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


american flagFRIDAY,  FEBRUARY 23,  2018  “We used to have a  saying, ‘Don’t get hurt, because you’ll have to play anyway.’  Frank “Bucko” Kilroy, who as middle guard for the Eagles enabled Greasy Neale to invent the Eagle  defense.


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

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

IT COVERS...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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



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

***********  ”The government can't keep you safe and some people want us to give up our firearms and rely solely upon the protection of the same government that's already failed numerous times to keep us safe. And then they also call Trump a tyrant but they say they want the president to also confiscate our firearms? Try to figure that one out.”  Dana Loesch, NRA

*********** Aside from Democratic politicians, one of my least favorite people in the whole world is Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks.  Maybe it’s because on top of being obnoxious as an owner, he’s been posing lately as a Democratic politician.

He’s had some pretty harsh things to say about the President.  He’s even hinted at running for office himself.  (HINT: when you’re a billionaire owner of a professional sports franchise, “office” refers to something a bit higher than dogcatcher.)

Now, though,  it appears that his aspirations for the presidency may have been sidetracked, if not derailed, by revelations in Sports Illustrated of an ugly  culture of sexual harassment in the Mavericks’ organization throughout the term of his ownership. And following that, his failure to fire a guy who seemed unable to restrain himself whenever presented with an opportunity to beat up his girlfriend.  Naturally, Mr. Cuban had no idea this was going on right in his own house, and as soon as he found out that he had a domestic abuser in his organization, why, he fired the guy on the spot. (There are those who said that the firing was prompted by the publication of the SI article, but there will always be cynics among us.)

Could this be curtains for Mr. Cuban?  Shouldn’t the NBA be getting ready to give him the hook?  If the other owners could force Donald Sterling to dump the Clippers because of some racist remarks he made,  how can they defend Mark Cuban,  given  today’s MeToo climate?
Or is he so valuable to the left in their all-out fight against Donald Trump that they'll once again put their causes aside? (You might not be old enough to remember the way the feminists gave Bill Clinton a pass on his sexual antics because he professed to love abortion almost as much as they did.)

But what if the NBA should kick him out? What do you do when you have all that money and all that time and those opinions but you no longer have a stage or an audience?  He can always sit back and hire demonstrators to voice his views, but he’s got way too much ego to be a  puppet master. He has been one of the most visible of sports owners. He 's used to being the star.

That leaves political office.  The presidency, perhaps.  It’s still possible,  since there are plenty of Democrats who can identify with him.  They not only tolerated William Jefferson (“BJ”) Clinton’s sexual predations, but in some cases they enabled it and then, when they had to, excused it.  Sounds a lot like Mark Cuban to me.

The problem with a President Cuban is if, as he claims, he didn’t know what was going on under his nose inside the Dallas Mavericks, an organization which employs at most a couple hundred people, I don’t see how in hell he’s going to deal with a nation of 300 million people, and a federal government with a payroll in the hundreds of thousands.

I smell karma, and if I have Karma to thank for stuffing a sock in Mark Cuban’s mouth - Thank you, thank you, thank you.  You’re not a bitch after all..

https://www.si.com/nba/2018/02/20/dallas-mavericks-sexual-misconduct-investigation-mark-cuban-response

https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/dallas-mavericks/mavericks/2018/02/21/unanswered-questions-still-surround-mavs-mark-cuban-wake-sexual-harassment-scandal

https://www.sbnation.com/nba/2018/2/21/17037334/mark-cuban-dallas-mavericks-domestic-abuse-earl-sneed

*********** Turner Gill, former Nebraska great who is now head coach at Liberty University, wrote a nice article in the American Football Coaches’ Association’s newsletter about the indispensable people in the game of football - coaches’ wives.

The Coaching Couple: A Look At The Importance of Coaching Wives
Most people attribute a coach’s success on the field with such things as the amount of time they put in and the talent of their players. However, the honest truth is that it comes not only from the players and the coaches, but also from the people behind the scenes. The ones who are making life easier for us, who take the brunt of the work at home, who take the brunt of the work when we are making a coaching move, and who support us through thick and thin. Yes, I am talking about our wives. Coaching Wives are a rare breed of woman. They can juggle the house, the kids, their jobs, the long hours without their spouses, and still have enough energy to lift us up when needed. They have to listen to criticism, knowing it isn’t true. They share not only in the joys, but in the defeats. They are our most staunch advocates. So what does our response need to be concerning our wives? How can we make their lives easier, just as we know that they make ours easier?

http://insider.afca.com/coaching-couple/?utm_source=AFCA+Weekly&utm_campaign=e1f78e7995-AFCA_Weekly_100317&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_343e846137-e1f78e7995-147880073

*********** When I first arrived at college, I became friends with a teammate on the freshman football team named Bob O’Connell.  One day, I noticed him drinking a soft drink.  (Back then, being from Philly, I called it a “soda,” but now, after  40 years in the Northwest, I say “pop.”)

I asked him what it was that he was drinking, and he said, “Iron Brew.”  He offered me a taste and I turned him down, not for sanitary reasons but because I didn’t like the sound of it.

It was a local soft drink, on the order of Big Red and Cheerwine and many other once-popular “pops,” but in four years in New Haven, I never once tasted it. (Can’t say the same about other brews.)

That was the last I’d even heard the name until I came across an article this week in the Wall Street Journal about a Scottish soft drink called “Irn-Bru.”

Wait a minute: “Iron Brew?” “Irn-Bru?”

Could there be a connection? I wondered.

Sure enough, it turned out that the New Haven drink was Scots-inspired.  From its introduction in 1901, the Scottish drink was called Iron Brew, but it wasn’t really a “brew,” and after World War II there was some sort of governmental opposition to the name - those damned Brits again - and the company was forced to alter the spelling. 

But the Scots knew.

And, Iron Brew or Irn-Bru, they love it.  It’s said to have an orangey sort of flavor.

Now, the Brits are at it again.  In a nanny-state effort to reduce obesity, they’ve imposed a tax on sugar that would make the current version of Irn-Bru - containing eight-and-a half teaspoons of sugar per can - way too costly.

The company’s answer is not exactly “New Coke.”  But close. A “new Irn-Bru,” with less than half the sugar - four teaspoons per can.

Noted the Journal, “Scots have been stockpiling the sugar-filled version, starting campaigns and expressing their outrage to just about anyone who asks. A petition, called “Hands off our Irn-Bru,” has garnered more than 50,000 signatures.”

NEW HAVEN’S IRON BREW
https://www.foxonpark.com/products/iron-brew-soda-12oz-case-of-24

*********** I saw Billy Graham in person just once.  At Yale, if you can imagine that - an evangelist at one of today’s Ivy-League bastions of atheism and intolerant left-wing thought.  Dr. Graham packed the place, and he wowed the audience.  But those were different days.  It was a different America and that was a different Yale.

*********** Raymond Berry of the Baltimore Colts played before the advent of “throw-it-every-down” football, or he might now hold all sorts of receiving records.  He was not big or particularly fast, and he had to wear contact lenses.  At least once a season a game would be held up while they tried to locate a missing lens.

But he did have some talent, and to go with it a perfectionist streak, and a work ethic second to no one in the game.  Long after other players had gone in after practice, he and his quarterback, the great John Unitas, would stay out on the field, making each other better as they polished their timing to near perfection.

Berry was quiet, reserved, and modest, the complete opposite of today’s narcissistic receivers, and he was seldom interviewed.

I just happened to be thumbing through a book by Robert Liston called “The Pros,” written in 1968, in which the author tells about arranging to interview Berry at the Colts’ training camp in Westminster, Maryland.  Entering Berry’s room, the noted that there were two desks, one covered with the Colts’ playbook, the other with stacks of fan mail (imagine - fans actually writing letters).

And the author observed several books around the room: Applied Bible; Bible Handbook; Ben Hur; Rise and Fall of the Third Reich; and World Aflame, by Billy Graham.

*********** Harvard’s up in arms over its new president.  Seems that he’s a white guy. Omigod.
 
https://www.nysun.com/national/harvards-new-president-finds-a-teaching-moment/90196/

***********  “There will be no exceptions,” Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said at a news conference. He added, “They’ll be allowed to drive tanks, fire mortars and lead infantry soldiers into combat. They’ll be able to serve as Army Rangers and Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Marine Corps infantry, Air Force parajumpers and everything else that was previously open only to men.”

That was 2015.

This is now: (from hotair.com)

The U.S. Marine Corps will no longer require prospective officers to pass a punishing combat endurance test to graduate from the service’s Infantry Officer Course.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller quietly made the shift to standards in November, altering the test from a pass/fail requirement to just one of many exercises measured as part of overall IOC evaluation, the Marine Corps Times first reported on Thursday.

The course is considered among the military’s toughest training programs, with about a quarter of all students failing to complete it, according to the Washington Post. Most of the 30-plus women who have attempted IOC dropped on the first day during the combat endurance test.

Of course, the Marines are claiming that they absolutely didn’t make this change to help more women make it through IOC. They cite “multiple modifications” made to the course over the past four decades, each designed to adapt to changing requirements. But that answer rings a little hollow when you consider that only one woman has made it all the way through the full IOC since then.

The few details known about the training regimen are daunting. Applicants are tossed out on a forced march in the dark of night carrying 80 or 100 pounds of gear on their backs. They have to carry that gear and hold their rifles over their heads while treading water, scaling walls, completing an obstacle course and other tasks. They’re also “taken by surprise” in simulated enemy ambush situations and judged by how they “respond to pain” in realistic combat scenarios.

Obviously, the number of women who are capable of all that is vanishingly small in the general population. Heck, the number of men who can manage it is no doubt far below one percent. Why do you think we call them the few and the proud?

But the fact is, there were a few women completing the CET. In the first year of trials, three women made it through, though they didn’t finish the entire IOC. And wasn’t that always the expectation? We supposedly weren’t guaranteeing any particular number of women roles as combat officers in the Marine Corps. We were just giving them the opportunity to try and prove they have what it takes.

But now, some aspiring officers (presumably of both genders) who fail to complete the CET will still make it through and lead Marines into combat. You can say that you’re “not lowering the standards” until you’re blue in the face, but it sure looks that way from the outside
I want to know one thing: Where, in the name of the US Marine Corps, is this guy they keep calling "Mad Dog?"

https://hotair.com/archives/2018/02/20/marines-quietly-lower-combat-training-requirements-help-female-officers/

*********** An Excerpt from the third edition of my Double Wing playbook, due to go to the printer in two weeks.
In my "Open Wing,"  which marries Double Wing and spread principles, we have a constant tight end and a constant split end, and they "flip-flop" - they switch sides as needed.  But unlike the Double Wing, which normally has two  tight ends,  in the Open Wing a tackle can have two distinctly different jobs – one when  he has a split end on his side, and one when  he has a tight end next to him.  So whenever our tight end and split end would flip-flop, our tackles would essentially find themselves playing two different positions. 

Since we were already flip-flopping the split and tight ends (and our wingbacks, too)  I decided it made sense to  flip-flop our linemen as well.  It's not a new idea - in 1961, Texas' Darrell Royal did it,  and with his "Flip-Flop T," the Longhorns went 10-1, with a Cotton Bowl win. (For what it's worth, 1961 was also the year Texas first wore the longhorn decal on their helmets.)

It’s been a success. Flip-flopping immediately cut our linemen's assignments in half. Instead of, say, a right tackle having to learn one assignment when a play was run to the right  and then another when it was run to the left,  we would just flip the formation and  he would go to the other side – and take that same assignment with him!  Actually Assignment-wise,  our Double Wing centers, B-Backs and Quarterbacks have always been "flip-flopping."

I haven't yet tried flip-flopping with my Double Wing, but after my experience with the Open Wing, I would consider it. 

I'm not pushing for you to flip-flop – I’m just suggesting it as something for you to consider.  If you ever have a wide difference in talent between your wingbacks, defenses are going to load up to one side anyhow,  and the only way you'll be able to run your power game successfully to the opposite side will be by some sort of flip-flopping, if only the wingbacks!

*********** It’s coming.  It’s just a matter of time.  Soon, you won’t have to fly to Las Vegas to place a legal bet on a sports event.
Is YOUR state ready to capitalize on sports gambling when it comes?

http://www.espn.com/chalk/story/_/id/22516292/gambling-ranking-every-us-state-current-position-legalizing-sports-betting

*********** Peter Wang, a 15-year-old freshman at Marjory Stonemason Douglas High School,  was killed along with 16 others last Wednesday.  A junior ROTC cadet, he was wearing his JROTC uniform when he was shot and killed while holding open a classroom door so that his teachers and fellow students could escape the shooter.

Peter Wang will never know what it’s like to say good-bye to his parents on “R” Day and begin a new life as a West Point cadet;  he’ll never know how tough Beast Barracks can be, and he’ll never have to undergo the demeaning experience of Plebe Year.  But also, he’ll never experience the thrill of graduation from the United States Military Academy as a United States Army officer, and he’ll never have the opportunity to repay his country by commanding troops.

But shortly after the news of his heroism reached West Point, it was decided to honor Peter Wang with a posthumous appointment (admission) to the USMA.

West Point Certificate

I wrote to the Superintendent, Lieutenant General Robert Caslen, to thank him and say that I thought it was  a wonderful gesture and a fitting tribute to a young man who almost certainly would have been a great cadet.


QUIZ ANSWER: His real name was Claude,  but no one called him that.  At 5-4,   Buddy Young remains the shortest man ever to play pro football - the “modern” game, since World War II, that is - and he played for 10 years.

Over his NFL career,  he averaged close to 30 yards per kick return.

A native of Chicago, he was state champion in the 100-yard dash, and at the University of Illinois, he was NCAA champion in the 100 and tied the world indoor record (6.1) in the 60-yard dash.

In football, he was Co-Player of the Game in the 1947 Rose Bowl, as Illinois hammered UCLA, 45-14.

While at Illinois, he tied the school record for touchdowns in a single season set by the immortal Red Grange.

He played his first three pro seasons in the AAFC, before it "merged" with the NFL, and he finished his career with the Baltimore Colts.

He was the answer to a question in the movie "Diner," made by Baltimorean Barry Levinson, in which a guy makes his fiancee prove her worthiness to marry him by answering a series of trivia questions on the (Baltimore) Colts. The question had to do with the teams he had formerly played for that no longer existed. (The answer was three: New York Yankees -AAFC, New York Yankees - NFL, Dallas Texans - NFL.

Although short, he was by no means a little man. His great speed combined with an ability to change direction instantly made him a great crowd favorite, and he attributed his long NFL career to the fact that few people could ever get a good shot at him.

He was among the first black men to play pro football, and although he undoubtedly encountered some tough times, his warm, bubbling personality  made him popular with blacks and whites alike. Beloved by the fans of Baltimore, he was the first black man to be a regular on Baltimore TV, becoming a fixture on "Corralin' the Colts, an extremely popular weekly show, after his retirement.
Buddy Young was the first Colt to have his number (22) retired and, in 1964, was the first African-American executive hired by the NFL.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BUDDY YOUNG
Dave Potter - Cary, North Carolina
John Vermillion - St. Petersburg, Florida
Jerry Lovell - Bellevue, Nebraska
Mark Kaczmarek - Davenport, Iowa
Adam Wesoloski - Pulaski, Wisconsin
Ken Hampton - Raleigh, North Carolina
Kevin McCullough - Lakeville, Indiana

WIU guys*********** Wrote Mark Kaczmarek, of Davenport, Iowa - I have a little connection to that 1947 Illini Rose Bowl team...Alex Agase played on that team also & Lou Agase & Jocko Wrenn were linemen on that team...while I was in HS in DeKalb, Jocko was an assistant at NIU...his son "Jocko" pictured in the middle was both a teammate in HS, and at WIU...all 3 of the pictured HS teammates, myself, Jocko & Steve Mikez are in the WIU HOF as well....Jocko, the son, just retired as DFO at AZ State...another player on that Illini team, Art Duflemeier, the "Flying Dutchman" served as one of Darrell Mudra's assistants until he "retired" to be a HS coach at his hometown of Havana, IL...Art was a gunner aboard a bomber that was shot down in '44 & was a POW for the duration...a real hero!

















*********** QUIZ - With all the great players the Steelers have in the Hall of Fame, they have retired just two jerseys - and his is one of them.

He was born in Germany - in Bavaria - and brought to the United States when he was three.  He went to high school in Albany, New York, and after service in the Marine Corps, he played at Boston College. 

In 1950 he was a second-round draft pick of the Steelers.  In 14 years with the Steelers as a defensive tackle, he missed only six games. He was named to nine Pro Bowls and was quite often rated the best defensive end in the business.

He made it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame the first time he was eligible.

Those old Steelers were known for their toughness - win or lose, they’d work you over -  and he was the toughest Steeler of them all.

Wrote longtime Steelers’ president Dan Rooney, in his memoirs,

“We had great defensive players in those early days. Guys like (——- ——-), a bruising defensive tackle and nine-time Pro Bowler, could drink alongside Bobby Layne and play like the Pro Bowler he was the next day. He flattened running backs like a steamroller.  (He) wound up in the Hall of Fame, and was considered by teammates and opponents alike to be the toughest guy in the league. He’s the only Steeler player, ever, to have his jersey, number 70, officially retired.” (Since the publication of Dan Rooney’s book in 2007, Joe Greene’s number 75 has been retired.)

(Maybe it will help if I mention that after his playing career was over, he built a reputation as a great coach with the Dallas Cowboys, spending 23 years on Tom Landry’s staff. For 16 of those years he was the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator, and as a defensive line coach he developed such greats as Bob Lilly, Randy White, Jethro Pugh, Harvey Banks Martin, Jim Jeffcoat and Ed “Too Tall” Jones.)


american flagTUESDAY,  FEBRUARY 20,  2018  “We are a formerly Christian society in an advanced state of decomposition.” Pat Buchanan

*********** You may remember the time, several years ago, when the Black Lions were deployed to Iraq, and I passed along the idea that it would be nice to send them some movies - even football highlights - to watch while they were overseas.  Many of you pitched in.

The Battalion Commander of the Black Lions at that time was Lieutenant Colonel Pat Frank, a Buffalo native and a graduate of St. Bonaventure.

I first got to know LTC Frank when he was at Fort Riley, Kansas, and he began developing a relationship between the Black Lions and the Kansas State football program.  It’s been a wonderful thing, including joint Physical Training exercises between the Black Lions and the K-State football players, and the hosting at K-State football games of the families and kids of deployed Black Lions.  And it’s all due to Pat Frank’s efforts.

In the Army, advancement almost always means moving, and since Fort Riley, Pat and his wife, Jennifer, have been at the Army War College, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania; at the Pentagon; at Fort Drum, New York with the 10th Mountain Division; then back to Fort Riley. Shortly after his arrival there as Colonel Pat Frank he became Brigadier General Pat Frank.

A Brigadier General wears one star. Fewer than one per cent of lieutenants, the lowest-ranking officers,  ever attain that rank.

At the time, the Commanding General of Fort Riley, noting Pat’s combat experience, said, "He has what it takes to be a general officer today. He didn't sit on the sidelines. He was the man in the arena.”

In time, Pat was named interim Commanding General of Fort Riley, an enormous responsibility,  and last summer,  BG Frank was moved to Fort Knox, Kentucky as Deputy Commanding General of the U.S. Army Cadet Command - in short, in charge of Army ROTC programs in colleges all over the country. (Few people realize that ROTC programs provide our Army with far more officers than West Point.)

Most recently, though,  came the news that on February 28, BG Frank will take command of the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana. 

Basically, the job of the Joint Readiness Training Center - JRTC - is to prepare units about to be deployed for the sort of combat they are likely to experience.  It’s as close to the conditions of war as we’d ever want our soldiers to get here in the United States.  After Fort Polk, the next step up is live combat.

For a warrior - which Pat Frank is - command of Fort Polk, an Army post whose motto is “Forging the Warrior Spirit,” has got to be a dream assignment.

The man Pat is succeeding is a Major General - two stars - which means that there is a chance that Pat Frank will one of these days become a Major General also. Under current Army staffing, there are only 114 Major Generals in the entire US Army. (There are 49 Lieutenant Generals - 3-stars - and 11 Generals - 4-stars).

I have unbounded admiration for Pat Frank. Now, if only he can find a way to get his beloved Buffalo Bills into the playoffs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yu3Df1dXCek


************ The rendition of the National Anthem before the NBA All-Star game finally sealed it for me. Time to give the whole thing a rest.

Time to stop the musical graffiti artists from defacing our nation’s song.

Enough of singing it the way you’d sing something at a funeral - or in a cocktail lounge.

Enough of performances whose duration has become such a joke that in Vegas you can bet the over-under on length of the pre-Super Bowl anthem.

I’ve suggested for years that it’s time to do away with the national anthem before sports events.  In most other countries, you only hear theirs when one of their national teams is playing some other country’s national team.  Here? Hell, you can’t even play a freshman game anywhere without it - or at least the Pledge of Allegiance.

Just one more reason why I despise those NFL idiots who knelt (yes, it’s “knelt,” not “kneeled”) during the national anthem - they've  made it impossible to carry out my wishes, because if we did away with the national anthem, everyone would say it was “giving in to the kneelers.”

Congress isn’t that busy.  Time to pass a law outlawing the singing of the national anthem before sports events at any level.

I’ll happily go along with allowing it when performed by a Big Ten band - real or recorded.   If I have to concede on a point,  I’ll consider singing - but by the guy who sings it before Chicago Black Hawks games.

*********** I got together with another high school coach a few weeks ago and we got to talking about taking on a new job, and the subject of what to look for in assistants came up.

I mentioned all the things on my list of “got-to-haves” - the things that any assistant has to have.

We were in agreement on all of them, but we also agreed that one thing stands out above all of them.  The number one quality, as anyone who’s been  a head coach any length of time will attest,  is LOYALTY.

This is why I caution any coach who’s offered a job to insist, before accepting it, on being able to hire and fire his assistants.  Your assistants have to report directly to you and they have to owe their jobs to you.  A defeat should hurt them as much as it does you, but it won’t when they know that when you get fired they’ll still have a job.  A guy who basically owes his job to an AD who insisted that you hire him is a guy who will bypass the chain of command and report directly to the AD. (In other words, he'll go behind your back.)  I’ve heard of too many head coaches who’ve been taken down by assistants who were  foisted on them by an AD, and then provided a steady pipeline to that AD.

*********** The 2019 football season will be celebrated as College Football’s 150th anniversary, and here’s the anniversary logo you’ll be seeing plenty of...

150th logo

http://www.footballfoundation.org/News/NewsDetail/tabid/567/Article/56051/college-football-150th-anniversary-reveals-logo.aspx

***********
When I was a kid and we played cops and robbers, it was cool to be a G-Man - as FBI agents were known.

Growing up to revere the FBI as I did, respecting  the one government agency that we all knew we could trust to do the right thing, even when all others might fail us, I find the mounting evidence that the agency may have been “weaponized” to serve nefarious political purposes to be disturbing and disillusioning.

And the Bureau’s misfeasance/nonfeasance/malfeasance in the Parkland, Florida school shooting casts a deep shadow on it.

I’m sustained by the hope that it’s just “a couple of bad apples” doing the unthinkable - trying to overthrow an elected government - and a couple of incompetents asleep at the switch who missed the signs that a kid was going to shoot up a school,  and that the vast majority of employees of the FBI are loyal Americans who serve their country regardless of the politics of their higher-ups.

Naturally, there are those who refuse to believe what the evidence strongly suggests.  Some of them have gone on the offensive, calling any criticism of the FBI “an attack on law enforcement,” which is rich, considering that most of those people never saw a city cop that they didn’t consider a brutal racist.

One of the arguments  I keep hearing is that an “attack” on the FBI is an attack on all the “men and women” of the FBI “who put their lives on the line for all of us.”

And that got me to thinking:  every couple of days or so, it seems, I read about this city police officer or that sheriff’s deputy  being killed somewhere in the line of duty.  But, you know? I couldn’t for the life of me remember the last time I heard of an FBI agent being killed.  And so I did some checking.

Seems the FBI maintains a “Hall of Honor,” in which “special agents killed in the line of duty as the result of a direct adversarial force or at or by the hand of an adversary” are memorialized.  Since October 1925, there have been 36 such “martyrs.”  The most recent one was in November, 2008.

Without question, the death of even one FBI special agent is a great loss to our country, and all agents killed in service should be honored. 

However…  when compared with big city police forces, whose “killed in the line of duty” rolls can number in the hundreds,  I don’t think politicians and journalists and PR types can fairly call 36 deaths in the last 93 years  “putting lives on the line.”

https://www.fbi.gov/history/hall-of-honor

*********** Many years ago, I struck up a friendship with a Chicago-area youth coach named Keith Babb.  He was a good coach, and he asked a lot of good questions.  He coached Michael Jordan’s sons - yes, Michael Jordan let his sons play youth football.

Keith’s daughter, Melissa, became a very good softball player,  and during her recruitment Keith was struck by what he saw as a need by most parents of high school athletes for help in the recruiting process.  Melissa wound up playing softball at Colgate (and graduating) and in 2004 Keith wound up leaving a good job with a bank to go to work for NCSA, a then-new recruiting service based in Chicago.

Now, years later, that recruiting service has more than 700 people working for it,  and Keith is its “Senior National Recruiting Specialist.”

I know that there are shady operators in this recruiting business,  but I also know Keith Babb.  While he was coaching, we were in pretty constant touch. We had dinner at West Point when Melissa was on her recruiting visit there, and Keith stayed at our place when visiting  his son who was going to college in Portland.  On one of my last clinics in Chicago, not long after Keith had joined NCSA, he showed me around their offices and introduced me around.  Keith has now been with NCSA for 14 years, and I know that he wouldn’t be associated with an organization that did not operate ethically.

He recently wrote me and included some info about NCSA’s services:

One of our innovations is what we call Team Edition.  It provides recruiting tools for high school and club coaches.  It's cutting edge technology that brings coaches the resources they need to help all student-athletes find the right fit situation so their student-athletes can get a large portion of their school funded.  Here's the link:  http://www.ncsasports.org/team/features-coach   

We also provide a lot of recruiting advice here:  http://usatodayhss.com/tag/ncsa. 


But he went on to tell me about his company’s commitment to provide free recruiting/counseling services (sometimes worth in the thousands of dollars) to more than 2,000 student-athletes this year.  I asked if I could make that known on this site and he said “yes.”

Here’s what Keith wrote, and I urge you to take it from there:

What I'm most proud of, though, is the help we provide for those student-athletes who have financial need and can't access our network any other way than being given a grant.  When Chris Kraus started NCSA in Feb, 2000, his drive, motivation, and overall goal was to be in a position to help every student athlete who qualifies academically and athletically without worrying about finances.  So we have refined that mission over the years and jumped through the NCAA & NAIA compliance hoops, so that mission can be accomplished.  Here's more on that effort here:  http://allinaward.com/

Coach Wyatt, NCSA is committed to helping at least 2,000 deserving student-athletes using this grant this calendar year.  If you or any of your coaches' network has someone who should receive this help, feel free to let them know.  Also, you can feel free to include my contact information if anyone has questions.


Keith's email:  kbabb@ncsasports.org

Keith Babb
Sr National Recruiting Specialist
NCSA | Next College Student Athlete
1333 N. Kingsbury St. Chicago, IL 60642
312-205-7474|
ncsasports.org 

Keith’s story -   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LoiWxsXo1s


*********** Tom Brady really is a marvel, playing quarterback in the NFL at his age.  He’s the perfect example of what  modern-day training, nutrition and God-knows-what-else can accomplish when a guy has the drive that Brady does.

For Pete’s sake,  he’s 40 years old!

But before going overboard on Brady’s agelessness…  suppose I tell you about what a guy did back in 1970 - a guy who didn’t take any better care of himself than anybody else did back in those days…

On October 25, he replaced starter Daryle Lamonica and threw three touchdown passes to lead the Raiders to a 31-14 win over the Steelers.

On November 1,  he kicked a 48-yard field goal with three second left to tie the Chiefs, 17-17. (Games could end in ties then.)

On November 8, replacing Lamonica in the fourth quarter, he tied the game at 14-14 with a pass to Warren Wells with 1:14 left, then kicked a 52-yard field goal with three seconds remaining to defeat the Browns.

On November 15, taking over for Lamonica with 4:01 left to play, and down, 19-17 to the Broncos, he drove the Raiders 80 yards, the final 20 of them a touchdown pass to Fred Biletnikoff for the win.

On November 22, he kicked a 16-yard field goal with four seconds left to beat the Chargers, 20-17.

The guy was George Blanda.  He was 43.

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

I'm sick of all this mass murder of innocents.  God help us.

The FBI.  You mean the Federal Bureau of Incompetents?

Winter Olympics.  Those of us in America who wanted global...well...this is as global as it gets.  Enjoy! 

I'm becoming more and more interested in rugby, and learning more and more about the game as I go.  I've actually learned the difference between rugby union and rugby league!  Doesn't matter which, I still enjoy a good ruck when I see one.

An old coach (don't recall who) responded to a reporter's question as to why the coach gave his RB the ball so many times.  Coach replied, "It's not that heavy, and he's a big strong boy, why not?"
Those days are OVER!

Enjoy your weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

(It was John McKay, who, asked whether he was maybe giving Simpson the ball too much , said, “It’s not heavy.” HW)

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

I liked the comment about interviewing a coach after a game being like interviewing a drunk. Been there and learned to keep my mouth shut after a game (win or lose).

Open Wing comment: The newest thing that we have learned has to do with Green/Gold. Our guard is getting so good at hooking the EMLOS that the QB is rarely rushed. Both QBs (Tommy is one of them) discovered, on their own, that if they show patience, the TE route usually comes open if it is not there immediately. This was neat to see, as I didn’t teach them that. One of them discovered it and told the other. Now they both do it equally.

Teaching/Coaching comment: You once said that you became a better teacher when you started acting like a coach and a better coach when you started acting like a teacher. Today, I had another opportunity to apply this. This week I received a nasty email from a parent about how I was harassing their son, by removing him from class whenever he was disrespectful. We had the administrative meeting today with the parent and I took their email and went through it point by point answering each of the accusations until the parent apologized at the end for sending the email. Why I liken this to football, is that instead of letting this go and allowing administration to placate the issue, it felt like “first things needed to be done first” . No one was going to address the email, just try to dance around it and make an “action plan to move forward.” I don’t think I would have had the confidence to stand up for what I saw as an obvious wrong if I wasn’t a football coach.

Finally, the comment about the army and hand grenades is disturbing. Yes, the young generation is becoming technologically enabled soft. However, like your comment to the Hyaks about your generation not being tougher, just having more tough kids”, here is a clip of Tommy this morning. His mother is filming him playing basketball at the school, by himself at 7am. I will meet him at 4pm so he can shoot around again. Not all of these kids are soft. There is just less of them.

Happy Louis Riel Day.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

(Best of luck to Coach Walls - as the OC he’s busy preparing his Team Manitoba under 14s for an international tournament in San Antonio this weekend!  And, yes, I had to look it up - Louis Riel was one of the founders of Manitoba. HW)

*********** I’ve said before that if the Unamericans ever do manage to kill football, it isn’t going to do much to help soccer.

Remember 2014? After a couple of weeks of silly-ass millennials in their precious soccer bars, chanting “I believe that we can win!” the Americans exited the tournament, well short of the finals.

Back then,  in July 2014, a writer named Athlone McGinnis wrote a great article entitled “4 Reasons Why Americans Will Never Fully Embrace Soccer”

1. Americans aren’t the best at it.
We don’t like being the "little guy" in anything.   We like sports that we can dominate.   If we can’t dominate, why bother?  We have other things to do.  (Watch how interest in US women’s sports diminishes as other nations begin to field better soccer teams and put better basketball teams on the floor.)

2. Soccer isn’t American.
Football, baseball and basketball are truly American sports.

3. In the US soccer has competition from other sports.
Any nation that’s really good at soccer doesn’t have a single other sport that comes close to competing with it for players, fans, or money.

4. Lack of Physicality and the tolerance of weakness
Americans admire strength and courage in their athletes.   Soccer players aren’t at all strong by our standards.  And while they do a few things very well,  they are things unique to that one sport, with very little transferability to other sports. As a result soccer players aren’t generally what most Americans would consider good athletes.  And then there’s the flopping…

http://www.returnofkings.com/39109/4-reasons-why-americans-will-never-fully-embrace-soccer

*********** COACHING WISDOM: “We’ve always taken great pride in taking away an opponent’s best play and thereby reducing the efficiency of their best players.  For many years we’ve had an expression: “Make them beat us left-handed.”  Woody Hayes


QUIZ ANSWER: Ernie Nevers played professional basketball, baseball and football.

As a major league pitcher, he gave up two of Babe Ruth's home runs in his record-setting 60 home-run season.

He was born in Minnesota to parents who immigrated to the US from New Brunswick, Canada. He grew up in Superior, Wisconsin before his family moved to Santa Rosa, California before his senior year in high school.

At Stanford,  which beat out Cal in one of the early recruiting wars, he won 11 letters in four different sports in three years.  HIs football teammates called him “Swede,” or “Big Dog.”

Pop Warner, who coached both him and Jim Thorpe, said he was the better player.

In a losing effort in the Rose Bowl, he outgained all four of Notre Dame’s famed Four Horsemen combined.

Sports Illustrated once called him "The Best College Football Player of All Time.”

In his first year of pro football, he and just 15 teammates played for the Duluth Eskimos, a team owned by a boyhood friends that played 29 games in 1926, 27 of them on the road.  Of the 1740 minutes of play possible, he played in more than 1700.

In 1927 he played major league baseball for the St. Louis Browns, throwing two home run balls to Babe Ruth, and following the baseball season he returned to the Eskimos as player-coach.

He sat out the 1928 football season and assisted Warner at Stanford, but returned to the NFL to play for the Chicago Cardinals through the 1931 season.

He was named All-Pro all five of his years in the NFL.

He once scored 40 points (six touchdowns, four extra points) in an NFL games - a record that still stands.

He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

In 1969, on the 100th anniversary of college football, the NCAA and the Football Writers of America named him to college football’s All-Time All-America Team.

His jersey number, 1,  was the first ever retired at Stanford, and remains one of only three, along with Jim Plunkett and John Elway.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING ERNIE NEVERS:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
RALPH BALDUCCI - PORTLAND, OREGON
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
CHRIS HILLIKER - NORTHPORT, ALABAMA
DAVID BUCHANAN - WEST BOYLSTON, MASSACHUSETTS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
MICK YANKE - COKATO, MINNESOTA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN (who was kind enough to include the link to an article I wrote in 2004)
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX,  ILLINOIS
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA

*********** Hi Dad!

I hardly ever know your historical football people, but I knew I should know this one and looked it up.  Ernie Nevers was amazing - I really should read up on Stanford's football history! I vaguely know about the Vow and Wow boys and, of course, Pop Warner, but I should know more.  (Also, I have to add that Stanford did retire Elway's number a few years ago, and I think Jim Plunkett's is also retired.)

Talk to you soon!

Love,

Vicky

(Got me! My daughter Vicky, a Stanford grad who’s married to another Stanford grad, reads my page, and she caught me on this one.  It’s the fault of my careless research - my resource was a publication called “Stanford Sports,” a marvelous work that was published in 1982, before Stanford retired Jim Plunkett’s Number 16 and Jon Elway’s Number 7. Despite her help, as a close relative she’s ineligible to win any of the large cash awards I routinely hand out for identifying the subject of a QUIZ)

*********** Hugh

Just a tidbit about your quiz last Friday.  My grandfather (Oscar Heyer) was born and raised in Superior Wisconsin and lived there all his life. He was born in 1902 and attended Central High School in Superior.  He and my Grandmother came to visit us one summer ( we lived in The Dalles, Oregon at the time) and attended one of my Babe Ruth Baseball All-Star Games. After the game that evening my grandfather told me stories about what a great athlete Ernie Nevers was.  So when I saw your quiz it bought back a lot of memories of my Grandfather’s stories.  I was amazed that he knew Ernie Nevers and went to school with him.

It must have been tough for his high school coaches to see him leave his senior year.

Good to hear from you Hugh. Say hi to Connie

Ossie Osmundson
Woodland, Washington

(Ossie and I taught together for eight years at Ridgefield, Washington and I assisted him in football for four of those years. HW)


NEVERS NAME AT STADIUM
SENT BY KEVIN MCCULLOUGH, LAKEVILLE, INDIANA

*********** READING TIP - LETTERHEADS OF THE NORTH (about Ernie Nevers and the Duluth Eskimos)

Recommended by Mick Yanke, Cokato, Minnesota

https://www.amazon.com/Leatherheads-North-Nevers-Duluth-Eskimos/dp/1887317325/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1518793738&sr=1-1&keywords=duluth+eskimos

*********** I wrote this in 2004…

ERNIE NEVERS - THE GREATEST CARDINAL

By Hugh Wyatt

Originally Published: September 3, 2004

Ernie Nevers may be the only man in sports history to play pro football, pro baseball and pro basketball – and all in the same year (1927) at that.

Despite the passage of all the years, Nevers may still be the most illustrious figure in Stanford’s long and glorious sports history.

His number – number 1, what else? – was the first Stanford number ever to be retired.

He won 11 letters in four sports in his three years at The Farm.

In the Rose Bowl game, he outgained all four of Notre Dame’s famed Four Horsemen.

He played professional football against Red Grange and pitched against Babe Ruth.

For months, he was listed as Missing in Action in the South Pacific in World War II.

He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in its first class.

And yet, possibly because he was a private man, reserved and self-effacing, he is not as well-known as he ought to be.

Ernie Nevers was born in Willow River, Minnesota, on June 11, 1903. After his family moved to Santa Rosa, California, Nevers played as a senior on his high school’s very first football team. When it turned out that he knew more football than the coach, he designed the offense, putting himself at fullback.

“You see, I wanted every chance to carry the ball and kick,” Nevers explained later. Although Ernie Nevers is still regarded as perhaps the greatest athlete ever to attend Stanford, Stanford landed him only after an epic recruiting struggle with its archrival, the University of California.

The story that has since become legend was that while he was visiting the Cal campus, Nevers was “kidnapped” by Stanford zealots, spirited away to a secluded spot somewhere on the coast and – in the pleasant company of a good-looking young female – kept hidden from Cal people until he finally decided to attend Stanford. The young lady must have been very persuasive.

Years later, Nevers admitted that Cal had been his first choice. “Brick Muller (a Cal All-American from the early 1920s) had been an idol of mine, and I got to know him,” he said. “So I was all set to go to Cal, but at the last minute I picked Stanford. But if I had gone to Cal I probably would have stayed a lineman and nobody would have given me much of a chance. I was a terrible tackle. I did much better as a fullback.”

Indeed he did. At 6-1, 205, he was a big man by the standards of his day; as a fullback, he was gigantic. Called “Swede” and “Big Dog” by his teammates, he truly did everything – he ran, passed, punted and tackled. He was noted for his fearless, reckless style of play, and on occasion, when the action got especially ferocious, he would toss his helmet aside and fling himself into the action bareheaded.

Asked to compare him to the legendary Jim Thorpe, whom he had also coached, Pop Warner, Nevers’ coach, said, “I consider Nevers the better player because he gave everything he had in every game.”

Warner wrote, in his autobiography, “In an era of great ones – Red Grange of Illinois, George Gipp and the Four Horsemen from Notre Dame, Elmer Oliphant and Chris Cagle of Army, or even Jim Thorpe of Carlisle – Nevers always stood a bit taller when trying to compare others to him.”

Nevers’ most legendary performance was in the 1925 Rose Bowl against Knute Rockne and Notre Dame and the legendary Four Horsemen. He almost didn’t play at all. He’d broken his left ankle before the opening game of the season, and his right ankle in the next-to-last game. He was on crutches until two days before the Rose Bowl. And then, ankles supported by braces fashioned from inner tubes by coach Warner and wrapped so tightly that he had little feeling in his legs, he headed out to battle.

“You’ll probably last ten minutes,” Warner predicted pessimistically.

But Nevers played all 60 minutes, and outgained all four of Horsemen all by himself. Nevers carried the ball 34 times for 117 yards, handling the ball on every offensive play.

On defense, he intercepted a pass and was in on 80 percent of Stanford’s tackles.

So amazing was his performance that the two interceptions he threw – both returned by Elmer Layden for touchdowns – were forgiven.

Although Stanford lost, 27-10, Irish coach Knute Rockne was in awe of Nevers’ performance. “Nevers could do everything,” Rockne recalled later. “He tore our line to shreds, ran the ends, forward-passed and kicked. True, we held him on the 1-yard line for four downs, but by that time he was exhausted.”

So impressed was Rockne that day that later, when Nevers was playing as a pro with the Chicago Cardinals, Rockne would often take his players to Chicago just to watch Nevers play.

At Stanford, he earned 11 letters – in football, baseball, basketball and track – in three years. On at least one occasion, he competed in a track meet in his baseball uniform, then hurried over to the diamond to play a baseball game.

He once pitched 37 consecutive scoreless innings – a record that still stands at a school with an illustrious baseball history. In 1925, in a three-game series with Cal, he pitched the full nine innings in two of the games, and in the final game, with the count three-and-two, hit a grand slam home run to win the series for Stanford.

While in college, he also had some bit parts in Hollywood productions during the offseasons, working with a couple of USC football players named Ward Bond and Marion “Duke” Morrison. Bond would become a well-known actor, and Morrison would become fairly well-known himself as a guy named John Wayne.

In his first year as a pro football player, 1926, Nevers played for a travelling team called the Duluth Eskimos (later to become the Detroit Lions), playing 29 games in 117 days – including one stretch of five games in eight days. 27 of the 29 games on the road. There were 16 men on the Eskimos roster.

“Sometimes we used take two showers after games,” Nevers recalled once. “The first one would be with our uniforms on. Then we’d beat them like rugs to get some of the water out, throw them into our bags, get dressed and catch a train.”

Nevers missed just 27 minutes of action in the entire 29-game schedule – when doctors ordered him to sit out a game after he was diagnosed with appendicitis. But with Duluth trailing 6-0, Nevers couldn’t stand to watch. Disregarding doctor’s orders, he inserted himself into the game, and threw a 62-yard TD pass and kicked the extra point to give the Eskimos a 7-6 win.

His major-league baseball career was a short one. Playing for the woeful St. Louis Browns, he did gain a measure of fame as a result of Babe Ruth’s hitting two of his record-setting 60 home runs off him in 1927.

The Babe, not one to flatter anyone unnecessarily, said to him, “You’ve got good speed, kid. For my sake, I hope you stick to football.”

He once hit a double off the great Walter Johnson, but Nevers modestly said, “I think he grooved it for me.”

After his football playing career ended in 1932, Nevers began a coaching career, but at the outbreak of World War II, although too old to be drafted, he enlisted in the Marine Corps.

While serving in the Pacific, he and his battalion were reported missing for several months. When they were finally found on an otherwise-deserted island, several had died, and Nevers, suffering from beri-beri, weighed only 110 pounds. Despite the rescue, however, all was not happiness – while he was away in the service, his wife died of pnuemonia.

Following the war, Nevers was involved in starting Chicago’s franchise in the All-American Football League, and spent most of the rest of his working life in a variety of positions for Bay Area beer, wine and liquor distributors.

Nevers was modest and private, and declined most requests for interviews. He kept few football mementos in his home, and reportedly never talked about sports with his family. Around the news media, he seemed embarrassed to talk about himself, and when he did so, it was often in a humorous, self-deprecating way.

Asked to recall his Rose Bowl performance, Nevers chose to dwell on the interceptions he threw. “A total of 150 yards and two touchdowns in two tries,” he once said, “makes the passing combination of Layden of Notre Dame and Nevers of Stanford the best in Rose Bowl history.”

Nevers lived in Tiburon, north of San Francisco, for much of his life and once invited Bob Murphy, then the sports information director at Stanford, to bring a tape recorder over to his house to discuss his athletic career in detail for a possible book.

“We rambled on for a few hours,” Murphy recalled. “He talked about everything – the Four Horsemen, Pop Warner taping up his ankles with inner tubes, the home runs he served up to Babe Ruth. But here’s the sad part of the story. I transcribed the tape, but to this day, I don’t know what I did with it. I may have it buried somewhere, but I haven’t been able to find it.”

In 1951, Ernie Nevers was inducted into the College Hall of Fame, and in 1963 he was a charter inductee in the Pro Football of Fame.
He died on May 3, 1976.

“He loved doing things for kids,” recalled Murphy, his long-time friend. “He loved presenting the Pop Warner awards at their annual banquet. He had such great reverence for Warner, and loved to represent his memory at functions. Ernie really was a humble individual and a perfect gentleman.”

Copyright 2017 Hugh Wyatt. All rights reserved. www.coachwyatt.com

https://directsnapvault.com/ernie-nevers-greatest-cardinal/


QUIZ: His real name was Claude,  but no one called him that.  At 5-4,   he remains the shortest man ever to play pro football - the “modern” game, since World War II, that is - and he played for 10 years.

Over his NFL career,  he averaged close to 30 yards per kick return.

A native of Chicago, he was state champion in the 100-yard dash, and at the University of Illinois, he was NCAA champion in the 100 and tied the world indoor record (6.1) in the 60-yard dash.

In football, he was Co-Player of the Game in the 1947 Rose Bowl, as Illinois hammered UCLA, 45-14.

While at Illinois, he tied the school record for touchdowns in a single season set by the immortal Red Grange.

He played his first three pro seasons in the AAFC, before it "merged" with the NFL, and he finished his career with the Baltimore Colts.

He was the answer to a question in the movie "Diner," made by Baltimorean Barry Levinson, in which a guy makes his fiancee prove her worthiness to marry him by answering a series of trivia questions about the (Baltimore) Colts. The question had to do with the teams he had formerly played for that no longer existed. (The answer was three: Baltimore Colts - AAFC, New York Yankees - NFL, Dallas Texans - NFL.

Although short, he was by no means a little man. His great speed combined with an ability to change direction instantly made him a great crowd favorite, and he attributed his long NFL career to the fact that few people could ever get a good shot at him.

He was among the first black men to play pro football, and although he undoubtedly encountered some tough times, his warm, bubbling personality  made him popular with blacks and whites alike. Beloved by the fans of Baltimore, he was the first black man to be a regular on Baltimore TV, becoming a fixture on "Corralin' the Colts, an extremely popular weekly show, after his retirement.

He was the first Colt to have his number retired and, in 1964, the first African-American executive hired by the NFL.


american flagFRIDAY,  FEBRUARY 16,  2018  “A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy." Samuel Adams


*********** Aaron Feis, an assistant football coach, was one of the 17 people killed in the mass murder at Parkland, Florida’s Stoneman Douglas High School.  In a day and age when people are routinely called heroes because they hit home runs or catch passes or shoot threes, it would appear from eyewitness accounts  that coach Feis died a hero in the classic sense of the word.

For that, I defer to the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, created in 1904 by industrialist Andrew Carnegie to  award the Carnegie Medal for heroism.

The basic test for the Carnegie Medal is that “The rescuer must leave a place of safety and knowingly risk death to save the life of another, without obligation to do so.”

There are numerous criteria to be met, including that one must not be a “professional rescuer,” such as a policeman or lifeguard,  nor  a member of the military, all which carry an obligation.  Besides, it was Mr. Carnegie’s belief that those organizations already had their own systems of awards for exceptional bravery.

The award generally isn’t given to people acting to rescue immediate family members, because those people have “an obligation to do so.” 

And the award isn’t made if the rescuer acts to save his own life as well as others, because he is not in “a place of safety,” and by rescuing himself he receives a “personal benefit.”

There is no question that Coach Feis is a hero.  He was only moments before in a place of safety, and he might have saved himself by taking cover; he had to know that he was risking death to do what witnesses say he did - take gunfire intended for students.

But for the Carnegie people, there's that “obligation” business.   Yes, he was a school security officer, but I doubt that anyone would consider taking bullets to be in that job's  line of duty, and I would  hope that his job would not disqualify him for consideration by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission.

http://www.maxpreps.com/news/ocX8v7ARIEeSpIlKCetldg/stoneman-douglas-football-coach-died-a-hero-during-deadly-campus-shooting.htm

This is the Carnegie Medal citation of the father of an elementary school friend of mine:
JOHN LARGE HARRISON, Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania

John Large Harrison, 41, gas company engineer, attempted to save Millicent F. Quinn, 39, from drowning, Bar Harbor, Maine, August 30, 1949. Mrs. Quinn was swept into the Atlantic Ocean from the rocky shore of Mount Desert Island by turbulent waves and drifted 130 feet into cold water 24 feet deep. Harrison, happening along just after the accident, alighted from his automobile and ran 200 feet to the shore. Removing his outer clothing and shoes, he plunged into the water and swam to Mrs. Quinn, who was in a semiconscious condition. Harrison took hold of her hair and towed her to within 35 feet of shore but encountered a strong backwash and could make no further progress. He and Mrs. Quinn twice were thrust close to shore and thence away from it by the waves. Mrs. Quinn suddenly sank 25 feet from shore, and Harrison, who was extremely tired and numbed, lost his hold on her. She did not reappear and was drowned. A large wave later carried Harrison onto a rock near the shoreline, and he was assisted from the water. Harrison was confined to bed for two days with fever and chills but recovered.

http://www.carnegiehero.org/

*********** Many years ago, while playing for the Philadelphia 76ers, Charles Barkley told a reporter after a particularly  ugly game, "This is the  kind of game that, if you lose, it makes you want to go home and beat your wife."

The reporter, observing that "quoting someone minutes after a hard game is occasionally like quoting a drunk,” asked Barkley if he’d like to take that one back.

"Charles," he said he asked, "do you really want to say that?"

"Yeah, write it down," Barkey said. "Piss off them women's groups!"

Sure enough, the next Sixers' home game was picketed by the National Organization for Women.

***********  “Diversity Is Our Strength”  Department…

I read in our local paper about a guy arrested and accused of killing someone at a local convenience store, and noticed that he had an unusual last name.

Further on in the story,  I read that he had been provided with a “Chuukese interpreter.”

WTF?

Turns out Chuukese is a language spoken only in a small group of islands in the South Pacific.  There are only a little more than 50,000 speakers worldwide.

How fortunate for the cause of justice for all the newcomers to our shores that in Vancouver, Washington, a city of maybe 100,000 people, they were able to find a  “Chuukese interpreter.”

(Actually, they could just as easily have called me.  I’d have simply listened to the guy for a minute or so, then turned to the interrogators and said, “He says he didn’t do it.”  Cut the check.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuukese_language

*********** “IF YOU SEE SOMETHING… SAY SOMETHING…”

In the aftermath of the Florida schools hooting, big shot after big shot told us that that’s  how we can prevent future school shootings.

But, but, but…

Back in September, one “Nikolas Cruz” posted something on a YouTube channel about wanting to be a “professional school shooter.”

The owner of the channel, seeing something,  said something: he notified the FBI - you know, those "dedicated men and women who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe?"

They  met with him and asked him some questions.

And that was that.

Until Tuesday, when a person with the name of  Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people at Parkland, Florida’s Douglas High School. Not necessarily a "professional," but close enough.

I've heard more than one person say,  “Everyone predicted it.”

Everyone but the FBI.  They say they followed up on the name but “couldn’t find it in the database."

Hmmm.  Funny that in a country that spies on its own people they couldn't find a person named Nikolas Cruz anywhere.

Funny how the FBI seems to come up short so often.

I would have bet they’d say they didn’t have enough people to check out every tip.  Which may be true,  given all the brave people kept busy putting their lives on the line either  to  provide cover for Hillary or bring down the President.

*********** Even on a day when a school shooting dominates the news on TV,  there’s an occasional moment of mirth.

Typical of what happens when cultural illiteracy meets intellectual laziness, a TV talking head said something about a nearby hotel named Marriott Heron Bay.  He pronounced it “HEAR-onn Bay.”

Wouldn’t want to check on the pronunciation of a word you don’t know. 

Which goes to show what he got from four years in some college major called “journalism.”

*********** Where do the media find people this stupid?

I just heard a guy on the radio say that the Florida mass killer may have had a nasty breakup with a girl.

“But,” he added, “Even that doesn’t justify mass murder.”

You mean there’s something that does?

*********** General Jim Shelton, who helped me establish the Black Lion Award, had eight children,  and one of them,  Patty Rasmussen, used to write feature articles for a publication called “Chop Talk,” which the Atlanta Braves used to put out.

They no longer publish the magazine, but Patty was always kind enough to see that I got a copy every month,  and one of the best bits of coaching advice I ever got came from an interview she did with Bobby Cox, who managed the Braves from 1990 to 2010.

He said that when a player broke a rule, got out of line, did something wrong, he’d bring the guy into his office and tell him, “We can’t have this.”

As simple as that:  No anger. No arguments. No explanations.  No excuses.  No threats.  But whatever, it’s going to stop.  And you’re going to see to it that it does.

Wham.  It really hit me.  That’s it, I thought.

My wife and I - she taught elementary school for 30 years,  and she knows what it is to have to deal with situations like that - were talking the other day about the simplicity and elegance of that little statement.

He put it all on the player:  this isn’t how things are done around here… you’re going to change,  and that’s that, no ifs, ands, or buts. 

Why?  Because “we can’t have this.”

I’ve used it on several occasions since.  It works.  Try it next time.

*********** Riverside High School, in Buffalo, has had to end its football program.

Over the years, it won numerous city championships, and one of its graduates, Joe Ehrmann, went on to become an All-Pro defensive tackle with the Baltimore Colts. (Many of you may know of him now as Reverend Joe Ehrmann.)

In 1903, when Buffalo’s public high schools competed for the Harvard Cup, awarded to the city football champion,  there were 14 high schools in contention.

But like so many older, once-bustling Rust Belt cities, Buffalo has been hit hard by the loss of its heavy industry, and its people.

As a result, in just the last 15 years, the Buffalo school district has discontinued football programs at five schools.

Now, with the end of football at Riverside, only five football-playing schools remain from the original 14.

When you check out these demographics, you have to understand that when families leave cities - whether  for the nearby suburbs or for far-away places like Florida, Texas, and Arizona -  they take their football-playing children with them. Consider:

Buffalo’s population in 1960 - 533,000…  in 2010 - 261,000 (Today’s population is less than half of what it was 50 years ago)

Detroit’s population in 1960 - 1,670,000…  in 2010 - 714,000 (that’s a loss of nearly a million people in that time)

Baltimore’s population in 1960 - 939,000… in 2010 - 621,000 (Since 1960, Baltimore has lost 1/3 of its people)

Pittsburgh’s population in 1960 -  604,000… in 2010 - 305,000 (The ‘burgh has lost nearly half its 1960 population)

Cleveland’s population in 1960 -  876,000… in 2010 -  396.000 (Cleveland has lost more than half of its 1960 population)

Chicago’s population in 1960 -  3,550,000… in 2010 -  2,696,000 (Chicago is still very big, but it’s missing more than 850,000 people)

Philadelphia’s population in 1960 - 2,002,000… in 2010 - 1,526,000 (Philly is down almost a half-million)

In every one of those cases, the population decline has resulted, inevitably,  in a decline in high schools playing football.

Philadelphia,  I know something about.  Industry has left, people have moved out of the city, and school enrollments, public and Catholic alike, have been hard-hit.

As an example, in 1956, Philadelphia’s Northeast Catholic High School graduated a class of 1,100.  That's 1,100 BOYS!  At the time, it was the largest all-male high school in the world.  “North Catholic,” as it was known in Philly, was a football powerhouse.  In the 1940s and 1950s, its annual Thanksgiving Day game with public school power Frankford would draw larger crowds to Shibe Park than the Eagles.  My high school coach coached there briefly after graduating from college, and he told me  once that on the first day of practice, when they called for just the guards and tackles to report, they’d get 120 kids out.

In October, 1956, Cardinal Dougherty High School opened.  It was coeducational. By 1965, its enrollment had grown to more than 6,000, making it the largest Catholic high school in the world. (Side note: everywhere else I’ve gone, “Dougherty” is pronounced something like “DAH-her-ty” or “DOH-her-ty” but in Philly, you’re immediately recognized as an outsider if you don’t say “DOCK-er-ty.” Maybe somebody who knows his Irish can tell me which is correct, but either way, it won’t affect Philadelphians one bit.)

At the end of the 2009-2010 school year, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia closed both Northeast Catholic and Cardinal Dougherty High Schools.

https://xando.secureorderingonline.com/share/riverside-high-school-closes-down-football-program/

*********** Next time some kid tells you that the way texting has taken over  as the means of communication, the three language fundamentals  of spelling, punctuation and grammar aren’t worth  learning…

I wish I could be there to tell him (or her) how often I’m able to spot an otherwise authentic-looking email that’s really a phony,  trying to phish for my personal data.  I'm able to spot the phonies  because of some stupid English language error their preparers made - and all because I know how it would have been written if it were legit.

The scary thing, of course, is that the way our public schools keep churning out kids who know zero about spelling, punctuation and grammar,  pretty soon they’ll be the ones writing even the legitimate emails (read any newspapers lately?)   - and we won’t be able to figure out the difference.

*********** As the demise of football looms on the horizon,  it’s time to think of what’s going to take its place.  You KNOW it’s not going to be soccer: after at least 25 years of soccer being force-fed to our little kids from the time they’re able to walk,  it ought to be clear that American boys want a little more from their sports.  A little - dare I say it - danger? Lacrosse? Ice hockey?

Maybe we should just go back in time to the late 1890s, when Walter Camp of Yale pushed through the rules changes that turned rugby into American football.  Maybe we should just go back to… rugby!

Just in case, I’m going to be ready, with a proposal for a Crocodile Dundee-type TV series featuring a bunch of big, tough, happy-go-lucky guys who speak accented English and travel the world playing rugby and drinking beer and singing songs - and fighting crime, Guardian-Angels-style.

Introducing… The ALL BLACKS!

Every episode opens with the fellas doing the Haka (HAH-kah) - a ceremonial dance performed by the original people of New Zealand, the Maori, traditionally in front of an enemy just before doing battle.    The Maori have a warrior tradition, and Maori men,  like other Pacific Islanders, tend to be large and muscular and fond of contact sports, especially rugby.  Many of the players on   New Zealand's famed national rugby team, the All Blacks, are Maori, and in tribute to their warrior culture, the All Blacks perform the Haka before every match.  Performed on the field just prior to opening kickoff as the opponents look on, the Haka is the ultimate in pre-game trash talking,  a fierce, warlike challenge to “bring it on,” and at the same time a hint at the nasty things in store for the enemy.

EPISODE ONE: as the All Blacks play rugby in a park - I have in mind New York’s Central Park, but Boston Common will do - a bunch of “teens” bent on no good wanders in off the streets . They grab a female jogger (blonde and beautiful, of course),  throwing her to the ground. She screams, but she's helpless against the mad dogs, as they prepare to have their way with her, when…

Suddenly, the attackers find themselves surrounded by the rugby players, a bunch of burly guys in black shirts with white collars, black shorts and black knee socks. And the guys have broken into some kind of dance - stomping and making fists and chanting in some kind of strange language!

The young woman’s attackers look up at the dancers,  and while they’re distracted,  she manages to escape.  One of the attackers says, "Who the $%$#% are they?!?” Another says, “WHAT the $%$#% are they?” A third shouts, "I don’t know, but I’m gettin' outta here."

“Not just yet you ain’t, you bloody bludgers!” says one of the rugby players. “We have to  finish our Haka!”

Surrounded anyhow,  the street guys have no choice but to wait.

Once finished the Haka,  the All Blacks introduce themselves to the teens with a good pummeling.

But then,  their work done, the All Blacks pick  the dazed street kids up off the ground and, putting their arms around their shoulders, march them to a nearby pub where, in true rugby tradition, they all sit around a big table with a few pitchers of beer and sing bawdy songs.

The street kids, agreeing among themselves that "these All Black dudes are cool," begin one by one to stand up and confess to having led criminal lives up to that point, to express remorse for the lives they’ve been leading,  and to pledge to reform - if in return the All Blacks will just agree to show them how to play “with that funny looking football.”  And teach them “that dance.”

They all agree to meet the next day in the park at six o’clock.

The All Blacks are there, ready to go,  at six sharp.  By 6:15,  the kids begin to show up…

TO BE CONTINUED

Rated R for violence, but take the kids anyway, if only to show them that good occasionally triumphs over evil.

I’m still working on the spin-offs...

Bring the kids to McDonalds for their All-Blacks dolls. Collect all 15 of them!

All Blacks pajamas and backpacks - look for the display at your Wal-Mart.

All Blacks cartoons on Saturday morning.

All Blacks video games.

All Blacks trading cards.

Kids doing the Haka  at school dances (instead of twerking).

All Blacks parties, at which adults do the Haka.

Teenagers playing rugby in the park.

Next adventure: the All Blacks wander the streets of New Orleans during Mardi Gras.

*********** With  the Winter Olympics’ TV ratings down,  it’s got to be one of two things - (1) not enough diversity, as they claim (which seems to mean more gays are needed), or (2) too much diversity, which means some of us have had our fill of athletes - and commentators - who define themselves by the sex that they do.

It’s too late for these Olympics, but I have an idea for NBC to save big money on the next one:

The hell with shipping all those athletes and commentators and camera people and equipment to some cold, remote place.  Show video from previous Olympics. Who will know?

 Look - snow is white everywhere.  Who the hell is going to know who that is schussing down the mountain or,  for that matter, where the mountain even is?

In fact, who, other than real obsessive types, can tell who that couple is out dancing on the ice?  Are you telling me that if you were showing events from  four, or even eight, years ago, 90 per cent of the viewing public would know?

I mean, come on - ice dancing is ice dancing.  Speed skating is speed skating.  Downhill is downhill.  Half pipe is half pipe. Couldn’t that be anybody from any of the last six Winter Olympics whizzing down the luge run?

Opening ceremony?  No big deal.  A routine TV production.

Feel-good stories? This is simple, because you already know who the winners will be.

The best part is, with all that video in the archives, you can make the “team” as diverse as you want. 

One problem: no Olympic village.  What to do with all those pretty condoms?

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

Transfers have been an age-old problem for everyone.  How do you prove the transfer is legitimate?  Used to be there were words for that.  Honesty and integrity come to mind immediately.  Unfortunately those words don't have the same meaning (if any meaning) anymore.

I have not watched one minute of the Winter Olympics yet.  I couldn't tell you who any of our individual athletes are, or what events they do.  What I will watch is the gold medal round of hockey and that's about it.

That playback of the John Tyler-Plano East game you saw was matched this past season by the Highland Park-Manvel Texas Class 5A state championship game.  Probably and likely the most incredible high school football game I have seen in a long time.

Like you I stopped cheering for the Colts the night they beat a path out of Baltimore.  Although I do hope that Frank Reich will be the right guy for them.  He's experienced the patience it takes to get the job done, and I venture to guess it will take that same patience to turn the Colts around.  Yet...have I ever mentioned...?

Have I ever mentioned how often I have watched an NBA game lately??  I used to love watching basketball.  Not anymore.  Not even at the high school level.  I'll start watching it again when they raise the baskets, and increase the size of the floor.

I still have videotapes.  Too many of them.  Would cost me an arm and a leg to transfer them to DVD's.  Oh...wait...you say DVD's and DVD players are no longer used?  Can I get my videotapes and DVD's transferred to...Hudl??  Oh...wait...you say Hudl is on its way out too??  Oh well...guess I'll just have to keep my VHS and DVD players after all.

QUIZ:  That would Jack Elway (father of John Elway) who you are talking about.  He had some talent at SJSU (Steve Clarkson, Gerald Willhite, Mervyn Fernandez, Stacey Bailey just to name a few).

Have a great week!

Joe  Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Everybody - hang onto those VHS tape decks.  They are getting rarer - and more valuable!


*********** The Army - our Army - says that starting this summer it will no longer require recruits to throw a hand grenade at least 25 yards because too few of them can and they say it takes too much time to teach them how to do it. (Yeah - time away from diversity training and sexual harassment workshops.)

They won’t say what the problem is with recruits, but it has to be either the softness of today’s X-Box-trained males who never go outside and do things like throwing balls - or the need to lower the bar for females.  Or both.

There’s a good reason why the need to throw a grenade 25 yards (or is it meters?) or more: the average blast radius is about 15 yards (or meters).

I have the solution: a less powerful, and therefore lighter, grenade.  Less power means a smaller blast radius.  Less power means the grenade can be smaller and therefore lighter. A lighter grenade means a longer throw.

Problem solved.

And then I did a little research.  Problem not solved.  The grenade in use today weighs 14 ounces -  less than a f—king pound!   Holy sh—! Even the old “pineapple” hand grenade used in World War II, in Korea, and in Vietnam weighed only one pound,  five ounces. 

You telling me those weenies can’t throw a one-pound ball 25 yards?

How much lighter could we make the damn things and still have something with more explosive power than a cherry bomb?

New problem:  between the gays and the trannies and people who can’t throw something that weighs less than a pound for 25 yards, we are in deep sh—.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5392363/Army-wont-require-recruits-throw-grenade-far-enough.html

Wait!  Not so fast! Don’t lower the bar!  I’ve got just the person to help the Army solve the problem of puny grenade throwing…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-Tart58c7E&feature=youtu.be



QUIZ ANSWER: Jack Elway was a Washington guy, born and raised in the coastal logging and mill town of Hoquiam. After graduation from Washington State, where he played quarterback, he taught and coached at Port Angeles, Washington High School, and in 1961 he became head coach at Grays Harbor Community College in Aberdeen, Washington.

Following the 1966 season, he left Grays Harbor to join the staff of his former high school coach, Jack Swarthout, at the University of Montana. His recruiting skills brought him to the attention of Washington State's legendary Jim Sweeney, who hired him because he said he was tired of losing good Montana players to him.

His first college head coaching job was at Cal State-Northridge in1976.  In southern California, he arranged for his high school-age son, John,  to have the opportunity to play for Jack Neumeier at Granada Hills High School. Coach Neumeier was way ahead of most high schools - most colleges, for that matter - in his passing ideas; much of the credit for the one-back, multiple-spread-formation "West Coast" attack which we see today belongs to him. In Coach Neumeier's system, John began to develop into the all-time great Hall of Fame quarterback  he would one day become.

At about the same time John entered Stanford, Jack moved to San Jose State, where he coached from 1979 through 1983.  (He was 2-1 in the three games his team played against his son’s team.)

In 1984, two years after John left college, dad Jack got the job of his dreams, succeeding Paul Wiggin at Stanford. Sadly, though, he didn't have a quarterback as good as his son.   A 3-6-2 record and a ninth-place Pac-10 finish in 1988 doomed him, and he was replaced by Dennis Green.

He served in 1991 and 1992  as coach of the Frankfurt Galaxy in the World League of American Football, then joined the Broncos in 1993 as a scout, serving from 1995 through 1999 as their director of pro scouting.

Broncos' coach Mike Shanahan said he played an essential role in building the Broncos' two Super Bowl champions.

Jack Elway died in 2001.

Colorado State coach Sonny Lubick, who served under him at Stanford, remembered him as a "classy, loving person. He was as fine a coach as there was and, more important, as fine a man as there was."

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JACK ELWAY:
JOSH MONTGOMERY, BERWICK, LOUISIANA
RALPH BALDUCCI - PORTLAND, OREGON
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
SHEP CLARKE - PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON

QUIZ: He played professional basketball, baseball and football.

As a major league pitcher, he gave up two of Babe Ruth's home runs in his record-setting 60 home-run season.

He was born in Minnesota to parents who immigrated to the US from New Brunswick, Canada. He grew up in Superior, Wisconsin before his family moved to Santa Rosa, California before his senior year in high school.

At Stanford,  which beat out Cal in one of the early recruiting wars, he won 11 letters in four different sports in three years.  HIs football teammates called him “Swede,” or “Big Dog.”

Pop Warner, who coached both him and Jim Thorpe, said he was the better player.

In a losing effort in the Rose Bowl, he outgained all four of Notre Dame’s famed Four Horsemen combined.

Sports Illustrated once called him "The Best College Football Player of All Time.”

In his first year of pro football, he and just 15 teammates played for the Duluth Eskimos, a team owned by a boyhood friends that played 29 games in 1926, 27 of them on the road.  Of the 1740 minutes of play possible, he played in more than 1700.

In 1927 he played major league baseball for the St. Louis Browns, throwing two home run balls to Babe Ruth, and following the baseball season he returned to the Eskimos as player-coach.

He sat out the 1928 football season and assisted Warner at Stanford, but returned to the NFL to play for the Chicago Cardinals through the 1931 season.

He was named All-Pro all five of his years in the NFL.

He once scored 40 points (six touchdowns, four extra points) in an NFL games - a record that still stands.

He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

In 1969, on the 100th anniversary of college football, the NCAA and the Football Writers of America named him to college football’s All-Time All-America Team.

His jersey number - 1 - is the only one ever retired at Stanford.


american flagTUESDAY,  FEBRUARY 13,  2018  You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough." William Blake

*********** Washington’s high school sports governing body, the WIAA,  has had it with AAU-induced transfers and their impact on the state’s high school sports.  Basketball, especially in the Seattle area, is the biggest offender, but it doesn’t take much of an imagination to see the potential of outside 7-on-7 competition to disrupt high school football programs. 

Rules changes typically are proposed by members, and it’s rare when a change comes from the WIAA itself, but after consultation with associations in California, Michigan and Oregon, which already have rules attempting to deal with the problem,  here’s what they’ve come up with:

An athlete transferring into a school will have to sit out a year of competition in a sport if:

A teammate on his “non-school sports team” (i.e., AAU basketball team or club soccer team or 7-on-7 team) also plays on the team at the new school. The quarterback recruiting a few receivers comes to  mind;

or

The athlete “received instruction” outside of school by a coach who is also on the staff at the new school. (That could be a strength or special skills coach, or it could be the coach of a 7-on-7 team in a league where you can only have a limited number of players on a team from any one school.)

I’m not so sure how effective what they’re doing in California is,  based on the huge number of transfers by football players every off-season, but I’m for anything that keeps the vultures from wooing players away from the kids they grew up with and bringing free agency to high school sports.

Go get ‘em, guys.

*********** No one said that the American news media aren’t gullible, but if you needed any proof, the way they’re fawning over the sister of Kim Jung Un at the Winter Ice Dancing and LGBTQ  Festival ought to be enough.

Nothing against the South Koreans,  whose transformation  - from a country whose backward ways shocked American soldiers sent there in the 1950s into one of the modern world’s industrial giants  - has been a wonder…

But damn - before they get too cozy with the guys from North Korea, someone needs to remind them that more than 33,000 Americans died in the so-called “Korean War,” to keep them from falling under the rule of the Communists who controlled North Korea and its neighbor to the north, Red China.

And if, after the Olympics, they persist in their harmonious new relationship with a partner that has threatened to nuke us, that's their right.

But if they do, there are American troops in South Korea - some 35,000 of them - and it may be time to get them out of harm’s way.

*********** A skater named Adam Rippon wins a bronze medal and the sports reporters go nuts.  Wow.  A bronze medal.

Have we lowered our standards that much?

Not exactly. See,  Rippon is special.  He’s the flit who in insulting language refused an invitation to meet with the Vice President of the United States, who he says is homophobic.  And in today’s America-turned-upside-down, that makes him hero enough.

*********** In his book, cleverly titled “Dan Rooney,” Dan Rooney, late son of Steelers’ founder Art Rooney,  told of the Steagles, the ill-fated wartime merger of the Steelers and Eagles.

It was 1943, and with the US at war, manpower was scarce.  Even after combining two franchises, the Steagles had only 28 men on their roster,  and often dressed as few as 25.

Rooney told of one game when tackle Al Wistert came limping off the field.

Greasy Neale, co-head coach along with Walt Kiesling,  confronted him at the sideline and said, “What’s wrong with you?”

Wistert replied, “I think I broke my leg, Coach.”

‘Well,” said Neale, “Get back in there until you find out for sure!”

***********  My wife and I happened on a TV special on Espnews - a 1994 Texas high school playoff game between Plano East and John Tyler.

John Tyler converted  a couple of turnovers to take a 41-17 lead with 3:03 to play, and the crowd in Texas Stadium began to file out.

But in just under three minutes, Plano East scored 26 points, to take a 43-41 lead.  They were successful on three onside kicks, two of them mishandled by the same John Tyler player, and now, with a few seconds remaining, all they had to do was kick off and stop John Tyler on no more than one play.

But they kicked off deep (you know how I feel about that !) and damned if the kick wasn't returned 90+ yards for the winning score. And for those who like irony to go along with a story that’s already pretty amazing: the John Tyler return man was the same player who had earlier bobbled two onside kicks.  It was the only touchdown of his high school career.

One of the announcers was so excited that he couldn’t control himself, literally: “I done wet my britches!”

*********** The NFL season - and the kneeling - are over for several months, which is just as well.  After this past weekend’s killing of two Columbus-area police officers by a felon in possession of a gun - a felon whose house police had been to numerous times to answer domestic violence complaints -  seeing players protesting supposed police brutality might have provoked a public response a lot stronger than a boycott.

*********** Frank Reich, who by all accounts is a really good person and a really good coach, has jumped into the barrel as the next head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.  I wish him well. 

He’s a native of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, a town I know well from when I was a kid.  (If you say “Leb'-a-nahn,”  they’ll know you’re from out of town. It’s “Leb'-a-nin.”   The real natives would know you were from "ott of tahn.")

After an All-State career as high school quarterback, he played football at Maryland, where years before him another Lebanon guy named Dick Shiner had also starred at quarterback, and after backing up Boomer Esiason for three years, he finally got to start as a senior.  In 1984, at Miami, he engineered the greatest comeback in college football history.  Down 31-0 at the half, the Terrapins stormed back for a 42-40 win.

Drafted third by the Bills, he spent ten years in Buffalo, mostly backing up Jim Kelly. 

In a 1993 Wild Card playoff game against the Houston Oilers,  filling in for an injured Kelly, he brought the Bills back from a 35-3 third quarter deficit to defeat the Oilers 41-38 in overtime.  Just as Maryland’s comeback against Miami was the greatest in college football history, the Bills' comeback from 32 points down against Houston  ranks as the greatest in NFL history.

Most recently, as Eagles’ offensive coordinator he deserves a lot of credit for developing Carson Wentz, and then, after Wentz suffered a knee injury, preparing Nick Foles for what turned out to be a Super Bowl MVP performance.

Maybe he figured Indianapolis was his best shot at an NFL head coaching job.  A lot hinges on whether Andrew Luck will ever come back. But even if he does, won’t they be the same sorry-ass Colts that they were when he was healthy?

I like Frank Reich, but I hate the Colts.  Those damned Irsays stole the Colts from Baltimore, and I can’t forget. I’m like one of those old World War II vets who would never buy a Japanese car.

*********** Frank Reich, new coach of the Indianapolis Colts, has served as a Presbyterian minister.  For what it’s worth - and I think it’s a lot - for his Christian faith and his coaching expertise,  he’s being compared in Indianapolis to a coaching great - Tony Dungy.

https://www.indystar.com/story/opinion/columnists/varvel/2018/02/12/varvel-why-frank-reich-like-tony-dungy/328539002/

*********** Red Auerbach was something special.

As coach of the Celtics, he won nine NBA titles.

But more than that, he had a profound effect on the makeup of the NBA.

In 1950, he drafted Chuck Cooper, the first black player ever drafted by an NBA team.

In 1964, he put the NBA’s first-ever all-black team on the court (K.C. Jones, Sam Jones, Willie Naulls, Bill Russell and Tom “Satch” Sanders).

As General Manager and coach of the Celtics, when he retired as coach after the 1966 season, he hired Russell to succeed him.  That made Russell the first black head coach of an NBA team.

Almost certainly, the NBA would eventually have made it  to where  five black players on the floor at one time would be no big deal, and it wouldn't be unusual for two opposing NBA teams to both be coached by black men.

But only Red Auerbach could have made it happen when it did. He has more than earned a city's, if not a nation's,  gratitude.

So on Sunday, the Boston Police Department tweeted this: “In honor of Black History Month, we pay tribute to Celtics legend Red Auerbach for being the 1st NBA coach to draft a black player in 1950, field an all African‐American starting five in 1964 and hire the league's 1st African‐ American head coach (Bill Russell) in 1966.”

Uh-oh.   Maybe they forgot  that Red Auerbach was a white  guy.

The NAACP’s Boston branch, didn't.  They were aghast: “The decision of the Boston Police Department to celebrate Black History Month by celebrating a white man for hiring Black people is beyond perplexing. It is sad. It is very sad.”

Said the Mayor (who sounds like a real prize), “Yesterday's tweet from the Boston Police Department was completely inappropriate and a gross misrepresentation of how we are honoring Black History Month in Boston.  I am personally committing to the people of Boston that we will always honor our Black leaders, activists and trailblazers with the respect they deserve.  Not just in February, but every day and every month of the year."

Finally, the Police backed off, tweeting this:  “BPD realizes that an earlier tweet may have offended some and we apologize for that.  Our intentions were never to offend.  It has been taken down.”

What do you suppose the chances are of our ever having that conversation on race that they keep telling us we need to have?

*********** NFL Films has put together a very moving piece about Gary Steele, who was once gained fame as the first black Army football player, but is even more impressive as a family man…

https://twitter.com/NFLFilms/status/960946837837422592/video/1

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

Philly sure knows how to turn out for a party!

While schools like Barton College are bringing back football to their campus I recently read on footballscoop that there are now 5 states considering laws banning tackle football for kids under 14 years old, and/or not until they are in high school.  One of the states has already rescinded its proposal.

One of our senior girls just received an appointment to the Naval Academy and accepted.  After congratulating her on her accomplishment she asked me if I now would become a Navy fan.  I told her I would always be a fan of hers...but as for my allegiance...Go Army!  Beat Navy!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

It’s possible that by making football  illegal they’ll make it attractive. Like drugs.

And then you and I can make some bucks running undercover Midnight Football leagues.

After all, some places  still have cock fights and dog fights.


*********** HOW FAR WE'VE COME - I wrote this back in April 2001

 Football "films" have come a long way since the days of whirring, clicking, back-and-forth 16-millimeter Kodak Analysts.

At least one team, the Baltimore Ravens, is so heavily into digital video editing that there is said to be a server at their headquarters capable of storing more than 90 hours' worth of game tapes.

Using a rule of thumb of 5 minutes per gigabyte, that works out to 1,080 gigabytes of storage! (Put another way, you could roughly figure the cost by using a price of $10 per gigabyte.)

After every game, the team's video director and his staff edit game tapes - their own and their opponents' - by first feeding the tape into the computer, then creating a digital "clip" of each play, and finally adding to each clip such additional information as down, distance, and the result of the play. Each clip is actually capable of carrying more than 30 separate items of information - criteria - some of which are added later by the coaches.

What they have created, in effect, is a visual data base: when you call up "1999 Buffalo punt," you don't get just a list of Buffalo's 1999 punts, as you would with a conventional data base - you also get video clips of every one of Buffalo's punts that season. If you'd like to sort it down further, so you get only clips of Buffalo punting from its own end zone, you have that capability, too.

The clips you requested are viewable on a monitor screen, and they're also capable of being transferred to tape.

But why even bother with tape? What's interesting here is that it is not technically necessary for coaches or players to watch actual tapes. Instead, hooked up to the server is a network of smaller computers - Macintoshes, by the way - at which they are able to do all their viewing, calling up specific clips or groups of clips, as determined by the criteria that interest them.

A defensive back, for example, might want to watch every route run by a specific wide receiver in a specific formation; the offensive coordinator might want to see what defenses next week's opponent has used in every third-and-long situation so far this season.

The beauty is the speed with which the computer can retrieve and deliver this video-on-demand. There is no looking for the right cassette, no waiting for tape to roll - no searching, no fast-forwarding or rewinding between the specific plays they want to see, no having to change cassettes.

If they want, they can easily have tapes made of the video clips they've been watching.

This has obvious implications for personnel people, too. You digitize the kid's college tapes and "file" them in the computer, and then if you want to see how well he plays in certain situations, against various opponents, you specify those criteria, and - voila! There it is.

UPDATE: Today, for less than $1,000 a year, even youth teams can have the same capacity that once wowed pro football teams. And what's "tape?"


*********** QUIZ ANSWER:  George Taliaferro  spent six years in the pro football, with four different teams in two different leagues.

He  was a native of Gary, Indiana. In 1945, as a 17-year old freshman playing with returning war veterans such as Pete Pihos, who would become a Pro Football Hall-of-Famer, and Ted Kluszewski, who would go on to baseball fame with the Cincinnati Reds, he was the starting tailback on Indiana’s undefeated Big Nine  championship team.  (Michigan State wouldn’t become the conference’s 10th member until December, 1948). At the end of the season, he was named All-America - quite possibly the youngest player ever to be so honored.

He was the only black player on his team, at a time when at least one football publication referred to him quite unselfconsciously as a “spectacular Negro back."

He was a twice named All-Big Ten, and named on various All-America teams over three different seasons.

In 1948, he was his team's leading rusher, passer and punter.

Although he  was the first black player ever drafted by an NFL team (Chicago Bears - 13th round - 1949),  he was not the first black draftee to play in the NFL (that was Wally Triplett of Penn State) because he signed, instead, with the Los Angeles Dons of the All-America Football Conference.

He carried 62 times for 330 yards and caught 25 passes for 246 yards, but the Dons went 4-8 in 1949, and they folded following the season. That would be the first of a number of poor seasons he would experience, as his career took him from one bad  team to another.

In 1950, following the AAFC's "merger" into the NFL, he wound up with the New York Yankees. They went 7-5 in 1950 - the only winning season he would experience -  but in 1951, after they finished 1-9-2,  they were moved to Dallas and renamed the Dallas Texans.

After sparse crowds at their first four home games, the Texans' owners gave up and returned the team to the league, and the Texans became vagabonds - officially, a "road team.”  They played the remainder of their schedule on the road, using Hershey,  Pennsylvania as their home base,  but rarely stopping there long enough to do much practicing. They finished the 1952 season a woeful 1-11.

In 1953, after NFL Commissioner Bert Bell persuaded a wealthy Baltimorean named Carroll Rosenbloom  to head a group to buy the Texans and move them to Baltimore,  he went along. Those early Colts’ teams were not yet the team that would win back-to-back NFL titles in 1958 and 1959.  In each of his two years there, the Colts were 3-9.

He was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles before the 1955 season and spent a final year there, playing sparingly on a team that finished 4-7-1.

In college and in the pros, he was a Mr. Everything - in his NFL career, he rushed 436 times for 1936 yards, and caught 70 passes for 1054 yards.  He returned 27 punts for 251 yards and 67 kickoffs for 1415 yards. He punted 93 times for an average of just over 37 yards, and he’s third in the NFL record books for most punts per game, with 14.  He was selected to play in the Pro Bowl in 1951, 1952 and 1953.

Sadly, he played before free agency.  Nowadays, star players shop around for the team that gives them their best chance at a Super Bowl ring, but in his six seasons in pro football - playing on five different teams in two different leagues - he experienced just one winning season.

His teams won a total of only 23 games - 11 of them in his first two seasons - and in 1951-1952 he experienced back-to-back one-win seasons.

In 1972, he was named assistant to the President of Indiana University, responsible primarily for minority recruitment.

In 1981, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, and in 1992 he was elected to Indiana University’s Hall of Fame.

At age 91, George Taliaferro is one of the oldest living former NFL players.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING GEORGE TALIAFERRO:
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI - WISCONSIN
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS

QUIZ: He was a Washington guy, born and raised in the coastal logging and mill town of Hoquiam. After graduation from Washington State, where he played quarterback, he taught and coached at Port Angeles, Washington High School, and in 1961 he became head coach at Grays Harbor Community College in Aberdeen, Washington.

Following the 1966 season, he left Grays Harbor to join the staff of his former high school coach, Jack Swarthout, at the University of Montana. His recruiting skills brought him to the attention of Washington State's legendary Jim Sweeney, who hired him because he said he was tired of losing good Montana players to him.

His first college head coaching job was at Cal State-Northridge, in1976.  In southern California, he arranged for his high school-age son to have the opportunity to play for Jack Neumeier at Granada Hills High School. Coach Neumeier was way ahead of most high schools - most colleges, for that matter - in his passing ideas; much of the credit for the one-back, multiple-spread-formation "West Coast" attack which we see today belongs to him. In Coach Neumeier's system, the son began to develop into the all-time great Hall of Fame quarterback  he would one day become.

At about the same time his son entered Stanford, our guy moved to San Jose State, where he coached from 1979 through 1983.  (He was 2-1 in the three games his team played against his son’s team.)

In 1984, two years after his son left college, our guy got the job of his dreams, succeeding Paul Wiggin at Stanford. Sadly, though, he didn't have a quarterback as good as his son.   A 3-6-2 record and a ninth-place Pac-10 finish in 1988 doomed him, and he was replaced by Dennis Green.

He served in 1991 and 1992  as coach of the Frankfurt Galaxy in the World League of American Football, then joined the Broncos in 1993 as a scout, serving from 1995 through 1999 as their director of pro scouting.

Broncos' coach Mike Shanahan said he played an essential role in helping build  the Broncos' two Super Bowl champions.

He died in 2001.

Colorado State coach Sonny Lubick, who served under him at Stanford, remembered him as a "classy, loving person. He was as fine a coach as there was and, more important, as fine a man as there was."



american flagFRIDAY,  FEBRUARY 9,  2018  “The Marines train  men hard, and do things the right way, just as a football team must train.   The Marine Corps does it right, and I took a lot of that training into coaching.  I wouldn't take anything for the years I spent in the Corps."  Hayden Fry

*********** I well remember May 20, 1974.  I leaned out the windows of the Philadelphia Bell’s offices on South Broad Street, near Walnut, and watched what at the time was said to be the largest sports event in the city’s history - the parade honoring the Philadelphia Flyers after they’d just won the Stanley Cup.  Estimates then were that 1,000,000 people lined the parade route.

Estimates of  the crowd at Thursday’s parade celebrating the Eagles’ Super Bowl win are in the neighborhood of 2 million, but when I hear estimates like that, or like those of the pussyhat people, I think of a guy named Bob Nilon, whom I got to know when I was in the beer business. Bob was one of the Nilon Brothers,  concessionaires who owned the rights to, among other places, Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium (The Vet) and, at one time, owned the contract to Sonny Liston.

If anybody should be able to  estimate the size of a crowd, it’s a concessionaire, because their life’s blood depends on making sure they have enough goods on hand, because you don’t want to lose sales - but not too much, because waste can kill you.  He told me, “Hughie (that’s my Philly name, pronounced “You-ie”) don’t let them fool you.  There’s not one person in a million who can estimate the size of a crowd correctly.”

Anyhow, sounds like a good time was had by all at the Eagles’ parade. By far the star of the show was center Jason Kelce, dressed as a New Year’s Mummer (it's an only-in-Philly thing, sometihg like Mardi Gras) who gave one of the greatest sports speeches of all time (trigger warning: might contain an F-bomb or two).  During the speech - and several times afterward - he led the crowd in singing, a la Arsenal fans, to the tune of “Clementine” ...

No one likes us!
No one likes us!
No one likes us!
We don’t care!

We’re from Philly!
F—kin’ Philly! (No one in Philly puts a “g” on the end of f—kin’)
No one likes us!
We don’t care!

18 craziest things from the Eagles’ parade
 http://ftw.usatoday.com/2018/02/philadelphia-eagles-super-bowl-parade-photos-video-pederson-kelce-foles-wentz-climbing-poles-crazy

Jason Kelce’s unbelievable speech - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhIFNxEz1qc

Jason Kelce’s bike ride - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQjkUQ75ETk

*********** Watching the Eagles’ giant celebratory parade, I saw an awful lot of blacks and whites celebrating together. I don’t know how things would have  been on other days, but after the season we’ve been through, it sure was great to see people putting something that unites them - even something as trivial as a football game - ahead of the things that divide them. Please, God, give us a Super Bowl parade like this in every American city.  Every week.

*********** The most popular class at Yale is a Psychology (“Psych”) Class called “Psychology and the Good Life” - How to be Happy.

There is even “Happiness Homework” - go home and meditate, get enough sleep, etc.

Things sure were a lot simpler in “my day.”  We didn’t need no stinkin’ class.

For us, it was a keg at the fraternity.  New Haven’s own Hull’s Export.  It wasn’t great, but it was cheap. (The “Export” business was a laugh - I doubt that it was sold west of Bridgeport.)

Years later, I can afford good scotch now, but I’d give anything for a cold glass of Hull’s.  With the brothers.  That was happiness.

http://www.courant.com/new-haven-living/food-drink/hc-hm-nh-hulls-march-20150303-story.html

https://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/yale-s-most-popular-class-is-teaching-students-how-to-lead-happier-lives-1155185731525


*********** Charlie Jarvis, one of the great runners in Army football history, died a few weeks ago.  I followed his career because he was a Philly guy, and I hope that he’s Up There celebrating the Eagles’ win.

A couple of years ago, great sports writer John Feinstein wrote about Charlie Jarvis.

Start with the 2,334 career rushing yards, that still rank him eighth on Army's all-time rushing list, even though freshmen didn't play varsity ball in the 1960s, not to mention the fact that his alma mater has played run-oriented, option football for most of the last 35 years. There's also the 1,110 rushing yards as senior in the fall of 1968, including the 253 yards against Boston College. He could also catch the ball AND was an excellent punter.

***
That Army staff is legendary to this day. It included Bill Parcells, John Mackovic, Ray Handley, Al Groh and Frank Gansz – all of whom went on to become head coaches in the National Football League. Jarvis was closest to Parcells – the defensive coordinator. "He couldn't let his guard down with the defensive guys," Jarvis says, smiling. "He had to be the tough guy with them. But with guys like me, on the offensive side of the ball, he joked around and told stories all the time."

***
(In his senior year) Army rolled through every other opponent, including a 10-7 win at Air Force in the first game Army ever played in Colorado Springs. It was a memorable victory for everyone but Jarvis – who, to this day, has no memory of the last three quarters.

"I got kicked in the head in the first quarter," he says. "I was really out of it. Early in the third quarter our team doctor came down the sideline to check me out. In those days the concussion protocol was pretty simple: 'What's your name? What day is it? Who are we playing?' – that sort of thing. The doctor was in front of me, looking down at his checklist. Steve Lindell was standing behind me and he whispered the answers in my ear. I had no clue what was going on."

The team doctor told Cahill that Jarvis was fine to return and he did – scoring Army's only touchdown a few minutes later on an eight-yard-run during which he carried several Air Force tacklers into the end zone.

"I guess you have muscle memory in a situation like that," Jarvis says. "I don't remember even being in Colorado and I certainly don't remember the touchdown, but I guess I played okay. The guys told me we won. I took their word for it."

http://goarmywestpoint.com/news/2015/10/13/FB_1013153907.aspx

*********** Mike Florio in NBCSN’s post-game show, said,  “If the NFL would have more games like this in the regular season, they wouldn’t have a ratings problem.”

If only.  The problem is that the old chestnut that the long-departed NFL Commissioner Bert Bell loved to repeat -  “on any given Sunday, any NFL team can beat any other NFL team”  - is a myth.  It may have been somewhat true in Bert Bell’s day, but now?  Nah. There are just too damned many bad teams.

Consider:

I’ve divided the NFL  teams into three categories, Good, Fair, and Bad (the teams are listed alphabetically).  You are free, of course, to disagree with my rankings.

(1) The Bert Bell Division.  These are what most of us would call “Good” teams, which, yes,  “on any given Sunday” could beat any other NFL team.
Chiefs
Eagles
Falcons
Jaguars
Packers
Patriots
Rams
Saints
Steelers
Vikings

(2) The  Pete Rozelle Division. These are “Fair” teams.   “On any given Sunday,” these teams can beat any other team in their own division, and usually any team in the lower division. On rare occasions they may even upset a team in the Bert Bell Division.
Bills
Cardinals
Chargers
Cowboys
Panthers
Ravens
Raiders
Redskins
Seahawks
Titans

(3) The Roger Goodell Division. These are “Bad” teams.  “On any given Sunday,” they can beat any other team - in their own division.  Occasionally, they can beat a “Fair” team; once in a blue moon - when pigs fly - they will shock a “Good” team.
Bears
Bengals
Broncos
Browns
Buccaneers
Colts
Dolphins
49ers
Giants
Jets
Lions
Texans

Why aren’t there more games like this past Super Bowl?  Simple: it takes two good teams to  make a good game. And unfortunately,  “On any given Sunday,”  fewer than a third of the games will involve a pair of good teams facing each other.

The best thing that ever happened to the NFL was the invention of the point spread, which keeps otherwise useless games interesting (at least to the large numbers of people who bet on NFL games). How else could anyone, other than the most passionate of fans, get at all excited about the Bengals, say, playing the Browns?

*********** An elementary school principal in Massachusetts (I am tempted to do so, but I am not going to say “where else?”) has announced that he/she/it, formerly a male, now chooses to identify as a female. A commenter on the story explained how this sh— is happening…

Why are women in our society putting up with this? In Western society women have all the power when it comes to children. Men will do whatever women want. If women said they were not going to tolerate this nonsense all of the men would immediately say, “Yeah! We’re not going to tolerate this nonsense!” and that would be the end of it.

Instead, our civilization’s women say we have to be understanding and accepting and we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Men’s gut reaction is to say, “That guy is f-ing nuts!” and to protect their children from his influence. But the women have taught the men to keep their mouths shut or face their wrath. The most weaselly of men realize that if they go all in and say, “I fully support this (nutbag’s) right to choose his own gender!” they can score extra approval. And that’s how this continues to creep its way throughout our culture.

(This also goes a long way to explain why a lot of little boys aren’t playing football)


*********** Funny - football is under attack from a lot of different directions, yet every year more colleges that hadn’t been playing football decide to add the sport.

The latest is Barton College, a Division II school in  Wilson, North Carolina. The reason the college gave was that football would help “focus on campus vibrancy, institutional growth and vitality.”

Oh, I almost forgot - and to try to do something about “the current gender ratio of 70/30 women to men.”


*********** Years ago, one of my college history teachers (they still taught history then) in illustrating how an army can be so successful that it can get overextended, compared the German invasion of Russia with a classic boxing match between Sugar Ray Robinson and Joey Maxim.

Robinson, called “pound-for-pound, the greatest boxer of all time,” held two world championships, welterweight and middleweight, at the same time, and he wanted a third championship, the light-heavyweight title that Maxim held.  Robinson was giving away 15 pounds.

The fight was held in Yankee Stadium in midsummer. It was hot as hell - 103 degrees, with humidity to match. Robinson was by far the better fighter, and he kept outpunching- and outpointing - Maxim as he won round after round.  But the heat began to take its toll.  The referee, Ruby Goldstein, collapsed and had to be replaced after the tenth round.  Finally, exhausted by the effort, Robinson was unable to answer the bell for the 14th round. In 200 fights, it was the only time he’d been stopped.

The AP had Robinson ahead on rounds, 9-3-1. But he’d punched himself out.  Maxim, the bigger, stronger man, hadn’t thrown nearly as many punches as Robinson, but as a result, he was able to survive the heat and was able to hold on and defend his title.

*********** A high school classmate, a Philadelphian and therefore an Eagles’ fan, wrote me and asked me a question about the Super Bowl’s post-game display of sportsmanship - or lack thereof.

generally after a game players on both teams "mingle" some and congratulate/commiserate each other . . . I don't think that happened on Sunday . . . is that normal, do you know, for the Super Bowl? I suppose the final celebration is just too overwhelming for "business as usual".

I wrote, Your question is a good one and you’re not the first person to have observed that and asked me about it.  I went back and looked, and by damn, although the two coaches met, and the Eagles remained on the field for the presentation, those Patriots were off the field fast. We saw the mandatory Gatorade bath and the coaches’ meeting, then one on-field interview and one long commercial break and by the time we returned, the field was cleared.  I suspect that it might have been done by the NFL in the interest of time, but it was unusual.  One friend was very indignant about Brady’s apparently walking off without talking to Foles. I tried to explain it away, but to tell you the truth, the field wasn't that crowded - not so that the two quarterbacks especially couldn’t have found each other and expressed something in the interest of good sportsmanship.

My friend wasn’t hearing any of my excuses.  For him - not an Eagles’ fan, either - it simply confirmed his long-held belief that Brady is an asshole.

I’m not going to be too hasty to condemn Brady, but I’m not buying the “crowded field” excuse for players’ not mingling. By the time they were ready for the presentation, the field was clear of all but members of the official Eagles’ party. I’m not buying the “time constraints” story, either.  The NHL finds time after the Stanley Cup finals - after the final game of every playoff series, in fact - for a skate-by in which two teams, professionals all, congratulate and commiserate. 



*********** Old friend John Muckian (pronounced like “McKeen”) from Ipswich, Massachusetts, sent me some scans of a 1950 high school game in which Ralph Chesnauskas, former Army football player who died recently, played.  One of Ralph’s teammates was a guy named Marchegiano - undoubtedly a relative of the great Rocky Marciano. That was the Rock’s real name - changed, perhaps, to make it a little more pronouncable, or perhaps to make it sound more like Graziano, since Rocky Graziano was then a great crowd favorite.
1950 brockton team
Poor Ralph Chesnauskas- I doubt that was the first time his name was misspelled.

I had to repay John, so I sent him a photo of the 1955 Army team

1955 army team

(that’s Ralph Chesnauskas #63, to the right of Captain Pat Uebel, and #16 Don Holleder on the left.

I also sent him this link  to a great site devoted to Army football history…

https://forwhattheygave.com/2009/06/20/ralph-chesnauskas/

*********** A guy from Louisiana called in to Rush Limbaugh’s show the other day and asked an interesting question:  if the decline in viewership and attendance at NFL games is due to white racism - white guys intolerant of black protestors - then how do you explain the enormous popularity of the SEC, given that its teams are located in the South and its fan base tends to be conservative white males, yet its percentage of black players is roughly comparable to that of the NFL?

He then invited Rush to attend an LSU game at Tiger Stadium some Saturday night.  Said, “It’ll change your life!”

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

I should have snapped a picture of this in the Nagurski museum in I Falls, but there is one of Bronko with his son (Either Bronko Jr. or Tony). The son must be 8 or 9, and he is standing on Bronko's 2 palms, arms outstretched.

The son is holding a small axe and he is limbing (pruning) a tree in the yard.

The Wikipedia bio on the "Johnny Bright Incident" also links to Jack Trice of ISU, who died 2 days after a game against U of MN. ISU field is named in honor of him.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Trice?scrlybrkr=6774db96

Congrats to the Eagles, a very complete team, that played the best when it counted most.

Take care,

Mick Yanke
Cokato,  Minnesota

There’s always something new to learn: Thanks to Mick Yanke for the link to Jack Trice of Iowa State - an amazing story that I’d never heard

*********** Clyde “Smackover” Scott, a native of Smackover, Arkansas who played two years for Navy during World War II, then three years for Arkansas after the war (that’s five years of college ball!), died January 30.

At Arkansas, he was a three-time All-Southwest Conference selection.

In the 1948 Olympics, he won the silver medal in the 110-yard high hurdles.

He was the number one draft choice of the NFL champion Philadelphia Eagles.

Longtime Arkansas athletic director John Barnhill once said, “Clyde Scott meant more to the Arkansas program than any other athlete. His coming to Arkansas convinced other Arkansas boys they should stay home.”

http://www.footballfoundation.org/News/NewsDetail/tabid/567/Article/56048/college-football-hall-of-famer-clyde-scott-passes-away.aspx

*********** QUIZ ANSWER - Few Americans, even inveterate football fans, know of Johnny Bright or his story, yet he could have been one of the best-known players in the history of the game.

It’s now more than 60 years after the ugly incident that changed his life forever.

Johnny Bright could very well have become the first black Heisman Trophy winner, if not for a brutal,  unsportsmanlike act that cost him his chance, and brought the specter of racism to college football. 

Johnny Bright was a first-round NFL draft choice, but skeptical of his safety on the playing fields of his own country, he left.  He became the first NFL first-round draft choice ever to choose to play in Canada. Instead of becoming one of the best players the NFL has ever seen, he became one of the best players in the history of Canadian football.

At Central High School in his native Fort Wayne, Indiana, he led the football team to the 1945 city title, and he helped take the basketball team to a pair of  appearances in Indiana’s prestigious Final Four.  As a 5-foot-10, 180-pound high schooler, he could touch the rim with his elbow.  In track, he often won as many as five events in a meet.  And he was an outstanding boxer.

Despite his talent, though, no home state school recruited him. Purdue never showed interest. Notre Dame didn’t recruit blacks at the time.  And according to his high school coach,  Indiana’s coach said he "already had enough black running backs."

Instead, Johnny settled for a track scholarship to Drake University, in Des Moines, Iowa, on the condition that he could try out for the basketball and football teams.   After sitting out his freshman year because of the freshman-ineligibility  rules of those times, he  quickly made the football team as a sophomore, and it was immediately apparent to the coaches at Drake, then struggling to continue playing big-time football, that they had something special. 

In 1949, As the tailback in Drake’s single wing attack, he ran for 975 yards and threw for another 975 in nine games to lead the nation in total offense, and the Bulldogs to a 6-2-1 season. He also lettered as a sophomore in basketball and track, but decided after that year to concentrate on football.

In 1950, as a junior, he once again led the nation in total offense, with an NCAA record of 2,400 yards,  -  1,232 yards rushing and 1,168 yards passing. 

Heading into his senior year, he was a pre-season Heisman Trophy candidate, and midway through the season he was leading the nation in both rushing and total offense with 821 and 1,349 yards respectively when the 5-0 Bulldogs travelled to Stillwater, Oklahoma to play Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State).

It was October 20, 1951, and Johnny Bright was the first black player to play at Oklahoma A&M. Early in the game, well after the play was over,  a vicious blow to his face by the Aggies’ Wilbanks Smith fractured his jaw. He managed to throw a touchdown pass on the very next play, but a few plays later, following another hit,  he was forced to leave the game.

Following the game, Drake officials accused the A & M coaches of encouraging dirty play, and  a series of photos by the Des Moines Register’s John Robinson and Don Ultang (which later would win a Pulitzer Prize) confirmed the sheer savagery of the act. The word racism had not yet been coined, but it was difficult for anyone who saw  those pictures to avoid the conclusion that Johnny Bright was targeted not  only because he was very good, but also because he was black.

As a youngster, I was an avid football fan, and I had been following Johnny Bright’s exploits.  I remember seeing the photo sequence and my reaction being not so much shock at the brutality of the hit - football, after all, was in many ways a meaner game in those days - as  disappointment at what appeared to be the end of Johnny Bright’s spectacular career.

But fitted with a makeshift face mask,  Johnny did manage to return two weeks later for one last college game, and he rushed for 204 yards  to finish with more than 6,000 yards in total offense for his career. In the 25 games he played, he averaged 236 yards per game and scored 384.  But any thoughts of his winning the Heisman Trophy had been dashed.  (Which is not to diminish the worthiness of the winner,  Princeton’s Dick Kazmaier, who not only passed up Bright as the total offense leader, but led  the Tigers to an unbeaten season, Kazmaier finished first in the Heisman voting in every section of the country, finishing ahead of Tennessee’s Hank Lauricella, Kentucky’s Babe Parilli, Stanford’s Bill McColl, and, of course, Johnny Bright.)

As a result of what  Oklahoma A & M’s failure to so much as comment on what came to be known as the “Johnny Bright Incident,” much less apologize, Drake ultimately left the conference - the old Missouri Valley Conference - and Division I football.  The following year, the 1952 NCAA Rule Book contained the following in its introduction:

In an effort to discourage rough play and make it more costly, ejection from the game has become mandatory in cases of flagrant personal fouls …

Johnny Bright was the first pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in that year’s NFL draft, but he spurned the Eagles’ contract offer.  "I would have been their first Negro player,” he later recalled, adding, “There was a tremendous influx of Southern players into the NFL at that time, and I didn't know what kind of treatment I could expect." Instead, he headed north,  signing with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League.

(The signing of Johnny Bright, the first NFL first-round draft choice to elect to go to Canada, was a major coup for the CFL, which at that time had aspirations of competing  head-to-head for talent with the NFL. The next year’s Heisman Trophy winner, Billy Vessels of Oklahoma, would also pass up the NFL to play in Canada.)

After a couple of seasons in which he was slowed by injuries,  Bright was traded to Edmonton. It was the best thing that had happened to him in several years: his personal career took off, and with such standouts as  Bright and other legendary Canadians Rollie Miles and Normie Kwong to go with Hall-of-Fame quarterback Jackie Parker, the Eskimos won Grey Cup titles in 1954, 1955 and 1956. In 1958,  Johnny rushed for 1,722 yards, then a CFL single-season record and nearly 500 yards more than the second-place finisher. In 1959, following his third straight season as the CFL’s rushing leader, he was voted the Schenley Award as the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player,  the first black athlete to be so honored.

When Johnny Bright retired in 1964,  he was the CFL’s all-time leading rusher (although George Reed has since surpassed him - his 1,969 career carries are second only to Reed’s incredible 3,243) ; he rushed for 10,909 yards in 13 seasons, rushed for more than 1,000 yards for five seasons in a row, and led the CFL in rushing three times. For five straight seasons, he had 200 or more carries. In 1957 he had eight consecutive 100-yard games.  His  CFL records for most career playoff touchdowns,  most yards gained in a Grey Cup game, and, as proof of his toughness and durability, most consecutive games played - 197 (at both linebacker and running back) - still stand. He was inducted into the CFL Hall of Fame in 1970,  and into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1984.

On several occasions he was approached by the NFL about returning to the States, but  because it was common in those days for CFL players to hold other jobs,  Johnny, a college graduate, had already embarked on a teaching career in Edmonton. "I might have been interested," he once recalled, "if the offers could have matched what I was making from both football and teaching."

After his retirement from football, he eventually became a junior high principal in Edmonton.

Sadly, on December 14, 1983, he died at the age of 53, when he suffered a fatal heart attack while preparing to undergo knee surgery. He was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in his adopted home of Edmonton, where,  400 miles north of the land of his birth,  he is still lovingly  remembered as a great football player, but even more so as a warm human being and a strong, stand-and-deliver teacher and school leader, one who cared deeply about kids and willingly volunteered his time to coach their teams.

In 2006, Oklahoma A & M - Oklahoma State since 1957 - officially apologized to Drake.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JOHNNY BRIGHT
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MICK YANKE - COKATO, MINNESOTA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA (Any Iowan worth their salt has seen the Des Moines Register's Sunday Peach sports section photo sequence of the dirty play)
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
RODNEY LUNSFORD - DUBLIN, INDIANA

*********** There’s another side to the “Johnny Bright Incident” story. Years later, now an old man, Wilbanks Smith spoke…

http://www.ocolly.com/sports/football/without-rules-the-untold-story-of-the-johnny-bright-incident/article_1f5c49e2-198d-11e2-9689-001a4bcf6878.html

*********** QUIZ:  He spent six years in the pro football, with four different teams in two different leagues.

He was a native of Gary, Indiana. In 1945, as a 17-year old freshman playing with returning war veterans such as Pete Pihos, who would become a Pro Football Hall-of-Famer, and Ted Kluszewski, who would go on to baseball fame with the Cincinnati Reds, he was the starting tailback on Indiana’s undefeated Big Nine  championship team.  (Michigan State wouldn’t become the conference’s 10th member until December, 1948). At the end of the season, he was named All-America - quite possibly the youngest player ever to be so honored.

He was the only black player on his team, at a time when at least one football publication referred to him quite unselfconsciously as a “spectacular Negro back."

He was a twice named All-Big Ten, and named on various All-America teams over three different seasons.

In 1948, he was his team's leading rusher, passer and punter.

Although he  was the first black player ever drafted by an NFL team (Chicago Bears - 13th round - 1949),  he was not the first black draftee to play in the NFL (that was Wally Triplett of Penn State) because he signed, instead, with the Los Angeles Dons of the All-America Football Conference.

He carried 62 times for 330 yards and caught 25 passes for 246 yards, but the Dons went 4-8 in 1949, and they folded following the season. That would be the first of a number of poor seasons he would experience, as his career took him from one bad  team to another.
In 1950, following the AAFC's "merger" into the NFL, he wound up with the New York Yankees. They went 7-5 in 1950 - the only winning season he would experience -  but in 1951, after they finished 1-9-2,  they were moved to Dallas and renamed the Dallas Texans.

After drawing sparse crowds at their first four home games, the Texans' owners gave up and returned the team to the league, and the Texans became vagabonds - officially, a "road team.”  They played the remainder of their schedule on the road, using Hershey,  Pennsylvania as their home base,  but rarely stopping there long enough to do much practicing. They finished the 1952 season a woeful 1-11.

In 1953, after NFL Commissioner Bert Bell persuaded a wealthy Baltimorean named Carroll Rosenbloom  to head a group to buy the Texans and move them to Baltimore,  he went along. Those early Colts’ teams were not yet the team that would win back-to-back NFL titles in 1958 and 1959.  In each of his two years there, the Colts were 3-9.

He was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles before the 1955 season and spent a final year there, playing sparingly on a team that finished 4-7-1.

In college and in the pros, he was a Mr. Everything - in his NFL career, he rushed 436 times for 1936 yards, and caught 70 passes for 1054 yards.  He returned 27 punts for 251 yards and 67 kickoffs for 1415 yards. He punted 93 times for an average of just over 37 yards, and he’s third in the NFL record books for most punts per game, with 14.  He was selected to play in the Pro Bowl in 1951, 1952 and 1953.

Sadly, he played before free agency.  Nowadays, star players shop around for the team that gives them their best chance at a Super Bowl ring, but in his six seasons in pro football - playing on five different teams in two different leagues - he experienced just one winning season.

His teams won a total of only 23 games - 11 of them in his first two seasons - and in 1951-1952 he experienced back-to-back one-win seasons.

In 1972, he was named assistant to the President of Indiana University, responsible primarily for minority recruitment.

In 1981, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, and in 1992 he was elected to Indiana University’s Hall of Fame.

He's still alive, and at age 91, he is one of the oldest living NFL players.




american flagTUESDAY,  FEBRUARY 6,  2018  “The worst thing that can be said about a player is that he's uncoachable."  Blanton Collier
 
*********** Enough about Philadelphia’s first pro football championship since 1960.  To me it was a great game, and I'm glad that the Eagles won and all that, but I’ve passed the  point  in life where I'm going to go climb  lamp posts.  Greased lamp posts at that.

Truthfully,  I could have dealt with another Patriot win.

But I’ve seen enough football in my life - I’ve followed it since World War II (the Blanchard and Davis Army teams) - and I can’t remember many stories comparable to that of Nick Foles and the way he stepped up when he was needed.

He knew success in high school and he knew it in college.  He didn’t get off to a good start in the NFL, but then, under Chip Kelly, he had a  good year.  A really good year. And then he was traded, and it was back to near-obscurity again.

A few years later, he wound up back with the Eagles, but as  a backup to one of the best young quarterbacks to come along in years.

And then the young quarterback, Carson Wentz, injured his knee, and it was “Foles - you’re up.”

And he got the job done.  Yes, because he believed in himself.  But mostly because he was READY.  He knew he was the backup.  But he didn’t sulk or pout.  He prepared as if he was the starter himself, and when his time came, he was READY.

As for that other quarterback, that Brady guy… Don’t you believe for one minute that the Patriots are done.  Or Brady.  Or Belichick. They were one Hail Mary completion to Gronkowski away from turning this year’s sure defeat into another astounding comeback victory.

*********** I’m no fan of the NFL as it has existed for some time - the entire Goodell era, come to think of it - but I have to concede that Sunday’s Super Bowl was a really good example of what the NFL is capable of.  As Mike Florio said afterwards in NBCSN’s post-game show: “If the NFL would have more games like this in the regular season, they wouldn’t have a ratings problem.”

It shows what can happen when  (1) two good teams play each other; (2) there is not one single offensive holding penalty; (3) there is not one single defensive pass interference penalty; (4) there is only one fumble and only one interception; (5) there are three missed placekicks - in the first half alone!;  (6) there’s very little controversy over what constitutes a catch; (7) the coaches coach aggressively instead of playing for field goal position;  (9) there are more touchdowns than field goals; (10) there is an almost total absence of the selfish jackassery and showmanship that have come to symbolize the NFL; (11) the social justice issues were set aside, as they should have been from Day One.

None of this could have happened, of course, without (1) two good teams playing each other - and the sad fact is that there are so many teams now that real talent is spread way too thinly.  So many teams means so many bad teams, and so many mediocre teams - and so few good teams. Which means that the chances of your seeing a good game - which requires two good teams facing each other - are slim indeed.

*********** Shame on both defensive coaches for getting caught with their pants down. Neither one cared that  quarterbacks are eligible receivers.   Foles may have been a quarterback and all that, but he lined up as a receiver, and at that point, it doesn't matter what his number is - you'd better get somebody on him.   I have a feeling that Bill Belichick knows that, too, and his defensive coordinator saved him the trouble of firing him when he took the Lions' head coaching job right after the Super Bowl.

*********** I think that was the national anthem that that pretty blonde sang - I sort of recognized the tune, but it was slow, as if it were a dirge.  Even so, it was faster than many people expected. If you'd bet the over (1:59) you lost. 

*********** Does it really help the “hearing impaired” in the stadium to have someone sign the national anthem?   Wouldn’t it be better to put the words up on the big screen?

*********** If you didn’t know there was a football game going on and only saw the commercials, you’d think they were aimed at a largely-female audience.  If they weren’t touchy-feely, they were pushing for social justice or worshipping at the shrine of the god Diversity.  T-Mobile showed us little babies of all different colors who, the voice assured them,  could be anything they want, earn equal pay, love who they want, blah, blah, blah.   And there was Coke, once again selling us stuff that a lot of us simply don’t want to buy - a Coke for everybody, including individuals who refer to themselves as “they.”

Toyota? The Love Bug?  Are their cars really that great that they don’t even have to use commercials to sell them?

Sort of made you wish they’d return to the old days of bad taste.  Yes, there was Danny DeVito dressed as a red M & M asking people,” Do you want to eat me?” and there was the Febreeze ad featuring Dave, whose “sh— don’t stink.”   But there was a glaring shortage of the usual dick jokes and potty humor and shots to the crotch. 

Ram Trucks hit a homer with the idea of towing a boatload of real Vikings to Minneapolis, then struck out by having the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. do a voice-over for another one.  I think it was trying to convey some sort of inspirational theme but I missed it because  I was in shock at the idea that his family would stoop to selling his voice and words to be used, regardless of any noble message,  to sell pickup trucks.

The Tide ads were pretty good.

Does Budweiser really call a guy at home and wake him up in the middle of the night to come in to the brewery and change the can line over from beer to water?  Or did I miss something?

Do you suppose the fact that NBC is carrying the Winter Olympics had anything to do with the near-saturation of Olympic promos?

Best commercial: Avocados From Mexico.  The folks are safe inside the bubble of the glass dome where everything’s perfect, and here comes the guacamole, but wait - THE CHIPS ARE OUTSIDE!  Panic ensues.  Not to worry, though, because, we’re told avocados are good with lots of other things besides just chips.  Crisis averted.  Until… “THE WIRELESS IS DOWN!”

Had to laugh at the millennials in the Michelob Ultra commercial, set to the song, “I Like Beer.”  You may not know the song, but it’s an old country favorite by Tom T. Hall.  This version wasn’t close to his, and trust me - Ole Tom T wasn’t singin’ to them guys in the commercial, and he wasn’t singin’ about no Michelob Ultra.

I liked the KIA Stinger Wayback Machine commercial -  the past-his-prime race car driver goes around the track like a bat out of hell - backward. When he stops and gets out of the car, he’s gone back in time, too - he's 20 years younger, and he’s mobbed by adoring fans.

Bud Lite is spending a fortune on the silly king and the “Dilly Dilly” stuff but the campaign does have some potential, especially now that they’ve introduced the “Bud Knight,” whose voice reminds me a bit of the Black Knight of Monty Python fame. (“None shall pass.”)

Jack (of West Coast burger chain Jack in the Box) crashes the set and challenges Martha Stewart to a cooking contest, whereupon she has security throw him out - but not before she pulls his pointy nose off.

Mucinex asks if you’ll be calling in sick tomorrow (Monday) but doesn’t make the mistake of suggesting you should. But - “When you’re really sick, take Mucinex.”

*********** Doug Pederson is a Washington guy - from Ferndale, home of Jake Locker - who played his college ball at Northeast Louisiana (now Louisiana Monroe).  I’m still trying to figure out how that happened.

*********** Doug Pederson is one of just four people to have won  a Super Bowl as both a player and as a coach, joining Tom Flores, Mike Ditka and Tony Dungy.

*********** The Eagles’ LeGarrette Blount and Chris Long, who both played for New England last year, join a very select group of people to have won Super Bowls in two consecutive years playing for two different teams.

*********** Eagles fans are really pissed at Cris Collinsworth for his refusal to admit - twice - that Eagles' touchdown calls should be upheld.  I’ve gone back and forth on him over the years, but he may have lost me for good when he said that “as great as the halftime show was,” the football game was really good.  Who besides the parent of a kid in the high school band measures a football game - any football game - against a halftime show - any halftime show?

*********** Thank God the NFL decided that Zach Ertz was a “runner” when he dove into the end zone and lost the ball when it hit the ground.  It would have been a sin to mar such a good game with the ultimate case of punctilious what’s-a-catch nonsense that’s afflicted the league all season.

*********** Looks like there’ll be lots and lots of dumbass TV shows coming up.  Ditto movies aimed at 14-year-olds.

*********** I won’t comment on the most recent Hall of Fame selections other than to say that they missed their chance a long time ago when they failed to make character and conduct a qualification.

*********** Lord, I get sick of Rap in place of real music. Since  they give us the choice of listening to the Super Bowl in Spanish,  I wish there were a Rap-Free channel for us old geezers who find that sh— repulsive, and a reminder of how low our culture has sunken.

*********** When all’s said and done, it’s refreshing and encouraging to hear men of accomplishment share credit with their Lord…

Eagles' Doug Pederson: “I can only give praise  to my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.”

Eagles' Tight End Zach Ertz: ‘Glory to God, first and foremost…”

Eagles' Quarterback Nick Foles: “All Glory to God…”

Eagles' Defensive End Chris Long: “God is good…”

Eagles' Running Back Jay Ajayi: “God had a plan and placed me on the Eagles… I’ve never seen a team so faith-oriented… a brotherhood created by Christian values…”

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

Philadelphia must be one rough town.  Reading about the wings bowl, section 700, watching the movie "Invincible", and the "Rocky" series if it wasn't for the cheesesteaks I'm not so sure I would ever want to visit that place!

So NOW I get why so many kids today are all in for Olympic sports. 

Budweiser lost me a long time ago when they became known as "AmBevweiser".  At one time they had the funniest Super Bowl commercials.  Today they seem to be more caught up with global political acceptance than providing a laugh, and/or producing a great American beer.

The NCAA's medical chief is basically trying to say in a lot of educational sounding vocabulary that overworking the muscles isn't a good idea, and that rest and recovery are just as important as the work.  Good coaches have known that for years.

I didn't start playing organized tackle football until I was in the ninth grade.  I WISH I would have started playing in the seventh grade so I could have learned more about the game itself, and improved my fundamentals and skills so that by the time I was in high school I could have competed for more playing time earlier than later.  My only concern having youngsters playing tackle football earlier than seventh grade has nothing to do with injuries or concussions.  Heck they aren't big enough, nor fast enough at that age to generate the kind of collision that would result in that type of injury. anyway. They could fall down on a hard floor and have that happen.  My only concerns are youngsters being "coached" by individuals who have no idea how to coach the fundamentals of the game, and who have no business mentoring youngsters.  I've seen it and heard it too often from high school age boys who decline playing because they're either tired of playing, or they had a bad experience playing when they were younger.

Oh great...Kava!  Something new I'll have to deal with at school.  As if 'vaping' isn't enough!

My dad played against Johnny Lattner in the Prep Bowl in Chicago.  Said he was one tough guy, and fast too.

QUIZ:  Any Golden Gopher fan worth their lutefisk could give you that answer...Bronko Nagurski.

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe,

Parts of Philly clearly illustrate the phenomenon of the huge underclass, both white and black, left behind in our big eastern cities when the factories left.

I few years ago I showed my son Kensington, the section where my grandfather and grandmother - my father’s parents - lived. It’s a relic of the industrial era - block after block of row houses, workers’ homes packed tightly together within walking distance of the mills and factories. No front yards, postage-stamp-sized backyards. He couldn’t believe it - said it looked “Dickensian.”  I didn’t feel all that safe driving through there because the streets are so narrow to begin with, and then with  cars parked on both sides (the houses, built well before people owned cars, lack garages) that you could easily get cut off and get carjacked.

Even when the  factories were up and running and people had jobs,  Kensington was a tough place.  Now, with all the empty shells of once-busy factories, it’s drug central.

Not a lot of places for kids to play, other than the streets. Kensington has long defined the term “street tough.”  (Photo of Kensington below)


Kensington



*********** Nowadays, we hear experts saying that the only way to save our children’s brains is to outlaw football. Or tackling.  Or at least to outlaw tackle football before the age of 12. Or 14. Or 18. Or 21.  You can’t help suspecting in some cases that back in their freshman years of high school, the authors got stuffed into lockers by football players and now’s their chance to retaliate.

But a Dr. Paul Auerbach, in a January 20 Wall Street Journal article “How to Save Football Players’ Brains” makes some points worth considering.

• There should be no tackling in youth (pre-junior high school) football.

• In high school and beyond, there should be no live tackling during scrimmage in practice. Instead tackling instruction and drills could be used to teach proper techniques.

• Targeting—intentionally and forcefully striking the helmet of an opposing player during a game—should be cause for ejection from the current and the following game.

These would help, but eliminating opposing down linemen is the most important reform. It would diminish the head-to-head collisions that cause brain degeneration without acute symptoms. To completely evaluate the effect would likely require advanced diagnostic techniques, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging, and long-term follow-up studies on chronic brain disorders. We have the technology to do this, and we should use it.

It would be impossible to eliminate all injuries in a sport that involves tackling players to the ground. But much more could be done to prevent concussions, beginning with the elimination of opposing down linemen—or at the very least studying the idea. To do neither is to ignore a proposal for safety, to reject the pursuit of knowledge, and to continue subjecting players to needless harm. The football establishment should do something before the game ruins the brains and futures of another generation of players.

Dr. Auerbach is a professor of emergency medicine at Stanford.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-to-save-football-players-brains-1516403567

Dr. Auerbach’s article was followed by a February 3 Letter to the Editor of the Journal by a doctor from Des Moines:

Todd. J. Janus, Ph.D., M.D., FAAN

As a neurologist, I couldn’t agree more with Dr. Auerbach’s pleas to save football players’ brains. However, I wonder why we stop there?

The American Journal of Sports Medicine published a review of concussions in 17 NCAA sports from 2009-2014.  This is important, as the typical college athlete still has a developing brain. I found that the highest proportion of recurrent concussions among student athletes in 17 sports was (in descending order)
men’s ice hockey
women’s field hockey
men’s basketball
women’s soccer
women’s basketball
women’s softball
women’s ice hockey
women’s lacrosse
women’s gymnastics
men’s wrestling
men’s lacrosse
women’s volleyball
and, finally, men’s football

Yet I don’t see a lot of interest expressed in tackling the risk of recurrent concussion in these other sports. Nor do I see a lot of interest in having these women’s sports address concussions.  I have yet to see a field hockey game where the women were wearing helmets.

Perhaps we should look at all sports and protect all athletes, not just the ones that garner the most press.

Thanks, Dr. Janus. 

Below is an excerpt from the study to which he refers.

Code:

SRC: Sports-related Concussion
CI: Concussion Incident
AE: Athlete-exposures

During the study period, 1670 SRCs were reported, representing a national estimate of 10,560 SRCs reported annually. Among the 25 sports, the overall concussion rate was 4.47 per 10,000 athlete-exposures (AEs) (95% CI, 4.25-4.68). Overall, more SRCs occurred in competitions (53.2%). The competition rate (12.81 per 10,000 AEs) was larger than the practice rate (2.57 per 10,000 AEs) (competition vs practice, RR = 4.99; 95% CI, 4.53-5.49). Of all SRCs, 9.0% were recurrent. Most SRCs occurred from player contact (68.0%). The largest concussion rates were in men’s wrestling (10.92 per 10,000 AEs; 95% CI, 8.62-13.23), men’s ice hockey (7.91 per 10,000 AEs; 95% CI, 6.87-8.95), women’s ice hockey (7.50 per 10,000 AEs; 95% CI, 5.91-9.10), and men’s football (6.71 per 10,000 AEs; 95% CI, 6.17-7.24). However, men’s football had the largest annual estimate of reported SRCs (n = 3417), followed by women’s soccer (n = 1113) and women’s basketball (n = 998).

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0363546515599634

*********** QUIZ  ANSWER - A native of the North Woods of Minnesota, Bronko (with a “k”, not a “c”) Nagurski built a legend that almost matched another famous Minnesotan, Paul Bunyan.

At 6-2, 235, he was a very big man for his time, and running ability made him one of the dominant players of the game, in college and the pros, as a defensive lineman, linebacker, offensive lineman and running back.

It was said of him that, “He could run interference for himself.”

In 1949 famous sportswriter Grantland Rice named him to his All-time All-American team as its fullback. “in the opinion of my
 coaches, he was the greatest all-round football player of all time. . . . He has been a fine tackle. a fine end and a great fullback.“

Rice once wrote,  ''Eleven Nagurskis could beat 11 Red Granges or 11 Jim Thorpes.''

 The son of a Polish father and Ukrainian mother who immigrated from the Ukraine to Canada, he was born in Canada but grew up in northern Minnesota - FAR northern Minnesota.

He was given the “old country” name of Bronislau, but from his early days in school he was given the nickname, “Bronko,” by which he was known the rest of his life.

He played college football at Minnesota and professional football for the Chicago Bears.

In his autobiography, “Halas by Halas,” Chicago Bears’ owner and head coach George Halas recalled the famous story about how he wound up at Minnesota.

“To make our T (formation) really work, we needed a powerful running back. For some time I had been hearing about (such was the state of scouting in the days - HW) a big strong man from the north woods who was good for 10 yards or so every time he carried the ball for Minnesota.  The coach there, Doc Spears, said he had found his Hercules one day while driving through the woods along the Rainy River which separates Minnesota from Canada.  He was seeking a boy he had heard about, and saw a young man pushing a plow without the aid of a horse.  Doc said he stopped and asked the plowman the way to the house he was seeking.

“‘Right over there,’ the plowman said, picking up the plow and using it for a pointer. Doc said he forgot about the other boy and went for the plowman.”

In his three years at Minnesota, the Golden Gophers were 18-4-2, and won the Big Ten title in 1927.

He had a solid NFL career, playing a number of positions. He was feared as a linebacker but also as a runner.  On one kick return, four Pittsburgh Steelers were knocked cold trying to tackle him. In the first-ever NFL championship game, won by the Bears over the Giants, he threw a pass for the winning score. 

In 1938, when Bears’ owner George Halas refused to meet his demand for a $6,000 contract, he retired from football and became a professional wrestler. Five years later, with young men off to war and the NFL teams facing a shortage of players, he was persuaded to return for one more season of pro ball.

His Number 3 is one of 14 jersey numbers retired by the Bears.

His 1943 NFL championship ring was size 19-1/2, an NFL record until the Bears’ William “Refrigerator” Perry beat it in 1985 with a 23 or 25, depending on where you read it.

His football card, part of a 36-piece set put out by a chewing gum company in 1935,  is currently valued at $240,000, making it the most valuable football card in existence.

His son and namesake played football at Notre Dame and then played professionally in Canada.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BRONKO NAGURSKI

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
RALPH BALDUCCI - PORTLAND, OREGON
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN (In our backfield group this year we had three Brocks and Brockman. One of the Brocks is a sophomore named Brock Egnarski - pure Pulaski - and I ended calling him Bronko thinking how it sort of sounds like Bronko Nagurski and we needed to do something about the names, lol.)
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA (I wonder how many guys are in the Pro Football, College Football and Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame?)
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA (My Dad & his fishing buddies would tell stories of stopping at his station in International Falls on their yearly trip up Nort'...they never had problems with their gas caps!!!)
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA


*********** My favorite Nagurski story (or myth?):  It’s said that to make sure that  the locals kept doing business at his gas station he'd screw their gas caps on so tightly that no one else in town could get them off.

*********** Football cards - check it out…

https://sports.gunaxin.com/most-valuable-football-cards/195582

*********** The Bears have long been called the Monsters of the Midway. Wrote long-time Pro football writer Paul Zimmerman, Nagurski really was a monster.

https://www.si.com/vault/1997/11/24/235240/bronkosaurus-bronko-nagurski-was-literally-a-monster-of-the-midway

***********  Although Bronko Nagurski was something  of a recluse (‘’I wanted people to remember me the way I was,'' he said, ''and not the way I am.”)   he did make a public appearance in Tampa in 1984 at Super Bowl time.

http://www.nytimes.com/1984/01/21/sports/sports-of-the-times-bronko-appears.html

*********** QUIZ - Few Americans, even inveterate football fans, know of ------- or his story, yet he could have been one of the best-known players in the history of the game.

It’s now more than 60 years after the ugly incident that changed his life forever.

------- could very well have become the first black Heisman Trophy winner, if not for a brutal,  unsportsmanlike act that cost him his chance, and brought the specter of racism to college football. 

------- was a first-round NFL draft choice, but skeptical of his safety on the playing fields of his own country, he left.  He became the first NFL first-round draft choice ever to choose to play in Canada. Instead of becoming one of the best players the NFL has ever seen, he became one of the best players in the history of Canadian football.

At Central High School in his native Fort Wayne, Indiana, he led the football team to the 1945 city title, and he helped take the basketball team to a pair of  appearances in Indiana’s prestigious Final Four.  As a 5-foot-10, 180-pound high schooler, he could touch the rim with his elbow.  In track, he often won as many as five events in a meet.  And he was an outstanding boxer.

Despite his talent, though, no home state school recruited him. Purdue never showed interest. Notre Dame didn’t recruit blacks at the time.  And according to his high school coach,  Indiana’s coach said he "already had enough black running backs."

Instead, -------  settled for a track scholarship to Drake University, in Des Moines, Iowa, on the condition that he could try out for the basketball and football teams.   After sitting out his freshman year because of the freshman-ineligibility  rules of those times, he  quickly made the football team as a sophomore, and it was immediately apparent to the coaches at Drake, then struggling to continue playing big-time football, that they had something special. 

In 1949, as the tailback in Drake’s single wing attack, he ran for 975 yards and threw for another 975 in nine games to lead the nation in total offense, and the Bulldogs to a 6-2-1 season. He also lettered as a sophomore in basketball and track, but decided after that year to concentrate on football.

In 1950, as a junior, he once again led the nation in total offense, with an NCAA record of 2,400 yards,  -  1,232 yards rushing and 1,168 yards passing. 

Heading into his senior year, he was a pre-season Heisman Trophy candidate, and midway through the season he was leading the nation in both rushing and total offense with 821 and 1,349 yards respectively when the 5-0 Bulldogs travelled to Stillwater, Oklahoma to play Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State).

It was October 20, 1951, and ------- was the first black player to play at Oklahoma A&M. Early in the game, well after the play was over,  a vicious blow to his face by the Aggies’ Wilbanks Smith fractured his jaw. He managed to throw a touchdown pass on the very next play, but a few plays later, following another hit,  he was forced to leave the game.

Following the game, Drake officials accused the A & M coaches of encouraging dirty play, and  a series of photos by the Des Moines Register’s John Robinson and Don Ultang (which later would win a Pulitzer Prize) confirmed the sheer savagery of the act. The word racism had not yet been coined, but it was difficult for anyone who saw  those pictures to avoid the conclusion that ------- was targeted not  only because he was very good, but also because he was black.

As a youngster, I was an avid football fan, and I had been following ------- exploits.  I remember seeing the photo sequence and my reaction being not so much shock at the brutality of the hit - football, after all, was in many ways a meaner game in those days - as  disappointment at what appeared to be the end of ------- spectacular college career.

But fitted with a makeshift face mask,  ------- did manage to return two weeks later for one last college game, and he rushed for 204 yards  to finish with more than 6,000 yards in total offense for his career. In the 25 games he played, he averaged 236 yards per game and scored 384.  But any thoughts of his winning the Heisman Trophy had been dashed.  (Which is not to diminish the worthiness of the winner,  Princeton’s Dick Kazmaier, who not only passed  ------- as the total offense leader, but led  the Tigers to an unbeaten season, Kazmaier finished first in the Heisman voting in every section of the country, finishing ahead of Tennessee’s Hank Lauricella, Kentucky’s Babe Parilli, Stanford’s Bill McColl, and, of course, Johnny Bright.)

As a result of what  Oklahoma A & M’s failure to so much as comment on what came to be known as the “------- Incident,” much less apologize, Drake ultimately left the conference - the old Missouri Valley Conference - and Division I football.  The following year, the 1952 NCAA Rule Book contained the following in its introduction:

In an effort to discourage rough play and make it more costly, ejection from the game has become mandatory in cases of flagrant personal fouls …

------was the first pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in that year’s NFL draft, but he spurned the Eagles’ contract offer.  "I would have been their first Negro player,” he later recalled, adding, “There was a tremendous influx of Southern players into the NFL at that time, and I didn't know what kind of treatment I could expect." Instead, he headed north,  signing with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League.

(The signing of ------- , the first NFL first-round draft choice to elect to go to Canada, was a major coup for the CFL, which at that time had aspirations of competing  head-to-head for talent with the NFL. The next year’s Heisman Trophy winner, Billy Vessels of Oklahoma, would also pass up the NFL to play in Canada.)

After a couple of seasons in which he was slowed by injuries,  -------was traded to Edmonton. It was the best thing that had happened to him in several years: his personal career took off, and with such standouts as  Bright and other legendary Canadians Rollie Miles and Normie Kwong to go with Hall-of-Fame quarterback Jackie Parker, the Eskimos won Grey Cup titles in 1954, 1955 and 1956. In 1958,  ------- rushed for 1,722 yards, then a CFL single-season record and nearly 500 yards more than the second-place finisher. In 1959, following his third straight season as the CFL’s rushing leader, he was voted the Schenley Award as the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player,  the first black athlete to be so honored.

When ------- retired in 1964,  he was the CFL’s all-time leading rusher (although George Reed has since surpassed him - his 1,969 career carries are second only to Reed’s incredible 3,243) ; he rushed for 10,909 yards in 13 seasons, rushed for more than 1,000 yards for five seasons in a row, and led the CFL in rushing three times. For five straight seasons, he had 200 or more carries. In 1957 he had eight consecutive 100-yard games.  His  CFL records for most career playoff touchdowns,  most yards gained in a Grey Cup game, and, as proof of his toughness and durability, most consecutive games played - 197 (at both linebacker and running back) - still stand. He was inducted into the CFL Hall of Fame in 1970,  and into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1984.

On several occasions he was approached by the NFL about returning to the States, but  because it was common in those days for CFL players to hold other jobs,  -------  a college graduate, had already embarked on a teaching career in Edmonton. "I might have been interested," he once recalled, "if the offers could have matched what I was making from both football and teaching."

After his retirement from football, he eventually became a junior high principal in Edmonton.

On December 14, 1983,  he suffered a fatal heart attack while preparing to undergo knee surgery. He was
53. He was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in his adopted home of Edmonton, where,  400 miles north of the land of his birth,  he is still lovingly  remembered as a great football player, but even more so as a warm human being and a strong, stand-and-deliver teacher and school leader, one who cared deeply about kids and willingly volunteered his time to coach their teams.

In 2006, Oklahoma A & M - Oklahoma State since 1957 - officially apologized to Drake.

american flagFRIDAY,  FEBRUARY 2,  2018  “I hope we can stay in a position where we make news when we lose, rather than when we upset somebody."  Darrell Royal, Hall of Fame Texas coac

*********** Writing about the lack of hospitality shown by some Philadelphia fans toward visiting Minnesotans, Tom Walls write from Winnipeg…

Disappointing, but not surprising, reaction by Philadelphia fans. If I were to build on your metaphor, I would compare Philadelphia fans to soccer fans in Northern Ireland. So filled with disappointment and despair that they take pride in being mean, even after the Good Friday accords. For Eagle fans, meanness has become an identity, long after the Vet has been torn down.

At The Vet, the Eagles’ hooligans were known by where they sat - in the 700 section, way up in the sky (as close as most would ever get to heaven).

They’re a major reason why teams build luxury boxes.  Without a way to keep corporate ticket holders safe from the yahoos, teams would have lost their corporate ticket holders.



*********** Wing Bowl will tell you a lot about Philly fans, and may turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to Minneapolis.

Wing Bowl is an only-in- Philadelphia extravaganza held annually the Friday before Super Bowl at the Wells Fargo Center (home of the Flyers and 76ers).

It’s based around competitive eating - of chicken wings, as the name implies  (the motto: “If you heave, you leave”).   Besides the gluttony, it’s tawdry.  It’s rowdy.  It’s redneck. It’s vulgar.  It’s distasteful. It’s Philly.  And, being Philly,  it’s all helped along by prodigious consumption of beer. The promoters learned their lesson about that a few years ago, when the doors opened at 6 AM (many of the spectators having tailgated all night in the parking lot after closing the local establishments at 2 AM), they ran out of beer by 8.

You can’t just walk in off the street and compete in Wing Bowl.  Before qualifying, it’s necessary to have accomplished something extraordinary in the field of competitive eating. It’s better still to have some sort of shtick.  One long-time favorite competed as El Wingador.

Just to give you an idea of some of the contestants…  http://wingbowl.radio.com/

There’s still time for some of them to recover and make it to Minneapolis in time for the Super Bowl, but most of them will be too wasted to go, which I can assure the folks of the Twin Cities is almost as good as having the Vikings in the Super Bowl.

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/pennsylvania/philadelphia/wing-bowl-2018-wip-rich-friedrich-chef-we-the-people-20180131.html

*********** Funny article in Thursday;s Wall Street Journal - Suppliers can't keep up with the demand for Nick Foles jerseys.  It's now #3 in sales, behind only Tom Brady's and Carson Wentz's.   Foles'  re-emergence as the Eagles' starter has sent lots of Philly area guys rooting through closets and drawers, looking for that Foles jersey that they bought back in 2013,  when under coach Chip Kelly he had a spectacular year as the Eagles' QB.  The luckier ones are finding them - he's wearing the same number now that he did back then - but far too many of them are recalling with regret, that  they decided to give their Foles jersey to Goodwill because they'd never have any need for it again.

*********** After the disgusting details that have come out about Larry Nassar, The Dirty Doctor of East Lansing, and the quasi-complicity of USA gymnastics in the violation of young female gymnasts, it just didn’t seem to me to be the right time for the news to come out that some philanthropic rubber manufacturer had donated 110,000 condoms to be made available to athletes at the upcoming (no pun intended) Winter Olympics.  But there you are.

The condoms, in a variety of colors, will be offered, candy-jar style, in bathrooms in the Olympic Village.

Dividing the number of athletes (around 3,000) into the number of condoms, it worked out to 37.6 condoms per athlete.

That’s a lot of sex in a two-week span.

But, as they say on the late-night TV commercials - “There’s more!”  When you take into account the fact that with most encounters will take place between two “athletes,” and only one condom is used per act, it actually works out to double that -  75 “safe-sex” encounters per athlete.

I feel like I’m going to have to take a shower after I finish typing this.

Never again will I look at that stupid five-ring Olympic logo that the IOC is so protective of without thinking of five interlocked condoms.  Multi-colored condoms to be sure. 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5339341/Record-number-condoms-years-Winter-Olympics.html

*********** Budweiser, that great "American" company (headquartered in Belgium), has spent millions on a Super Bowl commercial trying to show us what good global citizens they are.

They’re going to show us that they’re packaging water to distribute to places in the world - of which, alas,  there are many - where the local water supply is not fit to drink.

Good for them.

But now, after providing you with that setup, for  a punch line associating Budweiser Beer with water…

Go for it.

*********** AFCA members have received a copy of the following memo from the NCAA’s Chief Medical Officer about exertional rhabdomyolysis, defined as  “the breakdown of muscle from extreme physical exertion.”

Not sure where or how this has become a problem in regard to football, but  I suspect it has something to do with the sort of off-season incident that occured at Oregon last year in the early stages of Willie Taggart's first (and only) year there.

I would like to take this opportunity to raise awareness among the college sports community about the important health and safety issue of exertional rhabdomyolysis.

Exertional rhabdomyolysis in athletes is a preventable and potentially fatal condition. When it occurs during a supervised strength and conditioning session, it indicates a breakdown in the structure and/or application of that session and demands a careful assessment of the reasons for that breakdown.

The following guiding principles are paramount to preventing exertional rhabdomyolysis:

1. Transition periods are particularly vulnerable times for athletes and demand careful attention to progression in volume, intensity, mode and duration of activity. Examples of transition periods:
a. Athletes new to the program.
b. Athletes returning after an injury or illness.
c. Any delayed participation relative to the team schedule.
d. Resumption of training after an academic break (e.g., winter, spring, summer).

2. All strength and conditioning workouts should be exercise-based, scientifically sound and physiologically representative of the sport and its performance requirements.

3. Conditioning programs should begin with a work-to-rest ratio of 1-to-4.

4. The first four days of transition periods should be separate-day workouts, and all workouts:
a. Should be documented in writing.
b. Should be intentional.
c. Should increase progressively in the volume, intensity, mode and duration of physical activity.

5. All strength and conditioning workouts:
a. Should be documented in writing.
b. Should reflect the progression, technique, and intentional increase in the volume, intensity, mode and duration of the physical activity.
c. Should be available for review by athletics department staff.

We encourage the sports medicine and sports performance teams on your campus to discuss prevention strategies that incorporate these guidelines and address this preventable condition. Additionally, we encourage you to share this information with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee at your school.


***********  A group called the Concussion Legacy Foundation has announced the formation of something called “Flag Football Under 14,” and they’ve enlisted a number of current and former football notables to try to sell parents on the idea that kids shouldn’t play tackle football until they’re in 9th grade.

A sampling:

John Madden, who made a fortune peddling pro football to the masses, not to mention "big hits" on a video game that’s paid him well for the use of his name: “Why do we have to start with a six year old who was just potty trained a year ago and put a helmet on him and tackle?”  (John, we’re not talking about six-year-olds.  We’re talking about middle-school kids.   Besides, I don’t know about your children, John, but six years old is WAY too late to be potty-training your kids.)

Dana Holgerson, West Virginia head coach: “I don’t think football needs to be played until you’re in the ninth grade. (Fine, coach - and to show how sincere you are,  I expect you to restrict your  recruiting to kids who didn't start to play football until they were in ninth grade.)

Jim (The Great One) Harbaugh: “I always encourage youngsters in America to play soccer.  I think every American boy should play soccer till the eighth grade, then they should play football – American football.” (Uh, Jimmy, do you think that once kids get playing another sport year-round, on travel teams and such, they’re going to drop everything and take up football - a demanding sport they’ve never even played - once they get to high school?)

Harry Carson, former Giants’ great:  “To parents who want their children to experience football, they should not play tackle football until 14. I did not play tackle football until high school, and I will not allow my grandson to play until 14, as I believe it is not an appropriate sport for young children.” (My grandfather didn’t have a lot to say about my upbringing.  He kept his mouth shut and let my parents raise me and my brother.)

Nick Buonoconti, former Dolphins’ linebacker: “I made a mistake starting tackle football at 9 years old. Now, CTE has taken my life away. Youth tackle football is all risk with no reward.”  (Yeah, Nick - it was all those big hits that you took when you were 9 and 10 years old, not those 14 years playing middle linebacker in the AFL and NFL.)

Former Oakland Raider  Phil Villapiano:  “I watched my teammate Ken Stabler deteriorate and die from CTE. At some point those us who have had success in this game must speak up to protect both football players and the future of the game, and supporting Flag Football Under 14 is our best way to do that.”  (Before laying it all on football, Ken Stabler’s well-known love of partying during  - and long after  -his playing days at Alabama and in the NFL ought to be taken into account.)

https://concussionfoundation.org/programs/flag-football

https://concussionfoundation.org/about/media/press-releases/pro-football-hall-famers-parents-flag-football-only-choice-children-under

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

I'm so done with all this political correctness regarding sports teams mascots.  I believe many of the complainers are just s**t disturbers that want nothing more than to stir up trouble.

Over the years I have noticed a larger number of strength programs utilizing "farmer strength" exercises (flipping tractor tires, pushing trucks, carrying large buckets of water, etc.).  In fact a local pro football legend here in Austin started his own company that manufactures a "sled" called a PowerDrive.  Doug English modeled the sled after a rolled bale of hay he used to push around his dad's farm.  I ordered one and it really did help our athletes get stronger in the legs, learning how to stay low, with a straight back, and push/roll the sled.

Maybe Yale's president needs to share his thoughts with high school principals and their coaches.  Unfortunately there are too many high school "graduates" being admitted to colleges that have no idea what self-discipline is.

Condolences to the Chesnauskas family.  Apparently he was one of those men we just don't see much of anymore.

That coach from Crenshaw completely whiffed on that one.  (See my Yale comment).

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe, I have to agree with you on the sh— disturbers.  Booker T. Washington said it in so many words many years ago - there are people who make a lot of noise about a cause but don’t really want to get their wish.  If they ever did, their lives would no longer have any meaning (and they wouldn't have any income)  because they wouldn’t have anything to bitch about.

*********** Several years ago I read an article about Vanuatu, a remote island nation in the South Pacific, and one of the things I found fascinating was their choice of mind-altering substance - and the rather unorthodox way in which it was produced and consumed. 

The substance came from the root of the kava plant.  Young Vanuatuans, as I recall, would sit around a bowl chewing on the roots and then spitting into the bowl.  And then, cocktail time - pass the bowl.  And a good time was had by all.

Kava’s effects are said, variously, to be sedative or euphoric, so, either way, since it alters the mind, it was just a matter of time before it made it to a nation that glorifies marijuana.   Pass the kava.

Sure enough, kava - the drink, if not the method of preparation - is making its way into the mainstream.  It’s made it all the way to Brooklyn, New York’s hipster capitol, where millennials are said to sit around sipping kava.  No need to spit, though - it’s made from powdered kava.  (No telling how they prepare the powder.)

https://www.afp.com/en/news/826/kava-drink-soothing-stress-ny-millennials-doc-xv2ma1

*********** In a book called “Talking Irish - The Oral History of Notre Dame Football,” Johnny Lattner, who would win a Heisman Trophy, told of one memorable trip the Irish made to play Southern California.

A few weeks after we lost to Michigan State, we went to Los Angeles to play USC. Well, that Friday afternoon, right after practice,  about seven or eight of us went to RKO Studio.  They were filming “Clash by Night,” with Barbara Stanwyck, Paul Douglas, and Robert Ryan.

But Marilyn Monroe was also in it.  And that’s why we were there.

At first, the RKO people told us no. But we had this kid with us named Bobby Joseph.   He was a good BSer. Bobby said, “We’re all Notre Dame football players.  We’re here in L.A. for the big USC game.”  Blah, blah, blah. And Bobby talked our way in.

So then we’re sitting there with Marilyn Monroe. We sat in her little star hut for maybe two hours. We were just nineteen years old, but she was probably only 24. And man, was this girl pretty.  Not only pretty, but nice. She had no put-on at all.

While we were sitting there, Marilyn Monroe pulled out this publicity photo. Then she said to me, “Do you want a picture?” I said, “Yeah, I do.” She said, “What do you want me to put on it?” I said, “Dear John, Thanks for the wonderful night we had together. Love and Kisses, Marilyn.”  So that’s what she wrote down - with her phone number on it!

We called her from our hotel later that night.  We wanted her to come to the USC game. We even had some field passes for her.  But she said, “Gee, I’m sorry. I won’t be able to go.  I’m meeting another athlete at the airport. “

She was meeting Joe DiMaggio.

Well, the next day we upset USC and Frank Gifford, 19-12, on national television. It was the first game ever televised coast-to-coast. So that was a dynamite weekend out in L.A.

Then, as soon as we got back to Notre Dame, I put up my picture of Marilyn Monroe. But the priest who ran our dorm made me take it down.


*********** QUIZ - They started out in the 1920s as the Frankford Yellow Jackets, and they’ve been the  Philadelphia Eagles since 1933, but in all that time they’ve won the Big One just three times - and he was the coach of two of those NFL champions.

Very early, he was given the nickname by which he was known the rest of his life - Greasy.
 
Greasy Neale coached a Rose Bowl team, coached an NFL champion, and played in a World Series. And he's in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
 
He played pro football under an assumed name while coaching a college team, West Virginia Wesleyan.
 
He played eight years of major league baseball, with the Cincinnati Reds, and in one of the most famous of all World Series, the notorious "Black Sox Series" of 1919,  he played in all eight games and batted .357.
 
He took little Washington and Jefferson to the Rose Bowl, and despite being heavy underdogs,  W & J, with eleven men playing the entire game, held mighty California to a 0-0 tie - the only scores tie in Roe Bowl history.
 
He was the first full-time coach at the University of Virginia, and after that, the first-full-time coach at West Virginia.
 
At Yale, as backfield coach, he coached back-to-back Heisman trophy winners in Larry Kelley and Clint Frank. (The only other man to coach back-to-back Heisman winners: Army's Earl "Red" Blaik.)
 
During World War II, with able-bodied players hard to come by, he and Walt Kiesling served as co-head coaches of the “Steagles,” an NFL team formed by the merger of the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
 
He coached two NFL champions, the Philadelphia Eagles of 1948 and 1949, and Hall of Famers Chuck Bednarik, Pete Pihos, Steve Van Buren and Alex Wojciechowicz (I can't tell you how it is properly pronounced in Polish, but to the Philadelphia radio announcers of my childhood, it was "waw-juh-HOH-wix").

He is given credit for the invention of the Eagle defense, which evolved, by backing up the "middle guard" as he was called, into the "Pro 4-3." The "middle guard" became today’s middle linebacker, a position made famous by so many great players, including Chuck Bednarik, Sam Huff, Bill George, Joe Schmidt, Ray Nitschke, Dick Butkus, Willie Lanier, Jack Lambert, Nick Buonoconti, Mike Singletary..... yes, undoubtedly I've missed some good ones, but you get the idea of this man's impact on the game.
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1969.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING GREASY NEALE
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON

*********** To give you a great look at Greasy Neale, this 1964 article from Sports Illustrated, when he was in his 70s, tells it all.

https://www.si.com/vault/1964/08/24/608446/greasy-neale-nothing-to-prove-nothing-to-ask

*********** Mark “Coach Kaz” Kaczmarek of Davenport, Iowa, read the SI article, and commented,

“what a great remembrance stimulant with the story of his nickname...a "name-calling joust!"...a 20th Century "rapper throwdown!"

Nowadays, kids would run home and tell their mommies that they were called a name.


*********** Wrote Rich Hofmann in 2000, in " Century of Sport in Philadelphia," Greasy Neale’s firing explains Philadelphia sports in the Twentieth Century (and, I would argue, beyond).

By Rich Hofmann
Daily News Sports Writer

A century of sports in Philadelphia. Where to begin? In this town -- in this sometimes-sullen, congenitally-frustrated, entirely-sports-captivated town -- we will start in the middle.

The date was Nov. 26, 1950. It is not a date that has lived in infamy. About two months earlier, the Whiz Kids had won the pennant on the last day of the season when Dick Sisler hit that glorious home run in Brooklyn. They won the pennant and went on to play in the World Series. This is not about that day or about the Phillies, though. This is about the Eagles.

By 1950, they had played in three consecutive NFL championship games and won the previous two. Their coach, Greasy Neale, was becoming a borderline legend. They had a veteran running back named Steve Van Buren and a young force of nature named Chuck Bednarik at linebacker. They had won one title in a snowstorm in 1948 and another title in a mud bowl in '49. This was 1950, though, and things were not well.

Money. The reason was money. The year before, the Eagles had been sold to a group known as the "Happy Hundred" or the "100 Brothers" -- 100 local investors, each of whom put up a stake of $3,000. The leader of the group was James P. Clark, a local businessman.

After winning back-to-back titles, the Eagles' players naturally wanted raises. The ownership said there was no money for raises. There were contract holdouts that summer as a result. And just when Neale had used his personal influence and prestige to convince most everyone to play for the same money they'd received the year before, Clark swooped in and gave raises to some of the holdouts. Confusion and dissension ruled for a while. Relations between Neale and Clark grew, uh, chilly.

So, on Nov. 26 at the Polo Grounds, the Eagles lost by 7-3 to the New York Giants, dropping their record to 6-4 with two games remaining. The magnificent Van Buren was playing on an injured foot, and it showed. The season was slipping away.

After the game, Clark stormed into the Eagles' locker room and confronted Neale about the team's declining play. Reports vary as to exactly what happened next. Some said a group of Eagles players literally had to pull Neale off the owner.

Everyone acknowledged that Neale offered his resignation on the spot. Years later, Bednarik remembered Neale yelling at Clark, "Look, you [bleep] Irishman, you can take that $15,000 you're paying me and stick it up your [bleep]."

Neale asked Clark to apologize to the players later in the week, which he did. But the Eagles didn't win another game that season. And during the winter, while vacationing in Florida, the greatest coach in the history of the franchise was fired by mail.

Now, you tell me: Which of the events of 1950 says more about the Philadelphia sporting century -- the Whiz Kids in Ebbets Field or the Eagles in the Polo Grounds? Which one?

*********** THE YEAR GREASY NEALE WAS FIRED

A great article about how, after winning two straight NFL titles, Greasy Neale lost his job the next year when new ownership took over.

By Gene Murdock
The Coffin Corner Volume X
[Originally published in Pro Football Digest, April- May, 1968, five years before Neale's death in 1973 and 17 years after his controversial ousting.]

It was a tense moment in the Philadelphia Eagles' dressing room at the Polo Grounds on a raw Sunday afternoon in late November 1950. The National Football League champions had just dropped a heartbreaker to the New York Giants, 7-3. The club owner stood in the center of the room and pointed an accusing finger at his coach. "And you," he shouted, "you made mistakes out there; you made mistakes!"

"Damn you," fired back the coach, "I never make mistakes. Or if I do you can't tell me in my clubhouse in front of my football players. If you want to tell me what mistakes I make on the football field, you tell me in your office on Monday morning!"

Seated in his home in Parkersburg, W.Va. 17 years later, 76-year-old Earle "Greasy" Neale still has thunder in his voice as he talks of the shouting match that openly marked the beginning of the end of his long and colorful coaching career. "Imagine this now -- the president of a ball club standing in the middle of the dressing room after you'd been beaten 7-3, popping off in front of your players, telling me you can't win with three points. Anybody knew that. It didn't take a genius to tell you that!"

The year 1950 had already been a trying one for Greasy, who had led the Eagles to NFL titles in 1948 and 1949, winning "Coach of the Year" honors both seasons. He had taken over the club, a tail-end outfit, in 1941, had converted it into a winner within three or four years and had topped this feat with three divisional and two league crowns.

As the 1950 season approached, the future had looked bright. Neale had most of his championship team back, a team studded with such seasoned stars as Steve Van Buren, Tommy Thompson, Pete Pihos and Vic Sears. In addition there were outstanding second-year men like Chuck Bednarik, Clyde "Smackover" Scott and Frank Ziegler. Greasy confided to Philadelphia sportswriter Stan Baumgartner on the eve of the College All-Star game his personal optimism: "I don't see why our boys can't do it again. Who is there to beat us?"

But things had not worked out that way. A wave of crippling injuries beset the Eagles in training camp. In the first game of the season, the Cleveland Browns, newly arrived in the NFL after terrorizing the All-America Conference, proved they belonged there by trouncing the Eagles 35-10.

As he looks back on that first game with Paul Brown's team, Greasy admits that he and his Eagles probably took the neophyte Browns too lightly.

"They beat us with passes -- Otto Graham to Dub Jones. I thought Russ Craft could cover anybody alive – he covered "Crazylegs" Hirsch all the time and would take the ball right away from him and run for touchdowns -- but he couldn't cover Dub Jones. I knew within 10 minutes after that game started that the Eagle defense wouldn't stop the Browns."

But the Eagles bounced back. They won five straight and seemed headed for another championship until they experienced a series of exasperating razor-thin defeats in November and December that destroyed their hopes for a third straight title. The mounting frustration came to a head in the Polo Grounds dressing room with owner Jim Clark and Greasy blowing up at each other. In picturesque language Neale offered to quit his job on the spot, but Clark quickly retreated and diplomatic relations between the two were temporarily patched up.

As Greasy recalls it: "After that game in New York we went out to Cleveland for our second game with the Browns. Jim and I rode out together and had a few drinks together. I forced him on Tuesday to come to practice and apologize to the team. He told me then: 'You can coach this team forever for me.'"

The cut went too deep, however, and in three months' time the "Coach of the Year" -- the man who had wondered: "Who is there to beat us?" -- was fired.

What happened? From the distance of years, it looks quite simple. After racing to a 5-1 record to lead the Eastern Conference at the midway point, the Eagles apparently collapsed. In the last half of the season, except for a 33-0 rout of the Redskins, the Philadelphians dropped five games. They ended up in a tie for third place in the East with a 6-6 record, the team's poorest performance since 1942.

But as Greasy tells it, nothing is ever quite that simple. Although only 6-6 for the season, the Eagles outscored their opponents by the lopsided margin of 254 to 141. And, significantly, they dropped those five second-half games by a total of 18 points. The Giants beat them twice (7-3 and 9-7), the Browns once (13-7), Pittsburgh once (9-7) and the Cardinals once (14-10).

In the first Giant game, the one that touched off the Clark-Neale confrontation, Philadelphia was near the goal line most of the time, but could not push the ball across and had to settle for a field goal. As Greasy remembers it, they were stopped five times -- on the 16-, 20-, 5-, 2-, and 4-yard lines.

He talks of the second clash with the Browns with bitterness lightened by a special kind of pride. "I spent two hours a day for a week on defense before the second Brown game. Imagine that! They only give 20 minutes to defense normally.

"Motley gains 15 yards, Graham doesn't complete a pass. And they beat me on an intercepted pass that they scored on and two fumbles where Groza kicked field goals. They beat us 13-7. They made two first downs -- and I'll bet it's the only game Graham ever played in which he didn't complete a pass!"

Greasy's strategy for stopping Marion Motley was simple: "I put Bednarik on that Motley and I said: 'That's your man, and don't you let him go anywhere. When he comes through the line, whether he's got the ball or not, you hit him and you hit him and you tear him apart!'

"That Bednarik, he was something! You know, he was the first lineman ever taken as a first-round draft choice. He and Van Buren and Joe Muha were the best picks we ever made."

The loss of those five games by 18 points resulted less from a collapse of the team on the field -- on defense the Eagles allowed far fewer first downs than any team in the league and were only 70 yards behind the Browns in yards allowed -- than from a succession of damaging injuries, but anytime a coach loses players like Van Buren, "Bosh" Pritchard, Scott and Al Wistert for extended periods, he's in trouble. Greasy was no exception.

Van Buren developed a spur on the bottom of one of his feet in training and after playing in the All-Star game with Novocain deadening the pain, he was returned to Philadelphia for an operation and did not practice for the next six weeks. He missed the season's opener and was far below par all year long. His rushing total dropped from the league-leading figure of 1,146 yards in 1949 to 626 in 1950, with his average declining from 4.4 yards a try to 3.3.

Pritchard, who had finished fifth in the NFL in rushing in 1949 with a 6.0 average, injured a knee in training and didn't play in a single game in 1950. Scott, who as a rookie from Arkansas in 1949 had averaged just under five yards a try in 40 carries, was badly injured in the second quarter of the 1950 opener against the Browns and was finished for the season.

As Stan Baumgartner explained it: "Pritchard and Scott are very fast men who can run the ends, keep the opposing defense spread and make it possible for Van Buren to plunge through the line. When these two carriers were out of the lineup, the opposition concentrated on Van Buren and bottled him up before he could get started. The only other danger was quarterback Tommy Thompson's forward passes. With no fear of Pritchard, Scott or Van Buren, the rival club concentrated on possible receivers. So Neale's entire intricate offense bogged down."

Greasy was vacationing at Lake Worth, Fla. in February 1951, confident that his Eagles would bounce back the next season, when he got a terse telegram from owner Jim Clark saying: "You will be paid for the one year remaining on your contract, but you are no longer the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles."

"It was a complete surprise," says Greasy. "After that blowup in New York Clark told me that I could coach the Eagles as long as he had the club. It liked to kill my wife. She died two months later."

In Neale's opinion an important factor in his dismissal was a difference of views over his scouting system. "We had the greatest scouting system of any team in the NFL," Greasy proudly claims. "We had the information on every boy who entered school until the time he graduated from any college in America."

According to Greasy, it was in 1943 that he and Alexis Thompson, who then owned the Eagles, and general manager Harry Thayer worked out an elaborate method of compiling complete information on all college football players.

"We had 68 books that we took into the second draft meeting we attended. No team had ever done this before. They laughed at us, but you can bet they stopped after we got ourselves men like Van Buren and Muha with that system!

"The problem was that Jim Clark, who headed the 1,000 stockholders who bought the club from Lex Thompson, didn't know anything about football. He wanted to trim expenses by doing away with my scouts. He thought we were spending too much money for information on football players.

"That scouting system won us championships. But I was wasting my time telling Clark that. He paid no attention to it."

To replace Neale, Clark hired Bo McMillan, who in three years as head coach of the Detroit Lions (1948-50) had compiled a 12-24 won-lost record and had feuded continually with the clubowners. He coached the Eagles for two games in 1951, quitting because of illness. Wayne Millner succeeded him and the Eagles wound up the year with a 4-8 mark.

Today, Greasy Neale lives in his boyhood hometown in a house filled with trophies. The trophies tell of the days he played football with Jim Thorpe long before the NFL was born, of years as a slick-hitting outfielder with the Cincinnati Reds and as a coach of college football teams -- including the Washington and Jefferson giant-killers who held mighty California to a scoreless tie in the 1922 Rose Bowl.

And some of the trophies tell Greasy that he was professional football's "Coach of the Year" two years in a row -- just before a season when the percentages took over and five games lost by a total of 18 points brought him and his high-flying Eagles back to earth.


*********** QUIZ - A native of the North Woods of Minnesota, he built a legend that almost matched another famous Minnesotan, Paul Bunyan.

At 6-2, 235, he was a very big man for his time, and running ability made him one of the dominant players of the game, in college and the pros, as a defensive lineman, linebacker, offensive lineman and running back.

It was said of him that, “He could run interference for himself.”

In 1949 famous sportswriter Grantland Rice named him to his All-time All-American team as its fullback. “in the opinion of my
 coaches, he was the greatest all-round football player of all time. . . . He has been a fine tackle. a fine end and a great fullback.“

Rice once wrote,  ''Eleven (of him) could beat 11 Red Granges or 11 Jim Thorpes.''

The son of a Polish father and Ukrainian mother who immigrated from the Ukraine to Canada, he was born in Canada but grew up in northern Minnesota - FAR northern Minnesota.

He was given the “old country” name of Bronislau, but from his early days in school he was given the nickname by which he was known the rest of his life.

He played college football at Minnesota and professional football for the Chicago Bears.

In his autobiography, “Halas by Halas,” Chicago Bears’ owner and head coach George Halas recalled the famous story about how he wound up at Minnesota.

“To make our T (formation) really work, we needed a powerful running back. For some time I had been hearing about (such was the state of scouting in the days - HW) a big strong man from the north woods who was good for 10 yards or so every time he carried the ball for Minnesota.  The coach there, Doc Spears, said he had found his Hercules one day while driving through the woods along the Rainy River which separates Minnesota from Canada.  He was seeking a boy he had heard about, and saw a young man pushing a pillow without the aid of a horse.  Doc said he stopped and asked the plowman the way to the house he was seeking.

“‘Right over there,’ the plowman said, picking up the plow and using it for a pointer. Doc said he forgot about the other boy and went for the plowman.”

In his three years at Minnesota, the Golden Gophers were 18-4-2, and won the Big Ten title in 1927.

He had an outstanding  NFL career, playing at a number of positions. He was feared as a linebacker but also as a runner.  On one kick return, four Pittsburgh Steelers were knocked cold trying to tackle him. In the first-ever NFL championship game, won by the Bears over the Giants, he threw a pass for the winning score. 

In 1938, when Bears’ owner George Halas refused to meet his request for a $6,000 contract, he retired from football and became a professional wrestler. (Won a "world championship.") Five years later, with young men off to war and the NFL teams facing a shortage of players, he was persuaded to return for one more season of pro ball, and scored a touchdown in the Bears' championsip win over the Redskins.

His Number 3 is one of 14 jersey numbers retired by the Bears.

His 1943 NFL championship ring was size 19-1/2, an NFL record exceeded only once since, by the Bears’ William “Refrigerator” Perry in 1985 (with a 23 or 25, depending on where you read it).

His football card, part of a 36-piece set put out by a chewing gum company in 1935,  is currently valued at $240,000, making it the most valuable football card in existence.

His son and namesake played football at Notre Dame and then played professionally in Canada.


american flagTUESDAY,  JANUARY 30,  2018  “The term 'undocumented' workers is ludicrous. They are often the most 'documented,' except that the documents are all fake."  Former Congressman J. C. Watts

*********** George Gipp was the classic Yooper!

Adam Wesoloski
Pulaski, Wisconsin

HAHAHA.  I thought of you when I wrote about him.

Interestingly, when he returned for his sophomore year, he brought two homies with him - Ojay Larson and Hunk Anderson, who both wound up playing at ND and in the NFL.   Anderson was coaching at Notre Dame when Rockne as killed in the plane crash, and Anderson succeeded Rockne as ND head coach.

Funny how so many places have their U-P, remote places where the people are… different.

Hard drinking and hard playing and not terribly interested in rules that get in their way, especially rules imposed by outsiders.

I think one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen was set in da U-P:  “Escanaba in Da Moonlight.”

One of the characters describes the wonderment of opening day of hunting season:

“It’s like Christmas - wit’ guns.”


*********** Good-bye Chief Wahoo.  By 2019,  the buck-toothed cartoon Indian that’s adorned the Cleveland Indians’ uniforms for at least the last 70 years (I was a big fan of the Indians - especially Bob Feller - when they beat the Boston Braves in the  1948 World Series) will be gone.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/mlb/indians-removing-chief-wahoo-logo-from-jerseys-caps-in-2019/ar-BBIpx61


*********** And then there are the Washington Redskins. I don’t have a dog in the fight, and although it would appear that “Redskins” could be considered offensive, by no means are native Americans united in opposition to the team’s name.

It’s interesting how they’ve changed the lyrics of their fight song, “Hail to the Redskins.”

The tune was composed by Barnee Breeskin, leader of the orchestra at Washington’s Shoreham Hotel. He first played it for the owner, George Preston Marshall and his wife, Corinne, in the summer of 1937. It was Breeskin who called it “Hail to the Redskins.”

Corinne Griffith herself wrote the original lyrics:
Hail to the Redskins,
Hail Vic-to-ry!
Braves on the warpath,
FIGHT! for old D.C.

Scalp ‘um, swamp ‘um
We will take ‘um big score

Read ‘um, weep ‘um
Touchdown we want heap more!


Fight on, Fight on, till you have won,
Sons of Wash-ing-ton
RAH! RAH! RAH!

Hail to the Redskins,
Hail Vic-to-ry!
Braves on the warpath,
FIGHT! for old D.C.
At some point not all that long ago, however,  the lyrics were sanitized - the faux Indian jargon removed - so now the song goes…
Hail to the Redskins!
Hail Victory!
Braves on the Warpath!
Fight for old D.C.!

Run or pass and score—
We want a lot more!

Beat 'em, Swamp 'em,
Touchdown! Let the points soar!

Fight on, fight on 'Til you have won
Sons of Wash-ing-ton. Rah!, Rah!, Rah!

Hail to the Redskins!
Hail Victory!
Braves on the Warpath!
Fight for old D.C.!
https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/1989/10/26/barnee-breeskin-dies/b755e064-21ea-47c4-a8e5-4d75fcf67df1/?utm_term=.ef74465d1625

*********** When the NFL began considering an expansion team in Dallas, Redskins’ owner George P. Marshall opposed the move.   Washington was then the  southernmost NFL city and the Redskins were the only NFL team broadcasting into the South, and he thought of the South as his exclusive market (helping to explain why the Redskins would be the last NFL team to integrate).

One of the applicants for a Dallas franchise was wealthy oilman Clint Murchison, who pulled a clever move on Marshall by buying the rights to "Hail to the Redskins" from Barnee Breeskin, who wrote the music and  owned the rights.  Murchison then notified Marshall that unless he approved Murchison’s franchise,  he’d never again play “Hail to the Redskins.” Marshall agreed to back Murchison's application and Murchison gave Marshall the rights to the song.

From a Cowboys’ site…

In the late 1950s, Texas oil tycoon and founding owner of the Dallas Cowboys Clint Murchison, Jr. was not the first wealthy businessman to attempt to bring an NFL franchise to Dallas. Lamar Hunt before him had applied for an expansion team, but was turned down, in much thanks to opposition like Washington Redskins owner George Preston Marshall, who – naturally – enjoyed his team’s monopoly on professional football fanship in the south.

But with the NFL’s rejection, Hunt gathered other rejected would-be NFL owners and formed the American Football League, or the AFL, and established the Dallas Texans. Not wanting the AFL to take hold of the regional market, the NFL quickly obliged Murchison’s request to start a Dallas franchise on the condition that all other NFL owners would approve, which brings us back to the big, bad Mr. Marshall.

Then fate stepped in.

As all of this Dallas talk was going down, Marshall had a very public falling-out with Redskins band director and composer of the team’s beloved fight song Barnee Breeskin. Breeskin sought revenge, and had his attorney sell the rights to the fight song – “Hail to the Redskins” – to Murchison. Essentially holding the song hostage, Murchison told Marshall he’d better approve his Dallas franchise or “Hail to the Redskins” would never ring through Griffith Stadium again. Recognizing the ballad to be indispensable to Redskins fans (and to his wife Corinne Griffith who wrote its lyrics), Marshall begrudgingly agreed to make the deal.
On Jan. 28, 1960, the city of Dallas was granted an NFL franchise and a few months later, it was announced the team would be called the “Dallas Cowboys.” (And Hunt’s AFL Dallas Texans soon moved to Kansas City where they would become the Kansas City Chiefs.)
http://www.5pointsblue.com/dallas-cowboys-born-fight-song-ransom/


***********  If you’re an older coach, I’ll bet you’ve seen this: the rest of the guys are in the weight room,  lifting, when in walks a farm kid - a guy who’s never lifted in his life - and he breaks all the records in the room. "Farmer strong,” they’d say. 

Now, there’s growing interest in this  idea of “functional strength” - defined by one strength trainer as “Training that attempts to mimic the specific physiological demands of real-life activities.”

Maybe they could make it an Olympic sport.

Damn shame it’s too late for Mac Batchelor.

I first heard of Mac Batchelor when I was in high school, back before athletes lifted seriously, and a few of us started screwing around with weights.  One of the guys brought in some strength-and-body-building magazine with an article in it about this guy in California named Mac Batchelor, who  owned a bar and could perform some rather astounding feats of strength related to his profession. Later, when I was in the beer business myself, I spent some tim
e in California, where all the beer guys knew all the stories about Mac Batchelor:

1. He could open his hand, spread his fingers, put beer-bottle caps in the spaces between his fingers - then crush them. Just with the strength in his fingers.

2. He could crush a bottle cap by pinching together his thumb and forefinger.

2. With a straight arm,
holding it by the chimes, he could lift a keg of beer - contents and all - to shoulder height.  (Although a brewery’s capacity is measured in 31-gallon barrels, what are sold as “kegs” are actually 15-1/2 gallon half-barrels, known in the trade as “halves.” The beer itself weighs roughly 130 pounds and today’s kegs, empty, weigh some 30 pounds, so today he’d be lifting 160 pounds. (Before lighter, stronger aluminum was used , older kegs were somewhat heavier.)  Forget the deltoids - think about the grip required to do that.

3. He is considered to be the greatest arm wrestler who ever lived.  Tending bar at his place, he was accustomed to having all sorts of challengers walk in to try themselves against the legend - and he never lost. According to a blog related to the sport, “Between 1931 and 1956, Mac pulled and beat an estimated 4,000 different opponents without suffering a single loss – an incredible 25-year span at the top of the sport.”

http://legendarystrength.com/ian-mac-batchelor/


*********** I haven’t exactly been happy with the beyond-leftist things going on at my alma mater, Yale, but in the latest alumni monthly magazine, I came across an interview with Peter Salovey, President of the University, in which he gives as good a rationale as I’ve ever read for the importance of sports in the overall development of a person.
“The athletics program, including the varsity teams, is an important part of the Yale College educational experience because students learn by playing their sport. They learn self-discipline; how to work as part of a team; how to subordinate an individual goal to a group accomplishment; and how to be resilient in the face of failure.  Athletes fail in practice and in matches every single day.  Developing resilience to disappointment is incredibly important in life.

“Through athletics, students also learn how to manage their emotions.  In my own research on emotional intelligence, we talk about team sports, in particular, as a way of learning, for instance, how to delay gratification and how to be gracious in both victory and defeat.  These are critical life skills.”
(When he mentions “Yale College,” he's referring to the undergraduate part of Yale University, as opposed to Yale Medical School, Yale Law School, Yale School of Architecture, etc.)

*********** Sad news for me as one of the giants of my youth, Ralph Chesnauskas, an Army teammate of Don Holleder, died a few weeks ago at his home in Massachusetts. His offical obituary:

Ralph Joseph Chesnauskas, 83, of Cummaquid passed away unexpectedly at Cape Cod Hospital on January 11, 2018. Ralph was born in Brockton and went on to be a star athlete at Brockton High School, eventually being inducted into their Hall of Fame. He graduated from West Point in 1956 where he was inducted into the West Point Athletic Hall of Fame for having earned 9 athletic letters in football, hockey and baseball. After leaving West Point he began working at the Gillette Company in 1961, where he stayed until his retirement 38 years later in 1999. For the last several years of his long career at Gillette he held the position of Vice President of the Safety Razor Division worldwide. Ralph is survived by his wife, Patricia; and his daughter, Holly; as well as 3 sisters, Veronica, Brony and Margaret. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Centerville MSPCA or to the Gary Sinise Foundation which supports returning disabled veterans who make our life of freedom in this country possible. Anyone whose life Ralph touched will be welcome to attend a celebration of his life that will be taking place in April after the snows of winter have left and life renews itself again in spring. Details will follow. Ralphs ashes will be interred in a private ceremony at the United States Military Academy at West Point, his true home away from home.

*********** A nice writeup about Ralph Chesnauskas in his hometown paper on his induction, in 2009, into the West Point Sports Hall of Fame…

When Army beat No. 6 Duke, 14-13, at New York’s Polo Grounds in 1953, it signaled a turnaround for the Black Knights of the Hudson.
Army had struggled in 1952 and had finished a shocking 2-7 in 1951. Ralph Chesnauskas remembers those teams well, as he was a plebe at West Point in ’52 and a two-way lineman by ’53.

But in 1951, when the chips were down and Army wasn’t rolling along, Chesnauskas was playing football at Brockton High School under coach Frank Saba.

More than half a century and nine collegiate varsity letters later, Chesnauskas was recently inducted into the Army Sports Hall of Fame, alongside legendary college basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski and several other Army sports figures. He was feted at a reception and announced during halftime of another Army-Duke tilt, this one not nearly as memorable as the upset in which Chesnauskas played 56 years prior.

In that game, Army football put itself back on the map. The Knights finished that season 7-1-1 and were ranked 14th in the final Associated Press poll. They gained momentum from there and went on to finish Chesnasukas’ junior season in the top 10.

Football was not the only sport for Chesnauskas. A perennial three-season athlete, he played football, basketball and baseball at Brockton and maintained that pace at West Point, substituting hockey for basketball, an unusual choice given that he had never played the game until college.

“I never skated until I came to West Point,” Chesnauskas said. “I was having trouble academically at West Point in the first semester, and I had a problem with one of my classes.”

He was ready to leave West Point for Wisconsin, where he had a football scholarship waiting for him. The head football coach, Col. Earl Blaik, decided he wasn’t ready to lose Chesnauskas and told hockey coach Jack Riley, who went on to coach the 1960 U.S. Olympic gold medal team, to “keep him busy.”

According to Chesnauskas, when Riley protested, Blaik said, “Half the team can’t skate, anyway, so what difference does it make?”

His learning curve was short, and by the time he was a senior, Chesnauskas was captain of hockey the team and was awarded the prestigious Army Athletic Association Award. He played defense and led Army to an 11-5 record in his final season.

Before all his later successes, Chesnauskas was simply an end on the Brockton High football team. At 75, he remembers the big wins, he recalls seeing Rocky Marciano jogging along the road to Weymouth during a road trip and playing with his brother Sonny. The annual rivalry game against Waltham on Thanksgiving Day 1950 is the one game that stands out above all in his memory.

Brockton was 7-1-1 heading into the then 26-year old rivalry tilt. Waltham was undefeated, one of the top teams in the state, and would have been headed to Florida for a bowl game if they got past the Boxers.

On that day, Chesnauskas and the rest of the Boxers ended Waltham’s unbeaten run, halting the prospective Florida trip with a 25-13 victory in one of the defining moments of his early football career.

Chesnauskas’ experiences in football began much the same way his hockey career got started. He had never played the sport before he went to high school, but was approached by Saba when he was in junior high.

“I was playing basketball with Frank Saba, who was the head coach for football,” Chesnauskas said. “He was refereeing basketball games at the junior high school, and he talked me into coming out for football.”

Chesnauskas found immediate success on the gridiron, playing mostly at end. He was an Enterprise All-Scholastic selection in football (as well as baseball) and later went into the Brockton Sports Hall of Fame for his performance on the field.

After his decorated high school and collegiate careers ended, Chesnauskas was sent to Germany to lead a tank division, fulfilling his military requirement.

“We were there to make sure the Russians wouldn’t come across and try to take Europe,” Chesnauskas said.

He left the army at the rank of first lieutenant, returning to Brockton after his three-year service was over. He stayed for five years before moving to Peabody, where a job had opened at Gillette. He stayed at the company for the rest of his career, spending the last 12 years as vice president of engineering. He retired in 1999 and has since moved down to Barnstable.

While most never even master one sport, Chesnauskas is honing his skills at a fifth, teeing up at Old Barnstable Golf Course.

“I’m playing golf a little bit, maybe once or twice a week,” he said. “Not well, but playing.”

 http://www.enterprisenews.com/x128839645/Enter-WEB-HEADLINE-HERE-and-REMOVE-THIS-TEXT

*********** My friend Dave Schorr, a West Point teammate of Ralph Chesnauskas, remembered the day Chesnauskas was visited by a guy from his hometown:  “Ralph was from Brockton, Massachsetts, and as you know Rocky Marciano was also from Brockton. The New York Times wanted to do a story - back in those days the Times covered Army Football -  so Rocky visited Ralph for the story. Ralph was not all that big, maybe 205, but he was quick as hell, and also smart as all hell. I couldn't get over how small Marciano was.  Ralph was bigger, not much bigger, but definitely bigger, and Rocky was the heavyweight champion of the world!

*********** If it boggles your mind to see how many “followers” some celebrities have on Twitter - relax.  It turns out that there’s nothing wrong with your mind.

It’s the numbers.  They’re phony.  They’re fake humans, "bots" bought by the tens of thousands for a penny or so apiece.

The New York Times tells about it in an article called “The Follower Factory.”

It’s not harmless.  It’s not just stroking one’s ego.  It’s a fraud.

The buyers of those phony followers are celebrities whose abilities to command speaking fees (as one example) depend on their popularity, which all too often is measured by Twitter followers -  real or bought.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/01/27/technology/social-media-bots.html

*********** While (sort of )watching that game of 7-on-7-with-linemen that they call the Pro Bowl (the kind of football that mothers would gladly let their little boys play) they got my attention when they announced that next they’d be presenting the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award.

This year’s winner turned out to be Coach Robert Garrett, of Crenshaw High School, an inner-city Los Angeles school.

No doubt Coach Garrett is richly deserving.

He certainly said all the right things about what coaching meant - helping youngsters to become better men… to become better fathers… to give back to the community… and so forth.

Couldn’t have said it better.  Congratulations to Coach Garrett.

But then the announcer noted that the award includes  $15,000  for the Crenshaw football program, and she asked, “What are you going to do with that money?”

My wife and I waited for the “giving back to the community” statement, and he seemed to be heading in that direction when he started out, “I’m going to challenge my community…”

We nodded our heads...

But then he continued “… to do some matching to purchase some championship rings…”

Rings??? Hmmm. Is it at all possible that there are a few things that those kids - and that community - might need more than jewelry?

*********** QUIZ ANSWER. Buck Shaw was a teammate of George Gipp at Notre Dame, and 40 years later, in the final year of his long coaching career, he was the coach of Philadelphia’s last pro football championship team.

A native of Mitchellville, Iowa, he started out at Creighton, but after the great flu epidemic of 1918 forced the school to cancel its schedule one game into the season, he transferred to Notre Dame.

Knute Rockne installed him on the offensive line, where in 1921 he earned All-American honors.  He also made 38 of 39 extra points, a Notre Dame record that lasted until 1976.

After graduation, Rockne’s recommendation was enough to get him a job as coach at North Carolina State, but after a year in Raleigh he took a job as coach at Nevada. After four years there, he was hired as an assistant at Santa Clara by a former Notre Dame teammate, Clipper Smith, and after Smith left to take the head coaching job at Villanova, he became Santa Clara’s head coach.

His teams went 47-10-4 and won two Sugar Bowls.  (Santa Clara was big-time then.)  But in 1942, with the outbreak of  World War II, the school gave up football. 

He spent one year as interim coach at Cal while working on putting together a San Francisco entry in the new All-America Football Conference, to start play after the war.

The team, called the 49ers, turned out to be really good.  With former Stanford star Frankie Albert at quarterback, they won 38 games, lost 14 and tied 2 (.703) from 1946-1949,  but unfortunately, they were in the same division as the Cleveland Browns, one of the greatest football teams ever put together, and they wound up finishing second to the Browns in all four years of the AAFC’s existence.

In 1950, the 49ers were admitted to the NFL along with the Browns and the Baltimore Colts, and over the next five years, his teams went 33-25-3.

In 1956 and 1957 he coached the Air Force Academy, and in 1958, he was hired by the last-place Philadelphia Eagles.  HIs first order of business was to get a quarterback, and in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams he acquired 32-year-old Norm Van Brocklin.

The Eagles went 2-9-1 in 1958, then improved to 7-5 in 1959. In his third year, 1960,  they went 10-2 and defeated the Green Bay Packers  for the NFL championship (dealing Vince Lombardi his only post-season loss).

Following the game, he announced his retirement. He was only 61, but at the time Buck Shaw was the oldest coach ever to win an NFL championship. (Bill Belichick is 65.) 

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BUCK SHAW
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON


*********** QUIZ - They started out in the 1920s as the Frankford Yellow Jackets, and they’ve been the  Philadelphia Eagles since 1933, but in all that time they’ve won it all just three times - and he was the coach of two of those NFL champions.

He was born and raised in Parkersburg, West Virginia, and very early, he acquired the nickname by which he was known the rest of his life.
 
He coached a Rose Bowl team, coached an NFL champion, and played in a World Series. And he's in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
 
He played eight years of major league baseball, with the Cincinnati Reds, and in one of the most famous of all World Series, the notorious "Black Sox Series" of 1919,  he played in all eight games and batted .357.
 
As a college coach, he took little Washington and Jefferson to the Rose Bowl, and despite being heavy underdogs,  W & J, with eleven men playing the entire game, held mighty California to a 0-0 tie - the only scoreless tie in Rose Bowl history.
 
He was the first full-time coach at the University of Virginia, and after that, the first-full-time coach at West Virginia.
 
At Yale, he coached back-to-back Heisman trophy winners in Larry Kelley and Clint Frank. (The only other man to coach back-to-back Heisman winners: Army's Earl "Red" Blaik.)
 
During World War II, with able-bodied players hard to come by, he and Walt Kiesling served as co-head coaches of the “Steagles,” an NFL combine team formed by the merger of the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
 
He coached two NFL champions, the Philadelphia Eagles of 1948 and 1949.

He is given credit for the invention of the "Eagle" defense, which evolved, by backing up the "middle guard" as he was called, into the "Pro 4-3." The "middle guard" became today’s middle linebacker, a position made famous by so many great players, including Chuck Bednarik, Sam Huff, Bill George, Joe Schmidt, Ray Nitschke, Dick Butkus, Willie Lanier, Jack Lambert, Nick Buonoconti, Mike Singletary..... yes, undoubtedly I've missed some good ones, but you get the idea of this man's impact on the game.

He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1969.



american flagFRIDAY,  JANUARY 26,  2018  “War is the remedy that our enemies have chosen, and I say let us give them all they want.” General William Tecumseh Sherma

*********** Hey- isn’t that Vince McMahon?   What’s he been up to?

A new football league, you say?   You mean another XFL?  He Hate Me?  Jesse Ventura doing play-by-play?

It's been almost 17 years since it vanished. Raise your hand if you ever missed it.

*********** As I was telling a friend, there is NO chance of anyone succeeding with a new professional football league, certainly not without a big commitment from a TV network.  And since every major TV network is now an NFL “partner” - a televisor of its games - you’re going to have a hard time finding one that will drop the NFL to carry a competing league’s games.

Ask NBC how that XFL business worked out for it.

I have been personally  involved in an unsuccessful challenge to the NFL (by the World Football League, in 1974-1975) and I know how formidable Big Football is. And it’s tougher now than it was 40 years ago. By a factor of 10. Easily.

Besides having the TV networks locked up, the NFL teams also have exclusive stadium contracts in most of their cities - if they don’t actually own the stadia.   Check it out - unless a new league is really aiming low in terms of attendance, there just aren’t many major markets with suitable stadia that aren’t locked up by the NFL.  Ever notice how no sooner do they open a new stadium than they blow up the “old” one? 

It might seem to some that the NFL is vulnerable right now, what with all the protests, but it’s still a giant and it’s still plenty strong. 

And there’s always the chance that the declines in the NFL’s attendance and TV ratings might actually reflect a decline in interest in football overall.

*********** Among the new league’s other problems, it’s not going to be easy getting good players.

According to Vince McMahon, his league’s going to have character standards. “Even with a DUI,” he said, “you won’t play.”

Not even with a DIU?  As I said, it’s not going to be easy getting good players.

*********** Forbes thinks McMahon’s new league has a chance.  I think Forbes is nuts.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/leeigel/2018/01/25/why-the-timing-may-be-right-for-vince-mcmahon-and-donald-trump-to-make-xfl-great-again/2/#6e43ad9935f7

*********** Maybe now, before Vince McMahon gets started with this new fiasco,  would be the appropriate time for the Power 5 conferences to start spring football.  Real spring football.

Each team would play two real games - one home and one away - against other  Power 5 conference schools.

That’s roughly 60 games.  Five games a weekend - one per conference -  for 12 weeks in the spring.  What are the TV rights to that package going to be worth?

And what can that one home game - in the spring, when people are starved for football - do for a school’s budget?

The results would have no bearing on next season’s standings, but they would be a much fairer way to determine the preseason standings than the current system, which locks some teams into season-long top-ten status, while condemning others to a long and futile climb up from the cellar.

But, but, but… what’s the NCAA going to say?

Nothing.  That's the beauty of this.   The Power 5 schools already enjoy an autonomy which allows them to operate pretty much outside the purview of the NCAA. 
What’s the NCAA going to do - kick out the schools that provide it with most of its revenue?

***********
High taxes and corrupt politics are two major reasons why Illinois has been losing more population than any other state.

Need another reason to  move from the Land of Lincoln?   How about a bill in front of the Illinois legislature that would prevent youngsters from playing tackle football before the age of 12?

Called the Dave Duerson Act, it’s an unfortunate conflation of the discovery of CTE among NFL players and unproven risks to youngsters. It’s been named for the late Dave Duerson, former Bears’ player after whose suicide it was determined that he had suffered from CTE.

We’re all well aware that the NFL, accused of hiding the effects of concussions from its players, has agreed to pay out tens of millions to former players claiming to suffer from those effects.  But now, despite any evidence that playing youth football can lead to CTE, the sorry situation of former professional football players is being used as leverage to keep young boys from playing a game that offers so many benefits.

https://chicago.suntimes.com/sports/proposed-law-could-ban-tackle-football-for-children-under-age-12-in-illinois/


*********** John Voit, of Wildwood, Missouri, whose second-effort shoestring tackle of Navy’s quarterback prevented a sure touchdown and saved Army’s win over Navy, has been selected as Army’s 2017 Black Lion Award winner.  On hand to present the award to Cadet Voit was Katie Holleder Fellows, of Charlottesville, Virginia, the daughter of the late Major Don Holleder, former Army All-American whose self-sacrifice on the football field at West Point and in combat in Vietnam was the inspiration for the Black Lion Award.

John Voit Black Lion

(L to R) Mrs. Katie Fellows, Army's Black Lion Award winner John Voit, Army football coach Jeff Monken

By Sal Interdonato
Times Herald-Record

WEST POINT – John Voit noticed the plaque as soon as he walked into Army’s football locker room his freshman year.

The plaque lists all of the previous winners of the Black Lion Award, established in 2001 and given annually to the Army player who best displays the character of Don Holleder. Holleder, an all-American wide receiver at West Point before rising to captain in the Army, ordered a helicopter to land during a rescue mission during the Battle of Ong Thanh and was killed by enemy fire in 1967.

Voit’s “Black Lion” mentality showed in his first season at West Point. Coach Jeff Monken remembers arriving in his office after practice, looking out the window and seeing one player still on the Michie Stadium turf, looking to improve. That player was Voit. The defensive end worked on his pass-rush skills and hit blocking sleds in a routine that didn’t change through his 2017 senior season.

“I don’t want to leave any doubt and no regrets,” said Voit, who was presented the Black Lion Award during Army’s banquet Saturday. “I just wanted to better myself. It’s the things that I was taught when I was younger by my dad and my brother. I tried carrying it here and I think it’s paid off and it’s been a good career.”

Voit’s non-stop motor was displayed in the Black Knights’ biggest game of the season. The 265-pound Wildwood, Mo., native tracked down Navy quarterback Malcolm Perry from the line of scrimmage to 46 yards downfield, making a touchdown-saving tackle. Army would hold Navy to a field goal and defeat the Midshipmen for the second straight season 14-13.

″(Voit’s tackle) is going to stand as one of the great plays in the history of that rivalry,” Monken said at the banquet. “I hope that this program in its standard for effort will look at the play as an example.”

Monken revealed that he received texts and voicemail from coaches in the profession, admiring Voit’s play after the game.

Voit, Army’s 2017 co-captain, talked about the award’s prestige and how Holleder’s story inspires him.

“You see guys like Mike Viti (the 2006 Black Lion Award winner and Army’s fullbacks coach) on it (the plaque) and he has had such an impact on this program,” Voit said. “Just to be able to follow guys like that is an honor.”

http://www.recordonline.com/collegevarsity/20180122/army-defensive-end-voit-receives-black-lion-award


*********** FLASH!  The National Transportation Safety Commission has determined that the fatal train wreck near Tacoma - the one where the train was going 79 around a curve where the speed limit was 30 mph - was due to “human error.”

Your tax dollars at work.

*********** If they’d only told us this before, maybe I wouldn’t have ridiculed the Pro Bowl the way I have:

“The mission of the Pro Bowl is to promote the sport on all levels from youth to pros.”

I actually read that this past week.

Who knew?

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

Thanks for your kind words about the Vikings.  It was another heartbreak Sunday night and most Vikings fans will never get over it.  To have a chance to play a super bowl in your own stadium is once in a lifetime and we will probably never get that chance again.  Just another disappointment in a lifetime of disappointments.  The Vikings have now lost their last 6 NFC Championship games.  And of course, we all know about those four super bowls. 

I would probably have pulled for the Eagle's in the super bowl if not for the way their so called fans treated Vikings fans at the game.  Throwing full beers and spitting, kicking and beating up people and even one reported incident where a man was beaten up and held down why other eagles fans urinated on him.  The Philadelphia police did very little to stop most of this violence.  Only 6 arrests were made.  Philadelphia fans don't deserve a championship in my opinion.  You were spot on on Tom Brady, to have to root for that ass-clown makes me cringe.  I may be boycotting the super bowl this year. 

Mike Benton
Colfax, Illinois

There are some Eagles’ fans that I wouldn’t go near if I were wearing an EAGLES jacket.  They are sick dogs.  If Pennsylvania were in Europe and the Eagles played soccer, those creeps would put the legendary British soccer hooligans to shame.  I’m told that the only thing close to them are Raiders’ fans - Oakland OR L.A.  On the other hand, I’ve been to a game at Green Bay and it was as much fun - and as mellow - as any college football game.


*********** The Eagles have been to only two Super Bowls prior to this one.

Most recently, it was 2005 (Super Bowl XXXIX, if you’re collecting “X’s”), when they lost to the Patriots, 24-21.

Before that, it was 1981 - 37 years ago - when they lost to the Raiders, 27-10.  That was Super Bowl XV.

I was looking through a now-defunct Philadelphia sports magazine from 1998 called, very cleverly, “The Fan,” and I came across an interview with Jim Murray, who’d been the Eagles’ GM back at the time of that  1981 Super Bowl.

Summing up the Eagles’ Super Bowl performance that day, he recalled: “It’s too bad we peaked during the national anthem.”

But the Eagles' fans won the party: “We brought 9,000 people to the game. Bourbon Street never knew what hit it.”

Look out, Minneapolis. You’ve been warned.

*********** The transformation of the NFL from a football league into a social justice advocacy organization is nearly complete…

http://bangordailynews.com/2018/01/24/sports/goodell-social-justice-campaign-between-nfl-players-just-the-beginning/


*********** QUIZ ANSWER: George Gipp has been dead almost 100 years, but thanks in part to his dying wish, his story remains a part of football lore and his name is a part of our language.

He was a Yooper, born and raised on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

He never played high school football, and went to Notre Dame with intentions of playing baseball, but the Notre Dame football coach, seeing him drop-kicking the ball for fun, was so impressed that he persuaded him to join the football team.

He turned out to be an all-round football great,  leading the Irish in rushing and passing his last three years. and in addition to  rushing for 2341 yards - a Notre Dame career record that would last for 58 years - he passed for 1789 yards.  He still holds school records for average yards rushing in a season (8.1), average yards per play (9.4) and career average yards total offense per game (128.4).

During his Notre Dame career, the Irish were 27-2-3, outscoring opponents 506-97.  They were undefeated his junior and senior years.

In December, 1920, following the end of his senior season, he was honored by Walter Camp (who then selected All-America teams) as Notre Dame’s first All-American.

But just two weeks later, he lay dying in a hospital in South Bend, severely ill from complications from strep throat.

At his deathbed was his football coach.  Posterity has only coach Knute Rockne's word for it, but the story goes that he said, “I’ve got to go, Rock.  It’s all right.  I’m not afraid.  Some time, Rock, when the team is up against it, when things are wrong and the breaks are eating the boys - tell them to go in there with all they’ve got and win just one for the Gipper.  I don’t know where I’ll be then, Rock, but I’ll know about it - and I’ll be happy.”

Rockne waited for the right opportunity to honor his request.  It was not until eight years later - November 10, 1928 - that he told that story to a Notre Dame team. It was in Yankee Stadium, at halftime of the Notre Dame-Army game. Army was unbeaten, and Notre Dame, 4-2, trailed the Cadets, 6-0.

That’s when the coach decided to tell the team the story of the great All-American whose young life was snuffed out while he had yet to achieve the true greatness that awaited him. And he told them that that young man’s dying wish was that someday, when they were up against it, some Notre Dame team would find it within themselves to win just one for him.

It's said that New York policemen - Irish, of course - standing guard in the locker room had tears running down their cheeks.

“The day before he died,” the coach told the team, “George Gipp asked me to wait until the situation seemed hopeless - then ask a Notre Dame team to go out and beat Army for him.  This is the day, and you are the team!”

(Can’t you just see the team charging out of the locker room?)

An inspired Notre Dame team took the field and scoring twice in the second half upset Army, 12-6.  After scoring the first of the touchdowns, tying the score, Notre Dame’s Jack Chevigny said, “That’s one for The Gipper!”

In a 1940 movie, “Knute Rockne, All-American,” George Gipp was played by a young actor named Ronald Reagan, who later,  through his Presidency, was often referred to as The Gipper.

(In February, 1945, Marine officer Jack Chevigny was killed in action on Iwo Jima.)

http://www.und.com/sports/m-footbl/archive/allambios/nd-m-footbl-gipp.html

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING GEORGE GIPP
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
RALPH BALDUCCI - PORTLAND, OREGON
RODNEY LUNSFORD - DUBLIN, INDIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
JOHN IRION - GRANVILLE, NEW YORK
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON

*********** It's possible that Knute Rocke is the subject of more biographies than any other coach.  I've got eight of them myself. In most of them, the George Gipp story has been sanitized.  His is an inspirational story, to be sure, and he did convert to Catholicism on his deathbed, but there are reasons why he never attained sainthood.

He was, it turns out - when you dig a little deeper  - a bit of a rounder.  He liked to gamble. He was a bit of a cardsharp, and he frequented the South Bend pool halls, hustling the hustlers.  He liked the ladies, he smoked and he drank, and he had total disregard for curfews.  And, obviously, he wasn’t what you would call a diligent student.

Ruled ineligible to compete in his junior year
because of failing grades, he requested an oral re-take of his exams.  Said he knew all the stuff. The president of Notre Dame refused, but under some pressure he relented, and Gipp shocked one and all by acing the exams.

All in all, if he weren’t such a great athlete - a gamer in the true sense of the word - and such a likable person, it’s not likely that he would have lasted at Notre Dame.   Rockne was not one to tolerate foolishness, and it’s an indication of how great a player Gipp was - Rockne called him the greatest player ever to play at Notre Dame - that Rockne never threw him off the team. 

A couple of Gipp stories, from “We Remember Rockne,” by John McCallum and Paul Castner…

A guy named Floyd Fitzsimon, Jr., whose father was a friend of Gipp at Notre Dame, told Castner,

“One of Dad’s favorite stories was of the time he’d been out on the town with Gipp, causing George to report late to football practice the next afternoon.

“As Gipp trotted out on the field, somewhat shaky from his nocturnal escapade, Rockne, without even looking up, shouted from the other end of the practice field, ‘Gipp, if you can’t get here on time, go back and take that suit off!’

“So Gipp just wheeled around and headed back to the locker room and peeled his suit off.  He didn’t feel like practicing anyway.”

A former player named Dan Young remembered a trip to Nebraska:

“The Notre Dame- Nebraska rivalry was really something in those days.  Whenever we travelled to Lincoln, the Nebraska fans gave us hell.  They lampooned us with such cries as “Fish eaters! Fish eaters! Fish eaters!” Our boys didn’t exactly feel welcome.

“In 1920 we played the Cornhuskers at Lincoln on the third Saturday of the season, and the hosts had neglected putting benches on our side of the field. They had placed stacks of straw along the sideline, though, and this is what our subs sat on. I remember Gipp put on a great show that day, leading us to a 16-7 victory. He ran himself bowlegged, until he was complete pooped out. But Rock wouldn’t take him out and give him a rest. I remember Gipp - hands on his hips, tongue hanging out - would sidle up near where out subs were sitting, and beg Rock by every facial contortion he could make to take him out so he could catch his wind.  Rock, giving him no sympathy, merely turned away from him.

“Gipp got even with him, however.  On several occasions, with the ball resting on our own 20- and 30- yard lines, Joe Brandy, the quarterback, called on Gipp to punt. Instead of punting, Gipp drop-kicked. I think that’s where Rock lost most of his hair. Gipp once drop-kicked a 68-yard field goal, but here he was trying for 70 and 80 yards. So each time he went back into punt formation, he'd drop-kick. Finally, Rock got the message. He took Gipp out.  I remember that Gipp walked over to a pile of straw, dropped to his knees in utter exhaustion, and then crawled over to one end of the pile, behind Rockne, and grabbed a cigarette out of a spectator’s hand, inhaled several drags, and handed it back. And then it dawned on me. While Rockne was trying to get him in condition, all Gipp was interested in was getting out of the game so he could have a fast smoke.”

*********** QUIZ. He was a teammate of George Gipp at Notre Dame, and 40 years later, in the final year of his long coaching career, he was the coach of Philadelphia’s last pro football championship team.

A native of Mitchellville, Iowa, he started out at Creighton, but after the great flu epidemic of 1918 forced the school to cancel its schedule one game into the season, he transferred to Notre Dame.

Knute Rockne installed him on the offensive line, where in 1921 he earned All-American honors.  He also made 38 of 39 extra points, a Notre Dame record that lasted until 1976.

After graduation, Rockne’s recommendation was enough to get him a job as coach at North Carolina State, but after a year in Raleigh he took a job as coach at Nevada. After four years there, he was hired as an assistant at Santa Clara by a former Notre Dame teammate, Clipper Smith, and after Smith left to take the head coaching job at Villanova, he became Santa Clara’s head coach.

His teams went 47-10-4 and won two Sugar Bowls.  (Santa Clara was big-time then.)  But in 1942, with the outbreak of  World War II, the school gave up football. 

He spent one year as interim coach at Cal while working on putting together a San Francisco entry in the new All-America Football Conference, to start play after the war.

The team, called the 49ers, turned out to be really good.  With former Stanford star Frankie Albert at quarterback, they won 38 games, lost 14 and tied 2 (.703) from 1946-1949,  but unfortunately, they were in the same division as the Cleveland Browns, one of the greatest football teams ever assembled, and they wound up finishing second to the Browns in all four years of the AAFC’s existence.

In 1950, the 49ers were admitted to the NFL along with the Browns and the Baltimore Colts, and over the next five years, his teams went 33-25-3.

In 1956 and 1957 he coached the Air Force Academy, and in 1958, he was hired by the last-place Philadelphia Eagles.  HIs first order of business was to get a quarterback, and in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams he acquired 32-year-old Norm Van Brocklin.

The Eagles went 2-9-1 in 1958, then improved to 7-5 in 1959. In his third year, 1960,  they went 10-2 and defeated the Green Bay Packers  for the NFL championship (dealing Vince Lombardi his only post-season loss).

Following the game, he announced his retirement. He was only 61, but at the time he was the oldest coach ever to win an NFL championship. (Bill Belichick is 65.) 



american flagTUESDAY,  JANUARY 23,  2018  “When a football player steps on the field, he should do it all. I realize a great running back doesn’t like to play defense, but life isn’t based on what you like. If everybody did what he liked to do, we’d be in real trouble.” Wallace Wade

*********** I must be losing my competitive edge.  Players who’ve known me from years past won’t believe this, but I fear I could be getting soft.

Why else would I feel bad about the Eagles’ winning?

Here are the Philadelphia Eagles, the team I rooted for passionately until we moved to Baltimore in 1961,   on their way to the Super Bowl.  My wife and I even spent (some) time on our honeymoon  in Hershey, Pennsylvania, watching the Eagles train.

So, yes,  I was happy Sunday for the Eagles and for all the Philly fans who’ve suffered through some terrible, terrible years.

But I kept thinking about the Vikings and their fans, who’ve suffered through just about the same kind of drought as Eagles’ fans.  And, having been on the short end often enough myself, I hurt for those coaches who came so far and then got blown out.  It would have been especially exciting to have had a Minnesota team in a Super Bowl played in Minneapolis, and it would have been wonderful to have seen Bud Grant introduced to young fans who have no idea what a great coach he was.  Alas, it’s not to be, and I hurt for the good people of Minnesota.

*********** Meanwhile,  it sure was stirring to see most of the 70,000 Philly fans still in the stands afterwards and then, at Terry Bradshaw’s urging, hear them all sing “Fly, Eagles, Fly.”

*********** I wonder if there’s anyone out there who thinks the Eagles would be going to the Super Bowl if, after Carson Wentz went down, they’d signed Colin Kaepernick instead of Nick Foles.

*********** Sure hope this clown was one of the Eagles' "fans" who "allegedly" threw beer on Vikings' fans.

http://www.tmz.com/2018/01/22/philadelphia-eagles-fan-runs-into-pole-subway-train/

*********** I think that Belichick may very well be the best NFL coach of all time.  But don’t try to sell me Brady, the so-called GOAT. 

Greatest, my ass.  It’s really hard for me to watch what amounts to a one-trick pony, the ultimate in sports specialization. Brady’s the  football version of baseball’s designated hitter.  But at least DH’s have to run.

There are guys who watch an automobile race in hopes of seeing a crash, or a hockey game in hopes of seeing a fight.  Me,  I watch a Patriots game in hopes of - just once - seeing Brady get tackled. Hard.  (But clean.)

*********** Jacksonville really does look like a team of the future. Maybe their run will serve to get people off Blake Bortles’ ass.  The guy played well on a national stage.

*********** It’s good in one way that Jacksonville lost, because I doubt that I could have taken much more of Tony Romo’s insistence on calling them “JAG-wires.”

Speaking of Romo, does anyone else think that after he started getting rave reviews,  he began coming on a little too strong toward the end of the season?

*********** Gronkowski is a hell of a receiver but I can't stand the guy. Nevertheless, I deplore the dirty, chickensh-- shot that took him  out of the game Sunday.  It was almost certainly done with an intent to injure, as the "tackler" tucked his arms in and aimed his shoulder and head at Gronk's helmet.  If the NFL really cares about safety, not to mention the loss of its stars to what amounts to assault, it's got to take action to end this sh--.

I'm still mystified that no one has yet figured out that a dirty shot on Tom Brady by a nonentity  is the football equivalent of giving up a pawn to capture a queen.

Again, I call for a rule requiring that a "tackler" must employ his arms or it's ruled  a "no tackle" with a penalty of 15 yards  from the spot of the foul, plus  ejection and a one-game suspension for the offender.

*********** With no football on the tube Saturday, I happened on something called “Scotia Bank’s Annual Hockey Day in Canada.”

It was really cool.   From coast to coast, we dropped in on small-town Canada - Corner Brook, Newfoundland… Grand Falls, New Brunswick… Sarnia, Ontario… Duncan, British Columbia - to talk to ordinary folks about what hockey means to their communities.

We saw little kids playing ice hockey on outdoor rinks - ponds, even.   We heard NHL stars talk about growing up in small towns, playing ice hockey on ponds.

It was sad, really,  to see what a unifying force ice hockey, a rough sport if ever there was one, is to our neighbor to the north, while here on our side of the border, we have no such thing. In fact, not a day goes by that we don’t hear about another “study” that takes dead aim at our once-unified culture by stating that our little kids shouldn’t be playing football.

*********** FLASH - THE PINK PUSSYHAT IS NOT INCLUSIVE ENOUGH!

Turns out that the pink pussyhat, worn as a symbol of - what? - by feminist protestors,  excludes women and gender nonbinary (WTF?) people who don’t have typical female genitalia and to women of color because their genitals are more likely to be brown than pink. (someone else’s words - not mine.)

Get this:
There are some people who have felt invisible because of this project. Some have interpreted pink hats with cat ears as white women’s vulvas. Not all women have pussies. Not all pussies are pink. Our intent was and always will be to support all women. We hear some of you saying that this symbol has made some women feel excluded. We hear you. We see you.
I’m going to have to pause to let that all sink in.

Now, then:
Some people have questioned whether the very name “pussyhats” means our movement is saying only people with vaginas can be feminists. No way! Trans people and intersex people and people with any genital anatomy can be feminists and wear Pussyhats™. Feminists who wear Pussyhats™ fight transmisogyny and support ALL women.
On the Web site of something called the Pussyhat Project:
“It does not matter if you have a vulva or what color it may be.  If a participant wants to create a pussyhat that reflects the color of her vulva, we support her choice.”
It must really be liberating for once-oppressed women to now be able to talk freely and openly about the color of their vulvas.

You want to have a good laugh and at the same time piss off any feminists around you?  Read this aloud:

“It does not matter if you have a penis or what color it may be.  If a participant wants to create a dickhat that reflects the color of his penis, we support his choice.”

On second thought, better not - you might be accused of sexual harassment.  Or something.

https://www.pussyhatproject.com/

*********** The Pussyhat Patriot Award went to a male pussyhatter who had this recipe for Making America Great Again:

“The more we can get old white men out of office and the more we can get women and people of color into office the better off we’re going to be.

*********** I first printed this in February, 2004, and I last printed it in July, 2009…

In the late 1970s, while studying for my Master's Degree at the University of Portland, I took a course in World History taught by Professor James Covert.  The guy was something of a legend at the U of P, and I soon found out why.  He was really good. I had majored in history at Yale and I'd been taught by some of the top people in the field, but as a teacher, Professor Covert was the equal of any of them. One lesson in particular left a lasting impression on me.  I transferred the gist of it from my class notes to a note card, and for years, I've kept it pinned on a wall for ready reference.

THE CAUSES OF THE FALL OF ROME  (In parentheses,  ways in which our own culture replicates the decadence of Rome.)

1. COST OF GLADIATORIAL GAMES (WE TAX OUR WORKERS AND OUR VISITORS TO BUILD STADIUMS AND ARENAS, SO THAT BILLIONAIRE TEAM OWNERS CAN PAY MILLIONAIRE PLAYERS TO PLAY GAMES FOR THE PEOPLE’S AMUSEMENT AND DISTRACTION - ALL WHILE OUR ROADS CRUMBLE, OUR BRIDGES CREAK, HOMELESS CAMP ON OUR STREETS AND DEFILE OUR CITIES  WITH NEEDLES AND HUMAN WASTE, OUR MILITARY AND OUR POLICE ARE UNDERSTAFFED, AND OUR SCHOOLS TURN OUT UNEDUCATED, UNEMPLOYABLE PROLES.)

2. HIRED ARMIES, RATHER THAN CITIZEN ARMIES (NO NEED FOR YOU TO  DEFEND YOUR COUNTRY WHEN WE CAN HIRE OTHERS - YOUR SEEMING INFERIORS - TO DO IT FOR YOU. OF COURSE, THEY’RE GOING TO HAVE TO TO BE PAID, A FACT OFTEN LOST ON LEGISLATORS, FEW OF WHOM HAVE SERVED.)

3. POPULATION PRESSURES FROM OUTSIDE (TIGHT BUDGETS CAUSE CUTBACKS IN SERVICES TO OUR OWN PEOPLE, WHILE 20+ MILLION PEOPLE IN OUR COUNTRY ILLEGALLY OR CLAIMING TO BE “REFUGEES” GET FREE EDUCATION, FREE MEDICAL CARE, FOOD STAMPS AND SUBSIDIZED HOUSING. THEY HAVE NO INTEREST IN BECOMING AMERICANS. AND THEY CONTINUE TO POUR IN.”)

4. GOVERNMENTAL CORRUPTION (THERE’S A REASON WHY POLITICIANS RAISE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO GET ELECTED TO A JOB THAT PAYS LESS THAN $200,000 A YEAR; THERE’S A REASON WHY DESPITE HAVING HAD TO LIVE ON A LEGISLATOR’S SALARY THEY ALWAYS LEAVE OFFICE MUCH WEALTHIER THAN WHEN THEY ENTERED.)

IT'S BEEN MORE THAN EIGHT YEARS SINCE I LAST PRINTED THIS.  SINCE THEN, BASED ON WHAT YOU SEE AROUND YOU TODAY, WOULD YOU SAY THAT  WE'VE BECOME MORE - OR LESS - LIKE ANCIENT ROME?

*********** Bronco Mendenhall, head coach at Virginia, talked about about 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 got 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 it’s going to be like coaching on your staff - 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 a good fit for him.)

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)


*********** For quite some time I’ve wondered what, exactly, the Army got for its money by sponsoring the All-American Bowl - you know, one among many of those ego-stroking high school all-star games punctuated by the little sideline mini dramas in which kids reveal to us which colleges they’re committing to.  Until they decommit.

There is no connection whatsoever, of course, between the United States Army and the  players in the game.  There’s not a one of them who, at least in his own mind, isn’t headed eventually for a long and successful career in the NFL.

The point of the Army’s expenditure is  recruiting, and somehow, some smart guy  convinced the Army higher-ups that the money spent on the All-American Bowl was worth it, not only  in return for the TV exposure (not sure what the ratings are, but I doubt that they beat out golf), but also - and here I had to shake my head - because it got their message into the schools of the participants.  See, when it’s announced that a kid’s been selected to play in the game, there’s a big assembly at his school,  with Army people on hand to deliver the invitation.  Can’t you see all those kids up in the stands just waiting for the assembly to end so they can rush down and enlist?

But that’s it.  Nobody beyond those affected schools has the slightest idea what’s going on. Time for some simple math: There are roughly 50 kids on each of the two teams.  That’s 100 kids total playing in the game.  If they all come from different high schools, that’s 100 high schools, tops, where they’re  putting on those assemblies.

Um, there are more than 14,000 high schools in the United States playing football.  That means there’s 13,900 of them that they’re not reaching.

When you spend all that money to get your message to fewer than 1 per cent of America’s high schools that’s not an efficient expenditure of taxpayer money.

Somebody in the Army leadership must agree.  They’ve cancelled their sponsorship following the 2018 game.

http://blog.mysanantonio.com/hssports/2017/01/football-army-pulling-sponsorship-from-all-american-bowl/

*********** Those who contend that youth tackle football is overly dangerous, and Flag Football is the answer to reducing injuries, will be disappointed to read the results of a study by University of Iowa researchers just published in The Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine.  

The NFL, after investing millions in promoting flag football, won't like it either, but screw them.

If you’re into scientific studies, you can read all about it here:

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2325967116686784

In simpler form, you can read the abstract below

Or, if you’re really rushed, you can just skip to the bottom of the article, where the lead author sums it up.

Or just take my word for it: youth football isn’t as dangerous as it’s being popularly portrayed.

    Youth Football Injuries: A Prospective Cohort

    Andrew R. Peterson, MD, MSPH*, Adam J. Kruse, MS, Scott M. Meester, BS, Tyler S. Olson, BS, Benjamin N. Riedle, MS, Tyler G. Slayman, MD, Todd J. Domeyer, MD, Joseph E. Cavanaugh, PhD, M. Kyle Smoot, MD
    First Published February 10, 2017

    Abstract

    Background:
    There are approximately 2.8 million youth football players between the ages of 7 and 14 years in the United States. Rates of injury in this population are poorly described. Recent studies have reported injury rates between 2.3% and 30.4% per season and between 8.5 and 43 per 1000 exposures.

    Hypothesis:
    Youth flag football has a lower injury rate than youth tackle football. The concussion rates in flag football are lower than in tackle football.

    Study Design:
    Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.

    Methods:
    Three large youth (grades 2-7) football leagues with a total of 3794 players were enrolled. Research personnel partnered with the leagues to provide electronic attendance and injury reporting systems. Researchers had access to deidentified player data and injury information. Injury rates for both the tackle and flag leagues were calculated and compared using Poisson regression with a log link. The probability an injury was severe and an injury resulted in a concussion were modeled using logistic regression. For these 2 responses, best subset model selection was performed, and the model with the minimum Akaike information criterion value was chosen as best. Kaplan-Meier curves were examined to compare time loss due to injury for various subgroups of the population. Finally, time loss was modeled using Cox proportional hazards regression models.

    Results:
    A total of 46,416 exposures and 128 injuries were reported. The mean age at injury was 10.64 years. The hazard ratio for tackle football (compared with flag football) was 0.45 (95% CI, 0.25-0.80; P = .0065). The rate of severe injuries per exposure for tackle football was 1.1 (95% CI, 0.33-3.4; P = .93) times that of the flag league. The rate for concussions in tackle football per exposure was 0.51 (95% CI, 0.16-1.7; P = .27) times that of the flag league.

    Conclusion:

    Injury is more likely to occur in youth flag football than in youth tackle football. Severe injuries and concussions were not significantly different between leagues. Concussion was more likely to occur during games than during practice. Players in the sixth or seventh grade were more likely to suffer a concussion than were younger players.


The authors stress that their study was “internally funded,” and received no funding from any “football interests,” such as the NFL or its front, USA Football.

The study’s lead author, Andre Peterson, associate professor of pediatrics and orthopedics at the University of Iowa, reduces it to one sentence:

“I think the take-home here is that youth tackle football is relatively safe, and that flag football may not be a safer alternative.”

*********** “In the champion’s mind, he is never ahead. He distorts reality to serve his competitive purpose. He is always coming from behind, even when the score indicates he is destroying his opponent. He never believes he is performing as well as he actually is.”

Mark McCormack, one-time agent of golf’s three top stars, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, among other famous athletes, and founder of sports giant IMG.

*********** SAME SEX ACTIVE-DUTY “COUPLE” MARRIES AT WEST POINT…

And in the Cadet Chapel, no less.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/same-sex-active-duty-couple-marries-west-point-201933294.html

*********** An update from my NEWS page, October 2008…

From an article in the Dallas Morning News…

FIVE REASONS FOR THE SPREAD'S SPREAD (Followed by my comments)

1: More fun for players (yeah- at least for the ones who make the most noise - the wide receivers. Last I heard, though, even spread teams don't use more than four of them. So what about the offensive linemen? There are five of them. Has anyone ever asked an offensive lineman who's played both a trapping, drive-blocking, kick-ass offense and a spread, push-and-pull pussy-blocking offense which one he thinks is more fun?)

2: Great offensive linemen not essential (no, not if you work really hard at teaching average linemen how to hold)

3: Rule changes over the years have favored passing (that's for sure - and the next one will probably require defensive coaches to submit their game plans to their opponents at least one week in advance)

4: UIL allowing 7-on-7 competition (damn shame they have to ruin the fun of 7-on-7 by bringing in linemen once real football starts)

5: Scholarship opportunities enhanced since most colleges also employ the offense (Can't argue with that one, except to say that last I heard,  our job was to help all our kids be successful, even the ones who don't have college football potential.)

*********** Cody Gifford, son of the New York Giant immortal,  recalled, at the time of his father’s death,  a moment in the life of his celebrity dad…

Flashback a few months: I’m with Dad, and we’re doing research for his HBO movie at P.J. Clarke’s. As we’re crossing the street, a man from inside a taxi screams at him, “You’re Frank Gifford!”

Dad noticed his three young boys in the back seat, all of them decked out in Giants jerseys. So of course he goes up to the window, and to my absolute horror, decides to remove the Hall of Fame ring from his finger and place it on the hand of one of the kids inside the cab.

I’m now mentally preparing myself to be dragged across Midtown Manhattan in hot pursuit of the cab and my dad’s ring, should the cabbie hit the gas. The light turns green and the driver, amidst a swarm of honks and various expletives, decides that he would also like to try the ring. (Each of the kids had already had a chance.)

Dad taught me that it is the work of honorable men to leave the world in a better state, if you have the resources to do so. That day he saw an opportunity to improve the world a little bit, at least the worlds of three children and their father. And one gutsy cab driver.

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/exclusive-frank-gifford-remembered-wife-kids-article-1.2331119


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

Sending you this a little late because I just returned from speaking at a DW clinic in Woodville, TX.

One of the other speakers was someone you know.  John Irion who has had a very successful career coaching the DW in upstate NY.  I enjoyed meeting him and talking DW football with him.  He and I both gave you props on mentoring both of us, and providing us with the tools we needed to make the offense successful for both of us.  A shout-out of thanks to you from both of us!  

Prayers and condolences for Tyler Hilinski and Coach Snyder's grandson Sean.  Two young men whose lives ended too soon.  One of these days we'll know why and what possesses a human being to take their own life BEFORE they actually do, and leave us a note telling us.

Have I ever mentioned...

Also at the clinic this weekend was Coach Blair Hubbard of Broomfield HS in CO.  He had been a successful DW coach for a number of years before morphing into his own version that is run from the shotgun with a ton of Jet motion, and shared with us the latest in a defensive scheme designed for use against the DW.  Each year he faces off with Coach Phil Mauro in the Colorado playoffs.  Mauro runs the DW and Coach Hubbard has always struggled to stop it.  But... since he started utilizing this new defensive concept he has been able to slow Mauro's offense down, and keep things close. The debate was...let me say...lively!

Talk to you Tuesday!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** With the new Tonya Harding movie out, my son Ed suggested it might be time to return to my exciting day covering Tonya’s day as a prisoner trimming weeds at our local cemetery.

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


*********** QUIZ - William Wallace Wade  - known as Wallace Wade - was born and raised on a farm in Trenton, Tennessee, the son of a proud Scotsman who named him after William Wallace, of “Braveheart” fame.

He played college football for Brown University, where one of his teammates was Fritz Pollard, who later would become the first black coach in the NFL.

After graduation, he got a job coaching at a military school in Tennessee, and after winning a state title there, he was hired as an assistant to Dan McGugin at Vanderbilt.  In his two years at Vandy, the Commodores went 15-0-2, the ties coming against Georgia and Michigan.

In 1923, he was hired by Alabama, and in his eight years in Tuscaloosa, he would compile a record of 61-13-3. His teams would win three national titles and appear in three Rose Bowls.  His 1925 team was undefeated and was the first southern team to win a Rose Bowl - its 20-19 win over Washington has been called by football historians “The Game that Changed the South.”  His 1926 team was also undefeated, but  tied Stanford in the Rose Bowl. HIs final Alabama team in 1930 went 10-0 and beat Washington State in the Rose Bowl, 24-0.  It outscored its opponents, 271-13.

And then he abruptly departed Alabama and headed for Duke, then a small, private college in North Carolina with big-time aspirations. He more than delivered. In his 16 seasons there - with four years off for World War II service in the Navy - his record was 110-36-7.

One of his teams was named a national champion, and two of his teams played in the Rose Bowl. 

His 1933 team had a Rose Bowl invitation in hand, provided they beat Georgia Tech in their final game.  They lost, 6-0.

They went 7-2 in 1934, 8-2  in 1935, 9-1 in 1936, and 7-2-1 in 1937.

In then came the 1938 team,  one of the most remarkable in college football history.  In their nine-game regular season, they were undefeated, untied, and unscored-on, earning them the nickname “Iron Dukes.”   Their goal line wasn’t crossed until the final 40 seconds of the 1939 Rose Bowl game, when USC scored on a pass to defeat them, 7-3.

HIs Duke team played Oregon State in the only Rose Bowl game not played in California when, in the days following Pearl Harbor President Roosevelt banned large gatherings of people on the West Coast.

In all, he won four national championships, and at a time when the Rose Bowl was the equivalent of today’s national championship game, he played in it five times.

At Alabama, he’s honored with a statue outside Bryant-Denny Stadium; at his Duke, he’s honored with a bust outside the stadium that now bears his name.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING WALLACE WADE:
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NOTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
RALPH BALDUCCI - PORTLAND, OREGON
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA (Have been to wallace wade stadium to see duke vs north carolina and it a good place to watch a game.....a great coach at everything he coached)
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN


***********  I wonder who was the last "big time" football coach to supplement his income by coaching baseball or basketball? Nelson and Raymond were doing it into the 1960s at Delaware.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Interesting point.  Coaches weren’t paid much, and often, if they were successful, they'd write a book as a way to supplement their income.  Now, between salaries and shoe contracts that they’re paid so much they can’t be bothered to write books.  And football coaching was not a year-round thing.  I remember Mike Lude telling me their contracts only ran for the length of the football season. Teaching a class or two and/or coaching another sport was a way for them to feed their families.

Mike, by the way, flew back to Newark for Tubby’s funeral.
 


*********** He’s been dead almost 100 years, but thanks in part to his dying wish, his story remains a part of football lore and his name is a part of our language.

He was a Yooper, born and raised on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

He never played high school football, and went to Notre Dame with intentions of playing baseball, but the Notre Dame football coach, seeing him drop-kicking the ball for fun, was so impressed that he persuaded him to join the football team.

He turned out to be an all-round football great,  leading the Irish in rushing and passing his last three years. In addition to  rushing for 2341 yards - a Notre Dame career record that would last for 58 years - he passed for 1789 yards.  He still holds school records for average yards rushing in a season (8.1), average yards per play (9.4) and career average yards total offense per game (128.4).

During his Notre Dame career, the Irish were 27-2-3, outscoring opponents 506-97.  They were undefeated his junior and senior years.

In December, 1920, following the end of his senior season, he was honored by Walter Camp (who then selected All-America teams) as Notre Dame’s first All-American.

But just two weeks later, he lay dying in a hospital in South Bend, severely ill from complications from strep throat.

At his deathbed was his football coach.  Posterity has only his coach’s word for it, but the story goes that he said, “I’ve got to go, Rock.  It’s all right.  I’m not afraid.  Some time, Rock, when the team is up against it, when things are wrong and the breaks are beating the boys - tell them to go in there with all they’ve got and win just one for (me).  I don’t know where I’ll be then, Rock, but I’ll know about it - and I’ll be happy.”

The coach waited for the right opportunity to honor his request.  It was not until eight years later - November 10, 1928 - that he told that story to a Notre Dame team. It was in Yankee Stadium, at halftime of the Notre Dame-Army game. Army was unbeaten, and Notre Dame, 4-2, trailed, the Cadets, 6-0.

That’s when the coach decided to play the card.  He told the team the story of the great All-American whose young life was snuffed out while he had yet to achieve the true greatness that awaited him. And he told them that that young man’s dying wish was that someday, when they were up against it, some Notre Dame team would find it within themselves to win just one for him.

“The day before he died,” the coach told the team, “(He) asked me to wait until the situation seemed hopeless - then ask a Notre Dame team to go out and beat Army for him.  This is the day, and you are the team!”

(Can’t you just see the team charging out of the locker room?)

An inspired Notre Dame team took the field and scoring twice in the second half upset Army, 12-6.  After scoring the first of the touchdowns, tying the score, Notre Dame’s Jack Chevigny said, “That’s one for (him)!”

In a 1940 movie, “Knute Rockne, All-American,” he was played by a young actor named Ronald Reagan.

(In February, 1945, Marine officer Jack Chevigny was killed in action on Iwo Jima.)


american flagFRIDAY,  JANUARY 19,  2018  “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.” William F. Buckley, Jr.

*********** It’s not as if we really knew Tyler Hilinski.  I saw him play just twice.  I’m not sure my wife ever did.  The first time I saw him play was on a Saturday night, when he entered the game in relief of starter Luke Falk and brought Washington State back to defeat Boise State.  It was a tremendous job of pinch-hitting (if I can use two baseball references in the same paragraph) and his teammates carried him off the field. The game ended late, and my wife had long since gone to sleep, so she missed it.  The next week, Falk was back in the driver’s seat, and Tyler Hilinksi was back on the bench, as if nothing had ever happened. The second time, I barely watched because it was the bowl game against Michigan State and, frankly, I watched another game. I didn’t think the Cougars’ effort justified my watching.  No disrespect of Tyler Hilinski - it wasn’t even announced until the last minute that Falk wouldn’t be playing. I can hear the pregame pep talk now: “Well, Tyler, I guess you better warm up.” 

Things didn’t go well for the Cougars, but it wasn’t Tyler Hilinski's fault.  At least, I felt, that damned Air Raid offense of Leach’s would have a game-ready QB next season, and  a good one at that.

But when my wife picked up the sports page Wednesday morning, she put it right down again. And then she handed it to me.  She had tears in her eyes. Right at the top of the page, the headline caught me: “WSU QB Tyler Hilinski found dead.”

The cause of death, it said, was “an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

It was a gut punch.  I felt so awful, on so many levels.  For the kid - what pain could have driven him to that?   For his family - his mom and dad and his two brothers, both of them quarterbacks like him.  For his teammates and his coaches.  And for the WSU family.  It’s a close group.  Washington State may be a Power Five conference school, but it’s a rather small school in a small community - as small-school as you can get and still be “major college.”

May God rest his soul and bring peace and comfort to those who grieve.

Poor kid wasn’t gone 24 hours, his family was no doubt deep in grief, an entire community stunned by his loss, and damned if the NCAA’s “chief medical officer” wasn't jumping in like a vulture, pontificating at length on depression and mental health issues and student suicide and blah, blah blah. I wanted to throttle the fool and say, “Could you please give it a rest for a couple of days, Doctor?”  (Not sure why we haven’t heard from the gun control folks yet.)

I include this story from happier times for everybody…

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2017/sep/14/all-time-high-linski-washington-state-backup-had-f/#/0

*********** What do you get when you cross Lane Kiffin with Charlie Weis?

http://www.yardbarker.com/college_football/articles/lane_kiffin_hires_24_year_old_offensive_coordinator/s1_12680_25473278

*********** Prayers and condolences to Kansas State’s Bill Snyder and his son and assistant, Sean on the sudden and unexpected death of Bill’s grandson and Sean’s son, 22-year-old Matthew Snyder.

*********** From the National Football Foundation’s weekly newsletter…
*** ”Carm Cozza was a Hall of Fame football coach, a man who joined a select few at the pinnacle of his profession," said NFF Vice Chairman Jack Ford, the TV journalist and legal analyst who played defensive back for the Bulldogs in the late 1960s and early 1970s. "But he was so much more than that to those of us who played for him. There is an old proverb that states: 'When a student is ready, a teacher will appear.' Carm Cozza was that teacher for hundreds of young Yale football players... He reveled in the success of his players off the field as well, often claiming that he was 'the best pre-law and pre-med coach in the country.'"

*** The CFP National Championship between Alabama and Georgia produced the second best audience in cable television history, averaging a total live audience of 28.4 million viewers with a 16.7 combined overnight rating, according to ESPN and Nielsen. Only the Oregon-Ohio State CFP title game in 2015, which had 33.9 million viewers and an 18.8 share, eclipsed Monday night's audience on cable. Coupled with the CFP semifinal games, ESPN reported that the combined viewership for all three games increased by 18 percent from last season with an average 14.9 overnight rating. Factoring in all of the New Year's Six Games, ESPN said the CFP games averaged a 9.8 rating, a 5 percent increase from last year or the best in the CFP system's history...
*********** A reader writes, "At basketball practice yesterday, several of our football players (one a freshman) commented on the 'lousy tackling form' on that play, and how he never should have dropped his head. So our players understand it better than the talking heads who keep trying to make excuses for the guy."

Obviously it’s because those kids have been properly coached.

Interestingly, the NFL’s ass-covering scheme of financing and force-feeding “Heads-Up Football” on “lower level” coaches through its  front organization (USA Football, the self-styled “governing body” of football)  could wind up biting it in the butt as now they’ve trained kids to recognize how poor their product is!


*********** Following a recent article about the NFL, I found this gem in the “comments” section, written by someone who identified himself as "Len Mullen"…
The NFL has moved the focus of promotion from the game to the players. We know WAY too much about NFL players. We know they cheat. We know they abandon unplanned offspring. We know they are murderers.

Mostly, though, we know how much money they make. And how much it costs to get them to change jerseys (and fans).

We know the NFL charges the military to salute vets and we know that the NFL is exempt from anti-trust laws. Their bad behavior is awe-inspiring.

And they are so f*'ng stupid that they talk about all of these things nonstop.

If a fan pays $346.96 for a ticket, $50 to park a mile from the stadium, $324.99 for a Nike Elite Tom Brady #12 Jersey, and $20 for a beer and a hot dog, he should get a lap dance -- not a political lecture.

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

I am a youth coach that will be the head coach for a 9U unit this upcoming spring and fall season. I want to implement the double wing wholeheartedly . I am inquiring as to which of your products, I should purchase, that would best suit this age group. As spring ball will be upon us soon, please respond as soon as possible. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

My answer right now is “None,” because right now I’m about halfway through a major re-do of my playbook which is going to be invaluable to any coach at any level who wants to run the Double Wing.

I’d just ask you to hold off for a month or so and check my NEWS page, which I update twice a week.

It will be worth the wait.

I’ve attached a page from the new book to give you some idea of what it will include.  Even if you don’t buy my playbook this page will help you as a Double Wing coach.


*********** Good morning, Coach!

I trust the Wyatt family is doing well!

Enjoyed your News again this morning. I pointed out that same ineligible receiver lineup to my wife last week when the Saints beat Carolina - and again on Sunday. They ran that formation several times in both games and it was never flagged.

And as soon as the missed tackle happened, I told my sons that that was the perfect example of a professional player thinking he was going to make the ESPN Top 10 plays show and costing his team a win because of poor fundamentals. Isn't the NFL awesome?!!?

DJ Millay
Vancouver, Washington

Coach,

The shame of it is that you and I and lots of coaches can see with our eyes what the NFL is getting away with, but the ignorant public continues to buy the myth that that’s football at its best.

Ir could very well be that part of the reason for their decline in ratings is that the more intelligent members of the public are only now beginning to realize what we’ve known for some time.

The NFL sure does complicate the jobs of those of us who have to coach kids who’ve been influenced by their neglect of fundamentals and team play.


*********** Glad you brought up the WRs on the line of scrimmage thing. I was saying it in the game as well that the NFL is really lax on this, tackles in the backfield, etc.

Adam Wesoloski
Pulaski, Wisconsin


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

OK...I am now convinced that folks in Austin (and Central Texas in general) can't handle cold weather.  We had a little ice and some snow flurries last night and this morning and everything is shut down.  Schools, government offices, public institutions, all shut down.  I'd hate to see how they would react to a real snowfall.  But...I have no complaints as I write this from home!

I hope Kevin Sumlin finds Arizona to be a bit more hospitable than A&M, and that he throws in an option or two just to let Kahlil Tate know who's in charge.

When I was a kid growing up, and would watch college football, my mind would automatically expect hearing the voice of Keith Jackson on the broadcast.  He was a sportscasting icon.

I wouldn't be surprised in the near future to see more American football athletes heading down under to play American football.  I hear "Gridiron" is becoming more and more popular with the Aussies.

The only NFL game I caught a glimpse of was the Vikings-Saints game.  Having lived in Minnesota for 8 years before the "take a knee" fad I was a Viking fan.  I watched the last 5 minutes of the game, and told my wife it appeared the Vikes were on their way to another heartbreak ending until that rookie Saints DB decided to do the unthinkable.  Wow.  Have I ever mentioned...

I heard about all the reasons (excuses) as to why he did what he did.  There are none.  He didn't get his job done.  In that game ending situation he should have kept the ball in front of him, wrap up on the receiver on the tackle, and keep the receiver in bounds until he got help from his team mates.  He did none of those very fundamental practices that are taught in high school (or should be), and reinforced in college (or should be), and continued to be practiced at the professional level (or should be).

Have a great week!

Joe  Gutilla
Austin, Texas


Hi Joe-

One small thing:  “Gridiron” is increasingly popular on TV in Australia, a sports-made country. (Especially American college football, because they get it on “their” Sunday.)  But in terms of participation, it’s not even on the charts.

The Aussies love all sports (and they love to bet on them). But Australia has about the same number of people as Texas, and it already has three “codes” of football - Australian Rules, Rugby Union and Rugby League - in addition to soccer.  They’re all  popular, depending on the place.

And then there’s cricket, which is THE big national sport.  And, of course, basketball, where the Aussies are pretty good internationally - check out college and NBA rosters.

Baseball is played as well.

Basically,  by the time you get to gridiron, there just aren’t many guys left.

There’s a little demand for American basketball players over there.  But any American football player interested in going over there had better put aside any ideas about being paid - or even having his flight or his room and board paid for.


*********** I’m no fan of the NFL, and yes, this weekend we get to watch the boring Bradies again,
but it just so happens that there are three other teams and they're all pretty good stories.

Although a Philadelphian,  I’m no longer the Iggles’ fan that I once was, but I love my city and its history, and I’m well aware that the last time the Birds won a title the Super Bowl hadn’t been invented yet.  In fact, it was the first year of the AFL’s existence.  It was 1960, the year I graduated from college.  (Holy sh—!)  They’d be one of the favorites if Carson Wentz hadn’t been injured.   Now, with Nick Foles at QB, they may not be the best team in the NFL, but they’re not dogs, either.

Then, there’s Jacksonville, once the symbol of the worst football the NFL could offer.  Now, they’re a pretty good club.  That win over the Steelers was no fluke - hell, they’d done it earlier in the season. They have a great defense and they have a power running game.  The Wall Street Journal points out that they’re made in the image of a team that beat the Patriots twice in Super Bowls - the New York Giants.  And, the Journal points out,  that’s not exactly an accident.  Ex-Giants’ coach Tom Coughlin is a Jaguars’ executive, and his fingerprints are all over this team.

Finally, though, there are the Vikings - the so-called Team That Couldn’t win the Big One.  Maybe not, but they got there. They went to the Super Bowl four times under the great Bud Grant. Unfortunately, they never won, and their futility then and ever since has been attributed to one curse or another.  If the Eagles can’t win, then I’d sure like to see the Vikings win it and have Bud Grant on hand receive the Lombardi Trophy.  (He’s a rather self-effacing individual, but he might do it on behalf of all those longtime Vikings’ fans.)  Case Keenum has done an unbelievable job as a fill-in for Sam Bradford.

If you don’t have a team to root for and you’d like to have one, I’d suggest you read about Vikings’ coach Mike Zimmer.  He’s a coach’s son, for sure. His dad, Bill, was a farmer’s son who became a high school football and wrestling coach and he cut Mike no slack.   He was a pretty doggone good coach.  In 34 years at Lockport, Illinois High School, his record was 164-143-5.

From an article in espn.com by Ben Guessling…
"My dad was a guy who wasn't afraid of anything. Ever," Mike Zimmer said. "[He was always] driving you, pushing you further."
That came through hard lessons learned on the wrestling mats of Lockport Township High School. As a sixth-grader, Mike would walk nearly a mile from Kelvin Grove Elementary School to the high school to grapple with his dad, and high school athletes, after he was cut from the basketball team. It came from a high school football coach who required his son to address him as "Coach" on the field, who once punched him in the chest after he threw an interception, whose practice-field spats with his son would bleed over into silent rifts at the dinner table. Those trials came during "my rebellion years," Mike Zimmer joked, and though there might have been days when his father's toughness felt like meanness, they've helped form the alloy of resolve and perfectionism that surrounds his work as a coach now.
You can’t read this and not respect Mike Zimmer.

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/17249066/before-bill-parcells-mike-zimmer-coaching-philosophy-was-shaped-father-coach-bill-zimmer

You can’t read this and not admire Bill Zimmer

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/ct-bill-zimmer-father-of-vikings-mike-zimmer-obit-20150812-story.html


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

During a 1989 interview, Morrall was asked what it took to come off the bench and be an effective quarterback and team leader. His response was, "When you get the chance to do the job, you have to do the job. That's all there is to it."

It's a shame that Namath was a better qb for 1 day, than E.M. Very fitting that Morrall ended up with 2 rings for his career.

Absolutely concur with your analysis of the Saints safety. For once the Vikings were the beneficiaries.

I'm hoping Case Keenum is our Earl Morrall this year. I really have enjoyed how the Vikings have played this year, backups stepping in, sound defense & tackling. A very likeable group since Zimmer has been HC.

Even though Drew Brees is 1st class, it would have been bitter to see the Saints win, Sean Payton may be the biggest jackass in a league full of them.

Today's NFL fan will probably find the NFC title game dull, but it will be decided by 2 teams, that will both play great defense, minimize mistakes, and establish the run.

If Philadelphia wins, I will be rooting hard for them to knock off the Patriots.

take care,

Mick Yanke
Cokato, Minnesota

I have to pull for the Iggles, but if the Vikings win, I’ll be pulling for them.

They’re a great story and I like Zimmer - a coach’s son who’s paid his dues.  And I’d like to see them win it for Bud - the original guy slandered by the “can’t win the Big One” tag  - while he’s still with us.


*********** Charlie Wilson, of Crystal River, Florida is a treasure trove of arcane football knowledge, and he wrote…

When I saw that "Last Play" for Alabama, this is what I thought about first:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCrg5-63GSY

About 58:30. Find the replay for "Robert Farrell" getting a very good CB to fall on his ass.

(Watch. Charlie is right.  If ever you saw a leg-breaking fake, this is it.)

*********** Ah, for the good old days when cops carried night sticks.  This guy would have got one great “wooden shampoo.”
A Pennsylvania man was arrested for punching a police horse and its rider at Lincoln Financial Field over the weekend.

Taylor Hendricks, a 22-year-old from Whitehall, Penn., was ejected from Saturday's game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons because he was intoxicated and did not have a ticket, according to Philadelphia police.  Following his ejection,  police said,  he approached a mounted officer and "began punching the horse in the face, neck and shoulder area."

"The officer on the horse was then struck in the legs by the male (Hendricks)," police spokesperson Troy Brown wrote in a statement. "Another officer came over and grabbed the male, who was placed in custody."
Brown added that neither the horse nor officer were seriously injured in the incident.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/eagles/2018/01/16/fan-arrested-punching-police-horse-eagles-lincoln-financial-field-philadelphia/1036481001/


*********** QUIZ ANSWER -  Vikings or Eagles, whoever wins, there’ll be a backup QB - a guy who stepped in after the starter was injured and saved the season for his team - starting in the Super Bowl.

It certainly won’t be the first time a backup led his team to the Super Bowl. Earl Morrall  did it  - with two different teams.

A  native of Muskegon, Michigan, he  led the Michigan State Spartans to a 1956 Rose Bowl win over UCLA. He was a consensus All-American, and was drafted in the first round - Number two overall - by the 49ers.

He also played in the College World Series as a backup infielder, but football over baseball was an easy choice for him.

In all, he played 21 years in the NFL,  for six different teams. He enjoyed varying degrees of success, but it was what he accomplished late in his career that made him a football immortal.

In 1968, with future Hall of Fame QB John Unitas having arm problems, our guy was acquired from the Giants by the Baltimore Colts - and he led the Colts to a 13-1 regular season record. Then, following two more playoff wins, he led them to a berth in the Super Bowl against the Joe Namath-led New York Jets. That year, his 13th year in the League he was named NFL MVP.

In 1970, again filling in for an injured Unitas, he led the Colts to a Super Bowl win over the Cowboys.

And two years later, after being acquired by Miami, he took over when starter Bob Griese was injured.  The Dolphins were 5-0 at the time, and by the time  Griese came back, they had made it to the AFC championship game.  Their Super Bowl win, with Griese as the starter,  gave them the only perfect season in NFL history.

When Earl Morrall finally retired following the 1976 season, he had played in 255 games.  For almost 30 years, he remained the oldest quarterback (at 42) to start - and win - a regular-season NFL game. (Without the benefit of the assortment of personal trainers and dietitians that help make up Tom Brady’s entourage.)


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING EARL MORRALL:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA (one of the many mid century Big-10 multi-sport athletes...like the Badgers' Stu Voigt...8 letters at Wisconsin...3 FB, 3 Track & 2 in Baseball)
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
MICK YANKE - COKATO, MINNESOTA
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
DAVE POTTER - CARY, NORTH CAROLINA
J.C. BRINK - STUART, FLORIDA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
CHARLIE WILSON - CRYSTAL RIVER, FLORIDA
MIKE FORISTIERE - MATTAWA, WASHINGTON
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
RODNEY LUNSFORD - DUBLIN, INDIANA
SHEP CLARKE - PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON

*********** Interesting career and the SB III & V juxtaposition is fascinating.  But why oh why did he throw to Jerry Hill instead of a wide open Jimmy Orr in SB III, I'll never know.  He said he never saw Orr, but not only was Orr the primary (and wide-open), they'd completed that same play to Orr earlier in the season.  I'm still angry about it.

Dave Potter
Cary, North Carolina

Coach Potter is referring to a play in the Colts’ ignominious upset loss to the Jets and Joe Namath, when near the end of the first half the Colts ran a trick play in which Morrall threw to Jerry Hill, while failing to see a wide-open Jimmy Orr waving his arms. 

I looked up Earl Morrall’s version of what happened:

From his book, “in the Pocket”:
It started off fine. I handed off to Matte who was heading right. He stopped, turned, and lateraled back to me, his pass covering about 20 yards. When we worked the play against Atlanta, the ball came back high and I had to jump to get it, but this time it was low, about belt high, and I had to turn to my right to make the catch. When I looked for a receiver, there was Jerry Hill racing down the middle. He had plenty of room so I sort of arched the ball instead of throwing hard. It floated - giving Jim Hudson, the Jets’ safety, enough time to race over and make an interception.

The gun went off, ending the half. If I had just run with the ball I could have gotten us into field goal position. And then Boyd told me about Orr being wide open. I felt worse.

*********** QUIZ - He was born and raised on a farm in Trenton, Tennessee, the son of a proud Scotsman who named him after William Wallace, the Scottish freedom fighter later honored in the movie “Braveheart."

He played college football for Brown University, where one of his teammates was Fritz Pollard, who later would become the first black coach in the NFL.

After graduation, he got a job coaching at a military school in Tennessee, and after winning a state title there, he was hired as an assistant to Dan McGugin at Vanderbilt.  In his two years at Vandy, the Commodores went 15-0-2, the ties coming against Georgia and Michigan.

In 1923, he was hired by Alabama, and in his eight years in Tuscaloosa, he would compile a record of 61-13-3. His teams would win three national titles and appear in three Rose Bowls.  His 1925 team was undefeated and was the first southern team to win a Rose Bowl - its 20-19 win over Washington has been called by football historians “The Game that Changed the South.”  His 1926 team was also undefeated, but  tied Stanford in the Rose Bowl. HIs final Alabama team in 1930 went 10-0 and beat Washington State in the Rose Bowl, 24-0.  It outscored its opponents, 271-13.

And then he abruptly departed Alabama and headed for a small, private college in North Carolina with big-time aspirations. He more than delivered. In his 16 seasons there - with four years off for World War II service in the Navy - his record was 110-36-7.

One of his teams was named a national champion, and two of his teams played in the Rose Bowl. 

By his third year, 1933, his team had a Rose Bowl invitation in hand, provided they beat Georgia Tech in their final game.  Unfortunately, they lost, 6-0.

They went 7-2 in 1934, 8-2  in 1935, 9-1 in 1936, and 7-2-1 in 1937.

In then came the 1938 team,  one of the most remarkable in college football history.  In their nine-game regular season, they were undefeated, untied, and unscored-on, earning them the nickname “Iron Dukes.”   Their goal line wasn’t crossed until the final 40 seconds of the 1939 Rose Bowl game, when USC scored on a pass to defeat them, 7-3.

He coached one of the teams to play in the only Rose Bowl game not played in California when, in the days following Pearl Harbor President Roosevelt banned large gatherings of people on the West Coast.

In all, he won four national championships, and at a time when the Rose Bowl was the equivalent of today’s national championship game, he played in it five times.

At Alabama, he's honored with a statue outside Bryant-Denny Stadium; at his second school, he's honored with a bust outside the stadium that now bears his name.



american flagTUESDAY,  JANUARY 16,  2018  "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

*********** Looks like Kevin Sumlin will be the next coach at Arizona.  I think it’s a good hire.  The guy has demonstrated, at Houston and at Texas A & M, that he can coach.  You could say that he was collateral damage from Johnny Manziel, because Johnny Football was Sumlin's QB in his first year at A & M, when the Aggies went 11-2 -  and he never could match that season.

It appeared over the weekend, that ‘Zona had offered the job to Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo. “Coach Ken” had taken a couple of days off to fly out and talk to the folks in Tucson, but when he returned to Annapolis, the Navy people matched Arizona’s offer and…

Just kidding about that matching-the-offer business. But in any event, he’s staying at Navy.

I’d prefer to think that he realized that he’s got a pretty good thing going at Navy, that as long as he wins his share and puts a competitive team on the field - and doesn’t lose to Army next year - he can stay there forever.

But there had to be another concern, and it was a real one: his offense.

It didn’t matter to many Arizonans how many games he’s won at Navy with it.  All they knew was that they didn’t like it.

When word got out that he had been offered the Arizona job, the posters on the tucson.com comments sections went nuts.  No f—king way, they wrote.  Nobody will go to their games, wrote others.  Old—fashioned offense, boring offense, etc., etc.

(At the least, let that serve as a warning to anybody who thinks he can go into a place and sell people on an offense that they already know they hate.  Anybody out there ever run into this with the Double Wing?)

You know how it goes.  Power football is our baby and sure,  we love it -  but not everybody thinks our baby is beautiful, and in the case of an offense, they’ll come right out and tell you they think it's ugly.

Worst of all, Arizona’s QB, Khalil Tate, who is really good, tweeted, “I didn’t go to Arizona to run a triple (sic) option offense.”

I have a feeling that as much as anything, that was a factor in Coach Niumatalolo’s decision to turn Arizona down.

In any case, before Arizona could turn into a  mini-Tennessee, he's back at Navy.

In my opinion, the whole thing is best for Arizona and for Navy.  Not so sure about Army - Niumatalolo may have lost the last two Army-Navy games, but he's 9-2 overall.  Not too bad.


https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/report-navy-coach-ken-niumatalolo-out-as-candidate-for-arizona-job/

http://tucson.com/sports/ap-source-arizona-to-hire-kevin-sumlin-as-football-coach/article_2b33e74b-b5ed-5410-96e3-6eb1f389e32d.html

*********** When Keith Jackson left the microphone, the game of football lost.  Big time.  And now, he’s gone. We Washingtonians lay claim to him because he got his start in broadcasting while a student at Washington State, but he was a Georgian all the way. 

He was one in a great tradition of old-time sportscasters who came out of the South:

Lindsay Nelson was from Columbia, Tennessee and went to the University of Tennessee.

Red Barber was born in Columbus, Mississippi but grew up in Florida and went to the University of Florida.

Mel Allen grew up in Birmingham and went to the University of Alabama.

Verne Lundquist was born in Duluth, Minnesota (his Swedish surname is a giveaway) but his family moved to Austin (Texas) when he was 12, and he went to high school and college in Texas.

Pat Summerall grew up in Lake City, Florida and played college football in Arkansas.

Ernie Harwell grew up in Atlanta and went to Emory University.

*********** Wait for this…

Mike Leach claims that the Pac-12’s poor showing in bowl games is because the conference is… so tough:

“I do think we have a very tough conference. When you get body-punched through the year, I think that has a cumulative effect.”

He really said that.


*********** An Australian Rules player named Ben Griffiths surprised his teammates and fans by announcing his retirement.  He’s only 26, still young for a footy player.

But in his new pursuit, he’s going to be an old man.

He’s going to be a “student-athlete” in America.

Get this - he’s headed to USC on a football scholarship.

They’re really serious.

I will admit to liking the idea of Aussies coming here to punt.  They’re tough guys and they’re imbued with great team spirit. And they can kick the hell out of a football - they’ve been punting since they were little nippers.

It’s a nice cultural exchange that can benefit both parties, provided they’re also coming here as legitimate college students.  (College basketball teams that recruit Aussies find that they’re good in the classroom, too.)

But a 26-year-old guy who’s basically already been a professional punter for five or six years is now going to be Joe College?  It’s farcical, and it could put the whole Punter Pipeline deal in jeopardy.

Seems to me that at the very least, the NCAA should count every year spent as a professional rugby or Aussie Rules player against the four years of college eligibility.

http://www.theage.com.au/afl/ben-griffiths-punts-on-making-it-in-america-20180111-h0gwkr.html

http://www.afl.com.au/news/2018-01-11/tiger-retires-to-take-up-us-punting-scholarship

*********** The TV ratings of the NFL’s four semifinal games this past weekend were the lowest they’ve been since 2009.  All sorts of reasons are given, with the exception of the one Big One: many Americans no longer see NFL players as representing them.

*********** Steelers’ coach Mike Tomlin made two very bad calls this year.

The first was keeping his team in the tunnel during the National Anthem, while Army combat veteran Alejandro Villanueva alone stood respectfully at attention out in the stadium;

The second was onside kicking with his Steelers down seven to the Jaguars with two minutes left to play.

The first call made me unhappy.

And that’s why the second call made me happy.

*********** The Steelers were lucky.  The stands were nearly empty at game’s end, sparing them what would surely have been the worst booing a Steelers’ team has received since the early days of Chuck Noll, when they really sucked.

*********** The Saints fell behind early, but after staging a comeback,  they finally pulled ahead.  Unfortunately, it was a play that should not have been allowed.

The Vikings were in man coverage.  The Saints had two receivers set wide to the right  who both ran inside routes, clearing out for a slotback who ran a wheel to the right corner. Great pattern, great throw, nice catch - touchdown, Saints.

But the play should have been called back.

Those two receivers who cleared the way?  They were both on the line of scrimmage. The inner of the two, being covered, was ineligible. No matter - he went out anyhow.

Illegal Saints play

At the time, I said to my wife, “Those two guys are on the line - the second guy in isn’t eligible.”

Now, you know  that if I said it, there were coaches  in the Minnesota booth screaming it, which means that there were also coaches on the Minnesota sideline screaming it at  the side official. Ho hum. 

Consider:

The sign says “30” but the locomotive engineer goes 80.

A guy in Hawaii pushes the wrong button and sends out a nuclear alert.

The Saints line up incorrectly (it’s either that or they were cheating).

The officials let it go.  All the time.

It's  our growing American incompetence, guys.  And it's not getting any better.


*********** It’s hard to believe how often, in short-yardage situations, teams line up in a 1-back set, with the back lined up seven yards deep (no fullback), and give it to that back.


*********** Eddie Campbell of Land o’ Lakes, Florida, sent me this photo, with the notation, “The NFL’s legacy in one picture…”
Marcus Williams goes low

That legacy, so far as many of us are concerned, is a total disregard for the fundamentals of the game, the elevation of style over substance, and the glorification of the individual.


 *********** I’ve argued for quite some time that football has got to bring the arms back into tackling. Something as simple as a 15-yard penalty for failure to use the arms would do.

It would bring an end to the ugliness of launching, aka targetting, a deliberate attempt to injure a ball carrier at minimum risk to the tackler. I'd hazard a guess that in 90 per cent of targetting calls, the tackler's arms are tucked in at his side. Targetting is cruel and cowardly,  the nearest thing football has to slashing in hockey.

Requiring the use of arms would also lead to surer tackling.

Not to take away from the Vikings' great season, but no matter how exciting some people may think the end of Sunday’s win by the Vikings over the Saints was, it was a matter, pure and simple, of what happens when a player ducks his head and shoulder and goes for the big hit, rather than the sure (but unspectacular) tackle.

They keep calling the Vikings’ win a Miracle in Minnesota and somesuch, but is it  a “miracle” in baseball when a runner circles the bases for the winning run while the center fielder’s out there chasing after the ball that he could have easily caught for the third out?

Are people actually trying to tell me that an act of gross incompetence made the Vikings’ win a great finish?

I’ve watched a lot of sports in my years. I go back to the early days of football on television, and I can’t remember a more egregious example of dereliction of duty - a failure to do the job he was depended on to do - than that displayed by Saints’ safety Marcus Williams.

And at a time when even coaches of 8-year olds have to be certified to teach “Heads-Up Tackling,” it illustrates as much as anything the sheer hypocrisy of the NFL, which gives lip service to promoting the fundamentals of the game while taking no responsibility whatsoever to serve as the example to youngsters of how the game should be played.

*********** Take your pick of explanations for Marcus Williams’ misfeasance:

_____ The fix was in. (I've heard this one, but I ruled it out immediately. Gamblers couldn’t possibly know that the game would come down to this one play, and for sure, if there were any chance that the wise guys had gotten to Mr. Williams, he’d have made sure to make it look a whole lot better than he did.)

_____ His timing was off - he got there too soon and had to make sure that he didn’t interfere (This was the excuse that that buffoon Jimmy Johnson offered immediately afterward.  It apparently never occurred to Johnson that if Williams had been that early, he could have played the ball - intercepted it or knocked it down. Replay seems to show that he did have time enough to make a play on the ball - but he came in with his head down and never even saw the damn ball.)

_____ That’s the way he always "tackles." (This is quite possible.  I’d have to see a lot more film.)

_____ He doesn’t know to tackle. Doubtful.  At least at some point, in youth ball, high school or college, he knew.  But he made a conscious decision, like so many other NFL defensive backs, that keeping the arms in (1) is less risky for him; (2) delivers a harder hit to the ball-carrier; (3) is more likely to get him a “big hit” shout-out on Sports Center.

_____ His coaches, while great at scheming, have no interest in fundamentals. Most of them have never in their lives had to teach
blocking or tackling to a guy who's never played the game before.

_____ He’s afraid of contact. (That's highly unlikely.  But when a guy is earning millions, he might at some point make a prudent career-prolonging decision to avoid potential danger.)

_____ He was already visualizing his spectacular, game-ending hit on the giant screen.


*********** The Eagles ran a little inside handoff to Nelson Agholor and as always happens on those rare occasions when the pros wander off the normal, NFL-approved  script, the announcers went nuts.

“They faked one way and ran the other!”

“An inside handoff! Don’t see that much!”

As the Romans would have said, Mirabile dictu! (From my old Latin days: literally, “Marvelous to say!” Or, “Will wonders never cease?”)

*********** The Steelers, we were told,  hosted a bunch of kids from some local “championship flag football team” this past weekend.

Saturday, they took part in a practice session.

But that’s not all, folks.

“Today," we were told,  "they were invited to join the Steelers during the national anthem…”

In the tunnel, I presume.

***********  Hugh,

Until that professional football league changes its rule and only drafts college players who have earned a degree we will continue to see more and more cases like Quenton Meeks. 

Someone at Bama isn't being honest with Jalen Hurts.  He is a talented athlete, and has proven he can play at the FBS level.  However...will someone at Bama please step up and tell him he would help them even more at another position other than quarterback.  Only then will we know if his demeanor he displayed after the championship game was the real deal...or Cam-like.

I would imagine if people who own a beach home at Ocean Shores watched that National Geographic program it won't be long if you see "for sale" signs popping up, and folks who didn't watch the program buying those homes...cheap!

My alma mater makes the news again!  Josh Hokit helped the Bulldog football team to that great turnaround this year, and will also help the Bulldog wrestling program get back on its feet.  The kid is a stud.

I'm sure the explanation for that Bama player's punching a Georgia player and costing his team 15 yards, and his subsequent tantrum on the sideline, and his obvious attempt to get a shot in on his coach was "he's a great kid with a lot of passion, and let his emotions get the best of him."  Yeah...right...just like the kid who CLEARLY said "F--- Trump!" in the tunnel before the game.  In my football program BOTH of those kids would've been riding pine (er...steel).

I'm just a lowly high school coach who asked the same question as those FBS coaches as to why Georgia felt the need to stay lined up in their Spread look throwing it around when they had three of the best RB's in the country in their backfield that got them to that game in the first place.  Especially late in the game when they had the lead.  Dance with the one who brung ya!

Non quiz question answer is Joe Restic.  Another in a great line of old Ivy/Eastern football coaches.

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** QUIZ  ANSWER - Joe Tiller was a Midwestern kid (Toledo, Ohio) who played offensive line at Montana State.  After graduation, he played one season in the CFL before returning to Bozeman as a graduate assistant.

After one year he was made a full-time assistant, and he stayed at Montana State, coaching the line, for six years, until he was hired by Washington State coach Jim Sweeney in 1971. After a year as offensive line coach at Wazzu, he was promoted to offensive coordinator.

In 1974 he headed back to Canada, and spent nine years in Calgary as an assistant.

He returned to the states in 1983 as defensive coordinator at Purdue, but when the head coach there was fired,  he moved on to Wyoming as offensive coordinator.

After two years at Wyoming, in 1989 he joined Mike Price’s new staff at Washington State  as OC, and the next season it was his decision to make a kid named Drew Bledsoe the first freshman starting QB in Cougar history.

He didn’t stick around to see Bledsoe blossom, though, because in 1991 he got his first head coaching job,  at Wyoming.  In six years at Laramie, he coached the Cowboys to a 39-30-1 record. His final team, in 1996, was his best team.  The Cowboys went 10-2 and were nationally ranked, but lost to BYU in the very first WAC championship game, and - something that’s hard to believe in a day when 6-6 teams get bowl invitations - wound up staying home, uninvited.

Following that season, he was hired by Purdue, a Big Ten school that was so down it had had just two winning seasons in its last 18 seasons, and had played in only five bowl games in its history.

Introducing the spread offense that he’d learned along the way, working alongside Jack Elway and Dennis Erickson, and making use of the passing talent of an undersized Texas native named Drew Brees, he revolutionized football in the Big Ten.

In 2000 his team won its first Big Ten championship in 35 years, and its subsequent appearance in the Rose Bowl was just the school’s second the history of the bowl.

When he retired following the 2008 season, Joe Tiller was the winningest coach in Purdue history.  His overall record there was 87-62, and in his 12 years there, he took the Boilermakers to ten bowl games.


*********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JOE TILLER:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
RALPH BALDUCCI - PORTLAND, OREGON
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JASON MENSING - WHITEFORD, MICHIGAN
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS (As a Golden Gopher fan there were a few times his Boilermaker teams would come from behind and leave us heartbroken.)
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
JIM FRANKLIN - FLORA, INDIANA (I actually met Coach Tiller in the bathroom of the Lafayette (IN) WalMart. Talk about a "regular Joe.”)

(ALSO IDENTIFYING JOE RESTIC:  JOSH MONTGOMERY- BERWICK, LOUISIANA... MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA… ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN… JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS… JERRY GORDON - HAMILTON, VIRGINIA…)


*********** QUIZ - Vikings or Eagles, whoever wins, there’ll be a backup QB - a guy who stepped in after the starter was injured and saved the season for his team -
starting in the Super Bowl. 

It certainly won’t be the first time a backup led his team to the Super Bowl. But the person  I’m thinking of  did it with two different teams.

A  native of Muskegon, Michigan, he  led the Michigan State Spartans to a 1956 Rose Bowl win over UCLA. He was a consensus All-American, and was drafted in the first round - Number two overall - by the 49ers.

He also played in the College World Series as a backup infielder, but football over baseball was an easy choice for him.

In all, he played 21 years in the NFL,  for six different teams. He enjoyed varying degrees of success, but it was what he accomplished late in his career that made him a football immortal.

In 1968, with future Hall of Fame QB John Unitas having arm problems, our guy was acquired from the Giants by the Baltimore Colts - and he led the Colts to a 13-1 regular season record. Then, following two more playoff wins, he led them to a berth in the Super Bowl against the Joe Namath-led New York Jets. That year, his 13th year in the League he was named NFL MVP.

Two years later, again filling in for an injured Unitas, he led the Colts to a Super Bowl win over the Cowboys.

And two years later, after being acquired by Miami, he took over when starter Bob Griese was injured.  The Dolphins were 5-0 at the time, and by the time  Griese came back, they had made it to the AFC championship game.  Their Super Bowl win, with Griese as the starter,  gave them the only perfect season in NFL history.

When he finally retired following the 1976 season, he had played in 255 games.  For almost 30 years, he remained the oldest quarterback (at 42) to start - and win - a regular-season NFL game. (Without the benefit of the assortment of personal trainers and dietitians that help make up Tom Brady’s entourage.)



american flagFRIDAY,  JANUARY 12,  2018  "Yeah, that test says he's dumb as a fence post, but when he hits he looks like Einstein to me." Bum Phillips, talking about the Wonderlic test given to NFL rookies

*********** TV did a pretty good job of explaining what happened on Bama’s winning touchdown play.  It was incredibly careless defensive execution, especially by the Georgia CB on the single receiver side.  In cover 2, if the corner’s not going to be covering that receiver man-for-man (in which case he REALLY blew it) he has to jam him and keep him from releasing clean.  The receiver can NOT be allowed to run a 40.  But the Georgia corner took a head fake and let the receiver sprint right past him, unimpeded - he didn’t even touch him.  Meanwhile, the QB did a great job of looking the opposite way, freezing the safety.  He held that “fix” until the last possible instant, and then re-set let go, and by that time the safety couldn’t get over to make the play.

*********** ”One play and it's over..."

There are no secrets here.  On the last play, the Alabama SE takes his outside release and the CB turns his hips and legs to the outside.

GAME OVER.

As soon as the CB turns, the SE breaks straight up the field doing a good imitation of the 100 Yard Dash and the CB, having turned outside, now has to turn back inside and pray for late help from the Safety.  Answered prayers were in short supply on both sides of the ball.  The last prayer was answered.  The SE caught the ball and didn't trip.

Good, solid technique won that play and another National Championship for Alabama.

Charlie Wilson
Crystal River, Florida

*********** A Stanford cornerback named Quenton Meeks has announced that he is ready to “pursue his ultimate dream” and declare himself eligible for the draft.  Translation: he’s giving up his senior year at one of the most desirable - and desired - colleges in the country.

I have to wonder about this one. The guy was second team All-Pac 12, which means he will likely be a middle-round NFL draft pick - at best.

Hmmm.  Every year,  the “ultimate dream”  of others - thousands of America’s brightest kids - is to be admitted to Stanford. But sadly, the dreams of most of them wind up being dashed - only 5 per cent of them are admitted.  Meanwhile, football players get in through the side door - the football program is able to bypass Stanford’s almost unbelievably selective admissions process in order to admit its recruits.

Knowing how coveted a spot at  Stanford is - an amazing 80 per cent of those admitted choose to enroll -  I’d have to say that when a football player walks away from the Stanford experience so he can go join the circus, he’s become a casualty of our materialistic culture. 

*********** Even more astounding than the decision by Saban to pull his starting quarterback - last year’s SEC Player of the Year -  was the fact that his backup quarterback was game-ready.

In the age of the spread, as offenses have become more and more quarterback-intensive, we’ve grown used to seeing team after team go all to hell when its starting QB has gone down. 

Somehow, though, Bama had a kid - a true freshman at that - ready to step in and demonstrate a high level of preparation, in as pressure-packed a situation as you could find.

Granted, there are more ways these days
to get a quarterback ready, including extra coaches and VR aids, but it’s still not likely that Tua got near the practice reps that Jalen Hurts did.

Part of the credit obviously has to go to the kid, who clearly has amazing mental toughness and inner calm.

To Saban’s credit, the kid did get some playing time during the regular season.  True, it was mostly mop-up action, but the point is that they got him in the games whenever they could. I’m constantly disappointed at the number of teams that still have their starting QBs in the game even when the score’s way out of hand.

(In the pros, leaving the starter in the game, even in blowouts, is the norm, but it’s to be expected when he's got performance clauses in his contract calling for bonuses for completions, yardage, touchdowns and what-not.)


*********** Based on what they said and how they acted, I’d have to say that Bama’s quarterbacks are exceptional young men, both of them reflecting the kind of quality upbringings that too few of today’s kids enjoy.

Tua sounded like a kid who was raised well when he said in a post-game interview that his parents would be upset with him if he didn’t thank the Lord.

Hurts, the son of a high school coach, is one class kid. Yanked from the lineup in the biggest game of the year, humiliated in front of a national TV audience, he showed dignity and aplomb in his every action and comment.  He didn’t sulk.  He at least seemed to be pleased at Tua’s success.  He put his team first. 

Call him the Anti-Cam.

*********** Alas, football season’s over, and now we find out what all those other channels are for. Stumbling across a Nat Geo special on Tsunamis, I decided to stay with it to see where it was going.

Where it was going, it turned out, was the Cascadia Subduction Zone, the fault that lies offshore and runs along the Northwest coast, roughly from British Columbia’s Vancouver Island to Northern California.  When it goes, there’s going to be a Tsunami. 

I know about that, of course.  You can’t have been where my wife and I have been for a good part of the past decade without knowing about it.

So I kept watching, and I’ll be damned if it didn’t zero in on Ocean Shores, Washington - home of the North Beach High School Hyaks.  We still have a place there.

They showed a shot of Ocean Shores, which is essentially a six-mile-long sandspit no more than a couple of miles wide at its widest, and then brought on learned geologists and seismologists, who assured us that, yes,  there will be a Tsunami.  It’s just a matter of time.  And when it does come, it will kill hundreds of thousands.  And - if we happen to be at our place on the beach - we’ll have 30 minutes’ warning.

That’s the scary part.  Not the wall of water so much as the thought that there’s just one road out of town - 6,000-some panicked people trying to get on that one road leading to high ground (20 miles away).  Think of your ordinary big city traffic jam, then compress it down to one winding, two-lane road - and throw in the certainty that a tsunami is going to wash over you all in 30 minutes… oops - make that 29…28…

*********** Shep Clarke of Puyallup, Washington writes, “Didn’t know the quiz answer, But the story about the Kansas gridder/grappler inspired me to see if there was anyone emulating him at D1.  So I found this guy:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdjwjzWh6ol/

(“This guy” was Josh Hokit, who was Fresno State’s leading rusher in the Hawai’i Bowl and now wrestles for the Bulldogs.)


Then I found this story, which was too good to pass up.  Check out the heavyweight bracket for this kid's senior year state tournament:

(It’s the story of a kid from Millburn, New Jersey, who 40 years ago - before there were weight limits in the heavyweight class - won the state heavyweight title. He was 28-0. One opponent forfeited, but the other 27 wins were pins.

(What makes it tough for anyone today to duplicate that feat is the “technical fall,” awarded if a wrestler gains a lead of 15 or more points.  Plus, as the kid’s coach points out, "Even the best pinners will wrestle a tough kid from time to time that does enough to stay off his back. You also will see guys that want to practice their takedowns and take a guy down a few times in a period." )


https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/essex/millburn-short-hills/2018/01/03/high-school-wrestling-millburns-gentle-giant-paul-finns-undefeated-season-turns-40/997118001/

*********** I normally defend Nick Saban against his detractors - and they are many - by pointing out that overall he runs a class program - when was the last time Bama was accused of anything outside the rules. 

The Georgia game, though, brought some ugliness to the surface - the shove on the QB’s helmet while getting up, and the sideline meltdown.  Then came the report - not necessarily confirmed - that Bo Scarbrough hollered “F—k Trump!” as he marched through the tunnel of the stadium following pre-game warmups. 

Without conclusive evidence that Scarbrough said it (rather than “F—k Georgia!” which he claimed - and which apparently was just fine), let's drop it.  He’s off to the NFL and likely obscurity, and if he did say it, it just means he’s NFL-ready to kneel on somebody’s sideline.

Beyond that, the general conduct of the Alabama players was a testament to the way the program is run, and the conduct of their two quarterbacks showed me that somebody has been teaching them how to be men, starting with their parents and continuing on through the Alabama program.

*********** I think I’ve said this before, but I’d pay good money to be able to watch ESPN’s Coaches’ Film Room for one game every weekend.

It was a show on ESPN News, run for at least the second consecutive year, featuring a panel of six coaches analyzing the championship game as it went on.

They sat at a table, watching the game on a large screen - we saw the same thing they did - and then commenting on the previous play, the upcoming play, coaches’ strategy, players’ skills and whatnot.

On the panel were Mike Bobo of Colorado State (the only non-Power Five coach, he played QB at Georgia and coached there for years before taking the CSU job.  He recruited Georgia running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel); David Cutcliffe of Duke; Pat Fitzgerald of Northwestern; Mike Gundy of Oklahoma State; Matt Luke of Ole Miss; and Kevin Sumlin, late of Texas A & M.

Coach Cut talked about the nervousness that had to be affecting everybody: “You’re hunting normalcy (trying to get everybody to act normal) - and making sure that you got 11 men on the field!”

Pat Fitzgerald pointed out that although then officials were Big Ten guys, and an all-star crew, they had had time off just like the players so you couldn’t be sure what to expect.”

Coach Cut wondered, “How aggressive are they going to let the defensive backs play?”

The guys predicted that they would “let them play.”

Coach Cut noted that both teams wanted to start out on defense, and as the captains walked out for the coin toss, Mike Bobo quipped, “they both want to defer.”

They wondered whether the teams would treat it as if it were an away game - if they would use silent cadences.

As the game started, they all agreed that the two teams were going through scripts.

Coach Cut was quick to notice what those of you who saw Georgia beat Oklahoma had to notice - Georgia’s #3 is GOOD. When he came from the inside and tackled an Alabama sweep on the Tide’s first drive, he said, “That may be the best defensive player on the field.  Nobody else makes that play.”

Kevin Sumlin noted the pace of the early play - both team had had 18 snaps and the game was less than six minutes old.

They marveled at the quickness of Alabama’s #94 on the defensive line, and noted what a tough time Georgia’s left guard was having with him.

They began to grow impatient with Georgia’s uncharacteristic spread offense.

Coach Cut suggested that maybe it was because Kirby Smart was so familiar with Saban that he felt he had to do something different.

Said Mike Gundy, it was time for Georgia to ask, “Is this who we are? We got two guys who’ve rushed for 8,000 yards (slight exaggeration).  Let’s get back to what we do.”

Coach Cut noted that it was  “refreshing” that in this day of leaving early for the NFL draft, Georgia’s two running backs had both stayed for their senior seasons.

Asked about Sony Michel, Mike Bobo said he was not small - he had as much size as Chubb, and "a little bit more 'make-you-miss.'”

Alabama’s first drive followed an interception, and when it stalled, the Tide kicked a field goal.  But it was nullified by illegal procedure - a lineman moved - and from five yards back, the second attempt failed.

Coach Cut noted that the guy who jumped - playing the tight end position on the right - was a defensive end.  The coaches all agreed that you take that chance when you put a defensive player on the offensive line like that, but they didn’t criticize the move.  I gathered that they did that themselves. (it occurred to me that this might have been a strategy dictated by something that happened to this very Alabama team a few years ago, when Auburn ran back a missed field goal, and Bama’s big offensive linemen - on the field strictly to block for the kick - were useless in coverage.)

There was an Alabama punt on which the coverage appeared lacking, and we heard Coach Cut say,  “This is a national championship game and we’ve got an issue of effort.”

Replay showed that an Alabama gunner had been blocked, but  then - unforgivable sin -  had allowed himself to stay blocked.

Said Coach Fitzgerald, in a game like this one, “coaching and talent are the same and it comes down to effort.”

Said Coach Cut - “Not to blame any young man, but what you put on film you’re accountable for.”

We saw two punts, and two illegal blocks in the back, Quipped someone, “That’s sort of the NFL model.”

Coach Cut says he tells his blockers not to even think about blocking a cover guy in the back. He says he tells them, “That return man is on scholarship… he can make one man miss.”

When Michel made his great tip-toe, tap dance along the right sideline, Coach Cut said, “If I’m an NFL scout, I’ve seen all I need to see.”

When Georgia scored on a Wildcat option just before the half, Coach Cut said, “You old-timers: it’s the old wishbone option."

They talked quite a bit about  the length of halftime, and how Bama was going to need every bit of it.

There was some question about how Georgia got a penalty for sideline interference, then not too much later they got a sideline warning. Coach Fitzgerald said a possible explanation was that in the Big Ten side officials switch at halftime.

They were surprised at the halftime QB switch, and they agreed that it would probably be for just one series.

Couple of other things that I wrote down:

Coach Cutcliffe again talking about Georgia’s #3: “When I was a play caller (in the SEC - as OC at Tennessee and head coach at Ole Miss) I learned there are some people on the field you can’t block.”

He talked about what he looked for in a QB - said he needed to be “like a middle infielder” - able to go to either side.

He said he wants QBs who can catch a shotgun snap and see the field - see upfield and still catch the ball.  “That’s rare,” he said.

He said when they see a high school QB focus on catching the snap - “we drop him.”

Sorry guys - that’s all the notes I took. I was trying to watch the game, too.

But I recorded the whole thing and I’m going to go back over it one of these days.

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

Georgia gave that one away.  First...with Alabama's defense starting to wear down in the fourth quarter, and with 3 outstanding running backs on their side, Georgia made the fatal mistake of not going boring and pounding Alabama into submission thus keeping the ball away from Alabama's offense, and not giving the flyin' Hawaiian a chance to tie the score.  Then...in OT...why on God's green earth with a 2nd and 26, with the ball on the 40, and a 3 point lead, is your defense in COVER 2!!??  For me that ending was more of Georgia losing the game as opposed to Alabama winning the game.

Congrats to NDSU on their 6th National Championship, and to their loyal fans!  Lots of Gold in those stands in Texas on that day!

No...you will NEVER see a PE class like that ever again.  In fact...many of those boys looked like they played a little football, and most of those boys looked like athletes, and ALL of the boys looked like MEN!

By the way...who IS in the NFL playoffs?  Have I ever mentioned.......

Greg Koenig will continue finding kids like that, and his football team will be better off for it.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Cozza and Harvard Coach

NOT THE QUIZ - But just curious -   who is it?   That’s Yale's Carm Cozza on the left.  On the right, his opponent in many clashes, (including Yale's famed 29-29 "loss" to Harvard). Who is he? I sent this photo to the son of the late Harvard coach.  Himself a former Notre Dame player and now an orthodontist in suburban Portland, he wrote me, “Coach and my Dad had a great relationship built on mutual respect. We need more of that today in the coaching profession.”

QUIZ ANSWER: Jimmy Streater's is a tragic story, one that defies our best efforts to find an answer to the question - “why?”

He came out of the small town of Sylva, In the mountains of western  North Carolina, where he was all-everything in three sports.

He was all-conference in baseball and reportedly turned down a $40,000 bonus to sign with the Cincinnati Reds.

He set school records in the 100- and 200-yard dashes and set school and state records in the long jump.

But football was his game, and quarterback was his position.  In his high school career, he was responsible for 70 touchdowns - 38 rushing, 13 throwing, five receiving, and 14 on returns - six punt returns, four kickoff returns and four interception returns.

He was All-State, All-Southern and Parade Magazine All-American.

He was recruited heavily by a number of southern schools, including his home state college, North Carolina, and Alabama, then coached by Bear Bryant. But he chose to sign with Tennessee and its coach, Bill Battle.  He was black, and he was inspired by the example of Condredge Holloway, former Tennessee QB and the SEC’s first black quarterback.

After Bill Battle was fired, John Majors took over,  and Streater  thrived as an option quarterback in Majors’ offense.  His running and scrambling ability earned him the nickname the “Sylva Streak,” but his teammates called him “Bird,” because of his skinny legs.

In his senior season,  he was captain of the team. In one of his top performances, he led the Vols to their first-ever win over Notre Dame, at Neyland Stadium. He had a 48-yard pass, a 51-yard run and a 5-yard touchdown run as the Vols triumphed, 40-18.

He was All-SEC in 1979 and was named AP and UPI Back of the Week and UPI Southeast Offensive Player of the Week for his play against Utah - throwing three touchdown passes and running for one TD -  and then against Auburn - running for two TDs and throwing for a third.

He was too small - 6-1, 165 - by NFL standards and his style of play didn’t fit the NFL model for quarterbacks, so he signed with the Toronto Argonauts.

And then his life began to go downhill.

He used and abused drugs, and he had to deal with diabetes.  His marriage suffered as a result of his drug addiction, and his wife left him.

His younger brother, who’d played at North Carolina and had just signed a contract with the Redskins, was left paralyzed after an automobile accident.

And the drug use persisted.

He had to have a leg amputated as a result of the diabetes, and then, following an infected spider bite,  an arm.

Numerous former teammates and UT fans contributed to a fund to pay for his medical bills; one of the leading contributors was former coach Bill Battle, who by then was a hugely successful businessman as the founder of Collegiate Licensing.

At some point, the drug use ended.

Never too late, he brought Christ into his life, and in his last years he spoke to youth groups in Tennessee and North Carolina.

He died in 2004, at the age of 46.  Today, few people remember what a great football player Jimmy Streater was.

Said Coach Majors: "He was one of the best athletes I coached in my entire career. More importantly, I loved Jimmyas a person. He was such a great competitor. He had a great nature about him and was always extremely upbeat. He was a self-starter. You never had to ask him to hustle."



*********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JIMMY STREATER:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEVIN LATHAM - DECATUR, GEORGIA (“If Black QBs from Tennessee was a Jeopardy question I would clean up! LOL.  I saw him play probably a half dozen times with my grandfather, who loved him. It was during this time that I really fell in love with college football.”
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
MIKE FORISTIERE - MATTAWA, WASHINGTON
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA


*********** QUIZ - He was a Midwestern kid (Toledo, Ohio) who played offensive line at Montana State.  After graduation, he played one season in the CFL before returning to Bozeman as a graduate assistant.

After one year he was made a full-time assistant, and he stayed at Montana State, coaching the line, for six years, until he was hired by Washington State coach Jim Sweeney in 1971. After a year as offensive line coach at Wazzu, he was promoted to offensive coordinator.

In 1974 he headed back to Canada, and spent nine years in Calgary as an assistant.

He returned to the states in 1983 as defensive coordinator at Purdue, but when the head coach there was fired,  he moved on to Wyoming as offensive coordinator.

After two years at Wyoming, in 1989 he joined Mike Price’s new staff at Washington State  as OC, and the next season it was his decision to make a kid named Drew Bledsoe the first freshman starting QB in Cougar history.

He didn’t stick around to see Bledsoe blossom, though, because in 1991 he got his first head coaching job,  at Wyoming.  In six years at Laramie, he coached the Cowboys to a 39-30-1 record. His final team, in 1996, was his best team.  The Cowboys went 10-2 and were nationally ranked, but lost to BYU in the very first WAC championship game, and - something that’s hard to believe in a day when 6-6 teams get bowl invitations - wound up staying home, uninvited.

Following that season, he was hired by a Big Ten school that was so down it had had just two winning seasons in its last 18 seasons, and had played in only five bowl games in its history.

Introducing the spread offense that he’d learned along the way, working alongside Jack Elway and Dennis Erickson, and making use of the passing talent of an undersized Texas native named Drew Brees, he revolutionized football in the Big Ten.

In 2000 his team won its first Big Ten championship in 35 years, and its subsequent appearance in the Rose Bowl was just the school’s second the history of the bowl.

When he retired following the 2008 season, he was the winningest coach in school history.  His overall record there was 87-62, and in his 12 years there, he took his team to ten bowl games.



american flagTUESDAY,  JANUARY 9,  2018  “The beginning is the most important part of the work.” Plato

*********** How can you play much better than Georgia did, and lose?  How can you play as badly as Alabama did, and win? What kind of balls does it take to go in at halftime, pull your QB - who’s been 25-2 as your starter - and replace him with a freshman?  Lots to talk about.  See you Friday.  And a certain Alabama kicker won’t have to take advantage of Southwest’s Wanna Get Away? fares.

*********** Hats off to North Dakota State and James Madison, two great programs.  I’m sorry that they had to wait so long to meet  after winning their semifinals, and I wish that the FCS people could have a bowl game all their own, with the kind of recognition that their game deserves.  I’m sure, though, since they’ve won six of the last seven national titles, that by now the NDSU people treat this as their bowl game.

*********** Watch this video - this isn’t a football team. This is a PE class, made up of normal high school kids.

If you deal with today’s teenage kids, ask yourself - what are the chances we’ll ever see a PE program like this again?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=0yQth3QEXtA

*********** You’d think, as a coach, that when you've finally made it to the big time, you’d be done with a$$hole parents.

Agents and fans and owners and GMs and a&&hole players, sure - but at least you’re dealing with adults, and not parents.

Wrong.

Not, at least, if you’re coaching the Los Angeles Lakers.

Seems there’s this guy named Lavar Ball who has a kid playing on the Lakers.

And there are the media jackals who refuse to ignore him. He sounded off to ESPN - which was kind enough to provide him with a platform to do so - about the Lakers’ coach, Luke Walton: "Luke doesn't have control of the team no more,” he said. “They don't want to play for him."

So whose bright idea was it, anyhow, to sign this guy’s kid?

http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/21991857/lavar-ball-says-los-angeles-lakers-coach-luke-walton-lost-team

*********** Remember the way we used to howl about the officials’ refusing to call “assisting the runner?” It got to be a joke, watching teammates get behind a runner and push him the last couple of yards across the goal line for the winning touchdown. (USC?)

Well.  When you can’t/won’t enforce a rule, you might as well remove it from the book, which is what they finally did.  One less thing to have to ignore.

So now, it’s okay to push on the runner.  Go ahead.  Do it all you want.  But - the rules makers assured us - only PUSHING is legal.  it’s still illegal to PULL the runner.

Yup, it’s still illegal, all right.   But now, just as the pushing used to be, it’s unenforced.

Just this past weekend, the Falcons’ center (#51) hugged a runner and hauled him across for a touchdown.  And other than a word of praise for the center from the guys in the booth, nothing was said.   What the hell - it’s only a playoff game.

*********** Tom Walls, who coaches in Manitoba, Canada, showed me some video of his Provincial All-Star youth team running the Open Wing (12-man version!) against the Saskatchewan All-Stars. (Tom will forgive me if “All-Stars” is the wrong appellation.)

One clip showed his son, Tommy, throwing a nice TD pass.  What was best, I told Tom, was that the snap was high and Tommy had to dispense with the fake he was supposed to make and go right to the pass.

I liked the way he played on and made something happen.

Too many young QB’s can go all to pieces when the play breaks down. They stop.  They freeze.  They slap themselves on the helmet.

That’s when I tell them to “play basketball.”

That means, when the plan goes all to hell - play on.

Most kids have played basketball, and they all know that after the coach has just spent an entire timeout diagramming a play, they'll go back out on the floor - and 90 per cent of the time, the play the coach diagrammed doesn’t work.  So they just go on and play basketball.

*********** Incomplete passes, out-of-bounds plays, timeouts (up to three per team, since they like to save them)  and review after review - the never-ending last minute or so of basketball games has made its way to football.

*********** Longtime friend and Double Wing coach Greg Koenig finished his first season at Cimarron, Kansas with a trip to the playoffs. Greg did find some good players  at his new school, including his B-Back, Jaylen Pickle, who has signed with Kansas State.  (An FBS prospect  really stands out at a small high school.)

But every bit as good, in my mind, was Cimarron's A-Back and middle linebacker, Josh Seabolt.  On both sides of the ball, he was something to see.

He rushed for over 1500 yards and 17 touchdowns, but he may have been even better on defense, where he was credited with 106 tackles.

Now, it’s wrestling season.  He’s defending state champion at 182, and this year he’s currently ranked number one at 195.

http://kansas-sports.com/ks/news/?id=10110&t=faces-in-ks-josh-seabolt-

*********** I’ve always told my teams that there are three things that will stop out offense, even when defenses can’t:

Turnovers.  Stupid penalties.  Dumbass calls

The first two, I tell them, are up to them.  We’ll drill on those things, and we’ll stress them, but ultimately, turnovers and penalties are in the hands of the players.

But the kind of call that kills a drive?  That’s in my hands.  And play callers should always be mindful of the Hippocratic Oath, taken by all doctors: “First, do no harm.”

So there the Bills were Sunday, first and goal from the one following a penalty.  There was no way to blow this one. 

But , yes, there was.  There was the dumbass call. Somewhere in NFL Coaching 101 they must spend a week teaching aspiring coaches that short yardage situations call for a pass, so on first down and one, the Bills passed. A back-shoulder fade to the left to Kelvin Benjamin. What the hell -  what could go wrong? 

I refer you to Murphy’s Law - “if anything can possibly go wrong, it will.”

I’ll be damned if Benjamin didn’t get caught pushing off. Offensive pass interference. And things just don’t look quite so promising from the 11 as they do from the one.  The Bills never did get that touchdown, settling finally for a field goal. They lost, 10-3.

"Yeah, you know, there's some calls we want back," said Bills Coach Sean McDermott. "That's probably one of them.”

Probably?

*********** Internet wisdom

I saw an amazing football game a couple of weeks ago:
 
* The players’ hair fit under their helmets.
* I couldn’t seen any tattoos.
* There were no outlandish end zone celebrations.
* There was no taunting.
* Opposing players helped each other up after plays.
* Footballs were not spiked or left for the referee to retrieve; they were handed to the referee.
* No one took a knee on the sidelines.
* Players stood at attention during the playing of the national anthem.

Wasn’t the Army Navy game great?

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

My name is —- —. I grew up in Woodburn Oregon and played under coach Tracy Jackson. In the 1992 season all of our coaches spent time in areas such as Bandon and Gold Beach and in 93 we installed the double wing double tight. Don Markham was considered a God in Oregon in the 90’s. I loved it. I played center and guard and had a lot of fun. I moved on to play college, indoor and some semi pro football. I spend several years being a position coach and teaching special teams (long snapping).  

Due to my management job in my real career I could never be a high school head coach. I don’t have the luxury of leaving work at 3 each day and noon on Fridays. This last year my youngest son played youth football 9-10-11s and because of lack of volunteers, strong background checks and all the classroom training now required (concussion, Heat awareness and Heads Up football), there is a huge coaching shortage. The teams were trying to be feeder programs for the high school as there is no middle school or Junior high football down here in central California. The issue is offenses that work with strong passing games and more complexity use at high school level do not implement well at the youth level. Surprisingly there’s isn’t any double wing being run in this area.

I want to implement the basic double wing. I know most basic things such as stance and alignments and basic play package, but I need more. What do you recommend. Where do I start. I am not totally new to it. But I have never taught it to 11-12-13-14 year old athletes.

I see many matetials you offer for sale, how can they help me and my team?

Nice to hear from you.

As you may know, I worked with Tracy Jackson for several seasons and I think very highly of him as a person and as a coach.

I did work with him for one season at Woodburn (2009) and I enjoyed the experience. I especially admired the kids because although they were overmatched, week in and week out, they worked hard and never gave in,  and we threw some scares into some of the big-time programs like the Albany schools and the Corvallis schools.

To answer your question - my current project is a whole new edition of my Double Wing playbook, my first in more than 15 years.  As you can imagine, a lot of things have taken place since that last edition.

I’m not bragging when I say that this playbook, when it’s completed, will be as close as anything will ever get to being the complete guide to the Double Wing offense.

I’m hoping to have it done by some time in February.

My recommendation would be to wait for it.  Keep checking my NEWS page for the announcement or if you’d like, I’ll keep your address and send you an email when it’s ready.


*********** My friend Lou Orlando, who played center at Yale for recently departed Carm Cozza, sent me this page from the playbook , a page Coach Cozza made “each and every player” read upon arrival at summer training camp:

WORK

If you are poor, WORK.   If you are rich, WORK.  If you are burdened with seemingly unfair responsibilities, WORK

If you are happy, continue to work.  Idleness gives room for doubts and fears.  If sorrow overwhelms you and loved ones seem not true, WORK.  If disappointments come, WORK.

If faith falters and reason fails, just WORK.  When dreams are shattered and hope seems dead – WORK.  WORK as if your life were in peril; it really is.

No matter what ails you, WORK. WORK faithfully, and WORK with faith.  WORK IS THE GREATEST MATERIAL REMEDY AVAILABLE.  WORK will cure both mental and physical afflictions.
 
*********** I was looking through an old (1953) USC program, putting faces to names that I remember from when I was a kid and used to watch those great USC and UCLA teams on our black-and-white set.  It was all so exotic - games being played out on the West Coast in bright sunshine while as I sat there,  back in Pennsylvania, it was dark outside.

There were some great names - Aramis Dandoy… Primo Villanueva… Sam Tsagalakis…

One that jumped out at me was Mario Da Re, a lineman. Cool, I thought.  What nationality could that be? I wondered.

Italian, I found out.  The family came from Italy, settled first in northeastern Pennsylvania, then moved to Crockett, California.

Mario had five brothers ,named Aldo, Dante, Dino, Guido, and Louis.

If you’re old enough, you will know Aldo.  He made a name for himself as a movie star, usually cast in studly  roles.  But the studio had him change his name - to Aldo Ray.

http://www.insidesocal.com/usc/2010/04/21/dare-dies/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldo_Ray


*********** QUIZ ANSWER - USC is famous for its great running backs:  OJ Simpson… Marcus Allen… Ricky Bell… Charles White… Mike Garrett…  Anthony Davis … Reggie Bush.

But the greatest of them all might have been a guy who played in the 1950s, when he had to play both ways,  at a time before the Trojans adopted the I-formation, which featured one star back.

Jon Arnett came out of Manual Arts High in Los Angeles, and from his very first game as a sophomore (freshmen weren’t eligible) it was obvious he was a great one.

He rushed for 601 yards on 96 carries and scored seven touchdowns, and although he caught only three passes, they went for 104 yards and three touchdowns.

In his junior year,  he carried 141 times for 672 yards and 11 TDs. He caught just six passes, but they were good for 154 yards and three TDs, and he was named All-American. He won the Voit Award, given to the top player on the West Coast.

Going into his senior year,  he was captain of the team and the Heisman Trophy favorite. But a pay-for-play scandal among West Coast powers brought sanctions against USC, UCLA, Cal and Washington, and he was suspended for the first half of the season. Playing half the season, he nearly matched his yardage from his junior year: 625 yards on 99 carries for six TDs, and he made All-American and won the Voit Award for the second straight year.

But it wasn’t enough to win the Heisman, which went to Paul Hornung, captain of a 2-9 Notre Dame team.

Jon Arnett was the first choice of the Los Angeles Rams in 1956 - the number two pick overall, ahead of Jim Brown.

In his ten years in the NFL - seven with the Rams and three with the Bears - Jon Arnett starred as a threat at running back, wide receiver and return man, and went to five straight Pro Bowls.

Along the way,  a Los Angeles sportswriter gave him the nickname Jaguar Jon, and it stuck.

You'll like this...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8P0Vo-MQJXw

But you'll love this...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glTMAqhVzXQ

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JON ARNETT:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
SHEP CLARKE - PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
TIM BROSS - KIRKWOOD, MISSOURI


QUIZ: His is a tragic story, one that defies our best efforts to find an answer to the question - “why?”

He came out of the small town of Sylva, In the mountains of western  North Carolina, where he was all-everything in three sports.

He was all-conference in baseball and reportedly turned down a $40,000 bonus to sign with the Cincinnati Reds.

He set school records in the 100- and 200-yard dashes and set school and state records in the long jump.

But football was his game, and quarterback was his position.  In his high school career, he was responsible for 70 touchdowns - 38 rushing, 13 throwing, five receiving, and 14 on returns - six punt returns, four kickoff returns and four interception returns.

He was All-State, All-Southern and Parade Magazine All-American.

He was recruited heavily by a number of southern schools, including his home state college, North Carolina, and Alabama, then coached by Bear Bryant. But he chose to sign with Tennessee and its coach, Bill Battle.  He was black, and he was inspired by the example of Condredge Holloway, former Tennessee QB and the SEC’s first black quarterback.

After Bill Battle was fired, John Majors took over,  and our guy thrived as an option quarterback in Majors’ offense.  His running and scrambling ability earned him the nickname the “Sylva Streak,” but his teammates called him “Bird,” because of his skinny legs.

In his senior season,  he was captain of the team. In one of his top performances, he led the Vols to their first-ever win over Notre Dame, at Neyland Stadium. He had a 48-yard pass, a 51-yard run and a 5-yard touchdown run as the Vols triumphed, 40-18.

He was All-SEC in 1979 and was named AP and UPI Back of the Week and UPI Southeast Offensive Player of the Week for his play against Utah - throwing three touchdown passes and running for one TD -  and then against Auburn - running for two TDs and throwing for a third.

He was too small - 6-1, 165 - by NFL standards and his style of play didn’t fit the NFL model for quarterbacks, so he signed with the Toronto Argonauts.

And then his life began to go downhill.

He used and abused drugs, and he had to deal with diabetes.  His marriage suffered as a result of his drug addiction, and his wife left him.

His younger brother, who’d played at North Carolina and had just signed a contract with the Redskins, was left paralyzed after an automobile accident.

And the drug use persisted.

He had to have a leg amputated as a result of the diabetes, and then, following an infected spider bite,  an arm.

Numerous former teammates and UT fans contributed to a fund to pay for his medical bills; one of the leading contributors was former coach Bill Battle, who by then was a hugely successful businessman as the founder of Collegiate Licensing.

At some point, the drug use ended.

Never too late, he brought Christ into his life, and in his last years he spoke to youth groups in Tennessee and North Carolina.

He died in 2004, at the age of 46.  Today, few people remember what a great football player he was.

Said Coach Majors: "He was one of the best athletes I coached in my entire career. More importantly, I loved (him) as a person. He was such a great competitor. He had a great nature about him and was always extremely upbeat. He was a self-starter. You never had to ask him to hustle."


american flagFRIDAY,  JANUARY 5,  2018  “I would rather try to persuade a man to go along, because once I have persuaded him, he will stick. If I scare him, he will stay just as long as he is scared, and then he is gone.” Dwight D. Eisenhower


*********** I don’t like to lead off with unpleasant news, but Carm Cozza’s death belongs at the top of my page.

Carm Cozza, Yale’s head coach for 32 seasons, died Thursday.

I met him just a couple of times, when I was helping recruit (alumni could do it then) and I was tremendously impressed with the man.  He had a presence.

Ever go back to your old school and wish you could have played for the guy who’s coaching them now?  That was me, and that was Carm Cozza. He was the coach I wish I’d had.

One funny little thing - he didn’t know me very well.    Didn’t matter.  He once called the AD at Federal City College (in Washington, DC) and gave me such a rave review (I was then coaching a minor league team in Maryland) that I got an interview and made it to the final round.

Here’s Yale’s official news release:

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Walter Camp, the “Father of American football” shaped a new game into what we know today as football. Carmen Louis Cozza, the father figure to more than 2,000 Yale student-athletes from four different decades, molded young men into future leaders while serving as the head football coach at Yale for an amazing 32 seasons.
 
Cozza, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, passed away today at the age of 87.
 
When Cozza took over the Yale program, Vince Lombardi was leading the Green Bay Packers to an NFL Championship and Lamar Hunt had not come up with the name “Super Bowl” for the championship of professional football.  Future NFL star Calvin Hill ’69 was a freshman on Yale’s Old Campus.
 
From 1965 to 1996 he compiled a 179-119-5 (.599) record in 303 games with class and dignity while earning the ever-lasting endearment of his players and the utmost respect from his opponents.
 
He is still the winningest coach in Ivy League history, and that’s why the hall of fame came calling in 2004. Cozza led his teams to 10 Ivy League Championships and 19 winning seasons. Mixed in with all those wins was a famous, 16-game win streak between 1967 and 1968 that initially made his name synonymous with Yale Football.   
 
Yale’s legendary mentor coached in numerous all-star games.  An assistant coach for the 1970 East-West Shrine Game in Palo Alto, Calif., he served as a head coach in the 1972 contest.  Cozza also served as defensive coordinator in the 1981 Blue-Gray Classic in Mobile, Ala.  When the 1989 Ivy League All-Stars went to Japan for the first Epson Ivy Bowl, Cozza was the head coach of the Ancient Eight in its victory over the Japanese College All-Stars.
 
Cozza was born June 10, 1930, in Parma, Ohio.  In high school, he was a tremendous athlete, earning 11 varsity letters in football, basketball, baseball, and track.  He attended college at Miami (OH), playing football under the tutelage of Ara Parseghian and Woody Hayes. He saw triple duty as a Miami quarterback, running back and defensive back.
 
On the baseball diamond, he pitched and played the outfield, posting a 1.50 earned run average and a career batting average of .388.  He briefly spent time in the minor league organizations of the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago White Sox before taking a coaching position at Gilmour Academy in Ohio.
 
In 1956, he was appointed head coach of the freshman squad at Miami, and in 1961, he joined the varsity staff.  Two years later, he accepted a job as an assistant coach at Yale under head coach John Pont.  When Pont resigned two years later in 1965, Cozza was named head coach.  At the time of the announcement, Yale Athletics Director Delaney Kiphuth said, “the future of Yale football is in very capable hands.” He could not have been more accurate.
 
A recipient of a master’s degree in education from Miami in 1959, Cozza had administrative experience as well.  In 1976, he was appointed Yale Athletics Director with the expectation that he would leave coaching after a few years of performing in both capacities.  Instead, Cozza decided to give up the director’s position in 1977 and remain the football coach.
 
Since he retired from coaching in 1996, Cozza served as Special Assistant to the Director of Athletics at Yale while also handling the radio color commentary (1998-2016) for Yale football. Throughout his 54-year tenure at the University, Cozza was a guiding, caring and thoughtful mentor to hundreds of athletics department employees.
 
Cozza, one of the fabled “Cradle of Coaches” from Miami University, earned a George H.W. Bush Lifetime of Leadership Award from Yale in 2009 and was the Walter Camp Football Foundation’s Distinguished American recipient in 1992. Cozza was also instrumental in raising money for the renovation of Yale Bowl.
 
He is survived by his wife, Jean Cozza (Orange, CT), daughters Kristen (Dave) Powell (Orange, CT), Kathryn (Anthony) Tutino (Madison, CT) and Karen (John) Pollard (Middlebury, CT) and grandchildren Michael and Mark Powell, Elizabeth Tutino and Eric and Christopher Pollard. Carm Cozza was pre-deceased by four sisters, Ange, Pat, Theresa and Josephine (Parma, OH) and his parents, James and Carbita Cozza.
 
The services will be private, and a memorial celebration of his life is being planned for the near future.

*********** My friend Lou Orlando played for Carm Cozza in the 1980s.  Now a high school coach in Maine, Lou wrote me, “We were all very lucky to have known and played for Carm. He and his terrific staff (which was a direct extension of himself) taught us so much more than the X's and O's. He loved his players and we all loved him. If Carm needed us to run through a wall, I don't think there was a man amongst us that wouldn't have immediately asked "What's the snap count?"

*********** There are the Carm Cozzas - and then there are the Rich Rods.

The Carm Cozzas are a credit to our game. The Rich Rods are a pox on it.

What can I say about Rich Rodriguez other than to say - don’t let yourself get distracted by that bright shiny object. 

That would be the sexual harassment lawsuit by the ex-employee.  It’s sexy, and thanks to all this #metoo business it’s the story that gets the headlines.

But while it may have finally tipped the scales, it’s not the major reason that Rich Rodriguez was fired.

Neither is his win-loss record (which isn’t anything to brag about, and on the face of it might have been enough to get him canned).

Neither is the fact that he was blatantly cheating on his wife, while enlisting others in his employ to cover for him. (Is there anything sleazier than asking someone else to join you in your cheating?)

I’m saying that there’s more to come - a lot more - and it’s going to reveal that what finally took this guy down was the way he treated people.

He was  known to explode on players, coaches, managers - publicly, in the most vile and vulgar manner -  to the point where one assistant told a reporter for the Arizona Star that they all “walk on eggs.”

His manner with people had to be affecting his ability to recruit. What do you suppose Wildcat players told recruits when they visited?  I’m guessing that they asked if the kids were being recruited by anyone else - anyone - and then said,  “go there.”

The latest allegation is that an assistant coach came to him with a player having drug problems, looking for his help, and he blew them off - said “he’ll be all right.”  The kid died the next day of an overdose.

There will be more.  It’s just beginning to bubble to the surface of that cesspool in Tucson.

But I doubt that it started there.   

You going to try telling me he was a saint at Michigan?  At West Virginia?

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/other/latest-story-reveals-rich-rodriguez-shrugged-off-deceased-arizona-players-drug-problem/ar-BBHRwHW


*********** MY RANKING OF THE BOWL WINNERS - (Based on season record, bowl performance and personal bias.)  Consider it my way of bringing some meaning back to so-called “meaningless bowls”:  No bowl win, no ranking.

Yes, yes, I know - there were 39 bowl games and I’ve only selected 25 teams.  Apologies to those who didn’t make the list - maybe next year.

(Sorry Clemson and Oklahoma, but you're bowl losers, so you're not on the list.)

1. ALABAMA - They’re in a class by themselves.  Except that they’re better behaved and much more professional-acting, they’re very much like an NFL team - including being boring to watch

2. GEORGIA - They’re definitely better offensively than Clemson.  They could beat Alabama.
 
3. OHIO STATE - They embarrassed the Pac-12 champion.  Sam Darnold got a got preview of what it will be like to play for the Cleveland Browns and get no protection.

4. WISCONSIN - They’re great on defense, and they’re strong enough up front that they can afford to have a QB who can’t run. They’d be #3 if Ohio State hadn’t beaten them in the conference championship game.

5. CENTRAL FLORIDA - As Scott Frost was careful to point out in his post-game interview, the Knights beat a team (Auburn) that beat two of the teams in the Playoff.

6. TCU - Whatever you do,  don’t jump out to a big lead over TCU in a bowl game.  Oregon and Stanford know - they’ll come back and getcha.

7. PENN STATE - They were better this year than they were last year when they won the Big Ten and narrowly lost to USC in the Rose Bowl. Saquon Barkley is terrific, McSorley is a real winner, and the big tight end, Gesicki, is tough.  Despite the one-touchdown margin, they Nittany Lions were WAY better than Washington.

8. OKLAHOMA STATE - They’re plenty good, but overall it was a disappointing year for the Cowboys, who were picked to finish higher.

9. MICHIGAN STATE - The Spartans made Washington State look like pretenders.   Excuse me if I have my doubts about that cast on Luke Falk’s left (non-throwing) hand.

10. IOWA STATE - When you can beat Oklahoma - in Norman - and TCU, and then you can beat Memphis - in Memphis - you are the real deal.

11. MISSISSIPPI STATE - Quite an effort by the Bulldogs after the injury to QB Nick Fitzgerald in the first quarter of the season-ending loss to Ole Miss, and then the loss of coach Dan Mullen.

12. SOUTH FLORIDA - They came within a whisker of beating UCF in the season finale, and they wound up beating Texas Tech in the final seconds.

13. NORTHWESTERN - They lost their QB to injury and their best defender to a bogus targeting call, and their coach made a bonehead decision to go for it on fourth-and-two with two minutes to play, but they still managed to beat a good Kentucky team (who, it must be said, was playing without its star running back because it appears he offended the referee.

14. BOISE STATE - Their win over Oregon was so long ago it seems like it was another season.  But the Broncos set the bar so high that only one Pac-12 team (out of eight that tried their luck) came out of the bowls with a win.

15. WAKE FOREST - I don’t know about their defense - they gave up 52 points to Texas A & M - but they played up-tempo when they had the ball and they put 55 on the Aggies. Quite an achievement when one of the smallest schools in FBS can beat one of the largest.  As a Wake fan, I expect to enjoy one more year of Dave Clawson’s coaching before he gets a BIG offer to move on. (Unless Arizona should come calling over the next week or two.)

16. ARMY - I doubt that they could stop any of the teams that I’ve ranked above them, but by the same token, quite a number of them would have the same difficulty San Diego State did in getting them to give up the ball.

17. KANSAS STATE - Nice comeback against UCLA.  Nice substitution at QB, bringing in the runner to replace the passer.

18. NOTRE DAME - I had to put them on this list somewhere or I’d be accused - fairly, to be sure - of anti-Notre Dame bias.  But this is my list and I’ll do as I damn please with it.  True, the Irish did beat an SEC team,  but one without an offense. Between the rain and the lack of offense on both sides, that was one hard-to-watch bowl game.

19. NORTH CAROLINA STATE - The Wolfpack ushered in the Herm Edwards era at Arizona State by whupping the Sun Devils.

20. PURDUE - Nice season by Purdue and nice job in a back-and-forth game.  Who knew that the Boilermakers’ win over Arizona would be  Rich Rodriguez’ last game?

21. NAVY - The two-week rest after the Army loss was enough to get a new QB up to speed, and in their trouncing of Virginia, the Middies showed that they will be tough next year.

22. SOUTH CAROLINA - I don’t know a thing about the Gamecocks and I didn’t watch their game, but anybody that can put Harbaugh in his place - as the coach of the only Big Ten team to lose a bowl game -  deserves a spot on this list.

23. IOWA - Their whupping of Ohio State was constantly brought up when justifying the Buckeyes’ being left out of the Playoff - “that loss to IOWA!” - but if they’d played that way all season, they’d have been in the Playoffs.  As it turned out, they were barely good enough to beat Boston College in a classic, late-in-the-season, cold weather game.

24. DUKE - They were very young, but they somehow or other got bowl-eligible, and then they showed against Northern Illinois that they’re going to be pretty good next year.  Plus - remember - this is my list, and I always try to leave room for a few favorites.

25. UTAH - Had to get one Pac-12 team on the list, and since only one damn Pac-12 team won a stinking bowl game, that left the Utes.  An entire conference thanks you, West Virginia, for leaving your offense back in Morgantown.

*********** The bowl series wasn’t without its low points:

(1) The Music City Bowl - possibly the worst officiated bowl game in football history.

a. Kentucky running back Benny Snell was ejected for contact with an official - a Pac-12 official - who apparently took offense after he offered Snell, who had been tackled, a hand up and Snell brushed him off.

b. Northwestern linebacker Paddy Fisher made the kind of form tackle we’d give a player a dozen helmet stickers for - and was ejected for targeting.

(2) The Pac-12 Conference

a. The conference’s representatives went a well-deserved 1-7 in bowl games.

b. Except for Arizona’s Khalil Tate, Pac-12 QBs couldn’t get out of their own way. And damned if  Arizona didn’t wind up losing its bowl game by cutting back on Tate’s running and trying to showcase him as a passer.

b. The conference supported the official who ejected Benny Snell.

(3) The officials in the Orange Bowl who didn’t throw out Mark Richt.  I like Mark Richt, and I respect him, but I respect the rules even more, and applying the same no-contact-with-an-official rule that resulted in Benny Snell’s ejection, Coach Richt had to go. Inconsistent  enforcement of the rules/laws is an invitation to lawlessness in our sport and in our society.

(4) Northern Illinois trying a fake punt on 4th and 11 from deep in their own territory.

(5) Soccerboy in the Frisco Bowl.

I happened not to be looking up at the time, and I missed a Louisiana Tech touchdown.

But I looked up when I heard the official intone,  “There is no foul for tripping”

WTF?

Replay showed the pussy SMU kicker tried a soccer “tackle.”  But he missed, so I guess it’s no harm, no foul.  Funny, you take a swing at a guy and miss and you still get thrown out.

Then, to top it off,  Soccerboy was shown on the sidelines having a big laugh about the whole thing.

*********** New England was being hammered by Winter Storm Something-or-other, and the Patriots have a bye this weekend, but no matter. 

They practiced Thursday morning.  No excuses accepted.  Polar vortex my ass.

Said Coach Belichick, “Every day’s a work day.”

*********** You have not experienced real disillusionment until you’ve been hit, as I was, with the knowledge that  Sheila Jackson Lee, one of the most  ignorant fools ever sent to Congress,  is a fellow graduate of your college.

*********** Charlie Hennigan died - a great receiver from the early days of the AFL, he was a college and pro teammate of Charlie “Human Bowling Ball” Tolar.

http://nsudemons.com/news/2017/12/21/demon-football-demon-legend-charlie-hennigan-among-nfls-all-time-receiving-greats-dead-at-82.aspx#.Wjw8Bs9vnh8.facebook

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

I always enjoy reading your Christmas Wish for coaches piece each year.  I would venture to guess that maybe 25 years ago and more your list was the norm for most coaches.

Was the one school listed in that Stubhub ad you asked about found between Mississippi State and Brigham Young?  I have never seen that character before, and have absolutely no idea which school it represents.

I know of one college that has brought back its wrestling program.  Fresno State returned to the mats last year due to the community's overwhelming support for the sport.  Fresno area high schools are a hotbed of wrestling talent in the state.  Frankly - high school wrestling matches (especially in the Clovis Unified School District) are quite a spectacle.

Congratulations to Greg Koenig on getting that Cimarron program going in the right direction.  Looks like his B Back had a little something to do with it.  Wow.

Speaking of DW football I have been asked to be a guest speaker at the Lone Star DW Clinic at Woodville HS (north of Beaumont) in January.  They would like for me to make a presentation on utilizing formation adjustments in the DW.  Woodville is located in East Texas in the Piney Woods.

In today's big-time college football world there are an overwhelming number of athletes who aren't familiar with how to use correct pronunciation, punctuation, or diction.  You not only can find them at Texas, but just about any school.

When I was a young coach in California, and first came across Pete Carroll, my gut told me he was a ladder climber.  A slick, smooth talking, southern Californian.  Well...looks like he finally reached the top rung and is about to either fall off, or start working his way back down.  A typical ending for a "players coach".

I watched San Diego State play this year a couple of times.  Good football team.  But my impression of them is that they either play up, or down, to their competition.  Offensively they are pretty darn good.  Defensively they're fast, but they also struggle with the option.  They may have had more time to prepare for Army's option attack, but those guys lined up on the other side of the line at practice aren't Army's guys.  I think the game for Army will be decided on whether their defense can slow down SDSU's offense.  I think SDSU will struggle to stop Army's offense.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Call of the Year: “I think SDSU will struggle to stop Army's offense.”

The mystery logo was Wichita State’s - I told you one of them was a “Shocker.”


***********  “Why are you wearing a princess dress? Is this what you got for Christmas?” he asked this four-year-old  nephew.
.
“Why did you ask for a princess dress for Christmas?" he went on.

“Because it’s pretty,” replied the little guy.

And then Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton did the unthinkable, saying, “Boys don’t wear princess dresses!”

Needless to say,  Hamilton has been catching hell for denying a four-year-old the right to decide what gender he prefers.

http://www.news.com.au/sport/breaking-news/formula-one-driver-lewis-hamilton-slammed-for-shaming-nephew-over-princess-dress/news-story/4ace1a84d1d9dd9bb737771b26f41734


*********** The National Football Foundation put together this tribute to those major contributors to our game who died in 2017,  up through the time of the Foundation’s annual dinner in early December.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8in7pslEZiw

*********** A coach back East wrote me about his season coaching his high school’s JV (which they call “modified” team):

At the mod level we were very efficient last season, we totaled 1721 yards of offense in 5 games . 188 rushing attempts resulting in 1344 yards and 18 td’s averaging 7.15 yards per carry. We went 19-26, 377 yards, 5TD, 1 INT through the air. Very efficient passing in my opinion due to our stout running game.

I told him that those passing stats were worthy of any good Double Wing team, and using the NFL’s QB rating formula, nearly off the charts.
qb rating

Source: http://www.primecomputing.com/

Granted, it’s based on a very small sample, but his passer’s rating was 138.6

Compare that to the NFL’s leading passers:

Sam Bradford 124.4
DeShaun Watson 103.0
Alex Smith  104.7
Drew Brees 103.9
Tom Brady  102.8
Carson Wentz 101.9
Jared Goff  100.5  


*********** I suppose we can thank Mohammad Ali for all  the strutting and posing that takes place at football games these days, before the action has even started.  Now, Ali was unique - I disliked his act, but he could back it up.  As a result, unfortunately, his legacy lives on and on, in young guys who can’t back up their braggadocio but don’t let that deter them.

Worse still, they don’t seem to be at all bothered that they can’t cash the checks they’ve written.  They strut and trash talk - apparently with the approval of their coaches - and then go out and lay an egg.  And then, to show that they haven’t learned a thing about humility from their experience,  they’re back at it again the next week, as if nothing had ever happened.

*********** Q. What’s the difference between you and me sitting on barstools arguing over who’s the best college team - and a bunch of suits  in a conference room doing the same thing for us? 

A. Suits and a conference room.

With no better arguments than you or I could come up with, they arbitrarily anointed four teams to play for a supposed ”true national championship.”

So what’s the difference between you and me arbitrarily selecting one team on the basis of opinion - or their selecting four?

Does it make them any more accurate?

Just to show you how smart those geniuses on the Playoff Committee are… #1 Clemson lost to #4 Alabama, and #3 Georgia beat #2 Oklahoma.

And the question that ought to bother us all - were those four that they selected, on the basis of opinion only, really better than any of the next four - or five, or six?

Are you telling me that Ohio State, Wisconsin, Central Florida, TCU or Penn State couldn’t just as easily be playing in the final game?

The Playoff, we were told, was to let teams ‘settle it on the field.” (Rather than in the barroom.) Now, though,  we can see that story for just what it was - a bullsh— reason to make money by putting on three super-hyped “playoff” games.

*********** When Georgia’s season is over… What will Jacob Eason do???

https://247sports.com/Article/Will-Georgia-QB-Jacob-Eason-transfer-Thats-the-million-dollar-question-112399043

*********** Jim Harbaugh says he’s not going to the NFL.  No kidding.

https://www.freep.com/story/sports/college/university-michigan/wolverines/2018/01/01/michigan-football-jim-harbaugh-nfl/994644001/

*********** For a great football story - try this nice article about Iowa State’s Joel Lanning

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/sports/college/iowa-state/randy-peterson/2017/12/27/liberty-bowl-iowa-state-joel-lanning-ankeny-culture-matt-campbell-ncaa-football-randy-peterson/981411001/

*********** I thought Tommy Tuberville did a great job of color on the Liberty Bowl telecast.

*********** Kentucky showed exceptional sportsmanship when several of its players came over give their well wishes to injured Northwestern QB Clayton Thorson as he waited to be carted off the field.

*********** After watching his second bad bowl performance in a row, you have to wonder how in the hell they sold Lamar to the Heisman voters last year.

*********** Speaking of Heisman… if a guy’s good enough to win the Heisman, isn’t he the kind of guy who ought to have the game in his hands in overtime, Sooners?

*********** I’ve grown tired of announcers apologizing for certain teams’  lack of depth.

Um, they’re talking about FBS schools, many of them Power 5 conference schools, with 85 scholarships to give.

When they offered those 85 scholarships - could those recruiters have been that wrong?

How come big schools supposedly don’t have adequate backups, yet we can all see when we watch an FCS game that they have plenty of players that the big guys missed out on.

My question: Are the big guys really trying to tell us that with nine paid assistants - many of them making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year -  and with 85 scholarships to give, they can’t find at least three men at every position good enough to win?

************ I heard New York Governor Cuomo on TV today telling us that New York was prepared for that storm.  “This is not our first rodeo…” he said.

I had to laugh. The only thing he knows about a rodeo is his familiarity with bulls—.

*********** Granted, Cris Carter’s an Ohio State guy, but still…

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/bigten/2018/01/02/cris-carter-rips-jim-harbaugh-most-overrated-coach-after-michigan-loss/995365001/

*********** I’ve been against this Gatorade bath sh— for a long time.  But now they’ve crossed the line - literally. The sideline.

They’ve begun to cross the sideline and take their jackass act out onto the field.

I saw at least one coach get the bath while being interviewed.

And Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy might very well have thought it was fun for the fellers to douse him as he shook hands with Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente but I rather doubt that Coach Fuente enjoyed the experience.

I would argue that part of a coach’s job is teaching his players how to act appropriately.

*********** Not the biggest fan of kickers, you understand, but this article my son, Ed, sent me about Wisconsin’s kicker, Rafael Gaglianone, is pretty interesting…

http://archive.jsonline.com/sports/badgers/brazilian-kicker-rafael-gaglianone-brings-boom-to-badgers-b99331514z1-271548481.html/

*********** I’ve made it quite clear that I don’t care for Jim Harbaugh. I respect what he did to get Stanford football to the point where it can play with anybody.  And that’s that.

Otherwise,  in my opinion he’s an arrogant prick who thinks he’s bigger than the game itself and smarter than all the other dumb schlubs in the business, and now he’s beginning to look like these guys who’re big on all the trappings but not all that much when the ball’s teed up. All hat, no cattle, is the way it 's often said.

What’s amazing to me is how much slack Michigan’s given him.  Considering that he’s one of the highest paid coaches in the country, you’d think they’d expect something more after four years at Ann Arbor than a fourth-place finish in their DIVISION (no, not the conference, the DIVISION), but apparently everybody’s happy because, well, everybody knows that Harbaugh’s a great coach.

But now, the Detroit media has begun to stir.  Hang on, folks. 

Interestingly to me, one highly-qualified out-of-work coach hasn’t even been mentioned for any of the high-profile jobs that have opened lately.  Do you suppose that’s because Les Miles has been deliberately lying low, waiting patiently for the Michigan people to grow tired of Harbaugh’s act?

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/sports/columnists/bob-wojnowski/2018/01/03/wojo-s-harbaughs-turn-respond-heat/109135162/

*********** Perian - Mrs. Charlie - Conerly was  the subject of my football quiz, but I hadn’t spoken to her for some time.  I’d called her phone and gotten the dreaded “THE NUMBER YOU HAVE REACHED IS NO LONGER IN SERVICE” message a couple of times, which when you reach a certain stage in life can mean bad things.

But this was Christmas, and refusing to believe that Mrs. Conerly was no longer with us, I determined to chase her down.

I do have to admit that I’m pretty good at that. I spent a little time as a newspaper reporter, which involves locating sources - try finding a high school basketball coach on a Friday night after his team has just lost - but more than that, I spent quite a few years as a minor league football coach and a pro director of player personnel.  Believe me, when you’re trying to locate young guys who’ve just left college and haven’t put down any roots yet, guys who’ve been living the lives of vagabonds as they bounce around between pro football tryouts and training camps and temporary jobs, you develop a detective’s skills.

So it was with locating Mrs. Conerly.  Remembering that when we last spoke she had said something about possibly moving into a retirement home, I started calling retirement homes in her town of Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Bingo - I hit pay dirt on the first one. Actually, they said that she was no longer there - that she’d moved recently to a “rehab facility” in Oxford.  Whew.  She’s still with us, I thought. (Oxford, home of Ole Miss, is a familiar place to Mrs. Conerly, a lifelong fan of the Rebels.)
They didn’t know the name of the place, and I didn’t press them for any details on why the “rehab.”

I just redirected my search. No luck at the first couple of places I tried, but at the third one I explained my predicament to a very nice lady, who said that if I didn’t mind waiting, she’d try checking around.  She had me on hold for a while, but when she came back, she said she’d found where Mrs. Conerly was living, and gave me her number.

And after no more than an hour or so of my searching, we were talking.
 
Mrs. Conerly sounded great, as always.  She sounded truly appreciative that I’d made the effort to find her, but then, that’s her nature.

She seemed especially flattered - but again, she just drips with politeness - that I’d asked my readers to try to identify her,  and that several of you even knew who she was.

It made me feel great, at Christmas time, to be able to wish her a Merry Christmas, and to tell her how much it means to me to know a person who was such a part of one of the most glorious eras in the history of pro football.  (And to remind her that when I was in college, I became an avid Giants’ fan, and I read her columns in The Times.)

I don’t think I was out of line in wishing her a Merry Christmas on your behalf.

(In my phone search, I got to listen to some of the sweetest music on earth - the English language, spoken by friendly ladies with beautiful Mississippi accents.)

*********** QUIZ  ANSWER - Bill Snyder of Kansas State has done possibly the most remarkable job in history of turning a chronic loser into  a winner, but George Welsh turned  seemingly hopeless losers  into winners at TWO major college programs.

He was born and raised in Coaldale, Pennsylvania and at Navy he was an All-American quarterback in 1955. In the 1955 Sugar Bowl he led Navy’s “Team Named Desire” to an upset win over Ole Miss.

After service in the US Navy, he joined Joe Paterno’s staff at Penn State in 1963 and stayed there through the 1972 season, when he was hired by Navy as its head coach.

At the time, Navy was down. Really down.  Since Wayne Hardin’s  9-2 season in 1963, the Midshipmen had gone nine years with only one winning season (5-4-1 in 1967).  In the five seasons from 1968 through 1972 they won only 12 games.

It took him three years to finally break through, going 7-4 in 1975, but before he was finished at Annapolis he would take the Middies to three bowl games, including a 1978 Holiday Bowl win over Cal.

When he left for Virginia after the 1981 season, his record at Navy was 55-46-1.  At the time that made him Navy’s winningest coach, a record that has since been surpassed by Ken Niumatalolo.

The Virginia situation that he took over was far worse as the one he inherited at Navy.  How bad?  Kansas State bad. From 1949-1952, the Cavaliers had four straight winning seasons. But over the next 29 years, until our guy took over in 1982, UVa had only two winning seasons. Seven different coaches had tried their luck and failed.

He went 2-9 in his first year at UVa, but over the next 18 seasons he had only one other losing season. From 1987 through 2000, he had an unprecedented 14 straight winning seasons.  He took the Cavaliers to 12 bowl games and six Top-25 rankings.

HIs 1989 team was the first UVa team to win ten games in a season.   He won nine of 10 contests against in-state rival Virginia Tech. UVa had been 7-20 against the Hokies before he arrived. 

When he left after the 2000 season because of health issues, he was the winningest coach coach in school history, with a record of 134-86-3.  He was also at the time the winningest coach in ACC history.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING GEORGE WELSH
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JIM CRAWLEY - CHINA GROVE, NORTH CAROLINA (I finally know the answer to one of your quiz questions without having to cheat! (aka. Google). As an old Virginia boy who grew up (mostly) in Lynchburg, about an hour south of Charlottesville, the answer has to be George Welsh. UVA was a tough place to win. He didn't always have a great team but I remember what a class act he was.) If you used Google and learned something, it wasn’t cheating - it was “research!”
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA (George Welsh...replaced Rick Forzano who recruited me into getting a Congressional appointment from Charlotte T. Reid)
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
GARY PAVIS - ST. LEONARD, MARYLAND
RODNEY LUNSFORD - DUBLIN, INDIANA

*********** QUIZ - USC is famous for its great running backs:  OJ Simpson… Marcus Allen… Ricky Bell… Charles White… Mike Garrett…  Anthony Davis … Reggie Bush.

But the greatest of them all might have been a guy who played in the 1950s, when he had to play both ways,  at a time before the Trojans adopted the I-formation, which featured one star back.

He came out of Manual Arts High in Los Angeles, and from his very first game as a sophomore (freshmen weren’t eligible) it was obvious he was a great one.

He rushed for 601 yards on 96 carries and scored seven touchdowns, and although he caught only three passes, they went for 104 yards and three touchdowns.

In his junior year,  he carried 141 times for 672 yards and 11 TDs. He caught just six passes, but they were good for 154 yards and three TDs, and he was named All-American. He won the Voit Award, given to the top player on the West Coast.

Going into his senior year,  he was captain of the team and the Heisman Trophy favorite. But a pay-for-play scandal among West Coast powers brought sanctions against USC, UCLA, Cal and Washington, and he was suspended for the first half of the season. Playing half the season, he nearly matched his yardage from his junior year: 625 yards on 99 carries for six TDs, and he made All-American and won the Voit Award for the second straight year.

But it wasn’t enough to win the Heisman, which went to Paul Hornung, captain of a 2-9 Notre Dame team.

He was the first choice of the Los Angeles Rams in 1956 - the number two pick overall, ahead of Jim Brown.

In his ten years in the NFL - seven with the Rams and three with the Bears - he starred as a threat at running back, wide receiver and return man, and went to five straight Pro Bowls.

Along the way,  a Los Angeles sportswriter gave him the nickname Jaguar Jon, and it stuck.

 

american flagFRIDAY,  DECEMBER 29,  2017  “Moral courage is the most valuable and usually the most absent characteristic in men.”   General George S. Patton Jr

***********  Happy New Year!   I gave all my staff off for the Christmas break and it's nice to be back!

*********** That Army game… I’m going to turn this one over to Jack Morrison.  Jack, West point Class of 1959, was a two-way lineman on Army’s undefeated 1958 squad.  He knows his football, and he knows his Army football, and during the season he provides his “subscribers” with pre-game and post-game reports. 

He goes into considerable depth in his reports, but I’ll just print his game summary:

This was a battle of two heavyweights slugging it out to the end.  The SDSU Offense was explosive, gaining 280 yards of Total Offense on just 31 plays.

The Army Offense finally wore down the SDSU Defense with 91 plays that generated 446 yards of Total Offense. (SDSU certainly did not help themselves with five 15-yard Unsportsmanlike Conduct Penalties.)

Army QB Bradshaw’s 180 yards rushing gave him 1,646 yards for the season,  breaking the Service Academy single season rushing record previously set at 1,587 yards by Navy’s Napoleon McCallum in 1983..  SDSU RB Penny’s 221 yards rushing broke the previous SDSU single season rushing record of 2,133 yards set by Donnell Pumphrey last season.

These were two very talented players leading their respective teams with all that they had to give. However, IMO the difference in the game was the Army O Line that won the big battle up front, as they have all season long, physically wearing down a very good SDSU Defense. Consequently, I thought it was very fitting that HC Monken allowed them to select the crucial 2-point play that ultimately won the game.

This Army team battled through some real adversity on Saturday, absorbing several long TD plays by SDSU RBs Penny and Washington, but never panicked and kept fighting.  They just kept coming back until they could find a way to win, as they have done in several of our close games all season long. That mental and physical toughness brought them through another close game with a well-earned victory.
MVP

Army QB Bradshaw was voted the game’s MVP, which is traditionally awarded to a player from the winning team. Bradshaw was certainly deserving, but no one could have complained if SDSU RB Penny had been selected. Penny played a fantastic game rushing for 221 yards and 4 TDs on only 14 carries. A strong case could also have made been for Army’s four Fullbacks as a group, who collectively out-rushed Bradshaw with 45 carries for 210 yards (vs. Bradshaw’s 180 yards).

However, my personal vote would have gone to the Army Offensive Line who led several long sustained TD drives and again successfully put the team on their shoulders with the game on the line, as they have done all season long in our several close wins.
*********** Army - What else?

Do I ever love the Trap Option Series.  It's officially obsessive now.  Those first few Midline Dives with Traps just tore SDSU up.  If you get a chance to look at the later Traps, look at the offside LB.  He steps up, plants his feet, searching and searching and then attacks the FB.  Holey-Moley!!!  In a slightly parallel universe, somebody sees that and...

Which brings up...that other Army Offense.

Go back to the UCLA Rose Bowl against Ohio State.  I think I've mentioned it before.  Actually, you probably mentioned it and I'm claiming credit.  Anyway, the QB was John Sciarra.  Ohio State had murdered UCLA earlier in the season and here was that body just layin' there on the field.  Only, it started twitching.

Watch Sciarra.  This is not a well choreographed Veer.  Schiarra goes nuts, jamming his body into seams that weren't meant to be found.

Making first downs.

I remembered that game when I saw Army.  "Why doesn't Ahmad Bradshaw pitch?"  'Cos he's making first downs.  31 of them.  Over and over.  46 minutes of game time worth of first downs. But...but...but... 

" 'N PLEEZE don't go for 2 and PLEEEEEZE don't run Rocket Toss against that D and....What the......!"

Oh, Ye of little faith!

Go Army!

Charlie Wilson
Crystal River, Florida

Charlie-

That’s not much of an “option” offense, is it?

There’s some midline and some of that Emory Bellard/John Bond stuff - and a healthy dose of “G” from an unbalanced set.

And then, to top it off, the toss-sweep from a tight slot.

Sheesh!

Once they know you can run option, you don’t even have to run it!



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

I really enjoyed the Army/ SD game. But could hear you yell from here in Juneau when SD ran the kick back at the end of the half and then almost did it again to win the game. I can hear you even today “Don’t kick the ball deep and never to their best returner”

I agreed going for the win there was no way Army could have stopped them in overtime.

The Army attack was classic DW philosophy. Hold the ball, keep it away from the better team with the better athletes and have a chance to win it in the end.

I enjoyed watching Army run trap, G Down, The sweep, they sure ran a lot of the DW stuff we made a living on for years. I almost expected to see a Super Power.

It was fun to watch and certainly there is a place in football  for a solid run game, especially in this pass happy culture today. As I watched the game thought of you and all those lessons you taught us, years ago, about football,  play out in this bowl game.

Merry Christmas 🎄 to you, Connie and the family.

Jack Tourtillotte
Rangely, Maine

As Jack well knows, having coached with me, I'm not  a proponent of kicking the ball off and daring opponents to return it.

***********BOWL SUMMARY

UGLY GAMES

Boca Raton Bowl (Florida Atlantic 50, Akron 3)
Nice of Kiffin to keep his foot on the gas

Frisco Bowl (LA Tech 51, SMU 10)
SMU punter tried to trip a return man with a soccer “tackle”

Gasparilla Bowl (Temple 28, Florida International 3)
Without their QB, FIU didn't belong in a bowl game

Bahamas Bowl (Ohio 41, UAB 6)
Couldn't they pay some local kids to sit in the stands?

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Wyoming 37, Central Michigan 14)
Extra credit for ugly uniforms against the blue turf background)
I do like Wyoming QB Josh Allen -
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josh_Allen_(quarterback)

Dollar General Bowl (Appalachian State 34, Toledo 0)
What was it with the MAC this season?

Heart of Dallas Bowl (Utah 30, West Virginia 14)
Next time West Virginia should bring its offense
Utah’s Kyle Willingham is now 11-1 in bowl games.  He told an interviewer “We’re just lucky that way,” but there are some who say it’s because the Utes have contact during bowl preparation.

Independence Bowl (Florida State 42, Southern Miss 13)
Seemed like this damned thing went on forever.
The only thing worse than the game was the interview with Deion Sanders.
Coach Taggart - do you REALLY want to hire this guy?

Texas Bowl (Texas 33, Missouri 16)
Texas punts 11 times, averages less than 4 yards per play - and still wins by 17


GOOD GAMES
Birmingham Bowl (South Florida 38, Texas Tech 34)
Took them awhile - the over/under was 66 and it was only 10-10 at the half, but when they got it cracked up, they gave us quite a game.  Coming back from the heartbreak of the loss to UCF, USF QB Quentin Flowers ran for 106 and  threw for 311,  including the winning TD at the end.

Armed Forces Bowl (Army 42, San Diego State 35)
An absolutely astounding display of armor and infantry that kept the ball out of the hands of SDSU’s great running back Rashaan Penny  was capped by an end sweep for the winning 2-point conversion. The final score should have been 36-35, but Army scored on an interception during a lateralfest.   Amazingly, there was a decent crowd: 35,986

Hawaii Bowl (Fresno State 33, Houston 27)
Redemption for Jeff Tedford.  And will the people in Honolulu ever turn out for a college football game?

Quick Lane Bowl (Duke 36, Northern Illinois 14)
This was a good game because I like Duke.  The Blue Devils were okay this year and next year they’re going to be pretty good. Otherwise… it was worth watching just so you could say that you once saw a college team (NIU) try a fake punt on 4th-and-18 from their own 11.

Cactus Bowl (Kansas State 35, UCLA 17)
Josh Rosen probably did have a concussion - who can say?  Down 17-7, K-State changed QB’s in the early going, and it changed things around. Based on the conduct of some of those Bruins, Chip Kelly might have some house cleaning to do.

Pinstripe Bowl (Iowa 27, Boston College 20)
The game was kind of exciting, but they just can’t get a baseball field (Yankee Stadium) ready for football.  Other years, it’s been newly-laid turf that wouldn’t knit.  This year, it was frozen turf that kept players slipping all day.  Two very good runners, BC’s AJ Dillon  (32 for 157) and Iowa’s Akrum Wadley.  Dillon, from New London, Connecticut, is the grandson of Notre Dame great Thom Gatewood, who I remember as a schoolboy in Baltimore.

Foster Farms Bowl (Purdue 38, Arizona 35)
This was a great back-and-forth game.  I didn’t want a Pac-12 team to lose, but this was Purdue. How could I root against them? Jeez, this was their second winning season in 10 years.  Jeff Brohm has done a great job and Elijah Sindelar did a terrific job stepping in at QB when the starter got hurt.  I know that UA’s Khalil Tate threw for over 300 yards and all that, but there had to be some reason why he wasn’t running well.  And will somebody tell that announcer that it’s not “PERR-due?”

Military Bowl (Navy 49, Virginia 7)
It’s only on this list because I like watching Navy operate.  If you don't,  this game sucked. After seeing them against UVa, with QB Malcolm Perry having had a couple of weeks to learn how to run the real Navy offense, I’m happy Army played them when they did.  I didn’t think it was cool of Niumatalolo, winning 49-7 over a soundly-beaten Virginia team, to attempt a field goal with :38 remaining.


*********** A friend sent me a link to a story titled “Mastering the Double Wing at the Youth Level.”

He added the comment, "LMAO!"

No kidding.

Here were some "Tips":

Use Wide Splits - He recommends two feet.  He lost me there. Good Luck with that. Penetration kills offenses.

Next was just as good

Don’t Double Team - Of course not.  Why would you want your linemen to have any advantages in blocking  defensive linemen? His reasoning is that if you double-team linemen, linebackers will make tackles. Well, with those wide splits, I imagine they would.  But  there's an old football truism: Linebackers make tackles, but linemen make tackles for losses.  Moral: First block the linemen. Of course, he could pull backside linemen, to get onto those backers, but then, with those two-foot splits…

https://www.hudl.com/blog/mastering-the-double-wing-at-the-youth-level


*********** QUIZ ANSWER - Perian (Pronounced "Perry Anne") Conerly was the wife of  long-time New York Giants' quarterback Charlie Conerly, and she wrote sports columns for the new York Times.

She was the first female sportswriter in the National Sportswriters' Association, and the first female member of the Football Writers' Association.

In 1963 she wrote a book telling of her life as a football wife and a frequent companion of her husband and his famous teammates as they made the rounds of the New York night spots after games.

Her husband Charlie, who quarterbacked the Giants for 14 years, was a World War II hero as a Marine in the South Pacific.  At  Ole Miss, following the War, he set all sorts of passing records. With the Giants, he was NFL Rookie of the Year.

The Giants' Wellington Mara once called him "The best football player not in the Hall of Fame."

After retirement, Charlie Conerly was the first “Marlboro Man,” a highly masculine forerunner of today’s Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man in the World.”

Perian Conerly's book, “Backseat Quarterback,” is not a tell-all. It was written long before people told everything about the goings-on inside locker rooms and clubhouses, but it does provide a very interesting look into the lives of people who are now pro football legends.

The Washington Star called it, “the best book on pro football in a long time.”

https://msfame.com/ricks-writings/perian-conerly-the-original-backseat-qb/



CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING PERIAN CONERLY:

KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
DAVE KEMMICK - MT. JOY, PENNSYLVANIA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA (What a wonderful woman!)
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
MICK YANKE - COKATO, MINNESOTA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA  - AUSTIN, TEXAS
TIM BROSS - KIRKWOOD, MISSOURI
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
RODNEY LUNSFORD - DUBLIN, INDIANA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA



*********** QUIZ - Bill Snyder of Kansas State has done possibly the most remarkable job in history of turning a chronic loser into  a winner, but this guy turned  seemingly hopeless losers  into winners at TWO major college programs.

He was born and raised in Coaldale, Pennsylvania and at Navy he was an All-American quarterback in 1955. In the 1955 Sugar Bowl he led Navy’s “Team Named Desire” to an upset win over Ole Miss.

After service in the US Navy, he joined Joe Paterno’s staff at Penn State in 1963 and stayed there through the 1972 season, when he was hired by Navy as its head coach.

At the time, Navy was down. Really down.  Since Wayne Hardin’s  9-2 season in 1963, the Midshipmen had gone nine years with only one winning season (5-4-1 in 1967).  In the five seasons from 1968 through 1972 they won only 12 games.

It took him three years to finally break through, going 7-4 in 1975, but before he was finished at Annapolis he would take the Middies to three bowl games, including a 1978 Holiday Bowl win over Cal.

When he left for Virginia after the 1981 season, his record at Navy was 55-46-1.  At the time that made him Navy’s winningest coach, a record that has since been surpassed by Ken Niumatalolo.

The Virginia situation that he took over was far worse as the one he inherited at Navy.  How bad?  Kansas State bad. From 1949-1952, the Cavaliers had four straight winning seasons. But over the next 29 years, until our guy took over in 1982, UVa had only two winning seasons. Seven different coaches had tried their luck and failed.

He went 2-9 in his first year at UVa, but over the next 18 seasons he had only one other losing season. From 1987 through 2000, he had an unprecedented 14 straight winning seasons.  He took the Cavaliers to 12 bowl games and six Top-25 rankings.

HIs 1989 team was the first UVa team to win ten games in a season.   He won nine of 10 contests against in-state rival Virginia Tech. UVa had been 7-20 against the Hokies before he arrived. 

When he left after the 2000 season because of health issues, he was the winningest coach coach in school history, with a record of 134-86-3.  He was also at the time the winningest coach in ACC history.



american flagFRIDAY,  DECEMBER 22,  2017  “I have one yardstick by which I test every major problem – and that yardstick is: Is it good for America?” Dwight D. Eisenhower


*********** MY ANNUAL CHRISTMAS WISH FOR FOOTBALL COACHES EVERYWHERE (First printed in 2000, and  every Christmas since):

May you have.... Parents who recognize that you are the football expert; who stand back and let you coach their kids; who know their kids' limitations and don't expect them to start unless in your opinion they're better than the other kids; who don't sit in the stands and openly criticize their kids' teammates; who don't think it's your job to get their kid an athletic scholarship; who schedule their vacations so their kids won't miss any practices; who know that your rules apply to everybody, and are not designed just to pick on their kid...

... A community that can recognize a year when even Vince Lombardi himself would have trouble getting those kids to line up straight... Opponents who are fun to play against; who love and respect the game and its rules as much as you do, and refuse to let their kids act like jerks... Students who want to be in your class and want to learn; who laugh at your jokes and turn their work in on time... who listen carefully, hear everything you say and understand all instructions the first time...Officials who will address you and your kids respectfully; who know and respect the rulebook; who will have as little effect on the game as possible; who will let you step a yard onto the playing field without snarling at you... Newspaper reporters who understand the game, always quote you accurately, and know when not to quote you at all...

A school district that provides you with a budget sufficient to run a competitive program... A superintendent (or principal)  who schedules teachers' workdays so that coaches don't have to miss any practices... An athletic director who has been a coach himself and knows what you need to be successful and knows that one of those things is not another head coach in the AD's office; who can say "No" to the bigger schools that want you on their schedules; who understands deep down that despite Title IX, all sports are not equal... Assistants who love the game as much as you do, buy completely into your philosophy, put in the time in the off-season, and are eager to learn everything they can about what you are doing. And if they disagree with you, will tell you - and nobody else.. A booster club that puts its money back into the sports that earn it, and doesn't demand a voice in your team's operation... A principal who figures that when there is a teachers' position open, the applicant who is qualified to be an assistant coach deserves extra consideration; who doesn't come in to evaluate you on game day; who makes weight-training classes available to football players first, before opening them up to the general student body; who knows that during the season you are very busy, and heads off parent complaints so that you don't have to waste your time dealing with them; who can tell you in the morning in five minutes what took place in yesterday afternoon's two-hour-long faculty meeting that you missed because you had practice... A faculty that will notify you as soon as a player starts screwing off or causing problems in class, and will trust you to handle it without having to notify the administration... A baseball coach who encourages kids to play football and doesn't have them involved in tournaments that are still going on into late August... 
A basketball coach who encourages kids to play football and doesn't discourage them from lifting, and doesn't hold "open gym" every night after football practice...A wrestling coach who encourages kids to play football and doesn't ask your promising 215-pound sophomore guard to wrestle at 178...

A class schedule that gives you and at least your top assistant the same prep period... Doctors that don't automatically tell kids with little aches and pains to stay out of football for two weeks, even when there's nothing seriously wrong with them... Cheerleaders who occasionally turn their backs to the crowd and actually watch the game; who understand the game - and like it... A couple of transfers who play just the positions where you need help... A country that appreciates the good that football - and football coaches - can do for its young men... A chance, like the one I've had, to get to know coaches and friends of football all over the country and find out what great people they are... The wisdom to "Make the Big Time Where You Are" - to stop worrying about the next job and appreciate the one you have ... Children of your own who love, respect and try to bring honor to their family in everything they do... A wife (like mine), who understands how much football means to you... Motivated, disciplined, coachable players who love the game of football and love being around other guys who do, too - players like the ones I've been blessed with. A nation at peace - a peace that exists thanks to a strong and dedicated military that defends us while we sleep.

For all assistants - A head coach whose values and philosophy you can support

Sounds like the things I have - may you be blessed to have them, too.

And one special wish for those coaching brothers who find themselves "between positions" at this time of year - May your Christmas joy not be dimmed by the fact that you are temporarily without a team, and instead brightened by the belief that your next job is just around the corner. (And if my experience is any indicator, it will be a far better one than the last one, anyhow!)

Merry Christmas!


*********** There’s no doubt in my mind that football is in  a fight for its life, but it's got a long way to go before it’s time to call the undertaker.

A sure sign that football is not yet dead is that while we’ve been seeing small declines in participation at the youth and high school levels, there are still more boys participating in high school football than in the next two sports combined.

You want to talk about a sport with problems?  Try wrestling. Talk about a sport that a softening society has no use for.

Title IX’s insistence that college sports participation by females must reflect their percentage of the overall student body has resulted in the addition of women’s sports, a desirable enough outcome.  But the number of men involved in just one sport - football - skews the numbers heavily toward the male side, and since there are are only so many women’s sports, and only so many women interested in or capable of participating in them,  there is only one way to satisfy the federal bureaucrats: cut men’s sports.

In far too many cases, that put a target on wrestling, and a great number of colleges dropped their programs. 

But by bit, the attack on wrestling at the collegiate level  made its way to the high school level, something I was reminded of this past week.

Our local newspaper printed a 40-page supplement which it titled “High School Winter Sports 2017-2018.”  Talk about mislabeling.

Covering 20-some high schools in our county, it devoted five pages (including the outside back cover) to ads.  Makes sense to me. 

But of the remaining 35 pages, 31 of them (including the front cover) were devoted to pictures, stories and schedules of boys’ and girls’ basketball.

That left one page each for the remaining four “winter sports,” two each for boys and girls.

One for boys’ swimming. Few schools even have swim teams.

One for gymnastics. Not every school has enough girls for a gymnastics team.

One for bowling.  Believe it or not, our state association recognizes it as a girls’ sport.

And, despite the fact that our corner of the state produced two state champions last year… one for wrestling.

I sure hope that somewhere there are wrestling coaches who jumped on this one. Used to be, those guys were tigers in promoting their sport.  Me, I have too many other axes to grind with that little jerkwater newspaper.

*********** A little Christmas fun…  This was an ad in Sports Business Journal bought by Stubhub to show the colleges it works with.  See how many your guests can identify. HINT: One of the logos is a real Shocker.

college logos

*********** I tuned in the Grambling-North Carolina A & T game Saturday,  and while I wasn’t disappointed by the football, I was deeply disappointed by the halftime coverage.

Look, TV guys - you’ve got us conditioned to having to sit though the halftime blather that takes place at big-time college games.  Never, apparently, has it occured to your producers that there might be some of us who would enjoy watching, say, the Ohio State band.  I mean, the whole band, the way the people in the stands watch it. You know, the script “Ohio” and all that.

Oh, no, when you do deign to show us the “band,” you have to go in close, showing us the nose hairs in the glockenspiel player, followed by quick cut after quick cut to other individuals, followed by “we’ll be back with second-half action…” and a cut to commercial.

That’s well and good when you’re showing us Ohio State.

But you seem not to understand the role that bands play in HBCU (Historically Black College and University) football. Those bands are entertaining, they are high-energy, and they are very well coached. (If that’s the right word.)

I will never forget the first time I saw the Florida A & M Rattler Band.

One of these days, TV guys, you’re going to let us watch the HBCU bands at half time.

(If you’ve seen  any of “The Quad” series on BET, a fair amount of it has dwelled on the importance to an HBCU college - in this case, the fictitious Georgia A & M - of the band, its rivalry with the bands at other HBCU schools, and the influence it can exert on alumni and on school administration.)

*********** My wife and I happened to catch most of the NCAA volleyball final between Nebraska over Florida. There were 18,500 people on hand in Kansas City to watch.  Say that over again - 18,500.

Call me a sexist pig, but those women are really good looking. (They did say that a couple of them were liberos.  Damn shame.)

They are tall and trim.  They are athletic as hell.   And they can jump.  Made me wonder why women basketball players can’t seem to jump more than a couple of inches off the floor.  Also made me wonder what Geno Auriemma could do with one of those volleyball teams if he had a couple of years to teach them basketball.

Again - very risky thing to say in this era when a career can be ruined simply for saying a woman looks nice, but I think the WNBA would draw a lot more men to its games if its teams wore volleyball uniforms.

*********** It took a lot to pry Double-Winger Greg Koenig away from Beloit, Kansas after 10 years there.  It took an opportunity like the one in Cimarron, Kansas, a town even smaller than Beloit, in the southwestern corner of the state about halfway between Garden City and Dodge City.

Jaylen Pickle at BOne of the things that excited Greg was the opportunity to coach Jaylen Pickle, a 6-6, 260 pound lineman who even before he arrived had been offered by - and had committed to - Kansas State.

There were enough  other good athletes there, including an exceptional running back/linebacker, to convince him that Cimarron could be a good Double Wing team.

And then he saw Jaylen Pickle move, and he thought - “B-Back.”

That, for those of you who aren’t familiar with my system, is the fullback. The kid had never carried the ball, but he was athletic - he played basketball - and fast, and he knew how to block.  Forget running ability - the fullback’s block is extremely important on our signature off-tackle play, which we call “Super Power.’ 

Jaylen PickleShort story - Jaylen more than filled the bill. Became a decent runner, too.  And - a bonus - a good pass receiver.

He was an exceptional defense end, as well.  Defensive line is where K-State projected him when they offered.

The Cimarron Blue Jays got off to a slow start, to a large extent because they met two very good teams early in the season.  They were 1-2 after three games, but then they ran off six wins in a row to finish 7-2, win their district and qualify for the state playoffs.

In recent days, Jaylen Pickle confirmed his commitment to K-State, and on Wednesday, he signed.  EMAW! (Every Man a Wildcat!)

http://cjonline.com/sports/catzone/2017-12-16/cimarron-s-jaylen-pickle-held-firm-early-commitment-k-state-football

*********** Discipline is what holds a team together when things go wrong.

A Pete Carroll team is not generally what you’d think of as a disciplined team, and now that things are starting to go wrong in Seattle, his Seahawks are showing that they are, indeed, a Pete Carroll team.

Forget the disrespect of the flag.  They were able to get away with that sh— because they were winning, and besides, they spun it - that arm-in-arm thing - was camaraderie.  All for one and one for all, you understand (an expression that comes from a book, something that I doubt many of them have ever read).

Forget the idiotic rantings of Richard Sherman, once egged on by the news media as if he was the Bard of Compton.

Forget Doug Baldwin, who crudely celebrated a touchdown - during the Super Bowl -  by pretending to defecate a football.

Forget Michael Bennett, who made up a story last summer about a Las Vegas cop pulling a gun on him.  He’s “writing” a book, or so we’ve been told.  Its title, “How to Make White People Uncomfortable,” sounds like an autobiography to me.

No, forget all those things.  They were just the everyday hijinks  of a team that’s been riding high for years, so loved in its ultra-liberal home city that nearly any antisocial act is forgiven if not overlooked.

Now, though, the wheels are coming off.  They’re getting older, they’re being hit by injuries, and they're getting beaten - and their lack of discipline is coming to the fore.

Two weeks ago, it was pro-wrestling-type end-of-game grotesquery that included the aforementioned Mr. Bennett attacking an opponent’s knees, and a teammate attempting to climb into the stands after some fans.

Last week, it was an ass-whipping - at home, yet - administered by the Los Angeles Rams, which generated the finger-pointing characteristic of an undisciplined team.

Following Sunday’s game, safety Earl Thomas, seeming to blame teammates, including linebacker Bobby Wagner, who had played hurt, said, “The backups would have did just as good.”  

(In case you’re wondering where college students talk that way,  Thomas was once a “student-athlete”  at the University of Texas.)

*********** I spent a little time around NFL players years ago, and I still recall being astounded by how basically helpless so many of them were when it came to doing ordinary things for themselves. They’d grown so used to having things done for them by other people that they’d become functionally useless as human beings.

And that was before today’s paychecks,  with two additional zeroes added at the end of the numbers. That was before they really became pampered princes.

I think of this every time I see a pro football player standing on the sidelines as some team flunky squirts thirst-quencher into his mouth.

*********** The bowl season is not off to a promising start:

1. New Oregon coach Marion Cristobal gets off to a bad start as they Ducks lay an egg.

2. Florida International shows that its no longer a poor program but its coach, one Lane Kiffin, is still a prick as they hang 50 on Akron, still airing it out on the last play of the game.

3. New SMU coach Sonny Dykes wins the Bad Timing of the Year Award,  taking over the coaching of the Mustangs a week before their bowl game - and watching as they get destroyed by Louisiana Tech.

I do hope that the Armed Forces Bowl on Saturday - Army vs San Diego State - will be a good one. I have this nagging feeling that the Aztecs might be too tough.

*********** Ever since the last system upgrade, my iPhone has slowed down dramatically, as if I’d been transported back to the days of the dial-up modem.  You old-timers will know what I’m talking about.

At first, I was worried that there was something wrong with my phone, then that I had done something wrong.

What a relief it was to learn today that it was all the doing of those great folks at Apple. From a release:

The company said its software updates for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6S, iPhone SE and iPhone 7 are designed to "smooth out" peak power demands, prevent these surprise shutdowns and ultimately prolong the lifespan of batteries.

Thank heavens! It wasn’t me at all!  All this time, it was my friends down in Cupertino, looking out for me, as always! 

Shame on all you other iPhone users, accusing Apple of doing this simply to try to get us to buy new iPhones. Ingrates!  That’s the thanks Apple gets for looking out for you!


*********** QUIZ ANSWER:   Chuck Howley was a native of Wheeling, West Virginia.

At West Virginia, he lettered in FIVE sports: Football, wrestling, track, gymnastics and swimming.  (In swimming, he was the conference one-meter diving champion.)

He was drafted by the Bears and played two years with them.

He missed a year due to injury, and was traded to the Cowboys, where he played 165 games in 13 years at linebacker.  He was so fast that Tom Landry said he’d have been a great running back if he weren’t so valuable at linebacker, and in two different seasons he had over 100 yards in interception returns. In his career, he intercepted 25 passes.

He is one of the best players not to be in the Hall of Fame.

He was the first defensive player to be named MVP of the Super Bowl, and remains the only Super Bowl MVP from a losing team.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING CHUCK HOWLEY:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA (Chuck Howley...What an amazing athlete...I always wondered how Halas let him get away...I always thought it had to do with expansion)
KC SMITH - WALPOLE, MASSACHUSETTS
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON

*********** QUIZ - She was the wife of a long-time New York Giants' quarterback, and she wrote sports columns for the new York Times.

She was the first female sportswriter in the National Sportswriters' Association, and the first female member of the Football Writers' Association.

In 1963 she wrote a book telling of her life as a football wife and a frequent companion of her husband and his famous teammates as they made the rounds of the New York night spots after games.

The book, “Backseat Quarterback,” is not a tell-all. It was written long before people told everything about the goings-on inside locker rooms and clubhouses, but it does provide a very interesting look into the lives of people who are now pro football legends.

The Washington Star called her book, “the best book on pro football in a long time.”

Her husband, who quarterbacked the Giants for 14 years, was a World War II hero as a Marine in the South Pacific, and at Ole Miss, following the War, he set all sorts of passing records. With the Giants, he was NFL Rookie of the Year.

The Giants' Wellington Mara once called him "The best football player not in the Hall of Fame."

After retirement, he was the first “Marlboro Man,” a highly masculine forerunner of today’s Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man in the World.”

So who is the wife/author?



american flagTUESDAY,  DECEMBER 19,  2017  "After the game, the King and the pawn go into the same box." Old Italian proverb

*********** If there’s anything worse than the traffic on I-5 between Seattle and Tacoma, it’s the traffic on I-5 between Tacoma and Olympia.  Any soldier who’s ever been stationed at  Fort Lewis, just south of Tacoma, understands. If there’s any Interstate worse, overall, than the entire stretch of I-5, from Seattle to Olympia, I have yet to see it.

I-5 is the main route between Portland, Oregon and Canada. it runs north-south between mountain ranges, and there is absolutely no simple alternative, parallel route.

Occasionally, I-5 gets shut off by accidents, sometimes by landslides.  Rarely, in low places, by flooding.  When it does, life comes to a standstill.

But railroad cars?  Falling onto the highway?

By now you all know that an Amtrak train from Portland to Seattle derailed just south of Tacoma, where the tracks cross I-5. (The Red Star marks the spot.)  At least six people were killed and many others injured.  Traffic in the area has been at a standstill, and will likely remain so, with orders that nothing can be touched until the investigators from the NTSD arrive from DC.

If you absolutely have to drive from Seattle to points south, you are screwed. 

Haha.  Just kidding.  You’re not screwed.  You’re just molested.  You can still get there.  It’s just going to, um, take a little longer.  Well, actually, a lot longer.

First, you’ll have to drive east across the Cascades to Yakima.  It’s all Interstate. Under normal conditions, it’ll take you about 2-1/2 hours. 

Did I say “normal conditions?”  Well, better allow a little extra time since others will be trying to do the same thing.  Oh - and then there’s the weather.   At this time of year, it’s always likely to be snowy in the mountain passes; first, there’s Snoqualmie Pass  between Seattle and Yakima.  Uh-oh.  This was as I typed:

...WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING
TO 10 PM PST TUESDAY ABOVE 3500 FEET...

Heavy snow expected. Plan on difficult travel conditions.
Total snow accumulations of 14 to 24 inches, with localized
amounts up to 3 feet, are expected.

western washington

From Yakima to Portland is another three hours. Coming out of Yakima,  the trip is interesting.  From Toppenish to Goldendale, it winds through the Yakama Indian Reservation (the tribe spells it with an “a”).  “Winds’ is the right word.  It’s twisty as hell, a beautiful drive if you have the time, but it’s two-lane most of the way, and under these circumstances I suspect it’s going to be a pain in the ass.  There’s one more pass to cross, Satus Pass, just north of Goldendale, and then from there the road winds steeply down off the Columbia Plateau to river level. Whew. You cross the river to the Oregon side, and, assuming decent weather (never a sure thing in the winter in the Pacific Northwest), it’s smooth sailing to Portland on I-84.

Wasn’t that fun?  Aren’t you looking forward to the return trip.

I’m guessing six hours, Seattle to Portland. Could be more if the weather is bad.

On I-5, it used to take three hours. Used to.  My daughter and son-in-law made it during Thanksgiving traffic in 4-1/2, a new record in aggravation.






*********** Next time the players try to tell you who to hire… stuff cotton in your ears.

Oregon claims that they didn’t give any undue weight  to their players’ expressed wish that Mario Cristobal be their coach - they insisted that they hired him for other reasons.

That’s good, because the Ducks sure didn’t play against Boise State like a team that wanted to play for their new coach.  Actually, they didn’t look like they wanted to play for anybody, as they fell to the Broncos, 38-28.

It wasn’t that close.

Thanks to an overpowering offense and defense - and Oregon turnovers - the Broncos led, 24-0 near the end of the first half, when two long returns within 33 seconds - one of an interception, one of a fumbled statue-of-liberty exchange - brought Oregon to within 24-14. 

Ducks’ fans may have been deluded at that point by the score, forgetting that both Boise State miscues came deep in Oregon territory, as the Broncos were preparing to administer the coup de grace.   Also forgetting that up to that point, Oregon’s offense had yet to  cross midfield.

Boise State is now 3-0 against Oregon.

It was a horrible debut for the new coach. His team was soft and listless.

Oregon fans tried to cheer themselves by remembering that Chip Kelly’s debut was also against Boise State and it, too, was a flop.  Readers may remember that game as the one where Ducks’ running back LeGarrette Blount delivered a blow to good sportsmanship  - and to a celebrating Bronco lineman - during the postgame festivities.  Blount was restrained and removed from the scene by a young Oregon assistant named Scott Frost.

What the Oregon fans may have forgotten was that Chip Kelly’s loss was in the season opener, and the Ducks had another game coming up in 10 days.

Mario Cristobal has to live with this mess for the next nine months.

********* My disappointment with Mario Cristobal was not because of Oregon’s loss to Boise State.  Not even because of their lackluster play.

It was because of the way he handled Royce Freeman’s decision.

I’ve written about Royce Freeman numerous times.   As a youth, he played for a friend, Matt Marrs, in Imperial, California.  I like the things he’s said and I like the way he’s played.

And when he announced that he was not going to play in the Las Vegas Bowl, I understood his thinking.  We’ve reached the point where college football is just a stepping stone to the NFL.  And high school is just a stepping stone to college.  And youth football is just a stepping stone to high school football.

But just because I understand doesn’t mean that I’m in favor of this skip-the-bowl bullsh—, pioneered last year by Christian McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette.

So if I had been Royce Freeman’s  coach… before the team left for Las Vegas, I’d have brought him into my office and said, “Royce, I’m sure that you’ve been given advice by a lot of people who don’t think you should play in our bowl game.  It’s your decision to make, but before you make it, I do want you to know that once you decide that you’re not going to play with us, you’re no longer a member of the team. It means that you’ve basically quit the squad.  And the same as with anyone else who quits, it means you’re giving up  all the things that go with membership on the team.

You’ll no longer be permitted in the football facility.  Your key card won’t work.  We’ll pack up the things in your locker and bring them out to you.  Your tuition is paid through the end of the semester, but if you choose to stay on, you’ll have to pay it yourself.  You’ve been here long enough that you qualify for in-state. You’ll have to be out of your room by the end of the day, and you’ll have to handle your own meals.

You won’t travel with the team to Las Vegas.  You won’t get any tickets for your family.  You won’t get any of the bowl swag, which is pretty nice stuff.  And if you decide to come to Vegas on your own, you won’t be allowed down on the sideline or in the locker room before, during, or after the game.”

Now, that’s what I’d have done.  I’ve consulted with others with more experience  on this issue, and they concur.

But here’s where things get complicated:

Freeman didn’t make his announcement back when he should have, back when the team was still in Eugene.  Intentionally or not,  he travelled with the team, practiced once or twice, and then told one and all that he wasn’t going to play in the game.  (Many players said afterward that they’d all known that for some time.)

Backed into a corner, Coach Cristobal blew the chance to teach a lesson that would have reverberated through his program for years to come.

Error Number One: He didn’t send Royce Freeman back to Eugene on the first bus.  Maybe it would have made the players sad.  Maybe not.  But it would have let one and all know that they while may think they got him hired, they’re not his boss.

And then,  Error Number Two:  He allowed Freeman - the guy who didn’t want to play - down on the sideline during the game, allowing him to socialize with the team throughout the game.  Evidently Freeman even gave some sort of a pep talk, which has got to be a first - “Fight like hell, men!  Now, if you’ll excuse me…”

This was on national TV, you understand.  ABC.  Mack Brown in the studio, Kirk Herbstreit up in the booth.  They were as incredulous as I was.

I know I’ve mentioned how early in some of my jobs the Lord has presented me with some amazing opportunities to demonstrate to a team how things were going to be. I took full advantage of them.

Mario Cristobal was presented with just such an opportunity, and I’m afraid he showed one and all that he’s going to be a “player’s coach.”

*********** I have seen the nearest thing to Brian Urlacher, a guy started out as a quarterback in a small high school and in four years at New Mexico grew into a first-round NFL draft choice and became into one of the NFL’s most feared linebackers.  This updated version of Urlacher is Leighton Vander Esch of Boise State. A 6-4, 240 pound Redshirt Junior linebacker, he was Mountain West  Conference Defensive Player of the Year. 

Small high school?  His was remote as you can get, and so small that it played 8-man football. He played quarterback and middle linebacker, and his team, Salmon River High in Riggins, Idaho, won state championships in both his junior and senior years.   In his senior year, he completed 121 of 199 passes for 2155 years and 28 touchdowns, with only one interception. On the ground, he rushed 157 times for 1565 yards and 34 touchdowns.  On defense, he had 85 solo tackles with five interceptions and five fumble recoveries. He also led his team to two state basketball championships, averaging 29.4 points and 11.1 rebounds per game.

Riggins idahoriggin idaho

It’s nearly impossible to describe how remote Riggins, Idaho is.   Its population was 406. There are no bigger  towns within 100 miles.   It’s in the Snake River Valley, surrounded by rugged mountains and there is only one road in and out of town.  Lewiston is two hours to the north; Boise is three-and-a-half hours to the  south. 

*********** It was quite a sight Friday night, watching the North Dakota State Bison work over the Sam Houston State Bearkats, 55-13, in an FCS semifinal.

The Texans like to throw the ball, and they are good at it.  But when your passer’s a little bit off…

Meanwhile, the Bison can thrown the ball pretty well, too, but that’s not their deal.  They’re big and strong and they like to run, and Friday night, they rushed for 323 yards.  In the first half.

Running back Bruce Anderson rushed for 165 and 3 TDs himself - in the first half.

The Bison have a junior QB in Easton Stick, a big kid from Omaha’s Creighton Prep, who looks almost like a slightly smaller (he’s 6-2, 220) version of Carson Wentz.

I’d have to put a game in the Fargo Dome on a bucket list.

*********** North Dakota State has has a promising young running back named Seth Wilson, a freshman from Holmen, Wisconsin, a small town in the southeastern part of the state near LaCrosse.  That’s where his mom is from. Now, there really aren’t many black kids in that area, so I did a little research, and what I found was amazing. His father Stanley Wilson, was a great running back at Oklahoma at the same time as Billy Sims and played in the NFL for the Bengals.  You may remember that he had problems with drugs while in the NFL, and that he was convicted of burglary and sentenced to 22 years in prison. He served most of that time, and was released when Seth was 16.  The entire time he was incarcerated, Stanley Wilson and his wife tried to make sure that father played a role - a positive role - in the son’s life, and the things they did to make that happen are remarkable.

http://lacrossetribune.com/sports/local/long-distance-dad-football-s-the-easy-part-for-holmen/article_1ffce339-7f9e-5926-a507-6c4d7f09f179.html

*********** The  NCAA final game won’t be played until January 6.  That’s a long time to have wait to see a great matchup - North Dakota State against James Madison.

North Dakota State is plenty good, but James Madison isn’t exactly lunch meat.  The Dukes  ran all over the South Dakota State Jackrabbits, the only team to beat North Dakota State this year.

January 6 is also a long time to have to wait to see the end of the pants-above-the-knees, bicycle-shorts look.  The rule outlawing it was passed last year, but schools were give one year to phase out of uniforms they already had on hand.  How much you wanna bet there’ll be some schools that went out and bought bicycle shorts anyhow, in the belief that they’ll be able to claim hardship and go on looking like twerps?


*********** Today's NYT has obit on Tommy Nobis.  He shadowed Joe Don in 1963 Texas-Oklahoma game.  Joe Don got four yards on six carries.  Some thought he quit.  There was a story of him slugging an OU assistant, later denied by the coach.  Anyway, Bud Wilkinson kicked Joe Don off the team a few days after the Texas game. Joe Don had been an all-American in 1962.

Tim Bross
Kirkwood, Missouri

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/14/obituaries/tommy-nobis-dead-first-atlanta-falcon-and-defenseive-star.html

Tommy Nobis was a great college football player who spent his pro career playing on poor-to-mediocre Falcons’ teams.  Seems to me he was one of the last of the great NFL middle linebackers, guys who would play every down on defense.

*********** What could possibly go wrong?  A suit, whose only qualifications were working as an agent and as an executive in the NFL office,  now runs a college athletic program. 

How about hiring as your head coach a former client who’s never been a head coach in college?  Who’s never been a successful coach in the NFL?  Who for that matter hasn’t coached at all in years?

How about creating the vacant position in the first place by spending $12 million of your employer’s money to send the old coach - a winner, by the way - packing?

How about, while you’re firing the old coach, explaining that you don’t intend to settle for mediocrity - that you want more than winning?

How about putting out word that you expect whoever you hire to retain both coordinators - a condition, in retrospect, that seems designed to scare away other job candidates and pave the way for your boy?

How about announcing that you’re going run things like a pro operation, with your new head coach delegating near-head-coach responsibilities to his coordinators?

How about now having to wipe the egg off your face when both coordinators bail, leaving your new head coach - a guy who hasn’t the slightest ides what a college offense or defense is, having to fish or cut bait?

Lotsa luck, Sun Devils!

*********** Ain’t Karma a bitch?  Last week, the Pee Hawks lost to Jacksonville, and then, upset by what they considered unfair officiating,  treated spectators to a game-ending ruckus the likes of which I never saw in semi-pro ball. It was precipitated by Michael Bennett, their nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, taking a nasty shot at the opposing center’s knees.  (In his behalf,  perhaps he misunderstood what “take a knee” meant.)  Ironically, this was the same Bennett who just a few years ago went ballistic when Greg Schiano ordered his Tampa Bay Buccaneers to do the very same thing. 

That was followed  by a bizarre tantrum by Hawks’ Quentin Jefferson, who on his way out of the stadium after being ejected,   took offense at things fans said, as wells as to having beer thrown down on him.  Returning  to the field, he attempted to climb into the stands to get at fans but was restrained.  Can anyone say Ron Artest?   Now, he may be big and strong and tough and all that, and padded, but I’d still put my money on a bunch of drunken fans just spoiling for a chance to pummel him. Interestingly, perhaps to show his indignation, he’d torn off his helmet,  which raises a question about his intelligence:  when people are throwing things at you, would you take off your helmet?

Perhaps because the Commissioner of the NFL was in a holiday mood, on top of celebrating his contract extension,  he failed to  consider the scary implications of NFL players going into the stands, and Jefferson was spared a suspension.

Enter Karma.  This week, The Pee Hawks went down to the Rams, 42-7.  It wasn’t that close.  They were awful, and the Rams were good.  Todd Gurley found “Hawk Tackling,” rushing for 152 yards and scoring four touchdowns (one of them on a pass).  He could easily have run for more, but Seattle kept giving the Rams a short field.

The Hawks were out of it by halftime, 30-0, and the game wasn’t yet into the fourth quarter when the “frustration,” as the announcers like to call it, set in.

Many were the boos.  Few were the spectators remaining at the end.

We may have seen a sea change - appropriate phrase.

*********** I love football.  But I hate the NFL.

I wish the NFL had competition.

But, Dear God, not a reincarnation of the XFL, as is rumored.   The XFL was exactly what you’d have expected of Vince McMahon - a marriage of the NFL and pro wrestling.

It’s hard to believe that there was anything that could make me like the NFL, but the XFL almost did.

(In case you think this could really happen, let’s suppose you’re a billionaire who’s been approached to buy a franchise in a new professional football league.  After the way you’ve seen NFL players act this season, would you invest your fortune in a business venture in which the players consider themselves to be your partners, and insist on using the business - your business - to advance their social causes?)


*********** I enjoyed the North Carolina A & T - Grambling game, played for the championship of HBCU’s, won by NCA&T on a  touchdown with 38 seconds remaining.

But whoever was doing the color - sheesh…

Just before halftime, Grambling got down to the NC one-yard line, and the color guy got all excited.  You could tell he’d been waiting for this.  He started to tell us how, once a game, every game, as a tribute to the great Eddie Robinson, Grambling would run one play from the Wing-T.  Grambling had called a time out, so they used the time to show us some clips of Coach Rob, the long-time Grambling coach.  And then, with time back in, as the Grambling offense broke from the huddle, the color guy informed us that this was, indeed, the Wing-T.  “Some call it the Delaware Wing-T… Eddie Robinson won a lot of games running this formation… They’re going to call this play the Wing-T formation to honor Coach Rob…”

And here’s how they lined up.  Looks like they’re a wingback shy of a Wing-T.

Grambling "Wing T"


For the record, from this "Wing T" formation, they rolled left and threw for the touchdown.

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

For every sad story you hear about young men who fail, there are always 10 stories of young men who succeeded, and 10 more stories of young men who failed and eventually succeeded.  I've had my share of all three.

Which leads me to your comment about how manliness has declined in this society.  Many men in our society today have grown up being castrated by domineering women.  Many boys today are being raised by women who lack a positive, strong, male role model in their lives, OR, boys are being raised by women with negative, weak male role models in their lives.  As a result young boys are either not growing up learning what it means to be strong, good, masculine men, OR, young boys are growing up learning how to be milk toast, or worse...thugs.  Of course there are exceptions.  But years ago today's exceptions were yesterday's rule.

Jury is still out for me on Mario Cristobal.  Hope he can pull it off, but I get the heebie-jeebies when I hear players today use the term, "players coach".  (Translation:  He'll let us do what we want).  Pete Carroll is one of those guys.

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

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

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

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

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

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

He returned after the War in 1945 and picked up where he left off, but as good as he was - he was the League MVP in 1946, leading the NFL in rushing, punt returns and interceptions -  he had difficulty getting along with the Steelers’ hard-nosed coach, Dr. Jock Sutherland, and after the season he retired and got a job coaching at Virginia.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BILL DUDLEY
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA  (Bill Dudley...a real stud...real interesting about the WWII service ball stories...After my Dad's death, I was going through keepsakes and came across a pin shaped like a football...my Mom thought was a pledge pin he gave her as a pre-engagement promise...I looked more closely & with a magnifying glass & a little rubbing discovered it was an award pin for for a "Fleet Championship"...It will be given as a part of Grandpa's gift to my son coaching & teaching in Indianola, IA )
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON (My mom dated Bud Grant in High School!!!!  (South Superior High School)  When we used to drive home from church on sundays my mom would tell my dad to hurry up because “Buddy” was playing on T.V.( Vikings) Dad was a Lutheran Minister and would start to grumble. Ha Ha. Have a great Christmas)
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA (what a player)

*********** A NICE BILL DUDLEY BIOG

https://www.jockbio.com/Classic/Dudley/Dudley_bio.html

*********** QUIZ: He was a native of Wheeling, West Virginia.

At West Virginia, he lettered in FIVE sports: Football, wrestling, track, gymnastics and swimming.  (In swimming, he was the conference one-meter diving champion.)

He was drafted by the Bears and played two years with them.

He missed a year due to injury, and was traded to the Cowboys, where he played 165 games in 13 years at linebacker.  He was so fast that Tom Landry said he’d have been a great running back if he weren’t so valuable at linebacker, and in two different seasons he had over 100 yards in interception returns. In his career, he intercepted 25 passes.

He is one of the best players not to be in the Hall of Fame.

He was the first defensive player to be named MVP of the Super Bowl, and remains the only Super Bowl MVP from a losing team.



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


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

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

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

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


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

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

Story sent to me by Greg Koenig, Cimarron, Kansas

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


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

Coaching youth football has  enormous rewards.  

But it can also break your heart.

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

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

1942 Army_Navy Program

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe,

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

Keep coaching!

Hugh


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

Hmmm.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My conclusion?  Good hire. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time to bring back Spuds MacKenzie.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

He was simply the best.   The master.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***********  Hi Coach,

Enjoy the game tomorrow.

Go Army! Go Navy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care,

Mick Yanke
Cokato Minnesota

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

“Play football again?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In addition to Pete, he had four other sons.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

So. I’ll do my best to summarize:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Football is fun.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Tom,

You make good points.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But money aside…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


***********  Hugh,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


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

Vitit and Kaepernick - Some comparison.

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



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

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

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

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

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


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

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

* Ezekiel Elliott will not miss a single game;

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

So went the stories last January. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Several of his players went on to solid professional careers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


Thanks in advance,

Coach,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope I haven’t confused you!


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

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

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

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

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

Oklahoma-TCU? meh.

Clemson-Miami?  Pass the remote.

Ohio State-Wisconsin? Where’s the drama?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

which played seven of its 12 games at home…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The new Tennessee AD?

Why, former Tennessee coach Phil Fulmer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh - and Tennessee.

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

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

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

What do people have against him?

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

How about a winning percentage at LSU of .770?

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

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

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

Okay, okay.  Enough, already.

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

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

So what do people have against him?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Jonathan Smith will do a fine job at Oregon State.

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

Championship Week:

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

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

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

ACC - Edge to Clemson with the game in Charlotte.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas



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

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

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

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

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

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

And then he embarked on his real career - music.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

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

Tim Brown
Florence, Alabama

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

Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

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

So went the stories last January. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Several of his players went on to solid professional careers:

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

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

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

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

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

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



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His last winning season was 2006.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Two first-class people.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AP POLL -  THE TOP 25 TEAMS BY CONFERENCE

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

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

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

ACC — 3 - CLEMSON, MIAMI, VIRGINIA TECH

BIG 12 — 3 - OKLAHOMA, TCU, OKLAHOMA STATE

AMERICAN ATHLETIC — 3 - UCF, USF, MEMPHIS

MOUNTAIN WEST — 1 - FRESNO STATE

INDEPENDENT— 1 - NOTRE DAME


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

John Vermillion
St. Petersburg, Florida

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

Jerry Lovell
Bellevue, Nebraska



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then he embarked on his real career - music.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

In 1969 the Peach Bowl was born.

And in 1972, the Fiesta Bowl.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go Cats.

***********  THE RIVALRY WRAPUP-

FRIDAY


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

IOWA AT NEBRASKA - HO HUM

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

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

SATURDAY

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

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

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

FLORIDA STATE AT FLORIDA - WHO WON?

LOUISVILLE AT KENTUCKY - SURPRISING RUNAWAY WIN BY LOUSVILLE

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

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

WISCONSIN AT MINNESOTA - MAYBE NEXT YEAR, GOPHERS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Mathew Hedger
Langdon, North Dakota


Hi Coach-

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

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

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

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

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

Nice to hear from you.  Happy Thanksgiving.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


*********** Good morning Coach And Happy Holidays to you and Connie,
 
After I watched the video I noticed that when the RG did his Skip Pull that the RT cut block and the RTE also appeared to cut block (shoe shine) but looks like he aimed his helmet for the outer knee of the defender to his inside.
 
My question is has cut blocking in the no longer existent free blocking zone only been eliminated in high not college?
 
I ask because I watch Navy and Ga Tech and I see they still cut block.  I also noticed that Navy's line puts their inside hand down with their inside foot back.  I haven't paid attention to Ga Tech's line stance but I did with Navy.  I also watch Navy on Showtime's A SEASON WITH series.
 
Something else I noticed about Stanford's line, when in Goal Line or Short Yardage, they are foot to foot and in four point stances.
 
During my time off this season I have actually done more studying than in previous seasons and I have always wondered two things with stances, 1...what is the real purpose or advantage of the "normal" outside hand down that I see in the NFL and down thru the ranks of football?  And 2...what is the purpose or advantage of the O-Line in four points other than the obvious lower man wins?
 
Just two things I've always wondered but never asked since I've been doing it 3 point inside hand down inside football for over 15 years and prior to that in my ignorance I taught right hand down (in my youth days before being a DW coach).

Brian Mackell
Glen Burnie, Maryland

Your answer - cut blocking (I hate to use the word because they turn around and use it against us) is still legal in the free blocking zone IF it takes place in the free blocking zone and IF both players were in the free blocking zone AND on the line of scrimmage at the time of the snap.

Couple of problems lying in wait for us if we have the TE shoeshine:

* There is always the chance that the the TE will block low on a man already being blocked by the center. 15 yards for a chop block

* The free blocking zone disintegrates once the ball has left it.  That means, depending on the depth of your shotgun/wildcat snap, it’s possible that by the time the QB catches that snap, the ball is deeper than three yards, and therefore out of the free blocking zone.  I could argue that with my QB’s heels at four yards, he catches the ball at three yards so the free blocking zone is still; intact, and I could argue that my TE makes contact on a shoeshine block before the ball hits the QB’s hands.

But here’s the real issue:

* Despite what the rule book says - that the free-blocking zone extends four yards to either side of the center -  the free- blocking zone is increasingly being defined, for the officials’ enforcement convenience, as being “from tackle to tackle.”  We can argue our hearts out and even bring out yardsticks or tape measures to show that with our right splits our TEs are well within the zone described by the rules, but if the officials choose to consider our tight ends as outside the free blocking zone they apparently have the go-ahead to do so.

(Neither Navy or Georgia Tech employ a TE to any great extend, and if they did, they wouldn’t be able to have them “cut.”)

The outside hand down on most college teams is so that they can stagger their outside foot back, the better to set up in pass protection against an outside speed rusher.

The four-point stance is to allow them to get low and also to get their weight forward, because they’re firing out.  If you don’t care whether the defense knows that you’re going to fire out, it’s not bad.  (The slide seemed to help the guard run the circle our of that stance!)

Take care and keep me up to date!


STANFORD SLIDE*********** I sent a video clip from the Stanford-Notre Dame game to guys who’ve bought the Open Wing DVD series.  It shows a Stanford guard “running the circle” as we say when a backside lineman is pulling and walling off to the inside on a power, counter or “G” play, and it’s a perfect example of the “slide” technique I’ve been teaching for the last two or three years.

As anyone who goes back with me to the early Double Wing days knows, I’ve been on a long and frustrating search for the best way to teach the “circle" for backside linemen on powers, backside tackles on counters, backside guards on “G-O” and “X-O” plays - and now,  in place of shoe shining, the tight ends.

To make sure that your pulling backside linemen are able to head upfield at the first opening; to make sure they wall off to the inside; and to make sure that they don’t drift out into the runner’s path, it’s essential that they keep their eyes upfield, and that means keeping their shoulders square to the LOS. The best way to make sure that they keep their shoulders square is to keep their hips square.  And the best way to keep their hips square is to keep their toes pointed upfield.  And the only way to make sure that the toes keep pointed upfield is to “slide” - to make sure their feet don’t cross over.

In other words, as in so many cases, it’s all in the footwork.

In my opinion, if you don’t teach it this way, you won’t be running the Open Wing (or the Double Wing) as well as you could be running it!

If you’d like me to send you  the clip, shoot me an email: www.coachwyatt.com

*********** Anybody catch the Grey Cup?  It was POURING snow.

*********** I have to confess that I watched a couple of plays of NFL Football.  And what I’m saw disgusts me even more than ever.  After years and years of officials ignoring players who illegally pushed on runners from behind, the rules makers finally gave up and legalized it.  But, they insisted, it was STILL illegal to PULL a runner. Oh, no - NO PULLING.  Right.  And you had to know that as soon as players were permitted to push on the runner, it was just a matter of time before they decided to pull.  Sure as hell, that’s what they’re doing.  And sure as hell, the officials are ignoring it.

*********** QUIZ ANSWER - Charlie Tolar came out of Northwestern State in Louisiana, and was an original Houston Oiler.   A running back, he shared ball carrying duties with Billy Cannon.  He gained 3277 yards on 907 carries in his career, and scored 21 touchdowns on the ground.  In 1962 he led the AFL with 244 carries and finished third in yards gained with 1012.  Packing 215 pounds on his 5-6 frame,  his aggressive running style made him a fan favorite  and earned him the nickname “The Human Bowling Ball.”  In the off-season, he worked for famed oil-well fire fighter Red Adair.

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/01/sports/charlie-tolar-65-fullback-known-as-human-bowling-ball.html

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING CHARLIE TOLAR -
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
RODNEY LUNSFORD - DUBLIN, INDIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA

*********** While researching Charlie Tolar - raise your hand if you found anything about Red Adair…

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2004/aug/09/guardianobituaries.usa


*********** Thanks for the quiz....in researching (Charlie Tolar) I saw that Houston also had Dave Smith who played at Ripon College……Ripon, Wisconsin also being the home of…..Ripon Good Cookies…..Anderson's Grocery in Westport, Indiana carried Ripon Good Cookies...the best being macaroons...each year going on vacation to the American Baptist Assembly in Green Lake, Wisconsin we would get to stop in Ripon to visit their bakery.....the best part of vacation……a flood of memories....thanks.

Kevin McCullough
Lakeville, Indiana


*********** QUIZ He was tall - 6-4 -  and fast.  At Bowling Green he was a star in football, playing wide receiver for legendary coach Doyt Perry,  and in track, finishing sixth in the hurdles in the 1960 Olympic trials.  He was also a talented artist.

In 1961 he signed with the 49ers, and stayed with them through 1966, when he was traded to the Falcons, then sent to the Rams.

In his eight years as an NFL receiver, he caught at least 50 passes in five seasons, and finished among the top ten receivers four times.  He was selected for the Pro Bowl in 1967.

At the time he came out of college, the NFL was competing for talent with the AFL, and he said he chose San Francisco over the New York Titans because locating there would better help him advance his career as an artist.

While playing football, he began to develop a reputation as a serious painter, once telling a Life Magazine interviewer, “I think of myself as an artist who plays football, not as a ball player who paints.”

After retiring from football, he balanced a life of painting and acting.

One of his first roles as an actor  was in something called “tick … tick … tick …,” in which he appeared with Jim  Brown.
IN 1971, he played Brian Piccolo’s teammate, J. C. Caroline in “Brian’s Song,”;  In 1973, he played paralyzed former NBA player Maurice Stokes  “Maurie”; and in the James Bond movie “Never Say Never Again,” he played a CIA agent.

He also appeared in several “Revenge of the Nerds” movies.

Such notable people as Sidney Poitier, Burt Reynolds and Maya Angelou have collected his paintings.

“Just because I’m a football player,” he once told New York Time columnist Dave Mr. Anderson, “doesn’t mean I can’t be something else at the same time. Most of us live on a small portion of our capacity. I don’t want to let the limitation of others limit me.”

In a 1977 interview, he told the Washington Post that for him, football “was just a gig. But it limits the way people perceive you. That can be frustrating. People have tremendous combinations of talents. A man can be a deep-sea diver and also make china."

american flagFRIDAY,  NOVEMBER 24,  2017  -“We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing.”   First stanza of traditional Thanksgiving hymn.


*********** HOPE YOU HAD A HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

IT’S RIVALRY WEEKEND - NO NEED TO SAY “RIVALRY GAME” - “RIVALRY” IS ENOUGH

SOME OF THEM HAVE PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS… SOME OF THEM ARE FOR HIGHER RANKINGS… SOME OF THEM CAN SCREW UP THEIR RIVAL’S AMBITIONS… AND SOME HAVE NO MEANING OTHER THAN THE FACT THAT THEY’RE PLAYING THEIR IN-STATE RIVAL OR AN ADJOINING-STATE'S SCHOOL AND THEY CAN’T ABIDE THE THOUGHT OF AN ENTIRE YEAR OF LISTENING TO THEIR FANS'  CRAP

*********** TONIGHT - THE EGG BOWL

OLE MISS AT MISSISSIPPI STATE - A great rivalry that once was dominated by Ole Miss:

From 1947 through 1962, the heyday of Ole Miss’ great John Vaught, the Rebels dominated the series with 14 wins and two ties.

From 1965 through 1990, Ole Miss won 18 games to just seven by MIssissippi State.  One game ended in a tie.

But then a sea change took place: from 1991 through last season, State won 14 games to Ole Miss’ 12, and since Dan Mullen arrived at State in 2009, the Bulldogs have won five of the last eight games.

As I’m writing this, Bulldog QB Nick Fitzgerald is being carted off the field…

Damn Shame.  There went his season, there went the game.

*********** FRIDAY'S RIVALRIES

SOUTH FLORIDA AT CENTRAL FLORIDA - A relatively recent rivalry between two relatively new powers.  This game promises to become a classic rivalry.

IOWA AT NEBRASKA - Re-alignment destroyed some great rivalries (Kansas-Missouri, Pitt-West Virginia, Texas-Texas A & M) but it did create some like this

VIRGINIA TECH AT VIRGINIA - It’s a matchup between stereotypes - southern gentlemen vs rednecks, urban vs rural, elite university vs cow college.  VPI (as Virginia Tech was once known) has been a national power and it has a fanatical fan base; UVA has never been a factor nationally,  and Bronco Mendenhall has been trying hard to shake off the lethargy of recent years.  Virginia showed against Miami last week that they can hang with the best.

CAL AT UCLA - Both teams are coming off tough losses to rivals with more talent, Cal to Stanford and UCLA to USC. Cal is a program on the rise; UCLA, whose coach Jim Mora was fired, is awaiting the arrival of the next in a long line of aspiring saviors.

SATURDAY'S RIVALRIES

GEORGIA AT GEORGIA TECH - Tech and its triple option could cause problems for the Bulldogs, but if not, this one could be a blowout. 

OHIO STATE AT MICHIGAN - Who would have thought that when Michigan offered the sun, moon and stars to Jim Harbaugh three years ago they’d be staring, three year down the line,  at the real possibility of his being 0-3 against the Buckeyes? Michigan has a great defense, but so does Ohio State - with an offense, too.

KANSAS-OKLAHOMA STATE -  It’s not exactly a rivalry, but I had to include this one just to see if the same Kansas captains who were dumb enough to insult Oklahoma’s captains last week will try that crap this week  against Oklahoma State.

FLORIDA STATE AT FLORIDA - Close your eyes and try to imagine a game between two perennial powers in a recruiting-rich state - with nothing at stake. Well, not exactly nothing - actually, after last week’s 77-8 win over Delaware State,  a win over the Gators would make the Seminoles bowl-eligible.

LOUISVILLE AT KENTUCKY - The rest of the nation probably doesn’t realize what a fierce rivalry this one is.  This year, they’re both 7-4, without a big win between them.

INDIANA VS PURDUE - Call this one the Bowl Bowl: both teams come in at 5-6 and the winner goes to a bowl game. Indiana has won its last two games; Purdue is coming off a big win over Iowa.

ALABAMA VS AUBURN - Strange things have been known to  happen in this one.   The X-Factor: it’s a rare away game for Alabama, one of only four for the Tide all season, and at Auburn, it’s never easy for visitors to win.

WISCONSIN AT MINNESOTA - This won’t be much of a rivalry until Minnesota is strong again.  Nevertheless, the feelings of a rivalry are there: It's the barbaric “Sconnies” against the effete Minnesotans.  Sparta vs. Athens.   Wisconsin has too much at sake to let this one get away.

NORTH CAROLINA AT NC STATE - The bumper stickers used to read “Honk if you’re from Carolina… Moo if y’all fum State. ”   It’s the elite university against the cow college.  A very disappointing year for the Tar Heels, one with moments of brilliance for the Wolfpack.

VANDERBILT AT TENNESSEE - This is the definition of a one-sided rivalry - Vandy has won just six times in the last 50 years.  But three of those Vandy wins have come in the last five meetings of the teams, and UT is playing in this one with an interim coach.

ARIZONA AT ARIZONA STATE - As the state itself has grown, so have its two universities and so has their rivalry. The bad feelings run deep, and go all the way back to when Arizona was the only state university and fought hard in a statewide campaign to keep “Arizona State College” from becoming Arizona State University.

OREGON STATE AT OREGON - The Civil War is often unpredictable, but with the Ducks' fleet of good running backs and the return of star QB Josh Herbert, the undermanned Beavers and their interim head coach could have trouble staying in the game.

CLEMSON AT SOUTH CAROLINA - A fierce rivalry that doesn’t get the national attention it deserves. They’re in different conferences, so it won't affect Clemson’s place in the ACC championship game, but a Carolina win would definitely cost Clemson a chance to play in The Playoff.

TEXAS A & M AT LSU - Another rivalry brought about by conference realignment.  They’re in neighboring states and they fight over the same recruits.

NOTRE DAME AT STANFORD - This has become a great end-of-the-season rivalry, maybe as big as USC-Notre Dame. With a win, Stanford can win the Pac-12 North if Washington should beat Washington State. With ND’s QB situation in flux, I’m going with the Cardinal.

WASHINGTON STATE AT WASHINGTON - U-Dub is out of the running in the conference race, but with a win, the Huskies can knock the Cougars out of first place in the Pac-12 North.  The Cougs are a pass-first team, but they are strong on defense.  (Watch DL Hercules Mata'afa).   Washington has a lot of talent but they’ve played soft in big games.  Possible edge to WSU: Wazzu had a bye last week.


*********** QUIZ ANSWER - Although he never coached in a Super Bowl, Chick Knox was the first NFL head coach to win Division titles with three different teams.

He grew up in the Pittsburgh area, the son of a steelworker.

He captained the football team at Juanita College, and after graduation spent three years coaching high school in Pennsylvania.

He got his first college job at Wake Forest under Paul Amen, then moved on to Kentucky as an assistant to Blanton Collier and then Charlie Bradshaw.

From Kentucky, he was hired by Weeb Ewbank to coach the New York Jets’ offensive line.

He left the Jets to coach the Lions’ offensive line under Joe Schmidt, and in 1973 he was hired as head coach of the Los Angeles Rams, succeeding Tommy Prothro.

He traded QB John Hadl to the Packers, and replaced him with James Harris, the first black man to be a regular starter at quarterback.

From Los Angeles he went to Buffalo, and from Buffalo he went to Seattle.

He wound up his career by returning to the Rams for another go-round.

At Los Angeles, Buffalo and Seattle, he had winning records.

In all, Chuck Knox won 186 games and lost 147.

His fondness for the running game earned him the nickname “Ground Chuck.”

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING CHUCK KNOX
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JERRY LOVELL - BELLEVUE, NEBRASKA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
DAVE POTTER - CARY, NORTH CAROLINA


*********** QUIZ - He came out of Northwestern State in Louisiana, and was an original Houston Oiler.   A running back, he shared ball carrying duties with Billy Cannon.  He gained 3277 yards on 907 carries in his career, and scored 21 touchdowns on the ground.  In 1962 he led the AFL with 244 carries and finished third in yards gained with 1012.  Packing 215 pounds on his 5-6 frame,  his aggressive running style made him a fan favorite and earned him the nickname “The Human Bowling Ball.”  In the off-season, he worked for famed oil-well fire fighter Red Adair.



american flagTUESDAY,  NOVEMBER 21,  2017  -“A good plan executed today is better than a perfect plan executed at some indefinite point in the future.”
General George S. Patton, Jr


*********** HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

*********** I really like Wisconsin.  I like their style of play, I like their coach, I like the fact that they have a lot of Wisconsin kids on their team, I like their colors and their uniforms and I like what I see of the overall game atmosphere.  Oh - and their quarterback is a Philly kid whose uncle played at Miami and played against me many, many years ago.

I’d like to see them win a national title.

They play “big-boy football.”

But there’s that inescapable question:  who have they played?

There’s no getting around it - their best win so far has been over a so-so Michigan team that’s likely to get blown away by Ohio State.

There’s no question that Wisconsin’s unbeaten status owes a lot to the poor quality of opposition in its division, and you could make the argument that there are three teams - Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State - at least as good as they are in the other division.

But I won’t, because I like Wisconsin.

*********** K-State beat Oklahoma State.  Can Bill Snyder coach, or what?

*********** Army put 500 yards on North Texas, but couldn’t stop the Mean Green and lost, 52-49, at the gun.


*********** UVa  QB  Kurt Benkert was on fire Saturday, and the Cavaliers took Miami into the fourth quarter before the Hurricanes could put the game away.

Bronco Mendenhall is getting the job done in Charlottesville.

Meanwhile, his old school, BYU, suffered the indignity of losing to UMass.  How much lower can this once-mighty program fall?

It would be interesting if somebody with more time than I have  were to analyze the difference his presence has made at Virginia and his absence has made at BYU.

*********** Cliche alert:

“Positive yardage,” always used as “he gained positive yardage.”  (So how in the hell do you “gain” negative yardage?)

“Agression” when they mean “aggressiveness.”  Aggressiveness is spoiling for a fight; aggression is what results from aggressiveness.


*********** These people who wanted to change the names of schools named after persons named Lynch - what do they think of the latest football fad of rewarding good performance by draping chains around players’ necks?

*********** When UCLA’s punter hit one off to the right, the return man, who was on the other side of the field, did a masterful job of pretending the kick was coming to him, and he drew the attention of all the UCLA coverage guys.

Meanwhile, on the opposite side, a USC defender had sprinted back into position to field the sliced punt, and after doing so, ran in practically unopposed.

*********** Oregon got a good look at what might have been when QB  Josh Herbert, who broke his collarbone weeks ago, returned to the lineup. His passing, combined with the running of Royce Freeman and Tony Brooks-James and a defense that kept Arizona QB Khalil Tate bottled up, led the Ducks to a big win over the Wildcats.

*********** TOUCHDOWNS THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN BUT WEREN’T

An Arizona defender intercepted a pass and raced 60+ yards for a score but - tsk, tsk - he had to put on  show along the way. As he crossed the 10 yard line he felt compelled to turn and wag his finger at the pursuing Ducks.

North Carolina State was down 30-24 to Wake Forest in the closing minutes and a Wolfpack receiver dove for the goal line and reached out with the ball - and lost it.  It was ruled a touchback and Wake’s ball.  Wake held on to win.

*********** Wake Forest was up 30-24, deep in their own territory with :49 to play.  It was fourth down. NC State was out of timeouts.  My suggestion was to do the safe thing - avoid the possibility of a blocked punt and take the safety.

They didn’t listen.  No matter.  They got the punt off and then sealed the win by intercepting a State pass.

*********** Who would have thought that the matchup between two of the best passers in the country would turn out to be a defensive game?  Halfway through the third quarter, USC led UCLA 14-7.

*********** Duke lost to Army a week ago, but it wasn’t a total loss: going against Army’s triple option was great preparation for Georgia Tech, and the Blue Devils won, 43-20, holding Tech to just 83 second-half yards.

*********** Edmonton trailed Calgary, 32-25 in the final moments of the CFL’s Western semifinal.

The Eskimos had driven deep into Calgary territory, but on third down (that’s last down in Canada) with 1:50 remaining, Edmonton coach Jason Maas went for the field goal.

WTF? I was thinking.  Is there something about the Canadian game that I don’t know?

Apparently, whatever Maas’ thinking was, it wasn’t apparent to the announcers, either.

Edmonton kicked off and held, and at :24, Calgary had to punt - but the Edmonton return man fumbled the kick, and Calgary recovered.  Game over.

WTF?

After the game, the best explanation the announcers could offer for Coach Maas’ decision:  “Maybe he thought it was a six-point game.”

http://3downnation.com/2017/11/19/jason-maas-makes-inexplicable-decision-may-cost-esks-grey-cup-chance/

REAL PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL  WITHOUT THE NFL!

THE CFL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME - THE GREY CUP - IS  THIS COMING SUNDAY AT 6 PM EASTERN, 3 PM PACIFIC

*********** The Giants won a game!  The score?  12-9.  One touchdown and FIVE field goals.  And they still sell that sh— as entertainment.

Meanwhile the Eagles scored 37 points against the Cowboys, and only one of them was scored by a kicker.  It was 7-0 when their kicker was hurt.  From that point on, they didn’t attempt a place kick.  They were three-of-four on two-point PAT tries.  NFL football without a kicker can actually be fun to watch.

*********** Funny how last year Washington opened with a weak team or two and its strength of schedule was being questioned  at playoff time, but evidently it doesn’t matter when you play the weakies at the end of the schedule.  Alabama vs, Mercer?  Clemson vs. The Citadel?  Are you kidding me?

*********** It was all over for Michigan when QB Brandon Peters was knocked cold briefly in the third quarter.  Not sure now if he’ll play against Ohio State.

He wasn’t doing that poorly - 9 for 18 for 157 yards - before being hurt, but his replacement, John O’Korn, coming in cold and on short notice, struggled.

Wilton Speight, who opened the season as the starting QB, has been out since he cracked three vertebrae back in September, and although he’s cleared to practice, it’s only in a non-contact role.

So what to do?

Rather interesting that Jim Harbaugh, whose strength was supposedly quarterbacking, has come up so weak in that area: Michigan has started three different quarterbacks so far this season, and combined they are 147 of 269 for 1828 yards, eight TDs and eight interceptions.  Michigan ranks 11th in the Big Ten in passing yardage per game.  Think of it - right off the top of your head, any of you could name the three worst teams in the Big Ten - Indiana, Maryland and Rutgers.  And two of them have better passing games than the mighty Wolverines and the Nation’s Second-Highest Paid Coach.

*********** I’m not a socialist by any means.  I’m not so jealous of wealthy people that I think we ought to punish them by taxing the hell out of them, and I’m certainly not in favor of taking their wealth so it can be redistributed - passed along to our least productive citizens (let alone non-citizens).

But the rich sure do play in a different ball game.

Just to let you know where we - you and I, who still think being a “millionaire” means you’re rich - stand…

In Forbes Magazine’s list of the 400 Richest People in America, a personal wealth of $2 billion would leave you in a 12-way tie for 400th.


*********** The opposing quarterbacks lent a definite Washington flavor to the CFL’s Western semifinal game Sunday: Edmonton’s Mike Reilly played at Central Washington, while Calgary’s Bo Levi Mitchell played at Eastern Washington.

*********** Just as usually happens in the US, the young singer of the Canadian national anthem gave a beautiful song a mugging.

But the players endured it with dignity and poise, every single one - at least half of them American - standing until she was done.

*********** And then there’s super patriot Marshawn Lynch.  In Mexico City Sunday, before the Raiders faced  the Patriots, he sat out our national anthem, as is his custom - but stood for the Mexican national anthem.

Not surprisingly, since he is, to say the least, a rather uncommunicative sort, no one seems to know what his problem is with America and standing for the national anthem.

*********** No doubt you’ve heard about - or seen - Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield’s childish actions on the sidelines Saturday, in which he (1) evidently grabbed his crotch while suggesting that a Kansas assistant coach go f—k himself, then (2) evidently “showed disrespect” to Kansas fans sitting behind the OU bench, reminding them that their team had only one win and maybe KU should stick to basketball.

The argument goes on about whether this conduct should disqualify Mayfield from consideration for the Heisman Trophy, conveniently overlooking previous winners such as Newton, Winston and Bush.

He did deliver the required apology afterward, which, based on the number I’ve seen, sincere and insincere, I’d give about a 9 on a scale of 10, in which 10 is “he really is contrite.”  Unlike the “apologies” of the Three Thieves of UCLA, which were read, and sounded suspiciously as if they had been written by someone in the UCLA sports information department,  Mayfield’s was off the cuff, which immediately gave him sincerity points.

But perhaps in the furor over Mayfield, you didn’t come across the real story.  The news guys, in journalism terms, “buried the lead.”

The real story was that at the pre-game coin toss, the Kansas captains refused to shake Mayfield’s hand, declining even to make eye contact and keeping their hands down below their waists.  Mayfield, realizing what they’d done, clapped his hands three times, turned and ran to the OU bench.

The captains gave some lameass excuse for their unsportsmanlike action,

“Obviously, it wasn’t meant to be super disrespectful to them,” said one of them. “It was really just us trying to get our guys motivated and let Oklahoma know that we were there to play.”

They added that the snub wasn’t aimed at Mayfield - it’s just that he happened to be the first Oklahoman to extend his hand.

And from there, Oklahoma proceeded to give Kansas a well-earned 41-3 whipping.

Meantime, the Kansas head coach initially seemed not all that upset with his captains’ actions.  “I get it,” he said, adding,”I got a classy bunch of kids.”

http://www.kansascity.com/sports/college/big-12/university-of-kansas/article185465043.html

Hmm. Undoubtedly, someone got to him not long after that and suggested that if he intended to have a long career as a head coach, he was going to have to say something stronger, something to acknowledge his obligation to the game of football to leave it better than he found it.  So on Monday - two days later - he changed his tune, calling the players’ conduct  “unacceptable.” 

At the very least.

It was rude and unsportsmanlike and potentially inflammatory.  It could easily have led to an ugly scene before the game even started.

The NCAA Rule Book anticipated the sort of crap that those Jayhawks pulled :

The rules committee reminds head coaches of their responsibility for the behavior of their players before and after, as well as during, the game. Players must be cautioned against pre-game unsportsmanlike conduct on the field that can lead to confrontation between the teams.

Such action can lead to penalties enforced on the opening kickoff, possibly including disqualification of players.

Repeated occurrence of such unsportsmanlike behavior by a team may result in punitive action by the conference against the head coach and his institution.


Meanwhile, considering the blatant lack of sportsmanship and its potential for further problems, why didn’t the officials deal with it on the spot?

“Captain, am I to understand from what I’m seeing that you’re refusing to shake the opposing captain’s hand?”

“Yeah.” (I am assuming he wasn’t well-enough brought up to say, “Yes sir.”)

“That’ll be 15 yards assessed on the opening kickoff.”

“Hey!  You can’t do that.”

“Watch me. And one more word out of you and it’s your second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and you’re out of the game.”

Simple as that.  You’ve got the rules. Enforce them.


*********** We shouldn’t hold the University of Kansas’ lack of success in football against it.  After all, it’s got a more important goal - educating the young minds of America.  Unfortunately, KU sounds like a loser in that arena, too,  as evidenced by the Jayhawk student athlete who during the game against  Oklahoma took a dirty shot at Sooner QB Baker Mayfield, then later, on reflection, said, “I shouldna did it.”

http://www.kuathletics.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=8433

*********** A clock-management situation from Saturday’s action.

1. You’re down by seven.

2. It’s your ball, first and goal to go from the one.

3. Approximately 1:45 remains in the game.

4. Your opponent has all three time outs remaining.

5. Your opponents have the ability to drive into field goal range, and your defense hasn’t demonstrated the ability to stop them.
 
Q:  Do you score immediately,  on first down,  leaving your opponent with 1:30 - and all three timeouts - to set up a field goal?

Or do you run off two “don’t score” plays, in the expectation that they’ll either call time out or let the clock run down?


yale bowl***********  Yale defeated Harvard, 24-3, making it two in a row for Yale over the Crimson.

But to me, the big story was how in hell a school with all its facilities and all its money could play a game on a field that looked as sorry as the Yale Bowl did.  On national f—king TV.

I was somewhat prepared by a fellow Yalie who’d been to a game earlier in the season and was dismayed by the look of the grass.

But I wasn’t prepared for how bad it really looked.  It was brown in places, and mud started to show on the white shirts of the Harvards.  The commentators remarked on several occasions about the poor footing.

How does this happen where there's a real groundskeeper?  Raise your hand if you’ve ever been chased off a game field by a groundskeeper who was as proud of his grass  field as he was of his own children?    Maybe prouder.

What do you think a really dedicated groundskeeper would do if the head coach insisted on practicing - every day - on the game field?

That, my friend heard, is what has been going on at Yale.  Despite acres of green practice fields surrounding the Yale Bowl, they’ve been practicing on the f—king game field. 

Damn. I’ve coached at a resource-poor school for the past six years, and we had to practice on our game field.  We had no other field.  Counting our middle school team, which also practiced there, there were 40 kids on that field every day, and despite our best efforts to keep moving the drills around, we chopped the sh— out of it.  

Now, just imagine how much wear and tear a college team of 100 or so players can do to even the best of grass fields.

Here’s the worst: the word is that the coach had an ulterior motive for doing so - by beating the crap out of the field, he could graphically demonstrate to the powers that be the need to install artificial turf in the Bowl.

*********** Jim Mora is out at UCLA.  You don’t like guys to lose their jobs, but Holy Hell - he hasn’t been paid enough over the last six years (at least $3 million a year), now he’s getting a $12 million severance package to take a hike.

This is guaranteed to rouse strong feelings around the non-football parts of UCLA - maybe the entire University of California system.

What AD agrees to such a contract?  What coach is worth that kind of money?

Somebody fire me.  Please.

*********** No good deed goes unpunished.

I was opposed to President  Trump doing ANYTHING to facilitate the release of the Three Thieves of UCLA, moving them to the front of the line ahead of people who’d been held in China a lot longer than them but didn’t have the fame that comes from being American athletes.

Here's why:

(1) I believe that a slightly longer stay in China would have made for a more lasting lesson;
(2) I suspect that UCLA’s “indefinite suspensions” will last only until conference play begins;
(3) I wanted to see Lavar Ball try his line of bulls— on the Chinese;
(4) I knew that no matter what the President did, that fool  of a father would be ungrateful. 


*********** Arkansas announced a commitment from an outside linebacker named Bumper Pool.

*********** INNOVATIVE FOOTBALL 101

Good morning Coach,

While sitting here 8am my time drinking coffee and just swiping thru my phone on Facebook I came upon these pics that I've attached.

The ignorance of commentators and analysts still amazes me when even the ones that have played at the highest levels of football still lack knowledge of the history of the game and seem blind, ignorant or just plain out disrespectful to the past.

Any time a Spread team ads a new wrinkle these overpaid fools want call it innovative.  As if it has never been done before, that's the part that has me shaking my damn head...anyway, thought I share this with you because funny, I've seen this somewhere before Iowa State made it innovative...lol

Always look forward to chatting with you via email, text or live...give Connie and the family my best and happy upcoming holidays.

Regards,

Brian Mackell
Glen Burnie, Maryland

Coach Mackell has been with me almost since Day One.  He’s been at my clinics in at least five different cities - he’s always the first one in the room and he always sits in the front row - and he’s been helping me “field-test” the Open Wing. (I give him credit for suggesting the name.)

Like me, he enjoys a good laugh at the expense of “experts” whose knowledge of the game comes from what they see on TV. Take, for example, this screen shot he sent me...
IOWA STATE WILDCAT
Wow.  How innovative.

I’ve been working with this concept - the idea of being able to snap the ball to either one  of a pair of “quarterbacks” - since 1997, and I got it from someone else who'd been doing it before me.  And God knows where he got it.  The photo below was from an article I wrote in 1998 for Scholastic Coach Magazine.  This was the original “Wildcat.”  I first got the idea from a coach in Virginia, and over the years I got to compare notes with a great coach named Jerry Carle, who ran something similar at Colorado College. It’s fair to say that this original Wildcat, which some guys still run, was the foundation for my “Open Wing.”

LA CENTER WILDCAT


BUY THE WILDCAT VIDEOS: http://www.coachwyatt.com/prod.html

In fact, in 2016, I ran a fair amount of Open Wing  with the QB and Running Back  side-by-side, just like those innovative guys at Iowa State.

NB DBL QB


BUY THE OPEN WING VIDEOS:  http://www.coachwyatt.com/prod.html

THE HISTORY OF THE WILDCAT     http://www.coachwyatt.com/SCWildcatarticle.html

*********** INNOVATIVE FOOTBALL 101

stanford splits

Coach,

Check out the screen shot of Stanford OL during a 4th and one against Cal.

Look familiar?

John Bothe
Oregon Illinois

I laughed when I heard the announcer say something like “there aren’t any gaps!”

This, despite detractors saying “where are the holes?” is the basis of our offensive system.

Always nice when bright people show that we’re not as stupid as stupid people say we are!


*********** By now you may have read about the Navy skywriters - pilots, actually - who drew what was described as “an obscenity” in the skies over the small town of Okanogan, Washington.

The obscenity, we’re led to believe, was a human phallus.

Of course the crew will be punished.  It might even cost us a good pilot, which is a damn shame because any pilot good enough to produce nude art in the sky with a jet plane ought to be more than a match for any North Korean ace.

As a male, of course, I’m deeply offended at the idea that this was an “obscenity.”  As a free-living, tree-hugging Northwest liberal, I  defend nudity in all forms because the human body is beautiful.

Seriously, though, I had to laugh.  I told my son, who lives in Australia,  about it and, Australians being notoriously fun-loving, he said it sounded like a “very Australian” sort of thing to do.

I pictured myself as the crewman, trying to escape blame by claiming that I had absolutely no idea why the pilot was doing all those loops and rolls.


*********** QUIZ ANSWER - Long before there was Bear Bryant at Alabama, this man was  putting SEC football on the map.

A native Texan, he was an All-American lineman at TCU.

After service in the Navy in World War II, he wound up at Ole Miss and in 1947 he got the head coaching job there.  In his first year, with a Marine combat veteran named Charlie Conerly at tailback, he won the first conference title in school history.

That was just a start: in his 25 years at Oxford, he won 190 games, losing just 61 and tying 12.

HIs Rebels won five SEC championships. They played in 18 bowl games and won ten of them, including five Sugar Bowls.

His 1960 team finished 10-0-1 and won a share of the national championship but not the most prestigious - the AP and UPI - which were awarded  to Minnesota before the bowl games were played.  Minnesota lost to Washington in the Rose Bowl, which means that the Rebels almost certainly would have been national champions had the polling been done as it is now, after the bowl season.

Only two rival coaches had winning records against him: Bear Bryant of Alabama (7-6-1) and General Bob Neyland of Tennessee (3-2).

He is given credit for helping build high school football in the state of Mississippi to the point where most of his talent was home-grown.  (Mississippi still produces more Division I football players per capita than any other state.)

*********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JOHNNY VAUGHT
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON

***********  Former Ole Miss Chancellor Robert Khayat, who once played for Coach Vaught, remembered him as a coach:

“He was a quiet, strong and thoughtful man. I believe that his leadership skills would have led him to success in any endeavor. Regarding football, he kept it simple on offense and defense and prepared to attack the weaknesses of any offense or defense where they were most vulnerable. One unusual habit was to “run the same play until the other team stopped it.

“He emphasized blocking and tackling and special teams. We were kicking field goals at Ole Miss as early as 1954. Very few college teams worked on the special teams to the extent we did. Finally, and maybe most important, was his emphasis on conditioning. Every practice ended with 20 fifty yard sprints. He also assembled a staff of coaches, some of whom could have been head coaches at any university in the USA.”
(Couple of things that sounded like Old Coach Wyatt)

http://hottytoddy.com/2014/12/15/john-vaught-tcu-alum-ole-miss-legend-who-lit-up-square/

*********** QUIZ - Although he never coached in a Super Bowl, he was the first NFL head coach to win Division titles with three different teams.

He grew up in the Pittsburgh area, the son of a steelworker.

He captained the football team at Juanita College, and after graduation spent three years coaching high school in Pennsylvania.

He got his first college job at Wake Forest under Paul Amen, then moved on to Kentucky as an assistant to Blanton Collier and then Charlie Bradshaw.

From Kentucky, he was hired by Weeb Ewbank to coach the New York Jets’ offensive line.

He left the Jets to coach the Lions’ offensive line under Joe Schmidt, and in 1973 he was hired as head coach of the Los Angeles Rams, succeeding Tommy Prothro.

He traded QB John Hadl to the Packers, and replaced him with James Harris, the first black man to be a regular starter at quarterback.

From Los Angeles he went to Buffalo, and from Buffalo he went to Seattle.

He wound up his career by returning to the Rams for another go-round.

At Los Angeles, Buffalo and Seattle, he had winning records.

In all, he won 186 games and lost 147.

His fondness for the running game earned him the nickname “Ground Chuck.”





american flagFRIDAY,  NOVEMBER 17,  2017  -  “If the government made beer it would cost $80 a six pack.” President Gerald R. Ford


*********** Neil deGrasse Tyson is a world-renowned astrophysicist and director of New York’s Hayden Planetarium, but when he was asked in a Wall Street Journal interview what he would do if he was given a month off, he sounded as if he could have been a football coach:

“(I would) ask the people who gave me a month off why they pulled me away from what I love the most.”

*********** I hate to promote the idea of starting Christmas season a week or so before Thanksgiving, but  I’ve heard from a few coaches who’ve asked me about posting a list of books they might want to put on their Christmas list.

(This is by no means a complete list.  They're selected books that are in my library. Many of them are quite old and out of print and hard to find.  They’re likely to be expensive, too.  The reason so many of them are old is that there hasn’t been much really good inside-football stuff written by coaches in the last 30 or 40 years. In the old days, coaches wrote books to supplement their rather meagre incomes.  Today, they don’t need the money; they earn millions, and as it is they're paid by one shoe company or another to speak at their clinics, and - perhaps because they have so much at stake - they’re not inclined to share anything important  anyhow.)

WHAT I’D CALL “NUTS AND BOLTS” BOOKS - “HOW-TO” STUFF.

Aldrich, John - Single Wing With the Spinning Fullback - 1983 - Great illustrations and photos showing how to install and run this great offense

Andros, Dee and Smith, Red - Power T Football - 1971 - Dee Andros’ Oregon State teams had running backs with names like “Earthquake,” and his Beavers were always tough

Bible, Dana X - Championship Football - 1947 - The author is the man who built Texas into a Southwest Powerhouse.  There’s even a picture of Bobby Layne throwing the ball!

Bryant, Paul W. - Building a Championship Football Team - Prentice-Hall, 1960 - The Bear's master work - includes his explanation of Bum Phillips' defensive numbering system

Caldwell, Charlie - Modern Single-Wing Football - Lippincott & Co - 1951 - The first football book I ever owned, given to me as a Christmas present when I was a kid. Very technical, it took me years to understand it, but the section on the wedge alone was a real eye-opener for me

Camp, Walter - The Book of Foot-ball - 1910 - A collector’s item.  It’s written by the man who turned rugby into American football. Note the title: "Foot-ball" had not yet become one word.

Crisler, H. O. “Fritz” - Modern Football - 1949 - This is the Michigan program that Crisler developed at Princeton.  The architects of the Delaware Wing-T were Michigan men, and they adapted Crisler’s single wing to the newfangled T-formation to produce their offense.

Dietzel, Paul - Coaching Football - 1971 - As the title suggests, this is an overall treatment of all the things a coach needs to do to be successful

Dodd, Bobby - Bobby Dodd on Football - Coach Dodd enjoyed a fabulous career at Georgia Tech. He was an early adopter of the Belly Series, and one of its most successful practitioners, so as you might expect, there's a lot devoted to the offense.  But his defensive section is really interesting, and - perhaps because he had to face his old mentor, General Robert Neyland and his Tennessee single wing every year - he includes a look at defensing the single wing.  HIs section on special teams has been helpful to me on more than one occasion.

Dooley, Vince - Developing a Superior Football-Control Attack - 1969 - Lots of full-house and Wing-T stuff

Ecker, Tom and Calloway, Bill - Athletic Journal's Encyclopedia of Football - Parker Publishing, 1978 - A compilation of offensive and defensive ideas from top college and HS coaches

Ecker, Tom and Jones, Paul - Championship Football by 12 Great Coaches - 1962 - Broyles, Bryant, Curtis, Dodd, Engle, Faurot, Nelson, Nugent, Owens, Royal, Warmath, Wyatt (Bowden, that is)

Ellison, Glenn "Tiger" - Run and Shoot Football - Parker Publishing, 1965 & 1984 - The original offensive system, described by the Ohio high school coach who devised it

Evashevski, Forest and Nelson, David - Scoring Power With the Winged T Offense - Brown Co., 1957 - The original book on the offense now known as the Delaware Wing-T that took the football world by storm  (Nelson, coach of Delaware, actually wrote it - he invented the offense -  but Evashevski, coach at Iowa, was better known, so he got top billing.)

Faurot, Don - Football: Secrets of the Split-T Formation - 1950 - Coach Faurot invented the Split-T before World War II; when the War brought college coaches together from all over the US to coach service teams, he taught it to numerous other coaches who went on to success after the War.

Gather, Jake - The Split-Line T Offense -  1963 - Coach Gaither of Florida A & M had REALLY wide line splits, and with backs like Bob Hayes and Willie Galimore the Rattlers killed people

Graves, Ray - Ray Graves’ Guide to Modern Football Defenses - 1966 - A great overview of base offenses.

Hayes, Woody - Football at Ohio State - 1957 - (Soft Cover) Coach Hayes shows you the Ohio State stuff from stem to stern

Kramer, Roy - The Complete Book of the I Formation - 1966 - Coach Kramer was a championship coach and he became Commissioner of the SEC.  This is real background stuff.

Leahy, Frank - Notre Dame Football - The T Formation - 1949 - Leahy was one of the first big-time schools to adopt the T-formation and the Irish were so successful with it that lots of other coaches went to South Bend to learn from them

Lombardi, Vince - Vince Lombardi on Football - 1973 - a 2-part set that’s not overly technical but great reading.

Martin, Ben - Ben Martin’s Flexible T Offense - 1961 - The guy who built the Air Force Academy program used a lot of unbalanced Double Wing.

McKay, John - Football Coaching - Ronald Press, 1966 - The basics of the USC I-formation attack and his 5-2 Rover (Monster) defense - and much more

Meyer, L. R. “Dutch” - Spread Formation Football - 1952 - Dutch Meyer of TCU was so far ahead of his time, he was lining up in shotgun with “five wides” - in the 1930s!

Munn, Clarence “Biggie” - Michigan State Multiple Offense - 1953 - The Spartans ran from the T formation and the single wing - and sometimes they did both, direct-snapping the ball between the quarterback’s legs.  They won a national championship doing it.

Nelson, David M. - Football Principles and Play - Ronald Press, 1962 - The absolute best book ever written on the basic principles of offensive and defensive play. Although Dave Nelson is considered to be the father of the Delaware Wing-T, this book is general in nature and even in these days of spread, no-huddle offenses it could still be used as a coaching textbook.

Nelson, David - Anatomy of a Game - 1994 - Dave Nelson is most famous as the inventor of the Delaware Wing-T, still, more than 60 years later one of the most popular offenses ever developed.  But he also served for years on the NCAA Rules Committee, and this book, a history of the rules and how and why they came to be, was his life’s work.  In fact, it was incomplete at the time of his death, and was finished afterward. It is a wonderful reference work. If you can find a copy, you'll need money - it’s VERY expensive.

Olivar, Jordan - Offensive Football (The Belly Series) - 1958 - This was written by my college coach, a very bright guy who was one of the first to exploit the “new” Belly series.  It is an excellent resource.

Parseghian , Ara - Parseghian and Notre Dame Football - Doubleday & Co, 1971 & 1973 - Coach Parseghian's adaptation of the Wing-T offense and his Split-4 defense - and a whole lot more

Peterson, Bill - Building From the Start - Waco, Texas - 1971 - Coach Peterson was way ahead of the pack in employing the passing game.  He truly did build the Florida State program from a mere afterthought to one of the nation’s powerhouses, and he tells how to build a program in its entirety.  The book may be old but a lot of the stuff in it is timeless.

Pool, Hamp - Fly-T Football - Prentice-Hall, 1957 - I have to include this, because it first got me interested in coaching - it was my senior year in college, I was injured, and I was pressed into service coaching our intra-mural (yes, tackle football) team - Hamp Pool's Los Angeles Rams of the early 1950s put up incredible numbers because (1) he had one of the best assemblages of offensive talent ever put together on one team, and (2) he was light years ahead of other coaches in his offensive thinking. After four years of having played belly-T football, mostly from a full-house T backfield, I was blown away by the stuff I saw in this book. And doggone if it didn't work when I tried it!  That hooked me on coaching.

Reade, Bob - Coaching Football Successfully - Human Kinetics, 1994 - Back in the 1980s, several of the Wing-T coaches in the Portland area pooled our resources and flew Coach Reade out to put on a clinic.  He was great. His Wing-T wasn't my Wing-T, which was the Delaware version, but no matter - I got so much from listening to Coach Reade talk about offense, defense and football in general.  This,  clearly, was a man with information we could all use in our own programs.

Rice, Homer - Homer Rice on Triple Option Football - 1973 - The author was a successful high school coach in Kentucky and then at Cincinnati, and his concept of marrying a quick passing game with a veer running attack is really compelling

Rodgers, Pepper and Smith, Homer - Installing Football’s Wishbone-T Attack - Parker Publishing - 1975 - If you’re serious about running the ‘bone, even in a modern form, you ought to get this book.  Even if you just want to learn more about this offense that revolutionized our game, it’s a great resource.

Royal, Darrell and Sherrod, Blackie - Darrell Royal Talks Football - Prentice-Hall - 1963 - Not exactly “nuts and bolts” - Just some plain old coaching wisdom that I was badly in need of in my early days as a coach

Shaughnessy, Clark and Halas, George - The Modern “T” Formation with Man-In-Motion - 1946 - The offense that within weeks of each other won the Rose Bowl for Stanford and the NFL championship for the Bears

Smith, Homer - Handbook for Coaching the Football Passing Attack - Parker Publishing, 1970 - The great offensive coach's book on the passing game and its very basics - the fundamentals necessary for the simplest or most sophisticated passing attack

Tallman, Drew - Directory of Football Offenses - 1978 - incredible resource - pocket-sized diagrams of common formations - their strengths and weaknesses

Tallman, Drew - Directory of Football Defenses - 1980 - likewise

Waldorf, Lynn “Pappy” - This Game of Football - 1952 - Pappy Waldorf built the Cal Golden Bears into a West Coast powerhouse with a multiple offense as he transitioned from single wing to T-formation

Warner, Glenn Scobey - Football for Coaches and Players - 1927 - A collector’s item. Glenn Scobey Warner is THE Pop Warner.  Great drawings and illustrations of the football of that time.

Wilkinson, Charles “Bud) - Oklahoma Split-T Football - The master of the Split T discusses the ins and outs of what was forerunner of all of today’s option offenses

Zuppke, Robert - Coaching Football - 1930 - A real collector’s item.  The great Zuppke of Illinois was Red Grange’s college coach, and a true innovator

Coach of the Year Clinic Manuals, any and all you can get your hands on (I go back to 1970 with them) - contact Earl Browning, PO Box 22185, Louisville, KY 40252 (telecoach@mindspring.com)


Next,  I’ll try to put together a list of historical books and biographies.

*********** Okay, okay.  I’ll buy the NFL’s claim that Kaepernick has nothing to do with its declining ratings and attendance.  At least as far as Thursday nights, anyhow.  I mean, who in the hell likes watching football played in those gooney Thursday night costumes?

*********** Yale plays Harvard Saturday, and for that one day a year I put aside my disgust with my alma mater’s leftist leanings and pull for The Blue.

Yale’s freshman running back Zane Dudek is really good.  He’s got decent size: 5-10, 190. He’s really fast: in the spring of his junior year in high school he won the Western Pennsylvania 3A 100 meter dash with a time of  10.88 and last summer 4.43 40.  As a senior he averaged 300 yards a game in a tough western Pennsylvania conference, and this year he’s lighting it up in the Ivy League.  All the Ivies wanted him because on top of that he had a 4.- GPA in high school, but the only FBS schools to offer him were Kent State, Army and Air Force.

The obvious question is why?  Why did the Big Guys pass on him?

The most plausible answer is seldom mentioned  because it’s as stupid as it is ugly.

http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/high-school-football/2016/10/21/Why-doesn-t-Zane-Dudek-have-major-college-scholarship-offers/stories/201610210047

http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/high-school-football/2017/10/27/Zane-Dudek-running-back-Yale-football-Armstrong/stories/201710270019

*********** Last Saturday’s Alabama-Mississippi State was a classic.  I will confess that I was pulling for State because I like underdogs, and I admire what Dan Mullen has accomplished in Starkville, Mississippi, the Pullman, Washington of the South.  (No offense meant to Starkville or to Pullman - nice enough places, but far enough off the beaten path that they’re tough places to lure recruits to.)

The game went back and forth, with State jumping out to a lead that it could have held against anyone else.  But not against Alabama.

Bama showed me that it’s a championship team by the way, facing the specter of defeat, it went the length of the field to score the winning touchdown with under a minute to play.  And Bama’s Jalen Hurt, who is either the hardest running quarterback or the best throwing running back in America, earned my vote for Heisman.  Ironically, the fact that he plays for the best team in the country and his heroics are seldom needed will almost certainly cost him the honor.

*********** Sure is great to have the MAC back again in late season on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights.  It’s like the annual runup to Thanksgiving. Only one problem: I can’t think of a single team in the MAC that I don’t like, so it always hurts to see one of them lose.

*********** This weekend’s games:

First the tough ones:

Alabama over Mercer - I know that Bama had a tough one against Mississippi State, but I’m being on the Tide to snap back.

Florida State over Delaware State - We’ve got laws against sexual misconduct and child abuse - so how come we allow games like this to take place?

Clemson over The Citadel - isn’t it a little late in the season for “tuneup” games?

Now, then - on to real football…

Virginia at Miami - hate to say this, but Mark Richt notwithstanding, this Miami Cinderella story is going to get ugly again.  Fast.  Can you say, “Swagger?”

Michigan at Wisconsin - You just watch: Michigan beats Wisconsin.  And then the one-loss Badgers lose to Ohio State in the Big 10 championship game.  And the Playoff is up for grabs.

UCF at Temple - My upset of the day.  Because I’m a Philadelphian.

Fresno State at Wyoming - Two Mountain West  powers meet.  I go with the Cowboys at home.

Kentucky at Georgia - Oh, look! While everbody’s been looking elsewhere, Kentucky’s now 7-3. Georgia had better be careful.

Navy at Notre Dame - Not this year, Navy.  Navy beat SMU with a kid who’d never played before - how the hell does Niumatololo keep doing that? - but I think that ND will kick their ass this year.

Kansas State at Oklahoma State - Go KSU

Army at North Texas - Army is bowl eligible and in a month or so will be going to the Armed Forces Bowl, where its opponent will be - get ready for this - NORTH TEXAS. Again. 

LSU at Tennessee - Watch Tennessee, with an interim coach, play their butts off and beat LSU.

UCLA at USC - If the Trojans win, and then win the Pac 12 championship game… and Wisconsin loses to Michigan and then loses to Ohio State in the Big 10 championship game…and Auburn beats Alabama and then beats Georgia in the SEC championship game (can that happen?)… USC could still conceivably be in the Playoffs.  And if my aunt had balls…

Cal at Stanford - Cal isn’t ready to challenge the Cardinal in The Big Game.

Air Force at Boise State - Go Broncos!

Utah at Washington - anything’s possible with this Husky bunch.  They’d better be sharp, because next week they play the instate-rival Washington State Cougars, who have this week off.



*********** A little over a year ago, I received this from a friend who's a West Point graduate and said he got it from a classmate…

    In  Nashville, Tennessee, during the first week of January, 1996, more than 4,000 baseball coaches descended upon the Opryland Hotel for the 52nd annual ABCA's   convention.

    While I waited in line to register with the hotel staff, I heard other more veteran coaches rumbling about the lineup of speakers scheduled to present during the weekend. One name, in particular, kept resurfacing, always with the same sentiment — “John Scolinos is here? Oh, man, worth every penny of my airfare.”
    
    Who is John Scolinos, I wondered. No matter; I was just happy to be there.

    In 1996, Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948. He shuffled to the stage to an impressive standing ovation, wearing dark polyester pants, a light blue shirt, and a string around his neck from which home plate hung — a full-sized, stark-white home plate.

    Seriously, I wondered, who is this guy?
    
    After speaking for twenty-five minutes, not once mentioning the prop hanging around his neck, Coach Scolinos appeared to notice the snickering among some of the coaches. Even those who knew Coach Scolinos had to wonder exactly where he was going with this, or if he had simply forgotten about home plate since he’d gotten on stage.Then, finally …“You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck,” he said, his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility.

    “I may be old, but I’m not crazy. The reason I stand before you today is to share with you baseball people what I’ve learned in my life, what I’ve learned about home plate in my 78 years.” Several hands went up when Scolinos asked how many Little League coaches were in the room.

    “Do you know how wide home plate is in Little League?”
    
    After a pause, someone offered, “Seventeen inches?”, more of a question than answer.
    
    “That’s right,” he said. “How about in Babe Ruth’s day? Any Babe Ruth coaches in the house?”

    Another long pause.
    
    “Seventeen inches?” a guess from another reluctant coach.
    
    “That’s right,” said Scolinos. “Now, how many high school coaches do we have in the room?” Hundreds of hands shot up, as the pattern began to appear. “How wide is home plate in high school baseball?”
    
    “Seventeen inches,” they said, sounding more confident.
    
    “You’re right!” Scolinos barked. “And you college coaches, how wide is home plate in college?”

    “Seventeen inches!” we said, in unison.
    
    “Any Minor League coaches here? How wide is home plate in pro ball?”

     “Seventeen inches!”
    
    “RIGHT! And in the Major Leagues, how wide home plate is in the Major Leagues?”

    “Seventeen inches!”
    
    “SEV-EN-TEEN INCHES!” he confirmed, his voice bellowing off the walls. “And what do they do with a Big League pitcher who can’t throw the ball over seventeen inches?” Pause. “They send him to  Pocatello !” he hollered, drawing raucous laughter.

    “What they don’t do is this: they don’t say, ‘Ah, that’s okay, Jimmy. You can’t hit a seventeen-inch target? We’ll make it eighteen inches or nineteen inches.  We’ll make it twenty inches so you have a better chance of hitting it. If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.'” Pause.

    “Coaches…” pause, "… what do we do when our best player shows up late to practice? When our team rules forbid facial hair and a guy shows up unshaven? What if he gets caught drinking? Do we hold him accountable? Or do we change the rules to fit him? Do we widen home plate? The chuckles gradually faded as four thousand coaches grew quiet, the fog lifting as the old coach’s message began to unfold.

    He turned the plate toward himself and, using a Sharpie, began to draw something. When he turned it toward the crowd, point up, a house was revealed, complete with a freshly drawn door and two windows. “This is the problem in our homes today. With our marriages, with the way we parent our kids. With our discipline. We don’t teach accountability to our kids, and there is no consequence for failing to meet standards. We widen the plate!”
    
    Pause. Then, to the point at the top of the house he added a small American flag. “This is the problem in our schools today. The quality of our education is going downhill fast and teachers have been stripped of the tools they need to be successful, and to educate and discipline our young people. We are allowing others to widen home plate! Where is that getting us?”
    
    Silence. He replaced the flag with a Cross. “And this is the problem in the Church, where powerful people in positions of authority have taken advantage of young children, only to have such an atrocity swept under the rug for years. Our church leaders are widening home plate for themselves!  And we allow it.”
    
    “And the same is true with our government. Our so called representatives make rules for us that don’t apply to themselves.  They take bribes from lobbyists and foreign countries. They no longer serve us. And we allow them to widen home plate and we see our country falling into a dark abyss while we watch.”
    
    I was amazed. At a baseball convention where I expected to learn something about curve balls and bunting and how to run better practices, I had learned something far more valuable. From an old man with home plate strung around his neck, I had learned something about life, about myself, about my own weaknesses and about my responsibilities as a leader. I had to hold myself and others accountable to that which I knew to be right, lest our families, our faith, and our society continue down an undesirable path.
    
    “If I am lucky,” Coach Scolinos concluded, “you will remember one thing from this old coach today. It is this: if we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses and our children to the same standards, if we are unwilling or unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet the standard; and if our schools & churches & our government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve, there is but one thing to look forward to …” With that, he held home plate in front of his chest, turned it around, and revealed its dark black backside, “… dark days ahead.”
    
    Coach Scolinos died in 2009 at the age of 91, but not before touching the lives of hundreds of players and coaches, including mine. Meeting him at my first ABCA convention kept me returning year after year, looking for similar wisdom and inspiration from other coaches. He is the best clinic speaker the ABCA has ever known because he was so much more than a baseball coach. His message was clear: “Coaches, keep your players—no matter how good they are—your own children, your churches, your government, and most of all, keep yourself at seventeen inches."
    
    And this my friends is what our country has become and what is wrong with it today, and how to fix it.  "Don't widen the plate."  An absolutely great speech


    http://www.sperrybaseballlife.com/stay-at-17-inches/

Interestingly, the author of the piece turned out to be a guy named Chris Sperry, who was a high schooler in Vancouver, Washington when I was coaching there.  He went to a different high school and didn’t play football, but he was an American Legion teammate of several of my players who also played baseball.  After his playing days were over, he had a long and successful career as head baseball coach at the University of Portland.  I was so impressed that I had to write him to compliment him on his writing skills - and tell him how important a piece he’d written.


*********** I jumped the gun a little bit by making it sound as if the Florida job was going to be Scott Frost’s to turn down.  It seems there’s a LOT of interest in Gainesville in Chip Kelly.  John Canzano of the Portland Oregonian  writes that Florida would make a lot of sense to Kelly from the standpoint of his professional ambitions  after Oregon’s loss in the national title game to Auburn.  The big question, of course, is how he will answer the critics who claim that (1) defenses have caught up with his fast-paced offense and (2)  what he was doing at Oregon is no longer unique.  Who knows? Regardless, Chip Kelly is likely to have his choice of any number of jobs with the means and the desire to take it to the top.

*********** Hugh,

OK...I know I've told you a number of times now how much I despise the NFL.  Well...if it's possible for me to despise them more than I already do...OK...I DO!

What the NFL pulled this past weekend goes beyond hypocritical.  And you can include FOX Sports in the mess broadcasting their pre-game show from Norfolk!  All of a sudden the NFL and its minions CARE about our veterans?  Just because it was Veterans Day we are suddenly gorged with NFL patriotism?  What a CROCK!!  The ONLY reason the NFL engaged in that over-blown salute to our veterans was to COVER THEIR ASSES, AND THEIR LOSSES!!

And I don't give a rat's ass if they widen the field or not, or make it mandatory for all all coaches to wear military clothing.  I ain't watching anymore so it won't matter a hill of beans to me.

I could just hear Bear Bryant's voice in that description of his encounter with the restaurant owner.  Great story!

That whuppin Auburn put on Georgia was something.  That whuppin Miami laid on Notre Dame was...embarassing.  Miami outplayed ND.  Miami out-coached ND.  Miami had a great game plan against ND.  Miami's support was like it was back in the days of the old OB, and when it really WAS the "U".  Brian Kelly better get his troops ready in a hurry this week because if they show up like they did against Miami...Navy just might put a whuppin on ND too!

Fresno State beat the distractions in Honolulu.  This week they will have to beat the weather, the altitude, and a heckuva Wyoming football team.  Tall order for the Bulldogs!

Minnesota beating Nebraska the way they did just about sealed Mike Riley's fate.  The Gophers will have to play like that again this week if they want to beat a surging Northwestern team in icy cold Chicago.

Have a great week.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** The world’s tallest shoplifters are safely back home,  in the warm, protective bosom of the UCLA basketball program.

They faced the possibility of years in a Chinese prison,  but thanks to some good words on their behalf from President Trump, who happened to be in China at the time, they were given special handling.

The President could have let their asses rot in China.  But being the racist that he is, he used his influence to bring them back to face the  “oppression” of a racist America.

Meantime, not so long ago, the State of California, in a grand bit of virtue-signalling, banned travel by sports teams from its state universities to several of our states that it deems to be guilty of human rights violations.  So there they are in the ludicrous position of telling teams they can’t go to North Carolina, because trannies aren’t free to use the bathroom of their choice - but they can go to China.

*********** Ever gone on Amazon to see how much they want for a left-handed monkey wrench, and then after that, every time you go online - doesn’t matter what the site -  there’s that damn monkey wrench popping up everywhere?

You might call it stalking. 

Or, you might call it taunting.

Monday, I went online to find  a picture of that toy-soldier jacket that the Steelers’ coaches wore Sunday, ever since then I can’t open a page on the Internet without seeing that damn coat.

*********** If you doubt that Notre Dame is a tough job, hard on a man, consider:  when Brian Kelly turned 56 a couple of weeks ago, he became  the second-oldest coach in Irish history.

Lou Holtz, 59 when he left, was the oldest.

Kelly nosed out Dan Devine for second place by a couple of months.

Knute Rockne, who was killed in an airplane crash, was the youngest, at 43.

Frank Leahy was only 45 when his health forced him to retire, and Ara Parseghian was just 51.

Of the Big Five - Devine, Holtz, Leahy, Parseghian and Rockne - who won at least one national championship at South Bend, only Holtz ever coached again after Notre Dame.


*********** Seems to me the week after you got your ass spanked on national TV is scarcely the time to be dressing in costumes, but I suppose when you’re Notre Dame and  have your own TV network called NBC, you can do whatever the hell you please…

http://www.espn.com/sportsnation/story/_/id/20380966/notre-dame-fighting-irish-unveil-new-rockne-heritage-alternate-uniforms

*********** A Tennessee State player has been expelled from school after twice punching the strength coach on the sidelines

https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/ncaafb/video-tennessee-state-player-expelled-after-punching-strength-coach-on-sideline/ar-BBEWebr?li=BBnb7Kz


*********** QUIZ ANSWER:  This was Duffy Daugherty talking, in 1976:

“The greatest thrill that I have had that I can remember in coaching is to see my colleague and close friend FRANK KUSH as Coach of the Year.

"I recruited Frank out of Windber, PA.  Frank was from a coal mining town near my home town of Barnesboro.  He came to Michigan State at 5-9 and 165 pounds.  He played first string for us in 50-51 and 51-52.  We lost only one game in his years at Michigan State. He played on a national championship team.  He was a unanimous All-American, playing middle guard at 180 pounds. 

"He went into the service and later came back to Michigan State.   Frank went to Arizona State with Dan Devine and later Dan moved to Missouri and Frank moved up as head coach at Arizona State and the rest is history.  He was 12 and 0 at Arizona State this year.  He is Kellogg’s Coach of the Year.  He has been my Coach of the Year for many years."

(Frank Kush built Arizona State into a national power.)


CORRECTLY IDENIFYING FRANK KUSH

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
DAVE POTTER - CARY, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
TIM BROSS - KIRKWOOD, MISSOURI
CHARLIE WILSON - CRYSTAL RIVER, FLORIDA (Frank Kush, who was every air conditioning salesman's favorite friend ("It's not the heat, it's the humidity".)   "I know fellas!  Let's go for a run in the Arizona country.  It's only 103 out…”)
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH, LAKEVILLE, INDIANA (Who reminded me that Frank Kush was the coach of “both” Colts - he was the Baltimore Colts’ head coach when that drunk, Bob Irsay, moved them to Indianapolis under cover of darkness)
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA


*********** In 1975 - ASU was 12-0 and beat Nebraska - and finished #2 - Oklahoma,  11-1 with a loss to Nebraska, is #1

Kush: ‘When we played our games on Saturday nights, the papers in New York were already out on the streets.”

*********** In an interview, Frank Kush reflects on his life…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PN1-mNODaNA


*********** Frank Kush was tough…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nNRK-TQfpE


*********** QUIZ - Long before there was Bear Bryant at Alabama, this man was  putting SEC football on the map.

A native Texan, he was an All-American lineman at TCU.

After service in the Navy in World War II, he wound up at Ole Miss and in 1947 he got the head coaching job there.  In his first year, with a Marine combat veteran named Charlie Conerly at tailback, he won the first conference title in school history.

That was just a start: in his 25 years at Oxford, he won 190 games, losing just 61 and tying 12.

HIs Rebels won five SEC championships. They played in 18 bowl games and won ten of them, including five Sugar Bowls.

His 1960 team finished 10-0-1 and won a share of the national championship but not the most prestigious - the AP and UPI - which were awarded  to Minnesota before the bowl games were played.  Minnesota lost to Washington in the Rose Bowl, which means that the Rebels almost certainly would have been national champions had the polling been done as it is now, after the bowl season.

Only two rival coaches had winning records against him: Bear Bryant of Alabama (7-6-1) and General Bob Neyland of Tennessee (3-2).

He is given credit for helping build high school football in the state of Mississippi to the point where most of his talent was home-grown.  (Mississippi still produces more Division I football players per capita than any other state.)


american flagTUESDAY,  NOVEMBER 14,  2017  -  “I feel that retired generals should never miss an opportunity to remain silent concerning matters for which they are no longer responsible.”   General H. Norman Schwarzkopf


*********** Call it whatever you want, but there was a certain element of karma in Saturday’s two biggest wins - Miami over Notre Dame and Auburn over Georgia.

Three years ago, Georgia told Mark Richt it was “going in another direction.”

Not that he was disliked at UGA - he’s a hard guy to dislike.  He’s a Christian gentleman. He’s personable, he lives a clean life and he treats people well.

And not that he wasn’t a good coach: in 15 years at UGA,   his overall record was 145-51 (.740) and his SEC record was 83-37 (.692).  Twelve of his 15 teams were nationally ranked.  He took the Bulldogs to 15 straight bowl games, and his bowl record was 9-5 (he was canned before he could coach in one final bowl game).

No, he was plenty good as a coach.  They just thought they could “do better.” What they really meant was they could “beat Alabama,” and since he didn’t do that (who did? who does?) he had to go.

So there the Bulldogs were, Saturday, losing not to Alabama but to Auburn.   Almost as bad.

And there, at just about the same time, moving up to take Georgia’s place in the polls - right up there with Alabama, of all people - was Miami.

Miami’s coach? Mark Richt.  The same.

*********** If you think power and influence don’t count for anything in college football, perhaps you can explain why Georgia and Notre Dame, who both got their clocks cleaned Saturday, are still in the Top Ten.

*********** Hoist by their own petard…

The Big 12, excluded from the playoff the past couple of years, seemed to feel that their problem was the fact that they didn’t have a conference championship game.  So it maneuvered and finagled and got itself a championship game, even though it doesn’t have the previously-required 12 teams, and now - oh, dear.  There’s Oklahoma, almost a sure thing to make the playoff under the old setup, now having to beat either TCU or Oklahoma State in the conference championship in order to qualify.  What the Big 12 has to fear is the possibility that, should either TCU or Oklahoma State upset OU, neither of them will get a Playoff spot.

And then there’s Notre Dame, which until Saturday’s defeat by Miami was in the catbird seat - keep winning and they’re in.  Being an independent means no conference championship to worry about.  But now, that lack of a conference - and a conference championship game - means there’s no chance for a meaningful win, nothing the Irish can do to improve their position.  They’re out.  Call it the price of selfishness.

*********** Larry Scott, Commissioner of the Pac-12, may be bringing in the money for member schools, but in terms of building the conference, he’s been a total failure. The Conference he inherited was co-owner (with the big Ten) of the Rose Bowl, one of football;’s most valuable franchises. Now, thanks to his mismanagement, the Pac-12 is fifth among the Power 5 Conferences in terms of power and prestige.

1. The addition of Colorado and Utah hasn’t done a damn thing for the conference except give it the 12 teams it needed so that it could then hold one of those useless “Conference Championship” games. There was a lot to be said for the round-robin schedule that was lost. 

2. The Pac-12 Network is a joke - it’s apparently several small networks devoted to games within each conference  region, which means that instead of getting the game that you want to see, you get the game that the Powers That Be have decided is the one you should be watching.  The Saturday daytime games are  limited in their reach, while the big-deal Game of the Day comes on in the evening, too late for all but the most dedicated fans and gamblers back East.

3. The Pac-12 is in bed with Fox, which in my opinion doesn’t know how to broadcast a game to serious viewers, defined as those who would still watch even if they didn’t have those dumbass transformers accompanying their graphics.

4. The Fox Saturday Night Pac-12 game is a real pain in the arse for anyone who has to travel a distance to get to the game - and then drive home afterward.  For people in the Northwest,  that  can mean late-night driving over snowy mountain passes.

5. The Pac-12 has allowed itself to play second fiddle to stupid events that no one watches. 

Example: those of us who tuned into Fox Sports 1 (FS1) - now there’s a network with a lot of reach - Friday night, hoping to watch Washington play Stanford, were dismayed to find that we were watching a truck race.  Well, actually, tow trucks, semi-racing to clear the track after a wreck, as a graphic informed us there were 19 laps to go.  And then racing resumed and - I don’t know where they have to go to find  drivers  who can’t make it once around the track without hitting a wall - another wreck.  Clear the track and restart. And then  another wreck. And then another restart.  All this in front of empty stands.  Who really cared?

We’ve tuned in to watch two ranked teams play FOOTBALL and the best the people at FS1 could do was to inform us with a tiny little crawler that the game we wanted to see was “CURRENTLY AIRING ON FS2.”  FS2? WTF?  I’d never even heard of it.  I didn’t even know whether we got it. 

Those of us wanting to see the football game that we’d already set our DVRs to record? “We’ll have it on here as soon as we’re finished,” we were informed by the announcers.  “Finished?”  It was like the Race With No End.

I finally found FS2.

Meanwhile, 45 minutes later, the Pac-12 game that was advertised nationally but  was shoved aside by a f—king truck race, came on FS1.

Now I ask you - what genius at Pac-12 headquarters negotiated a deal with Fox that allows them to give such short shrift to a big conference game with a national viewership?

Thanks a lot, Larry.  It doesn’t seem to have occured to you that from the standpoint of national exposure, the Pac-12 already starts out with the huge disadvantage of being in the Pacific Time Zone.  And when you finally have a chance to get a game between two ranked conference teams on national TV, you can’t allow it to be superseded by a f—king truck race.


***********  FROM JANUARY 2016 -

I don’t usually care much for All-Star games, but I made it a point to watch the East-West Shrine game Saturday, mainly because my friend Ralph Balducci’s son Alex, an Oregon Duck, was playing.

Naturally, I enjoyed watching Alex play on the defensive line, although I can’t imagine anything more boring than the drudgery of playing defensive line against an offense that seldom runs the ball and when it passes, gets rid of the ball immediately on some sort of wide receiver screen.

Although I had a hard time dealing with the idea of Indiana and Purdue in the West (I gave them a break on Western Kentucky) it did look almost like a real game simply because nobody swapped helmet decals.

But for me, this game was really worth watching because of former Oregon QB Vernon Adams.

To put it mildly, he was spectacular.  He made all kinds of throws, both on the run and in the pocket.  He extended plays in ways that a lesser athlete couldn’t have.  He threw long and short, with power and with touch.  He threw lasers and he threw them with accuracy.

Analyst Mike Mayock, who’s pretty knowledgeable about college players and their pro prospects, was excited.  Really excited. Said it was the best all-star game performance by a QB that he’d ever seen.  He all but said that the kid would get drafted, and said that if nobody in the NFL wanted him, he’d have a long career in the CFL.  Said he couldn’t wait to start looking at Oregon film.

Afterward, West Coach June Jones, a Mouse Davis disciple  who knows the spread passing game as well as anyone alive, was effusive in his praise.

Jones noted how accurate Adams had  been all week in practice.  And then he said something that I’d never heard - or thought of - before:  “There are two types of quarterbacks : the ones who get better during a game and those who get worse during a game.”

He clearly meant that Adams was one who got better.

Bear in mind, though, he didn’t get any taller.  He’s still just 5-11, which means he’s probably 5-9. Which means, of course, that  he’s too short to play in the NFL.  You know, the way Russell Wilson is too short to play in the NFL.

So why would he be good in the CFL, and not down here?

BECAUSE THE CANADIAN FIELD IS WIDER!!!

It’s 65 yards (195 feet). That’s 35 feet (11-1/2 yards) wider than the American field.

Look - is there anyone in the world who isn’t aware that today’s players are bigger and faster than they were just 20 years ago?  How about 50 years ago? 

So how come they’re still playing on a field that’s the same size  it was 100 years ago?

Come on, NFL owners - wake up!  Take that $650,000,000 that Kroenke’s going to pay you as a “relocation fee” so he can move from St. Louis to Los Angeles (Inglewood, actually) and instead of blowing it on large yachts and small islands - invest it in your game.  It works out to about $20,000,000 a team.  Take that money and remove the first half dozen rows of seats from your stadiums (they’re the crummiest seats in the house anyhow) and...

WIDEN THE FIELD!

After all the rules changes over the years, you’re about out of ways to goose the offense, but you could do it instantly  without having to change a rule.

You’d reintroduce into the game  the small, fast running back, and the small, fast receiver.

And you’d overcome your current quarterback deficiency by opening up the game - and the position - to smaller guys who can run - you know, what they used to call “black quarterbacks.”  Instead of turning a Vernon Adams into a slot back or a return man, or chasing him north to Canada, he might turn out to be the saviour of your franchise as your quarterback.

Yes, it would force your offensive coaches to get out of the box they’re in right now. Why, we might even see  some of the exciting stuff we’re used to  seeing  in  college games.  Maybe some option, even.

An unintended benefit - with defensive backs spread out more, there’d be fewer opportunities for them to  take those cowardly shots at defenseless receivers that threaten our game.

Wait!  What was I thinking?  That's it!  This is a safety measure!  It’s for the good of the players!

That alone ought to be enough to sell it to Congress.

But just to be sure,  a few  free tickets to the Super Bowl ought to be enough to help persuade our nation's lawmakers to pass the Omnibus Football Workers’ Safety Act  providing $2 billion of US taxpayer dollars to widen all stadiums in which “Football Workers” are employed. (For their safety.)

So go ahead, NFL owners - go ahead buy those yachts and islands.

*********** In terms of usefulness, it doesn’t get much better than my collection of Coach of the Year manuals, dating back to 1970.  To go through them is to see the evolution of our game over the last 40 years.

I strongly recommend them. Go online and check them out.

I was just looking through the 2012 Manual the other day and I came across a presentation by Chip Kelly entitled “Practice Organization: The Key to Success.”

Reading through it, I found a great illustration of what commitment to the success of the team means.

    When you sacrifice for the team, the ultimate success of the team is bigger than any success the player could gain individually.  If they cannot understand that, they need to go play an individual sport. Tony Dungy’s son Eric is on our team. Two years ago, Tony came to speak to our team in preseason camp. He said he had one message to get across: “The ultimate teams have one thing in common.  They have players on their team that are willing to sacrifice.” He asked the team if they wanted to be in Glendale, Arizona on January 10, 2011, playing for the national championship.  All the players raised their hands.

    All our receivers sat in the same area. He asked them to hold up their hands if that was their goal. They all held up their hands.  Then, he asked them if they would want to be there in the championship game if it meant not catching a ball all season. Some of the players took their hands down.  He told them he appreciate their being honest with him, but that that was what a team is all about.  The individual has to sacrifice his individual accolades for a team accolade.  That is the ultimate sacrifice for a wide receiver.  He has to be willing to do that.

    It’s interesting that the wide receivers have to think about the question, when the offensive line does that all game long. No one asked them what they were willing to sacrifice because they do it all year long. That group is a unique group in their own right.  They shop for clothes at True Value Hardware.  The only thing they want is to change the snap count occasionally. 

*********** I don’t know where I found this, but it’s a great story attributed to famous Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant…


I had just been named the new head coach at Alabama and was off in my old car down in South Alabama recruiting a prospect who was supposed to have been a pretty good player, and I was having trouble finding the place.

Getting hungry, I spied an old cinderblock building with a small sign out front that simply said "Restaurant." I pull up, go in, and every head in the place turns to stare at me. Seems I'm the only white fella in the place. But the food smelled good, so I skip a table and go up to a cement bar and sit. A big ole man in a tee shirt and cap comes over and says, "What do you need?"

I told him I needed lunch and what did they have today?

He says, "You probably won't like it here. Today we're having chitlins, collard greens and black-eyed peas with cornbread. I'll bet you don't even know what chitlins are, do you?"(small intestines of hogs prepared as food in the deep South)

I looked him square in the eye and said, "I'm from Arkansas , and I've probably eaten a mile of them. Sounds like I'm in the right place."

They all smiled as he left to serve me up a big plate. When he comes back he says, "You ain't from around here then?"

I explain I'm the new football coach up in Tuscaloosa at the University and I'm here to find whatever that boy's name was, and he says, "Yeah I've heard of him, he's supposed to be pretty good." And he gives me directions to the school so I can meet him and his coach.

As I'm paying up to leave, I remember my manners and leave a tip, not too big to be flashy, but a good one, and he told me lunch was on him, but I told him for a lunch that good, I felt I should pay. The big man asked me if I had a photograph or somethingI  he could hang up to show I'd been there. I was so new that I didn't have any yet. It really wasn't that big a thing back then to be asked for, but I took a napkin and wrote his name and address on it and told him I'd get him one.

I met the kid I was looking for later that afternoon and I don't remember his name, but do remember I didn't think much of him when I met him.

I had wasted a day, or so I thought. When I got back to Tuscaloosa late that night, I took that napkin from my shirt pocket and put it under my keys so I wouldn't forget it. Back then I was excited that anybody would want a picture of me. The next day we found a picture and I wrote on it, "Thanks for the best lunch I've ever had."

Now let's go a whole buncha years down the road. Now we have black players at Alabama and I'm back down in that part of the country scouting an offensive lineman we sure needed. Y'all remember, (and I forget the name, but it's not important to the story), well anyway, he's got two friends going to Auburn and he tells me he's got his heart set on Auburn too, so I leave empty handed and go on to see some others while I'm down there.

Two days later, I'm in my office in Tuscaloosa and the phone rings and it's this kid who just turned me down, and he says, "Coach, do you still want me at Alabama ?"

And I said, "Yes I sure do." And he says OK, he'll come.

And I say, "Well son, what changed your mind?"

And he said, "When my grandpa found out that I had a chance to play for you and said no, he pitched a fit and told me I wasn't going nowhere but Alabama, and wasn't playing for nobody but you. He thinks a lot of you and has ever since y'all met."

Well, I didn't know his granddad from Adam's housecat so I asked him who his granddaddy was and he said, "You probably don't remember him, but you ate in his restaurant your first year at Alabama and you sent him a picture that he's had hung in that place ever since. That picture's his pride and joy and he still tells everybody about the day that Bear Bryant came in and had chitlins with him..."

"My grandpa said that when you left there, he never expected you to remember him or to send him that picture, but you kept your word to him and to Grandpa, that's everything. He said you could teach me more than football and I had to play for a man like you, so I guess I'm going to."

I was floored. But I learned that the lessons my mama taught me were always right. It don't cost nuthin' to be nice. It don't cost nuthin' to do the right thing most of the time, and it costs a lot to lose your good name by breaking your word to someone.

When I went back to sign that boy, I looked up his Grandpa and he's still running that place, but it looks a lot better now. And he didn't have chitlins that day, but he had some ribs that would make Dreamland proud. I made sure I posed for a lot of pictures; and don't think I didn't leave some new ones for him, too, along with a signed football.

I made it clear to all my assistants to keep this story and these lessons in mind when they're out on the road. If you remember anything else from me, remember this. It really doesn't cost anything to be nice, and the rewards can be unimaginable.

Steelers army jacket*********** It’s called “stolen valor,” and it’s an unspeakable insult to any honorable service member.  It’s falsely claiming to have earned a medal or ribbon or other military honor.

No, it wasn’t “stolen valor” that I saw on Sunday, but what the NFL did was at the very least unseemly, outfitting the coaching staffs on all its teams with faux Army jackets which Nike, always eager to make a buck, called the “NFL Salute to Service.”

(We used to be able to go to an Army surplus store and get stuff like this - made in America - for maybe $20.  These, official Nike gear - made someplace in Asia - will set you back upwards of $100.)

I have to admit that I was a big angered when I saw Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin wearing a jacket that even looked as if there was some sort of ribbon on his chest.  The same Tomlin who reprimanded tackle Ali Villanueva, a real Army veteran who saw real combat in three tours of duty in Afghanistan, for standing alone on the field and saluting the flag while his teammates cowered* unseen in the tunnel. (* If any NFL player is reading this, no one is calling you a “coward.”)

But it was Veteran’s Day weekend, and we all know now that the NFL players never meant to disrespect our service people (they told us so) so there was Generalissimo Tomlin and his staff looking almost like real soldiers in their “NFL Salute to Service” costumes.

I don’t blame the coaches for wearing this stuff.  They get their orders from Headquarters and they do what they’re told.  I did notice one guy conspicuously out of uniform, though - Bill Belichick.

*********** You could have made a lot of money if you’d offered to bet me back in July that I’d be taking Jerry Jones’ side on anything.  I’d have taken that bet for sure,  but here we are, with Ole Jerrah fixin’ to take on Roger the Dodger Goodell -  and I’m waving my GO JERRY GO! pennant.


*********** With all that it’s been through the past couple of seasons - post Kaepernick -  I hear the NFL people saying they wish they could get people back to talking about football again.

But it’s hard to believe they’re serious  when the halftime “entertainment” on Sunday night’s NFL game was an interview with Uncle Joe Biden. (Remember him?)

The NFL doesn’t have enough problems as it is - it had to drag Old Joe out of wherever he’s been.  He’s certainly not controversial. They thought it would be cool to hold the interview in a tavern - a football-type setting, to be sure, but a highly unlikely place for a non-drinker whose beverage of choice at the so-called Beer Summit years ago was non-alcoholic “beer.”

Why Joe?   Well, Hillary wasn’t available.  (Actually, I lied.  We all know that Hillary, being a great football fan, would have loved to do the interview, where she’d tell us that she’d just learned that she was not named for Sir Edmund Hillary, as she’d once mistakenly claimed, but for Hillary Chollet, a star Cornell running back from the 1940s. )

No, the reason was that like every other guest you see on TV shows these days, Joe, a reformed plagiarizer, is pushing a book he “wrote.”

*********** My attempt to have a little fun at the expense of Hillary Clinton led me to do a little research into Hillary Chollet (pronounced “sholl-LAY” - it’s Cajun French. (I remembered the name from when I was a kid and the Penn-Cornell game was THE Thanksgiving Day game in Philly.) And this is what my research produced:

“White Coat and Sneakers” by Hillary Chollet

Description: It’s a story that engenders pride and determination in the hearts of Americans everywhere: a young man, Hillary Chollet, is born the great-grandson of a slave – he’s accepted at Tulane University but they rescind their offer because his skin is too dark. So he moves on…to Cornell University, where he is a football and basketball legend, earns his medical degree and becomes a surgeon. In the incredible new book White Coat and Sneakers Hillary Chollet’s son, Hillary Chollet Jr., takes readers on a thought-provoking journey from modern day Los Angeles to turn-of-the-century Louisiana.

https://www.amazon.com/White-Coat-Sneakers-Hillary-Chollet/product-reviews/0615757863/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_show_all_btm?ie=UTF8&reviewerType=all_reviews

*********** Add “matchup” (as in the matchup of a running back against a linebacker) to your list of dreary football announcer cliches

*********** QUIZ: Marv Levy is a graduate of Coe College, and he has a Master’s Degree from Harvard in English History.

At three different colleges - New Mexico, Cal and William and Mary - his overall record was only 45-60-5.

But his pro record, with one CFL team and two NFL teams was considerably better: 186-143-4.

Mark Levy is considered to be the first of all special teams coaches, given that title by George Allen, under whom he served in Los Angeles and Washington.

He ran the wing-T at Kansas City - and led the league in rushing.

Marv Levy won two Grey Cups as head coach at Montreal and coached the Buffalo Bills  to four consecutive Super Bowls.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING MARV LEVY

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS (I have an old VHS tape somewhere where he explains how he coached special teams.  Really good stuff!
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH -LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
BILL BRUNING - BARKER, NEW YORK
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
DAVE POTTER - CARY, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN GRIMSLEY - JEFFERSON, GEORGIA
MIKE FORISTIERE - MATTAWA, WASHINGTON

*********** They called them “Marvisms:”

"Where else would you rather be than right here, right now!"

"When it's too tough for them, it's just right for us!"

"What it takes to win is simple, but it isn't easy."

"If Michelangelo had wanted to play it safe, he would've painted the floor of the Sistine Chapel."


*********** A poem by Marv Levy - I wish I had found it before Veterans' Day:

But now, faster and faster the years fly by.
And many of my dear pals have said, 'Good-bye.'

And even if today's world now considers us old,
They should have seen us when we were young and bold.
I'll remember that time when we went off to war
And then returned to a world that was better than before.
I'll remember all those with whom I served,
The Greatest Generation, a title deserved.

*********** A great article on Marv Levy -

https://sports.vice.com/en_us/article/ez39q4/the-long-wondrous-life-of-marv-levy

*********** It was late winter, 1975, and I was out of work.  The World Football League had gone broke, and while assorted owners tried to pick up the pieces and maybe make another go of it, I was unemployed.

A great place to go if you’re an unemployed football guy is the American Football Coaches Convention, and that year it happened to be in Washington, DC, less than two hours from my home in Hagerstown, Maryland.  (Although I’d spent the previous year in Philadelphia,  I very quickly saw how shaky things were in the WFL, so moving my family to Philly was never a consideration.  Fortunately, I was able to stay with my wife’s family and I managed to get home when I could.)

At the AFCA convention, I heard Marv Levy, the coach of the Montreal Alouettes speak, and I watched his team’s  highlights.  Between sessions, I walked up to him, introduced myself, and handed him a resume.

The weeks  went by.  I worked at odd jobs and worked the phones, trying to land another job in football.  One thing led to another and I got to know a football executive named Bob Brodhead.  He was highly recommended as a football guy, with a background as a player at Duke and then with the Continental League champion Philadelphia Bulldogs (coached by Wayne Hardin), as Arthur Modell’s right hand man with the Cleveland Browns and - briefly - as General Manager of the Houston Oilers.  (He’d been hired as the Oilers’ GM and had held the job for exactly one day before leaving and returning to Cleveland. Bob’s dead now, and I regret never pressing him to find out why he walked away, but I suspect he quickly found out that Oilers’ owner Bud Adams was not the easiest man to work for.)

Bob and I continued to talk regularly, and as it began to appear that the WFL was going to come back for another try, he was in demand, courted by ownership groups in San Antonio, Jacksonville and Portland, and he asked me if I would be interested in working with him.  Of course, I told him.  By that point, there was no question about my interest, but I was still unemployed and I was still a bit gunshy and I half-jokingly said that, given my choice, after having been to all three places the previous season and now looking at them as places to be stranded if the league should fold once again, Portland was easily my preference.

Bob made his choice - he'd go to Portland  as GM- and in late April I drove out to his home outside Cleveland and had dinner with Bob and his wife and he formally offered me a job as assistant general manager and PR Director. 

I arrived back home rather excited. My wife and I had talked many times over the past few months about all that we’d have to do in the event I got a job and we had to move, but now it was serious - I had to get to the West Coast in a couple of weeks, and my wife and our four kids had to get ready to move cross-country as soon as school was out.

I can still picture the scene.  It was a Saturday afternoon.  As we sat and talked, the phone rang.

It was Marv Levy. He was calling from Montreal.  His Player Personnel Director had just left for another job, and he wondered if I’d be interested.

Are you kidding me? What were the odds?

Two days before, I’d been unemployed.  Now, there I was, looking forward to starting a great job in a great location, working for a guy I knew that I would like - when out of the blue came an offer to work for another very impressive person in one of the most exciting cities (to me) in the world.

And I had to turn him down.

Who knows where it could have led if he’d called two days earlier?

I do believe, after all I’ve seen and done since, that I’m where I was meant to be, and it wouldn’t be that way if I hadn’t come to Portland, Oregon to work with Bob Brodhead.

No regrets.  I’m happy with where my life has taken me.

But I do know that Marv Levy is one man that I really would have enjoyed getting to know.


*********** QUIZ:  This was Duffy Daugherty talking, in 1976:

The greatest thrill that I have had that I can remember in coaching is to see my colleague and close friend _______   _______ as Coach of the Year.

I recruited —— out of Windber, PA.  ———- was from a coal mining town near my home town of Barnesboro.  He came to Michigan State at 5-9 and 165 pounds.  He played first string for us in 50-51 and 51-52.  We lost only one game in his years at Michigan State. He played on a national championship team.  He was a unanimous All-American, playing middle guard at 180 pounds. 

He went into the service and later came back to Michigan State (as an assistant coach).   ——  went to Arizona State with Dan Devine and later Dan moved to Missouri and ——— moved up as head coach at Arizona State and the rest is history.  He was 12 and 0 at Arizona State this year.  He is Kellogg’s Coach of the Year.  He has been my Coach of the Year for many years.

(He built Arizona State into a national power.  Who was he?)




american flagFRIDAY,  NOVEMBER 10,  2017  -  “The best way to change a bad law is to rigorously enforce it.”  Abraham Lincoln


HAPPY BIRTHDAY USMC!


*********** In the United States, we now call November 11 “Veterans Day.”

For the Allied Countries that fought in World War I, November 11 was originally Armistice Day, or Remembrance Day.  It commemorated the end of fighting on the Western Front at the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918.”

For years it was the custom in the United States - in many parts of the world,
it still is - to observe a moment of silence at  11:00 AM local time.  As a sign of respect, one minute of silence is devoted to the approximately 20 million people who died in what was once called  “The War to End All Wars,” and a second minute of silence is dedicated to the mothers and fathers, wives, children and families of those who fell in battle.

Wherever you happen to be at 11 AM on the 11th (Saturday),  take a couple of minutes to honor our veterans, who gave years of their lives - in many cases, life itself -  so that we could live our lives safe from foreign enemies.

And if people ask why you're so quiet - tell them.


*********** MY WEEKLY COLLEGE SCHEDULE - SUBJECT TO CHANGE ANY TIME THE GAME I’M WATCHING STARTS TO SUCK OR I GET WIND OF ANOTHER GAME THAT’S WORTH WATCHING

THURSDAY NIGHT
North Carolina at Pitt - Tar Heels are 1-8.  Unbelievable.  It’s probably because they’re not used to having to wake up to go to class every day.  Damn, those Dorsett-era Pitt uniforms look good

FRIDAY NIGHT
Washington at Stanford.  Watch - this is the game Stanford puts it all together - and there goes any chance the Pac-12 had of getting a team in the Playoff

SATURDAY 9 AM
Michigan State at Ohio State -  My heart says Spartans but my head says never bet on a college team that’s coming off a big win.

Oklahoma State at Iowa State - I think the Cyclones are going to have to pay for the Cowboys’ loss to OU last Saturday

Duke at Army - I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Army is very physical and if Army plays the way it played against Air Force last Saturday, it will win.  However - see what I say about Michigan State-Ohio State

Nebraska at Minnesota - a game that still has meaning for the participants

Georgia at Auburn - I’m going with Auburn, mainly because I want the Iron Bowl to be REALLY big

Iowa at Wisconsin - Wisconsin (See what I say about Michigan State-Ohio State)

West Virginia at Kansas State - Two teams that I like, but EMAW! 

Washington State at Utah - Hope the Cougs can keep winning

Alabama at Mississippi State - State could be tough in Starkville, but Bama is just so damn good.  Like all the great teams I’ve seen over the years,  in various sports, they just don’t beat themselves.

Notre Dame at Miami - Could be the game of the day.  They’ve tried to play up the Catholics vs Convicts theme, but that was another lifetime ago.  Today’s Miami players are at lot better behaved, and there are those who’ll tell you Notre Dame doesn’t always act like it’s a Catholic school.

TCU at Oklahoma - I’ll pull for the Frogs, but I think OU smells a spot in the Playoff

Arizona State at UCLA - Because there's not much else on then

Oregon State at Arizona - Likewise

Wyoming at Air Force - Come on, Cowboys!

Boise State at Colorado State - Worth watching

Fresno State at Hawaii - It comes on at 8 PM Pacific, so I won’t stay up to watch it all, but what a job Jeff Tedford has done in getting Fresno State back to prominence, and what a job Marcus McMaryion has done at QB for the Bulldogs.  (He transferred from Oregon State after losing his job to a JC transfer. And then the JC transfer got hurt, and the offense that was built around him crumbled - and so frustrated by events was OSU coach Gary Andersen that he quit in mid-season.)

http://www.oregonlive.com/beavers/index.ssf/2017/11/marcus_mcmaryion_happy_with_li.html



IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO BE A BLACK LION AWARD TEAM THIS SEASON!

Black Lion Page
Black Lion Cert and Patch


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BLACK LION AWARD!

SIGN YOUR TEAM UP: blacklionaward@mac.com


*********** I don't give MVP awards in a team sport.  We award for perseverance, community service, academics, etc. and of course, the Black Lion.  If you want to change the culture, then reward the behavior you'd like to see.

Dave Potter
Head JV Coach
East Wake High School
Wendell, North Carolina


*********** Funny how the mainstream media seem not to be doing much with the story of the three geniuses on the UCLA basketball team who are accused of having shoplifted while in China on a “goodwill” tour.

Forget that most of us who take high school teams on out-of-town trips expect - and get - better behavior from our kids…

Let’s just assume for a minute that they turn out to be guilty. (It’s said that Chinese prosecutors  win 90 per cent of their cases.)  If so, they are in deep sh—.  They are in China now,  not The Land of the Second Chance.

They could be looking at years in stir.   For what? For a pair of sunglasses?

The first thing we have to do is dispense with any of the usual lameass excuses we hear in the States, especially the poverty bit.  Not  in any way were these deprived young men,  forced by family circumstances to steal in order to feed their families.

Why, other than because of an enlarged sense of entitlement, would privileged young college basketball players steal something they could easily have afforded to buy?

This story needs to get more play, as a great lesson for young people everywhere:  behavior that may be acceptable in the circles you run in isn’t accepted everywhere.

*********** Like it or not, the jackals are creeping in, waiting to feed on the corpses of failed college coaches.  (NFLPA Figure of Speech alert:  There aren’t really any jackals running wild in North America, and even if there were, there wouldn’t - literally - be corpses of college football coaches for them to feed on.)

Jim McElwain is already gone at Florida. 

Other high-profile places that could be looking for coaches: Nebraska, Tennessee, Texas A & M, UCLA.  Maybe Arkansas.

And then there’s the domino effect: maybe after one or more of those jobs comes open it’s filled by a coach at another big-time school.  And so it goes.

One thing you can bet on: Scott Frost will be employed next year.  Somewhere.

He can probably stay at Central Florida as long as he likes.  They might even find a way to match the bigger schools dollar-for-dollar (although I doubt it).  And without leaving the state of Florida he can find all the players he needs to be a consistent winner at UCF . 

Just one problem.  Like any good coach, he has to be ambitious, and it ought to be pretty clear to him right now that his ambitions aren’t going to be realized at Central Florida.  Look, they’re undefeated - one of only five undefeated teams remaining in FBS - and yet they’re ranked no higher than 18th.  He’s smart enough to figure out that even if there were a 16-team playoff, Central Florida wouldn’t be in it!

Therefore, I predict that the only reason he’ll stay at UCF is if he isn’t given everything he wants at some Power Five school, and surely one of them will meet his terms.

So where’s he going to go?

He’s a Nebraska native, and he played for the Cornhuskers.  And based on what new NU AD Bill Moos had to say at his first press conference, he’ll be at the top of the list if Mike Riley gets the boot:  “Scott has a great résumé. He has both coached and played the game on both offense and defense. He has learned from some of the great football minds in the business. … He’s got the full package. Of course he does have the roots here, raised in the state of Nebraska and playing for the icon that Tom Osborne is. Scott is going to coach in a Power Five conference and probably sooner than later.”

But I predict that he turns Nebraska down. Nebraska doesn't offer the advantages that it once did.  Television money means that EVERY Power Five school has the means to go head-to-head with the Cornhuskers for coaches and recruits.  

Where will he go, then?

Florida.  It's got everything a coach could want. Of all the projected openings, Florida is the last to win a national championship - the only one of those schools to win one in this century. Florida, in my opinion, is the place where it’s most reasonable to expect another championship any time soon.  The big hitters at Florida - the Bull Gators - are tired of SEC mediocrity and I predict they’ll see to it that Florida is a good fit for Scott Frost.

*********** Meanwhile, there’s Iowa State.   Can’t we get some kind of agreement to let the Cyclones’ fans enjoy their season? Their team won some very big games over Oklahoma and TCU, and brought an excitement to Ames that hadn’t been felt in years.  Yet before the season was even half over, the guys doing their broadcasts were already speculating about coach Matt Campbell’s “future” (broadcasters’ code for “where’s he going next?”).

*********** I wrote this back in December of 1998…

Just finished talking to my high school coach, Ed Lawless, back in Pennsylvania. He is a single wing guy, and he agrees with me that the offense is made to order for the so-called "slash"  player - imagine Kordell Stewart as a single wing tailback!  In fact, a lot of what Kansas State does with Michael Bishop out of their "shotgun" sure looks like single wing stuff to me. Some of the guys I've seen just this year - Akili Smith at Oregon, Ortege Jenkins at Arizona, Corby Jones at Missouri - convince me that it's just a matter of time before somebody brings back the single wing. (Whether they'll have the guts to call it by that name is another matter! )  Ed played his college ball in the late '40s, at Penn, then a single-wing power whose center was Hall of Famer Chuck Bednarik. Penn's George Munger was one of the East's top coaches, and year in and year out, his Quakers held their own against the nation's best, but when Penn's administration decided to join the no-scholarship Ivy League, while still honoring its long-term scheduling commitments against the likes of Notre Dame, Penn State, Virginia Tech and California, Coach Munger said no thanks - and retired. His successor, Steve Sebo, was a good football man, but he should have listened to George Munger: his teams would lose more than 20 games in a row before Penn's schedule finally came down to the level of its talent. Coach Munger, incidentally, made do with a staff of only three assistants, one of whom was his long-time line coach, Rae Crowther . In coaching the offensive line, Coach Crowther (rhymes, by the way, with "brother) was considered a master technician who had few equals. So into the techniques of blocking was coach Crowther that he invented and patented the blocking sled that still bears his name, and eventually got out of coaching to devote full time to the sled business.  Ed speaks with reverence of Coach Crowther, and like me, can't stand watching a lot of today's offensive line play. He says, "if Rae Crowther saw some of the 'blocking' that goes on today, he'd throw up!"

(You'll notice that there are lots of teams running a form of single wing nowadays -  but nobody calling it that.)

*********** Perhaps you’re aware that there is a movement afoot in several states - a  movement sponsored, I suspect, by big-time electronic game makers - to have “e-games” sanctioned as official school sports.

It’s the ultimate revenge of the nerds! Putting on the head phones, sitting in front of screens, and working the controllers. And earning letters - getting the hot girls - getting cheered at pep rallies.
 
Great! One more reason for kids not to play real sports.  So much for the nationwide obesity epidemic we keep hearing about.

(A survey of its readers by Coach and AD Magazine found 93 per cent of them opposed to the idea.)

https://coachad.com/news/survey-readers-say-no-sanctioning-esports/


***********  Hugh,

Air Force cadets wearing camo is like Army cadets wearing flight suits.

Ahmad Bradshaw is in the same conversation as some of the great option quarterbacks to play the game.  I LOVE watching the Cadets play football.

Minnesota's boat is slowly sinking for this year.  They're not quite ready for prime time, but next year they will be tough.

If I could have I would have also charged the field at Kinnick.  That was a complete beat down, and I about fell over when Iowa ran that lonesome polecat and almost scored!  Kirk Ferentz doesn't get enough credit.

This Saturday's game against Miami will determine if the Irish are in the college football playoff or not.  Mark Richt has done a magnificent job with the Canes, and he can flat-out coach football.  If Miami wins they would have to be given strong consideration.

My alma mater Fresno State bounced back against BYU.  Their last 3 games (at Hawaii, at Wyoming, and home vs. Boise State) will determine whether they play for the MWC championship or not.

I agree 100% with your observations of the Counter.  My teams always had success running it because we always emphasized to our guards and tackles to "scrape paint" while pulling along that fence.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

I wouldn’t yet put Ahmad Bradshaw in there with the greats of Alabama, Texas or Oklahoma - or even some of the Army and Navy guys - but he sure has come a long way.  He is really good. The lesson to me is how long it has taken them to get him to this point.  And here’s what's scary  - the dropoff to number two is deep and steep.

Kirk Ferentz has been getting a lot of heat.  I like the guy and I hope he gets some credit for this one.

Tedford has done a great job at Fresno.  


*********** The NFL, proud steward of our game, showing the way for young kids everywhere - 

Josh Gordon admits he drank and did drugs before practices and games

https://www.yahoo.com/amphtml/sports/josh-gordon-details-drank-drugs-every-game-223022661.html

*********** Washington Huskies’ coach Chris Peterson, on preparing to play Stanford, one of the last of the I-formation teams…

“There’s a lot of stuff we haven’t seen...we’ve got to be able to play a fullback. We explained what a fullback is to our defense today. They were very intrigued. “

(He was joking. I think.)


*********** QUIZ ANSWER - A native of Smackover, Arkansas, WAYNE HARDIN moved west with his family during the Dust Bowl years and went to high school in Stockton, California.

After a college career playing at College of the Pacific, Hardin got his first coaching position there, and then after two seasons as head coach at a California junior college he came east as an assistant at Navy under Eddie Erdelatz;  when Erdelatz resigned after the 1958 season, Hardin took over as the head coach.

He became one of only two service academy coaches ever to coach a Heisman Trophy winner.  In fact, he coached two of them - JOE BELLINO and ROGER STAUBACH -  in the span of four years.

Hardin took Navy to a Number Two national ranking in 1963, and was the first Navy coach to beat Army five straight times.

In 1966 he coached the Philadelphia Bulldogs to the Continental Football League championship.

At Temple, from 1970 to 1982, he won 80 games, making him the winningest coach in the history of Temple Football.

(The captain of his 1963 Navy team was Tom Lynch, who would go on to become Superintendent of the Naval Academy and is now recognizable to millions of TV viewers as “Admiral Tom Lynch,” the spokesman for NewDay USA.)

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING WAYNE HARDIN

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA (Wayne Hardin...his years at the USNA, as well as a respected naval aviator uncle, made me dedicate my efforts academically & athletically to get an appointment by Rep. Charlotte T. Reid my Senior year at DeKalb. Rick Forzano was the coach by then & there was emphasized pushed toward engineering...thus the matriculation to Western Illinois & Darrell Mudra)
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON (Roger Stabach was my idol in the sixth grade …….. I remember doing a report on him)

*********** QUIZ: He’s a graduate of Coe College.

He has a Master’s Degree from Harvard in English History.

As head coach at three different colleges - New Mexico, Cal and William and Mary - his overall record was only 45-60-5.

But his pro head coaching record, with one CFL team and two NFL teams, was considerably better: 186-143-4.

He is considered to be the first ever special teams coach, given the position - and the title - by George Allen.

He ran the wing-T at Kansas City - and led the league in rushing.

He won two Grey Cups as head coach at Montreal and coached an NFL team to four consecutive Super Bowls.



american flagTUESDAY,  NOVEMBER 7,  2017  -  “Only strength can cooperate. Weakness can only beg.” Dwight D. Eisenhower



*********** EXPLODING THE MYTH…

The late NFL Commissioner Bert Bell was famous for having  to have said,  on numerous occasions, “on any given Sunday, any team in the NFL can beat any other team."

The media lapped it up - why, if you needed any further proof of what he said, they’d point to the lowly Packers upsetting the mighty Lions (shows you how long ago this was) on Thanksgiving Day.

It became sports myth, and it used to annoy the hell out of baseball owner and promoter Bill Veeck, who said it was bullish—.  Actually, I  knew Bill (he served as a consultant to the brewery I worked for) and I never heard him use strong language,  but  he never passed up a chance to argue that the NFL was pulling the wool over our eyes - that even the worst baseball team won more than a third of its games,  and even the best team rarely won two-thirds of its games.  What that meant mathematically was that in baseball you were far more likely to see a bad team beat a good team than you were in pro football.

He’d point to the NFL,  where it wasn’t uncommon to have a couple of teams with only one or two losses in an entire season, and a couple of others with only one or two wins in that same season.

He was right.  Now, at the halfway point of the NFL season, is  a good time to show why:

Major League Baseball 2017

1. The two teams with the best records in their leagues this past season were the Dodgers and the Astros.

The Dodgers’ winning percentage was .642.  Roughly, that works out to a football record of 10-6.

The Astros’ winning percentage was .623,  close enough that it would also equal to a 10-6 football record.

2. The two teams with the worst records in their leagues were the Giants and the Tigers, which both finished with winning percentages of .395

That winning percentage equates to a football record of 6-10.  Think about that a minute - that’s not a whole lot of difference between the top teams and the bottom teams. 

NFL 2017

1. At the halfway point of the 2017 season, there are eight teams with better winning percentages than the Dodgers:

The Eagles, with .889.

Five other teams (Patriots, Steelers, Rams, Saints, Vikings)  have records of .750

The Chiefs and Panthers at .667

2. At the other end, there are eight teams with records worse than that of the Giants and Tigers.

The Bears, Chargers and Texans are close, at .375.  Then we go  down to the Colts at .333, the Buccaneers at .250 and the Colts at .125.

Finally, at rock bottom, there are the Browns and 49ers at .000

Now, if I go out to the old ball park to watch the Giants play the Dodgers, the team with the worst record in baseball against the team with the best record, there is a reasonable chance that I will see the Giants win. 

But with all due respect to the late NFL Commissioner Bell, whom I hold in great regard, what do you suppose the chances are of your going out to an NFL stadium - on any given Sunday - and watching any team from the bottom eight beat any team from the top eight?

This past season, in their 19 meetings, the Giants beat the Dodgers eight times. 

If the Eagles and the 49ers were to play 19 times, would the 49ers win even once?



*********** On any given SATURDAY…

(Thursday, actually) -

Not sure what’s happened to Navy, but Temple handled the Middies

(Friday)

Utah sent UCLA to the bottom of the Pac-12 South.

(Saturday)

Michigan State over Penn State at the gun.  Hell of a game, even if it did have to be played it two parts, hours apart.

Auburn-Texas A & M was over fast.  Auburn-Alabama could be a good game.  But I doubt it.

I didn’t watch, but if you did, please confirm - did Missouri really beat Florida?

Kansas State over Texas Tech.  In OT! EMAW! (Very un-PC , it means “Every Man a Wildcat!”)

Baylor over Kansas.  Somebody had to get their first win, and Baylor did it convincingly.

Virginia over Georgia Tech.  Bronco Mendenhall is getting the job done at UVa.

Notre Dame over Wake Forest. Deacons gave them a game, but…

Clemson-NC State.  Wolfpack ought to get some sort of award for coming up short against top teams.

Iowa over Ohio State.  Unbelievable effort by the Hawkeyes. Are you kidding? 55-24?  When the game ended, it looked like the Mother of All Rushing-the-fields.

Washington State over Stanford.  Poor Stanford kids had probably never seen snow before, and they played like little kids who’d never seen snow before.  Two bad games in a row for the Cardinal.  What gives?

Army over Air Force - sensational performance by Army.  Air Force held to 95 yards rushing and 95 passing,  shut out at home for the first time since 1980.  Army QB Ahmad Bradshaw carried 23 times for 265 yards.  Army is now in position to win its first Commander in Chief Trophy since 1996.

Cal over Oregon State.  Beavers still looking for an FBS win.

TCU over Texas.  Frogs getting tuned up for this Saturday’s game at OU.

Michigan over Minnesota.  Michigan may not be able to throw very effectively, but with tailbacks like Chris Evans and Karan Higdon, who combined for almost 400 yards,  they don’t run the ball too bad.

Alabama over LSU - LSU stepped out of their class.  But who doesn’t when they play Alabama?

Miami over Virginia Tech.  I can’t believe I’m going to be rooting for Miami next week, but I like Mark Richt and his team plays hard.  And, of course, they’re playing Notre Dame.

Washington over Oregon.  About as I expected.  Dante Pettis ran a punt back for a touchdown, the ninth of his career - an NCAA record.

Wyoming over Colorado State.  In the snow at Laramie.  Great fun to watch.   Wyoming QB Josh Allen, mentioned pre-season as a top NFL draft pick, has sort of dropped out of sight, but he sure showed how tough he was in getting the Cowboys the fourth-quarter win.

USC over Arizona.  Damn those Trojans.  They lay an egg against Notre Dame, and then they go out and look like they’re unstoppable.  Khalil Tate looked good in spots, but overall the Trojans kept him under control.

*********** RANDOM OBSERVATIONS-

Air Force Academy Cadets wearing camo?  Give me a break.

When was the last time - if ever - two guys on the same team wearing the same number (one playing offense, one defense) each scored a touchdown in the same game?  (#20, Stanford)

Ohio State’s Bosa got DQ’d for a targeting penalty that was clearly unintentional

The Iowa “Wave” - to kids in the children’s hospital that overlooks Kinnick Stadium - is really heartwarming.

Iowa ran a Lonesome Polecat play on a FG attempt and scored a TD

Georgia and Alabama both won by 24-10 scores

It wasn’t just snowing at Wyoming - it was pouring snow

*********** Not that it would make any difference to those dolts who kneel during the national anthem (when they aren’t hiding in the tunnels or the locker rooms) and claim that they’re not disrespecting our flag, but I think a couple of items might help them understand how real Americans (take that any way you want)  feel about our flag.

The first was written by Bill Dabney, a great Marine - and son-in-law of the greatest Marine of them all, General Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller - who was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions during the 77-day siege of Khe Sanh.

What those Marines went through while surrounded and bombarded is almost unimaginable, and in the interest of time and space I have to summarize: From January 21, 1968 until April 8, US Marines,  including Captain Bill Dabney and his company, were surrounded and constantly bombarded by a superior force of North Vietnamese. Their only means of supply - their only contact with the outside world - was by heroic helicopter pilots, risking their own lives to fly in under heavy enemy fire.

For most of those 77 days, the situation seemed hopeless, until finally, on April 8, US forces broke through to end the siege.
But for every one of those 77 days, the American flag few over Khe Sanh.

As Bill Dabney told it…

 "Three Marines would race from the bunker to a 15-foot radio antenna. Two of them would raise our nation's colors, then stand at attention, while the third sounded a rusty rendition of the 'Call to Colors' with a battered bugle. We were never without volunteers for this ceremony. They were proud of themselves and our flag and were willing to get shot at to raise it.

"At night this process was reversed as we retired the colors. Often the retired flag was folded, packed and shipped to the family of a Marine slain on the hill. We had a substantial stockpile of flags sent to us by people all over the country."

http://www.coachwyatt.com/billdabney.htm

The second was written by my friend Mike Foristiere, the head coach at Wahluke High in Matawa, Washington.  Mike’s son, Randy, is a junior at West Point, and last year, Mike attended the Army-Navy game in Baltimore with his wife, Cielo, and their youngest son, Rock.

Mike knew I’d lived in Baltimore (many years ago) and before going he asked me about a few places I’d recommend seeing.   I told him that they ought to visit Fort McHenry, where 200 years ago a young Baltimore lawyer, Francis Scott Key, spent the night as the Fort was being bombarded by the British and then, the next morning, elated at seeing the American flag still flying,  wrote a poem to describe his feelings.

On his return to Washington, Mike wrote to tell me about their experiences, including this…

the coolest thing of all happened at Fort Mc Henry. We walked there from Camden Yards.  Saw a lot on the way thru Federal Hill. But as you know - but I didn't -  the flag flies 24/7 at the Fort. As is customary, at 4 pm they bring the one down and put up another for the night. Well, you guessed it, while we were there we went to see it and they needed help to bring the one down as the other went up. Rock and I  with the help of 4 others got to bring down the flag and fold it into a triangle. Rock was just jacked to be a part of that. To tell you the truth so was I. It was cool.

Before the game that was all Rock could talk about - that there was an actual battle on that spot and he got to be a part of it. We even walked by Francis Scott Key Middle school on the way there. Things you only read and learned about. I told him he needs to share that with his History teacher at school. Just appreciate you directing us, if not I don't think we would have had that experience.

What an amazing experience! For the rest of his life Rock will be able to tell people that he helped take down and fold the flag that flies at the very same spot where 200 years ago “the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air” enabled Francis Scott Key to see that the flag was still flying!  And he did it  “at the twilight’s last gleaming!”

That’s Rock Foristiere, #21 in the photo below of Wahluke’s seniors. A standout A-Back and middle linebacker, Rock rushed for 1,100 yards and made 81 tackles in helping to lead his team, the Wahluke Warriors, to a 5-4  season - the school's second winning season in the last 10 years.

WAHLUKE SENIORS


*********** As if the NFL doesn’t have enough problems - now, sports gamblers have discovered college football.

College football has generated more betting dollars than the NFL at the South Point Hotel sports book for the third straight weekend, the Vegas Stats & Information Network has learned. It’s a trend that would have been unthinkable in the past, but other Las Vegas sports books directors are seeing it as well.

Jimmy Vacarro, who made his fame in the 1990s at the Mirage and is now with the South Point, has been saying the past few years that college football was gaining on the NFL in terms of betting handle and would soon surpass it.

But even Vacarro was surprised to see three straight weeks with the bigger handle in college football’s favor. Vaccaro said the South Point handled $175,000 more on colleges than the pros last week.

Couple of reasons given:

1. There are a lot of college games on the tube, and they’re on the air from 9 AM Pacific until late Saturday night.  (“People like to watch what they bet on,” Vaccaro said.)

2. Unlike the NFL, there are plenty of good games to offset the “dead games.” (The NFL this past weekend had just two games between teams with .500 or better records.)

3. There also are “stand-alone” games on Thursday and Friday nights

https://www.vsin.com/with-controversy-swirling-around-nfl-college-football-takes-run-at-the-king-of-sports-betting/


*********** Did I hear you say you wanted the College Football Playoff to expand?

Let me tell you how it’s going to happen.

Let’s suppose that Notre Dame wins out, and Alabama and Georgia finish undefeated and then play some game-for-the-ages in the SEC championship game?

Do you see where this is going?

Notre Dame will be in the Playoff for sure.   (We can argue at another time about the stupidity of the power five conferences, caving in to Notre Dame and creating an exemption that allows it, in effect, to be a conference unto itself - to make it possible for Notre Dame to bank an ENTIRE CONFERENCE SHARE.)

And then,  because we all KNOW that the SEC is the best conference BY FAR, dwarfing all the other conferences in the excellence of its coaching and the toughness of its out-of-conference scheduling, why, it only makes sense for Alabama and Georgia both to get Playoff spots.  (Before you say “can’t happen” - you do remember that there Alabama-LSU BCS title game back in 2012, right? LSU had beaten Bama in the regular season - and  Bama , you recall, didn’t even make it to the conference championship game.)

So let’s just suppose this happens.

That would leave 1/4 of the Playoff pie to be fought over by the other four Power Five conferences.

Let’s further suppose that Oklahoma runs the table, which means that it would get the fourth sport as as the highest-ranked remaining team.

Those moans you would hear would be the people from the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12, three conferences entirely shut out of the Playoff that they helped create.

But they're resilient -  they’ll get right up off the mat  - and  vote to expand the Playoff to eight teams. 

And the TV networks, sick to death of what the NFL has been doing to them and their ratings, will stumble all over each other for the rights to those four extra games.


*********** When pulling for 'Counter' do you use the same slide (skip-pull) technique but have the Guard get more depth than he would on a normal C Block or would you use use more of a traditional pull technique where he rotates and turns his shoulder 90 degrees to the LoS for the kick-out?


Hi Coach-

The pull of the kickout man would benefit if he were to slide at first, simply because I’m for anything that prevents him from running flat instead of running along the “butt line.”

We definitely don’t want a 90-degree turn.

As you can see in the drawing, the player who runs flat along the line of scrimmage will often run right past his real target:


Counter Block


*********** Coach,

If a team is playing cover 0 who do you have the back side TE go after on the Powers & Counters?

Roger

p.s.

I attended your clinic in Providence in 2004.

Coach,

Regardless of the defense, our backside TE has an two-part assignment - he slides to the inside sealing down against the center but he doesn’t double-team with the center.  Instead, if no one has tried to penetrate between him and the man the center’s blocking, he turns back and picks up anyone.  But the important thing to note is that he doesn’t “go after” anyone - they come to him.  It’s a rear-guard action.



***********  Hugh,
Loved the piece you did on Carson Ketter. Reminded of two similar issues years ago when you ran our stud A Back from the team meeting because he was five minutes late. It sure made an impression on the team and later when you took him out of a game for fumbling more then once. I remember you telling the team the football belonged to the team and if you can not hang on to it you can not carry it. Two great lesson not lost on any of those kids. Both about doing the right things as you did when you picked character over ability. But most interesting when I watched Ketter on ytube score on the hundred yard fumble recovery, he tossed the ball back to the referee, no spike, no dances, no foolishness, here ref just take the ball. Now that was a sure sign of a coach Wyatt influence. Like I said I loved the article and there still is a place in our game for doing things the right way.

Jack Tourtillotte
Rangely, Maine

Thanks, Jack-

You know the lay of the land and the kind of kids we had at North Beach - kids who’d been allowed to run loose before we got there and took a little time to adjust but, like kids everywhere, were quite willing to accept structure when we explained it carefully and enforced it without hesitation or exception. Like many of those  North Beach kids, Carson has turned out the way you’d want your own  kids to turn out.

And I’m sure glad that you remembered that young man who really was a “stud A back,” showing up late for the first team meeting. He walked in as if that was the customary thing around there.  I believe “blistered” was your term for the way I dealt with him in front of the team.  There sure were some shocked faces in that locker room.

Fortunately for us all, he was a good kid and he responded, because he really was a good player.  

Every new coach should be lucky enough to have a chance like that to show that he means business. I couldn’t have set that up better if I’d paid him to do it.  

Whenever I think of that, I’m reminded of Emlen Tunnell recalling how Lombardi in his early days at Green Bay once ran him - a respected NFL veteran - off the practice field at Green Bay for loafing or somesuch, and the players looking at each other and figuring that if this new coach would climb all over the great Emlen Tunnell, he must really mean business - and then Tunnell later confessed that the whole thing had been staged!

And you’re right - we coaches at North Beach took a lot of pride (still do) in the way our kids acted (and still do) and Carson’s respectfully tossing the ball to the ref was a perfect example of that!

(To this day that “stud A Back" probably hasn’t forgiven me for pulling him in the final game of the season, but after his third fumble of the night,  what was I supposed to do?  I remember telling him something like, “I love you and you’re a heck of a player, but I have a responsibility to the team, and we can’t have any more of this.”)


QUIZ ANSWER - Duffy Daugherty grew up in small western Pennsylvania mining towns, He spent his early years in a tiny “patch” called Emeigh, but he went to high school in the “bigger city” of Barnesboro, now known as Northern Cambria.  (Both place are hidden away in the hills. Neither is “near anything.”)

At Syracuse, he played guard and was captain of the team his senior year.

Following graduation, he helped coach the frosh team at Syracuse, but in 1941 he entered the Army as a private.  Four years later, after attending Officer’s Candidate School and serving in the South Pacific, he came out a major.

After a year as a high school coach in New York, he was offered a job as line coach at Syracuse under new head coach Biggie Munn, who had been on the Syracuse staff when he played there.

A year later, Munn was hired by Michigan State, and our guy went with him.

They had great success there, winning the AP national title in 1952 and in 1954, Michigan State’s first year as a member of the Big Ten, they tied for the conference championship and beat UCLA in the Rose Bowl.

Following that Rose Bowl, he succeeded Munn as the Spartan’s head coach and when he retired 19 years later his record was 109-69-5.  His 1965 and 1966 teams were national champions.

At a time when southern colleges were still segregated, Duffy Daugherty took advantage of the opportunity to recruit southern black players, players such as Bubba Smith and George Webster, and he was one of the first college coaches in American to field a completely integrated team.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING DUFFY DAUGHERTY
JOSH MONTGOMERY - Berwick, Louisiana
RALPH BALDUCCI - Portland, Oregon
JOHN VERMILLION - St. Petersburg, Florida
DAVE POTTER - Cary, North Carolina
DENNIS METZGER - Richmond, Indiana
MARK KACZMAREK - Davenport, Iowa (Duffy Daugherty...The man who allowed Bob Devaney to lead the Huskers out of the wilderness...Sick as a dog with the flu, I remember watching that '66 game of MSU v. ND between trips to the loo in DeKalb, Illinois)
ADAM WESOLOSKI - Pulaski, Wisconsin
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - Lakeville, Indiana
JOE GUTILLA - Austin, Texas
TIM BROSS - Kirkwood, Missouri
KEN HAMPTON - Raleigh, North Carolina
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - Woodland, Washington


*********** The first college game I saw was his '65 Spartans v. Iowa in Iowa City. That MSU team had to be among the most talented teams ever in college football. The score that Saturday was 35-0, but Daugherty could have doubled that.  The Spartans were so loaded at running back that Jess Phillips, who later had a long career as an NFL running back, played DB at MSU.   Daugherty pulled a lot of talent out of Beaumont, Texas, including Phillips and Bubba Smith. (Bubba, btw, was not the best fb player in his family,  That was RB Willie Ray Smith Jr.   He played at Iowa and later Kansas, but  his college career never took off because of bad knees. At KU, one summer he brought home a teammate, and Willie's father, the legendary Beaumont HS coach, Willie Ray Smith Sr., added some finesse to the player's running style.  That player? Gale Sayers.   Consider: If Willie Jr. had good knees, Sayers may have ridden the bench.) 

Tim Bross, Kirkwood, Missouri

*********** Duffy Daugherty was one very funny guy.

For years, he and Bud Wilkinson co-hosted the Coach of the Year Clinics, first sponsored by Kodak and then by Kellogg’s.

Here’s a tiny sampling of Duffy’s humor from his talk at the 1974 San Francisco clinic…

The Irish have a faculty for taking advantage of opportunities.   I can tell you best about opportunities by telling you about little Paddy Hogan.  One day, in Ireland, he decided to visit the Guinness Brewery.  He was wandering along this catwalk and he accidentally fell into a 30,000 gallon vat of ale and drowned.

The manager of the brewery summoned some of the workers and instructed them to retrieve poor Paddy’s body.  He said he would assume the unhappy chore of informing the widow Hogan of this great tragedy.  He walked down three blocks where the widow Hogan lived. She didn’t know she was a widow at that time.

He knocked on the door and Mrs. Hogan answered.  He said, “Oh, Mrs. Hogan, such a sad thing has happened.  Poor Paddy came to visit our brewery and the poor man was walking along the catwalk and he accidentally fell into a 30,000 gallon vat of ale and drowned.  Such a sad, sad tragedy.  He is with us no longer.”

Naturally, Mrs. Hogan was upset.  She started to cry,  She said, “My poor Patrick.  The poor man couldn’t swim a lick.  He never had a chance.”

The manager said, “Oh, Mrs. Hogan.  He had several chances when he came out to pee.”

***********  In all, during the time he operated his “Underground Railroad,” Duffy Daugherty recruited 44 southern black players to Michigan State.  Interestingly, few northern coaches emulated him. “You have to remember the mentality of the era,” recalled former Daugherty assistant Vince Carillot. “In both the North and the South, too many coaches believed black athletes weren’t that good.  Duffy said blacks were as good as anyone else.  He said, ‘Why not recruit them?’”

*********** From “Raye of Light - Jimmy Raye, Duffy Daugherty and the Integration of College Football” by Tom Shanahan…

He did not wait for approval from the alumni to tell him when the time was right to recruit black athletes.  He did not wait to defy Jim Crow, and put on clinics for black high school coaches in the South.   He did not balk when his 1966 team voted in two black captains,  Clinton Jones and George Webster, believed to be the first pair of black team captains in major college football.  Daugherty also knocked  down the last position of white supremacy on the football field when he decided the time was right for a black quarterback, Jimmy Raye, to be his starter.  Daugherty later encouraged Raye to join his staff in 1971 as a pioneer among black assistant coaches.

“(He) was one of the most courageous persons I’ve had the privilege to be associated with in my athletic career,” Raye said. ‘I can only imagine the pressure he must have been under and received when he made the decision to make me the starting quarterback in the mid-1960s.   Most of the things that happened to me in my coaching career - if not all - came as a direct result of the opportunities he gave me. I will be forever grateful for the courage he had and the kind of individual he was to give a chance to a young man who was denied a chance in the South to pursue an academic and athletic career.”

A smaller legacy within Daugherty’s overall legacy was the number of black players on his roster who did not turn out to be stars, starters, or even play.  It is important to remember that  the 1950s and 1960s ws a time when professional teams only kept black athletes who were starters.  Daugherty was willing to take  a chance on a lightly-recruited black player who might not turn out to be a star.

Michigan State All-American tight end Billy Joe DuPree was lightly regarded when Spartans assistant coach Vince Carillot found him in West Monroe, Louisiana.  In the 1972 season, DuPree was Daugherty’s last All-American player among his Underground Railroad recruits.  He was an NFL first-round draft pick by the Dallas Cowboys and a three-time Pro Bowler in 11 seasons.

DuPree said he had considered either attending historically-black Southern University in Baton Rouge or joining the military before Carillot invited him to take a trip to Michigan State.  His college options in the South were limited.  Not only were Louisiana’s high schools still segregated, Louisiana State University’s football program remained all-white until 1972.

“I knew about Michigan State’s great teams,” DuPree said.  “I knew they recruited black athletes from the South, and that was inspiring to me.”

Dupree met Daugherty on his recruiting trip and came away feeling that Daugherty and Grambling coach Eddie Robinson were men of similar character.  Dupree had originally wanted to play at Grambling, until he met the great Robinson on a visit to Grambling’s campus.  When DuPree said he wanted to major in civil engineering, Robinson candidly told him Grambling lacked a civil engineering program and he should consider another school.

“I have to give Duffy and Eddie a lot of credit,” DuPree said. “Eddie showed me he was looking for more than a football player. He asked you what you wanted to do with your life. When I went to Michigan State I heard about big schools that offered to take care of you and your family.  But Duffy said the only think he was offering me was a chance to play football and an education.  That’s all I was looking for, and I committed to Michigan State.”

*********** And then there was Gene Washington, who would go on to a great NFL career with the Vikings. A Texan,  Washington recalled that the Michigan State recruiter who came to visit was the first white person ever to enter their house.  And he recalled his trip to Michigan State - a two-day bus ride (“I think we stopped in every town in Texas and Oklahoma”) and in those days of segregation, with no place to sleep, he had to stay on the bus.

He said he liked everything about Michigan State.  “You knew when you went home what it would be like, and it wasn’t like Michigan State. After my freshman year, I didn’t go home often. There was no way I wanted to go back to Texas.”

He appreciated the fact that black athletes were treated fairly and equally.  “We would go to class, to football practice, and we supported each other.  We didn’t get into racial discussions. We didn’t say ‘you’re black’ or ‘you’re white.’ We were a family.  Duffy never had to say anything to anybody.”

Washington recalled how far ahead of his time Daugherty was in the area of race relations when he would invite southern black high school coaches to the Michigan State campus for clinics:

“I remember we would  be doing our conditioning in the summer and Duffy would have me run patterns with Jimmy Raye throwing passes for the coaches to watch. The first time I saw all these black coaches, I was wondering where they were from. I asked some and they said they were from all these places in the South.  I was surprised.  Duffy never said anything about what he was doing.  As I got older, I began to understand the leadership he was providing.  Duffy led the way in setting aside time for black coaches.  He really enjoyed those clinics.”


*********** This from “Duffy: An Autobiography”

“At Michigan State we used to host an all-state football banquet on campus. It really wasn’t a good recruiting gimmick, because you didn’t get a chance to spend much time with the high school seniors.  But at least they got a taste of the campus and became aware of our interest in them.  (This was in the days before they offered scholarships to eight graders. HW) It was my custom to go up and down the line, shaking hands with each of the honorees. When I shook hands with this one big lineman, I congratulated him on being selected to the all-state team, but he curled his lip and snarled at me, “You don’t have to be nice to me, Coach. I’ve already decided I’m going to Michigan.”

“I probably shouldn’t have been so testy, but I snapped right back at him and said, ‘That’s right where you belong, and I’ll tell you one thing more - you’ll never play on a football team that beats Michigan State.’

“He didn’t, either.”

*********** Duffy on discipline…“We are very strict about discipline .  We have strict rules and we strictly enforce them.  When one of our players breaks a rule, we bring him into the office and tell him to turn in his gear.  Unless he is very good.”


*********** Good morning!

That would be Duffy Daugherty.  Great teams with great players but also a great tie!

Also was good with a quote, here are some I found:

Football isn't a contact sport, it's a collision sport. Dancing is a contact sport.

My only feeling about superstition is that it's unlucky to be behind at the end of the game.

When your are playing for the national championship, it's not a matter of life or death. It's more important than that.

Have a great day!

Dennis Metzger
Richmond, Indiana

*********** QUIZ - A native of Smackover, Arkansas, he moved west with his family during the Dust Bowl years and went to high school in Stockton, California.

After a college career playing at College of the Pacific, he got his first coaching position there, and then after two seasons as head coach at a California junior college he came east as an assistant at a service academy under Eddie Erdelatz, and when Erdelatz resigned after the 1958 season, he took over as the head coach.

He became one of only two service academy coaches ever to coach a Heisman Trophy winner.  In fact, he coached two of them in the span of four years.

He took his team to a Number Two national ranking in 1963, and was the first coach at his school to beat his service rival five straight times.

In 1966 he coached the Philadelphia Bulldogs to the Continental Football League championship.

At Temple, from 1970 to 1982, he won 80 games, making him the winningest coach in the history of Temple Football.



american flagFRIDAY,  NOVEMBER 3,  2017  -  “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”  Frederick Douglass

*********** I first met Carson Ketter in 2011, when I returned to North Beach as an assistant, two years after being the head coach. It was the summer before his sophomore year.  He was, I was told, a quarterback.  He was maybe 5-7, and maybe 140 pounds.  He wasn’t fast, and he could hardly throw.  We did have another quarterback, a senior. He was a better athlete than Carson. I’d coached him a couple of years before, when he was a freshman, and I liked him then.  But things change, and now, two years later, although he was something of a leader, he didn’t seem to be leading other kids in the right direction, if you understand what I’m saying.

Carson, physical attributes aside, was everything you’d ask for in a quarterback.   He was smart and hard-working.  He took coaching well and he was a quick learner.  He was very positive. He could be trusted, I believed, to run our Double-Wing offense.

And then the other quarterback made a bad move. He didn’t show up for the first practice. Or the second.

And when he showed up the next day, we informed him that while he could rejoin the team - after some “make-up work”, of course - he wasn’t going to play quarterback.  I could tell from the look on his face that he wasn’t expecting that. He pleaded, wanted to know why. We told him that in our program, the quarterback had to be a near-perfect team man, and that his mini-holdout had made it impossible for us to present him to our team as their quarterback.

He had inadvertently given us the opporrtunity every new staff needs to show they mean business.

And so we went with Carson.  And what follows ought to be a lesson to any coach out there who’s tempted to go with ability ahead of character.

That year, with Carson at QB and a large number of freshmen and sophomores starting, we finished 3-6.   (That wasn't all that bad - three wins was all they’d had in the previous two years combined.)

In his junior year, 2012, Carson got a little better, and so did we.  We were 4-6, counting a first-round playoff loss.  I can still see Carson standing in the locker room after that playoff game,  tears in his eyes as he removed his shoulder pads.  I told him not to take the loss so hard, but he shook his head. That wasn’t the problem.  What made him sad, he said, was, “I can’t believe it’s all over.” The kid loved the game.

The following winter, I decided that we had the talent to incorporate some of the run and shoot that I’d run years ago into our Double-Wing , and during spring ball, no longer under center but instead back in my “Wildcat” set, Carson really looked good . We spent a lot of time during the summer working on his passing, and once the season got under way his throwing showed great improvement.  He’d grown quite a bit, too.  He was now about six-feet tall and he’d put on some muscle.  He threw well and we had some kids who could catch.

Serendipity (discovery by accident)  also played its part. Starting in mid-season, once or twice  a week, instead of conditioning at the end of practice, we’d play “Philly Ball,” a form of touch in which a player could pass the ball anywhere on the field, a team got three downs, and in the event of an incompletion, the ball changed hands at the spot from which the ball was thrown. We were shocked to see Carson, who had always been shy and reserved, take charge.  He wanted that ball - and he knew what to do with it.  We’d never seen this assertiveness in him - or this athletic ability. And we’d certainly never noticed that Carson - little Carson - had speed!  Real speed!

With five games left to play, we created more ways for Carson to run, and in each of those games he had at least one long touchdown run.  In our final game, a narrow playoff loss, he threw for 150 yards and ran for 236 and nearly took us the length of the field in the final two minutes.  We finished 7-3, and thanks to Carson, my eyes were opened to what we could do with a running quarterback in our new offense, something we came to call the Open Wing.

Following the season, Carson continued to help our program  by working with his successor, a sophomore named Alex McAra, who had never thrown a football in a game.  In Washington, you can’t work with your players out of season during the school year - but another player can.  So Carson, who knew my drills and by then could probably mimic me word-for-word, worked with Alex right up until the next  spring practice.  Carson’s teaching helped me tremendously: with Alex at QB, we went 10-1 in 2014 and 9-1 in 2015.)

In the spring Carson ran track.  His junior year, he’d played baseball, but after being encouraged to turn out for track by head football coach Todd Bridge, he really showed off his speed: his only defeat all season in the 100 came in the state Class 2B 100-meters final, when he finished second to an opponent who dove (and landed face-first) at the finish.

In that spring’s practice, we used him as a coach, showing him what we wanted our receivers and defensive backs to do . (And saving old Coach Wyatt all that throwing). And he continued to grow.  He was now 6-1, and getting rather muscular.

That summer, he played in the All-State game in Yakima, and did quite well as a defensive back and receiver. With plenty of quarterbacks on hand, those coaches were smart enough to see that a kid with Carson’s size and speed might have a future at another position.

Carson looked at a number of D-III colleges, many of whom were quite interested after they saw a video I’d put together, and in the end, he chose to attend Pacific Lutheran University, in Tacoma. PLU, as it’s known, has a great reputation in the Northwest for athletics and academics, and he liked its people and its academic program.  Any time I’ve spoken to him since, the first thing I’ve asked him was whether he was happy with his choice, and he’s always answered, “Yes.”

Playing safety, he’s had a good career at PLU - he was honorable mention All-Northwest Conference in 2016 - and he’s been having a really good senior year.  He’s now 6-3, 190 and he hasn’t lost any speed - in track, he’s the defending conference 100-meter champion. 

A few weeks ago, after his performance against arch-rival Puget Sound in which he made 11 tackles and ran back a fumble 100 yards for a touchdown, Carson was named to the Division III Team of the Week, the first PLU player to be so honored since 2007.

In my opinion, he’s so talented and so versatile - he’s also a good receiver - that he’d be worth a look by an NFL team.

I wish I could say that we North Beach coaches could foresee that Carson would develop as he had. All we knew back then was that we weren’t going to be a very good team for a while, but no matter how tough things got, Carson was the kind of kid we could depend on.  And I do think it’s safe to say this: if we had decided back in 2011 to go with that other quarterback - if we had succumbed to the temptation to go with the better player rather than the better person -  Carson would not have become the football player that he is, and we would not have become the program that we became.

TACOMA, Wash. – D3Football.com released its Team of the Week for week five of the college football season on Tuesday with Pacific Lutheran University safety Carson Ketter among the 11 defensive players to be recognized for their outstanding play over the weekend.

Ketter led the Lutes (1-1) with 11 tackles, including seven solo in the squad's 23-13 victory over crosstown rival University of Puget Sound on Saturday at Sparks Stadium.

The Ocean Shores, Washington native additionally recovered a fumble and ran it back 100-yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, giving PLU the 14-7 lead while also providing a key fourth down tackle in the fourth quarter.

The D3football.com Team of the Week, presented by Scoutware, features 11 offensive, 11 defensive, and four specialists every week for their exploits on the gridiron. This week Ketter was one of four Northwest Conference players to be recognized, joining defensive end Stephen Jahn of Willamette University, along with linebackers Jason Farlow of Linfield College, and Charles Riga of George Fox University.

An Honorable Mention All-Northwest Conference selection in 2016, Ketter becomes the first Lute to earn a spot on the D3Football Team of the Week since defensive lineman Robert Thomsen earned the accolade in week two of the 2007 campaign and is just the 11th Lute all-time to land the weekly honor since the award began 19 years ago.

http://golutes.com/sports/fball/2017-18/releases/20171003hylt1k

The 100-yard interception return: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nos998tDrI4&feature=youtu.be

*********** Who among us has more courage than the black man or woman who risks being a conservative ?

And who among that group has shown more courage in the face of derision and outright hatred by his own people than Justice Clarence Thomas, a great American?

Justice Thomas, one of the Americans I most admire,  made a rare public appearance on Laura Ingraham’s show on Fox News Wednesday night, primarily as a favor to Ms. Ingraham, who once served under him as a law clerk.

To get a better understanding of the man, I strongly recommend reading his book, “My Grandfather’s Son,” so-titled because of his being raised by - and influenced by - his grandfather, a black working man in segregated Savannah, Georgia.

He told Laura Ingraham that as a kid, whenever he’d tell his grandfather than he couldn’t do something, the old man would reply, “Old Man ‘Can’t’ is dead.  I helped bury him.”

Bemoaning the divisions in our society, Justice Thomas asked, rhetorically, “What binds us? What do we all have in common anymore?”

“We have the pluribus,” he said.  “What’s the unum?”

(Also: he likes Nebraska - especially Husker football and volleyball.)

https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=spigot-chr-ffmac&p=clarence+thomas+on+laura+ingraham#id=5&vid=f3ebbe2ff58b1e68d1f6557de3422bab&action=click

***********Good Morning Coach Wyatt!

A have a question on the tight tackle's rule on 6/7 G-O which says "Gap, Down". We play against a 5-2/5-3 defense this week and the guards are uncovered. Based on your last email, that would take the tackle all the way down to the nose, correct? I'm really tempted to take the double team with the TE and T but I have a feeling you would say "No". Their DT's are very good. I do see the danger of a LB run through when the guard pulls if the tackle doesn't go down. I don't have a lot of experience with this scheme.

6-G BLOCKING



6-G-O…  A TE-Tackle double-team is fool’s gold. That rule for the tackle is a must.  You have to fill for the void left by the pulling guard.  Believe me, I learned this the hard way, running it against a 5-4 and having those inside linebackers blow up a play that I thought we’d blocked perfectly.








*********** Hugh,

A quick question... What is the rule that makes it illegal for a defensive end to cut our FB on the power play?

Applicable here in Massachusetts with NCAA rules?


I can’t answer for the NCAA because I know that its rules permitting blocking below the waist are much more liberal than the NFHS rules, which all states except Massachusetts use.

But in layman’s terms, the NFHS rules state that blocking below the waist is permitted only in the free blocking zone (4 yards to either side of center, 3 yards forward and back of center) and it can only take place between two people who were BOTH ON THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE AT THE SNAP.  (Such as an offensive guard on a defensive tackle.) By NFHS rules, therefore, if one of the participants in a block below the waist, either delivering the block or receiving it, is a back (who by definition is not on the line of scrimmage at the snap), it is an illegal block and the person delivering the block is guilty of a foul.

Funny how they keep adding officials to their crews, but they’re no better at calling this illegal, unethical and dangerous tactic than they were when they first made it illegal back in the early 1980s. (And defensive coaches are no better at playing by the rules.)

*********** LAST WEEKEND’S MOST MEMORABLE GAMES (FOR ME)

*** THURSDAY NIGHT -
EASTERN MICHIGAN, the most snakebit team in FBS, blows a fourth-quarter lead and loses to NORTHERN ILLINOIS

STANFORD over OREGON STATE - Barely.  Beavers played inspired ball for interim head coach Cory Hall, and Stanford acted as though they’d rather be almost anyplace else, but in the end the Cardinal pulled it out.

*** FRIDAY NIGHT -
BC beats FSU.  BC looks pretty good.  FSU? A senior defensive player saunters off the field and fails to get off in time to avoid a too-many-men penalty. A lot of the guys on the FSU sidelines look like they’re not at all concerned about getting their ass whipped.  Some of them look like they’re texting.  The body language is horrible.

*** SATURDAY -
OHIO STATE shocks the sh— out of PENN STATE - and me - with a stunning come-from-behind win. The Lions just went absolutely dead in the fourth quarter. The Bucks’ defensive front was awesome,  and J. T. Barrett, if I may use a dreary cliche, put the Buckeyes’ offense on his back.

IOWA STATE beats TCU - I like the Frogs, but Iowa State, the perennial whipping boy, is now doing some of the whipping.   This one wasn’t exactly a whipping - between TCU turnovers and penalties it could almost have been called a suicide.

MIAMI thumps NORTH CAROLINA - Maybe those Carolina guys have been spending too much time on their studies.

ARIZONA beats WASHINGTON STATE - For no apparent reason other than wanting to make a change, Mike Leach benches QB Luke Falk in mid-game.  His backup throws for 500+ yards but he also throws four interceptions - one a pick-six. 

NOTRE DAME beats NC STATE - The Irish are the real deal.

USC beats ARIZONA STATE - The Trojans made it clear that they’re not dead yet.

KANSAS STATE over KANSAS - It was tougher than I expected.  The Jayhawks are showing signs of becoming a football team again.

AIR FORCE over COLORADO STATE - Zoomies are looking tough.

OREGON over UTAH - Ducks, like USC, aren’t dead yet.  Utes continue their tailspin

IOWA over MINNESOTA - Hawkeyes another team that’s not ready to be declared dead.

KENTUCKY over TENNESSEE - What??? Kentucky NEVER beats Tennessee!


*********** When Kevin Sumlin’s Texas Aggies blew a huge lead against UCLA - he was crucified for it.

(Note to any member of the Houston Texans who might be reading this: Coach Sumlin wasn’t actually “crucified.” No one really drove spikes through his hands and into a wooden cross.  It’s just what’s called a “figure of speech,” see, another way of saying that he was treated cruelly.)

Anyhow, that was so long ago that people may have already forgotten.

I’m thinking that possibly the reason why Sumlin was treated so brutally was that there were a lot people who  were already predisposed not to like him even before UCLA happened.

Forward to last Saturday,  and there was Penn State, twice blowing 18-point leads against Ohio State as it pissed away a game it should have had in hand - and yet I’ve heard nothing negative since then about James Franklin. The difference, I suspect,  is that Coach Franklin has become a media darling.

*********** Did'ja see the end of the Northwestern  game in OT?  Guy for NW pulls in the desperation floater at the Goal Line and seals the victory!

Q: Where are his teammates?

That would be "Behind him".  Where is this Greatest Football Player of All Time running? It appears that there is a mother-huge CAMERA not far away.

Which is more important?     Stupid question...

Charlie Wilson
Crystal River, Florida

Got to say I sure am glad I didn’t see it.

*********** I don’t know whether a Wednesday night game falls under last weekend’s or this weekend’s games, but Eastern Michigan sure played a whale of a game in coming from behind  last night to beat Western Michigan, 35-28. (In the first quarter, with Western ahead by a couple of scores, the announcer had said “this could get ugly”)

I guess I’ve been spoiled by living  in the Northwest, where every self-respecting high school stadium has a roof over the grandstands on at least one side of the field, but there’s no way I would sit and watch a football game in the kind of cow-pissing-on-a-flat-rock rain that fell the entire time.


GAMES I’LL WATCH THIS WEEKEND

*** FRIDAY NIGHT - UCLA at UTAH - two teams with high pre-season expectations duke it out for last place in the Pac-12 South.

*** SATURDAY AM-
PENN STATE at MICHIGAN STATE - with teams coming off tough losses
SYRACUSE at FLORIDA STATE - Are the Seminoles really as bad as they looked last week at BC?
CLEMSON at NC STATE - the big winner here could be Notre Dame
OHIO STATE at IOWA - Hey, the Hawkeyes damn near beat Penn State in Kinnick Stadium
IOWA STATE at WEST VIRGINIA - Got to love the Cyclones, but how long can it last?

STANFORD at WASHINGTON STATE - Leach appears to be losing control of his team but he’s fooled me before. Stanford has had nine days to wake up from the coma they were in against Oregon State
ARMY at AIR FORCE - I’m afraid that if the altitude doesn’t get Army, Air Force’s speed will
OKLAHOMA at  OKLAHOMA STATE - Two really good QBs go at it.  With a grandson going to OSU, I have to go with the Cowboys
OREGON STATE at CAL - Will the Beavers finally get a win against an FBS opponent?
TEXAS at TCU - The Frogs may still be the best team in the Big 12, but will they snap back after last week?
MINNESOTA at MICHIGAN - Gophers seldom win the Little Brown Jug, but I can hope
LSU at ALABAMA - Alabama is so strong that I seldom watch them, but I’ll watch this one.  At least until the blowout starts
VIRGINIA TECH at MIAMI - a HUGE ACC game.  If Miami wins, their game against Notre Dame next week could be for an eventual spot in the playoff
OREGON at WASHINGTON - Huskies hammered the Ducks last year, and I expect that the same thing will happen Saturday
ARIZONA at USC - You Easterners - try to stay up to watch this, or at least set the DVR.  USC is coming off a big win over Arizona State.  Arizona has won four straight.  Wildcats’ QB Khalil Tate is really fun to watch - he’s been the Pac-12 Players of the Week a record four times now.  First place in the Pac-12 South is on the line.


*********** Find the hidden lesson…

A headline from last weekend’s high school games:

McMinnville (Oregon) 50, West Albany 43

Game summary: Colton Smith’s fifth touchdown of the game was a 75-yard kickoff return with 17 seconds left - moments after West Albany had taken a one-point lead.

The lesson? There's 17 seconds to play and you give them a chance to return a kickoff? When they’ve got a guy who’s already scored four touchdowns?
 

*********** If ever there was anything designed to make you think your fellow coaches are a$$holes, it’s an All-League meeting, an annual late-season horse trading session that high school coaches have to endure in hopes of getting some of their kids All-League recognition. 

Looking back, I’m now able to laugh at some of the  absurd things I used to see, especially the inevitable guys who’d finished winless in the league and yet nominated damn near everybody on their team for the All-League team. (Did they realize how it would reflect on them as a coach if every one of their players were to make All-League - after they went winless?)

A friend wrote to tell me about his recent All-League meeting.  He said that his last year’s team finished 2-5, and he understood when he managed to get only one player on the first team and two on the second team.  But he thought it strange, to say the least, that after this year’s team went 5-2,  he still got only one player on the first team. As a consolation, though, this year he got all of three on the second team.

His middle linebacker was put on the second team because, other coaches argued,  a lot of his tackles came while he was playing as a down lineman in one of their defensive packages.

So while he was named to the second team, when it came time to vote for the league’s defensive MVP, he finished second - by one vote.

Here’s the best: the Coach of the Year was a guy whose team didn’t win a league game.


*********** Fact: Chuck Bednarik, a Hall-of-Fame middle linebacker, played two ways in the 1960 NFL championship game.  But he did not play middle linebacker in that game  - or in any other game that year.  The Eagles’ middle linebacker was another Chuck - Chuck Weber, who died recently.

Chuck Weber was a graduate of my wife’s high school in Abington, Pennsylvania.  He was a tough guy.  He was an outstanding wrestler and football player at West Chester, then known as West Chester State Teachers, and before coming to the Eagles he’d served in the Marines and he’d played linebacker for the Browns and Cardinals.

In “The 1960 Philadelphia Eagles,” he told author Robert Gordon about his first encounter with another tough guy, Mike Ditka.

“When Mike was a rookie in ’61, he was the Bears’ big threat. Jerry Williams (Eagles’ defensive coach) put me on Mike and told me not to let him off the line of scrimmage.  So I didn’t.  I was all over him, grabbing him, holding him.  One play, I grabbed his neck and shoulder pads and dragged hi