I walked into the office, a bunch of coaches were sitting around. One was a heavy coach, John Madden. Another was Chuck Noll. Rod Dowhower and Joe Gibbs were there, too. They were graduate assistants. The only man in the room I recognized was Sid Gillman (then coach of the Chargers).

"They said, 'It's all set up. You've got to play for Don Coryell.' So I moved in with Gary Garrison (later a Charger star) and Gibbs and Jeff Staggs, and I never regretted my decision."

So the tradition was begun.

Gone was the conservatism that limited the Aztecs to 72 pass attempts in 1961 and 62 in '62. Born was the style of play only foreshadowed when Dowhower, Horn's predecessor at SDSU and now passing coach of the Washington Redskins, threw 120 passes in 1963 and 193 in '64.

But while Dowhower was reasonably successful, it wasn't until Horn, a Los Angeles native, came down from Harbor JC that SDSU became a quarterback factory. Horn planted the seed that has sprouted into a tradition for Aztec quarterbacks to graduate to the National Football League.

After two spectacular seasons in which SDSU lost only two of 21 games and won the 1966 NCAA College Division championship--the Aztecs didn't move up to Division I until 1969-- Don Horn became the first Aztec to be picked in the first round of the NFL draft. He went to the Green Bay Packers and stayed in the league eight seasons.

After Horn came Dennis Shaw, Brian Sipe, Jesse Freitas, Craig Penrose, Matt Kofler and, in the first round this year, Dan McGwire. Todd Santos set an NCAA record for passing yardage, only to fall short in several NFL tryouts.

In 1965, Horn completed 123 of 206 passes for 1,688 yards and 21 touchdowns, with 11 interceptions. He led SDSU to an 8-2 record. In 1966, he hit 134 of 253 for 2,234 yards and 18 touchdowns, with 14 interceptions. The Aztecs went 11-0 en route to the national title, and he was named the Little All-American quarterback.

From there,  Horn became a part of Vince Lombardi's dynasty in Green Bay. As a rookie, he was a member of the Packers' winning team in Super Bowl II. Then he moved on to the Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns before winding up his NFL career with the Chargers in 1974.

Now 46,  Don Horn lives in the Vail Valley, one of Colorado's ski havens, and is vice president of real estate sales for a land-development firm in nearby Edwards.

Looking back,  Horn retraced the steps that led him to SDSU and a place in the school's Hall of Fame. He originally enrolled at Washington State after starring in both football and baseball at Gardena High School.

"When I was in high school, Bobby Beathard (now Charger general manager), coached me a lot," Horn said. "He was hanging out on the beach after finishing college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and he was a friend of our coach, Stan Smith. He told me I could throw the ball better than 90% of the college quarterbacks in the country.

"I was a big Trojan fan and I had my heart set on going to USC. But John McKay suggested I go to junior college for a couple years, and I was kind of heartbroken. My bubble had busted.

"I was accepted at Stanford, which had a passing coach in Cactus Jack Curtice, but he got the ax, so I went to Washington State. The coach there, Jim Sutherland, was a great quarterback tutor, but they fired him and brought in Bert Clark, a three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust type.

"In spring ball that year, I would hand off to Clancy Williams, who later played for the Rams, three out of every four plays. Then I'd be the third pulling guard, which wasn't really for me.

"Keith Lincoln (Charger running back from Washington State) was helping out as a coach between seasons, and he said to me, 'You've got to get out of here if you want to play pro football. There's a small school in San Diego that has the best coach in the country. His name is Don Coryell, and you ought to contact him.' "

Actually,  Horn didn't have to call Coryell. Coryell called him.

"I enrolled at Harbor Junior College for one semester and played that fall (1964)," Horn said. "I had heard from 37 schools and I was going to go to Florida State--I was kind of committed."

Then came the visit to San Diego.

Said Horn: "They told me I couldn't have picked a better place, that Coryell was pass-oriented and that no matter how small the school was, the pros would find me. They were right."

Of course, having receivers like Garrison and Haven Moses didn't hurt. Garrison was Horn's prime target in 1965, Moses in 1966.

"One thing Gibbs told me really made an impression," Horn said. "He said even if I got hurt, I was going to play. I liked that, because I had heard horror stories about borderline guys who would get hurt and end up playing sixth-string."

Of Moses, who was to make it big in Buffalo and Denver, Horn said, "He was all set to go to USC. O.J. Simpson was there. I told him, 'You've got to come down here. Coryell is a great coach, and you'll get a chance to catch the ball.' What a receiver he was."

When the Packers made Horn a first-round draft choice in 1967, he joined a juggernaut that had won four NFL championships in the '60s, plus Super Bowl I. Bart Starr was the resident quarterback, a future Hall of Famer, and with Zeke Bratkowski also around,  Horn  seemed to be facing a long period on the sidelines.

Starr, however, was becoming injury-prone in his advancing years, so Horn broke into three games in 1967 and the finale in 1968. He spent most of the latter season in military service, but the one game he played was a gem.

"I got the notice to report after the first exhibition game," he said. "That broke my heart. I didn't get back until the last two games of the season. Starr was hurt, with bad ribs, and the last game was against the Bears in Chicago.

"They deactivated Starr and activated me. Zeke started the game, and they had Billy Stevens, too. Then Zeke got hurt, so Billy threw down his parka. But I heard somebody yell, ‘Horn, get in there,' and I couldn't believe it. I said, 'You don't mean me. You mean Billy.'

"Well, they meant me, all right, and when Jerry Kramer (All-Pro guard) saw me in the huddle, he said, 'What the hell are you doing in here?' That was a great confidence builder."

Horn lost little time in making Kramer a believer. He threw touchdown passes of 67 yards to Jim Grabowski and 25 yards to Boyd Dowler, and finished 10 for 16 for 187 yards as the Packers cost the Bears the Central Division title with a 28-27 victory.

"I called one play that Dowler said wouldn't work, but it went for a touchdown," Horn said. "Later I hit him five more times, and by the end of the game he said, 'I'm not going to talk to you anymore.' "

With Starr still in and out of the lineup, Horn played in all 14 games in 1969 and led the league with an average of 8.96 yards per attempt. He completed 89 of 168 passes.

At that point, Horn seemed to be on his way. But he played little in 1970, then was traded to the Broncos on draft day in 1971. He threw 173 passes for the Broncos that year, but a total of only eight more in his last three seasons in the league.

Horn recalled that a tragic twist of fate played a part in pushing his career downhill.

"My Packer contract ran through '69, and by that time Vince Lombardi was coaching the Redskins," Horn said. "He made it known that if I'd play out my option in '70, I could go to Washington and back up Sonny Jurgensen, then be the Redskins' quarterback of the '70s.

"I really didn't negotiate whole-heartedly with Green Bay, because I had that ace in the hole. Then, lo and behold, Vince goes in for a physical and he's dead of cancer in September of '70.

"I finally signed a new contract in Green Bay, and a lot of people thought I'd be getting more playing time. I went to Phil Bengtson, who had succeeded Lombardi as coach, and asked him what my chances were. He said, 'As long as Bart Starr is here, he'll be our quarterback. He's a legend.' I couldn't argue with that.

"Then I went to Bart, and he told me he expected to play at least three more years, maybe five. I said to myself, 'Holy smokes, I'm stuck up here. I'm not going to play.'

"Shortly after that, Bengtson got fired and Dan Devine came in. Devine called me up and said, 'I'll see you in two or three weeks,' then traded me to Denver.

"The ironic thing about that was that Starr hurt his shoulder in training camp that summer and never played again. Scott Hunter, who had been a sixth-round draft choice, got the job by default. Talk about the fickle finger of fate."

Horn had a knee operation after the 1969 season in Green Bay and another after he got to Denver in 1971.

"After that I was never more than a backup quarterback," he said.

Horn’s stay in Denver was limited to one season, and a key reason was that he didn't see eye to eye with Coach John Ralston.

"He (Ralston) was my coach in the East-West Shrine Game, and I got only nine or 10 plays the whole game," Horn said. "After the game, Kyle Rote interviewed me on NBC. I was hot under the collar and I cussed Ralston out. Kyle looked at me in amazement, but John and I never got along.

"The Broncos fired Lou Saban in '71, and I found out later that Coryell had the job but Ralston connived his way in. I knew when he came in that my days in Denver were numbered. I got a note from him saying, 'Looking forward to renewing old acquaintances.' Soon after that, I was traded to Cleveland."

Horn lost out in Cleveland to Sipe, a graduate of Grossmont High School and a resident of Encinitas, and he isn't happy about the way his fellow ex-Aztec got the job.

"It was the year (1974) of the strike during training camp," Horn said. "Sipe had been on the taxi squad for two years, and when the veterans went on strike, he crossed the picket line. He said, 'I've never played, so I'm not a veteran and I'm crossing the line.'

"Brian went in and looked good, and owner Art Modell called me in. He said, 'Brian is a company guy and you aren't. He crossed the line and you didn't. You have 48 hours to be in San Diego. We've sold you to the Chargers on waivers.' "

So Horn returned to the scene of his college triumphs, only this time he didn't throw a pass. He backed up Dan Fouts and Freitas for one season, then jumped to the Portland Thunder of the ill-fated World Football League.

"That was when I made a mistake in judgment," Horn said. "Tommy Prothro was the Chargers' coach, and he wanted me to be sort of a player-coach. He said, 'Take Fouts and Freitas under your arm and impart the knowledge you gained from Lombardi and Starr. Baby-sit these guys.'

"I had a chance to do the same thing in '75, but I was too bull-headed. I went to Portland, and at one point I was the starting quarterback, offensive coordinator and head coach. Greg Barton got fired as coach, and I took his place for two or three weeks.

"We didn't last the year. One day, Bob Brodhead, the general manager, called us in to get our paychecks. He said, 'If I were you, I'd get to the bank right away and cash these things. By the end of the day, the sheriff will be here.'

"When we left his office, it looked like the Indy time trials with the guys rushing down the street to the bank. Some of them were still in their uniforms."

That was it for Horn’s football career.

"I talked to some teams, but nothing transpired," he said. "Comes the time to get into something else."

Horn dealt in marketing, advertising, mortgage banking and real estate before settling into his current position. He and his wife, Barbara, whom he met in Milwaukee, have two daughters and one son.

"My career wasn't long, and it could have been better, but I'm very happy," Horn said. "I have a lot of wonderful memories."

http://articles.latimes.com/1991-06-06/sports/sp-84_1_san-diego-state

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING DON HORN:
Josh Montgomery - Berwick, Louisiana
John Vermillion - St. Petersburg, Florida - (Interesting quiz today. Learned good stuff in reading the clues.)
Joe Gutilla - Austin, Texas
Adam Wesoloski - Pulaski, Wisconsin
Ken Hampton - Raleigh, North Carolina
Kevin McCullough - Lakeville, Indiana
Ossie Osmundson - Woodland, Washington


DON HORN:
https://www.si.com/vault/1966/11/14/613388/on-a-clear-day-san-diego-state-saw-forever

http://www.denverpost.com/2012/10/30/colorado-classics-don-horn-former-denver-broncos-quarterback/

QUIZ - If I gave you his nickname you’d get it easily. While in college, he had four toes on his kicking foot amputated after a work accident, but he recovered and went on to become a pro football player.  Okay, okay - a kicker.  A kicking specialist. But a damn good one, good enough that at a time when rosters were much smaller and few teams could justify having a kicking specialist, he always found work.   Between 1945 and 1964 he kicked for ten different teams: Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles Dons, New York Giants, Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers, Dallas Texas, Green Bay Packers, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers.

He is one of only two men to have played in the AAFC, the AFL and the NFL.

He kicked until he was 45, and after retirement he was the Cowboys’ kicking coach for 20 years.

Now 98, he is the oldest ex-Ram.


american flagFRIDAY,  SEPTEMBER 15,  2017  - “We all have to do things together to make this thing we call American great. If we don’t, we’re f--ked.”  Vince Lombardi

*********** OBSERVATIONS FROM LAST WEEK’S GAMES (THOSE THAT I WATCHED, ALL OR IN PART)

*** Purdue (over Ohio) has two decent quarterbacks and looks much improved

*** Duke (over Northwestern) will not be a bottom ACC team

*** Army (over Buffalo) has finally begun to win games in the second half.

*** Iowa (over Iowa State - in the last minute) These two teams will ALWAYS give you a good game

*** Penn State (over Pitt) Lions were clearly better although James Franklin was WAY out of line with his post-game comment: “I know last year for their win (against us), it was like the Super Bowl. But for us, this was just like beating Akron." If you can catch a replay of the  game, fast-forward to the fourth quarter, and when Pitt has the ball, watch for the shuffle/counter play they ran successfully four or five times.   Panthers, incidentally, went back to the sunflower gold helmets and pants that they wore during the Dorsett-Marino glory years.

*** Navy (over Tulane - barely) Unless Tulane is really improved, one of the lamest Navy performances in years

*** Temple (over Villanova) Wildcats waited a little too long to make their comeback and the Owls win

*** Oregon (over Nebraska) Ducks scored 42 points in the first half, ZIP in the second, and had to hold off a Cornhusker rally to win 42-35.  Ducks definitely could be a Pac-12 North contender

*** Clemson (over Auburn).  Ho hum.  I couldn’t get excited.  Looked like an SEC game, which looks like an NFL game.

*** Texas A & M (over Nicholls) Had to wait until the fourth quarter to do it.  Not an impressive rebound from last week’s UCLA  debacle.

*** Oklahoma (over Ohio State) Sooners looked really tough.  A great win for the Big 12, written off by so many “experts” as a power conference.

*** Georgia (over Notre Dame). Dawgs did it with their backup QB.  Kelly went off on a sports writer afterward. Never a smart thing to do.  Right or not, Notre Dame coaches are held to a higher standard.

*** Minnesota (over Oregon State) Gophers win the Rodent Bowl. Beavers, sad to say, may not win a game the rest of this season

*** Washington (over Montana) Didn’t even watch it long enough to see Josh Pettis’ 68-yard punt return for a TD. That’s two in two games, tying him for the Pac 12 career record at six, with the better part of a season left to break it.

*** USC (over Stanford)   Card didn’t look particularly good.  Trojans looked tough.  Could this be the sign of the Sea Change that all of us USC-haters feared?

*** Utah (over BYU)  Utes win the Holy War. BYU is looking bad.
 
*** San Diego State (over Arizona State) Aztecs are good, Sun Devils are bad.

*** Houston (over Arizona) - Nice win for Cougars, for new coach Major Applewhite, and for American Athletic Conference.  In the European system of relegation, Houston would move up to the Pac-12 and Arizona would drop down to the AAC.

*** Washington State (over Boise State, in 3 OTS) Takes guts to bench one of the country;’s top QBs, but that’s what Mike Leach did.  Brought in sub Tyler Hilinski, who did poorly. Back in goes Falk, only to get shaken up. Back in goes Hilinsky, who completes 25 of 33 for 240 yards and three TD as Cougs come from 21 down to take the game into OT, then win, 47-44 in the 3rd OT period.  I stayed up for the whole damn thing. You probably missed it.   It was over at 11:45 Pacific Time (2:45 Eastern).


*********** LOTS OF NOTHING GAMES AND MISMATCHES ON THE TUBE THIS WEEKEND

FRIDAY NIGHT
Arizona at UTEP

SATURDAY
Kansas at Ohio
North Texas at Iowa
Mercer at Auburn
Army at Ohio State (If I weren’t an Army fan, I doubt that I’d be watching)
Tulane at Oklahoma
Colorado State at Alabama
Georgia State at Penn State
Samford at Georgia
San Jose State at Utah

GAMES I’LL BE AT LEAST TAKING A LOOK AT

FRIDAY
Illinois at South Florida

SATURDAY (In order of kickoff times)
Oklahoma State at Pittsburgh - Cowboys may blow the Panthers out
UCLA at Memphis - are the Bruins real?
Northern Illinois at Nebraska - Huskers can’t afford to lose two in a row
Louisiana at Texas A & M - Just to see if the Aggies can snap out of it
Baylor at Duke - Mainly because I like Duke
Utah State at Wake Forest - Wake is now 2-0!
Tennessee at Florida - Mainly because I don’t see how the hell Florida can be #24
Army at Ohio State - What the hell
Oregon State at Washington State - if the Beavs don’t come to play, it could be ugly
LSU at Mississippi State - Almost overlooked this one.  Now we'll see how good that LSU defense is.
Oregon at Wyoming - Why would a Pac 12 school willingly go to play a game at 6,000 feet?
Kansas State at Vanderbilt - Because I like them both
Clemson at Louisville - I still think last year’s Heisman  was a farce.  But then, most years’ are.
Texas at USC - A USC loss to Texas, although unlikely,  would be crushing to the Pac-12
Fresno State at Washington - Bama and Washington, back to back, but after that, Jeff Tedford is going to get the Bulldogs going
Stanford at San Diego State - This one is definitely a trap for the Cardinal
Ole Miss at Cal - What’s the deal with SEC teams leaving the South to go play games


*********** I’ve been out of work myself a few times in my coaching career, and maybe it’s because I know what shaky - if well-paid -  lives assistant coaches and their families live, so you’ll never see me write one of these ”coaches on the hot seat” death-watch type stories.

We all  know that Kevin Sumlin and Brian Kelly have got tough assessments right now, and there’s no escaping it, but I’m not going to be one of those guys that feeds the flames.

I could perhaps be persuaded to make exceptions for Lane Kiffin and Jim Harbaugh.

*********** Ma'lik Richmond, 21, of Steubenville, Ohio, has sued Youngstown State  in federal court when the school  told him he couldn't play this season after a female student learned that he was on the team and circulated a petition asking that he not be permitted to play.

Richmond  served 10 months in a juvenile institution after being convicted of rape of a 17-year-old girl during an “alcohol-fueled” party in 2013.
His lawsuit asks that he be reinstated to the team's active roster along with attorney fees and an unspecified damages. According to the lawsuit, Richmond was told after the spring game by Coach Bo Pelini that he would play this season and would be a big help to the team.

This is a tough one.

Yes, juvenile sentencing is a joke, but he's served the time he was given.  

Should a convicted rapist who’s served his time be treated like a sex offender?

Is it constitutional to mark any “sex offender” for life?

Having done his time, does he now have a right to play, and can  signatories to a petition, no matter how many there are, have the right to take away his rights?

Actually, considering the rape hysteria that prevails on campuses today, if he were an ordinary student and he’d been accused of patting a girl on the ass at a party, he’d have been expelled.


http://triblive.com/usworld/world/12735113-74/convicted-steubenville-rapist-sues-youngstown-state-to-play-football-this-season

*********** The jackals are circling…

Did You Suffer A Concussion Playing NCAA College Football?

If you sustained a concussion while playing college football at a NCAA First, Second, or Third Division school between 1986 and 2017, you may be eligible to file a NCAA concussion claim now!

https://www.ncaaconcussion.org/

What’s next? Commercials during college games?


************ Coach Joel Mathews, of Independence, Missouri, sent me a link to a series of videos sent out weekly to every HS coach in Missouri by the state association’s Director of Football Officiating.

It’s really good stuff - I wish there were a way that every HS and middle school coach in America could get them.  They ought to be required viewing by their teams every Monday.

This is video #3, which deals with targeting:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_0iDa-NDeI&feature=youtu.be

***********  In my time in Ocean Shores, I’ve come to know Rick Anderson,  longtime sports editor for the area’s paper, the Aberdeen, Washington Daily World.  Rick’s a real pro, the kind of guy every town used to have - the kind of guy who could tell you who won the Big Game 20 years ago, and who the starting quarterbacks were.  Rick wrote a column not long ago taking the people in Bellevue, Washington to task.  Maybe you remember Bellevue High - it won state titles every year, and took on all comers, from all over the country.  It was Bellevue that ended DeLaSalle’s national record win streak.  But when it seems too good to be true, it usually is, and a series of articles in Seattle Times revealed that Bellevue High’s team was actually a Seattle area all-star team.  Did I say Seattle?  Hell, they were bringing in kids from Tacoma - getting their parents apartments, and enrolling the kids in an “alternative” high school where they could be assured to maintain the grades necessary to be eligible.  Oh - and Bellevue’s boosters, in disregard of state rules, paid the head coach close to $100,000 a year.

The state association (WIAA) came down fairly hard on Bellevue, banning its teams from post-season play for two years.  I personally thought they should have come down harder.  But the Bellevue boosters think that the WIAA was too harsh, and they want the state legislature to take time away from trying to figure out how to pay for roads and bridges and schools and take over the WIAA.

Wrote Rick…

Item: Still irate over sanctions that resulted in its traditionally powerful football team receiving a two-year postseason ban, some Bellevue High School parents are calling for the State Legislature to oversee the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association.

Comment: Let me get this straight: The Legislature couldn’t agree until July on a state operating budget and remains deadlocked on a capital construction budget. Now some people want to add high school sports oversight to its plate?

This could be quickly dismissed as a singularly stupid proposal, except that Bellevue boosters have added the ugly spectre of racism to the equation. According to some parents, all 35 athletes believed to be illegally recruited by Bellevue were African-American.

It’s fair to examine the racial posture of all organizations, the WIAA included, in this day and age. But I’m not fond of critics pulling out the race card every time they draw a losing hand.

Investigations by the Bellevue School District, the WIAA and the Seattle Times revealed compelling evidence that Bellevue coaches and boosters broke numerous state rules to gain a competitive advantage over its rivals. That remains the primary issue in this case. State legislators have better things to do than to get involved.

Interestingly, no one has thought to throw the race card back in the faces of the Bellevue boosters.  Seems to me that unless being moved into the Bellevue High area to play football can be shown to have benefitted those 35 black kids academically and socially, one could make the case that they were exploited - used, if you will - purely for their football talent.

http://www.thedailyworld.com/sports/wiaa-is-dysfunctional-but-not-as-much-as-the-legislature/

*********** I suggested some time ago that one of these days the NFL would need some sort of special effect (like the yellow line-to-gain stripe) to make the stands at NFL games look full to the viewers on TV.

Now, with some of its stadiums close to half-empty on Week One,  I’ll bet the NFL’s got the guys in the VR studios working around the clock to make the bad look  of all those empty seats go away.

Meanwhile, The League has to be dreading its version of the Perfect Storm - two home games in the same city this weekend, on the same day and at the same time.

The city is Los Angeles. The last time two teams played there at the same time - actually, one game was on LA and the other was in Anaheim - was in December of 1994.  The Chargers drew 64,000 to the Coliseum, but the Rams drew only 25,000. They moved to St. Louis after the season.

This time, the  Rams’ crowd will  rattle around in the giant Coliseum, while the Chargers, although playing in a soccer stadium that doesn’t seat 30,000, still won’t fill it.

It must be killing the NFL to see this happening, and I can’t imagine what spin they’ll put on it, but it appears that football fans in the Southland may have lost interest in the NFL of today.

It isn’t a question of whether the area can support two teams: there are times every years when both USC and UCLA are at home, and they’ll both draw more than 70,000.

*********** Not that Thursday night's college game, Boise State's 28-14 win over New Mexico, was a thriller, but the NFL game?  Holy sh--t. Texans over Bengals, 13-9.  You realize that's  five field goals and only one touchdown, right?   That's like watching an hour-long TV show with  10 minutes of actual show and 50 minutes of commercials.  And the viewing public, slowly but surely, is beginning to figure it out.

*********** No doubt every bit as tired as you and I are with having to explain it,  the Washington HIgh School Association (WIAA) has had to explain the difference between the NFL’s five-yard chuck rule and the high school rule:

http://wiaa.com/ConDocs/Con550/Illegal%20Contact%20Interpretation.pdf


*********** At 6:51 AM Wednesday the following email went out to members of the Army Football Club:

Gentlemen -- We received the following email early this morning.

I had a couple of late minute drops for the Army-OSU game, so I have about 10 extra tickets to the game that I will give away to any AFC members who find themselves looking for tickets.

And in less than 50 minutes this email went out:

Gentlemen --

All 10 tickets for Army vs. Ohio State are now gone.  Congratulations to those who got to Bill in a hurry.

And then I started thinking… “Give away?” As in “free?”  It may not be the Michigan game, but still - what are ten tickets to ANY Ohio State game worth?

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

I wanted to give you an update from our 8th grade scrimmage this past Thursday. Overall, I was pleased with how we performed offensively. In the snapper department, there were no snaps over the QB's head (a big worry), although there were a few low snaps, which we handled. Still have some work to do in that area but I would say we are getting better.

6/7 G-O worked well (and I've got a playmaker at QB that will make the various QB keeps tough to defend), wedge was outstanding, and XX counter was a big gain every time we ran it. I liked 4/5-C and X-O, too. We've got a good direct sweep to the B-back to the strong side and I saw an immediate need to be able to sweep weak side as well with my QB. We put that in this week.

In the passing game, we completed several dropback passes and over threw a couple of open receivers. Route spacing is an issue that we need to correct. We even completed a nice bubble screen, probably the first of my career! 6 Green/ 7 Blue didn't go too well based on the alignment of the strong end and corner (wide!) but we were still able to complete a nice throw to the TE on the corner route.

The biggest downer from the whole scrimmage is my student video person missed the first 35 plays of the scrimmage (blamed it on the iPad freezing up) and then was zoomed out too far the rest of the time. He's a good kid and will get better but it was disappointing not being able to break down the film.

We play for real this week, weather permitting. Going to be a tough game as we have the top team from last season as our opener. To be the best, you've got to play the best! Hopefully I'll have some decent video to show you. Thanks for your help!

Last question: Vs. a tough opponent, is it better to defer and risk going down a score or take the ball and try to get on the board first? We mostly onside kick plus I'm not sure we can shut down the other team.

Take care!

Sorry that the video didn’t turn out. Maybe that’s why I’ve had my wife do it for me over the years.

I’m glad that things seemed to go well for you.

As for the kickoff/receive question, there’s never been a doubt in my mind: I want that football.

I’d like to take five minutes off the clock and then kick off with a 7-0 lead.  In the pro game, or even the college game, with 15-minute quarters, I can understand deferring.

But  at “lower” levels of the game,  with 12-minute quarters in high school and 10- or even 8-minute quarters in youth or middle school ball, possession is far more important, because the time consumed by a play is still roughly the same in youth football play as it is in the NFL.  In youth football a seven-minute drive is not unheard-of, and it can eat up the better part of a quarter.

Good luck this week.  Take the ball.


*********** Tom Walls, of Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada) coaches his own team but is also responsible for finding and developing coaches in the large youth program that he and his wife, Shandy, established.  Tom writes from experience when he says,

I think one of the hardest things to teach young coaches is that reads (option, zone read) take a tremendous amount of drilling before kids can do it in game situation.

Just because you can visualize it, doesn't mean the kids can do it under pressure.

Tom is so right.   Reading this and that - coverage, triple option, zone read - sounds great in clinics and looks great on paper but It's  probably where the gap that's always present between what we know what the kids understand is greatest. It's a gulf, actually. It takes a long time and a lot of teaching to get a QB to where you can entrust him with an actual read.

*********** I’m busy as hell right now, working on two playbooks at once - the Open Wing playbook that I’m sending out in sections as I complete them, and a much-needed revision of my Double Wing Playbook, which I’ve been putting off for years.

As you can imagine, drawing hundreds of play diagrams can be tedious and time-consuming, and I can’t imagine doing it without Playmaker Pro.  It’s a great piece of software that I’ve been using for several years now, and the latest version, 5.0, is a tremendous upgrade.  I recommend it to anybody.  It’s not cheap, but nothing good is.

I first got to know its designer, a guy named Bruce Williams, about ten years ago, when I purchased a product of his called TD Video.  He’d developed it with help from people in Michigan’s video department, and it was great - essentially a database that enabled you to take individual play clips of a game and enter all sorts of information related to each clip so that, once entered, you could call up all plays by down, distance, direction, result, etc.  He was way before his time, and his product was really good, but along came the behemoth, Hudl, and Bruce, like other guys who also had promising programs, got steamrollered.

Now, Bruce is going full-bore on his newest product, called Game Data Live. Here’s how he describes it on his site.

Game Data Live is a software product that manages play info, photos and video of football plays live during a game. Changes in the NFHS rules for high school football allow the use of electronic devices on the side line and in the locker room. Game Data Live can capture video with an iPad / iPhone's camera or use imported video from an MPEG-4 camcorder. You can use SneakerNet or WiFi to deliver game stats, scouting reports, photos and video to the pressbox, sideline or locker room. With Game Data Live, you can watch football game video identified by play info so you can choose and review significant plays immediately. After the game, you can upload the data to Hudl. Several implementation options are possible.

http://www.bwsoftware.com/gamedatalive.html

*********** It’s a damn shame that ESPN owns so many of the rights to so many college games, because every day it sucks even more than it did the day before.

Monday night’s second NFL game was a great example.

I tuned in, to be honest, just to see who would sit during the national anthem.  But I nearly gagged when I saw that the play-by-play announcer was Beth Mowins, who may or may not know football but has a voice that grates on me like fingernails on a blackboard. (Remember blackboards?)  I’ve muted many a college game the instant I heard her voice. 

Not that she had any help in the booth.  Rex Ryan was the color guy.  He was introduced, and then he took off on some rambling soliloquy that he couldn’t possibly have written himself (you can always tell when they’re not spouting their own words). He lost me fast.

So I didn’t stick around long enough to hear the sideline guy, one Sergio Dipp, but I did hear plenty of replays the next day of his first attempt at doing whatever the hell it is that a sideline bimbus (masculine singluar)  is supposed to do.  He started telling us how wonderful it was that Denver’s coach was “diverse.” WTF?  Sergio, evidently, had come over from ESPN’s Spanish-language side, and maybe something was lost in translation, because I have a feeling that Denver’s coach, considering he was far from the first black man ever hired to coach an NFL team, thought he was anything other than just a football coach, and not a symbol on the totem pole of the great god  Diversity.   

*********** And then, of course, there were Jamele Hill’s despicable comments about President Trump. Left-leaning ESPN said there would be no discipline for her, noting that Ms. Hill’s comments were her own and did not reflect the opinions of the network.  ESPN’s problem, of course, is that they did.

*********** Often overlooked among the tight ends of the Vince Lombardi era was Marv Fleming. Fleming succeeded  Ron Kramer, and if Lombardi hadn’t had him on hand, it’s questionable whether he would have given Ron Kramer the trade he requested so his wife could be nearer her family in Detroit.

For a number of years, Fleming was plagued by a guy named  Arthur Lee Trotter who - in a case of stolen identity well before it became popular - kept pulling off scams while posing as Marv Fleming.

Once, Trotter also posed as Celtics’ star Bill Russell, selling shares in some make-believe restaurant chain.   Just in case you might be wondering how these scammers are able to operate, would it help if I told you that there are a lot of really, really stupid people out there? I submit in evidence this transcript of a conversation police overheard while in the next room:

Woman: "You don't look like Bill Russell."

Trotter: "I got into a car accident and had to have plastic surgery."

Woman: "I was expecting someone much taller."

Trotter: "I had 10 inches of bone surgically removed from my shins. I wanted to fit easier into my new Mercedes. And I was tired of having my legs hang off motel beds."

Another time,  confronted with the evidence that he had been fraudulently selling  people “shares” in NFL teams, he  confessed that he wasn’t really Marv Fleming.

Okay, then, the cops asked.  Who are you?

Replied Trotter, “John Mackey.”


http://m.packers.com/news/article/top-10-tight-ends-gb-has-had-its-share-25664550-1547-449d-acae-f2f02cae6223

https://www.si.com/vault/1983/09/19/619540/this-is-the-game-of-the-name


QUIZ ANSWER: Jack Kemp came from a small California college to become the All-Star quarterback of a championship professional  team. 

He attended high school in Los Angeles, and at Occidental College one of his teammates was Jim Mora (the elder).

After college, he served a year in the Army between unsuccessful tryouts with five different teams, he caught on with the original Los Angeles Chargers.

Kemp was seven times All-AFL QB, and in 1965 he was the league’s most valuable player.

After suffering a minor injury, he was placed on waivers by the Chargers’ Sid Gilman in hopes that after he’d clear waivers he could be put on the injured list, but Buffalo coach Lou Saban saw his name and claimed him.

As the Bills’ starting QB, he led them to the only two championships in their history.

He was a co-founder of the AFL Players’ Association.

Following his football career he became active in politics, and served nine terms as Congressman from Western New York.

He served as Housing Secretary under the first President Bush, and in 1996 he ran as the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate in a losing campaign.

He had two sons who both played professional football: Jeff in the NFL and Jimmy in the CFL.

They’ve both turned out to be outstanding men in their own right.

Wow. If I hadn’t selected Jack Kemp, I’d probably never have known of the work Jeff’s done since his football days ended.

Jeff: “Facing the Blitz”
https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=spigot-chr-ffmac&p=jeff+kemp#id=1&vid=221a3f4408a343cf40591ff95ae67c71&action=view

Jeff tells about thanking his dad before he died.
https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=spigot-chr-ffmac&p=jeff+kemp#id=2&vid=2689c9c14a9f90bc5efcdc3c41430986&action=view

Jeff tells about his Dad’s blessing
https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=spigot-chr-ffmac&p=jeff+kemp#id=4&vid=7eb64dfc858c460c6accb9258295f56e&action=click



CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JACK KEMP:
Tom Walls - Winnipeg, Manitoba
Tim Brown - Florence, Alabama
Josh Montgomery - Berwick, Louisiana
Mark Kaczmarek - Davenport, Iowa
Adam Wesoloski - Pulaski, Wisconsin
John Vermillion - St. Petersburg, Florida
Mike Benton - Colfax, Illinois
Joe Gutilla - Austin, Texas
Ossie Osmundson - Woodland, Washington
Ken Hampton - Raleigh, North Carolina
Shep Clarke - Puyallup, Washington
Kevin McCullough - Lakeville, Indiana (one of my favorite quotes that is sometimes attributed to him…..”Democracy without morality is impossible”)
Tom Davis - San Carlos, California
Pete Porcelli - Watervliet, New York

QUIZ - You might consider him obscure by the standards of big-time stardom, but I knew him once and I’ll never think of him that way.  To help honor him, I chose to use this unconventional method, a great article written about him for the Los Angeles Times in 1991…

SAN DIEGO — The trailblazer of San Diego State's quarterback tradition almost followed a different path.
HE wanted to go to USC. He was accepted at Stanford, briefly attended Washington State. He spent a season at Harbor Junior College, then committed to Florida State.

San Diego State?

All it took that day in 1965 for HIM to become one of the first of Coach Don Coryell's prolific passers were John Madden, Chuck Noll, Rod Dowhower, Joe Gibbs and Sid Gillman.

"One day the Harbor JC coach called me into his office and said, 'You've got a call from San Diego. Coach Coryell wants to talk to you,' " HE remembered. "(Coryell) said, 'You've got to come down here,' so I drove to San Diego.

"When I walked into the office, a bunch of coaches were sitting around. One was a heavy coach, John Madden. Another was Chuck Noll. Rod Dowhower and Joe Gibbs were there, too. They were graduate assistants. The only man in the room I recognized was Sid Gillman (then coach of the Chargers).

"They said, 'It's all set up. You've got to play for Don Coryell.' So I moved in with Gary Garrison (later a Charger star) and Gibbs and Jeff Staggs, and I never regretted my decision."

So the tradition was begun.

Gone was the conservatism that limited the Aztecs to 72 pass attempts in 1961 and 62 in '62. Born was the style of play only foreshadowed when Dowhower, HIS predecessor at SDSU and now passing coach of the Washington Redskins, threw 120 passes in 1963 and 193 in '64.

But while Dowhower was reasonably successful, it wasn't until HE, a Los Angeles native, came down from Harbor JC that SDSU became a quarterback factory. HE planted the seed that has sprouted into a tradition for Aztec quarterbacks to graduate to the National Football League.

After two spectacular seasons in which SDSU lost only two of 21 games and won the 1966 NCAA College Division championship--the Aztecs didn't move up to Division I until 1969-- HE became the first Aztec to be picked in the first round of the NFL draft. He went to the Green Bay Packers and stayed in the league eight seasons.

After HIM came Dennis Shaw, Brian Sipe, Jesse Freitas, Craig Penrose, Matt Kofler and, in the first round this year, Dan McGwire. Todd Santos set an NCAA record for passing yardage, only to fall short in several NFL tryouts.

In 1965, HE completed 123 of 206 passes for 1,688 yards and 21 touchdowns, with 11 interceptions. He led SDSU to an 8-2 record. In 1966, he hit 134 of 253 for 2,234 yards and 18 touchdowns, with 14 interceptions. The Aztecs went 11-0 en route to the national title, and he was named the Little All-American quarterback.

From there,  HE became a part of Vince Lombardi's dynasty in Green Bay. As a rookie, he was a member of the Packers' winning team in Super Bowl II. Then he moved on to the Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns before winding up his NFL career with the Chargers in 1974.
Now 46,  HE lives in the Vail Valley, one of Colorado's ski havens, and is vice president of real estate sales for a land-development firm in nearby Edwards.

Looking back,  HE retraced the steps that led him to SDSU and a place in the school's Hall of Fame. He originally enrolled at Washington State after starring in both football and baseball at Gardena High School.

"When I was in high school, Bobby Beathard (now Charger general manager), coached me a lot," HE said. "He was hanging out on the beach after finishing college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and he was a friend of our coach, Stan Smith. He told me I could throw the ball better than 90% of the college quarterbacks in the country.

"I was a big Trojan fan and I had my heart set on going to USC. But John McKay suggested I go to junior college for a couple years, and I was kind of heartbroken. My bubble had busted.

"I was accepted at Stanford, which had a passing coach in Cactus Jack Curtice, but he got the ax, so I went to Washington State. The coach there, Jim Sutherland, was a great quarterback tutor, but they fired him and brought in Bert Clark, a three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust type.

"In spring ball that year, I would hand off to Clancy Williams, who later played for the Rams, three out of every four plays. Then I'd be the third pulling guard, which wasn't really for me.

"Keith Lincoln (Charger running back from Washington State) was helping out as a coach between seasons, and he said to me, 'You've got to get out of here if you want to play pro football. There's a small school in San Diego that has the best coach in the country. His name is Don Coryell, and you ought to contact him.' "

Actually,  HE didn't have to call Coryell. Coryell called him.

"I enrolled at Harbor Junior College for one semester and played that fall (1964)," HE said. "I had heard from 37 schools and I was going to go to Florida State--I was kind of committed."

Then came the visit to San Diego.

Said HE: "They told me I couldn't have picked a better place, that Coryell was pass-oriented and that no matter how small the school was, the pros would find me. They were right."

Of course, having receivers like Garrison and Haven Moses didn't hurt. Garrison was HIS prime target in 1965, Moses in 1966.

"One thing Gibbs told me really made an impression," HE said. "He said even if I got hurt, I was going to play. I liked that, because I had heard horror stories about borderline guys who would get hurt and end up playing sixth-string."

Of Moses, who was to make it big in Buffalo and Denver, HE said, "He was all set to go to USC. O.J. Simpson was there. I told him, 'You've got to come down here. Coryell is a great coach, and you'll get a chance to catch the ball.' What a receiver he was."

When the Packers made HIM a first-round draft choice in 1967, he joined a juggernaut that had won four NFL championships in the '60s, plus Super Bowl I. Bart Starr was the resident quarterback, a future Hall of Famer, and with Zeke Bratkowski also around,  HE seemed to be facing a long period on the sidelines.

Starr, however, was becoming injury-prone in his advancing years, so HE broke into three games in 1967 and the finale in 1968. He spent most of the latter season in military service, but the one game he played was a gem.

"I got the notice to report after the first exhibition game," he said. "That broke my heart. I didn't get back until the last two games of the season. Starr was hurt, with bad ribs, and the last game was against the Bears in Chicago.

"They deactivated Starr and activated me. Zeke started the game, and they had Billy Stevens, too. Then Zeke got hurt, so Billy threw down his parka. But I heard somebody yell, ‘YOU, get in there,' and I couldn't believe it. I said, 'You don't mean me. You mean Billy.'

"Well, they meant me, all right, and when Jerry Kramer (All-Pro guard) saw me in the huddle, he said, 'What the hell are you doing in here?' That was a great confidence builder."

HE lost little time in making Kramer a believer. He threw touchdown passes of 67 yards to Jim Grabowski and 25 yards to Boyd Dowler, and finished 10 for 16 for 187 yards as the Packers cost the Bears the Central Division title with a 28-27 victory.

"I called one play that Dowler said wouldn't work, but it went for a touchdown," HE said. "Later I hit him five more times, and by the end of the game he said, 'I'm not going to talk to you anymore.' "

With Starr still in and out of the lineup, HE played in all 14 games in 1969 and led the league with an average of 8.96 yards per attempt. He completed 89 of 168 passes.

At that point, HE seemed to be on his way. But he played little in 1970, then was traded to the Broncos on draft day in 1971. He threw 173 passes for the Broncos that year, but a total of only eight more in his last three seasons in the league.

HE recalled that a tragic twist of fate played a part in pushing his career downhill.

"My Packer contract ran through '69, and by that time Vince Lombardi was coaching the Redskins," HE said. "He made it known that if I'd play out my option in '70, I could go to Washington and back up Sonny Jurgensen, then be the Redskins' quarterback of the '70s.

"I really didn't negotiate whole-heartedly with Green Bay, because I had that ace in the hole. Then, lo and behold, Vince goes in for a physical and he's dead of cancer in September of '70.

"I finally signed a new contract in Green Bay, and a lot of people thought I'd be getting more playing time. I went to Phil Bengtson, who had succeeded Lombardi as coach, and asked him what my chances were. He said, 'As long as Bart Starr is here, he'll be our quarterback. He's a legend.' I couldn't argue with that.

"Then I went to Bart, and he told me he expected to play at least three more years, maybe five. I said to myself, 'Holy smokes, I'm stuck up here. I'm not going to play.'

"Shortly after that, Bengtson got fired and Dan Devine came in. Devine called me up and said, 'I'll see you in two or three weeks,' then traded me to Denver.

"The ironic thing about that was that Starr hurt his shoulder in training camp that summer and never played again. Scott Hunter, who had been a sixth-round draft choice, got the job by default. Talk about the fickle finger of fate."

HE had a knee operation after the 1969 season in Green Bay and another after he got to Denver in 1971.

"After that I was never more than a backup quarterback," he said.

HIS stay in Denver was limited to one season, and a key reason was that he didn't see eye to eye with Coach John Ralston.

"He (Ralston) was my coach in the East-West Shrine Game, and I got only nine or 10 plays the whole game," HE said. "After the game, Kyle Rote interviewed me on NBC. I was hot under the collar and I cussed Ralston out. Kyle looked at me in amazement, but John and I never got along.

"The Broncos fired Lou Saban in '71, and I found out later that Coryell had the job but Ralston connived his way in. I knew when he came in that my days in Denver were numbered. I got a note from him saying, 'Looking forward to renewing old acquaintances.' Soon after that, I was traded to Cleveland."

HE lost out in Cleveland to Sipe, a graduate of Grossmont High School and a resident of Encinitas, and he isn't happy about the way his fellow ex-Aztec got the job.

"It was the year (1974) of the strike during training camp," HE said. "Sipe had been on the taxi squad for two years, and when the veterans went on strike, he crossed the picket line. He said, 'I've never played, so I'm not a veteran and I'm crossing the line.'

"Brian went in and looked good, and owner Art Modell called me in. He said, 'Brian is a company guy and you aren't. He crossed the line and you didn't. You have 48 hours to be in San Diego. We've sold you to the Chargers on waivers.' "

So HE returned to the scene of his college triumphs, only this time he didn't throw a pass. He backed up Dan Fouts and Freitas for one season, then jumped to the Portland Thunder of the ill-fated World Football League.

"That was when I made a mistake in judgment," HE said. "Tommy Prothro was the Chargers' coach, and he wanted me to be sort of a player-coach. He said, 'Take Fouts and Freitas under your arm and impart the knowledge you gained from Lombardi and Starr. Baby-sit these guys.'

"I had a chance to do the same thing in '75, but I was too bull-headed. I went to Portland, and at one point I was the starting quarterback, offensive coordinator and head coach. Greg Barton got fired as coach, and I took his place for two or three weeks.

"We didn't last the year. One day, Bob Brodhead, the general manager, called us in to get our paychecks. He said, 'If I were you, I'd get to the bank right away and cash these things. By the end of the day, the sheriff will be here.'

"When we left his office, it looked like the Indy time trials with the guys rushing down the street to the bank. Some of them were still in their uniforms."

That was it for HIS football career.

"I talked to some teams, but nothing transpired," he said. "Comes the time to get into something else."

HE dealt in marketing, advertising, mortgage banking and real estate before settling into his current position. He and his wife, Barbara, whom he met in Milwaukee, have two daughters and one son.

"My career wasn't long, and it could have been better, but I'm very happy," HE said. "I have a lot of wonderful memories."


american flagTUESDAY,  SEPTEMBER 12,  2017  - “The strength of an Army lies in strict discipline and undeviating obedience to its officers.”     Thucydides

*********** 9/11 has come and gone, and with so much of the nation’s attention focused on the more immediate disasters in Texas and Florida it’s understandable that it didn’t get the attention it might have.  Fortunately, even the terrorists seemed to forget what day it was.

There were some real heroes back on that horrible day, none of them more heroic than an Englishman - a Cornishman, actually - named Rick Rescorla.  Read what I wrote about him shortly after 9/11.  I thought he should have received a Presidential Medal, but evidently the people in the White House thought poets and singers and athletes were more deserving of our nation’s gratitude.

http://www.coachwyatt.com/rickrescorla.htm

Today, old friend John Rothwell of Austin, Texas, remembering what I wrote years ago, very thoughtfully sent me a terribly touching article about that great man, written back in February, 2002, entitled “The Real Heroes are Dead.”

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2002/02/11/the-real-heroes-are-dead

*********** I think I’ve finally figured out why the NFL game is so boring, and I’ve got the answer to the problem.  In fact, I’ve had it for years.

The NFL game is boring because there is so much passing.  That's understandable because the rules steer offensive thinking toward passing.  And besides, the fans want to see the ball in the air.

But consider:

Through Sunday’s games, NFL teams threw the ball 788 times and ran it 484 times. 

Of those 788 passes, 238 were incomplete. Some may have been of the exciting variety, true, but   a number of those incompletions were  throwaways, the result of what in another time would have been called intentional grounding.

And then there were the holding penalties. Without having done the research, I’m going to hazard a guess that the vast majority of plays called back are the consequence of offensive holding on pass plays.

Now, as to the completions, the exciting aspect of the passing game: I don’t have the time or inclination to try to prove this, but of the 550, it seems to me that at least 3/4 of them are to a receiver immediately going out of bounds, or diving to the ground to catch it, or being tackled immediately or soon after the catch, or to a back who’s hanging around as a safety valve.  Hitch and hook. Dink and dunk.

Surely the NFL knows that  most exciting plays in football are those when a player with the ball is running in the open field, a threat to score. Speed is exciting, and the NFL has plenty of it. But it doesn't provide fans enough chances to see it.

By my estimate, out of a total of nearly 800 passes,
there were fewer than 200 plays in which the runner actually ran with the ball more than 10 yards after the catch - or caught it in the end zone.

Some excitement.

My solution?  Give the receivers more room to run. Make it more difficult for defensive backs to target them.   Create more room for runners to run the ball.

How?  For the 100th time: widen the f—king field.

The cost? Come on. On stadium “upgrades” alone for this season, the Dolphins spent $600 million, the Panthers $172 million, the Ravens 120 million,  the Lions  $100 million.  The money was spent to improve the “game experience” for fans, mostly of the wealthy variety.  But how long can all those giant scoreboards and theater boxes and terrace suites and dining spaces conceal the simple  fact that the product on the field sucks?

So go for it, NFL owners - spend a little money on improving  the game itself. Hell, it’s not even your money, anyhow.  As always, the taxpayers will pay for the bill.

Jeff Horn and Ed*********** In Australia, where legal sports gambling has long been an accepted part of the culture, my son, Ed, does work for a large sports book.   Recently,  Jeff Horn, the Aussie who won the WBO Welterweight title in July by beating Manny Pacquiao, paid a visit to their office promoting action on the  Mayweather-McGregor match, and while there, he very obligingly accepted an invitation to show off his skills. Ed and The Champ are standing in a ring at a nearby gym where Horn was persuaded to spar briefly with another office worker - a much bigger guy who played professional football and is in pretty good physical condition.  Both fighters wore headgear and heavier-than-usual gloves.  I don’t know how the office betting went, but from what I saw of the “match” (Ed showed me a copy of some film shot by someone’s phone), in the space of less than a minute, Horn, although careful  to pull his punches,  still floored his larger opponent at least twice. Both times, the knock-down punches came so fast you could scarcely see them.   It was absolutely  shocking to see - up close - how quick a professional boxer’s hands are, and if I’d seen that video earlier, I’d have bet the farm on Mayweather.


*********** Lots to say about GT-Tenn but remember all of those other vids you've collected over the years?

"Arkansas Linebacker Drills" where the LBs are taught how to recover a fumble at a sideline so that the ball doesn't go out of bounds (that the referee can see...), the LB leaps over the ball and cradles it so that the LB is not out of bounds and etc.?

I'm tellin' ya', from years experience, you have to prepare a Drill for this.  Run the last play again and consider it these ways:

1. Pre-Season Practice: QB makes his Mesh with proper footwork, PITCHES to Coach. Repeats with RB.  Laughs and jokes.

2. During the Season: QB makes his Mesh with proper footwork, PITCHES to RB.

3. Watches Navy run the play on TV, Navy QB makes his Mesh with proper footwork, PITCHES to RB.

4. Big Game on National TEE VEE. QB feels that he has to take the game on his shoulders, rushes Mesh a bit, takes 2 steps, throws ball out and pulls it back and ...HE WILL NOT PITCH.  Runs into Traffic, loses game.

Guaranteed.  I don't bet but I'd bet a Million that he would not Pitch.  Put Navy in for that one play and the ball gets pitched.  Army = same.

Look over the last several years at the GT QBs when they give to the FB and JUMP backwards.  Are they being coached to do that?

GT is not a "True" Triple Option team.  Haven't been for several years.

Charlie Wilson
Crystal River, Florida


Yup- Run that last play again and you’ll see that if the QB had been running a true option - or if he hadn’t made up his mind in advance that he was going to be The Man, he’d have pitched, and GT would have walked out of there the winner.


*********** From a coach who got an 8-man football DVD from me.

Coach, great video, this will definitely do the trick.  Can you tell me how the plays are named with-out the fullback.  If its an 88-G-O does the QB take on the first number or how does that work.  Thanks again

Coach,

There is no QB.

Just imagine that there is an imaginary QB who tosses the ball back to those two backs, the A or the B. (Or, in left formation, the C or B).


*********** A friend who’s not coaching this year wrote me…

I decided to be a Ref while I am not coaching.  I'll admit that it is fun and is giving me a different perspective of the game, but I'd rather be coaching.  So far I have worked as a line judge, head linesman, and Umpire, during youth and JH games, and a few high school scrimmages.  It doesn't take long to figure out if a coach knows what he is doing when I can hear them instructing their teams.  It's been interesting so far.  (there are a lot of really bad coaches)

*********** An Illinois Congressman named Luis Gutierrez had the gall to call Chief of Staff General John Kelly (USMC Retired) “a disgrace to the uniform he used to wear.”

“General Kelly, when he was the head of Homeland Security, lied straight to the faces of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus about preventing the mass deportation of DREAMers.  Now as Chief of Staff, this former general is executing the plan to take away their lifeline and taking steps to criminalize young people who live and work here legally," Gutierrez released in a statement. "General Kelly is a hypocrite who is a disgrace to the uniform he used to wear.  He has no honor and should be drummed out of the White House along with the white supremacists and those enabling the President’s actions by 'just following orders.'"

Imagine:  Luis Gutierrez, a pissant Congressman who’s been a Chicago politician (and all that that connotes)  for more than 30 years, calling a Marine General - whose son, Marine Second Lieutenant Robert Kelly, was killed in Afghanistan in 2010 after stepping on a land mine while on his third tour - a liar, a disgrace to his uniform, and man of no honor. 

Damn shame we don’t live back in the days when those accusations called for a duel.

*********** After the first complete weekend of regular-season NFL games,  for me nothing could match the sheer excitement on Thursday night of seeing Tom Brady get sacked! At least twice!  Why, for a couple of plays there, he was actually forced to join the other 21 guys on the field in their game of football.

Nothing could have been better for the game of football.

Yes, he’s a hell of a passer and all that, but you have to admit that if an immobile quarterback playing statue behind the line, untouched, as he looks for an open man  is the football of the future - our game is doomed.

*********** While I’m on this same subject - of cosseted quarterbacks - it’s hard to reconcile the type of protection the officials are giving them along with the ability to avoid a sack by simply throwing the ball away.

In fact, you could make a strong argument for having two sections in the Hall of Fame of quarterbacks - one for when intentional grounding was forbidden, one for after it was allowed.   Or one for when offensive linemen had to keep their hands against their chests, and one for after they were allowed to hold. Or one for when defensive backs were allowed to contact receivers downfield, and one for after they were only allowed one “chuck” and then only before five yards.

Ah, the hell with it.

*********** Michael Bennett is writing a book entitled "Things That Make White People Uncomfortable.”

Now isn’t that ironic as hell, considering that white people are constantly being told that  they can’t possibly know anything about what it means to be black?  Shouldn't he walk a mile in my shoes first? (It'll make him uncomfortable - they're only 10-1/2)

*********** We discussed the Parable of Talents a few weeks ago in our classroom session.  I suggested that an athlete has four areas of talent that need to be strengthened and maximized.  Physical, intellectual, "teamship" (placing the needs of the team ahead of selfish needs), and grit.  Well, this weekend the coaches decided to really start challenging our players to work on the intellectual part of the game.  We assigned homework!  Basically, we gave them a blank scouting report form and told them to bring it back completed to films on Monday.  They have to get starters identified, base defensive formation(s), base offensive formations and plays, and identify specifics about the kicking game.  I will be interested to see how it goes tonight.  I've seen lots of guys working on it study hall today, so I will take that as a good sign.

I hope all is well.

Todd Hollis
Head Football Coach
Elmwood High School
Elmwood, Illinois

(Coach Hollis wrote that before Friday night - his Trojans are now 3-0)

*********** By Steve Sheldon - in townhall.com

Today’s headlines tell me that Kansas City Chiefs’ player Marcus Peters sat out the National Anthem during last night’s NFL opener. I wouldn’t know, I wasn’t watching.

As consumers in America, we have a freedom to choose the products we purchase with the money we keep from our hard work after our government masters take their half. With that money, we buy the things we need and enjoy. It’s a simple concept; I don’t need or enjoy the NFL, so I do not participate in its offerings. I don’t go to games, I don’t watch them on television or the internet, and I don’t purchase NFL or player paraphernalia. I do this for a variety of reasons:

    1.    The NFL has become a bastion of political correctness and Leftist thought. It may be a small handful of players opposing their country’s anthem, but as long as it is accepted by the owners and coaches, then they have lost me as a viewer. Yes, in the U.S.A. you have the freedom to express your views however ridiculous they may be. I, too, have a right to express my disapproval of your views through my pocketbook.The NFL is a business that sells a product. I happen to now find that product unattractive, overpriced, and out of style - so I refuse to buy it.

    2.    The NFL has immersed itself in the hip-hop culture. Yes, I know this automatically makes me a racist according to the Left, but I simply don’t like the hip-hop culture and the things it represents that have nothing to do with skin color. I don’t approve of a culture whose music refers to women as “b**ches” and “h*s”, glorifies drug usage and violence, and encourages an illicit lifestyle. Plus, I don’t like the clothing. Pull up your pants, you look like an idiot. When this type of “music” blares out over the sound system in the stadium, as it did when I attended my last NFL game, I’m gone.
      
    3.    It’s a game. As I age, certain things become more valuable to me. Time is a resource and I refuse to give it up to something I don’t enjoy. I do still attend some college games and cheer for my alma mater, so it’s not the game I don’t enjoy; rather, it’s the commercialization and the culture. At the last professional football game I attended, I looked around at the people spending $9.00 for a beer wearing their $90 team jersey, and decided I didn’t want to be one of them. I can still enjoy the game by watching my local high school team. I can even walk onto the field afterwards and make a young person feel good by congratulating them on a good game, great tackle, or exceptional run.

    4.    The anthem. I served my country for six years, and the National Anthem brings a tear to my eye every time I hear it. Every. Time. It represents the collective sacrifice of my friends and colleagues and everyone who went before us. It’s the same flag that was draped over my former teammate’s coffin after being killed in Afghanistan. It’s personal to me, very personal. To sit it out, talk during it, raise your fist, or any other form of disrespect is unacceptable to me. Period. I’m simply not willing to look beyond that. There is no pass on this one. If you can’t stand still and respect the flag of this great nation and everything for which it stands, then you and everyone associated with you isn’t getting one dime from me. When Chiefs fans replace the last word of the anthem with the word “Chiefs” I don’t find it cute or excuse the behavior. It’s disrespectful to the millions of brave souls who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that these slobs could swill their $9 beers and scream at players on a Sunday afternoon. It’s inappropriate, disrespectful and I’m not going to participate.

One aside on this topic: If I understand the argument, those who sit out the anthem think America is a racist country and the national anthem somehow represents the idea that all cops are racists. Huh? Seriously, your argument is just dumb and doesn’t even deserve a response. I would not disagree with those who would suggest that only a handful of players in the NFL hate America and therefore the rest shouldn’t be punished for that reason alone just like all cops are not racists. To that argument, reference items 1-3, 5, 6. Additionally, we are judged by the company we keep. You want to have an America hater on your team? Then I chose not to support you.

    5.    We all have our likes and dislikes, and I simply dislike the culture that has become sports today. Geez, how much can we talk about and “analyze” a game? Admittedly, I pay attention to politics as much as a sports junkie watches games, but what politicians do affects my life. What’s going on in North Korea matters much more than whether or not Tom Brady completed 50% of his passes. If North Korea lobs over a nuke, you can kiss your sports goodbye, among other things.

    6.    Taxpayer subsidized stadiums. A significant number of sports stadiums are subsidized or are built with taxpayer dollars. Does the taxpayer get to park for free? Do they receive free admission to the game? Are they allowed to use the locker room or weight room during the week? Do they get a free "I helped pay for this stadium" t-shirt? Of course not. Government should not participate in local business other than by providing an environment where business thrives. While I commend the shrewd business owner who increases his wealth from government handouts, I do not approve of the practice and refuse to participate in something that encourages it.

So, Colin Kaepernick, Marcus Peters and every other flag protesting twit, this American is done with the likes of you. And, I’m not alone. Welcome to the unemployment line coming soon to your future.

https://townhall.com/notebook/stevesheldon/2017/09/10/the-nfl-is-a-product-i-refuse-to-purchase-any-longer-n2378823

*********** Why you shouldn’t be chest-bumping your players…

http://247sports.com/Bolt/Watch-Hawaii-coach-suffers-serious-injuries-after-chest-bump-107070194

*********** If you don’t live in or near a big city, especially one of the more fashionable ones that attract more than their share of the “homeless,” you may not be aware of the ugly fact that people who sleep on sidewalks and under bridges aren’t very particular about where they defecate.  Live-and-let-live liberalism contributing to the defilement of our culture.

Many cities, such as Denver, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland, seemingly resigned to the fact that they must allow the homeless to occupy their streets, have been experimenting with public bathrooms of one sort or another in their downtowns.

But they can’t just say that they’re doing it to deal with the street sh—ters.  Oh, no - They claim they’re doing it for tourists, “lunching downtown office workers,” and people who walk and bike downtown and use public transit.  (That’s what they say.  I’m still trying to figure out how people who drive their cars downtown have been managing all these years.) 

Denver has been trying out a mobile bathroom - three stalls with flush toilets.

Oh - and syringe disposal boxes.  But not for the homeless, a group that includes large numbers of drug users.  Oh, no. They’re for people with “diabetes and other conditions.”

Yeah, it’s those damn diabetics again, leaving their discarded needles all over our parks.

QUIZ ANSWER - Ron Kramer was one of the very first men in professional football to play a position now called “tight end.”

He was a fantastic athlete - in high school in Detroit, he was all-state in three sports. At Michigan, at a time when freshman were ineligible to compete on varsity teams, he won nine letters - three each in football, basketball and track.

In football, he played two ways as an end, and did his team’s punting and placekicking. He was All-Big Ten as a sophomore and All-America as a junior and senior. 

Following his senior year, his #87 was retired, (although a few years ago, as a promotional and recruiting stunt, Michigan “unretired” his and the other four retired numbers).

In basketball he was twice second-team All-Big Ten, and once third team.  He was captain of the team his senior year. When he finished his career he was the school’s all-time leading scorer and was a fifth-round draft pick of the Detroit Pistons.

Kramer was the fourth pick overall by the Green Bay Packers but after playing one year with them, missed a season while serving in the Air Force. 

When he returned to football, Green Bay had a new coach, and in 1961, that new coach moved him to “Tight End.” At that position, he not only put his great hands to use, but as a blocker he was a key component in the “Power Sweep” that would lead them to NFL championships in 1961 and 1962. In the 1961 championship game, his coach’s first title in Green Bay, he caught four passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns. He was All-Pro in 1962.  In 1965, after playing out his option, as was done in those days before free agency, he signed with his hometown Detroit Lions.

Ron Kramer is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.



CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING RON KRAMER
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
DAVE KEMMICK - LANCASTER, PENNSYLVANIA
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
SHEP CLARKE - PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON

*********** Great tribute to Ron Kramer…

https://fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/14/remembering-ron-kramer-packers-rock-at-tight-end/


*********** “My No. 1 play,” Vince Lombardi wrote in his book, “Vince Lombardi on Football,” (1973) “has been the Power Sweep, sometimes called the Lombardi Sweep.  It began to be a part of me during my days at Fordham. I was impressed playing against the single-wing seep the way those Pittsburgh teams of Jock Sutherland ran it.  And I was impressed afterward when I attended coaching clinics and the single wing was discussed.

“Today, our sweep has a lot of those Sutherland qualities, the same guard-pulling technique, the same ball-carrier’s cut-back feature.  And there is nothing spectacular about it, it’s just  yard-gainer.  But on that sideline, when the sweep starts to develop, you can hear those linebackers and defensive backs yelling ‘Sweep!’ ‘Sweep!’ and almost see their eyes pop as those guards turn upfield after them. But maybe it’s my No. 1 play because it requires all eleven men to play as one to make it succeed, and that’s what ‘team’ means.”

Green bay sweep

The diagram is from the book.

The two guards, Jerry Kramer and Fred “Fuzzy” Thurston, became famous for their role in the play, and rightly so. To anyone who appreciated real football, watching them pull around end was a beautiful sight.

But the block of the “Y” (Tight End) was as important to the play as that of anyone on the field, and that’s where Ron Kramer came in.  His job was to take the Outside Linebacker (nearly everyone played a 4-3 then) whichever way he could, and the running back would make his cut upfield based on Kramer’s block.

QUIZ: He came from a small California college to become the All-Star quarterback of a championship professional  team. 

He attended high school in Los Angeles, and in college one of his teammates was Jim Mora (the elder).

After college, he served a year in the Army between unsuccessful tryouts with five different teams, he caught on with the original Los Angeles Chargers.

He was seven times All-AFL QB, and in 1965 he was the league’s most valuable player.

As the Bills’ starting QB, he led them to the only two championships in their history.

He was a co-founder of the AFL Players’ Association.

Following his football career he became active in politics, and served nine terms as Congressman from Western New York.

He served as Housing Secretary under the first President Bush, and in 1996 he ran as the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate in a losing campaign.

He had two sons who both played professional football, one in the NFL and one in the CFL.




american flagFRIDAY,  SEPTEMBER 8,  2017  - “Our Country won’t go on forever, if we stay soft as we are now. There won’t be any AMERICA because some foreign soldiery will invade us and take our women and breed a hardier race."  General  Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller, USM

*********** They’re walking around the streets of our town, Camas, Washington,  with masks on - if they’re walking at all.   While the nation’s attention has been focused - rightfully so - on Irma the Super Hurricane, the forests to the east have been on fire, and Northwest Oregon and ash on carSouthwest Washington have been hit heavily by smoke accompanied by ash falling from the sky (shown covering my wife’s car).

 The fire - caused by idiot kids throwing (and filming themselves throwing) firecrackers -  has closed the only Interstate highway into Portland  from the East, and highway traffic has been diverted to alternate routes, with passenger cars going on a winding, two-lane road along the Columbia River and truck traffic taking a wider but much longer road over a mountain pass.

The smoky air is capable of causing respiratory problems, especially for people with asthma, and people in the Portland area have been advised to stay inside or, if they must go out,  to wear masks and avoid exertion. (Hardware stores quickly ran out of masks.) School sports teams have been unable to practice out of doors, and this Friday night’s schedule of games is - literally - up in the air.

With the air quality even worse in Eugene, 100 miles to the south of Portland, the Oregon Ducks have had to bus their football team to the coast - 1-1/2 hours away - to practice, and there’s concern that the Oregon-Nebraska game in Eugene Saturday afternoon and the Oregon State-Minnesota game in Corvallis on Saturday night might have to be postponed.

Sunset through hazeMeanwhile, my wife and I spent last weekend at our place in Ocean Shores, Washington, to get away from the 90+ degree heat in Camas (it’s been in the 60s here on the coast), and as neighbors began to text us with news and photos of the conditions in Camas - the photo here was taken at 5:30 on Wednesday - and recommending that we stay where we are, that’s what we did. It’s definitely not the worst place to be stuck.  It’s like living in nature’s air freshener, and  now that Labor Day’s come and gone the beaches, never terribly crowded anyhow, are virtually empty. 


********* At the opposite corner of the country from us, Florida is preparing for The Big One.  And in Polk County, in the central part of the state, Sheriff Grady Judd is telling wanted criminals and sex offenders that  there will be deputies on the scene at shelters to keep them out.  But it’s not as if they’ll be turned out to face the force of Irma.  He guarantees them shelter - in the county jail.

https://bluelivesmatter.blue/hurricane-irma-shelters-polk-county-sheriff/




*********** Was that Patriots-Chiefs pre-game extravaganza excessive or what?

I’m definitely opposed to the NFL’s self-defeating policy of allowing disgruntled players to boycott the national anthem. But please tell me why letting a young woman dressed like a slut “perform” our national anthem in a rendition of her choosing is somehow less disrespectful of our country and its flag than sitting down quietly  until she’s finished her act.

*********** I heard a guy on the radio the other day saying that if Kaepernick were good enough to come in as a starter, a team could maybe overlook this sh—.  But he’s not that good, and nobody seriously claims that he is. The argument is that he’s as good as a lot of NFL backups, and that’s  probably so. But backups are brought in to play a role - and  stay in the background - and the last thing any team wants is a backup QB who could be a divisive influence in any way.

*********** My friend Shep Clarke of Puyallup, Washington sent me a link that confirms the source of Dee Andros’ nickname (“The Great Pumpkin”) as  longtime Spokane sportswriter Harry Missildine. Missildine, a very clever guy, is also the one who suggested  “Big Sky” as the name for a conference. 

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2005/dec/25/area-legend-missildine-dies-at-age-85/

*********** When you’re born rich,  you can be out of work and still be better off than an average  guy with a full-time job.

That’s the moral for the dozens of college football chumps who went out and won this past weekend but didn’t gain any ground on the rich kid - Florida State - who lost badly on Saturday, but still, because it was (ahem) voted #2 in the pre-season polling, remains in the Top Ten this week.

Florida State lost, but because they’re royalty they’re  ahead of Washington, Oklahoma State, Wisconsin, Auburn, LSU, Stanford, Georgia, Louisville, Miami, Virginia Tech, TCU, Washington State, Utah, Colorado, Cal, Maryland etc., etc., (there are more).   They all won their openers, but they’re just working stiffs.  Yes, Florida State may have got an ass whipping, but that pre-season  #2 selection gave them a velvet cushion to land on.

Put USC in that same category.  The Trojans won, yes, but they struggled against Western Michigan.  They were tied going into the fourth quarter. Nevertheless, because they had that inheritance - that high pre-season ranking - they’re still in the top five.

And Florida, at #22.  Are you serious?  After the way they looked against Michigan? Any team that has ten players ineligible to play in its opening game deserves to have to claw its way back from rock bottom.

So it goes in the high-stakes world of playoff football,  where being a blueblood outweighs on-field performance.

*********** Some twerp named Benjamin Wallace-Wells who lives in New York and writes for New Yorker magazine thinks the Cajun Navy is not such a good thing.  He might change his mind  if Times Square were under two feet of water.  Actually, knowing New York politicians, the Cajun Navy (if they cared enough to rescue liberal Yankees) would be required to pass a test and  buy a Rescuers License and join a union and certify that the Navy was sufficiently diverse  before being permitted to rescue people.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/why-does-america-need-the-cajun-navy

***********   Only read the first sentence or two (of the QUIZ) . Byron "Whizzer" White. I remember an SI story about Whizzer White when I was a kid. Inspired me up as only Clair Bee's Chip Hilton series did.

John Vermillion                        
St Petersburg, Florida

Quick -  Name one current football star that inspires kids the way a Whizzer White could.  (And I actually remember Clair Bee as a very good basketball coach.  How many of today’s basketball coaches have even read a book, much less written one?)

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

Have been a die hard Tech fan since the national title season 1990 (it was hard to root for the Gophers then, so I was a front runner)

I really admire Paul Johnson, but that game was gut wrenching.

2 missed FG, a fumble by running back as Tech is driving for the 2 TD lead to ice the game.

I think Coach Johnson didn't believe his defense could stop Tenn. anymore, and they would be playing for a 2pt in 3rd OT. I get the logic, I hated that particular play call.

I didn't even realize you weren't with the Hyaks this fall. Hope things ended on your terms after all the years you have put in with kids all over the state.

Take care,

Mick Yanke
Cokato Minnesota

Not exactly on my terms, but that’s the way it is when you’re an assistant. When a new Supt came in and made things tough on my HC - and a lot of the other teachers - he jumped at the chance to become AD in a slightly larger, much better-run district not far away.  I couldn’t blame him.  Actually, I supported his move. We had a great relationship and worked well together but it took a lot of hard work to get things to the point we had them, and  there’s no way I’d have stayed and tried starting all over again with somebody I know nothing about.

Atlanta Managers
*********** Few jobs are as important to a coach and a team - and few are as hard to fill and as underappreciated - as team manager, so I was really impressed to learn that the Atlanta Touchdown Club recognizes selected student managers at its annual dinner and awards each of them a $1,000 scholarship.


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

Two days after Minnesota blew a 31 point lead and lost to Texas Tech in the 2006 Insight Bowl Glen Mason lost his job at Minnesota.  A&M's catastrophic collapse against UCLA was its first game of this season.  In today's world (sad to say)  that the A&M brass may already be looking for Sumlin's replacement.

A forced fumble (strip) at the end of a long run in the fourth quarter is what led to Georgia Tech's loss to Tennessee.  Had the ball carrier secured the ball Tech would have had possession at the Vol's 20 yard line and likely score again to go up by two touchdowns.  Another critical mistake occurred late in the game while Tech was driving again when the Tech center got called for an illegal block.  Tech also didn't help themselves by missing on two FG attempts.  Defensively Tennessee had no answer to Tech's option offense until the final play of the second OT.  In the end my take on the game was that Tech lost the game and not so much that Tennessee won the game.

Kudos to Mike London and his Howard Bison, and to Turner Gill and his Liberty Flames for pulling off those two upsets.  Although I still think UNLV is a basketball school.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** Dad,
 
First time I’ve seen this ESPN coaches’ room. It’s really good. Mack Brown says ‘we used to say RSP – Repeat Successful Plays’… ha ha.

Ed Wyatt
Melbourne, Australia

Interesting that Mack said that.  That’s my play-calling philosophy, and the key to success when you run the ball, but it often seems as if there’s not one coach in a hundred with the discipline to do it.

Some are slaves of their creative streaks.  Some are more interested in style points than in winning.  Some are simply creatures of the short-attention-span generation.

John McKissick, of Summerville, South Carolina, who at the time of his retirement was the winningest football coach in US high school history, used to say, “It’s not my job to stop my offense - it's your job to stop my offense."


*********** I’m reading a book titled “That First Season,” by John Eisenberg.  It’s about Vince Lombardi’s initial season at Green Bay.  It begins with a brief history of the Packers and what got them to the point where they were the laughingstock of the NFL and Green Bay was the “Siberia” where coaches of other teams threatened to send underperforming players;  it deals with the Packers’ shaky finances, and their quirky community  ownership (did I tell you I’m a stockholder?) and resultant micromanagement by committee  that stood in the way of any coach who dared to take on the Green Bay job.  And it deals with the search that eventual led to Lombardi, where although highly respected in New York as the  coach of the Giants’ offense (the term “coordinator” had yet to be coined), he was a relative unknown elsewhere.

(It doesn’t really get that deeply into Lombardi and his background, which is fine.  That’s been done,  as well as any writer could possibly do it, by David Maraniss, in his “When Pride Still Mattered.”)

Eisenberg noted a couple of things that I found rather funny, in the context of today’s NFL.

First of all, just a few days after Lombardi and the Giants had lost in overtime to the (Baltimore) Colts in “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” Lombardi went to work at his “off-season job” at a bank. That’s how well NFL assistants, even a “coordinator” for the well-off New York Giants, were paid.

Second, when Lombardi laid out his philosophy to his staff, there was some skepticism about how his insistence on perfection was going to play with veteran pros, who were “older, wiser and harder to manage” than college players.  They weren’t paid enough,  the thinking went, to put up with that sort of B-S.

Funny, back then you couldn’t coach them because they weren’t paid enough.  Now, 50+ years later, they’re paid so much that coaches hesitate to get too tough on their stars, knowing full well that the owners may very well side with the high-paid star and fire the coach.


***********  Coach,

Throwing for 170 in Week 1 was the worst thing that could have happened to me as a play caller.  We fixed a ton of issues on the offensive line and really started moving the ball.  But, I got cute a few times early in the game, took a couple of sacks, and ended up not getting into the end zone when we certainly should have.  I should have kept punching.  So, I had about a quarter of really bad play calling.

Then I got into a grove.  A groove that a double wing coach wants to get into.  Super Power.  Super Power.  Wedge.  Super Power.  Reach.  Super Power.  Wedge.  6-G (almost like a counter).  Super Power.  And on and on to the tune of 79 rushes for 379 yards.  0-4 passing with an INT.  

Our special teams cost us, as did some defensive issues.  All fixable.  So are the "problems" with the passing game.  We are inexperienced and far from a finished product.  Lots of coaching to be done.

Trojans win 30-22 against the #5 team in 2A.

Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois

Coach,

That’s great.  Congratulations.

To a Double Wing coach, a good passing game is like insurance: it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. 


*********** When only four kids turned out for football at tiny Wishkah Valley (Washington) High,  the school was forced to cancel its program.  But wait. No telling why, but a  sudden “spike” in turnouts over the last week has the roster up to at least 13 players, and now it appears that the Loggers will field a team (8-man) after all.   Here’s the best news: most of the kids are underclassmen, so the outlook is good for the future. Such is life in small town America. 


*********** MY MUST-SEE GAMES THIS WEEKEND

FRIDAY NIGHT
Ohio at Purdue - Purdue didn’t look bad against Louisville

SATURDAY  9 AM (PACIFIC)
Northwestern at Duke - two similar schools meet in Durham
Buffalo at Army - I move mountains to watch Army games. Buffalo will be a lot tougher than Fordham.
Iowa at Iowa State - Cyclones always give the Hawkeyes trouble
12:30
Pitt at Penn State - This was once a huge rivalry, back when they were both independents.
Tulane at Navy - This could be over fast
Villanova at Temple - I like the Owls, but not against the Wildcats.  Go Nova.
Western Michigan at Michigan State - Are the Broncos as good as they looked against USC?
1:30
Nebraska at Oregon - Mike Riley returns to his home state but he’s facing an all-new Ducks’ team, one that scored 77 points last week
4:00
Auburn at Clemson - because
4:30
Oklahoma at Ohio State - I’m thinking Buckeyes win big
Georgia at Notre Dame - Even without Jacob Eason (Washington kid) at QB, I like the Dawgs
5:30
Stanford at USC - If USC plays the way they did last week, they could get killed.  But this is too big a rivalry, so I doubt it.
7:00
Minnesota at Oregon State - The Gophers didn’t look very tough against Buffalo, but the Beavers haven’t looked good against anybody.
7:30
Boise State at Washington State - After their first opening game win in five years,  this will be a real chance for the Cougs to show whether they are going to be good.

QUIZ ANSWER - BYRON WHITE was born in the tiny town of Wellington, Colorado and was valedictorian of his  high school class of six students.

He attended the University of Colorado and after leading his team to an undefeated 1937 season - and a spot in the  1938 Cotton Bowl - he was named All-American.  Although his first name was Byron,  his speed and running ability  earned him the alliterative nickname “Whizzer”  that followed him the rest of his life.

He was runner-up for the 1937 Heisman Trophy, won by Yale’s Clint Frank.

He also played on Colorado’s basketball team, which made it to the NIT, then the most prestigious post-season tournament. (The NCAA Tournament wasn’t established until a year later.)

He was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship (to study at Oxford University in England), but he was also drafted fourth overall by the Steelers.  Offered a contract that made him the NFL’s highest paid player, he arranged to have Oxford defer his admission for a year so he could play pro football, and as a rookie he led the NFL in rushing in 1938.

Shortly after he arrived at Oxford, war broke out between England and Germany and he returned to the US and entered Yale Law School. 

He also played two seasons with the Detroit Lions, and led the NFL in rushing in 1940.

In 1942,  he joined the Navy, and at War’s end, he returned to law school and never played football again.  In all, he played in 33 NFL games.

After graduation from law school, he practiced law for several years in Denver.  In 1954, he was named to the College Football Hall of Fame.

In 1960 he assisted the presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy, and after Kennedy’s election he was named Deputy Attorney General, the number two man in the justice Department.

In 1962, BYRON (please don’t call me “Whizzer”)  White was named to the United States Supreme Court.

Since 1967, the National Football League Players’ Association has given The Byron "Whizzer" White NFL Man of the Year Award annually.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BYRON “WHIZZER” WHITE
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA

QUIZ - He was one of the very first men in professional football to be called a “tight end."

He was a fantastic athlete - in high school, he was all-state in three sports.  He was big, strong and fast.  In college, at a time when freshman were ineligible to compete on varsity teams, he won nine letters - three each in football, basketball and track.

In football, he played two ways as an end, and did his team’s punting and placekicking. He was All-Big Ten as a sophomore and All-America as a junior and senior. 

Following his senior year, his #87 was retired, (although a few years ago, as a promotional and recruiting stunt, the college “unretired” his and the other four retired numbers).

In basketball he was twice second-team All-Big Ten, and once third team.  He was captain of the team his senior year. When he finished his career he was the school’s all-time leading scorer and was a fifth-round draft pick of the Detroit Pistons.

He was the fourth pick overall by the Green Bay Packers and after playing one year with them, he missed a season while serving in the Air Force. 

When he returned to football, Green Bay had a new coach, and in 1961, that new coach moved him to “Tight End.” At that position, he not only put his great hands to use, but as a blocker he was a key component in the “Power Sweep” that would lead them to NFL championships in 1961 and 1962. In the 1961 championship game, his coach’s first title in Green Bay, he caught four passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns. He was All-Pro in 1962.  In 1965, after playing out his option, as was done in those days before free agency, he signed with his hometown Detroit Lions.

He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.




american flagTUESDAY,  SEPTEMBER 5,  2017  - “If there is one thing that has helped me as a coach, it’s my ability to recognize winners, or good people who can become winners by paying the price.”  Bear Bryant

*********** The Army-Fordham game came on at 3 PM Pacific Friday, so I could watch it and still go out to watch a high school game.

Sure glad I could see it. Army played the best, most complete game I’ve