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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,  OCTOBER 20,  2017  - “Ultimately, the ‘learn-it-all’ will always do better than the ‘know-it-all.’”  Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft


"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.)



*********** A bit of me died last week, when  I got the news that Mike Creamer had passed away, in Oxnard, California .  Our friendship went back to when we were teammates and fraternity brothers at Yale, nearly 60 years ago.  Although I was a Philadelphia city kid and he was an Alabamian, from Birmingham, we hit it off  quickly.  It made no difference  that we were rivals: we both played the same positions - halfback on offense and corner on defense (in those days of playing both ways, your offensive position dictated what you played on defense).   Two-platoon  football would have been great for Mike and me because I was the better offensive player, and he was the better defensive player - by far.  He was as hard a hitter as we had on our team -  my first exposure to the way football was played in the South.)

He was a lot of fun to be around.  He laughed a lot, had a great sense of humor, and could more than handle himself in any kind of banter.  And I never saw him lose his temper.

On a team that was pretty regimented, we were sort of renegades.  We shared an intense dislike for our offensive backfield coach (the guy really was a prick), and, resigned to not get much playing time, we shared a liking for beer and cigarettes and late-night card games.  What kept us in football was a big, jovial Irishman named Stu Clancy, who’d once played for the New York Giants and, in addition to his part-time job  coaching the Yale scout team, was a funeral director in nearby Branford, Connecticut.   At practices, Mike and I were the halfbacks on the scout team, and with Stu’s encouragement, we did our damnedest to make the starters look bad.  In retrospect, thanks to  Stu Clancy, we probably enjoyed our Yale football experience as much as any of the first-stringers.

My wife and I were married my senior year, and Mike would often come out to our place in East Haven, where we’d stay up all night - smoking, drinking, and playing cards.

After graduation, Mike and I stayed close for a couple of years when my wife and I were living in Baltimore and he was in the Army, stationed in Virginia, but then he fell in love, married, and moved to California. 

Maybe his wife - his first wife, I should add - had something to with it, but over the years, for various reasons, we rarely talked to each other and saw each other only once or twice.

And then, in 2008, when I took the head coaching job at North Beach High, in Ocean Shores, Washington, I happened to be talking with Mike, who by then was retired from a career in business.  One thing led to another and I said, “How about coming  on up and staying with us for a couple of weeks and just watch what’s going on, and maybe help out where you can?”

We had a place in Ocean Shores with plenty of room, and Mike thought it sounded interesting, so with his second wife,  Sandy’s, encouragement, he flew up. A retired coach, Jack Tourtillotte, from Boothbay, Maine, had joined me as an assistant, and as anyone who knew either of those guys would have predicted,  he and Mike got along famously.

Mike was like a little kid. He rediscovered the fun of football.  He found that he  liked being around the kids, and the kids liked him, and we began giving him some light coaching responsibilities, and by the end of the “couple of weeks,” he was telling Sandy that he’d like to stay for a couple more weeks.  And so it went, until he wound up staying for the season. 

I can only imagine what an experience it was for him, after so many years of being away from the football field, but every time we spoke on the phone after that, he’d mention it.

He’d also mention the Crimson Tide and Bama football.  Sandy told me after Mike died that he’d always wanted to go to Alabama, but his parents insisted that he go to an Ivy League school instead.

He began having some health issues in the last few years, issues more serious, Sandy later told me, than he let on to me, but you know how it is with old football players - never let ‘em know you’re hurting.

And now he’s gone.  Rest in Peace, Bama.

*********** My must-see football this weekend:

FRIDAY
Colorado State at New Mexico - love that Lobo offense

SATURDAY
9 AM
Temple at Army - down year for the Owls, but they’re still tough

12:30
UCF at Navy - UCF is still unbeaten.  I really like this American Athletic Conference.

Arizona State at Utah - ASU coming off the big win over Washington; Utah coming off a 1-point loss to USC when its coach didn’t think it could win in overtime.

1:00
Oregon at UCLA - Ducks in a tailspin

4:15
LSU at Ole Miss - LSU should romp, but it’s still a rivalry game

4:30
Michigan at Penn State - Michigan clobbered State last year.  Not this year.

USC at Notre Dame - the annual game when I wish it was possible for both teams to lose big.  I have to go for USC because  a ND win could mean they wind up taking a playoff spot from a legitimate conference team.

5:00

Arizona at Cal - Just because I’ve grown to like Cal

7:45

Colorado at Washington State - Do you suppose Luke Falk could throw the ball just a little sooner?

***********  After watching Marshawn Lynch's ugly  act on Thursday night (you're sure to see it on the "lowlights") how can he not be suspended for at least as long as Ezekiel Elliott?

*********** Considering what pro football receivers are paid, and considering that they're supposed to be the very best in the game, why do we see so many dropped passes? Baseball players are charged with errors.   It's part of the game.  So when are wide receivers going to be charged with drops?

*********** Scott Frost is a Nebraska kid who left the state (how many ever do that?) to go to Stanford,  but eventually he returned to play - and star - for the Cornhuskers. Since then,  he has gone on to show that he’s a pretty decent coach.  He was OC at Oregon during the Ducks’ heady run at the top of college football, and right now, he’s in his second year as head coach at Central Florida, where after going 6-7 in his first year, he’s off to a 5-0 start this season.

Why, he’s a lock for the Nebraska job, right?  A restoration of the Bob Devaney-Tom Osborne-Frank Solich line, whose abrupt termination Husker football has yet to recover from?

Uh, not so fast, my friend.  Central Florida knows what it has, and it’s begun marshalling the resources required to keep Frost in Orlando, recently  launching a “Football Excellence Fund.”

“Actually,” writes Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel, “It should be called the “Keep Scott Frost in Orlando Fund” because much of the new money would presumably be used to pay Frost and his staff of highly respected assistant coaches.”

Money aside, there are two very important factors working against Nebraska that can’t be overcome: geography and demographics.

Geography?  For anyone other than a native Nebraskan, this one would be easy.  Most people would consider Florida’s climate preferable to Nebraska’s.  That would include recruits, too.

Then there’s those damn  demographics.  While Nebraska’s small population requires Huskers’ coaches to recruit far and wide,  Florida’s  large and growing population means a coach  can recruit  enough good football players to win consistently without even leaving the state. In fact, from Orlando,  Scott Frost can go out in the morning and go in any direction and sweep up a half-dozen or so four-star recruits and still be home in time for dinner.

Just saying - don’t bet the farm that Scott Frost leaves UCF for NU.

 *********** Speaking of Scott Frost… Charlie Wilson, of Crystal River, Florida, sent me this article, and the accompanying video clip, of Scott Frost, the old Nebraska option quarterback, getting under center and showing his Central Florida defense what the Navy option offense looks like.  Wow. He’s still got the mechanics. Damn shame he doesn’t have any eligibility left.

https://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2017/10/19/16503056/ucf-navy-scott-frost-scout-team-quarterback-option-offense

***********  I saw a game last week on an upcoming opponent....sometimes they didn't have 7 on the LOS...then they completed passes to some covered TE's. I was thinking I was having an out of body experience and I was no longer part of this realm.

Then, I snapped back to reality and realized the ref's were just blowing it and still taking the pay!

Ed Campbell
Land o’ Lakes, Florida


When Equifax can’t keep our most carefully guarded personal and financial information secure,  when two US Navy ships can’t avoid colliding with super-sized cargo vessels, we shouldn’t be surprised when incompetence somehow finds its way into football officiating!

I have to laugh when I read on one hand that local associations are having trouble getting guys interested in becoming officials, while at the upper end, major college conferences are using eight - EIGHT - officials in games.

And where do you suppose those extra officials come from? Ultimately, the colleges wind up skimming off the best officials from lower levels.

So the associations that provide  us local yokels with our officials not only have trouble getting new guys, but they wind up losing whatever good ones they may have had.

Eight f—king officials!  What a damn joke!  To over-officiating add  replay of every close play, and it’s no wonder games take forever.

I'd take aim at two factors: this damn spread passing game and the liberalized blocking rules allowing use of open hands.  

I’m willing to bet that two-thirds of all penalty yardage is attributable to defensive pass interference and offensive holding. 

My suggestions to improve play:

Allow more physical play in the secondary;

Require offensive linemen to wear thumbless boxing gloves

And go back to five officials.


*********** I was reading through my copy of Forbes Magazine’s 100th Anniversary Issue, and I came across some great insights and quotes on a number of topics by what Forbes called “The 100 Greatest Living Business Minds.”

T. Boone Pickens, a fabulously wealthy oilman who has been, to put it mildly, “generous” to the Oklahoma State football program, told how, despite being 89 years old  and facing a number of health issues (“in the fourth quarter and the clock is ticking”), he remains upbeat:

“When you’re in the oil business like I’ve been all my life, you drill your fair share of dry holes, but you never lose your optimism.

“There’s a story I tell about a geologist who fell off a ten-story building.  When he blew past the fifth floor, he thought to himself, ’So far, so good.’

“That’s the way to approach life. Be the eternal optimist who is excited to see what the next decade will bring.  I thrive on that, and I’m going to stick around until the game is over.”


*********** I can understand that certain NFL players are upset over something called “social justice.”  But that doesn’t condone their way of showing their displeasure with their country:  sitting, kneeling, or standing disrespectfully during our national anthem.

They act as if they’re the only people who’ve ever been pissed at some of the things that go on in America.  Well, guess what, guys - there are a lot of people, myself included,  who aren’t at all pleased with things.  My beefs are way too numerous to list here, but no matter how pissed I might get, I would never consider disrespect our country’s flag.  That’s the way I was raised, and that’s the way others of my generation, and generations before me,  were raised.  (I wish I could say that about succeeding generations, but I have my doubts.)

The NFL dissidents contend  that they’re not disrespecting the flag or the anthem when they kneel, and I will suspend disbelief and take them at their word.  But, to tens of millions of their fellow Americans, disrespect is exactly what they see. Anyhow, just for the sake of argument,  I’ll accept that the protesting players really don’t understand  the importance of paying respect to our national symbols, or, therefore, why so many people are offended by their actions.

Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I suspect that  their demonstrations are as much generational as they are racial.   They’re young,  relatively recent products of America’s pathetic,  values-free educational system. It’s  a system that has ceased to teach our nation’s history and refuses to  impart the essentials of what made America great and what being an American means.  

In fact, rather than celebrating   a country that,  despite its wrongs,  has afforded its people opportunities found nowhere else in the world,  a country that, more than any other nation in history, has welcomed and successfully  assimilated people of differing nationalities, races, religions and beliefs, today’s public education defines America by its wrongs.

As a history major and a long-time public school history teacher, I have witnessed with great dismay the gradual degradation - actual elimination in some cases - of the American history curriculum, and I suspect that the only fix is going to be a total, top-to-bottom  overhaul of our entire system of public education.

While waiting for that to happen, though, for starters I recommend that this speech, given in 1991 by Medal of Honor winner, Master Sergeant Roy Benevidez,   be required viewing for all American school children - and all professional athletes.

SGT ROY BENEVIDEZ

https://www.facebook.com/raiderfit/videos/1699621613390306/


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

***********  So the protesting NFL players want a “platform,” do they?

I suggest  they  go  to the NFL’s “partners” (the networks,  heavily and expensively on the hook to broadcast NFL games)  and demand (not request)  time for a weekly  panel show.

“Guys With Grievances,”  I’d call it. One by one, a panel of three contestants would compete for cash prizes by telling stories of oppression, and what’s wrong with America.  Topics would vary from week to week, but would include cops wantonly killing unarmed black men, mass incarceration, social injustice, income inequality and so forth. 

Stories would be judged on emotional content, and need not be factual.

A “jury” made up of reporters from liberal news outlets such as the New York Times, the Washington Post ,  the Los Angeles Times would determine each week’s winner. Here’s where they might run into a snag:  these are guys who are used to throwing money away - literally, in the case of Pac Man Jones - so they’d have to make first prize at least $1 million, with at least $250,000 for the runners-up.

Actually, there’s one other snag, potentially more serious:  I have a suspicion  that the networks, already  experiencing declining ratings in their NFL broadcasts,  might not  be all that interested.  But then, maybe they didn’t hear the word “demand.”

“The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.”  Oliver Wendell Holmes

***********  A 6-3, 220 pound  “transgender female” (a guy pretending he’s a female) wants to play in the woman’s Australian Rules League.

An article by an Aussie named Adam Piggot is entitled, “A Pretend Woman Plays a Pretend Sport.”

I’m appalled by the whole thing, but in a way, it might  do the (real) women good to get some idea of  what it’s like for men whenever women move in on once-all-male activities.

http://www.news.com.au/sport/afl/aflw/transgender-player-hannah-mouncey-waits-on-bid-to-enter-aflw-draft/news-story/ab265fb439cfde2891e302846bf4c6a7

*********** You can take your much-hyped  “Hawk Tackling” and shove it.

It’s a typical NFL stunt in which people who spend zero time on football fundamentals try to pull the wool over the eyes of coaches who teach them every day.

Me, I’ll go with a great instructional video sent me by Shep Clarke, from Puyallup, Washington.  Call it “Cop Tackling.”  

https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=spigot-chr-ffmac&p=epic+police+tackles#id=51&vid=aaba057a7517750f578f5acb855f6025&action=click

*********** The National Weather Service seems determined to stay in the news, coming up with ever-new ways to sensationalize weather “events,” and now, maybe because someone noticed that we northwesterners have been left out of the action lately, they’ve told us to brace ourselves this weekend for a…(drum roll, please)…5,000 MILE LONG RIVER IN THE SKY!

Sounds like a science fiction novel, so I'll translate:

Rain’s on its way.  Snow in the higher elevations.  Well, duh - this IS the Pacific Northwest.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2017/10/18/5-000-mile-long-river-sky-deliver-heavy-rain-feet-snow-northwest/776060001/

*********** I really admire Peggy Noonan, who for years has written a column in the Wall Street Journal.  In the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting and the calls for various restrictions on firearms, she argues that the reason Americans own so many guns is that they don’t trust the “protected elites” to protect them…

I think a lot of Americans have guns because they’re fearful—and for damn good reason. They fear a coming chaos, and know that when it happens it will be coming to a nation that no longer coheres. They think it’s all collapsing—our society, our culture, the baseline competence of our leadership class. They see the cultural infrastructure giving way—illegitimacy, abused children, neglect, racial tensions, kids on opioids staring at screens—and, unlike their cultural superiors, they understand the implications.

Nuts with nukes, terrorists bent on a mission. The grid will go down. One of our foes will hit us, suddenly and hard. In the end it could be hand to hand, door to door. I said some of this six years ago to a famously liberal journalist, who blinked in surprise. If that’s true, he said, they won’t have a chance! But they are Americans, I said. They won’t go down without a fight.

Americans have so many guns because drug gangs roam the streets, because they have less trust in their neighbors, because they read Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road.” Because all of their personal and financial information got hacked in the latest breach, because our country’s real overlords are in Silicon Valley and appear to be moral Martians who operate on some weird new postmodern ethical wavelength. And they’ll be the ones programming the robots that’ll soon take all the jobs! Maybe the robots will all look like Mark Zuckerberg, like those eyeless busts of Roman Emperors. Our leaders don’t even think about this technological revolution. They’re too busy with transgender rights.

Americans have so many guns because they know the water their children swim in hasn’t gotten cleaner since Columbine, but more polluted and lethal.

The establishments and elites that create our political and entertainment culture have no idea how fragile it all is—how fragile it seems to people living normal, less privileged lives. That is because nothing is fragile for them. They’re barricaded behind the things the influential have, from good neighborhoods to security alarms, doormen and gates. They’re not dark in their imagining of the future because history has never been dark for them; it’s been sunshine, which they expect to continue. They sail on, oblivious to the legitimate anxieties of their countrymen who live near the edge.

Those who create our culture feel free to lecture normal Americans—on news shows, on late night comedy shows. Why do they have such a propensity for violence? What is their love for guns? Why do they join the National Rifle Association? The influential grind away with their disdain for their fellow Americans, whom they seem less to want to help than to dominate: Give up your gun, bake my cake, free speech isn’t free if what you’re saying triggers us.

Would it help if we tried less censure and more cultural affiliation? Might it help if we started working on problems that are real? Sure. But why lower the temperature when there’s such easy pleasure to be had in ridiculing your mindless and benighted countrymen?

http://www.peggynoonan.com/the-culture-of-death-and-of-disdain/

*********** Tim Brown , of Florence, Alabama, sent me this gem about Harlon Hill -

i saw coach Hill at a junior high basketball game
He told me about their comeback against Middle Tennessee
They were down two touchdowns late in the game
Florence State scored and after an onside kick scored again
He said they had gone for two and now had the lead.
Goober in the huddle before the last kickoff said
"Hey Harlon, my Daddy can whip you daddy"
Harlon asks him how do you know that?
Goober said "because he fights with rocks"
All this in the huddle before the last kick off

*********** Arkansas State almost scored on a throwback pass to the quarterback.  Crack analyst Ray Bentley very helpfully explained that the quarterback was eligible “because be took the snap from shotgun.”

Uh, Ray - thanks a lot, but… it doesn’t matter how the hell the quarterback takes the snap. And it doesn’t matter where he lines up, either - so long as it’s in the backfield (and he wears an eligible number), he is an eligible receiver.  To catch a pass, though, he’s first got to get the ball to someone who can throw it to him, and that means either handing off or lateraling the ball, because there can only be one forward pass per play.


*********** QUIZ - John Hadl came out of a high school program in Lawrence, Kansas that was one of the best in the nation in the 1950s and 1960s and he never played in a losing game in high school.   From 1951 through 1960 Lawrence was 152-12-5 with 13 state titles and 12 undefeated seasons. From 1955 to 1960 Lawrence won 47 straight games.

At Kansas, playing both ways, he started out as a halfback (running back) and made All-America his sophomore year.

He was switched to quarterback his junior year, and still wearing his halfback number (21) he again won All-America honors.

With him at quarterback his junior and senior years, the Jayhawks were 15-5-2 and finished in the top 20 both years.

As a punter, he led the nation one year with a 45.6 yard average, and he still holds the Kansas records for longest interception return (98 yards against TCU) and longest punt (94 yards against Oklahoma.)

He would later be named Kansas Jayhawks’ Player of the Century, and he is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

He was named MVP in both the East-West game and the College All-Star Game.

Drafted in the first round in the NFL and the third round in the AFL, he signed with the Los Angeles Chargers. He remained with the Chargers as they moved to San Diego, then played with the Rams, the Packers and the Oilers.

After sharing the Chargers’ starting QB job, he took over in 1966 and over the next four seasons, running Sid Gillman’s supercharged offense, he threw for more than 3,000 yards and more than 23 touchdowns per season.

As a pro quarterback, he was the AFL’s leading passer in 1965 and 1968 and was a four-time AFL All-Star.

After the leagues merged, he led all NFL passers in 1971 and was named the NFL’s Man of the Year that year. He was All-Pro in 1973, and played in the Pro Bowl in 1972 and in 1973.

He had his best years with the Chargers, but his trade by the Rams to the Packers for five draft choices near the end of his career was, shall we say,  “highly beneficial” to the Rams.

Except for a handful of games, John Hadl wore 21 for his entire career, and is the last quarterback in the NFL to have worn a number higher than 19.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JOHN HADL

Tim Brown - Florence, Alabama
Adam Wesoloski - Pulaski, Wisconsin
Tim Bross - Kirkwood, Missouri
Dave Potter - Cary, North Carolina
John Vermillion - St. Petersburg, Florida
Josh Montgomery - Berwick, Louisiana
Joe Gutilla - Austin, Texas
Dennis Metzger - Richmond, Indiana (He played for For Sid Gillmann’s Chargers and I think that his main receiver was Lance Alworth aka Bambi.  He also had Keith Lincoln and Paul Lowe as running backs.  They were a great team as their defense was also good.  They won several division championships and one AFL championship before the merger.)
Ken Hampton - Raleigh, North Carolina
Mark Kaczmarek - Davenport, Iowa (One of my favorites from my Strat-O-Matic days...Unfortunately, I remember his days with Green Bay)
Joe Ferris - Florence, Wisconsin (The trade to the Packers was not only beneficial for the Rams, but set the Packers back for several years. Keep the quizzes coming, they are always interesting.)
Ossie Osmundson - Woodland, Washington - (he was one of my favorites growing up - As was Roberto Clemente #21 in Baseball)

*********** QUIZ - Let's see who's been paying attention...

Princeton’s Charlie Volker broke a 65-year-old record last Saturday with a 96-yard run from scrimmage in a 53-0 trouncing of Brown.

The old record was set on November 15, 1952, when a fullback  ran 93 yards for a touchdown against Yale.

The fullback’s name?



american flagTUESDAY,  OCTOBER 17,  2017  - "If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions?" Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert

*********** 50 years ago today - October 17, 1967 - men of the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Brigade - the famed Black Lions, who first got their name in World War I - were ambushed in a jungle in South Vietnam by a superior force of North Vietnamese regulars.

64 of them were killed in action, 75 were wounded, many of them severely, and two were missing in action.

13 of the Black Lions were awarded the Silver Star. Three, including  Major Don Holleder, were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. And one, Second Lieutenant Harold “Pinky” Durham was awarded the Medal of Honor.

The Army tried to portray the Battle of Ong Thanh as an American victory, and did everything it could to discount, incorrectly,  the soldiers’ stories that it had been an ambush.

David Maraniss tells the story of the battle in his wonderful book, “They Marched Into Sunlight.”  The research for the book required him to interview men who had survived the battle, and that meant earning the trust of men who, once back in their stateside lives, had done everything they could to put the memories of that horrible day behind them.

Bit by bit, he won them over, and in the process  helped bring  many of the men of the Black Lions  together again - men who hadn’t seen each other in years.

In the book’s epilogue, David describes one such meeting - after 33 years -  of fighting men men who had been as close as brothers.

It was at a Las Vegas reunion in October 2000 that Clark Welch saw his old first sergeant, Bud Barrow, for the first time since they had been in the hospital together in 1967. I was sitting with Welch at a table in the Black Lions hospitality suite when Barrow walked in, and I’ll never forget the look that washed over his face. “There he is! You sonofabitch!” That said it all, and he rose and engulfed Barrow in a tearful embrace. (I told you we often used it as a term of endearment.)

 THE MEN OF THE BLACK LIONS, AND DON HOLLEDER, FORMER ARMY ALL-AMERICAN, WHO DIED IN THE VIETNAM JUNGLE IN THE BATTLE OF ONG THANH, OCTOBER 17, 1967 (Names taken from The Vietnam Wall)

K I A ... Adkins, Donald W.... Allen, Terry... Anderson, Larry M.... Barker, Gary L.... Blackwell, James L., Jr.... Bolen, Jackie Jr. ... Booker, Joseph O. ... Breeden, Clifford L. Jr ... Camero, Santos... Carrasco, Ralph ... Chaney, Elwood D. Jr... Cook, Melvin B.... Crites, Richard L.... Crutcher, Joe A. ...... Dodson, Wesley E.... Dowling, Francis E.... Durham, Harold B. Jr ... Dye, Edward P. ... East, Leon N.... Ellis, Maurice S.... Familiare, Anthony ... Farrell, Michael J. ...Fuqua, Robert L. Jr. ...Gallagher, Michael J. ...Garcia, Arturo ...Garcia, Melesso ...Gilbert, Stanley D. ...Gilbertson, Verland ...Gribble, Ray N. ...Holleder, Donald W. ...Jagielo, Allen D. ...Johnson, Willie C. Jr ...Jones, Richard W. ...Krischie, John D. ...Lancaster, James E. ...Larson, James E. ...Lincoln, Gary G. ...Lovato, Joe Jr. ...Luberta, Andrew P. ...Megiveron, Emil G. ...Miller, Michael M. ...Moultrie, Joe D. ...Nagy, Robert J. ...Ostroff, Steven L. ...Platosz, Walter ...Plier, Eugene J. ...Porter, Archie ...Randall, Garland J. ...Reece, Ronney D. ...Reilly, Allan V. ...Sarsfield, Harry C. ...Schroder, Jack W. ...Shubert, Jackie E. ...Sikorski, Daniel ...Smith, Luther ...Thomas, Theodore D. Jr. ...Tizzio, Pasquale T. ...Wilson, Kenneth P. .... M I A ... Fitzgerald, Paul ...Hargrove, Olin Jr

Honor a player on your team who’s worthy of being called a Black Lion!

Sign up your team to participate in the Black Lion Award program.  There is no cost to you.

coachwyatt@aol.com


*********** In Rochester, New York, where Don Holleder grew up and went to high school, a local resident named Jim Lanson has arranged a number of events to honor Don Holleder on the 50th anniversary of his death in Vietnam.

Leo Roth, of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, wrote this beautiful tribute to Rochester's own Don Holleder, the inspiration of the Black Lion Award.

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/sports/columnist/roth/2017/10/14/don-holleder-vietnam-aquinas-army-west-point-hero/747902001/

Sign up your team to participate in the Black Lion Award program.  There is no cost to you.

coachwyatt@aol.com


*********** Mea culpa.  Mea culpa.

Apologies to anyone who on my recommendation decided it wouldn’t be worth watching Clemson-Syracuse.  Or, worse yet, who bet on Clemson or Washington State because of me.

Okay, okay. I know.  I should stick to my day job.  No more 800 phone numbers that you can call to get my Mortal Lock of the Weekend.

But I didn’t feel so bad about my failure as a tipster after talking with my son, who lives in Australia and through his involvement in sports does promotional work for a (legal) bookmaking firm.

He says the word in the trade is that the Vegas sports books have been losing a bundle on college football this season because it’s been so unpredictable.

Except for Alabama.

*********** Biggest win of the day?  It has to be LSU’s comeback from 20 points down to beat Auburn.  Or else it was Miami’s narrow win over Georgia Tech to remain unbeaten.   Or Cal’s win over previously unbeaten Washington State. Or Syracuse’s upset of Clemson.

*********** Watching games around the Midwest, between the rain and the lightning, I was happy to be sitting, warm and toasty, watching games on TV. Western Michigan’s stadium looked as if they could have held boat races there.

*********** Two head coaches - Chris Creighton of Eastern Michigan and Kyle Whittingham of Utah - really disappointed me Saturday.  Both coaches’ teams scored with seconds remaining to come within a single point of going into overtime, Creighton against Army and Whittingham against USC. 

Both coaches chose to go for two points and the win.

Both attempts failed, and both team lost.

Eastern Michigan, a passing team, ran for it. They had a QB who can throw a fade, and a wide receiver who could catch any thrown near him.  But against Army, an option team - they ran an option!

Utah tried a roll out, and when the passer found himself running out of room and receivers, he tried running for the corner - and came up a yard short.

But how they tried to do it isn’t important. What’s important is that both coaches let 59+ minutes of super effort by their teams go down the drain.

I almost threw up listening to the announcers talking about how “courageous” the coaches were, “going for the win.”

I call bulls— on that.  What is so f—king courageous about putting everything your team has just spent the entire week preparing for - and the better part of the last 60 minutes busting their asses for - on one roll of the dice?

Going for an iffy two instead making an almost certain kick - and going into overtime - is dumb on so many counts. 

Consider two of them:

First of all,  how come more people don’t go for two during the course of a game?  Everybody knows why - because there’s about a 50-50 chance they won’t make it, while there’s a 90+ per cent chance of making the kick.  Yes, if you went for two points every time, and you made 50 percent of your attempts, you’d be as well off as if you’d kicked and made 100 per cent of your kicks.  But when it comes down to a single play,  your chances of making two are no better than 50-50.

Second, there is the impression that you’ve lost faith in your team. You busted them hard all week, telling them that the hard work will pay off - at the game, you’ve told them they’re every bit as good as those guys over on the other sideline.  And, they believed you.  And now you’re going to tell them that you don’t trust them in overtime?

*********** It was a bad weekend in Pullman, Washington.  It started out on Friday night with the Washington State Cougars getting throughly thumped by Cal and knocked from their position in the Top Ten,  and then on Sunday Bill Moos,  the AD who personally sought out Mike Leach and convinced him to come to Pullman, abruptly announced  that he had accepted the AD job at Nebraska.

Moos had been AD at Oregon when he got taken down by some internal politics, and after he served out his non-compete severance terms on his Washington cattle ranch, he was hired in the same position at Washington State.

When Moos,  a WSU alum who was a star offensive linemen there under Jim Sweeney, took over in early 2011, the football program had gone 5-32 over the previous three seasons, and had just finished the 2010 season 1-11.

He set out to hire Leach, traveling to the coach’s home in Key West to persuade him to leave beach life for the wheat fields of the Palouse. He didn’t screw around. When asked who was on his search committee,  he replied, “You’re looking at it.”

He gave Leach plenty of support.   When Leach, who’d been caught up in a nasty situation at Texas Tech when he’d had to discipline the son of former ESPN star (and helicopter parent) Craig James,  was accused of verbal abuse by a WSU player,  Moos commented, “I played under Jim Sweeney.  I know what verbal abuse is.”

Leach repaid his AD’s confidence, taking the Cougars to three bowl games in the past four seasons, and to a ranking as high as Number 8 in the national polls, until this past Saturday’s 37-3 loss to Cal.  (The Cougs are Number 15 in the most recent poll.)

Washington State now has two problems.  Obviously, they have to replace Bill Moos, and that’s not going to be easy.  But the other, and in my mind far bigger, immediate problem is going to be retaining Mike Leach.  There are going to be all sorts of very attractive jobs coming open, and I suspect that the President of the University, who in the absence of an AD becomes the de facto AD himself,  may have to mortgage his property to help keep Mike Leach in Pullman.

As Nebraska’s new AD, Bill Moos  inherits some problems of his own, one of which is what to do with Huskers’ head coach Mike Riley. It appears that the Nebraska football program is in free fall, and if history is any predictor, once those things start to happen, the guy in charge is not going to turn it around.

I like Mike Riley.  Knew him back in   the days when he was a young assistant at Linfield College and I was a somewhat-young high school head coach and we worked together at Rich Brooks’ Oregon camp.  Good guy, smart guy, solid folks.

But in my estimation, and as evidenced by the way recruiting fell off in his last few years at Oregon State - and by the talent deficit that his successor, Gary Anderson inherited - he got worn down by the heroic effort required for Oregon State to remain competitive against better-funded programs in better recruiting states and at places more enticing to recruits.

I can’t imagine that he would have thought that efforts any less  heroic would be required to get Nebraska - which doesn’t produce any more home-grown talent than Oregon - atop the Big Ten, but there they are, slumping at 3-4 after taking two straight shellackings from Wisconsin and Ohio State.  They get next weekend off before playing at home against Northwestern, traveling to Minnesota and then Penn State, and finishing at home against Iowa. A 6-5 season is achievable; 5-6 (or worse) seems more likely.

Anyhow, there’s Bill Moos, in my opinion as good an AD if you could ask for, ready to take charge in Lincoln.  And the football team has a bye week.  Could this mean a change is imminent?

Not likely. Moos made clear in his introductory news conference that Mike Riley will finish the season as the Huskers’ coach. "I'm not a guy who ever changes a coach mid-season," he said. "I don't think anything is accomplished - and I never have - in dismissing a coach mid-season."

A Leach-to-Lincoln move?  Maybe, but it's far from a foregone conclusion.  Bill Moos knows his way around the world of football. He’s a real AD,  the kind every big school used to have - a guy who knows the football end of the business.  He’s definitely  not one of the new type of slickster - a suit with a marketing degree whose first order of business when he needs to find a new coach is to go out and hire a search firm.

What really has to endear Bill Moos to Nebraska fans - almost as much as his proven ability to hire a winner - is the fact that he’s also a cattle rancher.

https://nebraska.rivals.com/news/twitter-reaction-to-the-hiring-new-ad-nebraska-bill-moos

*********** One bit of good news for Washington State fans is that Kevin Anderson won’t be their next AD.  In a bizarre series of stories over the weekend,  Anderson, the Maryland AD,  was reportedly going to be fired for pursuing AD jobs at Texas and then Cal.  But now, out of College Park, comes the amazing announcement that he’s going to be taking a six-month “professional development sabbatical.”

Sabbaticals - time off with pay to pursue professional development - are common for professors, but  not for athletic directors. It’s fair to say that there isn’t quite the same urgency - the same need for a person to be on hand - in the philosophy department as there is in the athletic department.

Somebody has to be on the scene, to make some very important decisions.  How in the hell, I wonder, can a major university allow its athletic director to walk away from his duties? On full salary?

Full disclosure: I have long believed the guy to be a total faker.  He was hired at West Point as AD, where he claimed in his bio that in his previous job - at Oregon State - he was instrumental in hiring Mike Riley as head coach, and he “had oversight” of the football program. At the time of his hiring at West Point, I inquired about him at the Corvallis, Oregon newspaper. The guy I spoke to in the sports department had never even heard of a "Kevin Anderson."  He laughed when I mentioned the “oversight” claim.  Another person I spoke to who had connections in the athletic department at OSU reported that then-OSU AD Bob DeCarolis had evidently suggested to Mr. Anderson that he might want to  start looking for another job.

Kevin Anderson  did nothing at West Point to impress the people who follow football - Army never beat Navy during his tenure - and when Maryland hired him, very few people were sorry to see him go.

Once at Maryland, practically his first act was to fire football coach Ralph Friedgen.  Friedgen, a Maryland alum,  had just finished an 8-4 season, and had been  named ACC Coach of the Year.

Friedgen’s replacement, Randy Edsall, famously jumped ship at Connecticut - technically, he jumped ship in Phoenix,  failing to accompany his  UConn players back to Connecticut after a Fiesta Bowl defeat - in order to get started at Maryland.  Despite the head start, his term at College Park was a failure: he was 22-34 before being relieved  six games into the 2015 season.

The jury is still out on Edsall’s successor, D. J. Durkin.  He went 6-7 in 2016, his first year, but this year the Terps are 3-3, with likely losses coming up at the hands of Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State and and Penn State, and potential wins against Indiana and Rutgers. Sounds like 5-7 to me.

Interestingly, there were some statements at the time of Friedgen’s firing that it had somethig to do with lagging attendance.

So how about this? In Friedgen’s last year - 2010 - average attendance was 39,168.

Attendance got a big goose in 2014 when Maryland joined the Big Ten,  and home games against Ohio State, Iowa and Michigan State drew big crowds (thanks in large part to all the Ohio State, Iowa and Michigan State alumni in the Washington, DC area) and the Terps averaged 46,981.

The next year, 2015, playing Penn State in Baltimore in front of 69,000, plus big crowds for Wisconsin and Micihigan, they averaged 44,341.

But here’s the indictment of Mr. Kevin Anderson: in 2016, despite being in the Big Ten, their average attendance was 39,615 - less than 500  more than the figure that supposedly cost Ralph Friedgen his job. True, the Terps’ Big Ten home schedule contained only one big hitter - Ohio State - and that game draw only 48,000.  But clearly, rather than hustling to put Maryland fans in the seats, Anderson was counting on visitors from Big Ten schools to pad his home attendance.

To show that Maryland has not been pulling its weight in the Big Ten, the 2015 Terps played in front of 100,778 at Penn State, 110,626 at Michigan, and 89,707 at Nebraska.

My guess is that this "sabbatical"  is some fancy sort of severance to spare Mr. Anderson the indignity of being asked to clean out his desk and turn in his keys.  So  instead of being fired, he gets a six-month "sabbatical."  My bet: after six months, he does not return to the job. He is, in French,  histoire.

One Maryland newspaper article I read had only one lone reader's comment, and it got right to the point:

“What the hell is going on?”

http://www.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football/news/maryland-ad-kevin-anderson-taking-six-month-sabbatical/1fg2kzb0w77ri1annn4uwapzcv


*********** You’ve probably seen this - Cal QB Ross Bowers did a full front-flip (layout position) when he was hit as he tried to leap over the goal line Saturday night.  I took away some points for his landing, but he did land on his feet. It was not a fluke. The kid did the same thing in the state championship game his senior year at Bothell, Washington High.  I submit this for your consideration: his mother, Joanne, was head gymnastics coach at the University of Washington from 2006 to 2016.

Back when Bothell won the state championship, I learned that Ross’ dad, John Bowers, was an assistant coach at James Madison, and after checking online, I noted that he was originally from Hagerstown, Maryland. 

Hagerstown is where I got my coaching start, with a minor-league team called the Hagerstown Bears.   We got to where we were very popular and drew large crowds.

I emailed Coach Bowers to tell him how proud I was, as a former Hagerstonian, of the way his son played but more important, the way he handled himself in the post-game interviews.  You could tell he was a special kid.

To help authenticate my Hagerstown roots, I mentioned that I knew a few Bowerses (Bowers is a fairly common name there), and that I had coached the Hagerstown Bears back in the 1970s.

Replied John Bowers, “I went to all Bear home games.”

Needless to say, I’ve been following Ross Bowers’ career ever since, and I am delighted to see that he’s playing a part in Cal’s great comeback.

https://www.seattletimes.com/sports/wsu-cougar-football/cals-ross-bowers-front-flipped-touchdown-hes-done-it-before-as-qb-at-bothell-hs/

*********** Hi Coach

By Formation, if a team ran a Quad set, where the Quad side featured a normal TE on the LOS, with two slots off the LOS and a WR on the LOS, is the TE considered covered, and therefore, ineligible?

Saw that formation this week for an upcoming opponent and the TE ran a post???

Coach-

Only two men on the line of scrimmage can be eligible, and only when they are on their respective  ends of the line AND they are wearing eligible numbers.

You have to be alert for this stuff and point it out to the official on your side. They have a lot to watch with all this spread stuff, including making sure there are seven men on the line (which for convenience sake they call “too many men in the backfield”)

(For some reason, the NFL persists in that farcical “tackle eligible” crap, where a lineman, still wearing an ineligible number, can line up on the end of the line and be eligible - provided he reports in to an official. )


*********** Jim Crawley, at China Grove, North Carolina, middle school, had been running my Double Wing and attending clinics for over ten years, and this year he decided to go all-in on the Open Wing. (Maybe, considering North Carolina’s well-earned reputation for pork barbecue, I should say he decided to go whole-hog.) 

Coach Crawley wrote me a couple of weeks ago, “I have to say that I don't think we could have put up these kinds of numbers in the Double Wing (as much as I love the DW!). Instead of 9 in the box, defenses now play us spread out and loose. It helps when you have a kid who can throw pretty well and the defense has to honor that. I'm having a good time and so are the kids!”

Coach Crawley’s two teams - seventh graders and eight graders - are both 3-2; the 7th graders have outscored opponents 182-90, and the 8th graders 140-68. The losses have been close: two weeks ago, the eight graders dropped a close one to their toughest rival, 48-44. (Imagine all those points in eight-minute quarters!) He’s been sharing video with me, and I would have to say he’s done a heck of a job.

This past week, after wins of 34-22 by the 7th graders and 34-26 by the 8th graders, Coach Crawley wrote, “The best compliment came from their coach, a stand up guy that I've coached against for 10+ years. He said, ‘Coach, you need go to back to running that stuff you used to run!’”

He went on,
As a side note, we ended 7th grade practice yesterday with a game called "Inside Out". It's kind of like "Bacon" but for the offense. The starting offense got in the huddle and I told them to exchange wrist bands, lineman for skill and vice versa so that the backs were the OL and OL were the backs and receivers. Then we told the defense to put DB's and LB's on the line, and the linemen were the DB's and LB's. Then we lined up and ran 6/7 G-O, wedge and counter. Funniest thing I've ever seen! We only did it for 10 minutes but the kids had a blast. My QB got a huge thrill out of running circles at open guard and I found out that my open guard would make a heck of a FB in a double wing. He ran the ball like a beast! Nobody wanted to tackle him. The kids left practice smiling and laughing and they also learned an appreciation for another position.


*********** QUIZ ANSWER - A wide receiver,  Harlon Hill came out of little-known Florence State Teachers’ College as a 15th-round draft pick by the Chicago Bears and shocked the football world by winning NFL Rookie  of the Year honors.

In his nine-year NFL career, he went to three Pro Bowls, he was three times All-Pro, and he was named NFL MVP in 1955.

He caught 233 passes for 4717 yards and 40 touchdowns, and he led the NFL in touchdown passes in 1954 and 1955.

The Harlon Hill Award, named in his honor, is given annually to the top player in Division II .

(Florence State is now known as North Alabama.)

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING HARLON HILL

A few coaches have apologized for having to look up an answer.  One even disqualified himself because he felt guilty for not knowing the answer right off the top.

Gentlemen, please… No doubt, a few of the guys  already know the answers without looking…

But my aim is to help increase overall knowledge of the people who have made our game great (one reason why I avoid the use of the word “trivia”) and it pleases me greatly when someone looks up an answer and then tells me “I never knew that.”

It’s the teacher in me.


NOW THEN,  HARLON HILL…

Mark Kaczmarek - Davenport, Iowa (dominated the Pack as a receiver for Da Bears…seemed he converted every crucial 3rd down!)
Josh Montgomery -Berwick, Louisiana
Joel Mathews - Independence, Missouri (Your clue about the D2 honor gave me the answer...having played at Northwest Missouri, I'm familiar with it.  Interestingly enough, I can't think of anyone from Northwest who has won it despite all the standout players that have been there.  I know nobody cares though, the national titles are way more fun.) - NM Missouri’s long-time coach Mel Tjeerdsma (“Church-mah”) is an all-time great -
Mick Yanke - Cokato, Minnesota (Thank you Coach for the long excerpt on West Point)
John Vermillion - St. Petersburg, Florida
Mike Benton - Colfax, Illinois (also known as Junious Hill - Junious was his middle name)
Adam Wesoloski - Pulaski, Wisconsin
Pete Porcelli - Troy, New York
Ken Hampton - Raleigh, North Carolina
Tim Bross - Kirkwood, Missouri
Ossie Osmundson - Woodland, Washington

*********** I’m  grateful to Tim Brown of Florence, Alabama for suggesting Harlon Hill.   Also for adding, “Harlon Hill's  college team also included George "Goober " Lindsey.”

Quite so.  George Lindsey, aka Goober, played quarterback.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/07/arts/television/george-lindsey-tvs-goober-pyle-dies-at-83.html

*********** QUIZ - He came out of a high school program in Lawrence, Kansas that was one of the best in the nation in the 1950s and 1960s and he never played in a losing game in high school.   From 1951 through 1960 Lawrence was 152-12-5 with 13 state titles and 12 undefeated seasons. From 1955 to 1960 Lawrence won 47 straight games.

At Kansas, playing both ways, he started out as a halfback (running back) and made All-America his sophomore year.

He was switched to quarterback his junior year, and still wearing his halfback number (21) he again won All-America honors.

With him at quarterback his junior and senior years, the Jayhawks were 15-5-2 and finished in the top 20 both years.

As a punter, he led the nation one year with a 45.6 yard average, and he still holds the Kansas records for longest interception return (98 yards against TCU) and longest punt (94 yards against Oklahoma.)

He would later be named Kansas Jayhawks’ Player of the Century, and he is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

He was named MVP in both the East-West game and the College All-Star Game.

Drafted in the first round in the NFL and the third round in the AFL, he signed with the Los Angeles Chargers. He remained with the Chargers as they moved to San Diego, then played with the Rams, the Packers and the Oilers.

After sharing the Chargers’ starting QB job, he took over in 1966 and over the next four seasons, running Sid Gillman’s supercharged offense, he threw for more than 3,000 yards and more than 23 touchdowns per season.

As a pro quarterback, he was the AFL’s leading passer in 1965 and 1968 and was a four-time AFL All-Star.

After the leagues merged, he led all NFL passers in 1971 and was named the NFL’s Man of the Year that year. He was All-Pro in 1973, and played in the Pro Bowl in 1972 and in 1973.

He had his best years with the Chargers, but his trade by the Rams to the Packers for five draft choices near the end of his career was, shall we say,  “highly beneficial” to the Rams.

Except for a handful of games, he wore 21 for his entire career, and is the last quarterback in the NFL to wear a number higher than 19.




american flagFRIDAY,  OCTOBER 13,  2017  -“We must remember that one man is much the same as another, and that he is best who is trained in the severest school.”   Thucydides

*********** The revelation that Spenser Rapone, a West Point cadet who made no secret of his love for communism and his disdain for America and for West Point, somehow managed to  graduate - and is still serving in the Army - has raised a number of questions.

Spenser rapone hatspenser rapone che shirt

http://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2017/09/29/former-west-point-cadet-in-che-guevara-shirt-is-an-afghanistan-combat-veteran-and-other-rumors-clarified/

Chief among those questions  is how a guy like this failed to come to the attention of the people in charge , who surely would have “separated” him from the Military Academy.  Or would they?

Not according to a letter written by Lieutenant Colonel Robert M. Heffington, of the West Point Class of 1997.

In the  letter to  West Point graduates LTC Heffington charges in the strongest words possible that the Rapone incident is just one example of the way West Point leadership, often in the interests of “diversity, ” has systematically  been lowering its admission standards, softening its discipline,  and watering  down its curriculum:

Dear Sir/Ma’am,

Before you read any further, please understand that the following paragraphs come from a place of intense devotion and loyalty to West Point. My experience as a cadet had a profound impact upon who I am and upon the course of my life, and I remain forever grateful that I have the opportunity to be a part of the Long Gray Line. I firmly believe West Point is a national treasure and that it can and should remain a vitally important source of well trained, disciplined, highly educated Army officers and civilian leaders. However, during my time on the West Point faculty (2006-2009 and again from 2013-2017), I personally witnessed a series of fundamental changes at West Point that have eroded it to the point where I question whether the institution should even remain open. The recent coverage of 2LT Spenser Rapone – an avowed Communist and sworn enemy of the United States – dramatically highlighted this disturbing trend. Given my recent tenure on the West Point faculty and my direct interactions with Rapone, his “mentors,” and with the Academy’s leadership, I believe I can shed light on how someone like Rapone could possibly graduate.

First and foremost, standards at West Point are nonexistent. They exist on paper, but nowhere else. The senior administration at West Point inexplicably refuses to enforce West Point’s publicly touted high standards on cadets, and, having picked up on this, cadets refuse to enforce standards on each other. The Superintendent refuses to enforce admissions standards or the cadet Honor Code, the Dean refuses to enforce academic standards, and the Commandant refuses to enforce standards of conduct and discipline. The end result is a sort of malaise that pervades the entire institution. Nothing matters anymore. Cadets know this, and it has given rise to a level of cadet arrogance and entitlement the likes of which West Point has never seen in its history.
Every fall, the Superintendent addresses the staff and faculty and lies. He repeatedly states that “We are going to have winning sports teams without compromising our standards,” and everyone in Robinson Auditorium knows he is lying because we routinely admit athletes with ACT scores in the mid-teens across the board. I have personally taught cadets who are borderline illiterate and cannot read simple passages from the assigned textbooks. It is disheartening when the institution’s most senior leader openly lies to his own faculty-and they all know it.

The cadet honor code has become a laughingstock. Cadets know they will not be separated for violating it, and thus they do so on a daily basis. Moreover, since they refuse to enforce standards on each other and police their own ranks, cadets will rarely find a cadet at an honor hearing despite overwhelming evidence that a violation has occurred. This in tum has caused the staff and faculty to give up even reporting honor incidents. Why would a staff or faculty member expend the massive amount of time and energy it takes to report an honor violation-including writing multiple sworn statements, giving interviews, and testifying at the honor hearing-when they know without a doubt the cadet will not be found (or, if found, the Superintendent will not separate the cadet)? To make matters worse, the senior leadership at West Point actively discourages staff and faculty from reporting honor violations. l was unfortunate enough to experience this first hand during my first tour on the faculty, when the Commandant of Cadets called my office phone and proceeded to berate me in the most vulgar and obscene language for over ten minutes because I had reported a cadet who lied to me and then asked if “we could just drop it.” Of course, I was duty bound to report the cadet’s violation, and I did. During the course of the berating I received from the Commandant, I never actually found out why he was so angry. It seemed that he was simply irritated that the institution was having to deal with the case, and that it was my fault it even existed. At the honor hearing the next day, I ended up being the one on trial as my character and reputation were dragged through the mud by the cadet and her civilian attorney while I sat on the witness stand without any assistance. In the end, of course, the cadet was not found (despite having at first admitted that she lied), and she eventually graduated. Just recently a cadet openly and obviously plagiarized his History research paper, and his civilian professor reported it. The evidence was overwhelming-there was not the slightest question of his guilt, yet the cadet was not found. The professor, and indeed all the faculty who knew of the case, were completely demoralized. This is the new norm for the cadet honor system. In fact, there is now an addition to the honor system (the Willful Admission Process) which essentially guarantees that if a cadet admits a violation, then separation is not even a possibility. In reality, separation is not a possibility anyway because the Superintendent refuses to impose that sanction.

Academic standards are also nonexistent. I believe this trend started approximately ten years ago, and it has continued to get worse. West Point has stated standards for academic expectations and performance, but they are ignored. Cadets routinely fail multiple classes and they are not separated at the end-of-semester Academic Boards. Their professors recommend “Definitely Separate,” but those recommendations are totally disregarded. I recently taught a cadet who failed four classes in one semester (including mine), in addition to several she had failed in previous semesters, and she was retained at the Academy. As a result, professors have lost hope and faith in the entire Academic Board process. It has been made clear that cadets can fail a multitude of classes and they will not be separated. Instead, when they fail (and they do to a staggering extent), the Dean simply throws them back into the mix and expects the faculty to somehow drag them through the academic program until they manage to earn a passing grade. What a betrayal this is to the faculty! Also, since they get full grade replacement if they must re­take a course, cadets are actually incentivized to fail. They know they can re-take the course over the summer when they have no other competing requirements, and their new grade completely replaces the failing one. ST AP (Summer Term Academic Program) is also now an accepted summer detail assignment, so retaking a course during the summer translates into even more summer leave for the deficient cadet.
Even the curriculum itself has suffered. The plebe American History course has been revamped to focus completely on race and on the narrative that America is founded solely on a history of racial oppression. Cadets derisively call it the “I Hate America Course.” Simultaneously, the plebe International History course now focuses on gender to the exclusion of many other important themes. On the other hand, an entire semester of military history was recently deleted from the curriculum (at West Point!). In all courses, the bar has been lowered to the point where it is irrelevant. If a cadet fails a course, the instructor is blamed, so instructors are incentivized to pass everyone. Additionally, instead of responding to cadet failure with an insistence that cadets rise to the challenge and meet the standard, the bar for passing the course itself is simply lowered. This pattern is widespread and pervades every academic department.

Conduct and disciplinary standards are in perhaps the worst shape of all. Cadets are jaded, cynical, arrogant, and entitled. They routinely talk back to and snap at their instructors (military and civilian alike), challenge authority, and openly refuse to follow regulations. They are allowed to wear civilian clothes in almost any arena outside the classroom, and they flaunt that privilege. Some arrive to class unshaven, in need of haircuts, and with uniforms that look so ridiculously bad that, at times, I could not believe I was even looking at a West Point cadet. However, if a staff or faculty member attempts to correct the cadet in question, that staff/faculty member is sure to be reprimanded for “harassing cadets.” For example, as I made my rounds through the barracks inspecting study conditions one evening as the Academic Officer in Charge, I encountered a cadet in a company study room. He was wearing a pair of blue jeans and nothing else, and was covered in tattoos. He had long hair, was unshaven, and I was honestly unsure ifhe was even a cadet. He looked more like a prison convict to me. When I questioned what he was doing there, he remained seated in his chair and sneered at me that he “was authorized” because he was a First Class cadet. I proceeded to correct him and then reported him to the chain of command the next morning. Later that day I received an email from the Brigade Tactical Officer telling me to “stay in my lane.” I know many other officers receive the same treatment when attempting to make corrections. It is extremely discouraging when the response is invariably one that comes to the defense of the cadet.

That brings me to another point: cadets’ versions of stories are always valued more highly by senior leaders than those of commissioned officers on the staff and faculty. It is as if West Point’s senior leaders believe their job is to “protect” cadets from the staff and faculty at all costs. This might explain why the faculty’s recommendations are ignored at the Academic Boards, why honor violations are ignored (and commissioned officers are verbally abused for bringing them to light), and why cadets always “win” when it comes to conduct and disciplinary issues.

It seems that the Academy’s senior leaders are intimidated by cadets. During my first tour on the faculty (I was a CPT at the time), I noticed that 4th class cadets were going on leave in civilian clothes when the regulation clearly stated they were supposed to be wearing a uniform. During a discussion about cadet standards between the BTO and the Dept. of History faculty, I asked why plebes were going on leave in civilian clothes. His answer astonished me: “That rule is too hard to enforce.” Yet West Point had no problem enforcing that rule on me in the mid-1990s. I found it impossible to believe that the several hundred field grade officers stationed at West Point could not make teenagers wear the uniform. This anecdote highlights the fact that West Point’s senior leaders lack not the ability but the motivation to enforce their will upon the Corps of Cadets.

This brings me to the case of now-2LT Spenser Rapone. It is not at all surprising that the Academy turned a blind eye to his behavior and to his very public hatred of West Point, the Army, and this nation. I knew at the time I wrote that sworn statement in 2015 that he would go on to graduate. It is not so much that West Point’s leadership defends his views (Prof. Hosein did, however); it is that West Point’s senior leaders are infected with apathy: they simply do not want to deal with any problem, regardless of how grievous a violation of standards and/or discipline it may be. They are so reticent to separate problematic cadets (undoubtedly due to the “developmental model” that now exists at USMA) that someone like Rapone can easily slip through the cracks. In other words, West Point’s leaders choose the easier wrong over the harder right.

I could go on, but I fear that this letter would simply devolve into a screed, which is not my intention. I will sum up by saying this: a culture of extreme permissiveness has invaded the Military Academy, and there seems to be no end to it. Moreover, this is not unintentional; it is a deliberate action that is being taken by the Academy’s senior leadership, though they refuse to acknowledge or explain it. Conduct and behavior that would never be tolerated at a civilian university is common among cadets, and it is supported and defended by the Academy’s senior leaders in an apparent and misguided effort to attract more applicants and cater to what they see as the unique needs of this generation of cadets.

Our beloved Military Academy has lost its way. It is a shadow of what it once was. It used to be a place where standards and discipline mattered, and where concepts like duty, honor, and country were real and they meant something. Those ideas have been replaced by extreme permissiveness, rampant dishonesty, and an inexplicable pursuit of mediocrity. Instead of scrambling to restore West Point to what it once was, the Academy’s senior leaders give cadets more and more privileges in a seeming effort to tum the institution into a third-rate civilian liberal arts college. Unfortunately, they have largely succeeded. The few remaining members of the staff and faculty who are still trying to hold the line are routinely berated, ignored, and ultimately silenced for their unwillingness to “go along with the program.” The Academy’s senior leaders simply do not want to hear their voices or their concerns. Dissent is crushed-I was repeatedly told to keep quiet at faculty meetings, even as a LTC, because my dissent was neither needed nor appreciated.

It breaks my heart to write this. It breaks my heart to know first-hand what West Point was versus what it has become. This is not a “Corps has” story; it is meant to highlight a deliberate and radical series of changes being undertaken at the highest levels of USMA’ s leadership that are detrimental to the institution. Criticizing these changes is not popular. I have already been labeled a “traitor” by some at the Academy due to my sworn statement’s appearance in the media circus surrounding Spenser Rapone. However, whenever I hear this, I am reminded of the Cadet Prayer:

” … suffer not our hatred of hypocrisy and pretense ever to diminish. Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half-truth when the whole can be won. …that scorns to compromise with vice and injustice, and knows no fear when truth and right are in jeopardy.”

West Point was once special, and it can be again. Spenser Rapone never should have been admitted, much less graduate, but he was-and that mistake is directly attributable to the culture of permissiveness and apathy that now exists there.

Sincerely and Respectfully,

Robert M. Heffington
LTC, U.S. Army (Retired), West Point Class of 1997

*********** LTC Huffington’s letter would be disturbing at any time.

But coming as it does, not long after the publication of John Vermillion’s “The Supe,” it makes author Vermillion’s novel as much an accurate depiction of the forces   undermining one of our most treasured institutions as it is an entertaining mystery.

John’s bio: John M. Vermillion graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point and retired from the US Army as an Infantry Colonel after almost 25 years. For the next 10 years he worked overseas (Germany, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Iraq) in a variety of quasi-military positions. In addition to a long slate of military schools, including the Airborne and Ranger programs, he also graduated from the School of Advanced Military Studies and the National War College. Along the path of military assignments he served as a platoon leader in Vietnam and as instructor of English at West Point.

(In addition, he’s pretty doggone good at answering my twice-weekly quizzes.)

Here are some reviews of “The Supe.”

“John Vermillion has hit a home run with this first novel about West Point. The author is himself a West Point graduate and decorated Vietnam-combat-veteran. But the story is a very current one that could be taken from the headlines of today's news. The author really seems to describe the terrible cost of Washington, DC. PC political correctness run amok - making West Point a sociology experiment, where enhanced diversity, reducing sexual harassment, and religious and sexual preferences are higher priorities than the United State's Military Academy's true mission - to develop LEADERS OF CHARACTER, and ultimately to lead soldiers and win America's wars.”

“This book is compelling on two levels: it is a first-rate story of suspense, weaving the thread of a counter-terror cat and mouse plot through the book. On a higher level, it is a morality play about leadership. The author, a West Point graduate and combat veteran, understands and personifies the 200 year old mission of the Military Academy: to graduate leaders of character to win America's wars. He delivers this message in the person of Marine Lieutenant General Simon Pack, a West Point graduate who is coaxed out of retirement to re-orient the Academy on this mission and recapture the essential spirit of the Corps of Cadets. The author doesn't pull any punches with his views of the rampant political correctness that has afflicted the US Army and its leadership. The writing is natural and flowing; the plot is captivating; the message is powerful.”

“A really entertaining story and great read--a very good novel that's worth more than one visit. The work is also a hard hitting examination of where our society and country are in understanding our liberty and how to defend it. From personal experience the work develops themes in the course of the storyline that are more than plausible--they've happened. The author uses the character Simon Pack as a contemporary champion of the most essential components of what an effective leader is--military or civilian. He becomes the last great warrior for the soul of a great national institution of American leadership. And the battle for the soul of American leadership plays out on the campus of the U. S. Military Academy. It is a contemporary battlefield that arrays the most destructive forces assaulting our liberties and the national character ideal that West Point represents in what becomes a battle to the death.”

“The Supe” is on sale at amazon.com : https://www.amazon.com/Supe-Novel-West-Point/dp/1511525738

*********** “The courage of these women coming forward now is really important because it can't just end with one person's disgraceful behavior and the consequences that he is now facing.  This has to be a wake-up call and shine a bright spotlight on anything like this behavior anywhere, at any time."

That was  Hillary Clinton, praising the alleged victims of Harvey Weinstein.  But she could just as easily have been talking about the accusers of one William Jefferson Clinton.

*********** It’s a good thing the major colleges aren’t ranked by a computer-rating system or LSU would have taken a huge hit Wednesday night.   Fresh off their upset of LSU, the Troy Trojans got bopped, at home, by South Alabama. 

*********** It’s been a tough season for Oregon State coach Gary Anderson.  Week by week you could see the guy suffering as his team got weaker and weaker, and after last Saturday’s whipping of his Beavers by the Washington Huskies,  he’d had enough.  He threw in the towel.

It’s a very sad time for Oregon State fans, whose Beavers  not that long ago could go toe-to-toe with anyone in the Pac-12, and for Anderson, who walked away from a big job at Wisconsin to take the OSU job in the first place,  and as recently as the end of last season appeared to be on the upswing after the Beavers pounded the Oregon Ducks.

Here’s the amazing thing, though:  he could have continued just going through the  motions, with a contract that ran through 2021.  Or he could have tried to walk away with some sort of settlement.  But while some people are calling him a quitter, I have to say that it takes a man of rare integrity to essentially rip up a $12 million contract, as he did.

A couple of names mentioned as possible replacements: Beau Baldwin, now OC at Cal, and Jim Leavitt, DC at Oregon. Baldwin has been a head coach at Eastern Washington, where he won an FCS title; Leavitt built the South Florida program from the ground up and did an oustanding job there.

*********** Slim pickings on the college football TV front this weekend:

FRIDAY NIGHT:

Clemson at Syracuse.  Watch this? Are you serious?
Washington State at Cal.  Cougars’ defense is good enough by itself to win this one. And then there's Luke Falk.

SATURDAY EARLY GAMES:

TCU at Kansas State - KSU got screwed last week at Texas
Texas Tech at West Virginia - I like the Mountaineers
Florida State at Duke - FSU lost a killer to Miami; Duke needs the win
Eastern Michigan at Army (sorry “Army WEST POINT”) - Eastern, now 2-3, is not bad. They’ve lost three games by a total of 16 points, and lost only 24-20 at Kentucky. Army is 4-2 but they haven’t beaten anybody: Fordham, Buffalo, UTEP and Rice are a combined 5-19.

NOONISH GAMES

Auburn at LSU - Call me nuts, but I’m going with LSU
Georgia Tech-Miami - THE GAME OF THE DAY.  Of course, I’ll go with the triple-option team
Oklahoma-Texas at Dallas - Two first-year coaches who could use a win.  I don’t particularly care for the Horns, but I think that they may be the better team.
Navy at Memphis - Memphis is explosive but Navy can wear your ass down.  Does anybody out there realize that Navy is unbeaten?

LATE AFTERNOON GAMES

Can’t be bothered watching “games” like Arkansas at Alabama or Missouri at Georgia
Utah at USC - Utah (4-1) just lost to Stanford last week. We’ll see how good the Trojans are.  I’m picking the upset, but that’s because I want it to happen
Michigan State at Minnesota - Will the Spartans be down, after beating “Big Brother” last week?
Washington at Arizona State - This could be a tough one for the Huskies
Oregon at Stanford - Both teams are 4-2, but with starting QB Justin Herbert the Ducks aren’t the same team that went out and won those 4 games

*********** Look good, play good. This Saturday, Florida is going to dress like actual Gators - scales and all.

http://dailysnark.com/florida-gators-wear-craziest-uniforms-season-vs-texas/

*********** There, there.  You’ll get over it.  I know the USA Soccer Team’s loss to mighty Trinidad and Tobago hit you hard, especially (knowing how you follow these things) after you learned that “our” loss, combined with Panama’s win over Costa Rica and Honduras’ win over Mexico, meant that “we” would not be taking part in next year’s World Cup.

That dopey “I BELIEVE THAT WE CAN WIN!” chant?  Not this time.

Which brings up the question: is there a bigger fraud being perpetrated on the American public than soccer?  Bit by bit, soccer has insinuated its way into American culture until now it’s so (supposedly) mainstream that any time you see a TV commercial advertising a minivan, it’s a “soccer mom” (a term that needs no definition) driving a group of little kids (diverse, of course) to soccer practice.

You’d think that after years and years of soccer people taking over our parks and athletic fields for peewee soccer,  after hours and hours  of mommies and daddies in lawn chairs watching their pre-schoolers kick soccer balls around in what resembles a sort of child worship, the soccer pooh-bahs at the top would have something to show for it.

(The standing joke has been, “Soccer is the sport of the future - and always will be.”)

I’ll tell you why - all those adorable little 5-year-olds?  As they grow older, most of the real athletes among them will switch over to baseball or basketball or - gasp! - football. Or even hockey and lacrosse.  Real sports, if you will.  The vast majority of those who remain with soccer are the ones whose worshipful mommies and daddies watched every practice and every game and then, with visions of college scholarships and World Cups dancing in their heads,  fell for the recruiting spiels of travel-team coaches and comitted their kids to a misspent youth of soccer-soccer-soccer, year-round.

I said, years ago, that if American soccer were ever to make it, the soccer people would have to recognize that unlike elsewhere in the world, soccer in the US is perceived as a soft sport; they’d have to deal with the fact that American soccer is stuck where it is because it starts out with soft, suburban kids whose parents don’t want them to do anything dangerous, and those soft kids are kept soft because they never play any other sport than soccer.

Soccer’s problem is how to recruit tough athletes - kids in the inner-city, if I may use that euphemism - to play a sport that those kids see as soft, especially when they can get recognition and approval - wealth, even - by playing another sport.

And in the US, unlike most other nations in the world, there are other sports to play.   Yes, there’s cricket in India and baseball in Japan, and  in Australia, Canada and South Africa they play a variety of codes of football.  Finland worships ice hockey. And basketball is making great inroads globally.  But in nations that dominate soccer, the Number Two sport is usually so far behind in popularity or participation that most of their people couldn’t even tell you what it was.  I once asked a German friend what Germany’s second most popular sport was and after quite a bit of thinking, he said, amazed at the absurdity of the thought,  “Maybe American football?”

Whenever I hear somebody say that we’re behind the rest of the world because we don’t put a soccer ball on an altar and worship it, I answer that actually, soccer’s popularity in other parts of the world is a sign of how far behind us they are  in the development of their sports. Of course their best athletes go into soccer.  What the hell other opportunities are there in Brazil? In Spain? In Germany? But given the opportunity to play another sport at the highest possible level,  how many of those soccer players might have chosen  baseball… or basketball… or football?

In America, where kids have a choice, soccer continues to be the sport of the future: among boys’ high school sports, soccer ranks no better than fifth in the number of participants, behind football, track and field, basketball and baseball. Where it’s played in the fall, it’s a distant second, far behind football; where it’s played in the spring, it’s in third place, behind track and field and baseball.

Anyhow,  as tragic as the US team’s loss is for us, think about Omar Gonzalez, a defender on the US Team, whose “own goal” helped contribute to “our” defeat. Poor guy.   He’s taking the loss hard.  “We let down an entire nation today,” said Mr. Gonzalez, in a statement rivaled in hyperbole only by the protestors at the 1968 Democratic Convention who chanted,  “The Whole World is Watching!” as Chicago police dragged them off to the slammer.

“Omar,” I’d like to tell him, “It’s okay.  We’ll get over it. All 300 million of us.”

*********** ESPN has really been whipsawed lately.  Conservatives are pissed off at it for its openly liberal agenda; liberals are pissed off at it for suspending a female named named Jamele Hill for shooting her mouth off about things that have nothing to do with sports. Both  claim to be boycotting the Worldwide Leader.

But out of the wreckage of the US Soccer Team came good news for ESPN: they won't have to  broadcast the 2018 World Cup.

That dubious prize goes to  Fox, which bid $200 million, and planned on spending “tens of millions more” on facilities in Moscow, in the expectation of drawing US audiences like the ones that watched the World Cup in 2014. 

But uh-oh.  Those 2014 viewers were  drawn mainly by the US team’s surprisingly good performance, and with the US team out of this year's  compeittion, most of those viewers are likely to be watching something else.

Fox stands to lose  “tens of millions.”  ESPN is off the hook.

*********** Sitting on Commissioner Goodell’s desk, awaiting his signature, is my suggestion for getting the NFL and its players back in the good graces of the American public.

It’s all very simple: before they could be eligible to play in the NFL, all rookies would first spend six months’ active military duty, just like any other enlistee, with a branch of the Armed Forces.  They would start with basic training, which would teach them how to take instruction and correction without mouthing off, and then they’d split their time between some sort of menial job, giving them an idea of how hard people in the real world have to work, and recruiting duty, working with real soldiers, sailors and marines.

If they did anything that would be considered improper conduct, they’d have time added to their term of service.

The NFL and the United States Government would split the cost of insuring players against loss of income resulting from any service-related injury or illness.

Talk about a win-win-win-win.

The players would benefit from the maturing influence of the service; the NFL would benefit from the players’ added maturity and from the good public relations; fans would benefit because after this most of the players would act more like adults and not overprivileged asses; and America would benefit because one day every NFL will be a veteran, and as a result of the players’ recruiting efforts,  there would be some young people out there whose eyes would be opened to the life-changing opportunities afforded them in the Armed Forces.

The only losers would be the agents, who would have to wait a little longer for their money.


*********** OPEN WING MAKES ITS DEBUT ON MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL!

If you weren’t boycotting the NFL, you may have seen the play that the Bears ran on a 2-point conversion attempt Monday night.

Jon Gruden couldn’t find words to describe how magical it looked to him. To him, it was as if he had just seen Pop Warner and Jim Thorpe and the trickery of the Carlisle Indians.

Bears criss-crossYou, of course, who know a lot more about (non-NFL) football  than Jon Gruden, immediately recognized it as a staple of our offense - the Criss-Cross.  Some of you probably jumped up out of your seats.  Maybe a few of you tested the credulity of your mates at the tavern by telling them about all the times you’ve run that same play.

Technically, it was not Cross-Cross 54-C; it would have to be called Eastern Criss-Cross 54-O, because they didn’t use “C” blocking. The tackle did not pull. The guard pulled, but he did not kick out; instead, he “wrapped around” (ran a circle) and blocked the scraping linebacker.  

Instead of kicking out the End man, they “optioned” him.  It wasn’t really an option, though - the Bears knew that the end man would play the running back, because everybody “knows” that in the NFL, the quarterback isn’t a threat.  That meant they could safely plan on pitching to the QB, Mitchell (the quarterback formerly known as Mitch) Trubisky.

The defense in my diagram is only drawn accurately at the point of attack.  But with trips to the Tight Side, down on the goal line it’s reasonable to assume that they will have a man covering each receiver, with perhaps a man over the top to support on runs and help on in-breaking routes.  That leaves “six in the box,” and the Bears did a great job of attacking it.

As most of you know, the criss-cross is not a new play.  There are lots of variations on it, and since I was running it from “Wildcat” as early as 1997, I guess I have to be among the first to run it from anything resembling shotgun.

A lot of people will be like Gruden and give the Bears credit for “innovativeness,” but that’s football.  That’s history in general.  If it happened before last Sunday, it might as well have never happened.

I give the Bears credit for actually running - and executing - a play that requires timing and coordination between the backs and ends.  A running play, even.  And a misdirection play at that.  Imagine - a play that starts in one direction but winds up going in another! A play in which the defense doesn’t immediately know who has the ball.

Dust off your old Wing-T playbook, guys!  Your local NFL team wants a look inside.  Hey - now that we know there’s at least one open-minded team, might as well go all the way and show them your Open Wing videos.  


*********** XX Option by the Bears....care to guess how many minutes of practice time will be eaten up by people trying to recreate that magic?
Jerry Lovell
Bellevue, Nebraska

Yes  Let them try to reverse-engineer it. I’ve seen how successful most guys are at doing that whenever I’ve sneaked a peek on Friday nights at opponents’ scout teams trying to run “our” offense!


*********** It started with peewee sports until now we have girls playing high school football and - almost unbelievable to an old-timer - girls wrestling with boys.

“Boys Clubs” have become “Girls and Boys Clubs.”

Now comes the news that Boy Scouts of America, which not all that long ago opened its membership to homosexuals - how’s that working out? -  will admit girls to the Cub Scouts program. 

"Cub Scout dens will be single-gender — all boys or all girls," the Boy Scouts announced.

Is there any doubt that soon enough, Boy Scouts will be “Boy and Girl” Scouts?  Or “Single-Gender Scouts?”

At a time when fewer and fewer boys are growing up with a father in the home… will there be a single f—king place left in the entire world where men can teach boys how to be men?  (That’s a rhetorical question. I already know the answer: no.)

They say it’s to accommodate busy modern families.  So why TF didn’t they just go all the way and merge with USA Soccer so they could hold soccer practice and Cub Scout pack meetings at the same time and place?


*********** QUIZ: A native of Ruston, Louisiana, DUB JONES played on a state championship high school team, and attended LSU before he was transferred to Tulane as part of the Navy’s World War II training program. He played two years at Tulane and one year for a service team in New London, Connecticut before signing to play in the All-American Football Conference.

Although drafted Number One by the Chicago Cardinals of the NFL, he accepted a higher offer  by the Miami Seahawks of the AAFC.  The Seahawks  traded him to the Brooklyn Dodgers, who then traded him to the  Cleveland Browns, whose coach, Paul Brown, had seen potential in him.

Because he was tall (6-4) and fast, able to run and catch,  Brown used him to run the ball out of the backfield or split wide as a receiver.  Brown often sent him in motion out of the backfield as a receiver.  At a time when most offenses employed two tight ends, Brown’s deploying him as a wide receiver made him  the pro game’s  first-ever “flanker back.”

While with the Browns, he played on five championship teams in two different leagues (two times in the AAFC, 3 times in the NFL).

Playing on an offensive unit with such great stars such as Otto Graham, Marion Motley, Mac Speedie and Dante Lavelli, he was twice named All-Pro.

Dub Jones  once scored six touchdowns in a single game, an NFL record he shares with Ernie Nevers and Gale Sayers.

As a Browns’ assistant coach under head coach Blanton Collier, he coached running backs (including Jim Brown and Leroy Kelly) and receivers (such as Gary Collins and Paul Warfield). But he also called the plays, making him somewhat of a modern-day offensive coordinator, and with him in that position, the Browns won the NFL title in 1964.

Dub Jones  and his wife had seven children.  Four of their sons played college football.  One of them, Bert, played so well that he was drafted out of LSU by the Baltimore Colts and played 10 years as an NFL quarterback, earning league MVP honors in 1976.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING DUB JONES
Josh Montgomery - Berwick, Louisiana
Ken Hampton - Raleigh, North Carolina
John Vermillion - St. Petersburg, Florida
Kevin McCullough - Lakeville, Indiana
KC Smith - Walpole, Massachusetts
Jerry Lovell - Bellevue, Nebraska
Adam Wesoloski - Pulaski, Wisconsin
Mick Yanke - Cokato, Minnesota
Mark Kaczmarek - Davenport, Iowa
Tim Bross - Kirkwood, Missouri
Dave Potter - Cary, North Carolina
Mike Foristiere - Mattawa, Washington
Ossie Osmundson - Woodland, Washington


*********** FROM THE “DON’T TAKE ANYTHING YOU READ AS GOSPEL   WITHOUT FIRST CHECKING IT OUT” DEPARTMENT

In his book   “On Any Given Sunday,” a biography of NFL Commissioner Bert Bell, author Robert S. Lyons penned these regrettable words in reviewing the 1946 draft:

The top pick was multipurpose back Dub Jones of Tulane, whose selection by the Chicago Cardinals was not announced until a few days later. Keeping his name secret was a waste of time.  He was lured away by the new league and ended up playing four unspectacular seasons for Miami-Brooklyn, and Cleveland of the AAFC.

“Four unspectacular seasons,” eh? 

In doing his research,  Mr. Lyons shouldn't have quit  so soon. He’d have learned Dub Jones’ pro career didn’t even get started until the AAFC folded and the Browns joined the NFL.


*********** The day Dub Jones Tied Ernie Nevers’ 22-year-old NFL  Record

By Harold Sauerbrei
Plain Dealer Reporter

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- As Dub Jones roamed in all directions for six touchdowns - the most stunning National League individual scoring performance in 22 years - the champion Cleveland Browns demolished and humiliated the pugnacious Chicago Bears, 42-21, yesterday at the stadium.

Geared to a feverish pitch by the Bears' avowed intentions of delivering a physical beating, the Browns turned the game into a masterpiece of irony by administering the worst thing you can do to a football team - licking it soundly on the playing field.

The boys understood this better than any other treatment - even a group as disposed to extra-curricular fight as the Bears.

Browns Win 8th in Row

The best halfback in the National League, Paul Brown calls him, and that is what Jones was yesterday as he commuted between the end zones. He ran for four touchdowns and caught passes from Otto Graham for two others as the Browns staged another superlative show for their eighth straight victory before 40,969.

Six touchdowns in one game - all the Browns scored - ties the National League record established by the famed Ernie Nevers of Chicago's Cardinals in November of 1929. This, too, was made against the Bears, Ernie also adding four conversions in a 40-6 rout.

Jones slashed over left tackle for five yards and his first touchdown early in the second period, then got well behind John Lujack to take a pass from Graham on a play that covered 34 yards.

Runs 12 and 27 Yards

He put the Browns three touchdowns ahead with a 12-yard sprint around left end and followed this up with an almost supernatural sprint good for 27 yards.

A 42-yard run was good for his fifth, and he closed out his day's work by flagging a long pass from Graham, a play on which he said he never saw the ball until just before he stretched his long arms to take the throw.

But even as great an individual show somehow ranks second to the final result. The decisiveness of the Browns' triumph over a team that everyone respected for so many years cannot be found in that final score.

It was 21 to 0 before the Bears scored, and it was 42 to 7 before the now decaying Monsters of the Midway got their final two touchdowns - one a freak by Ed Sprinkle on a play on which Graham has his nose broken, and another on the last play of the game.

That the Browns didn't win by 60 or 70 points can be attributed partly to a bad break in the officiating, a couple of fumbles when they were at their offensive peak, and a tendency to let down once the game was under control.

It is merely in strict adherence to good reporting, not the intention to question the officiating, to record that the Browns were assessed 299 yards for 21 "infractions."

In one series of downs with the Bears on the offensive, the Browns three times were charged with 15 yards for a personal foul. Two of them nullified intercepted passes, the second of which was returned 94 yards to an apparent touchdown by Don Shula.

The three penalties put the Bears on Cleveland's nine-yard line, but still they couldn't score.

Few times in their six-year history, even through four years of the All-America Conference, have the Browns had a football game so well under control. They were at their season offensive peak in registering a total of 550 yards. Their defense once more was great, holding the great Chicago running attack to 74 yards and yielding only 182 in the air.

Somehow, the triumph produced a mark of finality about the greatness of the Browns. They had won championships and conquered all opposition, but never before had beaten the Bears in a league game. Now they have accomplished this, and there is nothing left to do - except win a second straight championship in the National League.

Browns Near Playoff

The Browns are heavy favorites to win again. They have won eight and lost one and need only two victories in their final three games to qualify for a playoff berth.

By whipping the Bears, the Browns helped jumble the National division standings. The loss dropped the Bears into a second-place tie with Los Angeles, which lost to Washington, while Detroit's Lions eased into first place.

Jones' touchdowns boosted his point total for the season to 66 and put Dub in contention for the league's scoring championship.

The last five times he touched the ball yesterday, Dub scored a touchdown. He carried the ball a total of nine times for 116 yards and he caught three passes for 80.


*********** Post-game sidebars:

“I knew Dub needed one more TD to tie the record," said Otto Graham, "so when Paul Brown sent in a running play I ignored it and called for a pass. Dub cut down and then in and I hit him for the sixth TD. It was one of the few times I ever disobeyed a Brown call," chuckled Otto.

"I was really glad it happened to a guy like Dub Jones. He was truly a real team man. He didn't give a darn about the records just as long as we won. He was by far one of my best receivers at analyzing defenses. When he would come back to the huddle and tell me what he thought would work, I listened because you could count on him being right."

"Otto generally threw a soft pass," said Jones, "but like all great passers, he could throw all types. Our pass offense was years ahead of the defenses. We had it so perfected that Otto could release the ball almost a fraction of a second before the receiver made his cut. To my way of thinking, Paul Brown was one of the grealest innovators the game has ever seen, a true genius."

"The game was a very emotional one," recalled Dub. We were leading our division and the Bears theirs. For me it was certainly a very unusual game for I scored the last five times I got my hands on the ball. We also set a record for penalties that still stands" On that dramatic day, the Browns logged 209 yards in penalties and the Bears, 165.


*********** From the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame:

In 1950, when the Cleveland Browns moved from the All-American Football Conference to the National Football League, schedule-makers wasted no time testing the new kids on the block.

The Brown’s first NFL game was a Saturday night game with the Philadelphia Eagles one day before the other teams opened their seasons—a match up of the defending champions of both the NFL and the defunct AAFC.

“It was like the first Super Bowl,” William "Dub" Jones recalled later. “Two league champions, with a crowd of nearly 90,000 people. It was probably the biggest game I’d played in my life.”

He scored the first touchdown on a 59-yard pass from Otto Graham and set up the final touchdown by turning another Graham pass into a 57-yard gain as the Browns rolled past the defending champions, 35-10.

When Paul Brown died in the summer of 1991, he was remembered as one of the great innovators in National Football League history. None of his innovations had as much impact on the game as the position he created for William A. “Dub” Jones—flanker back. It revolutionized the game by introducing the concept of three wide receivers.

Jones was the prototype flanker back because he was equally effective as a runner and pass receiver.

Dub Jones led Coach L.J. “Hoss” Garrett’s Ruston High Bearcats to the state football championship in 1941, and played at both LSU and Tulane during World War II—switching schools because of the wartime V-12 training program.

He won All-American honors as a junior at Tulane in 1944, and was preparing to return to LSU for his final year of eligibility when the Miami Seahawks made him an offer he couldn’t refuse-$12,000 a year.

Miami sank in a sea of red ink after winning only three of 14 games, needing financial aid from other clubs to finish the season. Jones was sold to the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Playing with a cast on one hand in an injury-plagued 1947 season, Jones saw more action at defensive back than he did on offense. But Brown was impressed with the long-legged speedster from North Louisiana. He traded former Michigan All-American Bob Chappius, who had been runner-up to Johnny Lujack in 1947 Heisman Trophy voting, to the Dodgers for Jones.

It was announced as a straight trade. Until he read Brown’s autobiography 25 years later, Jones didn’t know the Dodgers also threw in $25,000 cash. Brown called it the best deal he ever made.

In a 10-year pro career, Jones caught 171 passes for 2,874 yards and 20 touchdowns. He also had 2,209 yards rushing—and ran for 21 touchdowns. Those statistics were especially remarkable considering the plethora of talent that surrounded Jones. Six of his teammates made it to the pro football Hall of Fame, and Brown always insisted that Jones was as deserving as any of them.

In the eight seasons that Jones played with the Browns, they lost more than two regular-season games only twice. This was a team that won championship games by scores of 49-7, 56-10 and 38-14. The Browns won five league championships, and finished second the other three years.

Of course, no account of Jones’ pro career is complete without mention of a Nov. 25, 1951 game with the Chicago Bears. Both teams were leading their respective divisions going into that game, with the Bears defensive unit called the “Monsters of the Midway.”

Jones equaled Ernie Nevers’ NFL record by scoring all six Cleveland touchdowns in the Browns’ 42-41 victory.

“That game meant something,” he understated. “It seemed like everything went right for me. I scored five of the last six times I touched the ball.”

In the fourth quarter, Brown learned that Jones was one touchdown away from Nevers’ record and asked his flanker what play he would like for a shot at the record. Jones suggested a post pattern, and Lujack chased him into the record book on a play that covered 50 yards.

Forty years later, the record of six touchdowns has been equaled by only one other player (Gale Sayers of the Chicago Bears, in 1965).  Nobody has broken it.

Jones, who went into the construction business after his football career ended, made his football debut on a Ruston High “Pee Wee” team coached by Jimmy Mize in 1938.

“It was a great experience,” he said of his high school career. “I can’t emphasize how much those coaches (Mize and Garrett) meant to me. Nobody has ever taught me anything about running or hitting that superseded what Hoss Garrett taught me. And, really, that’s most of the game.”

When Jones retired after the 1955 season, he was the only member of a team that many people considered the greatest ever assembled who had a career total of more than 40 touchdowns.

Four of his sons played college football—one at Louisiana Tech, one at the University of Arkansas and the other two at LSU. One of them, Bert Jones, joined his dad in the NFL record book for a few years when he completed 17 consecutive passes. But his record didn’t last as long as the one his dad set.

Later, they became the first father-son combination in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

http://www.lasportshall.com/inductees/football/william-dub-jones/?query=display_name.like.jones&xsearch_id=inductee_search1&xsearch[0]=jones&back=inductee

http://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/2012/11/cleveland_browns_100_best_all-_7.html

*********** Here's a little side story: In 1990 I was a student at the National War College in D.C. The last six months we got to select our electives, and mine were on the "warfighting" menu. An Air Force Colonel was in every small group with me, and we became friends. Handsome galoot, great Louisiana near-Cajun accent, offhandedly witty and smart. In that I'm always having fun with people, poking at them locker-room style, I said jokingly to this officer--whose name was Hoss Jones--"yeah, I guess Bert Jones is your cousin, too." "Nah, he's my brother," Hoss said. After months together, Hoss hadn't mentioned Bert or his Dad. Went on to say Bert was then running LA Fish and Wildlife, or whatever they call it there. Said Bert was having the time of his life hunting and fishing, and getting paid for it, in a way.

Incidentally, Hoss Jones was once flight lead for the Thunderbirds. A mighty fine American patriot, as I suspect that entire clan is.

John Vermillion                
St Petersburg, FL

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-margie/2872534793/in/photostream/


*********** QUIZ - A wide receiver, he came out of little-known Florence State Teachers’ College as a 15th-round draft pick by the Chicago Bears and shocked the football world by winning NFL Rookie  of the Year honors.

In his nine-year NFL career, he went to three Pro Bowls, he was three times All-Pro, and he was named NFL MVP in 1955.

He led the NFL in touchdown passes in 1954 and 1955, and in his career he caught 233 passes for 4717 yards and 40 touchdowns.

An award given annually to the top player in Division II is named in his honor.

(Florence State is now known as North Alabama.)



american flagTUESDAY,  OCTOBER 10,  2017  -“We believe that talented people with bad values can do far more damage than virtuous people with lesser talents.” Charles Koch, CEO of Koch Industries

*********** The latest issue of Sports Illustrated contains a great article by Tim Layden about small-town football in years past.  Specifically, it’s a look back at his senior year playing ball in little Whitehall, New York, and the recollections  of his fellow seniors from that team.

It’s a great look at what football can mean to a town and to the guys who play it, and at the same time a rather sad look at what’s happened to small towns all over America, when  once-proud towns with enough industry to keep generations of their people working no longer have anything to keep their young people from leaving.

Ironically, Whitehall’s big rival was Granville, which now happens to be where my old friend John Irion coaches. Coach Irion won a state championship at nearby Queensbury, and after retiring from there, he’s taken on a major rebuilding assignment at Granville.

Irony of ironies, this is the week that Granville and Whitehall play.

*********** I’ll fess up: I missed most of it.  Who’d have thought that Iowa State at Oklahoma would be worth watching?  My wife and I took our dogs for a walk on the beach, and as we headed home, I checked my phone and saw that the Cyclones were making a game of it.

That put it mildly.  Suckers won!

I knew a little about the Cyclones QB, Kyle Kempt, because he’s from Massillon, Ohio - a legendary football town - and he spent a little time at Oregon State.  It’s not everyday that Oregon  State brings in a kid from Massillon, Ohio, so I paid a little attention to him.

Why Oregon State?  The kid originally committed to Cincinnati, but then Butch Jones left for Tennessee, and he wound up at Oregon State.  He was there for two years, but never started, and when Mike Riley left for Nebraska, new Beavers’ coach Gary Anderson had no use for a pro-style passer. (Right now, Anderson could use any kind of quarterback but that’s another story.)

After transferring to  Hutchinson JC in Kansas, Kempt contacted Iowa State coach Matt Campbell, who had tried to recruit him when Campbell was at Toledo and Kempt was an Ohio schoolboy star.  Campbell offered him the opportunity to walk on.

He finally got his chance to start - the first start of his career - against Oklahoma when regular starter Jacob Park was unable to play because of “personal medical reasons.” (There’s one, for those of you who like mysteries.)

What Kempt did against the Sooners was phenomenal: he was 18 of 24 passing, for 343 yards and three touchdowns, and he threw a game-winning pass with just over two minutes to play.  For his efforts, he was named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week.

But his wasn’t the only unusual QB story coming out of Ames. Some of the quarterbacking chores were handled by Joel Lanning, who carried nine times for 35 yards, and completed 2 of 3 passes.  Lanning, who was the Cyclones’ starting quarterback for a part of last season, was switched to defense this season, and he started - and played most of the game - at middle linebacker.


Michigan circle

*********** Several Michigan players locked arms and formed a circle during the national anthem Saturday.  Then, the major order of business out of the way, they turned to football.  Sort of. They went out onto the field and lost to in-state rival Michigan State.  At least one smartass suggested that they had actually formed an “O” as a tribute to that team one state  to the  south that The Legendary-Before-His-Time Coach Jim Harbaugh has yet to beat.   For what it’s worth,  Chief Holds-Camps-Everywhere is now 1-3 against the two schools that Michigan coaches are expected to beat.  Call it karma: never forget that Harbaugh is the guy who first gave us Kaepernick.

*********** Australian Rules Football’s Big Game is called the Grand Final.  The final two teams are playing for the “Premiership” (pronounced Down Under as the “PREMM-ership”) and it’s customary to play the game in Melbourne at “the G” - the MCG - officially known as the Melbourne Cricket Grounds.  It’s one big-ass stadium, and you can count on 100,000 fans being on hand for the Grand Final.

This year’s Grand Final was won by the Richmond Tigers, their first Premiership in 37 years.  They think it’s a big deal, and it is, but they don't know about the Detroit Lions (60 years without a championship)
or the Cleveland Browns (53).

Scott Van Pelt does a pretty nice job of covering the Grand Final.

http://www.espn.com.au/video/clip?id=20879587

***********  It’s no secret that Australians can play the game of basketball.  There are Aussies all over college basketball, and a number of them in the NBA.
But when a team from Australia’s pro league, the NBL, comes to America and nearly knocks off one of the NBA’s top clubs, it’s a huge boost for Australian basketball.
Melbourne United, playing in front of one of the most raucous crowds in the NBA, lost 86-85 to the Oklahoma City Thunder, but came within a blocked shot with five seconds to go of pulling off one of the biggest upsets in pro basketball history.

http://www.espn.com/nbl/story/_/id/20959470/melbourne-united-pushes-nba-oklahoma-city-thunder-limit

*********** Mark Kaczmarek, longtime coach at Assumption HS in Davenport, Iowa,  can be excused for taking a little pride in his college, Western Illinois. 

“Speaking of FCS…Western Illinois vs. Northern Iowa was a huge win for WIU & an exciting game…streamed it on ESPN3…UNI scored with 1:12 in the 4th to go up 25-29…WIU scored a TD with :06 left to go up 31-29 & on the KO picked up one of the laterals to score so final was 38-29”

We share an experience: the World Football League.  It was 1974, and “Coach Kaz,” just out of Western Illinois, played center for the New York Stars.  I was Player Personnel Director of the Philadelphia Bell.  Those suckers beat us twice, in two of the ugliest games imaginable.

The first was in Philadelphia’s huge and decrepit JFK Stadium, built in 1926 and never renovated.  The game took place in front of a very large crowd, many of whom were “admitted” free after they stormed the gates. Security, insufficent to keep the rabble out, was similarly unable to keep the mobs from roaming the sidelines, and  we missed a last-minute potential game-winning field goal because - this is no lie - one of those bastards stole our kicking tee and our kicker’s kicking shoe.

The second was on New York’s Randall’s Island, a real relic of a stadium in the middle of the East River that was even more depressing than JFK.  Hard to believe that there was  no other place in the entire New York area for them to play, but it was a sad fact.  The Jets had a lock on Shea Stadium, and Yankee Stadium, where the Giants normally played, was closed to everyone while it was being modernized.  (The Giants had to play that season in New Haven, in the Yale Bowl.)

*********** Y.A. Tittle, a Hall of Fame quarterback and a good man, one of the oldest former NFL players, died Monday.  He was 90.

The attached link to the story in the Baton Rouge Advocate does a great job of telling much of his story.  And there’s a lot to tell.

First was the reason why LSU coach Bernie Moore decided to go to the T-formation (with the QB under center):

With him in the fold, Moore went to the T-formation in 1945, Tittle’s sophomore season — but with halfback Ray Coates calling the plays. Coates later said that decision was made because, if Tittle had that responsibility, every play would have been a pass. Moore loved the single-wing, but the tailback, the primary ball-handler in that offense, had to be able to run and throw.

Tittle could only do one.

“I was so slow that, when I ran,” Tittle said, “opponents thought it was a fake — a slow-developing fake.”

The article tells how, although Y.A. was from Marshall, Texas, and his older brother, Jack, was an All-SEC player at Tulane,  he  wound up at LSU:

“Every year,” Y.A. recalled, “we’d go see Jack play against LSU, and I was impressed even as a young kid with the enthusiasm, the tiger in the cage, the campus — just the whole LSU atmosphere. I was recruited by a number of schools, but I wanted LSU, and I committed to LSU right after my senior season. But I got so much pressure from the people in Marshall about going to a Texas school that I finally agreed to visit the University of Texas. I went down there and, after a week of, shall we say, ‘good recruiting,’ I agreed to attend Texas.”

Texas coach Dana X. Bible got Tittle a summer job and put him up with another in-coming Longhorn player: Bobby Layne. Layne was a carousing, wild man — just the opposite of the shy Tittle, who was unhappy with the situation he found himself in.

LSU assistant Red Swanson, in Texas to pick up a couple of recruits, called Tittle to see if he’d reconsider.

“I said I would, but I felt embarrassed about it,” Tittle said. “Swanson said it was OK if I called Coach Bible about it, that he would have no hand in taking a boy off campus without the coach’s knowledge and that it was, after all, his own decision.

“I pretended to call him, and then I had an imaginary talk in the phone booth, nodding my head occasionally. It must have been a pretty good piece of acting. They were convinced I really talked to him. When they asked me what Coach Bible said, I told them, ‘He didn’t like it, but he understood.’ ”

http://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/sports/lsu/article_181f7c0c-6b24-11e6-b30c-579aaba33b8e.html

*********** Hey, fellas - if you had a job coaching in the NFL,   would you be snorting crack?  Before meetings? And if you were, would you be filming yourself doing it?  And if you did, would you be sending the video to a Las Vegas, um, “model?”

The Miami Dolphins’ offensive line coach was able to  answer “Yes” to all four questions, and that’s why he’s now out of work.  

To show you how stupid this guy is:  He was making a couple of million dollars a year, and he had a job for life.  Here’s the thing: once you catch on with the NFL, you are set.  If the whole staff gets fired, you’ll be okay - someone else will hire you.  Proof: this guy spent 25 years knocking around  in The League. And now, with more money than sense, he’s pissed it all away.

http://amp.miamiherald.com/sports/nfl/miami-dolphins/article177815721.html

*********** There’s such a thing as taking it too far.  A woman named Jan Welter who seems to be making a career out of telling  - and writing - about her football “experience” coaching (she spent the 2015 pre-season with the Arizona Cardinals, doing who knows what) and playing (a little) with an indoor team called the Texas Revolution.

In a column in the Wall Street Journal (September 23-24) she tells about her first experience as a player:

“During my first game, I received a handoff. The play was to dive up the middle. I gained a few yards before two guys hit me. When they got off, I was still on the ground, but I was fine.

“I jumped up and shouted at them, ‘Is that all you got?’”

Look - hats off to her for having the guts to get in there with the guys. But it’s hard to defend that kind of posturing from anyone, let alone someone 5-2, 130 pounds.

Besides, I don’t think she could have survived “all they got.”


*********** Just got my 100th varsity win!

Could not have done it without your assistance thru the years! Thank you!

Pete Porcelli
Troy, New York

*********** Will forever be thankful that Coach (Homer) Smith encouraged a 160 pound  punter/place kicker to come play football at west Point. only spent one year there on the J V team ,but thankful for the experience.

Tim Brown
Florence, Alabama

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

Agreed.  The Minnesota - Purdue game should be a good one.  

Everyone down here is gearing up for the A&M - Bama game.  Central Texas is an interesting college football region.  If you live in Austin you're presumed to be a Longhorn fan (although many are Aggie fans).  Outside of Austin you're presumed to be an Aggie fan (although many are Longhorn fans).  If you are not a Longhorn fan, or an Aggie fan, you are likely a Baylor Bear fan (Waco is only an hour and a half north of Austin).

Agreed.  Sportswriters who make up such asinine columns like "The Bottom Ten" haven't a clue what college football players and coaches must go through on a DAILY basis.  Especially when their efforts don't produce the end result of victory week in, and week out.

Joe Tiller's pass happy Purdue teams caused more grief for Glen Mason and the Minnesota Golden Gophers.  I remember attending one such game at the Metrodome when the Gophers squandered a big lead and lost to the Boilers on a desperation end of the game touchdown pass. Of course, in due time, squandering big leads was a major cause of Mason losing his job.  But Tiller probably did more for the spread offense, and passing game at the college level as anyone. Just ask Drew Brees and Kyle Orton.

Did I mention how much I dislike the NFL?

QUIZ: Roosevelt "Rosie" Grier.  Talk about an anchor of two of the greatest defensive lines in pro football.  But it was with the Rams that he proved to be a real thorn in my side.  (After moving from Chicago to California as a kid we no longer could see the Bears much on TV, so I ended up settling on the 49ers).  Watching Grier, Olsen, Jones, and Lundy continually send John Brodie to the sidelines year after year drove me nuts.

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** Hi Coach Wyatt!

I wanted to let you know how things went this week. We played Mooresville Middle School who are always athletic and big on both lines. Their 7th and 8th grade teams are probably the class of the conference this year. Anyway, we lost both games, 7th grade 32-20 and 8th grade 48-44. In both contests, we lost our starting B-backs to cramps for significant amounts of time in the second half. It's still hot here although the humidity has lessened. This cramp thing is frustrating because we condition in practice and preach diet and drinking lots of fluids.

In the 7th grade contest, we put a scare in them but in reality they had a few more bullets in their gun than we did. Turnovers  and a cramping B-back got us in this one. Our TE is still struggling with the cutoff block but we are very thin depth-wise and he's the best we have there.  

In the 8th grade game, we jumped out 22-8 late in the second quarter. However, they were able get two quick scores and we matched one right before halftime, making the score 28-24. The second half, they were able to score three times and we were only able to score twice. Two missed PAT's on our part were the difference in losing or going to OT. Our kids left everything on the field against a talented opponent.

Hugh, I have to say that I don't think we could have put up these kinds of numbers in the Double Wing (as much as I love the DW!). Instead of 9 in the box, defenses now play us spread out and loose. It helps when you have a kid who can throw pretty well and the defense has to honor that. I'm having a good time and so are the kids! Thanks again for all of your help.

The video is pretty good this week except for the angle of the sun and the ability of the iPad to zoom in only so far.

I hope you and Connie have great weekend!

Jim Crawley
China Grove, North Carolina

***********  We were down in San Diego last weekend to watch eldest son play Association Football for SDSU.  At a sidewalk cafe, I picked up the 9-28-17 copy of the San Diego Reader, and I came across this gem in a story about Burt Reynolds:

"He couldn't wait to talk about Robert Aldrich's The Longest Yard. 'I was playing ball and getting paid for it' says Reynolds, fondly recalling his time making the picture...Instead of a stuntman doubling the hits, Reynolds went up against such guys as pro footballer Ray Nitschke.  After filming, the NFL great pulled Reynolds aside and said, 'You know, kid, you could have played.'  There's a pause before Reynolds adds, 'I'll take that to my grave and put it on my tombstone.'

'I kept saying to him, "Ray, it's just a movie", and he would say, "Not to me".  He would always put his hand on the back of my helmet to use as leverage when he stood up.  I'd be pulling grass out of my face guard.'"

Shep Clarke
Puyallup, Washington

(“Association Football” is what soccer was originally known as in England, and the word “soccer” is derived from the abbreviation "Assoc." HW)


*********** Perhaps you’re aware that there is a movement afoot in several states - a  movement sponsored, I suspect, by big-time electronic game makers - to have “e-games” sanctioned as official school sports.

We’re talking about sitting on your ass… putting on the head phones… staring at screens… working the controllers.

And earning varsity letters! Getting the hot girls! Being cheered at pep rallies! Being recruited!   All for doing the very things that have kept them from playing real sports.

Just what we need!  One more incentive for kids not to do anything physical.  So much for the nationwide obesity epidemic we keep hearing about.

(A survey of its readers by Coach and AD Magazine found 93 per cent of them opposed to the idea.)

https://coachad.com/news/survey-readers-say-no-sanctioning-esports/


QUIZ ANSWER:  Rosey Grier has been an  actor, a singer, an author and an ordained Protestant minister.  Oh -and an all-pro defensive lineman.

Roosevelt "Rosey" Grier was born in Georgia but grew up in Roselle, New Jersey and played college football for Rip Engle at Penn State, where, playing both ways,  he was a fearsome presence on the Nittany Lions’ line.

He was drafted 31st overall by the New York Giants, and teamed up on a great defensive line with Dick Modzelewski, Jim Katkavage and Andy Robustelli at the time that New York first fell in love with the Giants. 

In 1962 he was traded to the Rams, and there he became part of an even more famous defensive line, the Fearsome Foursome, along with Deacon Jones, Lamar Lundy, and Merlin Olsen.

After his retirement as a player, he was serving as a bodyguard for Robert Kennedy during his presidential campaign, and on the night Kennedy was assassinated, he grabbed the shooter and took the gun from him.

He has been an actor on a number of TV shows.  He has recorded songs on a number of labels.

He became know for doing needlepoint (!) and wrote a book about it.

He was ordained as a Protestant minister and has travelled all over the country as a motivational speaker.

Rosey Grier  was named to the NCAA’s 100th anniversary list of 100 most influential student athletes.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING ROOSEVELT “ROSEY” GRIER
Josh Montgomery - Berwick, Louisiana
Ken Hampton - Raleigh, North Carolina
Shep Clarke - Puyallup, Washington
John Irion - Granville, New York
John Vermillion - St. Petersburg, Florida
Adam Wesoloski - Pulaski, Wisconsin
Rodney Lunsford - Dublin, Indiana
Tim Brown - Florence, Alabama
Tim Bross - Kirkwood, Missouri
Kevin McCullough - Lakeville, Indiana
Dave Potter - Cary, North Carolina
Ossie Osmundson - Woodland, Washington

*********** In answering this week’s QUIZ, Kevin McCullough of Lakeville, Indiana wrote…

Rosey Grier - great football player and shot putter for the Nittany Lions......made easy by the fact that i've been home the last 4 days trying to recover from medial and lateral meniscus surgery.....during which i've watched way too many of the NFL Films presents.....one of which was on the Fearsome Foursome……Joe Tiller was as well liked as any college coach could be......open and willing to share with any coach that asked.....very sincere……Cam Cameron was a Hoosier hardwood hero that did not have the personality  to put people at ease.....his step-father Tom Harp was a long time college coach, and he had a great player in Antwann Randle El.....it didn't work out.....if you’re still looking for a game  in the morning i suggest broadcastsports.net.....click on New Prairie High School.....we played them tonite and you would enjoy watching them.....i think after five games this year they were leading the nation in rushing



*********** QUIZ: (THIS ONE WILL CHALLENGE YOU BUT HE DESERVES THE RECOGNITION)  A native of Ruston, Louisiana, he played on a state championship high school team, and attended LSU before he was transferred to Tulane as part of the Navy’s World War II training program. He played two years at Tulane and one year for a service team in New London, Connecticut before signing to play in the All-American Football Conference.

Although drafted Number One by the Chicago Cardinals of the NFL, he accepted a higher offer  by the Miami Seahawks of the AAFC.  The Seahawks  traded him to the Brooklyn Dodgers, who then traded him to the  Cleveland Browns, whose coach, Paul Brown, had seen potential in him.

Because he was tall (6-4) and fast, able to run and catch,  Brown used him to run the ball out of the backfield or split wide as a receiver.  Brown often sent him in motion out of the backfield as a receiver.  At a time when most offenses employed two tight ends, Brown’s deploying him as a wide receiver made him  the pro game’s  first-ever “flanker back.”

While with the Browns, he played on five championship teams in two different leagues (two times in the AAFC, 3 times in the NFL).

Playing on an offensive unit with such great stars such as Otto Graham, Marion Motley, Mac Speedie and Dante Lavelli, he was twice named All-Pro.

He once scored six touchdowns in a single game, an NFL record he shares with Ernie Nevers and Gayle Sayers.

As a Browns’ assistant coach under head coach Blanton Collier, he coached running backs (including Jim Brown and Leroy Kelly) and receivers (such as Gary Collins and Paul Warfield). But he also called the plays, making him somewhat of a modern-day offensive coordinator, and with him in that position, the Browns won the NFL title in 1964.

He and his wife had seven children.  Four of their sons played college football, one of them so well that he was drafted out of LSU by the Baltimore Colts and played 10 years as an NFL quarterback, earning league MVP honors in 1976.


american flagFRIDAY,  OCTOBER 6,  2017  -“It is absurd to believe that soldiers who cannot be made to wear the proper uniform can be induced to move forward in battle. Officers who fail to perform their duty by correcting small violations and in enforcing proper conduct are incapable of leading.” General George S. Patton Jr.

*********** It’s going to be one of those Saturdays…

I might sleep in.  (Doubtful.) Or go out to breakfast.  (Not likely.)  Or take the dog for an extra-long walk on the beach.  (Very possible.)

For once, though, I’m not at all worried about  making sure I’m in front of the TVs at 9 AM (When the noon Eastern Time games come on in the West).

That’s because there’s not a single early game that on its face looks like it’s going to be competitive, or, if the teams are evenly matched, it's because neither one is very good.

Wake Forest  at Clemson… Iowa State  at Oklahoma … Penn State  at Northwestern… Georgia  at Vanderbilt …  Ole Miss  at Auburn … Temple at East Carolina … Eastern Michigan  at Toledo … Illinois at Iowa … Texas Tech at Kansas … Tulsa at Tulane

The second flight of games, starting between noon and 1:30,  includes  a few games of interest to me: West Virginia at TCU, Miami at Florida State (Miami could blow them out),  Minnesota at Purdue (nice seeing two former Big Ten doormats playing competitive football again) and Air Force at Navy.

The 4:00-5:00 flight brings some interesting games: Kansas State at Texas (come on, Wildcats!); Alabama at Texas A & M (maybe the Aggies can drag Johnny Football away from the  party and play 60 minutes of football under an assumed name); Michigan State against Michigan (let’s go, Moo U); Washington State at Oregon (Wazzu is ranked #11 and Oregon is beat up)

Only two late-night (for youse Easterners) games interest me: Stanford at Utah (Utes are unbeaten); and Cal at Washington. (U-Dub’s coach Chris Paterson is pissed at the Pac-12 office for giving the Huskies two 7:45 kickoffs on two consecutive Saturdays, as good as ruling out any chances that pollsters in the East will see them.)

(Bear in mind, I’m just talking about the FBS lineup. With Apple TV and the ESPN lineup, it’s possible I’ll find a good  FCS game or two.

***********  Back in the 70s a smartass reporter named Steve Harvey produced a column every week during college football season called “The Bottom Ten” .

It was funny.  Week after week, Kansas State and Northwestern, both wearing purple and both named Wildcats - Harvey called them the “Mildcats” - had a lock on Rock Bottom (or the top, depending on our outlook.)  Kansas was in there, too, earning the state of Kansas special recognition.  Purdue was “Pur-don’t.”  And so forth.

He would end every week’s listing with a Crummy Game of the Week selection.

Yes, it was funny. But in a cruel way. Of course, back then, cruel humor was common -  people still told jokes about little morons, and drunks, and crippled kids and dead babies. Now, the sick jokes are pretty well gone but the Bottom Ten, or something like it, still exists, its torch carried on by someone else who’s never strapped it on and thinks it’s funny to ridicule hardworking guys who do.

Sure must be hard on the morale to be part of a Bottom Ten team.

http://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/page/bottom100217/bottom-10-lsooo-lolsu-bottom-10-production

*********** The young female reporter at the news conference asked the big, strong NFL quarterback some vacuous question about “physicality” of  “routes.”

The quarterback, Cam Newton,  found her question amusing.

“It’s funny,” he mused,  “to hear a female talk about routes…”

And that was all he had to say to brand him as a - gasp - misogynist!

And then, to make matters worse, when he saw her afterward,  HE DIDN”T APOLOGIZE!!!  He didn't even KNOW he was a sexist!!!

Omigod. The uproar has been thunderous.   The NFL itself said his actions were reprehensible:  “They do not reflect the thinking of the League.”

Now comes word that Dannon Yogurt is dropping him as an endorser. (My personal suspicion is that he hasn’t been a very effective spokesman and they’d been looking for a good way to cut him loose and this was all they needed.)

I’ve made it pretty clear on numerous occasions that I'm no fan of Cam Newton. I think he is an immature brat whose athletic ability has taken him much further than his intellect or character would have otherwise,  but I’m with him on this one.  The woman is a sports reporter. Sports reporters tend to be a hardbitten lot - as least they used to be - and they should be able to take as well as they give.

Cam Newton obviously doesn’t yet realize that in this  America of Today no one has the right to offend anyone, and not realizing that you’ve offended someone is NOT AN EXCUSE!!!  (Free speech, anyone?)

Just to be clear, though - after giving the Black Power salute following a touchdown last Sunday - he’s still an a$$hole.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2017/10/05/cam-newton-loses-dannon-endorsement-over-sexist-comment/


*********** Found this one in comments on a Free Republic article…

At this point, is there any way the NFL can save itself?  Perhaps they could give billions to conservative groups, air Public Service Announcements showing why America is great, fund college departments in real American History, and educate their players about the greatness of the USA.

Isn’t that what a smart organization usually does when it’s offended a large segment of the public?

***********  Hugh,

Sumbitch!  That was a dang good explanation for all those sons-a-bitches out there!

Well...I know of at least one high school coach in Houston, TX (former Marine) that kicked two players off his team for kneeling...told them to turn their gear in right there and then!

I met an admissions rep from Penn and asked how the football team was doing.  Answer:  "not sure".

But coach...didn't you know?  Gray and black are neutral colors and go with everything!  

Kevin Sumlin can save his job with a good outing vs. Alabama.  Not necessarily a win, but close.  
Now...if they WIN...well...contract extension?

Maryland is better (even with a third string QB) than people think.  And Minnesota...when they get healthy will be a real spoiler.

But coach...didn't you know?  White is a universal color that is used with anything!

My school's football team won their first game.  52-0.  The other team only had 14 players suited out.

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** Detroit Lions Owner Martha Ford found the  perfect  way to get players to stand for the national anthem:

Mrs. Ford  calls it “donations” to certain causes (“Black Lives Matter,” maybe? )

Me, I call it bribery.

Liberal Headlines:

New York Daily News: Lions owner Martha Ford offered to donate to player charities if they don’t kneel for national anthem

USA Today: Martha Ford asked Lions not to kneel, promised to back players' agenda

Conservative Headlines:

American Thinker:  NFL: Bribing them to stand for the National Anthem

Daily Caller: Lions Owner Had To Sweeten Players With Deal To Stand For Anthem

http://dailycaller.com/2017/10/02/lions-owner-had-to-sweeten-players-with-deal-to-stand-for-anthem/

***********  Saving the Planet... A recent study estimated a single, indoor marijuana plant takes the equivalent of 70 gallons of oil to grow. Energy demand at Colorado’s largest utility grew about 2 percent after marijuana was legalized.

http://www.thedailyworld.com/business/a-growing-problem-lightening-the-carbon-footprint-of-cannabis-farms/


*********** Missouri State Association Rules Interpretation #5

Thanks to Joel Mathews, Fort Osage HS, Missouri for sending these every week

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnFbcx1gEfA&feature=youtu.be


***********  Joe Tiller died last week.  What an impact he had on the Purdue football program.
 
I was putting on my very first clinic in Evansville, Indiana, in spring, 1997. 

The two state universities - Indiana and Purdue - had just hired new head coaches, and the guys at the clinic  were sharing their experiences at the two spring practices.

The consensus was that the new guy at Indiana, a fellow named Cam Cameron, was aloof and standoffish and not particularly interested in getting to know high school coaches.

But the guy at Purdue, they said, a big dude named Joe Tiller, was Cameron’s exact opposite.  He was friendly and outgoing and made the coaches a promise that he would visit every one of them at his school.  They loved the guy.

It’s over 20 years later, now, and Joe Tiller, who died last week, became the winningest coach in Purdue history. In 2008, he was honored by the University as someone “whose commitment to the university goes well beyond the call of duty, and whose strength and vision have greatly benefitted the institution.” Three different National Football Foundation chapters have honored him as a “Distinguished American.”  He is a member of the Indiana Football Hall of Fame and the Purdue Athletics Hall of Fame.  A road leading to Purdue’s stadium is named Joe Tiller Drive.

Cam Cameron?  He has had a nice, long career as an assistant coach, in both college and in the pros, but his experiences as a head coach were not successful ones.  After five years at Indiana, with a record of 18-37, he was fired.  In 2007, he was hired as head coach of the Miami Dolphins, but the Dolphins lost their first 13 games and finished 1-15, and that was it for him as a head coach.

http://www.footballfoundation.org/News/NewsDetail/tabid/567/Article/55942/joe-tiller-staunch-nff-advocate-passes-away.aspx


*********** There was no singer auditioning for stardom by putting his or her own spin on the national anthem Monday night. No, it was the Kansas City Symphony playing it - and what a beautiful job they did.

*********** Only one player sat out the anthem on the Monday Night Football game - the Chiefs' Marcus Peters.

If the players are really, seriously trying to bring attention to their cause, they sure picked a hell of a person to represent them.

Peters was  a very good college player, so good he turned out to be a Number One draft pick, but he was such a pain in the ass - one of a number of bad actors that Chris Peterson  inherited  from Steve Sarkisian when he arrived at Washington -   that after several outrageous incidents that included head-butting an opponent, throwing a sideline tirade and going off on an assistant coach or two, he was finally thrown off the team his senior year when we went off on Peterson, too. (Do you realize what it has to take to make a coach throw a player projected to be a Number One Draft choice off his team?)

The Chiefs and their fans are welcome to him.  But he still needs to get his sorry ass up off the bench and stand for  the flag and the national anthem.

https://www.seattletimes.com/sports/uw-husky-football/marcus-petersrsquo-dismissal-from-uw-football-team-latest-disciplinary-development-for-chris-petersen/

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2015/02/12/marcus-peters-admits-he-deserved-to-be-kicked-off-team-at-washington/


***********  You telling me THIS guy is your spokesman???

Some Beast

“Anybody who lives in this country should kiss the ground every day.”  Gary Player, all-time golfing great and native South African, expressing amazement that Americans could disrespect our flag and our national anthem.


*********** ANSWER TO THE QUIZ

Homer Smith dies at 79; former UCLA assistant football coach

Chris DufresneLos Angeles Times

Homer Smith, who served three stints as a UCLA football assistant coach and may have been college's most intellectually gifted offensive mind, died Sunday in Tuscaloosa, Ala., after a long battle with cancer. He was 79.

Smith, who spent 37 of his 39 coaching seasons at the collegiate level, never received the acclaim of the headliners he served — UCLA's Pepper Rodgers and Terry Donahue and Alabama's Gene Stallings.

Smith was introverted and nomadic by nature, never spending enough time in one place to establish a school-specific legacy.

He was an assistant coach at Stanford, the Air Force Academy, UCLA, Alabama, Arizona and the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs. He also was head coach at Davidson, Pacific and Army.

Smith will be remembered as one of football's most creative and meticulous minds. Donahue has called Smith the best teacher of football he has ever known.

Smith was a thinker, philosopher and play-calling tinkerer. No other coach in history, perhaps, brought such mental acumen into a meeting room. Smith had degrees from Princeton, Stanford and Harvard.

Corky Simpson, the longtime Tucson sports columnist who covered Smith in his last two coaching seasons at Arizona in 1996 and '97, wrote: "Homer was grossly overqualified to be a football coach, let alone somebody's assistant … the man was worthy of a higher calling — teacher or author or minister. But come to think of it, he was all those things rolled into one amazing professor of football."

Smith was an eccentric and innovative coordinator who demanded perfection from his players. He first coached at UCLA in 1972-73 under Rodgers, was rehired by Donahue from 1980-86 and again from 1990-93.

At UCLA, Smith helped develop future NFL quarterbacks Steve Bono, Tommy Maddox, Rick Neuheisel, David Norrie, Tom Ramsey, Jay Schroeder and Matt Stevens.

Ramsey, the nation's leader in pass efficiency in 1982, said Smith was a stickler for details.

"Homer Smith demanded you soak up knowledge," Ramsey told The Times in 2009. "You not only had to know what 11 guys were doing on the field, you had to know what all 22 guys were doing. If you didn't you weren't going to be on the roster."

Smith once invited a surgeon from the university's medical center to speak about the importance of repeating the same thing over and over.

Smith could have excelled in several other professions. He earned an economics degree at Princeton, an MBA at Stanford and a master's in theological studies at Harvard.

Yet he was fascinated with the intricacies and possibilities of offensive football.

He wrote several books, including "Handbook for Coaching the Football Passing Attack." He even published, in 1995, a novel, "A Game to Play."

Smith, who was born Oct. 9, 1931, and grew up in Omaha, played fullback at Princeton, earning All-East and All-Ivy League honors. He rushed for 273 yards in a 1952 game against Harvard.

Smith began coaching in 1958 at Stanford before a four-year stint at Air Force. He spent seven years — five at Davidson and two at Pacific — as a head coach before joining Rodgers' UCLA staff in 1972.

Running the wishbone offense, Smith's 1973 UCLA offense set school records for total yards (470.6 per game) and rushing yards (400.3 per game).

He left UCLA in 1974 to become head coach at Army, where he spent five years before a bitter firing in 1978 coincided with the auto accident death of his brother Dean.

 Smith left coaching to pursue his theology degree at Harvard.

Donahue coaxed him back to UCLA in 1980, with Smith accepting the job in part, he said, because he needed the money.

Smith stayed through 1986 before taking a job with the Kansas City Chiefs. Two years later, Smith was back in college, at Alabama.

The highlight of that stay came in 1989 when the Crimson Tide, after spotting Mississippi a 21-point lead, scored 62 unanswered points.

Recalling that game this week in a tribute column, Tuscaloosa News writer Cecil Hurt said he asked Smith after the game what he was thinking during the comeback.

Smith responded with two words, in Latin: "Deo Gratis." (Thanks be to God.)

Smith returned to UCLA in 1990. He gravitated back to Alabama in 1994 and 1995, where he worked under Stallings.

He spent his last two years as a coach at Arizona before retiring in 1997.

Simpson, the Arizona columnist, wrote that Smith "had the burning curiosity of a child and it drove him to scientific methods of investigation, critical thought and common sense."

Smith is survived by his wife, Kathy; two daughters, Cari Carpenter and Kim Hall; and four grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held in Tuscaloosa. UCLA will hold a memorial service on campus June 12.

chris.dufresne@latimes.com

http://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-homer-smith-obit-20110413-story.html
 

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING HOMER SMITH
Josh Montgomery - Berwick, Louisiana
John Vermillion - St. Petersburg,  Florida
Tim Brown - Florence, Alabama (“All coaches need to read coach’s Clock Management book)
John Bothe - Oregon, Illinois (I have an old clinic tape somewhere with Don James talking about defense and why they made their change from a reading 50 defense to the pressure package and combo coverage they went to late in his career.  It all came about after Homer Smith coordinated a UCLA offense that had 600 yards and beat them in a big game that knocked Washington out of the national championship picture.  He beat all their coverage that day, man or zone, and prompted a big change in the Washington defense.)
Joe Gutilla - Austin, Texas (“Football innovator extraordinaire.”)
Mark Kaczmarek - Davenport, Iowa (“Read all his books from clock management, complete guides to coaching, to passing”)
Dave Potter - Durham, North Carolina
Mike Benton - Colfax, Illinois (“I have several books by him and a series of coaching manuals that he produced, they are invaluable resources in my library.”)
Adam Wesoloski - Pulaski, Wisconsin
Kevin McCullough - Lakeville, Indiana (“I remember his article in Scholastic Coach on how they beat the fast flow line backer of Iowa with a cut back play.”)

*********** Back when I started out doing clinics, I had the good fortune to get to know Homer Smith.  I’m not sure how it came to be - maybe it was because we were fellow Ivy-Leaguers - but it was extremely flattering (not to mention enlightening)  to be able to talk football with a man who was  universally admired by his peers as the nearest thing there is to a football genius. (As Joe Theisman reputedly  said, “Nobody in the game of football should be called a genius. A genius is somebody like Norman Einstein.”)

At a clinic I held in Birmingham back in the late 1990’s, I was shocked to see him walk in the door and take a seat in the back of the room - and begin taking notes. Are you kidding me?  

And then, he very graciously stood up at the end and shared some thoughts and ideas with the guys in attendance.

He’d already published some books - I love his “Handbook for Coaching the Football Passing Attack.”  It’s a classic - and the culmination of his life’s work was a series of “manuals” which his daughter, Kim, offered for sale.

Kim Smith Hall is a great story herself.  She was a diver at Indiana, which had great swimming teams, and while her dad was coaching at West Point, she and his star quarterback, Leamon Hall, met and fell in love and subsequently married. (Leamon Hall, originally from Apopka, Florida, still holds most of Army’s passing records.)

When I offered Homer Smith as a person for you to identify, I contacted Kim and asked if Homer’s manuals were still offered for sale. She said that while she no longer maintains a Web site, they definitely are for sale.  She will sell them individually ($9.95 each) or as a set, and she said that any of you interested in obtaining any of Homer Smith’s manuals should contact her.

You can call her at  678-860-3915 or email her at   kimhall@mindspring.com.  

The list of manuals:

Stop-The-Clock and Run-The-Clock Offense
Targeting On Defenders
Identifying Threats Posed By Defenses
Teaching
Blocking, And Running on Blockers
Protecting The Passer
Organizing Pass Patterns
Making Plays Look Alike
Handling The Ball
Optioning
Practicing
Formationing
Attacking
Calling Plays
A History Of Football Concepts
Quarterbacking
Receiving

In the words of Homer Smith:

"You do not memorize football -- you work with it and it soaks in.”

QUIZ: He has been an  actor, a singer, an author and an ordained Protestant minister.  Oh -and an all-pro defensive lineman.

He was born in Georgia but grew up in Roselle, New Jersey and played college football for Rip Engle at Penn State, where, playing both ways,  he was a fearsome presence on the Nittany Lions’ line.

He was drafted 31st overall by the New York Giants, and teamed up on a great defensive line with Dick Modzelewski, Jim Katkavage and Andy Robustelli at the time that New York first fell in love with the Giants. 

In 1962 he was traded to the Rams, and there he became part of an even more famous defensive line, along with Deacon Jones, Lamar Lundy, and Merlin Olsen. (If I gave you the nickname they went by, this would be too easy.)

After his retirement as a player, he was serving as a bodyguard for Robert Kennedy during his presidential campaign, and on the night Kennedy was assassinated, he grabbed the shooter and took the gun from him.

He has been an actor on a number of TV shows.  He has recorded songs on a number of labels.

He became know for doing needlepoint (!) and wrote a book about it.

He was ordained as a Protestant minister and has travelled all over the country as a motivational speaker.

He was named to the NCAA’s 100th anniversary list of 100 most influential student athletes.



american flagTUESDAY,  OCTOBER 3,  2017  -“Be wary of the man who urges an action in which he himself incurs no risk.” Seneca


*********** I think it’s amusing that so many people got so excited over the President’s use of the term “son of a bitch,” even to the point where Colin Kaepernick’s mother took offense at being called a “female dog.”

Stop.  Time out.  Take a deep breath.

Obviously, our betters, the aristocrats who live on the other side of that fence that keeps us street schlubs at a proper distance, couldn’t be expected understand that among us, the phrase “son of a bitch,” is seldom used as a term of denigration.  More often, it’s  a general term synonymous with guy, and it's often used admiringly.”  (“Look at that son of a bitch run!” “Look at the arms on that son of a bitch.” "Big son of a bitch, isn't he?")

When it’s used in a derogatory sense, it’s usually preceded by a derogatory adjective, such as “dirty,” or “rotten,” or “no-good.”

I can’t say I’ve ever heard it used literally, as an insult to a person’s mother.

You might say that it’s the redneck’s version of mother—ker, an all-purpose term which I have never, ever heard used in the literal sense.

South of the Mason-Dixon Line, “son of a bitch” is not a phrase.  It’s one word: “sumbitch.”

Years ago, in my first year of coaching, in Hagerstown, Maryland, we lost our first seven games.  I had put together  a halfway decent team, but we lacked a quarterback.  How bad was the quarterbacking?  For two games, I had to come out of retirement and play quarterback myself.  That bad.

And then one of the players on the team told me about a guy he’d met who was stationed in the Army at nearby Fort Ritchie (aka Raven Rock, the top-secret site deep inside a mountain which would be our government’s control center in the event of a nuclear attack).

The guy’s name was Chuck Reilly, and he’d supposedly played quarterback at Kent State - and evidently he was interested in playing for us.

One 10-minute look at the guy in action was all I needed - here was our quarterback. 

Chuck Reilly, an Irishman from Peekskill, New York, saved my career.  After starting out 0-7, we went on a seven-game win streak with him at quarterback.  He loved Joe Namath, so like Namath he insisted on wearing white shoes (not many guys had the nerve to do that back in 1970).  But it didn’t bother me - the guy could play. He was tough, he was smart, and he could throw.

We were still amateurs that first year.  We wanted to give younger players a chance to go on to college (plus we didn’t have the money to pay players anyhow).  Later, we would get into paying players a small amount every game, but at that point, all we could do was give them gas money.

One night at practice, after we’d won a few games with Chuck as our quarterback, I was getting on our offensive line about the need to protect him. I said that if Reilly started to get banged around, he might come to me wanting money - and then what the hell was I supposed  to do?

Dave Lewis, a big West Virginian who’d been through the losing times and had no interest in revisiting them, spoke up: “Pay that sumbitch!”

*********** I wonder how Michael Bennett’s lawsuit against the Las Vegas Police Department is coming along, now that a police investigation said it found no evidence of excessive force.

*********** The NFL players who chose to kneel or otherwise show disrespect for the flag and those of us who love our country are afflicted by the same myopia that affects liberals everywhere.  Living in bubbles, surrounded by people who think exactly like they do, they’re deluded into thinking that that’s the way it is everywhere.  They simply can’t imagine that a substantial number of people might see things differently from them. (Remember all the people who were interviewed after the Presidential election and expressed shock at Trump’s win because “I don’t know a single person who voted for him?”).

*********** I wonder if the NFL players who seem not to understand what all the fuss over the flag is about mightn’t benefit from seeing “Glory.”  Released in 1989, “Glory” is a magnificent Civil War movie about the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, an all-black unit made up of free black men that was sent south to fight. As the unit prepares to make its assault on a Confederate fort, quite a big deal is made over who will have the honor of carrying the unit’s colors into battle.

*********** There was a photo in the Tacoma News Tribune of players from Todd Beamer High, of Federal Way, Washington taking a knee during the anthem Friday night. 

The irony was probably lost on the players that they represent a school named for a hero of 9/11. Their coach stood, but predictably, he defended their “right to protest.”

Coming into the game 4-0, Beamer went down to defeat Friday night, 49-20.  Call it Karma.

*********** You know the end times are almost near when you tune in the Ivy League Game of the Week and the entire Penn and Dartmouth teams stood at midfield before the game jawing at each other like a couple of inner-city teams.

*********** Penn and Dartmouth met on Friday night and one of the announcers noted that for the players it was like “a throwback to their high school days.”  In big old Franklin Field,  where in the pre-Ivy League days  the great Penn teams of the 1920s, 30s and 40s and early 50s would pack in crowds of 70,000 to watch the Quakers play the likes of Army, Navy, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Georgia and Michigan, on this night there might have been 500 people on the Dartmouth side. 
I thought, what the hell high schools did those guys go to, that their crowds were that small?

*********** Whoever thought it was cool to send college teams out onto the field in ugly gray uniforms (Duke, Tennessee) deserves a place in hell right next to the guy who thought all-black looked good. The two of them will be standing on the shoulders of the idiots who dress teams in all yellow and all orange. And this sweater-vest look is  gay. (Take that any way you want.)

*********** Can Kevin Sumlin come up for air now?  Texas A & M scored twice in the fourth quarter to beat South Carolina.  Since the epic fold against UCLA in the opening game, the Aggies have won four straight.  But uh-oh.  Next week, it’s Alabama.  Let’s assume that that one is not winnable. But after the Tide goes out, the remainder of the schedule  - Florida, Mississippi State, Auburn, New Mexico, Ole Miss and LSU - is winnable. If that were to happen, that would be a 10-2 regular season.  What was that people were saying about Coach Sumlin’s chances just a month ago?

*********** Really good games were few and far between this past weekend.  Saturday was the Day of the Blowout…

Alabama 66, Ole Miss 3
Auburn 49, Mississippi State 10
Central Florida 40, Memphis 13
Colorado State 51, Hawaii 21
Georgia 41, Tennessee 0
Georgia Tech 33, North Carolina 7
Louisville 55, Murray State 10
Miami 31, Duke 6
Nebraska 28, Illinois 6
Notre Dame 52, Miami (OH) 17
Ohio State 56, Rutgers 0
Penn State 45, Indiana 10
Pitt 42, Rice 10
South Florida 61, East Carolina 31
Washington 42, Oregon State 7

*********** Best games:

Washington State 30, USC 27 - What’s going on?  A Mike Leach-coached team that also plays defense?  Sideline bimbo Molly McGrath to Mike Leach at halftime: “USC is a second-half team. What do you say to that?” Leach: “Well, so are we.”

Postgame, Leach’s observation about the Wazzu fans on-game celebration: “It’s like Woodstock except everybody’s got their clothes on.”

Utah State 40, BYU 24 - Wow. I wasn’t planning on watching until I saw that the score was 7-7 after one. Hard to overstate how much it means for the little brother to knock off one of the state’s bigger schools. Aggies outscored the Cougars 16-3 in the second half. BYU is now 1-4, its only win coming over FCS Portland State (which, by the way, is still winless).

Maryland 31, Minnesota 24.  Terps are talented.  A kid named Max Bortenschlager (I swear that sounds like a beer I once had) is Maryland’s third starting quarterback this season after the first two got hurt.

Florida State 26, Wake Forest 19 - Pissed me off to see Wake lose, but it was a heck of a game.  Seminoles finally got a win - in the last minute.

Oklahoma State 41, Texas Tech 34 - Mason Rudolph is a hell of a passer but he  scored what would be the winning touchdown by running it in.

Troy 24, LSU 21 - I wasn’t going to watch until Josh Montgomery of Berwick, Louisiana, who was at the game, texted me, “I’m watching Troy kick our ass.”  Well.  Despite having their asses kicked, LSU still made a game of it.  Troy was leading, late, 24-14, and driving for the score that would put the stake in the Tigers’ heart when they fumbled inside the LSU 10.  (Announcer: “That’s what you don’t want.” Well, no sh—, Sherlock.)  LSU then drove for a score to make it 24-21 with a minute or so to play but then Troy covered the onside kick.  Would have been a shame for the LSU fans, in a way, if the Tigers had won, because by that point roughly 70,000 of them had left in disgust. It was LSU’s first loss to a non-conference opponent in 50 games, since 2000.

*********** Troy led LSU 7-0 and put on a last-minute drive that ended the half with a Troy pass completion deep in LSU territory. The teams headed in and the LSU band got ready to march onto the field.

And then - and then - it was determined that Troy had made a first down on that last play, and that the clock should have stopped with two seconds left. So out the two teams came, and Troy, able to get its field goal team lined up, snapped the ball on the ready-for-play signal - and made the kick.  Hmmm.  If the officials had stopped the clock correctly and given Troy the first down, they almost certainly would not have been able to get their field goal team onto the field in time. And,  as things turned out, those three points proved to be the winning edge for Troy.

*********** Not to pile on Ed Orgeron, but as one disgruntled LSU poster on a forum noted after the Tigers loss Saturday, “Every school to employ Ed Orgeron in the last 22 years lost today” and he listed them: Syracuse, Tennessee, Ole Miss, LSU, USC.

*********** Love those classic Ole Miss uniforms.  They take me back to my high school days when my buddy and I took the bus and then the subway  all the way to South Philly to watch Villanova play Ole Miss.  Damn, those Rebels were good.  And other than the “Ole Miss” decals that now adorn the helmets, they looked exactly as they did Saturday.

*********** WTF?  UCLA in white helmets?

*********** Stanford’s Bryce Love ran for over 300 yards but we couldn’t see it because we get “Pac 12 Network Northwest” and the Powers That Be at the Pac 12 Network know that we hicks in the Northwest would rather watch a nothing game between two Northwest teams (Washington and Oregon State) than a good matchup between Stanford and Arizona State.

*********** We weren’t six minutes into the Alabama-Ole Miss game and after an interception return, it was already 14-0, Bama.  What’s worse, I swear the intended Ole Miss receiver simply quit on the play and stood and watched the return.

*********** Clemson and Bama are the two top teams in the nation.

*********** Why is it that in basketball, a non-contact sport, guys push each other around and never get called for a foul, but in football, a contact sport, the slightest little contact downfield is pass interference?

*********** When I saw the name on the back of a Minnesota jersey - “PICKERIGN” - I figured the equipment manager had screwed up.  No, it wasn’t a misprint.

*********** During Saturday's game, Alabama’s strength coach went over to a guy standing and texting in the Bama sideline area and snatched the phone right out of his hands. Priceless. Just one of the reasons why Alabama wins.  Imagine - If this guy had been on the San Francisco sidelines a year ago he might have been able to “persuade” Colin Kaepernick to stand up, and then none of this sh— we’ve been seeing would have happened.

https://www.saturdaydownsouth.com/alabama-football/watch-alabama-strength-coach-rips-phone-away-someone-crimson-tide-sideline/

*********** Former Wisconsin Badger DB Jim Leonhard, a walk-on from a small town in Northern Wisconsin who had a great career as a Badger and then played in the NFL, is doing a great job in his first year as the Badgers’ defensive coordinator.

*********** This season’s first of many likely coaching vacancies was created Sunday when UTEP head coach Sean Kugler resigned, a day after the Miners’ loss to Army. Obviously, the Miners will have to name an interim head coach to finish out the season. I’m going with Tom Mason, the defensive coordinator.   The offensive coordinator’s only had the job for two weeks.  I got to know Tom Mason nearly 30 years ago when he was defensive coordinator under Pokey Allen at Portland State. Tom’s a Washington guy, from Walla Walla, and played his college ball at Nevada.   Should Tom be named the head guy, it would be - get this - his third such assignment. After going to Boise State with Pokey Allen, he served as interim head coach of the Broncos when Allen, fighting cancer, was forced to step aside, and then, in 2014, he was named interim head coach at SMU when June Jones resigned early in the season.

*********** I didn’t stay up until the end, but UCLA beat Colorado, 27-23.  It took a great performance by UCLA QB Josh Rosen - 28 of 45 for 372 yards and a TD. The Bruins did play a little bit of defense, but only a little. They “held” one of the worst offenses in the Pac 12 to “only” 434 yards of total offense, 191 on the ground.

*********** New Mexico, down 21-14 at the half to Air Force,  scored 42 points in the second half - 21 in each of the final two quarters - to defeat the Falcons, 56-38

*********** Oregon’s win over Cal was a Pyrrhic Victory - a victory that comes at such a cost to the winner that it’s not really a victory.  The term comes from an ancient battle in which a king named Pyrrhus defeated the Romans, but in the process suffered such tremendous losses that he declared that another such victory would totally wipe him out.

Oregon beat Cal, 45-24, but paid a severe price, with the possible loss of their great running back Royce Freeman, who left in the first half, and the loss of QB Justin Herbert with a broken collarbone suffered while running in for a score on a zone read.  According to Ducks’ coach Willie Taggart , Freeman is a day-to-day thing, while Herbert is lost to the team “for a while.” Meantime, backup QB Taylor Alie had to leave the game in the fourth quarter, forcing Taggart to take the redshirt off freshman Braxton Burmeister. On the defensive side, starting linebacker Kaulana Apelu fractured his ankle and is done for the season.

*********** One of the main knocks on soccer is that there’s not enough scoring to suit the American sports fan.  So what does the NFL do to sell its brand of football to the English than play a game in London between the Saints and the Dolphins that’s 13-0 after three quarters and 19-0 at the end.  Anyway you slice it, that’s about the equivalent of a 3-nil (did you like that?) soccer match (pretty good, eh?). 

I can just hear a Brit seeing the game for the first time:  “I say, isn’t that an awful lot of pushing and shoving for so little scoring?”

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

Texas won, but didn't look especially impressive against an Iowa State team that did as good a job of stopping themselves as did the Longhorn defense.  Texas will continue to improve, and could knock a few of the big boys off their feet.  Iowa State will improve too.  They have a good young coach in Matt Campbell, and have a fairly young team with some talent.

I enjoyed your summation of the 3 Double George.  We used it when I was coaching in Minneapolis and popped it a couple of times for big yardage.  Had a really good fullback who usually did a good job of reading the Center's block on the Nose.  I tried running it down here in Texas but never found another FB who could run it quite as well, or a center who could prevent penetration by the Nose.

I've been watching high school and college football on TV.  Have to say I'm quite bored watching the same old same old spread offenses.  I find it a real treat when I see a high school team on TV running the Wing-T, or some form of it, and find myself cheering for that team whether they're good or not (usually are pretty good!).  Also have started making it a habit of watching Army, Navy, Air Force, or Georgia Tech play, and pulling for them.

Also watched a local high school team play on TV last night (Liberty Hill).  They run a pretty mean version of the South Texas Slot-T.  An offense that in my estimation combines the best of the Slot I, Wing-T, and Double Wing.  A number of schools in Texas run that offense, and run it well.  So much so that many of them have trouble finding non-district opponents to play them.  As a result many of them play each other!  It's not unusual to see a Texas Slot-T team playing in the Texas state tournament in various divisions.

Enjoy the weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe,

Enjoyed your note as always.

I think a major reason why a lot of Texas high schools run the ball and use “old-fashioned” offenses is that in Texas they know that  they will be fired if they don’t win, so their chief concern is winning, not looking good or doing the in thing or producing players for colleges.

I have to confess I didn’t enjoy last week’s high school game between two very good teams as much as I should have, because they are very well-coached and their kids are talented.  But other than the power read and a couple of other options that the Idaho QB ran, I couldn’t get excited about a “running game” consisting of a single back - the QB  never runs - running inside zone.

Funny that fans will tolerate that but they’ll complain about a well-run wing-T.

I remember years ago talking with Pepper Rogers at a clinic.  He was then coach at UCLA and was very successful running the wishbone (Mark Harmon was one of his QBs) but he said that alumni hated the wishbone “because they can’t find the football.”

They’d rather see an incomplete pass, because at least they can see the ball.



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

We made a nearly two-hour drive to Carthage, IL on Friday to play the Illini West Chargers.  The Chargers own two state championship trophies and a semifinal appearance in the last ten years following a school consolidation.  Prior to that, Carthage High School, the Blue Boys, was the model of small-school consistency and excellence in the state.  Going to "Fuzz Berges Field" for the first time was a bit of a thrill.

The Trojans played their most complete game of the season.  Save for two lost fumbles it was a good as we've been this year.  Those two fumbles, both in the first half, allowed for a score that was closer than what was happening on the field (22-6).  Just a few minutes into the fourth quarter the running clock started with a score of 54-6.  The subs and JV team scored with about a minute to go after a long, Trojan-like drive, to make the final 60-6.

This week  the Farmington Farmers come to town.  They are 6-0, ranked #2 in 2A.  We are 6-0, ranked #8 in 3A.  Eight miles separate our towns.  Should be a heck of night.

Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois


Great win.  As you know, I know Farmington. Had a beer there once.  Go get ‘em!


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

It's great to hear from you and I have been using your system successfully for years.  The last couple of years I have stepped down to coach at the 10-11 year youth level (the ages of both my sons) and this league by rule doesn't allow the double wing formations.  Everyone has to run the same offensive and defensive formations.  Its more about teaching kids the basics than outcoaching or tricking the other side.   However, I will be moving up to the next level again next year with my sons and I look forward to getting back into coaching the double wing or with heavy use of your creation the "Wildcat."  We have won several Championships over the years and your system has been an instrumental part of that.   Thank you again for that.  

I do love the old VHS tape for showing all my parent volunteers the systems each year .  I still REQUIRE anyone who wants to help at ANY level of our Silverado Football program watch your Tackling DVD.  It was so far ahead of its time and thank you for that.

Sincerely,

Ian J. Pratt
Silverados Football
Calais, Maine


Coach Pratt,

Glad to hear you’re still making use of the my Safer and Surer Tackling video.  Funny how the NFL-financed USA Football now forces people to get certified in something they call “Heads Up Tackling.”  Funnier still that while they’re pushing that, the Seattle Seahawks are pushing something almost diametrically opposite,  called “Hawk Tackling.”  My recommendation always is to stick with my way. It’s safe, it works, inexperienced coaches can teach it and beginning players can do it.

Nice hearing from you.  Hope your boys are having fun.

(Coach Pratt - who owns a Chevy dealershio - hence the name Silverados - is the Easternmost Double Wing coach in the US - check it out)



*********** From the Baton Rouge Advocate…

Marcus Spears,  former LSU All-American, now one of the top football analysts on the SEC Network, got on his show “Thinking Out Loud” Monday night and spoke truth to power.

Or, more to the point, he spoke truth to the program he believes isn’t a college football power anymore: LSU.

“LSU fans, as an LSU alumnus, we aren't who we think we are," Spears said. "We've become a mediocre football team, and a middle-of-the-pack, very average college football program. We have to stop believing that we are one of those teams that at the end of the year is going to be standing tall.”

Spears’ words take on a projectile-like sharpness in the wake of the Tigers’ 37-7 blowout loss Saturday night at Mississippi State. It was LSU’s worst loss ever against State, and the most points the Bulldogs have ever scored against the Tigers.

Spears took particular note of the downturn the LSU program has taken since its loss to Alabama in 2012 BCS National Championship Game. Since the 2011 season, in which LSU went 8-0 in the Southeastern Conference and beat Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, the Tigers are 25-16 in SEC regular-season games with no appearances in the SEC title game.That’s a winning percentage of 61 percent. Overall, LSU is 47-19 since 2012, a winning percentage of .712. It’s not awful, but as Spears noted, “that’s average.“That’s mediocre,” he said. “We’ve got to stop thinking of LSU as what we thought LSU was. A 61 percent winning percentage over the last five years? We’ve got to do better.We are no longer a championship team.”

Spears’ point is a well-taken one. LSU’s program hasn’t derailed like Texas, where new coach and one-time LSU target Tom Herman is trying to get it running again, but it has dimmed in comparison to the program that is the standard bearer in the SEC and nationally: Alabama. As Saturday night’s game showed, LSU isn’t even the second-best team in its division. At least not right now.      

 http://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/sports/lsu/article_ebe90554-9d59-11e7-9c8f-372f3324ddad.html

*********** Good Morning Coach!

I wanted to give you an update on our games this week. We got two wins this week, 7th grade 50-20 and 8th grade 22-0.

In the 8th grade game, we wore them down after halftime. Their kids got tired and ours didn't. I did mess up on the bubble, though. I didn't notice until I saw the video that our split end should have been blocking the man over the slot. Duh! Chalk that one up to the learning process. The QB's and I feel comfortable enough to add "smoke" this week so that should give us another wrinkle.
 
After three games, I have no doubt that moving to the Open Wing was the right decision based on the kids we have, especially 7th grade. Thanks for your help and hopefully you can see improvement! We play probably the toughest team in the conference this week. We are going to need to play well and catch a few breaks to win.

One comment on the NFL protest fiasco. If the NFL is not careful, they will find themselves in the same situation as NASCAR. In the 90's and early 2000's, NASCAR could do no wrong. They were growing, building new tracks, and expanding existing tracks. Then their hubris, corporate influence, high ticket prices, and changes they made to the core of the sport, ticked a lot of people off and alienated their most ardent supporters. People quit watching and attending and figured out they didn't really miss it. I was one of those fans. They've yet to recover.

This weekend, if the Panthers protest, I'm done. They are only team I really followed anyway, the local team. Sarah is a huge Panther's fan and we've had a lot of fun times together going to training camp and watching games on TV. But I can't support what they are doing and I probably won't miss it that much. Does that mean when Sarah is home for a weekend that I won't watch a game with her if she asks me to? No, I won't miss out on spending precious time with her, but that would be the only exception.

Jim Crawley
China Grove, North Carolina

(Coach Crawley, a long-time Double Winger,  has been an “early adopter” of my Open Wing at the middle school level.)


QUIZ - What do the following football coaches, winners of championships in several different eras, all have in common?

Fielding Yost… Greasy Neale… Ben Schwartzwalder… John McKay… Lou Holtz… Rich Rodriguez… Jimbo Fisher… Nick Saban

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING THE COACHES AS ALL HAVING BEEN BORN IN WEST VIRGINIA (“West by God Virginia”)

Josh Montgomery - Berwick, Louisiana
Ken Hampton - Raleigh, North Carolina
Mark Kaczmarek - Davenport, Iowa
Tim Brown - Florence, Alabama
John Vermillion - St. Petersburg, Florida
Adam Wesoloski - Pulaski, Wisconsin
John Harris - Martinsville, West Virginia
Joe Gutilla - Austin, Texas
Kevin McCullough - Lakeville, Indiana
Ossie Osmundson - Woodland, Washington

*********** It’s not close to Ohio in the number of coaches it's produced,  but for a small state, West Virginia has turned out more than its share of great coaches.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2314854-the-coaching-cradle-that-claims-nick-saban-jimbo-fisher-and-15-national-titles

QUIZ:   (———-)  dies at 79; former UCLA assistant football coach

Los Angeles Times - April 12, 2011

(———), who served three stints as a UCLA football assistant coach and may have been college's most intellectually gifted offensive mind, died Sunday in Tuscaloosa, Ala., after a long battle with cancer. He was 79.

(———) , who spent 37 of his 39 coaching seasons at the collegiate level, never received the acclaim of the headliners he served — UCLA's Pepper Rodgers and Terry Donahue and Alabama's Gene Stallings.

(———) was introverted and nomadic by nature, never spending enough time in one place to establish a school-specific legacy.

He was an assistant coach at Stanford, the Air Force Academy, UCLA, Alabama, Arizona and the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs. He also was head coach at Davidson, Pacific and Army.

(———)  will be remembered as one of football's most creative and meticulous minds. Donahue has called (-------) the best teacher of football he has ever known.

(———) was a thinker, philosopher and play-calling tinkerer. No other coach in history, perhaps, brought such mental acumen into a meeting room. (-------) had degrees from Princeton, Stanford and Harvard.

Corky Simpson, the longtime Tucson sports columnist who covered (———)  in his last two coaching seasons at Arizona in 1996 and '97, wrote: “(———) was grossly overqualified to be a football coach, let alone somebody's assistant … the man was worthy of a higher calling — teacher or author or minister. But come to think of it, he was all those things rolled into one amazing professor of football."

(———) was an eccentric and innovative coordinator who demanded perfection from his players. He first coached at UCLA in 1972-73 under Rodgers, was rehired by Donahue from 1980-86 and again from 1990-93.

At UCLA, (———) helped develop future NFL quarterbacks Steve Bono, Tommy Maddox, Rick Neuheisel, David Norrie, Tom Ramsey, Jay Schroeder and Matt Stevens.
Ramsey, the nation's leader in pass efficiency in 1982, said (———) was a stickler for details.

“(———)  demanded you soak up knowledge," Ramsey told The Times in 2009. "You not only had to know what 11 guys were doing on the field, you had to know what all 22 guys were doing. If you didn't you weren't going to be on the roster."

(———)  once invited a surgeon from the university's medical center to speak about the importance of repeating the same thing over and over.

(———)  could have excelled in several other professions. He earned an economics degree at Princeton, an MBA at Stanford and a master's in theological studies at Harvard. Yet he was fascinated with the intricacies and possibilities of offensive football.

He wrote several books, including "Handbook for Coaching the Football Passing Attack." He even published, in 1995, a novel, "A Game to Play."

(———) , who was born Oct. 9, 1931, and grew up in Omaha, played fullback at Princeton, earning All-East and All-Ivy League honors. He rushed for 273 yards in a 1952 game against Harvard.

(———)  began coaching in 1958 at Stanford before a four-year stint at Air Force. He spent seven years — five at Davidson and two at Pacific — as a head coach before joining Rodgers' UCLA staff in 1972.

Running the wishbone offense, (———)  1973 UCLA offense set school records for total yards (470.6 per game) and rushing yards (400.3 per game).

He left UCLA in 1974 to become head coach at Army, where he spent five years before a bitter firing in 1978 coincided with the auto accident death of his brother Dean. (———)  left coaching to pursue his theology degree at Harvard.

Donahue coaxed him back to UCLA in 1980, with (———) accepting the job in part, he said, because he needed the money.

(———)  stayed through 1986 before taking a job with the Kansas City Chiefs. Two years later, (———) was back in college, at Alabama.

The highlight of that stay came in 1989 when the Crimson Tide, after spotting Mississippi a 21-point lead, scored 62 unanswered points.

Recalling that game this week in a tribute column, Tuscaloosa News writer Cecil Hurt said he asked (———) after the game what he was thinking during the comeback.
(———)  responded with two words, in Latin: "Deo Gratis." (Thanks be to God.)

(———)  returned to UCLA in 1990. He gravitated back to Alabama in 1994 and 1995, where he worked under Stallings.

He spent his last two years as a coach at Arizona before retiring in 1997.

Simpson, the Arizona columnist, wrote that (———)  "had the burning curiosity of a child and it drove him to scientific methods of investigation, critical thought and common sense."




american flagFRIDAY,  SEPTEMBER 29,  2017  -“Go forward until the last round is fired and the last drop of gas is expended…then go forward on foot!”
General George S. Patton Jr


*********** The Seahawks’ Michael Bennett has been in the forefront of the NFL players’ protests and there’s never been a question about where he stood on the issue.  He may not know exactly what or why he’s protesting, but he’s expressed support for BLM, he has announced plans to “write” (dictate, let's be honest) a book entitled “How to Make White People Uncomfortable,”  and he was proudly and defiantly among the first to sit out the national anthem. But I swear I just saw him on TV, making nice-nice and saying, basically, “can’t we just get along?” in his best Rodney King imitation. WTF is going on here? You don’t suppose his agent finally talked some sense to him, do you?

*********** Concerned about vandalism, Baltimore police have posted extra security around the statue of Ray Lewis outside the Ravens’ stadium.  The sight of Lewis’ kneeling during the national anthem before the Ravens’ game in London last Sunday has so enraged Ravens’ fans that by noon Thursday more than 50,000 had signed an online petition calling for the statue’s removal.

Hmmm - do you suppose this might be why we used to  wait until people were dead - and they couldno longer do stupid things - before we erected statues of them?

http://nypost.com/2017/09/28/ravens-fans-turn-on-ray-lewis-and-statue-after-anthem-kneel/


*********** LAST WEEKEND’S BEST - OR MOST IMPORTANT - GAMES

NC State over Florida State - Wolfpack are for real.  FSU may be in trouble.

Texas A & M over Arkansas - In OT, Aggies ruined the Hogs’ planned honoring of former Razorbacks’ player Jerry Jones

Tennessee over UMass - It may not have been a loss, but the puny win has UT fans just about as unhappy

Central Florida over Maryland - Not a good look for the Big Ten

USC over Cal - Last year’s Cal team would have been blown out by halftime.  This year’s Cal team was tied going into the fourth quarter

TCU over Oklahoma State - Wow. And at Stillwater, too!

Wake Forest over App State - App State missed a potentially winning FG at the wire but got another chance - and it was blocked.  Deacons are unbeaten

Duke over North Carolina - Yessss.

Michigan over Purdue - Wolverines are not all that good, but they were better than the Boilermakers

Oklahoma over Baylor - Barely.  This was one of those games that I wouldn’t even have thought about watching until I saw the score on the crawler and switched over

Georgia over Mississippi State - Sheesh.  And I thought MIssissippi State had a chance.

LSU over Syracuse - But I doubt that a 35-26 win over a Syracuse team that wouldn’t go away will be enough to calm down the Tiger fans.

Penn State over Iowa - on the last play.  Broke my heart.

Florida over Kentucky - How in the hell can you leave a wide receiver  uncovered - twice?  Give Florida credit for seeing it.  Twice.

Washington over Colorado - Huskies pass their first real test.

Arizona State over Oregon - Ducks lay an egg in the desert.

Stanford over UCLA - Stanford found a quarterback but UCLA is still looking for a defense.


*********** Took the easy way out last Friday and watched the game right here in Camas, at our local high school stadium.  Easy?  It’s a little more than 100 yards from our front door to the  stadium gate.

Camas High, which I seldom mention for fear of being accused of bragging, is the defending 4A (largest class) state champion, and currently the Number One team in the state of Washington.

The Papermakers (not kidding) had already knocked off two highly-ranked Oregon teams - Portland Central Catholic and Sherwood - on their way to a 3-0 record, and had won 17 in a row since losing in the playoffs at the end of the 2015 season.

In town to take them on was Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, one of that state’s top teams.  And leading the Coeur d’Alene attack was a 6-3, 200 pound quarterback named Colson Yankoff. Yankoff is a Washington Huskies commit; he’d de-committed from Oregon after Mark Helfrich was fired.   In pre-game he showed a really nice release and a strong arm.  During the game, he showed a nice ability to run - mostly on power read (aka “horizontal veer)  and excellent speed.

Despite a number of miscues and penalties (our local officials are no more hospitable to outsiders than officials are anywhere) and the loss to injury of a really good-looking 6-3, 225 pound all-purpose H-back, Coeur d’Alene was leading, 25-14 late in the fourth quarter, and inside the 10 with a 1st and goal.

But Camas held -  on their own one - and with under three minutes to play, they drove 99 yards to score with just over a minute to play to make it 25-21.

The onside kick was successful, and Camas again drove.  A knucklehead out-of-bounds hit on a Camas receiver gave Camas the ball inside the Coeur d'Alene 15.  But Coeur d-Alene held,  it appeared,  when Camas threw incomplete on fourth down. And then, from out of nowhere,  a dubious pass interference call gave Camas first and goal, and this time, on fourth-and-four, they converted. 

Final score Camas 27, Coeur d’Alene 25, in one of the better games you’ll ever want to see.  Sure was  a damn shame that anybody had to leave there a loser. 

*********** MY TV LINEUP THIS WEEKEND


THURSDAY: Texas at Iowa State.  Will it be the Texas that got blown out by Maryland or the one that took USC into OT?  Cyclones got edged by Iowa.  Now that they have the QB, I’d bet on the Longhorns.

FRIDAY: HOLY SH—!  LOOK AT THIS LINEUP!

Miami at Duke:  Has it really been 2 years since Duke got robbed at their own place?  Devils are unbeaten and we’ll know they’re real if they can beat Miami.

Nebraska at Illinois: How can the Huskers’ morale be good after what they’re going through with a coach who’s hanging on by a thread.  I’d bet on the Illini.

BYU at Utah State: I think I’ll have to pass on this one.

USC at Washington State: Go Cougs.  They’re unbeaten and they get a rare visit from the Trojans.  I hate to say it, but it’s the perfect setup for them to Coug it.

SATURDAY

EARLY GAMES
Northwestern at Wisconsin - might be over quick

Maryland at Minnesota - two Big Ten programs on the move (I think). I go with the Gophers

North Carolina at Georgia Tech - Don’t look now, but UNC is already 1-3, and there’s a good chance they’ll be 1-4 after this visit to Atlanta.

NOON (WEST COAST) GAMES

Georgia at Tennessee - Georgia is really good.  Tennessee is 3-1. They do have that opening game win  over Georgia Tech, but they’re coming off an unimpressive   4-point win over UMass.

Florida State at Wake Forest - One of them is unbeaten and the other has lost two in a row.  Guess which is which.

UTEP at Army - Army didn’t play very well in a loss to Tulane, but UTEP may be the worst team in all of FBS.

Arizona State at Stanford - I’m betting that Stanford is back now, and I’m betting that the Sun Devils don’t have another game in them as good as the one they played against Oregon.

LATE AFTERNOON (WEST COAST) GAMES
Mississippi State at Auburn - How much did last week’s drubbing by Georgia take out of the Bulldogs?

Air Force at New Mexico - I just love watching that New Mexico triple option. Imagine if they could pass!

Clemson at Virginia Tech - I’m predicting a Clemson blowout.

Oklahoma State at Texas Tech - I think the Cowboys got stung last week by TCU and they’ll be fighting mad

EVENING GAMES

Ole Miss at Alabama - I think this one is payback for all the trouble Ole Miss has given Bama in recent years

Colorado at UCLA - A very important game for both teams.  I’m going with the Buffs

Northern Illinois at San Diego State - Aztecs are unbeaten and they’re not going to lose this one.

Cal at Oregon - Cal coach Justin Wilcox returns to his alma mater - Cal O-line coach Steve Greatwood makes his first return to the school where, until the staff was fired after last season, he’d played and coached since the 1970s.  I like the Ducks but Greatwood is my man, so Go Bears.

Colorado State at Hawaii - This one starts at 9 PM Pacific so it’ll still be on when I fall asleep.

*********** When I read the lameass attempt by Steelers’ President Art Rooney, II to explain what his players really meant, and how the fans just didn’t understand, I thought of the old adage, “shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves in three generations.”

Simply stated, the first generation starts with nothing - no money, no education - but through hard work and entrepreneurial skills, amasses wealth.

The second generation - their kids - starts out with opportunities their parents never had.  But they take advantage of  the opportunities and get good educations and become  professionals.  They earn good money and they’re able to give their children all the advantages  they had.

The third generation have no material needs  and can do whatever they want.  They are not driven to succeed nor do they have to. Consequently, they go to college and take soft majors and  become musicians, poets, playwrights and artists.  And activists.  They have no connection with the generation that made possible their lives of leisure.

And they piss away the family fortune.

By the time their children take over,  the money is gone, and  the family is back where it  started.

I heard it several times when I was in college.  I went to school with a lot of VERY wealthy people, who probably had been told it by their parents and grandparents in the hopes that it wouldn’t happen in their families.

Every rich family knew of at least one other rich family that it had happened to.

Which brings me to a perfect illustration of the adage: From  Art Rooney the elder to Dan Rooney to  Art Rooney, II in three generations…

Now, if you want to see something that ought to scare the crap out of the Rooneys - the entire NFL, for that matter - read the comments following this article…

http://triblive.com/local/allegheny/12776065-74/steelers-president-art-rooney-ii-says-team-didnt-intend-to-boycott-anthem

*********** No, Dissent Is Not the 'Highest Form of Patriotism'
 
By Ethan Epstein ,  Weekly Standard

Few if any Americans are associated with more apocryphal quotes than Thomas Jefferson, but the false notion that he said, “dissent is the highest form of patriotism” is among the easiest to dispel. Because Jefferson never would have said something so idiotic. Of course dissent can be patriotic, but it isn’t inherently so. What one is dissenting from matters. Were members of the German American Bund, who protested the U.S.’s anti-Nazi policies in the 1930s and ‘40s, enacting the “highest form of patriotism?” I’d like to think the question answers itself.

This most basic form of moral reasoning is newly relevant today, as supporters of NFL players’ taking a knee during the national anthem have spurred a new, hip slogan: “Protest is patriotic.” None other than George Takei, who somehow parlayed a small role from a low-rated, quickly canceled 1960s television show into widespread Internet fame, tweeted as much this week, garnering legions of likes and retweets:

Again, we are confronted with the fallacy of the fake Jefferson quote. (By the way, the phrase appears to have actually originated during protests against the Vietnam war.) “Protest” alone is no more patriotic than, say, the general act of fighting in a war is. It matters which side you’re fighting on. And I’m sure if Takei and his ilk thought this through for a moment they might realize this. After all, if all “protest is patriotic” than those white supremacists marching in Charlottesville, Virginia, last month were the greatest patriots of all.

Of course, we’re not exactly living in a golden age of nuanced thinking. Recall that for many, any and all opposition to the policies of Barack Obama was rooted in racism. Which is why, when President Kamala Harris is in office in a few years, we can expect that protest will go from being “patriotic” to something more akin to “literal Nazism.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/no-dissent-is-not-the-highest-form-of-patriotism/article/2009843

*********** The destruction that Hurricane Maria has visited on Puerto Rico demands that our country do what it can to help its people in distress.

Puerto Ricans are “its people.” There is no question that Puerto Rico is America and Puerto Ricans are Americans. They can come and go to the mainland without need for any passports or visas, and when they move to one of the 50 states they are eligible to vote in its elections.

And they need our help.

This is certainly not the time to be dealing with this, but some time, when the island begins to come back, would someone please tell me the reasoning that has enabled Puerto Ricans to compete in every Olympic Games since 1948, not for the United States but for “Puerto Rico?”


*********** A youth coach in New York State whom I’ve worked with for over the years  asked me about a play I’d once shown him.  He told me he expected to see a 5-4 defense, and he remembered my telling him one time about Double George.  I showed it to him and he installed the play, and then was kind enough to send me a video clip of his B-Back going 91 yards right up the middle for a touchdown. (You would be surprised at the guys I give advice to who never even thank me, let alone tell me how things worked out.)

Double GeorgeA “George” block is a fold between the Guard and Tackle with the Guard going first, blocking out,  and the Tackle folding behind him for the Backer.  The Center “Drives the bus” - lets the nose man go whichever way he wants. 

The B-Back squats in place, same as he does on the trap, and once he has the ball he breaks off the center’s block. (It sounds easy enough, but don’t assume that your B-Back will choose the open door without some practice.)

Against a 5-4 as shown here you don’t have to block the DE’s because your guards should be able to push the DTs into them.

It’s a killer play when you KNOW that you will see a man on the nose. It works best against a 5-4 (Oklahoma) front but it will also work against a 5-3 and an Eagle front.  (It also works great against a split front.)

(Shown here: RIP 3 Double George)

***********  I thought of you and your argument for a wider field in 11-man football. I like your idea of the Canadian Football sized field. I know 8-man plays on a bit smaller field but there seems to be adequate space for that game...I think. I am not familiar enough with it other than it is big in the U.P. now and more teams are going to it in Wisconsin as well. What are your thoughts?

Adam Wesoloski
Pulaski, Wisconsin

Coach,

I’m pretty familiar with 8-man football, since it’s a fixture in western states where there are lots of small schools so far apart that consolidation isn’t an option.

Washington has an 8-man (I abhor the politically-correct “8-person” that sneaks into articles) classification and in the rural area where I’d been coaching, there were numerous 8-man clubs.

It’s not uncommon for 11-man teams to play non-league games with nearby 8-man teams.

On occasion, at places where I’ve coached, small numbers have made it necessary to play 8-man games at the JV level.  It was either that or not play at all.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise: it is football.

It’s 11-man football without two lineman and one back.

Yes, with fewer players, it’s much more wide open. (In Washington and Oregon, by the way, it’s played on a regulation-size field.)

Tackling is especially important, because one missed tackle will often result in a touchdown.

Scores are high. Long before we had running clocks when games got out of hand, the 8-man people had rules ending games once a team got 40 or 45 points ahead. 

There is a premium on speed.  The downside to that is that it means that football becomes another  sport without a place for the big, slow, not especially talented kid.

Several years ago, I did a camp in Wells, Nevada, installing the 11-man Double Wing.  The next year, Wells was reclassified to 8-man, and it just so happened that their coach, Steve Rodriguez, was visiting family in our area.  We got together and spent the better part of a day devising a way to translate what they had been doing with 11 men into what they could do with 8 men.  I went back and spent a week helping install the 8-man version, and that season, Wells won the state championship.  Full disclosure:  they were a talented group of kids, with tough linemen,  a couple of good running backs and a very good quarterback who could run as well as pass.

Wells NV offenseOur conclusion was that we had to go to Wildcat - a direct snap.  With only 3 backs, it made no sense for one of them to be a guy who mainly handed off.  The logic was that what we would be doing was by-passing the middle-man - the under-center QB - entirely. The direct snap eliminated  the need for a  QB to take the snap and hand off or toss.

Now, we had three backs capable of running the ball on any play.

Wells was definitely a running team. Despite what people may say, there is plenty of room in 8-man for a good running game, because as I mentioned above, you usually  get only one good shot at the runner and then he’s gone.  People shouldn’t kid themselves where the passing game is concerned - they still need to be able to protect the QB, they still need to run routes correctly, they still need to throw the ball accurately, and they still need to catch a pass thrown to them.)

A lot of what I advocate now in my Open Wing offense got its start at Wells, Nevada.

It’s inevitable that 8-man football will grow, as schools find themselves without enough players to play the 11-man game. Although in some cases they may be able to combine with another small school and still play 11-man,  it’s just as likely that their choice will be either to change to the 8-man game or discontinue football.

It will take some adjustment, mainly to the change in optics, but it’s a whole lot more like “real” (11-man) football than other variations of the game such as Arena Football. Don’t even mention flag football.  7-on-7?  It definitely isn’t football, and yet that hasn’t kept it from spreading.

If going to 8-man saves our game in the best possible form, okay by me.  The colleges will bitch.   Just as the pros now complain that the colleges aren’t properly preparing their players,  the colleges will complain that 8-man teams have only three linemen - and one of them is a center!  Let them complain.  Our job is not to be their minor league.

Maybe the 8-man game will become so popular that someone will start  an 8-man professional league.  It would be as much “real football” as 3-on-3 basketball is "real basketball.”  There are a couple of organizations planning on making a go of professional “Rugby Sevens” (7-man rugby).  Good luck to that.  Change it to 8-man football and they’d have a chance.

One real benefit to going to the 8-man game, as I see it, is that it would  separate the high school game from the pro game so clearly that we wouldn't have to listen to those asses from the NFL trying to pontificate on what’s best for our game.

(As I write, NFL lawyers are probably already hard at work trying to trademark  the terms “8-Man” and “8-Man Football.”)


*********** Two North Carolina high school football players have been charged with the rape of a female student in the boys’ locker room.

Without knowing anything at all about the school - It makes you wonder how/when/why the three were out of class.

And how they got into the locker room.

http://www.wbtv.com/story/36477075/2-north-carolina-prep-football-players-charged-in-rape


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

This week we play a team that shifts into a 4-4. How would you attack that from the Open Wing? We are pretty basic with the offense.


Without a diagram the best I can do is talk about - and diagram - a generic 4-4

I find the best way to attack a 4-4 is between the down linemen on each side.


I am assuming that they will cover your twins with #1 and #2.  If they do not you should be throwing bubble and smoke at them until they do.

Now then - attack between the G and T on the open side with 5 X-O Follow, and Criss-Cross.

WEST 4-X-O
On the Tight Side- 6-G-O can be a problem if your TE can’t block the DE in the gap.

So run 4-X-O - to the Tight Side.  Tackle blocks down on #1 DL, Guard kicks out on #2 DL. The TE will block the #2 man - the FBI.

How he gets there depends on where the DE lines up.

Split your TE a yard outside the Tight Tackle.  Make the DE decide whether to line up on the tackle or on the TE. “On" the TE (top diagram) is like Christmas in September. You have widened the gap between the two defensive linemen. Have the TE release inside the DE for #2.

But if the DE stays on your tackle’s outside shoulder (bottom diagram), it’s the same situation you have on the Open side.
And the TE comes over the top.

Please be sure to let me know how it works out.




*********** You KNOW this basketball pay for play scandal  has to be bad when Louisville runs out of excuses for Rick Pitino.And fires an AD who's been there for 17 years.

Trust me, though - this thing isn’t going stop with Pitino, Louisville,  and Adidas. (Sorry, you soccer fairies - this is America and that means you get a capital “A” at the start of your name whether you like it or not.)

Does anyone really think that there’s one of the small handful of companies in the  ultracompetitive apparel business that hasn’t been up to its ass in funneling millions of dollars through corrupt AAU and college coaches and street agents to greedy high school kids to entice them to attend Nike Tech or UnderArmour State or Adidas U?

(Please try to remember as this stuff bubbles to the surface that these   companies are the same smug bastions of liberalism who’re always quick to promote the leftist cause du jour. )

https://uk.sports.yahoo.com/news/rick-pitino-expects-fired-louisville-142841298.html

***********  It’s hard to believe that Odell Beckham (“Junior”) attended Isidore Newman High School,  the same high school as the Manning boys.  Could there ever be more disparate examples of the merits of a Newman education?

It’s impossible to believe that he made it through one of New Orleans’ most elite private schools acting the way he does. But it’s almost as hard to believe that he once acted like a normal human being for an entire high school career.

For sure, I doubt that’s  where he learned to “celebrate” a touchdown by lifting his leg, like a dog on a fire hydrant.

Now, as if in total ignorance of what’s acceptable in society, he claims he did nothing wrong -  because nowhere is it written that he couldn’t simulate urination on a football field. Have we really reached that point?

(Predictably, Giants’ management, which sees “unity” where we see disrespect for the flag, says that Beckham is actually making strides toward maturity.)

I know nothing about Odell Beckham, Junior or Senior, but
acting like a jackass while wearing a  "Junior” tag on your  jersey sure seems like a strange way of honoring your father.

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/giants-odell-beckham-jr-refuses-grow-article-1.3518586

*********** A suburban Chicago High School has had its varsity football season “suspended” following “reports” of “possible hazing” on the team.

By being so vague, school officials leave us with an unpleasant choice: Either this is something ugly that definitely warrants such strong, immediate action, or it’s gutless administrators overreacting. 

I know nothing, so I can’t accuse or defend, but it sure is convenient nowadays to blame football.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/more-sports/niles-north-suspends-varsity-football-season-after-learning-of-possible-hazing-incident/ar-AAstJuy

QUIZ: Everybody knows Alex Karras - either as a football player, a pro wrestler or an entertainer.

Karas was a native of Gary, Indiana.

He went to Iowa where he had a very contentious relationship with his head coach, Forrest Evashevski, and was thrown off the team his sophomore year, but he went on to become such a good lineman that he won the Outland Trophy and was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy.

He was not a great student, and once joked that he “spent two terms in college: Truman’s and Eisenhower’s.”

A first-round NFL draft pick, before he played a down of pro football, Karras embarked on a career as a pro wrestler.

He was an outstanding defensive player, a three-time All-Pro, and he and another All-Pro, Paul Horning, were suspended for an entire season (And fined the enormous sum of $2000) for betting on games and associating with “undesirables.” (The difference between then and now is that now it’s the players that are the undesirables.)

While on suspension, he returned to wrestling.

Hornung never did return to his pre-suspension form, but Karras did come back and earn one more trip to the Pro Bowl.  Once, when asked to call the coin toss, he refused, telling the referee, “I’m sorry - I’m not permitted to gamble.”

His introduction to acting came when he played himself in the movie version of “Paper Lion,” a book about the Lions at training camp  written by George Plimpton.

That led to a number of appearances on the Tonight Show and a memorable part in the movie “Blazing Saddles”  in which he punched a horse.

He went on to an acting career in movies and on television, and spent three years as an announcer on Monday Night Football, when it was the biggest show in all of sports.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING ALEX KARRAS:
Josh Montgomery - Berwick, Louisiana
Ken Hampton - Raleigh, North Carolina
Greg Koenig - Cimarron, Kansas
Chris Hilliker - Northport, Alabama
Tom Walls - Winnipeg, Manitoba
Tim Brown - Florence, Alabama
Adam Wesoloski - Pulaski, Wisconsin
Mike Benton - Colfax, Illinois
John Vermillion - St. Petersburg, Florida
Mark Kaczmarek - Davenport, Iowa
Mat Hedger - Langdon, North Dakota
Ossie Osmundson - Woodland, Washington
Joe Gutilla - Austin, Texas
Mike Foristiere - Mattawa, Washington (I remember when I was a kid he was the Monday night guy in the box. He made me laugh hard when he talked about a player I tried to model my play after. It was Conrad Dobler, and he talked about somehow being able to bite someone right thru his face mask.)
Todd Hollis - Elmwood, Illinois
Shep Clarke - Puyallup, Washington
Kevin McCullough - Lakeville, Indiana


*********** Coach Todd Hollis of Elmwood, Illinois wrote,

“My assistant coach's sister was married to Alex Karras during his playing days with the Lions.  Coach Dutton is a fan of that forlorn team to this day because of it.  One of his favorite stories is of a Thanksgiving meal (I think it was Thanksgiving) and the number of turkeys needed to feed the rather large men in attendance.

“Funny that guys my age know Alex Karras as "Webster's dad" more so than as the outstanding football player he was.  My sons have even watched the show and are amazed that "Webster's dad" was a defensive tackle in the NFL.”

I am constantly reminded of the fact that millions of Americans never knew that the “Mister Coffee” they saw on TV was once a great baseball player named Joe DiMaggio.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/lions/2012/10/10/alex-karras-obituary-detroit-lions/1623419/


*********** On Alex Karras’ dislike for his college coach, Forest Evashevski

“Despite the big tackle’s outstanding ability and the success of his Iowa teams, he didn’t get along with Evashevski and he didn’t enjoy his years in Iowa City.

“‘Karras hated Evashevski and he still does,’ quarterback Randy Duncan, a teammate of Karras, recalls now. “I think Karras hated Evy for a lot of reasons.  Evy was on everybody’s back, and he was on Karras’ big-time.

“‘Karras was a great football player, but he didn’t really like offense, and in those days you had to go both ways.  So he didn’t block anybody.  What he wanted to do was chase down quarterbacks and play defense. Alex has no good memories of Iowa.’

“Bill Reichardt, the former standout fullback at Iowa who starred just before Evashevski became Iowa’s coach, said he, too, was familiar with Karras’ problems at Iowa.

“‘Evashevski was a bully,’ Reichardt said. ‘Karras had a mind of his own.  He didn’t do everything Evashevski wanted him to do, and Evashevski was on him all the time. So Alex totally disliked him.’”

“Tales From the Iowa Sidelines,” by Ron Maly (2003)

*********** Alex Karras’ famous brawl with Dick The Bruiser…

https://fornology.blogspot.com/2017/02/alex-karras-and-dick-bruisers-detroit.html


QUIZ - What do the following football coaches, winners of championships in several different eras, all have in common?

Fielding Yost… Greasy Neale… Ben Schwartzwalder… John McKay… Lou Holtz… Rich Rodriguez… Jimbo Fisher… Nick Saban



american flagTUESDAY,  SEPTEMBER 26,  2017  -“It’s awfully important to win with humility. It’s also important to lose with humility. I hate to lose worse than anyone, but if you never lose you won’t know how to act. If you lose with humility, then you can come back.” Bear Bryant


*********** I usually keep my personal correspondence to myself, but I thought this was important enough to share with my readers…

Goodell letter

***********   Good morning, Coach!

Trust you and Mrs. Wyatt are doing well.

I attended a basketball coaches clinic yesterday, and one of the college coaches who spoke at the clinic told us that his mentor, who coaches for the Chicago Bulls and has coached in over 300 NBA playoff games said:

"The biggest problem with NBA players today is that they simply cannot deal with in-game failures."

He added that if those millionaire players can't, how do we expect 14-18 year old kids to deal with in-game failures?

Just thought that was a powerful thing to think about as a coach. Sure made me do a double-take mentally and I am doing some reevaluating of things I say to players during a game.

He also quoted General Hal Moore several times, and shared his personal faith with about 100 strangers, both of which made him one of my new heroes!

DJ Millay
Vancouver, Washington

A major reason why they can’t deal with failure is that until they got to the NBA they’d never experienced it.  All their athletic lives, from the time they were in junior high, through high school and AAU and college,  until they finally made it to the NBA, they’d always been  The Man.

*********** I’m not someone who has suddenly decided that he’s had it with the NFL.  Oh, no.  As anyone who’s read my site since its early days back in the 1990s  knows, I was on Big Football’s ass back when that was a radical thing to do - back when the NFL was almost the state religion. 

But just because the players and owners and coaches have been exposed as opposing things I’ve long held sacred,  just as the NFL has shown for all to see that it’s every bit as evil as I’ve long said it was, that doesn’t mean I’m going to boycott or ignore it.

Why should I pass up such a rich vein of material? I’ll just go on pointing out the idiocy, the ugliness, the sheer hubris and hypocrisy of The League and its players. 

Now that we’ve got those a&&holes on the ropes, why would I stop punching?

*********** Several years ago the Democrat Party made a conscious decision to write off the so-called white working-class.

The Democrats’ leaders made clear how they felt about those people, first with Obama passing them off as “bitter” (“they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them”) and then Hillary dismissing them as a “basket of deplorables.”

The predictable result of this cavalier attitude was the angry uprising that cost them key states and brought about the election of Donald Trump.

And now, the NFL and its owners seem hell-bent in their own way on imitating the Democrats.

Showing how out of touch they are with their market, they’ve chosen to give it the finger by defending  their players’ defiance of our national symbols and traditions, and now they must reap the whirlwind.

*********** The NFL players (who don't know better) , with a big assist from the news media (who do),  have been making a bogus argument.  They have framed this about the players’  ”first amendment right” to “freedom of speech.”

First amendment rights are not extended to people in a work place.

It has been amply demonstrated - in some cases by the media themselves, who've been known to fire  employees for things they’ve said - that employers have the right to curtail employees’ speech.

*********** Everybody wants an official NFL Alejandro Villanueva jersey, and I have to admit that that’s one NFL jersey even I would wear.  But why give all that money to the NFL?

Instead, why not buy a replica of his Army football jersey?

Well… For one thing, Army - sorry, “Army West Point” -  doesn’t put names on the backs of jerseys, so how would anyone know whose jersey you were wearing?

For another, nobody would believe it was his jersey because  - get ready for this - Army used him as a wide receiver (!)  They seemed to take some pride in the fact that at 6-9 he was the tallest WR in the country.  (Maybe also the slowest.)

It’s really an amazing story: without any significant college experience as a lineman, the guy returned from three tours of Army combat duty in Afghanistan and  made himself into a pro football player.

I’ll bet Army wishes right now they’d decided to put names on their jerseys.  They could balance the athletic dept budget from the sales of VILLANUEVA jerseys
.
*********** In 2016, coach Brant Anderson took over a program at Council Bluffs (Iowa) Jefferson High that had won a total of only 10 games in the previous seven seasons, and coached his Yellow Jackets to  a 5-4 record.

This year, averaging 36.5 points per game running mostly Double Wing with a little bit of Open Wing thrown in, they’re now 4-1 after a 50-0 win over Des Moines North.

One reason for the Yellow Jackets’ success is 6-2, 215-pound running back Cameron Baker, who two weeks ago in a 56-21 win over Sioux City West carried 15 times for 336 yards and five touchdowns.

A clip of him breaking a half dozen or so tackles on his way to  a touchdown  went viral.

(Veteran Double Wing coaches will recognize the play as  66 Super Power.)

http://www.omaha.com/neprepzone/football/white-council-bluffs-thomas-jefferson-s-cameron-baker-power-ways/article_943ccd46-9424-59f2-b32e-6241b72c1f3d.html

*********** Army , down  14-10  to Tulane at the  half,  drove 71 yards in 15 plays, eating up 8:07 to take a 17-10  lead with 5:23 left to play.   But damned if Tulane didn't play turnabout, driving 75 yards in 19 plays to score the winning TD with 00:23 left. 

*********** If targeting were something to be proud of,  they might name the Targeting Award after Hardy Brown.  He is quite likely the Father of Targeting.

He wasn’t a big man - he was 6 foot, 190 - but he was one of the most feared hitters in the NFL, and took great pride in knocking opponents out of the game with his patented “humper,” springing up out of a crouch and hitting a ball carrier in the chin with his shoulder. (In fairness, he didn’t confine his hitting just to ball carriers.  He didn’t discriminate - no one on the opposing team was safe so long as he was on the field.)

He was born in Childress, Texas, and events of his childhood might explain why he would grow up to become one of the most feared, most intimidating players in the history of the NFL.

When he was four, he was in the room when his father was murdered,  shot to death.  Shortly after,  his mother sent him along with three brothers and sisters to the Masonic Home in Fort Worth.  There, as he grew older, he learned how to play football, and how to play it rough, developing what he called the “Humper.”  His senior year, he led the Masonic Home team, called the “Mighty Mites,” to the state semifinals.

After service in World War II as a Marine paratrooper, he played college football at Tulsa, and then with a variety of pro teams, where his reputation as a vicious hitter often caused some people to nickname him “Hatchet.”

One of only two players to play in the AAFC, the AFL and the NFL - Ben Agajanian was the other -  he played for seven different teams from 1948 to 1960.

His best years were in the early 50s with the 49ers.

In his book “Fatso: Football When Men Were Really Men,” the Baltimore Colts’ all-pro defensive tackle Artie Donovan wrote about some of the NFL’s tough customers, and paid special tribute to him:

How about San Francisco’s Hardy Brown. Ever heard of him? He was one tough bastard.  I can’t count how many people (he) put in the hospital. His style was an intent to maim. He had this knack, this technique of blaming a shoulder into a running back’s face; to this day, I don’t know how he did it.  He was like a snake uncoiling. He’d get under your chin and, bang, you’d be seeing stars. Ball carriers looked for (him), rather than an opening, coming around that corner.”

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING HARDY BROWN:

K.C. Smith - Walpole, Massachusetts
Josh Montgomery - Berwick, Louisiana
Adam Wesoloski - Pulaski, Wisconsin
Mike Benton - Colfax, Illinois
Ken Hampton - Raleigh,  North Carolina
Tim Brown - Florence, Alabama
Kevin McCullough - Lakeville, Indiana
John Vermillion - St. Petersburg, Florida
Ossie Osmundson - Woodland, Washington
Mark Kaczmarek - Davenport, Iowa

http://profootballdaly.com/hardy-brown-the-orneriest-critter-who-ever-buckled-a-chinstrap/

QUIZ: Everybody knows this guy - either as a football player, a pro wrestler or an entertainer.

He was a native of Gary, Indiana.

He went to a Big Ten school where he had a very contentious relationship with his head coach, Forrest Evashevski, and was thrown off the team his sophomore year, but he went on to become such a good lineman that he won the Outland Trophy and was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy.

He was not a great student, and once jokes that he “spent two terms in college: Truman’s and Eisenhower’s.”

A first-round NFL draft pick, before he played a down of pro football, he embarked on a career as a pro wrestler.

He was an outstanding defensive player, a three-time All-Pro, and he and another All-Pro were suspended for an entire season (And fined the enormous sum of $2000) for betting on games and associating with “undesirables.” (The difference between then and now is that now the players are the undesirables.)

While on suspension, he returned to wrestling.

The other guy never did return to his pre-suspension form, but our guy did come back and earn one more trip to the Pro Bowl.  Once, when asked to call the coin toss, he refused, telling the referee, “I’m sorry - I’m not permitted to gamble.”

His introduction to acting came when he played himself in the movie version of a book about his team written by George Plimpton.

That led to a number of appearances on the Tonight Show and a memorable movie in which he punched a horse.

He went on to an acting career in movies and on television, and spent three years as an announcer on Monday Night Football, when it was the biggest show in all of sports.





american flagFRIDAY,  SEPTEMBER 22,  2017  - I’ve seen parents spend a couple of hundred thousand dollars pursuing a college scholarship. They could have set it aside for the damn college.”Travis Dorsch, Utah State University
 
*********** Instead of sending off low-interest NFL teams to play in London, in the misguided belief that one day the NFL will expand to Europe, I suggest sending them across our northern border, for no reason other than to see if it’s possible to improve the NFL’s product.

It would be a great test of my theory that the solution to the offensive gridlock that’s killing the pro game is to widen the field.  Players are much bigger and incredibly faster than they were just 50 years ago, and yet the game’s being played on the same size field they were playing on in the 1800s. 

Although we hear offensive coaches talking about “spreading it out,”  in reality, offenses can’t spread out any further than the limits of the field itself.

My idea is to play an NFL game  in Canada.  On a Canadian field.   American rules - eleven men on a side, four downs, only one man in motion - on a Canadian field. 

The length of the field is immaterial.  The Canadian field is 110 yards long as opposed to the standard American  field, but that wouldn’t affect the game in any way.  And it wouldn’t be at all difficult to shorten the Canadian end zone from 20 yards to the NFL’s 10.

It’s the added width of the field - 65 yards Canadian,  53-1/2 NFL - that’s going to make all the difference.  Think of it - you might actually see a running game.  Running quarterbacks, even.

Why a Canadian field?  Simply because there’s no NFL stadium in which you can place a Canadian-sized field.  And the NFL powers-that-be are going to need some convincing before agreeing to alter their stadiums (removing some field-level seats) to make more room.

The NFL has to be careful not to think of this as a chance to export the League or even to make money on the game.  Its only reason is as a test of the Wyatt Hypothesis.  They should thank the CFL for allowing them to invade its territory (hell, they own a major piece of the CFL anyhow) by keeping ticket prices to a bare minimum.  And letting any CFL season ticket holders in free.

I know, I know, the defensive coaches will bitch.  F—k them. They couldn’t care less about the overall good of the game - which in fairness isn’t their job - so somebody has to sit down and explain to them that the League is in a nose-dive, and if something isn’t done about it, and fast, the day may come when they’re all out of work.

The logistics won’t be tough.  Most CFL cities are within 100 miles of the US border. 

The best time would be after the Grey Cup, the CFL’s championship game, which this year is scheduled for November 26 in Ottawa.

By that time, it would be easier to find a game between two losing teams, a game whose result will have absolutely no bearing on the rest of the league (the late Howard Cosell used to use the term “meaningless game”). Jets-Colts or 49ers-Rams come to mind.  They’ll have to compensate the home fans for moving the game, but otherwise I doubt that many of them would mind.  And if those teams can put on an exciting NFL game, with plenty of offense, my point is made.

My suggestion for the game site would be Vancouver, because by late November bad weather is a strong possibility in most other CFL cities.  Vancouver not only has a milder climate, but it also has a domed stadium. 

(And it’s close enough for me to get to.  That’s one NFL game I’d pay to see.)

*********** The Rams-49ers game, featured the worst taste in uniforms in the history of the NFL. The Rams' all-yellow costumes made me nostalgic for the days of black-and-white TV. And the 49ers ghastly dark-red numbers on all-black jerseys? They never would have been permitted back then.

*********** Taking their cue from the NBA’s annual lottery dance to the bottom, a lot of UCLA people have begun pulling for the Bruins to continue to suck so they can win the lottery - so that Jim Mora will get fired and they can hire Chip Kelly. 

Considering the buyout that Mora will require, it seems to me it would be more affordable  if instead of cheering for losses, they would go the moral turpitude route - set him up in a compromising  situation (with pictures, of course) so he can be fired with cause.

*********** The talk radio people have been having a field day with the fact that you could buy two tickets for tonight’s Rams-at-49ers game for less than the price of two pretzels.

*********** Six hundred years ago, the French writer Rabelais made a universal observation: “l’appétit vient en mangeant.”  Translated literally: “Appetite comes with eating.”

Its meaning: When someone makes demands, don’t expect that giving them what they ask will be the end of it.

Demands once met will escalate.

What you tolerate you encourage.

And so it goes with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, whose reward for blowing his chance to nip national anthem protests in the bud  is a request by group of present and former NFL players  that The League endorse their efforts to promote  something called “Activism Awareness Month.”

(Speaking of special months, Pink Kevlar Month - aka The NFL Goes Pink to Pay Tribute to the Feminists - is less than 10 days away.)

 http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2017/09/21/group-of-players-ask-nfl-to-support-activism-awareness-month/


*********** A friend in the Midwest, after a very successful run as a youth (Double Wing) coach, moved up to the high school level about 10 years ago.  He had to take a break from coaching a few years ago because of the press of business and the time demands of his young family.

This past season, though, he has returned to youth football, getting his “coaching fix,” as he put, it by coaching the offense for an 8th grade team. 

He noted that this has been 20 years of running my Double Wing, and he said that overall he’s really enjoying himself (and his team is 4-0). But he did tell me of one very distressing thing he’s noticed on his return to youth football after some ten years away:

On the downside, refs out here have become true puppets of the USA Football Pussification of America.  On more than one occasion we have been flagged for our counter kick outs being "unsafe" and “unnecessary roughness away from the play.”  Huh?  The ref actually said that I need to get rid of that shoulder blocking immediately as we need to teach our kids to use our hands and push players safely.   WHAT?

I couldn't help but think of all those years high school and college line coaches laughed at me about using forearms and shoulders.  They would always say that they could teach a player to hit harder with hands than forearms and shoulders.  And now we have refs trying to outlaw our "outdated" and "old" football technique.  It is incredibly depressing to think that my 3 1/2 year old son will probably never play anything close to the type of football we have been used to over the last half century.  This is not a world I would have wanted to grow up in given the choice.  It is quite embarrassing what is going on right now.  

What’s scary for all of us is that the emphasis on “unnecessary roughness” allows officials quite a bit of subjective interpretation of what constitutes “roughness.”


*********** John Canzano of the Portland Oregonian wrote that Wyoming’s AD, Tom Berman, told him that he’d given 18 NFL scouts credentials for last Saturday's Oregon-Wyoming game in Laramie, ostensibly to  see Cowboys’ QB Josh Allen.   It was a costly day for young Mr. Allen: he completed just 9 of 24 passes for 64 yards.


***********  Down 56-0 to Penn State with 11 seconds to play, Georgia State averted a shutout by kicking a  field goal.

But wait - the kick didn’t count. Just before the ball was snapped, unbeknownst to anyone in the stadium except a sideline official and the Penn State head coach, Penn State had called one of those sleazy, sneaky, stealthy timeouts, designed solely for the purpose of icing the opposing kicker.

On the next attempt, the kicker missed, and Penn State had its dubious shutout.

Oh, no, said Penn State coach James Franklin after the game.  That timeout wasn’t to ice the kicker.  Oh, no.  See, it was because State had its fourth-stringers in the game - and they didn’t know how to line up to block a field goal.  Oh, dear.  You mean there was a chance that Georgia State might have made a field goal and cost you your precious shutout?  Gee, if it meant that much to you, why didn’t you just put your starters back in  the game a few minutes earlier and then maybe Georgia State wouldn’t even have made it into field goal range?

There is simply no explaining this away. It was an a$$hole move. Every coach in the world knows exactly what kind of a pr--k a guy is when he calls a time out at a time like that.  And to do it against a team that you’ve totally manhandled is the grossest form of poor sportsmanship.

Franklin could simply have said afterward that in the heat of battle he made a decision that he regretted, and that would have been that.  But no, he had to say something about how competitive he is (referring to one of his core values: “compete in everything you do”) as if that would justify his rubbing a beaten opponent’s nose in dirt.

Come on, Coach.  A week ago you were dissing Pitt, and this past week you took uncalled-for steps to shut out a team you clearly outclassed, as if that was some great achievement.  A shutout of a team you were able to score 56 points on is like shooting a deer in a petting zoo.  Now, when you can shutout Ohio State or Michigan -  that’s a trophy you can mount over your mantel. (Remember to save your timeouts.)

I am very disappointed in this guy. He can coach another 20 years and it’ll be hard for him to erase this from my memory.

Character finds strange times and ways of revealing itself, but it always does.

This is not the classy Penn State that I grew up respecting.

This Saturday Penn State plays Iowa. Go Hawkeyes!

http://triblive.com/sports/college/pennstate/12739062-74/penn-state-coach-james-franklin-insists-he-called-controversial-timeout-for-personnel


*********** Coach, My answer is Ben Agajanian,

I honestly had never heard of this guy, sounds like he had an interesting career!  

You are right on with your critique of the NFL.  My thoughts are it's just too damned expensive.  Direct TV has NFL sunday ticket so you can watch all of the games on Sunday.  The price was raised again this season!  If I want to watch my Vikings play, Ill just head to the local bar I think!  

We are 2-2 currently, we play another 2A school in Tremont this week, we have had a few injuries (My Right guard may be done for the season) but we are in good spirits and ready for the challenges!  Ill try to keep you informed on how we are doing.

Mike Benton
Colfax, Illinois

Correct on Toeless Ben. I’m always glad  when guys meet players they’d never heard of!

The NFL is in a spot because if they give fans a break on prices now that they’re getting hammered from all sides, it’ll look like they’re admitting that we’ve been right all along.

2-2 isn’t bad for a program that a year ago was still looking for its first win in a couple of years.

Sorry about your right guard.  That’s a tough one to replace.


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

Notre Dame and Minnesota both played well.  The Irish just need to get back to old-school ND football to have a successful season.  Quit trying to be so fancy-schmantsy.  The Gophers found another bruising RB and get a much needed week off to get their other bruisers healthy.

Watching the Texas-USC game I told my brother that while the Horns came alive late in the game, and the USC kicker sent it to OT, Texas would lose it in OT.  But...I agree with Clay Helton.  Texas will be a pretty good team this year.

The only time I took a senior on the team late was if he was a transfer and had previous playing experience.  Otherwise if the kid had no HS experience it was always no.

Have a great week!

*********** Hmm.  I mentioned on Tuesday that Nebraska’s Mike Riley had been given a contract extension the week before the Huskers lost to Northern Illinois. On Thursday, the AD was fired.

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

We did what we had to do on Friday night against an outmatched opponent, beating the Havana Ducks 64-0.  With proper intensity and focus we worked on things we needed to work on and executed effectively.  Every player who stepped off the bus (47) played in the game.  It was a good night and a time for the second group (and third) to "get paid" for all of their hard work.  

Like I said, we did work on some things.  Ran out of Open Wing effectively.  Ran some overload and even what we call "Big" (TE to the left, everyone else to the right).  Got into Stack I and even ran our Rhino package (bring in a tackle as a blocking back).  Also ran out of double spit gun.  I really tried to limit the use of the double wing as I challenged myself and the team to work on these other aspects of our offensive game.

4-0 Bushnell comes to town this Friday.  A T and Wishbone team, they are not fancy and everyone knows what is coming.  It should be a good test and a night where we get to "let the horses run" for more than a half of football.

I've had a copy of When Pride Still Mattered on my bookshelf for years.  For some reason I've never picked it up.  Thanks to your endorsement, it's the next book coming off that shelf for me.  Thank you.

Bye the way, thanks to our discussion at the KC clinic, we have gone to 2pt conversions following every touchdown.  We are converting over 75%, so we are WAY ahead of where we were when we were kicking the ball.  Maybe on of the most impactful things I took away from that clinic.  "If you take just one thing away from this clinic then it has been worthwhile."  Just about every clinic speaker says that, and it is so true.  Thank you.

Todd Hollis
Elmwood High School
Elmwood, Illinois

It’s nice to have a game or two like that, and I think that that’s  a good use for it.  It presents the kids with  a challenge to do more than simply beat an undermanned team, and it gives you a better look, in game conditions, at a lot of things that you wouldn’t ordinarily get against a scout team.

Very glad that you got something worthwhile from the clinic.

The important thing to remember is that going 50 per cent on  2-point conversions is better than going 90 per cent on placekicks. Overall, that is.  But when it comes down to one play to win it, 90 per cent is better than 50 per cent (assuming that you have that good a kicker!)

Good luck this week!


*********** My son Ed sent me this one.  He knows how I feel about high school kids transferring, and he wanted me to know of at least one case where a transferee seems to be a good kid from a good family that’s willing to make great sacrifices for the sake of his future.

http://www.presstelegram.com/sports/20170920/st-john-bosco-football-star-jaiden-woodbey-shining-on-and-off-field?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

***********   It’s way too late, of course, to ask why, exactly, we need to have the national anthem played/sung/“performed” before an NFL game.

Oh, no.  You’re not going to call me unpatriotic… unappreciative of our armed forces… anti-cop…  an enabler of Colin Kaepernick… blah, blah, blah…

Oh, no.  We’re riding a tiger now, and we can’t get off.   You know how it goes - the minute the NFL decides to leave the teams in the locker rooms until after the anthem, or decides  not to come on the air  until after the anthem, why - the protesters have won!  The great mass of fans will go nuts.

Dispensing with the anthem entirely? That would end the protests, but that’s out of the question.

But should it be?

What, exactly, is  the national anthem’s purpose before a sporting event?  Is it to confer some sort of blessing on the occasion, or on  the participants? Hardly. Not in our officially non-religious America.

Is it to “honor America?”  Looking at the way a hell of  lot of people in the stands and on the sidelines act while it’s taking place, they  don’t seem to think so.  What about the cameramen who stick their cameras in the faces of the players who kneel or sit while the anthem’s going on?  Is what they’re doing any less disrespectful than what the protestors are doing?

Ever been to a high school game on Friday night and watched all the kids screwing around during the anthem?  Some honor.

Or is its purpose, as I have long contended, to provide an opportunity - and an audience - for some  “artist” to show us how creative he or she can be in “performing” it? 

So given that it doesn’t accomplish its stated purpose,  why, exactly, is it necessary?

The news media are going nuts about an 8-year-old team in Cahokia, Illinois that knelt during the national anthem.  A despicable display, and shame on that coach, but more to the point - why, exactly, is it necessary to have the national anthem before  8-year-olds play a football game?

Consider:

It isn’t played in theatres before the feature showing.

It isn’t played before concerts.

It isn’t played before Broadway shows.

So, why sports events?

I coached in Finland for seven seasons, and in all that time I estimate that I heard the Finnish national anthem no more than four times.  It had nothing to do with a lack of patriotism or  love of country. The Finns love their country every bit as much as we do ours. They're right up against Russia, and they're always ready to put it all on the line for their beloved homeland if needed.  Less than a century ago their grandfathers defended Finland against attacks by the Russians and then by the Germans.  Just as special to them as their country is their national anthem.  It’s so special its played only on special occasions.  In the world of sports, that means at international competitions.  Period.  Not at 8-year-old hockey games.

I love the Finnish national anthem.  It brings tears to my eyes whenever I hear it. Partly it’s because I have such wonderful memories of Finland, but partly it’s because hearing it is so special.

Our national anthem? I hear it at least two or three times a week and it, too,  brings tears to my eyes.  But that’s because of the way we mistreat it: fans and players fidget, or ignore it totally, and performers act as if it belongs to them, not to all of us.

https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=spigot-chr-ffmac&p=finnish+nationl+anthem#id=13&vid=17c690798f0bbde10c886bbd7de5673f&action=view


*********** You know the NFL sucks and I know the NFL sucks. The NFL also knows it sucks but there’s nothing it can do.  To a great extent it’s because of a horrendous, poorly-thought-out  deal it made with the player’s union, the NFLPA, which is hurting union members as much as it’s hurting the NFL.

First of all, put away any idea you might have had that NFL teams are doing everything they can to field the best teams possible.  They may be strong at some positions, but they’re shockingly weak at others, and they know it, there’s not a damn thing they can do about it. The fact is that there’s a specified amount of money that they’re required by contract to pay out to their players. But in reality the great percentage of that money goes to a handful of players - quarterbacks, of course, along with a handful of stars at a few other positions - and then teams are forced to fill out their lineups with whoever they can obtain with whatever money they have left.  Often, this means having to  let good players go simply for economic reasons.  Teams frequently have so little money left after signing the big-money guys that they have to release veteran starters, good players whose salaries they can no longer afford,  and replace them with guys who’ll be paid  the league’s minimum salary.

So teams fill out their rosters with inexperienced guys whose chief virtue is their affordability.  And then - here’s that dumbass deal again - with contractual limits on the number of practices permitted in and out of season, there’s little chance of improving their skills.

The result?  The public is not seeing the quality of football it has a right to expect.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/lousy-football-blame-newly-re-elected-demaurice-smith-and-the-nflpa/ar-AAsiEz4?li=BBnba9I

*********** Must-watch games for me this weekend:

FRIDAY

Virginia at Boise State. Broncos are tough at home.  But Bronco (Mendenhall) has been there before.

SATURDAY

* Army at Tulane.  Army is coming off a drubbing
at Ohio State;  Tulane almost beat Navy at Annapolis.

* Texas A & M at Arkansas. Can Kevin Sumlin right the ship at A & M?  Can Brett Bielema finally get it done at Arkansas?

* USC at Cal.  Cal is 3-0 but I’m afraid it comes to an end Saturday.

* TCU at Oklahoma State. Can the Frogs stop Mason Rudolph?  Can anybody?

* Duke at North Carolina.  It’s a big basketball rivalry but thanks to David Cutcliffe it’s a pretty big football rivalry now, too.  Duke is 3-0 but Carolina has played a tougher schedule.

*Cincinnati at Navy. Middies didn’t look so good last time out.

*Michigan at Purdue. Biggest game in West Lafayette in years. Purdue is off to a great start and Michigan has underperformed so far but it’s still Michigan. Question:  Is it still Purdue?

*Nevada at Washington State. Cougs lost all-Pac 12 linebacker Peyton Pelluer for the season with a broken foot but they have that high-powered offense. Plus a heck of  a defensive lineman named Hercules Mata’afa.

*Mississippi State at Georgia.  Two unbeatens. I think MSU's NIck Fitzgerald, a Georgia kid,  will make the difference. How did Georgia let him get away?

*Penn State at Iowa.  I’ve already weighed in on this one. I have my doubts about James Franklin but none about Kirk Ferentz. Go Hawkeyes.

*Notre Dame at Michigan State. I’ve been a Spartans fan in this series for a long time and I’m not changing now.

*Washington at Colorado. Huskies’ first real test.

*Oregon at Arizona State. Are the Sun Devils in trouble? Are the Ducks for real?  I sure like what I see Willie Taggart doing with Justin Herbert at QB and Royce Freeman and a fleet of other good running backs.

*UCLA at Stanford. UCLA is explosive offensively; Stanford is not.  But Stanford plays defense; UCLA doesn’t.   I’m going with Stanford.


QUIZ - If I'd given you his nickname - “Toeless Ben” or “The Toeless Wonder” - you’d have gotten this one easily. While in college, Ben Agajanian had four toes on his kicking foot amputated after a work accident, but he recovered and went on to become a pro football player.  Okay, okay - a kicker.  A kicking specialist. But a damn good one, good enough that at a time when rosters were much smaller and few teams could justify having a kicking specialist, he always found work.   Between 1945 and 1964 Ben Agajanian kicked for ten different teams: Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles Dons, New York Giants, Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers, Dallas Texas, Green Bay Packers, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers.

Ben Agajanian is one of only two men to have played in the AAFC, the AFL and the NFL.

He kicked until he was 45, and after retirement he was the Cowboys’ kicking coach for 20 years.

Now 98, Ben Agajanian is the oldest ex-Ram.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BEN AGAJANIAN
Josh Montgomery - Berwick, Louisiana
Ken Hampton - Raleigh, North Carolina
John Vermillion - St. Petersburg, Florida
Ossie Osmundson - Woodland, Washington
Mike Benton - Colfax, Illinois
Adam Wesoloski - Pulaski, Wisconsin
Tim Brown - Florence, Alabama
Joe Gutilla - Austin, Texas
Mark Kaczmarek - Davenport, Iowa

QUIZ: If targeting were something to be proud of,  they might name the Targeting Award after him. 
Although he was doing it before it even had a name, he may very well be the Father of Targeting.

He wasn’t a big man - he was 6 foot, 190 - but he was one of the most feared hitters in the NFL, and took great pride in knocking opponents out of the game with his patented “Humper,” springing up out of a crouch and hitting a ball carrier in the chin with his shoulder. (In fairness, he didn’t confine his hitting just to ball carriers.  He didn’t discriminate - no one on the opposing team was safe so long as he was on the field.)

He was born in Childress, Texas, and events of his childhood might explain why he would grow up to become one of the most feared, most intimidating players in the history of the NFL.

When he was four, he was in the room when his father was murdered,  shot to death.  Shortly after,  his mother sent him along with three brothers and sisters to the Masonic Home in Fort Worth.  There, as he grew older, he learned how to play football, and how to play it rough, developing  the “Humper.”  His senior year, he led the Masonic Home team, called the “Mighty Mites,” to the state semifinals.

After service in World War II as a Marine paratrooper, he played college football at Tulsa, and then with a variety of pro teams, where his reputation as a vicious hitter often caused some people to nickname him “Hatchet.”

One of only two players to play in the AAFC, the AFL and the NFL - Ben Agajanian was the other -  he played for seven different teams from 1948 to 1960.

His best years were in the early 50s with the 49ers.

In his book “Fatso: Football When Men Were Really Men,” the Baltimore Colts’ all-pro defensive tackle Artie Donovan wrote about some of the NFL’s tough customers, and paid special tribute to him:

How about San Francisco’s ——— ———. Ever heard of him? He was one tough bastard.  I can’t count how many people (he) put in the hospital. His style was an intent to maim. He had this knack, this technique of slamming a shoulder into a running back’s face; to this day, I don’t know how he did it.  He was like a snake uncoiling. He’d get under your chin and, bang, you’d be seeing stars. Ball carriers looked for (him), rather than an opening, coming around that corner.”



american flagTUESDAY,  SEPTEMBER 19,  2017  - “If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” George Washington

*********** THE THIRD WEEKEND OF FOOTBALL

Thursday - Boise State over New Mexico. Boise was better, but New Mexico lost most of its exciting triple option offense when its quarterback was taken out by a dirty hit to the head.  There’s only one way to stop this vicious stuff that’s making me have doubts about whether I’d want a kid of mine playing, and that is to go right at the millionaires who let this sh— go on.  Time to start suspending and fining the head coach anytime targeting is called.  You’d see it come to an end overnight.

Friday - South Florida over Illinois.  South Florida is really good and they appeared to have a nice crowd in Tampa.  And for all those people who care more about diversity than they do about football - both teams had black coaches.

Arizona over UTEP.  Can there be a worse FBS team than UTEP?

Saturday-

Started out with Oklahoma State over Pitt.  I didn’t stay long.  This one became a blowout fast.  Mason Rudolph showed the Pitt people that he’s the best quarterback in the US, which includes Oklahoma (sorry Baker Mayfield). Things got so bad that to try to keep students from leaving at halftime, they were promised a “free beverage” (unspecified) if they’d only stay.

That meant a quick switch to:

Michigan over  Air Force. AFA is not bad.  Michigan is not that good. Had to kick FIVE field goals. But Michigan had more highly-recruited players and that was enough. 

and

Northern Illinois over Nebraska.  Holy sh—!  Just wanted to see how Mike Riley’s team was doing and I quickly found out - not well.  Nebraska was shut out in the first half. And this in the same week that the Huskers’ AD gave Riley a contract extension.  Is this how they set up guys for firing nowadays?

Memphis over UCLA.  Another stunning loss handed to a Power 5 school by an AAC team.   Would have watched more but having to listen to Beth Mowins gargle chased me away.

Josh Montgomery of Berwick, Louisiana texted me to get on the Louisiana-Texas A & M game, where the Cajuns were beating the Aggies.  A & M did wind up winning, but not in convincing fashion.

Couldn’t get Baylor-Duke on my Hulu.  Glad that Duke won, to remain unbeaten, but things have to be getting uncomfortable in Waco for new coach Matt Rhule.

Also was unable to get Wake Forest-Utah State. Wake is now 3-0, putting a lot of points on the board and playing good defense. But uh-oh - Florida State is coming in this Saturday.

Wisconsin-BYU.  Didn’t watch long.  Wisconsin is good, BYU is not good at all.  How could a school fall so far?  Would they like to have  Bronco Mendenhall  back?

TCU over SMU.  The Mustangs surprised me by giving the Frogs a game.

Tennessee-Florida.  I just couldn’t watch this SEC slog long enough to stick around for the final play, which is supposed to have made an otherwise boring  game exciting.

Switched to Notre Dame-Boston College but it was a timeout so I switched back.

Purdue-Missouri.  Jeez, Brohm has done a great job with Purdue.  They are looking good.  Speaking of looking - Missouri, in all-black with a grotesque tiger face on the helmets, is easily the ugliest-looking team in all of football.

Army-Ohio State.  First half was classic triple option frustration for Ohio State as Army, down 14-0,  put on an 18-play, 99-yard drive that consumed 9-1/2 minutes of the second quarter. They stopped an Ohio State drive and the Buckeyes settled for a field goal to go in at the half leading only 17-7.   Second half was a demonstration of the immutable fact that not a single player on Army’s team was considered good enough in high school to be recruited by Ohio State. The Bucks wound up with 586 yards of total offense, with 316 yards and three TDs on 29 of 37 passing.  Final score: 38-7.  To Urban Myer’s credit. Ohio State took a knee on the Army 9-yard-line at game’s end.

Washington State over Oregon State. Cougars remain unbeaten. Beavers are now 1-3, and things are not looking bright: QB Jake Luton, whom coach Gary Anderson had built his attack around, was hit in the fourth quarter while scrambling for yardage and suffered a fractured spine. Last year’s starter, Marcus McMaryion, transferred to Fresno State after Luton, a JC transfer, was named the Beavers’ starter early in fall camp. I didn't blame him.

LSU-Mississippi State. Wow.  37-7.  Coming in, we knew the Tigers had problems on offense.  But where was the defense? State’s Nick Fitzgerald is a really good QB and one hell of a tough kid.

Oregon-Wyoming.  That poor doggone Josh Allen, the Cowboys’ QB.  Heck of a player but he can’t possibly live up to the hype and the early schedule is beating him and the Cowboys down.

K-State - Vanderbilt.  Vandy wins at the buzzer. Sure sorry that one of them had to lose.

Clemson-Lousville.  Didn’t watch.  Not sure why.

Texas-USC.  An incredible game.  Texas held USC on fourth and one on the goal line. The score was 0-0 with 2:40 to play in the half, and suddenly it was 14-7 when the teams went off.   There is no way the NFL can give us a game like that, and please don’t tell me it’s because the colleges don’t play defense. The game was 17-17 at the end of regulation, after Texas drove the length of the field to go ahead 17-14, but  with :39 left to play, Sam Darnold drove the Trojans 52 yards in 8 plays to set up the tying field goal. Trojans win in OT.  Texas has its quarterback - a freshman named Sam Ehlinger.

Fresno State-Washington. Score was 27-0 after one.  (Click.) I missed seeing Dante Pettis return another punt for a TD - his third in three games and the  eighth of his career, tying the NCAA record. 

Stanford - San Diego State.  Aztecs are undefeated.  Stanford loses its second in a row.  Been a while since that happened.

Ole Miss at Cal.  Ole Miss is in decline and Cal is on the mend. Very good game if you live on the West Coast and you’re able to stay up to watch. Ole Miss’ Shea Patterson is a decent QB and Cal’s Ross Bowers is looking good, too. Cal led, 20-16 but a late interception return for a TD (I can’t bring myself to say”pick six”) put the game on ice.

*********** College football had better be careful not to  let those damn replays turn its games  into NFL snoozefests.

*********** Not naming the kid, but styling has gone too far when a QB throws an interception that dooms his team to a loss, and as the camera focuses on him after he realizes what just happened, he’s bent over, rolling his knee pad up under the pants leg so that he can still maintain the in-fashion bike shorts look.

*********** How low have the once-proud New York Giants sunk?

With a 1st and goal on the Lions one-yard line, they ran it up the middle - and earned a well-deserved holding penalty when a knucklehead lineman tried squeezing the life out of a Lions' defender. They needed one f--king yard! Time to put pads on pads - except none of those linemen  have blocked with a shoulder in years. (Seen the Pop Warner-size shoulder pads they wear?)

Three plays later, the Giants are on the two, fourth and goal. They decide to go for it. But they take too much time, and have to settle for a field goal.
Dumbass penalties.

Dropped passes.

Missed tackles.

Sloppy uniforms (shirts out, "pants" up to mid-thigh, varying types and arrangements of stockings)

"Look at me" antics

Insulting political postures
The quality of the product continues to decline, but the salaries continue to escalate.

*********** NFL coaches continue to whine that the college game doesn’t prepare quarterbacks for the pro game.

Is it at all unrealistic to think that for all the money they’re paid, they might consider adapting their game to the talent available, the way high school coaches do all the time?

Yes.  It is unrealistic, because it's an unwritten NFL rule that you have to run The Official NFL Offense (I'm surpised it doesn't have a sponsor).

Don't believe me? When you watch two college games on two TV sets, side by side, there's  a chance you'll see  four different offenses.  Try that with the pros and you'll notice very quickly  that they all run basically the same offense.

Here’s the reason: job security.

Pro coaches know that once they’re in The League, unless they screw up, they’re set for life. The offenses are so similar that coaches are to a great extent interchangeable, so they can always step into a job and go right to work. Check the way they move around from team to team.

Coaches know that at some point they’re going to get fired - it’s inevitable - and  their job security depends on being able to step right in and be able to coach the Official NFL Offense.

The trick is never to deviate from the orthodox.

Coaches know that if they dare do anything radically different,  it will  mean that when the time comes for them to look for another job, they’ll be unhirable.

*********** From my otherwise wasted year in college as an architecture major, I did manage to learn a few principles of basic design.

One is that when you must put a solid dark color next to another solid dark color, (such as a navy blue number on a red jersey) it’s important to separate them with a light color, preferably white. See, sometimes the people in the stands enjoy being able to read the numbers. Are you listening, Arizona?

Another is that when you put a light color next to another light color (such as a lime-green number on a white jersey) it’s important to separate them with a dark color, preferably black. Are you listening, Oregon?

The designers at Nike sure didn’t let those basic principles stand in their way when designing those hideous uniforms Arizona wore against Houston.

*********** Army lined up unbalanced, as it often does, with a Tackle over and a split end to one side, and a guard-tight end on the other, and the genius announcer, pointing to the short side, said, “This is a tight end playing tackle.”

*********** Mississippi State was penalized for what I swear sounded like “jumping over the punt shield.”  So evidently it’s now illegal to jump over the punt protectors to try to block the punt.  The pussification of football continues.

*********** It took me years to finally get around to it, but I just finished John Grisham’s “Bleachers.”

It’s a good read - a football novel. Sort of.

Briefly, a guy in his 30s returns to his home town for the first time in years for the funeral of his high school coach.

There are, of course, ad hoc mini-reunions with former teammates, whom he hasn’t seen since he left town.

They’ve gone off on different life paths, but there’s an element of democracy forged by their long-ago membership on the high school team.

And there’s the universal contrast, unique to small towns, between the ones who stuck around and never left town, and the ones who ventured out to try their luck in the outside world.

Throughout, there’s the ambivalence that so many players feel, years later,  about a strong coach who drove them mercilessly to win. And, in this case,  the realization that there was a side to him that he never permitted them to see.

The title comes from the place where the former players choose to gather informally, drinking beer and reminiscing and talking about life.

Fun reading.

The best “football book” ever, in my opinion, is Willie Morris’ “The Courting of Marcus Dupree.”

I put “football book” in quotes because it’s more than that. Mr. Morris, a native Mississippian, tells the remarkable story of the high school career of Philadelphia, Mississippi’s Marcus Dupree and his recruitment by major colleges, and he tells it well.  But that’s just the lure that pulls you in, because chapter-by-chapter, he switches back and forth between the Marcus Dupree story and the ugliness of what happened years earlier in Philadelphia, in one of the darkest stories of  the Civil Rights struggle.

A close second is “When Pride Still Mattered,” David Maraniss’ biography of Vince Lombardi.  I have dozens of bookmarks in my copy from all the times I’ve gone back to it as reference. I know David  Maraniss - he’s on the Board of the Black Lion Award -  and I admire the thoroughness of the research that goes into his work. If David Maraniss writes it, you know he’s checked it first. (And double-checked it if necessary.)   And on top of the inerrancy that results, David is a great writer.

***********  Forget marveling at Tom Brady still playing at the age of 40.  Anybody can do that when he eats right and lives clean and takes good care of his body.

But what about Todd Marinovich? Over the past 25 years or so he’s been a poster child for not taking good care of one's body. He's probably spent more time in rehab than out.  And he’s still playing football.  And he's 48.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/13/sports/football/todd-marinovich.html?em_pos=medium&emc=edit_sp_20170914&nl=sports&nl_art=0&nlid=23696377&ref=headline&te=1


*********** Are you a grown man who goes out in public wearing a team jersey with your  favorite player’s number on it?

Before going to a game, do you paint your face? Do you dye your mohawk in your team’s colors?

Do you really believe - as teams’ marketing people would like you to - that you’re a reason for your team’s success?

Welcome to the American public’s concert mentality, where you don’t just go to the show - you ARE the show.

Jonah Goldberg is wise to you…

“I’ve never much liked events where spectators get too into anything. I like music, but I find concerts where everyone is all agog vaguely creepy. I sometimes feel like everyone else has been hypnotized and I’m expected to play along. Or sort of like I’m the only stoned one in the crowd (when it’s actually closer to the other way around).”

************ Bill Bruning, of Barker, New York, sent e a link to a story about the high school in Greece, New York, where they’ve decided to cave - and make dressing for PE optional. 

There are still many of us who can remember when kids were required to shower after PE class.

That was already phasing out back in the 80s, when I taught PE-weight training.

We were required to end the class ten minutes early to give the kids time to shower, but none of them would shower - they’d just put on their school clothes and go hang out in the halls until the bell rang.

http://13wham.com/news/local/after-student-feedback-greece-schools-changes-phys-ed-policy


************ A friend asked me about how to deal with two kids who wanted to turn out for football, two games into the season.  One was a sophomore and one was a senior. The senior had played before, but had previously decided not to turn out  for his senior season.

His inclination was to say yes to the sophomore, no to the senior, and I concur, but he was concerned about problems with the parent of the senior.

Here was my reasoning:

There is no comparison between a sophomore turning out late for football and a senior wanting to do the same.

The sophomore joins the team at an entry level.  He is a JV player and he is in an atmosphere where he can learn to play the game safely.  The players he practices and plays with are smaller and not as fast and not as proficient at the game yet, and the contact is less intense.

He has time to get stronger and learn the game. We can be patient with him as he learns, and he can be patient with himself and with the coaching staff, because he still has time.

The senior, however, comes in at the expert level.  The JV option is not available to him. Although he has played previously, there is every reason for concern that he is not properly conditioned and probably not ready to participate safely with  upper-class players who are bigger and stronger and faster and harder-hitting than JVs.

In the event that safety were not an issue - which we believe it is - there is the fact that there will be no playing time for him.

He would be too far behind his teammates to ever be in a position to make a contribution to the varsity team or to earn a spot ahead of a player already on the varsity squad.  Two games into a ten-game season, he has already missed 1/3 of all the team’s practices for the season.  

It’s not unlike a student walking into an honors math class several weeks late.  He is already far behind the rest of the class. He has missed the key lessons. And while he struggles to catch up, the rest of the class moves on. No matter how hard he works, he will never catch up.

And as for giving him token playing time in “mop-up” conditions:  It would be highly unfair to the other players - varsity and JV - who have done everything required to ask any of them to give up precious playing time so that this senior can get in a game.


*********** Did you see the 30 for 30 about the NFL strike and the Washington Scabskins? Then after that they had a 30 minute show about a sting the U.S. Marshals set up in Washington DC in the mid-80s using a Redskins game as a front. Interesting.

Adam Wesoloski
Pulaski, Wisconsin

Saw both shows. Loved them.

One of the reasons why the NFL decided to play despite the strike was that back in 1974 when the WFL started, the NFL players were on strike, and that gave the WFL a toehold in signing players that proved to be very expensive to the NFL.

I remember the sting.  One of the lures that got guys there was that Boomer Esiason was coming to town and he was a big favorite in the area, having played at Maryland.


*********** Used to be the NFL could put a shoddy product on the field and gullible people would still show up, simply because - IT WAS THE NFL!

Those days are gone for good.

In Los Angeles, the 20- year absence of the NFL taught the public that they could get along fine without a pro football team.

On Sunday, the Rams and Redskins drew 56,000 people to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.  In the same city, at the same time, the Chargers drew somewhere in the area of 25,000 (failing to sell-out a built-for-soccer stadium that seats less than 30,000).

Consider: the  combined attendance of those two NFL games was less than the 84,000 that attended the Texas-USC game the day before.

And in case anyone in the Chargers’ organization hasn’t been told, back in the San Diego that they jilted, on Saturday night the San Diego State Aztecs drew 43,000 for their game with Stanford.

*********** Saw a kid named Kylan Touch, from Aberdeen (WA) High score seven touchdowns Friday night, in a 54-36 win over Elma.  I’ve seen him a couple of times this year, and he is the real deal. He’s listed at 6, 190, but I doubt it. He is very quick with great feet and good speed. His scores came on runs, receptions, and returns.

***********I don’t necessarily put a lot of stock in professional reviewers, and this is why: according to Sports Business Journal, Beth Mowins received rave reviews for her job on the Chargers-Broncos game last Monday night.

Beth Mowins earned "positive reviews" on social media last night for her call of the Chargers-Broncos "MNF" game, where she "became the first woman to ever call a game for the famed television franchise," according to David Ubben of SPORTS ON EARTH. Mowins "carried the show in her MNF debut" alongside analyst Rex Ryan and sideline reporter Sergio Dipp, both of whom also were making their first "MNF" appearances.

ESPN The Magazine's Mina Kimes tweeted, "Been watching the NFL since I was a little girl, and seeing @bethmowins up there makes my heart sing." Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel: "Shouldn't be a surprise @bethmowins crushed MNF. She's always been good at her job." The Athletic's Sam Vecenie: "Shout out Beth Mowins. She did incredible work tonight dragging Rex Ryan over the line. ... Give her a better partner next time."

SI's Robert Klemko: "Hating on the knowledgable and crisp Beth Mowins while giving mumbling Rex Ryan a pass is a great way to tell on yourself." Procter & Gamble's Secret Deodorant brand posted a video on social media congratulating Mowins, with commentary from Gayle Sierens, the first woman to call NFL play-by-play, as well as Jets Dir of Football Administration Jacqueline Davidson, NBC's Michele Tafoya, Bengals Exec VP Katie Blackburn, Fox' Charissa Thompson, NFL Special Assistant to the Commissioner Kimberly Fields and ESPN's Samantha Ponder.

My suspicion: Rex Ryan was a diversion.  They put him (and Sergio Dipp) on with Beth Mowins so that she’d look good by comparison.

There’s an old saying: “Swans seems whiter if crows be by.”

*********** The CFL has taken two radical steps in the interest of improving player safety, beginning next season:

1. The CFL’s 18-game schedule schedule will be played over 21 weeks and every team will have three bye weeks. CFL teams  play only two preseason games.

2. There will be no contact practices during the season. (The NFL restricts its teams to 14 contact practices - total - during the regular season. 11 of them come in the first 11 weeks of the season., and only once during those  11 weeks can they have two padded practices in the same week.)

Coaches, understandably, are concerned about the ability to bring their backup linemen along without contact in practice.

(Veteran linemen have to like the job security.)

https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/09/13/cfl-contact-practices-bye-week-player-safety

*********** Good morning Hugh,

Agreed.  This weekend's slate of college football games won't raise many eyebrows (with the exception maybe of Louisville and Clemson).

ESPN lost me as a viewer of their regularly scheduled programs long ago.  Only time you'll see an ESPN trademark or hear ESPN music on my TV is when I'm watching a college football game.

I also mute the TV when Beth Mowins does play-by-play of any football game.

Is it true that NFL viewership is down 10%, and that overall attendance is down?  I ask because I'm finding it increasingly hard to swallow anything I hear on TV these days.

Isn't Bellevue also the name of a mental health hospital?

I saw Don Horn to Haven Moses, and their Aztecs in 1966 play against Fresno State in old Ratcliffe Stadium in Fresno.  The hated Aztecs prevailed and hung on to the Old Oil Can Trophy.

Probably not a lot of folks north and east of lower California (that would be almost the entire U.S.) who are aware of the fierce rivalry between the Aztecs and Bulldogs.

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

QUIZ ANSWER - You might consider Don Horn obscure by the standards of big-time super stardom, but I knew him once - he was our QB when I worked for the Portland Thunder in the WFL - and I’ll never think of him that way.  He was a good football player and a class act. To help honor him, I chose to use this unconventional method, a great article written about him for the Los Angeles Times in 1991…

SAN DIEGO — The trailblazer of San Diego State's quarterback tradition almost followed a different path.

Don Horn wanted to go to USC. He was accepted at Stanford, briefly attended Washington State. He spent a season at Harbor Junior College, then committed to Florida State.

San Diego State?

All it took that day in 1965 for Don Horn  to become one of the first of Coach Don Coryell's prolific passers were John Madden, Chuck Noll, Rod Dowhower, Joe Gibbs and Sid Gillman.

"One day the Harbor JC coach called me into his office and said, 'You've got a call from San Diego. Coach Coryell wants to talk to you,' " Horn remembered. "(Coryell) said, 'You've got to come down here,' so I drove to San Diego.

"When I walked into the office, a bunch of coaches were sitting around. One was a heavy coach, John Madden. Another was Chuck Noll. Rod Dowhower and Joe Gibbs were there, too. They were graduate assistants. The only man in the room I recognized was Sid Gillman (then coach of the Chargers).

"They said, 'It's all set up. You've got to play for Don Coryell.' So I moved in with Gary Garrison (later a Charger star) and Gibbs and Jeff Staggs, and I never regretted my decision."

So the tradition was begun.

Gone was the conservatism that limited the Aztecs to 72 pass attempts in 1961 and 62 in '62. Born was the style of play only foreshadowed when Dowhower, Horn's predecessor at SDSU and now passing coach of the Washington Redskins, threw 120 passes in 1963 and 193 in '64.

But while Dowhower was reasonably successful, it wasn't until Horn, a Los Angeles native, came down from Harbor JC that SDSU became a quarterback factory. Horn planted the seed that has sprouted into a tradition for Aztec quarterbacks to graduate to the National Football League.

After two spectacular seasons in which SDSU lost only two of 21 games and won the 1966 NCAA College Division championship--the Aztecs didn't move up to Division I until 1969-- Don Horn became the first Aztec to be picked in the first round of the NFL draft. He went to the Green Bay Packers and stayed in the league eight seasons.

After Horn came Dennis Shaw, Brian Sipe, Jesse Freitas, Craig Penrose, Matt Kofler and, in the first round this year, Dan McGwire. Todd Santos set an NCAA record for passing yardage, only to fall short in several NFL tryouts.

In 1965, Horn completed 123 of 206 passes for 1,688 yards and 21 touchdowns, with 11 interceptions. He led SDSU to an 8-2 record. In 1966, he hit 134 of 253 for 2,234 yards and 18 touchdowns, with 14 interceptions. The Aztecs went 11-0 en route to the national title, and he was named the Little All-American quarterback.

From there,  Horn became a part of Vince Lombardi's dynasty in Green Bay. As a rookie, he was a member of the Packers' winning team in Super Bowl II. Then he moved on to the Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns before winding up his NFL career with the Chargers in 1974.

Now 46,  Don Horn lives in the Vail Valley, one of Colorado's ski havens, and is vice president of real estate sales for a land-development firm in nearby Edwards.

Looking back,  Horn retraced the steps that led him to SDSU and a place in the school's Hall of Fame. He originally enrolled at Washington State after starring in both football and baseball at Gardena High School.

"When I was in high school, Bobby Beathard (now Charger general manager), coached me a lot," Horn said. "He was hanging out on the beach after finishing college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and he was a friend of our coach, Stan Smith. He told me I could throw the ball better than 90% of the college quarterbacks in the country.

"I was a big Trojan fan and I had my heart set on going to USC. But John McKay suggested I go to junior college for a couple years, and I was kind of heartbroken. My bubble had busted.

"I was accepted at Stanford, which had a passing coach in Cactus Jack Curtice, but he got the ax, so I went to Washington State. The coach there, Jim Sutherland, was a great quarterback tutor, but they fired him and brought in Bert Clark, a three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust type.

"In spring ball that year, I would hand off to Clancy Williams, who later played for the Rams, three out of every four plays. Then I'd be the third pulling guard, which wasn't really for me.

"Keith Lincoln (Charger running back from Washington State) was helping out as a coach between seasons, and he said to me, 'You've got to get out of here if you want to play pro football. There's a small school in San Diego that has the best coach in the country. His name is Don Coryell, and you ought to contact him.' "

Actually,  Horn didn't have to call Coryell. Coryell called him.

"I enrolled at Harbor Junior College for one semester and played that fall (1964)," Horn said. "I had heard from 37 schools and I was going to go to Florida State--I was kind of committed."

Then came the visit to San Diego.

Said Horn: "They told me I couldn't have picked a better place, that Coryell was pass-oriented and that no matter how small the school was, the pros would find me. They were right."

Of course, having receivers like Garrison and Haven Moses didn't hurt. Garrison was Horn's prime target in 1965, Moses in 1966.

"One thing Gibbs told me really made an impression," Horn said. "He said even if I got hurt, I was going to play. I liked that, because I had heard horror stories about borderline guys who would get hurt and end up playing sixth-string."

Of Moses, who was to make it big in Buffalo and Denver, Horn said, "He was all set to go to USC. O.J. Simpson was there. I told him, 'You've got to come down here. Coryell is a great coach, and you'll get a chance to catch the ball.' What a receiver he was."

When the Packers made Horn a first-round draft choice in 1967, he joined a juggernaut that had won four NFL championships in the '60s, plus Super Bowl I. Bart Starr was the resident quarterback, a future Hall of Famer, and with Zeke Bratkowski also around,  Horn  seemed to be facing a long period on the sidelines.

Starr, however, was becoming injury-prone in his advancing years, so Horn broke into three games in 1967 and the finale in 1968. He spent most of the latter season in military service, but the one game he played was a gem.

"I got the notice to report after the first exhibition game," he said. "That broke my heart. I didn't get back until the last two games of the season. Starr was hurt, with bad ribs, and the last game was against the Bears in Chicago.

"They deactivated Starr and activated me. Zeke started the game, and they had Billy Stevens, too. Then Zeke got hurt, so Billy threw down his parka. But I heard somebody yell, ‘Horn, get in there,' and I couldn't believe it. I said, 'You don't mean me. You mean Billy.'

"Well, they meant me, all right, and when Jerry Kramer (All-Pro guard) saw me in the huddle, he said, 'What the hell are you doing in here?' That was a great confidence builder."

Horn lost little time in making Kramer a believer. He threw touchdown passes of 67 yards to Jim Grabowski and 25 yards to Boyd Dowler, and finished 10 for 16 for 187 yards as the Packers cost the Bears the Central Division title with a 28-27 victory.

"I called one play that Dowler said wouldn't work, but it went for a touchdown," Horn said. "Later I hit him five more times, and by the end of the game he said, 'I'm not going to talk to you anymore.' "

With Starr still in and out of the lineup, Horn played in all 14 games in 1969 and led the league with an average of 8.96 yards per attempt. He completed 89 of 168 passes.

At that point, Horn seemed to be on his way. But he played little in 1970, then was traded to the Broncos on draft day in 1971. He threw 173 passes for the Broncos that year, but a total of only eight more in his last three seasons in the league.

Horn recalled that a tragic twist of fate played a part in pushing his career downhill.

"My Packer contract ran through '69, and by that time Vince Lombardi was coaching the Redskins," Horn said. "He made it known that if I'd play out my option in '70, I could go to Washington and back up Sonny Jurgensen, then be the Redskins' quarterback of the '70s.

"I really didn't negotiate whole-heartedly with Green Bay, because I had that ace in the hole. Then, lo and behold, Vince goes in for a physical and he's dead of cancer in September of '70.

"I finally signed a new contract in Green Bay, and a lot of people thought I'd be getting more playing time. I went to Phil Bengtson, who had succeeded Lombardi as coach, and asked him what my chances were. He said, 'As long as Bart Starr is here, he'll be our quarterback. He's a legend.' I couldn't argue with that.

"Then I went to Bart, and he told me he expected to play at least three more years, maybe five. I said to myself, 'Holy smokes, I'm stuck up here. I'm not going to play.'

"Shortly after that, Bengtson got fired and Dan Devine came in. Devine called me up and said, 'I'll see you in two or three weeks,' then traded me to Denver.

"The ironic thing about that was that Starr hurt his shoulder in training camp that summer and never played again. Scott Hunter, who had been a sixth-round draft choice, got the job by default. Talk about the fickle finger of fate."

Horn had a knee operation after the 1969 season in Green Bay and another after he got to Denver in 1971.

"After that I was never more than a backup quarterback," he said.

Horn’s stay in Denver was limited to one season, and a key reason was that he didn't see eye to eye with Coach John Ralston.

"He (Ralston) was my coach in the East-West Shrine Game, and I got only nine or 10 plays the whole game," Horn said. "After the game, Kyle Rote interviewed me on NBC. I was hot under the collar and I cussed Ralston out. Kyle looked at me in amazement, but John and I never got along.

"The Broncos fired Lou Saban in '71, and I found out later that Coryell had the job but Ralston connived his way in. I knew when he came in that my days in Denver were numbered. I got a note from him saying, 'Looking forward to renewing old acquaintances.' Soon after that, I was traded to Cleveland."

Horn lost out in Cleveland to Sipe, a graduate of Grossmont High School and a resident of Encinitas, and he isn't happy about the way his fellow ex-Aztec got the job.

"It was the year (1974) of the strike during training camp," Horn said. "Sipe had been on the taxi squad for two years, and when the veterans went on strike, he crossed the picket line. He said, 'I've never played, so I'm not a veteran and I'm crossing the line.'

"Brian went in and looked good, and owner Art Modell called me in. He said, 'Brian is a company guy and you aren't. He crossed the line and you didn't. You have 48 hours to be in San Diego. We've sold you to the Chargers on waivers.' "

So Horn returned to the scene of his college triumphs, only this time he didn't throw a pass. He backed up Dan Fouts and Freitas for one season, then jumped to the Portland Thunder of the ill-fated World Football League.

"That was when I made a mistake in judgment," Horn said. "Tommy Prothro was the Chargers' coach, and he wanted me to be sort of a player-coach. He said, 'Take Fouts and Freitas under your arm and impart the knowledge you gained from Lombardi and Starr. Baby-sit these guys.'

"I had a chance to do the same thing in '75, but I was too bull-headed. I went to Portland, and at one point I was the starting quarterback, offensive coordinator and head coach. Greg Barton got fired as coach, and I took his place for two or three weeks.

"We didn't last the year. One day, Bob Brodhead, the general manager, called us in to get our paychecks. He said, 'If I were you, I'd get to the bank right away and cash these things. By the end of the day, the sheriff will be here.'

"When we left his office, it looked like the Indy time trials with the guys rushing down the street to the bank. Some of them were still in their uniforms."

That was it for Horn’s football career.

"I talked to some teams, but nothing transpired," he said. "Comes the time to get into something else."

Horn dealt in marketing, advertising, mortgage banking and real estate before settling into his current position. He and his wife, Barbara, whom he met in Milwaukee, have two daughters and one son.

"My career wasn't long, and it could have been better, but I'm very happy," Horn said. "I have a lot of wonderful memories."

http://articles.latimes.com/1991-06-06/sports/sp-84_1_san-diego-state

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING DON HORN:
Josh Montgomery - Berwick, Louisiana
John Vermillion - St. Petersburg, Florida - (Interesting quiz today. Learned good stuff in reading the clues.)
Joe Gutilla - Austin, Texas
Adam Wesoloski - Pulaski, Wisconsin
Ken Hampton - Raleigh, North Carolina
Kevin McCullough - Lakeville, Indiana
Ossie Osmundson - Woodland, Washington


DON HORN:
https://www.si.com/vault/1966/11/14/613388/on-a-clear-day-san-diego-state-saw-forever

http://www.denverpost.com/2012/10/30/colorado-classics-don-horn-former-denver-broncos-quarterback/

QUIZ - If I gave you his nickname you’d get it easily. While in college, he had four toes on his kicking foot amputated after a work accident, but he recovered and went on to become a pro football player.  Okay, okay - a kicker.  A kicking specialist. But a damn good one, good enough that at a time when rosters were much smaller and few teams could justify having a kicking specialist, he always found work.   Between 1945 and 1964 he kicked for ten different teams: Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles Dons, New York Giants, Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers, Dallas Texas, Green Bay Packers, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers.

He is one of only two men to have played in the AAFC, the AFL and the NFL.

He kicked until he was 45, and after retirement he was the Cowboys’ kicking coach for 20 years.

Now 98, he is the oldest ex-Ram.


american flagFRIDAY,  SEPTEMBER 15,  2017  - “We all have to do things together to make this thing we call American great. If we don’t, we’re f--ked.”  Vince Lombardi

*********** OBSERVATIONS FROM LAST WEEK’S GAMES (THOSE THAT I WATCHED, ALL OR IN PART)

*** Purdue (over Ohio) has two decent quarterbacks and looks much improved

*** Duke (over Northwestern) will not be a bottom ACC team

*** Army (over Buffalo) has finally begun to win games in the second half.

*** Iowa (over Iowa State - in the last minute) These two teams will ALWAYS give you a good game

*** Penn State (over Pitt) Lions were clearly better although James Franklin was WAY out of line with his post-game comment: “I know last year for their win (against us), it was like the Super Bowl. But for us, this was just like beating Akron." If you can catch a replay of the  game, fast-forward to the fourth quarter, and when Pitt has the ball, watch for the shuffle/counter play they ran successfully four or five times.   Panthers, incidentally, went back to the sunflower gold helmets and pants that they wore during the Dorsett-Marino glory years.

*** Navy (over Tulane - barely) Unless Tulane is really improved, one of the lamest Navy performances in years

*** Temple (over Villanova) Wildcats waited a little too long to make their comeback and the Owls win

*** Oregon (over Nebraska) Ducks scored 42 points in the first half, ZIP in the second, and had to hold off a Cornhusker rally to win 42-35.  Ducks definitely could be a Pac-12 North contender

*** Clemson (over Auburn).  Ho hum.  I couldn’t get excited.  Looked like an SEC game, which looks like an NFL game.

*** Texas A & M (over Nicholls) Had to wait until the fourth quarter to do it.  Not an impressive rebound from last week’s UCLA  debacle.

*** Oklahoma (over Ohio State) Sooners looked really tough.  A great win for the Big 12, written off by so many “experts” as a power conference.

*** Georgia (over Notre Dame). Dawgs did it with their backup QB.  Kelly went off on a sports writer afterward. Never a smart thing to do.  Right or not, Notre Dame coaches are held to a higher standard.

*** Minnesota (over Oregon State) Gophers win the Rodent Bowl. Beavers, sad to say, may not win a game the rest of this season

*** Washington (over Montana) Didn’t even watch it long enough to see Josh Pettis’ 68-yard punt return for a TD. That’s two in two games, tying him for the Pac 12 career record at six, with the better part of a season left to break it.

*** USC (over Stanford)   Card didn’t look particularly good.  Trojans looked tough.  Could this be the sign of the Sea Change that all of us USC-haters feared?

*** Utah (over BYU)  Utes win the Holy War. BYU is looking bad.
 
*** San Diego State (over Arizona State) Aztecs are good, Sun Devils are bad.

*** Houston (over Arizona) - Nice win for Cougars, for new coach Major Applewhite, and for American Athletic Conference.  In the European system of relegation, Houston would move up to the Pac-12 and Arizona would drop down to the AAC.

*** Washington State (over Boise State, in 3 OTS) Takes guts to bench one of the country;’s top QBs, but that’s what Mike Leach did.  Brought in sub Tyler Hilinski, who did poorly. Back in goes Falk, only to get shaken up. Back in goes Hilinsky, who completes 25 of 33 for 240 yards and three TD as Cougs come from 21 down to take the game into OT, then win, 47-44 in the 3rd OT period.  I stayed up for the whole damn thing. You probably missed it.   It was over at 11:45 Pacific Time (2:45 Eastern).


*********** LOTS OF NOTHING GAMES AND MISMATCHES ON THE TUBE THIS WEEKEND

FRIDAY NIGHT
Arizona at UTEP

SATURDAY
Kansas at Ohio
North Texas at Iowa
Mercer at Auburn
Army at Ohio State (If I weren’t an Army fan, I doubt that I’d be watching)
Tulane at Oklahoma
Colorado State at Alabama
Georgia State at Penn State
Samford at Georgia
San Jose State at Utah

GAMES I’LL BE AT LEAST TAKING A LOOK AT

FRIDAY
Illinois at South Florida

SATURDAY (In order of kickoff times)
Oklahoma State at Pittsburgh - Cowboys may blow the Panthers out
UCLA at Memphis - are the Bruins real?
Northern Illinois at Nebraska - Huskers can’t afford to lose two in a row
Louisiana at Texas A & M - Just to see if the Aggies can snap out of it
Baylor at Duke - Mainly because I like Duke
Utah State at Wake Forest - Wake is now 2-0!
Tennessee at Florida - Mainly because I don’t see how the hell Florida can be #24
Army at Ohio State - What the hell
Oregon State at Washington State - if the Beavs don’t come to play, it could be ugly
LSU at Mississippi State - Almost overlooked this one.  Now we'll see how good that LSU defense is.
Oregon at Wyoming - Why would a Pac 12 school willingly go to play a game at 6,000 feet?
Kansas State at Vanderbilt - Because I like them both
Clemson at Louisville - I still think last year’s Heisman  was a farce.  But then, most years’ are.
Texas at USC - A USC loss to Texas, although unlikely,  would be crushing to the Pac-12
Fresno State at Washington - Bama and Washington, back to back, but after that, Jeff Tedford is going to get the Bulldogs going
Stanford at San Diego State - This one is definitely a trap for the Cardinal
Ole Miss at Cal - What’s the deal with SEC teams leaving the South to go play games


*********** I’ve been out of work myself a few times in my coaching career, and maybe it’s because I know what shaky - if well-paid -  lives assistant coaches and their families live, so you’ll never see me write one of these ”coaches on the hot seat” death-watch type stories.

We all  know that Kevin Sumlin and Brian Kelly have got tough assessments right now, and there’s no escaping it, but I’m not going to be one of those guys that feeds the flames.

I could perhaps be persuaded to make exceptions for Lane Kiffin and Jim Harbaugh.

*********** Ma'lik Richmond, 21, of Steubenville, Ohio, has sued Youngstown State  in federal court when the school  told him he couldn't play this season after a female student learned that he was on the team and circulated a petition asking that he not be permitted to play.

Richmond  served 10 months in a juvenile institution after being convicted of rape of a 17-year-old girl during an “alcohol-fueled” party in 2013.
His lawsuit asks that he be reinstated to the team's active roster along with attorney fees and an unspecified damages. According to the lawsuit, Richmond was told after the spring game by Coach Bo Pelini that he would play this season and would be a big help to the team.

This is a tough one.

Yes, juvenile sentencing is a joke, but he's served the time he was given.  

Should a convicted rapist who’s served his time be treated like a sex offender?

Is it constitutional to mark any “sex offender” for life?

Having done his time, does he now have a right to play, and can  signatories to a petition, no matter how many there are, have the right to take away his rights?

Actually, considering the rape hysteria that prevails on campuses today, if he were an ordinary student and he’d been accused of patting a girl on the ass at a party, he’d have been expelled.


http://triblive.com/usworld/world/12735113-74/convicted-steubenville-rapist-sues-youngstown-state-to-play-football-this-season

*********** The jackals are circling…

Did You Suffer A Concussion Playing NCAA College Football?

If you sustained a concussion while playing college football at a NCAA First, Second, or Third Division school between 1986 and 2017, you may be eligible to file a NCAA concussion claim now!

https://www.ncaaconcussion.org/

What’s next? Commercials during college games?


************ Coach Joel Mathews, of Independence, Missouri, sent me a link to a series of videos sent out weekly to every HS coach in Missouri by the state association’s Director of Football Officiating.

It’s really good stuff - I wish there were a way that every HS and middle school coach in America could get them.  They ought to be required viewing by their teams every Monday.

This is video #3, which deals with targeting:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_0iDa-NDeI&feature=youtu.be

***********  In my time in Ocean Shores, I’ve come to know Rick Anderson,  longtime sports editor for the area’s paper, the Aberdeen, Washington Daily World.  Rick’s a real pro, the kind of guy every town used to have - the kind of guy who could tell you who won the Big Game 20 years ago, and who the starting quarterbacks were.  Rick wrote a column not long ago taking the people in Bellevue, Washington to task.  Maybe you remember Bellevue High - it won state titles every year, and took on all comers, from all over the country.  It was Bellevue that ended DeLaSalle’s national record win streak.  But when it seems too good to be true, it usually is, and a series of articles in Seattle Times revealed that Bellevue High’s team was actually a Seattle area all-star team.  Did I say Seattle?  Hell, they were bringing in kids from Tacoma - getting their parents apartments, and enrolling the kids in an “alternative” high school where they could be assured to maintain the grades necessary to be eligible.  Oh - and Bellevue’s boosters, in disregard of state rules, paid the head coach close to $100,000 a year.

The state association (WIAA) came down fairly hard on Bellevue, banning its teams from post-season play for two years.  I personally thought they should have come down harder.  But the Bellevue boosters think that the WIAA was too harsh, and they want the state legislature to take time away from trying to figure out how to pay for roads and bridges and schools and take over the WIAA.

Wrote Rick…

Item: Still irate over sanctions that resulted in its traditionally powerful football team receiving a two-year postseason ban, some Bellevue High School parents are calling for the State Legislature to oversee the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association.

Comment: Let me get this straight: The Legislature couldn’t agree until July on a state operating budget and remains deadlocked on a capital construction budget. Now some people want to add high school sports oversight to its plate?

This could be quickly dismissed as a singularly stupid proposal, except that Bellevue boosters have added the ugly spectre of racism to the equation. According to some parents, all 35 athletes believed to be illegally recruited by Bellevue were African-American.

It’s fair to examine the racial posture of all organizations, the WIAA included, in this day and age. But I’m not fond of critics pulling out the race card every time they draw a losing hand.

Investigations by the Bellevue School District, the WIAA and the Seattle Times revealed compelling evidence that Bellevue coaches and boosters broke numerous state rules to gain a competitive advantage over its rivals. That remains the primary issue in this case. State legislators have better things to do than to get involved.

Interestingly, no one has thought to throw the race card back in the faces of the Bellevue boosters.  Seems to me that unless being moved into the Bellevue High area to play football can be shown to have benefitted those 35 black kids academically and socially, one could make the case that they were exploited - used, if you will - purely for their football talent.

http://www.thedailyworld.com/sports/wiaa-is-dysfunctional-but-not-as-much-as-the-legislature/

*********** I suggested some time ago that one of these days the NFL would need some sort of special effect (like the yellow line-to-gain stripe) to make the stands at NFL games look full to the viewers on TV.

Now, with some of its stadiums close to half-empty on Week One,  I’ll bet the NFL’s got the guys in the VR studios working around the clock to make the bad look  of all those empty seats go away.

Meanwhile, The League has to be dreading its version of the Perfect Storm - two home games in the same city this weekend, on the same day and at the same time.

The city is Los Angeles. The last time two teams played there at the same time - actually, one game was on LA and the other was in Anaheim - was in December of 1994.  The Chargers drew 64,000 to the Coliseum, but the Rams drew only 25,000. They moved to St. Louis after the season.

This time, the  Rams’ crowd will  rattle around in the giant Coliseum, while the Chargers, although playing in a soccer stadium that doesn’t seat 30,000, still won’t fill it.

It must be killing the NFL to see this happening, and I can’t imagine what spin they’ll put on it, but it appears that football fans in the Southland may have lost interest in the NFL of today.

It isn’t a question of whether the area can support two teams: there are times every years when both USC and UCLA are at home, and they’ll both draw more than 70,000.

*********** Not that Thursday night's college game, Boise State's 28-14 win over New Mexico, was a thriller, but the NFL game?  Holy sh--t. Texans over Bengals, 13-9.  You realize that's  five field goals and only one touchdown, right?   That's like watching an hour-long TV show with  10 minutes of actual show and 50 minutes of commercials.  And the viewing public, slowly but surely, is beginning to figure it out.

*********** No doubt every bit as tired as you and I are with having to explain it,  the Washington HIgh School Association (WIAA) has had to explain the difference between the NFL’s five-yard chuck rule and the high school rule:

http://wiaa.com/ConDocs/Con550/Illegal%20Contact%20Interpretation.pdf


*********** At 6:51 AM Wednesday the following email went out to members of the Army Football Club:

Gentlemen -- We received the following email early this morning.

I had a couple of late minute drops for the Army-OSU game, so I have about 10 extra tickets to the game that I will give away to any AFC members who find themselves looking for tickets.

And in less than 50 minutes this email went out:

Gentlemen --

All 10 tickets for Army vs. Ohio State are now gone.  Congratulations to those who got to Bill in a hurry.

And then I started thinking… “Give away?” As in “free?”  It may not be the Michigan game, but still - what are ten tickets to ANY Ohio State game worth?

*********** Hi Coach,

I wanted to give you an update from our 8th grade scrimmage this past Thursday. Overall, I was pleased with how we performed offensively. In the snapper department, there were no snaps over the QB's head (a big worry), although there were a few low snaps, which we handled. Still have some work to do in that area but I would say we are getting better.

6/7 G-O worked well (and I've got a playmaker at QB that will make the various QB keeps tough to defend), wedge was outstanding, and XX counter was a big gain every time we ran it. I liked 4/5-C and X-O, too. We've got a good direct sweep to the B-back to the strong side and I saw an immediate need to be able to sweep weak side as well with my QB. We put that in this week.

In the passing game, we completed several dropback passes and over threw a couple of open receivers. Route spacing is an issue that we need to correct. We even completed a nice bubble screen, probably the first of my career! 6 Green/ 7 Blue didn't go too well based on the alignment of the strong end and corner (wide!) but we were still able to complete a nice throw to the TE on the corner route.

The biggest downer from the whole scrimmage is my student video person missed the first 35 plays of the scrimmage (blamed it on the iPad freezing up) and then was zoomed out too far the rest of the time. He's a good kid and will get better but it was disappointing not being able to break down the film.

We play for real this week, weather permitting. Going to be a tough game as we have the top team from last season as our opener. To be the best, you've got to play the best! Hopefully I'll have some decent video to show you. Thanks for your help!

Last question: Vs. a tough opponent, is it better to defer and risk going down a score or take the ball and try to get on the board first? We mostly onside kick plus I'm not sure we can shut down the other team.

Take care!

Sorry that the video didn’t turn out. Maybe that’s why I’ve had my wife do it for me over the years.

I’m glad that things seemed to go well for you.

As for the kickoff/receive question, there’s never been a doubt in my mind: I want that football.

I’d like to take five minutes off the clock and then kick off with a 7-0 lead.  In the pro game, or even the college game, with 15-minute quarters, I can understand deferring.

But  at “lower” levels of the game,  with 12-minute quarters in high school and 10- or even 8-minute quarters in youth or middle school ball, possession is far more important, because the time consumed by a play is still roughly the same in youth football play as it is in the NFL.  In youth football a seven-minute drive is not unheard-of, and it can eat up the better part of a quarter.

Good luck this week.  Take the ball.


*********** Tom Walls, of Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada) coaches his own team but is also responsible for finding and developing coaches in the large youth program that he and his wife, Shandy, established.  Tom writes from experience when he says,

I think one of the hardest things to teach young coaches is that reads (option, zone read) take a tremendous amount of drilling before kids can do it in game situation.

Just because you can visualize it, doesn't mean the kids can do it under pressure.

Tom is so right.   Reading this and that - coverage, triple option, zone read - sounds great in clinics and looks great on paper but It's  probably where the gap that's always present between what we know what the kids understand is greatest. It's a gulf, actually. It takes a long time and a lot of teaching to get a QB to where you can entrust him with an actual read.

*********** I’m busy as hell right now, working on two playbooks at once - the Open Wing playbook that I’m sending out in sections as I complete them, and a much-needed revision of my Double Wing Playbook, which I’ve been putting off for years.

As you can imagine, drawing hundreds of play diagrams can be tedious and time-consuming, and I can’t imagine doing it without Playmaker Pro.  It’s a great piece of software that I’ve been using for several years now, and the latest version, 5.0, is a tremendous upgrade.  I recommend it to anybody.  It’s not cheap, but nothing good is.

I first got to know its designer, a guy named Bruce Williams, about ten years ago, when I purchased a product of his called TD Video.  He’d developed it with help from people in Michigan’s video department, and it was great - essentially a database that enabled you to take individual play clips of a game and enter all sorts of information related to each clip so that, once entered, you could call up all plays by down, distance, direction, result, etc.  He was way before his time, and his product was really good, but along came the behemoth, Hudl, and Bruce, like other guys who also had promising programs, got steamrollered.

Now, Bruce is going full-bore on his newest product, called Game Data Live. Here’s how he describes it on his site.

Game Data Live is a software product that manages play info, photos and video of football plays live during a game. Changes in the NFHS rules for high school football allow the use of electronic devices on the side line and in the locker room. Game Data Live can capture video with an iPad / iPhone's camera or use imported video from an MPEG-4 camcorder. You can use SneakerNet or WiFi to deliver game stats, scouting reports, photos and video to the pressbox, sideline or locker room. With Game Data Live, you can watch football game video identified by play info so you can choose and review significant plays immediately. After the game, you can upload the data to Hudl. Several implementation options are possible.

http://www.bwsoftware.com/gamedatalive.html

*********** It’s a damn shame that ESPN owns so many of the rights to so many college games, because every day it sucks even more than it did the day before.

Monday night’s second NFL game was a great example.

I tuned in, to be honest, just to see who would sit during the national anthem.  But I nearly gagged when I saw that the play-by-play announcer was Beth Mowins, who may or may not know football but has a voice that grates on me like fingernails on a blackboard. (Remember blackboards?)  I’ve muted many a college game the instant I heard her voice. 

Not that she had any help in the booth.  Rex Ryan was the color guy.  He was introduced, and then he took off on some rambling soliloquy that he couldn’t possibly have written himself (you can always tell when they’re not spouting their own words). He lost me fast.

So I didn’t stick around long enough to hear the sideline guy, one Sergio Dipp, but I did hear plenty of replays the next day of his first attempt at doing whatever the hell it is that a sideline bimbus (masculine singluar)  is supposed to do.  He started telling us how wonderful it was that Denver’s coach was “diverse.” WTF?  Sergio, evidently, had come over from ESPN’s Spanish-language side, and maybe something was lost in translation, because I have a feeling that Denver’s coach, considering he was far from the first black man ever hired to coach an NFL team, thought he was anything other than just a football coach, and not a symbol on the totem pole of the great god  Diversity.   

*********** And then, of course, there were Jamele Hill’s despicable comments about President Trump. Left-leaning ESPN said there would be no discipline for her, noting that Ms. Hill’s comments were her own and did not reflect the opinions of the network.  ESPN’s problem, of course, is that they did.

*********** Often overlooked among the tight ends of the Vince Lombardi era was Marv Fleming. Fleming succeeded  Ron Kramer, and if Lombardi hadn’t had him on hand, it’s questionable whether he would have given Ron Kramer the trade he requested so his wife could be nearer her family in Detroit.

For a number of years, Fleming was plagued by a guy named  Arthur Lee Trotter who - in a case of stolen identity well before it became popular - kept pulling off scams while posing as Marv Fleming.

Once, Trotter also posed as Celtics’ star Bill Russell, selling shares in some make-believe restaurant chain.   Just in case you might be wondering how these scammers are able to operate, would it help if I told you that there are a lot of really, really stupid people out there? I submit in evidence this transcript of a conversation police overheard while in the next room:

Woman: "You don't look like Bill Russell."

Trotter: "I got into a car accident and had to have plastic surgery."

Woman: "I was expecting someone much taller."

Trotter: "I had 10 inches of bone surgically removed from my shins. I wanted to fit easier into my new Mercedes. And I was tired of having my legs hang off motel beds."

Another time,  confronted with the evidence that he had been fraudulently selling  people “shares” in NFL teams, he  confessed that he wasn’t really Marv Fleming.

Okay, then, the cops asked.  Who are you?

Replied Trotter, “John Mackey.”


http://m.packers.com/news/article/top-10-tight-ends-gb-has-had-its-share-25664550-1547-449d-acae-f2f02cae6223

https://www.si.com/vault/1983/09/19/619540/this-is-the-game-of-the-name


QUIZ ANSWER: Jack Kemp came from a small California college to become the All-Star quarterback of a championship professional  team. 

He attended high school in Los Angeles, and at Occidental College one of his teammates was Jim Mora (the elder).

After college, he served a year in the Army between unsuccessful tryouts with five different teams, he caught on with the original Los Angeles Chargers.

Kemp was seven times All-AFL QB, and in 1965 he was the league’s most valuable player.

After suffering a minor injury, he was placed on waivers by the Chargers’ Sid Gilman in hopes that after he’d clear waivers he could be put on the injured list, but Buffalo coach Lou Saban saw his name and claimed him.

As the Bills’ starting QB, he led them to the only two championships in their history.

He was a co-founder of the AFL Players’ Association.

Following his football career he became active in politics, and served nine terms as Congressman from Western New York.

He served as Housing Secretary under the first President Bush, and in 1996 he ran as the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate in a losing campaign.

He had two sons who both played professional football: Jeff in the NFL and Jimmy in the CFL.

They’ve both turned out to be outstanding men in their own right.

Wow. If I hadn’t selected Jack Kemp, I’d probably never have known of the work Jeff’s done since his football days ended.

Jeff: “Facing the Blitz”
https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=spigot-chr-ffmac&p=jeff+kemp#id=1&vid=221a3f4408a343cf40591ff95ae67c71&action=view

Jeff tells about thanking his dad before he died.
https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=spigot-chr-ffmac&p=jeff+kemp#id=2&vid=2689c9c14a9f90bc5efcdc3c41430986&action=view

Jeff tells about his Dad’s blessing
https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=spigot-chr-ffmac&p=jeff+kemp#id=4&vid=7eb64dfc858c460c6accb9258295f56e&action=click



CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JACK KEMP:
Tom Walls - Winnipeg, Manitoba
Tim Brown - Florence, Alabama
Josh Montgomery - Berwick, Louisiana
Mark Kaczmarek - Davenport, Iowa
Adam Wesoloski - Pulaski, Wisconsin
John Vermillion - St. Petersburg, Florida
Mike Benton - Colfax, Illinois
Joe Gutilla - Austin, Texas
Ossie Osmundson - Woodland, Washington
Ken Hampton - Raleigh, North Carolina
Shep Clarke - Puyallup, Washington
Kevin McCullough - Lakeville, Indiana (one of my favorite quotes that is sometimes attributed to him…..”Democracy without morality is impossible”)
Tom Davis - San Carlos, California
Pete Porcelli - Watervliet, New York

QUIZ - You might consider him obscure by the standards of big-time stardom, but I knew him once and I’ll never think of him that way.  To help honor him, I chose to use this unconventional method, a great article written about him for the Los Angeles Times in 1991…

SAN DIEGO — The trailblazer of San Diego State's quarterback tradition almost followed a different path.
HE wanted to go to USC. He was accepted at Stanford, briefly attended Washington State. He spent a season at Harbor Junior College, then committed to Florida State.

San Diego State?

All it took that day in 1965 for HIM to become one of the first of Coach Don Coryell's prolific passers were John Madden, Chuck Noll, Rod Dowhower, Joe Gibbs and Sid Gillman.

"One day the Harbor JC coach called me into his office and said, 'You've got a call from San Diego. Coach Coryell wants to talk to you,' " HE remembered. "(Coryell) said, 'You've got to come down here,' so I drove to San Diego.

"When I walked into the office, a bunch of coaches were sitting around. One was a heavy coach, John Madden. Another was Chuck Noll. Rod Dowhower and Joe Gibbs were there, too. They were graduate assistants. The only man in the room I recognized was Sid Gillman (then coach of the Chargers).

"They said, 'It's all set up. You've got to play for Don Coryell.' So I moved in with Gary Garrison (later a Charger star) and Gibbs and Jeff Staggs, and I never regretted my decision."

So the tradition was begun.

Gone was the conservatism that limited the Aztecs to 72 pass attempts in 1961 and 62 in '62. Born was the style of play only foreshadowed when Dowhower, HIS predecessor at SDSU and now passing coach of the Washington Redskins, threw 120 passes in 1963 and 193 in '64.

But while Dowhower was reasonably successful, it wasn't until HE, a Los Angeles native, came down from Harbor JC that SDSU became a quarterback factory. HE planted the seed that has sprouted into a tradition for Aztec quarterbacks to graduate to the National Football League.

After two spectacular seasons in which SDSU lost only two of 21 games and won the 1966 NCAA College Division championship--the Aztecs didn't move up to Division I until 1969-- HE became the first Aztec to be picked in the first round of the NFL draft. He went to the Green Bay Packers and stayed in the league eight seasons.

After HIM came Dennis Shaw, Brian Sipe, Jesse Freitas, Craig Penrose, Matt Kofler and, in the first round this year, Dan McGwire. Todd Santos set an NCAA record for passing yardage, only to fall short in several NFL tryouts.

In 1965, HE completed 123 of 206 passes for 1,688 yards and 21 touchdowns, with 11 interceptions. He led SDSU to an 8-2 record. In 1966, he hit 134 of 253 for 2,234 yards and 18 touchdowns, with 14 interceptions. The Aztecs went 11-0 en route to the national title, and he was named the Little All-American quarterback.

From there,  HE became a part of Vince Lombardi's dynasty in Green Bay. As a rookie, he was a member of the Packers' winning team in Super Bowl II. Then he moved on to the Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns before winding up his NFL career with the Chargers in 1974.
Now 46,  HE lives in the Vail Valley, one of Colorado's ski havens, and is vice president of real estate sales for a land-development firm in nearby Edwards.

Looking back,  HE retraced the steps that led him to SDSU and a place in the school's Hall of Fame. He originally enrolled at Washington State after starring in both football and baseball at Gardena High School.

"When I was in high school, Bobby Beathard (now Charger general manager), coached me a lot," HE said. "He was hanging out on the beach after finishing college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and he was a friend of our coach, Stan Smith. He told me I could throw the ball better than 90% of the college quarterbacks in the country.

"I was a big Trojan fan and I had my heart set on going to USC. But John McKay suggested I go to junior college for a couple years, and I was kind of heartbroken. My bubble had busted.

"I was accepted at Stanford, which had a passing coach in Cactus Jack Curtice, but he got the ax, so I went to Washington State. The coach there, Jim Sutherland, was a great quarterback tutor, but they fired him and brought in Bert Clark, a three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust type.

"In spring ball that year, I would hand off to Clancy Williams, who later played for the Rams, three out of every four plays. Then I'd be the third pulling guard, which wasn't really for me.

"Keith Lincoln (Charger running back from Washington State) was helping out as a coach between seasons, and he said to me, 'You've got to get out of here if you want to play pro football. There's a small school in San Diego that has the best coach in the country. His name is Don Coryell, and you ought to contact him.' "

Actually,  HE didn't have to call Coryell. Coryell called him.

"I enrolled at Harbor Junior College for one semester and played that fall (1964)," HE said. "I had heard from 37 schools and I was going to go to Florida State--I was kind of committed."

Then came the visit to San Diego.

Said HE: "They told me I couldn't have picked a better place, that Coryell was pass-oriented and that no matter how small the school was, the pros would find me. They were right."

Of course, having receivers like Garrison and Haven Moses didn't hurt. Garrison was HIS prime target in 1965, Moses in 1966.

"One thing Gibbs told me really made an impression," HE said. "He said even if I got hurt, I was going to play. I liked that, because I had heard horror stories about borderline guys who would get hurt and end up playing sixth-string."

Of Moses, who was to make it big in Buffalo and Denver, HE said, "He was all set to go to USC. O.J. Simpson was there. I told him, 'You've got to come down here. Coryell is a great coach, and you'll get a chance to catch the ball.' What a receiver he was."

When the Packers made HIM a first-round draft choice in 1967, he joined a juggernaut that had won four NFL championships in the '60s, plus Super Bowl I. Bart Starr was the resident quarterback, a future Hall of Famer, and with Zeke Bratkowski also around,  HE seemed to be facing a long period on the sidelines.

Starr, however, was becoming injury-prone in his advancing years, so HE broke into three games in 1967 and the finale in 1968. He spent most of the latter season in military service, but the one game he played was a gem.

"I got the notice to report after the first exhibition game," he said. "That broke my heart. I didn't get back until the last two games of the season. Starr was hurt, with bad ribs, and the last game was against the Bears in Chicago.

"They deactivated Starr and activated me. Zeke started the game, and they had Billy Stevens, too. Then Zeke got hurt, so Billy threw down his parka. But I heard somebody yell, ‘YOU, get in there,' and I couldn't believe it. I said, 'You don't mean me. You mean Billy.'

"Well, they meant me, all right, and when Jerry Kramer (All-Pro guard) saw me in the huddle, he said, 'What the hell are you doing in here?' That was a great confidence builder."

HE lost little time in making Kramer a believer. He threw touchdown passes of 67 yards to Jim Grabowski and 25 yards to Boyd Dowler, and finished 10 for 16 for 187 yards as the Packers cost the Bears the Central Division title with a 28-27 victory.

"I called one play that Dowler said wouldn't work, but it went for a touchdown," HE said. "Later I hit him five more times, and by the end of the game he said, 'I'm not going to talk to you anymore.' "

With Starr still in and out of the lineup, HE played in all 14 games in 1969 and led the league with an average of 8.96 yards per attempt. He completed 89 of 168 passes.

At that point, HE seemed to be on his way. But he played little in 1970, then was traded to the Broncos on draft day in 1971. He threw 173 passes for the Broncos that year, but a total of only eight more in his last three seasons in the league.

HE recalled that a tragic twist of fate played a part in pushing his career downhill.

"My Packer contract ran through '69, and by that time Vince Lombardi was coaching the Redskins," HE said. "He made it known that if I'd play out my option in '70, I could go to Washington and back up Sonny Jurgensen, then be the Redskins' quarterback of the '70s.

"I really didn't negotiate whole-heartedly with Green Bay, because I had that ace in the hole. Then, lo and behold, Vince goes in for a physical and he's dead of cancer in September of '70.

"I finally signed a new contract in Green Bay, and a lot of people thought I'd be getting more playing time. I went to Phil Bengtson, who had succeeded Lombardi as coach, and asked him what my chances were. He said, 'As long as Bart Starr is here, he'll be our quarterback. He's a legend.' I couldn't argue with that.

"Then I went to Bart, and he told me he expected to play at least three more years, maybe five. I said to myself, 'Holy smokes, I'm stuck up here. I'm not going to play.'

"Shortly after that, Bengtson got fired and Dan Devine came in. Devine called me up and said, 'I'll see you in two or three weeks,' then traded me to Denver.

"The ironic thing about that was that Starr hurt his shoulder in training camp that summer and never played again. Scott Hunter, who had been a sixth-round draft choice, got the job by default. Talk about the fickle finger of fate."

HE had a knee operation after the 1969 season in Green Bay and another after he got to Denver in 1971.

"After that I was never more than a backup quarterback," he said.

HIS stay in Denver was limited to one season, and a key reason was that he didn't see eye to eye with Coach John Ralston.

"He (Ralston) was my coach in the East-West Shrine Game, and I got only nine or 10 plays the whole game," HE said. "After the game, Kyle Rote interviewed me on NBC. I was hot under the collar and I cussed Ralston out. Kyle looked at me in amazement, but John and I never got along.

"The Broncos fired Lou Saban in '71, and I found out later that Coryell had the job but Ralston connived his way in. I knew when he came in that my days in Denver were numbered. I got a note from him saying, 'Looking forward to renewing old acquaintances.' Soon after that, I was traded to Cleveland."

HE lost out in Cleveland to Sipe, a graduate of Grossmont High School and a resident of Encinitas, and he isn't happy about the way his fellow ex-Aztec got the job.

"It was the year (1974) of the strike during training camp," HE said. "Sipe had been on the taxi squad for two years, and when the veterans went on strike, he crossed the picket line. He said, 'I've never played, so I'm not a veteran and I'm crossing the line.'

"Brian went in and looked good, and owner Art Modell called me in. He said, 'Brian is a company guy and you aren't. He crossed the line and you didn't. You have 48 hours to be in San Diego. We've sold you to the Chargers on waivers.' "

So HE returned to the scene of his college triumphs, only this time he didn't throw a pass. He backed up Dan Fouts and Freitas for one season, then jumped to the Portland Thunder of the ill-fated World Football League.

"That was when I made a mistake in judgment," HE said. "Tommy Prothro was the Chargers' coach, and he wanted me to be sort of a player-coach. He said, 'Take Fouts and Freitas under your arm and impart the knowledge you gained from Lombardi and Starr. Baby-sit these guys.'

"I had a chance to do the same thing in '75, but I was too bull-headed. I went to Portland, and at one point I was the starting quarterback, offensive coordinator and head coach. Greg Barton got fired as coach, and I took his place for two or three weeks.

"We didn't last the year. One day, Bob Brodhead, the general manager, called us in to get our paychecks. He said, 'If I were you, I'd get to the bank right away and cash these things. By the end of the day, the sheriff will be here.'

"When we left his office, it looked like the Indy time trials with the guys rushing down the street to the bank. Some of them were still in their uniforms."

That was it for HIS football career.

"I talked to some teams, but nothing transpired," he said. "Comes the time to get into something else."

HE dealt in marketing, advertising, mortgage banking and real estate before settling into his current position. He and his wife, Barbara, whom he met in Milwaukee, have two daughters and one son.

"My career wasn't long, and it could have been better, but I'm very happy," HE said. "I have a lot of wonderful memories."


american flagTUESDAY,  SEPTEMBER 12,  2017  - “The strength of an Army lies in strict discipline and undeviating obedience to its officers.”     Thucydides

*********** 9/11 has come and gone, and with so much of the nation’s attention focused on the more immediate disasters in Texas and Florida it’s understandable that it didn’t get the attention it might have.  Fortunately, even the terrorists seemed to forget what day it was.

There were some real heroes back on that horrible day, none of them more heroic than an Englishman - a Cornishman, actually - named Rick Rescorla.  Read what I wrote about him shortly after 9/11.  I thought he should have received a Presidential Medal, but evidently the people in the White House thought poets and singers and athletes were more deserving of our nation’s gratitude.

http://www.coachwyatt.com/rickrescorla.htm

Today, old friend John Rothwell of Austin, Texas, remembering what I wrote years ago, very thoughtfully sent me a terribly touching article about that great man, written back in February, 2002, entitled “The Real Heroes are Dead.”

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2002/02/11/the-real-heroes-are-dead

*********** I think I’ve finally figured out why the NFL game is so boring, and I’ve got the answer to the problem.  In fact, I’ve had it for years.

The NFL game is boring because there is so much passing.  That's understandable because the rules steer offensive thinking toward passing.  And besides, the fans want to see the ball in the air.

But consider:

Through Sunday’s games, NFL teams threw the ball 788 times and ran it 484 times. 

Of those 788 passes, 238 were incomplete. Some may have been of the exciting variety, true, but   a number of those incompletions were  throwaways, the result of what in another time would have been called intentional grounding.

And then there were the holding penalties. Without having done the research, I’m going to hazard a guess that the vast majority of plays called back are the consequence of offensive holding on pass plays.

Now, as to the completions, the exciting aspect of the passing game: I don’t have the time or inclination to try to prove this, but of the 550, it seems to me that at least 3/4 of them are to a receiver immediately going out of bounds, or diving to the ground to catch it, or being tackled immediately or soon after the catch, or to a back who’s hanging around as a safety valve.  Hitch and hook. Dink and dunk.

Surely the NFL knows that  most exciting plays in football are those when a player with the ball is running in the open field, a threat to score. Speed is exciting, and the NFL has plenty of it. But it doesn't provide fans enough chances to see it.

By my estimate, out of a total of nearly 800 passes,
there were fewer than 200 plays in which the runner actually ran with the ball more than 10 yards after the catch - or caught it in the end zone.

Some excitement.

My solution?  Give the receivers more room to run. Make it more difficult for defensive backs to target them.   Create more room for runners to run the ball.

How?  For the 100th time: widen the f—king field.

The cost? Come on. On stadium “upgrades” alone for this season, the Dolphins spent $600 million, the Panthers $172 million, the Ravens 120 million,  the Lions  $100 million.  The money was spent to improve the “game experience” for fans, mostly of the wealthy variety.  But how long can all those giant scoreboards and theater boxes and terrace suites and dining spaces conceal the simple  fact that the product on the field sucks?

So go for it, NFL owners - spend a little money on improving  the game itself. Hell, it’s not even your money, anyhow.  As always, the taxpayers will pay for the bill.

Jeff Horn and Ed*********** In Australia, where legal sports gambling has long been an accepted part of the culture, my son, Ed, does work for a large sports book.   Recently,  Jeff Horn, the Aussie who won the WBO Welterweight title in July by beating Manny Pacquiao, paid a visit to their office promoting action on the  Mayweather-McGregor match, and while there, he very obligingly accepted an invitation to show off his skills. Ed and The Champ are standing in a ring at a nearby gym where Horn was persuaded to spar briefly with another office worker - a much bigger guy who played professional football and is in pretty good physical condition.  Both fighters wore headgear and heavier-than-usual gloves.  I don’t know how the office betting went, but from what I saw of the “match” (Ed showed me a copy of some film shot by someone’s phone), in the space of less than a minute, Horn, although careful  to pull his punches,  still floored his larger opponent at least twice. Both times, the knock-down punches came so fast you could scarcely see them.   It was absolutely  shocking to see - up close - how quick a professional boxer’s hands are, and if I’d seen that video earlier, I’d have bet the farm on Mayweather.


*********** Lots to say about GT-Tenn but remember all of those other vids you've collected over the years?

"Arkansas Linebacker Drills" where the LBs are taught how to recover a fumble at a sideline so that the ball doesn't go out of bounds (that the referee can see...), the LB leaps over the ball and cradles it so that the LB is not out of bounds and etc.?

I'm tellin' ya', from years experience, you have to prepare a Drill for this.  Run the last play again and consider it these ways:

1. Pre-Season Practice: QB makes his Mesh with proper footwork, PITCHES to Coach. Repeats with RB.  Laughs and jokes.

2. During the Season: QB makes his Mesh with proper footwork, PITCHES to RB.

3. Watches Navy run the play on TV, Navy QB makes his Mesh with proper footwork, PITCHES to RB.

4. Big Game on National TEE VEE. QB feels that he has to take the game on his shoulders, rushes Mesh a bit, takes 2 steps, throws ball out and pulls it back and ...HE WILL NOT PITCH.  Runs into Traffic, loses game.

Guaranteed.  I don't bet but I'd bet a Million that he would not Pitch.  Put Navy in for that one play and the ball gets pitched.  Army = same.

Look over the last several years at the GT QBs when they give to the FB and JUMP backwards.  Are they being coached to do that?

GT is not a "True" Triple Option team.  Haven't been for several years.

Charlie Wilson
Crystal River, Florida


Yup- Run that last play again and you’ll see that if the QB had been running a true option - or if he hadn’t made up his mind in advance that he was going to be The Man, he’d have pitched, and GT would have walked out of there the winner.


*********** From a coach who got an 8-man football DVD from me.

Coach, great video, this will definitely do the trick.  Can you tell me how the plays are named with-out the fullback.  If its an 88-G-O does the QB take on the first number or how does that work.  Thanks again

Coach,

There is no QB.

Just imagine that there is an imaginary QB who tosses the ball back to those two backs, the A or the B. (Or, in left formation, the C or B).


*********** A friend who’s not coaching this year wrote me…

I decided to be a Ref while I am not coaching.  I'll admit that it is fun and is giving me a different perspective of the game, but I'd rather be coaching.  So far I have worked as a line judge, head linesman, and Umpire, during youth and JH games, and a few high school scrimmages.  It doesn't take long to figure out if a coach knows what he is doing when I can hear them instructing their teams.  It's been interesting so far.  (there are a lot of really bad coaches)

*********** An Illinois Congressman named Luis Gutierrez had the gall to call Chief of Staff General John Kelly (USMC Retired) “a disgrace to the uniform he used to wear.”

“General Kelly, when he was the head of Homeland Security, lied straight to the faces of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus about preventing the mass deportation of DREAMers.  Now as Chief of Staff, this former general is executing the plan to take away their lifeline and taking steps to criminalize young people who live and work here legally," Gutierrez released in a statement. "General Kelly is a hypocrite who is a disgrace to the uniform he used to wear.  He has no honor and should be drummed out of the White House along with the white supremacists and those enabling the President’s actions by 'just following orders.'"

Imagine:  Luis Gutierrez, a pissant Congressman who’s been a Chicago politician (and all that that connotes)  for more than 30 years, calling a Marine General - whose son, Marine Second Lieutenant Robert Kelly, was killed in Afghanistan in 2010 after stepping on a land mine while on his third tour - a liar, a disgrace to his uniform, and man of no honor. 

Damn shame we don’t live back in the days when those accusations called for a duel.

*********** After the first complete weekend of regular-season NFL games,  for me nothing could match the sheer excitement on Thursday night of seeing Tom Brady get sacked! At least twice!  Why, for a couple of plays there, he was actually forced to join the other 21 guys on the field in their game of football.

Nothing could have been better than the game of football.

Yes, he’s a hell of a passer and all that, but you have to admit that if an immobile quarterback playing statue behind the line, untouched, as he looks for an open man  is the football of the future - our game is doomed.

*********** While I’m on this same subject - of cosseted quarterbacks - it’s hard to reconcile the type of protection the officials are giving them along with the ability to avoid a sack by simply throwing the ball away.

In fact, you could make a strong argument for having two sections in the Hall of Fame of quarterbacks - one for when intentional grounding was forbidden, one for after it was allowed.   Or one for when offensive linemen had to keep their hands against their chests, and one for after they were allowed to hold. Or one for when defensive backs were allowed to contact receivers downfield, and one for after they were only allowed one “chuck” and then only before five yards.

Ah, the hell with it.

*********** Michael Bennett is writing a book entitled "Things That Make White People Uncomfortable.”

Now isn’t that ironic as hell, considering that white people are constantly being told that  they can’t possibly know anything about what it means to be black?  Shouldn't he walk a mile in my shoes first? (It'll make him uncomfortable - they're only 10-1/2)

*********** We discussed the Parable of Talents a few weeks ago in our classroom session.  I suggested that an athlete has four areas of talent that need to be strengthened and maximized.  Physical, intellectual, "teamship" (placing the needs of the team ahead of selfish needs), and grit.  Well, this weekend the coaches decided to really start challenging our players to work on the intellectual part of the game.  We assigned homework!  Basically, we gave them a blank scouting report form and told them to bring it back completed to films on Monday.  They have to get starters identified, base defensive formation(s), base offensive formations and plays, and identify specifics about the kicking game.  I will be interested to see how it goes tonight.  I've seen lots of guys working on it study hall today, so I will take that as a good sign.

I hope all is well.

Todd Hollis
Head Football Coach
Elmwood High School
Elmwood, Illinois

(Coach Hollis wrote that before Friday night - his Trojans are now 3-0)

*********** By Steve Sheldon - in townhall.com

Today’s headlines tell me that Kansas City Chiefs’ player Marcus Peters sat out the National Anthem during last night’s NFL opener. I wouldn’t know, I wasn’t watching.

As consumers in America, we have a freedom to choose the products we purchase with the money we keep from our hard work after our government masters take their half. With that money, we buy the things we need and enjoy. It’s a simple concept; I don’t need or enjoy the NFL, so I do not participate in its offerings. I don’t go to games, I don’t watch them on television or the internet, and I don’t purchase NFL or player paraphernalia. I do this for a variety of reasons:

    1.    The NFL has become a bastion of political correctness and Leftist thought. It may be a small handful of players opposing their country’s anthem, but as long as it is accepted by the owners and coaches, then they have lost me as a viewer. Yes, in the U.S.A. you have the freedom to express your views however ridiculous they may be. I, too, have a right to express my disapproval of your views through my pocketbook.The NFL is a business that sells a product. I happen to now find that product unattractive, overpriced, and out of style - so I refuse to buy it.

    2.    The NFL has immersed itself in the hip-hop culture. Yes, I know this automatically makes me a racist according to the Left, but I simply don’t like the hip-hop culture and the things it represents that have nothing to do with skin color. I don’t approve of a culture whose music refers to women as “b**ches” and “h*s”, glorifies drug usage and violence, and encourages an illicit lifestyle. Plus, I don’t like the clothing. Pull up your pants, you look like an idiot. When this type of “music” blares out over the sound system in the stadium, as it did when I attended my last NFL game, I’m gone.
      
    3.    It’s a game. As I age, certain things become more valuable to me. Time is a resource and I refuse to give it up to something I don’t enjoy. I do still attend some college games and cheer for my alma mater, so it’s not the game I don’t enjoy; rather, it’s the commercialization and the culture. At the last professional football game I attended, I looked around at the people spending $9.00 for a beer wearing their $90 team jersey, and decided I didn’t want to be one of them. I can still enjoy the game by watching my local high school team. I can even walk onto the field afterwards and make a young person feel good by congratulating them on a good game, great tackle, or exceptional run.

    4.    The anthem. I served my country for six years, and the National Anthem brings a tear to my eye every time I hear it. Every. Time. It represents the collective sacrifice of my friends and colleagues and everyone who went before us. It’s the same flag that was draped over my former teammate’s coffin after being killed in Afghanistan. It’s personal to me, very personal. To sit it out, talk during it, raise your fist, or any other form of disrespect is unacceptable to me. Period. I’m simply not willing to look beyond that. There is no pass on this one. If you can’t stand still and respect the flag of this great nation and everything for which it stands, then you and everyone associated with you isn’t getting one dime from me. When Chiefs fans replace the last word of the anthem with the word “Chiefs” I don’t find it cute or excuse the behavior. It’s disrespectful to the millions of brave souls who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that these slobs could swill their $9 beers and scream at players on a Sunday afternoon. It’s inappropriate, disrespectful and I’m not going to participate.

One aside on this topic: If I understand the argument, those who sit out the anthem think America is a racist country and the national anthem somehow represents the idea that all cops are racists. Huh? Seriously, your argument is just dumb and doesn’t even deserve a response. I would not disagree with those who would suggest that only a handful of players in the NFL hate America and therefore the rest shouldn’t be punished for that reason alone just like all cops are not racists. To that argument, reference items 1-3, 5, 6. Additionally, we are judged by the company we keep. You want to have an America hater on your team? Then I chose not to support you.

    5.    We all have our likes and dislikes, and I simply dislike the culture that has become sports today. Geez, how much can we talk about and “analyze” a game? Admittedly, I pay attention to politics as much as a sports junkie watches games, but what politicians do affects my life. What’s going on in North Korea matters much more than whether or not Tom Brady completed 50% of his passes. If North Korea lobs over a nuke, you can kiss your sports goodbye, among other things.

    6.    Taxpayer subsidized stadiums. A significant number of sports stadiums are subsidized or are built with taxpayer dollars. Does the taxpayer get to park for free? Do they receive free admission to the game? Are they allowed to use the locker room or weight room during the week? Do they get a free "I helped pay for this stadium" t-shirt? Of course not. Government should not participate in local business other than by providing an environment where business thrives. While I commend the shrewd business owner who increases his wealth from government handouts, I do not approve of the practice and refuse to participate in something that encourages it.

So, Colin Kaepernick, Marcus Peters and every other flag protesting twit, this American is done with the likes of you. And, I’m not alone. Welcome to the unemployment line coming soon to your future.

https://townhall.com/notebook/stevesheldon/2017/09/10/the-nfl-is-a-product-i-refuse-to-purchase-any-longer-n2378823

*********** Why you shouldn’t be chest-bumping your players…

http://247sports.com/Bolt/Watch-Hawaii-coach-suffers-serious-injuries-after-chest-bump-107070194

*********** If you don’t live in or near a big city, especially one of the more fashionable ones that attract more than their share of the “homeless,” you may not be aware of the ugly fact that people who sleep on sidewalks and under bridges aren’t very particular about where they defecate.  Live-and-let-live liberalism contributing to the defilement of our culture.

Many cities, such as Denver, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland, seemingly resigned to the fact that they must allow the homeless to occupy their streets, have been experimenting with public bathrooms of one sort or another in their downtowns.

But they can’t just say that they’re doing it to deal with the street sh—ters.  Oh, no - They claim they’re doing it for tourists, “lunching downtown office workers,” and people who walk and bike downtown and use public transit.  (That’s what they say.  I’m still trying to figure out how people who drive their cars downtown have been managing all these years.) 

Denver has been trying out a mobile bathroom - three stalls with flush toilets.

Oh - and syringe disposal boxes.  But not for the homeless, a group that includes large numbers of drug users.  Oh, no. They’re for people with “diabetes and other conditions.”

Yeah, it’s those damn diabetics again, leaving their discarded needles all over our parks.

QUIZ ANSWER - Ron Kramer was one of the very first men in professional football to play a position now called “tight end.”

He was a fantastic athlete - in high school in Detroit, he was all-state in three sports. At Michigan, at a time when freshman were ineligible to compete on varsity teams, he won nine letters - three each in football, basketball and track.

In football, he played two ways as an end, and did his team’s punting and placekicking. He was All-Big Ten as a sophomore and All-America as a junior and senior. 

Following his senior year, his #87 was retired, (although a few years ago, as a promotional and recruiting stunt, Michigan “unretired” his and the other four retired numbers).

In basketball he was twice second-team All-Big Ten, and once third team.  He was captain of the team his senior year. When he finished his career he was the school’s all-time leading scorer and was a fifth-round draft pick of the Detroit Pistons.

Kramer was the fourth pick overall by the Green Bay Packers but after playing one year with them, missed a season while serving in the Air Force. 

When he returned to football, Green Bay had a new coach, and in 1961, that new coach moved him to “Tight End.” At that position, he not only put his great hands to use, but as a blocker he was a key component in the “Power Sweep” that would lead them to NFL championships in 1961 and 1962. In the 1961 championship game, his coach’s first title in Green Bay, he caught four passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns. He was All-Pro in 1962.  In 1965, after playing out his option, as was done in those days before free agency, he signed with his hometown Detroit Lions.

Ron Kramer is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.



CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING RON KRAMER
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
DAVE KEMMICK - LANCASTER, PENNSYLVANIA
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
SHEP CLARKE - PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON

*********** Great tribute to Ron Kramer…

https://fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/14/remembering-ron-kramer-packers-rock-at-tight-end/


*********** “My No. 1 play,” Vince Lombardi wrote in his book, “Vince Lombardi on Football,” (1973) “has been the Power Sweep, sometimes called the Lombardi Sweep.  It began to be a part of me during my days at Fordham. I was impressed playing against the single-wing seep the way those Pittsburgh teams of Jock Sutherland ran it.  And I was impressed afterward when I attended coaching clinics and the single wing was discussed.

“Today, our sweep has a lot of those Sutherland qualities, the same guard-pulling technique, the same ball-carrier’s cut-back feature.  And there is nothing spectacular about it, it’s just  yard-gainer.  But on that sideline, when the sweep starts to develop, you can hear those linebackers and defensive backs yelling ‘Sweep!’ ‘Sweep!’ and almost see their eyes pop as those guards turn upfield after them. But maybe it’s my No. 1 play because it requires all eleven men to play as one to make it succeed, and that’s what ‘team’ means.”

Green bay sweep

The diagram is from the book.

The two guards, Jerry Kramer and Fred “Fuzzy” Thurston, became famous for their role in the play, and rightly so. To anyone who appreciated real football, watching them pull around end was a beautiful sight.

But the block of the “Y” (Tight End) was as important to the play as that of anyone on the field, and that’s where Ron Kramer came in.  His job was to take the Outside Linebacker (nearly everyone played a 4-3 then) whichever way he could, and the running back would make his cut upfield based on Kramer’s block.

QUIZ: He came from a small California college to become the All-Star quarterback of a championship professional  team. 

He attended high school in Los Angeles, and in college one of his teammates was Jim Mora (the elder).

After college, he served a year in the Army between unsuccessful tryouts with five different teams, he caught on with the original Los Angeles Chargers.

He was seven times All-AFL QB, and in 1965 he was the league’s most valuable player.

As the Bills’ starting QB, he led them to the only two championships in their history.

He was a co-founder of the AFL Players’ Association.

Following his football career he became active in politics, and served nine terms as Congressman from Western New York.

He served as Housing Secretary under the first President Bush, and in 1996 he ran as the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate in a losing campaign.

He had two sons who both played professional football, one in the NFL and one in the CFL.




american flagFRIDAY,  SEPTEMBER 8,  2017  - “Our Country won’t go on forever, if we stay soft as we are now. There won’t be any AMERICA because some foreign soldiery will invade us and take our women and breed a hardier race."  General  Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller, USM

*********** They’re walking around the streets of our town, Camas, Washington,  with masks on - if they’re walking at all.   While the nation’s attention has been focused - rightfully so - on Irma the Super Hurricane, the forests to the east have been on fire, and Northwest Oregon and ash on carSouthwest Washington have been hit heavily by smoke accompanied by ash falling from the sky (shown covering my wife’s car).

 The fire - caused by idiot kids throwing (and filming themselves throwing) firecrackers -  has closed the only Interstate highway into Portland  from the East, and highway traffic has been diverted to alternate routes, with passenger cars going on a winding, two-lane road along the Columbia River and truck traffic taking a wider but much longer road over a mountain pass.

The smoky air is capable of causing respiratory problems, especially for people with asthma, and people in the Portland area have been advised to stay inside or, if they must go out,  to wear masks and avoid exertion. (Hardware stores quickly ran out of masks.) School sports teams have been unable to practice out of doors, and this Friday night’s schedule of games is - literally - up in the air.

With the air quality even worse in Eugene, 100 miles to the south of Portland, the Oregon Ducks have had to bus their football team to the coast - 1-1/2 hours away - to practice, and there’s concern that the Oregon-Nebraska game in Eugene Saturday afternoon and the Oregon State-Minnesota game in Corvallis on Saturday night might have to be postponed.

Sunset through hazeMeanwhile, my wife and I spent last weekend at our place in Ocean Shores, Washington, to get away from the 90+ degree heat in Camas (it’s been in the 60s here on the coast), and as neighbors began to text us with news and photos of the conditions in Camas - the photo here was taken at 5:30 on Wednesday - and recommending that we stay where we are, that’s what we did. It’s definitely not the worst place to be stuck.  It’s like living in nature’s air freshener, and  now that Labor Day’s come and gone the beaches, never terribly crowded anyhow, are virtually empty. 


********* At the opposite corner of the country from us, Florida is preparing for The Big One.  And in Polk County, in the central part of the state, Sheriff Grady Judd is telling wanted criminals and sex offenders that  there will be deputies on the scene at shelters to keep them out.  But it’s not as if they’ll be turned out to face the force of Irma.  He guarantees them shelter - in the county jail.

https://bluelivesmatter.blue/hurricane-irma-shelters-polk-county-sheriff/




*********** Was that Patriots-Chiefs pre-game extravaganza excessive or what?

I’m definitely opposed to the NFL’s self-defeating policy of allowing disgruntled players to boycott the national anthem. But please tell me why letting a young woman dressed like a slut “perform” our national anthem in a rendition of her choosing is somehow less disrespectful of our country and its flag than sitting down quietly  until she’s finished her act.

*********** I heard a guy on the radio the other day saying that if Kaepernick were good enough to come in as a starter, a team could maybe overlook this sh—.  But he’s not that good, and nobody seriously claims that he is. The argument is that he’s as good as a lot of NFL backups, and that’s  probably so. But backups are brought in to play a role - and  stay in the background - and the last thing any team wants is a backup QB who could be a divisive influence in any way.

*********** My friend Shep Clarke of Puyallup, Washington sent me a link that confirms the source of Dee Andros’ nickname (“The Great Pumpkin”) as  longtime Spokane sportswriter Harry Missildine. Missildine, a very clever guy, is also the one who suggested  “Big Sky” as the name for a conference. 

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2005/dec/25/area-legend-missildine-dies-at-age-85/

*********** When you’re born rich,  you can be out of work and still be better off than an average  guy with a full-time job.

That’s the moral for the dozens of college football chumps who went out and won this past weekend but didn’t gain any ground on the rich kid - Florida State - who lost badly on Saturday, but still, because it was (ahem) voted #2 in the pre-season polling, remains in the Top Ten this week.

Florida State lost, but because they’re royalty they’re  ahead of Washington, Oklahoma State, Wisconsin, Auburn, LSU, Stanford, Georgia, Louisville, Miami, Virginia Tech, TCU, Washington State, Utah, Colorado, Cal, Maryland etc., etc., (there are more).   They all won their openers, but they’re just working stiffs.  Yes, Florida State may have got an ass whipping, but that pre-season  #2 selection gave them a velvet cushion to land on.

Put USC in that same category.  The Trojans won, yes, but they struggled against Western Michigan.  They were tied going into the fourth quarter. Nevertheless, because they had that inheritance - that high pre-season ranking - they’re still in the top five.

And Florida, at #22.  Are you serious?  After the way they looked against Michigan? Any team that has ten players ineligible to play in its opening game deserves to have to claw its way back from rock bottom.

So it goes in the high-stakes world of playoff football,  where being a blueblood outweighs on-field performance.

*********** Some twerp named Benjamin Wallace-Wells who lives in New York and writes for New Yorker magazine thinks the Cajun Navy is not such a good thing.  He might change his mind  if Times Square were under two feet of water.  Actually, knowing New York politicians, the Cajun Navy (if they cared enough to rescue liberal Yankees) would be required to pass a test and  buy a Rescuers License and join a union and certify that the Navy was sufficiently diverse  before being permitted to rescue people.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/why-does-america-need-the-cajun-navy

***********   Only read the first sentence or two (of the QUIZ) . Byron "Whizzer" White. I remember an SI story about Whizzer White when I was a kid. Inspired me up as only Clair Bee's Chip Hilton series did.

John Vermillion                        
St Petersburg, Florida

Quick -  Name one current football star that inspires kids the way a Whizzer White could.  (And I actually remember Clair Bee as a very good basketball coach.  How many of today’s basketball coaches have even read a book, much less written one?)

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

Have been a die hard Tech fan since the national title season 1990 (it was hard to root for the Gophers then, so I was a front runner)

I really admire Paul Johnson, but that game was gut wrenching.

2 missed FG, a fumble by running back as Tech is driving for the 2 TD lead to ice the game.

I think Coach Johnson didn't believe his defense could stop Tenn. anymore, and they would be playing for a 2pt in 3rd OT. I get the logic, I hated that particular play call.

I didn't even realize you weren't with the Hyaks this fall. Hope things ended on your terms after all the years you have put in with kids all over the state.

Take care,

Mick Yanke
Cokato Minnesota

Not exactly on my terms, but that’s the way it is when you’re an assistant. When a new Supt came in and made things tough on my HC - and a lot of the other teachers - he jumped at the chance to become AD in a slightly larger, much better-run district not far away.  I couldn’t blame him.  Actually, I supported his move. We had a great relationship and worked well together but it took a lot of hard work to get things to the point we had them, and  there’s no way I’d have stayed and tried starting all over again with somebody I know nothing about.

Atlanta Managers
*********** Few jobs are as important to a coach and a team - and few are as hard to fill and as underappreciated - as team manager, so I was really impressed to learn that the Atlanta Touchdown Club recognizes selected student managers at its annual dinner and awards each of them a $1,000 scholarship.


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

Two days after Minnesota blew a 31 point lead and lost to Texas Tech in the 2006 Insight Bowl Glen Mason lost his job at Minnesota.  A&M's catastrophic collapse against UCLA was its first game of this season.  In today's world (sad to say)  that the A&M brass may already be looking for Sumlin's replacement.

A forced fumble (strip) at the end of a long run in the fourth quarter is what led to Georgia Tech's loss to Tennessee.  Had the ball carrier secured the ball Tech would have had possession at the Vol's 20 yard line and likely score again to go up by two touchdowns.  Another critical mistake occurred late in the game while Tech was driving again when the Tech center got called for an illegal block.  Tech also didn't help themselves by missing on two FG attempts.  Defensively Tennessee had no answer to Tech's option offense until the final play of the second OT.  In the end my take on the game was that Tech lost the game and not so much that Tennessee won the game.

Kudos to Mike London and his Howard Bison, and to Turner Gill and his Liberty Flames for pulling off those two upsets.  Although I still think UNLV is a basketball school.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** Dad,
 
First time I’ve seen this ESPN coaches’ room. It’s really good. Mack Brown says ‘we used to say RSP – Repeat Successful Plays’… ha ha.

Ed Wyatt
Melbourne, Australia

Interesting that Mack said that.  That’s my play-calling philosophy, and the key to success when you run the ball, but it often seems as if there’s not one coach in a hundred with the discipline to do it.

Some are slaves of their creative streaks.  Some are more interested in style points than in winning.  Some are simply creatures of the short-attention-span generation.

John McKissick, of Summerville, South Carolina, who at the time of his retirement was the winningest football coach in US high school history, used to say, “It’s not my job to stop my offense - it's your job to stop my offense."


*********** I’m reading a book titled “That First Season,” by John Eisenberg.  It’s about Vince Lombardi’s initial season at Green Bay.  It begins with a brief history of the Packers and what got them to the point where they were the laughingstock of the NFL and Green Bay was the “Siberia” where coaches of other teams threatened to send underperforming players;  it deals with the Packers’ shaky finances, and their quirky community  ownership (did I tell you I’m a stockholder?) and resultant micromanagement by committee  that stood in the way of any coach who dared to take on the Green Bay job.  And it deals with the search that eventual led to Lombardi, where although highly respected in New York as the  coach of the Giants’ offense (the term “coordinator” had yet to be coined), he was a relative unknown elsewhere.

(It doesn’t really get that deeply into Lombardi and his background, which is fine.  That’s been done,  as well as any writer could possibly do it, by David Maraniss, in his “When Pride Still Mattered.”)

Eisenberg noted a couple of things that I found rather funny, in the context of today’s NFL.

First of all, just a few days after Lombardi and the Giants had lost in overtime to the (Baltimore) Colts in “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” Lombardi went to work at his “off-season job” at a bank. That’s how well NFL assistants, even a “coordinator” for the well-off New York Giants, were paid.

Second, when Lombardi laid out his philosophy to his staff, there was some skepticism about how his insistence on perfection was going to play with veteran pros, who were “older, wiser and harder to manage” than college players.  They weren’t paid enough,  the thinking went, to put up with that sort of B-S.

Funny, back then you couldn’t coach them because they weren’t paid enough.  Now, 50+ years later, they’re paid so much that coaches hesitate to get too tough on their stars, knowing full well that the owners may very well side with the high-paid star and fire the coach.


***********  Coach,

Throwing for 170 in Week 1 was the worst thing that could have happened to me as a play caller.  We fixed a ton of issues on the offensive line and really started moving the ball.  But, I got cute a few times early in the game, took a couple of sacks, and ended up not getting into the end zone when we certainly should have.  I should have kept punching.  So, I had about a quarter of really bad play calling.

Then I got into a grove.  A groove that a double wing coach wants to get into.  Super Power.  Super Power.  Wedge.  Super Power.  Reach.  Super Power.  Wedge.  6-G (almost like a counter).  Super Power.  And on and on to the tune of 79 rushes for 379 yards.  0-4 passing with an INT.  

Our special teams cost us, as did some defensive issues.  All fixable.  So are the "problems" with the passing game.  We are inexperienced and far from a finished product.  Lots of coaching to be done.

Trojans win 30-22 against the #5 team in 2A.

Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois

Coach,

That’s great.  Congratulations.

To a Double Wing coach, a good passing game is like insurance: it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. 


*********** When only four kids turned out for football at tiny Wishkah Valley (Washington) High,  the school was forced to cancel its program.  But wait. No telling why, but a  sudden “spike” in turnouts over the last week has the roster up to at least 13 players, and now it appears that the Loggers will field a team (8-man) after all.   Here’s the best news: most of the kids are underclassmen, so the outlook is good for the future. Such is life in small town America. 


*********** MY MUST-SEE GAMES THIS WEEKEND

FRIDAY NIGHT
Ohio at Purdue - Purdue didn’t look bad against Louisville

SATURDAY  9 AM (PACIFIC)
Northwestern at Duke - two similar schools meet in Durham
Buffalo at Army - I move mountains to watch Army games. Buffalo will be a lot tougher than Fordham.
Iowa at Iowa State - Cyclones always give the Hawkeyes trouble
12:30
Pitt at Penn State - This was once a huge rivalry, back when they were both independents.
Tulane at Navy - This could be over fast
Villanova at Temple - I like the Owls, but not against the Wildcats.  Go Nova.
Western Michigan at Michigan State - Are the Broncos as good as they looked against USC?
1:30
Nebraska at Oregon - Mike Riley returns to his home state but he’s facing an all-new Ducks’ team, one that scored 77 points last week
4:00
Auburn at Clemson - because
4:30
Oklahoma at Ohio State - I’m thinking Buckeyes win big
Georgia at Notre Dame - Even without Jacob Eason (Washington kid) at QB, I like the Dawgs
5:30
Stanford at USC - If USC plays the way they did last week, they could get killed.  But this is too big a rivalry, so I doubt it.
7:00
Minnesota at Oregon State - The Gophers didn’t look very tough against Buffalo, but the Beavers haven’t looked good against anybody.
7:30
Boise State at Washington State - After their first opening game win in five years,  this will be a real chance for the Cougs to show whether they are going to be good.

QUIZ ANSWER - BYRON WHITE was born in the tiny town of Wellington, Colorado and was valedictorian of his  high school class of six students.

He attended the University of Colorado and after leading his team to an undefeated 1937 season - and a spot in the  1938 Cotton Bowl - he was named All-American.  Although his first name was Byron,  his speed and running ability  earned him the alliterative nickname “Whizzer”  that followed him the rest of his life.

He was runner-up for the 1937 Heisman Trophy, won by Yale’s Clint Frank.

He also played on Colorado’s basketball team, which made it to the NIT, then the most prestigious post-season tournament. (The NCAA Tournament wasn’t established until a year later.)

He was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship (to study at Oxford University in England), but he was also drafted fourth overall by the Steelers.  Offered a contract that made him the NFL’s highest paid player, he arranged to have Oxford defer his admission for a year so he could play pro football, and as a rookie he led the NFL in rushing in 1938.

Shortly after he arrived at Oxford, war broke out between England and Germany and he returned to the US and entered Yale Law School. 

He also played two seasons with the Detroit Lions, and led the NFL in rushing in 1940.

In 1942,  he joined the Navy, and at War’s end, he returned to law school and never played football again.  In all, he played in 33 NFL games.

After graduation from law school, he practiced law for several years in Denver.  In 1954, he was named to the College Football Hall of Fame.

In 1960 he assisted the presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy, and after Kennedy’s election he was named Deputy Attorney General, the number two man in the justice Department.

In 1962, BYRON (please don’t call me “Whizzer”)  White was named to the United States Supreme Court.

Since 1967, the National Football League Players’ Association has given The Byron "Whizzer" White NFL Man of the Year Award annually.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BYRON “WHIZZER” WHITE
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA

QUIZ - He was one of the very first men in professional football to be called a “tight end."

He was a fantastic athlete - in high school, he was all-state in three sports.  He was big, strong and fast.  In college, at a time when freshman were ineligible to compete on varsity teams, he won nine letters - three each in football, basketball and track.

In football, he played two ways as an end, and did his team’s punting and placekicking. He was All-Big Ten as a sophomore and All-America as a junior and senior. 

Following his senior year, his #87 was retired, (although a few years ago, as a promotional and recruiting stunt, the college “unretired” his and the other four retired numbers).

In basketball he was twice second-team All-Big Ten, and once third team.  He was captain of the team his senior year. When he finished his career he was the school’s all-time leading scorer and was a fifth-round draft pick of the Detroit Pistons.

He was the fourth pick overall by the Green Bay Packers and after playing one year with them, he missed a season while serving in the Air Force. 

When he returned to football, Green Bay had a new coach, and in 1961, that new coach moved him to “Tight End.” At that position, he not only put his great hands to use, but as a blocker he was a key component in the “Power Sweep” that would lead them to NFL championships in 1961 and 1962. In the 1961 championship game, his coach’s first title in Green Bay, he caught four passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns. He was All-Pro in 1962.  In 1965, after playing out his option, as was done in those days before free agency, he signed with his hometown Detroit Lions.

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




american flagTUESDAY,  SEPTEMBER 5,  2017  - “If there is one thing that has helped me as a coach, it’s my ability to recognize winners, or good people who can become winners by paying the price.”  Bear Bryant

*********** The Army-Fordham game came on at 3 PM Pacific Friday, so I could watch it and still go out to watch a high school game.

Sure glad I could see it. Army played the best, most complete game I’ve seen them play since I started following them seriously back about 2001.  Yes, it was against FCS Fordham, and I was not at all impressed with the Rams.  They were good last year - 8-3  - and they returned a bunch of starters, but Friday night they played poorly and sloppily and they picked the wrong night to do so.

Now, for Army. First, the passing.  They threw twice and didn’t compete either one.  I got that out of the way.

But then, there was the rushing.  With the triple option working to perfection, the Cadets rushed 46 times for 513 yards. They scored nine TDs on the ground, with eight different ball carriers scoring. No fewer than 15 backs carried the ball. QB Ahmad Bradshaw was the leading rusher with 177 yards on nine carries, his longest a 71-yard touchdown run. Fullback Darnell Woolfolk, who picked up 95 yards on 10 carries, was the only other Cadet to carry the ball more than four times.

They even lined up in what looked  like a Double Wing. From the side.  From the back, of course, they still had those giant splits.

*********** For the first time in many years, I watched a high school game Friday night.  Although with plenty of good college games on the tube, it’s tempting to stay home, I’m going to try to make it a point to go to a high school game whenever I can.   I can always DVR the college football and watch it when I get home.

Friday night I watched Aberdeen and Montesano, two schools in the Grays Harbor area of coastal Washington.  Aberdeen High was once a power, but the town, once a booming lumber and port city, has fallen on hard times, and the school’s enrollment has shrunken dramatically.   Its teams are no longer what they once were.  Montesano - “Monte” to the locals - is one of “those towns”:  small and reasonably prosperous with a long history of football success. 

It wasn’t a particularly well played game.  Monte, even though the smaller school,  won, as expected, but Aberdeen, with a very good running back named Kylan Touch, made a game of it.

At one point in the second quarter, Aberdeen scored on a long pass, then kicked off. Out of bounds.  Monte took the penalty. Kicked off again.  Out of bounds again.  Monte took the penalty again.

The third kick was hammered into the ground, taking a high bounce, just as you’ve seen countless times when a team is onside kicking.   But this wasn’t an onside kick.  This one went straight up the middle, and bound right into the arms of one of the Monte up men.  I don’t think the Aberdeen coverage guys were expecting the kick to be so short, because the return man seemed to fly past them on his way to the end zone for an easy score.  There went the Aberdeen lead.

The Monte kickoff went deep, and when Aberdeen fumbled it, a Monte player picked it up and ran it inside the Aberdeen five. In two plays, Monte scored again.

In the span of - at most - thirty seconds, three touchdowns were scored, two of them related to the kicking game.

*********** Sure hope the NFL marketing guys were watching football over the weekend.  If they were, they had to notice, but just in case they didn’t, I’ll tell them -

Fellas, we just got through an entire weekend without you, and you know what?  We never missed you.

In fact, in Saturday’s nine o’clock (noon Eastern) flight of games, I watched two - Maryland against Texas and Cal against North Carolina - that contained as much action as a month’s worth of NFL games.

But that was Saturday, and the NFL doesn’t care about Saturday, right?   Sunday is the NFL’s day.

Uh, sorry, NFL.  It just so happens that on Sunday the colleges offered up two games - West Virginia against Virginia Tech and UCLA against Texas A & M.  Just two.  But those two games gave viewers the equivalent of TWO months’ worth of action in the entire NFL.

I wish I could put my finger on why the college game is better - it’s a visceral thing and I can’t explain it - but where I find the NFL to be almost unwatchable, I can stay glued to the set when a good college game’s on.  Maybe it’s because the pro game seems so stereotyped - different uniforms, different fields, but the same damn play, over and over.

Let the NFL trot out all the excuses for why their TV viewership is down, but in the end it comes down to the fact that the average football fan is beginning to sense,  as so many of us have for years,  that once you get past all the hype and hoopla - the NFL’s product sucks.

*********** UCLA’s incredible come-from-behind win over Texas A & M gave the Pac 12 the first week’s Power Five Championship.
Pac 12 - 12-0
SEC (12-2) Losing teams: Florida lost to Michigan; Texas A & M lost to UCLA
Big Ten  (11-3) Losing teams: Indiana lost to Ohio State, Purdue lost to Louisville, Rutgers lost to Washington
ACC (10-4) Losing teams: Florida State lost to Alabama; North Carolina lost to Cal; North Carolina State lost to South Carolina; Georgia Tech lost to Tennessee
Big 12  (7-3) Losing teams: Baylor lost to Howard (!); Texas lost to Maryland; West Virginia lost to Virginia Tech
*********** Upset of the Year.  Sorry, this race is over.  Entries are closed. The clear winner is Howard (The Black Harvard) over UNLV. Props to Howard coach Mike London, a good coach who got it done at Richmond but came up short at UVa.

*********** Maryland over Texas. (1) Paging Mr. Charlie Strong… (2) Maryland is well-coached and does have some serious athletes.  (3) Watch Maryland freshman QB Kiseem Hill (4) Texas LT Cappell is a holding machine.  (5) How often do you see two field goals blocked and returned for touchdowns in the same game? If you’re listening, NFL - you could put some real excitement into  the dullest play in football, the field goal attempt, by making the kicking team play with only ten players.

*********** Washington over Rutgers. For the third opening game in a row, the Huskies’ Dante Pettis returned a punt for a touchdown: 76 yards against Boise State in 2015, 68 yards against Rutgers last year, 61 yards vs Rutgers Friday night.

*********** Cal over North Carolina. (1) A Cal team played defense! (2) Despite taking some ferocious hits, Cal QB Ross Bowers, in his first start, stood in there and  threw 38 times, completing 24 for 363 and 4 TDs. (3) I’m for a lifetime ban for people like North Carolina’s #97,  who took a really dirty shot at the head of Cal QB Bowers, and then, shameless, went off with a grin on his face. Just once I’d like to see a head coach step up and chew a player’s ass for a stunt like that, but not UNC’s Larry Fedora.  In the meantime, people like that - and their coaches - are killing our game.

*********** Michigan  in all yellow (or was it supposed to be maize?) vs Florida in all blue, combined with the fact that the football wasn’t very good either, made this the runaway winner in my Ugly Game of the Week competition.

*********** USC 49, Western Michigan 31.  (1) If ever there was a deceiving score, this was it.  They went into the fourth quarter tied, 28-28 (2) The game went to waste, shown only on the little-seen Pac 12 Network. (3) Very nice of USC, once the score got to 48-31, to put center Jake Olson into the game to snap for the PAT.  The kid has been completely blind since he was 12, but he played high school football and walked on at USC.

*********** I guess if water polo is your thing, the Pac 12 Network is great, but otherwise it sucks.  Actually, I should say “they” suck, because it’s actually set up to be six regional networks - one for Washington and Washington State, one for Oregon and Oregon State, one for USC and UCLA, etc.  So our cable system’s guide told us that we were going to see the Oregon-Southern Utah game on "our" Pac 12 Network, but when it came time for the game, somebody at the controls evidently thought we’d rather watch a  special on USC Heisman Trophy winners.  Grrr.

*********** I know Florida State and Alabama are both very good, and maybe that’s why their game looked so much to me like an NFL game. And since I have such a hard time watching NFL games...

*********** I feel terrible for Matt Rhule at Baylor, but hats off to Turner Gill and his Liberty Flames for pulling off the big upset.

*********** Offensive genius is… NC State on the South Carolina one,  lining up a lone tailback seven yards deep - no fullback in front of him - and giving him the ball.  Did it twice in a row.  Didn’t work either time.

*********** All the networks are really bad about giving you scores of games in progress, especially if they don’t involve Top 25 teams.

*********** Heard some talk about all these big games being played at neutral sites as “preseason bowls.”  Preseason my ass. This NFLization of college football has got to stop.

*********** Nice to know that the officials are watching out for targeting and all that, but Purdue’s #9, a good defensive linemen, who was ejected for hitting the QB in the head with his helmet,  clearly  made first contact with his hands to the QB’s chest and the helmet contact was incidental.

*********** To Purdue’s credit, they took Louisville down to the wire.

*********** Is LSU good or is BYU bad?  Yes.

The Tigers looked great in Ed Ogeron’s first game.  Derrius Guice is as good a runner as there is.

BYU, to be diplomatic, has a lot of work to do.  And next week they face arch-rival Utah.

*********** Washington State’s Luke Falk was 20 for 20 for 175 yards and 2 TDs in the first half, and the Cougars finally won an opening game.  Yes, yes, it was Montana State, but they have scholarship players, too.  And look -  20 for 20 is tough to do against air.

*********** Virginia Tech over West Virginia - barely. (1) In freshman Josh Jackson, Tech has its QB for the next four years - if he doesn’t leave early. (2) Remember the 8th grade QB that Lane Kiffin offered , backwhen he was at USC? The kid, David Sills (It actually says “Sills V” on his jersey) is a receiver for West Virginia and he’s good - caught two TD passes. (3) West Virginia QB Will Grier, a Florida transfer playing his first game in two years, was 31 of 45 for 371 yards and three TDs. (4) West Virginia head coach Dana Holgerson had been his own offensive coordinator, but this year he handed off the OC duties so he could get more involved in the rest of the game.  With all that time on his hands, he picked up a sideline warning and then an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.  Time to go back to play calling.

*********** Texas A & M- UCLA.  It was 17-3, Aggies, before the Bruins even knew what hit them, and 38-10 at the half. Brent Musburger sent out a tweet  that UCLA coach Jim Mora’s hot seat had just burst into flames. With  West Virginia-Virginia Tech on the other set, I’d begun to lose interest in this one. It got worse:  44-10 in the third quarter.  And then… and then… with many of the Bruin faithful already on their way home and listening on their car radios,  the Bruins’ Josh Rosen put on a passing display for the ages, and UCLA produced one of the greatest comebacks in college football history. A touchdown at a time, the Bruins chewed away at the lead until it  was 44-38 with 3:10 remaining. And then the defense held and Rosen took them in, throwing for the tieing touchdown with 43 seconds to play. The Bruins made the extra point, and then it was over. The Aggies had three time outs, but they hadn’t done anything offensively for more than a quarter and a half, and they weren’t able to do anything now.  Rosen’s final stats: 35 of 59 for 491 and 4 TDs.

And on such turns of events are coaching jobs kept and lost.  If  UCLA doesn’t score that last touchdown, do UCLA fans go home somewhat pleased because their guys at least gave it a good shot? Do the Aggies’ fans go “Whew! That was a close one?”

Now, as A & M coach Kevin Sumlin and his staff try to rally the troops after this devastating loss, while all around them swirl the rumors and stories of this Aggie alum and that who want their coach fired, the challenge is to make sure not to get caught in the vortex of negativity.

Fortunately, they get FCS Nicholls State next week and (Southwest) Louisiana the week after, and if things go the way they should, by the time South Carolina comes to town in three weeks, the UCLA debacle could be a distant memory.

*********** If I were more involved with Georgia Tech football than simply as a fan, I think I would seriously be tempted to strangle Paul Johnson for costing his team the win over Tennessee  Monday night by inexplicably going for two in the bottom of second overtime.  Down the drain in one play went a great game and an incredible performance
(44 carries, 249 yards, 5 TDs) by the Tech  QB, Taquon Marshall  thanks to a blockhead decision to put it all on one roll of the dice. 

*********** Hey Coach,
Quick question - do you have any pointers to help my 8th grade centers with shotgun snap? I've followed the info you have posted and my 7th grade center has it down pat but my 8th grade centers are struggling. One guy is going low and left and the other guy is too high. Everything was good vs bags but when we went live yesterday, it all went to pot. I'd appreciate any advice you have.

Hi Coach-

I'm assuming that you're okay on grip. Check stances and make sure their weight is back - tail down, knees flexed, eyes up, heels on the ground - so there is very little weight on the ball.

Next, make sure that their eyes remain up and knees remain bent and tails remain down after the snap.

That should cure the high-low issue.

The right-left accuracy thing is no different from throwing while standing up. A kid pretty quickly figures out how to make corrections when a ball goes too far in one direction or another. I'm sure your kids can do this from a center's stance, too, but I suspect that after a good snap or two, a lack of concentration causes a relapse.

I find it helps to make sure he takes a peek between his legs every play, just as a reminder.

Some kids pick it up right away. A few will never do it. But with most kids, it takes plenty of successful reps to get to where it's at least semi-automatic.

A good way for a center to practice on his own is to snap balls at a lawn chair.

Our centers practice snapping to each other after practice everyday.

We have our centers and QBs together for at least 10 minutes every practice, working on both kinds of snaps (Wildcat and under center). At some point, we have the centers take turns playing "nose guard" so they get used to "walking and chewing gum" - snapping and getting their hands into the blocker. We also give them opportunities to block a man away or an area away.

This is important because you don't want your center to worry so much about blocking that he neglects the snap.

And you want to train your QB to give your center feedback any time a snap is even slightly off.

(I'm sure as I can be there are some kids who do not want to get better at snapping  because they don't want the responsibility of being a shotgun center. They don't want people to see their screw-ups. I teach my QBs when they're under center  to take the blame for a bad snap, even if it's the center's fault. But when that ball has to sail 4 or 5 yards in the air, there's no way of protecting the center. Everybody knows whose fault it is.)

Hope I've helped.


*********** A QUESTION FROM THE ARCHIVES: I have a question for you. My starters were on the bench from the middle of the second quarter on. We got the ball with less than a minute left on our own 20. I put the starters in and ran a "trick play" and scored with very little time on the clock. The other team's coaches were really pissed. I had no intention of "running up the score" or making the kids on the other team feel bad. We had practiced the play all week and I wanted my kids to have fun running it. If I wanted to make his kids feel bad, I would have left my starters in on defense and they would have never scored. I played kids on defense that had never played defense before. If you want to rip me, I can take it.

The question is an easy one to answer for anyone who’s been coaching a while.

The unwritten code of ethics says that once the game is won, you don't do anything to show up your beaten opponent.

The definition of "showing up" varies, but most coaches would agree that it includes keeping your starters in (if you have substitutes), attempting onside kicks, calling time out to run more plays - all after a game is clearly won.

And running trick plays would definitely fall under that category.

Yes, your kids wanted to run the play.  That’s understandable. But - to use an admittedly extreme comparison - invading armies often want to rape and pillage.   And it’s the job of the commander to see to it that certain conventions are observed.

Trick plays have their place. They can make practices fun, they can give a team a lift when it needs one, and they can break open an otherwise tight game. I don't have to point out that they have their downside, too - their failure can give the other team a lift.

One major problem with a trick play is that it's hard to find a good time to run it. When you're behind is usually the best time, because you're hoping to do something to change the momentum, but on the other hand,  you're reluctant to take a chance and dig yourself a deeper hole.
When you're ahead, a slip-up could give the opponent a chance to get back into the game.

When you're way behind, you’d look silly,  and when you're way ahead, you owe it to the game not to show up the other team.   You can’t win.
You really need to carefully plan for the sort of situation in which you're going to run it, so that you don't get caught in a situation such as this one.

Move on. Things like this didn't come naturally to anyone who's ever coached. Most of us had to learn them. Some guys, unfortunately,  never do.

*********** Thoughts.....

Ed Cunningham ending his announcing......shades of Howard Cosell swearing off pro boxing?

The Not Football League has done a tremendous job of ruining the reputation of football at the younger levels. They ignored most, if not all, of the safety rules put in years ago (in terms of pads, mouthpieces, drug use, and proper/legal methods of tackling and blocking). Think that might have a little bit to do with all of the health issues now present?

Take care,

Jerry Lovell
Bellevue, Nebraska

Jerry,

There is no doubt in my mind that the NFL’s example has been a powerful disincentive to kids to listen to their youth and high school coaches (what do they know?) and at the same time a powerful incentive to certain unscrupulous (“unethical” isn’t strong enough) youth and high school coaches who really do believe that winning justifies anything.


*********** The increasing cost of college and the public’s perceived decline in the value of a liberal arts degree are hitting small, private liberal arts colleges hard.

In 2016, according to the Wall Street Journal, more than a third of small colleges (those with full-time enrollments under 3,000 students) operated at a deficit.

To the two main reasons given for this I would add the realization by parents that liberal-dominated faculty on college campuses  are brainwashing their impressionable students.


*********** A reporter who interviewed Aaron Rodgers tells how it started out:

I set my phone on the table and press the record button. He pulls out his and does the same. So he won't be taken "out of context," he explains.

Smart guy, as any high school coach who’s ever been misquoted in a post-game interview will tell you.

http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/page/enterpriseRodgers/green-bay-packers-qb-aaron-rodgers-unmasked-searching


*********** “It’s as bad as football!”  I heard my wife shout in frustration.

She was in another room, watching the US Open tennis tournament, and although a match was going on, the announcer was seemingly unaware, busily interviewing someone in the booth.

Actually, I think she meant “NFL football,” where no opportunity to distract the viewer from the “action” on the field goes neglected.

Who the hell are these so-called “fans” that the producers of sports events seem to think tune in to a match or a game in hopes of listening to a f—king interview?


*********** According to a report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, " 70 percent of today's youth are not fit to serve in the military due to obesity or being overweight, criminal records, drug misuse or educational deficits."

According to the report, childhood obesity rates ranged from 21.9 per cent among Hispanic kids to 19.5 among black kids, to 14.7 among white kids, to 8.6 among Asian kids.

Diet plays a role, of course, but so does inactivity.

According to SIPlay.com, the per cent of children classified as “inactive” jumped 17 per cent in one year, from 20 percent in 2014 to 37 per cent in 2015.  It’s undoubtedly increased since then.

This dramatic increase would indicate that many of those kids new to the list  had given up on sports.

And what is the sport that the heavy-set kids - the ones whose inactivity is most likely to result in obesity -  are most likely to have been playing? (Hint: the you don’t see many hefty kids playing soccer or basketball)

Consider - Is it possible that society’s attack on football is contributing to the growing epidemic of childhood obesity?

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/obesity-epidemic-at-new-high-costs-150b-a-year-hurts-military-recruiting/article/2633193


***********  You’ve undoubtedly noticed that Australian punters are becoming as common as foreign place-kickers used to be.  Aussies love their sports and they’re good team players and many of them grow up playing Australian Rules Football, a game that requires good hands, good speed, toughness and the ability to punt an oval-shaped ball for distance and for accuracy, often on the run.

prokick australiaThey’re the reason why we see so much of the rugby punt now:   “Those guys actually strive on movement and something coming at them that they can see opposed to an American punter — something coming at them that they can see is the worst thing in the world,” said Kentucky special team coach Dean Hood, who’s had experience coaching two Australian punters at Eastern Kentucky. “They don’t want that, whereas an Australian guy, ‘Yeah, you keep coming, you keep coming, I’ve got room, I’ve got room, OK, I’m gonna punt it.’ ”

But there’s more to it than just taking a kid off the fields of Melbourne and sending him to an American college.

No, there’s a lot more to it than that.  It requires a person with the ability to identify those with the talent and interest to give American football a go (as the Aussies would say),  to help them transition their skills to the American game, and finally, to place them in the right situation both for them and their US “employer.” (Whoops - better not use that term.)

That person is a former Australian Rules football player an
d - very briefly - American football punter named Nathan Chapman, whose Prokick Australia now has, as you can see by the helmets on display, “graduates” punting for 49 different colleges or pro teams.  The helmets in the poster at left represent places where his guys are now punting.

One special bonus to American college coaches is that these Australian kids are adventuresome: whereas an American kid might get homesick if he goes to a college 100 miles from home, an Aussie will come halfway around the world to kick and once here it doesn’t matter to him if it’s Ohio State or Eastern New Mexico.

The final icing on the cake is that even so-so Australian students are good students by our dreadfully watered-down educational standards.

http://www.prokickaustralia.com/


************ Watched a special on the Big Ten network  on new Minnesota (former Western Michigan) coach P.J. Fleck.

Damn - the guy is in constant motion.  Just watching him wore me out.





*********** QUIZ ANSWER -  Dee Andros was the son of a Greek immigrant.  His real first name was Demosthenes - although he never went by that name - and his last name was Andrecopoulos.

He grew up in Oklahoma City.  He served in the Marines in World War II and won the Bronze Star at Iwo Jima. (He was on the scene when the flag was raised there.)

Following the War,  he played guard for Bud Wilkinson at Oklahoma.

After Oklahoma, he worked as an assistant at Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas Tech, Nebraska, California and Illinois.

His first head coaching job was at Idaho, where in 1963 he led the Vandals to their fist winning season in 25 years.

He succeeded Tommy Prothro as head coach of a Pac-8 school.

In 11 years there,  he was 51-64-1, but against the Civil War against the in-state rival, he was 9-2.

His best team was his 1967 squad, which went 7-2-1 and earned the nickname “Giant Killers”  after beating #2 Purdue, tying the new #2 UCLA, and beating #1 USC and O.J. Simpson.  They wound up ranked 7 nationally.  The next season, they were 7-3 and ranked 16th nationally, but because of the conference rules of the time, they didn’t go to a bowl game either year,

Dee Andros was a big man, somewhat stout, and he wore an orange jacket at games.  In1966, after defeating Washington State on Hallowe’en night,  a Spokane sportswriter called him “The Great Pumpkin,” and the nickname stayed with him his entire career.

His book, “Power T Football,” goes into great detail in explaining his offense, which depended on a powerful running game built around big, strong, tough kids from the farms and forests of the Northwest.  I highly recommend it.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING DEE ANDROS

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
RALPH BALDUCCI - PORTLAND, OREGON
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
SHEP CLARK - PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON


QUIZ - He was born in a tiny town in the West and was valedictorian of his  high school class of six students.

He attended his state’s university and after leading his team to an undefeated 1937 season - and a spot in the  1938 Cotton Bowl - and was named All-American.  Although his first name was Byron,  his speed and running ability  earned him an alliterative nickname that followed him the rest of his life.

He was runner-up for the 1937 Heisman Trophy, won by Yale’s Clint Frank.

He also played on the school’s basketball team, which made it to the NIT, then the most prestigious post-season tournament.

He was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship (to study at Oxford University in England), but he was also drafted fourth overall by the Steelers.  Offered a contract that made him the NFL’s highest paid player, he arranged to have Oxford defer his admission for a year so he could play pro football, and as a rookie he led the NFL in rushing in 1938.

Shortly after he arrived at Oxford, war broke out between England and Germany and he returned to the US and entered Yale Law School. 

He also played two seasons with the Detroit Lions, and led the NFL in rushing in 1940.

In 1942,  he joined the Navy, and at War’s end, he returned to law school and never played football again.  In all, he played in 33 NFL games.

After graduation from law school, he practiced law for several years in Denver.  In 1954, he was named to the College Football Hall of Fame.

In 1960 he assisted the presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy, and after Kennedy’s election he was named Deputy Attorney General, the number two man in the justice Department.

In 1962, he was named to the United States Supreme Court.

Since 1967, the National Football League Players’ Association has given an annual “Man of the Year” award in his honor.



american flagFRIDAY,  SEPTEMBER 1,  2017  - “There is no greater harm than that of time wasted.”  Michelangelo


*********** My friend Doc Hinger and I were talking about the people in Texas and the enormous job facing them as they try to rebuild their homes and their lives.  He noted that with all the talk about the damages being in the billions, they’re only talking about property losses.  There’s never any mention of the fact that most of the people we see aren’t working.   They can’t.  There’s no work to go to and no way to get there anyhow. They’re busy doing what they can to save what possessions they can, and with most working Americans living from paycheck to paycheck, there’s got to be some hurting people out there.   You want irony? Some of those people have lost everything they own, but they’re gritting their teeth and sucking it up and making the best of an awful situation.  God knows those peple have a right to feel sorry for themselves, but I haven't heard any whining at all.  I’m just trying to imagine what the reaction would be if we were to notify all those able-bodied deadbeats on the government teat that  they’d have to wait a couple of days for their checks.

*********** MY FOOTBALL LINEUP FOR THE WEEKEND - You can't watch 'em all, but I'm going to try to watch these...

MY ROOTING (NOT BETTING)  FAVORITES - WHERE I HAVE THEM - ARE IN CAPITALS (Notice that I’m on the fence in the BYU-LSU game, but after watching BYU this past weekend, I would expect a big LSU win.) And the reasons why those games made the cut.

FRIDAY
Fordham at ARMY - Nuff said
WASHINGTON at Rutgers - Nuff Said
COLORADO STATE at Colorado - I thought the Rams looked good last week

SATURDAY
MARYLAND at Texas - New coach for the Horns
CAL at North Carolina - Cal QB Ross Bowers is a Washington kid and his dad is originally from Hagerstown, Md.
Portland State at Oregon State - Two local underdogs. Can’t they both win?
Michigan at FLORIDA - With ten Gators suspended
I'm starting to lose interest
TEMPLE at Notre Dame - Got to love the hometown Owls
EASTERN WASHINGTON at Texas Tech - Eastern always a good FCS club doesn’t duck the tough games
North Carolina Central at DUKE - A good-neighbor game between the elite school and the local HBCU school
Liberty at Baylor - I like Liberty but it’s Matt Rhule’s first game
Florida State at ALABAMA - No rooting interest - I’ll just watch
Southern Utah at OREGON - Willie Taggart’s first game
BYU at LSU - Ed Orgeron’s first game
Montana State at WASHINGTON STATE - Can the Cougs finally win an opener?

SUNDAY
West Virginia at Virginia Tech - Tough call.  Like ‘em both. This should have been an in-conference rivalry
Texas A & M at UCLA - UCLA continues to underachieve. It won’t break my heart if A & M wins.


MONDAY
Tennessee at GEORGIA TECH - They're honoring Bobby Dodd, who made the Hall of Fame both as a player at Tennessee and a coach at Georgia Tech. Going with Tech, the triple option team

*********** Remember how just a few years ago people were saying that the Big Ten’s time had come and gone?  That the SEC had put so much distance between itself and all the other conferences?

Well.  With Ohio State strong and Michigan on the rise, with Wisconsin strong and Penn State playing USC right down to the wire in the Rose Bowl, the Big Ten is well on its way back. Michigan State isn’t likely to stay down long, and I consider Iowa as always a tough one.  Minnesota could be tough with the new coach, Fleck, and Nebraska - is Nebraska.  And then there’s Northwestern, which academically, as the Vanderbilt of the Big Ten,  doesn’t belong, - but nobody’s told their players.  Year in and year out, Wildcats’ coach Pat Fitzgerald, a Northwestern man himself, may do as good a job of coaching as anyone in the business.

The problem with Big Ten football is its huge, permanent underclass: Illinois… Indiana… Purdue…  Maryland…  Rutgers…  Year in and year out, I keep waiting for one of them to break out, but the sad fact is that they seem relegated to being what big-time fight managers used to call “opponents” - the nobodies  a contender has to fight in order to build up his record. (In fairness, after seeing Indiana play Ohio State even-up for more than a half Thursday night, I'd have to say that the Hoosers look to be a good bowl team.)

To show how things go in cycles,  just the other day I heard some radio guy say that the SEC is due for a fall.  Why?  Because, he said,  the SEC doesn’t have the coaches.

Maybe he’s right.  Bear in mind that this “rating” of mine is totally subjective...

EXCELLENT
ALABAMA - Saban.  Enough said.

VERY GOOD
AUBURN - Malzahn seems to be on the hot seat every year, but 90 per cent of the colleges in the country would upgrade by hiring him
MISSISSIPPI STATE - Mullen wins at a remote place - the Washington State of the SEC

GOOD
FLORIDA - But can McElwain win with the kind of players who keep getting suspended?  What happens when Michigan spanks them?
KENTUCKY - Stoops may be on his way to getting it done at a tough place to win football games.
TEXAS A & M - But only if if Sumlin beats UCLA  Sunday.  Downgraded to FAIR if he doesn’t.

FAIR - NEED TO WIN THIS YEAR
ARKANSAS - Bielema has yet to win enough to please Arkansas fans.
TENNESSEE - Vols' fans are getting impatient with Butch Jones.

DOUBTFUL IF THEY CAN WIN
MISSOURI - Who wants to go there? According to the Wall Street Journal,  since the 2015 football season when students activists extracted an apology from the university president for the sin of “white privilege” and the football team refused to practice until student demands were met, freshman enrollment is down 35 per cent, overall enrollment is down 2,000 and seven dormitories have been closed.  Oh - and football attendance last season was off 13,000 per game.   (The demonstrators did such a great job of destroying Missouri that I wouldn't be surprised if some  other coach tries to find those  demonstrators and get them to enroll at Alabama and do their sh-- there.)
VANDERBILT - Very hard for anyone to win here when they need big-league SATs to get admitted.

JURY’S OUT
SOUTH CAROLINA - I’ll know more about Muschamp after they play NC State Saturday

COMPLETELY UNPROVEN
LSU - We’ll know better after they play BYU Saturday in Atlanta.  (At least BYU was smart enough not to play them in Baton Rouge in early September.) After stops at Ole Miss and USC, I  think that Ed Ogeron is ready this time.
OLE MISS - Potentially the toughest job in America right now

*********** (FROM A COACHING FRIEND) I need to address the actions of our younger team’s coach. He is a new head coach, whose team is not particularly good. His son is the QB (pretty good athlete) and the offense has been geared around him. The coach and the son are loose cannons. Swearing at other players, swearing in practice., etc. We are in our second game of the season and we already have a parental mutiny on our hands.

My question is not whether to address this, it is how to address it. We would like to keep the guy and his son. I can legitimately help him with the Xs and O’s to something that is more appropriate for 11 and 12 year olds. However, the swearing is non- negotiable. I would anticipate him becoming defensive and perhaps quitting. Obviously this is not what we want to have happen, but we are prepared for it.

Do you have any suggestions on how to address this? Again, we are prepared to loose him, but we would like give fixing this a chance, before just cutting him off.


First of all, put the ball in his court.  Hit it so hard that he can’t hit it back the way he’d like.

Let him know in no uncertain terms that your concerns must be resolved to your satisfaction for the good of the organization.

I once read an article in the Atlanta Braves’ magazine about their longtime manager, Bobby Cox.  He said he had a way of dealing with conduct that he wanted to stop immediately.  He’d call the offender into his office and explain what was bothering him, and say. “We can’t have this.”

Simple as that.

You start out by stating the problem and without giving the person a chance to defend or explain, you simply say that it’s going to end. 

Period.  You’re already past the point of explanation.

If you need to bring other parents into it,  a very good principal that I once worked for - and believe it or not, as anti-administration as I am, I was blessed to work for some very good ones - would explain what the problem was and say, “I can’t defend it.”

Very simple.  The behavior changes or you’re outta here.

Then you explain to the coach what changes are necessary and ask whether or not he chooses to make those changes.

What you’ve done is cut off his escape route by letting him know that “we can’t have this”  - that “I can’t defend it” - and now you’ve put the ball in his court by asking if he’s willing to make those changes in order to remain on the job.  There’s only one way he can hit the ball.

If he does agree to your terms, it’s important that he understands that the next time he offends, he’s gone.  No "second chances."  This IS a second chance that you’re giving him now, and if he hadn’t agreed to the changes you’d have had to let him go .


*********** Every state is different in its football rules, and North Carolina has a rather interesting approach to high school spring football.  Its schools have two options:

(1) They can have 10 days of full-squad workouts in the late spring;

(2) During the spring period (it doesn’t specify what that is) they can have an unlimited number of workouts with no more than 21 players in attendance at any workout

 http://www.newsobserver.com/sports/high-school/article139698568.html#storylink=cpy

*********** ESPN’s Ed Cunningham has flicked it in as a football analyst.  He said part of the reason is that he’s not comfortable calling football games while knowing full well the injuries associated with the sport. 

Give him credit.  He’s not bad-mounting the sport while taking their money.

Ed Cunningham is not a phony.

He was center and captain on Don James’ 1991 National Champion Washington Huskies.  My friend and former head coach Todd Bridge, who played with him, said that his leadership was a major factor in getting the team to stay focused on the job.

He was a third-round draft choice of the Phoenix Cardinals and spent give years with the Cardinals then wrapped up his career with the Seahawks.

He is a bright guy.  I have often disagreed with his opinions on the air, but they’ve (usually) been well thought-out and well-expressed.

This is not good.  Ed Cunningham is the kind of guy football needs on his side.


*********** Long-time Vikings’ all-star defensive back Ed Sharockman died last week.  He was sort of special because he came from St. Clair, Pennsylvania, a small mining town near Pottsville that was the home, back when I first coached, of our nemesis, a very good team called the Schuykill Coal Crackers.

(Schuylkill - pronounced “SKOOkle” is a county in Northeastern  Pennsylvania, in the heart of the so-called coal region.” "Coal Cracker" is a bit like “Hillbilly.” Or “coonass.” When used appropriately - preferably by a member of the group - it can be a point of regional pride and a term of endearment.  On the other hand,  used in the wrong place or in the wrong tone of voice, or directed at the wrong person,  it could be “fightin’ words.”)

http://www.twincities.com/2017/08/20/original-vikings-player-2-time-pro-bowler-ed-sharockman-dies-at-77/

http://www.coalregion.com/


*********** You think YOU have problems getting kids to turn out for football?

My daughter, Vicky, sent me a link to an article about a small community on Alaska’s Kenai peninsula and the scramble to find 11 kids to play football in their high school’s home opener.

The members of the community are Old Believers, an offshoot of the Russian Orthodox Church, and they choose to live apart from mainstream civilization in an attempt to preserve their traditional beliefs and culture.

Meanwhile, their kids do a balancing act between the old ways and the new - including football. Now, their girls want to play sports, too.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/31/sports/football-old-believers-alaska.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news


*********** Yale AD Tom Beckett has announced that after 23 years on the job he is retiring.

The announcement from Yale’s Sports Information department raved about all the championships Yale teams have won during his tenure.   Take about distraction.  

You know how that goes.  You bring up the subject of football and they immediately point across the room at the bright, shiny object: “Look at all the championships we’ve won.”

Yeah.  But what about football?  Uh, did you know that our women’s crew won the eastern championships? And our squash team blah, blah, blah and our field hockey team  blah, blah, blah.

I experienced this crap at Stanford, back when AD Ted Leland with his obsession with minor sports  - water polo championships and the like - tried to take peoples’ eyes off the horrible state of the football program.  Finally, Bob Bowlsby arrived from Iowa and got serious about football and hired Harbaugh.

Now we’re going through it at West Point where the AD, the esteemed “Boy Named Boo” Corrigan revels in sending us newsletters  about the powerhouse women’s lacrosse teams.

It’s ironic that Tom Beckett’s arrival at Yale coincided with Tim Murphy’s as head football coach at Harvard.  In the years since, Murphy has gone 17-6 against four different Yale coaches: Carm Cozza and three uninspired Beckett hires.

In the 23 years of the Beckett era, Yale has won just two football championships - co-championships, actually.  Only Cornell (with none) and perennial weakling Columbia (with none) have won fewer.

Nice job, Tom.  AMF


*********** I’ve lived in Washington state for more than half my life, but I still think like an easterner.  And although I grew up in Pennsylvania and went to college in Connecticut and lived briefly in New Jersey, my time as a Marylander has had more of an effect on me than any place I’ve lived.  Three of our kids were born in Baltimore, and western Maryland - on the semipro fields of Frederick and Hagerstown - is where I got my start in coaching.

After 14 years of living there,  I still consider myself an adopted Marylander, and I still get teary-eyed when I hear the state song, “Maryland, My Maryland.”  (You might know it best as the German Christmas song “O Tannenbaum.”)

It’s an extremely versatile song.  It can be a somber anthem, played on state occasions and at funerals of leading dignitaries. It can be - and is - a Dixieland standard.  And it was - until this past week - a fight song.

But this past week, the University of Maryland marching band announced that it would no longer play “Maryland, My Maryland” during its pregame routine.

A University spokeswoman said that it was decided to “suspend” the playing of the “controversial tune”  in order to “evaluate if it is consistent with the values of our institution at this time.” Translation: you will never hear it again at a Terrapins’ game.

Undoubtedly a result of the recent Charlottesville furor, the decision to eliminate the traditional state song resulted from the fact that its words are, in fact, an appeal to Marylanders to secede from the Union.

In brief,  as the Civil War came to a boil in spring of 1861, a great many Baltimoreans opposed the war, and many even supported the South. Abraham Lincoln, recently elected President, was extremely unpopular in Baltimore.  (He received 1,000 out of 30,000 votes cast.)

To get troops in any number from the northern states to points south, where the fighting would be, required travel through Baltimore; and travel through Baltimore meant a change of trains - and a change of stations.  The stations were separated by several blocks, and  in the march from one station to the other,   Union troops were set upon by a ferocious mob ofanti-war types and Southern sympathizers, hurling bricks and rocks.

At some point, “shots were fired” and when the smoke cleared, the troops were on their train and on their way south,  four Union soldiers and 12 civilians dead.

One response to the incident was a poem, written by a Marylander who’d lost a friend in the rioting.  It was definitely an appeal to Marylanders to secede - its first verse exhorted Marylanders to “avenge the patriotic gore/that flecked the streets of Baltimore.” Entitled Maryland, My Maryland, it was set to music.

Its last verse used the expression “northern scum.”

It wasn’t officially made the state song until 1939.

And there it sat, until fairly recently, when evidently someone noticed the words, and since then, there has been debate in the Maryland legislature over deleting some words or verses.  Traditionally sung at the Preakness every spring,  it’s been reduced to  one rather innocuous and meaningless verse so as not to offend anyone.  No more despots or tyrants.  No more northern scum.

If you don’t care to read the lyrics, trust me - there’s nothing racist in them. As for any slavery overrones - Maryland was already a slave state, and destined to remain one whether or not it seceded.  And if you can understand the grief felt by someone who’s recently lost a friend at the hands of those with whom he violently disagrees, you can understand his call for vengeance;  if you can understand that anti-war fever ran extremely high in Maryland,  you’ll  understand why he referred to Lincoln as a “despot” and a “tyrant”;  and if you understand that pro-southern attitudes were strong, you can understand his referring to northerners as “scum.”

Here’s the first verse:

The despot's heel is on thy shore,

Maryland! My Maryland!

His torch is at thy temple door,


Maryland! My Maryland!


Avenge the patriotic gore

That flecked the streets of Baltimore,
And be the battle queen of yore,

Maryland! My Maryland!


But, look - who’s kidding who(m)?

I lived in Maryland and I know - nobody except singing groups ever sang the words.  Hell, nobody ever KNEW the words.  And if you’d shown them the words, they still wouldn’t have known what the hell they meant, anyhow.

In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and bet that if there were some way you could question every single person who’s ever attended a Maryland football game - ever - you’d find that the only words any of them know are “Maryland, My Maryland.”

I don’t give a sh— one way or the other about the words, but I love that tune.  As I said, I hear it and it makes me tear up, thinking of all the memories of our days in Maryland.

Something made me think of Penn State and its alma mater. I starts out “For the glory of Old State/For her founders strong and great” and goes on from there.

But I recall reading an article long ago in Philadelphia Magazine about a writer’ visit to State College and his noticing that when the Blue Band played the alma mater at the football game, the student section sang, “We don’t know the goddamn words/we don’t know the goddamn words… and so forth.

My lyrics, designed  to bring peace to Marylanders and bring back the song:

We do not know the goddamn words

Maryland! My Maryland!

We do not know the goddamn words

Maryland! My Maryland!

We do not know the goddamn words
We do not know the goddamn words
We still don’t know the goddamn words

Maryland! My Maryland!

Now can we play it at football games again?


IT’S AN ANTHEM!: https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=spigot-chr-ffmac&p=maryland+my+maryland#id=107&vid=b70a8649baf3518770e9fdf9cddba00b&action=view

IT’S A FIGHT SONG!: https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=spigot-chr-ffmac&p=maryland+my+maryland#id=57&vid=994543e651b3fd0a953a99c56f2948c6&action=view

IT’S A DIXIELAND STANDARD!: https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=spigot-chr-ffmac&p=maryland+my+maryland#id=161&vid=04cd4139330bc18e597ee29a4d9a96ee&action=view

QUIZ ANSWER: A two-time all-American at Stanford and later a star with the 49ers,  Frankie Albert  was the first T-formation quarterback in modern college football history.

Only 5-10, 165, and not particularly fast, he was not a very good  single wing tailback, and Stanford won only one game his sophomore year. 

But before his junior season, a new coach - Clark Shaughnessy - arrived and  installed the T-formation, and with Albert at quarterback,  the Indians (back when it was okay to have such nicknames) went undefeated in the regular season and  beat Nebraska in the Rose Bowl. 

The incredible success of the T-formation at Stanford - from a one-win season to the undefeated Rose Bowl championship the next - and at the same time in the NFL - with the Chicago Bears’ 73-0 NFL championship game win over the Redskins - pretty much meant the beginning of the end for the single wing as football’s dominant offense.

A left-hander, Albert was a very good passer.  An exceptional ball-handler and faker,  he was a pioneer of the bootleg play.  It didn’t matter that he wasn’t much of a runner - Stanford had three other members of the backfield - Norm Standee, Hugh Galarneau and Pete Kmetovic - who were outstanding runners.  Albert’s job was to fake and either pass or hand off to them. In that role, he set the standard for all quarterbacks as more and more college coaches adopted the T formation.

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

After  Navy service in World War II,  Frankie Albert joined the 49ers of the new All-America Football Conference in 1946, and he and Otto Graham of the Cleveland Browns were considered the AAFC’s two best quarterbacks.  In 1948, he shared League MVP honors with Graham.   In 1950, after the AAFC and the NFL merged, he was named to the Pro Bowl.

When Frankie Albert retired in 1952, he had thrown for 10,795 yards and 115 touchdowns in his seven pro seasons.
After working as a broadcaster, assistant coach and scout for the 49ers, he was their head coach from 1956 to 1958.

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/09/sports/frankie-albert-a-pioneering-quarterback-is-dead-at-82.html

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING FRANKIE ALBERT
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON

*********** QUIZ - He was the son of a Greek immigrant.  His real first name was Demosthenes - although he never went by that name - and his last name was Andrecopoulos (he didn't go by that, either).

He grew up in Oklahoma City.  He served in the Marines in World War II and won the Bronze Star at Iwo Jima. ( He was on the scene when the flag was raised there.)

Following the War,  he played guard for Bud Wilkinson at Oklahoma.

After Oklahoma, he worked as an assistant at Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas Tech, Nebraska, California and Illinois.

His first head coaching job was at Idaho, where in 1963 he led the Vandals to their fist winning season in 25 years.

He succeeded Tommy Prothro as head coach of a Pac-8 school.

In 11 years there,  he was 51-64-1, but against the Civil War against the in-state rival, he was 9-2.

His best team was his 1967 squad, which went 7-2-1 beating #2 Purdue, tying the new #2 UCLA, and beating #1 USC and O.J. Simpson.  They wound up ranked 7 nationally.  The next season, they were 7-3 and ranked 16th nationally, but because of the conference rules of the time, they didn’t go to a bowl game either year,

He was a big man, somewhat stout, and he wore an orange jacket at games.  In 1966, after defeating Washington State on Hallowe’en night,  a Spokane sportswriter called him “The Great Pumpkin,” and the nickname stayed with him his entire career.

american flagTUESDAY,  AUGUST 29,  2017  - “Dignify and glorify common labor. It is at the bottom of life that we must begin, not at the top."  Booker T. Washington

*********** God help the people along the Gulf Coast, in Texas and now Louisiana and Mississippi.  And Houston especially.  Seldom does a city of its the size and importance get hit so hard with a natural calamity.   The only other such event  that comes to mind is the San Francisco Earthquake.

As we saw out in the Louisiana countryside during Katrina, we're seeing a lot of scenes of Texans, black and white, helping each other.

*********** Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel,  a master of political opportunism,  is famous for saying, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste.”

In other words,  no good politician misses a chance to capitalize on someone else's misery.

Watch the NFL,
badly in need of some good PR, try to amass some brownie points by jumping on the Hurricane Harvey recovery.

Nothing wrong with helping people in need, certainly, and the people on the Gulf Coast are in need of all the help they can get.  But whatever the NFL does, it won't be long before we're bombarded with commercials showing how The League rushed to the aid of the suffering.

The NFL, which even in a crisis sees a marketing opportunity, is simply incapable of doing its alms in secret. 

1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

(While it’s still legal for me to quote scripture.)


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

Gonna be a very wet and windy weekend here in Austin.  By the time Harvey has done most of its damage on the coast we'll get the "remnants".  Flash flood warnings are already in effect, and we can expect up to 8 inches of rain in Central Texas by the time it's all over.  I guess that's better than the 10 foot storm surge, and 3 FEET of rain they'll get at the coast!  Batten down the hatches!

ESPN has lost its collective mind.  

I give a lot of credit to the officials associations down here for enforcing the knee pads rule for high school football players.  In our games the officials checked every kid to see that his game pants and knee pads covered the knees regardless if I told them I made sure they did.

I must admit I laughed when I saw the clip of Pepper Ball Boy.  Kid went down like a sack of potatoes.

QUIZ:  I only knew two great pro football players with the nickname "Deacon", and Deacon Dan Towler was one of the two.  The other was David "Deacon" Jones.  Interestingly enough both played for the Los Angeles Rams.

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** Robert Lee did all of the local games here in the Albany area. I was unaware he was doing ESPN work.

O boy so good to see ESPN give us a lesson on political correctness

Pete Porcelli
Watervliet, New York


*********** Apparently the Cubans have launched an “acoustic attack” on US diplomats stationed in Havana.  It sounds pretty serious - it appears to have resulted in some brain damage to its targets.

US investigators said that the victims had been exposed to something “outside the range of audible sounds.”  That rules out rap.

The thought of acoustic attacks on visitors’ locker rooms is probably already leading to “scouting trips” to Cuba by representatives of NFL teams.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/08/23/cuba-acoustic-attack-gave-u-s-diplomats-brain-injuries-medical-records-show.html

*********** Whew: This from ESPN...

Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy said free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick is not a good enough player to be worth the "distraction" of a team signing him to play.

"It's a lot more than just he's not on the team because he doesn't want to stand for the national anthem," McCoy said Thursday. "That may have something to do with it, but I think also it has a lot to do with his play. I'm sure a lot of teams wouldn't want him as their starting quarterback.

"That chaos that comes along with it, it's a lot."

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/20445286/colin-kaepernick-not-good-enough-player-distraction

***********  Pro football has enough problems with dirty play.

But dirty play that’s legal???   Is there such a thing???

The hit that hurt Odell Beckham's ankle has become the subject of debate.

First of all, it was legal.  No question about that.

But still,  some are contending, it was dirty. 

Sorry.  What it was was a “launch” at his legs.  Perfectly legal, unfortunately.

Time to change the rules.

For quite some time I’ve argued for a rule stating that to be a legal tackle, it has to at least look like an attempt to make a real tackle -  the hands have to be in advance of the shoulders.  With that rule,  this would have been an easy call.  And, undoubtedly, we'd see better tackling and fewer injuries.

https://www.google.com/amp/www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-giants-beckham-injury-20170822-story,amp.html


*********** Oregon State-Colorado State was even for a half - it would have been tied but replay upheld a bad call, as usual, and it cost the Beavers a touchdown just before halftime.  And then Colorado State came out in the second half and beat the sh— out of the Beavers.   The Rams could be very good.  Their QB, Nick Stevens, looked really sharp.

Oregon State, meanwhile, has now lost 14 straight on the road.  (Which brings up the question: why does a Power 5 team open on the road, unless it’s to play a game for national ranking?)

In my opinion, Oregon State coach Anderson outsmarted himself.

CSU picked them apart in the air and as the game went on, they pounded them on the ground, too.

All we heard about was the runners the Beavers had, and coming on the tail of their ass-whipping of Oregon (on the ground) most outside observers thought that if they would stay on the ground they could overpower Colo St.

Instead, they threw. And threw.  And threw. And while the QB looks promising and they have some decent receivers, they made way too many mistakes, and committed way too many costly turnovers and as a result their defense spent too much time on the field . And between the heat and the altitude they wore out.

I do think a better-balanced attack would have given them a chance.

*********** In Sunday night’s NFL game from Minnesota they ran a short feature about St. Paul’s Cretin-Derham Hall High School, a private Catholic school.  It’s turned out plenty of well-known athletes, who were  listed:

Matt Birk
Joe Mauer
Paul Molitor
Ryan McDonagh (Captain of the NY Rangers)
Chris Weinke

But  they left out one rather prominent name, a QB who as a starter at The U (Miami) was 24-1, was a first-round NFL draft choice, and had an 11-year career as an NFL QB - Steve Walsh

Ringo Starr*********** From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel comes this beaut on the left:

Jim Ringo’s chief claim to fame, of course,  is best remembered as the center who snapped the ball to Packers’ Hall-of-Fame quarterback  Blaze Starr.

*********** I just finished a novel called “The Rookie,” by Tex Maule,  published in 1960. Tex Maule was once Sports Illustrated’s NFL writer, and he tells the story with the inside knowledge of pro football as it operated in those days.   Lots of references to stars of the time.

A couple of years ago I picked it up for a song and put it away from the day when I would be looking for a quick read. It’s a fun read about a big-headed rookie quarterback who arrives as the first-round draft pick on a team that already has two veteran quarterbacks and proceeds to alienate everyone on the team with his cocky attitude.

To make matters worse, there is a louse of a sportswriter who has it in for the kid.

Maule’s writing for SI has stood the test of time,  but his fiction is clearly from another era - there’s a total lack of sex - or, for that matter, female companionship - and the  worst profanity is an occasional “heck.”

Still and all,  it was quick and fun.

*********** The Colgate-Cal Poly San Luis Obispo game was very interesting.   Colgate is known for its defense, and Cal Poly for its powerful flexbone offense, and if you want to see how to stop the triple option, you need to get a copy of the game. Colgate won, 20-14, but the real story was that Cal Poly was held scoreless for three quarters, and had to go to the air for one of their TDs.

I had to root for Colgate.  Very good school.  An “almost Ivy” that from the standpoint of athletics would have been a much better fit in the Ivy League than Columbia. When I was in school, Colgate was on our schedule every year, and they were always tough.

Looks like they’ll be tough this year, for sure.

*********** Hugh, My starting X end Broke his leg last night in our  (Thursday) walk through.  He was our best receiver.  His cleats got caught in the grass and he went down hard.  Broken fibia, out 6-12 weeks!  Damnedest thing  I have ever seen.    Hope our injuries are done for the season!

Mike Benton
Colfax, Illinois

*********** Looking at Colgate’s roster, I happened to notice that one of their players is majoring in “Peace and Conflict Studies.”  WTF?  I suspect it's another one of those touchy-feely majors   and I rather doubt that it’s about preparing graduates to go forth and put an end to the fighting in our streets,  but if it were,
given the unwillingness of our police to step in,  Colgate would really be onto something.


***********  QUIZ ANSWER: Deacon Dan Towler was a teammate of Bob Waterfield, a member of what the press called their Bull Elephant Backfield.

He was All-Pro in 1951, 1952 and 1953.   Despite sharing running duties with two other very good backs, he led the league in rushing and in touchdowns in 1952.  He was MVP of the 1952 Pro Bowl Game (when it was actually a game and players actually played).  Over his six year career, he averaged 5.2 yards per carry in gaining 3493 yards.

He was from Donora, Pennsylvania, the same hometown as Stan Musial and Ken Griffey, Sr.  (It was also the birthplace of Ken Griffey, Jr.)

He was an alumnus of little Washington and Jefferson, in western Pennsylvania.  W & J is also the alma mater of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.  Towler was a Little All-American at W & J, and it was there that he acquired his “Deacon Dan” nickname because of his professed ambition to become a preacher.  He was occasionally referred to as “DDT.”

While he played pro ball,  Deacon Dan Towler studied for the ministry  and after retirement, by then an ordained Methodist minister, he embarked on a career as a pastor.

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/08/03/sports/dan-towler-73-all-pro-back-who-studied-for-the-ministry.html

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING DEACON DAN TOWLER:
JOSH MONTGOMERY - Berwick, Louisiana
MARK KACZMAREK - Davenport, Iowa
JOE GUTILLA - Austin, Texas
JOHN VERMILLION - St. Petersburg, Florida
ADAM WESOLOSKI - Pulaski, Wisconsin
KEN HAMPTON - Raleigh, North Carolina
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - Woodland, Washington
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - Lakeville, Indiana
SHEP CLARKE - Puyallup, Washington

*********** Ken Hampton, Raleigh, North Carolina, sent this link to a nice story about “The Deac.”

https://www.newspapers.com/clip/4362246/highclimber/

*********** QUIZ: A two-time all-American at Stanford and later a star with the 49ers, he  was the first T-formation quarterback in modern college football history.

Only 5-10, 165, and not particularly fast, he was not a very good  single wing tailback, and Stanford won only one game his sophomore year.  But before his junior season, a new coach arrived and  installed the T-formation, and with him at quarterback,  the Indians (back when it was okay to have such nicknames) went undefeated in the regular season and  beat Nebraska in the Rose Bowl.

A left-hander, he was a very good passer and an exceptional ball-handler and faker, and was a pioneer of the bootleg play.  It didn’t matter that he wasn’t much of a runner - Stanford had three other members of the backfield who were outstanding runners, and his job was to fake and either pass or hand off to them. In that role, he set the standard for all quarterbacks as more and more college coaches adopted the T formation.

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

After  Navy service in World War II,  he joined the San Francisco 49ers of the new All-America Football Conference in 1946.  He was a favorite in the Bay Area from his Stanford days,  and as a pro, he and Otto Graham of the Cleveland Browns were considered the AAFC’s two best quarterbacks.  In 1948, he shared League MVP honors with Graham.   In 1950, after the AAFC and the NFL merged, he was named to the Pro Bowl.

When he retired in 1952, he had thrown for 10,795 yards and 115 touchdowns in his seven pro seasons.

After working as a broadcaster, assistant coach and scout for the 49ers, he was their head coach from 1956 to 1958.



american flag FRIDAY,  AUGUST 25,  2017  - “Taking on the responsibility of trying to fix everything that’s wrong with the world leads to either hipster cynicism about how everything is too corrupt to fix, or depression at achieving only incremental gains.”  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

*********** No doubt you fans of ESPN, the All-Left, All-the-Time Sports Network, have heard all about this by now…

ESPN confirmed Tuesday night that it had decided to pull an announcer from calling a University of Virginia football game because his name is Robert Lee. This Robert Lee is Asian.

“We collectively made the decision with Robert to switch games as the tragic events in Charlottesville were unfolding, simply because of the coincidence of his name. In that moment it felt right to all parties,” reads the ESPN statement posted at the popular Fox Sports college-football blog Outkick the Coverage.

Mr. Lee had been scheduled to call the Cavaliers Sept. 2 game in Charlottesville against William and Mary.

“It’s a shame that this is even a topic of conversation and we regret that who calls play by play for a football game has become an issue,” ESPN said in its statement.

As if anybody at UVa’s stadium would have had the faintest idea who the hell was up in the press box broadcasting the game.

(I would suggest that if your name is Robert Ely, you start pronouncing your last name “Eli.”)

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/aug/22/espn-pulls-announcer-robert-lee-university-virgini/

*********** Courtesy of the American Football Foundation and its head of officiating Rogers Redding, this interpretation of a very significant and - in my opinion - long-overdue NCAA rules change.  (I’ve been pushing for it for years.  Sadly, as with all other  NFL-originated “styling” issues, this one has worked its way down to high schools.)


Knee Pads
Beginning in 2018, players' pants must have knee pads such that the pants and the pads cover the knees. Previously, the rules recommended that the knees be covered, but this was not required. The committee is delaying implementation of the mandate until 2018 because a number of schools have already bought equipment for the year. There is great concern throughout the football world about the tendency for some players to wear "biker's shorts" that only come to within several inches of the knee. This is a safety issue as well as one that does not present a good look for the game.


*********** Crowds of refugees rioted in Rome, throwing things at police.  Imagine!

Thank God we live in a country where people have more respect for the law and for the police than to do that.

***********
"49er Katie Sowers Opens Up as LGBT Coach" read the headline.

I know that there were hundreds of qualified young coaches who’d have been interested in a job as 49ers’ assistant,  but there’s no doubt in my mind that Katie Sowers was the most qualified.  So of course she got the job. That’s the American way,  right?

The fact that she was a lesbian and the 49ers, in name at least,  represent San Francisco was pure coincidence.

Now, then, what, exactly, is an “LGBT Coach?”

**********  Do not expect the insanity to stop.

At a USC campus rally following Charlottesville, a leader of the USC Black Student Assembly reminded those in attendance that “white supremacy hits home,” and as an example cited the fact that the horse that gallops around the field after USC touchdowns is named “Traveler.”

“Traveller” (with two “L’s”) was the name of - trigger warning - Robert E. Lee’s horse.

As if that weren’t bad enough - USC’s Traveler (one “L”) is white.

Omigod.

http://www.unz.com/isteve/la-times-traveler-uscs-mascot-comes-under-scrutiny-for-having-a-name-similar-to-robert-e-lees-horse/

*********** By now you’ve probably seen footage of Pepperball Boy - the Phoenix “peace demonstrator” who wore a gas mask and picked up a tear gas canister off the street and threw it back at the police.  He then darted back to join his fellow protestors, when completely out of the blue, he went down as if he’d been shot.  Actually, he really was shot,  by police, who hit him right in the stones with what appeared to be a “pepper ball.”

Since most of those demonstrators have never played a contact sport in their lives, I’m sure they don’t know about supporters.  Or cups.  Shhh.  Don’t tell them.

*********** A 77-year-old Youngwood, Pennsylvania  woman was beaten and had her head shaved by her 40-year old daughter and 17-year-old granddaughter because they thought she had her radio turned up too loud  during Sunday's  Steelers game.

The Steelers should invite Grandma to toss the coin at one of their games.  And then they should give her a set of earphones.

http://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/12651818-74/woman-beaten-head-shaved-by-daughter-granddaughter-in-fight-over-steelers-game

*********** Straight to the Trash Basket went this email...

Coach,

I hope this email finds you during a tremendous week. We manufacture pink breast cancer awareness football socks with your team's logo. Our delivery time is just two to four weeks from our own US facility.

*********** Ken Hampton of Raleigh, North Carolina… another high school program bites the dust

http://www.highschoolot.com/for-cape-hatteras-it-s-a-fall-without-football/16900678/

*********** You could call it the Law of Unintended Consequences.  You could call it karma.

All over the country, public transit is suffering from a lack of riders.  It started with cutbacks in municipal budgets, which led to cutbacks in routes, which led to fewer riders, which led to lower revenues, which led to more cutbacks in routes, and so on. The head of Orange County, California’s Transportation Authority calls it “the Transit death spiral.”

Adding to the problems:  California recently started granting drivers’ licenses to “undocumented immigrants,” who in many places have been some of the most reliable patrons of the public transit systems.

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

Right now I'm thinking I would rather be stuck in the sand in an SUV at Ocean Shores, WA than be stuck directing student and parent traffic off the blistering pavement of the school parking lot after school on a 96 degree day in Austin, TX!

I ran into some parents yesterday I wanted to hug.  Their youngster was caught saying something he shouldn't have to another student (he considered it a joke), and when we brought him and his parents in to discuss it mom looked at her son incredulously raising her voice and said, "JOKING?!  Just wait til you get home!  I'll show you joking!  Like I said... I wanted to hug her.

Frankly, I haven't watched any NFL pre-season games this year, nor plan on watching any regular season games either.  

Looking forward to reading Playing for Pizza.  Another easy read that you might enjoy is Undefeated, Untied, and Uninvited.  It is the story of the 1951 USF Dons football team.

QUIZ:  Bob Waterfield.  Hard to believe he was married to Jane Russell (wolf whistle).

Have a great week.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, texas

Joe,

Would it offend you if I told you it’s 65 degrees right now?

What a great mother!  Where did those women go?  The women who used to raise their kids instead of sheltering them and protecting them from those mean teachers?

Undefeated, Untied and Uninvited is good.  That was truly an amazing team.

And right on Waterfield.  We Philly guys used to think the Rams were pussies because they were married to movie stars.  Wrong.


*********** Best line of the "Eclipse"...."If your eclipse lasts more than 4 hours, be sure to call your astronomer!"...a little story about "Playing For Pizza"...I'm in the hospital recovering  from my 1st hip replacement...knowing I'm an avid reader, friends brought books instead of flowers & one of them was Grisham's book...imagine the torture of reading those "meal descriptions" while relegated to "hospital food!"...1st full meal out of the hospital was "Italian!"

Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

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

Enjoyed NYCU as usual this morning. I read Playing for Pizza ages ago and although it is a light read, it created an enjoyable connection to the year I played in Ireland. I thought the best part of the book was Grisham’s description of the food. I was always hungry after a read.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba


***********  When Harbaugh was Stanford’s coach I didn’t know what an a$$hole he was.  Didn’t matter, anyhow.  He had a tough job to do and he was doing it and even if I had known then what I know now I still would have overlooked  those things.

But this time he’s gone too far.

“I always encourage youngsters in America to play soccer,” He told the Wall Street Journal’s Ben Cohen. “Every American boy should play soccer until the eighth grade, then they should play football.”

Obvously, Harbaugh has spent so much time in his Maize-and-Blue-colored ivory tower  (or in Rome) that he has no idea what it’s like at ground level - where kids begin to specialize in sports by sixth grade, and where, if they’re any good at all, by eighth or ninth grade they’ve been on a travel team for at least two years and the sport has its hooks deeply into them.  The family has invested a considerable sum in a kid and the family’s life has revolved around him and his sport. Mommy is happy that he won’t get a concussion, and as for Daddy - visions of college scholarships dance in his head.

There’s little likelihood of getting a kid  that invested in soccer  to start out from scratch with football, a game that’s much harder physically  and, initially, far less rewarding, than anything he’s encountered.

It could only happen if a bunch of his best friends were playing football, but what’s the chance of that, when for the last couple of years  his friends have been his teammates on Elite United FC?

So thanks for nothing, Jim.  With all the problems youth and middle school and high school coaches face on the front lines, fighting against the anti-football elements in our society, your comments in favor of soccer are really helpful.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/jim-harbaughs-advice-to-football-recruits-play-soccer-1502729321

*********** Greetings Hugh,

"Can there be a less attractive NFL game on Thursday night TV than the Jaguars against the Buccaneers?”

Yep!  Cleveland vs NY Giants on Monday night!   Worthless football…

Best,

Mike Norlock
Atascadero, California


QUIZ ANSWER: For a brief time in the 1950s, Bob Waterfield was a part of the NFL’s first real quarterback controversy, sharing playing time with another outstanding passer, Norm Van Brocklin and helping the Los Angeles Rams  set passing and scoring records.

Born in Elmira, New York, he was raised in Van Nuys, California and played his college football at UCLA. A single wing tailback, he passed, ran, punted, kicked extra points and played defense.  In 1942, he was on the field for 557 of the 600 minutes his team played that season.

As a quarterback, he helped the Cleveland Rams win the NFL championship in his rookie year, and was named league MVP. And then the team moved to Los Angeles.  Toward the end of his career he would lead that same  Rams team to another NFL championship in its new city.

When he retired in 1952, he was the all-time NFL leader in career extra points and field goals.   He averaged 42.4 yards as a punter, and in his career he completed 814 passes for 11,849 yards and 97 touchdowns.

He was named All-Pro QB three times.

He came back to coach his team in the 1960s but overall he was unsuccessful and retired after three seasons.

He is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Bob Waterfield was married to Jane Russell, a very famous, rather well-built movie star, who had been his high school sweetheart.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BOB WATERFIELD:
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JERRY LOVELL - BELLEVUE, NEBRASKA
MICK YANKE - COKATO, MINNESOTA (No research, just a guess, but this one I remember (I think) from elementary school library, a "Greatest Stories" from pro football series, published in the 60’s.)
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE,  ALABAMA
SHEP CLARKE - PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS

*********** QUIZ - He was a teammate of Bob Waterfield, a member of what the press called their Bull Elephant Backfield.

He was All-Pro in 1951, 1952 and 1953.   Despite sharing running duties with two other very good backs, he led the league in rushing and in touchdowns in 1952.  He was MVP of the 1952 Pro Bowl Game (when it was actually a game and players actually played).  Over his six year career, he averaged 5.2 yards per carry in gaining 3493 yards.

He comes from the same hometown as Stan Musial and Ken Griffey, Sr.  (It was also the birthplace of Ken Griffey, Jr.)

He is an alumnus of the same college as the Commissioner of the NFL.

While playing pro ball, he studied for the ministry - leading to his very unique nickname - and after retirement, by that time an ordained Methodist minister, he embarked on a career as a pastor.


american flag TUESDAY,  AUGUST 22,  2017  - “If you take a wrong fork in the road, it’s not progress to keep walking in the wrong direction. It’s progress to turn around and find the right road.” C. S. Lewi

*********** One of the cool things about Ocean Shores, Washington is the beach.  Well, duh.  But what’s really cool about the beach is that it’s wide, and you can drive on it. In fact, it’s technically considered a state highway, and all state driving laws apply. But the state doesn’t maintain it - that’s Mother Nature’s job.  And sometimes, she plays some tricks on us.

Obviously, the packed sand nearer the water  is the place to drive.  The softer sand, up above the high water mark, is passable, but it’s a rough go.  And, of course, to drive on it, you’d better be in an appropriate rig - with four-wheel drive and big tires. 

And then, there are  places where even with four-wheel drive you can get stuck.  Those are some of the tricks of Mother Nature that I was talking about. They’re long mounds - bars, I suppose you’d call them - that get built up in a relatively short time by oceanic activity redepositing sand that it stole from some beach someplace else. There’s one at the beach where we go with our dogs that’s been there for a couple of months now.  It’s about a half-mile long and about 50 yards wide, and it’s high enough that only at extreme high tide is it covered completely. The incoming tides sweep by it at both ends and encircle it with a channel so that it’s  surrounded on all sides by water - a mini-barrier island.   It looks smooth and flat, just like the packed part of the beach you can drive on, but it hasn't been packed down by the waves and it’s soft as hell.  Wise locals know to stay off it.

stuck in the sandBut Saturday, a family  arrived at the beach to do some surf fishing, but rather than park their rig, a nice Lincoln Navigator, on the hard sand and wade across the channel and walk to the ocean, clearly not locals, they chose to drive closer to the water.  Over the channel they drove, and across the bar until they were within casting distance of the ocean.  And then they sank into the soft sand at the edge of the bar and found they couldn’t move, forward or back.

Four wheel drive meant nothing at this point.  They were in.  And the more their wheels spun, they deeper they dug into the  sand, until finally, they were high-centered. 

It’s not an unusual sight, especially in the summer, when most of the people on the beach are outsiders.  

As my wife and I walked up the beach, we saw the Navigator,  one guy trying to push it as the driver  seemed determined to dig in deeper.  I couldn’t help.  I do have a four-wheel drive Ford Expedition, and I could get it to where he was,  but I learned years ago that unless you can park on hard sand yourself, you can’t tow someone out of the sand - you’ll just dig yourself in trying. Winching is the only way to do it.

A roving tow truck on the prowl for action drove up and gave the guy a quote - $195.  The guy “declined service.”

As I stood there trying to console him, three different strangers in big rigs saw us and drove over to try to help.  One wasn’t able to because he didn’t have a towing strap. The other two hooked up and tried their best to pull him out, but all they succeeded in doing was to start to dig  themselves in, and they finally had to give up.

The third guy then suggested putting a wooden block on the sand under the rear bumper, and putting a jack between the back of the Navigator and the block.  The idea was to jack the end up until he could get some pieces of driftwood under the back wheels.  He said he’d had to do it in the past, when he’d been by himself and found himself stuck. (A local, obviously.)

All this time, the ocean had kept creeping closer.  That was when  a young woman we know came walking up with her dog, and seeing what was going on,  said she had a friend with a winch on the front of his truck who made money rescuing people like this.
She said she had no idea what he’d charge, but she’d call him. 

In the meantime, our guy who was stuck there had resigned himself to paying the $195,  and decided to call the towing company.  But just as he was in the middle of giving them his credit card number, up drove our friend’s friend -  the one with the winch.

As our guy hung up the phone, the rescuer hooked up his tow line, and in a matter of seconds, the Navigator was out of the sand. The guy then drove to a safer parking place,  back on the mainland,  and settled up with the savior.   Then  he and an older guy with him, who I judged to be his father, got their rods to go fishing.  On his way to the ocean (he was walking, this time) he stopped by to thank me. All I’d done was stay with him and provide moral support.  I asked him how much the rescuer had charged him and he said, “Nothing.”

Now here’s the great part of the story:

The people in the Navigator were Asians.  I’m guessing Cambodian or Vietnamese or Thai.  Who knows? Who knows if they were even legal? The driver said he and his family had  driven down from Seattle for the day.  This was their first visit to Ocean Shores.  They weren’t on the beach more than five minutes when they got stuck. But in the space of less than an hour, no fewer than three people - complete strangers,  driving the beach with places to go and things to do -  stopped and tried to help.  The fourth was roused from whatever he had been doing at home and drove to the beach and finally got them out.  And you know what? They were all white guys.  The privileged ones.  To certain malcontents, that automatically makes them racists.  But to those white guys  Saturday, it didn’t make a bit of difference what  the race or nationality of the people stuck in the sand was.  They were simply  people who needed help.

I was so proud of them.

THIS is the America that's out there, if you'll only look. It's everywhere. It's the America that I still love.

*********** Two serious collisions at sea in the last month? Sailors lost at sea?

WTF is going on in our Navy?

*********** More than 300 of Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin’s Yale classmates have signed an open letter sent to him asking to resign:

Dear Secretary Mnuchin:

We, some of your fellow members of the Yale College Class of 1985, write to you today in response to President Trump’s comments on the recent events in Charlottesville. We believe it is your moral obligation to resign your post as Secretary of the Treasury, effective immediately. We understand that graduates of Yale College have served the United States proudly as presidents, members of the cabinet, and in many other capacities since its founding, and that rarely, if ever, have any of us made such a request of a classmate, whatever our differences in political opinion have been.

We do so today because President Trump has declared himself a sympathizer with groups whose values are antithetical to those values we consider fundamental to our sacred honor as Americans, as men and women of Yale, and as decent human beings. President Trump made those declarations loudly, clearly, and unequivocally, and he said them as you stood next to him. We can be Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Greens, and a number of other things and still be friends, classmates, and patriots, but we cannot be Nazis and white supremacists. We can disagree on the means of promoting the general welfare of the country, on the size and role of government, on the nature of freedom and security, but we cannot take the side of what we know to be evil.

We call upon you, as our friend, our classmate, and as a fellow American, to resign in protest of President Trump’s support of Nazism and white supremacy. We know you are better than this, and we are counting on you to do the right thing.

Your fellow members of the Yale College Class of 1985,


Wow.  What worms.

This is so unlike the Yale that I attended - a Yale whose graduates respected diversity of thought and opinion and would never have attempted such a stunt  - an “open letter” with 300 signatures.   An intellectual mob.

Last time I saw something like this it was Duke faculty members condemning the members of the lacrosse team.  How’d that one work out?

The Yale I attended also expected us to listen.  Carefully.

That includes you, my fellow Yalies. Please show me, won’t you, your evidence of Mr. Trump’s “support of Nazism and white supremacy,” and I’ll write Mr. Mnuchin myself.  Emphasis on "myself."  I don’t need someone to do it for me.  I don't need to show who agrees with me.  I have no use for mobs. I don't listen to them and I don't run with them.

And finally -  “Do the right thing?”   Who TF are 300 - or 3,000, or 30,000 - of his classmates to tell him what the “right thing” is?   One of the things I learned was that,  apart from certain eternal absolutes,  there would be matters on which the whole world might disagree with me - and that didn’t necessarily make me wrong.

http://variety.com/2017/biz/news/steve-mnuchin-yale-classmates-urge-resign-1202533376/#article-comments

 
*********** I once heard Lee Corso say that it was his experience that when you played Nebraska - the Nebraska of the  Tom Osborne days - you were more likely to get beaten badly at your place than  at Lincoln. That's because the Cornhuskers travelled with only 50 players, so that when the score began to mount and they started to substitute, they couldn't go deeper than their second string  - and in those days,  their second-stringers were usually as good as your starters.   But when you played them in Lincoln,  he said, they’d have 100 or so guys dressed, and when the game started to get out of hand, you'd soon be seeing third- and fourth-stringers in there.

***********  Hugh,

Can't say I blame you for heading to the beach these next few days.  My daughter is working on a project in Kansas City and she told me last night that the traffic there is already bad.  She's just an hour south of St. Joe where folks will be able to see the total eclipse.  She doesn't plan on making the trip.  

We're seeing the same thing down here with high school head coaches.  Turnover this year was the greatest they have seen in a long time, and a number of the new guys are first-timers.  I've said this over and over.  Kids are still kids.  It's what surrounds them that's changed things.  Us old-school guys have never had a problem dealing with kids.  But I for one sure as he** have had a tough time dealing with all the other sh**.

The yahoos in the stands pay money to be yahoos; the pro players get paid that money NOT to be yahoos.  Big difference.

Enjoy the beach!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

The eclipse was Monday, but WEDNESDAY, in central Oregon - Cowboy country - there was a traffic jam 30 MILES LONG on US Hwy 26.   From Portland to Salem on Interstate 5 takes about an hour.  Sometimes less.  On Monday, coming back from the eclipse, it was taking at least 3-1/2 hours.

Insane.

I no longer agree that “Kids are still kids.”  I think they are lazier and more entitled and less willing to take orders and work as a team.  That’s the ones who aren’t playing.  And even the the ones that are playing are, in general,  softer and more selfish and less able to take coaching.

And then there are the parents.

And then there are the administrators, who know that the shortest, easiest way to popularity with the parents is to take their side against the coaches.



*********** I found this  whole eclipse thing very weird. Questions came flying into my mind:

1. Who has that much free time that he/she can spend a week at a festival in the Oregon desert?

2. How many of those people were able to do so because they were on government assistance of some sort?

3. Who stayed home to answer the phone at Antifa headquarters?

4. Is this why there was a relative pause in statue demolition this past weekend?

5. Considering the trash they left behind and the gas they burned to get there (and sit in traffic), did the eclipse watchers  put  saving the planet on hold for the week?

6. Who pays to clean up after them?

7. Did the eclipse really happen, or did NASA stage the whole thing, just like the moon landing?

8. The eclipse watchers I saw on TV were mostly white.  Did the government fail in its obligation to make it known to People of Color?

9. Wasn’t that an awful lot of time and treasure and aggravation just to “celebrate” a two-minute eclipse?  And now it’s over.  I hate to say it, but considering the return on investment  it makes money spent on, um, a lady of the evening seem wisely spent.   I said almost.

*********** They flashed a graphic on the screen on the Monday Night Football game, and in case no one at the league office was watching - somebody please tell the NFL that they’re headed for trouble:

Tom Brady - 40 years old
Drew Brees - 38
Carson Palmer - 37
Eli Manning - 36
Phillip Rivers - 35
Ben Roethlisberger - 35

*********** Just finished “Playing for Pizza,” by John Grisham.  I’m a Grisham fan, but this book is quite different from most of his other novels, categorized as “legal thrillers.”

This one is about an American football player, washed up as an NFL quarterback, who winds up playing in Italy.

Unless things have changed greatly from my days my coaching in Finland and conducting some camps in Denmark and Germany - and from what people told me about their experiences coaching and playing in Italy - Grisham has done a pretty good job of describing what American football in Europe is like.

It’s a fast read and a fun read.

*********** Let me know if you watch an NFL game on the Tube and you see the national anthem.  I’ve seen several already and it appears that orders have come down from headquarters that when it’s time for the anthem, it’s time to  Go To Studio.

I said quite some time ago and I’ll say it again - if the Kaepernick fiasco results in our no longer having to listen to aspiring divas and Grammy Award winners butcher our national song,  it hasn’t been all bad.

It all went bad, I think, when they changed from “playing” it or “singing” it to “performing” it.


*********** Dick Gregory is dead.  I had a tremendous amount of respect for the man. 

He was quite bright and  dead serious in his aims,  but had a talent - he could make people laugh.  And with his commentary on the racial situation in the America of the 1960s,  he accomplished more with his humor than any ten thousand demonstrators ever did.

Back in 2005 I was coaching at a Portland City high school. Roughly half the squad was black kids.  One day a bunch of black girls sitting up in the stands during practice started throwing the “N” word around - mostly at my players.

I called the team in and told them a little about Dick Gregory.

His autbiography was entitled “N - - - - - R”, except that it was spelled out, on the cover, in black and white letters.

Imagine!  Nowaydays, you wouldn’t dare walk into a bookstore or a library and ask for it by name.  So when I wanted to do some research on it, I approached my googling hesitantly.

I mean,  what sort of ugly things come up if you just type in the word on your search engine?

Does Google notify the NSA?  Does the “Racist” alarm sound there?

Does the Southern Poverty Law Center get a message to add you to its list of domestic terrorists?

Finally, I decided to type in “dick gregory book n- - - - -“ , actually using dashes instead of letters,  and up it came.

I  recommend the book.  This was Dick Gregory’s dedication:

Dear Momma -- Wherever you are, if ever you hear the word "nigger" again, remember they are advertising my book.

I told those kids on my football team that people had shed blood so they wouldn't endure the indignity of that ugly word:

You didn't die a slave for nothing, Momma. You brought us up. You and all those Negro mothers who gave their kids the strength to go on, to take that thimble to the well while the whites were taking buckets. Those of us who weren't destroyed got stronger, got calluses on our souls. And now we're ready to change a system, a system where a white man can destroy a black man with a single word. Nigger.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigger:_An_Autobiography_by_Dick_Gregory

QUIZ ANSWER -  Bob Pellegrini was a coal miner’s son from Yatesboro, Pennsylvania.  In college, he was a 6-3, 225 center-middle linebacker on a Number 3-ranked Maryland team.  Maryland finished 10-1 in both his junior and senior years. In his senior year the Terps lost only to  Number 1-ranked Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, after  wins over teams like UCLA, LSU and Clemson.  He finished fifth in the 1955 Heisman voting, and was drafted first (fourth overall) by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1956 draft. He played 10 years in the NFL with the Eagles and the Redskins.  Bob Pellegrini is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

https://www.si.com/vault/2002/08/12/327632/bob-pellegrini-maryland-star-november-7-1955



CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BOB PELLEGRINI:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS


*********** I worked for the Philadelphia Bell as Director of Player Personnel and Bob Pellegrini was our linebacker coach.

It was sometime in the spring of 1974 and I happened to be at the counter of the Bell’s downtown office when two men came in the front door and walked over to where I was standing

One was short and thin, an older white guy.  The other was a bit taller and stocky, a middle-aged black guy.

The little white guy asked, “Is Bob Pellegrini in?”

I asked if I could tell him who was here to see him, and he said, “Frank Palermo.”

I almost said, “Holy sh—!” but I didn’t.  Instead, I blurted out, “Blinky Palermo!”

He said, calmly and coldly, “Please.  Frank.”

Those two words sent a chill down my back.  He didn’t like the nickname.

The only thing that separated me from Frank “Blinky” Palermo was the counter.  And the only thing that separated me from a ride in the trunk of somebody’s car was the fact that he no doubt figured me for some dumb sh— who didn’t know any better.

Blinky Palermo (he’s long dead, so now I can call him that) was, um, “affiliated” with the Philadelphia mob.  Big Time.  His field was boxing.  His specialty was fixing fights.

He “managed” a number of fighters, many of them world champions (at a time when that meant something), and as subsequent investigations would reveal, he also “managed” to fix several big fights, many of them championship fights.

At a time when boxing was almost totally corrupt, in any mention of the reach of the mob’s tentacles into the sport,  Blinky Palermo and his New York associate, Frankie Carbo, were sure to be mentioned.

For a time, Palermo and Carbo owned a majority piece of Sonny Liston.  Liston, one of the toughest men who ever lived, won the heavyweight championship and then lost it to a youngster named Cassius Clay.  To this day, there are those of us who will argue that Liston lost under instructions from his mob bosses. 

Where Bob Pellegrini came in was the fact that he was big and tough and fairly well known - and white.  Blinky saw in him a future world heavyweight champion - and a white one at that - and when “Pelly” was playing with the Eagles, he and Blinky evidently came close to terms. 

It never worked out, but I guess they stayed on friendly terms, and that led to my introduction to Mr. Palermo.  He actually turned out to be quite nice and friendly, I should add, and he introduced me to the black man with him, who turned out to be Bob Montgomery, a former world lightweight champion.

And I lived to tell the story.

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

QUIZ: For a brief time in the 1950s, he was a part of the NFL’s first real quarterback controversy, sharing playing time with another outstanding passer and helping his team set passing and scoring records.

Born in Elmira, New York, he was raised in Van Nuys, California and played his college football at UCLA. A single wing tailback, he passed, ran, punted, kicked extra points and played defense.  In 1942, he was on the field for 557 of the 600 minutes his team played that season.

As a quarterback, he helped his team win the NFL championship in his rookie year, and was named league MVP. And then the team moved.  Toward the end of his career he would lead that same team to an NFL championship in a different city.

When he retired in 1952, he was the all-time NFL leader in career extra points and field goals.   He averaged 42.4 yards as a punter, and in his career he completed 814 passes for 11,849 yards and 97 touchdowns.

He was named All-Pro QB three times.

He came back to coach his team in the 1960s but overall he was unsuccessful and retired after three seasons.

He is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

He was married to a famous, rather well-built movie star, who had been his high school sweetheart.


american flag FRIDAY,  AUGUST 18,  2017  - “God protects children, drunkards and the United States.” Otto von Bismarck

*********** My wife and I will head for the beach this weekend, but not to watch the eclipse. No, to get the hell away from it. 

It’s cutting right across Oregon, and if you live in the Portland area as we do the nearest place  to watch it is around Salem Oregon - about an hour south on I-5.  Under normal conditions.

But these ain’t gonna be no normal conditions.   We got people talking Apocalypse.  Y2K even.  Omigod. A million people headed to Oregon.  Better stock up on water, gas, bread, etc.

Traffic?  There can’t be anything more congested than I-5 headed south from Portland on the rare Saturday when Oregon and Oregon State are both playing at home.  But they say this will be worse. Especially afterward.   I can just picture  100,000 or so people - maybe more - who drove down to Salem for the day saying, at the exact same time, “Well, that’s it.  The eclipse is over.  Now, let’s head on home.”

So we’re going in the opposite direction from Salem, heading north by northwest, to Ocean Shores, where the eclipse will be viewable but not  total.  (And even if it were, there’s a 50 per cent chance that the skies will be cloudy.)

*********** Think people are bailing out of our profession?  55 Washington high schools started fall practice with new head coaches. At 35 of those schools, it’s the coach’s first head coaching job.

With 337 schools in the state playing football, the math is easy: a little more than one school in ten will have a guy in charge who's never been a head coach before.

A sign of the times:  one first-time head coach missed his team's first day of practice  because - get ready for this -  his wife had a baby. 

My wife, a mother of four who's been conditioned by years of marriage to a coach, asked, “Couldn’t he at least have made it out onto the field for three hours?”

*********** Can there be a less attractive NFL game on Thursday night TV than the Jaguars against the Buccaneers?

***********  During a question-and-answer period with Arizona Cardinals club seat holders,  one season ticket-holder asked NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell if players were going to continue to protest during the national anthem and if something could be done about it.

The commissioner’s  wormlike response should have been enough to cost him his job.

"It's one of those things," he said,  "where I think we have to understand that there are people that have different viewpoints.  The national anthem is a special moment to me. It's a point of pride. But we also have to understand the other side, that people do have rights and we want to respect those."

WTF?  The other side?

Spoken like a modern-day school administrator.

*********** If Commissioner Goodell wanted  other problems he couldn't  possibly do a better job...

It appears that NFL investigators had proof that the woman who has accused Ezekiel Elliott of beating her up texted with a friend about the possibility of blackmailing him.

Yet the Commissioner still went ahead and gave him a six-game suspension.

In its effort to show the world how intolerant it is of violence toward women,  the NFL may be way off base in its hammering of Elliott:

(1) There doesn’t seem to be any  proof other than the woman’s testimony that  bruises on her body were caused by Elliott.

(2) In cases of “he said, she said,” (in Elliott’s case, his accuser is the only “witness”) the woman cannot automatically be assumed to be the truthful party.

(3) Just because the  public deplores violence against women and demands that the NFL take action against it doesn’t mean it sympathizes with blackmailers.

As for Elliott - come on, man.  You’re a bright guy and a very good athlete with a great future.  You don’t need to be hanging with trash. “When you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.” Or worse.

My rash 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.”

https://sports.yahoo.com/documents-ezekiel-elliotts-accuser-admitted-talk-leveraging-sex-videos-rb-money-120034705.html

*********** On Tuesday,   Seattle Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin,  asked about his teammate Michael  Bennett’s sitting during the national anthem, responded by asking why some of the people who condemn Bennett and Colin Kaepernick are the same ones he sees up in the stands screwing around during the anthem?

On the surface,  he appears to have an argument.  I am disgusted with those ignoramuses and have been for years.    But Mister Baldwin is smart enough to understand that   those doofuses we see in the stands clowning around are paying customers, and  we simply can’t make them stand at attention, respectfully, for the national anthem.

Mister Baldwin, on the other hand, is an employee of the Seahawks, and they have  the right to tell their employees how they expect them to conduct themselves  on the job.

Interestingly,  I have a feeling that if some of the yahoos in the stands acting disrespectfully  happened to be employees of the Seahawks,  management would have a stern talk with them.  But they’re not prima donna pro football players, and the team doesn’t have to suck up to them.

https://sports.yahoo.com/news/seahawks-doug-baldwin-wonders-sitting-anthem-bad-fans-curse-yell-wear-hats-131700868.html

*********** Michael Bennett, Seahawks’ official team resister, said the goal of his national anthem protests is to make people uncomfortable: “Everyone is in their comfort zone right now.  Get out there and become uncomfortable. Go out there and see what it’s like out there in society right now.”

Hmmm.

* At the same time that he wants people to become “uncomfortable,”  our colleges are obsessed with eliminating any speech, class, book, name of  a building  that might make even one student uncomfortable. 

* Expecting people to fight their way through traffic and then pay outrageous sums to enter a football stadium - all for the opportunity to “become uncomfortable” -  is not a sustainable business model.

* If there’s anybody who needs to “see what it’s like out there in society right now”  it’s a professional athlete  who’s so gifted athletically that  he’s made millions without ever having to work at a real job.

***********  My friend Don Shipley sent me a link of some of John Unitas’ best plays - typical plays for him -  and said, “Thought you'd enjoy seeing this clip that appeared on one of the football history sites I follow.”

“Greatest of All Time” Tom Brady, who goes out every game and shows us what the future of pro football looks like - when you’ll only be able  to tag the quarterback between the shoulders and the waist - could never in his imagination perform some of the feats of courage and athleticism  that John Unitas displays on this one short five-minute clip.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zo3zR3h_ifU

*********** A friend who’s out of coaching for the moment - he’s an AD - told me of a conversation he had with his principal:

“He brought up the disturbing lack of numbers out for football this season (22).  But then added... "once the boys figure out that they're running a spread offense now (instead of the Double Wing) I'm sure more of them will come out for football."  I bit my tongue.  But couldn't help remind him that I had 35 boys out for football and that we won more games in one year than they had in a spread offense the four previous years.

He could have pointed out to the principal that every additional player attracted by the spread offense will be an “aspiring wide receiver.”  Not sure how much it helps to have 33 kids when 20 of them will quit if they have to play anything other than wide receiver.


*********** Ran across this and KNEW it was something I would have to share with you.  Can't wait to hear what you have to say about it.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Here it is, in a nutshell:

According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, 17-year old Robbie Lopez is suing his former high school head baseball coach at Los Altos HS (CA) for benching him during his senior year. The lawsuit, which is asking for $150,000 in damages, claims that the coach opting not to play Robbie displayed a pattern of “harassment and bullying.”

“For over four (4) months and 14 games, (Robbie Lopez) has been benched and not (had) the opportunity to show his offensive or defensive capabilities,” the lawsuit reads, according to the SGVT article.

http://footballscoop.com/news/former-hs-player-suing-coach-claiming-benching-form-bullying/
   
I can’t imagine that the kid will win, but still, if it gets to a jury anything is possible.  

In the meantime, though, as is usually the case in our litigious society, when you're sued, even when you win, you lose,  because you had to pay to defend yourself, and on top of that it’s going to cost you in time and stress.

The only solution, which America’s trial lawyers will never allow to get through Congress (if you know what I mean), is “Loser Pays”: you're still free to sue me, as you always have been, but if you lose, you pay all costs, including my legal fees.  No more contingency fee lawsuits, where it costs the plaintiff absolutely nothing, win or lose, and the plaintiff’s attorney works for a large percentage of any settlement or jury award.  That's why we hear about so many frivolous lawsuits. With nothing to lose, the plaintiff has every incentive to sue, and absolutely no reason not to.

*********** Hi Coach,

I was so sorry to hear of the passing Coach Mac (Dick McPherson). He was a class act and great personality. He came from Old Town, Maine a place where I taught school and coached football  from 1969 until 1981. He was regarded as a living legend in the community but never forgot his roots. He was very approachable and we went to Syracuse for clinics on several occasions. Each time he gave us unprecedented access and was a perfect host.

In the small world department fast forward to today. We retired and now live in Rangeley Maine and became friends with Zenna Innis, who's college roommate and best friend married Coach Mac. So I was able to follow him in his latter years through the period of failing health. When  she mentioned she knew me to him he remembered me and commented to her about my years in Old Town as being a good coach. Wow even at my age it made an impression.

He will be missed and his legacy of being a true gentleman will stand the test of time.

Jack Tourtillotte
Rangeley, Maine

Jack,

I always liked him, and I appreciate what he did to revive Syracuse football.

I liked the freeze option that he ran.

And I liked his Down East accent!


*********** I’m getting tired of writing about great coaches who’ve left us.

Now it’s Frank Broyles. 

I wrote this about him in July, 2003, when he was a “QUIZ” item:
 
A native of Decatur,  Georgia, Frank Broyles  played his college football as a quarterback for Bobby Dodd at Georgia Tech, while lettering in basketball and baseball as well. After graduating from Tech with a degree in industrial management, he decided to become a coach.

He paid his dues, serving as an assistant at Baylor, Texas, Florida, Georgia Tech and Georgia before becoming a head coach at Missouri in 1957.

But after just one year there, a 5-4-1 season, he was hired by Arkansas, where he would remain for the next 19 years. When he retired after the 1976 season, he was the winningest coach in Razorbacks' history, winning 144 games, losing 58 and tieing 5.

His teams won seven Southwest Conference championships, and played in 10 bowl games. His unbeaten 1964 team was voted national champion by the Football Writers of America, and he and Ara Parseghian shared AFCA Coach of the Year honors.

After retiring as football coach, he spent several years as a top analyst on college football broadcasts, as well as serving as athletic director at Arkansas.

Under his leadership, Arkansas became a national power in numerous sports. He  oversaw the expansion of the football stadium to 72,000 and in 1990, he was instrumental in Arkansas' move from the the Southwest Conference to the Southeastern Conference, setting into motion the events that led to the breakup of the SWC, then second only to the Big Ten in age.

In 1983 he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame,

More than 25 of his former assistants went on to become head coaches, among them Doug Dickey, Hayden Fry, Joe Gibbs, Jimmy Johnson, Johnny Majors, Jackie Sherrill and Barry Switzer.

“Coaching tree?” My friend Joe Gutilla wrote.  “That's more like a Sequoia.”  Yes - and add to that the coaching trees of those men.


https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/columnist/george-schroeder/2017/08/15/frank-broyles-appreciation/569959001/


*********** I’m on the beach this year - literally, because we still have our place at Ocean Shores, and figuratively, because with my head coach Todd Bridge taking an AD job, I chose to sit out.  I was spoiled by the great coaching climate we had.

I must confess that I miss the actual coaching.  But I sure don’t miss what high school coaching is becoming.

It has hit Oregon.  It was inevitable.  AAU Football - 7-on-7 Leagues, that is -  is growing, and along with its growth is its increased use by high school coaches as a vehicle for poaching talent from other schools.

http://www.oregonlive.com/sports/index.ssf/2017/08/football_coaches_blame_surge_i.html#incart_most-read_

QUIZ ANSWER: Fred Gehrke was a running back/defensive back (two -way football)  player for the Rams following World War II.  He’d been an art major in college (Utah), and he’d worked in the offseason as an illustrator. After the 1947 season he convinced the Rams’ coach that the team’s drab, brown helmets needed some kind of design on them.  With the coach’s approval, he painted one of  helmets dark blue, with yellow ram’s horns, and showed it to the team’s owner, Dan Reeves.  Reeves liked the design, and cleared it with the league office (which told him "You're the owner; do what you want!”).  During the summer of 1948,   Fred Gehrke  was paid $1 a helmet to paint the team’s 75 (leather) helmets. 

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING FRED GEHRKE…
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUSIANA - I assume the picture you provided of him is in his Maryland helmet? It looks much better than that airbrushed diarrhea their helmets feature now.
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA


http://toddradom.com/athletes-as-artists-andrew-mccutchen-and-the-1948-la-rams/

 http://theramswire.usatoday.com/2017/08/08/nfl-los-angeles-rams-helmet-concept-design-artist/

http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/news/rams-move-los-angeles-st-louis-la-coliseum-stan-kroenke-helmets-uniforms/819wgb51t6gp1qp0y7h5xl8r9


Yatesboro PAQUIZ -  He was a coal miner’s son from a tiny town called Yatesboro, Pennsylvania.  At Maryland, he was a 6-3, 225 All-American center-middle linebacker on teams that finished 10-1 in both his junior and senior years. In his senior year the Terps ranked third in the nation,  losing only to  Number 1-ranked Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl after  wins over teams like UCLA, LSU and Clemson.  As you can see, he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. He finished fifth in the 1955 Heisman voting, and was drafted first (fourth overall) by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1956 draft. He played 10 years in the NFL, with the Eagles and the Redskins.  He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.















american flag TUESDAY,  AUGUST 15,  2017  - “Generals are not known for a lack of self-confidence.” Peggy Noonan

*********** If the NFL’s “Let’s Play Football” campaign is supposed to be an effort to cope with the sad fact that young peoples’ participation in football is declining, I’d call it a misguided effort.  The scenes we see - let’s just call them, politely,  examples of “extreme adolescent boisterousness” -   may entice some young guys  to play, but they’re not likely to persuade the real decision makers, the  suburban mommies,   to want their little boys to get involved.

In fact,  after watching one of the ads, I looked at my wife and asked, “Can that be the same sport I’ve been coaching?”

*********** A TV guy  informed us that the origin of this past weekend’s uproar in Charlottesville was a decision to take down a statue of Robert E. Lee,  who, we were told, was “a general in the Confederate Army…”

Wow.  How long,  in our effort to “diversify” our history books and include “marginalized” people,  before George Washington becomes  “an 18th century military and political leader?”

*********** It’s hard to believe that anybody as image-conscious as the NFL thought that it wouldn’t happen again.

But they stumbled through last season, and then the off-season, without plugging the gap in their conduct policy that allowed Colin Kaepernick to put on his act.  And now,  already this season, there’s Marshawn Lynch, and  there’s Michael Bennett, both  sitting on their asses during the national anthem. More are sure to follow.

In terms of economic damage to the NFL, I predict that this will prove to be  worse even than a star player beating a woman. 

Look - “Domestic violence,” i.e., men beating women,  is plenty ugly, but to the vast majority of Americans, brought up to respect women, it often seems so synonymous  with the NFL that it has  no more bearing on ordinary Americans’ lives  than a Mafia murder.  Rightly or wrongly, the perception is that it’s something that happens among people in another universe - and not a part of normal life.

But disrespect of our national anthem and our flag?  That’s another thing entirely. That, they can understand. That’s bringing it home.

The NFL will pay dearly for its failure to head this off - for continuing to provide a stage for malcontents to display their scorn and disrespect for a nation and a culture that has enabled  them to become millionaires.

And so it goes.  For this, they pay you millions, Roger Goodell? 

*********** A person close to John Kelly, retired Marine General and current White House Chief of Staff, describing his willingness - and ability - to listen: “If you’re in a 10-minute meeting with him, he’ll be quiet for the first nine minutes.”

*********** I happened to be looking up at the Lions-Colts game (preseason) just as the Lions threw a short pass to a receiver on the left sideline.  He caught the ball,  deftly slipped away from the defender who’d been covering him, and headed up the sideline for the goal line, 10 yards away.

That’s when I got a front-row look at where Hawk Tackling is taking the game we love.

Between him and the goal line,  Colts’ defenders had clean shots at him.

But both of the would-be tacklers,  as called for by the proponents of Hawk Tackling, aimed their helmets behind the call carrier.  Both, predictably, wound up with nothing but an arm to try to stop the runner.  And both,  predictably,  missed.  Touchdown,  Lions.

BUT - and this is significant - no players were hurt.  Nobody suffered a concussion in the act of “tackling.”   The defenders made it look as if they were “trying.”

And they did so safely.

*********** Can it be possible?  I swear I read - actually, I read it twice to be sure - that in 2016, among major colleges, Oregon and Michigan tied for the  lead in successful 2-point conversions - with four each!  Can the two-point conversion really be that little used?

*********** In Vancouver, Washington, the Evergreen  School District is giving serious consideration to switching its middle school football season to the spring.

Evergreen is a reasonably large district, with four Class 4A (largest classification)  high schools, and with six middle schools, it can make the decision unilaterally, without the approval of other districts with which its schools currently compete.

*********** My friend Charlie Wilson sent me a link, and then twisted the needle a bit by writing, “Sorry to bother you with this but…”

 http://www.nationalreview.com/article/450407/yale-erases-history-campus-statue-covered-appeasing-activist-mob

My dear alma mater,  relentless in its pursuit of That Which Offends, has attacked one of the most beautiful building on campus, Sterling Memorial Library.

Built in a time when money flowed freely and skilled labor was cheap, the building's  exterior contains little architectural adornments that would have been the first things to go if money had been an object.

If it weren’t so sad it’d be funny, but somebody at Yale with nothing better to do “discovered” that among the stone sculptures over the library door, next to a figure of an American Indian with a bow, was a figure of a Puritan holding a musket.  Omigod.

Not no more.  The musket has been covered with some sort of body putty. Or Sakrete.  Problem solved.

I’m so proud of my alma mater for taking such a principled stand.

Just for fun, I think I’ll spread a rumor that Walter Camp was a homophobe and see what happens.

(Tell you the truth, I  never noticed that sculpture over the door of the library.  Not that I went in there that much).

*********** I  rhetorically asked last Friday whether there might not be such a thing as “Acceptable Risk”  in many of the activities young people take part in.

Swimming.  Bicycling. Hiking. Hunting. Skiing. Skateboarding. Wrestling. Driving. And, yes, football.

Yes, there are those who would say that no risk is acceptable,  but I suspect that they’re mostly mommies and personal-injury lawyers.

Meanwhile, for those of you who are raising boys, I came across a site  called The Art of Manliness,   which lists “23 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kids Do.”

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2017/06/28/23-dangerous-things-let-kids/

*********** No more charter flights for the Patriots.  (Commercial?  NFL team's haven't flown commercial since George Halas was a rookie.)

Now, just as NBA teams have done for years, the Pats will have their own plane.  Make that planes. They've bought two Boeing 767 wide-body jets, and  custom-fitted them  with all first-class seats.

***********  It’s human nature for the ignorant  to mock things they don’t understand.

After his head coach moved on, an old friend, a long-time offensive coordinator who’s run both my Double Wing and my Open Wing (very successfully), decided to remain on staff with the new head coach.  But things didn’t get off to a very good start, as he related to me what went on in his first meeting with his new head coach - and the OC he’d brought with him.

He and the OC rubbed me the wrong way in our first coaches meeting in April when they both spoke ignorantly negative comments about the Double Wing...too numerous for me to type but during this meeting I felt that my offense that had proven its worth and success was under attack and I held myself in check that day and just nodded my head but was absorbing everything they said like a sponge.
 
It almost felt like they were attacking my child.  But I held back and didn't walk out of the meeting but they stained my thoughts of them being open minded coaches.  Add to that  the fact that I was then handed a thick playbook of Spread 10, 11 & 22 personnel packages and was asked "can you teach this?"  My response was, "you guys saw my HUDL footage...I ran a version of Spread without compromising my core belief of a Power running game." (He was referring to Open Wing- HW)
 
Truth be told, the Spread playbook I was handed in my opinion was by far inferior to anything that I have gotten from you or other materials I have collected over my years.  I was used to how detailed and descriptive your playbooks are, but this one was simply formations and diagrams, no real rules, no real description.  I felt like I was handed a playbook that was drawn up on the fly or something straight from a Madden video game.

*********** After hearing about Ezekiel Elliott’s six-day suspension, Rush Limbaugh said,  “They’re going to have to legalize domestic violence or the NFL’s not going to have any players.”

***********  Not much news coming out of Long Island after the tragic death of the young football player who had a log fall on him.

Someone suggested to me that  Marines migth have been involved in the drill somehow.

Five or six years ago at North Beach  we had the Marines come in during spring practice and run our kids through some PT (Physical Training).  We thought it was great and our kids did, too.

But things happen, and you have to feel terrible for everyone involved.

Especially the boy’s parents. I'm grateful to them for letting  their son play football, and sad that before he even got to play, something totally unforeseen took him from them.

*********** Rookie QBs Mitch Trubisky (Bears) and DeShaun Watson (Texans) both looked really promising in this past weekend’s games.  Both teams need QBs. And for the Dolphins, who just signed former Chicago Bear Jay Cutler after the injury to Ryan  Tannehill, David Fales, another former Bear, looked pretty good, too.

The Raiders made their debut in their new temporary digs, the StubHub Center.  It seats make 25,000, but that’s all they’re going to need, based on how bad they looked against the Seahawks, and based on the wide array of choices - college and pro - that southern California  fans have when they want to watch football. 

Meantime, the night before, the Rams drew close to 90,000 to watch them play the Cowboys. Granted, the Cowboys are a big draw, but still - you have to wonder why the Chargers would want to move into the area knowing that they’ll always - always - play second fiddle.


*********** QUIZ ANSWER:  Larry Brown came off the streets of Pittsburgh and when he received no college offers, he  went off to Dodge City (Kansas) Community College.

From there, he went to Kansas State.

He was drafted in the eighth round by the Redskins, who with All-Pro QB Sonny Jurgensen and the NFL’s top two receivers in Charley Taylor and Jerry Smith were primarily a passing team.

The Redskins’ new coach, Vince Lombardi, noticed that Brown  was having trouble getting off on the count, and after learning that it was because he was deaf in one ear and couldn’t hear Jurgensen’s signals, Lombardi received permisson from the League to have a hearing aid installed in his helmet.

He became the Skins’ starter as a rookie, and he gained  888 yards - a team record - as the Redskins posted their first winning record in 15 years.

He went to four straight Pro Bowls, and in 1972 was the NFL’s Most Valuable Player.

Larry Brown  rushed for 100 yards or more 21 times, and he finished in the top five among NFL rushers on five occasions. In 1970 he became the first Redskin to rush for more than 1,000 yards.  He was a good receiver, catching more than 30 passes in a season on five occasions.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING LARRY BROWN -
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
SHEP CLARKE - PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON

MORE ON LARRY BROWN -

http://www.thehogs.net/History/legends/larry-brown.php

http://washington.cbslocal.com/2012/10/24/redskins-history-a-case-for-larry-brown-in-hall-of-fame/

https://www.hearinglikeme.com/4-deaf-nfl-players-you-probably-didnt-know-about/

Rams' helmetQUIZ: A player for the Rams,  he’d been an art major in college, and he’d worked in the offseason as an illustrator. After the 1947 season he convinced the coach that the team’s brown helmets needed some kind of design on them.  With the coach’s approval, he painted one of  helmets dark blue, with yellow ram’s horns, and showed it to the team’s owner, Dan Reeves.  Reeves liked the design, and cleared it with the league office (which told him "You're the owner; do what you want!”).  During the summer of 1948,   our guy was paid $1 a helmet to paint the team’s 75 (leather) helmets.  The result is shown at left. (That is not him!)






american flag FRIDAY,  AUGUST 11,  2017  - "Be the hunter, not the hunted: Never allow your unit to be caught with its guard down." General James Mattis


*********** Oh, the headlines. 

“Player Killed During Football Practice”

“L.I. Teen Dies From Injury During Football Practice”

“11th Grader Dies After Injury at Football Practice”


It’s the Football Monster again! 

But wait.

According to police on Long Island, New York, a high school junior named Josh Mileto was taking part in pre-season conditioning at his school,  and he and some others were carrying a large log overhead when something went amiss and the log fell on him and struck him, killing him.

Wait - that wasn’t football at all.

We’ve seen this sort of drill in all sorts of contexts.  Sports.  Military.  Business, even.  (You know - team-building!)  The idea is that without a joint effort you can’t lift that sucker.  And, once it’s been lifted, the only thing that keeps it from falling on you is the concerted efforts of you and your teammates.  Talk about building trust!  Talk about instilling in kids the need to work together and to depend on each other!

I did not see what they were trying to do or how they were doing it, but at risk of going off half-cocked, I think that an interested observer would probably have looked at what was going on and concluded that while, yes,  there was a risk of the log falling, the incentive to work together that the risk engendered was so strong that it wasn’t likely the kids would allow that to happen.

How great a risk, anyhow?

How many times had kids at that school done that same drill without incident?

How many times had other schools and institutions all over the country done it safely?

Not for a minute would I diminish the tragedy and heartbreak that befell this young man and his family - the entire school and community.  And I don't dismiss the possibility that someone was genuinely negligent.  But I do worry that not only will a drill whose chief benefits derive from the fact that there is risk involved be outlawed, but that football itself will take another hit. (You did notice that although nothing remotely involving football was taking place, the headlines called it “Football Practice.”)

I'm left with two questions:

Is there such a thing as an acceptable risk?

Or, in the future, would it be better if our boys just stayed indoors and played Madden?

http://www.newsday.com/long-island/suffolk/sachem-east-football-player-joshua-mileto-dies-after-practice-injury-cops-say-1.13966482?firstfree=yes

*********** If you know your football, you’ve almost certainly heard of Long Beach Poly.  No high school has sent more players to the NFL (more than 60 at last count).

Until just a few years ago, Poly had more than 200 players in its program, composed of three levels: varsity, junior varsity, and frosh-soph.
This year, however, for the first time in its history, Poly will not be fielding  a JV team.

There simply aren’t enough kids.  There’ll still be  the varsity squad, of course.  And they’ll be good - pre-season, they’ve been ranked number 10 in the country by MaxPreps.

And there’ll be still be the frosh-soph squad,  but the numbers there are alarming.  Fewer than  40 freshmen have turned out.

Said head coach Antonio Pierce, “Six years ago when my son enrolled they had 130 freshman in that class, and we haven’t had close to that number since.”

Poly is one of three schools in its seven-school league that won’t be playing a JV schedule.

http://www.presstelegram.com/sports/20170809/long-beach-poly-drops-junior-varsity-football-due-to-low-numbers

*********** There's a lot more to coaching a receiver than just throwing him passes, and with one receiver drill I'm able to  accomplish three things (besides running a route and catching a pass).

First, I can watch carefully to make sure that  they step first with the outside foot. Most of my pass patterns require receivers to count their steps, and so for the sake of uniformity, they have to   step first with the outside foot.

Second, I can make sure that they get practice avoiding a “holdup man” lined up over them.

And third, by lining the receivers up on the opposite side of the ball so that the “next guy up” plays the role of the defensive hold-up man, I get everybody out of the way of the QB’s path  when he’s rolling out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQMDZrY1qTk&feature=youtu.be


*********** Hello Coach, hope you are having a great summer!

I wanted to tell you about the trip my wife and I took to Ireland and Scotland.  I've seen you write about your extended stays in Europe before.  The parts that we enjoyed the most were definitely seeing the scenery in western Ireland and the Highlands of Scotland.  Truly unique places.  The worst parts; driving and the crowds.  We stayed in Edinburgh, Scotland for the last leg of our trip and this happens to be the festival season for the city.  Apparently the population over DOUBLED in size while we were there and I was very thankful to get on tour buses that took us out of the city.  Thankful until one of the tour guides left early with his bus and left me and my wife stranded at Rosslyn Chapel (we had to ride a public transit bus back into the city).

We were glad to get home yesterday after way too much time in an airline chair.  Overall the people in Scotland and especially Ireland were very friendly and helpful.  For years I was told about how Europeans in general do not like Americans and our (apparent) arrogant attitudes.  But on the contrary they all seemed thrilled to have Americans there spending money.  As I am sure you have seen, it seems like everything is twice as expensive and half the quality to what we are used to in America.  The service in pubs and such didn't seem that great either but its a different culture I suppose.  I was also baffled by the behavior of the news outlets which spent their effort peddling vicious rumors and and out-of-context stories aimed at President Trump.  People in Europe apparently care more about Trump than we do and it kind of pissed me off.  Oh well.

As for sports, we spent a great evening with a semi-pro rugby player (BIG guy) in Ireland who kept buying us beers.  My wife even tried Gaelic Dancing in the pub!  There was Gaelic Rules football happening around Ireland, too.  They PACK those stadiums for Gaelic Football, very impressive.

The trip was a fun experience but I don't have much ambition to go back to Europe (except hopefully a pilgrimage to Rome someday).  I am going to send a separate email about the football season soon.  Have a great week Coach!

Mat Hedger
Langdon, North Dakota

Coach,

I appreciate the note and your impressions from your visit.

As you well know, there is not really a “Europe.”  It’s geographic construct that they’re trying to turn into a United States of Europe, but - good luck.

You can go anywhere in the United States and although you may hear different accents and maybe see some different foods on the menus, you’ll seldom get the sense that you’re not in the same country.

But while they may call it “Europe,” those “states” have developed their own unique cultures over many centuries. People differ in the languages they speak and (despite the spread of McDonalds) the foods they eat.  And in the way they look at life.  And in their openness to outsiders.

The Spaniard has nothing in common with the Laplander.  The Italian has little in common with the Scot.  (Actually, the Italian of Sicily has less in common with the Italian of Milan than you might think, and in tiny Belgium there are two large sections of the population that don’t even speak each other’s language.)

There is so much more, and so much of it is so beautiful and exciting.

You were very fortunate to see a part of “Europe” that I have yet to see and would love to see.

I know that flying is a pain in the arse, but I hope you change your mind about going back.

Thanks again and have a great season!



***********  Coach Wyatt,

I received the dvd yesterday, thanks.  I have 2 follow-up questions.
    1    In the video you briefly mention a quarterback option.  Do you have any information/advise on running the QB option from the double wing double tight formation?
    2    You also mentioned not running superpower from unbalanced tackle over formation.  What plays do you recommend from the tackle over, tight formation?

Coach,

1. In general, I discourage people from running option from the Double Wing except as a gadget simply because  option football is “expensive.” Running option consistently well - getting the reads down, and getting the pitch relationship consistent - is very time-consuming, which means it takes a lot of time away from the base Double Wing plays that never get all the reps they need.

As a coach in Texas told me one time, “If you’re going to run option - run option.”

HOWEVER: One relatively easy option play - and one  that sets up other base double wing plays is this one:

ROAR OPTION 6-O
Option 6-O

2. One great advantage of unbalanced is the surprise element.  When you run it a lot, though, you lose the element of surprise. Now it’s the defense's turn at the chalkboard, and they may have some surprises for you - some defenses that you can’t possibly have prepared for. My advice is to use unbalanced sparingly, as a surprise, and to run only one or at most two plays from it. My favorite is 6-G.  

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

When I was named as the Minnesota state delegate to the NFL Youth Summit way back in 2002 one of our "perks" was a free ticket and tour of the Pro Football HOF in Canton.  Thinking back to that visit it dawned on me why they insist on inducting team owners.  The NFL obviously needs their support ($$) to exist, so why not give those guys a statue?  A few I can swallow.  But Jerry Jones??  

Craig James is a product of SMU.  Need I say more?

I wonder if June Jones is wearing any of those Hawaiian shirts on the sidelines in Canada?

My wife and I saw the movie "Dunkirk".  I did not realize that at one point during the evacuation that the Brits were so close to surrender.  The storyline in the movie was good, and overall a good movie adaptation.

QUIZ:  The coach in the forefront of the cover is Notre Dame's Frank Leahy, and the coach behind him is Army's Earl "Red" Blaik.

Speaking of famous coaches.  Did I ever tell you that my wife found an old coaching book while she was going through her dad's personal belongings after he had passed?  She showed it to me and asked if I wanted to keep it.  I almost fell over.  It's a first edition written by Fielding H. Yost.
 
The binding is falling apart, and the pages are loose, but it is still intact.  The diagrams are all handwritten, and the offense was definitely unique, especially the plays with 5 men in the backfield!  Not sure how, or even if I should, have the binding repaired.  What do you think?

Have a good one!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe,

It might  be worth showing the Yost book to an appraiser.

My initial inclination would be to get ‘er repaired.

BUT -  many years ago, my father-in-law gave me a set of golf clubs that he’d acquired somewhere (he didn’t play golf) and it turned out they were valuable - McGregor Tourneys - and in those pre-metal wood days, the woods were genuine persimmon and evidently quite desirable to collectors.  So I went and spent a couple hundred dollars having the woods refinished.  And a collector told me it was the worst thing I could have done - that real collectors wanted to get them in their original condition.  Lesson learned.


*********** I was saddened to learn of Dick McPherson’s passing.

He was a Mainer, as New England as you can get, and he was a head coach at UMass and Syracuse, and with the Patriots.

It was at Syracuse that he became best known. In ten years there, three of his teams were nationally-ranked.  His 1987 team was 11-0-1 (tieing Auburn 16-16 in the Sugar Bowl) and ranked 4th Nationally, earning him Coach of the Year honors.

Two of the better knownplayers he coached were quarterback Don McPherson and fullback Daryl “Moose” Johnston.

http://www.syracuse.com/orangefootball/index.ssf/2017/08/former_syracuse_football_coach_dick_macpherson_dies_at_86_years_old.html


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

1.) How do you change the formation during a game when you have the formation written on the wrist coach? Or do you have all the formations you plan on using on the players card with the play? example do you have West 6 G-O, East 7 G-O, Eastern 7 G-O, and Western 6 G-O

This may answer your question: 

Playcard

I’ve shown a typical play card from a bygone game. This one is for the  Tight Guard (TG).  (Each position has its own specific card, with its own assignments on it.)

As you can see, the formation and the play are called as one. If we call “40-5” it tells everyone on the team that we are running “West (the formation) 6-GO (the play)”  And then comes a short version of each player’s assignment on “40-5.”

If I wanted to do this from a sightly different motion or backfield set - if I wanted, say, to move our slot back wide to the opposite side - I would simply say “WESTERN 40-5”

That’s it.

I ordinarily wouldn’t even bother putting the Open side (East or West) on the linemen’s cards, except that I have been flip-flopping the line, so they need to know  which side of center to line up on.  And just to be sure, I print the linemen’s  info in RED which is code for “LINE UP ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF CENTER” or BLUE (“LINE UP ON THE LEFT”) - a simple reminder of which side to line up on

(Notice also that 40-1 and 40-5 are simply the left and right versions of the same play - and notice on the Tight Guard’s card that because I flip-flop the line, his assignment is exactly the same on 40-1 as on 40-5.  He does the exact same thing,  just from opposite sides of the line. This applies to our other linemen as well. And to our backs and ends.  I find that this is much more efficient and allows us to run a wider variety of plays than if players had to learn two different assignments for the same play - one each for the left and right versions.)


*********** The AFCA just published Ara Parseghian’s  talk from the 1974 Coach of the Year Clinic.

I have it in the original clinic notes book, and it’s a masterpiece. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone back to Coach Parseghian’s talk and  and read - and re-read - it.

There’s so much in it that I wouldn’t begin to try to summarize it.  I strongly suggest that you print it out.

Coach Parseghian was coming off a National Title, and he’d won it running the Wing-T, which was old even then.     He wasn’t afraid to drop what he was doing offensively or defensively and go to something different - something that he felt was going to give his players their best chance to be successful.  For him,  that meant “Jumping a cycle” - going back in time and running  what nobody else was running.  For him, that meant the Wing-T.  And once he decided to run it, he went right to the pros - the people who knew the most about it.  That meant  the people at Delaware.

Interestingly, the formation he chose to illustrate his talk had two tight ends and two wingbacks.  Hmmm.

http://www.afcaweekly.com/2017/08/ara-parseghian-notre-dame/?utm_source=AFCA+Weekly&utm_campaign=d465319e1e-AFCA_Weekly_080717&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_343e846137-d465319e1e-147880073

QUIZ PHOTOQUIZ ANSWER: Both of the coaches on this 1980 program cover - Notre Dame's Frank Leahy and Army’s Earl “Red” Blaik, were legends at their respective schools, and both were alumni of their colleges.  Both won multiple national championships and at the time of this printing both were already in the College Football Hall of Fame.  Both won more than 100 games as head coaches. They each coached seven undefeated teams and between them they won eight national championships and coached seven Heisman Trophy winners. Both began their head coaching careers at New England colleges. Both were influential in Vince Lombardi’s career - Leahy as his college line coach, and Blaik as the head coach under whom he served as offensive assistant.



CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING EARL BLAIK AND FRANK LEAHY
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK,  LOUISIANA
TOM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS


*********** Many years ago, when I first started coaching and knew absolutely nothing about the challenges facing a head football coach, I happened on a book at our library that throughout my coaching career would become my North Star.

It was called “You Have to Pay the Price,” and it was written by Earl Blaik, famous Army coach, along with Tim Cohane, a very well-known sports writer of the time.

Several years ago, using that book as my template, I attempted a short version of Coach Blaik’s story, hoping to pass along his wisdom to other coaches.

In his long career, Coach Blaik attained the very top of his profession, coaching national champions,  All-Americans and Heisman Trophy winners. 

There can’t possibly have been a more effective groomer of future coaches - in an era when college staffs seldom consisted of more than four assistants, no fewer than 20 of his former assistants went on to become head coaches themselves.

Two of them won National Titles as college head coaches.  And two others won professional championships, one in the AFL and the other in the NFL. (The latter, Vince Lombardi, won the first two Super Bowls.)

But Coach Blaik also knew the heartbreak of having virtually his entire squad - a team picked my many to be  national champions - expelled from school.

His battling back to finish on top is an inspirational story.

BLAIK - http://www.coachwyatt.com/BLAIK.html


QUIZ: He came off the streets of Pittsburgh and when he received no college offers, he  went off to Dodge City (Kansas) Community College.

From there, he went to Kansas State.

He was drafted in the eighth round by the Redskins, who with All-Pro QB Sonny Jurgensen and the NFL’s top two receivers in Charley Taylor and Jerry Smith were primarily a passing team.

The Redskins’ new coach, Vince Lombardi, noticed that he was having trouble getting off on the count, and after learning that it was because he was deaf in one ear and couldn’t hear Jurgensen’s signals, Lombardi received permisson from the League to have a hearing aid installed in his helmet.

He became the Skins’ starter as a rookie, and he gained  888 yards - a team record - as the Redskins posted their first winning record in 15 years.

He went to four straight Pro Bowls, and in 1972 was the NFL’s Most Valuable Player.

He rushed for 100 yards or more 21 times, and he finished in the top five among NFL rushers on five occasions. In 1970 he became the first Redskin to rush for more than 1,000 yards.  He was a good receiver, catching more than 30 passes in a season on five occasions.



american flag TUESDAY,  AUGUST 8,  2017  “I have kleptomania, but when it gets bad, I take something.” Robert Benchley

*********** The NFL couldn’t have chosen a worse way to kick off a season of televised games than to muck up the very first telecast of the season - the Hall of Fame game - with  interview after interview while the game was going on, as if to say to viewers, “Don’t pay any attention to  that sh— down on the field.”

Let’s face it - not all of those guys down there on the field are going to be cut.  Some of them are going to make the squad,  A few of them are going to going to become starters - stars, even.  I think that if the NFL were smarter, they’d promote - and produce -  preseason games as glimpses at stars of the future - diamonds in the rough, so to speak.

But what really made me want to throw up was the fawning obeisance the guys in the booth paid to Jerry Jones, who, we had to be reminded constantly, was there to be  been inducted into the Pro Football hall of Fame.

Jerry Jones? In the Hall of Fame? I could list 100 players who belong in there before that blowhard.  Make that 1,000.  Make that 10,000.  Funny that there’s no room for, say, Charlie Conerly,  but there’s room for a an owner whose chief talent is finding new ways to make money while his team has managed to avoid winning a Super Bowl for over 20 years.

Other than the handful of founders - Art Rooney, Tim Mara, George Halas and George Preston Marshall (yes, yes, I know, he was a racist) - who built the league from scratch, what earthly reason is there for an OWNER being in the Hall of Fame anyhow?

What have any of today’s owners done but get richer from their investment?

*********** Coach,  What kind of blocking do you use when you run the Bubble and Go?

Normally, in West formation we use “Blue” protection, and in East we use “Red.”

But the ball is out pretty quickly - just a pump fake, a reset and a throw - that you could actually throw this on the back end of a running play.


*********** The Hamilton Tigercats and their head coach Kent Austin are  0-6, the only team in the CFL that has yet to win.

In their first five games their offense (sorry - offence) had scored just 90 points - lowest in the league - and their defence had given up 201 points - the most in the league.

So last week they at least did something  to give their offense a goose.  They hired June Jones.

The results were apparent:

Yes, they lost again.  They’re now 0-6.  But they lost by just 33-28   to unbeaten Edmonton - at Edmonton.

The 28 points was especially encouraging. Now, to do something about that defence.

*********** Good morning Hugh,

Great write up on Ara P in the News. Being die hard wing-t guy I used to follow the Irish and Coach P. Religiously. His win over Alabama for the National championship was classic wing - t and the use of the Waggle in that game was masterful. At one point I had a tape of the game ( I think on you gave me) and wore it out watching it. His use of the FB trap and dive was quite brilliant. We ran the split-6 for years again his influence and when we first made our connection I stole much of the stuff you did with it as well.

His passing was sad but what a man and he made it to 94 an accomplishment in itself. In a day when there seem to so few real hero's he was a standout for an old coach like myself and I tried to model myself after him.

We are enjoying our stay in Juneau and what's not like about the place when one can fish, take care of grandkids, and enjoy the beautiful weather we are having.

All the best

Jack Tourtillotte
Juneau, Alaska (for the moment)

*********** Just saw “Pony Excess”, the 30-for-30 story of the SMU cheating scandal, for the first time. Unbelievable how arrogant those rich bastards at SMU were.

Who knows how long they might have continued on their cheating ways if they’d simply been content to do what they and everybody else in the very dirty Southwest Conference was doing. But, no - they had to kick it up a notch, as Emeril would say.

There must be some  law that explains how people who cheat (or lie, or steal) are never content with just getting away with something and continuing on their same corrupt course, but always feel compelled to keep pushing it further and further until finally they go too far.

*********** The interesting thing about Friday’s photo of all the Miami of Ohio grads coaching at the time (1970) was all the ones who might have been  in the picture except they weren’t currently head coaches - Earl Blaik… Paul Brown… Sid Gillman… Bill Arnsparger.

And, still carrying the torch, long after those guys in the photo - John Harbaugh.

*********** They’re still running the 30-for-30 epic “Small Potatoes” on ESPN.

It’s the story of the USFL, a spring football league  that for a brief time threatened the NFL, until the owner of the New York franchise - a brash young man named Donald Trump - managed to persuade his fellow owners to move their schedule to the fall, going head-to-head with the NFL in hopes of forcing some sort of merger.

It didn’t work. Lots of people lost lots of money, and lots of good people - players, coaches, managers, equipment guys, trainers -  lost jobs.

Years later, asked about the USFL episode, Mr. Trump dismissed it as “small potatoes.”
 
If CNN and MSNBC would  just run “Small Potatoes” once every day they’d do a lot more damage to Donald Trump with his core constituents than they’ve been able to do with all their “fake news” bullsh—.

Now, if they could just get his core constituents to watch CNN and MSNBC.

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

I had a conversation this morning with one of my players (QB) who is playing in an all-star game this weekend.

I asked them how practices were going and they said, “Ok, interesting.”

I speak teenager, so I took the bait, and asked for details.

The player told me they went full contact on the first day and had two players injured. They were moved from QB to RB, because the coach wanted who could throw more than block (kids words, not the coach). Finally, and this is the best part, the player said the offense is based on being faster than the defense and the plays don’t ensure that everyone is blocked.

What great insights from a 15 year old.

Wow.

Very insightful.

It also shows that he has been “spoiled”:  by being well coached.  

Don’t laugh.  Todd Bridge and I have “spoiled" kids in that way to the point where once they moved on they quickly recognized bad coaching - and weren’t always able to live with it.

My advice: Keep spoiling them.


***********  Eric Sondheimer in the Los Angeles Times writes, 

"The City Section (that would be Los Angeles public high schools) football advisory committee has passed a new rule for this fall: Teams must exchange their football rosters before games.

"It has something to do with teams tracking possible ineligible players. The City Section recently required Los Angeles and Hawkins to forfeit all its games from last season because of ineligible players."

*********** Amazing what ten million dollars will do. Just like that, it was enough to lure  Jay Cutler out of retirement. Cutler, who’d already accepted a TV job, abruptly put his broadcasting career on hold  and  signed with the Dolphins after starter Ryan Tannehill injured his knee in training camp.

I don’t know enough about Cutler to know whether to pull for him to succeed, but I do know that as the front man for a dysfunctional Chicago Bears’ franchise, he’s taken a good share of lumps from Chicago fans and media.

*********** “Never in the history of mankind has so much been owed by so many to so few.”

Those were the famous words of Winston Churchill, in describing the debt owed by the English people to “The Few” - the relative handful of RAF (Royal Air Force) fighter pilots who over a span of four months in 1940 defended their country from repeated Nazi bombing raids in what has come to be called  the “Battle of Britain.”.

“The Few,” as they came to be known, numbered perhaps 3,000.  500 of them were killed in the fighting.

Now, with the recent death of Ken Wilkinson, they are fewer still.

Mr. Wikinson was 99.

In a 2010 interview with the AP, he recalled,   "We were cocky. Stupidly cocky, if you like. We just didn't envisage defeat. Some people may have been killed and so forth, but basically we knew we were going to win."


*********** ’Sex change’ is biologically impossible. People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women. Claiming that this is civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder.” Dr. Paul R. McHugh,  former Psychiatrist-in-Chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and currently its Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/michael-w-chapman/johns-hopkins-psychiatrist-transgender-mental-disorder-sex-change

***********  Bittersweet week for the Gutillas.  First year of football not coaching, and then hearing about the passing of ND coaching legend Ara Parseghian.  What a man... and what a loss.  It was during his tenure that my dad and I became Irish football fans, and a big reason why was because of Ara Parseghian.  Living in Fresno, CA at the time (which has large Armenian community) many of my dad's golfing buddies were Armenian.  Kinda couldn't help but become a fan of Ara and the Irish.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

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

I hope you and Connie are doing well! I wanted to thank you for the playbook updates. They have been incredibly helpful as we have committed to the Open Wing this season. I'm making the change because I've got some QB's who can throw fairly well on both the 7th and the 8th grade teams this year. We've been throwing bubble/smoke and the corner and the arrow so far and it's actually looking pretty good for middle school. We are going to start working on the vertical game this week so your latest update was timely. I am going to have a dedicated wide receiver coach for the first time since going to the double wing. We have to be able to pass well to make this work.  

I have a couple of questions:
1. I am in the process of getting the wrist cards ready. How important is it to put the play name with the assignment on the player card? Honestly, last season, the kids knew the play name better by the coordinates (ex. Red-10) than they did by the actual play name (88-SP) I printed on the card. It helps me to see it on there, but I was thinking of leaving it off to save space.

2. We have two hours of practice time. If you had to coach offense on two separate teams, do you think it would be better to see each team for an hour each day or for two hours every other day? I like the idea of going into a lot of depth with the two hour practice but not sure if I like seeing them only every other day. Another alternative would be 1.5 hours/30 minutes split where one team would get 1.5 hours of offense and then the other team for 30 minutes. The next day the times would be switched. Any thoughts? I imagine in your career you've probably practiced about every way imaginable.


1. To be honest, I suspect that most of my kids know plays more by their playcard co-ordinates than by the names I give them. I do think, though, that while you don’t need to put all the details on everyone’s play (such as formation and motion) at the least everyone should know the point of attack.

2. I think that one hour each for two days is better than two hours one day and none the next. I like the idea of reinforcement - of coming back the next day and working on sometime we’ve worked on the day before.  I also suspect that at some point in a long session we reach the point of diminishing return.  I think we’re more respectful of time when we have a more limited block each day than fi we had a big block on one day.  I think it would force us to keep our practice plans trim and keep us from wasting time on extraneous things, which we’re all inclined to do when we have a huge block of time.



*********** He’s a Stanford graduate and a Heisman Trophy winner - the only one that Stanford has ever produced.  He was the first player taken overall in the NFL draft, and he quarterbacked the Raiders to a Super Bowl win.

And now, at age 69, Jim Plunkett is in such pain that he says, “My life sucks.”

Writes Elliott Almond in the San Jose Mercury News, “His body is a patchwork of medical magic: Artificial knees, an artificial shoulder and a surgically repaired back. After 18 operations, Plunkett’s activities have been reduced to golf and light workouts at home on a Crosstrainer.”

There’s no question that he’s paying a high price for all those sacks he took back in his playing days.

And yet, in this very moving article, the writer just couldn’t seem to bring himself to ask, “Would you do it all again?”

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/08/04/jim-plunketts-painful-journey-my-life-sucks/


*********** TOMMY MCDONALD was recruited out of Albuquerque by famed Oklahoma coach Bud Wilkinson.  At OU, he played on two national championship teams, made All-American twice - and didn’t play in a losing game. 

Although a running back in college, he was converted into a wide receiver in the NFL.

Only 5-9, 170, he made up for his lack of size with great speed, hands and toughness.

For four straight years - 1959-1962 - he was either first- or second-team All-Pro.

In 1960, Tommy McDonald teamed up with Norm Van Brocklin   to help the Philadelphia Eagles  win their last NFL championship.

Before he retired, he played on four more teams.

Tommy McDonald was the last player (other than a kicker) to play without a face mask.

He’s in Pro Football Hall of Fame.

*********** In Pro Football Daly (that's not a misprint) Tommy McDonald explains why there are some photos showing him wearing a face mask:

“Sometimes,” he said in The Pro Football Chronicle, “I’d crack mine [helmet], and the Eagles didn’t have a replacement for me. So I had to borrow one from a teammate. I had a very small head, 6 ¾. I’d take a towel, or half a towel, and stuff it in there to make it fit. That’s the only time I’d wear a facemask.”

MORE ON TOMMY McDONALD:

http://www.espn.com/classic/s/Where_now_mcdonald_tommy.html

http://profootballdaly.com/tommy-mcdonald-on-tommy-mcdonald/

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_McDonald_(American_football)

https://www.google.com/amp/amp.timeinc.net/si/nfl/2016/07/20/tommy-mcdonald-play-ray-didinger-philadelphia-eagles%3fsource=dam



*********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING TOMMY MCDONALD-

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON



QUIZ PHOTOQUIZ: The two coaches on this 1980 program cover were already retired.  Both were legends at their respective schools, and both were alumni of those colleges.  Both won multiple national championships and at the time of this printing both were already in the College Football Hall of Fame.  Both won more than 100 games as head coaches. They each coached seven undefeated teams and between them they won eight national championships and coached seven Heisman Trophy winners. Both began their head coaching careers at New England colleges. Both were influential in Vince Lombardi’s career - one of them as his college line coach, the other as the head coach under whom he served as offensive assistant. NO HALF CREDIT - YOU’VE GOT TO GET THEM BOTH!
















american flag FRIDAY,  AUGUST 4,  2017  “We don’t HAVE a breaking point.  We want to drive YOU to YOUR breaking point.”  Ara Parseghian

PARSEGHIAN INSCRIPTION*********** It was the spring of 1974 and I was sitting at my desk in the offices of the Philadelphia Bell when my phone rang.

I answered and the voice on the other end said, “This is Ara Parseghian.”

Right.  And I had Prince Albert in a can.

But it really was Ara Parseghian. The same Ara Parseghian whose Notre Dame team had just a few months earlier beaten Alabama to win the National Championship.

He was calling to try to interest us in signing a couple of his seniors who hadn’t been drafted by either us or the NFL, and hadn’t been signed by anyone as free agents.  The main reason, he said, was that these guys hadn’t been starters for him.  But, he assured me, they could definitely play pro ball. 

For weeks, day after day, I’d been fielding calls by the dozen from players and former coaches and - they had just begun to crawl out from under rocks - agents, swearing that they had the answer to all our personnel needs.  Blah, blah, blah.

But this call was special. This was Ara Parseghian, one of the best-known coaches in America and certainly one of the busiest, and he was taking his time to call us on behalf of kids whose usefulness to him had ended - kids who hadn’t even started for him.

The upshot was that we invited two of those players to an invitation-only free agent tryout, and we signed them both at the end of the tryout.  Both of them made our squad. One of them wound up starting at offensive tackle, and the other saw significant action at linebacker.

And all because of Ara Parseghian.  To this day, I still marvel at the type of man who would go the extra mile like that to help out his players. Even backups.

Ara Parseghian died Wednesday,  He was 94.

It’s become a cliche to say that someone was an even better man than he was a coach, but I truly believe that in Ara Parseghian’s case that was true.

And he sure was a hell of a coach.

He was born Ara Raoul Parseghian in Akron, Ohio.

He was of Armenian descent, and here’s how he once told people how to pronounce his name: “ ‘Par’ as in golf, ‘seag’ as in Seagram's and ‘yen’ as in the Japanese yen. Think of a drunk Japanese golfer. “

He was exposed quite early to some of the best coaches in the business. He played for Miami of Ohio from 1946-47 under  Sid Gillman and with teammate  Paul Dietzel. He also played in 1945 for Great Lakes Naval Training Center and from 1948-49 for the Cleveland Browns. His coach at both  places was  Paul Brown. The head coach who gave him his first job at Miami was Woody Hayes.

He served as freshman football coach at Miami of Ohio (1950); as head football coach at Miami of Ohio (1951-1955), Northwestern  (1956-1963) and Notre Dame (1964-1974).

When a hip injury ended his career with the Browns, he accepted a job at MIami coaching the freshman team under head coach Woody Hayes.

When Hayes took the Ohio State job in 1951, Parseghian became head coach at Miami - just two years after he’d graduated.

He was the first non-graduate to be hired to coach Notre Dame, and only the second Protestant (Knute Rockne was the first).

It’s hard to describe the depths to which Notre Dame had fallen at the time he’d arrived.

Frank Leahy retired following the 1954 season, ending a spectacular run. During his 11 seasons in South Bend, the Irish had won 87 games, lost 11 and tied 3 - an .888 percentage. There were six undefeated seasons and four national championships.

He was succeeded by one of his former players, the very popular Terry Brennan.

In five years as the Irish head coach, Brennan went 32-18.  He did have one poor season, 1956, in which Notre Dame went 2-8, and although they cameback to 7-3 in 1957, with a 7-0 win over Oklahoma that snapped the Sooner’s 47-game win streak,  his head was on the block. Despite an upset of USC in the final game, 1958’s 6-4 record sealed his fate, and the Irish replaced him with Joe Kuharich.

Kuharich, a Notre Dame grad and a South Bend native, had the credentials.   He had coached the San Francisco Dons, one of college football’s greatest teams, and he’d coached in the NFL as head coach of the Cardinals and Redskins, where in 1955 he’d been NFL Coach of the Year.

At Notre Dame he was a disaster.  In four years, he had three 5-5 seasons and one 2-8 season, in which the Irish lost eight straight games, and when he resigned in March with three years left on his contract to take a job with the NFL as Supervisor of Officials, he left  behind a record of 17-23.

At that late date, Notre Dame chose to go with an interim coach, Hughie Devore, a loyal and beloved long-time Irish assistant.  Things didn’t go well on the field - the Irish finished 2-7 in 1963 - but to his credit, Devore held things together.

And then Ara Parseghian arrived on the scene.

As head coach at Northwestern, his work could not have gone unnoticed by the large and influential group of Notre Dame alumni in the Chicago area.   How must the  Wildcats’ four straight wins over Notre Dame (1959-1962) have stung?  How much must it have impressed them? 

His initial hiring had the appearance of  a fiasco when he walked out of the press conference called to announce his hiring.  No one knows what caused it - some say it was  his insistence on naming his own assistants -  but things were quickly patched up and at a second press conference, he signed his contract.  Athletic Director Moose Krause said,  “He should be with us a long time; after all, he signed twice.”

Parseghian joked about it. He said it was because “Father Joyce (who really ran the athletic program) wanted a shamrock on the new helmets, but I wanted a camel crossing the desert.”  (In those days before sensitivity training and safe spaces, you could still joke around like that.)

To say that he was an instant success understates what he did.

He took a  team that had finished 2-7 in 1963 and with basically the same players, Notre Dame finished 9-1 in 1964, coming within 1:33 (and a questionable holding penalty when the Irish were on the USC one-yard line)  of an undefeated season and a national championship. “I prefer to think of our record as 9 3/4 - 1/4, not 9-1,” he would say later.

In his first year at Notre Dame, he was named Coach of the Year.

When he resigned after the 1974 season because of his health, he had compiled a 170-58-6 overall record and a 95-17-4 record at Notre Dame. He coached the Irish to two national championships, in 1966 and 1973.  (He had a 9-0 record against Northwestern.)

And, perhaps his greatest achievement - he made a Notre Dame fan out of me.  Until he retired.

His book, "Parseghian and Notre Dame Football," and his Wing-T offense and Split-6 defense, had a huge influence on me.

He was only 53 years old when he retired, but he never coached again.  He had put everything he had into what is possibly the most demanding job in all of football, and he was worn out.  Besides, he responded when someone asked him about it,  “After Notre Dame, what is there?”

In the years that followed at Notre Dame, through good times and bad, he supported whoever was coaching the Irish, often with handwritten notes of encouragement, and never - never - uttered a word of criticism.

From 1975 to 1981 he was a color analyst for ABC Sports and for CBS Sports from 1982 to 1988.  That was a very big job, because those were the days when the NCAA controlled football on TV, and there was usually just one game per Saturday.

Early in his TV career he was working a Notre Dame-Pitt game and he said, “That's a big break for us!”  His partner, Keith Jackson gently reminded him where he was: "It's not 'us' anymore, Ara."

His life was not without its share of pain and heartbreak.  He lost three grandchildren, all before the age of 17,  to a rare pediatric disorder  known as Niemann-Pick Type C disease, and in the true tradition of a fighter, he helped raise millions of dollars for research into the disease.

Then, just five years ago, he lost his daughter, Karan,  after a long struggle with multiple sclerosis. From the time she was first diagnosed more than 40 years ago, he served on the board of the  National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
He attributed his ability to fight on to the lessons he learned from coaching.

This December, he and his wife, Katie,  would have celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.


As you might expect, the South Bend Tribune had some wonderful features on this wonderful man.

A TRIBUTE TO THE MAN, NOT THE COACH
http://www.southbendtribune.com/news/local/notre-dame-legend-ara-parseghian-was-a-great-coach-but/article_bbbc41a0-7781-11e7-8cd8-5b45fd0b2705.html

PHOTOS OVER THE YEARS
http://www.southbendtribune.com/multimedia/photos/ara-parseghian/collection_884685f4-67fc-11e7-8971-efae9baef872.html#1


The photo below was on the back cover of "Miami of Ohio - The Cradle of Coaches" by Bob Kurz

MIAMI COACHES

*********** Gerry Ford was almost killed in a typhoon during WW2.  Don't know if it was "Halsey's Typhoon", or not.  As I recall the story, his strength saved him  -  hanging onto a cable or railing or somesuch.  I guess Chevy Chase would have gotten a good laugh out of that...

Shep Clarke
Puyallup, Washington

*********** A major reason why I never left the Pacific Northwest is the climate.

But then, there are times like these.  As I write this,  Seattle is on the verge of hitting 100 degrees this week.

Only a third of Seattle’s housing units has air conditioning.  No wonder. Seattle has only recorded three 100-degree readings in the last 120 years.  Five or six days in the 90s.

But Seattle is virtually surrounded by water.  By Puget Sound and its many arms.  Its climate may be rainy in winter, but it is always moderate.

Three hours (depending on traffic) to the south,  Portland  may be on the water, but it’s  about 100 miles from the sea.  It’s a river town.  Camas, Washington, where I live, is across the river, about 30 minutes to the northeast of downtown Portland, and our local public buildings showed readings yesterday  of 107 degrees at 4 PM.  Tonight - Thursday - a cool front blew in and it dropped to 106.

Like many of the older houses in Camas, ours doesn’t have air conditioning.  It was built in 1950.  It’s well-insulated and we’ve had our large windows  double-paned.  When heat is predicted, we open up the house in the early morning and turn on fans to pull in the cool air. (Even after being 107 the day before, it was only 64 at 6 AM Thursday. The beauty of low humidity.)  By 10:30 or so,  when the outside temperature is no longer cooler than the inside, we shut everything down.  The cooler air stays trapped inside, and yesterday, with outside thermometers reading 107, it never got above 81 in our house.

And there’s always the basement.  Our house is built into the side of a hill, and down below, in our daylight basement, it never gets above 74 degrees on the hottest summer day or below 69 degrees on the coldest winter day.

And then there’s our ultimate bail-out.  There’s always our place in Ocean Shores, where yesterday’s high was  - omigod - 77 degrees. (For Ocean Shores, that’s HIGH.)

So we’re okay. But what about the homeless?  I can hear you asking.   Portland is  legendary for its concern for those less fortunate (as some like to portray them).  No need to worry.  Portland has set up “cool places” for them to congregate.  If they wish.  And for those who still prefer Life On The Streets, Portland Police (Motto: Serve and Protect) have been serving and protecting the city’s citizens by handing out cases of bottle water to the poor souls.

And then there’s the “light rail” (trolleys to those of us old enough to remember them) that Portland is oh, so proud of.   The mass transit geeks love to brag about the speed and convenience of those tax-suckers.  (They also brag about their increase in ridership, an increase mainly brought about by eliminating parallel bus lines and forcing people onto the trains.) Speed and convenience? Not in winter ice storms, when the switches freeze and ice forms on the overhead power lines.  And not in the heat of summer, when concern over possible  expansion of the rails causes them to reduce train speed to a walk, or shut down operations entirely.

*********** John Reaves died- he was a great college quarterback, and a so-so NFL quarterback.  And under Steve Spurrier, he was a decent assistant college coach.

But… he had his problems with drugs.

And his son, David, was fired by the Oregon Ducks before he had even signed a contract.

And his daughter, Layla, married a guy named Lane Kiffin.

How much stress could any one father take?

*********** Coach, I am sorry to bug you, but I want to learn and get better as a coach.  We have the potential this year to be tremendous.  Our OL is the biggest I have ever had, and they can move, but I do not feel we are getting off the ball quickly enough or low enough.  How can I teach them to fire out and stay low?  We have a trap chute, but I just get frustrated watching them use it because they seem to waddle through and are even slower.  
 
Once again Coach, sorry to be bugging you, but I value your experience.
 
P.S.  I put the PowerPoint you sent for the RT on our iPad and Coach Bailey showed them individually on the field with their practice film.  I think that stuck with them.  Thank you for that.



Coach,

First of all, you are not bugging me.  I invited you to keep coming to me with your questions and concerns and that is a standing invitation.

First of all, if all we needed to do was fire straight ahead, we would get in four-point stances with bent arms, and fire at opponents’ knees.

But we are at something of a disadvantage when we want to “fire out low” because we also have to be in stances that enable us to go sideways as well.  And we do want to make sure that the eyes are up.

But that doesn’t mean that we can’t deal with one big problem - a tendency on the part of most linemen to come right up out of their stances on the very first step, and this is what we have to fight.

Assuming a drive block...

We would like the player at the end of his first step to still be “in his stance.”  We say, “Stay in your stance.”  Another thing we look for is “number on the knee."

The length of that first step is a major factor in his coming up.  If the first step is too long, the player will have to pick up his upper body to allow the step.

Another thing to check on is what happens with the down hand when the player starts to move: does it come straight up off the ground?  That’s a sure sign that the shoulders are coming up.  Tell them to act as if they are snapping the ball with that hand - that will keep them from coming right up.

One drill that helps is the Bird-Dog drill.  Do it as a group drill.   Have the players take just one step and freeze, like a bird dog.  You will be surprised at first at how few guys can do it. Don’t let anybody out of his stance until you’ve checked them all.  (They will complain.)

Then, set up an ofensive line and call a play.  At the snap, have everyone take his first step - and freeze. Check not only for a short first step, but check also for stepping the correct foot and  in the correct direction.  It’s a great way to check assignments without having to run through the whole play, because if they don’t know the correct first step, they probably don't know their assignment.

You’re not going to see immediate improvement.  You’re going to have to keep working on it.

Next drill would be to fire against a sled, starting out no more than a foot away from it and aiming at a spot at eye level (when they're in theirstances).  You want them to be able to move the sled, so don’t stand on it or overload it with weight.  You do need the sled to provide enough resistance so they don’t fall on their faces, but you also want them to keep moving.

Five minutes a day devoted to those drills will help as a start.

Good luck!



*********** Had a nice visit last weekend with David Crump.  David, from Owensboro, Kentucky, is a longtime coach whom I first met at my very first clinic, in Evansville, Indiana, back in 1996.  His late Mom was a special fan of my first video.   She was blind in her last years, but she didn’t care about watching the video anyhow - she just loved the college fight songs on the sound track.

*********** I hope Jared Lorenzen can lose all that weight.

It’s easy to make fun of overweight people.  From the time we’re little kids we hear  kids and  adults with making fun of them.

And the overweight people laugh off the jokes and  take the nicknames in stride - what else can they do? - and we interpret that as meaning that it doesn’t bother them.

I’d never given it a thought until several years ago a good friend confided that he was sick of being looked at as fat.  He did something about it.

But he also did something about my attitude.  He woke me up to the fact that a person who’s overweight didn’t set out to be that way. 

It may have taken years to put on the extra weight, and now it’s going to take years of effort and deprivation.   That’s discouragement enough for a lot of people to just give up the fight before they even start out.

I’d never even given it a thought.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/jared-lorenzen-the-ex-qb-known-as-the-%E2%80%98hefty-lefty%E2%80%99-is-on-an-emotional-mission-to-lose-weight/ar-AApgk8X?li=BBnb7Kz


*********** No doubt a holdover from the Art Rooney-Dan Rooney days, the Steelers are still one of the few teams (1) to go away to training camp, (2) to stay reasonably close to their home market so their fans can come watch them, (3) to open practices to the public and (4) to not charge admission. (Sorry for the split infinitive.)

Surely there’s some young marketing genius in the Steelers’ organization who shakes his head at the thought of all the money they’re leaving on the table. 

http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/trainingcamp/12570071-74/take-a-quick-tour-of-steeler-training-camp-2017


QUIZ:  John Henry Johnson was born in Louisiana but his family moved to Pittsburg, California when he was young, and he went to high school there, starring in football, basketball, baseball and track.

He started college at St. Mary's, but after the Gaels gave up football, he transferred to Arizona State, where he was a football and track star.

After college, he played a year in the CFL with Calgary, then signed with the 49ers in 1954, teaming up with two other outstanding runners, Hugh McElhenny and Joe "The Jet" Perry. Together with QB Y.A. Tittle, they were probably the best backfield in the NFL at the time, and were given the nickname "The Fabulous Foursome."

In 1957 he was traded to the Detroit Lions, and after two years there where he was bothered by injuries, he was traded to Pittsburgh.

He played with the Steelers from 1960 through 1965, gaining more than 1,000 yards in both 1962 (1,141 yards) and 1964.(1,048 yards)- in 12-game seasons.

He was 6-2, 225 - at the time that was the size of many linemen - and  in addition to his running ability, he was a formidable blocker, and defenders all over the NFL came to fear and respect him as one of the hardest hitters in football.  (Some claimed that he could be a tad dirty on occasion.)

After one season with the Houston Oilers of the AFL, he retired in 1966.

In his career, he rushed for 6,803 yards and scored 48 touchdowns. He had 186 receptions for 1,478 yards and 7 touchdowns.

In 1987, John Henry Johnson entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame.





*********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JOHN HENRY JOHNSON

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON

***********QUIZ- He was recruited out of Albuquerque by Bud Wilkinson.  In college, he played on two national championship teams, made All-American twice - and didn’t play in a losing game. 

Although a running back in college, he was converted into a wide receiver in the NFL.

Only 5-9, 170, he made up for his lack of size with great speed, hands and toughness.

For four straight years - 1959-1962 - he was either first- or second-team All-Pro.

In 1960, he teamed up with Norm Van Brocklin   to help their team win its last NFL championship.

Before he retired, he played on four more teams.

He was the last player (other than a kicker) to play without a face mask.

He’s in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


american flag TUESDAY,  AUGUST 1,  2017  “If a man is a quitter, I’d rather find out in practice than in a game. I ask for all a player has so I’ll know later what I can expect.” Bear Bryant


***********  Free meals will no longer be given automatically to all students at 12 Portland Public schools, as has been the case for a few years.

The federal "community eligibility" program, which has been in effect since 2013, gives schools money to provide free meals to all students in a school if 40 per cent of the student body are served by income-restricted programs, primarily food stamps.

But 12 schools have fallen below the 40 per cent threshold.

Partly it’s because of the economy, but partly it’s because some of the students were illegals - they didn’t apply “out of fear” - and some wouldn’t even get off their asses to apply for free meals for their kids - “they feel the process is too arduous."

Students who no longer qualify will now have to pay $2.80 or $3.30, depending on their grade level.

But the news isn’t all bad, we were told: ”The schools will continue to serve free breakfasts to any students who want it"

Said some school district administrator type,  in charge of giving away taxpayer-paid-for food, “We are really saddened that we can't continue this program and optimally we would love to be serving all kids at no charge. We don't charge for textbooks why should we charge for meals?"


*********** In 2008, James McCloughan retired after a long career  teaching psychology and sociology and coaching football, baseball and wrestling at South Haven, Michigan High School.

I’m willing to bet that none of his students knew he was a war hero.   I’d bet my house on the fact that if they did, it wasn’t because he told them.

In 1969, he spent what he would later tell the Associated Press was “the worst two days of my life.”

It was in Vietnam, and McLoughan, an Army medic who had been drafted into the Army, was caught up in ferocious fighting. And he performed acts of such heroism that last week he was presented the Medal of Honor by President Trump.

A statement by the White House said Medic McLoughan "voluntarily risked his life on nine separate occasions to rescue wounded and disoriented comrades. He suffered wounds from shrapnel and small arms fire on three separate occasions, but refused medical evacuation to stay with his unit, and continued to brave enemy fire to rescue, treat, and defend wounded Americans."
Seeing that he was covered with blood, a captain suggested that he seek treatment for his wounds, but Mr. McLoughan wasn’t having any of it.

"He knew me enough to know that I wasn't going," he said.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/07/31/trump-to-award-first-medal-honor-to-vietnam-army-medic.html


***********  Coach,

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods.  I wanted to write to tell you about a surprise encounter I had this weekend in Kansas City.  I was early to pick up my daughter from a summer camp at Union Station downtown so I went across the street to the Liberty Memorial (aka WWI Museum) and immediately noticed it was much busier than normal.  As I was walking around, I noticed that many of the people had name tags with the First Division's Big Red One on it.  I soon found out that it was the Division's 100th Anniversary and reunion.  It made sense that they held it in Kansas City since Company K of the 28th Infantry Regiment (Black Lions of Catigny) were the first to set foot in France during WWI in 1917.  

There was one gentleman that caught my eye and I approached him and introduced myself and asked about the Black Lions insignia he was wearing.  He did not serve, but his brother died on October 17th, 1967 at Ong Thanh.  The gentleman's name was John Durham and his brother was Harold Bascom Durham Jr., better known as Pinky.  He was a forward observer from the 15th Artillery Regiment of the 1st Division, but was with the Black Lions that day and was relentless in calling in artillery strikes despite his severe wounds.  As a result of his actions and the lives he saved, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.  

Here is a link to an article about a new exhibit at Abraham Baldwin Agriculture that honors the life of Pinky Durham.

https://www.abac.edu/current-news/2016/freedom-gallery-opens-at-abac-on-october-13

I went back Saturday afternoon to the hotel where the reunion was at and spent time talking with many different Vietnam vets.  They were all great men and it was humbling to hear some of their stories.  Most of all, I was impressed with their eagerness to share.  I imagine as they are entering the later stages of life that they realize their stories need to be told as well and want to have someone pass them on.  Being around some of the Black Lion vets was great and those who did not know about the award were glad that young men were being honored in memory of Don Holleder.

I remember you talking about the David Maraniss' book, They Marched Into Sunlight, and when I was talking to one of the Black Lions about that day he mentioned that the regiment was walking in sunlight and were perfect targets for the ambush. His word choice stood out to me and actually gave me a slight chill.

This was a great weekend and one I'm glad I had the opportunity to enjoy.

(in the words of John Durham) Black Sir!

Joel Mathews
Independence, Missouri

Coach,

What an amazing experience!

Yes, that was the BIG reunion of the Big Red One, and one major reason for KC was its (relative) proximity to Fort Riley, home of the Big Red One.

It was quite an honor to be able to meet Pinky Durham’s brother.  Pinky Durham is held in the highest esteem by his brothers in the Black Lions, who in fact held their annual reunion in Tifton, GA in conjunction with the opening of the Freedom Gallery.

I applaud you for taking the time to meet those men.  They are in many ways the last of their kind, and they are a precious resource to anyone wanting to know what it was REALLY like "over there.”

Thanks so much for letting me in on your great experience!

Black Lions!



*********** By the way, that was a nice picture of your grandson.  Very handsome lad!
 
So he’s gonna go with footy, rather than rugby?
 
Shep Clarke
Puyallup, Washington

In Victoria (state) where he lives, Australian Rules is THE football "code."  (Except among ethnics - Italians, Greeks, Croatians - where it's mostly soccer. )  In New South Wales, Sydney's state, it's rugby, with union being more popular than league. Australian Rules is working very hard to grow outside Victoria, but I'd estimate that half the teams in the AFL are in Vic, which basically means in the greater Melbourne area.

Which is my long way of saying that in Victoria, most kids get started playing Australian Rules.


*********** If you have  kids in school, you might want to find out whether their teacher has been helping them discover the right gender for them by introducing them to the “Gender Unicorn.”
Gender Unicorn


http://www.transstudent.org/gender

Dartmouth beats Yale

*********** My old coach’s son, Don Shipley, was visitng with his uncle in New Hampshire, and his uncle, a Dartmouth man,  showed him an old newspaper clipping in a scrapbook.  Don, of course, just had to show me because of its headline:

“DARTMOUTH BEATS YALE ELEVEN, 14-6, FOR FIRST TIME IN 51 YEARS”

Wow.  Talk about dominance.

When they first met in 1884, Yale was a real football powerhouse, and the Blue trounced Dartmouth, 113-0.

That may have been cause for some bruised feelings, but for whatever reason, the two schools didn’t play again for nine years. When they did, things were only slightly improved on Dartmouth's end: in their six meetings between 1893 and 1900, Dartmouth was outscored 191-0.

And then another hiatus ensued, and they didn’t play again  until 1924.  Then, Dartmouth not only managed to score - they scored twice. Not only that, but they tied Yale, 14-14.  And tied ‘em again in 1931.  But otherwise, they kept on losing.

And then Dartmouth hired a new coach, a Miami, Ohio grad named Earl “Red” Blaik, who’d been an assistant at West Point. And Dartmouth’s football fortunes changed.

Blaik put an end to the softness that had characterized Dartmouth football, selling the players on what he termed a Spartan approach. And he installed a single wing offense that combined the best of what Army had been running and the best of what Jock Sutherland was running at Pitt.

In Blaik’s first year, Dartmouth narrowly lost to Yale, 7-2.  But he finally got the Bulldogs in 1935, and for the next four years he had the Bulldogs’ number, beating them three times and tieing them once. His only other loss to Yale came in 1940;  Ironically, it was Yale’s only win that year.

1940 was also the season of the famous “Fifth Down Game,”  in which mighty Cornell lost its chance for a national championship after it was concluded that its last-second touchdown - and its win over Dartmouth - had taken place on a fifth down given it by an official’s error. Cornell, in a display of sportsmanship that few in today’s “Just Win Baby” culture would understand, conceded the win to Dartmouth.

From 1934 through 1941, Blaik compiled a 45-15-4 record at Dartmouth.  Between 1936 and 1938 the Indians - er, Big Green -  had a 22-game win streak, and turned down an invitation to the Rose Bowl.

In 1941, Earl Blaik left Dartmouth to become head coach at West Point, where he would field some of the greatest teams in the history of the game.

*********** New Oregon coach Willie Taggart on the Ducks’ uniforms:

“Those uniforms are really nice when you have a really good football team. We ain't gonna have 12. We're gonna cut back.”

*********** I’m a team guy and all that - but can you really blame Kyrie Irving for not wanting to spend the rest of his life being known as “a guy who played with LeBron James?”

*********** Nothing like starting off the preseason with a good chuckle at the idiocy of the NFL. 

This, from the Someplace/Somewhere Chargers training camp:

"The team expects to have no trouble filling cozy StubHub Center in Carson this season."

Well, I guess not. The “cozy StubHub Center” seats under 30,000.

*********** If you like the airline industry, you’re either an airline employee or an airline shareholder. Or you’re demented.

With a few exceptions - Southeast and Alaska are decent, and I’ve heard JetBlue is okay -  flying on large commercial airlines today  is as enjoyable as a deep cleaning at the dentist’s.

The greedy bastards have been squeezing every possible nickel out of paying passengers by squeezing them into tiny spaces, forcing them to pay  extra for luggage and/or fight for space in the overhead bins.

And to top it all off, there's insolence of airline personnel who think that after you’ve spent several hundred dollars on a ticket, they’re doing you a favor by letting you on board their airborne Greyhound.

Now, a federal judge has responded to a complaint  claiming that cramped airline seating can be dangerous to passneger’s health by ordering the FAA to look into seat sizes and legroom.

Wow. Much as I hate federal judges… 


http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2017/07/31/airplane-seat-size-regulations/


***********  Hi coach.  I had a quick question for you if you had some time.

I am watching these USA football coaching vids for certification in our little league and they are teaching their lineman to pull their outside foot back - vs. their inside - on a three point stance.  I assume it's because it's being taught by an NFL lineman and they're all about pass protection, forming a pocket etc., and protecting the outside.  However, when down, or angle, blocking to the inside, wouldn't this be troublesome, and isn't it opposite to what you have in the playbook? How do you align these two concepts?

I hope that makes sense.  Thanks.

Eli Hvastkovs
Asst. Professor
Department of Chemistry
East Carolina University
Greenville, North Carolina

Coach,

This is totally in keeping with the pass-first, run-second philosophy of “today’s” football.

Yes, it simplifies getting into pass-protection stance.  No, it does not help run blocking.

You are absolutely correct. Yes, it is opposite what I have taught for years.

It does not help them step into their inside gap to protect it, or block down to the inside.   It complicates pulling (which most passing teams don’t require of their linemen anyhow), and it makes it nearly impossible to close down on a wedge (which most of those people have never even heard of and wouldn’t know how to teach, and dismiss as “caveman football").

You have to use the tool that the job requires.

For what it’s worth - this USA Football that has wormed its way into “certification” as the self-anointed “governing body” of our sport is operating with NFL funding.  This same USA Football passes off as “its” Double Wing playbook a lot of material plagiarized from my work.

Good question.

Thanks for the reply.  I have been prepping material to convey to coaches/players, and then watched this video.  It's very nonchalant in how they talk about it - don't give any reasons why.  I will plan on using your method despite that video because there is just no way, like you said, to get to the wedge block (or really the O/Power blocks) if you're "aimed" the wrong direction.


They are simply saying "here's what to do” based on a couple of conversations with NFL coaches, without bothering to find out why. In football the "why" is more important than the "what."


*********** QUIZ ANSWER At the age of 39,  Jake Gaither survived a near-fatal bout with brain cancer.  Three years later, he was named  head coach at Florida A & M, and he stayed there until he retired 25 years later. In those 25 years at FAMU he won seven national black college titles.

At the time of his retirement at the end of the 1969 season, his record of 203-26-4 gave him the highest winning percentage (.844) among all college coaches with 200 or more wins. (His 200th win put him in the select company at that time of Amos Alonzo Stagg, Glenn "Pop" Warner and Jess Neely as the only men to do so.)

In the days before unlimited substitution, LSU’s Paul Dietzel called his platoons “White Team, Gold Team and Chinese Bandits.”  Jake Gaither  called his three units ”Blood, Sweat and Tears." And he said he wanted his players to be "A-gile, MO-bile and HOS-tile."

He was born in Memphis, the son of a minister. As a boy he worked as a ditch-digger, a bellhop, a shoe shine boy and a coal miner. He graduated from Knoxville College, where he met his wife.

His entire coaching career was spent at FAMU, a historically black school, at a time when segregation in the large state schools meant the black schools had the pick of the great black talent found in the South. And his career ended at the time when major northern schools began recruiting those kids, and not long before major southern schools would begin to do the same.

Including his first team, which went 9-1, 14 of Coach Gaither's teams lost one game or less. Only three of his teams lost more than two games.
No less an authority than Ohio State’s Woody Hayes called him an offensive genius. Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd called Coach Gaither’s  "Split-Line-T" (employing even wider splits than the conventional split-T) "one of the finest offensive ideas to come along in years."

With his offense - and with players such as Bob Hayes, Hewritt Dixon, Willie Gallimore and Ken Riley - he ran up a record of 62-5, and averaged 41.7 points per game over a seven-year period. He coached 36 All-Americas, and 25 of his players went on to play professional football.

(Dixon, for what it’s worth, may have been the first player in pro football to “spike the ball.”  Questioned about it by reporters, he said that at FAMU they had called it “bustin’ the ball.”)

The great Bear Bryant didn't think Coach Gaither’s Split-Line T would work in the big-time, and he told Coach Gaither so. There’s a quote that’s often been used in praise of Coach Bryant, to the effect that "he could take yours and beat his, and take his and beat yours.” But it appears that the quote originated with Coach Gaither as he had the last word with The Bear. Apparently a bit agitated, he’s said to have told Bryant, "I'll tell you what - I'll take my players and beat yours with it, and I'll take your players and beat mine with it."

In 1975, Jake Gaither received the "Triple Crown" of coaching awards - the Amos Alonzo Stagg Award (given annually by the American Football Coaches' Association "to an individual whose service has been outstanding in the best interests of the advancement of football"), The Walter Camp Award (awarded by the Walter Camp Foundation) and induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.

An award given annually in his name is considered to be the Heisman trophy for players from historically black colleges. Interestingly, two recipients of this award - Jerry Rice and Richard Dent - have gone on to be named Super Bowl MVP's. Only one Heisman winner - Jim Plunkett - has been so honored.

In 1975, Jake Gaither became the first coach of a predominantly black college to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JAKE GAITHER:
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK,  LOUSIANA
RALPH BALDUCCI - PORTLAND, OREGON
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA (Not sure the first time Jake Gaither, the great Rattler,  was reported to have spoken those words, but in my mind's eye I can see the SI and where they appeared on the page. Most guys are like me, I guess, in that after seeing the expression in writing, they never forgot it, and have muttered it to themselves many times.)
KEN HAMPTON, RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
JERRY LOVELL - BELLEVUE, NEBRASKA (Younger readers might be confused... To verify my guess....agile mobile hostile pulls up Remember the Titans on the Google search) MY REPLY: Hollywood has been known to copy things  from real life and then claim them as its original work. Bastards.
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN


*********** At the 1970 Coach of the Year Clinic in San Francisco, Jake Gaither, recently retired as head coach at Florida A & M, gave his last major coaching clinic talk, and he concluded with these words:

I want to say something now. I have said it once or twice, but I'll say it again. I am sick and tired of hearing the term, "Black and white."

I wish we could forget the term. As I look out in this room, unless I see an Indian, there is not a true-blooded American from the standpoint of descent.

Where are you from? Ireland? England? Sweden? I came from Africa, they tell me. I'm not homesick!

Wouldn't I be crazy to go over to Africa and ask those folks where I can find the Gaithers, my great-great grand uncle? They would think I was crazy. I can go to Statesville, North Carolina and find some Gaithers.

I am an American. I want you to think in terms of Americans. Black, white, blue or yellow, we are all immigrants. You came from England, you came from France, you came from Sweden. I came from Africa, they say, but we are in America now.

Everything I have, everything I hope to be, my loyalty, my love, my devotion, is to this country. I don't owe Africa anything.

And I want to do this- salvage the good in your people. Salvage the good in my people. Take the bad in your people and try to make them good. Let me take the bad in my people and try to make them good. Let us put our shoulders to the wheel as Americans. That's the way God intended we should live.

My friends, I'll be on the sidelines watching the coaches. I'll be athletic director, but I won't be actively coaching. I am going to turn it over to you, You do the job. You have this raw material, this new breed, to deal with, I hope before I die, I can see black, white, blue and yellow - American citizens - with our shoulders to the wheel, trying to make this democracy a better place to live.

(It was reported that Coach Gaither received a standing ovation from the coaches in attendance,  more than 200 of whom then lined up to shake his hand.)

QUIZ: He was born in Louisiana but his family moved to Pittsburg, California when he was young, and he went to high school there, starring in football, basketball, baseball and track.

He started college at St. Mary's, but after the Gaels gave up football, he transferred to Arizona State, where he was a football and track star.

After college, he played a year in the CFL with Calgary, then signed with the 49ers in 1954, teaming up with two other outstanding runners, Hugh McElhenny and Joe "The Jet" Perry. Together with QB Y.A. Tittle, they were probably the best backfield in the NFL, and were given the nickname "The Fabulous Foursome."

In 1957 he was traded to the Detroit Lions, and after two years there were he was bothered by injuries, he was traded to Pittsburgh.

He played with the Steelers from 1960 through 1965, gaining more than 1,000 yards in both 1962 (1,141 yards) and 1964.(1,048 yards)- in 12-game seasons.

He was 6-2, 225 - at the time that was the size of many linemen - and  in addition to his running ability, he was a formidable blocker, and defenders all over the NFL came to fear and respect him as one of the hardest hitters in football.  (Some claimed that he could be a tad dirty on occasion.)

After one season with the Houston Oilers of the AFL, he retired in 1966.

In his career, he rushed for 6,803 yards and scored 48 touchdowns. He had 186 receptions for 1,478 yards and 7 touchdowns.

In 1987, he entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

american flag FRIDAY,  JULY 28,  2017  “Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.”  Edward Abbey, American author and environmentalist

*********** Jim Vail, Sr. died in his sleep  last Saturday night.

Mr. Vail was “96 and a half,” and he was our neighbor since we moved to Camas in 1989.

HIs son, Jim Jr., is also a neighbor, as is his granddaughter, Lindsay, whom we’ve known since she was a teenager.  They have been, needless to say, close.

Mr. Vail’s story is classic American.

He was born in Fairview, Montana, but moved with his family when he was quite young to rural Fern Prairie, Washington.

He married, and he and his wife raised a family.

He spent 42 years at “the mill,” which in Camas was the huge Crown-Zellerbach (now Georgia Pacific) paper mill. 

And then, in a house in town built for them by Jim, Jr. he and Mrs. Vail settled into retirement.  She passed away nine years ago, and he’d lived independently in the house until he died.

But what I omitted, as Paul Harvey used to say, was The Rest of the Story.

Mr. Vail served in the Army in World War II, and  saw action in Europe as a radio operator. He was awarded the silver star and the bronze star for valor.  (I’ll probably never know why. Typically, he never spoke of his WW II experience, and I never even knew of his military honors.)

Mrs. Vail was born in Germany, but came to the US when she was a young girl, coming with her mother to Chicago to join her father, who had already come to America and found a job and a home.

She graduated from high school in 1934, and a few years later travelled to Germany to visit her aunt and uncle.  She would recall having  seen Hitler speak.  But while she was still there, war broke out, and she was unable to return to the United States.  She had to remain in Germany, with her aunt and uncle, for the duration of World War II.

Following the war,  their town occupied by American troops, she met Mr. Vail through rather unusual circumstances.

One day, their family radio broke down.   Her uncle said to her, “You’re a pretty girl - go find one of those American solders with the “RADIO” patch on his sleeve and see if he can fix our radio.”

She did as she was told, and found one such American soldier.  He happened to be married, and a friend of Jim Vail, and he said to her, “I’ve got just the guy for you.” And he introduced her to Jim Vail.

Jim went to Hilda’s family’s home and he fixed their radio.  But he took his time about it because,  Jim Jr. told me, he was smitten. It was love at first sight.

They came to the United States and were married in July, 1946.  Last Monday would have been their 71st wedding anniversary.

Jim and Hilda are together again.

*********** Virginia Tech plans to honor Michael Vick with membership in its sports Hall of Fame - and people are pissed.

There can’t be any question of his being qualified on the basis of his football achievements, so it’s all about the dog fighting.

Look - It’s not as if he was let off or  given a slap on the wrist.

I'm not the biggest Michael Vick fan, and you could call me a dog lover, but - HE PAID HIS PRICE!


*********** A highly recruited quarterback from California named Brevin White has announced that he has committed to attend - Princeton.

Over Arizona State, Oregon State, Tennessee and Utah.

It’s belived that he is the highest-rated high school propect ever to choose an Ivy League school.

Now get this: 

White, who played at Alemany as a freshman and sophomore and at Chaminade last season, is expected to be a standout at Paraclete, where his former coach, Dean Herrington, is entering his second season.

Hmm.  Kid played for one high school his freshman and sophomore seasons, played for another one this past season, and now he’s planning on playing for yet a third school this coming season,.

If I were Arizona State, Oregon State, Tennessee and Utah, I’d stay in touch, just in case he gets tired of the academic work load or the overbearing political correctness.

http://www.latimes.com/sports/highschool/varsity-times/la-sp-high-school-sports-updates-qb-brevin-white-commits-to-1501036996-htmlstory.html


*********** I didn’t even realize that Bruno Sammartino was still alive.  In the world of pro wrestling he was as big as it got - literally and figuratively,.  His story of nearly starving as a child  in war-torn Italy, and then his Charles Atlas-type transformation from a puny kid to a man mountain is fascinating.

http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/ron-cook/2017/07/23/Pittsburgh-wrestling-Bruno-Sammartino-museum-italy-world-wrestling-entertainment-world-war-2/stories/201707230060


***********  As I was reviewing the material on the counter, I see you have called the criss-cross 45-C (pg 10) in the playbook. In the DVD compilation, you use criss cross 65C for the most part.  The plays appear to me to be the same play. I am wanting to confirm with you that is the case. Second as I look at it, XX65C is probably the correct call given you have the 6 sliding inside and cutting off, and the B is aiming at where the 6 was and blocking to the outside. Am I reading this correctly.  

Coach,

Your question is a good one. Here’s the "very professional" answer:

 I found that after years of calling my counters “47-C” I just couldn’t get used to calling them “65-C.”

One number change was all I could handle. I could handle “45” but not “65.”  But I did have to acknowledge that we don’t have a tight end on that open side. So in the playbook it is officially “45-C”



***********  Coach,

Since you hit my home state and I have personal rule of not responding if I have to google  (I do most of the time) I can actually get this one with Gerald Ford.   We are in the midst of camp getting ready for the 2017 season after a solid season hopes are high but like everyone with only a couple practices under our belt the amount of work we have to do and the limited time we have can seem overwhelming.   We do have the addition of Joe Gutilla helping us with some film breakdown from Texas, and I'm certain if you see our film you'll quickly see your influences.  

Are you Coaching again this fall?  I do like following your seasons and always cheer for your teams to get a win each Friday as I do for many in he DW fraternity.

 
God Bless,
Jason  Mensing  
Head Football Coach
Whiteford High School,
Whiteford, Michigan

Coach,

You are right.  I suppose that most of the guys answering have resorted to Google so there’s no disgrace.

I envy you right now.  My head coach got fed up with our new Supt and her destructive policies - on the field and in the classroom - and when an AD position came open at a nearby high school, he took it.  He had no choice.  I encouraged him to do so, even thought it meant the end of the line for all of us at North Beach.  

It was a great run.  I worked with a young coach in his first head coaching job and in six years I watched him become a top notch head coach, and I’m personally sorry that he’s not continuing someplace else.  In the meantime, I’m prepared for a great football season as a spectator/analyst.  Not the same as coaching, but the name of our game is adapt.  

Not sure how many rodeos I have left in me, but we’ll see.

The very best of luck to you this season!

Stay in touch!


*********** On Rolling Stone’s cover, they show a picture of Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin “Pretty Boy” Trudeau, and ask,  “Why Can’t He Be Our President?”

Even knowing that this is the same ultra left mag that had one of the Tsarnaev brothers on its cover, the same one  that concocted  a phony rape story about a fraternity at the University of Virginia, I still can’t get too angry.

That would be hypocritical of me, because I have to plead guilty to the same sort of wishful thinking.

Without thoroughly checking back issues of my NEWS, I'm sure that  somewhere  in the last, oh, eight years or so  I asked why Netanyahu couldn’t have been our president. 


*********** Poor Lucky Whitehead.

If he’d been really good, he could have beaten his “fiancee” and killed a couple dozen fighting dogs  and Jerry Jones would have been out there telling us what a fann, fann young may-un he ee-is.

But while he’s an okay wide receiver, he isn’t  that good, so even though he was cleared of shoplifting charges against him, he became a useful foil in the Cowboys’ phony show of uprightness.  The ‘Boys went ahead and cut him anyhow. By throwing him under the bus, the management of America’s Team (or, in terms of accomplishment-to-hype ratio, the Notre Dame of the NFL) think they’ve shown one and all that they’ll do whatever’s necessary to polish the Star - to preserve the good name of their team.  A team that harbors the likes of Dez Bryant and Ezekiel Elliott. Who are really good.


*********** Tell me about all those poor inner city kids again, would you?

Julio Jones lost a $100,000 earring in a Georgia Lake…

http://www.businessinsider.com/julio-jones-lost-a-100000-earring-so-he-hired-a-dive-team-to-get-it-2017-7

*********** “Hey!”  My son wrote me. “I found that Texas online documentary I was telling you about. It’s a Fort Worth Star-Telegram project:”

 http://www.titletowntx.com/?play=XcScJRCx

*********** Vincentian Academy, a private Catholic high school in the Pittsburgh area, won’t have enough kids to field a football team this year.   And according to an article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, we’re supposed to feel sorry for all the poor coaches who’ll have to try to fill the hole in their schedule left by Vincentian’s announcement.

Yeah, that’s too bad - but what about the handful of kids at Vincentian who still want to play football, but aren’t going to get that chance?

The solution is obvious,  even to state high school sports administrators, often an obtuse lot not fond of easy solutions.

In Washington, where I live, and in many other states, a kid whose private school doesn’t offer a sport is eligible to play for the public school in the area where he resides.  After all, he may not be going to the local public school, but his parents’ taxes sure as hell are.

The solution is not that obvious in Pennsylvania.

In the Keystone State,  according to Tim O'Malley, executive director of the WPIAL (the governing body of high school sports in Western Pennsylvania), those Vincentian kids are S-O-L.

Vincentian's administration asked if the WPIAL would permit its football players to play for schools in their home districts,  but the answer from on high was no.

“You can only play where you're in attendance,” O'Malley said. “There's nothing in the rule that would permit that to happen.”

I don’t see how that policy could hold up in court.  Where’s a pit bull lawyer when you need one?

http://triblive.com/sports/hssports/football/12543347-74/vincentian-academy-wont-field-a-football-team-this-season

*********** For all their technical competence, sometimes the best thing that  TV networks can do is just shut up and show the event.

That’s what Fox News did last Saturday, and my wife and I sat transfixed, watching  the commissioning In Norfolk of the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford.

Give the Navy this: they sure know how to conduct a ceremony.

The tradition, the observance of protocol, the dignity, the order, the discipline - I marveled at it all, from the “Very Well” with which officers acknowledged underlings’ reports to them, to the “Aye, Aye, Sir!” with which the underlings acknowledged their orders and agreed to comply.

I was impressed by the way the crew - or at least a substantial portion of it - hustled onto the ship in order to stand at attention around the edge of its deck.

But I was most impressed when the Captain accepted the enormous personal responsibility for a crew of several thousand and a ship worth billions of dollars by saying, simply, “I am in command.”


QUIZ ANSWER: Gerald R. Ford was born Leslie King, Jr., but his mother left King, who it is believed was abusive, and when she married a man named Gerald Rudolf Ford, he was given his stepfather’s name.  He grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was captain of his high school football team.  He went on to the University of Michigan where he played single wing center and linebacker. 

The Wolverines were undefeated his sophomore and junior years, but in his senior year they won just one game.  Nevertheless, because of his fighting spirit and his toughness, he was voted Most Valuable Player by his teammates.

He was selected to play in the East-West Shrine Game and the College All-Star Game (against the Chicago Bears).

He turned down offers from the Lions and Packers and instead attended Yale Law School.  While at Yale, he coached football on the staff of legendary coach Greasy Neale from 1937 through 1940. +++

Then World War II broke out, and he enlisted in the Navy.  After the war he returned to Michigan and embarked on a career in politics, which culminated with his serving as President of the United States.

+++ This wasn’t  correct.  In keeping with tradition, Yale’s titular head coach was a former player named Ducky Pond.  But who’s kidding who - his chief assistant, Greasy Neale, had been head coach at Virginia and West Virginia, and in 1922 had taken little Washington and Jefferson to the Rose Bowl, where it held mighty Cal to a 0-0 tie.

Many alumni objected to Pond's hiring, and felt it was time for Yale to break with tradition and go outside to hire the best coach available. They wanted Michigan's Harry Kipke. My guess is that Neale was brought on board to appease the angry alums - and to provide the experience that Pond lacked.

Neale arrived at Yale  with Pond in 1934. The quarterback of that 1934 team, Jerry Roscoe, told  William N. Wallace, author of ‘Yale’s Ironmen” that Neale was the brains behind the team:

“Ducky Pond had been a great Yale player in the mid-20s and an assistant coach ever since. I don’t mean to denigrate him in the slightest, but it was Greasy Neale who had the football brains and experience that contributed in a major way to whatever success Yale enjoyed in the years he coached there.”

Roscoe added,   “His West Virginia accent and his nickname tended to deflect on occasion what he was really about.”

Greasy Neale was certainly “country,” and there were times when the cultural differences between him and the Ivy Leaguers he coached were striking.  Wrote  Wallace, “that Neale could be crude in his coaching, there was no doubt. After an unsatisfactory effort, Neale might say, “You block like a sick whore getting off a pisspot.”

YALE STAFF  GERALD FORD

Yale’s coaching staff, 1937? 38? 39? 40?
Front row, L to R: Bill Renner, JV; Ducky Pond, Head Coach; Greasy Neale, Chief Assistant; Frank Wandle, Trainer
Back row: Gerald Ford, JV; Marsh Wells, line; Ivy Williamson, ends

"Marsh" Wells was the uncle of my wife's best friend. He was a native of Superiot, Wisconsin who played at Minnesota.  A career line coach,  he went on to coach at a number of big schools.  Ivan "Ivy" Williamson would go on to become head coach and then AD at Wisconsin.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING GERALD FORD:
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA (Gerald Ford. All of the US History Teachers/Coaches got that one right.  Isn't it ironic that Chevy Chase made a career out of portraying him as a klutz, when he was a college all star?)
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
JASON MENSING - WHITEFORD, MICHIGAN (Since you hit my home state and I have personal rule of not responding if I have to google  (I do most of the time) I can actually get this one with Gerald Ford.)
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA (I too was complete enamored with this weekend’s launching of the “Ford”)
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
JOE BREMER - WEST SENECA, NEW YORK
LOU ORLANDO - SOUTH BERWICK, MAINE


***********  Years ago, Lou Orlando, of Sudbury, Massachusetts, shared this story with me. Lou was a football player at Yale in the late 1970s, and, like President Ford, Lou was a center...
 
"...when Gerald Ford lost the presidential election to that peanut farmer, his first "public" appearance after leaving office was to accept the Chubb Fellowship at Timothy Dwight College (part of Yale's system of residential "colleges within a college." For his or her three upper-class years, every student lives and eats in his/her residential college, attends its parties, plays on its intramural teams, etc.) at Yale. He came to the school for a few days, meeting the students, and we had a reception for him up at Ray Tompkins House (the football offices).

There were 5 of us on the football team that lived in Timothy Dwight, and we wrote him a letter inviting him up to our room for a beer. Never dreaming we had a snowball's chance in hell of meeting him, the Secret Service called us and told us that he couldn't come up because of security issues, but we were welcome to come down to the suite where he was staying.

We excitedly and nervously all went to his room; we sat, talked, and drank a Michelob with him for about 30 minutes. When we were about to leave he offered to pose for pictures. I used to show everyone the picture: "Hey, do you want to see a picture of me and President Ford? I'm the one on the left.." Used to get a lot of laughs. This episode with President Ford and my teammates was mentioned in Coach Cozza's book "True Blue."

At one of the Yale football golf outings a few years ago Carm (Coach Carm Cozza) actually brought up to us that at first he was upset with us because we offered to have a beer with the President; to our surprise he even expressed that sentiment to President Ford during one of their meetings. The President waved him off by saying “Carm, it wasn’t a problem at all…we had a great time and I enjoyed being able to relax and talk football with them.”

The best part of the entire experience happened the next morning at a breakfast the President attended with 15 Yale football players prior to his departure. My roommate Drew Pace was one of the 5 at our meeting the night before; he and I were lucky enough to be included in the breakfast meeting as well. When President Ford came in the room he walked around the table and shook hands with each player. When he came to us he shook our hands and said “Hi Lou, good morning Drew.” You should have seen the looks on the other players faces!! PRICELESS


*********** Coach -

I believe that the answer to your quiz, today, is.......Gerald Ford......Coach, when he became president, it may be the first time that I noticed a bias in the media.  The press routinely characterized this good man, great football player, who happened to be a Republican, as a clumsy, accident-proned buffoon.......did he have missteps and gaffes??  Sure!!  Who can forget him hitting a patron in the gallery at the Bob Hope Open, but the press were relentless in the their narrative of him as a dufus......

All the best, Coach!!

Joe Bremer
West Seneca, New York

Good Point, Joe.

He was treated brutally.

And unless they stood way, way back, those people in the gallery would have been in far greater danger If that had been me on the first tee.  If I could even make contact with the ball.


*********** Gerry Ford was not elected President.  As Vice-President, he was elevated to the presidency after Richard Nixon resigned.  (Ironically, he wasn’t elected Vice-President, either - he was appointed to the position after Spiro Agnew was forced to resign.) He ran only once for election and lost - to Jimmy Carter.  Jimmy F—king Carter, who if it weren’t for Barack H. Obama would surely have gone down in history as our worst president.

Four things, in my judgment, cost Mr. Ford the election:

First and foremost was his pardon of his predecessor, Richard Nixon.  It was an act of great courage, one that he knew could cost him politically;  but unlike today’s politicians whose sole concern is reelection, he acted for the good of the country.

Second was a monumental slipup in a debate, in which he said. “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.”   That was 1976, 13 years before the fall of the Berlin Wall.  (Interestingly, Mr. B. H. Obama was given a pass by the media for his flippant dismissal of Mitt Romney’s concern about the threat posed by Russia, saying “The 80s called and want their foreign policy back!” Got a lot of laughs for that one, he did.  Guy sure was cool. But not too long after that, the Russians seized the Crimea, conducted a sneak invasion of Ukraine, and threatened the Baltic States. Where’s that 80s foreign policy when you need it?

Third was the ridicule Mr. Ford was subjected to by the likes of Chevy Chase.  Once, the President  tripped while exiting Air Force One.  Haw, haw, haw.  That’s always good for a laugh!  (Right up there with BHO’s saluting with his left hand because he was carrying a tall latte in his right.) And then there was the famous errant drive in a golf pro-am in which he scattered spectators. (Me, I’ve never had a crowd watch me drive.  Thank God.)  Trust Chevy Chase to get mileage out of the image of the President of the United States as a stumbling bumbler - “klutz” is the Yiddish word - an image Mr. Chase created.   And that was all the  great unwashed - the mob that got its news from Saturday Night Live - needed to know.

Gerald Ford was probably the first president defined for the masses by popular entertainers,  which brings me to the fourth point, one that’s usually overlooked:  Mr. Nixon, in 1972, was the first president elected after the 18-year-olds got the vote.  By the time Mr. Ford took office, entertainers had begun to realize - and capitalize   on - the influence they had on  the highly impressionable 18-to-21 demographic.  Chevy Chase, an acknowledged cokehead, was chief among them.

When I think of what Chevy Chase did to Gerald Ford I laugh at all the bogus Russian crap going on.   Given a choice between  Russians attempting to influence our elections and entertainers actually doing so, I’d have to think hard.  Really, really hard.

*********** QUIZ - He said “I like my boys A-gile, MO-bile, and HOS-tile.”

In 25 years of coaching at the same historically black college, he won 85 per cent of his games and never had a losing season.

He ran a split-T with enormous line splits - 4-1/2 foot A-gaps  - but he had the backs with the speed to get to the hole fast.

When he retired in 1973, his record of 203-36-4 was the best of any active college coach in the country at any level.

He sent 25 players to the NFL, including Bob Hayes and Willie Galimore.

In 1975 he became the first coach of a predominantly black college to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.




american flag TUESDAY,  JULY 25,  2017  “Think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of them are stupider than that.” George Carlin

*********** Monday, my wife and I celebrated our 58th wedding anniversary.  July, 1959.  Holy sh—. Of course, an awful lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, and we’ve been blessed with four kids, and then with 11 grandkids, but in so many ways everything from way back then seems so bright and fresh.

Now I’m beginning to understand what all the old folks were saying, back when I was a kid and didn’t pay them much attention.

We started out on our honeymoon in a place called Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania, north of Williamsport.  I guess it was nice enough if you were 10 or 20 years older than we were, but after a day or two we decided to bail.  We drove south a couple of hours to Hershey, Pennsylvania, which from the time I was a kid was one of my favorite places, and found ourselves a place to stay. We had a pool, there was a restaurant featuring “Pennsylvania Dutch Smorgasbord.” And besides the, um, usual honeymoon things, the Philadelphia Eagles were in training camp at Hershey Stadium.

To give you an idea of how the NFL has changed in scale… we sat on the sidelines, right on the grass, and watched everything.  I’d grown up an Eagles’ fan, but four years of college in Connecticut watching the Conerly-Gifford-Rote-Robustelli-Rosey Grier Giants  (you watched your home team on TV, or you didn’t watch the NFL at all)  had swung me over to the New York side. 

And then we watched those Eagles in action.  They were a cool bunch - Tommy McDonald and Tom Brookshier  (“Brookie”) especially seemed to be having a hell of a time.  More than anything, we still remember the jokes and the clowning around.  They socialized freely.  The Eagles’ starting middle linebacker, Chuck Weber , was from my wife’s high school, Abington, PA (“The Galloping Ghosts”) and so was a rookie out of Villanova named Rollie West, who’d been a couple of years ahead of her and was one of the top high school players in the Philadelphia area.

Needless to say, we were Eagles’ fans once again, and the next two years, as the Birds made their run to the 1960 NFL championship, were very exciting.  And all because we spent our honeymoon  (the days, anyhow)  at their training camp!

And then in early 1961,  I took a job in Baltimore, and we found a new love.  The Colts.  Let me tell you - there was no way in hell you could live in that town in those days, a town buzzing with excitement over its Colts,  and not catch “Colt Fever.” 


*********** I would love to use you as a sounding board and get your insight as I have in the past.  I value your experience and advice.
 
We have been working on 66-SP and 77-SP during our off-season.  Coach Bailey and I want to make sure we are doing this correctly (this time).  The RG's responsibility on 66-SP says"OK to Scramble."  Using this terminology what is a scramble block?
 
Also I have one more question regarding the wedge.  We had a round robin scrimmage this past week where we ran strictly 66 and 77 SP and 2W.  Our wedge vs the defending state champs and a LARGE school was averaging 8-10 yards.  Then vs small schools we averaged the same.  Is that normal or are we doing something wrong?  We were thud tacking and not taking to ground, so that is the only thing I can think of as to why we did not average more vs the small schools.

The “scramble” block is used sometimes on reach plays, sometimes by the playside tackle on 66 Brown and 77 Black, and sometimes by a covered playside guard on 66 and 77 Super Power when he’s not getting any double-team help from his tackle.

It’s mainly for a smaller, more athletic guard who otherwise might be overpowered by a defender.

Throw the backside arm past the defender’s playside thigh

The  hand lands on the ground with the body against the defender’s legs

Keep your head up

Keep your head upfield (so your body is between the defender and where he’d like to go)

Keep your knees off the ground

Keep scrambling

http://www.coachwyatt.com/scrambleblock.mov

Let me know if you have any questions on that!

My guess regarding the wedge is that the BIG guys are standing up at the snap, making it easy for you to drive them back, while the smaller guys are lower and your guys may be having trouble getting any lift on them.


*********** Hello Coach. Always hope the best and will pray today for you and Connie. In a couple weeks I'm going to be a grandfather. First one.My daughter that named her dog Wyatt - by the way he is still going strong and has always been pretty tough having the baby. I was attracted today to your site and saw picture of 2001 "Stones Tour" t shirt. Still have one and I was part of the tour. Best times coaching. Always remember. I read the whole news section caught up a little bit of what you have been up to. You have been a great blessing for all those young players. Alan always ask how you are doing. He is working for the University  of Texas Athletic department in Athletic Operations. Army so far has not cleared him medically too many injuries. But he is a strong faithful young man  and with stones I'm proud of him. Me staying out of trouble and grateful that God has blessed me with his grace. No football coaching or anything. Always miss it. Take care. You will always be special to me. Big hello to Connie.

Regards,
Armando "The Original DW Coach in the Roanoke Valley" Castro
Roanoke, Virginia


*********** The Milwaukee Bucks is hard at work on a $524 million basketball arena, due to open in fall 2018. 

Say it slowly:  $524,000,000.  Quite an investment for a relatively small market, but get this: the Bucks have begun to market concerts in the new arena in the northern suburbs of Chicago.

Although the Windy City itself is 90 miles from Milwaukee, suburbs such as Evanston, Winnetka, Waukegan and Lake Forest are in play for the Bucks: Milwaukee’s arena may be twice as far away from them as the United Center (where the Bulls play), but depending on traffic, the drive to Milwaukee can take half as long.

Once NBA fans figure that out, it could be enough to convert Bulls’ fans into Buck’s fans.

***********  Imagine a cross between an inflatable love doll and an EA Sports avatar and - evidently - you’ve got a sex robot. I read an article recently about the way Chinese factories are churning them out by the tens of thousands. 

Which gave me an idea:  “Football robots.”

Call them “Probots.”  The technology to produced them can’t be too far off.

No, they have no brains.  To this point, that doesn’t seem to disqualify real humans from playing in the NFL.

Robots would save NFL clubs a lot of money - no big contracts, no holdouts.  No agents, either.  And can a robot be forced to belong to a player’s union?

Probots could save clubs a lot of trouble, too. 

They couldn’t carry guns, and they couldn’t take drugs.  Yet.

So at least at this point they wouldn’t flunk any drug tests (although there is no doubt somebody at this very moment is experimenting with ways to enhance the performance of sex robots, so Probots would be next.)

Probots would stand respectfully for the National Anthem, and they’d never pull any of that “hands up, don’t shoot” crap.

They’d  throw the ball to the official after scoring a touchdown…

They couldn’t get in trouble for domestic violence because at least right now there’s no law against  beating up a live-in sex-robot girl friend.

They wouldn’t need body guards when they went to “gentlemen’s clubs,” because they wouldn’t even GO to gentlemen’s clubs. Of course, it’s only a matter of time until some entrepreneur opens up a string of Sir Probot Lounges in all major cities.  (If you play your cards right, I can fix you up with a cocktail server.)


***********  Good morning friend,

Your grandson is a handsome little fella, and apparently already on his way to becoming a good athlete.  Obviously the apple of grandpa's eye!  Not sure how often you and Connie get to see your son and his family but I'm sure when you do it must be a ton of fun for you guys.  God Bless!

Not many Jim Browns around these days.  

The Hugh Freeze's of college football will fight over Darren Carrington, and one will land him... for sure.

If you ever find that money and start that college count me in as your AD.  I'll raise the $$ to build one of those Texas style stadiums!  Heck, I'll even coach too!


Have a great weekend!  Going to see the movie "Dunkirk" on Saturday.  Hope I'm not disappointed.

Joe  Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Hi Joe-

We don’t get to see little Sam very often, but we do “see” him on Face Time every week.  

Lots of Hugh Freezes, I’m sure, and when you consider how much they’re being paid, it helps us understand the lengths those guys will go to to keep their jobs.

My solution:  Two-way football; no freshman eligibility; NO athletic scholarships - everything based on academic qualifications and financial need.

You can be my Dean of Men.  Or AD.  Or football coach.  Or all three.


***********  I liked the article about your grandson. We announced at our club meeting this week (200 parents and players) that we would no longer be giving out individual awards at the end of the year banquet. The older boys looked dismayed, while the parents nodded along. Afterwards one coach said to me, “Thank God. That will shave at least an hour off of the banquet.”

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

P.P.S. I often argue with friends that the original Longest Yard is the greatest sports movie ever made.

*********** TEXAS - “STEER CLEAR” -

Effective Aug. 1, 2017, a new clear bag policy is being implemented to enhance existing security measures and expedite venue entry at Texas Athletics events on the Forty Acres (the nickname given the UT campus, because that was its original size. HW).
Approved bags include:
    •    Bags that are clear plastic and do not exceed 12" x 6" x 12"
    •    One-gallon clear resealable plastic storage bags
    •    Small clutch bags or purses do not have to be clear but cannot exceed 4.5" x 6.5".
Prohibited bags include:
    •    Purses
    •    Diaper bags*
    •    Cases (camera, binocular, etc.)
    •    Backpacks
    •    Fanny packs
    •    Printed pattern plastic bags
    •    Reusable grocery totes
    •    Mesh or straw bags
    •    Duffle bags
    •    Large totes
*Items normally carried in a diaper bag must be put into a clear plastic bag for venue entry.


*********** My dear friend, Mike Lude, lost Rena, his beloved wife of 70 years, on July 12.

Rena was a native of Hillsdale, Michigan, and she and Mike met when they were students there before World War II. When war came,  Mike went off to serve in the Marines, and Rena stayed home and worked making uniforms.  After the war they returned to Hillsdale and their studies.  Three days after graduation in June, 1947, they were married.

Rena was a great “coach’s wife” as Mike’s career took them from Hillsdale (graduate assistant)  to Orono, Maine (assistant coach) , to Newark, Delaware (assistant coach), to Fort Collins, Colorado (Head Coach) , to Kent, Ohio (AD), to Seattle, Washington (AD),  to Auburn, Alabama (AD).  In retirement, they lived in Tucson.

It was 17 years ago that Rena's Alzheimer’s Disease
was first diagnosed, and  in November, 2011, Mike had to sell their home and move into a new place where he could be her full-time caregiver. He said to me at the time, “She was there for me all those years - now it’s my turn to be there for her.”

With an occasional trip away - Mike is still active in the NACDA (the college athletic directors’ organization) -   that was his occupation.  He gave up golf - sold his clubs.

I know it was tough.  Mike said it had been at least six years since he and Rena had had a real conversation.     We’d be on the phone talking and he’d have to excuse himself briefly and I’d hear him gently and patiently try to answer a question she might have. 

I think of young people - boys - who knock girls up and then take off.

And then I think of real men like Mike Lude.

Mike, meanwhile, is well on his way to full recovery from a knee replacement.

He’s planning on a return to Hillsdale in September to inter Rena’s ashes.

He’ll also attend Hillsdale’s game against Northern Michigan.

He’ll pay special attention to the guy wearing his old number, 37.

That’s Wain Clark, a junior outside linebacker from Puyallup, Washington.  Mike was helpful to Wain and his dad, my friend Shep Clarke, when Wain was considering Hillsdale, and in Mike’s honor, Hillsdale coach Keith Otterbein assigned Wain to the locker that Mike donated, and gave him Mike’s Number 37 to wear.


ANSWER - Wahoo McDaniel was born in Louisiana but raised in West Texas.

Part Choctaw and part Chickasaw, he inherited the nickname Wahoo from his father, who also went by it.

Growing up in Midland, Texas, he excelled in sports.   His coach in Pony League baseball was an oilman named George H.W. Bush.  
"I remember Wahoo McDaniel well," recalled the former President years later.  "He was a good kid and a pretty fair baseball player. He has had his ups and downs, but I'll always remember him as a wonderful kid who captured the imagination of West Texas in the 1950s. He was idolized by everyone who knew him."

He played college football at Oklahoma for the great Bud Wilkinson, then played in the American Football League with the Oilers, Broncos, Jets and Dolphins.

It was while with the Jets that he achieved a certain level of fame, and became a fan favorite.

Jet's P-A announcer: "Tackled by... Guess Who?"

Crowd: "Wahoo!"

Rather than his last name, he wore "Wahoo" on the back of his jersey.

After football, he went on to a long and successful second career as a pro wrestler.

The life he led was hard on him, and he died of diabetes at age 63.

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/25/sports/wahoo-mcdaniel-63-a-wrestler-and-a-folk-hero-for-fans-of-the-early-jets.html

https://www.si.com/vault/2001/07/02/306834/wahoo-mcdaniel-he-was-a-flamboyant-footballer-and-a-wacko-wrestler-now-he-just-hopes-to-stay-alive-long-enough-to-raise-his-son


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING WAHOO MCDANIEL:
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
SHEP CLARKE - PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA (I remember him from his wrestling days)
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA (I am embarrassed to say that I got this because of the professional wrestling reference)
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK (I’m a long time wrestling fan too lol)
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON

QUIZ: He grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was captain of his high school football team.  He went on to the University of Michigan where he played single wing center and linebacker.  The Wolverines were undefeated his sophomore and junior years, but in his senior year they won just one game.  Nevertheless, because of his fighting spirit and his toughness, he was voted Most Valuable Player by his teammates.

He was selected to play in the East-West Shrine Game and the College All-Star Game (against the Chicago Bears).

He turned down offers from the Lions and Packers and instead entered Yale Law School.  While at Yale, he coached football on the staff of legendary coach Greasy Neale.

After law school,  World War II broke out, and he enlisted in the Navy.  Following the war he returned to Michigan and embarked on a career in politics, which culminated in his serving as President of the United States.


american flag FRIDAY,  JULY 21,  2017  "A liberal will cut off your leg to hand you a crutch.”  Jim Brown


*********** It’s fair to say that Jim Brown has  has always been his own man.  A proud black man.

Just imagine the greatest running back in the history of the game (my opinion) walking away from football - and a big contract -  while he still had plenty in the tank. All because the owner of his team had treated him like his boy - had issued him an ultimatum to report to training camp on time or else.  Jim Brown wasn’t one to be bullied. He happened to be busy making a movie at the time, and he refused to drop what he was doing and report.

And with that, the great Jim Brown  walked away from pro football.  He was 30 years old and in his prime,  but he never played again.

That’s by way of saying that Jim Brown has never been anybody’s “boy, ”  and when he talks about race,  he’s worth listening to.  And let the young loudmouths  who’d rather the races be at each other’s throats take their best shots at him.

Jim Brown on CNN: “The three greatest people in my life were white.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P75Au1GgdxA

*********** Darren Carrington is a very talented wide receiver, but he’s been a bad boy while at Oregon, and after a recent DUI, new Ducks’ coach Willie Taggart finally decided to cut him loose.

Carrington has another year of eligiblity, and a few other Pac-12 schools are courting him.  There’s never a shortage of people willing to give a guy a second chance.  Make that third chance. Oops - that should be fourth. Or would it be fifth?

Oh, well.  Whoever finally lands him, you’ll know all you need to know about their coach’s standards - and his worries about his job.

http://www.oregonlive.com/ducks/index.ssf/2017/07/darren_carrington_disappointed.html
 

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

Could not let the blog on "don't nag to be loved" in today's News  go by without a comment. I know this was done tongue in cheek and I remember well the first time you ran our All State A Back, a six two one ninety young man who could fly, from practice because he was five minutes late to the pre practice meeting. You sure got the attention of everyone else and no one was late again. But even more I know how you feel about discipline, now a bad word, and rules which make a team better. One only has to look at your career to know that " to nag is to be loved" I know those kids loved and respected you. By the way those rules applied to your coaches as well as the kids and I like to think part of the reason we took a team that had not won in nearly a decade to 8-2 was clear expectations for all. But most certainly importantly I like to think they made us all better people.

All the best to you Connie and the family.

Jack Tourtillotte
Rangely, Maine

Right after he retired, and right after I took the head coaching job at North Beach High, Jack, a veteran of several state championships in Maine, came out and spent a season on the Washington coast coaching the offensive line for me.  What a blast we had! What a great job he did!  Those kids had been 1-9 the year before and we went 7-3, losing those three games by a total of 11 points.  Considering Jack’s experience as an assistant, a head coach, and a principal, it’s very important to me to know  that I measured up to his high standards.


***********  It’s been called AAU for football. (High school basketball coaches will understand.)

It advances the culture of entitlement.

It costs money.

It teaches bad habits.

It encourages celebratory antics.

It doesn’t enhance your chances of being recruited by a college.

It’s associated with enticement of athletes to transfer high schools. 

Of 40 Tacoma-Washington area high school football coaches who responded to a survey by the Tacoma News-Tribune, 39 of them - 97.5 per cent - said they’d rather their players play a school sport during the winter or spring.

It’s 7-on-7 - the travel version.  It sucks,  and it’s being accused of ruining our game.

But, like it or not, there's money involved, which means that it’s here to stay.

http://www.thenewstribune.com/sports/high-school/article161493228.html#storylink=cpy


*********** “Prosper” is an appropriate good name for a town that can afford to spend $48 million on a high school stadium.

That would be Prosper, Texas, a Dallas suburb.

Be sure to check out the video…

https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/high-school/high-schools/2017/07/18/video-proposed-prosper-venue-another-blast-high-school-football-stadium-boom


*********** When I donate my millions to establish a college…

*** Instead of classes addressing the  frightening subject of White Privilege, we’re going to require all incoming freshmen (no, not “freshpersons”) to take a class in  “De-entitlement.”  Its theme: You are not special. You are not as important as you’ve been told you are.”

*** It doesn’t matter if you’re the only person on earth who spells (or pronounces) your name that way -  you’re not as unique as your mommy and daddy thought you were when they named you.  There are 5 billion people in the world, and you’re just one of them and you’re not that f—king important. Get used to it.

*** Nobody really cares what you think nearly as much as you do.

*** Yes you have a right to speak freely. But nobody has to listen to what you say.

*** Yes, you have a right to speak freely , but so does that guy who just called you a f—king sh—head.

*** It’s admirable that want to fight  for cleaner air and water, but if “the planet” really is being destroyed, relax - there’s not a damn thing you or anybody else can do about it. (I refer you to that statistic of 5 billion people on earth.)

*** Taking something from the “haves” and giving it to the  “have-nots”  robs the “haves” while doing nothing to enrich the “have-nots.”

*** You will get the grade that you earned.

*** You will not be excused from schoolwork or exams so that you can demonstrate.

***There will be a foreign language component. Lesson Number One: No, non, nyet, ei, nej, nein.  Translation: it means the same in every language:  NO.

stones shirt*********** I was doing a remote clinic this past week, and for the occasion I wore one of my old “IT TAKES A SET” tee shirts.  Look at the back.  Look at all those clinic dates.  Can it have been that long ago that I would willingly go out on the road that many times? How long ago was it? In travellers’ terms, it was another era. Check the dates - it was before 9/11.  Travel was a lot easier back then.  A whole lot easier.

*********** I was talking this past week with an old friend, David Crump, from Owensboro, Kentucky.   With the start of high school practice only a week or so away, he said that one area school, Ohio County High, had lost its coach earlier in the summer, and the expected turnout was so low that they were advertising on the radio for players.

*********** There had been rumors for some time about the job security - or lack of same - of Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze, but things finally came to a head Thursday night when he resigned, following rumors of “explosive” new information.

For sure, when you’re Ole Miss and you start  doing something way out of the ordinary - beating the top teams in the country for the best talent - you get their attention, and the NCAA gets their offer to “help” find out what really happened. Moral: know your place.

https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/ole-miss-coach-hugh-freeze-resigns-amid-explosive-new-information/?linkId=40010456

You into irony?  On the same day that it was reported that Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze was in imminent danger of being fired,  the Carolina Panthers released Michael Oher, who as a top-rated high school prospect was the subject of the best-selling ‘The Blind Side.”  Michael Oher’s high school coach:  Hugh Freeze.

https://www.seccountry.com/mississippi/carolina-panthers-release-former-ole-miss-standout-michael-oher


sam medal*********** That’s my grandson, Sam Wyatt, in the middle of the photo. He’s about to turn nine, he lives in Melbourne, Australia, and this is his first year of Footy - Australian Rules football. He’s having a great time.

That’s all I care about.  We talk every week, and all I ever say is, “Play hard and have fun.”

After last week’s game, he was awarded a medal for being the outstanding player (skill, effort, sportsmanship) on his team.

Okay, enough bragging.

This medal thing is a hell of an idea - the idea of his coach, who sold other coaches on it.

The recipient of each team’s medal is selected by - the other team’s coach!

In one stroke, they get across the idea of a merit award - one that has to be earned - rather than a meaningless trophy.  At the same time,  they’ve removed the politics usually associated with such an award  by putting its selection in the hands of the opponents’ coach.

Now, unfortunately, I’m spoiled. Fun be damned. This is serious business. I'm thinking next level.  Now, the next time I speak to Sam, I’m going to make damn sure he knows that I expect nothing less than a medal every time.

*********** Pete Porcelli sent along these very interesting memories  of the recently-departed Babe Parilli by longtime Denver Broncos executive Jim Saccomano:

As a coach with the Denver Dynamite, Saccomano remembers a conversation with Parilli about a future Hall of Fame quarterback who was flying under the radar in the Arena League.

“When he was an Arena League coach – I mean it’s the Arena League, right? You’re just playing. Now, the Rams have signed Trent Green from Kansas City as their quarterback. The Rams are awful, they were always awful. This was before the championships,” Saccomano remembered. “They had finished 4-12 and they signed Green. Boom, preseason game and he’s out for the season. I’m saying to Al King and Babe – Al King is long time publicist – ‘You know, the Rams, it’s a shame, already their season is done.’ Parilli comes back and says, ‘Oh, I wouldn’t worry much about the Rams. They have this young guy that plays quarterback for the Iowa Barnstormers. He’s going to be terrific.’ And I thought, ‘Are you insane?!’ [It turns out] it’s Kurt Warner.”

Saccomano added:

“The top wide receiver for the Patriots was Gino Cappelletti – also Italian American,The Patriots radio announcer, when they would score a touchdown would say, ‘That’s grand opera! Parilli to Cappelletti.’

http://milehighsports.com/remembering-broncos-and-denver-dynamite-coach-babe-parilli/


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING SONNY SIXKILLER:
SHEP CLARKE - PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON
MIKE FORISTIERE - MATTAWA, WASHINGTON
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS - QUIZ: Wow... that brings me back.  Haven't seen nor heard the Ballad of Sonny Sixkiller in years!  Last I saw him was in the original movie "The Longest Yard".  
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE BREMER - WEST SENECA, NEW YORK (Coach - It has been a long time since I contacted you.......still love your site and your "News" is always a must read……)


*********** I first saw Sonny Sixkiller in the flesh in August, 1974. I was Player Personnel Director of the World Football League's Philadelphia Bell, and  the Toronto Argonauts were scrimmaging another CFL team  in Trois Rivieres, Quebec.  My assignment was to take a look at some of the players on the Argos who might help us, including the famous Sonny Sixkiller, now trying to make the Argos as a backup quarterback after being cut the year before by the Los Angeles Rams.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to see enough of him in the scrimmage to say whether I thought he could play for us, so when I returned for my debriefing and was asked, "How'd Sixkiller look?" I had to be honest and reply, in my most professional tone, "I don't know."

A few weeks later he was cut by the Argonauts, and we arranged to bring him in to have a look.

I still retain a few first impressions: first, he was a nice guy, not at all affected by all the publicity he'd received.  Second,  he was short.  I was 5-11 then (we all shrink with age), and he seemed shorter than me.

Talent?  How could anyone tell?  He scarcely saw the practice field, let alone game action.  To this day, I don't know why we bothered to bring him in, unless it  was because our coach, Ron Waller, was pissed off at one of our backup QBs and wanted to shake him up.  That would have been my guess, and the particular QB would have been Frank DiMaggio.  DiMaggio, out of Temple, had played with the Bridgeport Jets in the Atlantic Coast Football League the season before, and he had a rifle arm.  But like our starter, Jim "King" (a self-given nickname) Corcoran, he was a brash, cocky Jersey kid, and one of them was all Waller could handle.  It couldn't have been the other backup, Mike Yancheff, a kid out of Rutgers who'd played with Waller for a few years in the minor leagues. He was tall,  quiet and cerebral, with a rare ability to co-exist peacefully with Waller.

What Sonny didn't know, but all of us insiders did, was that he had no chance of playing.  Of course, Bob Griese (then the QB of the undefeated Miami Dolphins) wouldn't have had a chance, either.

Nobody was going to break up the partnership of  Waller  and Corcoran.

Theirs was the classic symbiotic relationship, a mutual dependency,  in which neither could have thrived without the other.

It was a love-hate relationship: Waller was the coach that few quarterbacks could stand to play for, and Corcoran was the quarterback that no other coach could possibly tolerate.

So Sonny, unable to earn a spot on the roster, spent the rest of the season just "hanging around."  I don't know where he lived. Or how.  For several weeks Waller had been keeping guys like him around as human spare tires, slipping them $500 or so a week to hang around Philly just in case they might be needed.  But by the time Sixkiller arrived, things were already getting a bit tight in the payroll department, and Waller's once large "taxi squad" of $500-a-week retainers was being thinned out.

I don't know how or when Sonny left us.  I do know that the next year he resurfaced in the WFL with The Hawaiians.

And I do know that at some point in there he had a part in one of the best football-themed movies ever made,  "The Longest Yard"  (If you haven't seen it - do so.  Right now.  It's a classic.)

Long before I'd seen Sonny Sixkiller in the flesh, though, I'd seen him on TV and heard all about him.  Who hadn't?  He was one of the best-known football players of his time - and not just because of his name.  He could play.

Under head coach Jim Owens, who first got the job when he was just 29 years old, Washington had built a powerhouse. In the span of five seasons, from 1959 through 1963, the Huskies played in three Rose Bowls, winning all three. The Pac-8 (or the Pacific Coast Conference, or whatever they called themselves then) hadn't beaten the Big Ten representative in six years, and had only beaten them once in 13 meetings; but in the 1960 Rose Bowl the Huskies thumped favored Wisconsin, 44-8, and the next year, they defeated National Champion Minnesota,  17-7.  (In those days, they didn't wait till after the bowls were played to announce the national champion),

Owens, an All-America end (and teammate of future coaches Darrell Royal and Dee Andros) at Oklahoma under Bud Wilkinson, was a hard-nosed coach by anyone's standards. He'd spent six years as an assistant under Bear Bryant, the first three years at Kentucky and the final three years at Texas A & M.  If you haven't figured it out, that means he was on the coaching staff during the infamous training camp at Junction, Texas.

His Washington teams were like Coach Bryant's - well-conditioned and hard-hitting, with special emphasis on a tough running game, a sound kicking game and a stout defense.

Like so many other hard-line coaches at the time, Owens was caught totally unprepared by the so-called "Black Power" movement of the late 1960s, challenging as it did the traditional concept of the all-powerful coach. In 1969 he wound up suspending four black players for their refusal to sign a pledge of loyalty to the coaching staff, and when the Huskies went 1-9 in 1969, their second straight losing season, Owens was in trouble.

And then up stepped a sophomore quarterback from Ashland, Oregon, named Sonny Sixkiller.

Owens, the hard-nosed ground-pounding coach, had the foresight to throw caution to the wind, and in three years, with Sixkiller at quarterback, the Huskies went 6-4, 8-3, 8-3.

And Sonny Sixkiller finished his college career with 385 completions for 5496 yards and 35 touchdowns, and fifteen new school passing records

In the process, Sixkiller, a full-blooded Cherokee with a memorable name, became something of a national sensation.  Certainly, he was  in Seattle, where for several weeks "The Ballad of Sonny Sixkiller" stayed at the top of the charts…

The Ballad of Sonny Sixkiller - 1971 - by Rex Parker - Thunder Tummy Records

He was born one morning 'neath the sun and the heat,
The proud grandson of an Indian chief.
The Cherokee tribe from which he came
Was the first to learn of his famous name -
Sonny Sixkiller

He grew up strong into a proud young man.
Determined breed, he left his land.
Put down his arrows, hung up his shield,
And became a warrior on the football field -
Sonny Sixkiller.

So he came to Seattle, joined the Husky team,
In purple and gold, he looked mighty mean.
In practice he could pass, was quick to attack,
So the coach put him in as the quarterback -
Sonny Sixkiller

Now you'll see this quarterback every Saturday, see
He wears a big number six on his purple jersey.
In his blood flows the spirit to win,
The proud grandson of a Cherokee Indian -
Sonny Sixkiller

*********** Sonny Sixkiller made the cover of Sports Illustrated, and was the subject of a great article by Roy Blount, Jr. (whose story about the time he spent with the 1970s Steelers, "About Three Bricks Shy of a Load," is a classic).

In his article, Blount noted some of the ignorant crap that Sixkiller had to put up with, from sportswriters and fans, because of his American Indian heritage. 

You presumably would react the way Sonny Sixkiller (see cover) reacted last year when, as a sophomore, he led the nation in passing and kept reading about how he was making heap good medicine and scalping and massacring people all up and down the Pacific Coast.

"I was dumfounded," says Sixkiller, shaking his head. "One guy asked if people gave me any trouble over my name—like I'm supposed to get mad and stab 'em in the back or set a trap for 'em. Jeez."

American Indian history, when you think about it, is not a great mine of surefire yoks and sprightly references, especially from the point of view of the Indians. So Sixkiller felt that his being described in print as "the most celebrated redskin since Crazy Horse" was tasteless and demonstrably reactionary. Once, questioned was there much folklore practiced at his house, he replied, "Well, we didn't sit around weaving baskets.

"If I'd been a black quarterback people wouldn't have been writing that kind of stuff," he says. "The blacks wouldn't have let them get away with it. Or even if I'd been a Chinese quarterback." But Sixkiller's bemusement over his image was heightened by the fact that he had never seriously thought of himself as an Indian, even a modern one.

Sixkiller certainly looks Indian. He is as bronze, raven-haired and strong-featured as you would expect the great-grandson of a Cherokee chieftain to look. He sounds like you would expect any with-it middle-class West Coast collegian to sound. His grandfather was a Baptist minister and his parents never lived on a reservation. They did once see a reservation. When Sonny was one, the family moved from Tahlequah, Okla. to Ashland, Ore., and Stella Sixkiller, Sonny's mother, suggested that they stop by a reservation on the way, because she was curious to see what one looked like. She was disappointed by the absence of wigwams.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1085362/index.htm

QUIZ - He was born in Louisiana but raised in West Texas.

A full-blooded American Indian, he very early acquired a nickname that reflected his native-American heritage.

He played college football for the great Bud Wilkinson, then played in the American Football League with the Oilers, Broncos, Jets and Dolphins.

It was while with the Jets that he achieved a certain level of fame, and became a fan favorite.

Rather than his last name, he wore his nickname on the back of his jersey.

After football, he went on to a very long and successful second career as a pro wrestler.



american flag TUESDAY,  JULY 18,  2017  "I don't want any special treatment.  Just treat me like an illegal alien." Howie Carr


*********** I got an email last week from Don Shipley.  Usually, I love to hear from Don, the son of the late Dick Shipley, my former coach when I played semi-pro ball in Frederick, Maryland.  Don is my link to a lot of the guys from those days.  Don’s latest email, though, wasn’t one I enjoyed reading.  It was about a guy who’d played for me, a guy named  Joe Kundrat.  Joe had played offensive line for me when I took a coaching job in Hagerstown, 30 miles away.  Joe Kundrat was a very tough guy.  At the time, he was a Baltimore cop, and he feared no man.   The  name “Joseph Kundrat” was in an  article Don Shipley had sent me.  Kundrat itself is not exactly  a common name, but Joseph? What are the chances that a person named Joseph Kundrat, described in the article as someone who had served in the Marines and on the Frederick police force, could be anyone else but the guy I coached?  (I figure that he managed  to land  a job  in Frederick, a small city about an hour’s drive west of Baltimore, which might share some of the bigger city’s problems, but on a far smaller scale.)

The story was a very sad one.  Again, I’m assuming that this is “my” Joe Kundrat, but either way, Joseph Kundrat and his wife, Lynda,  lost their 33-year-old son, Marine Staff Sergeant William Joseph Kundrat when a plane crashed in central Mississippi and killed him and 15 other Marines.

Whether it was “my Joe” or not, my deepest sympathies to those parents, and to the loved ones of the other Marines killed in that awful plane crash.

Said staff Sergeant Kundrat’s mother, Lynda, “Every breath of air you take, all the things you’re able to do, you can do those things because of people like my son. I’ll never forget that.”

https://www.fredericknewspost.com/content/tncms/live/

*********** Want  your players to love you, instead of thinking that you’re just an old nag?

First of all, get rid of those stupid rules.  What do you care whether they get to practice on time?  Or whether they have all their equipment?  Or whether they even show up at all?  Just so long as they show up for the games.  Especially if they’re good enough.

Stop being a nanny about using correct English.  What’s the difference? They’re never going to make it out of their neighborhood anyhow.

And hey - If they want to show up at the team banquet in the same old grubby tee shirt that they wear to school every day, what do you care? 

It’ll be a lot easier if you no longer make them say “please” and “thank you” when it’s called for.  Don’t teach them how to shake hands properly -  gripping firmly and looking the other person in the eye.  And stop insisting that they say “Hello” and use peoples’ names when they greet them.  And who cares whether they call you “Coach” or some clever nickname that makes them laugh?

Just so they play ball on Friday nights, right?

Look - they’re just kids and all they want to do is play football.  When their eligibility’s up, they’re no more use to you anyhow, so what do you care?

Once they’re gone, they’re gone,  so what difference does it make to you whether they get into the college - or service - of their choice? Or get the girl they want? Or get that good job ahead of all the other applicants?

Keep nagging them and they won’t love you.  Get off their backs and they will.

*********** (Back in February) Hello Coach Wyatt, I am a rule 10 coach in Kansas that took over our Valley Falls Middle School team a couple years ago.  I had never coached football before but my High school coach (from 20 years ago) called me and asked if I would coach a season because the previous coach had to quit un-expectantly.  My son was an eight grader and I had coached his class in tournament baseball and basketball through the years so I said if my work will allow it I will do it, So I did.  The middle school hadn't won a game in 5 years and had only scored 2 or 3 touchdowns total in that time, so needless to say we were struggling. I ran the veer for my old coach but I didn't feel that this was what this team needed.  We have been a very small team in physical size and numbers, (14 on average) but injuries and grades have left me with 11 and 12 for several games and just not very athletic for a quite some time.  I came across the double wing and studied it and was excited about its possibilities with misdirection, power and angle blocking.  We did win 2 games this year scoring over 40 points both games so that was nice to see.  I am organized and detail oriented but I feel I get to obsessed with running drills to see a certain result and next thing I know a half hour has gone by.  I am looking at buying some of your coaching material and I wanted your thoughts on what I should by.  I am buying this on my own dime so I want to purchase the material in the correct order over a few months.  I was looking at your dynamics of the double wing package, and the installing the system dvd, and also a fine line dvd. I really want to make my practices more efficient, very double wing focused (meaning I am not going to run other offenses in an attempt to confuse teams) and have fun. I run the double wing with the super power my primary play, then counter and the trap.  Quick passes mostly to tight ends and a few to wing back. I have experimented with different formations, single slot right or left and double slot, but missed blocks have plagued us.  I know I am not explaining the real time changes in blocking assignments well and that's what leads to this confusing.  Let me know what material you think would be best.  I would greatly  appreciate it.  Thanks for your time.

(Last week, in July) Coach, camp went great last week with all the things I have learned from your videos.  It has simplified so many things and answered so many questions that I know we will be a much improved team.  I will be sending you a check for A FINE LINE DVD, and TROUBLE SHOOTING THE DOUBLE WING DVD, to finish off my dvd collection.  I also was wondering your take on Defenses in Middle School.  We play smaller schools for the most part so we typically see heavy running game offenses.  I was just curious if you like even or odd fronts and whether you would spend much time with blitz calls and stunts.  I have received conflicting information from everyone I have asked and would love your opinion and insight.  Thanks for all of your help and taking the time to make the videos through the years.  Thanks again.
 
Todd F. Pickerell
Topeka, Kansas


***********Coach,  A few years back I was coaching on a staff that ran some under center jet sweep and we did not block any DLine inside of a 3 tech. The center and all backside linemen would immediately climb to the 2nd level. Do you have any opinions on that?

Coach,

I agree that on a jet sweep it isn’t necessary to block anyone from a “3” down, but I also feel that on a jet sweep those backside blockers are just as useless as the defenders.

I woiud do what a very good coach in Connecticut named Mike Emery did.  He won a couple of state titles at Fitch HS in Groton, CT running the Double Wing but a lot of his offense was jet sweep.  I don’t remember his exact scheme, but since he ran the sweep in tandem with a trap, he had the backside linemen (from the playside tackle on back) blocking the trap.

He showed it at one of my clinics, but this was at least 10 years ago, and I can’t find the exact info.  We did this and taught it with the
QB holding two footballs - one that he handed first to the motion man, the other that he then  handed to the B-Back.  Nice drill.

Rocket Sweep

*********** “Depressing” is not a word I normally use to describe Sports Illustrated.  I mean, it’s about sports, and heroic performances, and beautiful,  popular, overachieving  people we’d all like to learn more about, right?

But this past week’s issue was depressing.  Really.

Very sad was Tim Layden’s article about runner Gabi Grunewald, and her struggle to keep running despite a rare form of cancer that keeps returning, bringing discouragement and despair whenever it does.  But that wasn’t what was depressing. The story was beautifully written, and Ms. Grunewald is so admirable in her persistence to compete that it was uplifting.

No, that wasn’t what was depressing.

What was depressing was a story about a couple named Brent and Miko Grimes.  Brent Grimes is an NFL corner back who was signed as a free agent out of a Division II Pennsylvania college and has gone on to have moments of brilliance in the NFL but for some reason can’t seem to stick with any club.

Okay, okay.  There’s no mystery.   The guy’s wife is every coach’s nightmare.  She’s a vulgar witch, who has dedicated herself in the crudest and most public way possible to promoting her husband and his abilities.  Unfortunately, her method of doing so frequently involves - crudely and publicly - insulting her husband’s coaches and teammates.   And, on occasion, their wives.

“I could tell Miko to shut up,” says Brent. “But then she wouldn’t be Miko.” (And that’s bad?)

Depressing, did I say? What’s most depressing to me is not that there are a&&holes like that woman in the world. Professional sports is full of them.

What was depressing to me was the non-judgmental way the story was written, as if we’ll just have to understand that Miko is her own person, and we’ll just have to accept her as she is. That’s Miko.  No editorializing whatsoever.

But if she’d been a born-again Christian and had expressed - without her usual  vulgarity -  her sincere belief that people of the same sex shouldn’t engage in sexual acts, much less marry, much less adopt children - well, she’d have been held up as everything that’s wrong with America.

https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/07/12/brent-miko-grimes-twitter-tampa-bay-buccaneers

***********  A little boasting here: I’ve been to all 50 states.  Big deal.  But one thing I’ve found out is that there’s not one of them where I couldn’t live.  Someplace.  And happily at that.

So when I saw “America’s worst states to live in 2017,” I fell for it. I clicked on the link.  Admit it.  You’ve fallen for click-bait, too.

Surprisingly, West Virginia didn’t make it.  Seems as if it’s fashionable to insult the Mountain State, even if you’ve never been there.  Especially if you’ve never been there.

I knew, of course, that Alabama and Mississippi would be on the list, simply because they’re in the Deep South, and, well, it’s okay to look down your nose at almost anything concerning the Deep South.  In fact, in most elite circles, it’s encouraged.

But I had to see what other states would make this list of deplorables.

Counting down from 10th to first, I only got as far as the 10th worst - Kentucky - when it became clear to me that things that made these states bad in the eyes of the author of the report, one Scott Cohn, were things that made absolutely no difference to me one way or the other.  He writes, “More than a quarter of adults are regular smokers in Kentucky, the highest rate in the country.” So how does this affect me? Is he trying to tell me that in Kentucky, they walk up to you on the street and blow smoke in your face? Do they grab you off the sidewalk and blindfold you and take you someplace where they duct-tape you to a chair and force you to take deep drags on a Marlboro?

Mississippi - there it was, but only in seventh place - got low marks because a lot of its people are fat.  “Mississippi has one of the highest obesity rates in the nation, and its population is among the most sedentary.”  So the food’s good, but unless you get up really early and jog, it’s too damn hot to exercise.

Indiana’s in sixth place.  Worse than Mississippi, Hoosiers! No doubt taking a shot at former governor Mike Pence (I did notice that all the states on the list were “Red” states), Cohn writes,  “the state still lacks some basic protections against discrimination based on marital status, sexual orientation and gender identity.”  Omigod.

In Indiana’s favor, though, author Cohn does praise its air quality.  I don’t know about you, and maybe it’s because I live in the Pacific Northwest (God’s Country), but I seldom give much thought to air quality.

Missouri is in fifth place.  High crime is a problem (Ferguson didn’t help matters by prompting out-of-state criminals to come visit), but so, too, is the ugly specter that  “Missouri also lacks statewide protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, marital status, and gender identity.”

To be honest, living as I do in a state whose biggest city’s mayor (a male) has a highly-visible “husband,”  this wouldn’t be enough to place  Missouri on my Ten Worst States list.

Louisiana is the “fattest” state.  What a surprise.  If you’ve ever lived there and eaten their food, you’d understand. I know, I know, overweight is not healthy.  But what a way to go.  Louisiana also gets marked down for its high crime rate, but then, if you don’t like crime, stay the hell out of New Orleans (except when you slip in to town for a good meal) and you’ll be fine.

And then there’s Alabama. It’s Number One, which means its the Worst.  Listen -  I’ve been to Gulf Shores on the south and Huntsville in the north.  I’ve been to Birmingham and Montgomery and all sorts of places in between.  And I like Alabama.  And I like its people.  But, see, Alabama’s in the Bible Belt, and those Christians have these weird ideas about inclusion: “Sweet Home?” Cohn asks. “Not if you are over 50, a minority, gay or transgender and you are concerned about discrimination. Alabama is one of only five states with no statewide legal protections for those groups, making it one of America's least inclusive states.”

Interesting that the top (or bottom, actually) four Worst states are Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Alabama.  Maybe it’s just a coincidence that they’re all football mad states.  But I could easily spend a football season in one or all of those states, and as long as I stayed out of high-crime areas (something I learned to do at a very young age) and didn’t frequent gay bars (if they even have them in those states), I’d see some great football played in front of passionate fans.  And I’d eat the food, and just consider the added pounds a small price to pay for living in my kind of America.

The List
10 Kentucky
9 (tie) New Mexico, Tennessee
7 Mississippi
6 Indiana
5 Missouri
4 Arkansas
3 Oklahoma
2 Louisiana
1 Alabama

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/11/americas-10-worst-states-to-live-in-2017.html

*********** I sure am glad that Pete Porcelli, of Watervliet, New York, suggested that I make his ex-coach, Babe Parilli, one of my recent QUIZ subjects.  I’ve got a long list of guys to honor, and if Pete hadn’t written me, I might never have written about Parilli.  But I did, which was fortunate, because, sadly, the Babe passed away last week.

Pete sent along this praise for the Babe from Terry Bradshaw:

“Babe Parilli was my one and only quarterback coach. I didn’t have an offensive coordinator or quarterback coach. One year I had Babe Parilli and he did to me what they did to me in college. He picked me up and encouraged me. I flourished under his knowledge because he played so many years in the NFL and shared it. Babe Parilli is someone whose name is never mentioned."

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/15/sports/football/babe-parilli-dead.html

Which got me to thinking - is there a particular football coach or player you know of  that you think the guys on this site might want to know more about?  If so, drop me a line.

*********** Quick - what was the last NBA scandal you can remember?  Gotcha, didn’t I?

Meantime, how about the NFL? I’ll bet you can name a dozen, right off the top.

I’ll bet more than half the teams in the NFL will start this season with  at least one  player suspended for at least one game for misconduct or drug issues.

Give David Stern credit.  He’s the former long-time commissioner of the NBA.  He realized that the NBA was infested with thuggery, and somehow,   he managed to get teams - and players - to realize that at some point the American public was going to stop buying that act, and for the good of everybody they needed to put an end to it.

Which brings us to the Seahawks’ Richard Sherman.  Here’s a guy outtta Compton who’s making millions, but - it’s not enough! Oh, no.  He’s seen what professional basketball players make, and he’s upset.  He thinks pro football players are underpaid, and they  should strike for more money.

To Mr. Motormouth Sherman, I would point out that NBA teams carry rosters of maybe 15 players, while NFL teams pay 53 guys.  I’d be happy to see the NFL go back to 40-man rosters, but the NFLPA isn’t going to agree to that.

Oh - and the NBA guys play some 80 games.   Just the mere suggestion lengthening the NFL schedule causes the  NFLPA to cry “safety hazard.”

Finally, though - the NBA players seems to understand that good conduct is the least that can be expected in return for their outrageously high pay. 

When NFL players show that they grasp this seemingly simple concept, perhaps they’ll have a chance of rallying public support for their cause.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/texans-rookie-rb-foreman-arrested-on-drug-weapon-charges/ar-BBEwdZh?li=BBnb7Kz


***********  This followed an article about Ezekiel Elliott’s latest sign that he might not yet be fully ready to take his place in Western Civilization:
msnbc no comments

Hmmm - could it be that the natives are increasingly expressing their  disgust with their NFL heroes in the comments?

Truthfully, I’m normally more interested in the post-story comments than I am in the stories themselves.

Unlike the writers and the editors, the commenters’  opinions can’t be bought.  But, evidently, they can be silenced.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/elliott-accused-of-breaking-mans-nose-after-verbal-spat/ar-BBEBnCa?li=BBnba9I

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING HERMAN WEDEMEYER:

ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS (QUIZ:  "Squirmin' Herman, or the "Flyin' Hawaiian" either way Herman Wedemeyer was the greatest football player to ever play for the Gaels of St. Mary's College.  The San Francisco Bay Area college football fans were spoiled watching some of the best college football players in the country during the late 40's and early 50's.  Frankie Albert, Wedemeyer, Ollie Matson, Gino Marchetti, Bob St. Clair, Hugh McIlhenny etc. etc. )
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKESVILLE, INDIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA


***********  Herman Wedemeyer was the first native Hawaiian to earn national recognition as a football player.

Talk about diversity - although his surname was German, his ancestry was German, Irish, Scottish, Hawaiian and Chinese. His father was a German-born seaman who met and married a Hawaiian woman. Between them, they raised nine kids.

He was recruited out of Honolulu’s St. Louis Prep and played for St. Mary’s College, a West Coast Catholic school that no longer plays football.  With “Squirming’ Herman” Wedemeyer  at single-wing tailback, St. Mary’s enjoyed great success in the post-war years, beating USC and losing only to UCLA his senior year, and playing in the Sugar Bowl.

Only five players were named to the All-American backfield that year, and Wedemeyer  was one of them, along with Army’s Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis, Alabama’s Harry Gilmer, and Oklahoma A & M’s Bob Fenimore.

He finished fourth in the Heisman voting - at the time, the highest-ever finish for a “non-white” player, and until Marcus Mariota’s Heisman win in 2014, he was the only native Hawaiian ever to become a  Heisman finalist.

After a brief pro career with the Los Angeles Dons in the AAFC, he returned to his native Hawaii to go into business.

Later in life, Herman Wedemeyer  enjoyed a second career for which he became even more famous, when he played officer Duke Lukela in the very popular TV series, "Hawaii Five-0." (The name "Duke" was given to the character as a tribute to the legendary Duke Kahanamoku, the man credited with popularizing surfing as a sport in the 1920’s.)

In 1979, he became the first native Hawaiian to be inducted into the College Football hall of Fame.

*********** QUIZ -  The Ballad of
----- ---------

He was born one morning 'neath the sun and the heat,
The proud grandson of an Indian chief.
The Cherokee tribe from which he came
Was the first to learn of his famous name -
----- ---------

He grew up strong into a proud young man.
Determined breed, he left his land.
Put down his arrows, hung up his shield,
And became a warrior on the football field -
----- ---------

So he came to Seattle, joined the Husky team,
In purple and gold, he looked mighty mean.
In practice he could pass, was quick to attack,
So the coach put him in as the quarterback -
----- ---------

Now you'll see this quarterback every Saturday, see
He wears a big number six on his purple jersey.
In his blood flows the spirit to win,
The proud grandson of a Cherokee Indian -
----- ---------



american flag FRIDAY,  JULY 14,  2017  - “Prayers work better when the players are big.”  Frank Leahy


*********** The Army Football Club will hold its annual golf tournament this weekend.  As a proud honorary member, I’ve been able to attend just once.  It’s an amazing group of guys, and my living 3,000 miles from West Point has a lot more to do with my lack of attendance than the miserable quality of my golf game.

Originally, only those who'd lettered in football could play, and as a result the first tournament had just 133 golfers.

But it didn’t take West Point's Class of '57 long to bring about a change in the rules.  They played both ways back then,  offense and defense,  and Army had very strict rules for lettering that required a substantial amount of playing time to qualify.  Consequently,  only 10 senior members of their 1956 team won letters.

"We had 12-15 dedicated 'B' squad (JV) players who got their butt kicked every day," said Joe Cygler, a running back on the ’56 team. "They were as much a part of team as the starters. We wanted them to be a part of this, too."

So in 1996,  three years after the first tournament, all former Army football players, letter winners or not, were welcomed to the event.   And that year,  forty years after their graduation, twelve members of the 1956 team  were in attendance at that tournament, and eight of them played golf.

This year, counting members of the Army coaching staff, there will be some 240 players teeing off, five from the 1956 team.

*********** More and more, I hear radio and TV types who presumably are educated and ought to know better pronouncing General Douglas MacArthur’s last name Muh-KARR-ther.

It’s probably owing to the laziness of those who are supposed to be teaching our language, but instead let kids get away with the abomination of pronouncing “the” as “thuh”  when it precedes a vowel.  (I know, I know. “What’s a vowel?”)

There isn’t any "MUH" in the name MacArthur. 
The “A” is the same “A” as in “CAT”.  And the “K” sound belongs to the first syllable, not the second.

It is Mack-Arthur, damn it. 
That’s Scottish for Son of Arthur.  It’s what’s known as a patronymic - a last name based on the name of the father.

Not unlike what we see in so many languages -   Bogdanovic, Sergeyevich, Janowicz, O’Brien, Olafsson, Hansen, DiGiovanni, etc.

Anyhow, stop mispronouncing the man’s name.

*********** Coach- Could you please explain the “GOAL” assignment of the playside linemen on Super Power?  What exactly do you mean by “GAP,” and “ON?”

Good questions.

To answer, here’s something I’ve been working on to illustrate.  It’s going into a new Double-Wing playbook I’m working on.

Here, let’s look the right tackle on Super Power.

His assignment is GAP - ON - ANGLE LATE (Hence the acronym “GOAL”).

Basically here’s what I tell him:

Imagine yourself in a lane as wide as your shoulders.

* if the defender is in the inside of your lane - his helmet is inside yours but part of him is still in your lane -  I consider him to be threatening your gap, because if you don’t block him, the guard to your inside can’t prevent him from penetrating.    So as far as I’m concerned,  he is GAP

Our tight gaps mean that because he isn’t entirely in your lane, part of him has to be in the guard’s lane. And since the guard’s assignment is the same as yours, you will most likely be double-teaming with him

* From head-up on you to any part of him lined up in the outside of your lane - he’s ON you

Our tight gaps mean that because he isn’t entirely in your lane, part of him has to be in the Tight End’s lane. And since the Tight End’s assignment is “GAP, DOWN”, you will  be double-teaming with him

* And if no one is in your GAP or ON you, you will come inside at an angle - you will not fire out straight ahead - and you will do so after a slight delay to make sure that no one is threatening your area after the ball is snapped.


To illustrate, here’s a test:
GOAL WHO TO BLOCK

1: ON - (A DOUBLE-TEAM WITH THE TE)
2: ON - (A DOUBLE-TEAM WITH THE TE)
3: ON - (A DOUBLE-TEAM WITH THE TE)
4: ON - (A DOUBLE-TEAM WITH THE TE)
5: GAP - (LIKELY A DOUBLE-TEAM WITH THE GUARD)
6: ANGLE LATE - (LIKELY A DOUBLE-TEAM WITH THE GUARD)
7. GAP - (LIKELY A DOUBLE-TEAM WITH THE GUARD)
8. GAP - (COULD BE BLOCKED AS “ON” BUT THERE IS NO CHANCE OF A DOUBLE-TEAM WITH THE TE)
9. GAP -  (LIKELY A DOUBLE-TEAM WITH THE GUARD)

Please let me know if that makes sense to you because I’m the teacher and it’s my job to make myself clear.


That's very clear. I have never thought of it like that before. The lane idea is helpful.

I would worry in # 3 that blocking the man in a 5 would open up an area for the defense to run through. How does the tackle protect the b gap?

Good question: as with all Double-teams, the tackle keeps his “wing” up and his eyes on the backer to his inside. If that man attacks him - but only if he attacks him - the tackle picks him up.  I do not teach the combo block, because my experience is that kids have a tendency to leave the Double-Team way before they should. That goes against the grain of my teaching them to stay with their blocks. Mainly, that B-Gap will be plugged by our backside tackle, whose job is to slide sideways and insert himself in the first hole he sees.

Yes it does. I had never heard you say that you wanted the inside man to come off a double team. But if the linebacker attacks the tackle it makes sense. The lane idea is very helpful. I will use that with my team.

I've run this offense for years and have always had the tackle angle down if a man was that far outside thinking we needed to protect our inside gap.  That certainly gives me something to think about.

If you get that great double-team with the Tackle and the TE, half your worries are over.  If you don’t get it, and the TE has to block that man all by himself, I don’t think you’ll have much of a play. Most defensive tackles are tougher than most tight ends, but I haven’t seen many that can stand up to a good double-team.

*********** And you wonder why big-time college coaches are a paranoid lot...

The SEC meetings are under way, and no fewer than five conference coaches - every one of whom was considered good enough at the time of his hiring to be given a multi-million dollar contract - are rumored to be on the hot seat:  Bret Bielema of Arkansas, Hugh Freeze of Ole Miss, Butch Jones of Tennessee,  Gus Malzahn of Auburn, Kevin Sumlin of Texas A & M.

The hell of it is, as tough as that conference is, there's a good chance that at least three of those guys won't be at those places this time next year.


***********  It doesn't stop...

In the London Tube (subway), no more "Ladies and Gentlemen..."

The "ladies and gentlemen" greeting on Tube announcements is to be scrapped, Transport for London (TfL) has announced.

London Underground staff have been told to say "hello everyone" in an effort to become more gender-neutral.

TfL said the move was to ensure all passengers felt "welcome".

LGBT campaign group Stonewall welcomed the decision, which was supported by London mayor Sadiq Khan at a session of Mayor's Question Time last month.

The revised phrasing will be applied to all new pre-recorded announcements made across the capital's transport network.

Mark Evers, director of customer strategy at TfL, said: "We want everyone to feel welcome on our transport network.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-40591750

*********** Really interesting blog today. Especially enjoyed your reply to CharlieWilson, as well as the two vids of Tommy Casanova speaking about Cholly Mac.  Also wanted to say your reply to my "poseur" story made me laugh. Thanks for the effort you put into this project.

Finally, a comment about the Tampa Bay Times (formerly SP Times), the largest-circulation newspaper in Florida: I've sent numerous emails to their sportswriters imploring them to purge politics from sports, but of course they haven't changed. Except for one man, the TB Rays beat writer, Mark Topkin. I saw him last week and told him that since he penned his first column in 1997 I suppose I've read all of them but a handful, and in all that time not a word of politics. He might be a rad lib like the rest of that staff, but if so he keeps it well-disguised, and...that's all many of us ask for. I wish Mr. Trump would call off the WH visits for sportspeople, except maybe Olympians. Separation of sport and politics would be nice.

John Vermillion
St. Petersburg, Florida

***********  Hugh,

SC Justice Roberts hit that MS commencement speech out of the park.  And... you're likely going to be right that there will be parents of some of those youngsters that thought he was "out of line".  We are just getting hit by the "snowstorm" of the century and it has nothing to do with the weather.

The traditional Wing-T may not be alive and well in college, but a shotgun spread version of it is.  It's just that college coaches who run Auburn's offense (or anything similar) won't ever admit that the roots of Malzahn's offense is embedded in the Wing-T.  Although Gus will need to kick it up a few notches this year if he plans on staying at Auburn.  As you say... no college AD in his/her right mind would ever consider tagging the football team's offense with any reference to the "Wing-T".

Best advice I can give a young high school coach interviewing for a head coaching job who has designs on running the Wing-T call the offense something else when asked the question.

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

***********  THE 2017 COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS

PLAYERS:
    •    BOB CRABLE - LB, Notre Dame (1978-81)
    •    MARSHALL FAULK - RB, San Diego State (1991-93)
    •    KIRK GIBSON - WR, Michigan State (1975-78)
    •    MATT LEINART - QB, Southern California (2003-05)
    •    PEYTON MANNING - QB, Tennessee (1994-97)
    •    BOB McKAY - OT, Texas (1968-69)
    •    DAT NGUYEN - LB, Texas A&M (1995-98)
    •    ADRIAN PETERSON - RB, Georgia Southern (1998-2001) (NO, THIS IS NOT A MISTAKE!)
    •    MIKE RUTH - NG, Boston College (1982-85)
    •    BRIAN URLACHER - DB, New Mexico (1996-99)

COACHES: 
    •    DANNY FORD - 122-59-5 (66.9%); Clemson (1978-89), Arkansas (1993-97)
    •    LARRY KEHRES - 332-24-3 (92.9%); Mount Union (Ohio) (1986-2012)
    •    STEVE SPURRIER - 228-89-2 (71.8%); Duke (1987-89), Florida (1990-2001), South Carolina (2005-15)


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING MARLIN BRISCOE:

KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND,  WASHINGTON
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA (Strat-O-Matic Football game was a big help here, as was the fact that my 1st head coaching job was in Beatrice, NE) - to show off my knowledge, ,  that's "Be-AT-riss"
JERRY LOVELL - BELLEVUE, NEBRASKA - (Unfortunately, his statue came long after UNO put the dagger to college football in a midnight maneuver similar to the Colts move to Indianapolis.  The wrestling program was cut the same night.)
http://www.omaha.com/uno/omaha-football-legend-marlin-briscoe-immortalized-in-statue-unveiled-friday/article_5649d096-81ad-11e6-84be-df598b262298.html

http://deadspin.com/5781496/nebraska-omaha-wrestlers-win-national-title-lose-program


*********** Marlin  Briscoe enjoyed a nine-year pro career with six different teams.

He was named all-pro in 1970 as a wide receiver.

He played on two Dolphins' Super Bowl championship teams.

Despite the presence of Hall-of-Fame receiver Paul Warfield, Briscoe was the receiver  who led the 1972 undefeated Dolphins in touchdown catches, and he was the leading receiver on their 1973 team.

Nicknamed "Marlin the Magician"  for his spectacular play at quarterback at Omaha, he was  drafted by the Denver Broncos of the  AFL  but, undersized, he was switched to defensive back.  Midway through his rookie season (1968) he took over as QB in mid-season when the starter was hurt, and he wound up starting five games - which made him the first-ever black quarterback of a pro football team.   (In case you didn't know the name of the first pro coach to start a black quarterback - it was Lou Saban.)


QUIZ - He was recruited out of Honolulu’s St. Louis Prep and played for a West Coast Catholic college.  Although the school no longer plays the game, with him at single-wing tailback, it enjoyed great success in the post-war years, beating USC and losing only to UCLA his senior year, and playing in the Sugar Bowl.

Only five players were named to the All-American backfield that year, and he was one of them, along with Army’s Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis, Alabama’s Harry Gilmer, and Oklahoma A & M’s Bob Fenimore.

He finished fourth in the Heisman voting - at the time, the highest-ever finish for a “non-white” player, and until Marcus Mariota’s Heisman win in 2014, he was the only native Hawaiian ever to become a  Heisman finalist.

After a brief pro career with the Los Angeles Dons in the AAFC, he returned to his native Hawaii to go into business.

Later in life, he enjoyed a second career for which he became even more famous, when he played officer Duke Lukela in the very popular TV series, "Hawaii Five-0."

In 1979, he became the first native Hawaiian to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.






american flag TUESDAY,  JULY 11,  2017  - “Every serious achievement in education involves forgetting yourself.”  Larry Arrn, President, Hillsdale College

*********** I think of all the fools from the world of sports and entertainment who speak at college graduations - because the graduates want to hear the kind of rot they can hear every night on TV after the 11 o'clock news.

But it takes a Supreme Court Chief Justice, speaking at his son's middle school graduation, to say someting that every person who ever graduates from anywhere - and for that matter, every person who has ever graduated from anywhere - needs to hear.  It is absolutely the greatest bit of wisdom I have ever heard conferred on a graduating class.

As printed in Saturday's Wall Street Journal... Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts speaking at his son’s middle-school graduation, June 3:
From time to time in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time so that you don’t take friends for granted. I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either. And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then, your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship. I hope you’ll be ignored so you know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion. Whether I wish these things or not, they’re going to happen. And whether you benefit from them or not will depend upon your ability to see the message in your misfortunes.

The hell of it is, there were probably parents present who will complain that the speech was "inappropriate," "negative," "frightening."


***********  I think there’s a conspiracy between ESPN and the NFL to make sure nobody gets to like the CFL too much.

We planned the perfect end to our Saturday at the beach: the CFL game
- Hamilton at Saskatchewan -  due to come on at 7 PM .   On ESPN2.

Went out and picked up some food, poured my wife a glass of wine and myself a cold one, sat down and and turned on the tube.

Uh-oh.  At 7 PM sharp,  ESPN2 was still televising a softball game.  An important softball game, no doubt - USA vs Australia - but a softball game nonetheless. That was bad news enough, but even worse - it was just the second inning.

At some point a voice came over the air telling us that the CFL Football Game Originally Scheduled, blah, blah, blah could be seen on ESPN News. 

But ESPN News was broadcasting NBA Summer League basketball.  I don’t know whose rookies were playing, but there was 8:53 left.  You realize, don’t you, how long that can take when two NBA teams are playing?

But, mercifully, ESPN News cut away - to Sportscenter.

I thought cell phones and social media had made Sportscenter obsolete, but there it was.

Finally, God knows how, we got to the CFL game.

And then, with 7:04 left in the game, we suddenly cut back to Sportscenter, and after a few minutes of blather, we were advised to go back to ESPN2 - and watch the CFL game in its entirety.

*********** Maybe it’s not soccer that we hate after all - maybe it’s the soccer parents.  They  probably would have been a$$holes even if their kids had never played soccer, but since the kids start playing when they’re still in diapers, by the time they’re 10 or 11, their parents are full-fledged, bona fide a$$holes.

In South Carolina, they’re threatening to kill the sport for the kids.

Kenneth Ayers, State Referee Administrator for the South Carolina Referee Association, says soccer faces a crisis in his state -  a statewide shortage of soccer officials. "Our referees get certified in August,” he says,  “their first games are in September, and quite often we have referees that go out and referee one weekend in September and never come back.” he said.  The  number one reason?  “The sideline behavior of the parents and fans."

"They're learning to referee while these young kids are learning to play the game,” he said,  “and the parents or fans are constantly heckling, yelling at, berating these young referees. Over the last couple years, we've gotten to the point where we've had a number of referee assault cases. We've had a couple instances in the last year where parents have actually entered the field and physically assaulted a youth referee.”

As a result of the effect heckling and poor behavior in general have had on its ability to retain referees, the South Carolina Youth Soccer Association has called for a  "Silent September" for all  league games at all levels.

According to the memo distributed by the SCYSA, there will be "no cheering, no jeering" on the part of "parents and visitors."

The idea is to give new referees, often teenagers, a chance to get a little experience without having to deal with a$$hole parents.

"It's kind of embarrassing for our sport," said Jimmy George, Director of Coaching for the Clemson Anderson Soccer Alliance. "I've played this game since I was 6. I'm getting ready to turn 40. Where has our sport gone? Where has our society gone?"

(Wish I could say that football parents are better.)

http://www.thestate.com/news/local/article159852429.html


*********** Parseghian ran the Wing-T at ND and won a National Championship with it.  Pitt ran the Veer and won a NC.

The Wing-T was not "decisively" Defensed.  Devine simply moved incrementally away from it.  One could argue that the Veer was Defensed, although not like, "Richie Pettibone decisively defensed the Run and Shoot with his "Zone Drop Defense" (Or whatever it ended up being called). 

The Offenses are now "For HS Only". 

Has anyone determined why the Wing-T dropped off the face of the earth? The Base Power is still seen from time to time but not the Offense itself.  Why?

Charlie Wilson
Crystal River, Florida

Charlie-

I’m assuming that you’re talking about college, because there are still many highly successful high school teams running the wing-T and also the veer.

But at the college level, there are several reasons.  Not necessarily all of them, and not necessarily in any order:

1. Money.  Colleges really do need it, not only to pay for their minor sports and women’s sports, but also to keep up with their competitors in the arms race. It doesn’t matter if your team wins - you have to play entertaining, easy-to-understand football in order to draw fans to the stands and eyeballs to the screen.

2. Entertainment (closely related to #1).  For various reasons (including the influence of Madden) people are thrilled by seeing footballs in the air.  Pepper Rodgers once told me at a clinic that the only thing wrong with the wishbone (which he’d been running with great success at UCLA) was that “the alumni hate it, because they can’t find the ball.”

3. Rules.  The rules increasingly favor the passing game. I could write a couple of paragraphs on this alone.

4. Safety.  Other than the horrendous shots defensive backs take at helpless receivers, it seems to me that overall, the passing game results in fewer injuries since on most pass plays there are guys on the field who don’t even take part in the play.

5. Off-season.  Passing is fun.  Kids will work on throwing and catching to improve their skills. Simply add linemen and pads to that stuff you’re been working on all summer in 7-on-7 games and you’ve got 90 per cent of your offense in.  What can a wing-T coach or a veer coach do in the summer that’s fun yet transferrable to his real offense?

6. Women.  The NFL realizes that women are a major part of their audience - and a major part of the market for NFL-licensed apparel - and it stands to reason that without a background in the game, they would be more excited by watching a ball fly through the air as receivers and defenders do acrobatic things than by watching a guy trying to run through a mass of  300-pounders.  Colleges have figured this out, too.

7. The upward pull of the NFL.  Players with NFL aspirations are less likely to go to a college that plays a less-wide-open offense that’s not conducive to developing them for the NFL.  Coaches with NFL aspirations are less likely to run an offense that has no place at the “next level.”

8. The influence of the tube.  When about all you see is spread offenses, anything else looks strange and out of place.  How many times in a season do you turn on the TV and see a college team - even a D-III team - running an offense with two running backs and a tight end? You scarcely see a QB under center now.

9. The influence of video games. They’ve made kids sophisticated enough that they know there’s more to the game than just running the ball off-tackle.  (And besides -  the games are rigged so that the protection always holds up, the passes are always accurate, the receivers always run good routes, and they always make the catch.)

10. Fear of being left an orphan.   A wise athletic director realizes that if he hires a run-first coach, that coach will of course recruit to fill his needs.  But after stocking up on running backs and tight ends - and scaring away wide receivers - when it comes time to have to replace that coach, there’s a very small pool
of run-oriented coaches to choose from.  And if you hire a passing guy, the cupboard’s going to be bare for a year or two while he retools.


*********** "We’ve reached a pathetic and dangerous point in our culture where anyone who celebrates our traditional culture, our country, and, now, our civilization must be doing so for base and evil reasons. Today, all other cultures must be celebrated while every ill is blamed on us. This is, to borrow a phrase from social science, garbage thinking. Slavery is a human universal, appearing in every culture around the world. What makes the West unique is not that we had slavery, but that we put an end to it because it was not compatible with our values. The same goes for nearly every charge in the indictment against the West, from racism and misogyny to imperialism and war. " Jonah Goldberg


***********
Buddy Parker remains the last coach to win an NFL title in Detroit.  In 1953. This is  from his 1955 book, “We Play to Win - The Inside Story of the Fabulous Detroit Lions.”   (That may be the last time the word "fabulous" was ever used in connection with the Lions.)

It used to be a point of pride with some football coaches to see how many plays they could include in their offense.

In the early days of the “T” formation George Halas had more than 300 plays in his Chicago Bears’ offense.  I remember Sid Luckman often telling that it took him most of his first year with the Bears just to learn all of Halas’ plays.

The late Francis A. Schmidt, who coached at Texas Christian, Ohio State and Idaho, was another who thrived on a gigantic accumulation of plays.  Schmidt had so many plays that his teams never really had a chance to learn them all. On the practice field, Schmidt would show the players a “flash card” with the play diagrammed on it.  Then they would run it and he’d go to another play.

Not even Schmidt’s quarterbacks could learn all his plays and at times this led to comical circumstances. There was the afternoon in 1936 when Ohio State played Notre Dame. 

The Buckeyes’ quarterback that day was William Harrison “Tippy” Dye, a mite who weighed only 145 pounds when wringing wet.   Tippy is now the highly successful head basketball coach at the University of Washington.

This day, one of the big Irish linemen hit Dye with a jarring tackle.  His headgear became dislodged as he hit the ground, and out of his head spilled several dozen index cards on which the Ohio plays had been written.

The wind blew the play cards to the four corners of the stadium, and play had to be halted for a few minutes while the Buckeyes scurried about, reclaiming their “offense.”


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING CHARLIE MCCLENDON:

GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON

*********** John Vermillion, of St. Petersburg (Florida, not Russia), wrote me…

I’m sure you, Mr. Omniscient Football Man, know of the staff Blanton Collier had at UK. I went to school one year in Lexington, where Mrs. Arnsparger was my 7th-grade teacher. It was quite an assemblage of talent.

In 1974, Sports Illustrated had this to say in its People section about Collier:
University of Kentucky football fans were unhappy with Coach Blanton Collier in 1959, and they wrote a lot of letters complaining and asking that he and his incompetent aides be gone. The staff was gone by 1961. Of the eight coaches, exactly eight went on to success in pro football, five of them becoming NFL head coaches. Beginning from the left, they are Ed Rutledge, an NFL scout; Howie Schnellenberger, head coach at Baltimore; Ermal Allen, assistant coach at Dallas; Collier, who succeeded Paul Brown at Cleveland and won an NFL championship; Don Shula, of whom you may have heard; John North, head coach of New Orleans; Bob Cummings, his assistant; and Bill Arnsparger, who is taking over the New York Giants. Another Collier assistant, Chuck Knox, was on the staff in 1961 but not in 1959. He was just named Coach of the Year following his first season with the Los Angeles Rams. Fired anybody else lately, Kentucky?
Many years later, while in school at the Univ. of South Carolina, I attended practice every day. I was attired in Gamecock gear and was standing there when Ermal Allen (who then bore the title Asst Head Coach of the Cowboys), whom I knew by sight, walked in and thought I was a coach. He was interested in Steve Courson (who later died a tragic death when a tree fell on him) and a wide receiver. He asked about their medical history, practice habits, and a few other things. I didn't say I was a coach, but didn't say I wasn't either. I answered his questions pretty comprehensively, I thought, and he said, "Thanks much, Coachman. Can you point in the direction of Coach Carlen?" "Yep, he's over there with the linebackers," I answered, and promptly left the field.


*********** A native of Arkansas, Charlie McClendon’s high school didn’t have a football team, so as a result he never played a down of football until after World War II service in the Navy, when he attended a junior college.  After two years there,  he transferred to Kentucky and  played under Bear Bryant.

After just one year as an assistant at Vanderbilt, he went to LSU in 1953 as an assistant to Paul Dietzel, and as LSU’s defensive coordinator, he helped the Tigers win the National Championship in 1958.

In 1962, he got his first - and only - head coaching job when Dietzel left LSU to go to Army.

He stayed at LSU for 18 years, the longest tenure of any coach in the school’s history.  He compiled a record of 137-59-7, the most wins of any coach in the school’s history, and took his team to 13 bowl games.  He had only one losing season (5-6) and his teams finished in the Top Ten on five occasions.

Some of the  outstanding players he coached at LSU were Bert Jones,  Jerry Stovall,  Charles Alexander and Tommy Casanova.

After retiring from coaching, he spent 13 years as the Executive Director of the American Football Coaches Association.

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/10/sports/charlie-mcclendon-78-hall-of-fame-football-coach.html

**********  How good a coach was “Cholly Mac?”

I’ll let Tommy Casanova tell you.

Thanks to Josh Montgomery, of Berwick, Louisiana, for putting me onto this interview with Casanova, in which  the LSU great - the  only three-time All-American in the Tigers’ history - delivers one of the greatest tributes to a coach I've ever heard.

https://youtu.be/VD4rC0v64KQ

The Tommy Casanova interview came early in a link Josh Montgomery sent me - a link to an article in NOLA about the Top Athletes from Louisiana’s 64 Parishes (Counties to non-Louisianans).

The very first Parish, alphabetically,  was Acadia (the word “Cajun” is a corruption of “Acadian”) and the top athlete from Acadia Parish was Tommy Casanova.

Here’s part one:

http://www.nola.com/lsu/index.ssf/2017/07/top_athletes_from_each_of_loui.html

And here’s part two:

http://www.nola.com/lsu/index.ssf/2017/07/top_athletes_from_each_of_loui_1.html

I’m telling’ ya - from north to south, that state has turned out some good ones.

*********** QUIZ - He enjoyed a nine-year pro career with six different teams.

He was named all-pro in 1970 as a wide receiver.

He played on two Super Bowl championship teams.

Despite playing on the same team with Hall-of-Fame receiver Paul Warfield, he led the 1972 undefeated Dolphins in touchdown catches, and was the leading receiver on their 1973 team.

He was a record-breaking small-college quarterback and he was  drafted by an AFL team but, undersized, was switched to defensive back.  Midway through his rookie season (1968) he took over as QB in mid-season when the starter was hurt, and he wound up starting five games - which made him the first-ever black quarterback of a pro football team.


american flag FRIDAY,  JULY 7,  2017  - “Happiness begins where selfishness ends.” John Wooden


*********** Nearly 30 years ago, I spent a summer as an intern in the LSU Athletic Department, and while I was there I had the great privilege of getting to know the Tigers’ baseball coach, Skip Bertman.  Skip, who  would later become the AD at LSU, had arrived a few years earlier from Miami, where he’d been associate head coach under the great Ron Fraser. Skip hadn’t yet won one of the five College World Series titles that he’d win in his 18 years as head coach in Baton Rouge, but it was obvious in talking with him that he was the real deal.

One of the things that always stuck with me was his saying how subtle he had to be when he was trying to get his players to think about a career other than baseball.  These were top-notch athletes, who had always been the best player on their team, or in their town or county or state, all their lives, and now he had to be the first one ever to suggest that maybe - just maybe - they might need something besides baseball to “fall back on,” as the old cliche went.

He said he’d start out by saying, “Look - you know, and I know, that you’re going to be playing in the majors someday.  But just in case…”

This conversation with Skip Bertman came rushing back to me when I read an article sent to me about the lengths to which the football programs at Clemson and Cal are going to provide for their players - “just in case.”

As much as I despise the NCAA, this looks like an area for it to get into.

Instead of building luxurious facilities that simply foster the culture of athletic entitlement and promote materialism, colleges should begin spending their money on programs like Clemson’s and Cal’s.

And then the big-time schools would have to recruit on the basis of who can do the most for players once their usefulness to the football team is at an end.

Wouldn’t that benefit the players more in the long run than a couple of thousand dollars a year walking-around money?

http://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/19758226/clemson-tigers-cal-bears-robust-development-programs-preparing-players-life-football


*********** John McEnroe caught hell recently for saying that Serena Williams was the best female player of all time.  What he did not say, as his female questioner wanted him too, was that she was the best ever, male or female.

No, he refused to play the PC game - and feminists,   the “we can do anything men can do” crowd,  went nuts.

Never mind that   everybody who understands tennis knows that as great as Serena Williams is, there are at least 500 men in the world who could beat her.  Even Ms. Williams knows this.

Simply put, men on the whole are bigger, stronger and faster than women - a biological fact that our military, in its drive to someday have a female Chief of Staff, seems willing to overlook.

Fortunately, to help settle once and for all the issue of God’s unequal distribution of talents,   Joey Chestnut stepped up. Mr. Chestnut, the world famous competitive eater,  has made  eating more hot dogs than any other human being on  July 4 an American tradition.

In doing so, he provides, every year,  a  clear, convincing example of male physical superiority.

Tuesday, he wolfed down 72 hot dogs - buns and all - in 10 minutes. The second-place finisher, a guy from New Jersey named Carmen Cincotti, could manage “only” 64.  Matt Stonie, whose defeat of Chestnut in 2015 is Chestnut’s only July 4 loss since 2007, finished third, with 48.

Over on the ladies’ side? The winner, Miki Sudo ate 41. Are you kidding me? Forty-f—king One hot dogs?  I don’t hear any feminists, arguing that she’s the greatest hot dog eater of all time, male or female.

Keep believing in Wonder Woman all you want, girls, but the evidence is in.  Forget competing against men.  It’s useless. Your biggest worry isn’t men, anyhow - it’s all the damn scammers starting to “identify” as women. If you're not careful,  there aren't going to be any women's sport left.


AFL Ball*********** A birthday present  from Down Under, its an official Australian Football League ball, a special indigenous art edition, designed by Gavin Wanganeen, “Indigenous artist and AFL legend.”

The official explanation of the art:

“There are 18 circles on the ball, with each circle representing one of the 18 clubs in the AFL competition. Even though Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians make up approximately 3 per cent of the population in Australia, they make up close to 11 per cent of players in the men’s league. In 2017, every AFL club will have Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander players on their list and so these circles are significant as they represent opportunity for current and future Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander generations. As a 300-game player this is particularly personal to me, as I was once one of those kids, chasing my dream to play in the Australian Football League.”

Which got me and my son, Ed, who grew up in the States but now lives in Australia, wondering which of the major American sports leagues might do something similar.

Soccer? (Can't you read???  I said “major.”)  Next -

Baseball?  Are you kidding me?  They only mess with the ball when they think the pitchers are getting too far ahead of the hitters.  And in fairness, it really would be a different game if hitters couldn’t depend on seeing  a white ball with red stitches. Next -

Hockey? The puck is way too small to be used as an object of art. Next -

Football?  The NFL’s so worried about proper inflation that it wouldn’t even want to consider the idea - even if it could get the Player’s Association to approve. Yikes. I can already hear the wide receivers howling. Next -

Basketball? Bingo. We both agreed that if anybody’s going to do it, it’s the fan-friendly NBA.  Remember the old ABA and that red-white-and-blue ball? That sucker was popular with kids, and it didn’t seem to affect the ABA’s game. Actually when you think of it, you need  to see the ball to catch a pass, but you don't need to see the ball to shoot it.  In my opinion, it was a huge mistake for the NBA not to adopt that ball -  as it did the 3-point shot - when the leagues merged.


*********** This past June, there were six homes in the Los Angeles area,  built in the 1930s and 1940s, that  were on sale for prices ranging from $2.4 million to $88 million. They were all designed by one man.

The architect was  Paul Revere Williams, and  in 1923 he became the first black architect to be admitted to the American Institute of Architects.

It’s not easy to identify a house as one of his, because he didn’t have a signature style.   Instead of forcing his ideas on his clients, he tended to give them what they wanted.

Although his work was widely admired, and many of his houses were bought by the rich and famous of Hollywood, his clients were not exactly color blind, and he knew it.

For example, he wrote in a 1937 article that he learned to draw his renderings of houses upside-down,  so that his white clients could sit opposite him, rather than feeling forced to sit beside him.

 

*********** A coach who’s been looking at the Open Wing asked…

Is there any merit in just blocking your West 6-G-O play as an X block between the tight end and the tight tackle with the backside power pull and the wing inserting?  Just curious.


6-XMy answer:


Under certain circumstances - given the right defensive alignment - there is a lot of merit to a 6-XO.



For sure, against an Okie front, it could be something of a key breaker, with the Tight Guard firing out on the Tight side backer.



And I could see it working against a 3-5-3, or  4-4 or possibly even a 4-2-5 look.



But against a defense with an aggressive “3” technique player, which we see a fair amount of,  I have my doubts about a tight end’s ability to get down on that guy.













*********** Keyshawn Johnson may have been a jerk as a player (“Just give me the Damn Ball,” “written”  (as told to Shelly Smith) after just one year in the NFL), but he sounds as though he may have the makings of a good father.

When his son, Keyshawn, Jr., had to take a “leave of absence” from the Nebraska  team after being caught with marijuana in his dorm room,  Keyshawn, Sr. went off.

"You're in college now," Johnson Sr.  told the Omaha World-Herald. "You're an adult. You're not a kid. You take a look at it from afar and let me know how important it is to you."

Added Dad, "One thing you will not do as my son is you will not embarrass Nebraska, you will not embarrass Mike Riley and you will not embarrass this family. If you mature and you're ready to resume your football career and academic goals, then Nebraska will be ready to embrace you."

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/bigten/2017/06/21/keyshawn-johnson-chastises-son-keyshawn-johnson-jr-marijuana-possession-citation/416078001/

*********** I played high school football a long time ago, and many of the guys I played with are dead now. But I’ve been saying for years now, ever since this whole concussion hysteria started, that no one that I’m aware of ever showed signs of mental problems that could be associated with their having played football.

Now comes a new study suggesting that there is no connection between playing football and cognitive problems later in life.

Well, er, not exactly.

High school football, anyhow - that’s all it measured.

Oh - and  high school football the way it was played when I played - it studied a group of men who graduated from high school in Wisconsin in 1957.  That was a year after I graduated.

Some of the men had played high school football and some hadn’t. The study, published in the Journal of the American medical Association (JAMA), found that  playing football  did not lead to cognitive impairment by age 65, and those who had played football  were actually slightly less likely to have experienced  depression.

Up to now, most studies linking football and a head injury that has come to be known as CTE have been done using the  brains of former football players,  donated by relatives who suspected that something had been wrong. On top of that, the subjects had been professional football players.  “There was very limited studies on the long-term effects for more limited exposure like high-school exposure,” says Dylan Small,  a co-author of the study and a statistician at the University of Pennsylvania.

Before any of us jumps to conclusions - FOOTBALL IS GOOD FOR THE BRAIN! -this study does not deal with today’s players, playing today’s game.

The game was different when I played. Today’s game is much more aggressive, and I attribute that to the use of the helmet as a weapon.

At the time I played,  the transition to plastic helmets was almost complete, although some players still wore leather helmets.  The inner protective cushioning  of the various sorts of plastic helmets ran the gamut from all-foam to canvas strapping.  Almost no one wore face gear (I was the first on my team to wear face protection - a simple plastic bar across the mouth.)  None of my teammates wore a mouthpiece.

We tackled low, around the legs.  No one led with his helmet.

The point of tackling was to bring the ball carrier down. I don’t recall ever hearing the word “punish” associated with it.

At some point, the helmet became widely used as a weapon, and  while the people in charge of our game passed rules to try to curtail the practice, the reality is that out on the field, little has been done to make our game safer.

Part of the problem is that the penalty for leading with the crown of the helmet - or hitting above the shoulder -  has been made so severe that officials are reluctant to call it.

My suggestion - all tackles must appear to involve an attempt to wrap with the arms. This means that  at the moment of contact the hands must be extended ahead of the helmet.  That way, a tackler would be more concerned with tackling, and less with punishing.

Oh,  and one more thing, while I'm still king - a penalty box, like ice hockey and  many field sports - the offender to be removed from the game (and his team  to play a man short) for four plays from scrimmage.


https://www.theverge.com/2017/7/3/15913454/high-school-football-concussion-health-chronic-traumatic-encephalopathy

http://footballscoop.com/news/study-no-association-playing-hs-football-cognitive-impairment-depression-later-life/


*********** Gene Conley died.  A great two-sport athlete, he played on a World Series winner (Milwaukee Braves) and an NBA champion (Boston Celtics)

And, playing in a a time when there was very little movement between leagues, there can't be many  guys like him, guys who played for both the Boston Braves and Boston Red Sox.

One thing that pisses me off is that stories about him mention his being born in Oklahoma, without also mentioning that he went to high school in Richland, Washington and then went to Washington State, where he pitched the baseball team  to the College World Series, and was leading scorer on the Cougars’ basketball team.

http://www.wcvb.com/article/boston-mourns-former-sox-celtics-player-gene-conley/10262881


QUIZ - Vito “Babe” Parilli was among the first in a long line of great  quarterbacks to come out of Western Pennsylvania, and he was among the first of Bear Bryant’s outstanding quarterbacks.

He took Kentucky, far better known as a basketball power, to three straight bowl game wins - Orange, Sugar and Cotton -  and in one of them, the 1951 Sugar Bowl, he led the Wildcats to an upset of top-ranked Oklahoma.  Nicknamed “Sweet Kentucky Babe,”  was an All-American, and the runner-up in the Heisman Trophy balloting.

He was a first round draft choice of the Green Bay Packers - the fourth selection overall - but for several seasons he went back and forth between the NFL and the CFL until with the founding of the American Football League he landed a job with the Raiders.  He was traded to the Patriots, where he spent seven seasons as their starter. He spent his final two seasons with the Jets, backing up Joe Namath.

He is one of only 20 players to have played in the AFL for the entire ten years of its existence.

Babe Parilli was head coach of two different World Football League teams - the New York Stars in 1974 and the Chicago Winds in 1975.

He finished out his coaching career with several stops in the Arena Football League.

He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame.

(I screwed up by originally calling the Babe the “first” of the Bear’s great QBs.  I totally overlooked  George Blanda, who also came out of Western PA, and also  at Kentucky  - before Parilli. No, Blanda never won three bowl games - at Kentucky, yet! - and Blanda never played in the CFL or backed up Namath. But to those who were thrown off by my first clue, I apologize.)

*********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BABE PARILLI:
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDAc
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA - Ouch!...Babe certainly blamed centers for all QB/C exchanges I can tell you that!!! (“Coach Kaz,” as a rookie out of Western Illinois, played center for the New York Stars, Babe Parilli’s first head coaching stop.)
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK - Babe coached me in 1994 in Las Vegas and in 1996 in Anaheim in the Arena Football league where I played center and nose guard playing ironman football. Man the guy had to be 66 or 67 at the time and could still throw pretty well.  Great guy and a great coach. On the phone with him a few months back, I sent him a few football cards to sign and the stories he told. Coached by Weeb Ewbank, Vince Lombardi, and the great Bear Bryant. He still thinks to this day Lombardi got rid of him because he beat Lombardi in a game of golf and everyone warned him "don't beat the boss.” Babe is 86, still plays golf as much as a he can - lives in Denver.
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA

*********** QUIZ - A native of Arkansas, his high school didn’t have a football team, and he never played a down of football until after World War II service in the Navy, when he attended a junior college.  After two years there,  he transferred to Kentucky and  played under Bear Bryant.

After just one year as an assistant at Vanderbilt, he went to LSU in 1953 as an assistant to Paul Dietzel, and as LSU’s defensive coordinator, he helped the Tigers win the National Championship in 1958.

In 1962, he got his first - and only - head coaching job.

He stayed for 18 years, the longest tenure of any coach in the school’s history.  He compiled a record of 137-59-7, the most wins of any coach in the school’s history, and took his team to 13 bowl games.  He had only one losing season (5-6) and his teams finished in the Top Ten on five occasions.

Some of the  outstanding players he coached were Bert Jones,  Jerry Stovall,  Charles Alexander and Tommy Casanova.

After retiring from coaching, he spent 13 years as the Executive Director of the American Football Coaches Association.


american flag TUESDAY,  JULY 4,  2017  - “Little things make the difference. Everyone is well prepared in the big things, but only the winners perfect the little things.” Bear Bryant

*********** Happy July 4. It's the one day of the year I hate my town.   After years of people complaining about the near-war conditions forced on us by the a&&holes who enjoy setting off explosives in the dead of night, the city fathers finally got around to restricting the use of fireworks to July 3 and 4 only.  Big deal. Enforcement is another matter.  Last night (Sunday, July 2) we were awakened after midnight by patriots noisily wishing our nation a Happy Birthday. (Actually, after watching Jesse Watters' interviews of brain-dead college students, I rather doubt that any of them have any idea why July 4 is a holiday.  Or what date the Fourth of July falls on.) 

For people with pets, it's a very unpleasant time.

Oh, well.  What can't be cured must be endured.  Happy July 4.

*********** Hugh:

I hope all is well.  Your blurb about Bill George reminded me about a few things I learned about him when I was President of the Bill George Youth Football League for nine years and a rep/coach for another seven.. It is a  league that has always been the standard for youth football since the 1960's. Hundreds of leagues have come and gone, including the "play for a National Championship in Florida" ones that keep popping up from the woodwork but the BGYFL has always remained strong.
Bill Pope was a founding father of the BGYFL and its President from 1963-1975. In 1963 Bill Pope was able to get Bill George, Joe Fortunato, and Larry Morris (the Chicago Bears first string linebacker corps off of what was to be the 1963 Championship team) to travel from franchise to franchise to pitch the new league. While all Bears players committed to make cash contributions, Bill George was the only one to send money so Bill Pope named our League after him. The cash contribution to start the BGYFL was $100.00.  
The family does not have any roots in Chicago but I did get an e-mail from a daughter who was curious about what the league was doing and why we were using her father's name?  Right away I was thinking about a law suit but after I explained what we were about  she was sooo happy that she reported back to her siblings and nieces and nephews about us.  I sent t-shirts out to some of the family members.  They were ecstatic that his name was living on with the game of football.
Raising a three year old has kept me from coaching high school but I did coach a really great group of sixth graders two years ago and I am hoping to help out with my nephew's eighth grade season this fall.  I wanted to tell you that I have only run double wing since 1998 at every level from 8 year olds to Varsity High School and my record with the offense is a winning percentage of 90%.  I have done some minor tweaking with terminology and with how we get outside but for 18 years we have won with double tight, power, trap, criss cross, base and keeps.  I still only throw 4-6 times a game and that is fine with me.  I also still lead with my QB on super power.......Although, I may have him boot this year and I may run 7-8 plays out of West.  Every year I come up with 20 new plays or formations but then I never feel right installing most of them when what we do just works.   I am grateful ever day that I bought that VHS tape from you in 1997.  I could talk about a million things going on but that will have to wait until another day.   Have a great Holiday Weekend!!!
 

Bill Lawlor
Palatine, Illinois

I've known Coach Lawlor a long time, and I was hoping I'd hear from him.  Very good coach.  Pictured below are the backs of two "Bill George Youth Football League" tee shirts that he gave me , one in 2006 and the other in 2007, that I still wear:

BGYFL teamsBill George tee





*********** Good piece on Phil Jackson. Trying to think of anyone in the non-scandal, non-criminal, non-addiction category who has fallen further. From coaching genius and guru to laughing stock.

Ed Wyatt
Melbourne, Australia


It's Emerson: “Every hero becomes a bore at last.”

I'm trying to picture Vince Lombardi showing Aaron Rodgers - and the current Packers’ offensive line and wide receivers -  his famous Green Bay Sweep.  And getting them to run it. Over and over and over.  ("Who is this old fart, anyhow - and what does he know about football?")


https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/06/29/sports/basketball/phil-jackson-new-york-knicks.html?em_pos=medium&emc=edit_sp_20170629&nl=sports&nl_art=0&nlid=23696377&ref=headline&te=1&referer=



*********** Mark Kaczmarek, of Davenport, Iowa, just got back from a trip to Alaska. Not only was that his 50th state - but it was his entire family’s 50th.  He said his wife, Kathy deserves much of the credit - especially, he said, doing it on his “Catholic school salary.” (If you didn’t know, Catholic schools generally pay a good bit less than public schools.  ON THE OTHER HAND… .I taught one year at Portland Central Catholic, and my son taught for several years at Tacoma’s Bellarmine Prep, and our experience, and that of most people I know, is that the teaching is much more rewarding in a Catholic school. The simple fact that you have parents (plural!) who have aspirations and expectations for their kids means that the student apathy that’s become an epidemic throughout public education is seldom seen in a Catholic school.)

The fact that the Kaczmareks did it as a family is remarkable and admirable.

Our four kids had the benefit of starting out on the East Coast, where states are smaller and more easily checked off the list, and then travelling across the country when I took a job in Portland.  And we always tried to take the kids on trips.  But I doubt that any of them has been in all 57. (or was it 50?)

For our 50th wedding anniversary the kids chipped in and gave us an all-expenses-paid trip to Fargo - so my wife could pick up North Dakota, the only one she was missing.

(I read somewhere that for people trying to hit all the states, North Dakota is most often their last one.)

*********** Hi Coach!

Just finished watching the "Evolution" video and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the changes and adaptation over the years. I so appreciate you acknowledging the Raiders. That was quite a surprise.

I am tossing around getting back into coaching football after I retire from teaching next June. I have had a few offers over the past several years, however, they just never seemed right. I am very concerned about coaching something other than the DW. I don't think I could do it! This might keep me back in the youth level, but, doing what I love and believe in. I'll keep you posted!

Best,

Michael Norlock
Atascadero Raiders
Atascadero, California

Coach,

No need to apologize for staying “back in the youth level.”

Based on what I know and saw, you did a lot of really good coaching there and sent kids off to high school very well prepared.

*********** Joe Don Looney never played a down of football in Philly, which is remarkable considering all the places he did play, but for some reason, Frank Fitzpatrick of philly.com chose to write a piece about him recently.

If you never heard of the guy, or if you weren’t around in the 1960s when he played - or if you just want a good read about one of the real characters in the history of football - you owe it to yourself to read it…

http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/eagles/Remembering-football-rebel-Joe-Don-Looney-Frank-Fitzpatrick.html

*********** I mentioned what a great year Latrobe, Pennsylvania High had, with a place in the state playoff field in basketball, and a state championship in baseball.

The topper came when Latrobe’s Austin Butler was named the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Boys Athlete of the Year.

Butler, a three-sport athlete, threw for 1285 yards as quarterback of the Wildcats’  football team, led all of Western Pennsylvania in scoring in basketball, and finished sixth in the state in the javelin.

He’s going to be attending Holy Cross, where he’ll play basketball.

“It is rare to have an athlete that can not only participate in three sports, but excel in them,” Latrobe athletic director Mark Mears said. “He is certainly a very special athlete, and a very respectful and classy young man. Holy Cross landed a good one.”

And rarer, still, to have a basketball coach who won’t - very subtly, of course - point out to his top scorer the dangers of playing football.

http://triblive.com/sports/-topstories/12452488-74/latrobes-austin-butler-named-tribune-review-boys-athlete-of-the-year

*********** Good morning Hugh,

I knew there was something fishy about that USA Football Rookie Tackle idea.

Good to see that picture of you with Mike F. and his QB's.  That's Mike.  Always doing what it takes, and doing it well just because it's the right thing to do.  When it comes to his boys you won't find a union bone in his body.

Quiz answer:  "Sleepy" Jim Crowley.  One fourth of "Four Horsemen" (Crowley, Miller, Layden, Stuhldreher).  All four of them spent time coaching college football, with Miller in the shortest stint eventually becoming a lawyer.  Layden became coach of the Irish, and Stuhldreher was successful at Villanova.  Also Gus Dorais (who teamed up with Rockne as a player and introduced the forward pass in a mighty upset of Army) ended up coaching college football at Detroit U.

Have a great Fourth of July my friend, and God Bless America!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JIM CROWLEY-
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JACK TOURTILLOTTE - RANGELY, MAINE
Usually I am  terrible around quizzes but I had an interest in the "Four Horseman " so I recognized Jim Crowley. My interest stems from Adam Walsh who was a captain on the 1924 Team and its center. Walsh coached at Bowden college a couple times. Anyway I think I finally got one of the quizzes. lol
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON


*********** QUIZ:  Jim Crowley's high school coach in Green Bay, Wisconsin was Curley Lambeau, his college coach at Notre Dame was Knute Rockne, and he was Vince Lombardi’s college coach at Fordham.

He was a member of one of the most famous college backfields of all time, the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame,
four horsemen
and he was head coach of one of the most famous college lines of all time, the famed Fordham Seven Blocks of Granite.

seven blocks of granite
The right guard is Vince Lombardi; the real star of the team was center Alex Wojciechowicz (Woe-juh-HOE-wicks), who was a two-time All-American and went on to an outstanding career in the NFL with the Lions and Eagles (and I grew up in Philly, which is how I learned how to pronounce his name). "Woe-jie" is a member of the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame.

The Seven Blocks of Granite's line coach was Frank Leahy - who would go on to become one of the greatest coaches in Notre Dame history.


Jim Crowley is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

As a coach his record  at Michigan State was 22-8-3 and at Fordham it was 56-13-7.  His 1940 Fordham team played in the Cotton Bowl and his 1941 team in the Sugar Bowl.

They nicknamed him Sleepy Jim" because of his droopy eyelids, but he was anything but sleepy. He loved a good time, and as the coach at Fordham, he hobnobbed with New York's best-known  sports and show people, and after he retired as a coach he was in great demand as an after-dinner speaker.


http://www.und.com/trads/horse.html

QUIZ - He was among the first in a long line of great  quarterbacks to come out of Western Pennsylvania, and he was the first of Bear Bryant’s outstanding quarterbacks.

He took his college team, better known as a basketball power, to three straight bowl game wins - Orange, Sugar and Cotton, and in one of them, the 1951 Sugar Bowl, he led his team to an upset of top-ranked Oklahoma.  He was an All-American, and the runner-up in the Heisman Trophy balloting.

He was a first round draft choice of the Green Bay Packers - the fourth selection overall - and for several seasons he went back and forth between the NFL and the CFL until with the founding of the American Football League he landed a job with the Raiders.  He was traded to the Patriots, where he spent seven seasons as their starter. He spent his final two seasons with the Jets, backing up Joe Namath.

He is one of only 20 players to have played in the AFL for the entire ten years of its existence.

He was head coach of two different World Football League teams - the New York Stars in 1974 and the Chicago Winds in 1975.

He finished out his coaching career with several stops in the Arena Football League.

He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame.


american flag FRIDAY,  JUNE 30,  2017  - “When you are in any contest, you should work as if there were – to the very last minute – a chance to lose it. This is battle, this is politics, this is anything.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

*********** In Utah, six girls and their parents are suing to force schools to offer football as a girls’ sport.

Not much chance they’ll succeed, but you watch - since it’s too expensive for schools to add girls’ football, the court, realizing that the only option is to let them play on boys’ teams, will order the Powers That Be to make tackle football more “accessible” to girls. And the Department of Education, with its Title IX enforcement powers, will devise ways to determine whether schools are in compliance with the order. 

Not unlike the orders from the Obama administration and its nancy-boy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to do whatever is necessary to make  sure that the Marines have females in combat, and females qualify as Army Rangers, making football  more “accessible” to  girls  can only mean “making football  easier.”

Right now, of course, there’s not a huge number of girls wanting to play tackle football.

If you're into conspiracy theories,  here's where USA Football’s bright new idea, Rookie Football, comes in: its stated aim is to make football safer for our little fellas, but once football’s made easier  (sorry, “safer”) for little boys, you’ll soon see more little girls playing.

And then, with an increasing number of little girls wanting to continue to play once they get to  high school, the burden will  be on high schools to make football “more accessible” to girls.

Remember, you read it here.

http://www.sltrib.com/news/5438621-155/six-female-students-sue-school-districts

*********** The things you hear when you listen to Portland radio: “A study shows that people of color are less likely to use bike sharing”

*********** Near the small town of Gaston, Oregon, where I once coached, an injured bald eagle  was captured by Oregon State Police and turned over to the Audubon Society, which determined that it had been shot. Shooting a bald eagle is a very big deal, and the State Police and the US Fish and Wildlife Service both left phone numbers in the Portland newspaper for people to call with information about the shooting.

All the excitement over one wounded bird.  As it should be.

Meanwhile, out in open fields and up on mountain ridges all over the United States, unsightly wind farms routinely chop to pieces thousands of bald eagles, golden eagles, assorted raptors and a wide variety of other birds and bats - all with the permission of the government and the blessing of the  environmentalists.  Nobody said saving the planet wouldn’t require sacrifice.  They just forgot to tell the birds.

wahluke kids

*********** (LEFT TO RIGHT) Me, Jose Celeya, Oscar Rodriguez, Mike Foristiere, Tony Avalos

My friend Mike Foristiere coaches at Wahluke High in Mattawa, Washington, about 3-1/2 hours from me on the “dry side” (desert) of the state.

On Wednesday, he brought his three quarterbacks over to work with me - picked them up at 6:30, drove them over here and then, when we were done our workouts at 4:30, turned right around and drove them back. (The kids all had to be at work at 5 AM on Thursday.)

It says a lot about a coach who’ll do that for his kids.  Football coaches do this sort of thing all the time, I can’t help thinking that a non-coaching teacher’s-union-type wouldn’t have done it without reimbursement of some kind.

And it says a lot about the three kids, who all have summer jobs, that they’ll give up a day of work - and the money - to spend time working at getting better.

As we went through the drills - passing fundamentals in the morning and Double-Wing -specific skills in the afternoon - I was so impressed by how coachable the kids were and how much fun it was  working with them.

***********  Good morning Hugh,

I was reading through your News and was reminded of the first time I had a Rolling Rock.  I was dating my bride to be (unbeknownst to me at the time) and had decided to take her to eat and have a beer at a local Hofbrau in Fresno (yes, believe it or not we actually had TWO of those bad boys),  Their food was all home-made, and the beer menu was expansive, and being the suds doctor I was back then I was always willing to try something new.

I had visited the Hofbrau a number of times prior to meeting Bernadette.  As I mentioned the food was great, and they had just about any beer from anywhere.  Under the heading "Regionals" on the big board was one I had not noticed before from Latrobe, PA and ordered it.  Green bottle. Hmmm.  Long story short...after a knockout Reuben sandwich and about 5 of those green bottles Bernadette had to drive me home. Man... that was Damn good beer!

Have to agree with you on that Stanford-Rice game in Australia.  Stanford-ND maybe, but Rice??

Quiz:  That would be #61 Bill George of the Chicago Bears.  After the Cardinals left town my dad became a Bears fan.  Until Butkus came along Bill George was all my dad could talk about. Really teed my old man off though when the Bears traded him to the Rams.

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

 Joe,

A marriage made in Latrobe has to be a good one!

No doubt that was REAL Rolling Rock, made in Latrobe by the Tito brothers, who started the brewery back in the 1930s.

In Pennsylvania, “Rock” was sold mainly in seven-ounce bottles, the package of preference at the bar when guys would come in after work and order "a shot and a beer.”  Just enough beer to chase down the whiskey in time to order another one.

Jim Mickinak, a high school classmate of Tom Hinger, has what undoubtedly is the world’s greatest and largest collection of Rolling Rock memorabilia.  It’s so extensive that when the brewery was in operation, its marketing executives would often consult with Jim and his collection when they were discussing packaging and display ideas.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/mar/28/unity-mans-bar-pays-homage-to-latrobes-rolling-roc/


*********** Mike Lude just turned 95, and if there’s a spryer and sharper man his age - anywhere - I’d like to see him.  It’s now been two months since he had a knee replaced, and his rehab is well ahead of schedule. He says sure, there’s pain, but you have to expect it.  I think part of his stoic toughness is being a member of that great generation of people who survived the Depression and fought the Second World War. Also, he was raised on a farm in Western Michigan by a tough, German-immigrant dad, and he was a Marine during World War II.  But he agrees that a major part of his outlook on pain was learned playing football. For an awful lot of boys, the bumps and bruises of football are their first exposure to the vital life lesson that pain is something you can’t allow to get in the way when something has to be done - and you have to do it.

This week, he’s off to New Jersey for the annual reunion of guys he coached at Delaware back in the 1950s.

While we were talking, we got on the subject of  head coaches berating  assistants in front of players, and he told me about the time he and his head coach, Dave Nelson, were in Columbus to talk about the Wing-T at Ohio State’s spring clinic.

He said that after lecturing, he and Coach Nelson were walking with Woody Hayes as practice was going on, when something caught Hayes’s attention. Moving swiftly over to where the offensive line was working, he hollered at the line coach, something along the line of “That’s not how we teach things at Ohio State!”

And then, shoving the assistant aside,  he proceeded to run the drill himself.

That’s more than likely going to damage the credibility of any assistant, and  it’s surely going to damage the credibility of the head coach. One unintended result might actually be to to strengthen the bond between the position coach and his players, uniting them in an us-against-the-boss sort of way.

Those were the days, of course, of smaller staffs, and more hands-on head coaches.  The management of a football program  was still evolving into today’s staff organization, in which the head coach assumes the role of a CEO, and does very little actual coaching.

Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd was definitely among the first major college coaches to delegate all on-field coaching to his assistants. Although the term “coordinator” had yet to be assigned to the jobs, he had Frank Boyles in total charge of his offense, and Ray Graves in total charge of his defense.

One way for coaches to make sure that they  allowed their coaches to coach was to observe practice from towers.   Bear Bryant became the most famous of the “tower coaches” - head coaches who physically removed themselves from actual coaching. Surveying their kingdoms from high above the practice field, they would observe, occasionally commenting on the goings-on down below, but mostly reserving comments until later.

One great coach who admitted to being influenced by Coach Bryant was Don James of Washington.  (Mike Lude, as AD at Kent State , gave Don James his first head coaching job,  and later was his boss at Washington.)

In his book, “James,” Don James tells why he decided to become a “tower coach.”

I wanted to be involved in everything, but not run everything with a “hands-on” approach.

I had known some coaches who were tower coaches. Bear Bryant, of course, is the best known for using that method. There are two things about being a tower coach that made it feel right for me.

First, if you are down on the field with either the offense or the defense, you can’t know what is going on with the other side of the ball.

Secondly, if an assistant coach is working with his position players, it would be easy to step in and say, “No, that’s not the way I want it done.  I want it done this way.”

That could be perceived by the players as putting the assistant down.  I want the players to have a total respect for their position coach.

When up in the tower observing, I take lots of notes. Then, in our daily staff meetings, I’ll coach the coaches on what I want done.  Then the assistants will coach the players.

We always film or video the practices. At the coaches’ meeting the next morning, when we critique the practice, everyone has input. That’s when I can say to an assistant, “I don’t want it done that way,” or ‘That’s not the way to coach that guy.”

(Note: Mike Lude said that while Don never got on an assistant in front of players, some serious ass-chewing took place in the staff meetings.)

Once in a while, although it’s rare, I might get mad and come down from the tower to straighten out something during practice.  But in most cases I try to put it in writing.   I also try to avoid getting on a coach right after practice.

Sometimes I feel like doing so if I’m mad at them. But I’ve learned that I do the poorest job of coaching the coaches and players when I’m angry.  A favorite phrase of Tex Winter, a former Washington basketball coach who is now an assistant with the Chicago Bulls, is, “for every minute you’re angry, you lose 60 seconds of happiness.”

I’ve learned how not to say anything until after I’ve slept on it.  It might not seem so serious the next day.  And I can be more constructive in my criticism.  I just do a better job.  You can correct in a way that the assistant will get something out of it.

I seldom have the time to bring a coach into my office individually to critique every mistake.  I do, however, try to be as positive as I can because I want the coaches to be positive when they correct the players.   And I certainly don’t have the time to correct 150 players one at a time.  So you must learn to take constructive criticism in our program.

Our practices are well planned in advance and very detailed. Everything is scripted from start to finish.  At any moment during the practice I can tell by the play being run down on the field exactly where we are.

I don’t just sit up in that tower and say nothing.  If things aren’t going as well as I think they should, I can either come down or use a megaphone to get a point across.

I suppose some of my players, particularly the younger ones, may have been intimidated by my being in a tower during practice.  But it allows me to make objective decisions without personal involvement.   More importantly, it gives me a clear view of the entire field and everything that is going on.

Although I never coached under him, I’m sure Bear Bryant had a great influence on my desire to be a tower coach.

When I was in college at Miami, I played against his teams.  And then he became “The Guy” in college football - a real legend.

That’s the way people looked at him. He had a great influence on the methods used by many coaches.  When I was coaching at Florida State, it was just amazing.  We’d go over and watch Alabama practices.  Or we’d listen to The Bear speak at clinics on his ideas about speed and quickness and discipline.  In those days, any young coach in his right mind should have been listening and had his note pad out.

Obviously, most of us will never have a large enough staff of qualified assistants that we can afford to go up in a tower, like Don James.

That means that it’s even tougher for us to hold back when we see something wrong being taught, or something being taught wrong.  And take it from me - that temptation is ever-present.

But even worse, it's often very difficult to see what's going on with assistants. I’ve been on a lot of practice fields and I've seen way too many assistant coaches who have no idea what they’re supposed to be teaching or how they’re supposed to be teaching it, but that doesn’t deter them in the slightest.  Worse yet, I’ve seen guys deliberately teaching something different from what the head coach wanted, because they, with their three or four years’ coaching experience (and 12 years’ experience playing Madden), knew far more than the old head coach with 20 years of obsolete football under his belt.  And there was the head coach, coaching down at the other end of the field, unaware of his assistant's treachery.


***********QUIZ- Bill George came out of Waynesburg, in Western Pennsylvania, and played his college football at Wake Forest.

He wrestled in college, and was drafted in the second round by the Chicago Bear as a “future” - in those days, NFL teams could draft a player whose class was going o graduate, but they couldn’t sign him if he still had college eligibility remaining.

Although originally a “middle guard” (now called a nose guard or nose man) in the Bears’ odd-man front, he could very well be considered the very first NFL middle linebacker, and he’s in the long line of great Bears’ middle linebackers.

A former teammate, Maury Youmans, told how it all came about, in a game against the Eagles:

“The Bears were getting beaten by a series of short passes. Bill, always the student of the game, told George Connor (defensive captain and future Hall of Famer) that if he didn’t always have to line up on the line of scrimmage and pop the center, he could stop those short pass across the middle. Connor told him to try it. On the next play Bill lined up three yards deep and intercepted the pass. From that day on, he was the middle linebacker in the Bears’ defense.”

Bill George was a big man - 6-2, 240 - plenty big enough at the time to play on the line or at linebacker.

On a team known for its toughness, he was greatly admired by his teammates:

Quarterback Bill Wade: “Bill George was a super athlete. He could get in the line and be a defensive lineman, as well as a linebacker.  I mean, who does that today? Nobody. HIs ability to become a lineman was a tremendous advantage to the Bears’ defense.  He was a tough guy, no question about that.

Maury Youmans, defensive end: “At the end of training camp, he gathered the defense together and said, ‘Boys, you can listen to the coaches all week, but on Sunday I’ll tell you what to do on the field. ‘ He knew the defenses better than anyone, including the coaches.”

Youmans again: “My first exhibition game, as a rookie, Doug Atkins and I got the the quarterback at the same time. Doug always had his head down when he got to the quarterback. I rushed a little bit higher, but the quarterback ducked, and Doug hits me right in the stomach. I’m laying there on the ground.  I just can’t get up. Our trainer, Ed Rozy, runs out and say, ‘You just stay down.  Relax for a minute.’ He’s pulling my belt.  Now, I’m just a rookie. Bill George comes up to me and says, ‘Maury, are you all right?’ I said, ‘Yes, I’m all right.’ He says, ‘Well, you son of a bitch - get up and get in the huddle.’ He was one tough guy.”

Ed O’Bradovich, all-pro defensive end: “John Unitas said one time that he feared one man in the NFL, and that was Bill George. Not because of his physical prowess, but because of his mental approach to football. You could not fool Bill, that was his great strength - his mental toughness and his knowledge of the game.”

Rick Casares, Bears’ hard-nosed fullback: “Bill George was the best middle inebacker in the game when he played.  He was tough, he was smart, and he could run. People don’t realize how fast he was. Bill was a great player.  I had great respect for him.”

Doug Atkins, one of the toughest, meanest men ever to play the game, summed it up:  “Bill George was a hell of a football player.”

Bill George was All-Pro eight straight years, and was voted onto the All-NFL Team of the 1950s.

In the locker room following the Bears’ 1963 championship game win, Bill George was the player who awarded the game ball to defensive coordinator George Allen, much to the chagrin of head coach George Halas.  And then, in front of a national TV audience - the Bears serenaded Allen:

Hooray for George!
Hooray at Last!
Hooray for George!
He’s a horse’s  ass!

In those much more proper days of network TV, sports fans everywhere looked at each other and asked, “did I just hear what I think I heard?”


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BILL GEORGE
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA

*********** Bill George was quite superstitious.  One-time Bears’ captain Stan Jones, in Maury Youman’s’ “’63,” about the Bears’ 1963 NFL championship team, told a great story about a prank he pulled on George:

“When he and I were captains, we would go out for the coin flip before the game. Someone mentioned to me that one of Bill’s superstitions was that he had to be the first one off the field after the coin flip. So the next game, when it came time to shake hands with the opposing team captains, a plan was put in place.  I would shake hands with the captain in front of Bill, which would cut him off from the other captain. Then I would shake hands really quick with the other captain and then beat him off the field. It drove him crazy. I would come off the field, and Bill would be in hot pursuit.  Everybody would be yelling.  It looked like we were sky-high for the game, when we were really trying to piss Bill George off about being so damn superstitious.”

*********** Bill George was of Syrian extraction, but I swear I’d read someplace that he was Greek.  Bears’ Hall of Famer George Connor told a story in “Papa Bear”, Jeff Davis’ biography of George Halas, that might explain:

“We kidded Bill about being Greek, and he’d get furious. ‘I’m not a goddamn Greek!’ he’d scream.  Early in the exhibition season, we were playing in Little Rock. I took Bill out to dinner to the best Greek restaurant in town. When we got there, I took the owner aside and told him Bill’s nickname was the ‘Golden Greek.’ I told him he was sorta shy, but he was one helluva guy. The owner came out during dinner and poured us a glass of wine. ‘Opaa! To my countryman, the Golden Greek!’  Everyone in the restaurant stood up and cheered. Then the owner turned to Bill: ‘This one is on me, my friends.  You don’t pay for a thing.’  After that, when we went on the road, Bill and I always went to the best Greek place in town. Never paid a nickel for anything when I was with the Golden Greek.”

*********** QUIZ:  His high school coach was Curley Lambeau, his college coach was Knute Rockne, and he was Vince Lombardi’s college coach.

A native of Green Bay, he starred at Notre Dame under Knute Rockne.

He was a member of one of the most famous college backfields of all time, and he was coach of one of the most famous college lines of all time.

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

As a coach his record  at Michigan State was 22-8-3 and at Fordham it was 56-13-7.  His 1940 Fordham team played in the Cotton Bowl and his 1941 team in the Sugar Bowl. 



american flag TUESDAY,  JUNE 27,  2017  - “There is one guaranteed formula for failure and that is to try to please everyone.”  Will Rogers

*********** My friend Tom Hinger is justifiably proud of his hometown, Latrobe, Pennsylvania. 

Latrobe is the home of Arnold Palmer and Mister Rodgers and was also the home of Rolling Rock Beer. (Rolling Rock, once made with mountain water in western Pennsylvania is now made by a certain Belgium-based brewing giant in Newark, New Jersey, with whatever passes for water there.)

This past winter, Latrobe’s basketball team finished 19-5, and made it to the state Class AAAA (largest class) tournament, losing by a point to the eventual state finalist.

This spring, the Latrobe High baseball team went 22-2, winning its last 14 games in a row, to take the state title.

And last week, a memorial service was held in Latrobe for Tom’s longtime friend, Ray Mt. Joy. Ray  had long ago moved away, to Texas, where he became quite successful in the oil business, but he never lost touch with his hometown. Ray  played on the football team at Latrobe, and in his honor, current head coach Jason Marucco bussed his team, in their game jerseys, to the church to escort the mourners inside.

*********** FOOTBALL IS BACK!!!

There were THREE CFL games on ESPN2 this past weekend!  THREE!

Overall, I like the Canadian game, and it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest if the NFL were to go poof!  and just disappear.

I like the larger field and the deeper end zones.  I like the fact that punts have to be  returned - and coverage people have to give return men room to field the ball, and  I like the idea of the single (or red, or rouge, or whatever) that’s awarded any time a team can’t return a kick out of its own end zone.

Other than the fact that it means an additional wide receiver and an additional defensive back - the two positions that account for the greatest number of our sport’s a&&holes  -  it doesn’t bother me that they have 12 men on the field. Nor does it bother me that they have only three downs to make ten yards, or that the defensive  linemen have to line up 2 yards off the ball.

There’s just one thing that makes Canadian football  look as if something’s awry: it’s that damn rule that allows multiple men to be  in motion at the snap - and going forward at that. The other rules differences are easily understood and dealt with, but to the American eye, this anomaly really sticks out and makes the CFL game look as if it’s not serious   football.

It’s important to note that the Canadian game owes us nothing.  It developed on its own, not as an offshoot of American football, and it isn’t  a flawed attempt to imitate our game.

But jeez - the NFL broadcasts into all the CFL markets, and it wouldn’t break Big Football’s heart if the CFL were eventually to fold. If it’s to thrive, it’s got to widen its appeal, and if it’s ever going to appeal to the much larger audience in the US, this man-in-motion business has got to go.

 
*********** Coach Adam Watters, longtime Double Wing coach in Tucson, wrote me recently

Hello coach,
It has been a couple of years since I last contacted you. I hope you are doing well.  I looked to see if I could attend one of your clinics, but it seems you are not holding another one this year.  I did not coach last year as I was busy with my job as a justice, but this year I am coaching at the freshmen high school level again, here at what is considered a "program" school in Arizona.  The head coach loves my double wing.  The varsity OC is a very good friend of mine, who runs a true single wing.  He and I debate which is the superior offense.  We were having dinner with our wives the other day, and were speculating what our records were using the two offenses.  I had no exact idea, but my wife said she did as she kept mementos of each season for me in a box.  I had no idea she was doing that, although she does attend each game.  Anyhow, she showed me my coaching record was 75-14.  I told my buddy that, and am still waiting for his comparable number . . . (Maybe he will switch to DW this season!)

Anyhow, I went to review your films and various items I purchased from you over the years and discovered I could not watch much of it as it was on VHS.  Normally not a problem, except that my wife and I moved recently and she threw away the only VHS player we had!  When I told her I needed a VHS player, she reminded me that we are in the 21st century now.

He added,

On my frosh team, we always use the Go! ReeeaaadyHut! count I took from your video 14 years ago.  Never have used anything else.  Still, opponents jump constantly.  Anyhow, I simply name every play we have, no numbers.   Our SuperPower, for example, is Gorilla (I stopped using motion on that play years ago because the X counter timing works better with no motion). Our Wedge is Goat.  Our X counter is Goofy.  All plays without motion start with GO.  All other plays have motion (or shifts) and are on Hut and obviously are named without a Go in the beginning.  Kids remember the cadence based on the play name.

The trick in coaching, as Coach Watters understands, is to somehow get the kids to understand what is so obvious to us but is never quite so obvious to them!

***********  This from an article in the Charlotte Observer…

A 9-year-old in Los Angeles, Havon Finney Jr., recently received an offer from the University of Nevada. The news was reported by his trainer, Mike Evans, a former Louisville football player.

The kid is barely out of a car seat, but Nevada had to be the first to offer.

Had to get to him, because  if they’d waited until he was in middle school, Lane Kiffin, who’s already offered to at least four pre-high schoolers,  might have scarfed him up.

I’ll bet the parents of little  Havon are delighted, knowing that all the money they've spent on his "trainer" is finally paying off.

Meanwhile… what a can of worms these stupid-ass college coaches  have popped open.  Did the NCAA ever think it might someday need a rule making it a violation for college recruiters  to slip money to youth coaches?  To 9-year-olds? To “trainers” of 9-year-olds? Bad enough youth coaches already get pressured to prepare kids for the “next level,” but now they’re going to  start catching hell from parents if none of their 9-year-olds get college offers. 

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/high-school/preps-blog/article157999319.html#storylink=cpy

*********** Did you happen to notice the headlines after this past weekend’s festivities?

This year, those long lines of marchers prancing around in sequined jump suits and rainbow boas weren’t “Gay Pride” parades.  Oh, no.  This year, they were simply “Pride Parades.”

And if you hadn’t noticed, it’s been  just “Pride Month.”

First they made off with the word “Gay” and then they changed the definitions of the words “husband” and “wife.”

Soon enough, “Pride” will go the way of “gay.”

*********** How does California’s ban on travel to states that (in the view of those in charge in Sacramento) discriminate against people who have chosen to become members of the opposite sex (or a third sex) - affect sports teams?  No football games in Texas or Alabama?  No basketball games in North Carolina or Kentucky?

Damn shame to think that as f—ked up as that state is, 30-some per cent of its people are conservative - or at least Republican. Which means that  some 12 million Californians live in a state of virtual bondage.

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/06/23/californias-travel-ban-how-does-it-affect-college-sports/

*********** The World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) has changed its name to World Taekwondo because of the "negative connotations" associated with its initials.

The organisation had used the previous name since it was established in 1973.

However, it felt in the "digital age" the slang of the old abbreviation was "unrelated to our organisation and so it was important that we rebranded to better engage with our fans".

The change was made before the start of the 2017 World Taekwondo Championships.

The event is taking place in Muju, South Korea.

"World Taekwondo is distinctive and simple to understand and reinforces the global nature of our sport," said World Taekwondo president Choue Chung-won.

"Our vision is taekwondo for all and as World Taekwondo we are confident we can build on our success to date and achieve that vision."

Years ago, when texting was in its infancy and the DMV people didn’t understand the meaning of what are now commonly-used abbreviations, we managed, quite by chance,  to get two sets of license plates that start out “WTF.”  You can have your vanity plates.  You couldn’t pay me to give up my WTF.

http://www.bbc.com/sport/taekwondo/40391326

*********** Last year, Australians got a taste of American college football when Cal played Hawaii in Sydney. College football has got a decent following among the sports-loving Australians, because  of the International Date line: they see the college games on their Sunday.  And because Cal is a reasonably well-known West Coast school and Hawaii is the closest major college program to Australia, the game drew 61,000 in a stadium that seats 83,000.  Not bad.

This year, somebody vastly misjudged the sophistication of the Australian football fan.  Somebody must have thought that if you call it “big time college football,” those rubes will line up to buy tickets. 

So they brought in a big name - Stanford. 

Okay.  But who’s Stanford going to be playing?

Rice.  Yes. Rice.

Interestingly, the two teams met the last weekend of last year’s regular season and drew 36,000, the smallest crowd of the year, to Stanford Stadium.  And most of of those in attendance were Stanford season ticket holders.  If they’d had to depend on the walkup trade, they wouldn't have drawn 10,000.

So good luck, whoever’s promoting this.  Just as you wouldn’t expect Americans  to pay good money  to watch Stanford play Rice in  Palo Alto or Houston, you shouldn’t expect Australians to pay to watch them play in Sydney.

Oh - And as if the matchup weren’t unattractive enough,  the game’s going to be  at just about the same time as the  Mayweather-McGregor match.

*********** How dumb are the people who run the College World Series?

Dumb enough to make the biggest show in college baseball look bush league: there was LSU in dark purple shirts and hats, Florida in dark blue shirts and hats - two of the best teams in college baseball - looking for all the world like it was an intra-squad scrimmage.

Sure would like to go back to the days before 1963, when Charlie Finley, owner of the Kansas City A’s and a guy who never saw a tradition he respected, fielded a team wearing “kelly green and Las Vegas gold.” 

Until that clown came along, baseball had made it through two world wars and a depression with the home team wearing white and the visiting team wearing gray.

As long as I’m on this trip into the distant past, I could get going on   the subject of knicker-type pants and stockings with stirrups and white sanitary sox underneath.  But I won’t.

*********** Good morning Hugh,

Really enjoyed seeing that YouTube clip of Mark Speckman again.  Thanks!  It put me in a better frame of mind today after waking up to that blather spewed out of the mouth of Johnny Depp yesterday.

It’s getting to the point that someone in Federal law enforcement needs to call some of these celebrities out on the things that they are saying and doing towards our President.  Shameful.

God forbid if average folks said anything or did anything towards Obama like they are doing with President Trump they would have definitely been questioned, maybe even held for threatening the life of a U.S. President, and likely charged with a hate crime.  What that so called comedienne Kathy Griffin did, and what Johnny Depp said in England yesterday was "deplorable".  Why haven't they been called out by the law?

Not only was I amazed at how fast and tight an American destroyer can turn, it's even more amazing to watch an American aircraft carrier do the same thing!  How about that F-35 and what it can do in the sky?  

Have a wonderful weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

I would love to be close by with my Louisville Slugger when one of those Hollywood types started testing out his "First Amendment rights.”

I just hope I remember to hold the trademark up so I don’t break the bat.


*********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING CONDREDGE HOLLOWAY
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS - If you haven't already seen this, I know you'll enjoy it. Is it just me, or does Condredge Holloway look a bit like Walter Payton when he runs?    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKuYDIpaz7Q
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA - Lee High School Huntsville AL -  one of only two athletes that  was All SEC and had the highest  batting average in the SEC the next baseball season - (The other) Buck Belue
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - I grew up in the far southwestern corner of Virginia in a town called Big Stone Gap. So, although we were part of VA, everyone in southwest Virginia was a Vols fan. Our part of the state was a distant afterthought to the pols in Richmond, and somehow the people sensed that. We always felt stronger ties to Tennessee sports than Virginia's. That's still true today. I had moved away but still followed Holloway and the Vols.
CHARLIE WILSON - CRYSTAL RIVER, FLORIDA - Back in the Daze, you might find a half hour replay of a game played the previous Saturday..  Something like "SEC Game of the Week".  One week, the game was Tennessee vs. Mississippi. So, how did the Vols beat Mississippi? They ran the Single Wing. It must have been one of those games where the DC just dropped his clip board and started screaming at the players to do something, ANYTHING!  It was fun to watch.
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS - I remember watching him on TV against Georgia Tech one time (I'm pretty sure it was GT), and he broke a run off and literally left about half of the defense in his wake with his running ability.  I mean breaking at least 6 tackle attempts on his way to the end zone.  Just an exceptional athlete.
DAVE POTTER - WENDELL, NORTH CAROLINA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA - I don't know if you ever saw the movie by Kenny Chesney, “Boys of Fall,” but Holloway is one of the persons in the video and one of the best statements I ever heard was when he was at Tennessee he would be asked how does it feel to be a black QB.  His answer was I don't know I've always been a black QB.
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
JERRY LOVELL - BELLEVUE, NEBRASKA - Coach Lovell brought to my attention the fact that  when Condredge Holloway’s mother, Dorothy, was hired to work at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville in 1962, she became  NASA’s first black employee.

*********** QUIZ: Before there was Peyton Manning...  there was Condredge Holloway, a kid from Huntsville, Alabama  who became so well-known, so beloved in Tennessee that a C & W song was written about him.

He almost didn't even play college football at all. In 1971, right out of high school, he was drafted number one by the Montreal Expos. But his mother insisted that he get a college education - and the rest is history.

Freshmen weren’t eligible when he arrived at Tennessee.  So excited were the Tennessee people about their sensational freshman quarterback that when  the UT frosh played Notre Dame’ in Knoxville 50,000 of them  showed up.

His sophomore year, the first year he was eligible, he became the first black player to quarterback an SEC team, and he took the Vols to a bowl game all three years of his varsity eligibility. With him at QB, Tennessee was 25-9-2.

They called him the Artful Dodger. Only 5-11 and 180, he was sensational in run-or-pass situations, throwing for over 3,000 yards in his career, and running for nearly 1,000. In his senior year, he successfully made the transition from a rollout to a veer quarterback. At the time he left Tennessee, he was the school's all-time leader in total offense, and even though he played more than 40 years ago, he still ranks among Tennessee's top 10 passers.

Holloway  was All-SEC his senior year, and received some Heisman votes, but that was it for him as a football player in the States.  He spent the rest of his football days in Canada.

When he was drafted only 12th by the New England Patriots he chose instead to sign with Ottawa of the CFL, where he could play quarterback.  In 13 years in Canada, he led two different teams to Grey Cup championships. First, sharing duties with ex-Notre Damer Tom Clements, he helped lead the Ottawa Rough Riders to the title. And then, traded to Toronto,  he hooked up with run-and-shoot guru Mouse Davis. The large Canadian field and Davis' offensive system were made to order for him, and in his six years with the Argos, he threw for 16,619 yards and 98 touchdowns, and led them to the Grey Cup in 1982.

He ended his career with one final season in British Columbia, then returned to Tennessee to get his degree. He is currently an Assistant Athletic Director at Tennessee.

http://www.utsports.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/condredge_holloway_713003.html

http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2011/02/mccarter_condredge_holloways_s.html

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

https://www.amazon.com/Espn-Films-Orange-Condredge-Holloway/dp/B00JHH22EY


*********** Johnny Unitas’ first pass as an NFL quarterback was intercepted and returned for a touchdown.

On Condredge Holloway’s first college pass - against Georgia Tech, in Atlanta - the same thing almost happened.

His pass into the flat was intercepted. The Tech defender was off and running, with Holloway in hot pursuit.

Holloway  managed to haul him down at the six.

Talk about motivation - looking back on it, Holloway joked, "I knew if I didn't catch him I was probably going to be a defensive back the next week."

Tech wound up kicking a field goal and went ahead, 3-0.   But Tennessee won,  34-3, then their largest margin of victory in their long series.


*********** Condredge Holloway, as one of the top prospects in the state of Alabama,  was recruited by Bear Bryant - but not as a quarterback. Coach Bryant told him straight up, during recruiting, that he didn’t think Bama’s fans were ready for a black quarterback.

"A lot of people thought I should be mad about that," Holloway said years later, "but I never looked at it that way. I admired Coach Bryant for being honest with me. He could have told me anything, then moved me to wideout when I got there. But he let me know from the beginning that quarterback wouldn't be open to me."


*********** Years ago, Keith Babb, a coach from Illinois, wrote me…

He was one year ahead of me at the University of Tennessee. He was a freshman the last year freshmen were not eligible to play for the "varsity". In one memorable freshman game, he cemented his legend and unleashed the expectations that he largely fulfilled during his last 3 years on campus. The Tennessee freshmen played the Notre Dame freshman in a game that was attended by nearly 50,000 people. (Neyland Stadium had only a 72,000 seat capacity at the time.) As I recall, Tennessee won that day 31 - 13. The play of the game was a pass play where Holloway was being chased by defenders. He turned and headed up field where he was confronted by a d-back who tried to tackle him. Holloway leapt in the air and the defender hit one of his feet. Holloway turned a complete flip, landing on his feet and proceeded to the end zone. I know folks who still talk about that play!


*********** QUIZ- He came out of Western Pennsylvania and played his college football at Wake Forest.

He wrestled in college, and was drafted in the second round by the Chicago Bear as a “future” - in those days, NFL teams could draft a player whose original class was scheduled to graduate, but they couldn’t sign him until he had used up all his college eligibility.

Although originally a “middle guard” (now called a nose guard or nose man) in the Bears’ odd-man front, he is considered the very first NFL 4-3 middle linebacker, and he’s first  in the long line of great Bears’ middle linebackers.

A former teammate, Maury Youmans, told how it all came about, in a game against the Eagles:

“The Bears were getting beaten by a series of short passes. (He) always the student of the game, told George Connor (defensive captain and future Hall of Famer) that if he didn’t always have to line up on the line of scrimmage and pop the center, he could stop those short pass across the middle. Connor told him to try it. On the next play (he) lined up three yards deep and intercepted the pass. From that day on, he was the middle linebacker in the Bears’ defense.”

He was All-Pro eight straight years, and was voted onto the All-NFL Team of the 1950s.


american flag FRIDAY,  JUNE 23,  2017  - “One of the mysteries of the ages is why the political left has, for centuries, lavished so much attention on the well-being of criminals and paid so little attention to their victims.”  Dr. Thomas Sowell

*********** My friend Doc Hinger has friends in The Woodlands, Texas, and he sent me an article about one of the coaches there.

Back in May, the coach, Greg Colschen, was lifting some crawfish out of a big pot when he accidentally hit the edge of the pot and spilled boiling water on his feet.

Pain? "It's not like anything else you could ever experience,” he told the Houston Chronicle.. "It's just different from any injury that you could sustain because of the nerves and everything involved with it. It's very hard to control the pain."

He was rushed to a burn center in Houston, where he spent the next several weeks.  Treatment there included surgery to graft skin from his quadriceps onto his feet and toes.

Now, he’s on the road to recovery and hopes to be ready for the start of practice in August.

But meanwhile, way down in the article - talk about burying the lead - was this illustration of the kind of man Coach Colschen is:

Colschen, who is the running backs coach for the Highlanders, made quite an impact in the high school football community this past season with a simple gesture of compassion. The junior varsity team he was coaching took a knee near the goal line ― and subsequently suffered a loss ― against Katy Tompkins in September after an opposing player went down with a serious injury with mere seconds left on the clock.

"We're here to teach kids, and there's a lot of lessons learned through football and sports," Colschen told The Courier last fall. "When I looked across the field and saw their players together praying, I saw tears in their eyes and their coaches had tears in their eyes. There was not going to be a win-win here."

Wow. That’s sportsmanship.  Twenty years from now, nobody would rememberthe final score of a JV game. But I guarantee you, an awful lot of people who were there that day will remember the noble act of a coach who chose not to administer the coup de grace to an already-grieving opponent.

http://www.chron.com/neighborhood/woodlands/sports/article/FOOTBALL-TWHS-coach-Colschen-thankful-for-11234156.php?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook


*********** You’ve no doubt read about the collision at sea between a giant container ship named the ACX Crystal and the USS Fitzgerald , a  very fast, highly maneuverable destroyer.

A former ship captain-turned-writer named John Konrad notes just how fast and how maneuverable:

The USS Fitzgerald is an Arleigh Burke class destroyer with a top speed well in excess of 30 knots. Speed is helpful in preventing collision because it allows you to put more distance between you and a dangerous ship in the same amount of time. (Yes, speed can also be dangerous.)

She is powered by four gas turbine engines with over 100,000 horsepower available to turn her propellers.

Gas turbines are expensive and burn lots of fuel but the Navy uses them because they can provide an immense amount of torque in a very short period of time. Torque translates to acceleration and acceleration is important if you need to get out of the way of something fast.

The USS Fitzgerald is highly maneuverable with a very tight turning radius.

(You’ve got to see this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Vih4tGmqjs )

The fault,  Konrad argues persuasively, likely lies with communications.

On the ACX Crystal, as on all container ships, , the captain is in compete command at all times.  He sees all, knows all, does all.

On the USS Fitzgerald, however, as on all Navy ships, responsibilities are widely dispersed and delegated among several parties, and there is  a chain of command to be observed in communicating even such a matter as a large ship bearing down on you.

Armed with that information, a ship as fast and agile as the USS Fitzgerald could easily have avoided the collision.

But somehow, Konrad suggests, the  need to act may have become lost as it was transmitted up the chain. 

The Captain  wasn’t even informed of the impending collision and in fact was injured because he was in his quarters at the time, rather than on the bridge.  Nonetheless, it is longtime Navy policy that the Captain is responsible for what happens to his ship, and this will almost certainly be a career-ender for him.

Sound at all like a head football coach with a big staff? 

Obviously, there are advantages to delegating responsibilities, but at the same time there are dangers.  There are also great advantages to being small and flexible: any head football coach will tell you how important it is to have your hands on the wheel - or very close to it -  and to have a streamlined chain of command.

Think about this before you try to set up an organizational structure along the lines of an NFL or big-time college staff: when something goes wrong, it’s your career that’s on the line.

When you do delegate, you’re no better than your weakest subordinate.   Or the chain of command itself.

http://gcaptain.com/uss-fitzgerald-fault/

*********** Evidently some unelected judge-for-life has decided that it’s unfair to a defendant to have  a jury see him/her wearing handcuffs or ankle restraints.  The idea is that  in  a system supposedly based on the presupposition of innocence,  the sight of the shackles might make the jurors prejudge the defendant.

Funny how the defendants never gave that a thought back when they were getting those tattoos on their necks and foreheads.

*********** Malik Zaire, who once showed some promise as Notre Dame’s quarterback,  is transferring to Florida.

Florida coach Jim McElwain,  asked whether bringing in Zaire might somehow be unfair to the quarterbacks already on the Gators’ roster: 

“I was the guy they always tried to replace at Eastern Washington, so I get it.”

*********** Kavell Bigby-Williams played two years of basketball  at a JC in Wyoming then  this past season at Oregon, backing up Jordan Bell and Chris Boucher at forward.  He averaged 3 points and 2.8 rebounds, but he did block 28 shots.

Now, with one year of eligibility remaining, he’s announced he’s transferring to LSU.

“At this point in my career,” he tweeted, “it’s solely a business decision…”

Spoken like a true student-athlete.

But, uh… Considering what he’s shown so far, you have to wonder what business, exactly, he could  be talking about.

*********** New OU head coach Lincoln Riley has been given a contract  that will pay him $3.5 million a year. 

It’s not exactly a rags-to-riches story.   He was already making $1.3 million as the Sooners’ OC.

*********** University of Washington point guard Markelle Fultz is almost certain to be the number one pick in the NBA draft.

Couple of red flags:

You want a 65 per cent free throw shooter playing point guard for you?

If he’s such a difference maker, how come the Huskies only won nine games?

Following up on LSU’s Ben Simmons last year,  doesn’t it seem strange that for the second straight year the NBA’s top draft pick would be a guy  who couldn’t even get his college team to the playoffs?

*********** I was reading the obituaries the other day and read about a guy named Jim Schmitz who’d died recently.  He was 73 and it sounded as if he was quite a guy:

“Jim had a great life fishing and hunting North America, a suite at the 50 yard line at the Seahawks, Super Bowls, and a summer residence on Babine Lake in the bush in Canada.

“His adventures are not done yet! His ashes will be going with family fishing and hunting exploits, including his grandson’s first moose hunting trip in Alberta, Canada.

“No flowers, please. Instead, take a kid hunting or fishing in honor of Jim.”
 
*********** Why all the fuss about nonexistent Russian interference in our elections - but crickets about $30 million spent by California liberals to influence people in Georgia to elect a guy to Congress - a twerp who didn’t even live in their District?

*********** A 20-year-old Vancouver, Washington guy has been accused of filming co-workers - female co-workers - in the shared employee locker room.  He was discovered  when one of his fellow employees noticed his cell phone sitting in one of his shoes, and found, on closer inspection, that it was filming.

The guy’s name - no, this isn’t a porn film - is Perry Beaver.  Really.

http://www.columbian.com/news/2017/jun/20/man-accused-of-filming-coworkers-in-employee-locker-room/

***********  “I didn't come over on the Mayflower, but I came over as soon as I could.”   Anton Cermak, running for mayor of Chicago, responding to a rival’s slurs about his ethnicity. (He won.)

*********** Bill Dana died. If you’re old enough, you remember him playing a Hispanic character named Jose Jimenez.

Like so many comedians, he was discovered and brought to the public’s attention by Steve Allen, an early late-show host and one of the most talented of American entertainers.

One famous exchange between Allen and Dana, in his role as Jose Jiminez...

Steve Allen:  “I understand you own a ranch…

Jose Jimenez: “Yes, the name of my ranch is the Bar Nine Circle Z Rocking O Flying W Lazy O Crazy 2 Happy 7 Bar 17 Parallelogram 4 Octagon 9 Trapezoid 6.”

Allen: “Do you have many cattle?”

Jimenez: “No. Not many survive the branding.”

***********Good morning Hugh,

Sorry I missed wishing you a Happy Birthday, and a Happy Father's Day!   From what I read it appears both were extremely enjoyable for you and Connie.  Belatedly Happy Birthday and Happy Father's Day!

Great to see the picture of you and Connie with Mike and Cielo.  I've known Mike since our high school football days in Clovis, CA.  We lost track of one another after high school, but believe it or not it was a guy named Coach Wyatt and his double wing offense that got us reconnected!  Mike's wife Cielo is courage defined.  He and I would talk on the phone when they were going through her cancer treatments.  What Mike and his boys were able to do for her was amazing, and I couldn't be more happy for all of them.  Mike and I still stay in touch, and are actually planning to attend this year's Army-Navy game.

I'm very familiar with Linfield College.  A coaching friend of mine  that I'm sure you've heard of (or maybe even met having been coaching in the Pacific Northwest for as long as you have) used to face Linfield every year when he was the head football coach at Willamette.  Mark Speckman.

Now... there's a coach with an inspirational story!  

I met Mark years ago while coaching the club football team at the University of San Francisco.  
We got to know one another while working a youth football camp in NorCal.  What an incredible man.  I've followed his coaching career with great interest.  Everywhere he's been he's been a success with that Fly Offense of his.  Currently he's the Assistant Head Coach at UC Davis.

QUIZ:  That gentleman would be Marshall Goldberg.  My dad and my uncle saw him play for the Cardinals while they were growing up in Chicago.  

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Coach Gutilla is so right on Mark Speckman.  Recognized as the leading authority on - if not the  inventor of - the Fly Offense, he was born without hands.  His inspirational story goes back to what he says his mother would tell him whenever he was having problems as a kid (such as trying to tie his shoelaces): “Figure it out.”

They ought to make him Secretary of Figuring it Out, and send him out to talk to all the whiners and complainers who think it’s the job of the  government to make their lives easy!

If you've never heard him speak (or even if you have) you need to check this out:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiorA6Mna54


Goldberg Ring of Honor



*********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING MARSHALL GOLDBERG

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
J.C. BRINK - STUART, FLORIDA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
JERRY LOVELL - BELLEVUE, NEBRASKA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON


CARDINALS'  RING OF HONOR
Photo Sent by Kevin McCullough, Lakeville, Indiana




*********** Until Tony Dorsett came along 37 years after him, Marshall Goldberg was considered  the best running back ever to play for Pitt.

He was a Jewish kid from the small town of Elkins, West Virginia, where he was captain of his high school’s football, basketball and track teams.

He was heavily recruited, but chose Pitt, where he became a member of Jock Sutherland’s “Dream Backfield” of Goldberg, Cassiano, Chickerneo and Stebbins. (There have been several "Dream Backfields" since then, but this was the first.)

He was an All-American at two positions: in 1937 as a halfback, and in 1938 - unselfishly changing positions in order to get the team’s four best backs on the field - as a fullback.

When his career at Pitt was over, he had twice finished in the top three in the Heisman voting - third place in 1937, second in 1938 - and he set a carer rushing record that would last until Dorsett broke it in 1974.

He played with the Chicago Cardinals from 1939 through 1942, and then after wartime service as a Navy officer  in the South Pacific, he returned to play three more seasons. 

Once a member of Pitt’s “Dream Backfield,” he also became a member of the Cardinals’ “Million-Dollar Backfield,” so-called because in competition with the Chicago Rockets of the new AAFC, Cards’ owner William Bidwill had signed All-American Charley Trippi to a then-astonishing $100,000 contract. The backfield of Goldberg, Trippi, quarterback Paul Christman and fullback Pat Harder led the Cards to a 9-3 record, defeating the Bears in the final game of the regular season to send the Cards to the championship game with the Eagles, in which they won their only NFL title.

Not a big man, Goldberg was tough. He was named All-Pro Defensive Back  for three straight years (1946-1948)

He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and is one of only nine Pitt players to have his number retired.

http://www.jewishsports.net/BioPages/MarshallGoldberg.htm

*********** In his book “Ellis Island to Ebbetts Field - Sport and the American Jewish Experience,” Peter Levine writes of the improbable story of Marshall Goldberg, the son of a Jewish immigrant who grew up in Elkins, West Virginia, a mountain town of some 7,500 people, with only four Jewish families.  The nearest synagogue was in Morgantown, 70  miles of mountain roads away, so on Sundays he attended a Methodist church where his high school football coach was a Sunday School teacher. (His two brothers split their Sundays between a Presbyterian Church and a Baptist Church. They would both go on to play football at the local college, Davis and Elkins, a Presbyterian institution.)

It was only when he went away to Pittsburgh for college that Goldberg was introduced to the formalities of Judaism.

HIs father, Saul, who owned the local movie theatre in Elkins, steered him to Pitt, and became a big supporter of the Panthers.  Before their 1937 Rose Bowl game against Washington, Pitt coach Jock Sutherland read to the team a telegram that the elder Goldberg had sent: BRING HOME THE BACON AND YOU KNOW HOW I HATE PORK. Pitt won, 21-0.

At the same time as Hitler’s rise to power and the beginning of the Nazis’ evil treatment of European Jews, a football star named Goldberg became a hero to American Jewish sports fans. In New York, large numbers of them turned out to watch the great Pitt-Fordham clashes. The Jewish press,  once a strong presence in large cities with sizable Jewish populations,  enjoyed calling him  the “Hebrew Hillbilly.”

Goldberg, a modest person,  understood the reason for his popularity. “Here’s a guy named Goldberg,” he told Levine in a 1990 interview, “who’s a football player - and Jews aren’t supposed to be football players, and Jews aren’t supposed to be strong.”


***********  In the 1930s, Notre Dame coach Elmer Layden desperately wanted to recruit a great high school running back in Elkins, West Virginia named Marshall Goldberg.  As the name suggests, Goldberg was Jewish, the son of a merchant in the small town.

But Notre Dame’s President, Father O’Hara, had placed recruiting restrictions on his football coach - he could not leave campus to sign players.  They had to come to South Bend.

Meantime, according to the story, a famed movie producer who was also a Notre Dame booster promised that if Goldberg  went to Notre Dame, he'd make a movie called “Goldberg of Notre Dame.” (At the time, the story of  a Jewish kid starring at the nation’s best-known Catholic school would have been a sure box-office hit.)

Alas,  Marshall Goldberg never went to Notre Dame, and the movie was never made.

Goldberg was successfully recruited by Jock Sutherland, legendary Pitt coach, and along with Dick Cassiano, John Chickernio and Curly Stebbins formed what came to be called the Dream Backfield.  Thanks in large part to them, for three years, from 1936 through 1938, Pitt won one national title and contended for two others.

Goldberg played a major role in Pitt defeats of Notre Dame in 1936 and 1937, and went on to a solid career in the NFL.

I’d sure love to have seen “Goldberg of Notre Dame.”

*********** How about this one…

In 1935, 1936 and 1937, Pitt and Fordham, two of the best teams in the country, met in New York’s Polo Grounds, and all three games ended the same way - 0-0.  Three straight years of scoreless ties.

Fordham’s publicity guy, Tim Cohane, in a takeoff on Shakespeare, called in “Much Ado About Nothing to Nothing.”

In the 1937 game, Goldberg scored, but the play was called back for holding.

http://articles.latimes.com/1987-09-05/sports/sp-1516_1_curly-stebbins

*********** QUIZ: Before there was Peyton Manning...  there was a kid from Huntsville Alabama  who became so well-known, so beloved in Tennessee that a C & W song was written about him.

He almost didn't even play college football at all. In 1971, right out of high school, he was drafted number one by the Montreal Expos. But his mother insisted that he get a college education - and the rest is history.

His sophomore year, the first year he was eligible, he became the first black player to quarterback an SEC team, and he took the Vols to a bowl game all three years of his varsity eligibility. With him at QB, Tennessee was 25-9-2.

They called him the Artful Dodger. Only 5-11 and 180, he was sensational in run-or-pass situations, throwing for over 3,000 yards in his career, and running for nearly 1,000. In his senior year, he successfully made the transition from a rollout to a veer quarterback. At the time he left Tennessee, he was the school's all-time leader in total offense, and even though he played more than 40 years ago, he still ranks among Tennessee's top 10 passers.

He was All-SEC his senior year, and received some Heisman votes, but that was it for him as a football player in the States.  He spent the rest of his football days in Canada.

When he was drafted only 12th by the New England Patriots he chose instead to sign with Ottawa of the CFL, where he could play quarterback.  In 13 years in Canada, he led two different teams to Grey Cup championships. First, sharing duties with ex-Notre Damer Tom Clements, he helped lead the Ottawa Rough Riders to the title. And then, traded to Toronto,  he hooked up with run-and-shoot guru Mouse Davis. The large Canadian field and Davis' offensive system were made to order for him, and in his six years with the Argos, he threw for 16,619 yards and 98 touchdowns, and led them to the Grey Cup in 1982.

He ended his career with one final season in British Columbia, then returned to Tennessee to get his degree. He is currently an Assistant Athletic Director at Tennessee.


american flag TUESDAY,  JUNE 20,  2017  - “Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.” Plato


***********   I thank everyone who was kind enough to wish me Happy Birthday or Happy Father’s Day - or both.

Father’s Day is wonderful because the thing I’m proudest of is our four children… and the people they’ve married and brought into the family… and the grandchildren they’ve given us.  My three daughters all married men who are great fathers, and my son, with a nine-year-old of his own, is experiencing the joys of fatherhood. It enrages me when I hear of young men who make babies and then cut out and have nothing to do with those children, but it also saddens me because that selfish, immature decision will cost them some of the most rewarding moments a man can have.

So many of the birthday wishes are from people I’ve met in some way through football.  Many are from coaches.  Youth, high school, college or pro,  as football coaches we share a bond that can only be understood by someone who’s been through it. The people I’ve come to know through football are a blessing. They’ve enriched my life and I’m thankful beyond words.

The biggest events of my weekend were not my birthday or Father’s Day, but first, being with our daughter Cathy and son-in-law Rob Tiffany and their family at the graduation of our grandson, Mike Tiffany, from Cedar Crest High School in Duvall, Washington.  The ceremony was really well done - even the speeches by the students.  Especially impressive was a speech by a faculty member.  My big takeaway from it: “Rather than ask how much this opportunity will cost, ask how much it will cost to miss this opportunity.”  Sure hope some of the kids were listening, but if not - no matter.  I was.  Never too old to learn something.


Foristieres and wyattsThe second biggest event took place Saturday morning in Seattle, where long-time friend Mike Foristiere brought his team from Mattawa, Washington, about three hours away, to compete in a spring football jamboree. Mike and I correspond often, going back to when he was a young pup starting out coaching in Boise, and he was kind