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


american flagTUESDAY,  APRIL 24,  2018 “You have to recognize that no player is so important that you can't live without him.” Bo Schembechler

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

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

IT COVERS...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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



*********** IT’S A DATE - On Saturday, June 2 , I’ll be outside Raleigh, North Carolina for my first East Coast clinic in three years. Hosted by coaches Dave Potter and Sean Murphy of East Wake High, it will be at the Knightdale Community Center and we’ll have kids on hand to demonstrate a variety of things.  I plan to cover (1) teaching a young QB the basics of throwing; (2) highlights of my upcoming Double Wing Playbook, with emphasis on line play and the passing game; and (3) Elements of the Open Wing.   If you’re planning on attending and there’s something in particular that you’d like me to cover, please be sure to let me know.  Bring plenty of questions and take lots of notes.

More details coming up.

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

I am watching the "required" USA Football training for all coaches that expect to coach youth football this year.  Although some of the items are spot on, USA Football is teaching some things that are just not correct or appropriate for the youth level.  I was very surprised that blocking is now expected to be performed using the "long arm" approach and grabbing your opponent as the effective blocking technique.  It is very surprising that there was no training for the shoulder block in this video.  I guess this is "old school" and should never be taught in the future?  Some of the long winded explanation that was used to train a youth coach is just a total waste of time.  I am not saying everything was incorrect, but the information is just not what a youth football coach needs.  Bridge Blocking, S.P.R.R.A.T, and B.L.A.S.T.; coaches will need an encyclopedia to keep up with all the verbiage that is being used in the name of youth football.  What happened to the old verbiage of Lombardi that football is about the team that blocks and tackles the best?  USA Football taking football in the wrong direction with the convoluted required training, all in the name of safer football.  I am not convinced this is the direction we should be going for safer football.  I would be very interested to hear from other coaches that are being educated with the USA Football videos.  

Ken Hampton
Raleigh, North Carolina    

Coach,

I confess to being biased. I despise USA Football, partly because they ripped off my work and sell it as their own, but mainly because they are poseurs - they pose as the “governing body of American football,” with no more right to that claim than the fact that they decided to call themselves that.  They are self-anointed.  

And then, armed with NFL funding to the extent that they really are a de facto arm of Big Football, they have pressured youth organizations and coaches to do things their way.

Remember the push for “Heads Up Tackling?”  It was so essential to your coaching that you couldn’t be “certified to coach in your state unless you took their course.

Funny thing - “Heads Up Tackling” once stood in the way of anyone wanting to coach  (“Moms, make sure your little boy’s coach is Heads-Up certified”) but now you can forget everything they once insisted that you had to learn. “Heads Up Tackling,” evidently, is now as dead as the dodo.

They still call their whole program “Heads Up Football, but the “Heads Up Tackling” itself is gone, replaced with something they call “shoulder tackling, “ or “roll tackling,” or, if you will, “Hawk Tackling” (because it seemed to originate with someone convincing Pete Carroll that rugby - a sport we broke away from more than 100 years ago, had the answer to our problems all this time.)

They tell us that it’s “rugby based.” Rugby tackling, we’re expected to believe, is effective and safe. No concussions in rugby.  Right.

It’s important to understand that there are some significant differences  between football and rugby in what’s required of tackling.   (1) In rugby, there is no line to gain.  That’s an essential difference in our sports. While football is a game of inches, as the cliche goes, rugby is not.  If the man is down, he’s down, and unless we’re talking about a score, in which he has to actually touch the ball down in “touch” (the end zone), it’s not terribly important where he’s down one way or the other. In football, the low tackle doesn’t stop a man’s forward progress, and the quality of a tackle is often the difference between a first down and fourth-and-short. (2) In rugby,when the man is down, the tackler is required to get off immediately so play can resume; (3) there is no gang tackling in rugby.  Essentially, you can’t tackle a man who’s already being tackled; (4) High tackling, defined as contact above the “line of the shoulders,” is forbidden in rugby.  A first offense calls for a yellow card and a second call for a red card, and ejection.  But how does a tackler avoid a foul when the runner lowers his head? Evidently officials, in their zeal to make the game safer, have been erring on the side of caution whenever there is any question, so teams have been making a conscious effort to lower their targets.

I watch the videos of the stuff they’re teaching and, frankly, I see our game regressing - I see a lot of weaker tackles and a lot of “heads down,”  with the possibility of accidental contact with a runner’s knee.

“Heads down" obviously increases the risk of catastrophic spinal injury. In addition, since at its base it’s arm tackling, I predict missed tackles with defenders lying on the ground like so much dead wood - and more shoulder injuries.

I, too, would be interested in others’ experiences. 


https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/jan/06/world-rugby-new-tackle-laws-what-are-they

***********  Beginning next semester, the Penn State Outing Club will no longer be going on outings.  No more  outdoor, student-led trips.

The university’s offices of Student Affairs and Risk Management has determined  that the hiking, canoeing, kayaking, trail building and camping activities that the club has long sponsored are just too dangerous.
 
“Student safety in any activity is our primary focus,” said Lisa Powers, a Penn State University spokeswoman, in an email responding to questions from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The paper forgot to ask her if that also included  football.  Or, this being Penn State, fraternity initiations.

http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2018/04/18/Penn-state-university-ends-Outing-Club-trips/stories/201804180168

*********** Charlie Wilson of Crystal River, Florida sent me a  link to an old story in the San Diego Union in which the Steelers’ Santonio Holmes attributes his speed to having chased rabbits as a kid in Belle Glade, Florida. 

There may be something to it.  Two towns in the Everglades - Belle Glade and Pahokee - are known for the black muck soil in which the main crop is sugar cane;  for their poverty and crime; and for the great number of football players who come out of the area.

A book named “Muck City,” by Bryan Mealer, may or may not be an accurate portrayal of Belle Glade, but it’s a good read.

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sdut-1s30super23348-steelers-holmes-traces-speed-humble-2009jan30-htmlstory.html


*********** The NFL has to be nuts.  Not only did the The League not take any action to put an end to national anthem protests,  it practically guaranteed that there will be more of them, with the announcement that it would be spending $90 million over the next seven years on assorted “social justice” causes.

"Social justice may mean different things to different people and organizations," according to Anna Isaacson, the league's vice-president for social responsibility (can you believe that title?) "The NFL's work will encompass programs and initiatives that reduce barriers to opportunity, with a priority on supporting improvements in education, community/police relations and our criminal justice system. Additional focus areas include poverty, racial equality and workforce development."

Wow,  Just the sort of thing  to pack ‘em into the stands.  Just the way to respond to the people who are sick to death of what The League has come to represent.

Never having made an extortion payment myself, I can’t say from experience how it works, but I always thought that the idea behind it was to pay someone to get them to stop doing something that bothered you or threatened you.  Yet here the NFL has committed tens of millions of dollars  to organizations and causes that don’t necessarily line up with what large numbers of its followers consider to be their idea of a better America - and it hasn’t asked for a thing in return from its players.

It’s really hard for me to imagine a business plan in which money is made by posing as a patriotic organization to sell a product to patriotic Americans,  then the money earned that way is spent to promote causes that alienate many of those patriotic Americans.

Enough said, other than that it’s going to be very difficult to support a league that seems so bent on undermining our country.

http://www.breitbart.com/sports/2017/12/05/roger-goodell-defends-nfls-90-million-social-justice-payout-anthem-protesters/

 
*********** Evidently, Marcellus Bennett is just as well-educated as his social justice warrior brother, Michael.

Marcellus’ aptitude, though, seems to lie in the area of mathematics and statistics.

Without that strong background,  where else would he come up with this: "I want to say about 89% (of the NFL used marijuana).”

WTF???  89 per cent???
 
https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/2018/04/20/former-nba-nfl-athletes-estimate-marijuana-use-players-high/536254002/
 


*********** TAKEAWAY FROM SPRING “GAMES” -  What a joke.  I watched the Pac12 Network for the two hours it allotted to Washington for its “game” and they still hadn’t played a down by the time we had to switch to the next “game.”

Most places, when they do deign to play a “game,”  have some stupid-ass offense vs defense farce. You want to find a way to kill people’s interest in football?  Look no further.

The formats vary, but there’s one thing all the teams have in common: evidently, the new, rules-compliant knee-pads-covering -the-knees pants haven’t arrived yet.  Teams were supposed to wear them last year, but in deference to the fact that they had already purchased their uniforms before the rule was passed, they were given a year to comply.

But I’ve been seeing an awful lot of guys who are going to have to get used to wearing their pants over their knees come fall. Why, I wondered,  wouldn’t they start getting used to them in the spring?

Unless… unless… unless come fall, schools will be asking for waivers so their players can continue to wear their bicycle shorts.

*********** It’s always fun to see what a good writer can do with our language.

I came across a book review by one John Nagl, who’s the headmaster (there’s a term that Political Correctness has been doing away with, what with the sexism it implies, not to mention the unintended reference to slavery) of the Haverford School, an elite private day school in suburban Philadelphia.

He got my attention with his first sentence: “The most important book I ever read as a student at West Point was a weighty tome titled “Makers of Modern Strategy.”

He was reviewing a book by John Lewis Gaddis, a professor of history at Yale, titled “On Grand Strategy,” and he described it as:

“a long walk with a single, delightful mind.”

*********** In the days of Jim Crow, the complicated system of laws and customs in the post-Reconstruction South designed as constant reminders to blacks that they occupied a station in life below that of below whites, one subtle feature was the use of courtesy titles, or honorifics. 

A white man was commonly addressed as “Mister Jones,” while a white woman was “Miss” or “Mrs.” Jones.

The black person, though, was accorded no such courtesy.  A black man, regardless of his profession or level of educational attainment, was addressed by his first name only, without benefit of the “Mister.”

And, regardless of his age, there was a good chance he might be referred to as a “boy.”

This is not meant to pick scabs, or to denounce the people of the South, black and white, whose lives were guided by the laws that enforced those practices.  Those days are gone, and good riddance.

Coming of age during the days of the Civil Rights movement, I became well aware of the sensitivity among black people to the use - or non-use - of courtesy titles. It certainly seemed that the black businessmen I dealt with were especially careful to address one another with the use of “Mister.”  And many a young black man considered it fighting words when someone would refer to him as a “boy.”

There was a time, as the legal barriers to blacks’ equal role in our society began to fall, when I thought that we were headed toward a better society -  one in which blacks and whites could respect each others’ differences and appreciate our similarities  as we learned to live together in harmony.  Instead, we’ve created a coarse tribal culture that ignores the ways in which we can live together in its search for grievances and ways to demonize others.

One example of this coarsening is the way the major news media in the United States have clearly agreed to dispense with courtesy titles.  To ensure that writing styles don’t vary widely from one reporter to another, they employ what they call “stylebooks,”  which dictate how they will punctuate, capitalize and spell - and refer to people.

So it’s never “President Trump.”  Just “Trump.” (Or “Obama.”)  And with the titles of Presidents, Governors, Generals and clergy all stripped away,  “Mister” and “Mrs” are out of the question. 

Which is how, in a story about the funeral of Mrs. Barbara Bush, the 92-year-old wife of one President and mother of another,  she’s referred to as “Bush.” Talk about coarse.  Talk about disrespectful.  I mean, come on - is there anyone reading this who, when she was alive, would have been introduced to Mrs. Bush and would have been so churlish as to say, “Nice to meet you, Bush?”

I taught history in high school, and I can't imagine myself ever referring to Rosa Parks as "Parks." It would deeply offend me to see her referred to that way. To me, she could never be anything other than "Mrs. Parks."

Call me old-fashioned, but I still bristle at unearned familiarity.  There was a better time, I assure you - a time, not so long ago, when the right to address people by their first name had to be granted. You’d ask, “Do you mind if I call you Frank?”  Or, perhaps they’d anticipate your request, and say, “Please call me Frank.”

It still bothers me when a 20-year-old receptionist I’ve never seen before lets me - and the whole waiting room - know that the doctor is ready for me by calling out, “Hugh?” 

What does a little thing like a courtesy title have to do with disharmony in our society?  A lot, I think.  I think that when we no longer feel the need to use a simple means of addressing someone,  we show that person that we don’t think he’s worth even the little effort that entails.

Once we dispense with those small signs of respect, we start down the slope to open disrespect and vulgar insult.

Once we strip away the courtesy, we take one giant step closer to fighting words.


THIS IS FROM 15 YEARS AGO… AND I AIN’T CHANGED A BIT

************ Coach what is your policy on players missing practice? For off-season work-outs? Spring practice? Summer practice? Regular season practices? Thanks

I expect players to be at off-season workouts if they're not playing another sport. I make sure that players know that I have a long memory even if they don't, and that if it comes down to two guys who are fairly even, I will always play the one I know I can count on.

I will cut a little slack for younger kids, but never for a senior. I won't tolerate a senior who skips. I expect seniors to be leaders, and if a senior starts playing games,  I get rid of his ass. All that guy is doing is showing younger kids the wrong way to do things, and then you'll have to deal with those younger kids when they become seniors.

One thing I have found that has really worked great for me is that in the three weeks prior to the start of practice, we open the gym mornings and evenings, five days a week plus Saturday mornings, to conduct a circuit workout followed by sprints. That's a total of 33 times we have to have the gym/weight room open.

Over the course of those three weeks, every player is required to complete nine circuits before he will be issued a helmet. Players are limited to one workout a day. They are made to understand that this pre-season conditioning is a safety precaution;  this is how we have been able to justify it to school administrators.

Each circuit consists of 30+ stations - weights, jump rope, medicine ball, arm hangs, neck work, hitting a heavy bag, rowing, etc - each lasting 30 seconds. We allow 30 seconds recovery. Where numbers require, we work with partners and switch over quickly. At stations where weights are involved, the weights are relatively light, because the emphasis is on continuous rapid body movement. The whole workout lasts about 45 minutes to an hour, but by the time they’re finished, it’s hot as hell and they are whipped. Then we go out and sprint, starting at 10-50's.

Each day, we add another station and another 50. Every week we add five seconds to the length of a station. Only the really stupid guys can't figure out that it pays to get their workouts done early.

We make up a card for each player and punch it each time he completes a workout. When he gets nine punches, he’s ready to go.
If players wish to challenge us on the mandatory nature, they can still do their circuits once practice starts, and at that point they will do two a day. Anyone else who still doesn't have all his circuits done by the time practice starts will do them also. No one skates.
I’ll be honest and tell you that it is a real test for a newcomer of whether he really wants to play football or whether he would have just been a tourist.

Once we officially start, every practice is mandatory, and every absence must be pre-excused - the player (not a surrogate) must personally notify a coach - and only for a family emergency. My policy has always been, miss a practice, miss a game... miss a second practice, miss two games... miss a third practice, adios. An emergency is something sudden and unexpected. If a kid misses a practice because he has to serve detention or make up work or go to court, it is considered unexcused and he misses a game. Simple as that.

I think the trick is making absolutely certain that everyone understands these rules.

Also, I’m old enough to know that I can survive the loss of any player who doesn't want to go along. (See today’s quote!)

I think every coach could be a better coach if he lived by the guidelines espoused by a great Illinois high school coach: "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."


*********** A friend is considering taking a job at a school that has been a chronic loser.

How bad is it?  Bad.  The school has won ONE game in the last SIX years.  That’s 1-53.

It’s too easy to dismiss it as “the coaching” - they’ve had five coaches in the last ten years.  But come on -  it’s can’t be that they’ve all been bad.

A major part of the problem is that because the school is well-known as a loser, kids don’t want to be a part of the football program.  It’s in a multi-school, open-enrollment district, so middle school kids routinely opt to go elsewhere for high school.

My friend is smart enough to know that it’s going to take something drastic for him to be successful where so many others have failed, so something drastic is exactly what he has suggested.

He’s suggested that the school consider playing a weaker schedule - maybe an independent one, maybe even a JV schedule - for a year or two.

I agree.  Trying to get kids - the ones who somehow haven’t bailed - to get better when they’re being crushed every week  is like trying to change a tire on a car when it’s going down the freeway at 75.

I know there will be people who, sounding like fool sportswriters, will say something about the importance of teaching kids to face challenges when things get tough.  Maybe they’ll even pull out that old chestnut: “if you’re going to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best.”

Look - when you’re 1-53 over six seasons,  you’re not even on the same planet as “being the best.”  You’re fighting to keeping football alive, and the only way you’re going to do that is by giving kids the experience of working hard and preparing for a fight - a fight that they have a chance to win.  That’s the American way.  At this stage of the game, trying to “beat the best” is like making them climb out of their trenches and charge across no-man’s land into machine gun fire. (I reference the classic Australian movie “Gallipoli.”)

Time to bring up Bill Snyder. Anyone who understands coaching and appreciates a turnaround has to respect what he’s done at Kansas State.  Barry Switzer  once said that Bill Snyder wasn’t just the coach of the year or even the coach of the decade - he was the coach of the century!

I happen to agree.

In the three years prior to Bill Snyder’s taking over at K-State in 1989, the Wildcats were 2-9, 0-10-1, and 0-11.  And that was pretty much the usual state of things.

In Coach Snyder’s first year in Manhattan, it was more of the same - the Cats went 1-10.

But then,  they started to get better - in the next three seasons, they went 5-6, 7-4 and 5-6, and after four years there, his Wildcats were 18-26.

And then, they took off.

In his fifth year - 1993 - they went 9-2-1.  They even made it to a bowl game -  Kansas State in a bowl game! And to top it off, they won the damn thing!

1994 was another 9-win season.  They went 9-3 and they made it to another bowl game. This time they lost, but no matter - Wildcat fans now had something to look forward to,  someplace to go watch their Cats play, at the end of the regular season. They were like the fans at the real football schools!

in 1995 they went 10-2 - their most wins ever - with another bowl game win.

In 1996 they went 9-3, and they would have won 10 games again if they hadn’t lost to BYU in  their bowl game.

In 1997, they went 11-1. They lost one conference game, to Nebraska, and they beat Syracuse in their bowl game.

In 1998, they were 11-0 going into the final game of the season.  In those pre-BCS, pre-Playoff days, that meant they had a shot at the national title.  But they lost to Texas A & M, 36-33, and then they lost to Purdue in the Alamo Bowl, 37-34, and they finished 11-2.

At the end of his first ten years, Bill Snyder had taken what was easily the worst team in college football, a chronic loser for decades, to a position of national prominence. His overall record at that point was 77-39-1, including a 3-3 record in bowl games.

So there’s no denying that Bill Snyder got it done.

But since it was almost 30 years ago when he started,  a lot of my readers may not be aware that at the time, Coach Snyder was derided for his soft out-of-season scheduling.

To start his seasons, he was playing Western Illinois, New Mexico State, Idaho State, Northern Illinois, Indiana State.  And that 18-26 record after four years? Well, it was padded by a 10-6 record against non-conference opponents. (Years before Coach Snyder arrived, K-State had scheduled a game in 1992 at Washington that they couldn’t get out of, and the result was a long trip to Seattle and a 56-3 loss.)

I certainly didn’t scoff at what Coach Snyder was doing. He was trying to teach a bunch of players how to win, and you can’t do that by scheduling strong out-of-conference opponents. At the same time, he was trying to create an environment that would be attractive to recruits and to fans, and he was astute enough to know that wins were wins - that wins over New Mexico State and Idaho State looked a whole lot better to recruits  (and to K-State fans) than a blowout loss to Washington.

Was his strategy a success?  Let’s look at what his scheduling strategy accomplished :

In his first four years, when the Wildcats were posting that 18-26 record, they were just 8-20 in the Big 8 Conference.  But in the early season, when they faced weaker out-of-conference opponents, they were 10-6.

In his first season at K-State, he went 1-10, and went 1-3 in the early season; but over the next nine seasons, he went 31-3 out-of-conference. And in years 5-6-7-8-9-10, when the K-State program began to hit its stride, he didn’t lose a single non-conference game.

His ten-year conference record wasn’t quite so spectacular -  just 42-33-1.  But as proof that his plan worked, in that great six-year run from year 5 through year 10,  he got stronger in the conference, never losing more than two conference games in a season.  By getting wins any way he could, he managed to build a program capable of recruiting players good enough to contend for the conference title.

Knute Rockne may have been the first to recognize that a major key to success as  a coach was the ability to control his schedule, and to take appropriate steps.  Over the years, very few coaches have been successful over a long period without that control.


*********** I would definitely call the guy in Nashville who disarmed the crazy-ass Waffle House shooter a hero.

https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/crime/2018/04/22/waffle-house-shooting-hero-stopped-shooter/540061002/


*********** I came across the game program from the 1954 Pitt vs USC game, and as I’m inclined to do, I started researching some of the guys from both teams.

I found an article in a Pittsburgh  newspaper from 2013 about the death of Vince Scorsone, a 1954 Pitt sophomore lineman from McKeesport, Pennsylvania who had a long and successful career with Alcoa, retiring as executive Vice-President.  In an earlier talk with the writer, he had recalled the influence his high school coach had on his life:

Scorsone credited his high school football coach, the legendary “Duke” Weigle, for setting him on the right course.  “I ran into Coach Weigle the summer (1953) before I started at Pitt, and he asked me what I was going to major in at Pitt.  I told him physical education.  ‘I want to be a coach like you,’ I said.  And he wagged his head and said, ‘No, you don’t.  You major in business and you’ll do much better in life.’ In those days, you listened to your high school coach and I went out to Pitt the next day and changed my major.

“That exchange with Coach Weigle probably took all of 20 seconds,” said Scorsone, “but it changed my life.  I have always been grateful to him.”

https://pittsburghsportsdailybulletin.wordpress.com/2013/06/11/jim-obrien-vince-scorsone-came-out-of-mckeesport-to-be-a-big-success-in-sports-and-business/

***********  Hugh,

Without a shadow of a doubt had I not had my wife Bernadette in my life I wouldn't be where I am today.  She's my rock. 

Before yesterday I have always been proud to be a Fresno State alum.  Today I'm ashamed to say I am an alum of Fresno State, and will stay ashamed if they don't fire that big mouth "professor" who spewed that vitriol about Barbara Bush.  I will be proud to be an alum again when they fire her.

Speaking of Fresno State...Marshawn Lynch was a surprise guest at the Bulldogs spring game.  He played for current FSU coach Jeff Tedford when Tedford was the head coach at Cal.

Vince Kehres put in the work, and inherited the dynasty his father Larry built at Mount Union.  It appears the dynasty at "The Mount"  remains in good hands.

Speaking of Division III football...Pete Fredenburg, the longtime successful head coach at Mary Hardin Baylor, has been suspended by the school for the first three games of the 2018 season for "serious" NCAA rules violations.  The "Cru" as they are known around these parts have become a major challenger to Mount Union and Wisconsin Whitewater the last few years.  UMHB likely has the best stadium of any Division III school (or Division II for that matter) in the country.

https://www.google.com/search?q=umhb+football+stadium&safe=strict&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwissdPUrMnaAhWs64MKHdHsBHMQsAQIJQ&biw=1440&bih=855

I agree that we throw the word "hero" around pretty loosely these days.  But the fact remains that the woman who piloted that Southwest plane to safety HAS been a hero.  She was a military pilot.  Makes her a hero in my book.

My teams always huddled, and they always took their sweet time breaking the huddle and getting to the LOS.  Had to, especially when 8 of them played both ways, every down, and never came off the field.  Had to find a way to get them to catch their breath at some point.  Now...if I had a team where numbers were not a factor...I would do pretty much whatever the h*** I wanted to do.

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** QUIZ ANSWER: In high school, Russ Grimm was a quarterback.  But in Pro Football, he was a “Hog.”

He came from a small town in rural Western Pennsylvania.

He won nine letters in high school. In football, he was the star quarterback and middle linebacker.  And he punted. 

At Pitt, he started out as a linebacker but was switched to the offensive line.  He played on one of the most talented teams in college football history:  at least 13 of its members played in the NFL, and three of them - including him - are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

A small town boy? On draft day, he was fishing and didn’t learn until his return home that he’d been drafted third by the Redskins.

He arrived in Washington at the same time as head coach Joe Gibbs, and as one of the original “Hogs,” he played 11 years for the ’Skins, making it to four Pro Bowls and being named First Team All-Pro flour times. 

He was named to the 1980’s NFL Team of the Decade, and in 2010 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

He went into coaching after retirement, and established himself as an outstanding offensive line coach.  In 2007, as Steelers’ offensive line coach, he was rumored to be the choice to succeed Bill Cowher as head coach of the Steelers but the job went instead to Mike Tomlin.

Russ Grimm has four Super Bowl rings - three as a player and one as a coach.

In his 2005 memoir,  Redskins’ teammate and fellow Hog Mark May recalled a Christmas party at his house in 1982: "I iced down a keg of beer and stationed it on the landing between the first floor and basement.  Russ turned the landing into his headquarters for the evening. He grabbed a chair and a Hog shot glass (a 60-ounce pitcher) and parked his butt on the landing next to the keg. Except for an occasional trip to the bathroom, we didn't see Russ on the first level all night..."

In his 2010 Hall of Fame speech, he said he was “proud” to be “from a small town in western Pennsylvania.”
“It’s a special part of the country…where the knowledge and the support for the game of football is unmatched.  They fill the stadiums on Friday night, Saturday afternoons and Sundays. You created an excitement that growing up as a young man I wanted to be a part of. Thank you very much.”

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING RUSS GRIMM:
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JOSH COLE - ODESSA, NEW YORK
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON

QUIZ - In high school in Los Angeles, he set state records in the high and low hurdles and the broad jump.  In his one year at Compton Junior College, they went undefeated and  won the Junior Rose Bowl title.

He went on to the University of Washington - the recruiting was so dirty on the West Coast at the time that it was said, only half-jokingly, that he followed a trail of $100 bills to Seattle.

At Washington he was everything they thought he’d be.  Against Washington State, he rushed for 296 yards, a record that would stand for more than 60 years, and scored five touchdowns.

In his junior year, returned a punt for 100 yards against USC, and against Oregon, to show his versatility, he was nine-for-nine on PATs in a 63-6 drubbing of the Ducks.

He led the Huskies in rushing all three years, and when he left, he’d established 16 school records.

He was a first-round draft choice of the 49ers, and on his first play from scrimmage he went 40 yards for a touchdown.  To some, he was “Hurryin’ Hugh,” but to the 49ers he was “The King,” a title given him by quarterback Frankie Albert.

With Y.A, Tittle, Joe Perry and John Henry Johnson, he was a part of the 49ers’ “Million Dollar backfield.”

In 1961, he was picked up in the expansion draft by the brand-new Vikings, and led the team in rushing.

Traded to the Giants, he finally played in an NFL championship game. It was 1963, and the Giants, quarterbacked by his old 49ers’ teammate Y.A. Tittle, lost to the Bears.

He made it to six Pro Bowls - five times with the 49ers and once with the Vikings.

In his 13 years with the 49ers, Vikings, Giants and Lions, he gained 11,375 all-purpose yards.  At the time of is retirement, he was one of only three players in NFL history to have gone over 11,000 yards.

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

american flagFRIDAY,  APRIL 20,  2018 “A step backward after making a wrong turn is a step in the right direction.” Kurt Vonnegut



*********** Raise your hand if you wouldn’t have been a football coach without the help and support of your wife.  Think about all the ways that our wives put us first, enabling us to do the thing we love to do.

Guys, America just lost one great coach’s wife.

It’s been 20 years since my son-in-law and daughter took my wife and me to visit the President George H. W. Bush Library at Texas A & M.

We all came away deeply impressed by the Bush’s only-in-America story:  George and Barbara Bush, both born to wealth, leave the comfortable life of Greenwich, Connecticut behind and head out to the oil fields of West Texas to start their married life… he becomes a success in business, and goes on to bigger and more responsible positions in government, ultimately to the Presidency of the United States. She raises their children and makes the home and makes it possible for him to achieve his goals, discreetly providing valuable advice at every step of the way.

Barbara Bush was that woman.  She was a coach’s wife - the highest praise I can give any woman.

Mr. Bush had an amazing career in the service of his country, and he helped raise a family that’s worthy of admiration. But without Mrs. Bush, I don't believe George H. W. Bush would ever have become President.

Without her assent, he’d never have been able to move to Texas in the first place.  Imagine the trepidation with which she approached such a move. At least her husband had been around a bit - he’d served in the Navy in World War II. But for Mrs. Bush, a young woman brought up in an eastern culture of wealth and privilege.  Picking up and moving from Greenwich  to Midland, Texas could not have been easy.  But she did it. She was his wife. 

She made it possible for her husband to have it all -  career and home.  Career and family.  And say what you will about the Bush children, they were raised right, without any touch of scandal, any hint of corruption or perversion.

She provided her husband with strength and stability and support.

She defined the word “class.”  Nobility, even.  We will be blessed if we ever see her like again.

And she was a woman of deep faith.  Said her son, President  George W. Bush, “She had faith that she’d be received in the arms of a loving God.”

Barbara Bush was a coach’s wife.

***********  “I heard y’all was racist, so I came to get my free coffee,” the black guy said.  He got his coffee.

“I heard you guys don’t like black people,” he went on, “so I came to get my Starbucks reparations voucher.”

The guy, a comedian named Bryan Sharpe,  “vlogs” (video blogs) as “Hotep Jesus,” and he demonstrated how absurd things have become on the racial front by walking into a New Jersey Starbucks store and filming himself demanding a free coffee as “My Starbucks reparations.”  He wasn’t doing it as some scam to get “free sh-t” - he was doing it to illustrate the near-hysteria with which white America reacts to accusations of racism.

“Racism is a business," he said. "Thanks to the ridiculousness of BLM activists, it’s the new publicity stunt — and I think I just proved it.”

https://www.theblaze.com/news/2018/04/18/viral-video-sees-black-man-enter-starbucks-demand-free-reparations-coffee-theres-a-huge-catch


Tokyo store*********** My grandson, Matt Love, lives in Japan, where he teaches English.  He sent me a photo he took inside Tokyo’s American Football store, and wrote,  “Pretty interesting they had a cardboard cutout of kaep - not sure if they’re aware of how controversial he is. Haha.”

*********** On the subject of foreigners not being aware of how American sports figures are perceived here in America, there's Marshawn Lynch.

Lynch, who personifies the street culture and mocks his professional obligation to talk with the media, who sits for the American flag but stands for the flag of Mexico, has been traveling the globe, posing as an “ambassador” of sorts.  He’s been - God help us all - “teaching football” to kids in foreign countries.

Don’t underestimate his influence on young kids as their first - and maybe only - up-close exposure to American culture.

I still remember my earliest experience with young guys in Finland. Their English was pretty good,  but since most of their exposure to America was through American movies, they freely sprinkled their speech with the “F” word - just like Eddie Murphy.

https://sports.yahoo.com/marshawn-lynch-travels-world-helping-teach-kids-american-football-162416063.html


***********  Adidas is said to be interested in signing Colin Kaepernick to an endorsement contract - if he can manage to find an NFL club to sign him.

Let this be a warning to any NFL team considering bringing him in: as sleazy as these shoes companies are, I’m willing to bet that the contract with Adidas will pay him a bonus every time he takes a knee.

Said Adidas North America president Mark King, "We love athletes that have a platform to make the world a better place. If they're an activist in a way that brings attention to something that moves the world forward, even if there's controversy at that moment, we're really interested in those athletes because I think it represents the world today."


*********** At the Northeast Ohio chapter of the National Football Foundation, Mount Union coach Vince Kehres received the Lee Tressel Ohio College  Coach of the Year Award. He is the only person honored by the chapter as a high school student-athlete, a college student-athlete and a coach.  Either  as a player, assistant coach or head  coach, Kehres, who succeeded his father, Larry,  has been a part of 12 of Mount Union’s 13 national titles.

CHICAGO NFF

***********In attendance at a Chicago area National Football Foundation event: Left to Right: Dan Hampton, Richard Dent, Steve McMichael, Ted Hendricks and Northwestern Coach Pat Fitzgerald.

*********** I admit that I once  liked pro wrestling  - before it became too soap-operatic to suit me.  Before Vince McMahon, if you will.

Some of the old guys were true athletes.  Many of them, back in the days before million-dollar NFL salaries, were pro football players trying to augment their income.

Some of them I remember because of their amazing physical prowess. One was Antonino “Argentina” Rocca.  Another was Bruno Sammartino, who just died.

An Italian immigrant, Bruno Sammartino came to America as a little kid and made it big here. May he rest in peace.

http://www.pittsburghmagazine.com/Best-of-the-Burgh-Blogs/The-412/April-2018/Bruno-Sammartino-Dies-Wrestlings-Longtime-Champ-Was-82/?vsmaid=7830&vcid=15457#.WtetvsL-jXE.facebook

*********** Once, there were two Gene Washingtons in the NFL. One played at Stanford, and one at Michigan State.  Michigan State Gene Washington’s daughter has produced a documentary about the days when Michigan State and its coach, Duffy Daugherty, broke all sorts of color barriers by going south and recruiting great black athletes that their own segregated state universities couldn’t touch.

It’s entitled “Through the Banks of the Red Cedar,” taking off on the school’s fight song, which begins “On the Banks of the Red Cedar,” the river that flows through the MSU campus.

Based on a trailer I’ve seen, it appears to be a somewhat preachy attempt to teach us, once again, the history of the Civil Rights movement. Not to discourage them,  but it’s already been done very well by documentaries such as “Eyes on the Prize.” I would have hoped that it would been more football-oriented, zeroing in on that particular group of talented southerners, and their experiences playing football at a northern school.

But we’ll see.

https://wdet.org/posts/2018/04/13/86653-group-of-black-msu-players-helped-desegregate-college-football-in-1960s/

*********** In a move believed to be unprecedented in major sports, the Baltimore Orioles will offer free admission to Orioles Park at Camden Yards to any child age nine and younger all season, part of a larger youth outreach program the club is developing.

*********** In DWARFS VS TRANNIES, David Cole asks why trannies, whose difficulties, it could be argued, are self-inflicted, couldn’t learn something from little people…

As I pointed out several years ago, little people have never demanded that folks of normal height adopt a new descriptive term to define themselves as “not a dwarf.”

It’s generally true that the more phony one’s ailment, the more loud and obnoxious one will be about it. The woman with the “gluten allergy” will turn your pleasant lunch into a living hell. The guy with colon cancer will feel ashamed if his malady ruins a meal. Because the gluten harpy enjoys the bitching, enjoys the attention, whereas the colon cancer guy genuinely doesn’t want to be a nuisance. He doesn’t want his condition to define him.

So let’s circle back to the military. The army’s height requirements disqualify dwarfs and midgets. But surely a little person can fire a gun, no? I’ve seen 10-year-old girls who are expert shots; tiny hands can still pull a trigger. So why don’t we hear little people bitching like trannies about not being allowed to serve? I put that question to Cuquis Robledo, director of public relations for Little People of America (LPA), the nation’s largest advocacy organization for those of short stature. I asked her if she knew the general mood among little people regarding the military-service height requirements. “I have not really heard of anyone (in the little person community) who was thinking of joining the military but I’m sure people do talk about it,” she replied. While she believes that “anyone should be given a chance to be involved if they want to serve their country,” she added, “In terms of the height requirement, in my opinion, there are so many different ways to be involved in the military rather than being in direct combat.”
Her position? Little people should have every opportunity to serve their country, but not necessarily in combat.

If little people, facing so many challenges, can learn to live their lives without becoming a massive pain in the ass to the rest of us, if they can realize that their happiness is not dependent on my vocabulary, or my sexual preference, or my beauty standards, or the requirements of our armed forces, then anyone else can too.

We can learn a big lesson from the little people.

http://takimag.com/article/dwarfs_vs_trannies_david_cole/page_2#axzz5CehiAiGl

*********** Back-and-forth, with a coach: Any thought about selling the playbook update as a PDF?

It would be a lot easier and a lot less expensive for me but with all the experiences I’ve had over the years with theft of my work, there is no chance.

Yeah, I understand.  After I bought your playbook - 14 years ago! - I became obsessed with the offense (and am still running it at high school level).  So, I bought another playbook thinking, heck, they must have some differences and varied thoughts, right?  Wrong.  The guy clearly ripped you off, just changing some of the terminology.  So, yes, I get it.  The problem is, I have loaned your playbook out to my assistant coaches over the years, and it is in pretty bad shape - including one major coffee spill on it and I do not drink coffee!  I do not hand out hard copies of my plays to coaches or players, as I expect them to memorize the play and how it works.  When kids ask me for a playbook, I ask them, "Where are you going to carry that book when we are playing a game?"

I think that you might like the “playbook” that my kids carry on their wrists!  It’s explained in the new book.

*********** Like so many people nowadays, a politician in Canada was blindsided by the discovery that, unbeknownst to him, he’s a racist.  The news is not all bad, though -  he’s a liberal.  (Ain’t karma great?)

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2011/03/11/ignatieff_accused_of_racist_slur_in_cottonpicking_controversy.html


*********** Possibly because she’s a female, the Southwest Airlines pilot who skillfully landed a plane that had blown an engine is being hailed as a “hero.”

With all due respect for her and her great accomplishment, it’s time for me to horn in.

Without question,  she did a masterful job of handling herself and her plane in a dire situation, and she deserves all sorts commendations, not to mention the thanks of those whose lives she likely saved.  Whatever recognition Southwest can provide her, she has more than earned it.

At a time when women have flown in the military - and commercially - for years, the fact that she is a female shouldn't mean a thing, one way or the other.  She's obviously a damn good pilot,  and I would feel very good getting on a plane, knowing that she was the pilot.

But - a point I don’t mind belaboring - she is NOT a “hero”  (or a heroine) in the true sense of the word. 

From the people whose assignment it is to recognize true heroes:

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

There are numerous criteria to be met, including that one must not be a “professional rescuer,” such as a policeman or lifeguard,  nor  a member of the military, all which carry an obligation. 

Besides, it was Mr. Carnegie’s belief that those organizations already had their own systems of awards for exceptional bravery.

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

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


To put it simply, what she did demonstrated great poise and professional competence at a time of imminent danger. But she was not risking anything.  She did not "leave a place of safety and knowingly risk death to save the life of another, without obligation to do so.”  It was not as if she had been sitting at the beach  and noticed a person being swept out to sea by a rip current, and rushed into the surf to try to help.

And, too, it’s not as if she wasn’t trying to save her own life, too.  She had “skin in the game.”

Picky, picky, picky, right?  Guilty as charged.  But if we don’t maintain the highest standards for what we call heroism, then we allow the next athlete who scores a last-minute touchdown or shoots a three at the buzzer or slides in under the tag in the bottom of the tenth to be called a "hero," stealing the valor that rightfully belongs to those incredibly brave people who voluntarily put their lives on the line to try to save other human beings.

*********** An English corporate headhunter - himself a millennial - calls unemployed millennials “lazy little sh-ts.”

“I’ll tell you right now that it has never been easier for a young man/lady to find a reasonably well-paid job in this country and I’d go as far as to say regardless of qualifications, if you’re under the age of 25 and not in work without any good medical or mental health reason then you’re either a lazy little s*** or you’re setting your sights way too high,” he wrote.

“I’m not surprised us millennials are being called entitled. Kids these days measure their worth in the amount of followers they have on Instagram [and] they get upset if they’re not a CEO by 25.

“Everyone seems to want to start from the top, not work their way up. No one seems to want to get their hands dirty anymore.

http://www.news.com.au/finance/work/careers/uk-headhunter-josh-harrison-blasts-unemployed-under25s-on-linkedin/news-story/267c97fe0739760d1ba674a9d07691f4


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

Do you use no huddle most the time or just when you want to gas the other team or keep momentum going? In the old Don Markham days he used to run things as slow as possible to chew clock.

There are times to slow down and times to speed up, but Coach Markham’s thinking is still valid.  

I mostly use my playcards (on the players’ wrists) for three purposes:

(1) we don’t huddle in practice because by not huddling we get a lot more reps.  Huddling in practice is a waste of precious time.

(2) play-calling is clear and simple.  We don’t have communication issues with a “messenger” communicating the wrong thing to the QB.

(3) The players’ assignments are on their wrist cards. Screw memorization.  I’ve been a teacher long enough to know that the way to help people with an answer to a question is to give them a memory aid, so on their cards, players have condensed versions of their assignments.

I seldom go no-huddle in games except to catch defenses off balance, but we have done so.  Most kids I coach play both ways, and I don’t think it’s in our best interest to have them go no huddle for any length of time.

I happen to think that the huddle has its purposes besides simply providing the team with the play call.  I think of it as a part of team-building: as men rallying themselves before doing something hard and dangerous; as a bunch of guys coming together after the hunt;   as reinforcing the idea that "the strength of the wolf is the pack."

But the possibility is there.

*********** Sports Business Journal writes that at a recent big dinner affair, ESPN’s Burke Magnus, Executive VP, programming and acquisitions…

gave a demonstration of ESPN+ – the over-the-top app that launched April 12. Pulling an iPhone from his pocket, Magnus opened the app and called up video from the 1985 boxing match between Marvin Hagler and Tommy Hearns to demonstrate the scope of the service’s library. Magnus, though, suggested that one of the service’s best selling points may be its ad-free content – not just on the OTT service but throughout ESPN digital. ESPN+ subscribers that are logged in do not have pre-roll ads for videos, like highlights and interviews, on ESPN.com, for example. “That’s been an underreported aspect of ESPN+,” Magnus said.

FYI:   ESPN+ is a subscription service - $4.99 a month.  They’re offering a 30-day free trial, but caveat emptor (Let the buyer beware): “AUTOMATICALLY RENEWS UNTIL CANCELLED”

***********  Hello Coach
My name is —— I’ve been a long time lurker around your site and I purchased vhs tapes from you years ago. I am curious as to this open wing that I keep hearing about.  I have not seen video of it and so I am wondering what it consists of and how you evolved into it?
Thanks

Coach,

Without getting into a lot of explanation, it’s an attempt to try to take advantage of some of the aspects of spread/shotgun offenses while retaining as many of the distinct features of the Double Wing as possible : a TE/Wing set to one side, tight line splits, double-wing blocking.

Its base formation  is “open” to one side and “wing” to the opposite side.

The evolution is fairly involved, but it comes partly from what I saw a California JC coach named Ken Swearengin doing, and partly from my “Wildcat” version of the Double Wing, and partly because I had to give up on an attempt to run my Wildcat from two split ends: one of my splits was slow and didn’t have very good hands -  but he was a very good blocker, and he made a very good tight end.  It’s the sort of improvisation you often have to do at  small high school.

As much as anything, I wanted something for Double Wing coaches who were either getting pressure to “open things up” or, even worse, losing out on jobs because of prejudice against their offense - and I believe I’ve found it.

Not knowing what age group you coach, here’s a screen shot of a middle school team running it, courtesy of Coach Jason Clarke, from Glen Burnie, Maryland.


open wing


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

You bring up some great points regarding the shoe companies.  Their marketing people are smart.  They start early.  Get to the kids while they are playing youth sports.  AAU, USA, etc. so that by the time they get to high school it's the kids and their parents that put the pressure on HS athletic departments to get in bed with Nike, Addidas, Under Armour etc.  When that happens the other high schools have to find a way to keep up.  Thus...the apparel wars - sponsorship labeling begins.

I watched a few of those spring "games" on TV.  Especially the schools with new coaches.  Florida will be better with Dan Mullen.  Texas A&M now has a TE in their offense with Jimbo Fisher as their coach.  And Minnesota...watch out for Minnesota.  They have some outstanding young talent, a massive O Line, a fast defense, and a smart, enthusiastic, young head coach who has those kids pumped up.

I don't buy Westbrook's sorry, lame a$$, explanation ONE COTTON PICKIN' MINUTE!!  And that announcer should NEVER have to apologize for it ONE COTTON PICKIN' SECOND!!

For the most part many track coaches ARE football coaches.  Or at least they should be.

I've said from day one that all the "research" done regarding concussions in the NFL has been misleading.

Don't get me started on Robert Mueller.

I thought R. Lee Ermey's characterization of the Marine Drill Sergeant in the movie Full Metal Jacket was priceless.  Also, you and I were probably a few of the "lucky" ones who got to see his GEICO commercial that was pulled.  He'll be missed.  (Ermey...not the other guy).

QUIZ:  Mark "Stink" Schlereth.  Enjoyed watching him cap on Mike Greenberg as a sub-in for Mike Golic on the Mike and Mike show, and take his shots at Golic too. 

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


WISCONSIN APRIL SNOW
***********  Digging out from a two wave winter storm (technically it was a blizzard) over the weekend. All total we got 29 inches of snow...a bit less in Green Bay. There's been talk in the state for sometime but it gets shot down every time too but the suggestion is to switch girls volleyball from a fall sport to a spring sport and move girls softball from spring to fall. Makes a lot of sense actually. Volleyball is indoors and starts in August which would help softball if it were a fall sport. My daughter plays both and they have not played a softball game yet this season. This will be the third week where they have been scheduled to play.

Adam Wesoloski
Pulaski, Wisconsin

Wow!  That is some snow for the middle of April.

Just think how bad it could  have been if my wife and I hadn’t been warming the planet by both driving our big gas-guzzling SUVs!

I doubt that the switch of seasons - as much sense as it seems to make - will happen because someone will complain that it’s keeping their daughter from being seen.  (Actually, in volleyball, colleges watch USVBA competition more than high school anyhow.)


*********** QUIZ ANSWER - Mark Schlereth one of the few players from Alaska ever to play in the NFL, and certainly the only one to play in two Pro Bowls and on three Super Bowl winning teams. He played his high school football at Robert W. Service High School  and then at the University of Idaho.  Drafted in the 10th round by the Washington Redskins, he joined their famed Hogs. He played 12 years overall in the NFL, six with the Redskins and six with the Broncos. With the Redskins, he played on a Super Bowl winner and was named to the Pro Bowl in 1991. With the Denver Broncos, he played on two Super Bowl champions, and was named to the Pro Bowl in 1998.  He was named to the Broncos’ 50th Anniversary Team.  Since retirement from football he has worked in TV, currently for Fox Sports, and he has appeared in some soap operas.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING MARK SCHLERETH
JOSH MONGTOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JOSH COLE - ODESSA, NEW YORK
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN,  TEXAS
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON


*********** A season or two ago, when my Rays were playing the Marlins, a pitcher named Schlereth took the mound for the Marlins. "I wonder if..." I thought, just before they said Daniel is Mark's son.

John Vermillion
St. Petersburg, Florida

*********** QUIZ: In high school, he was a quarterback.  In Pro Football, he was a “Hog.”

He came from a small town in rural Western Pennsylvania.

He won nine letters in high school. In football, he was the star quarterback and middle linebacker.  And he punted. 

At Pitt, he started out as a linebacker but was switched to the offensive line.  He played on one of the most talented teams in college football history:  at least 13 of its members played in the NFL, and three of them - including him - are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

A small town boy? On draft day, he was fishing and didn’t learn until his return home that he’d been drafted third by the Redskins.

He arrived in Washington at the same time as head coach Joe Gibbs, and as one of the original “Hogs,” he played 11 years for the ’Skins, making it to four Pro Bowls and being named First Team All-Pro four times. 

He was named to the 1980’s NFL Team of the Decade, and in 2010 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

He went into coaching after retirement, and established himself as an outstanding offensive line coach.  In 2007, as Steelers’ offensive line coach, he was rumored to be the choice to succeed Bill Cowher as head coach of the Steelers but the job went instead to Mike Tomlin.

He has four Super Bowl rings - three as a player and one as a coach.

In his 2005 memoir,  Redskins’ teammate and fellow Hog Mark May recalled a Christmas party at his house in 1982: "I iced down a keg of beer and stationed it on the landing between the first floor and basement. (He) turned the landing into his headquarters for the evening. He grabbed a chair and a Hog shot glass (a 60-ounce pitcher) and parked his butt on the landing next to the keg. Except for an occasional trip to the bathroom, we didn't see (him) on the first level all night..."

In his 2010 Hall of Fame speech, he said he was “proud” to be “from a small town in western Pennsylvania.”
“It’s a special part of the country…where the knowledge and the support for the game of football is unmatched.  They fill the stadiums on Friday night, Saturday afternoons and Sundays. You created an excitement that growing up as a young man I wanted to be a part of. Thank you very much.”



american flagTUESDAY,  APRIL 17,  2018 “English? Who needs that? I’m never going to England.” Homer Simpson

*********** At just about the same time as the University of Washington’s announcement that it had signed a 10-year deal with Adidas (I forget- are they back to capitalizing the “A”?), more federal charges were filed against an Adidas executive named Jim Gatto for his role in “allegedly” steering top basketball prospects to Kansas and NC State.  Before that, he was accused of doing the same for Louisville.

The “steering” was accomplished with large sums of money, the source of which is, to say the least, suspicious.

The people at Kansas, at NC State and at Louisville know nothing about any of that.  Of course not.   Neither do the people at Adidas. Which leaves Gatto himself - if you can believe he’s so wealthy that as a hobby he pays high school kids $100,000 each to go spend a basketball season at some college.

In the meantime, until things sort themselves out, Gatto remains on “paid leave” from Adidas.

And despite the stench that attaches to Adidas, Washington  nonetheless decided to accept its offer, said to be $20 million MORE than Nike’s.  In terms of total compensation, it vaults Washington into the top ten. 

I can’t wait to see what the designers at Adidas decide the Washington Huskies should look like.

http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2018/04/adidas_offer_for_uw_apparel_de.html

http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2018/04/adidas_jim_gatto_faces_more_ch.html

*********** Portland is ground zero in the Sneaker War.  Nike’s World Headquarters are in suburban Beaverton, and Adidas’ US headquarters are in North Portland.

Naturally, just as any big-city newspaper covers the industries important to its area, the Portland Oregonian keeps a close eye on the two local apparel giants.

In a recent series of articles on the shoe and apparel business, the writers unearthed an extremely unhealthy intrusion by Nike into Oregon high school sports.

Basically, Nike - far more than Adidas (Underarmour isn’t even in the picture) - has made shoe and apparel deals with several  Oregon high schools, providing them with free sh—.  Lots of it.

What’s Nike’s reasoning?  Apart from whatever advertising value there may be in a high school kid wearing the Swoosh, it’s the same sort of thinking behind the free cigarettes that tobacco companies provided our soldiers in World War II - if you can get ‘em when they’re young, the chances are good that they’ll be  your customers for life.

Naturally, in a state that’s so crippled by its pension obligations that it has to lay off teachers and state police and postpone road repairs,  the goods are welcome.

But the goods - the uniforms, the warmups, the shoes, the gym bags -  are contributing to the increasing sense that among the state’s high schools there are chronic haves and have-nots.

Yes, for the sake of PR Nike has donated goods to the Portland Public Schools, which definitely have their share of have-nots, but otherwise the company’s largesse (generosity) has been directed to schools that tend to be state powers. The haves.

Besides the uneven distribution of the goods, however, there’s another, much more interesting problem.

It appears that in many cases, Nike made its deals directly with the coaches of the sports (mostly football), and not their schools  or their school districts.  Besides the fact  that this might raise the suspicion that certain coaches might be on the take, the bigger problem for the schools is that in making those deals, their coaches may have created a Title IX nightmare:  where’s the stuff for the girls’ teams?

http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/page/how_nike_dominated_oregon_high.html

Oregonian editorial

http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2018/04/schools_sneaker_deals_needs_ov.html

*********** Tsk, tsk.  Michigan had to call off its spring game because of “weather.”  Did they mean the weather in Rome?  Oh, wait - that was last year.

Or was IMG’s field booked, so they couldn’t play it in Florida, like two years ago?

Pretty bad when you have to play your spring game on your own field and it’s like an away game.

Cynical me - to suspect that the cancellation may have been because QB Shea Patterson wasn't going to be  able to play -  Michigan hasn't been able to get the NCAA waiver allowing him to transfer in from Ole Miss without his having to sit out a year.

Their argument for the waiver is that he shouldn’t be held to the usual standard because  - it's claimed - Ole Miss knew when they signed him that sanctions against it were coming down.

Watch yourself, Harbaugh.  I know you’re desperate, but this Patterson sure sounds like one of "those" kids - he went to three different high schools, transferring for his senior season to IMG Academy, which you know about, of course. 

And, counting a commit-decommit to Arizona, Michigan will make college number three.

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


*********** Johnny Manziel was the featured attraction at the Texas A & M spring game, running all over the field, fielding kicks, doing sideline interviews, playing to the adoring crowd.  I just shook my head at the whole sorry spectacle.  I didn't expect any different from  Johnny Football , but I have to admit my surprise at seeing that he still has the people at A & M bamboozled.

http://www.espn.com/college-football/

*********** As along as we’re on the subject of equality and gender equity and all that good stuff…

Mark Perry, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute, writes in the Wall Street Journal that in 2016, 4803 men were killed on the job, compared with 387 women.  To save you the trouble of calculating, men accounted for 92.5 per cent of workplace fatalities. Or, put another way, that’s 12 men killed on the job for every woman killed.

As a sort of jab at those gender-equity types who hector us by telling us how far into the next year the average woman has to work in order to earn the same amount of money that the average man earned in 365 days, Mr. Perry notes that May 30, 2029 will be “EQUAL OCCUPATION FATALITY DAY” - the date on which female fatalities in the workplace will finally equal those for men back in 2016.

*********** EXCERPT FROM THE UPCOMING DOUBLE WING PLAYBOOK...

X-Y cross

*********** “Thunder announcer suspended one game after racially insensitive comment about Russell Westbrook” read the headline.

Jeez - what did he say?

Turns out that following the Oklahoma City Thunder's final regular-season game Wednesday night, play-by-play announcer Brian Davis remarked that Brian Westbrook’s performance was excellent.

I lied. Actually, he said Westbrook  was "out of his cotton-picking mind,” which was supposed to convey the same thing.  But no.   Actually, if he had substituted “f—king” for “cotton picking,” he wouldn’t have stirred up as big a fuss.

Turns out “cotton picking” is now “racially insensitive.”  Who knew?  Did you?  I sure didn’t.

Andy Griffith used to say it and no one said squat.  Same with Yosemite Sam. There was the Smothers Brothers routine: “My old man’s a cotton-pickin’, finger-lickin’ chicken plucker - whatddaya thinka that?”  No complaints. And we all laughed  at the idea of Eli Whitney coming up with the name for his invention after hearing someone say “Get your cotton-pickin’ hands off my gin.”

But that was then, and this is now.  This is the Better America I never thought I’d live long enough to see. So Davis, probably surprised to learn that his innocent expression had gravely offended someone - this is, after all twenty-first century America -  did what everybody does nowadays, even when they haven’t done a damn thing wrong.  He apologized. ”It is with great remorse and humility that I accept this suspension,” he said,  “for the insensitive words I used during Wednesday's broadcast. While unintentional, I understand and acknowledge the gravity of the situation."

Wait a minute… racially insensitive???  “Gravity? "

And WTF is the deal with Westbrook?  All he had to do was say, “What’s all the excitement about?” But instead, he said, “What he said wasn’t okay.”

Really, Mr. Westbrook?  Since when, and says who?

In a couple of years it’ll be okay to say “f—king” on the air, and we won’t have any more need for euphemisms like  - trigger alert for insensitive words - “cotton picking.”

Until that wonderful day, though, I say go on saying "cotton picking." I figure that if you were to conduct a survey,  no more than 13 per cent of the respondents would tell you that they consider the term “cotton picking” to be racially insensitive.

I freely admit that I’d be among the 87 per cent who see absolutely no racial connotations - let alone insult - in the phrase, but for those of us who would rather not intentionally offend others, it sure would be awfully nice if we could be handed the list of commonly-used expressions that have been deemed offensive by some secret authority.  If they’re ever finished adding to it.

In the meantime, this probably explains why we don’t see those Andy Griffith reruns any more.

*********** My wife and I stood in a cold, steady rain Saturday and watched a high school track meet.  Well, part of one, actually.  We watched the shot put and a few races - in a cold, steady rain - and finally, after six heats of the boys’ 100, we’d had enough.  I’m sure the meet went on for a couple more hours - in a cold, steady rain. I went away convinced that if that’s the way track coaches spend their spring Saturdays - in a cold, steady rain - they deserve to be paid as much as football coaches.   (If you know me - I don’t think anybody outworks football coaches, or works in tougher conditions -  that’s really saying something.)

*********** When your aims conflict with those of a potential employer, you owe it to the employer to let them know that.

Give Colin Kaepernick credit for doing just that - for (evidently) letting the Seahawks know that he couldn’t assure them that he wouldn’t kneel during the national anthem.

And give the Seahawks credit for avoiding the PR disaster that signing Kaepernick would have led to.
   
*********** The NFL has been getting hustled… This from the Wall Street Journal

The National Football League has asked a federal judge to appoint a special investigator to probe what it describes as a widespread fraud that has resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in false claims to a fund meant to compensate former players for head injuries.

The motion alleges fraudulent schemes by doctors, lawyers and players to illicitly tap the uncapped fund, which is potentially valued around $1 billion. The league established the fund as part of a settlement agreement with players, and the NFL has so far funded more than $227 million in claims.

The motion—filed in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Pennsylvania, where the settlement is overseen—says that an independent administrator in the case has recommended that more than 400 claims be rejected because of fraud. That amounts to 23% of the total claims submitted and has a potential value of hundreds of millions of dollars based on the claims already awarded.

Among the allegations: At least one player was advised to show up to a neuropsychological evaluation hungover and on Valium, to ensure that he failed cognitive tests required to qualify for a settlement. Medical reports submitted by one neurologist included identical vital signs for more than 20 different players. One doctor claimed to have spent 130 hours evaluating players in a single day—on two separate occasions.

MY TOP 10 COMMENTS, from WSJ readers...

10. This is what happens when unlimited amounts of money are offered to people who can pretend that they have injuries. The doctors and lawyers co-conspire. We saw this with the Federal railroad employee disability program. It happens with the Social Security disability program (now costing taxpayers $100+ billion per year). It is likely also happening with the 9/11 fund, if anyone would take a careful look.

9. No matter which big program you look at there always seems to be people who will work hard to steal the funds which legitimately belong to others.

8. What a surprise... with so many bankrupt players who blew their millions within a couple of years of retiring from the NFL, one didn't think they wouldn't hop onto this gravy train with their lawyers and questionable medical records?

7. Potential big money settlements attract sleazy lawyers and doctors who see this as easy money for themselves like vultures on a carcass, except vultures are honorable creatures.

6. There is a vast network of lawyers, judges, doctors, and victims out there who have honed their "skills" with car accidents, asbestos claims, tobacco claims, baby powder claims, nursing home claims, product liability claims, birth control claims, sudden acceleration claims. . . . Why would anyone think this NFL fund would be any different?

5. The #MeToo movement expands its reach from questionable sexual harassment to questionable head injuries. The till is open. Come join the party. Is this a great country or what?

4. Surprised the NFL figured it out.  This is the same group of dumbos that still can't figure out that allowing the current players to take a knee has damaged the NFL brand.

3. The punishment for fraud, if proved, should be the perps are forced to watch Fox broadcasts of NFL games for an entire season. I know, it's cruel, but how else can one deter bad behavior?

2. Turn it over to Mueller, he will get to the bottom of this in 5 years.

Drum roll, please…

1. Late night TV ads - did you ever play in the NFL?  You may be entitled to major settlement money...

https://www.wsj.com/articles/nfl-alleges-deep-and-widespread-fraud-in-concussion-settlement-1523641002?emailToken=58f3a66fb55679b7c61e9fb8d3533316YZusFEV0Hcy4w4D5lCh8GKshyXTKmMsJ2GbOt2qYLN10zyLiyQtfugi8fIQApZv%2B01OUpf4Z5hrWaCHP%2BmuCJdx%2BptbhQFqn%2Bgxhyrpa%2F6Ht%2FbVDaVL4nm0nNa2KKkeM

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

Well...according to your handicapping system the Catholic school where I work would only get 10 points from all that criteria.  AND...THE reason why no one would ever accuse us of being a football powerhouse, OR, see us in a state championship, let alone a state playoff game.  In today's Catholic education model we are more the norm.  The Mater Dei's and DeLaSalle's are now the exception.

Catholic schools can be divided into 3 categories:  Diocesan schools; Order sponsored schools; and Independent schools.  I have worked in all three.  The diocesan schools struggled.  The order schools (Jesuits, Christian Bros. etc.) were much better.  And the Independent schools were a hit or miss.  I preferred the ordered (Jesuits, Christian Bros.), but did work for a wonderful independent Catholic school in Minnesota.

With all the emphasis and effort to improve the statistics and opportunities for hiring minorities and women in the coaching profession the statistics and hiring still haven't changed much.

Bottom line...Kentucky is, and always has been a basketball school.  At least Purdue has had a history in both basketball and football.  Kentucky high school football players probably realize going north will be a better experience for them.

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** R. Lee Ermey - everybody’s Marine, everybody’s Drill Instructor - died Sunday.

From wikipedia:

Ermey was born in Emporia, Kansas, on March 24, 1944. He grew up with five brothers on a farm outside of Kansas City, Kansas.  In 1958, when Ermey was 14, he and his family left Kansas and moved to Zillah, Washington. As a teenager, Ermey often got in trouble with the local authorities, and he had been arrested twice for criminal mischief by age 17. After his second arrest, a judge gave him a choice between joining the military or being sent to jail; Ermey chose the military.

Remember when judges had that option?

Remember when the military was able/allowed to straighten out guys like him?

FWIW - GEICO sure does have some funny ads, but the pukes pulled a commercial he starred in because of an unfavorable comment he made about Barack Obama.

*********** QUIZ ANSWER - Short and stout, Wally Butts was often referred to as the “Little Round Man.”

He was born in Milledgeville, Georgia, and went to Georgia Military College and then Mercer University. After graduation, he spent 10 years as a high school coach, and at three different schools he coached undefeated championship teams.

He got his first college coaching job in 1938, and after one year as an assistant he was promoted to head coach and coached there until 1960.

His overall record was 140-86-9.  His 1942 team won the national title, and his 10-0 1946 team was one of only two undefeated teams in the country.  In an era when bowls were few and a bowl appearance was quite an accomplishment, his teams were 5-2-1 in bowl games.

Two of his best players were Frank Sinkwich, who won the Heisman Trophy, and Charlie Trippi, who won the Maxwell Trophy.

He was an early proponent of the passing game, and two of his quarterbacks - John Rauch and Zeke Bratkowski - went on to play in the NFL.

He was also ahead of his time in going out of state for talent: Sinkwich (born in Croatia) was from Youngstown, Ohio; Trippi was from Pittston, Pennsylvania; Bratkowski was from Danville, Illinois; and Rauch was from Yeadon, Pennsylvania.

After his retirement as head coach, he remained at the school as AD, and when a major magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, claimed that he and Alabama coach Bear Bryant had conspired to fix their schools’ upcoming game, he and Bryant sued for $10 million each.  Bryant settled for $300,000, but Butts went to court and was awarded $3 million, the largest settlement in history at that time, and generally considered to be the major factor in the demise of the magazine.

CORECTLY IDENTIFYING WALLY BUTTS -
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
JOHN BOWEN - MT. VERNON, GEORGIA

*********** The Wally Butts-Bear Bryant “Fix” story was HUGE when it broke.  At that time, pre-Internet and pre-cable, people still read magazines.  And the Saturday Evening Post was one of the most-read of them all.   I knew Georgia people who said they wouldn’t put it past Butts, who had sort of been forced out and might not necessarily have wanted his successor to be successful!

THE STORY OF “THE FIX” - http://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/wp-content/uploads/satevepost/georgia-vs-alabama.pdf

*********** QUIZ - He’s one of the few players from his state ever to play in the NFL, and certainly the only one to play in two Pro Bowls and on three Super Bowl winning teams. He played his high school football at Robert W. Service High School  and then at the University of Idaho.  Drafted in the 10th round by the Washington Redskins, he joined their famed Hogs. He played 12 years overall in the NFL, six with the Redskins and six with the Broncos. With the Redskins, he played on a Super Bowl winner and was named to the Pro Bowl in 1991. With the Denver Broncos, he played on two Super Bowl champions, and was named to the Pro Bowl in 1998.  He was named to the Broncos’ 50th Anniversary Team.  Since retirement from football he has worked in TV, currently for Fox Sports, and he has appeared as an actor in some soap operas.



american flagFRIDAY,  APRIL 13,  2018 -  "I want to stick a knife in your best play." Bo Schembechler


*********** A MODEST PROPOSAL (With apologies to Jonathan Swift)

I’m certainly not the first to notice that to a great extent, football at the high school level is becoming more and more a game for the haves - for the well-off kids who’ve been provided with stable upbringings by ambitious parents who have high aspirations for them.  If you doubt me, check just one indicator - the number of state championships won every year by private (mostly Catholic) schools, with tuitions well north of $20,000 a year.

This year, the big California state title game was between Mater Dei and DeLaSalle, two private Catholic schools.

There’s scarcely a city in the United States that doesn’t have at least one Catholic school that’s a football power.  Some cities have several.  Some, like Chicago and Philadelphia, have entire Catholic leagues.

This is in no way intended to pile on Catholic schools, because overall they do seem to outpace the public schools academically, as well. Besides,  rather recently, there has also sprung up a fair number of high school football powerhouses whose names end in “Christian.”

Nor is it an attack on private schools.  It’s fair to say that they exist largely because of people who have money and care about their kids’ future.

As it is,  people with money who don’t choose to send their kids to private schools still wind up paying in another way - they buy expensive homes in tony suburbs, and they pay in the form of high property taxes.  The public high schools in such places tend to have good football teams.   (Find me a large city that doesn’t have a fair number of powerful high school football teams in its wealthier suburbs.)

Sometimes, of course, these schools go a bit too far in their pursuit of gridiron excellence.

Take Bellevue High, in a well-to-do suburb of Seattle. It has owned a near-monopoly on state Class 3A  titles for most of this century, with out-of-state wins over high-profile programs such as DeLaSalle, Long Beach Poly, St. Louis Prep (Honolulu) and Euless (Texas) Trinity. But uh-oh - A Seattle Times story revealed that Bellevue’s boosters were paying  their head coach in excess of $100,000 a year, and they'd paid the rent for families of out-of-district athletes so they could move to Bellevue.

How many other Bellevues are out there?

I'm definitely opposes to cheaters. But I’m definitely not a socialist. I understand that people will spend what they can to send their kids to  schools with good athletic programs.

I do, however,  believe in fair competition, and I’ve seen what disparity - in facilities and support - can do to kids. I’ve coached at an inner-city school. It had weeds growing in its parking lot, and when I had to take my team to  play at another school - in the same city school district - that had a swimming pool, complete with a water slide, you think our kids didn’t notice? When it was senior night at our school, fewer than half of my seniors had even one parent attend;  the next week, at a wealthy opponent’s stadium (same school district) senior night brought out two parents each for every single senior.

My concern is that if football is as great as we all believe it to be, it would be especially great for poor kids with little family support.  But it’s well-known that kids - city kids, especially - are a lot less likely to play any sport if their team is a chronic loser.

Academically, it’s been proposed in some quarters that certain students’ SAT scores  be adjusted upward to compensate for their relative lack of educational advantages (books in the house, parents who think that an education is important, good teachers, etc.).

While we’re considering that, why not do the same for schools in football? Given that certain schools have built-in advantages that others will never be able to overcome, I propose a handicapping system, based on the relative competitive advantages enjoyed by the opposing teams. The more disadvantaged team would start the game with a certain number of points awarded to it in advance. A reverse handicap, actually, but the purpose is the same as it would be in golf or horse racing - to make the contest more competitive.

Here’s how it would work:

As in golf, every team would have a handicap, although unlike in golf, in which a player’s handicap is subtracted from his score, this handicap would be added to a team’s score. 

The handicap would be determined by  allowing one point for each of the following factors:

It’s the only school in its town/district (3 points)
The superintendent thinks that a winning football program is important (5 points)
The head coach has been at the school more than 3 years
The head coach is a teacher in the school
There is an assistant coach for every 7.5 players
The head coach has the authority to hire and fire assistants as necessary
More than 3/4 of the coaching staff has been together more than 3 years
More than half of the coaching staff are teachers in the school
The staff and at least 3/4 of the players take part in a structured off-season conditioning program
There is a junior varsity team
There is a freshman team
There is a junior high/middle school program
The junior high coaches have solid coaching backgrounds
The junior high is using the same overall offensive and defensive system as the high school
The head coach hires the junior high/middle school coaches
There is an active youth program that feeds the school
At least one of the youth teams in the community uses the high school’s offensive and defensive systems
The principal is a former head coach
The principal is a former assistant football coach
The principal is a former head football coach
The principal, if female, is married to a football coach
The principal, if female, is married to a head football coach
The head coach is the AD
(If not the head coach) The AD has been a head coach of a major sport
(If not the head coach) The AD is a former assistant football coach
(If not the head coach) The AD is a former head football coach
(If not the head coach) The AD is currently not the head coach of another sport
100 per cent attendance is required at pre-season parents’ meetings
There is a clearly defined process for parents to pursue concerns
School athletic policy rules out questions about playing time
The baseball, basketball and wrestling head coaches are on the football staff (1 point for each)
There is sufficient budget for replacement of worn out or unsafe equipment
The playing field is artificial turf
The press box is high enough to film from and large enough for all who need to be there
There is a separate on-campus practice field
There is an indoor practice facility of some sort
There is a team room apart from the regular locker room
There is large, adequate team meeting space with audio-visual equipment
The weight room is adequate in size and well-equipped
Weight training is offered as a class and 90 per cent of the football players are in it
The weight training class is run by someone well-versed in  strength and conditioning training
More than 75 per cent of the  players train with the team during the summer
The program stresses respect, discipline and accountability
The program stresses sound fundamentals
The program  promotes, develops and supports strong senior leadership
A large percentage* of the players lives in a stable home situation
A large percentage* of the players lives with their father
A large percentage* of the players’ fathers were (or are) in the military
A large percentage* of the players’ fathers  played football
A large percentage* of the players’ older brothers played football
A large percentage* of the players’ grandfathers played football
A large percentage* of the players’ fathers  played at this school
A large percentage* of the players’ fathers played on winning teams at this school
No more than three languages are spoken in the school
Fewer than 20 per cent of its students qualify for free- or reduced-price lunch
The school has had at least eight winning seasons over the past ten years

* to be determined

Prior to each game, the difference in points between the two teams’  handicaps  would  be  awarded to the team with the lower handicap.

This is just a rough idea, of course. There’s still a lot of work to do,and I’m hoping I can get someone to pay me to do more research. Maybe I can get a grant from some big foundation (the Clinton Family Foundation maybe?) or some government agency - or even the NFL.  I figure $1 million would be a start - enough to get me up and running.

Obviously, the fact that this is about football at a time when there’s opposition to the sport could affect my success in getting funding, but I won’t let that stand in my way. If need be, I’ll shift my focus to getting more inner-city kids playing baseball.  Soccer, even.

Okay - call me a sellout.  But when I do land that grant, I’ll never forget all you little people I met along the way.  And never forget, guys - you knew me when I was nothing.

*********** “You wouldn’t  let somebody working at McDonald’s, when somebody pulls through, give them a hamburger and say, ‘I don’t know why you’re eating that  beef. Why aren’t you a vegetarian?’” Bob McNair, owner of the Houston Texans, on why NFL owners should should restrain their players from making political statements while they’re on the job.

*********** You may think that college sports is all about who’s best at every sport, but there’s a group of professional nags that calls itself The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES), and it seems to think that the real aim of sports is to promote diversity.

Annually, this diversity whore issues what it pretentiously calls its College Sport Racial and Gender Report Card, including such nuggets as these:

    •    Of the total male student-athletes in Division I athletics, white males decreased to 56.8 percent in 2016-17, while the percentage of African-American males increased to 22.3 percent.

    •    Of the total female student-athletes in Division I athletics, white females decreased to 64.9 percent in 2016-17, while African-American females decreased to 12.5 percent.

    •    White coaches dominated the head-coaching ranks on men's teams, holding 87 percent, 88 percent, and 92 percent of all positions in Divisions I, II and III, respectively. On the women's side, white coaches held 85 percent of Division I, 87 percent of Division II and 91 percent of Division III women's head-coaching positions.

    •    In Division I men's basketball, 22.3 percent of all head coaches were African-American, which was up 1.5 percentage points from the 20.8 percent reported in the 2015-16 season, but is still down 2.9 percentage points from the all-time high of 25.2 percent reported in the 2005-06 season.

    •    Only 7.2 percent of Division I head baseball coaches were people of color.

    •    The number of head football coaches of color at the FBS level increased by one to 17 in 2017. Eighty-seven percent of FBS head coaches were white in the 2017 season.

    •    When you combine the divisions, white coaches filled up 84, 91 and 95 percent of basketball, football and baseball head-coaching positions, respectively.

    •    African-Americans were so unrepresented as head coaches in Division III that the percentage of women coaching men's teams was actually higher than the percentage of African-Americans coaching men's team (6.2 percent versus 5.0 percent).

    •    Perhaps the most damning statistics are that more than 45 years after the passage of Title IX, women hold less than 40 percent of coaching opportunities in women's sports. Women held only 39.8 percent of the head-coaching jobs of women's teams in Division I, 35 percent in Division II and 44 percent in Division III.

    •    Looking at all Division I conferences, excluding Historically Black Conferences, 28 of 30 commissioners were white. Ten were women. This is the same as last year's results.

Ho hum.

http://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/22602600/the-ncaa-continues-struggle-2017-racial-gender-report-card

coach's wife's card






*********** Not sure where I saw this, but it sure would be a good idea for every football coach’s wife to carry a pack around with her. (Please feel free to copy and print as many as you need.)










*********** "Unlike other sports trophies, replicas of which are given to winning teams, there’s only one Stanley Cup, and in a country as hockey-obsessed as Canada, you can imagine what a big deal it is when the Stanley Cup comes to Moose Jaw for the day..."

Uh, Oh...

Wife Kathy and I follow the Tampa Bay Lightning (Go Bolts!) and have often switched to the NBC Sports Cable What-Not to watch whatever other NHL game is on between Periods in the Lightning run through the Play-Offs.

The other night the main TeeVee Announcer was giving us an anecdotal on a player who lived in the wilds of Moose Jaw.  Things is tough up there, don'cha know.

He turns to his partner and sez, "Do you know where Moose Jaw is?".  His partner knows he is being set up.

"Yes, I do...Ummm..."

"It's about four feet in front of the Moose's rear end..."

Self edited for television.

Charlie Wilson
Crystal River, Florida


*********** If/when Johnny Manziel ever makes it to The Show,  he’s already got himself a shoe, called “The Comeback.” 

Comeback? Don't you have to have been there before you can make a comeback?

https://thebiglead.com/2018/04/09/johnny-manziel-comeback-shoe-line-tony-gonzalez/

*********** While trying unsuccessfully to upload my page on Tueday night, I had some delightful online “chats” with the folks at Verio, whose server I use…

For what it’s worth, after hours and hours of back-and-forth, their "experts"  found that although I couldn’t upload things to my site, they could, which meant that the "issue" (does that make me  sound like a techie?)  was with my local network. I asked if maybe I should try doing what I always do when ever my Internet is down: unplug my modem and my router, and then replug them.

“Sure, you could try that,” was their reply.

Problem solved.  More than 12 hours after it was reported.

I suspect they didn’t tell me what to do right away because over in India they get their laughs listening  to old white American guys who are pissed off.

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

Head coach P.J. Fleck of the Minnesota Golden Gophers says they are going to actually play a full game this Saturday.  Maroon vs Gold.  This should be an interesting watch.

The Air Force AD must be a little crazy himself to take on the AD job at Berserkely.

Loved your joke.

You brought up a very good point about how homogeneous college football has become.  While I still manage to follow my heart and watch Notre Dame, Minnesota, and Fresno State I have become a huge fan of the service academies and Georgia Tech because they bring back a flood of great memories!

That incident at East Tennessee is just the tip of a very large iceberg. 

Have a great week!

Joe 

PS - I was right when I asked at the end of my last email to you, "What's next?"

Apparently it would be having USA teaching all of us how to BLOCK.  Well...why not?  We have ATAVUS teaching us how to TACKLE!  I guess the only things left for us is to have the NBA teach us how to FLOP, and the MSL teach us how to FAKE an injury after the FLOP.  OH...and yes...we will need to be CERTIFIED in all of them!

God help us.

Things are bad when you can go on YouTube and look  at college football games from 30 or 40 years ago and say, “that was better football!”  The players - linemen especially - were trimmer,  and on offense they really came off the ball hard and low.  An they still wore big boys’ shoulder pads -  because they used them.

I know we’re starting to sound like two old farts who can’t believe what these young whippersnappers are up to, but between the Hawk Tackling, the so-called blocking , and the group hug at East Tennessee, it's getting ridiculous.



*********** There are several reasons why Coach Jeff Brohm recruits Kentucky kids to Purdue University.  Perhaps the primary reason is he's from Louisville ("Lou-a-vul" to Kentucky natives), he played and coached at the University of Louisville and also coached at Western Kentucky.  I don't know how he managed to do it, but for a few years Western Kentucky hosted the Kentucky high school championship games. He was able to bring Kentucky's best players onto his own turf.  Because of this he knows most of the top high school coaches in the Commonwealth.  It also helps that the University of Kentucky is a basketball school where the football team is at best an afterthought.  But to those of us from Kentucky, moving North is a tradition. My father was from the Hills of Kentucky. The state thought so much of his "green" valley that they dammed-up the creek and turned it into a reservoir. There is a rather bitter saying in Kentucky: "The Three R's in Kentucky are readin', writin' and Route 31 to Indianapolis."  These kids are simply following the road of their ancestors. And, by the way, doesn't West Point ("THE United States Military Academy") also wear gold and black?

Jim Franklin
Flora, Indiana

Army Shield
I see some real fighting ahead in Kentucky, the Dark and Bloody Ground. Kentucky is not so large a state that it turns out enough D-I prospects to  support four programs: Kentucky, Louisville, Western and… Purdue.  You’re right about Army, although I don’t think of them as a black-and-gold team like the others (Purdue, Vanderbilt, Wake). Army actually has three colors - black, gray and gold. But they never seem to use the gray - and their “gold”  (shield and sword at left) is looking to me more and more like dijon mustard.




*********** QUIZ ANSWER - My wife and I enjoy watching a TV show called “Barnwood Builders,” based on a crew of guys from West Virginia who buy up old, dilapidated barns and log cabins, then - when they can - carefully disassemble them,  and rebuild them elsewhere for people willing to pay well for their work.

Sometimes, when they can’t reconstruct, they’ll build something similar, using the original logs.

Sometimes, they just add the barnwood to their “boneyard,” where they come in handy as “spare parts” for future projects.

That description doesn’t do the show justice, because what this team of guys does reflects a great deal of respect for the craftsmen who initially built the old structures.

I was watching the show Sunday night when the “star,” a Mountaineer named Mark Bowe, took us on a visit to a place in Monongalia County, near the Pennsylvania line, where a guy had restored an old stone house that dated back to 1815.

The place was a near-wreck when the guy found it, but now, it’s absolutely beautiful, inside and out.

The guy who restored it is a former West Virginia University quarterback - Jeff Hosteler.  A Pennsylvania native, he originally enrolled at Penn State, but after Todd Blackledge was named the starter, he transferred to WVU.  After sitting out the mandatory year, he started for two seasons and the Mountaineers went 18-6, including a win over #9-ranked Oklahoma in his first-ever start, and WVU’s first win over Pitt in seven years.  He even inspired a country song, “Ole Hoss.” And he married his college coach, Don Nehlen’s, daughter. In the NFL, he blazed the trail for Nick Foles:  Near the end of the 1990 season, after playing several years in the NFL, mostly as a backup, he was contemplating retiring, when the Giants’ starter, Phil Simms, broke his foot in the 14th game of the season.  Although he had started just two games in his career up to then,  Jeff Hosteler took over the team and led the Giants to five straight wins: two regular-season games, two playoff games, and a 20-19  Super Bowl win over the Buffalo Bills.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igY3pd61WzQ

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JEFF HOSTETLER -
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
DAVE DEMPSEY - BRICK, NEW JERSEY
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
JOHN HARRIS - MARTINSVILLE, VIRGINIA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA

*********** QUIZ - Short and stout, he was often referred to as the “Little Round Man.”

He was born in Milledgeville, Georgia, and went to Georgia Military College and then Mercer University. After graduation, he spent 10 years as a high school coach, and at three different schools he coached undefeated championship teams.

He got his first college coaching job in 1938, and after one year as an assistant there he was promoted to head coach and remained on the job  there until 1960.

His overall record was 140-86-9.  His 1942 team won the national title, and his 10-0 1946 team was one of only two undefeated teams in the country.  In an era when bowls were few and a bowl appearance was quite an accomplishment, his teams were 5-2-1 in bowl games.

Two of his best players were Frank Sinkwich, who won the Heisman Trophy, and Charlie Trippi, who won the Maxwell Trophy.

He was an early proponent of the passing game, and two of his quarterbacks - John Rauch and Zeke Bratkowski - went on to play in the NFL.

He was also ahead of his time in going way out of state for talent: Sinkwich (born in Croatia) was from Youngstown, Ohio; Trippi was from Pittston, Pennsylvania; Bratkowski was from Danville, Illinois; and Rauch was from Yeadon, Pennsylvania.

After his retirement as head coach, he remained at the school as AD, and when a major magazine claimed that he and Alabama coach Bear Bryant had conspired to fix their schools’ upcoming game, he and Bryant sued for $10 million each.  Bryant settled for $300,000, but our guy took it to court and was awarded $3 million. It was the largest settlement in history at that time, and is generally considered to have been the major factor in the demise of the magazine.


american flagTUESDAY,  APRIL 10,  2018 -  "I will pound you and pound you until you quit." Woody Hayes

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

I know it's only Monday but I had to let you know what I read this morning.

The Texas High School Coaches Association (THSCA) has mandated that high school football coaches now must become "certified" to teach tackling if they intend on coaching in the state of Texas.

https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/sports/New-Tackling-Training-Requirement-for-Texas-Coaches-Aims-to-Make-Football-Safer-478690113.html

The University Interscholastic League (UIL) which governs high school sports (public schools) in Texas has moved to reduce the threat of concussions in football by requiring member schools to have their coaches become "certified" in tackling within the next two years. 

The certification process is being sponsored and managed by ATAVUS Sports (a Seattle-based company), that introduced the concept to Pete Carroll the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks.

Here are some interesting articles related to this:

https://rugby.atavus.com/why-is-rutgers-football-coach-chris-ash-at-a-rugby-tournament-in-philadelphia-this-weekend/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/2017/08/23/nebraska-decides-to-punt-on-rugby-style-tackling/104891702/

What's next? 

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Wow.   I guess “Hawk Tackling” wasn’t selling, so Atavus rebranded it - and sold it to the state of Texas.

Never underestimate the power of modern-day marketing.

I notice that Nebraska cancelled on them, after first paying them $100,000 (to teach something that their own staff of almost a dozen coaches, being paid upwards of $100,000 should  already have been capable of teaching). 

Is there some cover-your-legal-ass going on?

Meantime, in other states, you can’t coach unless you’re USA Football-certified in Heads-Up Tackling.

Tackling, it appears, is in danger of becoming like religion. 


*********** The Woz - Steve Wozniak, co-founder, along with Steve Jobs, of Apple, says he’s though with Facebook.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2018/04/08/apple-co-founder-steve-wozniak-says-hes-leaving-facebook/497392002/

*********** Wrote Tom Davis, an expatriate Philadelphian who now lives in San Carlos, California,  “For a Butterscotch Krimpet I would need a whole sandwich.”

*********** I have to admit that although I recorded all the spring games I could, I’ll have to wait until sometime in 2019 to see them all.  But I did look at Purdue’s on Saturday.  I find myself gravitating toward becoming a Purdue fan. Purdue reminds me of Vanderbilt and Wake Forest, two schools where my grandkids attend.  They all have that dingy color combination in common;  and they all have academic standards that put them at a disadvantage when they have to compete against schools that can recruit knuckleheads.

*********** Not sure what this means, but Purdue has more Kentucky kids in its freshman recruiting class than Kentucky or Louisville.

The Boilermakers look as if they could be returning to the days when Purdue was known as a quarterback factory, with three guys, veteran David Blough, Nick Sipe, and Jack Plummer, an early-admit from Arizona, looking really sharp. (Plummer is a nephew of Jake the Snake Plummer.)

And Elijah Sindelar didn’t even play. He was The Man at the end of last season. He’s recovering from knee surgery after playing the last four games of 2017 with torn ligaments.  How’d he do? He led Purdue to wins in their last three games, concluding his season with a 33 of 53 for 396 yards and 4 TD performance against Arizona in the Foster Farms Bowl.
.
Purdue honored its graduating seniors by awarding them their  jerseys, nicely framed, presented to them by former Purdue standouts, two of whom were Mike Alstott and Leroy Keyes.

*********** I’m just waiting for somebody in Washington (DC, that is)  to wake up and recognize that Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and such are essentially common carriers, just like Greyhound, or Amtrak, or Delta, and they can’t refuse service to people simply because they don’t like their politics.

As it is, they are taking on quasi-government status - a government without the constraint of a Bill of Rights.

I am a BIG fan of Diamond and Silk, two southern black women with an uncanny ability to see through - and ridicule -  the liberal line,  and it pisses me off no end to learn that Facebook has basically banned them because, it claims,  their “content and brand has been determined unsafe to the community.”  Yeah, unsafe. Unsafe to the liberal community.  But then, common sense usually is.  And it really scares the sh— out of libs when black people express conservative ideas.

https://canadafreepress.com/article/bringbackdiamondsilk

*********** Jim Knowlton, AD at Air Force the last three years, will take over as AD at Cal.

I assume that the money at Cal must be better - but it still might not be enough to offset the much higher cost of living in the Bay Area.

I KNOW that he must like a challenge, because Cal is definitely that.  Forget all the a$$holes who inhabit Cal, one of the most liberal universities (a redundancy) in the US.  It’s a big enough place that you can keep your distance.  The real issue is money - mainly as a result of a poorly thought-out decision to update its stadium, Cal’s athletic program is deeply in debt, and it’s quite likely that Knowlton has been brought in to take the axe to one or more of Cal’s 30 sports.

Although Air Force is certainly Division One and also has plenty to sports to support, this is Knowlton’s first venture into the world of REALLY big-money sports - before Air Force, he was AD at Division III Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, New York.

*********** My friend Bob Novogratz sent me this video of an encounter with a gorilla in the wild…

https://www.chonday.com/24711/gorencda5/

I was reminded of the old joke about the guy who’d answered the circus’  help-wanted ad for a lion tamer.  The owner told him that there was one other applicant, who was just getting ready to audition.  He pointed to a nearby cage, where a good-looking young woman stood near the door, disrobing.  Once she was completely naked, she entered the cage and held her arms out to a big, male lion. Jumping down off the box he’d been sitting on, the lion walked over to the woman, rubbed against her in the manner of a house cat, and then began to lick her, from head to toe.  “Think you can do better that?” the owner asked our guy. Came the answer, “Get that lion the hell out of there and I’ll give it a shot.”

*********** After a cursory glance at a few of Saturday’s spring games - Purdue, Arkansas, Ole Miss and Auburn - it's hard to escape the conclusion that college football is becoming more and more homogeneous. One of these days somebody will make money with a Treasure Hunt app in which every Saturday competitors race to be the first one to text all five screen shots of (1) an actual quarterback - you know, one of those guys who actually go under center to take a snap; (2) a real fullback, who actually carries the ball a few times a game; (3) a real tight end, who blocks and everything; (4) an offensive lineman in a three-point stance; (5) a formation with fewer than three wide-outs.
 
*********** It was very clever to use Robert Neyland as the quote and trivia answer in the same NYCU. Great quote. We may start the season with it.

Concerning your commentary on sensitive language amongst today’s society:

I remember being a freshman in high school walking home with a neighbour after school (it was a two mile walk that we thought nothing about). He had just finished freshman baseball and I was on the track team. He showed me his end of the year evaluation from the baseball coach, which read: “Next year try out for track.”

We both laughed.

Can you imagine that happening today? That coach would have parents sending him an angry email before he had sat down to dinner.
 
Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

That is SO insensitive.  And SO like the tough, hard-nose teachers and coaches that I benefitted from. (“Shake it off, Wyatt!” to the - possibly - concussed 7th grader.)

And SO representative of what made us what we are today!

There’s no doubt that coach would be accused of abuse by today’s parents, who spent all those years convincing their son that he was God’s clone.

***********
I am not in favor of coaches striking players.   But I sure do believe that if parents had  smacked more of them in the ass when they were little, we'd have a lot fewer problems today.

Randy Sanders, the new head coach at East Tennessee, ran into an uncoachable sort who, based on the way he took correction, I'm willing to bet never had his backside warmed:

A defensive player intercepted a pass during one drill and began running the ball out of the end zone. Sanders approached the player and told him not to run with the ball and instead just take a knee in the end zone. The player replied that he would take a knee in an actual game situation.

Sanders then slapped the player's helmet. According to the report, the player became "visibly upset," took off his helmet and pads and left the field while some of his teammates attempted to console him. Sanders said he tried to speak with the player but let him walk away after seeing the player's reaction.
Of course the coach shouldn't have hit the player's helmet. He was docked a week's pay for it.  

But come on - how tough is that kid?

Why, he was "visibly upset!"  Waaah.  He "
took off his helmet and pads and left the field!" Oh, the poor thing. Fortunately, though, other players "attempted to console him."

Wow. Unless they can find some old-fashioned toughness somewhere, there's going to be a lot of taking off of helmets and pads and leaving the field when they play Tennessee on September 8.

http://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/23054956/newly-hired-etsu-coach-randy-sanders-reprimanded-docked-helmet-slap


*********** QUIZ  ANSWER - A native Texan, Robert Reese Neyland (KNEE-land) started out at Texas A & M but transferred after a year to West Point.  He was an all-round athlete. He played football - he was a teammate of a Kansan named Dwight Eisenhower, a Missourian named Omar Bradley, and a Floridian named James Van Fleet  (Eisenhower and Bradley would go on to earn five stars each, and Van Fleet four) - he was a standout pitcher on the baseball team, and he was the Academy’s heavyweight boxing champion.

An outstanding student, he graduated as a civil engineer, and spent a career in the Army, retiring as a general.

After World War I service, he spent six years at West Point, part of the time as aide to the Superintendent, one Douglas MacArthur, as well as assisting the football team, until 1925,  when he was assigned to serve as an ROTC instructor at the University of Tennessee. (He had chosen the assignment because Tennessee's football team was so poor.) There, he assisted with the football team for one year, and the next year he took over as head coach.  With time off for two different tours of active duty, he would hold that position for the next 26 years.

In 21 seasons as head coach, his teams won 173 games and lost only 31 times.

In all, he had 6 undefeated teams, 6 teams with only one loss, and 5 with just two losses.

He ran a balanced-line single wing, and was a proponent of a strong kicking game, but he was most famous for his defense.

In 1938 and 1939, his teams ran off 17 straight shutouts, and 70 consecutive quarters of shutout football.

So stout were his defenses that over his entire career, his teams gave up an average go just 5.6 points per game. One of his most famous players, all-time great lineman Herman Hickman, once said,

“If General Neyland could score a touchdown on you, he had you beat.  If he could score two - he had you in a rout.”

He never had a losing season, but, after retiring from the Army (as a brigadier general) after World War II, he had back-to-back .500 seasons in 1947 and 1948, and some began to question his emphasis on defense and his stubborn insistence on continuing to run the single-wing.

He put an end to any doubts by going 36-6-2 in his final four seasons, including winning the national title in 1951.

After retiring as head coach in 1952, he served as AD until 1962. When he became head coach, the stadium seated 3,200 people.  When he retired as AD, it seated 46,000 people.  Now, it’s named Neyland Stadium in his honor, and it seats in excess of 100,000

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING GENERAL BOB NEYLAND
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN BOWEN - MT. VERNON, GEORGIA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
DAVID BUCHANAN - BARRE, MASSACHUSETTS
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON


*********** General Robert R. Neyland  had the first no-hitter in Army West Point baseball history.
Tim Brown
Florence, Alabama

*********** Gen. Robert Reese Neyland…Would always visit the stadium when passing through to the Smokies, during Spring Break on our way to Columbia, SC to visit our daughter & catch one of her track meets...I’m sure our coach’s family isn’t the 1st to go a little out of the way to visit a stadium on their travels!

Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

Guilty as charged.  I’ve been known to drive out of my way to see a stadium.  My friend, the late Frank “The Pope” Lovinski, had a  competition with his younger brother, Chuck, to see who could watch games in the most college stadia - Division I, II and III.

I swear The Pope once told me he had seen games in more than 100 stadia.


*********** A video, sent by Greg Koenig

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcfYRqI4-Ek

*********** A Video about the General, narrated by the great Lindsay Nelson

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4b1702-i2c

*********** General Neyland’s “Seven Maxims” are known to anyone who played football at Tennessee, many people who have followed Tennessee football over the years, and lots of southern football fans:

* The team that makes the fewest mistakes will win.
* Play for and make the breaks and when one comes your way – SCORE.
* If at first the game – or the breaks – go against you, don't let up... put on more steam.***
* Protect our kickers, our QB, our lead and our ball game.
* Ball, Oskie, cover, block, cut and slice, pursue and gang tackle... for this is the WINNING EDGE.
* Press the kicking game. Here is where the breaks are made.
* Carry the fight to our opponent and keep it there for 60 minutes.

*** When these words were written, the most powerful machines on earth were steam locomotives.

http://library.la84.org/SportsLibrary/CFHSN/CFHSNv16/CFHSNv16n2a.pdf

Andy Kozar Book
*********** Throughout his career, with an occasional hiatus  here and there, General Neyland was a journalist,  in the purest sense of the word - he kept a journal, and he kept many of his hand-drawn diagrams. In 2002, fifty  years after General Neyland's retirement, one of his former players, a big fullback named Andy Kozar who had gone on to earn a Ph.D. and become a professor at Tennessee, assembled the General's notes and drawings and published a magnificent book entitled “Football as a War Game: the Annotated Journals of General R. R. Neyland.”  For the football historian or the single-wing aficionado, it's priceless. Well, maybe not exactly  priceless, but damn near:


Back in 2005, I bought the book directly  from Andy Kozar - it cost $75.


A recent look at Amazon found just two copies available: one (“used - like new”) could be had for $650.  The other, in mint condition, could be yours for $1,400.


(One of my few good investments.  In fairness, I should add that I also own several shares of GE.)


Dr. Kozar begins by describing “The Warrior Behind the Words”:


In the beginning there was Camp, and he was The Law. He said, “Let there be a line of scrimmage,” and there was. He said, “Let there be eleven players,” and there were. He said, “Let there be a system of downs to determine ball possession,” and it was so.

But if Walter Camp, the great 1888-1892 Yale coach, was the father of football, then another Yalie who went  west to Chicago, Amos Alonzo Stagg, was surely the sport’s first artist, weaving laterals and reverses into the game’s design, putting the man in motion, numbering the players, and bestowing varsity letters.  The game would never look the same after this former divinity student had his say.

Of course, that is not to discount the contributions of Glen “Pop” Warner, the wily shape shifter who relished the tricky play and whose genius birthed the single wing offense, which provided sufficient deception for both the running and the passing game.

These were the men who created football on the fly, on practice and game fields of the Ivies and, in the case of Warner, on the fields of the Carlisle Indian School, where his native Americans played , including the great Jim Thorpe.

In the early days Yale dominated the game, but in 1898 the arrival of two players ushered in the “golden age” of Harvard football. One was the aristocratic Percy Haughton; the other a sensational quarterback named Charles Daly, who earned All-American status there and later at West Point. Both men went on to become noted coaches.  Houghton was a brilliant innovator, assimilating the ideas of Camp and Warner into his own original contributions.  When Haughton was made Harvard’s head coach in 1908, he hired Charles Daly as his assistant.  Although the two men were contemporaries, it is generally agreed that Daly absorbed most of Haughton’s philosophies and that he passed them on when he himself became a head coach at West Point.

Thus, when a young Texan named Robert Reese Neyland arrived at the Point in 1912, his football lineage would stretch back to the founders of the game.

The book’s title? Dr. Kozar explains:

In 1916, in his book  “Football and How to Watch it,”  Percy Haughton wrote,  “Football is a miniature war game played under somewhat more civilized rules of conduct, in which the team becomes the military force of the school or university it represents. In fact, most of the combat principles of the field service regulations of the United States Army are applicable to the modern game of football. As in combat, decisive results are obtained only by an aggressive offense.”

And in 1921, General Neyland’s mentor, Charlie Daly, wrote “Football is a war game. The most remarkable similarity exists between the basic principle of combat in war and in football.”

Added Dr. Kozar:  That Neyland’s leadership was militaristic is obvious from his application of the basic military principles adopted by our armed forces, which include objective, offensive, mass, economy of force, maneuver, unity of command, security, surprise and simplicity.

You can also see some of General Neyland’s “maxims” in these “axioms,” taken from Daly’s book:

Football Axioms
1. Football is a battle.  Go out and fight and keep it up all afternoon.
2. A man’s value to his team varies inversely as his distance from the ball.
3. If the line goes forward, the team wins.  If the line comes backward, the team loses.

Game Axioms
1. Make and play for the breaks.  When one comes your way, score.
2. If the game or a break goes against you, don’t lie down - put on more steam.
3. Don’t save yourself.  Go the limit.  There are good men on the sidelines when you are exhausted.

*********** QUIZ - My wife and I enjoy watching a TV show called “Barnwood Builders,” about a crew of country guys from West Virginia who buy up old, dilapidated barns and log cabins, and - when they can - carefully disassemble them  and rebuild them elsewhere,  on the sites of people who I gather are willing to pay them well for their labors.

Sometimes, when they can’t reconstruct, they’ll build something similar, using as many of the  original logs as possible.

Sometimes, they just add the barnwood to their “boneyard,” where it comes in handy as “spare parts” for future projects.

That description doesn’t do the show justice, because what this team of guys does reflects a great deal of respect for the rugged rural craftsmen who initially built the old structures.

I was watching the show Sunday night when the “star,” a Mountaineer named Mark Bowe, took us on a visit to a place in Monongalia County, up near the Pennsylvania line, where a guy had restored an old stone house that dated back to 1815.

The place was a near-wreck when the guy found it, but now, it’s absolutely beautiful, inside and out.

The guy who restored it is a former West Virginia University quarterback.  A Pennsylvania native, he originally enrolled at Penn State, but after Todd Blackledge was named the starter there, he transferred to WVU.  After sitting out the mandatory year, he started for two seasons in Morgantown, and during that time the Mountaineers went 18-6, including a win over #9-ranked Oklahoma in his first-ever start, and WVU’s first win over Pitt in seven years.  He even inspired a country song, “Ole Hoss.” And he married his college coach’s daughter. In the NFL, he blazed the trail for Nick Foles' astounding performance in this year's Super Bowl:  Near the end of the 1990 season, after playing several years in the NFL, mostly as a backup, he was contemplating retiring until the Giants’ starter, Phil Simms, broke his foot in the 14th game of the season.  Although he had started just two games in his career up to then,  he took over the team and led the Giants to five straight wins: two regular-season games, two playoff games, and a 20-19  Super Bowl win over the Buffalo Bills.


american flagFRIDAY,  APRIL 6,  2018 “Winners don't win. Losers lose. The team that makes the fewest mistakes will be the winner."   General Robert R. Neyland

*********** Johnny Manziel reminds me of Hillary Clinton. They’ve both blown amazing opportunities, and they both blame their failures on somebody else.

Manziel, the artist once known as Johnny Football, says it’s the Browns’ fault that he didn’t make it with them.  See, despite what he might have told them otherwise, they should have known, for God’s sake, that he wasn’t going to apply himself! That he wasn’t going to work at being a professional quarterback!  They should have known that he wasn’t going to be spending his time in the offices looking at film when he could be out partying.

Those damn, deplorable Browns.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/04/04/the-problems-with-manziels-comments-about-the-browns/

*********** The city of Vancouver, Washington, which adjoins my town, Camas,  was actually named before its much bigger and better-known counterpart in British Columbia.

The USA version was originally Fort Vancouver,  the first European settlement in the Pacific Northwest.  It was still British territory then, and Fort Vancouver was a trading post owned by the Hudson’s Bay Company.

A replica of the original fort still stands, and it’s quite impressive. Depending on when you visit, it’s possible to see all sorts of craftsmen performing their trades just as they would have nearly 200 years ago, using the tools of the time.

I was just reading an article about the first steamboat in the Pacific Northwest.  It was built in England and brought to Fort Vancouver (under sail power - they didn’t want to risk the steam engines on an ocean voyage) about 1835.

Anyone nostalgic for the days of steam should know that fueling the steamboat kept a team of 12 woodcutters constantly busy: it took them two days to cut enough wood to keep the boat operating for just one day. (Personally, I’d have recommended hiring 12 more woodcutters.)

Ah, the good old days. 

*********** I wouldn’t say that we’ve grown soft.  Oh, no - not the nation whose college-age students insist that they be warned that the literary classic “Huckleberry Finn,” written more than 100 years ago, might contain language considered offensive by today’s standards.

(I find their sensitivity to objectionable language ironic, after hearing Parkland shooting “survivor” David Hogg, supposedly a spokesperson for today’s oh-so-bright young people, generously larding his talks with vulgarities.)

But I didn’t realize how bad things had become until I heard the promo for the movie “Chappaquidick,” and the warning that it showed “historic smoking.”

“Get the kids out of here, Martha! Someone in the movie just lit up a cigarette!”

*********** Back in the 1970s, when Lou Holtz was at Arkansas, I bet I heard him speak a half-dozen times.  He was a lot better then - not like today, when he’s on TV talking to a mass audience.  Back then, it was at coaching clinics.  He was talking to fellow football coaches, and lemme tell you - there was no one better.

He could talk X’s and O’s with the best of them.  He could bring down the house with his self-disparaging humor.  He could perform magic tricks.  And  in his homespun way, he could impart some real wisdom.

One nugget that I’ve remembered through the years was, “you get what you want in life by giving other people what they want.”

Think about that - it’s really simple but it’s really deep. It’s about thinking of others and what motivates them. 

I’ve used it in my own life, and I’ve passed it along to football players in locker rooms and students in my classrooms.

It applies, I tell them, to a girlfriend, or a parent, or a boss, or a teammate, or a teacher.  Or a coach.   You don’t break into the starting lineup, I’d say, by showing up late to practice.  You’re not going to be in the plans if you refuse to come to summer conditioning.  Simple as that.

In economic terms, we’re talking about a form of barter.  Quid pro quo. This for that.

My daughter, Vicky, majored in economics, and she was recently asked to teach a lesson on economics to a group of third graders.  Now what the hell do third graders know about a supply curve?  Or a medium of exchange? Or money, for that matter?

But they know about barter.  Even if they don’t know the word, they know what it means.  They’ve all exchanged something.  They’ve swapped.   They’ve traded. They have an idea of the value of a thing, based on what they might get for it in trade.  They begin to understand that in order to get something that they want that someone else has, they will have to give up something of theirs that the other person wants.

As I talked with Vicky, I heard Lou Holtz once again.  I told her what he said, and I reminded her of the days of, “I’ll trade you a butterscotch krimpet*  for half your peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”

Actually, nowadays (if they’re fortunate enough to have someone pack a lunch for them) it’s probably “I’ll trade you a handful of trail mix for your kale salad.”

(Provided the school hasn’t already outlawed the swapping of food.)

* A Philly treat, made by the makers of TastyKake.

*********** I had a friend named Norm Maves, now retired after years of writing for the Portland Oregonian, who came to talk to one of my high school writing classes, and he mentioned that if you were to think of a piece of writing as a building, spelling, punctuation and grammar were  the nails and screws and nuts and bolts that held your structure together.

At roughly the same time, the elementary school principal asked me if I would help judge their annual writing competition.  Somehow, she mentioned that spelling, punctuation and grammar were not to be considered in the judging, because they “didn’t stress that.”

Telling her that from my point of view, that was the only thing they should be stressing, I declined.

It made no difference.  The feel-good teaching continues to this day: “Just get them to put it down on paper.  Don’t discourage their creativity by insisting on all those stupid rules.” Creativity above communication.

Then came email and texting and with it - OMG - the further decline of our language.

But at least we had the news media as the last outpost of correct English.  I mean, you’d think, in the four years of “journalism school” that’s supposedly required to learn what’s needed to get an internship at a TV station, that there would be time to teach the basics of our language. 

But you’d be wrong. Instead, they’re churning out graduates who are well equipped to go to war for social justice, other than the fact that they lack the language skills that your grandparents had before they left eighth grade.

They don’t have the slightest understanding of the meaning of  swim-swam-swum… or drink-drank-drunk… or run-ran-run.

They take nouns and make verbs out of them. (Not that they even know what nouns and verbs are.)  The nounverb “to task” is here to stay. The mountain has been “summitted.” We “gifted” her.  And just yesterday I heard someone on TV say that the police had “efforted” to try to do something.

They seem to think that the past tense (tense? what’s that?) of every verb (oops - there’s that word again) is formed by putting a “-d” or an “-ed” at the end.  Remember what the “journalists” said that protesting NFL players did during the national anthem? Why, they “kneeled,” is what they did. (Is “I feeled sick” next?)  And an Olympian “dived.” (Later, I suppose, he downed a six-pack and then drived drunk.)  The defendant “pleaded” not guilty.  The quarterback “slided” for the first down. And the driver “speeded,” and “weaved” in and out of traffic.

Today, I read in the newspaper that the Ravens had just signed Robert Griffin III, whose career, the article said, had “grinded to a halt.”

I winded the clock.  And I finded some grinded beef and made it into a patty.

God help us all.  It’s evolution in reverse.

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

I have a question about your cadence or lack of cadence.

By going on a single call, in this case “Go” what, if anything, has that taken away from the defense? It seems to me that it would handicap the defense's ability to stem or shift. Have you seen this?

Also, do you have any coaching tips that you used when you made this transition (other than the foot for motion).

While it may actually help the defense somewhat, thinking that they know when we’ll snap the ball,  we can negate that by spending a little practice time - very little - working on a longer count or a “no play” in which we don’t snap it at all.

I see few disadvantages, and a lot of advantages, the chief one being that we NEVER get false start penalties.  What’s that worth?

Going to a simple snap command was never an issue because 95 per cent of the time we went on the same count (go-ready-HUT) anyhow.  It just amounted to saying “the hell with it - let’s just go on 'GO!' every time!”

We decided this one July day at a camp in Kansas - just like that - and when I returned to my team I said that’s the way it’s going to be and that’s the way it’s been for almost 10 years.

It’s given us one less thing to have to deal with in practice, and  as much as possible, along with using the play cards, it's taken memorization - long- or short-term - out of the equation for the kids.

Kids love anything that they don’t have to think about.  And so should coaches, because when kids have to think they can’t be aggressive.

Snapping on GO does give us the ability to snap the ball while the defense is in the process of stemming (shifting).  It is a HUGE help when we’re under center.


*********** I have to admit that I thought that  the name of every player on every NHL team that ever won the Stanley Cup is engraved on the famous trophy.

Oh, I knew that the trophy had grown rather large, from what was once just a rather small silver bowl. I knew that its base had been added to, one layer after another containing the names of more and more players from more and more teams, as the years have passed.

But what I didn’t know was that all that adding to the trophy had finally come to an end - that adding any more layers, and any more names, would make the trophy too large to carry around the ice on the famous “skate-around” by the members of the winning team that follows every Stanley Cup final game.

And, every bit as important, too large to be carried on airlines, when the cup makes its off-season trips, escorted by an NHL executive, to assorted places around the globe where it spends 24 hours with every member of the winning team. (Unlike other sports trophies, replicas of which are given to winning teams, there’s only one Stanley Cup, and in a country as hockey-obsessed as Canada, you can imagine what a big deal it is when the Stanley Cup comes to Moose Jaw for the day.)

So, sorry to say, in order to make room for future players on future Stanley Cup-winning teams, something has to go.  Now, that “something” is a silver band on which was engraved the names of players from 1954 to 1965.  It will be flattened out and sent to the hockey Hall of Fame, but the names on it - names like Bobby Hull, Gordie Howe and Maurice “The Rocket” Richard, and the other players from the great Montreal and Toronto teams of that era - will no longer be on the Stanley Cup.

Right now, if you're an old-timer, they figure your time on the cup to be another 63 years. Eventually, provided we don’t destroy our planet, every name that's now on it will be gone, too.

So much for immortality.

https://apnews.com/3d3ebad3e38a4d028160321cba92c702

*********** EXCERPTED FROM THE UPCOMING DOUBLE WING PLAYBOOK-
Playbook wedge
*********** Hugh,

Hope you and Connie were able to enjoy a peaceful and blessed Easter.

I've always followed the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, "What lies behind us, and what lies ahead of us, are small matters compared to what lies within us." 

I can still remember the days.  Practicing getting under our school desks covering our heads during atomic bomb attack drills.  Sitting at grandma's house when I was 10 years old watching the TV with my family wondering if we were about to die from a nuclear war.  Then, after I had turned 18, when my family and I sat in front of the TV and watched with baited breath the "lottery" for the draft (and I'm not talking about the NFL or the NBA), and watched as the basket of numbers spun around to determine the fate of so many young American boys including yours truly.  And voila!  Pretty scary stuff.

Whew!  No chance for a Schwartzylvania.

I'm close to getting rid of my DISH service.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, Hopper and Joeys and all that stuff.  My only question for them when I bought it was, "Will I lose the signal during a storm?"  I had a number of my friends have that experience.  Answer, "OH, gosh, NO!  Our equipment is so much better now!  You won't have that happen."   Yeah, sure. here's my answer now that I have had it for a couple of years, "Well...you better keep trying to improve your equipment because what you have cannot cope with the nasty storms we get here in Texas, because EVERY TIME we get a storm we lose the d***signal!!"

We don't have a "Unity Week" yet here at my school.  Give it time.

Where and when did all this take a knee for injuries thing get started?

QUIZ:  This was an easy one...Weeb Ewbank!

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

The superintendent has apologized to the community. But Mr. Schwarzman is not going to have to go away empty-handed.  They won’t be naming the high school for him - or, for that matter, the township.  BUT - in addition to the stadium, which was already named for him, they are going to put his name on the school’s new Center for Science and Technology. 

AND, to acknowledge his appreciation of his experience on the track team, two of his track teammates will be  honored by having athletic buildings named for them, and the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame will be named in honor of his former track coach.

I’m left wondering if perhaps there might have been other athletes or coaches over the years  more deserving on the basis of their accomplishments, but what the hell use is all that money if you can’t buy almost anything you want with it?  (Almost.)

Not exactly Schwarzylvania.  But pretty damn close.


http://www.philly.com/philly/education/abington-high-school-apology-steven-schwarzman-25-million-donation-20180403.html?mobi=true

*********** Adam Wesoloski, who now lives in Pulaski, Wisconsin, is a Menominee, Michigan native who not long ago sent me a nice article about fellow Menominee native Billy Wells.  This latest news is about the passing of another Menominee athlete, Bill Rademacher, who played for the New York Jets on the Super Bowl team that beat the Colts.

http://ehextra.com/Content/SPORTS/Sports-Articles/Article/Menominee-s-ultimate-overachiever-/14/37/46267

*********** I'm pleased to see the US Army taking steps to raise the standards. Hopefully, other segments of society will follow their lead and buck the trend of lowering standards to be inclusive.

Coach Greg Koenig
Cimarron, Kansas

*********** QUIZ ANSWER - Weeb Ewbank coached John Unitas and Joe Namath.  He is the only coach to have won an NFL championship and an AFL championship. He won a Super Bowl by beating the team that had fired him six years earlier.

He came out of Richmond, Indiana and attended Miami University, where he played football, baseball and basketball.  One of his football teammates was a transfer from Ohio State named Paul Brown.

After graduation, he coached high school football in Ohio until 1943, when he joined the Navy during World War II.

He wound up on Paul Brown’s staff at Great Lakes Naval Training Center, a service team so good that it once beat Notre Dame.  (Brown, before entering the Navy, had won a national championship coaching at Ohio State.)  After the war he served as an assistant at Brown University and as head coach at Washington University (St. Louis) before rejoining Paul Brown, who by then  was head coach of the Cleveland Browns, as an assistant.

After five years with the Browns, in 1954 he was named head coach of the Baltimore Colts. Although he won two NFL championships with the Colts, he was fired after the 1962 season.  He was quickly scooped up by the New York Jets, and by 1968 he had built  the Jets’ team that would beat his former team, the Colts, in one of the greatest upset in Super Bowl history.

Weed Ewbank retired as Jets’ coach following the 1973 season, and was succeeded by his son-in-law, Charlie Winner.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING WEEB EWBANK
RALPH BALDUCCI - PORTLAND, OREGON
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
DAVID BUCHANAN - BARRE, MASSACHUSETTS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUSIANA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
DAVE DEMPSEY - BRICK, NEW JERSEY
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
DENNIS METZGER - RICHMOND, INDIANA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA


*********** Weeb Ewbank used to bring his Jets teams to Peekskill, New York for training camp at the Peekskill Military Academy, where my mother got to watch "Broadway Joe" get ready for the NFL season. My grandmother has slides from when the band from Peekskill would go perform at Shea Stadium on "Peekskill Day" where the folks from the town could go watch the games for cheap!

(I mentioned a quarterback I had in my first year of coaching, a kid named Chuck Reilly, from Peekskill. Actually, from a part of Peeksill named Verplanck.)

My Uncle Bobby used to own a home on Verplanck's Point near the old fire house! She used to love to get Meatball Wedges (Hudson Valley version of a submarine sandwich) from Angie's down on the point. I spent a lot of time in Peekskill when I was younger, especially when my father was a professor at West Point. My mother and father met at West Point while my father was a cadet. She was attending Ladycliffe College (now defunct and part of the West Point Museum).

David Buchanan
Barre, Massachusetts

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

The answer is Weeb Ewbank.  My son and I had the opportunity to meet Coach Ewbank, John Unitas, Paul Flatley, Roosevelt Grier, Deacon Jones and Merlin Olson one day in Richmond, IN.  The fourth member of the Fearsome Foursome was a Richmond native named Lamar Lundy and these individuals were in town to support him as he was dealing with illness.  It was a great day.  My son as a 4th or 5th grader said to me on our way home, “That was a special day since we may never see those men together again.”  We have photos and autographs from all of them.  We were both thankful for this opportunity.

Dennis Metzger
Richmond, Indiana

*********** QUIZ - A native Texan, he started out at Texas A & M but transferred after a year to West Point.  He was an all-round athlete. He played football - he was a teammate of a Kansan named Dwight Eisenhower, a Missourian named Omar Bradley, and a Floridian named James Van Fleet  (Eisenhower and Bradley would go on to earn five stars each, and Van Fleet four) - he was a standout pitcher on the baseball team, and he was the Academy’s heavyweight boxing champion.

An outstanding student, he graduated as a civil engineer, and spent a career in the Army, retiring as a general.

After World War I service, he spent six years at West Point, part of the time as aide to the Superintendent, one Douglas MacArthur, as well as assisting the football team, until 1925 when he was assigned to serve as an ROTC instructor at a university in the South. (He had chosen the assignment because their football team was so poor.) There, he assisted with the football team for one year, and the next year he took over as head coach.  With time off for two different tours of active duty, he would hold that position for the next 26 years.

In 21 seasons as head coach, his teams won 173 games and lost only 31 times.

In all, he had 6 undefeated teams, 6 teams with only one loss, and 5 with just two losses.

He ran a balanced-line single wing, and was a proponent of a strong kicking game.  But he was most famous for his defense.

In 1938 and 1939, his teams posted 17 straight shutouts, and played 70 consecutive quarters of shutout football, both records that still stand (and likely always will).

So stout were his defenses that over his entire career, his teams gave up an average of just 5.6 points per game. One of his most famous players, all-time great lineman Herman Hickman, once said, “If (he) could score a touchdown on you, he had you beat.  If he could score two - he had you in a rout.”

He never had a losing season, but, after retiring from the Army (as a brigadier general) after World War II, he had back-to-back .500 seasons in 1947 and 1948, and some began to question his emphasis on defense and his stubborn insistence on continuing to run the single-wing.

He put an end to any doubts by going 36-6-2 in his final four seasons, including winning the national title in 1951.

After retiring as head coach in 1952, he served as AD until 1962. When he first became head coach, the school's stadium seated 3,200 people.  When he retired as AD, it seated 46,000 people.  Now, it seats in excess of 100,000. 
And it’s named for him.




american flagTUESDAY,  APRIL 2,  2018 “Football represents and embodies everything that's great about this country, because the United States of America is built on winners, not losers or people who didn't bother to play."   Woody Hayes


*********** It was a beautiful spring day in Washington, DC, and  I was “working accounts” - calling on liquor stores, bars and restaurants - with Karl Anderson.

It was 50 years ago this week.

I was brand manager for our company's biggest product, National Bohemian Beer, and Karl was the sales manager at our Washington branch operation.

Largely because of its owner, Jerold C. Hoffberger, our company, the National Brewing Company of Baltimore, was considered quite progressive at the time in its hiring of black sales people.  True, they mostly sold in black areas, but the fact that they had such prestigious jobs at all at such a well-thought-of company was highly unusual at that time in southern-thinking cities like Baltimore and Washington.  Karl was a black man, and a college graduate, and during the time I had worked with him, he had progressed into the ranks of management.  Karl and I had a nice relationship, professionally and socially.

I’d grown up in an all-white neighborhood, and I’d gone to an all-white high school.  In my college class of 1,000 or so, there were at most five black guys, so it might as well have been all-white, too.  Karl was really the first black guy that I knew well enough to speak with freely on topics of all sorts, and thanks to his patience and understanding, he helped shaped my outlook on matters of race.

The first time he came over to visit the brewery in Baltimore, we’d prearranged to go out to lunch.  But there was one problem - where to go?  This was the 1960s, after Jackie Robinson and Rosa Parks and Little Rock, so it may surprise people to know that much of Baltimore was still stubbornly segregated.  There were nice restaurants that still would not serve a black person, regardless of his or her station in life.  I knew about that from my previous job as a packaging salesman, when one of my biggest customers was Parks Sausage Company, one of the largest black-owned companies in the US.  Whenever I would take one of its executives to lunch, I would always, on the advice of some of the older white Baltimoreans that I worked with, check first with the restaurant to make sure that they would serve us.

So before Karl and I went to lunch, I called around to make sure there would be no issue.  As we sat and talked, like a damn fool I told him about my having called.  In my naivete, I thought that would show what a thoughtful, caring person I was, doing that so that I would spare him any embarrassment.  But when I told him, I saw a look on his face of dismay. Or was it anger?  Or disgust?  Anyhow, Karl wasn’t in the slightest grateful to me for being so enlightened - he was pissed. I felt as if someone had slapped me in the face and said ”Wake up, Wyatt!”  Until that moment, although I’d seen plenty of examples of segregation and racial discrimination, it was an impersonal thing to me.  It was just the way things were. It hadn’t affected me personally because I’d never before been close to a black guy and known how he felt.  And then I saw how hard it hit Karl. Here he was, a college graduate and a manager at one of the most respected companies in the city, and yet…

So on this particular April day in DC, we’d just had lunch, and we headed for a liquor store to chat up the owner, to see how sales were going, to see if there was anything we could do for him, and so forth.

But as we entered the door, before Karl could even say “Hi!’ to him, the owner, a white guy (likely Jewish as so many of the area’s liquor store owners were then) said, matter-of-factly, “Hey, your boy got shot.”

You have to stop and think about this for a moment: this was the way a white man of that time felt he could inform a black man that the Reverend Martin Luther King had been shot:  “Your boy got shot.”

It took Karl a while to figure out what the guy meant, even after he explained, and then he seemed to slump.  A minute before, he’d been walking into the store to talk about beer, and now he was dealing with the horrible news that a man he greatly respected had been assassinated.  I’m not sure he’d even given any thought to the almost-flippant way he’d been told.

We left the store and walked around a bit.  We made a few more sales calls, as I recall, but Karl’s heart obviously was not in it.  It was late in the afternoon by now, and ducking into a tavern on 14th Street, we stepped up to the bar and ordered a couple of beers. The place was crowded with men, all black, and the talk was loud, and  about one thing only.  When a big guy on the other side of Karl slammed his fist to the bar and said, to no one in particular, “This means war!” Karl turned to me and said, softly, “I think we’d better get out of here.”

I agreed, and we left.

Over the next few days, Baltimore and Washington - and many other cities - exploded in rioting.  Washington was hit especially hard, and many of the places that Karl and I had visited the day of the assassination were burned to the ground. 

It’s hard to believe it’s been 50 years, but after all that time, the scene in my mind  is still clear as a bell, and the words by which my friend learned the news have never left me:  “Your boy got shot.”

***********
Not in any way to diminish the tragedy of the Parkland shooting and the loss of the lives of innocent school children,  but events of the 1960s -  the Cuban Missile Crisis, the assassination of  President Kennedy, and less than five years later,  the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and  then Bobby Kennedy  - far surpass it in terms of their impact on our nation. Unless you've lived through it, you can't imagine the sense of fear and insecurity that grips a nation when you realize that nuclear war might be about to break out - or that your president has just been killed. Oh - and with a war in Vietnam raging, those teenagers had to face the draft.

And then we go back a generation earlier, when hundreds of thousands of American families sent their sons off to war (no, I'm not going to go the PC route and say "and daughters"), and  on some nasty island like Iwo Jima  or some cold forest in Europe, hundreds of young Americans could lose their lives in a matter of minutes.  Teenagers fought in that war, and they knew, when they took off in those cold, cramped bombers, or went underwater in those cold, cramped submarines, that they might never return.

Not too many years before that, dust storms all over the Midwest chased hard working families off the land, forcing them to uproot and head west to a new and unfamiliar life among people who did not welcome them. Often herded into what amounted to refugee camps, they were strangers in their own land,  derided and ridiculed  and called names that mean nothing today but at the time were as stinging and insulting  as the N-word is now.

Despite what they seem to suggest when they're in front of a  microphone,  today's teenagers are not the first generation of youngsters to experience stress - they're just the first to use the word - and  a knowledge of what others have undergone does help put the David Hoggs in perspective.


*********** AN EXCERPT FROM THE UPCOMING DOUBLE-WING PLAYBOOK UPDATE…

Playbook Lefty


*********** It won’t be “Abington Schwarzman High School” after all.

Last Friday I mentioned the brouhaha generated by the news that my wife’s alma mater, Abington High School, in Pennsylvania, had decided to essentially sell the naming rights to the school.

It was NOT an April Fool's joke.

In exchange for a $25 million gift from alumnus and hedge-fund billionaire Stephen Schwarzman, the Abington school board had voted “unanimously” to change the name of the school to “Abington Schwarzman High School.” 

As I predicted it would, the news, shockingly sprung on the community with virtually no advance notice, generated a firestorm, sufficient to convince either Mr. Schwarzman or the school board that the renaming was a very, very bad idea.

The superintendent, said to be a friend of Mr. Schwarzman, sent out a notice to the community that only “a minority in the community” objected to the renaming, which made me laugh. Who doesn’t know what cowards school administrators can be when faced with a little pressure? It’s almost as if their certification requires a course in “caving in.”  Let a dozen people tell the school board that the term “Christmas Holidays” makes them uncomfortable or “excluded” and - poof! - it’s “Winter Break.” “A minority in the community?” Many’s the football coach who’s been fired because of “a minority in the community.”

Yes, it may have been a “minority,” as the superintendent referred to it almost dismissively, but it was a  minority loud and angry enough  to make them - and/or Mr. Schwarzman - reconsider.   Abington High School it is, and Abington High School it will remain.

And while the opposition may have been, in the beginning, a minority, this one had the growth potential of the mustard seed, and it wasn’t going to fade away, either.   Every time a graduate of Abington (Pre-Schwarzman) would hear that new name, it would grate.  And when you’re talking about a high school that graduates upwards of 500 kids a year, you’re talking about a fair number of pissed-off people. And, too,  it’s not as if $25 million means you’ll never again have to go to those pissed-off taxpayers for more money.

My thinking, frankly, is that this whole renaming thing  may not have been Mr. Schwarzman’s idea, but that of his friend, the superintendent.  I’m thinking that a person as successful as Mr. Schwarzman must surely have had the PR savvy to foresee the opposition that it would generate.  But oh, no, I can hear the superintendent saying. Don't worry about a thing. Trust me, the people will be so-o-o-o grateful…

In short,  the guy was set up. 

And that “unanimous” vote of the school board?  If you’ve ever had any dealings with organizations like that, the actual vote  could very well have been decided by a narrow margin, but the news that it was unanimous is often announced as a cover-up, to show that the board’s united, and to keep the natives from stirring.

Other than the unseemliness of the whole thing, a few people objected to the renaming because there’s still a lot left on the tab for the Abington taxpayers to pick up.  In terms of the size of the school’s ambitious project - it will cost $150 million - Mr. Schwarzman’s  $25 million was, to quote his friend Donald Trump, “small potatoes.” 

And then,  in case you needed any confirmation that no good deed goes unpunished,  there were the ingrates, the people who didn’t want Schwarzman’s money in any event - Wall Street sucks, hedge fund money is dirty money, Schwarzman is a friend of Trump, Schwarzman didn’t like Obama, Abington is already rich and doesn’t need the money and  this just worsens inequality (why not give it to poor schools?), the state needs to get its act together and support its schools, etc., etc.

One guy writing in philly.com, spoke for some of them:
I remember the first time I saw Abington HS and thinking, "my g*d, this place is like a palace!" Now Schwarzman, who has spent a lifetime stealing money (that's what investment bankers do, folks, and I have some insight as I worked at Blackstone), now wants to give a big chunk of it to one of the most affluent public schools in the state in exchange for naming rights! The whole Wharton School/Wall Street culture is so loathsome!
http://www.abington.k12.pa.us/

http://www.phillyvoice.com/amid-backlash-abington-decides-not-rename-school-stephen-schwarzman/

*********** I recorded the South Carolina spring game Saturday! Football is BACK!  Well, spring football, at least.  And if spring football is here, can the real thing be far behind?   

*********** We were getting sick and tired of intermittently losing the satellite signal on our bedroom TV, so finally I asked my wife to call the Dish people about it.  Long story short - a guy wound up persuading her (and me) that it was time for an upgrade.  We had, after all, been using the same equipment for at least 10 years.

Before the day was out, we had our new equipment: something called a Hopper 3 DVR and three other boxes - enough for four different TVs, all watching (or recording) their own things, each capable of showing up to four different screens on a single set.  And if we ever care to - and ever have the time to watch it all - we can record up to 16 different events simultaneously.

All this for basically $10 more a month than we’d been paying.

Okay, okay. Before I sound like a Dish salesman - actually, I’d have to work on my Indian accent - I have to point out that we did have to agree to extend our contract for two more years.

But then… Holy sh—.  Thanks to Dish’s acquisition of Sling, using the “Dish Anywhere” app on my iPhone or iPad I can watch any Dish programming (or anything I’ve recorded) anyplace I can access the Internet.  That meant that Sunday, as we were driving along I-5 about two hours from home, I was able to hand my wife my cellphone and tell her how to tune in on Dish Anywhere,  and then she was able to watch - and give me play-by-play of - the end of the Notre Dame-Mississippi State women’s basketball final.

I think back to what we've had to do in recent years to watch Army football games, on CBSSN.  Our cable system at Ocean Shores doesn’t carry that channel, so after a Friday night game, we’d have to get up at 5 or so the next morning and then drive three hours  to arrive home in Camas in time for the 9 AM (Pacific) kickoff. 

Now, thanks to Dish, I can be at Ocean Shores - or anyplace else -  and I can watch the Army game on my iPad - or, if there’s a TV available, connect to it via HDMI cable.  And then,  I’m good to go.

*********** Coach Alberto “Tito” Correa, whose Danbury (Connecticut) Hatters are a 14-and-under power, sent me a series of clips of his team running the Wedge from his Wing-T offense.  He writes, “Wedge is completely out of your book  -this is how we have applied your teachings.”   it’s amazing to me how stubborn the “big guys” are because they sort of like the idea of a Wedge, but they won’t do what’s necessary and tighten those damn splits.

https://youtu.be/ApLCjs5-SCA

*********** A Michigan ice cream place is being called “racist” for selling a cinnamon flavored ice cream called “Red Indian.”

***********  It’s bad enough when schools pay millions to guys they've dismiss because they haven’t won enough games to suit the alumni and and they still have time left on their contract, but Baylor supposedly fired Art Briles because it was on his watch, and by his recruits, that all manner of ugly behavior occurred. 

Briles was fired, we were told,  as part of Baylor’s attempt to cleanse the Augean Stables (As Casey Stengel would say, you could look it up - it was one of the Seven Labors of Hercules).  Now we find out that Briles, who’s so toxic that a Canadian team was forced to withdraw its offer of a job - was paid $15+ million by Baylor to go away.

Maybe Baylor had no choice, but I have a feeling that a lot of that money will be paid out by Briles to Baylor women to settle lawsuits.

http://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/22975930/baylor-bears-paid-former-football-coach-art-briles-151-million-ouster

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/Herakles/stables.html

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

I'm hoping that first bit of news you mentioned regarding Abington HS is an April Fool's joke.  If it's not what's next??  Schwartzylvania??

Facebook definitely was hacked by the Russians if they think YOU like soccer!

As you know I read your news regularly, and always follow-up.  And I have occasionally found a few typos, but always forgiven.  As a former English teacher I'm more impressed with your vocabulary usage, sentence structure, grammar, spelling, and diction.  Must have been that Ivy education.

Sorry to hear about the damage that human tsunami caused at Ocean Shores.  Heartbreaking to think of all the blood, sweat, and tears shed that went into building that school into what it was, only to have it swept away so quickly.  As a coach if there is one thing I feel good about when leaving a school is whether I left it in better shape than what I found it in.  Knowing what happened at OS after you and Todd left must be a hard pill to swallow.

Hey NFL!  Want to change the game up?  Make the kickoff worth something!  Don't eliminate it. With kickers as so prolific as they are today, and the emphasis being placed on scoring, have the kickoff be worth points.  Kick it through the uprights and it's as good as FG.  Kick it out of bounds inside the 5 and it's worth two points instead of a penalty, and have the offense start from there.  Kick it into the end zone and it's worth a point and cannot be returned.  At the very least it will keep the kickoff in the game and keep things exciting.

My daughter's high school friend is a "Raiderette".  My cousin is a retired "Honey Bear".  Not sure what they will call those two male cheerleaders.  What a world.
 
Have a great weekend and a blessed Easter!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Hahaha!  What Yale did was reinforce the great secondary education I got at Germantown Academy! HW

*********** It was “Unity Week” at our local high school, and the young activists used it as their chance to do what all good activists do - promote unity - as long as you agree with them.

“The goal of Unity Week is to promote diversity and intersectionality in our community, and to advocate for these CHS clubs that give students the opportunity to learn more about diversified communities that aren’t necessarily represented in everyday life."

As soon as it got to "diversity," they lost me.

Monday was “Global Action.”  Ho-hum. Whatever.

Tuesday was “LGBTQ+ Visibility Day,” and apparently there was some sentiment expressed for starting sex education in younger grades, as well as supporting younger kids wanting to start some sort of “Gay-Straight Alliance.”

If not, said one of the teenage geniuses, “Only learning about heterosexual relationships makes it seem like anything else isn’t normal.”

Well, duh.

Wednesday was “Gender Equality Day.”   Talk about unity - you’re sure to bring the boys into the fold by continuing to hammer them with the completely false twaddle  that women with the same qualifications and experience doing the same work as men are paid less.

Thursday was “Religious Awareness Day” which, we were told, was “organized by Muslim Student Association and Christian Student Association.”  Nice.  The Religion of Peace is now on an even footing with Christianity.

Friday was “Unity Day,” where several kids met to go over what they’d done all week. One of the things they did was come up with “ideas on how they can change Camas.”

Uh, kids, I know you were barely conscious back in 2008, when we were sold “Hope and Change,” while many of us asked, “Why do we need to change?”

I’m still asking.

IIt sounds as though they didn’t really accomplish their main goal of unity, because according to the local paper, “More than 90 per cent of the students there Friday were girls, and the group seemed to wonder why boys aren’t as interested as girls in these sorts of discussions.”

Hmmm.    You'd think the guys would get all excited about themes like “LGBTQ+ Visibility” and “Gender Equality?”

*********** God help us all. I was walking my dog past a field where little twerps were playing soccer.  But play suddenly stopped, and I noticed a coach kneeling down, administering to some kid who lay on the ground, sobbing. Wouldn't you just know that all the other kids - maybe first-graders - took a knee?

*********** You can talk all you like about concussion hysteria and its effect on declining participation in football, but the Army knows what the real problem is, and to its credit it’s going to try to do something about it: lazy kids who can’t take orders…

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/03/30/army-mulls-tougher-basic-training-for-out-shape-undisciplined-recruits.html


*********** QUIZ ANSWER: Elroy Hirsch played only two years of college ball, and he played them at two different schools.  But he had a huge impact on both programs.

In the pros, at a time when few teams split even one end, he played in a wide-open offense and became one of the first truly great wide receivers in pro football.

On top of it all,  he had one of football’s truly unique nicknames, one that immediately identifies him.

Elroy Hirsch was a Wisconsin kid - from Wausau - and he originally enrolled at Wisconsin.  He played a year of freshman ball, and then as a sophomore, playing single wing tailback, he led the Badgers to an 8-1-1 record and a Number 3 ranking nationally.  In the previous three seasons Wisconsin had won just 8 games, but in 1942, they lost only to Iowa, 6-0, and tied Notre Dame, 7-7.  Their biggest win was against Ohio State, handing the eventual national champions their only defeat.  In that game he broke off runs of 53, 34, 21 and 20 yards. Overall, he rushed for 767 yards on 141 carries, completed 18 passes for 226 yards, punted four times for a 48.8 yard average, intercepted six passes and ran back 15 punts for 182 yards.  He was named to the All-Big Ten team.

But war was on,  and as a result Wisconsin football went all to hell.  He enlisted in the Marines, and along with several other Badgers was sent to an officer training program (called the V-12 program) that happened to take place at the University of Michigan, where they were all immediately eligible to play. He quickly adjusted to the offense of Michigan’s famed coach Fritz Crisler, and Michigan had a great season, losing only to Notre Dame and beating Ohio State 45-7.  Meanwhile, Wisconsin, without most of its key players, went 1-9.

With a manpower shortage brought on by the war, he was able to play - and letter - on the Michigan basketball team, and in the spring, he lettered in track as a 24-foot long jumper (“broad jumper,” in the terms of the time).  But he also pitched for the baseball team, and on one day, May 15, 1944, he competed in the Big Ten track meet in Champaign, Illinois, then hustled to Bloomington, Indiana where he threw a one-hitter against the Hoosiers to give Michigan the Big Ten championship. In the process, Elroy Hirsch  became the first Michigan athlete ever to win four letters in one year.

He left school to serve in the Marines for the duration of the war, and then at the end of the war he signed with the Chicago Rockets of the new All-American Football Conference (AAFC). After being injured, he was cut and in 1949 he signed with the Los Angeles Rams. Those were the Rams of Bob Waterfield  and Norm Van Brocklin, and receivers like Hirsch and Tom Fears, and running backs like Tank Younger and Deacon Dan Towler, and in their offensive thinking, they were years ahead of everyone in the NFL except Paul Brown.

In his pro career, he caught 387 passes for 7,029 yards.  He also carried the ball 207 times for 687 yards, and in all - receiving, rushing and returning - he scored 65 touchdowns. He also played some at defensive back, and picked off 15 opponents’ passes.

In his nine years with the Rams, Elroy Hirsch made it to three Pro Bowls and was twice named first team All-Pro. He was on the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 1950s, and he was named to the NFL’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.  He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

That nickname?  Describing his running style after seeing him play a game in 1943, a Chicago sports writer wrote,  "His crazy legs were gyrating in six different directions, all at the same time; he looked like a demented duck."

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING ELROY “CRAZYLEGS” HIRSCH:

JOSH  MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
DAVID BUCHANAN - BARRE, MASSACHUSETTS
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA


*********** If you’re not doing anything else on Sunday the 28th, and you’re going to be anywhere near Madison, Wisconsin, it’s not too late to run in the Crazylegs Classic.  The story (sent to me by Adam Wesoloski, of Pulaski, Wisconsin):   Not surprisingly, the idea was hatched over a couple of beers in late 1981 by three Badger loyalists at a campus bar. The three, Tom Grantham, Ken Sparks, and Rich Backus, wanted to raise money to support UW Athletics. As admirers of then- Athletic Director Elroy Hirsch, they asked his permission to name it the "Crazylegs Run" in his honor.

http://www.crazylegsclassic.com/

*********** Nice video short about Crazylegs, sent by Greg Koenig, of Cimarron, Kansas

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oROQWQNOUs


*********** QUIZ - He coached John Unitas and Joe Namath.  He won both an NFL championship and an AFL championship. He won a Super Bowl by beating the team that had fired him six years earlier.

He came out of Richmond, Indiana and attended Miami University, where he played football, baseball and basketball.  One of his football teammates was a transfer from Ohio State named Paul Brown.

After graduation, he coached high school football in Ohio until 1943, when he joined the Navy during World War II.

He wound up on Paul Brown’s staff at Great Lakes Naval Training Center, a service team so good that it once beat Notre Dame.  (Brown, before entering the Navy, had won a national championship coaching at Ohio State.)  After the war he served as an assistant at Brown University and as head coach at Washington University (St. Louis) before rejoining Paul Brown, who by then  was head coach of the Cleveland Browns, as an assistant.

After five years with the Browns, in 1954 he was named head coach of the Baltimore Colts. Although he won two NFL championships with the Colts, he was fired after the 1962 season.  He was quickly scooped up by the New York Jets, and by 1968 he had built  the Jets’ team that would beat his former team, the Colts, in one of the greatest upset in Super Bowl history.

He retired as Jets’ coach following the 1973 season, and was succeeded by his son-in-law, Charlie Winner.


american flagFRIDAY,  MARCH 30,  2018 - “Courage is knowing what not to fear.”  Plato


*********** I’ve lived a long life.  I’ve lived in five states and I’ve lived roughly half my life on each coast.  I’ve earned a living doing all sorts of things from being a factory foreman to sales to marketing  to sports management to teaching and coaching to doing what I’m doing now (whatever it’s called).  I’ve been to all 57 states (that’s a joke, fellas) and I’ve coached American football in Europe. In that time, and in all those places, I’ve seen a lot of things.  That includes  the things that money can do.

But I made the mistake of thinking I’d  seen it all.

You will recall that not so long ago I mentioned the generosity of one Stephen Schwartzman, an alumnus, as is my wife (although, being female, she’s an “alumna”) of Abington High School, in Abington, Pennsylvania.  Mr. Schwartzman announced that he was donating $25 million - one of the largest private gifts ever to a public high school - to Abington Schools, which announced the funds would be used for all kinds of things mainly related to science and technology education.

Well.   Whatever happened to those little ads in yearbooks that used to say, simply, “compliments of a friend?”  You know - ads bought by people who wanted to donate money, but wished to remain anonymous?

Less than a month has gone by since the donation was announced, but that’s all to took for the Abington School Board to announced its unanimous decision to rename the high school in honor of Mr. Schwartzman.  Hereinafter, it will be “Abington Schwartzman High School.”

Are they serious?  I thought.   It sounds like one of the goofy hyphenated jawbreaker names that today’s parents saddle their kids with.

Hey - we’re not talking about a junk high school in a jerkwater town.  Abington Township, a relatively prosperous Philadelphia suburb,  dates back to 1704, and has a population of about 55,000. The median household income is $94,000. Only 2 per cent of families lie below the poverty line. According to the latest census, it’s 80 per cent white, 12 per cent black, 3 per cent Hispanic and 3 per cent Asian.  (It’s not a “town” as you might think of it, but a “township,” common in Pennsylvania, which contains 15 unincorporated  communities, each with their own post office.)

To a great extent, Abington schools knit the 15 communities together.  Abington High School has a three-year enrollment of about 1700 students and graduates upwards of 500 kids every year. It’s top-notch academically -its  chess team is a perennial state championship contender.   Its sports teams compete in the prestigious Suburban One Conference. (Side note: more than 20 years ago, thanks to its head coach, Doug Moister, Abington was where  I “field-tested” my Double Wing before putting my original video up for sale.)

The school board has assured its patrons that this was NOT Mr. Schwartzman’s idea.  Oh, no. Not Mr. Schwartzman.  This was purely the board’s idea of a way to thank him.   Totally the board’s idea!  And in their thinking, merely putting his name on the wing of a building would never have sufficed. They had to rename the whole school!

To those people who thought that it was Mr. Schwartzman’s idea? The idea of tying his gift to the renaming of a school that’s carried the name of the township for more than 150 years? Not Mr. Schwartzman. He would NEVER do that.  Isn’t his name already on the football stadium?  I mean, it’s not as if, with all his money (he’s worth $22 billion), his ego needs still more stroking.  Is it? 

Hmmm…

Needless to say, community residents are furious.  In the course of one hastily-called school board meeting, Mr. Schwartzman went from benevolent philanthropist to Captain Narcissus.  One angry poster on a forum wondered when the school board members would get their “little Team Schwartzman jerseys.”

I once worked with a wrestling coach whose players’ sweatshirts had a strange sort of acronym on them:  “TANSTAAFL.”  Translated, it stood for, “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”

The good folks of Abington would understand.

And, okay - NOW I think I’ve seen it all.

*********** There are coaches’ wives, and then there are DOUBLE WING coaches’ wives…

A friend who resigned his position not long ago said that the kids at his school told him that one of the applicants for his former job told them he intends to run the Fly offense.  When my friend’s wife asked what the Fly was, he explained as best he could, and when he mentioned the big line splits, she said, “How do you run Wedge out of that?”

*********** I FOUND THIS INFORMATION: To find out what Facebook thinks your political allegiances are, head over to www.facebook.com/ads/preferences. From there, click on the "Lifestyle and culture" tab under the Interests section. There should be a box in that section titled "US politics" (you may have to click "see more" to find it), which will include, in parentheses, your political designation — for example, liberal, conservative, moderate, etc. (This information might also appear in a drop down menu.) As with the other ad preferences on this page you can remove it by clicking the X in the top right corner.

Well, I did just that, and I’ll be damned! They say I’m “Very Conservative.”  Wow.  Those Facebook people are GOOD!

Okay, okay.  Guilty as charged.

But I do think their little program could use some tweaking, because it also said I like soccer.  Right.

Now, if THAT’S the kind of info they’ve been supplying to advertisers, they’re hoaxters.

Either that, or my account’s been hacked by Russians.


*********** A reader teased me gently about a typo I’d made, and then he and I engaged in a little bit of banter.  I jokingly wrote him, “Every so often I slip a simple error into my writing in hopes that someone is actually reading, and - there - I caught you.  Actually, I welcome you onto my crack team of volunteer proofreaders.”

Yes, my wife does read my page shortly after I upload it, but there’s always something that slips through.

I can actually remember when newspapers actually paid people to proofread.  That was back in the late 60s and early 70s when I’d make a few bucks in the winter covering basketball games for local papers. There, over in the corner of the newsroom,  would sit an older lady whose only job was to peruse the paper, looking for errors that needed correction.  (Newspapers back then still took pride, as they long had, in being exemplars of good, careful writing.)

Now, those old proofreaders are long gone, and it’s obvious that most newspapers depend on their readers to do it.

I once had an assistant coach who managed all the Domino’s stores in the Portland area.  One day I asked him what kind of training program they had for new employees and he said, “We let our customers train them!”



*********** A tsunami   (metaphorically speaking) has hit North Beach High School, in Ocean Shores, Washington.

I coached at North Beach for a total of seven seasons, and it broke my heart when it all came to an end last year.  Todd Bridge, who’d been head coach, finally had enough, and resigned his teaching and coaching job to take a position as athletic director at Elma, Washington.  Before the start of this past school year, the principal also left, so eager to get out that he took a lesser job as assistant principal/athletic director at another school. The AD left, too.  And so did the school secretary. (Anybody who knows how a school operates knows that the loss of the secretary really hurts.)

The football season was a disaster. We’d gone 30-11 the previous four seasons, including two league championships - the first in the school’s history.  But after Todd resigned, they hired a young fellow who’d never before held a paid coaching position.  The results were predictable. Without going into detail, the Hyaks went 1-7. They were outscored, 116-315.  Their last three games ended with running clocks.  Worst of all, in one game, a brawl in front of their bench, precipitated by a late hit out of bounds on the opposing quarterback, resulted in the ejection of three North Beach players.

It all traces to one bad hire.  After years of good, sound operation under the experienced hand(s) of two administrators, retirees from other districts who shared the superintendency, the school board hired a woman from a fairly large Seattle-area district with no prior experience managing people or running a school district.   I never met the woman, but I don’t have to -  I’ve never met anyone who has had a good thing to say about her. 

Discipline at the school, never great,  by all accounts went to hell.  By this January, the faculty was up in arms,  delivering a vote of no confidence to the school board.  Subsequently,  more than 75 per cent of teachers, from kindergarten through high school, announced their intention to leave the district if she remained.  Last week, the board announced that she had “resigned.”  (Maybe she wanted to “spend time with her family.”)

But like a human tsunami, she left a lot of wreckage in her path. 

Well.  The human tsunami may be gone,  but hanging always over the heads of Ocean Shores residents (my wife and I still have a place there) is the possibility of the Real Thing,  a real,  earthquake-triggered tsunami that would - no exaggeration - wipe us off the face of the earth.  Tuesday, the local newspaper, the Aberdeen “Daily World,” carried some really cheery news:

New tsunami inundation maps released by the State Department of Natural Resources Monday show a magnitude 9.0 earthquake off the coast of Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay could create a tsunami that could hit the outer coastline at more than 40 mph with waves ranging from 20 to 60 feet for at least 12 hours before subsiding.
OS Tsunami map


Ocean Shores (circled) is definitely one of those places where a tsunami “could” come in at “up to” 40 miles per hour, and the waves “could” be “up to” 60 feet high. Ocean Shores is a 7-mile long peninsula ( a sand spit, actually) between the Pacific and a large bay known as Grays Harbor (named for ship captain Robert Gray, who in the process of exploring the Pacific Northwest coast entered what turned out to be the mouth of a great river and named it the Columbia, after his ship). There’s just one road from Ocean Shores, a couple of feet above sea level,  to higher ground, and it’s a winding, two-lane highway. In Ocean Shores itself, there’s only only one street that intersects with that highway.   Sixty foot waves?  I have no no idea how far we’d have to go to get to ground that high, but it’s not worth worrying about, because if all we had was 20 minutes’ warning before it started to hit, we’d be lucky if we even made it to the main intersection.  A few years ago, we had a neighbor who said he was all prepared for a tsunami - he had plenty of liquor in his cabinet, and if he ever heard the tsunami siren, he’d pour himself a stiff drink, then sit back and look out the window and watch it come.

We’ll be heading up to our place at Ocean Shores this weekend, and we’ll have a great time.  Of course, we do keep a nice supply of booze on hand (purely for emergency purposes, you understand).

http://www.thedailyworld.com/news/dnr-magnitude-9-quake-on-the-coast-could-hit-outer-coastline-with-waves-to-60-feet/?utm_source=The+Daily+World&utm_campaign=02052468a2-Newsletter_Daily_Update&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e632e0b0b6-02052468a2-229076889

*********** Just when the furor over the NFL’s kneelers had started to subside, along comes Mr. Robert Kraft,  to stir things up once again.  Mr. Kraft, billionaire owner of the New England Patriots, provided the team’s plane to fly some human stage props, aka “Parkland shooting survivors,” to last weekend’s anti-gun march in Washington, DC. 

Hey, Mister Kraft - what about me? I’m a survivor!  Yes, I know - I was 3,000 miles away from the shooting, but where do you draw the line? Anyhow, can I use the plane this weekend?

https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/26/marjory-stoneman-douglas-parkland-florida-families-march-our-lives-patriots-plane-robert-kraft

*********** I saw this online and I thought it was worth passing along…

Dear Coach K,

I've never met you, though you've walked past me many times on a stretch of beach called Pine Knoll Shores. I didn't want to bother you, but wish I had known about your gift to Steve Mitchell. His departure from this earth has offered the story of a life well-lived. Steve was the man who sat behind you in Duke University's Cameron Indoor Stadium for the last 37 years and I know you miss him this season.

He did a lot in his sixty plus years. He was born with Down syndrome and his family shrugged off the doctors and took him right home. He was integrated in an era that made his parents ground breakers; school or church, Steve was there. I am a special needs mama too and with parenthood comes advocacy, their forging a path has benefited so many. You called Steve "a good friend who had some challenges." What a gift of inclusive language.

The story goes that in 1980 the only thing Steve Mitchell wanted for Christmas was a Duke basketball ticket, not an easy score, but Steve's brother had a construction company and was hired to renovate the new coach’s, Mike "Coach K" Krzyzewski's, house. He asked you how one might find a ticket to buy and explained his brother’s Christmas wish.

“He can sit behind me,” you said. Did you know how life changing that gift would be?

The following season, Steve wrote you a letter saying, “Coach, I know we’re going to have another great year. I was hoping that I could sit near you again.” You said yes to a family that may have heard no far more often. He wrote you a letter every year for 37 years and this is the first season that a ticket, reserved for one Steve Mitchell, isn’t waiting at will call. Steve would collect his ticket and make his way to his seat behind you (usually with the help of his favorite usher, Fran), a tradition that was life changing for his self-confidence, according to his family. You shook his hand before every game.

Thank you, Coach K.

Mamas of special needs kids know that kindness extends far beyond team affiliation and we know that our team is the best of all. Welcome to the club. And to Steve? Godspeed, my friend and thank you.

Love,

Adrian (Amos's mom)


*********** Maybe one day soon the NFL will start games with face-offs.  Or jump balls.  Or a mad scramble.  Oops. Better scratch that last one - too dangerous.
 
After all, that’s why it’s beginning to sound as if The League is getting ready to do away with kickoffs.  Way too dangerous.  Concussions and all that, don’t you know.

Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy, a member of the NFL Competition Committee, said that if they  can’t come up with a way to reduce the injuries, the committee will “strongly consider” doing away with kickoffs.

“We’ve reduced the number of returns,” Murphy told reporters, “but we haven’t really done anything to make the play safer. If you don’t make changes to make it safer, we’re going to do away with it. It’s that serious. It’s by far the most dangerous play in the game.”

Murphy said that even when the ball’s kicked through the end zone and there’s no return, there are still injuries on the play:
“The other thing that’s kind of frustrating is there were concussions on touchbacks… One player lets up, the player covering lets up, and one of the blockers comes over and, you know. That creates problems when you’ve got one player going half speed and the other one full speed.”

I have it - why don’t they go back to what they did back before it was American football, and they  played rugby?  Oh.  You say rugby started games with a kickoff? You say it still does?  Never mind.

https://www.yardbarker.com/nfl/articles/nfl_competition_committee_may_consider_eliminating_kickoffs/s1_127_26055104

*********** Finally.  At long last.  The NFL, which claims to care about the health of the game while at the same time tolerating - glorifying, even - the kind of tactics and conduct by its players that endanger it, will now penalize any player who leads with the helmet in hitting an opponent.  I’m all for it.  It’s disgraceful what they’ve been allowing.  But in return for this small step in making an already-rough game less vicious, fans will have to sit through a video review - every f—king time it’s called!  And we’re only talking about a 15-yard penalty, not an ejection, as called for in college football.

*********** It had been a while - way too long - since I’d spoken with my old friend Kevin Latham, of Atlanta, so we had a long talk the other day.

Kevin, veteran readers may remember, had heart transplant surgery back in 2012.  He’s done quite well, returning to the classroom and a normal life, but now he’s decided to retire from teaching.

He’s looking forward to finding a coaching gig - as an assistant.  He’s never been an assistant, and I told him that if you’re as fortunate as I was in finding a good guy to work for, it’s a real joy to be able to just coach and not have the headaches of the head coach.

At the time we spoke, he was excited to tell me about his cousin - actually, his cousin’s son - Devin Ellison, a running back from Bartram Trail High in Jacksonville, Florida who’d just been offered by Georgia Tech.

Devin's had quite a few offers already - Kentucky, Wake Forest, Appalachian State  among them - and the bigger Florida schools are starting to move on him.  Kevin’s excited about Georgia Tech because he’d love to be able to go downtown on fall Saturdays and watch Devin play for the Rambling Wrecks.  (And for a running back with Devin’s moves and speed, I can’t imagine a better offense to play in than Tech’s.)

Devin is one of those rare kids with Power Five talent and Ivy League smarts - he’s also being recruited by Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Cornell.


(VIDEO) https://n.rivals.com/content/prospects/2019/devin-ellison-184379

https://247sports.com/player/devin-ellison-46037455

https://www.bloggersodear.com/2017/5/2/15511920/wake-football-offers-2019-4-star-running-back-devin-ellison-syracuse-rutgers-jacksonville-florida

http://gridironnow.com/jacksonville-area-2019-rb-devin-ellison-drawing-sec-acc-interest/


aquinas invitation*********** Some places really know how to present their Black Lion Award.  Aquinas Institute, a private Catholic high school in Rochester, New York, has a long and storied football history.  It was to Aquinas where former Army great (and Heisman Trophy winner) Doc Blanchard came, in 1952, to recruit an Aquinas football player named Don Holleder, persuading him to turn down Notre Dame and instead attend West Point.  The rest is history:  Don Holleder and the men of the Black Lions - the 28th Infantry Regiment - who died in battle with him in Vietnam are the inspiration for the Black Lion Award.  As you can see from the invitation, the presentation of the Black Lion Award is a very big deal at Aquinas Institute! 


*********** Yes, yes, I know - we’re destroying the planet, blah, blah, blah. Coal is evil, blah, blah, blah.  Fossil fuels, blah, blah, blah.

But things could have been even worse, according to Ulrich Raulff, author of the book, “Farewell to the Horse.” He writes that in 1900, in New York City alone there were 110,000 horses at work every day - and every day, those horses produced 1,100 tons (TONS!) of road apples and more than 70,000 gallons of urine. 


*********** Although I have yet to see why the NFL even needs “cheerleaders” who never lead cheers,  the Rams have “made NFL history” by naming two “males” to be cheerleaders.

I have no idea how (or why) they were selected.

Although not having the usual requisite T & A qualifications, they’re both said to be “classically trained dancers.”

Oh - and they’re both “persons of color,” which didn’t hurt.

Their sexual preference is as yet unannounced, but I can guess, and that was probably a plus for them, too.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/rams/2018/03/28/los-angeles-rams-male-cheerleaders-make-nfl-history/466967002/

*********** I was walking my dog a few mornings ago and up ahead of me I saw a guy walking his little girl to school, hand-in-hand.  It was very touching, and it made me quite nostalgic.  And then I saw that this a&&hole was talking on the phone as he walked with her!  He couldn’t even give his little girl five or ten minutes of his undivided time.  No, whatever he had to talk about on the phone came first. 

As a father of three grown women who were once little girls just like that one, I wanted to tell this guy that the day will come when he’ll give anything he owns just to be able to take that little hand and walk her to school one more time.

***********  Hugh,

You mean even back in the 50's the media had a way of twisting one's words?

We have our fair share of names at our school like those you mention.  Probably given not so much for the same reason you offered, but more likely because in our school they are more likely considered "designer" names.

Please don't be upset, but I changed calling your 88/99 Super Power to 66/77 Super Power about 10 years ago, and for the very same reason.  I also call it 66/77 Super "O", and 66/77 "O" when necessary based upon what front we see.  I have still used 88/99 Power when I've had a strong WB and less than stellar TE's who could double team with the TE when the TE was covered.  Because this offense relies on strong TE play, you better have those guys in your program if you plan on running an effective DW no matter what version you choose to run.

Our state association also "sponsors" a championship game ball (Wilson GST).  While we could never sniff a state championship at this school we used the GST anyway.  Our QB's liked it better than the Wilson TD because the GST fit their little hands much better.

Could you imagine today's media (NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, etc.) dealing with the likes of the Kennedys knowing now what we know?  STILL never hear anything about them.  PRESIDENT Bill Clinton engaged in porn while he was in OFFICE and is still lauded for his "accomplishments"!

Today's ABC would have likely fired Howard Cosell.

And the final score of that Cricket match that started last month is.......

My wife and I would be tickled to have a $2,000.00 per month pension (1K each!).

QUIZ:  Bill Wade.  I'll never forget how thrilled my dad was when the Rams traded him to da Bears

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe-

No offense whatsoever.  Plenty of good coaches had already made the change from “88” to “66,” but I felt obligated to stay with what I’d been teaching, especially since I’d sold all those playbooks in which it was called “88.”  Just a question of listening to the customers.  They’re always right.

That pension thing  really frosts me.  I can understand why the Supe makes more money than the teacher.  But when they’re no longer working and no longer earning their pay, they’re now  worth exactly  the same to the taxpayers.  I don’t understand why in retirement the Supes should still get paid more for the work they've already been paid - and paid well - for.  If they wanted more income in retirement, they should have been investing that extra money they were making.

Cricket has actually come to its senses, unlike football and baseball.  Instead of the old “test matches,” that would take days,  it now offers a shorter, faster version of the game that’s over in a couple of hours.

The new format, called Twenty-20, has been very well received.

All football has to do is cut down on the time between plays - shaving 15 seconds off the time between every play would take 30 minutes off the length of a game.  It might actually make games more exciting, since it would almost certainly cut down on the opportunity of defenses to react to what they see.

All baseball has to do is go to a pitch clock and enforce it. And allow the batter to step out of the box just once.

But on the other hand, don’t get me going on Rugby Sevens.


*********** QUIZ ANSWER -  Bill Wade was born and raised in Nashville, where his father had played for Vanderbilt, and he attended Vanderbilt, too.

A quarterback,  he was named MVP of the SEC in 1951, and in the 1952 NFL Draft he was the first person taken, but the Los Angeles Rams.  Other well-known first-rounders taken after him were  Les Richter, Ollie Matson,  Babe Parilli, Johnny Bright, Hugh McElhenny, Frank Gifford and Harry Agganis.

After spending two years in the service, he spent seven years with the Rams, mostly as a starter, and in 1958 he led the NFL in passing yardage.

In 1961 he was traded to the Bears. In 1962 he led the NFL in completions, and in 1963 he took the Bears to the NFL championship with a 14-10 win over the Giants.   Playing on a frozen field in close to zero-degree weather, he cored both of the Bears’ touchdowns - on quarterback sneaks.

Only once since then - 1985 - have the Bears won it all.

His durability was remarkable.  In his 14 years, he missed only one practice.

He played in 128 games.  He threw for 18,530 yards and 124 TDs, and he rushed for 24 TDs.

When he died in 2016,  Bears’ teammate Ed O’Bradovich recalled,  “He was a very serious person. Religion and family were first and foremost to him.  I never heard him say a cuss word.  You can imagine with all them guys we had on that team - ‘Gosh darn it’ wasn’t in our vocabulary. Very studious.  Wonderful man.”

So popular was Bill Wade in his hometown that when he played for Chicago, Bears’ games were shown in Nashville on tape delay every Sunday evening, right after the news.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/ct-bill-wade-obit-spt-0311-20160310-story.html

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2007-01-30/sports/0701300224_1_super-bowl-xli-bears-eye

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BILL WADE
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
RODNEY LUNSFORD - DUBLIN, INDIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - PETROGRAD, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA (“I can hear Jack Brickhouse and Irv Kupcinet doing their play-by-pay on WGN 720, even now!”)
JIM FRANKLIN - FLORA, INDIANA
MIKE FORISTIERE - MATTAWA, WASHINGTON
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA

*********** In 2002, Bill Wade  underwent surgery for glaucoma and when he came out of anesthesia he was completely blind.  He spent the remaining 14 years of his life having to cope with his blindness.

***********  Coach,

I vaguely remember watching the 1963 NFL Championship game. It seemed strange to me that a football was played at Wrigley.  Bill Wade was their quarterback, and that's pretty much all I remember about it.

Jim Franklin
Flora, Indiana

Being able  to play in Wrigley Field was a very big deal for George Halas, because the Cubs were “big league,” and the Bears at that time were anything but.  In fact, the name “Bears” came from the association with the Cubs.  When Halas first moved his team to Chicago, and rented Wrigley Field, the team was still named the Staleys, for the corn starch company in Decatur, Illinois that originally sponsored Halas. When Staley, wanting to cut costs, turned the football team over to Halas, it was with the provision that it remain the Staleys for one more year.  After that year, because he was a lifelong Cubs’ fan, Halas named his team the “Bears,”  football players being bigger and meaner than baseball players.



*********** Good morning, Hugh. The answer to this week's quiz is Bill Wade. You've probably seen this brief interview. He seems like a good guy, and he speaks of how football is vital to our country. We could use more former NFL stars to stand up for our sport the way Bill Wade did.

Why don't current NFL and recently retired players defend our game in this manner? I'm tired of guys who made millions saying that their sons won't be allowed to play football. We are soft, and our country needs football now more than ever.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKNSer315BA

Coach Greg Koenig
Cimarron High School

Wow!  I’d never seen that interview.  It’s priceless.  It ought to be used to introduce every football coaching clinic in America.

By all accounts, Bill Wade was a great person and a devout Christian.

It's amazing how frank he was about soccer!

You are so right about the softness.  It’s showing up in every aspect of our society - sports, business, education, the military, the family - as more and more people are discovering that coddling our kids has undermined our entire culture.


*********** QUIZ: He played only two years of college ball, and he played them at two different schools.  But he had a huge impact on both programs.

In the pros, at a time when few teams split even one end, he played in a wide-open offense and became one of the first truly great wide receivers in pro football.

On top of it all,  he had one of football’s truly unique nicknames, one that immediately identifies him.

He was a Wisconsin kid - from Wausau - and he originally enrolled at Wisconsin.  He played a year of freshman ball, and then as a sophomore, playing single wing tailback, he led the Badgers to an 8-1-1 record and a Number 3 ranking nationally.  In the previous three seasons Wisconsin had won just 8 games, but in 1942, they lost only to Iowa, 6-0, and tied Notre Dame, 7-7.  Their biggest win was against Ohio State, handing the eventual national champions their only defeat.  In that game he broke off runs of 53, 34, 21 and 20 yards. Overall, he rushed for 767 yards on 141 carries, completed 18 passes for 226 yards, punted four times for a 48.8 yard average, intercepted six passes and ran back 15 punts for 182 yards.  He was named to the All-Big Ten team.

But war was on,  and as a result Wisconsin football went all to hell.  He enlisted in the Marines, and along with several other Badgers was sent to an officer training program (called the V-12 program) that happened to take place at the University of Michigan, where they were all immediately eligible to play. He quickly adjusted to the offense of Michigan’s famed coach Fritz Crisler, and Michigan had a great season, losing only to Notre Dame and beating Ohio State 45-7.  Meanwhile, Wisconsin, without most of its key players, went 1-9.

With a manpower shortage brought on by the war, he was able to play - and letter - on the Michigan basketball team, and in the spring, he lettered in track as a 24-foot long jumper (“broad jumper,” in the terms of the time).  But he also pitched for the baseball team, and on one day, May 15, 1944, he competed in the Big Ten track meet in Champaign, Illinois, then hustled to Bloomington, Indiana where he threw a one-hitter against the Hoosiers to give Michigan the Big Ten championship. In the process, he  became the first Michigan athlete ever to win four letters in one year.

He left school to serve in the Marines for the duration of the war, and then at the end of the war he signed with the Chicago Rockets of the new All-American Football Conference (AAFC). After being injured, he was cut and in 1949 he signed with the Los Angeles Rams. Those were the Rams of Bob Waterfield  and Norm Van Brocklin, and receivers like him and Tom Fears, and running backs like Tank Younger and Deacon Dan Towler, and in terms of offensive thinking, they were years ahead of everyone in the NFL except Paul Brown.

In his pro career, he caught 387 passes for 7,029 yards.  He also carried the ball 207 times for 687 yards, and in all - receiving, rushing and returning - he scored 65 touchdowns. He also played some at defensive back, and picked off 15 opponents’ passes.

In his nine years with the Rams, he made it to three Pro Bowls and was twice named first team All-Pro. He was on the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 1950s, and he was named to the NFL’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.  He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

That nickname?  Describing his running style after seeing him play a game in 1943, a Chicago sports writer wrote,  "His crazy legs were gyrating in six different directions, all at the same time; he looked like a demented duck."


american flagTUESDAY,  MARCH 27,  2018 - “It has long been the desire of our enemies to deepen and widen the line of separaton between the white and colored people of this country.” Frederick Douglass

*********** On June 30, David Boren will officially retire as President of the University of Oklahoma.  By any measure, his tenure as President,  from 1994 to the present,  has been a successful one.

Mr. Boren is a Yale graduate, three years after me, and evidently he applied himself to his studies somewhat more diligently than I, because he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa,  and he was a Rhodes Scholar.

Prior to his assuming the presidency of OU, he served as Governor of Oklahoma and then as a United States Senator from Oklahoma, resigning   the latter position to take the job at OU.)

The University of Oklahoma has come a long way in terms of prestige since the early 1950s, when its football teams were winning championships and the university president, a learned man named Dr. George Cross, made a sarcastic remark that, misintepreted, went nationwide as evidence  that the University of Oklahoma,  while renowned for its football program, was academically a joke:  ''We want to build a university our football team can be proud of.''

It’s essential to understand the context of the remark.  Dr. Cross had spent more than an hour in front of a state legislative committee, defending his university’s budget request.

When he wrapped up, one “sleepy old senator,” as Dr. Cross later described him, sat up and said, “That’s all well and good, but what kind of football team are we going to have this year?”

Dr. Cross, obviously irked by the man’s attitude, fired back with his now-famous quote.

Looking back, he realizes the dangers of sarcasm, well-known to those of us who have a tendency to be sarcastic.

''It was a cynical remark because I thought my whole presentation had been wasted,'' Dr. Cross recalled, ''but the quote was picked up all across the country.''

By the late 1980s, he was retired, and Barry Switzer was then head coach at OU, and Dr. Cross reflected on how big -time sports had gotten out of hand all over America:

''I remember how all of it started here,'' Dr. Cross continued. ''It was 1945 and the war had ended, and here in Oklahoma we were still feeling very depressed from those tough days that Steinbeck wrote about in 'The Grapes of Wrath.' At a board of regents meeting, it was suggested to me that I try to get a good football team. It would give Oklahomans a reason to have pride in the state. And it did, but I don't think it was very good for the university.''

Dr. Cross hired (Jim) Tatum, and Oklahoma was on its way. But Tatum ran the football team in so crudely professional a manner that the next year Dr. Cross hired (Bud) Wilkinson, a former English major from the University of Minnesota from a well-to-do family.

''Bud was a class act,'' said Dr. Cross. ''Over 90 percent of the football players graduated. Now it's well under 50 percent. One year our starting quarterback flunked out. But he was technically still eligible for the Orange Bowl game. Bud refused to let him play.''

Dr. Cross said that he had always kept in close touch with athletics, ''and broiled a steak at least once a month with the coach.''

He remembered the exact words his successor said about the athletic department when he left the presidency, ''Ah hell, the v.p. of nonacademic affairs can handle that.'' ''You'll be shocked,'' Dr. Cross told him. ''And he was,'' Dr. Cross recalled. ''And so were the four presidents who followed him.''

''Football players became separated from the rest of the student body, and didn't participate in other activities,'' Dr. Cross said. ''In the end, the president must assume responsibility for the entire school. The buck must stop there.''

https://www.nytimes.com/1989/02/18/sports/sports-of-the-times-the-grapes-of-wrath-at-oklahoma.html

*********** It’s rather interesting looking at the lineups of high school games these days because quite often you can’t tell whether you’re looking at the boys’ or girls’ roster.

There are Morgans and Taylors and Skylers and Rileys and Dakotas and they could easily be boys or girls.

They’re called “gender-neutral” names, and more parents these days are giving them to their newborns.  Because - you’re not going to believe this - the kids have not as yet decided on their gender, and the parents don’t want to handicap them in their pursuit of gender change by slapping a too-masculine name on a boy, or a too-feminine name on a girl.

Said one woman in San Antonio (whose name happens to be Lori),  “We chose a gender-neutral name, Riley, for my daughter.  We knew her sex, but gender is fluid and yet to be determined. Of all the difficulties faced by those who live beyond, or across, the binary, we didn’t want name-changing to be one of them. ... I like that she feels she has options and knows she’ll be accepted by us no matter what.”

Riley is 3.

(Interestingly,  unisex names are banned by law in Denmark, Iceland and Portugal.  And in Germany, unusual names must be approved by local officials for fear that they might negatively affect the child.)

https://apnews.com/407c69a1155b4231894f4f311bb27d82

*********** My wife had reason to call Sports Illustrated about a subscription offer that included a jacket in the colors of “your favorite NFL team,” and she immediately  encountered the all-too-frequent English language insufficiency of those we have to speak to.  Compounding the “failure to communicate” on the part of the representative was a total lack of knowledge of the subject matter.  When my wife was told there were no Bills or Steelers jackets, she asked what they did have, and the helpful response was, “WE HAVE N-E-W-E-N-G-L-A-N-D-P-A-T-R-I-O-T-S”

*********** Just when my Friday needed a little brightening, along came Michael Bennett to provide it.

I was really down.   It was tough, learning that President Trump wasn't going to veto that big spending “omnibus” bill sent to him by Congress.

And then I saw the news crawler about Michael Bennett.  The Houston Police had  a warrant for his arrest on charges of assault or elderly abuse or somesuch.

It appears that in the moments following the 2017 Super Bowl, in his eagerness to get onto the field and congratulate his brother, Martellus, who played for the victorious Patriots, he “allegedly” pushed past an “elderly” security guard and knocked her over - while she sat in her wheelchair.  Now maybe I’ve got it wrong, and the people in charge of game security didn’t really think a handicapped older person in a wheelchair could keep boisterous fans off the field, but that’s how I read things.

The Houston police said they waited this long, more than a year after the event, because they had other, more important things to chase down before they got around to this one.

Bennett himself wasn’t immediately available because he was said to be “out of the country.” No doubt he was backpacking through Europe, living in youth hostels and serving as a proud ambassador of his country.

Other than the normal professional athlete's sense of entitlement,  there's nothing in Michael Bennett’s background that I'm aware of to suggest that he's guilty. For me, it’s just that he’s an arrogant  loudmouth who wouldn’t have a thing going for him if he weren’t a big, fast, accomplished defensive lineman. Unfortunately, though, that, combined with his big mouth and his arrogance, have made  him a Soldier for Social Justice.  Empowered by his coach, Pete Carroll, and by the Seahawks, who actually nominated him for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, and by the fawning Seattle news media,  he’s been more than willing to share with the rest of us his unique insights into the ills of American society. 

Problem is, he's walking , talking evidence of the Dunning-Kruger Effect: "a cognitive bias wherein people of low ability suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their cognitive ability as greater than it is. The cognitive bias of illusory superiority derives from the metacognitive inability of low-ability persons to recognize their own ineptitude; without the self-awareness of metacognition, low-ability people cannot objectively evaluate their actual competence or incompetence."

As if to prove it, he has even "written "a book (well, actually, the writing was done by a professional writer named Dave Zirin, a Social Justice Warrior himself who has been identified with a number of left-wing causes) entitled, “Things That Make White People Uncomfortable.”

Here’s Amazon’s brief description of the “author."
Michael Bennett is a Super Bowl Champion, a three-time Pro Bowl defensive end, a fearless activist, a feminist, a grassroots philanthropist, an organizer, and a change maker. He's also one of the most scathingly humorous athletes on the planet, and he wants to make you uncomfortable.

Bennett adds his unmistakable voice to discussions of racism and police violence, Black athletes and their relationship to powerful institutions like the NCAA and the NFL, the role of protest in history, and the responsibilities of athletes as role models to speak out against injustice. Following in the footsteps of activist-athletes from Muhammad Ali to Colin Kaepernick, Bennett demonstrates his outspoken leadership both on and off the field.

I have no intention of reading the book, but unless  Chapter One is titled, “ME,” I strongly suspect that Mr. Bennett has no idea of what makes white people uncomfortable.  Maybe, as Charles Barkley once admitted about a book he “wrote,” he hasn’t even read it himself.

As for the Houston charges, I have no idea whether he’s guilty or not and I don’t particularly care.  I’m just pleased to think that this could turn out to be “A Thing That Makes Michael Bennett Uncomfortable.”

*********** AN EXCERPT FROM THE UPCOMING ALL-NEW DOUBLE-WING PLAYBOOK…

66 and 77 are 88 and 99


*********** I’m very proud of my grandson, Connor Love, and his role as an M-C at Wake Forest's annual “Wake n Shake” marathon fundraiser which raised $376,000 for the Brian Piccolo Cancer Research Fund.

*********** Charlie Wilson of Crystal River, Florida sent me this great article about how Bill Battle was way ahead of the game in what they now call analytics…

http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2013/04/as_a_young_coach_bill_battle_w.html

Charlie, a wishbone/belly authority, also sent me this, the 1976 Alabama-Tennessee game

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmnLUvbG6vw

He wrote,
This is Bill Battle's Wishbone.  I actually remember this Factoid from my wayward youth: The FB was WAY close to the QB.  You should recognize the depth of the FB.  It's Double Wing type stuff.  The whole development of the Wishbone at Texas took off when the FB was dropped back to ~ 3 1/2 yards.  It appears that there was some gaming going on here as well since some plays had the FB a little deeper.

Nonetheless, Bill Battle was a bit star-crossed although he did beat the Bear once but it wasn't enough.  Tennessee wanted Majors, who won a NC at Pitt with the Veer.

How did Majors do?
(The question is rhetorical, but if you don’t know: not well enough for the folks at Tennessee.)

*********** This past weekend, I was working with a young quarterback for the first time and he confessed that he’d always had troubles throwing a tight spiral.  I asked him to throw a few for me, and he mentioned that it felt strange throwing without a glove - said that last season he’d worn a glove.

I asked him why, and he said it was because he had small hands, and he had trouble gripping the ball.

I don’t have big hands, either, but I’ve never had problems gripping a ball - and his hand is slightly bigger than mine.

And then he mentioned the ball that his team used, and when he handed it to me it slipped out of my fingers!  Sucker felt like it was greased!

It was a Spalding ALPHA, a top-of-the-line, high-quality, real leather football, and it was as slick as the screen on my iPhone.

The QB said his receivers didn’t like it, either.  I could see why.

WTF?

Well. This was Washington, and the Spalding ALPHA is the official WIAA (state association) "championship" ball. Note the word “championship.” In WIAA-speak, that means “playoffs.”

During the season, you can use any ball you damn please, so long as it has the NFHS logo on it.

But for the post-season, the “playoff,” the state takes control, and in return for some handed to it by a ball supplier - in this case, Spalding - it then dictates to the participating teams that they must use that supplier’s ball.  Nice of it to sell off what amounts to our playing conditions.

Let’s not kid ourselves - this is a naked attempt by the state to dictate what ball you’ll use during your regular season, too, because otherwise, if you’re having any kind of  season and you have a shot at the playoffs,  at some point you’re going to have to make the switch over to the state-approved tournament ball so you’ll be ready.

That’s exactly the thinking of a lot of coaches, including this QB’s coach last year. Unfortunately, they missed making the playoffs - in their final game of the season -  and who knows? They might have made the playoffs  had they used a different ball during the regular season, one that their QB could throw and their receivers could catch.

I personally would have put making the playoffs first.  I’d have used the manageable ball in the regular season and then, once we were sure we made the playoffs, I’d start to break in the state-approved ball.

And in the meantime, I’d be trying out ways to take  that slickness off that damned Spalding ALPHA.

*********** Like a bad penny, Himself Obama keeps turning up. And now he’s threatening to go nuclear on us. Speaking in Japan, he said that through the efforts of the Obama Foundation,  “I would create a hundred or a thousand or a million young Barack Obamas or Michelle Obamas.”

I'll let you provide the punch line.

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

Stanford has it figured out.  One of a few universities in this country that knows how to strike a balance between its academic reputation and athletics.  There are a ton more opportunities nationally to find the type of young people they want representing their school than just in California and the west coast.  Isn't it interesting how intercollegiate athletics at Stanford has not tarnished the academic integrity of the university overall??

If my wife wasn't so against living in the snow we would be living in Hillsdale, MI.  I would have asked to hand out towels to work in an environment like that. 

I remember reading about "the Fort" and its accomplishments many years ago.  Lomax may think he has all the answers now but within a year he will be asking himself a lot more questions, and have alot less answers.  But one question he will have to answer will be, "Why the h*** did I take this job?"

Lying.  As seldom used word today as the phrases "knock it off"  and "shake it off'.  Been replaced by words like "misled", "inaccurate", "misremembered", etc.

You would think that a fella like Richard Sherman (salutatorian of his HS graduation class, a 4.2 GPA, and a STANFORD grad in Communications) would have been able to figure out he would have been better off without an agent years ago.  But...money (and a big mouth - after all he IS a SoCal kid) tend to have an effect on people.

QUIZ:  Ray Eliot Nusspickel (no relation to Pete Elliott - also an Illini head coach).  I would have used Eliot as my last name too.

Have a great weekend, and stay safe in Camas!  We're able to open up packages again down here.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** TRUMP AND THE STRUMPET - (Now there’s a word I bet you’d never heard until just now - it’s an outdated word for a prostitute.)

We’re supposed, I guess, to be disturbed by the story, told by a strumpet - a “porn star” who goes by the stage name Stormy Daniels - who claims she did the nasty with Donald Trump, back In 2006.  If you’re keeping score, that’s ten years before he was elected President.  Fast forward to 2016, and as the election neared, Mr. Trump’s lawyer offered the trollop (another outdated but appropriate word) $130,000 for her silence about the event.  Made sense to me. An irrelevant event from long-ago that opponents could turn into a distraction.  She took the lawyer’s money, and in exchange she signed what’s called a non-disclosure agreement (called an “NDA” in inside baseball).

But subsequently, someone else found out about the NDA and offered Ms. Daniels a lot more money than that to break her agreement and tell her story on television.  That she did - on CBS 60 Minutes, this past Sunday night.

What I find interesting here is the depths to which leftists will stoop in order to try to depose the President,  presenting this lowlife as an “adult film star.”  Just a poor working girl trying to make an honest living in a white-male-dominated world that keeps women from being engineers and surgeons and airline pilots. (Full disclosure - I have a grand-daughter who’s a civil engineer.)

Not to try to discredit the “adult film star’s” testimony, but guys, we’re talking about someone whose place on the scale of human life is mere steps above drug dealers and pimps and child molesters.

No man who’s ever had a daughter can even imagine a fate for her  worse than a life of prostitution.

Unless it would be acting in pornographic movies.  A so-called “porn star.” Some star.  Not only selling her body, often subjecting herself to various indignities, running the risk of contracting serious venereal diseases - but doing so for all the world to see.  For generations to come. (Is that really you, Grandma?)

This woman gave her body away to a man and then tattled.  For money.  What a shock.

Once again, TV builds us up then lets us down.  Anyone remember Geraldo Rivera and Al Capone’s vault?

*********** Sent me by Shep Clarke, of Puyallup, Washington

cosell simpson jenner


*********** Remember Inflategate and all the uproar over the charges that the Patriots were under-inflating footballs?  Australia’s got its own issue right now, and in this sports-mad country, and the rather pure and upright traditions of its biggest sport - that would be cricket -  it’s far, far bigger than Inflategate ever was.

It concerns tampering with the ball, not unlike the way the baseball old-timers would scuff a ball with an emery board or other abrasive device so that a pitcher could get a better grip, and throw a better breaking ball.

As I understand it from my son, Ed, who works in sports in Australia, this is something that just isn’t done.  Cricketeers are held to a higher standard.  They simply don’t look  at things like offensive holding or corking bats or such the way we do - everybody does it… it’s only holding if you get caught… if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying… etc., etc.

Yet in a big match between the Australian national team and  South Africa,  an Australian player was seen using a piece of tape to tamper with the ball - seen, by the South African crowd,  ON THE BIG SCREEN!

And then, almost comically, he was caught trying to hide the tape inside his pants.  (“Drop them, Fella.  We want to see what’s inside those drawers.”)

Said the team captain, a position of great prestige, somewhat like a player-coach, "We spoke about it and thought it was a possible way to get an advantage … poor choice and, yeah, we're deeply regrettable."

Interesting choice of words, that.  I’m sure he meant “regretful.”  I would agree, though, that the whole thing is regrettable.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-25/steve-smith-wont-resign-australia-confesses-to-ball-tampering/9584476


*********** Neither the University of Oregon nor Oregon State University has a medical school.  Instead, the state independently runs a highly-regarded medical school known as Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU), located in Portland.

The president of OHSU retired last October and I have no idea what his plans are, maybe because I didn’t read any further after learning what his pension will entail. 

I don’t know what other goodies he’s entitled to, such as use of a chauffeured limousine or a private jet and I assume that health care will never be an issue,  but I do know this:

He will receive $913,000 a year.  That’s $76,000 a month.  Yes, yes, I know - with his new contract, Kirk Cousins will make that much every time he throws a completion.  But otherwise, how many of you will make $76,000 this YEAR?  How many of you have parents who are retired and getting by on HALF that?

Oregon’s Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) is, like most states’,  f—ked up.  In comparison with what private industry does and what its taxpayers can afford, Oregon pays out far more than it can justify, and as a result, in order to make the payments that its politicians committed to many years ago, the state has had to make cuts in all sorts of essential services, such as education.  And things will only get worse as more state workers retire and the state assumes their pensions.

For most Oregonians, the prime example of their out-of-control pension system is former Oregon Ducks’ football coach Mike Bellotti.

Bellotti spent 21 years at Oregon, as offensive coordinator, head coach, and - for one year - athletics director.

When he resigned to take a job with ESPN, he got $2.3 million “severance pay” (tell me how you manage to get “severance pay” when you “resign,” unless it’s a firing that’s called a “resignation” to look better in the newspapers.)

And, thanks to PERS and the generosity of the Oregon taxpayers, he started receiving, and will continue to receive until the day he croaks, $559,000 a year.

According to public records, there are some 2,000 retirees receiving pensions of more than $100,000 a year.

Here’s where I come in. I have no problem with the fact that Mike Belotti, while he was coach at Oregon, was paid maybe 50 times what a typical teacher-coach might be paid. The market determined that. But call me a socialist if you will, because I think that a state’s pension should be designed for people to live a life of dignity in retirement.  With, say, a ceiling of $100,000 a year.

But I don’t think that the fact that a person earned a high income during their working years entitles them to live a life of luxury in retirement.  Not on the taxpayers’ dime. 

When you’re a football coach making $3 million a year, or a school superintendent making $200,000 a year, I think you’re being paid enough that if you want to live well in your golden years, you can well afford to invest in a very nice retirement plan to supplement what you - and everybody else - can expect from the taxpayers.


*********** QUIZ ANSWER - Things seldom work out well when you succeed a legend, but Pete Eliot did just that, and he did so rather successfully.

He succeeded the great Bob Zuppke, whom he had played for and then assisted. Zuppke coached at Illinois for 29 years, and this coach stayed there for 18.

In the more than 70 years since the Big Ten started playing in the Rose Bowl, Illinois has been to the Rose Bowl just five times.  He coached in two of them - and won them both.

HIs 1946 team went 8-2 and won the Big Ten title.  It was the first Big Ten (Actually, then, it was still the Big Nine) team to play in the Rose Bowl, and behind the running of Buddy Young and Julie Rykovitch, it defeated UCLA, 45-13.  Big Nine/Big Ten teams would go on to win the next six Rose Bowls in a row.

His 1951 team finished fourth in the nation. It won the Big Ten (Michigan State having been added the year before) championship and went undefeated, with only a scoreless tie with Ohio State marring its record.  And in the Rose Bowl, it trounced Stanford, 40-7.

In 1953, with two sensational sophomore running backs, J.C. Caroline and Mickey Bates, Illinois tied for the Big Ten championship with Michigan State, but on the basis of who had gone most recently, they lost out to the  Spartans for the Rose Bowl spot.

In 18 years, his overall record was 83–73-11. Things have not been all that good for the school's  football fortunes since he left.

As an example: Combined, Pete Eliot and his processor, Bob Zuppke, spent 47 years at the school.  In the 47 years following his retirement, the school went through NINE different coaches.

Interestingly, his successor was also named Elliott - with two “Ls.”  It was Pete Elliott, one of two brothers (the other was “Bump”) who were standouts at Michigan in the years following the War.

In actuality, though, he was born Ray Eliot Nusspickel.  (I don’t know how and when he changed his name, but I have a pretty good idea why.)


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING RAY ELIOT:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA

*********** I’m indebted to Todd Hollis, of Elmwood, Illinois, for sending me thIS…

Ray Eliot
by Doug Cartland

3.6.18

It was the summer of 1946, and the war was over. America’s fighting men had come home from all over the world. College men were returning to their universities, including football players.

Ray Eliot was the head football coach at the University of Illinois. He had taken the job in 1942 only to see essentially his entire team leave for the war effort. He had a great class of talent coming in that first year … but off they went too.

Eliot spent his first four years coaching 16- and 17-year-old boys (at 18, they were off to the service). Not all universities had that problem. Purdue, for example, had a marine training program, so they still turned out great teams. As did Notre Dame, as did Great Lakes, and so on.

How Eliot won any games at all during that four-year stretch is a marvel. But he did. Astonishingly, one of those teams actually led the country in total offense.

When his boys finally came home for the 1946 season, the press immediately assumed Illinois would be the favorite to win the Big 9 (now the Big 10) Conference. They saw talent on paper. Eliot, though, saw a puzzle.

First, somewhere between 200 and 500 aspirants came out for football. Try to wade through that swamp.

Second, he had young players, who had won starting jobs the year before, wondering if these veterans just back from the war were going to simply come in and take their jobs away.

Yeah, that was a bit uncomfortable.

Most significantly, these comparatively na´ve 18-year-olds now had to mix with men who had been to war. Men who were 23 or 24 years old; some of which had wives and families already.

“We were 24-year-olds trying to mesh with some who were as young as 17,” said one of those returning war veterans … All-American, Alex Agase. “What a job Ray and that coaching staff had—they had the toughest job a coach ever had.”

These men came home with a chip on their shoulders. And who could blame them after what they’d seen?

“The war veterans,” reported the Saturday Evening Post at the time, “were the most unpredictable, unsettling and—sometimes—unmanageable who ever set a coach to strumming his underlip. Outright insubordination was rare enough, but (some were) fed up with jumping every time someone cracked a whip. Many a conscientious kid found weight-reducing agonizing, some showed a fine disdain for the classroom, others simply could not rekindle the urge to play.”

As for Eliot’s situation, the Post said, “Ray Eliot had the same miseries as other college coaches, only more so.”

Talent on paper, yeah.

“This team is the most overrated team in the country,” insisted Eliot before the season. “And if you don’t say so too, you’re crazy.”

After starting the season appealing to his player’s best natures, his team stood at 1-1. Hardly world-beaters.

So, he changed his tune. He got tough and drill-sergeant demanding the next week, and Illinois seemingly responded, ripping Purdue. Well, maybe that was the ticket.

So, he dished out more of the same soup the next week only to see them fall on their faces at Indiana. They were 2-2.

Eliot was perplexed and seemingly without remedy. He didn’t know what to say. He had tried every approach imaginable, but his team had not responded. The papers were calling his team “uninspired,” and he could not disagree with them.

On the Sunday after the Indiana loss, Eliot went to see Doug Mills, the Athletics Director, and offered his resignation. He wanted the best for his boys, and if someone else could get it out of them, then so be it. Mills rejected the offer out of hand. University President George Stoddard came out swinging for him publicly the next day.

Reinvigorated, Eliot resolved to do something about the situation. On Monday, he called an all-player “gripe session.” He listened. Few ideas had merit, but the communication broke the tension. Speaking their minds, especially appealed to the war vets.

After hearing them out, Eliot led them to the film room. He showed them on the Indiana game film how they weren’t playing Illinois’ defense at all. They were hardheaded egos all doing whatever they wanted.

The film session got their attention, but they were still not wholly convinced. So, out to the practice field, they went.

The coach told his starting defensive players to set and run their defense, any way they wanted to—however they thought best.

Then, he called over his freshman offense, told them what to run, and put them against the players’ defense. His freshman offense destroyed this starting, veteran-laden defense.

“One by one,” Eliot told the story many years later, “after the workout was over, they came by my office and said they wanted to go back to my defense, and play it the way I wanted it played. It was then that I knew I had them.”

From that day, Illinois ran off five wins in a row to capture the Big 9 crown. They went on to dismantle UCLA, 45-14, in the Rose Bowl.

It should be said, here, that no other team in the country fared so well with the returning veterans. No one else found the key to unlock their enthusiasm and their collective potential. This is true. I could tell you stories.

Nope, only Ray Eliot.

Ray Eliot is my grandfather. He has just been elected to the University of Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame in its second year of existence. He died in 1980, at the age of 74, after serving his university most of his life.

I could not be more proud. No one could be more deserving.

Oh, and there’s a whole lot of leadership to draw from this story, if you care to draw.

Sincerely,

Doug Cartland, President
Doug Cartland, Inc.
The ONLY Leadership Resource with Guaranteed Results

*********** QUIZ-  He was born and raised in Nashville, where his father had played for Vanderbilt, and he attended Vanderbilt, too.

A quarterback,  he was named MVP of the SEC in 1951, and in the 1952 NFL Draft he was the first person taken, by  the Los Angeles Rams.  Other well-known first-rounders taken after him were  Les Richter, Ollie Matson,  Babe Parilli, Johnny Bright, Hugh McElhenny, Frank Gifford and Harry Agganis.

After spending two years in the service, he spent seven years with the Rams, mostly as a starter, and in 1958 he led the NFL in passing yardage.

In 1961 he was traded to the Bears. In 1962 he led the NFL in completions, and in 1963 he took the Bears to the NFL championship with a 14-10 win over the Giants.   Playing on a frozen field in close to zero-degree weather, he scored both of the Bears’ touchdowns - on quarterback sneaks.

Only once since then - 1985 - have the Bears won it all.

His durability was remarkable.  In his 14 years, he missed only one practice.

He played in 128 games.  He threw for 18,530 yards and 124 TDs, and he rushed for 24 TDs.

When he died in 2016,  Bears’ teammate Ed O’Bradovich recalled,  “He was a very serious person. Religion and family were first and foremost to him.  I never heard him say a cuss word.  You can imagine with all them guys we had on that team - ‘Gosh darn it’ wasn’t in our vocabulary. Very studious.  Wonderful man.”

So popular was he in his hometown that when he played for Chicago, Bears’ games were shown in Nashville on tape delay every Sunday evening, right after the news.


american flagFRIDAY,  MARCH 23,  2018 - “You begin to realize why there are thousands of books about management out there: It is a very difficult thing to do.” Tom Hodgkinson, in “Business for Bohemians,” his book on starting his own  business


*********** Despite Stanford’s long tradition as a Pacific Coast team, it has been cashing in on its prestigious reputation and has become a national football program. Of this year’s 19 football signees, only five are from California; four are from Georgia and three are from Texas. Eight different states are represented.  And - in case you’re reading this, Saban - there are two kids from Alabama!

*********** CRIME IN CAMAS!  It happened in a nice residential area near us, right across the street from an elementary school.  But when the live-in girlfriend finds red hair in the shower drain, and her hair is blue (!) things can happen. In this case, the lady went off to the mall and bought a samurai sword (no background check required, not even in Washington). Then she waited until lover boy was asleep and did her thing - stabbed him, sliced him and bludgeoned him. (Sounds like a Ronco commercial: “Slices! Dices! Chops and Peels!)

He’s going to survive, but I suspect the relationship is at an end. 

*********** I am so proud of my town.  There it was, Tuesday, the first day of spring, and kids at the nearby middle school were outside at lunchtime playing - football!

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

Your piece on the mess that is college basketball recruiting tied to the shoe companies and youth basketball reminded me of an article I read last week. The author is a high school classmate of mine who happens to be the Senior Editor at Vogue. The college recruiting problems/issues/dirty secrets have been around for a long time, going back at least to the late '80s at Georgetown.

Greg Koenig
Cimarron, Kansas

https://www.vogue.com/article/my-mom-and-march-madness

Greg’s referring to the great article he  sent  me the link to.  It’s about Georgetown basketball during the heyday of john Thompson, whose basketball program and the people he recruited certainly gave the lie to Georgetown’s claim to academic excellence.

The author’s mom is a perfect example of our (and I plead guilty to it myself) willingness, because of our love of sport, to close our eyes to the evils that we know are taking place right in front of us in the places we love.

*********** I’ve become a BIG fan of Michigan’s Hillsdale College,  a private college that’s so dedicated to its independence that it doesn’t take a nickel of federal funding - and that includes student loans and Pell grants to its students.  If Hillsdale wants to add a men’s sport, it can.  If Hillsdale wants to drop a women’s sport, it can. And that’s that.  No Title IX at Hillsdale. 

Here’s the Hillsdale Mission Statement:
Hillsdale College is an independent institution of higher learning founded in 1844 by men and women “grateful to God for the inestimable blessings” resulting from civil and religious liberty and “believing that the diffusion of learning is essential to the perpetuity of these blessings.” It pursues the stated object of the founders: “to furnish all persons who wish, irrespective of nation, color, or sex, a literary, scientific, [and] theological education” outstanding among American colleges “and to combine with this such moral and social instruction as will best develop the minds and improve the hearts of its pupils.” As a nonsectarian Christian institution, Hillsdale College maintains “by precept and example” the immemorial teachings and practices of the Christian faith.

The College also considers itself a trustee of our Western philosophical and theological inheritance tracing to Athens and Jerusalem, a heritage finding its clearest expression in the American experiment of self-government under law.

By training the young in the liberal arts, Hillsdale College prepares students to become leaders worthy of that legacy. By encouraging the scholarship of its faculty, it contributes to the preservation of that legacy for future generations. By publicly defending that legacy, it enlists the aid of other friends of free civilization and thus secures the conditions of its own survival and independence.
And if you need any further evidence of how Hillsdale diverges from the vast majority of today’s left-wing-oriented colleges, the answer is right on their home page:
The College values the merit of each unique individual, rather than succumbing to the dehumanizing, discriminatory trend of so-called “social justice” and “multicultural diversity,” which judges individuals not as individuals, but as members of a group and which pits one group against other competing groups in divisive power struggles.
Hillsdale sends out a great monthly publication called “Imprimis,” with intelligent essays and speeches by prominent conservative individuals.  You can get “Imprimis” by writing to Hillsdale at imprimis@hillsdale.edu and letting them know you’d like it sent to you. It’s free, but I won’t kid you - they will ask for donations.  After all, if a school’s going to turn down all that “free” federal money, they’ve got to get the funds somewhere, and lots of Hillsdale’s funding comes from people like me, people who never went there but support its mission.

I listened in awe last Sunday to Hillsdale’s president, Dr. Larry Arnn, when he appeared  on Mark Levin’s show on Fox News and talked in depth about the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and their interrelation.

My friend Mike Lude, a Hillsdale grad who knows him well, calls Dr. Arnn “scary smart.”

Mike is a major reason why I care about Hillsdale.  Mike is one of the great people I’ve been privileged to know.

Mike entered Hillsdale right out of high school, and after service as a Marine officer in World War II interrupted things, he returned for his senior year to find that Hillsdale had a new football coach.  It was a guy named Dave Nelson, who had played at Michigan under the great Fritz Crisler, and had played in the same backfield there as All-Americans Tom Harmon and Forest Evashevski.  After Mike’s graduation - and his marriage to Rena Pifer, a Hillsdale native and Hillsdale grad - Nelson, also the AD, offered him a job. 

What a job it was! Offensive and defensive line coach, trainer, director of intramurals, physical education instructor and, to keep him busy in the spring,  head baseball coach. For $2400.  As Mike wrote in his memoirs, “Walking the Line,” “that’s for a year, not a month.”

Thus would begin a lifelong relationship and friendship between Dave Nelson and Mike Lude that would take them next to the University of Maine and then to the University of Delaware, and would be highlighted by their co-invention of what came to be called the Delaware Wing T (actually, they originally called it the “Winged T”).

Mike went on to become head coach at Colorado State, then Athletics Director of Kent State, and Washington, and at Auburn. Now in his 90s, he’s still active in NACDA - the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. 

And it all started at Hillsdale.

*********** Fort Vancouver High School, in Vancouver, Washington, was once an excellent public high school. 

Our four kids graduated from there, and my wife and I - and our kids - were pleased with their overall experience.  They had good teachers, they had decent (I hesitate to say “good”) coaches, and they ran around with good kids who, like them, went on to good colleges and now are well along in their lives as good, productive citizens.

Our four kids all went to what you’d call prestigious colleges. For people like us who couldn’t afford to live in a wealthy neighborhood and definitely couldn’t have afforded private school tuition, we’ll always be grateful to “Fort,” as it’s called locally.

But things have changed dramatically.  Fort’s enrollment is still around 1,000 or so, but its demographics have totally flipped.  From what it once was - a middle-class enclave of intact families - it’s devolved into the Ellis Island of Southwest Washington.  What does Vancouver, with four high schools, do when a kid arrives in the district from some exotic place , speaking a language that no one else has even heard of, (much less understands)?  Why, send him to Fort.

Fort’s sports teams, once area powerhouses, do about as well as you might expect when you realize that Fort is now a United Nations, and out of those 1,000-some kids who attend, maybe 300 have had prior exposure to American sports. Unfortunately,  the state association makes no allowance for that, so Fort competes against schools its size, but their demographics are more in line with the Fort Vancouver that once was.

The results haven’t been pretty. In football, Fort was winless last year. In the last 10 years, they’ve won a total of 12 games.

I know one of the coaches who endured through part of that period.  He’s a heck of coach. I’ve coached against him and I know what kind of a team he can put on the field if he has any kind of talent and any kind of support.  He just couldn’t get it done there, and after he was let go he told me some disturbing things about the administration’s interference in his attempts to hold his players accountable. Like so many of today’s gutless administrators, they have nightmares about coaches kicking bad actors off their teams.  When you start with little talent, and then you do away with discipline, you’ve got the makings of an ugly situation for a coach.

The most recent coach lasted one season.  His name was Steve Broussard. You may recognize the name - a running back, he played at Washington State and then spent nine years in the NFL, with the Falcons, Bengals and Seahawks. He’s been a lot of places as a coach, and it took him only one year to decide that Fort wasn’t the place for him.  After an 0-9 season, he resigned, citing “health issues.” But a couple of months later, his health miraculously restored, he took another coaching job in Southern California.

Which all brings me to the latest chapter in the saga. The headlines in our local paper Wednesday excitedly announced, “Ex-NFL Quarterback Neil Lomax to Coach Fort Vancouver.”

Yes, that Neil Lomax.  Big star at Portland State, played nine years in the NFL with the Cardinals.

In recent years, he’s been a high school assistant coach at a number of schools in Oregon.  In his most notable stay, he assisted at Portland’s Roosevelt High, a school not unlike Fort Vancouver in the makeup of its student body. 

I’m sure he was a huge help to the head coach, an idealistic young guy.  And it appears, understandably,  that he’s had some sort of connection with Nike, because that worldwide sports apparel giant bestowed all sorts of largess on the Roosevelt program, including a new artificial turf field.  Starting at about the same point as Fort Vancouver’s at now, Roosevelt did become competitive for a couple of years.  Give him that.

But the key thing is that he wasn’t the head coach.  He never has been a head coach.  And I’m here to tell you that after spending the past several years as an assistant, there’s nothing better than being able to just coach, while someone else  is the head coach and handles all the issues, from ineligibility to drugs to  inattendance to homelessness, to run-ins with unsympathetic teachers or administrators, to confrontations with disaffected parents and (occasionally drunk) community members.  (And that’s when you’re winning!)

So far, he’s said that  Job One is not about winning.  It’s about academics, changing lives, blah, blah, blah.  “They need me there,” he told the Vancouver Columbian, “And I need that type of school to remind me why I coach football.”

I’m waiting for how long it takes for him to discover that there’s an awful lot of kids who might want to change their lives but won’t pay the price to make it happen, and, even more discouraging, there are just as many who don’t want to change their lives.

And, of course, we live in an America in which, no matter how well you treat youngsters and how good a job you do of directing their lives, people - including  many of those very youngsters whose lives you've been touching - eventually get tired of losing.  Americans want to win.  The Law of the Jungle applies as much at New Mexico State as it does at Alabama.

Once Coach Lomax finds out that there’s no longer a head coach to do all the heavy lifting - that he’s now the head coach, and he has to do all the sh— jobs himself - it’s going to be interesting to see how long he can take it before, as with Steve Broussard, “health issues” ensue.

http://portlandtribune.com/pt/12-sports/390105-281581-former-nfl-qb-lomax-takes-prep-coaching-reins

*********** By Jason Gay in the Wall Street Journal…

(And please—please—remember that when UMBC says ‘Retrievers,’ they’re talking about a proper Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and not those plebeian goldens and labs that are nice to throw a tennis ball to, but not, you know, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, the state dog of Maryland. My Maryland in-laws are very sensitive about this point—it’s almost worse than not having Old Bay in the cupboard. I said almost.)

***********  A sure sign that certain college football programs have way more money than they know what to do with is the proliferation of “analysts” on their staffs.

Analysts are coaches who aren't permitted to coach. In this day of “big data,” you just can’t have enough people analyzing all the reports that computers can generate.

Analysts can analyze video, they can analyze practices, they can attend meetings and participate in them, and they can sit up in the press box on game days and “analyze.”  Hell, the right “analyst” could even call plays.

An analyst just can’t “coach on the field.”  He can’t do that, because that would make  him a “coach,” not an analyst, and while the NCAA doesn’t give a sh— how many analysts a program has, it does place limits on the number of “coaches” it can have.

These analysts are not necessarily beginners, either.  Some of them are highly respected former head coaches who are temporarily “between positions.”

One such is Butch Jones, fired at the end of this past season after five years at Tennessee.  Nick Saban has hired Coach Jones as an “intern,” uh, “analyst,” uh, whatever.

Said Saban,  “He can't coach on the field. He can work with us off the field. And today was actually the first time he was cleared by the NCAA. We have these rules and I don't even know what they're called, like we can't hire high school coaches. We can't hire people that have recruited other players that we're recruiting and all that. You have to go through a process with the NCAA, and that finally got completed today."

It’s certainly a good deal for Alabama because Jones is a bright guy who can offer the program a lot of intelligence.  It’s a great deal for Coach Jones because it keeps him in the game, ready to step in should an attractive head coaching position arise.  Not only that, but when he does apply, he’ll do so not as a failed head coach at Tennessee but as a valued member of the staff at highly-rated Alabama.

But - call me suspicious -  it could be a bad deal for Tennessee.  That’s because when a coach is given a severance package, it’s usually with the understanding that any pay he receives from a new coaching position will be deducted from that package.  But, uh, this isn’t a “coaching position,” is it? Hmmm.

So it looks like you could be stuck for the whole deal, Tennessee. And it looks like Coach Jones could be double-dipping.

https://www.si.com/college-football/2018/03/20/former-vols-coach-butch-jones-alabama-intern

*********** One top government official is fired for “lack of candor.”  Another is accused of “inconsistencies during testimony.”

WTF ever happened to the word “LYING?”

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

I'm with you regarding the sham that basketball has become.  When the AAU allowed the commercial promotion of the sport to increase its own gain the game as we once knew it became the circus we now see today, including the once proud bastion of college basketball Duke University.  I used to enjoy watching college basketball, especially in March.  Today, other than the monumental upset UMBC pulled off, I can't even begin to tell you what teams are in what brackets, and which teams are favored.  Frankly, I haven't watched any of the games, but have caught a few highlights.  Does anyone pass the ball 10 times before shooting it anymore??

Love that picture you put out there.  Nice shorts!  Were they the now infamous Bike shorts we all used to wear back then?

I recently read that Portland Madison is looking for a head football coach.  Wasn't that the school where you served as the OC?  I still have a DVD of the team's highlights.  You guys had some talent!

QUIZ:  That paisano is Ray Malavasi.  

Enjoy your week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

I still have the shorts but they are, uh, a bit TIGHT.  Yes, Madison is open.  And I did coach there, two years as an assistant under Tracy Jackson and one year as HC. The highlight was from 2004, my second year there. We did a lot of stuff because we did have some very good kids. We didn’t have very many of them, though, so the critical thing, I think, is that we managed to get every kid into the perfect position for him and for us.

*********** Jeff Rohrer was a Yalie who made it to the NFL.  A number two draft choice, he played seven years with the Cowboys.

Now, he’s partner in a Los Angeles company that produces commercials, and he’s quite an accomplished artist. Read about the 500 Club:
The 500 Club. Jeffrey Rohrer is a painter on a mission to release 500 Portraits of icons such as JFK, Ted Williams, Tom Landry and even the amazing Donald Trump. Jeff paints fast...like real fast. He used to actually be fast on his feet when he played for the Dallas Cowboys and Yale Football Teams as a nasty Linebacker but his body is somewhat broken now as he awaits his dark days as a drivelling idiot. Jeff generates 50 paintings a year. Most of the canvasses are devoted to portraits but sometimes Jeff strays into other weird stuff like florals next to candelabras at night or guns but the 500 Club is all about the Portrait world. Speaking of night that is when Jeff paints. Jeff likes to paint while the rest of the world sleeps. Like the Werewolf he is, Jeff transforms when he paints at night and becomes a creature in tune with the other side. When the sun comes up Jeff is covered in oil paint stinking of fine wine only to wake and discover a work of art nailed to the wall of his studio with his name on it. Hopefully you will enjoy this art of a legitimate idiot savant . The 500 Club are only Portraits of people Jeff wants artists and historians to talk about hundreds of years from now...like who is this person and why would someone want to paint them. History past has given us paintings of royalty like kings and queens and of course the religoius work. Jeffrey paints all kinds of people...kind of using one test as to why the subject is being included to the club...would this person be interesting to meet at Coffee Shop for a beverage and of course what kind of beverage would that person order? Stay tuned for further additions to the 500 Club.

Jeff Rohrer art

(I would love to have one, but shuddet to think of the price. I have a feeling that bottom right - “Man” - is Ernie Stautner, Cowboys’ defensive coordinator when Rohrer played.)

https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/jeffrey-rohrer.html

*********** A great video by movie producers the Erwin Brothers, explains the origin of the B-29 in their logo…

http://erwinbrothers.com/legacy/

*********** Former NBA great Ray Allen was profiled in a recent Wall Street Journal article in which he explains how people get so caught up in identity politics that they fail to understand his interest in the Holocaust: “Some people didn’t like the fact that I was going to Poland to raise awareness for the issues that happened there and not using that time and energy to support people in the black community.   I didn’t go to Poland as a black person, a white person, a Christian person or a Jewish person.  I went as a human being.”

*********** HERE'S ANOTHER CLIP FROM THE UPCOMING NEW EDITION OF MY DOUBLE-WING PLAYBOOK… I APPRECIATE THE INTEREST AND THE PATIENCE OF GUYS WHO ARE WAITING AND ALL I CAN TELL YOU IS THAT AT MY STAGE OF THE GAME THERE ISN’T GOING TO BE A “NEXT” EDITION AFTER THIS ONE, SO BEFORE IT GOES TO PRINT, IT’S GOING TO BE DONE RIGHT. NO MORE DEADLINES FOR ME.  I'M GOING TO APPROACH THIS AS IF I WERE AN 18TH CENTURY GERMAN GUNSMITH OR SWISS WATCHMAKER OR AN ITALIAN BOOTMAKER -   NOT THAT I'M THAT SKILLED, BUT IF IT TAKES ME UNTIL JULY TO BE  SATISFIED THAT IT'S THE BEST I CAN PUT OUT, THEN THAT’S THE WAY IT'LL HAVE TO BE…

WINDOW ART

*********** In the March 13 Wall Street Journal, a writer named Abigail Shrier wrote about the need for today’s kids to be exposed to “Dad-style parenting,” represented by two simple commands - “Knock it off!” and “Shake it off!”

I don’t know whether anyone even uses either term any more, but I would say that if you’re north of 50 years old, you’ve been told at least once to “Knock it off!” - stop doing something that bothers a person with power over you (such as a father).  It always worked because the fact that there will be consequences if you don’t is understood.

Today, she argues, there’s way too much, “That’s it! No More!”  and then, when it happens again, “I mean it! Once more and you’re going to your room!”  “Okay then  twice more.”

I well remember the time I sat in an airport while a little kid nearby acted like a little sh—. His mother clearly had never disciplined him but I suppose because they were out in public she felt she had to put on an act to fool us into thinking she was in charge, so she told him  that he’d better stop whatever he was doing before she counted to three. She counted “ONE…” and nothing happened.  She counted “TWO…” and still nothing.  And then she counted “TWO AND A HALF…”

A real dad would never have let it get past “ONE.” In fact, there would never have been a count.

One simple “Knock it off!” would have done the job.

“Shake it off?” Writes Ms. Shrier, that “conveyed a dad-style certainty that children could survive minor injuries.  Not every scratch called for a stretcher.  Children should learn to overcome, not to exaggerate, their pain. If an injury is unserious, a child should rise up to the occasion and play on.”

I well remember the first time I ever heard it.

I was in seventh grade and it was my second or third week at my new school, Germantown Academy.  “GA” was a K-12 school, and GA was where I first encountered male teachers.

On that particular day, we were out on the field for PE, and we were playing touch football.

Off to the side watching us stood our PE teacher, Mr. McCloskey, and the head football coach, Mr. Lawless, two hard-nosed Irishmen who’d served in the Marines in World War II and then had been football teammates at Penn. Mr. McCloskey - Jack McCloskey - was the head basketball coach. (He’d only last one year at GA before moving on, to a career that would take him to Penn, to Wake Forest, to the Portland Trail Blazers to the Detroit Pistons, where as GM he assembled the “Bad Boys” and hired the great Chuck Daly.)  Mr. Lawless - Eddie Lawless - would stay at GA long enough to be my head coach.

In this particular game of touch, I collided with somebody head-on and it HURT.  My head ached. I may have been a little dizzy.  I can’t remember.  (Does that mean my memory’s failing me?)  I was starting to kneel down when I heard Mr. Lawless say, “Shake it off, Wyatt!”

Huh?  I had no idea what “shake it off” meant (I quickly learned), but there was the HEAD FOOTBALL COACH of the WHOLE DAMN SCHOOL - and HE KNEW MY NAME!

You bet your life I “shook it off” and got back into that game!

“Knock it off!” and “Shake it off!” - Things that dads used to say.

Nowadays, other than coaches, who tells boys either one?

*********** Richard Sherman, cut loose by the Seahawks, sounded quite pleased with the new deal he signed with the 49ers. And with the job his agent did.

What’s interesting is that he was his own agent.  He did all the work.

Will more players follow his lead, doing away with some of the incestuous stuff that has to be taking place when the same agent represents a player, and also his coach, and also other players competing for the same position?  Will more players realize that they can save the money that they’re paying to agents? Will this protect them from the shysters who mishandle their money?

Maybe.

But based on the things we read about the spendthrift ways of semi-literate young guys with way more money than they ever dreamed of having, accompanied as they are by the leeches that make up their entourages and the women who hope to entrap them,  you have to wonder how many more pro athletes will quickly go from millionaire to dead broke without the discipline imposed by an agent/financial advisor.

*********** Not to beat Bobby Dodd to death, but I can’t get enough of the guy, and you might enjoy this talk he gave, years after he’d retired…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xpt85vdBB0E

*********** John Vermillion, of St. Petersburg, Florida had to remind me that while I talked about how much I liked Duke, I’d completely forgotten the close-to-100 left-wing louts on the Duke faculty who bought a full-page ad in the school paper attacking the members of the lacrosse team  before anything had ever been proved, and well before it was eventually proved  that the boys were being railroaded by a dishonest DA named Mike Nifong who was running for reelection and figured that sending those rich white boys to jail would help him  in the black community.

Nifong at least was punished. He was removed from his job, spent time (okay, a day) in jail, was disbarred, and sued into bankruptcy by the familes of the young men whose lived he'd tried to ruin.

But not a damn thing happened to those turds on the faculty. Isn't tenure wonderful?

*********** I had Organic Chem and Physics....good memories brought back.....for some reason we took a “team” picture in Organic....in it were 6 Doctors,5 Dentists and 1 Biology/Health/PE teacher....Please bring back those Bike coaching shorts!

Kevin McCullough
Lakeville, Indiana


*********** QUIZ ANSWER:  When Ray Malavasi finally got an NFL head coaching job, he had coached for 24 years in nine different places.

He was born in Passaic, New Jersey and raised in Clifton, New Jersey.   It’s safe to say his lineage was Italian: his name has to be a pro football record: Raymond Giuseppe Giovanni Baptiste Malavasi.

As a lineman, he lettered on Army’s Number 2-ranked 1950 team, but was dismissed from the Academy, one of 37  Army football players expelled as a result of the so-called “cribbing scandal.” 

He enrolled at Mississippi State, where former Army assistant coach Murray Warmath had become the head coach, and coached the freshman team there while earning a degree in civil engineering.

After graduation, he served as an Army officer and coached service ball (it was very big at that time). After the Army he coached in college, at Minnesota (where Warmath had moved), Memphis State and Wake Forest, before being hired as defensive line coach of the Denver Broncos of the AFL.

He served as interim head coach of the Broncos for part of one season, then was hired as head coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, where he stayed for two seasons.

He coached defense with the Bills and Raiders before being hired by Chuck Knox to be defensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Rams.  After five years, when Knox moved on to Buffalo, he thought he had a decent shot at the head coaching job.

Rams’ owner Carroll Rosenbloom had other ideas, and hired George Allen instead.  Malavasi agreed to stay on as DC. Allen lasted exactly two weeks before it became obvious that things weren’t working, and now Rosenbloom did the smart thing and hired Malavasi.

He lasted five years as head coach of the Rams, and made the playoffs his first three seasons.  In his second season, he made it all the way to the Super Bowl, where the Rams lost in the fourth quarter to the Steelers, 31-19.  After two straight losing seasons, he was fired.  His overall record in Los Angeles was 44-41.

He coached briefly in the USFL after that.  In 1987, Ray Malavasi died of a massive heart attack.  He was just 57.

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


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING RAY MALAVASI

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH -LAKEVILLE, INDIANA (Good coach....used Vince Ferragamo to get a lead in the Super Bowl.)
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
MIKE FORISTIERE - MATTAWA, WASHINGTON
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON


*********** QUIZ - Things seldom work out well when you succeed a legend, but this coach did just that, and he did so rather successfully.

He succeeded the great Bob Zuppke, whom he had played for and then assisted. Zuppke coached at the same school for 29 years, and this coach stayed there for 18.

In the more than 70 years since the Big Ten started playing in the Rose Bowl, his school has been to the Rose Bowl just five times.  He coached in two of them - and won them both.

HIs 1946 team went 8-2 and won the Big Ten title.  It was the first Big Ten (Actually, then, it was still the Big Nine) team to play in the Rose Bowl, and behind the running of Buddy Young and Julie Rykovitch, it defeated UCLA, 45-13.  Big Nine/Big Ten teams would go on to win the next six Rose Bowls in a row.

His 1951 team finished fourth in the nation. It won the Big Ten (Michigan State having been added the year before) championship and went undefeated, with only a scoreless tie with Ohio State marring its record.  And in the Rose Bowl, it trounced Stanford, 40-7.

In 1953, with two sensational sophomore running backs, J.C. Caroline and Mickey Bates, his team tied for the Big Ten championship with Michigan State, but on the basis of who had gone most recently, they lost out to the  Spartans for the Rose Bowl spot.

In 18 years, his overall record was 83–73-11. Things have not been all that good for the school's  football fortunes since he left.

As an example: Combined, he and his processor, Bob Zuppke, spent 47 years at the school.  In the 47 years following his retirement, the school went through NINE different coaches.



american flagTUESDAY,  MARCH 20,  2018 - “All the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than a single lovely action.” James Russell Lowell

*********** I hate pro sports and what they’ve done to our culture.  For me, "pro sports" now includes college basketball, which explains why I haven’t been paying much attention to this year’s March Madness.

A huge investigative article in Sunday’s Portland Oregonian shows how sick, sick, sick is the incestuous  relationship between shoe companies and youth basketball and - there’s no way around it - college basketball.

Why a Portland newspaper?  Well, Portland is Command Central in the shoe wars.  Nike’s world headquarters is in suburban Beaverton, and Adidas’ USA headquarters is in North Portland.

Those
poor college kids who ought to be paid?  Save your breath.  Some of them have been paid to play basketball since they were in middle school.  Many of their youth team coaches have been paid far better than any high school coaches.  Follow the money back to the shoe companies.

The mere fact that a 6-11 basketball prodigy named  Marvin Bagley III is a “student” at Duke is enough to turn me against college basketball.  Duke’s admissions standards for ordinary, non-basketball-playing  applicants for admission are so high that they routinely screen out hundreds of valedictorians, National Honor Society members  and kids with SAT scores north of the 95th percentile.  But somehow, Mr. Bagley, who attended three different high schools and didn’t actually “graduate” until this past September, just about the time Duke’s school year started, was whisked right up to the front of the line, cutting in ahead of dozens of academically gifted kids on the wait list. (Did I say he was 6-11?)

In the process of moving his talented son around from team to team and  high school to high school, Marvin Bagley, Jr. - the player’s father - has enriched himself handsomely thanks to Nike’s “support” of his youth team, and he now lives in a posh gated community outside Los Angeles. Not too bad for a guy whose “job” has consisted of coaching his kid’s junior team.

(Full disclosure: my daughter and son-in-law are Duke grads.  They love their school, and they support it. But none of their three sons, all good students who wound up going to excellent colleges, was accepted by Duke.)

Mr. Bagley's time at Duke is nearing an end.  He's a one-and done. Once basketball season is over, I rather doubt that he'll continue attending those organic chemistry or physics classes.  No, having spent most of his seven months on a college campus playing basketball, he'll be off to the NBA.

And Duke? They'll crawl back  down in the mud that recruiting has become and resume wrestling with the rest of the pigs.

I still like Duke and I still like Coach K, but I’ll never again be taken in by Duke’s claims that it’s special - that somehow it’s able to play big-time basketball and still maintain its high academic standards.

In reality, it’s a first-rate university that sponsors a semi-pro basketball team.

http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/page/the_loyalty_game.html

***********  I officially resigned today from Hoosic Valley. I let the kids know that I was not coming back and I appreciated everyone's hard work and dedication through the years it was a wonderful experience it really feels good and feels like Vindication when you can stop coaching somewhere on your own terms I would say 90% of My Success as a coach and attaining 100 Varsity wins could not have been accomplished without your system and your guidance Through The Years thank you for being a mentor to me and a great person.

Pete Porcelli
Watervliet, New York

*********** President Trump didn’t give people a lot of time to comment on the Rex Tillerson firing before moving on to the next news-making event, but I can’t let it go without a few more words on the subject of staff loyalty.

I’ve heard a few people saying that Mr. Trump insists on being surrounded by yes men.

While I can’t comment intelligently on that point, I do know that when an underling doesn’t disagree openly with the boss, it doesn’t make him a yes man.  It makes him a loyal subordinate.

What takes place behind closed doors, out of earshot of the public, is where you find out who’s a yes man and who isn’t.

It’s in those closed-door meetings that a good leader encourages - and listens to - opposing arguments.  And it’s where loyal employees make those arguments, while the unctuous yes men provide  fawning support of his every idea.

And then, when the meeting’s over and the decision’s been made, the argument is at an end.  There can’t be any further opposition. 

A football team and the need for the coaching staff to show a united face to the team is a perfect example of this.  The very idea of an assistant coach openly disagreeing with a decision by his head coach is absolutely unthinkable in the profession.  He’s the head coach, and we support him.  So why should things be any different at the level of the national government?

I’m not a veteran, but thanks to my affiliation with the Black Lion Award, I’ve been exposed to a lot of the thinking of the US Army, and one thing I’ve learned - and put to good use as an assistant coach - is that it’s my duty to make the head coach know what my thinking is, even when it means disagreeing with him.

But here’s the point so many ego-driven assistants can’t seem to grasp - once the boss has made his decision and we leave that room, whether I like it or not, it’s MY decision, too.

*********** AN EXCERPT FROM MY UPCOMING DOUBLE WING PLAYBOOK…

teaching toss


*********** Central Florida may have been left out of The Playoff, but the people at UCF say that the unbeaten season and the recognition it brought meant an extra $200 million to the school.

http://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/22797498/university-central-florida-says-unbeaten-season-was-worth-more-200-million

*********** By now the UMBC (University of Maryland Baltimore County) dream is over, but unless you had UVa in your bracket, it was fun while it lasted.

As for that nickname - The Retrievers… The state dog of Maryland is the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, a wonderful dog that derives from a couple of Newfies (Newfoundlands) that survived a shipwreck off the Maryland coast and were bred with local hunting dogs.

We’ve had eight dogs in our married life - two Weimaraners, two Golden Retrievers, two Cairn Terriers, a Carolina Dog and a Chesapeake Bay Retriever.  We haven’t ever had a bad one, and the Chesapeake - which we got when we lived in Maryland - was among the best.   Like Newfies, Chesapeakes love to swim, and there’s no water too cold for them.

*********** "Unlike art or music or architecture, being shocking or “transgressive” in sports is always a sideshow, not the show itself. Yes, Dennis Rodman gussied himself up to look like a cross-dressing assassin in a bad Blade Runner rip-off. But if he didn’t get 20 rebounds a game (or whatever the stat is), people wouldn’t care whether he’s edgy or radical, they’d just think he’s an idiot with a pierced nose and improbable hair color. I remember in the 1980s reading stuff about how Chicago Bears QB Jim McMahon was some radical new kind of rock-and-roll quarterback. Whatever. If he didn’t score touchdowns, no one would care how radical he is.

"There are a lot of similarities between sport and various art forms. They both involve personal excellence, performing for an audience, etc. But one thing sports has that most art forms don’t: defined rules. And with those rules come defined metrics of success.

"This takes a lot of power away from the critics of the sports world, a.k.a. sports writers. They can celebrate this guy’s style over that guy’s. They can say so-and-so hasn’t gotten his fair chance. But they can’t overrule the authority of the scoreboard. There’s an objective authority that completely trumps their subjective authority – or almost completely. Every now and then a sportswriter can make the case that this or that boxer was “robbed” by the judges or that the umps or refs blew it. But that’s small-bore stuff. In the big picture, the critics don’t get to choose the winners, they only get to write about them."

Jonah Goldberg

*********** I was recently hired as HC of the Cruziero Imperadores in Juiz de Fpra/ Belo Horozonte Brazil and yes I am running the DW!
This is the Brazil pro league and looking at their films and vids, they have never seen a WingT based offense should be fun!

Joe Daniels
Sacramento, California

Football really seems to be growing in Brazil.  I’ve seen some video and they look halfway decent.

It’s a big country and they’ve got some good athletes that I’ve seen play soccer and basketball so there’s plenty of room for football to grow



***********
Central Catholic 1979 Staff
The photo above was sent to me recently by Tom Sunseri, a fellow coach on the 1979 Portland Central Catholic coaching staff.  Great group of guys.  It was my first experience as an assistant coach, and head coach Steve Stanich, at left in the back row, was a really good coach to work with.  Unfortunately for us, the best player in the program was a freshman named Tony Cherico -  and it was doubly unfortunate when his dad’s job transferred him to Kansas City.  Tony wound up going to high school in Olathe, Kansas, then went to Arkansas, where he was an All-American nose guard in 1987.

https://www.arkansasfight.com/2010/8/25/1649955/q-a-tony-cherico-part-1

*********** I came across a series of videos about/by Bobby Dodd, great coach at Georgia Tech.  This first one starts out as a look back by his daughter, a rather personal look at her dad; but it ends up with Coach Dodd, a very good college punter himself at Tennessee, giving some great tips on the kicking game for which he and Georgia Tech were famous.

The film (which is what it was) was way ahead of its time - it was probably shot some time in the 50's or 60's, and Georgia Tech managed to get Coca-Cola (headquartered in Atlanta) to put up some money for it. To he’p pay them back, there’s a shot of the Georgia Tech team taking a Coke break at practice.

“That hot action calls for ice-cold Coca Cola!” Coach Dodd tells us, going on to say that for several years now, they’ve served their players Coke after practices and at half time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foo2_fkksJg&t=3s

The 1952 Georgia Tech team ranks among the greatest teams of all time.  It certainly was one of the best coached, with head coach Bobby Dodd, offensive coach (before the term “coordinator” found its way into football) Frank Broyles and defensive coach Ray Graves. Broyles went on to become a legend as head coach at Arkansas; Graves, who became head coach at Florida, is considered by many to be the inventor of the 5-2 Monster defense.

If you like Belly-T football, you’ll enjoy this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iP3tqpmcQ74

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

Last I checked if I didn't agree with my boss on a seemingly unimportant subject we would agree to disagree.  But I always came out of those meetings knowing he was still my boss.  If I disagreed with him on many more serious issues I wouldn't be attending any more meetings.

Many people don't realize that Tom Benson spent many years building his empire in San Antonio (car dealerships and banking).  A devout Catholic and eventual philanthropist, there are three Catholic schools in SA that bear he and his wife Gayle's names.  The University of the Incarnate Word's football stadium and strength training facility is named after the Bensons; Central Catholic HS has an endowment named after a son who was a CC graduate, and died at 37 of cancer; and he provided St. Anthony Catholic HS a state of the art library/media center.

His philanthropy didn't end there.  He also provided Tulane University the funding to build (re-build?) their own football stadium on their campus.

His popularity in New Orleans faded after Hurricane Katrina when he threatened to move the Saints when the city of New Orleans wouldn't negotiate to build a new stadium to replace the Superdome.

As I mentioned in my previous email regarding Title IX.  It's one thing for Title IX proponents to insist on providing equal opportunity.  However it is completely another thing when the opportunity provided turns out to be a financial albatross.

Just the mere mention of a 3.5 GPA having a wide ranging variance between schools should be enough of a factor to prove that standardized tests would be a better gauge of a student's academic knowledge.  I see that first-hand at my school.  Students transferring in from public schools with 3.5 GPA's struggle to achieve the same GPA in our school.  One student transferring out told me, "why stay here and struggle to get C's when I can go back to my old school and get A's and B's?"  Probably says more about the kid's character (and mom's and dad's) than anything else. That's another story for another time.

Have a great weekend, and Slainte Mhaith!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

I especially appreciate the information on Mr. Benson. Out of town newspapers didn’t say much more than “Benson, Owner of Saints and Pelicans, Dies.”


*********** QUIZ  ANSWER-  Milt Morin was a native of Fitchburg, Massachusetts and played college ball at UMass, where in addition to football he was New England heavyweight wrestling champion and played on the varsity lacrosse team.  He was a three-time Little All-American, playing both ways and, in his senior year, doing the placekicking.

He was a first-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns, the first player from UMass ever to be a Number One draft choice,  and in ten seasons with the Browns he played in 129 games and made it to three Pro Bowls.

At 6-4, 240 he was that rare tight end who could block like an offensive lineman, but also catch like a wide receiver.  In his career he caught 271 passes for 4208 yards and 16 touchdowns, and was the Browns’ leading receiver in 1970 and 1973.

He died exactly a week before his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Recalled former teammate Paul Wiggin, who would go on to the head coach of Stanford and of the Kansas City Chiefs, "He was a complete player, a prototype tight end.  Back then, they had 240-pound tight ends who couldn't catch the ball, and 200-pounders who couldn't block. Milt did both."

"He could have played tight end in this era," said Paul Warfield, a teammate with the Browns and later a long-time Browns executive. "He'd be worth his weight in gold because most teams have a tight end who can catch, or a tight end who can block. (He)was such a good blocker, we ran Leroy Kelly's sweeps around his end. He could run precise patterns, and he could blow you off the ball with his blocks."

http://www.cleveland.com/pluto/blog/index.ssf/2010/07/a_wonderful_guy_vintage_clevel.html

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING MILT  MORIN
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
KC SMITH - WALPOLE,  MASSACHUSETTS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
OSSIE OSMONDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
DAVID BUCHANAN - BARRE, MASSACHUSETTS

*********** I love this from Wikipedia:

"After he made the team, team owner Art Modell called him into his office and asked Morin what salary he would have made if he became a school teacher; Morin's major was education. He told Modell that $6,000 was the salary. Modell told him that he would pay Morin $6,000 a year as tight end."

Greg Koenig
Cimarron, Kansas
 
And on Thursday, Kirk Cousins signed a 3-year contract for $28 million - A YEAR!

*********** QUIZ:  When he finally got an NFL head coaching job, he had coached for 24 years in nine different places.

He was born in Passaic, New Jersey and raised in Clifton, New Jersey.   It’s safe to say his lineage was Italian: without giving you his last name,  the rest of his moniker has to be a pro football record: Raymondo Giuseppe Giovanni Baptiste.

As a lineman, he lettered on Army’s Number 2-ranked 1950 team, but in spring 1951 he was dismissed from the Military Academy, one of 37  Army football players expelled as a result of the so-called “cribbing scandal.” 

He enrolled at Mississippi State, where former Army assistant coach Murray Warmath had just become the head coach, and there he coached the freshman team while earning a degree in civil engineering(!)

After graduation, he served as an Army officer and coached service ball (it was very big at that time). After the Army he coached in college, at Minnesota (where Warmath had moved), Memphis State and Wake Forest, before being hired as defensive line coach of the Denver Broncos of the AFL.

He served as interim head coach of the Broncos for part of one season, then was hired as head coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, where he stayed for two seasons.

He coached defense with the Bills and Raiders before being hired by Chuck Knox to be defensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Rams.  After five years as DC, he thought he had a decent shot at the Rams'  head coaching job
when Knox moved on to Buffalo.

Rams’ owner Carroll Rosenbloom had other ideas, and hired George Allen instead.  Our guy agreed to stay on as DC. Allen lasted exactly two weeks before it became obvious that things weren’t working, and now Rosenbloom did the smart thing and hired our guy.

He lasted five years as head coach of the Rams, making the playoffs his first three seasons.  In his second season, he made it all the way to the Super Bowl, where the Rams lost in the fourth quarter to the Steelers, 31-19.  After two straight losing seasons, he was fired.  His overall record in Los Angeles was 44-41.

He coached briefly in the USFL after that.  In 1987, he died of a massive heart attack.  He was just 57.

 


american flagFRIDAY,  MARCH 16,  2018  “Youth may outrun the old, but not outwit.”  Geoffrey Chaucer

*********** There’s a lot of fuss being made over the President’s firing of Rex Tillerson, a Secretary of State who seemed to think it was appropriate for a subordinate to  disagree publicly with the person he answers to.

(So Presidents have some of the same problems football coaches do, eh?)

Knocking heads is always a possibility, of course, when a person such as Mr. Tillerson, a former CEO of a major oil company, comes on board without any recent experience at being on the other end of the chain of command.

In the position of Secretary of State, talented people with big egos are afforded a fair amount of autonomy,  which evidently has led more than one of them to forget sometimes who’s the boss.

Dean Acheson, who served as Secretary of State under Harry Truman, explained -  “The most important aspect of the relationship between the president and the secretary of state is that they both understand who is president.”

*********** Billionaire Warren Buffet has lived in the same house in Omaha since 1958.    No special reason - just typical midwestern practicality: “I’d move if I thought I’d be happier someplace else.” 

*********** Wow.  Being a pro football player is almost as hazardous as being a high school coach…

A list of recent cuts… Tyron Mathieu… Jeremy Maclin… Jordy Nelson… Adrian Peterson… Ndamukong Suh…

*********** Not sure what the problem was, but baseball’s out to fix it anyway…

Next season, when AAA and AA minor-league games go into extra innings, each inning will start with a man on second base.

Maybe they should have done what I used to do when our kids were younger - you get three balls and two strikes.  Talk about speeding up the game.

*********** Tom Benson, long-time owner of the Saints, died Thursday.  He was 90.  He was a native of New Orleans, and he kept the Saints in town when there was a chance someone else could buy them and  move them.  He seemed to me, an outsider, to enjoy his role as owner of the NFL team in a city that loves to party, and he seemed to have more sense than a lot of owners. Thanks to a sizable donation he made, the stadium at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, where the Hall of Fame game is played annually, is named in his honor.

*********** Charlie Wilson, of Crystal River, Florida, started doing research on George Young and it took him to the “Miracle at the Meadowlands,” the name given to the 1978 game in which the Giants led the Eagles, 19-12, and had only to take a knee and go home, but instead chose to hand the ball to Larry Csonka. But it was not just an ordinary dive play - it required the Giants’ QB, Joe Pisarcik, to reverse pivot to hand to Csonka hitting off the left side.  By the time Pisarcik could get around to make the handoff, Csonka was almost into the line.  Pisarcik’s handoff hit Csonka in the back and fell to the ground, where it was scooped up by Eagles’ cornerback Herm Edwards (yes, that Herm Edwards) who ran 26 yards with it for the winning score.

That, many think, was what led Giants’ ownership to improve the entire football operation, which led, on the recommendation of Commissioner Pete Rozelle, to hiring George Young.

But what Charlie Wilson uncovered was really interesting - the story of Bob Gibson.

Bob Gibson was an old World Football League guy - an assistant to John McVay at Memphis in 1974 and head coach at Charlotte in 1975. But in 1978 he was offensive coordinator of the Giants, and he’s the guy who made the fateful call.  It may have hurt the Giants, but it ruined Bob Gibson's life…
Playing their archrival the Philadelphia Eagles, the Giants were leading 17–12 and had possession of the ball with only 30 seconds left. They had only to kneel the ball to end the game, as the Eagles had no timeouts. Gibson ordered Giants quarterback Joe Pisarcik to run play "Brown right, near wing, 65 slant", which called for Pisarcik to hand the ball off to fullback Larry Csonka. The handoff was botched and Eagles cornerback Herman Edwards picked up the loose ball and ran in for the game-winning score.

Gibson's reasoning was governed by what happened a play earlier. Pisarcik had taken a knee, only to be knocked over when the Eagles' Bill Bergey charged into Giants' center Jim Clack. This violated an unwritten rule that defensive players do not rush in a situation when the quarterback kneels down. Gibson didn't want to risk getting Pisarcik injured or expose his players to penalties or fines for fighting. However, he didn't explain this to the players, and it came across as a power trip. Head coach John McVay's headphones weren't working, and he later said that he would have overruled Gibson had he known what was happening.

With angry Giant fans demanding someone be held responsible for the debacle, owner Wellington Mara and operations director Andy Robustelli met and decided Gibson had to go. He was fired the next morning. So great was the stigma of having called the play that he never worked in football at any level again. He refused to speak about the incident up until his death in 2015; when ESPN reached him by phone in 2008, he said, "I haven't talked about the game for 30 years, and I'm not about to start now."

Gibson left New York and opened a bait shop and general store on Florida's Sanibel Island, where he raised cattle on his ranch. While he had stayed in contact with McVay and another member of the 1978 staff, Lindy Infante, few other members of the 1978 Giants ever spoke to him again. Gibson died at age 88 on April 10, 2015.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Gibson_(American_football)

*********** My son, Ed, sent me an interesting comment by Jason Flowers, head women’s basketball coach at Cal State-Northridge, on a major difference in coaching men’s and women’s college basketball.
 
"These young men, who are kids, the first time there's a sign that they could be good, they get all of these people trying to latch on and advise, do this and that. But I don't have to worry about a player coming in here and being one-and-done. … I can focus on four years of development, not just in basketball, but developing these players as young women and being successful in whatever it is they want to do."
Notes Ed, “Might also be a reason why there are so many ‘dynasties’ and so much imbalance in the women’s game. Can’t turn it around with a couple of one and done superstars like the men’s game.”

*********** The March 12-18 issue of Sports Business Journal contained some very interesting facts pertaining to women’s college basketball:

(1) Only two teams - South Carolina and UConn - average more than 10,000 per game

(2) Only ten teams - SC, UConn, Iowa State, Tennessee, Notre Dame, Louisville, Mississippi State, Michigan State, Purdue and Baylor - average more than 6,000

(3) There’s not a team in the Big East (a basketball conference) that averages 2,500 per game

(4) There’s not a team in the Pac-12 that averages 5,000 per game; there’s only one (UConn) in the All-American Athletic Conference

(5) The ACC and Big 12 have only two teams each averaging more than 5,000 per game

(6) The Big Ten has five teams averaging more than 5,000 per game; the SEC has four

(7) USC, Washington State and Clemson all average fewer than 1,000 per game

(8) Six teams in the Big East and five in the American Athletic Conference average fewer than 1,000

(9) A survey of more than 2,000 “senior-level sports industry executives” taken in February asked “When will women’s basketball programs as a whole become a viable revenue contributor to Division I athletic departments?  4 per cent answered “They already are.”  26 per cent answered “More than 10 years.”  A full 45 per cent answered, “Never.”

(10) Time for all those people who over the years have pushed and pushed for Title IX and complained about the lack of attention paid to women’s sports to get their asses into the seats at women’s basketball games.

*********** AN EXCERPT FROM THE DOUBLE WING PLAYBOOK I’VE BEEN WORKING ON-
DRILLING FOR THE SCRAMBLE BLOCK…

scramble drill

*********** For years social justice warriors have been working to discredit the SAT, mainly because it didn’t produce the outcomes they wanted, and stood in the way of “diversity.”

But no matter what the do-gooders say, the SAT works - especially in this time when everybody gets trophies - and A’s.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-truth-about-the-sat-and-act-1520521861?emailToken=64c1dfcda7edcedcaf70d1cb7dbdf8d33OhjDPy49X6%2BM8qvVy2g73SnRZuQVPVIrdEMPdoTSnReExrt%2BcKY9rt9L%2BZfD4FlqxwBU0FrGUxdDN59U4m1og%3D%3D


*********** Good morning Hugh,

Shameful.  It's all I can come up with after reading about the coach who did such a commendable job for 17 years only to be "rewarded" with a pink slip.  Goes the same for the other coach you spoke about.  Someone you and I both know.  His story is even more galling.  In all my years I have never known a more dedicated, hard-working, and giving man.  No matter where he has been his kids and their parents truly believe he made a difference in many of their lives.  After all...isn't that the ultimate goal?  He'll find work again, in a better place, where they will truly appreciate him, and his work.

Funny how those NFL characters always find another team to test the character of the new team.

From the first time I started utilizing your system I've always maintained the integrity of tight splits, aligned off the ball as far as the rules allow, and shuffle pulls through the hole.  Has always worked, and will continue to work when coached correctly.

I call colleges that play football "real" schools.  I call colleges that don't play football "wannabes".  Interesting though how in this age of disparaging the game many smaller liberal arts colleges are either bringing back dormant football programs, or starting football for the first time.  Why?  Improve male enrollment numbers.  Hmmm.  Title IX not working out too well financially??

It's heart wrenching to see and hear about school shootings.  No parent should ever have to suffer the loss of a child, let alone in that manner.  But don't get me started on this orchestrated manipulation of our young people to organize and protest gun laws.  Because that is EXACTLY what it is.  

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** Since being a “survivor” of the Parkland shooting has evidently conferred on certain teenagers the credentials to pontificate to us on the subject of guns,  is it maybe time to come to a decision on what constitutes a “survivor?” 

Is it someone who was actually shot, and didn’t die?  Is it someone who was shot at but the shooter missed?  Is it someone who was in the same room as the shooter?  The same floor?  Same building?  How about the next building over?  Or the same school campus?  Same neighborhood? A student, but home sick that day?  On the phone to someone at the school?

Either way, how does being on the scene qualify anyone as an expert on the prevention of future school shootings?

We've just had an awful incident in Miami, in which people were killed by the collapse of a bridge. I somehow doubt that any of those who actually survive having a bridge fall on their car will be asked for advice on how to build bridges better.

*********** Adam Wesoloski, of Pulaski, Wisconsin, takes pride in being a Yooper - from Michigan’s U.P. (Upper Peninsula).  And he takes pride in his hometown, Menominee, Michigan, so he sent me a link to a great article about one of Menominee’s favorite sons, a Michigan State player from the 1950s whom I remember well - Billy Wells.

http://ehextra.com/Content/SPORTS/Sports-Articles/Article/Menominee-s-renaissance-man/14/37/45833

*********** QUIZ ANSWER: George Young was born and raised in Baltimore.  He played college football at Bucknell, and played briefly for the NFL Dallas Texans.

He was a highly successful high school coach in Baltimore, and taught history and political science, earning a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins.  After 15 years of high school coaching, in 1968 he was hired by the Baltimore Colts, first as a scout, then as offensive line coach, then director of player personnel, then offensive coordinator.

In 1975, he moved to the Dolphins as director of player personnel and pro scouting.

In 1979, on the recommendation of Commissioner Pete Rozelle, he was hired by the New York Giants as Director of Football Operations.

He drafted such standout players as Joe Morris, Phil Simms, Michael Strahan and Lawrence Taylor, and he hired Bill Parcells as head coach.

When he took over, the Giants hadn’t made the playoffs in 15 years, but in his years in New York, they made the playoffs eight times and won two Super Bowls. 

George Young was named NFL Executive of the Year a record five times.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING GEORGE YOUNG -

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
CHARLIE WILSON - CRYSTAL RIVER, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
MATHEW HEDGER - LANGDON, NORTH DAKOTA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
DAVID BUCHANAN - BARRE, MASSACHUSETTS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON

*********** George Young was the guy who was smart enough to hire the Big Tuna. He also drafted a kid that's local to us (Joe Morris and his 3 brothers all starred in football and track at Ayer High School, and a couple still live in the area). Sports Illustrated did a story on the family in the 1980s (while Joe still at Syracuse).

David Buchanan
Barre, Massachusetts

https://www.si.com/vault/1981/08/24/825874/the-fearsome-foursome-the-morris-brothers-of-ayer-mass-are-perhaps-the-most-spectacular-quartet-of-siblings-who-ever-laced-up-football-cleats-and-track-spikes

*********** QUIZ - He was a native of Fitchburg, Massachusetts and played college ball at UMass, where in addition to football he was New England heavyweight wrestling champion and played on the varsity lacrosse team.  He was a three-time Little All-American, playing both ways and, in his senior year, doing the placekicking.

He was a first-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns, the first player from UMass ever to be a Number One draft choice,  and in ten seasons with the Browns he played in 129 games and made it to three Pro Bowls.

At 6-4, 240 he was that rare tight end who could block like an offensive lineman, but also catch like a wide receiver.  In his career he caught 271 passes for 4208 yards and 16 touchdowns, and was the Browns’ leading receiver in 1970 and 1973.

He died exactly a week before his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Recalled former teammate Paul Wiggin, who would go on to be the head coach of Stanford and of the Kansas City Chiefs, "He was a complete player, a prototype tight end.  Back then, they had 240-pound tight ends who couldn't catch the ball, and 200-pounders who couldn't block. (He)  did both."

"He could have played tight end in this era," said Paul Warfield, a teammate with the Browns and later a long-time Browns executive. "He'd be worth his weight in gold because most teams have a tight end who can catch, or a tight end who can block. (He)was such a good blocker, we ran Leroy Kelly's sweeps around his end. He could run precise patterns, and he could blow you off the ball with his blocks."


american flagTUESDAY,  MARCH 13,  2018  “Trump didn’t get where he is by being house trained.”  Mark Steyn

*********** As someone who loves football coaches and deplores the callous way they’re so often treated by supervisors who don’t understand a football coach’s importance in the lives of our boys, this was a bad weekend for me.

On Saturday,  I got this, from a coach whom I first got to know more than 20 years ago, when he was a young line coach.  He subsequently went on to be a successful head coach, but I’ll let him tell it:
Coach, After 17 years as a HC, I finally got fired. I knew it would eventually happen. Average of 7.5 wins a year and 9 region championships,  with many first-evers…..I can take it. Two Board members kin folk will be taking my place!!  Thank you for your help, positive influence, love of the game and most of all for being a part of instilling the right mind set in me. I would have never been a HC if were not for your system. I love you man! Think I may hang up the whistle and raise hogs and calves.... their parents don’t bitch.
Imagine! Guy gives them 17 years, averaging 7.5 wins a season.  In most places, they’d name the stadium after him!

Just think - in his first 17 years at Clemson, Frank Howard had SEVEN losing seasons, and averaged  just FIVE wins per season.  He got to stay for 12 more years. And they named their field for him.

And then on Sunday, I worked with some quarterbacks and receivers from a town four hours to the east of me. The coach and I agreed to meet at a place midway, so we’d each only have to drive two hours.

So right after church he loaded four kids in his rig and met us, two hours later, at a small-town high school field. 

It was a lovely day in a nice little town in gorgeous country, and we had a great workout.

I’d met his boys before so I knew what good kids they were - you can tell a lot about kids and about the program they come from by the way they take instruction and the way they take correction.
The coach is a good friend, so it was a lot of fun for me. 

It was obvious that the kids like and respect their coach.  And when a guy will carve six or seven hours out of his Sunday to take them someplace to get some instruction, it’s obvious that he likes and respects them.  (Not that I didn’t already know that.)

But here’s the amazing thing - HE’S NO LONGER THEIR COACH!

After three years of coaching their team without a teaching job in the high school, at the conclusion of this past season he began to check out some other jobs.  And when the AD  at his school  cautioned him  to  stop looking around and commit to coaching there or else he’d have to open up the coaching job, he said he’d commit to coaching there if they’d give him a job in the high school.  He was refused.  And now their open head coaching job is being advertised.  His kids are furious, but they’re also frustrated because there’s not  a damn thing they or their parents - most of whom, I should add, speak Spanish - can do.

So yes, I had a great time working with those kids.  But as my wife and I drove home I alternated between anger and sadness at the way society’s weaklings, the pussies who have become education administrators,  dismiss the needs of our young men and devalue the work of the coaches who make such a difference in their lives.

They’ll put posters on the school walls telling kids how important they are, and how they can be anything they want to be, blah, blah, blah.  They’ll pump them full of self-esteem garbage and line their shelves with meaningless participation trophies.  But let boys show some stones by actually participating in something manly, and they’ll pull the rug right out from under them and put them back in their places.

America Needs Football!  American Needs Football COACHES!

*********** Years ago, there was  a baseball player named Dusty Rhodes, a southern boy from Alabama whose career was nothing special. 

He had a few things working against him. For one, he loved a good time, and playing in the era when they played games in the daytime, that meant games were over by five o’clock at the latest, leaving a lot of evening for ball players to have a good time. 

Along with that, he was a terrible fielder.

But he could hit, and he knew it, and he wanted to be the guy at the plate when everything was on the line.  In other words, Dusty Rhodes was the consummate pinch-hitter.

Among serious baseball fans, he’s legendary as a major reason why the New York Giants swept the 1954 World Series from the Cleveland Indians, who had won 111 games in the regular season, and had one of the greatest pitching staffs in the history of the game.

In the bottom of the 10th inning of the first game, Giants’ manager Leo Durocher sent Rhodes up to pinch hit for Monte Irvin (a good enough player that he’s now in the Hall of Fame) and Rhodes responded with a game-winning three-run homer off Bob Lemon.

In the series, he was four-for-six with two home runs and seven RBIs.

I once read, possibly in Durocher’s book, “Nice Guys Finish Last,” about how obvious Rhodes made it that he wanted to be “The Guy.”

Durocher said that whenever a situation came up that appeared to call for a pinch-hitter, he’d look down the dugout and it was almost comical how most of the guys would be sitting back against the wall, making sure not to stick out for fear he’d see them.  But clear down at the other end of the dugout, there would be Dusty Rhodes, a couple of bats in his hand, standing up and saying “Ah’m your man, Skip!”

In my early days as a high school coach, I had a kid like that, a player named Tom Hartley.  Hell of an athlete. Big (6-5, 210) with shoulders a yard wide, fast (4.6) , great hands, great in all sports.  Could have played college football or basketball. He wound up being drafted and signing with the White Sox, but that’s another story.

At the end of every football practice, in trying to build teamwork and at the same time teach dealing with pressure, I’d get the players in a single line and then - linemen, backs and ends alike - one at a  time, have the QB throw passes to them.  Once they’d caught 25 in a row, practice was over. That was pressure!  It was a good team-building drill, too - there was a lot of sincere praise for guys who didn’t often get to catch passes, and encouragement when a guy dropped a ball and they’d have to start over.

One day another coach told me to watch Tom Hartley.  As the count would near 20, he would stand off to the side of the line and count people, figuring out where he would have to slip in so he could be the one to make catch number 25.  He managed to do this every day.  We never said anything about, (and nobody else did, either, because they knew that Tom would never drop the pass).

Just a couple of illustrations of the fact that while some people don’t want any part of pressure, others crave it.

The really good ones not only want to be there - they can deliver.


*********** Got this from out of the blue the other day (it’s unedited):
Hello,

I was wondering since im running the pottstownfirebirds.org and making a book about them if you have any memorabilia items of them or stories as well as contAct information of any former firebirds players?
Thanks and let me know
Wow. So professional. I can only imagine how well done the book will be.

The Pottstown (Pennsylvania) Firebirds were a very, very good minor league pro football team in the late 60s and early 70s. Maybe you’ve seen the two documentaries that NFL Films has done on them.

Which raises a couple of questions about this guy’s project:

NFL Films is possibly the best storyteller our game has ever known.  And they’ve told the story twice.

In addition, a writer named  Jay Acton spent a season with the Firebirds, which he turned into a best-selling book, “The Forgettables."

So how many times can/should you basically tell the same story?  How many untold little facts and stories are you going to come across, 50 years later, that ESPN with all its reporting ability, didn’t unearth?

And then, finally,  there does seem to be a bit of an English language deficiency.  I mean, “making” a book?  To me, that sounds more like what the  barber used to do when the phone would ring.


*********** Big news from Seattle!  Big Mouth - sorry, I meant “opinionated and articulate” - Richard Sherman is gone.  So, too,  is Social Justice Warrior (“they held a gun to my head”) Michael Bennett, author of that sure Pultizer Prize winner ,"Things That Make White People Uncomfortable.”  (Good Luck with that one, Eagles.)

Now, all that’s left is Doug Baldwin, that class act who simulated crapping a football in the end zone during the Super Bowl, and Pepsodent Pete Carroll, who on the one yard line in the Super Bowl  thought that a quick slant pass was a better call than giving the ball to the toughest runner in the NFL.

It would almost be enough to make me like the Seahawks again.

Naaah.   Just kidding.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2763153-ousting-of-michael-bennett-richard-sherman-brings-an-end-to-woke-era-in-seattle


*********** After I e-mailed you about 30 minutes ago, I was reading "Coach Wyatt's News Archives" dated October 22, 2010 where a coach asked about cheating his playside lineman up so they get contact faster and quicker.  He also asked about widening the splits some.  You replied that defenses will tackle your pulling lineman; defensive lineman will be more likely to beat offensive lineman to the gap; and then you said something that I honestly have never considered..... you said pulling lineman will have to turn their shoulders more to get past the center.  This is such a great coaching point.  Even though this conversation occurred back in 2010, I assume you still stand firm in your comments.  Re: widening splits..  more vulnerable to blitzes and gap stunts.

Coach-

Haven’t changed in the slightest on splits or the depth of our linemen.  

Turning the shoulders has always been a major concern.

My answer, after years of work on it, has been to teach “pulling” linemen to “shuffle.”

This attachment (below)  is from a page in my upcoming Double Wing playbook.


Shuffle
*********** When/why did otherwise articulate people start to answer every question with the word "So?"

*********** Not saying something isn’t awry in college sports right now, but it seems to be divided into "basketball schools” and “football schools,” just as  in high schools.

For example, of the NCAA Tournament's eight number 1 and 2 seeds, not a one had a football team in the Top 25. One of them - Xavier - doesn’t even play football, and another - Villanova - plays FCS football.

Add in the #3 seeds and you pick up Michigan State, which finished last season ranked 15th, and when you add in the #4 seeds, you get Auburn (#10). But you also pick up Gonzaga and Wichita State, neither of whom play football.

In other words, of the top 16 seeds in the NCAA tournament, there are more schools that don’t play football than there are schools ranked in the Top 25.

*********** Don’t know where OJ’s attorneys have been on this, but if I were his attorney I’d take that story he’s peddling about seeing a knife and then not remembering anything after that except for “blood and stuff around.”, and I’d turn it into the damnedest case of CTE you’ve ever seen.  Of course, in order to prove it conclusively they’d have to kill him. Never mind.

***********  Coach -  BU has the Hockey/Basketball Arena named after Agganis (deservingly so)   but the 2 sports Football & Baseball he played at the School are Gone ( mostly because of that Former Asshole President  Dr. John Silber who was ANTI-Football from the get go and the great Title IX )
 
Gaffney Way where Nickerson Field  ( aka Braves Field ) is on was changed to Agganis Way.  I am NO  Engineering or Architecture expert but for baseball guru's 15 % - 20 % of Braves Field is still standing  The Home Side Bleachers  is the former Right Field grand Stands of Braves  Field and the Boston Braves  Ticket & Team  Office Building  is now home to the BU Police
 
Coach There was another Greek from Lynn that was classmates with Agganis, Lou Tsioropoulos  He did 2 years at Lynn Classical than moved cross town and did 2 year at Lynn English  was an All-American for Adolph Rupp at Kentucky and and played on 2 NBA Title teams with the Boston Celtics  , UCLA and other schools wanted him for Both Football & Basketball any other Area of New England His Legend would have been Bigger but he got over shadowed By Agganis
 
than there was an Albanian who was on the St.George Basketball team with Agganis & Louie T.   Vic Pujo  who was  Harry's  End at Lynn Classical and his Favorite receiver  and was later Captain at Cornell when they upset Michigan in  1951  ?
 
John Muckian 
Ipswich,Massachusetts

Believe it or not, I remember them both, Tsioropoulos because I followed Kentucky - Beard, Groza, etc. - when I was a kid.  And Pujo because Cornell was Penn’s traditional Thanksgiving Day rival, and every Philly kid rooted for Penn.

*********** She was executive editor of the New York Times  and the loyalty inspired by  20 years with the paper compelled her to celebrate her 60th birthday by having the Times' "T" tattooed on her back.

She was fired two months later.

*********** Todd Hollis, of Elmwood, Illinois, sent me this great Lombardi quote from Bill Curry’s book, “Ten Men You Meet in the Huddle.”

“Our system is complete, simple, and comprehensive.  We can attack the whole field.  We have very little trickery.  We don’t really need it.

“We win with execution.  Something works, not because it’s a brilliant piece of strategic or tactical thinking, but because our team has practiced the same plays, the same movements, and the same fundamentals over and over and over again.”

Sounds a lot like the Double Wing (or the Open Wing) doesn’t it?

It’s exactly what I’ve been preaching for more than 20 years, and it’s what I’m stressing in the Double Wing playbook I’m working on (yes, I’m still working on it): If you have the ability to run five basic plays - (1) a power off-tackle, (2) a counter, (3) a pass, (4) a Wedge, and (5) a sweep - you are set.  You can run varieties of those plays, and you can run them from different formations - and you can even add a few other plays (trap, G, bootleg pass) but Lombardi’s point - “we win…because our team has practiced the same plays, the same movements, and the same fundamentals over and over and over again” - holds true for us.

Bill Curry’s “Ten Men” - ten men who through football had a great impact on his life…

Bill Badgett - His high school coach in College Park, Georgia.

Bobby Dodd - HIs college coach at Georgia Tech

Vince Lombardi - Who drafted him with the 20th pick in the 1965 draft (the NFL had 20 rounds then. The Oakland Raiders drafted him with their 23rd pick)

Bart Starr - the Packers’ great quarterback

Willie Davis - A black man who helped Curry, a white rookie from the South, adjust to life on an integrated pro football team.

Ray Nitschke - A mean dude - a real prick, actually - who taught Curry about the Law of the Jungle.  Also about the need to forgive.

Don Shula - His coach at Baltimore after he was traded to the Colts. Shula was hard nosed and he worked his players hard, and stressed the importance of ball security, special teams, and eliminating penalties. Shula and his assistants, Don McCafferty and John Sandusky, convinced him he could be a pro center - and taught him how.

John Unitas: (to all real Colts and Colts fans, he was never “Johnny.” That was always something the out-of-towners, the New York media guys, called him. Being in the locker room with Unitas, writes Curry, “was like being in the phone booth with Clark Kent.”  Great line about Unitas by Colts’ lineman Dan Sullivan after drunken owner Bob Irsay had cold-hearted GM Joe Thomas bench the Greatest QB in the History of the Game (this is my Web site and that’s my opinion): “The only player in professional football history to have his jersey retired - with him still in it!”  Curry does a wonderful job of telling what being a Baltimore Colt was like, at a time when few places before or since ever experienced such mutual love between a team and its fans, and he holds back no punches in describing the horrible way the Irsays jilted those fans.

Bubba Smith: The big defensive linemen whose size and toughness was put to use by Curry’s offensive line coach in preparing Curry for the odd-front defenses then coming into vogue.  The big guy who convinced Curry he could become more flexible by being his stretching partner.

George Plimpton: The Harvard-educated writer who as a sideline wrote of his ventures as a pro football player in “Paper Lion.”  Curry writes of the day in 1971 at Colts’ training camp in Westminster, Maryland, where Plimpton, preparing to write another book about life with the Super Bowl champion Colts, lined up to run in a nutcracker (aka Oklahoma) drill. He was going up against all-pro Ray May, and to put it mildly, May skewered him. (True story.  I was there and saw it.)  Curry and Plimpton wound up collaborating on a book, “One More July.”

I’d forgotten what a great book it was until Coach Hollis reminded me.

Curry especially remembered a Unitas quote..  The year before Unitas  died, Curry asked the QB if he really loved football as much as he always said he did. Unitas said something he'd said years earlier,  when he and Curry first met: “You’re a long time dead, Billy.”

He explained, “I mean, if you find something you love, you better do it, and do it right, because we’re only on this planet a little while.”  Then a short pause. “We’re all gonna die, Billy.  And once you’re gone, you’re gone.”


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

As I look forward in our program I don't see that kid that jumps out as the prototypical quarterback (a thrower).  But, we have a load of runningbacks, so I am going to move a couple of those that I really have a lot of faith in (trust, toughness, brains) to quarterback.  I figure I can develop the ability to throw, right?

I need a little advice.  Having never really used a quarterback as a running threat I'm at a bit of a loss.  But with athletes back there who are good at running the ball it seems logical to use their skills (and create another threat for the defense to account for).  If you had to pick three or four "designed runs" for a quarterback, what would they be?  Your "you better have these plays if you plan on using your quarterback as a runner."

Coach,

I’d ask you to be patient with me on this just a little longer because in the upcoming new playbook there isn’t a single base play - power, counter, wedge, reach sweep, trap, G, X - that doesn’t have at least one QB keep off of it.


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

ANC!  America Needs Coaches!  I will be wearing such a pin around my school.  Apparently those who decide on who teaches around here don't believe that coaches make good teachers.  I could go on but I don't want to start my Friday before spring break on a sour note.

"Fatties?"  Brings me back to the times in a land far, far away where terms such as "fatty", "tubby", "slim", "porky", "mumbles", "squints", "buckwheat", "freckle face", and other such colorful nicknames were not only acceptable, but the norm.

Not sure what's worse.  Dads like that guy you described, or dads who don't have the balls to stand up to their wives who don't want their widdo boys pwaying such a wuff game.

Have no intention of watching that particular show.  It is a "Red Line" for me.

I don't think Sheriff Grady Judd will ever be hired here in Travis County TX.  Our sheriff's department would probably all be fired if he were the guy in charge.

Looking forward to the possibility of attending your KC clinic if you can pull it off.

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** In another week or so, in mid-schoolday, our nation's schools will disgorge tens of thousands of brilliant teenagers, allowing them to give us the benefit of their  astounding wisdom, life experience, and knowledge of the Constitution by, uh, "marching." Against guns.

Now, I'm not what you'd call a conspiracy nut, but...

If the purpose of the "march" is - ultimately - to disarm Americans, wouldn't it make sense to stir things up by arranging to have some supposed "right wing gun nut" shoot up some  marchers somewhere?

Fortunately, such an idea would never occur to anyone on the political left.   And certainly not to anyone in "our" FBI.

*********** QUIZ ANSWER: Only one of Frank Howard's teams was ranked as high as tenth nationally, but he managed to coach 29 years at Clemson.  His overall record there was 165-118-12. 

He was a real  southerner, born in  rural Alabama (”three wagon greasin's from Mobile”) and very colorful,  so I thought I’d identify him by some of his more famous quotes:

Once, after his team missed a first down near the goal line by inches and his archrival won, they gave their coach a new Cadillac, and he observed,  "the difference between a Cadillac and a coffin is six inches of dirt".

“That goal line is called the ‘alumni line’. because if you don't cross it you’ll be fired by the alumni.”

He liked the idea of his stadium being called “Death Valley” and he placed a rock from the real Death Valley at the top of the long flight of steps leading down to the field.  He started the tradition of the school’s players rubbing the rock before descending the steps before every home game.  But he would caution them, “If you can't give 110%,  keep your filthy hands off my rock.”

“Virginia is the white meat on our schedule.”

Asked how he’d prepared his team for the speed of Oklahoma's backs: ”I took them over to Darlington to watch a race."

(About Bear Bryant):  “He can take his'n and beat your'n........or........ He can take your'n and beat his’n.”

When he was AD and someone asked him about adding rowing as a sport. “I ain't  gonna have no sport where you sit on your ass and go backwards.”

Asked what was the turning point in a loss to Duke: "It was three years ago when I didn't recruit any half backs."

He never made more than $25,000 a year, but the faculty was paid even less, and the president of the university didn’t want the faculty to know what he was being paid. "He called me up and said that he didn't want me to tell anybody what I made. I said: 'Doc, you don't have to worry. I'm as ashamed as you are of what you pay me.' "

Once, tired of Senator Strom Thurmond talking too long at booster club meetings,  he introduced him by saying that Senator Thurmond couldn't stay long that evening - he had to go to the hospital where his next wife was being born! (In 1968 at the age of 66, Thurmond married a former Miss South Carolina. She was 22.)

“I had a lifetime contract - but the administration declared me dead."

“I finally retired for health reasons; the alumni were sick of me."

Finally, ”I love this place, I've got a spot already picked out where I want 'em to put me when I die - up there on that ole hill near the stadium. I want to be there so I can hear all them people cheering my Tigers on Saturdays; then I won't have to go Heaven; I'll already be there."

*********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING FRANK HOWARD

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
DAVID BUCHANAN - BARRE, MASSACHUSETTS (Frank Howard placed Howard's Rock at Clemson! Great coach who influenced my love for the game. Grew up watching the Tigers and the Nittany Lions on Saturdays (when the Black Knights of the Hudson weren't on national TV all the time yet).
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS (Wouldn't he love what Dabo Swinney is doing at Clemson today?
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
CHARLIE WILSON - CRYSTAL RIVER, FLORIDA (I put the "Cadillac..." quote into a search field and got a whole page of contributions to our Body of Knowledge of Frank Howard (not all of them true but entertaining nonetheless...). I miss the "Southernisms" and the characters.  Bear Bryant would say things like, "We were luckier than a three legged dog" and the Sofistikats in the press would look at each other and wonder just what he meant.
Well, some of 'em anyway...
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON

*********** De mortuis nil nisi bonum  (Say) nothing but good about the  dead. (It's Latin.)

I’ll be careful how I say this, because Frank Howard's dead, but it’s something of a mystery to me how a coach with his mediocre record could have stuck around as long as he did.

Maybe it’s because the sports writers thought Ol’ Frank was so dang funny with them there witticisms, because otherwise  there’s nothing in his record to suggest that he was worthy of the long tenure Clemson gave him.

Otherwise, he simply wasn't that good a coach.

No less than 11 of his  29 years at Clemson were losing seasons.  When divided by 29 (years)  his 165 overall wins, come out to just a sliver over five wins per season. (Do that nowadays and you might get to finish your second season. ) He wrapped up his career with ten straight years of not making it to a bowl game.  Yes, he won six ACC championships in 17 seasons of conference membership, but the ACC was a very weak conference then - no Georgia Techs, Virginia Techs, Florida States or Miamis. Not even any Pittsburghs or Boston Colleges.

And  - God, I hate to do this, because I can’t stand the way people throw the “R” word around nowadays, and I’m fed up with the tearing down of statues of Confederate leaders, but there’s no way around it: Frank Howard was an uncouth racist.

He never coached a black player. That, I don't hold against him.  He knew his constituency and what it wanted, and he knew that they weren't ready to integrate the Clemson football program.  What I do hold against him is the way he treated a visiting player named Daryl Hill.

Hill, who in 1963 transferred from the Naval Academy to Maryland (recruited there by Lee Corso) was the first black player in the ACC, and in 2008 he spoke to the Frederick (Maryland) News-Post’s Stan Goldberg about his experience as the first black ever to play at Clemson. 

According to Hill, the university’s president did what he could to make the best of a bad situation, including appeaing to the catcalling crowd to be more hospitable to their guests.   But Frank Howard, the athletic director as well as the head coach, was the point man of a racist policy that extended to excluding blacks from the very stadium itself.
The scariest moment came when his mother went to watch him play at Clemson. They wouldn't let her in the stadium.

"There were no blacks allowed in the stadium, sweeping the floor, selling popcorn or anything," he said. "When I heard they weren't going to let her in, I told the coaches I wasn't going to play the game. I was going to escort my mother to safety. I actually put my street clothes on."

But the president of Clemson found out about it and invited Hill's mother to sit in his booth. Hill went back down to the field.
Hill also remembers that before the game, Clemson coach Frank Howard came over while Hill was working out and, with a big cigar in his mouth, just stared at him.

"He stared me down," Hill said. "I thought, he's a head coach, what's he doing?"

He said the Maryland assistants asked Howard to move and he cursed at them.
https://www.fredericknewspost.com/archive/i-just-wanted-to-play-football-i-didnt-want-to/article_14f27f0c-ac6d-5f56-93e7-5bd3f334cc4d.html


*********** QUIZ: Born in Baltimore, he played college football at Bucknell, and played briefly for the NFL Dallas Texans.

He was a highly successful high school coach in Baltimore, and taught history and political science, earning a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins.  After 15 years of high school coaching, in 1968 he was hired by the Baltimore Colts, first as a scout, then as offensive line coach, then director of player personnel, then offensive coordinator.

In 1975, he moved to the Dolphins as director of player personnel and pro scouting.

In 1979, on the recommendation of Commissioner Pete Rozelle, he was hired by the New York Giants as Director of Football Operations.

He drafted such standout players as Joe Morris, Phil Simms, Michael Strahan and Lawrence Taylor, and he hired Bill Parcells as head coach.

When he took over, the Giants hadn’t made the playoffs in 15 years, but in his years in New York, they made the playoffs eight times and won two Super Bowls. 

He was named NFL Executive of the Year a record five times.

(Tough one.)


american flagFRIDAY,  MARCH 9,  2018  “For a man to conquer himself is the first and noblest of all victories.” Plato


anf*********** ANF - Years ago, when America’s farms were hard-hit by the economy, Iowa’s Hayden Fry put  yelllow stickers on the Hawkeyes’ helmets with three initials on them:  “ANF."  America Needs Farmers.

You'll get no argument from me there.

But with apologies to Coach

Fry and the great state of Iowa and America’s farmers, (plus whoever owns the trademark) I think it’s time that those initials be put to another use: America Needs Football.

If you had any question in your mind about whether American needs football…

(1) The commandant of the US Marine Corps said that “because of physical, mental or moral issues,” only 30 per cent of military-age youngsters are qualified for the military.  A major factor is obesity.  We need to get those fatties out for football,  the only sport in any school where there’s a place for the big, overweight kids.

https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/susan-jones/marine-corps-commandant-less-30-young-men-and-women-are-qualified-join-us

(2) If you find yourself having to listen to someone tell you that other sports will fill the void left when football goes…

Print this out and show it to them

ANF

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/08/sports/opioids-suicide.html?em_pos=large&emc=edit_sp_20180308&nl=sports&nlid=23696377&ref=img&te=1


*********** Major Lloyd,  military science instructor at West Point , 1977,  defined the difference in strategy and tactics:

Strategy vs Tactics
Strategy is the plans made
Tactics is what you do when those plans go to hell

Tim Brown
Florence, Alabama


*********** It’s not often that I root for Mom in a custody case, but here’s one: In Western Pennsylvania, a father is suing ex-wife to prevent her from allowing their high-school-age son to play football…

PITTSBURGH — In this city with a deep and proud relationship with football, a custody dispute has pushed the debate about the sport’s safety into a new arena: family court.

A father, John Orsini, has gone to court to prevent the youngest of his three sons from playing high school football because, he said, scientific studies have revealed the perils of repeated blows to the head — especially for an athlete, like his son, who has a history of concussions. The boy’s mother, Mr. Orsini’s ex-wife, believes he should be allowed to continue playing because he understands the risks.

“You always heard it sometimes, when one parent would say I don’t want him doing that because he might get hurt,” said Allan E. Mayefsky, a leading divorce lawyer and the former president of the New York chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. “Usually, we thought the parent was just overprotective. Now, it’s more of a real medical issue.”

In the decade since scientists began to link football to long-term brain damage, the debate over the future of the sport has moved from research laboratories to the halls of Congress, to locker rooms and owners’ suites. Families, too, have grappled with the question of how dangerous the game is — and now parents’ concerns are surfacing in legal battles between divorced couples, leading to an increase in fights over whether to amend custody orders to prevent their children from playing the game.

It is impossible to say precisely how many disputes over football are occurring in family courts. Most records are sealed and disputes often settle before they go to trial. But Joe Cordell, the founder of Cordell & Cordell, which specializes in divorce law, said that about a third of the 270 lawyers at his firm, which is spread across 40 states, said that they have seen an increase in custody battles over whether a child should be allowed to play football. In some parts of the country, football has replaced hockey as the sport at the center of custody battles, other lawyers said.
Most of the disputes over football are occurring in states where football remains very popular, like Texas, Oklahoma and Ohio, places Mr. Cordell described as “heavy football states.” In states where football appears to be on the wane, including those in the Northeast, disputes are less common because both parents have already decided that the game is too dangerous for their child to play.

One of those football-heavy states is Pennsylvania, where Mr. Orsini, a musician and former lawyer, went to court last summer to prevent his youngest son from playing tackle football. The case will likely result in a trial.

Like many fathers of his generation, Mr. Orsini, 66, was for years an enthusiastic supporter of football. He played the game in grade school and rooted for the hometown Steelers. He enrolled his sons in youth tackle football leagues when they were as young as 5 years old, including his youngest son. Mr. Orsini said he attended their practices and games, including in the years after he and his ex-wife, Janice, divorced in 2004. Their oldest son, Giuseppe, who is now 21, plays football at Case Western University in Cleveland.

Mr. Orsini’s view of the game changed when his youngest son, 17, sustained three sports-related concussions. The first was in 2013, when he was hit in the head with a metal baseball bat while not wearing a helmet. He took a battery of tests at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and, after several weeks, was allowed to resume playing sports.

The second and third concussions were in 2015 and 2016 during football games. Orsini said that afterward, his son was sensitive to light and noise, experienced headaches and was lethargic. His son, he recalled, sat slumped at the table during meals. Again, within a few weeks, doctors cleared him to return to play. Orsini said that when he asked the doctor whether his son should stop playing football, he was told there was no medical evidence that he should cease playing.

“The moment for me started when he repeatedly got diagnosed with concussions and the doctors kept telling me there was no reason for him to not keep going,” Mr. Orsini said. Having worked as a plaintiff’s attorney, he was alarmed. “His mother didn’t question the doctors, but in my profession it is an impossibility.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/05/sports/football/concussions.html


*********** Don’t  watch “Redline” on CBS.  Consider yourself warned. 

The proposed  drama series, for which they’re shooting the pilot show, is based on a story about a white single father, left widowed after a white cop killed his black husband…

Now, if you go ahead and watch it anyhow, and you turn into a pillar of salt -  don't blame me.

http://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywood/2018/03/06/cbs-pilot-white-dad-widowed-cop-kills-black-husband/


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

I’m reading Bill Curry’s “Ten Men You Meet In the Huddle.”  I’m really enjoying it. At one point “Bobby Dodd on Football” is mentioned. Have you read it? If so, should I find a copy?

Thanks,
Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois

It’s a good read.  I admire Bill Curry.  And I admired Bobby Dodd. Heck of a coach.


*********** MY KIND OF LAWMAN - Sheriff Grady Judd of Polk County, Florida, is the polar opposite of that Israel creep in Broward County.

And he’s not like the weenies in charge of so many of our big-city police departments who are constantly in search of the next “non-lethal” way of dealing with dangerous criminals without giving them what they have coming.

No, sir. Not Sheriff Grady Judd.  To put it bluntly, Grady Judd is a take-no-prisoners lawman.

Asked once why his men had shot a criminal as many times as they did, he replied, “That’s all the bullets they had.”

Recently, when a guy came after a couple of his deputies  with a knife - you guessed it - they drilled him.

At the news conference at which he explained his deputies’ actions,  he had a word or two of advice for those contemplating future dealings with his department:

“Threaten one of my deputies with a gun - or in this case a knife - we’re gonna shoot you.”

http://www.theledger.com/news/20180305/sheriff-judd-deputies-shoot-kill-knife-wielding-man-in-s-lkld


Tree well


*********** A couple of Oregon skiers died on the same day last week when they fell into tree wells.  Tree wells are found mostly in the mountains of the Northwest, where there’s a lot of snow - and a lot of evergreens.

The snowpack on the mountains can get quite deep, but the low-hanging branches of the trees can act like umbrellas, creating a relatively snowless area  around the base of a tree. 

You see the tree sticking up out of the snow  without realizing  that the snow around it can be a booby trap.

Falling into a tree well - especially head-first, as often happens - is frequently a death sentence.

I’m thinking that a lot of the tree-well accidents happen because people ski out of bounds, but what do I know?

http://www.adventuresnw.com/dangerous-powder-the-deadly-pitfalls-of-tree-wells/





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

Art passed away almost two weeks ago at age 90. Spoke at his service in Newton, Massachusetts. Amazing guy and I am lost without him.

 Art had over 100 guys at service from the 1963 team to 1989 teams in Newton. All very successful and filled up with appreciation. This was my first year out of football in 37. Coached the offensive line for a modified wing-t offense the two previous years. This allowed me to teach Art's flipper. Bottom line...I missed the double wing. When I find a place to run it then I will be back in. Still teaching history full time and enjoying it. You have another clinic in the area and I will be there. My daughter works for the Notre Dame football team so I attended some of their games. Wish they ran the snow plow offense! Thanks for your support and insight over the years...blessings to you and your family.

Gordon Leib
Fairfax, Virginia

I’m so sad to hear the news.  Coach Art Kojoyian and Coach Leib attended my clinics together for years.  You couldn’t see one without the other.  Art was the seasoned right-hand man that every young coach deserves to have in his life.

I loved Art in the short time I knew him and looked forward to seeing him every year -  an old-school guy like me, a guy who loved (and knew) the game, and best of all, a guy who was obviously devoted to Coach Leib.  You can tell a lot about a guy by the people who choose to work with him, and Art’s choosing to work with him was a great compliment.

I can understand what a loss it is.


http://hosting-6673.tributes.com/obituary/show/Aredis-Konji-Art-Coach-Kojoyian-105848153
     

*********** Colorado State is said to be considering a woman as their next head basketball coach.

Becky Hammon, a Colorado State grad, was a WNBA All-Star, and since 2014 she’s been an assistant in some capacity with the San Antonio Spurs.

She would replace Larry Eustachy, who “left the program” amid an investigation into charges that he verbally abused players. (If you didn’t know, the days of Bobby Knight-Style “motivation” are gone.)

Former Colorado State AD Jack Graham, who hired Eustachy and tried to fire him in 2014, told the Denver Post, “The Eustachy era started on my watch. I hired him. I’m sorry he was allowed to take control of another four classes of young men for what they had to endure. I’m thankful there won’t be any more.”

What the hell - give her a shot. Aren't there plenty of men coaching women’s basketball?


https://www.si.com/college-basketball/2018/03/07/colorado-state-becky-hammon-coach-spurs-woman


***********  Hey Coach,

It’s Pat Pimmel from Saint Louis Mo. Brought you here years ago if you remember. Long story short I got really involved in arena football and haven’t coached kids in a while.

Who would of ever thought the the Double wing would put me on the map. Lol. Before I went to arena ball we won 5 state championships in a row in the youth league. That got me to High School with a Double Wing Coach named Pat Luck. From there I was blessed to be pick up as an assistant in arena ball. Then HC.

Couple of things. I’m going back to the double wing. I still have playbook, but am curious about this open wing offense.

Can you combine them

Thanks

Pat Pimmel
St. Louis, Missouri

Hi Pat -

Nice to hear from you.

First of all - that old Double Wing playbook is pretty much obsolete.  Just figure out all the teams I’ve coached and all the clinics I’ve put on and all the guys that I’ve worked with, and there’s been a lot of changes.  (SEE BELOW!)

I am just about done redoing the new edition of my Double Wing playbook.  It will be a killer.

The Open Wing is my way of using Double Wing blocking rules and terminology while running a spread shotgun.

Yes, you can combine them.  I do.  The trick is to make sure that you don’t try to run too much in your Double-Wing package.

(Pages 7 & 8 of my new Double Wing playbook)
Evolution pages

(Pages 7 & 8 of my new Double Wing playbook)

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

I contacted you about your yearly double wing clinic and was wondering a date had been set yet?

I was also wondering if you will be discussing at all the double wing or if the clinic will be more geared toward the open wing concepts?

Hi Coach-

I am getting close to a clinic in KC around mid-to-late April.

It will be mostly Open Wing.

If it’s Double Wing that most interests you, I highly recommend the playbook I’m now working on.  It will be ready by mid-April and it will be as good as any clinic I have ever put on.  In fact, a lot of the material has been accumulated from my clinics over the last 20 years.


*********** Ask 100 people who think they know their football what William “Refrigerator” Perry is most famous for and at least 90 of them will say, “Running the ball.”

True, in 1985, The Fridge’s rookie year, he became a sensation as a 350-pound running back for the Bears.

But here’s the real story:  he touched the ball just eight times, for a grand total of 11 yards.  HIs longest run was two yards.  His longest play was a 4-yard pass reception (he went in motion and nobody covered him).

He lost a yard when he suffered a sack (actually, he was tackled for a loss while apparently attempting to throw a halfback pass).

Yes, he did score four touchdowns, three of them bowling over people down on the goal line.

The fourth was the four-yard pass reception.

Six carries for eight yards; one pass reception for four yards; one sack for -1 yard.  Eight touches, 11 yards. Of such monumental feats are legends made.

*********** QUIZ ANSWER : In seven seasons as a high school coach, Lavell Edwards never had a winning record.

But when he retired after 29 years as the head coach of the same school, he had built it from a regionally-known church school into a national power, and  was second only to Joe Paterno in the number of games won at a single college.

Along the way, he won a national championship and coached a Heisman Trophy winner.  The school’s stadium is now named for him.

When he was first hired as an assistant at that school, they were still running the Single Wing.

But when he became its head coach, he decided to throw.   At a time when it was commonly believed that you had to run the ball to win, he became perhaps the leading proponent of the passing game.  And he won.

His team led the nation in passing eight times.

He coached six All-American quarterbacks, and two of his QBs went on to win Super Bowls.

At least 11 of Lavell Edwards’ former players or assistants went on to become head coaches in college or the NFL.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING LAVELL EDWARDS

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JERRY LOVELL - BELLEVUE, NEBRASKA
DAVID BUCHANAN - BARRE, MASSACHUSETTS
MICK YANKE - COKATO, MINNESOTA
JOHN GRIMSLEY - JEFFERSON, GEORGIA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
BILL LAWLOR - PALATINE, ILLINOIS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON -WOODLAND, WASHINGTON


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

I hope you are doing well. I was reading your news from today, and I saw that you were asking about a coach with a losing record in HS and had success with a church school. That would be LaVell Edwards from BYU. I did have the pleasure to meet him once after he retired when he was speaking at an event in Washington D.C. He was friendly and answered my questions. As a the son of two BYU alums and now married to one, I know all about BYU football and the QB tradition under Coach Edwards.

I'm busy coaching golf and enjoying a different sport than football. Give my best to Miss Connie and I pray one day I'll get to use the Double Wing, but for now I am a good assistant football, head boys golf, AP World History teacher and happy father/husband.  I have to share pictures of my girls and the golf team, I'm the bald coach in the middle.

John Grimsley
Jefferson,  Georgia

***********  I think he told a clinic story once that as a first year high school HC he realized before the game (at the game site) that he had forgotten to install any special teams.  So for 30 minutes before the game they put in enough special teams to get through the game.

John Bothe
Oregon, Illinois

HAHAHA.  One of the first things I learned - I started out as a semipro coach - was that the fastest way to let it be known that your team wasn’t well coached was not to have enough men on the field in kicking situations.


*********** Adam Wesoloski wrote, inquiring about Lavell Edwards, “Was he running the single wing as a high school coach?”

He must have because in talking about his hiring by BYU (in 1962) he said “they were one of the last teams to run the single wing and I think I was the last living Mormon who knew anything about the offense.”


*********** Coach:

I don't ever remember to e-mail on these football VIP's but that has to be LaVell Edwards from BYU.  I remember as a kid watching them beat a 6-5 Michigan team in the old Sea World Holiday Bowl in San Diego I think.  I remember back then that game was not even played on a weekend evening and usually not part of January 1 bowls that I remember.  Ty Detmer won the Heisman.  I have always questioned that Mormon Code of Conduct they sign whenever I hear about a beer swilling Catholic named Jim McMahon who lit up the record books in the early eighties.    All the best.

Bill Lawlor
Palatine, Illinois

I read someplace that McMahon wanted to go to ND but they didn’t recruit him.

Probably the fact that he went to a place that had a Code of Conduct, plus there weren’t many other people like him to get in trouble with (or many places to go to get in trouble) and that his wife was a Mormon all kept him halfway straight until he could make it to the pros.


*********** Even before BYU, Stanford was known as a passing team because as a private school with very high standards it couldn’t admit as many big, strong and fast players as knucklehead schools could. And as Lavell Edwards said in his book, “Lavell Edwards,” (who thinks  up these titles?) “There is only one way you can beat a team that’s bigger and stronger and faster than you are and that is by passing."

*********** QUIZ: Only one of his teams was ranked as high as tenth nationally, but he managed to coach 30 years at the same place.  His overall record was 165-118-12. 

He was a real  southerner, born in  rural Alabama (”three wagon greasin's from Mobile”) and very colorful,  so I thought I’d identify him by some of his more famous quotes:

Once, after his team missed a first down near the goal line by inches and his archrival won, they gave their coach a new Cadillac, and he observed,  "the difference between a Cadillac and a coffin is six inches of dirt".

“That goal line is called the ‘alumni line’. because if you don't cross it you’ll be fired by the alumni.”

He liked the idea of his stadium being called “Death Valley” and he placed a rock from the real Death Valley at the top of the long flight of steps leading down to the field.  He started the tradition of the school’s players rubbing the rock before descending the steps before every home game.  But he would caution them, “If you can't give 110%,  keep your filthy hands off my rock.”

“Virginia is the white meat on our schedule.”

Asked how he’d prepared his team for the speed of Oklahoma's backs: ”I took them over to Darlington to watch a race."

(About Bear Bryant):  “He can take his'n and beat your'n........or........ He can take your'n and beat his’n.”

When he was AD and someone asked him about adding rowing as a sport. “I ain't  gonna have no sport where you sit on your ass and go backwards.”

Asked what was the turning point in a loss to Duke: "It was three years ago when I didn't recruit any half backs."

He never made more than $25,000 a year, but the faculty was paid even less, and the president of the university didn’t want the faculty to know what he was being paid. "He called me up and said that he didn't want me to tell anybody what I made. I said: 'Doc, you don't have to worry. I'm as ashamed as you are of what you pay me.' "

Once, tired of Senator Strom Thurmond talking too long at booster club meetings,  he introduced him by saying that Senator Thurmond couldn't stay longer that evening - he had to go to the hospital where his next wife was being born! (In 1968 at the age of 66, Thurmond married a former Miss South Carolina. She was 22.)

“I had a lifetime contract - but the administration declared me dead."

“I finally retired for health reasons; the alumni were sick of me."

Finally, ”I love this place, I've got a spot already picked out where I want 'em to put me when I die - up there on that ole hill near the stadium. I want to be there so I can hear all them people cheering my Tigers on Saturdays; then I won't have to go Heaven; I'll already be there."



american flagTUESDAY,  MARCH 6,  2018  “Of course I have my opinion about everybody and everything. But I learned a long time ago, keep your damn mouth shut if you want to stay in show business.  I'm not in politics. I’m an entertainer.” Dolly Parton


*********** For fun, I enjoy shooting pool, and I’m constantly reminded of the parallel between planning in pool and planning in football.

In both cases, planning entails thinking “a couple of shots ahead.”

In pool, the idea is to make the first shot and leave the cue ball in a certain spot so you can make the next shot, after which you’ll leave the cue ball in a certain spot, etc.  The great ones can look at a table and determine which ball is going to be the last ball left on the table - the so-called “break ball”  that they’ll use to break the next rack. 

Not me.  I can maybe look ahead a couple of shots, and sometimes, if things go according to plan,  my plan actually works.  But let’s suppose that although I make my first shot,  I don’t leave the cue where I needed it to be for my next shot.  And now that I can’t make my second shot as I’d planned, there goes my whole plan out the window -  after one shot.

In football, you base your plan on what you believe the opponents will do, and then, after they react the way you anticipate, you have just the plan for them.  But there are those times when you go out on the field on Friday night and it’s immediately obvious that the opponents aren’t cooperating - they’re doing something completely different from what you expected.  Bye-bye, plan.

No sense in complaining.  No sense in panicking. You’ve got a game to play.

And there’s no “Plan B.”  How can you possibly have an alternate plan when (1) you spent so much time on your basic plan, and (2)  there were so many possible other contingencies to plan for? 

In pool, you wait until it’s your turn again, looking for another shot that you know you can make,  one that can lead to another shot, and so forth.  You find another way. And if your fundamentals are sound, you have a chance.

In football, similarly,  you find another way.  Once it’s obvious that the original opportunities you’d counted on have been denied you,  you look for other opportunities that your players, with the preparation you’ve given them, can take advantage of.  If your system is flexible and your players are well-versed in it, you have a chance.

General Dwight Eisenhower, whose planning for the D-Day invasion may be as thorough a job of military planning ever, described it: “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

***********  Coach,

The question about mental toughness in your most recent "News You Can Use" struck a chord with me.  This past summer I finished my Education Specialist degree in Coaching Pedagogy from Valdosta State University.  Our last assignment was a thesis and mine happened to be on the topic of developing perseverance in athletes.  I've attached the document for you to read and/or pass along to others if you see fit.  Coaches must play a big role in helping their athletes learn how to properly perceive events if they are to develop mental toughness.  In addition, coaches must help athletes learn how to set themselves up for success while creating opportunities for them to actually experience success.  It's an on-going, multi-faceted process that requires effort on the part of the coach and the player.

Joel Mathews
Fort Osage, Missouri

Hi Coach,

While I wasn’t able to read your thesis in its entirely, the abstract is quite good and addresses “perseverance,” a major component of mental toughness.  (It appears that the masses are beginning to catch on to it as “grit” becomes a fashionable word, although to most Americans I suspect that’s all it is.)

I’ve spent a lot of time in Finland.  The Finns have a word - SISU (“SEE-sue”) - that explains their renowned mental toughness,  and although it’s not easily translatable, if I were to be asked for a one-word definition, I would say “perseverance.”  But then, I’d have to add, “despite all odds, despite obstacles, despite setbacks, despite discouragement.”

SISU is embedded in the Finnish culture, while in America’s trophies-for-everybody society, the coach is often the only person in a young American’s life who values perseverance.



*********** A group hoping to bring the NHL to Seattle asked for season ticket deposits and in less than one day they got 29,000 deposits of from $500 to $1,000.

*********** It’s that time again - NFL Combine time.  Sunday was defensive linemen day, and it took me about two minutes of watching to wonder how devoid of anything interesting a person’s life must be if he’ll actually  sit in front of a TV and watch as large men in shorts, one after another, run 40-yard dashes.

*********** But then there’s Shaquem Griffin, the kid from Central Florida with one hand who wasn’t initially invited to the combine.  After some pressure, the NFL gave in, and the kid responded: with a special prosthetic arm brace that enabled him to balance the barbell, he bench pressed 225 pounds 20 times, and he ran a 4.38 40, the fastest for a linebacker since 2003.

https://www.newsday.com/sports/columnists/bob-glauber/shaquem-griffin-nfl-combine-bench-press-1.17070661

*********** An excerpt from my upcoming ALL-NEW Double Wing playbook …
REACH BLOCK


*********** My wife was born and raised in Abington, Pennsylvania.  Abington is an old town, dating back to the 1700s., and over the years it’s been engulfed by the spread of nearby Philadelphia, but it has maintained its own pride of community. One of the major reasons is its schools.

As one example of the pride Abingtonians take in their schools, twelve years ago a wealthy alumnus named Stephen Schwarzman stepped up and lent his support to efforts to build a football stadium on the high school campus.   A grateful community named the stadium in his honor.

More recently, Mr. Schwarzman, the billionaire chairman and CEO of The Blackstone Group, a major investment firm, announced that he would donate $25 million to Abington schools to build a Science and Technology center on the campus.

The gift is one of the largest ever made to any public high school anywhere.

http://www.phillyvoice.com/abington-high-school-receives-record-25-million-gift-stem-facility/

*********** Duke beat North Carolina Saturday, which means the two arch rivals split their two meetings this season. 

How arch is the rivalry? There was a Wall Street Journal article this past week about the run on one very special license plate in every state where it’s available: “GTHCGTH”

It stands for a cheer that’s dear to the hearts of all Duke fans: “GO TO HELL CAROLINA, GO TO HELL!”

Former Duke player Kenny Dennard lives in Houston now, and he’s got the GTHCGTH plate for Texas.

*********** I love West Point and I love Army football, but I’m a donor (a small one, but a donor nonetheless), so that permits me to criticize an athletic department that schedules its spring football game for a Friday afternoon (Friday the 13th, yet), because there’s a lacrosse doubleheader - men’s and women’s - scheduled for their stadium the next day.

*********** Shortly before his death, Carroll Rosenbloom, the man who brought the NFL to Baltimore, told what it was that drove him to work out the deal (basically swapping the  Baltimore Colts for the Los Angeles Rams) that enabled him to leave Baltimore:

I promised Baltimore a world championship in five years. We got one in six.  More followed.  We went to the Super Bowl. Suddenly the media turned on us. I invited the press to a lunch.  I said, “Gentlemen, nobody seems to appreciate the Colts anymore. I wish you would tell me what we’ve done wrong.

No one said a word.

I said, “Doesn’t anyone have something to say?  You all write for the papers or talk on radio or television. We’re friends here. Nothing will be repeated.  Say what you please.  The Colts are looking for help.”

A sports editor said, “You have gotten us used to wins.”

I could not believe it.

I said, “Would you be happier if we lost?”

No one said no.  No one said yes.

I said, “Gentlemen, thank you for coming. I wish you well.”

I went home, taking my son.  I said, “Steve, we can’t stay here any longer. This town is satiated. They feel if you don’t win the Super Bowl every year, you’re due for trouble. I’m going to find a way to get out of Baltimore.”

*********** I'm not against children, but I am 100% against "think of the children." I like to think of what's best for the grown-ups. Whatever works best for free, honest, informed, self-reliant, and armed adults works best for their dependents, and if children are anything, they are dependent.  If they grow up into anything, it is more parents. If you love a child, remember that the purpose of cuteness is to make sure kids turn into adults – who in turn are in charge of making us more children.

Jeremy Egerer, in “American Thinker”

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

I have had many criticisms of many of our Presidents from JFK on up.  Doesn't matter whether they're Democrat or Republican.  I have a few criticisms of our current President as well.  Especially the tweeting.  I can understand at times why he chooses to use that form of communication, being what the mainstream media is today.  However, like you, my experience as a coach balks when he chooses to call out his own cabinet selections.  It is when he chooses to use twitter for those reasons he appears to be less of a leader than what many of us want him to be.

The only lips these lips kiss belong to my wife. 

I agree with your assessment on how we try to get kids mentally tough.  I also agree that it may be a thing of the past considering the education climate, and parental environment we live in today.

Gonna be interesting to see how this NCAA basketball issue turns out.  Either ESPN is going to look like a bunch of idiots not following through with their leads, and have the masses see them as an extension of our current justice issues,  or Sean Miller will be seen as a major liar and never get a big-time basketball gig again.


QUIZ:  I found out about Harry Agganis "the Golden Greek" from one of my former players who received a football scholarship out of JC to Boston University, and played for two years in the mid 90's before BU dropped football a couple of years after he graduated.  The weekend I was there they played UNH in one of the most thrilling college football games Nickerson Field ever saw.

Have a great weekend.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** QUIZ ANSWER:  Harry Agganis has been dead for more than 60 years, but the Golden Greek, as he was known, is still generally considered the greatest all-around athlete ever to come out of New England.

He was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, the youngest of seven children of Greek immigrant parents.  He was baptized “Aristotle,” but that was shortened to “Ari,” which in time became anglicized to “Harry.”

He may still be New England’s best-ever football prospect.  When he played in high school, crowds of more than 20,000 packed Lynn’s Manning Bowl to watch him play.  He was heavily recruited.  Notre Dame’s Frank Leahy called him the best played he’d ever seen.  But he chose to stay home, close to his widowed mother, and elected to play at Boston University. Almost by himself he made the Terriers into a national power.  He was the first - and only - All-American ever to play at BU, which no longer even plays football. 

Selected in the first round of the 1952 draft by the Cleveland Browns, who saw in him the eventual successor to All-Pro Otto Graham, he turned down their $25,000 bonus offer to sign instead to play baseball with his hometown Red Sox.

Bostonians saw in him the successor to Ted Williams.  He played one year of AAA ball, and had a so-so rookie season, but hopes were high for him in his second year, 1955.  But in early June he was diagnosed with pneumonia.  After returning to the lineup for two games, he suffered a relapse, and on June 27, 1955, he died of a pulmonary embolism - a blood clot that makes its way to the lungs.

Harry Agganis, the Golden Greek,  was 26 years old.

More than 10,000 people attended his wake.

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


***********  I think of Harry Agganis and other athletes who left us too soon - Tyler Hilinski. Howie Morenz.  George Gipp.  Nile Kinnick - and I think of A. E. Housman’s poem, ("To an Athlete Dying Young”)

To an Athlete Dying Young
By A. E. Housman
The time you won your town the race
We chaired you through the market-place;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
And home we brought you shoulder-high.

To-day, the road all runners come,
Shoulder-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.

Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields where glory does not stay
And early though the laurel grows
It withers quicker than the rose.

Eyes the shady night has shut
Cannot see the record cut,
And silence sounds no worse than cheers
After earth has stopped the ears:

Now you will not swell the rout
Of lads that wore their honours out,
Runners whom renown outran
And the name died before the man.

So set, before its echoes fade,
The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
And hold to the low lintel up
The still-defended challenge-cup.

And round that early-laurelled head
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
And find unwithered on its curls
The garland briefer than a girl's.

It’s sad, of course, but the poet makes the point that an athlete who dies young will never know the downside of fame: “silence sounds no worse than cheers after earth has stopped the ears.”

He notes that fame is fleeting: “early though the laurel grows, it withers quicker than the rose.”

And he writes of the once-famous athletes who live past the point where people no longer remember them or their feats: “the name died before the man.”


*********** QUIZ: In seven seasons as a high school coach, he never had a winning record.

But when he retired after 29 years as the head coach of the same school, he had built it from a regionally-known church school into a national power, and  was second only to Joe Paterno in the number of games won at a single college.

Along the way, he won a national championship and coached a Heisman Trophy winner.  The school’s stadium is now named for him.

When he was first hired as an assistant at that school, they were still running the Single Wing.

But when he became its head coach, he decided to throw.   At a time when it was commonly believed that you had to run the ball to win, he became perhaps the leading proponent of the passing game.  And he won.

His team led the nation in passing eight times.

He coached six All-American quarterbacks, and two of his QBs went on to win Super Bowls.

At least 11 former players or assistants have gone on to become head coaches in college or the NFL.



american flagFRIDAY,  MARCH 2,  2018  “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.” Charles Darwin


*********** I don’t believe I’ve made a secret of the fact that I voted for Donald Trump.  I mean, come on - Hillary Clinton? 

The run of the mill Republicans didn’t show me much to differentiate them from the Democrats, and the Democrats are such pack dogs that there’s not one of them willing to stray from the pack and make himself (or herself) attractive to anyone who draws a conservative breath.

So that left Trump.  I still haven’t forgiven him for killing the USFL, but in my mind he was the least bad of a sorry-ass field.

I will admit that there are times I love the way he talks to the hateful worms of the media, but there are also times when I find myself saying, “What the f—k is he thinking?”

One of those times was Wednesday, when he openly expressed his displeasure with the Attorney General, Jeff Sessions.   It wasn’t so much the fact that he was displeased with Sessions - his appointee - but with the way he let it be known.   He f—king tweeted it, for all the world to know, when it shouldn't have been any of the world’s business.

Are you telling me he couldn’t have called Sessions - his employee - over to the White House and sat him down and let him know what he wanted?

To put it in football terms - let’s say you’re the head coach and your offensive coordinator is doing something you strongly disagree with.

What do you do?

Do
you deal with it right away, or do you let it go on, hoping things will magically get better?

Thought so.

And when you do deal with it, do you meet with him face-to-face and let him know what you expect, or do you tweet it, so everybody knows your program’s innermost workings?

Thought so.

Can you even imagine any head coach sending out a tweet disparaging his offensive coordinator and questioning the things he’s been doing? 

If you’ve been reading my page for any length of time, you know me well enough to know that if I saw that tweet I’d say, “What’s with the whining?  Aren’t you the head coach?  You’re his boss. Tell him WTF you want, and if he won’t do it, fire his ass.”

*********** This one’s been festering for some time.  Back before the Super Bowl,  a video circulated showing Tom Brady and his 11-year-old son kissing affectionately - on the lips.

Some misguided sorts made a very big deal of it - some called it creepy.  Imagine - a father and son kissing!  The idea!

It took me back some 60 years, to the Glascott’s living room.

The Glascotts were Bob and his dad, Jack.

Jack was nicknamed Black Jack (I have no idea why) but he was a tough Philadelphia Irishman (a definite redundancy) who had been a football player himself and had been an NFL referee for some time.  Say what you will about referees, but you can’t be a pansy and be a referee in the NFL.

Bob was about four years older than me, and at that time he played football at Tennessee.

Bob GlascottHe’d been All-everything at Philly’s Roman Catholic High, and had originally gone to  Penn.  But things didn’t work out for him there, and he transferred to Tennessee.

Bob’s been dead a few years now, but when I first met him, we were both working at a camp in New Hampshire.  I was a high school junior, so Bob would  probably have been a sophomore at UT.

He was a stud.  He was 6-1, 225, which was very big then for a running back.  His arms were as big as my legs.  (He first introduced me to weight lifting, which Tennessee was just getting into.) Oh - and he could beat me in the 100.  (And not being very big, I was fairly fast.)  Looking at him cured me of any visions I had of playing big-time football.

At Tennessee,  Bob was a fullback in the Vols’ famous single wing, coached by Bowden Wyatt. He carried the ball a little, but mostly he blocked.  As a sophomore, he blocked for the great Johnny Majors.   Bob suffered a serious knee injury - playing touch football at camp -  but he earned two letters at UT and  played in the Gator Bowl and in the 1957 Sugar Bowl.  For the sake of this story - how tough do you suppose you’d have had to be to play fullback at Tennessee in those days? 

Now, back to the Glascotts'  living room, in their summer place in Ocean City, New Jersey.

My father and I had dropped over for a visit, and as we sat there, Bob, who’d arrived a few minutes later than we did, entered the room, bent down,  and kissed his dad - on the lips.

http://www.philly.com/philly/obituaries/20151213_Robert_A__Glascott__81__college_recreation_director.html

http://cstv.collegesports.com/mt5.2/mt-search.cgi?search=vols&__mode=tag&IncludeBlogs=31&limit=20&page=8

*********** KEEP PORTLAND WEIRD DEPARTMENT… The Portland Oregonian described a property that had fallen into disrepair:  “It had once been the Woodshed Restaurant and then a vegan strip club known as the Black Cauldron.”

*********** Q. Is there any way to “teach”, or to “improve”, mental toughness in athletes?  Is there any way, besides putting them in adverse and challenging practice situations, to make kids more mentally resilient?  I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit.  Truthfully, I suspect mental toughness in people is tied to whatever the people in positions of authority in their lives allow them to do or not do, but in terms of high school kids, is there any means by which a coach can develop mental toughness in kids whose home lives are largely privileged and permissive?

I think that you start from the beginning to sell kids on how tough it’s going to be, and how proud they’ll be when they make it through each stage of your program, from out-of-season, to pre-season, to in-season.  You can start out fairly easy, and increase the toughness as you go, all the time telling them how tough they are to be doing what they’re doing.  They don’t know whether what they’re doing is any tougher than what every other team in the country is doing, but that doesn’t matter - you convince them that it is.  And you make sure to put them in competitive situations, whether it’s tackling drills or relay races or whatever. But you can’t do this unless you’re in a situation where your superiors will let you run a tough program.  By that I mean that when the kids come home complaining about how tough the practice was (which is natural) and then the parents call the AD or the principal (which is the new natural), accusing you of abuse, they’ll back you up.  And that means you have to let them know - up front -  exactly what you intend to do, and get their sign-off on it.

Hard to say if there  are any of those administrators left.


*********** My friend John Torres is not yet old enough to be what I’d consider an Old Coach, but I am, and I really enjoyed an article he sent me.

It was a great article in the New York Times about Ron Adams, 70 years old and still going strong as an assistant to the Golden State Warriors’ Steve Kerr. 

He’s not just a team grandfather; for three years in a row, NBA GMs have voted him the league’s best assistant.

He’s smart and he’s wise, and best of all, from Steve Kerr’s point of view, he tells it like it is:   “I wanted a truth-teller, somebody to tell me, ‘You gotta do this, and you gotta do that,’ completely unfiltered,” Kerr told the Times. “Somebody whose experience and wisdom made everyone stand up and listen. I knew right then that we were talking to the right guy, and I’m just thankful we have him because he’s been instrumental in all that we’ve done.”

He even tells the truth when the team’s winning and everyone else thinks things are going great:  “Ron will tell me, ‘We stunk last night,’” Kerr says. “He will say it to my face. He does not get fooled by our record. He’ll walk into practice and tell me we have to do a certain defensive drill, we can’t forget the fundamentals, because we’ve been awful.’”

Wrote Coach JT, “Honestly, I see a little of Coach Adams in both of us.”

Every young coach could use an older, wiser coach on his staff.  Unfortunately, two problems get in the way - most young coaches are too insecure to have a guy on their staff who knows more than they do, and - just as bad - too often the older coach can’t seem to understand that he’s an adviser, and no longer the head guy.

What makes it work for Golden State, besides Ron Adams’ being a great coach, is that he knows his place - he isn’t after Steve Kerr’s job;  but what really makes it work is that Kerr is so secure in himself that he sees the benefit of tapping into an old coach’s wisdom and experience without feeling threatened.

(I’m still pissed at JT and myself because he was in Portland recently and we couldn’t find a way to get together.  Fortunately, he said he liked it enough that he'll be back!)

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/28/sports/basketball/warriors-ron-adams-age-70.html

*********** There was an article in our local paper about a girl who plays soccer for the local junior college.  Sorry- “community college.”  Oops - almost forgot - like all Washington JCs it pretentiously calls itself a “College.”  But you understand.

The kid is a freshman (13th grade).  According to the article she’s already had four operations on her knees.  But she insists on playing with pain because, she told the paper,  “it’s important to be seen.”

Uh, kid - hate to take our dreams from you, but - nobody’s looking.

*********** With all the blather about gun control and assault weapons and background checks and blah, blah, blah…

Nobody seems to want to talk about  Broward Schools' implementation of the “PROMISE” program, the Obama administration’s “solution” to the disproportionate number of offenses that resulted in the arrests  of males “of color”:  why, we’ll just let the schools handle it themselves, in house.  Poof. Problem solved. Arrests? Way down. Good enough to earn the school superintendent a trip to the White House!  Everybody’s happy, especially the young criminals.  Er, ex-criminals.

https://www.browardschools1.com/cms/lib/FL01803656/Centricity/Domain/6947/promiseflyer.pdf

*********** Former Army All-American guard/linebacker (two-way football!) Bob Novogratz is on the Board of the Black Lion Award.  He and his wife, Barbara have raised an amazing family, all of whom have distinguished themselves in one area of endeavor or another.

One of their children is Michael Novogratz, a former wrestler at Princeton who made a fortune running a hedge fund and now spends a great deal of his time, talent and treasure on behalf of the sport of amateur wrestling.

For example, he has helped fund Beat the Streets Wrestling, to return wrestling to New York City’s schools… helped stage a college wrestling exhibition in New York’s Times Square… fought successfully to keep wrestling in the Olympics…
A wealthy patron can make or break a sport’s relevance at the Olympic level. Five years ago, the International Olympic Committee voted to drop wrestling from the games by 2020. Billionaire investor Mike Novogratz, a Division 1 wrestler at Princeton, swept in to rally fellow financiers and hordes of other fans in backing a successful campaign to reverse the IOC’s vote. He also has personally seen to it that winners are rewarded by seeding a fund that pays out cash prizes of up to $250,000 to Olympic and World Championship medalists. Other backers of the fund include hedge funders Jamie Dinan and David McCormick.

“It’s really to say, ‘Thank you,’” says Novogratz of the prizes. “Everyone who wrestles leaves their sweat, blood, and soul on the mat. When an Olympic wrestler walks out there, they’re carrying the hopes and dreams of those millions of wrestling fans who’ve toiled for not a lot of reward and glory.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-15/for-olympic-glory-athletes-need-talent-and-a-billionaire-backer

http://btsny.org/

*********** Tony Forstmann was a classmate and teammate of mine in college, and Tony’s younger brother, Ted,  was a few years behind.  Ted’s been dead a few years, but he was wildly successful as an investor, and he had a major impact on sports.  He founded IMG, the global giant whose reach extended into every aspect of sports worldwide.  (He also was seen with such ladies as Princess Diana and Elizabeth Hurley.)

He believed very strongly in the importance of leadership, and was known to say,  “I bet on jockeys, not horses.”

*********** Speaking of classmates... Bucky Bush, a classmate of mine, died Tuesday. He was the brother of one President (GHW), and the  uncle of another (GW).   At the time we were in  school, he was the son of a Senator from Connecticut. But you'd never have known it. He was a good guy and at a time when the world needs good guys more than ever, he'll be missed.

I was a year out of college, commuting weekly between Baltimore and Philadelphia, and on the Jersey Turnpike  one evening  I pulled into one of those Howard Johnson's in a rest area. I stepped inside and I'll be damned if I didn't see, standing in line just like everyone else, Senator Prescott Bush of Connecticut.   I'd gone to school in Connecticut for four years, so I knew what our senators looked like.  So what the hell - I walked up to him, introduced myself, and said I was a classmate of Bucky.

The Senator  couldn't have been more cordial.  The more I've thought about that little incident over the years, the more I've marvelled at the idea of a United States Senator - a superstar of American politics - mixing with the hoi polloi at a Howard Johnson's on the New Jersey Turnpike.

*********** ANOTHER SNEAK PREVIEW from the playbook I’ve been working on for months now.  It’s nearing completion but from my recollections of mountain climbing in my younger days (small mountains back East, I should add), I know that the nearer you get to the summit, the harder the climb gets.  I apologize to those who’ve been waiting for the book,  but I do feel at times like Sisyphus. (For those who don’t know their Greek mythology, he was  punished by having to roll a boulder up a hill - and every time he got it near the top,  it would roll down to the bottom again.)

PLAYBOOK EXCERPT


*********** John David Crow of Texas A & M was not the least bit spectacular. But
he was a big, bruising runner and  he won the Heisman Trophy in 1957.

When a sports reporter had the temerity to suggest to A & M’s coach that Crow’s 562 yards rushing (all season) was hardly what you’d call a Heisman performance, the A & M coach, a fellow named Paul “Bear” Bryant, replied,  “That don’t count all the people he knocked down.”

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

My dad and I would always watch the College All-Star game.  It not only signaled the start of the football season, but the start of the passion I developed for the game of football.

I didn't realize that Keith Babb was connected to NCSA.  My first experience with them was as an assistant coach at Southwestern University here in TX.  A number of recruited players we looked at had NCSA profiles. 

This year's edition of the Winter Olympics had the lowest TV ratings ever.  Frankly...I only watched a couple of hockey games, and some bobsled races. 

Can't wait to get my hands on your updated playbook material.

Well...I can tell that your coaching friend isn't interviewing for the head coaching job at my school. But you do provide him with sound advice.  One addition...surround himself with good people.  Too bad the job isn't in Texas.  I know one good people who might be available.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** Hmmm.  Just last weekend the “news” was that Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller had been caught by an FBI wiretap discussing a $100,000 payment to get a player, Deandre Ayton, to come to Arizona.  That was all pretty much based on an ESPN scoop.

Oops.

si.com reports that there appear to be some, uh, “inconsistencies” in the ESPN story.  For one thing, the FBI wiretap didn’t begin until after Ayton, the player in question, had committed to ‘Zona.

Cool.

For those of us who hate today’s ESPN, this could be a fun ride.

https://www.si.com/college-basketball/2018/03/01/arizona-sean-miller-deandre-ayton-espn-report

*********** John Vermillion’s newest novel, “Evil in Disguise” - #4 in the Simon Pack series - is now available on Amazon.

John Vermillion is a West Point grad and his hero, Simon Pack, is the guy we’d all love to be. Or know. Or have as a boss.  Or as a President.

Author Vermillion is also a topnotch football buff.

https://www.amazon.com/Evil-Disguise-Simon-Pack-Novel/dp/1980359725?pd_rd_wg=WXuJj&pd_rd_r=348df326-431c-47f9-aa60-3204163eed73&pd_rd_w=TbNzE&ref_=pd_gw_qpp&pf_rd_r=1HC4YQ0H9TWWQVYZN3ZB&pf_rd_p=7f2ebd8b-ccd6-573d-805e-74c795fd912d

QUIZ ANSWER:   You seldom heard his name without a reference to one of his body parts - his toe.

A native of Martins Ferry, Ohio,  Lou “The Toe” Groza was born over top of the family tavern. His father was an immigrant form HungAary and his mother came from Romania.   He came from an athletic family and although he grew to be a 6-3, 250 pound NFL lineman, he was the smallest of four brothers. One brother, Alex, was a basketball All-American at Kentucky.

He played some college ball - but very little - at Ohio State before World War II service called. The legendary Paul Brown, then coach at Ohio State recalled "recruiting" him to come to Columbus: “Lou Groza was an all-state tackle in football, an all-state center in basketball, and a member of the National Honor Society, and as a senior he stood well over six feet tall and weighed 220 pounds. He had also begun to excel as a place-kicker, thanks to the tutelage of his brother, Frank. Even then the kicking game was important to me, and I saw that Groza’s talent could give us a tremendous advantage. I asked Gomer Jones, his coach and an Ohio State alumnus, to bring him to Columbus later in the year for an interview. At the time, Notre Dame was also interested in him, and (he) said he was thinking of going to South Bend. 'What has Notre Dame offered you?' I asked him. 'I'll get a full scholarship, plus room and board,' he said. ‘Lou, we can find you a job, and that is all,' I replied. Lou said he really wanted to play at Ohio State, but there were other problems. 'My brother was just drafted into the army, and I know I'll be next,' he said. 'So I can't guarantee that I'll be able to play for you until the war is over.' 'That's all right,' I replied. 'We are building a team that will have the best possible boys, and we want you to be a part of it.' He finally agreed, and we arranged a job that paid him $60 per month, and Lou played for our freshman team in 1942 before going into the army. Even as an eighteen year-old, he was something special as a kicker. His kickoffs sailed 70 yards, and his field goals, under pressure, went 40 or 50 yards. Unlike college football kickers today (Brown was writing in 1979) who use a platter (tee), he kicked off the grass."

He took part in the invasion of Okinawa and was preparing to take part in the invasion of Japan when the war ended. When he returned from overseas, Brown, now hired to start a pro football team in Cleveland approached him and other former Buckeyes about signing with his team. As Brown recalled, "Life was completely different for them now, and college football no longer had the same allure it had had a few years before, when they were eighteen years old."

He played 21 years for the Browns, and during that time he played on four AAFC champions and four NFL champions.  In 1950, the Browns’ first year in the NFL, his last-second field goal won the NFL championship game over the Los Angeles Rams.

Although conceded to be the first of the great pro football field goal kickers, Lou Groza was named first team all-Pro offensive lineman four straight years (1952-1955) and second-team twice (1956-1957). As either a kicker or an offensive lineman, he played in nine Pro Bowls.

“I always thought of myself more as a tackle than a kicker,” Groza would later recall. “At least until I couldn’t play tackle any more.”

Lou Groza is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and his number has been retired by the Browns.

CORRECTLY  IDENTIFYING LOU “THE TOE” GROZA

Josh Montgomery - Berwick,  Louisiana
Gary Pavis - St. Leonard,  Maryland (One of several kickers in the 40s-60s that were linemen (Lou Michaels, Steve Myhra and sometimes Jerry Kramer)
Ken Hampton - Raleigh, North Carolina
Mark Kaczmarek - Davenport, Iowa
Jerry Lovell - Bellevue, Nebraska
John Vermillion - St. Petersburg, Florida
Adam Wesoloski - Pulaski, Wisconsin
Kevin McCullough - Lakeville, Indiana
Joe Gutilla - Austin, Texas
Ossie Osmundson - Woodland, Washington
Tom Davis - San Carlos, California

*********** Before the Bengals formed in 1968 Cincinnati was Cleveland Browns territory. In some ways nearby Dayton, Ohio still is. I remember asking my father, "Why does Lou Groza have a lineman's number (76)? "Because for years he played line." I thought it odd that a lineman was also the kicker. Well, it was. To my childish mind Lou "The Toe" Groza was as much the Cleveland Browns as was Jim Brown. Now they're "The Factory of Sadness" (if you haven't seen this video, it is now legendary https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRBDMMVctu8 .

Jim Franklin
Flora, Indiana


kicking shoe*********** Pictured is the shoe I wore as a HS player, though my hero was Jerry Kramer who sometimes kicked when Hornung was suspended...I was the long-snapper for punts & the QB snapped for FG & XP.

Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

I once had a player named Henry Brown who had led the nation in kick scoring when he played at Missouri.  He used a square-toe shoe but he couldn’t run with it (he was also a receiver) so we had to call a time out whenever we wanted to kick a field goal so he could change shoes.  In our WFL game against you guys (New York Stars)  in Phila (1974) we lost when we missed a last-minute field goal.  And we missed because with all the gangs of kids crowding the sidelines, someone made off with our kicker’s square-toe shoe.   I don’t know if Lou The Toe wore a special kicking shoe, but I do know that he used to keep a strip of tape in his helmet which he’d lay down on the field as a guide when he had to place kick.  They outlawed  it - called it the Lou Groza Rule.

*********** It would make the game more entertaining if only players on the OL and DL could kick or punt during the games.

Jerry Lovell
Bellevue, Nebraska

Agreed - maybe that would be a way to compensate those guys for the fact that otherwise they never touch the ball.


*********** QUIZ:  He’s been dead for more than 60 years, but the Golden Greek, as he was known, is still generally considered the greatest all-around athlete ever to come out of New England.

He was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, the youngest of seven children of Greek immigrant parents.  He was baptized “Aristotle,” but that was shortened to “Ari,” which in time became anglicized to “Harry.”

He may still be New England’s best-ever football prospect.  When he played in high school, crowds of more than 20,000 packed Lynn’s Manning Bowl to watch him play.  He was heavily recruited.  Notre Dame’s Frank Leahy called him the best player he’d ever seen.  But he chose to stay home, close to his widowed mother, and elected to play at Boston University. Almost by himself he made the Terriers into a national power.  He was the first - and only - All-American ever to play at BU, which no longer even plays football. 

Selected in the first round of the 1952 draft by the Cleveland Browns, who saw in him the eventual successor to All-Pro Otto Graham, he turned down their $25,000 bonus offer to sign instead to play baseball with his hometown Red Sox.

Bostonians saw in him the successor to Ted Williams.  He played one year of AAA ball, and had a so-so rookie season, but hopes were high for him in his second year, 1955.  But in early June he was diagnosed with pneumonia.  After returning to the lineup for two games, he suffered a relapse, and on June 27, 1955, he died of a pulmonary embolism - a blood clot that makes its way to the lungs.

He was 26 years old.

More than 10,000 people attended his wake.



american flagTUESDAY,  FEBRUARY 27,  2018  “While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.” Samuel Adams

*********** Wouldn’t you like to put together a team with players like these?

Norm Snead… Bill Kilmer… Tommy Mason… Keith Lincoln… Herb Adderley… Bobby Crespino… Pervis Atkins… Claude Gibson… Ed Sharockman… Art Baker…Bill Brown… Tom Matte… Carl Kammerer… Greg Larson… Mike Pyle… Houston Antwine… E. J. Holub… Roland Lakes… Stew Barber… Ernie Ladd… Jim Tyrer… Fred Hageman… Bob Lilly… Billy Shaw… Myron Pottios… Ken Rice… Ben Davidson… Joe Rutgens… John Brewer… Marlin McKeever… Aaron Thomas… Fred Arbanas…  Earl Faison… Elbert Kimbrough… Dan LaRose… Bernie Casey… Mike Ditka

There’s an awful lot of All-Pros on that list, and a number of Pro Football Hall of Famers.

That was the College All-Stars of 1961. From 1934 until 1976, the official start of every football season was the so-called College All-Star Game, played in midsummer in Chicago’s Soldier Field, between the defending NFL champions and a select team of graduating (more or less) senior all-stars. 

This particular group of all stars played the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Eagles won, 28-14.

It’s quaint to think that there was a time when NFL  teams would allow their top draft picks to miss the first couple of weeks of their training camp while running the risk of injury.  But nowadays, even if the NFL were still to think that it was a great promotion for The League, no agent would allow a client to risk his career in one exhibition game.

Don Shipley, who goes back with me to the 1960s, when I played semi-pro ball for his dad, Dick, in Frederick, Maryland, is a constant source of great football history material.  He sent me this copy of a page from TV Guide, which back in the days before there were dozens of football games on TV would print the teams’ rosters.  (Notice that it was also from a time when it was still important to the NFL to let us know where a guy played his college football.)

College all star roster


*********** Don Shipley knows how much I love the old NFL and especially the Baltimore Colts.  And right at the top is Lenny Moore, The Reading Rocket, one of the most exciting players I’ve ever seen.  So Don was thoughtful enough to send me this great highlight video of Lenny Moore.

I had no idea that he holds the NFL record for most TD runs of more than 50 yards - 26!

With today’s pass-happy offenses, that record’s safe.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qr61qJyTHA0&feature=youtu.be

armando at Black Dawg*********** My old friend Armando Castro has lived in Roanoke, Virginia for at least 20 years, and it took him that long to finally get around to visiting what may be Roanoke’s best-known place - Black Dog Salvage, home base for the DIY Network “Salvage Dawgs.”

https://www.blackdogsalvage.com/

*********** I guess we’re supposed to be excited about an Olympic gold medal in Cornhole on Ice, aka curling.

*********** Isn’t it cool when athletes love their country - and show it?

Russian hockey players weren’t allowed to represent their country in the winter Olympics, but that didn’t keep them from winning the gold medal.   And as they stood for the medal ceremony and the band played some innocuous music, they broke into song - they sang their national anthem.

Just sayin’.

***********  I don’t know if I made it clear what Keith Babb was offering to do, so I’ll repeat it.

in 2004 Keith, an old friend,  wound up leaving a good job with a bank to go to work for NCSA, a then-new recruiting service based in Chicago.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In other words -  If you have a football player who may not be highly-recruited by the Big Guys but is a pretty good players and could benefit from college if he could come to the attention of the right people - this could be the best thing that ever happened to him.  NCSA can get him exposed to more people than you could if you worked at it around the clock for the next three months - and they can do a much better job than you or I could in finding the right fit for him.  For a service like that, people pay quite a bit - but as Keith wrote, NCSA is committed to helping deserving kids.

Keith's email:  kbabb@ncsasports.org

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

About Keith -   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LoiWxsXo1s

*********** New evidence suggests George Washington sexually harassed  his secretary (Satire, guys - satire.)

http://www.theonion.com/new-evidence-suggests-president-george-washington-sent-1823275416

*********** Charlie Wilson, from Crystal River, Florida, knows as much about the evolution of the belly, the wishbone and the flexbone as anyone I know, and he has been a great source of information.

He’s been busy lately uploading some old Mississippi State footage from the early 80s, when Emory Bellard (inventor of the Wishbone) was tearing people up with his “wingbone,” a hybrid wishbone-Wing T mix.  As with so many football innovations, it’s hard to tell how much of the success was  due to Coach Bellard, how much to the concept itself, and how much  to Mississippi State’s quarterback, John Bond - a 6-4, 220-pound wishbone quarterback. Bond could run and pass, but mostly he operated the offense as though he’d designed it.   He’s one of the most unsung great quarterbacks I’ve ever seen.

This is 1982, Mississippi State vs Florida…  Amazing how much more physical those offensive linemen were than the  Pushme-Pullyous created by today’s spread offenses.

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

And this is Mississippi State vs LSU, same year.  LSU came in with the nation's  #1 defense.

LSU had two great young running backs named Dalton Hilliard and Garry James and a future NFL receiver named Eric Martin.

Besides Bond, Mississippi State had a great running back named Michael Haddix.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSywtn-hM_8

*********** Suppose I were to tell you that there’s a high school “designed for, though not limited to, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender young people, as well as those questioning their sexuality.”

It’s true - it’s Harvey Milk High School, named for an openly-gay San Francisco official who was murdered.

Imagine how many different rest rooms that school must have!

Suppose I were also to tell you that their football team is consistently a city power?

I’d be lying.

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

*********** Since October I’ve been working on the first update to my Double Wing playbook since 2000, and it’s been a slow go. I finally feel that I’m heading into the home stretch, and I hope I’m not being overly optimistic in thinking that I’m just a couple of weeks away from sending it to the printer.

One of the things that’s complicated matters has been my plan to use photos where possible.  Most of the “photos” are actually screenshots of the wealth of video from camps and practices that I’ve accumulated over the years, but scrolling through all sorts of video, looking for just the right “still,” is tremendously time-consuming. 

Here’s one example, illustrating the A Back’s assignment on Super Power.

Super Power A Back

*********** My plan to make our schools safer is to make qualifying for concealed carry a requirement  for certification to teach in a public school.

Teachers would not be required to carry, but they would be permitted to do so, and the knowledge that even one teacher in a school might be armed and qualified would be enough to give most potential shooters pause.

Those already certified and teaching would be given five years to qualify and recertify.  By then, most of them who didn’t wish to meet the requirement would either have retired or found another line of work.

Not only should this make our schools safer,  but it would have another effect every bit as important -  not only would it clear the schools of a lot of the big talk-no act leftist types who wouldn’t lift a finger to protect students, but it would also discourage younger ones from coming on board.

Just the thing we need to get our schools back to teaching kids how to think, instead of what to think.

And the best part of it is, my program won't cost a dime.  Just take all the money that schools waste every year on "teacher in-service" days and useless guest speakers and you'll have more than enough  funds to pay for guns, ammo, instruction and range time.

*********** A coaching friend told me about a recent interview he had at a small Catholic high school:

 I thought the interview went well. They said they will bring back the top 2 candidates next week for a second interview with the AD and Principal. The first one was with a selection committee of about 8 people. In the event that I make the final cut I have a question for you. the major question most of the committee members had was how The HC would handle recruiting.

I would like to bring some sort of recruiting plan with me if I am invited back for a second interview. I believe they need to do a better job within the school as well as outside of it to bring student athletes in to the school. I have some ideas on how to reach out to the youth football community, as I still have many ties there, but I would like to hear any ideas you may have or draw on any experience you have on the subject.

Hi Coach-

I think that now more than ever, with football under attack, you have to recruit the parents.

Too many people, I think, think you recruit kids, but football’s tough and it’s too easy for them to turn you down.    Kids would rather drink pop and play video games and hang out.  

Even when there are parents involved in a kid’s life, kids don’t always tell their parents that the coach asked them to play football.

Parents, if they’re involved in a kid’s life, want more for them.

This is especially true in the case of a private school, where the parents have already made a significant investment in their kids’ future.

And from the time their kids were small,  they’ve been a part of their kids’ activities, and many of them resist the idea of “losing” them to a coach once they hit high school. 

I think that’s where you get them.  You invite them in.

You go directly to the parents of every potential player in the school, meeting with them in their homes - one family at a time.

I would prepare a booklet showing them the things that being part of a football team would do for their son, along with the things that I would commit to them that I would do for their son.  I would deal with the team culture that I will create - Respect, Responsibility, Resilience, I call mine - and I would deal with the standards I would expect from all the boys.

I would talk to them about my commitment to player safety - conditioning, equipment, techniques, practice plans, and behavior standards.  And I’d make sure I had a copy of a study showing that at our level, football less dangerous than lots of other sports - not to mention that fact that if they’re left to their own devices, teenage boys have a tendency to find far more dangerous things to do than football - without any of the benefits of football.

I would invite them to attend any practice (on the sidelines, obviously) and to join us in our post-game de-briefing session out on the field - Frosty Westering called it the “afterglow.”

You could probably meet with two or three sets of parents a night. If you were talking about 60 kids, then at a rate of two of them a night for five days a week, it would take you six weeks.  It might not take that long.  Several years ago a friend of mine did this when he took over at a new school and he got 100 kids out.

Of course you talk to the kids in the school, too - but that’s another issue.

But I guarantee you selling the parents would set you apart from everybody else, especially with your background in sales.


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

Mark Cuban is a lot like many of today's "young" millionaires.  A lot of talk...no action.  A lot of fluff...no substance.  A lot of flash...no shine.  A lot of words...all BS.  Some advice to Mr. Cuban...D-UP!!

Turner Gill called it.  He described my wife to a T.  I could not have done it without her PERIOD.

Those sure were different times my friend.  And times we are most certainly never going to see again.  The Reverend Graham was a rock for many during those times.

My nephew was a Marine.  A sniper at that.  He's livid.  And he and his Marine buddies all say the Corps is definitely "lowering their standards."

I've considered flip-flopping for a long time.  But...I've flip-flopped on whether I should or shouldn't.  What happens if you have kids up front who are better on one side of center than they are on the other?  I've seen it a number of times, and because of it I've stayed with right-handed/left-handed ability.  Yet...with O Line numbers being what they are nowadays I wonder if flip-flopping should be the way to go!

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** QUIZ ANSWER - With all the great players the Steelers have in the Hall of Fame, they've retired just two jerseys - and Ernie Stautner's is one of them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Some guys may remember him as one of the very first of the retired athletes in the Miller Light “Tastes Great! Less Filling!” commercials.
They weren't permitted to use active athletes.)

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING ERNIE STAUTNER
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JERRY LOVELL - BELLEVUE, NEBRASKA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MIKE CAHILL - GUILDERLAND, NEW YORK
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK (1990 he was the head coach of the Dallas Texans of the arena football league. I played for Albany at the time and Ernie was scary, not very tall but very grizzled face.)


http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/Stautners-strength-was-his-strength-/1777d2a6-9f99-476c-9a9e-75ac0be386bb

http://www.dallascowboys.com/news/2006/02/16/long-time-cowboys-assistant-stautner-dies-80



*********** Coach,
The answer to your quiz is Ernie Stautner. He played at Vincentian Institute in Albany. I had an uncle who also was my godfather that played with him and stayed in touch for years. When I was about 12 my uncle, who at the time resided in Rochester NY, was in town for a weekend and it just so happened that Mr Stautner was also. They made plans to have Sunday dinner at my Grandparents house and Mr Stautner asked if he could bring a friend who was also in town for the weekend. That friend ended up being George Allen, who’s mother lived in the area. I happened to be staying the weekend with my grandparents and, being a huge football fan whose favorite team was the LA Rams, you could imagine my excitement. that is a day I will remember for the rest of my life. Incredible men and a huge reason I got in to coaching.

Mike Cahill
Guilderland, New York

*********** Coach  Do you have any BC Connections that can explain this ? .. BC has retired Numbers Flutie, Mike Ruth, and Matt Ryan and Honored jerseys Mike Holovak,Tony Thurman , Art Donovan , etc .

But Why is Ernie Stautner’s number not retired or honored at BC  ?  He and Art Donovan ( teammates & Class mates at BC ) are the  program’s only 2 NFL Hall of Famers.

Donovan’s Honored - Why Not Stautner ? Was he in line for the head Coaching Job  or something and he Told BC Go F**k  themselves  or something ?  odd
 
John Muckian
Ipswich, Massachusetts


QUIZ:  You seldom heard his name without the inclusion of one of his body parts.

A native of Martins Ferry, Ohio,  he was born over top of the family tavern. His father was an immigrant from Hungary and his mother came from Romania.   He came from an athletic family and although he grew to be a 6-3, 250 pound NFL lineman, he was the smallest of four brothers. One brother, Alex, was a basketball All-American at Kentucky.

He played some college ball - but very little - at Ohio State before World War II service called. The legendary Paul Brown, then coach at Ohio State recalled "recruiting" him to come to Columbus: “(He) was an all-state tackle in football, an all-state center in basketball, and a member of the National Honor Society, and as a senior he stood well over six feet tall and weighed 220 pounds. He had also begun to excel as a place-kicker, thanks to the tutelage of his brother, Frank. Even then the kicking game was important to me, and I saw that (his) talent could give us a tremendous advantage. I asked Gomer Jones, his coach and an Ohio State alumnus, to bring him to Columbus later in the year for an interview. At the time, Notre Dame was also interested in him, and (he) said he was thinking of going to South Bend. 'What has Notre Dame offered you?' I asked him. 'I'll get a full scholarship, plus room and board,' he said. ‘(—), we can find you a job, and that is all,' I replied. (He) said he really wanted to play at Ohio State, but there were other problems. 'My brother was just drafted into the army, and I know I'll be next,' he said. 'So I can't guarantee that I'll be able to play for you until the war is over.' 'That's all right,' I replied. 'We are building a team that will have the best possible boys, and we want you to be a part of it.' He finally agreed, and we arranged a job that paid him $60 per month, and (he) played for our freshman team in 1942 before going into the army. Even as an eighteen year-old, he was something special as a kicker. His kickoffs sailed 70 yards, and his field goals, under pressure, went 40 or 50 yards. Unlike college football kickers today (Brown was writing in 1979) who use a platter (tee), he kicked off the grass."

He took part in the invasion of Okinawa and was preparing to take part in the invasion of tJapan when the war ended. When he returned from overseas, Brown, now hired to start a pro football team in Cleveland, approached him and other former Buckeyes about signing with his team. As Brown recalled, "Life was completely different for them now, and college football no longer had the same allure it had had a few years before, when they were eighteen years old."

He decided to sign with Brown, and he wound up  playing 21 years - all with  the Browns.  During that time he played on four AAFC champions and four NFL champions.  In 1950, the Browns’ first year in the NFL, his last-minute field goal won the NFL championship game over the Los Angeles Rams.

Although conceded to be the first of the great pro football field goal kickers, he was named first team all-Pro offensive lineman four straight years (1952-1955) and second-team twice (1956-1957). As either a kicker or an offensive lineman, he played in nine Pro Bowls.

“I always thought of myself more as a tackle than a kicker,” he would later recall. “At least until I couldn’t play tackle any more.”

He is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and his number has been retired by the Browns.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Could there be a connection? I wondered.

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

But the Scots knew.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That was 2015.

This is now: (from hotair.com)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*********** It’s coming.  It’s just a matter of time.  Soon, you won’t have to fly to Las Vegas to place a legal bet on a sports event.

Is YOUR state ready to capitalize on sports gambling when it comes?

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

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

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

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

West Point Certificate

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Although short, he was by no means a little man. (He weighed at least 180.) His great speed combined with an ability to change direction instantly made him a great crowd favorite, and he attributed his long NFL career to the fact that few people could ever get a good shot at him.

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

Buddy Young was the first Colt to have his number (22) retired and, in 1964, was the first African-American executive hired by the NFL.

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

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

















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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

150th logo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


Keith's email:  kbabb@ncsasports.org

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

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


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

For Pete’s sake,  he’s 40 years old!

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

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

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

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

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

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

The guy was George Blanda.  He was 43.

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

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

The FBI.  You mean the Federal Bureau of Incompetents?

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

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

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

Enjoy your weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Louis Riel Day.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING ERNIE NEVERS:

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

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

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

Talk to you soon!

Love,

Vicky

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

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

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

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

Good to hear from you Hugh. Say hi to Connie

Ossie Osmundson
Woodland, Washington

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


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

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

Recommended by Mick Yanke, Cokato, Minnesota

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

*********** I wrote this in 2004…

ERNIE NEVERS - THE GREATEST CARDINAL

By Hugh Wyatt

Originally Published: September 3, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.carnegiehero.org/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WTF?

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

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

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

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

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

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

But, but, but…

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

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

They  met with him and asked him some questions.

And that was that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You mean there’s something that does?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why?  Because “we can’t have this.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Introducing… The ALL BLACKS!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TO BE CONTINUED

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

I’m still working on the spin-offs...

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

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

All Blacks cartoons on Saturday morning.

All Blacks video games.

All Blacks trading cards.

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

All Blacks parties, at which adults do the Haka.

Teenagers playing rugby in the park.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great week!

Joe  Gutilla
Austin, Texas

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


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

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

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

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

Problem solved.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jack Elway died in 2001.

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

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

QUIZ: He played professional basketball, baseball and football.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

or

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

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

Go get ‘em, guys.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have we lowered our standards that much?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Philly sure knows how to turn out for a party!

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

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

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He died in 2001.

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Consider:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

1955 army team

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care,

Mick Yanke
Cokato,  Minnesota

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

Truthfully,  I could have dealt with another Patriot win.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Tide ads were pretty good.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe,

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

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

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

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


Kensington



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks, Dr. Janus. 

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

Code:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BRONKO NAGURSKI

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good for them.

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

Go for it.

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

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

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

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

The following guiding principles are paramount to preventing exertional rhabdomyolysis:

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

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

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

4. The first four days of transition periods should be separate-day workouts, and all workouts:
a. Should be documented in writing.
b. Should be intentional.
c. Should increase progressively in the volume, intensity, mode and duration of physical activity.

5. All strength and conditioning workouts:
a. Should be documented in writing.
b. Should reflect the progression, technique, and intentional increase in the volume, intensity, mode and duration of the physical activity.
c. Should be available for review by athletics department staff.

We encourage the sports medicine and sports performance teams on your campus to discuss prevention strategies that incorporate these guidelines and address this preventable condition. Additionally, we encourage you to share this information with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee at your school.


***********  A group called the Concussion Legacy Foundation has announced the formation of something called “Flag Football Under 14,” and they’ve enlisted a number of current and former football notables to try to sell parents on the idea that kids shouldn’t play tackle football until they’re in 9th grade.

A sampling:

John Madden, who made a fortune peddling pro football to the masses, not to mention "big hits" on a video game that’s paid him well for the use of his name: “Why do we have to start with a six year old who was just potty trained a year ago and put a helmet on him and tackle?”  (John, we’re not talking about six-year-olds.  We’re talking about middle-school kids.   Besides, I don’t know about your children, John, but six years old is WAY too late to be potty-training your kids.)

Dana Holgerson, West Virginia head coach: “I don’t think football needs to be played until you’re in the ninth grade. (Fine, coach - and to show how sincere you are,  I expect you to restrict your  recruiting to kids who didn't start to play football until they were in ninth grade.)

Jim (The Great One) Harbaugh: “I always encourage youngsters in America to play soccer.  I think every American boy should play soccer till the eighth grade, then they should play football – American football.” (Uh, Jimmy, do you think that once kids get playing another sport year-round, on travel teams and such, they’re going to drop everything and take up football - a demanding sport they’ve never even played - once they get to high school?)

Harry Carson, former Giants’ great:  “To parents who want their children to experience football, they should not play tackle football until 14. I did not play tackle football until high school, and I will not allow my grandson to play until 14, as I believe it is not an appropriate sport for young children.” (My grandfather didn’t have a lot to say about my upbringing.  He kept his mouth shut and let my parents raise me and my brother.)

Nick Buonoconti, former Dolphins’ linebacker: “I made a mistake starting tackle football at 9 years old. Now, CTE has taken my life away. Youth tackle football is all risk with no reward.”  (Yeah, Nick - it was all those big hits that you took when you were 9 and 10 years old, not those 14 years playing middle linebacker in the AFL and NFL.)

Former Oakland Raider  Phil Villapiano:  “I watched my teammate Ken Stabler deteriorate and die from CTE. At some point those us who have had success in this game must speak up to protect both football players and the future of the game, and supporting Flag Football Under 14 is our best way to do that.”  (Before laying it all on football, Ken Stabler’s well-known love of partying during  - and long after  -his playing days at Alabama and in the NFL ought to be taken into account.)

https://concussionfoundation.org/programs/flag-football

https://concussionfoundation.org/about/media/press-releases/pro-football-hall-famers-parents-flag-football-only-choice-children-under

*********** Hugh,

I'm so done with all this political correctness regarding sports teams mascots.  I believe many of the complainers are just s**t disturbers that want nothing more than to stir up trouble.

Over the years I have noticed a larger number of strength programs utilizing "farmer strength" exercises (flipping tractor tires, pushing trucks, carrying large buckets of water, etc.).  In fact a local pro football legend here in Austin started his own company that manufactures a "sled" called a PowerDrive.  Doug English modeled the sled after a rolled bale of hay he used to push around his dad's farm.  I ordered one and it really did help our athletes get stronger in the legs, learning how to stay low, with a straight back, and push/roll the sled.

Maybe Yale's president needs to share his thoughts with high school principals and their coaches.  Unfortunately there are too many high school "graduates" being admitted to colleges that have no idea what self-discipline is.

Condolences to the Chesnauskas family.  Apparently he was one of those men we just don't see much of anymore.

That coach from Crenshaw completely whiffed on that one.  (See my Yale comment).

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe, I have to agree with you on the sh— disturbers.  Booker T. Washington said it in so many words many years ago - there are people who make a lot of noise about a cause but don’t really want to get their wish.  If they ever did, their lives would no longer have any meaning (and they wouldn't have any income)  because they wouldn’t have anything to bitch about.

*********** Several years ago I read an article about Vanuatu, a remote island nation in the South Pacific, and one of the things I found fascinating was their choice of mind-altering substance - and the rather unorthodox way in which it was produced and consumed. 

The substance came from the root of the kava plant.  Young Vanuatuans, as I recall, would sit around a bowl chewing on the roots and then spitting into the bowl.  And then, cocktail time - pass the bowl.  And a good time was had by all.

Kava’s effects are said, variously, to be sedative or euphoric, so, either way, since it alters the mind, it was just a matter of time before it made it to a nation that glorifies marijuana.   Pass the kava.

Sure enough, kava - the drink, if not the method of preparation - is making its way into the mainstream.  It’s made it all the way to Brooklyn, New York’s hipster capitol, where millennials are said to sit around sipping kava.  No need to spit, though - it’s made from powdered kava.  (No telling how they prepare the powder.)

https://www.afp.com/en/news/826/kava-drink-soothing-stress-ny-millennials-doc-xv2ma1

*********** In a book called “Talking Irish - The Oral History of Notre Dame Football,” Johnny Lattner, who would win a Heisman Trophy, told of one memorable trip the Irish made to play Southern California.

A few weeks after we lost to Michigan State, we went to Los Angeles to play USC. Well, that Friday afternoon, right after practice,  about seven or eight of us went to RKO Studio.  They were filming “Clash by Night,” with Barbara Stanwyck, Paul Douglas, and Robert Ryan.

But Marilyn Monroe was also in it.  And that’s why we were there.

At first, the RKO people told us no. But we had this kid with us named Bobby Joseph.   He was a good BSer. Bobby said, “We’re all Notre Dame football players.  We’re here in L.A. for the big USC game.”  Blah, blah, blah. And Bobby talked our way in.

So then we’re sitting there with Marilyn Monroe. We sat in her little star hut for maybe two hours. We were just nineteen years old, but she was probably only 24. And man, was this girl pretty.  Not only pretty, but nice. She had no put-on at all.

While we were sitting there, Marilyn Monroe pulled out this publicity photo. Then she said to me, “Do you want a picture?” I said, “Yeah, I do.” She said, “What do you want me to put on it?” I said, “Dear John, Thanks for the wonderful night we had together. Love and Kisses, Marilyn.”  So that’s what she wrote down - with her phone number on it!

We called her from our hotel later that night.  We wanted her to come to the USC game. We even had some field passes for her.  But she said, “Gee, I’m sorry. I won’t be able to go.  I’m meeting another athlete at the airport. “

She was meeting Joe DiMaggio.

Well, the next day we upset USC and Frank Gifford, 19-12, on national television. It was the first game ever televised coast-to-coast. So that was a dynamite weekend out in L.A.

Then, as soon as we got back to Notre Dame, I put up my picture of Marilyn Monroe. But the priest who ran our dorm made me take it down.


*********** QUIZ - They started out in the 1920s as the Frankford Yellow Jackets, and they’ve been the  Philadelphia Eagles since 1933, but in all that time they’ve won the Big One just three times - and he was the coach of two of those NFL champions.

Very early, he was given the nickname by which he was known the rest of his life - Greasy.
 
Greasy Neale coached a Rose Bowl team, coached an NFL champion, and played in a World Series. And he's in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
 
He played pro football under an assumed name while coaching a college team, West Virginia Wesleyan.
 
He played eight years of major league baseball, with the Cincinnati Reds, and in one of the most famous of all World Series, the notorious "Black Sox Series" of 1919,  he played in all eight games and batted .357.
 
He took little Washington and Jefferson to the Rose Bowl, and despite being heavy underdogs,  W & J, with eleven men playing the entire game, held mighty California to a 0-0 tie - the only scores tie in Roe Bowl history.
 
He was the first full-time coach at the University of Virginia, and after that, the first-full-time coach at West Virginia.
 
At Yale, as backfield coach, he coached back-to-back Heisman trophy winners in Larry Kelley and Clint Frank. (The only other man to coach back-to-back Heisman winners: Army's Earl "Red" Blaik.)
 
During World War II, with able-bodied players hard to come by, he and Walt Kiesling served as co-head coaches of the “Steagles,” an NFL team formed by the merger of the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
 
He coached two NFL champions, the Philadelphia Eagles of 1948 and 1949, and Hall of Famers Chuck Bednarik, Pete Pihos, Steve Van Buren and Alex Wojciechowicz (I can't tell you how it is properly pronounced in Polish, but to the Philadelphia radio announcers of my childhood, it was "waw-juh-HOH-wix").

He is given credit for the invention of the Eagle defense, which evolved, by backing up the "middle guard" as he was called, into the "Pro 4-3." The "middle guard" became today’s middle linebacker, a position made famous by so many great players, including Chuck Bednarik, Sam Huff, Bill George, Joe Schmidt, Ray Nitschke, Dick Butkus, Willie Lanier, Jack Lambert, Nick Buonoconti, Mike Singletary..... yes, undoubtedly I've missed some good ones, but you get the idea of this man's impact on the game.
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1969.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING GREASY NEALE
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON

*********** To give you a great look at Greasy Neale, this 1964 article from Sports Illustrated, when he was in his 70s, tells it all.

https://www.si.com/vault/1964/08/24/608446/greasy-neale-nothing-to-prove-nothing-to-ask

*********** Mark “Coach Kaz” Kaczmarek of Davenport, Iowa, read the SI article, and commented,

“what a great remembrance stimulant with the story of his nickname...a "name-calling joust!"...a 20th Century "rapper throwdown!"

Nowadays, kids would run home and tell their mommies that they were called a name.


*********** Wrote Rich Hofmann in 2000, in " Century of Sport in Philadelphia," Greasy Neale’s firing explains Philadelphia sports in the Twentieth Century (and, I would argue, beyond).

By Rich Hofmann
Daily News Sports Writer

A century of sports in Philadelphia. Where to begin? In this town -- in this sometimes-sullen, congenitally-frustrated, entirely-sports-captivated town -- we will start in the middle.

The date was Nov. 26, 1950. It is not a date that has lived in infamy. About two months earlier, the Whiz Kids had won the pennant on the last day of the season when Dick Sisler hit that glorious home run in Brooklyn. They won the pennant and went on to play in the World Series. This is not about that day or about the Phillies, though. This is about the Eagles.

By 1950, they had played in three consecutive NFL championship games and won the previous two. Their coach, Greasy Neale, was becoming a borderline legend. They had a veteran running back named Steve Van Buren and a young force of nature named Chuck Bednarik at linebacker. They had won one title in a snowstorm in 1948 and another title in a mud bowl in '49. This was 1950, though, and things were not well.

Money. The reason was money. The year before, the Eagles had been sold to a group known as the "Happy Hundred" or the "100 Brothers" -- 100 local investors, each of whom put up a stake of $3,000. The leader of the group was James P. Clark, a local businessman.

After winning back-to-back titles, the Eagles' players naturally wanted raises. The ownership said there was no money for raises. There were contract holdouts that summer as a result. And just when Neale had used his personal influence and prestige to convince most everyone to play for the same money they'd received the year before, Clark swooped in and gave raises to some of the holdouts. Confusion and dissension ruled for a while. Relations between Neale and Clark grew, uh, chilly.

So, on Nov. 26 at the Polo Grounds, the Eagles lost by 7-3 to the New York Giants, dropping their record to 6-4 with two games remaining. The magnificent Van Buren was playing on an injured foot, and it showed. The season was slipping away.

After the game, Clark stormed into the Eagles' locker room and confronted Neale about the team's declining play. Reports vary as to exactly what happened next. Some said a group of Eagles players literally had to pull Neale off the owner.

Everyone acknowledged that Neale offered his resignation on the spot. Years later, Bednarik remembered Neale yelling at Clark, "Look, you [bleep] Irishman, you can take that $15,000 you're paying me and stick it up your [bleep]."

Neale asked Clark to apologize to the players later in the week, which he did. But the Eagles didn't win another game that season. And during the winter, while vacationing in Florida, the greatest coach in the history of the franchise was fired by mail.

Now, you tell me: Which of the events of 1950 says more about the Philadelphia sporting century -- the Whiz Kids in Ebbets Field or the Eagles in the Polo Grounds? Which one?

*********** THE YEAR GREASY NEALE WAS FIRED

A great article about how, after winning two straight NFL titles, Greasy Neale lost his job the next year when new ownership took over.

By Gene Murdock
The Coffin Corner Volume X
[Originally published in Pro Football Digest, April- May, 1968, five years before Neale's death in 1973 and 17 years after his controversial ousting.]

It was a tense moment in the Philadelphia Eagles' dressing room at the Polo Grounds on a raw Sunday afternoon in late November 1950. The National Football League champions had just dropped a heartbreaker to the New York Giants, 7-3. The club owner stood in the center of the room and pointed an accusing finger at his coach. "And you," he shouted, "you made mistakes out there; you made mistakes!"

"Damn you," fired back the coach, "I never make mistakes. Or if I do you can't tell me in my clubhouse in front of my football players. If you want to tell me what mistakes I make on the football field, you tell me in your office on Monday morning!"

Seated in his home in Parkersburg, W.Va. 17 years later, 76-year-old Earle "Greasy" Neale still has thunder in his voice as he talks of the shouting match that openly marked the beginning of the end of his long and colorful coaching career. "Imagine this now -- the president of a ball club standing in the middle of the dressing room after you'd been beaten 7-3, popping off in front of your players, telling me you can't win with three points. Anybody knew that. It didn't take a genius to tell you that!"

The year 1950 had already been a trying one for Greasy, who had led the Eagles to NFL titles in 1948 and 1949, winning "Coach of the Year" honors both seasons. He had taken over the club, a tail-end outfit, in 1941, had converted it into a winner within three or four years and had topped this feat with three divisional and two league crowns.

As the 1950 season approached, the future had looked bright. Neale had most of his championship team back, a team studded with such seasoned stars as Steve Van Buren, Tommy Thompson, Pete Pihos and Vic Sears. In addition there were outstanding second-year men like Chuck Bednarik, Clyde "Smackover" Scott and Frank Ziegler. Greasy confided to Philadelphia sportswriter Stan Baumgartner on the eve of the College All-Star game his personal optimism: "I don't see why our boys can't do it again. Who is there to beat us?"

But things had not worked out that way. A wave of crippling injuries beset the Eagles in training camp. In the first game of the season, the Cleveland Browns, newly arrived in the NFL after terrorizing the All-America Conference, proved they belonged there by trouncing the Eagles 35-10.

As he looks back on that first game with Paul Brown's team, Greasy admits that he and his Eagles probably took the neophyte Browns too lightly.

"They beat us with passes -- Otto Graham to Dub Jones. I thought Russ Craft could cover anybody alive – he covered "Crazylegs" Hirsch all the time and would take the ball right away from him and run for touchdowns -- but he couldn't cover Dub Jones. I knew within 10 minutes after that game started that the Eagle defense wouldn't stop the Browns."

But the Eagles bounced back. They won five straight and seemed headed for another championship until they experienced a series of exasperating razor-thin defeats in November and December that destroyed their hopes for a third straight title. The mounting frustration came to a head in the Polo Grounds dressing room with owner Jim Clark and Greasy blowing up at each other. In picturesque language Neale offered to quit his job on the spot, but Clark quickly retreated and diplomatic relations between the two were temporarily patched up.

As Greasy recalls it: "After that game in New York we went out to Cleveland for our second game with the Browns. Jim and I rode out together and had a few drinks together. I forced him on Tuesday to come to practice and apologize to the team. He told me then: 'You can coach this team forever for me.'"

The cut went too deep, however, and in three months' time the "Coach of the Year" -- the man who had wondered: "Who is there to beat us?" -- was fired.

What happened? From the distance of years, it looks quite simple. After racing to a 5-1 record to lead the Eastern Conference at the midway point, the Eagles apparently collapsed. In the last half of the season, except for a 33-0 rout of the Redskins, the Philadelphians dropped five games. They ended up in a tie for third place in the East with a 6-6 record, the team's poorest performance since 1942.

But as Greasy tells it, nothing is ever quite that simple. Although only 6-6 for the season, the Eagles outscored their opponents by the lopsided margin of 254 to 141. And, significantly, they dropped those five second-half games by a total of 18 points. The Giants beat them twice (7-3 and 9-7), the Browns once (13-7), Pittsburgh once (9-7) and the Cardinals once (14-10).

In the first Giant game, the one that touched off the Clark-Neale confrontation, Philadelphia was near the goal line most of the time, but could not push the ball across and had to settle for a field goal. As Greasy remembers it, they were stopped five times -- on the 16-, 20-, 5-, 2-, and 4-yard lines.

He talks of the second clash with the Browns with bitterness lightened by a special kind of pride. "I spent two hours a day for a week on defense before the second Brown game. Imagine that! They only give 20 minutes to defense normally.

"Motley gains 15 yards, Graham doesn't complete a pass. And they beat me on an intercepted pass that they scored on and two fumbles where Groza kicked field goals. They beat us 13-7. They made two first downs -- and I'll bet it's the only game Graham ever played in which he didn't complete a pass!"

Greasy's strategy for stopping Marion Motley was simple: "I put Bednarik on that Motley and I said: 'That's your man, and don't you let him go anywhere. When he comes through the line, whether he's got the ball or not, you hit him and you hit him and you tear him apart!'

"That Bednarik, he was something! You know, he was the first lineman ever taken as a first-round draft choice. He and Van Buren and Joe Muha were the best picks we ever made."

The loss of those five games by 18 points resulted less from a collapse of the team on the field -- on defense the Eagles allowed far fewer first downs than any team in the league and were only 70 yards behind the Browns in yards allowed -- than from a succession of damaging injuries, but anytime a coach loses players like Van Buren, "Bosh" Pritchard, Scott and Al Wistert for extended periods, he's in trouble. Greasy was no exception.

Van Buren developed a spur on the bottom of one of his feet in training and after playing in the All-Star game with Novocain deadening the pain, he was returned to Philadelphia for an operation and did not practice for the next six weeks. He missed the season's opener and was far below par all year long. His rushing total dropped from the league-leading figure of 1,146 yards in 1949 to 626 in 1950, with his average declining from 4.4 yards a try to 3.3.

Pritchard, who had finished fifth in the NFL in rushing in 1949 with a 6.0 average, injured a knee in training and didn't play in a single game in 1950. Scott, who as a rookie from Arkansas in 1949 had averaged just under five yards a try in 40 carries, was badly injured in the second quarter of the 1950 opener against the Browns and was finished for the season.

As Stan Baumgartner explained it: "Pritchard and Scott are very fast men who can run the ends, keep the opposing defense spread and make it possible for Van Buren to plunge through the line. When these two carriers were out of the lineup, the opposition concentrated on Van Buren and bottled him up before he could get started. The only other danger was quarterback Tommy Thompson's forward passes. With no fear of Pritchard, Scott or Van Buren, the rival club concentrated on possible receivers. So Neale's entire intricate offense bogged down."

Greasy was vacationing at Lake Worth, Fla. in February 1951, confident that his Eagles would bounce back the next season, when he got a terse telegram from owner Jim Clark saying: "You will be paid for the one year remaining on your contract, but you are no longer the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles."

"It was a complete surprise," says Greasy. "After that blowup in New York Clark told me that I could coach the Eagles as long as he had the club. It liked to kill my wife. She died two months later."

In Neale's opinion an important factor in his dismissal was a difference of views over his scouting system. "We had the greatest scouting system of any team in the NFL," Greasy proudly claims. "We had the information on every boy who entered school until the time he graduated from any college in America."

According to Greasy, it was in 1943 that he and Alexis Thompson, who then owned the Eagles, and general manager Harry Thayer worked out an elaborate method of compiling complete information on all college football players.

"We had 68 books that we took into the second draft meeting we attended. No team had ever done this before. They laughed at us, but you can bet they stopped after we got ourselves men like Van Buren and Muha with that system!

"The problem was that Jim Clark, who headed the 1,000 stockholders who bought the club from Lex Thompson, didn't know anything about football. He wanted to trim expenses by doing away with my scouts. He thought we were spending too much money for information on football players.

"That scouting system won us championships. But I was wasting my time telling Clark that. He paid no attention to it."

To replace Neale, Clark hired Bo McMillan, who in three years as head coach of the Detroit Lions (1948-50) had compiled a 12-24 won-lost record and had feuded continually with the clubowners. He coached the Eagles for two games in 1951, quitting because of illness. Wayne Millner succeeded him and the Eagles wound up the year with a 4-8 mark.

Today, Greasy Neale lives in his boyhood hometown in a house filled with trophies. The trophies tell of the days he played football with Jim Thorpe long before the NFL was born, of years as a slick-hitting outfielder with the Cincinnati Reds and as a coach of college football teams -- including the Washington and Jefferson giant-killers who held mighty California to a scoreless tie in the 1922 Rose Bowl.

And some of the trophies tell Greasy that he was professional football's "Coach of the Year" two years in a row -- just before a season when the percentages took over and five games lost by a total of 18 points brought him and his high-flying Eagles back to earth.


*********** QUIZ - A native of the North Woods of Minnesota, he built a legend that almost matched another famous Minnesotan, Paul Bunyan.

At 6-2, 235, he was a very big man for his time, and running ability made him one of the dominant players of the game, in college and the pros, as a defensive lineman, linebacker, offensive lineman and running back.

It was said of him that, “He could run interference for himself.”

In 1949 famous sportswriter Grantland Rice named him to his All-time All-American team as its fullback. “in the opinion of my
 coaches, he was the greatest all-round football player of all time. . . . He has been a fine tackle. a fine end and a great fullback.“

Rice once wrote,  ''Eleven (of him) could beat 11 Red Granges or 11 Jim Thorpes.''

The son of a Polish father and Ukrainian mother who immigrated from the Ukraine to Canada, he was born in Canada but grew up in northern Minnesota - FAR northern Minnesota.

He was given the “old country” name of Bronislau, but from his early days in school he was given the nickname by which he was known the rest of his life.

He played college football at Minnesota and professional football for the Chicago Bears.

In his autobiography, “Halas by Halas,” Chicago Bears’ owner and head coach George Halas recalled the famous story about how he wound up at Minnesota.

“To make our T (formation) really work, we needed a powerful running back. For some time I had been hearing about (such was the state of scouting in the days - HW) a big strong man from the north woods who was good for 10 yards or so every time he carried the ball for Minnesota.  The coach there, Doc Spears, said he had found his Hercules one day while driving through the woods along the Rainy River which separates Minnesota from Canada.  He was seeking a boy he had heard about, and saw a young man pushing a pillow without the aid of a horse.  Doc said he stopped and asked the plowman the way to the house he was seeking.

“‘Right over there,’ the plowman said, picking up the plow and using it for a pointer. Doc said he forgot about the other boy and went for the plowman.”

In his three years at Minnesota, the Golden Gophers were 18-4-2, and won the Big Ten title in 1927.

He had an outstanding  NFL career, playing at a number of positions. He was feared as a linebacker but also as a runner.  On one kick return, four Pittsburgh Steelers were knocked cold trying to tackle him. In the first-ever NFL championship game, won by the Bears over the Giants, he threw a pass for the winning score. 

In 1938, when Bears’ owner George Halas refused to meet his request for a $6,000 contract, he retired from football and became a professional wrestler. (Won a "world championship.") Five years later, with young men off to war and the NFL teams facing a shortage of players, he was persuaded to return for one more season of pro ball, and scored a touchdown in the Bears' championsip win over the Redskins.

His Number 3 is one of 14 jersey numbers retired by the Bears.

His 1943 NFL championship ring was size 19-1/2, an NFL record exceeded only once since, by the Bears’ William “Refrigerator” Perry in 1985 (with a 23 or 25, depending on where you read it).

His football card, part of a 36-piece set put out by a chewing gum company in 1935,  is currently valued at $240,000, making it the most valuable football card in existence.

His son and namesake played football at Notre Dame and then played professionally in Canada.


american flagTUESDAY,  JANUARY 30,  2018  “The term 'undocumented' workers is ludicrous. They are often the most 'documented,' except that the documents are all fake."  Former Congressman J. C. Watts

*********** George Gipp was the classic Yooper!

Adam Wesoloski
Pulaski, Wisconsin

HAHAHA.  I thought of you when I wrote about him.

Interestingly, when he returned for his sophomore year, he brought two homies with him - Ojay Larson and Hunk Anderson, who both wound up playing at ND and in the NFL.   Anderson was coaching at Notre Dame when Rockne as killed in the plane crash, and Anderson succeeded Rockne as ND head coach.

Funny how so many places have their U-P, remote places where the people are… different.

Hard drinking and hard playing and not terribly interested in rules that get in their way, especially rules imposed by outsiders.

I think one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen was set in da U-P:  “Escanaba in Da Moonlight.”

One of the characters describes the wonderment of opening day of hunting season:

“It’s like Christmas - wit’ guns.”


*********** Good-bye Chief Wahoo.  By 2019,  the buck-toothed cartoon Indian that’s adorned the Cleveland Indians’ uniforms for at least the last 70 years (I was a big fan of the Indians - especially Bob Feller - when they beat the Boston Braves in the  1948 World Series) will be gone.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/mlb/indians-removing-chief-wahoo-logo-from-jerseys-caps-in-2019/ar-BBIpx61


*********** And then there are the Washington Redskins. I don’t have a dog in the fight, and although it would appear that “Redskins” could be considered offensive, by no means are native Americans united in opposition to the team’s name.

It’s interesting how they’ve changed the lyrics of their fight song, “Hail to the Redskins.”

The tune was composed by Barnee Breeskin, leader of the orchestra at Washington’s Shoreham Hotel. He first played it for the owner, George Preston Marshall and his wife, Corinne, in the summer of 1937. It was Breeskin who called it “Hail to the Redskins.”

Corinne Griffith herself wrote the original lyrics:
Hail to the Redskins,
Hail Vic-to-ry!
Braves on the warpath,
FIGHT! for old D.C.

Scalp ‘um, swamp ‘um
We will take ‘um big score

Read ‘um, weep ‘um
Touchdown we want heap more!


Fight on, Fight on, till you have won,
Sons of Wash-ing-ton
RAH! RAH! RAH!

Hail to the Redskins,
Hail Vic-to-ry!
Braves on the warpath,
FIGHT! for old D.C.
At some point not all that long ago, however,  the lyrics were sanitized - the faux Indian jargon removed - so now the song goes…
Hail to the Redskins!
Hail Victory!
Braves on the Warpath!
Fight for old D.C.!

Run or pass and score—
We want a lot more!

Beat 'em, Swamp 'em,
Touchdown! Let the points soar!

Fight on, fight on 'Til you have won
Sons of Wash-ing-ton. Rah!, Rah!, Rah!

Hail to the Redskins!
Hail Victory!
Braves on the Warpath!
Fight for old D.C.!
https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/1989/10/26/barnee-breeskin-dies/b755e064-21ea-47c4-a8e5-4d75fcf67df1/?utm_term=.ef74465d1625

*********** When the NFL began considering an expansion team in Dallas, Redskins’ owner George P. Marshall opposed the move.   Washington was then the  southernmost NFL city and the Redskins were the only NFL team broadcasting into the South, and he thought of the South as his exclusive market (helping to explain why the Redskins would be the last NFL team to integrate).

One of the applicants for a Dallas franchise was wealthy oilman Clint Murchison, who pulled a clever move on Marshall by buying the rights to "Hail to the Redskins" from Barnee Breeskin, who wrote the music and  owned the rights.  Murchison then notified Marshall that unless he approved Murchison’s franchise,  he’d never again play “Hail to the Redskins.” Marshall agreed to back Murchison's application and Murchison gave Marshall the rights to the song.

From a Cowboys’ site…

In the late 1950s, Texas oil tycoon and founding owner of the Dallas Cowboys Clint Murchison, Jr. was not the first wealthy businessman to attempt to bring an NFL franchise to Dallas. Lamar Hunt before him had applied for an expansion team, but was turned down, in much thanks to opposition like Washington Redskins owner George Preston Marshall, who – naturally – enjoyed his team’s monopoly on professional football fanship in the south.

But with the NFL’s rejection, Hunt gathered other rejected would-be NFL owners and formed the American Football League, or the AFL, and established the Dallas Texans. Not wanting the AFL to take hold of the regional market, the NFL quickly obliged Murchison’s request to start a Dallas franchise on the condition that all other NFL owners would approve, which brings us back to the big, bad Mr. Marshall.

Then fate stepped in.

As all of this Dallas talk was going down, Marshall had a very public falling-out with Redskins band director and composer of the team’s beloved fight song Barnee Breeskin. Breeskin sought revenge, and had his attorney sell the rights to the fight song – “Hail to the Redskins” – to Murchison. Essentially holding the song hostage, Murchison told Marshall he’d better approve his Dallas franchise or “Hail to the Redskins” would never ring through Griffith Stadium again. Recognizing the ballad to be indispensable to Redskins fans (and to his wife Corinne Griffith who wrote its lyrics), Marshall begrudgingly agreed to make the deal.
On Jan. 28, 1960, the city of Dallas was granted an NFL franchise and a few months later, it was announced the team would be called the “Dallas Cowboys.” (And Hunt’s AFL Dallas Texans soon moved to Kansas City where they would become the Kansas City Chiefs.)
http://www.5pointsblue.com/dallas-cowboys-born-fight-song-ransom/


***********  If you’re an older coach, I’ll bet you’ve seen this: the rest of the guys are in the weight room,  lifting, when in walks a farm kid - a guy who’s never lifted in his life - and he breaks all the records in the room. "Farmer strong,” they’d say. 

Now, there’s growing interest in this  idea of “functional strength” - defined by one strength trainer as “Training that attempts to mimic the specific physiological demands of real-life activities.”

Maybe they could make it an Olympic sport.

Damn shame it’s too late for Mac Batchelor.

I first heard of Mac Batchelor when I was in high school, back before athletes lifted seriously, and a few of us started screwing around with weights.  One of the guys brought in some strength-and-body-building magazine with an article in it about this guy in California named Mac Batchelor, who  owned a bar and could perform some rather astounding feats of strength related to his profession. Later, when I was in the beer business myself, I spent some tim
e in California, where all the beer guys knew all the stories about Mac Batchelor:

1. He could open his hand, spread his fingers, put beer-bottle caps in the spaces between his fingers - then crush them. Just with the strength in his fingers.

2. He could crush a bottle cap by pinching together his thumb and forefinger.

2. With a straight arm,
holding it by the chimes, he could lift a keg of beer - contents and all - to shoulder height.  (Although a brewery’s capacity is measured in 31-gallon barrels, what are sold as “kegs” are actually 15-1/2 gallon half-barrels, known in the trade as “halves.” The beer itself weighs roughly 130 pounds and today’s kegs, empty, weigh some 30 pounds, so today he’d be lifting 160 pounds. (Before lighter, stronger aluminum was used , older kegs were somewhat heavier.)  Forget the deltoids - think about the grip required to do that.

3. He is considered to be the greatest arm wrestler who ever lived.  Tending bar at his place, he was accustomed to having all sorts of challengers walk in to try themselves against the legend - and he never lost. According to a blog related to the sport, “Between 1931 and 1956, Mac pulled and beat an estimated 4,000 different opponents without suffering a single loss – an incredible 25-year span at the top of the sport.”

http://legendarystrength.com/ian-mac-batchelor/


*********** I haven’t exactly been happy with the beyond-leftist things going on at my alma mater, Yale, but in the latest alumni monthly magazine, I came across an interview with Peter Salovey, President of the University, in which he gives as good a rationale as I’ve ever read for the importance of sports in the overall development of a person.
“The athletics program, including the varsity teams, is an important part of the Yale College educational experience because students learn by playing their sport. They learn self-discipline; how to work as part of a team; how to subordinate an individual goal to a group accomplishment; and how to be resilient in the face of failure.  Athletes fail in practice and in matches every single day.  Developing resilience to disappointment is incredibly important in life.

“Through athletics, students also learn how to manage their emotions.  In my own research on emotional intelligence, we talk about team sports, in particular, as a way of learning, for instance, how to delay gratification and how to be gracious in both victory and defeat.  These are critical life skills.”
(When he mentions “Yale College,” he's referring to the undergraduate part of Yale University, as opposed to Yale Medical School, Yale Law School, Yale School of Architecture, etc.)

*********** Sad news for me as one of the giants of my youth, Ralph Chesnauskas, an Army teammate of Don Holleder, died a few weeks ago at his home in Massachusetts. His offical obituary:

Ralph Joseph Chesnauskas, 83, of Cummaquid passed away unexpectedly at Cape Cod Hospital on January 11, 2018. Ralph was born in Brockton and went on to be a star athlete at Brockton High School, eventually being inducted into their Hall of Fame. He graduated from West Point in 1956 where he was inducted into the West Point Athletic Hall of Fame for having earned 9 athletic letters in football, hockey and baseball. After leaving West Point he began working at the Gillette Company in 1961, where he stayed until his retirement 38 years later in 1999. For the last several years of his long career at Gillette he held the position of Vice President of the Safety Razor Division worldwide. Ralph is survived by his wife, Patricia; and his daughter, Holly; as well as 3 sisters, Veronica, Brony and Margaret. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Centerville MSPCA or to the Gary Sinise Foundation which supports returning disabled veterans who make our life of freedom in this country possible. Anyone whose life Ralph touched will be welcome to attend a celebration of his life that will be taking place in April after the snows of winter have left and life renews itself again in spring. Details will follow. Ralphs ashes will be interred in a private ceremony at the United States Military Academy at West Point, his true home away from home.

*********** A nice writeup about Ralph Chesnauskas in his hometown paper on his induction, in 2009, into the West Point Sports Hall of Fame…

When Army beat No. 6 Duke, 14-13, at New York’s Polo Grounds in 1953, it signaled a turnaround for the Black Knights of the Hudson.
Army had struggled in 1952 and had finished a shocking 2-7 in 1951. Ralph Chesnauskas remembers those teams well, as he was a plebe at West Point in ’52 and a two-way lineman by ’53.

But in 1951, when the chips were down and Army wasn’t rolling along, Chesnauskas was playing football at Brockton High School under coach Frank Saba.

More than half a century and nine collegiate varsity letters later, Chesnauskas was recently inducted into the Army Sports Hall of Fame, alongside legendary college basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski and several other Army sports figures. He was feted at a reception and announced during halftime of another Army-Duke tilt, this one not nearly as memorable as the upset in which Chesnauskas played 56 years prior.

In that game, Army football put itself back on the map. The Knights finished that season 7-1-1 and were ranked 14th in the final Associated Press poll. They gained momentum from there and went on to finish Chesnasukas’ junior season in the top 10.

Football was not the only sport for Chesnauskas. A perennial three-season athlete, he played football, basketball and baseball at Brockton and maintained that pace at West Point, substituting hockey for basketball, an unusual choice given that he had never played the game until college.

“I never skated until I came to West Point,” Chesnauskas said. “I was having trouble academically at West Point in the first semester, and I had a problem with one of my classes.”

He was ready to leave West Point for Wisconsin, where he had a football scholarship waiting for him. The head football coach, Col. Earl Blaik, decided he wasn’t ready to lose Chesnauskas and told hockey coach Jack Riley, who went on to coach the 1960 U.S. Olympic gold medal team, to “keep him busy.”

According to Chesnauskas, when Riley protested, Blaik said, “Half the team can’t skate, anyway, so what difference does it make?”

His learning curve was short, and by the time he was a senior, Chesnauskas was captain of hockey the team and was awarded the prestigious Army Athletic Association Award. He played defense and led Army to an 11-5 record in his final season.

Before all his later successes, Chesnauskas was simply an end on the Brockton High football team. At 75, he remembers the big wins, he recalls seeing Rocky Marciano jogging along the road to Weymouth during a road trip and playing with his brother Sonny. The annual rivalry game against Waltham on Thanksgiving Day 1950 is the one game that stands out above all in his memory.

Brockton was 7-1-1 heading into the then 26-year old rivalry tilt. Waltham was undefeated, one of the top teams in the state, and would have been headed to Florida for a bowl game if they got past the Boxers.

On that day, Chesnauskas and the rest of the Boxers ended Waltham’s unbeaten run, halting the prospective Florida trip with a 25-13 victory in one of the defining moments of his early football career.

Chesnauskas’ experiences in football began much the same way his hockey career got started. He had never played the sport before he went to high school, but was approached by Saba when he was in junior high.

“I was playing basketball with Frank Saba, who was the head coach for football,” Chesnauskas said. “He was refereeing basketball games at the junior high school, and he talked me into coming out for football.”

Chesnauskas found immediate success on the gridiron, playing mostly at end. He was an Enterprise All-Scholastic selection in football (as well as baseball) and later went into the Brockton Sports Hall of Fame for his performance on the field.

After his decorated high school and collegiate careers ended, Chesnauskas was sent to Germany to lead a tank division, fulfilling his military requirement.

“We were there to make sure the Russians wouldn’t come across and try to take Europe,” Chesnauskas said.

He left the army at the rank of first lieutenant, returning to Brockton after his three-year service was over. He stayed for five years before moving to Peabody, where a job had opened at Gillette. He stayed at the company for the rest of his career, spending the last 12 years as vice president of engineering. He retired in 1999 and has since moved down to Barnstable.

While most never even master one sport, Chesnauskas is honing his skills at a fifth, teeing up at Old Barnstable Golf Course.

“I’m playing golf a little bit, maybe once or twice a week,” he said. “Not well, but playing.”

 http://www.enterprisenews.com/x128839645/Enter-WEB-HEADLINE-HERE-and-REMOVE-THIS-TEXT

*********** My friend Dave Schorr, a West Point teammate of Ralph Chesnauskas, remembered the day Chesnauskas was visited by a guy from his hometown:  “Ralph was from Brockton, Massachsetts, and as you know Rocky Marciano was also from Brockton. The New York Times wanted to do a story - back in those days the Times covered Army Football -  so Rocky visited Ralph for the story. Ralph was not all that big, maybe 205, but he was quick as hell, and also smart as all hell. I couldn't get over how small Marciano was.  Ralph was bigger, not much bigger, but definitely bigger, and Rocky was the heavyweight champion of the world!

*********** If it boggles your mind to see how many “followers” some celebrities have on Twitter - relax.  It turns out that there’s nothing wrong with your mind.

It’s the numbers.  They’re phony.  They’re fake humans, "bots" bought by the tens of thousands for a penny or so apiece.

The New York Times tells about it in an article called “The Follower Factory.”

It’s not harmless.  It’s not just stroking one’s ego.  It’s a fraud.

The buyers of those phony followers are celebrities whose abilities to command speaking fees (as one example) depend on their popularity, which all too often is measured by Twitter followers -  real or bought.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/01/27/technology/social-media-bots.html

*********** While (sort of )watching that game of 7-on-7-with-linemen that they call the Pro Bowl (the kind of football that mothers would gladly let their little boys play) they got my attention when they announced that next they’d be presenting the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award.

This year’s winner turned out to be Coach Robert Garrett, of Crenshaw High School, an inner-city Los Angeles school.

No doubt Coach Garrett is richly deserving.

He certainly said all the right things about what coaching meant - helping youngsters to become better men… to become better fathers… to give back to the community… and so forth.

Couldn’t have said it better.  Congratulations to Coach Garrett.

But then the announcer noted that the award includes  $15,000  for the Crenshaw football program, and she asked, “What are you going to do with that money?”

My wife and I waited for the “giving back to the community” statement, and he seemed to be heading in that direction when he started out, “I’m going to challenge my community…”

We nodded our heads...

But then he continued “… to do some matching to purchase some championship rings…”

Rings??? Hmmm. Is it at all possible that there are a few things that those kids - and that community - might need more than jewelry?

*********** QUIZ ANSWER. Buck Shaw was a teammate of George Gipp at Notre Dame, and 40 years later, in the final year of his long coaching career, he was the coach of Philadelphia’s last pro football championship team.

A native of Mitchellville, Iowa, he started out at Creighton, but after the great flu epidemic of 1918 forced the school to cancel its schedule one game into the season, he transferred to Notre Dame.

Knute Rockne installed him on the offensive line, where in 1921 he earned All-American honors.  He also made 38 of 39 extra points, a Notre Dame record that lasted until 1976.

After graduation, Rockne’s recommendation was enough to get him a job as coach at North Carolina State, but after a year in Raleigh he took a job as coach at Nevada. After four years there, he was hired as an assistant at Santa Clara by a former Notre Dame teammate, Clipper Smith, and after Smith left to take the head coaching job at Villanova, he became Santa Clara’s head coach.

His teams went 47-10-4 and won two Sugar Bowls.  (Santa Clara was big-time then.)  But in 1942, with the outbreak of  World War II, the school gave up football. 

He spent one year as interim coach at Cal while working on putting together a San Francisco entry in the new All-America Football Conference, to start play after the war.

The team, called the 49ers, turned out to be really good.  With former Stanford star Frankie Albert at quarterback, they won 38 games, lost 14 and tied 2 (.703) from 1946-1949,  but unfortunately, they were in the same division as the Cleveland Browns, one of the greatest football teams ever put together, and they wound up finishing second to the Browns in all four years of the AAFC’s existence.

In 1950, the 49ers were admitted to the NFL along with the Browns and the Baltimore Colts, and over the next five years, his teams went 33-25-3.

In 1956 and 1957 he coached the Air Force Academy, and in 1958, he was hired by the last-place Philadelphia Eagles.  HIs first order of business was to get a quarterback, and in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams he acquired 32-year-old Norm Van Brocklin.

The Eagles went 2-9-1 in 1958, then improved to 7-5 in 1959. In his third year, 1960,  they went 10-2 and defeated the Green Bay Packers  for the NFL championship (dealing Vince Lombardi his only post-season loss).

Following the game, he announced his retirement. He was only 61, but at the time Buck Shaw was the oldest coach ever to win an NFL championship. (Bill Belichick is 65.) 

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BUCK SHAW
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON


*********** QUIZ - They started out in the 1920s as the Frankford Yellow Jackets, and they’ve been the  Philadelphia Eagles since 1933, but in all that time they’ve won it all just three times - and he was the coach of two of those NFL champions.

He was born and raised in Parkersburg, West Virginia, and very early, he acquired the nickname by which he was known the rest of his life.
 
He coached a Rose Bowl team, coached an NFL champion, and played in a World Series. And he's in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
 
He played eight years of major league baseball, with the Cincinnati Reds, and in one of the most famous of all World Series, the notorious "Black Sox Series" of 1919,  he played in all eight games and batted .357.
 
As a college coach, he took little Washington and Jefferson to the Rose Bowl, and despite being heavy underdogs,  W & J, with eleven men playing the entire game, held mighty California to a 0-0 tie - the only scoreless tie in Rose Bowl history.
 
He was the first full-time coach at the University of Virginia, and after that, the first-full-time coach at West Virginia.
 
At Yale, he coached back-to-back Heisman trophy winners in Larry Kelley and Clint Frank. (The only other man to coach back-to-back Heisman winners: Army's Earl "Red" Blaik.)
 
During World War II, with able-bodied players hard to come by, he and Walt Kiesling served as co-head coaches of the “Steagles,” an NFL combine team formed by the merger of the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
 
He coached two NFL champions, the Philadelphia Eagles of 1948 and 1949.

He is given credit for the invention of the "Eagle" defense, which evolved, by backing up the "middle guard" as he was called, into the "Pro 4-3." The "middle guard" became today’s middle linebacker, a position made famous by so many great players, including Chuck Bednarik, Sam Huff, Bill George, Joe Schmidt, Ray Nitschke, Dick Butkus, Willie Lanier, Jack Lambert, Nick Buonoconti, Mike Singletary..... yes, undoubtedly I've missed some good ones, but you get the idea of this man's impact on the game.

He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1969.



american flagFRIDAY,  JANUARY 26,  2018  “War is the remedy that our enemies have chosen, and I say let us give them all they want.” General William Tecumseh Sherma

*********** Hey- isn’t that Vince McMahon?   What’s he been up to?

A new football league, you say?   You mean another XFL?  He Hate Me?  Jesse Ventura doing play-by-play?

It's been almost 17 years since it vanished. Raise your hand if you ever missed it.

*********** As I was telling a friend, there is NO chance of anyone succeeding with a new professional football league, certainly not without a big commitment from a TV network.  And since every major TV network is now an NFL “partner” - a televisor of its games - you’re going to have a hard time finding one that will drop the NFL to carry a competing league’s games.

Ask NBC how that XFL business worked out for it.

I have been personally  involved in an unsuccessful challenge to the NFL (by the World Football League, in 1974-1975) and I know how formidable Big Football is. And it’s tougher now than it was 40 years ago. By a factor of 10. Easily.

Besides having the TV networks locked up, the NFL teams also have exclusive stadium contracts in most of their cities - if they don’t actually own the stadia.   Check it out - unless a new league is really aiming low in terms of attendance, there just aren’t many major markets with suitable stadia that aren’t locked up by the NFL.  Ever notice how no sooner do they open a new stadium than they blow up the “old” one? 

It might seem to some that the NFL is vulnerable right now, what with all the protests, but it’s still a giant and it’s still plenty strong. 

And there’s always the chance that the declines in the NFL’s attendance and TV ratings might actually reflect a decline in interest in football overall.

*********** Among the new league’s other problems, it’s not going to be easy getting good players.

According to Vince McMahon, his league’s going to have character standards. “Even with a DUI,” he said, “you won’t play.”

Not even with a DIU?  As I said, it’s not going to be easy getting good players.

*********** Forbes thinks McMahon’s new league has a chance.  I think Forbes is nuts.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/leeigel/2018/01/25/why-the-timing-may-be-right-for-vince-mcmahon-and-donald-trump-to-make-xfl-great-again/2/#6e43ad9935f7

*********** Maybe now, before Vince McMahon gets started with this new fiasco,  would be the appropriate time for the Power 5 conferences to start spring football.  Real spring football.

Each team would play two real games - one home and one away - against other  Power 5 conference schools.

That’s roughly 60 games.  Five games a weekend - one per conference -  for 12 weeks in the spring.  What are the TV rights to that package going to be worth?

And what can that one home game - in the spring, when people are starved for football - do for a school’s budget?

The results would have no bearing on next season’s standings, but they would be a much fairer way to determine the preseason standings than the current system, which locks some teams into season-long top-ten status, while condemning others to a long and futile climb up from the cellar.

But, but, but… what’s the NCAA going to say?

Nothing.  That's the beauty of this.   The Power 5 schools already enjoy an autonomy which allows them to operate pretty much outside the purview of the NCAA. 
What’s the NCAA going to do - kick out the schools that provide it with most of its revenue?

***********
High taxes and corrupt politics are two major reasons why Illinois has been losing more population than any other state.

Need another reason to  move from the Land of Lincoln?   How about a bill in front of the Illinois legislature that would prevent youngsters from playing tackle football before the age of 12?

Called the Dave Duerson Act, it’s an unfortunate conflation of the discovery of CTE among NFL players and unproven risks to youngsters. It’s been named for the late Dave Duerson, former Bears’ player after whose suicide it was determined that he had suffered from CTE.

We’re all well aware that the NFL, accused of hiding the effects of concussions from its players, has agreed to pay out tens of millions to former players claiming to suffer from those effects.  But now, despite any evidence that playing youth football can lead to CTE, the sorry situation of former professional football players is being used as leverage to keep young boys from playing a game that offers so many benefits.

https://chicago.suntimes.com/sports/proposed-law-could-ban-tackle-football-for-children-under-age-12-in-illinois/


*********** John Voit, of Wildwood, Missouri, whose second-effort shoestring tackle of Navy’s quarterback prevented a sure touchdown and saved Army’s win over Navy, has been selected as Army’s 2017 Black Lion Award winner.  On hand to present the award to Cadet Voit was Katie Holleder Fellows, of Charlottesville, Virginia, the daughter of the late Major Don Holleder, former Army All-American whose self-sacrifice on the football field at West Point and in combat in Vietnam was the inspiration for the Black Lion Award.

John Voit Black Lion

(L to R) Mrs. Katie Fellows, Army's Black Lion Award winner John Voit, Army football coach Jeff Monken

By Sal Interdonato
Times Herald-Record

WEST POINT – John Voit noticed the plaque as soon as he walked into Army’s football locker room his freshman year.

The plaque lists all of the previous winners of the Black Lion Award, established in 2001 and given annually to the Army player who best displays the character of Don Holleder. Holleder, an all-American wide receiver at West Point before rising to captain in the Army, ordered a helicopter to land during a rescue mission during the Battle of Ong Thanh and was killed by enemy fire in 1967.

Voit’s “Black Lion” mentality showed in his first season at West Point. Coach Jeff Monken remembers arriving in his office after practice, looking out the window and seeing one player still on the Michie Stadium turf, looking to improve. That player was Voit. The defensive end worked on his pass-rush skills and hit blocking sleds in a routine that didn’t change through his 2017 senior season.

“I don’t want to leave any doubt and no regrets,” said Voit, who was presented the Black Lion Award during Army’s banquet Saturday. “I just wanted to better myself. It’s the things that I was taught when I was younger by my dad and my brother. I tried carrying it here and I think it’s paid off and it’s been a good career.”

Voit’s non-stop motor was displayed in the Black Knights’ biggest game of the season. The 265-pound Wildwood, Mo., native tracked down Navy quarterback Malcolm Perry from the line of scrimmage to 46 yards downfield, making a touchdown-saving tackle. Army would hold Navy to a field goal and defeat the Midshipmen for the second straight season 14-13.

″(Voit’s tackle) is going to stand as one of the great plays in the history of that rivalry,” Monken said at the banquet. “I hope that this program in its standard for effort will look at the play as an example.”

Monken revealed that he received texts and voicemail from coaches in the profession, admiring Voit’s play after the game.

Voit, Army’s 2017 co-captain, talked about the award’s prestige and how Holleder’s story inspires him.

“You see guys like Mike Viti (the 2006 Black Lion Award winner and Army’s fullbacks coach) on it (the plaque) and he has had such an impact on this program,” Voit said. “Just to be able to follow guys like that is an honor.”

http://www.recordonline.com/collegevarsity/20180122/army-defensive-end-voit-receives-black-lion-award


*********** FLASH!  The National Transportation Safety Commission has determined that the fatal train wreck near Tacoma - the one where the train was going 79 around a curve where the speed limit was 30 mph - was due to “human error.”

Your tax dollars at work.

*********** If they’d only told us this before, maybe I wouldn’t have ridiculed the Pro Bowl the way I have:

“The mission of the Pro Bowl is to promote the sport on all levels from youth to pros.”

I actually read that this past week.

Who knew?

*********** Coach,

Thanks for your kind words about the Vikings.  It was another heartbreak Sunday night and most Vikings fans will never get over it.  To have a chance to play a super bowl in your own stadium is once in a lifetime and we will probably never get that chance again.  Just another disappointment in a lifetime of disappointments.  The Vikings have now lost their last 6 NFC Championship games.  And of course, we all know about those four super bowls. 

I would probably have pulled for the Eagle's in the super bowl if not for the way their so called fans treated Vikings fans at the game.  Throwing full beers and spitting, kicking and beating up people and even one reported incident where a man was beaten up and held down why other eagles fans urinated on him.  The Philadelphia police did very little to stop most of this violence.  Only 6 arrests were made.  Philadelphia fans don't deserve a championship in my opinion.  You were spot on on Tom Brady, to have to root for that ass-clown makes me cringe.  I may be boycotting the super bowl this year. 

Mike Benton
Colfax, Illinois

There are some Eagles’ fans that I wouldn’t go near if I were wearing an EAGLES jacket.  They are sick dogs.  If Pennsylvania were in Europe and the Eagles played soccer, those creeps would put the legendary British soccer hooligans to shame.  I’m told that the only thing close to them are Raiders’ fans - Oakland OR L.A.  On the other hand, I’ve been to a game at Green Bay and it was as much fun - and as mellow - as any college football game.


*********** The Eagles have been to only two Super Bowls prior to this one.

Most recently, it was 2005 (Super Bowl XXXIX, if you’re collecting “X’s”), when they lost to the Patriots, 24-21.

Before that, it was 1981 - 37 years ago - when they lost to the Raiders, 27-10.  That was Super Bowl XV.

I was looking through a now-defunct Philadelphia sports magazine from 1998 called, very cleverly, “The Fan,” and I came across an interview with Jim Murray, who’d been the Eagles’ GM back at the time of that  1981 Super Bowl.

Summing up the Eagles’ Super Bowl performance that day, he recalled: “It’s too bad we peaked during the national anthem.”

But the Eagles' fans won the party: “We brought 9,000 people to the game. Bourbon Street never knew what hit it.”

Look out, Minneapolis. You’ve been warned.

*********** The transformation of the NFL from a football league into a social justice advocacy organization is nearly complete…

http://bangordailynews.com/2018/01/24/sports/goodell-social-justice-campaign-between-nfl-players-just-the-beginning/


*********** QUIZ ANSWER: George Gipp has been dead almost 100 years, but thanks in part to his dying wish, his story remains a part of football lore and his name is a part of our language.

He was a Yooper, born and raised on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

He never played high school football, and went to Notre Dame with intentions of playing baseball, but the Notre Dame football coach, seeing him drop-kicking the ball for fun, was so impressed that he persuaded him to join the football team.

He turned out to be an all-round football great,  leading the Irish in rushing and passing his last three years. and in addition to  rushing for 2341 yards - a Notre Dame career record that would last for 58 years - he passed for 1789 yards.  He still holds school records for average yards rushing in a season (8.1), average yards per play (9.4) and career average yards total offense per game (128.4).

During his Notre Dame career, the Irish were 27-2-3, outscoring opponents 506-97.  They were undefeated his junior and senior years.

In December, 1920, following the end of his senior season, he was honored by Walter Camp (who then selected All-America teams) as Notre Dame’s first All-American.

But just two weeks later, he lay dying in a hospital in South Bend, severely ill from complications from strep throat.

At his deathbed was his football coach.  Posterity has only coach Knute Rockne's word for it, but the story goes that he said, “I’ve got to go, Rock.  It’s all right.  I’m not afraid.  Some time, Rock, when the team is up against it, when things are wrong and the breaks are eating the boys - tell them to go in there with all they’ve got and win just one for the Gipper.  I don’t know where I’ll be then, Rock, but I’ll know about it - and I’ll be happy.”

Rockne waited for the right opportunity to honor his request.  It was not until eight years later - November 10, 1928 - that he told that story to a Notre Dame team. It was in Yankee Stadium, at halftime of the Notre Dame-Army game. Army was unbeaten, and Notre Dame, 4-2, trailed the Cadets, 6-0.

That’s when the coach decided to tell the team the story of the great All-American whose young life was snuffed out while he had yet to achieve the true greatness that awaited him. And he told them that that young man’s dying wish was that someday, when they were up against it, some Notre Dame team would find it within themselves to win just one for him.

It's said that New York policemen - Irish, of course - standing guard in the locker room had tears running down their cheeks.

“The day before he died,” the coach told the team, “George Gipp asked me to wait until the situation seemed hopeless - then ask a Notre Dame team to go out and beat Army for him.  This is the day, and you are the team!”

(Can’t you just see the team charging out of the locker room?)

An inspired Notre Dame team took the field and scoring twice in the second half upset Army, 12-6.  After scoring the first of the touchdowns, tying the score, Notre Dame’s Jack Chevigny said, “That’s one for The Gipper!”

In a 1940 movie, “Knute Rockne, All-American,” George Gipp was played by a young actor named Ronald Reagan, who later,  through his Presidency, was often referred to as The Gipper.

(In February, 1945, Marine officer Jack Chevigny was killed in action on Iwo Jima.)

http://www.und.com/sports/m-footbl/archive/allambios/nd-m-footbl-gipp.html

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING GEORGE GIPP
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
RALPH BALDUCCI - PORTLAND, OREGON
RODNEY LUNSFORD - DUBLIN, INDIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
JOHN IRION - GRANVILLE, NEW YORK
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON

*********** It's possible that Knute Rocke is the subject of more biographies than any other coach.  I've got eight of them myself. In most of them, the George Gipp story has been sanitized.  His is an inspirational story, to be sure, and he did convert to Catholicism on his deathbed, but there are reasons why he never attained sainthood.

He was, it turns out - when you dig a little deeper  - a bit of a rounder.  He liked to gamble. He was a bit of a cardsharp, and he frequented the South Bend pool halls, hustling the hustlers.  He liked the ladies, he smoked and he drank, and he had total disregard for curfews.  And, obviously, he wasn’t what you would call a diligent student.

Ruled ineligible to compete in his junior year
because of failing grades, he requested an oral re-take of his exams.  Said he knew all the stuff. The president of Notre Dame refused, but under some pressure he relented, and Gipp shocked one and all by acing the exams.

All in all, if he weren’t such a great athlete - a gamer in the true sense of the word - and such a likable person, it’s not likely that he would have lasted at Notre Dame.   Rockne was not one to tolerate foolishness, and it’s an indication of how great a player Gipp was - Rockne called him the greatest player ever to play at Notre Dame - that Rockne never threw him off the team. 

A couple of Gipp stories, from “We Remember Rockne,” by John McCallum and Paul Castner…

A guy named Floyd Fitzsimon, Jr., whose father was a friend of Gipp at Notre Dame, told Castner,

“One of Dad’s favorite stories was of the time he’d been out on the town with Gipp, causing George to report late to football practice the next afternoon.

“As Gipp trotted out on the field, somewhat shaky from his nocturnal escapade, Rockne, without even looking up, shouted from the other end of the practice field, ‘Gipp, if you can’t get here on time, go back and take that suit off!’

“So Gipp just wheeled around and headed back to the locker room and peeled his suit off.  He didn’t feel like practicing anyway.”

A former player named Dan Young remembered a trip to Nebraska:

“The Notre Dame- Nebraska rivalry was really something in those days.  Whenever we travelled to Lincoln, the Nebraska fans gave us hell.  They lampooned us with such cries as “Fish eaters! Fish eaters! Fish eaters!” Our boys didn’t exactly feel welcome.

“In 1920 we played the Cornhuskers at Lincoln on the third Saturday of the season, and the hosts had neglected putting benches on our side of the field. They had placed stacks of straw along the sideline, though, and this is what our subs sat on. I remember Gipp put on a great show that day, leading us to a 16-7 victory. He ran himself bowlegged, until he was complete pooped out. But Rock wouldn’t take him out and give him a rest. I remember Gipp - hands on his hips, tongue hanging out - would sidle up near where out subs were sitting, and beg Rock by every facial contortion he could make to take him out so he could catch his wind.  Rock, giving him no sympathy, merely turned away from him.

“Gipp got even with him, however.  On several occasions, with the ball resting on our own 20- and 30- yard lines, Joe Brandy, the quarterback, called on Gipp to punt. Instead of punting, Gipp drop-kicked. I think that’s where Rock lost most of his hair. Gipp once drop-kicked a 68-yard field goal, but here he was trying for 70 and 80 yards. So each time he went back into punt formation, he'd drop-kick. Finally, Rock got the message. He took Gipp out.  I remember that Gipp walked over to a pile of straw, dropped to his knees in utter exhaustion, and then crawled over to one end of the pile, behind Rockne, and grabbed a cigarette out of a spectator’s hand, inhaled several drags, and handed it back. And then it dawned on me. While Rockne was trying to get him in condition, all Gipp was interested in was getting out of the game so he could have a fast smoke.”

*********** QUIZ. He was a teammate of George Gipp at Notre Dame, and 40 years later, in the final year of his long coaching career, he was the coach of Philadelphia’s last pro football championship team.

A native of Mitchellville, Iowa, he started out at Creighton, but after the great flu epidemic of 1918 forced the school to cancel its schedule one game into the season, he transferred to Notre Dame.

Knute Rockne installed him on the offensive line, where in 1921 he earned All-American honors.  He also made 38 of 39 extra points, a Notre Dame record that lasted until 1976.

After graduation, Rockne’s recommendation was enough to get him a job as coach at North Carolina State, but after a year in Raleigh he took a job as coach at Nevada. After four years there, he was hired as an assistant at Santa Clara by a former Notre Dame teammate, Clipper Smith, and after Smith left to take the head coaching job at Villanova, he became Santa Clara’s head coach.

His teams went 47-10-4 and won two Sugar Bowls.  (Santa Clara was big-time then.)  But in 1942, with the outbreak of  World War II, the school gave up football. 

He spent one year as interim coach at Cal while working on putting together a San Francisco entry in the new All-America Football Conference, to start play after the war.

The team, called the 49ers, turned out to be really good.  With former Stanford star Frankie Albert at quarterback, they won 38 games, lost 14 and tied 2 (.703) from 1946-1949,  but unfortunately, they were in the same division as the Cleveland Browns, one of the greatest football teams ever assembled, and they wound up finishing second to the Browns in all four years of the AAFC’s existence.

In 1950, the 49ers were admitted to the NFL along with the Browns and the Baltimore Colts, and over the next five years, his teams went 33-25-3.

In 1956 and 1957 he coached the Air Force Academy, and in 1958, he was hired by the last-place Philadelphia Eagles.  HIs first order of business was to get a quarterback, and in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams he acquired 32-year-old Norm Van Brocklin.

The Eagles went 2-9-1 in 1958, then improved to 7-5 in 1959. In his third year, 1960,  they went 10-2 and defeated the Green Bay Packers  for the NFL championship (dealing Vince Lombardi his only post-season loss).

Following the game, he announced his retirement. He was only 61, but at the time he was the oldest coach ever to win an NFL championship. (Bill Belichick is 65.) 



american flagTUESDAY,  JANUARY 23,  2018  “When a football player steps on the field, he should do it all. I realize a great running back doesn’t like to play defense, but life isn’t based on what you like. If everybody did what he liked to do, we’d be in real trouble.” Wallace Wade

*********** I must be losing my competitive edge.  Players who’ve known me from years past won’t believe this, but I fear I could be getting soft.

Why else would I feel bad about the Eagles’ winning?

Here are the Philadelphia Eagles, the team I rooted for passionately until we moved to Baltimore in 1961,   on their way to the Super Bowl.  My wife and I even spent (some) time on our honeymoon  in Hershey, Pennsylvania, watching the Eagles train.

So, yes,  I was happy Sunday for the Eagles and for all the Philly fans who’ve suffered through some terrible, terrible years.

But I kept thinking about the Vikings and their fans, who’ve suffered through just about the same kind of drought as Eagles’ fans.  And, having been on the short end often enough myself, I hurt for those coaches who came so far and then got blown out.  It would have been especially exciting to have had a Minnesota team in a Super Bowl played in Minneapolis, and it would have been wonderful to have seen Bud Grant introduced to young fans who have no idea what a great coach he was.  Alas, it’s not to be, and I hurt for the good people of Minnesota.

*********** Meanwhile,  it sure was stirring to see most of the 70,000 Philly fans still in the stands afterwards and then, at Terry Bradshaw’s urging, hear them all sing “Fly, Eagles, Fly.”

*********** I wonder if there’s anyone out there who thinks the Eagles would be going to the Super Bowl if, after Carson Wentz went down, they’d signed Colin Kaepernick instead of Nick Foles.

*********** Sure hope this clown was one of the Eagles' "fans" who "allegedly" threw beer on Vikings' fans.

http://www.tmz.com/2018/01/22/philadelphia-eagles-fan-runs-into-pole-subway-train/

*********** I think that Belichick may very well be the best NFL coach of all time.  But don’t try to sell me Brady, the so-called GOAT. 

Greatest, my ass.  It’s really hard for me to watch what amounts to a one-trick pony, the ultimate in sports specialization. Brady’s the  football version of baseball’s designated hitter.  But at least DH’s have to run.

There are guys who watch an automobile race in hopes of seeing a crash, or a hockey game in hopes of seeing a fight.  Me,  I watch a Patriots game in hopes of - just once - seeing Brady get tackled. Hard.  (But clean.)

*********** Jacksonville really does look like a team of the future. Maybe their run will serve to get people off Blake Bortles’ ass.  The guy played well on a national stage.

*********** It’s good in one way that Jacksonville lost, because I doubt that I could have taken much more of Tony Romo’s insistence on calling them “JAG-wires.”

Speaking of Romo, does anyone else think that after he started getting rave reviews,  he began coming on a little too strong toward the end of the season?

*********** Gronkowski is a hell of a receiver but I can't stand the guy. Nevertheless, I deplore the dirty, chickensh-- shot that took him  out of the game Sunday.  It was almost certainly done with an intent to injure, as the "tackler" tucked his arms in and aimed his shoulder and head at Gronk's helmet.  If the NFL really cares about safety, not to mention the loss of its stars to what amounts to assault, it's got to take action to end this sh--.

I'm still mystified that no one has yet figured out that a dirty shot on Tom Brady by a nonentity  is the football equivalent of giving up a pawn to capture a queen.

Again, I call for a rule requiring that a "tackler" must employ his arms or it's ruled  a "no tackle" with a penalty of 15 yards  from the spot of the foul, plus  ejection and a one-game suspension for the offender.

*********** With no football on the tube Saturday, I happened on something called “Scotia Bank’s Annual Hockey Day in Canada.”

It was really cool.   From coast to coast, we dropped in on small-town Canada - Corner Brook, Newfoundland… Grand Falls, New Brunswick… Sarnia, Ontario… Duncan, British Columbia - to talk to ordinary folks about what hockey means to their communities.

We saw little kids playing ice hockey on outdoor rinks - ponds, even.   We heard NHL stars talk about growing up in small towns, playing ice hockey on ponds.

It was sad, really,  to see what a unifying force ice hockey, a rough sport if ever there was one, is to our neighbor to the north, while here on our side of the border, we have no such thing. In fact, not a day goes by that we don’t hear about another “study” that takes dead aim at our once-unified culture by stating that our little kids shouldn’t be playing football.

*********** FLASH - THE PINK PUSSYHAT IS NOT INCLUSIVE ENOUGH!

Turns out that the pink pussyhat, worn as a symbol of - what? - by feminist protestors,  excludes women and gender nonbinary (WTF?) people who don’t have typical female genitalia and to women of color because their genitals are more likely to be brown than pink. (someone else’s words - not mine.)

Get this:
There are some people who have felt invisible because of this project. Some have interpreted pink hats with cat ears as white women’s vulvas. Not all women have pussies. Not all pussies are pink. Our intent was and always will be to support all women. We hear some of you saying that this symbol has made some women feel excluded. We hear you. We see you.
I’m going to have to pause to let that all sink in.

Now, then:
Some people have questioned whether the very name “pussyhats” means our movement is saying only people with vaginas can be feminists. No way! Trans people and intersex people and people with any genital anatomy can be feminists and wear Pussyhats™. Feminists who wear Pussyhats™ fight transmisogyny and support ALL women.
On the Web site of something called the Pussyhat Project:
“It does not matter if you have a vulva or what color it may be.  If a participant wants to create a pussyhat that reflects the color of her vulva, we support her choice.”
It must really be liberating for once-oppressed women to now be able to talk freely and openly about the color of their vulvas.

You want to have a good laugh and at the same time piss off any feminists around you?  Read this aloud:

“It does not matter if you have a penis or what color it may be.  If a participant wants to create a dickhat that reflects the color of his penis, we support his choice.”

On second thought, better not - you might be accused of sexual harassment.  Or something.

https://www.pussyhatproject.com/

*********** The Pussyhat Patriot Award went to a male pussyhatter who had this recipe for Making America Great Again:

“The more we can get old white men out of office and the more we can get women and people of color into office the better off we’re going to be.

*********** I first printed this in February, 2004, and I last printed it in July, 2009…

In the late 1970s, while studying for my Master's Degree at the University of Portland, I took a course in World History taught by Professor James Covert.  The guy was something of a legend at the U of P, and I soon found out why.  He was really good. I had majored in history at Yale and I'd been taught by some of the top people in the field, but as a teacher, Professor Covert was the equal of any of them. One lesson in particular left a lasting impression on me.  I transferred the gist of it from my class notes to a note card, and for years, I've kept it pinned on a wall for ready reference.

THE CAUSES OF THE FALL OF ROME  (In parentheses,  ways in which our own culture replicates the decadence of Rome.)

1. COST OF GLADIATORIAL GAMES (WE TAX OUR WORKERS AND OUR VISITORS TO BUILD STADIUMS AND ARENAS, SO THAT BILLIONAIRE TEAM OWNERS CAN PAY MILLIONAIRE PLAYERS TO PLAY GAMES FOR THE PEOPLE’S AMUSEMENT AND DISTRACTION - ALL WHILE OUR ROADS CRUMBLE, OUR BRIDGES CREAK, HOMELESS CAMP ON OUR STREETS AND DEFILE OUR CITIES  WITH NEEDLES AND HUMAN WASTE, OUR MILITARY AND OUR POLICE ARE UNDERSTAFFED, AND OUR SCHOOLS TURN OUT UNEDUCATED, UNEMPLOYABLE PROLES.)

2. HIRED ARMIES, RATHER THAN CITIZEN ARMIES (NO NEED FOR YOU TO  DEFEND YOUR COUNTRY WHEN WE CAN HIRE OTHERS - YOUR SEEMING INFERIORS - TO DO IT FOR YOU. OF COURSE, THEY’RE GOING TO HAVE TO TO BE PAID, A FACT OFTEN LOST ON LEGISLATORS, FEW OF WHOM HAVE SERVED.)

3. POPULATION PRESSURES FROM OUTSIDE (TIGHT BUDGETS CAUSE CUTBACKS IN SERVICES TO OUR OWN PEOPLE, WHILE 20+ MILLION PEOPLE IN OUR COUNTRY ILLEGALLY OR CLAIMING TO BE “REFUGEES” GET FREE EDUCATION, FREE MEDICAL CARE, FOOD STAMPS AND SUBSIDIZED HOUSING. THEY HAVE NO INTEREST IN BECOMING AMERICANS. AND THEY CONTINUE TO POUR IN.”)

4. GOVERNMENTAL CORRUPTION (THERE’S A REASON WHY POLITICIANS RAISE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO GET ELECTED TO A JOB THAT PAYS LESS THAN $200,000 A YEAR; THERE’S A REASON WHY DESPITE HAVING HAD TO LIVE ON A LEGISLATOR’S SALARY THEY ALWAYS LEAVE OFFICE MUCH WEALTHIER THAN WHEN THEY ENTERED.)

IT'S BEEN MORE THAN EIGHT YEARS SINCE I LAST PRINTED THIS.  SINCE THEN, BASED ON WHAT YOU SEE AROUND YOU TODAY, WOULD YOU SAY THAT  WE'VE BECOME MORE - OR LESS - LIKE ANCIENT ROME?

*********** Bronco Mendenhall, head coach at Virginia, talked about about taking over at BYU as a 38-year-old first-time head coach.

“The biggest adjustment for me as a head coach,” he said, “was the sheer volume of decisions I had to make on a daily basis.  You got from coaching one group of players to the entire team, then there are the assistant coaches, their families, stockholders, the media, it goes on and on. It places someone who is a first time head coach in a constant state of readiness.”

One of a new head coach’s biggest jobs, of course, is building a staff.

“The first thing you need to do is give each candidate a chance to self-select for the job, which means you educate that person about your program, your values, and the job itself.”

(This is an area, I’ve found, where most head coaches, even experienced ones, are lax.  If you don’t let people know right up front what you’re going to expect of assistants - what it’s going to be like coaching on your staff - you greatly increase the chances of a serious misunderstanding at some point down the line.  In the first stage of an interview, I go over a list of 20 things that I expect of an assistant. None of them are related to football knowledge, I might add.  I ask the candidate after every point if he can coach under these conditions, and if he says “No” to any of them, we shake hands and I wish him well.  It’s much easier on everyone to have a guy decide right now, at this point, that the job’s not a good fit for him.)

In the process, Mendenhall said, he’s looking for a commodity that’s becoming increasingly valued throughout our society: grit.

“I love people with an unbreakable will and spirit.  I need to get a sense that a candidate has this.  The first thing I look for is will over skill.”

If he passes the self-screening and the “grit” test, the candidate is given opportunities to demonstrate five “coaching competencies”:

On-Field Performance - how the candidate teaches the fundamentals. He asks candidates to explain how they teach what they know in a way that makes sense to players.

Recruiting - in front of Mendenhall and his entire staff, the candidate watches film of a recruit and then critiques him.

Camaraderie and Communication - throughout the process, Mendenhall looks for signs that the candidate can work with the staff - and vice-versa.  He looks for a person who can express his point of view but, once a decision has been made, accept it and move forward.

Classroom: the candidate is “in the barrel” - he stands at the white board and makes a presentation to the staff.

Game Day: In an effort to observe how well the candidate can think on the fly, Mendenhall fires questions at him requiring quick answers - down-and-distance situations,  correct schemes to use against certain offense and defenses.

(From “This is the AFCA”, July/August 2014)


*********** For quite some time I’ve wondered what, exactly, the Army got for its money by sponsoring the All-American Bowl - you know, one among many of those ego-stroking high school all-star games punctuated by the little sideline mini dramas in which kids reveal to us which colleges they’re committing to.  Until they decommit.

There is no connection whatsoever, of course, between the United States Army and the  players in the game.  There’s not a one of them who, at least in his own mind, isn’t headed eventually for a long and successful career in the NFL.

The point of the Army’s expenditure is  recruiting, and somehow, some smart guy  convinced the Army higher-ups that the money spent on the All-American Bowl was worth it, not only  in return for the TV exposure (not sure what the ratings are, but I doubt that they beat out golf), but also - and here I had to shake my head - because it got their message into the schools of the participants.  See, when it’s announced that a kid’s been selected to play in the game, there’s a big assembly at his school,  with Army people on hand to deliver the invitation.  Can’t you see all those kids up in the stands just waiting for the assembly to end so they can rush down and enlist?

But that’s it.  Nobody beyond those affected schools has the slightest idea what’s going on. Time for some simple math: There are roughly 50 kids on each of the two teams.  That’s 100 kids total playing in the game.  If they all come from different high schools, that’s 100 high schools, tops, where they’re  putting on those assemblies.

Um, there are more than 14,000 high schools in the United States playing football.  That means there’s 13,900 of them that they’re not reaching.

When you spend all that money to get your message to fewer than 1 per cent of America’s high schools that’s not an efficient expenditure of taxpayer money.

Somebody in the Army leadership must agree.  They’ve cancelled their sponsorship following the 2018 game.

http://blog.mysanantonio.com/hssports/2017/01/football-army-pulling-sponsorship-from-all-american-bowl/

*********** Those who contend that youth tackle football is overly dangerous, and Flag Football is the answer to reducing injuries, will be disappointed to read the results of a study by University of Iowa researchers just published in The Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine.  

The NFL, after investing millions in promoting flag football, won't like it either, but screw them.

If you’re into scientific studies, you can read all about it here:

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2325967116686784

In simpler form, you can read the abstract below

Or, if you’re really rushed, you can just skip to the bottom of the article, where the lead author sums it up.

Or just take my word for it: youth football isn’t as dangerous as it’s being popularly portrayed.

    Youth Football Injuries: A Prospective Cohort

    Andrew R. Peterson, MD, MSPH*, Adam J. Kruse, MS, Scott M. Meester, BS, Tyler S. Olson, BS, Benjamin N. Riedle, MS, Tyler G. Slayman, MD, Todd J. Domeyer, MD, Joseph E. Cavanaugh, PhD, M. Kyle Smoot, MD
    First Published February 10, 2017

    Abstract

    Background:
    There are approximately 2.8 million youth football players between the ages of 7 and 14 years in the United States. Rates of injury in this population are poorly described. Recent studies have reported injury rates between 2.3% and 30.4% per season and between 8.5 and 43 per 1000 exposures.

    Hypothesis:
    Youth flag football has a lower injury rate than youth tackle football. The concussion rates in flag football are lower than in tackle football.

    Study Design:
    Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.

    Methods:
    Three large youth (grades 2-7) football leagues with a total of 3794 players were enrolled. Research personnel partnered with the leagues to provide electronic attendance and injury reporting systems. Researchers had access to deidentified player data and injury information. Injury rates for both the tackle and flag leagues were calculated and compared using Poisson regression with a log link. The probability an injury was severe and an injury resulted in a concussion were modeled using logistic regression. For these 2 responses, best subset model selection was performed, and the model with the minimum Akaike information criterion value was chosen as best. Kaplan-Meier curves were examined to compare time loss due to injury for various subgroups of the population. Finally, time loss was modeled using Cox proportional hazards regression models.

    Results:
    A total of 46,416 exposures and 128 injuries were reported. The mean age at injury was 10.64 years. The hazard ratio for tackle football (compared with flag football) was 0.45 (95% CI, 0.25-0.80; P = .0065). The rate of severe injuries per exposure for tackle football was 1.1 (95% CI, 0.33-3.4; P = .93) times that of the flag league. The rate for concussions in tackle football per exposure was 0.51 (95% CI, 0.16-1.7; P = .27) times that of the flag league.

    Conclusion:

    Injury is more likely to occur in youth flag football than in youth tackle football. Severe injuries and concussions were not significantly different between leagues. Concussion was more likely to occur during games than during practice. Players in the sixth or seventh grade were more likely to suffer a concussion than were younger players.


The authors stress that their study was “internally funded,” and received no funding from any “football interests,” such as the NFL or its front, USA Football.

The study’s lead author, Andre Peterson, associate professor of pediatrics and orthopedics at the University of Iowa, reduces it to one sentence:

“I think the take-home here is that youth tackle football is relatively safe, and that flag football may not be a safer alternative.”

*********** “In the champion’s mind, he is never ahead. He distorts reality to serve his competitive purpose. He is always coming from behind, even when the score indicates he is destroying his opponent. He never believes he is performing as well as he actually is.”

Mark McCormack, one-time agent of golf’s three top stars, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, among other famous athletes, and founder of sports giant IMG.

*********** SAME SEX ACTIVE-DUTY “COUPLE” MARRIES AT WEST POINT…

And in the Cadet Chapel, no less.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/same-sex-active-duty-couple-marries-west-point-201933294.html

*********** An update from my NEWS page, October 2008…

From an article in the Dallas Morning News…

FIVE REASONS FOR THE SPREAD'S SPREAD (Followed by my comments)

1: More fun for players (yeah- at least for the ones who make the most noise - the wide receivers. Last I heard, though, even spread teams don't use more than four of them. So what about the offensive linemen? There are five of them. Has anyone ever asked an offensive lineman who's played both a trapping, drive-blocking, kick-ass offense and a spread, push-and-pull pussy-blocking offense which one he thinks is more fun?)

2: Great offensive linemen not essential (no, not if you work really hard at teaching average linemen how to hold)

3: Rule changes over the years have favored passing (that's for sure - and the next one will probably require defensive coaches to submit their game plans to their opponents at least one week in advance)

4: UIL allowing 7-on-7 competition (damn shame they have to ruin the fun of 7-on-7 by bringing in linemen once real football starts)

5: Scholarship opportunities enhanced since most colleges also employ the offense (Can't argue with that one, except to say that last I heard,  our job was to help all our kids be successful, even the ones who don't have college football potential.)

*********** Cody Gifford, son of the New York Giant immortal,  recalled, at the time of his father’s death,  a moment in the life of his celebrity dad…

Flashback a few months: I’m with Dad, and we’re doing research for his HBO movie at P.J. Clarke’s. As we’re crossing the street, a man from inside a taxi screams at him, “You’re Frank Gifford!”

Dad noticed his three young boys in the back seat, all of them decked out in Giants jerseys. So of course he goes up to the window, and to my absolute horror, decides to remove the Hall of Fame ring from his finger and place it on the hand of one of the kids inside the cab.

I’m now mentally preparing myself to be dragged across Midtown Manhattan in hot pursuit of the cab and my dad’s ring, should the cabbie hit the gas. The light turns green and the driver, amidst a swarm of honks and various expletives, decides that he would also like to try the ring. (Each of the kids had already had a chance.)

Dad taught me that it is the work of honorable men to leave the world in a better state, if you have the resources to do so. That day he saw an opportunity to improve the world a little bit, at least the worlds of three children and their father. And one gutsy cab driver.

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/exclusive-frank-gifford-remembered-wife-kids-article-1.2331119


*********** Hugh,

Sending you this a little late because I just returned from speaking at a DW clinic in Woodville, TX.

One of the other speakers was someone you know.  John Irion who has had a very successful career coaching the DW in upstate NY.  I enjoyed meeting him and talking DW football with him.  He and I both gave you props on mentoring both of us, and providing us with the tools we needed to make the offense successful for both of us.  A shout-out of thanks to you from both of us!  

Prayers and condolences for Tyler Hilinski and Coach Snyder's grandson Sean.  Two young men whose lives ended too soon.  One of these days we'll know why and what possesses a human being to take their own life BEFORE they actually do, and leave us a note telling us.

Have I ever mentioned...

Also at the clinic this weekend was Coach Blair Hubbard of Broomfield HS in CO.  He had been a successful DW coach for a number of years before morphing into his own version that is run from the shotgun with a ton of Jet motion, and shared with us the latest in a defensive scheme designed for use against the DW.  Each year he faces off with Coach Phil Mauro in the Colorado playoffs.  Mauro runs the DW and Coach Hubbard has always struggled to stop it.  But... since he started utilizing this new defensive concept he has been able to slow Mauro's offense down, and keep things close. The debate was...let me say...lively!

Talk to you Tuesday!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** With the new Tonya Harding movie out, my son Ed suggested it might be time to return to my exciting day covering Tonya’s day as a prisoner trimming weeds at our local cemetery.

http://www.coachwyatt.com/tonya.html


*********** QUIZ - William Wallace Wade  - known as Wallace Wade - was born and raised on a farm in Trenton, Tennessee, the son of a proud Scotsman who named him after William Wallace, of “Braveheart” fame.

He played college football for Brown University, where one of his teammates was Fritz Pollard, who later would become the first black coach in the NFL.

After graduation, he got a job coaching at a military school in Tennessee, and after winning a state title there, he was hired as an assistant to Dan McGugin at Vanderbilt.  In his two years at Vandy, the Commodores went 15-0-2, the ties coming against Georgia and Michigan.

In 1923, he was hired by Alabama, and in his eight years in Tuscaloosa, he would compile a record of 61-13-3. His teams would win three national titles and appear in three Rose Bowls.  His 1925 team was undefeated and was the first southern team to win a Rose Bowl - its 20-19 win over Washington has been called by football historians “The Game that Changed the South.”  His 1926 team was also undefeated, but  tied Stanford in the Rose Bowl. HIs final Alabama team in 1930 went 10-0 and beat Washington State in the Rose Bowl, 24-0.  It outscored its opponents, 271-13.

And then he abruptly departed Alabama and headed for Duke, then a small, private college in North Carolina with big-time aspirations. He more than delivered. In his 16 seasons there - with four years off for World War II service in the Navy - his record was 110-36-7.

One of his teams was named a national champion, and two of his teams played in the Rose Bowl. 

His 1933 team had a Rose Bowl invitation in hand, provided they beat Georgia Tech in their final game.  They lost, 6-0.

They went 7-2 in 1934, 8-2  in 1935, 9-1 in 1936, and 7-2-1 in 1937.

In then came the 1938 team,  one of the most remarkable in college football history.  In their nine-game regular season, they were undefeated, untied, and unscored-on, earning them the nickname “Iron Dukes.”   Their goal line wasn’t crossed until the final 40 seconds of the 1939 Rose Bowl game, when USC scored on a pass to defeat them, 7-3.

HIs Duke team played Oregon State in the only Rose Bowl game not played in California when, in the days following Pearl Harbor President Roosevelt banned large gatherings of people on the West Coast.

In all, he won four national championships, and at a time when the Rose Bowl was the equivalent of today’s national championship game, he played in it five times.

At Alabama, he’s honored with a statue outside Bryant-Denny Stadium; at his Duke, he’s honored with a bust outside the stadium that now bears his name.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING WALLACE WADE:
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NOTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
RALPH BALDUCCI - PORTLAND, OREGON
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA (Have been to wallace wade stadium to see duke vs north carolina and it a good place to watch a game.....a great coach at everything he coached)
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN


***********  I wonder who was the last "big time" football coach to supplement his income by coaching baseball or basketball? Nelson and Raymond were doing it into the 1960s at Delaware.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Interesting point.  Coaches weren’t paid much, and often, if they were successful, they'd write a book as a way to supplement their income.  Now, between salaries and shoe contracts that they’re paid so much they can’t be bothered to write books.  And football coaching was not a year-round thing.  I remember Mike Lude telling me their contracts only ran for the length of the football season. Teaching a class or two and/or coaching another sport was a way for them to feed their families.

Mike, by the way, flew back to Newark for Tubby’s funeral.
 


*********** He’s been dead almost 100 years, but thanks in part to his dying wish, his story remains a part of football lore and his name is a part of our language.

He was a Yooper, born and raised on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

He never played high school football, and went to Notre Dame with intentions of playing baseball, but the Notre Dame football coach, seeing him drop-kicking the ball for fun, was so impressed that he persuaded him to join the football team.

He turned out to be an all-round football great,  leading the Irish in rushing and passing his last three years. In addition to  rushing for 2341 yards - a Notre Dame career record that would last for 58 years - he passed for 1789 yards.  He still holds school records for average yards rushing in a season (8.1), average yards per play (9.4) and career average yards total offense per game (128.4).

During his Notre Dame career, the Irish were 27-2-3, outscoring opponents 506-97.  They were undefeated his junior and senior years.

In December, 1920, following the end of his senior season, he was honored by Walter Camp (who then selected All-America teams) as Notre Dame’s first All-American.

But just two weeks later, he lay dying in a hospital in South Bend, severely ill from complications from strep throat.

At his deathbed was his football coach.  Posterity has only his coach’s word for it, but the story goes that he said, “I’ve got to go, Rock.  It’s all right.  I’m not afraid.  Some time, Rock, when the team is up against it, when things are wrong and the breaks are beating the boys - tell them to go in there with all they’ve got and win just one for (me).  I don’t know where I’ll be then, Rock, but I’ll know about it - and I’ll be happy.”

The coach waited for the right opportunity to honor his request.  It was not until eight years later - November 10, 1928 - that he told that story to a Notre Dame team. It was in Yankee Stadium, at halftime of the Notre Dame-Army game. Army was unbeaten, and Notre Dame, 4-2, trailed, the Cadets, 6-0.

That’s when the coach decided to play the card.  He told the team the story of the great All-American whose young life was snuffed out while he had yet to achieve the true greatness that awaited him. And he told them that that young man’s dying wish was that someday, when they were up against it, some Notre Dame team would find it within themselves to win just one for him.

“The day before he died,” the coach told the team, “(He) asked me to wait until the situation seemed hopeless - then ask a Notre Dame team to go out and beat Army for him.  This is the day, and you are the team!”

(Can’t you just see the team charging out of the locker room?)

An inspired Notre Dame team took the field and scoring twice in the second half upset Army, 12-6.  After scoring the first of the touchdowns, tying the score, Notre Dame’s Jack Chevigny said, “That’s one for (him)!”

In a 1940 movie, “Knute Rockne, All-American,” he was played by a young actor named Ronald Reagan.

(In February, 1945, Marine officer Jack Chevigny was killed in action on Iwo Jima.)


american flagFRIDAY,  JANUARY 19,  2018  “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.” William F. Buckley, Jr.

*********** It’s not as if we really knew Tyler Hilinski.  I saw him play just twice.  I’m not sure my wife ever did.  The first time I saw him play was on a Saturday night, when he entered the game in relief of starter Luke Falk and brought Washington State back to defeat Boise State.  It was a tremendous job of pinch-hitting (if I can use two baseball references in the same paragraph) and his teammates carried him off the field. The game ended late, and my wife had long since gone to sleep, so she missed it.  The next week, Falk was back in the driver’s seat, and Tyler Hilinksi was back on the bench, as if nothing had ever happened. The second time, I barely watched because it was the bowl game against Michigan State and, frankly, I watched another game. I didn’t think the Cougars’ effort justified my watching.  No disrespect of Tyler Hilinski - it wasn’t even announced until the last minute that Falk wouldn’t be playing. I can hear the pregame pep talk now: “Well, Tyler, I guess you better warm up.” 

Things didn’t go well for the Cougars, but it wasn’t Tyler Hilinski's fault.  At least, I felt, that damned Air Raid offense of Leach’s would have a game-ready QB next season, and  a good one at that.

But when my wife picked up the sports page Wednesday morning, she put it right down again. And then she handed it to me.  She had tears in her eyes. Right at the top of the page, the headline caught me: “WSU QB Tyler Hilinski found dead.”

The cause of death, it said, was “an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

It was a gut punch.  I felt so awful, on so many levels.  For the kid - what pain could have driven him to that?   For his family - his mom and dad and his two brothers, both of them quarterbacks like him.  For his teammates and his coaches.  And for the WSU family.  It’s a close group.  Washington State may be a Power Five conference school, but it’s a rather small school in a small community - as small-school as you can get and still be “major college.”

May God rest his soul and bring peace and comfort to those who grieve.

Poor kid wasn’t gone 24 hours, his family was no doubt deep in grief, an entire community stunned by his loss, and damned if the NCAA’s “chief medical officer” wasn't jumping in like a vulture, pontificating at length on depression and mental health issues and student suicide and blah, blah blah. I wanted to throttle the fool and say, “Could you please give it a rest for a couple of days, Doctor?”  (Not sure why we haven’t heard from the gun control folks yet.)

I include this story from happier times for everybody…

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2017/sep/14/all-time-high-linski-washington-state-backup-had-f/#/0

*********** What do you get when you cross Lane Kiffin with Charlie Weis?

http://www.yardbarker.com/college_football/articles/lane_kiffin_hires_24_year_old_offensive_coordinator/s1_12680_25473278

*********** Prayers and condolences to Kansas State’s Bill Snyder and his son and assistant, Sean on the sudden and unexpected death of Bill’s grandson and Sean’s son, 22-year-old Matthew Snyder.

*********** From the National Football Foundation’s weekly newsletter…
*** ”Carm Cozza was a Hall of Fame football coach, a man who joined a select few at the pinnacle of his profession," said NFF Vice Chairman Jack Ford, the TV journalist and legal analyst who played defensive back for the Bulldogs in the late 1960s and early 1970s. "But he was so much more than that to those of us who played for him. There is an old proverb that states: 'When a student is ready, a teacher will appear.' Carm Cozza was that teacher for hundreds of young Yale football players... He reveled in the success of his players off the field as well, often claiming that he was 'the best pre-law and pre-med coach in the country.'"

*** The CFP National Championship between Alabama and Georgia produced the second best audience in cable television history, averaging a total live audience of 28.4 million viewers with a 16.7 combined overnight rating, according to ESPN and Nielsen. Only the Oregon-Ohio State CFP title game in 2015, which had 33.9 million viewers and an 18.8 share, eclipsed Monday night's audience on cable. Coupled with the CFP semifinal games, ESPN reported that the combined viewership for all three games increased by 18 percent from last season with an average 14.9 overnight rating. Factoring in all of the New Year's Six Games, ESPN said the CFP games averaged a 9.8 rating, a 5 percent increase from last year or the best in the CFP system's history...
*********** A reader writes, "At basketball practice yesterday, several of our football players (one a freshman) commented on the 'lousy tackling form' on that play, and how he never should have dropped his head. So our players understand it better than the talking heads who keep trying to make excuses for the guy."

Obviously it’s because those kids have been properly coached.

Interestingly, the NFL’s ass-covering scheme of financing and force-feeding “Heads-Up Football” on “lower level” coaches through its  front organization (USA Football, the self-styled “governing body” of football)  could wind up biting it in the butt as now they’ve trained kids to recognize how poor their product is!


*********** Following a recent article about the NFL, I found this gem in the “comments” section, written by someone who identified himself as "Len Mullen"…
The NFL has moved the focus of promotion from the game to the players. We know WAY too much about NFL players. We know they cheat. We know they abandon unplanned offspring. We know they are murderers.

Mostly, though, we know how much money they make. And how much it costs to get them to change jerseys (and fans).

We know the NFL charges the military to salute vets and we know that the NFL is exempt from anti-trust laws. Their bad behavior is awe-inspiring.

And they are so f*'ng stupid that they talk about all of these things nonstop.

If a fan pays $346.96 for a ticket, $50 to park a mile from the stadium, $324.99 for a Nike Elite Tom Brady #12 Jersey, and $20 for a beer and a hot dog, he should get a lap dance -- not a political lecture.

*********** Hello Coach Wyatt,

I am a youth coach that will be the head coach for a 9U unit this upcoming spring and fall season. I want to implement the double wing wholeheartedly . I am inquiring as to which of your products, I should purchase, that would best suit this age group. As spring ball will be upon us soon, please respond as soon as possible. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

My answer right now is “None,” because right now I’m about halfway through a major re-do of my playbook which is going to be invaluable to any coach at any level who wants to run the Double Wing.

I’d just ask you to hold off for a month or so and check my NEWS page, which I update twice a week.

It will be worth the wait.

I’ve attached a page from the new book to give you some idea of what it will include.  Even if you don’t buy my playbook this page will help you as a Double Wing coach.


*********** Good morning, Coach!

I trust the Wyatt family is doing well!

Enjoyed your News again this morning. I pointed out that same ineligible receiver lineup to my wife last week when the Saints beat Carolina - and again on Sunday. They ran that formation several times in both games and it was never flagged.

And as soon as the missed tackle happened, I told my sons that that was the perfect example of a professional player thinking he was going to make the ESPN Top 10 plays show and costing his team a win because of poor fundamentals. Isn't the NFL awesome?!!?

DJ Millay
Vancouver, Washington

Coach,

The shame of it is that you and I and lots of coaches can see with our eyes what the NFL is getting away with, but the ignorant public continues to buy the myth that that’s football at its best.

Ir could very well be that part of the reason for their decline in ratings is that the more intelligent members of the public are only now beginning to realize what we’ve known for some time.

The NFL sure does complicate the jobs of those of us who have to coach kids who’ve been influenced by their neglect of fundamentals and team play.


*********** Glad you brought up the WRs on the line of scrimmage thing. I was saying it in the game as well that the NFL is really lax on this, tackles in the backfield, etc.

Adam Wesoloski
Pulaski, Wisconsin


*********** Hugh,

OK...I am now convinced that folks in Austin (and Central Texas in general) can't handle cold weather.  We had a little ice and some snow flurries last night and this morning and everything is shut down.  Schools, government offices, public institutions, all shut down.  I'd hate to see how they would react to a real snowfall.  But...I have no complaints as I write this from home!

I hope Kevin Sumlin finds Arizona to be a bit more hospitable than A&M, and that he throws in an option or two just to let Kahlil Tate know who's in charge.

When I was a kid growing up, and would watch college football, my mind would automatically expect hearing the voice of Keith Jackson on the broadcast.  He was a sportscasting icon.

I wouldn't be surprised in the near future to see more American football athletes heading down under to play American football.  I hear "Gridiron" is becoming more and more popular with the Aussies.

The only NFL game I caught a glimpse of was the Vikings-Saints game.  Having lived in Minnesota for 8 years before the "take a knee" fad I was a Viking fan.  I watched the last 5 minutes of the game, and told my wife it appeared the Vikes were on their way to another heartbreak ending until that rookie Saints DB decided to do the unthinkable.  Wow.  Have I ever mentioned...

I heard about all the reasons (excuses) as to why he did what he did.  There are none.  He didn't get his job done.  In that game ending situation he should have kept the ball in front of him, wrap up on the receiver on the tackle, and keep the receiver in bounds until he got help from his team mates.  He did none of those very fundamental practices that are taught in high school (or should be), and reinforced in college (or should be), and continued to be practiced at the professional level (or should be).

Have a great week!

Joe  Gutilla
Austin, Texas


Hi Joe-

One small thing:  “Gridiron” is increasingly popular on TV in Australia, a sports-made country. (Especially American college football, because they get it on “their” Sunday.)  But in terms of participation, it’s not even on the charts.

The Aussies love all sports (and they love to bet on them). But Australia has about the same number of people as Texas, and it already has three “codes” of football - Australian Rules, Rugby Union and Rugby League - in addition to soccer.  They’re all  popular, depending on the place.

And then there’s cricket, which is THE big national sport.  And, of course, basketball, where the Aussies are pretty good internationally - check out college and NBA rosters.

Baseball is played as well.

Basically,  by the time you get to gridiron, there just aren’t many guys left.

There’s a little demand for American basketball players over there.  But any American football player interested in going over there had better put aside any ideas about being paid - or even having his flight or his room and board paid for.


*********** I’m no fan of the NFL, and yes, this weekend we get to watch the boring Bradies again,
but it just so happens that there are three other teams and they're all pretty good stories.

Although a Philadelphian,  I’m no longer the Iggles’ fan that I once was, but I love my city and its history, and I’m well aware that the last time the Birds won a title the Super Bowl hadn’t been invented yet.  In fact, it was the first year of the AFL’s existence.  It was 1960, the year I graduated from college.  (Holy sh—!)  They’d be one of the favorites if Carson Wentz hadn’t been injured.   Now, with Nick Foles at QB, they may not be the best team in the NFL, but they’re not dogs, either.

Then, there’s Jacksonville, once the symbol of the worst football the NFL could offer.  Now, they’re a pretty good club.  That win over the Steelers was no fluke - hell, they’d done it earlier in the season. They have a great defense and they have a power running game.  The Wall Street Journal points out that they’re made in the image of a team that beat the Patriots twice in Super Bowls - the New York Giants.  And, the Journal points out,  that’s not exactly an accident.  Ex-Giants’ coach Tom Coughlin is a Jaguars’ executive, and his fingerprints are all over this team.

Finally, though, there are the Vikings - the so-called Team That Couldn’t win the Big One.  Maybe not, but they got there. They went to the Super Bowl four times under the great Bud Grant. Unfortunately, they never won, and their futility then and ever since has been attributed to one curse or another.  If the Eagles can’t win, then I’d sure like to see the Vikings win it and have Bud Grant on hand receive the Lombardi Trophy.  (He’s a rather self-effacing individual, but he might do it on behalf of all those longtime Vikings’ fans.)  Case Keenum has done an unbelievable job as a fill-in for Sam Bradford.

If you don’t have a team to root for and you’d like to have one, I’d suggest you read about Vikings’ coach Mike Zimmer.  He’s a coach’s son, for sure. His dad, Bill, was a farmer’s son who became a high school football and wrestling coach and he cut Mike no slack.   He was a pretty doggone good coach.  In 34 years at Lockport, Illinois High School, his record was 164-143-5.

From an article in espn.com by Ben Guessling…
"My dad was a guy who wasn't afraid of anything. Ever," Mike Zimmer said. "[He was always] driving you, pushing you further."
That came through hard lessons learned on the wrestling mats of Lockport Township High School. As a sixth-grader, Mike would walk nearly a mile from Kelvin Grove Elementary School to the high school to grapple with his dad, and high school athletes, after he was cut from the basketball team. It came from a high school football coach who required his son to address him as "Coach" on the field, who once punched him in the chest after he threw an interception, whose practice-field spats with his son would bleed over into silent rifts at the dinner table. Those trials came during "my rebellion years," Mike Zimmer joked, and though there might have been days when his father's toughness felt like meanness, they've helped form the alloy of resolve and perfectionism that surrounds his work as a coach now.
You can’t read this and not respect Mike Zimmer.

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/17249066/before-bill-parcells-mike-zimmer-coaching-philosophy-was-shaped-father-coach-bill-zimmer

You can’t read this and not admire Bill Zimmer

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/ct-bill-zimmer-father-of-vikings-mike-zimmer-obit-20150812-story.html


*********** Hi Coach,

During a 1989 interview, Morrall was asked what it took to come off the bench and be an effective quarterback and team leader. His response was, "When you get the chance to do the job, you have to do the job. That's all there is to it."

It's a shame that Namath was a better qb for 1 day, than E.M. Very fitting that Morrall ended up with 2 rings for his career.

Absolutely concur with your analysis of the Saints safety. For once the Vikings were the beneficiaries.

I'm hoping Case Keenum is our Earl Morrall this year. I really have enjoyed how the Vikings have played this year, backups stepping in, sound defense & tackling. A very likeable group since Zimmer has been HC.

Even though Drew Brees is 1st class, it would have been bitter to see the Saints win, Sean Payton may be the biggest jackass in a league full of them.

Today's NFL fan will probably find the NFC title game dull, but it will be decided by 2 teams, that will both play great defense, minimize mistakes, and establish the run.

If Philadelphia wins, I will be rooting hard for them to knock off the Patriots.

take care,

Mick Yanke
Cokato, Minnesota

I have to pull for the Iggles, but if the Vikings win, I’ll be pulling for them.

They’re a great story and I like Zimmer - a coach’s son who’s paid his dues.  And I’d like to see them win it for Bud - the original guy slandered by the “can’t win the Big One” tag  - while he’s still with us.


*********** Charlie Wilson, of Crystal River, Florida is a treasure trove of arcane football knowledge, and he wrote…

When I saw that "Last Play" for Alabama, this is what I thought about first:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCrg5-63GSY

About 58:30. Find the replay for "Robert Farrell" getting a very good CB to fall on his ass.

(Watch. Charlie is right.  If ever you saw a leg-breaking fake, this is it.)

*********** Ah, for the good old days when cops carried night sticks.  This guy would have got one great “wooden shampoo.”
A Pennsylvania man was arrested for punching a police horse and its rider at Lincoln Financial Field over the weekend.

Taylor Hendricks, a 22-year-old from Whitehall, Penn., was ejected from Saturday's game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons because he was intoxicated and did not have a ticket, according to Philadelphia police.  Following his ejection,  police said,  he approached a mounted officer and "began punching the horse in the face, neck and shoulder area."

"The officer on the horse was then struck in the legs by the male (Hendricks)," police spokesperson Troy Brown wrote in a statement. "Another officer came over and grabbed the male, who was placed in custody."
Brown added that neither the horse nor officer were seriously injured in the incident.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/eagles/2018/01/16/fan-arrested-punching-police-horse-eagles-lincoln-financial-field-philadelphia/1036481001/


*********** QUIZ ANSWER -  Vikings or Eagles, whoever wins, there’ll be a backup QB - a guy who stepped in after the starter was injured and saved the season for his team - starting in the Super Bowl.

It certainly won’t be the first time a backup led his team to the Super Bowl. Earl Morrall  did it  - with two different teams.

A  native of Muskegon, Michigan, he  led the Michigan State Spartans to a 1956 Rose Bowl win over UCLA. He was a consensus All-American, and was drafted in the first round - Number two overall - by the 49ers.

He also played in the College World Series as a backup infielder, but football over baseball was an easy choice for him.

In all, he played 21 years in the NFL,  for six different teams. He enjoyed varying degrees of success, but it was what he accomplished late in his career that made him a football immortal.

In 1968, with future Hall of Fame QB John Unitas having arm problems, our guy was acquired from the Giants by the Baltimore Colts - and he led the Colts to a 13-1 regular season record. Then, following two more playoff wins, he led them to a berth in the Super Bowl against the Joe Namath-led New York Jets. That year, his 13th year in the League he was named NFL MVP.

In 1970, again filling in for an injured Unitas, he led the Colts to a Super Bowl win over the Cowboys.

And two years later, after being acquired by Miami, he took over when starter Bob Griese was injured.  The Dolphins were 5-0 at the time, and by the time  Griese came back, they had made it to the AFC championship game.  Their Super Bowl win, with Griese as the starter,  gave them the only perfect season in NFL history.

When Earl Morrall finally retired following the 1976 season, he had played in 255 games.  For almost 30 years, he remained the oldest quarterback (at 42) to start - and win - a regular-season NFL game. (Without the benefit of the assortment of personal trainers and dietitians that help make up Tom Brady’s entourage.)


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING EARL MORRALL:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA (one of the many mid century Big-10 multi-sport athletes...like the Badgers' Stu Voigt...8 letters at Wisconsin...3 FB, 3 Track & 2 in Baseball)
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
MICK YANKE - COKATO, MINNESOTA
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
DAVE POTTER - CARY, NORTH CAROLINA
J.C. BRINK - STUART, FLORIDA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
CHARLIE WILSON - CRYSTAL RIVER, FLORIDA
MIKE FORISTIERE - MATTAWA, WASHINGTON
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
RODNEY LUNSFORD - DUBLIN, INDIANA
SHEP CLARKE - PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON

*********** Interesting career and the SB III & V juxtaposition is fascinating.  But why oh why did he throw to Jerry Hill instead of a wide open Jimmy Orr in SB III, I'll never know.  He said he never saw Orr, but not only was Orr the primary (and wide-open), they'd completed that same play to Orr earlier in the season.  I'm still angry about it.

Dave Potter
Cary, North Carolina

Coach Potter is referring to a play in the Colts’ ignominious upset loss to the Jets and Joe Namath, when near the end of the first half the Colts ran a trick play in which Morrall threw to Jerry Hill, while failing to see a wide-open Jimmy Orr waving his arms. 

I looked up Earl Morrall’s version of what happened:

From his book, “in the Pocket”:
It started off fine. I handed off to Matte who was heading right. He stopped, turned, and lateraled back to me, his pass covering about 20 yards. When we worked the play against Atlanta, the ball came back high and I had to jump to get it, but this time it was low, about belt high, and I had to turn to my right to make the catch. When I looked for a receiver, there was Jerry Hill racing down the middle. He had plenty of room so I sort of arched the ball instead of throwing hard. It floated - giving Jim Hudson, the Jets’ safety, enough time to race over and make an interception.

The gun went off, ending the half. If I had just run with the ball I could have gotten us into field goal position. And then Boyd told me about Orr being wide open. I felt worse.

*********** QUIZ - He was born and raised on a farm in Trenton, Tennessee, the son of a proud Scotsman who named him after William Wallace, the Scottish freedom fighter later honored in the movie “Braveheart."

He played college football for Brown University, where one of his teammates was Fritz Pollard, who later would become the first black coach in the NFL.

After graduation, he got a job coaching at a military school in Tennessee, and after winning a state title there, he was hired as an assistant to Dan McGugin at Vanderbilt.  In his two years at Vandy, the Commodores went 15-0-2, the ties coming against Georgia and Michigan.

In 1923, he was hired by Alabama, and in his eight years in Tuscaloosa, he would compile a record of 61-13-3. His teams would win three national titles and appear in three Rose Bowls.  His 1925 team was undefeated and was the first southern team to win a Rose Bowl - its 20-19 win over Washington has been called by football historians “The Game that Changed the South.”  His 1926 team was also undefeated, but  tied Stanford in the Rose Bowl. HIs final Alabama team in 1930 went 10-0 and beat Washington State in the Rose Bowl, 24-0.  It outscored its opponents, 271-13.

And then he abruptly departed Alabama and headed for a small, private college in North Carolina with big-time aspirations. He more than delivered. In his 16 seasons there - with four years off for World War II service in the Navy - his record was 110-36-7.

One of his teams was named a national champion, and two of his teams played in the Rose Bowl. 

By his third year, 1933, his team had a Rose Bowl invitation in hand, provided they beat Georgia Tech in their final game.  Unfortunately, they lost, 6-0.

They went 7-2 in 1934, 8-2  in 1935, 9-1 in 1936, and 7-2-1 in 1937.

In then came the 1938 team,  one of the most remarkable in college football history.  In their nine-game regular season, they were undefeated, untied, and unscored-on, earning them the nickname “Iron Dukes.”   Their goal line wasn’t crossed until the final 40 seconds of the 1939 Rose Bowl game, when USC scored on a pass to defeat them, 7-3.

He coached one of the teams to play in the only Rose Bowl game not played in California when, in the days following Pearl Harbor President Roosevelt banned large gatherings of people on the West Coast.

In all, he won four national championships, and at a time when the Rose Bowl was the equivalent of today’s national championship game, he played in it five times.

At Alabama, he's honored with a statue outside Bryant-Denny Stadium; at his second school, he's honored with a bust outside the stadium that now bears his name.



american flagTUESDAY,  JANUARY 16,  2018  "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

*********** Looks like Kevin Sumlin will be the next coach at Arizona.  I think it’s a good hire.  The guy has demonstrated, at Houston and at Texas A & M, that he can coach.  You could say that he was collateral damage from Johnny Manziel, because Johnny Football was Sumlin's QB in his first year at A & M, when the Aggies went 11-2 -  and he never could match that season.

It appeared over the weekend, that ‘Zona had offered the job to Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo. “Coach Ken” had taken a couple of days off to fly out and talk to the folks in Tucson, but when he returned to Annapolis, the Navy people matched Arizona’s offer and…

Just kidding about that matching-the-offer business. But in any event, he’s staying at Navy.

I’d prefer to think that he realized that he’s got a pretty good thing going at Navy, that as long as he wins his share and puts a competitive team on the field - and doesn’t lose to Army next year - he can stay there forever.

But there had to be another concern, and it was a real one: his offense.

It didn’t matter to many Arizonans how many games he’s won at Navy with it.  All they knew was that they didn’t like it.

When word got out that he had been offered the Arizona job, the posters on the tucson.com comments sections went nuts.  No f—king way, they wrote.  Nobody will go to their games, wrote others.  Old—fashioned offense, boring offense, etc., etc.

(At the least, let that serve as a warning to anybody who thinks he can go into a place and sell people on an offense that they already know they hate.  Anybody out there ever run into this with the Double Wing?)

You know how it goes.  Power football is our baby and sure,  we love it -  but not everybody thinks our baby is beautiful, and in the case of an offense, they’ll come right out and tell you they think it's ugly.

Worst of all, Arizona’s QB, Khalil Tate, who is really good, tweeted, “I didn’t go to Arizona to run a triple (sic) option offense.”

I have a feeling that as much as anything, that was a factor in Coach Niumatalolo’s decision to turn Arizona down.

In any case, before Arizona could turn into a  mini-Tennessee, he's back at Navy.

In my opinion, the whole thing is best for Arizona and for Navy.  Not so sure about Army - Niumatalolo may have lost the last two Army-Navy games, but he's 9-2 overall.  Not too bad.


https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/report-navy-coach-ken-niumatalolo-out-as-candidate-for-arizona-job/

http://tucson.com/sports/ap-source-arizona-to-hire-kevin-sumlin-as-football-coach/article_2b33e74b-b5ed-5410-96e3-6eb1f389e32d.html

*********** When Keith Jackson left the microphone, the game of football lost.  Big time.  And now, he’s gone. We Washingtonians lay claim to him because he got his start in broadcasting while a student at Washington State, but he was a Georgian all the way. 

He was one in a great tradition of old-time sportscasters who came out of the South:

Lindsay Nelson was from Columbia, Tennessee and went to the University of Tennessee.

Red Barber was born in Columbus, Mississippi but grew up in Florida and went to the University of Florida.

Mel Allen grew up in Birmingham and went to the University of Alabama.

Verne Lundquist was born in Duluth, Minnesota (his Swedish surname is a giveaway) but his family moved to Austin (Texas) when he was 12, and he went to high school and college in Texas.

Pat Summerall grew up in Lake City, Florida and played college football in Arkansas.

Ernie Harwell grew up in Atlanta and went to Emory University.

*********** Wait for this…

Mike Leach claims that the Pac-12’s poor showing in bowl games is because the conference is… so tough:

“I do think we have a very tough conference. When you get body-punched through the year, I think that has a cumulative effect.”

He really said that.


*********** An Australian Rules player named Ben Griffiths surprised his teammates and fans by announcing his retirement.  He’s only 26, still young for a footy player.

But in his new pursuit, he’s going to be an old man.

He’s going to be a “student-athlete” in America.

Get this - he’s headed to USC on a football scholarship.

They’re really serious.

I will admit to liking the idea of Aussies coming here to punt.  They’re tough guys and they’re imbued with great team spirit. And they can kick the hell out of a football - they’ve been punting since they were little nippers.

It’s a nice cultural exchange that can benefit both parties, provided they’re also coming here as legitimate college students.  (College basketball teams that recruit Aussies find that they’re good in the classroom, too.)

But a 26-year-old guy who’s basically already been a professional punter for five or six years is now going to be Joe College?  It’s farcical, and it could put the whole Punter Pipeline deal in jeopardy.

Seems to me that at the very least, the NCAA should count every year spent as a professional rugby or Aussie Rules player against the four years of college eligibility.

http://www.theage.com.au/afl/ben-griffiths-punts-on-making-it-in-america-20180111-h0gwkr.html

http://www.afl.com.au/news/2018-01-11/tiger-retires-to-take-up-us-punting-scholarship

*********** The TV ratings of the NFL’s four semifinal games this past weekend were the lowest they’ve been since 2009.  All sorts of reasons are given, with the exception of the one Big One: many Americans no longer see NFL players as representing them.

*********** Steelers’ coach Mike Tomlin made two very bad calls this year.

The first was keeping his team in the tunnel during the National Anthem, while Army combat veteran Alejandro Villanueva alone stood respectfully at attention out in the stadium;

The second was onside kicking with his Steelers down seven to the Jaguars with two minutes left to play.

The first call made me unhappy.

And that’s why the second call made me happy.

*********** The Steelers were lucky.  The stands were nearly empty at game’s end, sparing them what would surely have been the worst booing a Steelers’ team has received since the early days of Chuck Noll, when they really sucked.

*********** The Saints fell behind early, but after staging a comeback,  they finally pulled ahead.  Unfortunately, it was a play that should not have been allowed.

The Vikings were in man coverage.  The Saints had two receivers set wide to the right  who both ran inside routes, clearing out for a slotback who ran a wheel to the right corner. Great pattern, great throw, nice catch - touchdown, Saints.

But the play should have been called back.

Those two receivers who cleared the way?  They were both on the line of scrimmage. The inner of the two, being covered, was ineligible. No matter - he went out anyhow.

Illegal Saints play

At the time, I said to my wife, “Those two guys are on the line - the second guy in isn’t eligible.”

Now, you know  that if I said it, there were coaches  in the Minnesota booth screaming it, which means that there were also coaches on the Minnesota sideline screaming it at  the side official. Ho hum. 

Consider:

The sign says “30” but the locomotive engineer goes 80.

A guy in Hawaii pushes the wrong button and sends out a nuclear alert.

The Saints line up incorrectly (it’s either that or they were cheating).

The officials let it go.  All the time.

It's  our growing American incompetence, guys.  And it's not getting any better.


*********** It’s hard to believe how often, in short-yardage situations, teams line up in a 1-back set, with the back lined up seven yards deep (no fullback), and give it to that back.


*********** Eddie Campbell of Land o’ Lakes, Florida, sent me this photo, with the notation, “The NFL’s legacy in one picture…”
Marcus Williams goes low

That legacy, so far as many of us are concerned, is a total disregard for the fundamentals of the game, the elevation of style over substance, and the glorification of the individual.


 *********** I’ve argued for quite some time that football has got to bring the arms back into tackling. Something as simple as a 15-yard penalty for failure to use the arms would do.

It would bring an end to the ugliness of launching, aka targetting, a deliberate attempt to injure a ball carrier at minimum risk to the tackler. I'd hazard a guess that in 90 per cent of targetting calls, the tackler's arms are tucked in at his side. Targetting is cruel and cowardly,  the nearest thing football has to slashing in hockey.

Requiring the use of arms would also lead to surer tackling.

Not to take away from the Vikings' great season, but no matter how exciting some people may think the end of Sunday’s win by the Vikings over the Saints was, it was a matter, pure and simple, of what happens when a player ducks his head and shoulder and goes for the big hit, rather than the sure (but unspectacular) tackle.

They keep calling the Vikings’ win a Miracle in Minnesota and somesuch, but is it  a “miracle” in baseball when a runner circles the bases for the winning run while the center fielder’s out there chasing after the ball that he could have easily caught for the third out?

Are people actually trying to tell me that an act of gross incompetence made the Vikings’ win a great finish?

I’ve watched a lot of sports in my years. I go back to the early days of football on television, and I can’t remember a more egregious example of dereliction of duty - a failure to do the job he was depended on to do - than that displayed by Saints’ safety Marcus Williams.

And at a time when even coaches of 8-year olds have to be certified to teach “Heads-Up Tackling,” it illustrates as much as anything the sheer hypocrisy of the NFL, which gives lip service to promoting the fundamentals of the game while taking no responsibility whatsoever to serve as the example to youngsters of how the game should be played.

*********** Take your pick of explanations for Marcus Williams’ misfeasance:

_____ The fix was in. (I've heard this one, but I ruled it out immediately. Gamblers couldn’t possibly know that the game would come down to this one play, and for sure, if there were any chance that the wise guys had gotten to Mr. Williams, he’d have made sure to make it look a whole lot better than he did.)

_____ His timing was off - he got there too soon and had to make sure that he didn’t interfere (This was the excuse that that buffoon Jimmy Johnson offered immediately afterward.  It apparently never occurred to Johnson that if Williams had been that early, he could have played the ball - intercepted it or knocked it down. Replay seems to show that he did have time enough to make a play on the ball - but he came in with his head down and never even saw the damn ball.)

_____ That’s the way he always "tackles." (This is quite possible.  I’d have to see a lot more film.)

_____ He doesn’t know to tackle. Doubtful.  At least at some point, in youth ball, high school or college, he knew.  But he made a conscious decision, like so many other NFL defensive backs, that keeping the arms in (1) is less risky for him; (2) delivers a harder hit to the ball-carrier; (3) is more likely to get him a “big hit” shout-out on Sports Center.

_____ His coaches, while great at scheming, have no interest in fundamentals. Most of them have never in their lives had to teach
blocking or tackling to a guy who's never played the game before.

_____ He’s afraid of contact. (That's highly unlikely.  But when a guy is earning millions, he might at some point make a prudent career-prolonging decision to avoid potential danger.)

_____ He was already visualizing his spectacular, game-ending hit on the giant screen.


*********** The Eagles ran a little inside handoff to Nelson Agholor and as always happens on those rare occasions when the pros wander off the normal, NFL-approved  script, the announcers went nuts.

“They faked one way and ran the other!”

“An inside handoff! Don’t see that much!”

As the Romans would have said, Mirabile dictu! (From my old Latin days: literally, “Marvelous to say!” Or, “Will wonders never cease?”)

*********** The Steelers, we were told,  hosted a bunch of kids from some local “championship flag football team” this past weekend.

Saturday, they took part in a practice session.

But that’s not all, folks.

“Today," we were told,  "they were invited to join the Steelers during the national anthem…”

In the tunnel, I presume.

***********  Hugh,

Until that professional football league changes its rule and only drafts college players who have earned a degree we will continue to see more and more cases like Quenton Meeks. 

Someone at Bama isn't being honest with Jalen Hurts.  He is a talented athlete, and has proven he can play at the FBS level.  However...will someone at Bama please step up and tell him he would help them even more at another position other than quarterback.  Only then will we know if his demeanor he displayed after the championship game was the real deal...or Cam-like.

I would imagine if people who own a beach home at Ocean Shores watched that National Geographic program it won't be long if you see "for sale" signs popping up, and folks who didn't watch the program buying those homes...cheap!

My alma mater makes the news again!  Josh Hokit helped the Bulldog football team to that great turnaround this year, and will also help the Bulldog wrestling program get back on its feet.  The kid is a stud.

I'm sure the explanation for that Bama player's punching a Georgia player and costing his team 15 yards, and his subsequent tantrum on the sideline, and his obvious attempt to get a shot in on his coach was "he's a great kid with a lot of passion, and let his emotions get the best of him."  Yeah...right...just like the kid who CLEARLY said "F--- Trump!" in the tunnel before the game.  In my football program BOTH of those kids would've been riding pine (er...steel).

I'm just a lowly high school coach who asked the same question as those FBS coaches as to why Georgia felt the need to stay lined up in their Spread look throwing it around when they had three of the best RB's in the country in their backfield that got them to that game in the first place.  Especially late in the game when they had the lead.  Dance with the one who brung ya!

Non quiz question answer is Joe Restic.  Another in a great line of old Ivy/Eastern football coaches.

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** QUIZ  ANSWER - Joe Tiller was a Midwestern kid (Toledo, Ohio) who played offensive line at Montana State.  After graduation, he played one season in the CFL before returning to Bozeman as a graduate assistant.

After one year he was made a full-time assistant, and he stayed at Montana State, coaching the line, for six years, until he was hired by Washington State coach Jim Sweeney in 1971. After a year as offensive line coach at Wazzu, he was promoted to offensive coordinator.

In 1974 he headed back to Canada, and spent nine years in Calgary as an assistant.

He returned to the states in 1983 as defensive coordinator at Purdue, but when the head coach there was fired,  he moved on to Wyoming as offensive coordinator.

After two years at Wyoming, in 1989 he joined Mike Price’s new staff at Washington State  as OC, and the next season it was his decision to make a kid named Drew Bledsoe the first freshman starting QB in Cougar history.

He didn’t stick around to see Bledsoe blossom, though, because in 1991 he got his first head coaching job,  at Wyoming.  In six years at Laramie, he coached the Cowboys to a 39-30-1 record. His final team, in 1996, was his best team.  The Cowboys went 10-2 and were nationally ranked, but lost to BYU in the very first WAC championship game, and - something that’s hard to believe in a day when 6-6 teams get bowl invitations - wound up staying home, uninvited.

Following that season, he was hired by Purdue, a Big Ten school that was so down it had had just two winning seasons in its last 18 seasons, and had played in only five bowl games in its history.

Introducing the spread offense that he’d learned along the way, working alongside Jack Elway and Dennis Erickson, and making use of the passing talent of an undersized Texas native named Drew Brees, he revolutionized football in the Big Ten.

In 2000 his team won its first Big Ten championship in 35 years, and its subsequent appearance in the Rose Bowl was just the school’s second the history of the bowl.

When he retired following the 2008 season, Joe Tiller was the winningest coach in Purdue history.  His overall record there was 87-62, and in his 12 years there, he took the Boilermakers to ten bowl games.


*********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JOE TILLER:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
RALPH BALDUCCI - PORTLAND, OREGON
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JASON MENSING - WHITEFORD, MICHIGAN
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS (As a Golden Gopher fan there were a few times his Boilermaker teams would come from behind and leave us heartbroken.)
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
JIM FRANKLIN - FLORA, INDIANA (I actually met Coach Tiller in the bathroom of the Lafayette (IN) WalMart. Talk about a "regular Joe.”)

(ALSO IDENTIFYING JOE RESTIC:  JOSH MONTGOMERY- BERWICK, LOUISIANA... MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA… ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN… JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS… JERRY GORDON - HAMILTON, VIRGINIA…)


*********** QUIZ - Vikings or Eagles, whoever wins, there’ll be a backup QB - a guy who stepped in after the starter was injured and saved the season for his team -
starting in the Super Bowl. 

It certainly won’t be the first time a backup led his team to the Super Bowl. But the person  I’m thinking of  did it with two different teams.

A  native of Muskegon, Michigan, he  led the Michigan State Spartans to a 1956 Rose Bowl win over UCLA. He was a consensus All-American, and was drafted in the first round - Number two overall - by the 49ers.

He also played in the College World Series as a backup infielder, but football over baseball was an easy choice for him.

In all, he played 21 years in the NFL,  for six different teams. He enjoyed varying degrees of success, but it was what he accomplished late in his career that made him a football immortal.

In 1968, with future Hall of Fame QB John Unitas having arm problems, our guy was acquired from the Giants by the Baltimore Colts - and he led the Colts to a 13-1 regular season record. Then, following two more playoff wins, he led them to a berth in the Super Bowl against the Joe Namath-led New York Jets. That year, his 13th year in the League he was named NFL MVP.

Two years later, again filling in for an injured Unitas, he led the Colts to a Super Bowl win over the Cowboys.

And two years later, after being acquired by Miami, he took over when starter Bob Griese was injured.  The Dolphins were 5-0 at the time, and by the time  Griese came back, they had made it to the AFC championship game.  Their Super Bowl win, with Griese as the starter,  gave them the only perfect season in NFL history.

When he finally retired following the 1976 season, he had played in 255 games.  For almost 30 years, he remained the oldest quarterback (at 42) to start - and win - a regular-season NFL game. (Without the benefit of the assortment of personal trainers and dietitians that help make up Tom Brady’s entourage.)



american flagFRIDAY,  JANUARY 12,  2018  "Yeah, that test says he's dumb as a fence post, but when he hits he looks like Einstein to me." Bum Phillips, talking about the Wonderlic test given to NFL rookies

*********** TV did a pretty good job of explaining what happened on Bama’s winning touchdown play.  It was incredibly careless defensive execution, especially by the Georgia CB on the single receiver side.  In cover 2, if the corner’s not going to be covering that receiver man-for-man (in which case he REALLY blew it) he has to jam him and keep him from releasing clean.  The receiver can NOT be allowed to run a 40.  But the Georgia corner took a head fake and let the receiver sprint right past him, unimpeded - he didn’t even touch him.  Meanwhile, the QB did a great job of looking the opposite way, freezing the safety.  He held that “fix” until the last possible instant, and then re-set let go, and by that time the safety couldn’t get over to make the play.

*********** ”One play and it's over..."

There are no secrets here.  On the last play, the Alabama SE takes his outside release and the CB turns his hips and legs to the outside.

GAME OVER.

As soon as the CB turns, the SE breaks straight up the field doing a good imitation of the 100 Yard Dash and the CB, having turned outside, now has to turn back inside and pray for late help from the Safety.  Answered prayers were in short supply on both sides of the ball.  The last prayer was answered.  The SE caught the ball and didn't trip.

Good, solid technique won that play and another National Championship for Alabama.

Charlie Wilson
Crystal River, Florida

*********** A Stanford cornerback named Quenton Meeks has announced that he is ready to “pursue his ultimate dream” and declare himself eligible for the draft.  Translation: he’s giving up his senior year at one of the most desirable - and desired - colleges in the country.

I have to wonder about this one. The guy was second team All-Pac 12, which means he will likely be a middle-round NFL draft pick - at best.

Hmmm.  Every year,  the “ultimate dream”  of others - thousands of America’s brightest kids - is to be admitted to Stanford. But sadly, the dreams of most of them wind up being dashed - only 5 per cent of them are admitted.  Meanwhile, football players get in through the side door - the football program is able to bypass Stanford’s almost unbelievably selective admissions process in order to admit its recruits.

Knowing how coveted a spot at  Stanford is - an amazing 80 per cent of those admitted choose to enroll -  I’d have to say that when a football player walks away from the Stanford experience so he can go join the circus, he’s become a casualty of our materialistic culture. 

*********** Even more astounding than the decision by Saban to pull his starting quarterback - last year’s SEC Player of the Year -  was the fact that his backup quarterback was game-ready.

In the age of the spread, as offenses have become more and more quarterback-intensive, we’ve grown used to seeing team after team go all to hell when its starting QB has gone down. 

Somehow, though, Bama had a kid - a true freshman at that - ready to step in and demonstrate a high level of preparation, in as pressure-packed a situation as you could find.

Granted, there are more ways these days
to get a quarterback ready, including extra coaches and VR aids, but it’s still not likely that Tua got near the practice reps that Jalen Hurts did.

Part of the credit obviously has to go to the kid, who clearly has amazing mental toughness and inner calm.

To Saban’s credit, the kid did get some playing time during the regular season.  True, it was mostly mop-up action, but the point is that they got him in the games whenever they could. I’m constantly disappointed at the number of teams that still have their starting QBs in the game even when the score’s way out of hand.

(In the pros, leaving the starter in the game, even in blowouts, is the norm, but it’s to be expected when he's got performance clauses in his contract calling for bonuses for completions, yardage, touchdowns and what-not.)


*********** Based on what they said and how they acted, I’d have to say that Bama’s quarterbacks are exceptional young men, both of them reflecting the kind of quality upbringings that too few of today’s kids enjoy.

Tua sounded like a kid who was raised well when he said in a post-game interview that his parents would be upset with him if he didn’t thank the Lord.

Hurts, the son of a high school coach, is one class kid. Yanked from the lineup in the biggest game of the year, humiliated in front of a national TV audience, he showed dignity and aplomb in his every action and comment.  He didn’t sulk.  He at least seemed to be pleased at Tua’s success.  He put his team first. 

Call him the Anti-Cam.

*********** Alas, football season’s over, and now we find out what all those other channels are for. Stumbling across a Nat Geo special on Tsunamis, I decided to stay with it to see where it was going.

Where it was going, it turned out, was the Cascadia Subduction Zone, the fault that lies offshore and runs along the Northwest coast, roughly from British Columbia’s Vancouver Island to Northern California.  When it goes, there’s going to be a Tsunami. 

I know about that, of course.  You can’t have been where my wife and I have been for a good part of the past decade without knowing about it.

So I kept watching, and I’ll be damned if it didn’t zero in on Ocean Shores, Washington - home of the North Beach High School Hyaks.  We still have a place there.

They showed a shot of Ocean Shores, which is essentially a six-mile-long sandspit no more than a couple of miles wide at its widest, and then brought on learned geologists and seismologists, who assured us that, yes,  there will be a Tsunami.  It’s just a matter of time.  And when it does come, it will kill hundreds of thousands.  And - if we happen to be at our place on the beach - we’ll have 30 minutes’ warning.

That’s the scary part.  Not the wall of water so much as the thought that there’s just one road out of town - 6,000-some panicked people trying to get on that one road leading to high ground (20 miles away).  Think of your ordinary big city traffic jam, then compress it down to one winding, two-lane road - and throw in the certainty that a tsunami is going to wash over you all in 30 minutes… oops - make that 29…28…

*********** Shep Clarke of Puyallup, Washington writes, “Didn’t know the quiz answer, But the story about the Kansas gridder/grappler inspired me to see if there was anyone emulating him at D1.  So I found this guy:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdjwjzWh6ol/

(“This guy” was Josh Hokit, who was Fresno State’s leading rusher in the Hawai’i Bowl and now wrestles for the Bulldogs.)


Then I found this story, which was too good to pass up.  Check out the heavyweight bracket for this kid's senior year state tournament:

(It’s the story of a kid from Millburn, New Jersey, who 40 years ago - before there were weight limits in the heavyweight class - won the state heavyweight title. He was 28-0. One opponent forfeited, but the other 27 wins were pins.

(What makes it tough for anyone today to duplicate that feat is the “technical fall,” awarded if a wrestler gains a lead of 15 or more points.  Plus, as the kid’s coach points out, "Even the best pinners will wrestle a tough kid from time to time that does enough to stay off his back. You also will see guys that want to practice their takedowns and take a guy down a few times in a period." )


https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/essex/millburn-short-hills/2018/01/03/high-school-wrestling-millburns-gentle-giant-paul-finns-undefeated-season-turns-40/997118001/

*********** I normally defend Nick Saban against his detractors - and they are many - by pointing out that overall he runs a class program - when was the last time Bama was accused of anything outside the rules. 

The Georgia game, though, brought some ugliness to the surface - the shove on the QB’s helmet while getting up, and the sideline meltdown.  Then came the report - not necessarily confirmed - that Bo Scarbrough hollered “F—k Trump!” as he marched through the tunnel of the stadium following pre-game warmups. 

Without conclusive evidence that Scarbrough said it (rather than “F—k Georgia!” which he claimed - and which apparently was just fine), let's drop it.  He’s off to the NFL and likely obscurity, and if he did say it, it just means he’s NFL-ready to kneel on somebody’s sideline.

Beyond that, the general conduct of the Alabama players was a testament to the way the program is run, and the conduct of their two quarterbacks showed me that somebody has been teaching them how to be men, starting with their parents and continuing on through the Alabama program.

*********** I think I’ve said this before, but I’d pay good money to be able to watch ESPN’s Coaches’ Film Room for one game every weekend.

It was a show on ESPN News, run for at least the second consecutive year, featuring a panel of six coaches analyzing the championship game as it went on.

They sat at a table, watching the game on a large screen - we saw the same thing they did - and then commenting on the previous play, the upcoming play, coaches’ strategy, players’ skills and whatnot.

On the panel were Mike Bobo of Colorado State (the only non-Power Five coach, he played QB at Georgia and coached there for years before taking the CSU job.  He recruited Georgia running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel); David Cutcliffe of Duke; Pat Fitzgerald of Northwestern; Mike Gundy of Oklahoma State; Matt Luke of Ole Miss; and Kevin Sumlin, late of Texas A & M.

Coach Cut talked about the nervousness that had to be affecting everybody: “You’re hunting normalcy (trying to get everybody to act normal) - and making sure that you got 11 men on the field!”

Pat Fitzgerald pointed out that although then officials were Big Ten guys, and an all-star crew, they had had time off just like the players so you couldn’t be sure what to expect.”

Coach Cut wondered, “How aggressive are they going to let the defensive backs play?”

The guys predicted that they would “let them play.”

Coach Cut noted that both teams wanted to start out on defense, and as the captains walked out for the coin toss, Mike Bobo quipped, “they both want to defer.”

They wondered whether the teams would treat it as if it were an away game - if they would use silent cadences.

As the game started, they all agreed that the two teams were going through scripts.

Coach Cut was quick to notice what those of you who saw Georgia beat Oklahoma had to notice - Georgia’s #3 is GOOD. When he came from the inside and tackled an Alabama sweep on the Tide’s first drive, he said, “That may be the best defensive player on the field.  Nobody else makes that play.”

Kevin Sumlin noted the pace of the early play - both team had had 18 snaps and the game was less than six minutes old.

They marveled at the quickness of Alabama’s #94 on the defensive line, and noted what a tough time Georgia’s left guard was having with him.

They began to grow impatient with Georgia’s uncharacteristic spread offense.

Coach Cut suggested that maybe it was because Kirby Smart was so familiar with Saban that he felt he had to do something different.

Said Mike Gundy, it was time for Georgia to ask, “Is this who we are? We got two guys who’ve rushed for 8,000 yards (slight exaggeration).  Let’s get back to what we do.”

Coach Cut noted that it was  “refreshing” that in this day of leaving early for the NFL draft, Georgia’s two running backs had both stayed for their senior seasons.

Asked about Sony Michel, Mike Bobo said he was not small - he had as much size as Chubb, and "a little bit more 'make-you-miss.'”

Alabama’s first drive followed an interception, and when it stalled, the Tide kicked a field goal.  But it was nullified by illegal procedure - a lineman moved - and from five yards back, the second attempt failed.

Coach Cut noted that the guy who jumped - playing the tight end position on the right - was a defensive end.  The coaches all agreed that you take that chance when you put a defensive player on the offensive line like that, but they didn’t criticize the move.  I gathered that they did that themselves. (it occurred to me that this might have been a strategy dictated by something that happened to this very Alabama team a few years ago, when Auburn ran back a missed field goal, and Bama’s big offensive linemen - on the field strictly to block for the kick - were useless in coverage.)

There was an Alabama punt on which the coverage appeared lacking, and we heard Coach Cut say,  “This is a national championship game and we’ve got an issue of effort.”

Replay showed that an Alabama gunner had been blocked, but  then - unforgivable sin -  had allowed himself to stay blocked.

Said Coach Fitzgerald, in a game like this one, “coaching and talent are the same and it comes down to effort.”

Said Coach Cut - “Not to blame any young man, but what you put on film you’re accountable for.”

We saw two punts, and two illegal blocks in the back, Quipped someone, “That’s sort of the NFL model.”

Coach Cut says he tells his blockers not to even think about blocking a cover guy in the back. He says he tells them, “That return man is on scholarship… he can make one man miss.”

When Michel made his great tip-toe, tap dance along the right sideline, Coach Cut said, “If I’m an NFL scout, I’ve seen all I need to see.”

When Georgia scored on a Wildcat option just before the half, Coach Cut said, “You old-timers: it’s the old wishbone option."

They talked quite a bit about  the length of halftime, and how Bama was going to need every bit of it.

There was some question about how Georgia got a penalty for sideline interference, then not too much later they got a sideline warning. Coach Fitzgerald said a possible explanation was that in the Big Ten side officials switch at halftime.

They were surprised at the halftime QB switch, and they agreed that it would probably be for just one series.

Couple of other things that I wrote down:

Coach Cutcliffe again talking about Georgia’s #3: “When I was a play caller (in the SEC - as OC at Tennessee and head coach at Ole Miss) I learned there are some people on the field you can’t block.”

He talked about what he looked for in a QB - said he needed to be “like a middle infielder” - able to go to either side.

He said he wants QBs who can catch a shotgun snap and see the field - see upfield and still catch the ball.  “That’s rare,” he said.

He said when they see a high school QB focus on catching the snap - “we drop him.”

Sorry guys - that’s all the notes I took. I was trying to watch the game, too.

But I recorded the whole thing and I’m going to go back over it one of these days.

*********** Hugh,

Georgia gave that one away.  First...with Alabama's defense starting to wear down in the fourth quarter, and with 3 outstanding running backs on their side, Georgia made the fatal mistake of not going boring and pounding Alabama into submission thus keeping the ball away from Alabama's offense, and not giving the flyin' Hawaiian a chance to tie the score.  Then...in OT...why on God's green earth with a 2nd and 26, with the ball on the 40, and a 3 point lead, is your defense in COVER 2!!??  For me that ending was more of Georgia losing the game as opposed to Alabama winning the game.

Congrats to NDSU on their 6th National Championship, and to their loyal fans!  Lots of Gold in those stands in Texas on that day!

No...you will NEVER see a PE class like that ever again.  In fact...many of those boys looked like they played a little football, and most of those boys looked like athletes, and ALL of the boys looked like MEN!

By the way...who IS in the NFL playoffs?  Have I ever mentioned.......

Greg Koenig will continue finding kids like that, and his football team will be better off for it.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Cozza and Harvard Coach

NOT THE QUIZ - But just curious -   who is it?   That’s Yale's Carm Cozza on the left.  On the right, his opponent in many clashes, (including Yale's famed 29-29 "loss" to Harvard). Who is he? I sent this photo to the son of the late Harvard coach.  Himself a former Notre Dame player and now an orthodontist in suburban Portland, he wrote me, “Coach and my Dad had a great relationship built on mutual respect. We need more of that today in the coaching profession.”

QUIZ ANSWER: Jimmy Streater's is a tragic story, one that defies our best efforts to find an answer to the question - “why?”

He came out of the small town of Sylva, In the mountains of western  North Carolina, where he was all-everything in three sports.

He was all-conference in baseball and reportedly turned down a $40,000 bonus to sign with the Cincinnati Reds.

He set school records in the 100- and 200-yard dashes and set school and state records in the long jump.

But football was his game, and quarterback was his position.  In his high school career, he was responsible for 70 touchdowns - 38 rushing, 13 throwing, five receiving, and 14 on returns - six punt returns, four kickoff returns and four interception returns.

He was All-State, All-Southern and Parade Magazine All-American.

He was recruited heavily by a number of southern schools, including his home state college, North Carolina, and Alabama, then coached by Bear Bryant. But he chose to sign with Tennessee and its coach, Bill Battle.  He was black, and he was inspired by the example of Condredge Holloway, former Tennessee QB and the SEC’s first black quarterback.

After Bill Battle was fired, John Majors took over,  and Streater  thrived as an option quarterback in Majors’ offense.  His running and scrambling ability earned him the nickname the “Sylva Streak,” but his teammates called him “Bird,” because of his skinny legs.

In his senior season,  he was captain of the team. In one of his top performances, he led the Vols to their first-ever win over Notre Dame, at Neyland Stadium. He had a 48-yard pass, a 51-yard run and a 5-yard touchdown run as the Vols triumphed, 40-18.

He was All-SEC in 1979 and was named AP and UPI Back of the Week and UPI Southeast Offensive Player of the Week for his play against Utah - throwing three touchdown passes and running for one TD -  and then against Auburn - running for two TDs and throwing for a third.

He was too small - 6-1, 165 - by NFL standards and his style of play didn’t fit the NFL model for quarterbacks, so he signed with the Toronto Argonauts.

And then his life began to go downhill.

He used and abused drugs, and he had to deal with diabetes.  His marriage suffered as a result of his drug addiction, and his wife left him.

His younger brother, who’d played at North Carolina and had just signed a contract with the Redskins, was left paralyzed after an automobile accident.

And the drug use persisted.

He had to have a leg amputated as a result of the diabetes, and then, following an infected spider bite,  an arm.

Numerous former teammates and UT fans contributed to a fund to pay for his medical bills; one of the leading contributors was former coach Bill Battle, who by then was a hugely successful businessman as the founder of Collegiate Licensing.

At some point, the drug use ended.

Never too late, he brought Christ into his life, and in his last years he spoke to youth groups in Tennessee and North Carolina.

He died in 2004, at the age of 46.  Today, few people remember what a great football player Jimmy Streater was.

Said Coach Majors: "He was one of the best athletes I coached in my entire career. More importantly, I loved Jimmyas a person. He was such a great competitor. He had a great nature about him and was always extremely upbeat. He was a self-starter. You never had to ask him to hustle."



*********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JIMMY STREATER:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEVIN LATHAM - DECATUR, GEORGIA (“If Black QBs from Tennessee was a Jeopardy question I would clean up! LOL.  I saw him play probably a half dozen times with my grandfather, who loved him. It was during this time that I really fell in love with college football.”
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
MIKE FORISTIERE - MATTAWA, WASHINGTON
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA


*********** QUIZ - He was a Midwestern kid (Toledo, Ohio) who played offensive line at Montana State.  After graduation, he played one season in the CFL before returning to Bozeman as a graduate assistant.

After one year he was made a full-time assistant, and he stayed at Montana State, coaching the line, for six years, until he was hired by Washington State coach Jim Sweeney in 1971. After a year as offensive line coach at Wazzu, he was promoted to offensive coordinator.

In 1974 he headed back to Canada, and spent nine years in Calgary as an assistant.

He returned to the states in 1983 as defensive coordinator at Purdue, but when the head coach there was fired,  he moved on to Wyoming as offensive coordinator.

After two years at Wyoming, in 1989 he joined Mike Price’s new staff at Washington State  as OC, and the next season it was his decision to make a kid named Drew Bledsoe the first freshman starting QB in Cougar history.

He didn’t stick around to see Bledsoe blossom, though, because in 1991 he got his first head coaching job,  at Wyoming.  In six years at Laramie, he coached the Cowboys to a 39-30-1 record. His final team, in 1996, was his best team.  The Cowboys went 10-2 and were nationally ranked, but lost to BYU in the very first WAC championship game, and - something that’s hard to believe in a day when 6-6 teams get bowl invitations - wound up staying home, uninvited.

Following that season, he was hired by a Big Ten school that was so down it had had just two winning seasons in its last 18 seasons, and had played in only five bowl games in its history.

Introducing the spread offense that he’d learned along the way, working alongside Jack Elway and Dennis Erickson, and making use of the passing talent of an undersized Texas native named Drew Brees, he revolutionized football in the Big Ten.

In 2000 his team won its first Big Ten championship in 35 years, and its subsequent appearance in the Rose Bowl was just the school’s second the history of the bowl.

When he retired following the 2008 season, he was the winningest coach in school history.  His overall record there was 87-62, and in his 12 years there, he took his team to ten bowl games.



american flagTUESDAY,  JANUARY 9,  2018  “The beginning is the most important part of the work.” Plato

*********** How can you play much better than Georgia did, and lose?  How can you play as badly as Alabama did, and win? What kind of balls does it take to go in at halftime, pull your QB - who’s been 25-2 as your starter - and replace him with a freshman?  Lots to talk about.  See you Friday.  And a certain Alabama kicker won’t have to take advantage of Southwest’s Wanna Get Away? fares.

*********** Hats off to North Dakota State and James Madison, two great programs.  I’m sorry that they had to wait so long to meet  after winning their semifinals, and I wish that the FCS people could have a bowl game all their own, with the kind of recognition that their game deserves.  I’m sure, though, since they’ve won six of the last seven national titles, that by now the NDSU people treat this as their bowl game.

*********** Watch this video - this isn’t a football team. This is a PE class, made up of normal high school kids.

If you deal with today’s teenage kids, ask yourself - what are the chances we’ll ever see a PE program like this again?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=0yQth3QEXtA

*********** You’d think, as a coach, that when you've finally made it to the big time, you’d be done with a$$hole parents.

Agents and fans and owners and GMs and a&&hole players, sure - but at least you’re dealing with adults, and not parents.

Wrong.

Not, at least, if you’re coaching the Los Angeles Lakers.

Seems there’s this guy named Lavar Ball who has a kid playing on the Lakers.

And there are the media jackals who refuse to ignore him. He sounded off to ESPN - which was kind enough to provide him with a platform to do so - about the Lakers’ coach, Luke Walton: "Luke doesn't have control of the team no more,” he said. “They don't want to play for him."

So whose bright idea was it, anyhow, to sign this guy’s kid?

http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/21991857/lavar-ball-says-los-angeles-lakers-coach-luke-walton-lost-team

*********** Remember the way we used to howl about the officials’ refusing to call “assisting the runner?” It got to be a joke, watching teammates get behind a runner and push him the last couple of yards across the goal line for the winning touchdown. (USC?)

Well.  When you can’t/won’t enforce a rule, you might as well remove it from the book, which is what they finally did.  One less thing to have to ignore.

So now, it’s okay to push on the runner.  Go ahead.  Do it all you want.  But - the rules makers assured us - only PUSHING is legal.  it’s still illegal to PULL the runner.

Yup, it’s still illegal, all right.   But now, just as the pushing used to be, it’s unenforced.

Just this past weekend, the Falcons’ center (#51) hugged a runner and hauled him across for a touchdown.  And other than a word of praise for the center from the guys in the booth, nothing was said.   What the hell - it’s only a playoff game.

*********** Tom Walls, who coaches in Manitoba, Canada, showed me some video of his Provincial All-Star youth team running the Open Wing (12-man version!) against the Saskatchewan All-Stars. (Tom will forgive me if “All-Stars” is the wrong appellation.)

One clip showed his son, Tommy, throwing a nice TD pass.  What was best, I told Tom, was that the snap was high and Tommy had to dispense with the fake he was supposed to make and go right to the pass.

I liked the way he played on and made something happen.

Too many young QB’s can go all to pieces when the play breaks down. They stop.  They freeze.  They slap themselves on the helmet.

That’s when I tell them to “play basketball.”

That means, when the plan goes all to hell - play on.

Most kids have played basketball, and they all know that after the coach has just spent an entire timeout diagramming a play, they'll go back out on the floor - and 90 per cent of the time, the play the coach diagrammed doesn’t work.  So they just go on and play basketball.

*********** Incomplete passes, out-of-bounds plays, timeouts (up to three per team, since they like to save them)  and review after review - the never-ending last minute or so of basketball games has made its way to football.

*********** Longtime friend and Double Wing coach Greg Koenig finished his first season at Cimarron, Kansas with a trip to the playoffs. Greg did find some good players  at his new school, including his B-Back, Jaylen Pickle, who has signed with Kansas State.  (An FBS prospect  really stands out at a small high school.)

But every bit as good, in my mind, was Cimarron's A-Back and middle linebacker, Josh Seabolt.  On both sides of the ball, he was something to see.

He rushed for over 1500 yards and 17 touchdowns, but he may have been even better on defense, where he was credited with 106 tackles.

Now, it’s wrestling season.  He’s defending state champion at 182, and this year he’s currently ranked number one at 195.

http://kansas-sports.com/ks/news/?id=10110&t=faces-in-ks-josh-seabolt-

*********** I’ve always told my teams that there are three things that will stop out offense, even when defenses can’t:

Turnovers.  Stupid penalties.  Dumbass calls

The first two, I tell them, are up to them.  We’ll drill on those things, and we’ll stress them, but ultimately, turnovers and penalties are in the hands of the players.

But the kind of call that kills a drive?  That’s in my hands.  And play callers should always be mindful of the Hippocratic Oath, taken by all doctors: “First, do no harm.”

So there the Bills were Sunday, first and goal from the one following a penalty.  There was no way to blow this one. 

But , yes, there was.  There was the dumbass call. Somewhere in NFL Coaching 101 they must spend a week teaching aspiring coaches that short yardage situations call for a pass, so on first down and one, the Bills passed. A back-shoulder fade to the left to Kelvin Benjamin. What the hell -  what could go wrong? 

I refer you to Murphy’s Law - “if anything can possibly go wrong, it will.”

I’ll be damned if Benjamin didn’t get caught pushing off. Offensive pass interference. And things just don’t look quite so promising from the 11 as they do from the one.  The Bills never did get that touchdown, settling finally for a field goal. They lost, 10-3.

"Yeah, you know, there's some calls we want back," said Bills Coach Sean McDermott. "That's probably one of them.”

Probably?

*********** Internet wisdom

I saw an amazing football game a couple of weeks ago:
 
* The players’ hair fit under their helmets.
* I couldn’t seen any tattoos.
* There were no outlandish end zone celebrations.
* There was no taunting.
* Opposing players helped each other up after plays.
* Footballs were not spiked or left for the referee to retrieve; they were handed to the referee.
* No one took a knee on the sidelines.
* Players stood at attention during the playing of the national anthem.

Wasn’t the Army Navy game great?

***********Coach Wyatt,

My name is —- —. I grew up in Woodburn Oregon and played under coach Tracy Jackson. In the 1992 season all of our coaches spent time in areas such as Bandon and Gold Beach and in 93 we installed the double wing double tight. Don Markham was considered a God in Oregon in the 90’s. I loved it. I played center and guard and had a lot of fun. I moved on to play college, indoor and some semi pro football. I spend several years being a position coach and teaching special teams (long snapping).  

Due to my management job in my real career I could never be a high school head coach. I don’t have the luxury of leaving work at 3 each day and noon on Fridays. This last year my youngest son played youth football 9-10-11s and because of lack of volunteers, strong background checks and all the classroom training now required (concussion, Heat awareness and Heads Up football), there is a huge coaching shortage. The teams were trying to be feeder programs for the high school as there is no middle school or Junior high football down here in central California. The issue is offenses that work with strong passing games and more complexity use at high school level do not implement well at the youth level. Surprisingly there’s isn’t any double wing being run in this area.

I want to implement the basic double wing. I know most basic things such as stance and alignments and basic play package, but I need more. What do you recommend. Where do I start. I am not totally new to it. But I have never taught it to 11-12-13-14 year old athletes.

I see many matetials you offer for sale, how can they help me and my team?

Nice to hear from you.

As you may know, I worked with Tracy Jackson for several seasons and I think very highly of him as a person and as a coach.

I did work with him for one season at Woodburn (2009) and I enjoyed the experience. I especially admired the kids because although they were overmatched, week in and week out, they worked hard and never gave in,  and we threw some scares into some of the big-time programs like the Albany schools and the Corvallis schools.

To answer your question - my current project is a whole new edition of my Double Wing playbook, my first in more than 15 years.  As you can imagine, a lot of things have taken place since that last edition.

I’m not bragging when I say that this playbook, when it’s completed, will be as close as anything will ever get to being the complete guide to the Double Wing offense.

I’m hoping to have it done by some time in February.

My recommendation would be to wait for it.  Keep checking my NEWS page for the announcement or if you’d like, I’ll keep your address and send you an email when it’s ready.


*********** My friend Lou Orlando, who played center at Yale for recently departed Carm Cozza, sent me this page from the playbook , a page Coach Cozza made “each and every player” read upon arrival at summer training camp:

WORK

If you are poor, WORK.   If you are rich, WORK.  If you are burdened with seemingly unfair responsibilities, WORK

If you are happy, continue to work.  Idleness gives room for doubts and fears.  If sorrow overwhelms you and loved ones seem not true, WORK.  If disappointments come, WORK.

If faith falters and reason fails, just WORK.  When dreams are shattered and hope seems dead – WORK.  WORK as if your life were in peril; it really is.

No matter what ails you, WORK. WORK faithfully, and WORK with faith.  WORK IS THE GREATEST MATERIAL REMEDY AVAILABLE.  WORK will cure both mental and physical afflictions.
 
*********** I was looking through an old (1953) USC program, putting faces to names that I remember from when I was a kid and used to watch those great USC and UCLA teams on our black-and-white set.  It was all so exotic - games being played out on the West Coast in bright sunshine while as I sat there,  back in Pennsylvania, it was dark outside.

There were some great names - Aramis Dandoy… Primo Villanueva… Sam Tsagalakis…

One that jumped out at me was Mario Da Re, a lineman. Cool, I thought.  What nationality could that be? I wondered.

Italian, I found out.  The family came from Italy, settled first in northeastern Pennsylvania, then moved to Crockett, California.

Mario had five brothers ,named Aldo, Dante, Dino, Guido, and Louis.

If you’re old enough, you will know Aldo.  He made a name for himself as a movie star, usually cast in studly  roles.  But the studio had him change his name - to Aldo Ray.

http://www.insidesocal.com/usc/2010/04/21/dare-dies/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldo_Ray


*********** QUIZ ANSWER - USC is famous for its great running backs:  OJ Simpson… Marcus Allen… Ricky Bell… Charles White… Mike Garrett…  Anthony Davis … Reggie Bush.

But the greatest of them all might have been a guy who played in the 1950s, when he had to play both ways,  at a time before the Trojans adopted the I-formation, which featured one star back.

Jon Arnett came out of Manual Arts High in Los Angeles, and from his very first game as a sophomore (freshmen weren’t eligible) it was obvious he was a great one.

He rushed for 601 yards on 96 carries and scored seven touchdowns, and although he caught only three passes, they went for 104 yards and three touchdowns.

In his junior year,  he carried 141 times for 672 yards and 11 TDs. He caught just six passes, but they were good for 154 yards and three TDs, and he was named All-American. He won the Voit Award, given to the top player on the West Coast.

Going into his senior year,  he was captain of the team and the Heisman Trophy favorite. But a pay-for-play scandal among West Coast powers brought sanctions against USC, UCLA, Cal and Washington, and he was suspended for the first half of the season. Playing half the season, he nearly matched his yardage from his junior year: 625 yards on 99 carries for six TDs, and he made All-American and won the Voit Award for the second straight year.

But it wasn’t enough to win the Heisman, which went to Paul Hornung, captain of a 2-9 Notre Dame team.

Jon Arnett was the first choice of the Los Angeles Rams in 1956 - the number two pick overall, ahead of Jim Brown.

In his ten years in the NFL - seven with the Rams and three with the Bears - Jon Arnett starred as a threat at running back, wide receiver and return man, and went to five straight Pro Bowls.

Along the way,  a Los Angeles sportswriter gave him the nickname Jaguar Jon, and it stuck.

You'll like this...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8P0Vo-MQJXw

But you'll love this...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glTMAqhVzXQ

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JON ARNETT:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
SHEP CLARKE - PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
TIM BROSS - KIRKWOOD, MISSOURI


QUIZ: His is a tragic story, one that defies our best efforts to find an answer to the question - “why?”

He came out of the small town of Sylva, In the mountains of western  North Carolina, where he was all-everything in three sports.

He was all-conference in baseball and reportedly turned down a $40,000 bonus to sign with the Cincinnati Reds.

He set school records in the 100- and 200-yard dashes and set school and state records in the long jump.

But football was his game, and quarterback was his position.  In his high school career, he was responsible for 70 touchdowns - 38 rushing, 13 throwing, five receiving, and 14 on returns - six punt returns, four kickoff returns and four interception returns.

He was All-State, All-Southern and Parade Magazine All-American.

He was recruited heavily by a number of southern schools, including his home state college, North Carolina, and Alabama, then coached by Bear Bryant. But he chose to sign with Tennessee and its coach, Bill Battle.  He was black, and he was inspired by the example of Condredge Holloway, former Tennessee QB and the SEC’s first black quarterback.

After Bill Battle was fired, John Majors took over,  and our guy thrived as an option quarterback in Majors’ offense.  His running and scrambling ability earned him the nickname the “Sylva Streak,” but his teammates called him “Bird,” because of his skinny legs.

In his senior season,  he was captain of the team. In one of his top performances, he led the Vols to their first-ever win over Notre Dame, at Neyland Stadium. He had a 48-yard pass, a 51-yard run and a 5-yard touchdown run as the Vols triumphed, 40-18.

He was All-SEC in 1979 and was named AP and UPI Back of the Week and UPI Southeast Offensive Player of the Week for his play against Utah - throwing three touchdown passes and running for one TD -  and then against Auburn - running for two TDs and throwing for a third.

He was too small - 6-1, 165 - by NFL standards and his style of play didn’t fit the NFL model for quarterbacks, so he signed with the Toronto Argonauts.

And then his life began to go downhill.

He used and abused drugs, and he had to deal with diabetes.  His marriage suffered as a result of his drug addiction, and his wife left him.

His younger brother, who’d played at North Carolina and had just signed a contract with the Redskins, was left paralyzed after an automobile accident.

And the drug use persisted.

He had to have a leg amputated as a result of the diabetes, and then, following an infected spider bite,  an arm.

Numerous former teammates and UT fans contributed to a fund to pay for his medical bills; one of the leading contributors was former coach Bill Battle, who by then was a hugely successful businessman as the founder of Collegiate Licensing.

At some point, the drug use ended.

Never too late, he brought Christ into his life, and in his last years he spoke to youth groups in Tennessee and North Carolina.

He died in 2004, at the age of 46.  Today, few people remember what a great football player he was.

Said Coach Majors: "He was one of the best athletes I coached in my entire career. More importantly, I loved (him) as a person. He was such a great competitor. He had a great nature about him and was always extremely upbeat. He was a self-starter. You never had to ask him to hustle."


american flagFRIDAY,  JANUARY 5,  2018  “I would rather try to persuade a man to go along, because once I have persuaded him, he will stick. If I scare him, he will stay just as long as he is scared, and then he is gone.” Dwight D. Eisenhower


*********** I don’t like to lead off with unpleasant news, but Carm Cozza’s death belongs at the top of my page.

Carm Cozza, Yale’s head coach for 32 seasons, died Thursday.

I met him just a couple of times, when I was helping recruit (alumni could do it then) and I was tremendously impressed with the man.  He had a presence.

Ever go back to your old school and wish you could have played for the guy who’s coaching them now?  That was me, and that was Carm Cozza. He was the coach I wish I’d had.

One funny little thing - he didn’t know me very well.    Didn’t matter.  He once called the AD at Federal City College (in Washington, DC) and gave me such a rave review (I was then coaching a minor league team in Maryland) that I got an interview and made it to the final round.

Here’s Yale’s official news release:

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Walter Camp, the “Father of American football” shaped a new game into what we know today as football. Carmen Louis Cozza, the father figure to more than 2,000 Yale student-athletes from four different decades, molded young men into future leaders while serving as the head football coach at Yale for an amazing 32 seasons.
 
Cozza, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, passed away today at the age of 87.
 
When Cozza took over the Yale program, Vince Lombardi was leading the Green Bay Packers to an NFL Championship and Lamar Hunt had not come up with the name “Super Bowl” for the championship of professional football.  Future NFL star Calvin Hill ’69 was a freshman on Yale’s Old Campus.
 
From 1965 to 1996 he compiled a 179-119-5 (.599) record in 303 games with class and dignity while earning the ever-lasting endearment of his players and the utmost respect from his opponents.
 
He is still the winningest coach in Ivy League history, and that’s why the hall of fame came calling in 2004. Cozza led his teams to 10 Ivy League Championships and 19 winning seasons. Mixed in with all those wins was a famous, 16-game win streak between 1967 and 1968 that initially made his name synonymous with Yale Football.   
 
Yale’s legendary mentor coached in numerous all-star games.  An assistant coach for the 1970 East-West Shrine Game in Palo Alto, Calif., he served as a head coach in the 1972 contest.  Cozza also served as defensive coordinator in the 1981 Blue-Gray Classic in Mobile, Ala.  When the 1989 Ivy League All-Stars went to Japan for the first Epson Ivy Bowl, Cozza was the head coach of the Ancient Eight in its victory over the Japanese College All-Stars.
 
Cozza was born June 10, 1930, in Parma, Ohio.  In high school, he was a tremendous athlete, earning 11 varsity letters in football, basketball, baseball, and track.  He attended college at Miami (OH), playing football under the tutelage of Ara Parseghian and Woody Hayes. He saw triple duty as a Miami quarterback, running back and defensive back.
 
On the baseball diamond, he pitched and played the outfield, posting a 1.50 earned run average and a career batting average of .388.  He briefly spent time in the minor league organizations of the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago White Sox before taking a coaching position at Gilmour Academy in Ohio.
 
In 1956, he was appointed head coach of the freshman squad at Miami, and in 1961, he joined the varsity staff.  Two years later, he accepted a job as an assistant coach at Yale under head coach John Pont.  When Pont resigned two years later in 1965, Cozza was named head coach.  At the time of the announcement, Yale Athletics Director Delaney Kiphuth said, “the future of Yale football is in very capable hands.” He could not have been more accurate.
 
A recipient of a master’s degree in education from Miami in 1959, Cozza had administrative experience as well.  In 1976, he was appointed Yale Athletics Director with the expectation that he would leave coaching after a few years of performing in both capacities.  Instead, Cozza decided to give up the director’s position in 1977 and remain the football coach.
 
Since he retired from coaching in 1996, Cozza served as Special Assistant to the Director of Athletics at Yale while also handling the radio color commentary (1998-2016) for Yale football. Throughout his 54-year tenure at the University, Cozza was a guiding, caring and thoughtful mentor to hundreds of athletics department employees.
 
Cozza, one of the fabled “Cradle of Coaches” from Miami University, earned a George H.W. Bush Lifetime of Leadership Award from Yale in 2009 and was the Walter Camp Football Foundation’s Distinguished American recipient in 1992. Cozza was also instrumental in raising money for the renovation of Yale Bowl.
 
He is survived by his wife, Jean Cozza (Orange, CT), daughters Kristen (Dave) Powell (Orange, CT), Kathryn (Anthony) Tutino (Madison, CT) and Karen (John) Pollard (Middlebury, CT) and grandchildren Michael and Mark Powell, Elizabeth Tutino and Eric and Christopher Pollard. Carm Cozza was pre-deceased by four sisters, Ange, Pat, Theresa and Josephine (Parma, OH) and his parents, James and Carbita Cozza.
 
The services will be private, and a memorial celebration of his life is being planned for the near future.

*********** My friend Lou Orlando played for Carm Cozza in the 1980s.  Now a high school coach in Maine, Lou wrote me, “We were all very lucky to have known and played for Carm. He and his terrific staff (which was a direct extension of himself) taught us so much more than the X's and O's. He loved his players and we all loved him. If Carm needed us to run through a wall, I don't think there was a man amongst us that wouldn't have immediately asked "What's the snap count?"

*********** There are the Carm Cozzas - and then there are the Rich Rods.

The Carm Cozzas are a credit to our game. The Rich Rods are a pox on it.

What can I say about Rich Rodriguez other than to say - don’t let yourself get distracted by that bright shiny object. 

That would be the sexual harassment lawsuit by the ex-employee.  It’s sexy, and thanks to all this #metoo business it’s the story that gets the headlines.

But while it may have finally tipped the scales, it’s not the major reason that Rich Rodriguez was fired.

Neither is his win-loss record (which isn’t anything to brag about, and on the face of it might have been enough to get him canned).

Neither is the fact that he was blatantly cheating on his wife, while enlisting others in his employ to cover for him. (Is there anything sleazier than asking someone else to join you in your cheating?)

I’m saying that there’s more to come - a lot more - and it’s going to reveal that what finally took this guy down was the way he treated people.

He was  known to explode on players, coaches, managers - publicly, in the most vile and vulgar manner -  to the point where one assistant told a reporter for the Arizona Star that they all “walk on eggs.”

His manner with people had to be affecting his ability to recruit. What do you suppose Wildcat players told recruits when they visited?  I’m guessing that they asked if the kids were being recruited by anyone else - anyone - and then said,  “go there.”

The latest allegation is that an assistant coach came to him with a player having drug problems, looking for his help, and he blew them off - said “he’ll be all right.”  The kid died the next day of an overdose.

There will be more.  It’s just beginning to bubble to the surface of that cesspool in Tucson.

But I doubt that it started there.   

You going to try telling me he was a saint at Michigan?  At West Virginia?

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/other/latest-story-reveals-rich-rodriguez-shrugged-off-deceased-arizona-players-drug-problem/ar-BBHRwHW


*********** MY RANKING OF THE BOWL WINNERS - (Based on season record, bowl performance and personal bias.)  Consider it my way of bringing some meaning back to so-called “meaningless bowls”:  No bowl win, no ranking.

Yes, yes, I know - there were 39 bowl games and I’ve only selected 25 teams.  Apologies to those who didn’t make the list - maybe next year.

(Sorry Clemson and Oklahoma, but you're bowl losers, so you're not on the list.)

1. ALABAMA - They’re in a class by themselves.  Except that they’re better behaved and much more professional-acting, they’re very much like an NFL team - including being boring to watch

2. GEORGIA - They’re definitely better offensively than Clemson.  They could beat Alabama.
 
3. OHIO STATE - They embarrassed the Pac-12 champion.  Sam Darnold got a got preview of what it will be like to play for the Cleveland Browns and get no protection.

4. WISCONSIN - They’re great on defense, and they’re strong enough up front that they can afford to have a QB who can’t run. They’d be #3 if Ohio State hadn’t beaten them in the conference championship game.

5. CENTRAL FLORIDA - As Scott Frost was careful to point out in his post-game interview, the Knights beat a team (Auburn) that beat two of the teams in the Playoff.

6. TCU - Whatever you do,  don’t jump out to a big lead over TCU in a bowl game.  Oregon and Stanford know - they’ll come back and getcha.

7. PENN STATE - They were better this year than they were last year when they won the Big Ten and narrowly lost to USC in the Rose Bowl. Saquon Barkley is terrific, McSorley is a real winner, and the big tight end, Gesicki, is tough.  Despite the one-touchdown margin, they Nittany Lions were WAY better than Washington.

8. OKLAHOMA STATE - They’re plenty good, but overall it was a disappointing year for the Cowboys, who were picked to finish higher.

9. MICHIGAN STATE - The Spartans made Washington State look like pretenders.   Excuse me if I have my doubts about that cast on Luke Falk’s left (non-throwing) hand.

10. IOWA STATE - When you can beat Oklahoma - in Norman - and TCU, and then you can beat Memphis - in Memphis - you are the real deal.

11. MISSISSIPPI STATE - Quite an effort by the Bulldogs after the injury to QB Nick Fitzgerald in the first quarter of the season-ending loss to Ole Miss, and then the loss of coach Dan Mullen.

12. SOUTH FLORIDA - They came within a whisker of beating UCF in the season finale, and they wound up beating Texas Tech in the final seconds.

13. NORTHWESTERN - They lost their QB to injury and their best defender to a bogus targeting call, and their coach made a bonehead decision to go for it on fourth-and-two with two minutes to play, but they still managed to beat a good Kentucky team (who, it must be said, was playing without its star running back because it appears he offended the referee.

14. BOISE STATE - Their win over Oregon was so long ago it seems like it was another season.  But the Broncos set the bar so high that only one Pac-12 team (out of eight that tried their luck) came out of the bowls with a win.

15. WAKE FOREST - I don’t know about their defense - they gave up 52 points to Texas A & M - but they played up-tempo when they had the ball and they put 55 on the Aggies. Quite an achievement when one of the smallest schools in FBS can beat one of the largest.  As a Wake fan, I expect to enjoy one more year of Dave Clawson’s coaching before he gets a BIG offer to move on. (Unless Arizona should come calling over the next week or two.)

16. ARMY - I doubt that they could stop any of the teams that I’ve ranked above them, but by the same token, quite a number of them would have the same difficulty San Diego State did in getting them to give up the ball.

17. KANSAS STATE - Nice comeback against UCLA.  Nice substitution at QB, bringing in the runner to replace the passer.

18. NOTRE DAME - I had to put them on this list somewhere or I’d be accused - fairly, to be sure - of anti-Notre Dame bias.  But this is my list and I’ll do as I damn please with it.  True, the Irish did beat an SEC team,  but one without an offense. Between the rain and the lack of offense on both sides, that was one hard-to-watch bowl game.

19. NORTH CAROLINA STATE - The Wolfpack ushered in the Herm Edwards era at Arizona State by whupping the Sun Devils.

20. PURDUE - Nice season by Purdue and nice job in a back-and-forth game.  Who knew that the Boilermakers’ win over Arizona would be  Rich Rodriguez’ last game?

21. NAVY - The two-week rest after the Army loss was enough to get a new QB up to speed, and in their trouncing of Virginia, the Middies showed that they will be tough next year.

22. SOUTH CAROLINA - I don’t know a thing about the Gamecocks and I didn’t watch their game, but anybody that can put Harbaugh in his place - as the coach of the only Big Ten team to lose a bowl game -  deserves a spot on this list.

23. IOWA - Their whupping of Ohio State was constantly brought up when justifying the Buckeyes’ being left out of the Playoff - “that loss to IOWA!” - but if they’d played that way all season, they’d have been in the Playoffs.  As it turned out, they were barely good enough to beat Boston College in a classic, late-in-the-season, cold weather game.

24. DUKE - They were very young, but they somehow or other got bowl-eligible, and then they showed against Northern Illinois that they’re going to be pretty good next year.  Plus - remember - this is my list, and I always try to leave room for a few favorites.

25. UTAH - Had to get one Pac-12 team on the list, and since only one damn Pac-12 team won a stinking bowl game, that left the Utes.  An entire conference thanks you, West Virginia, for leaving your offense back in Morgantown.

*********** The bowl series wasn’t without its low points:

(1) The Music City Bowl - possibly the worst officiated bowl game in football history.

a. Kentucky running back Benny Snell was ejected for contact with an official - a Pac-12 official - who apparently took offense after he offered Snell, who had been tackled, a hand up and Snell brushed him off.

b. Northwestern linebacker Paddy Fisher made the kind of form tackle we’d give a player a dozen helmet stickers for - and was ejected for targeting.

(2) The Pac-12 Conference

a. The conference’s representatives went a well-deserved 1-7 in bowl games.

b. Except for Arizona’s Khalil Tate, Pac-12 QBs couldn’t get out of their own way. And damned if  Arizona didn’t wind up losing its bowl game by cutting back on Tate’s running and trying to showcase him as a passer.

b. The conference supported the official who ejected Benny Snell.

(3) The officials in the Orange Bowl who didn’t throw out Mark Richt.  I like Mark Richt, and I respect him, but I respect the rules even more, and applying the same no-contact-with-an-official rule that resulted in Benny Snell’s ejection, Coach Richt had to go. Inconsistent  enforcement of the rules/laws is an invitation to lawlessness in our sport and in our society.

(4) Northern Illinois trying a fake punt on 4th and 11 from deep in their own territory.

(5) Soccerboy in the Frisco Bowl.

I happened not to be looking up at the time, and I missed a Louisiana Tech touchdown.

But I looked up when I heard the official intone,  “There is no foul for tripping”

WTF?

Replay showed the pussy SMU kicker tried a soccer “tackle.”  But he missed, so I guess it’s no harm, no foul.  Funny, you take a swing at a guy and miss and you still get thrown out.
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