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

american flag FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 12,  2016   “The middle class believes the rich get the benefits, the poor get the programs, and they get stuck with the bill.” Ed Goeas, political advisor

*********** After years of suffering from memory loss and bouts of depression, former hockey player Todd McEwen was sure he was suffering from C.T.E.

“Every time it was announced that a fellow player had C.T.E., “ his wife said, “Todd would say, ‘If they had C.T.E., I know I have C.T.E..’ ”

C.T.E. can be diagnosed only posthumously, and after Ewen died in September of a self-inflicted gunshot, an autopsy was performed.

On Wednesday, researchers in Toronto announced their findings, and guess what?


Said his wife in a statement, “We hope that anyone suffering from the effects of concussion takes heart that their symptoms are not an automatic diagnosis of C.T.E. Depression coupled with other disorders can have many of the same symptoms of C.T.E.”

But cheer up, football haters. He was a hockey player,  not a football player. It’s football you’re after.

*********** 1934 was the last time 11 men played the entire 60 minutes of a game for a major college football team. What two teams played in that game, which  team had 11 starters go the whole way, and what was the final score?

***********  ”I didn't get the fumble. We can play tit for tat. I've seen numerous quarterbacks throw interceptions, and the effort afterwards ... they don't go. I don't dive on one fumble, because of the way my leg was, it could have been [twisted] in a way.

"We didn't lose that game because of that fumble. I can tell you that.''

Cam Newton

***********   Not to question your friend Mike Lude, but as an Albion College graduate, I'd have to say I'd be hard pressed to know of a time when they had an enrollment of 3,000.  Right now, it's 1,268, I think about 1,600 when I was there in the late 70's/early 80's.  I think Hillsdale had about 900 when I was at Albion, so yes, Albion was almost twice the size of Hillsdale then.
As the guy who wrote his masters thesis on the history of Albion College football, I'd be interested to know when coach Lude was at Hillsdale.  Albion is the only charter and life long member of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAA).  Hillsdale was also a member of the MIAA for many years.  We hold a 35-28-1 edge over Hillsdale, but there was a time in the 50's when Hillsdale was flat awesome, and they had Albion's number.  The coach at Hillsdale at the time was a former Albion High School coach by the name of Muddy Waters.  Late in his career, Muddy went to Saginaw Valley State, and later Michigan State for three seasons, immediately preceding George Perles.  After the 1960 season, Hillsdale was voted out of the MIAA by a 7-1 vote (guess who the one was) for accepting a post season bowl invitation to something called the Excelsior Bowl.    That post season ban stayed in place until 1977.  It kept the 1976 Albion team from participating in the Division III playoffs.  That team is considered one of, if not the best team in Albion history.  The other two competitors would be the 1928 team, led by local restaurateur Win Schuler.  Win's grandson Larry played on the 1978 team that I was on.  And of course Albion won the 1994 Division III championship.  In 1977, Albion became the first MIAA team to play in the Division III playoffs.  Alas, I was trying to walk on at Western Michigan those two years, and I arrived in '78.  our records the three years that I played were 4-5, 4-5, and 5-4.  It was a great experience though, and I am proud of Albion's football heritage.
Hillsdale has also had it's share of success.  They were the NAIA co-champions in 1985.  I don't remember how that all came about.  Their current coach is Keith Otterbein, an alum.  I had the good fortune of being a volunteer assistant coach at Ferris State University in 1992 when they went to the Division II semi finals, losing to New Haven in the Yale Bowl.  Keith was the coach of that Ferris State team.
Love reading all of the football history on your site.
John Zeller
Tustin, MIchigan

Hi Coach-

I don’t mind your questioning Mike’s story.  In his behalf, I must say that I find his powers of recollection to be astonishing, and to that I would add that his one year of coaching there was 1947. In 1947,
thanks to the G.I. Bill,  many American colleges were bloated by the enrollment of veterans.

This, from Mike’s book, ‘Walking the Line”: “Like most campuses after World War II, Hillsdale was crowded with returning military veterans.”

Those were unusual times, with enormous numbers of service veterans taking advantage of the - basically - free college educations offer them.  Mathematically, the war had cost America’s colleges three or four entire  classes of men, and they all arrived back home at about the same time, ready to get on with college and with government money to pay their tuitions.  Colleges that had barely managed during World War II greeted them eagerly and managed to squeeze them in.  By the time the government money ran out in 1956, more than 10 million veterans had participated.

So I’d say it’s plausible that Albion’s post-war enrollment was unusually large.

No disrespect, but without access to the college records, I’m stickin’ with Mike’s story.

After spending three years in the Marine Corps, Mike returned to Hillsdale for his senior season, 1946, under new coach Dave Nelson. In 1947 he joined Nelson’s staff as an assistant.  When Nelson left after two seasons to take a job as an assistant at Harvard, Mike stayed on at Hillsdale under the new HIllsdale coach, Gib Holgate.  (By an interesting coincidence, 11 years later Gib Holgate would be my freshman coach at Yale.)

Following the 1948 season at Harvard, Nelson was offered the head coaching job at Maine, and he brought Mike Lude (and another Hillsdale assistant, Harold Western) along with him.  Those three were the Maine "staff."

They would stay at Maine for two seasons - 1949-50 - during which time they gave birth to the “Delaware Wing-T”.

They moved to Delaware in 1951, and Mike stayed with Nelson as his line coach until 1962, when he struck out on his own as head coach at Colorado State.

Muddy Waters had great success at Hillsdale.  Believe it or not, between the time Dave Nelson left in 1947 and the time Muddy Waters came on board, Hillsdale went through five different head coaches.  Waters stayed at Hillsdale for 20 years, going 137-48-5.

Even without Michigan and Michigan State and their great histories, the state of Michigan has a great college football tradition.

Very glad you like the history!

*********** Just get in from Mars, did ya, fella?

“We found out yesterday we had a problem.”

So said Louisville Athletic Director Tom Jurich last week, despite everyone else in the sports world knowing since at least last fall that someone in the Louisville athletic department had been using such "enhanced recruiting" techniques as hiring strippers to persuade young students to come to Louisville to study.  And perhaps - when they're not studying - play a little hoop.

*********** Morning coach,

Quite a boring game last night, but it was refreshing to see a good defensive game plan surprise everyone's predictions. BTW, the Grey Cup had more scoring halfway through the first quarter than that game did all night.

I have a question regarding coaching a team by yourself. I am looking at a situation where, due to job commitments or unavailability, I may coach a spring season (three weeks with a scrimmage) by myself. I remember you writing that you had to coach your teams in Finland alone. How did you do that? I may occasional have a coach make practice, but not on a regular basis. I will also have a manager who is very motivated and dependable.

Hope all is well.

Football is fun.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba


I enjoyed the game because I found myself caught up in whether Denver could shut down Mister Big Mouth.

And then it got to be fun watching his reactions when things continued to go badly.

As for coaching by yourself - as you know, I’ve done it in Europe where in some cases I was not only the only guy who knew enough to coach the game - I was the only American in the city.

The process I followed was almost exactly as I describe it in Practice Without Pads

You do EVERYTHING as a team, in lines, preferably an even number.

With just one coach, you wouldn’t want more than four lines, because you need to be able to see everything, and I find that you can watch up to four kids at a time do their agilities.  

In those agility lines you coach the basics of kick coverage - breaking down, maintaining leverage, etc.

With tackling and blocking, it’s best to cut the number in half, by having them pair off so that Player 1 in line 1 goes against Player 1 in Line 2, etc.

When it’s time for O and D, you stay with teams.

Where you need a little help is in supervising the scout teams.  Overseas, I was always able to call on one of the veteran players to handle the defense, and I turned the scout “O” over to my QB.

It’s really no more than that.  Mostly, it’s just believing that it can be done and being the take-charge guy.

It’s better having one coach teaching them one thing, and teaching it right,  than six coaches teaching them six different things, not all of them right.

***********  I was at the luncheon in Phoenix when they introduced the management, the coach and several of the players of their brand-new NBA franchise, the Suns. My company was one of the original sponsors.  It was 1968.

The Phoenix area has grown enormously  since then, to where it’s now large enough and prosperous enough to justify having  teams in all four major sports leagues, but back then, Phoenix was excited about the idea of finally getting a professional sports franchise.

Not that Phoenix didn’t already have a major sports franchise.

It had  the Arizona State Sun Devils, a college football team that was as much a part of the fabric of its city and its area as any NFL team has ever been.

And Arizona State was as much the product of one man - one coach - as any college football team has ever been.

That man was Frank Kush, their coach from 1958 to 1979.  Well, just part of 1979 - that’s part of his story, too.

But in his time in Tempe, he went 176-54-1, dominating the old Border Conference and then, with the founding of the WAC in 1969, winning WAC titles in 1969-70-71-72-73-75 and 77.

He didn’t exactly inherit a bare cupboard.  Dan Devine had gone 27-3-1 in three years in Tempe before leaving to take the head coaching job at Missouri.

But during Kush’s time at ASU, interest in the Sun Devils took off,  along with the population of the Phoenix area, as evidenced by the growth in their average attendance:

1960 - 27,500
1970 - 46,305
1980 - 63,288

He was one tough hombre.  He was a Pennsylvania coal miner’s son who was recruited to play at Michigan State by Duffy Daugherty, another Pennsylvania coal miner’s son, and he started both ways for the Spartans as a 170-pound lineman.

As a coach, he was notoriously tough, and he was proud of it: “To play on my teams, you’ve got to be a mean, tough son of a bitch.”

He has just published a new book titled “Frank Kush, The Incredible Life Story of a Coaching Legend in His Own Words.”

I can’t wait to read it.  Sure hope he tells it straight, like a mean, tough son of a bitch.

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

I was searching for more information about the story of Coach James and the Utah Shovel Pass.  Here is a link to a video from the 1969 Liberty Bowl where Bear Bryant goes onto the filed, gets the initial fumble recovery of the shovel pass reversed to an incomplete pass, and then gets the 15 yd penalty.  Subsequent play is a safety on Alabama QB from the outstanding defensive rush of Colorado.  Final score: Colorado wins over Alabama, 47 to 43.
(See the 17 min mark of this video for the play and Bear Bryant going onto the field.)

I have just completed a good book by Peter G. Tormey named THE THURSDAY SPEECHES, about the lectures that Coach James gave to the players when he was HC at Washington.  Coach James believed in 48 hours of mental preparation before the game and gave his pep-talks with this in mind.  The book is a review of the speeches he gave throughout the years at Washington.  You may have read already it.  I thought it was really a good read.

Best regards,

Ken Hampton
Raleigh, North Carolina


That’s great research!

To be honest, it does look suspiciously like a lateral!   Could The Bear possibly be wrong?

But that was Memphis, and in the South, you’d better not screw over The Bear.  (Must have been a Yankee official who flagged him for going onto the field!)

Colorado’s Bob Anderson was a heck of a player.

Thanks also for the tip on the Don James book.  I am on it.

*********** The article was about how, after years of having small craft brewers nip at its ankles, the Big Dog, international beer giant ABInBev, has chosen to start buying them up.

The “AB” in “ABInBev” stands for Anheuser-Busch, a once-proud once-American company that built Budweiser and then Bud Light into the USA’s largest sellers before selling out to InBev, an even larger company.  A Belgian company.

For a while it tried combatting the craft brewers by imitating them, devising clever names for false companies it set up (yes, they’re allowed to do this), with which it tried to gull the public into thinking that those cleverly-named ales, stouts and porters came from little home breweries, run by beer lovers with long beards, when in fact they came out of ABInbev’s huge  beer factories in such quaint little towns as Newark, Tampa and St. Louis.

But recently, Big Beer has come to the realization that some consumers might be getting wise to the phoniness of their crafty craft beer approach, and it’s taken instead to gobbling up some authentic craft brewers, such as Chicago’s Goose Island - being careful not to tell us who really owns them.

(Fort Collins, Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing Company, maker of Fat Tire Ale, is rumored to be in their sights.)

They swear that they’re not going to change a thing about the beer, and that may be so, but where this gets nasty for the rest of the little guys is when it comes time for them to sell their beer.  They can’t find distributors to sell it.

Since repeal of prohibition, alcohol in the US by law must be sold in three stages: from the maker to the distributor (sometimes called the wholesaler); from the distributor to the retailer (tavern, grocery store, liquor store); and from the retailer to the consumer.

There are minor exceptions, such as brewpubs, in which brewers can sell their product directly to consumers, serving as the retailer and bypassing the wholesaler entirely.  And a few states such as Pennsylvania sell liquor only in state-run stores, buying directly from the manufacturer, and serving as both wholesaler and retailer.  And Pennsylvania does allow certain “distributors” to sell beer directly to consumers, so long as they buy it in case lots.

But mainly, if you’re a brewer and you have any aspirations of growing, you can’t do that yourself. Doing it means persuading a distributor to carry your beer and sell it to retailers. 

Unfortunately for you, there’s no law that says that a distributor has to sell your beer for you.  There’s only so much space in his warehouse and on his trucks and on the shelves in the stores that he serves, and he has to devote that space to products that will sell. You have to persuade him that by handling your beer - trying to get it into supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, etc. - he can make a buck for himself and for you.

You have to persuade him that carrying your product isn’t going to cut into the sales of a product he’s already carrying.

And you have to persuade his sales people that it’s worth their time to sell retailers on the value of carrying your beer.

Naturally, you’d like to be represented by a top distributor, one who’s already busy, which means his trucks make all the stops.  He’s only busy if he carries a major brand, one that there’s a demand for almost everywhere.

Here’s where you’re about to get shafted -  all but two of the  ten top-selling brands in America (#5, Corona and #10, Heineken) are produced by one of three companies in the United States - ABInbev, Molson-Coors or SAB Miller.  It gets worse - they produce 16 of the top 20 leading brands.  And in the US, Molson-Coors and SAB Miller have a joint marketing agreement, which basically means that they’re sold by the same distributors.

Do you see where this is headed?  It means that in almost any major market in the United States there are just two really good, really busy distributors.  And their trucks are already full of their companies’ own brands. And when enough retailers begin to ask them if they carry an IPA, they notify Big Beer, and Big Beer’s answer is to acquire an existing craft brewer that makes one.

Ready for the worst?  With the recent announcement that ABInbev intends to acquire SABMIller, it’s quite possible that there will be places in the US served by just one major distributor - and a bunch of other ones just trying to get along.

Your choice is to stay small and local or, if you’re able, to get smaller distributors to take you on, but that means being one of a host of cats and dogs on his trucks, and it means fighting for shelf space in retail stores.

If you’ve read this far and you haven’t already guessed, I’m for the little guy. The candidate who votes to break up Big Beer gets my vote.

But I digress.

Anyhow, the article about Big Beer talking over craft brewers quoted a young woman in  a Denver pub:

She was “horrified at the thought of a big brewer ever taking over the Strange Craft Beer Company, where she enjoyed a tulip glass of a cherry wheat ale that she said tasted just like cherry pie filling.”

Say,  Cherry pie filling

For that I just went on a rant? 

What the hell.  Go ahead.   Sell the f-king place.  Bud Light can’t be any worse.

*********** It was July of 1865.  The Civil War was over and to tens of thousands of young men returning to civilian life, the New York Tribune’s Horace Greeley passed along a suggestion that he’d read in a Terre Haute, Indiana newspaper:

Go West, Young Man

Today, if you’re a high school football coach, a change of direction might be in order:

So South.

According to First Coast News, there are at least 22 Georgia high school football coaches making $100,000 or more.  (The National Education Association says that the average teaching salary in Georgia is about $53,382.)

Georgia’s highest-paid high school coach is Jess Simpson of Buford High School, at $174,107.65. Coach Simpson has a138-8 win-loss record and several  state titles to his credit.

The second highest paid coach is Colquitt County High’s Rush Propst ($130,038.00). Coach Probst, you may recall, was doing a first-rate job at Hoover, Alabama until he screwed up his personal life in unimaginable fashion.  Given a second chance, he appears to have made his way back.

To those of you headed out the door for a job in Georgia, I should point one thing that perhaps you haven’t considered:  when they pay you a lot, they expect a lot.

Just win, baby.

*********** One of the books I really treasure is “Great College Football Coaches of the Twenties and Thirties.”

Not to diminish Nick Saban’s accomplishments in any way, but those guys were colorful and interesting, not a Saban in the bunch.

I was fascinated reading about Dick Harlow, who coached 27 seasons  at Penn State, Colgate, Western Maryland and Harvard, with two years off to serve in World War II.

His overall record was 150-68-17.

He was an amazing man, described as “intellectual and tough.”


He collected rare birds’ eggs.

Once, to get to a raven’s nest, he was rappelling down the face of a cliff when a boulder fell and hit him on the head, dazing him. He fell 90 feet to the ground, burning his hand as the rope tore through it, and breaking an ankle when he landed, unconscious.  He lay there three hours until he was found.

Another time, while driving, he became so occupied by the sight of a rare bird that he lost control and slammed into a tree.

He was named  Curator of Oology at the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, and at his summer home in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains he grew several species of gentians and rhododendrons that had never before grown in the United States.


As coach at Penn State, part of his duties entailed serving as a dorm proctor.  At that time, it was considered the height of fun for dorms to engage one another in free-for-alls, and Harlow, a handy man with his fists,  had to break up one riot by setting up a series of boxing matches between the two sides. That gave him the idea of starting a boxing team at Penn State, and from 1919 through 1921, he served as its coach.

On one occasion, while scouting an opponent, he was surrounded by fans of the opponent, who tried to grab his notebook.  He punched the leader, knocking him down several rows of bleachers, then managed to escape the others by jumping off the back of the stands to the ground 20 feet below.

He was the first non-graduate to coach at Harvard.

At a dinner after his hiring (back then, they called it an “appointment”) as Harvard’s head coach, he won the Harvard guys over by standing in a reception line and identifying the alums,
one by one, sport and year. (He’d been smart enough to study an alumni directory borrowed from the sports editor of the Boston Globe.)

He calculated that over the years he had lent $27,000 to players and all of it was repaid except for one loan of $165 - the young man who’d borrowed it was killed in World War II.

He coached two of the Kennedy brothers, Joe, Jr. and Bobby, sons of the very wealthy and politically powerful Bostonian (and brothers of the future President.)  Neither brother ever played much.

Before the 1937 Harvard-Yale game, he got a phone call from somebody identifying himself as a friend of Joe Kennedy, Sr., asking whether Joe, Jr. would get a letter. At the time, football letters at Harvard were earned in one of two ways - either by appearing in a certain number of quarters, or by playing in the Yale game.  Since young Joe Kennedy hadn’t played enough to letter, the caller essentially was asking whether  he would get into the next day’s game.  He said that Joe Kennedy, Sr. wanted to know.

Coach Harlow was so enraged at the interference that Joe Kennedy, Jr. didn’t get into the game.

Before the 1938 Yale game in New Haven, the Harvard team was quartered at a prep school in nearby Wallingford, Connecticut, and after the team meeting the night before the game, Coach Harlow led the squad in singing the alma mater, “Fair Harvard.”

Partway through the second verse, he noticed that several players didn’t seem to know the words.

He stopped singing and let them have it:  “The eleven men representing Harvard University tomorrow afternoon,” he said, “are representing the greatest institution of its kind in the world, and in this enviable capacity, they can be expected to know the words of “Fair Harvard! All three verses!  Nobody plays tomorrow until they prove to me this lesson is learned!”

Lesson learned. Harvard beat Yale, 7-0. 

"Fair Harvard" -

Hey - We got one, too ---

american flag TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 9,  2016   "If you're going through hell, keep going."   Winston Churchill

*********** Based on the lack of offensive scoring,  a lot of people are saying  that it was a boring Super Bowl.

I actually found it exciting.  Suspenseful, if you will.

See, I didn’t give Denver a chance.

I’d allowed myself to get caught up in the myth of the unstoppable  Carolina offense, to the point where I was telling anyone who’d listen that the Panthers should be favored by eight points.  At least.

So when Denver came out playing aggressively - like pros! Imagine! - I began to wonder if there was a chance we might see a good game.

The suspense came from wondering when (not if) Carolina would finally show us the offensive might that had defeated 17 of 18 opponents.

The suspense came from wondering if Denver could possibly put an end to Cam Newton’s boorish post-touchdown behavior.

He’d been allowed to get away with all the dancing because he did have a great season - MVP and all that - but now I found myself hoping to see him shut down, to see what might happen if things didn’t go his way.

What did it for me was seeing him, pre-game, wearing that stupid f—king Superman shirt.  And gold f-king shoes with "MVP" on them.

Superman, my ass.   This is the Super Bowl, you oaf.  This is not the time to be waving a red flag in front of your opponent.   The Broncos are paid to play football, too. 

All those elaborate end zone dances,  all that  disdain for opponents  - “if you don’t want me to do it, then don’t let me in” - they all came to a bitter end Sunday.

Okay, Cam, we didn’t let you in.  Now what?

The disrespect he and to a lesser extent his teammates had shown to opponents all season long finally bit him back.

There followed a bizarre post-game press conference, one worthy of a Marshawn (“I’m only doing this so I won’t get fined”) Lynch, but not of an NFL MVP. It consisted of a pouting  Newton, slouched and hiding inside a hoodie,  responding grudgingly to reporters’ questions with a monosyllabic series of grunts, then finally getting up and abruptly walking out.

Yeah, yeah, I know - “he’s only 26.”   Except that, based on the NFLPA’s statistics, the average NFL career lasts about 3.3 years, so he’s already been in the pros longer than most guys.

The problem, it seems to me, is not his age.  It’s something that prominent child psychologists and parenting experts have been observing:  our kids are not learning how to fail -  how to fall and get back up again.

Instead,  shielded from failure, they're growing up with a sense that they're entitled to victory, and with an inability to snap back from failure when  victory doesn’t come.

My theory is that because Newton has won nearly everywhere he’s been - high school, junior college (one year), college (one year) and now as a fourth-year pro,   no one’s ever had the need to teach him how to lose graciously.

So long as he  won, why, who saw any need to tell him that maybe a little modesty, maybe a tiny bit of humility, might not be such a bad thing?

Besides - what the hell - the kid was just having fun.

Right. Until Sunday, when the NFL’s MVP was exposed as a dancing fool.  Or worse,  as a boastful churl.

“Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

*********** I think that Cam Newton would be well advised to apologize for the bratty way he handled the post-Super Bowl press conference.

And - might as well ask for the moon while I'm at it - I’d like to hear him say that he’s done with the showing-off, and that from now on he’s going to let his play on the field speak for itself.

He’s not likely to do either, of course, which is too bad, but at least he probably won’t ever insist that we call him Cammie Football.

Which brings us to The Man.

Hard to believe that it’s already been a year since Johnny Football checked into rehab.

Sure seems to have worked well, wouldn’t you say?

If that stay was on the Browns’ dime, I sure hope they got their money back.

*********** Budweiser, a product of ABInBev, world’s largest brewer, spent a ton on Super Bowl commercials and scarcely needed a plug from Peyton Manning, but it got one all the same when he announced - twice - in postgame interviews going out to a worldwide TV audience that he planned to celebrate the Broncos’ Super Bowl win by drinking “a lot of Budweiser” that evening.

It’s doubtful he was paid for the advertising.  The ABInBev people deny paying him, and it’s illegal for an active sports figure to advertise alcoholic products. (Although I suppose he could have done a workaround by saying, “I’m officially retiring - and I’m gonna be drinking a lot of Budweiser tonight.”)

The only thing that makes it seem fishy to me is - with all the great beers out there to drink, why Budweiser?

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that until a few years ago, Manning owned a couple of Budweiser distributorships in Louisiana.

The guy is the NFL’s highest-paid endorser, pulling down an estimated $12 million a year from Buick, DirecTV, Gatorade, Nationwide and Papa John’s.

Can’t say he isn’t loyal.  Those of us who saw him in the locker room before the game saw him swigging Gatorade from a bottle,  cartons of the stuff stacked against the wall behind him, and following the game he blew a kiss to Papa John’s founder John Schnatter.

A San Francisco ad executive called his plugs for Bud, Gatorade and Papa John’s “the three best Super Bowl ads.”

***********  Charlie Wilson writes from Crystal River, Florida...

1. You've seen this before, I'm certain.  I have.  "This kid has all the tools to be a great one...". The kid gets hit and that's it.  He's still 6'2" and 225 and still runs like the wind and he's STILL DONE.

2. The responses to Cam Newton are...interesting.  The Newsies are all over (and against) the Little People.  "A lotta peepuhl are saying Cam choked, but look at what he's done already!  They must be raysiss...".  The Big Story today?  Romanowski (The Racist) sez he would choke Newton if could Blast him at the bottom of a pile on any given play.

That's the Story?

3. So Cam Newton is the Second Coming of Randall Cunningham? (Nobody mentions Doug Williams, who had to put up with Hugh Culverhouse in Tampa).  'N then, like an hour after a big meal when you realize that you are not feeling GREAT like you thought you should, something else enters your thoughts.  "Was Newton in the room when a Bribe was offered?"

"Newton denies knowledge and so does Auburn..."  WELL, THAT SETTLES THAT, DON'T IT?"

4. The plays are interesting.  If I got clubbed on or about the head, my first rebound reaction would probably be to lose focus on gripping the ball and protect myself andthengrabthedamnBALLback.  So, I would have fumbled AND been knocked out.

OK.  Fine.  Just look at every other non-play shot of Newton and you'll be able to read the Book on CN in very large print.

In. Over. His. Head.

Take the money and run.  I don't know what the future holds 'n I don't care.  I do know with whom I would rather drink a Bud or 2.  Von Miller.  (OK, OK, the other guy too.).


"He’s only 26."

"He’s just having fun."

"If they don’t want him to dance they should just keep him out of the end zone."

"We’ve never seen anything like him."

"He's got a great smile."

"He gives footballs to little kids."

All that - and you want him to recover fumbles, too?

*********** Maybe Donald Trump has got a point, with this “Make America Great Again” business.

Without commenting on The Donald one way or another, I would love to see America return to a time when we won our wars. When men didn’t have “husbands.” When politicians didn’t argue for the rights of the  “homeless” to piss in the street. When anybody you asked could tell you how many original colonies we started with, and how many states we have now. 

I'd love to see America return to a time  when no NFL quarterback could fumble, then stand there looking like a deer in the headlights, then step back, out of the fray - and still make a living in professional football.

*********** Sure hate to disappoint anyone looking for a review of the Super Bowl halftime show, but as is our Super Bowl tradition, my wife and I always feed our dogs sometime late in the first half and then take them for their run during halftime.  When we get back home, the second half's ready to start.

So far as we've been able to determine, our lives have not been diminished in the slightest by our routine.

Beyonce?   I missed him.  What position does he play?

*********** I was very happy to see Von Miller named Super Bowl MVP.  The honor was richly deserved.

Miller’s agent is Joby Brannion, like my daughter
a Duke alum, and the husband of one of her best friends.

***********  FROM A YEAR AGO

Ask yourself - honestly  - would you want your son (or grandson) playing a game in which an opponent can lay in wait for him and, at no risk to himself, while your kid's helpless to defend himself, knock him senseless?

So why should we expect anyone else who's seen an NFL defensive back launch himself at a defenseless receiver and then watched officials split hairs trying to determine whether contact was made by shoulder or helmet, or whether the point of impact was the shoulder, or neck, or helmet of the targeted victim,  allow his (or her) kid to play a game like that?

It started in the NFL, and as inevitably happens with the most repugnant aspects of the NFL, it's seen on TV by kids and very quickly copied.   And, left unchecked, it's going to kill our game.

What would you say to someone who tells you this is why he doesn't want his son playing football?   What can you say?

Even boxing allows a man the opportunity to defend himself.

This isn't boxing, though - this is much worse.  Hitting a helpless opponent  requires no courage. Tucking the arms and hands and launching one's self into a helpless opponent is about as courageous as sucker-punching him.  It's the knockout game in shoulder pads.

I recommend two changes:

(1) Hands must lead - hands must be above or ahead of the shoulders or it's not a tackle.  It's illegal contact.  Fifteen yards from the spot.

(2) Time for a penalty box.  None of this suspension crap, where coaches can prepare a substitute. Guy's out for a specified period of time - while his team plays a man short.   Watch how fast coaches - and players - change their ways.

What kind of sport allows a player to deliberately injure an opponent?  Boxing? Whatever happened to boxing, anyhow?

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

Two thoughts as I read NYCU over my cereal:

1. Thanks for the history on the shovel pass. In university we called it "Utah" but I never heard it referred to as that since 1992. Never worked for us either.
2. I was just discussing Madden and its impact on football with my class the other day (within a more academic topic of technologies impact upon the development of successive generations). What I find concerning about the game is its impact on young coaches. They have grown up being conditioned by a game which makes passing seem as easy as sending four receivers long and checking down one by one.

3.1 yards isn't sexy enough for them.

It's one more step in the march of immediate gratification. What's troubling is that this step is among a our ranks (football players). I'm not sure where else in our culture we are teaching eventual reward over immediate gratification.

Use that argument on your next pass happy QB dad.

Football is fun.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba


Glad you liked the shovel pass story.

I actually use it on occasion.  With “C” blocking it can be a nice little counter.

There’s no question that Madden is the instant gratification form of football.

I don’t blame AE Sports - they’re just giving the public what it wants.

Unfortunately, in the process of doing so, they’re setting players up for disappointment and dissatisfaction.

We can’t change it.   All we can do is - keep coaching!

*********** I was talking with my friend Mike Lude on Monday.  Mike has seen a lot of football, as co-inventor of the Delaware Wing-T, as head coach at Colorado State, and as AD at Kent State, Washington and Auburn.

I was talking about relative sizes of high schools, and how some small schools consistently manage to win against schools with much larger enrollments.

Mike contends that it’s more a matter of quality vs quantity, and he told me a story going back his first year of coaching, at Hillsdale College, a small school with a great football tradition.

Mike said that after the season he got to talking with the head coach of Albion College, at that time one of the larger schools in their conference, with an enrollment considerably larger than Hillsdale’s.

Mike said that it must be great to have 3,000 students - that it would make things so much easier.

“Tell you what,” Mike says the coach told him.  “I’ll trade you our 3,000 students for your 55 players, even-up.”

*********** Bob Stull, UTEP’s AD,  is a Don James/Mike Lude guy.

After graduating from Kansas State, his first coaching job was at Kent State in 1970, where Don James was the head coach and Mike Lude was the AD.

After four years at Kent State, he followed James to Washington in 1975.  Mike would arrive a year later as the Huskies’ AD.  Stull coached the wide receivers  until being promoted to offensive coordinator in 1979.

In 1984 he took the head coaching job at UMass, then moved to UTEP two years later.

“My first full time job was at Kent State in 1970 as the offensive line coach,” Stull said. “Gary Pinkel (current Missouri head coach) and Nick Saban (current Alabama head coach) were on that team, so we had some good players. I was there for four years, and then we went to Washington.”

His time in Washington began as the wide receivers coach in 1975 before transitioning to offensive coordinator four years later.

In 1984 he left for UMass, and in 1986 he  accepted the job at UTEP. 

 “I was real hesitant,” he confesses now. “Long story short we came here, and then we won four, seven, and 10 games in my three years.”

He gives his staff a lot of the credit.

“My assistants were Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs head coach), Dirk Koetter (Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator), and Marty Mornhinweg (Baltimore Ravens quarterbacks coach). We had a really strong staff.”

*********** Just about a year ago, I wrote to the President Peter Salovey of Yale University suggesting that one of the two new residential colleges (sort of super-dorms) be named for Levi Jackson, a New Haven native, an African-American, an Army veteran, and an exceptional football player who became the first African-American to captain an Ivy-League team.   And a graduate who spent a career as an executive with Ford Motor Company and was instrumental not only in developing Ford’s minority dealership program, but in helping to rebuild Detroit after the nasty riots of the late 1960s.  (Yes, Detroit really was once a great city.)

I’ve been joined in my campaign by Bob Barton, another alum and a retired sports reporter for the New Haven Register.

Nothing has yet happened regarding the naming of the two colleges - the odds are against me and Mr. Jackson - but in the meantime, a major uproar has developed over the fact that one of the existing colleges, Calhoun College, was named for a prominent South Carolinian of the early 1800’s who was a strong advocate of slavery, and now there is considerable pressure to rename Calhoun.

Apart from the fact that most people who have lived in Calhoun over the years had no idea where the name came from, the fact is that it’s now out there, and people want that name gone.

So accuse me of being an opportunist, if you wish, but if that name is going to be changed, I see yet another opportunity to honor Levi Jackson.   Off went another letter to President Salovey:

Dear President Salovey,

I wrote you some time ago about naming one of the new residential colleges in honor of Mr. Levi Jackson, of the Class of 1950.

Now that there seems to be some sentiment in favor of renaming Calhoun College, I would like to introduce Mr. Jackson’s name into that conversation as well.

Mr. Jackson is significant for a number of reasons: as a native of New Haven, as an African-American, as a nationally-honored member of the Yale football team (and its first African-American captain),  as a Ford Motor Company executive who was charged with helping heal the wounds of race riots in Detroit and with building Ford Motor Company’s minority dealership program, as a distinguished citizen who served a President of the United States, and as an alumnus who took an active part in minority admissions.

He is exemplary in the effect Yale had on him and in the effect he had on Yale while here and in his long career afterward.

Mr. Jackson went to high school in New Haven.  His father was an employee of the university.

He has a prominent place in Yale’s long, storied football history.  Yale’s pioneering role in the history of American football cannot be overstated, and Mr. Jackson,  as the first black man not only to play football for Yale but also to ascend to its team captaincy,  played a significant part in the integration of college football, as well as in Yale's evolution from a school for the sons of the privileged to the more democratic institution it aspires to be today.

But far more important than his achievements in football was his representation of Yale out in the world, where he devoted years of service to his employer, to his community, and to his country in helping advance the cause of equal opportunity.

What better way to demonstrate Yale's commitment to equal opportunity and diversity and to its appreciation of its special relationship to New Haven than to recognize a New Havenite who embodied the wonderful things can happen when a person of ordinary means but great talent and character is given access to the Yale experience?

I urge whoever will make the naming decision for a new college - or, perhaps, for Calhoun - to give all due consideration to Mr. Levi Jackson, Yale 1950.

I would be happy to furnish further documentation should it be necessary.

My best wishes to you in your role as leader of our great university.


Hugh Wyatt
Yale College 1960

To his great credit, President Salovey responded quickly and courteously...

Dear Hugh,
It is a pleasure to hear from you again—thank you so much for your continued close involvement. I have ensured that your suggestion below is included in those that will be considered by the Yale Corporation (which, as with the new residential colleges, will be asked to consider the question of renaming Calhoun). I particularly appreciate your sentiment about Levi Jackson as the epitome of the transformative power of the Yale experience!
I send you very best wishes from campus, along with my gratitude for your support and care for Yale.
Peter Salovey
President and Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology
Yale University
P.O. Box 208229
New Haven, CT

american flag FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 5,  2016   "When oaths cease to be sacred, our dearest and most valuable rights cease to be secure."  John Jay, Founding Father of our Country

*********** If you’re one of the hundreds of millions worldwide who’ll watch this Sunday’s Big Game That Must Not Be Named Without Paying the NFL an Enormous Royalty…

Chances are there will be at least one moment when you'll swear that the officials are the worst you’ve ever seen. 

Chances are, too, that this won’t be the first time you’ve done that this season.

Actually, though, although former NFL V-P of officiating Mike Pereira concedes that in his opinion there have been more “critical misses” this year, it’s not as if the officials aren’t trying. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, penalties are up 24 per cent since 2008.  And that’s just the ones that were accepted.

Partly, the increase is attributable to the League’s attempt to crack down on rough play.

And partly it’s because of an increase in teams going without huddling, which pressures officials to make more calls, and to make them quicker.

But partly it's because, try as they may, the officials - like the guys patrolling our southern border -  just can’t keep up with the cheaters.

Defensive pass interference penalties accepted (there were plenty more called) were up 49 per cent since 2008.

And offensive holding penalties were up 21 per cent - in just one year!

One thing that’s quite likely to come up Sunday is the disparity between Webster’s definition of a catch and the NFL’s. Used to be all you had to worry about was whether he had two feet in bounds. Now, it’s did he complete the catch?  Did he make a football move?  Blah, blah, blah.

As Rex Ryan told the Wall Street Journal, “What used to be a catch years ago is not a catch anymore.”

*********** If you didn’t think that the NFL epitomized insane greed, you will after this - after reading this story about the way Big Football has been dealing with a guy who happens to own the only known tape of the broadcast of Super Bowl I (the first AFL-NFL game between the Packers and the Chiefs).

Long before there were such things as home VCRs, the guy’s dad recorded the game, on 2-inch tape, and then left the tape in his attic, where it was found, years later.

The son has offered to sell it to the NFL.

But The League, which you'd think would  be interested in acquiring this priceless treasure, refuses to buy it from him at what most collectors consider a reasonable price.

And get this - while the guy may own the tape itself, he doesn’t own the content - what’s on the tape.  The broadcast.  That belongs to Big Football (remember all those routine warnings at the end of every broadcast reminding us that it does?).

What that means is that while the League won’t buy it,  the guy can’t sell it to anyone else, either.  Not  without The League’s permission.   What do you suppose that chances are that he’ll get that?

*********** The play of the game in the very first Big Game That Would One Day Be Called the Super Bowl was a pass by the Chiefs’ Len Dawson that was intercepted by the Packers’ Willie Wood.

“The steal of the game,” Vince Lombardi would later call the play.

50 years later, Dawson and Wood are still alive.  Dawson, now 80, remembers the play well.  Wood, 79, doesn’t remember a thing.

On the eve of Super Bowl L - make that 50 - the New York Times’ Bill Pennington has written a very touching story about the two men whose lives intersected briefly - and how they are doing today.

Spoiler alert - Maybe it’s from having played the game too long and too hard, and maybe it’s just the ravages of old age, but Willie Wood (who - trivia question - was the first black pro head coach, with my old team, the Philadelphia Bell) is not the man he once was.  Not even close.

*********** Years ago, while working with a team in Illinois, I heard a quote attributed to John Neff, a longtime coach at Waukegan, Illinois HS, and from time to time I’ve repeated it at clinics.

I’ve often reflected on it when I’ve had to make a tough decision:

"No player is more important than the team;

No coach is more important than the staff;

No game is more important than the season;

No season is more important than the program.”

*********** I was thumbing through “James,” Don James’ autobiography, and I came across a great illustration of how you can be right - and still wind up wrong.

The late Coach James, a very good coach at Kent State and then a great one at Washington, told of the time he was coaching the defense at Colorado when they played Alabama (and Bear Bryant) in the Liberty Bowl:

“In that game, Alabama ran the Utah shovel pass against us. (It was then commonly referred to as the ‘Utah shovel pass’ because it was first popularized by Utah’s coach Jack Curtice and its quarterback Lee Grosscup. HW).

“The halfback dropped the ball and one of our players fell on it. The ref ruled it a fumble and gave us the ball.

“Coach Bryant ran on the field to complain.  He was right, of course.  It should have been ruled an incomplete pass. Well, he talked the refs into changing their ruling.  It was an incomplete pass, and Alabama maintained possession.

“Then the ref walked off 15 yards against The Bear for coming on the field.

“That put Alabama deep in its end of the field, and on the next play we sacked the Alabama quarterback for a safety.  And those two points made the difference in the final score and won the game for Colorado.

“I can still see The Bear out there, getting that ruling changed, and then getting slapped with a 15-yard penalty, even though he was right."

*********** In a recent article in Sports Business Journal, Leslie Visser recalled a visit, years ago, with Bear Bryant:

"I was the first woman in Bear Bryant’s locker room. Bear’s last year was 1982. I didn’t do many college games, but the Globe would send me to important ones. In 1982, Bear Bryant stood at the door and he said, ‘There might be a naked boy in there, but I don’t give a sh—.’
“That’s a true story. Bear and I then went out and had Jack Daniel’s — he called it sweet tea.”

*********** A reader writes...

4-X Diagram
In your normal DW formation is your wing in a position to lead block for a B gap play like belly? 

Can he get in the hole enough to lead for the fullback?

He can. It requires the B-Back (fullback) to take a side step, which takes just enough time to allow the wingback to go first.

The wingback also takes a "counter step" (so-called because it's his first step on counter plays) a 45 degree step back with the inside foot to keep from clashing with the cross block of the playside guard and tackle.

***********  The lefties hate football because it’s masculine, it’s authoritarian, it’s anti-individual, it’s quasi-militaristic. And it’s rough. Violent, if you will. 
Plus,  back in high school the football players got the best-looking girls.

Sort of the way the wolf pack manages to survive by giving the alpha male first shot at the females. 

And wolves, despite our best efforts at eradicating them, have at least managed to keep the breed strong through thousands of years of existence.

How’s it going to work out in the US, when there aren't any alpha males - just soccer players?

How’s that been working out in Europe?

Here in the US, a leftie named Tom Krattenmaker , who we are told is  a writer specializing in religion in public life and communications director at Yale Divinity School, asked, in Thursday’s USA Today,

Is it Immoral to Watch the Super Bowl?

You can see where this one’s going.

Krattenmaker equates our watching men whose participation may or may not subject them to later-in-life health problems with watching cock fights.  Or dog fights. Or bear baiting.

"Juxtapose the sport’s massive spectator popularity with our growing knowledge of its dangers," he writes,  "and with the reality that most of the men playing in the NFL are black and/or from disadvantaged backgrounds, and you end up with a creepy feeling."

He goes on to say “at least I do.”

That’s why, he tells us,  he doesn’t watch much football. 

Hell, neither do I, if by ”football” you mean the NFL. I’m creeped out, too.  But I’m creeped out  because I think the quality of the football sucks, and because I can’t stand to watch the antics of the players.

He quotes some “sports and politics columnist” named Dave Zirin  who says that we will likely see the day when “no one will play this game if they don’t have to. … The pool of players will become smaller and less economically affluent in the years to come. We will then have to reckon with just what the hell it is we are watching every Sunday.  Or, in the case of more and more of us, what we used to watch on Sunday.”

Very, very lame of Krattenmaker, quoting this Zirin, a guy who could just as easily be called a “sports radical” or “sports extremist.”  Name a controversial issue that touches on sports, and you'll find him  on the ACLU's side.

But to his argument:  I rather doubt that many of the people in the Coliseum had ever fought with a lion, or , armed with a sword and shield, taken on an opponent wielding a trident and a net…

Actually, not many of today's NASCAR fans  have driven an automobile at speeds close to 200 miles an hour, either.

Meantime, in a distant future without football, what’s going to  take its place?

There's soccer, the class nerd,  waving its hand and saying, “Me!  Me!  Pick me!”

Give me a break, soccer.  Anything's got to be something better.

Lessee... Boxing is about dead.  Bull fighting is out - actually, it appears to be fading even in Spain and Mexico.   Automobile racing?  Unless the cars are powered by solar panels, good luck selling that one, once most Americans have been told from first grade that they could personally Save the Planet.

If I may, I’d like to recommend buzkashi

Of course, in that safer-and-saner  America Without Football,  the participants will wear helmets.  And ride tricycles.  With seat belts. And fight over an inflatable love doll.

***********  Hi Coach Wyatt,

Here is a table that has the answer to your question this week, with a few minor calculations.


Ken Hampton
Raleigh, North Carolina

Coach,  While it wasn't a question, I sure do appreciate and admire your work (identifying the only three players in the NFL who've rushed for more first downs than Cam Newton.(

Newton first downs

*********** Most football people know of “Madden” - the game, not the guy - and the influence it’s had on our game.

Here’s a great article on the history of the game. 

Madden, that is.  Not football.

There is some relation between the two, obviously, but something not many people know is that in their constant striving to make “Madden” as much like the real NFL game as possible, there is a similar striving to make it different.

It’s a tension between the “sim”, in which the action is real, to the point of penalties and fumbles, and “arcade,” in which every pass is right on the money, and every pass is caught.

What it boils down to is that the millions of gamers who buy EA Sports’ best-selling game wouldn't buy it if it exactly duplicated the NFL game -  there's just not that much of a market for  a video game that dull.

What they’re aiming for is something called the “hyperreal” - something  “seemingly authentic, yet more entertaining than the genuine article.”

For an early producer named Rich Hilleman, the main object was fun: “a game with more sacks, more bombs, more tackles in the backfield and more 60-yard runs than real-life NFL football.”

"I came to the game from making flight simulations," Hilleman told “Between the Lines’” Patrick Hruby. "If you make an F-16 fighter simulation and it's very accurate, to fire a single missile takes like 20 procedures. Only that's not people's perception of being a pilot. People's perception is Tom Cruise. Push a button and blow something up… we wanted to emphasize what makes football exciting, not perfectly replicate the brutality of a 3.1-yard-per-carry running game."

american flag TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 2,  2016   If you're batting 1.000, you're playing in the little leagues." Warren Buffett

*********** If it’s really true that CTE and the fear of concussions means, ultimately, the death of our game, then clearly the NFL, which has the most to lose financially, has to start doing something about it.

It’s not going to be enough to spend time teaching younger kids to tackle safely (something that NFL players themselves seldom do), nor is it going to be enough to try assuring young mothers,  advising them to check to make sure that their little boys’ coaches are “USA-Football certified.”

Neither one of those attempted remedies addresses the main problem - that whatever the technique used, there are dangers inherent in the game that fewer and fewer of today’s Americans are willing to accept, regardless of football’s benefits.

No,  the NFL is going to have to change the nature of the game itself.

Watching snatches of Sunday’s Pro Bowl,  I marveled at the idea that despite the  fact that the  game consisted of NFL players going through the motions of a pretend football game,  a major insurance company, USAA, had paid big bucks to be its sponsor,  a decent crowd was on hand in Honolulu, and millions more watched on TV.

And that’s when it hit me: in 20 years or so, when today’s babies are old enough to drink beer, this could be what an NFL game looks like.  And what’s more, the American public, provided that it can be convinced that what they’re watching is fast, hard-hitting, violent, even, will love it!

You think that Americans can’t be gulled into thinking that that Pro Bowl stuff is real football?  It can be done. It’s going to take marketing muscle and lots of money, but the NFL has both.

It’s also going to take time.  They’re not going to fool anybody who’s old enough today to recognize that they’re softening the game.   Instead, they're going to have to start with the little guys, who don't know any better.

If they were to start now,  in 20 years the NFL and all its sponsors (remember, those big advertisers need pro football - how else are they going to reach all those 18-49 year-old males?) could have today’s little kids sold on the excitement of NFL football, Pro Bowl-style.

Okay, okay - you think I’m nuts.

But check this out.

Today, the top three best-selling beers in the US are light beers. In 1974, you couldn’t buy a light beer in the United States.  There was no such thing.

In 1975, Light Beer by Miller was introduced. Later renamed Miller Lite, its sales took off thanks to astute marketing.  The people at Miller (and their ad agency) turned what would otherwise have been a diet product with limited appeal into a beer that men would order unashamedly.  In the advertising lingo of the time, they hung a set of balls on it.

They did it with the now-famous  “tastes great… less filling” campaign in which well-known retired athletes engaged in faux arguments over which of the two characteristics was more important.  The use of retired athletes was a stroke of genius: it was then (still is) illegal to use active athletes to advertise alcohol, but there was no restriction on the use of former athletes, most of whom were still quite well known and well liked.

Sales of Miller Lite took off.

At the time, Budweiser was the US's top selling beer by far, but  its maker, Anheuser-Busch, found itself in a dilemma: it needed a light beer to combat Miller Lite in the totally new market it had created, but while it made some sense to capitalize on the Budweiser name by introducing a Budweiser Light, there was always the danger of cannibalizing their main brand - of growing  the Budweiser Light  brand at the expense of their big  moneymaker -  Budweiser.

So in 1982, Anheuser-Busch introduced Bud Light.  By 2001 it had passed Budweiser to take over the Number One spot.  (That’s just under 20 years, guys.)

In 2015, the top three best-selling beers in the US were Bud Light, Coors Light, and Miller Lite.  Budweiser, once the “King of Beers,” was fourth. Corona, an import, was fifth, followed by three more light beers - Natural Light, Busch Light and Michelob Ultra.  Translation: 3 of the top 4 were light beers; 6 of the top 8 were light beers.

That represents a giant sea change in American tastes, and it's largely a result of marketing.

Just in case you think the NFL can’t do it.

Or maybe the NFL will just say the hell with it, and buy the MLS and start to shove soccer down our throats.

Somewhere, they're probably discussing that right now.

*********** Cam Newton could become the second player to win the Heisman Trophy, the  NFL MVP award, and a Super Bowl.

Here was the question:  Who’s the first - the only - one right now?

The answer (or so I thought) was MARCUS ALLEN.

Nailing it were Josh Montgomery of Berwick, Louisiana… Bill Nelson of Thornton, Colorado… Mark Kaczmarek of Davenport, Iowa… Kevin McCullough of Lakeville, Indiana

Mark “Coach K” Kaczmarek  added, regarding Newton: Don’t forget NCAA National Championship & JC National Championship…I THINK???  (Wow - wouldn’t put him in a class by himself?)

Kevin McCullough added….looks like Marcus Allen meets the trifecta criteria....I first thought of Paul seems he didn't play in the  first super bowl due to injury....he did win? The HT and Was NFL MVP in 1961.....Thanks for ageist....I learned a new word!....Have watched you tube of the opening kick off of SB 1 till my eyes bleed and can't find # 56 Walt Corey....I don't want to be a naysayer but it looks like #55 EJ Holub* and #78 Bobby Bell* (See below) made the tackle..... pretty good coaching sending down those two on coverage....As far as Red Mack making Green Bays first tackle....He did as long as you count landing on Ray Nitschke who was on top of Mike Garrett....Have a great day!

But wait -

Along came Ken Hampton of Raleigh, North Carolina with… Roger Staubach

I was forced to do some more research and I discovered that he could be right. Maybe. Sort of. On a technicality.

The catch here: Staubach was never - technically - the NFL MVP, as awarded by the AP. He did, however, receive the 1971 Sporting News Award - for the NFC.  Bob Griese won it in the AFC, so - technically - Staubach wasn’t the NFL MVP.  In 1971 1971, the AP's NFL MVP  Award went to Griese.

Credit given, nevertheless, to Ken Hampton.

Names also submitted were:

Charles Woodson (sorry, he was a Super Bowl MVP but not NFL MVP)
Jim Plunkett (never won NFL MVP)

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

I attended the Kansas Football Coaches Association clinic over the weekend and sat in on a USA Football Heads Up Tackling presentation.  You were years ahead of the curve with your SAFER AND SURER TACKLING video. Their terminology isn't the same, but they are basically teaching your Hit, Fit, Lock, Lift, Drive approach to tackling.

Greg Koenig
Beloit, Kansas


I appreciate that.

For all I know, based on how they lifted my playbook, they did the same thing with Safer and Surer Tackling.   (Try fighting Big Football.)

In the meantime, I'm a young coach who doesn't know how to teach tackling.  Do I teach Heads Up?  Or do I teach Hawk Tackling?

Decisions, decisions.

Meanwhile, the state of Washington insists that I spend time learning how to teach  Heads Up Tackling. If I want to coach.

*********** Cam Newton has rushed the ball 132 times - and 56 of those attempts have gotten first downs.

Only three players in the NFL have made more first downs this season. All of them are running backs and all needed far more carries.

*********** Not only do the Panthers have a great receiving tight end, an outstanding running back and a quarterback who’s very good at everything, but they actually  have a fullback, a rarity in today’s pass-first NFL.

And  they use their fullback more than any other team:  Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert has been on the field for an NFL-high 38.6 per cent of snaps.

*********** As many of you know, I’ve been testing  the goarmyedge app,  3D Play Drawing/Virtual Reality software for coaches, for nearly a year, and as much as possible I’ve incorporated into my own playbook.

Here’s an example of a play I’ve worked on.

I first drew the play in 2D, then screen-recorded it while being run in 2D, then in 3D from various camera angles, then added  actual game clips.

The play is called WEST BRONCO RIP 2 WEDGE.

Normally, our tight splits rule out any kind of triple option, but by using Wedge blocking, a staple of our offense, I’ve been able to run a version of the split-back outside veer with my Open Wing.  With the veer no longer widely run, it’s likely that many of you have never had to stop the outside veer.  Trust me - it’s one of the toughest plays I’ve ever had to try to stop.  

 “WEST ” means the twins are on the “West side” and  “BRONCO” means the B-Back sets on the QB’s right). “RIP” motion puts the slot in position to threaten the flank.

We wedge block and have the B-Back look for daylight just to the right of the apex of the wedge.

It’s a triple option read for the QB - he veer-reads the first d-lineman past the wedge.

(Truthfully, while you can see all sorts of possibilities here, we haven’t done anything by run the B-Back dive.)

*********** You younger guys may not know Lesley Visser.  She’s not on TV much any more, at least not where most of us would see her.  She understands - TV is cruel where its women are concerned.  TV wants pretty young things in front of the camera.  Eye candy.

Leslie Visser was no bimbo, but one of her unfortunate legacies is that without her, today’s bimbos wouldn’t have their jobs.

Leslie Visser was one of the very first women on sports telecasts, and although she wasn’t at all bad-looking, she wasn’t hired as eye candy. She got the job on merit.  She had paid her dues and she knew her sports. While a student at Boston College, she covered small high schools for the Boston Globe,  and after graduation was hired by the Globe.  The only female in a sports department staffed by such heavyweights as Will McDonough, Bud Collins and Peter Gammons, she eventually earned a job as a full-time sports reporter, and in 1976,  she was assigned to be a beat reporter for the Patriots.

Her experience covering sports made her a natural when TV came looking for a female reporter, and her success on-camera led to bigger and bigger jobs, and eventually a spot on Monday Night Football.

While working for CBS, she recalled learning inside football from John Madden.   “We’d be riding through Utah on our way to San Francisco,” she said. “He would put up a tape of the  ‘counter trey,’ and I would have to say exactly what was happening.”

Looking back, she said a 2013  ESPN feature on pioneering women sports reporters  ticked her off because its emphasis was almost totally on the hardships and indignities that those early women faced. 

“It was all so dark. I kept telling them, ‘No, I was glad to have the job.’ But they didn’t want to hear that, What they wanted was my bleakness. If you saw that documentary, no woman would want to be a sportswriter.  I said, ‘No, it was a blast. Are you kidding me? We sat in press box and we covered games.’”

And  where others might have seen a Supreme Court case, she was able to see humor, telling of the time she waited, pen and pad in hand, outside the Steelers’ locker room (female reporters were not permited inside)  when Terry Bradshaw came out.  “He took my pad,” she recalled,” signed an autograph, and walked away.  I was like, ‘No - I’m a reporter!’”

***********  E.J. Holub

E. J. Holub, Hall of Fame center - who in his career underwent a dozen knee operations - going down under a kickoff?

Bobby  Lee Bell

Bobby Lee Bell’s is an uplifting story.  A North Carolinian,  he was  recruited by Minnesota’s Murray Warmath at a time when black players, no matter how gifted, had few options if they wanted to play big-time college football.  That was 1959.   He would become an All-American at Minnesota, and  then a Hall-of-Fame linebacker - the first outside linebacker to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame - with the Kansas City Chiefs.

In Minnesota coach Murray Warmath’s autobiography, “The Autumn Warrior,” with Mike Wilkinson, Warmath recalled recruiting Bobby Lee Bell.

We got wind of Bell though my old friend Jim Tatum, who was coaching at North Carolina. Jim called me one day and said there was a black kid playing in a small town in western North Carolina who was the talk of the state. (In high school, Bell was a quarterback. HW)

In those days, of course, southern schools still were segregated, so Jim was alerting his friends in the North about Bell. I remember Jim saying, “If you’re lookin’ for films, there ain’t any, and if you’re lookin’ for scouting reports, there ain’t any, but take my word for it - this kid is something, and if you aren’t interested, I’ll call Forrest Evashevski at Iowa.”

“No, God, don’t do that,” Warmath recalled saying. “We’ll get somebody on the kid right away.”

Bell’s first airplane trip ever was his trip to visit Minnesota.

“I fell in love with the Twin Cities and the U of M,” he recalled, “and called my dad in Shelby and said I wasn’t coming back.  I wanted to stay.”

He did return home.  But he wound up going to Minnesota, after promising his father he would graduate from college.

Unfortunately, despite his promise to graduate, other things - such as turning pro - intervened, and he never managed do so until this past spring, when he returned to Minnesota to get his diploma, at the age of 74.

His message to his fellow graduates is eloquent and inspiring.   And wise.

An excerpt:

You live in a glass house.

That’s something my father always said to me. When I went to Minnesota, the state was less than 2 percent black. I was one of only five black members on the football team. There was a lot of pressure for me to do well there, to prove that the coach didn’t make a mistake using a scholarship on me. I knew I didn’t want to go back to North Carolina, because that would let my father down, let my mother down, let my brothers and my sisters down.

There were people who expected me to fail and I had to work extra hard to make sure I didn’t. I wasn’t the smartest kid, so I had to study hard. I went to study hall and the library and asked people to help me out along the way. I also had to make sure I was doing the right things and making the right decisions. Every time I walked down the street, somebody was watching my move, waiting for me to mess up.

You may not be in a similar situation, but remember that everything you do is being watched and maybe judged. It’s even worse now because everyone has a cell phone in their pocket and what you do can live on forever.

american flag FRIDAY, JANUARY 29,  2016   If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there."   Lewis Carroll

*********** There are 26-year-olds and there are 26-year-olds.

There is a 26-year-old Captain in the US Army,  and there is a 26-year-old pro football player.

The Captain  spent four years at the United States Military Academy, getting an education and learning to lead men; the pro football player didn’t finish college, and even while he was there he took soft, meaningless courses designed not to train him or educate him but simply  to keep him eligible.

The Captain is mature and trained in self-discipline, and thinks carefully before speaking; the pro football player is immature and untrained in anything other than football, and when he talks, he comes right off the top.

Try to remember that when you read some of the things Cam Newton says in the run-up to the Super Bowl.

Getting a newsworthy quote from him over the next week or so is the goal of thousands of members of the news media and, being young and untrained in dealing with the media, he’s going to try to oblige them.

ESPN will be baiting him non-stop, hoping to get him to say  something with the world “race” in it.

At least once or twice, he’ll come out and say something he might not have said  if he’d had a chance to think it over. 

And they’ll quote him accurately.  In big, bold headlines.

And people will get livid.

Look - he’s a very good football player and he’s on top of the world right now.  Relax and enjoy the show.

Don’t let yourself get caught up in the Newton vs Manning thing as a black-against-white issue.

So go ahead and pull for Newton, you ageist bastard.

*********** Quarterback Sheriron Jones has returned to Tennessee after first transferring to Colorado.

No, he’s not going to have to sit out two seasons, one for each transfer.

A little-known NCAA rule allows a transferring player 14 days to think it over and return to the school he transferred from, without any penalty.  Makes me wonder if he now has 14 days to decide whether to return to Colorado.

That doesn’t seem likely, though, since on the same day that Jones decided to call it all off, Texas Tech quarterback Davis Webb announced that he’s transferring to Colorado.


*********** Time to start ramping up for the second-biggest sports event of Super Bowl Week.

Yes, it’s time once again for Wing Bowl XXIV (Actually, it’s just plain 24, because most contestants and spectators aren’t impressed by the Roman Numerals - and couldn’t decipher them anyhow).

You may think it’s just another competitive eating event, but to Philadelphians - at least a certain beer-addled subculture of them - it’s much more than that.

Yes, it’s about eating wings.  Lots of them.  But much more than that, it’s the spectacle.  

Think competitive eating meets professional wrestling meets the French Quarter at Mardi Gras while sitting  high up in the cheap seats surrounded by drunken Eagles fans, with the Eagles two minutes away from making it to the Super Bowl. 

The festivities open with  a huge processional parade,  each contestant riding on a float. They are accompanied by  "Wingettes." I will not comment.

Competing for the title are the best of the best, the creme de la creme of overeating, winnowed out from hundreds of aspirants by a series of “Wing-offs.”

Looking on (somehow, that sounds way too passive) are close  to 20,000 screaming, alcohol-fueled fans of competitive eating.

Started years ago by a Philly sports-talk host named Angelo Cataldi, it takes place around Super Bowl time, in the Wells Fargo Center, at calmer times the home of the Flyers and Sixers.

My friend Doc Hinger was at the Army-Navy game several years ago and a bartender at a hotel near the Wells Fargo Center told him that the fans usually start at his place the night before and stay until 2 AM closing, then head over to the Wells Fargo Center parking lot where they tailgate until the doors open at 8 AM.  The legend is that a few years ago, the place was out of beer by 9 AM.

As you might expect , it does get  raucous and rowdy, with only one inviolate rule: “If you heave, you leave.”

The whole thing is over before noon.

I have no idea where everyone goes after that.  Or how they get there.  Seems to me a fleet of state troopers waiting outside, breathalyzers at the ready, could write enough tickets to balance the state budget in one day.

All in all, something for the Old Bucket List.  You go climb Mount Everest. Or swim the English Channel.  I’d rather see Wing Bowl.


I wonder what Pete Carroll thinks about this...

Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinoix

AN EXCERPT: The same Auckland University of Technology report showed American football resulting in 1.0 catastrophic incidents per every 100,000 players between 1975 and 2005. That’s more than 75% fewer incidents than the index tallied in rugby. 

Wow.  So much for basing a “revolutionary” tackling technique on a totally unproven theory - that rugby is safer.

Maybe you and I should go to New Zealand and Australia and introduce them to the revolutionary concept of football tackling - and the use of helmets.

*********** Walter “No Neck” Williams, whom I remember as an exciting oufielder for the White Sox, died at 72.

Besides the physical feature that led to his insensitive-by-today’s-standards nickname, he was short and chunky, with wide shoulders.

It’s hard to believe that legendary sports writer Jim Murray didn’t come up with this description of Williams himself, but he attributed to an anonymous scout:  “He looks as if somebody tried to cram him into a suitcase when they heard the cops coming.”

ALEX BALDUCCI EAST-WEST*********** My friend Ralph Balducci sent me this photo of his son, Alex, taken during last weekend’s East-West Shrine game. My wife and I have known Alex since he was a little guy - actually, he never was that little - and now, at 6-5, 305, he’s busy getting training for the NFL Combine.

*********** Considering what a pinko state Washington is - mainly because of the Peoples’ Republic of King County, where Seattle is located - it is absolutely shocking that there appears to be a chance that the state legislature might actually take a stand against the Transgender Takeover and repeal a monstrosity called the Open-Bathroom Rule. The rule - law, actually - went into effect at the end of the year and it requires schools (among other places) to permit students to choose whichever rest room they wish to use, based on whichever sex they happen to  “indentify with” at any particular moment.

*********** We’re not even into February yet and already I’m in serious withdrawal.  Football withdrawal.

Real football. At this point, I’ll watch anything.  Middle school JVs, even.

Sunday’s the Pro Bowl.  It’s a joke.  It’s a travesty.  It’s a farce.  It demeans our game.  It insults the true fan.

But I’ll be watching it.  And so will millions of others.

And its TV ratings will be higher - by far - than anything else on TV this weekend.

***********  "The Clintons are like herpes: Just when you think they're gone, they show up again."   Tim Allen

*********** Cam Newton could become the second player to win the Heisman Trophy, the  NFL MVP award, and a Super Bowl.

Who’s still the only one?

*********** You know the art museum in Philly?   The one whose steps Rocky ran up? I remember going there on field trips when I was in grade school.  The girls would all giggle when they saw statues of naked guys.  We, of course, most of us, anyhow, were far more interested in the bare knockers on the marble goddesses and the beavers on the women in the paintings.

Remember, those were the days before VCRs.  Before the Internet, let alone Internet porn.  Hell, there really wasn’t any such thing as porn, other than little comic books called “two by fours” (that’s all the bigger they were) that usually showed a little guy and a fat woman having sex.

So I suppose you'd say we grew up porn-deprived, but at least it wasn’t like growing up in Iran, based on the way the Italians are going overboard to keep from offending Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on his upcoming visit to Rome.

They’re going to be covering up nude statues with plain white plywood boxes.

***********  I have a great wife and four great kids who all married great people and gave me and my wife 11 wonderful grandkids. I live in a beautiful part of the country. The Lord has blessed me with good health and the opportunity to coach football. I’ve lived in the same house for 26 years, and I’ve been driving the same Ford Expedition since 2007.  I’ve never had a lot of money, but I don’t envy anyone, and I don’t care about material possessions.

But I do love my book collection.  I have several hundred football books in my library , and I treasure them.

I like nothing better than to pull one of them down from the shelves and leaf through it.

Some of them are rather rare, and to other collectors like me, they’re valuable.

But in terms of usefulness, it doesn’t get much better than my collection of Coach of the Year manuals, dating back to 1970.  To go through them is to see the evolution of our game over the last 40 years.

I strongly recommend them. Go online and check them out.

I was just looking through the 2012 Manual the other day and I came across a presentation by Chip Kelly entitled “Practice Organization: The Key to Success.”

Reading through it, I found a great illustration of what commitment to the success of the team means.

When you sacrifice for the team, the ultimate success of the team is bigger than any success the player could gain individually.  If they cannot understand that, they need to go play an individual sport. Tony Dungy’s son Eric is on our team. Two years ago, Tony came to speak to our team in preseason camp. He said he had one message to get across: “The ultimate teams have one thing in common.  They have players on their team that are willing to sacrifice.” He asked the team if they wanted to be in Glendale, Arizona on January 10, 2011, playing for the national championship.  All the players raised their hands.

All our receivers sat in the same area. He asked them to hold up their hands if that was their goal. They all held up their hands.  Then, he asked them if they would want to be there in the championship game if it meant not catching a ball all season. Some of the players took their hands down.  He told them he appreciate their being honest with him, but that that was what a team is all about.  The individual has to sacrifice his individual accolades for a team accolade.  That is the ultimate sacrifice for a wide receiver.  He has to be willing to do that.

It’s interesting that the wide receivers have to think about the question, when the offensive line does that all game long. No one asked them what they were willing to sacrifice because they do it all year long. That group is a unique group in their own right.  They shop for clothes at True Value Hardware.  The only thing they want is to change the snap count occasionally. 

*********** Buddy Cianci died on Thursday. He was 74.  He was an American classic, one of those guys I wish I could have met.

Buddy gets a lot of credit for making Providence, Rhode Island, one of my favorite cities, what it is today.

Providence is an old city,  at the head of Narragansett Bay, hilly, with several small rivers flowing through it.  
It’s historic, with  beautiful 18th-century homes.  It’s the home  of  Ivy-League member Brown University, as well as Providence College and the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design.

Its downtown, with  a  random-running street system built around the rivers and hills, is vital and attractive, with good shopping and interesting places to walk.

It’s got great restaurants, many of them on Atwells Avenue, which runs through Federal HIll,  a  large Italian neighborhood.

It's like a smaller Boston.

But when I first saw Providence, as a college freshman in the 1950s, it wasn’t much of a city.  It was dingy, dirty and run-down.

Buddy Cianci had a lot to do with making it the vibrant city that it is today.

Buddy was its mayor for years.   He was a Rhode Islander, through and through.  He was Italian, and he also had a bit of the old-time Rhode Island roguish tradition about him.  (He did, in fact, spend a little time in prison.)

Rhode Island has an interesting history of lawlessness in  colonial days, when smugglers drove the British tax collectors crazy,  nearly bringing about war  when they looted and burned a British customs vessel that had run aground.

So Buddy helped bring Providence back from the dead.    And
in the process, it's  reasonable to assume,  he got his cut.  "Honest graft," to use the phrase coined by New York political boss George W. Plunkitt.

Most people I’ve met on my visits to Rhode Island have expressed  admiration for him.  There were those who would concede that perhaps he might have taken more from the public till than he should have, but it was hard for me to find anyone who condemned him outright.

I found him an appealing sort, and I find myself weighing  what he may have done wrong against what he accomplished for the general good, and in my mind he comes out way ahead.

Reflecting on the life and career of Buddy Cianci leads me to believe that it's unreasonable to expect perfection in our political candidates, when what we should be doing  is weighing  the good that they offer against  the bad that we may have to live with.

RIP, Buddy.

american flag TUESDAY, JANUARY 26,  2016   Faith is taking the first step even when you can't see the whole staircase."  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

*********** I don’t usually care much for All-Star games, but I made it a point to watch the East-West Shrine game Saturday, mainly because my friend Ralph Balducci’s son Alex, an Oregon Duck, was playing. 

Naturally, I enjoyed watching Alex play on the defensive line, although I can’t imagine anything more boring than the drudgery of playing defensive line against an offense that seldom runs the ball and when it passes, gets rid of the ball immediately on some sort of wide receiver screen.

Although I had a hard time dealing with the idea of Indiana and Purdue in the West (I gave them a break on Western Kentucky) it did look almost like a real game simply because nobody swapped helmet decals.

But for me, this game was really worth watching because of former Oregon QB Vernon Adams.

To put it mildly, he was spectacular.  He made all kinds of throws, both on the run and in the pocket.  He extended plays in ways that a lesser athlete couldn’t have.  He threw long and short, with power and with touch.  He threw lasers and he threw them with accuracy.

Analyst Mike Mayock, who’s pretty knowledgeable about college players and their pro prospects, was excited.  Really excited. Said it was the best all-star game performance by a QB that he’d ever seen.  He all but said that the kid would get drafted, and said that if nobody in the NFL wanted him, he’d have a long career in the CFL.  Said he couldn’t wait to start looking at Oregon film.

Afterward, West Coach June Jones, a Mouse Davis disciple  who knows the spread passing game as well as anyone alive, was effusive in his praise.

Jones noted how accurate Adams had  been all week in practice.  And then he said something that I’d never heard - or thought of - before:  “There are two types of quarterbacks : the ones who get better during a game and those who get worse during a game.”

He clearly meant that Adams was one who got better.

Bear in mind, though, he didn’t get any taller.  He’s still just 5-11, which means he’s probably 5-9. Which means, of course, that  he’s too short to play in the NFL.  You know, the way Russell Wilson is too short to play in the NFL.

So why would he be good in the CFL, and not down here?


It’s 65 yards (195 feet). That’s 35 feet (11-1/2 yards) wider than the American field.

Look - is there anyone in the world who isn’t aware that today’s players are bigger and faster than they were just 20 years ago?  How about 50 years ago?  

The NFL has only had black players since the 1950s.

So how come they’re still playing on a field that’s the same size as it was 100 years ago?

Come on, NFL owners - wake up!  Take that $650,000,000 that Kroenke’s going to pay you as a “relocation fee” so he can move from St. Louis to Los Angeles (Inglewood, actually) and instead of blowing it on large yachts and small islands - invest it in your game.  It works out to about $20,000,000 a team.  Take that money and remove the first half dozen rows of seats from your stadiums (they’re the crummiest seats in the house anyhow) and...


After all the rules changes over the years, you’re about out of ways to goose the offense, but you could accomplish the same thing without having to change a rule.

You’d reintroduce into the game  the small, fast running back, and the small, fast receiver.

And you’d overcome your current quarterback deficiency by opening up the game - and the position - to smaller guys who can run - you know, what they used to call “black quarterbacks.”  Instead of turning a Vernon Adams into a slot back or a return man, or chasing him north to Canada, he might turn out to be the saviour of your franchise as your quarterback.

Yes, it would force your offensive coaches to get out of the box they’re in right now. Why, we might even see  some of the exciting stuff we’re used to  seeing  in  college games.  Maybe some option, even.

An unintended benefit - with defensive backs spread out more, there’d be fewer opportunities for them to  take those cowardly shots at defenseless receivers that threaten our game.

Wait!  What was I thinking?  That's it!  This is a safety measure!  It’s for the good of the players!

That alone ought to be enough to sell it to Congress.

But just to be sure,  a few  free tickets to the Super Bowl ought to be enough to help persuade our nation's lawmakers to pass the Omnibus Football Workers’ Safety Act  providing $2 billion of US taxpayer dollars to widen all stadiums in which “Football Workers” are employed. (For their safety.)

So go ahead, NFL owners - go ahead buy those yachts and islands.

*********** Lebron James might as well be a Palestinian, as much as he’s disliked in Israel these days.

Here’s why - rightly or wrongly, he’s blamed for the firing of David Blatt as coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers.  

Blatt is very popular in Israel.    Although he was born in Massachusetts and played at Princeton, he is Jewish, and after playing pro basketball in Israel and serving in the Israeli defense forces, he now has joint citizenship.   He has played and coached  in Israel, and his hiring by Cleveland last year was a classic “our guy made it to the Big Time” story.

After taking the Cavaliers to the NBA finals last year, he had them out to a 30-11 start this year. His overall winning percentage (.732) with 83 wins and 40 losses is the highest of any coach at the time of his firing in the history of the NBA.

The word is that he never “connected” with King James, leaving LeBron to be seen as the man who stuck it to his coach.

The firing was not popular in Cleveland, and when the Cavs played poorly in their first outing under his successor, losing Saturday night to the Bulls, they were booed as they left the court.

The Pistons’ Stan Van Gundy spoke for most other coaches in speculating about what might have brought about Blatt’s firing: ”Did he order the wrong type of food for post game meals? Did he not give (General Manager) David Griffin a nice enough Christmas present? I don't know. If David Blatt's getting fired, how in the hell do the rest of us have jobs? Because our front offices aren't quite as crazy as theirs, but that's about it."

*********** Meantime, did Tom Brady pull a LeBron James of his own?

Less than 24 hours after Brady found out that, yes, football can be a contact sport even for him, the Patriots’ offensive line coach was out of a job.

Yeah - Like he's the guy who put together that pussy offense that ran the ball only 17 times (for a grand total of 44 yards) while Tom Terrific was throwing 56 times and competing only 27 passes. And getting sacked four times.  And throwing two interceptions. 

Great job by Denver DC Wade Phillips, but come on, now - if you were Phillips, how much would you have worried about that Patriots' running game?

*********** It's kind of a step down for prestigious Heineken’s Beer when in one of those “Drink Responsibly” ads that brewers feel forced to run (somewhat like Texaco saying “don’t drive so much”) they use the song  “We Need a Hero”.  It used to be the theme song of the one, the only, Gallagher, inventor of Sledge-o-Matic.

If you don't know Gallagher...

*********** Years ago, when I worked for a TV station in Maryland, we used to joke that one way you could tell whether a person had a sense of humor was to go out on a rainy day and say to strangers, “Nice day, huh?”

There would always be someone who’d say, “Why, no.  It’s not nice. It’s not nice at all.  It’s raining.”

That’s a major problem with the people who run our country, and plenty of those who’d like to - somewhere along the line they never developed a sense of humor.

And a major reason they don’t see humor where you and I do is that they take everything literally.

Eddie Edwards didn't.  Eddie Edwards, former Governor Edwin Edwards of Louisiana, was one colorful guy.  A lovable rogue, if you will.  Yes, he was a slick wheeler-dealer, and he made sure to benefit financially from holding office. But he was a fun guy. He could tell a story and crack a joke with the best of them.

He once said an opponent was so slow it took him an hour and a half to watch “60 Minutes.” 

Everybody laughed.  That's good old Eddie for you.  

When the same opponent asked him why he talked out of both sides of his mouth, he said it was “so people like you with half a brain can understand me.” 

Everybody laughed.  That's good old Eddie for you.

Once, to show how popular he was, he said, "The only way I can lose this election is if I'm caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy".

Everybody laughed.   That's good old Eddie for you.

No one took him literally. No one accused him of necrophilia or pedophilia. 

So there was Donald Trump the other day, illustrating how loyal his supporters are by saying, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”

And damned if one of his Republican rivals, clearly humor-challenged, didn't respond by saying, “He’d be arrested and charged with a felony.”

*********** If you run the Double Wing you definitely should run the Wedge (you'll be surprised how many guys don't).  It's an extremely versatile play for me, useful from a lot of formations.  Here, in a short-yardage situation, we run it from our Open Wing, with the QB under center... or is he?

*********** I don’t mean to make light of those of you in the East who got hammered by this past weekend's blizzard, but watching TV at those times can be really funny, from a distance.  There's always the breathless reporting of anything that happens  to the vast Mid-Atlantic megalopolis.  That, of course, is the center of the universe, and EVERYTHING that happens there is BIG NEWS, and treated as such.   Non-stop.


The weather people who stand outdoors and tell us what it’s like out there.  Well, they don’t tell us, exactly.  They show us.  Turn down the volume and watch them use their hands.  They look like puppets on speed.

The number of self-identified meteorologists out there.  What do they all do the rest of the time, when there’s no major weather event?

The politicians who secretly  love big storms because it's their chance to go on camera to tell their subjects  all sorts of helpful things, like not to go outside.  Or at least, if we absolutely have to go outside, to be careful. And then they hand off the  mic to the next guy in the pecking order,  who stands up and tells us how many plows they have out working around the clock, and then hands off to the next in order of importance, who tells us to stay off the roads, and so forth.

Meantime, standing as close to the speaker as possible and just off to the side, is the ever-present sign-language interpreter.  Hey, they deserve to make a little money, too.  If you're hearing-impaired and you got stuck out in the snow, you obviously weren’t watching TV.

Then there’s the whole “Winter Storm Jonas” crap.  WTF?  Stick to naming hurricanes, weather guys. I have to admit I did feel a little guilty watching from 3,000 miles away, where we were dealing with the effects of "Dreary Day Dave."

*********** Poor Tackling = Broken Arm

If Thomas Davis brings his arm he doesn't break his arm and gets to play in the Super Bowl.

Todd Hollis,
Elmwood, Illinois

Very observant  - you are so right.

You have to wonder why high school coaches have to be USA Football certified, when all we have to do is sit our kids down in front of a TV every Sunday afternoon to watch guys who really know how to tackle.

In the meantime, I hope you are USA Football certified - if you want to keep coaching, that is.

*********** A historian named Forrest McDonald died last week at the age of 89.

He wrote this, back in 1998:

“There can hardly be room to doubt that the nation has undergone a grave decline in its moral standards. Relativism and permissiveness have won; “sensitivity” toward the behavior of others, no matter how despicable, has won; the notion that self-esteem is more important than achievement has won.”

american flag FRIDAY, JANUARY 22,  2016   “It’s more important to have a gun in your hand than a cop on the phone."  Polk County (Florida) Sheriff Grady Judd

*********** Ted Marchibroda died this past weekend.  He was by all accounts a class act, and from Bert Jones to Ray Lewis, it’s hard to find anyone who worked with him or played for him who doesn’t speak highly of him.

A pro quarterback who went on to coach for years in the NFL, he' s like a human trivia quiz.

*He was head coach of  the Colts - both the Baltimore Colts and the Indianapolis Colts.

*He was head  coach of Baltimore - the  Baltimore Colts and the Baltimore Ravens.

*As offensive coordinator in Buffalo, he is credited with developing the K-Gun offense, the no-huddle attack which, making use of Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, helped take the Bills to four straight Super Bowls.

*He was the last quarterback St. Bonaventure ever had.  The school ended football after the 1951 season, his junior season, at a time when costs were forcing Catholic schools around the country to drop the sport. He transferred to Detroit for his senior year and led the nation in passing in 1952.

*Drafted first by the Steelers in 1953, he missed the 1954 season serving in the Army.  When he returned in 1955, he found himself competing for the number two position - behind starting quarterback Jim Finks - with  a rookie from Louisville named Johnny Unitas.   They kept Ted Marchibroda  and  cut Unitas.

*********** A version of the Statue of Liberty - North Beach running a backhand reverse from the Open Wing.

***********  The question was: Who made the first tackle in the first Super Bowl?  Answer: Walt Corey of the Chiefs.

 this was tough, lots of research,

My best guess is Walt Corey   on opening kickoff?

Bill Nelson
Thornton, Colorado


Good for you!  I threw that in there at the request of my friend Tom Hinger, who went to high school in Latrobe, PA, while Walt Corey, who lived nearby, went to rival Derry High School. 

Well.....once a year I read in the south bend tribune that Red Mack of the packers made the first tackle in the first super bowl..... It's covered because he's a Domer and worked at Bendix in South Bend after his playing days....I also know Walt Corey was a Chief and DC for the Four in a row Bills.....My wife Kim is an emergency room nurse and shares Dr Bodenhamers sentiment.....As you watch the Cards at the Panthers check out Cards DC James Bettcher.....He is a former student and player of mine...and now good friend....we are very excited for him needless to say....have a great day....

Kevin McCullough
Lakeville, Indiana

Sorry about that , South Bend.  I have it on good authority - Western Pennsylvania sports historian Barbara Nakles - that it was Derry, Pennsylvania’s own Walt Corey, Chiefs’ linebacker.

Very cool to have a former student and player possibly headed to the Super Bowl!

And make sure to give your wife a break every now and then!   She undoubtedly can use one.  Those people are saints.

*********** Few things annoy me more than lists - the 100 Greatest Umpires of All Time… The 50 Fastest Centers Ever to Play in the NFL…

Or Teams of the Century…

Or Best Ever Thisses or Thats.

So this week’s Sports Illustrated arrived, and when I read the cover headline (“BEST FINISH EVER”) over a picture of Larry Fitzgerald celebrating his game-ending touchdown, I thought, “WTF?”

And then, inside, titling this past weekend’s Packers-Cardinals game (a playoff game, for God’s sake!) an “Instant Classic,” the headline read, “This Finish Will Not Be Topped.”

There followed EIGHT pages of copy and full-color photos.

Again - WTF?

So much for the respect I had for the professional judgment of people who have supposedly seen it all.  I wanted to write and ask if they’d just taken up watching football games sometime back in November. 

I mean, great ending and all that, but best ever?

A little effusive, wouldn't you say?

Hmmm.  I read the  Wall Street Journal faithfully, and I don’t see how I could have missed the article about the NFL acquiring Sports Illustrated.

*********** Oregon State was playing Utah, and when Beavers’ basketball player  Jarmal (at first, I thought it was a misspelling) Reid thought he was tripped, he didn’t appreciate the fact that the referee didn’t call it.  So, in these days of victimhood, in these days when “justice” means “getting our way,” he did what so many other people nowadays would do - he tripped the ref.

The ref, keeping his head, got back to his feet and ejected Reid.

In the video, once Reid realizes that he hasn’t gotten away with it, he throws his palms up, as if to say, “What did I do?”

He later apologized, but it was a little late.

He’d already boasted about it on Twitter:

sorry the ref didn’t seem to think being tripped was a foul so I didn’t think he’d mind being tripped himself

He’s been  suspended by OSU for - gasp! - four games!

Wow.  Heavy.

*********** Two myths persist about the origin of the forward pass…

1. It was introduced by Notre Dame’s Gus Dorais and Knute Rockne in their history-making upset of Army.

Fact: although it was used against Army to great effect by Dorais and Rockne, and may have brought the forward pass to the attention of casual fans, it was by no means the first time it was used.

2. It was introduced in response to President Theodore Roosevelt’s order to college presidents to make the game safer.

Fact: As David Nelson, historian of the game and its rules has written, there is no evidence that anyone introduced the pass for any reason other than to gain a competitive advantage,

Wrote Dave Nelson in his great book on the history of football’s rules, “Anatomy of a Game”

Almost every section of the country claims a coach who invented, perfected, or proposed the forward pass, but probably none did so with the idea of making the game safer.”

***********  I once had a principal named Chris Thompson, a Marine veteran who deplored what he saw as society’s increasing tendency to make fewer demands on kids.

Instead of preparing the child for the path, he said, we were expected to prepare the path for the child - to make things softer and easier  for kids.

For that reason,  I’ve always been skeptical of so-called alternative high schools - schools for kids who “can’t make it”  in their regular high schools.

In most cases, those kids “can’t make it”  because they can’t deal with “structure.”  You know - rules, and regulations and deadlines, and all that dumb stuff.

So the alternative schools “help” those kids  by essentially doing away with structure.  Translation: preparing the path for the child.

I have no idea how those kids fare when they graduate.  But it does seem to me that their opportunities are going to be severely limited unless at some point they learn to deal with “structure,” and anecdotal reports from employers indicate that it’s not happening.  Even if we suddenly had good-paying jobs for all of them, they say, more and more of our young people are simply unemployable.

Actually, my suspicion is that alternative schools are simply artifices to keep kids enrolled in school,  so school systems don’t  lose the dollars that those kids represent.

So I got really excited when I read about the Washington Youth Academy.  It takes kids who haven’t been making it in school - and puts them in a structured situation in which they have few options other than to work - and succeed. 

Instead of removing structure, it teaches kids how to deal with it and use it to their advantage.

Translation: preparing the child for the path.

*********** Army has announced a commitment  from Ryan Parker, a linebacker at The Baylor School in Chattanooga.  The Baylor School has a great football tradition.  At one time, in the 1950s, Georgia Tech’s top three running backs - Leon Hardeman, Billy Teas and Glenn Turner - all came from there. Baylor has produced the legendary Herman Hickman, all-time all-pro John Hannah, and - maybe Army’s best lineman ever - Joe Steffy.

*********** Lou Michaels died of pancreatic cancer in his home town of Swoyersville, Pennsylvania.  He was 80.

He and his brother, Walt, who would go on to coach the New York Jets, were typical of the kind of hard-nosed kids who at one time poured out of the hard-coal regions of Northeastern Pennsylvania.  They were the sons of immigrants.  Their father came to America to work in the anthracite coal mines.

''As far as I'm concerned,'' Michaels once told the New York Times, ''football's a very simple game. Like my brother has stated, the person who hits the hardest is the winner, and the team with the fewer mistakes is the winner.''

I remember Lou Michaels  as a defensive lineman and (back in those glorious days before there were kicking specialists) a left-footed placekicker for the Baltimore Colts.   His 870 points topped the entire NFL for the decade of the 60s.

I also remember Lou Michaels as the owner of one of the nastiest reputations in all of football.

Alex Hawkins, the Colts’ fabled Captain Who, had million stories, one of them about time he’d said or done something that pissed off Michaels.  Michaels having had a few, was ready to tear the much smaller Hawkins apart. But Hawkins, as he told it, said, “Not so fast, Lou.  Before you do anything, I think you ought to know that I’m Rosenbloom’s nephew.” (“Rosenbloom” was Colts’ owner Carroll Rosenbloom.) When Michaels appeared skeptical, Hawkins asked, “Why else do you think they’d keep a little guy like me around?”  Michaels thought about if for a minute and bought the story.

Right from his first day in Baltimore, in 1964, life with Lou Michaels was an adventure.

Arriving from the Steelers,  he celebrated his good fortune at being traded from one of the NFL’s worst teams to one of its best by partying on East Baltimore Street, a collection of dives and strip joints known locally as The Block, until the early hours of the morning, then crashing his car into a lamp post on the way home.

At practice the next day, he told wide receiver Jimmy Orr about it, and told Orr that he’d given the police his father’s Polish last name - Majka.  Orr had once been his teammate in Pittsburgh, and realizing that Michaels didn’t yet understand how different things were in Baltimore, where the Colts were revered, said, “If you’d told them who you really were, they’d probably have let you go!”

When it was discovered who he really was, the headline in the Baltimore Sun read, “Colt  Kicker’s Car Hits Upright.”

One of the most famous of Super Bowl stories originated with Lou Michaels.

In the week before Super Bowl III, the Jets’ legendary upset win over the Colts, Jets’ quarterback Joe Namath entered a Miami cocktail lounge and introduced himself to Lou Michaels.

Sort of.

As Michaels told the New York Times in 1983, “I knew who he was. I went to school with his brother at Kentucky. Joe walked up to me, and the first thing he said was, 'We're going to beat the heck out of you,' only he didn't say heck. And he said, 'And I'm going to do it.' ''

''Instead of saying, 'Hello, I'm Joe Namath, how are you?' I think he was a little arrogant there. I said, 'Suppose we beat you?' And he said, 'I'll sit in the middle of the field, and I'll cry.'

''I believe in that little thing called modesty,'' Michaels said.  ''I asked him about that, and he said, 'That's not in my dictionary.’”

From that encounter grew Namath’s “I guarantee it,” a boast that will live as long as pro football does.

''I still get it thrown in my face, the Super Bowl III game,'' Lou Michaels said. ''As long as there's a Super Bowl, the people here in the valley will remind me about it.”

Michaels was a big, rough, gruff sort known to relish a good fight, especially after he’d had a few.

I worked during the 60s in Baltimore for the National Brewing Company, which sponsored the Colts, and our salespeople, who often worked closely with the Colts’ players, had plenty of Lou Michaels stories.

The best was of the time a couple of the Colts happened to be visiting Swoyersville along with Michaels.

They’d been sitting at the bar having a couple of drinks when Michaels excused himself and went into the back room (it was common for Pennsylvania taverns to have a bar room in the front, and then a “back room” with tables, which was usually also accessible by a separate  “ladies entrance” so that women who chose to frequent the place wouldn’t have to parade through the men-only bar room).

Michaels didn’t come back for a while, and as the guys sat there, a stranger came up to them and said something like, “Hey, you guys aren’t from around here, are you? You’d better get your asses out of here.  You know who’s back there?  Lou Michaels!”

***********AJ Schlatter started 10 games at linebacker for Portland State last season, and finished fourth on the team in tackles.  For his role in Portland State’s upset win over Eastern Washington, he was named Big Sky Conference Defensive Player of the Week.

But he’d had some minor health issues during the season and in hopes  of taking care of them, he went in for a tonsillectomy last Friday. At first, recuperation seemed routine. And then, on Sunday night he went to sleep and never woke up.

A doctor at Johns Hopkins, while conceding that he knew nothing about the case, told the Portland Oregonian’s Ken Goe that such an outcome from a tonsillectomy, which he called "one of the common surgeries,” is quite rare - about one in 16,000.

"It's not without failures," Dr. Wu told Goe. "But it's pretty safe."

He said that the most likely cause of death would have been internal bleeding, or suffocation from bleeding into the lungs.

So no, you football-hating a**holes.  It was not from the effects of a concussion.

american flag TUESDAY, JANUARY 19,  2016   “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as  Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.'” Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. 

*********** My takeaway from this past weekend’s playoff games was that it was the NFL as usual, but played by better players than usual. 

As always, field goals were prominent - there were 18 of them made, against 18 offensive touchdowns.  As usual, they were as suspenseful as one-foot putts by PGA pros.  Just like last weekend, there was only one miss, that by the Seahawks’ Stephen Hauschka just before halftime. (To save you the trouble, that’s a four-game success rate of 94.7 per cent.)

There was just one touchdown by return all weekend, but it was enough to provide the winning margin in the Carolina-Seattle game.

The Seahawks fell behind 14-0 before I’d even settled down.  They were down, 31-0 at the half, but staged a pretty impressive comeback, largely because of Russell Wilson’s connections with Jevon Kearse.   Luke Kuechly’s interception and return of a Wilson pass in the first quarter turned out to be the difference.  As he had been for weeks, Marshawn Lynch was missing, but this time he had on a Seahawks’ uniform and actually carried the ball a few times - six, to be exact - for 20 yards.  I can’t stand Cam Newton’s childish showing off,  because it's immature, it's unsportsmanlike,  it goes way over the line between sport and entertainment, it encourages younger athletes to do the same, and it detracts from the fact that he really is good.

New England showed that Tom Brady at his best can cut you to pieces, even when his receivers are dropping balls that he practically places in their hands. And when you have to cover Gronkowski, you’d better pack a big lunch.  He’s got to be as tough to cover as any receiver in the game.  Amazingly, Alex Smith actually outthrew Brady, 50 passes to 42 - but he didn’t outpass him. The powerful Patriots’ running game was good for 38 yards on 14 carries.  Not that it was needed.

Green Bay-Arizona was street football at its best, a demonstration of the fact that NFL offenses are often less about planning and teaching and execution of plays than they are  about great players making great plays. There was Aaron Rodgers winging it into the end zone on the final play of regulation to send the game into overtime, and then Larry Fitzgerald taking a short pass and running through the entire Packers’ secondary to set up the game winner, a shuffle-pass from Carson Palmer to Fitzgerald.

Pittsburgh-Denver was a much better game than I expected, and showed that Peyton Manning can still manage a game, and that Mike Tomlin, even faced with a banged-up quarterback and deprived of his best receiver, can still put a good team on the field.  Or did it show that Denver maybe isn’t that good?

*********** My choice to win it all:   Carolina, based on the number of big-time playmakers they have:  Newton, Stewart, Olson, Kuechly

***********  First it was the Seattle Kingdome.  And then, after the implosion of that giant domed stadium, it was the Tacoma Dome, a mini-dome seating some 20,000.  But Kingdome or Tacoma  Dome, ever since I started coaching in the state of Washington, it’s been the aim of every high school program in the  state to “get to the dome.”

“Getting to the dome” meant playing in the state finals, a two-day football festival for all classifications of high school football programs, from 8-man to Class 4A, drawing fans from all over the state to a nice indoor facility.

And on the western side of the state, where the Tacoma Dome is located, it has also meant playing the semifinal games  indoors.   (Since the  eastern side of the mountains is much more spread out and sparsely populated, it would be unreasonably expensive and inconvenient for their teams and fans to have to make the trip to Tacoma two weeks in a row, so their semifinals are played at a number of neutral locations. Outdoors, I should add.)

Last week the state’s governing body, the WIAA, announced that increased rent at the Tacoma Dome is forcing it to move the west side semi-finals elsewhere. “Elsewhere,” in this case, means outside, to an assortment of high school stadiums, none of them large enough to enable playing more than two different games. 

And, I might add, although almost all stadiums in this part of the state have covered  grandstands, they lack  the warm, comfortable conditions and the amenities of an indoor facility.

High school football in our state just took a big step backward, and here's the worst - it's chump change to the Seattle Seahawks. I guarantee you that just one of the paychecks that Marshawn Lynch "earned" while he was idle the last several weeks  would be enough to cover the rent.

*********** I wonder who the marketing genius was who decided to stay with the branding “Al Jazeera” in today’s climate…Would the next emergency effort to rebrand come up with “The ISIS Network?”

Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

*********** If you’ve ever watched TV’s  “Pawn Stars,” you’re familiar with the pawn shop owner’s observation: “You never know what’s going to come through that door.” 

You might say the same thing about a hospital’s emergency room.

Ever wonder how the ER doctors manage to deal with the things that come through their doors?

The ER at Roseburg, Oregon’s Mercy Medical Center was one busy place last October 1, as victims of the Umpqua Community College shooting were wheeled in.

Dr. Jennifer Bodenhamer was on duty that day.

It was “an awful day,” she told Melissa Binder, in an article in Sunday’s Portland Oregonian.  But, she went on, it was nothing that ER doctors don’t deal with daily, although on a smaller scale. “Imagine,” she said, “being on the receiving end of everything that goes in the police blog.”

She noted that for weeks after that horrible day, people would ask how she was doing, and, Binder writes, “she felt frustrated by the drawn-out public mourning over the shootings… Even in Douglas County, quieter tragedies happen every day. Someone’s parent or child is lost to a car accident, heart attack, drug overdose or shooting that doesn’t make big news.  But there is no vigil, and no one asks the doctor how she is doing.”

She said she learned how to deal with trauma - with compartmentalizing - early in life.  Her mother was a physician and her father was a veterinarian,  and she learned to remain calm at those times when her father had to put an animal down.

“He taught me there’s a time and a place for everything,” she told Binder.

She said she doesn’t understand how anyone could do her job without faith.

“Whatever bad may come,” she said, “It will eventually glorify God.”

*********** Thursday, January 15, was the date of the first Super Bowl (which, to be technical, never took place, since the name “Super Bowl” wasn’t conferred on the Big Game until a couple of years later).

To commemorate it, NFL Films put together a video of that entire first game, between the Packers of the NFL and the Chiefs of the AFL.

The video was literally “put together.” Despite the fact that the game was broadcast on two networks (NBC held the broadcast rights to AFL games and CBS held the rights to NFL games), all original videotapes of the game were lost, so NFL Films had to comb through its archives until it found  film footage of every single one of the 145 plays.

That would have been a big enough job, but an even bigger job fell to the people in editing and post-production, who had to “stitch” together the film footage - shot by different camera people using different types of cameras and different types of film, shooting from different locations and under different lighting conditions - and then make color and lighting corrections so that it will look as if it was all planned to look that way.  Anyone who’s tried to put together a simple video using more than one video source will understand.

Here’s a really tough one. Who made the game’s first tackle?  HINT: He played linebacker for the Chiefs, and went on to a long career as an NFL assistant coach.

*********** Every time I watch  another long touchdown called  back, I wonder how baseball fans would react if  home runs were called back in similar fashion.

Yes, yes I know - the games are different.  But with the NFL, which permits great plays to be nullified by penalties, meaning that fans are cheated by misbehaving players, there simply isn’t enough incentive for individuals not to cheat. 

Illegal tactics are quite often unnoticed - and effective. Penalties, when they do occur, are often seen as mere slaps on the wrist.  As a result, players routinely hold on offense and make little effort to avoid blocking in the back on returns.

The upshot is that the fans get short-changed, deprived of countless outstanding plays that wind up getting called back because someone decided to take his chances.

*********** I imagine you caught all those “NFL FLAG - POWERED BY USA FOOTBALL” TV promos that ran this past weekend.

It’s the NFL  hedging its bets by promoting flag football.  Some 42-long (suit) at NFL headquarters has figured out that when mommies won’t let their little darlings play tackle football, the kiddies will grow up playing soccer.  Which means they’ll buy soccer apparel.  Which means Big Football has to do something to keep from losing all those future customers.

Which also means that one of these days USA Football, which has anointed itself as “Football’s National Governing Body,” could  have to find another sport to “govern.”

*********** Knowing how important it is to Chip Kelly to be surrounded with his kind of people, it would seem that one of the things that made the San Francisco job attractive to him is the fact that the Niners have 12 draft picks this year. 


Despite all the hype, "Concussion" is a bomb.

Writes blogger Sandra Rose:

It looks like mega actor Will Smith has another flop on his hands.

Smith’s latest movie, Concussion, about NFL-related brain injuries, took in a meager $11 million at the box office over the weekend. The film’s budget was $35 million according to

One headline in the film’s ambitious marketing campaign read: “Concussion’ Could Change the Way Youth Football Is Played Forever.”

Critics slammed the film’s director and producer for taking artistic license with the film’s basic premise — and fabricating outright lies.

For instance, Dr. Bennet Omalu was credited with discovering chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in the movie. But medical scholars note the condition was named 85 years ago. The film makes no mention of that.

‘Concussion’ also blamed CTE for the deaths of several retired NFL players who actually committed suicide.

Funny how all those anti-football  media types who predicted that “Concussion” would change the way Americans look at football haven’t had a lot to say about what a flop it’s turned out to be.

What a surprise - Americans don’t want to spend two hours of their busy lives watching a film with no action, no sex, no music, no humor.

It never fails.  Hollywood tries sending a message - and bombs. 

Longtime MGM head Samuel Goldwyn, who understood that people go to the moves to be entertained, said it best:  “If you want to send a message, use Western Union.”

*********** Say a prayer for ESPN reporter Chris Mortenson, who’s been diagnosed with throat cancer..

*********** The Big 12 has been given permission  to conduct a conference championship football game without having to expand from its current 10 teams, thanks to a vote Wednesday at the NCAA convention in San Antonio.

At the NCAA convention in San Antonio, the  Division I council voted 7-2 to allow an FBS conference with fewer than 12 member schools to hold a conference title game.  There is no stipulation that the conference must split into two divisions, but if it does not do so it must play a full round-robin  schedule,  and the championship game must pit the top two teams in the standings.

The ruling applies, obviously , to the Big 12, the only major conference that does not yet play a conference chanpionship game, but it does not necessarily mean that the Big 12 will go ahead with a championship game.

Said  Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, ”I appreciate that what was acted upon today takes into account our unique 10-team, full round-robin scheduling model. However, this vote does not automatically mean the Big 12 will implement a football championship game."

Come on, Power 5 guys - face the facts.  The sooner you settle down into four major conferences, the sooner you’ll have what amounts to a true playoff, with no conference left out, and  the conference championship games counting as the quarter-final round.

An added bonus: the losers of the conference championship games could meet the champions of four “lesser” conferences in major bowl games.

***********  Hugh,

Thanks for including the tackling drills in your NEWS YOU CAN USE this morning. The short clips are great reminders of little things that can make a big difference.

Also, in regards to Todd Hollis' thoughts about doing more with the offensive game plan, isn't it funny how we focus on what we could have done differently on offense while many times it comes down to not being able to stop the other guys with our defense? We finished 7-3 last fall and had no seniors after we lost both of them in our Week 5 game. Staying with our simple approach to offense, we still moved the ball and put up enough points to make the playoffs. Even in our playoff loss, we scored enough points to win, but we simply couldn't make stops on defense. My experience has been that we simply can't hide kids on defense.

Coach Greg Koenig
Beloit High School
Beloit KS


Thanks for the note.  I’m glad you noticed.  I suspect we are going to begin to catch a lot of grief  because we are not employing Hawk Tackling.

As for sticking to it on offense, think of all the times we’ve tried to tell guys who inquire about our offense that it’s not a magic pill - that the trick is not to find a new offense, but to find what’s best for you and get the right people in the right places and then do everything possible to run it as well as it can be run.

And also be sound on defense and in the kicking game!  You’re so right about not being able to hide anyone on defense.

*********** I have to hand it to Oregon’s Mark Helfrich, whose reaction to the Ducks’ defensive collapse against TCU in the Alamo Bowl was to demote the defensive coordinator, a guy who's been at Oregon for years, first as a player and then as an assistant. 

It couldn't have been easy, but something had to be done.

And then, uncharacteristically, Helfrich went outside to hire his new DC.

The new guy?  Brady Hoke, who’s been a successful head coach at Ball State, San Diego State and Michigan.  Yes, Michigan, where his teams went 31-20.   That’s .607, good enough to get you an extension at most places that aren’t named Ohio State, USC, Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama - and Michigan.

The people at Michigan may have been unhappy with the job he did there, but no one disputes that the guy can recruit - Jim Harbaugh wouldn’t have had the great season he did if Hoke hadn’t left him with some players.

One possible issue - I said that  the former defensive coordinator had been “demoted.” That means he’s still on the staff.  He’s going to be Hoke's linebacker coach. (Oregon prizes loyalty and staff stability, and doesn’t like to fire people.)

So Coach Hoke is going to have to deal with a linebacker coach who can’t be happy about his being replaced as coordinator.

But then, that’s why they’re paying him the big bucks.  The linebacker coach, I mean.  He’s going to be making $400,000 to be a position coach.

american flag FRIDAY, JANUARY 15,  2016   "If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."   Red Adair, famed oil well fire fighter

*********** To no one’s surprise, the Lawrence Phillips story came to a sad end.

Maybe he could have been saved, maybe not.  The guy was in and out of foster homes from the time he was a little kid, and by the time he was fully grown, he’d developed a hard shell that made him nearly impossible to reach.

But I could make an argument that we coaches can do our part to steer some potential Lawrence Phillipses straight.  What’s required is the  backbone to be the stern father they need, to put aside our personal ambitions and insist on proper conduct from all kids, without regard for their talent.

Of course we should take chances with problem kids - provided they understand that something more is required of them than just showing up and playing ball - that in return for the opportunity to play a sport, there is a price they have to pay.

There’s where the backbone comes in.  Some kids will walk - we can’t save them all.  But some kids will toe the line - we count them as “saves.”

When we don’t make kids pay a price - when we simply let them play and then pass them along to the next guy, without helping him to grow up -  we’ve used them.

We may rationalize that by playing him we’re making it possible for “the other kids” to win games, but in reality, we’re using that kid for selfish purposes - to win games for us. And then we pass along the damaged goods to someone else, without having given those kids anything more than a chance to play a game.

***********  You have to wonder how NFL owners could have made their money,  watching them hiring and firing head coaches like they’re a dime a dozen and then paying them millions of dollars.

*********** Hi Coach.  How are you doing?  I received the materials so thank you for that.  As I am perusing the playbook, I had one quick question (I'll probably have more as I go along) with Power 88/99.  On your videos you say not to lead with the QB, but in the book, you have the super power addition where the QB pivots around and leads through the hole.  I imagine my QB would love the play, but what are you suggesting now?  Are QB cheap shots/congestion possibilities worth it, or is that an old play that you've moved away from?  Thanks.


We run Super Power as our base off-tackle play (I refer you to the beta disc).

And in 90 per cent of cases we do not lead the QB through the hole:

1. It simplifies teaching the play
2. It enables us to teach the QB one basic path for most of our plays
3. It sets up the roll-out pass that comes off Super Power action
4. It sets up a QB keep to the outside
5. It reduces the chance of the QB getting hurt

When we want the QB to toss and lead through we tag the play "Super Power Lead"

I should warn you that it takes a bit more time and work to teach the tighter turn required to do that.

I hope that this has been helpful.  Please feel free to fire away.  There is never a charge for tech support when you deal with me.

***********  The more I see and hear him on TV the more I like Mack Brown as an analyst.

*********** I was getting ready to nominate Antonio Cromartie for NFL’s Father of the Year but I had to scratch that.  Make it Father of the Century.  Retire the damn trophy.

Guy has “fathered” 10 kids from God-knows-how-many women (he once had three kids born in the same year), and now married, he claimed to have undergone a vasectomy.

And yet… and yet… his wife  just gave him the happy news that he’s going to be a daddy again! 

Twice.  She’s pregnant with twins.

You’re free to draw your own conclusions.

Meanwhile, as the NFL likes to tell us:  Football is Family.

************ If I were Secretary of the Treasury, I’d just run off a couple million dollars and use them to buy PowerBall tickets. 

*********** If there were any way the NFL could make a buck by moving its entire league to China, it would do it in a heartbeat.

For now, it will have to settle for relocating a few existing franchises.

Following in the great tradition of moving teams from Cleveland and Baltimore and St. Louis and Los Angeles and Oakland, the NFL has given the St. Louis Rams permission to move back to Los Angeles.  The San Diego Chargers may join them if they wish, but should they decline, the Oakland Raiders have the next option.

St. Louis took a real gut shot.  Not only has owner Stan Kroenke taken the team, but in parting he’s taken some nasty shots at the once-proud city.  It never would have happened if Anheuser-Busch,  a renowned St. Louis institution  and a major NFL advertiser, hadn’t sold out to a foreign concern.

San Diego is next.  Its owners have been granted permission to move to L.A. and play in the Rams’ stadium.  Their choice, then,  is between moving north and becoming the Clippers to the Rams’ Lakers, or staying in San  Diego and dealing with the ill will they’ve generated among the local fans through their interest in moving.   What are the chances that they’ll stay?

I think it’s a bad move for the NFL.  Yes, they’ll get $650 million from Kroenke as a “relocation fee,” but the other 32 teams are losing something far more valuable: the ability to threaten to move to Los Angeles, which has been used on numerous occasions to strong-arm local officials to build them new stadiums.

Meanwhile, other than politicians, where are all the delighted Californians who should be dancing in the streets, celebrating the arrival/return of a team that left them nearly 20 years ago?

Given all the expats in Southern California - all the Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore fans - who will sell the place out when their team comes to town but otherwise couldn’t care less about the Rams, who’s going to buy season tickets?    Stub hub?

*********** In a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal, a writer told of taking a class at Vanderbilt with a young guy from East Tennessee who came from a blue-collar background and was very proud of it.  The guy possessed what the writer called “a sharp mind and a wicked sense of humor,” as evidenced by the time a professor asked him to define the “New Left.”  In his “East Tennessee twang,” he answered, “They’re the students you see walkin’ around campus in work shirts that ain’ never been worked in.”

*********** With the NFL, player safety comes first.  Next comes the integrity of the game, and providing good entertainment for the fans.

Hmmm.  Surely there's another reason why the NFL would require players to play games with just three days’ rest, and teams to prepare to play games with only two practices, one of them a walkthrough.

Hey - maybe this explains it. 

This past season, CBS paid the NFL $300 million for the rights to broadcast eight Thursday night games.  That’s $37.5 million a game.

Next season, with the NFL opening up the bidding to additional networks, it’s anticipated that the fee will jump to close to $50 million a game.


*********** Mike Foristiere, head coach at Wahluke High in Mattawa, Washington wrote to tell me that his son, Randy, a plebe at West Point, finished the first semester with all B’s (80 or above) except for a 79.7 in chemistry and a 79.8 in history.  Mike says that it didn’t take long for Randy to realize that results like that require 7 days a week of effort.

Mike added that Randy told him that 12 per cent of his freshman class failed at lest on class, and eight football players were dismissed from school because of failing grades.

Mike said, “Makes you wonder how the athletes in the national title game could handle the work at West Point.”

Actually, it makes me wonder how the coaches could handle academic demands like that on their players.

*********** Man, Chip Kelly has to be a glutton for punishment.  He could have kicked back and collected his money and toured college campuses and consulted and given clinic talks and waited for a really, really good opportunity in the college game, but no - he had to jump back on the horse that threw him. I mean, the 49ers?   Really?

Granted, it would be nice to be able to afford to live in the Bay Area, but other than the money,  I can’t for the life of me imagine why anyone would want to get on that NFL treadmill.

*********** Welcome to the Peoples’ Republic of Washington, where Governor Jay Inslee says the state MUST reduce the gap between the pay of an “average employee” and that of “corporate executives,”  and has turned the job of doing so over to the State Investment Board.

The Investment Board’s job is simple: to invest the state’s money wisely in order to keep its pension funds solvent.  Obviously, it is in the interest of retired state employees (including my wife and myself) to see to it that it invest wisely.

But now it’s no longer enough to produce a good return.  Now, the Board must use its power to vote against executive pay that it (that is to say, the Governor) feels is “out of line with how the company performs.”

And, of course, failing success with that method, to go ahead and divest itself of the company’s stock.

Hey - go ahead and put the state’s pension fund at risk. Just so we advance social causes.

And if you’re an “average employee” - what difference does it make to you if  the state closes the “gap” but doesn't put an additional dime in your pocket?

Will it really make you feel any better knowing that the state stuck it to The Man?

***********  Morning Hugh,

Hope the new year is off to a good start.

I wanted to pick your brain about a football camp we are planning to run over Spring Break. We are calling it the Sunrise Coyotes Blocking and Tackling Camp and it will be a full day, full contact camp, for all of the spring break week. I have three other core coaches and several of our midget team (15-18) who are helping me. We wanted to do a camp that would emphasize blocking and tackling fundamentals over the more popular aspects of football- catching and throwing. We are hoping to get most the kids in our club enrolled, but we are opening it up to boys and girls 7-14 throughout Winnipeg.

We will have access to three fields, dummies, shields, a sled, and three classrooms with smart boards. My plan is to have a morning session that will involve a practice and video review, lunch, and then an afternoon session which will start with video instruction and then another practice. The morning could be dedicated to blocking and the afternoon to tackling.

These are the techniques I am planning on teaching:
Blocking- Base blocking, double teaming, passblocking, down blocking, the shoeshine and stalk blocking.
Tackling- Chest plate, profile, gang tackling, and open field tackling.

  The camp would not be full contact for all five days, we would progress from practicing without pads to full contact.

Do you have any suggestions as to what to add? Specifically, do you have any blocking and tackling games that we could play to end each session.

One of the challenges will be teaching our techniques (ice picks and wrapping, rather than underhooks,) while still giving a voice to the techniques used by coaches from other clubs.


Football is fun.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Hi Tom-

Not sure what you mean by “profile” and “Gang tackling”

I’m also not sure how you “give a voice” to people who teach tackling differently from you.  Either you believe in what you’re doing as the best and safest way to do it or you should be doing something else.

I think that you should start right out by saying “This is how we are going to teach it during camp.  We find it works, and we ask you to go along with us.”

I rather doubt that any other coaches are so good at teaching tackling that you would want your kids to get conflicting techniques from them.

You can ask people for drills to reinforce the way you are teaching it, but beyond that, I think you have to be dogmatic.

I  guarantee you that if you were at  North Dakota State for a camp, they wouldn’t “outsource" THE tackling.

Here is one tackling drill that we have fun with… It’s the Roll Tackle Drill that I got from Paul Herzog, in St. Paul, MN.

Here are two “live” tackle drills.  This is as far apart as we ever get without shields between us.   We hit hard, as you can see, but there is a limit to how hard you can hit when you’re this close, and there is less chance of a bad hit.  And, as always, we NEVER take a man to the ground in practice.  Constant emphasis on eyes to the sky and arch in the back keeps the head up.

First is “Rod in the Sod”  (you may want to rename it!)   Stress looking in each other’s eyes

Third is "Rod and Roll"

Thanks coach. I really like the first video. We do the "rod in the sod" but call it "the cobra" drill.

Profile means sideline tackling and gang tackling is rallying to the ball.

I wasn't planning on teaching tackling or blocking two different ways. We  have faith in what we teach. However, it is important that we explain to kids from different clubs that we teach blocking and tackling differently from what most programs do. I will probably use your words.

Tommy came back from a camp two weeks ago where they taught the under hooks way of tacking. He was confused as to why it is taught that way. I explained it like a metaphor about multiplication and how there is more than one way to preform multiplication to the third place value.

He said, "yeah, but I've never see someone use under hooks in a game. Wrapping up is always on the outside."

I had to stop and think. I can't ever recall a seeing a tackle with under hooks.

I'll let you know how it goes.


We will often use “underhooks” in teaching, simply because it absolutely forces the tackler to strike up.

But as Tommy wisely observed, there is rarely an opportunity to utilize that opportunity in a game.

At a combine camp, I tell kids that it is important that they learn from a variety of coaches, just as if they’ve been selected to play in an all-star game.  And some day, when they’re pros, they might find themselves traded in the middle of the week from Winnipeg to Calgary, and no matter how they were used to doing things in Winnipeg, they’re going to have to do things the Calgary way.

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

I was hoping you could give me a little perspective on some things I've been thinking about.

We had another good season.  We entered the playoffs at 8-1, having won our fifth consecutive conference championship.  Then in the first round we blank a Catholic team from Chicago 40-0.  We followed with a trip to the Chicago suburbs to play a Catholic team (big difference between city and suburb teams!) and got shellacked 48-7 and it could have been much worse.  They were better than us at probably 20 of 22 positions.  They won the quarterfinal round by 40+ as well.

As I reflect I keep going back to that last game.  What could I have done differently?  Do I need to do something offensively to take heat off or loosen a defense up?  You know the thoughts.

But, I then think "they were just better than us.  They win ten out of ten."  And I think that the offense is fine and that with their superiority it wouldn't have mattered.  When we did throw it they arrived quickly and we weren't going to loosen them up.

So, I wonder if there is a happy medium between wondering if I need to adjust/evolve/etc. and realize that what we do is what we should do.  

How have you handled similar situations in the past?

Thank you,
Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois


That’s a great question you pose.  I have been there a few times, and I always - always - have found myself struggling with the notion that we had to do something different, that what had been good enough to get us there somehow wasn’t going to be enough to win the Big One.

In several cases, I have given in to the temptation to "go different."  It was never successful.

This past season, we lost our opening-round playoff game, 20-14 in overtime.

My plan was to run the stuff that got us there.

We had them 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.  We had 135 yards in total offense in the first quarter alone - but only 100 the rest of the way.

Our defense was going such a great job that I remained conservative, figuring that we’d eventually wear them down.  We  never did.  Nothing I called worked.  

After we lost, I beat myself up, thinking I should have thrown caution to the winds and thrown it more - except that they were extremely dangerous offensively, and if we were to give them a break, there was a chance they could hurt us bad.

Only weeks later did the scoreboard clock operator tell our head coach that the opponents, sitting next to him in the booth adjoining ours, were listening to our calls, through the flimsy walls, then calling down their defenses.  So why did we have such a good first quarter and then get shut down?  Simple. It took them that long to decode our plays (when we wanted to call 88 Super Power, we’d call “10-2,” etc.).

The clock operator told about the time I called a play then after a pause, told the head coach to tell the QB to keep it.  They had already sent down their call, and then they quickly hollered down “watch the keep!”

Don’t ask me who put the two teams so close together in the press box (it was at a neutral site). And  don’t ask me where we found a clock operator so clueless that he wouldn’t have told us what was going on. Then, we could easily have changed our code, or gone to no-huddle, or best yet, fed them disinformation (send down a pass play but holler out the number of a running play).

Unethical as hell, but what are you going to do?  

Anyhow, there I was, tormenting myself,  thinking that I should have gone into the game with a more wide-open game plan, when in fact, our base stuff would have been good enough - if we hadn’t been getting skunked.

Yes, you do need a hurry-up offense for those cases where you just don’t have the time to put on a drive.  But that ought to be a part of your season-long game preparation, and not something you install just for the big game.  And you certainly can add a trick play or two.  But I don’t think you  want to send subtle signals to your kids that you don’t what they’ve been doing all along is going to be good enough.  They can be pretty astute at picking up on the things.

And, yes, there are times when the other team is just better than we are, and we have to be careful not to let those occasions cause us to doubt ourselves.  It’s time to ask ourselves - could we have run anything else (especially with a week of preparation) and done significantly better?  

Chances are, if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer will be, “No.”

*********** Al Jazeera America announced Wednesday that it was closing up shop.  Packing up and going home, wherever that is.

Gosh, I would have thought there would be a lot of interest in watching the news with a Middle East perspective.

Back on December 27, the network made headlines with a documentary suggesting that several Major League Baseball and NFL stars, including Peyton Manning, had been using performance enhancing drugs.  Manning denied the report, calling it “complete garbage.”

When  told of Al Jazeera America’s decision to fold, Manning, at his sarcastic best, said, “I’m sure it’s going to be just devastating to all their viewers.”

american flag TUESDAY, JANUARY 12,  2016   "No wise man ever wished to be younger."   Jonathan Swift

*********** Roll Tide. A solid performance by a solid team.

Sure did enjoy listening to the game - or, I should say, the coaches on  ESPN2's "Megacast Film Room."  They put  Will Muschamp, now of South Carolina, Jim McElwain of Florida,  Willie Taggart of South Florida, Pat Narduzzi of Pitt and Larry Fedora of North Carolina in a "film room" to watch and analyze the game, and let us eavesdrop as they commented.

*********** What a great way to start off the Great Super Duper National Championship Game:

Some guy named Canaan Smith singing something they said was  “America the Beautiful.”

“America the Beautiful,” eh?  My ass.

If Ray Charles weren’t blind - and dead - I’d have him shoot the bastard.

Don’t even get me going on the stripper who sang the (alleged) national anthem.

*********** If you like watching high school kids who are generously supplied with self-esteem, you’d have loved watching the Army All-Star game,  as player after player announced where he’d be playing football next year.

The routine went like this:  A kid is holding several baseball caps, one for each of the schools still in the running for his prodigious talents, and he says something modest, along the order of, “I’m the greatest tight end in America.  When we come back, watch and see what school I choose.”

They break for commercial, but we can't leave our seats.   Who would dare go to the bathroom and risk coming back late?

Back after commercial, the kid is surrounded by a large group of family and well-wishers and hangers-on.  (One kid introduced his personal receiving coach.)

The kid runs down a long thank-you list, leading off, always, with God. (“For giving me the talent.”  Very humble.)

And then he puts on the cap of the school of his choice.  Flat brim, of course.

So much for his 15 minutes of fame.  Next.

*********** Break up the BY-zin!

I don’t know what they’ve been doing in Fargo, North Dakota, but their North Dakota State Bison (pronounced there and, to the north at the University of Manitoba, as “BY-zin”) have become one of the great dynasties of our game, winning their fifth straight FCS championship with a 37-10 defeat of Jacksonville State.

The Bison have now won 20 straight playoff games.

Think of it - five straight means they’ve had a complete turnover in their roster from the first title to the most recent.

And they’ve done it with two different head coaches.

Mount Union, of Ohio, has won an astounding 12 Division III national titles, but its longest streak of championships is three.

Northwest Missouri State recently won its fifth Division II championship - but it's never won more than two in a row.

*********** Edward Archer may turn out to be very glad he played football.

He’s charged with shooting a Philly cop sitting in his patrol car.

Furthermore, he “allegedly” said that he carried out the shooting  “in the name of Islam.”

But here’s where football comes in.

HIs mother said that lately, he’d been "hearing voices in his head,” adding, "He's been acting kind of strange lately.”

She told that he had “suffered head injuries” while playing high school football.


Played football, eh?  Well.   That explains everything.

Case dismissed.

Actually, I suggest they carefully, and painlessly as possible,  remove his brain and send it off to be studied for CTE.

*********** Browns' season  ticket advertisement

*********** The bastards have made their way to my beloved Finland…

Three Iraqi “asylum seekers” have been arrested for committing sexual assaults during New Year’s Eve celebrations in the Helsinki’s Senate Square, where some 20,000 had gathered. “Widespead sexual harassment” was reported, with women complaining that “asylum seekers” had groped their breasts and kissed them.

“This phenomenon is new in Finnish sexual crime history,” said Ilkka Koskimaki,  Helsinki’s deputy chief of police.  ”We have never before had this kind of sexual harrassment happening at New Year’s Eve.”

Mr Koskimaki said that sexual assaults in parks and on the streets had been unknown in Finland before a record 32,000 asylum seekers arrived in 2015.  “We had unfortunately some very brutal cases in autumn,” he told The Telegraph. “I don’t know so well other cultures, but I have recognized that the thinking of some of them is very different. Some of them maybe think that it is allowed to be aggressive and touch ladies on the street.”

This really pisses me off because Finns are such good, law-abiding people, and I couldn’t believe how safe women were.  They could confidently walk alone anywhere, any time without fear of being mistreated.

Finns are generally quite tolerant and accepting, but they are intolerant - very - of people who don’t respect their values. Gypsies, for instance, are really looked down on because, I have heard many Finns say (always using pretty much the same words), ”They lie, they cheat, they steal and (maybe worst of all, to the highly-literate Finns) they don’t send their kids to school."

I'm betting that the “asylum seekers” won't find  Finland to their liking.

First of all, we're barely into winter. Up there, winter days are short and bitterly cold. Nights are worse.

And second of all, unlike the rest of Europe, Finns have guns. And they know how to use them.   Once you get away from the cities, Finland is a lot like rural Pennsylvania.  Just another reason  why I love it.


Finland is more gun-friendly than some other European nations. In September, the country resisted an EU proposal to raise the legal age for arms possession to 18, arguing that restricting hunting for the young would result in "highly emotional and strong reactions in Finland against the EU as a whole." Aside from hunting, guns are also part of Finland's strong military tradition. Young men in Finland tend to be familiar with firearms since almost all of them join the army for compulsory service at some point.

*********** In an interview on Cabela’s website, NRA Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre asked Richard Cabela what he would say to a hunter who isn't a member of the NRA.

Replied Mr. Cabela, ”I’d say, how are you going to hunt without a gun?”

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

This is a theory question, sorry if it is a time waster for you.

If for whatever reason you decide to become a team that runs a lot of A and B gap plays in addition to trap at what point does a tight split team need to widen. For example A gap dive plays, and B gap Iso and crossbuck plays. No triple options.

In your opinion do you have enough room to run that or do you need to widen out and become another offense or stay tight and get rid of those plays.

The reason I ask is that we are fairly tight in our splits and run off tackle and outside a lot. We do not run super power.

But A gap dive and B gap power and iso are good plays for us. I got an end zone copy of one of our game and it look crowded inside running A and B gap.

Thanks for your help.


Other than the trap or the Wedge, we don’t intentionally attack the A gap.

Especially with the wedge, it’s to our advantage to have tight splits.

We attack the B gap with X blocking between the playside G and T.

In that case, we may monkey with the splits, but we don’t want the B gap split to be too big because the tackle has to block down to close down the A gap.

*********** NFL inaction over the weekend…

Field Goals Made: 15

Offensive Touchdowns: 12

Steelers 18, Bengals 16:  3 Offensive Touchdown, 5 Field Goals

Chiefs  30, Texans 0:  2 Offensive Touchdowns (1 Kick return TD), 3 Field Goals

Seahawks 10, Vikings 9: 1 Offensive Touchdown, 4 Field Goals

Packers 35,  The Team From Washington  18:    6 Offensive Touchdowns, 3 Field Goals

***********  It was really an indictment of the quality of the NFL’s product that everyone was shocked - shocked! - at the Vikings’ failure to make what everyone in the world just knew was going to be a game-winning field goal.

Why did everyone think that way?    Well, suppose I tell you that that missed field goal was the only miss of the entire weekend.   There were 16 field goals attempted,  and 15 made.   That’s 93.75 per cent.  How’s that for suspense?

I’ve been publishing this page since, oh, 1997, and there’s never been a time that I haven’t been opposed to the field goal’s disproportionate influence on the game.

Hey -  field goals shouldn’t be so automatic that there’s less chance of an NFL placekicker missing a field goal than of an NBA player missing a free throw, and that’s been the case for several years now.

Me?  I wouldn’t mind devaluing the field goal - say, to 2 points.

I’d be okay with drastically narrowing the goal posts. 

But my personal preference is to do away with specialists by making it illegal for any player to kick the ball more than once a game.  Back to the MLS, keekers.

Maybe I’m the one that’s wrong.  Maybe the NBA should take a page from the NFL playbook and have foul shot specialists shoot all the free throws. 

Wouldn’t that be exciting?

*********** Seahawks 10, Vikings 9.


Yes, yes, I know.  It was very cold in Minnesota.  Minus two or three.

But you know, there are still some of us who remember the “Ice Bowl”… the 1967 game between the Packers and the Cowboys… the game that made “The Frozen Tundra of Green Bay” a permanent part of football lore…

It was minus 15 degrees that day. 

The final score was Packers 21, Cowboys 17.

The two teams scored FIVE touchdowns between them. 

The LOSING team that day scored almost points as the Seahawks and Vikings combined this past Sunday.

Of course, those were the days before 53-man rosters and 20-man coaching staffs and radio communication with the quarterback and at least a dozen rules changes designed to juice the passing game and produce more offense.

Thanks to all the help, the Seahawks and Vikings between them could produce just one touchdown.

*********** If it ticks you off that the SEC seems to consider itself a cut above the other conferences, maybe it is.  Blame it on Mike Slive, commissioner of the conference from 2002 until his retirement last year.

The guy fought for his conference, but even more important, he fought for conference unity.

As Chuck Gerber, longtime TV executive, told Sports Business Journal,

“I’ve dealt with every major conference in the country and there’s always a couple of schools that are the big bear in the room.  You’ve got Michigan and Ohio State, you’ve got Texas and Oklahoma, you’ve got USC and UCLA. 

“And there’s three or four that could be that way in the SEC, but none of them ever take that approach.  There’s just one voice.

“I’ve never seen an SEC school vote in its own best interests instead of the league’s best interests.”

*********** You’d think that in the NFL, with all that’s at stake, they’d understand a basic truth that most of us learned long ago -  harboring bad characters regardless of their talent will eventually bite you in the ass.

Hey, Cincinnati fans - you got screwed over.  By your own team. 

There can’t be anyone in the Bengals’ organization who didn’t know, in his heart of hearts, that there would come a time when either Vontaze Burfict or Adam (The Jones formerly known as Pac Man) Jones would cost them a big game; the only possible surprise would be what one headline writer called “The Burfict Storm” - both Burfict and Jones collaborating on the same play to cost their team a game. 

I’ve seen it happen too many times: a coach seems to forget  that his responsibility is to his entire team and its mission, and not to the enabling of a bad actor in the vain hope that he’d change his ways.

I like Marvin Lewis. He seems like a nice guy.  I’d like to see him win.  But damn - I can’t imagine sitting with the team, watching the sh— that Burfict pulls, and not stopping the projector and saying, “Vontaze, we can’t have that - that kind of sh—’s going to cost us a game one of these days, and I owe it to the team to see that that doesn’t happen.”

*********** Burfict deliberately sets out to inflict serious injury on an opponent, and gets a three-game suspension. Tom Brady, who may or may not have under inflated footballs and then failed to cooperate, got four. Ask the league, though,  and they’ll tell you that player safety is paramount.

american flag FRIDAY, JANUARY 8,  2016    "Those who want to reap the benefits of this great nation must bear the fatigue of supporting it."  Thomas Paine

*********** This was the week I dreaded.  I knew it was coming, but like a fool I'd managed to shut it out of my mind.

And then, it was as if the door slammed shut behind me, and the lights went out.

Suddenly it was Monday night - and no football. Tuesday night - no football.  Wednesday night - no football. Thursday night - no football.  Friday night - no football.

Stop.  I can’t go on like this.

Waterboard me.  Play rap at full volume.  Strap me to a chair and make me listen to Hillary Clinton speeches.


But please - no more weeknights without a football game on TV.

 *********** The 2015 North Beach Hyaks finished the season 9-1.  They outscored opponents 495 points to 111, their only loss in overtime to an eventual state finalist.

North Beach is 19-2 for the past two seasons, and 26-5 for the past three.

Three Hyaks recently received All-State honors.

Senior Saul Gonzalez, 5-10, 160, outstanding running back, receiver and return man, was named first-team all-purpose offensive player

Senior Jonny Law, 6, 220, best linebacker I’ve ever coached,  was named first team linebacker and also second team offensive guard

Senior Tim Poplin, 6-2, 260, possibly even better on defense than on offense,  was named second team offensive guard.

In the photo below, Saul Gonzalez is #14, in the middle of the front row; Tim Poplin and Jonny Law are seated next to each other in the second row from the top - the “native row” (all the kids in the row are natives).  Tim Poplin is fourth from left and Jonny Law is fifth from the left.
2015 Hyaks

*********** Think all those NFL rules changes designed to hype the passing game aren’t having an effect?

The 2015 regular season just concluded with only seven rushers breaking the 1,000 yard mark, the lowest total since 1991.

And only one of those guys, Adrian Peterson, plays on a playoff team.

Peterson’s league-leading total of 1485 yards was the lowest  in eight years.

*********** Ken Griffey, Jr. made it into the Baseball Hall of Fame with 99.3 per cent of the vote.   (Just in case you mistakenly think you can please everybody - three guys didn't vote for him. There's always somebody like that.)

"Junior" was born in Donora, Pennsylvania, home not only of his father but of another Hall of Famer, Stan "The Man' Musial.

Junior and The Man share not only the same birthplace, but the same birthday - November 21.

Musial played ball with Junior's grandfather, Buddy.

Donora, like much of Western Pennsylvania, went down when the steel industry collapsed, but it was once one of many bustling mill towns along the Monongahela River south of Pittsburgh, and it gained fame in the 1950s for a number of great athletes who hailed from there.

Most famous was Musial,  an all-time baseball great,  but there was also Arnold Galiffa, All-America quarterback of nationally-ranked Army, and Los Angeles Rams' all-pro running back Deacon Dan Towler.

*********** Woody Allen once joked - I think - about  a primitive tribe in New Guinea that has no equivalent of the  word "No." So,  "When they want to turn down a request they nod and say 'I'll get back to you.'"

*********** We had prepared all week for our opponents to run some kind of 4-4 against us.  That was what we’d seen them run  on film, and knowing what we knew about their first-year coach at the previous place where he’d coached, we knew that’s what he liked to run.

But when you run the Double Wing, one of the few disadvantages is that you never know what you’re going to see.

And as our defense went through its preparations, I looked over at our opponents going through their pregame, and damned if they weren’t in a 5-3. (I always get a kick out of  seeing what the opponents’ scout team looks like as it tries  to run the  “Double Wing.”) I watched a couple of plays, just to be sure, then asked our head coach if Ihe could spare   a few minutes of the defense’s time.

He agreed, so I lined up a scout team “D” exactly as I’d seen the opponents  line up, and quickly refreshed our kids on how, applying their rules, they’d block Super Power, Counter and Trap.

Our first offensive play was 77 Super Power (which you may call 99 - same thing).  It went 45 yards for a touchdown.

Our second offensive play was 66 Super Power (which you probably still call 88). It went 82 yards for a touchdown.

In the first half, We scored six touchdowns on just 18 plays.  The halftime score was 44-0, and the final score was 60-0. All told, even with a running clock all second half, we had  569 yards of offense (522 yards rushing, 47 yards passing.) 

Moral: if you’re preparing to play a Double Wing team,  you really shouldn’t expect to install a new defense in two or three days and go out and stop a team that runs its offense quite a bit better than your scout team can.

***********  The Pentagon has just announced that drone “pilots”  will now be eligible for military honors.

Umm - don’’t those glorified game players  get to go home to a warm meal and a soft bed at the end of a shift?

What about the guys who spend months away from their families, sleeping in cots in the mountains or in bunks aboard ships?

Hey, even the guys who fly the planes at 30,000 feet run the risk of being shot down.

But this is Twenty-first Century America.
Trophies for everybody. What the hell.  Even in the military. 

Meantime, I just washed the general’s car.  That ought to be worth a bronze star.

*********** Don’t let the bastards grind you down…

For decades, an outstanding feature of the University of Pennsylvania’s campus has been its Irvine Auditorium.

It’s named for William B. Irvine, who studied architecture at Penn in the late 1800s, but there’s quite a story behind it.

It might even be true.

According to legend,  as part of a major course project he submitted plans for a large auditorium. But his work was rejected by his professors, who gave it - and him - a failing grade.

Instead of architecture, the story goes, Mr. Irvine went into business, and after making his fortune, he got his revenge: he donated sufficient funds to build an auditorium on campus, with two provisions: (1) that it be named for him, and (2) that it be built according to his plans, rejected years earlier.

***********  The North Koreans say they set off a Hydrogen Bomb.   The White House says they didn’t.

Who to believe? 

The World’s Worst Rogue State?   Or the White House, which has never been known to lie to us?

*********** I took a look at what Arkansas was doing on offense and damned if it didn’t look as if Bielema had recreated one of his Wisconsin teams down in Fayetteville.  They had a couple of stud tailbacks running behind a  BIG offensive line.  How big?  I checked and found that they list 18 guys 300 pounds or over on their roster.  That’s big.

Wow, I thought.  Is this typical?

So, for want of anything better to do, I started checking the on-site rosters of most Power-5 conference and a few non-Power-5 teams, and I found that, yes, Arkansas IS big. But so, if you can believe their rosters, are quite a few other teams.

300-pounders listed on the 2015 roster:

Miami - 23
Maryland 20
Florida State, Kentucky 19


Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Washington State 18
Baylor, Florida, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin 17
Illinois, Pitt, Tennessee, UCLA  16
Auburn, Indiana, LSU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Syracuse, Temple 15
Michigan State, Nebraska, North Carolina, Penn State, San Diego State, Washington 14
Houston, South Carolina, TCU, USC, Utah 12
Ole Miss, Oregon, Purdue, Texas, Virginia 11
Arizona State, Cal, Clemson, Duke, Northwestern, Western Kentucky 10
Colorado 9
Memphis, Michigan, Rutgers, West Virginia 8
Iowa 7
Kansas, Stanford, Virginia Tech  6
Arizona, Minnesota, Navy 5
Boston College 4
Army 2
Air Force - 0

What’s it mean?  I dunno, except that, allowing for the distinct possibility that weights may be inaccurate, there are a lot of big guys out there.

And there is unquestionably pressure to become bigger coming from the NFL.

In 1970, according to an  Associated Press survey, only one NFL player weighed 300 pounds or more.  By 1980 there were three; by 1990 there were 94. The number jumped to 301 in 2000, and by 2010 it broke the 500 mark.

*********** Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE, played on the line at Dartmouth.

In an interview for the National Football Foundation’s publication he talked about his love of football and about the effect football has had on his career and on the way he does his job.

He recalled a time he was in India and he was asked what he considered to be the most difficult thing about running a global company.

He answered,  "Pretending to give a sh-- about soccer."

*********** Seven NFL teams are in the market for new coaches, but somehow this year’s “Black Monday” casualty list didn’t seem as long as usual.

One reason may have been that the Browns didn’t even wait until Monday to fire their coach, Mike Pettine.

And another reason may have been that the Buccaneers, after letting Lovie Smith think he was safe, waited until Wednesday to fire him.

What has surprised me has been the seemingly large number of assistants being let go by holdover head coaches, and I strongly suspect that going along with management’s “suggestions” that they fire assistants was the only reason some losing head coaches managed to hang onto their jobs.

Along those lines, it’s rumored that Lovie Smith’s refusal to fire assistants in order to save his own job may have brought about his firing.

So now Tampa Bay will pay Lovie Smith not to coach, on top of the $3 million it still owes Greg Schiano.  (Schiano,  Smith’s predecessor,  recently accepted the defensive coordinator job at Ohio State.)

*********** I saw My President shed a tear, as if on cue, and I immediately thought of William Hurt in “Broadcast News.”

Actually, I’ll bet the whole thing was all a big act to trick Vladimir Putin into thinking that the Commander-in-Chief of the World’s Greatest Power is a total wussie.

american flag TUESDAY, JANUARY 5,  2016    "In many colleges, it is possible for a boy to win 12 letters without learning how to write one."  Robert Maynard Hutchins, President of the University of Chicago, explaining in 1939 the University's decision to drop football and drop out of the Big Ten

*********** I take back everything I said about Baylor’s being a soft, pass-oriented spread team.  What they did to North Carolina, without a quarterback,  was almost criminal.  They ran what some of you might call spread shotgun, but others - I got email - would call, rightfully, single wing, and without the benefit of much of a passing game, they run through, around, and over the Tar Heels for more than 600 yards.  My hat’s off to Baylor coach Art Briles.

*********** There was Baylor, and there was Oregon.

Baylor won its bowl game over North Carolina in an astounding display of coaching resourcefulness.

Oregon (trigger warning: I’m about to say “piss”) pissed away a 31-0 halftime lead when their starting QB, Vernon Adams, left the game - and took their offense with him.

Baylor, going into a bowl game with no healthy quarterbacks, ran an updated single wing.   And ran.  And ran.  And ran some more.  All in all, a masterful job of coaching by Art Briles, ordinarily a spread-it-out, pass-first coach.

Oregon, with only one competent college QB on the roster - Adams, a one-and-done guy poached, it should be noted, from FCS power Eastern Washington  - had no answer after Adams foolishly ran the ball and even more foolishly ducked his head and took a shot to the noggin.

(A point worth remembering the next time you watch Oregon play:  that flashy offensive scheme with all that speed and trickery is really slick with a Marcus Mariota or Vernon Adams running it, but looks pretty ordinary otherwise.  I imagine by now Chip Kelly could have told them that.)

*********** Foes of Oregon might  call it karma.

Both the Ducks’ QB and center were one-and-done transfers from other programs.  So much for recruiting shortcuts.

The QB, Vernon Adams, graduated from FCS Eastern Washington.  Barely.  He could have stayed at Eastern and helped them win an FCS championship, but then the Ducks came calling, with the lure of a different uniform every week. 

The center, Matt Hegarty, was a Notre Dame graduate with a year of eligibility left.

Both were the answers to the Ducks’ prayers.  Adams had to succeed a Heisman Trophy winner.  Hagerty was called on to replace Hroniss Gracu, a two-time Al-American who’s now with the Bears.

When Adams and Hegarty both went down in the Alamo Bowl, t
hings went to hell really fast.

The Ducks,  looking as if they’d never even considered the possibility of key injuries, blew a 31 point lead over a team which had to replace one of the best quarterbacks in the country on three days’ notice.

Not long ago, Ducks' offensive coordinator Scott Frost took the head job at Central Florida, and good luck to him.  But he left nothing lasting in the QB department other than the poaching of two FBS quarterbacks. 

In fairness to Frost, he had nothing to do with the knucklehead play of the year - the running play on which Adams got hurt.  Look - I’ve been through this for two years now - when you put all your chips on a QB who can’t be replaced, you discipline yourself  to being VERY careful about when and how he runs.  In the Ducks’ case, considering that they knew they had no adequate backup and considering that just about every play they called was working - they even had a punt blocked and turned it into  first down - WTF was their QB doing running the ball?

Oh, well.  Next year’s Ducks’ QB is already in the fold:  Dakota Prukop, from AAA (sorry, FCS) Montana State.   No muss, no fuss, no messy player development.

As for center - time for Nike to do its magic.  Considering that Oregon’s ridiculously extensive wardrobe is widely considered to be a recruiting gimmick aimed at impressionable, fashion-conscious young urban males, I’d like to suggest that in the future they give some consideration to letting some prospective centers sit in on those focus groups.

*********** Portland, Oregon, near where I live, is as far north as Montreal - check it out - but our winters are nowhere near so severe as Montreal’s, mainly because our prevailing winds come off the Pacific, bringing air that’s moist but relatively mild.  An hour or so to the east, in the Cascade range, that moist air falls as snow, but we seldom see it around here.

Only rarely does the moisture coming off the ocean collide with cold air blowing in the Columbia River gorge from the east to give us snow, but on Sunday we woke up to an inch or so of it - the first measurable snowfall in the Portland area since February of 2014.

Very cool for school kids.  Most schools in the area had already announced by Sunday night that there’d be no school on Monday.

*********** I’ve been watching all these guys make good plays,  then shake their heads violently, side-to-side.

I tried doing it.   Ouch.

I think I’ve figured out a major cause of the concussion epidemic.

*********** Coach - Happy New Year to you and Miss Connie. Hope you are well.  I remember how we thought so "highly" of Guerrero after he fired Coach Toledo after a 9-3 season (from what I recall).  Thought you would find this interesting. JT

I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.

As college sports revenues spike, coaches aren’t only ones cashing in
Here’s what a $313 million payroll increase buys you in college athletics: more administrators, support staff.

John Torres
Castaic, Califonrnia

Hi Coach-

I was wrong in thinking that Guerrero couldn’t last.   He has not only lasted, but he has caught the wave of big money that is sweeping over college sports.

I’ve never been one for paying players, but it’s outrageous how these guys who are neither coaches nor players are enriching themselves through the labor of the players!

Happy New Year to you and your family!

*********** WTF is wrong with all these players being sent home from bowls?

(That’s a rhetorical question.  I already know they answer. The same thing that’s wrong with them the rest of the time.  They’re selfish, narcissistic lowlifes with no impulse control. )

And WTF is wrong with coaches who still take players to bowls even after they’ve been caught breaking rules (or the law)?

(That’s also a rhetorical question.  They’re selfish, narcissistic lowlifes with impulse control.)

*********** I like and respect Peyton Manning, and I sure hope that there’s no truth to the Al Jazeerah story about his using HGH.  I’d hate like hell for his name to be used in the same sentence as cheaters like Roger Clemens, or Barry Bonds, or A-Rod.

But as I sit and watch the endless succession of cringe-inducing commercials featuring him singing corny lyrics set to the tune of “Nation-wide is on your side”, I can’t help thinking  that someone might be making false allegations against him just to get him off the air.

*********** So Chip Kelly is gone -  the victim, I have to conclude, of some bad off-season personnel decisions, a cavalier attitude toward the media that cost him any support he might have had there, and the harsh fact that in today’s NFL, the players are in charge. (Can you say “NBA?”). 

That last one was the killer.  Who the hell did he think he was, the coach or something?

Brace yourselves, Eagles fans.

Given the NFL coaching cycle in which a demanding sort is  usually succeeded by a “player’s coach”, and given that your new Mister Nice Guy will only serve  at the pleasure of a bunch of whiny, minimally-talented  players with access to the owner, that Redskins game last week may have been a sneak preview of what’s in store for you.

*********** I like Brent Musburger and I admire all his work over the years, but he’s slipping.  He’s not doing his homework the way he once did, and  it really showed in the Rose Bowl.

He reportedly said that Christian McCaffrey got his speed from his grandfather, Dave Sime, but he pronounced the name incorrectly as “SYME.”   Sime, once the world’s fastest human, pronounced his name “SIMM.”   Only those who care would remember that, but we’re the ones who know that Musburger, in his position to pass along the truth to his listeners, didn’t care.

And then he came to Stanford’s Josh Garnett, Outland Trophy winner and Pac-12 Offensive Lineman of the Year, from Puyallup, Washington, and  said he was from “Pollyap, Washington.”  Sh—, man - even small town high school P-A announcers take the trouble to find out correct pronunciations.  (It’s pyew-OLL-up.   See below)

Those are just the things I caught.  I think it’s safe to assume that he made similar errors that others caught.

This is not the way a broadcasting great should go out.

***********  I know you saw this, but:

Wain (and the other 2) have trained speed and agility with Josh for years. I've got a photo of Riley (Now at Air Force - HW) playing 1-on-1 basketball with him.

Great kid, great work ethic, always polite to his elders

His Dad (UW '83) was always there to work with Josh.  

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Shep Clarke, Puyallup, Washington

(Shep Clarke and his wife are the proud parents of triplets, all college freshmen - one son playing soccer at San Diego State, another son playing football at Hillsdale, and a daughter playing basketball at Air Force.)

*********** A guy named Bill Bender wrote an interesting article in about the bowls.  He made a lot of good points, but the headline writer did him an injustice with a headline complaining that there are too many bowls.

Maybe.  Except that some of the bowls he’d do away with, bowls featuring teams that maybe he wouldn’t have invited, gave us good games.

Me, if I had to cut any games from the list, I’d start with those two stinkers the “Playoff” people gave us.

*********** It was eerie watching Ohio State and Michigan playing so well in their bowl games  at the same time.  It was as if they imagined they were playing each other.

*********** I don’t know how this Playoff is going to play out, but I suppose we’re forced to accept the winner as the “National Champion.”

Regardless of the outcome, though, I’ll just toss a coin to decide on second and third place between Ohio State and Stanford, because in my opinion either one of them could have won the “National Title” just as well as Clemson or Alabama.

*********** In Pennsylvania, famously derided by Barack Obama as a place where people cling to their  “guns and religion,” a Penn State  coach joined a recruit in target shooting (with real guns ’n’ everything!). I couldn’t find out whether they prayed afterward.

***********  My friend Christopher Anderson pointed out that back during this past season - on  October 29, to be exact - Notre Dame  finally got out from under the 10-year contract extension it inexplicably gave to Charlie Weis back in 2005.

ND had dumped Tyrone Willingham in order to sign Weis, highly praised as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator, and when after his first seven games the Irish were 5-2, AD Kevin White announced that Weis and the Irish had agreed to a ten-year contract extension.

There was some speculation - possibly furthered by Weis’ agent - that an unnamed NFL team was interested in him, but for the most part the announcement mystified football insiders.

In any event, when Weis was let go after five years at ND in which he managed to win just 35 games, the university was on the hook for a buyout that’s estimated at around $19 million.

In fairness to Kevin White, the AD who handed Weis the keys to the castle, he’s now at Duke, where he gets credit for hiring David Cutcliffe. (If he'd hired him at ND instead of Weis they'd have won a couple of national titles by now and there'd be a statue of Coach Cut outside ND Stadium.)

*********** Overheard during the MIssissippi State-NC State game (not sure who they were referring to):

“They call him ‘The Amoeba’ because he can play so many positions.”


I immediately dashed off an mail to my college - the one that’s always asking me for money - telling them I want a refund.    I never learned that an amoeba could play even one position.

***********  Coach,

I punted in college and continue to coach kickers and punters in the KC area and in all honesty I wasn't surprised by the Indiana kicker's antics after the last second miss.  On the long field goal prior to that one, which he missed wide left, he glared at the holder and his body language clearly communicated he blamed him for the miss.  They showed the replay and the holder did indeed have the laces pointing to the kicker, but he hit the ball squarely and simply pushed it left.  Laces out or not, he botched that one and then blamed his holder, just like he missed the last one and tried to blame the officials.  Sometimes you fail in life and it's nobody's fault but your own.

Joel Mathews
Independence, Missouri


You make a really good point.  It seems as if in today’s world, whenever people fail, it’s someone else’s fault!

Happy New Year!

***********   Hi Coach, hope your Christmas was good. I was reading your news this morning about the targeting call on the Nebraska player. I was at the game, it was my son Matt's Christmas present to me, (and himself), we sat on Nebraska's side, and honestly, I told those around me while they were reviewing it that they would pick that flag up. I was shocked that they did the opposite! Halftime was soon after and the officials had to exit the field on our side, boy did they get an ear full! But as a coach, I found myself wondering what I'm going to do to teach tackling if they're going to make calls like that! And no, "Hawk Tackling" is not an option for me. Happy New year to you and Mrs. Wyatt.

Kurt Heinke
Atascadero, California


It’s hard to believe that they can make a call like that and then, given a chance to reverse it, stick with their original call!

Oh, well - you got to see a good game and you got to see Nebraska play real, old-fashioned Nebraska offense. The way Armstrong ran, it almost looked like Tom Osborne football was back!

Happy New Year to you and Matt as well!


american flag TUESDAY,  DECEMBER 29,  2015-   "It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong."  Dr. Thomas Sowell  

Apparently there’s a good reason why I haven’t been seeing that many state troopers on Washington highways recently.

The Washington State Patrol has 100 vacancies, and a report commissioned by the state legislature found that 20 per cent of current state troopers say they intend to leave for another job in law enforcement sometime in the next two years.

Some of the concerns cited were low pay, scheduling of shifts, and being pressured to write tickets.

The report offers a list of recommendations for improvement, including - I am not making this up - "taking more input from troopers on uniform design."


Did you hear that, Nike? Are you listening, Under Armour?

I’m thinking flat-billed baseball caps (worn backwards, of course)

Maybe Seahawks’ jerseys - with “LYNCH” on the back.

Joey Mangili*********** As a Duke fan, I shouldn’t put a picture of a Tar Heel on my page.  But… this is family.

At a party in North Carolina last Sunday, I saw Joey Mangili for the first time in a couple of years, and it was one of those “My, how you’ve grown!” moments. Four or five years ago, he was throwing at my Durham clinic.  Now, he's a grown man - and a big one.

Look for him when the North Carolina Tar Heels play Baylor on Tuesday.  He's their punter.

Joey’s dad, Mike, is a Riddell rep. Mike was an assistant under the late Larry Smith at Bowling Green and Arizona, where he met his wife, Lauren.  Mike and Lauren and their boys are long-time friends of our daughter and son-in-law and their boys.  Joey, the youngest of the Mangilis, was a good high school quarterback who walked on at UNC. Now, as a junior, he’s the Tar Heels’ starting punter.

*********** There I was, considering whether to take that NFL head coaching job, when I realized it meant having to deal with wives like Miko Grimes…

*********** Scariest team I’ve seen so far has to be Georgia Southern.  Tremendous option offense. I’m betting that they’re the best college team in the state of Georgia.

*********** Those dumbasses at CBS forced us to wait 20 minutes for the Louisville-Kentucky basketball game to end before switching to the Sun Bowl.

*********** Saturday was a great Bowl day for me - Washington and Washington State won, and Duke got its first bowl win since 1961.

*********** After watching those Miami jackasses carry on out on the field while incompetent officials were figuring out how best to screw Duke out of a win, it was great to see them lose to Washington State - and get snowed on at the same time.

*********** I feel bad for Indiana.   I thought they played well against Duke, despite those helmets that looked like Christmas tree ornaments.

And despite a kicker who put one over top of one of the uprights and then put on a hissy fit because the officials said it was no good and, well -  he couldn’t bring himself to admit that he shouldn’t have left it up to the officials.

Hey, keeker - the object is to kick it over the bar and between the uprights.  They're almost 8 yards apart. Kick it between them and spare everyone the whining.

*********** What’s with all these selfish asses announcing their intentions of turning pro BEFORE their schools’ bowl games?

*********** During a Christmas phone call with my friend Mike Lude,  Mike mentioned that he’d already enjoyed one of his Christmas gifts a few weeks early - skydiving, with his grandson.

I gave him some crap about being just like former President  Bush, another senior sky-diver, but Mike set me straight - “He was only 90,” Mike told me.  “I’m 93.”

*********** The Washington Examiner reports…

“…several schools provided lists to students of phrases that are considered microaggressions. At the University of California, the list included such debilitating and hateful phrases as "everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough" and "America is the land of opportunity."

*********** I know some officials who are great people. I also know that there are plenty of good officials. 

But in the abstract, officials sure can be a**holes. Yes, yes, I know.  That’s unsportsmanlike of me.  But I’m sorry, I’m too old to change.

The latest officiating atrocity took place in the Nebraska-UCLA game, when NU’s Nate Gerry was ejected for targeting.  Even after a video review.

But here’s the thing - the kid didn’t target!  He made a tackle!  A near-perfect tackle at that. 

He came in high, shoulder to shoulder, used his arms - which should always be the key component in determining whether or not it was targeting - wrapped up, and drove the opponent to the ground.

It’s the way we teach tackling, for God’s sake.

And then those arrogant bastards reviewed the play and further  insulted our intelligence by informing us that the video “confirmed” the call.


*********** After all he did to build the Virginia Tech program, I was glad to see Frank Beamer win his last game.

But I do have a question:  how old does a guy have to be - how many years does he have to coach -  before he gets a pass on that idiotic Gatorade bath bullsh—?

*********** Do you suppose ISIS is behind Al Jazzeera’s claim that Peyton Manning used HGH during his rehab from neck surgery?

***********   Some of the greats of our game who died in the last year…

Bill Arnsparger
Defensive Coordinator
Baltimore Colts, Miami Dolphins
Head Football Coach,
LSU, New York Giants

Although he served for three years as the New York Giants’ head coach, Bill Arnsparger was best known for being the architect of great Miami defenses during two different stays under Don Shula. HIs first great defense was nicknamed the “No Name Defense,” and his second was knocked the “KIller B’s” (for all the guys on it whose names began with the letter B.)  In 1984 he was hired off the Dolphins’ staff by my former boss, Bob Brodhead, then the LSU AD, and in his three years in Baton Rouge, his record at LSU was 26-8-2, a  .750 winning percentage, with an SEC championship in 1986.

That happens to be exactly what  Nick Saban’s was after five years.  (Les Miles, whose job supposedly was on the line right up until the final game of this season, is currently  at .785)

He left before the 1987 season to take the AD job at Florida, partly because he resented the fact that his AD was spending too much “football money” on minor sports.

In 1990, he hired Steve Spurrier, who would become the most successful coach in Florida’s history, winning the national title in 1996.

Ron Beagle

Ron Beagle shared All-America honors at end with Army’s Don Holleder, and also was All-American in lacrosse.  He won the Maxwell Award in 1954.  A native of Cincinnati, he attended the same high school as another Navy great, Roger Staubach.

Chuck Bednarik
University of Pennsylvania (Penn)
Philadelphia Eagles

After flying 30 bombing missions over Europe in WW II, he went to Penn and made All-American as a single wing center and linebacker; in the same dual role, he went both ways in the Philadelphia Eagles’ 1960 NFL championship game win over the Green Bay Packers. He was the last man to play an entire NFL game on both sides of the ball, and that was the last NFL championship the Eagles have won. Tough?  My high school coach played with him at Penn - said the coaches often had to remind him not to hurt his teammates during practice.  Recalled Eagles’ teammate Pete Retzlaff, “I remember when Chuck was leading us in jumping jacks and Jesse Richardson said, ‘Awww, Chuck. We don’t want to do these damn things.’ Chuck walked over to him and, whap! Gave him a right hand. And then we went back to doing jumping jacks.”

John David Crow
Texas A&M
St. Louis Cardinals, 49ers

A big and powerful running back, Crow won the Heisman Trophy at Texas A & M under Bear Bryant. A four-time All-Pro in the NFL, he was named to the NFL’s Team of the Decade for the 1960s.  He was the first player from  A & M to win the Heisman Trophy, and the only player coached by Bryant ever to win it.

Bill Enyart
Oregon State

Nicknamed “Earthquake Enyart,” he was the fullback in Coach Dee Andros’ Power-T offense, and a key member of Oregon State’s 1967 “Giant Killers” that in consecutive weeks defeated  #2 Purdue, tied #2 UCLA, and defeated #1 USC (and O.J. Simpson).

Charlie Flowers
Ole Miss

At  time when the new AFL was competing for players, the Giants signed him to a contract in December, 1959, following the end of his senior season at Ole Miss. But before the Sugar Bowl game.  So that he would remain eligible to play in the Sugar Bowl, the Giants agreed to keep the contract secret, and not to submit it to the NFL office until January 2, the day after the bowl game.   In the meantime, the AFL’s Los Angeles (later to be San Diego) Chargers made him a better offer, which he accepted.  The Giants attempted to enforce their contract, but because of their shady dealings they lost their appeal.  Charlie Flowers’ pro career was cut short by an ankle injury, but his signing by the AFL, along with that of LSU star Billy Cannon, was a sure sign that the new league was playing for keeps.
He was the SEC’s leading rusher and a consensus first-team All-American choice in 1959, and he was named to the Ole Miss Team of the Century

Frank Gifford

Before he was a TV announcer he was an All-Pro running back for the New York Giants, and before that he was an All-American as a single wing tailback at USC.  He was a gifted athlete whose ability to both run and pass were made to order for Vince Lombardi’s offensive scheme, and was one of the best-known members of the Giants at  time when they became the darlings of New York.  Movie-Star handsome, he made as much money in endorsements as he did on the field, but he was no pretty boy. He came out of Bakersfield, California, the son of an oil field worker, and he was as tough as they come.

Ray Graves
Head Football Coach, Athletics Director

While an assistant to Bobby Dodd at Georgia Tech, Graves is credited with developing the Monster defense. He coached Florida’s first Heisman Trophy winner - Steve Spurrier - and until Spurrier came along, he was Florida’s most successful coach.  In 1968, after Georgia beat Florida, 51-0,  Graves remembered  Spurrier telling him, “If I ever get a chance, I’ll get even for you."   In 1995, with Spurrier as their coach, the Gators beat Georgia, 52-17, and according to Graves, Spurrier called him from Athens and said, ‘Coach, I got them for you.'"

While head coach at Florida, he cooperated with Dr. Robert Cade, a professor in the  Florida School of Medicine, in Dr. Cades’s development of Gatorade.

Father Theodore Hesburgh
President, Notre Dame

Father Hesburgh is widely credited with using Notre Dame’s renown as a football power to leverage its development  into an elite academic institution.

Eddie LeBaron
Redskins, Cowboys

Bobby Dodd of Georgia Tech said he learned the principles of the Belly-T offense from LeBaron while coaching him in the College All-Star game. He was drafted by the Redskins, but before he could play in the NFL he had to serve with the Marines in Korea, where he earned the Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. Although only 5-7, LeBaron was Rookie of the Year in 1952, and enjoyed a long and successful career as an NFL quarterback. Traded by the Redskins to the Cowboys before the 1960 season, he was the first starting quarterback in Cowboy history.

Bob St. Clair
U of San Francisco

He first gained fame as a member of the unbeaten University of San Francisco Dons, one of the least-known great college teams in football history, and he’s one of three members of that team, along with Gino Marchetti and Ollie Mattson, in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.   A giant for his time at 6-9, 270, he was a perennial All-Pro offensive tackle and captain of the 49ers.  

St. Clair played defense in goal-line situations, and thanks to his height,  in one year - 1956 -  he  blocked 10 field-goal or extra-point attempts.

His taste for raw meat  earned him the nickname “The Geek.”

“My grandmother used to feed me raw meat off the kitchen table,” St. Clair once told a reporter. “I grew to love raw liver and hearts, bird hearts, dove and quail.”

Recalled teammate Hugh McElhenny: “He’d order a steak and have it thrown on the grill to take the chill off. Have it turned over and have it served. That’s how he did it. He also ate raw liver. Sometimes when you were sitting with him and he was eating that ... it was kind of gross. But, no, we didn’t think anything was wrong with him. That was just how he was raised.”

Asked, before his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990, if the players from his era could have competed in the modern NFL, he replied, “I don’t think the question should be ‘Could we play today?’ The question is, ‘Could these candy-asses have played with us?’”

I thought of that remark when I was watching the Seahawks-Rams game Sunday  and I heard this: “As they work on Doug Baldwin’s ear… not sure whether he’s got an earring issue…”

Tom Scott
Eagles, Giants

A native of Baltimore, Tom Scott was probably the greatest all-round athlete in the history of the University of Virginia. An All-American in both football and lacrosse, He also played basketball and baseball for the Cavaliers. He went on to be  an All-Pro  linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants.

Jim Sochor
Head coach, Cal-Davis

Despite his coaching at a less well-known school, he had a tremendous influence on other coaches, including  Bill Walsh; his coaching tree includes former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti,  former Boise State and Colorado coach Dan Hawkins, and former Boise State and current Washington coach Chris Peterson

Ken Stabler

He was a hell-raiser, but so good  a player that even  noted disciplinarian  Bear Bryant would occasionally look the other way.  He was the quarterback of the Oakland Raiders, a team of brawlers and fun-lovers perfectly suited to a city home to the Black Panthers and the Hells Angels. Maybe he’ll finally make the Hall of Fame this year.   Read this unbelievably touching sendoff, by William Browning…


american flag TUESDAY,  DECEMBER 22,  2015-   "Christians only have three holidays a year... Christmas, Easter and the Daytona 500."  Larry the Cable Guy

*********** Jim Franklin, of Flora, Indiana is a big Purdue fan, and he very eagerly answered my question: what college beside Alabama has had three quarterbacks start in a Super Bowl?

Lenny Dawson, Bob Griese and Drew Brees.  "The Cradle of Quarterbacks." Two Hall of Famers, and surely Drew will go there in his first year of eligibility.

*********** MY ANNUAL CHRISTMAS WISH FOR FOOTBALL COACHES EVERYWHERE (First printed in 2000, and printed every Christmas since): May you have.... Parents who recognize that you are the football expert; who stand back and let you coach their kids; who know their kids' limitations and don't expect them to start unless in your opinion they're better than the other kids; who don't sit in the stands and openly criticize their kids' teammates; who don't think it's your job to get their kid an athletic scholarship; who schedule their vacations so their kids won't miss any practices; who know that your rules apply to everybody, and are not designed just to pick on their kid...
... A community that can recognize a year when even Vince Lombardi himself would have trouble getting those kids to line up straight... Opponents who are fun to play against; who love and respect the game and its rules as much as you do, and refuse to let their kids act like jerks... Students who want to be in your class and want to learn; who laugh at your jokes and turn their work in on time... Freshmen who listen carefully, hear everything you say and understand all instructions the first time... Officials who will address you and your kids respectfully; who know and respect the rulebook; who will have as little effect on the game as possible; who will let you step a yard onto the playing field without snarling at you... Newspaper reporters who understand the game, always quote you accurately, and know when not to quote you at all... 

A school district that provides you with a budget sufficient to run a competitive program... A superintendent who schedules teachers' workdays so that coaches don't have to miss any practices... An athletic director who has been a coach himself and knows what you need to be successful and knows that one of those things is not another head coach in the AD's office; who can say "No" to the bigger schools that want you on their schedules; who understands deep down that despite Title IX, all sports are not equal... Assistants who love the game as much as you do, buy completely into your philosophy, put in the time in the off-season, and are eager to learn everything they can about what you are doing. And if they disagree with you, will tell you and nobody else.. A booster club that puts its money back into the sports that earn it, and doesn't demand a voice in your team's operation... A principal who figures that when there is a teachers' position open, the applicant who is qualified to be an assistant coach deserves extra consideration; who doesn't come in to evaluate you on game day; who makes weight-training classes available to football players first, before opening them up to the general student body; who knows that during the season you are very busy, and heads off parent complaints so that you don't have to waste your time dealing with them; who can tell you in the morning in five minutes what took place in yesterday afternoon's two-hour-long faculty meeting that you missed because you had practice... A faculty that will notify you as soon as a player starts screwing off or causing problems in class, and will trust you to handle it without having to notify the administration... A basketball coach who encourages kids to play football and doesn't discourage them from lifting, and doesn't hold "open gym" every night after football practice... A baseball coach who encourages kids to play football and doesn't have them involved in tournaments that are still going on into late August... A wrestling coach who encourages kids to play football and doesn't ask your promising 215-pound sophomore guard to wrestle at 178...

A class schedule that gives you and at least your top assistant the same prep period... Doctors that don't automatically tell kids with little aches and pains to stay out of football for two weeks, even when there's nothing seriously wrong with them... Cheerleaders who occasionally turn their backs to the crowd and actually watch the game; who understand the game - and like it... A couple of transfers who play just the positions where you need help... A country that appreciates the good that football - and football who encourages kids to play football and doesn't ask your promising 215-pound sophomore guard to wrestle at 178... coaches - can do for its young men... A chance, like the one I've had, to get to know coaches and friends of football all over the country and find out what great people they are... The wisdom to "Make the Big Time Where You Are" - to stop worrying about the next job and appreciate the one you have ... Children of your own who love, respect and try to bring honor to their family in everything they do... A wife (like mine), who understands how much football means to you... Motivated, disciplined, coachable players who love the game of football and love being around other guys who do, too - players like the ones I've been blessed with. A nation at peace - a peace that exists thanks to a strong and dedicated military that defends us while we sleep. Merry Christmas.

For all assistants - A head coach whose values and philosophy you can espouse

Sounds like the things I have - may you be blessed to have them, too.

And one special wish for those coaching brothers who find themselves "between positions" at this time of year - May your Christmas joy not be dimmed by the fact that you are temporarily without a team, and instead brightened by the belief that your next job is just around the corner. (And if my experience is any indicator, it will be a far better one than the last one, anyhow!)

*********** My wife and I spent the last several days in North Carolina visiting our daughter and son-in-law and three grandsons.

One of the highlights of our visit was attending Friday’s practice at Duke University as Coach David Cutcliffe prepared the Blue Devils for next Saturday’s Pinstripe Bowl game against Indiana, in Yankee Stadium.

I can’t predict who will win, but I will say go out on a limb and say that Duke will be well prepared.

I say that because have never seen a crisper, faster, more intense, more organized practice.  Never.

The coaches coached aggressively.  They demanded close attention and hustle, and they got it.

They made maximum use of their time, with practically no delays as they hustled from period to period.

Most followers of the Blue Devils attribute their last-season slide to the unconscionable action of the ACC in allowing the bogus Miami win to stand, but I got no sense from anything I saw that that was on anyone's mind.

Duke hasn’t won a bowl game since 1961.  I heard bits of Coach Cutcliffe’s final words to the team, including the rather firm statement that “We’re going up there (to New York) for one reason - to win.”

*********** While in North Carolina on a visit, I was struck by a couple of things:

First, there truly is Panther Fever in these parts. Carolinians are nuts about the Panthers.  And Cam Newton.  I happened to be at a party where a bunch of  college guys were watching the game, hanging on every play. They all went wild when the Panthers made  a last-second field goal to remain  unbeaten .

Second, I met a lot of kids who go to  Appalachian State (“App State” around these parts).

As a result,  I got caught up in the excitement of the Mountaineers’ Camellia Bowl game against Ohio U.

Sure glad I did - it turned out to be one heck of  game.

Quickly, if you didn’t see it - the App State Mountaineers went up and down the field in the first half, but managed to score just once. And then, within the span of no more than two minutes,  App State gave up two touchdowns on turnovers just before the half, and went in trailing, 17-7..

They fell further behind, 24-7, but then came back with three straight scores  to take a four point lead 28-24, midway through the fourth quarter.

But after an Ohio punt was downed on their one, they ran what appeared to be the worst of all possible  calls: an outside zone. Lined up in a pistol set,  the QB, five yards deep, handed off to the tailback, seven yards deep, and - safety.

Their lead was now cut to two points, 28-26,  meaning they were beatable by a field goal.

Even worse, they now had to kick to Ohio.

And worst of all, their running back, Marcus Cox, who’d rushed for over 170 yards,  sprained his ankle on the play.

So Ohio drove and took a 29-28 lead with a field goal with 1:47 left.

But then the Mountaineers put on a spectacular drive to the Ohio six yard line with time for only one play, and they closed it out with a 23-yard field goal to win, 31-29.

And I’ll be damned if the App State kicker, who finished  1 for 3 after missing two earlier attempts that could have spared his team the stress of that final drive, wasn’t named the Capital One Player of the Game.

*********** Ray Price died over the past weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina.  He was 77. He was the sort of guy you might never hear about outside his local area, but to people in the Carolinas, he was loved.  He raced motorcycles until he was 66, when he nearly killed himself in a drag-racing accident, but what made him famous and respected was his Harley-Davidson dealership, which he built into one of the largest in the South. Numerous customers told stories about how Ray had performed service far beyond what  people would expect.  HIs funeral was elaborate, with a viewing at his dealership, followed by a mass ride of thousands of bikers to the service, and then another ride to the cemetery.

***********   Coach,

"Playing Time" is posted on our football web site. I borrowed a lot of it.  Mostly from a coach at Keokuk, Iowa.  The first DW coach I ever heard speak.  At a clinic at Augustana College.  For the life of me I cannot remember his name.  And I've talked to him on the phone (a number of years ago).  My guess is you know who I am talking about.

I have added this caveat to playing time discussion:  In addition to the player and his parents, I need to know which player they think needs to be off the field so that "junior" can get on the field more.  The meeting will only happen once I know that so that I can bring THAT player and his parents in to the same meeting.  When I outline that at our parents' meeting it draws chuckles, some nervous, and I've never had that issue come up since.  "Obviously, you see that there is a problem and we either don't see it or don't know the answer, so please provide the solution.  And be willing to explain to the other player and his parents why he should not be playing and your son should."

Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois


That would be Don Capaldo, one of the very early adopters of my system and a very good coach.

To give you an idea of how much confidence I had in him, I let him coach my kids.  Many years ago I worked a multi-team clinic in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.  It was a sort of “dead period” in Wisconsin, when coaches couldn’t work with their own  kids, but there was nothing illegal about coaching other coaches’ kids.

And since all eight or so teams were running the same system, and using the same terminology, having coaches coach teams other than their own worked out nicely while keeping  things legal and above-board.  We even had a “motley crew,” a team made up of four of my kids from LaCenter, Washington (whom I had driven there), and a few spare kids from other schools. They were coached by a couple of out-of-state guys, Don Capaldo and Paul Herzog, of Woodbury, Minnesota.

Playing time and coaching strategy should never be a topic of discussion with a parent.  They haven't at any place I’ve coached.

It’s not off-limits for kids, of course, as part of our policy of encouraging kids to talk to us.  First, though, I’ll ask them if they really want to be told, straight-up, why they're not playing, and if they do, I don’t have any qualms about being blunt with them.  

Many years ago I had a kid come to me and ask about playing time in a whining sort of way, and when he didn’t seem to hear my explanation (basically, “My responsibility  to the team is to put the best players on the field”) I asked him if he would like to accompany me out into the locker room while I asked another player to give up playing time so that this guy could play.  He declined.

One concern about your hypothetical situation is that while in a rational world nobody would ever do that, in this world of today I really believe there are parents who would have no qualms at all about putting down another parent’s  kid.

************ Justin Blackmon, former Jaguars’ wide receiver, has been on suspension for repeated DUI charges since 2013, and he just incurred another one.

Surely, back when he was making NFL-type money, there was one guy in his entourage who could have done the driving.  Now, there's Uber.

*********** I’ve cautioned you more than once to be VERY careful of information you find on Wikipedia.

Saturday night,  I watched almost an entire NFL game.  Actually, once I saw the “Moore” playing QB for the Cowboys throw left-handed, I knew that it was Kellen Moore, and I was hooked.

I even found myself rooting for the Cowboys.

Kellen Moore is a Washington kid, from “across the mountains” in a town called Prosser, where his dad was his high school coach, and he had a spectacular career at Boise State, where he won more games than any other quarterback in college football history.

I happened to take  a peek at his Wikipedia entry, and at the end of his “personal” info, I found this…

Kellen Moore secretly wished he had gone to University of Idaho so he could have played more games in one of the best stadiums in college football, the Kibbie Dome.

WTF? I thought.  Impossible.

And then I realized that, as easy as it is to edit material on Wikipedia, that one had to be posted by a University of Idaho fan.

Fortunately, somebody must monitor the site, because when I visited it to show somebody the bogus entry, it was already gone.

*********** Odell Beckham, Junior is a total jerk, a horrible example for young players and a disgusting advertisement for what the NFL has to offer the public in terms of family entertainment.

In my opinion, a one-game suspension isn’t enough, but then, I don’t have him on my fantasy team.

It’s really hard for me to believe that he wasn’t ejected immediately for what amounted to an intentional assault on the field.

But it’s also time for the Panthers to stop carrying weapons out on the field before the game - and yes, except on a baseball diamond,  a baseball bat is more likely to be used as a weapon than  to hit home runs.

*********** Oklahoma center Ty Darlington has been named the 26th recipient of the William V. Campbell Trophy by the National Football Foundation.

Ty’s the son of Rick Darlington, highly successful high school coach in Opopka, Florida.

The Campbell Trophy is one of college football’s most sought after and competitive awards, recognizing an individual as the absolute best in the country for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership. The award comes with a 24-inch, 25-pound bronze trophy and a $25,000 postgraduate scholarship.

The Campbell Trophy, first awarded in 1990,  is named in honor of Bill Campbell, the chairman of Intuit, former player and head coach at Columbia University and the 2004 recipient of the NFF’s Gold Medal.

“Ty and his fellow members of the 2015 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class represent more than just the standout athletic ability one sees on the field,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, whose sons Peyton (Campbell Trophy winner) and Eli were NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. “Their academic achievements and their contributions as leaders in the community send a powerful message about the young men who play our sport. They have taken full advantage of the educational opportunities created by college football, and they have created a compelling legacy for others to follow.”

Darlington maintained a 3.91 GPA while earning a bachelor’s degree in arts & sciences in just 2-1/2 years. He graduated in December 2014 and is already working toward a master’s degree in higher education. His numerous Big 12 accolades include the Dr. Gerald Lage Award, the highest academic honor given to a student-athlete by the conference, a two-time First-Team Academic All-Big 12 selection and a six-time member of the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll.

Darlington, the Sooner's captain,  leads an offense that is nationally-ranked in the top five in scoring and the top ten in total offense. Oklahoma had more than 500 yards of total offense in nine of its 12 games, and Darlington guided the Sooners to six games of more than 250 rushing yards and four games of more than 400 passing yards. He blocked for eight individual 100-yard rushing performances in 2015 while helping the team average 45.8 points per game and outscore opponents by 300 points.

In 2014, he anchored a Sooner offensive line that allowed just nine sacks in 386 passing attempts. Darlington was the lead blocker for running back Samaje Perine, who set the FBS single-game rushing record for yards in a game last season (427 vs. Kansas). The team captain blocked for four 200-plus-yard single-game rushers and five 100-yard single-game rushers in 2014. He helped the Sooners to an 8-5 record and an appearance in the 2014 Russell Athletic Bowl.

Darlington was also a member of the 2013 squad that finished 11-2 after a 45-31 win over Alabama in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

The recipient of the 2015 Wuerffel Trophy, Darlington’s commitment to excellence extends to his work in the community service, represented by his receiving of the 2015 University of Oklahoma Letzeiser Award, one of the highest student awards at OU based on leadership, scholarship and service.

He has served as president of the Big 12 Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. He led the Oklahoma’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter as its president for the last two years, participating in 10 to 15 speaking engagements per semester on behalf of the organization.

He twice visited Haiti as part of the Mission of Hope program, repairing damage caused by a massive earthquake. He also represented the Big 12 at the 2015 NCAA Convention and at the conference’s “State of College Athletics” Forum.

Ty Darlington is  Oklahoma’s first Campbell Trophy winner

*********** By now you’ve probably seen or heard Everett Piper, President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, say of his school, “This is not a day care - it’s a university.”

Are you listening, all you precious Yalies?  Or are you still  in your safe space?

***********While thumbing through “Dooley - My 40 Years at Georgia” by longtime Georgia coach Vince Dooley (with Tony Barnhart), I came across his recollection of his association with Georgia Tech’s legendary Bobby Dodd.

One of the reasons why Coach Dolley was hired - at 31 the youngest major college coach in America - was to wrest control of the Georgia-Georgia Tech series from Tech.  In one spell, in the 1950s, Georgia Tech beat Georgia eight years in a row.

Coach Dooley writes about a sportsmanship that existed then among coaches:

In 1966, when we won our first SEC championship, we met Georgia Tech in the last game of the regular season. Georgia Tech was undefeated and headed to the Orange Bowl.  We had a very strong team and were in a position to beat them pretty badly. But from watching Dodd (Bobby Dodd, Georgia Tech Coach), Bryant (Bear Bryant) and Jordan (Shug Jordan, famed Auburn coach), I knew that once the game was in hand, you didn’t run up a score and embarrass a fellow coach.  Besides, the tables might be turned someday soon.  Tech got a late touchdown and made it a very respectable score (23-14).

The next day we saw each other as we were getting ready to tape our respective television shows.  “You were very kind to me yesterday,” Coach Dodd said. “I want you to know that I appreciate it.”

Coach Dodd retired after that season so we only met on the field three times. I feel very fortunate that we were able to win all three games.  He was a great coach and an even greater man.

american flag FRIDAY,  DECEMBER 18,  2015-   "Professional politicians like to talk about the value of experience in government. Nuts! The only experience you gain in politics is how to be political."  Ronald Reagan

***********  Mike Tyson is a Muslim, but he supports Donald Trump. 

Says that if you don’t like the guy, if you don’t like what he says, you shouldn’t vote for him.   Simple as that.

Now, here’s where Trump has got the Liberal Mainstream media, the Democrats, and the Republican Establishment by the short hairs:

Say something derogatory about Mike Tyson’s intelligence, and… 

You’re  a racist!

Har, har, har.

North Beach seniors*********** The North Beach High football banquet took place Sunday night, and a nice crowd was on hand at Ocean Shores Convention Center to honor their two-time Pacific League champions, undefeated in league play for the second straight year.

We said our proud but sad good-byes to nine seniors. With 30 wins to their credit - four wins their freshman year, seven their sophomore year, and ten and nine the last two years -  they go out as the winningest class in school history.

We give just three individual awards, none of which has anything to to with stats, numbers, or all-star recognition.

The Bob Sutter Motivation Award went to running back/linebacker Skyler Wells. 

The Doug Driessen Fortitude Award went to center Alex Horn.

And the Black Lion Award, for the second straight year, went to quarterback Alex McAra.

The following is my letter to the Black Lion Board of Advisors nominating Alex.

(Yes, I have to write a letter, too!)

Two years ago, Alex McAra decided that he wanted to be our quarterback.

He had absolutely no experience at the position.

What he did have was a decent amount of athletic ability, and the correct answer to the three questions I ask of any quarterback candidate:

Do you want to be the quarterback?  Do you want to be a leader enough to pay the price of leadership? Will you put in the time and effort to continue to improve as a quarterback and a leader?  Will you always do the right thing - the coaches’ thing - even when it might mean asking your teammates to do things they don’t want to do, or not to do things that they do want to do?

Are you coachable?  Will you take and make corrections positively?

Can we trust you?  Can we count on you to conduct yourself in all aspects of your life - on and off the field - in a way that reflects credit on your team?

Alex more than measured up in those areas.

So eager was he to learn and improve that he spent a major part of the last two summers traveling weekly back and forth between his mother’s home near Seattle and his father’s home in Ocean Shores, three hours away, in order to work with me at becoming a better passer and a better quarterback.

HIs efforts paid off. In his two seasons as its quarterback, the North Beach team compiled a 19-2 record, the best two years in the school’s history. The team won the only league championships in school history, and lost only  two games, both of them in the state playoffs. 

Alex displayed leadership every day at the end of practice, when head coach Todd Bridge would say, “Ball’s on the 35 - Gain 5, Lose 5”, and he’d take control of our offense  and lead us in our last drill of the day.

Alex is an unselfish team player, and in return for his team’s success, he paid a personal price.

He had looked forward eagerly to playing defensive back this past season, and based on what we saw of him in our spring practice and in our first regular season game, he would have been a very good one.

But he understood and accepted  the hard fact that for the good of his team, we needed him so much on offense that we simply couldn’t afford to take the chance that he might get hurt playing defense.

That meant that all season long, Alex was our scout team quarterback - great for the team, not necessarily what Alex had in mind.

It also meant that although Alex was a really good runner, we had to conserve him by using him sparingly as a runner.

We had eyes on bigger things as a team, so once again, we had to ask Alex to take one for the team. With the best pair of running backs in our league, it became more and more evident to us that our success meant making best use of them.  That meant throwing the ball less, and that meant less individual recognition for Alex.

Alex threw only 66 passes, but he threw effectively.He threw for 607 yards and 13 touchdowns - one touchdown pass for every 5 attempts. And he threw only two interceptions.  In fact, at the time of this writing,  his passer rating of 112 surpassed that of every NFL quarterback.

The public, unfortunately, judges  a quarterback by his big passing numbers, and disregards how well he leads the team.  Alex led a team that scored 495 points in ten games, and with many games getting out of hand early, he rarely got to throw the ball in the second half. 

As a result of the role he accepted, Alex received scant post-season recognition.

But Alex knows that his reward was  quarterbacking his team to a 19-2 two-year record. 

As much as any player I have ever coached, Alex put his team first.

Below Left: On the left are Alex's dad Coach Wyatt; on the right are Mrs. Wyatt and Alex's mom

Below Right: Alex, the Old Coach, and 2013 Black Lion Award winner Pedro Gonzalez

Alex and parentsAlex & Pedro

*********** Bad news for Army, good news for Navy.   Ken Niumatalolo, who on Monday interviewed for a head coaching job at BYU that seemed his for the taking, has evidently decided to stay at Navy.

Coach Niumatalolo is a member of the LDS Church, which owns and runs BYU, and if the call of Mother Church isn’t enough to get him to leave Navy, it would appear that he’s planning on staying at Annapolis until retirement.

Few coaches ever leave Army or Navy on their own terms. Since World War II, success at those academies hasn’t been a constant, and typically coaches who succeed there move on to bigger things.

Such coaches, as noted,  are few:  From Navy, George Welsh moved on to Virginia and Paul Johnson to Georgia Tech. Wayne Hardin, who coached two Heisman Trophy winners (Roger Staubach and Joe Bellino), was successful enough, but his departure is still shrouded in mystery.  He later went on to coach successfully at Temple, one of the few people ever to do so.

From Army, so sparse have been the good years that only Paul Dietzel, back in the 60s,  moved on to bigger and better things when he left for South Carolina as head coach and AD.

This time, though, Navy has its act together.  Niumatalolo’s  compensation package is in keeping with what you’d expect an upper-echelon FBS coach to receive, and far exceeds that of Army coach Jeff Monken.  In fact, it was rumored that BYU, a private school that doesn’t discloses its financial figures, would have had to stretch its budget to come up with a package enticing enough to lure Niumatalolo west.

Damn. Fourteen straight losses to Navy and counting…

*********** A Florida man… (That's how many a bizarre story starts out)

In Brevard County, Florida, a Florida man told his girlfriend he was off with a buddy to commit some burglaries.

She’s probably still sitting by her window, awaiting his return.

Alas.  He ain’t coming back.

Seems that when folks in the targeted area grew suspicious of two “men in black” prowling through their neighborhood, they called the cops.

And needing  a good place to hide until the police left, our  would-be burglar evidently thought a nearby lake would work.  But sad to say, before the law could find him, an alligator did.

An 11-foot alligator.

Killed the poor fellow.

His hand and foot were found inside the gator’s stomach after it was euthanized.

My friend Tom Hinger, also “a Florida man,” said that where he lives,  in Polk County,  Sheriff Grady Judd is so spectacularly tough on criminals that  rather than euthanize the gator, “they’d have deputized him.”

*********** I read this somewhere after UVa’s hiring of Bronco Mendenhall…

“Mendenhall inherits a Virginia team that was 4-8, its fourth consecutive losing season. But the Cavaliers have demonstrated they have the support system to win. The university won the men's Capital One Cup last season by having the best overall record in the nation.”

Um, sorry, guys, but I’ve been through this already.

I’m a Stanford fan, and I went through all year and year of Stanford’s winning the “Directors Cup,”  given every year to the top athletic program in the nation. Meanwhile, out on the football field, the Cardinal was sucking.

The Stanford AD at the time, Ted Leland, loved to boast of all the championships being won by water polo and women’s soccer, mostly to divert peoples’ attention from the sad fact that in the four years following Tyrone Willingham’s departure for Notre Dame, Stanford went 2-9, 4-7, 4-7, 5-6 and 1-11.

That 1-11 year was Bob Bowlsby’s first as AD - and Walt Harris’ last as coach. (The 2-9, 4-7 and 4-7 belonged to Buddy Teevens, who preceded Harris.)

Bowlsby came from Iowa, where football tends to be a bit more important that the so-called Olympic sports, and after dismissing Harris, he set out to cure football at Stanford by hiring Jim Harbaugh.

Harbaugh went 5-7 his first year, but 5-7 is tolerable when you’re building. The next year Stanford went 8-5, and in 2010, his third year, they broke through, finishing 11-2. Another 11-2 season followed and Harbaugh was off to the 49ers.

But Bowlsby hit another home run, hiring Stanford grad David Shaw off Harbaugh’s staff.

And then Bowlsby, the real architect of the turnaround, moved on to become Commissioner of the Big 12.

So - is Virginia’s excellence in minor sports a sign that they’ll do what it takes to excel in football as well?  Or is it the bright, shiny object that draws everyone’s attention away from a lukewarm support for football?

*********** The big college quarterbacking news this week came out of the Pacific Northwest, where for the second year in a row Oregon has landed one of the top QB’s in all of FCS.

Last year it was Eastern Washington’s Vernon Adams. who had to navigate his way through some final graduation requirements and then recover from a hand injury before fitting very comfortably into Oregon’s go-go offensee.

This year it was Montana State’s Dakota Prukop, who chose Oregon over Alabama.  Before people go and accuse Prukop of deserting his buddies, it’s fair to point out that it probably wasn’t his idea for Montana State to fire its head coach before his final year of eligibility.

The other news is that Lake Stevens, Washington QB Jacob Eason has announced that he will honor his commitment to Georgia, despite their firing of Coach Mark Richt.

*********** Dakota Prukop may have made a wise decision when he chose Oregon over Alabama, based on an article in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal by Andrew Beaton.  

The Tide may continue to roll, but it’s been doing it without NFL-type quarterbacks. In fact, a Bama QB hasn’t started and won an NFL game since Jeff Rutledge did it on November 15, 1987.*

The trend has continued under Nick Saban.   First there was Brody Croyle, who went 0-10 as an NFL starter.
Since then, Greg McElroy  has started just one game - and lost. 

Maybe it’s Saban.  Four of his LSU quarterbacks were drafted, but in the NFL their overall record was 10-23.

Ironically, Alabama is one of just two schools - Purdue is the other - to have turned out three Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks: Bart Starr, Joe Namath and Ken Stabler.

The long Bama dry spell  could come to an end  this Sunday, when A. J. McCarron gets his first start,  in relief of the injured Andy Dalton. 

* Of all the Power 5 conference schools, Wake Forest has gone the longest without having a QB start - and win - an NFL game.  The last Deacon to do it was Norm Snead, in November of 1976.

*********** Realized I was missing a key component on coaching wedge this year. I had always taught the centre and tackle to push on the guard. After watching your Wildcat video, I caught how the centre and the tackle are really double teaming the 2 man and the guard is in-between them. It always worked ok for us, but this year it was much more effective.

The devil is in the details.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

The Wedge as we have been teaching it is meant to be a triple-team on either a nose or a “2” technique, and a double -team when there’s a man in the A-gap, so your observation is correct.

***********  Instead of the NFL making our armed forces pay them to honor our soldiers and veterans -  every coach - college and pro - should take the time to do what Virginia Tech basketball coach Buzz Williams did on Veterans’ Day…

*********** A New York pot smoker told the New York Times why there seems to be more open defiance of the anti-marijuana laws in New York:

“Here in New York City, because we know it’s legal in other states, we kind of have that feeling the legalization of marijuana is spreading across the nation, and it’s going to come regardless.”

Not when I’m King, fella.

***********  Army-Navy Game Day -    time-lapse


It sure makes it fun to be a Steelers fan and see this guy every Sunday.

Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois


Ali is a class act.  If there is such a thing as someone deserving success, he is it!

*********** The New York Times carried an article recently about a rather sketchy-sounding new way to try to pay college athletes.

Briefly, a crowdfunding-type  site called UBooster would be set up for a high school recruit, and college boosters would pay into it, presumably to boost the recruit’s opinion of their respective schools.   The money would go to the athlete after he was done playing.  Here’s what makes it legal: the money that you kicked in on behalf of your alma mater belongs to the kid - no matter where he decides to go!

Anyhow, the article stirred up quite a number of responses from Times readers.     I was really impressed by this one, written by someone who identified as “Jamie,” from California…

I played basketball at UCLA with a full scholarship (for all 5 years of my education). I saw first-hand the life of a college athlete, as I had friends from all economic backgrounds training and studying alongside me. I do not believe college athletes should be paid. I have yet to hear a compelling reason to do so, especially now with the cost of attendance increase that puts extra cash in the athletes' hands.

A scholarship at a state school is (conservatively) $24,000. Private schools will obviously be more (LOL $60K at U$C). Imagine a regular student with a job that paid them $24,000/year. Making $15 an hour, that is a 33 hour workweek, ($15/hour). How many college students do you know that took a full load of classes (athletes must have a full load) and worked 33 hours a week? I can't think of one of my non athlete friends who had a schedule like that. I am sure there are some kids who do it (full load and full workweek...props to them).

What’s more, athletes are restricted to 20 hours a week. And have weeks/months with less required of them.

Add into that free gear, training, academic mentoring/tutoring, travel expenses, medical care (my contacts were paid for all throughout college), cool experiences (we went to France for 2 weeks...for free) and career counseling etc...

And I walked away with no loans or debt, a great education and memories that only 2% of high school athletes have. All in all, a pretty good deal.

*********** Coach

I have a question about the GoArmy Edge App. I am not able to figure out how to make a ball exchange, i.e. Handoffs or pass throws. What am I missing?

Thank you,

John Guebara
Head Coach
North Country Jr. Falcons
Newport, Vermont


This just happens to be the next “How-To” manual I’ll be working on.

Very briefly-

On the edit screen, go to the lower left and click on the Icon.

From the pop-up menu, select “Change possession”

Let’s start with a handoff:

Now, manually start the play by going to the timeline and starting to move the “target” along the timeline. The QB will turn blue when the ball has been snapped to him, continue to move the target until the intended ball carrier is in position to take the handoff (i.e., touching the QB).

Now, when you touch the QB, he will be highlighted, and all the rest of the players will turn blue, too.  Drag a line from the QB to the ball carrier and hold it there briefly - a popup menu on the right side will give you the option of “Handoff” or “Fake Handoff.”

Select “Handoff” and click on “Save” at the upper right of the menu screen.

Now, when you run the play in 2D mode, you will see the ball carrier turn blue - indicating possession - as he passes the QB.

In 3D mode, you will actually see the “ball” change hands.

To pass the ball, follow the instructions and drag a line from the QB to the intended receiver.  

Once you have connected with the receiver, the app will sense that you are not handing off, but are throwing a pass, and it will give you a list of types of passes - Lob, Pass, Bullet Pass - as well as a Fake Pass, a Pitch and a Fake Pitch.

(Since the ball will not instantly transfer from QB to receiver, but will travel at a speed consistent with reality, be sure to allow for the fact that just as in real life, from the time the ball is thrown, the receiver will continue to gain  ground as the ball travels to him.  Just as in real life receivers run with the ball after they catch it, you should draw their routes long enough to allow for that.)

Let me know if that helps!  Feel free to fire away!


american flagTUESDAY,  DECEMBER 15,  2015-   "When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him."  Jonathan Swift

*********** If you’re thinking about becoming a football coach, take a careful look at  Nike’s “The Future is Fast” campaign.

It's intended, I guess,  to be a look at what’s coming, and unless you like the idea of coaching loudmouthed little braggarts who really think their sh— don’t stink, you might want to rethink your plans.

Junior Black KNights***********

Black Lion Award news from the Junior Black Knights, West Point, New York

Hi Coach Wyatt,

Here is a picture from our awards banquet.  Photo credit goes to News of the Highlands Editor Mary Jane Pitt.

From left to right: players are Division 1 - Levi McNeal; Mighty Mites - Honor Paxton; Division 3 - Conor McMahon; Division 2 - Jack Wender.

Coaches,  left to right: Andre Lucas, Alex Steward, Byron Lewis,  Ben Liotta.  The cadet is firstie TE Kelvin White who was our guest speaker and helped present the award to the players.

Ben Liotta
West Point, New York

PS- Here is a link to Army's website and a story CBS Sports did on CDT White.  A remarkable young man, and it shows how fortunate we are as an organization that our kids have this amazing experience to have the cadets as part of our celebration.

*********** Re: Lebanon Valley name change:

Shep Clarke

Puyallup, Washington

*********** Bronco Mendenhall, new UVa coach, played college ball at Oregon State, and since I live in the West I've watched BYU play a bunch, but I found out some things about him I'd never know before in an article by Vic Dorr in the Richmond Times-Dispatch

Mendenhall allows himself 90 “non-negotiable” minutes a day for solitude, escape and refilling physical and emotional reservoirs.

“I don’t know what the surfing looks like here, but I’ll find out in a short amount of time,” he said. “I’m closer (to the ocean) here than I was in Utah. I love to exercise, mountain bike, ride a Harley. Chrome and asphalt and no one can talk to me with the pipes and the noise. Fly fishing. Anything that is solitude-specific — that’s usually where I’ll be. There will be times when you won’t find me, and if you come looking for me, I’ll be upset with you.”

He permitted that statement to hang in the air for a few moments. Then he smiled, which he does frequently. “That was a joke, by the way.”

His full name is Marc Bronco Clay Mendenhall. “Bronco” was contributed by his father, a livestock rancher.

“My mother wanted to call me ‘George’ because my birthday (Feb. 21) is near the Presidents Day holiday,” he said. “But with dad and my brothers, there’s no way ‘George’ was happening. So to my mother’s and my grandmother’s chagrin, my dad named me ‘Bronco.’ ”

The acorn, in this case, didn’t fall far from the tree. Mendenhall’s three sons, all of whom attended Monday’s news conference, are named Cutter Bronc (16), Raeder Blue (14) and Breaker Steel (12).

A head coach at Brigham Young must be a practicing member of the Mormon church.

Mendenhall said he expects the physical and cultural move to Charlottesville to produce “some tears along the way and some hard things for all of us.” He said he believes the experience will be an invaluable part of his sons’ journey of faith.

“At some point in everyone’s life, you choose what you believe,” he said. “You choose your own beliefs.”

In an environment such as Brigham Young in particular and Provo in general, he said, “sometimes you can be surrounded by too much of one entity and you become a little bit comfortable and complacent.

“I think (the move to Charlottesville) is going to be a great opportunity for my boys to discover who they really are independent of what the majority is.”

*********** “Them two guys were great contenders.”  Thus spake Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry of the other two Heisman finalists. Not a great endorsement of  an Alabama education.

*********** A tree fell in the Northwest -  and no one heard it.

In Portland, Oregon, which prides itself on being weird, lots and lots of people  celebrated their beloved Portland Timbers’ winning something called the MLS Cup as if it were, well the Lombardi Trophy. 

Elsewhere?  Well… The telecast of the MLS championship game last Sunday got a 0.3 rating on ESPN.  That’s um, piss-poor. It’s maybe 700,000 viewers in the critical 18-49 age group that advertisers want.

It’s a clear sign that other than in World Cup years, soccer remains a niche sport to the American public.

It’s also a clear sign that scheduling your championship game on a Sunday afternoon during football (American version) season is semi-suicidal.

At the same time that those 600,000 soccer fans’ eyes were glued to their TV sets, the Panther-Saints game on Fox was drawing a 16.3 rating, or about 29 million viewers.

*********** Army came closer than anyone predicted, but the result, for the fourthteenth straight year, was another  loss to Navy.

Led by a Plebe QB from Imperial, California named Chris Carter, Army actually outgained Navy, and ran a classic triple option out of the old-fashioned, original  Wishbone to score its first TD…

*********** Got this text during the Army-Navy game from Coach Matt Marrs, long time Double-Winger in Imperial, California...

Coach, I know you're watching the Army Navy game. Fun fact. Army QB Chris Carter from right here in Imperial Ca.  He was QB in 2008 for coach Jesse Cortez Mid Valley Pop Warner Jr. Midget conference Champions! Running Wyatt double Wing! Also Chris and Royce Freeman and Navy's Dexter Bell all teammates at Imperial High. 

(Royce Freeman, of Oregon, is one of the best  running backs in the country.  Imagine those kids running the Double Wing. HW)

*********** Saturday's Army/Navy Game generated an average  5.1 TV rating, the highest in 19 years -  since the 1995 Army victory. It also tied for the 9th highest rated game in all of the 2015 College football season, tieing the Michigan State Vs. Michigan game.  VERY good news for the athletic departments of the two academies, which rely heavily on the broadcast rights payments from  CBS to support their minor sports programs. (It often comes as a surprise to the American public to learn that not so much as a nickel of taxpayer dollars goes to support the service academies' sports programs.)

*********** Canada is all excited about bringing in 25,000 Syrian refugees.  Thanks  a lot, neighbor. We can say “so long” to the days when we took pride in calling the line that separates us “the world’s longest unguarded border.”

*********** Coach Wyatt,
Funny you mentioned Lebanon Valley College today. My daughter was recently accepted into their Physical Therapy program and was awarded a $16, 000 per year academic scholarship upon her acceptance. (Going to visit the place tomorrow, in fact. J)
Now, while that sounds great, what people also might not know is that tuition per year at LVC is almost $50,000 per year!!!!!
Can you say……”YIKES!!!!!!”
My wife and I are hoping my daughter soon  gets accepted into West Chester University. WCU basically has the same program for less than half the price of an LVC education.
Go figure.


The worst value in America today is a college education.

The pressure on small liberal arts colleges like LVC to keep up with the elites is enormous, and even if they could offer more reasonable fees, they feel compelled to keep raising their tuition along with the Harvards and Yales for fear that people will think that they’re not very good.

I’m sure that West Chester is every bit as good.

Take advantage of West Chester while you can - before the Chinese discover it (or before West Chester  discovers the Chinese). Here in Washington it’s becoming very tough for Washington kids to get into state schools, especially the big guy, the UW.  The state has been cutting back on its support of higher education, and as a result the UW has been “reaching out to” (i.e., recruiting) foreign students (can you say Chinese?) because they pay even higher tuition than out-of-state students.  In-state students? Screw them.

***********   Good evening coach.
My son is a special ed student ( they don’t say that anymore, but that’s what he is ).
He is also a hell of a football player.
I googled ‘colleges for athletes with learning disabilities’ and several popped up that do not require testing for admission.
Am I going down the right path?
He is studying to be a brick mason just in case his NFL dream does not pan out.


I’m not sure about which colleges you’ve come across, but I do know that there are several that have special programs and do not require testing.

Of course you don’t want to discourage your son’s pursuit of the NFL, despite the enormous odds against even the best of high school players.  Most of us find out eventually, but at this point all you can do is let him know that the odds are great while continuing to encourage him.

But at the same time, a career as a brick mason makes a lot of sense.  

Far too many kids waste time and money pursuing worthless college diplomas when they’d be wiser  to learn a useful trade and become a productive citizen.

Good to hear from you!

*********** Increasingly, large numbers of 49ers’ fans are expressing their anger at team management, in ways ranging from derisive banners being flown over Levi’s Stadium to the dumping at distress prices of season tickets and “personal seat licenses.”

In 2012, the Niners made their first Super Bowl appearance in 18 years. The new $1.3 billion Levi's Stadium that was to showcase their return to relevance was nearing completion. Fans were paying from $2,000 to $80,000 for "personal seat licenses" guaranteeing the right to season-ticket packages, which themselves cost an average of $117 per game, among the highest rates in the NFL. The following year, as the team christened Levi's, the crowd-funding push was to erect a billboard in Seattle goading rival Seahawks fans about San Francisco's five Super Bowl trophies.

Now, many of those same fans are looking to unload seat licenses, and often at a loss. Game tickets on secondary markets such as StubHub are selling for $35, a fraction of their face value. This year's billboard push is for a sign reading: "Help Wanted: Faithful fan base seeking competent CEO, GM and New Ownership."

"It just sucks to feel like a sucker," said Troy Sauro, a 38-year-old Oakland attorney who spent $12,000 on seat licenses. "A lot of us believed there was no way they'd get rid of a coach who got them back to winning, with the new stadium adding momentum. But as soon as they got paid, and the stadium was blocked down, everything went back to their old ways."

*********** Every coach, every executive, every leader: They all know right from wrong. Even those Enron guys. When someone uncovers a scandal in their company, I don't think they can say, "I didn't know that was going on." They're just saying they're too dumb to do their job! And if they really are too dumb, then why are they getting paid millions of dollars to do it? They know what's going on.

Bo Schembechler

*********** On Friday I wrote this…

So here’s the scenario: the kid was injured partway through the season and didn’t play again.  

His coach didn’t letter him.

The kids’ parents strongly objected - and the AD sided with the parents!

I deliberately left out one little detail - following the injury, the kid disappeared.  The coach didn’t see him again until the banquet, when he showed up to get his letter.

I wouldn’t have lettered that kid, either.

Since I wrote that, the coach has been let go - not given any reason, just told they’re “going in another direction.”

But this I found very informative: the AD then went and  lettered the kid!

I hope he’s now prepared to explain to the parents of kids who received JV letters why this kid merited a varsity letter.

And I hope whoever takes over the job enjoys coaching that kid.  And his sh--head dad.

***********  "The Revenant," coming to a theatre near you.

According to the promos,  it's  "Inspired by True Events"

Yeah.  Just  like "based on a true story," it's movie industry code for, "It's a crock of sh-- ."

Actually, there's so much wiggle room in “inspired by” that it makes “based on a true story” seem like “the complete, unvarnished, literal true story.”


***********  The GoArmy Edge Football app is constantly in the process of being improved and updated, and the most recent update to Version 1.2 makes the app available on iPhone 6+ and Android 4+ smartphones.

Speaking personally, it’s been cool enough to be able to use GoArmy Edge on my computer and my iPad, but being able to use it on your smartphone  - you should pardon the cliche - takes things to another level.

If you happen to be trying out GoArmy Edge and you come across any questions, feel free to email me - - and if I can’t answer your questions I can get them to somebody who can!

american flag  FRIDAY,  DECEMBER 11,  2015-   “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”   William F. Buckley Jr.

***********  The GoArmy Edge Football app is constantly in the process of being improved and updated, and the most recent update to Version 1.2 makes the app available on iPhone 6+ and Android 4+ smartphones.

Speaking personally, it’s been cool enough to be able to use GoArmy Edge on my computer and my iPad, but this - you should pardon the cliche - takes things to another level.

If you happen to be trying out GoArmy Edge and you come across any questions, feel free to email me - - and if I can’t answer your questions I can get them to somebody who can!

RYAN ALEXANDER*********** When Army's on offense Saturday, look for Number 50.  He’ll be at right tackle.  Or maybe left tackle.

He’s senior Ryan Alexander, Army’s 2015 Black Lion Award winner, and although he played on defense for his first three years at West Point, he’s been used wherever needed on this year’s offensive line.

And that’s a major reason why he was selected to wear the Black Lion patch in the Army-Navy game.

You see, in his first three years at West Point, he played defensive end, a position he’d played since his earliest days in Canadian, Texas, a small town in the Panhandle.

He came to Army as a 3-star recruit at Canadian High School, where he was a three-time all-state defensive end and 2009’s 1A Defensive Player of the Year.

His team won the 2A state title in 2007 and the 1A title in 2008.

Black Lions everywhere are proud to welcome Ryan Alexander.

More about Ryan Alexander:

Take a look at his HS highlight video and you’ll see what an outstanding  prospect he was:

An interview with him and his coach before the title game his senior year gives you a look at him as a high school kid:

A look at him as a recruit:

An interview last spring,
approaching his senior season at Army, when he was still playing on defense:

But duty called.  As a result of injuries,  team needed help on the offensive line,  and  despite his having to learn a totally new position - and being greatly undersized at only 6-1, 250 - he made the move.

Army has not had a great season,  but it’s in the hard times that true class shows itself.  Ryan Alexander showed his class when  his team needed him and he stepped up.


It's not too late for your team  to be a Black Lion  Award team for 2015!

Go here and check out FAQ's -

*********** Coach Brian Mackell of Baltimore wrote to let me know that our mutual friend Greg Bonner’s Northwest Raiders will be on ESPN playing in the Pop Warner National Championship game on Saturday at 10 AM (Eastern)

The Northwest Raiders are - ahem - from the West Oak Lane section of Philly, not far from Germantown, where I went to high school, and Mount Airy, where I grew up.

For what it's worth... they're defending champs!

*********** We’ve had a lot of rain lately - and when you say that in December in the Pacific Northwest, that means A LOT of rain.

Combine that with strong winds - and the fact that we DO have a few trees - and that means limbs coming down on power lines.  We were without power for eight hours on Wednesday morning.

There’s been considerable flooding in the area, even in places that haven’t ever experienced flooding before, and a hill that’s been stable for decades has turned into mud and slid down across Interstate 5 between Portland and Seattle.  There is not other way north and south.

Not on the Washington side of the Columbia River,  anyhow.  And the one alternate route - crossing over the Columbia to the Oregon side and then taking US Route 30 from Longview to Portland - has also been shut down by a mud slide.

Which brings me to expressive English.  I’m a great fan of creative figures of speech, always on the lookout for
good metaphors and analogies, and I struck paydirt in an article about a guy named Bill Kindersley, who along with his brother runs a furniture warehouse in East Portland.

Surveying the damage done to all the pressed-board furniture by the rising waters of Johnson Creek, he said, “It’s going to turn into oatmeal.”

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

I have attached a Black Lion Award nomination for our senior LB/SS/SE/TE/QB and long snapper, Nick Kallio.  Nick was a 2014 recipient of the Black Lion Award and continued to show the same character and perseverance that earned him the award last season.  I have attached a recommendation letter for Nick.

Our banquet is this Sunday, 12-13-15, so I know this can't be processed that quickly, but I wanted to make sure I nominated this tremendous individual.

I want to thank you once for your support and guidance throughout my career.  You'll be pleased to know that the true double wing is alive and well in Livonia, NY.  We posted another 8-2 season this year, once again reaching the regional championship game.  We averaged over 400 yards rushing per game and averaged 44 points per game.  We set school records for rushing and points in a season, and set the regional record for rushing yards in a game with 659 yds in a semi-final playoff game victory.  In that game we beat our opponent 70-60 which represented the highest scoring game in our regions history.

Thank you once again for helping me define myself as a coach.  The double wing is a tremendous system that not only works, but helps build the attitude and character we should be teaching through our sport.

Please let me know If Nick looks like an individual who may win the award again this season, that way I can at least announce the award at our banquet this Sunday.

Thanks again Coach Wyatt,

John Gammon
Assistant High School Principal
Varsity Football Coach
Livonia High School
Livonia, New York

*********** Something to keep remembering while watching Saturday's Army-Navy game: A leading candidate for the BYU job, left open when Bronco Mendenhall left for UVa, is Navy’s Ken Niumatololo.

In addition to the fact that Coach Ken has proved he’s a very good coach are (1) being a member of the LDS Church, and (2)  being a Pacific Islander. (The Church - and BYU’s recruiting - are strong in the islands.)

Would BYU be willing to run the Triple Option?  If not, would Coach K be willing to depart from a major reason for his success at Navy?

*********** From the minutes of our league's  December Meeting…

Volleyball – District tourney lost $1305.00 this year. Officials costs were over $6000.00

(It’s all about the kids, right?  And, apparently, officials.)

*********** I don’t think I’m the only person in the United States who keeps hearing that the murderous savages in San Bernardino were “radicalized” and wonders  whether that’s the Powers That Be cleverly trying to turn them into victims.  Poor things.

*********** I know Hershey, Pennsylvania well - used to go to  there every summer when I was a kid, and then my wife and I spent our honeymoon there. (Found  out right away that I’d married the right girl - we spent our afternoons watching the Philadelphia Eagles train.)

Just a few minutes to the east of Hershey on Route 422 is the tiny town of Annville, home of Lebanon Valley College.

If you were coming to Hershey from Philadelphia and points east you had to go through Annville,  so I guess you could say I know it.  And I guess you could say I know Lebanon Valley College because although it’s quite small, it’s still the biggest thing in town.

Ordinarily, no one would ever have heard a thing about Lebanon Valley, but recently, a small group of students seems determined to make sure that we do. 

In imitation of students at larger, better-known colleges, they’ve submitted a list of “demands” to their college, including the usual more diversity, blah, blah, blah, more hiring of minority faculty, blah, blah, blah, sensitivity training for faculty and staff, blah, blah, blah.

But they also “demand” that the college change the name of “Lynch Memorial Hall,” because of the use of the term “lynch” to describe murders, often of black people, by lawless mobs.

(The term originated as “Lynch’s Law,” after a Virginia judge by that name known during the Revolutionary War for going outside the law to punish people suspected of being Loyalist sympathizers.  The present-day city of Lynchburg is named for his brother.)

Lynch Memorial Hall is named for a gentleman named Clyde Lynch, who served as president of the college from 1932 until his death in 1950.

Good luck, children.  Changing the name of a building ought to make things a lot better around the old LVC campus. 

Or maybe before proceeding you should ask the Attorney General, Ms. Loretta Lynch,  if you can count on her support.

Oh - and once they’re done with eliminating all racism, I’ve got another project for them…

Annville is in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. (Not many “Dutch” people there, though - the area was originally settled by immigrants from Germany, and most of its current residents are of German descent; the term “Dutch” comes from English-Speakers’ misunderstanding of the word “Deutsch”)

FLYING DUTCHMANSo Lebanon Valley's teams are known as the Flying Dutchmen. I am not kidding.

Although I can’t trace any of my ancestry to Holland, I’m nevertheless offended on behalf of those who can  by the bellicose caricature of the school’s mascot, looking as if he’s accustomed to resorting to violence to settle differences of opinion.

My wife claims to be offended because with the school’s student body 54 per cent female, she thinks “Dutchwomen” would be more appropriate.  (At least 54 per cent of the time.)

But she said she’d settle for “Dutchpersons.”

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

Hope all is well on your end.  Headed to the title games for the public (or "non-select", as they're now called) schools tomorrow at the Superdome.  While 3A (St. James vs Lutcher), 4A(Neville vs. Karr), and 5A(John Ehret vs Zachary) feature spread, grass-basketball teams, there are a couple great match-ups featuring a little old-school, physical football:

Class 1A: Haynesville vs. Kentwood

The Haynesville Golden Tornado are in their third straight title game, seeking the school's 18th football championship and fourth trophy for current coach David Franklin, whose father Red was a long time head coach there and won several titles himself.  Haynesville hopes to run its' wing-t all over the spread formation Kangaroos of Kentwood, who feature a ton of speed at every position and are themselves a traditional small-school power.  The Kangaroos are out to capture their school's 8th football title, and to remind the rest of Louisiana that Kentwood has more to offer the world than bottled water and Britney Spears.

Class 2A: Mangham vs. Kinder

Both of these schools are also in their third consecutive title game.  Mangham dropped the last two to Haynesville when they were in 1A, and Kinder split their previous two, both against Many.  The Dragons of Mangham feature a spread/single wing hybrid, with lots of misdirection, shifting, and unbalanced line sets.  Kinder features a physical and fast Georgia Tech-style triple option.  This is probably the match-up I look forward to the most this weekend.  Kinder is looking for it's fourth title in school history, while Mangham seeks it's first since a 2-0 win over Donaldsonville in 1960.

Y'all take care up there in God's country, Coach.  If we don't talk again before the holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Josh Montgomery
Berwick, Louisiana


Rainy and dreary up here in God’s country. Nothing good is free, and the rainy winters are God’s price for everything else He gives us up here!

Wish I could be there in NO - for the food as well as the football!

Guess I have to go with the old buddy-duddy offenses.

Go Haynesville!

Go Mangam!  (Or Kinder!)

***********One of the things that bug me the most is constantly being told by Our President that this or that is on the "wrong side of history" - whatever that means.

I take it to mean that history somehow has already been written, and that since ISIS is on the wrong side of history, all we have to do is sit back and eat chocolates and history will tale care of things?

*********** I first met coach Dallas Ehrgott several years ago at a clinic in Buffalo, New York.  He was then coaching at Brockway, Pennsylvania High, where they ran the Double Wing.

He’s since moved on to coach at Sheffield Area high school, near his home in Warren, Pennsylvania.

I heard from Coach Ehrgott recently and he tells me he’s looking for a new challenge, and he’s ready to move to find one.

He’s got 29 years of coaching experience, at all levels.  He’s worked with offense for the past 15 years but confesses that “defense is my strength.”

He’s “looking for a coach who’s looking for a coach” - tells me he’s willing to go “just about anywhere.”

*********** Greg Gutfeld on Lord John Kerry: “I’d call him a tool, but that’s wrong, because tools are useful.”

*********** Coach Wyatt,
Just saw your “Haystack” fumble recovery  drill online. Funniest drill I’ve seen in quite some time!! Too funny!! Looked like a ton of fun for the kids!! I’m going to have to use that drill at some point, for sure.
BTW- I had a great year coaching the WR’s and DT’s at Pequea Valley this year. We finished the season 6-4. First winning season in school history!! Yesssss!!!
Hope all is well with you and your family!
Merry Christmas.
Mike Lane
Avon Grove, Pennsylvania

Coach, I first heard of Haystack Drill (as in “Needle in a Haystack”) from Coach Richard Scott, a longtime successful youth coach in Lodi, California.  It’s a lot of fun, especially when it’s rainy and muddy.  It’s always a part of our “last practice,” when we go out on the Monday following our last game and let our kids do the goofy things that American boys have spent most of their school years being told they can’t do because (1) they might get hurt; (2) they might hurt somebody; (3) it might start a fight; (4) it excludes the children who want to play but don’t enjoy roughhousing; (5) somebody might get sued.

***********  The first time heard a young woman openly use the word “cornhole,”
I thought, WTF?

What is she doing, talking openly about something, that, uh… uh… uh?

And then I found out she was talking about a nice party game, somewhat on the order of horseshoes or quoits.

Funny, I thought,  how almost overnight a once-gross term had been co-opted and sanitized.

Still, I rather doubt that the folks at Hasbro or Mattel are working on a game called Blow Job.


***********  The GoArmy Edge Football app is constantly in the process of being improved and updated, and the most recent update to Version 1.2 makes the app available on iPhone 6+ and Android 4+ smartphones.

Speaking personally, it’s been cool enough to be able to use GoArmy Edge on my computer and my iPad, but this - you should pardon the cliche - takes things to another level.

If you happen to be trying out GoArmy Edge and you come across any questions, feel free to email me - - and if I can’t answer your questions I can get them to somebody who can!

american flag TUESDAY,  DECEMBER 8,  2015-   “If you watch a lot of college football, you know that college football games sometime take longer than college.”  Jason Gay, Wall Street Journal

***********President Franklin D. Roosevelt called December 7, 1941 “a date which will live in infamy.”

Let’s pray that it still does.

Let’s pray that we haven’t forgotten the meaning of  that day and the way it drew our nation together, and the men and women who had the strength and courage and resolve to defeat our enemy.

And let’s pray that somehow, we can put aside our self-absorption and senses of victimhood and marshal the same strength and courage and resolve to defeat - yes, defeat - an enemy that threatens to be every bit as evil, every bit as treacherous as the ones we faced more than 70 years ago.

*********** I know that the popular thing to say is that this year, finally, the playoff is decided.  No question about who should be in it.  Case closed.  The science is settled.

Yeah.  The same way it is with global warming.

Permit me to introduce  my “counter playoff”:

Iowa,  Ohio State, Stanford and North Carolina.

Iowa and Ohio State have one loss each.  And they’re both what you’d call “good” losses - Iowa and Ohio State have lost only to Michigan State, and both losses were close.  Stanford’s two losses were both to ranked teams: Northwestern and Oregon.  North Carolina has the only “bad” loss of the bunch - to South Carolina, but way back in the season opener.  After that, the Tar Heels went on a tear, their only loss that surprisingly close one to Clemson in the conference championship.

You might make an argument for including either TCU or Oklahoma State.  Both lost to strong teams -  TCU to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, Oklahoma State to Oklahoma and Baylor - but both suffered their losses late in the season.

What about the “real” playoff?  Clemson’s unbeaten, of course,  and the other three  have only one loss apiece.  But two of those losses were bad ones, to losing teams: Oklahoma lost to Texas, and Michigan State lost to Nebraska.   Alabama’s loss was to Ole Miss, a ranked team, but the Tide didn't exactly play a killer schedule,  larding its non-conference schedule with the likes of Louisiana Monroe, Middle Tennessee and - ready for this? - Charleston Southern.

Sorry to have to stir up the pot just when the argument supposedly has been settled, but I’ll take my chances with the winner of my playoff against the winner of the “real” playoff.

*********** Washington playoff report:

Washington is a state  divided  - in many senses of the word - by the Cascade mountain range, which runs north-to-south, from the Canadian border to the Oregon border. 

To the west of the mountains, it’s rainy; to the east, it’s dry, desert in spots. To the west, it’s primarily urban; to the east, it's rural and small-town.  To the west, it’s liberal and Democratic; to the east, it’s conservative and Republican.

This year, with one exception, the state football champions came from the east side.  Draw you own conclusions.

The one exception was the 3A final, in which both teams came from west of the mountains, but ironically, the winner of that game was… Eastside Catholic.

The 4A Final was won by Gonzaga Prep, of Spokane, over Skyline, from the Seattle area, 34-16.

Prep, a pistol-based triple option team that completed just one pass all night, ran all over Skyline, a spread passing team that never saw the down it wouldn’t throw on.

At halftime, Prep led, 24-3, but even more significant was the “yards rushing” stat:  Gonzaga Prep 345, Skyline 9.   The disparity in passing stats wasn’t comparable.

Led by 6-3, 245 pound fullback Evan Weaver, who rushed for 135, and QB Liam Bell, who ran the offense beautifully and rushed for 115 more, Prep broke four state title game records: rushing (521 yards), rushing attempts (83), first downs (29) and total offense (564).

6-4 sophomore wide receiver Devin Culp scored on reverses of 16 and 59 yards, and caught Prep’s lone completion, a 43-yard fade that set up a Weaver touchdown run.

The 3A Final was the fourth consecutive state final between Bellevue and Eastside Catholic, two Seattle-area teams reputed to, um, magically find players who, let us say, might very well have been playing for another school - one nearer to where they lived - had they not been exposed to the benefits of playing for one of these powerhouses.  If you get what I'm driving at.

For the second year in a row, Eastside Catholic defeated Bellevue.

This time, it took an almost unbelievable comeback.  Bellevue led 35-14 at the half, and midway through the third period, their Wing-T seemingly unstoppable, they led, 42-14.

That’s when Eastside Prep’s Harley Kirsch, who’s Cornell-bound, stepped up, throwing three touchdown passes within a span of 12 minutes.  In the first half, he’d completed  seven of 12 for just 65 yards, but in the second half he was 14 of 19 for 184 - and those three touchdowns.

Nevertheless, despite Kirch’s three touchdowns passes, Eastside still trailed, 42-35, when they recovered a Bellevue fumble at midfield,  but they punched in a score from 11 yards out to tie the game with 1:24 left.

In the first half of overtime, Eastside blocked a Bellevue field goal attempt, and in the second half, Brandon Wellington, a Washington Husky commit, scored the winner for Eastside Catholic from one yard out.

Wellington earlier had taken a first-half kickoff back 97 yards for a touchdown, setting a state record with eight kickoff returns for a touchdown in a single season.

Bellevue’s Ercle Terrell gained 227 yards and scored four first-half touchdowns with a 3A title-game record 33 carries.

The 8-man final was won, 46-42, by Almira-Coulee-Hartline (schools are so small in sparsely-populated Eastern Washington that it’s not uncommon for three of them to have to combine to get enough boys to play eight-man football) over Lummi Nation, a tribal school located on Puget Sound, about 15 miles south of the Canadian border.

Lummi Nation led 42-39 and with 5:26 left appeared about to put the game away when they fumbled on the Almira-Coulee-Hartline one-yard line.

From there, A-C-H launched a 99-yard drive that ended in the game-winning score with 1:35 left.

(Scores tend to be high in 8-man, which is played on a regulation-size field.  Almira-Coulee-Hartline’s lone loss came in the first game of the season, 66-42, against Liberty Christian, but revenge came in the state semi-finals when A-C-H won, 82-70.)

The game that interested me the most was the 2B championship, between Napavine and Okanogan, a repeat of last year’s title game won by Okanogan, 14-14.  A few weeks ago, Napavine had come from 14 points down to defeat us, 20-14, in overtime and since then had convincingly thumped two teams to make it to the final game.

When it took a 27-14 lead in the third quarter, Napavine appeared on its way to the state championship

But Okanogan roared back to go ahead 30-27 early in the fourth quarter, and after Napavine came back to take a 34-30 lead with 6:16 left, Okanogan went on a long drive to go ahead, 36-34, then snuffed out Napavine’s final hopes with a last-minute interception.

*********** I pity you poor bastards who live back east and have to stay up late to watch an entire NFL Monday Night Football game.

This week, after a show of offensive incompetence that left the teams tied 3-3 at halftime,  you saw an offensive flurry in the last minute or so, culminated in the Redskins’ driving the length of the field to tie the score at 16-16 with 41 seconds left.

And then, as usual in the NFL - the Cowboys drove to within, oh,  a block or so of the goal line, and with seconds left, kicked a 54-yard field goal.

What a surprise.

Now, wasn't that worth waiting up for?

*********** December 7 is not only Pearl Harbor Day - it’s also the third anniversary of the filing with the Tallahassee Police Department of a rape charge against Jameis Winston.

Based on a recent article, it’s becoming apparent that the TPD didn’t exactly assign Sam Spade to the Jameis Winston rape case. The word “bungler” is way too kind.

Any chance of nailing Winston went out the window while this Hawkshaw was still sitting on his ass.

I’m no fan of Winston. I’m not going to be going out and wearing my WINSTON Bucs’ jersey in public any time soon, and if the SOB were guilty of rape, I’d be calling for his ass.

But to this old fart with his outmoded, 20th Century way of thinking, if they can prove that Winston’s accuser voluntarily left a bar with a football player (two or three, actually) and then went to his apartment, not likely with the intention of seeing his scrapbooks, they're going to have to provide witnesses and videotape to have a chance of getting a rape conviction.

Oh - and before we excuse Florida State for its role in the incident…

WTF was Winston, an 18-year-old freshman, doing living in an off-campus apartment?

*********** Don't be too quick to judge Eagles' Chip Kelly, wrote David Murphy in the Philadelphia Daily News.

His current .571 winning percentage in the regular season is the same as Pete Carroll and is better than Marvin Lewis (.540) and Tom Coughlin (.538). Yes, he is 5-9 in his last 14 games. It's a concern.

But it isn't evidence that a better option exists.

That's something we often forget: It can get worse. A lot worse.

Maybe you think that the Eagles would be better off with Gus Bradley, despite his 11-31 record in three seasons in Jacksonville. Or San Diego's Mike McCoy (20-22), or Andy Reid himself (25-17 in three seasons with Kansas City), or Jay Gruden (8-18 in two seasons in Washington), or Houton's Bill O'Brien (14-12 in two seasons), or Cleveland's Mike Pettine (9-17 in two seasons).

But that list is evidence of the difficulty of finding a good head coach, and that you'd better be damn sure your current guy isn't good enough before you entertain thoughts of moving on.

And that was before Sunday’s win over the Patriots.

*********** One of the biggest  upsets in all my years of watching NFL football involvd my Baltimore Colts.

It wasn't their loss to th Joe Namth-led Jets in the Super Bowl - before there even was a Super Bowl, it was their 27-0 loss to the Browns in the 1964 NFL championship game.

The Colts were loaded with future Hall of Famers. They  finished 12-2, outscoring opponents 428-225,  In those days they were in the Western Conference, which meant that at some point every year they had to travel to the West Coast to play the Rams and 49ers on consecutive weekends.  They won the conference by four games, beating the second-place Packers twice.

The Browns weren’t exactly Junk.  They had a very good wide receiver in Gary Collins, and maybe the best running back that ever lived, in Jim Brown.  They were 10-3-1.  They’d outscored their opponents 415-293.  But they played in a much weaker division.  Four of the Western Conference teams had winning records, while in the Eastern Conference, only the Browns and the (St. Louis) Cardinals had more wins than losses. Those two  were trailed by the woeful Eagles, Redskins, Cowboys, Steelers and Giants.

The game was tied, 0-0 at the half, but with Frank Ryan throwing three touchdown passes to Collins, the Browns scored 17 points in the third quarter to pull away,  and 10 in the fourth quarter to seal the deal.

I was not happy.

Browns’ fans were. 

In retrospect, I’m glad they were. I'm happy for them. Because, sadly,  that was the last time their Browns, the mighty Browns of the 1940s and 1950s, won anything.

I happened to come across a great interview with Ross Fichtner, former Purdue QB who became an outstanding NFL safety, on the subject of his being asked to prepare to play backup quarterback on that game.

“The night before the ’64 championship game the coaches came to talk to me,” Fichtner remembered. “Frank Ryan had a bad ankle and backup quarterback Jim Ninowski was suffering from dehydration. The coaches asked me if they could game plan with me in case the other two quarterbacks couldn’t play. I told them, ‘I can’t think about that. I have my hands full worrying about (the Colts’ tight end) John Mackey. If I have to play quarterback, I’m just going to hand off to Jim Brown to the right or Jim Brown to the left.’”

Browns fans know that Ryan was able to play and he threw three touchdown passes to Gary Collins in the Browns’ 27-0 win.

“Needless to say, I was glad when Ryan and Ninowski showed up ready for the game,” he said.

Fichtner was drafted in the third-round out of Purdue. After playing eight years with the Browns, Fichtner finished his career playing one season in New Orleans. Fichtner was drafted by the Browns as a defensive back and was also selected by the Buffalo Bills of the American Football League as a quarterback.

“Back then, we only had 36 guys on the team and so we had to practice on offense and defense,” he said. “My first year with the Browns I played all four defensive back positions. I practiced as a running back, flanker and split end.”
Fichtner always wanted to play for the Browns since his high school days.

“I grew up in Pittsburgh and was a Browns fan because my high school coach’s hero was Paul Brown,” he said. “I had the great honor of playing for Brown for three years.”

After Brown was fired by Art Modell, Blanton Collier took over during the final four years of Fichtner’s tenure with the Browns.

“They were not a lot different,” he said. “We changed nothing other than to bring in Dub Jones as the quarterback coach to replace Blanton.”

*********** If you’re a member of ISIS and you happen to follow football - fat chance, unless it’s that other football, where they kick a ball around in the dust with their bare feet - you can’t be happy with these Saturday results:

The Washington 3A state championship was won by the Eastside Catholic CRUSADERS.

The Oregon 6A state championship was won by the Jesuit High CRUSADERS.

A Heisman Trophy performance for the ages was put on by a guy from Stanford named CHRISTIAN.

*********** Ken Goe, writing in the Portland Oregonian, is not necessarily a fan of Scott Frost, fomer Oregon offensive coordinator and newly-named coach at Central Florida…

"Scott Frost says he will take the entire Oregon playbook with him to Central Florida. Does that include the plays he called against Utah?"

*********** President Jerry Falwell Jr. of Liberty University told students of the Lynchburg, Virginia Christian school that they should carry concealed weapons on campus to prevent a mass shooting like the one in San Bernardino last week.

"Let's teach them a lesson if they ever show up here," he told a convocation on Friday.

(This from an Ivy League grad - Yale, 1960 : Liberty joins my Elite College List, along with Hillsdale and - more on this to come - Oklahoma Wesleyan.

*********** It's a wonderful sickness we have.  Our staff is already excited about next season!  Emails fly back and forth about "do you think this kid can be ready by then" and "what about this tweek to our coverage" and all sorts of little things.  Our kids are excited and working hard already (those not in basketball...who are working hard in their own right).  Anyway, as I sat here this morning having my coffee and thinking about a rather small A-back who we are thinking of moving to fullback because he is a pretty good runner but we have two jackhammers at A-back already.  He is fearless and blocking will not be an issue.  I thought "his technique will have to be very good on the kick out."  How to teach that...  We have gone away from using the pancake drill.  I thought to myself "I wonder if Hugh still uses that."  And better yet, "what drills does Hugh use?"  

Would you mind sharing (or posting) the "go to" drills that you use daily/weekly?  The must-haves.  Offense and maybe even defense.  


We don’t use the Pancake Drill except as an occasional fun drill.

We do 90 per cent of our blocking and tackling work while we’re still in our lines.

Everybody blocks, everybody tackles.

Most of our blocking and tackling work is monotonous and repetitive, but we don’t care - I will put us up against anybody when it comes to blocking and tackling, and any player who’s been through our program becomes a very good teacher of our techniques, which provides us with a ready supply of young, enthusiastic volunteer assistants.

The majority of our work is on the base drive block, but we also work on a few different techniques - reach, scramble, double-team.   All of our blocking drills emphasize two things -  (1) correct leverage, and (2) staying “welded” to our man.

Leverage to us is making sure that our helmet is on the correct side of the defender’s helmet;

Staying welded to our man consists of making sure that our feet don’t stop at the moment of contact, and that after contact we keep the feet driving for 12 steps (or until the play is over).

We’re especially conscious of any separation that might occur at contact, which might allow the defender to come off the block, and any exaggerated movement of the arms, which means that the blocking isn’t being done with the feet.

We do all this work at full speed, with the defender holding a shield.  

Sometimes we have the defender let go of the shield at the point of contact, so that in order to keep the shield sandwiched between the blocker and the defender, the blocker has to (1) keep his feet accelerating through contact and (2) keep his feet going for 12 steps. Otherwise,  the shield will fall to the ground.  (And we raise hell.)

We stress that we are not trying to push a man away from us.  We are trying to get into him and stay welded to him.  (“Welded”  came from Wing-T co-inventor Mike Lude, who remains a strong advocate of shoulder blocking.)

Specifically, with the B-Back on Super Power, to get the proper leverage -  to make sure that his “helmet's in the hole" -  he has to take an inside-out approach on his block.  To do this, we insist that he take his first step with his near foot, and that he take that step at the near hip of the playside tackle.  If he’ll stay on this course, he should be in position to block inside-out.

“Go-to” drills? These blocking and tackling drills are such an integral part of what we do that we do them from the first day of spring ball, before we even put on pads, to the last day of the season.  They are even a part of every pre-game - we take our shields with us to away games.

A kid in our program may not have great God-given gifts, but he will know how to block and tackle - and he will be able to teach a younger player.

Hope that’s what you were looking for.

*********** A former U.S. congressman taunted Attorney General Loretta Lynch, daring here to arrest him after she warned on Thursday that her office would take aggressive action against those speaking out against Islam.

“I think Islam has a real freaking problem, all right?” Former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh said in a video posted to his Facebook page.

“There is a cancer in Islam, and if they’re not going to learn to assimilate, I don’t want them in this country.”

“You got a problem, Loretta Lynch, with me saying that? Then throw me in jail,” Walsh, a conservative talk show host, argued. “I think Islam is evil. I think Islam has a huge problem. I think most Muslims around the world are not compatible with American values. I don’t want them here.”

Walsh continued to slam Lynch in his video for the comments she made at Muslim Advocate’s 10th anniversary dinner one day after law enforcement officials say two people opened fire at a holiday party in San Bernardino, California, leaving 14 people dead and more than one dozen injured. According to reports, the wife pledged allegiance to the Islamic State on her Facebook page just moments before the attack.

“When we talk about the First Amendment we [must] make it clear that actions predicated on violent talk are not American. They are not who we are, they are not what we do, and they will be prosecuted,” Lynch said at the banquet. “My message not just to the Muslim community but to all Americans is: we cannot give in to the fear that these backlashes are really based on.”

***********  Hey, Dr. Pepper -

I know that you've paid a bundle to sponsor the Playoff, but I doubt that you’re  winning many  friends among football fans by continuing to give away large sums of money to those non-football types who "throw" footballs into large holes in giant Dr Pepper cans with one- or two-handed chest passes.

*********** A large number of Houston fans rushed the field following their team’s win over Temple Saturday.  But not all of them made it past security, which got caught on amateur video whaling away at the few fans unfortunate enough to get caught.

Well aware of what awaited them if they got caught,  Houston fans nevertheless continued to climb down onto the field in hopes of joining the celebration, dodging security in a scene that resembled running with the Bulls at Pamplona…

*********** There was a time when a great last-weekend-of-the-year performance on national TV, in front of an audience that hadn’t previously seen him, was enough to win the Heisman Trophy for a West Coast athlete - Mike Garrett, Gary Beban, OJ Simpson. 

The media guys used to call it a Heisman Moment, or some damn thing.

Saturday night,  in one game against USC, Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey compiled 461 all-purpose yards:  207 rushing, 105 receiving, 120 on kickoff returns and 29 on punt returns.

He scored on the ground and in the air - in the latter case, as a receiver and as a passer - as Stanford defeated USC to win the Pac 12 championship.

If ever there was a Heisman moment, a Heisman performance, that was it.

(Actually, although it was a spectacular performance, it wasn’t unusual for McCaffrey, one of the best all-purpose athletes to come along in years in a sport increasingly infected by specialization.)

No matter. He will likely join a long and growing list of Stanford standouts who finished second:

John Elway, 1982 - second, behind Herschel Walker
Toby Gerhart, 2009 - second, behind  Mark Ingram
Andrew Luck, 2010 - second, behind Cam Newton
Andrew Luck, 2011 - second, behind RG III

The only Cardinal ever to win the Heisman  was Jim Plunkett, who won the award in 1970.  (Technically, he was not  a Cardinal then, since Stanford was still the Indians.)  Ironically, the second-place finisher that year was Joe Theisman of Notre Dame, the very pronunciation of whose name (originally “THEES-man”) was changed by the ND publicity department in a shameless stunt to try to win him the award.

*********** Am I supposed to have confidence in a guy  who continues to be  the only person in the world who calls ISIS “ICE-ull?”

*********** It was a very subtle thing, and I hope you had a chance to see it…

Stanford scored on a reverse pass in which Christian McCaffrey, set out to the left as a wide receiver in an unbalanced I left, came back to the right and took the ball from the I-back, who had received a toss from QB Kevin Hogan.

McCaffrey then threw a sort pass to Hogan, who had had tossed the ball, then slipped out to the right. Touchdown, Stanford.

The subtlety was in Hogan’s delay, ever so slight, before slipping out. 

The tight end on that side had headed upfield, taking coverage with him, so there was no one to cover Hogan. But had he tried to go out immediately, the defensive end on that side would likely have held him up, disrupting the play.

Instead, though, Hogan delayed until the USC end, recognizing the reverse coming at him, moved forward.

Considering Stanford's standards, Kevin Hogan is undoubtedly bright, and he is a senior in a quality football program, so the delay was pribably no big deal for him.

But if you’ve ever asked a high school kid to delay in such a manner, you know how difficult it can be, anxious as he is to get about his business.


american flag FRIDAY,  DECEMBER 4,  2015-   "If you’re a terrorist, or a carjacker, you want unarmed citizens.”  James Craig, Police Chief, Detroit

*********** I think that the World's Greatest Sports Blog needs to get involved in some activism:

Bruce Jenner's 400-meter time in the '76 decathlon finals would beat the stand-alone 400-meter women's world record in 2015.  We need to start a petition to have his or her time recognized as the current women's world record.  Cait the Great!  It's the right thing to do.

Shep Clarke
Puyallup, Washington

I can’t even look at a box of Wheaties anymore!

But I’m down for the cause.  It’s important that we be on the Right Side of History, as Our President likes to remind us.

*********** A  friend - an excellent coach - just had the black spot handed to him by his AD.  (If you've never read "Treasure Island" - he got fired.)

No reason given - he was the school’s first coach in years to post a winning record, and he had no problems with kids.

But the AD did happen to mention that he’d had some parents complain about the coach.

And when the coach told me that, I said, “Whoa… you mean that guy let parents come to him before they’d come to you?”

Well, yep.  Guess the AD was one of those administrators who like to make friends with community members by siding with them against their coaches, who like to be seen as a “fixer.”

They can’t  pull that crap with most classroom teachers, because most of the teachers’ contracts I’ve worked under  stipulated that any time a parent came to the principal with a complaint, the principal was required to inform the teacher of the meeting within a relatively short period of time.

But coaches aren’t normally covered by the same sort of contract, so...

They’re totally dependent on the courage and integrity of the person to whom they report - an AD or principal - and there’s no guarantee that that person has the strength or will to defend a coach. 

But more than that, every school district needs to have some sort of protocol outlining how student/parent complaints are to be dealt with.

I’ve learned over the years never to take a job where there isn’t such a protocol in place. 

It usually works like this:

Player has a problem. 

Step 1.  Player voices his concerns to the coach

Step 2. 
(If student was not satisfied) Parent and player meet with coach.

Step 3.
(If student and parent were not satisfied) Parent and player and coach meet with the AD/principal

And so forth.  If a parent goes to the AD first , the first question is, “Has your son/daughter met with the coach?”  If the answer is yes, then the next question is, “Have you and your son/daughter met with the coach?”

If the answer to that one is yes, then the AD sets up a meeting with the coach present.  The player must always be present.  You might be surprised to learn that there are some kids who enjoy sicking their parents on their coaches, and you also might be surprised to learn how minor some players’ complaints become when they know they’re going to have to sit in on the meeting.

(I used to have parents call me and say, “He doesn’t know I’m calling you…” and I’d say, “Well, he will now.”)

But if the answer to either question is “No,” the AD has to have the balls to remind the parent of the school protocol (as do school board members who might be approached.)

It’s an extremely important part of a kid’s learning how to deal with life issues that the process start with his approaching the coach.  Important: In order to foster that sort of environment, a coach needs to be approachable, and not vindictive.

I told my friend Mike Lude about the young coach’s situation.   Mike, now retired, was AD at Kent State, then the University of Washington, then Auburn.

He said that as a college AD he never had to deal with parents, but there were some occasions when a disaffected player would come to him with a grievance regarding his coach.

Mike said the first thing he’d do was to ask the player if he/she had the coach’s permission to meet with him.

If the answer was no, he said he’d tell the athlete, “Get your ass back to where you belong and get things straight with your coach.”

If the answer was yes, Mike would call the coach to verify  what the athlete had said.  More often than not, the coach’s response would be “What???”

But either way, Mike said he’d send the athlete back to the coach without hearing a word of the complaint, and he said he never saw one of those athletes again.

*********** During my conversation with Mike Lude, the subject of Missouri coach Gary Pinkel came up.  Mike, whose relationship with Coach Pinkel goes back to his days as a player at Kent State when Mike was AD, then to when he served as an assistant to Don James at Washington when Mike was AD there.

Mike agreed that Coach Pinkel was put in a bad spot when his black players announced that they’d go on strike if certain demands of student protestors weren’t met.

I mean, hell - if he sides with the strikers,  in effect he opposes the president of the university, whose head they were after.

But if he opposes the strikers, that makes him a racist out on the recruiting trail.

My question to Mike was, “Where was the AD in all this?”

Why wasn’t he providing cover for his coach by meeting with those players himself and reminding them of the terms of the contract that they’d entered into with the University of Missouri?

Mike said that while obviously he never had to deal with the threat of a strike, when he was at Washington and a player or players would get involved in off-the-field issues, they’d get called in and told, “We brought here to play football and to get an education.  We didn’t bring you here to set policy.”

***********  Give me your thoughts...I told my class about Western Washington and the Viking "controversy."  They had a good laugh.  But, I said, there are mascots that are offensive.  

And someone said "Yeah, I am surprised that Brimfield is allowed to be the Indians."  

To which I said "I'm more surprised that they allow students to dress up in native American attire with head dresses and act like goofs at basketball games.  It's not like they are being reverential like Illinois was with Chief Illiniwek."  And they kind of laughed a bit but didn't seem to think it was that big a deal.

So, I gave them a lesson on the Pekin (20 miles away) Chinks.  There was actually a two-page article about the Pekin Chinks (no Dragons) in Sports Illustrated two weeks ago.  It detailed the fight for locals to keep the mascot and the new superintendent who ultimately said it needed to go.  They were pretty surprised and seemed to understand that the Chink mascot probably needed to go.  But the Indian thing still didn't quite seem like a big deal.

So, I told them about the Clinton Maroons.  I let them know that one of my college buddies went to Clinton HS and he told me a long time ago that a Maroon was a name for an escaped slave (and Illinois was a safe state, so possibly it seemed like a good name, I guess).  I did fact check and that term was used to describe escaped slaves.  Well, they do not have a physical "mascot" and they do wear maroon, so nobody really thinks about it.  But, I asked my class, what if a couple of students were to paint themselves dark brown, wear ragged pants and wrap chains around their wrists so that they could go cheer at a basketball game.  Cue uncomfortable laughter, silence, and a bit of an "a-hah" moment.  The kid acting like a fool in the Indian head-dress didn't seem quite so "not a big deal" as he did five minutes later.

Now, I think political correctness is taking it's toll.  And Vikings are not offensive.  Neither are Trojans, Spartans or any other number of mascots.  But, some are.  Unfortunately, the anti-Viking people may make it even harder on those who are trying to bring about legitimate change.

Again, your thoughts?


I think you are creating an excellent discussion on the subject of inoffensive/possibly offensive/unquestionably offensive mascots/nicknames.

The answers are not always clearly defined, which is one of the things kids need to learn.

I personally see nothing at all offensive about Chief Illiniwek, and I feel very bad that this proud tradition was ended.  Clearly there were at least some American Indians who felt the Chief was, if not offensive, at least “cultural appropriation,” the idea that those who are a part of a culture have a proprietary right to it, and  get to decide whether “outsiders” may “appropriate” aspects of it.

I have my concerns about that.

Obviously, messing with nicknames is  on pretty shaky First Amendment grounds, even given today’s Political Correctness.  

But then there’s the idea that living in pluralistic society requires us to treat one another with basic respect, but also to share our cultures. This is, after all,  a country which claims to be “diverse” and “multicultural.”  Doesn’t making “cultural appropriation” a quasi-crime open us up to boycotts of white rappers, or Italian restaurants  run by Irishmen?   Should we really worry about people who claim to be traumatized by the sight of gringos being given sombreros to wear in Mexican restaurants?

Ultimately, it seems to me something that government should have nothing to do with; instead,  it should be governed by  something that seems to be vanishing in our country - good taste.

What is good taste? Hard to say.  It’s like the late Justice Potter Stewart’s explanation of pornography - he said he wouldn’t attempt to define it, “But I know it when I see it.”

Sadly, our society seems to have almost lost the concept of good taste, but I am still old enough to remember its importance and to still be governed by it, and into the bad taste category I would put Chinks, Maniacs (Orofino, Idaho), and, yes, Redskins.  And comic depictions ridiculing real people.

Indians, Warriors, Braves, Chiefs and such would seem to me to be acceptable, regardless of what certain groups might think, so long as they always reflect good taste and emphasize the admirable characteristics of the mascots.

Doing away with Maroons would be a stretch, since there probably aren’t 100 people in the entire state of Illinois who know the derivation of a term which might not even apply to Clinton, anyhow.  On the other hand, should some Clinton kids take it upon themselves to "paint themselves dark brown, wear ragged pants and wrap chains around their wrists so that they could go cheer at a basketball game,” that would clearly be off-limits.  

Not, I should add, because anyone in particular was offended, but simply because as educators it’s our job to teach those kids  respect, good judgement and good taste, which means not intentionally exposing to ridicule  people who did nothing to deserve it.

The point, I think, is that it’s incumbent on those who do those in positions to instruct to ask kids to apply the Good taste Meter - to ask if what they’re doing is disrespectful and in bad taste.  If the answer is “Yes,” (or even “I’m not sure”) that ought to end it. It shouldn’t be necessary to wait until the offended parties speak up.

We shouldn’t have to take it as far as the First Amendment rights.  It should be enough to say, “It’s not in good taste.”

We need to have the courage to tell kids that.

And if we've taught them properly, and they go ahead, and someone still steps up and complains, I think we need to have the courage to stand up for our kids.

You’ve got yourself a good topic there.

What is "obscene" under U.S. law has plagued our courts for the last fifty years. Many people don't realize that in our society, which trumpets free speech, that there are many restrictions on speech, including restrictions on adult or sexual images and words - or "obscene" materials. Other forms of unprotected or regulated speech include: speech which creates a clear and present danger of imminent lawless action; speech which contains narrowly predefined "fighting words"; written or spoken untruths (libel, slander, fraud) which may be punished by civil suit; speech which is false or deceptive advertising; speech which threatens others; and speech with restrictions justified because the government can demonstrate a "narrowly tailored" "compelling interest".

"Obscene" speech is "unprotected" speech as ruled by the Supreme Court. "Unprotected speech," means speech that does not enjoy First Amendment protection and may even be criminal to express.

In 1964, Justice Potter Stewart tried to explain "hard-core" pornography, or what is obscene, by saying, "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced . . . [b]ut I know it when I see it . . . "[1]
This quote, and the intent behind it, is well known as summarizing the irony and difficulty in trying to define obscenity. For at least fifty years, the Supreme Court has been struggling with defining what speech is "obscene".

Thus, in 1973, in Miller v. California, Justice Burger announced the second definition of obscenity - the majority position of the Court, and the definition, which, more or less, is still in effect today. It is as follows:
"(a) whether the 'average person, applying contemporary community standards' would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest,

(b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law, and

(c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value."

This holding specifically replaced the old test and also held that community standards could be local rather than national. This change swung the pendulum back toward a more conservative definition of "obscenity" by local, some times rural communities.

*********** Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has announced that effective immediately, all combat spots in our armed forces are being opened to women.

Once it was first announced that the idea was being “studied,” anybody who understands the Obama agenda knew that was basically an order to make it happen.

Gee, what could possibly go so wrong with mixing the sexes in close combat that it should be allowed to prevent a woman from someday becoming Chairwoman of our Joint Chiefs of Staff?

Funny -  we always express such reluctance to  give offense to Islamic radicals, for fear that it’ll help them recruit more terrorists, and then, fully aware of the low status women occupy in their culture,  we announce that they could soon be facing our women in battle.

We might as well have held an ISIS pep rally on the White House lawn.

*********** Maybe you’ve seen the show “Flip or Flop” on HGTV.   In the go-go Southern California real estate market, an enterprising young couple “flips” houses - buying distressed properties, fixing them up and selling them, ideally at a considerably higher price. It’s risky and it’s nerve-wracking, because so much of the fix-up phase depends on other people coming through, on time and under budget.

The couple, Tarek and Christina El Moussa, were scheduled to appear in several Northwest cities  this week to put on some sort of “training” event, intended to show those in attendance how they, too, can make money flipping property.  Admission would be free, but attendees would be “encouraged” to purchase a course.

But they obviously didn’t know their market, the liberal Northwest, where many see making money as a bad thing.

Now they know, and scheduled appearances - in Portland, Eugene, Salem (Oregon) and Vancouver and Longview (Washington) - were cancelled after posters on Instagram complained that flipping houses in the hot real estate market that the Northwest has become is leading to “skyrocketing rents, no-cause evictions, and historically-low vacancy rates.” 

And, of course, a lack of “affordable housing.”

*********** A week ago I wrote about my old friend, Steve Jones, who’s now coaching at Amite, Louisiana.

At that time Amite had just traveled north to Springhill to win a playoff game.

This past weekend, Amite beat Bogalusa, 56-20 to advance to this weekend’s state semifinals against St. James.

Alas, it’s not to be.

With two minutes left in the game, a fight broke out and despite conflicting accounts as to who started it, all officials agree - every single Amite player left the bench to join  in.

Louisiana - and NFHS - rules require that any player who leaves the bench area be disqualified from participating in the next game.  Bingo - with no one left to play, Amite has had to forfeit to St. James.  St. James advances to the state final. Season over for Amite.

At North Beach, we’ve gone undefeated over the last two seasons, and faced with numerous games in which we’ve held commanding leads, we’ve had to make sure our kids didn’t get dragged into a team-killing fight.

We’ve mentioned this to our kids at least once a week before and after practice, and from time to time we actually go so far as to hold the “walkaway” drill, in which one player will assault or insult another, and the victimized player is trained to turn his back and walk away.

*********** What do ESPN and Nissan have against Keenan Reynolds?  What are they afraid of?

*********** Let go by Georgia on Sunday, Mark Richt landed on his feet in less than a week, agreeing on Thursday to take the Miami job.

Apart from my being pleased for Coach Richt, who understudied Jim Kelly as a Miami QB, a couple of questions come to mind:

Can Miami ever duplicate the success it had back in the O.B. (Orange Bowl) days, before it moved its games out of the city and clear into another county?

Can the Canes go the Good Guys route and still win?

Will highly-rated QB Jacob Eason decommit to Georgia and follow Coach Richt to South Florida?

Wouldn’t it have been a lot easier for me, no big fan of the Canes, if they’d gone and hired some slimeball?

*********** I think a lot of people think "gosh, 46 carries SHOULD get you 271 yards."  But that is 5.9 yards per carry.  Against and SEC defense.  And I'm guessing at some point they had to really start selling out to stop the run and he still gained that yardage.  Even more impressive in my mind.

I'm guessing they allowed him a few extra sessions in the whirlpool this week.

Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois

No Kidding!  You realize how many times he was HIT?

***********  So here’s the scenario: the kid was injured partway through the season and didn’t play again.

His coach didn’t letter him.

The kids’ parents strongly objected - and the AD sided with the parents!

I deliberately left out one little detail - following the injury, the kid disappeared.  The coach didn’t see him again until the banquet, when he showed up to get his letter.

I wouldn’t have lettered that kid, either.

Back in 2008, I adopted a lettering system that we’ve kept ever since.  I got the idea from Bo Schembechler - it’s in “Bo’s Lasting Lessons,” by John U. Bacon.

I coached literally hundreds of  players at Michigan, and every one of the feels that he was an important part of the team - because he was!

Now, why does everyone feel that way?

Simple: whatever the All-Americans got, the walk-ons got, too.

We put every player’s name on the back of his jersey, no exceptions.  If you did the work, you got a varsity letter. That might not sound like a big deal, but when I came here, it was the policy of the football program - like most programs - to give varsity letters only to those who logged so much game time.  Under that system, most walk-ons would get nothing after four years of hard work. We changed that.  So now, when you come to one of our reunions, you’ll see those guys wearing their M rings and letter jackets as proudly as any All-American we’ve ever had.

I can still remember the looks on our younger kids’ faces the day I told them of the policy.  “Really?” one of them asked.

“Really,” I told him.

Yes, it was the fair thing to do, because some of those kids would scarcely play a down on Friday nights, and yet they were required to do all the work, put in all the time, observe the same training regulations, as the starters.  We didn’t even have enough kids for a JV team, so it was going to be their lot to spend the season learning the game as scout team players, without a JV game to look forward to.

Not only was it fair, though - it just made good sense. Hell, we only had 23 kids on the squad.  We were going to have a difficult time getting our varsity squad ready if we couldn’t keep them all around, and this was an important carrot to offer them.

Our scout team kids eat at all team meals and dress for all varsity games. Whenever possible, we get them into the games - our head coach, Todd Bridge, is really conscientious about that.  And at the end of the season, we give  only five awards - and two of them go to the outstanding offensive and defensive scout team players.

We’ve had kids get hurt over the years, but they’ve all known that that didn’t mean they ceased to be members of the team. The idea of a kid getting injured and then “deserting” is alien to us. 

In 2008, a promising sophomore running back named Jason Fry injured his knee in two-a-days and didn’t play a down all season.  He never missed a practice.

Last year, 2014, a junior defensive back named Chris Harms broke his ankle playing basketball in PE early in the season.  He didn’t miss a practice, either.

The important thing about our lettering system is that our kids know, right from the start: show up for all the practices, do all the work, and keep your nose clean -  you’re going to letter.

Just don’t desert your teammates.

*********** Ever wondered what happens when they stop filming one of those “Play 60” sports, where the guest NFL star leads all the little kids in exercising?

NFL Star: Okay, kids - now that we’ve shown you how to Play 60, how many of you think you could go play on your own?

(No hands go up)

Little Girl (A pouting look on her face): where are you gonna be?

NFL Star: I’ve gotta go back to my team and get ready for our next game.  Oh - and you’re not gonna be able to play here, either.

Little Girl:  We’re not gonna be able to stay here in the Dome and play?

NFL Star: Why, no.  This was just so we could make the commercial.

Little Girl: You expect us to play on our own?  In the street?

***********  Hmmm... that guy who killed the people in San Bernardino? The one with the Muslim-sounding name? 

He had a good job. Paid him something like $70,000 a year.

But I swear I heard Our President  say that it was a lack of good jobs that was causing radicalism.

Or was it Global Climate Change, which as he keeps telling us, is the biggest problem we face?

Or, was it guns - in the state with the toughest gun laws, and in a gun-free zone yet?

*********** The next time you’re hesitant to confront Political Correctness, remember how its power to intimidate and silence good people may have led to the deaths in  San Bernardino.

Consider this...

"A man who has been working in the area said he noticed a half-dozen  Middle Eastern men in the area in recent weeks, but decided not to  report anything since he did not wish to racially profile those people."

american flagTUESDAY,  DECEMBER 1,  2015-   "You know how to achieve a breakthrough in negotiations? Give everything away. Try it. You'll have a deal by noon.  Every time."   Charles Krauthammer

“The average parent looks around and they go, ‘What we’re doing doesn’t seem right.’ In their gut, they know it’s not right. Why should my 9-year-old in Chicago have to travel to Boston to play in this tournament? All they hear is the loud voice of the youth coach who wants his piece of the glory or the business operation that’s going to take their money because they can convince you that your kid is the next coming.

“What we’re finding in our sport, because we’re preaching this, is that a lot of parents are going, ‘Whew. Thank you. I knew this wasn’t right.’ It’s nice to have someone who is actually saying so.”

Ken Martel, technical director of USA Hockey’s ADM program

*********** Saturday’s games produced some very interesting results…

Houston over Navy.  Wow.  The big Houston crowd got its money's worth.  (My grandson, who goes to Houston, was in line at 7 AM Saturday when student tickets went on sale.)   When Navy’s QB throws for over 200 yards, you know something’s wrong.  That something was Navy’s running game, shut down by Houston’s defense.  And Navy's defense was no match for Houston's offense. 

Florida had a great season - Jim McElwain may be the Coach of the Year - but the Gators simply aren’t ready for the Seminoles yet.

Ditto Michigan.  Harbaugh did a great job of coaching this season, but Michigan hasn’t closed the gap between the Wolverines and the Buckeyes. My wife and I joked about what the over-under was on the number of times the announcers would say “Joey Bosa.”

They played in two separate games, but with a conference championship at stake, Iowa (over Nebraska) and Michigan State (over Penn State) both  showed that they’re solid clubs. The winner of their game next week will be a worthy representative of the Big Ten in the Playoff.

Oklahoma went into Stillwater and proved - to me, at least - that the Big 12 deserves a team in this year’s playoff, and the Sooners are it.

Washington State showed that a passing team,  built as most are around a  QB, is only as good as that QB, and with theirs, Luke Falk, sidelined by a concussion, they got run off the field by the Washington Huskies.

Auburn gave Alabama a game of it for a while, but Bama was just too tough.  Derrick Henry? 46 carries for 271 yards? I mentioned the 271 yards at dinner and my daughter said, “yeah, but he had 46 carries…” And I answered, “Can you imagine how it would feel after running the ball 46 times against an SEC team?”

Mississippi over Mississippi State.  It was 38-27, but it appeared like a worse beating.

LSU over Texas A & M, and Les MIles saves his job.

Georgia over Georgia Tech, and Mark Richt loses his.

TCU over Baylor.  Sorry, but there’s something about Baylor’s Art Briles that comes across to me as arrogant - we’re just gonna spread you out and throw the ball all over the place, blah, blah, blah.  Maybe that’s just me.  But it happened to rain like hell all game, stifling the Baylor passing game somewhat, and when it came down to a real football play, when Baylor faced a fourth-and-one, the Bears came up short, looking as if that type of football was something new and strange.

Oregon and Oregon State?  The final score was 52-42, Ducks, but it was much closer than that.  At the half it was 31-7, Ducks.  Game over.  And then evidently the Oregon guys forgot how the resentment felt by a bunch of guys only a half hour away in distance but light years away in national reputation and advantages can motivate them.  The Ducks, who’d been running wild in recent weeks as their rent-a-QB Vernon Adams adjusted to their offense, jumped out to a 31-7 halftime lead.   But the Beavers, winless in the Pac 12, scored 35 second-half points.  Held to just 96 yards of offense in the first half, they shredded the Ducks for 331 in the seconds. With mere minutes to play, Oregon was barely hanging onto a 45-42 lead.

USC over UCLA. Jeez.  Those Trojans, after all they’ve gone through, are going to the conference championship game against Stanford.

The Notre Dame tradition of getting calls to go its way worked against the Irish when the official replay ruled (incorrectly, it appeared) that Irish QB DeShone Kizer had bulled his way in for a score with 30 seconds left.  Notre Dame kicked the extra point to go ahead, but Stanford still had three time outs remaining, and that was enough time for the Cardinal to move into range to make the game-winning field goal.   Had Kizer been ruled down a yard away from scoring, the Irish probably would have scored on the next play, or the one after that, and Stanford wouldn’t have had enough time - or timeouts - to come from behind.

BROWNS FG TEAM*********** Monday Night Football... Poor Cleveland fans.  Their Browns tie the game late, then get into position for a game-winning field goal, only to lose on the last play of the game - when the field goal is blocked and returned for a touchdown - but they have to lose to the RAVENS - the reincarnation of the old Cleveland Browns after Art Modell moved them to Baltimore.  

Now, then - if you have a chance to look at any replays - check out how TWO men on the left side of the Browns’ field goal team get absolutely blown backward, enabling  a Raven to slip through a gap and get his hand up to block the kick.

Having the kick blocked is probably poetic jusice, considering the way #72 (who winds up on his back) is clearly cheating, arms outstretched. His inside arm appears locked with that of #74. Ordinarily, hidden away in the interior line, he'd get away with that crap scot free - as if the league's 80+ per-cent field goal rate needs any further assistance. It does  seem to me entirely possible that  the reason he'll end up on his ass is because his "blocking technique" causes him to  stand upright, allowing him to be toppled by the charge of two Ravens. 

John Harbaugh said it was probably one of the greatest games you'll ever see in terms of excitement. Coach Harbaugh can be forgiven, because he's probably working on Saturdays and doesn't get to see any college football, where there are a dozen or so exciting games on the tube every week.

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

First I want to send a quick note to congratulate you on a great season.  I was following this year on "the news" and it was fun reading the stories and cheering you guys on from afar.  One of my favorite things of running this offense is the network of peers across the country that I have great respect for and have learned from or shared ideas with through the years that I check up on each Saturday with hopes of their success.  Although, I'm sure in time we all evolve in different directions many many of us have been greatly influenced by your system.   I also wanted to share that we had a great season this fall finishing 10-3 and earning our first trip to the Semifinals in school history and setting a school record for wins.  In four years we are 34-11 with two district titles and a regional championship.  One of our losses we got redemption in the playoffs this year and the other two were both state finalist in different classes.  We set nearly every offensive record this year scoring 497 points.  In our four years at Whiteford we have had 3 different kids throw for over 1,000 yards but only 1 rusher run for 1,000 yards this is mostly a byproduct of us having numerous talented boys who share the ball in the run game.  I believe we have come a long way since taking over a losing program in 2011.  With my 120 mile drive everyday between my day job, coaching job, and home we are hoping to keep it going as long as we can as our QB and two tackles were sophomores and we had our schools first ever 9-0 JV squad so we are certain there is a bright future.  Although the offense has evolved a great deal since you taught it to Jeff Baker and Ray Schmidt back in 1997 I do think if you watched us play with our formational adjustments and base schemes you would certainly be able to smile and see your influence.  

God Bless, Jason Mensing
Head Football Coach
Whiteford High School Supervisor/Learning Whiteford, Michigan

Coach Mensing,

Thanks for the note.

I appreciate the well-wishes.

My congratulations to you, too, on your successful season.  You certainly have brought the program a long way, and I hope that you are still up to all the driving.

I was willing and able to do it when I was younger, and sometimes it’s a small price to pay to find a good place to coach where you’re appreciated.

And while I’m sure that, just as all coaches are different, and our systems may have evolved in different ways, I’m quite sure that our similarities are more numerous than our differences.

Thanks again.  Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving and you’re looking forward to the Christmas holidays.

*********** New Zealanders paid a  very sad farewell to  rugby great Jonah Lomu, who died way too soon.  Watching his former All-Blacks teammates send him off with one final Haka   is one of the most moving scenes I’ve seen in all my years of watching sports.

*********** There are many examples of people whose lives have been turned around thanks to getting a second chance. 

And then there’s Demarcus Robinson…

A little over an hour before kickoff against Florida State Saturday, Florida announced that the star wide receiver  was suspended from the team.

I can't imagine they hadto print up any special statement - you know, the usual “bad choices,” “violation of team rules” bulls—.  All they had to do was  reach into the  “ROBINSON, DEMARCUS” folder and pull out one of the three already in there.

See, it was the guy’s FOURTH suspension since coming to Florida.  At least.

They’re slow learners down there.

*********** Jonny Manziel… Would you keep a quarterback of such low character - one who’ll lie to you like a seven-year-old?

If a guy will lie to you, he’ll do anything.

Congratulations, all you people who enabled him over the years - instead of stepping up and telling him, “Look, Jonny - this sh—t’s got to stop.”

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

I'm conflicted on the whole Les Miles issue.  On the one hand,  I think he's a classy, high character individual.  He's had a ton of success at LSU, done some great things as a coach, and has been loyal to the program for 11 years now, which I believe makes him the second longest tenured football coach in the school's history.  He's also got the highest winning percentage in the school's football history, ahead of Saban, Arnsparger, and Biff Jones.  You can't argue with his record at all. 

On the other hand,  the offensive issues are frustrating, to say the least.  You can fire your OC, you can fire your QBs coach, and that may solve the problem,  but those issues were in place before Kragthorpe and Cameron got there.  The  winning percentage in the conference has gone down, and some fairly high profile in-state recruits- Eddie Lacy, Landon Collins, Dak Prescott, IMG's Shea Patterson (formerly of Calvary Baptist in Shreveport), and Ole Miss's Jason Pellerin- have shunned LSU for other schools within the conference.  Something has to change.

I must agree that Alleva made an ass of himself publicly for at least the second time in his career (see: Duke lacrosse); I think he neither had as much support as he thought he might, nor could he get who her high profile candidate he desired (Jimbo Fisher?).

I just want our Tigers to play better. And, to beat Alabama like red-headed stepchildren.  Maybe, as a result of all this unwanted attention, they can refocus and do exactly that.

Take care,

Josh Montgomery
Berwick, Louisiana

I understand your frustrations perfectly.

Unfortunately, I suspect that people at Ole Miss, Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, etc.  feel pretty much the same way. They run big-time programs too, with knockout facilties, highly-rated recruits and well-paid coaches.  Their donors stand ready with open checkbooks to do whatever they're asked to do, and sometimes what they're asked not to do.

Alabama with its consistent success is the anomaly, but the reality, despite all the extravagant preseason predictions, is that the most that the rest of the SEC fan bases can reasonably expect is to win a little more than their share most of the time, with an occasional breakthrough.

Mark Richt, who just “came to a mutual agreement” with the people at Georgia that it was “time to step down,” might have been speaking for any SEC coach when he said,  "I think the expectations have been built to the point that if you don't win a championship it's kind of miserable around here.”

***********  Fresh on the heels of the Les Miles lovefest at Tiger stadium,  the LSU suits hit the brakes just inches short of plunging into a deep pool of  sh— that it would have taken them years to wash off, and jammed the gears into reverse.

They still want blood, of course, and if somebody has to die (figuratively, that is), my guess is that it will be LSU AD Joe Alleva, who, in front of a national TV audience,  made about as weak and shifty an announcement as  I’ve heard in a long time.

"Obviously there's been quite a bit of speculation the past few days about the future of our football coach and football program. I made it very clear that my policy is to wait until the end of the season, and obviously it's the end of the regular season right now.

"The season is complete and I want to make it very clear and positive that Les Miles is our football coach and will continue to be our football coach. Okay?”

My guess is that after dumping Alleva,  they’ll bring in somebody new whose assignment will be to bide his time until he can find a way to fire Les -  and then, like a good soldier,  take the heat for it.

I know how things used to work down there, and they probably still work that way.  My former boss, Bob Brodhead, was hired as AD at LSU with (he told me) the specific assignment to fire head coach Jerry Stovall, who had originally been hired in a pinch after newly-hired Bo Rein’s plane went out of control and went down in the Atlantic.

The Stovall firing was highly controversial, because despite his less-than-stellar record (7-4, 3-7-1, 8-3-1 and 4-7), he was very popular as a Louisiana guy who'd played at LSU and then had a nice career in the NFL.  Nobody on the inside dared fire him, so they brought in an outsider, Bob Brodhead, to do their dirty work.

Bob went on to accomplish all sorts of good things at LSU - at one point in his regime, LSU was one of the few colleges ever to have its football team in a bowl game, its basketball team in the Final Four and its baseball team in the College World Series in the same year - but he never could  win over the mass of LSU people, who came to call him “Bottom Line Bob."

While Alleva never got around to pulling the pin on  Les Miles, he’s going to have a very difficult time dispelling the suspicion that he had every intention of doing so, and, only backed off in the face of a popular uprising in support of the coach.

Or after Jimbo Fisher turned him down.

*********** JACOB EASON - PART ONE.

Jacob Eason, considered to be either the #1 or #2 QB prospect in the country, depending on which experts you believe, led his Lake Stevens, Washington team to an unbeaten regular season and into Saturday night's  state Class 4A (largest class) semifinals.

But his high school career came to an abrupt end when Lake Stevens fell to Skyline High of Sammamish, 37-34.

Eason finished the game 24 of 42 for 390 yards, with two touchdowns. But he was intercepted once and fumbled once.

His counterpart from Skyline, Blake Gregory, was no less impressive, completing 22 of 28 for 436 yards and three touchdowns.

The ending of the game came as close to a cluster—k as any game I’ve ever seen  two good, well-coached teams play.

With 4:15 remaining,  down by 3 points and facing a 4th and 23 on their own 18,  Lake Stevens went for it.  And failed.

Skyline took over, and with the game now somewhat in hand, chose to throw the ball.  Three straight times.  The three straight passes produced three straight incompletions.  And barely moved the clock.

And then they missed a field goal attempt.

When Lake Stevens took over again, on their own 20,  3:52 remained.

Figure it out: they’d gained two yards - and a fresh set of downs - and it had only cost them  23 seconds.

They drove the ball to the Skyline 30, doing what they do best - throwing the ball, and with 1:52 on the clock,  plenty of time remained.

But out of nowhere came a decision for Eason to run.

It could only be because the Lake Stevens coaches figured they had the element of surprise going for them - Eason, 6-5, 205,  is a classic pocket passer with enough quickness to move around as a passer, but nowhere need the speed and strength to be a threat as a runner.

Unfortunately for Lake Stevens and Jacob Eason,  the kid fumbled, and Skyline took over.

Even then, Skyline couldn’t close it out.

Lake Stevens got one more chance, but Skyline sealed the deal with an interception at the end.


Jacob Eason, of Lake Stevens, Washington, a Seattle suburb,  is one of the nation’s top QB prospects. He’s  been committed to Georgia for quite some time. 

Said Georgia just felt right.

Said going far away to school didn’t bother him - his dad, who grew up in Snohomish, Washington, did the same thing when he went away to play at Notre Dame.

Said that Georgia coach Mark Richt had a lot to do with his decision.

Coach  Richt caused a bit of a sensation this past season when he hopped a plane after a Georgia game to fly cross-country just for a visit.

Last spring, the Atlanta Journal-Constituion sent a reporter to Seattle to observe Eason during spring practice, and here’s one of the things the QB said to him...

“With Coach Richt, it’s hard not to trust a guy like that. I knew he was going to get a good guy, and that’s what he did. Coach Schottenheimer (new Georgia OC) didn’t skip a beat, and I still stay in touch with Coach Bobo (former Georgia OC) at Colorado State. I wish him the best of luck there. He is a great guy. With Schottenhiemer or Bobo, I would still have gone to UGA because Coach Richt was there. I believe in him. He’s a family guy. He has good faith, and he has good moral values. Those are things I look up to. The coaching staff, the players, the fan base, and the community – it’s all top-notch at UGA.”

Eason’s been planning to graduate early so he could enroll at UGA for spring semester.

And reportedly, he’s been active in helping to encourage other recruits around the country to come to Georgia.

And now…

Once the news of Mark Richt’s firing by Georgia became public, there's no doubt that the phone’s been ringing in the Eason house.

The kid's coach  announced on Monday that the Georgia commitment is now in a "holding pattern," whatever that means, but since MIke Leach had already paid a visit, it would seem that it means all bets are off. 

Eason’s original short list, other than Georgia, was Washington, UCLA, Alabama, Michigan and Stanford.

Nice move, Georgia. Sounds as if you may have thrown the baby out with the bathwater.

american flag FRIDAY,  NOVEMBER 27,  2015-   "Yes, alcohol kills. But it's very selective. It kills only the brain cells that contain good sense, shame, embarrassment and restraint."   P. J. O’Rourke

*********** Thanksgiving Day, 2015.  It was only 9:30 AM on the West Coast, but with all the things that I had to be thankful for, I’d already found something else  - the so-called “National Anthem” delivered to us by some teenager at the Lions-Eagles game was finally at an end, and I'd never have to hear it again.

And  then, along came the halftime rapper, and when he was done, I had even more to be thankful for…

*********** Western Washington University closed down - suspended classes - on Tuesday because - I am not kidding - someone reported seeing a threat to  “students of color” on a phone app called Yik Yak.

University President Bruce Shepard said he decided to suspend classes out of concern for "the safety of all students."

At the time of this writing, no one had yet seen any evidence of the actual  threat.

Tuesday was going to be the last day of classes before the Thanksgiving break anyhow, but the drastic action by President Shepard did seem somewhat consistent with the recent wacko goings-on at colleges around the nation.

A quick check of local media indicated that the problem might trace to an on-campus controversy over the school’s mascot - a Viking.  President Shepard poured gasoline on the fire when he sent out an email asking readers, “Does a Eurocentric and male mascot point to the future we wish to embrace? Or to the past we would move beyond? And, is this, then, an image all can identify with?”

Did you get that? The Viking is - gasp! - Eurocentric! And - omigod! - Male!  How can we all "identify with" that?

President Shepard is due to retire soon.  His stay at Western has been, to say the least,  controversial.

In 2012, he told incoming students, "If in the decades ahead we are as white as we are today, we will have failed as a university."

In April, 2014, still worshipping at the altar of the great god Diversity, he said in a commencement speech that Western was “too white” - that it needed to become “more diverse.”

He really should have done his homework before coming to Washington.  The state’s 80 per cent white, for God's sake.  The next largest group, according to the most recent census figures, is Hispanics, followed by Asians, then “more than one race,” then, in fifth place, blacks. 
Most of the state's minorities live in the large Seattle-Tacoma area, and Western's in a small city, Belingham, two hours north near the Canadian border.

Shortly after he arrived on campus, Shepard infuriated a large number of Western alumni - and wasted one of  Western Washington’s best means of attracting minority students - when  he unilaterally killed the school’s football program,  which had accounted for a majority of WWU’s black male students.

*********** Those damn Scots and their pink soccer uniforms!

How did we let them beat us to it?

***********  Junior John Bledsoe completed 28 of 34 passes - including his first 19 in a row - for 238 yards and 4 tds as Summit High of Bend, Oregon defeated Crater High of Central Point, 41-7, in an Oregon state Class 5A (second largest class) semifinal.

Summit  (11-1)  has won 9 straight and outscored opponents by 352 points, and will meet Ashland (10-2) Saturday for the Class 5A state title

Here’s where it gets good: Summit’s loss came in the third week of the season when it fell, 15-14 - toAshland.

Another point of interest: John Bledsoe’s dad, Drew (the same)  is Summit’s offensive coordinator.

Drew Bledsoe, himself the son of a high school coach, is also a partner in a successful winery venture in his hometown of Walla Walla, Washington.

***********  How the West was won, 21st Century version…

The village alarm bell goes off -

The farmers drop their plows and leave the fields…

The women gather up the children…

All flee to the safety of the tan walls and soft couches and soothing music of Fort Safe Space.  

Someone has spotted hate speechers

***********   If you’re a devout Muslim refugee, you might not feel Cajun Country (Avoyelles Parish, at least) is best the place for you to resettle once you’ve seen your first cochon de lait.

(Spend a little time rummaging around that web site - Southern Foodways Alliance - it’s a fantastic look at real Red State southern culture.)

***********   Coach Wyatt,

I forwarded the Moschino Barbie advert to a few friends of mine along with the header, "The Effects of Youth Soccer."


Dave Potter
Assistant Coach
Durham Strike Eagles
Durham, North Carolina

*********** My friend Steve Jones, longtime coach in Mississippi, write to tell me that he’s retired and taken a job coaching - but not teaching - in Amite (that’s “AY-meet”) Louisiana.

Amite’s having a great year, and Coach Jones wrote to tell me about their playoff game last weekend -

Coach Wyatt, We traveled 6 hours to Springhill, Louisiana Friday to face 10-2 North Webster. About 2 hours prior to game time, we found out their 2 star players with SEC offers had been arrested that morning at school for rape of a 14 year old girl.  The most touted was Devin White, a 6'2" 245 lb. RB/LB. He sports about 20 D-1 offers including Alabama, LSU, Auburn, and many others.

We decided not to say anything to our kids. However, when warm ups begin, the 2 are warming up with the team. White scored 3 TD's against us and rushed for 155 yards and caught three passes for 51 yards. The other kid had 8 tackles.

The Superintendent said the kids were able to play until further investigation.

Well, they will have plenty of time to investigate now. Because we beat them 45-42.

This superintendent and Head coach are now being blasted by the media. Check it out in the SHREVEPORT TIMES. 

Steve Jones
Amite, Louisiana

(The story)

Roy Lang III, Shreveport Times

Here’s the plan if you happen to get arrested at school on game day — even if you pose for your mug shot wearing your school’s latest playoff football shirt or jersey with our name on it. Even if you, at the age of 17 or 18, admit to “trying” to have sex with a 14-year-old.

Just post bail and be at the stadium in time for kickoff. If you can make that happen, you’re good to play.

That’s the precedent that’s been set at North Webster High School.

This is completely and incomprehensibly unacceptable.

Friday, less than 12 hours after Devin White and Keuntra Gipson were arrested and charged with misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a juvenile, they took the field in Springhill for a second-round playoff game against Amite.

***********  Don’t look now, but it sure seems as if the NFL is starting to relapse  into its old self -  a series of  field goal kicking contests.

*********** There can no longer be any question… Jonny Manziel is one sick puppy.

There are reports that  despite his pledge to stay clean during the Browns’  off week, he not only got caught red-handed drinking and partying but then, confronted with video evidence, he lied, saying that the video was a couple of year old, and persuaded his friends to cover for him.


flagTUESDAY,  NOVEMBER 24,  2015-   "Leadership is the skill of infusing your teammates to work enthusiastically toward our team goals."   Chris Peterson


***********   Several years ago, my wife and I were back in Lexington, Virginia, visiting one of her classmates from college, Virginia Dabney, and her husband, Bill.  

Bill Dabney was quite a guy, a retired Marine colonel who as a young platoon leader in Vietnam had endured the terrible 77-day siege of Khe Sanh.  For his bravery in combat, Bill was awarded the Navy Cross, the highest honor (other than the Medal of Honor) that the Marines can bestow.

Virginia’s father - Bill’s father-in-law - was the legendary General Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller.  You want to know how respected General Puller is, even still?  Go up to anyone you know who’s served in the Marine Corps and ask him what the name “Chesty” means.

General Puller’s biography is entitled, simple, “Marine.”

Needless to say. Bill had quite a few Chesty Puller stories that he was kind enough to share with me.  And he passed along some of Chesty’s wisdom as well.

He said that Chesty maintained that there were only four reasons we should ever go to war:

1. National security

2. Resources

3. Markets

4. Cultural affinity

*********** “The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work.”

That's the mission statement, believe it or not.

“Excellence with integrity," muses Thom Loverro in the Washington Times.  “Who would have thought?”

Loverro runs down the list of those recent winners (Newton, Manziel, Winston) who came up short - way short - on the integrity, and without disparaging any other contenders for this year’s award, makes a strong case for Navy’s Keenan Reynolds.

Count me as a supporter of Reynolds, a great option quarterback and, by all accounts, a great young man.

*********** I read recently that sometime in the 1980's, after Army lost to Oklahoma, Sooner coach Barry Switzer said to Army's Jim Young, "You don't have a player who could make the Sooner scrub team," to which Coach Young replied, "And you, Sir, don't have one student in the University of Oklahoma that could be a Cadet at the United States Military Academy."

Wow. Touche.

Great story.

Except for one thing - it didn't happen.

Couldn't have.

Jim Young coached at West Point (Army) from 1983 through 1990 but he never coached against Oklahoma, much less Barry Switzer

Barry Switzer coached at Oklahoma from 1973 through 1988 but he never coached against Army.

The story is just believable enough, given Switzer's tendency to crack wise, and given some of the characters that he recruited to play at Oklahoma.

But it's only fair to mention that he also recruited people such as J.C. Watts, who would be a credit to any university and in my view would have been an excellent West Point cadet and US Army officer.

And in fairness to the University of Oklahoma itself, Bob Kalsu, the only NFL player killed in action in Vietnam, was a Sooner.

***********  Mike Tirico  is just the fourth person to do the  the play-by-play in more than 40-years of Monday Night Football.  

FYI: He was preceded by  Keith Jackson, Frank Gifford and Al Michaels

*********** A week ago it was the Jets in all-green against the Bills in all-fire-engine-red.

This past week it was the Titans in all-Carolina-blue versus the Jaguars in all-uh, what?

Covered in a gold/yellow/mustard hue so ugly that the traces of chocolate-brown on them would have be classified as highlights, the Jags were hideous from the shoulders down to their shoes.  Only those goofy-ass helmets would have given viewers any clues that they were watching the London Jaguars.

Given that Jacksonville might have looked good in nearly any combination of black, gold or white shirts and black, gold or white pants, you just knew that given NFL tastes, they’d opt for either all black or all gold.

Actually,  their color was teal, which at the time was the colour du jour but evidently has lost its cachet.

Someone with a real sense of design has got to get to these people and inform them that a solid  color, especially without a contrasting color to separate top from bottom, defies all design standards.

But then, perhaps it’s in the standard  NFL contract  that every so often the players get to design the game uniforms.  If you’ve seen what some of those characters wear off the field, it makes sense.

*********** You can call it what you want.  But when a toy company thinks it’s safe to show a rather effeminate little boy in a commercial for the latest Barbie doll, I call it another sign of the degradation of our society.

*********** A recent poll showed that 53 percent of Americans say they “feel like a stranger” in their own country.

For the most part, those disenchanted Americans are older, white southerners with less than a college education.

Maybe so, but here’s one older, white Northwesterner with a Master’s degree and enough credits for a doctorate, and I feel the same way.

I see gay marriage and legal marijuana and teenage abortion  and a war on religion and sievelike  borders admitting people with no intention of assimilating  and unspeakable corruption at the highest levels of government and a lack of trust in our election process and a President who acts independent of the Constitution and the breakdown of  the family and… the list is endless.

What it all adds up to is that simply, this is not the America that I grew up in and had faith in.

The news media have had great fun ignoring us, if not deriding us, but while our numbers are declining as a per cent of the population, there’s still an awful lot of us - a fact that hasn’t gone unnoticed by at least one clever politician.
We remember an America better than the one we’re living in now - an America whose people loved it and respected it, who shared common values and aspirations.  And Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” hits home with us.

*********** There’s no doubt that racism exists in the United States. Show me the place in the world where it doesn’t.

But what does racism - real, ugly racism -  have to do with what’s going on in our  colleges, where spoiled, narcissistic brats, most of whom have never known hardship and few of whom have ever held down a job insist on speech restrictions, “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces” to protect them from the bogeyman.  And special “sensitivity” classes for all students.

With a world on edge, college students with way too much time on their hands occupy themselves by insisting on “safe space” to shield them from what they insist are racist slights.  “Safe space” certainly sounds like segregation. Self-segregation, for those and others who look like them.

Sorry, guys.  But  thanks to the efforts of thousands upon thousands of courageous Americans,  ours is no longer a segregated society.

In a well-intentioned effort to help things along, colleges all over the United States have bent over backwards to foster the cause of “diversity,”   providing special remedial programs,  specially-designed majors, special advisors and tutors, funding for student organizations, a host of diversity and affirmative action administrators and copious amounts of financial aid. And spineless college administrations eager to cave in to their every “demand.”

If after all this,  minority students still require a “safe space,” then maybe what they’re saying is that despite what their elders claimed in their struggle for civil rights, they’re not ready to deal with the demands of an integrated society, and they need to stop taking up spaces in those colleges that other students were denied.

***********A black student at Columbia University claims she has suffered severe emotional trauma from having to take Columbia’s current Core Curriculum, which requires all students to take a series of six classes which focus on Western  European civilization.

(Meaning - gasp! - lots of white people.)

“It’s traumatizing to sit in Core classes,” she said. “We are looking at history through the lens of these powerful, white men. I have no power or agency as a black woman, so where do I fit in?”

My response to her would be, "Maybe you don't.   Maybe it would be best if you were to go someplace else where you do fit it, and give up your spot to someone who will appreciate - and benefit from - a Columbia education."

***********  Sorry to hear about your loss on Friday.  Know the feeling when you are out manned.  Just wanted to let you know I'm still at St Joseph's coaching 8-man.  This season we didn't have the most athletic lineman so I decided to use inside hand down like you teach to get to the POA faster.  Tried it my first year coaching but it didn't do anything special  Guess it was the rookie coach.  This season a different story.  We had over 4200 yards rushing and had a back with over 2000 yards and another a freshman with almost 1200. The biggest thing I noticed was how much easier it was to run wedge.  The lineman loved it.  I worked less on wedge this season and had more success the only thing I can really attribute that to was going to an inside hand down stance.  Thanks again.

Thank You,

Tom Davis
San Marcos, California


Thanks for the thought!

Very glad to hear of your success - also that the “inside hand down” was helpful.

Wish I could take credit for the idea, but it came to me via Woody Hayes, who said that the number one job of a lineman was to protect his inside gap, and if he could he’d have all left-handers on the right side of the line, and all right handers on the left side, and he’d never worry about the inside gaps.

I have found plenty of other advantages to having the inside hand down, and I’m glad that you have, too!

(Whenever I watch a Double Wing team, that’s one of the things I look at in trying to determine where they got their info.)

Thanks again for writing!

*********** A great article on the the “unique relationship” between Mark Dantonio and Tom Izzo…


IRVING, Texas (Nov. 20, 2015) – Yale University and The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today that they will jointly honor Dick Jauron with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, presented by Fidelity Investments, on Saturday, Nov. 21, in New Haven, Conn., during the 132nd edition of the Harvard-Yale game. Coverage of the game will start at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.

“I am extremely honored to represent my family, my teammates, my coaches and Yale University in the College Hall of Fame Class of 2015,” Jauron told the New Haven Register after the announcement in January.

The NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute program, which began with the inaugural class in 1951, has become a hallowed tradition, and to this day the singular events remain the first of numerous activities in each inductee’s Hall of Fame experience. During the NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes, each inductee returns to his alma mater to accept a Hall of Fame plaque that will remain on permanent display at the institution. The events take place on the field during a home game, and many inductees cite the experience as the ultimate capstone to their careers, providing them one more chance to take the field and hear the crowd roar their name.

“Dick Jauron was simply one of the greatest running backs in Ivy League history,” said NFF President and CEO Steve Hatchell. “The All-American set multiple school records while excelling off the field as an NFF National Scholar-Athlete. We are thrilled to honor him in front of the Eli faithful at the Yale Bowl.”

A First Team All-American following his senior year, Jauron received the Asa S. Bushnell Cup as the league’s Player of the Year and was a First Team All-Ivy League selection all three years of his career from 1970-72. Yale’s team MVP in 1972, he led the Bulldogs in rushing all three seasons and his 2,947 career rushing yards remained a school record until 2000.

Playing under College Football Hall of Fame coach Carm Cozza, Jauron also set school records for consecutive 100-yard rushing games with five and career 100-yard rushing games with 16. Named the Outstanding Player in New England in 1972, he also received the Nils V. “Swede” Nelson Award for sportsmanship as a junior, and he played in the 1973 East-West Shrine Game. Jauron also excelled in the classroom and was named an NFF National Scholar-Athlete in 1972.

Taken in the fourth round of the 1973 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions, Jauron spent five seasons with the Lions and three with the Cincinnati Bengals. He was named to the 1974 Pro Bowl in his second season after leading the NFC in punt return average.

After his playing career, the Swampscott, Mass., native turned to coaching, spending 28 seasons in the NFL as a defensive backs coach, defensive coordinator or head coach. Jauron served as head coach of the Chicago Bears, where he was named AP Coach of the Year in 2001, and the Buffalo Bills. Having retired from coaching, Jauron currently lives with his wife in Swampscott.

Jauron becomes the 24th Bulldog to be inducted, joining Mal Aldrich (1919-21), Doug Bomeisler (1910-12), Albie Booth (1929-31), Gordon Brown (1897-1900), Pa Corbin (1886-88), Ted Coy (1907-09), Clint Frank (1935-37), Pudge Heffelfinger (1888-91), Bill Hickok (1892-94), Frank Hinkey (1891-94), James Hogan (1901-04), Art Howe (1909-11), Larry Kelley (1934-36), Henry Ketcham (1911-13), John Kilpatrick (1908-10), Bill Mallory (1921-23), Bum McClung (1888-91), Century Milstead (1923), Tom Shevlin (1902-05), Amos Alonzo Stagg (1885-89), Mal Stevens (1923), Herbert Sturhahn (1924-26) and Sam Thorne (1893-95). Four coaches with stops in New Haven are in the Hall: Walter Camp (1888-92), Carmen Cozza (1965-96), Howard Jones (1909, 1913) and Tad Jones (1916-17, 1920-27).


*********** I played rugby in college but never really understood what I was doing.  In fact,  I played it for two years with little  knowledge of the rules.

What the hell.  Tackle the guy with the ball.  Get the ball.  Run like hell.  Pass it (backwards - I knew that much) before you get tackled yourself.

In other words, a sort of grown-up  Smear the Queer.

And then the best part - getting together with the other team afterwards and drinking lots of beer and singing raunchy songs.

But years later,  my son moved to Australia, where rugby is huge, and he began providing me with video of the games between the top teams in the world - mainly  the Australia Wallabies, the South Africa Springboks and the New Zealand All Blacks.

From my college days, I knew of the All Blacks, the Yankees of their sport.  And I knew a little about the Haka, the fearsome dance that they do before a match.

But I wasn’t much into rugby until I saw  Jonah Lomu on video.

An All Black, Lomu was a very big man - 6-4, maybe 235 or so. He had great hands, and he was shifty, with the speed to outrun any man on the field.  But  he was not averse to using his size to advantage, and when necessary , he could run right over the best of them.

I would often picture what he might have done in the NFL, but then I’d realize that with the NFL’s unimaginative offenses, he’d have touched the ball maybe once or twice a game, while in rugby, he got to handle it many times a game, at any time.  He was meant to play rugby.

Jonah Lomu was possibly the greatest player in the history of his sport.

He died last week.

He was only 42.

*********** In Canada, the University of Ottawa has cancelled a yoga class after receiving an email complaining that the lessons were an "unacceptable cultural appropriation” of a “non-Western practice.”

It went on about the countries where yoga is practiced having suffered under colonialism, etc., etc.

The instructor’s suggestion that the name of the classes be changed to “mindful stretching” was rejected.


*********** Meanwhile, as Donald Trump raises hell about Mexicans, it’s causing us to take our eye off the ball…

According to U.S. Census Data, the United States admits roughly 100,000 Muslim immigrants legally each year.

Pew Research estimates that  as a result of immigration, the population of U.S. Muslims will more  than double by 2030 - from 2.6 million in 2010 to 6.2 million.

Here's the amazing part - ALL of this is through LEGAL immigration. Our government is allowing it.

According to federal government statistics, in 2013 Florida alone  "welcomed" 43,184 refugees.

Most of them were from Cuba, which is understandable, but  next in order of numbers were  Iraq, Myanmar (Burma), Congo, Sudan, Somalia, Colombia, Afghanistan, Jordan, Pakistan, Syria, and Palestine.

Can you say  "home-grown terrorists?"


*********** The dishonesty of the people in charge is one reason why Donald Trump has a following…

A deranged white kid with all sorts of problems kills nine black people in a church in Charleston and the self-appointed experts instantly know why he did it.

Not long after, a deranged Muslim kills five US servicemen and the full force of the FBI is assigned to try to find a motive.

*********** It was senior night, Brown against Columbia, and Brown coach Phil Estes started several seniors who'd never played a down of football in their four years there.


american flagTUESDAY,  NOVEMBER 17,  2015-   "Here's my strategy on the Cold War: We win, they lose."Ronald Reagan

*********** Down on the Cardinals’ one-yard line, the Seahawks gave the ball to their fullback Will Tukuafu.  Touchdown.

What a concept.  Running, not passing, when you only have a yard to go. 

Better yet, giving it to the guy who’s only a yard or two behind the QB, instead of the higher-paid guy who’s six yards deep.

There's little danger that the Seahawks could make a practice of this, however. This is Tukuafu’s sixth year in the NFL -  and it was only the second time he’s ever carried the ball.

*********** At North Beach, our season is over.  For the second year in a row, we finished unbeaten in the regular season only to fall in the state playoffs.

This year, our season ended with a 20-14 loss in overtime to Napavine.

(My friend Josh Montgomery, in Morgan City, Louisiana, suggests I take Les  Miles' approach: we're unbeaten in regulation.)

We jumped out to a 12-0 lead after the first quarter, and increased it to 14-0 at the half after a Napavine snap sailed over the punter’s head and out of the end zone.

But we failed to capitalize on a couple of good scoring opportunities, and Napavine, last year’s state finalist, seemed to grow stronger as the game went on.

With 3:35 remaining in the third quarter, we fumbled at midfield, and as we appeared to wander around dazed at the sudden turn of events, Napavine quickly set up and snapped the ball before we could get set, and their back went all the way for a TD.

Their second score came with 3:48 remaining in the game following a long drive.

We had one last shot in regulation when we intercepted them on their 36 with 31 seconds remaining, but we couldn’t score.

We failed to get a first down in the top half of overtime, and our defense, which played lights-out throughout the game, stopped the Tigers for three straight plays,   but with fourth and five from our 20, Tigers’ QB Wyatt Stanley hit an open receiver in the end zone to end it.

My assessment is that we played the best game I’ve seen a North Beach team play - on defense.  On offense, it was not our best effort, but credit has to go to Napavine, a much tougher team physically than we had become accustomed to in our league.  In reflection, I think that if we had played our absolute best game on both sides of the ball, we had a decent shot at winning, but I think if we were to play them 10 games, they’d beat us eight times.  They were simply, in my opinion, the better team.

***********I’ll never enjoy losing, but I’m old enough that I can put it in perspective.

What’s always difficult for me at the end of any season is the sudden sense of emptiness - that what was very real just days ago has gone “poof!” and vanished into thin air.

What hurts most is knowing that after having coached some of these kids since they were freshmen, I’ll never again have the same association with them.  I’ll never again shake their hands when they come into the locker room and when they go home after practice.  All those little things.

As is our custom, following the final game we locked the locker room doors and spent an hour or so together as our seniors poured out their hearts about what football has meant to them, how much they loved their teammates, how much they appreciated being a part of the team, the things they’re going to miss most, and so forth.  It always turns out to be something like a “celebration of life”: we’ve just come off a painful loss, and so it starts out on a sad, tearful note, but soon enough, guys begin injecting humorous memories into their talks, and by the time it’s all over, the pain of the loss has at least been pushed into the background.

Another tradition - not sure the basketball coach likes it - is the “last practice.”  Begun a few years ago by players’ request, the Monday following the last game (today), we pad up and go outside and do a lot of fun drills (usually in the rain and mud), followed by the seniors’ “last tackle” - one by one, they run through two lines of cheering teammates and make a flying tackle on a stand-up dummy. Today it rained hard, and the wind was so stiff that it blew dummies the length of the field.  And a good time was had by all.

John Wooden once said after he retired that what he missed most was the practices, and the longer I’m in it, the more I understand.

*********** What is absolutely stunning to me is the growing, nearly-total disregard for the rules of the game by NFL players and, obviously, the coaches who don’t discourage them.

Increasingly, the NFL is taking on all the appearances of a game played by outlaws who seem quite willing to defy its rules in the belief that officials can’t possible see everything.

Just this past week I saw plenty of the usual holding by offensive linemen, but I saw two teams - the Cowboys and the Ravens - lose games because players simply couldn’t play the game the right way and penalties against them led immediately and directly to their teams’ defeat.

In the Cowboys’ case a blatant act of defensive holding nullified a fumble recovery, and on the next play the Bucs won.

In the Ravens’ game, a defensive lineman grabbed the Jag’s quarterback’s face mask on the final play of the game, and the 15 yard penalty and one final untimed down was enough to allow Jacksonville to kick the game-winning field goal.

*********** Whew.  Michigan and Oklahoma State had close calls, against Indiana and Iowa State, respectively.

Sure makes you appreciate how fine the line is between ranked teams and those that struggle.

Ali Villeneuva***********  Hello Coach Wyatt,

I hope this email finds you well.  A long (in time, not enthusiasm!) season has finished and we once again are proud to nominate our players for the Black Lion Award.

Being in the shadow of the United States Military Academy, and having half of our league as military families, and playing our games on post, makes the opportunity to present the Black Lion Award at our banquet a great experience for our kids and the league. 

Last season we had the Garrison Commander, COL Landy Dunham, in full dress uniform, present the award to the players.  It was an incredible experience for all involved.

We again have four teams, Mighty Mites, ages 5-7; Division 1, ages 8-9;  Division 2, ages 10-11; Division 3, ages 12-14.  Our event this year is Saturday December 5th. 

I have attached the nominee write ups from our head coaches.  I think you will find all are amazing young men, deserving to wear the Black Lion patch honoring the life of MAJ Holleder.

Thank you and the members of the Black Lions for creating this award, for the tireless work  administering the award, and for extending the opportunity to youth teams.

Best Regards,

Ben Liotta
Black Knights Youth Football
Division 2 Coach
West  Point, New York

(Coach Liotta sent me the photo from their 2009 presentation.  The Army football player is Ali Villenueva, now with the Pittsburgh Steelers and still in the US Army. The player, six-year-old Bryan Jones, is now a 12-year-old Division 3 player and, according to Coach Liotta, "still wearing his patch this season.")

Sign your team up! Present the Black Lion Award to a player on your team!


A Poem
By Hugh Wyatt, noted poet


Large, fast  men
Real football players
Grunt and groan
Block and tackle
Run and Pass


Mere seconds remain!
Time for just one play!
The breathless crowd watches
As out trots
A f—king Kicker

*********** In another couple of weeks it’ll be 90 years since the Pottsville Maroons beat the Four Horsemen and claimed the championship of the National Football League.

The Maroons, representing a then-bustling Northeastern Pennsylvania coal mining town, were undefeated in the new National Football League, and in front of a large crowd in faraway Philadelphia, they defeated “The Notre Dame All Stars”  (the famed Four Horsemen and Seven Mules) in a post-season exhibition contest.

Pottsville claimed to have had league permission to play the game, but Philadelphia was the proclaimed  territory of another league member, the Frankford Yellow Jackets, and under pressure  from the Yellow Jackets the league vacated Pottsville’s title and offered it to the second-place Chicago Cardinals, whom the Maroons had beaten a few weeks earlier, 21-7.

The Cardinals’ owner, however, declined to accept on the grounds that Pottsville had beaten his team fair and square, and in Chicago at that. Only years later, after the Bidwill family had bought the Cardinals, did the team claim the title.

Pottsville has had its share of hard luck over the years, thanks largely to the decline of  anthracite coal as a home-heating fuel, but the loss of the NFL title, and the eventual loss of the Maroons themselves, was an enormous blow to its civic pride, and for years afterward a contingent of Pottsville fans would attend NFL league meetings, hoping in vain to get the league to restore its championship.

(There are still old-timers in Pottsville who claim that a curse on the Cardinals - and the Bidwills - for their claim to the 1925 title is why they have won only one NFL title on their own, in 1947.)

A few years after the loss of the title, the Pottsville franchise was moved to Boston, where it eventually folded. The fact that the current Washington Redskins started out in Boston has led to the myth that today’s Redskins are descendants of the Pottsville Maroons, but there is no truth to it.

(The myth might be worth reviving - those opposed to the Redskins’ name could do worse than propose “Maroons” as an alternative.)

The Yellow Jackets?  They survived the invasion of their territory, and eventually moved from Frankford, a section of Philadelphia, renaming themselves the Philadelphia Eagles.


I was watching the Giants game at the end and as a Miami fan and having a general dislike of everything about the patriots, i was excited when they drove down to beat them.  I thought to myself that all they had to do is run the ball three times and make the patriots use their timeouts then run the clock down to under a minute (I might have been wrong about the number of TO's they had).  I understood that they wanted a TD so a quick drive for a FG wouldn't have lost the game, but still...  When the Giants threw the ball for a TD I was still thinking that is a lot of time for Brady to get a TD of his own.  Of course I clearly don't know what a TD is anymore, I thought it was good.  I like to think I have good clock management skills, maybe I should apply for a position on the Giants staff.  

Dave Kemmick
Head Football Coach
Eastern York Golden Knights
Wrightsville, Pennsylvania


I’m constantly surprised at how inexpert many pro teams, given their 20-man coaching staffs, are at clock management.  A fewyears ago, a youth football coach named Jack Reed published an outstanding book on clock management which I felt ought to put an end to most of the crazy, nonsensical things we saw at the end of games.

But no-o-o-o-o.

Go ahead and apply for an NFL job.  Tip: bank every paycheck, because you are going to get tired of dealing with those pampered prima donnas (guys who can’t even squirt their own Gatorade into their own mouths) very fast.  You will find yourself longing for the good old days of coaching high school kids.  Even the ones with stage parents.

*********** I do need some advice when you have time on developing a young quarterback, I know you used to have a dvd.


Before you spend any time on  a young quarterback you need to ask - and answer correctly - the three key questions:

(1) Does he want to be the QB?  Does he have the strength of character to be the team leader?  Is he willing to put the time in?

(2) Is he coachable?  Can he take correction positively?  Can he make the corrections?  Is he smart enough to make the corrections permanent?

(3) Can I trust him?  Is he a good citizen and a good student?  Will be do the right thing when I’m not around?

If a guy doesn’t measure up in these areas, forget him.  He will wind up killing you.

*********** I saw the Baylor guy go down, and then get up and limp around, and then go down again…

And I heard Kirk Herbstreit say, in some of the strongest language I’ve heard on a football broadcast,

“That is awful…”

“Now he's gonna fake a limp…”

“That is bush league…”

Imagine - a football player taking a dive.

Sure, basketball players take charges. And the shame of soccer is all those wimps who lie and writhe in pain and get carted off, only to return to action minutes later, miraculously healed as if they’d made a lighting trip to Lourdes.

But a football player?  Nah.

Actually, coaches of hurry-up offenses have been accusing defensive coaches of staging injuries to try to slow things down.

So Herbstreit called a guy on it.

But this time, evidently, the guy actually was injured.

Herbstreit has apologized.

And now the farce can go on.

*********** Late Saturday night, while most of you slept,  Luke Falk did it again.

Out on the West Coast, Falk, the Washington State QB, threw a touchdown pass to defeat UCLA, 31-27 with three seconds to play.  75 yards in seven plays in 103 seconds - against the number 18 team on the country.

Falk, a 6-4 redshirt sophomore from Logan, Utah is without a doubt this year’s Mister Clutch.  This was the fourth time this year that Falk had driven the Cougars to last-minute, come-from-behind wins. Clutch? WSU leads the nation in fourth-down conversions.

After a shocking season-opening loss to FCS Portland State (which has turned out to be a pretty decent club) Washington State is now 7-3, including the win over UCLA, a double overtime win over Oregon and a narrow two-point loss to Stanford.

For years, dejected Washington State fans  have referred to their Cougars’ unfortunate tendency to disappoint just when they seem to be on the verge of great success as “Cougin’ it.”

Not this year.  Instead, they're exulting in their team’s newfound ability to “Falk It Up.”

american flagFRIDAY,  NOVEMBER 13,  2015-   "Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one." Thomas Paine

*********** Our Thursday practices are traditionally slimmed-down versions of our usual Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday  routine.

Not this week.

The foul weather that had been predicted for days hit Ocean Shores a little before noon Thursday, and by the time we hit the field at 3 PM the rain was coming down sideways, driven by winds of up to 40 miles an hour.

In 39 years of coaching in the Northwest, and six on the Washington coast, today’s weather was as bad as I’ve ever seen it.

We could have stayed inside, but that's not us, and our kids know it. Our deal is to play you in any kind of conditions -  anybody, any time, anywhere.

We spent our offensive period concentrating on ball protection, and using the same ball the entire time, in 40 minutes of running plays it  hit the ground just twice.

It’s times like that you’re grateful for a running offense.

It’s times like that you’re glad you’re not dependent on a shotgun snap.

Tomorrow night we’re set to face the best passer in the state in our class.

I don't believe in praying for a win, but I'm considering praying for wind.

*********** The North Beach Hyaks open playoff play Friday night against the Napavine Tigers.  It’s North Beach’s home game, but state officials ruled that with wild storms predicted, North Beach’s grass field would likely be unplayable, so the game has been moved to the artificial turf of Stewart Field in Aberdeen, Washington.

The Hyaks’ opponent will be the Napavine Tigers (8-2), defending state runners-up.  The Tigers’ record is deceiving - they lost early in the season, 28-27, to the current state Number One team, unbeaten Pe Ell/Willapa Valley, and they dropped another one in midseason to once-beaten Toledo when their star quarterback, Wyatt Stanley, was sidelined with an injury.

Stanley has been healthy the last two weeks, and last Friday night, Napavine advanced by beating Ilwaco, our league’s fourth-place team, 55-27.  Although Ilwaco surprised by putting up 27 points on the Tigers - they did rush for 171 yards and throw for two scores -  Napavine’s dominance was never in question.  The Tigers gained 488 yards - 290 of them in the air - and never had to punt.

Napavine scored on every first half possession,  jumping out to a 21-0 lead, and after an Ilwaco score, they increased their lead to 35-7. 

Ilwaco scored just before the half to go off at 35-14, but Napavine came out in the second half and scored on its first two possessions to make the score 49-14.

Not to say that the Tigers went conservative in the second half, but 236 of Stanley’s  290 yards passing came before halftime.  One receiver, Mac Fagerness, caught six passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns.

The last time the two teams met was in 2012, when this year’s North Beach seniors were freshmen.  It was a first-round playoff game, the first playoff appearance in years for  a very young North Beach team whose fifth-place finish in its league had earned it the dubious honor of playing against Napavine, winner of its league.   The result, a Napavine runaway, was as ugly as it was predictable.

*********** I suppose that when you admit ultra-bright kids to your college, it’s inevitable that many of them will come from environments in which they’ve not just been coddled, but they’ve been told repeatedly that they can “make a difference,” and that the world is just waiting for them to tell it which way to spin.

But before they can take on the world,  they first hone their difference-making skills by trying to change the university that was good enough to accept them.

Forget that in Yale's case it’s been in existence for 300 years, and forget that for the most part it’s done a pretty damn good job at what it’s set out to do. 

Sadly, though,  it's often  not even aware of all the things that are wrong with it, but fortunately for it and the the world, along comes this group of “change agents.”

Only one problem.  Before they can change the world - or just their university -  they have to deal with “microaggressons,” the little “hurtful” things unknowingly done to them and others like them by members of the “power elite.” 

At Yale, where at least 10 well-qualified applicants were turned away for every one accepted, a relative handful of aggrieved students with time on their hands have taken to screaming at faculty members who dared to suggest that if they’re offended by certain other students’ choice of Hallowe’en costumes, well, er, maybe they ought to move on to greater concerns.

Another of the things that really bothers them is that the person  in charge of each of the university’s residential colleges, whether male or female, is called the “Master.”   Whoa.   See, that brings back memories of slavery.

Really?  Seriously?  The title goes way back to English days, when what PC-shackled Americans now call the “head of school” was called the -gasp! - Headmaster.

Right from the start, I must confess to an inability to identify with protestors. I further confess to having used my free time at Yale for more productive pursuits than protesting.  Drinking beer, for instance.

Like all Yale undergraduates, I lived in a residential college.  Mine was  Berkeley College, whose master, professor Thomas Mendenhall, was a renowned faculty member who would go on to become president of Smith College. He was a very affable sort who would often host parties at which, along with beer, he would serve a lethal punch which he called Old Tennis Shoe.

We all called him “Mister Mendenhall,” “Professor Mendenhall,” and sometimes even “Tom.”    But I never heard the word “Master” used in addressing him.  It was just his title.

The master of a nearby college, Pierson College,  was the university chaplain, the much beloved Reverend Sidney Lovett.

Master?  Hell, students all called him “Uncle Sid.”

So, get over it children.  It’s just a f—king title.


Let's talk tackling.  I would like to introduce into evidence the Florida State-Louisville game, and  FSU's 38 yard go-ahead TD run by Dalvin Cook.

One Louisville man had a shot at him but he missed what turned out to be an arm tackle.

Why? A pretty simple fundamental mistake, based on the way most of us were taught: he didn't have his helmet "across the bow" of the runner.

Interestingly, a young acquaintance of mine tells me that's how the coaches at his college  are teaching him to tackle (undoing, I might add, everything we taught him, every day of practice, for his entire high school career).

I suspect this is either the work of some young coaching genius who thinks he just reinvented the wheel, years of doing it another way notwithstanding, or they are perhaps preparing those kids for the "next level," The League, where you seldom see an authentic tackle anyhow.

*********** A very dear friend, a Chicago cop who once took me on a ride-along on the South Side, wrote to tell me, “ I would be embarrassed to take you on a ride-along now. You cannot imagine how badly things have changed, particularly on the west and south sides of the city. The overwhelming feeling of entitlement that these areas have, it is sickening.  Hope and change, my ass!”

He went on,

“I’m sorry I haven’t kept up with the E-mails as much. I have to do better. However, in my defense, currently it is because I am one-handed. Got into a little scuffle with a “street level pharmaceutical sale representative” at work and now Tommy John has nothing on me.

“Damnedest thing, when we got to scuffling, after he disagreed with me for my insistence at wanting to take him with me for selling some of his merchandise to my undercover partner, I looked up and there were about 7 or 8 of the embedded street level photo journalists, all with their government-issued smart phones, all recording our conversation and subsequent battle royal.

“I was reminded several times that black lives matter and that I had a striking resemblance to some guy called ”The White Devil”. Funny thing is, all those shootings and killings in that area - and yet not one of them ever recorded on the government-issued smart phone. Very puzzling.???

“The irony of it was not lost on me. Apparently black lives do not matter when you’re killed by another black life. A mere 400 feet away from where the young lad and I were getting to know each other better (and he was grabbing me in places even my wife didn’t grab on our honeymoon) somebody was shot dead the day before.

“I tell you, that street level pharmaceutical trade stuff can be a rough business. (Each time they shoot and kill somebody, we are sent out there the next day - I’m starting to think they don’t like us??)

“So during the melee I ripped my “Tommy John" ligament, tore part of the elbow tendon and caused some nerve damage to my elbow, arm, hand and fingers. I just regained some of the feeling back in my hand but I still have some issues with my pinky and bottom of my hand going numb.

“The great news: I will have Christmas and New years Eve off, for the first time in six years, so I got that going for me. Bad news: it’s my gun hand, so I have a long road ahead.

“It takes me some time to type left-handed but I am getting better at it. Using the mouse and point and clicking is still a pain in the butt, but that is what PT will be for.”

I told him that he has writing talent, and that he ought out to spend the down time working on a book.  I would be first in line to buy it.

*********** It's possible that Deion Sanders and Bill Cowher are the most overpaid guys in sports. There they were, at Thirsday night's Jets-Bill game, standing by to, as the anouncer told us, "give us all the highlights of the first half."

How hard could that be?  The score was 12-3.  Four field goals and fumble returned for a TD.

That's action?

*********** A bit of Stanford trivia (from my son, Ed, Stanford ’82)

The first collegiate touchdown pass for Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost, and the last collegiate touchdown reception for David Shaw, came on the same play.

Frost, a sophomore making his first collegiate start as a replacement for injured Steve Stenstrom, fired a 13-yard strike to Shaw on Nov. 12, 1994, late in a 55-21 loss to Oregon at Stanford Stadium.

A big-time recruit who came to Stanford to play for Bill Walsh, Frost transferred to Nebraska after that season and led the Cornhuskers to the 1997 national championship before a five-year career as an NFL safety.

His brother and Stanford teammate, Steve Frost, is Stanford’s football public address announcer.

*********** Hi Coach,

Great to see you are having a great season, hope your success continues. This season we finished
7-3. That is the second best record in our schools long history. It's our first winning season since 1995, and only the second time that we have had back to back seasons over .500. We missed the playoffs but we were still in contention in week 10 and that has also never happened before. This season our A back rushed for 1300 yards on 184 carries. Our C back rushed for 1050 yards on 98 carries. We rushed for 3100 yards and passed for an additional 500 yards. I would like to thank you for your materials and all the help you've been over the previous 3 years. This would not have been possible without you and your system.

Thomas Caudill
Offensive Coordinator
Northwest High School
McDermott, Ohio

***********  Coach,

The Elmwood/Brimfield Trojans season ended with a second round playoff loss to Elmhurst Immaculate Conception.  After tying the game 7-7 early in the first quarter, things went south for us.  Elmhurst found our defensive weaknesses and exploited them over and over.  Offensively, we were stiffled up front after that first long drive.  In the end, our size was beaten by their size/speed combination.  The final score was 48-7, and it felt like that.  They were good and we couldn't keep up with them.  

It was a good season for us.  We had nine new starters on both sides of the ball.  The result was a 9-2 season, fifth consecutive conference championship, twelfth playoff birth in the last thirteen seasons.  I'm proud of our guys and our coaches.  And, given the "sickness" that is coaching, I can't wait to start getting ready for next season.  But I will force myself to wait until after Thanksgiving.

One parent of a senior found me after we 'circled up' with the team and families.  The coaches hugged all seniors.  Tears were shed as they always are after that last game.  Anyway, the father thanked me for being his son's coach.  He mentioned how tough the day was.  And then he said "I can't imagine what it's like for you (coaches).  You guys get your hearts ripped out every year."  I told him that the day it stops affecting me in that way is the day I need to get out.

Todd Hollis
Head Football Coach
Elmwood High School
Elmwood, Illinois


I’m sorry it had to end for you, but unless we’re among the fortunate few that manage to survive to the end, it’s an inevitability for all of us, one that that parent was perceptive enough to understand.

One grateful, understanding parent like that goes a long way toward offsetting the demanding/entitled/neglectful/selfish/backstabbing others who don’t appreciate what we’re doing for their sons.

Great season!  Another brick in the program!

*********** Considering that despite the supposed racist climate at  the University of Missouri, he spent seven years there…

And considering that his father, the vice-president of marketing for the Union Pacific Railroad, earned $8.4 million in 2014…

What, exactly, do you suppose was the grievance that caused that graduate student at the University of Missouri to go on the much-publicized hunger strike, the one that nearly set off a strike by its football players?

*********** I have to wonder how excited  the people of LA are about having one, or maybe even two, NFL franchises move in.

The irony of all the maneuvering and politicking that’s taking place among NFL owners is that there are three teams who’ve been holding their current fans hostage until their current cities build them new stadia, and every damn one of them - the Chargers, the Raiders and the Rams - has left Los Angeles once before.

How quickly they forget.

Meanwhile, despite its long spell without an NFL team, Southern California seems to have managed.

For those who crave live football,  the college game seems to satisfy, based on the attendance at USC and UCLA home games.

And for those whose love for football runs to the NFL, there’s a game on TV for everyone’s tastes.

The population of the LA-Orange County area is huge, and lot of its people are relative newcomers to the area,  many of them hailing from other NFL cities, especially those in the Rust Belt - Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh.

Instead of allowing one or two franchises to bring crummy teams to LA while pissing off the people in the cities they left behind, I think it would make more sense for the NFL to treat the Southern California market the same way it does London, bringing in several regular-season games every year between teams from cities with  large local fan bases.

You telling me there aren’t more NFL fans in the LA area than there are in London?

The area economy would benefit from all the Lions, Steelers, Browns, Bills fans looking for an excuse to spend a long weekend on the West Coast.

One slight hangup.  LA fans are way too sophisticated  to settle for the Jacksonville Jaguars more than once a season.


american flagTUESDAY,  NOVEMBER 9,  2015-   "Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else"  Frederic Bastiat, French economist

*********** UNC 66, Duke 31. Partly it was North Carolina’s being a really solid team; partly it was Duke’s looking shaky on defense; but partly it had to be the lingering effect on the Duke team of last week’s Miami “win” and one of the worst screw-overs in the long history of bad officiating.


*********** Only us old-timers recall the time when the status of blacks in the LDS Church was cause for black players at BYU’s opponents to threaten not to play against the LDS school.

It’s not likely that any of the Missouri players would know the history, but given the involvement of other, savvier protestors, the fact that Missouri’s opponent this Saturday is BYU has got to be more than coincidental. 

*********** Unless he plans on staying at Missouri until he retires (or he’s fired), Gary Pinkel’s career as a coach is over. Finis.  Kaput.

Missouri has been having a bad year, and possibly by supporting a dissident group of players who threatened not to play unless certain of their demands were met, he bought himself a little bit of protection from being fired.  This year.  I mean, who’s got the nerve to fire him now, knowing the firestorm that would ensue?  Imagine, the coach takes a stand with his players - and for that, he gets fired?

He’ll keep his job, for the moment, but the memories of his supporters are short, and those of his detractors are long, and unless he turns the ship around, Missouri will continue to lose, and hard-core simple economics plus pressures from other, more influential groups will bring about his dismissal.

I rather doubt that he’ll ever find another job.

Another job?  At another college?  Make me laugh. 

Try to picture a police chief who sides with his officers against the mayor… a plant manager who supports a wildcat strike by the workers… a ship captain who supports a mutiny by the crew.

Show me an AD who would hire a coach who would side with his players against the school administration.

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

Thanks for posting the list of books in the news today, as usual it was right on time for me.  I finished reading "The Winning Edge" by Don Shula recently and was looking for my next read.  I enjoyed the book but have to admit that it may have mostly been because I am a Miami Dolphins fan.  Before that I read "The score takes care of itself" about Bill Walsh by Steve Jamison and Craig Walsh.  That was pretty good also, I particularly like the parts about taking over the program and changing everything.  My favorite book is still "When Pride Still Mattered" by David Maraniss.  If I remember correctly you recommended that one to me.  I recently started reading it again and am enjoying it all over again.  I let a friend and coach borrow it and he thought it was dry and never finished it, not sure what's wrong with him.  I now have a list of books to look for, I hope I can find some.

Good luck in the playoffs.

Dave Kemmick
Head Football Coach
Eastern York Golden Knights
Wrightsville, Pennsylvania


Glad you liked the short list.  There are plenty more in my library, many that might be of more interest to other coaches than to me.  

They are all, I should have noted, “serious” football books, written for other coaches.  One possible exception might be Dave Nelson’s “Anatomy of a Game,” which was written for a wider audience than just coaches. Any serious student of football would enjoy it.

I didn’t include other categories, such as books written for the general reading public (i.e., to make money), and often “written” by an “author” in name only, instead  “as told to” a professional writer.  In that category would be books such as Shula’s and Walsh’s.  

I also didn’t include football fiction such as “North Dallas Forty.”

And I didn’t include true biographies and books on football history, a category which overall constitutes much of my favorite reading.

Maybe I should include a list of them as well.

In that last category, I rank “When Pride Still Mattered,” David Maraniss’ epic biography of Vince Lombardi, right at the top.

I have recommended it on numerous occasions.

Thanks for writing.

*********** A coach wrote me to say how shocked he was when one of his veteran players asked him, “What is play action?”

He shouldn't have been shocked.  Few football players understand coaches’ jargon.

And yet, in my travels, I frequently hear coaches use terms that they simply assume that players will understand - because, well, because everybody knows what they mean.

Except, everybody doesn’t.

A big mistake we coaches make, I think, is not being aware when we are using coachspeak, and carefully explaining any football term we use. I learned that from coaching overseas. When I coached in Finland and I used an unfamiliar term, those guys were quick to ask me what I meant.

Not American kids, though. There's the problem.

In the classroom or on the field, American kids are afraid to ask questions. (Who wants to learn something if it means looking stupid?)

Instead of waiting for kids to ask, I suggest asking them: "What do I mean when I say, 'play action?'"

Greenwich Police Patch*********** Everyplace else, it’s “GREN-itch.”

But in upstate New York, it’s pronounced GREEN-witch.

Which is undoubtedly why Greenwich, New York’s High School teams are the Witches.

Why no complaints from Wiccans?  Doesn’t the school’s logo marginalize them, make them feel disrespected?

How do you think a Wiccan feels when he/she gets pulled over by a Greenwich cop?

*********** A  Florida player was ejected for targeting even though replay showed that he led with his arms and made primary contact with his chest on the Vanderbilt QB’s chest.  “Upon review,” they upheld his ejection.

*********** I’d sure like to hear what the Republican candidates have to say about the despicable practice of professional teams charging for - and the armed forces paying for - recognition of our service people at games.

My suspicion is not that the services first approached the teams and offered them money.  No, it’s that the teams had their hands out. 

Shame on the Pentagon for not exposing them for the greedy, money-grubbing shakedown artists that they are.

And further shame on the Pentagon for implying by their participation in this sham that the honor due  our service people hasn’t already been earned, and has to be bought.

*********** Could Nike (or Adidas, or UnderArmour) really have enough money to change the classic uniforms of USC? Of Alabama? Of LSU? 

I’d like to think not, but we’ve already seen them persuade Ohio State and Michigan to go along with their “throwback” grotesqueries.

I’m sorry to say that now Army - the Army of Blanchard and Davis and Novogratz and Dawkins, the Army of gold helmets and gold pants - seems to have succumbed to the lure of apparel-company money and agreed to play poor man’s Oregon.

Saturday, damned if the Army team - whose official colors are black, gray and gold - didn’t come out against Air Force in all-white, as if they’d been given a set of Penn State’s hand-me-downs.

***********  From Fox News...

A handwritten manifesto carried by a California college student whose stabbing spree Wednesday left four wounded bore names of his targets, a vow “to cut someone’s head off” and as many as five reminders to “praise Allah,” law enforcement authorities told, while insisting that neither terrorism nor religion appear to be motives in the attack.

(Am I missing something?)

*********** Enjoyed watching Dabo beat Jimbo in the Bo Bowl…

************  Walking on water?  Not exactly, but almost.  Walking on a mixture of  water and

*********** Cumberland, Maryland, way out in the mountainous western part of the state, is different from the rest of the state. Unlike the rest of Maryland, which is split between Ravens and Redskins fans, Cumberland looks westward.  Cumberland pulls for the Steelers.

Mountainous terrain and love of the Steelers is not the only thing that Cumberland has in common with western Pennsylvania.  Cumberland is also a big high school football town, split down the middle between its two schools, Allegany and Fort Hill.

They’ve have been playing each other since 1936, and Fort Hill has a 53-32-4 edge in the series.

Their meeting is typically the last game of the regular season.

It’s played at Greenway Avenue Stadium, a really cool bowl on a hilltop with stands that seat 6,000 -  but there's room for at least that many more on the grassy banks surrounding the field.

It serves as the home field for both teams, but it’s actually on the Fort Hill campus, and before a game the Fort Hill team descends down a long flight of stairs from the school building to the field; all that’s missing is Howard’s Rock at the top.

Although Cumberland’s population has dwindled as its industries have closed, it still holds steady around 20,000, and the Allegany-Fort Hill game normally draws crowds of more than 10,000.

One reason for the large crowds might be the fact that the game is Homecoming.  For both teams.  You think your homecoming halftimes are long? At halftime of an Allegany-Fort Hill game, both homecoming courts are introduced, and both homecoming queens are crowned.

This year, Allegany came into the game 8-1, Fort Hill 7-1. 

When it was all over, Fort Hill came out on top, 17-7.

*********** Wow - the Eagles-Cowboys’ game got under way with the playing of our national anthem -  by a band. A real band.  No grammy award winners, no precocious little children.  Nobody inventing notes that aren’t there. Nobody trying to set an endurance  record. 

Absolutely inspiring.

*********** I was sorry to see Temple, Toledo and Memphis fall.  That leaves Houston as the only undefeated team left from the Group of Five, the only one left with even an outside shot at making the Playoff.

But sorry as I was to see Memphis lose, I was just as pleased to see Navy win.  Sure is fun to watch Keenan Reynolds run that Navy ‘bone.

*********** The threat by Missouri’s football players to go on strike is reminiscent  of the late 1960s and the emergence of the term “Black Power.”

At numerous campuses across the country, assorted grievances  pitted black football players against their white coaches, and the results were seldom pretty.

Even at a time when there was no social media - only telephones, with ridiculous long-distance charges - word spread like wildfire of this walkout or that strike.

In some cases, the split was generational as much as racial, as older coaches failed to recognize what was going on in society as large.   Those were the days, you young guys may not know, when “Question Authority” came the mantra; when it became fashionable to say “Don’t trust anyone over 30.”

There are differences, of course.  In those days, there were fewer black players on college rosters.  And the target of the strikers/protestors was the coach, not the university president.

Okay. So the MIzzou president has resigned.

Does anyone think that's going to be the end of it? Appetite, as the French saying goes, comes from eating.

Are things going to be better now?

Is the resignation of the president going to make campus racists say, “You know - maybe those black fellows have a point. No more racism for me?”

What, exactly, is the next president going to be able to do to purge young minds of racist thoughts?

There's obviously more at issue here.

I have no great love for college presidents, overpaid and under endowed with courage as they are, and knowing how they usually kowtow to any left wing group that makes noise on their campuses, I lick my lips at the prospect of watching their  "negotiations" with people whose "demands" they can't possibly satisfy.

If this stuff is about to break out the way it did in the 60s,  I can’t see too many people lining up to become college presidents.

So this is social justice, is it?

*********** “It’s what we do from here with this issue that will actually determine really what this league is all about.”

So said a speaker at a September 16, 2014 meeting held in New York by Sports Business Daily to “discuss issues relating to women and the (sports) industry.”

The speaker was Charlotte Jones Anderson of the Dallas Cowboys. 

The “league” she referred to was the NFL.

Ms. Anderson's  father happens to be THE Jerry Jones, who continues to show what this league is all about with his defense of Greg Hardy.

*********** Anybody else see what a difference having Marcus Mariota back  made in the play of the Tennessee Titans?

Hi Coach,

We haven't had a chance to communicate this season but I wanted to congratulate on your season thus far and wish you continued success in the playoffs.  I am sharing the articles from this past weekend's game.  Pretty amazing numbers for our team rushing and one individual in a game. We have a Chance to advance to the State Final 4 for the second time in 2 years with a Victory next Saturday. And Yes we are still Traditional Double Wing in the Highest Classification in NYS.

Hope All is Well,

Mike Johnston
Elmira HS
Elmira Express Football
Elmira, New York

Pre-Sectional Final Article:

Post Game Article

flagFRIDAY,  NOVEMBER 6,  2015-   "'No one was ever ruined by a movie,' insists the anti-censorship group. Then, they go out and lobby against stars smoking on-screen."  Jim Murray

*********** Byron “Whizzer” White was a great college football player who graduated from the University of Colorado where he was president of the student body.  Although awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, he delayed going overseas for a year in order to play for the Steelers, who drafted him first (1938).

He had a good rookie year with the Steelers, and then went off to Oxford on his Rhodes Scholarship.

He returned to play a few more years in the NFL, then went on to a distinguished career in the law.

Many people who knew nothing about his football background remember him now as the late Supreme Court Justice Byron White.

Said Pittsburgh owner Art Rooney when people said he’d paid White too much money to sign with the Steelers, ”If I never get anything else out of football, it's worth what it has cost me just to find out there are people like this in the world."

*********** Susquehanna University, in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, is a small school but it's famous in football circles for a couple of things.

From 1947 to 1952 it had a head coach named Amos Alonzo Stagg, Jr., and one of coach Stagg’s assistants - actually his co-head coach - was his 90-year-old father, the legendary Amos Alonzo Stagg.

Many years later, in the 1960s, it had a head coach named Jim Garrett, a fiery young guy from New Jersey who led Susquehanna to several good seasons before being fired for (allegedly) hitting a player.

From there, Garrett went on to assistant jobs in the NFL, with a short stint as head coach of the Houston Texans of the World Football League (the league in which I worked).

In 1985, he was hired as head coach of Columbia University, but he got himself into trouble there when in a post-game tirade he accused his players of being “drug-addicted losers.” No doubt he meant that they had become addicted to losing, in the same way that druggies are to their drug of choice, but the poorly-constructed metaphor was lost on university administrators, and he was fired.

The tragedy for Columbia football was that it cost them three very good football players - John, Judd and Jason Garrett, Jim’s sons - who transferred to Princeton and excelled there.

Jason, of course, is now the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

Now, the folks at Susquehanna have decided to change the school’s nickname.

They’ll no longer be known as the Crusaders.  Guess the nickname’s been making it hard to attract students from the Middle East.

So now there’s a third thing that Susquehanna will be known for.  Cowardice.

*********** A coach in the process of building his football library once asked me for a list of my favorite books. I hate to list or rank anything (my favorite sport when I was a kid was always the one in season; if you should ever ask me at any time what my favorite place is - other than home - I'm likely to say, "Right here, right now"; and my favorite company, other than my family, is whoever I'm with right now), but there are many books that have made a difference to me in one way or another over the years. Although this is by no means my conclusive list, these books would certainly be on it:

AT THE TOP OF MY LIST: Nelson, David M. - Football Principles and Play - Ronald Press, 1962 - The absolute best book ever written on the basic principles of offensive and defensive play. Although Dave Nelson is considered to be the father of the Delaware Wing-T, this book is general in nature and even in these days of spread, no-huddle offenses it could still be used as a coaching textbook.

Blaik, Earl and Cohane, Tim - You Have to Pay the Price - Holt, Rinehart and Winston - 1960 - The legendary Army coach's perspective on a career in coaching - the agony and the ecstasy

Bryant, Paul W. - Building a Championship Football Team - Prentice-Hall, 1960 - The Bear's master work - includes his explanation of Bum Phillips' defensive numbering system

Caldwell, Charlie - Modern Single-Wing Football - Lippincott & Co - 1951 - The first football book I ever owned, given to me as a Christmas present when I was a kid. Very technical, it took me years to understand it, but the section on the wedge alone was a real eye-opener for me

Danzig, Allison - The History of American Football - Prentice-Hall, 1956 - A look at the men and their teams - and their thinking - that built the game we have today

Dodd, Bobby - Bobby Dodd on Football - Coach Dodd enjoyed a fabulous career at Georgia Tech. He was an early adopted of the Belly Series, and one of its most successful practitioners, so as you might expect, there's a lot devoted to the offense.  But his defensive section is really interesting, and - perhaps because he had to face his old mentor, General Robert Neyland and his Tennessee single wing every year - he includes a look at defensing the single wing.  HIs section on special teams has been helpful to me on more than one occasion.

Ecker, Tom and Calloway, Bill - Athletic Journal's Encyclopedia of Football - Parker Publishing, 1978 - A compilation of offensive and defensive ideas from top college and HS coaches

Ellison, Glenn "Tiger" - Run and Shoot Football - Parker Publishing, 1965 & 1984 - The original offensive system written by the Ohio high school coach who devised it

Evashevski, Forest and Nelson, David - Scoring Power With the Winged T Offense - Brown Co., 1957 - The original book on the offense now known as the Delaware Wing-T that took the football world by storm  (Nelson, coach of Delaware, actually wrote it - and invented the offense -  but Evashevski, coach at Iowa, was better known, so he got top billing.)

McKay, John - Football Coaching - Ronald Press, 1966 - The basics of the USC I-formation attack and his 5-2 Rover (Monster) defense - and much more

Nelson, David - Anatomy of a Game - 1994 - Dave Nelson is most famous as the inventor of the Delaware Wing-T, still, more than 60 years later one of the most popular offenses ever developed.  But he also served for years on the NCAA Rules Committee, and this book, a history of the rules and how and why they came to be, was his life’s work.  In fact, it was incomplete at the time of his death, and was finished afterward. It is a wonderful reference work. If you can find a copy, you'll need money - it’s VERY expensive.

Parseghian , Ara - Parseghian and Notre Dame Football - Doubleday & Co, 1971 & 1973 - Coach Parseghian's adaptation of the Wing-T offense and his Split-4 defense - and a whole lot more

Pool, Hamp - Fly-T Football - Prentice-Hall, 1957 - I have to include this, because it first got me interested in coaching - it was my senior year in college, I was injured, and I was pressed into service coaching our intra-mural (yes, tackle football) team - Hamp Pool's Los Angeles Rams of the early 1950s put up incredible numbers because (1) he had one of the best assemblages of offensive talent ever put together on one team, and (2) he was light years ahead of other coaches in his offensive thinking. After four years of having played belly-T football, mostly from a full-house T backfield, I was blown away by the stuff I saw in this book. And doggone if it didn't work when I tried it!  That hooked me on coaching.

Reade, Bob - Coaching Football Successfully - Human Kinetics, 1994 - Back in the 1980s, several of the Wing-T coaches in the Portland area pooled our resources and flew Coach Reade out to put on a clinic.  He was great. His Wing-T wasn't my Wing-T, which was the Delaware version, but no matter - I got so much from listening to Coach Reade talk about offense, defense and football in general.  This,  clearly, was a man with information we could all use in our own programs.

Royal, Darrell and Sherrod, Blackie - Darrell Royal Talks Football - Prentice-Hall - 1963 - Just some plain old coaching wisdom that I was badly in need of in my early days

Smith, Homer - Handbook for Coaching the Football Passing Attack - Parker Publishing, 1970 - The great offensive coach's book on the passing game and its very basics - the fundamentals necessary for the simplest or most sophisticated passing attack

Tallman, Drew - Directory of Football Offenses - 1978 - incredible resource - pocket-sized diagrams of common formations - their strengths and weaknesses

Tallman, Drew - Directory of Football Defenses - 1980 - likewise

Coach of the Year Clinic Manuals, any and all you can get your hands on (I go back to 1970 with them) - contact Earl Browning, PO Box 22185, Louisville, KY 40252 (


Army Edge whiteboard

It’s really cool to be able to diagram plays with the Go Army Edge software  (as shown above).

It’s even cooler to be able to see what that same play diagram would look like in your team’s - and your opponents’ - uniforms  (shown below).

Army Edge 3D

And it’s absolutely mind-blowing to be able to push a button and watch the “players” actually run your play. Full speed or slo-mo.

You can change the defense.   Change the formation.  Change the blocking scheme. Quickly and easily “flip” the play and run it the opposite way.

It’s the Go Army Edge app, a really neat bit of cutting edge coaching software, and as some of you know, I’ve been working with it since last spring as a coach/consultant.

Pro teams and colleges are paying tens of thousands of dollars for competing virtual reality systems, but the Go Army Edge app is free, compliments of the United States Army.

If you’d like more information about it, check it out here.

If you’ve already tried it and there’s something I can do to help you make better use of it, drop me a line

*********** One of the unintended consequences of sculpting the NFL game into its current pass-first, pass-last, pass-always form is that there simply aren’t enough good quarterbacks to go around.

Used to be that even so-so teams had really good quarterbacks. Archie Manning, Dan Marino, Dan Fouts, Sonny Jorgensen come to mind.

It also used to be that almost every team had a decent backup. (Quick: who started at most games for the Miami Dolphins the year they went unbeaten?)

Now, there are a lot of really bad NFL teams, and for most of them a reason they’re bad is that they have a bad quarterback.

Conversely, there are a handful of good teams, and one thing they all have in common is a very good quarterback. 

It’s a far cry from 20 or 30 years ago when it was considered idiocy to start a rookie quarterback.  It was widely believed that a guy needed at least two years serving as an understudy to a veteran before he was ready to take over.

Those were the days, we’re constantly told, before offenses became super-sophisticated.  Yet today, playing a game that’s more intricate, against defenses that are super-talented, owners pay large sums to sign college quarterbacks in the expectation that they’ll play right away.

So desperate are most NFL teams to find that quarterback who’ll take them to the promised land that they keep drafting promising young college quarterbacks and then throwing them right to the wolves, with little preparation.

If a guy doesn’t make it quickly, he’s sent on his way, an instant journeyman.

The NFL, in its haste to turn high draft choices into box office start, destroys far more young quarterbacks than it develops - and then has the gall to blame it on the offenses that the colleges run.

Funny.  Back in the days when the colleges ran the ball and the pros passed, the NFL still managed to find and develop enough quarterbacks to go around.   The key word, I would suggest, is “develop.”

*********** I heard wise guy Bernard McGuirk refer to Lady Hillary as “Tonya Harding in a pants suit.”


A little late with this update.  We won our first round playoff game against a Catholic team from Chicago.  We played our best game of the season.  We allowed just 19 yards of offense (-52 rushing, 90 passing and 19 yards in penalties).  Offensively, we rushed 81 times for 341 and were 4 of 6 passing for 72.  It was a sloppy a field as we've every played on and the double wing rolled through the muck and mud!  "The rolling blob of death" as one opponent calls it.  Final score was 40-0.

We face the real deal this week.  A suburban Catholic school (big difference from the inner-city Catholic league) in Elmhurst Immaculate Conception.  Their junior running back supposedly has a scholarship offer from Iowa.  We are bigger.  They are faster.  Should be interesting.

Todd Hollis
Elmwood High School
Elmwood, Illinois


Never too late to keep me updated - especially with news of a win!

The Double Wing still works!  Imagine!

I keep hoping that not too many people will run it so that we’ll remain outliers - the skunk at the garden party.

I imagine the fact that it’s not sexy ( a “blob” - I love it) will immediately eliminate all the me-too guys.

Good luck this weekend.

*********** The Palatine, Illinois school district is under attack by the Department of Education because it hasn’t been sufficiently accommodating of a “transgender” student.  They have allowed him/her to compete on girls’ teams, and they have even used the pronouns of his/her choice in referring to him/her.   But they drew the line at allowing him/her to use the girls’ bathrooms or the girls’ locker rooms, and now they’re in trouble with the feds.

Your government in action.   That’ll go a long way toward getting those test scores up.

Meanwhile, Houston voters, by a 2-1 margin, voted down a proposed ordinance that would, among other things, have extended protected status to the “transgendered.”  Those opposed to the ordinance were accused of playing dirty by stressing that the law would allow anyone deciding that they’re “transgendered” to use the rest rooms of whatever sex they choose - rest rooms intended for those actually born with the appropriate  chromosomes.  Playing dirty, perhaps, but no one who favored the law denied that it would, indeed,  enable an intact man to “decide” that he was a female and enter a women’s rest room. Or locker room.

It’s time someone put a stop to this “transgender” nonsense - this idea that even though your name is George and you were born a male, with all the necessary equipment (including a Y chromosome), all you need to do is simply announce that you now “identify” as a female and - shazam! - you’re a female.

To validate the sham, a number of traditional women’s colleges have announced that they will welcome as students - as “women” - anyone who “identifies” as a woman.   (“Hi.  I’m your new roommate…”)

Come on - who’s kidding who?

I mean, I know we delude our youngsters nowadays by telling them they can be anything they want to be, but members of the opposite sex?

As I recently read in a forum,

There is no medical or scientific evidence that anyone is born gay and even less that anyone is born transgendered. No physical mechanism for either has been identified. They exist only in the psychology of individuals and among those demanding validation of their delusions.

Got that?  Delusions. 

And then, on the basis of those delusions, the rest of us are supposed to grant them special “civil rights” status, as if they were members of a racial or ethnic group.

How, other than being insane ourselves, can we seriously consider the wish of a man to “identify” as a woman - or the converse - as anything other than a mental disorder?

*********** Jeez, it’s nice to see the Mid-America Conference back on weeknight TV!

My wife was watching the Toledo-Northern Illinois game, and asked, “Is it me, or is this football faster?”

Yes, I said. Compared with the average pro game, the MAC game really did look like an old electric football game cranked up  a couple of notches.

I really like those “Power Five” conference teams.

I was sorry to see Temple lose to Notre Dame, and sorry to see Toledo lose to Northern Illinois - actually, I hate to see any MAC team lose - and now I have to go with Houston and Memphis to break into the Monopoly Bowl, aka the College Playoff.

Memphis may get shafted even if it should win out.  I mean what chance does it have when it beats Ole Miss, which beat Alabama - and then it’s ranked way below Alabama?

Nothing against Alabama, a very good team, and depending on the outcome of its game with LSU this weekend, definitely a title contender, but shouldn’t Memphis’ unbeaten record, combined with its decisive win over Ole Miss, move it a little higher than it is?


american flagTUESDAY,  NOVEMBER 3,  2015-   "There's no such thing as casual Friday in law enforcement."   Greg Gutfelt

*********** I laugh like hell at Mike Leach’s deadpan manner whenever he deals with those professional pests they call sideline reporters.

At halftime of Saturday night’s game with Stanford, one of them tried to pin him down, asking him whether his quarterback, Luke Falk, who appeared to be limping, was okay, and he responded,

"He's 100 per cent healthy and just as fast as he usually is - which is 4.9."

*********** The North Beach Hyaks celebrated Senior Night by trouncing across-the-harbor rival Ocosta, 60-7.

It took the Hyaks, now 9-0, just 46 plays to amass 503 yards of total offense - 391 rushing and 112 passing.  The game was shortened when by  mutual agreement a running clock went into effect midway through the second quarter when the Hyaks took a 44-0 lead.

North Beach went to the air a bit more than usual - 15 times - with Alex McAra completing eight passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns.

Saul Gonzalez carried the ball just three times for 100 yards and a TD (72 yards). He also returned a kickoff for a 78-yard touchdown, and had a 60-yard punt return called back because of a block in the back.

Skyler Wells gained 85 yards on seven carries, and scored TDs on runs of 25, 20 and 14 yards.

The regular season concludes with the Hyaks unbeaten for the second straight year.   They’ve outscored opponents 481-91, and lead all state high schools in scoring with an average of 53.4 points per game.

This week  is an off-week for the Hyaks, thanks to a first-round playoff bye that goes to the league’s champion.

In two weeks, they’ll face the winner of this Friday night’s game between the Napavine Tigers (7-2) and  the Ilwaco Fishermen (5-4). Napavine, which made it to the state semifinals last year, was a co-favorite to win its league this year, but a costly injury to their QB led to a third-place league finish. The QB is back and, I can attest from scouting him personally, as good as ever.  North Beach and Ilwaco met in the season-opener, won by North Beach 38-7, but the Fishermen have won five of their last six games, losing only to second-place Raymond, 13-12.

Hyaks Seniors on Senior Night

*********** Following their 60-7 defeat of Ilwaco, the North Beach seniors modeled their League Championship hoodies, the two crowns representing their two straight league championships. 

Considering how as the North Beach program had been through the years, it’s impossible to understate what two straight league championships - the only two  in the school's  history - mean.

This senior class is by far the most successful in school history: although North Beach did finish just 4-6 their freshman year, they’ve since gone 26-4 (7-3, 10-1 and - so far - 9-0) over  their last three years.

In the photo, from left to right: Tim Poplin (OG-DT), Austin Perez (TE-DE), Andrew Wagner (SE-DB), Alex Horn (C-DT), Skyler Wells (RB-OLB), Jonny Law (OG-MLB), Saul Gonzalez (RB-OLB), Chris Harms (SE-DB), Alex McAra (QB-DB)

*********** Now, look - this is by no means a claim that a high school quarterback at a small school in rural Washington State is in any way comparable to any NFL quarterback.

But using the NFL’s QB rating system as a measurement of  effectiveness as a passer, North Beach QB Alex McAra has a rating comparable to the best NFL quarterbacks.

The rating system puts special emphasis on three factors: yards per attempt, touchdowns per attempt and interceptions per attempt.

In Alex’s case, in 64 attempts, he has thrown for 607 yards (9.5 yards per attempt), 13 TDs (20.3%, or one in every five attempts), and only 2 interceptions (3 %, or one in every 33 attempts).

It figures out to a rating of 115.0

Compare that to the NFL’s leaders, only seven of whom have ratings of 100 or more:

Andy Dalton - 116.1
Aaron Rodgers - 115.9
Tom Brady - 115.8
Ben Roethlisberger - 113.9
Carson Palmer - 108.9
Tyrod Taylor - 103.6
Derek Carr - 101.0

Again, this is not meant in any way to compare a high school kid to an accomplished professional, but as a measurement of our quarterback’s effectiveness in our system, it is very revealing.

Alex McAra’s rating, using three different calculations…

Alex QB Ratings

Now, here's the best - he's thrown effectively, he's an excellent runner, he's done a tremendous job of running a fairly complex offense and in two years he's played in only one losing game, a state quarter-final game.  But he hasn't thrown that much, so he doesn't have  the yardage (forget the wins).   So he won't even be second team all-star in our piddlyass little league.

*********** The Duke-Miami game had to be one of the worst-officiated games I have ever seen, with an ending that resulted in the officials’ suspension.  (In my opinion, a case could be made for their execution.)

I won’t go into the officiating errors that took place on just one play - the ACC itself has done that.

In fairness to the officials, so despicable was the conduct of the Miami players, so nonexistent was the discipline, that even after calling an ACC-record 23 penalties against the Hurricanes, they couldn’t possibly have called every penalty Miami deserved.

As for the injustice of Duke's loss owing to official's incompetence,  there’s no provision in the rules for a reversal of a game’s outcome, but like most of the current rules,  NCAA Rule 1, Article 3, Section B:

“When the referee declares that the game is ended, the score is final.”

was written before instant replay.  Instant replay was intended to correct such travesties as the ending of the Duke-Miami game, and it’s time that the rules are rewritten to acknowledge that.

I continue to be dismayed at the way instant replay fails to correct on-the-field errors, even those seen rather clearly by TV announcers, and the failure of the field officials and the replay officials to get the final, wacko kick return correct is a smirch on the game itself that no suspensions can wipe clean.

*********** It was bad enough the way the Duke-Miami game had to end, but even worse that it benefitted a MIami team that pushed way past the limits of acceptable conduct on the field, seeming almost to dare the officials to keep throwing flags on them.

It was like a return to the old days of The U - the days of quasi-criminal conduct off the field, and deplorable conduct on. The only thing missing in this reincarnation was the talent.

The Hurricanes were penalized an all-time ACC-record 23 times, and no doubt the officials had grown weary of taking Miami to the woodshed when Duke scored what just about the entire free world thought was the winning touchdown, with 3 seconds remaining, and a Miami player kicked the ball in disgust. The officials didn’t call it. In my opinion, they were anxious to get the game over with and  reluctant to stir the pot any further.

Had they made the appropriate unsportsmanlike conduct call, Duke would have been kicking off from 15 yards closer to the Miami goal, and the bizarre multiple-lateral return might never have happened.

*********** When I was in high school - seems like yesterday, honestly - my friends and I could have named for you the world record holders in just about every track and field event up to the mile.

In most cases, we could even tell you what the record was.

Indoor track was very big in the winter, especially in New York.  A chance to see a four-minute mile or a (get ready for this) 15-foot pole vault was sure to pack Madison Square Garden. 

This was before there was any international competition other than the Olympics, every four years.

It was also before we went along with the rest of the world and changed to metric distances.

Professionalism is one thing that’s killed America’s interest in track and field.  Where once new, exciting faces burst on the scene every year, now it’s the same dreary cast, year after year.

Overexposure is another killer. Now,  there are so many meets in so many places that no one can ever say for sure who the world’s fastest human is. 

Equipment has also played its part in diminishing interest in field events. High jump? Consider the port-a-pit.  Dick Fosbury would never have done his Flop if he’d had to land in a pile of saw dust.  Ditto the pole vault, which has also benefited from exotic materials that have allowed for poles that catapault leapers far above the 15 feet considered astounding with aluminum poles.

Consider, too the influence of performance-enhancing drugs in making athletes bigger, faster and stronger.  (And richer.)

There’s another factor that’s seldom mentioned, but it’s the adoption of metric distances.  The 1500 meters (the so-called “metric mile”) generates none of the interest that the mile once did.

What a damn shame that for the sake of an event that takes place once every four years, we adopted international standards, and in the process helped kill a great sport for the other three years.  And the sports media and American sports fans stood by and took it.

Thank God the hoop is still 10 feet from the floor and first base is still 90 feet from home plate.

How long do you suppose the NFL  could get away with shoving  “First and 9.144”  down the throats of the American public?

*********** It’s Black Lion Award time again, and you’re invited to name a player.

Time to write those letters nominating your player.

Here are some things to include in writing your letter:

Examples of his toughness/courage  

Ways that he showed leadership in battle/inspired others to follow his lead  

Ways that he showed that he’s a great teammate

Examples of his unselfishness.

Remember - no “most improved,” no “most inspirational,” no “hardest worker.” None of that consolation prize B-S.

For sure, no backups.  Can't be a Black Lion if you're not out on the field!

(Don Holleder, who inspired the Black Lion Award, was no backup - he was in the thick of things,  on the field and in combat.)

And remember - lay it on.  Don’t hold back. Be as "vocal" in writing to us  as you are when describing your guy to assistants or friends.

(There is absolutely no cost to you to participate in the Black Lion Award program:   )

Ralph and Frank Kush***********  My friend Ralph Balducci was in Tempe to see the Oregon play Arizona State. (Ralph’s son, Alex, is a senior, a starting defensive lineman for the Ducks.)

While there, Ralph had his picture taken outside Sun Devil Stdium,  in front of the statue of a great Wing-T coach, the man who built the Arizona State program almost from scratch - the great Frank Kush.

With our game on Thursday night, and the Ducks on TV, my wife set the DVR to record the Oregon game.  She even allowed an extra 60 minutes in case it went extra-long.

We came home after the game and started to watch, but we finally tired about halftime. By then it was 1:00 or so.

We woke up on Friday and, careful not to listen to any radio sports, started to watch the game from where we’d left off.

Really an exciting game.  Back and forth, back and forth. 

And then, as the Ducks mounted a drive - doink!   There were still maybe five minutes to play and we ran out of time on the recorder.  Talk about pissed.

Imagine our anger when I went online and learned that the game had gone into FIVE overtimes.

At least the Ducks won.

*********** After what I said about my never having the number 69 and never giving out the number 1, I found it interesting to learn during the Temple-Notre Dame game that under Coach Matt Rhule, the Owls reserve single-digit numbers for special guys - “Tuff Guys” - as voted on by the members of the team.

*********** It saddened me greatly to learn of the death of Fred Thompson, former Senator from Tennessee.  Even after he he decided not to run for President, he still struck me as a very good man who would have made an excellent President, a damn sight better than what we've had to live with.

*********** Never bet on a cool-weather team playing an early-season game in the South.

And never bet on a warm-weather team playing a late-season game in the North.

In the former case, for some reason (maybe money?), northern schools allow themselves to be gulled into playing preseason games in places like Louisiana. Alabama. Texas. Florida.  It seldom ends well for the Yankees.

But toward the end of the season, most teams are into conference play, and north-south games seldom occur.

Except, that is, in far-flung conferences with both warm-weather and cool-weather teams.  Among the Big Five conferences, the Pac-12 stands out.

So on a chilly, rainy Saturday night in the Pacific Northwest, Arizona got hammered by Washington, and Stanford escaped being upset by Washington State by the margin of a missed last-second field goal.

american flagFRIDAY, OCTOBER 30,  2015-   "It's better to stay too long than to leave too soon."    Julius Erving

*********** Unless he’s just a dumb ass, I’m willing to bet that Ryan Mallett, a starting NFL quarterback who skips team meetings (“alarm didn’t go off”) and misses team flights (“heavy traffic”), has something far more serious going on in his life than failing to set his alarm clock and not leaving for the airport early enough.

********* Late result from Thursday night's
game - North Beach 60, Ocosta 7. North Beach (9-0) finishes unbeaten for second straight season, and with a first-round bye next week advances to the state Class 2B playoffs starting in two weeks.

*********** For me, the biggest game of the weekend is Notre Dame at Temple.  After years of watching the Owls suffer, either from losses on the field or from civic apathy (they play at Lincoln Financial Field, but at most Temple games, they’re missing 50,000 or 60,000 of the 70,000 usually on hand in the same stadium for Eagles’ games).

I remember as a kid, when Penn (not Penn State, but Penn, the Ivy League school) was really good, going to a  Penn-Notre Dame game and being shocked to discover that there were Notre Dame people there!  And - this was hard for me, a Philadelphia kid to understand - they were rooting against our Quakers!  They were rooting, loudly, boisterously, obnoxiously I thought, for NOTRE DAME.

And, 50 years later, that’s the way it’s going to be Saturday.  Temple’s players and fans will feel like they’re playing an away game in their own stadium.

Well, that’s the way it was when they played Penn State at "The Linc" to open the season - and damned if they didn’t beat the Lions for the first time since World War II.

So, here they are, still unbeaten and playing the Irish for serious national ranking.

Go Owls!

*********** The Australian Rugby Union  put down $300,000 with a bookmaker, betting on their national team, the Wallabies, to win this weekend’s World Cup (they play th New Zealand All Blacks at noon Eastern Time Saturday - I think.  Better check to make sure.  What I do know is that
in the two home countries, the game will take place between midnight and 5 AM ).

The ARU calls it “insurance,” but most others see through the masquerade and call it a bet, many questioning the propriety of a national organization betting on its team.

Should the Wallabies win, the wager will pay the ARU $3,000,000, which in view of the its obligation to pay each of the 33 team members a $100,000 bonus for winning, would be much needed.

*********** A lot has been made of the unusual  number of good NFL quarterbacks who hailed from Western Pennsylvania - Unitas, Blanda,  Hanratty, Hostetler, Kelly, Lujack, Montana, Marino, Namath, Parilli. Six are in the Hall of Fame.

But in a book of memoirs of numerous old Baltimore Colts, former Colts QB great Bert Jones, a native of Ruston, Louisiana, recalls that there were once five guys starting at quarterback in the NFL at the same time - himself,  Joe Ferguson, Terry Bradshaw, James Harris and Doug Williams - who all grew up within 40 miles of each other in north Louisiana.

*********** From New Criterion: 

The William F. Buckley Jr. Program at Yale recently commissioned a survey from  McLaughlin & Associates about attitudes towards free speech on campus.  Some 80students at a variety of colleges across the country were surveys. The results, though not surprising, are nevertheless alarming.

By a margin of 51 percent to 36 percent, students favor their school having speech codes to regulate speech for students and faculty. Sixty-three percent favor requiring professors to employ “trigger warnings” to alert students to material that might be discomfiting. One-third of the students could not identify the First Amendment as the part of the Constitution that dealt with free speech.  Thirty-five percent said that the First Amendment does not protect “hate speech,” while 30 percent of self-identified liberal students say the First Amendment is outdated.

This is the “free” college “education” that a certain Bernie Sanders thinks American taxpayers should provide.  If you happen to be currently employed, you should be grateful for the opportunity to pay for it.  Now - get back to work.

*********** Tom Brady may or may not be one of the greatest quarterbacks ever to play the game (depending on how far you live from Boston), but he sure does come across as sometimes as having roughly the same IQ as owl - - -.

For instance, let’s hear what this guy who makes millions thanks  to the willingness of sponsors to pay to advertise on NFL games has to say about a couple of those sponsors:

“just the fact that they can sell that to kids? That’s poison for kids,”

Mr. Genius was referring to  Coca-Cola.

“You keep eating those things and you keep wondering why we do have just incredible rates of disease in our country.”

That was Dr. Brady, the nation’s self-appointed Nutritionist In Chief  looking down his nose at all the proles out there who think Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes is “actually a food.”

Maybe somebody should remind Dr. Brady that there were days, back  before television (and sponsors), when football players every bit as talented as he made about as much as school teachers, and held real jobs in the off-season.  And married girls named Jane and Martha instead of Brazilian supermodels.

HELMET TO HELMET*********** “Eyes to the thighs, Fellas,” goes the Hawk Tackling mantra.

So last weekend, two players, eyes to the thighs, collided, and this was what it looked like, split seconds after the collision.  That’s Baylor QB Seth Russell (on the left) being "tackled" by Iowa State defensive back Jomal Wiltz.

Russell suffered a fractured cervical vertebra (that’s a broken neck, in layman’s terms) and required surgery.  He’s done for the season.  Lucky, actually, that he wasn’t paralyzed.

I have no idea what happened to Wiltz, but the outcome could have been just as bad for him.

Either way, 
how much longer can this be tolerated?    Just elect me king, and both of the players will be ejected, and any announcers will be fired for using  terms like "nice hit!" when a player leads with his head.

Even if he's trying to make a Hawk Tackle.

*********** Bremerton, Washington is a Navy town, home of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.  It’s about a one-hour ferryboat ride west of Seattle.  (Driving, given the hellish traffic you can run into, takes longer.)

Bremerton has been in the news lately because its spineless school board has been bedeviling (a carefully chosen  word) a Bremerton High football coach named Joe Kennedy who for years has made it a practice to pray at games.

He’s been doing it since 2008, but this year someone complained, and as we all know, if anything the majority does makes even one person “uncomfortable,” well…

So, fearful that someone might sue, the school district  told Coach Kennedy to cease and desist.

He was not even to kneel by himself.  Not on the field.  Not even for 20 or 30 seconds.

When he persisted, he was placed on administrative leave.  But while he can’t coach, he can still attend games and sit up in the stands if he wishes.

(Up to a point, it’s still a free country, right?)

Meantime, something called the Satanic Temple of Seattle has announced that if Coach Kennedy should start to pray after any game…

We’re going to be in black robes, heads covered like Sith Lords. If Joe Kennedy starts to pray, we will begin our solemn march accompanied by a gong to the 50 yard line in a V-formation, with Lilith in front. She will have an incense burner in each extended arm. When we get to the 50 yard line, she hands the incense off to people behind her and begins the invocation… With each sentence the gong will ring.
The invocation will likely end with a repeating “Ava Satanas!” (Hail Satan) lead by Lilith.
We encourage any student or attendee to wear black to show solidarity.

The Satanists claim that they will be attending at the invitation of a Bremerton student.  (Bet that student doesn’t want his/her name getting out.)

Satanists = Christians


Not exactly  what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they drafted the First Amendment.

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

My assistant coaches were looking over your practice planner and we want to know about a couple of drills you listed in there. They are the Triangle drill and the Point of Attack drill. I have never heard of these drills so I could not tell them what they are.


The  triangle drill is a way to teach the QB to look at his playside receivers in order of priority - deep, short, crossing (or, sometimes, short, deep, crossing).

Before the play, we’ll instruct different players to fall down during their routes - either the first one, or the first two, or all of them.  QB, realizing that his first option has “gone down,” immediately fixes on the next receiver, and if he’s gone down, also, he goes to the crossing man.  If he’s also gone down, QB tucks and runs.

The Point of attack drill is helpful when you’re short of players.  In the case of super power, it requires a man for the B-Back to kick out, another for the TE/T to double team, an inside LBer for the wingback to block, and a corner, for the QB to control with his fake.

*********** I feel terrible for Jerry Kill, the University of Minnesota -  and the game of football itself - at hearing that Coach Kill’s problem with seizures has reached the point that he can’t continue as the Gophers’ coach.

Coach Kill was just what the doctor ordered for the Minnesota football program, and his loss, especially at this point in the season, jeopardizes the great job of program building that he’d been doing.

But far worse, at a time when the game of football itself is under attack, Coach Kill, a plain spoken, hard working, regular guy, epitomized the sort of coach the game needs more of.

***********A coach writes, “I think I found our biggest problem on offense.  We just aren’t tough.   I figured it out in the film room this past Monday when we were watching 2 wedge, and my biggest  (and supposedly best) lineman said, “I hate wedge”.  I have never heard a kid say that.  Last year’s group and every team before that asked to run wedge.  That spoke volumes for me as to his toughness.”

I replied…


In all my years and all my travels I have never come across a lineman who didn't love the wedge.

There’s definitely something wrong with that kid. (Maybe somebody's been telling him he has a future in the NFL as a pass blocker.)

Somehow, in order to try to save the kid as a player, you  have to deal with this. With an attitude like that, he's probably not very good on defense, either.

Based on his statement that "I hate wedge” - I have to wonder if maybe he doesn’t really want to play football. Maybe it’s one of those deals where he’s playing mainly because he doesn’t want to disappoint his father.

I personally would confront the kid - with his dad present - and ask him if he really wants to play football.

And then if he says “Yes,” I'd ask him if he was really sure, because I got the impression that something was holding him back.  

If he agrees that that’s the case, I’d go on from there.

But if he doesn’t agree that that’s the case, I'd give him examples that make me wonder, such as his not liking the wedge.  I'd tell him that I’ve never heard of a lineman who didn’t like the wedge - that that’s a dead giveaway that a guy isn’t enjoying playing the game.  

I’d continue and ask him, what are you willing to do to make football more enjoyable for yourself?  (In other words, not what can your coach do - because that’s not his job - but what can the kid himself do.)

If he says, “Whatever it takes,” then you’re on your way.  You have a basis for a working relationship.

If he says "I don’t know," then I’d provide him with a list of things he needs to do, and I’d ask him if he’s willing to do them.

If at any point he  indicates that he doesn’t think he needs to do anything more than he’s been doing, or if he expresses an unwillingness to do anything more, then you have to be blunt, and say, “Then it sounds like you’re saying you’re not willing to do what it's going to take to help yourself and help the team.  Is that right?”

And “That sounds like you're saying you don’t really want to play football.  Is that right?”

Prepare to be shocked.

Ideally, all will go well and you’ll be able to convince the kid that he has potential - but only if he’s willing to pick up his game by doing the things you suggest, and his dad will support you.  

But maybe he’s convinced that he’s already good enough.  Maybe he doesn’t care enough about playing football to do the things that are necessary.   Maybe being told by others that he has potential has become a burden that he’d rather be done with.

Whatever,  you don’t want to have to kick him off.   If he’s going to quit, you want it to be his decision, not yours to force him off.

And by all means, be sure to run this by the AD first so he’s on board.


flagTUESDAY, OCTOBER 27,  2015-   "What this country needs is more unemployed politicians."   Edward Langley

***********  Coach Wyatt,
Heard on Philly radio (93.3 WMMR)  that Temple is now 7-0.  Woo Hoo!! Go Owls!!
Anyway, the radio said that this is the first time Temple has been 7-0 since Pop Warner coach Temple a long time ago.
Any truth to this??
Just curious.
Mike Lane
Avon Grove, Pennsylvania


It's quite possible. Temple was his last stop as a head coach (after Cornell, Carlisle, Cornell again, Pitt and Stanford). His 1934 Temple team was 7-1-2 and played in the very first Sugar Bowl.

*********** Week by week, Saturday night’s game with Life Christian Academy had loomed larger and larger on our schedule.

We were unbeaten, and Life Christian had lost just once, an opening-game 26-25 loss to Raymond, which then had lost only once, to us. Since then, Life Christian had swept through the rest of the league, and its 49-21 drubbing of Rainier, whom we’d beaten by a similar score, really got our attention.

For us, a win would mean a second straight league title and a first-week playoff bye.  A loss would mean a three-way tie that would have to be resolved, by coin toss or  playoff, to determine playoff seeding.

The game was a nail biter for us.

Their QB, Jack Hohimer, completed 26 of 44 for 393 yards and two touchdowns, but on the minus side, Life Christian was able to run for just 84 yards, and we were able to intercept Hohimer twice. 

To answer Life Christian’s 393 yards passing, we rushed 50 times for 445 yards, without committing a turnover, and as evidence that our punishing running game was beginning to wear our opponents down, we scored 24 points in the fourth quarter.

After scoring first, we missed the extra point, and fell behind for only the second time all season when Life Christian scored and kicked the PAT.  We came up short on downs deep in Life Christian territory, and Life Christian scored to go ahead 14-6. We came back and scored, but after missing the PAT once more,  we trailed 14-12 at the half.

That’s the way the score stayed until two minutes remained in the third quarter, when on a fourth-and-four on the Life Christian 43, our QB Alex McAra hit split end Chris Harms on a fade.  We made the two-point conversion to lead, 20-14 after three.

We pulled out to 28-14 early in the fourth quarter, but they answered to make it 28-21. Two straight scores by Saul Gonzalez, who wound up carrying 14 times for 264 yards and touchdown runs of 80, 58, 34 and 8 yards, extended our lead to 44-21, but Life Christian wouldn’t fold, punching  in one more score with under a minute remaining to make the final 44-27.

We're now 8-0 with one game remaining. We're Pacific League champs for the second straight year. Over the last three seasons we're  25-4, and in the last two seasons we're 18-1.  We've scored 421 point in 8 games, which leads the state in all classifications.

Sounds like boasting, I know, but you'd have to see the state the North Beach program was in back in 2011 when we got started to understand the pride we take in what we've accomplished.

*********** It isn't usual for a newspaper the size of the Tacoma News Tribune to send a reporter to a small-school game, but evidently they considered this one important enough...

Gonzalez makes sure North Beach wears 2B Pacific crown

Staff writer
Tacoma News -Tribune

The battle for the 2B Pacific league crown lived up to expectations: It was high scoring.

Both high-powered offenses waited until the second half to ignite, but a 24-point fourth quarter, led by senior running back Saul Gonzalez, gave North Beach the title with a 44-27 victory over Life Christian on Saturday night.

“Our plan is to stack the box, keep eight in the box and stop the run. That’s our plan,” said Life Christian coach Jess Nelson.

Well, it worked for a little bit.

North Beach (8-0, 7-0 2B Pacific) favors the run, to say the least.

“We are a blue-collar type of team. We’ve got five guys on our team squatting 400 pounds in the weight room, fast guys, too,” said Hyaks coach Todd Bridge.

You can’t talk about quickness and speed without mentioning Gonzalez, who had four touchdowns Saturday, three in the second half.

“14 (Gonzalez) is good,” said Bridge. “During our past two games he has scored seven touchdowns. And here’s the great part, he touched the ball only seven times during those games.”

Gonzalez didn’t skip a beat Saturday. His final three touchdowns were back-to-back-to-back. He scored from 8 yards, 34 yards and 58 yards. And his final touchdown was from 80 yards.

“I have to give all the credit to my offensive line,” said Gonzalez. “Without them, none of this was possible.”

The Hyaks scored on their first drive, when Gonzalez and Skyler Wells split the workload. Gonzalez ran for 35 yards on the drive, but Wells scampered left for the touchdown with 7:57 left in the opening quarter.

After a pass interference call on North Beach, the Eagles started in great field position. On the next play, Wyatt Dunlap bounced in for a 1-yard touchdown.

After a failed Hyaks’ fourth-down attempt in the second quarter at the Eagles 17, Life Christian’s Jack Hohimer carved up the North Beach defense, completing six passes for 78 yards, one of them a 26-yard dart over the middle to Dunlap, putting the Eagles up 14-6 with 3:40 left in the second quarter.

It didn’t take much time for North Beach to answer: 1 minute and two seconds and three plays to be exact. Gonzalez started the drive with a 43-yard play to the 8-yard line. He scored off a sweep on the next play.

The third quarter was quiet until North Beach called a passing play, something it only did three times, and scored on it from 43 yards out.

Life Christian showed some life late, but it was too late. Hohimer threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns, both to fellow senior Dunlap (26 and 65 yards).

***********  Our local paper, the Aberdeen Daily World, also sent a reporter...

By Brendan Carl
The Daily World

LAKEWOOD — North Beach locked up its second straight Pacific 2B League championship with a 44-27 win over Life Christian Academy at Harry E. Lang Stadium in Lakewood on Saturday.

The Hyaks rallied back from being down 14-12 at halftime to take the lead in the third quarter and put up 24 points in the fourth quarter. North Beach’s Saul Gonzalez rushed for 264 yards on 14 carries against the Eagles, but the senior came alive in the fourth quarter to score all three of the Hyak touchdowns in the final period. Gonzalez scored on runs from 58, 35 and 70 yards and added an interception in the fourth quarter.

“This (championship) means a lot,” Gonzalez said. “We have been working for this since day one this summer. It’s hard work paying off. Being down at halftime encouraged us to go all out and be a second half team. It wasn’t the coaches, but all of the players encouraging each other.”

North Beach got on the scoreboard first on a 7-yard run by Skyler Wells with eight minutes left in the first quarter, but the Hyaks struggled with the LCA spread offense. The Eagles moved the ball steadily through the air for much of the night and finished with 393 total passing yards. The passing set up a 12-yard run by Wyatt Dunlap to give LCA a 7-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Dunlap scored the next LCA touchdown through the air on a 33-yard pass in the seam to put the Eagles up with just under four minutes to go in the first half.

North Beach responded less than a minute later. After a 43-yard run by Gonzalez, the senior sprinted into the end zone from eight yards out. The Hyaks failed to add the 2-point conversion again and trailed 14-12 at halftime.

Late in the third quarter, it looked as though North Beach’s drive had stalled. With the Hyaks facing a fourth-and-5 play just into Eagle territory, quarterback Alex McAra threw a fade route up the left sideline and senior Chris Harms caught the pass in stride for a 43-yard touchdown. Wells busted through to add the 2-point conversion and the Hyaks led 20-14 at the end of the third.

The Saul Gonzalez show began early in the fourth quarter on a third-and-1 play. Gonzalez followed his blocking past the first down marker and cut back to the left, beating a pair of Eagle defenders to the end zone.

LCA proceeded to put together an 8-play, almost four-minute drive, which ended on a 15-yard run by Ezra Miller, but the Hyak response came 33 seconds later. Gonzalez found room behind the Hyak linemen and made one cut left before racing his was for a 35-yard touchdown. The senior didn’t even need to cut for his third touchdown of the quarter on a 70-yard burst up the middle with 5:46 left to go in the game.

The Eagles added one more score on a 63-yard run by Dunlap, but the Hyaks had put the contest out of reach.

“This is a tribute to how hard these kids work in the offseason,” Hyak head coach Todd Bridge said. “I’m really proud of the kids’ resiliency. They were fantastic. We knocked them down in the fourth quarter and they were checking out of the game.”

North Beach rushed for a total of 445 yards as a team. Wells accounted for 69 yards on 17 carries, while Ben Poplin added 57 yards on 11 carries. Along with Gonzalez, Wells had an interception on the night.

The Hyaks host Ocosta on Thursday to close out the regular season.

*********** Because our opponent, Life Christian Academy of Tacoma plays its home games at a local stadium used by several public high schools, Saturday nights are the only dates available to them, so that’s when we play when we visit them.

Any high school coach who likes Saturday night games ought to have his head examined.  It’s one thing getting high school kids ready for a Friday night game, with the normal school day keeping them busy and their minds occupied.  If it’s a home game, all you have to concern yourself with is the short period of time between the end of school and the time they report to the locker room.  (We deal with that by keeping them on school grounds, and feeding them at about 4 PM.)  If it’s an away game and your shortest trip is 1-1/2 hours, you don’t have too much spare time to worry about.

But what if the kickoff is 7 PM Saturday night?

Allowing for a 2-1/4  hour bus ride to Saturday’s game in Tacoma, we arranged for a 2:45 departure time.

But, partly to make sure they woke up, we brought the kids in at 11:30.  To their credit, every kid was on time. That’s no small deal - some of them live more than 20 miles “up the beach.”

We fed them sandwiches, then after a chalk-talk, we went out onto the field for a walk-through, covering last-minute details and reinforcing several of the key points of the week’s work.

Then, before it was time to board the bus, we went through a pre-away-game ritual that I started back in 2008 when I was the head coach at North Beach: each kid packed his equipment bag in front of a coach, who checked him off after making sure that nothing was missing.  (Painful experience over the years taught me this one.)

Along the way, the kids ate lunches packed for them by parents, and the team arrived at 4:45, 15 minutes ahead of schedule.  (Our bus drivers are good, and they compete for the privilege of driving the team.)

Our backs, receivers, snappers and kickers were out on the field at 5:45, they were joined by the rest of the team  at 6:05, and at 6:40 we returned to the locker room for final instructions.

Between the twin facts that (1) it was our opponent’s homecoming and (2) their quarterback threw the ball 44 times, the game wasn’t over until about 10.

Because our opponent is a Christian school, we joined them for a postgame prayer of thanks, then, with the large number of our fans who’d travelled to watch the game, a North Beach tradition, we formed the “Hyak Circle”: players, students, parents and community members joining hands on the field in a large circle,  chanting the “Hyak Creed.”  Of course it sounds corny to an outsider, but so, maybe, does Hotty Toddy if you’re not from Ole Miss.

Finally, a gathering of the team out on the field, and as onlookers gathered around, Coach Todd Bridge talked to the kids about the importance in football - and life - of fighting through adversity, and then, one by one, our seniors shared their impressions of the game.

The players dispersed to share some time with parents and girlfriends, and then headed to the locker room, where the people from Life Christian Academy had very graciously provided a huge supply of pulled pork sandwiches.

And then departure, at about 11 PM.  ETA in Ocean Shores for the team bus: about 1:15 AM.

Arrival time for the Wyatts in Camas: 1:30 AM.

(Fast turnaround: back to Ocean Shores Monday for 2:30 PM practice.)

This week’s final regular-season game is at home on Thursday night. It’s Senior Night against Ocosta, which has won once.

The game was originally scheduled for Thursday because of the chance that we might have to participate in a three-way playoff the following Monday.  With the need for a playoff out of the way, we tried to change it back to Friday, but something else intervened:  Homecoming Dance.

I may have failed to tell you - we did make the Seattle TV news - that our original Homecoming Dance, scheduled traditionally to take place on the Saturday following our Homecoming Game, was postponed when it became known that a kid at North Beach High had been seen researching automatic weapons and reading about the Roseburg shooting on a school computer, and had been heard muttering something about wanting to “light this school up.”

Last I heard, the kid’s still in jail, but I suppose he’ll be back.

Anyhow, the game’s on Thursday this week.

*********** A major problem with playing weaker teams is that you get spoiled by so much easy success and even though you know better, you still let yourself get lulled into thinking that this is the way it’s always going to be.  So if you’re not careful, it can be a bit disconcerting when you come up against a tough opponent and find yourself having to punt.

A play fails to work, and then another, and you begin to think, “they’ve stuffed us.  They’ve got us figured out.”

Bulls—.  It’s just that they’re a good team, and they’re well-coached, and we’re going to have to slug it out.

The real concern, of course, is that if you, the coach, find yourself thinking this way, what do you suppose your kids are thinking?

Here's where mental preparation comes in. Calling any play you want with reasonable assurance that it’s going to go is simply not reality.

Reality is that not every play is going to work perfectly, and you’re going to have to be prepared to slug it out.

Which means you have to prepare yourself - and your kids and your fellow coaches - for what happens when a play doesn’t go.

It doesn't mean that something's wrong.  It just means that you're in a fight.

Which is why we prepare mentally with the “splitting wood” metaphor.

*********** Our win Saturday night assures us of our second straight league championship - not bad, considering that last year’s championship was the first in our school’s history.

The win, and our league’s number one seed, means we get a first-round playoff bye;  the win also gives us our district’s number one seed, which means a home field advantage until the semifinal and final rounds, which, should we get there, would be played in the Tacoma Dome.


Had we lost Saturday night, we’d have fallen into a three-way tie for first in the league.  While the league’s SOP calls for breaking the tie by a coin flip of the three AD’s involved, it does allow for the possibility of a three-way Kansas Plan playoff, provided all three schools agree.

I can hear them all now - the media types and fantasy fans, the ones who insisted and insisted that we have a college football playoff.   This is America, where things should be settled on the field, right?

Who wouldn’t want a playoff? 

The coaches at North Beach, that’s who.


We would play our final regular-season game this Thursday night;

Then after a light workout on Friday, we’d practice Saturday and Sunday, preparing to meet two different teams on Monday (in our case, one runs a spread, the other a wing-T).

On Monday, we’d meet at a neutral site, with the first one out getting the league’s number three seed and the winner - the last one standing - getting the number one seed.

Then, and only then - about nine o’clock Monday night - would we know who we’d be playing in the first round.

No problem if you finish first - you get that first-round bye. Otherwise, you’ll somehow have to get a plan together in a hurry in time for a playoff game the following Saturday.

Meantime, of course, our kids are expected to keep up with school work.

Finally, most important of all at this point in the season, there's the risk of injury to a key player.

Our thinking, at North Beach, was that the coin toss has many positives, and only one negative, a debatable one at that.

Number one positive?

Reduced risk of injury.

Number two?

Elimination of the chaotic schedule we’d have to deal with between now and the first-round game.

Number three?

If we were to finish second or third in the coin toss, we would know by this coming Friday  - not the following Monday  night - who our first round opponent would be, and we could spend the weekend getting ready.

About the only negative we could think of was the possibility of finishing third.  But that’s also a real possibility if we “settle” things in a playoff.  After all, we wouldn’t be in a three-way tie in the first place if one of those other teams hadn’t already shown it can beat us, right?

Yes, we might not get first round bye, but finishing either second or third, we’d still draw a lower-seeded first-round opponent: a third-place finish would put us up against the fourth-place team ifrom another league, and a second place finish would send us up against a fifth-place team.  In either case, second or third place, we’d get to play that first-round game at home.

Our decision, all things considered,  was to stay with the league SOP and deal with the outcome of the coin toss.

So go ahead and call us cowards.  The point, as I understand it, is to advance in the state playoffs, and you do that with good planning and a healthy roster; playing in a series of Monday night mini-games with little or no time off disrupts planning and jeopardizes our players’ health.  I won't even mention school work.

Fortunately, our kids handled business on Saturday night, so now it’s all academic.

***********  Ironhead Heyward's son can't wear a small, non-intrusive tribute to his Dad -- who died of freakin' brain cancer -- but NFL pros, as well as high school players, have to cover themselves in pink accessories, because...breast cancer?

By the way, kudos to you and Todd for bucking this odious trend.

Shep Clarke
Puyallup, Washington

Thank you for being on our side -  obviously the wrong one in today’s sensitive America.  We’re simply insensitive Neanderthals that don’t get into social causes.

But I guess with all the domestic violence perps wearing NFL uniforms, the League sports pink as Kevlar to keep the feminist activists off them.

While we’re on the subject of what players can and cannot wear, don’t forget that the NFL once refused to let Peyton Manning wear black high-top shoes to honor Johnny Unitas, the greatest Colts’  (at least Baltimore variety) quarterback of all time.

*********** An article by one Laura Frazier in the Portland Oregonian dealt with excessive school absenteeism among the state’s native-American students.

She enlightened her readers with this beauty: “state research has shown that missing too much school is strongly connected with a student’s failure to graduate.”

Wow. The Oregon taxpayers sure are getting their money's worth  with “state research” like that.

*********** With most advertisers pushing the soccer culture ad nauseum (Latin: to where it makes you want to throw up), you’ve got to love that new KIA commercial: “Built for Football Families!”

*********** Hoosic Valley (New York) won the first playoff game in school history Saturday, rushing for 508 yards in defeating Fonda-Fultonville, 42-19.

The Indians (6-2) face Mechanicville next Saturday.


american flagFRIDAY, OCTOBER 23,  2015-   "Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us." Thomas Paine

*********** Win a bet some time by asking which sport is the only one dominated by teams from the Southern Hemisphere.

It’s rugby.

No, not the rugby that they'll play in the Olympics, a sort of Arena Rugby, with 7 men on a side. 

Real rugby,  with scrums and everything.

In the Rugby World Cup semifinals, being played this weekend,  all four teams are from south of the Equator: the Australia Wallabies vs. the Argentina Pumas and the New Zealand All Blacks vs the South Africa Springboks.

The US, where rugby doesn’t enjoy anywhere near the status it does in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa (I can’t speak for Argentina), was  eliminated early.

*********** When I first came to North Beach as head coach in 2008 my first act was to meet with the returning players and some of their parents.  They had had several down years, and several coaches in a few years' time, so it was understandable if they looked on me a bit skeptically.

One of the kids asked me if I had any special plans to build team unity, and I said one of the things that we'd do was to have a team meal before every game.  The kid asked, in all seriousness, “What’s a team meal?”

I explained that it was something I'd always managed to arrange wherever I'd coached, a way to bring the guys together before the game.

I didn't know a soul in the community, and I had to cook the first meal myself - a huge pot of jambalaya - but from that point parents began to volunteer. One mom, Jody Ray, had two boys on the team, and she really saw that our kids were well fed.  (She moved away following that season, but coincidentally she showed up at our game in Puyallup two weeks ago and made it a point to come down onto the field and visit with me.)

I don’t know whether the meals had anything to do with it, but we finished 7-3, the school’s best record in years.

I left North Beach for two seasons, but I came back in 2011 to assist Todd Bridge, who’d been my middle school coach in ’08, and one of the first things he did was to bring back the team meals.

His wife, Chris (like my wife Connie, a great coach’s wife) had to get things started off on her own, but one by one other parents came on board to help.

Now, our small but active group of team parents sees to it that our kids are well-fed before every game.  On road trips, they send them off with something to eat along the way, but before home games, they really go all-out.

Parents sign up  for specific games before the season starts, and there’s a bit of a competition to see who gets the assignment for homecoming and for senior night. Last Friday’s homecoming-game meal was provided by Skyler Wells' dad Shan Teague, who got his bid in early.

Shan, a professional fishing guide, served up salmon steaks, cut from a fish he’d caught earlier that day, and slabs of beef sliced from a prime rib he’d marinated for days.

shan prime ribTavo Muro serving

(Above Left) Sophomore Ben Poplin eyes a slice of roast beef being cut by Shan Teague. 
(Above Right) Sophomore Tavo Muro makes room on his plate for a salmon steak.

seniors homecoming

The seniors gather behind the traditional homecoming cake.

Front row, from left to right: Alex McAra, Skyler Wells, Andrew Wagner, Chris Harms, Coach James Vogler

Back : Coach Hugh Wyatt, Alex Horn, Jonny Law, Tom Poplin, Austin Perez, Saul Gonzalez (standing on a chair), Coach Todd Bridge  

If the jerseys look a little ragtag - no, we’re not a wealthy district, but we’re not that poor. They’re our practice jerseys.   I can’t remember exactly how it started,  but in the five years since Coach Bridge became head coach here, it’s become a tradition to “dress down” - to wear practice jerseys - for our homecoming game.  The first year we did it , we won (very big deal - we were only 3-7 that year) and it's become a tradition. We haven’t lost a homecoming game since it started.

***********   Hey Hugh -

The Ute Conference youth football league in our area has a minimum play rule for all players during a game. The bylaws state that: "Each player must play a minimum of 10 plays in every game. A play is defined as any time the official puts the ballin play." Over the years someone in the league complains that special team play should not be counted as a play in that regard. And the Conference has always ruled that special team play counts. As a head coach in that league I have always coached the special teams myself to ensure the value of those teams and the players on them.

My son is the head coach of a team in Ute Conference this season. He has acquired the same attitude I have taken on special team play. My son keeps track of the number of plays each minimum play player participates in every game. A parent complained to him that her boy didn't get ten plays. When my son showed her the stat sheet she responded that special teams play doesn't count. (She would like the rules to say all players must carry the ball in every game.) She contacted the district Coaches' Liaison who has now told my son that special teams play doesn't count because of the phrase, "A play is defined as any time the official puts the ball in play" and that is only on scrimmage plays he has deemed. My son tried to reason with him but the issue will now need to go to the Conference Board of Directors again for a ruling.

Although I'm confident the Conference will rule again that special team play counts. But I'm dumb founded at the Liaison's logic on this issue. I'm pretty sure, after coaching and studying football for the better part of the last 31 years in the same district, that game officials must signal the ball ready for play after a "dead" ball before the next play can be executed. (note sarcasm).

Thanking you in advance for your comments.

Al Andrus
Salt Lake City, Utah

I think this is stupid, just another branch on the Trophies for Everybody tree.

My friend Coach Kevin Latham  in Decatur, Georgia liked to call it “Make a Wish” football.

Here’s a strange parallel to your situation:

It’s the rule in our state that kids are limited to a certain number of quarters in a season - JV or Varsity.  And I believe it’s still the rule that while appearance in just one play in a quarter counts as a “quarter,” kicking plays don’t count.

Theoretically, in Washington at least, you can let a younger kid play on all of your kicking teams in all of your varsity games - and still play in every quarter of all your JV games.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.  If it’s player safety they’re thinking about, there’s just as much danger playing on kicking teams.

Along those lines, I suspect there are people in the NFL who would like to do away with the kicking game entirely.

*********** Hugh, this article has it all:

 1. Rugby tackling.  AKA arm tackling.

2. A girl displaying situational dominance over a group of young men...boys who should be experiencing football as a rite of passage into full manhood.  This erodes the value of the experience and puts headworms in their young brains.  It's akin to the action movie syndrome of 120-pound supermodels kicking 220-pound commandos through walls....pure BS.  Sure, I could set up a martial arts demo allow that appears to allow PeeWee Herman to take down JJ Watt, but a "live" situation is different from a demo, as many strip-mall black belts have found out to their chagrin.

3. Rugby tackling.  Hasn't anyone noticed that there are no first down yardage requirements in Rugby, so you can duck, wrap and roll with no bad consequences for the team?  What's another 3 yards downfield in a Rugby game?  What's another 3 yards downfield in a football game?

4. Miscellaneous indicators of societal decay.  Single mom BY CHOICE.  Domestic violence.  Same ol' same ol'. You go, grrrrl!

5. Rugby tackling.

I never thought the Cultural Marxists would be able to destroy American sports.  I thought it was too deeply ingrained in our culture, and I thought it would always provide a reservoir of masculinity that our society could draw on in a crisis.  Looks like I was wrong again.

Can you help me find my passport?  I just want to go back to America.

Shep Clarke
Puyallup, Washington

*********** Bob McNair, owner of the Houston Texans, has donated $10,000  to The Campaign for Houston, a group campaigning against something called Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), aka Proposition 1.


The proposed ordinance would outlaw discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, age and assorted other categories, guaranteeing enormous headaches for anyone doing business in Houston (and lifetime job security for every lawyer there).

This can’t go down well with the NFL, because it could undo all the wonderful work done during the Michael Sam period to show how accepting it was of homosexuals.
Obviously,  this calls for sensitivity training for all members of the Texans’ organization.  But I wouldn’t stop there.  If I were Roger Goodell, even before announcing that field goals were now worth just 1.5 points apiece, I would insist that the Texans actively recruit transgender cheerleaders, checking weekly to make sure that all possible sexes are represented.  And I’d require the Texans to  wear lavender tights for the remainder of the season.

*********** Watched Arkansas State against Louisiana Lafayette on Tuesday night.

Talk about entertaining football.

Arkansas State has a great trio of running backs - as good as any Power Five conference team.

*********** Followers of rugby understand that there are two forms - two “codes” - of the game. 

You might call baseball and softball two versions of the same game.

And most of you understand that while essentially being the same game, there are enough differences between Canadian football and our version - which we’ll call “American football” - that we’d call them different “codes.”

Likewise, we have within our game six-man, eight-man and nine-man versions, as well as an indoor variation.

But what’s hard for a lot of people to understand is that there are significant rules variations within the three forms of “our” football -  high school, college and pro - with rules often drawn for different reasons.  The pro game, for example, has done whatever it can to goose the offense, specifically the passing game.

The rules differences often create problems for officials, coaches and players, not to mention members of the media.

In just one example, pros can block below the waist almost anywhere on the field.  Colleges can, too, but with a few exceptions. But the NFHS (high school) rules prohibit blocking below the waist except inside the 8 yards by 6 yards “free blocking zone,” and even there only under certain conditions (both participants in the block must have been on the line at the snap, and the contact must take place before the ball itself has left the free blocking zone - which virtually rules out “cut blocking” by shotgun teams).

But wait - high schools in Massachusetts and Texas employ NCAA, not NFHS, rules, so their game differs from the high school game play in the other 50.

To a high school coach, few rules differences are more annoying than the NFL’s “five-yard chuck” rule, which most high school players - and far too many high school officials - think applies to their game, too, so prevalent is the influence of Big Football.

It sometimes takes a lot to convince a high school kid that it’s okay to contact a receiver more than once, and beyond five yards as well - that in high school football, the presumption is that every play is a running play until the ball is actually thrown, and that even if the line is pass blocking and the quarterback is in the pocket, those “receivers” downfield represent potential blockers, and can be dealt with as potential blockers, until the ball is in the air.

Don’t believe me?  Unless you’ve already dealt with this issue with your kids, ask them how far downfield they’re allowed to hit a receiver.  I’ll bet at least half of them will answer, “Five yards.”

Ask them how many times they can hit him, and I’ll bet at least half will say, “Once.”

*********** One thing that rankles me about a minimum wage - apart from the fact that unless you’re a low-skilled worker who suddenly gets a few more dollars in your pay envelope,  it’s economic fool’s gold - is that it takes away your basic freedom to sell your labor for whatever wage you choose.

Lemme give you an example.

You may not be aware that very few guys get college coaching jobs by mailing out resumes to a number of head coaches.  That's not how it works.

It helps if you know somebody, and if you do, you may be fortunate enough to get a much-craved posiiton as a G.A. - a no pay/low pay graduate assistant.

The vast majority of college coaches start out that way,  not unlike the classic business stories about executives who started out in the mail room.

The work is long and demanding, often menial, and the rewards are few, but the line of guys who want one of those jobs is long, because for some of them,  there’s that pot of gold in the distance - a paid assistantship, and a start up the coaching ladder.

You’d be surprised at the number of guys working for NFL teams for peanuts.  Why?  It’s an internship, a form of “prove yourself” that enables the people in charge to see whether you've got what they need.  Whether you're “their kind of guy.”

Hey - How many of you would jump at the chance to work with a college or NFL team, for next to nothing, on the chance that it might lead to a bigger job, maybe a lifelong career?

I thought so.

Unless you have family obligations, or years invested in a profession, I’d be surprised if you wouldn’t.

So where does the minimum wage come in?  Suppose the feds tell NFL teams (or colleges) that they have to pay their GA’s or interns a minimum wage - and furthemore, they have to pay them overtime when they work more than 40 hours.  (The feds - and the public at large - are undoubtedly  unaware that there's no such thing as a 40-hour week in big-time football.)

Good-bye, graduate assistantships.   Good-bye, internships.

If a minimum wage were imposed on college football programs or NFL teams, you’d no longer have the right to decide for yourself whether to start at the bottom for next to nothing, in the hope of advancing your career.

Oh, no. Nanny state, which knows better than you  what’s good and bad for you, has already decided.

*********** I heard a radio sports genius talking about some promising young athlete and saying, “His future’s in front of him.”

Well, I guess it is.

I may have a few years on that young chap, but my future’s in front of me, too.  Right where it should be.

*********** For the first time in NFL history, after six weeks of play there are five unbeaten teams.

Remember, it’s only been in relatively recent years that  the NFL has had as many as 32 teams, and the figure doesn’t translate to parity, as the NFL would like to think, as much as it does to the reality that there is a handful of good teams and a whole pisspot full of bad  teams.


american flagTUESDAY, OCTOBER 20,  2015-   "Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm; but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.”    T.S. Eliot

*********** OSU really looked good against Penn State Saturday.

I don’t know when I’ve seen the Beavers look better.

They had a couple of really good-looking quarterbacks I hadn’t seen before.  O
ne was named Cardale. 

And then I saw the huge crowd and I realized  that the “OSU” team in those hideous black Oregon State uniforms wasn’t Oregon State at all. 

*********** What can you say about a game that you won, 70-14?

That was the score of the North Beach Hyaks’ win Friday night against Tacoma Baptist, but even more noteworthy than the 70 points was the score at the end of one quarter: 40-0.

Only a week before, a supervisor of officials sitting near us in the press box looked at our 38-0 halftime score and said he was kind of sorry that we’d missed a 2-point conversion because he’d never seen a team get to 40 points - and a running clock - with only five touchdowns.

Too bad he wasn’t on hand Friday night when we did it. In all, it took us 10 plays, on “drives” or 2, 2, 3, 1 and 2 plays, and we scored on Saul Gonzalez’ 40-yard run as time ran out in the quarter.

Although state rules call for a running clock if the margin is 40 points or more at halftime or anytime in the second half, by mutual agreement we went to a running clock midway through the second period.

As a result, the stats are somewhat shortened.  We rushed only 28 times, for 372 yards.  Skyler Wells carried 7 times for 137 yards, and Gonzalez carried just twice for 93 yards and two TDs. Gonzalez also caught two passes, both for TDs.  That’s four touches, four TDs.  He also returned two punts, for 59 and 40 yards.

Alex McAra threw only five times, but his three completions all went for touchdowns of 35, 24 and 21 yards, before we shut down the passing game.  For the season, he’s completed 26 of 44 for 450 yards and 10 touchdowns. He’s thrown just two interceptions and been sacked once.

In seven games, we’ve scored 377 points and given up 57.  In fairness, 21 of those 57 were scored against our JVs.

We’re 7-0, but our next game is certain to be a tough one. We play Life Christian of Tacoma, at their place on Saturday night.  They’re 6-1, coming off a 49-21 pasting of Rainier, whom we beat a week ago 54-22.  They are a spread, no huddle team that throws a fair amount and has a lot of playmakers. 

A win assures us of the league championship for the second straight year and a first-round playoff bye.  A loss drops us into a three-way tie for the lead, to be settled by a three-way Kansas Plan playoff two Saturdays from now to decide who gets the league’s playoff bye.

*********** Michigan’s #69 is a good football player,  but he cost them at least one dumb penalty.

Don't know what else you’d expect from a guy who wants that number.  Think about the ones on your team - it’s almost always some character  with a screw loose.

That's why  I’ve never ordered a set of jerseys with the number 69.

Not that I've never had guys who wouldn't love to wear it.  I just can't see the sense of feeding whatever it is that drives them.

Same goes for the number one.

*********** This is what you get when you hire a former keeker to analyze a football game:

Much-travelled former NFL placekicker Jay Feely, doing the color on the Army-Bucknell telecast, commented on a low block (competely legal, under NCAA rules) that led to a Bucknell touchdown:

“Nice chop block!”

Ah hell, Jay.  Don’t worry about it.  We’ve got officials who don’t know what a chop block is, either.

*********** The play-by-play guy, whose name escapes me, referred to Army’s “gut-wrenching loss” a week ago to Duke.  Uh, fella - the score was 44-3.  Ass-kicking, yes.  Gut-wrenching, no. 

Michigan’s loss to Michigan State was gut-wrenching.

One more thing - he insisted on pronouncing a player’s hometown of Lebanon, PA as “LEB-a-NON.”  It’s like the people who think it’s important that they pronounce Oregon “AHR-i-GON.”

If you ever need to get directions to Lebanon and you’re anywhere close, you’d better say “LEB-a-nin.”

*********** Hoosic Valley, New York, just a few years removed from debating whether to even continue to have a football program, has qualified for the state playoffs for the first time in school history

*********** If there’s anything that represents the decay of the type of football us old farts grew up with, it’s the NFL teams’ routinely  throwing the ball on fourth and short. Or two-point conversions.

Sunday, I watched the Browns throw for it on a  2-point conversion. Incomplete  Given a second chance after the Broncos were offside, what do you think the Browns  did? They threw again. From the 1-1/2.  Incomplete.

Of course, given the crude, rudimentary  running games of most NFL teams, what else can they do? Few of them can trap, and for many of them, with no fullback on the roster, a lead power is out of the question. Don’t even get me started on misdirection, which is sort of impossible with only one running back.

*********** I said after the Super Bowl that Smilin’ Pete’s incredibly dumb call that cost his team the Super Bowl could have serious repercussions.    The Seahawks are now 2-4 and  look like a team that’s coming apart.

*********** Speaking of Smilin’ Pete -

Carolina put on four 80-yard drives Sunday against Coach Pete and his Seahawks.


You guys who bought his line of goods - sure hope Hawk Tackling’s working out better for you than for the Seahawks.

But I doubt it.

*********** I’m not normally what you’d call a conspiracy nut, but I do nurse a healthy skepticism of things as they appear to be.

Which brings me to Donald Trump.

I’ve had my laughs at many of the things he’s said, and I’ve said “Right On!” a fair number of times as he’s shown the cojones to say what many Americans are too timid to say.

But at the same time, he’s done more than any member of the opposing party to insult, attack and discredit his “fellow Republicans.”

Lately, he’s gone after President George W. Bush as the one responsible for 9/11.

Which brings me to my point.

Considering the havoc Trump’s wrought, it’s entirely plausible to me that the guy’s actually a Democrat plant, likely funded by an arm of the Democrat Party.

Why would he do it? 

For the same reason he’s “running for President” (which I really question) as a “Republican.”

For money and for publicity, both of which he craves.

***********John Bothe, of Oregon, Illinois, writes,

I was really impressed with some early season comments from David Shaw after they lost to Northwestern and then won a couple including USC…
"The difference between football coaches and the rest of the sane world, we understand sometimes you don't play well,” Shaw said. “Outside of the football coach world, people look for somebody to blame. It's got to be play-calling or personnel usage, this or that. Sometimes, you just don't play well. We didn't play well the first game, for whatever reason. We got back and got after it.
Did this win quiet the sky-is-falling mentality from fans?

“I have no idea, because, ‘The sky is falling’ didn’t come from us. It came from outside the program,” Shaw said. “We talk about all the time, the positive things and the negative things that come from outside the program, we can’t worry about. We know we’re a good football team, and it’s on us to play like it.”

Coach Bothe also noted that “McCaffrey is a young stud.”

Amen to that.

Christian McCaffrey, Stanford’s running back sensation, is the son of two former Stanford athletes.

HIs Dad, Ed, played football for the Cardinal, then in the NFL for the Giants, 49ers and Broncos, and his mother, Lisa, played varsity soccer at Stanford.

His brother Max plays receiver for Duke.

HIs maternal grandfather, Dave Sime, was at one time the fastest man in the world, holder of a number of world records in the 100y, 100m, 220y, 200m.

My hat’s off to Mr. and McCaffrey.  They’re well-off and they’re well-educated.  I mean, who’s kidding who?  They fit the profile of classic soccer parents.

But instead, their boys play football.

God Bless ‘em.

*********** When is the NFL going to begin counting drops by receivers?  At the very least, it’s a stat that ought to be figured into passer ratings, not only in determining a passers accuracy, but in correctly assigning the responsibility for those interceptions caused when a receiver didn’t make a catch he should have. 

There will be those who will say it can’t be done. (Did that sound like President Obama?) That “it’s a judgment call.”  I'm not buying - for over a hundred years, baseball scorekeepers have been able, successfully for the most part, to make the distinction  between a hit and an error.

*********** Back when I was in high school one of the Philly papers had a guy named Jack Ryan covering high school sports. He was good. The LA Times right now has such a guy in Eric Sondheim.

I still remember the day  Jack Ryan retired, more than 50 years ago. There was a nice article in the paper, quoting him as saying how proud he was that he had never blamed a high school kid - never printed the name of the guy who fumbled, the guy who dropped a pass, the guy who missed a tackle.

That lesson stuck with me. I'm certainly not perfect, and I’ve been accused of a lot of things, but throwing a kid under the bus will never be one of them.

We think that one of the most important things we can do as coaches is to earn our players’ trust, and one of the first things we do to earn it is to assure them that we win as a team and we lose as a team, and no matter what happens out on that field, we will never point the finger at anyone. 

Which brings me to Jim Harbaugh.

No doubt you’re aware of the ending of the Michigan-Michigan State game, a shocker on the order of the Alabama-Auburn game a few years ago.

It was a monumental coaching error by Mr. Harbaugh.  But you'd never know it, listening to him.

Having stopped what everyone in the world thought was Michigan State’s final thrust when the Spartans threw incomplete on fourth and 19, Michigan ran off all the clock they could until calling a time out on fourth down, with ten seconds remaining.

Michigan led, 23-21.

The ball was at midfield. On about the MSU 48.  Remember that.

Think about all the options they might have considered, in order of risk:

1. Take a snap and take a knee. 
(This one has the fewest moving parts.) Time elapsed: maybe four seconds.  The ball is downed at midfield (assuming a two yard loss), where it’s now Michigan State’s ball, six seconds to play.  A 67-yard field goal would be out of the question.  A pass into the end zone would have required the MSU QB to set up and throw from seven yards or more on the other side of the 50, meaning a 57-yard heave just to reach the goal line.   (If he has the time.)  After having stopped the Spartans on a 4th and 19 mere minutes earlier, wouldn’t the Wolverines be prepared to stop this one?

2. Take a snap and hand off to a running back.  Google Miracle at the Meadowlands to see what can happen.

3. Take a snap and run around to try to run time off the clock.  Doubtful that you could run off ten seconds, so wherever MSU gets the ball, they still have time for a field goal or a Hail Mary. And they’ll be closer to your goal line than in #1 (Take a Knee).

4.  Punt the ball. 
(The one with the most moving parts.) Come on - think of all the variables that have to go right.  You have to have a good snap… the punter has to catch the ball… He has to get the punt off without its being blocked… And so on.   To me, this is only an option if you’re backed up and have to kick the ball out of field goal range.

But when they came out of the time out, the Wolverines chose #4  and came out in punt formation.

And you all know what happened.

And then Harbaugh came out afterward and told the media that “A mistake was made.”

Really, Coach?  Whose mistake?

Well, based on the rest of his comments,
clearly not his:

“(The punter) said after he bobbled it, he still thought he could get the ball kicked. But it was a mistake, mistakes were made. It wasn't fielded cleanly, and once you bobble it a few times, he should've just fell on it.”

Nice, coach.  Put it on the kid.  Not the guy who called for the f—king punt.

How could it have hurt the Great Harbaugh if he’d simply said, “In retrospect, I shouldn’t have called for the punt?”

I guarantee you that out on the recruiting trail, opponents will be sure to point out to recruits that if Coach Harbaugh will do that to his punter, he’ll do it to them, too, if they ever screw up.

Here’s an original quote from me: “When you speak without taking the time to think about what you’re about to say, you’re liable to reveal your true character.”

One funny note: Given the way Michigan fans lord their vaunted academic superiority over MSU,  I can see Spartans everywhere having plenty of fun with that ungrammatical “should have fell on it.”

*********** Nice, Michigan, nice.

Out of 111,000 people on hand at the game and millions of others watching on TV or listening to radio, there had to be some douchebags in the lot, and they confirmed it for us by sending hate mail to the Michigan punter.

Man, wouldn’t I like to have each of those a**holes, one at a time, stand back in punt formation against 11 Michigan Staters.  Hell, I'd like to put them through a pracice at North Beach.

*********** DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN read the headline in a Chicago newspaper, printed the night before when it appeared certain that Thomas Dewey would surely have defeated Harry Truman when people woke up the next day and read their morning paper.  Alas, it didn’t happen as expected.  Truman pulled the upset, and those headlines earned their creators a place in history.

And then there was the Grand Rapids, Michigan radio guy who, with Michigan leading Michigan State, 23-21 with 10 seconds to play, got the jump on his competitors and broadcast his game wrap-up early, telling everyone out there in Grand Rapids that the Wolverines had finally ended their long string of losses to the rival Spartans…

Old journalistic axiom: Get it first - but first get it right.

*********** There’a already a rumor out that USC is interested in the Saints’ Sean Payton.

I think he’d be a very good coach there, but I’d be shocked to learn that an NFL coach in his position would consider a job that requires pandering to teenage boys with rapidly growing egoes.

Expect to hear lots of names mentioned. By their agents, mostly. It's a great way to get some nice contract extensions, not unlike an NFL owner who'd like the taxpayers to build him a new stadium starting a rumor that another city is interested.


american flagFRIDAY, OCTOBER 16,  2015-   "No athletic director holds office longer than two losing football coaches."  Bob Zuppke, legendary Illinois coach (quote compliments of Tim Brown, Athens, Alabama)

*********** You East Coasters who didn't stay up past midnight to watch the Catch of the Year by Stanford’s Francis Owusu - don’t worry.  It happened on ESPN, and that means you’ll be watching it. And watching it. And watching it. Over and over and over.

But that’s okay - it was that good. The play itself was so cool, and the catch so incredible (he was being mugged as he made it) that it belongs in the Pantheon of Plays along with Doug Flutie’s Hail Mary, and may even erase the stigma of a certain Cal kickoff return through the entire Stanford team and most of the Stanford band.

*********** The Monday night football game between the Steelers and the Chargers began as a near-farce.  Penalty after penalty after penalty, combining the players’ lack of discipline and the coaches’ unwillingness to do what’s necessary to prevent them.  And, of course, The League’s complacent, myopic belief that there’s nothing wrong with its product.

I haven’t been a fan of pro football for a long time, but I’m nevertheless drawn to its games, like a moth to a flame, hoping against hope that I’ll see some real football break out. 

It seldom happens. Mostly, I change the channel, shaking my head at the colossal waste of talent that the NFL seems willing to tolerate.

Sunrise at OS

You're free to believe what you want, but when I see something like this - Thursday morning's sunrise, exploding over the dune grass as I stand on the beach at Ocean Shores -   I have no trouble believing that it's the work of God.

*********** Saturday, October 17, will be the 48th anniversary of the Battle of Ong Thanh, in Vietnam.  On October 17, 1967,  in jungle north of Saigon,  two companies of the 2nd Battalion of the 28th Infantry - the Black Lions - were ambushed by a Viet Cong force that outnumbered them 10 to 1.

Roughly 150 Americans fought in the battle, against an enemy force of at least 1400, and at the end of the day, few Americans were not casualties: 64 were killed in action, 75 were wounded, and two were missing in action. 

It was a day that produced incredible acts of heroism, much of it recounted beautifully and poignantly by author David Maraniss in his prize-winning “They Marched Into Sunlight,” which I highly recommend for anyone wanting to know what the war was really like for American grunts on the ground.

Among those Americans killed that day was former Army All-American football player Don Holleder, whose leadership 12 years earlier in Army’s win over Navy had earned him a place on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Don Holleder died in the arms of my friend, Army medic Tom "Doc" Hinger, who  was awarded the Silver Star for his actions that day.

By remarkable coincidence, October 17 happened to be the birthday of Dick Stephenson, Don Holleder’s teammate and friend at West Point, who would go on to become an Air Force General, and President of the Army Football Club.

Don Holleder’s story, and the heroism of the Black Lions that day,  were the inspiration for  the Black Lion Award.

*********** From the Philadelphia Inquirer,  Saturday, December 3, 2005

Army's Holleder delivered where he was needed

He led on the ball field and the battlefield.

By Frank Fitzpatrick
Inquirer Staff Writer

In 1955, he had been the improbable quarterback in Army's improbable upset of Navy. Twelve years later, heading into a Vietnamese jungle, into the smoky heart of a battle he did not have to join, Maj. Donald W. Holleder was running again.

"I couldn't keep up with him," recalled Tom "Doc" Hinger, an Army medic during that bloody October 1967 clash with North Vietnamese regulars in Ong Thanh. "His legs were churning. He just looked back and yelled, 'C'mon, Doc, there's wounded in there. Let's go get them.' "

Hinger, who had retrieved several injured colleagues already, got close enough to the powerfully built officer to see a sniper's bullet fell him. The medic lifted Holleder's head into his arms and watched the big man die. The father of four young daughters was 33.

This afternoon's Army-Navy game at Lincoln Financial Field will mark the 50th anniversary of that 14-6 Cadets victory that Holleder led and inspired. That game and his heroic death have combined to make Holleder, little known beyond West Point, an Army legend.

His name, which can be found on an Arlington National Cemetery gravestone and on Panel 28, Row 25, of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, lives on elsewhere, too.

The military academy's athletic center bears his name. So does a plaque in the National Football Foundation's Hall of Fame. And the Army football team's Black Lion Award, presented earlier this week to backup tailback Scott Wesley, honors Holleder and the Black Lions of the Second Battalion who died along with him that distant day.

There is resonance in his story because his final moments - ordering his helicopter pilot to land, jumping from the craft and sprinting toward his wounded colleagues - so closely mirrored the attributes he displayed on the football field that season a half-century ago.

"People just expected Don Holleder to excel," said Jim Shelton, a retired Army major who served with him in Vietnam and scrimmaged against him at West Point as a Delaware linebacker. "And he expected the same thing of himself."

Tall, handsome, a three-sport star at Aquinas Institute in Rochester, N.Y., crew-cut Don Holleder was an all-American boy and an all-American end for a 7-2 Army team that had the nation's leading offense in 1954. But quarterback Pete Vann was gone in 1955 and coach Earl "Red" Blaik needed a replacement. He turned, almost inexplicably, to Holleder.

The 6-foot-2 200-pounder had never played in the backfield. He understood that the switch would cost him his all-American status and expose him and his coach to criticism. But, after sleeping on Blaik's unusual proposal, Holleder agreed.

"He understood self-sacrifice," said Hugh Wyatt, a high school football coach in Camas, Wash., who once was the personnel director for the World Football League's Philadelphia Bell and who conceived the idea for the Black Lion Award. "In Vietnam and on the field he was willing to do whatever was best for his team."

The criticism came. Heading into the season-ending Nov. 26 game with Navy, Army was a disappointing 5-3. Blaik was ridiculed for the peculiar move and Holleder, who threw just 63 passes the entire season, completing only 22, was labeled one-dimensional.

Holleder himself heard fellow Cadets criticizing his play and even Lt. Gen. Blackshear Bryan, the academy superintendent, made it a point to tell Blaik how much heat he was getting over the quarterback.

"He couldn't throw," Shelton recalled. "He would just roll left or roll right and run it himself. But he was a load to bring down. Tackling him was like trying to tackle a horse. And after you did, he got up kicking and swinging."

He was someone, as author David Maraniss noted in his book, They Marched Into Sunlight, which focuses on that 1967 Vietnam battle, "people either loved or hated."
But Blaik demanded and prized toughness above all else. He stuck with his tough QB.

"Holleder was a natural athlete, big, strong, quick, smart, aggressive, a competitor," Blaik wrote in his 1960 autobiography. "I knew he could learn to handle the ball well and to call the plays properly. Most important, I knew he would provide... leadership."

Navy, with a 6-1-1 record and the nation's top passer, future Midshipmen coach George Welsh, was a clear favorite when they arrived in Philadelphia.

The night before the game, Blaik gathered his team at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel and told them he was wearying of those long postgame walks to shake hands with winning coaches.

"That walk tomorrow, before 100,000 people, to congratulate [Navy coach] Eddie Erdelatz would be the longest walk I've ever taken in my coaching life," he said.

There was silence in the room. Then Holleder spoke. "Colonel," he said, "you're not going to have to make that walk."

No one in a sun-splashed Municipal Stadium crowd of 102,000 - President Eisenhower didn't come, but Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren was among the 37 trainloads of spectators who arrived in Philadelphia for the game - was surprised when the Midshipmen took the opening kickoff and drove 76 yards for a touchdown and a 6-0 lead.

Holleder and Army couldn't do anything offensively and Navy looked to add to its advantage. But it was Holleder - in those days of no-platoon football, the offense played defense, too - who kept them from doing so.

He knocked down a fourth-down pass to end one Navy drive and forced a fumble at Army's 13 to stop another.

In the second half, with Holleder now running the ball and confidently directing the offense, Army scored twice to take a 14-6 lead that held up.

Afterward, Gen. Douglas MacArthur was so ecstatic that he sent a gushing telegram to Blaik.

"No victory the Army has won in its long years of fierce football struggles has ever reflected a greater spirit of raw courage, of invincible determination, of masterful strategic planning and resolute practical execution."

A week later Holleder became the only quarterback to appear on Sports Illustrated's cover following a game in which he failed to throw a single completion. One of his two passes was intercepted and the other should have been.

After graduating in a 1956 academy class that included Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, Holleder went on to an outstanding career as an infantry officer and even served for three years as an assistant football coach at West Point.

On Oct. 17, 1967, as he sat in a helicopter helplessly observing the closing stages of a North Vietnamese ambush that would kill 58 Americans, Holleder was, in Maraniss' words, "an untamed mustang."

He badgered his commanding officer until Holleder finally got permission to land. The major leapt from the chopper, grabbed a .45 pistol and some nearby soldiers, including Hinger, and made for the bloody jungle.

"He was running hell-bent when automatic-weapons fire got him," said Hinger, who like Shelton is retired and living near Sarasota, Fla. "Then, a moment or so later, he died in my arms. It's funny, I only knew Don Holleder for about two minutes. But that was long enough to know what kind of man he was."

*********** One of the books I’m reading at present is “Sundays at 2:00 with the Baltimore Colts,” a collection of reminiscences by Vince Bagli and Norman L. Macht of members of the great Baltimore Colts’ teams of the 1950s and 60s.  I lived in Baltimore from 1961 to 1966 and I grew more attached to those Colts teams than any others in my life. It’s impossible to describe accurately the hold that the Colts had on that town.  The book was published in 1995, and the fact that many of the guys quoted are now dead makes it all the more poignant for me.

One of the things that made those teams so great was that the guys truly liked each other, and their closeness didn’t diminish over the years.   Another thing that made them great was that their owner, Carroll Rosenbloom, treated the players well and encouraged them to make their homes in Baltimore year-round.  They lived in the community and they were seen as fellow Baltimoreans, who really cared about the fans. (They weren’t yet making the kind of money that enabled them to live in gated communities.  In fact, many of them held off-season jobs, another way that helped people get to know them as real people.) 

I enjoyed especially reading defensive end Ordell Braase’s (it was pronounced “Bracey”) story about Gino Marchetti’s now-famous inspirational pregame speech.  (For the historically-impaired, Hall of Fame defensive end Gino Marchetti was a perennial All-Pro who was named to the NFL Team of the Century.)

To me the most memorable event of that season (1957) was the locker room speech before the game at Washington. We knew we were a good team but after the Detroit loss we had lost the next two to Green Bay and Pittsburgh, two lousy clubs. This was the year Weeb (head coach Weeb Ewbank)  had to win or be a contender and it didn't look like we were going anywhere. We were 3-3 after six games.

So just before game time at Griffith Stadium Weeb stands up and says “We’re not out of it yet, but we’ve got to have this game.   Just before I came up here, Gino Marchetti asked if he could say something to the team.”

Ginos sitting way in the back.  He says, “Who the hell told him that?”

Weeb says, “Everybody else out - coaches, trainers, equipment guys. Just the players.  Gino’s going to say something to the team.”

Gino knows nothing about all of this. He walks up in front of the team, looks around, and says “Everybody know the party after the game’s at my house?”

“Yeah, Gino.”

“Ten dollars a couple.  Everybody know how to get there?”


“Well let's go out and win this game.  We’ll have a lot more fun if we win it.”

We went out and won it, 21-17.

Next day in the newspapers, “Colts spurred on by inspirational speech by Marchetti.”

*********** Seeing James Webb in the lineup for Tuesday’s Democratic “debate” made me wonder once again what a guy like that is doing as a Democrat.

He’s a graduate of the US Naval Academy and a veteran of combat in Vietnam as a Marine Platoon Leader. For his heroism in Vietnam, he was awarded the Navy Cross, second only to the Medal of Honor in the Navy and Marine Corps.

In addition, he was awarded the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts.  (Are you listening, Lord Kerry?)

He has a distinguished career as a faculty member at Annapolis, as Secretary of the Navy under President Reagan, and as Senator from Virginia.

And also as an author.

I highly recommend his “Born Fighting -  How the Scots-Irish Shaped America .”

It is good reading, about an ethnic group whose extraordinary contributions to our nation’s government, its economy, and its defense few Americans are aware of.

*********** Forget those obnoxious DraftKings and FanDuel commercials.  The fantasy fraud is far uglier than those things.

All those guys on TV who tell you how much money they’re making?  Horsesh—.  There’s a good chance that those “ordinary guys” actually work for one of the two fantasy companies.

Odd are also good that they’re pros, using special automated programs that allow them to change thousands of lineups in a matter of seconds.

Look- when NINETY-ONE percent of the winnings are going to ONE-POINT-THREE per cent of the players, wouldn’t you smell a rat?

Maybe you would, but not the fools who still believe in free lunch.

The DOJ and FBI are investigating, which means… who the hell knows?

There are some major players with a lot at stake here.

The TV networks want the companies to survive - in case you hadn’t noticed how much money they’ve been spending on TV time.

And so do such major investors in the draft sites as Major League Baseball,  the NBA, NBC, Comcast, Fox and NFL team owners Robert Kraft of the Patriots and Jerry Jones of the Cowboys.  Disney is said to have decided against investing, but what the hell - considering the money the two companies are spending on commercial on ESPN, who needs to invest?

(Remember how much the NFL hates gambling?  Well - hold onto your hats - this isn’t considered gambling. It's currently considered a game of skill.  Yeah.  Sort of like the wheel at the carnival.)

But if I were an investor, I wouldn't  worry.   Yes, the politicians are making noise, but that usually means they’ll settle for generous contributions to their campaigns.

*********** David Gillin, a friend of my son, has had a number of jobs in show business, most of them owing to his great sense of humor.  He’s the first I’ve heard refer to the former head coach at USC as Cutty Sark.

Once, when negotiating a contract with Portland's KGW-TV, he insisted on an escape clause allowing him to be released if he were offered the head football coaching position at Notre Dame.

**********How are you. I've been using your system for 15 years. Bought all your stuff. Are you running out of the shot gun now? (Dbl wing.) I haven't made that jump yet but have thought about it. If so do you have any new materials on it?

Chad Harkins

Hi Coach-

Nice to hear from you.  You still in Louisiana?

I’m running some pure Double Wing and some “Open Wing” shotgun with a TE/Wing on one side and Twins on the other.

We go back and forth but right now we’re doing really well running mostly plain old Double Wing.  We’re 6-0. We’ve scored 307 points and depending on which poll you believe, we’re ranked either 2 or 3 in the state.

No new materials yet, but I plan on having some.  If I ever find time.

*********** Portland State’s Bruce Barnum has been given a five-year contract!

*********** It appears that there’s a new trend taking place in college football - dumping head coaches during the season in order to get a head start on finding a replacement lest the school misses out on recruiting while it’s searching for a coach.

For various reasons, three Big Five conference coaches - USC, South Carolina and Maryland - are now without head coaches, which means they’re free to start looking for their new guy.

It wouldn’t bother me at all if USC were to continue its pattern of snipping branches off the Pete Carroll coaching tree.  I mean, Kiffin and Sarkisian did so well…

South Carolina?  I’ll miss Steve Superior, but only because of some of the outrageous things that he’s been known to say.  Overall, though, I haven’t seen much to counter what I heard a guy who knew him from his days when he played for the 49ers: “Steve Spurrier’s an a**hole.”

Maryland?  I’m not going out join a limb in predicting  that athletic director Kevin Anderson, who has built his career on nothing more than deluding the people at West Point and then Maryland into hiring him, will screw things up. One of his first acts at Maryland, recall, was to fire Ralph Friedgen.  Marykand has not been an easy place to win, yet Friedgen was 75-50 in ten years there, took the Terps to a 9-4 finish in 2010 - following which he was dismissed.  (Only a month before the firing, Anderson had announced Friedgen would be back.)

Randy Edsall, Anderson’s hand-picked successor to Friedgen, came off a successful run at UConn, but had rough going at Maryland. He didn’t finish with a winning record until his third year at College Park, but then after back-to-back 7-6 seasons, he was off to a 2-4 start this year when Anderson axed him.

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

I've been at this for a while (23 years coaching high school football), and while I cannot match your breadth of experience, I figure I've seen a lot.  And then Friday night happened.

We played the Farmington Farmers, our neighboring rival, with both of us undefeated in the conference.  Honestly, we were/are the physically superior team, but as you know, things happen sometimes.  So, here's the story...

The final score was 77-64.  The Trojans scored nine rushing touchdowns, a passing touchdown and an INT for a touchdown.  We were 1 of 2 kicking PAT and converted another five for two points.  Offensively, we rushed 57 times for 531 yards and were 2 of 3 passing for 40 yards.  Defensively, not so much.  The Farmers were 17 of 39 passing for 318 and 3 touchdowns (3 INT).  They rushed 35 times for 334 yards and 4 touchdowns.  Their quarterback, Steven Gilstrap, had a night for the ages:  he accounted for all passing stats and rushed 15 times for 245.  One receiver accounted for 300 of their receiving yards.  Additionally, the Farmers onside kicked eight times, seven of which we recovered.  There were 54 points scored in the fourth quarter!

The fans loved it.  The cost of admission was worth it.  As a coach, well, I don't ever want to do that again.

We are now 6-1, have secured a place in the state playoffs and have won five consecutive conference championships.  

Good luck to the Hyaks this week.

Todd Hollis
Elmwood High School
Elmwood, Illinois


Wow. All I can say is, Congratulations on the win and the playoff spot.  And thank God for your offense.

That had to be scary as hell.

I can only say I hope for your sake that if you meet in the playoffs it’s windy and pouring rain.

Good Luck next week!


PS- I remember going through Farmington some 25 years ago.  There was a bar on one of the corners of the main intersection, and because evidently Farmington was something of a dividing line between St. Louis and Chicago, the outside of the bar on one street was painted Cardinals’ red, and around the corner, the outside was painted Cubs’ blue and red.  We stopped in and had one.


flagTUESDAY, OCTOBER 13,  2015-   "A good coach makes his players see what they can be, rather than what they are."  Ara Parseghian, Notre Dame Hall of Fame Coach

*********** I watched a Wisconsin field goal attempt hit the upright with some 1:30 left and figured that Nebraska was finally going to win a close one at the end.

But the Badgers had three time outs, and when Nebraska couldn’t make a stinking time out (!) they got the ball back with more than a minute to play.

They drove into field goal range, made it, and sent Nebraska to their fourth loss - four losses by a total of 11 points, all in the closing moments.

Mount Rainier from Puyallup

*********** We played on Thursday night last week, at Chief Leschi High in Puyallup, Washington, where I shot the photo above.

Puyallup (pew-AL-up) is named for the Puyallup tribe, the original inhabitants of the Puyallup Valley;  Chief Leschi is their tribal school.

The campus, on the valley floor, offers a fantastic view of Mount Rainier, some 50 miles to the east.

*********** At North Beach, we’re off to a 6-0 start.  

This season, after a couple of big early wins running our Open Wing against weaker teams,  it became apparent to me that while we were pretty good running the Open Wing, as a Double Wing team we had a shot at a state championship.

Fortunately I’d never abandoned the Double Wing. We spent time on it every day, and about this same point last season, we’d begun blending it in with our Open Wing.  Originally it ws intended as a surprise, as a changeup,  but in the playoffs it became a staple, and it served us well.

Three weeks ago, although we’d scored 159 points in our first three games running the Open Wing,  I made the decision to go primarily Double Wing. Other than aesthetics - the Open Wing really is cool - it wasn’t a tough call.  We had three good wingbacks, one of whom, as our slot back, hadn’t been getting enough carries… A good-sized B-Back (6-1, 220) who can block and is a decent runner…  A smart, fast QB who throws well, and who knows the footwork…  Three pretty good tight ends who can block and catch…  Good-sized, athletic linemen who already know all the techniques and the blocking rules - because they’re the same for Open Wing and Double Wing. 

And - maybe most important of all - because the Double Wing’s been out of fashion for a few years now, a lot of opponents have never seen a decent version of it.   (I can only imagine what it’s like for them, having to teach it to a scout team in a couple days of practice.) 

Now, running double-tight, double wing more than 90 per cent of the time, we are tearing it up like the early days.

In the last three games, two of which were against a couple of the top teams in our league, we’ve rushed 112 times for 1349 yards and 18 touchdowns.

In six games we’ve outscored opponents 307-43.  (We play pretty tough defense, too.)

Thursday night, we won 60-0, over Chief Leschi. We scored the first two times we touched the football.   Overall, we rushed for 507 yards on only 30 carries.  (Our JVs got a third of the carries; our varsity backfield got just 20 carries, good for 369 yards and six TDs.  Our starting A Back, Saul Gonzalez, touched the ball only three times on offense, but all three were good for touchdowns - runs of 82 and 41 yards, and a pass reception for 35.

Those of you who’ve attended on of my clinics may remember my quoting Papa John:  "the main thing is to make the main thing the main thing.” (Concentrate on the things you do best.)

To show how closely we adhered to Papa John’s advice, 30 of our 34 plays were runs, and 20 of those 30 runs were Super Powers.

We threw just four times, completing two passes, one for a TD. We ran 4 wedges, one trap, 3 G’s, one Sweep and one Keep, which amounted to one third of our running plays.  The rest, two thirds of our ground game were Super Powers, right and left.  For the first time in my memory, we didn’t run a single counter.

*********** Watching Tennessee come out in those dreary-ass gray uniforms, It's depressing to think of the control that college athletic departments have ceded to apparel companies.

But nice win all the same, Vols.

***********  With under a minute to play and a chance to tie Michigan State, Rutgers spiked the ball on fourth down, never a good idea, and the Scarlet Knights  lost to the Spartans.

Where was the Rutgers head coach while this went down?  Why, watching the game on TV somewhere.  Presumably. 

He’s currently on suspension for contacting a faculty member about a player’s grade.

*********** Mike Leach comes across as not particularly intense, but my friend Ralph Balducci was at the Oregon-Washington State game, and he said that when the Cougars’ offensive line screwed up, Leach had them doing up-downs when they came off the field.

LSU DW*********** Got an email Saturday from longtime Double Winger Mike Benton, in Colfax, Illinois - said he'd just seen LSU score running from Double Wing.  I quickly rewound, and damned if LSU didn't line up in a Double Wing with Fournette at A Back… Sent Fournette in Rip motion, and punched it in from the four with a 2 Wedge.

Not a great wedge, by our exacting standards, but plenty good enough for defenses that never see our kind of football!

PS- Coach Miles said he'd love to hear from any of you who have some good Double Wing plays for him to run next week. (Please don't tell him who told you to do it.)

***********Hey Coach Wyatt, I am a 26 year HS assistant in North Carolina, Bud Vinson. I coached my previous years at a middle school and ran the double Wing and loved it and was very successful. Got a job at a HS on the coast and they run the wing-t veer offense. I'm hoping to become a head coach one day and with out thinking twice I know I'm going to run the double wing. I was wondering how you felt about incorporating some triple option or double dive plays into the double wing without having to worry about putting to much stuff in and getting away from the double wing principles.


Glad you like the Double Wing.

There are some options that we can run, but they are double options (keep or pitch).  And they are options that don’t require a lot of reps.  

The problem with any kind of triple option is that we don’t have the splits that a true option offense requires, and if you were to widen your splits to attempt to run option, you wouldn’t be able to run much of a double wing attack.

You can’t do everything.  My advice is to choose one and run it as well as you possibly can so that the opponents can't replicate it while they’re getting ready to play you.

Good luck and I hope you get that job.  When you do, get in touch.

*********** Coaching Job of the Week Award goes to Charlie Strong of Texas.  Despite what had to be a horrible week of dealing with last Saturday’s massacre at the hands of TCU, he had his Longhorns ready to play Saturday, and they beat a good Oklahoma team in convincing fashion.


The Bills’ kickoff was mishandled and left the Titans pinned inside their own five.  Uh-oh  A guy on the Bills’ coverage team was offside.  Re-kick.

It was overtime, and Washington State threw a bubble screen.  The Oregon defender came up and made the tackle on the sideline - then threw the Coug to the ground, out of bounds.  Half the distance, followed shortly by a WSU TD.

Ed Orgeron*********** My friend Josh Montgomery, who coaches at Morgan City, Louisiana High, was killing time before the game Friday night at South LaFourche High when he came across this photo in a plague in the hallway…

You have to wonder, with Sark headed for rehab (or whatever), how those pompous asses at USC feel now - the ones who argued that Ed Orgeron, the rough, tough Cajun who showed them how to win, didn’t fit the image they desired in their head coach.

Yeah, some image.  First Kiffin and now Sarkisian. (Both Pete Carroll assistants, by  the way.  You know - the guy who gave us Hawk Tackling.  The guy whose cheating got  USC sanctioned.  The guy whose cheating cost Reggie Bush a Heisman Trophy, and his school the Grantland Rice Trophy, then skipped off to sanctuary of  the NFL.)

Wrote Bill Plaschke of the LA Times, "Carroll says he didn't know about the Bush violations. That now seems impossible... ...he made $33 million from violations that will cost his old school its reputation, and folks here will never look at him the same."

Yeah, but that haircut.  And that smile! That's the image they're looking for.

Meanwhile, up in the Northwest, Washington Huskies fans are thanking their lucky stars that Sarkisian was seduced by the bright lights of Los Angeles.

***********  While scouting a small-school Washington high school game Friday night, I saw the Ivory-billed woodpecker of football penalties: saw “Helping the Runner.”

It’s right there in the rule book: Rule 9, Section 1: “An offensive player shall not push, pull or lift the runner to assist his forward progress.”

I felt like a birdwatcher seeing the rarest of birds. An Ivory-billed woodpecker  perhaps (actually, they're extinct).  Maybe a whooping crane.

In a coaching career that dates back to 1970 and includes hundeds of games coached and watched,  this was just the second time I can remember seeing it called.   (The other time was against us, four years ago, when we scored on a wedge from the one,  and an official figured that someone in our wedge had to be pushing on the runner.   For the record, we make sure that our kids know it’s against the rules.)

But God knows it wasn’t the second time I’d seen the foul committed. It’s as common as holding, or blocking in the back on kick returns. I doubt that you can watch a game nowadays without seeing at least one  example of a teammate “pushing, pulling or lifting” a runner “to assist his forward progress.”

Even TV guys notice, but they point to it as a great example of helping a teammate. Oh, well.

It’s so common yet so seldom called  that it’s probably time to either erase it from the rule book or make its enforcement a point of emphasis.

Maybe part of the problem is that it’s considered not even worth the officials’ effort to enforce or a coaches’ to discourage.  I mean, what the hell -  it’s only a five-yard penalty.

*********** Am I the only one who suspects that football games may actually have been better officiated back before they had eight man crews and instant replay?

*********** Oregon scored a touchdown on a pass to a back that clearly should have been disallowed for offensive pass interference.  They picked up the flag, saying that the pass had been completed behind the line of scrimmage (making the Ducks’ downfield blocking legal), but even the announcers caught this one, and the replays clearly showed that the catch  had taken place more than a yard past the line of scrimmage.

*********** Portland State beat North Texas, 66-7, Saturday, running up 670 yards and costing Mean Green coach Dan McCarney his job in the process.

The 59-point margin of victory was the highest ever posted by an FCS team against an FBS opponent, and apparently it was such an embarrassment to the North Texas AD that at the game's conclusion he fired McCarney.

It really shouldn't have been that embarrassing. After all, Portland Stare has beaten Washington State, and after Washington State's win over Oregon Saturday, a Washington State win over Oregon State next week would make Portland State  the best team in the state of Oregon.

Portland State is an interesting story. They are underfunded. They have a weasel of a president who couldn't care less whether they play football or not. And although their enrollment exceeds those of Oregon's two Pac 12 universities, it  struggles to attract 5,000 people to a home game.

When the AD fired the head coach after last season, then moved on, the head coaching job was given to offensive coordinator Bruce Barnum on an interim basis, the idea being that the new AD would be able to hire his/her own man.

But Coach Barnum's amazing success, starting out with the upset win against Washington State and adding in Saturday's trouncing of North Texas,
has thrown a wrench into that arrangement.   His Vikings have lost only once, narrowly dropping one  last week to North Dakota.

We go back a ways. I coached against him when he was a standout at Vancouver's Columbia River High, and I coached him in a summer all-star game. He's a good guy and a career coach who's been around the track as an assistant at several places, including Cornell.  And now he's proving at Portland State that he's a good head coach.

**********“The do-gooders believe that by passing a law saying that nobody shall get less than two dollars an hour, or $2.50 an hour, or whatever the minimum wage is, you are helping poor people who need the money.  You are doing nothing of the kind.  What you are doing is to assure that people whose skills are not sufficient to justify that kind of wage will be unemployed. It is no accident that the teenage unemployment rate  - the unemployment rate among teenagers in this country - is over twice as high as the overall unemployment rate.” 

Economist MiIton Friedman, 1975
(They didn’t listen to him back then, and they sure aren’t listening now.)

american flag FRIDAY, OCTOBER 9,  2015-   "Better to retreat and marshal your forces than to waste a glorious death in sure defeat."  Demosthenes



***********  "I’ve been an athletic director at Montana, Oregon, and Washington State and I’ve used football analogies at all three. When I started five years ago at Washington State, for example, I gathered 185 people in the room and my message was, when you have a football team, the objective in the huddle is to get into the end zone. Now you’re going to have people that are going to be more widely recognized, your quarterback, your receivers, your running back… but as a team, if you try to get into that end zone without that left tackle and that right guard you’re not going anywhere.

"I then explain that it’s the same way we have to look at our business. We’ve got people in the business office, the fundraisers, the marketing people, the trainers, and on down the line and we can’t get to where we want to be without everybody following the same playbook."

Bill Moos, Athletic Director, Washington State 

*********** I don’t know how the practice started.  I first saw it in 2008, when I came to Ocean Shores. It was early in two-a-days, and after running  a play, I looked down on my sheet to see what I wanted to run next.  When I looked up, every kid on the team was kneeling on one knee. 


Turned out, one of our players had suffered some sort of owie and was lying on the ground.

It was, I learned, the way those kids were taught to wait out an injury to a player on either team, a sort of reflex that I would begin to see over and over.

I thought it was sort of silly, a form of quasi-prayer at, of all places, public schools, where as we all know, real prayer is considered to be a gift from the devil.

But there it is, and there’s nothing much I care do to about it.

Which brings us to last Friday night.

We’d just won a tough game, tougher than the score of 54-20 would indicate, and as players and spectators milled around down on our track afterwards, a woman confronted our head coach, Todd Bridge, and berated him for our players’ lack of sportsmanship.

The problem, it seems, was that in one case, when an opposing player was down, NOT ALL OF OUR PLAYERS WERE ON THEIR KNEES!!!

O. M. G.

Now, we work really hard to instill good sportsmanship in our kids.  We teach them to respect opponents and officials and the game itself.   We teach them not to talk with opponents, and to walk away from potential fights (we actually practice this).

As a rule, our players take a knee when an opponent is down.  But evidently, in one such instance Friday night not all of our players did, and our coach, with just a few other things on his mind, didn’t notice! Imagine that!

So Todd, caught off-balance, offered some sort of apology, but it evidently wasn’t enough for the woman, who followed up with a letter to the superintendent (who, I’m sorry to say, didn’t simply reply, “I’m sorry you took offense.  I’m very proud of Coach Bridge and the great job he does  teaching his players how to act, on and off the field.”)

It’s over now, but for those of you who aspire to being head coaches:

The win made us 5-0.  We’re ranked Number 3 in the state. We’ve won 16 straight league games and we haven’t lost at home since October 2013.  We’re 22-4 over the last three seasons, 15-1 over the last two.  One more win this season will give our school the first back-to-back-to-back winning seasons in its history.

And that means we now have  “fans” who have become so used to winning that they have become picky. They show their appreciation of our efforts by accosting us on the field after games and writing letters to our superintendents - because a couple of kids didn’t kneel down on the field.

I told Todd there were two things that lady should be VERY thankful for:

(1) We’d just won.  (Every person in the world should be warned NEVER to approach a football coach after he’s lost)

(2) I wasn’t the head coach.

*********** Saban of Alabama.  Swensen of Yale.  One’s well-known, one’s not.

But both are paid millions by their employers.

So who’s worth more?

That’s easy.

Nick Saban wins football games, which, true, helps put fannies in the seats and keeps hordes of Alabamians (except those who pull for Auburn) happy.

David Swensen makes a rich school richer.  Much richer.

When Saban took over at Alabama, in 2007, the Tide hadn’t won a national title since 1992.

Since his arrival, they’ve won three of them, and they’ve appeared in BCS/Playoff games four other times.

Swensen? When he took over as Yale’s Chief Investment Officer in 1985, the university’s endowment was $1.8 billion.  As of June 30 of this year, it was $25.6 billion.

At a time when your savings account might - might - earn you one per cent interest, thanks to Swensen’s shrewd investment strategy, Yale’s endowment increased 11.5 per cent in the last year alone. (Yale might be having its problems with Harvard on the football field, but that makes it five years in a row that Yale has out-earned its old rival.)

To put Swensen’s value in football terms, if Yale ever felt the need to do so, it could hire a whole staff of Nick Sabans - and never even miss the money.

*********** Maybe if the NFL weren’t so preoccupied with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Profiting from Fantasy Gambling or putting a franchise in London it would find the time to deal with the fact that it's foisting a
shoddy product  on the American public.

Exhibit A: The Seahawks got away with one on Monday night.

My wife saw the Seahawks bat the ball out of the end zone, and was indignant.  “He can’t do that!” she said at the time. To make sure, she looked up the rule.

But not a word from anyone else!

Not a single on-field official (including the one standing five yards away from the play)…

Not a single replay official…

Not a single guy in the broadcast booth…

Not a single ESPN analyst after the game…

And evidently, not a single member of the Lions’ staff, who seemed shell-shocked, resigned to their fate as hapless losers. But not indignant.

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

So many things to comment on.

First, congratulations to North Beach on your continued success.  I look forward each week to reading how the team is doing and truly wishing the best for your program.  I cannot forget reading about the first summer where you conditioned players with strength and conditioning methods you had to make since the program did not have much in the way of a weight training facility.

Second, your team sure is scoring lots of TDs, and not to be critical, but I notice that your PATs do not match up with the number.  Do you kick your PATs in most situations?  If you do have to go for 2, what plays do you recommend or is this strictly based on your opponents defensive weakness.  (First week with my 11, 12, 13 year olds, we ran Wedge on the first three TDs, so I finally am making believers of the other coaches helping me.)

Lastly, my good friend that is coaching at a local high school reports to me almost everyday that his team is having problems with the players, mostly due to discipline issues.  This carried over to the game last week when two of the players decided to change the play the coach had called and free lance, unsuccessfully.  After hearing this, I sent him Bud Wilkenson's quote you began the Newsletter with last week and he presented it at Saturday's coaches meeting.  The quote is now hanging in the locker room and some players have been dismissed from the team.

Continued success and best regards,

Ken Hampton
Raleigh, NC   

Good discipline is the glue that allows you to teach kids the importance of putting something else ahead of themselves, and holds everything together when things should go wrong - which, in football, is a given.

Our foundation is the Three R’s - Respect, Responsibility, Resilience.  Our kids know what those things mean and as coaches we not only demand it but we model it.

I could talk about that for hours.

But I don’t kid myself.

No coach is a miracle worker. Good discipline starts with good kids.  Your ability to turn bad kids into good kids is extremely limited, and it depends on first having a critical mass of good kids.  If you don’t have a substantial percentage of good kids who understand the importance of wanting to please, you’d better hope that your team is extremely talented, so you don’t have to deal with many losing locker rooms. But even with a winning team it’s going to be a challenging season.  I advise you to take the wins and then move on to a better situation.

Once you have established a strong culture on your team - an understanding around  among your players that “this is how we doing things here” - you may have the ability to accept a very small number of newcomers of questionable character.  There’s always the chance that they will adapt to the team culture and become good team members.

But some guys are just outlaws and can’t handle what they perceive as restrictions - not being able to do as they damn please, whenever they damn please, without having to answer to anybody.  They will drop out fairly soon -  or make it necessary for you to remove them.  (If you don’t they will kill you.)

If you don’t, you endanger everything you’ve worked hard to build among your good kids; once you lose the good kids - once they think that you’ve betrayed the  values you espoused -   it’s all over.

Some guys with shaky reputations  can handle your rules and restrictions  as the price they have to pay to play football, but as soon as the season’s over and they’re no longer subject to the team’s rules, they revert to their original state.

Sometimes - rarely, to be sure - you get the kid who adapts to the situation, and in the process of doing so discovers that there’s a whole new world open to them if they’re willing to change.  They’re  the guys who make it worthwhile. 

It’s important to keep in mind - and to keep in your players’ minds - that no player is more important than the team.

PS - We no longer have to improvise.  Thanks largely to the persistence of our head coach, Todd Bridge, and the success of our program, we do have a nice weight room that is put to good use and has translated into stronger players.

Our kids are strong. Some of our strength figures are extremely impressive.

We seldom kick our PATs, and based on the early NFL returns, the pros shouldn’t either.  Fifty per cent of two point attempts yields the same number of points as 100 per cent of kicks.  Not that we’re  bad at kicking it, but I would bet on our making 50 per cent of two-point attempts way before I’d bet on making 100 per cent of our kicks.

*********** In Vancouver, Washington, having enough of the “homeless” camping in the lobby of the county office building, urinating and defecating wherever they please, and leaving used syringes in couches, the county higher-ups decided no longer to allow the “folks” (as our President likes to say) to use the building’s rest rooms.

To try to accommodate the great unwashed, the county and a local charity are working on creating a “day shelter,” which will include bathrooms, showers and - get this - “places where people can charge their phones.”

Only in America.

*********** LSU running back Leonard Fournette became the first player in SEC history to rush for more than 200 yards in three-straight games…

*********** I think I read the release correctly.  It said that Oregon’s uniforms this Saturday will honor the famed explorers Lewis and Clark, whose expedition of discovery led to the opening of the Pacific Northwest.

I’m thinking buckskin… fringe… moccasins… coonskin helmets

*********** “Being nose is a tough job; it sucks.  You’re not making a lot of plays, but you’re making space for the linebackers and the other guys to get free. He knows that, but at the same time he challenges himself to make plays. That’s what he’s been doing.”

That was Oregon’s outstanding defensive end DeForest Buckner, taking about his teammate, Alex Balducci, senior nose guard and son of my friend Ralph Balducci.

Alex was heavily recruited out of high school and chose the Ducks, who took his redshirt off him midway through his freshman year, and put him at nose in their 3-4 defense, where his job has mainly been absorbing blocks so that others could make plays.

Sure would frustrate me, especially when the defense has been catching hell for subpar play.    But not Alex.  He’s a team player. In the Duck’s last game, against Colorado, an adjustment in their defensive scheme gave Alex more leeway to make plays, and he responded by being named Oregon’s defensive player of the game, and earning a nomination as Pac-12 Player of the Week.

*********** Say this for the education bureaucrats  and the parasites who live off them - they may disparage the outside world and those who make their livings there, but when it comes to figuring out ways to turn good intentions into money, they’re as sharp as any hedge fund manager.

Take Recess Consultants. (Please, as Henny Youngman would say.)

As schools debate whether to allow competitive recess games such as tag, or whether to allow recess at all, a new profession has been hatched, dedicated to making money by advising schools on how to have recesses without risk of injury, offense, insult, or damage to self-esteem. 

They call themselves recess consultants,  and when you take a bunch of people who never had kids themselves, who were always the last ones chosen when they were kids,  and then let them watch what goes on at an average recess, there’s no telling what sort of social mischief they can come up with.

One bit of brilliance I’ve heard is that when playing baseball/softball, you shouldn’t say, “You’re out!”  (Instead, say, “Nice try.”)

And we wonder why we wind up with so many entitled young people who go out into the world feeling really good about themselves - and then go to pieces at the first sign of disapproval, not to mention rejection or defeat.

***********  Just this week, Dr. Ben Carson observed that in a situation such as what happened in Roseburg, Oregon, "I Would Not Just Stand There and Let Him Shoot Me." His reasoning was that  while the guy might shoot a few people, he couldn’t kill them all.

Tut, tut, said the liberal news media (an oxymoron).

“Beyond insensitive,” I heard one precious female panelist say.

Was it because Dr. Carson’s remark was tinged with testosterone?  Or with the American can-do spirit?

I doubt it.   Just a few weeks ago, three young men - coincidentally, from Oregon - overpowered an armed Islamist on a French train, and were rightly hailed as heroes.

You don’t suppose, do you, that they’re all over Dr. Carson because he’s a Republican - and he’s rising in the polls?

*********** Sent to me and John T. Reed…

How are you doing coaches,

I’ve been running Coach Wyatt’s double wing since 2003 & Coach Reed’s GAM since 2001.  I’ve gone from youth up to high school now I’m back coaching my nephew’s 4th grade team.  I’ve gone undefeated many times, won a bunch of championships so you’d think I’d have nothing to prove.  I was wrong.  Your systems run so good that I do the unthinkable!  The last few years I’ve been playing all my player EVENLY!  This year I have 30 player, 3 groups of 10, Red, Black, & Blue, all with color coordinated wrist coaches so we obviously will have one that doesn’t match.  We run our team like a hockey line change, 11 players stay out for 6 plays regardless of offense, defense, or special teams then we rotate all 11.  We get our 6 play minimum done usually by the end of the 1st quarter but we keep the kids out all game. I’m the head coach & I have 2 assistants for each color group.  We had a draft just like fantasy football where the person who had the last pick in a round had the first pick in the next round so all 3 groups are as even as possible.  Each coach automatically had their kids, then we drafted QBs, Wings, ………..

Obviously kids learning to bear crawl, contain, mirror, pull, counter, wedge will take some time.  We got our butts handed to us game one, 30-0.  You’d think with my resume I’d get the benefit of the doubt.  I was told, I don’t know what I’m doing, I’m running a gimmick offense & defense, you gentlemen the rest.  I knew we had a good players & a great staff.  I paraphrased Bill Belichick after the Patriots got pounded last year in Kansas City, I told the kids in front of the parents, “that game is over, we’re on to Framingham(rival neighboring town)."  We won 14-0, we’ve now been beating teams an average of 30-0 except for the big city Brockton we won 38-12(they got an opening play kick off return & our LB bit inside on a counter).  

At the end of the year I’m going to send you our highlight video on YouTube.  You’ll be shocked that not only a team that plays everyone evenly scored so much but the same team that was shut out game one!  Now we’re being told by opposing coaches that we’re the best team they played, even by the teams that played the team that beat us.  Opposing coaches are shocked that we even lost 1 game!  Just like Sir Isaac Newton said, “I’m standing on the shoulders of giants.”  

Thank you Giants,

Roger Calder
Natick, Massachusetts

american flagTUESDAY, OCTOBER 6,  2015-   "Some people say it's too bad that, when two teams meet on a field of play, one team has to win and the other team has to lose. I think that is the most most American thing there is about the game of football.  Lynn "Pappy" Waldorf, Hall of Fame coach

*********** For all his smarts, it’s still hard not to see Mike Leach as a one-trick pony - a total expert on the passing offense, but indifferent to other aspects of the game.

Saturday, against Cal, the Cougars threw the ball all over the lot - effectively, for the most part - but failed, as usual, in the rushing game category: 25 carries for a net 14 yards.

Their defense actually played fairly well against Cal and their high-powered attack.  (The Cal QB, Jared Goff, may be the best in the country, which may come as a surprise to you easterners and midwesterners and southerners who don’t get to watch a lot of West Coast football.)

Ah, but that still leaves special teams.

The Wazzu  punter ran for it on fourth down.  And fumbled. And Cal DB Stefan McClure scooped up the fumble and returned it for a TD.

Final: Cal 34, Washington State 28

 Flag Raising at North Beach

A look at our final score Friday night - North Beach 54, Rainier 22 - would lead you to believe we cruised. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Ever notice how often a college team wins a big game that it has to win - and then, the next week, loses to a weaker opponent?

The phenomenon has been well documented: it’s very difficult for young football players to reach an emotional high, to produce an extreme effort, two games in a row.  (It’s not so common in the NFL, where the players are more mature and the game is less emotional.)

At North Beach, we encountered this  last week.  Two games ago, we came up with a tremendous effort to resoundingly beat the league favorite, Raymond, 34-14.  Raymond had already beaten the two toughest teams in our league (other than us) and a win over us would have given them clear sailing to the league championship, an undefeated season, and a first-round bye in the playoffs.

But we won.  And coming up next was Rainier, which two weeks earlier had lost to Raymond, 28-13, but late in the game had driven deep into Raymond territory with enough time to score twice.

So there we were, coming off a big win, facing a team good enough to beat us.  And for a while Friday night, you had to think that it could happen.

We burst out of the gates, scoring with less than two minutes gone and building a 20-6 lead after one quarter.  And then it happened. After we’d fielded a Rainier punt in our own territory and prepared to launch another scoring drive, we fumbled. Rainier scored quickly and made a two-point conversion, then followed with a successful onside kick. Video shows that two Rainier players crossed the restraining line before the ball did, but you can’t expect officials to see everything. (Not even something they should be looking for). Another Rainier score and another two-point conversion and Rainier led, 22-20 at the half.  We scarcely touched the ball in the second period.

In short, we were rocked back on our heels.

They hadn’t stopped our offense, but to our astonishment, they’d done a good job moving the ball on the ground, so let’s just say that we made a few adjustments defensively.

It turns out that that was all we needed.  We ran off 34 second half points - scored 14 points within a span of 17 seconds - and shut them out defensively.  Rainier didn’t come close to scoring territory until JV time, and even then our reserves were able to keep them out of the end zone.

Final:  54-22, North Beach.  A great performance in retrospect.  But scary as hell at the time.

In all, we amassed exactly 500 yards of total offense, 453 rushing and 47 passing.

Saul Gonzalez carried 13 times for 224 yards, and touchdowns of 45, 82, 46 and 45 yards.

Skyler Wells rushed 14 times for 196 yards and touchdowns of 65, 30 and 32 yards.

Alex McAra completed 3 of 5 for 47 yards and a TD.  He also ran five times for 18 yards.  Of some note - although he did throw his first interception of the year late in the first half, when we were playing hurry-up, on the plus side of the ledger he’s thrown eight touchdown passes.

But we lost two fumbles.  Grrr.

Rainier rushed 55 times for 233 yards, by far the most yards rushing we’ve given up in two years,  but in the air they were one of 10 for 15 yards.

Our middle linebacker, Jonny Law, was credited, after film review, with an amazing 19 unassisted tackles and 13 assists.

This week we play a Thursday night game against Chief Leschi High in Puyallup.   To be generous, they have not been very good, but under a new coach, who in the past has coached powerhouse teams in the Tacoma area, they are showing improvement.

*********** The Aberdeen Daily World’s Rick Anderson, one of the best I’ve ever known, covered our game Friday night…

Second-half eruption lifts Hyaks over Rainier

By Rick Anderson
The Daily World

OYEHUT — In the blink of an eye, North Beach emphatically pulled the plug on Rainier’s upset bid.

Skyler Wells’ two touchdown runs in a 17-second span in the third quarter ignited an explosion of 34 unanswered Hyak unanswered second-half points in a 54-22 Pacific League football victory over Rainier on Friday night at Lt. Jim Davis Field.

Saul Gonzalez rushed for 264 yards and four touchdowns and Wells logged 189 yards and three TDs as the third-ranked Hyaks (4-0, 5-0) logged 502 yards rushing.

Although the final score scarcely reflected it, the Hyaks overcame some adversity in this one, due to a near-disastrous second quarter.

Up 20-6 after one period, North Beach lost two fumbles, threw an interception and saw the Mountaineers (2-2, 3-2) recover an onside kick in that period. The Hyaks possessed the ball for only four plays in the first 10 minutes of the quarter.

“We’ve just got to hold onto the ball,” North Beach coach Todd Bridge emphasized.
“That’s two weeks in a row we’ve had costly turnovers. That’s going to bite us in the rear end if we don’t take care of the ball in the future.”

With quarterback McKoy Bichler running the read-option effectively, Rainier capitalized on Hyak miscues to score twice in the quarter. Bichler’s 4-yard run and ensuing 2-point conversion with 1:54 remaining gave the visitors a 22-20 halftime lead — North Beach’s first deficit of the season.

Matters changed dramatically after North Beach’s defense forced a Mountie punt on the opening possession of the second half.

Four plays later, Wells popped free on a run off left tackle and raced 65 yards for a touchdown with 7:44 remaining in the third quarter. The conversion pass failed, but the Hyaks led for good at 26-22.

It was 34-22 just 17 seconds later.

The Hyaks knocked the ball loose on the ensuing kickoff return, with North Beach freshman Michael Almendarez recovering on the Rainier 30-yard line.

On the first play from scrimmage, Wells again started off the left side, cut back against the grain and took it to the house. He also ran for the conversion.

Those runs proved to be only the beginning of what was a big-play showcase for the Hyaks in the second half. For the game, North Beach had seven scoring plays of at least 30 yards.

Wells’ third TD of the contest came on a tackle-busting 32-yard run late in the third quarter.

After waiting for his blocking to form, Gonzalez broke a 46-yard scoring run at the 5:24 mark of the fourth quarter and added a 45-yard touchdown sprint about 90 seconds later. Alex McAra’s conversion pass to Chris Harms concluded the scoring.

Led by senior linebacker Jonny Law, who easily exceeded a dozen tackles in a magnificent display of sideline-to-sideline pursuit, North Beach’s defense shut down the Mounties in the second half.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” Bridge reflected. “It comes back to our conditioning. Our big guys wear you down.”

Gonzalez’s 45-yard run in the first quarter opened the scoring. Rainier’s Nathan Anderson countered with a 45-yard TD scamper of his own, but McAra connected with a wide-open Harms on an 18-yard touchdown pass. After running for the conversion following the latter TD, Gonzalez took flight on an 83-yard scoring run to make it 20-6 after one period.

Rainier took advantage of a short field following North Beach’s first fumble of the second quarter, with Israel Elwell scoring on a 6-yard fly sweep. Alec Miller ran for the conversion.

Aside from the turnovers, the Hyak offense was in fine form. North Beach did not have to punt until the fourth quarter.

In addition to Law, Gonzalez and Seth Bridge were among the notable Hyak tacklers.

The Hyaks will take to the road for a rare Thursday night game when they journey to Chief Leschi next week.

Pink Stockings

It's October again - and If you’ve ever read this column, you don’t have to guess which team in the photo at left is the one I coach.

*********** Arizona lost Saturday night.  It may have been because Stanford is just better than the Wildcats.  But maybe it was because  their weakling school administration caved in to a protest by some weenies who claimed the team had no right to do the Haka before the game.

By now, any school in the United States with a Polynesian player on it - and many who don’t - has probably done a Haka dance before the game.

The Haka’s origins are in the Pacific Islands, especially among the Maori, the native people of New Zealand, and for many years New Zealand’s national rugby team, the famed All Blacks, have performed it before their games.

Evidently the argument put forward against the Arizona Wildcats’ doing the Haka is that they are not doing it properly. Or that it is a desecration of something sacred.  Or maybe both.

I call bullsh— on the protest, started by a faculty member at  Cal State Northridge, a native New Zealander who obviously doesn’t know about our Constitution and this thing called the First Amendment. Sadly, like way too many newcomers to our shores, she evidently thinks that she has the right to tell Americans what we can and cannot say and do if it makes her uncomfortable.

Somebody needs to tell her that we already have liberals for that.

*********** Army could have beaten Penn State.  Partly, it was due to Army’s playing its best game overall in several years (in my opinion) and partly it was due to this being the worst Penn State team I’ve seen in a long time.  Maybe ever.

Final score: Penn State 20, Army 13.

Throwing against an until-now porous secondary and a previously nonexistent pass rush, Penn State's supposed pro prospect Christian Hackenberg, looked exactly as he did in the Lions’  loss to Temple (which should no longer be viewed as an upset), missing countless receivers and taking numerous sacks.

The Penn State running game, like the passing game,  was weak and unimaginative. 

Army’s triple option offense, finally clicking despite being run by the backup quarterback  clearly began taking its toll on the Penn State defense.  Despite committing several inexcusable turnovers,  Army was still in a position to punch it in right up until the end when the Army QB was sacked attempting to pass in a long-yardage situation - always a risky proposition when you’re a triple option team and the whole world knows you have to pass.

God help Penn State  when they play Ohio State.    I was talking with a friend, like me a native Pennsylvanian, who wondered whether the Sandusky scandal might not have taken a greater toll on Penn State recruiting than anybody let on.

*********** And to think that they pay these guys to make mistakes we wouldn’t tolerate in a high school kid…

The Browns did a great job of driving for a late TD and making the two-point conversion to tie the game at 27-27.

Unfortunately, though, they left  enough time for Philip Rivers to drive the Chargers downfield and into field goal position with just enough time for the final coup de grace.

But the field goal attempt was wide, sending the game into OT.

Mais non.  (But no.)  PENALTY

The end man in the Browns’ front line had jumped offside.  And it wasn’t even close.

From five yards closer, the kick was good.  Chargers 30, Browns 27.

The guy who jumped probably earned as much in that one game as you schoolteachers do in a year.

*********** What in the world has happened to Colin Kaepernick?

*********** How many times, when an official makes a tough call in crunch time, have you heard some “expert” say, “Why don’t they just let them play?”

Or some other expert pontificate that when you get down to the final minutes, the game should be settled by the players, not the officials?

Well, guess what?

A study shows that for some time now, the officials have evidently been listening to those experts.

The Wall Street Journal’s Andrew Beaton writes about an article in the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports (betcha no one reading this has a subscription), two college assistant professors published the results of a study they conducted of penalties in NFL games from 2002 to 2012.

Dealing mainly with “discretionary” penalties in which officials use their judgement (such as offensive holding and defensive pass interference) as opposed to other penalties such as false starts, which are rather obvious and require little judgement, they found that holding and pass interference are three to five times more common in the middle of games than in the beginning and at the end.

Meanwhile, the false start and offices penalties show no such variation.

The authors’ theory is that discretionary calls at the end of the game reflect the common belief that officials themselves would prefer that the players decide the outcomes.  (The authors very graciously avoid suggesting that there might be an element of cowardice at play.)

Their explanation for the disparity at beginnings of games is that the players and the officials may be feeling each other out. One of the authors likens it to police letting speeders off with a warning.

The question has already arisen: as sophisticated as NFL teams are, wouldn’t you think that they’d be working on ways to exploit these statistics?

Do you think for a minute that Bill Belichick hasn’t been on this?  For maybe five or six years?

***********  It’s October, so it’s breast cancer awareness month. But all that “awareness” doesn’t always translate into legitimate investment in cancer research. For example: Only an estimated 8.01 percent of the revenue from NFL breast cancer awareness merchandise goes to cancer research. [Business Insider]

Tim Brown
Athens, Alabama

*********** Any serious look at the history of human beings over the millennia shows that the (human) species began in poverty.

It is not poverty, but prosperity, that needs explaining. Poverty is automatic, but prosperity requires many things - none of which is equally distributed around the world or even within a given society.

In 1900, only 3 per cent of American homes had electric lights, but more than 99 per cent had them by the end of the century. Infant mortality rates were 165 per 1,000 in 190 and 7 per thousand by 1997. By 2001, most Americans living BELOW the poverty line had central air conditioning, a motor vehicle, cable television with multiple TV sets and other amenities.

A scholar specializing in the study of Latin America said that the official poverty level in the United States is the upper middle class in Mexico. The much criticized market economy of the United States has done far more for the poor than the ideology of the left.

Dr. Thomas Sowell


In Washington, the almost unbelievable cheating that’s been uncovered in the nationally-renowned Bellevue High School football program has resulted in the usual bureaucratic response - a thorough investigation.  Expect nothing to come from this and you won’t be disappointed.

In Oregon, with Wilson of Portland leading Cleveland of Portland, 42-0 after three quarters, the Wilson coach cleared his bench. But then, a few weeks later, it was learned that one of the  Wilson JVs, whose participation consisted of taking part in exactly one kickoff return, was academically ineligible at the time.  

Wilson dutifully reported the violation, but Oregon Scholastic Activities Association (OSAA) rules are clear and they are firm. And they call for a forfeit.  No exceptions.  So the score goes into the record books not as 42-8, but as Cleveland 1, Portland 0.

Bellevue, meanwhile, is 3-1.  After an opening-game loss to national number one Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas, they’ve run all over the poor local yokels in Washington who haven’t yet figured out how it’s done.

*********** The Bills had just pulled to within six at 16-10, but then they put on a masterful display of Hawk Tackling that allowed the Giants to convert a dinky little flat route to a back into a 50-yard touchdown that gave them a 14-point lead (after the two-point conversion) and put the game away.

*********** Speaking of Hawk Tackling... How 'bout that there Hawk tackle the Cowboy tried on CJ Spiller  - the one that let him go 80 yards for a touchdown - and let the Saints beat the Cowboys in overtime?

Yes, he  missed the tackle.  And yes, the runner scored the winning touchdown. But no one got a concussion.   And wasn't that the point?

*********** Burnt Orange Nation is not happy…

*********** The Jacksonville kicker missed a field goal as time ran out.  But Indianapolis had called time out.  Given a second chance, he missed again.

Given a third chance in overtime, he missed that one, too.

*********** Jay Cutler, much-maligned, came in and drove the Bears into position for the game-winning field goal.

*********** It ain’t easy being a Bills’ fan.

Their Bills lead the league in penalties.  Sunday, the seventeenth and final one came with under a minute to play, nullifying a Buffalo TD that would have given them an outside chance of winning.  It was chop block, called against a fellow well-known for doing things not in the best interests of his team - Richie Incognito.

Props to Rex Ryan for giving his team the league lead in at least one category.  Also for a great personnel decision.

***********  Back in 2014 when Bill Nunn died, a number of us noted the enormous contribution that he’d made to the Pittsburgh Steelers - and to black football players.

Nunn had been sports editor at The Pittsburgh Courier, a  newspaper with an appeal to black readers nationally.  As part of its strong coverage of sports at black colleges, in 1950 it began naming a black college all-American football team, and as part of his reportorial duties, Bill Nunn got to know the coaches and the athletes.

When he complained to Dan Rooney, the son of Steelers’ owner Art Rooney, that NFL teams were ignoring the players he was recognizing, Rooney responded by hiring him as a scout.

That was 1967, and he was hired full-time in 1969, which coincidentally was Chuck Noll’s first year as the Steelers’ head coach.

Nunn helped identify and sign a number of black players from little-known schools who starred on the Steelers teams that between 1975 and 1980 won four Super Bowls.  Among them were John Stallworth of Alabama A&M, L. C. Greenwood of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Mel Blount of Southern, Dwight White of East Texas State, Donnie Shell of South Carolina State and Ernie Holmes of Texas Southern.

In a new book, “The Color of Sundays: The Secret Strategy That Built the Steelers' Dynasty”, author Andrew Conte argues that Bill Nunn was as much an ingredient of the Steelers’ success as such better-known names as Noll, Greene and Bradshaw. Or Swann, Lambert and Hamm.

american flagFRIDAY, OCTOBER 2,  2015-   "I feel more strongly about this than anything else in coaching: anybody who lacks discipline, who doesn't want to be part of the team, who doesn't want to meet the requirements - has to go.  It's that simple."   Bud Wilkinson

*********** Evidently Michael Vick has requested that beginning with tonight’s game on the NFL Network, he be identified as “Mike Vick.”

No problem as I see it.  Lots of Jameses want to be called Jim; lots of Williams are called Bill; lots of Roberts go by Bob.

It’s not as if he wants to be called Meta World Peace. Or Chad Ochocinco.

Or Caitlyn Jenner.

*********** Jimmie Johnson’s son - I don’t know how old he is, but I’m guessing from some of the things he’s written that he’s between 14 and 25 - evidently doesn’t appreciate how fortunate his dad is to have a job in the NFL.

Dad, Jimmie Johnson, is the tight ends coach of the Jets.  He knows how tough the football business can be. He worked his way up though positions at historically-black colleges until finally landing a job with the Vikings, and then he was out of work all of last season, after  being let go when Vikings’ head coach Leslie Frazier was fired.

So now, he's back in the NFL.  I hope.

Because just recently, his knucklehead son had to go and wage an ugly war on Twitter against Jets Geno Smith and Antonio Cromartie, addressing Cromartie in one tweet as a “weak-ass bi—h.”

Now, I don’t know how old the kid is, but it sure seems to me a spanking would be in order.

If there’s anything left of him after Smith and Cromartie get done.

*********** Mercer Island, Washington is an affluent, liberal suburban community.  In spades.

It is a beautiful, wooded island in Lake Washington, just east of Seattle.  The median home price is $919,000.

As is common in such places, its schools are good enough that its citizens feel no need to send their kids to private schools.

The schools are good because the people of Mercer Island are generous in their support of their schools - and because they are politically savvy enough to know how to make their voices heard.

When the Mercer Island schools recently announced that they ere banning the playing of tag on school playgrounds, with one of their goals the prevention of “unwanted touching, ” they must have felt certain that the parents would be on their side. 

But no…..

The parents raised hell.

They started a Facebook group called STARMI, an acronym for Support Tag At Recess In Mercer Island.  It had 400 members by last weekend.
“The kids had been told not to play tag, and I think they were really bummed,” said Kelsey Joyce, who has two elementary-age kids. “To be honest, kids get hurt on the playground. It’s an unfortunate part of life, but part of learning and growing.”

The district, saying  that unstructured play, such as tag, often “deteriorated into name-calling, fighting and injury,” finally relented, but its first response was to announce plans  for alternatives to tag.

Said the superintendent, “We want to initiate a new form of tag-like running games to minimize the issues of ‘you were tagged/no I wasn’t’ or ‘the tag was too hard and felt more like a hit.’”

Parents weren’t buying.

By the weekend, the district announced that tag would once again be allowed.

They didn’t say anything about dodgeball.

***********When you face a tough opponent  after some easy wins you have to prepare your kids mentally to accept the fact that things will probably not come so easy - but that doesn't necessarily mean they're not making progress. We talk to them about splitting wood.

Here in the rural Northwest, most of our kids have done that.

We make the point that it may take 50 or 60 whacks to split a piece of firewood. And that it isn't the last whack that does it - every single one of the whacks contributes to weakening it.

We tell our kids to think of every block, every tackle, every positive play, as a whack -  and to keep them focused on the job we'll tell them "forget the score - are we splitting wood?"

Last Thursday night, head coach Todd Bridge  brought out a good-size round and a couple of splitting mauls, and one by one,  starting with the seniors, each player took a swing, until it finally split.

They really got into it, and they got the point that every whack that preceded that final one made it possible. Friday night, time after time, Todd heard kids saying, “Split wood!”

We won, 34-14.

(It did help to have good players.)

*********** For a number of years, Patty Rasmussen, whose dad, General Jim Shelton, was a Vietnam Black Lion, wrote for “Chop Talk,” the Atlanta Braves’ monthly magazine.

Mostly, she did nice human interest features on Braves’ players - what their hobbies were, how they met their wives, what they enjoy doing on vacation. Baseball seems really suited to such articles, probably because an awful lot of them - the Braves, anyhow - seem to be down-home, country-type kids who like to hunt and fish.

For some reason or another, the Braves don’t publish Choptalk anymore, but they should.

In the meantime, who really needs a version of Choptalk - I suggest television promos - is the NFL.

Surely, not every NFL player is a dimwit, a buffoon, a sociopath, a barbarian.  (Anyone notice how I got through that without using the word “thug,” which we are being told is now considered synonymous with “black?”)

But that’s what we see when we watch the games, and that’s what we perceive when we read the news and watch Sportscenter.

The NFL keeps deluding itself into thinking that it’s bulletproof - that in return for our weekly pro football fix, the the American public will endure all manner of atrocious misbehavior by its players.

But for those of us who remember the Pennsylvania Railroad, and Pan Am, and IBM and Ma Bell, history has taught us that nothing can go on forever, not even Big Football.

And one of the things that will take The League down is that fewer and fewer will come to its defense, and more and more will applaud its demise.

Yes, the NFL does make puny little efforts to show us what good guys its players are, but really - when we see some guy loading groceries into a trunk for delivery to the poor, when we see a couple of them playing flag football with inner-city sixth graders - does anyone watching actually believe that they’re not just staged events?  That the players didn’t just take their checks for the personal appearance and head out to a “gentleman’s club?”

If I were Commissioner Goodell, I’d commission a series of spots  featuring the good guys. With almost 2000 men playing in the NFL, there have to be a few - guys who are studying to become doctors, engineers, teachers.  Guys with good families and interesting hobbies.

Guys who are just good people and good family men.

The risk, of course, is that you go to show what a family man Adrian Peterson is, and then it turns out he has kids he didn’t even know he’d fathered.

Too bad the Eagles had to go and cut Tim Tebow.

*********** Expect lots of comments about gun control being the answer to Thursday’s tragic shooting in Roseburg, Oregon.

Except Roseburg is classic God-and-guns country, not the precious “Keep Portland Weird” Oregon.

Roseburg is a lumber town, and like lumber towns all over the Pacific Northwest, it got hit hard by  the greens, who campaigned ostensibly to save a bird called the spotted owl, but whose real purpose was to stop logging in the Northwest’s forests.  All you have to do is drive through empty town after empty town, past shut-down sawmill after shut-down sawmill to see how well the bastards have succeeded in their mission.

Roseburg is a nice town. My wife and I have stayed there a number of times on trips to and from California, and it’s not hard to see how it once was when it was the bustling center of a large area.

What a damn shame that such an ugly incident has to give outsiders a terrible perception of a great little town.

I should mention Roseburg football.  In Oregon, it's hard not to mention the two together.   For many years, the Roseburg Indians (not sure what they’re now called, since the state association banned the use of “derogatory nicknames”) have been  state powers.   Their coach, Thurman Bell, is 72 years old, and he’s announced that this will be his last year.

In 45 years at Roseburg, coaching in the state’s largest classification, he’s won four state titles and finished second five times, and at the start of this season he’d won 331 games.

I can’t say enough good things about the guy.  I’ve heard him talk at clinics and I’ve seen his teams play.  And I’ve worked with his kids at camps - you could always tell Roseburg kids by the way, without exception, they’d hustle from drill to drill, show up at each new station in hit position, pay close attention to instructions and coaching, and run every drill at full speed.

Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun played for Coach Bell, and he says that at Air Force, no player is allowed to wear the Number One, going back to the influence of his high school coach and his constant stress of “team” over “individual.”

Scott Healy, now a deputy district attorney outside Portland, recalled playing for Roseburg and scoring a touchdown and pointing his finger in the air in celebration.

He said that when he got to the sideline, Coach Bell was there to greet him, and he was not happy.

"He screamed at me 'I don't ever want to see that again,'" recalled Healy.  "'Why don't you show some class and act like you've been there before!'

"And that was Thurman - Always preaching to us to never show up an opponent."

*********** From my favorite non-political politician

Hugh (As you can see,  we’re on a first name basis),

I hate political correctness. It's dangerous.

It's preventing us from speaking honestly about our challenges, our differences and our culture.

Case in point -- last week I said that a key part of Islam known as Shariah law was not compatible with the U.S. Constitution and that I couldn't support a Muslim candidate for President unless these tenets were fully renounced.

For example, under Shariah law women must be subservient and people following other religions must be killed.

The media, the Left, and even some fellow Republicans rushed to condemn me. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on me to drop out of the race.

How ridiculous.