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Published continually since 1998, "NEWS YOU CAN USE" was a Blog before  "Blog"
was  even a word! Its intention has been to help inform the football coach and the interested football observer on a wide variety of topics, 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 flagTUESDAY,  MAY 21, 2019   “The enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms.”  George Orwell



open wing 5 DVDs
THE OPEN WING - A "VIRTUAL CLINIC" -  5-DVD SET -

If you've been following my site for any length of time, you know that I worked for some time to combine the solid, sound blocking and running game of the Double Wing with the passing game of the Run and Shoot that I once ran - way back in the early 80s.  
 I came to call what resulted the "Open Wing" (thanks to my friend Brian Mackell for the idea), and in our first year of running it at North Beach High (Ocean Shores, Washington), while testing it and refining it,  we finished 7-3, only the school's second winning record in ten years.  The next two years, as we got better at what we were doing, we had back-to-back unbeaten regular seasons, finishing 10-1 and 9-1.  In the 2015 regular season, we were the highest-scoring team in the state of Washington at all levels. 
OPEN WING PLAY
It's a series of five DVDs, each roughly an hour in length: the first one gets you started with the basics, and from there, each DVD can stand on its own - the second one offers a basic offensive package to run (if that's all you need);  the third introduces the basics of our passing game; the fourth shows how we have expanded the offense through formationing; and the fifth gets into employing the Open Wing principles with a QB under center - plus an overview of the very basic but solid Double Wing package that we jump in and out of.

I originally priced the DVDs at $39.95 each, but because I believe that the entire series is important, I decided to sell it as a set, priced so that you can purchase all five DVDs for $150 - actually less than the cost of buying four  of them separately.


$150 - TO ORDER http://www.coachwyatt.com/OPEN%20WING%20CLINIC%20DVDS.html



dynamics 3 cover
THE  ULTIMATE DOUBLE WING PLAYBOOK!

This book represents the knowledge and experience I've accumulated in my more than 25 years of running and teaching the Double Wing. 

It's the most detailed "how-to" book on the Double Wing ever published - 250 pages long,  with more than 150 plays, and more than 150 photos of drills and plays.


$39.95  - TO ORDER - http://www.coachwyatt.com/DYNAMICS3.html



LINE SPECIAL DISCSLINE COACH'S SPECIAL - TWO GREAT O-LINE VIDEOS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE!

We Double-Wingers take pride in doing things differently - especially  on the offensive line

We employ blocking schemes that have stood the test of time

And we teach  real blocking - none of this shove-and-grab stuff that the pros call "blocking."

SHOW THE LINE COACH  WHAT TO TEACH -  AND HOW TO TEACH IT


Regularly $39.95 EACH - NOW BOTH FOR $39.95 - http://www.coachwyatt.com/LINESPECIAL.html



"DOUBLE WING DUO" -  TWO GREAT VIDEOS! ONE GREAT PRICE!
DOUBLE WING DUO
NOW ONLY $49.95 - http://www.coachwyatt.com/DYNAMICSVIDEO.html

BLACK LION GREG AND DALLAS

IT'S NOT TOO LATE -

TO PRESENT THE BLACK LION AWARD TO A PLAYER ON YOUR TEAM -  COACH GREG KOENIG (ON THE RIGHT IN THE PHOTO) HAS PRESENTED IT TO PLAYERS AT THREE DIFFERENT SCHOOLS IN COLORADO AND KANSAS SINCE 2001 - AND NOW HE'S AT HIS FOURTH SCHOOL - WHERE HE STILL PRESENTS IT!  IT'S THE ONLY AWARD HE GIVES!  IT'S ABSOLUTELY FREE - YOUR PLAYER RECEIVES A CERTIFICATE AND AN OFFICIAL BLACK LION PATCH.    NOW'S THE TIME TO SIGN YOUR TEAM UP AND  - EMAIL ME THE NAME OF THE TEAM AND THE HEAD COACH'S CONTACT INFO:



DO NOT SEND ME A NOMINATION - NOT YET - FIRST FIND OUT WHAT YOU NEED TO WRITE     blacklionaward@mac.com





**********

***********  I WROTE THIS ABOUT A YEAR AGO In my many years of doing clinics in North Carolina, I’ve done them at six different locations, and Dave Potter has been responsible for setting up the facilities at three of them.  I’ve known Dave for more than ten years, and I’ve had ample opportunity to see how good a coach he is.  He’s been a head coach at the youth, middle school and high school level - both varsity and JV.  He knows his football, he is super organized, and he is great with kids. And parents.

At East Wake HS, which has had one winning season in the last ten, he and his assistant, Olu Williams, coached the JV team to an 8-2 record in 2017.  The varsity struggled, finishing 3-8, and it might have been worse except that the head coach finally saw the light and installed Dave’s double wing - and won two of the last three games.

And then, after just one season at East Wake, the head coach left abruptly for another job.  In my judgment, Dave was qualified to step up and become the head coach, but the school chose instead to go with the existing defensive coordinator.

At my recent clinic, coaches Potter and Williams had just been informed that they were being retained by the new head coach, and they had many of their JVs on hand to serve as demonstrators.  The coaches in attendance were impressed by how coachable the kids they were, and you and I all know that the coaching had plenty to do with it.

And then, a week or so after the clinic,  Coaches Potter and Williams were informed that this year the new head coach was not going to have a separate JV program - he was going to combine the two squads for practice - and therefore he no longer needed their services.  Prick.

Hmmm.   This new guy  intends to run the spread.   Meanwhile, the JVs went 8-2 running the Double Wing.

You don’t suppose he saw those JV coaches - and the fact that their kids were successful running that old school offense - as a threat, do you?

Funny how it’s “all about the kids” until it’s not.  Until it’s all about “the program.”

This guy did have an impressive record as a head middle school coach (88-12), but he did sound, from a newspaper interview, as if he might possibly have let that go to his head.

“Last year was the first losing season I have ever been a part of,” he said. "The circumstances were against us from the start, and there’s no blame to place on anyone.  I still don’t know if I can stand another one like that.”

Well fella, permit me to give you some advice about coachin' high school - you didn’t exactly step into DeLaSalle, and you got a lot of work to do.  And guess what?  Those guys on the other sidelines are  just as smart as you are, and sometimes they have better athletes than you do. So you can work your ass off and even as smart as you are,  and as good as that damn record of yours is, you could still very well have “another one like that.” 

And when you do, that noise you hear in the distance will be me, out in Washington.  Chucklin.’

AND I WROTE THIS ABOUT A MONTH AGO:

So anyhow, a post-season report.

The coach at East Wake now has been a part of TWO losing seasons. They went 4-7, averaging 15.6 points per game running the coach’s spread.  (In short, “Another one like that!”)

One of the wins was against a team from a lower classification.  The three other wins were against teams that went 0-11, 1-10, and 1-9. 

The JVs ? Without coaches Potter and Williams, they went 3-4.

AND THEN I WROTE THE FOLLOWING AFTER LAST WEEKEND’S NORTH CAROLINA CLINIC:

 CLINIC KIDS
CLINIC COACHES



Saturday’s North Carolina clinic was the most enjoyable clinic in my memory.  Maybe it’s because I’ve really cut back on the clinics from the days when I’d do eleven or twelve a season, but there was something extra special about this one.

There were several extra special things:

First, I decided to work with players in the morning session - partly, I admit, to avoid the afternoon heat, but mostly because I suspected that turning the afternoon part of the clinic into a review of what we’d done in the morning would lead to a lot of give-and-take.  I was right.

The coaches in attendance were great guys.  There weren’t a lot of them, which enabled me to put them to all to work almost immediately.   After an initial briefing session, explaining to them the basics of the formation that we’d be demonstrating and how the wrist cards would work (along with a glossary of wrist card terms so they could translate for the kids), we went outside.

The players arrived early enough to be assigned positions and handed their wrist cards,  and each coach took responsibility for coaching a position.

Going to work right away, we taught and repped and corrected and repped again - first a play to the right and then its companion play to the left.    Few teams ever received as much coaching as ours did, as coaches swarmed around the team before and after every play, with instructions or corrections for each kid.

By the end of the morning session, we had, in my judgment, successfully installed ten plays to the right and their companion plays to the left.  To be honest, I was blown away by how well everyone did and how much we accomplished, but then with kids like that and a nine-man staff of motivated coaches, I now know what’s possible.

The kids.  How can I say enough about them”  Most of them were the same kids that demonstrated at last year’s clinic, so they understood what we were going to be doing, but there was a big difference.

Last year, they were being coached by Dave Potter and Olu Williams, who hosted the clinic.  This year, they were not.  This year, they were attending three different high schools, so our Saturday morning “practice” was a one-year  reunion for many of the kids.  I didn’t see it, but Coach Williams told me how moving it was to see his last year’s center and last year’s right guard, who now go to different high schools, hug each other.  One is black and one is white. They’d played together, side-by-side, and they’d become brothers.  One of the players, Coach Williams’ nephew, Jordan, filled in at B-Back for us.  He was clearly talented and quite smart and never made a mistake.  He’s 13 years old.

They were great kids - polite and coachable, willing to do whatever we asked of them, willing to play wherever we asked them to play.

The amazing thing was, these were high school kids who gave up their Saturday morning to help us.  And willingly.   Said Coach Williams, “They never batted an eye when I asked them.  All they wanted to know was when and where.”

Undoubtedly the major reason those kids were there was the enormous regard, respect, love - call it whatever you wish - they had for coaches Potter and Williams.
 Those two men are good coaches, but they’re even better men, and in many cases they are THE man in those players’ lives.  Still.  Even when they’re no longer their coaches.

I tend to be a skeptical sort where social-worker types are involved, but I’ve known Coach Potter for nearly 20 years, and although I’ve only known Coach Williams for two years,  I know that he’s cut from the same cloth as Coach Potter.  These men are real.  They are performing an invaluable social service to whatever community they’re in through the positive changes they’re able to bring about in the lives of the young men they coach.  (And, yes, they win, too.)

But those two coaches - good football men who care about their kids on and off the field - weren’t good enough to be retained by the new coach who stepped into the job at East Wake High School this past season.  He first told them that they would be his JV coaches, and shortly after, told them he’d changed his mind. (He wound up going 4-7.

Surely there’s one high school coach in the Raleigh-Durham area who’s smart enough to realize what an asset these two guys could be to his staff, and secure enough to understand that a successful JV program that feeds good, responsible, coachable kids to him is not a threat to his job.

***********  On May 2, 2013,  at the close of George Jones’ funeral service at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Alan Jackson sang Jones’ classic "He Stopped Loving Her Today.”

To those of us who love country music, it was an incredible honor. 

It’s impossible to think of anything  comparable in the world of sports.   Not that we wouldn’t love to, but who among us, even the greatest of us, could go out and run a touchdown for Jim Brown… throw a pass for Johnny Unitas… Lean against the goal posts in our  hound’s-tooth hat just before an Alabama football game?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbjpbqowX3Y

*********** The recent tragedy in Seattle in which a giant crane toppled to the ground, killing four people, underlined a very interesting story:

There are a lot of cranes in and around Seattle. There’s so much growth taking place there that Seattle has the most cranes of any city in the country, with a recent count of 59.

Los Angeles was second, with 44.

Portland, San Francisco, New York and Chicago each had between 26 and 30, with Boston and Denver slightly behind.

Even a Seattle suburb, fast-growing Bellevue, Washington, had 14.

(Not that any city in America should get boastful: Toronto had 104!)

***********  In today’s world, you can disrespect your country’s flag and its national anthem and you will be celebrated  for expressing your right to free speech - maybe even given a lucrative Nike contract.

But speak out against something that violates your firm religious beliefs… and there is hell to pay.

Israel Folau, an evangelical Christian and rugby football star, was found guilty of breaching the Rugby Australia code of conduct - for quoting St. Paul’s biblical teachings against fornication and homosexuality.

A three-person independent tribunal wrapped up on Tuesday three days of deliberations and found Folau guilty of a high-level breach of the code of conduct enforced by the governing body of Australian rugby teams. So far, no sanction has been announced against Folau. However, he may face cancellation of his $4 million contract and forgo a chance to appear in the forthcoming rugby world championship.

“The panel has today provided a judgment that Israel Folau committed a high-level breach of the Professional Players’ Code of Conduct with his social media posts on April 10, 2019,” read a statement from the panel that decided his case. “The panel will now take further written submissions from the parties to consider the matter of sanction. A further update with be provided after the panel delivers its decision on sanction.”

Once a decision has been made on a sanction, both Folau and Rugby Australia will have 72 hours to offer an appeal. While Folau may face a fine and suspension instead of a contract termination, he will never play again for the Wallabies team.

Any infraction deemed less than “high level” would not have allowed Rugby Australia to terminate Folau’s contract with the Wallabies team legally, forcing the governing body to offer an expensive monetary settlement to him.

A sanction is expected within several days, even while Rugby Australia has not yet set a timeline for a decision. Folau has already rejected a $1 million settlement, and will not receive any payout now because of the finding of guilt on his part.

Folau fell afoul of Rugby Australia after he published several controversial social media posts in which he expressed his religious beliefs concerning immorality, quoting the Bible. Raelene Castle, who heads Rugby Australia, issued Folau a notice that he had committed a high-level breach of the body’s code of conduct.

The decision in Folau’s case was met with support from some members of the media and sports. For example, media celebrity Ed Kavalee said on Fox Sports’ The Back Page, “This is the most expensive social media post of all time.” He added, “It’s cost Israel $4 million.”

Journalist Robert Craddock of the Courier-Mail said on The Back Page, “We’ve seen one of the most significant moments of the sporting century in Australia, in that a powerhouse rugby union player who is Australia’s best player heading into a World Cup, will be banished from the game, probably for good.” Craddock predicted further controversy.

Cory Bernardi, who leads Australian conservatives, expressed astonishment over Folau’s verdict. He told Sky News in a reference to Folau’s quoting of the Bible, “I find it extraordinary that quoting from the bestselling book in the history of the world is a breach of contract.” He added, “There was no hate in that at all. He’s just upset a bloke who runs an airline like a kingdom.”

Bernardi was apparently referring to Alan Joyce, the openly homosexual CEO of Qantas airlines and chief sponsor of the Wallabies. Joyce told a newspaper in the run-up to the 2017 same-sex marriage campaign, “We have 580 companies involved ... If you’re unhappy with a company that’s involved with the campaign, you won’t be able to bank and you won’t be able to fly anywhere.”

Because free speech is guaranteed in Australia, Folau’s case may go to Australia’s High Court for consideration. After Rugby Australia’s initial announcement that it would cancel Folau’s contract, LifeSiteNews issued a petition asking for his reinstatement.

While Folau may never be able to play professional rugby in Australia again, a career in Europe is also in question. The president of the Toulon rugby club, Mourad Boudjellal, told French sports journal L’Equipe: “This guy’s a moron; he ought to clear out. Or he needs to buy himself a brain. He still has the Ku Klux Klan; then he’ll see what it’s like on the other side.” Also, sports shoe manufacturer Asics has announced that it is cancelling a lucrative contract with Folau.

An evangelical Christian, Folau has run afoul of gay rights campaigners in the past because of his support for traditional marriage. Asked by the Sydney Morning Herald whether he will leave professional rugby instead of apologizing for his beliefs as required by Australia Rugby, Folau said, "Whatever His will is, whether that's to continue playing or not, I'm more than happy to do what He wants me to do." Folau said rugby is important to him, “but my faith in Jesus Christ is what comes first."
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3747903/posts


************ Gill LeBreton, in PressBox DFW, lists “100 Sports Places to See Before You Die.”  Hope you can get to read it.

https://www.pressboxdfw.com/100-sports-places-to-see-before-you-die/


*********** If they’d be honest with us, psychiatrists would admit that questioning one’s “gender” is a mental disorder.

Also sh— like this…

https://www.thesun.co.uk/sun-men/9081347/body-modifier-ethan-bramble-shows-off-underskin-silicon-spider-implants/


*********** On Dec. 10, the NFF will honor Mark Harmon for his accomplishments as a football player and student,  and his subsequent accomplishments  in the field of entertainment.

IRVING, Texas (May 16, 2019) – The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today that former UCLA quarterback Mark Harmon has been named the 2019 recipient of the NFF Gold Medal in recognition of his exceptional accomplishments, unblemished reputation and for reflecting the values of amateur football. He will be honored for his achievements during the 62nd NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 10 at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York City, which will also celebrate the 150th anniversary of college football.
 
"As we prepare to celebrate the 150th anniversary of college football, Mark Harmon captures exactly what we hope to inspire in future generations of young football players, making him the perfect recipient for the NFF's highest honor," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "An NFF National Scholar-Athlete at UCLA in the early 1970s, Mark took that same relentless drive to succeed, applying it to his career as an actor and unequivocally becoming one of the most successful stars of his generation. He has earned this honor many times over, and we are extremely proud to add his name to the esteemed list of past NFF Gold Medal recipients."
 
The highest and most prestigious award presented by the National Football Foundation, the Gold Medal recognizes an outstanding American who has demonstrated integrity and honesty; achieved significant career success; and has reflected the basic values of those who have excelled in amateur sport, particularly football. First presented to President Dwight D. Eisenhower at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner in 1958, the Gold Medal boasts an impressive list of past recipients, including seven presidents, four generals, three admirals, one Supreme Court Justice, 29 corporate CEOs and chairmen, actor John Wayne and baseball immortal Jackie Robinson. Harmon will become the 65th recipient of the NFF Gold Medal. (See below for the full list of past recipients.)
 
"Having achieved the highest levels of success, Mark Harmon has always remained humble and focused on the things that really matter in life, which is hard work, perseverance and teamwork," said NFF Awards Committee Chairman Jack Ford. "His success on the gridiron as a student-athlete and his subsequent icon status in film and television make him exceptionally well-qualified as our 2019 Gold Medal recipient. We look forward to welcoming him back to the NFF's stage in December, poetically 46 years after his being honored as an NFF National Scholar-Athlete during an event when another famous actor, John Wayne, accepted the NFF Gold Medal."
 
Harmon was born and raised in Southern California; the son of actress Elyse Knox and Heisman Trophy winner Tom Harmon, a 1954 College Football Hall of Fame inductee from Michigan. He attended The Harvard School (now known as Harvard-Westlake) in Los Angeles, playing football, baseball and rugby. On the gridiron, he mostly took the field as a running back and safety, only appearing in four games at quarterback. He broke his elbow as a junior, and did not play varsity football as a senior.
 
Not recruited out of high school, Harmon headed to Pierce Junior College in Woodland Hills, California, and he quarterbacked the team to a 7-2 record in 1971, earning All-America laurels. His performance earned him multiple scholarship offers, including Oklahoma in an effort led by Barry Switzer, the offensive coordinator at the time and a future College Football Hall of Fame coach, to recruit him. Harmon opted to stay in his hometown of Los Angeles, playing for UCLA head coach Pepper Rodgers and assistant coaches Homer Smith, Lynn Stiles and Terry Donahue, also a future College Football Hall of Fame coach.
 
Playing alongside future College Football Hall of Fame inductees Randy Cross and John Sciarra, Harmon helped orchestrate a UCLA turnaround, quarterbacking the Bruins, which had finished 2-7-1 at eighth-place in the Pac-8 in 1971, to a combined 17-5 record in 1972 and 1973. In his first game ever as a Bruin, which opened the 1972 season, Harmon led an underdog UCLA to a dramatic 20-17 win against two-time defending national champion Nebraska, snapping the Huskers' 32-game-unbeaten streak.
 
A Wishbone-T quarterback who could run, pass, fake and mix plays, Harmon rushed for more yards and touchdowns than he did passing, amassing 1,504 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns versus passing for 845 yards and 9 touchdowns during his tenure in Westwood. The offensive coordinator Homer Smith's wishbone offense forced Harmon to make multiple decisions in very short time periods, distributing the ball to running backs Kermit Johnson and James McAlister. The combination created the top running game in the nation in 1973, and UCLA set school records for total yards gained (4,403), average yards per game (400) and rushing touchdowns (56).
 
A Communications major who aspired to become a doctor, Harmon excelled in the UCLA classrooms, carrying a 3.45 GPA and graduating cum laude. His accomplishments earned him Second Team CoSIDA Academic All-America honors as well as an NFF National Scholar-Athlete Award, which led to his trip to New York City where he was honored at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner the same night that John Wayne accepted the NFF Gold Medal.
 
"In today's society, the scholar-athlete is indeed a rare breed," Harmon said in responding for the NFF Scholar-Athlete Class in 1973. "Not only does he excel on the field, but he competes in the classroom as well…. As we gather here tonight to pay our respects to the men who made the great American game of football what it is today, we hope that one day in the future some of us from the Class of '74 might be fortunate enough to carry on the great tradition that has been passed down by the distinguished men in this room. If we do, it is because our universities gave us the chance and the game of football has given us the principles."
 
After UCLA, Harmon declined professional football offers to instead pursue acting. He worked in advertising, as a shoe company rep and as a carpenter between acting gigs and appearing in Coors beer commercials. His hard work eventually paid off with a big break on NBC's St. Elsewhere and the leading role of Dr. Robert Caldwell. His success continued on NBC's police drama Reasonable Doubts starring as detective Dickey Cobb and CBS's Chicago Hope where he appeared as Dr. Jack McNeil.
 
He also had memorable arcs on the hit shows Moonlighting and The West Wing before landing the lead role of Leroy Jethro Gibbs, a special agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, on CBS' global favorite NCIS series, which has become part of television history, approaching its 400th episode and recently inking a deal for its 17th season. The most-watched-scripted show on American television today and consistently ranked among the five highest-rated TV shows each year, NCIS is a TV juggernaut, attracting more than 15 million viewers each week throughout most of its run.
 
In 2011, Harmon became an executive producer on NCIS, and in 2014 an idea he co-developed became the spinoff NCIS: New Orleans which premiered on CBS with Harmon as an executive producer alongside Gary Glasberg. His big-screen credits include Freaky Friday, Wyatt Earp, The Presidio, Summer School and Stealing Home. He has worked with Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jodie Foster, Allison Janney, Karl Malden, Patricia Arquette and Denzel Washington among countless other Hollywood notables.
 
Harmon has received numerous accolades and award nominations during his career, including being honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Oct. 1, 2012, but he has always remained humble with an appreciation for the efforts of others. Quietly giving back, Harmon's charitable work includes Saving Bristol Bay, Stand Up To Cancer, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Kids Wish Network, Clothes Off Our Back, Entertainment Industry Foundation, Oklahoma Kidz Charities Foundation, Oklahoma City Indian Clinic and The Children's Center OKC.
 
From his time as a quarterback at UCLA until now, as an executive producer and star of the CBS hit series NCIS, Harmon has always treated teammates and production crews with familial respect and loyalty.

"I look at the show as a team," Harmon said during a previous interview. "I've always been a team guy. I'm not in [acting] for the personal part of this, and I wasn't as an athlete either. It's about the work and we all work together."


https://footballfoundation.org/news/2019/5/15/general-mark-harmon-named-2019-nff-gold-medal-recipient.aspx


*********** NIKE is accused of “penalizing” female athletes who can’t compete when they’re pregnant.  Basically, it means that they won’t be getting the performance bonuses that they’ve been getting.  As a result, the women claim, Nike is basically “forcing” them to compete - even though they’re great with child - in order to keep the  money coming in.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3749142/posts

*********** After telling of a friend whose son, about to graduate from high school with honors, admitted that all he knew about George Washington was that he had slaves, Robert Sutton, of Evergreen, Colorado, wrote the following to the Wall Street Journal:

“If you have a student nearly finished with high school, see if he or she can answer a few simple questions. For instance: Name as many as you can of the founders of our country. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence? What year was it written? From which country were the colonists declaring independence? How many colonies were there? Who led the Continental Armt, and the Constitutional Convention?

“It’s as if there is  concerted effort - and a successful one - to minimize our nation’s past or erase it from the thought of our present students.”

***********  Coach Wyatt, 

I hope you are well and congratulations on your new challenge in coaching with Coach Bridge. Aberdeen is fortunate to have both of you.

I have taken on a similar challenge.  I will be the new head coach at Minerva (Ohio) High School.  Minerva is a small town just 20 minutes east of Canton,Ohio.  As you know, Canton area, Northeast Ohio and Ohio overall is crazy for their high school football.  Minerva has been going through a rough spell (0-40 in the past 4 years) but they have a rich history of great football.  I hope to get Minerva back to that level quickly.  I feel confident we will some some games this year because I see the talent we have with both the players and the coaching staff I have assembled.  We will be running a form of your Open Wing.

I am writing to tell you a story that I was reminded of when I saw your quiz from Tuesday's edition of your News You Can Use. 

Firstly, I rarely am able to guess who your quiz honoree is without research, but I knew Jack Lambert after only reading the first line. 

You then mentioned the tilted-nose played by Joe Green. That is what reminded me of a meeting I had at Michigan State back in January of 1987.  It was after my first year of coaching and I promoted to defensive coordinator at my school.  The head coach decided we were going to run the "Stunt 4-3" that George Perles was running at Michigan State, with his defensive coordinator Nick Saban.

So our head coach called Coach Perles and asked if we could drive up and meet with him and his defensive staff.  We would have been happy just to be a fly on the wall in their meetings if they would allow us. Coach Perles could not have been more accommodating to us.

We walk in and meet Coach Perles in his office and he gives us a very brief history of how they came about forming he Stunt 4-3 defense with Jack Lambert and Joe Green and the rest of the crew.  He then walks us over to the defensive meeting room where Coach Saban is running a defensive staff meeting going through their Stund 4-3 defensive playbook and discussing any updates or changes they wanted to implement.

You could tell from the moment we walked in that meeting room that Coach Saban had no idea we were coming and that Coach Perles had offered his defensive staff to our disposal to learn the Stunt 4-3.  Coach Saban never said a negative word but I have said ever since, if an eye glare could burn a hole in a person me and my head coach would not be here today.

But Coach Saban invited us to sit and listen while they finished their meeting and then we were able to meet with the position coaches and ask our questions.  Later they set us up in a film room with about 10 games of film that we could watch and another 10 films of cutups.

My head coach and I dug into those films for the rest of the afternoon.  At about 5 o'clock or so Coach Perles walks in and chats, then says that everyone is leaving for the day.  Knowing we were spending the night and would be back in the morning, he threw us a set of keys and said "You guys have run the of they place, turn the lights out when you leave and we will see you in the morning."  We ended up watching film long into the night.  Finally, about 10 o'clock or so we started to get hungry.  So we got some food and went back to watch more film and eat our food. We started to get tired and my head coach not wanting to spend more money than we had do told me that we were going skip the hotel and sleep on the floor right there in the film room.

The next day I do not know if anyone at MSU was the wiser for our sleeping in their football facility.

What a great experience for me a young coach just getting into the game.  It is an experience I cherish I do not think I'll forget.

God Bless,

Mark Hundley
Malvern, Ohio

*********** QUIZ ANSWER:  Dick Tomey was the winningest football coach in University of Arizona history.

Before coming to Tucson, he was head coach at Hawaii from 1977 until 1987. As coach of the Rainbows, he was 63-46-3.

In his 14 years as coach of the Wildcats, he took them to seven bowl games.  HIs 1998 tam went 12-1 and beat Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl to finish Number Four nationally, the highest Arizona has ever finished.  HIs 1993 team won the Fiesta Bowl and finished 10th nationally. His “Desert Swarm” defense gained him and his program national attention.

In all, he was 95-64-4 at Arizona.

When he left Arizona, his overall record was 158-110-7.

In 2003 he assisted the 49ers, and in 2004 he was assistant head coach to Mack Brown at Texas, where the Longhorns went 11-1 and won the Rose Bowl.

But then, in 2005, he got back into the game at San Jose State, where many good coaches have met their fate, and in five years there, he came out of it with a record of 25-35. He did have one spectacular season - 9-4 and a bowl game win in 2006 - and in 2005 the Spartans won games back-to-back for the first time in eight years.

He didn’t have to win there to prove that he was a good coach, but those five years in a coaching graveyard did mar his overall record, dropping it to 173-145-7, and may have cost him a place in the College Football Hall of Fame (which generally requires 60 per cent wins).

He grew up in Michigan City, Indiana, and played at DePauw, but then embarked on a career working under some of the best coaches of the time.

He got his coaching start as a GA at Miami of Ohio, where he worked under first John Pont and then, after Pont left to go to Yale,  Bo Schembechler.

His first paying job was under Homer Smith at Davidson, where he coached for two seasons before joining Pepper Rodgers’ staff at Kansas.  He moved with Rodgers to UCLA, but when Rodgers took the job at his alma mater, Georgia Tech, he stayed at UCLA where he coached under Dick Vermeil and the Terry Donahue.

Two of his former assistants who went on to good careers of their own were Pat Hill and Dino Babers.

Dick Tomey died last Friday at his home in Tucson.  He was 80.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING DICK TOMEY

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
D.J. MILLAY - VANCOUVER, WASHINGTON
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY
JOHN GRIMSLEY - JEFFERSON, GEORGIA

************ All who knew Dick Tomey described him as a very tough coach who was loved by his players.  That’s a tough balancing act that few coaches can manage.
Former players shared their memories of their coach…
https://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/football/no-one-compared-to-him-dick-tomey-s-wildcats-share/collection_2f30dfe0-746c-11e9-aa12-6381fbbc09a4.html#1
https://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/football/legacy-of-late-arizona-wildcats-coach-dick-tomey-lives-on/article_ec9a6883-fb26-501e-adca-ffa352d115e0.html
*********** Hugh,
While Dick Tomey is famous for his Desert Swarm defense, his University of Arizona offense was pretty good too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEwh3FRUWaA

Greg Koenig
Cimarron, Kansas

*********** The answer would be the great Dick Tomey. I remember being a U of Arizona fan as a teenager. I wore 68 in high school cause I saw Teddy Bruschi play in the Desert Swarm with the Double Eagle Flex. Hope you had a great weekend and that the clinic was a great success.
 
John Grimsley
Jefferson, Georgia

***********  QUIZ:  This former West Point All-American end was the very first recipient of the National Football Foundation’s Distinguished American Award, which has since been presented to such men as Vince Lombardi, Bob Hope, General James Van Fleet, Jimmy Stewart, DavE Nelson, Pete Rozelle, Wellington Mara, Dick Kazmaier, Tom Osborne, Roy Kramer, George Young, Alan Page, Rocky Bleier,  T. Boone Pickens and General Ray Odierno.

According to the NFF’s site, “The recipient, not limited to a former college player or coach, must be an outstanding person who has maintained a lifetime of interest in the game and who, over a long period of time, has exhibited enviable leadership qualities and made a significant contribution to the betterment of amateur football in the United States.”

He was a three-sport star and captain of three teams in high school in Springfield, Pennsylvania, and after being heavily recruited, chose to attend West Point. There, Coach Earl Blaik decided to take advantage of his good size and great speed to employ a unique offensive formation - primarily an unbalanced line with him as the “over” end, split so wide on every play that Coach Blaik chose not to wear him out by running him in and out of the huddle on every play.  Instead, he kept him out wide, sending signals to him by the arrangement of the quarterback’s hands or feet.

In 1958, his junior year, he was possibly the most famous football player in America, if not for his real name but for the nickname conferred on him by a New York sports writer in trying to describe his place in Army’s unusual new offensive formation.  The formation - and how he got his signals - was the subject of talk the entire season - one in which Army finished unbeaten and once-tied, and ranked third nationally.

He would normally have made most All-America teams except that three of his teammates were All-Americans, and one of them won the Heisman Trophy.

In his senior season he was Army’s team captain and a consensus All-American end, and although he would have been a likely first-round NFL pick, he chose an Army career, one which turned out to be long and distinguished.

A leader from the beginning, his military career took him to Vietnam, where his heroic action won him the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal, three Air Medals, two Purple Hearts and the Combat Infantry Badge. On June 8, 1966, Captain Carpenter and the 101st Airborne were ambushed by a superior number of Viet Cong. He courageously led his men out of the ambush and back to camp.

After West Point he served two tours in Vietnam. Early in his  career, while serving as advisor to the Vietnamese army,  he was shot in the arm and responded by knocking out an enemy bunker with a hand grenade.

In 1966, his reputation as a  warrior was cemented when,  his company hopelessly surrounded, he called down an air strike of napalm against his own position. Although many of the men were burned, the enemy was prevented from overrunning the company’s position and almost certainly wiping it out.  For his action, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Army’s  highest award short of the Medal of Honor.

In 1967, following the crash landing of the plane he was in, he carried an injured man from the wreckage to safety.

In 1984,  now a brigadier general, he was given command of the newly-activated  10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York.  His final post was Commander of the Combined Field Army in Korea, with 250,000 US and North Korean troops under his command. 
Always more comfortable with troops than in a office position, he  ended his career as a Lieutenant (three star) General, declining a move to the Pentagon and a fourth star, and retired to his home in Montana.

He has three sons, one of whom played wide receiver at Air Force, another who played football at Eastern Washington and now coaches high school football in Washington.

To get an idea of the esteem in which he is held by soldiers, listen to the opinion of late David Hackworth, a highly decorated Army officer and noted Military writer: “He is, in my view, the finest soldier-leader that America has produced since the Korean War.  And the fact that he didn't get a fourth star tells me about the sickness we have in the Army. He was the Lonesome End throughout his military career, and the reason he didn't get a fourth star was that he didn't schmooze with the brass.  (He) is the kind of guy who cared about the guys down below and didn't really give a rat's ass about the guys at the top. He's a national treasure. The big, quiet American. Gary Cooper. We just don't make those kind anymore."


american flagFRIDAY,  MAY 17, 2019   “On closer scrutiny, it turns out that many of today's problems are a result of yesterday's solutions.” Thomas Sowell

*********** MY TOP 33 COLLEGE COACHES OF MY TIME - PART TWO

(THE BACKGROUND) A while back, The Sporting News published what it called its "Top 50 Coaches of All Time."

Only 11 college football coaches made it - Bear Bryant (Alabama); Knute Rockne (Notre Dame); Joe Paterno (Penn State); Eddie Robinson (Grambling); Bobby Bowden (Florida State); Woody Hayes (Ohio State); Bud Wilkinson (Oklahoma); Tom Osborne (Nebraska); Bo Schembechler (Michigan); Amos Alonzo Stagg (Springfield College, Chicago and Pacific; Ara Parseghian (Notre Dame) - and a few pro coaches (Paul Brown, Tom Landry, Vince Lombardi,  Don Shula) as well.

Excuse me - of  All Time? No Pop Warner? No Earl Blaik? No Frank Leahy?  No Robert Neyland?

Give… me… a… break.

Since no apparent expertise is required to publish such a list,  I figured that I'd seen or followed enough coaches in my lifetime to qualify me as well as any millennial genius  sitting in front of a computer screen at some sports weekly.

So here, then, is my (Ta-da!)  Top 33 College Football Coaches in My Lifetime

THE GROUND RULES

(1) I’m a historian.  For me, that  means no currently active coach can be eligible. (Now that they’re retired, I have to find a place for Bill Snyder - (215–117–1) Kansas State; and  Urban Meyer - (187-32)  Bowling Green, Utah, Florida, Ohio State.  (I have to admit that I’m not at all comfortable about including Meyer on a list of top coaches, despite his record.)

(2) I took into account the number of wins,  the quality of the competition, and titles won - all of which are objective - and then their overall impact on the game, which is  subjective. I did, however,  require that a coach have an overall winning record.

(3) I required that a coach must have spent the greatest part of his career coaching at the highest level of college football. Unfortunately, this meant excluding some great coaches such as Eddie Robinson,  Jake Gaither,  John Merritt,  Dave Nelson, John Gagliardi and Larry Kehres.  Paul Brown didn't make it because I knew him only as a pro coach, and his college career,  although it did include a national championship at Ohio State, was way too brief.  Bobby Bowden didn’t get credit for his early-career wins at little Samford.

(4) The major portion of the coach's work had to have taken place during my lifetime of following football, which I date as starting in 1945, very conveniently the launching of the post-war era.  That means that I started my football-watching near the very end of the careers of such giants as Bernie Biermann of Minnesota, Fritz Crisler of Michigan,  Dutch Meyer of TCU,  General Robert Neyland of Tennessee,  Carl Snavely of North Carolina and Wallace Wade of Alabama and Duke,  so I couldn't include them.

(5) It was tough enough for me to choose a first 11, a second 11 and a third 11,  so within each 11 I refused to choose one coach over another;  I simply listed them alphabetically.  It's not difficult to make a strong argument that some coaches in one 11 belong in a higher group, or that some coaches were wrongly left off entirely.   My list is simply my list, and it's not intended to be definitive.

(6) Why groups of 11?  I don't know.  Why do we always have to make lists of 10? Or 25? Or 50? Or 100?  Are we simply slaves of base-10 mathematics?  Maybe I should simply say I did it because there are 11 men on a football team.  But I didn't. Why 33? I don't know. Had to make the cut somewhere,  I guess.

(Coaches’ records at lesser programs not included.  Only records from the colleges shown are listed.)

MY SECOND ELEVEN (#12-22) in alphabetical order

Bobby Bowden - (346-123-4) West Virginia, Florida State

Frank Broyles - (149-62-6) Missouri, Arkansas

Bob Devaney - (136-30-7) Wyoming, Nebraska

Dan Devine - (173-56-9) Arizona State, Missouri, Notre Dame

Vince Dooley - (201-77-10) Georgia

Hayden Fry - (232-178-10) SMU, North Texas State, Iowa

Don James - (178-76-3) Kent State, Washington

Shug Jordan - (176-83-7) Auburn

Tom Osborne -  (255-49-3) Nebraska

Barry Switzer - (157-29-4)  Oklahoma

Johnny Vaught - (190-61-2) Mississippi

*********** I spoke with my friend Mike Lude on Monday.  He just got back from a Mississippi River cruise from New Orleans to Memphis,  with a visit to the World War II Museum in New Orleans. On Saturday, he’s off to Branson, Missouri for a week.  Mike is going to be 97 shortly, but you’d never know it. He’s sharp as a tack and his memory of events long past is remarkable.

Mike got his start playing football for Dave Nelson at Hillsdale College, and when Nelson was named head coach at Maine, Mike went along as his line coach. Dave Nelson was a Michigan guy, a teammate under the great Fritz Crisler of Tom Harmon and Forrest Evashevski, and like all good Michigan alums, he ran Crisler’s unbalanced-line single wing.

It was at Maine that Nelson, realizing that their tailbacks were taking such a beating that they were close to having no one to play the position, decided to take a look at the T-formation that more and more colleges were now running, and see whether it could be adapted to what they were doing.

The idea of the modern T-formation, as pioneered by Clark Shaughnessy at Stanford, was to take the dual role of the single wing tailback - runner and passer - and divide it up among different players, assigning the passing duties to the quarterback and the running to two halfbacks and a fullback.  This enabled Shaughnessy to make use of the great passing and ball-handling skills of little Frankie Albert, who wasn’t a good enough runner to play in a single wing offense, as his T-formation quarterback. For his running backs, he had three studs - Hugh Gallarneau, Norm Standlee, and Pete Kmetovic.  In just his first season on The Farm, he took the Indians from a 1-7-1 record in 1939 to  an undefeated season, a Rose Bowl victory and a national championship. Prior to the Rose Bowl game, Shaughnessy also had a hand in the Chicago Bears' 73-0 NFL title game win over the Redskins. World War II came and went, and by the time football was back at full strength, the T-formation had pretty much taken over.

Nelson’s idea was to retain the  single-wing backfield alignment of his tailback, fullback and wingback, while moving the quarterback (commonly known among single wingers as the “blocking back”) under center.  Thus was born the winged-T, as it was originally called.

For some reason - I must remember to ask Mike - they made the decision to go to a balanced line, and Mike’s job was to convert the Michigan unbalanced-line blocking rules to a balanced-line offense.  To me that sounds like translating the Dead Sea Scrolls, but whenever I’ve asked Mike about it, he’s insisted modestly that it was no big deal.

In any event, Mike’s the reason why I’m still coaching football, because he’s the one who originally devised the blocking rules that I'm still using, 60 years later.  Yes, I’ve changed a few things over the years, but so, too, did Mike.  The important thing is that I know, going into a game, that I’m using rules that have stood the test of time.  If something’s going wrong, the chances are it’s in my teaching, or in my players’ abilities, or in my play-calling - but it’s not in the rules we use.  I really believe that if we teach them well and our players execute them well, our plays, thanks to those blocking rules,  will work against anybody.

Back to Mike.  From Maine, Nelson’s staff went to Delaware, where after a few years Nelson’s old Michigan teammate Forrest Evashevski, now coaching at Iowa, came to Delaware’s spring practice to learn Nelson’s offense.  Evashevski’s Hawkeyes and their “new” offense came to the attention of the football world when Iowa beat Oregon State in the Rose Bowl, 35-19.  Iowa - and Delaware, once people learned where Evashevski got his electifying offense - was besieged with requests for information. In case there were any doubters, two years later, in the 1959 Rose Bowl, the Hawkeyes did a number on Cal, 38-12.

Thus was christened the “Delaware Wing T.”  From there, it went on to win national titles for LSU and Notre Dame.  It was the offense of choice of the great Eddie Robinson. It’s been run in the CFL and - when Marv Levy first arrived in Kansas City - the NFL.

Mike left Delaware to become head coach at Colorado State,  then AD at Kent State, where he gave Don James his first head coaching job (yes, Jack Lambert was there, and so was Nick Saban).  From Kent State he went to Washington, and after Washington he wound up as AD at Auburn.  For years he served on the NCAA Rules Committee.

Ask Mike Lude whether he thinks you could win in college today running the Delaware Wing-T, and you'd better  pack a big lunch first - because he’s sure you could, and he’ll tell you  - and show you - why.

*********** In talking with Mike Lude, I asked him how he would handle it if as head coach he was walking around the practice field and he saw something being taught wrong.

I knew that Don James, for whom he has so much respect, was a “tower coach,” and one of the reasons for that was he wanted to let his coaches coach, without any interference from him.

Mike said he would make note of what he’d observed, and if it was absolutely necessary, he’d address it in front of the whole staff, but normally he’d call the assistant into his office,  find out what was behind the mistake, and make sure it was corrected.

Mike said he wasn’t worried about having to wait until the next day to make the correction, and Don James wasn’t, either.

I mentioned that that wasn’t Eddie Robinson’s modus operandi, and he laughed and said, “It wasn’t Woody Hayes’, either!”

Mike told of the time he’d been at Ohio State to do a clinic, and then afterward attended an Ohio State spring practice.  He said he was walking around when he noticed Coach Hayes go over to where his defensive line coach, Lyal Clark, was working. (Mike remembered the name.)

Mike didn’t say whether Coach Hayes tore off his baseball cap (the one with the “O” on it) and threw it down, but he said he was clearly upset about something, and he really tore into his assistant:

“Goddamnit!” he said, “That’s not the way we teach it here!”

Mike also didn’t say whether Coach Hayes brushed Coach Clark aside - longtime Hayes assistants,  knowing that Hayes was a left-hander, knew to stand so they could avoid  a swipe of that left arm - but Mike does remember hearing him say, “Get out of the way and let me do it!”

*********** It's a cold hard fact: 71% of today’s young people are ineligible to serve in the military. The major reasons are obesity, lack of a high school diploma, and possession of a criminal record.  (Hard to believe drug use isn’t among the top three.)

Today's liberal society has the solution: do away with football.  Sure, football does address, in one manner or another, all three of the above deficiencies in our young men.  But still, football is violent, and football players have been known to suffer concussions, so… football has to go.

*********** “Let the word go forth, from this time and place, that from today forward, Washington state is leading in the effort to defeat climate change.”

Thus spake Moses - sorry,  I meant my governor, a clown named  Jay Inslee, who's evidently running for President.  Good. Stay the hell  out of the state. Keep  campaigning back East.  Meanwhile, will somebody please vote for him?  Because if you don’t, he’ll be right back here again, back to trying to turn Washington, the Evergreen State, into Washington, the Evergreen New Deal State.

*********** None of us who remembers Pat Paulsen can accept the idea that Robert O’Rourke (aka “Beto”) is actually serious about running for President.

A professional comic, Paulsen appeared on a comedy show hosted by the Smothers Brothers, doing a deadpan reading of the day’s news with some smartass remarks tossed in.

In 1968, the brothers persuaded him to run for President.  He went along with it ("the job has a good pension plan, and I'll get a lot of money when I retire”) and from that point, it became semi-serious, to the point where by 1992 he received more than 10,000 votes in Republican primaries, and in 1996 - he wasn’t particular about which party's nomination he ran for - he finished behind Bill Clinton in the New Hampshire Democratic primary  (76,754 to 921).

Calling himself "just a common, ordinary, simple savior of America's destiny,” he delivered his speeches with a mock seriousness that enabled him to satirize actual  candidates,  usually leading up to a very clever punch line - without ever changing expression.

Whenever he appeared to be challenged on a point, his response was always the same:  “picky, picky, picky.”

When asked a tough question, he would deliver several lines of double-talk, wrapping up like this: “ I will come right to the point, and take note of the fact that the heart of the issue in the final analysis escapes me."

Come to think of it, he sounded a lot like today's congress critters and Democratic presidential candidates.

Except that back when Pat Paulsen did it, it was meant to be a joke.

The beginning… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTHge8q0zwY

A Pat Paulsen speech (yes, by today’s sterile comedy standards, it would never have made it onto the air.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qn69wP-jD2Y

*********** Call Tom Dundon what you like, but don’t call him stupid.  Dundon, the guy who posed as the savior of the AAF by agreeing to buy the rights to 75 per cent of the league, only to fold his hand and let the league collapse two months later, is off the hook.  Turns out he never actually signed a contract to buy the league, and as a result, he isn’t liable for any of its debts, which are considerable: when the AAF filed for bankruptcy, it declared $48 million of liabilities and only $11.4 million of assets.  (Surely there’s more to the story from a legal standpoint; that’s my layman’s explanation.)

*********** With Alabama’s passage of a bill outlawing all abortions except when the life of the mother is in danger, I’m hoping that Planned Parenthood types will try to picket Alabama football games this fall.

I wouldn’t mind going there and watching the fun.  It might even cause me to miss the game.  It would definitely be worth the price of admission if Brian Sims would show up. He’s the member of the Pennsylvania state legislature (“As witless a collection of moldering goofs and ravening mediocrities as you will find in any of our state capitals.” in the opinion of one Philadelphia writer) whose shameful badgering of an “old white woman” outside a Planned Parenthood location went viral.

Oh, and to top things off, he also offered to make a generous donation to Planned Parenthood to anyone who could provide him with the names and addresses of three teenagers - minors, all of them - who were praying outside Planned Parenthood.  (There are those who would call that a putting a bounty on the kids.)

Maybe that kind of sh— goes in today’s Pennsylvania - I’ve been away a long time - but I rather doubt it will fly in Alabama.

(Interestingly - not to accuse the mainstream media of liberal bias, you understand - the original video of Sims verbally assaulting the older woman has disappeared from the Internet.)

https://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2019/05/08/brian-sims-ashley-garecht-controversial-videos-planned-parenthood/

*********** Hard to believe this, but there’s one  Major League Baseball team that has never had a no-hitter.

The San Diego Padres have played more than 8,000 games in their history, and not once has one of their pitchers pitched a no-hitter.

The closest they came was nearly 49 years ago - July, 1970 - when they went into the bottom of the eighth, trailing the Mets, 1-0.  Their pitcher, Clay Kirby, was throwing a no-hitter (the Mets had scored on walks, stolen bases and a ground-out), and he was due to bat.

The Padres’ manager, Preston Gomez, decided to pinch-hit for him. The fans booed. The pinch hitter struck out.

And in the top of the ninth, a Met got a ground-ball single off the relief pitcher.

The relief pitcher has never forgotten. “The first goddarn batter up hit a ground ball right past me, and the shortstop couldn’t reach it  - one of those little dribblers,” Jack Baldschun, now 83 years old, told the Wall Street Journal. “I screwed up the no-hitter for Clay Kirby.”

Wow.  All those years have gone by, and the guy’s still living with it, as if were only yesterday,


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

So good to hear about the process being used at Aberdeen.  Sounds very familiar, and it WORKS!

Your first 11 greatest football coaches is spot on.  Can't wait to see your second and third groups!

Interesting stuff regarding mental toughness.  When it's all said and done I can't help but think of one word... "grit" ...to describe it.

Mack Brown's team will give Clemson all it can handle this year.  A couple of good recruiting years (and Mack Brown CAN recruit) his teams will be beating Clemson.

Not only does the wrestling world know its fans, wrestlers also know those fans.  Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson likely is the most famous wrestler who took that knowledge of his fans and created an incredible money making career out of it.

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** QUIZ ANSWER:  Jack Lambert was tall (6-4) and relatively underweight (he weighed just 205 as a rookie), but by the time of his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction he was called “the premier linebacker of his era.”

He was a quarterback in high school (Mantua, Ohio), but at Kent State, under the great Don James (who would gain fame at the University of Washington) he was converted to defensive end.  After another switch, he became a two-time all-MAC linebacker.

Drafted second by the Steelers, he was pressed into action at middle linebacker when starter Henry Davis was hurt,  and went on to win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors as the Steelers won their first-ever Super Bowl over the Vikings.

He remained the Steelers’ middle linebacker for 11 seasons.

He played on four Super Bowl winning teams… he was named to nine pro bowls… and he was six times named  all-Pro middle linebacker.

He was an extremely aggressive player,  and the tilted-nose play of the great Joe Greene helped keep blockers off him and left him relatively free to make tackles - he was credited with 1,479 in his career. Until slowed by turf toe in his final season, he averaged 146 tackles per season over this first ten season.

The Cover-Two defense of Bud Carson required him to play more deep-middle zone pass coverage than most of the prototypical  middle linebackers of the time, and he intercepted 28 passes in his career.

Adding to the fact that Jack Lambert was one of the game’s most intimidating players was  his fierce look: he was  missing his upper front teeth (knocked out in a high school basketball game).


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JACK LAMBERT

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS - CALIFORNIA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
D.J. MILLAY - VANCOUVER, WASHINGTON
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
MARK HUNDLEY - MALVERN, OHIO
JOHN GRIMSLEY - JEFFERSON, GEORGIA


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

Jack Lambert was the real deal.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYNfvtrkHIk

By the way, how good were those NFL Films features? Nothing in today's media compares.

Greg Koenig
Cimarron, Kansas


*********** QUIZ:  He was the winningest football coach in University of Arizona history.

Before coming to Tucson, he was head coach at Hawaii from 1977 until 1987. As coach of the Rainbows, he was 63-46-3.

In his 14 years as coach of the Wildcats, he took them to seven bowl games.  His 1998 team went 12-1 and beat Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl to finish Number Four nationally, the highest Arizona has ever finished.  HIs 1993 team won the Fiesta Bowl and finished 10th nationally. His “Desert Swarm” defense gained him and his program national attention.

In all, he was 95-64-4 at Arizona.

When he left Arizona, his overall record was 158-110-7.

In 2003 he assisted the 49ers, and in 2004 he was assistant head coach to Mack Brown at Texas, where the Longhorns went 11-1 and won the Rose Bowl.

But then, in 2005, he got back into the game at San Jose State, where many good coaches have met their fate, and in five years there, he came out of it with a record of 25-35. He did have one spectacular season - 9-4 and a bowl game win in 2006 - and in 2005 the Spartans won games back-to-back for the first time in eight years.

He didn’t have to win there to prove that he was a good coach, but those five years in a coaching graveyard did mar his overall record, dropping it to 173-145-7, and may have cost him a place in the College Football Hall of Fame (which generally requires 60 per cent wins).

He grew up in Michigan City, Indiana, and played at DePauw, but then embarked on a career working under some of the best coaches of the time.

He got his coaching start as a GA at Miami of Ohio, where he worked  first under John Pont and then, after Pont left to go to Yale,  Bo Schembechler.

His first paying job was under Homer Smith at Davidson, where he coached for two seasons before joining Pepper Rodgers’ staff at Kansas.  He moved with Rodgers to UCLA, but when Rodgers took the job at his alma mater, Georgia Tech, he stayed at UCLA where he coached under Dick Vermeil and then Terry Donahue.

Two of his former assistants who went on to good careers of their own were Pat Hill and Dino Babers.

He died last Friday at his home in Tucson.  He was 80.



american flagTUESDAY,  MAY 14, 2019   “It is the peculiar failing of highly educated elites to believe that their own views need no defense and have no opponents worth thinking about.”  Barton Swaim, Wall Street Journal

*********** RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA CLINIC:

DATE AND TIME: SATURDAY, MAY 18 - 9 TO 4

SITE: SAME AS LAST YEAR
KNIGHTDALE RECREATION CENTER
LAWSON RIDGE ROAD
KNIGHTDALE, NORTH CAROLINA
(The site is an easy 30 minute drive east of RDU International Airport)

PRE-REGISTRATION $100 - AT THE DOOR $150

http://www.coachwyatt.com/clinics19.html


*********** In Washington, you’re really limited in what you can do to coach players in the off-season (defined by the state as the time from the end of your season until the last game of the state baseball championships or the last event of the state track and field championships). As a general rule of thumb, that means we can’t start spring football until the day after Memorial Day - which is when we’ll start.

(I won’t deal right now with the obvious fact that, state rules or not, basketball players are going to play basketball in the “off-season.”  In Washington, that means they’ll be playing AAU basketball.  Or, if we’re talking out-of-season football, it means 7-on-7 - on a team coached by someone other than their own high school coach.  But that’s a story for another time.)

Despite the rules, I’ve at least been able to get a start at Aberdeen, Washington by showing QBs and centers video clips  of the center-QB exchange I use, and then asking them to send me back videos of them doing it. 

With the QBs, I’m able to get some sense of what we’re starting with by having them send me clips of themselves in action, and then sending them video of the technique we're looking for.

That's been a huge help.

At our first staff meeting last Friday evening, Coach Todd Bridge and I were also able to show the other members of the staff video clips of everything we’ll be doing out on the field at the first practice -

“TANS” (Triceps-Abs-Necks-Squats)
Teaching the stance with the Bench Drill
Agilities
Blocking (naturally, something brand-new to a former spread team)
Wedge Progression (Double-Team to Triple-Team to Full five-man Wedge)
The Wedge play itself ("Talk it, Walk it, Run it, Rep it")

I should mention - I’ve stressed this at clinics in the past - that NO PLAYER goes out on that field until he’s had our expectations  (our rules of conduct) explained to him -  and he’s signed off on them.   It’s only fair to your players that you let them know in advance what you expect - and what pisses you off.  We’ll spend at least an hour on this.   For more than 30 years it’s been the starting point of every class I’ve taught and every team I’ve coached, and it’s well worth the time spent on it. Before you can teach anyone something, you first have to create an atmosphere that’s conducive to learning.


*********** A while back, The Sporting News published what it called its "Top 50 Coaches of All Time." 

Only 11 college football coaches made it - Bear Bryant (Alabama); Knute Rockne (Notre Dame); Joe Paterno (Penn State); Eddie Robinson (Grambling); Bobby Bowden (Florida State); Woody Hayes (Ohio State); Bud Wilkinson (Oklahoma); Tom Osborne (Nebraska); Bo Schembechler (Michigan); Amos Alonzo Stagg (Springfield College, Chicago and Pacific; Ara Parseghian (Notre Dame) - and a few pro coaches (Paul Brown, Tom Landry, Vince Lombardi,  Don Shula) as well.

Excuse me - of  All Time? No Pop Warner? No Earl Blaik? No Frank Leahy?  No Robert Neyland? 

Give… me… a… break.

Since no apparent expertise is required to publish such a list,  I figured that I'd seen or followed enough coaches in my lifetime to qualify me as well as any millennial genius  sitting in front of a computer screen at some sports weekly.

So here, then, is my (Ta-da!)  Top 33 College Football Coaches in My Lifetime

First,  the ground rules.

(1) I’m a historian.  For me, that  means no currently active coach can be eligible. (Now that they’re retired, I have to find a place for Bill Snyder - (215–117–1) Kansas State; and  Urban Meyer - (187-32)  Bowling Green, Utah, Florida, Ohio State.  And I have to admit that I’m not at all comfortable about including Meyer on a list of top coaches, despite his record.)

(2) I took into account the number of wins,  the quality of the competition, and titles won - all of which are objective - and then their overall impact on the game, which is  subjective. I did, however,  require that a coach have an overall winning record.

(3) I required that a coach must have spent the greatest part of his career coaching at the highest level of college football. Unfortunately, this meant excluding some great coaches such as Eddie Robinson,  Jake Gaither,  John Merritt,  Dave Nelson, John Gagliardi and Larry Kehres.  Paul Brown didn't make it because I knew him only as a pro coach, and his college career,  although it did include a national championship at Ohio State, was way too brief.  Bobby Bowden didn’t get credit for his early-career wins at little Samford.

(4) The major portion of the coach's work had to have taken place during my lifetime of following football, which I date as starting in 1945, very conveniently the launching of the post-war era.  That means that I started my football-watching near the very end of the careers of such giants as Bernie Biermann of Minnesota, Fritz Crisler of Michigan,  Dutch Meyer of TCU,  General Robert Neyland of Tennessee,  Carl Snavely of North Carolina and Wallace Wade of Alabama and Duke,  so I couldn't include them.

(5) It was tough enough for me to choose a first 11, a second 11 and a third 11,  so within each 11 I refused to choose one coach over another;  I simply listed them alphabetically.  It's not difficult to make a strong argument that some coaches in one 11 belong in a higher group, or that some coaches were wrongly left off entirely.   My list is simply my list, and it's not intended to be definitive.

(6) Why groups of 11?  I don't know.  Why do we always have to make lists of 10? Or 25? Or 50? Or 100?  Are we simply slaves of base-10 mathematics?  Maybe I should simply say I did it because there are 11 men on a football team.  But I didn't. Why 33? I don't know. Had to make the cut somewhere,  I guess.

My listing of Coaching Giants from my lifetime...  (Coaches’ records at lesser programs not included.  Only records from the colleges shown are listed.)


MY TOP ELEVEN (#1-11) in alphabetical order

Earl Blaik - (166-48-14) Dartmouth, Army… (Dartmouth was big-time when he coached there.) Two national championships at Army,  two #2 finishers,  one #3… 6 unbeaten teams, 8 top-10 teams… Coached three Heisman Trophy winners…  20 former assistants went on to become head coaches - Paul Dietzel (LSU) and Murray Warmath (Minnesota) won national titles; Sid Gillman (San Diego) won an AFL championship; Vince Lombardi at Green Bay won five NFL titles and two Super Bowls…  Co-founder of the National Football Foundation

Bear Bryant - (323-85-17) Maryland, Kentucky, Texas A & M, Alabama

Bobby Dodd - (165-64-8) Georgia Tech

Woody Hayes - (219-66-10) Miami, Ohio State

Frank Leahy - (107-13-9) Boston College, Notre Dame

John McKay - (127-40-8) USC

Ara Parseghian - (170-58-6) Miami, Northwestern, Notre Dame

Joe Paterno -  (409-136-3) Penn State

Darrell Royal - (184-60-5) Mississippi State, Washington, Texas

Bo Schembechler - (234-65-8) Miami, Michigan

Bud Wilkinson - (145-29-4) Oklahoma


********** 
In an “Official Sponsor Recognition Survey,” a company called Turnkey Intelligence determined that those brands were correctly recognized by respondents as the actual official NCAA sponsors in their category.

THE WINNERS:

Buffalo Wild Wings (Restaurants)… Capital One (Banks) … Coca-Cola (Soda)…  Geico (Insurance) …  Lowe’s (Home Improvement)…   Pizza Hut (Pizza)

THE LOSERS

BodyArmor sports drink (More of those surveyed answered “Gatorade” or “Powerade”)

Buick and Infiniti (More answered Chevrolet, Toyota or Ford)

*********** FROM AMERICAN FOOTBALL MONTHLY

DEVELOPING MENTAL TOUGHNESS

By Kevin Marks, Kinesiology and Health Science Professor
School of Health Science
Solano College
Fairfield, California


It’s intriguing to see individuals who have the ability to stretch themselves and push through physical and mental barriers. For example, Navy Seals, Army Rangers, athletes, business leaders, etc. These highly competent people have a “no quit mentality” and can push through the pain. Is this all mental or physical? Can we as coaches and players develop the skill of “pushing through the pain”?


How mental toughness will benefit both football players and coaches:


1.    Developing mental and physical toughness allows players to feel in control which is an essential psychological tool of highly functioning people.


2.    You will learn a lot about yourself: mentally, physically and emotionally.


3.    Consistency- those who push through pain correlate with “consistent” behavior. These players are well read, and we tend to know what we are going to get from them. They are also the players who tend to be the leaders of the team.


4.    Positive Attitude! Those who can push through pain remain confident and never complain; if fact, they enjoy the process of discomfort. Both coaches and players must constantly adapt to uncomfortable situations.
Whether it’s a staff meeting and we feel tired or the fourth quarter of a hard fought football game, many of us start to experience mental or physical pain or both. Pushing through pain is both physiological and psychological. Physically, we need to invest the time to train so our body tissues can adapt to the stress imposed on them. Mentally, we can lean into the pain if we feel we have prepared the right way. If we have not trained at all, even the most physically and mentally tough football players will tap out.


How can we learn to push through the pain?


1.    Physically prepare: as a coach, we will be able to sit through staff meetings and retain more information and engage when we are physically fit. The coach who is running the meeting will be able to deliver high quality, dynamic information. Additionally, the same goes for a two and a half hour football practice. Well-conditioned athletes can remain focused and explosive. Research is equivocal regarding what comes first: developing mental toughness or physical toughness. However, even the most mentally stable football players cannot endure the physical rigors if they are not metabolically trained. Essentially, it is effective to train hard physically, and this can improve our mental toughness and our pain tolerance (Martin & McGee, 2008).In fact, being a highly conditioned player will increase our ability to make decisions and even increase our will power.


2.    Pain is always finite. The pain will always end. In our minds eye, we must understand this. This “understanding” is a very common cognitive strategy. We gain mental control of the pain when we know the end point of the pain (end of meeting or competition). Mentally strong football players develop a mantra they repeat in their head as they break apart the pain in different segments. Repeating words like: “finish,” “Power,” “tough as nails” helps the mind to focus during distress. In addition, the coach should always tell players where they are at in practice: period 6, 8 10 etc. When I was the defensive coordinator at Solano College, I would call the defense up at the end of each quarter of practice and half time. This specificity is significant because it takes place in the game and most importantly, psychologically, the player “knows” where they are at and thus- they know the end point.


3.    Break it down to the smallest parts: a two-hour staff meeting or practice might seem daunting. This meeting should be divided into four small parts. Every 30 min, stand up and change your position. Turn the page on your notebook. Take a few deep breaths and start the next 30. This is where the coach can break up meetings and practice to keep players engaged and themselves. The player must “mentally” start a new game in their mind after each quarter during practice and games. This is how great teams and players improve as the game and practice goes on.


4.    Practice- consistently put yourself in an uncomfortable situation both mentally and physically. Repetition is the mother of skill. We can build up a tolerance and immunity to our pain threshold; we just need to embrace it (Anshel & Russell, 1994). Our bodies and minds will become stronger as a result of this.


5.    Be smart: know when to adjust. The key is to train mentally and physically day in and day out so we can learn about our minds and bodies and find the middle ground. We never quit, however, feeling acute pain in an area that continues to worsen as the race goes on is a sign that we need to adjust. Physical pain typically goes away during completion and goes somewhere else in the body. However, pain that always nags and gets worse must be addressed.


6.    Lean into the pain. As soon as we feel pain, the human tendency is to stop or avoid (because we gain control). As soon as we feel emotional pain, we might deny or suppress it to protect us. We really should lean into these. We should not try to stop, suppress or block out. Making a mental note of the pain and returning to the activity is a healthy adaptive approach. We must feel and acknowledge all forms of the pain, physical, emotional and psychological. As soon as we try to gain control by stopping the pain, paradoxically; we lose control. We want to feel the pain, keep going with the understanding it will go away and then adjust (not quit) if the pain turns into an acute issue.


*********** An app named Audible has been running a commercial that never fails to grab me.

A long haul trucker, driving across what looks like West Texas or New Mexico, is learning Spanish as he drives - from an app on his iPhone, which is attached to the dash of his truck. 

He passes a sign telling of a truck stop up ahead, and then we see his rig pulling into the parking lot.

He walks into the dining room, catches the eye of the waitress, a pretty young Hispanic woman, and - they seem to know each other -  she walks up to him, smiling,

Struggling for words, he says,  “I would like a table for dinner.” in Spanish.

Obviously delighted at his effort, she smiles even wider and says, “Very good!”

It ends as she  takes him to his table.

Is something going on between them?  Is something going to happen?  Who knows?  THEY DON’T TELL US! 

Nope. Unlike most of today’s dumbed-down commercials, this one is subtle.  Like a good story, it makes us use our imaginations.

The tag line leaves us guessing:

“Could listening to Audible inspire you to start something new?”

https://www.ispot.tv/ad/I6W5/audible-inc-trucker

***********  I wish I could simply post a link to the article below, but PressBox DFW is a subscription-only site.  Yes, it's heavily Dallas-Fort Worth oriented,  but its writing is quite good.  Much of the reason for that, it would seem from the article below, is owing to the influence of a Fort Worth native and TCU-educated writer named Dan Jenkins.

https://www.pressboxdfw.com/our-memories-of-dan/

Many of our writers at PressBox DFW knew Dan Jenkins, whether it was at TCU football games or in a press room at Colonial or the Masters.
A few of them shared their personal remembrances of Dan. We hope you enjoy them.

Gil LeBreton:

Truth be told, it took years before I was able to summon the courage to introduce myself to the most illustrious writer this city has known, Dan Jenkins.

I would see him at TCU games. I would observe him from afar at golf tournaments.

He would stand there, a cigarette in one hand, greeting some Augusta National member or seasoned golf scribe with the other. The legends of the sportswriting world would pause to greet him – Sherrod, Furman Bisher, Edwin Pope, Dave Anderson, Dave Kindred, Bob Ryan, et al.

But the guy from his hometown – the sports columnist whose newspaper was tossed on Jenkins’ front lawn each morning – couldn’t muster the fortitude to approach him.

After all, Dan Jenkins was famous. He was witty. In his writing, granted, he could be a little bit of a wise-ass, but he was brilliant. What was I supposed to say, “Excuse me, Mr. Jenkins, but I’m the guy on page 37 of your newspaper each day”?

I even thought about calling Sally Jenkins, Dan’s immensely talented daughter, a Washington Post sports columnist and a best-selling author herself.

I had met Sally in 1985 when we both were covering the U.S. Olympic Festival in Baton Rouge, La. She needed a ride to the basketball arena at Southern University, and I lied and said that’s where I was going, too.

I mean, this was Dan Jenkins’ kid. And every guy who ever ordered chicken fried steak for breakfast and had memorized lines from Shake Tiller and Barbara Jane Bookman knew who Dan Jenkins was. I would have driven Sally to Shreveport if she had asked, just to talk with her.

It was in the Masters media center one day, perhaps buoyed by a courtesy pimento cheese sandwich, that I finally walked up to Dan at his customary position near the edge of the press room scoreboard.

“Sure,” he said. “I know who you are.

“You need to get on Pat Sullivan’s ass more.”

Our visits became a regular thing – my choice, probably not his. Forget what heroics were taking place out on the Augusta National course. My favorite memories of those years were the few minutes I shared with Dan, usually laughing.

I would run into Sally every now and then, frequently at Cowboys-Redskins games, and I would ask about her famous dad. It was disheartening, therefore, when she told me last November that he was struggling.

Getting around involved either a walker or a wheelchair, Sally said. His attendance at TCU football games now depended on the weather.

Dan Jenkins’ prose could be salty, but TCU had no more eloquent ambassador. He loved being a lifelong Horned Frog, and TCU loved him back.

One of his most prized possessions was the Rose Bowl ring that coach Gary Patterson presented to him.

When I walk into the press box at Amon Carter Stadium and see his name – Dan Jenkins Press Box — it reminds me how blessed I was to know the man I considered to be the poet laureate of Fort Worth.

Jenkins his ownself would have considered the title too stuffy, of course. He didn’t write poetry — he wrote sports, and the poetry just happened.

Riff, ram, bah, zoo. Give ‘em hell, Dan Jenkins.

 
Jimmy Burch:

The first time I met Dan was at the Masters Tournament in Augusta in 1995. I was writing some stories about Ben Hogan as part of a special section the Star-Telegram was planning. Dan was the ultimate authority on that subject, and we clicked instantly. He even wound up letting the S-T run an excerpt from a book he had in the works about Hogan as part of the section.

Soon thereafter, the book publisher called and asked if we could pay Dan “a little something” for using the excerpt. When Dan heard about that, he immediately shot down the idea and said he wanted the excerpt to be part of the Hogan section – as a free contribution from him — because he wanted to be a part of the effort to honor Ben in Fort Worth. If Fort Worth ever had a better ambassador than Dan Jenkins, I don’t know who it would have been.

Through the years, Dan and I became good friends. For me, one of the highlights of covering a golf major championship would be the time I’d get to spend with him, talking about college football or the state of the PGA Tour and what needed to be done to fix both. Dan had plenty of opinions, along with some great one-liners. I’ll always remember a story he told me about playing golf with Ben Hogan in front of a crowd and how nervous he was that day. After Dan struggled on the first hole, Hogan walked up beside him and said, “You know, I think you could swing a little bit faster if you really tried.” It was Hogan’s way of teasing him and urging him to slow down his swing. Dan said it was the best in-round golf tip he’d ever gotten.

As a Fort Worth native who grew up to be a sportswriter, Dan was always a hero to me. The first time he told me that he liked a story I had written, I felt about 10 feet tall because I could tell he meant it. He was a very genuine person. I’ve won a few awards through the years, but none of them ever meant as much to me as hearing “good job” from Dan Jenkins in regard to something I’d written.

Wendell Barnhouse:

I came across “Semi-Tough” by Dan Jenkins in a book store in Quincy, Illinois. The cover art was a curvaceous and scantily clad blonde astride a football. I was 21 and working at my second job at the wonderfully named Herald-Whig.

As I read it I was equally enthralled by the characters/story line and appalled at the raunchy language. My co-workers were quizzical when I kept saying “sumbitch.” With my typical lack of success, I went to bars at night “chasin’ wool.”

I had no idea who Dan Jenkins was – by then he had established himself as one of the top writers at Sports Illustrated. I was too dumb to realize or understand that I was captivated by a writer who during his career helped invent modern sports writing, the career I was pursuing.

That football season the local Catholic school I covered lost in the semifinals of the state tournament. I couldn’t resist starting my story by quoting Shake Tiller from “Semi-Tough”:

Hell, we all cried. You can take your wars and your starvation and your fires and your floods, but there’s no heartbreak in life like losing the big game in high school.

As Jenkins cranked out books, I found ‘em and read ‘em. “Dead Solid Perfect.” “You Gotta Play Hurt.” “Sports Make You Type Faster.” “Fast Copy.” “Life Its Ownself.” That’s far from a complete list. The more I read, the more familiar character types appeared but I hardly thought he was plagiarizing himself. The dialogue and the scenes were pitch perfect.

And there was this from “Baja Oklahoma,” the “ten stages of drunkenness:”
1, Witty & Charming
2. Rich and Powerful
3. Benevolent
4. Clairvoyant
5. F--k Dinner
6. Patriotic
7. Crank up the Enola Gay
8. Witty & Charming, Part II
9. Invisible
10. Bulletproof

I was always partial to No. 7.

As fate and luck and happenstance would have it, I spent over half of my career working in Dan’s hometown at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Starting in 1994 I started covering college football and a few years after that I learned Dan and his wife were moving back to Fort Worth.

Believing that he would likely be reading my stories, I fell into what should have been a career-ending habit – I started to try and write like Dan Jenkins. Thankfully, that was an unbearable burden and I went back to trying to make sure verbs agreed with subjects.

A few years after Dan had moved back to Fort Worth, I met him at Colonial. I was playing in the media event to preview that year’s PGA Tour stop. We were in the buffet line getting lunch. I introduced myself and he said, “You’ve got one of the greatest jobs covering college football.” Then he took me upstairs to show me the Hogan room.

What he said and what he did – proudly showing me and telling me about the great Ben Hogan – was one of the highlights of my career.

When I heard the news that Dan had passed away, I read the many tributes and condolences pouring across Twitter. Then I did what Dan called “typing,” a self-deprecating description of his wonderful writing style.

Soon on the No. 1 tee in Heaven there will be Dan Jenkins and his fantasy foursome Ben Hogan, Davey O’Brien and Sammy Baugh.

Hit ‘em straight and not too often, Dan.

Art Garcia:

I met Mr. Jenkins not long after assuming the TCU beat for the Star-Telegram in the fall of 1999. At first, I just thought he was another wealthy alum who for some reason just enjoyed hanging around the press box. And this was the old, scary press box at Amon G. Carter Stadium. The one with the rickety elevator and space heaters under your seats.

Having come from San Antonio, I had heard the name Dan Jenkins, but honestly didn’t know much about him. I was a fan of Sally Jenkins’ work. Her old man, I knew little.

That soon changed. Dan loved to talk TCU and writing. Not knowing much about the former and working to improve the latter, I was encouraged by our late, great sports editor Celeste Williams to nurture those sessions with Dan. I did just that.

Mr. Jenkins invited me to his home once. I have a faint memory of looking at memorabilia from his storied career. We talked about his books. He asked me what my dream beat would be. I answered the Dallas Mavericks. He shrugged. The NBA wasn’t his thing.

I soon got my wish and moved on from TCU. I didn’t see Dan much after that. But I began reading his books. For a time, I was obsessed. Dan Jenkins was alongside for many a road trip, with Semi-Tough, Dead Solid Perfect, Slim and None, Baja Oklahoma riding shotgun. Waiting for my next flight at a gate once, I remember Dan’s words forcing a real laugh-out-loud moment long before lol was a thing. I wrote about that in Postcards, a Page 2 staple of the of the old Star-Telegram sports section.

For many years, my fantasy football team was called the West Texas Tornadoes after the fictional NFL team founded by Billy Clyde Puckett. I always dreamed of playing Goat Hills.

When I’m in the Amon G. Carter Stadium press box these days, I can’t help but think of Mr. Jenkins. I’d like to think we all do. It’s always been his space.

Thank you for sharing. Rest in Peace, Dan Jenkins.

Mark Mourer:

I took a flier on “You Call It Sports,” when I was a junior at TCU, and am still laughing at how great that book was. Other than my wife, it’s the best thing I’ve picked up. That book inspired me to pursue sports writing, and still exists as a reminder that we should follow our dreams. Dan did, and we’re all better for it.

“All I ever wanted to be was a sports writer,” he said often. And he was the best. I think we are all grateful for having been literate while he was writing, either for the Fort Worth Press, or with his novels, or on Twitter.

He emailed me a little over a month ago saying that, as a result of doctor’s orders, he could no longer travel to cover golf. But he was still looking forward to tweeting during the majors courtesy of Golf Digest. Clearly, they knew they had a treasure there.

And so did I. I first met Dan when working with the TCU Frog Club. He came in to the office on a Friday afternoon with four books to autograph and give away at the next Frog Club Luncheon. This was in October of 1999, and I was able to stammer out a couple of lines from “Bubba Talks” as I nervously introduced myself to a hero and legend.

“You read that book?” Dan asked. “Not many people read that book…”

That an icon could humble himself with humor is one of the many memories that will stay with me. He remained accessible and appreciative of his fans throughout his career.

“I like people who like me,” he said in an interview once. Borrowing from our mutual friend Jim Tom Pinch in “You Call it Sports,” I was certainly “guilty.”

Thank you for the laughter, my friend. Hope you’re clacking away on a divine Smith-Corona, laughing with Blackie and them others while pinning great leads to the eternal Fort Worth Press bulletin board.

(The   “Riff, Ram, Bah Zoo” Gil LeBreton refers to  is TCU’s cheer:

Riff, Ram, Bah Zoo
Lickety, Lickety, Zoo, Zoo
Who, Wah, Wah, Who
Give 'em Hell, TCU!

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaGRYteckU8&feature=youtu.be

*********** I just happened on a Youtube video of Secretariat’s three Triple Crown races. What a horse!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kf8GRcSeneU

*********** Anytime I write about a football player who also wrestled, I get a great response from guys who love (or loved) wrestling. 

I loved pro wrestling as a kid - in the early days of TV (black and white, of course) Dennis James would broadcast wrestling from Madison Square Garden.  A woman named “Hatpin Mary” became famous for sitting at ringside and jabbing wrestlers she didn’t like. I still remember Gorgeous George, Chief Don Eagle, Kit Fox, Lord Carlton, Argentina Rocca, and on and on. 

But then, as I got involved in sports myself, I moved on to other things.

My interest was rekindled when we moved to Portland in 1975, and I discovered  “Portland Wrestling” - an 11 PM  Saturday night feature, with guys like Playboy Buddy Rose, Dutch Savage and Rowdy Roddy Piper.

There were promos on the show, telling us where the guys would be next week - Monday in Yakima, Tuesday in Bend, Wednesday in Grants Pass - you get the idea.

Wrestling was a regional thing then, as down-to-earth as a sport  could be.

But just as clothing stores and restaurants and pizza chains went national, so did wrestling . That killed off the local shows, along with my interest in it.  I didn’t like the way it was so scripted, so over-the-top. 

But then, over the years, 
I began to appreciate it again.   I began to see it as a pure American art form.  Poor man’s theatre, if you will.  And  there was no arguing with the success of a promoter like Vince McMahon, a guy who could put P.T. Barnum to shame.  I admired that.

Pro wrestling, it seems to  me, comes as close to explaining the Donald Trump phenomenon as anything else I’ve seen or heard. The wrestling itself may be phony at times, but not its fans.  And if ever a sport knew its audience, it’s wrestling.

No kneeling by those guys -  not unless it's a deliberate effort by a villain to enrage the fans. Boycott a visit  to the White House?  Only the bad guys would boycott - simply because it’s their job to piss people off.

(But once the coast was clear,  I bet they’d slip in the back door for an autograph and a picture with the Pres.)


***********  What the headline in USA Today said:

“Mack Brown thinks North Carolina can beat Clemson this season”

What Mack Brown really said: 

“We’re going to believe in our team, we’re going to be disciplined, we’re going to play hard every week, and we plan on winning every game,” Brown said.

“Some of the fans will laugh and say, you play Clemson and I said, you know, ‘if you don’t believe you can beat the national champ then why play the game. So it’s not always the best team, it’s whoever plays best that day.”

Wow.  Leave it to the pencil necks who “write sports” to find a headline like that in a coach's bland comments.

First of all, what he said was blown way out of proportion - nothing new there - but second of all, he expressed what all coaches, deep down,  have to believe.

We’ve all been there.  We’ve all been in a spot where we weren’t very good,  but we still believed it was possible, somehow,  to beat the toughest team on our schedule - if we played our best, and they didn’t.

The fact that we've seen it  happen before and we know that it’ll happen again keeps us coaching hard, whatever the odds.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/acc/2019/05/10/mack-brown-expects-north-carolina-beat-clemson/1166697001/

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

This morning’s blog sure brought back some memories. I remember the short time we spent with Gary Garland at North Beach. It was a fun time with the man who sure knew his football. My only regret is that we had such a short time together. We did seem to hit it off. Those were such great days with you, Connie, Mike, Gary and the rest of the staff. Turning that program around was some great work. I think of those days often and miss Mike terribly.

Best of luck at Aberdeen!

Jack Tourtillotte
Rangely, Maine

(Jack, a championship coach in Maine, had just retired, and took me up on my offer to come coach with me at North Beach.  What a terrific job he did coaching our line.  We took a team that was 1-9 the year before and wound up 7-3, with only a controversial last-minute TD catch and a missed last-second field goal attempt keeping us from the playoffs.  Gary came from Idaho and helped us in the pre-season, and a retired college teammate of mine, Mike Creamer, also volunteered for the season.  Mike, sadly, passed away in 2017.  Jack’s abilities as  cook - frying oysters and making chowder - almost surpassed his abilities as a coach.)

*********** You may know Petros Papadakis, who has a show on ESPN and before that was a pretty decent running back - and senior captain - at USC.

But unless you live in Southern California, you don’t know his dad, John Papadakis.  John was a linebacker at USC, and then from 1973 to 2010 owned and operated Papadakis Taverna, an extremely popular Greek restaurant in San Pedro, California.

Now, at the age of 69, he’s embarked on a second career - as a nightclub singer.


https://www.dailybreeze.com/2019/05/10/john-papadakis-ex-south-bay-restaurateur-usc-football-star-and-petross-dad-has-reinvented-himself-as-a-tony-bennett-style-crooner/

***********  Hugh,

Are you guys having to deal with this in Washington?

https://www.hookem.com/story/dotted-line-texas-high-school-coaches-believe-straight-line-recruiting/

I've said for as long as I've been a head coach that the rise of 7 on 7 leagues will become the "AAU" of high school football.  I've also told parents that their sons would be able to get the same "exposure" from me as they would from a recruiting service.  Besides I would do it free of charge instead of mom and dad spending a ton of money. 

Also, I think there are a lot of bulldozer parents today who would rather not rely on their son's head coach saying anything to a college recruiter for fear of knowing that the head coach would be honest in his evaluation of their son's skills, attitude, reliability, and character, and his parents.  I think those parents are the ones who prefer to pay for a service's BS, or rely on a 7 on 7 coach's BS just to get their kid a scholarship.

Hope all is going well in Aberdeen!  I didn't realize it was so close to Ocean Shores.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe - My thoughts on AAU - 7-on-7 are up above.  The Texas article is scary.  Notice that it’s the basketball-type atmosphere of 7-on-7 that’s the problem, and that’s all the result of  the wide open style of football that the NFL and the major colleges almost force on us.  In Washington it’s mainly a problem in large metro areas (primarily Seattle and Tacoma) where it’s easy for kids to move from school to school, thanks in part to “suggestions” from the 7-on-7 coaches and the gutlessness of a state governing body that winks at transfers.

*********** QUIZ: He was one big dude.   At first, they called him “Bigger Than Big Daddy,” a reference to the Baltimore Colts’ 6-8 Gene “Big Daddy” Lipscomb.  Later, as a pro wrestler,  he became known as “Big Cat.”

He was 6-9, 315, making him easily the biggest man in pro football at the time.

He had a 52-inch chest and a 39-inch waist.  He had 20-inch biceps and a 19-inch neck. And he wore size 18D shoes.

A native of Rayville, Louisiana, he attended Grambling on a basketball scholarship. (I suspect that may have been famed coach Eddie Robinson’s way of getting another scholarship for football, because he was definitely a football player,  and with him at one defensive end and future All-Pro Buck Buchanan at the other,  no one got outside against Grambling.)

Drafted fourth by the NFL Chicago Bears and 15th by the AFL San Diego Chargers, he chose San Diego.

He was All-AFL in all five of his years with the Chargers, but after a fall-out with management he played out his option in 1965,  and after becoming a free agent he signed with the Houston Oilers.

In 1967, he moved to Kansas City where for two seasons he was reunited with his old college teammate Buck Buchanan.  Playing inside now,  at defensive tackle,  he and the 6-7, 290 pound Buchanan were the largest pair of defensive linemen in the game.

He retired after the 1968 season.

Oh, yes.  The wrestling.  He started wrestling in the off-season, and after injuries ended his football career, he wrestled full time, starting in 1969.  He became cast as a heel, a bad guy, whose arrogance and big mouth made him a huge draw.   He retired as a wrestler in 1986, then spent a number of years as a color commentator. He’s in the both the WCW and WWF (WWE) Halls of Fame.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING ERNIE “BIG CAT” LADD

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
CHARLIE WILSON - CRYSTAL RIVER, FLORIDA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS - CALIFORNIA


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

Ernie "The Big Cat" Ladd was an incredible athlete, but I wasn't previously aware of his civil rights impact.

https://youtu.be/S_w9LHztw5I

Greg Koenig
Cimarron, Kansas

*********** Ernie Ladd would come into a territory and give a few A-List promotions (similar to Terry Funk) and get the fans riled up - and then leave the area.  He had one very good opening.  He could hurl an insult by telling the truth:

Gordon Solie: "...A man who needs no introduction...."
Ladd, interrupting (and very loud): "THANK YOU... Mister TeeVee Announcer."
GS: "Wellll, I..."
Ladd: "What's the matter with you?  Did I not treat you with respect?  Did I not address you as 'MIS-TER TeeVee Announcer?"  The fans got angry alright.

Oh, by the way.  Ernie Ladd was big.

Charlie Wilson
Crystal River, Florida


*********** QUIZ:  He was tall (6-4) and relatively underweight (he weighed just 205 as a rookie), but by the time of his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction he was called “the premier linebacker of his era.”

He was a quarterback in high school (Mantua, Ohio), but at Kent State, under the great Don James (who would gain fame at the University of Washington) he was converted to defensive end.  After another switch, he became a two-time all-MAC linebacker.

Drafted second by the Steelers, he was pressed into action at middle linebacker when starter Henry Davis was hurt,  and went on to win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors as the Steelers won their first-ever Super Bowl over the Vikings.

He remained the Steelers’ middle linebacker for 11 seasons. 

He played on four Super Bowl winning teams… he was named to nine pro bowls… and he was six times named  all-Pro middle linebacker.

He was an extremely aggressive player,  and the tilted-nose play of the great Joe Greene helped keep blockers off him and left him relatively free to make tackles - he was credited with 1,479 in his career. Until slowed by turf toe in his final season, he averaged 146 tackles per season over this first ten season.

The Cover-Two defense of Bud Carson required him to play more deep-middle zone pass coverage than most of the prototypical  middle linebackers of the time, and he intercepted 28 passes in his career.

Adding to the fact that he was one of the game’s most intimidating players was  his fierce look: he was  missing his upper front teeth (knocked out in a high school basketball game).


american flagFRIDAY,  MAY 10, 2019   “Ultimately, the ‘learn-it-all’ will always do better than the ‘know-it-all.’”  Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft


*********** RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA CLINIC:

DATE AND TIME: SATURDAY, MAY 18 - 9 TO 4

SITE: SAME AS LAST YEAR
KNIGHTDALE RECREATION CENTER
LAWSON RIDGE ROAD
KNIGHTDALE, NORTH CAROLINA
(The site is an easy 30 minute drive east of RDU International Airport)

PRE-REGISTRATION $100 - AT THE DOOR $150

http://www.coachwyatt.com/clinics19.html

*********** My friend Gary Garland hasn’t been a head coach since becoming an AD in the 1990s, but he’s still up-to-date on what’s going on in football and I always enjoy our talks.  He’s “retired” now, if you can call it that, and I keep trying to pry him away to help us at Aberdeen, but he’s got too much upkeep to do on his farm in rural Idaho.

The other day, I asked him about something I remembered he’d told me, years go, about a really way-out thing he’d once done for summer conditioning.

He was coaching at Washougal, Washington  (where, after he became AD, he hired me), when he decided to put summer weight training in the hands of the kids.

Getting four senior leaders who lived in different sections of town - and had large enough garages or sheds - he set up weight training stations at their homes.  Mini-gyms, if you will.

The leaders each checked out a squat rack, a bench, several bars and 1,000 pounds or so of weights.

And each was responsible for roughly 10-15 players.

Gary gave them a set of instructions and told them, “You’re responsible - make it work.”

He said the kids loved it and they lived up to his expectations.  He said it really helped build accountability and togetherness.

I asked him why he stopped doing it  and, sounding over the phone as if he was still kicking himself in the ass, he said, “I did it my last three years of coaching - and then I took the AD position.”

He noted that those were his three best years in  a long coaching career.  His last team - 1994 - was 9-2.

(I asked if anybody at the school complained about the missing weights and racks and he laughed, because nobody but the football players lifted in the summer anyhow.)

*********** The National Football League, pleased with the wonderful  job it’s done helping to develop the character of America’s youth, has decided to expand its educational role to the UK, with the announcement of what it calls The NFL Academy.

It aims - I am not making this up - “to use American football to create life-changing educational and professional opportunities for young people.”  (You know, the same way it does in the US.)

The NFL Academy  will begin operations in September, and  “will offer student athletes aged 16-18 the opportunity to combine education with life skills and intensive training in the sport under full-time professional coaches.”

According to the article I read, “some of NFL’s highest-profile stars have pledged their support for the Academy and will serve in ambassadorial roles, which will include regular visits to help mentor the student athletes…. Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith–Schuster; NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice; Philadelphia Eagles’ British-born running back Jay Ajayi; and the Carolina Panthers’ London-raised defensive end Efe Obada. Other ambassadors will be announced in the future.”

Said Beckham, “The NFL Academy is a fantastic innovation and I feel privileged to be a part of it. I hope I can be an inspiration to young people who want to use football to make better lives for themselves and I am excited to be able to play a small part in their journey.”

How about a big hand for OBJ, who I’m sure is donating his time and efforts  - pro bono - to helping young people “make better lives for themselves.” And also for writing that statement.  If you believe that he did.

Oh - and did I mention that Nike is an “Academy partner?” Yup.  Good old Nike will provide the apparel for the “student athletes.”

There will  undoubtedly be some tuition involved, because I can’t imagine the NFL doing anything out of the goodness of its heart.   Especially after having paid out some $485 million to former players as a result of its concussion settlement.

https://www.americanfootballinternational.com/?p=97688

*********** When Truman Capote wrote his best-selling book, “In Cold Blood,” he told the “true story” of a couple of sadistic murderers, but he told it as though he had been along for the adventure, right there with them.  He claimed later that “In Cold Blood” represented a new form of literature - the “non-fiction novel.”

Damn him.

He’s one of the reasons why our history is vanishing before our eyes.

As a historian by education (well, at least I majored in history - and I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night), it galls me to see how much “history” is presented by Hollywood in the form of a work of fiction “based on a true story.”  It’s bulls—, but the viewing public laps it up - and believes it.

Writes Barton Swaim, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, "The words 'based on a true story' may mean 'packed with half-truths and outright lies,' and we are pretty much okay with that."

Besides distorting key facts in order to make a “better story,” writers now tell us exactly what long-dead characters said, or thought, knowing full well that there’s no one alive to refute them.

They write as if they had been a fly on the wall… As if they’d sat in on a cabinet meeting… or sat in a locker room before  a big game…

The editor of the New Yorker, in which “In Cold Blood” first appeared in 1965, was said to have written in the margins, next to dialogue that Capote had written as if he’d been right there with the murderers, “How know?” (Short for “How do you know this?”)

The answer, of course, is, he didn’t know.  But he wasn’t going to let that interfere with his telling of the story.  After all, it was “based on a true story.”

More and more that’s good enough for most Americans, and more and more, it’s how they get their “history.”

Football history, from “Friday Night Lights” to “Elmira Express” to “Remember the Titans” to “Invinceable” has not been spared the “based on a true story” treatment.


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

I enjoyed your thoughts on the huddle. It reminded me of Bill Curry's take on the huddle. I'm sure you've seen it, but it's worth another listen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGuFy2TBIag


Next, I deplore the spread of replay. The human element is one of the great things about sport. Replay is ruining sports, making it nearly impossible to watch pro sports. The trickle down is coming to high school football. I'm hoping that schools fight it because of cost for another 15 years, but I anticipate that we'll be dealing with it in 5 years.

Greg Koenig
Cimarron, Kansas

Greg, I have Bill Curry’s book, but I’d never seen that video.  It’s great!

As for replay… I can Iive with human imperfection.   I can’t deal with review that simply reveals another layer of human imperfection!


*********** It sure sounds like commercial suicide to me, but then, it's a strange world, and growing stranger every day…

For the first time ever,  Bud Light is selling rainbow bottles for Pride Month to celebrate the LGBTQ community.

The bottle features words of inclusivity and support.

You can get the special bottle at bars nationwide from May 27 through June 30.

Bud Light will donate a dollar from every purchase to GLAAD

https://abc7news.com/food/bud-light-reveals-rainbow-bottle-for-pride-month/5287618/


*********** You get the idea that Army football player Amadeo West, an outside linebacker from Oceanside, California, gets his toughness from his mother.

After a torn left anterior cruciate ligament before his sophomore season and an injured right Achilles the following spring, he called his mother, Maria LoMedico.  He was down.  He told her he felt depressed. She recommended therapy and prayer, but when he said he wanted to quit football, she offered her own personal therapy:

Stop it.

“I’m not one of those easy moms that tells him, ‘Oh, it’s OK son, you just come home, I’ll take care of you. You don’t want to do it anymore, it’s OK.’ There was none of that in my house,” LoMedico said. “You get your butt up again and you just keep on going.”

When West was 6 years old, LoMedico pulled him off the basketball team and stuck him on the football field so he could learn to be more aggressive. As a defensive lineman in Pop Warner, West would get hit by the opposition and crawl into a ball on the ground. “If you’re not going to play, if you’re not going to tackle, I’m just going to pull you out,” LoMedico yelled onto the field.


https://www.recordonline.com/collegevarsity/20190325/toughness-instilled-in-army-linebacker-west-at-young-age


*********** I don’t think ANY athlete is deserving of the Presidential Medal of Freedom simply for what he or she has accomplished as an athlete, and I certainly don’t believe that Tiger Woods, whose “comeback” was largely from self-inflicted adversity, is worthy.

But he’s certainly not the first recipient whose worthiness I’ve questioned, and I do find it hilarious that the liberal media who once worshipped at Woods’ feet when they saw him simply as a minority golfer tearing up the tour, who once thought it was cool the way he exemplified a multiracial America (he once said he was “Cablinasian” - Caucasian, Black, Indian, Asian), now deride him because it turns out he’s a friend of (gasp) Donald Trump, and denounce him because he’s so busy playing golf he doesn’t have time to be protesting in the streets.

*********** “Every time the New York Times runs another anti-Semitic cartoon (and it will), each time a left-wing member of Congress questions the patriotism or morality of American Jews (and one will), and on every occasion Jewish students are harassed on campus (and they will be), we go another mile down the road to the well-known historical disaster that is looming ahead.”    Victor Davis Hansen

*********** Legendary Ole Miss coach Johnny Vaught, in his memoirs “Rebel Coach,” noted that in marrying the former Johnsie Stinson, of Chattanooga, he’d found himself a true coach’s wife.  His first job was as an assistant at North Carolina, and he wrote…

It didn’t take me long to discover that I’d married a football fan. Until our son, John, was born in Duke Hospital on June 23, 1942, Johnsie came out to the field and watched our practices. I set up a room in our house for film study with the staff and I remember the night Johnsie tiptoed into the room and asked, “If I stay quiet, can I watch, too?” The staff voted her in. Later, she said she didn’t really know what football was all about until she sat in on our film sessions.


***********  Not unlike a college football team trying to recapture lost glory by wearing “throwback uniforms,” the United States Army is taking a figurative step back in time to the days when it was still allowed to defeat enemies and win wars,  adopting World War II-style uniforms.

The United States Army wanted a spiffy new service uniform, one that would stand out in a tough recruiting environment and polish the Army’s image after a generation of grinding and divisive wars.

So it turned the clock back. Way back.

It chose a new uniform that looks almost exactly like the old green gabardine wool field coat and khaki trousers that officers wore in World War II. Probably not by coincidence, that’s what the Army was wearing the last time the nation celebrated total victory in a major war.

Now that that's out of the way, maybe it's time to take on the  Rules of Engagement.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/05/us/new-army-greens-uniform.html


***********  Hugh,

Always great to catch up with former players! 

Tackle to Tackle.  Yep, have heard that very same response from officials over the last 15 years.  What's worse?  In every state I've been a coach officials have a pre-season meeting to discuss rules changes, emphasis on certain rules, decorum, etc. etc.  But in all of those meetings, over all of those years, in all of those different states, football officials still seem to  miss the rule about the free blocking zone!  Just a matter of time before everything we do in our offense is outlawed altogether.

Kentucky Derby.  Bad enough that they made that call to overturn the outcome.  What's worse?  Maximum Drive's owner is now going to sue???  Puhlease!!  Suck it up buttercup!  You got screwed!  It happened to all of us at one time or another, and we'd b----, gripe, complain, etc. about it to our graves.  There have been plenty of disputed horse races over the years.  But I guess in today's world of horse racing if you lose...you sue?  Is it fair then to call Maximum Drive's owner a horse's ass??

Regarding the new rules.  Just more rules for the officials to not know, or to screw up!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** Your comments on the huddle reminded me of George Will, a baseball fan, but no fan of American football. He's an Illini grad, so that's probably why...His line about football...“Football combines two of the worst things in American life. It is violence punctuated by committee meetings.”

Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa


***********  QUIZ: Lance Alworth grew up in Hog Chain, Mississippi - that is not made up - and went to nearby Brookhaven High School, where he won 12 letters. He was heavily recruited by a number of schools, but not by his home state school,  Ole Miss - because he was married (he was 17 and his wife was 15) and Ole Miss coach Johnny Vaught had a rule against players being married.

Instead, he went to Arkansas, lured there by Frank Broyles, and after leading the nation in punt return yards in 1960 and 1961, and starring as a sprinter on the track team, he was a consensus All-American running back his senior season.

He was also a three-time Academic All-American.

He was a first round draft pick of the NFL 49ers and the AFL Raiders, and after the Raiders traded his rights to San Diego, he signed with the Chargers.

He had a mediocre rookie season, but then,  teaming with QB John Hadl, he went on to become probably the best receiver in Pro Football - this despite the fact that he was maybe 5-10, 180, and despite the fact that many sports media types clung to the notion that the AFL was inferior to the NFL.

In 1966, he led the AFL in five different receiving categories.

In 11  seasons  in the AFL and NFL he had 543 receptions for 10,266 yards. In addition, he rushed for 129 yards, returned 29 punts for 309 yards, returned 10 kickoffs for 216 yards, and scored 87 touchdowns.

To this day, he still holds - or co-holds - five NFL receiving records, and 14 franchise records.

After nine years in San Diego, he was  traded to Dallas,  where he played two more seasons.  He scored the Cowboys’ first TD in their 24-3 Super Bowl win over the Dolphins.

He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and is the only player to be named to the AFL All-Time Team and the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team.

Lance Alworth was the first Charger  - as well as the first player who had played in the AFL -  to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  He was presented at the induction ceremony by Raiders’ owner  Al Davis, who had been his original position coach in San Diego.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING LANCE ALWORTH

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
RALPH BALDUCCI - PORTLAND, OREGON (to me one of the greatest players to put on a helmet!)
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
CHARLIE WILSON - CRYSTAL RIVER, FLORIDA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA ( One of the best football players ever!)
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY (I know that I sound like a broken record, but I watched many AFL games.  I had the pleasure of watching him many  times.  His speed was amazing and his ability to make over the shoulder catches and elude tacklers was amazing. I consider him the best receiver in NFL history.  That includes Jerry Rice!)
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON

*********** Thanks to Greg Koenig for this Lance Alworth video:

I had to do research just to check my answer to this week's quiz. I was 95% sure that the answer was Lance Alworth. What an amazing athlete he was.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBV_iqEMjjc


*********** QUIZ: He was one big dude.   At first, they called him “Bigger Than Big Daddy,” a reference to the Baltimore Colts’ 6-8 Gene “Big Daddy” Lipscomb.  Later, as a pro wrestler,  he became known as “Big Cat.”


He was 6-9, 315, making him easily the biggest man in pro football at the time.


He had a 52-inch chest and a 39-inch waist.  He had 20-inch biceps and a 19-inch neck. And he wore size 18D shoes.

A native of Rayville, Louisiana, he attended Grambling on a basketball scholarship. (I suspect that may have been famed coach Eddie Robinson’s way of getting another scholarship for football, because he was definitely a football player,  and with him at one defensive end and future All-Pro Buck Buchanan at the other,  no one got outside against Grambling.)

Drafted fourth by the NFL Chicago Bears and 15th by the AFL San Diego Chargers, he chose San Diego.

He was All-AFL in all five of his years with the Chargers, but after a fall-out with management he played out his option in 1965,  and after becoming a free agent he signed with the Houston Oilers.

In 1967, he moved to Kansas City where for two seasons he was reunited with his old college teammate Buck Buchanan.  Playing inside now,  at defensive tackle,  he and the 6-7, 290 pound Buchanan were the largest pair of defensive linemen in the game.

He retired after the 1968 season.

Oh, yes.  The wrestling.  He started wrestling in the off-season, and after injuries ended his football career, he wrestled full time, starting in 1969.  He became cast as a heel, a bad guy, whose arrogance and big mouth made him a huge draw.   He retired as a wrestler in 1986, then spent a number of years as a color commentator. He’s in  both the WCW and WWF (WWE) Halls of Fame.



american flagTUESDAY,  MAY 7, 2019   “Alumni are loyal if a coach wins all his games.”  Bob Zuppke, legendary Illinois coach

*********** RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA CLINIC:

DATE AND TIME: SATURDAY, MAY 18 - 9 TO 4

SITE: SAME AS LAST YEAR
KNIGHTDALE RECREATION CENTER
LAWSON RIDGE ROAD
KNIGHTDALE, NORTH CAROLINA
(The site is an easy 30 minute drive east of RDU International Airport)

PRE-REGISTRATION $100 - AT THE DOOR $150
(SORRY, ROOM SIZE PRECLUDES MY BEING ABLE TO OFFER A STAFF DISCOUNT)

http://www.coachwyatt.com/clinics19.html


*********** I don’t have the fancy graphics ready yet so the page hasn’t been updated, but my new “Practice Planner” is now shipping. I admire the patience of a few guys who waited rather than get the old one.  I just didn’t feel it was right to ship them the old Practice Planner when a new one was in works.  (That was a year ago.)

It’s laminated and durable so you can  take it out on the field with you as a “coach’s helper”

The old one was six pages -  this one is ELEVEN pages:

PAGE 1: ELIMINATING THE WAYS EVEN GOOD TEAMS BEAT THEMSELVES

PAGE 2: GENERAL PRACTICE TIPS FOR A DOUBLE-WING STAFF

PAGE 3: GLOSSARY OF THE TERMS THAT APPEAR ON PLAYERS' WRISTCARDS

PAGES 4-5: TWO PAGES OF RUNNING PLAY ASSIGNMENTS JUST AS THEY APPEAR ON THE CARDS

PAGES 6-10 : FIVE PAGES OF PASS PLAYS - RECEIVERS' ASSIGNMENTS AND DIAGRAMS

PAGE 11: ONE PAGE DEVOTED TO SCREENS

I know you’ll find it to be a BIG help!

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

*********** Start… Stop… Continue

I got it from my daughter, Julia Love, who’s spent a number of years in the corporate world..

It’s a great way to get employees’ evaluations of things… or getting students’ evaluations of a teacher or a course… or coming into a new football program and finding out the things that matter to your new players.

We asked this of our returning players at Aberdeen (Washington) High  recently - write the head coach an email introducing yourself, and tell him what aspects of the football program you’d like to see started, stopped, or continued.

The results have been instructive.  Of course the answers vary, and we do have to allow for the possibility that players may have consulted with one another, but it’s a helpful guide when the same thing keeps popping up - “I’d like to see us start this…” or “I’d like to put a stop to…”

Thank you, Julia.

I also take off my hat to the teachers  at Aberdeen High. For the most part, the kids write pretty well.


Carson Ketter and me

*********** Last weekend I got together with former player Carson Ketter for the last time before he heads off to the CFL.  Next Wednesday, the 15th, he reports to BC Lions’ rookie camp in Kamloops, BC. Veterans report the following Sunday, and - they don’t screw around up in Canada -  a week later the Lions have their first pre-season game.

Every time I see Carson it’s tougher and tougher for me to remember him as a 5-7, 140-pound sophomore QB.  He’s now 6-3-1/2, and he’s up to a rock-hard 218.  The Lions project him as a safety, but they might start thinking “linebacker” when they see his size (and speed - at Pacific Lutheran, he was conference 100 champion and qualified for the D-III national meet).

He’s a great kid, one of the finest all-around individuals I’ve had the honor of coaching, and as his QB coach we had a very close relationship.  I can’t imagine anything much more exciting than seeing him make it in the CFL.

(The irony of this all is that in high school he was so valuable to us as QB - he was all we had - that we never let him play a down of defense.)

*********** Give… me… a… break.

Transgender powerlifter Mary Gregory recently celebrated the feat of smashing four women’s weightlifting records at the same event, but opponents cried foul since Gregory was born a man and only recently announced becoming a transgender woman.

https://www.breitbart.com/sports/2019/05/01/trans-woman-smashes-four-female-weightlifting-records-one-event/



nb guys at powerlifting
Ben Bridge squatting

*********** Speaking of powerlifting - on Saturday I attended the state Powerlifting Meet, held (for my convenience) at North Beach High. Powerlifting is not yet a state-sanctioned sport, but it’s growing rapidly and, surprisingly, among girls.  (I didn’t see any who looked like transgenders, but in all honesty, I wasn’t looking that hard.)

Although it’s exciting watching kids do their damnedest to get that weight up in the air, powerlifting is not a great spectator sport because there’s a lot of waiting in between those brief moments of excitement.  The meet started at 9 AM with the squat event, and it wasn’t until close to noon before they finally got around to the heavyweight boys.

In the top photo, I enjoyed a mini-reunion with three former North Beach players - Ben Bridge on the far left, Tim Poplin in the middle, and Seth Bridge behind Tim.  Tim, Seth and I were there to watch Ben, now a senior at Elma High where his dad’s been AD. Ben was there as a contender for top lifter in the state (highest total pounds for the three lifts - squat, bench press, and deal lift).

In the bottom photo, Ben has just finished squatting 500 pounds. That’s his dad (and my head coach) , Todd, standing behind him. On his next lift, Ben went aggressive,  going for 550.  But he didn’t make it, so 500 stood as his best squat, and as a result he wound up in second place overall, 5 pounds behind the state champion.

It’s been a great senior year for Ben.  An outstanding thrower on the track team, he wrestled during the winter and was the starting center on Elma’s 8-3 football team. And he’s going to be the class valedictorian.

*********** Huddling after every play has long been a part of football.  Although its origin is in some dispute, it’s been a part of our game since before World War I.

Now, with the increasing appearance of no-huddle offenses, I think that football is losing something that makes the game unique.

To me, the huddle is the football equivalent of the hunting camp - guys coming together after a day of hunting with various degrees of success and sharing their experiences. (Some people might call that “bull-sh—ing.”)

The huddle can give a couple of linemen a brief chance to revel in their just having put a defender on his back… or a chance for the quarterback to remind the team, “We need this first down” ... or for a senior lineman to tell a sophomore running back, “Hang onto the damn ball!”

It's also, believe it or not, a great way to tell everybody the play call.

And sometimes,  as the great Dave Nelson, inventor of the Delaware Wing-T and longtime chairman of the NCAA rules committee, was known to say, it’s a chance to “bleed together in secret.”

*********** Imagine that you’ve just been named head coach someplace. And then imagine that your predecessor will remain on the job - with all his powers - for another three months, when you’ll officially take over.

As long as we’re going to trash the Electoral College and add five or six new justices to the Supreme Court - which  the sore-loser Democrats seem to think is necessary - here’s something that really does need changing: the length of the “transition period” between the President’s election and his inauguration, a period of time dictated by the historical fact that when the Constitution was written, and  no man could travel any faster than a horse or a boat would carry him, it would take weeks for a person to travel from one of the far-flung states to Philadelphia.

Writes Mark Steyn (perhaps the world’s wittiest Canadian):

It is forty years this weekend since Mrs Thatcher was driven to Buckingham Palace to become Britain's Prime Minister. The election was held on May 3rd,  1979, and the following morning, on May 4th, the Thatchers took possession of 10 Downing Street. (None of this three-month US-style transition period that enabled the outgoing Obama Administration to screw over the incoming Trump team and get the phony-baloney "Russia investigation" all set up.)


*********** There's really nothing to stop us from doing all manner of things  contrary to the Bible’s teaching and call ourselves "Christians" but still…

“Mayor Buttigieg says he’s a gay Christian. As a Christian I believe the Bible which defines homosexuality as sin, something to be repentant of, not something to be flaunted, praised or politicized. The Bible says marriage is between a man & a woman—not two men, not two women.” Reverend Franklin Graham

https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/nation-world/national/article229629454.html#storylink=cpy

*********** Just so you know why I don’t teach my Tight Ends to “shoeshine” block any more.  This was from September, 2004 and I was coaching at Madison High in Portland…

*** We had a coverup worthy of CBS and Dan Rather in our game Friday night.

In our first offensive drive, we ran a wide play to our right which went for about 10 yards. But, no-o-o-o - flag on the play. The signal was for an illegal block below the waist.

On the phones up in the box, I heard our coach, Tracy Jackson, inquire about who it was on, and I heard the sideline official tell him, "Number 42."

That would be our playside tight end. On the play in question, his job was to reach a man in a "9" technique. If he is able to, he may scramble-block the guy, bear-crawling through his outside leg. Perfectly legal, since both men started out in the free-blocking zone, both started out on the line of scrimmage, and the contact occured in the free-blocking zone.

I heard Tracy tell that to the official next to him on the sideline, and the guy responded, "the free-blocking-zone is from tackle to tackle."

Rule 2, Section 17, Article 1 - "The free-blocking zone is a rectangular area extending laterally 4 yards either side of the spot of the snap and 3 yards behind each line of scrimmage. A player is in the free-blocking zone when any part of his bpdy is in the zone at the snap."

See anything in there about "tackle to tackle?" Neither did I. Not only was our tight end completely inside the free-blocking zone, but with our minimal splits, he is still inside it even when we go unbalanced.

Oh, sh--,  I thought. After all the horror stories I get from youth coaches who run into situations like this, we've got a guy who doesn't know one of the most basic rules of the game.

So Tracy used a time out for a conference,  and he explained to the white hat that we know our offense, and we know the rules that apply, and what our tight end did was perfectly legal.

The ref nodded his head and said, "We'll keep an eye on it from now on." (I'm still listening to all this.)
No, no, Tracy said - I'm talking about this last play. That penalty was applied only because the sideline official - the guy who made the call - didn't understand the rule, as his statement made abundantly clear.
The ref could have picked up the flag and waved it over his head and let the play stand.   And go explain it to the other coach.   We all make mistakes.

But, no-o-o-o.  Here we were at a Friday night high school football game, and we're witness to a coverup worthy of the most corrupt of public officials.   Or TV networks.

That ref knew damn well that our kids had been dealt with unfairly by a member of his crew, but he was more concerned with covering up for his incompetent buddy than he was about the integrity of the game.

Sorry, he said. Play on. First and 25.

We didn't have a decent drive the rest of the half.  (We did win the game, though.)

As the officials walked off the field at halftime, I found myself behind them and just couldn't resist.  "You guys do know what the free blocking zone is, right?" I asked helpfully.

"Yeah," one of them muttered.

UPDATE:  I've given up.  Ask any of today's officials what the "free blocking zone" is and despite what the rule book says, he'll say,  "from tackle to tackle."

*********** Two things pissed me off about that Kentucky Derby result:

First,  how can you put 20 horses in a race and not expect to have bumping?  Time to put an end to that trophies-for-everybody foolishness.

And second, where was the justice?  Yes, the first-place winner was punished - disqualified - but no wrong was righted.  All they did was move up the second-place finisher - a horse that wasn’t even bothered in the slightest by the first-place horse’s supposed misdeed.

It was as if,  following the  horrendous non-call that cost the Saints a spot in the last Super Bowl, the commissioner of the NFL had vacated the Rams’ victory - and then awarded their Super Bowl spot to the Cowboys.

*********** I just read your news and was absolutely stunned by the Caslen ordeal. Sent the links to Randy. I remember over 3 yrs ago I spent an hour with General Caslen in his office. He was a down to earth man who i talked with about many things. Yes, the football topic was fun.  Two lineman talking about the old ways of doing things. Never forget that moment in time.

Mike Foristiere
Topeka, Kansas

Mike Foristiere’s middle son, Randy, is now a first-classman at West Point. He played for his dad in Boise, Idaho, and in Wahluke, Washington, where he was a Black Lion Award winner his senior year. One Thanksgiving, when he couldn’t leave post, General Caslen asked him to have dinner with his family.  That’s the kind of man General Caslen is. (Randy, unfortunately, had to decline.)


***********  Long-time Ole Miss Coach Johnny Vaught, in his book, “Rebel Coach,” published in 1971, tells how close he came to losing perhaps the greatest player in his school’s history.

We have a “big brother” system at Ole Miss, with the seniors and juniors keeping an eye on the younger boys.  Bobo Uzzle, a defensive end, was Archie Manning’s big brother.  Once, in his freshman year,  Archie failed to make up Bobo’s bed, and Uzzle got out the paddle.

But before Archie came in, Bobo met another lineman, Alan Bush, and told him, “I’m going to put the board to Archie.”

“Listen Bobo,” Bush said, “defensive ends are a dime a dozen, and you know how Coach Vaught has been looking for a good quarterback since 1964.”

Archie escaped the paddle.

*********** PROVIDED BY THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL FOUNDATION

Rogers Redding, the national coordinator of College Football Officiating, takes a look at the final rules changes for 2019. 

Final Major Rules Changes for 2019
          
The NCAA football rules committee met in Indianapolis in late February and voted to recommend a number of changes for the 2019 season. In this column, we discuss the final changes as approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel (PROP) on April 22. This is an update from a column earlier.
          
Under the NCAA’s two-year rules process, 2019 is an “off year” for any changes other than those that directly impact the safety of the players. Player-safety rules are always on the table, and this year there are several changes in that category.

Targeting

The targeting foul has been one of the key rules in college football for a number of years. It carries the most severe penalty in the game: player disqualification. The rule calls for a player committing a targeting foul that is sustained by Instant Replay to be ejected from the game and suspended for the next half of play. This means that a player disqualified in the second half must also sit out the first half of his team’s next game.
          
This year, the rules committee further strengthened the penalty, addressing the issue of repeat offenders. There is now a progressive penalty for targeting. Under the new rule, a player who is ejected for a third or more targeting foul anytime during the season also will be ineligible for the entire next game. So, for example, suppose a player is disqualified for targeting in two games any time during the season. If he then is ejected for a third or more targeting foul anytime during the rest of the season, he will be suspended also for the entire next game.
          
It doesn’t matter when this additional foul happens: whether it’s in the first quarter or the fourth quarter, he will be ineligible for the whole next game. Also, it doesn’t matter when the next game is played. It might be during the bowl season, a national championship game, or possibly the first game of the next season. It’s his team’s next scheduled game---whenever that is.
          
The role of instant replay in administering the targeting foul is also being changed. Every targeting foul goes for instant replay review, as in the past. But starting in 2019, the replay official is to look at all aspects of the play and make one of two rulings: either the call on the field is confirmed or it is overturned. A ruling of “Stands” will no longer be possible for a targeting review.

Wedge Blocking on Kickoffs
 
         
For a number of years, the three-man wedge has been illegal on kickoffs. This is when three players on the receiving team align shoulder-to-shoulder within two yards of each other to block for the ball carrier. Beginning in 2019, this rule is even more restrictive: the two-man wedge will be illegal and will carry a 15-yard penalty. As in the past, the wedge is not illegal during an onside kick or when the play results in a touchback. The only change is that the two-man wedge is outlawed.

Blindside Blocks
          
A player delivers a blindside block when the opponent cannot see the block coming in time to defend himself. For a number of years, such a block has been outlawed as a targeting foul if it includes forcible contact to the head or neck area. In 2019, the new rules will broaden the restrictions for blindside blocks. It will now be illegal to deliver a blindside block by attacking an opponent with forcible contact, no matter where the contact is made. The words attacking and forcible will be key for the officials on the field in calling this foul. If the contact is to the head or neck area, it is still a targeting foul. But now it will be a personal foul even if by rule it is not a targeting foul—that is, even if the block is not to the head or neck area. The blindside block foul will carry a 15-yard penalty.

Overtime
 
         
This past season featured a game that went for seven extra periods. Although the vast majority of overtime games are decided much sooner—say, in two or three extra periods—there is the occasional game that goes longer. The rules committee feels that players may become extremely fatigued in such long games, thus making them much more susceptible to injury.
          
Beginning in 2019, starting with the fifth overtime, each team will have only one play: a two-point conversion attempt from the three-yard line. For a number of years, beginning with the third overtime a team that scores a touchdown must attempt a two-point conversion. This will still be true for the third and fourth overtimes.

But beginning with the fifth overtime, the new one-play-per-team rule will take effect.

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

With Gino Marchetti's passing it feels as if the chapter on old school football is quickly closing.  As I get older and reflect on how things were I can now appreciate (instead of poo-pooing) why the "old-timers" would brag and boast about how things were done in their day.  Witnessing change is hard, but now that I'm encroaching upon that "old-timer" tag I find not being able to prevent change is even harder.  Now I get it.

So what do they do with dead beached whales?  Can't imagine what the stench will be after a few weeks!

It is those same liberal professors in this country that are fueling the minds of the same young warped liberal politicians popping up in this country.  The very same politicians like Gavin Newsome in California who has introduced a bill in CA that prevents public school administrators/teachers from suspending students who are willfully disruptive in the classroom.  My brother is a teacher in a middle school in CA, and his daughter is a learning director at a high school.  They both tell me that IF this asinine bill becomes law they along with thousands of educators will be looking for jobs in private schools, or other states.  I have a feeling both of them will be making a trip to Austin.  Also, I can't help but think that the private schools in CA are licking their chops at the prospect of filling all of their seats.

Enjoy your weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Just a wild guess, but I would imagine that certain “minority” lawmakers are behind this, and that they have intimidated other cowardly lawmakers (but I repeat myself) of the non-minority category into going along rather than being branded as “racists.”  Perhaps someone can explain to  me how any youngsters of any race are well served educationally by schools’  ignoring “willful defiance.” 
 
*********** QUIZ ANSWER: Jack Bicknell was born in New Jersey and did most of his coaching in New England, but they called him “Cowboy Jack” because he liked country music.

He went to college at Montclair State, then was an assistant for eight years at Boston College before being named head coach at Maine.  Although his record at Maine was less than stellar, he was hired as head coach at Boston College, where in ten years he built a 59-55 record.

His 1984 BC team went 10-2 and beat Bill Yeoman and Houston, 45-28 in the Cotton Bowl, but it’s best known for one of the most exciting plays in football history, the Hail Mary pass from Doug Flutie to Gerard Phelan to beat Miami as time ran out.

Flutie was awarded that year’s Heisman Trophy.

After leaving BC, Bicknell coached in Europe, coachin the Barcelona Dragons for 11 years, followed by  short stints as head coach of the Scottish Claymores and the Hamburg Sea Devils.

His son and namesake, Jack Bicknell, Jr.,  is now offensive line coach at Ole Miss.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JACK BICKNELL:

JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA, AUSTIN, TEXAS
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY
JERRY GORDON - SOUTH CHATHA, MASSACHUSETTS
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA

*********** Courtesy of Greg Koenig…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3ykWbu2Gl0&list=PLncjtbLcLWBI_0RNzWfOYuhgZlDXf3iA-

*********** I played at UMass and actually tackled Flutie...Well, I grabbed him by the ankle and another player had to come over and help me out...

Jerry Gordon
South Chatham, Massachusetts

***********  QUIZ: He grew up in Hog Chain, Mississippi - that is not made up - and went to nearby Brookhaven High School, where he won 12 letters. He was heavily recruited by a number of schools, but not by his home state school,  Ole Miss - because he was married (he was 17 and his wife was 15) and Ole Miss coach Johnny Vaught had a rule against players being married.

Instead, he went to Arkansas, lured there by Frank Broyles, and after leading the nation in punt return yards in 1960 and 1961, and starring as a sprinter on the track team, he was a consensus All-American running back his senior season.

He was also a three-time Academic All-American.

He was a first round draft pick of the NFL 49ers and the AFL Raiders, and after the Raiders traded his rights to San Diego, he signed with the Chargers.

He had a mediocre rookie season, but then,  teaming with QB John Hadl, he went on to become probably the best receiver in Pro Football - this despite the fact that he was maybe 5-10, 180, and despite the fact that many sports media types clung to the notion that the AFL was inferior to the NFL.

In 1966, he led the AFL in five different receiving categories.

In 11  seasons  in the AFL and NFL he had 543 receptions for 10,266 yards. In addition, he rushed for 129 yards, returned 29 punts for 309 yards, returned 10 kickoffs for 216 yards, and scored 87 touchdowns.

To this day, he still holds - or co-holds - five NFL receiving records, and 14 franchise records.

After nine years in San Diego, he was  traded to Dallas,  where he played two more seasons.  He scored the Cowboys’ first TD in their 24-3 Super Bowl win over the Dolphins.

He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and is the only player to be named to the AFL All-Time Team and the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team.

He was the first Charger  - as well as the first player who had played in the AFL -  to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  He was presented at the induction ceremony by Raiders’ owner  Al Davis, who had been his original position coach in San Diego.


american flagFRIDAY,  MAY 3, 2019    "If we need to throw 10 passes in practice to get it right - forget it. We don't have the time." Joe Paterno


*********** RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA CLINIC:

DATE AND TIME: SATURDAY, MAY 18 - 9 TO 4

SITE: SAME AS LAST YEAR
KNIGHTDALE RECREATION CENTER
LAWSON RIDGE ROAD
KNIGHTDALE, NORTH CAROLINA
(The site is an easy 30 minute drive east of RDU International Airport)

PRE-REGISTRATION $100 - AT THE DOOR $150
(SORRY, ROOM SIZE PRECLUDES MY BEING ABLE TO OFFER A STAFF DISCOUNT)

http://www.coachwyatt.com/clinics19.html


*********** I don’t have the fancy graphics ready yet so the page hasn’t been updated, but my new “Practice Planner” is now shipping. I admire the patience of a few guys who waited rather than get the old one.  I just didn’t feel it was right to ship them the old Practice Planner when a new one was in works.  (That was a year ago.)

It’s laminated and durable so you can  take it out on the field with you as a “coach’s helper”

The old one was six pages -  this one is ELEVEN pages:

PAGE 1: ELIMINATING THE WAYS EVEN GOOD TEAMS BEAT THEMSELVES

PAGE 2: GENERAL PRACTICE TIPS FOR A DOUBLE-WING STAFF

PAGE 3: GLOSSARY OF THE TERMS THAT APPEAR ON PLAYERS' WRISTCARDS

PAGES 4-5: TWO PAGES OF RUNNING PLAY ASSIGNMENTS JUST AS THEY APPEAR ON THE CARDS

PAGES 6-10 : FIVE PAGES OF PASS PLAYS - RECEIVERS' ASSIGNMENTS AND DIAGRAMS

PAGE 11: ONE PAGE DEVOTED TO SCREENS

I know you’ll find it to be a BIG help!

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


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

Spent the past couple of days as our school's admin at the Class 6A state golf tournament.  Neither our boys team or girls team qualified, but two of our individuals did.  Our lone girl (a sophomore) finished in the Top 10.  Our lone boy (a senior) finished tied for 13th.  The sophomore made All-State, and the senior just missed by three shots (probably the three 3 putts he had during his last round).

Congratulations on the new gig!  Nice to see you get back in the game working with a trusted friend and one heckuva football coach!  I can't help but think that the Aberdeen Bobcats will soon be competing for championships. 

Don't get me started on the Chinese.

QUIZ:  Les Richter  (This one was easy for me after being raised in Fresno)  Les Richter was a household name in Fresno sports circles.  His heroics on the football field at Fresno High in the late 1940's were legendary.  He was also the captain of the team and student body president.

PS - I'm also back in coaching at Hyde Park, the same school where I was the OC when I first moved to Austin.  I will be coaching the O Line and the ILBers. 

Have a great day!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe,

First of all, congratulations on your new coaching job.   I’m very happy for you (and I hope that somehow you can avoid having to teach holding)!

I’m sure that getting out there again and working with kids who respond to your coaching will re-energize you!

One of the things we’re running into at Aberdeen is a lack of good assistant candidates.  A few of the holdovers seem to think that they still have their jobs and they’re not making it easy for Todd.  

What a great opportunity this would be for the Gutillas to spend a football season finding out if they like the Washington Coast (hint, hint.)

I knew you’d like Les Richter.  What a guy.  He was the class valedictorian - at CAL!  Imagine, nowadays, a two-time All-American (and those Cal teams were good) addressing a college graduation as its valedictorian.  

Congratulations again!


*********** Please tell me you’re not one of those foolish coaches who look at a kid and automatically assume that because he looks the part of a player, he must be a good player. 

H. L. Mencken, the famous Sage of Baltimore, would have branded you an idealist - and here’s what he had to say about that.  “An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.”

*********** It’s still early in the season, but coming out of April, attendance for 12 of the 30 Major League Baseball teams is down.

Meanwhile, the rubes in Portland are tripping all over themselves trying to lure a big-league  team to the Rose City when the truth is MLB would probably pay them to take the Rays and move them out of Tampa. 

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2019/04/30/mlb-attendance-first-month/3626164002/


*********** Coach: What program do you use to draw plays with in your open wing manual? I like the clarity of them.

I use Playmaker Pro to draw plays.

It’s a very useful program (oops - got to remember to start saying “app”). I highly recommend it.

http://www.playmakerpro.net/



*********** Everybody knows the story of Abraham Lincoln and the succession of failures - in love, in business, in politics - that preceded his eventual election to the presidency.

There’s Dwight Eisenhower, too. Between World Wars I and II, for  a period of 16 years, he was stuck at the rank of Major.  He was 53 years old, 28 years after graduating from West Point, when he was given command of Allied Forces in Europe.  He was 62 when he was elected President for the first time.

And there’s Winston Churchill.  He was blamed for the World War I disaster at Gallipoli, in 1917, and held a series of lower level positions until 1940 - at the age of 66 - when he became Prime Minister and his leadership rallied the British people against the Nazi blitz.

You might call Lincoln, Eisenhower and Churchill “late bloomers.” 

"A late bloomer,” writes Rich Karlgaard in his book, appropriately titled “Late Bloomers,” “is a person who fills their potential later than expected; they often have talents that aren’t visible to others initially… They are not attempting to satisfy, with gritted teeth, the expectations of their parents or society, a case path that leads to burnout and brittleness, or even to depression and illness.”

Late bloomers, writes the book’s reviewer, Philip Delves Broughton, “stand in contrast to today’s obsession with precocious youth.  They are not the ones acing the SAT, starting charitable organizations in their teens or emerging from college garlanded with awards.”

They are cocky. They know everything.  They are destined to rule the world. They ooze confidence.  But sometimes their confidence tricks them into thinking that they know all they need to know, and they stop learning.

Of course Lincoln, Eisenhower and Churchill believed in themselves,
but they weren’t burdened by early success that gave them a false confidence.  They never stopped learning and they never stopped growing, and when opportunity finally presented itself, they were prepared. .

Mr. Karlgaard cites Bill Walsh, who didn’t get his first head coaching job until he was 46, and won his first Super Bowl when he was 50.

He remained focused on his job, not his future, always learning, always preparing for his moment - if it ever came.  All the while, others,  seemingly brighter lights, dropped by the wayside.

“In my career,” he said, “I’ve been passing men with greater bravado and confidence. Confidence gets you off to a fast start.  Confidence gets you that first job and maybe the next two promotions. But confidence stops you from learning. Confidence becomes a caricature after a while.  I can’t tell you how many confident blowhards I’ve seen in my coaching career who never got better after the age of 40.”


*********** ESPN The Magazine is toast.

From Sports Business Journal…

ESPN is ending the print version of ESPN the Magazine in September, more than 21 years after its launch. The news of the print magazine’s demise was announced to staff this morning as part of a reorganization of Senior VP/Original Content Rob King’s department. ESPN says that the move will not involve any layoffs today, though it is likely that a handful of print/publishing/circulation employees -- said to be in the single digits -- will be without jobs come September. An ESPN spokesperson said the company already had integrated the magazine’s employees across its platforms.

In an emailed statement, ESPN said, “Consumer habits are evolving rapidly, and this requires ESPN to evolve as well. The only change here is that we are moving away from printing it on paper and sending it in the mail. … Our data shows the vast majority of readers already consume our print journalism on digital platforms, and this approach will maximize our reach and impact.” ESPN said it will consider publishing print versions of special issues -- like the Body Issue -- in the future. The magazine launched in March ‘98. Sources said that it has lost money for the past several years. “It was not close to a break even proposition,” a source said.

https://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/SB-Blogs/Breaking-News/2019/04/ESPN-Mag.aspx

https://www.si.com/tech-media/2019/04/30/espn-the-magazine-shut-down-stop-print-edition-september



*********** Gino Marchetti died.  Hard for an old Baltimore Colts fan like me to take.  He was 93 but I was hoping he’d live forever. 

The called him Gino the Giant, and although they like to say now that he was “undersized by today’s standards,”  he was the standard by which NFL defensive ends were measured, and he’d kick serious ass today.

Born in West Virginia to Italian immigrants, he grew up in Antioch, California.

Tough?  He was 18 when he enlisted in the Army during World War II.  He was a machine gunner during the Battle of the Bulge, and he later recalled, “The first time I ever saw snow, I slept in it.”

Tough? His ankle was shattered in the late going of the so-called “Greatest Game Ever Played,” the NFL championship game in Yankee Stadium between the Baltimore Colts and the New York Giants.  But rather than be wheeled off to the locker room, he insisted on staying on the sidelines to watch the end of the game.

He played his college ball on the great University of San Francisco “Undefeated, Untied and Uninvited” team of 1951, which featured such future NFL stars as Ollie Mattson, Ed Brown, Bob St. Clair.

Marchetti was a leader of the Dons in their refusal to accept a bowl invitation that stipulated that their black players - Mattson and Burl Toler - could not play.

“He’s the greatest player in football,” Rams coach Sid Gillman once said. “It’s a waste of time to run around this guy’s end. It’s a lost play.”

While he was still playing, Colts’ owner Carroll Rosenbloom, who felt his players would be more successful if they stayed in the town where they became famous, convinced him to invest the money he’d earned in the 1958 championship ($4674) in a hamburger chain along with teammate Alan Ameche and former teammate Joe Campanella.

If there is such a thing as a hamburger historian, he probably knows that there are those who claim that “Gino’s Giant” was the inspiration for McDonald’s Big Mac.

The chain grew to become quite large in the Baltimore area and then expanded to Philadelphia before it was sold to Marriott.

I bet there isn’t a Baltimorean over the age of 60 who doesn’t know the jingle:

“Ev’rybody goes to Gino’s, ‘cause Gino’s is the place to go.

“Ev’rybody goes to Gino’s,  ev’rybody in the know…”


https://www.philly.com/eagles/gino-marchetti-dies-obituary-baltimore-colts-pro-football-hall-of-fame-giant-burgers-20190430.html


*********** PLAYBOOK CORRECTION!

On Page 91 in the QB’s brief instructions AND on Page 248 on  the QB’s card (play 30-2):

It should read  H/S LFT (Hockey Stick LEFT)

My apologies for your having to make that correction and my thanks to Coach Foley of Palmdale, California for this great catch.


*********** Gray whales are washing up on Northwest beaches…

Beached whale

Came across this beached whale last weekend while walking along the beach at Ocean Shores.  It was about 30 feet long. From the sand covering it you can tell that that tide had already washed over it at least once.  The smell wasn’t too bad yet - at least my dog, Lainey didn’t think so - and it was really cool to look inside its mouth and see the ivory-like balleen.  If you look closely you can see where marine biologists had already stripped away a layer of skin and blubber.  Apparently they were checking for signs of malnourishment.

https://www.opb.org/news/article/dead-gray-whales-oregon-washington-beach/


*********** Many thanks to all the well-wishers on my new job at Aberdeen (WA) High School.

Coach:

Congratulations on the new gig at Aberdeen!  That is great news.  I always got so excited when there was an opportunity to install the double wing and its variations at a brand new place.  It is never about the wins and losses but the pride you take when you see the kids "figure it out" and the system starts to click for them.  Enjoy this season!

Enjoy your summer Coach.

Regards,

Bill Lawlor
Palatine, Illinois

(Coach Lawlor played for the great Bob Reade at Augustana College and has coached the Double Wing all the way from youth football to high school football in the Chicago area.)



***********  Good morning, Coach!

Read your News section on the Army General and the Administration of West Point, and you asked why the Administrators would listen to the handful of students...this article answers that question! Pretty scary to think the colleges are all being run by these people.

DJ MIllay
Vancouver, Washington

This is worth printing in its entirety…

Think Professors Are Liberal? Try School Administrators

The ideological bent of those overseeing collegiate life is having the biggest impact on campus culture.

By Samuel J. Abrams
Dr. Abrams is a professor of politics.
    •    Oct. 16, 2018
    ◦   

I received a disconcerting email this year from a senior staff member in the Office of Diversity and Campus Engagement at Sarah Lawrence College, where I teach. The email was soliciting ideas from the Sarah Lawrence community for a conference, open to all of us, titled “Our Liberation Summit.” The conference would touch on such progressive topics as liberation spaces on campus, Black Lives Matter and justice for women as well as for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and allied people.

As a conservative-leaning professor who has long promoted a diversity of viewpoints among my (very liberal) faculty colleagues and in my classes, I was taken aback by the college’s sponsorship of such a politically lopsided event. The email also piqued my interest in what sorts of other nonacademic events were being organized by the school’s administrative staff members.

I soon learned that the Office of Student Affairs, which oversees a wide array of issues including student diversity and residence life, was organizing many overtly progressive events — programs with names like “Stay Healthy, Stay Woke,” “Microaggressions” and “Understanding White Privilege” — without offering any programming that offered a meaningful ideological alternative. These events were conducted outside the classroom, in the students’ social and recreational spaces.

The problem is not limited to my college. While considerable focus has been placed in recent decades on the impact of the ideological bent of college professors, when it comes to collegiate life — living in dorms, participating in extracurricular organizations — the ever growing ranks of administrators have the biggest influence on students and campus life across the country.

Today, many colleges and universities have moved to a model in which teaching and learning is seen as a 24/7 endeavor. Engagement with students is occurring as much — if not more — in residence halls and student centers as it is in classrooms. Schools have increased their hiring in areas such as residential life and student centers, offices of student life and success, and offices of inclusion and engagement. It’s not surprising that many of the free-speech controversies in the past few years at places like Yale, Stanford and the University of Delaware have concerned events that occurred not in classrooms but in student communal spaces and residence halls.

Intrigued by this phenomenon, I recently surveyed a nationally representative sample of roughly 900 “student-facing” administrators — those whose work concerns the quality and character of a student’s experience on campus. I found that liberal staff members outnumber their conservative counterparts by the astonishing ratio of 12-to-one. Only 6 percent of campus administrators identified as conservative to some degree, while 71 percent classified themselves as liberal or very liberal. It’s no wonder so much of the nonacademic programming on college campuses is politically one-sided.

The 12-to-one ratio of liberal to conservative college administrators makes them the most left-leaning group on campus. In previous research, I found that academic faculty report a six-to-one ratio of liberal to conservative professors. Incoming first-year students, by contrast, reported less than a two-to-one ratio of liberals to conservatives, according to a 2016 finding by the Higher Education Research Institute. It appears that a fairly liberal student body is being taught by a very liberal professoriate — and socialized by an incredibly liberal group of administrators.

The severity of this trend varies among different types of academic institutions. My research found that two-thirds of administrators at public institutions and schools with religious affiliations self-identified as liberals, which was lower than the three-quarters of administrators at private, secular institutions who did. I found no real differences among school types, such as small, private liberal arts colleges as compared with large research universities. School ranking did make a small difference, with administrators at more selective institutions reporting a higher percentage of liberals than did lower-ranked schools.

The most pronounced difference was regional. New England has the most liberal college administrators in the nation, with a 25-to-one ratio of liberals to conservatives. The West Coast and Southeast have ratios of 16-to-one, whereas the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains and the Great Lakes all have ratios closer to 10-to-one. The only region with anything close to a balanced ratio is the Southwest, with two-to-one.

This warped ideological distribution among college administrators should give our students and their families pause. To students who are in their first semester at school, I urge you not to accept unthinkingly what your campus administrators are telling you. Their ideological imbalance, coupled with their agenda-setting power, threatens the free and open exchange of ideas, which is precisely what we need to protect in higher education in these politically polarized times.

Samuel J. Abrams is a professor of politics at Sarah Lawrence College and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/16/opinion/liberal-college-administrators.html


*********** QUIZ ANSWER:  Les Richter was a native of Fresno, California who became a two-time consensus All-American at Cal.

He was the second player taken in the 1952 NFL draft, but two days after the draft the team that drafted him, the New York Yankees, was sold back to the league for $100,000.

He was acquired by the Rams in exchange for 11 players.

And then he left for Korea, where a war was going on, and he served for two years as a lieutenant in the US Army.

On his return, he justified the Rams’ confidence in him and made eight straight pro bowls as a linebacker. He played nine years in all, and never missed a game, despite finishing a game against Pittsburgh after fracturing his cheekbone.  He didn’t make the Pro Bowl his final season, although he played both ways, taking over at center when the starter was injured.

In those days before specialists, he also did the Rams’ place-kicking.  He made 29 field goals, and made 90 per cent of his extra point attempts, kicking 106 PATs.

Said Gil Brandt,  longtime Player Personnel Director, Dallas Cowboys, “He was one of the toughest linebackers ever to play in the NFL.  Tom Landry felt we couldn’t get our running game going unless we blocked him, and he was right. The first time we played his Rams, they just obliterated us.”

After retirement as a player, he became General Manager of the Riverside Raceway in California,  and then served as senior vice president of operations for NASCAR.

Les Richter is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING LES RICHTER:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MATHEW HEDGER - LANGDON, NORTH DAKOTA
JOE GUTILLA, AUSTIN, TEXAS
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY


*********** Thanks to Greg Koenig for the link…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhOKEEMgZio


***********  How good was Richter with the Rams?

"The best," said Jon Arnett, a Pro Bowl halfback who played with Richter from 1957 to 1962. "Why he is not in the (Pro Football) Hall of Fame is beyond me. His intelligence was probably his greatest calling card, in all walks of life and not just football. His size (6-3, 238 pounds) was standard for the day, but he was noted for his size of calves and legs, both extremely big and strong.

"Les was not noted for his speed and probably would not have been picked by today's 40-yard speed nuts. He might not have been fast, but he was always there where the ball was. I played 10 years with the Rams and Bears and would find it hard to find anyone who excelled at his position as much as Les Richter did at middle linebacker, period."

Arnett says Richter was "loved" by his teammates. "He was the leader," Arnett said. "Les had the intelligence that commanded respect, whether it be on or off the field."

By the time he retired from the Rams, Richter was already well into his transition to a second career as a motor racing executive. He had started working as an aide in the offseason for oilman Edwin Pauley, who was a partner in the Rams' ownership group, in the mid-1950s and when Pauley bought Riverside, a bare-bones road racing track 50 miles east of Los Angeles, Richter moved into its marketing department in 1959.

***
"To us old timers 'All-Pro Linebacker' Les Richter will forever be the face of Riverside (International) Raceway," said the legendary Dan Gurney, who grew up in Riverside and won many races at the track. "Les was a motorsports pioneer who brought NASCAR stock car racing and Indy road racing to the West Coast.
"He organized the Los Angeles Times Grand Prix for Sports and Can-Am racing cars, each event often drawing more than 100,000 spectators to the desert.

***
Richter joined NASCAR in 1983 and became one of Bill France Jr.'s top advisors. The Coach, as many called him during his motor racing career, became NASCAR's executive vice president of competition in 1986 and senior vice president of operations in 1992.

"Les Richter will be missed by the entire NASCAR community and always remembered for all he did for the sport, especially NASCAR's short-track racing and promoting the sport on the West Coast," NASCAR CEO Brian France said in a statement. "Les, a tireless worker, was one of NASCAR's most respected officials and one of my father's most trusted lieutenants."

***
When Roger Penske began developing the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana  inthe mid-1990s, he lured Richter back to southern California to head the project.

It was built on the site of the former Kaiser Steel Mill and there were environmental problems with government approvals and permits to obtain. Richter also met with citizens at town-hall meetings. The track opened in 1997 and hosts two Cup events a year.

"Les Richter was a tremendous competitor, a great man and a good friend," Penske said in a statement.


https://www.si.com/more-sports/2010/06/17/les-richter

*********** QUIZ: He was born in New Jersey and did most of his coaching in New England, but they called him “Cowboy Jack” because he liked country music.

He went to college at Montclair State, then was an assistant for eight years at Boston College before being named head coach at Maine.  Although his record at Maine was less than stellar, he was hired as head coach at Boston College, where in ten years he built a 59-55 record.

His 1984 BC team went 10-2 and beat Bill Yeoman and Houston, 45-28 in the Cotton Bowl, but it’s best known for one of the most exciting plays in football history, the Hail Mary pass from Doug Flutie to Gerard Phelan to beat Miami as time ran out.

Flutie was awarded that year’s Heisman Trophy.

After leaving BC, he coached in Europe, coaching in the Barcelona Dragons for 11 years  followed by short stints as head coach of the Scottish Claymores and the Hamburg Sea Devils.

His son - and namesake -  is now offensive line coach at Ole Mis


american flagTUESDAY,  APRIL 30,  2019   “It is not practical to believe that a world-state made up of people who cannot speak to each other, who do not live in the same way or have the same customs, could be anything but a despotism.” Larry P. Arnn, President, Hillsdale College

*********** RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA CLINIC:

DATE AND TIME: SATURDAY, MAY 18 - 9 TO 4

SITE: SAME AS LAST YEAR
KNIGHTDALE RECREATION CENTER
LAWSON RIDGE ROAD
KNIGHTDALE, NORTH CAROLINA
(The site is an easy 30 minute drive east of RDU International Airport)

PRE-REGISTRATION $100 - AT THE DOOR $150
(SORRY, ROOM SIZE PRECLUDES MY BEING ABLE TO OFFER A STAFF DISCOUNT)

http://www.coachwyatt.com/clinics19.html

Bobcat Seniors

*********** Todd Bridge and I coached together for six years at North Beach High in Ocean Shores, Washington, and now we’re back together again.  For the past two years, Todd’s been the AD at Elma, Washington, but now he’s back in the saddle as head coach at Aberdeen, Washington - and I’m on board as his assistant head coach and offensive coordinator. 

Aberdeen is a little over two hours from our home in Camas and the logistics for my wife and me are not a lot different from what they were when we were at North Beach.  We still have our place in Ocean Shores, and with Aberdeen about 45 minutes away,  we’ll stay there during the week and return to our place in Camas on weekends.

Aberdeen has been down for a long time - the Bobcats have had just one winning season - a 5-4 season in 2007 - in the last 15 years.  Last year’s record was 1-9.

First order of business was a meeting this past Saturday morning with the returning seniors - 13 of them.   They were an impressive group of kids. They caught on to “Bobcat time” immediately - we set the time for 9 AM, and  the first arrivals were 20 minutes early; the “latest” was  a lone “straggler” who was 5 minutes early. 

They’ve been in the program since they were freshmen, and they’ve been through a lot, so we took pains to assure them that they would not be overlooked.  We covered a number of topics, chief of which was that we would be giving them an exalted position, but that in return we expected them to demonstrate commitment and leadership.

We started with our Mission Statement:
1. We will treat kids right
2. We will set high standards and hold them accountable
3. We will teach them more football than they ever thought possible
4. We will give them an experience they’ll treasure for life

We told them about the three legs of the program, the Three R’s - RESPECT, RESPONSIBILITY, RESILIENCE. We especially stressed “Respect,” emphasizing  that when they entered our locker room or stepped on our field they would be stepping into an atmosphere in which everyone shows and receives respect: coaches respect players, players respect coaches, players respect players and coaches respect coaches.

We told them that the major criteria by which they would be evaluated were encapsulated in the acronym ACE:   Attitude, Coachability, Effort.

Todd handed out the summer schedules.  We are not going away to a team camp, as had been the practice.  There is a possibility - depending on the ACE - that at the end of spring ball we might go to a two-day team camp, one that we can commute to.

Summer workouts will be from 7 to 9 PM weeknights.  Our thinking is that instead of two daily workouts - one in the morning and one in the afternoon -  having one later session allows us to get all the kids together, reinforcing the idea that summer workouts should be a team activity.

I briefly explained what our offensive philosophy would be - basically, that we would be the team that nobody wants to play - and then, in anticipation of our first day of spring practice, we got 11 of the kids to sign up for the 11 offensive positions so that when we ask for 11 guys to demonstrate our offense, they’ll jump right in. 

They really enjoyed seeing some of our plays run  on the goarmyedge app (by players wearing Aberdeen’s blue and gold uniforms).

We said that the most we could promise them was that they would be able to claim that they were the first class to take part in the turnaround.

And then Todd hit them with a question that I’ve used several times in taking over a new program - something that I learned from a great coach and friend named Eric Bernstein.  Todd asked, “Now - do I have your permission to coach you?”

Call it touchy-feely if you will, but if you’re sincere when you tell kids that it’s “their team,” you have to have that understanding - so you might as well come right out and ask for it.

At Aberdeen, every head nodded in assent.  Those kids are in.  Those seniors are on board. (If kids ever answer “No,” you’ll know you took the wrong job.)

Todd left them with an assignment: e-mail him a letter of introduction,  addressing three points: START, STOP, CONTINUE - things regarding the program that they would like to start, stop or continue.

The 2019 schedule is really rough: Five of the nine opponents made the playoffs last season.  Three of them won ten games and three others won eight games.  Only two of them had losing seasons.

Damned if Game Number 3 isn’t against Elma, which last year whipped the Bobcats, 42-0. 

*********** So sad to hear that John Havlicek died.  What a stud.  What an athlete.

He is still the Celtics’ all-time leading scorer, but he was such a good athlete that Cleveland Browns coach Paul Brown was willing to spend a draft choice on him just on the chance that he might be able to persuade him to take up football.

Sure, he probably would have made a very good wide receiver or tight end, but between you and me, if I were he and I’d had the same choice, I’d have done the same thing he did.

No way would he have lasted for 16 seasons in the NFL.  No way would have been a 13-time all star.  No way would he ever have played on eight championship teams. 


*********** One of my fellow graduates at Yale was one of the greatest song writers who ever lived, Cole Porter. 

I guarantee you that over the years,  one way or another - maybe without even knowing it (maybe in an elevator or in a dentist’s office) - you will listen to Cole Porter’s music thousands of times.

Some of his best-known songs - but by no means all of them:

Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall in Love… What is This Thing Called Love… You Do Something To Me… Anything Goes… All Through the Night… I Get a Kick Out of You… “You’re the Top… Don’t Fence Me In… Begin the Beguine… Just One of Those Things… It’s De-Lovely… Night and Day…You’d Be So Easy to Love… I’ve Got You Under My Skin… In the Still of the Night… My Heart Belongs to Daddy… I Concentrate on You… You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To… Be a Clown… Always True to You in My Fashion… Why Can’t You Behave?… So In Love… From This Moment On… I Love Paris… C’est Magnifique… It’s All Right With Me… True Love… Who Wants To be a Millionaire?

Actually, Cole Porter had graduated from Yale many, many years before me (in 1913) and he was receiving an honorary degree. And in fact, he wasn’t even on hand to receive it, because he wasn’t sufficiently recovered from having a leg amputated as a result of a horseback riding injury suffered years earlier.

The highly-unusual presentation of his degree had taken place in his New York apartment a few days before.  The citation, which I recall being read at graduation:

"As an undergraduate, you first won acclaim for writing the words and music of two of Yale's perennial football songs. Since then, you have achieved reputation as a towering figure in the American musical theatre. Master of the deft phrase, the delectable rhyme, the distinctive melody, you are, in your own words and your own field, the top.”

The two songs referred to are “Bingo, Bingo Eli Yale,” and the far better known “Bulldog,” which for years has been played after every Yale touchdown.

The way “Bulldog” was first introduced to the Yale students was dramatized in “Night and Day,” a 1946 movie based on Cole Porter’s life:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UXZ1cR1Qo0

*********** Mike Foristiere wasn’t given credit for identifying Mike Nolan because he had an unfair advantage.  Mike wrote…

Hugh, I met Mike my first year at the U of O. He was a very undersized free safety, but as I remember he was always around where the ball was.  In time as I got to know him and I asked him how he did it. His speed was average yet he made plays. In time he took me aside and we went into the film room and he would show me how he would watch opponents films, tendencies, formations, even how a guy would position his feet.This is when I learned the value of watching film of your opponent and as you well know I was average at best, but if you study your opponent it sure helps to have a good idea of what they are doing.  Mike always seemed to be 3 steps ahead of the play.  Of course I knew of his dad, but I then also knew what he learned from his dad and how much it helped him.  I have not seen Mike since the 1980 season when I was a senior. Though I know of his journey  as a coach, the funny part is when I  became a coach myself  I still remembered those days years ago and how he taught a very average O lineman how to compete a little bit better. I still use some of those things today and share them with my players. Mike was a great teammate who really didn't know me and taught me some things. I wish all teammates could be like that. It is one of the biggest things i am trying to teach here. In time I hope to accomplish that here at Highland Park or we will never be very good.

*********** The Chinese are worried about a loss of masculinity among their boys, and they're trying to do something about  it - using football!!

It is 14 degrees the morning two dozen boys gather at a Beijing park to be transformed into alpha males. A reluctant winter sun casts silver light between treacherously cold shadows. The wind bites, worsening nerves as the boys — the youngest 7 — prepare to strip to their waists for a run.
One of the watching mothers is worried. She wants her son to grow into a macho male, but it’s so cold. She tells him he can keep his shirt on, or perhaps skip the run through Olympic Forest Park.

This is the kind of “feminine” parenting that coach Tang Haiyan fears can ruin boys. Tang, a former schoolteacher, founded the Real Man Training Club to combat what he and others in China see as a masculinity crisis — part of a backlash against the makeup- and earring-wearing male TV, film and pop idols who have gained immense popularity here.

“If you are promoting these effeminate figures,” Tang said, “it’s a calamity for our country.”

***

Influenced by K-pop idols in Korea, China’s boy bands and celebrities — with their delicate beauty, dyed hair and haute couture wardrobes — have a massive following among women here. But China’s state-run media condemns the young idols, calling them “sissy pants" and “fresh young meat.”

***

A Professor at the University of Hong Kong says,  “They’re worrying that if Chinese men are so effeminate… then we will become a weak country in future and we cannot compete with our rivals. There’s anxiety about the virility of the nation being harmed by those effeminate male images.”

***

Tang designed the club — which he says fluctuates between 2,000 and 3,000 members — to get boys to face tough physical challenges “in a manly way,” which he defines as being brave, responsible and committed.

He said he was inspired by his love of American football and a visit to California in 2006 to see how teams were trained. He came away with the idea that U.S. parents wanted their sons to play football “so they could become alpha males.” He decided the sport could transform Chinese boys.

(Why, sure -  the same way soccer is transforming American boys.)

https://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-china-masculinity-pop-idols-backlash-20190426-story.html


***********  The old formula in writing ads was “Problem, Product, Pleasure.”

First, the problem.  My wife and I watched as a bunch of millennials on TV whined about having “sweaty hands.”  Wow.  What a problem to have! 

Sure enough though, there came a product to the rescue.  Something called “CARPE.”

Carpe (as, I suppose, in “Carpe Diem” - seize the day), was, we were told,  an “antiperspirant.”  For f—king HANDS!

My wife looked at me and asked, “Is this really happening?”

I’m waiting for the final scene, where Tim and Tom cuddle on the couch and Tim says, “Tom, your hands!  They’re so soft and dry!  They’re not sweaty any more!”

Tom, turning to the audience (us), winks and says, “Thanks, Carpe!”

*********** Despite common belief, our nation’s founders did NOT form a democracy.  They would have preferred  remaining under the rule of a tyrant to living in a pure democracy.  It’s not as if democracy had never been tried before.  It had.  And in every case it had eventually degenerated into mob rule.  Our founders’ greatest fear was King Mob.

Mob rule, for anyone who doesn’t know what it looks like, was on display in Columbia, South Carolina this weekend, where a loud, chanting mob of demonstrators - said to be students - intimidated the University of South Carolina’s board of trustees into re-opening their search for a new president.

The “mob” was estimated to be 75 in number.  But they made a lot of noise, and they represented constituencies feared by most American institutions - feminists and “people of color.”

The mob objected to the news that the Board of Trustees had apparently selected as the university’s president General Robert Caslen, who retired not so long ago from the Army after serving as Superintendent of the United States Military Academy (West Point).

In the opinion of most people knowledgeable about West Point, one of America’s leading academic institutions and unexcelled in its training of leaders, General Bob Caslen was the Academy’s most effective leader in years. (If nothing else, he selected and hired Jeff Monken as Army’s football coach, and Army has now beaten Navy three years in a row.)

In the opinion of the mob, though, he was unfit.  Oh, they objected to the fact that he didn’t have a Ph.D (like having three stars on your shoulder hasn’t taught you as much as a dime-a-dozen degree), and that he hadn’t done any research. (Wait - aren’t they hiring someone to run a university that’s already full of researchers?) Oh, and that he’d be “autocratic.” (Well, yes, I would imagine he would hold people to high standards, and that he’d give orders and expect them to be carried out.)

Feminists jumped on him when he said that as part of dealing with the issue of sexual assaults on campus,

“We went after this...not only sexual assaults, but we want to take up the contributing measures toward sexual assault, particularly alcohol,” Caslen said during the forum. “We had to spend a lot of time, a lot of energy, toward educating students about the consequences of alcohol, binge drinking, things like that.”

OMG.  Did you hear what he said?  He’s saying that women maybe shouldn’t be getting drunk and putting themselves in harm’s way!  Why, he’s blaming the victim!

So there were feminists, already upset that none of the four finalists was female, who jumped on that one.

And there were students “of color”  upset for two reasons: first, there was only one “person of color” among the four finalists, and second, he didn’t get the job.

And they made enough noise - just 75 of them in an institution with an undergraduate enrollment of 25,000 - that the Board of Trustees caved and decided to throw out the results of their search and start over.

Why do the people who run universities listen to students, anyhow?   The school doesn’t belong to them.   It’s not as if they’re “customers” - many of them are attending thanks to taxpayer-provided student loans, which few of them have any intention of repaying.  Nor does it belong to the faculty, who are merely employees, many of them enjoying a career-long tenure that shields them from being fired for anything short of moral turpitude.  If anyone, it belongs to the people of the state, and to its alumni - the people whose loyalty and generosity have supported it over the years.

Shame on South Carolina.  But at least it's right up there with Yale in one respect -  catering to the mob.

Its trustees cowardly stood by and allowed - abetted - the assassination of the character  of a great American leader, one whose leadership could have taken their university from where it is - near rock-bottom among public universities (Forbes Magazine ranks it Number 67.  It’s down at number 43 in the SOUTH, for Pete’s sake).

God bless Bob Caslen, who by the way was captain of the Army football team when he was a cadet at West Point.   He is meant for better things.  At South Carolina, he was casting pearls before swine.

As my friend Tom “Doc” Hinger said, it would serve them right if Clemson hired him.

Students protest

https://www.thestate.com/news/local/article229722889.html

Trustees decide to reopen the search for a president

https://www.postandcourier.com/news/usc-reopens-president-search-after-campus-backlash-over-former-west/article_4105af96-67ad-11e9-b274-d3feaa89f4ee.html


This is the guy you just ran off, you worms…

http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/media-center/news/2019-theodore-roosevelt-award-lt-gen-robert-l-caslen-jr


*********** WTF? Tom Walls, a coach in Winnpeg, sent me this...

Memorandum
To: David Low, President - MMFA
From: Bill Johnson, Executive Director – Football Manitoba

After consultation with Football Canada it has been confirmed that the intent of the pass every third play rule modification was motivated by both developmental appropriateness and safety. With safety being involved, and with Football Canada being our governing body in this regard, this rule will be in play at the U14 and U12 levels in the 2019 season.

I ask that you please share this with all your member clubs. Thank you.

So much for RPO’s in Canada. 

“Gee.  They’ve run the past two plays.  Think they’ll pass this time?” 

Question for the nannies who put this rule in - does it count as a run if a QB drops back and he’s forced to run?

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

Do you think the lure of bigger money playing professional football once a week, in front of 70,000+ fans, in the most glamorous position on the field, and with all the potential "extra" money that could be earned...may have played a part in Kyler Murray's decision to forego MLB's minor leagues for the NFL???

Did you also notice the "premium" placed on linemen in this year's, and past drafts?  Goes without saying that no matter how good the skill players may be they need the big boys to allow them to showcase those skills, which makes football STILL the ultimate TEAM sport.

I think guys like us were lucky to have been coached by men like Coach Munger. 

Now that I'm going to be the grandpa of a baby boy I will do everything I can to help mold him into good young man that will be a pleasure for his coaches to coach, and teachers to teach.

Obviously Ryan Turnquist, the writer of that article describing Veeck's use of Eddie Gaedel never met Mr. Campbell. 

QUIZ:  Karl Sweetan...now THAT is a great football trivia question!

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe,  When you consider that in football he could be through at any time while he could play baseball until he’s 40, I’d have played baseball.  I know that there’s a lot of money involved in being a first-round draft pick,  but I can’t help thinking that having to hit a major league curve ball might have had something to do with it.

*********** QUIZ ANSWER:
WOULD YOU BUY A  USED PLAYBOOK FROM THIS  MAN?

TEX MAULE
Sports Illustrated, July 24, 1972

In the 10 years since he left the playing fields of Wake Forest, Karl Sweetan has worked as a quarterback—mostly intermittently and inauspiciously—for the Toronto Argonauts, the Pontiac (Mich.) Arrows, the Detroit Lions, the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Rams. A fortnight ago, having been released by the Rams and having failed to make it with the Edmonton Eskimos, he decided to change careers and try his hand at selling. He did not distinguish himself in that field, either.

Sweetan , along with a cousin, attempted to peddle a 1971 Ram playbook for $2,500 to J. D. Roberts, the head coach of the Saints. Roberts pretended to go along with the deal and informed the league, it called the FBI, which wired him up with a transmitter in one of football's more unusual plays. "All I did was ask questions," Roberts said after completing his agent's role. "The FBI did a helluva job." U.S. Attorney Gerald J. Gallinghouse said Roberts had, too, adding that the coach "executed each play the FBI called to perfection."   Sweetan and his cousin were jailed, charged with interstate transportation of stolen property and fraud by wire and released on $5,000 bond each.

The case shocked pro football's coaches, largely because they could not see why a playbook could be thought to have such value. Dan Devine of the Green Bay Packers says he would not pay $5 for one. Don Shula of the Miami Dolphins says, "What secrets are there, really? A book gives you a system, not a game plan."

What is a pro team's playbook, and could it have any value to a rival coach? Presumably, what  Sweetan would have had to sell was an offensive playbook (pro teams have two—one for the offense, one for the defense). The books—usually loose-leaf notebooks—contain plays and variations, formations, audibles, nomenclature, house rules and, in some cases, exhortations to the players to give 110%.

The book Sweetan was accused of trying to sell was compiled by Tommy Prothro (see cover) after he took over the Rams last year. Ironically, Prothro is not an advocate of playbooks. "I believe in them less than anybody," he said last week. "I really don't learn by reading things. I learn by seeing something and talking about it. Consequently, I've never believed in writing it all down. But all our other coaches believe in it, and if these young, smart guys believe in it, I'm all for having one."

Prothro said that the most valuable information to be gleaned from a rival's playbook is not what a team does, but what it doesn't do. "You never know when they are going to do something," he said, "but if you know something they won't do, then you don't have to protect against it."

FWIW: In February 1973,  the United States Attorney in New Orleans reported that the  ''numerous experts on pro football'' that he had conferred with put the playbook's monetary value at less than $5,000, which was the threshold that made the sale of a stolen object across state lines a federal crime, and as a result,  he dropped the charges.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING KARL SWEETAN:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY  (I didn't know the answer to this quiz.  However, I was discussing the quiz with my old coaching friend over lunch today and he feels that he knows the answer.  He says that the answer is Karl Sweetan.  He says that if it is correct he gets credit for being the brains of this answer.  I am hoping that he is wrong.  He will never let me live it down if he is correct.  His name is Gary Imel.  I am using Gary as my pony answer for this quiz.)
JOE GUTILLA, AUSTIN, TEXAS
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA (Did you know that he was also the starting QB of the Lions when Paper Lion was being written? Great connection.)
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON

*********** A sad coincidence:  in one two-week period in 2000, three former Lions quarterbacks - Tobin Rote, Bill Munson and Karl Sweetan - died.

https://www.detroitathletic.com/blog/2012/01/01/three-former-lions-quarterbacks-died-within-days-of-each-other-in-2000/

*********** QUIZ:  He was a native of Fresno, California who became a two-time consensus All-American at Cal.

He was the second player taken in the 1952 NFL draft, but two days after the draft the team that drafted him, the New York Yankees, was sold back to the league for $100,000.

He was acquired by the Rams in exchange for 11 players.

And then he left for Korea, where a war was going on, and he served for two years as a lieutenant in the US Army.

On his return, he justified the Rams’ confidence in him and made eight straight pro bowls as a linebacker. He played nine years in all, and never missed a game, despite finishing a game against Pittsburgh after fracturing his cheekbone.  He didn’t make the Pro Bowl his final season, although he played both ways, taking over at center when the starter was injured.

In those days before specialists, he also did the Rams’ place-kicking.  He made 29 field goals, and made 90 per cent of his extra point attempts, kicking 106 PATs.

Said Gil Brandt,  longtime Player Personnel Director, Dallas Cowboys, “He was one of the toughest linebackers ever to play in the NFL.  Tom Landry felt we couldn’t get our running game going unless we blocked him, and he was right. The first time we played his Rams, they just obliterated us.”

After retirement as a player, he became General Manager of the Riverside Raceway in California,  and then served as senior vice president of operations for NASCAR.

He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.



american flagFRIDAY,  APRIL 26,  2019   “Baseball is almost the only orderly thing in a very unorderly world.   If you get three strikes, even the best lawyer in the world can’t get you off.”  Bill Veeck, famous baseball owner

*********** CLINIC:  I’m excited to announce a clinic in the Raleigh, North Carolina area, Saturday, May 18, at the same location as last year.

Those of you who attended last year remember how great it was having players on hand to demonstrate things, and what great kids they were.

Thanks to the efforts of Coaches Dave Potter and Olu Williams, we will again have kids there.

DATE AND TIME: SATURDAY, MAY 18 - 9 TO 4

SITE: SAME AS LAST YEAR
KNIGHTDALE RECREATION CENTER
LAWSON RIDGE ROAD
KNIGHTDALE, NORTH CAROLINA
(The site is an easy 30 minute drive east of RDU International Airport)

PRE-REGISTRATION $100 - AT THE DOOR $150
(SORRY, ROOM SIZE PRECLUDES OFFERING A STAFF DISCOUNT)

http://www.coachwyatt.com/clinics19.html

***********  God Bless America and God Bless Kate Smith, whose contribution to America’s morale during World War II was considered so important by President Roosevelt that when he introduced her to King George VI of England, he said, “This is Kate Smith.  Miss Smith is America.’’

So screw the Yankees.  And the Flyers, too.

The Curse of the Billy Goat worked once and it will work again.

https://timeline.com/kate-smith-fat-shamed3bb7aaa26bd5-3bb7aaa26bd5

*********** From American Football International…

he 2019 NFL Draft is set to start April 25 and Danish offensive lineman Hjalte Froholdt  (Yell-duh Fro-holt), one of only two international players in the Draft, is projected as a solid draft pick, going possibly as high as the fourth round.

If selected, Froholdt would join countrymen Andreas Knappe and Pro Football Hall of Fame kicker Morten Andersen as the only Danes to play in the NFL.

The 6’5″, 315 lb, 22 year old native of Svendborg, Denmark who played football in his native country for the Søllerød Gold Diggers, first went to the United States as an exchange student in 2013. He landed in Ohio where he started playing football to make friends but excelled and moved to the IMG Academy in Florida towards the end of his high school career. He earned a 4-star recruiting grade there and after offers from a number of major schools ended up in Arkansas where he played guard and center. He developed quickly and was moved to the offensive line where he started all 13 games in 2016 at left guard. The following year he started all 12 games and did not allow a sack while taking only two penalties. Froholdt started his senior season at center, starting the first three games there before switching back to left guard for the final nine contests.

Yeah. Kid from Denmark just happened to know about  IMG Academy.

https://www.americanfootballinternational.com/where-will-danish-offensive-lineman-hjalte-froholdt-be-picked-in-2019-nfl-draft/?utm_source=American+Football+International+Weekly&utm_campaign=8e01b392be-American_Football_International_Weekly11_16_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_37995d0cb0-8e01b392be-80500341

*********** From a coaching friend whom I’ve known for some time…

I resigned after 2 years being back at the Middle School. Kids have changed so much and are so immature at that level that I was just burned out dealing with all the complaints of "bullying" and the hissy fits being thrown on the field at practice. No idea how many times this past season we had kids just flat-out refuse to do a drill or conditioning. I kicked several kids off the team, their parents went to the Principal, and lo-and-behold we had to "give him another chance". So I resigned following the season.

One of the same kids turned out for wrestling and refused to do any of the workouts the first 3 days. Wrestling coaches kicked him off the team...Principal tried to pull the same thing with "another chance", but the wrestling coaches all said they would quit. So kid was off the team. Guess I should have thought of that!

As hard as it is to get good coaches, I think it’s perfectly appropriate to throw it right back in the administration’s lap.  Let them explain to the parents of the good kids - if there are any - why their kids are coming home on the school bus every day instead of being at practice.

***********  I came across a story about one of the last reunions of the “Mungermen.” 

The Mungermen were guys who played for George Munger at Penn, back in the 40s and 50s, when Penn was a national power.  For years, even long after Coach Munger died in 1994, they’d get together once a year and attend a Penn Game. (God, how it must have killed them, guys who played Georgia, Ohio State and Michigan in front of crowds of 70,000 or more, to sit in cavernous old Franklin Field and watch today’s Penn teams playing Ivy League opponents in front of “crowds” of 15,000.) Now, those guys who are still alive are all in their 80s and 90s and so far as I can tell, there are no more reunions.

George Munger was beloved by his players.  Makes you wonder how many “Meyermen” will show up for reunions years after Urban’s gone.

A few reminiscences from their 2015 reunion…

Bob Fox told the story of playing Ohio State and how the players were waiting for Munger to come in and talk to them before the game.   He was late. Finally, Munger showed up, saying: "That's the best band I ever heard."

***

Ernie Prudente, who went on to a three-sport coaching career at Haverford and Swarthmore Colleges, remembered how he went to Munger when he first got into coaching, asking for a playbook. Munger told him there was no playbook. They had playbooks for practically every opponent but no opponent had one for Penn.
"You played for Penn," Munger told him. "You have the fundamentals."

***
Tales included how Munger, who died in 1994, cut his own brother, Peter, who was in the room Saturday to confirm it. George Munger had told Peter Munger he was going to get hurt. Peter's reply was that he had been wounded in the war, at the Battle of the Bulge.

"The Germans only wounded you,” Penn's head coach told his brother, who is now 89.  “These kids will kill you,"

Peter, who ended up captaining the Penn lightweight team, said his older brother added: "If I let you play, Mother will kill me."

READ ABOUT THIS WONDERFUL COACH - AND THE MUNGERMEN

https://www.broadstreetreview.com/dance/death-of-a-mungerman#

https://pennathletics.com/news/2016/6/27/5771a6b4e4b0028e7235b817_131492736808038255.aspx

http://thepenngazette.com/mungermen-forever/

https://franklypenn.com/2012/01/12/the-mungermen/

*********** For years and years, Bill Veeck, in his career as a baseball owner (Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Browns, Chicago White Sox) became known as baseball’s premier promoter.  He loved the game of baseball - his father was once GM of the Cubs - and he loved doing things to get people out to the ballpark.  He was the first American League owner to sign a black player (Larry Doby). Once,  with the Indians in a pennant race and their ace, Bob Feller, due to start, he held a true fan appreciation night and let fans in free.

I still remember seeing him on TV, wooden leg and all (he lost a leg to a WW II injury) marching in Martin Luther King, Jr's funeral procession.

For all that Bill Veeck did, he’s probably most famous for having Eddie Gaedel pinch hit in a major league game.  It was 1951.  Standing 3 feet 7 inches tall and wearing number “1/8,” Gaedel went up to bat.  He stood at the plate and walked - on four pitches.  That one at-bat (technically, it wasn’t even an at-bat) made baseball history, but  that was it for Eddie Gaedel.  Shortly afterward, the Commissioner of Baseball, Ford Frick, invalidated his contract.
Nevertheless it’s a part of baseball lore - the time Bill Veeck had a midget pinch hit.

That’s how the story went, for years.

And then, this past week, it changed. I was reading  an article about some of the zany promotions going on in baseball’s minor leagues, and it made a reference to Bill Veeck, who once sent “a three-foot, seven-inch adult male” up to bat.

https://baseballhall.org/discover-more/stories/inside-pitch/bill-veeck-eddie-gaedel-the-birth-of-a-legend

*********** A few years ago I wrote about a football player I remembered from my days coaching in the minor leagues back East - a guy named Seiki Murono, from Bridgeton, New Jersey, who’d been a pretty decent QB in the minors.

Years later - thank you, Internet - I located him and after we got to know each other I found that he had been born during World War II in a Japanese internment camp in Texas.  Wow!  What were the odds?  In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, he has to be the only person born in an internment camp to go on to play college football (Division III Franklin and Marshall).

Back in early March he told me that he was facing “bypass surgery,” and after waiting an appropriate length of time, I got back to him to see how he was doing:

Hello Hugh and thanks for checking in.  My quadruple bypass surgery was performed on March 4 and I have been home recuperating since March 12.  My rehab, which allows me to walk 3 times a day for 20 minutes each, has been slow but steady.  It will probably be between 4-6 months before I can shoot hoops and play golf again.  Interestingly, I had played 3 full court games of basketball just 3 days before being hospitalized. I am confident that I will be able to make a full recovery and resume a normal life.  Needless to say, I am very grateful that my doctors diagnosed the problem correctly and moved quickly to have me undergo the bypass surgery.

My prayers worked.

*********** I am guilty of having head hunter awards!  My kids would run thru brick walls to get one for their helmets.  I later changed to junkyard dog awards.  The kids didn't have difficulty changing to the new name and decal.

David Crump
Owensboro, Kentucky

*********** “Fast Company” is a book about the late Bill Campbell, who played and coached at Columbia, and then left football coaching for a career in business.  Big business.  Silocon Valley.  He went from being a football coach to an advisor to silicon valley’s elite - a High-Tech guru.

In his honor, the National Football Foundation presents the Campbell Award annually.

From wikipedia:

Son of a local school official, Campbell was born and raised in Homestead, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh. He attended Columbia University where he played football under coach Buff Donelli from 1959 to 1961.[3] In his senior year, he was named to the All-Ivy Team. He graduated in 1962 with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 1964, he obtained a master's degree in education from Teachers College, Columbia University.[4] He was head coach of Columbia's football team, the Columbia Lions from 1974 to 1979. Prior to this he was an assistant at Boston College for six years. He met his first wife, the former Roberta Spagnola, while she was the assistant dean in charge of Columbia's undergraduate dormitories.

He joined J. Walter Thompson, the advertising agency, and then Kodak, where he rose to run Kodak's European film business. He was hired by John Sculley, became Apple's VP of Marketing, and then ran Apple's Claris software division. When Sculley refused to spin Claris off into an independent company, Campbell and much of the Claris leadership left. Since 1997, when Steve Jobs returned to Apple, Campbell had served as a corporate director on Apple's board of directors.

Campbell became CEO of GO Corporation, a startup pioneering a tablet computer operating system. After successfully selling GO Eo to AT&T Corporation in 1993, Campbell was CEO of Intuit from 1994 to 1998. Campbell announced that he would be retiring as the Chairman of the Board of Directors at Intuit starting January 2016.

Campbell was an adviser to a number of technology companies, and was elected chairman of the board of trustees at Columbia in 2005.

https://www.fastcompany.com/90331367/bill-campbell-silicon-valley-trillion-dollar-coach-book

In Silicon Valley, which we can thank for a lot of the PC we live with, Bill Campbell still had some  of the old football coach in him.  Here are some of his top sayings - “Billisms” - as recalled by a Columbia friend and teammate.

10. “You should have that shirt cleaned and burned.”
9. “You’re as dumb as a post.”
8. “He’s one of the great horse’s asses of our time.”
7.  “You’re a numbnuts.”
6. “You couldn’t run a five-flat forty-yard dash off a cliff.”
5. “You’ve got hands like feet.”
4. “You’d f—k up a free lunch.”
3. “You’re so f—ked up you make me look good.”
2. “Don’t f—k it up.”
1. “That’s the sound of your head coming out of your ass.”

They were printed on the back page of the program given to the guests at Bill Campbell's memorial service.

*********** From wikipedia…

Joseph Mason Reeves was born on November 20, 1872 in the village of Tampico, Illinois.

He received an appointment in 1890 to attend the Naval Academy, where he became a football hero. In addition to his on-field heroics, he is credited with the invention of the modern football helmet, which he had a shoemaker create for him after being told by a Navy doctor that another kick to his head could result in "instant insanity" or death.* Reeves graduated from the Academy in 1894.

The helmet obviously worked.  He continued playing football and  he graduated from the Naval Academy  and  went on  to a long and distinguished career in the Navy.

It was the practice for many years for a service academy team to be coached by an active duty service member, and in 1907 he served as Navy’s  head football coach, leading  the team to a 9–2-1 record and a 6–0 win over Army.

After service in two world wars, he retired as an Admiral in 1947.

*Notice that “not playing football” was never an option.

*********** The great Tex Maule, for years Sports Illustrated’s key NFL writer, noted that it doesn’t necessarily do you any good to know what an opponent’s going to do…

In 1950 the Rams had a divisional championship team, but they could not seem to beat the Philadelphia Eagles, coached by Greasy Neale and quarterbacked by one-eyed Tommy Thompson. By assiduous study of Eagle movies, they discovered something about Thompson. If he was going to hand off for a run to the right, his right foot was in back of his left, and vice versa. If he was going to pass, his feet were parallel to one another. It was a perfect tip-off since it was visible to the defense well before the snap of the ball.

But at the half the Eagles led the Rams 28-0; at the end of the game it was 56-20. "We knew where they were going," said Ram Linebacker Don Paul, "but they went there anyway." Which brings to mind something an NFL scout said after watching one of Vince Lombardi's Green Bay teams dismantle an opponent. When the game ended, he was asked what he had discovered. "Hell," he said, sadly, "how do you scout blocking and tackling?"

***********  Hugh,

Spent the day serving as school administrator for our golf team's region tournament.  It was a nice way to get away from school for another day.

Wish I could make it to the clinic in NC.  Your clinics were always engaging, full of great information, and the camaraderie equally as enjoyable.  I'm certain the NC clinic will continue the great tradition!  

And the new job??  I'm thrilled for you!  Like Don Corleone once said, "Once you think you're out of it...they pull you right back in again!"

While Ronald Reagan may have had something to do with Jim Young's hiring at Army, do you think the great Barack Obama may have had a hand in getting Jeff Monken his job???

There is a major difference between hiring a staff, and a staff looking to get hired.  Just like the major difference between those who play football, and football players.

Go Cubbies!  Been a Cubs fan my entire life, and a Joe Maddon fan ever since he became a Cub.

Have a great week!

Joe  Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** QUIZ: Mike Nolan first went to high school in the Bay Area and then in New Orleans,  moving with his father,  Dick, an NFL coach.

He was a three-year letterman as a safety at Oregon, whose coach, Rich Brooks, had once been an assistant to Dick  Nolan with the 49ers.

After a year as GA at Oregon, he coached at Stanford, Rice and LSU before being hired by the Denver Broncos.

When Broncos’ coach Dan Reeves moved to the New York Giants, Reeves brought him along as his defensive coordinator.

Since then, Mike Nolan  has been a defensive coordinator for seven different teams: (In order) Giants, Redskins, Jets, Ravens, Broncos, Dolphins, Falcons.

In 2005-2008 he was hired as head coach and GM of the 49ers, but was replaced part way through the 2008 season by his assistant head coach, Mike Singletary.

When he was first hired as 49ers’ head coach, he announced that he intended to wear a suit and tie on game days as a tribute to his father, Dick Nolan -  an outstanding NFL safety who served as Tom Landry’s defensive coordinator and became an NFL head coach himself, with the 49ers and then the Saints.  (Dick Nolan, like many of the head coaches of his generation - Landry, Lombardi, Stram, etc. - dressed in suits and ties on the sidelines.)  The NFL, whose contract with Reebok required coaches to wear official NFL (and therefore Reebok) attire, said nothing doing.  It later relaxed its rule somewhat, but the point was made: money ahead of sentiment.

Mike Nolan currently serves as linebacker coach for a very good NFL team.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING MIKE NOLAN:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
JOE GUTILLA, AUSTIN, TEXAS
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK


*********** QUIZ: WOULD YOU BUY AS USED PLAYBOOK FROM THIS  MAN?

By TEX MAULE

Sports Illustrated, July 24, 1972

In the 10 years since he left the playing fields of Wake Forest, ( ———)  has worked as a quarterback—mostly intermittently and inauspiciously—for the Toronto Argonauts, the Pontiac (Mich.) Arrows, the Detroit Lions, the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Rams. A fortnight ago, having been released by the Rams and having failed to make it with the Edmonton Eskimos, he decided to change careers and try his hand at selling. He did not distinguish himself in that field, either.

(———) , along with a cousin, attempted to peddle a 1971 Ram playbook for $2,500 to J. D. Roberts, the head coach of the Saints. Roberts pretended to go along with the deal and informed the league, it called the FBI, which wired him up with a transmitter in one of football's more unusual plays. "All I did was ask questions," Roberts said after completing his agent's role. "The FBI did a helluva job." U.S. Attorney Gerald J. Gallinghouse said Roberts had, too, adding that the coach "executed each play the FBI called to perfection."   (———)  and his cousin were jailed, charged with interstate transportation of stolen property and fraud by wire and released on $5,000 bond each.

The case shocked pro football's coaches, largely because they could not see why a playbook could be thought to have such value. Dan Devine of the Green Bay Packers says he would not pay $5 for one. Don Shula of the Miami Dolphins says, "What secrets are there, really? A book gives you a system, not a game plan."

What is a pro team's playbook, and could it have any value to a rival coach? Presumably, what (———)  would have had to sell was an offensive playbook (pro teams have two—one for the offense, one for the defense). The books—usually loose-leaf notebooks—contain plays and variations, formations, audibles, nomenclature, house rules and, in some cases, exhortations to the players to give 110%.

The book (——— ) was accused of trying to sell was compiled by Tommy Prothro (see cover) after he took over the Rams last year. Ironically, Prothro is not an advocate of playbooks. "I believe in them less than anybody," he said last week. "I really don't learn by reading things. I learn by seeing something and talking about it. Consequently, I've never believed in writing it all down. But all our other coaches believe in it, and if these young, smart guys believe in it, I'm all for having one."

Prothro said that the most valuable information to be gleaned from a rival's playbook is not what a team does, but what it doesn't do. "You never know when they are going to do something," he said, "but if you know something they won't do, then you don't have to protect against it."

FWIW: In February 1973,  the United States Attorney in New Orleans reported that the  ''numerous experts on pro football'' that he had consulted put the playbook's monetary value at less than $5,000, which was the threshold that would make the sale of a stolen object across state lines a federal crime, and as a result,  he dropped the charges.



american flagTUESDAY,  APRIL 23,  2019   “If the government becomes a law breaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy."   Justice Louis Brandeis

*********** CLINIC NEWS:  Thanks once again to the efforts of coaches Dave Potter and Olu Williams, I’m excited to announce a clinic in the Raleigh, North Carolina area, Saturday, May 18, at the same location as last year.

Those of you who attended last year remember how great it was having players on hand to demonstrate things, and what great kids they were.

That’s because they’d been coached by coaches Potter and Williams, who once again will have kids there so that the clinic can be very hands-on.


DATE AND TIME: SATURDAY, MAY 18 - 9 TO 4

SITE: SAME AS LAST YEAR
KNIGHTDALE RECREATION CENTER
LAWSON RIDGE ROAD
KNIGHTDALE, NORTH CAROLINA
(The site is an easy 30 minute drive east of RDU International Airport)

PRE-REGISTRATION $100 - AT THE DOOR $150
(SORRY, ROOM SIZE PRECLUDES OFFERING A STAFF DISCOUNT)

http://www.coachwyatt.com/clinics19.html

FORMAT:

AM: OUTDOORS, WITH KIDS ON THE FIELD
With kids on hand to demonstrate, I’ll “install” the same offense that I will actually be installing in a little over a week at my new job. (More about that later since it’s not completely official yet.)

With a lot to cover, I’m forced to deal in a cursory fashion with the basics of quarterback play and line play.  I hope you’ll understand that that’s not the way I’d like to do things.

Then, we’ll get into how I’ll teach the individual plays.

My goal is to show the line seven blocks
    FIVE running blocks
        Power/O, G-O, C, Wedge, Reach (and maybe TRAP and X)
    TWO passing blocks:
        Brown/Black and Green/Gold

We would then run
    Running Plays
        Power Off-Tackle
        G-O in two different ways
        Counter in two different ways
        Reach
        Wedge & Option
    Pass Plays
        Power Action
        Bootleg
        Sprint Out
        Drop Back

I should point out that while this is Double Wing all the way - Double-Tight with the QB under center and using the blocking right out of the book -  we’ll be running primarily from RAM and LION backfields.

To expedite things, we’ll have the plays on wristbands.
(You’re welcome to help explain to the kids what the terms mean)

We will flip-flop the offense, which you may not be familiar with

COMPLIMENTARY LUNCH

PM: REVIEW OF THE MORNING’S WORK

    (It’s my hope that we’ll have video from the AM session)

    Play-by-play, we’ll go over details and coaching points

    We’ll go over the same plays from different formations

REGISTER: http://www.coachwyatt.com/clinics19.html


headhunter


*********** I FOUND THIS IN AN OLD HELMET DECAL CATALOG…  It's a helmet sticker, the kind coaches would use  to motivate and reward players, the way Ohio State has for years with its Buckeyes.  Nowadays, though, apart from the fact that based on the current hysteria about football injuries it would amount to professional misconduct for you to glorify “headhunting,” it is just a trifle culturally (and racially) tone deaf, and it  could get you charged - ex post facto - as a racist.  God help you, coach, if one of your enemies gets hold of an old yearbook and sees one of these on one of your kids’ helmets.





*********** When you come across a place that loses and loses, year after year, the reason is probably more than bad players or bad coaches.

Most often, there’s a problem at the top. 

I was talking the other day with a former Army football player, a guy from my generation, who after a long and successful career in the military and then in business was called to Washington to go to work for President Reagan.

In his own words:

While serving as Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs in the early eighties, I accompanied President Reagan to West Point for graduation ceremonies. President Reagan wanted a winning football team at West Point.

He authorized the Army to make that happen. He wanted a winner so that he could send an effective winning message to the American people and to the USSR.
 
The President played football in college and was a sports announcer in Chicago following his graduation. His presidency, in his opinion expressed to me, was shaped by the US Hockey team that defeated the Russian hockey team in the winter Olympics of 1980. That game sent a message to the American people that we could be a winner once again. President Reagan also believed that a winning football team at West Point would further advance this message.

That was 1981.  Army had had only one winning season - and one win over Navy - since 1972, and my friend’s first order of business was “fix Army football.” Along the way, he encountered some resistance from some very high-ranking officials.   But together with some some key insiders, he pushed to hire Jim Young as head football coach.  There was pushback from the bureaucracy.  But - thanks to  the clout of the Man At The Top - he prevailed. The former player/Reagan aide went on:

Before Jim Young was hired as the coach in 1982, the US Army intervened in the process of hiring a new head coach after a loss to Navy. The leadership at West Point was reluctant to interview Jim Young. So, the Army then insisted that Young be interviewed. He was interviewed and was hired. Jim had a pedigree in Winning Football. A disciple of Bo Schembechler, he had successfully refurbished failed football programs at Purdue and Arizona.
 
In Jim Young’s first season, 1983, Army was 2-9.  And then he made the momentous decision to switch to the wishbone, and under the leadership of Nate Sassaman, a senior who had last played option quarterback in his senior season in high school in suburban Portland, Oregon, the 1984 Cadets went 8-3-1.  The tie was a 24-24 thriller against Tennessee - in Knoxville - and Army ended the season with a win over Navy and a defeat of Michigan State in the Cherry Bowl.

The next year, 1985, Army went 9-3 and defeated Illinois in the Peach Bowl.

In all, Jim Young coached for eight seasons at West Point, taking the Cadets to three bowl games, (In 1988, a 9-3 Army team lost to Alabama in the Sun Bowl, 29-28) and an overall record of 51-39-1. Oh- and he was 5-3 against Navy.

By the time he retired and turned the reins over to assistant Bob Sutton in 1990, Army football was back. In summary:

Jim Young challenged the Corps, his team and the staff at West Point. He was demanding and determined. He is now honored at the College Football Hall of Fame (HOF). He breathed new life into Army Football, his players, the Corps., and the US Army. We competed and won games against football powerhouses; Tennessee, Boston College, Alabama, Michigan State, Navy, Air Force and many others. No longer was the Army football team a door mat in college football. We were winners!

And all it took was an order from the President of the United States.

*********** This is aimed at sports writers:   I hate to dump one more thing on you guys, grammatically challenged as you are, but can you get it though your f—king heads that just because a player has conned the equipment people into putting “Smith III”  on the back of his jersey, that doesn’t make “Smith III” his last name when you write your story? 

It’s one thing to go along with the Meta World Peace and Ochocinco crap, but at least those guys went through legal name changes. 

The “Junior” or “Senior” or “III” is known as a “Name Suffix.” It’s NOT a part of a person’s last name, any more than other suffixes, such as college degrees. 

Come to think of it, maybe it could be used as an incentive to players to graduate - in addition to being able to take advantage of the graduate transfer option.

Who knows?  Maybe we’ll see this on the back of Oklahoma’s quarterback this fall:  “HURTS B.A.”

*********** It’s not easy finding and hiring good assistants - the kind who will keep you from getting fired…

Bronco Mendenhall, head coach at Virginia, talked about about first taking over at BYU as a 38-year-old first-time head coach.

“The biggest adjustment for me as a head coach,” he said, “was the sheer volume of decisions I had to make on a daily basis.  You go from coaching one group of players to the entire team, then there are the assistant coaches, their families, stockholders, the media, it goes on and on. It places someone who is a first time head coach in a constant state of readiness.”

One of a new head coach’s biggest jobs, of course, is building a staff.

“The first thing you need to do is give each candidate a chance to self-select for the job, which means you educate that person about your program, your values, and the job itself.”

(This is an area, I’ve found, where most head coaches, even experienced ones, are lax.  If you don’t let people know right up front what you’re going to expect of assistants - what coaching for you is going to be like - you greatly increase the chances of a serious misunderstanding at some point down the line.  In the first stage of an interview, I go over a list of 20 things that I expect of an assistant. None of them are related to football knowledge, I might add.  I ask the candidate after every point if he can coach under these conditions, and if he says “No” to any of them, we shake hands and I wish him well.  It’s much easier on everyone to have a guy decide right now, at this point, that the job’s not going to be a good fit for him. HW)

In the process, Mendenhall said, he’s looking for a commodity that’s becoming increasingly valued throughout our society: grit.

“I love people with an unbreakable will and spirit.  I need to get a sense that a candidate has this.  The first thing I look for is will over skill.”

If he passes the self-screening and the “grit” test, the candidate is given opportunities to demonstrate five “coaching competencies”:

On-Field Performance - how the candidate teaches the fundamentals. He asks candidates to explain how they teach what they know in a way that makes sense to players.

Recruiting - in front of Mendenhall and his entire staff, the candidate watches film of a recruit and then critiques him.

Camaraderie and Communication - throughout the process, Mendenhall looks for signs that the candidate can work with the staff - and vice-versa.  He looks for a person who can express his point of view but, once a decision has been made, accept it and move forward.

Classroom: the candidate is “in the barrel” - he stands at the white board and makes a presentation to the staff.

Game Day: In an effort to observe how well the candidate can think on the fly, Mendenhall fires questions at him requiring quick answers - down-and-distance situations,  correct schemes to use against certain offense and defenses.

(From “This is the AFCA”, July/August 2014)

*********** I read little deeper into John Rauch and was fascinated by the description of his conflict with Coach McKay. In the game that McKay allowed him him call the plays, if Wikipedia can be trusteed, McKay stated, “Every play he ran could have been run out of the I.” McKay took over the play calling next week and the offence floundered. It was also interesting that Rauch tried to make OJ Simpson more diverse, by requiring him to catch passes and block. Apparently Simpson bucked this. Can you imagine any player not wanting to catch a pass today?

Speaking of which, we had a passing session this week with our new high school team.  We worked on bubble and bubble and go. Lots of dropped passes. Afterwards, I told them, “Boys, catching is not as easy as Madden makes it seem.” We have lots of work to do, but it is good work.

I also have the Cathedral book. Used it when I was teaching Western Civ. I don’t think that course exists anymore.

Happy Easter.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

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

He is Risen!  Amen, and when my teams prayed before practice, after practice, before games, and after games, we always prayed for one another, praised Him, and thanked Him for the blessing of the ability to play the game.

BTW...is it AH-men...or AY-men?

Have a Blessed Easter,

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe-

Happy Easter to you!


Amen? I believe the original - Olde English - is AH-men.  AY-men is Americanized.

I found it very interesting to watch the end of the NCAA final game and watch the Texas Tech coach trudge the long, unhappy walk to the locker room, watch him enter the room, watch him and the player all take a knee, and - not watch what they were about to do (pray) because someone at CBS headquarters probably strained a gut reaching for the button to cut back to the announcers at courtside.

They’ll show all manner of filth and degradation and excuse it as exercising their first amendment rights, but they won't let Americans watch grown men pray - which happens to be an exercise of their first amendment rights.


*********** The Oregon spring game drew a very un-Pac 12-size crowd of 35,000, and the fans were not disappointed.

As expected, returning QB Justin Herbert, whose name will almost always be preceded by the words “Heisman Candidate” this fall, played well. He completed  17 of 32 for 219 yards and two TDs.

But a pleasant surprise for Oregon fans,  used to seeing their team go to hell when Herbert gets injured,  was the play of Tyler Shough.  The redshirt freshman QB was 18 of 31 for 178.  He’s 6-5, 210, from - we were just talking about it  - Chandler, Arizona.

The Ducks are really rolling the dice, opening August 31 against Auburn at the Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium

*********** One of things that makes baseball appealing to me is its traditions.  In baseball, that most tradition-bound of all sports, there are all sorts of unwritten rules and conventions that - for most of its history - you defied at your peril.

One of those unwritten rules is that you don’t show up an opponent. You don’t steal bases when you’re ahead by a certain number of runs.  (How many, I don’t know, because, being an unwritten rule, it’s not written anywhere.  Duh.)

And when you hit a home run, you don’t show up the pitcher by celebrating - by putting on an act of some sort.

One such act would be flipping the bat, almost casually. It’s being done, more and more.

Alas, as in so many other areas of our culture, there’s an increasing number of people who are quite willing to flout the established order.

I see the antics as undermining the pillars of the game.

Organized baseball sees those celebrations as appealing to younger fans, who they believe find such antics more entertaining than the game itself.

In my opinion, baseball is looking for trouble.

Yes, its loyal fans are growing older.  But put the emphasis on the word “loyal.”  They will continue to love the game they’ve loved since they were little, and to the extent that they can, they will pass their love along to younger kids.

An overt appeal to younger fans carries with it two risks: (1) the loyal fans might be turned off by a rejection of the conventions they consider part of the game; (2) the younger kids might prove to be fickle. They might initially find they like to watch baseball players do the diamond sport’s equivalent of sack dances,  but they have short attention spans and they’re easily distracted - Oh Look! Outside! A squirrel!

Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon had some very important observations when asked about this by the Chicago Tribune…

“For me I’d prefer our guys didn’t do that. I would prefer that our guys would act like they’re going to do it again. I would prefer that the generation, the younger group right now, doesn’t need to see demonstrations like that in order to feel like they can watch baseball, that baseball is more interesting because somebody bat flips really well and (thinking) ‘I kind of dig it because if I watch it I might see a bat flip.’

“I’d prefer kids watch baseball because it’s a very interesting game and it’s intellectually stimulating. And when it’s played properly it’s never too long. I’d prefer kids learn that method as opposed to becoming enamored with our game based on histrionics. I’d prefer that, but it seems to me we are catering to that a bit.”

https://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/ct-spt-cubs-joe-maddon-bat-flip-20190419-story.html

*********** QUIZ ANSWER - John Rauch’s pro coaching career peaked early and declined swiftly.  At the age of 40, he was head coach of a Super Bowl  team and was named AFL Coach of the Year;  less than 10 years later,  he was out of coaching.

He grew up in Yeadon, Pennsylvania, outside Philadelphia, and played his college football at Georgia.  Eligible as a freshman, he started immediately at QB, and in his four years as a starter the Bulldogs went 36-8-1 and played in four bowl games.  He was a first team All-American his senior year, and when he graduated he was college football’s all-time leading passer, with 4,044 yards.

After a brief career in the NFL, he became a college coach, first at Tulane, then back at Georgia, then West Point, then back at Tulane, until in 1963 he joined the Oakland Raiders with the intention of succeeding Al Davis.

In 1966, with the war between the two leagues heating up,  Davis became commissioner of the AFL, and our guy succeeded him as head coach of the Raiders.

In his first year as head coach, the Raiders finished 8-5-1.  In his second year, they lost only once before losing to the Packers in Super Bowl II.   He was named the AFL Coach of the Year.
 
In his third year, 1968, the Raiders went 12-2.  They beat the Chiefs in their division playoff game, but lost to the Jets in the AFL championship game. (The Jets would go on to defeat the favored Baltimore Colts in the Super Bowl.)

But with Davis, now part owner,  becoming  increasingly “involved” in the team, in January 1969 Rauch resigned as Raiders’ head coach to take the same position with the Bills.

It was quite a step down.  Rauch’s record in three years at Oakland was  33-8-1 (.798), but the Bills were bad, really bad, and after two poor seasons in Buffalo (7-20-1), and a disagreement with owner Ralph Wilson,  he threatened to resign, and Wilson accepted his offer.

He was hired as QB coach of the Eagles but soon found himself out of work when the staff was fired, and in early 1973 he was hired as head coach of the Toronto Argonauts.  He was 10-9-2 in two seasons there, but when the club was sold after the 1974 season, the new owner fired him.

After being hired by Atlanta, he resigned to  serve as offensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers,  but after locking horns with head coach John McKay over McKay’s insistence that he run the I-formation, he resigned.

He returned to Atlanta and finished the season, but again was out of work when the whole staff was fired at season’s end.

John Rauch retired to his home in Tampa, and never coached again - except for a one-year stint in 1977 as head coach at a local private high school, Admiral Farragut Academy.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JOHN RAUCH:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS (Coach Koenig pointed out that the cliff homes in Mesa Verde are just about exactly as old as Notre Dame cathedral)
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
JOE GUTILLA, AUSTIN, TEXAS
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
MIKE FORISTIERE - TOPEKA, KANSAS

*********** Thanks to Greg Koenig…

“When the debate about who is the greatest quarterback in UGA history comes up. Don’t make the mistake of overlooking the legend that was John Rauch.”

https://www.foxsports.com/college-football/story/john-rauch-the-overlooked-legend-090616

*********** QUIZ: He first went to high school in the Bay Area and then in New Orleans,  as his father,  an NFL coach, moved from job to job.

He was a three-year letterman as a safety at Oregon, whose coach, Rich Brooks, had once been an assistant to his father with the 49ers.

After a year as GA at Oregon, he coached at Stanford, Rice and LSU before being hired by the Denver Broncos.

When Broncos’ coach Dan Reeves moved to the New York Giants, Reeves brought him along as his defensive coordinator.

Since then, he has been a defensive coordinator for seven different teams: (In order) Giants, Redskins, Jets, Ravens, Broncos, Dolphins, Falcons.

In 2005-2008 he was hired as head coach and GM of the 49ers, but was replaced part way through the 2008 season by his assistant head coach, Mike Singletary.

When he was first hired as 49ers’ head coach, he announced that he intended to wear a suit and tie on game days as a tribute to his father -  an outstanding NFL safety who served as Tom Landry’s defensive coordinator and became an NFL head coach himself, with the 49ers and then the Saints.  (His father, like many of the head coaches of his generation - Landry, Lombardi, Stram, etc. - dressed in suits and ties on the sidelines.)  The NFL, whose contract with Reebok required coaches to wear official NFL (and therefore Reebok) attire, said nothing doing.  It later relaxed its rule somewhat, but the point was made: money ahead of sentiment.

He currently serves as linebacker coach for a very good NFL team.


american flagFRIDAY,  APRIL 19,  2019   "The best offense can be built around 10 basic plays, the best defense on two. All the rest is razzle-dazzle, egomania and box office." Steve Owen, longtime New York GIants' coac

HAPPY EASTER. "AND IF CHRIST BE NOT RISEN, THEN IS OUR PREACHING VAIN, AND YOUR FAITH IS ALSO VAIN."

********* If there’s one sport that doesn’t need two people in the booth, it’s ice hockey.

I watched the Colorado-Calgary game Saturday night on a Canadian channel, and they had two people in the booth. As a result, it was non-stop chatter, and worst of all, one of the announcers was a female. 

Other than advancing the cause of “diversity,” I can’t imagine what reason they could have had for giving her the job.

At least she wasn’t Beth Mowins.


*********** This is from The Athletic - wish it weren’t a subscription site so I could link you to it.  It’s about a coach with a very unusual career path.  A coach named Joe Moglia.

It was around 10 o’clock on a Thursday night in January. Jamey Chadwell had wrapped up another day on the recruiting trail. He was in South Carolina, making his way back from Georgia, where he visited some high schools.

There would be more high schools in South Carolina to hit Friday before he returned to Coastal Carolina’s campus in Conway, S.C., for a weekend of recruit visits. As the Chanticleers’ offensive coordinator, Chadwell played a big role in recruiting, and with his previous experience as a Charleston Southern assistant and head coach, this area was his bread and butter.

His phone rang. It was head coach Joe Moglia.

“Hey, what are you doing? Can you come up tomorrow?” Moglia asked in his thick New York accent.

Chadwell asked how urgent it was that he return to campus so quickly. He worried that a player had gotten in trouble or something worse. He told Moglia he could be back on campus by 1 p.m. Friday.

“OK, get here by 1,” Moglia said. “By the way, I’m resigning, retiring from football, and I want to name you head coach.”

***

Joe Moglia, born in New York to Italian immigrant parents, began coaching high school football in the Northeast from 1968-78. He then worked as the defensive coordinator at Lafayette and Dartmouth before leaving coaching in 1983 at 34 years old to work on Wall Street and provide for his family. He spent 17 years at Merrill Lynch, then left to become CEO at what is now TD Ameritrade in 2001. Under his leadership, TD Ameritrade’s assets grew from $24 billion to around $300 billion.

He successfully guided the company through much of the 2008 financial crisis, then surprised many when he stepped down that year because he wanted to get back into football. Having made millions of dollars, he certainly didn’t need to.

TD Ameritrade is headquartered in Omaha, and Moglia joined Bo Pelini’s Nebraska staff as a volunteer assistant, with hopes of becoming a college head coach. In late 2010, he became head coach of the Virginia Destroyers in the UFL, then president and head coach of the Omaha Nighthawks in January 2011 instead. The league fell apart that year, and DeCenzo decided to make an outside-the-box hire at Coastal Carolina.

***

“The reality was, when I first met Joe, he certainly didn’t need to be working,” DeCenzo (David DeCenzo, the university president)  said. “For somebody that could have simply decided to go off on his own private island and relax, he didn’t. He had a passion for coaching, a passion for working with the players and people around him. That really is what sold me. He had coached before he left for Wall Street. It wasn’t like coaching was foreign to him. He had many years of experience, but I saw something in that passion where I knew he was going to be successful.”

The move paid off immediately. The Chanticleers went 8-5 with a share of the Big South championship in his first year in 2012. That was followed by consecutive 12-win seasons and FCS quarterfinal appearances. The program grew to such heights that it was invited to join the Sun Belt in 2015 and begin FBS play in 2017.

Moglia’s CEO background gave him a different coaching approach. There wasn’t much tackling in practice. Drills were set up for maximum efficiency and less standing around. Reps for backups increased, and injuries went down. Assistants were not to burn the midnight oil working; they had to go home to their families. Decisions were made based on philosophy, not gut feeling. Being a CEO made him a better coach, and vice-versa.

“Something like this had never happened,” Moglia said. “It took the right athletic director to understand what was going on, because there’s no precedent for it, and most people in academia aren’t out there breaking new ground.”

But there was one coach and one program that had been a thorn in Moglia’s side. Rival Charleston Southern, led by Chadwell, went 3-1 against Moglia from 2013-16. That included two Charleston Southern wins against Coastal Carolina teams ranked in the FCS top five.

***
In 2016, Moglia took the entire Coastal Carolina team to vote in the presidential election. The program had held mock debates with players impersonating the candidates. He says no program in college football history had ever done that. He regularly spent 30 minutes with players to talk about issues outside football, like politics, racism and terrorism.

He pushes back on the idea that football is like life. “Football is a game,” he said in a passionate explanation of his philosophy at Sun Belt Media Day last year. “My guys know what ‘ISIS’ stands for. I bet 90 percent of students in the nation don’t.”

https://theathletic.com/912426/2019/04/15/coastal-carolina-football-coaching-transition-joe-moglia-jamey-chadwell/

*********** WASHINGTON -- If a politician of Japanese extraction were to address a "largely Japanese-American audience" and characterize the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor by saying that "some people did something," would you think that those words diminish the loss of life and of property suffered by our country? I would, but apparently Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., would not.

She thinks it is a perfectly respectful -- and accurate! -- way to refer to the 9/11 attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., by 19 Muslim terrorists in 2001. She characterized the 9/11 attacks in this way to a largely Muslim audience just last month. What the terrorists did, for those who might have forgotten, was murder 2,977 people, injure countless thousands more and cause billions of dollars of property loss.

Emmett Tyrrell, Town Hall

*********** John Irion, of Granville, New York, writes,  “My brother teaches at Chandler HS in Arizona.   I can't believe how many top players come out of his area and school.  Some crazy number like 25 scholarship athletes from their (what I think is like our) sections. (County?) The QB at Iowa St. is from there.   Purdy.  He had him in class and said he is a fantastic kid and very religious.  Reminds him of a Tebow type personality.”

And then Coach Irion included a link to an article that confirmed the fact that Chandler High does, indeed, have some great athletes, along with the disquieting news that Arizona State had just “offered” 13 of the top freshmen in the state.  I’ll repeat that in case you were reading fast: FRESHMEN

Said one high school coach, "They gathered the top freshmen to ASU (on Thursday). They didn't offer all of them. But they offered some of them."

I don’t think I need to point out that these are kids with three years of high school football still to play, kids whose high school coaches are now saddled with having to keep them grounded and doing the “team thing.”  

Next time you hear one of these major college pricks crying about agents trying to talk to his kids, or pros enticing them to leave school early, keep crap like this in mind.

Big-time college coaches are no friends of ours.

https://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/college/asu/2019/04/11/asu-football-offers-top-state-football-freshmen/3441355002/


*********** From another subscription-only site, PressBox DFW, I offer you this superb piece of amateur theology by Richie Whitt -

Easter is Sunday.

Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral is left smoldering.

And Monday night across DFW, fans of both the Dallas Stars and Texas Rangers prayed – not in church, mind you, but on social media – for a third-period goal and/or 10-run rally, all in the name of divine intervention.

Loosen your Bible Belt a notch or two and sit a spell. This is going to be uncomfortable. Because, sorry, after multiple conversations over several years with those that should know – the Almighty was unavailable for comment – I’ve come to this conclusion:

God doesn’t give a rat’s ass about sports.

“I think God cares about sports in that he cares how athletes carry themselves and represent themselves, sure,” Ed Young, best-selling author and pastor of the Fellowship Church in Grapevine, told me a couple of years ago. “But does he swoop down and affect the outcome of games? Of course not.”

That fact, er, educated opinion, will not deter, however, sports fans from holding hands, bowing heads, clutching their crosses and going over their quota of “Just this one time!!” pleas with the game on the line. Nor will it prevent athletes from believing – and professing – that they or the games they play are touched by an angel, or someone higher up the pay grade.

   God smiled down on us tonight.

   This was God’s will.

   The man upstairs was looking out for us.

If that’s the case, wouldn’t that mean, for whatever reason, God also took stock of the game and decided to screw the losers?

In a God-fearing state where football is religion and Sunday sermons merely serve as appetizers to noon kick-offs, we all know why there was a hole in the roof of Texas Stadium. But legendary University of Texas football coach Darrell Royal leaned toward a separation of God and gridiron by rarely leading his team in prayer before games.

“Because,”’ reasoned Royal, “I’m pretty sure the Lord is neutral about things like football.”

Still, from Friday nights in Allen to Sunday afternoons in front of the Zenith, football fans from the four corners of belief will continue asking/begging for a block, bounce or bomb from God’s divine praybook. And with it, the human race will further advance our spiritually suspect quest to dilute He/She/It into just another jersey-wearing, pizza-munching sports fanatic.

We are obsessed with melding sports and scripture.

In the holy traditions of The Hail Mary, Miracle on Ice, Hand of God Goal and The Immaculate Reception, our commitment to tie results to religion as compatible teammates has led to an unwavering belief in at least divine attention.

Augusta has Amen Corner. Touchdown Jesus watches over Notre Dame football games. The Angels have won a World Series. Even with Zion, the Duke Blue Devils didn’t win college basketball’s national championship.

With our stadiums more crowded than our sanctuaries, major championships decided on supposedly Sabbath Sundays, boastful Christians like Quincy Carter and Josh Hamilton experiencing fizzled careers, Holy Cross never getting so much as one vote in the Top 25 and those surly scandals down at Baptist Baylor, we can assume God’s state-of-the-sports address from atop his pearly-gated luxury suite would be equal parts negativity and heated brimstone.

“God loves everybody equally, so it’s ridiculous to think he would favor one team or one player over another,” said one of the most religious players in Mavs history, Shawn Bradley. “I’ve heard people directly praying for victories, and in my opinion that’s just not right. It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game. I think that’s God’s only rule when it comes to sports.”

At the Mesquite Rodeo and Texas Motor Speedway, participants meet for pre-event chapel. For most of his life, John Weber balanced God’s will and athletes’ skill.

Weber once held pre-game services for the Rangers, Cowboys and Arena League Dallas Desperados. A religious sounding board/security blanket for the likes of former Rangers manager Johnny Oates and veteran NFL broadcaster Pat Summerall, the former director of the Grapevine-based Athletes in Action prayed with Jimmy Johnson before Super Bowls and Jerry Jones after heart-breaking losses.

“God cares about everything, including sports,”’ Weber once told me. “With sincere Christians on both sides of the field, it’s tough to decide if he has a rooting interest. I think he’s interested in the outcome, but more so in the behavior and the actions of his children. Whether it’s winning a Super Bowl or raking leaves in your yard, he wants you to do it with all your heart.”

From WWJD? bracelets to post-game prayer circles, we are desperate to believe an omnipotent God is a puppeteer knowing and controlling every pitch, pass and point. That philosophy becomes tricky and awkward, however, if you play it forward.

As in, why would a God that magically directs a field goal inside – or outside – the goal posts sit idly and watch as one of Earth’s most holy structures goes up in smoke and almost comes down in flames? How could he reconcile orchestrating a late-game rally on the ice or the diamond while also witnessing a gunman waltz into a Sutherland Springs church and commit the deadliest shooting (26 victims) in a Texas house of worship?

“God has a plan, for all of us,” Young said. “It’s just not always easy for our tiny human brains to comprehend. Sometimes we get lessons from the losses.”

Some of the most Christian sports figures I encountered in DFW included Tom Landry, A.C. Green, Bradley, Carter and Hamilton. Though their success greatly varied, their faith remained solid on generally the same foundation.

   God doesn’t care about sports, but he cares about the people who play them.

Despite all our attempts to integrate entities, it seems most likely that the highest being created “born-again” and left “sudden-death” up to us? Perhaps, in the end, God is indeed more concerned with final judgments rather than final scores.

Joked Summerall, “Let’s hope he has better things to do.”

In Jesus’ name we play, Amen.

*********** 10 NHL teams played to 100 per cent or more of their home capacity this past season.

That’s good,  although it’s not quite as great as it sounds - it’s down from 13 in 2017-1018 and 15 in 2016-2017.

I do like the NHL and I love hockey, and I’d like to see all of its teams at 100 per cent of capacity.

Make that all but one.  It doesn’t displease me in the slightest that right there in next-to-last place at (76.7%) is the Carolina Hurricanes, owned by that a$$hole Tom Dundon  - you know, the guy who promoted himself  as the savior of the AAF and then  abruptly dumped it.

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

http://footballscoop.com/news/ncaa-considering-new-rule-regarding-graduate-transfers/

What you say? 

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

(The article explains that the NCAA is considering a new rule to deal with a supposed “epidemic” of graduate transfers:

The NCAA Division I Council is expected to vote by the end of the week on an amendment that would require a program accepting a graduate transfer to count against a team’s scholarship for a total of two years, regardless of how much eligibility the player has when he gets to campus.
There is one exception to that proposed amendment, and it would apply to athletes who complete graduate degree requirements before the start of their second year.
Joe,

Right off the top - I don’t see a problem. The kids did the job academically and now they get a reward.

My problem is with the guys leaving early for the NFL, forgoing bowl games where they might get hurt.  And the mealy-mouth coaches who make it sound as if they support these guys when really, they’re afraid of losing out on top recruits. Those coaches - the ones that recruited those “student-athletes” - they should have to pay by losing that guy’s scholarship until his class graduates.

Between that, and playing their games on Friday nights,  and the way they’re going out and “offering” high school freshmen, I’ve about lost patience with the whining of millionaire college coaches.

Screw ‘em.


Joe wrote back: I agree with you. 100%.  Those grad transfers did something many of their undergrad team mates didn't...they graduated.  For that they should be rewarded, not penalized.  Your take on those leaving early and forgoing bowl game obligations to their TEAM is spot on!  I don't give a rip which school either...including my beloved Notre Dame!


***********  After watching the burning of Notre Dame (that’s French for “Our Lady,” and unlike the college, whose name has become Americanized to where it rhymes with “AIM,” it’s properly pronounced to rhyme with “TOM”), I went to the bookcase and pulled out “Cathedral.”

It’s a book done by  David Macaulay in the 1970’s, and it’s a masterpiece.  It tells the story and illustrates the construction of a fictional cathedral, built around the same time as Notre Dame, as it turns out.  It’s masterfully illustrated (see below) so that kids as well as adults will enjoy it, but it’s not written down to the level of little children. It explains  the lengths to which people would go to glorify God, and it shows the way in which with limited tools they were able to create these awesome edifices - buildings which have not only lasted for centuries, but even more amazingly are still used as they were originally intended to be.


Cathedral coverCathedral masonscathedral

Then, after going through the book, I went to take a look at the taped rendition of Macaulay’s story.  Alas, I could only find my original VHS cassette, and as old as it is, it has degraded considerably.  (The tape, not the story.)

Fortunately, I found  it on Youtube.  If you’re teaching a class, or if you’re just curious, I think you’ll really enjoy this story about  the building of a cathedral.

https://youtu.be/MZpOd2pHiI0

***********  The devastation of Notre Dame had an impact on me. I believe the first stone was laid around 1163. It is the journalist's job to ask questions. Given that chiefly Catholic churches in France have been attacked about a hundred times in recent weeks, and given that Islamists tried to bring it down about three years ago, we'd be remiss if we didn't reckon this was just a remarkable coincidence. I'd be pleased if it were some freakish accident; we don't need more chaos in the world. Your friend Shep Smith, however, cut off a guest who wondered if if an Islamist attack was the origin. He's not alone. The 'journalists' generally have already begun their 'conspiracy theory' chants. We'll see.

Ken Follett himself leans left, but his four volumes beginning with one of my favorite books of all time, "Pillars of the Earth", tell in fictional format the story of the construction of the great cathedrals of Europe. Mere boys with little formal education ran the calculations required to build those incredible edifices. Notre Dame is one of those awesome (I use the word carefully) achievements. So many people working so painstakingly for so long. My heart hurts to think it's been desecrated this way. I noticed that Macron told his people in florid language it will be rebuilt (at an estimated cost of a billion Euros or more). That's fine, but what will he do about whoever did this?

John Vermillion
St. Petersburg, Florida

*********** On the subject of the burning of the cathedral of Notre Dame, Rush Limbaugh was quick to note the hypocrisy of the mainstream media as they immediately took up the chorus: “This is not the time for politics…”

“But,” he went on,  “let there be a black church burning… let there be a mass shooting… and it’s time for politics.”


***********  Hugh,

Your commentary on the direction of our country - and Western Civilization in general - was spot on. 

Yes...we're old.  I remember those first Wilson hard shell helmets!  Hip girdles?  Riddell cleats?  I also remember having to take salt tablets after each practice!  How about those khaki coaching practice pants that were gathered below the knee and above the calves?  Or those ridged sole coaching shoes?  I've been looking for those coaching pants!

Many schools in the upper midwest (in particular Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan) run Wing-T, Straight T, or Double Wing offenses.  And not coincidentally many of the boys that play football up in those parts, in those styles of offense, are pretty tough hombres!

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** "...Alejandro Villanueva, who happens to be an offensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers."

Q: What was his position at the “University of Army?”

A: Split End.

1. Whenever you want to "Convert" a Glory Back to a Line Position and you get the usual B, P and Moanin', think of Villanueva.

2. It is the Great Secret of the Run Offenses:  The more people involved in stopping the run, the fewer involved in covering a good receiver.  In fact, if the object of the Pass is to get One-on-One in open space, you can get it (almost) every time.  "It's like stealin' !"

Look at the number of "1 - 2 - 3 throw" plays.  Yes, I know John Wooden's greatest sports quote of all time( "You can teach anyone to play basketball but you cannot teach anyone to be seven foot two...") but if they played Villanueva one-on-one, it's their fault.

It was FUN to watch him at Army.

Charlie Wilson
Crystal River, Florida

(6-10 was a pretty decent target, wasn’t it?)


*********** QUIZ ANSWER:  Marv Hubbard grew up in Red House, New York, whose current population of 38 makes it the smallest town in the state.  He played high school ball in the much larger town of Randolph (population 2600), in far western New York State - six hours west of New York City.

At Colgate,  in Hamilton, New York, he grew into a bruising runner with impressive quickness, and was the leading rusher his sophomore and junior season. He  graduated as the second-leading rusher in school history. 

After being drafted in the 11th round by the Oakland Raiders (and listed as a tight end), he was cut by the Raiders and then by the Broncos. He spent the entire 1968 season with the Hartford (Connecticut) Knights of the Atlantic Coast Football League,  and wound up leading the league in rushing, and the following year, he was back with the Raiders.

He would stay with them for eight seasons, and with his bullish running, he became emblematic of those Raider teams, which featured a pounding ground game to go with the passing of Ken Stabler.

He led the Raiders in rushing for four straight seasons (1971-1974), and was named to the Pro Bowl team in 1971, 1972 and 1973.

“(He) was one of the toughest players we ever had," John Madden once said. "There are people that will have contact and people that won't have contact, but only a few that will have it and really enjoy it. (He) was one of those guys who truly enjoyed the collision. He would look for it."

In his career he rushed for 4544 yards, and although much of that  was “tough yardage” he averaged 4.82 yards per carry, putting him ahead of more noted backs such as Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk, Walter Payton, Emmitt Smith and OJ Simpson.

After retirement Marv Hubbard wrote some country songs, the best known being "Fullbacks Ain't Supposed to Cry,” and as a golfer, in 1975 he teamed with baseball player Sal Bando to win the American Airlines Golf Classic.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING MARV HUBBARD:

MIKE FORISTIERE - TOPEKA, KANSAS (I believe after him it was Mark Van Eeghen. my childhood home was Fresno, Calif and of course I was a fan of those rebels the Oakland Raiders.)
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
JOE GUTILLA, AUSTIN, TEXAS
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK


*********** “Fullbacks Ain’t Supposed to Cry”- Marv Hubbard sings the song he wrote, obviously inspired by the realization that he's at the end of the line. He's just spent a year with the Detroit Lions  and he just doesn't have it any more..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M39Nx64oxFY


*********** Thanks to Greg Koenig…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPXzCzYwoAs


*********** QUIZ - His pro coaching career peaked early and declined swiftly.  At the age of 40, he was head coach of a Super Bowl  team and was named AFL Coach of the Year;  less than 10 years later,  he was out of coaching.

He grew up in Yeadon, Pennsylvania, outside Philadelphia, and played his college football at Georgia.  Eligible as a freshman, he started immediately at QB, and in his four years as a starter the Bulldogs went 36-8-1 and played in four bowl games.  He was a first team All-American his senior year, and when he graduated he was college football’s all-time leading passer, with 4,044 yards.

After a brief career in the NFL, he became a college coach, first at Tulane, then back at Georgia, then West Point, then back at Tulane, until in 1963 he joined the Oakland Raiders with the intention of succeeding Al Davis.

In 1966, with the war between the two leagues heating up,  Davis became commissioner of the AFL, and our guy succeeded him as head coach of the Raiders.

In his first year as head coach, the Raiders finished 8-5-1.  In his second year, they lost only once before losing to the Packers in Super Bowl II.   He was named the AFL Coach of the Year.
 
In his third year, 1968, the Raiders went 12-2.  They beat the Chiefs in their division playoff game, but lost to the Jets in the AFL championship game. (The Jets would go on to defeat the favored Baltimore Colts in the Super Bowl.)

But with Davis, now part owner,  becoming  increasingly “involved” in the team, in January 1969 our guy resigned as Raiders’ head coach to take the same position with the Bills.

It was quite a step down.  HIs record in three years at Oakland was  33-8-1 (.798) The Bills were bad, and after two poor seasons in Buffalo (7-20-1), he had a disagreement with owner Ralph Wilson, and when he threatened to resign, Wilson accepted his offer.

He was hired as QB coach of the Eagles but soon found himself out of work when the staff was fired, and in early 1973 he was hired as head coach of the Toronto Argonauts.  He was 10-9-2 in two seasons there, but when the club was sold after the 1974 season, the new owner fired him.

After being hired by Atlanta, he resigned to  serve as offensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers,  but after locking horns with head coach John McKay over McKay’s insistence that he run the I-formation, he resigned.

He returned to Atlanta and finished the season, but again was out of work when the whole staff was fired at season’s end.

He retired to his home in Tampa, and never coached again - except for a one-year stint in 1977 as head coach  at a local private high school, Admiral Farragut Academy.


american flagTUESDAY,  APRIL 16,  2019   “Doing nothing is hard - you never know when you’re finished.” Senator John Kennedy, Louisiana


*********** It was with a sense of unspeakable  sadness that I watched the great cathedral of Notre Dame - that  icon of Western Civilization - go down in flames. 

It has stood for some 800 years.

To me,  its tragic loss seemed to symbolize the rapid, near-overnight destruction of so many of the things we once considered absolutes in our Western Culture.

Call it, if you will, a sign from God.  Or, worse, an act of evil people. (On Monday of Easter Week, yet.) When we’ve seen the things we’ve seen in our lifetimes, anything’s believable.

Our world seems to be turning upside-down, as one by one, things that we once believed in are systematically destroyed, while things we once considered taboo are accepted, if not glorified.

Western Civilization?  What’s so special about it?  Why should we have to study it?

(CUE THE CHORUS OF SELF-IMPORTANT COLLEGE STUDENTS): "Hey, hey! Ho, ho!  Western Civ has got to go!"

Half-baked academics draw paychecks and call themselves “history teachers,” when really,  they’re willing (if not eager) to erase our history.  It’s just old white guys, anyhow.

Down come the statues from their pedestals and the portraits from the walls… off come the names from the buildings… out go the books from the libraries.   Good people stand by and do nothing as our history is erased.

Once the bastards succeed in discrediting the Founding Fathers themselves - and the Constitution itself - they’ll have destroyed the very underpinnings of what has made America special.  Nor perfect - special.  And then they’ll be  free to build their new America, one more to their liking.  And one destined to fail.

It took  some 150 years to build that great cathedral - mostly by hand, without any iron or steel in its structure - and mere hours to destroy it. 

Is there the same faith and devotion anywhere in today’s “Western Civilization” to devote another 150 years - not to mention billions of dollars - to the construction of another such architectural masterpiece?

I already know the answer. Besides, if France is like the US,  the environmental impact study alone would take 50 years.

*********** There are way too many jerks in the  NFL, but there are also some players you wouldn’t mind seeing  address your kid’s college graduation.

Especially if the NFL player is a former Army football player and decorated Army Ranger, an Afghanistan combat veteran named Alejandro Villanueva, who happens to be an offensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

On May 11,  he’ll be delivering the commencement address at St. Vincent’s College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, where the Steelers have held their pre-season camp for more than 50 years now.

A Steelers’ starter since 2016, in 2017, he became the first alumnus of a service academy to play in the Pro Bowl since Roger Staubach in 1969.

Before joining the Steelers, he served three tours of duty in Afghanistan between 2010 and 2013, and was awarded a Bronze Star for valor for rescuing wounded fellow soldiers while under enemy fire.

He has donated royalties from the sales of his Number 78 jersey to various Pittsburgh charities, as well as to some in Baltimore,  Cincinnati and Cleveland - Pittsburgh’s division rivals.

https://triblive.com/sports/steelers/steelers-villaneuva-to-be-saint-vincent-commencement-speaker/

*********** You know you’re getting old if you can remember when…

Canadian Football League teams actually outbid NFL teams for star players.

Coaching staffs - pro or college - consisted of a head coach, a line coach and a backfield coach.  Maybe an end coach.  No “coordinators.”

Freshmen weren't eligible to play college football.

There was no such thing as a “Tight End,” because ALL ends were “tight.”

There was no such thing as a wide receiver. Or a split end. Or a flanker. An end was an end was an end.
The NFL used white footballs (with black stripes) for night games.

Shoulder pads were made of a type of vulcanized fibreboard, an advance on the leather from which they were originally made. (Hence the old cliche, "popping leather.")

Most offensive linemen had scabs on their foreheads or the bridges of their noses from pass-blocking.

Practice jerseys were wool.  Pants - at least practice pants - were canvas.

Only Army wore plastic (Riddell) suspension helmets.  Other teams' helmets were leather and close-fitting. For padding and sweat absorption, they were lined with thick felt.

Mouthpieces hadn't been invented, and "nose guards" were seldom seen. Missing teeth were common.  So were broken noses.  So, too, were brush-burns (abrasions) on players' faces from rubbing against opponents' jerseys.

Players were taught to tackle low,  ducking their heads to protect their faces.

Players had to play both ways.  Even quarterbacks.  Typically, coaches would first determine their starting lineup based on who their best 11 defensive players were (first prevent losing, right?), which meant that offenses were limited to what those 11 could do.

Coaching from the sidelines was illegal, and limited substitution rules made it impossible to shuttle plays into the quarterback, so the quarterback had to be trained to call his own plays.

Without unlimited substitution, there were no kicking specialists. Kickers all played positions, offensive and defensive.

What we now call a corner back was either a "defensive halfback" or, in some places, a "side back."

A few teams in the old Southwest Conference (anyone remember it?)  actually split their ends and threw the ball more than they ran.

Oklahoma was killing people running the Split-T.

Teams that ran the option pitched the ball underhanded.

Michigan State under Biggie Munn was putting up big scores with its "multiple offense" that combined single wing with T-formation plays,  and direct-snap double-wing with "T-Double Wing."

If a team lined up with a quarterback under center, there was a halfway decent chance that they might throw the ball.  But if they lined up with a guy five or six yards deep taking a direct snap from center, they were not in the "shotgun." It meant they were a single wing team, and there was little chance they'd pass.

That guy taking the direct snap in the single wing was NOT called a quarterback. He was called a tailback. (The I-formation hadn't yet come along to appropriate the term "tailback" - since by then the single wing was all but extinct at the big college level.)

The term "running back" was not yet in use,  except as a generic term. Aside from quarterbacks in the split-T, the people who ran the ball on a T-formation team were the halfbacks and the fullback,  or on a single wing team, the tailback, wingback or fullback .

*********** One of the benefits of membership in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) is the newsletters.  I found a great article in a recent AFCA newsletter about Coach Ken Krause, coach of Wisconsin Division I (largest class) state champion Muskego.  Read it and simply substitute “Double Wing” for “Wing-T” and see if it doesn’t fit you and your program!

In an era of shotgun, no-huddle, spread offense, those who have written the eulogy for running the football from the Wing-T may have been premature. If you’re paying attention, you’ll find plenty of examples of coaches who have stuck to their own tried-and-true strategies and found success.

Ken Krause, head football coach at Muskego (Wis.) High School is a prime example. Coming off an undefeated 14-0 season, capped off by winning the Division I (large-school enrollment) WIAA 2018 State Championship, the Warriors’ head coach found the formula to his team’s success came via the Wing-T Offense.

Through 14 games in 2018, Krause’s Muskego team rushed for 4,752 yards (a 339 yards per game average) with 60 rushing touchdowns and averaged 40 points per game, all while playing in arguably the toughest conference (the Classic 8) in Wisconsin.

Krause doesn’t see himself as a throwback. Rather, he sees his success as being a matter of focusing on an offensive system he believes in – one predicated on physical football.

“I played in the Wing-T Offense back in high school,” says Krause. “Years later, when I became a head football coach, I felt comfortable running that offense. Over the years, I made it a priority to learn the intricacies, nuances and twists to the offense, so I immersed myself in it. I flew to Wing-T clinics all over the country and spent time talking to other Wing-T coaches to learn what they were doing.”

At Muskego High School, the coach says that the body types and the mentality of the student-athletes are a perfect match for his style of play.

“Players at Muskego are big, strong, physical and tough,” says Krause. “Those attributes fit well into my vision for the Wing-T Offense.”

The success of up-tempo spread offense isn’t an accident, though. Predicated on offensive balance, mismatches and keeping opposing defenses on their heels, the spread has proven to be the next step in explosive offensive football.

According to Krause, though, the widespread growth of the spread  offense has actually turned into an advantage when it comes to running his Wing-T Offense.

“Everybody is running a spread offense these days,” says Krause. “Our Wing-T Offense gives us a huge advantage over opponents, primarily, because teams never face it anymore. They’re not familiar with it and never practice to defend it.

“All year long, nearly every team prepares each week to face a spread team. And when it comes time to play us, suddenly they need to prepare for an offensive style of football that’s foreign to most players.

“Especially with the way we mix things up – lining up with one or two tight ends, the way we use fakes, deception and our wide-array of counter plays – they’re all something that other high school teams just don’t prepare for these days.

“In one week, it’s hard for a high school team to adequately prepare for an intricate Wing-T Offense that’s physical and aggressive. Maybe the only time all year they’ll see a Wing-T.”

Krause, whose teams have a 46-15 record over the past five seasons, says that it’s not a matter of spread offense being better than a Wing-T Offense, or vice-versa, but rather, it’s utilizing a system that works best for your team.

“Any type of football offense works — no matter what style of play,” says Krause. “But you need to immerse yourself in a system that you believe in.”

Specifically, however, Krause sees several ancillary benefits from successfully running the football.

“Teams who are good at running the football, also often have good defenses,” says Krause. “By playing physical, aggressive football, and utilizing a successful run game, good defense often becomes a byproduct of that style of play.

“It’s not a coincidence that the two are often linked. There’s a physical component to football that breeds success in both the running game and defense.”

Teams who successfully run the football also often have fewer turnovers. This is a fact that cannot be overstated, says Krause.

“In 2018, despite a large number of rushing attempts in our Wing-T Offense, our four primary running backs only had three fumbles in 450 rushing attempts combined,” says Krause. “We only had five turnovers total in 14 games.

“If you’re going to run the football, then as a team, you’d better not fumble. As a result, we work on our fumble circuit to begin practice every, single day. And that includes our Thursday walk-through practices. Preventing turnovers begins by emphasizing it every day.”

Krause says that it takes some time to perfect the nuances that make the Wing-T Offense special, but it begins and ends with fundamentals.

“As much as we need to prepare for whoever our next opponent might be,” Krause says. “We spend the majority of our practices working on the things that we need to do to execute the Wing-T.

“We focus on core fundamentals. Things like protecting the football, blocking with the correct first step, communicating the exact way to block a particular play, executing great fakes, working on our second-level blocks every day, all that kind of stuff — those things that may seem like minutia to others — to us, they are the key to our success.

“When you play great opponents who are well coached, it’s the details within the execution that help you overcome adversity and win close games.”

http://insider.afca.com/wing-t-running-game-not-obsolete/?utm_source=AFCA+Insider&utm_campaign=dd71f7414d-AFCA_Weekly_100317_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_343e846137-dd71f7414d-147880073

*********** San Francisco has approximately 24,500 intravenous drug users. It has about 16,000 students in its 15 public high schools.

*********** It was April 15, two weeks after April Fools Day, and Joe Gutilla, of Austin, Texas, could have been excused for thinking he was a couple of weeks late when he found the following link, asking me, “seriously???”

It’s the Nike creative gang’s re-do of Michigan State’s uniforms, highlighted with a day-glo green no doubt inspired by the vests worn by school crossing guards.

Across the front is emblazoned, in that tacky green, the word “STATE.”

Wow.  Talk about creative and unique.  “STATE.”  Wish I’d thought of that. 

Sure hope they get it trademarked before some copycat in Arizona,  Arkansas,  Colorado,  Florida, Iowa,  Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, or Washington gets the same idea.

(If Michigan State hadn't fallen for Nike’s proposition, the guys with the swoosh would  have had to wait till next year to spring it on the XFL.  Those clowns will wear anything.)

http://footballscoop.com/news/need-talk-michigan-states-new-uniforms/ 

So Nike and Underarmour snap their fingers and the underlings of college football change their uniforms, but there are still a few holdouts, a few schools resistant to change.  And surprise - they’re all pretty good, and they’re all valuable properties: Bama, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Georgia, USC, Oklahoma, Texas, LSU (Yes,  a few of them do play along with the so-called “throwback” uniform nonsense from time to time, and I left off Notre Dame because of its stupid “Shamrock Series” scam.)

What a feather in the cap it would be for Nike if they could get Alabama to agree to a makeover.  It wouldn’t surprise me at all to learn that Nike has posted a $500,000 bonus to the employee who can persuade Alabama to adopt an Oregon-like wardrobe.


***********  Hugh,

In response to that JV coach I would echo that the offset I has been a good look for me during a few seasons when I had a really good RB who was much better running downhill from the TB spot than he was as a WB.  It was still DW...just didn't quite look like it to the uninformed.

If I would have been a great football player I could have been inducted into both the Italian HOF and the Hispanic HOF.  Do you know how often people pronounce our last name the same way they do with the word "Tortilla"?  Actually, we think our last name was misspelled when my dad's dad came over from Sicily in 1918.  There's evidence it was spelled G-U-T-T-E-L-L-A, but since my grandpa couldn't read or write in English when he first arrived he apparently continued to use the misspelled name on legal documents.  As my grandpa used to say, "Eh...wadda you gonna do."

Mike Trout is a stud.  Maybe some of the football guys could learn a few things from him.  One of the best exercises we used in the off-season I learned from a hockey coach when I was up in Minnesota when the hockey team was doing their "dry-land" pre-season workouts.  It was one of the most grueling and productive parts of the workout, and was called the "platforms".  Two large platforms (4'x4') at 38 degree angles facing each other and connected at the base that the boys would single leg jump consecutively from one platform to the other platform.  The coach would see how many jumps they could do in a short time frame.  It simulated skating actions, but when I saw it the first thing I thought of was how productive it could be for our backs and receivers keeping a low center of gravity while making quick starts and cuts.  It worked, and it was a helluva workout!

How about a Cornhole League?  They already have televised Cornhole tournaments!

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** Gotta admit the Italian Hall of Fame discussion is awfully funny. Dammittahayel, if it ends in a vowel, we're claimin' it! I remember LaSalle's Tom Gola--led nation in scoring at least once, I think. Makes sense he was Polish, Golakowski maybe. When I first glanced at the Olney link, I saw steroid ILO storied. Maybe Tom had a storied steroid career.

Five BL winners will be honored but six will be on hand. A bit odd they didn't mention MV.

You've probably heard that if you're an LA Angel and want to have a shot at ROY, you need to be a fish. Their first was Tim Salmon, then many years later Mike Trout came along. Thanks for the WSJ article. I subscribed for 15 years, but when one Op-Ed writer after went lib, I oculdn't take it any longer. I hope to re-subscribe one day soon. I'd grown to enjoy the sports report. I remember Jason Day could ferret out some tiny but important detail everyone else had overlooked.

John Vermillion
St. Petersburg, Florida

Always good to hear from you.

Good point on Mike Viti -  the Army fullback coach.  He’s a Black Lion, too!

Interesting about the Fish!  Trout’s special to me because he’s from Millville, NJ, and when I was in college working as a furniture mover I got to know and work with some Millville guys and spent a little time there and I was blown away at how “country" it was, down in the heart of rural South Jersey but no more than an hour from downtown Philly.

And - Trout’s dad’s a high school coach and the kid still lives in Millville.  Talk about grounded!

Olney is a section of North Philly that was once very tight -  largely German and Polish. Like most Philly sections, Olney people took great pride in being from there.   One of my teammates in HS came from Olney and his best buddy was a  guy named Lee Elia - an Albanian, if you can believe it - who later became a big-league coach and manager and was Lou Piniella’s best buddy.

Lee was one of the greatest high school athletes ever to come out of Philadelphia - all-city in football, basketball and baseball.  Lee spent a long career in baseball, as a player - mostly in the minors - and then as a manager and coach.

Maybe you’ve heard Lee's famous rant to Chicago Cubs’ reporters, not realizing that one of them was covertly recording him.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8S0CDtEz_Bo


*********** “People complain that the SAT is biased and that the bias explains why students don’t do well.  That’s true - it is biased.  It’s biased against people who aren’t well educated. The test isn’t causing people to have bad educations, it’s merely reflecting the reality.  And if you don’t like your reflection, that doesn’t mean you should smash the mirror.”

“If your children don’t read or do math, why would you think they would do well on the SAT?”

“If we want people to get good scores on the SAT, I have a suggestion: stop complaining about how unfair the test is and do your homework.”

David S. Kahn, Author of numerous college-prep test books


*********** Buzz Williams, new Texas A & M basketball coach, was interviewed during the A & M spring game. He’s evidently got a million good quotes, and he said the first thing he told his new players was,  “For every mile of road there’s two miles of ditches. Stay out of them.”

*********** QUIZ ANSWER - A native Pittsburgher, Joe Schmidt played his college ball at Pitt, where he was captain of the squad and an All-American his senior season. He was drafted in the seventh round in 1953 by the defending NFL champion Detroit Lions.  Although the Lions had the NFL’s top defensive team, he still managed to make the club and earn himself a starting position, as the Lions repeated as NFL champions.

A middle linebacker during a time when the 4-3 became the universal pro defense and the middle linebacker  its most celebrated position, he was perhaps the best  there was: from 1954 through 1963, he played in ten straight Pro Bowls, and was selected by his peers as first-team All-Pro Middle Linebacker.
 
He played 13 seasons, all with the Lions.  He was named to the 1950s All-Decade Team, and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1973.

Before the 1956 season he was named team captain, a spot he held for nine seasons, and with the formation of the NFLPA that same year, he was elected by his teammates to serve as their player representative.

Following his retirement, he coached the Lions’ linebackers for a season, then, with only that one year’s experience as a coach, he was hired at the age of 35 as the Lions’ head coach.

He coached the Lions for six seasons, from 1967-1972 and went 43-34-7. For four straight seasons - 1969-1972 - his Lions finished second in the NFC Central.

He remains the last Detroit Lions coach (other than Gary Moeller, who coached half a season and finished 4-3) to leave the Motor City with a winning record.

Joe Schmidt is one of the few men still alive who played on Detroit’s last NFL championship team (1957).

***********  On October 31, 1960, a national TV audience was treated to its first-ever look inside the game of pro football.

The weekly program, sponsored by Prudential, was called “The Twentieth Century,” and this particular show was called “The Violent World of Sam Huff.”

It was a time in pro football’s evolution when people began paying attention to the defensive side of the game.  New York sportswriters were amazed to notice Giants’ fans beginning to chant, “DEE-fense! DEE-fense! DEE-fense.”

No defensive player was more noticed - no position more glorified - than a team’s middle linebacker.  And on the Giants, that was Sam Huff.

Nowadays, we’re used to hearing everything that goes on out on the field, but at that time, by hiding a small radio transmitter inside his shoulder pads and focusing one camera on Huff alone,  they were able to take the American TV audience out to where it had never been before - out into the middle of pro football action.

The show was a hit, and the fact that he played for the Giants, who were at the center of American media, made Huff a star.

It also caused a bit of professional jealousy, because the word was that many of the NFL’s other middle linebackers thought Huff was a media creation,  and not everything that the show cracked him up to be. (I can’t confirm that, but living in Connecticut at the time, and following the Giants closely, I can say that their defense was really good, and it’s quite likely that one of the other middle linebackers in the league - Ray Nitschke, Les Richter, Chuck Bednarik, Joe Schmidt, Bill George, Walt Michaels, to name many of them - could easily have earned the same renown had he been the one  featured in the show.)

According to a story that circulated after the show, someone supposedly told Bill George (Bears’ middle linebacker) that a followup show  - on  Huff’s life - was being considered,  and George said, “They’ll have to get Joe Schmidt to play him.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKeAX9rmzbk

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JOE SCHMIDT:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
JOE GUTILLA, AUSTIN, TEXAS
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY
MIKE FORISTIERE - TOPEKA, KANSAS
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA

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

A great player who wrecked my Browns in several NFL championship games.  My Browns played the Lions four times in the championship game in the 1950's.  The Lions won three out of four from the Browns and the great Paul Brown.  Buddy Parker the Lions' coach seemed to have Paul Brown’s number in the championship games.  In the 1957 championship game they beat my browns 59-14!  I was ten years old and cried like a baby after that game.  It stills hurts!

It is a shame that people today don't know how good the Lions and the Browns were in the 1950's. To me they were the two most dominant teams of that era and not the poor excuses they have been for years in the modern game.

David Crump
Owensboro, Kentucky

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

Joe Schmidt sounds like a heck of a football player and a good guy.

https://www.freep.com/story/sports/columnists/jeff-seidel/2017/09/07/1957-detroit-lions-joe-schmidt/631376001/

Coach Greg Koenig
Cimarron, Kansas

*********** The great Joe Schmidt...seemed his toughest games were against the Pack...Sad to see the man Lombardi called the best football player he ever coached #75 Forrest Gregg has passed

Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

*********** QUIZ:  He grew up in Red House, New York, whose current population of 38 makes it the smallest town in the state.  He played high school ball in the much larger town of Randolph (population 2600), in far western New York State - six hours west of New York City.

At Colgate,  in Hamilton, New York, he grew into a bruising runner with impressive quickness, and was the leading rusher his sophomore and junior season. He  graduated as the second-leading rusher in school history. 

After being drafted in the 11th round by the Oakland Raiders (and listed as a tight end), he was cut by the Raiders and then by the Broncos. He spent the entire 1968 season with the minor league Hartford (Connecticut) Knights of the Atlantic Coast Football League;   he wound up leading the league in rushing, and the following year, he was back with the Raiders.

He would play with them for eight seasons, and with his bullish running, he became emblematic of those Raider teams, which featured a pounding ground game to go with the passing of Ken Stabler.

He led the Raiders in rushing for four straight seasons (1971-1974), and was named to the Pro Bowl team in 1971, 1972 and 1973.

“(He) was one of the toughest players we ever had," John Madden once said. "There are people that will have contact and people that won't have contact, but only a few that will have it and really enjoy it. (He) was one of those guys who truly enjoyed the collision. He would look for it."

In his career he rushed for 4544 yards, and although much of that  was “tough yardage” he averaged 4.82 yards per carry, better than more noted backs such as Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk, Walter Payton, Emmitt Smith and OJ Simpson.

Interestingly, he was succeeded as Raiders' fullback by a fellow Colgate alumnus.

After retirement he wrote country music songs, the best known being "Fullbacks Ain't Supposed to Cry,” and as a golfer, in 1975 he teamed with baseball player Sal Bando to win the American Airlines Golf Classic.


american flagFRIDAY,  APRIL 12,  2019   “The best of all things is to learn. Money can be lost or stolen, health and strength may fail, but what you have committed to your mind is yours forever.”  Louis L'Amour

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

I was given the blessing by the JV head coach to run the DW, which is fine. The head varsity coach, however, does not want us running it, which is also fine - it’s his program.  I will coach whatever system and at whatever position he desires. I would gladly run the varsity system - except they do not have a system or a play book.

They describe their plays as power, counter, sweep, trap, and option, plus assorted passing plays. which we are allowed to run - just not from the DW formation.

We can run all these from the "I" formation and from split backs. We can also run a "Jumbo" package with two tight ends and we can even have one wingback - we just can’t run the double wing. Of course you have already figured out by my description that not a single member of the coaching staff understands what a DW is other than a formation with two wings aligned off of the tight ends. They have no problem running all our plays, just not from double tight, double wing. In the end the irony of our success in a different system will be lost on them.
 
I know I can run much of our offense without necessarily having two wings. We can keep all our blocking rules for traps, etc. I thought I could use the FB (B back) for much of the counter stuff and run the 47 XX with a receiver coming across like a conventional reverse play. I was also thinking I could compensate for the one missing wing by using a split out receiver to crack down on the DE or LBer.
 
The head JV coach has no problem with whatever offense we put together as long as we don’t run the DW from a double tight DW formation. The varsity coaches do not even come to our games, but even if they did the most they would notice would be the tight splits.
 
It’s all very strange to me as I grew up running the same system on JV as the varsity ran, but in this case the varsity has no defined system or playbook and no defined blocking rules. After 8 years of coaching, I believe I could coach just about any system as long as it is sound and defined.
 
My other option is to stay on defense, which I have no problem with. The only problem then becomes turning the offense over to another 23 year old OC like we had last year and suffer from one folly to the next (we had over 30 turnovers in 8 games last season). I know I can put together a decent package within the limits prescribed and I know the defense will still be taken care of by the other coaches.
 
If I have ever learned a single thing from you it is that I must be able to remain loyal to my head coach. The only option I have is to do his wishes or leave the team. I love the school, the JV coaches are excellent and a great group of guys to coach with, and a bad day on a ballfield is better than a good day sitting at home watching TV. We will do fine even if I have to run a "conventional" offense, not that I am quite sure I know what that means. I know how to teach kids how to block until the whistle, not turn over a football, and how to pay attention to all the minor details.
 
I almost can't wait to run a slight variation just so the varsity coaches can tell me that “their” system works better than the DW.
 
I would be interested in your thoughts on the matter.
 
Thanks Coach!

I think for the sake of your own sanity you should run something that’s at least CLOSE to what you  REALLY like and believe in - and know something about.

If the head coach doesn’t want you running the Double Wing,  don't defy him.  But on the chance that your problem is simply the identifiability of the Double Wing,  you can still run it - Just not from the Double Wing formation.

I don’t consider that to be disloyal.

I would suggest at least one TE and one wingback. Below is what I call Tight Ram 2 Wedge - one of my very favorite plays from one of my very favorite formations.  I’ve run it quite a bit over the past several years.
 
TIGHT RAM 2 WEDGE

Out of RAM  I run Power, Counter (with Wingback, Fullback or Tailback), G, Trap, Reach, Sprint Out, Drop Back and Bootleg.  The whole nine yards. If I never let my linemen see what was going on behind them, they’d swear they were running Double Wing, because their assignments don’t change a bit.

The varsity coaches are sure to be impressed with your “Offset I.”

Nobody in the world is going to accuse you of running “Double Wing” - but it’s “Double Wing” as hell!

(“RAM” is a part of the “Disguised Double Wing” stuff in the book that I’m working on right now.)


*********** I had to laugh at the tug-of-war that seems to have taken place over the years between Hispanics and Italians over Gene Brito’s ancestry.  “He’s ours!”  “Says you! He’s one of us!” 

And while there seems to be plenty of evidence that he was, in fact, of Mexican-American heritage,  there he is,  ensconced in the Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame.

Not that it would be the first time that Italian-Americans claimed a guy as one of theirs, apparently on the strength of his name’s ending in a vowel.

There was a time when there was no bigger name in Philadelphia basketball than Tom Gola - not even fellow native son  Wilt Chamberlain. One year,  Gola was named to an Italian-American All-American team.  Respectfully, he thanked them for the honor but informed them that he was actually Polish.

From a 2013 article…

On another wall is the national Polish coat-of-arms – a white eagle. Gola, a member of the National Sports Polish Hall of Fame, is proud of his Polish heritage. He remembers his mother’s home-cooked meals and her famous Polish perogies. Despite his Polish roots, Gola was also voted into the Italian Sports Hall of Fame.

http://wp.lasalle.edu/gb/2013/05/07/the-joe-dimaggio-of-basketball-born-and-raised-in-olney-looks-back-on-his-storied-career-at-la-salle-and-beyond/

*********** One of the toughest things a coach has to do is persuade a player to change positions - to give up his dreams and play where the team needs him.  Yet most of the time, when a move is in the team’s best interests, it’s also in the player’s best interests.

It always fascinates me to see how many really good NFL players are playing a position different from the one they played in high school.  Or college, even.

(How successful  do you suppose Julian Edelman would have been if he’d insisted on playing quarterback and nowhere else?)

Which brings me to coaching.  As you fill out your staff,  beware of the guy who tells YOU what HE’s going to coach.

Remind him of Jim Hanifan’s story about his first days on the job at San Diego State after being hired by Don Coryell…

“All the way back to juco, I had been working with quarterbacks and receivers, so I thought I would end up with one of those jobs. Then I found out he (Coryell) already had both of those coaches, so I really had no idea what I was going to do.

“Don and I were in his car one day, going to pick up some furniture, and I asked him, ‘What am I going to be coaching?’

“He said, ‘Offensive line.’

“That’s how I became an offensive line coach.”

*********** Many years ago I was introduced to the Wall Street Journal by a fellow teacher named Walt Leitner.  Walt  had been born in East Germany and had come here before the Russians could close the door, and he was conservative.  He used to leave his copy of the Journal on a table in the faculty lunch room, and  I  started to read it.  Eventually, I began subscribing to the  Journal for three main reasons: (1) It’s generally conservative; (2) it has great staff writers and contributors; (3) At a time when few other papers (or schools of journalism) care whether their writers know a subject from a predicate, a noun from a pronoun, an adverb from an adjective, the Journal still respects our written language.

In recent years,  in an effort to expand its readership, the Journal has begun to do a nice job of covering sports, and since the following article was written two years ago, I felt that I could share it with you.

It’s about Mike Trout, possibly the best baseball player in the game and, as of a month or so ago, its highest-paid player.  Just in case you have a baseball player or two on your football team who resists strength training, you might find some use for it.

(One thing that hit me right away was when he works out.)

By Jen Murphy
March 7, 2016 12:20 p.m. ET

At the age of 24, Mike Trout, center fielder on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, has earned a reputation as one of Major League Baseball’s biggest talents. He scales walls to rob sluggers of their home run glory, and he’s fierce at bat.

Mr. Trout’s off-season workouts focused on developing strength and agility. One thing he refuses to do in winter is pick up a baseball, or even a bat. “I need a few months to give my baseball muscles a rest so I don’t get overuse injuries,” he says.

In the off-season, Mr. Trout trains back home in N.J., with Dan Richter, the athletic trainer at Millville Senior High School, where he graduated in 2009. “I’ve known Dan since ninth grade,” Mr. Trout says. His routine is to train for 90 minutes, six days a week.

After his debut in 2011 with the Angels at age 19, Mr. Trout was unanimously voted the 2012 American League Rookie of the Year, and finished second in the voting for American League Most Valuable Player in 2012, 2013 and 2015. He won the league MVP honor in 2014.

Mr. Trout says the way he trains in the off-season is one of the keys to his high performance on the field. “I want to go into spring training strong but not sore,” he says.

During the past several off-seasons, Mr. Trout says his focus has been on gaining strength without bulking up. “I want to be around 238 pounds and keep things lean,” says the 6-foot-2 Mr. Trout.

Often, he recruits friends to join him, including Aaron Cox, the younger brother of his longtime girlfriend whom the Angels drafted as a pitcher last season. “I always work harder when there are people there to push me to the next level,” he says.

At 6 feet 2 inches, Mr. Trout likes to keep his weight at about 238 pounds. Such is his athleticism that he can jump from a flat-footed resting position and land on a platform nearly 5 feet high.

“Mike gets bored with standard workouts,” Mr. Richter, the trainer, says. “For him, the normal mundane exercises are too easy, so I have to turn it up a notch and be creative to really make him work.”

Workouts start with mobility and band exercises, such as walking lunges and high-knee skips across the room, followed by foam rolling to get his body ready for the “demanding intense stuff” to come, Mr. Richter says.

Once warmed up, Mr. Trout heads to the treadmill for sprints, hill climbs and shuffles, and he runs backward. “I hate treadmill workouts,” Mr. Trout says. “Running in place is so boring, but the sprints make the time pass more quickly.”

In between sprints on the treadmill he does strength exercises that use body weight, such as push-ups, burpees and tuck jumps. Some days Mr. Trout gets his cardio fix on the Versa Climber, a machine with handles and steps that mimics climbing up a ladder. Mr. Richter gives him a distance to climb as fast as he can, starting at 400 feet and working up to 1,000 feet. He’ll also put booties over his sneakers and slide left to right on a slide board.

“This helps with agility, quickness and lower-body strength,” Mr. Richter says.

“You used to see those slides in aerobics classes. But I’d rather get on the slide and sweat than hop on the treadmill any day,” Mr. Trout says.

The strength-and-power portion of the workout consists of dead lifts, snatches and power lifts and moves. Some days he uses the TRX suspension trainers, medicine balls, battle ropes, sledge hammers and kettlebells.

Mr. Richter often makes Mr. Trout and his friends pull and push weighted sleds across the gym. “It turns into a competition,” says Mr. Trout. To improve his explosive strength, he does box jumps.

“In the outfield, he goes from a dead standstill to a sprint to jumping up the wall to make a catch,” Mr. Richter explains.

“We want to try to mimic that explosive power.” Mr. Richter will place boxes and platforms of varying heights in a circle and have Mr. Trout try to jump on them, sometimes while holding weights in his hand. HIs athleticism is such that he can jump from a flat-footed resting position and land on a platform nearly 5 feet high.

Recovery is a mix of foam rolling and soaking in hot and cold tubs.

He isn’t a morning guy, so Mr. Trout says he chooses to sleep late; he works out at 9 p.m. “I find I sleep better when I’m exhausted,” he says.

Breakfast is three eggs, bacon, sausage and hash browns. Lunch is usually a big salad. He eats a protein bar before working out.

Mr. Trout says he used to cramp up and lose weight during workouts but now stays hydrated with fruit punch-flavored BodyArmor sports drinks during games and training sessions. (Mr. Trout has an endorsement deal with BodyArmor and is an investor in the company).

Games and practices might not end until 10:30 p.m. “I’m starving by then,” he says. In the off-season, he might come home and cook up some eggs for dinner. During the season, he eats steak or chicken with rice, asparagus and green beans. Pizza is his splurge.

*********** I was watching some of our congresspeople interrogating the Attorney General the other day, and I thought, ”Where do they FIND people like this?  How, in a nation of 300 million people, can these possibly be the best we can come up with to represent us?”

So hateful and insolent are some of these creatures that it seems to me that only the fact that one party still practices a form of civility keeps us from a repeat of something that happened long ago, right here in the United States, right in Washington, D.C., right on the floor of the Senate.

It was 1856, with pre-Civil War tensions running high, and South Carolina Senator Preston Brooks took his cane to Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner and beat him nearly to death.  Yes,  right there on the floor of the Senate.  (Senator Brooks had to use the cane after being shot in the hip 16 years earlier in a duel.)

https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/minute/The_Caning_of_Senator_Charles_Sumner.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preston_Brooks

***********  The AAF just went POOF!

And this time next year, a reincarnated XFL is almost a sure thing to follow it into oblivion.

This past April 1, Major League Lacrosse announced that it would be opening its season in a few weeks with only six teams, down three from last year.

Yet on Wednesday came the announcement that we’re about to have a brand-new sports league.

A professional swimming league!   Were you like me when you heard the news? Silly me, not to have noticed all those millions clamoring for professional swimming!

The league will be bisexual.  (That doesn’t mean what you think it does -  I just used the word to get your attention.)  It simply means that there will be both men and women on the teams. I think.

There’ll be eight teams - four in the US and four in Europe.  Unfortunately, if you’re an American but you don’t live in one of the US Cities with teams - New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco or Washington, DC - you’ll be SOL.  Although perhaps with the hundreds of channels that you can get with cable or satellite,  there might be one that will carry Big-Time Swimming (or whatever they’re going to call it).

If you happen to live in Budapest, London, Rome - or someplace in France yet to be named - you’ll also have a team of your own to pull for.

Forgive my skepticism, but some guy who claims to be the general manager of the Los Angeles team (called The Current) didn’t sound exactly inspirational when he offered perhaps the lamest argument I’ve ever heard in favor of a new sports league: “We have some of the hardest-working athletes in the sports world, and they deserve more than we have gotten so far.”

Here I am wondering why I should go to a meet, and there he is, sounding like a union guy demanding higher wages for garbage collectors.

A sure sign that they have no serious expectations of making  any money came in an announcement buried in the story: 

“Revenue will be split 50-50 between the league and swimmers.”  

Make me laugh.  That one’s right up there with that old “a percentage of the proceeds will go to (fill in the worthy cause).”


*********** Five Army Black Lion Award winners and the man whose heroic death helped inspire the Black Lion Award will be honored on Friday evening at Army’s spring game.

WEST POINT, N.Y. - Head coach Jeff Monken and the Army West Point football team have announced their honorary captains for the annual Black and Gold Game on April 12.

The Black Knights are saluting five former Black Lion award winners and an honorary coach for their upcoming game on Friday night the 12th.

Among those being recognized and serving as the honorary coach that night will be Don Holleder, who yielded his role as a first-team All-American end in 1954 to become Army's starting quarterback in 1955. Representing him on Friday will be his daughter Katie Fellows and granddaughter Taylor Wilkinson.

The program will be welcoming back five former Army football players as well who received the coveted Black Lion Award during their time as a cadet. Serving as team captains for the Black Team will be Will Sullivan '05 and Trent Steelman '13,  with Ryan Brence '08, John Plumstead '09, and Davyd Books '12 the team captains for the Gold Team.

Also in attendance on Friday will be five teammates of Holleder. Frank Burd '56, Joe Cygler '57, COL Art Johnson '57, BG Pete Lash '56, and David Schorr '57 will all serve as honorary guests for the night.

The start time of the Black and Gold Game is set for 7 p.m.

*********** I wrote this ten years ago,  in April, 2009…

Are these NFL people f--ked, or what? The 49ers seem to have lost interest in Georgia QB Matthew Stafford. Reason? While being interviewed by a psychologist at the combine, the subject of his parents' divorce, while he was still in high school, came up. Stafford says he told the guy that things were cool, that he'd adjusted, but the shrink told him he "sounded if he might have unfinished business."

Said 49ers coach Mike Singletary, in a radio interview with KNBR in San Francisco, "If you're going to look at drafting a guy in the first round," he told host Ralph Barbieri, "and you're going to pay him millions of dollars, and asking him about a divorce about his parents, if that's going to be an issue, then you know what? Maybe he doesn't belong here."

Whoa. Wouldn't want to touch that guy, would you? He's liable to go out to some nightclub and shoot himself in the leg. Or throw a handful of $100 bills at hookers.

Maybe they should be asking similar questions about wide receivers who've made babies that they have no intention of supporting.

Ah, what the hell difference does it make, anyhow? Fewer than half the starting quarterbacks in the NFL are still playing for the teams that drafted them.


*********** In 1958, when colleges in the Deep South were still years away from recruiting black athletes, blacks and whites were playing together successfully at an Air Force base in the Florida Panhandle - about as Deep South as you could get.  This is the team photo of the 1958 Service Football Champion Eglin Air Force Base team.

eglin AFB team


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

Great page today. From the opening quotation (a beautiful thing) onward, it was excellent.

As I watched the Auburn-Virginia game, I thought I had forgotten every rule in basketball when that blatant double-dribble occurred. I was thinking, what's going on, none of the announcers is saying a word about it. Only after the commercial and the incredibly stupid foul on the three-point shot did they mention what happened at half-court. If Auburn had gotten the ball on that turnover, game over.

You failed to mention another female coach, Ms. Muffet "sitting on her tuffet" McGraw, who got me so fired up I wanted ND to lose the championship by 30 or so. But she's another darling now of the liberal press. But I guess I ought to feel some pity for the poor woman, as it's reported she only makes a millon a year.

Mitch Daniels has done some good at Purdue.

Never watched Barnwood Builders, but will make a point of it. Thanks.

John Vermillion
St. Petersburg, Florida

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

Regarding St. Thomas, I also met Coach Caruso, he has recruited some of our players.

He was actually doing a Snyder like revival at Macalester before UST and  breaching the mid point of the conference, which got him the job down the avenue at St. Thomas.

2 or 3 seasons ago, there was a 1 month stretch where UST beat Hamline, St. Olaf, & Carleton by 97, 85, & 79 in succession. St. Olaf was coached by one of Caruso's former assistants.

Caruso's critics excoriate him for running it up. His defenders claim his 3rd string is still better than the bottom half's starters.

Take care

Mick Yanke
Cokato, Minnesota

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

Apparently the women's basketball coach at UNC isn't Kim Mulkey or Muffett McGraw!  That game their teams played against one another was no joke.  Baylor is legit.   

The UVA-Texas Tech game was a throwback. That was MY kind of basketball.  It was the kind of basketball I enjoyed watching as a kid.  Those two teams played tenacious defense, and patient offense for the most part.  I thought it was a helluva basketball game.

I have a cousin who played with Aaron Rodgers at Cal.  Rodgers is still the same guy.

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** QUIZ ANSWER: The Packers’ guards, Jerry Kramer and Fred “Fuzzy” Thurston made their reputations leading the famed Lombardi Sweep; the tight end, Ron Kramer, made the crucial block on the Strong Linebacker; the fullback, Jim Taylor, made the key block on the strongish defensive end; and the halfback, Paul Hornung, knew just how best to utilize Ron Kramer’s block.  It had a lot of working parts, and all of them were important.

But it was the center, Jim Ringo,  who had the toughest block of all on the Packers’ trademark play - he had to snap the ball and quickly block the playside defensive tackle - the one lined up over the pulling Jerry Kramer - before he could penetrate and blow up the play.

He came out of Phillipsburg, New Jersey, and after playing his college ball at Syracuse, he was chosen by the Packers in the 1953 draft.   He made the team, but those Packers were bad: in his first six seasons, he played under four different coaches while the Packers went 20-50-2. 

And then Vince Lombardi arrived and things changed.  Over the next five seasons, the Pack would go 50-15-1, and win two of three NFL title games.

The center’s worth to the team was acknowledged.  Starting in 1957, he played in seven consecutive Pro Bowls,  and for five seasons, from 1959 through 1963, he was consensus first team All-Pro center.

And then, the story once went,  in the spring of 1964 he dared to come to Lombardi and ask for a raise.  That was bad enough, but he was accompanied by, of all things - an AGENT!  The story was that Lombardi was so taken aback by the effrontery that he asked to be excused for a few minutes, and upon his return he informed the agent that his client, Jim Ringo, had just been traded to the Eagles. 

Author David Maraniss has debunked that version, but Lombardi liked the story so much -  it reinforced the idea that he was nobody to fool with - that he enjoyed telling it that way, and he gave it legs.

In any case,  after playing in 126 straight games for the Packers,  from 1954-1963,  the All-Pro center was, indeed, traded, and he wound up his career in Philadelphia (where he played in three more Pro Bowls).

He went on after retirement as a player to become a highly respected assistant coach, with the Rams, Bills (twice), Bears, Patriots and Jets.

He took over briefly as interim head coach of the Bills after Lou Saban resigned, but he’s best known for what he did during his second stay in Buffalo,  building the offensive line that helped OJ Simpson to a Hall-of-Fame career.  The line came to be called “The Electric Company” (because “they turned on The Juice”).

He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1981.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JIM RINGO:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN (I’m still a Bears’ fan)
JOHN IRION - GRANVILLE, NEW YORK
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
JOE GUTILLA, AUSTIN, TEXAS
MIKE FORISTIERE - TOPEKA, KANSAS
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY (As an old center myself I know this one)
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA(Easy for Cheeseheads...Jim Ringo!!!)
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA

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

This is a good article which discusses how the NFL's transition from the traditional 5 front defense to the 4-3 extended Ringo's career.

Greg Koenig
Cimarron, Kansas

https://www.packers.com/news/jim-ringo-was-perfect-fit-for-lombardi-s-offense

*********** QUIZ - A native Pittsburgher, he played his college ball at Pitt, where he was captain of the squad and an All-American his senior season. He was drafted in the seventh round in 1953 by the defending NFL champion Detroit Lions.  Although the Lions had the NFL’s top defensive team, he still managed to make the club and earn himself a starting position, as the Lions repeated as NFL champions.

A middle linebacker during a time when the 4-3 became the universal pro defense and the middle linebacker  its most celebrated position, he was perhaps the best   there was: from 1954 through 1963, he played in ten straight Pro Bowls, and was selected by his peers as first-team All-Pro Middle Linebacker.
 
He played 13 seasons, all with the Lions.  He was named to the 1950s All-Decade Team, and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1973.

Before the 1956 season he was named team captain, a spot he held for nine seasons, and with the formation of the NFLPA that same year, he was elected by his teammates to serve as their player representative.

Following his retirement, he coached the Lions’ linebackers for a season, then, with only that one year’s experience as a coach, he was hired at the age of 35 as the Lions’ head coach.

He coached the Lions for six seasons, from 1967-1972 and went 43-34-7. For four straight seasons - 1969-1972 - his Lions finished second in the NFC Central.

He remains the last Detroit Lions coach (other than Gary Moeller, who coached half a season and finished 4-3) to leave the Motor City with a winning record.

And he’s one of the few men still alive who played on Detroit’s last NFL championship team (1957).



american flagTUESDAY,  APRIL 9,  2019   “Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster, and what has happened once in 6,000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, because if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world.” Daniel Webster


*********** Sylvia Hatchell, North Carolina’s women’s basketball coach, is under investigation for some things she’s allegedly said and done.

There might be enough going on to fire her.

But if they needed any other reason…

She’s making a base salary of $380,000, due to go up to $400,000 next year.

She makes $150,000 as part of UNC’s Nike endorsement deal.

And - mark this date down - she’s due a payment of  $140,000 if she’s still on the job on April 16.

*********** Coaches  -  Before jumping at that tempting opportunity to make the team laugh, think carefully.

Sylvia Hatchell, North Carolina’s women’s basketball coach, had to be joking when she told her players (I am paraphrasing here)  that if they played as badly in their next game as they had in this one, people would be waiting for them outside the gym with nooses.

Really.  She HAD to be joking, because no one with half a brain would have said that seriously, right? But  on the other hand, if that was somehow  intended as a joke - who in the hell  in this day and age  thinks that's going to get a laugh?

Look - I give you readers credit for having a lot more common sense than the head women's basketball coach at the University of North Carolina. But all the same,  it’s time to come to grips with a very important reality - America has lost its sense of humor.

It started years ago with all that self-esteem crap, and not being judgmental, and being welcoming and inclusive - and poof! - there went all our material.  All those little moron jokes - useless.

Professional comedians have noticed it - they’re commenting on how tough it is to work on college campuses these days, because to today’s instantly-triggered audiences,
nothing is funny.

It’s as if, while we were all looking under our beds for hidden  Russians,  someone slipped a whole new Amendment into the Constitution: “The right not to be offended is absolute and shall not be abridged, even if the offender just meant it as a joke.”

So consider yourself forewarned: Don't go for the laugh.

And keep in mind my two rules for keeping your job:

1. Anything and everything you say, no matter how innocently intended, is sure to offend someone, and

2. If just one person  on your team is offended - he probably caught everything you just said on his cell phone.


*********** The BIG news in Oregon is that women’s basketball star Sabrina Ionescu is coming back for her senior season, instead of going for the big bucks of the WNBA.

Actually, we’re not actually talking big bucks here:  The WNBA starting salary is $50,000.  The median salary is around $72,000.

In the NBA, on the other hand, the minimum salary is $582,000.

When are the Democratic candidates for President going to look into this  gross violation of gender equity?

Here’s what really has to hurt: an NBA referee makes $150,000.

*********** I didn’t know that Greg Schiano was the Patriots’ defensive coordinator.  So how could it surprise to me to learn that he’d just resigned - from a job that few people knew he’d held?

But I also didn’t know that the Patriots had traded for Michael Bennett.  And once I learned that, I had a better idea of why Schiano had resigned.

*********** For years, basketball has allowed ball handlers to play fast and loose with the rules on palming and double-dribbling.  Guy makes a great start-and-stop and gets past his man?  Hey - who cares if he actually picked up his dribble during the move?  Guy takes a couple extra steps before he stuffs?  So? How about  that dunk? 

Hey - You can’t call everything! It would slow the game down. Who wants to do that?  Come on! Let the players play!

And so, after years of letting things go because, aw hell - let them play - Auburn lost a game when  a Virginia player picked up his dribble - and then proceeded to dribble again.  And the officials, as usual,  figured, "What the hell. Let 'em play."

NOBODY EVEN MENTIONED IT, MUCH LESS CALLED IT!

The fools on TV were ONLY concerned about whether a UVA shooter was fouled - after being given an opportunity to shoot that he never would have had -  IF THE F—KING OFFICIALS HAD MADE THE CALL THAT THEY CAN’T BE BOTHERED WITH MAKING ANYMORE!

Thank you, God, for all that  you did to direct me to football coaching. If I'd coached basketball, I'd be writing this from death row, 40 years after  strangling an official for not  enforcing the rules.

*********** Enjoyed watching the Purdue spring game. Returning QB Elijah Sindelar was recovering from an injury so he wasn’t playing.   But he handled an interview really well, and did a nice job of explaining plays as they took place.  Did I say he’s well-spoken?  He’s an electrical engineering major. 

Purdue had the parents of the late Tyler Trent on hand (you do remember the young man who basically on his death bed called the Boilermakers’ win over Ohio State) to announce that henceforth Purdue football captains will receive the Tyler Trent Captain Award.

I really liked the way that outgoing seniors were presented their jerseys in large frames, with the presentations being made by former Purdue players.

*********** At the LSU spring game, they interviewed Joe Burrow, the LSU QB who’s from Ohio.

Asked if he’d experienced any culture shock  on arrival in Baton Rouge, he said,

“Yes.  When I first got here, I was looking arouhd for a health food store…”

*********** Ole Miss is loaded.  At least with head coaches. Up in the press box at the Rebels’ spring game were two new coordinators: defensive coordinator Mike MacIntyre, fresh from being let go at Colorado, and offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez, a year removed from Arizona.  Both have three-year contracts.

*********** What Happened in Green Bay?

According to writer Tyler Dunne, it sounds as if the Aaron Rodgers-Mike McCarthy relationship was about as dysfunctional as one could get, starting even before Rodgers’ draft, when McCarthy preferred another quarterback, Alex Smith.

Writes Dunne,

Nobody holds a grudge in any sport like Rodgers. When it comes to Rodgers, grudges do not merrily float away. They stick. They grow. They refuel.
No, Rodgers would not forget that McCarthy had helped perpetuate his four-and-a-half-hour wait in the NFL draft green room the year prior. His nationally televised embarrassment. McCarthy, then the 49ers offensive coordinator, chose Alex Smith No. 1 overall. Not Rodgers.

No, Rodgers would not take it as a funny accident.

"Aaron's always had a chip on his shoulder with Mike," says Ryan Grant, the Packers' starting running back from 2007 to 2012. "The guy who ended up becoming your coach passed on you when he had a chance. Aaron was upset that Mike passed on him—that Mike actually verbally said that Alex Smith was a better quarterback."
What a sh--head.

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2828649-what-happened-in-green-bay


*********** Barnwood Builders started a new series  on Sunday night.  If you don't know the show, it’s on DIY and it’s about a group of guys who scour the countryside within a couple hundred miles of their southern West Virginia headquarters looking to buy old, decrepit farm structures - barns mostly - and then, depending on the condition, tearing them down to rebuild them elsewhere (often on some rich guy’s lakefront lot) or simply to keep the salvageable wood for "repurposing." 

The area they work - parts of Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania - is Appalachia, whose people, and the structures they built, have occupied its hills and hollers and fields since before we were a nation. The buildings these guys work on are old, built well before there were power tools, and  the logs they were built with were  enormous, many of them 18” to 24” wide.

The historical aspect of the show appeals to me, but even more than that, as a coach I’m impressed by the way the crew - four or five guys - works together.  There's one guy who could be considered the “star,” because he’s the boss,  but they really work well as a team and they really seem to enjoy their work.

Obviously, being humans, they have to have their differences, but whatever they might be, we don’t see them.  We see guys who understand that they have a job to do, who know what their particular job is, who can find the fun in even the toughest, nastiest job, and take obvious satisfaction in being good at what they do.

It makes me say to myself, “THAT’S what I’d like my players to experience!”

And it makes me say, “THAT’S the kind of staff every coach should get to work on!”

************ Joe Gutilla, whom I first met when he was coaching in Minneapolis, sent me an article about St. Thomas, a D-III college in the Twin Cities whose football program is so much better than those of its competitors that it’s about to be bounced from their conference.

http://footballscoop.com/news/division-iii-conference-reportedly-considering-kicking-one-members-successful/

Joe wrote,

I’ve known Coach Caruso for a number of years.  When he took over the UST program they weren't very average, but apparently it was ok for those other schools at that time to beat up on UST!

Glen has done a remarkable job with that program, and whoever is in charge of that school has done a magnificent job of bringing that entire athletic program to the pinnacle of D III success.

I can guarantee you that UST will not sacrifice what they have worked so hard to build over the last 15 years.  But I'll guarantee you the other MIAC schools won't consider taking a page out of the UST playbook and raise their bars to the level of UST.  Knowing how those other MIAC schools operate the Tommies will soon be a school without a conference affiliation.

I don’t know what Joe knows and I can only comment on what I see from a distance -  and from what I’ve heard from others closer to the scene.

When there is that sort of disparity among D-III schools, it’s apparent to me that it represents a significant difference in St. Thomas’ (and perhaps St. Johns’) approach to football and that of the other schools.  It doesn’t seem likely that the Macalesters and St. Olafs are going to choose to go full-out big-time, so one way or the other, it looks as if St. Thomas is going to have to find somebody else to beat up on.

I won’t get into relative academic strength, but I do know that Macalester prides itself on being something of a Swarthmore or Reed (neither of which play football) and it wouldn’t surprise me to hear one of these days that they've decided to drop football.



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

Myself and two other coaches went south this weekend to the University of North Dakota’s Coaches Clinic. The clinic wasn’t as well attended as it has been in the past, but besides local coaches and staff members presenting, we attend a day of spring practice. We are allowed to go on the field and observe the practice. I have an assistant who would make the trip, and pay the fee, for this alone. It is awesome to watch 75 kids who love football to charge on the field for practice. We left feeling excited for the upcoming season.

I attended one session entitled “Little Things”. It was presented by an older coach who shared all of the things he does to create a team. No Xs and Os, just little things that go to creating a team.

One of his ideas was to have a “Disaster Practice” where he overreacts and screams at players for minor mistakes. Players were prepped before practice and told that they would need to support and bring up each other when he tore them apart. It reminded me of your “Walkaway” drill. It made me realize that some kids may have no idea that they are supposed to support each other when things go bad. I’ll tweek it with an email to parents beforehand, but we will use this.

Football is fun.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

The “Walkaway Drill” Coach Walls refers to is our way of teaching kids to “walk away” from potential confrontations that could cost our team a penalty and maybe even result in a player's being ejected. 

We show kids how the drill is supposed to work, and we  warn them that at any time, in a game or a practice,  they could find themselves in a situation where the code of the street prevails - where they might be expected  to defend their reputations by not backing down -  by not taking any sh—. 

But  when that does happen, we emphasize, they're  football players first, and  that means they have to have the self-control to turn and walk away from the situation. 
 
Having warned them, we’ll wait for an opportune time, and then maybe we’ll have a player take a cheap shot at a teammate.  Nothing serious or dangerous - just enough to piss him off. 

And then we'll  wait to see if he’s smart enough to recognize what’s going on, and turn and walk away.  (It actually becomes a fun drill once guys get the hang of it.)

And It really has paid dividends. 

In six years at North Beach, we never had so much as a penalty for unsportmanlike conduct. I can’t say the same for our opponents.  (In just  the last two seasons, while “under new management,” North Beach has had four player ejections.)



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

Like the WFL and USFL I had hoped deep down that the AAF would find a way to muddle through their first season, and find a way in the off-season to strengthen the brand and continue playing.  Hopefully there will be at least a few guys who made enough of an impression in that abbreviated season to catch the eye of NFL GM's and coaches, and earn a spot on an NFL roster for next season.

I always wondered if my dad forgot, or if there was a particular reason why he left out Gene Brito on his All-Italian team.  Now I know.  Brito's last name may have ended in a vowel, but he didn't have enough double consonants in front of it. (See Quiz Answer below)

Women's college basketball goes no further than Notre Dame and UConn who play each other in the NCAA championship (actually the semis but in reality it will be the title game) of the women's final four tonight.

I admire our good friend Mike Foristiere immensely!  He has never backed away from a challenge, and despite the hurdles he has faced has always found a way for his kids to believe in themselves, endure the struggles, and eventually learn how to be successful not only on the field, but in life.  Mike epitomizes the definition of the word perseverance, and I'm proud to call him my friend.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** You know things are out of control when the New York Yankees make the following announcement:

Today, the Yankees became the 1st major North American sports team to sign on to the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework, the aim of which is to to bring greenhouse emissions in line with the Paris Climate Change Agreement & inspire others to take ambitious climate action.

Remember the good old days when "Yankee news" meant Billy Martin and George Steinbrenner were busy insulting each other?

https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2019/04/new_york_yankees_trade_baseball_victories_for__the_united_nations_climate_agreement.html

*********** I read an interesting article about the Navy-Notre Dame game scheduled to be played in Dublin, in 2020.

But I do have to wonder if Notre Dame might not be going overboard a bit in promoting this “Fighting Irish” business when I read, “Some of the most deeply held traditions in the game have an Irish connection, all the way back to great coaches like Frank Leahy and Newt Rockney.”

WTF?  While they were at it, what about Ara O’Parseghian?

*********** QUIZ ANSWER:  Gene Brito grew up in Los Angeles, the son of a professional boxer. Straight out of high school, he joined the Army and fought as a paratrooper in the Philippines in World War II.

After returning to civilian life, he attended Loyola of Los Angeles (now Loyola-Marymount), which was then a football power.  Loyola’s 1950 team, coached by Jordan Olivar (who would later become had coach at Yale) went 8-1, its only loss coming by two points to Santa Clara.  Notable among its victories was a 40-28 come-from-behind win over San Francisco, which a year later would gain fame as one of the greatest college football teams of all time: “Undefeated, Untied, and Uninvited.”

He lettered in four sports at Loyola, and was chosen in the 17th round of the 1951 draft by the Washington Redskins.  He made the team as an offensive end (in those days, ALL ends were tight ends) and caught 45 passes his first two seasons.  But by his third season, he had switched to defensive end, and he was on his way to pro football greatness.  But despite being named to the Pro Bowl in 1953, he was  unappreciated by the Redskins, and after leaving the team following a contract dispute he played the 1954 season with Calgary of the CFL.

He returned to the Skins in 1955, and resumed his all-star ways, making All-Pro defensive end in 1955, 1956 and 1958, and being named to the Pro Bowl four straight years.

In his seven seasons with the Redskins, Gene Brito was a marvel of durability, never missing a game.   He was the favorite Redskin of both John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon.

His last game as a Redskin in 1958 was Gene Brito Day,  and then-Vice President Nixon presented him with the keys to a new car.

In 1989 he was named to the National  Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame.

In 2002, in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Redskins, Gene Brito was named one of the 70 Greatest Redskins.

Traded to his hometown Rams in 1959, he played through the 1960 season, but in pre-season 1961 he was diagnosed with ALS, and he died in June, 1965.  He was 39.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING GENE BRITO:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA, AUSTIN, TEXAS (I grew up thinking he was Italian.  But upon further review come to find out he was half Spanish and half Mexican.  Another great taken from us too early.)
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON

*********** Gene Brito died in 1965 of ALS at the age of 39.   I think of ALS as the physical  counterpart of Alzheimer’s.  With Alzheimer’s, a person can be quite healthy physically, while totally absent mentally; with ALS, the person is all there mentally, while the ability to do physical tasks declines.

The most recent well-known athlete to die of ALS was former 49ers’ star receiver Dwight Clark, who died in 2018 at the age of 61.

But get this:

Back in the 1980’s, three other former 49ers died of ALS-  Matt Hazeltine in 1986, Gary Lewis in 1987, and Bobby Waters in 1989.

What are the odds?  ALS is rare - two persons in 100,000 come down with it -  yet in the space of just three years, three players from the same NFL team died from it.

There has been all sorts of speculation as to the possible cause.  Was it the fertilizer used on the team’s practice field?  Was it drugs that they may have taken? Steroids?  Painkillers? Was it DMSO, a chemical byproduct of the pulp-and-paper industry seen at the time as a miracle cure for joint sprains and muscle strains?

It remains a mystery…


https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/06/09/long-before-dwight-clark-three-forgotten-49ers-perished-from-als/

*********** The 1950 Loyola and 1951 San Francisco football teams could identify with the AAF.  They both won big on the playing field - the San Francisco Dons were one of the greatest college football teams in history - and now, both schools having long since given up football, it’s as if those teams had  never existed…

https://angelusnews.com/news/mike-nelson/loyola-50-usf-51-football-teams-winners-on-and-off-the-field

*********** QUIZ: The Packers’ guards, Jerry Kramer and Fred “Fuzzy” Thurston made their reputations leading the famed Lombardi Sweep; the tight end, Ron Kramer, made the crucial block on the Strong Linebacker; the fullback, Jim Taylor, made the key block on the strongish defensive end; and the halfback, Paul Hornung, knew just how best to utilize Ron Kramer’s block.  It had a lot of working parts, and all of them were important.

But it was the center who had the toughest block of all on the Packers’ trademark play - he had to snap the ball and quickly block the playside defensive tackle - the one lined up over the pulling Jerry Kramer - before he could penetrate and blow up the play.

He came out of Phillipsburg, New Jersey, and after playing his college ball at Syracuse, he was chosen by the Packers in the 1953 draft.   He made the team, but those Packers were bad: in his first six seasons, he played under four different coaches while the Packers went 20-50-2. 

And then Vince Lombardi arrived and things changed.  Over the next five seasons, the Pack would go 50-15-1, and win two of three NFL title games.

The center’s worth to the team was acknowledged.  Starting in 1957, he played in seven consecutive Pro Bowls,  and for five seasons, from 1959 through 1963, he was consensus first team All-Pro center.

And then, the story once went,  in the spring of 1964 he dared to come to Lombardi and ask for a raise.  That was bad enough, but he was accompanied by, of all things - an AGENT!  The story was that Lombardi was so taken aback by the effrontery that he asked to be excused for a few minutes, and upon his return he informed the agent that his client, the center, had just been traded to the Eagles. 

Author David Maraniss has debunked that version, but Lombardi liked the story.   It reinforced the idea that he was nobody to fool with,
and he gave it legs, by telling it that way.

In any case,  after playing in 126 straight games for the Packers,  from 1954-1963,  the All-Pro center was, indeed, traded, and he wound up his career in Philadelphia (where he played in three more Pro Bowls).

He went on after retirement as a player to become a highly respected assistant coach, with the Rams, Bills (twice), Bears, Patriots and Jets.

He took over briefly as interim head coach of the Bills after Lou Saban resigned, but he’s best known for what he did during his second stay in Buffalo,  building the offensive line that helped OJ Simpson to a Hall-of-Fame career.  The line came to be called “The Electric Company” (because “they turned on The Juice”).

He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1981.


american flagFRIDAY,  APRIL 5,  2019   “We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise.  We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.”  C. S. Lewis

*********** I’d rather not say "I told you so."  But I told you so:  Anybody who thinks another  professional football league  has a chance of succeeding is nuts.

For one thing, Americans won’t settle for less than the very best.  No minor leagues for them. Check it out - basketball, hockey, baseball, soccer (yeah, yeah, “Major League Soccer”) - minor league pro sports just won’t cut it. 

And for another, there's simply no room for any competition with the NFL at the Big Time level.  Not since the USFL went down.  As a business, the NFL is formidable. It is a Mighty Fortress.

I was involved in the startup of a competitor, the World Football League, in 1974.  In less than a year I was out of work. I was also involved in its re-start in 1975. (That was when I still believed in the Easter Bunny.)  And that  second time, within six months I was out of work.

Talk about dashed hopes.  Talk about re-setting your goals.   But I’m not going to say it was all bad.  The experience was incredible, and by 1975, when the WFL folded for a second time, I was in Portland - just where I’d hoped to be.

With kids getting to be high school age, we had begun to look at places with college in mind.  We were living in Maryland in 1974, and other than the University of Maryland, there weren’t any state colleges that impressed us.

For any number of reasons, including its strong public universities, the West Coast had begun to appeal to us.

When I was offered an opportunity in 1975 to give the WFL a second shot, it was as part of a package deal with a guy named Bob Brodhead.  Bob had been assistant GM of the Browns, he had worked with a Phoenix advertising magnate on an NFL franchise proposal, and he had served briefly as GM of the Oilers.  He was a hot commodity, in demand by groups in Jacksonville, San Antonio and Portland.  I’d been to all three places in 1974, and Portland had impressed me the most. I told Bob that if we had to go down in flames, if I had to be out of work again, I’d prefer that it be in Portland.

That’s the way it worked out for us.  My wife got a teaching job, our kids wound up in good public schools (Vancouver, Washington) and after a real push to get my teaching certification, I was teaching and coaching high school football by the following fall (1976).

*********** The demise of the AAF is very sad.  Part of what makes it so sad is that their love of football drove guys to believe, irrationally, that there’s a Tooth Fairy and an Easter Bunny - a Mister Big who’s going to write checks to keep things going.  I’ve been through the sad experience twice, and I confess to being guilty of the same thinking.  (Just think - all that money they’re going to be paying LeVeon Bell could have been used instead to keep the dream alive for several hundred AAF players and coaches. Me, I’d rather watch the AAF - and to hell with LeVeon Bell.)

But that’s not the real world.

The real world is run by cold, cruel people who didn’t get rich by having compassion for young guys still clinging to the hope that this time, they might actually make it to the NFL.  No, they got rich by preying on society’s most vulnerable, by making near-usurious (“subprime”) car loans to people with shaky credit, people who know that if they don’t keep up the car payments their rides will be re-po’ed.  (Check out the background of this Tom Dundon guy, who not so long ago was portrayed as the Saviour of the AAF):(From Wikipedia)

On February 19, 2019, the Alliance of American Football announced a $250 million investment by Dundon and named him the new chairman of the league.[5][6] The cash infusion is believed to have saved the league from a short-term financial crisis, as Dundon acknowledged that the AAF did not have enough "money in the bank" to make payroll before he purchased a stake in the league,[7] despite AAF assertions that the payroll issue "was due to a glitch in moving to a new payroll system."[8]

On February 25, 2019, Dundon clarified his previous statements, stating that he had not invested $250 million in the AAF but had set up a line of credit of sorts for up to $250 million, which would only be fully expended if the league pursued an aggressive expansion strategy (earlier reports stated Dundon was specifically interested in an AAF team for Raleigh, North Carolina).[9] Reports at the same time noted that Dundon reserved the right to end his investment at any time.[10][11] Dundon's first publicly visible move as AAF chairman was to move the AAF's championship to the Ford Center at the Star in Frisco, Texas, after meeting with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and negotiating the change in venue. The game had already been scheduled for Sam Boyd Stadium in Nevada, and ticket refunds had to be issued for those who already bought tickets for the game.[12] Dundon according to a press release sees the AAF becoming a "complementary developmental league for the NFL".[13] He later expressed willingness to shut the league down if the National Football League Players Association did not cooperate with his proposal, which the NFLPA was reluctant to do because of injury concerns.[14] Dundon stated on April 2, confirming an earlier report from Profootballtalk.com, that he was willing to pull his funding from the league before Week 9's games are played that weekend.[15] As of that date, his estimated investment had come to $70 million, almost all of which went to payroll, while vendors largely went unpaid.[16]


Who’s more vulnerable than young guys who’ve put their lives on hold - in some cases walking away from jobs - on the chance that they might make it to the big time? 

The saddest thing to me is that people who’ve never strapped it on make life-or-death decisions that come down hardest on gullible young guys who still believe in the lessons of football -  that by working together as a team they can overcome any obstacle.

Convinced that they really had a fighting chance, they worked hard and they worked together and they forged brotherhoods, and now - poof! - everything’s gone. The teams they worked to build, the teams they believed in, have all vanished - just like that - and now it’s as if the AAF itself never existed.

And now I don't know what the hell I'm going to watch this weekend.

*********** This was the supposed saviour of the AAF…

https://deadspin.com/the-hurricanes-new-owner-got-rich-off-subprime-loans-1822129399

*********** It was late 1974, and we were sitting in the lobby of our hotel in Birmingham, killing time until our game that night. We were the Philadelphia Bell and our opponent was the Birmingham Americans, in the next-to-last game of the World Football League’s regular season.

We’d gone through a lot just to get to this point, with week after week of crisis, rumor after rumor of our league’s imminent folding usually followed by rumor after rumor of one potential saviour after another coming to the rescue.

This being a time when our nation’s economy was beset with gasoline shortages and the fear that we might never escape the grip of OPEC, the latest rumor was the possible infusion of “Arab Oil Money.” It surfaced the day we left, so just before leaving for Birmingham, our PR guy, Carl Cherkin, and I decided to go for a cheap laugh and dress as Arab shieks.  We went out to a costume store and bought Groucho Marx-type glasses-with-a-big-nose, then  large silk kerchiefs,  and black headbands. We waited to “dress” until the flight was boarding, then put on the glasses, put the kerchiefs on our heads, and then held them on with the headbands. For maximum effect, we got on the plane last. Most of the people on the plane thought it was hilarious.  Our head coach, Ron Waller, didn’t think it was at all funny, but then he wasn’t known for his sense of humor.  And besides, it was late in the day and he was always drunk by then.

We had our laugh, though, and that night, after checking into our hotel, we went out on the town and had a great time at a night club owned by a former Bear Bryant assistant named Pat James.

The next morning, as we sat in the hotel lobby, the talk was of the Arab oil money. 

As we talked, a running back named Frank McGuigan, sat to the left of me reading the morning paper intently. Apparently finished his reading, he put the paper down on the coffee table and, asked, of no one in particular, “Is this league unstable?”

*********** Every time I read about some overpaid creep like this guy I almost want to cry to think that he’s got a job in the NFL while several hundred guys who only last weekend were playing in the AAF are out of work.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/bengals/2019/04/04/cincinnati-bengals-mark-walton-arrested-taser/3364582002/


*********** “What makes citizens obey the law is not always their sterling character. Instead, fear of punishment -- the shame of arrest, fines or imprisonment -- more often makes us comply with laws. Law enforcement is not just a way to deal with individual violators but also a way to remind society at large that there can be no civilization without legality.”  David Gelertner, Professor, Yale University (What the hell is a guy with that kind of common sense doing at Yale?  Do the students know there’s a guy like this on the faculty?  Does he ever leave his house?  Who does he socialize with?)

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

Just for kicks.

Dad’s All-Italian team…

QB's - Angelo Bertelli, Babe Parilli, Joe Montana, Dan Marino
RB's - Joe Bellino, Alan Ameche, Nick Pietrosante, Franco Harris,
Ends- Dante Lavelli, Mark Bavaro, Gino Cappelletti
O Line - Bruno Banducci, Frank Varrichione, Tony Liscio, Bob DeMarco, Sam DeLuca, Tom
              DeLeone, Jimbo Covert, Tony Boselli,
Kicker - Adam Vinatieri

D Line - Gino Marchetti, Leo Nomellini, Andy Robustelli, George Musso, Al DeRogatis, Tony
              Siragusa
LBers - Nick Buoniconti, Doug Buffone, Ted Hendricks, Phil Villapiano, Tedy Bruschi, Mike Lucci
DB's - Tommy Casanova, Bob Petrella, Mike D'Amato

Coach - Vince Lombardi
Assistants - Bill Parcells, Sam Rutigliano, Ray Malavasi, Ted Marchibroda


Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Bellissimo!

I love it.

Couple additions:

Joe Marconi… Bob Pellegrini… Gene Brito…  Tony Canadeo… Ralph Guglielmi… Ed Marinaro… Vince Promuto…  Charley Trippi…  Mike Siani…



*********** Stewart Mandel writes in The Athletic that Washington head coach Chris Peterson has always been forward-thinking…

As Boise State’s offensive coordinator in the early 2000s, Petersen was way out in front of where college football was headed. I remember interviewing him for a story circa 2004 or ’05 when he predicted something to the effect of, “In five years, I wouldn’t be surprised if a quarterback taking a snap from under center is considered unusual.”

*********** An interesting article sent me by Greg Koenig… Where were today’s FBS head coaches at this point  10 years ago?

http://footballscoop.com/news/where-were-they-then-2019-edition/?fbclid=IwAR29s7dKv7AQ_3JCS8dcLpRO7n1GoYxkwgAi6U5DCR4foPmcbKvSnmAdvFI

*********** Things must be pretty bad at North Carolina if they can get away with phony courses for low-IQ football players and men’s basketball players and not even bat an eye about it but then place women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell and her staff on “paid administrative leave” while an outside law firm “assesses the culture of the women’s basketball program.”

Sounds to me as though the mass transfer business that’s begun to hammer college football has hit women’s basketball. Big time.

According to an article in the Raleigh News and Observer, there seems to be an epidemic of player grievances - and the resulting transfers.

Six players have transferred from North Carolina’s program in the last five years and there are currently four more in the NCAA transfer portal, according to a person with access to the system but not authorized to discuss it publicly.

Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma told reporters this week that coaches have become afraid of upsetting players in fear that they will transfer.

“The NCAA, the athletic directors and society has made them afraid of their players,” he said, according to ESPN. “Every article you read: ‘This guy’s a bully. This woman’s a bully. This guy went over the line. This woman was inappropriate.’

“Yet the players get off Scot-free in everything.”

Athletes transfer for various reasons, including lack of playing time, to play for a more successful program, their coach leaves or is fired, to pursue a graduate degree at a different school, etc. But four players in one year is considered to be fairly high, especially from a young team that appeared to be turning a corner.

Well, at least they’re not threatening to leave early for the big money of the WNBA.

https://www.newsobserver.com/sports/article228787814.html#storylink=cpy

*********** Mike Foristiere is now a full year in as head coach at Topeka, Kansas Highland Park High School.   It hasn’t been easy, but Mike knew what he was in for when he took the job - Highland Park hasn’t won a game since 2014, and has won only once since 2011.  That’s 1-62 over the last seven seasons.  But Mike doesn’t discourage easily, as he wrote recently…

Hugh, here is something I thought I would share with you. We coaches at the high school got together and decided that we would have “Tie Tuesday” for guys because of the importance of looking sharp and behaving in an honorable way. So every male teacher today wore shirts and ties, ( even I who have strength and  conditioning classes). Of course throughout the morning students asked why we were dressed this way and I just responded with “it’s Tie Tuesday.” We had numerous ties donated and so at lunch in the hallway there were at least 12 coaches, SRO's etc etc out in the hallway and the guys would come and choose a tie, and then we as in coaches would proceed to teach them how to tie a tie. I can't tell you how many kids we worked with. It was a great success and we may do it every Tuesday for the rest of the school year. Amazing, but as you know these kids don't have a father or father figure in their life to teach them something that all boys should be taught - something as simple as tying a tie. Once again, small steps in changing the culture here.    Hope all is going well. Mike

*********** It’s hard for me to describe how disappointed I am with Lynn Swann, who presides over the athletic department at a university where seemingly everything is for sale - and has the gall to  charge $220 to sign an autograph.

https://larrybrownsports.com/college-basketball/usc-ad-lynn-swann-charging-220-for-autographs-amid-school-crises/490033

*********** I have, I’m sure, been criticized for “stepping in” - for correcting something that I see that’s wrong.  I plead guilty. On my behalf I’d like to introduce Coach Eddie Robinson, and ask him to say a word or two on the subject.

A while back, my friend Kevin Latham sent me a book entitled, “My Friend, Eddie Robinson.”  It’s by Buck Godfrey, who coached for 30 years at Atlanta’s Southwest DeKalb High, where Kevin was one of his many players over the years.  Coach Godfrey writes about visiting Grambling during spring ball, some time in the 1980s.  He wasn’t unknown to the Grambling people - he had already sent some good players to Grambling - and during his week in Louisiana, he was given amazing access to the Grambling team and assistants, but even more important, to Coach Rob himself.  To the man and his thinking.

Coach Godfrey got him to talking about his well-known refusal to just be a CEO-type coach - to be content to “manage assistants” - insisting instead on “coaching the whole team,” and making sure nothing escaped his notice:

“I honestly feel that if I don’t work like I do I’ll be cheating the boys, cheating Grambling. Hell, I know some of my guys get ticked off when I interfere with what they doing, but man, when those lights go on Saturday night we got to be ready.  If something bad happened in the game that I could’ve corrected during the week I could never forgive myself.  I have to do what’s best for Grambling and don’t worry about somebody’s feelings.”

You see, once you begin to worry about hurting someone’s feelings by correcting something they’ve said or done, you’ve begun to put something ahead of your kids’ success - and you’re on your way to becoming a failure as a coach.

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

Sad news about Joe Bellino.  Never had the opportunity to watch him play, but my dad would tell me all about him.  Dad always said Bellino was one of his starters on his "All-Italian" team.  He once showed me his list...some pretty great names on it to be sure! (SEE ABOVE)

From the sound of it Dave Potter and Olu Williams ended up much better off NOT being a part of that guy's staff.  Blessings can come in different ways.

Mike Justice called it.  In so many words I've always said football is not rocket science, but so many coaches today seem to want to make it look that way.

Hmmm.  Where was USC in that Pac 12 stat?  Also, did you notice that CA powerhouse De La Salle (who has beaten LB Poly) wasn't number one?  Maybe not even number two??

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


***********   QUIZ ANSWER: A native of Newark, New Jersey, Al “Bubba” Baker played at Colorado State and was the second-round choice of the Detroit Lions in the 1978 NFL draft.

He was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year as a defensive tackle, credited with an amazing 23 sacks including five in one game against Tampa Bay. (Sacks were not counted officially until 1982.)

During his five seasons with the Lions, he totaled (unofficially, of course) 75.5 sacks.

After Detroit, he played four seasons with the Cardinals (St. Louis),  and three with the Browns, with a year with the Vikings sandwiched in there.

In all, he played in three Pro Bowls.

In 2004, Bubba Baker was picked as the 9th Greatest Pass Rusher in NFL History by Sports Illustrated.

Those who watch Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives know that he owns a successful restaurant in suburban Cleveland called Bubba's Q World-famous Bar-B-Que & Catering.  He and his daughter patented a process to  remove the bones from a slab of ribs, so people can eat their ribs (“Bubbas's Boneless Ribs”) with a knife and fork.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING AL “BUBBA” BAKER:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA, AUSTIN, TEXAS
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY (He is one of my all time favorite browns.  I wish that we had him in Cleveland for his entire career.  He chose to stay in Cleveland after his career was over and start his boneless rib business.  I can say that I like his ribs.  I have a friend in Cleveland that sends me some of his ribs on special occasions ( Christmas and my birthday).  We  now have them here in Owensboro at Kroger's.  Al has gone national since he was on the Shark Tank show.  I am really happy for him.
PETE PORCELLI -WATERVLIET, NEW YORK

*********** Thanks to Greg Koenig…

http://bubbasqdining.com/about-us/bubbas-q-story/

********** WHY I DON’T REFER TO THIS FEATURE AS “TRIVIA” AND I WISH YOU WOULDN’T, EITHER.

It’s my belief that the word "Trivia" in association with the sort of people I've featured here does them a disservice.   Since it’s my hope that this feature might interest readers in the rich history of our game, it seems to me that "trivia", a word associated with normally useless but occasionally interesting facts, undercuts my intentions.  I definitely  don’t consider the people I write about, or their contributions to our game,  to be trivial. 

*********** QUIZ: THIS IS A TOUGH ONE.  A SAD ONE, TOO.  THIS GUY REALLY COULD BE IN THE HALL OF FAME. 

He grew up in Los Angeles, the son of a professional boxer. Straight out of high school, he joined the Army and fought as a paratrooper in the Philippines in World War II.

After returning to civilian life, he attended Loyola of Los Angeles (now Loyola-Marymount), which was then a football power.  Loyola’s 1950 team, coached by Jordan Olivar (who would later become had coach at Yale) went 8-1, its only loss coming by two points to Santa Clara.  Notable among its victories was a 40-28 come-from-behind win over San Francisco, which a year later would gain fame as one of the greatest college football teams of all time: “Undefeated, Untied, and Uninvited.”

He lettered in four sports at Loyola, and was chosen in the 17th round of the 1951 draft by the Washington Redskins.  He made the team as an offensive end (in those days, ALL ends were tight ends) and caught 45 passes his first two seasons.  But by his third season, he had switched to defensive end, and he was on his way to pro football greatness.  But despite being named to the Pro Bowl in 1953, he was  unappreciated by the Redskins, and after leaving the team following a contract dispute he played the 1954 season with Calgary of the CFL.

He returned to the Skins in 1955, and resumed his all-star ways, making All-Pro defensive end in 1955, 1956 and 1958, and being named to the Pro Bowl four straight years.

In his seven seasons with the Redskins, he was a marvel of durability, never missing a game.   He was the favorite Redskin of both John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon.

Before his last game as a Redskin in 1958,  a day was held in his honor,  and then-Vice President Nixon presented him with the keys to a new car.

In 2002, in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Redskins, he was named one of the 70 Greatest Redskins.

In 1989 he was named to the National  Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame.

Traded to his hometown Rams in 1959, he played through the 1960 season, but in pre-season 1961 he was diagnosed with ALS, and he died in June, 1965.  He was 39.




american flagTUESDAY,  APRIL 2,  2019   “If you are not prepared to use force to defend civilization, then be prepared to accept barbarism.” Thomas Sowell

*********** Coach,

Sorry it's been a while since I've been in touch. You may have heard about this already, but Joe Bellino, the 1960 Heisman Trophy winner, passed away yesterday.

https://www.capitalgazette.com/sports/navy_sports/ac-cs-joe-bellino-death-0330-story.html

He played his high school ball up here, in Winchester. I think one of my middle school physical education teachers played with him in high school. I talked with Joe once about 20 years ago when I was writing about one of his brothers being inducted into Winchester High's hall of fame. Joe, of course, was the first inductee in that hall. He was kind of quiet, but a decent guy.

I've heard Bill Belichik say Bellino was his first football hero.

https://247sports.com/nfl/new-england-patriots/Bolt/New-England-Patriots-head-coach-Bill-Belichick-draws-up-a-Joe-Bellino-play-from-1959-49706349/

For some reason, I haven't seen anything about Bellino's passing on the Naval Academy's athletic web site yet.

Hope you're well and I hope next time I'll be able to drop you a line under happier circumstances.

Stephen Tobey
Malden, Massachusetts

Steve,

Thank you for thinking of me.


This is so sad.  I admired him, too, and I remember him as one of the most exciting runners I’ve ever seen.  With it all, whenever he was interviewed, he was modest and self-deferential.

It’s great to hear how fondly he’s remembered by people who knew him from his first days at the Academy.

Generations of football fans who’ve grown up on nothing but NFL would never believe how big he - and Navy - were then.

Bill Belichick knows.  And he chose his heroes well.

RIP.

Thanks again!


*********** JOE BELLINO BEFORE THE ARMY-NAVY GAME…

https://www.si.com/vault/1960/11/28/585878/army-navy-and-joe-bellino

*********** In my many years of doing clinics in North Carolina, I’ve done them at six different locations, and Dave Potter has been responsible for setting up the facilities at three of them.  I’ve known Dave for more than ten years, and I’ve had ample opportunity to see how good a coach he is.  He’s been a head coach at the youth, middle school and high school level - both varsity and JV.  He knows his football, he is super organized, and he is great with kids. And parents.

At East Wake HS, which has had one winning season in the last ten, he and his assistant, Olu Williams, coached the JV team to an 8-2 record in 2017.  The varsity struggled, finishing 3-8, and it might have been worse except that the head coach finally saw the light and installed Dave’s double wing - and won two of the last three games.

And then, after just one season at East Wake, the head coach left abruptly for another job.  In my judgment, Dave was qualified to step up and become the head coach, but the school chose instead to go with the existing defensive coordinator.

At my recent clinic, coaches Potter and Williams had just been informed that they were being retained by the new head coach, and they had many of their JVs on hand to serve as demonstrators.  The coaches in attendance were impressed by how coachable the kids they were, and you and I all know that the coaching had plenty to do with it.

And then, a week or so after the clinic,  Coaches Potter and Williams were informed that this year the new head coach was not going to have a separate JV program - he was going to combine the two squads for practice - and therefore he no longer needed their services.  Prick.

Hmmm.   This new guy  intends to run the spread.   Meanwhile, the JVs went 8-2 running the Double Wing.

You don’t suppose he saw those JV coaches - and the fact that their kids were successful running that old school offense - as a threat, do you?

Funny how it’s “all about the kids” until it’s not.  Until it’s all about “the program.”

This guy did have an impressive record as a head middle school coach (88-12), but he did sound, from a newspaper interview, as if he might possibly have let that go to his head.

“Last year was the first losing season I have ever been a part of,” he said. "The circumstances were against us from the start, and there’s no blame to place on anyone.  I still don’t know if I can stand another one like that.”

Well fella, permit me to give you some advice about coachin' high school - you didn’t exactly step into DeLaSalle, and you got a lot of work to do.  And guess what?  Those guys on the other sidelines are  just as smart as you are, and sometimes they have better athletes than you do. So you can work your ass off and even as smart as you are,  and as good as that damn record of yours is, you could still very well have “another one like that.” 

And when you do, that noise you hear in the distance will be me, out in Washington.  Chucklin.’

So anyhow, a post-season report.

The coach now has been a part of TWO losing seasons. They went 4-7, averaging 15.6 points per game running the coach’s spread.  In short, “Another one like that!”

One of the wins was against a team from a lower classification.  The three other wins were against teams that went 0-11, 1-10, and 1-9. 

The JVs ? They went 3-4.

*********** The AAF was guilty of an unpardonable sin Saturday, when they turned a black-and-white penalty - too much time by the offense - into a judgment call, and cost Memphis the ball game.

It was late in the fourth quarter and Memphis, although winning, had just bobbled a punt and given Orlando good field position. But as the Orlando offense stood at the line, the play clock ran down to zero. And after it stayed at zero for  second or so, Orlando snapped the ball and ran an option that took them down inside the Memphis five.

Memphis coach Mike Singletary went nuts, and when he raced out onto the field to protest, he was hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.  And so, too, was one of his assistants.

Orlando scored and won the game.

Shouldn’t this have been the simplest call in the world? The clock got to zero and a buzzer - or a siren - should have gone off.  How in the world could that play have been allowed to go - and how in the world could there not be a means of redress?

*********** Johnny Manziel didn’t last a quarter before he got knocked silly trying to make a rolling tackle after an interception. I'm not that happy about it.  I want to see if the guy can play.

*********** In 35 years of coaching, a Mississippi high school coach named Mike Justice posted a record of 297-98 — 75 percent wins — at Calhoun City, Louisville, Madison Central,  and Gulfport, Mississippi and Oxford, Alabama.

So when I came across an interview with him a few years back, I read on…

He sounded like one of us when he got talking about modern-day offenses…

In today’s world of spread offenses, coaches say they need to keep attacking, stay in rhythm, do what they do best.

“Yeah, well, I say you need to try to win the game,” Justice said. “It’s almost unpopular now to win 10-7. That can get a coach fired. But now win 43-40, and, man, we’re rolling.

He derides the “three ring circus” that he sees between plays…

Offensive coaches are furiously signaling plays to the quarterback. Others are holding up large posters with various pictures on them.

All that just to call a play.

“But here’s what really gets me,” Justice said. “You’re paying a coach $4 million a year, he feels like he needs to look smarter than the other guy. So he lets the offense go out there, act like they’re going to run a play, and then all of a sudden all 11 players look over at the coach to get the play.

“I guess he wants his fan base to think he’s spotted a weakness on the defense and has the perfect play for it. That is the biggest load of —

”Sometimes it seems they just draw plays out of a hat. They'll have one that works, but they don't run it again. That other team always had to show me they could stop a play before I got away from it."

Justice, who is playing a lot of golf and enjoying retirement in Madison, laughed and told of a phone call he received from a coach one week.

“We had played South Panola and they’d beat us,” he said. “This coach was going to play them the next week. He said, ‘Coach, I’ve got some plays where I’m going to use some motion before the snap. I really think it might confuse them.’ I said, ‘OK, well, good luck.’

“South Panola beat ’em 50-0. I got the film of that game later on that year, and the coach did use motion. Went right by South Panola’s defensive ends, who didn’t even pay it any attention. At the snap, they came off the ball and crushed the quarterback.

“You can’t trick people for four quarters. It comes down to blocking and tackling. Always has, always will.”

I loved his idea of what he wanted the other team to be "adjusting to"  at halftime…

But at the core of Justice’s philosophy was this: “Our kids loved tough, tight games because they believed that we would outlast the other team. The tougher it got, the more our players believed we had them right where we wanted them. And that’s because we practiced that way. Our players will tell you that Tuesday practices were a lot harder than the games on Friday night.

“People talk about halftime adjustments. When the other team went in at halftime, my intention was for them to adjust to a butt whipping. Now, draw that up on the board. They weren’t talking about what plays they were going to run in the second half. They were trying to get their players up to go back out there.”

https://www.clarionledger.com/story/magnolia/2017/10/12/football-coaches-nfl-high-school-dumbest-mike-justice/756857001/

*********** The Washington state legislature just passed a bill raising the legal smoking age - tobacco and vaping - to 21.

(This same group of fools thinks that 16-year-olds should vote.)

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

Two things to share with you. This week Shandy and I took a 20th anniversary trip. We went to Cuba for a week. Very easy for this American to do, as I am traveling through Canada. While there, I meet a black Englishman who was the head coach of the London Hornets. We talked football for hours. He was familiar with both the Finnish league and the Irish league. We ended up drawing up plays on cocktail napkins while our wives swam in the pool. Great guy who said (and I am not making this up) “Too many offensive coaches try and do what they see in the NFL. Passing is hard especially for grown men who have never played before.” He was intrigued with the Open Wing. For the rest of the trip there was no need for first names, just “coach”. This is a great fraternity we belong to.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

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

Hope you're feeling a little better!  I didn't have the fever, but I had that same persistent cough that took about three weeks to finally go away.  Like you after all was said and done I felt like I had gone through three weeks of abdominal circuit training!

Maryland will bolt the Big 10 to get back into the ACC, and Notre Dame will take its place in the Big 10.  April Fool's to you!

Speaking of Notre Dame...their men's hockey team won the Big 10 championship and plays Clarkson in the first round of the NCAA tournament, and the women's basketball team is making another NCAA title run.  GO IRISH!

Still on college hockey...four of the schools in the NCAA tournament are from the Boston area (and none of them are Boston College or Boston University).  Three of the top 4 seeds in the tournament are from Minnesota (and none of them are Golden Gophers).  One of the schools in the tournament is located in a region better known for sun and heat than ice or snow.

The way things are going in this country we may need to replace E Pluribus Unum with Molon Labe!

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** “Blazing Saddles” - imagine If that movie came out today! LMAO

Pete Porcelli
Watervliet, New York

*********** You might have some fun with this - Leaked Wonderlic scores!  Although it’s supposedly designed to tell us something about an NFL prospect’s intelligence, you have to wonder about the worth of the vaunted Wonderlic test when you see how poorly some awfully good players scored on the test.

https://wonderlictestsample.com/nfl-wonderlic-scores/

***********  Interesting Pac-12 Stats…

1. The Top player-producing high schools in each PAC-12 state -

California— Long Beach Poly HS, Long Beach (58)
Arizona— South Mountain HS, Phoenix (12)
Oregon— Jefferson HS, Portland (11)
Washington— Gonzaga Prep, Spokane (11)
Colorado— South HS, Denver (9)
Utah— James Logan HS, Logan (8)

2. The Top-Rated NFL Player Born in Each Pac-12 State

Arizona - Randall McDaniel
California  -Tom Brady
Colorado - Calais Campbell
Oregon - Ndamukong Suh
Utah - Steve Young
Washington - John Elway (Born and raised in Washington, Elway moved to California during high school when his dad get the head coaching job at Cal State Fullerton)


*********** Pedestrian deaths are up 35% since 2008, and it’s being blamed on everything from distracted driving to an increase in heavier, “deadlier” SUVs and crossovers.

I hear all sorts of proposals aimed at making drivers more aware of pedestrians, but no one in charge seems to have noticed the number of people who walk out into busy traffic without ever looking up from their f—king phones.



*********** QUIZ ANSWER -  Rocky Bleier was drafted twice in the same year.  In the spring of 1968, after captaining his Notre Dame team, he was taken in the 16th round of the NFL draft, by the Pittsburgh Steelers.  And in December 1968, shortly after his rookie season had ended, he was drafted by the United States Army.  And sent to Vietnam.

Less than a year later, he lay in a Tokyo hospital bed, recovering from a bullet wound in his left leg and shrapnel from an enemy grenade in his right.

Doctors there told him there was no way he would ever play football again.

And in the midst of his despair over the turn his life had taken, he received a postcard. It read, “Rocky, The team’s not doing well.  We need you.” It was signed, Art Rooney.

That did it. “When you have somebody take the time and interest to send you a postcard, something that they didn't have to do, you have a special place for those kinds of people,” he said.  He made up his mind he was going to make it back to pro football.

In the fall of 1970, a year after being wounded, he reported to Steelers’ training camp. But he weighed 180 pounds, 30 pounds under his playing weight.

He spent most of two seasons on what we’d now call the practice squad.

He finally made it onto the roster in 1971, but only for six games, and only on special teams.

In 1972 he got into every game, but mostly on special teams. He carried the ball once.  And he fumbled.

In 1973 he got into all but one game, and he carried the ball three times - for zero yards. And he fumbled twice.

He thought about quitting football but was dissuaded by a teammate, and  in 1974 he had a breakthrough year.  He carried the ball 88 times for 373 yards and two touchdowns.  And only two fumbles.

The Steelers made it to the Super Bowl, and he carried 17 times for 65 yards against the Vikings.

And he got some recognition from a June, 1975 article in Sports Illustrated.

In 1975, at the age of 29, he finally got a start. He helped lead the Steelers to a second straight Super Bowl, and he rushed for 51 yards in their win over the Cowboys.

His best year was 1976, at the age of 30. Although he didn’t start a single game, he rushed for 1036 yards and five TDs.  He and teammate Franco Harris became only the second pair of teammates in NFL history to rush for 1000 yards each.

He played in his fourth Super Bowl - and fourth Super Bowl victory - after the 1979 season. During that season,  he set a career high in  receptions  with 31, and  he had enough left in the tank to pull off the  longest touchdown run of his career, a 70-yarder.

When he retired after the 1980 season, at the age of 34. he was the Steelers’ number four all-time rusher, with 3865 rushing yards.  In his 11 NFL seasons, he scored  30 touchdowns - four were in the playoffs and one was in a Super Bowl.

He played in 14 postseason games and  the Steelers won 13 of them.

Rocky Bleier was raised in Appleton, Wisconsin, where his father owned a tavern.  As a high schooler, he was a three-sport star and a two-way all-state football player.  The field at his high school has been named in his honor.

Explaining what drove him, he said, “Some time in the future you won't have to ask yourself 'what if'? I didn't lose a leg. I didn't lose a foot. I was going to come back and play. That was my desire. I wasn't going to go back and run my daddy's bar.”

"What if?"  What if Mr. Rooney hadn't sent that postcard?

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING ROCKY BLEIER:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
TOM HINGER - WINTER HAVEN, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
PETE PORCELLI -WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
JOE GUTILLA, AUSTIN, TEXAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOHN IRION - GRANVILLE, NEW YORK
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY (Hugh, Another easy one for me. The answer is Rocky Bleier of the hated steelers!  I saw him play my browns many times. I always had great respect for him and his service in Vietnam.  How many of today's NFL stars could handle all that he had to  overcome from his war wounds and play professional football?)
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA (Easy one for a Cheesehead...Rocky Bleier...Terry Bradshaw spoke at one of our local athletic events AT A grade school & Jr. Hi at a small community outside the Quad Cities & had the entire room ROTFL telling a story about Bleier (a smoker) continually carrying the balln an important series & just dying!)



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

Rocky Bleier was a very important player for the Steelers. What a great story.

Greg Koenig
Cimarron, Kansas

https://247sports.com/nfl/pittsburgh-steelers/Bolt/Steelers-great-Rocky-Bleier-is-a-true-American-hero-46085013/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOVXrspZ49I


********** WHY I DON’T REFER TO THIS FEATURE AS “TRIVIA” AND I WISH YOU WOULDN’T, EITHER.

It’s my belief that the word "Trivia" in association with the sort of people I've featured here does them a disservice.   Since it’s my hope that this feature might interest coaches in the rich history of our game, it seems to me that "trivia", a word associated with normally useless but occasionally interesting facts, undercuts my intentions.  I definitely  don’t consider the people I write about, or their contributions to our game,  to be trivial. 


*********** QUIZ: A native of Newark, New Jersey, he played at Colorado State and was the second-round choice of the Detroit Lions in the 1978 NFL draft.

He was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year as a defensive tackle, created with an amazing 23 sacks including five in one game against Tampa Bay. (Sacks were not counted officially until 1982.)

During his five seasons with the Lions, he totaled (unofficially, of course) 75.5 sacks.

After Detroit, he played four seasons with the Cardinals (St. Louis),  and three with the Browns, with a year with the Vikings sandwiched in there.

In all, he played in three Pro Bowls.

In 2004, he was picked as the 9th Greatest Pass Rusher in NFL History by Sports Illustrated.

If you  watch Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives  you probably know that he owns a successful restaurant in suburban Cleveland called Bubba's Q World-famous Bar-B-Que & Catering.  He and his daughter patented a process to  remove the bones from a slab of ribs, so people can eat their ribs (“Bubba's Boneless Ribs”) with a knife and fork.



american flagFRIDAY,  MARCH 29,  2019   “Better to be down here wishing you were up there than to be up there wishing you were down here.” Old aviators’ adage

*********** The young Finnish guys I coached used to share with me an old Finnish saying about a time-trusted cure for what ails you: “If tar, sauna and koskenkorva can’t cure you… you’re dead.”

Tar - pine tar - was used in place of soap,  for cleaning.  Sauna, the age-old Finnish steam bath ritual, is attributed with all manner of curative properties.  And koskenkorva, the national drink (a Finnish vodka) can at least make you forget how bad you feel.

I’ve been sick since Sunday, and  I tried the cure.  Well, actually, I passed on the pine tar.  Anyhow, I ain’t dead.  But they haven’t cured me, either.

I’ve had a fever and I’ve been coughing so hard and so much that my chest and my abdominal muscles are sore as hell.

I’m weak and my energy’s way down and I haven’t been doing a lot of my usual walking, which seems to befuddle my dog.

But I have lost seven pounds since Sunday, so maybe I’ve hit on a great weight-loss scheme. 

*********** 50 years ago - Thursday, March 28, 1969, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, former President of the United States, died.  With him were his son, his grandson, and Dr. Billy Graham.

I remember his services very clearly.

As much as any man I’ve known in my lifetime, I admired President Eisenhower. The General.  (True to his West Point training and his long Army career, after he left the White House,  he preferred to be addressed as “General,” rather than “Mr. President”)

Several years ago, after leaving a camp in Beloit, Kansas, my wife and I visited the Eisenhower Presidential library and his boyhood home in Abilene, the small city in central Kansas where he grew up, one of six sons of a lower-middle class family. (A seventh son died in infancy.)

It’s awesome to see the modest home in which those boys were raised and realize what wonderful parents the Eisenhowers were in giving their boys a foundation that would enable them to take advantage of the opportunities America offered.

Remarkably, every single one of the Eisenhower boys became successful. There was a pharmacist, a banker, a lawyer, an engineer, and a university president (Kansas State, Penn State, Johns Hopkins).

And one who made his way to West Point, and to command of the allied invasion of Europe, and ultimately to the leadership of the free world.


*********** COLLEGE SPORTS BUSINESS EXCLUSIVE: Anticipating  the possible National Labor Relations Board approval of the right of college football players to unionize, at least 50 Power Five schools are expected to announce that they will be divesting themselves of their football programs, which will then operate independently as  Subchapter 501 (b) 1 (non-profit) corporations.

Through the Association of American Universities, the colleges have already agreed on terms that will permit the teams to continue bearing the names of  the colleges from which they broke away, as well as  the mascots which the public associates with them, while operating as independent entities.

For example, the Alabama team will still be known as the "Alabama Crimson Tide," although there will no longer be any references to the University of Alabama itself except as it pertains to the team's history.

The colleges have also agreed to permit teams to use all facilities as before, with terms to be negotiated, and the teams have agreed to give continued seating preference to current ticketholders and alumni. College students would be offered tickets at current reduced prices. 

All college presidents were in agreement that while players for the teams, as with any non-student, would not be permitted on campus,   all players for "their" teams would be invited to apply for admission, as well as to qualify for in-state tuition.

The NCAA would continue to administer all other college sports, but without the revenues from football, colleges would almost certainly have to cut back on scholarships and other expenses in connection with non-revenue sports.

By handing off their football programs, the colleges immediately escape the mounting pressure to pay their athletes, especially those in football and men’s basketball.

In addition, by eliminating 85 football scholarships, they relieve themselves of the need to provide as many as 85 offsetting scholarships a year for women, many of them in such made-for-Title IX sports as equestrian, bowling and rowing.

Said one university president who preferred to remain anonymous, "You have no idea what a relief it is to get out from under Title IX requirements, and the need to fly softball teams and volleyball teams all over the country to games that nobody watches.”

The football teams, operating under the tentative brand of College Level Football (CLF), plan to adopt the MLS model in which the teams will be owned by the CLF (although operated separately), with payroll limits, shared expenses and shared profits.  The public will be able to purchase stock.

Said one current conference commissioner, "The beauty is that unlike the previous college football model that we had been working with, each conference negotiating on its own, we're going to be able to sit down with TV networks as one unified force, the way the NFL does."

In addition, there would be one commissioner whose office would oversee rules and adjudicate disputes.

Players will be paid, but figures were no available. It was suggested that possibly the cost of tuition, room and board that they had been receiving as “student-athletes” might be used as a benchmark figure.

Players will sign three-year contracts initially, although either party can buy their way out after one year.  After three years, players' contracts will be renewable annually on a year-to-year basis. When released by a team, a player would first have to clear CLF waivers before becoming a free agent.

When a CLF player is offered an NFL contract, the CLF will release him from his CLF contract, in return for 10 per cent of any signing bonus and 10 per cent of the player’s first-year salary.

Plans are already under way to hold a 40-round draft of high school players, after a series of combines to be held nationwide.  Players choosing not to play for the team that drafted them would have the option of attending a non-CLF college, or waiting until the next year's draft.

The CLF business plan calls for a split season, half to be played in the spring and half in the fall.

Still under discussion is the idea of two or three divisions, with a "relegation" system similar to that employed by European soccer clubs,  in which the bottom finishers in a higher division are moved down for the next season, and the top finishers in a lower division are moved up.

The possibility of its players' unionizing did not seem to concern the CLF people. Said one of them, "In case you hadn't noticed, with the exception of a couple of Big Ten teams, most college football powers come from Right-to-Work states."

You still reading this sh—?  April Fool.

*********** Straight out of Blazing Saddles, the guy who put all the money into the AAF a few weeks back is holding a gun to his head and threatening to shoot.

If the NFLPA doesn’t cooperate and allow NFL practice squad players to play in the AAF, he says, he’ll kill the league.  Maybe this weekend.

What a marketing genius.  That’ll sure help the gate at this weekend’s games.

It’s a bit more complicated than I’ve decribed, but basically, this clown is asking the NFLPA to do something, and if they don’t, why he’ll… go out of business?

Am I missing something, or did the writers of the story just leave out the part where there’s something in the deal for the NFLPA if they do cooperate? I mean, what’s in it for them?)

(My suspicion: You want the NFLPA's cooperation?  Unionize all the AAF players. and you got it)

https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/03/27/aaf-may-not-make-it-beyond-this-weekend/

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

Reading today's news mentioning Ken Niumatololo commenting on Army's new commitment to football, I found out Saturday that Army is coming to Western on October 12th for a game this year!  I always enjoy a game with one of the service academies.

Another observation!  Last week I found two disks from 1998 that I received from Gridiron Coach Magazine for renewing my subscription.  I put the first disk in and started looking at the index and saw Bruce Ein's article on how to stop the Double Wing Offense.  I instantly remembered our e-mails and later discussing the article at a few of your clinics.  I reread the article and there he is telling coaches to cut our pulling linemen and fullback.  I got mad all over again!!  I had forgotten how upsetting things on the internet can make a person.  Ten years without a computer, one tends to forget things like people advocating techniques that are illegal and can hurt players!  I guess that I am still a believer in playing by the rules!

David Crump
Owensboro, Kentucky

David - At that time, people were taking desperate action to stop the “unstoppable” Double Wing, and grabbing the legs of pulling linemen and cutting the fullback at the knees was considered appropriate.  Not that ignorance of the rules should ever be an excuse, but I honestly think a lot of those guys didn’t realize that they were cheating.  God knows we fought it.

I’ve known Bruce Eien for some time, and I’ve known him to be an honorable man, so I’m going to give him a pass on this one.  We first met -  I'm sure it was after he wrote that article - at one of my clinics In Glendale, California and he openly admitted that he was not a Double Wing coach.  He was there to learn how to stop the Double Wing, with the idea that he could teach it to his JVs - his scout team offense. Smart guy.


*********** Tim Brown, from Florence, Alabama writes, “maybe navy's problems are the same that army had in Conference USA?”

It’s got to be a factor.  Army, as an independent, can schedule a fair number of cupcakes.

Navy played FCS Lehigh and Holy Cross this past season, but from there, it was tough sledding. Army, Air Force and Notre Dame are fixtures. And then it's a tough AAC team just about every week.


************ Ordell Braase (pronounced “Bracy”) died this past week. 

He came as an unknown out of South Dakota, and he played his entire career with the Baltimore Colts. Like so many of those old Colts, he made Baltimore his year-round home.

And although being “the other end” - playing on the opposite end of the line from one of the greatest defensive ends in the history of the game, Gino Marchetti, he was acknowledged by all who knew the game as a great player.

He was a classy guy too, a real gentleman.  Strange, the little things you remember, but one of those is the time I’d finished a workout at the downtown YMCA and I sat in the sauna talking with him.  At that time, he was a spokesman for a local soft drink (Frostee Root Beer) and he was interested to learn that I worked for National Brewing.

For years, he did a top-rated TV show in Baltimore with former defensive linemate Art Donovan, in which he basically played the straight man and Donovan would go off on one of this stories.

He’s #81 in the photo below. I’ll bet you know #78 from movies, if not football. #74 and #76 were very good defensive tackles.  #74’s son became an outstanding linebacker for the Chargers.

braase & Colts DL

74- Billy Ray Smith; 76 - Fred Miller; 78 - Bubba Smith


https://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/nfl/bs-md-ordell-braase-dies-20190325-story.html

************ A while back, after coming across an obit of a former Yale player named JImmy DeAngelis, I was inspired to do a bit more digging and I discovered a book entitled "Yale's Ironmen," by William N. Wallace.

I promptly ordered a copy.

It was a great read, using Yale’s 1934 upset of Princeton - the Yale starting 11 played the entire game, the last time that’s been done -  as a vehicle to introduce us to the men who played the game, to a bit of football and social history and to Yale traditions and some of the innermost goings-on at Yale.

Mr. Wallace, a longtime sport writer for the New York Times, wrote knowledgeably about the changes in the game over the years, and the impact of several key rules changes.

There seemed to be a surprise awaiting me on every other page - Wallace's descent from Lew Wallace (author of Ben-Hur), Princeton coach Fritz Crisler and the Tigers’  "winged" helmet design, made much more famous at Michigan after Crisler went there, Larry Kelley's actually being the first winner of the "Heisman" Trophy, Kelley's Grand Tour of Europe with future Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart (among others).

I appreciated his theories on why interest in Ivy football has declined, and I share his distaste for the professional game.

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

I don't worry much about Johnny Manziel's behavior on the field.  It's his behavior off the field that makes me cringe.

Once upon a time Bud Light and Miller Lite made some really funny commercials.  That one stretch of Bud Light caveman spots were hilarious.

You took the words right out of my mouth regarding the "Family" shirts I've seen in the NCAA hoops tournament.  NIKE and Michael Avenatti.  Can't make that s*** up!

I always wondered what happened to Warner Wulf.  He was the go-to sports announcer guy in those old 70's/80's sports movies.  Kinda your suave looking Chris Berman type guy.

No matter what Coach Niumatololo says Army will beat Navy...again, and if so would the Middies be interested in bringing back an old face to right the sinking ship?

QUIZ:  Dan Fouts

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Hmmm.  “Old face, eh?’  Would you be referring to a certain PJ?

Back in the mid-sixties, I was working in Baltimore and living in Frederick, Maryland.  It was an hour-long commute each way, and every evening, five nights a week, I would drive home listening to Warner Wolf on WTOP, a powerful Washington station that I could get the whole way home.  He was new and young and so was the sports call-in show format itself.  Back in those early days of talk radio, he’d get a lot of young kids calling in and he’d be very patient with them. He was cocky and brash and opinionated, much of which was in stark contrast to the sports guys of the day, but he knew his sh— and he helped make the drive go by fast.


*********** I’m pleased that Nike didn’t cave in to that weasel Avenatti, but where there’s smoke there’s fire, and it’s impossible for me to believe that in a business as dirty as college basketball/sneaker company recruiting is, Nike doesn’t fight the competition with the same weapons they’ve been known to use.

*********** We’ve known Alex Balducci, son of longtime friend Ralph Balducci and his wife, Kathy, since he was a baby, and he’s always been spcial to us.

After a great high school career at Portland Central Catholic,  Alex chose Oregon over Washington and Boise State, and played nose tackle in the Ducks’ 3-4. On one side of him was a guy named DeForest Buckner and on the other, a guy named Arik Armstead.  Both Buckner and Armstead were drafted and now play for the 49ers.

But Alex wasn’t drafted, and one pro team or another decided that with his athletic ability and size (6-4-1/2, 310) he’d be a  great interior offensive linemen, and that’s been a work in progress for the last four seasons, as he spent time on the practice squads of the 49ers, Jets and Redskins.

And then he became a free agent again. To his credit, he worked harder than ever to stay ready for the next shot. And then, earlier this week, he signed to play with the Arizona Hotshots of the AAF.

As  a defensive tackle.  The offense wanted him, but Nick Alliotti, who coached the defense at Oregon while Alex was there, is now the Hotshots’ DC.   And Ron Aiken, who coached the D-line at Oregon, is the Hotshots’ D-line coach.  They both knew he could play D, and evidently they won out.

Arizona plays at San Antonio Sunday at 8 Eastern, 5 Pacific.  Alex will be wearing Number 77.

************* NIck Alliotti, now coaching the defense for Rick Neuheisel in Arizona, told the Oregonian’s John Canzano that he couldn’t deal with basketball’s one-and-done. He recalled a few players he was recruiting who actually thought that they were going to go right to the NFL:

 "I used to sit there and go, 'I don't even know if you can play for me yet and you want to go to the league?!' We'd hear that. Most of those guys talking like that end up not being any good in college. Most of the guys who end up making it are guys who work hard every day.... I don't want to sit here and try to explain how I'd do it in basketball but I don't like the one and done players... I think they should just go straight to the NBA and skip college."

*********** New Arizona Cardinals’ coach Klif (anybody seen my other “f”?) Kingsbury says he plans on taking player pampering to the extreme, giving his players “cell-phone breaks” every 20 or 30 minutes during team meetings. 

He said he did it at Texas Tech, but that wouldn’t seem to me the strongest of endorsements: he went 35-40 in his six seasons there.  

https://sports.yahoo.com/kliff-kingsbury-installing-phone-breaks-at-cardinals-meetings-to-get-that-social-media-fix-032901233.html

*********** Massillon, Ohio is one of the great hotbeds of high school sports, and the community provides its football players and coaches whatever they need to be successful. Not every school they play is that fortunate.

Last fall, after Massillon played Akron Firestone High, a couple of the Massillon players happened to tell their parents that the Firestone kids didn’t even have cleats.  They were wearing sneaks, many of them held together by duct tape.

So a couple of Massillon moms started a GoFundMe, and raised enough money to pay for football shoes for every Firestone player.

I guess the Lying Media were too busy telling us how awful and dangerous and scary and spooky football is because concussions…  so that explains why  we never heard of this wonderful example of sportsmanship 
and generosity by people who care not just about their own boys playing football, but other boys as well.

 http://www.cleveland19.com/2018/10/19/massillon-football-players-donate-cleats-after-seeing-opponents-playing-duct-taped-shoes/

*********** It’s by Gil LeBreton, in PressboxDFW, and it’s called “Patterson rails against the waiver storm”

I won’t link you to the story - it’s a subscription site - so I’ll include some of it (the part that's indented)

THE ISSUE: Waivers from the rule requiring a transfer to sit out a year

A study by the Associated Press last month showed that the NCAA has granted immediate eligibility waivers to 51 of the 63 requesting student-athletes. That number is at least 52 of 64 after the Martell decision.

Among the guidelines for granting waivers is one that reads, “The transfer is due to documented mitigating circumstances that are outside the student-athlete’s control and directly impact the health, safety and well-being of the student-athlete.”

“Health, safety and well-being” apparently now include your current team demoting you on its depth chart. That’s what happened at Georgia, where freshman quarterback Justin Fields transferred to Ohio State, prompting Martell’s ensuing exodus to Miami.

These aren’t graduate transfers, a route that several athletes, degrees in hand, have followed to often-greener pastures. Gary Patterson has two on his own roster in Mike Collins and Alex Delton (Kansas State).

What Patterson and a growing Greek chorus of other Division I football coaches fear is that players will seek the NCAA transfer portal as a path of least resistance, especially if it doesn’t entail a one-year wait.

In all cases, it appears the transferring players who were seeking immediate relief simply lawyered up. Tom Mars, a former Hillary Clinton law partner in Little Rock, found enough “mitigating circumstances” to make former Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson immediately eligible at Michigan.

THE ARGUMENT AGAINST WAIVERS

Gary Patterson TCU coach believes that young people need to be taught the value of a commitment.

“So when you sign a lease on an apartment and you don’t like it, they’ll just let you out, and you can just walk away and it doesn’t cost you anything?” Patterson asked. “You don’t get to do that in life.”

Instead of handing out waivers as if they were juice boxes and pats on the head, Patterson would like to see a transfer provision that he says has been on the table from the beginning:

“You want a change, you sit out. And if you graduate, you get your year back.”

“Let me ask you a question,” said another coach. “If we make a rule that guys can transfer whenever they want to, how are we supposed to get people to do what they should do? I’m not talking about as football players. I’m talking about as people —  making good choices and decisions off the field.

“So if a guy is missing classes and I say, ‘You’re not going to be playing this game because you’re missing classes’ – which I’ve done on occasion – and he just says, ‘Well, I’m done. I’m transferring,’ is that good?”

The coach who said that is Nick Saban.

THE REAL PROBLEM:   People who don’t know squat about big-time college football are  the ones making the decisions on waivers

The person representing the NCAA group that makes the waiver decisions – the Committee for Legislative Relief – was an associate athletic director from Lafayette College, enrollment 2,610.

Others on the seven-member committee included representatives from UTEP, James Madison, Monmouth, Florida Gulf Coast and the Atlantic Sun Conference.
(Pause here to let the Division I football coaches scream.)

The only thing most of this committee knows about big-time college football is what they’ve learned in a Larry Culpepper TV commercial.

THE END RESULT:   Unless the NCAA comes to its senses on this and puts a leash on these small-school suits, there’s a strong likelhoood that the Power Five conferences will totally bolt from the NCAA and make their own rules

If their obliviousness persists and they open the gates to a feared “free agency” in college football, it could be the final push towards autonomy – a complete break from the NCAA for big-time football schools.

Will your school be invited to that party? Don’t be presumptuous.

By banding together as a group, the football universities could make their own recruiting rules, set (or abolish) their own transfer rules, dole out their own monthly payments for players and seek their own mega-lucrative TV contract.

Schools could still belong to the NCAA for everything else, but football would run itself.

(This wouldn’t kill the NCAA, because it doesn’t get a lot of money from football.  Its big payday is March Madness.  But it had better not piss off the football guys if they do leave, because the NCAA needs them more than they need the NCAA. Take a look at this year’s Sweet Sixteen: 14 of the 16 teams left are from Power Five football conferences.  If they were to pull out of the NCAA in basketball, too, they would leave the NCAA high and dry.)

*********** Maybe you’ve seen this tattoo on a guy: “MOLON LABE”

Here’s what it refers to (a little history):

It was 480 BC.  A force of between 100,000 and 300,000 Persians were on their way to conquer Athens, and found the way through a narrow pass blocked by a smaller force of Greeks.  There were only 7,000 of them.  But these Greeks were Spartans.

Confronted by a force many times the size of theirs, the Spartans were ordered by the Persian leader, Xerxes, to lay down their arms and surrender.

The reply by the Spartan King, Leonidas: MOLON LABE.  (Roughly translated from the ancient Greek: “Come and take them.”)

Thus began the famous Battle of Thermopylae.

For two days the Spartans stopped the foe.

But legend has it that someone betrayed the Spartans by showing the Persians another way, one that would get them behind the Greek lines.

When he became aware of this, Leonidas ordered the majority of his soldiers to escape, while he and some 1,500 that remained fought a rear-guard action.

Most of them were killed, but their bravery had delayed the Persians, and bought enough time for Athens to be evacuated before the Persians arrived.

While not a triumph for the Spartans, Thermopylae - and Leonidas’ defiance of the Persians - was a magnificent example of the Spartans courage in the face of superior forces.

That tattoo?  It’s come to mean something.  First, it’s probably safe to say that the guy with the tattoo owns firearms.  Second, you want to take his guns?   MOLON LABE


*********** QUIZ ANSWER:   Too often, quarterbacks are judged by the number of  Super Bowls they played in, which explains why Dan Fouts'  name is often missing from “best ever” conversations. But he belongs there.

No, he never played in a Super Bowl, but as a sign of the regard in which he was held by football people, he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame his first year of eligibility.

From his Hall of Fame biography:

In 15 seasons, he completed 3,297 passes for 43,040 yards and 254 touchdowns and an 80.2-point rating. He also rushed for 476 yards and scored 13 touchdowns. At the time of his retirement, he was one of only three quarterbacks to pass for more than 40,000 yards. He led the NFL in passing yardage four straight years from 1979 to 1982, and became the first player in history to throw for 4,000 yards in three consecutive seasons.

He was the AFC Player of the Year in 1979 and then, in 1982, he was named the NFL Most Valuable Player by the Pro Football Writers of America, the AFC Player of the Year by United Press International and the NFL Offensive Player of the Year by Associated Press. He was also an All-Pro choice in 1979, 1982, and 1985 and All-AFC in 1979 and 1982.

He played in six Pro Bowls in a seven-year span.

He grew up in the Bay Area, the son of a well-known sports radio guy.  A third-round draft pick out of Oregon, he had an outstanding 15-year career with one team - the San Diego Chargers.

His first five seasons in San Diego  were unspectacular: he threw for more than 2,000 yards just once. And then, in 1978, local favorite Don Coryell, who had had some great years at San Diego State, was hired as the Chargers’ coach, and his career took off.  He led the NFL in passing yards for four straight years (1979-1982), and went to five straight pro bowls.
 
His jersey number, 14, is one of only four numbers retired by the San Diego Chargers (along with Lance Alworth's 19, Junior Seau's 55 and LaDainian Tomlinson's 21).

In 2009, on the occasion of the Chargers’ 50th anniversary, Dan Fouts was chosen by fans as the "Greatest Charger Of All Time.”


WITHOUT SPENDING TOO MUCH TIME CHECKING, DAN FOUTS MAY HAVE ELICITED MORE RESPONSES THAN ANY QUIZ SUBJECT SO FAR

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING DAN FOUTS:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA - I might be wrong, but I think Norv Turner backed him up for the Ducks (Yes. But then after Fouts graduated Turner became the starter)
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA (When we think of the greatest collaborations in the arts, sciences, sports--the Fouts-Coryell tandem is right up there with Brady-Belichick.)
PETE PORCELLI -WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY
DJ MILLAY - VANCOUVER, WASHINGTON
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA (i like listening to him on tv.....perfect qb for air it out "O".....remember the sub zero game vs Bengals)
JOE GUTILLA, AUSTIN, TEXAS
RALPH BALDUCCI - PORTLAND, OREGON
RUSS MEYERS - ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
MIKE FORISTIERE - TOPEKA, KANSAS
JOHN GUEBARA - CRAFTSBURY, VERMONT

*********** Thanks to Greg Koenig -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LkdPW97dSo

*********** A short story on my first encounter with Dan Fouts. It was the spring game in 1978, and we would go against the alumni at Oregon. I remember sitting in the locker room nervous as all get out and he walks in with a Henry Weinhards (popular Oregon beer) in one hand and a cigar in the other and says they were going to kick our ass.  Never will forget that.

Mike Foristiere
Topeka, Kansas

*********** When we think of the greatest collaborations in the arts, sciences, sports--the Fouts-Coryell tandem is right up there with Brady-Belichick.

John Vermillion
St. Petersburg, Florida


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

For the first time since I began reading your News You Can Use I was finally able to answer your quiz without searching. Dan Fouts was the Charger quarterback. This was easy as I grew up in San Diego and was a San Diego "SUPER" Chargers fan from the time I was 8. From this time I came to understand the idea of the passing tree, in fact I would sometime get in trouble with my youth coaches because I ran the Chargers tree and not his as some of the numbers and routes were different. Fouts truly made that engine run. He is also the last quarterback that instead of crossing over to drop back he would back pedal. He is definitely in the top 4 of favorite all time San Diego pro athletes. Tony Gwynn is one, Junior Seau is two, and then it is debatable at three between him and Ladainian Tomlinson

On another note, in your March 15th NYCU, you posted a picture of the Eagles Suicide Seven. I actually met with and coached with Wayne Robinson back in the late 90's. I was the Head JV coach at a school in San Diego, and Coach Robinson's son was my Defensive Coordinator. John (his son) would bring Coach to practice and to games to get him out more. The players loved him and I just soaked up as much knowledge from him as possible. A funny story, we were in a game and facing a 4th and short(maybe 2 yards) and I called a quick slant pass. He had come over and asked what i called and I told him. He stood there and berated me on what a stupid call it was. I felt like I had just made a stupid call. We ended up completing the pass for the first down, but I always look back at that moment whenever i am in a similar situation and will now call my best run play (which is 66 Super Power). In that one brief season I learned so much from Coach Robinson,

Thanks Coach,

John Guebara
Craftsbury Vermont
North Country Jr. Falcons

Coach, I think that Spanoses and the NFL did the fans of San Diego a terrible injustice and I enjoyed your comments on Dan Fouts.

I especially enjoyed hearing about your connection with Wayne Robinson.  You probably knew him in the 90s as a kindly older gentleman, which he no doubt was, but he was one rough sucker.  Some even called him dirty.  Hahaha. But that’s why they called them the Suicide Seven.

Fouts was the unquestioned leader of those teams. I use to attend their training camps as a kid and can remember one time Fouts was mad at John Jefferson and kicked him out of the huddle. JJ (what the fans called him) was still talking loudly from the sidelines. Fouts had broken the huddle with the team and stopped as he walked toward the LOS, turned to the sideline and told one of the coaches in very colorful language to have Jefferson removed from the field. No one said anything to Fouts, they just walked over to Jefferson and walked him off toward the locker room. It was unbelievable! As a coach now, I tend to give my QB's almost that same type of authority.

I remember as a kid during the Dan Fouts years, Gene Klein was so paranoid with Al Davis and the Raiders. The Charger used to practice at the stadium and there was this high rise building a couple of blocks away and Klein was sure that Davis had people up there filming and scouting the practices.

I still have many friends in and around San Diego, Most of them still are Charger fans, but are conflicted because of Spanos. They root for the Charger players, but refuse to go to their games as it would be supporting Spanos.

Oh I don't doubt there was a rough side to Coach Robinson. I would catch glimpses of that every once in a while, but the kids absolutely loved when he came around. and I thoroughly enjoyed having him around as well.  In fact, there were times I would have to be the referee between him and his son on the sidelines.


*********** QUIZ - He was drafted twice in the same year.  In the spring of 1968, after captaining his Notre Dame team, he was taken in the 16th round of the NFL draft, by the Pittsburgh Steelers.  And in December 1968, shortly after his rookie season had ended, he was drafted by the United States Army.  And sent to Vietnam.

Less than a year later, he lay in a Tokyo hospital bed, recovering from a bullet wound in his left leg and shrapnel from an enemy grenade in his right.

Doctors there told him there was no way he would ever play football again.

And in the midst of his despair over the turn his life had taken, he received a postcard. It read, “(—) The team’s not doing well.  We need you.” It was signed, Art Rooney.

That did it. “When you have somebody take the time and interest to send you a postcard, something that they didn't have to do, you have a special place for those kinds of people,” he said.  He made up his mind he was going to make it back to pro football.

In the fall of 1970, a year after being wounded, he reported to Steelers’ training camp. But he weighed 180 pounds, 30 pounds under his playing weight.

He spent most of two seasons on what we’d now call the practice squad.

He finally made it onto the roster in 1971, but only for six games, and only on special teams.

In 1972 he got into every game, but mostly on special teams. He carried the ball once.  And he fumbled.

In 1973 he got into all but one game, and he carried the ball three times - for zero yards. And he fumbled twice.

He thought about quitting football but was dissuaded by a teammate, and  in 1974 he had a breakthrough year.  He carried the ball 88 times for 373 yards and two touchdowns.  And only two fumbles.

The Steelers made it to the Super Bowl, and he carried 17 times for 65 yards against the Vikings.

And he got some recognition from a June, 1975 article in Sports Illustrated.

In 1975, at the age of 29, he finally got a start. He helped lead the Steelers to a second straight Super Bowl, and he rushed for 51 yards in their win over the Cowboys.

His best year was 1976, at the age of 30. Although he didn’t start a single game, he rushed for 1036 yards and five TDs.  He and teammate Franco Harris became only the second pair of teammates in NFL history to rush for 1000 yards each.

He played in his fourth Super Bowl - and fourth Super Bowl victory - after the 1979 season. During that season,  he set a career high in  receptions  with 31, and  he had enough left in the tank to pull off the  longest touchdown run of his career, a 70-yarder.

When he retired after the 1980 season, at the age of 34. he was the Steelers’ number four all-time rusher, with 3865 rushing yards.  In his 11 NFL seasons, he scored  30 touchdowns - four were in the playoffs and one was in a Super Bowl.

He played in 14 postseason games and  the Steelers won 13 of them.

He was raised in Appleton, Wisconsin, where his father owned a tavern.  As a high schooler, he was a three-sport star and a two-way all-state football player.  The field at his high school has been named in his honor.

Explaining what drove him, he said, “Some time in the future you won't have to ask yourself 'what if'? I didn't lose a leg. I didn't lose a foot. I was going to come back and play. That was my desire. I wasn't going to go back and run my daddy's bar.”

"What if?"  What if Mr. Rooney hadn't sent that postcard?


american flagTUESDAY,  MARCH 26,  2019   “Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is the danger of oppression.” James Madison

*********** Johnny Manziel made his AAF debut for Memphis Sunday night and he was on his best behavior.  He got in for a series or two and looked okay, if understandably rusty.  And there was nothing untoward about his behavior. The big story was that Memphis’ other QB, Brandon Silvers,  the third guy to have the job this season, played exceptionally well, going 24 of 35 for 266 yards and two touchdowns.  His touchdown pass in overtime beat Birmingham, 31-25.

*********** You've probably already read about THE biggest news in the football world. The Bucs organization is the first NFL club to employ two female assistants. One is hired as assistant DL coach, the second as assistant S&C coach. On the other hand, I'm sure the one lady knows more about DL coaching than any guy who's done it for 30 or 40 years. What more reasons do I need to love the Bucs?

John Vermillion
St. Petersburg, Florida

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

I think Joe Montana has either been smoking too much of the product he's promoting, or, is making a sleazy attempt to recover the $$ money he once had, or worse, has become the latest version of a "legal" drug dealer.  Sad finish for the guy who used to be the (GOAT).

In Texas we play by NCAA rules.  Even so, when I first got here I always managed to discuss the "shoeshine" block with the officials in the same way I had done years before with NFHS officials.  To no avail.  They would interpret the rule differently than what it read, and as a result my team would get called on it.  I took a cue from you and eliminated the shoeshine and began teaching the slide and turn technique which IMHO works as well if not better!  Thanks!

I have had a lot of success running the Reach Sweep (or the Rocket Toss the academies run).  To do so my linemen no longer have a noticeable foot stagger (tip of shoe behind tip of shoe) to help them "reach block" their outside gaps, although I still prefer they have their inside hands on the ground.  At first I thought it would diminish our effectiveness blocking down, but found it didn't.  In fact, the Reach has helped open up the C gaps for us.  

Without realizing it (until now) the Woody Hayes disciplinary method is what I have used for years.  Maybe I should move Ohio State down my list?

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** The Bud Light “Dilly Dilly” campaign seemed to be moving along pretty well.  But then it went off the rails.  First, they made a big deal of printing their ingredients on their packages. Like people really cared.

And then they really jumped the shark.  They took a shot at a competitor.  Two competitors, actually.  You probably saw the commercials, in which a huge barrel labelled “corn syrup” is delivered to the Bud Light kingdom.  Oh, no, says the King.  We don’t use corn syrup in our beer. We use rice.  Or some such words.

Whereupon the delivery crew sets off, rolling the barrel of corn syrup along to its rightful  destination - the castle of MIller Lite or Coors Light.

To beer drinkers, this is really inside baseball.  Like they’re supposed to give a big rat’s ass whether a brewer uses corn syrup or rice as what they call an “adjunct.”

Actually,  A German Law called Reinheitsgebot, dating back to 1516, states that beer can only contain four ingredients: hops, barley, water and yeast.  Hmmm.  No corn syrup.  But no rice, either.

Those little additional ingredients,  “adjuncts,” are added for a variety of reasons, from flavoring the beer, to goosing the  alcoholic content, to providing for a longer-lasting head.  And to COST-CUTTING.  Hmmm.

Incidentally, I saw a Bud Light commercial that bragged about its having only four ingredients: hops,, barley, water and RICE. That's cheating, guys.  Add yeast (you can't make beer without it), and that makes FIVE.

In any case, the advertising geniuses at Bud Light (who've been doing such a great job that its sales have been steadily slipping, along with those of the King of Beers) must have thought it was an idea worth attacking a competitor over, and now the people at MIller Lite have retaliated with a clever campaign of their own.

One spot starts out looking like your typical Bud Light commercial.  It’s the aftermath of a battle, and the Blue-armored Bud Knight lies lifeless on the ground.  But wait - we see drones.  And then we see a young woman in a baseball cap shouting, “Cut! Cut!” -  and we pan out to see that what we were actually watching was the making of a Bud Light commercial.

The Bud Light Knight gets up, takes off his helmet, puts on a pair of glasses,  and walks over to the break room - a big tent - where he joins the director and several other members of the cast in a cold can of - Miller Lite.

The tag line:

“In the real world, more taste is what matters.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqye87jBrvA

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

Loved the part about throwing the ball around in practice. All of my players know the rule. Sometimes I try and trick them into doing it by saying “Throw me that ball.” They almost do it and then laugh.

In the diagram where you show the Canadian as an H- Back, you have 11 defenders vs 12 offensive players. I don’t think you need that many Americans to stop a Canadian offence.

Tom Walls
Winipeg, Manitoba

*********** You work like hell creating a feeling of “family”on your team… You convince your kids that you’ve got something special because you’re a “family”…

And then Nike goes ahead and puts “FAMILY” shirts on every stinking Nike team in the stinking NCAA tournament - and turns all your work into a tired cliche.

So go ahead anyhow - go and have some tee-shirts printed with “FAMILY” on them, and watch the f—kers sue your ass because while nobody gave it a second thought they went and got the word trademarked.

*********** Longtime sports announcer Warner Wolf lives in a fancy gated community in Florida, where for some time he’d been angered by the community’s name Classics Plantation Estates.

See, he didn’t like the “plantation” part.

Not sure how long he’s lived there, but I assume he knew about the name when he bought his place.  But anyhow, after complaining about the word and getting nowhere with the homeowners’ association, he decided to take things into his own hands - using some sort of power tool to remove the word from the community’s sign - and now he’s been charged with criminal mischief.

Evidently, having associated “plantation” with slavery, he thought it was time to do a little virtue signalling.

He probably has no idea that the word is also associated with something far removed from slavery - religious liberty.

In 1636, Roger Williams, a Puritan minister was expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for preaching “new and dangerous ideas.” Forced to move, he established a new settlement in what is now Rhode Island, and he named the place “Providence Plantation,” in the belief that he and his followers had been put there by God’s providence. (“Plantation” in that case meant “colony.”)

Which explains why the official name of Rhode Island is the “State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.”

Warner Wolfe’s 80 years old, and he’s probably got this all out of his system now, but even so, if you see him wandering around the state house with a dremel tool in his hand, I'd suggest you not let him anywhere near the official state seal.

RHODE ISLAND SEAL

https://www.naplesnews.com/story/news/crime/2019/02/08/sportscaster-warner-wolf-charged-criminal-mischief/2815587002/

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/sports/sportscaster-warner-wolf-arrested-allegedly-removing-word-plantation-sign-n969556


*********** For me the best thing about March Madness is the annual appearance of Charles Barkley, Clark Kellogg and Kenny Smith in the studio show.

Jeez, I’d forgotten how much I like those guys.

Smith said something very interesting at halftime of the Duke-North Dakota State game, when Duke seemed to be trying too hard to put the Bison away, and as a result was playing poorly.

His advice - be patient, and don’t try to do it all at once. Just make it a 10-minute game, and try to win that 10 minute game by four points.  And then win the next 10-minute game by four points, and so on.

And you’ll win the game by 16 points.

*********** And still people pay them good money to watch their games. 

The New York Knicks banned a fan for life after he made a perfectly sensible suggestion to  team owner James Dolan: “Sell the team!”

*********** I was talking with a friend over the weekend, and he mentioned a controversy over having the American flag in a church.  It seems that way, way too many people are opposed.

When he brought up the subject, I thought back to when I was a kid, and there was always a flag up near the pulpit.

Right there in the very first amendment to the Constitution, we are assured of our God-given right to freedom to worship as we wish, and freedom from government establishment of a state religion.  I got news for you folks who think there’s something smart about removing the flag from your church: Without that amendment… without that Constitution… without the government it created… you might not even have a church.

Not that that matters much anymore.

*********** Timing is everything.  When you’re a coach and you need something major, the time to ask for it is when you’re coming off a big season. Or two.

But when you’re Navy coach Ken Niumatololo, and you’re coming off a 3-10 season - and three straight losses to Army - you’re not in the strongest of positions.

The worst thing you can do, I think, is suggest openly that your superiors could be doing more.

But there he was, unloading on a reporter from the Annapolis Capital Gazette…
“I think everybody recognizes that coaching, playing and recruiting have got to be better, but support from the athletic director and administration – the superintendent and commandant – is also needed in order to compete at this level.”

Wow. “Support from the athletic director and administration…”  You would think that after 23 years at the United State Naval Academy - 13 as its head coach - he would have learned a thing or two about the Chain of Command.

He went on to address what sounds like some resentment of football among some of Navy’s other sports programs. (Maybe the AD had just given him one of those silly-ass 
"Football's not the only sport here at the academy,  Ken," talks.)
 
“Not everybody can get what football gets. That’s just the truth. I don’t want to hear that so and so is not getting Muscle Milk. My response is that so and so is not playing Notre Dame,” Niumatalolo added. “We can’t worry about distributing things evenly. Those are the kinds of battles that I’ve been fighting behind the scenes for 12 years that nobody knows about. I think we’ve been winning for so long there has been this feeling that football will be okay.”

He has a point there when he notes that football is different from Navy’s other sports, who play in the Patriot League: they’re “not playing Notre Dame.”

Heres’ the best, though - after all those years of eating Army’s lunch, Niumatololo is now saying that Navy needs to do what Army’s doing.  (WTF?)
Niumatalolo noted the leadership of archrival Army made a complete and total commitment to finally fielding a winning football program. Fundamental changes in the way the West Point administration approached football has led to a dramatic turnaround for the Black Knights under the direction of head coach Jeff Monken.

“They were tired of losing and did everything it took to turn things around. That’s kind of where we’re at now.”

The delicious irony for Army people is that it wasn’t all that long ago that they were saying, “We’ve got to start doing the things that Navy’s doing!”

I wish the guy well.  His record speaks for itself.  But I can’t think that this interview - which in the subtle nature of service academy politics would have to be considered an outburst - is going to help him.

https://www.capitalgazette.com/sports/navy_sports/ac-cs-niumatalolo-support-20190323-story.html

*********** Over the past few days, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo had been catching hell from some observers (for what it’s worth, Charles Barkley called them “jackasses”) for his agressive coaching style, so when he was asked after a Spartan win what adjustments he had made at halftime, he was ready with a hilarious answer.

Be sure to watch the video at the bottom of the article.

https://www.nationofblue.com/tom-izzo-has-decided-to-embrace-the-new-style-of-coaching-being-requested-of-him/

*********** Australia:  Alex Rance, a star Australian rules football player,  suffered a serious knee injury in first game of the season.  Facing surgery and rehab, he’ll miss the entire season.  What impressed me was the way he was dealing with the setback.

Despite facing a year out, Rance was upbeat on Friday morning.

"I wouldn't say shattering, that's a little bit dramatic," he said.

"It is what it is, there's injuries all the time. I'm just grateful that I have the life that I have and have the people around me that I do.

"It's still pretty raw. I'm just trying to focus on all the great things in my life at the moment. I'm not too down. It was a beautiful full moon last night, we get the win, fresh meat in the armour, there's plenty to celebrate."

https://www.afl.com.au/news/2019-03-22/worst-fears-confirmed-as-rance-done-for-season

*********** Maybe coaching is attached to the male chromosome…

While out walking my dog Saturday I stopped and watched as a young woman showed a group of young girls how to pitch a softball.  I thought she did a really nice job.

Meanwhile, looking on as she taught were four coaches.  A couple of them were taking notes.

They were all men, probably dads.

So, where were the moms?



*********** QUIZ  ANSWER - Jim Hanifan is probably the best known offensive line coach in the history of the NFL.

In his 30 years in the NFL, he served as line coach of the (St. Louis) Cardinals, the Chargers, the Falcons, the Redskins and the (St. Louis) Rams, and spent six years as head coach of the Cardinals.

He is credited with developing today’s “hands on” method of pass protection.

He came out of Compton, California and was an All-American end at Cal under the legendary Pappy Waldorf, leading the nation in pass receiving in 1954.

Cut by the Rams, he played a year in the CFL before being drafted by someone else - Uncle Sam.  His “service” consisted mostly of playing football, and his coach at Fort Ord, California was a young guy from Washington named Don Coryell.

When he got out of the service, he found a teaching job near his wife’s hometown of Marysville, California and helped out at the local junior college as a volunteer, while getting his teaching certificate at Sacramento State.

His next job was as head coach at Charter Oak High School in Southern California, and after two successful years there he moved on to Glendale City College, then to the University of Utah. His next stop was at his alma mater, Cal, but after the entire staff was fired for recruiting violations, he was out of work.

That’s when he was offered a job by his old coach at Fort Ord, Don Coryell, who was now head coach at San Diego State.

And that’s when he became an offensive line coach.

In his words (from his book “Beyond X’s and O’s)

“All the way back to juco, I had been working with quarterbacks and receivers, so I thought I would end up with one of the jobs. Then I found out he (Coryell) already had both of those coaches, so I really had no idea what I was going to do.

“Don and I were in his car one day, going to pick up some furniture, and I asked him, ‘What am I going to be coaching?’

“He said, ‘Offensive line.’

“That’s how I became an offensive line coach.”

After just one year at SDSU, he went to St. Louis along with Coryell when the latter was hired as head coach by the Cardinals.

And when the guy Coryell had offered the offensive line coaching job to  (a guy with NFL experience) turned him down, our guy said he told Coryell, “Let me coach the offensive line.  Give me a year, and if I don’t get the job done, fire me.”

In his book, he explained his thinking:

“We were throwing the ball at San Diego State more than almost anybody in pro ball.  I could tell from watching the Cardinals’ linemen on film that they had never been taught the proper mechanics of pass protection.”

He definitely got the job done. Introducing his blocking techniques, he overcame the initial skepticism and built one of the NFL’s best lines, with the likes of Ernie McMillan, Dan Dierdorf, Tom Banks and Conrad Dobler.

When Coryell took the Chargers’ job, he went along, but after just one season he returned to St. Louis  - as the Cardinals’ head coach.  After going 39-49-1, he was fired, and the next year he wound up coaching the line in Atlanta.

In his third year in Atlanta, he finished the season as interim head coach after Marion Campbell was fired, and then he wound up in Washington, where his old friend Joe Gibbs, who had coached the running backs in St, Louis, was now head coach.  Gibbs had already won two Super Bowls in Washington, and in 1991, with our guy coaching the famed “Hogs,” (Russ Grimm, Jeff Bostic, Joe Jacoby, Jim Lachey, Mark Schlereth), he won a third.

After the 1996 season season, when the Rams returned to St. Louis - and Dick Vermeil returned to coaching - he joined Vermeil’s staff. The Rams went 5-11 in 1997 and  4-12 in 1998, but in 1999, with a new offensive coordinator in Mike Martz and a new QB in Trent Green, they thought they had a potential Super Bowl team. And then Green went down in a pre-season game.

The rest is sports history.  The offensive line played exceptionally well, and  a previously unknown quarterback named Kurt Warner took the Rams to a Super Bowl win.

Jim Hanifan retired following the 2003 season, and for several years after that did color commentary on Rams’ radio broadcasts.

He was very popular with players, coaches and fans.

He introduced Dan Dierdorf at his Hall of Fame induction, served as Grand Marshall of the St. Louis St. Patrick’s Day parade, and as a veteran was chosen to run onto the field carrying the American flag at the Rams’ first home game following 9-11.

Describing his major contribution to the game, he wrote, “this method of pass protection has continued on through the years, and I’m very proud to have been the guy who developed it and brought it to the NFL in 1973.”

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JIM HANIFAN:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
CHARLIE WILSON - CRYSTAL RIVER, FLORIDA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA, AUSTIN, TEXAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
PETE PORCELLI -WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY (I finally remembered that he was once the head coach of the cardinals and an offensive line guru.  My original thought was Joe Bugel.  However I knew that Joe was not old enough.  Joe was once my teacher at WKU in a PE class when I was a freshman.  He was an assistant coach on Western's football team then along with Jerry Glanville.)
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON


*********** QUIZ:   Too often, quarterbacks are judged by the number of  Super Bowls they played in, which explains why his name is often missing from “best ever” conversations. But he belongs there.

No, he never played in a Super Bowl, but as a sign of the regard in which he was held by football people, he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame his first year of eligibility.

From his Hall of Fame biography:

In 15 seasons, he completed 3,297 passes for 43,040 yards and 254 touchdowns and an 80.2-point rating. He also rushed for 476 yards and scored 13 touchdowns. At the time of his retirement, he was one of only three quarterbacks to pass for more than 40,000 yards. He led the NFL in passing yardage four straight years from 1979 to 1982, and became the first player in history to throw for 4,000 yards in three consecutive seasons.

He was the AFC Player of the Year in 1979 and then, in 1982, he was named the NFL Most Valuable Player by the Pro Football Writers of America, the AFC Player of the Year by United Press International and the NFL Offensive Player of the Year by Associated Press. He was also an All-Pro choice in 1979, 1982, and 1985 and All-AFC in 1979 and 1982.

He played in six Pro Bowls in a seven-year span.

He grew up in the Bay Area, the son of a well-known sports radio guy.  A third-round draft pick out of Oregon, he had an outstanding 15-year career with one team - the San Diego Chargers.

His first five seasons in San Diego,  were unspectacular: he threw for more than 2,000 yards just once. And then, in 1978, local favorite Don Coryell, who had had some great years at San Diego State, was hired as the Chargers’ coach, and his career took off.  He led the NFL in passing yards for four straight years (1979-1982), and went to five straight pro bowls.
 
His jersey number, 14, is one of only four numbers retired by the San Diego Chargers (along with Lance Alworth's 19, Junior Seau's 55 and LaDainian Tomlinson's 21).

In 2009, on the occasion of the Chargers’ 50th anniversary, he was chosen by fans as the "Greatest Charger Of All Time.”



american flagFRIDAY,  MARCH 22,  2019   “All human errors stem from impatience.” Franz Kafka

***********  I hate to see any football player get injured, so I’ll just hope that if Johnny (Johnny Football) Manziel plays this Saturday he doesn’t get injured - just beat up to the point where he’s very, very sore afterward and can’t get out of bed for several days.

*********** A reader asks: has cut blocking in the no longer existent free blocking zone only been eliminated in high school and 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).

Coach-

Your answer - cut blocking (I hate to use the word because they turn right 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 IF they were both on the line of scrimmage at the time of the snap.

Couple of problems lay in wait for us if we were to continue having the TE shoeshine:

* There is always the chance that the the TE will block low on a man who’s 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 a shotgun/wildcat snap, it’s possible that by the time the QB catches that snap, the ball is deeper than three yards, and therefore has left 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 tight splits our TEs are well within the four yards of center specified by the rules, but if the officials choose to consider them as outside their definiton of the free blocking zone, they apparently are free to do so.

(Neither Navy or Georgia Tech employs a TE to any great extent, but if they did, they wouldn’t be able to have them “cut,” either.)

The outside hand down that you see on most college tea

ms is so that they can stagger their outside foot back, the better to set up in pass protection (“ass to the pass”) against an outside speed rusher.

Stanford’s four-point stance allows them to get low and also to get their weight forward, on their hands - because they want to fire out low.  As long as you don’t care whether the defense knows that you’re going to fire out, it’s not a bad idea.  (And the slide technique that we’ve been using really seems to help the Stanford guard run the circle even out of that stance!)


*********** I happened to want to be watching Alex Flanagan on a AAF game - seems like she's been around forever -  and I decided to find out a little more about her.

Turns out to be quite a story.  Her mom’s an Arizona rancher’s daughter, and her dad was a Polish immigrant who went to Pepperdine and then became a Marine pilot (he was inspired by the John Wayne classic “Flying Leathernecks”) and served two tours in Vietnam.

For the last 30 years  mom and dad have run a steak house in the tiny town of Sonoita.

http://www.azsteakout.com/aboutus.html

*********** Following last week’s AAF game,  I left the TV on CBSSN, and saw a sport I’d never seen before - drag boat racin.’ From Lake Lucas, Missouri. (I suspect it was named for Lucas Oil, which appeared to be  sponsor of the gas-guzzling event.

As boats roared at high speeds for maybe a couple hundred yards,  spectators sat in lawn chairs and ate and drank and enjoyed the outdoors.

It was so middle-America.   I loved it.

And I’d love to have heard the reaction of one of the precious Green New Deal candidates for President at watching all that fossil fuel being burned just for the amusement of a bunch of deplorables.

*********** If Joe Montana needs money this bad, maybe we should start a gofundme account for him…

Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana, looking to hit pay dirt in the legal marijuana industry, is part of a $75 million investment in a pot operator, it was announced Thursday.

Caliva, a San Jose, California-based group, said it would use the investment to grow a company that includes a farm, a retail store, distribution center and a delivery service. It also distributes its branded products in dozens of other retail outlets in the state.

The former San Francisco 49ers star said his venture capital firm was investing in an industry he says he believes "can provide relief to many people and can make a serious impact on opioid use or addiction." Some doctors recommend marijuana to treat opioid addiction and as an alternate relief for pain.

Oh, I see.  It’s to “provide relief,” and to “make a serious impact on opioid use or addiction.”

My apologies for thinking that he was just out to make a fast - but sleazy - buck.

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/25845197/football-great-joe-montana-joins-investment-legal-marijuana-operator

*********** “Discipline is 90 per cent anticipation.”

I heard Woody Hayes say it years ago, and it’s influenced my coaching ever since.

I’m convinced that kids basically want to please, but you have a ressponsibility to them to let them know what it is that pleases you - and displeases you. If it’s important to you that kids act a certain way in certain situations,  that they do or don’t do something, it’s on you to explain that to them.

Your credibility is in question if you go off on kids for something you never told them about; at the very least it interferes with your mission.

That’s why for years - in the classroom and on the field - nothing took place until the kids knew the ground rules.  If a kid didn’t know the rules, it was up to me to make sure he did.   It might take me a couple of days of classes to make sure everyone knew, but I can assure you that the rest of the year was a piece of cake.  I could devote class time to what I was supposed to teach, and not with dealing with knuckleheads.

The same thing applies with a football team.  You just can’t permit misconduct to sidetrack you - to prevent you from doing your job -  and the best way to deal with a problem is to anticipate it, and head it off.

EXAMPLE 1:   During a drill, a kid throws a ball back to the line of srimmage and the ball hits the coach in the head.  The coach goes wild, using all manner of profanity in lacing into the kid who threw it.  Now, the coach is in trouble.

ANTICIPATION: Make it a part of your culture that during a drill,  you run the ball back. No one throws the damn thing except the quarterback. Somebody could get hurt; somebody could get pissed off; it could waste time.  (I am constantly amazed at the teams I see that pay no attention to this potential problem.)

EXAMPLE 2: On the bus ride home after a loss, some of the kids are screwing around and laughing, to the point where the coach has had enough, and he stands up and profanely tears into the kids.  The coach gets a letter of reprimanded in his file.

ANTICIPATION: Make sure that your players understand how you expect them to act on trips - coming and going, winning or losing.  No shouting out the windows, no playing grab-ass, no leaving trash on the bus, etc., etc.

EXAMPLE 3: The team has a bye, so on Friday night the coach takes the team to a movie. One player, for some reason, does not go.  That night, returning from the movies, the coach learns that that kid was at a party, the police raided it,  and the kid was picked up for MIP (Minor in possession). School district policy requires that he be inelgible to play for the next several games.

ANTICIPATION: If it is a TEAM function, EVERYBODY goes.  No excuses, no exceptions. And make sure that parents understand this, so Sonny doesn’t try telling them “it’s optional.”

*********** After they changed the name of the Heart of Dallas Bowl to the First Responders Bowl, a Dallas city councilman named Scott Griggs suggested it was a naked attempt to try to get more support from the city.  Who, after all, could possibly be against First Responders?  In fact, he said, one of these days ESPN would probably change the name to the “First Responders, Veterans and Orphans Bowl.”

*********** Tom Walls, in Winnipeg, Manitoba (that’s Canada, and not one of our 57 states) has been running the Open Wing in the 12-man game.  He’s playing the 11-man game with a man whom he calls his “Canadian,” and we often discuss the things he can do with the guy.

One suggestion I made was to  use him the way lots of colleges now use their “H” back, as a sort of off-the-line Tight End who can be a receiver, a lead blocker, an across-the-backfield blocker, a diversionary motion man, or even a running back.

In the example below, he could be used not only to provide some misdirection but also to block a man that in the 11-man game the QB would be reading, or run a bubble.
Canadian Open Wing


Shown here, the Canadian essentially becomes a single wing blocking back, turning the offense into half spread and half single wing -  a very exciting prospect for me.

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

Enjoying my spring break so much I almost forgot to take a look at your blog!

USC has certainly "earned" its nickname now..."University of Spoiled Children."  And that nickname was coined long before anyone ever heard of Lori Loughlin or Lynn Swan.  That's what we called it when I was kid growing up in California.  I would actually cheer for Ohio State to beat USC in those Rose Bowls, and if you're ranking my list of least favorite colleges Ohio State would be number 2.

Austin (where we live) is considered Portland's "sister" city.  As former Governor Rick Perry said, "Austin is a blueberry in the tomato soup."  What does that make Portland??  The biggest blueberry in the blueberry jello?

E-Sports???  I can see it now.  A varsity letterman's jacket with a game controller patch on the sleeve.  And I thought band patches were a stretch.

That retirement community joke was funny.  But I actually was thinking the guy would dump a couple feet of snow on the car as well.

Now that I have and have read your revised playbook I plan on buying your Open Wing DVD set next.  

Enjoy the weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe, the state of Oregon gets a bum rap. 

In 2017 - The state’s population was 4.143 million.  The Portland metro area’s population was  2.435 million. That includes some 500,000 in Washington, but it still means that it contains close to half the state’s population.   And Portland is, indeed, liberal.  There is something to those “Keep Portland Weird” bumper stickers.

If anybody wants to see what America would look like if the President were elected by popular vote, look no further than Oregon.  The map shows the county-by-county 2016 vote for Oregon’s governor. Only seven of Oregon’s 36  voted for the Democrat.   But she won, because there are enough people in Multnomah County (Portland) to control the state.

Oregon electoral map

Most of Oregon is farms, mountains, timberland and ranchland.  But that one little area in the upper left-hand corner of the state rules the entire state.

*********** MIke Trout is my favorite baseball player, mainly because he’s a South Jersey kid - from Millville, and he really does seem to have his head on straight.  (His dad was a high school coach.)  And he’s probably the best player in the game.

That part of South Jersey is just far enough away from Philadelphia and its suburbs to retain its small-town-in-the-country flavor.    Also reasonable real estate prices. Let me explain.

Trout, 27 years old, is said to be mulling over a 12-year, $430 million contract to keep with with the Los Angeles Angels (or the Anaheim Angels or the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - whatever).

That works out to $36 million a year, or assuming a 162-game season, $222,220 per GAME.

A look at Zillow’s real estate listings in Millville shows that $222,222 would buy a very nice home with a little bit of land.

He will not get to keep all of that money, of course - our benevolent government will take a bunch of it.  But still, the idea of earning enough every game to pay off a house?

*********** QUIZ ANSWER: As a player and then as a coach,   Dan Reeves took part in nine Super Bowls.  Only Bill Belichick, with 11, has appeared in more.

He is one of only three men (along with Bud Grant and Marv Levy) to have coached in four Super Bowls without winning, and he’s one of only six men to have taken two different teams to a Super Bowl.

As a coach,  his overall record (201-174-2 in 23 years) was a winning one, but his 165 regular season losses tie him (with Jeff Fisher) for the all-time high.

A native of Americus, Georgia, he attended South Carolina, which, after he missed several games of his senior year, was the only school to offer him a scholarship.

At South Carolina, he was a three-year starter at quarterback, and was named second team All-Conference (ACC) his junior and senior years.

He was not drafted by either than NFL or the AFL,  but he turned down offers from the AFL Chargers and the Pittsburgh Pirates (he was an outstanding outfielder at South Carolina) to sign with the Cowboys.

He started out in the secondary but was quickly moved to running back following training camp injuries.

He played eight seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, and rushed for 1,990 yards and caught passes for another 1,693 yards.  In all, he scored 42 touchdowns.

After retirement he joined Tom Landry’s staff, and in 1981 he was hired by the Broncos as  their head coach.  He was 37, the youngest head coach in the NFL.

Shortly after, the Broncos acquired John Elway, and in our guy’s 12 years as Denver’s head coach, he took them to three Super Bowls in a four-year span. Unfortunately, they lost all three. He was fired after going 8-8 in 1992, and was replaced by Wade Phillips.

From Denver he moved on to the Giants, but after a great first season there (11-5), his record tapered off and after four years he was let go.

Atlanta immediately signed him, and in his second year there he took them to the Super Bowl, although missing the last two regular-season games to have heart bypass surgery.  That Super Bowl happened to be against the Broncos and it happened to be John Elway’s only Super Bowl win.

Reeves had only two winning seasons in his seven years in Atlanta, and part way through the 2003 season he was let go, replaced by - Wade Phillips.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING DAN REEVES:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
CHARLIE WILSON - CRYSTAL RIVER, FLORIDA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA (Good player, good coach, good at throwing half back pass also)
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
PETE PORCELLI -WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY (I always thought that he was a very good coach. I also knew Jim Lee Howell.  I saw him coach the Giants against my Browns in Cleveland when I was a boy.  My father always tried to get tickets when the Giants came to town.  We lived in Cincinnati then and you were a Browns fan in football and a Reds fan in baseball.)
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
JOE GUTILLA, AUSTIN, TEXAS

*********** A deeper look at Dan Reeves the man…

The back story… in 1999, at the Super Bowl Breakfast on the Saturday before the big game, Falcons’ safety Eugene Robinson was presented the Athletes in Action/Bart Starr Award as “the NFL player who best exemplifies outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community.”

It just so happened that Robinson would be playing in the game the next day, and that night, Robinson - “the NFL player who best exemplifies outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community,”  remember - was arrested for soliciting sex from an undercover cop who posed as a prosititute. (How’s that for fighting crime?)

The next day, despite enormous pressure not to do so,  Reeves allowed Robinson to play.

20 years later, at the 2019 Super Bowl Breakfast, Dan Reeves was a special guest, and Tony Dungy called him up to the stage to interview him.

At the end of their conversation, Dungy brought up the Robinson incident from 1999. A video message was then played from Robinson, who recounted what he has called “the worst night of my life,” and how Reeves prayed with him. But the coach didn’t simply pray for his struggling player, he also prayed for himself, acknowledging that we’re all sinners.

“You prayed for yourself,” Robinson said in the video. “And then you started to pray for me, then you prayed for my wife and my kids, and prayed for my family that was there being responsible while I was playing in the Super Bowl. And at that time I didn’t feel alone. I didn’t feel as if I was all by myself. At that time you didn’t become my coach, you became my friend, you became my Christian brother who was helping a brother that was in need. And that’s what you’ve become.

“Since that time, God has mended and atoned and healed a lot of things in my life. But it doesn’t go a minute when we get to the Super Bowl during this time of year that I don’t think about you, and I think about the compassion that you had, the love that you had for a guy who was your football player that you didn’t look at as a football player — that you looked at as a Christian brother that was in need. I will absolutely never, ever forget that, and that has stayed with me all these years. It’s 20 years as the anniversary of that football game comes.”

https://sportsspectrum.com/sport/football/2019/02/03/eugene-robinson-sends-heartfelt-thanks-to-coach-dan-reeves-for-prayer-after-super-bowl-transgression/

*********** QUIZ - He is probably the best known offensive line coach in the history of the NFL.

In his 30 years in the NFL, he served as line coach of the (St. Louis) Cardinals, the Chargers, the Falcons, the Redskins and the (St. Louis) Rams, and spent six years as head coach of the Cardinals.

He is credited with developing today’s “hands on” method of pass protection.

He came out of Compton, Calfornia and was an All-American end at Cal under the legendary Pappy Waldorf, leading the nation in pass receiving in 1954.

Cut by the Rams, he played a year in the CFL before being drafted by someone else - Uncle Sam.  His “service” consisted mostly of playing football, and his coach at Fort Ord, California was a young guy from Washington named Don Coryell.

When he got out of the service, he found a teaching job near his wife’s hometown of Marysville, California and helped out at the local junior college as a volunteer, while getting his teaching certificate at Sacramento State.

His next job was as head coach at Charter Oak High School in Southern California, and after two successful years there he moved on to Glendale City College, then to the University of Utah. His next stop was at his alma mater, Cal, but after the entire staff was fired for recruiting violations, he was out of work.

That’s when he was offered a job by his old coach at Fort Ord, Don Coryell, who was now head coach at San Diego State.

And that’s when he became an offensive line coach.

In his words (from his book “Beyond X’s and O’s)

“All the way back to juco, I had been working with quarterbacks and receivers, so I thought I would end up with one of the jobs. Then I found out he (Coryell) already had both of those coaches, so I really had no idea what I was going to do.

“Don and I were in his car one day, going to pick up some furniture, and I asked him, ‘What am I going to be coaching?’

“He said, ‘Offensive line.’

“That’s how I became an offensive line coach.”

After just one year at SDSU, he went to St. Louis along with Coryell when the latter was hired as head coach by the Cardinals.

And when the guy Coryell had offered the offensive line coaching job to  (a guy with NFL experience) turned him down, our guy said he told Coryell, “Let me coach the offensive line.  Give me a year, and if I don’t get the job done, fire me.”

In his book, he explained his thinking:

“We were throwing the ball at San Diego State more than almost anybody in pro ball.  I could tell from watching the Cardinals’ linemen on film that they had never been taught the proper mechanics of pass protection.”

He definitely got the job done. Introducing his blocking techniques, he overcame the initial skepticism and built one of the NFL’s best lines, with the likes of Ernie McMillan, Dan Dierdorf, Tom Banks and Conrad Dobler.

When Coryell took the Chargers’ job, he went along, but after just one season he returned to St. Louis  - as the Cardinals’ head coach.  After going 39-49-1, he was fired, and the next year he wound up coaching the line in Atlanta.

In his third year in Atlanta, he finished the season as interim head coach after Marion Campbell was fired, and then he wound up in Washington, where his old friend Joe Gibbs, who had coached the running backs in St, Louis, was now head coach.  Gibbs had already won two Super Bowls in Washington, and in 1991, with our guy coaching the famed “Hogs,” (Russ Grimm, Jeff Bostic, Joe Jacoby, Jim Lachey, Mark Schlereth), he won a third.

After the 1996 season season, when the Rams returned to St. Louis - and Dick Vermeil returned to coaching - he joined Vermeil’s staff. The Rams went 5-11 in 1997 and  4-12 in 1998, but in 1999, with a new offensive coordinator in Mike Martz and a new QB in Trent Green, they thought they had a potential Super Bowl team. And then Green went down in a pre-season game.

The rest is sports history.  The offensive line played exceptionally well, and  a previously unknown quarterback named Kurt Warner took the Rams to a Super Bowl win.

Our guy retired following the 2003 season, and for several years after that did color commentary on Rams’ radio broadcasts.

He was very popular with players, coaches and fans.

He introduced Dan Dierdorf at his Hall of Fame induction, served as Grand Marshall of the St. Louis St. Patrick’s Day parade, and as a veteran was chosen to run onto the field carrying the American flag at the Rams’ first home game following 9-11.

Describing his major contribution to the game, he wrote, “this method of pass protection has continued on through the years, and I’m very proud to have been the guy who developed it and brought it to the NFL in 1973.”


american flagTUESDAY,  MARCH 19,  2019   “A step backward after making a wrong turn is a step in the right direction.” Kurt Vonnegut


*********** The next big scandal?
"Each member of Congress is given 5 slots for each of three academies (West Point, the Naval Academy, and the Air Force Academy). For each slot that is open, the congressman can nominate up to ten candidates. Thus, if the congressman had four slots open and wished to fill all of them, he could nominate 40 students."
Whew. Fortunately, with the sort of ethical people American voters send to Washington, nobody could bribe their kid's way into  a service academy.

*********** Bill Plaschke, a highly respected and very influential Los Angeles Times sports columnist, is calling for USC to fire AD Lynn Swann. Excerpts:

Swann needs to go, now, for the sake of a world-class university with an otherwise sterling academic reputation that has been soiled by an athletic director who behaves like a dummy.

***

USC’s academic reputation is spiraling because of athletics, and that’s on Swann.

***

There have been two announced FBI probes into college sports in recent months. Only one school was cited in both of them. USC.

***
In the past 18 months, of five USC current or former athletic department employees who have been arrested by the FBI, three of them worked under Swann.

***
It seems like the problem isn’t with what Swann did. It’s with what he didn’t do. It boggles the mind what he didn’t do.

The No. 3 official in the athletic department is pushing fake recruits through the system and the athletic director never notices? Granted, these were all purportedly non-scholarship students, but Swann has basically no idea who is entering school through his doors?

Three were fake football players, including a “kicker’’ who had no idea how to kick and a long-snapper who never played in high school. Seriously? Football is Swann’s main responsibility and he never looks at who is being admitted as a football player?

Some were fake basketball players — small, uncoordinated ones — and it is truly a march toward madness when an athletic director doesn’t know who enters school under the cover of his second-most celebrated program.

It doesn’t feel like a coincidence that most of the bribed admissions occurred in non-revenue sports, including water polo, lacrosse and crew. It’s entirely possible that Swann just ignored those teams entirely.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-usc-swann-admissions-corruption-20190313-story.html

I’m having trouble trying to figure out how Lynn Swann, who has been at USC since 2016,  is at fault for something that started almost ten years ago and was carried out by three coaches that were on staff before he arrived. And the USC "senior athletic administrator" who masterminded the whole scheme at USC had been in that positin since 2011, promoted to her position  by Swann's predecessor.  I have a feeling that she had become pretty damned adept at covering her tracks. I’d sure like to see the person with the magic touch who can replace Lynn Swann and  do what he and other ADs at places like Yale and Georgetown weren't able to do.

If it were only USC, that would be one thing.  But it  happened at many other schools, and although it happened to a greater extent at USC, you could certainly argue - and I will - that USC was at ground zero,  the nearest elite, in-demand college  to fixer Singer and so many of his rich bastard clients.

It’s impossible for an AD to be aware of cheaters on his staff if they’re really good at hiding things, as those sorts often are. (Ask the NCAA how tough it can be catching cheaters.)  Not everybody is as stupid (or greedy)  as the Yale soccer coach who tried to bypass Singer and cut his own deal with a parent - a person who just happened to be having his own problems with the Feds and turned in the coach as part of a deal.  

Mike Lude, the straightest guy I’ve ever met, was AD at Washington and at Auburn. Not once in his entire career as a head coach or AD was he ever associated with a whiff of scandal, and he made it  hisJob One to make sure that programs under him were free of any taint. But even he will admit that "some water goes by the mill that the miller is not aware of." He once told me about finding out years later, only after he was long gone from Auburn, that while he was the  AD there  a handful of wealthy Auburn boosters had a certain assistant coach on the staff doing their dirty work.  They'd make sure that he always had plenty of cash on hand to "take care" of certain players, and he doled out the cash in the form of “signing bonuses” (of as much as $12,000) and monthly stipends of $600 or so.


(For a great article on Auburn football “back then” - http://www.espn.com/espn/magazine/archives/news/story?page=magazine-19990531-article32 )

*********** Want to help your kids feel better mentally?  Tell ‘em to get the hell off of social media!

From an article in the Wall Street Journal by Ben Cohen entitled, The NBA in The Age of Anxiety

NBA players belong to a generation of people who have grown up with access to phones and whose brains have been warped by the machines in their pockets. Some of them have deleted their Twitter accounts entirely. But more of them can’t help but waste hours every day refreshing their feeds even if it means getting screamed at by strangers.

Psychologists are beginning to understand these monumental shifts in human behavior, and one recent addition to the body of scientific literature was a study of Penn undergraduates who were randomly assigned to control groups that limited their access to Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat to an unthinkable 10 minutes per day over three weeks. Hunt and the co-authors of the study looked at seven categories like anxiety, depression and fear of missing out (FOMO) and found that going on such a cleanse was fantastic for their mental health. It turned out that restricted access to social media was directly related to noticeable improvements in well-being.

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

Just finished the Friday blog and wanted to comment on the Wing T piece. Arguably the Wing T was developed at the University of Maine by Dave Nelson and Harold Westerman - and Mike Lude. During my coaching days I was fortunate to have been around some of the very best Wing T coaches including yourself, Ronnie Rogerson and Alex Rosko. Alex has had fabulous success in both Massachusetts and Maine running the offense including a state title this year. So much of the D-W has its foundation in the Wing T and I remember clips of you running it at I believe Hudson’s Bay. I have an old tape of Alabama and the Irish where the Irish ran the Wing T and won (a tape I got from you lol).  

My point - all things being equal only superior talent gets a win against a Wing T offense.

I enjoy reading the blog and look forward to it each week. Great work.

Jack Tourtillotte
Rangeley, Maine

Jack, a longtime Wing-T guy from the real home of the Delaware Wing-T, was a very successful coach at Boothbay, Maine, and after he retired from education I persuaded him to come out to the Northwest and help me coach at North Beach,  Kids loved him.  Hell of a coach and hell of a guy. He took to our seafood right away. Made great fried oysters and great chowder.

Ron Rogerson, to whom Jack refers, is a very sad story.  A Mainer himself, he played at the University of Maine, then after spending two years at Colorado State (under head coach MIke Lude) and 10 years as an assistant at Delaware, he was hired as head coach at his alma mater.  After four years at Maine, he was hired as head coach at Princeton, and he was headed into his third season there when on August 8, 1987 he died of a heart attack while jogging. He was only 44.


*********** I felt that I ought to share this with you… It’s worth reading, if only to read Yale’s president’s justication of intercollegiate athletics:

To the Yale Community,

I am writing about the actions I have taken in the wake of revelations regarding an ongoing FBI investigation into an admissions fraud scheme that targeted universities nationwide, including Yale. Dozens of people have been charged with federal crimes. These individuals allegedly bribed athletic coaches and standardized testing officials, or accepted the bribes, to deceive the admissions offices of universities. These dishonest and criminal actions are an affront to our community’s deeply held values of fairness, inclusion, and honesty. I am therefore initiating a number of actions to make sure we understand the full impact of this criminal scheme on our university and to protect our admissions processes in the future.

The FBI investigation has revealed that a Yale coach gave bogus athletic endorsements to two students, one of whom was admitted to Yale College. (For more information, please see this FAQ.) When applicants sign their applications, they attest that the contents are true and complete. Although I do not comment on specific disciplinary actions taken with respect to an individual student, our longstanding policy is to rescind the admission of students who falsified their Yale College applications.

The ongoing federal investigation has publicized wrongdoing by one Yale coach who participated in this scheme; however, I have decided that we must conduct our own searching review in order to learn whether others have been involved in activities that have corrupted the athletic recruitment and admissions process. We will retain external advisors to assist us. They will be asked to recommend changes that will help us detect and prevent efforts to defraud our admissions process. As part of this review, we will specifically examine the practices of commercial admissions consultants, whose work is conducted out of the view of admissions officers.

Since her arrival on July 1, 2018, and before we knew of the federal investigation or its findings, Director of Athletics Victoria Chun independently had begun to put in place new policies and procedures regarding the oversight and assessment of our coaching staff. The goals of her initiatives are to ensure that student-athletes receive an excellent education at Yale and to enhance the quality of our athletic programs. In addition, going forward, Ms. Chun will conduct a review of coaches’ proposed rosters of recruits before they are sent to the admissions office, and situations in which a recruited athlete fails to make a team will receive close scrutiny. These measures will help prevent opportunities for undermining the fairness and integrity of the Yale College admissions process.

Ms. Chun is working with Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan to implement a code of conduct for athletic recruitment. They also will design even more robust training for all coaches to ensure they understand our recruitment procedures and the ethical expectations involved in supporting student-athletes in our admissions process.

Athletics is part of the educational mission of Yale College. Under the Ivy League model, those who play on our varsity teams are student-athletes, and “student” comes first. Our sports teams engender pride among our whole community, and I have often said that we bask in their reflected glory, bringing the Yale College community closer together. The athletics program, including the varsity teams, is also an important part of the Yale College educational experience; students better themselves by playing their sport. They learn self-discipline, how to work as part of a team, how to subordinate individual ambition to a group accomplishment, and how to be resilient in the face of failure. These skills are important in every area of life, including academics.

As we proceed with these first steps, we may find that more actions are necessary. I will not spare our university any scrutiny that will help us to be better and bolster the integrity of our community.

Sincerely,

Peter Salovey
President


This part of the letter  is worth citing whenever someone attacks sports as not being a part of an education:

“The athletics program, including the varsity teams, is also an important part of the Yale College educational experience; students better themselves by playing their sport. They learn self-discipline, how to work as part of a team, how to subordinate individual ambition to a group accomplishment, and how to be resilient in the face of failure. These skills are important in every area of life, including academics.”

Well said.  But what isn’t said is why, when you have ten or more highly-qualified applicants for every spot in Yale’s freshman class,  the university should be giving admissions breaks to any athletes, no matter how gifted.


*********** Tell me you couldn’t have seen this coming…

Over the years,  you could make book on it:  10 to 15 per cent of Portland’s newly-hired police officers would not make it through the state’s police academy and the department’s 18-month probationary period.

Ah, but things have changed. Of those new recruits who came on board between mid-2016 and mid-2018, 20 to 25 per cent left the force, almost double the previous rate.

Reasons cited for letting them go were “problems multi-tasking,” “making good decisions under stress,” and “misconduct.”  And then there were those who left because they said “the job wasn’t working out.”

Right offhand, I’m going to go out on  a limb and put forward two possible reasons for the decline in quality of recuits:

1. Portland’s lowering of standards in its near-insane push for “diversity” (which, as we all hear so often, “is our strength”) in its police force;

2. All the otherwise-qualified young people who see the conditions that today’s police have to operate under, and the abuse they’re subjected to whenever they have to take strong action, and say to themselves,  “I don’t need that sh—.”


*********** Notice how those earnest students all around the world who demonstrated to save the planet showed how dedicated they were  by choosing to skip school on a Friday?

***********  In doing research on the slingshot goal posts, I came across this one:

Only  three FBS colleges still use “H” goal posts:

Florida State
LSU
Washington State


*********** I was laughing at a TV funny guy named Tyrus - very smart, witty guy - and I heard him use the term “Bulldozer parents.”  Wow.

How about this:

the bulldozer parent takes a completely different approach. In a passive-aggressive manner they forge ahead before their child, removing all obstacles, ensuring success at every turn.

A bulldozer style of parenting, while terribly well-intentioned and meant to “protect” the child from short-term harm, ultimately results in a psychologically fragile child, fearful and avoidant of failure, with never-learned coping strategies and poor resilience.

http://theconversation.com/bulldozer-parents-creating-psychologically-fragile-children-32730


*********** Brad Knight, of Clarinda, Iowa asked, “How does the hot new trend of E Sports play into Title IX? Or do they even count?”

Great question.

They are not yet NCAA-sanctioned sports and may not  come under the auspices of Title IX but college athletic departments are watching  this closely because as you know, girls aren’t into video games - sorry, “E-Sports” - to anywhere near the extent boys are.

It does appear that if they offer E Sports scholarships they could be required to comply with Title IX requirements.

Actually,  simply identifying it as a “real” sport means Title IX is sure to come into play.  (If I had a daughter and I wanted her to get into an elite college, screw the bribery -  I’d just make sure she was into E Sports and hanging out with the gamers!

One real danger, if you’re an E Sports coach (if there are such things), is that with all the money being offered to professionals, some of your best gamers could turn pro before they used up all their eligibility.


http://dailyutahchronicle.com/2019/02/24/the-gaming-world-meets-title-ix-paving-the-way-for-women-in-esports/


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

Years ago, when we were first hit in the face with the mentality of "everyone gets a trophy" my wife asked me what I thought of it.  I told her back then, "if you think some kids are entitled now...just wait!"  She agreed.  And here we are!!  I think THAT alone was the catalyst for what we're reading about, and experiencing today.  But MONEY (a LOT of it) is what drives it.

That region in Pennsylvania was one of many like it back in the day.  Tough kids being raised by tough hard-working parents, coached by tough men.  They also came from cities like Philly, NYC, Chicago.  Unfortunately those days are just a memory.

The other thing that gets me about those Matthew McConaughey Lincoln commercials is that the guy only has to say a few random words, or random grunts!  Now THAT'S talent!

That "3-3" defensive alignment vs. the Wing-T sure does resemble the old wide tackle 6 to me!  Before the game has even started the Wing-T has dictated to the opposing defense what they should or should not do.  Frankly...I'd be licking my chops facing a front like that!

Heck...folks nowadays would be offended if their boys were nicknamed "Wild Man" or "Bucko".

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** Joe Gutilla said it: “folks nowadays would be offended if their boys were nicknamed "Wild Man" or "Bucko.”

Oh, boy.  Would they!

When I was a kid (here we go again), and where I grew up, a nickname was usually a sign of acceptance.

Maybe it was  “Skinny.” (That wouldn’t apply to too many of today’s kids, though.) A Hall of Fame coach took the nickname “Tubby” to the grave with him.  Shorty McWilliams was an Army football great.

I never knew a kid named James.  But I knew a lot of Jims and Jimmys.

Nor did I ever know a kid named Robert.  They were all Bobs and Bobbys.

Michael was always Mike and Joseph was always Joe.

Nowadays, of course, if a kid is named James, that’s his name.  And Robert is Robert, Michael is Michael and Joseph is Joseph.   Many are the angry mothers - they’re the ones who name kids these days - who will confront you, as a teacher, if you dare to call their son by a shortened version of the name they gave him.
Forget Bucko.  Or Tuffy. Or Slim or  Red (“Reds” if you’re from Philly) or, God forbid, Whitey.

In fact, where once the goal of very kid was to “fit in,” today’s designer names reflect the goal of “standing out,” and it’s hard as hell to even find a James, a Robert, a Michael or a Joseph, much less a Jim, a Bob, a Mike or a Joe.

In his book “The Great American Novel,” Philip Roth describes the tribulations of a young baseball player on the Ruppert Mundys,  a wartime team populated by players unfit for military service.  He’s small and undersized, and for him fitting in means acquiring a nickname, like all good baseball players:

Nickname Damur (TR, BR, 5′, 92 lbs.) could run the ninety feet from home to first in 3.4 seconds, and that was about it. At fourteen he was the youngest player in the majors, as well as the skinniest. The joke was (or was it a joke?) that the Mundy brothers were paying him by the pound; not that the boy cared anything about money anyway- no, all he seemed to think about from the moment he joined the team in spring training, was making a nickname for himself. “How about Hank?” he asked his new teammates his very first day in the scarlet and white, “don’t I look like a Hank to you guys?” He was so green they had to sit him down and explain to him that Hank was the nickname for Henry. “Is that your name, boy–Henry?” “Nope. It’s worse. . . Hey, how about Dutch? Dutch Damur. It rhymes!” “Dutch is for Dutchmen, knucklehead.” “Chief?” “For Injuns.” “Whitey?” “For blonds.” “How about Ohio then, where I’m from?” “That ain’t a name.” “Hey-how about Happy? Which I sure am, bein’ here with you all!” “Don’t worry, you won’t be for long.” “Well, then,” he said shyly, “given my incredible speed and all, how about Twinkletoes? Or Lightning? Or Flash!” “Don’t boast, it ain’t becomin’. We wuz all fast once’t.  So was everybody in the world.  That don’t make you special one bit.” “Hey! How about Dusty? That rhymes too!”

But even when he himself had settled upon the nickname he wouldn’t have minded seeing printed beneath his picture on a bubble gum card, or hearing announced over the loudspeaker when he stepped up to bat, his teammates refused to address him by it. Mostly, in the beginning, they did not address him at all if they could help it, but just sort of pushed him aside to get where the were going or walked right through him as if he weren’t there. A fourteen-year-old kid weighting ninety-two pounds playing in the infield! “What next?” they said, spitting on the dugout steps in disgust, “a reindeer or a slit?” In the meantime, Damur begin tugging at his cap every two minutes, hoping they would notice and start calling him Cappy; he took to talking as though he had been born on a farm, saying “hoss” for horse and  calling the infield “the pea patch,” expecting they would shortly start calling him Rube; suddenly he began running out to his position in the oddest damn way –“What the hell you doin’, boy?” they asked. “That’s just the way I walk,” he replied, “like a duck.” But no one took the hint and called him Ducky or Goose. Nor when he chattered encouragement to the pitcher did they think to nickname him Gabby. “Shut up with that noise, willya?” cried the pitcher–“You’re driving me batty,” and so that was the end of that. Finally, in desperation, he whined, “Jee-zuz! What about Kid at least?” “We already got a Kid on this club. Two’s confusin’.” “But he’s fifty years old and losin’ his teeth!” cried Damur. “I’m only fourteen. I am a kid.” “Tough. He wuz here before you wuz even born.”

It was Jolly Cholly Tuminikar, the Mundy peacemaker and Sunday manager, who christened him Nickname. Not that Damur was happy about it, as surely he would have been, dubbed Happy. “‘Nickname’ isn’t a nickname, it’s the name for a nickname. Hey–how about Nick? That’s the nickname for nickname. Call me Nick, guys!” “Nick? That’s for Greeks. You aint’ Greek.” “But whoever heard of a baseball player called Nickname Damur?” “And who ever heard a’ one that weighed ninety-two pounds and could not endorse a razor blade if they even asked him to?”

Indeed, so slight was he, that on opening day of the ’43 season, a base runner barreling into second knocked Nickname so high and so far that the center-fielder, Roland Agni, came charging in to make a sensational diving two-handed catch of the boy. “Out!” roared the field umpire, until he remembered that of course it is the ball not the player that has to be caught, and instantly reversed his decision. The fans, however, got a kick out of seeing Nickname flying this way and that, and when he came to bat would playfully call out to him, “How about Tarzan? How about Gargantua?” and the opposing team had their fun too, needling him from the bench–“How about Powerhouse? How about Hurricane? How about Hercules, Nickname?” At last the diminitive second-sacker couldn’t take any more. “Stop it,” he cried, “stop, please,” and with tears running down his face, pleaded with his tormentors, “My name is Oliver!” But, alas, it was too late for that.

*********** Internet Humor…

At  a Florida retirement community named The Villages, a bumper sticker on a parked car read:

“I Miss Chicago!"

Someone came along and broke one of its windows, stole the radio, shot out all four of the tires, added an Obama bumper sticker, and left a note on the dash:

"Hope this helps"

*********** Back in 2008, Kansas State and the Black Lions (stationed then at Fort Riley, Kansas) worked very closely together. That year, KSU defensive end Ian Campbell, a former walk-on from Cimarron, Kansas, became a two-time team captain.  He won the Wildcats' Black Lion Award, and he proudly wore the Black Lion patch in their games.  He never forgot his hometown, and Greg Koenig, now the coach at Cimarron, sent me a link to a clip of Ian speaking on behalf of a drive to  upgrade the school’s athletic facilities…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qxw0KDUrxv4&feature=youtu.be

*********** Just got a call from old friend David Crump, a longtime coach from Owensboro, Kentucky (and a diehard Western Kentucky and Cleveland Browns’ fan), who informed me that after almost ten years without a computer, he’s returned to the World as We Know It.  I imagine he’ll be answering the QUIZ from time to time.


*********** Joe Donnolo passed away a few weeks ago at his home in Las Vegas. In a manner of speaking  Joe was my first experience with diversity - my first real exposure to someone “from away.”

Joe was from South Philly.

He came to my high school, Germantown Academy, at the start of senior year, along with a buddy named Mike Carrozza.

Germantown Academy was - duh - in Germantown, on the opposite end of town from South Philadelphia.  To city kids then, those were two different worlds.  There was absolutely no way that kids in one section would have had any dealings with kids in another section.  On the PTC (public transit), it was an end-to-end ride on the Broad Street Subway, then a transfer to the “S” Bus, a jaunt of at least 45 minutes one way.

Germantown was so-named because it was where the first German settlers in the original colonies landed. But it wasn’t exactly “German.”  It was very “American”   - the original German settlers  had been joined by people from a great variety of places.  Elsewhere in Philadelphia, though, as in many older cities, neighborhoods and sections were defined ethnically, and South Philadelphia was Italian.  Definitely Italian.  It was a world unto itself.  You name the stereotype, good or bad, and South Philly confirmed it.

And then Joe and Mike arrived. I have never asked them what prompted their parents to send them to such an unfamiliar place, but  from the start, they fit right in.  Great guys.  Real assets to the school and class.  Talk about blowing up bad stereotypes.

They graduated from G-A and from then on they always considered themselves, and the rest of us always considered them, one of us.   Joe moved away and wound up in Las Vegas.  Mike and I had lunch a couple of years ago at his country club outside Philly.  (He stayed around the area and he did well and remains active in class affairs.)  I think it says something about the way we welcomed those guys that that one year with us made enough of an impression on them to bring them in - make them feel a part of us.

In talking about Joe with another classmate on Sunday, we discussed  how his and Mike’s adjustment could have taken place so effortlessly.  Nowadays, of course, we’d have been properly prepared for these newcomers - “now boys, we’re going to have some new boys in school and don’t be surprised if they’re a bit different… “ - but nobody ever said a word to us.

They just arrived. And they were accepted right away. And that was that.

And then, on the phone, we both realized what it was: it was football.  Joe and Mike were both football players. We had a  pretty damn good team, but with a graduating class of 45 boys, we could always use more players, and they were good enough football players that they were able to help us. 

Without football, who knows?

Talking about Joe - and football - brought back a vivid memory of my introduction to the world of South Philadelphia and the people who lived there.

Joe’s mom died midway through the football season, and our coach, thinking that it would be a nice gesture if the  captains were to represent the team at her funeral, sent a few of us down to South Philly for the services.

Looking back, the scene was classic - the ladies in black, the open weeping and wailing at the casket, the crepe on the front door as a sign of mourning…

It was all very sad.

Afterward,  we were invited back to the Donnolos’ home, an unpretentious rowhouse on a tiny street, and were led downstairs to a very impressive basement, with a long table in the middle, set up for a feast for maybe 20 people or so.  And we, as honored guests apparently, were asked to sit down and join the family for the meal.

What a meal it was.  As I remember, it seemed as if someone had thrown a switch and funeral had been changed to festival.  I couldn’t believe how warm and nice everyone one was, and how good the food was (Joe’s dad, it turned out, was the manager of one of Philadlephia’s best-known restaurants, Old Original Bookbinder’s). 

And oh, yes, there was the drink.  Strong drink.   It was offered and - “we insist…please” - accepted.  (We had a few.)

We made it back to school in time for practice.  I don’t remember anything from there.

*********** Three years ago former Army football player Chuck Schretzman  was diagnosed with one of the cruelest diseases known to mankind - ALS.   He’s fought it admirably, as you might expect of a football player and a soldier, and although he has to use a wheelchair to get around, on Sunday he managed to walk up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art - to see the Rocky statue.

https://www.facebook.com/schretzezgirl/videos/pcb.10216344134855163/10216344117414727/?type=3&theater

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

The Giants coach is Jim Lee Howell.  I am rereading "When Pride Still Mattered" by David Maraniss and I remember that coaching staff from the section in the book. 

Thank you for your time

Russ Meyers
Annapolis, Maryland

Hi Coach-

Glad to hear you’re re-reading that book. It’s a go-to book for me.  I don’t know how many times I go to it to check something out because I know that if David Maraniss wrote it, you can take it to the bank.

David  is on the board of the Black Lion Award program so I’ve gotten to know him a little.   He is a great writer as well as a great researcher. He braved a winter in Green Bay to do a large part of his research on Lombardi.

(And he learned Spanish so he could do a thorough job of research on Roberto Clemente.)

For anyone wanting to read a great book on the war in Vietnam (as well as the so-called “peace movement” back in the states), his “They Marched Into Sunlight” is  a classic.  It goes back and forth, chapter by chapter, from the American guys pulled off the streets of America,  doing their duty in the jungle under sometimes impossible conditions, to the spoiled brat protesters at the University of Wisconsin who seemed to think it was their patriotic duty to blow things up on campus.  (There.  Did I reveal my bias?)


*********** QUIZ ANSWER: Jim Lee Howell was a standout in football and basketball at the University of Arkansas.

As an end for the New York Giants, he played on two NFL championship teams.

After service in the Marines in the Pacific in World War II, he came back to finish his NFL career while also coaching at Wagner College, and in 1948 he retired as a player and joined the staff of Giants’ coach Steve Owen.

In 1954, he took over as Giant’s head coach when Owen stepped down after 23 years at the helm.

He was an NFL head coach for only seven seasons, but his career was remarkable.

As head coach of the New York Giants from 1954 through 1960,  he coached some of the Giants’ all-time greats, such as quarterback Charley Conerly, running back Frank Gifford, wide receiver Kyle Rote, linebacker Sam Huff, offensive lineman Roosevelt Brown, defensive backs Jimmy Patton and Emlen Tunnell, and defensive linemen Andy Robustelli and Roosevelt Grier.

In those pre-Super Bowl days, his teams played in three NFL championship games. One was a 47-7 pasting of the Chicago Bears in 1956, and the other was the 23-17 sudden-death loss to the Baltimore Colts 23-17 in 1958, the NFL game still widely called the Greatest Game Ever Played.

In 1956 he was the Sporting News Coach of the Year.

He never had a losing season.  His overall record was 55-29-4, for a winning percentage of .663. The Giants have had 13 coaches since then, and only one - Bill Parcells - even came close to his winning percentage.

So why isn’t he better known and more respected?  Very simply, it’s because so much of his success was due to the quality of his assistant coaches.  His offensive coach (the term “coordinator” had yet to be invented) was Vince Lombardi; his defensive coach was Tom Landry.

They ran the show, and most insiders knew it.  They may have been the first well-known assistants in the history of pro football. According to Howell's obituary in the New York Times, “before a big game, the story goes, the Giants' offensive coordinator could be found in one room hard at work with the offensive players, the defensive coordinator in another room deep in discussions with the defensive players and the head coach in a third room reading a newspaper.“

He wasn’t ashamed to admit it.   At the time of his death, Giants’ president Wellington Mara recalled his once having said,  "I just blow up the footballs and keep order."

But despite the self-deprecating humor, Jim Lee Howell was no fool; he was actually way ahead of his time in his delegation of responsibility. “Mostly," wrote the great Red Smith at the time, “He is the administrator and coordinator (there’s that word!) and that apparently is the way to do the job today.”

By no means was everyone else doing it that way back then,  but it’s the way the job’s done today.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JIM LEE HOWELL:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
CHARLIE WILSON - CRYSTAL RIVER, FLORIDA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
JOE GUTILLA, AUSTIN, TEXAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
RUSS MEYERS - ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND


(STILL HAVING TROUBLE WITH MY SPAM FILTER: MAYBE IT CAUGHT MARK KACZMAREK’S CORRECT ID FOR JIM TRIMBLE BECAUSE HE SENT IT FROM FLORIDA INSTEAD OF SUNNY IOWA.)


*********** QUIZ: As a player and then as a coach, he took part in nine Super Bowls; only Bill Belichick, with 11, has appeared in more.

He is one of only three men (along with Bud Grant and Marv Levy) to have coached in four Super Bowls without winning, and he’s one of only six men to have taken two different teams to a Super Bowl.

As a coach,  his overall record (201-174-2 in 23 years) was a winning one, but his 165 regular season losses tie him (with Jeff Fisher) for the all-time high.

A native of Americus, Georgia, he attended South Carolina, which, after he missed several games of his senior year, was the only school to offer him a scholarship.

At South Carolina, he was a three-year starter at quarterback, and was named second team All-Conference (ACC) his junior and senior years.

He was not drafted by either than NFL or the AFL,  but he turned down offers from the AFL Chargers and the Pittsburgh Pirates (he was an outstanding outfielder at South Carolina) to sign with the Cowboys.

He started out in the secondary but was quickly moved to running back following training camp injuries.

In eight seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, he rushed for 1,990 yards and caught 129 passes for another 1,693 yards.  In all, he scored 42 touchdowns.

After retirement he joined Tom Landry’s staff, and in 1981 he was hired by the Broncos as  their head coach.  He was 37, the youngest head coach in the NFL.

Shortly after, the Broncos acquired John Elway, and in our guy’s 12 years as Denver’s head coach, he took them to three Super Bowls in a four-year span. Unfortunately, they lost all three. He was fired after going 8-8 in 1992, and was replaced by Wade Phillips.

From Denver he moved on to the Giants, but after a great first season there (11-5), his record tapered off and after four years he was let go.

Atlanta immediately signed him, and in his second year there he took them to the Super Bowl, although missing the last two regular-season games to have heart bypass surgery.  That Super Bowl happened to be against the Broncos and it happened to be John Elway’s only Super Bowl win.

He had only two winning seasons in his seven years in Atlanta, and part way through the 2003 season he was let go, replaced by - Wade Phillips.




american flagFRIDAY,  MARCH 15,  2019   "Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get."   Dale Carnegie


*********** What can you say about the rich bastards - mostly in California - who’ve been caught bribing various college coaches to get their precious children into selective colleges through the “side door,” bypassing the rest of the chumps who went about the admissions process the way they were instructed to do.

I’m not sure why no one has called this IVYGATE,  so I will.

If you’ve ever had to deal with the kind of parents that you just know would stop at nothing to protect/defend/advance/promote their child,  you have no doubt that they would’ve done the same thing if they’d had real money. 

(Anybody remember Craig James and what he did to Mike Leach?)

This story is really a bitch to write because it touches on so many different topics…

*Envy…
*Greed…
*Immorality…
*Too much f—king money…
*Rich, entitled, status-conscious, overindulgent parents…
*Spoiled, entitled offspring of overindulgent parents
*Corrupt coaches in positions of influence…
*Corrupt fixers who can provide anything for a price
*Title IX and its unintended (but easily foreseen) consequences…
*Admissions preferences for athletes - even minor sport athletes
*The Common App, which allows kids to apply to multiple colleges
*Admission to Elite Colleges as Status Symbols…
*Grade Inflation that keeps dummies from flunking out…
*The Individuals With Disabilities Act and its unintended (but easily foreseen) consequences…
*Adobe Photoshop and its application in enhancing athlete profiles
*Online Classes (and who is really taking them?)
*The FBI (displaying rare competence)…

*********** I can't begin to list the aspects of the story that piss me off, but at the very top of the list is
people cutting in line.

*********** It all starts with filthy rich people with no morals who are used to using their wealth and influence to clear everything and everyone  out of the way of what they want.  I heard Senator John Kennedy from Louisiana call them “odious, vile, repugnant, reprehensible.”  Can’t top that.
   
They’ve given their children everything that money can buy; they started paving the way for those children  even before they were born.  Nothing - but nothing - could ever be allowed to jeopardize their children’s happiness and success.

And then there are the objects of their over-the-top parental indulgence,  the spoiled brats whose every wish has been catered to,  who have never been refused anything they wanted. 

To those parents who have everything that money can buy,  their child’s acceptance to an elite college confers status on them as well as their kids,  not unlike membership in the most exclusive of clubs.

And when suddenly confronted with the thought that their children might be denied admission to the  college the parents have always dreamed of - planned on - their attending,  the parents are willing  and able (being wealthy and powerful and entitled) to do whatever it takes to get that child into that college.

Getting in is all that’s necessary,  really.    Today’s grade inflation means that  no one - no one - ever flunks out of schools like Harvard, Yale and Stanford.   The diploma is immaterial anyhow - all that matters is being able to say that Olivia goes to USC… or Georgetown… or (fill in the elite school’s name).

Here’s where a well-intentioned but much-misused law called Title IX comes in.  Title IX among other things requires colleges to achieve “proportionality” in the  numbers of its male and female athletes - if its student body is 50-50 male and female, then, by damn,  you’d better have close to 50-50 male and female athletes.

Given that football has a number of participants close to or in excess of 100 men, and given that there’s no female sport comparable to that in numbers, proportionality hasn’t been easy to achieve. Right from the start, a college that offers football finds itself 100 female spots behind when it comes time for the “proportionality count.”

What to do?  Either cut men’s sports or add women’s sports. Or a combination of both. The result is that baseball has been eliminated at some colleges, wrestling at others.  Men’s gymnastics is now a thing of the past, and it’s getting harder to find a college with a men’s swim team.  But even after all that chiseling away at men’s participation numbers, they still found themselves out of proportion. So they started adding sports for women - not because there was any great demand,  not because there were large numbers of females lined up to participate, but simply for fear of being found out of compliance with Title IX.
 
One solution for many schools was women’s crew.  Rowing.  Find a lake or a river   -  or,  failing that,  dig a ditch someplace nearby and fill it with water - then buy the shells (boats) and the oars, and hire a coach.  Or coaches.  And then, since there aren’t any women to recruit because there aren’t any women’s high school rowing teams to speak of,  send the coach(es) out onto the campus to start asking athletic-looking young women if they’d like to row.  Oh, and if it helps you make your decision - there’s a full athletic scholarship for you if you say yes. (No lie - this happened to a young woman I know, at Washington State.)

Did I mention that Title IX doesn’t just apply to sheer numbers of athletes, but also to athletic scholarships?  Yup.  If an FBS football school gives out its full complement of 85 scholarships, that means that the athletic department has to make sure to give out 85 athletic scholarships to females,  which explains why they actually do give out scholarships for minor sports where there’s absolutely no need to - they have to.

Hey, I can hear you asking.  What about the Ivy schools?  They don’t give athletic scholarships!

That’s true.  There’s no athletic scholarships at any of the Ivy League colleges - Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton and Yale.  They have what’s called “need-blind admission,” which means that they don’t check to see whether your parents can pay your way.   If they can, it’ll cost them in the neighborhood of $70,000 a year.  If they can’t, these schools are all so heavily endowed that they’re able to provide enough financial aid that any kid they admit can afford to attend.

With the Ivy schools, the trick is getting in.  Thanks to some extent to the “common app,” which makes it fairly easy for kids to apply to lots and lots of colleges, the Ivy schools have thousands of applicants - most of them highly qualified - for a relative small number of “slots” in each year’s freshman class.  Many are the kids who are turned down despite scoring 1600 on the SAT,  carrying a 4.0 (or higher) GPA in an IB curriculum,  captaining  a sports team, holding a class office and spending every vacation in Somalia treating AIDs victims.

But there is one tiny opening in the wall, one dirty little admissions secret: under pressure to excel in sports, one Ivy school after another caved, and agreed to compromise its values - to make certain compromises in its  admissions standards in order to attract better athletes, who might not otherwise have been admitted were they “ordinary students.”

In its simplest form, each sport is given a certain number of “recruited athlete” admissions slots, which means, assuming they can meet reasonable standards,  those on the recruited athletes list are admitted.  This is not to suggest that a fullback at Princeton or a defenseman at Cornell or a volleyball player at Yale is by any means a dummy. It simply means that solely on the word of the coach, they were one of his/her recruited athletes, and they were given preference in admissions.

Oh - and proportionality applies here, too. So all those slots set aside for football equate to a lot of slots  set aside for females.

And then there are the coaches, especially those of minor sports and women's sports (often one and the same).  Many of them, deep down, feel disrespected because they’re coaching sports that most people don’t care about.  And they deeply resent the  enormous sums that they read about football and basketball coaches being paid.  Hey- they work just as hard as football coaches! And they’re working for peanuts!

Enter the fixer.  He’s a guy who can get you anything you want - for a price.  He calls himself a college counselor, and anybody who’s had to deal with the stress of going through the college admissions process can see how his services might be helpful.  But this guy doesn’t just tell  parents that he’ll help their kid get into the best school possible - he tells them that he’ll get that child into the school of their dreams.  He adds that it’s going to cost them a lot of money, but that doesn’t disturb them in the slightest.  It’s only money - we’re talking about our daughter’s future, for God’s sake!

He then makes contact with the coach, who agrees - for a fee - to give over one of his/her “recruited athlete” slots to a child of privilege.   If her grades still aren’t good enough, the fixer can arrange to have someone certify that she’s got a learning disability, and needs extra time on her SAT.  Maybe he’ll have to arrange to have her take it alone, with only a proctor on hand to supervise. (Don’t worry - he’ll pay the proctor enough to help her out if it’s needed.)  If it’s necessary to fake things to make the kid look like a better athlete than she is, the fixer knows plenty of creative people who can take care of that.  And the deal goes down.

The parents make a large contribution to a “foundation” which the fixer has set up, and the foundation, after keeping some of the money (the fixer’s cut), passes along the rest to the coach, as a donation to his/her program. (The parents’ contribution is tax-deductible.)

And the kid’s in. That’s the beauty of it.  Once she’s in - she’s in.  And once in,  who cares if she decides to drop the sport - or doesn’t even show up for the first practice?  So what? It’s one lousy slot - one lousy roster spot - on a team that nobody in the administration cares about, anyhow.

*********** Garrett Gilbert has been looking pretty good at QB for the Orlando Apollos.

In the NFL he was a backup,  but before condemining him for that, look at the guys he’s backed up:

Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo - Patriots
Sam Bradford - Rams
Matthew Stafford - Lions
Derek Carr - Raiders

*********** First it was Jason Whitten’s announcement of his return to the playing field; now comes the news that the “Booger Mobile” will be gone.

What’s going on with Monday Night Football?

If I were  the play-by-play guy, Joe Tessitore,  I’d be watching my back.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/2019/03/07/boogermobile-out-espn-monday-night-football-broadcasts/3098207002/

*********** Vince Young has some serious problems.

Last month he was arrested for drunk driving; it was his second such arrest in the last three years.

And now he’s been fired by the Univerity of Texas from his part-time job as a “development officer” for  "not demonstrating significant and sustained improvement in the performance of (his) job responsibilities and failing to maintain standards of conduct suitable and acceptable to the university."
 
(That’s fancy legalese for not showing up for work.)

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/big12/2019/03/10/texas-fires-vince-young-part-time-job-absences-poor-performance/3122694002/

*********** OH, THANK THE LORD IT WASN'T TRUE...

The NHL investigated the possible use of a homophobic slur during the Tampa Bay Lightning's 6-2 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night, but said it found no evidence that a player had directed the word toward a referee.

Television cameras picked up what sounded like a slur with 1:51 left in the second period.

But the league said Tuesday that it interviewed several participants in the game, including Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly and referee Brad Meier, plus reviewed audio.

"All of those interviewed adamantly denied that Rielly uttered a slur and the audio supported their statements," Colin Campbell, the league's senior executive vice president of hockey operations, said in a statement.

It starts with homophobic slurs and the next thing you know they’re fighting with each other.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nhl/2019/03/12/nhl-investigating-possible-homophobic-slur-during-game/39185347/

*********** Ed Szvetecz passed away last week.  RIP. He was captain of the 1956 Army football team. Here’s a photo of Ed with Army coach Colonel Earl Blaik before the 1956 Army-Navy game.
ed szvetecz and col blaik


Ed Szvetecz was from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, one of a number of very good athletes that both Army and Navy recruited from Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley (Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton) area in the 1950s, in additon to Frank Fischl, Ed Bannan, and Al Rushatz (Allentown),  George Welsh (Coaldale),  Richard Snyder (Easton), John Kanuch and Bill Whitehead (Lansford),  Bob Novogratz (Northampton), and George Knotts (Tamaqua).

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

I think few have the breadth of knowledge and historical perspective that you have to address something I saw from FNF (Friday Night Football) on Twitter.  Please see below.  Perhaps give us, your readers, your Top 16 college coaches of all time?  They are shooting for a field of 64.

Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois

Coach,

I appreciate the compliment, although I think it’s a fool’s errand to try to pick “best of” anything.

I’m not a big  “make a list” guy, but I do have a list of my own - my Top 33 College Coaches in My Lifetime,  divided into levels of 11 each.   In  the top 11, any one of them could be considered the best, and I simply list them alphabetically.

They’re all guys that I’ve known as a follower of the game - most of their careers took place after 1945.  I don’t list anyone currently coaching, and I put it together before the retirements of Urban Meyer and Bill Snyder.  There might be a few on my second 11 that are possible best-evers. Who knows?  Who cares?  It’s just my opinion.   My third 11? Pretty damn good coaches  but none of them worthy of being considered the best.

Got too much to print the next couple of days but I have it ready to go!


*********** From the world of women’s soccer… “Wonderful news!”

Finally, some wonderful news: U.S. Women’s Soccer stars Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris are engaged!

In a new interview with People, the Orlando Pride teammates publicly confirmed their relationship for the first time — and revealed that they got engaged back in September. The pair are planning on getting married at the end of the year in Florida.

The couple’s love story started almost a decade ago, when they met in 2010 while they both played for the U.S. National Team.

Please don’t ask me how I stumbled onto this inspiring story…


https://www.thecut.com/2019/03/ali-krieger-ashlyn-harris-engaged-us-womens-soccer.html


*********** Have you seen the Lincoln TV spot, the one with Matthew McConaughey shooting a masse shot that enables the cue ball to take a curving path?

It’s supposed to show the Lincoln’s super handling ability that enables it to go around obstacles.  Or something.  (I have to admit that I had to look that up because I wasn’t able to figure out on my own WTF shooting pool - which I love - had to do with selling cars.)

What’s really humorous about the ad is that after McConaughey takes the shot (a very tough one that was actually made by a pool pro) and walks away from the table, we hear a slinky woman (who’d been looking on, from the shadows) whisper to another slinky woman,  “I’ve never seen that before…”

Har, har.  Yeah, right, girl.  Like you seen so much pool.  Like you been hangin’ around pool halls since you was little.

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

Jim Trimble. This was a fun research assignment. In Canada we often run off tackle on the goal line towards the goal post to use it as an extra blocker.

I also had Mark Gastineau last week, but I failed to get my homework in on time. I had a work out book from him in the 80s. I used it to learn how to train for football. Even then, I knew there was something creepy about all of the pictures of him in shorts, no shirt, and shaved chest. Today the book would have been sold in a brown paper bag.

Football is fun.

Tom Walls,
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Good line about Gastineau.  At the time I didn’t think of it as creepy, but now…

Interestingly, Jim Trimble took Hamilton to five Grey Cups.  He won his first one, in 1957, over Winnipeg, but lost the remaining four - all to Winnipeg.


*********** I read an article in the latest AFCA newsletter, and the headline - “The Most Effective Way To Defend Wing-T Utilizing 33-Stack” - caught my attention.

I read the article, and I have to say that the title is misleading.  Yes, the 3-3 has proven itself against 2-2 and 3-1 fronts, but right off the bat the author admits that unless he has superior personnel, he wouldn't advise playing his base defense against the Wing-T:

The Wing-T is one of the most formidable offenses to face. Unless a coach is blessed with an overwhelming talent advantage, maintaining 30-front integrity can lead to disaster.

So then he  proceeds to show us how he lines up differently against a Wing-T!  In other words,  that Wing-T team - that one team on his schedule that doesn’t run a spread offense - has forced him out of his base 3-3 and into a different defense (shown below):
3-3 vs wing-T


Then,  he says, he has to ask his players to do what they don’t normally do in their base 3-3:  to play “assignment football.”

Play assignment football. Coaches cannot stress this enough to players. When playing a Wing-T (or a Wing-T team which runs a form of the triple option) it’s imperative to get players to ‘buy in’ to assignment mentality. Really, it’s no different mindset than 30-front players are used to using. Instead of being responsible for assignments involved in stemming, zone blitzes and coverage combos, the roles are even somewhat simplified. ‘Less isn’t more,’ as players tend to get bored with the style of defense required to defeat a Wing-T team.

“Play assignment football” is what you have to do against a triple option offense, as well - and it’s why defenses have trouble when they have that one team on their schedule that forces them to do it.  It’s hard to change your defense's mentality in one week.

He is correct, however, when he says this:

Don’t wait until Game Week! For teams facing one or two league teams running Wing-T each year, this is a no-brainer. Work throughout the summer on the techniques and schemes needed to beat these teams. Becoming familiar with such a defense is also a must for any program hoping to win a state championship. Even if no league team runs the Wing-T, there is always a chance of facing such a team somewhere down the road during the playoffs.

That’s correct.  But how many high school coaches are willing to put that much of a premium on one game - to set aside precious practice  time all season long to get ready for that one wing-T team on their schedule?

In my opinion, what coaches should be doing is setting aside time to get the scout team OFFENSE ready to run a decent wing-T against their defense!  Several years ago a coach named Bruce Eien attended one of my clinics in California and admitted that he wasn’t thinking about running the Double Wing - he just wanted to learn about it so he could get his scout teams to run it well enough for when he was preparing to play a Double Wing team.

http://insider.afca.com/the-most-effective-way-to-defend-wing-t-utilizing-33-stack/?utm_source=AFCA+Insider&utm_campaign=2ee91c854b-AFCA_Weekly_100317_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_343e846137-2ee91c854b-147882577

*********** I have been watching a lot of rugby the past couple of seasons since my son started to play in college. I liked your observation you wrote about today. As an ex-linebacker Jonah (front row, far left below) has had to learn a few things about the tackling rules in rugby. He's learning. He played fullback for the UW-Stevens Point team this past fall and did really well, making lots of big tackles on break-aways, often players much bigger than him. Luckily his toughness from football helps in that area. In fact their side is headed to the Final 4 of their level next month in NY. Not sure why they push that from the fall to the spring but that's club rugby I guess.

Adam Wesoloski
Pulaski, Wisconsin

***********  Greg Koenig sent me the line below and asked, “what do you know about the Suicide 7 that is mentioned in the clip below?”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXF1KJAqqLM

Hahaha.  I know a LOT about the Suicide Seven, I told him.  As a Philly kid, I loved the Iggles, and I really loved those maniacs on defense.
Jim Trimble's  Eagles teams were a particularly nasty bunch, and the Philadelphia media guys loved referring to their defensive front - five linemen and two linebackers - as the “Suicide Seven.”  They were defensive ends Norm "Wild Man" Willey and Tom Scott, defensive tackles Mike Jarmoluk and Jesse Richardson, Nose Guard Bucko Kilroy, and linebackers Chuck Bednarik and Wayne Robinson. (In the photo, the "dealer "was offensive end - and placekicker - Bobby Walston. I have no idea why.)

eagles suicide 7

Interestingly, the three interior linemen - Mike Jarmoluk, Bucko Kilroy and Jesse Richardson - were all products of Philadelphia high schools.
Coach Koenig noted the difference in equipment (note that only nose guard Kilroy and end Tom Scott wore so much as a face bar; Tackle Jesse Richardson was the last NFL defensive lineman to play without a face mask) and asked,  “Can you imagine the outrage if any players were to be photographed with guns today?”

No, I can't even imagine it. And I’m sure that someone would catch hell for being so insensitive as to use the word “suicide.”

Norm "Wild Man” Willey, on the end opposite Tom Scott,  may still hold the all-time NFL record for sacks - 17, in 1952 against the Giants’ QB Charlie Conerly. (Can you imagine a QB taking a beating like that?) Unfortunately, it's only an unofficial record, because the NFL didn't start counting sacks until 1982, but veteran Philadelphia sports reporter Hugh Brown reported the total in his game story, and it was verified. (Coach Koenig commented that if a QB in today's NFL were to be sacked 17 times, “they would call the game and open an investigation which would result in at least 5 new rules, including the requirement that defensive players count to '3 Mississippi' before they rush the QB.”)

Frank “Bucko” Kilroy was one tough SOB, an Irishman from Philly’s Northeast (natives will know what I mean). In 1955 Life Magazine - the biggest, most-read magazine in America, ran a big article on the NFL’s “bad men,” and said that he was the toughest of them. In fact, it implied that he was a dirty player, saying that he had told teammates,“Use your feet, not your hands. You’ll only bust your hands.”

He sued the magazine and a jury awarded him $25,000, which was big money, considering the most he ever made as a player was $8,000.

“That was all a bunch of garbage,” he said years later. “I was just a heavy hitter. We were hard people back then, and some guys are just naturally heavy hitters. It was a different time. None of this baby-boomer stuff. We were brash people.”

A couple of his lines from Stuart Leithner’s book, “ Iron Men,” back up that statement: “The Eagles in those days were like the Raiders are today (1988). We were tough and we intimidated teams. When people accused us of playing dirty football, our answer was, ‘that’s how losers talk.’ The kind of offense that we had added to our toughness.  Our backs were taught to cut back against the grain, and that put blockers on the other side of the tacklers so we blindsided most of the players we played against. They didn’t see us coming and we demolished them."

And this:  “We used to have a saying, ‘Don’t get hurt, because you’ll have to play anyway.”

And finally this one, about his upbringing (his father, a World War I vet, owned a saloon):  “We were taught to love your God, respect your elders, and fear no son of a bitch that walks.”

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

Were you involved in the WFL?

I'm thinking the AAF is a sinking ship of a professional football league.  Garrett Gilbert IS the best QB in the league. 

Hey!  I have an idea.  Limit professional football teams to one kicker and one punter on each team.  If they get hurt have a tryout for another.  In games a FG "try" for 3 points can only come from 40 yards out (heck they moved the PAT's back!), and a FG "try" from inside the 40 only counts as 1 point.  AND...like rugby the ball must be kicked from the point it was last touched on PAT's and FG's!

I read two of Dan Jenkins more popular books "Semi-Tough", and "Dead, Solid, Perfect".  A truly great sportswriter, and he will be missed.

I've been watching a lot of rugby lately and have started to really understand the strategies of the game.  But like American football the fundamentals of the game ("passing" and "tackling") are noticeably needing improvement.  Passing mistakes can be found at all levels, but more so with the lower level leagues.  Tackling issues seem to plague the sport at every level.

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

For years I’ve been advocating the idea that nobody on the team can kick the ball - in any way - more than once.  Talk about excitement.

*********** QUIZ ANSWER:  Jim Trimble was a native of McKeesport, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, and after a career as a tackle at Indiana, he served for three years in the Pacific during World War II.

In 1946 he was hired as line coach at Wichita State, and became the head coach in 1948.  He was just 30. After three years there, with a record of 13-14-3, he was hired in 1951 by Bo McMillan, newly-hired head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, as line coach.

When McMillan had to resign after two games, he was succeeded by Wayne Millner, and Millner finished the season but then resigned himself, citing health problems of his own, only days before the start of the 1952 season, on September 8.

That meant a sudden and unexpected promotion to head coach.  He was 34, the youngest coach in the NFL.  His teams didn’t do badly - his overall record after three years was  21-13-3 - they couldn’t get past the Cleveland Browns.  And when in his fourth year the Eagles finished 4-7-1,  he was fired.

He was quickly scooped up by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and although offered the head coaching job at Indiana following the 1956 season, he stayed in Hamilton and in 1957 took the Ti-Cats to the Grey Cup title, defeating the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (coached by one of his former Eagles’ players, Bud Grant).

In 1959, he was a candidate for the Packers’ job that went to Vince Lombardi, and after three more Grey Cup appearances - unsuccessful ones - he left Hamilton in 1963 to take over as head coach of the Montreal Alouettes., but after three losing seasons there, he was fired.

While living in Montreal,  in 1966 he and another man obtained a patent on a single-post goal post which they were able to market successfully, first to the CFL, then the NFL, and then to colleges.  The evolutionary new goal post made the game safer, not only by eliminating one of the two posts that players had been running into (they were still on the goal line) but by bending the pole, they were able to move it two yards deeper into the end zone.

While stopping in New York to sell the goal posts to the Giants, he was hired by their head coach,  Allie Sherman, as their line coach.

When Sherman was fired just before the 1969 season, our man was moved into the scouting department.  After being promoted to Director of Pro Personnel,  he served the Giants in that capacity until his retirement in 1992.

During his time with the Giants, he saw them go from  bad - really, really bad - to winning Super Bowls in 1987 and 1991.

Jim Trimble is one of the few people in football history to have earned a Grey Cup ring and a Super Bowl ring.


And then, of course, there are those goal posts…

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JIM TRIMBLE:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
JOE GUTILLA, AUSTIN, TEXAS
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON

*********** A great interview with Jim Trimble’s business partner, Joel Rottman, on the history of the slingshot goal post, including this story:

He still had to sell the prototype to then NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle in a meeting set up by Trimble.

"There was a fellow in the lobby with these orange pylons, but Rozelle wanted to see the goal-post guy first," Rottman laughed. "He said, 'Oh, God, we've had a committee working on this thing for three years and want to put it back from the goal line to the end line. You show me a picture with 20-foot uprights instead of 10 and I'll give you a list of all the owner's names.' "

Rottman airbrushed the taller uprights into the picture, and a few months later a New York Times headline blared: NFL Adopts Sling-shot.

By opening day of the 1967 season, all 16 NFL teams had a yellow-gold slingshot set with 4-inch wind ribbons on top of the uprights made by Triman (Trimble-Rottman) Tele-goal Co.

Super Bowl III, the historic Joe Namath-led Jets upset win over the Colts at the Orange Bowl, was the first Super Bowl to use his set. By 1974, the uprights were raised to 30 feet and the posts were moved to the end line for safety purposes and because stong-legged kickers were getting too good.

Rottman next targeted colleges so when an official from the prestigious Rose Bowl finally called before the 1971 game between Stanford and Ohio State and inquired about his goal posts, Rottman promised a money-back guarantee if overzealous fans were able to tear down his his sturdy slingshot.

"I had them coat the post with STP oil that race-car great Andy Granatelli advertised," Rottman said. "We couldn't bear to watch on television. He called me after the game and said it's the first time in more than 50 years the goal posts weren't torn down. By the end of the year I sold to 600 colleges."

https://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/fl-xpm-2010-02-05-fl-rottman-goal-post-super-bowl-0205-20100205-story.html


*********** QUIZ: At the University of Arkansas, he was a standout in football and basketball.

As an end for the New York Giants, he played on two NFL championship teams.

After service in the Marines in the Pacific in World War II, he came back to finish his NFL career while also coaching at Wagner College, and in 1948 he retired as a player and joined the staff of Giants’ coach Steve Owen.

In 1954, he took over as Giants' head coach when Owen stepped down after 23 years at the helm.

He was an NFL head coach for only seven seasons, but his career was remarkable.

As head coach of the New York Giants from 1954 through 1960,  he coached some of the Giants’ all-time greats, such as quarterback Charley Conerly, running back Frank Gifford, wide receiver Kyle Rote, linebacker Sam Huff, offensive lineman Roosevelt Brown, defensive backs Jimmy Patton and Emlen Tunnell, and defensive linemen Andy Robustelli and Roosevelt Grier.

In those pre-Super Bowl days, his teams played in three NFL championship games. One was a 47-7 pasting of the Chicago Bears in 1956, and the other was the 23-17 sudden-death loss to the Baltimore Colts 23-17 in 1958, the NFL game still widely called the Greatest Game Ever Played.

In 1956 he was the Sporting News Coach of the Year.

He never had a losing season.  His overall record was 55-29-4, for a winning percentage of .663. The Giants have had 13 coaches since then, and only one - Bill Parcells - even came close to his winning percentage.

So why isn’t he better known and more respected?  Very simply, it’s because so much of his success was due to the quality of his assistant coaches.  His offensive coach (the term “coordinator” had yet to be invented) was Vince Lombardi; his defensive coach was Tom Landry.

They ran the show, and most insiders knew it.  They may have been the first well-known assistants in the history of pro football. According to his obituary in the New York Times, “before a big game, the story goes, the Giants' offensive coordinator could be found in one room hard at work with the offensive players, the defensive coordinator in another room deep in discussions with the defensive players and the head coach in a third room reading a newspaper. “

He wasn’t ashamed to admit it. At the time of his death, Giants’ president Wellington Mara recalled his once having said,  "I just blow up the footballs and keep order."

But despite the self-deprecating humor, he was no fool; he was actually way ahead of his time in his delegation of responsibility. “Mostly, wrote the great Red Smith at the time, “He is the administrator and coordinator (there’s that word!) and that apparently is the way to do the job today.”

By no means was everyone else doing it that way back then,  but it’s the way the job’s done today.



american flagTUESDAY,  MARCH 12,  2019   "Many children who are convinced they are little geniuses tend not to put much effort into their work."    Kay Hymowitz, Manhattan Institute

*********** I got to know DJ Millay many years ago, when he was coaching football at Vancouver Christian High, and his son, Caleb, was a sophomore who had just had the quarterback job dumped on him, shortly before their first game.   It was a project, but Caleb was coachable and he worked hard, and we made a quarterback out of him.  Great kid.  Caleb’s now a teacher and a coach himself, in Idaho.


DJ, a Double Wing guy,  found himself in a spot when the principal of the school brought in a spread guy to coach the team, and for several reasons DJ couldn’t support the guy.  Without him and another key assistant, things under the spread genius went all to hell (a very rough thing to say about a Christian school) and within a year they had no more football progam.  Within two years, the school had to shut its doors.

DJ writes:

Good morning, Coach!

Loved the section in your News where you talked about your years at North Beach. Reminded me of my years at VC. The most kids we ever had out for football was 23! Several years we were at 18. The last year I coached there, we had 16 kids for football and then only 7 for basketball. Rough years in the Win-Loss columns, but I miss those days! Those kids were some of the most dedicated, hardworking, and hardest hitting kids I have ever coached.

Still irks me that they decided to "go a different direction" and turned that last season of football into a spread offense/ankle tackle fiasco!

*********** Orlando continues its dominance of the AAF, and Garrett Gilbert is by far the best of the QBs.  Atlanta’s Aaron Murray is looking pretty good, a winner in his first start in years. At Birmingham early-season flash Luis Perez has regressed, and he was benched Saturday.

*********** The AAF is going backward, week by week, in terms of the quality of play and the show that it puts on.

One of this past weekend’s games was a blowout, one was a 26-0 blowout at halftime but almost turned into a good game, and two of them were closed out with field goals.

Way too much of the passing is dink-and-dunk, and several of the teams seem to have given up on the running game.

There remains the same inability to catch that has plagued the league from the start.  (Do guys with bad hands still insist that they’re open on every play?)

They’re now approaching the NFL in the number of plays called back because of penalties.

And just like in the NFL, the field goal has taken over.  And with the two-point extra point meaning that roughly half the touchdowns go unconverted,  a field goal is effectively worth half a touchdown.  There is no f—king way that a field goal should be given that much importance.  It shouldn’t be worth any more than a two-point conversion.


*********** Two of the four AAF games this past weekend were won by end-of-game field goals.

That’s a serious problem football has for which I have no solution: in football you can win by taking it down to one last play and then kicking. By stalling, you might say.

In baseball, you can’t stall.  You have to throw the ball across the plate.  And you have to get on base to score.

In basketball, you can’t, either: there’s a shot clock.

And in hockey, it’s impossible to keep the puck away from opponents for any considerable length of time, even with a manpower advantage.

But in football, you can win by stalling. If you have the ball near the end of the game and you need only a field goal to tie or win, you can put on a mini-drive, designed to get close enough for a field goal attempt, but also to run the clock down so there’s time for just one last play - the field goal attempt.

(Which, given the 80 per cent success rate of professional - and major college - field goal kickers, is scarcely a suspenseful moment.)

It reminds me of a bull fight, where at the end the bull’s all beat to sh-- ;  his goring muscles have been picked apart and weakened, and that all that’s left is for the matador to thrust a sword down between the animal’s shoulder blades. 

Yes, every so often the bull gores the matador.  And every so often the field goal kicker misses. But not enough to make either exciting.


*********** The AAF was supposedly going to be cutting edge - it was going to put mics on the coaches and QBs and let us in on their chats.  But actually?  Meh.  Nothing much of interest.

And as for review?  Why bother? It’s not even as assuring as the NFL’s. Instead of more reviews than the NFL, they’re in such a damn hurry to get the game over with, they just pass up plays that beg for review and go on with the game, allowing the bad (or unmade) call from the previous play to fester, influencing the rest of the game.

They make stupid little changes simply for the sake of change  (unlike any level of football, the clock doesn’t stop when a runner goes out of bounds.  Not until the last two minutes of a half. WTF? )

But there they had the chance - and the technology - to make sure that no bad call went uncorrected.  And they blew it.


*********** I do want Dennis Erickson to be successful. I do think he’s a good coach. But I’m beginning to have doubts about some of the people he tolerates on his Salt Lake team.

I can’t believe the dumbass penalties that his team commits, and when a team consistently plays like that, it’s on the coach.  He’s the one who selected those players.


*********** There is dumb, and there is dumber’n owlsh—.

The AAF doesn’t have kickoffs, so in lieu of an onside kick, the AAF allows a team that just scored to try a “4th-and-12” play from its own 25. If it converts, the drive continues, with a first-and-10.  If it fails, the opponents take over.

Sunday, Arizona scored to pull to within 29-19 of San Antonio, and elected to take the 4th-and-12 option.  Damned if they weren’t successful.  At first.

The pass was complete, and the receiver got the necessary yardage, but then, carrying the ball quite loosely with one hand and (here comes that phrase all coaches dread), “trying to get extra yardage,” he fumbled the damn ball!

I’ll bet the Hotshots’ receivers coach gave that guy a piece of her mind when he got to the sidelines.

https://shop.aaf.com/arizona-hotshots-next-opportunity-for-jennifer-king-in-coaching-journey/

*********** The USA women’s soccer team is suing the federation that’s in charge of American soccer. They claim - correctly - that they’re not being paid as much as members of the men’s team and that that pay disparity represents gender discrimination.

Part of their claim for equal pay rests on their record, which is definitely better than the men’s.

Now, rather than defend the disparity by pointing out that given the status of our women’s and mens’ teams relative to the rest of the world (our women are like a varsity team playing a JV schedule, while our men are like a varsity team playing two classes up), I propose a settlement,  one that seems appropriate, given the polls that show that a large percentage of our young people have a positive view of socialism.

Given that the federation can’t simply print money and come up with the bucks to pay the women as much as the men, I propose that they put all their money in one pool, and then divide it, even-steven, among all the players - men and women.

There.  Fixed it for you.
More for the women, less for the men.  Everybody's equal.  It's the socialist way. 

Who wouldn’t be in favor of that?

*********** I was listening to Victor Davis Hansen the other night.  I have a great deal of respect for the man’s wisdom and intellect and for his ability to express himself.

The topic was college students and their overall intolerance of those who disagree with them - their willingness to shout down or even use force in support of their views.

These are most often  the children of privilege:  the more elite the college, it seems, the more atrocious the behavior.

Noted Mr. Hansen,  “You don’t see this happen at junior college.”

*********** The NFL is taking a long look at  its review process.

They’re discussing who can call for a review, what should be reviewed, and how many appeals for review (“challenges,” they like to call them) a coach can be permitted.

Some people have even proposed reviewing plays when it appears a penalty should have been called (Rams-Saints?).

What bothers me is that there should even be any question about using any means available to bring about as fair an outcome as possible. 

You mean to tell me that because he’s run out of challenges (or time outs) a coach should have to endure a bad - or missed - call?

Bullsh—. The technology is there. Give coaches an unlimited supply of challenges.  Each unsuccessful one costs them a time out.  Once they’re out of time outs, it could cost them a down on offense, or give the opponents an extra down.

Screw the officials and their egoes.  Players and coaches put their egoes - their very livelihoods - on the line every time they step on the field, so why should officials be immune to scrutiny?  Actually, the ability to correct a bad decision right there on the field could take a lot of pressure off the officials.

Here I go, giving the NFL advice - next thing you know I’ll be trying to help the Democrats - but it needs to do whatever it takes to make sure that it’s putting a fair and honest game on the field.

Gamblers will agree.  So will the sports books, who’ll see an oppprtunity for a proposition bet on every challenge.

And so will fans, who I think will enjoy the added suspense of waiting for the decision to come down.  You’re in the entertainment business, and this is entertainment.


*********** A North Carolina congressman is proposing legislation that would allow “student-athletes” to make money through the use of their “name, image and likeness.”

Sure.  Why shouldn’t a “student-athlete” be paid for signing autographs?

Well. First of all, it’s going to kill the concept of “team.” 

Hey! Look over there - how come there’s all those people in line at that one table but there’s nobody in line at any of the others? 

Oh.  You say they’re lined up to pay for the quarterback’s autograph? I see.

And then there’s the money-laundering aspect of it all.

If you want to slip a large sum to a congressman, you pay him to give a “speech” to your organization.  Or you buy several thousand copies of that book that he wrote (he has plenty of unsold copies in his garage).

And if you’re Mister Major Donor at Big State U, you’ll pay a player (or a recruit) a considerable sum in return for his autograph on an 8 x 10 glossy.  Or on your 10-year-old’s football jersey.

https://amp.newsobserver.com/sports/article227181209.html?__twitter_impression=true


*********** Dan Jenkins passed away last week at the age of 89.  As sports writers go, he was only the best there ever was.

He was a Texan born and raised - a Fort Worth guy  - and he was a paid sports writer before he ever took a class at TCU - his alma mater.

He combined a great knowledge of sports - especially football - and an appreciation of the games and the people that played them,  great powers of observation (especially of human nature),  a great talent for putting dialogue into print (a very rare skill), and a southerner’s ability to tell a good story.  Also a love of a good time.

I’ve said many times that I’d have given anything to sit at a bar or table and enjoy a few drinks with him.  (Actually, I’d have settled for sitting at a table nearby him and his friends and just eavesdropping.)


https://www.si.com/golf/2019/03/08/dan-jenkins-obituary-sports-illustrated-golf-college-football-writer

*********** Three of my grandsons graduated from Jordan High School, in Durham, North Carolina.  Nice school, I always thought.  Seemed to do a good job of preparing my guys for college.  Their friends, the ones I met, were good kids, and the parents I met were nice folks.  The sports programs could have been better, but part of the problem appears to be that in Durham - everyone tells me - enrollment seems a bit, uh, “fluid,” in that the better athletes tend to congregate at certain schools.   Jordan’s football program has not been good; the Falcons have gone 36-79 over the last 10 years.  Maybe it’s been coaching, but for years, I’ve heard my grandsons and their friends talk about all the kids who “should be going to Jordan,” but instead were going to neighboring Hillside - which has gone 96-32 in that same time span. 

Can’t speak for basketball,  but Jordan just took a major step toward perhaps getting back some of those strays, with the announcement over the weekend of its new basketball coach: Rasheed Wallace.

I’m willing to wait and see, because “Sheed,” although a bit of a jerk much of the time as a player (he holds the NBA record for technical fouls in a season), was not a bad person.

https://www.heraldsun.com/sports/article227293829.html

*********** I watched a bit of a rugby match between Wales and Scotland, and  although I was as impressed as ever by the toughness of the players, this time I decided to pay careful attention to the tackling.

You know why - it’s because rugby-style tackling has become almost a fad, an oh-so-safe method that’s been touted by no less a tackling expert than Pete Carroll.  It’s going to save our game! Why, just get down low and as the runner goes by, put your head behind him and stick your arm out and then wrap up his legs and roll!

See?  No contact with the head.

Yeah, well…

My assesment of rugby tackling?

It stinks.

I saw lots of missed tackles.  If you saw that many on your team, you’d go nuts.  Most of the tackles were what we would call arm tackles, whose sole purpose is to take the runner down, and not to stop his forward progress.  But in American football,  that kind of tackle can mean the difference between a first down or a stop. 

In fact, on one occasion  a runner was tackled the prescribed way at the goal line, and instead of being stopped short of the goal,  he fell forward after contact, right into “touch” (the end zone).

There was seldom a need for an open-field tackle (with 15 players on a side, the field can be somewhat congested, and there aren’t many breakway runs), so there was no need for players to stay on their feet.

In rugby, blocking isn’t permitted, so more guys have a shot at the ball carrier, so it seemed as if there was always someone else to “clean up” if a guy missed.  In American football, where defenders will get blocked, defensive coaches work hard to get one unblocked man a clear shot at the ball carrier, and one missed tackle can sometimes mean a score.

Just my opinion - and who am I to dispute the great Pete Carroll? - but I know that you can keep the head out of tackling without having to go to the ground, and I think any tackling that advocates leaving your feet is unsound and potentially unsafe.


*********** QUIZ ANSWER:  You might say Mark Gastineau came out of nowhere, at least in a football sense.  He went to high school in Eagar, a small, remote town of just under 5,000 people in eastern Arizona, near the New Mexico line.

After high school he started out at Eastern Arizona JC,  then transferred to Arizona State.  After just one season there he left - who knows why? - and finally landed at East Central Oklahoma State. 

His performance in the Senior Bowl - where he was named Outstanding Defensive Lineman - brought him to the attention of pro scouts, and in the 1979 NFL draft he was taken in the second round by the Jets.

As part of the Jets’ famous “New York Sack Exchange,” and, largely because of the “sack dance” that he began to perform after his many sacks, he became one of the most highly publicized defensive linemen of all time.


The sack dance, while popular with Jets fans (and many non-Jets fans) drew angry reactions from opponents.  In 1983 after he and Los Angeles Rams All-Pro tackle Jackie Slater got into a fight following his sack of the Rams QB,  the sack dance was deemed  to be “taunting” and banned by the NFL.

He was a me-first player. In 1986, the Jets were just minutes away from playing in the AFC Conference championship game. With the Jets leading 20-10 late in the fourth quarter of a Divisional-round playoff game and the Browns facing a 2nd and 24 deep in their own territory,  a place in the Conference championship game seemed a lock.  But after Browns’ QB Bernie Kosar threw incomplete, he had to rough the quarterback.  Instead of 3rd and 24, the Browns - given the penalty and a first down - drove 67 yards for the score that made it 20-17, then tied it up at the end of regulation, and finally won it, 23-20 in the second overtime period.  The Jets have only made it that far five times in the 32 years since, and they’ve only made it to the Conference championship game three times.

His selfish, showboat ways made him very unpopular with his teammates, and things came to a head in 1987, during the players’ strike,  when he became the first Jet regular to  cross the picket line, and  got into a fistfight with at least one teammate.

He told reporters he had to work because he needed the money to pay alimony.

(He and his wife had separated in 1986, as a result of his well-publicized affair with actress Brigitte Nielsen.)

In 2017 he announced that he was struggling with dementia and Parkinson’s disease (which he of course blamed on football), and when his by-then ex-wife heard the news, she said, “Maybe it’s karma.  K-A-R-M-A.”

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING MARK GASTINEAU:

KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
JOE GUTILLA, AUSTIN, TEXAS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
SHEP CLARKE - PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIAN

*********** Sad to see how his life has unraveled. I was a dumb high school kid who did his sack dance after a sack and got a 15 yard penalty and got taken out of the game
Lesson learned.

Pete Porcelli
Watervliet, New York

*********** QUIZ:   He was a native of McKeesport, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, and after a college career as a tackle at Indiana, he served for three years in the Pacific during World War II.

In 1946 he was hired as line coach at Wichita State, and in 1948 he became the head coach.  He was just 30. After three years as head coach  there, he was hired in 1951 by Bo McMillan, newly-hired head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, as line coach.

When McMillan took ill and had to resign after two games, he was succeeded by Wayne Millner, and Millner finished the season but then resigned himself, citing health problems of his own, only days before the start of the 1952 season, on September 8.

That meant our man's sudden and unexpected promotion to head coach.  He was 34, the youngest coach in the NFL.  His teams didn’t do badly, either - his overall record after three years was  21-13-3 - but they couldn’t get past the Cleveland Browns.  And when in his fourth year the Eagles finished 4-7-1,  he was fired.

He was quickly scooped up by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL, and although offered the head coaching job at Indiana following the 1956 season, he chose to stay in Hamilton and in 1957 he took the Ti-Cats to the Grey Cup title, defeating the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (coached by one of his former Eagles’ players, Bud Grant).

In 1959, he was a candidate for the Packers’ job that went to Vince Lombardi, and after three more Grey Cup appearances - unsuccessful ones this time - he left Hamilton in 1963 to take over as head coach of the Montreal Alouettes.  After three losing seasons there, he was fired.

In 1966,   out of football and living in Montreal,  he and a partner obtained a patent on a single-post goal post which they were able to market successfully, first to the CFL, then the NFL, and then to colleges.  The revolutionary new goal post made the game safer, not only by eliminating one of the two posts that players had been running into (they were still on the goal line then) but also because by bending the pole, they were able to move it two yards deeper into the end zone.

While stopping in New York to sell the goal posts to the Giants, he was hired by their head coach,  Allie Sherman, as their line coach.

When Sherman was fired just before the 1969 season, our man was moved into the scouting department,  and after being promoted to Director of Pro Personnel,  he served the Giants in that capacity until his retirement in 1992.

During his time with the Giants, he saw them go from  bad - really, really bad - to winning Super Bowls in 1987 and 1991.

He is one of the few people in football history to have earned a Grey Cup ring and a Super Bowl ring.

And then, of course, there are those slingshot goal posts. Think of him the next  time you see one.


american flagFRIDAY,  MARCH 8,  2019   “Falsehood flies, and the truth comes limping after it.” Jonathan Swift


***********  At North Beach High, in Ocean Shores, Washington, where I coached for 7 seasons,  there were only 100 boys in the entire school.  We might have as many as 30 kids turn out for football - and we might have as few as 19.

You haven’t had the true small-school coaching experience until you’ve gone an entire season without enough kids for an 11-on-11 scrimmage.

Schools smaller than North Beach play 8-man football.  Interestingly, many 8-man teams have rosters larger than our 11-man teams at North Beach.

But basketball’s another story.  Maybe it’s because basketball doesn’t require a kid to turn out in the summer when it’s hot, or maybe it’s because in basketball the other guy isn’t trying to knock you on your ass, or maybe it’s because in basketball everybody has a chance to touch the ball, but at North Beach, there were enough kids for three basketball teams - varsity, JV and a combined team made up of youngsters not good enough to play JV and seniors not good enough to play on the varsity. 

I’ve never heard of a high school that didn’t have enough boys for basketball.
 
Mullan High almost was.  Mullan, a secluded mining town in the North Idaho mountains near the Montana border,  has been declining for years. There are only 23 students in the high school, and to play 8-man football this past fall, Mullan had to join in a  co-op arrangement with St. Regis, Montana - 40 miles away.

This year, only five boys turned out for the basketball team.  But those five kids made it through an entire season, finishing 7-11.  One of the secrets was their conditioning.  In one game, trailing at the half by 17, they put on a full-court press in the second half that brought them a 12-point win.

“It’s amazing what kids can do when they’re tired in close ball games,” said their coach.

Read a great article about it, from the Spokane, Washington Spokesman-Review…

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2019/mar/03/the-mullan-five-how-a-tiny-idaho-boys-basketball-t/ 

*********** Josh Rosen, the Arizona Cardinals’ young quarterback, left college early in order to pursue his football career. But he returned to UCLA in January to take classes toward his undergraduate degree in economics. He plans to take the remaining classes he needs next winter, so that he’ll be able to graduate in the spring of 2020.

So why is a guy going back to college to get a degree that many would argue he’ll never need, given that he’s making millions as an NFL quarterback?

The better question might be, why aren’t there more Josh Rosens in professional sports?

You don’t suppose the Jewish culture’s traditional respect for education -  and his being Jewish -  might possibly have something to do with it?

“I just never in my life imagined not graduating college,” he said, “so I feel like it’s kind of my obligation to my parents almost to give them a degree in return for everything they’ve given me.”

That tells you something about Josh Rosen the person.

Meanwhile, back in the NFL, new Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury may have other plans for him.  Arizona has the number one pick in the draft, and Kingsbury has professed his love for Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray.  And since in Kingsbury’s only experience as a head coach, he was 35-40 in 6 years at Texas Tech, we know he’s really, really smart - just the kind of guy you'd want to be making this sort of decision if you had billions invested in a pro football team and he was your new head coach.

If Kingsbury does go for Murray,  that will make Josh Rosen expendable.  Don’t feel sorry for him.  He’s already spent a year playing for the worst team in football, and a trade would likely mean he'd wind up on a much better team (the Patriots, maybe?) and - just as likely - with a much better coach.

*********** Are you sick of hearing the word "trope" yet?  I am.

*********** It’s just an idea at this point, but a retired president of a Big 12 school has proposed the idea of a “Strategic Alliance” between the Big 12 and Pac 12. 

It could address several issues:

For various reasons, the two conferences have been under-represented in the Playoff, and combining could give them added clout.

The Big 12 doesn’t seem to want to expand, and yet its current size works against it.

The Pac-12 suffers from being three time zones away from all those TV viewers on the East Coast, and this could give it exposure in more time zones.

It gives the two-conference combination a footprint in four time zones, opening the possibility of a full-day back-to-back schedule of games.

Although Texas has its Longhorn Network, there is considerable room for improvement for the other conferences' members: the Pac-12 Network has been struggling, and unless I’m missing something, the Big 12 doesn’t even have one.

It solves the conferences’ growing need for meaningful out-of-conference scheduling. (It would really be just an elaborate extension of the arrangement the ACC and Big Ten already have in basketball.)

It creates the potential for a post-season inter-conference ”championship,” with real revenue potential.

It allows for attractive bowl tie-ups (Pac 12 #2 against Big 12 #2, etc.)

It  could be a first step toward a consolidation that would ultimately  result in a (64-team?) national collegiate football conference, under one commissioner, that would pull out of the NCAA and go its own way, with enormous TV bargaining power.

https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/02/26/former-big-12-president-proposes-strategic-alliance-with-the-pac-12-the-conferences-should-embrace-the-future-together/

*********** A recent  article in the Wall Street Journal tells how rising online real estate sales have created a new opportunity for Hollywood-type special effects - augmenting supposedly realistic photos by adding “virtual” furniture to otherwise empty rooms, greening-up otherwise brown lawns, creating swimming pools where none ever existed - even removing  interior walls to create the illusion of openness.

The practice is growing, and as people rely more and more on online looks at property,  it’s approaching fraudulence.

My question is - how long before stage parents begin paying special effects people to enhance their kids’ highlights videos?

https://www.wsj.com/articles/home-sellers-doctored-photos-challenge-buyers-bots-11551708001

*********** They’re still at it - girls insisting on wrestling with boys.  In Washington, along with a few other states, there are enough girl wrestlers that the state association now recognizes girls’ wrestling as a sport. 

(Ironic, isn’t it, given the number of mens' college wrestling programs that were pruned in order to comply with Title IX requirements that the proportion of male to female sports participants  be roughly comparable to their proportions in the student body?)

Meanwhile, in Colorado, where they don’t yet have a separate girls division, a boy took a forfeit loss in the state tournament rather than wrestle with a girl.

https://www.boston.com/sports/high-school-sports/2019/03/01/colorado-high-school-wrestler-forfeits-girl

***********  In a 2014 study, the Pew Research Center  found that 0.4 percent of Americans (as many as 1.5 million people) identify as Wiccan -  that’s witchcraft, guys - or Pagan.  And with their numbers growing rapidly, today’s number is undoubtedly higher.

At the end of 2017, membership in the Presbyterian Church USA was 1,415,053.

Think of that a  minute: more Wiccans than Presbyterians.  A sure sign of the decline of mainline Protestantism - if not Christianity itself.  Or American culture.

"It makes sense that witchcraft and the occult would rise as society becomes increasingly postmodern. The rejection of Christianity has left a void that people, as inherently spiritual beings, will seek to fill," said author Julie Roys in The Christian Post.

"Plus, Wicca has effectively repackaged witchcraft for millennial consumption. No longer is witchcraft and paganism satanic and demonic," she said, "it's a 'pre-Christian tradition' that promotes 'free thought' and 'understanding of earth and nature.'"

The repackaging is deceptive,  Roys noted, "but one that a generation with little or no biblical understanding is prone to accept."

https://www.christianpost.com/news/witches-outnumber-presbyterians-in-the-us-wicca-paganism-growing-astronomically.html

*********** NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says NBA players, for all their fame and fortune,  are “generally unhappy.”

First of all, he says,  there’s a lot of jealousy among them:

While fans might presume players are hanging out and devising ambitious plans so that they can play on the same team, Silver stressed that’s hardly the case.

“I think it’s less calculated than a lot of people think,’’ he said. “The reality is that most don’t want to play together. There’s enormous jealousy amongst our players.’’

He said he doesn’t see the sort of camaraderie that he once did

“If you’re around a team in this day and age, there are always headphones on,’’ Silver said. “[The players] are isolated, and they have their heads down.’’

Silver, who assumed office in February 2014, called Jordan’s Bulls “a band of brothers’’ who were able to strengthen their relationships via the constant travel that comes with being a professional athlete. As 12-time NBA All-Star Isiah Thomas told him, “Championships are won on the bus.’’

He said that in talking with one player - a superstar - the player’s “unhappiness and isolation” were “to the point where it’s almost pathology.”

“He said to me, ‘From the time I get on the plane to when I show up in the arena for the game, I won’t see a single person,’ ’’ Silver relayed. “There was a deep sadness around him.’’

He mentioned the effect that social media’s ability to see-all, tell-all has on players.

When Jordan was at University of North Carolina, for example, Silver said the budding NBA talent could “make mistakes and it wasn’t magnified.’’ The hottest commodity in college basketball this season, Duke’s Zion Williamson, however, is already in the spotlight. As Silver put it, the current crop of elite basketball players don’t have the opportunity to be a “nobody.’’

“[Zion’s] scrutinized,’’ Silver said. “Everywhere he goes, every party he’s at, someone’s holding up a camera.’’

He thinks that the issue among NBA players is reflective of  society at large

“I don’t think it’s unique to these players,’’ he said. “I don’t think it’s something that’s just going around superstar athletes. I think it’s a generational issue.’’

So there’s the NBA,  worrying about multi-millionaires.   And well they should be.   Yes, they’re millionaires, but for the most part they’re just about what you’d expect to get when you take kids who are  immature and uneducated,  who almost certainly haven’t had a father in their lives - and,  before they’ve learned a thing about the real world,  you give them a lot of money, a lot of spare time, and little responsibility.

Thanks to their unusual talents they’ve been pampered and indulged from the time they were in middle school,  to the point where they never had to learn how to be a teammate, and now,  surrounded by a group of rich, immature, uneducated young men who, just like them, never learned how to be teammates  either, they’re alone on their personal islands. 

It’s not easy to for them to make friends, because many of the people they encounter,  knowing that they have money, want something from them.
 
Hmm.  Is it possible that money and fame aren’t the be-all and end-all to life after all?

https://www.boston.com/sports/nba/2019/03/01/adam-silver-sloan-nba-unhappy

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

How does that old saying go?  If you continue to try the same thing over and over, and with the same results, it's called stupidity? 

Watched a couple of Ohio state high school championship games at Paul Brown stadium in Massillon while coaching in Ohio.  Place was packed regardless of the frigid conditions.

That Skechers ad was priceless...and on point!

Does the "H" in H-Back refer to "Hybrid"?  Just a movable TE to me!

I wonder if it ever occurred to Antonio Brown that football doesn't need him??

When colleges start paying college athletes more than what they already provide (scholarships) it will be the end of college sports as we have known it.

Good point made by that gentleman in law enforcement regarding Kraft, and those other two $$ guys.  One more thing to add...seedy joints like that are also breeding grounds for other not so nice residuals.  I don't think men like that would be willing to take THAT kind of risk either.

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** You have to feel very good today for comedians and joke writers. 

With so many once-humorous topics off-limits these days,  it had to be like manna from heaven for them when the news broke that a billionaire diamond trader had died during penis enlargement surgery.

Not that there’s anything funny about death, but then…

If you look in the comments following the story in the Toronto Sun you’ll get an idea of how many budding jokewriters there are out there.

I’m not touching the story myself - I’m much too serious -  except to award a gold medal to the commenter who noted that if, as the story says, “he began his career as a masseuse,”  it would go a long way toward explaining his need for the, um, “surgery.” 

This is humor of a fairly high level: In French, you see, a “masseuse” is feminine;  a “masseur” is masculine. 

https://torontosun.com/news/world/billionaire-dies-during-paris-penis-enlargement-op

*********** Coach,  I noticed you mentioned the Pittsburgh Courier's All American for Leroy Kelly.  Don't know how many younger coaches would know that basically this paper may have had the best coverage of  Black College Football during that period.  Additionally the Steelers hired one of the writers/editors to work in the front office at the beginning of the Chuck Noll era which allowed Pittsburgh to do so well in drafting players from the Black Universities in the 70's.

Tom Davis
San Carlos, California

You’re exactly right. The guy was Bill Nunn, sports editor of the Pittsburgh Courier, and he gave them access to black colleges - and inside knowledge of their players -  that other NFL teams didn’t have. They made him  a scout. The AFL Kansas City Chiefs had a similar scout, and their access to black colleges explains a lot of their success, too.

*********** How’d you like to be a graduate of a college that’s older than our country, that’s educated presidents and educators and doctors and clergymen, that was once known as the wellspring of the very game we coach - but now has become known mostly as a reservation for the sort of creatures who stand for  everything I deplore or despise?

That would be Yale.

Its alma mater ends with the words, “For God, For Country, and For Yale,” and for more than a century, those words were tantamount to the college’s motto.

(I’m surprised that the bright, young Yale students whose mission since they were babies has been to change the world haven’t excised that word “God.”  And substituted the word “Planet” for “Country.” Give them time. They've probably never even sung the alma mater.) 

Scarcely a day goes by now without word of another atrocity against our culture emanating from Old Yale, and from time to time I hear from readers who, knowing that I’m a Yalie, send me articles that remind me of how far Yale has drifted from what it once was.

By no means am I offended when they send me those things. I appreciate it.  They fire me up, and strengthen my resolve. So what if every single member of the Yale Faculty and every single student on the Yale campus agree on something? If it's not based on eternal truths,  they’re all wrong -  not me or the rest of us deplorables.

Charlie Wilson, of Crystal River, Florida sent me this article about wealthy donors witholding funds because of some of the university’s questionable actions in pursuit of political correctness and social justice.  (I’m not “wealthy” by anyone’s standards, but at my level I’ve done my best to tell then to f-off.)

https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2019/03/donors-dont-take-kindly-to-political-correctness-at-yale.php

And Mark Hundley, of Dublin, Ohio, sent me another one, written by a conservative Yale Law School student, who - greatly outnumbered to say the least - wrote how his conservative organization’s proposal to bring a speaker to the school to discuss the now-famous Colorado wedding cake case was opposed by what he calls…

“ a veritable alphabet soup of identity groups, including: APALSA (Asian Pacific American Law Students Association); BLSA (Black Law Students Association); SALSA (South Asian Law Students Association); LLSA (Latinx Law Students Association); MLSA (Muslim Law Students Association); MENALSA (Middle Eastern and North African Law Students Association); and JLSA (Jewish Law Students Association).

He goes on…

NALSA (Native American Law Students Association) said ADF employees were not welcome on their “ancestral lands.” The Yale Law Women, Yale Law Student Alliance for Reproductive Justice, and the Women of Color Collective joined, as did the American Constitution Society, the Yale Law Democrats, and the First Generation Professionals.

God help us all.

http://thefederalist.com/2019/03/04/thought-christian-constitutionalist-yale-law-school-wrong/?utm_source=The+Daily+Article&utm_campaign=7b1b6130f9-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_07_06_02_04_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_51f776a552-7b1b6130f9-274876981&mc_cid=7b1b6130f9&mc_eid=37ef83eaee


*********** This isn’t about  football, but it’s about coaching kids, and if you work with kids (or have kids) who play basketball, you may be interested in an app that I read about this week in the Wall Street Journal…

A Basketball Star Is Taking 100,000 Shots This Year. She’s in Sixth Grade.

By Ben Cohen

“When she started getting serious about basketball last year, it was very clear very quickly that Lanie Grant was a natural. This 11-year-old girl who plays in braided pigtails loved almost everything about the sport. Except for shooting. Lanie was scared to shoot the ball.

“I was awful at it,” she said.

She had no idea how much she was about to improve. Lanie spent the summer before sixth grade in the driveway of her home in the Richmond suburbs taking hundreds and even thousands of shots per day. By the first day of middle school, Lanie was no longer hesitant to shoot. It was the only thing she wanted to do. And she does it a lot.

Lanie Grant has taken nearly 65,000 shots since last summer. She’s now on pace to shoot the ball 100,000 times in one year.

What makes that even more astonishing is that she can watch every single one of those shots. Lanie has a comprehensive history of her own basketball development in the palm of her hand. She is young enough that her parents monitor her Instagram account, but she already has access to shot-tracking technology worthy of NBA teams.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-basketball-star-taking-100000-shots-sixth-grade-lanie-grant-11551210121

The WSJ is subscription only, so if you can’t read the rest of the article,  you can look up the app (called homecourt) online…

https://www.homecourt.ai/


QUIZ ANSWER:  Charley Taylor is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a receiver, but along the same lines as the great Lenny Moore, he almost certainly would have made it as a running back as well.

He’s a native of Grand Prairie, Texas,  where he played high school football - in addition to baseball and track - at all-black Dalworth High School.

At Arizona State he played halfback (running back) and defensive back, and was named All-American in both his junior and senior seasons.

He was the MVP of the College All-Star game.

He was the Redskins’ top draft choice and the third player taken overall.

As a rookie he finished in the top ten in both rushing and receiving,  with a combined 1560 yards,  and became the first Redskin ever to be named Rookie of the Year.

He made it to the Pro Bowl his first four seasons, but get this: His first two seasons, he was a running back. He was a good one, too, but he actually gained more yardage as a receiver than on the ground. He played half of his third season as a running back and half as a receiver; not until his fourth season did he become a full-time wide receiver.

It was in the seventh game of his third season that he was switched to wide receiver, and even though he’d played half the season as a running back,  and had caught just 18 passes, he caught 54 passes the rest of the way; in half a season as a wide receiver,  he wound up leading the league in catches with 72  and  in touchdowns catches, with 12.

(The Redskins’ coach at the time was the legendary Cleveland QB Otto Graham, who while not an exceptional pro head coach,  did have the foresight to make the move, called at the time the “big switch.”)

The next year, his first full season as a receiver, although he missed three games he still wound up leading the NFL with 70 catches.

Not only did he finish first, but his teammate Jerry Smith finished second with 67 catches and teammate Bobby Mitchell finished fourth with 60. Three receivers on the same team, combining for 197 catches to finish 1-2-4! (In case you’re wondering who was doing the throwing, it was Sonny Jurgenson.)

His career was given new life with the arrival of George Allen and his belief in using veteran talent, and although over 30, he made the Pro Bowl four straight years (1972-1975).

After retirement he served as a scout for the Skins, and then as wide receivers coach under Joe Gibbs and Richie Petitbon.

When he retired before the 1978 season, he was the NFL’s all-time leading receiver, with 649 receptions for 9,110 yards and 79 touchdowns. All told, adding in his rushing and return yardage, he compiled 10,803 yards.

He’s a member of the NFL All-1960s decade team.

Charley Taylor was a first-team or second-team All-NFL on six occasions, and was chosen to play in eight Pro Bowls.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING CHARLEY TAYLOR:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
JOE GUTILLA, AUSTIN, TEXAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
SHEP CLARKE - PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON

*********** From Greg Koenig…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYiD7uz92Tc

*********** QUIZ:  You might say he came out of nowhere.  He went to high school in Eagar, a small, remote town of just under 5,000 people in eastern Arizona, near the New Mexico line.

After high school he started out at Eastern Arizona JC,  then transferred to Arizona State.  After just one season there he left - who knows why? - and finally landed at East Central Oklahoma State. 

His performance in the Senior Bowl - where he was named Outstanding Defensive Lineman - brought him to the attention of pro scouts, and in the 1979 NFL draft he was taken in the second round by the Jets.

As part of the Jets’ famous “New York Sack Exchange,” and, largely because of the “sack dance” that he began to perform after his many sacks, he became one of the most highly publicized defensive linemen of all time.

The sack dance, while popular with Jets fans (and many non-Jets fans) drew angry reactions from opponents.  In 1983 after he and Los Angeles Rams All-Pro tackle Jackie Slater got into a fight following his sack of the Rams QB,  the sack dance was deemed  to be “taunting” and banned by the NFL.

He was a me-first player. In 1986, the Jets were just minutes away from making it to the AFC Conference championship game. They led 20-10 late in the fourth quarter of a Divisional-round playoff game, and the Browns faced a 2nd and 24 deep in their own territory.  But after Browns’ QB Bernie Kosar threw incomplete, he had to rough the quarterback.  Instead of 3rd and 24, the Browns - given the penalty and a first down - drove 67 yards for the score that made it 20-17, then tied it up at the end of regulation, and finally won it, 23-20 in the second overtime period.  In the 32 years since, the Jets have only made it that far five times and they’ve only made it to the Conference championship game three times.

His selfish, showboat ways made him very unpopular with his teammates, and things came to a head in 1987, during the players’ strike,  when he became the first Jet regular to  cross the picket line, and  as a result got into a fistfight with at least one teammate.

He told reporters he had to go to work because he needed the money to pay alimony.

Maybe so. He and his wife had separated in 1986, as a result of his well-publicized affair with actress Brigitte Nielsen.

In 2017 he announced that he was struggling with dementia and Parkinson’s disease (which he of course blamed on football). When his by-then ex-wife heard the news, she said, “Maybe it’s karma.  K-A-R-M-A.”


american flagTUESDAY,  MARCH 5,  2019   Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good.” Thomas Sowell

*********** AAF ACTION: I watched the San Antonio Whatevers, down on the Birmingham Whatsits’ goal line, run the ball unsuccessfully 4 out of 5 times (the lone pass resulted in a pass interference in the end zone,  giving them the ball on the one and the chance to run three times - and get stuffed three times).

Every one of the running plays had three things in common:

1. There was just one lone running back, leaving little doubt as to who might be carrying. There was no lead blocker. (Will someone please tell them about this thing that they call a fullback?)

2. The lone running back was a minimum of 7 yards deep. Down on the goal line,  with the  defensive line trying to penetrate, what are the chances of all your linemen being able to sustain their blocks until the back even gets to the line of scrimmage?)

3. The play was stuffed.

*********** I will admit I had my suspicions about this new league when on fourth down, with Birmingham,  the home team,  needing to score,  their  QB (Perez) stood in the pocket for an eon while he  searched for someone to throw to.  Just stood there, as if it were a game of touch.  Except no one touched him. How in the hell could it be possible that not a single defensive lineman could shake loose?  How else but holding?  But no call.

Finally, he threw the ball and it fell incomplete.

But wait - there was a holding call.  Against the defense. First down, Birmingham.

Hmm.

But then San Antonio won anyhow,  and my faith in the integrity of the new league remained intact.

*********** Memphis and Atlanta both broke through with wins, Memphis beating San Diego and Atlanta upsetting Houston.

In  both cases, quarterback switches played a major role.

Memphis’ Zach Mettenberger, the former LSU star, completed 18 of 25 for 174 yards, throwing for one score and running for another as Memphis beat San Diego, 26-23.  It was Mettenberger’s first start for Memphis and his first win as a pro starter. (In ten starts in the NFL, he was 0-10.)

Atlanta’s Aaron Murray, stepping in when starter Matt Simms was injured while being sacked, didn’t throw for a score but he played error-free ball - completing 20 of 33 for 254 yards.  The former Georgia star pulled off a very nice speed option, with a pitch that resulted in an Atlanta touchdown as the Legends won, 14-11.

*********** Steve Spurrier’s Orlando Somethings, the AAF’s lone remaining unbeaten team,  appear to be the class of the league, after beating Salt Lake in the snow.  (Wait - did I just use “Steve Spurrier” and “class” in the same sentence?)  It was funny watching some of the Orlando guys throwing snowballs at each other after the game.

***********  Hugh,
 
Longtime no talk. Hope all is well & your health is good.
 
Just thought I’d reach out & let you know about a 2017 documentary I stumbled across chronicling the HS football rivalry between Massillon HS & Canton-McKinley HS in Ohio called “Timeless Rivals”. Perhaps you may have already viewed it, if not its worth a watch.
 
Anyway one of the things I found interesting was Paul Brown coached at Canton-McKinley. Every non millennial knows of the Paul Brown’s influence on the NFL & his NFL coaching tree from Weeb Ewbank, to Don Shula to Bill Walsh & all the coaches from those HC’s. But the list of coaches from his HS coaching tree that went on to coach in NCAA is almost as impressive.
 
It also covers the Canton Bulldogs & start on NFL... I liked it & if you haven’t seen it I’m sure you will as well.
 
Take care sir & good health,

Sam DuMond
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

https://vimeo.com/243764860

I’m sure I’ll like it.  I’m a long-time admirer of Massillon football, and back in 2015 while involved in a project in nearby Canton, I actually got to stay in Massillon for a couple of days.  The orange and black of the Massillon Tigers can be seen all over town. Of course I insisted on a visit to Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, named for the native of the city who as Massillon’s coach built a national power, and then went on to win a national title at Ohio State, to build a service power at Great Lakes Naval Training Center during World War II, to start up and win numerous pro football titles with the Cleveland Browns in both the AAFC and the NFL, and to start up and build the Cincinnati Bengals into Super Bowl contenders.  His portrait is on the stadium wall along with those of other Massillon coaches, including Earl Bruce, and just across the way is the indoor practice facility. Massillon is also the home town of the late Don James, legendary coach of the Washington Huskies.

massillon facilities
 
*********** Alex Kershner, in SB Nation, noting that the Pac-12 has been trying to find some investor to buy in - this is no lie - for a share of conference TV revenues, suggests  that maybe Stanford should just buy the entire league outright.  He figures $5 billion would about do it. Stanford, he says, with its $26.5 billion endowment, “has the money in its couch cushions.”

A couple of his other suggestions:

Michigan could buy it and finally make sure it gets to the Rose Bowl every year.

The Ivy League schools could band together and buy it and force every team in the Pac-12 to play a home-and-home with their teams.

The University of Texas System could buy it and merge the Pac-12 Network with the Longhorn Network, perhaps compelling people to watch the Pac-12 Network.

https://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2018/12/29/18160320/pac-12-private-equity-investment


Skechers ad
*********** The sneaker wars were a whole lot cleaner, back when all the shoe companies did was bribe coaches to make their players wear the right brand of sneakers, or slip money to parents and street agents to steer star players to one of their company’s schools.

Now, though, they’re really getting nasty.  Check out this Skechers ad, a takeoff on Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign reminding the world (and informing the world that doesn’t already know) that it was the blowout of a Nike shoe that at least contributed to the injury of Duke star Zion Williamson.

It ran as a full-page ad in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal . And, just to make sure that the Nike people at their Beaverton, Oregon headquarters saw it, in the Portland Oregonian.



*********** How old am I?  I’m old enough to remember when an end was just an end.

There was no such thing as a “tight end.”  Or a split end.  Now, as often as not, the “tight end” isn’t even on the end of the line anymore.  He’s off the line of scrimmage, and he’s called an “H” back or, if he’s in the backfield, where he’s used mainly as a blocker, he’s a “sniffer.”  But wait - doesn’t that make him what the single wing guys called the “blocking back?” (Which was actually, formally, the quarterback?)  Interestingly, he might line up in five or six different places, but they still call him a “tight end.”

Flankers weren’t so lucky.  I remember the days before there was such a thing as a flanker, and then, the days when there was a flanker. But now - Grandpa, what’s a flanker?

I remember when today’s shotgun quarterback was the single-wing tailback.

And I remember when if you said running back, people would ask, “halfback or fullback?”  Now, you may still see a fullback occasionally,  but a halfback?  Dead as the Dodo.

Now, say good-bye to the defensive end position. If you watched any of the NFL combine, you probably noticed that Nick Bosa and others at his position were referred to not as defensive ends but as “Edge Rushers” or “Edge Defenders” (or, since headline writers are always compressing words and phrases, simply “EDGE”).

It's the year 2025.  Two 12-year-olds are talking.

“My dad played defensive end for the Bears.”  “You’re a liar. There’s no such position.”


*********** Montez Sweat, defensive end from Mississippi State, ran a  4.41 40-yard dash at the NFL combine.  He is 6-6, 260.  HIs time would be eight best among this year’s wide receiver prospects, and would put him ahead of the best times recorded by several standout NFL wide receivers…

Julio Jones (4.42)
Amari Cooper (4.42)
Devin Hester (4.43)
Odell Beckham Jr. (4.43)
Sammy Watkins (4.43)
A.J. Green (4.49)
Antonio Brown (4.57)

*********** I’m an NFL coach, and my general manager just called and said they signed this guy.  Kill me.

His mustache dyed blonde, his hair patched with blue and gold, Antonio Brown spoke for the first time this offseason, continuing the saga that has become what seems like an inevitable exodus from the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Chatter via social media created quite a stir beforehand, but in a one-on-one interview with ESPN, Brown delivered provocative sound bytes aplenty. He was calm and cool, sometimes confusing and perhaps most surprisingly stated he didn't need football.

"I don't even have to play football if I don't want. I don't even need the game, I don't need to prove nothing to anyone," Brown said. "If they wanna play, they going to play by my rules. If not, I don't need to play.

"Obviously, I want the game, but I don't need the game, it's a difference."

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000001020572/article/antonio-brown-i-dont-even-have-to-play-football

*********** From an old friend. DJ Millay, of Vancouver, Washington…

Good morning, Coach.

Loved the Civil War Quiz from Friday. I actually asked a few of those questions as "extra point" questions on an 8th grade quiz a few years back. Just threw them in as a joke. Never did it again, as so many kids missed them...

Coach,

Good to hear from you. I used to love to watch Groucho Marx when I was a kid and whenever someone on his quiz show would strike out, he’d say, “We can’t let you go home empty-handed.  For $50 - Who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb?”

 I came up with a bunch of those questions after I read something about kids whose grades were poor because they suffered “test anxiety.”  Poking fun at what  I now realize was how today’s snowflakes came about,  I would often give kids “low anxiety tests.”


A question about the NCAA paying athletes. Wouldn't we end up with the same situation as in the NFL or MLB or NBA? A situation where teams spend so much money to get one or two "stars" that the team then cannot afford all the supporting players needed to be successful?

There’s no good reason for colleges to be paying players.  First of all, today's “student-athletes” are not suffering. Unlike real students, who often go into debt while eating whatever they can afford and living wherever they can, football and basketball players (the ones they’re really talking about paying) live like lords in plush athletic dormitories or in off-campus housing (paid for by the school) and eat food they would never even have been aware of if they weren’t athletes, in quantities that they couldn’t possibly have afforded.  They now receive “allowances” ($2,000-$5,000) euphemistically called “cost of attendance” money to cover other expenses.  And here’s the best - for those of them who can meet the income test, they STILL qualify for Pell Grants!

Problem: Let’s say you pay your revenue-sport athletes.  You pay each of your 85 scholarship football players and 15 scholarship basketball players $30,000 a year (calculated by taking $15 an hour times 40 hours times 50 weeks), which comes out to $3 million a year. Plus, since they’re now officially “employees,”you have to pay 6% employment tax (social security), so you’re out another $240,000.  That’s $3,240,000 a year in addition to the tuition, meals, lodging and health care that they already receive. If you’re only talking about revenue sports. 

But wait - did you forget about Title IX?  The women’s coaches won’t.  They figure - and the government will support them - that their athletes are due the same amount of money as the men. That means that 100 female athletes - regardless of whether or not they bring in revenue - will have to be paid $30,000 each, too. Suddenly, you’re looking at doubling the amount you’d figured on paying just men, in just two sports. Now, you’re looking around for $6,500,000 a year - every year - to pay male and female athletes.

There’s more.  Consider the idea, sure to come up at some point, of paying some players more than others, based on their abilities or their gate appeal.  At the rate players are now transferring, and the rate at which the NCAA is approving their petitions for immediate eligibility (thank God the NCAA isn’t in charge of hearing refugees’ appeals for asylum), allowing colleges to pay players would create a true free agent market.

Notice that I used the word “agent” in that last sentence?   It would just be a matter of time before players were permitted to hire agents to represent them in their dealings with their schools and their coaches.

I can’t help thinking that in order to keep their empires from collapsing, colleges will revert to the practice of awarding scholarships to athletes based solely on need.  

Which took me back to the days when the Big Ten experimented with need-based financial aid, and Duffy Daugherty at Michigan State said that didn’t bother him - they’d  give out need-based scholarships "based on how bad we need a guy."


*********** Every so often I read something in our local paper about someone, and after giving us the person’s name, and without mentioning any other person in the article, the article will refer to that person thereafter with the pronoun “they,”  as in, “Johnson said that they want to use the women’s room but the school officials wouldn’t let them.”

“Johnson,” you see, happens to be a person of indeterminate “gender” (sorry, but I still use the word “sex,” of which there are two), most likely a tranny, who insists that we use the pronoun “they” in referring to him - oops, "them."

Whacko, I know, but more and more, colleges are buying into this crap, and students who don’t fall in line can be subject to some pretty serious discipline.

For example, there’s Cornell University, a member of the elite Ivy League…

On Cornell’s Gender Inclusive Pronouns page, part of the school’s Diversity and Inclusion website, students are instructed that it is “best to ask” acquaintances for their preferred pronouns.

“Remember that people may change their pronouns without changing their name, appearance, or gender identity. Try making pronouns an optional part of introductions or check-ins at meetings or in class,” the website instructs. The school’s public relations department did not respond to requests for comment.
While the website acknowledges that remembering everyone’s preferred pronouns may be a difficult task, it recommends that students practice using them so they can show “respect for people of every gender.”
https://www.thecollegefix.com/schools-largely-silent-on-efforts-to-change-students-pronoun-habits/

JUST IN CASE YOU NEEDED A GUIDE TO GENDER INCLUSIVE PRONOUNS
https://diversity.cornell.edu/networks-and-orgs/lgbt-staff-faculty/gender-inclusive-pronouns

*********** Another college quarterback is transferring.  This time, it’s Alex Hornibrook, most recently of Wisconsin.

Although Hornibrook started 32 games over three seasons at Madison, with the Badgers going 26-6 in that time, he did miss several games this past season as a result of a back injury and then, after he returned, a concussion, and his replacement, Jack Coan, led the Badgers to a 35-3 routing of Miami in the Pinstripe Bowl.

https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/wisconsin-quarterback-alex-hornibrook-transferring-from-badgers-football-program/

*********** No telling what NFL teams are trying to find out about a guy by asking him in an interview if his mother is a prostitute - or if he has two testicles.

(“Why, no. Actually, I have three. Doesn’t everybody?”)

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/draft/2019/03/03/nfl-combine-kris-boyd-weird-questions-testicles/3051585002/

*********** From a reader with a good bit of law-enforcement experience…

I’ve been thinkin’ me some thoughts about the Robert Kraft deal:
 
    1    How did LE get the surveillance cams into the massage parlor?  They couldn’t do a black-bag job because the masseuses and the mama-san live in the place 24-7.  The proprietors/managers themselves might be strongarmed into placing the cameras themselves, but then why were the managers arrested and charged if they were cooperating?
 
    2    How did LE get names to put to the faces caught on camera?  Those are cash businesses, and you don’t exactly have to show your ID at the door.  I guess they could have surveillance teams outside, and run license plate numbers, but who’s gonna park right in front of a brothel?  Also, that’s a very labor-intensive approach for some misdemeanor busts.
 
    3    The other “big names” were evidently another couple of billionaires – the President of CitiCorp and a Wall Street investment whiz.  All are supposedly political conservatives.
 
https://www.foxnews.com/us/wall-street-billionaire-ex-citigroup-president-caught-up-in-prostitution-sting-that-ensnared-robert-kraft
 
Which brings up the biggest question of all:  Why would billionaires, whose wealth would give them access to every “10” in Vegas and Hollywood, slumming at the bottom of the pay-for-play industry?  When your go-to move is to walk into the bar of the finest hotel in town and ask the best-looking woman there “Hey, baby – ever seen a billion dollars?” --  it doesn’t seem too likely that you would want to change it up with a trip to a strip-mall massage joint in Jupiter, FL.
 
And with that in mind, how did all three of these A-listers decide to patronize the very same place?  One would be odd enough.  As Ian Fleming said: “First time circumstance, second time happenstance, third time is enemy action.”
 
This whole thing seems hinky to me.

Shep Clarke
Puyallup, Washington

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

President Trump's biggest mistake was to hire Michael Cohen in the first place.

That Kansas City team had some quality depth, as well as quality front-line starters.  Hank Stram utilized that depth, often, and as a result created one of the greatest pro football teams to have ever taken the field, and one of the best looking to boot!

He may have missed the year, but George Orwell hit the nail on the head regarding the future...and the future is NOW.  Scary to think my grandson could be raised in a country that may be a shell of its former self.

What if...Joe Montana had not returned in the second half of the Cotton Bowl to rally the Irish past Houston, and suffered severe complications from his illness preventing him from playing professional football?  (Can't help it...once a Domer always a Domer).

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

RE Montana.  No kidding.  That incredible comeback against Houston in the freezing cold turned him instantly into a pro prospect!


*********** QUIZ ANSWER: It’s never easy trying to replace a star; it’s tougher still when the star you have to replace was one of the greatest runners in the history of the game.  But most people would agree that Leroy Kelly did it as well as anyone ever could have.

He was a high school star at Simon Gratz High School, deep in the heart of North Philadelphia, and he played his college football in Baltimore, at Morgan State, under the legendary Earl Banks.  He had a very good career at Morgan, leading the Bears in rushing, returns, and punting, and he was named to the Pittsburgh Courier’s (black) All-American team.

Nevertheless, he wasn’t drafted until the 8th round - the 110th player chosen - in the 1964 NFL draft. When he was taken by the Cleveland Browns, who in the great Jim Brown had the best running back in football, his chances of making the team - at least as a running back - were not promising.

But he made the team and made himself valuable as a special teams player - leading the league in punt returns in 1965 - while backing up Brown for two years.  And then when Brown shocked the football world before the 1966 season by announcing his retirement, he became the man.

He did not disappoint.  In his first two seasons as the Browns’ starter - 1967 and 1968 - he led the NFL in rushing.  In each of his first three three years, he rushed for 1,000 yards (14-game seasons, remember) and was named All-NFL each year. 

For his 10-year career, he ran for 7274 yards and caught 190 passes for 2281 yards.  Including his return yardage, he had 12,330 all-purpose yards, and - rushing, receiving and returning - he scored a combined 90 touchdowns.

In all, he played in six Pro Bowls.

He is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

He played part of one season with the Chicago Fire of the World Football League.

Leroy’s younger brother, Pat Kelly, played major league baseball for 14 years, with five different clubs.

“I didn’t try to think about replacing Jim Brown,” he said years later.  “When I was sitting on the bench two years, I used to compare myself to the backs that were starting around the league and I knew I was as good as most of them. I just want to be one of the best backs in the league, not a superman like Jim Brown was.”

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING LEROY KELLY:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA, AUSTIN, TEXAS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
SHEP CLARKE - PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA (Another Strat-O-Matic great...Quiz reminded me that one of my former players was involved in the production of "The Express”)
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON

*********** Leroy Kelly’s brother, Pat, who died of a heart attack in 2005,  became a preacher after he retired.  He evidently was known as a man of faith when he was playing major league baseball, because I remember reading about an exchange that took place between him and Orioles’ manager Earl Weaver, who it is fair to say could be rather profane on occasion.

When Kelly said to Weaver, “You’ve got to walk with the Lord, Skip,” the manager shot back, “I’d rather you walk with the bases loaded.”

*********** In looking at the video below, I miss the days before 24/7 sports channels when these NFL Films shows were the highlights.

Greg Koenig
Cimarron, Kansas

Amen.  The NFL Films guys played a major role in making the NFL the sports giant that it is today!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYgBmBXPKh4

QUIZ:  He’s in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a receiver, but along the same lines as the great Lenny Moore, he almost certainly would have made it as a running back as well.

He’s a native of Grand Prairie, Texas,  where he played high school football - in addition to baseball and track - at all-black Dalworth High School.

At Arizona State he played halfback (running back) and defensive back, and was named All-American in both his junior and senior seasons.

He was the MVP of the College All-Star game.

He was the Redskins’ top draft choice and the third player taken overall.

As a rookie he finished in the top ten in both rushing and receiving,  with a combined 1560 yards,  and became the first Redskin ever to be named Rookie of the Year.

He made it to the Pro Bowl his first four seasons, but get this: His first two seasons, he was a running back. He was a good one, too, but he actually gained more yardage as a receiver than on the ground. He played half of this third season as a running back and half as a receiver, and his fourth season he was a full-time wide receiver.

It was in the seventh game of his third season that he was switched to wide receiver, and even though he’d played half the season as a running back,  and had caught just 18 passes, he caught 54 passes the rest of the way, and wound up leading the league in catches with 72  and  touchdowns receiving, with 12.

(The Redskins’ coach at the time was the legendary Cleveland QB Otto Graham, who while not an exceptional pro head coach,  did have the foresight to make the move, called at the time the “big switch.”)

The next year, his first full season as a receiver, although he missed three games he still wound up leading the NFL with 70 catches.

Not only did he finish first, but his teammate Jerry Smith finished second with 67 catches and teammate Bobby Mitchell finished fourth with 60. Three receivers on the same team, combining for 197 catches to finish 1-2-4! (In case you’re wondering who was doing the throwing, it was Sonny Jurgenson.)

His career was given new life with the arrival of George Allen and his belief in using veteran talent, and although over 30, he made the Pro Bowl four straight years (1972-1975).

After retirement he served as a scout for the Skins, and then as wide receivers coach under Joe Gibbs and Richie Petitbon.

When he retired before the 1978 season, he was the NFL’s all-time leading receiver, with 649 receptions for 9,110 yards and 79 touchdowns. All told, adding in his rushing and return yardage, he compiled 10,803 yards.

He’s a member of the NFL All-1960s decade team.

He was either  first-team or second-team All-NFL on six occasions, and was chosen to play in eight Pro Bowls.


american flagFRIDAY,  MARCH 1,  2019   "I lied.  But I'm not a liar.” Michael Cohen

*********** TODAY’S QUOTE: Those were the words of Michael Cohen, former lawyer to the President who's already been convicted of lying to Congress,  in his testimony to Congress on Wednesday.  He was trying  to get us to believe that this time, he was telling the truth. 

Many years ago, I attended a league meeting with the owner of the team I coached, in Hagerstown, Maryland. I loved the guy and learned a lot about life from him.  His name was Red Hipp, and he was what you would call a worldly guy. He’d been a beer distributor, he’d owned a nightclub in our town, and he was a frequent guest of various Las Vegas casinos, where he loved to play craps. He knew his way around, and he was a great judge of people. Coming out of this particular meeting, I mentioned how cool I thought it was the way the commissioner had put a somewhat obnoxious coach in his place. “Yeah,” said Red.  And we learned something about our commissioner. He lies.”  He'd said something that  was untrue and Red picked right up on it and made a permanent judgement right then and there: "He lies." Red  had  just introduced me to something I've since found to be infallible: someone who will tell a lie - lies.  It’s part of his modus operandi.  Telling just one lie is a sin that brands you for life.  Lie once and you’re a liar. You've forfeited any trust that people might have put in you, and you can never get it back. 

Years ago, speaking at one of my clinics in North Carolina, a coach from Tennessee named Richard Lee mentioned that in his earlier days he’d travelled with Elvis, playing guitar in back of him.  Said that now, whenever he had to deal with a transgressing player, he’d say to the kid, “I’ve done a lot of bad things in my time.  I’ve done everything but gay (that’s exactly what he said), and if you did some of the things I did - you a bad boy.  But there’s nothing we can’t deal with unless you lie to me.  And if you lie to me - you’re gone.” 

So nice try, Michael Cohen.  You lied (you’re going to jail for it) and that makes you a liar.

*********** Happy Birthday to my son, Ed. Marrying my wife was the best thing that ever happened to me - until she had babies - and made me a father.

*********** Joe Gutilla of Austin, Texas, said, “I would like to hear your take on this.  Frankly, I've never been a fan of Little League football anyway.  I didn't start playing tackle football until I was a freshman in high school.  I never knew what (or who) "Pop Warner" was until after I started playing.  It's just too bad that the organization had to adopt the name of of a great coach and innovator of the game of football.  He must be turning over in his grave over this one!

http://footballscoop.com/news/pop-warner-eliminating-three-point-stances-along-changes/

The story:

Pop Warner Football announced recently that it will eliminate three-point stances in an effort to “make the game safer” for younger players.

The new rule, which will apply to the organization’s 5-7, 7-9 and 8-10 year old divisions,  will outlaw placing a hand on the ground before the snap and require players to either be standing upright, or in a “modified squat.”

“We believe this change is another step in creating a safer, better football experience for young people,” said Pop Warner Executive VP  Jon Butler. “By moving away from the three-point stance at our youngest levels we are changing how players are introduced to the sport and how they learn to play the game. We are also setting the stage for our higher levels of play to adopt the change. Because our sport has been willing to evolve over the past 150 years it is safer than ever, while maintaining what makes it so great.”

Wow.  I don’t have any idea where the research is that shows that this will make the game safer, but - this may surprise you - as an offensive guy, I’m all for it, and I hope I’m still coaching when this brilliant idea makes its way up to high school ball.

Why?  Simple.  As long as the defenders have to pick their hands up, too, we’re not disadvantaged in the slightest by having to play in a two-point stance.  First, our linemen don’t place that much weight on their down hands anyhow.  And second, one of the first things I like to see on an opposing defense is an interior lineman who picks up his hand at the snap, because that’s a guy we can wedge.  So I’m licking my chops,  thinking of running a wedge against a defender who can’t put a hand down at all.

(Trust me.  The a&&holes who insist on emasculating our boys are hard at work right now on the precise wording to use to eliminate wedge blocking.)

*********** The Pop Warner guys are desperate for ways to make the game seem safer when the problem isn’t football.  The problem is our culture. Football’s really no more "dangerous” than it ever was but we have become so unbelievably soft that we don’t let kids fight, we make them wear helmets to do almost anything that requires movement, we move mountains to keep their feelings from being hurt, and on and on.

Single mothers raise close to 50 per cent of boys now, and even when there’s a father in the home, there’s a good chance that he’s so p-whipped that he lets Mom decide whether Sonny is going to be allowed to play football.

And on top of it all, football is hard work - harder than most kids have ever experienced or will ever experience. Hard work doesn’t have a lot of appeal to kids who aren’t even expected to mow lawns or shovel sidewalks. Besides,  they can get their football fix playing a video game in the comfort of their bedrooms.

I’m convinced that there’s nothing we can do because we can’t change the culture.

50 years ago, there was no such thing as a “light beer.”  Now, the top selling beers are Bud Light and Coors Light. Budweiser (“The King of Beers” is now third, and plummeting).  Miller Lite is fourth.  Men overall are drinking less beer.  Instead, they’re drinking wine, and - just like the girls - cocktails.

*********** Considering the state of today’s “sticky” gloves,  I’d be for cutting anybody who could get two hands on a ball and still didn’t catch it.

From the New York Times:

The technological advances on the skin of those gloves have been so profound that they now enable receivers to snare passes their forebears never dreamed of catching, and in making the seemingly impossible possible, they may be changing the way football is played.

The grippy polymer used on the new generation of gloves, said to be developed first by a Canadian wide receiver and a chemist in a Pakistan laboratory in 1999, is about 20 percent stickier than a human hand — according to a recent study by the M.I.T. Sports Lab performed at the request of The New York Times.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/20/sports/super-bowl-nfl-gloves.html

***********  I’m tired of hearing that the Jets’ upset of the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl 3 (III?) established the AFL as the equal of the NFL.
Yes, I was - and remain - a Baltimore Colts’ fan, and to this day I still find Joe Namath repulsive, but prejudices aside, and taking nothing away from the Jets, it was a one-off.  An anomaly. 

They could have played ten more times and the Colts would have won them all. (Yes, yes, I know - that’s just my opinion.  And you’re entitled to yours.  But it’s wrong.)

It was the NEXT Super Bowl that should have convinced any doubter that the AFL’s best were at least as good as the NFL’s.

That was the Super Bowl in which the Minnesota Vikings, which dominated the NFL, were decisively beaten by the Kansas City Chiefs.

The 1969 Vikings were a truly great team.  They had a great defense, with the famed Purple People Eaters up front.  On offense, they were not spectacular but they were solid and tough, and that was by design.  Bud Grant, in his infinite wisdom, chose a QB who was not spectacular but was solid and tough - a guy he
knew from his days coaching in the CFL.  A guy named Joe Kapp.

The 1969 Chiefs were also a truly great team.  Lord, they were loaded. To me, they have to be included among the greatest teams in NFL history. And - here’s what had to kill the NFL guys - with the merger still fresh, they weren’t an NFL team at all.  They were an AFL-built team, and they embarrassed the hell out of the NFL by beating the team that was clearly its best.

True confession: I was smitten by those Chiefs. My first year of coaching was 1970, and without any prior coaching experience to go by, I did everyhing possible to emulate them.   I’m a great believer in the meaning of the word “uniform,” and  with the Chiefs, that extended to the long stockings that everyone - everyone - on the team wore, giving them all the look of white sweat sox, then a couple of red and gold stripes, then solid red.  They all dressed uniformly, and that, by damn, was the way my teams were going to look. (Take a look, if you never have,  at the all-over-the-ballpark styles of legwear worn - and not worn - on any one team in today’s look-at-me NFL.) 

1969 CHIEFS PHOTO

And then there was the Chief’s team photo. Talk about attention to detail:  Everyone sitting or standing in numerical order. The front row sitting on the ground - “criss-cross apple sauce” - with the right legs crossed over the left. No exceptions.  No jackassery. It’s a team photo that now, 50 years later, anyone would be proud to have been a part of. 

Finally, there was that stacked backfield of theirs.  That was really cool!  Most of the time they shifted out of it,  but sometimes they ran a play out of it.  There I was, not knowing sh—, but I could do that, and I’d look cutting edge! I adopted their stack right away, and now, going on 50 years myself, I’m still using that stack.  Thanks,  Hank Stram.


1969 VIKINGS HIGHLIGHTS
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UMVy0-ZjPc

1969 CHIEFS HIGHLIGHTS
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iI_WMs_9QAc

*********** Keep tearing down those Confederate statues, You warriors.  And keep fighting to rename things - streets, buildings, institutions -  because you found something  onjectionable about the persons they were named for.

It's not as if it hasn't been done before...

“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”

-George Orwell, "1984


*********** One Cody McDavis writes in the New York Times that paying “student-athletes” would ruin college sports.  It’s not only going to further entrench the great divide that exists between the “haves” and the “have nots,” but it’s going to turn some of today’s “haves” into have-nots.”

A handful of big sports programs would pay top dollar for a select few athletes, while almost every other college would get caught up in a bidding war it couldn’t afford.

The 30 largest universities in the country each routinely generate annual revenues exceeding $100 million from sports, but according to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, most of those revenues are spent covering operating expenses for the school’s athletic programs and paying tuition for their student-athletes. The majority of Division I colleges in the N.C.A.A. operate at a loss. In fact, among the roughly 350 athletic departments in the N.C.A.A.’s Division I, only about 24 schools have generated more revenue than expenses in recent years. The nation’s top five conferences made over $6 billion in 2015, billions more than all other schools combined, according to an ESPN analysis of N.C.A.A. data.

For the have-not universities, however, to continue operating means relying on millions of dollars in debt, funding from their main campus and student fees. Even with that help, some of the major athletic departments are struggling. A recent N.C.A.A. study determined that only about 20 of the 1,000 or so college sports programs in the nation were profitable. What is going to happen when the competition to offer students money is supercharged?

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/25/opinion/pay-college-athletes.html

*********** How bad must the American women’s soccer development program be when a 13-year old California girl named Olivia Moultrie is able to hire  an agent - and sign a  Nike contract said to be worth six-figures?

You telling me there’s not a single high school-age girl in all of this country who can’t compare, commercially, to this kid?

Barely a teenager, she arrived in Portland the other day (Nike’s headquarters are in nearby Beaverton) to join the “developmental team” of the Portland Thorns. (So far,  no pro league will allow a girl that young to play. Gee, I wonder why.)

How long before some football coach - Harbaugh? - actually tries to enroll one of those eighth-grade football players who’ve been “offered?”

https://www.oregonlive.com/portland-thorns/2019/02/13-year-old-phenom-olivia-moultrie-to-move-to-portland-to-join-thorns-developmental-academy.html

*********** Brace yourselves, AAF Fans - he-e-e-e-e-ere’s Johnny!

Look for Johnny -  Johnny Manziel -  now that he’s been dishonorably discharged by the entire Canadian Football League,   to try to surface somewhere in the AAF.

A bit of unsolicited advice, before it’s too late:  DON’T DO IT!!!

Face it - his day has come and gone.  He’s proved, over and over, most recently in Canada, that he doesn’t have it any more…  he can’t be depended on to do what’s right. … and he doesn’t put asses in the seats.

Your league is fragile, and its future could be affected by what you decide to do with this clown. He can do you a lot more harm than good.

https://www.foxnews.com/sports/johnny-manziel-cut-from-canadian-football-league-after-violating-contract

***********   A handful of fools in the  North Carolina legislature (but I repeat myself) has proposed a change in  grading  for the state's public schools.

The proposal if passed would mean that 39 percent would become the  failing point - an F.  A 40 would be passing. That’s quite a drop from the 60 percent required to pass in most states (and at present in North Carolina).

The good news is that it doesn’t have a chance.  It had only 12 sponsors.  Anyone care to guess what party they belong to?

The bad news, if you’re a football coach, is that now some of those knuckleheads will still have to get 60s in order to be eligible.

https://www.local10.com/education/state-proposes-lowering-f-grade-to-just-39-percent

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

One thing I've noticed about the AAF is that it is a dark on dark league(I'm referring to jersey color here).  I watched one game, I think it was San Diego vs. Atlanta, where San Diego wore a kind of a blue/gray, and Atlanta was a kind of a blueish purple.  I remember that even the helmets were pretty close.  Not enough contrast.  

I loved the Civil War quiz.  My oldest is now a junior in hs(homeshooled), and she is using "A Patriot's History of the United States" by Allen and Schweikart as a text book.  She knows the Civil War!

The coach in Manitoba is right, we're becoming wimps here in Michigan.  My school has had 19 snow days this year!

John Zeller
Tustin, Michigan

Hi John-

You may not have seen Arizona and Salt Lake yet - they’ve only been on network TV once.  But I’ve watched one of their games (they’ve played each other twice) streaming, and I’ve seen highlights of the third.

Arizona’s shirts are yellow and Salt Lake’s are white, and I have yet to see either one in darker jerseys.

So until I see otherwise, I’m accusing them of being too cheap to buy home and away jerseys!

Good for your daughter.  It’s an amazing time to read about, and when you see some of the hatred between today’s Americans it makes you wonder how close we are getting to the feelings that led to Civil War.

Michigan may not not Manitoba, but it’s not yet Washington.  Here, a forecast of snow is enough to close our schools.


*********** I was reading a Wall Street Journal review of a book entitled “Long Shot,” (it’s about snipers) and I came across an amazing pair of statistics.

First, this: Snipers are said to average a kill for every 1.3 rounds they fire. Put another way, that’s three kills for every four pulls of the trigger.

That’s astounding accuracy but at least it’s believable, even considering the great distances from which they often have to carry out their “assignments.”

But then there’s this: in Vietnam, the “kill ratio” for ordinary soldiers was roughly one per 50,000 (FIFTY THOUSAND!) shots fired.

Man, I thought.  That’s a hell of a lot of ammo being charged to the taxpayers with very little in return.

But I called my friend Tom Hinger to verify. As a combat medic in the Battle of Ong Thanh he saw action as intense as it ever got, and he said it was believable, considering the number of rounds that could be fired with a weapon on continuous fire.  He pointed out that in combat you seldom saw your target, so automatic weapons fire wasn’t used to kill enemy so much as it  was to lay down suppressing fire - to keep them from hitting you.

*********** Harbaugh is taking the Michigan football team to South Africa this year.  In a country that’s in the process of taking farmers’ land from them without compensation, what could possibly go wrong?

*********** 183 people were stranded for more than a day on board an Amtrak train, after heavy snowfall caused a tree to fall across the tracks as it climbed through the Cascades about 40 miles southest of Eugene, between the towns of Pleasant Hill and Oakridge. Power was out in the area and roads were closed and Amtrak decided it was wiser to remain there until crews could clear the tracks.


*********** WHAT IF? asked Richie Whitt in pressboxDFW.

What if … Cassius Clay had gone into the Army and Roger Staubach had stayed in the Navy? What if Adolf was born Hitlerstein?

What if … Earl and Tida Woods steered their son toward bowling, instead of golf? What if Adam, Eve and Elvis had will power? And what if Jackie Smith caught that pass?

What if … Two-time All-Ohio receiver LeBron James accepted the football scholarship offered by Notre Dame assistant Urban Meyer?

What if … the Red Sox never traded Babe Ruth, the Blazers didn’t pass on drafting Michael Jordan and Vince Young chose Texas A&M? What if kale tasted like chocolate?

What if … With the 198th overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft the St. Louis Rams would have chosen not Iowa cornerback Matt Bowen, but the player taken with the next pick, Tom Brady?

And then there’s this…

DALLAS – Basking in the glow of yet another victory over the rival Steelers, the Dallas Cowboys are preparing for a run at their record ninth Super Bowl. With a regular-season finale win over Pittsburgh at Landry Stadium in Fair Park, the Cowboys continued a mastery that started with tight end Jackie Smith’s sliding touchdown catch and ensuing dramatic comeback in Super Bowl 13 in 1979.

“At the time it just seemed like a simple, easy catch,” said Smith, the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator under head coach Roger Staubach. “But looking back, I guess it was a real turning point. Thank God I didn’t drop it, huh?”

The Cowboys have dominated the NFL the last four decades, including winning championships in 2007 after Tony Romo’s routine hold of a game-winning field goal in Seattle and in 2014 via a playoff run launched by Dez Bryant’s diving catch in Green Bay.

Romo, the 38-year-old, three-time Super Bowl champ, continues to play at a Pro Bowl level while declining overtures from TV networks to join their broadcast booths. Meanwhile, the hapless Steelers have been relegated to a launching pad for other teams’ success. The Raiders won a Super Bowl after Franco Harris’ ill-fated Immaculate Deception, and the Bills beat Pittsburgh on their way to a title clinched when Scott Norwood sneaked a game-winning field goal inside the right upright against the Giants.

Unable to find family members willing to take over the floundering franchise, interim owner Mickey Rooney said he will seriously consider an offer from Arkansas oil man Jerry Jones.  Apparently, Jones is considering any of 500 coaches, including Notre Dame’s two-time championship boss, Jimmy Johnson.

Meanwhile, the NFL has sympathetically decided to put former Packers coach Vince Lombardi’s name on a trophy – the England Bowl. Lombardi, you’ll remember, sent his franchise into a tundra tailspin by forgoing a game-tying field goal for a risky quarterback sneak late in the Ice Bowl against the Cowboys.

Quarterback Bart Starr slipped on the frozen field, sending Dallas to its first title and ensuring the engraving of the Tom Landry Super Bowl trophy.

*********** Kid asked me the other day "who was Malcolm 10? "
Tim Brown
Florence, Alabama

*********** After fourteen years as coach of wide receievers and - for much of that time - recruiting coordinator at Villanova, Brian Flinn has accepted the position of wide receivers coach at Princeton.

(As an old Yalie,  his going to an arch-rival  would once have bothered me, but it doesn’t.  Not at all.  I’m very happy and excited for him.  Hell, the Yale I went to doesn’t exist any longer. Neither does the Princeton that I learned to hate, all those many years ago.  Hell, back then, Princeton ran the single wing. Now, they’re about as cutting edge as a college offense can get, and I know that Coach Flinn is going to be a huge asset to them.)

He is a good friend of mine.  Many of you will remember him from his speaking at my clinics in Philadelphia, where he did a great job of  sharing his ideas on coaching receivers.  As I began to develop the Open Wing it became apparent to me that I didn’t know squat about teaching receivers how to block,  and I can’t thank him enough for his help.

*********** QUIZ ANSWER:  Dennis (or Denny) Green was born and raised in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and played his college football at Iowa.

In 1981, after a number of years as an assistant, he was hired from Stanford, where he had been offensive coordinator,  as head coach at Northwestern. That made him just the second black man to be had coach at a D-I school, and the first to coach at a Power 5 conference school.  He left after 5 years with a 10-45 record.

After three years working under Bill Walsh with the 49ers, he was hired by Stanford as their head coach.  After three years at Stanford, his record was just 16-18 but he was hired by th Minnesota Vikings as their coach, making him just the second black man in the modern era to become an NFL head coach.

In ten years at Minnesota, he did considerably better than he had done in college. His overall record was 97-62. The Vikings made the playoffs eight times, and finished first in the NFL Central four times.  His 1998 team was 15-1 in  the regular season.

His Vikings succeeded with three different black quarterbacks - Warren Moon, Randall Cunningham and Daunte Culpepper.

He had just one losing season in Minnesota - his last season, 2001 - and he was let go with a game remaining in the season.

After two years as an on-air game analyst, he took over as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.  They were bad when he took them over, and although he showed some improvement, it wasn’t enough. After going 16-32 in three seasons, he was let go.

Although he died in 2016 of a heart attack,  Denny Green is still seen from time to time going on a post-game rant back in 2006 that started with, “The Bears are what we thought they were. They're what we thought they were….” and ended with,  “But they are who we thought they were! And we let 'em off the hook!”

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING DENNY GREEN:

MIKE FORISTIERE - TOPEKA, KANSAS
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA, AUSTIN, TEXAS
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA

*********** It was his good fortune to draft Randy Moss. The Vikings were very explosive under Denny Green, in no small part because of Brian Billick's work as the offensive coordinator. They also had some incredible athletes.

Greg Koenig
Beloit, Kansas

*********** QUIZ: It’s never easy trying to replace a star; it’s tougher still when the star you have to replace was one of the greatest runners in the history of the game.  But most people would agree that this guy did it as well as anyone ever could have, becoming a Hall-of-Famer himself.

He was a high school star at Simon Gratz High School, deep in the heart of North Philadelphia, and he played his college football in Baltimore, at Morgan State, under the legendary Earl Banks.  He had a very good career at Morgan, leading the Bears in rushing, returns, and punting, and he was named to the Pittsburgh Courier’s (black) All-American team.

Nevertheless, he wasn’t drafted until the 8th round - the 110th player chosen - in the 1964 NFL draft. When was taken by the Cleveland Browns, who in the great Jim Brown had the best running back in football, his chances of making the team - at least as a running back - were not promising.

But he made the team and made himself valuable as a special teams player - leading the league in punt returns in 1965 - while backing up Brown for two years.  And then when Brown shocked the football world before the 1966 season by announcing his retirement, he became the man.

He did not disappoint.  In his first two seasons as the Browns’ starter - 1967 and 1968 - he led the NFL in rushing.  In each of his first three three years, he rushed for 1,000 yards (14-game seasons, remember) and was named All-NFL each year. 

For his 10-year career, he ran for 7274 yards and caught 190 passes for 2281 yards.  Including his return yardage, he had 12,330 all-purpose yards, and - rushing, receiving and returning - he scored a combined 90 touchdowns.

In all, he played in six Pro Bowls.

He is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

He played part of one season with the Chicago Fire of the World Football League.

His younger brother, Pat, played major league baseball for 14 years, with five different clubs.

“I didn’t try to think about replacing Jim Brown,” he said years later.  “When I was sitting on the bench two years, I used to compare myself to the backs that were starting around the league and I knew I was as good as most of them. I just want to be one of the best backs in the league, not a superman like Jim Brown was.”


american flagTUESDAY,  FEBRUARY 26,  2019   "I have a nostalgia for times I didn’t live in.” Dan Jenkins

 *********** I wrote this back in January of 2014:
I am writing on behalf of Carson Ketter, a senior at North Beach High School, in Ocean Shores, Washington.

Carson is a 4.0 student and a school leader.  HIs transcript will attest to that.

From my vantage point as his coach and advisor, I'm going to write about another Carson Ketter.

For the past three years,  as his quarterback coach, I have had a unique opportunity to view him and judge him.   From up close, I saw the way he worked to turn himself into an excellent quarterback and team leader, and I saw the character traits that make him an outstanding young man.

First of all, overriding everything, is Carson's moral uprightness. He has the upbringing to know right from wrong,  the courage and mental toughness to do the right thing no matter what others might choose to do, and the leadership ability to encourage others to do the same.

Carson is a hard worker. He will put in the extra effort and time to do a job the best it can be done.  Carson is bright and eager to learn.  Carson and I spent countless hours in the summers working on his techniques.  It was slow going at times, but he never allowed himself to be discouraged. 

Carson is a team player.  He willingly gave up the chance to be an all-star on defense because as coaches we were so concerned that he might sustain an injury that would cost us our quarterback.

His hard work and his overall knowledge of his job were an inspiration to his teammates, but
perhaps because he had to work so hard to achieve what he did, he never acted as though he was anything special.

Carson is dependable.  Whatever task he's given, he can be counted on to finish it - on time and up to standard.

I am very proud of Carson as a true “student-athlete,” and I strongly recommend him to any college, coach or employer.

I’ve never written a more complimentary letter of recommendation.

me and carsonWhen I first laid eyes on him, in 2011, Carson Ketter was a 5-8, 145 pound sophomore quarterback candidate who wasn’t strong and wasn’t fast and couldn’t throw very well.

What he did have were the qualities I look for first in a quarterback: he wanted to be the quarterback; he was very coachable; and I could count on him.

I had no idea, though, how mentally tough he was.  He experienced his share of failures and setbacks, but he kept learning from them and he kept coming back for more.  And slowly but surely, he got better at the job.

He put in the time during summers. He grew a bit bigger and stronger and faster, and convinced me that he was the guy who would enable me to merge my Double-Wing with my Wildcat with some Run and Shoot concepts into what became my Open Wing (named by a Maryland coach named Brian Mackell). 

He ran and threw and operated the offense beautifully, 
and in just one year, his senior year, he took us to a 7-3 season and a spot in the playoffs. Yes, we had a few other talented players, too, but without Carson I would never have considered doing anything other than Double-Tight, Double Wing.

We had so much invested in Carson as a quarterback  that without anyone to back him up, we didn’t play him at all on defense.   We could have used him, for sure, but we never worried about hurting his future as a college player, because our belief was that if a college coach saw what he was capable of doing as our quarterback, he was quite capable of turning Carson into a wide receiver or a defensive back.  (Which is what happened.)

Sometime following his junior season, Carson hit a growth spurt, shooting up to 6-2 his senior year.  And seemingly overnight, he acquired good speed, speed that we didn’t realize he had until we saw him running around in touch football games that we’d play at the end of practice. And then we turned him loose, and in the second half of the season, he broke away for several scoring runs of 40 yards or more.

That he had real speed was confirmed  when he finished second in the state championship track meet in the 100. (The first place finisher dove - literally - through the tape.)

He was selected to play in the All-State game, but because we were a very small school, and because he really had just one that good high school season, only D-III schools paid him any interest.  He chose Pacific Lutheran, in Tacoma, which has a very good reputation in our area for playing competitive football and running a sound program.

He was quickly turned into a safety, and he had a very nice career there.  In his junior year at PLU he returned an interception 93 yards against Whitworth, and in his senior season, he returned a fumble for a 100-yard touchdown against arch rival Puget Sound.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nos998tDrI4

In track he qualified for the D-III National championships in both the 100 and 200. He was the conference champion in the 100, with a time of 10.67, and he finished fourth in the 200 with a time of 21.67. 

Now 6-3, 210, his combination of size and speed caught the attention of the Canadian Football League’s BC Lions at a recent tryout camp,  and they signed him to a free agent contract.

While it’s his “measurables” - his size and speed - that got him the contract,  I think that when they discover what Carson offers in the things you can’t measure - intelligence, work ethic, coachability, dependability - they’re going to realize what a find he was.

https://www.bclions.com/2019/02/08/lions-add-three-including-former-redblacks-lineman/

*********** My friend Doc Hinger came across this photo and passed it on to me… It’s hard to believe it was taken 60 years ago.
DC touchdown club

IT WAS TAKEN IN JANUARY, 1959 - AT THE WASHINGTON TOUCHDOWN CLUB’S AWARD DINNER.

(LEFT TO RIGHT) RANDY DUNCAN, IOWA - OUTSTANDING COLLEGE PLAYER; JIM BROWN, CLEVELAND BROWNS - CO-WINNER, OUTSTANDING PRO PLAYER; HOUSTON PATTON, EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE - OUTSTANDING SERVICE PLAYER; BOB NOVOGRATZ, ARMY - OUTSTANDING COLLEGE LINEMAN; JOHNNY UNITAS, BALTIMORE COLTS - CO-WINNER, OUTSTANDING PRO PLAYER

Duncan had just quarterbacked Iowa’s exciting new Wing-T offense to a 38-12 Rose Bowl win over Cal. (FWIW - Cal’s QB was Joe Kapp); https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yg3OJE1MgJY

Brown, in his second year in the NFL, had rushed for 1527 yards and 17 touchdowns and averaged 127.3 yards rushing per game

Patton, a former Ole Miss QB, had led the Eglin AFB Eagles to a service championship. 

Bob Novogratz had starred at line backer and shortside guard in Army’s unbalanced-line Lonesome End formation as Army Coach Earl Blaik called it a career with an unbeaten season. (Bob, I'm proud to say, serves as a member of the Black Lion Award Board of Advisers.)

Unitas - pardon my Baltimore prejudice - was only the greatest ever (sorry, Tom Brady, but he called all of his plays, while you, with a controlling coach like Bill Belichick, have probably never called one in your entire NFL career). Shortly before this photo was taken, Unitas had quarterbacked the Colts to the NFL championship with a sudden-death overtime win over the New York Giants (the so-called “Greatest Game Ever Played”).

*********** AAF THIRD WEEK OBSERVATIONS:

*** MEMPHIS-ORLANDO

Never as much as three seconds of silence. Play-by-play guy Andrew Siciliano is being paid, I'm certain,  by the spoken word.

The sideline announcer was somebody named Jason Zone Fisher.  Really.

Since they like to tell us how many people they have mic’ed up, it would be nice if we’d hear more from players and coaches and less from announcers.

You can tell Spurrier is really slowing down when he can’t even throw down his notes in disgust they way he used to.

Maybe instead of eight officials we’d see a better game with five or at most six.

Zach Mettenberger took over from Christian Hackenberg as Memphis QB and looked a lot better, completing 9 of 12 for 120 and 2 TDs as Memphis made a game of it before losing 21-17.

*** BIRMINGHAM-ATLANTA

They play in “Georgia State Stadium,” which is another way of saying Turner Field - in other words, a baseball stadium.  Show me one that’s a good place to watch  a football game.

The stadium roof cast a shadow over the field that made viewing difficult.

Making viewing even worse was the fact that this league put two teams out there wearing dark jerseys and dark helmets.  This is so bush. Even high schools have rules against it.  I’m not sure that AAF teams have home and away jerseys.

An Atlanta lineman named John Kling severely injured his ankle, and when they finally loaded him onto the gurney and then onto the cart,  his head hit the canopy because they forgot he was still sitting up.

At a time when sticky gloves enable anyone to catch a ball with one hand, I continue to be shocked by the number of guys in this league  - “receivers” they insist on calling them - who can’t catch a football.  (Ten dropped passes in the first three quarters of this game.)

Halftimes on CBSSN are a joke. There are four people at the desk - two male and two female.  The 2 guys, both of them ex-pros, have the hardest jobs in sports TV - sitting there in absolute silence pretending to listen respectifully as the two blondes talk football.

Atlanta made an “onside kick.”  It’s not a bad concept - you get one down to make 12 yards. If you do, you keep the ball.  If you don’t the opponent gets the ball in your territory.  So Atlanta actually tried it and made it - and then threw an interception on the very next play.

I enjoy watching - and hearing - the replay officials.  They’re pretty good and they’re decisive, and if they can’t see enough to change a call, they say so.

SAN ANTONIO - SAN DIEGO

Officials must be tightening down.  We’re starting to see big plays being called back.  Not on an NFL scale yet, but it’s starting to get to be a pain in the ass.

Four guys from San Diego whom I like: a TE named Gavin Escobar from San Diego State; WR Nelson Spruce from Colorado; QB Philip Nelson, from Minnesota/Rutgers/East Carolina.  And, of course, “little” (5-6, 200) Ja’Quan Gardner, who turned a draw play into an 83-yard sprint straight up the field for a touchdown.

San Antonio’s Logan Woodside was having some difficulty moving the club,  and when Marquise Williams, a big dude out of North Carolina replaced him, the offense looked better.

OVERALL -

I think the AAF needs to do a much better job of ground-level marketing - of telling us more about the guys who are playing the game, because interesting and exciting players are what get more people to watch.

For some reason, with at least 150 different channels in operation, they couldn’t find a single one to televise the Salt Lake City win over Arizona. (“Hotshots” is easily the best name in pro sports to come along in at least the last 20 years.)

I remain a fan.

*********** A coach who’s just been promoted to head coach at the school where he’s been an assistant writes…

I’m  meeting with all of the Youth coaches.  Be ready for more questions!  I’d like for them to buy into the DW.  They’ve run it over the last few years.  However, they’ve sort of created their own version.  We need to be on the same page- all the language has to be the same.  Now that I’m the head coach I can advocate for a more consistent system and I’m willing to teach them.  Consistency is key…which is what we’ve been lacking in my opinion.  On a positive note, they’re the ones who really wanted to meet with me, so I’m hopeful this will be a healthy meeting.   

Coach,

A new system can’t be sold - it has to be bought.

It's very wise of you, recognizing that this likely wouldn’t work if YOU wanted it to happen.  It can only work if THEY want it to happen.

People by nature are resistant to change.  All you can do is try to explain how change can benefit THEM.


 
*********** When Hayden Fry took the Iowa job, the Hawkeye program was really down. At the time, he was considering similar jobs at Oklahoma State and Ole Miss.

He recalled the day he walked into the film room and his assistants were watching film of Iowa.

One of his assistants, Bill Brashier, said, “Coach Fry, we’ve made up our minds.  We took a vote and we want to got to Iowa.”

“Iowa?” Fry asked. “We don’t even know where Iowa is.”

“Sit down here and look at this film,” Brashier said.

The game was being played at Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium.  On the play they were watching, Iowa got a first down, and the fans jumped up and cheered enthusiastically.

Said one of the other assistants, “What would have happened if they made a touchdown?”

************* Ole Miss' basketball game Saturday was held at the same time as a march in defense of Confederate monuments in the city of Oxford. (From photographs I’ve seen, the “march” consisted of maybe two dozen people waving Confederate battle flags and singing “Dixie.”)

But that was enough to spur several members of the Ole Miss basketball team to take a knee during the national anthem before their game against Georgia.

Afterward, Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis, defended his players and their actions.  Well, of course he did.  He’s making $2.5 million this year, as part of a four-year, $10 million deal. Where’s he going to get another job like that if he doesn’t defend them?

“This was all about the hate groups that came to our community and tried to spread racism and bigotry in our community," he said after the game, laying it on thick. "It has created a lot of tension for our campus. I think our players made an emotional decision to show these people they aren't welcome on our campus, and we respect our players' freedom and ability to choose that."

Now,  before I do what Coach Davis did - condemn people without knowing anything about them - I’d want to give his players a little test to show they actually know  something about the history behind what they were protesting.

1.  What general led Sherman’s March to the Sea, and where did it end?

2.  What two sides opposed each other in the Civil War?

3.  Why couldn’t they use steam locomotives on the Underground Railroad?

4.  Near what small Pennsylvania town was the Battle of Gettysburg fought?

5.  What Civil War general is buried in Grant’s Tomb?

6. Which one of the following states did not fight for the North? A. Wisconsin B. New Jersey C. North Carolina

7.  What President delivered Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address?

8.  Put the following wars in their correct chronological* order:
    World War II     Civil War        Revolutionary War      World War I
    * sorry about the big word

9.  What two surveyors was the Mason-Dixon line named for?

10. Which side flew the Confederate Battle Flag?

(Considering that they’re - in name at least - college students, 80 per cent is passing)


*********** Before feeling too sorry for those poor college coaches whose players seem to be “quitting” on them (transferring out, actually) at record rates - consider…

* College coaches wrote the book on skipping out for something better despite years remaining on their contracts. In fact, it’s quite likely that the inclusion of “buy-out” clauses in contracts came about because of college coaches’ near-habitual bolting. 

* College coaches don’t seem to have any qualms at all about yanking a high school kid out of school halfway through his senior year so that he can take part in spring practice - before his high school class has even graduated.  (How many of these kids wind up missing their senior year of baseball or track?)

* College coaches routinely “commit” to kids but then at some point “withdraw” those commitments when their recruiting requirements change. (The fact that kids do the same thing is not sufficient justification for this sort of conduct by representatives of “educational” institutions.)

* College coaches haven’t spoken out very loudly against competing with high school football by playing their games on Friday nights.  Imagine the wailing that we’d hear if the NFL were to start playing regular-season games on Saturdays in September and October.

* College coaches take their players’ summers from them by “suggesting” they spend them at the college, where they can take part in “voluntary” practices. (This winds up blowing up in the coaches’ faces when the classes those kids take over the summers enable them to graduate early and then take advantage of the graduate transfer rules.)

* College coaches make headlines with showboat “offers” to kids in eighth grade, without giving any thought to how difficult that’s going to make it for the kid’s “real” coaches over the next four or five years.

* When will the concept of the “non-compete” clause find its way into college coaching contracts?  Wouldn’t justice seem to call for a coach who jumps his contract to have to sit out a year? It happens all the time to people who make a lot less than college football coaches.

*********** The NBA is seriously contemplating lowering its age limit from the current 19 to 18, which would virually end the current one-and-done practice that’s pretty much made  a joke of the word “college” in “college basketball.”

It’s likely to mean smaller checks from Nike, adidas and UnderArmour for college basketball coaches, who’ve been enjoying lucrative contracts with sneaker companies in return for the right to dress their teams.

Aside from using the college players as human mannequins, one of the reasons why sneaker companies make deals with college coaches is to try to influence players to remain with the shoe brand once they turn pro. But when all the great players start bypassing college entirely, going directly from high school to the NBA - or an alternative league -  it’s sure to reduce the need for sneaker companies to lavish money on college coaches.

*********** Well, duh department:  A British study shows that physically weaker males are more likely to be socialists…

https://www.dailywire.com/news/16850/study-weak-men-more-likely-be-socialists-amanda-prestigiacomo

*********** We Washingtonians pride ourselves on being out in front of the parade in damn near every respect.  We gave the world jet travel (Boeing), computing for the masses (Microsoft) and online mass retailing (Amazon).  And if there’s a socialist idea that hasn’t been tried yet, it’s because our politicians haven’t heard of it.

Now, there’s eyeball tattooing.

You read that correctly. How do you like that, you guys stuck in your red states?

I don’t know whether anybody actually gets their eyeballs tattooed here in Washington, but just in case someone does, the state legislature is considering a bill that would make eyeball tattoos - technically known as scleral tattoos (in which the sclera, the white of the eye, is dyed) illegal.

An assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of Washington School of Medicine described in scary detail some of the potential damage that could result, but then he admitted that it doesn’t yet appear to be that big of a problem:  in his work at the Veteran’s Administration’s Puget Sound Health Care System, he said he’s never seen a scleral tattoo.

But if you happen to be a tattoo artist out there in flyover country and you’re reading this, and you’d like to jump ahead of us Washingtonians in something,  here’s your chance, before your state legislature acts.

(My eyes were watering  as I wrote this.)

*********** Hmmm.  That Gillette campaign to stamp out toxic masculinity  (“stop your bullying and sexual harassment or we won’t let you buy our razors”) seems to have - pardon the expression, girls - petered out.   I think I know why.

*********** The Robert Kraft incident in Florida makes me wonder…

Several thoughts…

1. If, as they say, they’ve caught even bigger fish than Mr. Kraft,  why did they release just  his name?

2. Human trafficking is definitely evil,  and if those women in the South Florida massage parlors are indeed victims of “sex slavery,” why did the police allow the slavery to go on while the sting continued? Doesn’t anybody see anything wrong with keeping those women  enslaved,  using them as human bait to catch and embarrass some big-name Johns?

3. How, exactly,  does filming men in lascivious action and then arresting them for “soliciting a prostitute” make our cities safer?

4. If Mr. Kraft had been a Democrat, would this even have happened?  Couldn’t he have just flown someplace with  Bill Clinton or Bob Menendez?


*********** John Henry’s take on The Kraft Incident - from PressboxDFW

Newscasters cleared the shelf of Jussie Smollett updates with a breaking news item in Friday’s mid-morning hours.

Police in Jupiter, Fla., announced that New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, 77, had been caught swinging in one of the devil’s playgrounds, a spa called  Orchids of Asia, a massage parlor in a small storefront in a strip center that presumably specializes in special endings.

The news left us in shock: Why is a billionaire going into a small storefront for an afternoon delight?

Was the delivery charge for such services prohibitive?

The bad news for Kraft: Authorities said he was being charged with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting sex as part of what has been reported as being a wide-ranging investigation into prostitution and suspected human trafficking in South Florida.

Worse, some reports indicate that police have video of Kraft engaging in some sort of hanky-panky. On behalf of jurors everywhere, Mr. Kraft, please take the plea deal. No one needs to see that.

Police said the number of those facing charges in the Kraft investigation is almost 200. Moreover, the Twitterverse speculated that Kraft’s was not even the biggest name caught up in this.

Hmmmm.

Human trafficking is a much more serious matter than the seemingly more victimless crime of $50 for massage add-ons.

There has been no indication that Kraft was involved with any of that, though this is far less funny to the cynics if his therapist paramour was an enslaved sex mistress.

Therein lies the potential tragedy of this story.

Nothing will come of this for Kraft except embarrassment and some fines that equate to a trip to break room for you and me. And who knows … perhaps a suspension.

In his future will be another visit to the office of Principal Roger Goodell to talk about any violation to the league’s personal conduct policy. He should expect a ruler over the hand for conduct that compromises public respect and support for the NFL and otherwise damages the reputation of the league or his club, the Patriots, who have a well-documented reputation for pushing the NFL’s guide of best practices to the limits.

It’s important to remember that the accused enjoy the presumption of innocence in a court of law. Spokesmen or spokeswomen have denied Kraft engaged in any criminal activity.

Perhaps there was a miscommunication and it really was a manicure he was trying to line up.

Unfortunately, that’s not something he’ll be granted on the home front.

The first order of business in spin control likely involves a jewelry store to make amends with Ricki Noel, Kraft’s 39-year-old companion.

By first impressions, it doesn’t appear anything has happened here that some diamonds and a girls month in Greece can’t remedy.


Houston receiver*********** QUIZ ANSWER - Elmo Wright is on this year’s ballot for the college football Hall of Fame.  (It’s hard for me to believe he’s not already in.)

He graduated in one of the last segregated classes at George Washington Carver High School,  in the small town of Sweeney, Texas.

At the University of Houston, in the days of freshman ineligibility,  he played three seasons for the Cougars (1967-1969), and despite playing in their run-heavy offense (which came to be known as the Houston Veer), he caught 153 passes for 3,347 yards and 34 touchdowns.


In his sophomore season, he set two NCAA records that still stand as evidence of his explosiveness:  most TD receptions of 50 yards or more in a season (8) and highest average yards per touchdown catch (11 touchdowns, 56.1 yards per score).

His 27.9 yards per reception in 1968 remain a school record.

He was an honorable mention All-American in 1968,  Second Team in 1969, and a unanimous First Team Selection in 1970.

In 1968, he began to celebrate touchdowns by “bustin’ the ball” - what’s now called spiking - but eventually the NCAA outlawed it. “It was kind of a problem with the referees,” he said later,  “because they’d have to chase the ball down after a score.”

In 1969  he expanded on the “bustin’ the ball” by adding a dance - high-stepping, actually - and in so doing became the first major college player to do a touchdown dance.

He was a 1971 first-round draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs, the first Houston Cougar to drafted in the first round.

As a rookie in 1971, he became an NFL pioneer when  he did what came to be called his “shuffle” after catching a touchdown pass from Len Dawson against the Steelers on Monday Night Football.

Unfortunately - or fortunately, depending on how you feel about the state of today’s choreographed touchdown dances - he got to do his dance only five more times in a 5-year NFL career in which he caught 70 passes for 1116 yards and six TDs.

No matter - he’d opened the floodgates to numerous imitators.  After him came such well-known dancers as Billy “White Shoes” Johnson and Icky Woods and a host of others.

In all, he played five years in the NFL, four with Kansas City and a fifth split between Houston and New England.

Elmo Wright was an excellent student at UH,  an academic All-American who graduated with a degree in engineering; after football, he had a long career as an engineer with the City of Houston.

(THE COACH IN THE PHOTO ABOVE IS THE GREAT BILL YEOMAN)

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING ELMO WRIGHT:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
CHARLIE WILSON - CRYSTAL RIVER, FLORIDA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA*
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
DAVE POTTER - CARY, NORTH CAROLINA
RUSS MEYERS - ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND

* DEEPEST APOLOGIES TO…
JOHN VERMILLION
MARK KACZMAREK

MEA CULPA - Their correct identifications of Leroy Keyes somehow got caught in my spam filter, and they weren’t properly credited.  (I was advised by my lawyers to apologize and admit fault - also to offer them each a free one-year subscription to this site - in hopes of avoiding a lawsuit. I have not heard back from their lawyers yet. No news is good news.)

*********** I met Joe Paterno once, in 1968  in Frederick, Maryland.  Every coach made  a stop in Frederick that year - the Frederick High team was  loaded with talented players.  Their best player was a tight end named named Chuck Foreman, who was turned into a running back when he got to  Miami and later did okay in the NFL.  The one thing that I remember about talking with Coach Paterno was the way he raved about a kid at Houston whom I hadn't  heard of - a kid named Elmo Wright. I made it a point to follow him after that.

*********** Thanks to Greg Koenig…

https://www.houstoniamag.com/articles/2018/1/30/elmo-wright-end-zone-dance-creator

*********** I remember the "high-stepping" into the EZ, but not the dancing...Great pic of Bill Yoeman...Engineering Degree plus football is a tough row to hoe!!!

Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

*********** Played opposite Otis Taylor with the Chiefs I believe. Hard to believe he only played five years.

Russ Meyers
Annapolis, Maryland

*********** QUIZ:  He was born and raised in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and played his college football at Iowa.

In 1981, after a number of years as an assistant, he was hired from Stanford, where he had been offensive coordinator,  as head coach at Northwestern. That made him just the second black man to be had coach at a D-I school, and the first to coach at a Power 5 conference school.  He left after 5 years with a 10-45 record.

After three years working under Bill Walsh with the 49ers, he was hired by Stanford as their head coach.  After three years at Stanford, his record was just 16-18 but he was hired by th Minnesota Vikings as their coach, making him just the second black man in the modern era to become an NFL head coach.

In ten years at Minnesota, he did considerably better than he had done in college. His overall record was 97-62. The Vikings made the playoffs eight times, and finished first in the NFL Central four times.  His 1998 team was 15-1 in  the regular season.

His Vikings succeeded with three different black quarterbacks - Warren Moon, Randall Cunningham and Daunte Culpepper.

He had just one losing season in Minnesota, but that was his last season - 2001 -  he was let go with a game remaining in the season.

After two years as an on-air game analyst, he took over as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.  They were bad when he took them over, and although he showed some improvement, it wasn’t enough. After going 16-32 in three seasons, he was let go.

Although he died in 2016 of a heart attack, he is still seen from time to time on TV, going on a post-game rant back in in 2006 that started with, “The Bears are what we thought they were. They're what we thought they were….” and ended with,  “But they are who we thought they were! And we let 'em off the hook!”


american flagFRIDAY,  FEBRUARY 22,  2019   “I bet on jockeys, not horses.” Ted Forstmann 

*********** If you paid $2600 for a ticket to the Duke-North Carolina game, you didn’t get to see much of a game.  But it wasn’t a total loss. 

You did get to see a pompous-ass company that thinks it can attack our values with impunity get its comeuppance.  Sadly, it had to come at the expense of a very talented young man.

Unfortunately for those of us who tuned in - or paid $2600 a seat -  to watch the usual Duke-UNC excitement, it wasn’t even a minute into the game that the turning point came.  That’s when Duke superfrosh Zion Williamson injured his knee. From that point on, it was all Tarheels.

When the kid went down, there on the floor for all to see was his foot sticking out from his shoe - a Nike shoe - whose sole had torn away from its upper.  It’s still unknown how severe Williamson’s injury is, though, but the damage done to the reputation of college basketball’s part-owner - Nike - could already be seen in the price of its stock on Thursday. 

Think of this for a minute, you NBA players (and you one-and-done college stars):  your multi-million dollar career could be over in a heartbeat, and all because you put your trust in shoes made by people on the other side of the world who earn less than a dollar an hour. Way less.

And as for Nike, which thanks to globalism  has been able to take the old business maxim of “make ‘em cheap and sell ‘em dear” to the obscene levels - God help them if this should damage a highly-promising young athlete’s career.

Oh, and Nike - if you’re going to have third-worlders make your shoes, at least pay your damn inspectors a living wage. 

*********** In case Nike needed a reason  to send Zion Wiliamson a get-well card (and put its lawyers on red alert): Kyle Zorn, a marketing strategist for a “secondary ticket seller” (legal scalper) called TickPick said only one other athlete compares with Williamson and his impact on ticket prices: LeBron James.


*********** Dan Jenkins is either at or very near the top of the list of people I’d like to sit with in a bar.  Hell, I’d settle for sitting near enough to overhear.  He’s getting up there, as the old-timers used to say - he’s 89.  But the Dan Jenkins I’m talking about liked a drink, he knew and loved college football and wrote great stuff about it, and he had a great sense of humor. In “I’ll Tell You One Thing,” his humorous look at Southwest Conference football, he tells how his path to one day writing about football had its beginnings…

“Everything we know today tells us that if you can get a kid interested in sports at an early age the odds are in your favor that he won’t wind up with a ring in his nose or his tongue pierced. It doesn’t always work but I know a gang of football immortals had a positive influence on me as a kid. I don’t think I’d ever have wound up with a ring in my nose or a piece of costume jewelry stuck in my tongue under any circumstances, barring whiskey, but seeing those heroes live and in action had something to do with making me want to try to achieve something big or little in the world of sports someday instead of trying to be Al Capone, or, perhaps even worse, a politician.”

*********** I was reading one of  those advice-to-parents columns and read a letter from a parent of a five-year-old.  Her issue:  “He has a hard time transitioning from play time to learning time.”

The advice?  Get over it.  He’s a boy. 

Football players are boys, too - and they have a hard time transitioning from play time to learning time.

My solution?  Schedule learning time first.

Which is exactly why I learned, over the years, to practice offense before defense.  To kids, offense is learning time; defense is play time.

*********** I came across an article in afca.com entitled “The Power of “Padding.” What it refers to is Bill Belichick’s requiring assistants - and would-be assistants - to watch games and diagram each play on a pad.  It derives from when he was young and he’d travel with his dad,  Steve, who for years, long before there was film exchange, “scouted” Navy’s opponents the old-fashioned way. He attended opponents’ games and made notations, play after play, in pencil and pen on notepads. As his son, Bill, grew older, Steve would take the boy with him on his scouting trips.

Excerpts from the article...

 his young assistant coaches (and prospective hires coming in for an interview) gain experience and insights through the practice of “padding.” If you aren’t familiar with what goes into padding, several articles have been written detailing the practice, and Michael Lombardi also briefly describes it in his 2018 book, Gridiron Genius.

“Padding” refers to the process of watching all-22 game film and transferring onto paper (or a notepad) exactly what is happening on each play. This means charting the alignment of the 22 players on the field as well as plotting their individual assignments for each snap. The devil is in the details, and as Lombardi notes, “[Belichick] wants to know, for example, if there is a variation of even a couple of inches in the offensive line’s splits…”
While some coaches might say they can discover the same information just by watching game film, taking the time to physically map out an entire game (or games) leads to a heightened level of understanding.

*****
Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels (who padded over a three-year period) saying “I think the most important thing young people have got to understand is, it’s not a punishment… It’s a tremendous opportunity to learn how important everything is at this level.”

http://insider.afca.com/the-power-of-padding-how-it-helped-create-the-patriots-dynasty/?utm_source=AFCA+Insider&utm_campaign=d1d151acdb-AFCA_Weekly_100317_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_343e846137-d1d151acdb-147880073

David Halberstam, in “The Education of a Coach,” his great book about Belichick, writes about how much more thorough Steve Belichick was, and leads to the conclusion that much of Bill Belichick’s career is a tribute to his dad.

Scouting seemed to come so naturally to him, not so much an end in itself, as some of his colleagues who watched him thought, but more accurately as a game within a game, one which he was always determined to win. Most of the other scouts were assistant coaches who did not really want to be scouting. They wanted to be back with their teams on Saturday, watching their handiwork in action, and their work habits showed it. They were, Bill Belichick remembered them from watching them when he was a boy, “all so casual about it, talking to each other, paying attention but not really paying attention,  doing a lot of coaching small talk, gossiping really. Not really paying attention to the game, but thinking that they were.  Instead they were halfway interested. There were a lot of questions they would be asking each other,  like ‘Hey, did the guard pull on that play? It was like a social occasion for them, and they would be ordering hotdogs and coffee. And, by contrast, he was always working. Every minute. He was like a hawk up there. And by watching him, I learned to see the game, how well prepared you have to be and how quickly your eyes have to shift. He had his own sheets which he had created himself to make it easier to get the information down, and he would get the basics down, the rest to be filled in later. The other guys were barely operating off the programs. He had it all laid out - the plays, the downs, the tendencies, the different yardage needs on different downs, the different formations, all of it. He had such quick eyes, a great field of vision and such great anticipation, play after play. If he could not get everything noted in time before the next play was run, he could make some little note to himself that probably only he could understand, and then he would fill in at halftime or after the game. The others might have one or two pencils and one lawyer’s pad but there he would be with thirty pencils, all of them sharpened.” He was, his son said, “the first great scout.” “What I learned, going with him,” Bill Belichick added, “was that it was not just a game, it was a job. “

(There’s educational research that backs up the value of writing things down - study after study seems to indicate that taking notes using pencil and paper results in more retention of infomation than does entering them into a laptop.)

*********** I was looking at the obituaries in last Sunday’s Portland Oregonian when I saw a photo of a guy in a hockey sweater.

And then I saw the name.   Andy Hebenton. Died in a Gresham, Oregon “adult home.”

Wait a minute, I thought.  I remember him.  He was a damn good hockey player.

According to the obituary,

“Andy played professional hockey from 1949-1975 for both the NHL and WHL, finishing his career here in Portland, playing for the Buckaroos and the Seattle Totems.  He worked as a concrete finisher during his off seasons and continued his own company as a concrete finisher.”

That was all it said. More than likely written by a member of the family, the obit didn’t come close to doing justice to his hockey career.

For one thing… playing professional hockey from 1949 through 1975 - that’s 27 years of professional hockey. That’s a long time to be playing a sport that was a lot rougher then than it is today. And then to work in the off-season as a concrete finisher?  How tough must the guy have been?

He was certainly no shirker.

From 1953, when he joined the Victoria (BC) Cougars, through the end of the 1967 season, he played in 1,076 consecutive professional hockey games.  (988 is the next-longest.)

From 1956 through 1964, while playing in the NHL with the New York Rangers and then the Boston Bruins, he played in 630 straight league games, then a league record.  (He’s now sixth all-time.) Playing nine years in the NHL, considering that there were then only six teams in the league, made him among the elite in his sport.

He scored 20 or more goals five times in the NHL, and in 1957-58 he won the Lady Byng Trophy for “gentlemanly play.”  His best season statistically was 1958-1959, when  he scored 33 goals and 29 assists and was the runner up for the Lady Byng Trophy.

He’s #53 on the list of 100 New York Rangers all-time greats.

Like so many former Buckaroos, he became an adopted Portlander. Here was a sports star in our own community, yet there was not a word in the Oregonian sports section about his passing.

Mr. Hebenton was 89.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Hebenton

*********** In Maine, the state legislature has infuriated so-called “educators” by proposing legislation that would require teachers to actually teach the subject they were hired to teach (imagine!) and keep their political opinions to themselves while they’re on the job.  

The legislation would also outlaw, among other things,  “singling out one racial group of students as responsible for the suffering or inequities experienced by another racial group of students, ” an increasingly common tactic by certain teachers  who in their zeal to pursue what they call “social justice” castigate white students for their so-called “white privilege.”

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3729172/posts

*********** Jimmy Burch, in pressboxDFW, offers an interesting look at Kyler Murray’s chances of making it in the NFL…

The guy is a football unicorn, two inches shorter than Manziel when the former A&M star was drafted by Cleveland in 2014, but blessed with more foot speed, similar improvisational skills and a stronger arm. Murray also has something else in common with Manziel that makes evaluating him a challenge for NFL talent appraisers.

(Gil) Brandt, the Dallas Cowboys’ chief talent scout from 1960-1989, raised the issue for the first time while watching a game between two other teams in Manziel’s historic 2012 season, when Johnny Football became the first freshman in history to win the Heisman.

“He’ll never be better protected in his life than he is right now,” Brandt said that day, singing the praises of Texas A&M’s stellar crew in the trenches. “He’s got three first-round NFL picks in front of him, and all five of those guys will play at the next level.”

Brandt made that assessment in October of 2012. Eventually, all five of A&M’s starting offensive linemen that season played in the NFL, with the three standouts (Luke Joeckel, Jake Matthews, Cedric Ogbuehi) entering the league as first-round picks, as Brandt envisioned.

With unprecedented protection, Manziel frequently extended plays to laughable levels before he found an open receiver up to eight seconds after taking the snap (usually Mike Evans, another first-round pick on that offense). If no one shook free, Manziel shook loose and scrambled for a first down to extend the drive, wear down the opposing defense and create some eye-popping offensive stats.

Fast forward six years, and Murray did basically the same thing at Oklahoma. The Sooners’ offensive line last season earned the 2018 Joe Moore Award, given annually to the nation’s best five-man front in college football. From tackle-to-tackle, Sooners starters averaged 6-foot-5, 316 pounds per man.

All five are expected to move on to the NFL, with four of them projected to be selected in the first to third rounds when their college careers are done. Because of the Sooners’ talent in the trenches, combined with a universal reluctance among Big 12 defensive coordinators to blitz Murray for fear of letting him scramble into the open field with his 4.3 speed, Murray enjoyed more unfettered time in the pocket last season than any college quarterback I have seen since Manziel.

*********** I remember a story Chuck Bednarik told at a banquet when I was a kid. Seems a guy was sitting next to a priest at a boxing match, and noticing one boxer after another cross himself as he got off his stool to head out to the center of the ring, he asked the priest, “Does that work?”

“Yes,” said the priest. “If he’s a good fighter.”

That’s how I feel about motivational gimmicks.  I’m leery of them,  and even more so of the motivational types  who identify with - trademark, even - their gimmicks.  I’ve seen a lot of snake oil salesmen come and go over the years.

So I haven’t bought into the “row the boat” business that P.J. Fleck made famous at Western Michigan and has taken with him to Minnesota.  Let’s just say I’m skeptical.

Another guy who hasn’t bought Fleck’s act is former Gophers’ coach Jerry Kill, now AD at Southern Illinois.

Coach Kill had to step aside at Minnesota for health reasons, and then, after a sexual scandal involving Gophers’ football players erupted,  his successor, Tracy Claeys, was forced out. Tracy Claeys and the other members of his staff were former assistants of Coach Kill - “My guys,” he still calls them.

His bone to pick with PJ Fleck is about the way Fleck badmouthed “my guys” when he came in and started in with the cliches about “changing the culture.”

Before chalking this up to sour grapes on Coach Kill’s part, writes Zach Barnett in footballscoop.com, “in his final two full seasons at Minnesota, the Gophers went 8-5 and 8-5,  a mark that Fleck has yet to match in his two seasons in Kill’s old job.”

http://footballscoop.com/news/jerry-kill-pj-fleck-hes/

*********** It appears that breakdancing (or is that two words?) will be one of four new sports in the 2014 Olympics. (Remember when they were prepared to drop wrestling?)

https://www.france24.com/en/20190220-breakdancing-tipped-inclusion-paris-2024-olympics


*********** For what it’s worth… A study shows that lesbians are more likely to be overweight than straight women,  while gays are more likely to be underweight than straight men.  Pass the doughnuts, please.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/lesbian-women-overweight-straight-study-lgbt-gay-men-underweight-body-image-a8788776.html


*********** Let’s get one thing perfectly clear: I enjoy watching the AAF and I’d like to see it succeed. In minor league ball and then in the World Football League, I’ve been around guys who were hungry for a chance to make it to the Big Time, and I admired them for their passion for the game.

But I’ve also been around the kind of shysters attracted by the idea of owning a sports team, and while we had our share of shyster owners back in the World Football League, not even they thought for a minute that they could avoid paying players as early as the second week of the season, as rumors say either happened or could have happened in the AAF.  (Or was it the first week of the season?)

Now, an evident “investment” of some $250 million by one Tom Dundon, the owner of the NHL Carolina Panthers, has guaranteed the AAF at least temporary solvency.  (Investment, my ass.  For $250 million, he just bought the entire league.) 

(It’s only partly coincidence that the sum of $250 million has been in the news lately: it’s the amount of the lawsuit filed against the Washington Post by the lawyers for the kid from Covington Catholic - the kid who stood his ground while a beating tom-tom was held inches from from his face by a supposed Indian “elder”… the kid who, because he was wearing a “MAGA” hat,  was smeared by many in the news media.  It’s also - no coincidence - the amount that the Post’s owner, Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, paid to acquire the paper.)

The rumors of the AAF’s insolvency may or may not have been true, but if they were, it leads to the inescapable conclusion that in putting together their business plan, the AAF’s founders underestimated the importance of being properly capitalized.

But even now with the infusion of money, the AAF’s chances for success are, like their crowds, poor.

Let’s face it - the hopes of most new sports ventures hinge on TV revenues, and that’s where the AAF is in trouble. Yes, the TV ratings for their first week’s games were surprisingly good, even after  allowing for the novelty factor.  But most of the viewership came from the opening game, which was televised on CBS, a free over-the-air network.

In week two however, while all four games were televised,  none was on a free-to-air network. One was on TBS, one was on CBSSN, and two were on the NFL Network.  With all four games only available on cable, the ratings, predictably, suffered.

And that’s how it’s likely to be the rest of the way with few AAF games scheduled for CBS.

Back in the 70s, the WFL owners didn’t even have the cable option.  There were just three main over-the-air networks (ABC, CBS, NBC).  And they all broadcast NFL games, making them de facto partners of The League (just as they are now), and eliminating any chance that they’d carry the games of the NFL’s new competitor.  However, most decent-sized TV markets did have an independent station, and a guy named Eddie Einhorn did a pretty good job of cobbling together a “guerilla network” of those independents in order to televise WFL games nationally.

We had better TV coverage than the AAF, and we had the further advantage of getting under way while the NFL players were on strike and picketing their training camps.  All we needed, alas, was enough owners with money.  If we’d had an angel like this Tom Dundon guy, the World Football League would still be in business.


Carolina Hurricanes’ owner “invests” in AAF -
http://www.espn.com/nhl/story/_/id/26030221/hurricanes-owner-tom-dundon-invests-250m-aaf

No surprise that AAF is already in trouble -
 https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/college/columnist/dan-wolken/2019/02/19/aaf-football-league-investor-tom-dundon/2914727002/

***********  While doing a bit of rummaging through some old notes, I found this. Jason Whitlock wrote it in January, 2011 - "Jim Harbaugh is the sizzle hire in all of football. He’s not a better college football coach than Brady Hoke."

Scoff if you will, but the much-derided Brady Hoke remains the last Michigan coach to beat Ohio State.

http://msn.foxsports.com/collegefootball/story/brady-hoke-not-jim-harbaugh-is-perfect-coach-for-michigan-wolverines-010711

*********** Back before Western Civilization was deemed racist, back when we still valued its lessons, kids learned about life from the stories Aesop told - Aesop’s Fables.

One of Aesop’s Fables was “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”  We all heard the story, and we all - most of us, at least - learned its lesson.

Today, though, the wisdom of the ages having been put aside, instead of learning about “crying wolf” from Aesop, we have to learn it from real-life stories like the Fable of Jussie Smollett.

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

I FINALLY got around to getting the Go Army Edge app.  Man did it consume a chunk of my weekend.  iPad is so much easier and more stable than Windows laptop.  I should have gotten on this sooner.

Do you know if there is a way to include blocking rules with a play?  That is the only piece that I'm wishing for right now.

Thank you

Todd Hollis
Head Football Coach
Elmwood High School
Elmwood, Illinois

Coach,

I don’t know how to do that, but then I’ve never tried.

It’s a great app with enormous potential and lots of uses, but it does have a fairly steep learning curve, which seems to scare a lot of guys away,

I continue to find uses for it, and they do continue to add improvements.

I did suggest enabling coaches to share their work, but that’s just not feasible at this point.

I’ll try to help you any way I can.


*********** I have neither the space nor the time nor the inclination to list all the transfers taking place among major colleges, but one significant transfer, I think, is that of QB Josh Jackson from Virginia Tech to Maryland.  He’s the son of a college coach, and I was impressed with his play in 2017, his redshirt freshman season. He broke his leg early last season against Old Dominion and missed the rest of the season.

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

My college coach, Hank Norton, died January 16, 2019.  I played on the 1972-73 and 1973-1974 teams.

He was a great coach and man.

Ken Hampton
Raleigh, North Carolina

https://www.thefranklinnewspost.com/news/legendary-ferrum-football-coach-dies/article_a9bbaaae-1a96-11e9-baa5-4b134576895d.html

Coach Norton’s Ferrum teams were good! In 34 years as its coach, from 1960 to 1993, he won 244 games, taking Ferrum from JC powerhouse status - winning four NJCAA national titles - to Division III, where Ferrum made back-to-back national semifinal appearances (1988 and 1989).


***********  QUIZ ANSWER: Leroy Keyes was born in Newport News, Virginia, and was a star at Carver High School there.  At 6-3, with great speed, he was a star in football, basketball and track. As a running back in football, he scored 21 touchdowns. He averaged 27.5 points on the basketball team. In addition being a standout sprinter on the track team, he set a state broad jump (now long jump) record of 24’ 4-1/2” that stood for years.

But like so many great black football players of his time, he had to leave home to achieve fame.

When he graduated from high school, opportunities for outstanding southern black athletes were limited mostly to the Big Ten, and according to the story, the coach at nearby William and Mary, who knew he couldn’t sign a black player, recommended him to a friend who coached at Purdue.

During his time at Purdue, the Boilermakers enjoyed one of the greatest times in their football history. In his three years (freshmen then were ineligible) there,  Purdue was 25-6.

In his sophomore season he played defensive back, and the first time he touched a ball in a college game he caught a fumble in mid-air and returned it 94 yards for a score against Notre Dame. Purdue was good that year - the Boilermakers went 8-2 with Bob Griese as QB.  Their  only losses were to co-National Champions Michigan State and Notre Dame, and because Michigan State had gone to the Rose Bowl the previous year, under the Big-Ten’s no-repeat rule of the time,  Purdue went to its first-ever Rose Bowl.

He was switched to running back as a junior, but he often played on defense in crucial situations, and was possibly the last true two-way player in big-time college football.

There were some who questioned the move to offense. "He'd make All-America no matter which way I play him," his coach, Jack Mollenkopf told Sports Illustrated.  "but if I moved him back to defense now there would be a petition out to get my job…And I’d be the first to sign the petition.”

In those days, with just one college game televised nationally every Saturday, the 1968 Purdue-Notre Dame game was an easy pick to be the one: the Boilermakers were ranked Number 1 in the country , the Irish Number 2.  Purdue won the game 37-22, and he put on a fantastic show.  He ran for two scores and threw for a third, and played the entire game in defense, shutting down Irish All-American receiver Jim Seymour.
He was a unanimous All-American in both 1967 and 1968, and was named on same defensive teams as well as on offense.

Prior to the 1968 season, when Purdue was a pre-season Number One pick, he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

He caught 78 passes

In his two years as a running back (20 games), he rushed for 1989 yards, and 27 rushing touchdowns.  He caught 78 passes for 986 yards.  His 37 career touchdowns (offense and defense) was a school record that stood until it was broken in 1995 by Mike Alstott.

He also threw for eight touchdowns his junior year, and six his senior year.

He was third in the Heisman voting in his junior year, finished behind UCLA QB Gary Beban and USC running back O.J. Simpson.  In his senior year, he finished second to Simpson.

He was the third person selected in the 1969 NFL draft,  taken by the Eagles after Buffalo took O.J. Simpson and Atlanta took George Kunz.

He had a solid but unspectacular professional career, playing four years with the Eagles and one with the Chiefs.

He broke his leg his first season and spent the rest of his four years with the Eagles as a strong safety.

He never complained about being asked to play defense, where he was needed most.

“I never claimed that I was mistreated being switched from one position to another,” he told a Philadelphia paper years later. “That was not my reason to play ball. If they told me to play offense, I said OK. Defense? No problem. "

Years after his retirement as a player, he returned to Purdue to coach running backs, and from 1997 to 1999 he served as an administrative assistant to head coach Joe Tiller.  He then served as a staff member of the John Purdue Club, which raises funds to provide scholarships and academic support for Purdue's student-athletes as well as improvement to athletic facilities, until he retired in 2011.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING  LEROY KEYES:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
DAVE POTTER - CARY, NORTH CAROLINA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
JIM FRANKLIN - FLORA, INDIANA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
RODNEY LUNSFORD - WESTFIELD, INDIANA
DON SHIPLEY - FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA

*********** Greg Koenig sent me the link below, and wrote,  “Leroy Keyes impresses me as a well-spoken and thoughtful man in the interview below.”

Amen.  Mr. Keyes represents football's best. We need more Leroy Keyeses.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAuGdKCQ3XM

*********** Highlights of the 1966 season-opening Purdue-Notre Dame game and Leroy Keyes’ 94-yard fumble return.  (Notre Dame won, 26-14 and went on to win the national title in Ara Parseghian’s third season.  Notre Dame’s record was marred only by the famous tie with Michigan State, which also finished its season undefeated but wound up ranked Number 2.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0uedvdM5e4

*********** Leroy Keyes stopped by the Lafayette IN Cracker Barrel where my wife Alice works. She didn't know who he was. When she told me she met him, I said, "He may be the best player Purdue ever had!"

From what I was told Leroy was never the same after the injury.  Surgery is SO much better now. Today, Leroy Keyes would have returned. You might remember Greg Cook. Drew Brees had a similar shoulder injury. Greg allegedly died as an alcoholic because of he couldn't come back. And my personal favorite was Gayle Sayers. Wow, what a runner! Yes, it was an ACL, but players can come back from that  now.

Jim Franklin
Flora, Indiana

Greg Cook’s is one of the saddest of all stories. There’s no telling how great he could have been.

Paul Brown, in his memoirs, “PB,” said, “He was the first great young quarterback I had been able to select and have confidence in since we had picked Y.A. Tittle in 1948.”


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

Still have my “Give the ball to Leroy” pin on my Purdue football hat.

Rodney Lunsford
Purdue ‘69
Westfield, Indiana

*********** Was fortunate to see him play.....could really cover ground on offense and defense.....i still use the black board.....kids can't read cursive so it's a struggle....

Kevin McCullough
Lakeville, Indiana

Cursive is another subject entirely.  One of these days reading cursive  will be a valuable skill.  How else will people know for sure what people who lived before there were typewriters (typewriter? what’s that?) were writing?


Houston receiver*********** QUIZ - He’s on this year’s ballot for the college football Hall of Fame.  (It’s hard for me to believe he’s not already in.)

He graduated in one of the last segregated classes at George Washington Carver High School,  in the small town of Sweeney, Texas.

At the University of Houston, in the days of freshman ineligibility,  he played three seasons for the Cougars (1967-1969), and despite playing in their run-heavy offense (which came to be known as the Houston Veer), he caught 153 passes for 3,347 yards and 34 touchdowns.

In his sophomore season, he set two NCAA records that still stand as evidence of his explosiveness:  most TD receptions of 50 yards or more in a season (8) and highest average yards per touchdown catch (11 touchdowns, 56.1 yards per score).

His 27.9 yards per reception in 1968 remain a school record.

He was an honorable mention All-American in 1968,  Second Team in 1969, and a unanimous First Team Selection in 1970.

In 1968, he began to celebrate touchdowns by “bustin’ the ball” - what’s now called spiking - but eventually the NCAA outlawed it. “It was kind of a problem with the referees,” he said later,  “because they’d have to chase the ball down after a score.”

In 1969  he expanded on the “bustin’ the ball” by adding a dance - high-stepping, actually - and in so doing became the first major college player to do a touchdown dance.

He was a 1971 first-round draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs, the first Houston Cougar to be drafted in the first round.

As a rookie in 1971, he became an NFL pioneer; he did its first touchdown dance - what came to be called his “shuffle” - after catching a touchdown pass from Len Dawson against the Steelers on Monday Night Football.

Unfortunately - or fortunately, depending on how you feel about the state of today’s choreographed touchdown dances - he got to do his dance only five more times in a 5-year NFL career in which he caught 70 passes for 1116 yards and six TDs.

No matter - he’d opened the floodgates to numerous imitators.  After him came the likes of Billy “White Shoes” Johnson and Icky Woods - and a host of others.

In all, he played five years in the NFL, four with Kansas City and a fifth split between Houston and New England.

An excellent student at UH, he was an academic All-American, and graduated with a degree in engineering; he had a long career as an engineer with the City of Houston.


american flagTUESDAY,  FEBRUARY 19,  2019   "You can evade reality, but you cannot evade the consequences of evading reality." Ayn Rand      



*********** BEWARE TECHNOLOGY!  Last Friday, as my wife proofread my page, I could see her shaking her head in bewilderment. Finally, she gave up and called me over. 

“What does this mean?” she asked.

She pointed to a sentence that contained the phrase “Claire’s beside him”

I had not idea what it meant, and then it hit me - I had dictated the material from a book, and entrusted my mail program with the responsibillity of translating it.

Did a pretty good job, too, except for the part where I said “players” and it heard “Claire’s.”

Correction made: “the center of the rush line where players beside him could “guard”  against opposing linemen”


*********** THIS PAST  WEEKEND IN THE AAF

Sure is fun being able to watch every team play.  I’m getting to like the AAF, especially the pace of its game and the way the players get after it on defense.

SALT LAKE CITY (SLC) AT BIRMINGHAM (BHM) -

SLC QB’s Woodrum wasn’t playing.

*** The crowd in Legion Field wasn’t much better than last week.  They aren’t selling end-zone seats, which is a huge mistake, because empty stands are such a horrible look of failure, and because there are so many field goal attempts that give us a long look at them.

*** Saw a lot of Open Wing - “West” as well as “Western,” base backfield and strong backfield - from SLC.

*** Salt Lake’s Karter Schult, a DE from Northern Iowa, looked pretty good.

*** I like SLC’s RB Branden Oliver

*** An Air National Guard Commercial consists of  shots of people helping people while a version of “This Land is Your Land” plays in the background.  It’s so slow and downbeat that if I didn’t know better I’d think “Our Land” had died and we were at its funeral.

*** These guys who pry the ball loose from ball carriers - do they practice by trying to start lawnmowers?

*** Marvin Lewis needs to speak up a bit more forcefully, because he’s got a lot of good insights.  Brian Billick is also good. It occurs to me that the AAF could give itself a boost in credibility by having former NFL coaches do the commentary, because when they say that a guy looks like a prospect, we tend to believe them.  Maurice Jones-Drew shows a lot of promise as a former player, realizing that air time is precious, and saying what needs to be said rather eloquently and economically.

*** In the studio, Terrell Davis looked unprepared. He looked as if he’d dressed in the car on the way to the studio, and he seemed unfamiliar wih the notes in front of him; Alex Flanagan (that’s a female) had to show everybody the crack in her chest.  Interesting how women go to such lengths on the one hand
telling us that they’re sick of being treated like sex objects, while on the other hand going on a football broadcast showing off cleavage.

*** Early in the weekend, there continued to be almost no holding or pass interference.  This was bad in one sense, because it was definitely going on,  but it sure was nice to see good plays without hearing that dreaded  joy killer, “Flag on the Play.” 

*** I’m starting to see more shirttails hanging out, and it bothers me.  It’s something I’m very sensitive to, because as someone who once worked hard  to sell my team as “minor league,” (and not “semi-pro”) a shirttail out has always been a sure sign of a lower class of football, of a bunch of sandlotters.

*** Without their starting QB, SLC played really conservative on offensiv and stayed in the game the whole way.

*** I’ve seen all the teams now, and it’s obvious that unlike the NFL, they are all making a serious commitment to running the football.  Maybe it’s because they don’t have the QB’s to play an NFL-style offense.  (Which, to my mind,  is all good. There’s nothing much more boring to me than a typical NFL game.)

*** I think one reason that AAF offenses have been lagging behind the defenses is that the tackling is better in the AAF than in the NFL.  A friend suggested that it’s because these AAF guys are hungrier. I agreed, and added that NFL players, being paid king’s ransoms to play the same game, are thinking more about how to protect themselves than about how to stop the ball carrier.

*** I could have sworn I heard the announcers say something about the players not having health insurance.  I should have rewound and listened again, because I find it hard to believe.

*** Marvin Lewis said something about the AAF guys being motivated because “the wolf is at the door,” and the other guys said they’d never heard the expression.  (The old expression is “keeping the wolf from the door” - fighting off  poverty. )

*** Laughed my ass off when what looked like a horse-collar tackle on Birmingham’s Trent Richardson turned out not to be a penalty - because he’d been pulled down by his dreadlocks.  Marvin Lewis commented, “If you’re going to wear your hair that way you’re subject to being dragged down by it.”

*** Birmingham won by a touchdown, and the margin of victory was one of those bogus lawn-mower-start pry-the-ball-loose  scoop-and-scores. The late, great Dave Nelson, who served for years on the NCAA rules committee, was opposed to the defense being able to advance a fumble for a “cheap score,”  and I agree.  I remember when that was the rule. Considering how hard the offense has to work to get a touchdown, possession of the ball at the spot of recovery ought to be sufficient  reward for the defense.

*** SLC is a good team, but they lost a couple of really critical fumbles and they missed at least three field goals.  Blew them, I should say.

*** In the NFL, a touchdown is just about an automatic 7 points, which means that an NFL touchdown is worth more than two field goals.  In the AAF, though, with the success rate of the mandatory 2-point conversion attempt at about 33 per cent, the field goal seems to have taken on more importance. Not good.

*** Lots of the pass completions are coming on shallow crosses.

*** In the Memphis (MEM) - Arizona (ARIZ) game, I saw a huge improvement in Memphis from game one.  They still have a problem at QB, where Christian Hackenberg just doesn’t look right.

*** To provide some offense, MEM ran a lot from what we would call RAM or LION - an offset-I with the fullback set to one side or the other.  Even ran some unbalanced, with an end-over.

*** Terrible crowd in Memphis.

*** The camera that usually shows the sideline shot of the action was maybe 10 rows up in the stands.  Not the place to sit and  watch a ball game.

*** Unintended (Good) consequence: Less time between plays seems to result in a lot less time for after-the-play antics.

*** The coaches are mic’ed up, and after listening in on MEM coach Mike Singletary, I think I could coach a pro team: “Great job, great job!” ‘Keep ballin’, keep ballin’!” “Good job. good job, good job!”  I think I’ve about got it down.

*** Bryan Billick on an ARIZ short-yardage play sounded like so many of us: “Third and one - and you get in the gun!”

*** This was a really good game - 18-14 in the fourth and NOT A SINGLE DAMN FIELD GOAL!

*** ARIZ came from behind to win.  They’re good.  Rick Neuheisel is doing a good job.  MEM showed a lot of improvement from week one.  They appear plenty good on defense, but that QB situation has to be resolved.

ORLANDO (ORL) VS SAN ANTONIO (SAN)

*** Saw SAN on a 3rd and one line up in a Double Slot (we’d call it “Spread”) with splits no wider than 6 inches.

*** We finally got a pass interference call and one of the announcers said, “I wouldn’t call that P-I.”  I wanted to say, "Holy sh—, man!  What will it take to convince you?”

*** And just a few plays later, came a holding call!  Uh-oh.  Headquarters must have sent down word to start callin' ‘em tighter.

*** After a first week with few fumbles, we started to see more fumbles, mostly caused by careless ball carrying.

*** Although the elimination of kickoffs was intended to make the games safer, there have been a few rather nasty-looking injuries. ORL DE Ryan Davis was completely stabilized and carted off, with what was later announced to be a spinal injury.

*** Last summer, I sat my 10-year-old grandson down  in front of a dial telephone and he was totally mystified - didn’t have the slightest idea what it was or what to do with it.  He was amazed when I showed him how he could use it to call me on my cell phone.

So I have to laugh when I hear announcers talk about “dialing up” this or that blitz or offensive play.  Talk about a dead metaphor - how many people in the audience are old enough to have any idea what “dialing up” something refers to?

*** Orlando’s QB Garrett Gilbert has a gun.  Of all the AAF QBs, he’s clearly the biggest threat to go long.

*** The final was 37-29, Orlando.  It was a very good game, far better than the NFL usually delivers.

*** I’ve never been a big fan of Steve Spurrier, and one of the reasons was his cocky attitude.  But it was hard for me to watch him in the post-game interview because cockiness doesn’t age well, and  it seems that almost overnight he’s become a tired old man.

FINAL GAME SUNDAY NIGHT - ATLANTA  LEGENDS (ATL) AT SAN DIEGO  FLEET (SD)

It wound up raining to beat hell. 

Kudos to the camera crew for keeping us from seeing any of the (undoubtedly empty) grandstands during most of the game.

*** Both teams lost their openers last week.  Atlanta was trounced by Orlando. Perhaps The Legends were rattled by the loss earlier that week of their putative offensive coordinator, the renowned Michael Vick, but coming  into this game  they had yet to score a touchdown.

*** With 3:21 left in the first quarter, ATL scored a touchdown! 

*** ATL QB Matt Simms - son of Phil, brother of Matt, has an ARM.  But he’s 30 years old.  Where’s he been?

*** San Diego running back Ja’Quan Gardner  reminds me of a guy we had with the WFL  Portland Thunder named Rufus “Roadrunner” Ferguson.  In his own words, Rufus was “5-5 and change,” and he weighed 190.   He had been a two-time All-Big Ten running back at Wisconsin, and in our abbreviated 1975 WFL season, he rushed for 768 yards, and caught 32 passes.

Gardner, from D-II Humboldt State, is said to be 5-7, but I have my doubts. He looks more like 5-5, but no matter.  He’s not a little guy - he's a big guy who's not tall. He’s said to be 205, which I find believable, and he’s a very good runner - shifty and strong.  I look forward to seeing more of him.  The NFL will no doubt say he’s too short.

*** A sure sign of a disorganized league: Both teams wore blue jerseys, and both teams had blue helmets.  The only things to distinguish them were the sleeves, yellow gold for SD and old gold for ATL.  Come on, AAF - invest in white jerseys.

*** Finally!  At halftime, we got to see those stands!  Nearly empty.

*** WTF? Next week, Arizona plays Salt Lake City and Memphis plays San Antonio.  Ummm - those teams just played each other last week.

******** *** After two weeks, there appears to be balance in the AAF.  I can remember the start of the AFL and I can make some comparisons.  Overall, the play of the two leagues isn’t even close - the AFL was much better - but you have to remember that AFL teams, some of them, anyhow, were stocked with players that the AFL had actually outbid the NFL to sign.

The AAF appears to have balance.  After just two games, I’d have to say that Orlando and Arizona appear to be the best teams, while Atlanta, Memphis and San Diego are the worst. San Diego does have one win, but it was over Atlanta.

In my opinion, all of those teams are capable of great impovement.

Salt Lake is now 0-2, but both games were close, and both were against teams that are now 2-0.

There has been only one blowout - Orlando’s  42-6 first-week win over Atlanta.

The AFL, on the other hand, did NOT have balance.

Of the original eight teams, only three of them - Houston, Los Angeles and Dallas - finished the first season with winning records. New York finished 7-7, but the Bills, Broncos, Patriots and Raiders all struggled, on the field and at the gate.

Houston Oilers   10-4
Los Angeles Chargers 10-4
Dallas Texans   8-6
New York Titans  7-7
Oakland Raiders  6-8
Buffalo Bills  5-8-1
Boston Patriots   5-9
Denver Broncos  4-9-1

The eight AFL teams all had 35-man rosters.

When the AFL got under way in 1960, the NFL had just 13 teams, and the NFL roster size was 38 (up from 36 the year before). This meant that there were a lot of good football players available on the free agent market for AFL teams to sign.

Consider this: there are now 32 NFL teams with 53-man rosters.  That’s 1696 players on active NFL rosters.

In 1960, the NFL had 13 teams, each with 38-man rosters.  That’s 494 players.

And the AFL had eight teams, with 35-man rosters, or 280 players.

Combined, the NFL and AFL of 1960 had 774 players on their rosters. That’s less than half the number of players in today’s 32-team NFL.

Doing the math,  that means there are 922 fewer players for a new league to sign than there were in 1960.

Put another way, 922 players in today’s NFL would be out of work if we could go back to 1960.  Think that  wouldn’t make it a better game?  Think coaches wouldn’t be more in control of their teams?  Think the NFLPA would have to be consulted on rules changes?  Think teams would put up with wife beaters and serial drug offenders? 

*********** Birmingham  QB Luis Perez has NFL scouts looking at him.  He’s got good size - 6-3, 220 (they say -  he doesn’t look that beefy to me) and a good arm.  He's all upside, and his track record indicates that he’s willing to do what it takes to keep getting better. 
He’s a great example of persistence.

He hasn' had a personal QB coach.  He didn't attend any elite QB camps as a high schooler.  He didn’t star in any 7-on-7 leagues. He didn’t play quarterback in high school. In fact, he didn’t even play high school varsity football.

After two years of playing JV at Otay Ranch HS in Chula Vista, California, he quit football after being moved to tight end his junior year.  He wanted to play quarterback.

He didn’t give up on his dream of one day being a pro quarterback, and he pretty much taught himself the basics from watching YouTube videos.

In 2013, with absolutely no credentials, no coaches’ recommendations and no high school film, he walked on at Southwestern Community College in California, and worked his way up from 9th QB on the roster to number 2, and played half the season before being injured.

In 2014, as the starter, he led Southwestern to the conference championship and was named all-conference QB.

After trying to sell himself to D-I colleges, he landed at Texas A & M-Commerce, a D-II school in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

He red-shirted the 2015 season, then took over as QB and over the next two years, and led the team to a 22-3 record and a national championship.

In 2016 he took Texas A & M-Commerce to a 10-1 regular season record before losing in the second round of the D-II playoffs, and in  2017, passing for 298 yards per game, he led Texas A & M-Commerce to the D-II national title and won the Harlon Hill Award, the D-II equivalent of the Heisman.

He had a cup of coffee with the Rams this past season.  I think he’s got a shot at something bigger.  I am pulling for him.

*********** It still sounds to me like fingernails on a blackboard (there’s an outdated reference for kids who never saw a blackboard) to hear someone pronounce “the” as “thuh” when it appears before a vowel. “Thuh end zone” sounds totally illiterate to those of us taught, as an absolute, infallible rule that it should be pronounced “thee end zone.”

And more and more, an even more discordant sound is worming its way into our speech, with the elimination of the “n” following  the indefinite article (“a”) whenever it’s followed by a vowel. “An athlete” is, sadly, becoming “Uh athlete.”

Any questions?

“Uh… What’s a vowel?”

“Um, What’s an indefinite article?”

“Hey! Who made you thuh expert, anyhow?  What the f—k are you - uh English teacher? ”


*********** For God, For Country, and For Yale.

Three Yale students who claim they were groped at fraternity parties have filed a class-action lawsuit against the university, arguing the school has fostered an environment where alcohol-fueled gatherings at off-campus fraternity houses dictate the undergraduate social scene.

While the New Haven, Conn., university presents itself as a campus where fraternities are not a major presence, the lawsuit states that few options besides fraternity parties exist for women who want to socialize and meet other students.

The women belong to a student group called Engender that has used civil rights-type tactics to try to force fraternities to accept women. For the past three years, women and “non-binary” students from Engender have tried to join fraternities. Only one fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon, let them apply, according to court papers. But in the end they were denied and the fraternity chapter said it was because their national chapter did not allow women, the lawsuit says.

“Engender.”  Aargh.  Sure am glad I had  a chance  to attend the other Yale - before it was overtaken by women.  (And “non-binary” students.)

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/12/us/yale-fraternities.html

*********** Really enjoyed the thoughtful piece on the "transfer portal," a term used every five minutes by the tv sports guys. The connection to it and real life is obvious, but not something likely up for discussion on ESPN. If Gary Patterson believes everything attributed to him in the article, I'll look at him differently from now on.

John Vermillion
St. Petersburg, Florida

*********** INSIGHT INTO THE TRANSFER PORTAL…

(from pressboxDFW)

Transfer portal: the coaches’ horror

By Wendell Barnhouse

Since becoming reality in October, the NCAA’s new rule allowing transfers to declare their intentions has turned college football into a Star Trek episode.

“The transfer portal … to boldly go where no student-athlete has gone before.” Beam them elsewhere, Scotty.

The NCAA’s new policy allows student-athletes to just tell their current school they plan to transfer. Their name then goes into the “transfer data base” — portal sounds way cooler. And the “NCAA transfer portal” is leading to pearl clutching that college football is facing full-fledged free agency. The horror.

As often happens when the NCAA tries to make athlete-friendly changes to its bloated rule book, the reality of application leads to tapping the brakes.

The NCAA’s committee for legislative relief has started a “holistic” (NCAA $5 word) review of the new transfer guidelines. If that committee recommends any tweaks, they would be presented to the Division I Council. However, the soonest any changes would go into effect would be the 2019-20 academic year.

In the major pro sports, free agency arrived in baseball in 1976, in the NBA in 1988 and in the NFL in 1993. College football coaches, among the most paranoid and controlling in sports, regard the words “free agent” the same way they do “NCAA investigation.”

Under the new rule, The Associated Press reports that 51 of the 63 FBS football players who have sought an immediate eligibility waiver have received one. That’s a high success rate.

“Each waiver request is reviewed individually, as they each present a unique fact pattern and almost always confidential information of the student,” said Kaity McKittrick, deputy athletics director and senior woman administrator at Lafayette and chair of the committee for legislative relief. “Our committee and the staff operate with the membership’s guidelines in mind and are not driven by a specific approval percentage.”

If there is a Curt Flood of football free agency, it’s Justin Fields. In just over a month, he went from being Georgia’s backup quarterback to Ohio State’s presumptive starter for 2019 with three seasons of eligibility. After his freshman season as Jake Fromm’s backup, it was apparent that Fields wasn’t going to be the Bulldogs’ starter. Fields transferred to Columbus because the Buckeyes needed a QB. If you believe otherwise, please take a seat in the VIP Naïve Room.

Tate Martel, who transferred from Ohio State to Miami (Fla.) also hopes for a favorable NCAA ruling so he can play in 2019. Ditto for receiver Bru McCoy, who transferred from USC to Texas and hopes to play for the Longhorns in 2019. Martel, like Fields, is moving to a school that needs a starting quarterback. Many believe the NCAA’s decision on his eligibility request will be a watershed decision.

According to the NCAA, ruling on a transfer request comes down to “documented mitigating circumstances that are outside the student-athlete’s control and directly impact the health, safety and well-being of the student-athlete.” NCAA vice president of academic and membership affairs Dave Schnase, told the AP, “We feel like the pendulum has swung back to the right place.”

However, the NCAA’s decision making on transfer waivers employs a combination of Magic 8-Ball, Ouija board and blind dart throwing. Exhibit A: Basketball player Teddy Allen transferred from West Virginia to Wichita State and sought a waiver to play this season. It was denied. If you read his story and have a shred of empathy, you’ll be baffled as to why the NCAA played hard ball.

Stanford coach David Shaw told ESPN.com that “It’s really messy right now… It’s become difficult for coaches to manage their rosters.” Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson said, “It’s too easy to let kids quit.” TCU coach Gary Patterson is one of the coaches hoping the NCAA will reconsider and tweak its new “instant eligibility” rule.

“When I see the guy (Schnase) bragging about how many waivers (are approved), that’s not what this is about,” Patterson told ESPN.com. “In how many households are the teenagers making decisions? Why are we sitting here saying they need more leverage? This waiver thing, we’ve got to help people that truly have a problem. The portal will get worse — transfers, waivers — if we don’t do something about it.”

The NCAA entered semi-free agency in 2006 when it adopted the graduate transfer rule. That allows a student-athlete who graduates with remaining athletic eligibility to transfer to a different school and be immediately eligible. The intent was for the student-athlete to work toward a graduate degree at his new school. (And never mind it takes two years of full-time course work to earn a graduate degree.)

The irony for football coaches is that their sport and the way they run their programs is set up perfectly for the grad transfer free agent. The top players who earn their high school degrees early can enroll in college for the spring semester and get a head start before they’ve played a college snap. Then the “off-season programs” conducted in the summer require players to stay on campus in summer school, further accelerating degree advancement.

Instead of celebrating the fact that their exemplary young men are earning degrees, coaches get prickly over losing a commodity before consuming its four full seasons of competition. Some student-athletes – such former Texas and current SMU quarterback Shane Buechele – take care of class room business so well they graduate and transfer with two seasons of eligibility.

The NCAA uses the high-falutin’ term “year in residence” to describe the time a transfer must spend in dry dock. And never mind that in basketball, the sport that financially supports the NCAA, the one-and-done rule (yes, yes, it’s an NBA rule) means that the top American players spend about six months in residence on campus on their way to shaking Adam Silver’s hand on draft night.

There has been and apparently always will be a disconnect within the NCAA when it comes to football and basketball. Rules passed for hoops – for instance, the brain-dead decisions to “clean up” summer recruiting – are in place because the NCAA is guarding its ATM.

Control of college football begins and ends with the NCAA Manual. The sport is run by the Five Dons – the commissioners of the Power Five conferences. The money that flows from TV contracts, the playoff and bowl games go straight to the leagues.

That means NCAA decisions to change the rules often piss off football coaches, who just want to be left alone to try and win championships while renegotiating their contracts with off-season rumors of job offers.

Perhaps the current transfer waiver policy will be a one-year wonder. If not, rest assured that if there are ways and means to take advantage of the new “free agency,” college coaches will figure out a way. If there’s anything they’ve achieved doctorate level in, it’s finding loopholes. It comes as naturally as scheming how to utilize or stop the run/pass option.

THIS ARTICLE AND OTHERS LIKE IT IS AVAILABLE AT https://www.pressboxdfw.com/

It is a subscription-only site that I find quite useful to me professionally; its writing is exceptionally good, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to drill deeper into sports - especially the Big 12 and the Dallas Cowboys!


*********** Hello Hugh,

The article on TCU's Gary Patterson and the "bee in his bonnet" was very interesting as I agreed with many of his thoughts.  I wonder, however, why so many college coaches feel free to leave their team before the end of the season to obtain a better or higher paying job, but expect college players to show loyalty to the school  that recruited them.  If college coaches and universities are not loyal, how can college players be expected to be loyal?

I look forward to reading your blogs every week!

Marlowe Aldrich
Billings, Montana

Coach,

I do have to agree that there’s something wrong when coaches can leave at will but players have to sit out a year if they transfer.

The answer ought to be simple - respect contracts and hold coaches (and colleges) to them.

The pendulum is swinging in the players’ direction now and it’s hard to see where it will lead.  I can foresee some sort of non-transfer  agreement among the Power 5 conference schools - after they secede totally from the NCAA, which needs them much more than they need it.

Nice to hear from you.  Love your state.  Had a really nice visit last fall to the Kalispell-Whitefish area.



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

Everything is changing.  I mean EVERYTHING!  Including me!  I'm becoming more like my father every day.  I actually understand now why he became very cynical and critical as he got older.  And before he passed...why he became more mellow, and told me to never vote for a Democrat.

I've known Gary Patterson for quite awhile.  I think I mentioned to you before that it was Gary who first shared the development of his 4-2-5 defensive stuff with me, and his insights into life in general.  I knew back then he would go on to bigger and better things.

Ironically a coaching friend and I just had a conversation about how the parents Gary describes have already made their way onto the college scene.  He told me he's had a few of them at his school, and yes...two sets of them played a very big role their sons' transfers from the schools they signed with. 

My wife and I have visited NYC  when my daughter auditioned for a Broadway play, and drove through upstate NY on our way moving from NH to MN.  It was a thrill, and experience, being in NYC with our daughter for the three days we were there, but the drive through upstate NY was a much more pleasurable experience.  My only regret was that we were on a strict timetable during the drive and missed West Point.

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe,

You damn right everything’s changing. And very little is changing for the better.

The world really has turned upside-down.  I could start to list the changes that I’ve seen in the last ten years that I couldn’t have imagined just 20 years ago, and I’d run out of gigbytes in my computer.

What bothers me the most is the change that we're seeing in the thing that was supposed to resist change.  The one unchanging thing that kept Western civilization alive through most of its darkest days - the Roman Catholic Church!

And I’m not even a Catholic!

Always great to hear from you!


*********** Nice work if you can get it… Now that the commission charged with investigating Maryland's football program has submitted its bill, I'd have to say that Maryland's problems run deeper than just football.

According to the Washington Post, Maryland paid  $650 per hour to members of the commission - that's per person -
with the  total bill coming to  $1.57 mllion.

One member, Maryland graduate Bonnie Bernstein, billed her alma mater  for $118,463, which included her travel time - 14 round trips by train from  New York City, at $2,600 per trip.

So how much is it going to cost the University to investigate this f—king commission?

https://www.si.com/college-football/2019/01/31/maryland-investigation-cost-dj-durkin-jordan-mcnair

*********** Mark Kaczmarek, of Davenport, Iowa, played his college ball at Western Illinois.  He writes about Coach Joe Taylor, who was just voted into the College Footbll Hall of Fame:

Joe Taylor was my RG my 1st 2 years at WIU...Great Guy...Very smart...worked for Darrell Mudra as an asst....Had great years while head coach of predominately Black institutions...Was AFCA President for a term or two as well...Pictures attached are taken by recruiting groups...Joe is in the left one kneeling #72...I'm in the right - #78...I couldn't find any better ones other than these preseason promo shots

(The photos are of the Western Illinois Leathernecks)

western ill 1western ill 2



*********** QUIZ ANSWER - George Connor was born in Chicago and weighed only three pounds at birth, but he grew to the point where by his senior year in high school (De La Salle Institute) he was an outstanding lineman, and his coach called him “the toughest player in the Catholic League.” (Knowing the Chicago Catholic League, that’s saying something.)

He had hoped to go to Notre Dame, but an uncle who was president of the Holy Cross alumni association pressured his father to send him there.  He played at Holy Cross for two years before World War II intervened, and he joined the Navy.

When he was discharged, although he had been drafted in the first round by the New York Giants, he wanted to be nearer to his ailing father so he remained in college, transferring to Notre Dame, his original first choice.

At South Bend, he was a two-time All-American on two national championship teams, and he won the very first Outland Trophy.  In his senior year he was captain of the unbeaten Irish.

Although originally drafted by the Giants, he told them he would never play anywhere other than Chicago.  When the Giants traded his rights to the Boston Yanks, he told them the same thing.

The Bears obtained his rights and he signed with them for $13,000 - an almost unbelievable sum for a lineman.  He more than repaid them.

In his eight years with them he made first team All-Pro five times.  Originally a defensive tackle, he was moved to linebacker because he was so big  (6-4, 240) and mobile and nearly unblockable.  He is considered by many to be the prototype of what became the middle linebacker.

He is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and he is on the All-Time Bears team.

Famed sportswriter Grantland Rice once called him “The closest thing to a Greek god since Apollo.”

Bears’ owner-coach George Halas paid him the ultimate compliment: "We always set high standards for George Connor - and he exceeded them.”


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING  GEORGE CONNOR:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA


*********** Thanks for this to Greg Koenig…

https://www.uhnd.com/history/top-25-players/10-george-connor-notre-dame/


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

I had to do some digging, but it's George Connor.  Can't imagine anyone WANTING to play and live in Chicago! 

Mike Benton
Colfax, Illinois

*********** Pretty easy for us Mid-Westerners...My Dad was a proud Packer Fan & owner, but always said George Conner was the best DL he's ever seen!

Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa


***********  QUIZ: He was born in Newport News, Virginia, and was a star at Carver High School there.  At 6-3, with great speed, he was a star in football, basketball and track. As a running back in football, he scored 21 touchdowns. He averaged 27.5 points on the basketball team. In addition being a standout sprinter on the track team, he set a state broad jump (now long jump) record of 24’ 4-1/2” that stood for years.

But like so many great black football players of his time, he had to leave home to achieve fame.

When he graduated from high school, opportunities for outstanding southern black athletes were limited mostly to the Big Ten, and according to the story, the coach at nearby William and Mary, who knew he couldn’t sign a black player, recommended him to a friend who coached at Purdue. (The William and Mary coach? Marv Levy.)

During his time at Purdue, the Boilermakers enjoyed one of the greatest times in their football history. In his three years (freshmen then were ineligible) there,  Purdue was 25-6.

In his sophomore season he played defensive back, and the first time he touched a ball in a college game he caught a fumble in mid-air and returned it 94 yards for a score against Notre Dame. Purdue was good that year - the Boilermakers went 8-2 with Bob Griese as QB.  Their  only losses were to co-National Champions Michigan State and Notre Dame, and because Michigan State had gone to the Rose Bowl the previous year, under the Big-Ten’s no-repeat rule of the time,  Purdue went to its first-ever Rose Bowl.

He was switched to running back as a junior, but he often played on defense in crucial situations, and was possibly the last true two-way player in big-time college football.

There were some who questioned the move to offense. "He'd make All-America no matter which way I play him," his coach, Jack Mollenkopf told Sports Illustrated,   "but if I moved him back to defense now there would be a petition out to get my job…And I’d be the first to sign the petition.”

In those days, with just one college game televised nationally every Saturday, the 1968 Purdue-Notre Dame game was an easy pick to be the one: the Boilermakers were ranked Number 1 in the country , the Irish Number 2.  Purdue won the game 37-22, and he put on a fantastic show.  He ran for two scores and threw for a third, and played the entire game on defense, shutting down Irish All-American receiver Jim Seymour.

He was a unanimous All-American in both 1967 and 1968, and was named on some defensive teams as well as on offense.

Prior to the 1968 season, when Purdue was a pre-season Number One pick, he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

In his two years as a running back (20 games), he rushed for 1989 yards, and 27 rushing touchdowns.  He caught 78 passes for 986 yards.  His 37 career touchdowns (offense and defense) was a school record that stood until it was broken in 1995 by Mike Alstott.

He also threw for eight touchdowns his junior year, and six his senior year.

He was third in the Heisman voting in his junior year, finished behind UCLA QB Gary Beban and USC running back O.J. Simpson.  In his senior year, he finished second to Simpson.

He was the third person selected in the 1969 NFL draft,  taken by the Eagles after Buffalo took O.J. Simpson and Atlanta took George Kunz.

He had a solid but unspectacular professional career, playing four years with the Eagles and one with the Chiefs.

He broke his leg his first season and spent the rest of his four years with the Eagles as a strong safety.

He never complained about being asked to play defense, where he was needed most.

“I never claimed that I was mistreated being switched from one position to another,” he told a Philadelphia paper years later. “That was not my reason to play ball. If they told me to play offense, I said OK. Defense? No problem. "

Years after his retirement as a player, he returned to Purdue to coach running backs, and from 1997 to 1999 he served as an administrative assistant to head coach Joe Tiller.  He then served as a staff member of the John Purdue Club, which raises funds to provide scholarships and academic support for Purdue's student-athletes as well as improvement to athletic facilities, until he retired in 2011.




american flagFRIDAY,  FEBRUARY 15,  2019   "Politics   is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards. If you  disgrace  yourself you can always write a book." Ronald  Reagan 

*********** A friend who is a long-time Double-Wing coach - and a very good one - has taken a job in Oakland, California and he asked me if I knew of any teams in the East Bay.  I told him that I couldn’t think of any offhand, but I’d do my best to try to find out if there was one.

So if by some chance you’re a coach in the East Bay area and you could use a VERY good, VERY smart, VERY dependable guy -  shoot me an email and I’ll get you together.

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

I've immersed myself with the double wing book I treated myself to for Christmas.  I love it. 

I have one question.

I have dissected your rules and love them.  They are more thorough than just GOD and GOOD principles. 

In particular, I have a question in regards to the play-side OT and Y on Power.  In the Double wing 3.0 book your tackles have GPA (Gap Post up, Angle)   However, your video play book on your website breaks (video clips section) identifies the tackles responsibility as GO AL (Gap on Angle LATE) just like the play-side guard.  The Y in the playbook has GDB (Gap, Double Backer) as his responsibility.  However, in the video playbook for super power it states his duty as GOAT.  I totally understand this concept as it allows for a double with the wing.  But in the playbook it specifies that that the wing will never block a man on the LOS.

Which do you prefer?  I know things evolve, but I want to make sure all of our coaches on our 3 teams are teaching it identical and properly. My gut tells me the rules in the 3.0 double wing playbook are better for younger kids as there is less chance for a screw up between the TE, Wing and Tackle. 

What are your thoughts/ suggestions?

PS.  Thanks for the Valentines (Line Coach Special) offer.  I am going to purchase them for my organization.  I think it will be a great visual training aid for our line coaches.

Hi Coach-

I appreciate your asking.   It’s a good question.

Short answer - go by the book.

Any time you see a conflict between the book and something of mine from an earlier date, go by the book.

It represents the results of testing and trying things over time.

The GOAL/GOAT rules you refer to were a step forward from our earliest days,  but we so seldom ran into a situation that called for a TE-WB Double team that it wasn’t worth making all sorts of provisions for it.

I can’t think of the last time my wingback and TE double-teamed, and in fact, in working and talking with other coaches I listen to, they noticed the same thing, and kept asking - “Why isn’t it 66 Super Power, instead of 88?”

So 66 it is - which means that the “6” man will ALWAYS block someone to his inside.

“My gut tells me the rules in the 3.0 double wing playbook are better for younger kids as there is less chance for a screw up between the TE, Wing and Tackle.”

Your gut is correct!  And simplicity of instructions for the kids is a main reason for the rules.


*********** A little history of our game…

From “Walter Camp and the Creation of American Football,” by Roger Tamte (2018)

Bear in mind that in its earliest days there was no such thing as a coach, and no such thing as a set of rules.  Players themselves “developed” the game as they went along…

THE “SNAP”

From the early, primitive concept that forward players should take any available opportunity to kick the ball backward in a rugby scrum, American players practiced for more regularity and reliability. The kickback became planned, the first act of a scrimmage, with a technique developed to reliably carry it out; foot on the ball,  sudden downward pressure dragging the ball back, forceful enough to make the ball roll or bounce fast,  far, and straight enough. Intended to be a sudden propulsion, the term snap apparently came to mind, and the kickback began to be called a “snapback.”

THE ORIGIN OF THE CENTER

At first the ball was kicked back by anyone, whoever had the ball when it was down and a new scrum begun.  But some players kicked better than others, and soon the ball was routinely handed to or taken up by one of them; he might be called the “snapper-back” or simply “snap-back,” but he also became the “middle rusher,” positioned in the center of the rush line where players beside him could “guard” against opposing linemen reaching the kicked-back ball.

THE NAMING OF THE BACKS

In addition the practicing players began to move a halfback up closer to the line,  five yards back and even closer, to quickly gather in the kicked-back ball before an opponent got to it. That player they began to call a “quarterback,” distinguishing him from the “halfback” (about 10 yards back) and “back” or “fullback” (fifteen yards back).

*********** Up to now, the main thing that’s been keeping all but the very best college football players around for four years - rather than leaving college en masse after their junior seasons to prepare for the NFL draft - has been a matter of math so simple that even they can understand it:  Only 154 players will be drafted, and with the exception of those few very talented juniors who decided to leave early, they’ll be seniors, who’ve used up all of their college eligibility.

If you’re a good-but-not-great junior, your chances of being drafted are not very good, so if you drop out of school now, your football days might be over…

Until now.  Now, with the Alliance of American Football up and going, there’s a new option for underclassmen unhappy with their lot in college - sign a 3-year deal with the AAF for $250,000 ($83,333 a year) and no more stupid rules or useless classes or coaches who don’t realize that you’re better than the guy who’s starting.

It’s just another step on the path to free agency in college football - and, as John Henry writes in pressboxDFW - it presents a real challenge to college coaches to make sure they recruit very carefully…

He writes about TCU’s Gary Patterson, and “the bee in his bonnet”:

this seeming new generation of players, who take off at the first sign of hardship – and lack of playing time, as an underclassman, mind you – and a culture, new rules and, ahem, parents that encourage them to do so.

There is currently a spirit of transfer reform burning brightly, with even fewer restrictions being proposed.

The first of what many believe will be a slippery slope was adopted in October. Players can now up and leave, free from the obligation of asking permission from their current schools to do so. Schools also cannot block a transfer or have any influence on where they go.

They simply go into a database or what has more commonly become known as the “transfer portal,” the newest, most annoying term in the lexicon, at least to college coaches.

This subject has been on Patterson’s mind for a while, though he introduced a new term to the visitors to TCU on Wednesday: “Portal parents,” an evolution of sorts of the “Little League parent.”

“It’s kind of like when I interview coaches, I interview their wives,” Patterson said. “It’s one of those things when the kids come in, I want them to bring their parents with them. You can already tell if it’s not going the way that it needs to that they’re going to be changing.

“If everybody is going to be, ‘Well, I don’t like this [I’m leaving],’ I think there has to be some changes. One of the things I really worry about. The portal thing is only going to get bigger.”

Recruiting was challenging enough as it was. Now, you have to make sure the parents, too, are a good fit for the program? That sounds a little too much like marriage.

It’s parents that make a mess of youth sports leagues, so if you go a little too far on this stuff, the integrity of the college game and the college experience is imperiled.

Some might get a kick of a sentence that includes athletics and integrity of the college experience. There is a punchline there.

But there’s probably a reason the NCAA is considering further limitations to transfer. Where I come from, it’s called Catholic guilt.

As the voices for paying players a piece of the multi-millions they help generate, officials at the NCAA home office, not to mention the Power 5 conferences, are in the mood for a new understanding and accommodation because they pass around money as if it were the Gotti family business.
There is no competition … yet.

The Alliance of American Football has entered the marketplace for guys trying to improve and make their way to the NFL stage. Former TCU receiver John Diarse is one. He was cut by the Denver Broncos last year. As a member of the AAF’s aptly named San Antonio Commanders, he’s vying for another invitation to an NFL camp.

It is in essence an NFL minor league.

It’s a fear some have about the NBA G League, which “officials” hope to develop into a true minor-league system and yet another NBA revenue stream. Why bother with the hassle of college algebra – can’t blame them for that — when the future is professional basketball?
Plus, $7,000 a month in salary.

The voice in the room, as competitive as it gets on a Big 12 sideline, on Wednesday called on the better angels of our nature.

Your future is more than likely not professional basketball or football or whatever.

It’s a difficult message for kids, who don’t know any better, and some parents, who don’t know any better.

Fewer than 2 percent of the college guys we see every Saturday will play in the NFL. What to do with the other 98-plus percent, the coach asked?

“I still think what’s best for the kid is you have to grow them up,” Patterson said. “You still have to get them where they mature so they can handle life.

 When do you teach that if they transfer four times? Where are you teaching that? Or you’re not getting enough playing time, so you’re going to leave? Is that the way it works [in life]?

“How do we help them understand you still have to get a degree? How do we still make that important instead of ‘if it’s not working, I’m just going to transfer?’ How do we find an in-between that's best for everybody?”

ON THE SAME SUBJECT, FROM 24/7 SPORTS…
Transfer culture is commonplace in college football, especially among quarterbacks. Eleven of 19 five-star passers since 2010 transferred from the school they initially signed with, including recent Heisman winner Kyler Murray. What’s more, 52.6 percent of Elite 11 QBs from 2009-13 opted to transfer. Those QBs are considered the best of the best in high school, and they’re leaving schools more often than they're staying at them.

ON THE SAME SUBJECT…
(Washington State almost walked up the road to find a grad transer QB - Gage Gubrud, from Eastern Washington…

http://sports.mynorthwest.com/602141/gage-gubrud-wsu-smart-move/?

*********** Matt Whitaker was a pretty good tight end at Tight End U (University of Iowa) and he is a big dude!  Went to Ankeny High School. Was a really good high school football player. Ankeny was just south of my high school (North Polk).

Brad Knight
Clarinda, Iowa<