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


american flag FRIDAY,  AUGUST 18,  2017  - “God protects children, drunkards and the United States.” Otto von Bismarck

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

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

IT COVERS...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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



*********** Last week,  I mailed out installment #5 of the basic playbook for the Open Wing Virtual Clinic DVD Series to coaches who've bought the DVD package. That's 45 pages in all. Anyone who purchases the DVD Series will also receive the playbook at no additional charge. (You heard right - the $150 price includes video and playbook.)

*********** My wife and I will head for the beach this weekend, but not to watch the eclipse. No, to get the hell away from it. 

It’s cutting right across Oregon, and if you live in the Portland area as we do the nearest place  to watch it is around Salem Oregon - about an hour south on I-5.  Under normal conditions.

But these ain’t gonna be no normal conditions.   We got people talking Apocalypse.  Y2K even.  Omigod. A million people headed to Oregon.  Better stock up on water, gas, bread, etc.

Traffic?  There can’t be anything more congested than I-5 headed south from Portland on the rare Saturday when Oregon and Oregon State are both playing at home.  But they say this will be worse. Especially afterward.   I can just picture  100,000 or so people - maybe more - who drove down to Salem for the day saying, at the exact same time, “Well, that’s it.  The eclipse is over.  Now, let’s head on home.”

So we’re going in the opposite direction from Salem, heading north by northwest, to Ocean Shores, where the eclipse will be viewable but not  total.  (And even if it were, there’s a 50 per cent chance that the skies will be cloudy.)

*********** Think people are bailing out of our profession?  55 Washington high schools started fall practice with new head coaches. At 35 of those schools, it’s the coach’s first head coaching job.

With 337 schools in the state playing football, the math is easy: a little more than one school in ten will have a guy in charge who's never been a head coach before.

A sign of the times:  one first-time head coach missed his team's first day of practice  because - get ready for this -  his wife had a baby. 

My wife, a mother of four who's been conditioned by years of marriage to a coach, asked, “Couldn’t he at least have made it out onto the field for three hours?”

*********** Can there be a less attractive NFL game on Thursday night TV than the Jaguars against the Buccaneers?

***********  During a question-and-answer period with Arizona Cardinals club seat holders,  one season ticket-holder asked NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell if players were going to continue to protest during the national anthem and if something could be done about it.

The commissioner’s  wormlike response should have been enough to cost him his job.

"It's one of those things," he said,  "where I think we have to understand that there are people that have different viewpoints.  The national anthem is a special moment to me. It's a point of pride. But we also have to understand the other side, that people do have rights and we want to respect those."

WTF?  The other side?

Spoken like a modern-day school administrator.

*********** If Commissioner Goodell wanted  other problems he couldn't  possibly do a better job...

It appears that NFL investigators had proof that the woman who has accused Ezekiel Elliott of beating her up texted with a friend about the possibility of blackmailing him.

Yet the Commissioner still went ahead and gave him a six-game suspension.

In its effort to show the world how intolerant it is of violence toward women,  the NFL may be way off base in its hammering of Elliott:

(1) There doesn’t seem to be any  proof other than the woman’s testimony that  bruises on her body were caused by Elliott.

(2) In cases of “he said, she said,” (in Elliott’s case, his accuser is the only “witness”) the woman cannot automatically be assumed to be the truthful party.

(3) Just because the  public deplores violence against women and demands that the NFL take action against it doesn’t mean it sympathizes with blackmailers.

As for Elliott - come on, man.  You’re a bright guy and a very good athlete with a great future.  You don’t need to be hanging with trash. “When you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.” Or worse.

My rash predictions: 

* Ezekiel Elliott will not miss a single game;

* Ezekiel Elliott will sue the Commissioner, and win - big;

* Roger Goodell will within a year  be known as “the former NFL commissioner.”

https://sports.yahoo.com/documents-ezekiel-elliotts-accuser-admitted-talk-leveraging-sex-videos-rb-money-120034705.html

*********** On Tuesday,   Seattle Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin,  asked about his teammate Michael  Bennett’s sitting during the national anthem, responded by asking why some of the people who condemn Bennett and Colin Kaepernick are the same ones he sees up in the stands screwing around during the anthem?

On the surface,  he appears to have an argument.  I am disgusted with those ignoramuses and have been for years.    But Mister Baldwin is smart enough to understand that   those doofuses we see in the stands clowning around are paying customers, and  we simply can’t make them stand at attention, respectfully, for the national anthem.

Mister Baldwin, on the other hand, is an employee of the Seahawks, and they have  the right to tell their employees how they expect them to conduct themselves  on the job.

Interestingly,  I have a feeling that if some of the yahoos in the stands acting disrespectfully  happened to be employees of the Seahawks,  management would have a stern talk with them.  But they’re not prima donna pro football players, and the team doesn’t have to suck up to them.

https://sports.yahoo.com/news/seahawks-doug-baldwin-wonders-sitting-anthem-bad-fans-curse-yell-wear-hats-131700868.html

*********** Michael Bennett, Seahawks’ official team resister, said the goal of his national anthem protests is to make people uncomfortable: “Everyone is in their comfort zone right now.  Get out there and become uncomfortable. Go out there and see what it’s like out there in society right now.”

Hmmm.

* At the same time that he wants people to become “uncomfortable,”  our colleges are obsessed with eliminating any speech, class, book, name of  a building  that might make even one student uncomfortable. 

* Expecting people to fight their way through traffic and then pay outrageous sums to enter a football stadium - all for the opportunity to “become uncomfortable” -  is not a sustainable business model.

* If there’s anybody who needs to “see what it’s like out there in society right now”  it’s a professional athlete  who’s so gifted athletically that  he’s made millions without ever having to work at a real job.

***********  My friend Don Shipley sent me a link of some of John Unitas’ best plays - typical plays for him -  and said, “Thought you'd enjoy seeing this clip that appeared on one of the football history sites I follow.”

“Greatest of All Time” Tom Brady, who goes out every game and shows us what the future of pro football looks like - when you’ll only be able  to tag the quarterback between the shoulders and the waist - could never in his imagination perform some of the feats of courage and athleticism  that John Unitas displays on this one short five-minute clip.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zo3zR3h_ifU

*********** A friend who’s out of coaching for the moment - he’s an AD - told me of a conversation he had with his principal:

“He brought up the disturbing lack of numbers out for football this season (22).  But then added... "once the boys figure out that they're running a spread offense now (instead of the Double Wing) I'm sure more of them will come out for football."  I bit my tongue.  But couldn't help remind him that I had 35 boys out for football and that we won more games in one year than they had in a spread offense the four previous years.

He could have pointed out to the principal that every additional player attracted by the spread offense will be an “aspiring wide receiver.”  Not sure how much it helps to have 33 kids when 20 of them will quit if they have to play anything other than wide receiver.


*********** Ran across this and KNEW it was something I would have to share with you.  Can't wait to hear what you have to say about it.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Here it is, in a nutshell:

According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, 17-year old Robbie Lopez is suing his former high school head baseball coach at Los Altos HS (CA) for benching him during his senior year. The lawsuit, which is asking for $150,000 in damages, claims that the coach opting not to play Robbie displayed a pattern of “harassment and bullying.”

“For over four (4) months and 14 games, (Robbie Lopez) has been benched and not (had) the opportunity to show his offensive or defensive capabilities,” the lawsuit reads, according to the SGVT article.

http://footballscoop.com/news/former-hs-player-suing-coach-claiming-benching-form-bullying/
   
I can’t imagine that the kid will win, but still, if it gets to a jury anything is possible.  

In the meantime, though, as is usually the case in our litigious society, when you're sued, even when you win, you lose,  because you had to pay to defend yourself, and on top of that it’s going to cost you in time and stress.

The only solution, which America’s trial lawyers will never allow to get through Congress (if you know what I mean), is “Loser Pays”: you're still free to sue me, as you always have been, but if you lose, you pay all costs, including my legal fees.  No more contingency fee lawsuits, where it costs the plaintiff absolutely nothing, win or lose, and the plaintiff’s attorney works for a large percentage of any settlement or jury award.  That's why we hear about so many frivolous lawsuits. With nothing to lose, the plaintiff has every incentive to sue, and absolutely no reason not to.

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

I was so sorry to hear of the passing Coach Mac (Dick McPherson). He was a class act and great personality. He came from Old Town, Maine a place where I taught school and coached football  from 1969 until 1981. He was regarded as a living legend in the community but never forgot his roots. He was very approachable and we went to Syracuse for clinics on several occasions. Each time he gave us unprecedented access and was a perfect host.

In the small world department fast forward to today. We retired and now live in Rangeley Maine and became friends with Zenna Innis, who's college roommate and best friend married Coach Mac. So I was able to follow him in his latter years through the period of failing health. When  she mentioned she knew me to him he remembered me and commented to her about my years in Old Town as being a good coach. Wow even at my age it made an impression.

He will be missed and his legacy of being a true gentleman will stand the test of time.

Jack Tourtillotte
Rangeley, Maine

Jack,

I always liked him, and I appreciate what he did to revive Syracuse football.

I liked the freeze option that he ran.

And I liked his Down East accent!


*********** I’m getting tired of writing about great coaches who’ve left us.

Now it’s Frank Broyles. 

I wrote this about him in July, 2003, when he was a “QUIZ” item:
 
A native of Decatur,  Georgia, Frank Broyles  played his college football as a quarterback for Bobby Dodd at Georgia Tech, while lettering in basketball and baseball as well. After graduating from Tech with a degree in industrial management, he decided to become a coach.

He paid his dues, serving as an assistant at Baylor, Texas, Florida, Georgia Tech and Georgia before becoming a head coach at Missouri in 1957.

But after just one year there, a 5-4-1 season, he was hired by Arkansas, where he would remain for the next 19 years. When he retired after the 1976 season, he was the winningest coach in Razorbacks' history, winning 144 games, losing 58 and tieing 5.

His teams won seven Southwest Conference championships, and played in 10 bowl games. His unbeaten 1964 team was voted national champion by the Football Writers of America, and he and Ara Parseghian shared AFCA Coach of the Year honors.

After retiring as football coach, he spent several years as a top analyst on college football broadcasts, as well as serving as athletic director at Arkansas.

Under his leadership, Arkansas became a national power in numerous sports. He  oversaw the expansion of the football stadium to 72,000 and in 1990, he was instrumental in Arkansas' move from the the Southwest Conference to the Southeastern Conference, setting into motion the events that led to the breakup of the SWC, then second only to the Big Ten in age.

In 1983 he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame,

More than 25 of his former assistants went on to become head coaches, among them Doug Dickey, Hayden Fry, Joe Gibbs, Jimmy Johnson, Johnny Majors, Jackie Sherrill and Barry Switzer.

“Coaching tree?” My friend Joe Gutilla wrote.  “That's more like a Sequoia.”  Yes - and add to that the coaching trees of those men.


https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/columnist/george-schroeder/2017/08/15/frank-broyles-appreciation/569959001/


*********** I’m on the beach this year - literally, because we still have our place at Ocean Shores, and figuratively, because with my head coach Todd Bridge taking an AD job, I chose to sit out.  I was spoiled by the great coaching climate we had.

I must confess that I miss the actual coaching.  But I sure don’t miss what high school coaching is becoming.

It has hit Oregon.  It was inevitable.  AAU Football - 7-on-7 Leagues, that is -  is growing, and along with its growth is its increased use by high school coaches as a vehicle for poaching talent from other schools.

http://www.oregonlive.com/sports/index.ssf/2017/08/football_coaches_blame_surge_i.html#incart_most-read_

QUIZ ANSWER: Fred Gehrke was a running back/defensive back (two -way football)  player for the Rams following World War II.  He’d been an art major in college (Utah), and he’d worked in the offseason as an illustrator. After the 1947 season he convinced the Rams’ coach that the team’s drab, brown helmets needed some kind of design on them.  With the coach’s approval, he painted one of  helmets dark blue, with yellow ram’s horns, and showed it to the team’s owner, Dan Reeves.  Reeves liked the design, and cleared it with the league office (which told him "You're the owner; do what you want!”).  During the summer of 1948,   Fred Gehrke  was paid $1 a helmet to paint the team’s 75 (leather) helmets. 

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING FRED GEHRKE…
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUSIANA - I assume the picture you provided of him is in his Maryland helmet? It looks much better than that airbrushed diarrhea their helmets feature now.
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA


http://toddradom.com/athletes-as-artists-andrew-mccutchen-and-the-1948-la-rams/

 http://theramswire.usatoday.com/2017/08/08/nfl-los-angeles-rams-helmet-concept-design-artist/

http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/news/rams-move-los-angeles-st-louis-la-coliseum-stan-kroenke-helmets-uniforms/819wgb51t6gp1qp0y7h5xl8r9


Yatesboro PAQUIZ -  He was a coal miner’s son from a tiny town called Yatesboro, Pennsylvania.  At Maryland, he was a 6-3, 225 All-American center-middle linebacker on teams that finished 10-1 in both his junior and senior years. In his senior year the Terps ranked third in the nation,  losing only to  Number 1-ranked Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl after  wins over teams like UCLA, LSU and Clemson.  As you can see, he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. He finished fifth in the 1955 Heisman voting, and was drafted first (fourth overall) by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1956 draft. He played 10 years in the NFL, with the Eagles and the Redskins.  He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.















american flag TUESDAY,  AUGUST 15,  2017  - “Generals are not known for a lack of self-confidence.” Peggy Noonan

*********** If the NFL’s “Let’s Play Football” campaign is supposed to be an effort to cope with the sad fact that young peoples’ participation in football is declining, I’d call it a misguided effort.  The scenes we see - let’s just call them, politely,  examples of “extreme adolescent boisterousness” -   may entice some young guys  to play, but they’re not likely to persuade the real decision makers, the  suburban mommies,   to want their little boys to get involved.

In fact,  after watching one of the ads, I looked at my wife and asked, “Can that be the same sport I’ve been coaching?”

*********** A TV guy  informed us that the origin of this past weekend’s uproar in Charlottesville was a decision to take down a statue of Robert E. Lee,  who, we were told, was “a general in the Confederate Army…”

Wow.  How long,  in our effort to “diversify” our history books and include “marginalized” people,  before George Washington becomes  “an 18th century military and political leader?”

*********** It’s hard to believe that anybody as image-conscious as the NFL thought that it wouldn’t happen again.

But they stumbled through last season, and then the off-season, without plugging the gap in their conduct policy that allowed Colin Kaepernick to put on his act.  And now,  already this season, there’s Marshawn Lynch, and  there’s Michael Bennett, both  sitting on their asses during the national anthem. More are sure to follow.

In terms of economic damage to the NFL, I predict that this will prove to be  worse even than a star player beating a woman. 

Look - “Domestic violence,” i.e., men beating women,  is plenty ugly, but to the vast majority of Americans, brought up to respect women, it often seems so synonymous  with the NFL that it has  no more bearing on ordinary Americans’ lives  than a Mafia murder.  Rightly or wrongly, the perception is that it’s something that happens among people in another universe - and not a part of normal life.

But disrespect of our national anthem and our flag?  That’s another thing entirely. That, they can understand. That’s bringing it home.

The NFL will pay dearly for its failure to head this off - for continuing to provide a stage for malcontents to display their scorn and disrespect for a nation and a culture that has enabled  them to become millionaires.

And so it goes.  For this, they pay you millions, Roger Goodell? 

*********** A person close to John Kelly, retired Marine General and current White House Chief of Staff, describing his willingness - and ability - to listen: “If you’re in a 10-minute meeting with him, he’ll be quiet for the first nine minutes.”

*********** I happened to be looking up at the Lions-Colts game (preseason) just as the Lions threw a short pass to a receiver on the left sideline.  He caught the ball,  deftly slipped away from the defender who’d been covering him, and headed up the sideline for the goal line, 10 yards away.

That’s when I got a front-row look at where Hawk Tackling is taking the game we love.

Between him and the goal line,  Colts’ defenders had clean shots at him.

But both of the would-be tacklers,  as called for by the proponents of Hawk Tackling, aimed their helmets behind the call carrier.  Both, predictably, wound up with nothing but an arm to try to stop the runner.  And both,  predictably,  missed.  Touchdown,  Lions.

BUT - and this is significant - no players were hurt.  Nobody suffered a concussion in the act of “tackling.”   The defenders made it look as if they were “trying.”

And they did so safely.

*********** Can it be possible?  I swear I read - actually, I read it twice to be sure - that in 2016, among major colleges, Oregon and Michigan tied for the  lead in successful 2-point conversions - with four each!  Can the two-point conversion really be that little used?

*********** In Vancouver, Washington, the Evergreen  School District is giving serious consideration to switching its middle school football season to the spring.

Evergreen is a reasonably large district, with four Class 4A (largest classification)  high schools, and with six middle schools, it can make the decision unilaterally, without the approval of other districts with which its schools currently compete.

*********** My friend Charlie Wilson sent me a link, and then twisted the needle a bit by writing, “Sorry to bother you with this but…”

 http://www.nationalreview.com/article/450407/yale-erases-history-campus-statue-covered-appeasing-activist-mob

My dear alma mater,  relentless in its pursuit of That Which Offends, has attacked one of the most beautiful building on campus, Sterling Memorial Library.

Built in a time when money flowed freely and skilled labor was cheap, the building's  exterior contains little architectural adornments that would have been the first things to go if money had been an object.

If it weren’t so sad it’d be funny, but somebody at Yale with nothing better to do “discovered” that among the stone sculptures over the library door, next to a figure of an American Indian with a bow, was a figure of a Puritan holding a musket.  Omigod.

Not no more.  The musket has been covered with some sort of body putty. Or Sakrete.  Problem solved.

I’m so proud of my alma mater for taking such a principled stand.

Just for fun, I think I’ll spread a rumor that Walter Camp was a homophobe and see what happens.

(Tell you the truth, I  never noticed that sculpture over the door of the library.  Not that I went in there that much).

*********** I  rhetorically asked last Friday whether there might not be such a thing as “Acceptable Risk”  in many of the activities young people take part in.

Swimming.  Bicycling. Hiking. Hunting. Skiing. Skateboarding. Wrestling. Driving. And, yes, football.

Yes, there are those who would say that no risk is acceptable,  but I suspect that they’re mostly mommies and personal-injury lawyers.

Meanwhile, for those of you who are raising boys, I came across a site  called The Art of Manliness,   which lists “23 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kids Do.”

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2017/06/28/23-dangerous-things-let-kids/

*********** No more charter flights for the Patriots.  (Commercial?  NFL team's haven't flown commercial since George Halas was a rookie.)

Now, just as NBA teams have done for years, the Pats will have their own plane.  Make that planes. They've bought two Boeing 767 wide-body jets, and  custom-fitted them  with all first-class seats.

***********  It’s human nature for the ignorant  to mock things they don’t understand.

After his head coach moved on, an old friend, a long-time offensive coordinator who’s run both my Double Wing and my Open Wing (very successfully), decided to remain on staff with the new head coach.  But things didn’t get off to a very good start, as he related to me what went on in his first meeting with his new head coach - and the OC he’d brought with him.

He and the OC rubbed me the wrong way in our first coaches meeting in April when they both spoke ignorantly negative comments about the Double Wing...too numerous for me to type but during this meeting I felt that my offense that had proven its worth and success was under attack and I held myself in check that day and just nodded my head but was absorbing everything they said like a sponge.
 
It almost felt like they were attacking my child.  But I held back and didn't walk out of the meeting but they stained my thoughts of them being open minded coaches.  Add to that  the fact that I was then handed a thick playbook of Spread 10, 11 & 22 personnel packages and was asked "can you teach this?"  My response was, "you guys saw my HUDL footage...I ran a version of Spread without compromising my core belief of a Power running game." (He was referring to Open Wing- HW)
 
Truth be told, the Spread playbook I was handed in my opinion was by far inferior to anything that I have gotten from you or other materials I have collected over my years.  I was used to how detailed and descriptive your playbooks are, but this one was simply formations and diagrams, no real rules, no real description.  I felt like I was handed a playbook that was drawn up on the fly or something straight from a Madden video game.

*********** After hearing about Ezekiel Elliott’s six-day suspension, Rush Limbaugh said,  “They’re going to have to legalize domestic violence or the NFL’s not going to have any players.”

***********  Not much news coming out of Long Island after the tragic death of the young football player who had a log fall on him.

Someone suggested to me that  Marines migth have been involved in the drill somehow.

Five or six years ago at North Beach  we had the Marines come in during spring practice and run our kids through some PT (Physical Training).  We thought it was great and our kids did, too.

But things happen, and you have to feel terrible for everyone involved.

Especially the boy’s parents. I'm grateful to them for letting  their son play football, and sad that before he even got to play, something totally unforeseen took him from them.

*********** Rookie QBs Mitch Trubisky (Bears) and DeShaun Watson (Texans) both looked really promising in this past weekend’s games.  Both teams need QBs. And for the Dolphins, who just signed former Chicago Bear Jay Cutler after the injury to Ryan  Tannehill, David Fales, another former Bear, looked pretty good, too.

The Raiders made their debut in their new temporary digs, the StubHub Center.  It seats make 25,000, but that’s all they’re going to need, based on how bad they looked against the Seahawks, and based on the wide array of choices - college and pro - that southern California  fans have when they want to watch football. 

Meantime, the night before, the Rams drew close to 90,000 to watch them play the Cowboys. Granted, the Cowboys are a big draw, but still - you have to wonder why the Chargers would want to move into the area knowing that they’ll always - always - play second fiddle.


*********** QUIZ ANSWER:  Larry Brown came off the streets of Pittsburgh and when he received no college offers, he  went off to Dodge City (Kansas) Community College.

From there, he went to Kansas State.

He was drafted in the eighth round by the Redskins, who with All-Pro QB Sonny Jurgensen and the NFL’s top two receivers in Charley Taylor and Jerry Smith were primarily a passing team.

The Redskins’ new coach, Vince Lombardi, noticed that Brown  was having trouble getting off on the count, and after learning that it was because he was deaf in one ear and couldn’t hear Jurgensen’s signals, Lombardi received permisson from the League to have a hearing aid installed in his helmet.

He became the Skins’ starter as a rookie, and he gained  888 yards - a team record - as the Redskins posted their first winning record in 15 years.

He went to four straight Pro Bowls, and in 1972 was the NFL’s Most Valuable Player.

Larry Brown  rushed for 100 yards or more 21 times, and he finished in the top five among NFL rushers on five occasions. In 1970 he became the first Redskin to rush for more than 1,000 yards.  He was a good receiver, catching more than 30 passes in a season on five occasions.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING LARRY BROWN -
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
SHEP CLARKE - PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON

MORE ON LARRY BROWN -

http://www.thehogs.net/History/legends/larry-brown.php

http://washington.cbslocal.com/2012/10/24/redskins-history-a-case-for-larry-brown-in-hall-of-fame/

https://www.hearinglikeme.com/4-deaf-nfl-players-you-probably-didnt-know-about/

Rams' helmetQUIZ: A player for the Rams,  he’d been an art major in college, and he’d worked in the offseason as an illustrator. After the 1947 season he convinced the coach that the team’s brown helmets needed some kind of design on them.  With the coach’s approval, he painted one of  helmets dark blue, with yellow ram’s horns, and showed it to the team’s owner, Dan Reeves.  Reeves liked the design, and cleared it with the league office (which told him "You're the owner; do what you want!”).  During the summer of 1948,   our guy was paid $1 a helmet to paint the team’s 75 (leather) helmets.  The result is shown at left. (That is not him!)






american flag FRIDAY,  AUGUST 11,  2017  - "Be the hunter, not the hunted: Never allow your unit to be caught with its guard down." General James Mattis


*********** Oh, the headlines. 

“Player Killed During Football Practice”

“L.I. Teen Dies From Injury During Football Practice”

“11th Grader Dies After Injury at Football Practice”


It’s the Football Monster again! 

But wait.

According to police on Long Island, New York, a high school junior named Josh Mileto was taking part in pre-season conditioning at his school,  and he and some others were carrying a large log overhead when something went amiss and the log fell on him and struck him, killing him.

Wait - that wasn’t football at all.

We’ve seen this sort of drill in all sorts of contexts.  Sports.  Military.  Business, even.  (You know - team-building!)  The idea is that without a joint effort you can’t lift that sucker.  And, once it’s been lifted, the only thing that keeps it from falling on you is the concerted efforts of you and your teammates.  Talk about building trust!  Talk about instilling in kids the need to work together and to depend on each other!

I did not see what they were trying to do or how they were doing it, but at risk of going off half-cocked, I think that an interested observer would probably have looked at what was going on and concluded that while, yes,  there was a risk of the log falling, the incentive to work together that the risk engendered was so strong that it wasn’t likely the kids would allow that to happen.

How great a risk, anyhow?

How many times had kids at that school done that same drill without incident?

How many times had other schools and institutions all over the country done it safely?

Not for a minute would I diminish the tragedy and heartbreak that befell this young man and his family - the entire school and community.  And I don't dismiss the possibility that someone was genuinely negligent.  But I do worry that not only will a drill whose chief benefits derive from the fact that there is risk involved be outlawed, but that football itself will take another hit. (You did notice that although nothing remotely involving football was taking place, the headlines called it “Football Practice.”)

I'm left with two questions:

Is there such a thing as an acceptable risk?

Or, in the future, would it be better if our boys just stayed indoors and played Madden?

http://www.newsday.com/long-island/suffolk/sachem-east-football-player-joshua-mileto-dies-after-practice-injury-cops-say-1.13966482?firstfree=yes

*********** If you know your football, you’ve almost certainly heard of Long Beach Poly.  No high school has sent more players to the NFL (more than 60 at last count).

Until just a few years ago, Poly had more than 200 players in its program, composed of three levels: varsity, junior varsity, and frosh-soph.
This year, however, for the first time in its history, Poly will not be fielding  a JV team.

There simply aren’t enough kids.  There’ll still be  the varsity squad, of course.  And they’ll be good - pre-season, they’ve been ranked number 10 in the country by MaxPreps.

And there’ll be still be the frosh-soph squad,  but the numbers there are alarming.  Fewer than  40 freshmen have turned out.

Said head coach Antonio Pierce, “Six years ago when my son enrolled they had 130 freshman in that class, and we haven’t had close to that number since.”

Poly is one of three schools in its seven-school league that won’t be playing a JV schedule.

http://www.presstelegram.com/sports/20170809/long-beach-poly-drops-junior-varsity-football-due-to-low-numbers

*********** There's a lot more to coaching a receiver than just throwing him passes, and with one receiver drill I'm able to  accomplish three things (besides running a route and catching a pass).

First, I can watch carefully to make sure that  they step first with the outside foot. Most of my pass patterns require receivers to count their steps, and so for the sake of uniformity, they have to   step first with the outside foot.

Second, I can make sure that they get practice avoiding a “holdup man” lined up over them.

And third, by lining the receivers up on the opposite side of the ball so that the “next guy up” plays the role of the defensive hold-up man, I get everybody out of the way of the QB’s path  when he’s rolling out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQMDZrY1qTk&feature=youtu.be


*********** Hello Coach, hope you are having a great summer!

I wanted to tell you about the trip my wife and I took to Ireland and Scotland.  I've seen you write about your extended stays in Europe before.  The parts that we enjoyed the most were definitely seeing the scenery in western Ireland and the Highlands of Scotland.  Truly unique places.  The worst parts; driving and the crowds.  We stayed in Edinburgh, Scotland for the last leg of our trip and this happens to be the festival season for the city.  Apparently the population over DOUBLED in size while we were there and I was very thankful to get on tour buses that took us out of the city.  Thankful until one of the tour guides left early with his bus and left me and my wife stranded at Rosslyn Chapel (we had to ride a public transit bus back into the city).

We were glad to get home yesterday after way too much time in an airline chair.  Overall the people in Scotland and especially Ireland were very friendly and helpful.  For years I was told about how Europeans in general do not like Americans and our (apparent) arrogant attitudes.  But on the contrary they all seemed thrilled to have Americans there spending money.  As I am sure you have seen, it seems like everything is twice as expensive and half the quality to what we are used to in America.  The service in pubs and such didn't seem that great either but its a different culture I suppose.  I was also baffled by the behavior of the news outlets which spent their effort peddling vicious rumors and and out-of-context stories aimed at President Trump.  People in Europe apparently care more about Trump than we do and it kind of pissed me off.  Oh well.

As for sports, we spent a great evening with a semi-pro rugby player (BIG guy) in Ireland who kept buying us beers.  My wife even tried Gaelic Dancing in the pub!  There was Gaelic Rules football happening around Ireland, too.  They PACK those stadiums for Gaelic Football, very impressive.

The trip was a fun experience but I don't have much ambition to go back to Europe (except hopefully a pilgrimage to Rome someday).  I am going to send a separate email about the football season soon.  Have a great week Coach!

Mat Hedger
Langdon, North Dakota

Coach,

I appreciate the note and your impressions from your visit.

As you well know, there is not really a “Europe.”  It’s geographic construct that they’re trying to turn into a United States of Europe, but - good luck.

You can go anywhere in the United States and although you may hear different accents and maybe see some different foods on the menus, you’ll seldom get the sense that you’re not in the same country.

But while they may call it “Europe,” those “states” have developed their own unique cultures over many centuries. People differ in the languages they speak and (despite the spread of McDonalds) the foods they eat.  And in the way they look at life.  And in their openness to outsiders.

The Spaniard has nothing in common with the Laplander.  The Italian has little in common with the Scot.  (Actually, the Italian of Sicily has less in common with the Italian of Milan than you might think, and in tiny Belgium there are two large sections of the population that don’t even speak each other’s language.)

There is so much more, and so much of it is so beautiful and exciting.

You were very fortunate to see a part of “Europe” that I have yet to see and would love to see.

I know that flying is a pain in the arse, but I hope you change your mind about going back.

Thanks again and have a great season!



***********  Coach Wyatt,

I received the dvd yesterday, thanks.  I have 2 follow-up questions.
    1    In the video you briefly mention a quarterback option.  Do you have any information/advise on running the QB option from the double wing double tight formation?
    2    You also mentioned not running superpower from unbalanced tackle over formation.  What plays do you recommend from the tackle over, tight formation?

Coach,

1. In general, I discourage people from running option from the Double Wing except as a gadget simply because  option football is “expensive.” Running option consistently well - getting the reads down, and getting the pitch relationship consistent - is very time-consuming, which means it takes a lot of time away from the base Double Wing plays that never get all the reps they need.

As a coach in Texas told me one time, “If you’re going to run option - run option.”

HOWEVER: One relatively easy option play - and one  that sets up other base double wing plays is this one:

ROAR OPTION 6-O
Option 6-O

2. One great advantage of unbalanced is the surprise element.  When you run it a lot, though, you lose the element of surprise. Now it’s the defense's turn at the chalkboard, and they may have some surprises for you - some defenses that you can’t possibly have prepared for. My advice is to use unbalanced sparingly, as a surprise, and to run only one or at most two plays from it. My favorite is 6-G.  

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

When I was named as the Minnesota state delegate to the NFL Youth Summit way back in 2002 one of our "perks" was a free ticket and tour of the Pro Football HOF in Canton.  Thinking back to that visit it dawned on me why they insist on inducting team owners.  The NFL obviously needs their support ($$) to exist, so why not give those guys a statue?  A few I can swallow.  But Jerry Jones??  

Craig James is a product of SMU.  Need I say more?

I wonder if June Jones is wearing any of those Hawaiian shirts on the sidelines in Canada?

My wife and I saw the movie "Dunkirk".  I did not realize that at one point during the evacuation that the Brits were so close to surrender.  The storyline in the movie was good, and overall a good movie adaptation.

QUIZ:  The coach in the forefront of the cover is Notre Dame's Frank Leahy, and the coach behind him is Army's Earl "Red" Blaik.

Speaking of famous coaches.  Did I ever tell you that my wife found an old coaching book while she was going through her dad's personal belongings after he had passed?  She showed it to me and asked if I wanted to keep it.  I almost fell over.  It's a first edition written by Fielding H. Yost.
 
The binding is falling apart, and the pages are loose, but it is still intact.  The diagrams are all handwritten, and the offense was definitely unique, especially the plays with 5 men in the backfield!  Not sure how, or even if I should, have the binding repaired.  What do you think?

Have a good one!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe,

It might  be worth showing the Yost book to an appraiser.

My initial inclination would be to get ‘er repaired.

BUT -  many years ago, my father-in-law gave me a set of golf clubs that he’d acquired somewhere (he didn’t play golf) and it turned out they were valuable - McGregor Tourneys - and in those pre-metal wood days, the woods were genuine persimmon and evidently quite desirable to collectors.  So I went and spent a couple hundred dollars having the woods refinished.  And a collector told me it was the worst thing I could have done - that real collectors wanted to get them in their original condition.  Lesson learned.


*********** I was saddened to learn of Dick McPherson’s passing.

He was a Mainer, as New England as you can get, and he was a head coach at UMass and Syracuse, and with the Patriots.

It was at Syracuse that he became best known. In ten years there, three of his teams were nationally-ranked.  His 1987 team was 11-0-1 (tieing Auburn 16-16 in the Sugar Bowl) and ranked 4th Nationally, earning him Coach of the Year honors.

Two of the better knownplayers he coached were quarterback Don McPherson and fullback Daryl “Moose” Johnston.

http://www.syracuse.com/orangefootball/index.ssf/2017/08/former_syracuse_football_coach_dick_macpherson_dies_at_86_years_old.html


***********Hello Coach,

1.) How do you change the formation during a game when you have the formation written on the wrist coach? Or do you have all the formations you plan on using on the players card with the play? example do you have West 6 G-O, East 7 G-O, Eastern 7 G-O, and Western 6 G-O

This may answer your question: 

Playcard

I’ve shown a typical play card from a bygone game. This one is for the  Tight Guard (TG).  (Each position has its own specific card, with its own assignments on it.)

As you can see, the formation and the play are called as one. If we call “40-5” it tells everyone on the team that we are running “West (the formation) 6-GO (the play)”  And then comes a short version of each player’s assignment on “40-5.”

If I wanted to do this from a sightly different motion or backfield set - if I wanted, say, to move our slot back wide to the opposite side - I would simply say “WESTERN 40-5”

That’s it.

I ordinarily wouldn’t even bother putting the Open side (East or West) on the linemen’s cards, except that I have been flip-flopping the line, so they need to know  which side of center to line up on.  And just to be sure, I print the linemen’s  info in RED which is code for “LINE UP ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF CENTER” or BLUE (“LINE UP ON THE LEFT”) - a simple reminder of which side to line up on

(Notice also that 40-1 and 40-5 are simply the left and right versions of the same play - and notice on the Tight Guard’s card that because I flip-flop the line, his assignment is exactly the same on 40-1 as on 40-5.  He does the exact same thing,  just from opposite sides of the line. This applies to our other linemen as well. And to our backs and ends.  I find that this is much more efficient and allows us to run a wider variety of plays than if players had to learn two different assignments for the same play - one each for the left and right versions.)


*********** The AFCA just published Ara Parseghian’s  talk from the 1974 Coach of the Year Clinic.

I have it in the original clinic notes book, and it’s a masterpiece. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone back to Coach Parseghian’s talk and  and read - and re-read - it.

There’s so much in it that I wouldn’t begin to try to summarize it.  I strongly suggest that you print it out.

Coach Parseghian was coming off a National Title, and he’d won it running the Wing-T, which was old even then.     He wasn’t afraid to drop what he was doing offensively or defensively and go to something different - something that he felt was going to give his players their best chance to be successful.  For him,  that meant “Jumping a cycle” - going back in time and running  what nobody else was running.  For him, that meant the Wing-T.  And once he decided to run it, he went right to the pros - the people who knew the most about it.  That meant  the people at Delaware.

Interestingly, the formation he chose to illustrate his talk had two tight ends and two wingbacks.  Hmmm.

http://www.afcaweekly.com/2017/08/ara-parseghian-notre-dame/?utm_source=AFCA+Weekly&utm_campaign=d465319e1e-AFCA_Weekly_080717&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_343e846137-d465319e1e-147880073

QUIZ PHOTOQUIZ ANSWER: Both of the coaches on this 1980 program cover - Notre Dame's Frank Leahy and Army’s Earl “Red” Blaik, were legends at their respective schools, and both were alumni of their colleges.  Both won multiple national championships and at the time of this printing both were already in the College Football Hall of Fame.  Both won more than 100 games as head coaches. They each coached seven undefeated teams and between them they won eight national championships and coached seven Heisman Trophy winners. Both began their head coaching careers at New England colleges. Both were influential in Vince Lombardi’s career - Leahy as his college line coach, and Blaik as the head coach under whom he served as offensive assistant.



CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING EARL BLAIK AND FRANK LEAHY
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK,  LOUISIANA
TOM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS


*********** Many years ago, when I first started coaching and knew absolutely nothing about the challenges facing a head football coach, I happened on a book at our library that throughout my coaching career would become my North Star.

It was called “You Have to Pay the Price,” and it was written by Earl Blaik, famous Army coach, along with Tim Cohane, a very well-known sports writer of the time.

Several years ago, using that book as my template, I attempted a short version of Coach Blaik’s story, hoping to pass along his wisdom to other coaches.

In his long career, Coach Blaik attained the very top of his profession, coaching national champions,  All-Americans and Heisman Trophy winners. 

There can’t possibly have been a more effective groomer of future coaches - in an era when college staffs seldom consisted of more than four assistants, no fewer than 20 of his former assistants went on to become head coaches themselves.

Two of them won National Titles as college head coaches.  And two others won professional championships, one in the AFL and the other in the NFL. (The latter, Vince Lombardi, won the first two Super Bowls.)

But Coach Blaik also knew the heartbreak of having virtually his entire squad - a team picked my many to be  national champions - expelled from school.

His battling back to finish on top is an inspirational story.

BLAIK - http://www.coachwyatt.com/BLAIK.html


QUIZ: He came off the streets of Pittsburgh and when he received no college offers, he  went off to Dodge City (Kansas) Community College.

From there, he went to Kansas State.

He was drafted in the eighth round by the Redskins, who with All-Pro QB Sonny Jurgensen and the NFL’s top two receivers in Charley Taylor and Jerry Smith were primarily a passing team.

The Redskins’ new coach, Vince Lombardi, noticed that he was having trouble getting off on the count, and after learning that it was because he was deaf in one ear and couldn’t hear Jurgensen’s signals, Lombardi received permisson from the League to have a hearing aid installed in his helmet.

He became the Skins’ starter as a rookie, and he gained  888 yards - a team record - as the Redskins posted their first winning record in 15 years.

He went to four straight Pro Bowls, and in 1972 was the NFL’s Most Valuable Player.

He rushed for 100 yards or more 21 times, and he finished in the top five among NFL rushers on five occasions. In 1970 he became the first Redskin to rush for more than 1,000 yards.  He was a good receiver, catching more than 30 passes in a season on five occasions.



american flag TUESDAY,  AUGUST 8,  2017  “I have kleptomania, but when it gets bad, I take something.” Robert Benchley

*********** The NFL couldn’t have chosen a worse way to kick off a season of televised games than to muck up the very first telecast of the season - the Hall of Fame game - with  interview after interview while the game was going on, as if to say to viewers, “Don’t pay any attention to  that sh— down on the field.”

Let’s face it - not all of those guys down there on the field are going to be cut.  Some of them are going to make the squad,  A few of them are going to going to become starters - stars, even.  I think that if the NFL were smarter, they’d promote - and produce -  preseason games as glimpses at stars of the future - diamonds in the rough, so to speak.

But what really made me want to throw up was the fawning obeisance the guys in the booth paid to Jerry Jones, who, we had to be reminded constantly, was there to be  been inducted into the Pro Football hall of Fame.

Jerry Jones? In the Hall of Fame? I could list 100 players who belong in there before that blowhard.  Make that 1,000.  Make that 10,000.  Funny that there’s no room for, say, Charlie Conerly,  but there’s room for a an owner whose chief talent is finding new ways to make money while his team has managed to avoid winning a Super Bowl for over 20 years.

Other than the handful of founders - Art Rooney, Tim Mara, George Halas and George Preston Marshall (yes, yes, I know, he was a racist) - who built the league from scratch, what earthly reason is there for an OWNER being in the Hall of Fame anyhow?

What have any of today’s owners done but get richer from their investment?

*********** Coach,  What kind of blocking do you use when you run the Bubble and Go?

Normally, in West formation we use “Blue” protection, and in East we use “Red.”

But the ball is out pretty quickly - just a pump fake, a reset and a throw - that you could actually throw this on the back end of a running play.


*********** The Hamilton Tigercats and their head coach Kent Austin are  0-6, the only team in the CFL that has yet to win.

In their first five games their offense (sorry - offence) had scored just 90 points - lowest in the league - and their defence had given up 201 points - the most in the league.

So last week they at least did something  to give their offense a goose.  They hired June Jones.

The results were apparent:

Yes, they lost again.  They’re now 0-6.  But they lost by just 33-28   to unbeaten Edmonton - at Edmonton.

The 28 points was especially encouraging. Now, to do something about that defence.

*********** Good morning Hugh,

Great write up on Ara P in the News. Being die hard wing-t guy I used to follow the Irish and Coach P. Religiously. His win over Alabama for the National championship was classic wing - t and the use of the Waggle in that game was masterful. At one point I had a tape of the game ( I think on you gave me) and wore it out watching it. His use of the FB trap and dive was quite brilliant. We ran the split-6 for years again his influence and when we first made our connection I stole much of the stuff you did with it as well.

His passing was sad but what a man and he made it to 94 an accomplishment in itself. In a day when there seem to so few real hero's he was a standout for an old coach like myself and I tried to model myself after him.

We are enjoying our stay in Juneau and what's not like about the place when one can fish, take care of grandkids, and enjoy the beautiful weather we are having.

All the best

Jack Tourtillotte
Juneau, Alaska (for the moment)

*********** Just saw “Pony Excess”, the 30-for-30 story of the SMU cheating scandal, for the first time. Unbelievable how arrogant those rich bastards at SMU were.

Who knows how long they might have continued on their cheating ways if they’d simply been content to do what they and everybody else in the very dirty Southwest Conference was doing. But, no - they had to kick it up a notch, as Emeril would say.

There must be some  law that explains how people who cheat (or lie, or steal) are never content with just getting away with something and continuing on their same corrupt course, but always feel compelled to keep pushing it further and further until finally they go too far.

*********** The interesting thing about Friday’s photo of all the Miami of Ohio grads coaching at the time (1970) was all the ones who might have been  in the picture except they weren’t currently head coaches - Earl Blaik… Paul Brown… Sid Gillman… Bill Arnsparger.

And, still carrying the torch, long after those guys in the photo - John Harbaugh.

*********** They’re still running the 30-for-30 epic “Small Potatoes” on ESPN.

It’s the story of the USFL, a spring football league  that for a brief time threatened the NFL, until the owner of the New York franchise - a brash young man named Donald Trump - managed to persuade his fellow owners to move their schedule to the fall, going head-to-head with the NFL in hopes of forcing some sort of merger.

It didn’t work. Lots of people lost lots of money, and lots of good people - players, coaches, managers, equipment guys, trainers -  lost jobs.

Years later, asked about the USFL episode, Mr. Trump dismissed it as “small potatoes.”
 
If CNN and MSNBC would  just run “Small Potatoes” once every day they’d do a lot more damage to Donald Trump with his core constituents than they’ve been able to do with all their “fake news” bullsh—.

Now, if they could just get his core constituents to watch CNN and MSNBC.

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

I had a conversation this morning with one of my players (QB) who is playing in an all-star game this weekend.

I asked them how practices were going and they said, “Ok, interesting.”

I speak teenager, so I took the bait, and asked for details.

The player told me they went full contact on the first day and had two players injured. They were moved from QB to RB, because the coach wanted who could throw more than block (kids words, not the coach). Finally, and this is the best part, the player said the offense is based on being faster than the defense and the plays don’t ensure that everyone is blocked.

What great insights from a 15 year old.

Wow.

Very insightful.

It also shows that he has been “spoiled”:  by being well coached.  

Don’t laugh.  Todd Bridge and I have “spoiled" kids in that way to the point where once they moved on they quickly recognized bad coaching - and weren’t always able to live with it.

My advice: Keep spoiling them.


***********  Eric Sondheimer in the Los Angeles Times writes, 

"The City Section (that would be Los Angeles public high schools) football advisory committee has passed a new rule for this fall: Teams must exchange their football rosters before games.

"It has something to do with teams tracking possible ineligible players. The City Section recently required Los Angeles and Hawkins to forfeit all its games from last season because of ineligible players."

*********** Amazing what ten million dollars will do. Just like that, it was enough to lure  Jay Cutler out of retirement. Cutler, who’d already accepted a TV job, abruptly put his broadcasting career on hold  and  signed with the Dolphins after starter Ryan Tannehill injured his knee in training camp.

I don’t know enough about Cutler to know whether to pull for him to succeed, but I do know that as the front man for a dysfunctional Chicago Bears’ franchise, he’s taken a good share of lumps from Chicago fans and media.

*********** “Never in the history of mankind has so much been owed by so many to so few.”

Those were the famous words of Winston Churchill, in describing the debt owed by the English people to “The Few” - the relative handful of RAF (Royal Air Force) fighter pilots who over a span of four months in 1940 defended their country from repeated Nazi bombing raids in what has come to be called  the “Battle of Britain.”.

“The Few,” as they came to be known, numbered perhaps 3,000.  500 of them were killed in the fighting.

Now, with the recent death of Ken Wilkinson, they are fewer still.

Mr. Wikinson was 99.

In a 2010 interview with the AP, he recalled,   "We were cocky. Stupidly cocky, if you like. We just didn't envisage defeat. Some people may have been killed and so forth, but basically we knew we were going to win."


*********** ’Sex change’ is biologically impossible. People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women. Claiming that this is civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder.” Dr. Paul R. McHugh,  former Psychiatrist-in-Chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and currently its Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/michael-w-chapman/johns-hopkins-psychiatrist-transgender-mental-disorder-sex-change

***********  Bittersweet week for the Gutillas.  First year of football not coaching, and then hearing about the passing of ND coaching legend Ara Parseghian.  What a man... and what a loss.  It was during his tenure that my dad and I became Irish football fans, and a big reason why was because of Ara Parseghian.  Living in Fresno, CA at the time (which has large Armenian community) many of my dad's golfing buddies were Armenian.  Kinda couldn't help but become a fan of Ara and the Irish.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

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

I hope you and Connie are doing well! I wanted to thank you for the playbook updates. They have been incredibly helpful as we have committed to the Open Wing this season. I'm making the change because I've got some QB's who can throw fairly well on both the 7th and the 8th grade teams this year. We've been throwing bubble/smoke and the corner and the arrow so far and it's actually looking pretty good for middle school. We are going to start working on the vertical game this week so your latest update was timely. I am going to have a dedicated wide receiver coach for the first time since going to the double wing. We have to be able to pass well to make this work.  

I have a couple of questions:
1. I am in the process of getting the wrist cards ready. How important is it to put the play name with the assignment on the player card? Honestly, last season, the kids knew the play name better by the coordinates (ex. Red-10) than they did by the actual play name (88-SP) I printed on the card. It helps me to see it on there, but I was thinking of leaving it off to save space.

2. We have two hours of practice time. If you had to coach offense on two separate teams, do you think it would be better to see each team for an hour each day or for two hours every other day? I like the idea of going into a lot of depth with the two hour practice but not sure if I like seeing them only every other day. Another alternative would be 1.5 hours/30 minutes split where one team would get 1.5 hours of offense and then the other team for 30 minutes. The next day the times would be switched. Any thoughts? I imagine in your career you've probably practiced about every way imaginable.


1. To be honest, I suspect that most of my kids know plays more by their playcard co-ordinates than by the names I give them. I do think, though, that while you don’t need to put all the details on everyone’s play (such as formation and motion) at the least everyone should know the point of attack.

2. I think that one hour each for two days is better than two hours one day and none the next. I like the idea of reinforcement - of coming back the next day and working on sometime we’ve worked on the day before.  I also suspect that at some point in a long session we reach the point of diminishing return.  I think we’re more respectful of time when we have a more limited block each day than fi we had a big block on one day.  I think it would force us to keep our practice plans trim and keep us from wasting time on extraneous things, which we’re all inclined to do when we have a huge block of time.



*********** He’s a Stanford graduate and a Heisman Trophy winner - the only one that Stanford has ever produced.  He was the first player taken overall in the NFL draft, and he quarterbacked the Raiders to a Super Bowl win.

And now, at age 69, Jim Plunkett is in such pain that he says, “My life sucks.”

Writes Elliott Almond in the San Jose Mercury News, “His body is a patchwork of medical magic: Artificial knees, an artificial shoulder and a surgically repaired back. After 18 operations, Plunkett’s activities have been reduced to golf and light workouts at home on a Crosstrainer.”

There’s no question that he’s paying a high price for all those sacks he took back in his playing days.

And yet, in this very moving article, the writer just couldn’t seem to bring himself to ask, “Would you do it all again?”

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/08/04/jim-plunketts-painful-journey-my-life-sucks/


*********** TOMMY MCDONALD was recruited out of Albuquerque by famed Oklahoma coach Bud Wilkinson.  At OU, he played on two national championship teams, made All-American twice - and didn’t play in a losing game. 

Although a running back in college, he was converted into a wide receiver in the NFL.

Only 5-9, 170, he made up for his lack of size with great speed, hands and toughness.

For four straight years - 1959-1962 - he was either first- or second-team All-Pro.

In 1960, Tommy McDonald teamed up with Norm Van Brocklin   to help the Philadelphia Eagles  win their last NFL championship.

Before he retired, he played on four more teams.

Tommy McDonald was the last player (other than a kicker) to play without a face mask.

He’s in Pro Football Hall of Fame.

*********** In Pro Football Daly (that's not a misprint) Tommy McDonald explains why there are some photos showing him wearing a face mask:

“Sometimes,” he said in The Pro Football Chronicle, “I’d crack mine [helmet], and the Eagles didn’t have a replacement for me. So I had to borrow one from a teammate. I had a very small head, 6 ¾. I’d take a towel, or half a towel, and stuff it in there to make it fit. That’s the only time I’d wear a facemask.”

MORE ON TOMMY McDONALD:

http://www.espn.com/classic/s/Where_now_mcdonald_tommy.html

http://profootballdaly.com/tommy-mcdonald-on-tommy-mcdonald/

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_McDonald_(American_football)

https://www.google.com/amp/amp.timeinc.net/si/nfl/2016/07/20/tommy-mcdonald-play-ray-didinger-philadelphia-eagles%3fsource=dam



*********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING TOMMY MCDONALD-

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON



QUIZ PHOTOQUIZ: The two coaches on this 1980 program cover were already retired.  Both were legends at their respective schools, and both were alumni of those colleges.  Both won multiple national championships and at the time of this printing both were already in the College Football Hall of Fame.  Both won more than 100 games as head coaches. They each coached seven undefeated teams and between them they won eight national championships and coached seven Heisman Trophy winners. Both began their head coaching careers at New England colleges. Both were influential in Vince Lombardi’s career - one of them as his college line coach, the other as the head coach under whom he served as offensive assistant. NO HALF CREDIT - YOU’VE GOT TO GET THEM BOTH!
















american flag FRIDAY,  AUGUST 4,  2017  “We don’t HAVE a breaking point.  We want to drive YOU to YOUR breaking point.”  Ara Parseghian

PARSEGHIAN INSCRIPTION*********** It was the spring of 1974 and I was sitting at my desk in the offices of the Philadelphia Bell when my phone rang.

I answered and the voice on the other end said, “This is Ara Parseghian.”

Right.  And I had Prince Albert in a can.

But it really was Ara Parseghian. The same Ara Parseghian whose Notre Dame team had just a few months earlier beaten Alabama to win the National Championship.

He was calling to try to interest us in signing a couple of his seniors who hadn’t been drafted by either us or the NFL, and hadn’t been signed by anyone as free agents.  The main reason, he said, was that these guys hadn’t been starters for him.  But, he assured me, they could definitely play pro ball. 

For weeks, day after day, I’d been fielding calls by the dozen from players and former coaches and - they had just begun to crawl out from under rocks - agents, swearing that they had the answer to all our personnel needs.  Blah, blah, blah.

But this call was special. This was Ara Parseghian, one of the best-known coaches in America and certainly one of the busiest, and he was taking his time to call us on behalf of kids whose usefulness to him had ended - kids who hadn’t even started for him.

The upshot was that we invited two of those players to an invitation-only free agent tryout, and we signed them both at the end of the tryout.  Both of them made our squad. One of them wound up starting at offensive tackle, and the other saw significant action at linebacker.

And all because of Ara Parseghian.  To this day, I still marvel at the type of man who would go the extra mile like that to help out his players. Even backups.

Ara Parseghian died Wednesday,  He was 94.

It’s become a cliche to say that someone was an even better man than he was a coach, but I truly believe that in Ara Parseghian’s case that was true.

And he sure was a hell of a coach.

He was born Ara Raoul Parseghian in Akron, Ohio.

He was of Armenian descent, and here’s how he once told people how to pronounce his name: “ ‘Par’ as in golf, ‘seag’ as in Seagram's and ‘yen’ as in the Japanese yen. Think of a drunk Japanese golfer. “

He was exposed quite early to some of the best coaches in the business. He played for Miami of Ohio from 1946-47 under  Sid Gillman and with teammate  Paul Dietzel. He also played in 1945 for Great Lakes Naval Training Center and from 1948-49 for the Cleveland Browns. His coach at both  places was  Paul Brown. The head coach who gave him his first job at Miami was Woody Hayes.

He served as freshman football coach at Miami of Ohio (1950); as head football coach at Miami of Ohio (1951-1955), Northwestern  (1956-1963) and Notre Dame (1964-1974).

When a hip injury ended his career with the Browns, he accepted a job at MIami coaching the freshman team under head coach Woody Hayes.

When Hayes took the Ohio State job in 1951, Parseghian became head coach at Miami - just two years after he’d graduated.

He was the first non-graduate to be hired to coach Notre Dame, and only the second Protestant (Knute Rockne was the first).

It’s hard to describe the depths to which Notre Dame had fallen at the time he’d arrived.

Frank Leahy retired following the 1954 season, ending a spectacular run. During his 11 seasons in South Bend, the Irish had won 87 games, lost 11 and tied 3 - an .888 percentage. There were six undefeated seasons and four national championships.

He was succeeded by one of his former players, the very popular Terry Brennan.

In five years as the Irish head coach, Brennan went 32-18.  He did have one poor season, 1956, in which Notre Dame went 2-8, and although they cameback to 7-3 in 1957, with a 7-0 win over Oklahoma that snapped the Sooner’s 47-game win streak,  his head was on the block. Despite an upset of USC in the final game, 1958’s 6-4 record sealed his fate, and the Irish replaced him with Joe Kuharich.

Kuharich, a Notre Dame grad and a South Bend native, had the credentials.   He had coached the San Francisco Dons, one of college football’s greatest teams, and he’d coached in the NFL as head coach of the Cardinals and Redskins, where in 1955 he’d been NFL Coach of the Year.

At Notre Dame he was a disaster.  In four years, he had three 5-5 seasons and one 2-8 season, in which the Irish lost eight straight games, and when he resigned in March with three years left on his contract to take a job with the NFL as Supervisor of Officials, he left  behind a record of 17-23.

At that late date, Notre Dame chose to go with an interim coach, Hughie Devore, a loyal and beloved long-time Irish assistant.  Things didn’t go well on the field - the Irish finished 2-7 in 1963 - but to his credit, Devore held things together.

And then Ara Parseghian arrived on the scene.

As head coach at Northwestern, his work could not have gone unnoticed by the large and influential group of Notre Dame alumni in the Chicago area.   How must the  Wildcats’ four straight wins over Notre Dame (1959-1962) have stung?  How much must it have impressed them? 

His initial hiring had the appearance of  a fiasco when he walked out of the press conference called to announce his hiring.  No one knows what caused it - some say it was  his insistence on naming his own assistants -  but things were quickly patched up and at a second press conference, he signed his contract.  Athletic Director Moose Krause said,  “He should be with us a long time; after all, he signed twice.”

Parseghian joked about it. He said it was because “Father Joyce (who really ran the athletic program) wanted a shamrock on the new helmets, but I wanted a camel crossing the desert.”  (In those days before sensitivity training and safe spaces, you could still joke around like that.)

To say that he was an instant success understates what he did.

He took a  team that had finished 2-7 in 1963 and with basically the same players, Notre Dame finished 9-1 in 1964, coming within 1:33 (and a questionable holding penalty when the Irish were on the USC one-yard line)  of an undefeated season and a national championship. “I prefer to think of our record as 9 3/4 - 1/4, not 9-1,” he would say later.

In his first year at Notre Dame, he was named Coach of the Year.

When he resigned after the 1974 season because of his health, he had compiled a 170-58-6 overall record and a 95-17-4 record at Notre Dame. He coached the Irish to two national championships, in 1966 and 1973.  (He had a 9-0 record against Northwestern.)

And, perhaps his greatest achievement - he made a Notre Dame fan out of me.  Until he retired.

His book, "Parseghian and Notre Dame Football," and his Wing-T offense and Split-6 defense, had a huge influence on me.

He was only 53 years old when he retired, but he never coached again.  He had put everything he had into what is possibly the most demanding job in all of football, and he was worn out.  Besides, he responded when someone asked him about it,  “After Notre Dame, what is there?”

In the years that followed at Notre Dame, through good times and bad, he supported whoever was coaching the Irish, often with handwritten notes of encouragement, and never - never - uttered a word of criticism.

From 1975 to 1981 he was a color analyst for ABC Sports and for CBS Sports from 1982 to 1988.  That was a very big job, because those were the days when the NCAA controlled football on TV, and there was usually just one game per Saturday.

Early in his TV career he was working a Notre Dame-Pitt game and he said, “That's a big break for us!”  His partner, Keith Jackson gently reminded him where he was: "It's not 'us' anymore, Ara."

His life was not without its share of pain and heartbreak.  He lost three grandchildren, all before the age of 17,  to a rare pediatric disorder  known as Niemann-Pick Type C disease, and in the true tradition of a fighter, he helped raise millions of dollars for research into the disease.

Then, just five years ago, he lost his daughter, Karan,  after a long struggle with multiple sclerosis. From the time she was first diagnosed more than 40 years ago, he served on the board of the  National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
He attributed his ability to fight on to the lessons he learned from coaching.

This December, he and his wife, Katie,  would have celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.


As you might expect, the South Bend Tribune had some wonderful features on this wonderful man.

A TRIBUTE TO THE MAN, NOT THE COACH
http://www.southbendtribune.com/news/local/notre-dame-legend-ara-parseghian-was-a-great-coach-but/article_bbbc41a0-7781-11e7-8cd8-5b45fd0b2705.html

PHOTOS OVER THE YEARS
http://www.southbendtribune.com/multimedia/photos/ara-parseghian/collection_884685f4-67fc-11e7-8971-efae9baef872.html#1


The photo below was on the back cover of "Miami of Ohio - The Cradle of Coaches" by Bob Kurz

MIAMI COACHES

*********** Gerry Ford was almost killed in a typhoon during WW2.  Don't know if it was "Halsey's Typhoon", or not.  As I recall the story, his strength saved him  -  hanging onto a cable or railing or somesuch.  I guess Chevy Chase would have gotten a good laugh out of that...

Shep Clarke
Puyallup, Washington

*********** A major reason why I never left the Pacific Northwest is the climate.

But then, there are times like these.  As I write this,  Seattle is on the verge of hitting 100 degrees this week.

Only a third of Seattle’s housing units has air conditioning.  No wonder. Seattle has only recorded three 100-degree readings in the last 120 years.  Five or six days in the 90s.

But Seattle is virtually surrounded by water.  By Puget Sound and its many arms.  Its climate may be rainy in winter, but it is always moderate.

Three hours (depending on traffic) to the south,  Portland  may be on the water, but it’s  about 100 miles from the sea.  It’s a river town.  Camas, Washington, where I live, is across the river, about 30 minutes to the northeast of downtown Portland, and our local public buildings showed readings yesterday  of 107 degrees at 4 PM.  Tonight - Thursday - a cool front blew in and it dropped to 106.

Like many of the older houses in Camas, ours doesn’t have air conditioning.  It was built in 1950.  It’s well-insulated and we’ve had our large windows  double-paned.  When heat is predicted, we open up the house in the early morning and turn on fans to pull in the cool air. (Even after being 107 the day before, it was only 64 at 6 AM Thursday. The beauty of low humidity.)  By 10:30 or so,  when the outside temperature is no longer cooler than the inside, we shut everything down.  The cooler air stays trapped inside, and yesterday, with outside thermometers reading 107, it never got above 81 in our house.

And there’s always the basement.  Our house is built into the side of a hill, and down below, in our daylight basement, it never gets above 74 degrees on the hottest summer day or below 69 degrees on the coldest winter day.

And then there’s our ultimate bail-out.  There’s always our place in Ocean Shores, where yesterday’s high was  - omigod - 77 degrees. (For Ocean Shores, that’s HIGH.)

So we’re okay. But what about the homeless?  I can hear you asking.   Portland is  legendary for its concern for those less fortunate (as some like to portray them).  No need to worry.  Portland has set up “cool places” for them to congregate.  If they wish.  And for those who still prefer Life On The Streets, Portland Police (Motto: Serve and Protect) have been serving and protecting the city’s citizens by handing out cases of bottle water to the poor souls.

And then there’s the “light rail” (trolleys to those of us old enough to remember them) that Portland is oh, so proud of.   The mass transit geeks love to brag about the speed and convenience of those tax-suckers.  (They also brag about their increase in ridership, an increase mainly brought about by eliminating parallel bus lines and forcing people onto the trains.) Speed and convenience? Not in winter ice storms, when the switches freeze and ice forms on the overhead power lines.  And not in the heat of summer, when concern over possible  expansion of the rails causes them to reduce train speed to a walk, or shut down operations entirely.

*********** John Reaves died- he was a great college quarterback, and a so-so NFL quarterback.  And under Steve Spurrier, he was a decent assistant college coach.

But… he had his problems with drugs.

And his son, David, was fired by the Oregon Ducks before he had even signed a contract.

And his daughter, Layla, married a guy named Lane Kiffin.

How much stress could any one father take?

*********** Coach, I am sorry to bug you, but I want to learn and get better as a coach.  We have the potential this year to be tremendous.  Our OL is the biggest I have ever had, and they can move, but I do not feel we are getting off the ball quickly enough or low enough.  How can I teach them to fire out and stay low?  We have a trap chute, but I just get frustrated watching them use it because they seem to waddle through and are even slower.  
 
Once again Coach, sorry to be bugging you, but I value your experience.
 
P.S.  I put the PowerPoint you sent for the RT on our iPad and Coach Bailey showed them individually on the field with their practice film.  I think that stuck with them.  Thank you for that.



Coach,

First of all, you are not bugging me.  I invited you to keep coming to me with your questions and concerns and that is a standing invitation.

First of all, if all we needed to do was fire straight ahead, we would get in four-point stances with bent arms, and fire at opponents’ knees.

But we are at something of a disadvantage when we want to “fire out low” because we also have to be in stances that enable us to go sideways as well.  And we do want to make sure that the eyes are up.

But that doesn’t mean that we can’t deal with one big problem - a tendency on the part of most linemen to come right up out of their stances on the very first step, and this is what we have to fight.

Assuming a drive block...

We would like the player at the end of his first step to still be “in his stance.”  We say, “Stay in your stance.”  Another thing we look for is “number on the knee."

The length of that first step is a major factor in his coming up.  If the first step is too long, the player will have to pick up his upper body to allow the step.

Another thing to check on is what happens with the down hand when the player starts to move: does it come straight up off the ground?  That’s a sure sign that the shoulders are coming up.  Tell them to act as if they are snapping the ball with that hand - that will keep them from coming right up.

One drill that helps is the Bird-Dog drill.  Do it as a group drill.   Have the players take just one step and freeze, like a bird dog.  You will be surprised at first at how few guys can do it. Don’t let anybody out of his stance until you’ve checked them all.  (They will complain.)

Then, set up an ofensive line and call a play.  At the snap, have everyone take his first step - and freeze. Check not only for a short first step, but check also for stepping the correct foot and  in the correct direction.  It’s a great way to check assignments without having to run through the whole play, because if they don’t know the correct first step, they probably don't know their assignment.

You’re not going to see immediate improvement.  You’re going to have to keep working on it.

Next drill would be to fire against a sled, starting out no more than a foot away from it and aiming at a spot at eye level (when they're in theirstances).  You want them to be able to move the sled, so don’t stand on it or overload it with weight.  You do need the sled to provide enough resistance so they don’t fall on their faces, but you also want them to keep moving.

Five minutes a day devoted to those drills will help as a start.

Good luck!



*********** Had a nice visit last weekend with David Crump.  David, from Owensboro, Kentucky, is a longtime coach whom I first met at my very first clinic, in Evansville, Indiana, back in 1996.  His late Mom was a special fan of my first video.   She was blind in her last years, but she didn’t care about watching the video anyhow - she just loved the college fight songs on the sound track.

*********** I hope Jared Lorenzen can lose all that weight.

It’s easy to make fun of overweight people.  From the time we’re little kids we hear  kids and  adults with making fun of them.

And the overweight people laugh off the jokes and  take the nicknames in stride - what else can they do? - and we interpret that as meaning that it doesn’t bother them.

I’d never given it a thought until several years ago a good friend confided that he was sick of being looked at as fat.  He did something about it.

But he also did something about my attitude.  He woke me up to the fact that a person who’s overweight didn’t set out to be that way. 

It may have taken years to put on the extra weight, and now it’s going to take years of effort and deprivation.   That’s discouragement enough for a lot of people to just give up the fight before they even start out.

I’d never even given it a thought.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/jared-lorenzen-the-ex-qb-known-as-the-%E2%80%98hefty-lefty%E2%80%99-is-on-an-emotional-mission-to-lose-weight/ar-AApgk8X?li=BBnb7Kz


*********** No doubt a holdover from the Art Rooney-Dan Rooney days, the Steelers are still one of the few teams (1) to go away to training camp, (2) to stay reasonably close to their home market so their fans can come watch them, (3) to open practices to the public and (4) to not charge admission. (Sorry for the split infinitive.)

Surely there’s some young marketing genius in the Steelers’ organization who shakes his head at the thought of all the money they’re leaving on the table. 

http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/trainingcamp/12570071-74/take-a-quick-tour-of-steeler-training-camp-2017


QUIZ:  John Henry Johnson was born in Louisiana but his family moved to Pittsburg, California when he was young, and he went to high school there, starring in football, basketball, baseball and track.

He started college at St. Mary's, but after the Gaels gave up football, he transferred to Arizona State, where he was a football and track star.

After college, he played a year in the CFL with Calgary, then signed with the 49ers in 1954, teaming up with two other outstanding runners, Hugh McElhenny and Joe "The Jet" Perry. Together with QB Y.A. Tittle, they were probably the best backfield in the NFL at the time, and were given the nickname "The Fabulous Foursome."

In 1957 he was traded to the Detroit Lions, and after two years there where he was bothered by injuries, he was traded to Pittsburgh.

He played with the Steelers from 1960 through 1965, gaining more than 1,000 yards in both 1962 (1,141 yards) and 1964.(1,048 yards)- in 12-game seasons.

He was 6-2, 225 - at the time that was the size of many linemen - and  in addition to his running ability, he was a formidable blocker, and defenders all over the NFL came to fear and respect him as one of the hardest hitters in football.  (Some claimed that he could be a tad dirty on occasion.)

After one season with the Houston Oilers of the AFL, he retired in 1966.

In his career, he rushed for 6,803 yards and scored 48 touchdowns. He had 186 receptions for 1,478 yards and 7 touchdowns.

In 1987, John Henry Johnson entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame.





*********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JOHN HENRY JOHNSON

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON

***********QUIZ- He was recruited out of Albuquerque by Bud Wilkinson.  In college, he played on two national championship teams, made All-American twice - and didn’t play in a losing game. 

Although a running back in college, he was converted into a wide receiver in the NFL.

Only 5-9, 170, he made up for his lack of size with great speed, hands and toughness.

For four straight years - 1959-1962 - he was either first- or second-team All-Pro.

In 1960, he teamed up with Norm Van Brocklin   to help their team win its last NFL championship.

Before he retired, he played on four more teams.

He was the last player (other than a kicker) to play without a face mask.

He’s in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


american flag TUESDAY,  AUGUST 1,  2017  “If a man is a quitter, I’d rather find out in practice than in a game. I ask for all a player has so I’ll know later what I can expect.” Bear Bryant


***********  Free meals will no longer be given automatically to all students at 12 Portland Public schools, as has been the case for a few years.

The federal "community eligibility" program, which has been in effect since 2013, gives schools money to provide free meals to all students in a school if 40 per cent of the student body are served by income-restricted programs, primarily food stamps.

But 12 schools have fallen below the 40 per cent threshold.

Partly it’s because of the economy, but partly it’s because some of the students were illegals - they didn’t apply “out of fear” - and some wouldn’t even get off their asses to apply for free meals for their kids - “they feel the process is too arduous."

Students who no longer qualify will now have to pay $2.80 or $3.30, depending on their grade level.

But the news isn’t all bad, we were told: ”The schools will continue to serve free breakfasts to any students who want it"

Said some school district administrator type,  in charge of giving away taxpayer-paid-for food, “We are really saddened that we can't continue this program and optimally we would love to be serving all kids at no charge. We don't charge for textbooks why should we charge for meals?"


*********** In 2008, James McCloughan retired after a long career  teaching psychology and sociology and coaching football, baseball and wrestling at South Haven, Michigan High School.

I’m willing to bet that none of his students knew he was a war hero.   I’d bet my house on the fact that if they did, it wasn’t because he told them.

In 1969, he spent what he would later tell the Associated Press was “the worst two days of my life.”

It was in Vietnam, and McLoughan, an Army medic who had been drafted into the Army, was caught up in ferocious fighting. And he performed acts of such heroism that last week he was presented the Medal of Honor by President Trump.

A statement by the White House said Medic McLoughan "voluntarily risked his life on nine separate occasions to rescue wounded and disoriented comrades. He suffered wounds from shrapnel and small arms fire on three separate occasions, but refused medical evacuation to stay with his unit, and continued to brave enemy fire to rescue, treat, and defend wounded Americans."
Seeing that he was covered with blood, a captain suggested that he seek treatment for his wounds, but Mr. McLoughan wasn’t having any of it.

"He knew me enough to know that I wasn't going," he said.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/07/31/trump-to-award-first-medal-honor-to-vietnam-army-medic.html


***********  Coach,

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods.  I wanted to write to tell you about a surprise encounter I had this weekend in Kansas City.  I was early to pick up my daughter from a summer camp at Union Station downtown so I went across the street to the Liberty Memorial (aka WWI Museum) and immediately noticed it was much busier than normal.  As I was walking around, I noticed that many of the people had name tags with the First Division's Big Red One on it.  I soon found out that it was the Division's 100th Anniversary and reunion.  It made sense that they held it in Kansas City since Company K of the 28th Infantry Regiment (Black Lions of Catigny) were the first to set foot in France during WWI in 1917.  

There was one gentleman that caught my eye and I approached him and introduced myself and asked about the Black Lions insignia he was wearing.  He did not serve, but his brother died on October 17th, 1967 at Ong Thanh.  The gentleman's name was John Durham and his brother was Harold Bascom Durham Jr., better known as Pinky.  He was a forward observer from the 15th Artillery Regiment of the 1st Division, but was with the Black Lions that day and was relentless in calling in artillery strikes despite his severe wounds.  As a result of his actions and the lives he saved, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.  

Here is a link to an article about a new exhibit at Abraham Baldwin Agriculture that honors the life of Pinky Durham.

https://www.abac.edu/current-news/2016/freedom-gallery-opens-at-abac-on-october-13

I went back Saturday afternoon to the hotel where the reunion was at and spent time talking with many different Vietnam vets.  They were all great men and it was humbling to hear some of their stories.  Most of all, I was impressed with their eagerness to share.  I imagine as they are entering the later stages of life that they realize their stories need to be told as well and want to have someone pass them on.  Being around some of the Black Lion vets was great and those who did not know about the award were glad that young men were being honored in memory of Don Holleder.

I remember you talking about the David Maraniss' book, They Marched Into Sunlight, and when I was talking to one of the Black Lions about that day he mentioned that the regiment was walking in sunlight and were perfect targets for the ambush. His word choice stood out to me and actually gave me a slight chill.

This was a great weekend and one I'm glad I had the opportunity to enjoy.

(in the words of John Durham) Black Sir!

Joel Mathews
Independence, Missouri

Coach,

What an amazing experience!

Yes, that was the BIG reunion of the Big Red One, and one major reason for KC was its (relative) proximity to Fort Riley, home of the Big Red One.

It was quite an honor to be able to meet Pinky Durham’s brother.  Pinky Durham is held in the highest esteem by his brothers in the Black Lions, who in fact held their annual reunion in Tifton, GA in conjunction with the opening of the Freedom Gallery.

I applaud you for taking the time to meet those men.  They are in many ways the last of their kind, and they are a precious resource to anyone wanting to know what it was REALLY like "over there.”

Thanks so much for letting me in on your great experience!

Black Lions!



*********** By the way, that was a nice picture of your grandson.  Very handsome lad!
 
So he’s gonna go with footy, rather than rugby?
 
Shep Clarke
Puyallup, Washington

In Victoria (state) where he lives, Australian Rules is THE football "code."  (Except among ethnics - Italians, Greeks, Croatians - where it's mostly soccer. )  In New South Wales, Sydney's state, it's rugby, with union being more popular than league. Australian Rules is working very hard to grow outside Victoria, but I'd estimate that half the teams in the AFL are in Vic, which basically means in the greater Melbourne area.

Which is my long way of saying that in Victoria, most kids get started playing Australian Rules.


*********** If you have  kids in school, you might want to find out whether their teacher has been helping them discover the right gender for them by introducing them to the “Gender Unicorn.”
Gender Unicorn


http://www.transstudent.org/gender

Dartmouth beats Yale

*********** My old coach’s son, Don Shipley, was visitng with his uncle in New Hampshire, and his uncle, a Dartmouth man,  showed him an old newspaper clipping in a scrapbook.  Don, of course, just had to show me because of its headline:

“DARTMOUTH BEATS YALE ELEVEN, 14-6, FOR FIRST TIME IN 51 YEARS”

Wow.  Talk about dominance.

When they first met in 1884, Yale was a real football powerhouse, and the Blue trounced Dartmouth, 113-0.

That may have been cause for some bruised feelings, but for whatever reason, the two schools didn’t play again for nine years. When they did, things were only slightly improved on Dartmouth's end: in their six meetings between 1893 and 1900, Dartmouth was outscored 191-0.

And then another hiatus ensued, and they didn’t play again  until 1924.  Then, Dartmouth not only managed to score - they scored twice. Not only that, but they tied Yale, 14-14.  And tied ‘em again in 1931.  But otherwise, they kept on losing.

And then Dartmouth hired a new coach, a Miami, Ohio grad named Earl “Red” Blaik, who’d been an assistant at West Point. And Dartmouth’s football fortunes changed.

Blaik put an end to the softness that had characterized Dartmouth football, selling the players on what he termed a Spartan approach. And he installed a single wing offense that combined the best of what Army had been running and the best of what Jock Sutherland was running at Pitt.

In Blaik’s first year, Dartmouth narrowly lost to Yale, 7-2.  But he finally got the Bulldogs in 1935, and for the next four years he had the Bulldogs’ number, beating them three times and tieing them once. His only other loss to Yale came in 1940;  Ironically, it was Yale’s only win that year.

1940 was also the season of the famous “Fifth Down Game,”  in which mighty Cornell lost its chance for a national championship after it was concluded that its last-second touchdown - and its win over Dartmouth - had taken place on a fifth down given it by an official’s error. Cornell, in a display of sportsmanship that few in today’s “Just Win Baby” culture would understand, conceded the win to Dartmouth.

From 1934 through 1941, Blaik compiled a 45-15-4 record at Dartmouth.  Between 1936 and 1938 the Indians - er, Big Green -  had a 22-game win streak, and turned down an invitation to the Rose Bowl.

In 1941, Earl Blaik left Dartmouth to become head coach at West Point, where he would field some of the greatest teams in the history of the game.

*********** New Oregon coach Willie Taggart on the Ducks’ uniforms:

“Those uniforms are really nice when you have a really good football team. We ain't gonna have 12. We're gonna cut back.”

*********** I’m a team guy and all that - but can you really blame Kyrie Irving for not wanting to spend the rest of his life being known as “a guy who played with LeBron James?”

*********** Nothing like starting off the preseason with a good chuckle at the idiocy of the NFL. 

This, from the Someplace/Somewhere Chargers training camp:

"The team expects to have no trouble filling cozy StubHub Center in Carson this season."

Well, I guess not. The “cozy StubHub Center” seats under 30,000.

*********** If you like the airline industry, you’re either an airline employee or an airline shareholder. Or you’re demented.

With a few exceptions - Southeast and Alaska are decent, and I’ve heard JetBlue is okay -  flying on large commercial airlines today  is as enjoyable as a deep cleaning at the dentist’s.

The greedy bastards have been squeezing every possible nickel out of paying passengers by squeezing them into tiny spaces, forcing them to pay  extra for luggage and/or fight for space in the overhead bins.

And to top it all off, there's insolence of airline personnel who think that after you’ve spent several hundred dollars on a ticket, they’re doing you a favor by letting you on board their airborne Greyhound.

Now, a federal judge has responded to a complaint  claiming that cramped airline seating can be dangerous to passneger’s health by ordering the FAA to look into seat sizes and legroom.

Wow. Much as I hate federal judges… 


http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2017/07/31/airplane-seat-size-regulations/


***********  Hi coach.  I had a quick question for you if you had some time.

I am watching these USA football coaching vids for certification in our little league and they are teaching their lineman to pull their outside foot back - vs. their inside - on a three point stance.  I assume it's because it's being taught by an NFL lineman and they're all about pass protection, forming a pocket etc., and protecting the outside.  However, when down, or angle, blocking to the inside, wouldn't this be troublesome, and isn't it opposite to what you have in the playbook? How do you align these two concepts?

I hope that makes sense.  Thanks.

Eli Hvastkovs
Asst. Professor
Department of Chemistry
East Carolina University
Greenville, North Carolina

Coach,

This is totally in keeping with the pass-first, run-second philosophy of “today’s” football.

Yes, it simplifies getting into pass-protection stance.  No, it does not help run blocking.

You are absolutely correct. Yes, it is opposite what I have taught for years.

It does not help them step into their inside gap to protect it, or block down to the inside.   It complicates pulling (which most passing teams don’t require of their linemen anyhow), and it makes it nearly impossible to close down on a wedge (which most of those people have never even heard of and wouldn’t know how to teach, and dismiss as “caveman football").

You have to use the tool that the job requires.

For what it’s worth - this USA Football that has wormed its way into “certification” as the self-anointed “governing body” of our sport is operating with NFL funding.  This same USA Football passes off as “its” Double Wing playbook a lot of material plagiarized from my work.

Good question.

Thanks for the reply.  I have been prepping material to convey to coaches/players, and then watched this video.  It's very nonchalant in how they talk about it - don't give any reasons why.  I will plan on using your method despite that video because there is just no way, like you said, to get to the wedge block (or really the O/Power blocks) if you're "aimed" the wrong direction.


They are simply saying "here's what to do” based on a couple of conversations with NFL coaches, without bothering to find out why. In football the "why" is more important than the "what."


*********** QUIZ ANSWER At the age of 39,  Jake Gaither survived a near-fatal bout with brain cancer.  Three years later, he was named  head coach at Florida A & M, and he stayed there until he retired 25 years later. In those 25 years at FAMU he won seven national black college titles.

At the time of his retirement at the end of the 1969 season, his record of 203-26-4 gave him the highest winning percentage (.844) among all college coaches with 200 or more wins. (His 200th win put him in the select company at that time of Amos Alonzo Stagg, Glenn "Pop" Warner and Jess Neely as the only men to do so.)

In the days before unlimited substitution, LSU’s Paul Dietzel called his platoons “White Team, Gold Team and Chinese Bandits.”  Jake Gaither  called his three units ”Blood, Sweat and Tears." And he said he wanted his players to be "A-gile, MO-bile and HOS-tile."

He was born in Memphis, the son of a minister. As a boy he worked as a ditch-digger, a bellhop, a shoe shine boy and a coal miner. He graduated from Knoxville College, where he met his wife.

His entire coaching career was spent at FAMU, a historically black school, at a time when segregation in the large state schools meant the black schools had the pick of the great black talent found in the South. And his career ended at the time when major northern schools began recruiting those kids, and not long before major southern schools would begin to do the same.

Including his first team, which went 9-1, 14 of Coach Gaither's teams lost one game or less. Only three of his teams lost more than two games.
No less an authority than Ohio State’s Woody Hayes called him an offensive genius. Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd called Coach Gaither’s  "Split-Line-T" (employing even wider splits than the conventional split-T) "one of the finest offensive ideas to come along in years."

With his offense - and with players such as Bob Hayes, Hewritt Dixon, Willie Gallimore and Ken Riley - he ran up a record of 62-5, and averaged 41.7 points per game over a seven-year period. He coached 36 All-Americas, and 25 of his players went on to play professional football.

(Dixon, for what it’s worth, may have been the first player in pro football to “spike the ball.”  Questioned about it by reporters, he said that at FAMU they had called it “bustin’ the ball.”)

The great Bear Bryant didn't think Coach Gaither’s Split-Line T would work in the big-time, and he told Coach Gaither so. There’s a quote that’s often been used in praise of Coach Bryant, to the effect that "he could take yours and beat his, and take his and beat yours.” But it appears that the quote originated with Coach Gaither as he had the last word with The Bear. Apparently a bit agitated, he’s said to have told Bryant, "I'll tell you what - I'll take my players and beat yours with it, and I'll take your players and beat mine with it."

In 1975, Jake Gaither received the "Triple Crown" of coaching awards - the Amos Alonzo Stagg Award (given annually by the American Football Coaches' Association "to an individual whose service has been outstanding in the best interests of the advancement of football"), The Walter Camp Award (awarded by the Walter Camp Foundation) and induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.

An award given annually in his name is considered to be the Heisman trophy for players from historically black colleges. Interestingly, two recipients of this award - Jerry Rice and Richard Dent - have gone on to be named Super Bowl MVP's. Only one Heisman winner - Jim Plunkett - has been so honored.

In 1975, Jake Gaither became the first coach of a predominantly black college to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JAKE GAITHER:
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK,  LOUSIANA
RALPH BALDUCCI - PORTLAND, OREGON
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA (Not sure the first time Jake Gaither, the great Rattler,  was reported to have spoken those words, but in my mind's eye I can see the SI and where they appeared on the page. Most guys are like me, I guess, in that after seeing the expression in writing, they never forgot it, and have muttered it to themselves many times.)
KEN HAMPTON, RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
JERRY LOVELL - BELLEVUE, NEBRASKA (Younger readers might be confused... To verify my guess....agile mobile hostile pulls up Remember the Titans on the Google search) MY REPLY: Hollywood has been known to copy things  from real life and then claim them as its original work. Bastards.
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN


*********** At the 1970 Coach of the Year Clinic in San Francisco, Jake Gaither, recently retired as head coach at Florida A & M, gave his last major coaching clinic talk, and he concluded with these words:

I want to say something now. I have said it once or twice, but I'll say it again. I am sick and tired of hearing the term, "Black and white."

I wish we could forget the term. As I look out in this room, unless I see an Indian, there is not a true-blooded American from the standpoint of descent.

Where are you from? Ireland? England? Sweden? I came from Africa, they tell me. I'm not homesick!

Wouldn't I be crazy to go over to Africa and ask those folks where I can find the Gaithers, my great-great grand uncle? They would think I was crazy. I can go to Statesville, North Carolina and find some Gaithers.

I am an American. I want you to think in terms of Americans. Black, white, blue or yellow, we are all immigrants. You came from England, you came from France, you came from Sweden. I came from Africa, they say, but we are in America now.

Everything I have, everything I hope to be, my loyalty, my love, my devotion, is to this country. I don't owe Africa anything.

And I want to do this- salvage the good in your people. Salvage the good in my people. Take the bad in your people and try to make them good. Let me take the bad in my people and try to make them good. Let us put our shoulders to the wheel as Americans. That's the way God intended we should live.

My friends, I'll be on the sidelines watching the coaches. I'll be athletic director, but I won't be actively coaching. I am going to turn it over to you, You do the job. You have this raw material, this new breed, to deal with, I hope before I die, I can see black, white, blue and yellow - American citizens - with our shoulders to the wheel, trying to make this democracy a better place to live.

(It was reported that Coach Gaither received a standing ovation from the coaches in attendance,  more than 200 of whom then lined up to shake his hand.)

QUIZ: He was born in Louisiana but his family moved to Pittsburg, California when he was young, and he went to high school there, starring in football, basketball, baseball and track.

He started college at St. Mary's, but after the Gaels gave up football, he transferred to Arizona State, where he was a football and track star.

After college, he played a year in the CFL with Calgary, then signed with the 49ers in 1954, teaming up with two other outstanding runners, Hugh McElhenny and Joe "The Jet" Perry. Together with QB Y.A. Tittle, they were probably the best backfield in the NFL, and were given the nickname "The Fabulous Foursome."

In 1957 he was traded to the Detroit Lions, and after two years there were he was bothered by injuries, he was traded to Pittsburgh.

He played with the Steelers from 1960 through 1965, gaining more than 1,000 yards in both 1962 (1,141 yards) and 1964.(1,048 yards)- in 12-game seasons.

He was 6-2, 225 - at the time that was the size of many linemen - and  in addition to his running ability, he was a formidable blocker, and defenders all over the NFL came to fear and respect him as one of the hardest hitters in football.  (Some claimed that he could be a tad dirty on occasion.)

After one season with the Houston Oilers of the AFL, he retired in 1966.

In his career, he rushed for 6,803 yards and scored 48 touchdowns. He had 186 receptions for 1,478 yards and 7 touchdowns.

In 1987, he entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

american flag FRIDAY,  JULY 28,  2017  “Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.”  Edward Abbey, American author and environmentalist

*********** Jim Vail, Sr. died in his sleep  last Saturday night.

Mr. Vail was “96 and a half,” and he was our neighbor since we moved to Camas in 1989.

HIs son, Jim Jr., is also a neighbor, as is his granddaughter, Lindsay, whom we’ve known since she was a teenager.  They have been, needless to say, close.

Mr. Vail’s story is classic American.

He was born in Fairview, Montana, but moved with his family when he was quite young to rural Fern Prairie, Washington.

He married, and he and his wife raised a family.

He spent 42 years at “the mill,” which in Camas was the huge Crown-Zellerbach (now Georgia Pacific) paper mill. 

And then, in a house in town built for them by Jim, Jr. he and Mrs. Vail settled into retirement.  She passed away nine years ago, and he’d lived independently in the house until he died.

But what I omitted, as Paul Harvey used to say, was The Rest of the Story.

Mr. Vail served in the Army in World War II, and  saw action in Europe as a radio operator. He was awarded the silver star and the bronze star for valor.  (I’ll probably never know why. Typically, he never spoke of his WW II experience, and I never even knew of his military honors.)

Mrs. Vail was born in Germany, but came to the US when she was a young girl, coming with her mother to Chicago to join her father, who had already come to America and found a job and a home.

She graduated from high school in 1934, and a few years later travelled to Germany to visit her aunt and uncle.  She would recall having  seen Hitler speak.  But while she was still there, war broke out, and she was unable to return to the United States.  She had to remain in Germany, with her aunt and uncle, for the duration of World War II.

Following the war,  their town occupied by American troops, she met Mr. Vail through rather unusual circumstances.

One day, their family radio broke down.   Her uncle said to her, “You’re a pretty girl - go find one of those American solders with the “RADIO” patch on his sleeve and see if he can fix our radio.”

She did as she was told, and found one such American soldier.  He happened to be married, and a friend of Jim Vail, and he said to her, “I’ve got just the guy for you.” And he introduced her to Jim Vail.

Jim went to Hilda’s family’s home and he fixed their radio.  But he took his time about it because,  Jim Jr. told me, he was smitten. It was love at first sight.

They came to the United States and were married in July, 1946.  Last Monday would have been their 71st wedding anniversary.

Jim and Hilda are together again.

*********** Virginia Tech plans to honor Michael Vick with membership in its sports Hall of Fame - and people are pissed.

There can’t be any question of his being qualified on the basis of his football achievements, so it’s all about the dog fighting.

Look - It’s not as if he was let off or  given a slap on the wrist.

I'm not the biggest Michael Vick fan, and you could call me a dog lover, but - HE PAID HIS PRICE!


*********** A highly recruited quarterback from California named Brevin White has announced that he has committed to attend - Princeton.

Over Arizona State, Oregon State, Tennessee and Utah.

It’s belived that he is the highest-rated high school propect ever to choose an Ivy League school.

Now get this: 

White, who played at Alemany as a freshman and sophomore and at Chaminade last season, is expected to be a standout at Paraclete, where his former coach, Dean Herrington, is entering his second season.

Hmm.  Kid played for one high school his freshman and sophomore seasons, played for another one this past season, and now he’s planning on playing for yet a third school this coming season,.

If I were Arizona State, Oregon State, Tennessee and Utah, I’d stay in touch, just in case he gets tired of the academic work load or the overbearing political correctness.

http://www.latimes.com/sports/highschool/varsity-times/la-sp-high-school-sports-updates-qb-brevin-white-commits-to-1501036996-htmlstory.html


*********** I didn’t even realize that Bruno Sammartino was still alive.  In the world of pro wrestling he was as big as it got - literally and figuratively,.  His story of nearly starving as a child  in war-torn Italy, and then his Charles Atlas-type transformation from a puny kid to a man mountain is fascinating.

http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/ron-cook/2017/07/23/Pittsburgh-wrestling-Bruno-Sammartino-museum-italy-world-wrestling-entertainment-world-war-2/stories/201707230060


***********  As I was reviewing the material on the counter, I see you have called the criss-cross 45-C (pg 10) in the playbook. In the DVD compilation, you use criss cross 65C for the most part.  The plays appear to me to be the same play. I am wanting to confirm with you that is the case. Second as I look at it, XX65C is probably the correct call given you have the 6 sliding inside and cutting off, and the B is aiming at where the 6 was and blocking to the outside. Am I reading this correctly.  

Coach,

Your question is a good one. Here’s the "very professional" answer:

 I found that after years of calling my counters “47-C” I just couldn’t get used to calling them “65-C.”

One number change was all I could handle. I could handle “45” but not “65.”  But I did have to acknowledge that we don’t have a tight end on that open side. So in the playbook it is officially “45-C”



***********  Coach,

Since you hit my home state and I have personal rule of not responding if I have to google  (I do most of the time) I can actually get this one with Gerald Ford.   We are in the midst of camp getting ready for the 2017 season after a solid season hopes are high but like everyone with only a couple practices under our belt the amount of work we have to do and the limited time we have can seem overwhelming.   We do have the addition of Joe Gutilla helping us with some film breakdown from Texas, and I'm certain if you see our film you'll quickly see your influences.  

Are you Coaching again this fall?  I do like following your seasons and always cheer for your teams to get a win each Friday as I do for many in he DW fraternity.

 
God Bless,
Jason  Mensing  
Head Football Coach
Whiteford High School,
Whiteford, Michigan

Coach,

You are right.  I suppose that most of the guys answering have resorted to Google so there’s no disgrace.

I envy you right now.  My head coach got fed up with our new Supt and her destructive policies - on the field and in the classroom - and when an AD position came open at a nearby high school, he took it.  He had no choice.  I encouraged him to do so, even thought it meant the end of the line for all of us at North Beach.  

It was a great run.  I worked with a young coach in his first head coaching job and in six years I watched him become a top notch head coach, and I’m personally sorry that he’s not continuing someplace else.  In the meantime, I’m prepared for a great football season as a spectator/analyst.  Not the same as coaching, but the name of our game is adapt.  

Not sure how many rodeos I have left in me, but we’ll see.

The very best of luck to you this season!

Stay in touch!


*********** On Rolling Stone’s cover, they show a picture of Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin “Pretty Boy” Trudeau, and ask,  “Why Can’t He Be Our President?”

Even knowing that this is the same ultra left mag that had one of the Tsarnaev brothers on its cover, the same one  that concocted  a phony rape story about a fraternity at the University of Virginia, I still can’t get too angry.

That would be hypocritical of me, because I have to plead guilty to the same sort of wishful thinking.

Without thoroughly checking back issues of my NEWS, I'm sure that  somewhere  in the last, oh, eight years or so  I asked why Netanyahu couldn’t have been our president. 


*********** Poor Lucky Whitehead.

If he’d been really good, he could have beaten his “fiancee” and killed a couple dozen fighting dogs  and Jerry Jones would have been out there telling us what a fann, fann young may-un he ee-is.

But while he’s an okay wide receiver, he isn’t  that good, so even though he was cleared of shoplifting charges against him, he became a useful foil in the Cowboys’ phony show of uprightness.  The ‘Boys went ahead and cut him anyhow. By throwing him under the bus, the management of America’s Team (or, in terms of accomplishment-to-hype ratio, the Notre Dame of the NFL) think they’ve shown one and all that they’ll do whatever’s necessary to polish the Star - to preserve the good name of their team.  A team that harbors the likes of Dez Bryant and Ezekiel Elliott. Who are really good.


*********** Tell me about all those poor inner city kids again, would you?

Julio Jones lost a $100,000 earring in a Georgia Lake…

http://www.businessinsider.com/julio-jones-lost-a-100000-earring-so-he-hired-a-dive-team-to-get-it-2017-7

*********** “Hey!”  My son wrote me. “I found that Texas online documentary I was telling you about. It’s a Fort Worth Star-Telegram project:”

 http://www.titletowntx.com/?play=XcScJRCx

*********** Vincentian Academy, a private Catholic high school in the Pittsburgh area, won’t have enough kids to field a football team this year.   And according to an article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, we’re supposed to feel sorry for all the poor coaches who’ll have to try to fill the hole in their schedule left by Vincentian’s announcement.

Yeah, that’s too bad - but what about the handful of kids at Vincentian who still want to play football, but aren’t going to get that chance?

The solution is obvious,  even to state high school sports administrators, often an obtuse lot not fond of easy solutions.

In Washington, where I live, and in many other states, a kid whose private school doesn’t offer a sport is eligible to play for the public school in the area where he resides.  After all, he may not be going to the local public school, but his parents’ taxes sure as hell are.

The solution is not that obvious in Pennsylvania.

In the Keystone State,  according to Tim O'Malley, executive director of the WPIAL (the governing body of high school sports in Western Pennsylvania), those Vincentian kids are S-O-L.

Vincentian's administration asked if the WPIAL would permit its football players to play for schools in their home districts,  but the answer from on high was no.

“You can only play where you're in attendance,” O'Malley said. “There's nothing in the rule that would permit that to happen.”

I don’t see how that policy could hold up in court.  Where’s a pit bull lawyer when you need one?

http://triblive.com/sports/hssports/football/12543347-74/vincentian-academy-wont-field-a-football-team-this-season

*********** For all their technical competence, sometimes the best thing that  TV networks can do is just shut up and show the event.

That’s what Fox News did last Saturday, and my wife and I sat transfixed, watching  the commissioning In Norfolk of the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford.

Give the Navy this: they sure know how to conduct a ceremony.

The tradition, the observance of protocol, the dignity, the order, the discipline - I marveled at it all, from the “Very Well” with which officers acknowledged underlings’ reports to them, to the “Aye, Aye, Sir!” with which the underlings acknowledged their orders and agreed to comply.

I was impressed by the way the crew - or at least a substantial portion of it - hustled onto the ship in order to stand at attention around the edge of its deck.

But I was most impressed when the Captain accepted the enormous personal responsibility for a crew of several thousand and a ship worth billions of dollars by saying, simply, “I am in command.”


QUIZ ANSWER: Gerald R. Ford was born Leslie King, Jr., but his mother left King, who it is believed was abusive, and when she married a man named Gerald Rudolf Ford, he was given his stepfather’s name.  He grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was captain of his high school football team.  He went on to the University of Michigan where he played single wing center and linebacker. 

The Wolverines were undefeated his sophomore and junior years, but in his senior year they won just one game.  Nevertheless, because of his fighting spirit and his toughness, he was voted Most Valuable Player by his teammates.

He was selected to play in the East-West Shrine Game and the College All-Star Game (against the Chicago Bears).

He turned down offers from the Lions and Packers and instead attended Yale Law School.  While at Yale, he coached football on the staff of legendary coach Greasy Neale from 1937 through 1940. +++

Then World War II broke out, and he enlisted in the Navy.  After the war he returned to Michigan and embarked on a career in politics, which culminated with his serving as President of the United States.

+++ This wasn’t  correct.  In keeping with tradition, Yale’s titular head coach was a former player named Ducky Pond.  But who’s kidding who - his chief assistant, Greasy Neale, had been head coach at Virginia and West Virginia, and in 1922 had taken little Washington and Jefferson to the Rose Bowl, where it held mighty Cal to a 0-0 tie.

Many alumni objected to Pond's hiring, and felt it was time for Yale to break with tradition and go outside to hire the best coach available. They wanted Michigan's Harry Kipke. My guess is that Neale was brought on board to appease the angry alums - and to provide the experience that Pond lacked.

Neale arrived at Yale  with Pond in 1934. The quarterback of that 1934 team, Jerry Roscoe, told  William N. Wallace, author of ‘Yale’s Ironmen” that Neale was the brains behind the team:

“Ducky Pond had been a great Yale player in the mid-20s and an assistant coach ever since. I don’t mean to denigrate him in the slightest, but it was Greasy Neale who had the football brains and experience that contributed in a major way to whatever success Yale enjoyed in the years he coached there.”

Roscoe added,   “His West Virginia accent and his nickname tended to deflect on occasion what he was really about.”

Greasy Neale was certainly “country,” and there were times when the cultural differences between him and the Ivy Leaguers he coached were striking.  Wrote  Wallace, “that Neale could be crude in his coaching, there was no doubt. After an unsatisfactory effort, Neale might say, “You block like a sick whore getting off a pisspot.”

YALE STAFF  GERALD FORD

Yale’s coaching staff, 1937? 38? 39? 40?
Front row, L to R: Bill Renner, JV; Ducky Pond, Head Coach; Greasy Neale, Chief Assistant; Frank Wandle, Trainer
Back row: Gerald Ford, JV; Marsh Wells, line; Ivy Williamson, ends

"Marsh" Wells was the uncle of my wife's best friend. He was a native of Superiot, Wisconsin who played at Minnesota.  A career line coach,  he went on to coach at a number of big schools.  Ivan "Ivy" Williamson would go on to become head coach and then AD at Wisconsin.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING GERALD FORD:
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA (Gerald Ford. All of the US History Teachers/Coaches got that one right.  Isn't it ironic that Chevy Chase made a career out of portraying him as a klutz, when he was a college all star?)
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
JASON MENSING - WHITEFORD, MICHIGAN (Since you hit my home state and I have personal rule of not responding if I have to google  (I do most of the time) I can actually get this one with Gerald Ford.)
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA (I too was complete enamored with this weekend’s launching of the “Ford”)
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
JOE BREMER - WEST SENECA, NEW YORK
LOU ORLANDO - SOUTH BERWICK, MAINE


***********  Years ago, Lou Orlando, of Sudbury, Massachusetts, shared this story with me. Lou was a football player at Yale in the late 1970s, and, like President Ford, Lou was a center...
 
"...when Gerald Ford lost the presidential election to that peanut farmer, his first "public" appearance after leaving office was to accept the Chubb Fellowship at Timothy Dwight College (part of Yale's system of residential "colleges within a college." For his or her three upper-class years, every student lives and eats in his/her residential college, attends its parties, plays on its intramural teams, etc.) at Yale. He came to the school for a few days, meeting the students, and we had a reception for him up at Ray Tompkins House (the football offices).

There were 5 of us on the football team that lived in Timothy Dwight, and we wrote him a letter inviting him up to our room for a beer. Never dreaming we had a snowball's chance in hell of meeting him, the Secret Service called us and told us that he couldn't come up because of security issues, but we were welcome to come down to the suite where he was staying.

We excitedly and nervously all went to his room; we sat, talked, and drank a Michelob with him for about 30 minutes. When we were about to leave he offered to pose for pictures. I used to show everyone the picture: "Hey, do you want to see a picture of me and President Ford? I'm the one on the left.." Used to get a lot of laughs. This episode with President Ford and my teammates was mentioned in Coach Cozza's book "True Blue."

At one of the Yale football golf outings a few years ago Carm (Coach Carm Cozza) actually brought up to us that at first he was upset with us because we offered to have a beer with the President; to our surprise he even expressed that sentiment to President Ford during one of their meetings. The President waved him off by saying “Carm, it wasn’t a problem at all…we had a great time and I enjoyed being able to relax and talk football with them.”

The best part of the entire experience happened the next morning at a breakfast the President attended with 15 Yale football players prior to his departure. My roommate Drew Pace was one of the 5 at our meeting the night before; he and I were lucky enough to be included in the breakfast meeting as well. When President Ford came in the room he walked around the table and shook hands with each player. When he came to us he shook our hands and said “Hi Lou, good morning Drew.” You should have seen the looks on the other players faces!! PRICELESS


*********** Coach -

I believe that the answer to your quiz, today, is.......Gerald Ford......Coach, when he became president, it may be the first time that I noticed a bias in the media.  The press routinely characterized this good man, great football player, who happened to be a Republican, as a clumsy, accident-proned buffoon.......did he have missteps and gaffes??  Sure!!  Who can forget him hitting a patron in the gallery at the Bob Hope Open, but the press were relentless in the their narrative of him as a dufus......

All the best, Coach!!

Joe Bremer
West Seneca, New York

Good Point, Joe.

He was treated brutally.

And unless they stood way, way back, those people in the gallery would have been in far greater danger If that had been me on the first tee.  If I could even make contact with the ball.


*********** Gerry Ford was not elected President.  As Vice-President, he was elevated to the presidency after Richard Nixon resigned.  (Ironically, he wasn’t elected Vice-President, either - he was appointed to the position after Spiro Agnew was forced to resign.) He ran only once for election and lost - to Jimmy Carter.  Jimmy F—king Carter, who if it weren’t for Barack H. Obama would surely have gone down in history as our worst president.

Four things, in my judgment, cost Mr. Ford the election:

First and foremost was his pardon of his predecessor, Richard Nixon.  It was an act of great courage, one that he knew could cost him politically;  but unlike today’s politicians whose sole concern is reelection, he acted for the good of the country.

Second was a monumental slipup in a debate, in which he said. “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.”   That was 1976, 13 years before the fall of the Berlin Wall.  (Interestingly, Mr. B. H. Obama was given a pass by the media for his flippant dismissal of Mitt Romney’s concern about the threat posed by Russia, saying “The 80s called and want their foreign policy back!” Got a lot of laughs for that one, he did.  Guy sure was cool. But not too long after that, the Russians seized the Crimea, conducted a sneak invasion of Ukraine, and threatened the Baltic States. Where’s that 80s foreign policy when you need it?

Third was the ridicule Mr. Ford was subjected to by the likes of Chevy Chase.  Once, the President  tripped while exiting Air Force One.  Haw, haw, haw.  That’s always good for a laugh!  (Right up there with BHO’s saluting with his left hand because he was carrying a tall latte in his right.) And then there was the famous errant drive in a golf pro-am in which he scattered spectators. (Me, I’ve never had a crowd watch me drive.  Thank God.)  Trust Chevy Chase to get mileage out of the image of the President of the United States as a stumbling bumbler - “klutz” is the Yiddish word - an image Mr. Chase created.   And that was all the  great unwashed - the mob that got its news from Saturday Night Live - needed to know.

Gerald Ford was probably the first president defined for the masses by popular entertainers,  which brings me to the fourth point, one that’s usually overlooked:  Mr. Nixon, in 1972, was the first president elected after the 18-year-olds got the vote.  By the time Mr. Ford took office, entertainers had begun to realize - and capitalize   on - the influence they had on  the highly impressionable 18-to-21 demographic.  Chevy Chase, an acknowledged cokehead, was chief among them.

When I think of what Chevy Chase did to Gerald Ford I laugh at all the bogus Russian crap going on.   Given a choice between  Russians attempting to influence our elections and entertainers actually doing so, I’d have to think hard.  Really, really hard.

*********** QUIZ - He said “I like my boys A-gile, MO-bile, and HOS-tile.”

In 25 years of coaching at the same historically black college, he won 85 per cent of his games and never had a losing season.

He ran a split-T with enormous line splits - 4-1/2 foot A-gaps  - but he had the backs with the speed to get to the hole fast.

When he retired in 1973, his record of 203-36-4 was the best of any active college coach in the country at any level.

He sent 25 players to the NFL, including Bob Hayes and Willie Galimore.

In 1975 he became the first coach of a predominantly black college to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.




american flag TUESDAY,  JULY 25,  2017  “Think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of them are stupider than that.” George Carlin

*********** Monday, my wife and I celebrated our 58th wedding anniversary.  July, 1959.  Holy sh—. Of course, an awful lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, and we’ve been blessed with four kids, and then with 11 grandkids, but in so many ways everything from way back then seems so bright and fresh.

Now I’m beginning to understand what all the old folks were saying, back when I was a kid and didn’t pay them much attention.

We started out on our honeymoon in a place called Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania, north of Williamsport.  I guess it was nice enough if you were 10 or 20 years older than we were, but after a day or two we decided to bail.  We drove south a couple of hours to Hershey, Pennsylvania, which from the time I was a kid was one of my favorite places, and found ourselves a place to stay. We had a pool, there was a restaurant featuring “Pennsylvania Dutch Smorgasbord.” And besides the, um, usual honeymoon things, the Philadelphia Eagles were in training camp at Hershey Stadium.

To give you an idea of how the NFL has changed in scale… we sat on the sidelines, right on the grass, and watched everything.  I’d grown up an Eagles’ fan, but four years of college in Connecticut watching the Conerly-Gifford-Rote-Robustelli-Rosey Grier Giants  (you watched your home team on TV, or you didn’t watch the NFL at all)  had swung me over to the New York side. 

And then we watched those Eagles in action.  They were a cool bunch - Tommy McDonald and Tom Brookshier  (“Brookie”) especially seemed to be having a hell of a time.  More than anything, we still remember the jokes and the clowning around.  They socialized freely.  The Eagles’ starting middle linebacker, Chuck Weber , was from my wife’s high school, Abington, PA (“The Galloping Ghosts”) and so was a rookie out of Villanova named Rollie West, who’d been a couple of years ahead of her and was one of the top high school players in the Philadelphia area.

Needless to say, we were Eagles’ fans once again, and the next two years, as the Birds made their run to the 1960 NFL championship, were very exciting.  And all because we spent our honeymoon  (the days, anyhow)  at their training camp!

And then in early 1961,  I took a job in Baltimore, and we found a new love.  The Colts.  Let me tell you - there was no way in hell you could live in that town in those days, a town buzzing with excitement over its Colts,  and not catch “Colt Fever.” 


*********** I would love to use you as a sounding board and get your insight as I have in the past.  I value your experience and advice.
 
We have been working on 66-SP and 77-SP during our off-season.  Coach Bailey and I want to make sure we are doing this correctly (this time).  The RG's responsibility on 66-SP says"OK to Scramble."  Using this terminology what is a scramble block?
 
Also I have one more question regarding the wedge.  We had a round robin scrimmage this past week where we ran strictly 66 and 77 SP and 2W.  Our wedge vs the defending state champs and a LARGE school was averaging 8-10 yards.  Then vs small schools we averaged the same.  Is that normal or are we doing something wrong?  We were thud tacking and not taking to ground, so that is the only thing I can think of as to why we did not average more vs the small schools.

The “scramble” block is used sometimes on reach plays, sometimes by the playside tackle on 66 Brown and 77 Black, and sometimes by a covered playside guard on 66 and 77 Super Power when he’s not getting any double-team help from his tackle.

It’s mainly for a smaller, more athletic guard who otherwise might be overpowered by a defender.

Throw the backside arm past the defender’s playside thigh

The  hand lands on the ground with the body against the defender’s legs

Keep your head up

Keep your head upfield (so your body is between the defender and where he’d like to go)

Keep your knees off the ground

Keep scrambling

http://www.coachwyatt.com/scrambleblock.mov

Let me know if you have any questions on that!

My guess regarding the wedge is that the BIG guys are standing up at the snap, making it easy for you to drive them back, while the smaller guys are lower and your guys may be having trouble getting any lift on them.


*********** Hello Coach. Always hope the best and will pray today for you and Connie. In a couple weeks I'm going to be a grandfather. First one.My daughter that named her dog Wyatt - by the way he is still going strong and has always been pretty tough having the baby. I was attracted today to your site and saw picture of 2001 "Stones Tour" t shirt. Still have one and I was part of the tour. Best times coaching. Always remember. I read the whole news section caught up a little bit of what you have been up to. You have been a great blessing for all those young players. Alan always ask how you are doing. He is working for the University  of Texas Athletic department in Athletic Operations. Army so far has not cleared him medically too many injuries. But he is a strong faithful young man  and with stones I'm proud of him. Me staying out of trouble and grateful that God has blessed me with his grace. No football coaching or anything. Always miss it. Take care. You will always be special to me. Big hello to Connie.

Regards,
Armando "The Original DW Coach in the Roanoke Valley" Castro
Roanoke, Virginia


*********** The Milwaukee Bucks is hard at work on a $524 million basketball arena, due to open in fall 2018. 

Say it slowly:  $524,000,000.  Quite an investment for a relatively small market, but get this: the Bucks have begun to market concerts in the new arena in the northern suburbs of Chicago.

Although the Windy City itself is 90 miles from Milwaukee, suburbs such as Evanston, Winnetka, Waukegan and Lake Forest are in play for the Bucks: Milwaukee’s arena may be twice as far away from them as the United Center (where the Bulls play), but depending on traffic, the drive to Milwaukee can take half as long.

Once NBA fans figure that out, it could be enough to convert Bulls’ fans into Buck’s fans.

***********  Imagine a cross between an inflatable love doll and an EA Sports avatar and - evidently - you’ve got a sex robot. I read an article recently about the way Chinese factories are churning them out by the tens of thousands. 

Which gave me an idea:  “Football robots.”

Call them “Probots.”  The technology to produced them can’t be too far off.

No, they have no brains.  To this point, that doesn’t seem to disqualify real humans from playing in the NFL.

Robots would save NFL clubs a lot of money - no big contracts, no holdouts.  No agents, either.  And can a robot be forced to belong to a player’s union?

Probots could save clubs a lot of trouble, too. 

They couldn’t carry guns, and they couldn’t take drugs.  Yet.

So at least at this point they wouldn’t flunk any drug tests (although there is no doubt somebody at this very moment is experimenting with ways to enhance the performance of sex robots, so Probots would be next.)

Probots would stand respectfully for the National Anthem, and they’d never pull any of that “hands up, don’t shoot” crap.

They’d  throw the ball to the official after scoring a touchdown…

They couldn’t get in trouble for domestic violence because at least right now there’s no law against  beating up a live-in sex-robot girl friend.

They wouldn’t need body guards when they went to “gentlemen’s clubs,” because they wouldn’t even GO to gentlemen’s clubs. Of course, it’s only a matter of time until some entrepreneur opens up a string of Sir Probot Lounges in all major cities.  (If you play your cards right, I can fix you up with a cocktail server.)


***********  Good morning friend,

Your grandson is a handsome little fella, and apparently already on his way to becoming a good athlete.  Obviously the apple of grandpa's eye!  Not sure how often you and Connie get to see your son and his family but I'm sure when you do it must be a ton of fun for you guys.  God Bless!

Not many Jim Browns around these days.  

The Hugh Freeze's of college football will fight over Darren Carrington, and one will land him... for sure.

If you ever find that money and start that college count me in as your AD.  I'll raise the $$ to build one of those Texas style stadiums!  Heck, I'll even coach too!


Have a great weekend!  Going to see the movie "Dunkirk" on Saturday.  Hope I'm not disappointed.

Joe  Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Hi Joe-

We don’t get to see little Sam very often, but we do “see” him on Face Time every week.  

Lots of Hugh Freezes, I’m sure, and when you consider how much they’re being paid, it helps us understand the lengths those guys will go to to keep their jobs.

My solution:  Two-way football; no freshman eligibility; NO athletic scholarships - everything based on academic qualifications and financial need.

You can be my Dean of Men.  Or AD.  Or football coach.  Or all three.


***********  I liked the article about your grandson. We announced at our club meeting this week (200 parents and players) that we would no longer be giving out individual awards at the end of the year banquet. The older boys looked dismayed, while the parents nodded along. Afterwards one coach said to me, “Thank God. That will shave at least an hour off of the banquet.”

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

P.P.S. I often argue with friends that the original Longest Yard is the greatest sports movie ever made.

*********** TEXAS - “STEER CLEAR” -

Effective Aug. 1, 2017, a new clear bag policy is being implemented to enhance existing security measures and expedite venue entry at Texas Athletics events on the Forty Acres (the nickname given the UT campus, because that was its original size. HW).
Approved bags include:
    •    Bags that are clear plastic and do not exceed 12" x 6" x 12"
    •    One-gallon clear resealable plastic storage bags
    •    Small clutch bags or purses do not have to be clear but cannot exceed 4.5" x 6.5".
Prohibited bags include:
    •    Purses
    •    Diaper bags*
    •    Cases (camera, binocular, etc.)
    •    Backpacks
    •    Fanny packs
    •    Printed pattern plastic bags
    •    Reusable grocery totes
    •    Mesh or straw bags
    •    Duffle bags
    •    Large totes
*Items normally carried in a diaper bag must be put into a clear plastic bag for venue entry.


*********** My dear friend, Mike Lude, lost Rena, his beloved wife of 70 years, on July 12.

Rena was a native of Hillsdale, Michigan, and she and Mike met when they were students there before World War II. When war came,  Mike went off to serve in the Marines, and Rena stayed home and worked making uniforms.  After the war they returned to Hillsdale and their studies.  Three days after graduation in June, 1947, they were married.

Rena was a great “coach’s wife” as Mike’s career took them from Hillsdale (graduate assistant)  to Orono, Maine (assistant coach) , to Newark, Delaware (assistant coach), to Fort Collins, Colorado (Head Coach) , to Kent, Ohio (AD), to Seattle, Washington (AD),  to Auburn, Alabama (AD).  In retirement, they lived in Tucson.

It was 17 years ago that Rena's Alzheimer’s Disease
was first diagnosed, and  in November, 2011, Mike had to sell their home and move into a new place where he could be her full-time caregiver. He said to me at the time, “She was there for me all those years - now it’s my turn to be there for her.”

With an occasional trip away - Mike is still active in the NACDA (the college athletic directors’ organization) -   that was his occupation.  He gave up golf - sold his clubs.

I know it was tough.  Mike said it had been at least six years since he and Rena had had a real conversation.     We’d be on the phone talking and he’d have to excuse himself briefly and I’d hear him gently and patiently try to answer a question she might have. 

I think of young people - boys - who knock girls up and then take off.

And then I think of real men like Mike Lude.

Mike, meanwhile, is well on his way to full recovery from a knee replacement.

He’s planning on a return to Hillsdale in September to inter Rena’s ashes.

He’ll also attend Hillsdale’s game against Northern Michigan.

He’ll pay special attention to the guy wearing his old number, 37.

That’s Wain Clark, a junior outside linebacker from Puyallup, Washington.  Mike was helpful to Wain and his dad, my friend Shep Clarke, when Wain was considering Hillsdale, and in Mike’s honor, Hillsdale coach Keith Otterbein assigned Wain to the locker that Mike donated, and gave him Mike’s Number 37 to wear.


ANSWER - Wahoo McDaniel was born in Louisiana but raised in West Texas.

Part Choctaw and part Chickasaw, he inherited the nickname Wahoo from his father, who also went by it.

Growing up in Midland, Texas, he excelled in sports.   His coach in Pony League baseball was an oilman named George H.W. Bush.  
"I remember Wahoo McDaniel well," recalled the former President years later.  "He was a good kid and a pretty fair baseball player. He has had his ups and downs, but I'll always remember him as a wonderful kid who captured the imagination of West Texas in the 1950s. He was idolized by everyone who knew him."

He played college football at Oklahoma for the great Bud Wilkinson, then played in the American Football League with the Oilers, Broncos, Jets and Dolphins.

It was while with the Jets that he achieved a certain level of fame, and became a fan favorite.

Jet's P-A announcer: "Tackled by... Guess Who?"

Crowd: "Wahoo!"

Rather than his last name, he wore "Wahoo" on the back of his jersey.

After football, he went on to a long and successful second career as a pro wrestler.

The life he led was hard on him, and he died of diabetes at age 63.

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/25/sports/wahoo-mcdaniel-63-a-wrestler-and-a-folk-hero-for-fans-of-the-early-jets.html

https://www.si.com/vault/2001/07/02/306834/wahoo-mcdaniel-he-was-a-flamboyant-footballer-and-a-wacko-wrestler-now-he-just-hopes-to-stay-alive-long-enough-to-raise-his-son


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING WAHOO MCDANIEL:
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
SHEP CLARKE - PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA (I remember him from his wrestling days)
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA (I am embarrassed to say that I got this because of the professional wrestling reference)
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK (I’m a long time wrestling fan too lol)
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON

QUIZ: He grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was captain of his high school football team.  He went on to the University of Michigan where he played single wing center and linebacker.  The Wolverines were undefeated his sophomore and junior years, but in his senior year they won just one game.  Nevertheless, because of his fighting spirit and his toughness, he was voted Most Valuable Player by his teammates.

He was selected to play in the East-West Shrine Game and the College All-Star Game (against the Chicago Bears).

He turned down offers from the Lions and Packers and instead entered Yale Law School.  While at Yale, he coached football on the staff of legendary coach Greasy Neale.

After law school,  World War II broke out, and he enlisted in the Navy.  Following the war he returned to Michigan and embarked on a career in politics, which culminated in his serving as President of the United States.


american flag FRIDAY,  JULY 21,  2017  "A liberal will cut off your leg to hand you a crutch.”  Jim Brown


*********** It’s fair to say that Jim Brown has  has always been his own man.  A proud black man.

Just imagine the greatest running back in the history of the game (my opinion) walking away from football - and a big contract -  while he still had plenty in the tank. All because the owner of his team had treated him like his boy - had issued him an ultimatum to report to training camp on time or else.  Jim Brown wasn’t one to be bullied. He happened to be busy making a movie at the time, and he refused to drop what he was doing and report.

And with that, the great Jim Brown  walked away from pro football.  He was 30 years old and in his prime,  but he never played again.

That’s by way of saying that Jim Brown has never been anybody’s “boy, ”  and when he talks about race,  he’s worth listening to.  And let the young loudmouths  who’d rather the races be at each other’s throats take their best shots at him.

Jim Brown on CNN: “The three greatest people in my life were white.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P75Au1GgdxA

*********** Darren Carrington is a very talented wide receiver, but he’s been a bad boy while at Oregon, and after a recent DUI, new Ducks’ coach Willie Taggart finally decided to cut him loose.

Carrington has another year of eligiblity, and a few other Pac-12 schools are courting him.  There’s never a shortage of people willing to give a guy a second chance.  Make that third chance. Oops - that should be fourth. Or would it be fifth?

Oh, well.  Whoever finally lands him, you’ll know all you need to know about their coach’s standards - and his worries about his job.

http://www.oregonlive.com/ducks/index.ssf/2017/07/darren_carrington_disappointed.html
 

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

Could not let the blog on "don't nag to be loved" in today's News  go by without a comment. I know this was done tongue in cheek and I remember well the first time you ran our All State A Back, a six two one ninety young man who could fly, from practice because he was five minutes late to the pre practice meeting. You sure got the attention of everyone else and no one was late again. But even more I know how you feel about discipline, now a bad word, and rules which make a team better. One only has to look at your career to know that " to nag is to be loved" I know those kids loved and respected you. By the way those rules applied to your coaches as well as the kids and I like to think part of the reason we took a team that had not won in nearly a decade to 8-2 was clear expectations for all. But most certainly importantly I like to think they made us all better people.

All the best to you Connie and the family.

Jack Tourtillotte
Rangely, Maine

Right after he retired, and right after I took the head coaching job at North Beach High, Jack, a veteran of several state championships in Maine, came out and spent a season on the Washington coast coaching the offensive line for me.  What a blast we had! What a great job he did!  Those kids had been 1-9 the year before and we went 7-3, losing those three games by a total of 11 points.  Considering Jack’s experience as an assistant, a head coach, and a principal, it’s very important to me to know  that I measured up to his high standards.


***********  It’s been called AAU for football. (High school basketball coaches will understand.)

It advances the culture of entitlement.

It costs money.

It teaches bad habits.

It encourages celebratory antics.

It doesn’t enhance your chances of being recruited by a college.

It’s associated with enticement of athletes to transfer high schools. 

Of 40 Tacoma-Washington area high school football coaches who responded to a survey by the Tacoma News-Tribune, 39 of them - 97.5 per cent - said they’d rather their players play a school sport during the winter or spring.

It’s 7-on-7 - the travel version.  It sucks,  and it’s being accused of ruining our game.

But, like it or not, there's money involved, which means that it’s here to stay.

http://www.thenewstribune.com/sports/high-school/article161493228.html#storylink=cpy


*********** “Prosper” is an appropriate good name for a town that can afford to spend $48 million on a high school stadium.

That would be Prosper, Texas, a Dallas suburb.

Be sure to check out the video…

https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/high-school/high-schools/2017/07/18/video-proposed-prosper-venue-another-blast-high-school-football-stadium-boom


*********** When I donate my millions to establish a college…

*** Instead of classes addressing the  frightening subject of White Privilege, we’re going to require all incoming freshmen (no, not “freshpersons”) to take a class in  “De-entitlement.”  Its theme: You are not special. You are not as important as you’ve been told you are.”

*** It doesn’t matter if you’re the only person on earth who spells (or pronounces) your name that way -  you’re not as unique as your mommy and daddy thought you were when they named you.  There are 5 billion people in the world, and you’re just one of them and you’re not that f—king important. Get used to it.

*** Nobody really cares what you think nearly as much as you do.

*** Yes you have a right to speak freely. But nobody has to listen to what you say.

*** Yes, you have a right to speak freely , but so does that guy who just called you a f—king sh—head.

*** It’s admirable that want to fight  for cleaner air and water, but if “the planet” really is being destroyed, relax - there’s not a damn thing you or anybody else can do about it. (I refer you to that statistic of 5 billion people on earth.)

*** Taking something from the “haves” and giving it to the  “have-nots”  robs the “haves” while doing nothing to enrich the “have-nots.”

*** You will get the grade that you earned.

*** You will not be excused from schoolwork or exams so that you can demonstrate.

***There will be a foreign language component. Lesson Number One: No, non, nyet, ei, nej, nein.  Translation: it means the same in every language:  NO.

stones shirt*********** I was doing a remote clinic this past week, and for the occasion I wore one of my old “IT TAKES A SET” tee shirts.  Look at the back.  Look at all those clinic dates.  Can it have been that long ago that I would willingly go out on the road that many times? How long ago was it? In travellers’ terms, it was another era. Check the dates - it was before 9/11.  Travel was a lot easier back then.  A whole lot easier.

*********** I was talking this past week with an old friend, David Crump, from Owensboro, Kentucky.   With the start of high school practice only a week or so away, he said that one area school, Ohio County High, had lost its coach earlier in the summer, and the expected turnout was so low that they were advertising on the radio for players.

*********** There had been rumors for some time about the job security - or lack of same - of Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze, but things finally came to a head Thursday night when he resigned, following rumors of “explosive” new information.

For sure, when you’re Ole Miss and you start  doing something way out of the ordinary - beating the top teams in the country for the best talent - you get their attention, and the NCAA gets their offer to “help” find out what really happened. Moral: know your place.

https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/ole-miss-coach-hugh-freeze-resigns-amid-explosive-new-information/?linkId=40010456

You into irony?  On the same day that it was reported that Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze was in imminent danger of being fired,  the Carolina Panthers released Michael Oher, who as a top-rated high school prospect was the subject of the best-selling ‘The Blind Side.”  Michael Oher’s high school coach:  Hugh Freeze.

https://www.seccountry.com/mississippi/carolina-panthers-release-former-ole-miss-standout-michael-oher


sam medal*********** That’s my grandson, Sam Wyatt, in the middle of the photo. He’s about to turn nine, he lives in Melbourne, Australia, and this is his first year of Footy - Australian Rules football. He’s having a great time.

That’s all I care about.  We talk every week, and all I ever say is, “Play hard and have fun.”

After last week’s game, he was awarded a medal for being the outstanding player (skill, effort, sportsmanship) on his team.

Okay, enough bragging.

This medal thing is a hell of an idea - the idea of his coach, who sold other coaches on it.

The recipient of each team’s medal is selected by - the other team’s coach!

In one stroke, they get across the idea of a merit award - one that has to be earned - rather than a meaningless trophy.  At the same time,  they’ve removed the politics usually associated with such an award  by putting its selection in the hands of the opponents’ coach.

Now, unfortunately, I’m spoiled. Fun be damned. This is serious business. I'm thinking next level.  Now, the next time I speak to Sam, I’m going to make damn sure he knows that I expect nothing less than a medal every time.

*********** Pete Porcelli sent along these very interesting memories  of the recently-departed Babe Parilli by longtime Denver Broncos executive Jim Saccomano:

As a coach with the Denver Dynamite, Saccomano remembers a conversation with Parilli about a future Hall of Fame quarterback who was flying under the radar in the Arena League.

“When he was an Arena League coach – I mean it’s the Arena League, right? You’re just playing. Now, the Rams have signed Trent Green from Kansas City as their quarterback. The Rams are awful, they were always awful. This was before the championships,” Saccomano remembered. “They had finished 4-12 and they signed Green. Boom, preseason game and he’s out for the season. I’m saying to Al King and Babe – Al King is long time publicist – ‘You know, the Rams, it’s a shame, already their season is done.’ Parilli comes back and says, ‘Oh, I wouldn’t worry much about the Rams. They have this young guy that plays quarterback for the Iowa Barnstormers. He’s going to be terrific.’ And I thought, ‘Are you insane?!’ [It turns out] it’s Kurt Warner.”

Saccomano added:

“The top wide receiver for the Patriots was Gino Cappelletti – also Italian American,The Patriots radio announcer, when they would score a touchdown would say, ‘That’s grand opera! Parilli to Cappelletti.’

http://milehighsports.com/remembering-broncos-and-denver-dynamite-coach-babe-parilli/


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING SONNY SIXKILLER:
SHEP CLARKE - PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON
MIKE FORISTIERE - MATTAWA, WASHINGTON
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS - QUIZ: Wow... that brings me back.  Haven't seen nor heard the Ballad of Sonny Sixkiller in years!  Last I saw him was in the original movie "The Longest Yard".  
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE BREMER - WEST SENECA, NEW YORK (Coach - It has been a long time since I contacted you.......still love your site and your "News" is always a must read……)


*********** I first saw Sonny Sixkiller in the flesh in August, 1974. I was Player Personnel Director of the World Football League's Philadelphia Bell, and  the Toronto Argonauts were scrimmaging another CFL team  in Trois Rivieres, Quebec.  My assignment was to take a look at some of the players on the Argos who might help us, including the famous Sonny Sixkiller, now trying to make the Argos as a backup quarterback after being cut the year before by the Los Angeles Rams.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to see enough of him in the scrimmage to say whether I thought he could play for us, so when I returned for my debriefing and was asked, "How'd Sixkiller look?" I had to be honest and reply, in my most professional tone, "I don't know."

A few weeks later he was cut by the Argonauts, and we arranged to bring him in to have a look.

I still retain a few first impressions: first, he was a nice guy, not at all affected by all the publicity he'd received.  Second,  he was short.  I was 5-11 then (we all shrink with age), and he seemed shorter than me.

Talent?  How could anyone tell?  He scarcely saw the practice field, let alone game action.  To this day, I don't know why we bothered to bring him in, unless it  was because our coach, Ron Waller, was pissed off at one of our backup QBs and wanted to shake him up.  That would have been my guess, and the particular QB would have been Frank DiMaggio.  DiMaggio, out of Temple, had played with the Bridgeport Jets in the Atlantic Coast Football League the season before, and he had a rifle arm.  But like our starter, Jim "King" (a self-given nickname) Corcoran, he was a brash, cocky Jersey kid, and one of them was all Waller could handle.  It couldn't have been the other backup, Mike Yancheff, a kid out of Rutgers who'd played with Waller for a few years in the minor leagues. He was tall,  quiet and cerebral, with a rare ability to co-exist peacefully with Waller.

What Sonny didn't know, but all of us insiders did, was that he had no chance of playing.  Of course, Bob Griese (then the QB of the undefeated Miami Dolphins) wouldn't have had a chance, either.

Nobody was going to break up the partnership of  Waller  and Corcoran.

Theirs was the classic symbiotic relationship, a mutual dependency,  in which neither could have thrived without the other.

It was a love-hate relationship: Waller was the coach that few quarterbacks could stand to play for, and Corcoran was the quarterback that no other coach could possibly tolerate.

So Sonny, unable to earn a spot on the roster, spent the rest of the season just "hanging around."  I don't know where he lived. Or how.  For several weeks Waller had been keeping guys like him around as human spare tires, slipping them $500 or so a week to hang around Philly just in case they might be needed.  But by the time Sixkiller arrived, things were already getting a bit tight in the payroll department, and Waller's once large "taxi squad" of $500-a-week retainers was being thinned out.

I don't know how or when Sonny left us.  I do know that the next year he resurfaced in the WFL with The Hawaiians.

And I do know that at some point in there he had a part in one of the best football-themed movies ever made,  "The Longest Yard"  (If you haven't seen it - do so.  Right now.  It's a classic.)

Long before I'd seen Sonny Sixkiller in the flesh, though, I'd seen him on TV and heard all about him.  Who hadn't?  He was one of the best-known football players of his time - and not just because of his name.  He could play.

Under head coach Jim Owens, who first got the job when he was just 29 years old, Washington had built a powerhouse. In the span of five seasons, from 1959 through 1963, the Huskies played in three Rose Bowls, winning all three. The Pac-8 (or the Pacific Coast Conference, or whatever they called themselves then) hadn't beaten the Big Ten representative in six years, and had only beaten them once in 13 meetings; but in the 1960 Rose Bowl the Huskies thumped favored Wisconsin, 44-8, and the next year, they defeated National Champion Minnesota,  17-7.  (In those days, they didn't wait till after the bowls were played to announce the national champion),

Owens, an All-America end (and teammate of future coaches Darrell Royal and Dee Andros) at Oklahoma under Bud Wilkinson, was a hard-nosed coach by anyone's standards. He'd spent six years as an assistant under Bear Bryant, the first three years at Kentucky and the final three years at Texas A & M.  If you haven't figured it out, that means he was on the coaching staff during the infamous training camp at Junction, Texas.

His Washington teams were like Coach Bryant's - well-conditioned and hard-hitting, with special emphasis on a tough running game, a sound kicking game and a stout defense.

Like so many other hard-line coaches at the time, Owens was caught totally unprepared by the so-called "Black Power" movement of the late 1960s, challenging as it did the traditional concept of the all-powerful coach. In 1969 he wound up suspending four black players for their refusal to sign a pledge of loyalty to the coaching staff, and when the Huskies went 1-9 in 1969, their second straight losing season, Owens was in trouble.

And then up stepped a sophomore quarterback from Ashland, Oregon, named Sonny Sixkiller.

Owens, the hard-nosed ground-pounding coach, had the foresight to throw caution to the wind, and in three years, with Sixkiller at quarterback, the Huskies went 6-4, 8-3, 8-3.

And Sonny Sixkiller finished his college career with 385 completions for 5496 yards and 35 touchdowns, and fifteen new school passing records

In the process, Sixkiller, a full-blooded Cherokee with a memorable name, became something of a national sensation.  Certainly, he was  in Seattle, where for several weeks "The Ballad of Sonny Sixkiller" stayed at the top of the charts…

The Ballad of Sonny Sixkiller - 1971 - by Rex Parker - Thunder Tummy Records

He was born one morning 'neath the sun and the heat,
The proud grandson of an Indian chief.
The Cherokee tribe from which he came
Was the first to learn of his famous name -
Sonny Sixkiller

He grew up strong into a proud young man.
Determined breed, he left his land.
Put down his arrows, hung up his shield,
And became a warrior on the football field -
Sonny Sixkiller.

So he came to Seattle, joined the Husky team,
In purple and gold, he looked mighty mean.
In practice he could pass, was quick to attack,
So the coach put him in as the quarterback -
Sonny Sixkiller

Now you'll see this quarterback every Saturday, see
He wears a big number six on his purple jersey.
In his blood flows the spirit to win,
The proud grandson of a Cherokee Indian -
Sonny Sixkiller

*********** Sonny Sixkiller made the cover of Sports Illustrated, and was the subject of a great article by Roy Blount, Jr. (whose story about the time he spent with the 1970s Steelers, "About Three Bricks Shy of a Load," is a classic).

In his article, Blount noted some of the ignorant crap that Sixkiller had to put up with, from sportswriters and fans, because of his American Indian heritage. 

You presumably would react the way Sonny Sixkiller (see cover) reacted last year when, as a sophomore, he led the nation in passing and kept reading about how he was making heap good medicine and scalping and massacring people all up and down the Pacific Coast.

"I was dumfounded," says Sixkiller, shaking his head. "One guy asked if people gave me any trouble over my name—like I'm supposed to get mad and stab 'em in the back or set a trap for 'em. Jeez."

American Indian history, when you think about it, is not a great mine of surefire yoks and sprightly references, especially from the point of view of the Indians. So Sixkiller felt that his being described in print as "the most celebrated redskin since Crazy Horse" was tasteless and demonstrably reactionary. Once, questioned was there much folklore practiced at his house, he replied, "Well, we didn't sit around weaving baskets.

"If I'd been a black quarterback people wouldn't have been writing that kind of stuff," he says. "The blacks wouldn't have let them get away with it. Or even if I'd been a Chinese quarterback." But Sixkiller's bemusement over his image was heightened by the fact that he had never seriously thought of himself as an Indian, even a modern one.

Sixkiller certainly looks Indian. He is as bronze, raven-haired and strong-featured as you would expect the great-grandson of a Cherokee chieftain to look. He sounds like you would expect any with-it middle-class West Coast collegian to sound. His grandfather was a Baptist minister and his parents never lived on a reservation. They did once see a reservation. When Sonny was one, the family moved from Tahlequah, Okla. to Ashland, Ore., and Stella Sixkiller, Sonny's mother, suggested that they stop by a reservation on the way, because she was curious to see what one looked like. She was disappointed by the absence of wigwams.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1085362/index.htm

QUIZ - He was born in Louisiana but raised in West Texas.

A full-blooded American Indian, he very early acquired a nickname that reflected his native-American heritage.

He played college football for the great Bud Wilkinson, then played in the American Football League with the Oilers, Broncos, Jets and Dolphins.

It was while with the Jets that he achieved a certain level of fame, and became a fan favorite.

Rather than his last name, he wore his nickname on the back of his jersey.

After football, he went on to a very long and successful second career as a pro wrestler.



american flag TUESDAY,  JULY 18,  2017  "I don't want any special treatment.  Just treat me like an illegal alien." Howie Carr


*********** I got an email last week from Don Shipley.  Usually, I love to hear from Don, the son of the late Dick Shipley, my former coach when I played semi-pro ball in Frederick, Maryland.  Don is my link to a lot of the guys from those days.  Don’s latest email, though, wasn’t one I enjoyed reading.  It was about a guy who’d played for me, a guy named  Joe Kundrat.  Joe had played offensive line for me when I took a coaching job in Hagerstown, 30 miles away.  Joe Kundrat was a very tough guy.  At the time, he was a Baltimore cop, and he feared no man.   The  name “Joseph Kundrat” was in an  article Don Shipley had sent me.  Kundrat itself is not exactly  a common name, but Joseph? What are the chances that a person named Joseph Kundrat, described in the article as someone who had served in the Marines and on the Frederick police force, could be anyone else but the guy I coached?  (I figure that he managed  to land  a job  in Frederick, a small city about an hour’s drive west of Baltimore, which might share some of the bigger city’s problems, but on a far smaller scale.)

The story was a very sad one.  Again, I’m assuming that this is “my” Joe Kundrat, but either way, Joseph Kundrat and his wife, Lynda,  lost their 33-year-old son, Marine Staff Sergeant William Joseph Kundrat when a plane crashed in central Mississippi and killed him and 15 other Marines.

Whether it was “my Joe” or not, my deepest sympathies to those parents, and to the loved ones of the other Marines killed in that awful plane crash.

Said staff Sergeant Kundrat’s mother, Lynda, “Every breath of air you take, all the things you’re able to do, you can do those things because of people like my son. I’ll never forget that.”

https://www.fredericknewspost.com/content/tncms/live/

*********** Want  your players to love you, instead of thinking that you’re just an old nag?

First of all, get rid of those stupid rules.  What do you care whether they get to practice on time?  Or whether they have all their equipment?  Or whether they even show up at all?  Just so long as they show up for the games.  Especially if they’re good enough.

Stop being a nanny about using correct English.  What’s the difference? They’re never going to make it out of their neighborhood anyhow.

And hey - If they want to show up at the team banquet in the same old grubby tee shirt that they wear to school every day, what do you care? 

It’ll be a lot easier if you no longer make them say “please” and “thank you” when it’s called for.  Don’t teach them how to shake hands properly -  gripping firmly and looking the other person in the eye.  And stop insisting that they say “Hello” and use peoples’ names when they greet them.  And who cares whether they call you “Coach” or some clever nickname that makes them laugh?

Just so they play ball on Friday nights, right?

Look - they’re just kids and all they want to do is play football.  When their eligibility’s up, they’re no more use to you anyhow, so what do you care?

Once they’re gone, they’re gone,  so what difference does it make to you whether they get into the college - or service - of their choice? Or get the girl they want? Or get that good job ahead of all the other applicants?

Keep nagging them and they won’t love you.  Get off their backs and they will.

*********** (Back in February) Hello Coach Wyatt, I am a rule 10 coach in Kansas that took over our Valley Falls Middle School team a couple years ago.  I had never coached football before but my High school coach (from 20 years ago) called me and asked if I would coach a season because the previous coach had to quit un-expectantly.  My son was an eight grader and I had coached his class in tournament baseball and basketball through the years so I said if my work will allow it I will do it, So I did.  The middle school hadn't won a game in 5 years and had only scored 2 or 3 touchdowns total in that time, so needless to say we were struggling. I ran the veer for my old coach but I didn't feel that this was what this team needed.  We have been a very small team in physical size and numbers, (14 on average) but injuries and grades have left me with 11 and 12 for several games and just not very athletic for a quite some time.  I came across the double wing and studied it and was excited about its possibilities with misdirection, power and angle blocking.  We did win 2 games this year scoring over 40 points both games so that was nice to see.  I am organized and detail oriented but I feel I get to obsessed with running drills to see a certain result and next thing I know a half hour has gone by.  I am looking at buying some of your coaching material and I wanted your thoughts on what I should by.  I am buying this on my own dime so I want to purchase the material in the correct order over a few months.  I was looking at your dynamics of the double wing package, and the installing the system dvd, and also a fine line dvd. I really want to make my practices more efficient, very double wing focused (meaning I am not going to run other offenses in an attempt to confuse teams) and have fun. I run the double wing with the super power my primary play, then counter and the trap.  Quick passes mostly to tight ends and a few to wing back. I have experimented with different formations, single slot right or left and double slot, but missed blocks have plagued us.  I know I am not explaining the real time changes in blocking assignments well and that's what leads to this confusing.  Let me know what material you think would be best.  I would greatly  appreciate it.  Thanks for your time.

(Last week, in July) Coach, camp went great last week with all the things I have learned from your videos.  It has simplified so many things and answered so many questions that I know we will be a much improved team.  I will be sending you a check for A FINE LINE DVD, and TROUBLE SHOOTING THE DOUBLE WING DVD, to finish off my dvd collection.  I also was wondering your take on Defenses in Middle School.  We play smaller schools for the most part so we typically see heavy running game offenses.  I was just curious if you like even or odd fronts and whether you would spend much time with blitz calls and stunts.  I have received conflicting information from everyone I have asked and would love your opinion and insight.  Thanks for all of your help and taking the time to make the videos through the years.  Thanks again.
 
Todd F. Pickerell
Topeka, Kansas


***********Coach,  A few years back I was coaching on a staff that ran some under center jet sweep and we did not block any DLine inside of a 3 tech. The center and all backside linemen would immediately climb to the 2nd level. Do you have any opinions on that?

Coach,

I agree that on a jet sweep it isn’t necessary to block anyone from a “3” down, but I also feel that on a jet sweep those backside blockers are just as useless as the defenders.

I woiud do what a very good coach in Connecticut named Mike Emery did.  He won a couple of state titles at Fitch HS in Groton, CT running the Double Wing but a lot of his offense was jet sweep.  I don’t remember his exact scheme, but since he ran the sweep in tandem with a trap, he had the backside linemen (from the playside tackle on back) blocking the trap.

He showed it at one of my clinics, but this was at least 10 years ago, and I can’t find the exact info.  We did this and taught it with the
QB holding two footballs - one that he handed first to the motion man, the other that he then  handed to the B-Back.  Nice drill.

Rocket Sweep

*********** “Depressing” is not a word I normally use to describe Sports Illustrated.  I mean, it’s about sports, and heroic performances, and beautiful,  popular, overachieving  people we’d all like to learn more about, right?

But this past week’s issue was depressing.  Really.

Very sad was Tim Layden’s article about runner Gabi Grunewald, and her struggle to keep running despite a rare form of cancer that keeps returning, bringing discouragement and despair whenever it does.  But that wasn’t what was depressing. The story was beautifully written, and Ms. Grunewald is so admirable in her persistence to compete that it was uplifting.

No, that wasn’t what was depressing.

What was depressing was a story about a couple named Brent and Miko Grimes.  Brent Grimes is an NFL corner back who was signed as a free agent out of a Division II Pennsylvania college and has gone on to have moments of brilliance in the NFL but for some reason can’t seem to stick with any club.

Okay, okay.  There’s no mystery.   The guy’s wife is every coach’s nightmare.  She’s a vulgar witch, who has dedicated herself in the crudest and most public way possible to promoting her husband and his abilities.  Unfortunately, her method of doing so frequently involves - crudely and publicly - insulting her husband’s coaches and teammates.   And, on occasion, their wives.

“I could tell Miko to shut up,” says Brent. “But then she wouldn’t be Miko.” (And that’s bad?)

Depressing, did I say? What’s most depressing to me is not that there are a&&holes like that woman in the world. Professional sports is full of them.

What was depressing to me was the non-judgmental way the story was written, as if we’ll just have to understand that Miko is her own person, and we’ll just have to accept her as she is. That’s Miko.  No editorializing whatsoever.

But if she’d been a born-again Christian and had expressed - without her usual  vulgarity -  her sincere belief that people of the same sex shouldn’t engage in sexual acts, much less marry, much less adopt children - well, she’d have been held up as everything that’s wrong with America.

https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/07/12/brent-miko-grimes-twitter-tampa-bay-buccaneers

***********  A little boasting here: I’ve been to all 50 states.  Big deal.  But one thing I’ve found out is that there’s not one of them where I couldn’t live.  Someplace.  And happily at that.

So when I saw “America’s worst states to live in 2017,” I fell for it. I clicked on the link.  Admit it.  You’ve fallen for click-bait, too.

Surprisingly, West Virginia didn’t make it.  Seems as if it’s fashionable to insult the Mountain State, even if you’ve never been there.  Especially if you’ve never been there.

I knew, of course, that Alabama and Mississippi would be on the list, simply because they’re in the Deep South, and, well, it’s okay to look down your nose at almost anything concerning the Deep South.  In fact, in most elite circles, it’s encouraged.

But I had to see what other states would make this list of deplorables.

Counting down from 10th to first, I only got as far as the 10th worst - Kentucky - when it became clear to me that things that made these states bad in the eyes of the author of the report, one Scott Cohn, were things that made absolutely no difference to me one way or the other.  He writes, “More than a quarter of adults are regular smokers in Kentucky, the highest rate in the country.” So how does this affect me? Is he trying to tell me that in Kentucky, they walk up to you on the street and blow smoke in your face? Do they grab you off the sidewalk and blindfold you and take you someplace where they duct-tape you to a chair and force you to take deep drags on a Marlboro?

Mississippi - there it was, but only in seventh place - got low marks because a lot of its people are fat.  “Mississippi has one of the highest obesity rates in the nation, and its population is among the most sedentary.”  So the food’s good, but unless you get up really early and jog, it’s too damn hot to exercise.

Indiana’s in sixth place.  Worse than Mississippi, Hoosiers! No doubt taking a shot at former governor Mike Pence (I did notice that all the states on the list were “Red” states), Cohn writes,  “the state still lacks some basic protections against discrimination based on marital status, sexual orientation and gender identity.”  Omigod.

In Indiana’s favor, though, author Cohn does praise its air quality.  I don’t know about you, and maybe it’s because I live in the Pacific Northwest (God’s Country), but I seldom give much thought to air quality.

Missouri is in fifth place.  High crime is a problem (Ferguson didn’t help matters by prompting out-of-state criminals to come visit), but so, too, is the ugly specter that  “Missouri also lacks statewide protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, marital status, and gender identity.”

To be honest, living as I do in a state whose biggest city’s mayor (a male) has a highly-visible “husband,”  this wouldn’t be enough to place  Missouri on my Ten Worst States list.

Louisiana is the “fattest” state.  What a surprise.  If you’ve ever lived there and eaten their food, you’d understand. I know, I know, overweight is not healthy.  But what a way to go.  Louisiana also gets marked down for its high crime rate, but then, if you don’t like crime, stay the hell out of New Orleans (except when you slip in to town for a good meal) and you’ll be fine.

And then there’s Alabama. It’s Number One, which means its the Worst.  Listen -  I’ve been to Gulf Shores on the south and Huntsville in the north.  I’ve been to Birmingham and Montgomery and all sorts of places in between.  And I like Alabama.  And I like its people.  But, see, Alabama’s in the Bible Belt, and those Christians have these weird ideas about inclusion: “Sweet Home?” Cohn asks. “Not if you are over 50, a minority, gay or transgender and you are concerned about discrimination. Alabama is one of only five states with no statewide legal protections for those groups, making it one of America's least inclusive states.”

Interesting that the top (or bottom, actually) four Worst states are Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Alabama.  Maybe it’s just a coincidence that they’re all football mad states.  But I could easily spend a football season in one or all of those states, and as long as I stayed out of high-crime areas (something I learned to do at a very young age) and didn’t frequent gay bars (if they even have them in those states), I’d see some great football played in front of passionate fans.  And I’d eat the food, and just consider the added pounds a small price to pay for living in my kind of America.

The List
10 Kentucky
9 (tie) New Mexico, Tennessee
7 Mississippi
6 Indiana
5 Missouri
4 Arkansas
3 Oklahoma
2 Louisiana
1 Alabama

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/11/americas-10-worst-states-to-live-in-2017.html

*********** I sure am glad that Pete Porcelli, of Watervliet, New York, suggested that I make his ex-coach, Babe Parilli, one of my recent QUIZ subjects.  I’ve got a long list of guys to honor, and if Pete hadn’t written me, I might never have written about Parilli.  But I did, which was fortunate, because, sadly, the Babe passed away last week.

Pete sent along this praise for the Babe from Terry Bradshaw:

“Babe Parilli was my one and only quarterback coach. I didn’t have an offensive coordinator or quarterback coach. One year I had Babe Parilli and he did to me what they did to me in college. He picked me up and encouraged me. I flourished under his knowledge because he played so many years in the NFL and shared it. Babe Parilli is someone whose name is never mentioned."

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/15/sports/football/babe-parilli-dead.html

Which got me to thinking - is there a particular football coach or player you know of  that you think the guys on this site might want to know more about?  If so, drop me a line.

*********** Quick - what was the last NBA scandal you can remember?  Gotcha, didn’t I?

Meantime, how about the NFL? I’ll bet you can name a dozen, right off the top.

I’ll bet more than half the teams in the NFL will start this season with  at least one  player suspended for at least one game for misconduct or drug issues.

Give David Stern credit.  He’s the former long-time commissioner of the NBA.  He realized that the NBA was infested with thuggery, and somehow,   he managed to get teams - and players - to realize that at some point the American public was going to stop buying that act, and for the good of everybody they needed to put an end to it.

Which brings us to the Seahawks’ Richard Sherman.  Here’s a guy outtta Compton who’s making millions, but - it’s not enough! Oh, no.  He’s seen what professional basketball players make, and he’s upset.  He thinks pro football players are underpaid, and they  should strike for more money.

To Mr. Motormouth Sherman, I would point out that NBA teams carry rosters of maybe 15 players, while NFL teams pay 53 guys.  I’d be happy to see the NFL go back to 40-man rosters, but the NFLPA isn’t going to agree to that.

Oh - and the NBA guys play some 80 games.   Just the mere suggestion lengthening the NFL schedule causes the  NFLPA to cry “safety hazard.”

Finally, though - the NBA players seems to understand that good conduct is the least that can be expected in return for their outrageously high pay. 

When NFL players show that they grasp this seemingly simple concept, perhaps they’ll have a chance of rallying public support for their cause.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/texans-rookie-rb-foreman-arrested-on-drug-weapon-charges/ar-BBEwdZh?li=BBnb7Kz


***********  This followed an article about Ezekiel Elliott’s latest sign that he might not yet be fully ready to take his place in Western Civilization:
msnbc no comments

Hmmm - could it be that the natives are increasingly expressing their  disgust with their NFL heroes in the comments?

Truthfully, I’m normally more interested in the post-story comments than I am in the stories themselves.

Unlike the writers and the editors, the commenters’  opinions can’t be bought.  But, evidently, they can be silenced.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/elliott-accused-of-breaking-mans-nose-after-verbal-spat/ar-BBEBnCa?li=BBnba9I

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING HERMAN WEDEMEYER:

ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS (QUIZ:  "Squirmin' Herman, or the "Flyin' Hawaiian" either way Herman Wedemeyer was the greatest football player to ever play for the Gaels of St. Mary's College.  The San Francisco Bay Area college football fans were spoiled watching some of the best college football players in the country during the late 40's and early 50's.  Frankie Albert, Wedemeyer, Ollie Matson, Gino Marchetti, Bob St. Clair, Hugh McIlhenny etc. etc. )
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKESVILLE, INDIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA


***********  Herman Wedemeyer was the first native Hawaiian to earn national recognition as a football player.

Talk about diversity - although his surname was German, his ancestry was German, Irish, Scottish, Hawaiian and Chinese. His father was a German-born seaman who met and married a Hawaiian woman. Between them, they raised nine kids.

He was recruited out of Honolulu’s St. Louis Prep and played for St. Mary’s College, a West Coast Catholic school that no longer plays football.  With “Squirming’ Herman” Wedemeyer  at single-wing tailback, St. Mary’s enjoyed great success in the post-war years, beating USC and losing only to UCLA his senior year, and playing in the Sugar Bowl.

Only five players were named to the All-American backfield that year, and Wedemeyer  was one of them, along with Army’s Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis, Alabama’s Harry Gilmer, and Oklahoma A & M’s Bob Fenimore.

He finished fourth in the Heisman voting - at the time, the highest-ever finish for a “non-white” player, and until Marcus Mariota’s Heisman win in 2014, he was the only native Hawaiian ever to become a  Heisman finalist.

After a brief pro career with the Los Angeles Dons in the AAFC, he returned to his native Hawaii to go into business.

Later in life, Herman Wedemeyer  enjoyed a second career for which he became even more famous, when he played officer Duke Lukela in the very popular TV series, "Hawaii Five-0." (The name "Duke" was given to the character as a tribute to the legendary Duke Kahanamoku, the man credited with popularizing surfing as a sport in the 1920’s.)

In 1979, he became the first native Hawaiian to be inducted into the College Football hall of Fame.

*********** QUIZ -  The Ballad of
----- ---------

He was born one morning 'neath the sun and the heat,
The proud grandson of an Indian chief.
The Cherokee tribe from which he came
Was the first to learn of his famous name -
----- ---------

He grew up strong into a proud young man.
Determined breed, he left his land.
Put down his arrows, hung up his shield,
And became a warrior on the football field -
----- ---------

So he came to Seattle, joined the Husky team,
In purple and gold, he looked mighty mean.
In practice he could pass, was quick to attack,
So the coach put him in as the quarterback -
----- ---------

Now you'll see this quarterback every Saturday, see
He wears a big number six on his purple jersey.
In his blood flows the spirit to win,
The proud grandson of a Cherokee Indian -
----- ---------



american flag FRIDAY,  JULY 14,  2017  - “Prayers work better when the players are big.”  Frank Leahy


*********** The Army Football Club will hold its annual golf tournament this weekend.  As a proud honorary member, I’ve been able to attend just once.  It’s an amazing group of guys, and my living 3,000 miles from West Point has a lot more to do with my lack of attendance than the miserable quality of my golf game.

Originally, only those who'd lettered in football could play, and as a result the first tournament had just 133 golfers.

But it didn’t take West Point's Class of '57 long to bring about a change in the rules.  They played both ways back then,  offense and defense,  and Army had very strict rules for lettering that required a substantial amount of playing time to qualify.  Consequently,  only 10 senior members of their 1956 team won letters.

"We had 12-15 dedicated 'B' squad (JV) players who got their butt kicked every day," said Joe Cygler, a running back on the ’56 team. "They were as much a part of team as the starters. We wanted them to be a part of this, too."

So in 1996,  three years after the first tournament, all former Army football players, letter winners or not, were welcomed to the event.   And that year,  forty years after their graduation, twelve members of the 1956 team  were in attendance at that tournament, and eight of them played golf.

This year, counting members of the Army coaching staff, there will be some 240 players teeing off, five from the 1956 team.

*********** More and more, I hear radio and TV types who presumably are educated and ought to know better pronouncing General Douglas MacArthur’s last name Muh-KARR-ther.

It’s probably owing to the laziness of those who are supposed to be teaching our language, but instead let kids get away with the abomination of pronouncing “the” as “thuh”  when it precedes a vowel.  (I know, I know. “What’s a vowel?”)

There isn’t any "MUH" in the name MacArthur. 
The “A” is the same “A” as in “CAT”.  And the “K” sound belongs to the first syllable, not the second.

It is Mack-Arthur, damn it. 
That’s Scottish for Son of Arthur.  It’s what’s known as a patronymic - a last name based on the name of the father.

Not unlike what we see in so many languages -   Bogdanovic, Sergeyevich, Janowicz, O’Brien, Olafsson, Hansen, DiGiovanni, etc.

Anyhow, stop mispronouncing the man’s name.

*********** Coach- Could you please explain the “GOAL” assignment of the playside linemen on Super Power?  What exactly do you mean by “GAP,” and “ON?”

Good questions.

To answer, here’s something I’ve been working on to illustrate.  It’s going into a new Double-Wing playbook I’m working on.

Here, let’s look the right tackle on Super Power.

His assignment is GAP - ON - ANGLE LATE (Hence the acronym “GOAL”).

Basically here’s what I tell him:

Imagine yourself in a lane as wide as your shoulders.

* if the defender is in the inside of your lane - his helmet is inside yours but part of him is still in your lane -  I consider him to be threatening your gap, because if you don’t block him, the guard to your inside can’t prevent him from penetrating.    So as far as I’m concerned,  he is GAP

Our tight gaps mean that because he isn’t entirely in your lane, part of him has to be in the guard’s lane. And since the guard’s assignment is the same as yours, you will most likely be double-teaming with him

* From head-up on you to any part of him lined up in the outside of your lane - he’s ON you

Our tight gaps mean that because he isn’t entirely in your lane, part of him has to be in the Tight End’s lane. And since the Tight End’s assignment is “GAP, DOWN”, you will  be double-teaming with him

* And if no one is in your GAP or ON you, you will come inside at an angle - you will not fire out straight ahead - and you will do so after a slight delay to make sure that no one is threatening your area after the ball is snapped.


To illustrate, here’s a test:
GOAL WHO TO BLOCK

1: ON - (A DOUBLE-TEAM WITH THE TE)
2: ON - (A DOUBLE-TEAM WITH THE TE)
3: ON - (A DOUBLE-TEAM WITH THE TE)
4: ON - (A DOUBLE-TEAM WITH THE TE)
5: GAP - (LIKELY A DOUBLE-TEAM WITH THE GUARD)
6: ANGLE LATE - (LIKELY A DOUBLE-TEAM WITH THE GUARD)
7. GAP - (LIKELY A DOUBLE-TEAM WITH THE GUARD)
8. GAP - (COULD BE BLOCKED AS “ON” BUT THERE IS NO CHANCE OF A DOUBLE-TEAM WITH THE TE)
9. GAP -  (LIKELY A DOUBLE-TEAM WITH THE GUARD)

Please let me know if that makes sense to you because I’m the teacher and it’s my job to make myself clear.


That's very clear. I have never thought of it like that before. The lane idea is helpful.

I would worry in # 3 that blocking the man in a 5 would open up an area for the defense to run through. How does the tackle protect the b gap?

Good question: as with all Double-teams, the tackle keeps his “wing” up and his eyes on the backer to his inside. If that man attacks him - but only if he attacks him - the tackle picks him up.  I do not teach the combo block, because my experience is that kids have a tendency to leave the Double-Team way before they should. That goes against the grain of my teaching them to stay with their blocks. Mainly, that B-Gap will be plugged by our backside tackle, whose job is to slide sideways and insert himself in the first hole he sees.

Yes it does. I had never heard you say that you wanted the inside man to come off a double team. But if the linebacker attacks the tackle it makes sense. The lane idea is very helpful. I will use that with my team.

I've run this offense for years and have always had the tackle angle down if a man was that far outside thinking we needed to protect our inside gap.  That certainly gives me something to think about.

If you get that great double-team with the Tackle and the TE, half your worries are over.  If you don’t get it, and the TE has to block that man all by himself, I don’t think you’ll have much of a play. Most defensive tackles are tougher than most tight ends, but I haven’t seen many that can stand up to a good double-team.

*********** And you wonder why big-time college coaches are a paranoid lot...

The SEC meetings are under way, and no fewer than five conference coaches - every one of whom was considered good enough at the time of his hiring to be given a multi-million dollar contract - are rumored to be on the hot seat:  Bret Bielema of Arkansas, Hugh Freeze of Ole Miss, Butch Jones of Tennessee,  Gus Malzahn of Auburn, Kevin Sumlin of Texas A & M.

The hell of it is, as tough as that conference is, there's a good chance that at least three of those guys won't be at those places this time next year.


***********  It doesn't stop...

In the London Tube (subway), no more "Ladies and Gentlemen..."

The "ladies and gentlemen" greeting on Tube announcements is to be scrapped, Transport for London (TfL) has announced.

London Underground staff have been told to say "hello everyone" in an effort to become more gender-neutral.

TfL said the move was to ensure all passengers felt "welcome".

LGBT campaign group Stonewall welcomed the decision, which was supported by London mayor Sadiq Khan at a session of Mayor's Question Time last month.

The revised phrasing will be applied to all new pre-recorded announcements made across the capital's transport network.

Mark Evers, director of customer strategy at TfL, said: "We want everyone to feel welcome on our transport network.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-40591750

*********** Really interesting blog today. Especially enjoyed your reply to CharlieWilson, as well as the two vids of Tommy Casanova speaking about Cholly Mac.  Also wanted to say your reply to my "poseur" story made me laugh. Thanks for the effort you put into this project.

Finally, a comment about the Tampa Bay Times (formerly SP Times), the largest-circulation newspaper in Florida: I've sent numerous emails to their sportswriters imploring them to purge politics from sports, but of course they haven't changed. Except for one man, the TB Rays beat writer, Mark Topkin. I saw him last week and told him that since he penned his first column in 1997 I suppose I've read all of them but a handful, and in all that time not a word of politics. He might be a rad lib like the rest of that staff, but if so he keeps it well-disguised, and...that's all many of us ask for. I wish Mr. Trump would call off the WH visits for sportspeople, except maybe Olympians. Separation of sport and politics would be nice.

John Vermillion
St. Petersburg, Florida

***********  Hugh,

SC Justice Roberts hit that MS commencement speech out of the park.  And... you're likely going to be right that there will be parents of some of those youngsters that thought he was "out of line".  We are just getting hit by the "snowstorm" of the century and it has nothing to do with the weather.

The traditional Wing-T may not be alive and well in college, but a shotgun spread version of it is.  It's just that college coaches who run Auburn's offense (or anything similar) won't ever admit that the roots of Malzahn's offense is embedded in the Wing-T.  Although Gus will need to kick it up a few notches this year if he plans on staying at Auburn.  As you say... no college AD in his/her right mind would ever consider tagging the football team's offense with any reference to the "Wing-T".

Best advice I can give a young high school coach interviewing for a head coaching job who has designs on running the Wing-T call the offense something else when asked the question.

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

***********  THE 2017 COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS

PLAYERS:
    •    BOB CRABLE - LB, Notre Dame (1978-81)
    •    MARSHALL FAULK - RB, San Diego State (1991-93)
    •    KIRK GIBSON - WR, Michigan State (1975-78)
    •    MATT LEINART - QB, Southern California (2003-05)
    •    PEYTON MANNING - QB, Tennessee (1994-97)
    •    BOB McKAY - OT, Texas (1968-69)
    •    DAT NGUYEN - LB, Texas A&M (1995-98)
    •    ADRIAN PETERSON - RB, Georgia Southern (1998-2001) (NO, THIS IS NOT A MISTAKE!)
    •    MIKE RUTH - NG, Boston College (1982-85)
    •    BRIAN URLACHER - DB, New Mexico (1996-99)

COACHES: 
    •    DANNY FORD - 122-59-5 (66.9%); Clemson (1978-89), Arkansas (1993-97)
    •    LARRY KEHRES - 332-24-3 (92.9%); Mount Union (Ohio) (1986-2012)
    •    STEVE SPURRIER - 228-89-2 (71.8%); Duke (1987-89), Florida (1990-2001), South Carolina (2005-15)


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING MARLIN BRISCOE:

KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND,  WASHINGTON
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA (Strat-O-Matic Football game was a big help here, as was the fact that my 1st head coaching job was in Beatrice, NE) - to show off my knowledge, ,  that's "Be-AT-riss"
JERRY LOVELL - BELLEVUE, NEBRASKA - (Unfortunately, his statue came long after UNO put the dagger to college football in a midnight maneuver similar to the Colts move to Indianapolis.  The wrestling program was cut the same night.)
http://www.omaha.com/uno/omaha-football-legend-marlin-briscoe-immortalized-in-statue-unveiled-friday/article_5649d096-81ad-11e6-84be-df598b262298.html

http://deadspin.com/5781496/nebraska-omaha-wrestlers-win-national-title-lose-program


*********** Marlin  Briscoe enjoyed a nine-year pro career with six different teams.

He was named all-pro in 1970 as a wide receiver.

He played on two Dolphins' Super Bowl championship teams.

Despite the presence of Hall-of-Fame receiver Paul Warfield, Briscoe was the receiver  who led the 1972 undefeated Dolphins in touchdown catches, and he was the leading receiver on their 1973 team.

Nicknamed "Marlin the Magician"  for his spectacular play at quarterback at Omaha, he was  drafted by the Denver Broncos of the  AFL  but, undersized, he was switched to defensive back.  Midway through his rookie season (1968) he took over as QB in mid-season when the starter was hurt, and he wound up starting five games - which made him the first-ever black quarterback of a pro football team.   (In case you didn't know the name of the first pro coach to start a black quarterback - it was Lou Saban.)


QUIZ - He was recruited out of Honolulu’s St. Louis Prep and played for a West Coast Catholic college.  Although the school no longer plays the game, with him at single-wing tailback, it enjoyed great success in the post-war years, beating USC and losing only to UCLA his senior year, and playing in the Sugar Bowl.

Only five players were named to the All-American backfield that year, and he was one of them, along with Army’s Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis, Alabama’s Harry Gilmer, and Oklahoma A & M’s Bob Fenimore.

He finished fourth in the Heisman voting - at the time, the highest-ever finish for a “non-white” player, and until Marcus Mariota’s Heisman win in 2014, he was the only native Hawaiian ever to become a  Heisman finalist.

After a brief pro career with the Los Angeles Dons in the AAFC, he returned to his native Hawaii to go into business.

Later in life, he enjoyed a second career for which he became even more famous, when he played officer Duke Lukela in the very popular TV series, "Hawaii Five-0."

In 1979, he became the first native Hawaiian to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.






american flag TUESDAY,  JULY 11,  2017  - “Every serious achievement in education involves forgetting yourself.”  Larry Arrn, President, Hillsdale College

*********** I think of all the fools from the world of sports and entertainment who speak at college graduations - because the graduates want to hear the kind of rot they can hear every night on TV after the 11 o'clock news.

But it takes a Supreme Court Chief Justice, speaking at his son's middle school graduation, to say someting that every person who ever graduates from anywhere - and for that matter, every person who has ever graduated from anywhere - needs to hear.  It is absolutely the greatest bit of wisdom I have ever heard conferred on a graduating class.

As printed in Saturday's Wall Street Journal... Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts speaking at his son’s middle-school graduation, June 3:
From time to time in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time so that you don’t take friends for granted. I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either. And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then, your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship. I hope you’ll be ignored so you know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion. Whether I wish these things or not, they’re going to happen. And whether you benefit from them or not will depend upon your ability to see the message in your misfortunes.

The hell of it is, there were probably parents present who will complain that the speech was "inappropriate," "negative," "frightening."


***********  I think there’s a conspiracy between ESPN and the NFL to make sure nobody gets to like the CFL too much.

We planned the perfect end to our Saturday at the beach: the CFL game
- Hamilton at Saskatchewan -  due to come on at 7 PM .   On ESPN2.

Went out and picked up some food, poured my wife a glass of wine and myself a cold one, sat down and and turned on the tube.

Uh-oh.  At 7 PM sharp,  ESPN2 was still televising a softball game.  An important softball game, no doubt - USA vs Australia - but a softball game nonetheless. That was bad news enough, but even worse - it was just the second inning.

At some point a voice came over the air telling us that the CFL Football Game Originally Scheduled, blah, blah, blah could be seen on ESPN News. 

But ESPN News was broadcasting NBA Summer League basketball.  I don’t know whose rookies were playing, but there was 8:53 left.  You realize, don’t you, how long that can take when two NBA teams are playing?

But, mercifully, ESPN News cut away - to Sportscenter.

I thought cell phones and social media had made Sportscenter obsolete, but there it was.

Finally, God knows how, we got to the CFL game.

And then, with 7:04 left in the game, we suddenly cut back to Sportscenter, and after a few minutes of blather, we were advised to go back to ESPN2 - and watch the CFL game in its entirety.

*********** Maybe it’s not soccer that we hate after all - maybe it’s the soccer parents.  They  probably would have been a$$holes even if their kids had never played soccer, but since the kids start playing when they’re still in diapers, by the time they’re 10 or 11, their parents are full-fledged, bona fide a$$holes.

In South Carolina, they’re threatening to kill the sport for the kids.

Kenneth Ayers, State Referee Administrator for the South Carolina Referee Association, says soccer faces a crisis in his state -  a statewide shortage of soccer officials. "Our referees get certified in August,” he says,  “their first games are in September, and quite often we have referees that go out and referee one weekend in September and never come back.” he said.  The  number one reason?  “The sideline behavior of the parents and fans."

"They're learning to referee while these young kids are learning to play the game,” he said,  “and the parents or fans are constantly heckling, yelling at, berating these young referees. Over the last couple years, we've gotten to the point where we've had a number of referee assault cases. We've had a couple instances in the last year where parents have actually entered the field and physically assaulted a youth referee.”

As a result of the effect heckling and poor behavior in general have had on its ability to retain referees, the South Carolina Youth Soccer Association has called for a  "Silent September" for all  league games at all levels.

According to the memo distributed by the SCYSA, there will be "no cheering, no jeering" on the part of "parents and visitors."

The idea is to give new referees, often teenagers, a chance to get a little experience without having to deal with a$$hole parents.

"It's kind of embarrassing for our sport," said Jimmy George, Director of Coaching for the Clemson Anderson Soccer Alliance. "I've played this game since I was 6. I'm getting ready to turn 40. Where has our sport gone? Where has our society gone?"

(Wish I could say that football parents are better.)

http://www.thestate.com/news/local/article159852429.html


*********** Parseghian ran the Wing-T at ND and won a National Championship with it.  Pitt ran the Veer and won a NC.

The Wing-T was not "decisively" Defensed.  Devine simply moved incrementally away from it.  One could argue that the Veer was Defensed, although not like, "Richie Pettibone decisively defensed the Run and Shoot with his "Zone Drop Defense" (Or whatever it ended up being called). 

The Offenses are now "For HS Only". 

Has anyone determined why the Wing-T dropped off the face of the earth? The Base Power is still seen from time to time but not the Offense itself.  Why?

Charlie Wilson
Crystal River, Florida

Charlie-

I’m assuming that you’re talking about college, because there are still many highly successful high school teams running the wing-T and also the veer.

But at the college level, there are several reasons.  Not necessarily all of them, and not necessarily in any order:

1. Money.  Colleges really do need it, not only to pay for their minor sports and women’s sports, but also to keep up with their competitors in the arms race. It doesn’t matter if your team wins - you have to play entertaining, easy-to-understand football in order to draw fans to the stands and eyeballs to the screen.

2. Entertainment (closely related to #1).  For various reasons (including the influence of Madden) people are thrilled by seeing footballs in the air.  Pepper Rodgers once told me at a clinic that the only thing wrong with the wishbone (which he’d been running with great success at UCLA) was that “the alumni hate it, because they can’t find the ball.”

3. Rules.  The rules increasingly favor the passing game. I could write a couple of paragraphs on this alone.

4. Safety.  Other than the horrendous shots defensive backs take at helpless receivers, it seems to me that overall, the passing game results in fewer injuries since on most pass plays there are guys on the field who don’t even take part in the play.

5. Off-season.  Passing is fun.  Kids will work on throwing and catching to improve their skills. Simply add linemen and pads to that stuff you’re been working on all summer in 7-on-7 games and you’ve got 90 per cent of your offense in.  What can a wing-T coach or a veer coach do in the summer that’s fun yet transferrable to his real offense?

6. Women.  The NFL realizes that women are a major part of their audience - and a major part of the market for NFL-licensed apparel - and it stands to reason that without a background in the game, they would be more excited by watching a ball fly through the air as receivers and defenders do acrobatic things than by watching a guy trying to run through a mass of  300-pounders.  Colleges have figured this out, too.

7. The upward pull of the NFL.  Players with NFL aspirations are less likely to go to a college that plays a less-wide-open offense that’s not conducive to developing them for the NFL.  Coaches with NFL aspirations are less likely to run an offense that has no place at the “next level.”

8. The influence of the tube.  When about all you see is spread offenses, anything else looks strange and out of place.  How many times in a season do you turn on the TV and see a college team - even a D-III team - running an offense with two running backs and a tight end? You scarcely see a QB under center now.

9. The influence of video games. They’ve made kids sophisticated enough that they know there’s more to the game than just running the ball off-tackle.  (And besides -  the games are rigged so that the protection always holds up, the passes are always accurate, the receivers always run good routes, and they always make the catch.)

10. Fear of being left an orphan.   A wise athletic director realizes that if he hires a run-first coach, that coach will of course recruit to fill his needs.  But after stocking up on running backs and tight ends - and scaring away wide receivers - when it comes time to have to replace that coach, there’s a very small pool
of run-oriented coaches to choose from.  And if you hire a passing guy, the cupboard’s going to be bare for a year or two while he retools.


*********** "We’ve reached a pathetic and dangerous point in our culture where anyone who celebrates our traditional culture, our country, and, now, our civilization must be doing so for base and evil reasons. Today, all other cultures must be celebrated while every ill is blamed on us. This is, to borrow a phrase from social science, garbage thinking. Slavery is a human universal, appearing in every culture around the world. What makes the West unique is not that we had slavery, but that we put an end to it because it was not compatible with our values. The same goes for nearly every charge in the indictment against the West, from racism and misogyny to imperialism and war. " Jonah Goldberg


***********
Buddy Parker remains the last coach to win an NFL title in Detroit.  In 1953. This is  from his 1955 book, “We Play to Win - The Inside Story of the Fabulous Detroit Lions.”   (That may be the last time the word "fabulous" was ever used in connection with the Lions.)

It used to be a point of pride with some football coaches to see how many plays they could include in their offense.

In the early days of the “T” formation George Halas had more than 300 plays in his Chicago Bears’ offense.  I remember Sid Luckman often telling that it took him most of his first year with the Bears just to learn all of Halas’ plays.

The late Francis A. Schmidt, who coached at Texas Christian, Ohio State and Idaho, was another who thrived on a gigantic accumulation of plays.  Schmidt had so many plays that his teams never really had a chance to learn them all. On the practice field, Schmidt would show the players a “flash card” with the play diagrammed on it.  Then they would run it and he’d go to another play.

Not even Schmidt’s quarterbacks could learn all his plays and at times this led to comical circumstances. There was the afternoon in 1936 when Ohio State played Notre Dame. 

The Buckeyes’ quarterback that day was William Harrison “Tippy” Dye, a mite who weighed only 145 pounds when wringing wet.   Tippy is now the highly successful head basketball coach at the University of Washington.

This day, one of the big Irish linemen hit Dye with a jarring tackle.  His headgear became dislodged as he hit the ground, and out of his head spilled several dozen index cards on which the Ohio plays had been written.

The wind blew the play cards to the four corners of the stadium, and play had to be halted for a few minutes while the Buckeyes scurried about, reclaiming their “offense.”


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING CHARLIE MCCLENDON:

GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON

*********** John Vermillion, of St. Petersburg (Florida, not Russia), wrote me…

I’m sure you, Mr. Omniscient Football Man, know of the staff Blanton Collier had at UK. I went to school one year in Lexington, where Mrs. Arnsparger was my 7th-grade teacher. It was quite an assemblage of talent.

In 1974, Sports Illustrated had this to say in its People section about Collier:
University of Kentucky football fans were unhappy with Coach Blanton Collier in 1959, and they wrote a lot of letters complaining and asking that he and his incompetent aides be gone. The staff was gone by 1961. Of the eight coaches, exactly eight went on to success in pro football, five of them becoming NFL head coaches. Beginning from the left, they are Ed Rutledge, an NFL scout; Howie Schnellenberger, head coach at Baltimore; Ermal Allen, assistant coach at Dallas; Collier, who succeeded Paul Brown at Cleveland and won an NFL championship; Don Shula, of whom you may have heard; John North, head coach of New Orleans; Bob Cummings, his assistant; and Bill Arnsparger, who is taking over the New York Giants. Another Collier assistant, Chuck Knox, was on the staff in 1961 but not in 1959. He was just named Coach of the Year following his first season with the Los Angeles Rams. Fired anybody else lately, Kentucky?
Many years later, while in school at the Univ. of South Carolina, I attended practice every day. I was attired in Gamecock gear and was standing there when Ermal Allen (who then bore the title Asst Head Coach of the Cowboys), whom I knew by sight, walked in and thought I was a coach. He was interested in Steve Courson (who later died a tragic death when a tree fell on him) and a wide receiver. He asked about their medical history, practice habits, and a few other things. I didn't say I was a coach, but didn't say I wasn't either. I answered his questions pretty comprehensively, I thought, and he said, "Thanks much, Coachman. Can you point in the direction of Coach Carlen?" "Yep, he's over there with the linebackers," I answered, and promptly left the field.


*********** A native of Arkansas, Charlie McClendon’s high school didn’t have a football team, so as a result he never played a down of football until after World War II service in the Navy, when he attended a junior college.  After two years there,  he transferred to Kentucky and  played under Bear Bryant.

After just one year as an assistant at Vanderbilt, he went to LSU in 1953 as an assistant to Paul Dietzel, and as LSU’s defensive coordinator, he helped the Tigers win the National Championship in 1958.

In 1962, he got his first - and only - head coaching job when Dietzel left LSU to go to Army.

He stayed at LSU for 18 years, the longest tenure of any coach in the school’s history.  He compiled a record of 137-59-7, the most wins of any coach in the school’s history, and took his team to 13 bowl games.  He had only one losing season (5-6) and his teams finished in the Top Ten on five occasions.

Some of the  outstanding players he coached at LSU were Bert Jones,  Jerry Stovall,  Charles Alexander and Tommy Casanova.

After retiring from coaching, he spent 13 years as the Executive Director of the American Football Coaches Association.

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/10/sports/charlie-mcclendon-78-hall-of-fame-football-coach.html

**********  How good a coach was “Cholly Mac?”

I’ll let Tommy Casanova tell you.

Thanks to Josh Montgomery, of Berwick, Louisiana, for putting me onto this interview with Casanova, in which  the LSU great - the  only three-time All-American in the Tigers’ history - delivers one of the greatest tributes to a coach I've ever heard.

https://youtu.be/VD4rC0v64KQ

The Tommy Casanova interview came early in a link Josh Montgomery sent me - a link to an article in NOLA about the Top Athletes from Louisiana’s 64 Parishes (Counties to non-Louisianans).

The very first Parish, alphabetically,  was Acadia (the word “Cajun” is a corruption of “Acadian”) and the top athlete from Acadia Parish was Tommy Casanova.

Here’s part one:

http://www.nola.com/lsu/index.ssf/2017/07/top_athletes_from_each_of_loui.html

And here’s part two:

http://www.nola.com/lsu/index.ssf/2017/07/top_athletes_from_each_of_loui_1.html

I’m telling’ ya - from north to south, that state has turned out some good ones.

*********** QUIZ - He enjoyed a nine-year pro career with six different teams.

He was named all-pro in 1970 as a wide receiver.

He played on two Super Bowl championship teams.

Despite playing on the same team with Hall-of-Fame receiver Paul Warfield, he led the 1972 undefeated Dolphins in touchdown catches, and was the leading receiver on their 1973 team.

He was a record-breaking small-college quarterback and he was  drafted by an AFL team but, undersized, was switched to defensive back.  Midway through his rookie season (1968) he took over as QB in mid-season when the starter was hurt, and he wound up starting five games - which made him the first-ever black quarterback of a pro football team.


american flag FRIDAY,  JULY 7,  2017  - “Happiness begins where selfishness ends.” John Wooden


*********** Nearly 30 years ago, I spent a summer as an intern in the LSU Athletic Department, and while I was there I had the great privilege of getting to know the Tigers’ baseball coach, Skip Bertman.  Skip, who  would later become the AD at LSU, had arrived a few years earlier from Miami, where he’d been associate head coach under the great Ron Fraser. Skip hadn’t yet won one of the five College World Series titles that he’d win in his 18 years as head coach in Baton Rouge, but it was obvious in talking with him that he was the real deal.

One of the things that always stuck with me was his saying how subtle he had to be when he was trying to get his players to think about a career other than baseball.  These were top-notch athletes, who had always been the best player on their team, or in their town or county or state, all their lives, and now he had to be the first one ever to suggest that maybe - just maybe - they might need something besides baseball to “fall back on,” as the old cliche went.

He said he’d start out by saying, “Look - you know, and I know, that you’re going to be playing in the majors someday.  But just in case…”

This conversation with Skip Bertman came rushing back to me when I read an article sent to me about the lengths to which the football programs at Clemson and Cal are going to provide for their players - “just in case.”

As much as I despise the NCAA, this looks like an area for it to get into.

Instead of building luxurious facilities that simply foster the culture of athletic entitlement and promote materialism, colleges should begin spending their money on programs like Clemson’s and Cal’s.

And then the big-time schools would have to recruit on the basis of who can do the most for players once their usefulness to the football team is at an end.

Wouldn’t that benefit the players more in the long run than a couple of thousand dollars a year walking-around money?

http://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/19758226/clemson-tigers-cal-bears-robust-development-programs-preparing-players-life-football


*********** John McEnroe caught hell recently for saying that Serena Williams was the best female player of all time.  What he did not say, as his female questioner wanted him too, was that she was the best ever, male or female.

No, he refused to play the PC game - and feminists,   the “we can do anything men can do” crowd,  went nuts.

Never mind that   everybody who understands tennis knows that as great as Serena Williams is, there are at least 500 men in the world who could beat her.  Even Ms. Williams knows this.

Simply put, men on the whole are bigger, stronger and faster than women - a biological fact that our military, in its drive to someday have a female Chief of Staff, seems willing to overlook.

Fortunately, to help settle once and for all the issue of God’s unequal distribution of talents,   Joey Chestnut stepped up. Mr. Chestnut, the world famous competitive eater,  has made  eating more hot dogs than any other human being on  July 4 an American tradition.

In doing so, he provides, every year,  a  clear, convincing example of male physical superiority.

Tuesday, he wolfed down 72 hot dogs - buns and all - in 10 minutes. The second-place finisher, a guy from New Jersey named Carmen Cincotti, could manage “only” 64.  Matt Stonie, whose defeat of Chestnut in 2015 is Chestnut’s only July 4 loss since 2007, finished third, with 48.

Over on the ladies’ side? The winner, Miki Sudo ate 41. Are you kidding me? Forty-f—king One hot dogs?  I don’t hear any feminists, arguing that she’s the greatest hot dog eater of all time, male or female.

Keep believing in Wonder Woman all you want, girls, but the evidence is in.  Forget competing against men.  It’s useless. Your biggest worry isn’t men, anyhow - it’s all the damn scammers starting to “identify” as women. If you're not careful,  there aren't going to be any women's sport left.


AFL Ball*********** A birthday present  from Down Under, its an official Australian Football League ball, a special indigenous art edition, designed by Gavin Wanganeen, “Indigenous artist and AFL legend.”

The official explanation of the art:

“There are 18 circles on the ball, with each circle representing one of the 18 clubs in the AFL competition. Even though Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians make up approximately 3 per cent of the population in Australia, they make up close to 11 per cent of players in the men’s league. In 2017, every AFL club will have Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander players on their list and so these circles are significant as they represent opportunity for current and future Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander generations. As a 300-game player this is particularly personal to me, as I was once one of those kids, chasing my dream to play in the Australian Football League.”

Which got me and my son, Ed, who grew up in the States but now lives in Australia, wondering which of the major American sports leagues might do something similar.

Soccer? (Can't you read???  I said “major.”)  Next -

Baseball?  Are you kidding me?  They only mess with the ball when they think the pitchers are getting too far ahead of the hitters.  And in fairness, it really would be a different game if hitters couldn’t depend on seeing  a white ball with red stitches. Next -

Hockey? The puck is way too small to be used as an object of art. Next -

Football?  The NFL’s so worried about proper inflation that it wouldn’t even want to consider the idea - even if it could get the Player’s Association to approve. Yikes. I can already hear the wide receivers howling. Next -

Basketball? Bingo. We both agreed that if anybody’s going to do it, it’s the fan-friendly NBA.  Remember the old ABA and that red-white-and-blue ball? That sucker was popular with kids, and it didn’t seem to affect the ABA’s game. Actually when you think of it, you need  to see the ball to catch a pass, but you don't need to see the ball to shoot it.  In my opinion, it was a huge mistake for the NBA not to adopt that ball -  as it did the 3-point shot - when the leagues merged.


*********** This past June, there were six homes in the Los Angeles area,  built in the 1930s and 1940s, that  were on sale for prices ranging from $2.4 million to $88 million. They were all designed by one man.

The architect was  Paul Revere Williams, and  in 1923 he became the first black architect to be admitted to the American Institute of Architects.

It’s not easy to identify a house as one of his, because he didn’t have a signature style.   Instead of forcing his ideas on his clients, he tended to give them what they wanted.

Although his work was widely admired, and many of his houses were bought by the rich and famous of Hollywood, his clients were not exactly color blind, and he knew it.

For example, he wrote in a 1937 article that he learned to draw his renderings of houses upside-down,  so that his white clients could sit opposite him, rather than feeling forced to sit beside him.

 

*********** A coach who’s been looking at the Open Wing asked…

Is there any merit in just blocking your West 6-G-O play as an X block between the tight end and the tight tackle with the backside power pull and the wing inserting?  Just curious.


6-XMy answer:


Under certain circumstances - given the right defensive alignment - there is a lot of merit to a 6-XO.



For sure, against an Okie front, it could be something of a key breaker, with the Tight Guard firing out on the Tight side backer.



And I could see it working against a 3-5-3, or  4-4 or possibly even a 4-2-5 look.



But against a defense with an aggressive “3” technique player, which we see a fair amount of,  I have my doubts about a tight end’s ability to get down on that guy.













*********** Keyshawn Johnson may have been a jerk as a player (“Just give me the Damn Ball,” “written”  (as told to Shelly Smith) after just one year in the NFL), but he sounds as though he may have the makings of a good father.

When his son, Keyshawn, Jr., had to take a “leave of absence” from the Nebraska  team after being caught with marijuana in his dorm room,  Keyshawn, Sr. went off.

"You're in college now," Johnson Sr.  told the Omaha World-Herald. "You're an adult. You're not a kid. You take a look at it from afar and let me know how important it is to you."

Added Dad, "One thing you will not do as my son is you will not embarrass Nebraska, you will not embarrass Mike Riley and you will not embarrass this family. If you mature and you're ready to resume your football career and academic goals, then Nebraska will be ready to embrace you."

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/bigten/2017/06/21/keyshawn-johnson-chastises-son-keyshawn-johnson-jr-marijuana-possession-citation/416078001/

*********** I played high school football a long time ago, and many of the guys I played with are dead now. But I’ve been saying for years now, ever since this whole concussion hysteria started, that no one that I’m aware of ever showed signs of mental problems that could be associated with their having played football.

Now comes a new study suggesting that there is no connection between playing football and cognitive problems later in life.

Well, er, not exactly.

High school football, anyhow - that’s all it measured.

Oh - and  high school football the way it was played when I played - it studied a group of men who graduated from high school in Wisconsin in 1957.  That was a year after I graduated.

Some of the men had played high school football and some hadn’t. The study, published in the Journal of the American medical Association (JAMA), found that  playing football  did not lead to cognitive impairment by age 65, and those who had played football  were actually slightly less likely to have experienced  depression.

Up to now, most studies linking football and a head injury that has come to be known as CTE have been done using the  brains of former football players,  donated by relatives who suspected that something had been wrong. On top of that, the subjects had been professional football players.  “There was very limited studies on the long-term effects for more limited exposure like high-school exposure,” says Dylan Small,  a co-author of the study and a statistician at the University of Pennsylvania.

Before any of us jumps to conclusions - FOOTBALL IS GOOD FOR THE BRAIN! -this study does not deal with today’s players, playing today’s game.

The game was different when I played. Today’s game is much more aggressive, and I attribute that to the use of the helmet as a weapon.

At the time I played,  the transition to plastic helmets was almost complete, although some players still wore leather helmets.  The inner protective cushioning  of the various sorts of plastic helmets ran the gamut from all-foam to canvas strapping.  Almost no one wore face gear (I was the first on my team to wear face protection - a simple plastic bar across the mouth.)  None of my teammates wore a mouthpiece.

We tackled low, around the legs.  No one led with his helmet.

The point of tackling was to bring the ball carrier down. I don’t recall ever hearing the word “punish” associated with it.

At some point, the helmet became widely used as a weapon, and  while the people in charge of our game passed rules to try to curtail the practice, the reality is that out on the field, little has been done to make our game safer.

Part of the problem is that the penalty for leading with the crown of the helmet - or hitting above the shoulder -  has been made so severe that officials are reluctant to call it.

My suggestion - all tackles must appear to involve an attempt to wrap with the arms. This means that  at the moment of contact the hands must be extended ahead of the helmet.  That way, a tackler would be more concerned with tackling, and less with punishing.

Oh,  and one more thing, while I'm still king - a penalty box, like ice hockey and  many field sports - the offender to be removed from the game (and his team  to play a man short) for four plays from scrimmage.


https://www.theverge.com/2017/7/3/15913454/high-school-football-concussion-health-chronic-traumatic-encephalopathy

http://footballscoop.com/news/study-no-association-playing-hs-football-cognitive-impairment-depression-later-life/


*********** Gene Conley died.  A great two-sport athlete, he played on a World Series winner (Milwaukee Braves) and an NBA champion (Boston Celtics)

And, playing in a a time when there was very little movement between leagues, there can't be many  guys like him, guys who played for both the Boston Braves and Boston Red Sox.

One thing that pisses me off is that stories about him mention his being born in Oklahoma, without also mentioning that he went to high school in Richland, Washington and then went to Washington State, where he pitched the baseball team  to the College World Series, and was leading scorer on the Cougars’ basketball team.

http://www.wcvb.com/article/boston-mourns-former-sox-celtics-player-gene-conley/10262881


QUIZ - Vito “Babe” Parilli was among the first in a long line of great  quarterbacks to come out of Western Pennsylvania, and he was among the first of Bear Bryant’s outstanding quarterbacks.

He took Kentucky, far better known as a basketball power, to three straight bowl game wins - Orange, Sugar and Cotton -  and in one of them, the 1951 Sugar Bowl, he led the Wildcats to an upset of top-ranked Oklahoma.  Nicknamed “Sweet Kentucky Babe,”  was an All-American, and the runner-up in the Heisman Trophy balloting.

He was a first round draft choice of the Green Bay Packers - the fourth selection overall - but for several seasons he went back and forth between the NFL and the CFL until with the founding of the American Football League he landed a job with the Raiders.  He was traded to the Patriots, where he spent seven seasons as their starter. He spent his final two seasons with the Jets, backing up Joe Namath.

He is one of only 20 players to have played in the AFL for the entire ten years of its existence.

Babe Parilli was head coach of two different World Football League teams - the New York Stars in 1974 and the Chicago Winds in 1975.

He finished out his coaching career with several stops in the Arena Football League.

He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame.

(I screwed up by originally calling the Babe the “first” of the Bear’s great QBs.  I totally overlooked  George Blanda, who also came out of Western PA, and also  at Kentucky  - before Parilli. No, Blanda never won three bowl games - at Kentucky, yet! - and Blanda never played in the CFL or backed up Namath. But to those who were thrown off by my first clue, I apologize.)

*********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BABE PARILLI:
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDAc
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA - Ouch!...Babe certainly blamed centers for all QB/C exchanges I can tell you that!!! (“Coach Kaz,” as a rookie out of Western Illinois, played center for the New York Stars, Babe Parilli’s first head coaching stop.)
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK - Babe coached me in 1994 in Las Vegas and in 1996 in Anaheim in the Arena Football league where I played center and nose guard playing ironman football. Man the guy had to be 66 or 67 at the time and could still throw pretty well.  Great guy and a great coach. On the phone with him a few months back, I sent him a few football cards to sign and the stories he told. Coached by Weeb Ewbank, Vince Lombardi, and the great Bear Bryant. He still thinks to this day Lombardi got rid of him because he beat Lombardi in a game of golf and everyone warned him "don't beat the boss.” Babe is 86, still plays golf as much as a he can - lives in Denver.
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA

*********** QUIZ - A native of Arkansas, his high school didn’t have a football team, and he never played a down of football until after World War II service in the Navy, when he attended a junior college.  After two years there,  he transferred to Kentucky and  played under Bear Bryant.

After just one year as an assistant at Vanderbilt, he went to LSU in 1953 as an assistant to Paul Dietzel, and as LSU’s defensive coordinator, he helped the Tigers win the National Championship in 1958.

In 1962, he got his first - and only - head coaching job.

He stayed for 18 years, the longest tenure of any coach in the school’s history.  He compiled a record of 137-59-7, the most wins of any coach in the school’s history, and took his team to 13 bowl games.  He had only one losing season (5-6) and his teams finished in the Top Ten on five occasions.

Some of the  outstanding players he coached were Bert Jones,  Jerry Stovall,  Charles Alexander and Tommy Casanova.

After retiring from coaching, he spent 13 years as the Executive Director of the American Football Coaches Association.


american flag TUESDAY,  JULY 4,  2017  - “Little things make the difference. Everyone is well prepared in the big things, but only the winners perfect the little things.” Bear Bryant

*********** Happy July 4. It's the one day of the year I hate my town.   After years of people complaining about the near-war conditions forced on us by the a&&holes who enjoy setting off explosives in the dead of night, the city fathers finally got around to restricting the use of fireworks to July 3 and 4 only.  Big deal. Enforcement is another matter.  Last night (Sunday, July 2) we were awakened after midnight by patriots noisily wishing our nation a Happy Birthday. (Actually, after watching Jesse Watters' interviews of brain-dead college students, I rather doubt that any of them have any idea why July 4 is a holiday.  Or what date the Fourth of July falls on.) 

For people with pets, it's a very unpleasant time.

Oh, well.  What can't be cured must be endured.  Happy July 4.

*********** Hugh:

I hope all is well.  Your blurb about Bill George reminded me about a few things I learned about him when I was President of the Bill George Youth Football League for nine years and a rep/coach for another seven.. It is a  league that has always been the standard for youth football since the 1960's. Hundreds of leagues have come and gone, including the "play for a National Championship in Florida" ones that keep popping up from the woodwork but the BGYFL has always remained strong.
Bill Pope was a founding father of the BGYFL and its President from 1963-1975. In 1963 Bill Pope was able to get Bill George, Joe Fortunato, and Larry Morris (the Chicago Bears first string linebacker corps off of what was to be the 1963 Championship team) to travel from franchise to franchise to pitch the new league. While all Bears players committed to make cash contributions, Bill George was the only one to send money so Bill Pope named our League after him. The cash contribution to start the BGYFL was $100.00.  
The family does not have any roots in Chicago but I did get an e-mail from a daughter who was curious about what the league was doing and why we were using her father's name?  Right away I was thinking about a law suit but after I explained what we were about  she was sooo happy that she reported back to her siblings and nieces and nephews about us.  I sent t-shirts out to some of the family members.  They were ecstatic that his name was living on with the game of football.
Raising a three year old has kept me from coaching high school but I did coach a really great group of sixth graders two years ago and I am hoping to help out with my nephew's eighth grade season this fall.  I wanted to tell you that I have only run double wing since 1998 at every level from 8 year olds to Varsity High School and my record with the offense is a winning percentage of 90%.  I have done some minor tweaking with terminology and with how we get outside but for 18 years we have won with double tight, power, trap, criss cross, base and keeps.  I still only throw 4-6 times a game and that is fine with me.  I also still lead with my QB on super power.......Although, I may have him boot this year and I may run 7-8 plays out of West.  Every year I come up with 20 new plays or formations but then I never feel right installing most of them when what we do just works.   I am grateful ever day that I bought that VHS tape from you in 1997.  I could talk about a million things going on but that will have to wait until another day.   Have a great Holiday Weekend!!!
 

Bill Lawlor
Palatine, Illinois

I've known Coach Lawlor a long time, and I was hoping I'd hear from him.  Very good coach.  Pictured below are the backs of two "Bill George Youth Football League" tee shirts that he gave me , one in 2006 and the other in 2007, that I still wear:

BGYFL teamsBill George tee





*********** Good piece on Phil Jackson. Trying to think of anyone in the non-scandal, non-criminal, non-addiction category who has fallen further. From coaching genius and guru to laughing stock.

Ed Wyatt
Melbourne, Australia


It's Emerson: “Every hero becomes a bore at last.”

I'm trying to picture Vince Lombardi showing Aaron Rodgers - and the current Packers’ offensive line and wide receivers -  his famous Green Bay Sweep.  And getting them to run it. Over and over and over.  ("Who is this old fart, anyhow - and what does he know about football?")


https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/06/29/sports/basketball/phil-jackson-new-york-knicks.html?em_pos=medium&emc=edit_sp_20170629&nl=sports&nl_art=0&nlid=23696377&ref=headline&te=1&referer=



*********** Mark Kaczmarek, of Davenport, Iowa, just got back from a trip to Alaska. Not only was that his 50th state - but it was his entire family’s 50th.  He said his wife, Kathy deserves much of the credit - especially, he said, doing it on his “Catholic school salary.” (If you didn’t know, Catholic schools generally pay a good bit less than public schools.  ON THE OTHER HAND… .I taught one year at Portland Central Catholic, and my son taught for several years at Tacoma’s Bellarmine Prep, and our experience, and that of most people I know, is that the teaching is much more rewarding in a Catholic school. The simple fact that you have parents (plural!) who have aspirations and expectations for their kids means that the student apathy that’s become an epidemic throughout public education is seldom seen in a Catholic school.)

The fact that the Kaczmareks did it as a family is remarkable and admirable.

Our four kids had the benefit of starting out on the East Coast, where states are smaller and more easily checked off the list, and then travelling across the country when I took a job in Portland.  And we always tried to take the kids on trips.  But I doubt that any of them has been in all 57. (or was it 50?)

For our 50th wedding anniversary the kids chipped in and gave us an all-expenses-paid trip to Fargo - so my wife could pick up North Dakota, the only one she was missing.

(I read somewhere that for people trying to hit all the states, North Dakota is most often their last one.)

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

Just finished watching the "Evolution" video and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the changes and adaptation over the years. I so appreciate you acknowledging the Raiders. That was quite a surprise.

I am tossing around getting back into coaching football after I retire from teaching next June. I have had a few offers over the past several years, however, they just never seemed right. I am very concerned about coaching something other than the DW. I don't think I could do it! This might keep me back in the youth level, but, doing what I love and believe in. I'll keep you posted!

Best,

Michael Norlock
Atascadero Raiders
Atascadero, California

Coach,

No need to apologize for staying “back in the youth level.”

Based on what I know and saw, you did a lot of really good coaching there and sent kids off to high school very well prepared.

*********** Joe Don Looney never played a down of football in Philly, which is remarkable considering all the places he did play, but for some reason, Frank Fitzpatrick of philly.com chose to write a piece about him recently.

If you never heard of the guy, or if you weren’t around in the 1960s when he played - or if you just want a good read about one of the real characters in the history of football - you owe it to yourself to read it…

http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/eagles/Remembering-football-rebel-Joe-Don-Looney-Frank-Fitzpatrick.html

*********** I mentioned what a great year Latrobe, Pennsylvania High had, with a place in the state playoff field in basketball, and a state championship in baseball.

The topper came when Latrobe’s Austin Butler was named the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Boys Athlete of the Year.

Butler, a three-sport athlete, threw for 1285 yards as quarterback of the Wildcats’  football team, led all of Western Pennsylvania in scoring in basketball, and finished sixth in the state in the javelin.

He’s going to be attending Holy Cross, where he’ll play basketball.

“It is rare to have an athlete that can not only participate in three sports, but excel in them,” Latrobe athletic director Mark Mears said. “He is certainly a very special athlete, and a very respectful and classy young man. Holy Cross landed a good one.”

And rarer, still, to have a basketball coach who won’t - very subtly, of course - point out to his top scorer the dangers of playing football.

http://triblive.com/sports/-topstories/12452488-74/latrobes-austin-butler-named-tribune-review-boys-athlete-of-the-year

*********** Good morning Hugh,

I knew there was something fishy about that USA Football Rookie Tackle idea.

Good to see that picture of you with Mike F. and his QB's.  That's Mike.  Always doing what it takes, and doing it well just because it's the right thing to do.  When it comes to his boys you won't find a union bone in his body.

Quiz answer:  "Sleepy" Jim Crowley.  One fourth of "Four Horsemen" (Crowley, Miller, Layden, Stuhldreher).  All four of them spent time coaching college football, with Miller in the shortest stint eventually becoming a lawyer.  Layden became coach of the Irish, and Stuhldreher was successful at Villanova.  Also Gus Dorais (who teamed up with Rockne as a player and introduced the forward pass in a mighty upset of Army) ended up coaching college football at Detroit U.

Have a great Fourth of July my friend, and God Bless America!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JIM CROWLEY-
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JACK TOURTILLOTTE - RANGELY, MAINE
Usually I am  terrible around quizzes but I had an interest in the "Four Horseman " so I recognized Jim Crowley. My interest stems from Adam Walsh who was a captain on the 1924 Team and its center. Walsh coached at Bowden college a couple times. Anyway I think I finally got one of the quizzes. lol
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON


*********** QUIZ:  Jim Crowley's high school coach in Green Bay, Wisconsin was Curley Lambeau, his college coach at Notre Dame was Knute Rockne, and he was Vince Lombardi’s college coach at Fordham.

He was a member of one of the most famous college backfields of all time, the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame,
four horsemen
and he was head coach of one of the most famous college lines of all time, the famed Fordham Seven Blocks of Granite.

seven blocks of granite
The right guard is Vince Lombardi; the real star of the team was center Alex Wojciechowicz (Woe-juh-HOE-wicks), who was a two-time All-American and went on to an outstanding career in the NFL with the Lions and Eagles (and I grew up in Philly, which is how I learned how to pronounce his name). "Woe-jie" is a member of the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame.

The Seven Blocks of Granite's line coach was Frank Leahy - who would go on to become one of the greatest coaches in Notre Dame history.


Jim Crowley is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

As a coach his record  at Michigan State was 22-8-3 and at Fordham it was 56-13-7.  His 1940 Fordham team played in the Cotton Bowl and his 1941 team in the Sugar Bowl.

They nicknamed him Sleepy Jim" because of his droopy eyelids, but he was anything but sleepy. He loved a good time, and as the coach at Fordham, he hobnobbed with New York's best-known  sports and show people, and after he retired as a coach he was in great demand as an after-dinner speaker.


http://www.und.com/trads/horse.html

QUIZ - He was among the first in a long line of great  quarterbacks to come out of Western Pennsylvania, and he was the first of Bear Bryant’s outstanding quarterbacks.

He took his college team, better known as a basketball power, to three straight bowl game wins - Orange, Sugar and Cotton, and in one of them, the 1951 Sugar Bowl, he led his team to an upset of top-ranked Oklahoma.  He was an All-American, and the runner-up in the Heisman Trophy balloting.

He was a first round draft choice of the Green Bay Packers - the fourth selection overall - and for several seasons he went back and forth between the NFL and the CFL until with the founding of the American Football League he landed a job with the Raiders.  He was traded to the Patriots, where he spent seven seasons as their starter. He spent his final two seasons with the Jets, backing up Joe Namath.

He is one of only 20 players to have played in the AFL for the entire ten years of its existence.

He was head coach of two different World Football League teams - the New York Stars in 1974 and the Chicago Winds in 1975.

He finished out his coaching career with several stops in the Arena Football League.

He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame.


american flag FRIDAY,  JUNE 30,  2017  - “When you are in any contest, you should work as if there were – to the very last minute – a chance to lose it. This is battle, this is politics, this is anything.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

*********** In Utah, six girls and their parents are suing to force schools to offer football as a girls’ sport.

Not much chance they’ll succeed, but you watch - since it’s too expensive for schools to add girls’ football, the court, realizing that the only option is to let them play on boys’ teams, will order the Powers That Be to make tackle football more “accessible” to girls. And the Department of Education, with its Title IX enforcement powers, will devise ways to determine whether schools are in compliance with the order. 

Not unlike the orders from the Obama administration and its nancy-boy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to do whatever is necessary to make  sure that the Marines have females in combat, and females qualify as Army Rangers, making football  more “accessible” to  girls  can only mean “making football  easier.”

Right now, of course, there’s not a huge number of girls wanting to play tackle football.

If you're into conspiracy theories,  here's where USA Football’s bright new idea, Rookie Football, comes in: its stated aim is to make football safer for our little fellas, but once football’s made easier  (sorry, “safer”) for little boys, you’ll soon see more little girls playing.

And then, with an increasing number of little girls wanting to continue to play once they get to  high school, the burden will  be on high schools to make football “more accessible” to girls.

Remember, you read it here.

http://www.sltrib.com/news/5438621-155/six-female-students-sue-school-districts

*********** The things you hear when you listen to Portland radio: “A study shows that people of color are less likely to use bike sharing”

*********** Near the small town of Gaston, Oregon, where I once coached, an injured bald eagle  was captured by Oregon State Police and turned over to the Audubon Society, which determined that it had been shot. Shooting a bald eagle is a very big deal, and the State Police and the US Fish and Wildlife Service both left phone numbers in the Portland newspaper for people to call with information about the shooting.

All the excitement over one wounded bird.  As it should be.

Meanwhile, out in open fields and up on mountain ridges all over the United States, unsightly wind farms routinely chop to pieces thousands of bald eagles, golden eagles, assorted raptors and a wide variety of other birds and bats - all with the permission of the government and the blessing of the  environmentalists.  Nobody said saving the planet wouldn’t require sacrifice.  They just forgot to tell the birds.

wahluke kids

*********** (LEFT TO RIGHT) Me, Jose Celeya, Oscar Rodriguez, Mike Foristiere, Tony Avalos

My friend Mike Foristiere coaches at Wahluke High in Mattawa, Washington, about 3-1/2 hours from me on the “dry side” (desert) of the state.

On Wednesday, he brought his three quarterbacks over to work with me - picked them up at 6:30, drove them over here and then, when we were done our workouts at 4:30, turned right around and drove them back. (The kids all had to be at work at 5 AM on Thursday.)

It says a lot about a coach who’ll do that for his kids.  Football coaches do this sort of thing all the time, I can’t help thinking that a non-coaching teacher’s-union-type wouldn’t have done it without reimbursement of some kind.

And it says a lot about the three kids, who all have summer jobs, that they’ll give up a day of work - and the money - to spend time working at getting better.

As we went through the drills - passing fundamentals in the morning and Double-Wing -specific skills in the afternoon - I was so impressed by how coachable the kids were and how much fun it was  working with them.

***********  Good morning Hugh,

I was reading through your News and was reminded of the first time I had a Rolling Rock.  I was dating my bride to be (unbeknownst to me at the time) and had decided to take her to eat and have a beer at a local Hofbrau in Fresno (yes, believe it or not we actually had TWO of those bad boys),  Their food was all home-made, and the beer menu was expansive, and being the suds doctor I was back then I was always willing to try something new.

I had visited the Hofbrau a number of times prior to meeting Bernadette.  As I mentioned the food was great, and they had just about any beer from anywhere.  Under the heading "Regionals" on the big board was one I had not noticed before from Latrobe, PA and ordered it.  Green bottle. Hmmm.  Long story short...after a knockout Reuben sandwich and about 5 of those green bottles Bernadette had to drive me home. Man... that was Damn good beer!

Have to agree with you on that Stanford-Rice game in Australia.  Stanford-ND maybe, but Rice??

Quiz:  That would be #61 Bill George of the Chicago Bears.  After the Cardinals left town my dad became a Bears fan.  Until Butkus came along Bill George was all my dad could talk about. Really teed my old man off though when the Bears traded him to the Rams.

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

 Joe,

A marriage made in Latrobe has to be a good one!

No doubt that was REAL Rolling Rock, made in Latrobe by the Tito brothers, who started the brewery back in the 1930s.

In Pennsylvania, “Rock” was sold mainly in seven-ounce bottles, the package of preference at the bar when guys would come in after work and order "a shot and a beer.”  Just enough beer to chase down the whiskey in time to order another one.

Jim Mickinak, a high school classmate of Tom Hinger, has what undoubtedly is the world’s greatest and largest collection of Rolling Rock memorabilia.  It’s so extensive that when the brewery was in operation, its marketing executives would often consult with Jim and his collection when they were discussing packaging and display ideas.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/mar/28/unity-mans-bar-pays-homage-to-latrobes-rolling-roc/


*********** Mike Lude just turned 95, and if there’s a spryer and sharper man his age - anywhere - I’d like to see him.  It’s now been two months since he had a knee replaced, and his rehab is well ahead of schedule. He says sure, there’s pain, but you have to expect it.  I think part of his stoic toughness is being a member of that great generation of people who survived the Depression and fought the Second World War. Also, he was raised on a farm in Western Michigan by a tough, German-immigrant dad, and he was a Marine during World War II.  But he agrees that a major part of his outlook on pain was learned playing football. For an awful lot of boys, the bumps and bruises of football are their first exposure to the vital life lesson that pain is something you can’t allow to get in the way when something has to be done - and you have to do it.

This week, he’s off to New Jersey for the annual reunion of guys he coached at Delaware back in the 1950s.

While we were talking, we got on the subject of  head coaches berating  assistants in front of players, and he told me about the time he and his head coach, Dave Nelson, were in Columbus to talk about the Wing-T at Ohio State’s spring clinic.

He said that after lecturing, he and Coach Nelson were walking with Woody Hayes as practice was going on, when something caught Hayes’s attention. Moving swiftly over to where the offensive line was working, he hollered at the line coach, something along the line of “That’s not how we teach things at Ohio State!”

And then, shoving the assistant aside,  he proceeded to run the drill himself.

That’s more than likely going to damage the credibility of any assistant, and  it’s surely going to damage the credibility of the head coach. One unintended result might actually be to to strengthen the bond between the position coach and his players, uniting them in an us-against-the-boss sort of way.

Those were the days, of course, of smaller staffs, and more hands-on head coaches.  The management of a football program  was still evolving into today’s staff organization, in which the head coach assumes the role of a CEO, and does very little actual coaching.

Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd was definitely among the first major college coaches to delegate all on-field coaching to his assistants. Although the term “coordinator” had yet to be assigned to the jobs, he had Frank Boyles in total charge of his offense, and Ray Graves in total charge of his defense.

One way for coaches to make sure that they  allowed their coaches to coach was to observe practice from towers.   Bear Bryant became the most famous of the “tower coaches” - head coaches who physically removed themselves from actual coaching. Surveying their kingdoms from high above the practice field, they would observe, occasionally commenting on the goings-on down below, but mostly reserving comments until later.

One great coach who admitted to being influenced by Coach Bryant was Don James of Washington.  (Mike Lude, as AD at Kent State , gave Don James his first head coaching job,  and later was his boss at Washington.)

In his book, “James,” Don James tells why he decided to become a “tower coach.”

I wanted to be involved in everything, but not run everything with a “hands-on” approach.

I had known some coaches who were tower coaches. Bear Bryant, of course, is the best known for using that method. There are two things about being a tower coach that made it feel right for me.

First, if you are down on the field with either the offense or the defense, you can’t know what is going on with the other side of the ball.

Secondly, if an assistant coach is working with his position players, it would be easy to step in and say, “No, that’s not the way I want it done.  I want it done this way.”

That could be perceived by the players as putting the assistant down.  I want the players to have a total respect for their position coach.

When up in the tower observing, I take lots of notes. Then, in our daily staff meetings, I’ll coach the coaches on what I want done.  Then the assistants will coach the players.

We always film or video the practices. At the coaches’ meeting the next morning, when we critique the practice, everyone has input. That’s when I can say to an assistant, “I don’t want it done that way,” or ‘That’s not the way to coach that guy.”

(Note: Mike Lude said that while Don never got on an assistant in front of players, some serious ass-chewing took place in the staff meetings.)

Once in a while, although it’s rare, I might get mad and come down from the tower to straighten out something during practice.  But in most cases I try to put it in writing.   I also try to avoid getting on a coach right after practice.

Sometimes I feel like doing so if I’m mad at them. But I’ve learned that I do the poorest job of coaching the coaches and players when I’m angry.  A favorite phrase of Tex Winter, a former Washington basketball coach who is now an assistant with the Chicago Bulls, is, “for every minute you’re angry, you lose 60 seconds of happiness.”

I’ve learned how not to say anything until after I’ve slept on it.  It might not seem so serious the next day.  And I can be more constructive in my criticism.  I just do a better job.  You can correct in a way that the assistant will get something out of it.

I seldom have the time to bring a coach into my office individually to critique every mistake.  I do, however, try to be as positive as I can because I want the coaches to be positive when they correct the players.   And I certainly don’t have the time to correct 150 players one at a time.  So you must learn to take constructive criticism in our program.

Our practices are well planned in advance and very detailed. Everything is scripted from start to finish.  At any moment during the practice I can tell by the play being run down on the field exactly where we are.

I don’t just sit up in that tower and say nothing.  If things aren’t going as well as I think they should, I can either come down or use a megaphone to get a point across.

I suppose some of my players, particularly the younger ones, may have been intimidated by my being in a tower during practice.  But it allows me to make objective decisions without personal involvement.   More importantly, it gives me a clear view of the entire field and everything that is going on.

Although I never coached under him, I’m sure Bear Bryant had a great influence on my desire to be a tower coach.

When I was in college at Miami, I played against his teams.  And then he became “The Guy” in college football - a real legend.

That’s the way people looked at him. He had a great influence on the methods used by many coaches.  When I was coaching at Florida State, it was just amazing.  We’d go over and watch Alabama practices.  Or we’d listen to The Bear speak at clinics on his ideas about speed and quickness and discipline.  In those days, any young coach in his right mind should have been listening and had his note pad out.

Obviously, most of us will never have a large enough staff of qualified assistants that we can afford to go up in a tower, like Don James.

That means that it’s even tougher for us to hold back when we see something wrong being taught, or something being taught wrong.  And take it from me - that temptation is ever-present.

But even worse, it's often very difficult to see what's going on with assistants. I’ve been on a lot of practice fields and I've seen way too many assistant coaches who have no idea what they’re supposed to be teaching or how they’re supposed to be teaching it, but that doesn’t deter them in the slightest.  Worse yet, I’ve seen guys deliberately teaching something different from what the head coach wanted, because they, with their three or four years’ coaching experience (and 12 years’ experience playing Madden), knew far more than the old head coach with 20 years of obsolete football under his belt.  And there was the head coach, coaching down at the other end of the field, unaware of his assistant's treachery.


***********QUIZ- Bill George came out of Waynesburg, in Western Pennsylvania, and played his college football at Wake Forest.

He wrestled in college, and was drafted in the second round by the Chicago Bear as a “future” - in those days, NFL teams could draft a player whose class was going o graduate, but they couldn’t sign him if he still had college eligibility remaining.

Although originally a “middle guard” (now called a nose guard or nose man) in the Bears’ odd-man front, he could very well be considered the very first NFL middle linebacker, and he’s in the long line of great Bears’ middle linebackers.

A former teammate, Maury Youmans, told how it all came about, in a game against the Eagles:

“The Bears were getting beaten by a series of short passes. Bill, always the student of the game, told George Connor (defensive captain and future Hall of Famer) that if he didn’t always have to line up on the line of scrimmage and pop the center, he could stop those short pass across the middle. Connor told him to try it. On the next play Bill lined up three yards deep and intercepted the pass. From that day on, he was the middle linebacker in the Bears’ defense.”

Bill George was a big man - 6-2, 240 - plenty big enough at the time to play on the line or at linebacker.

On a team known for its toughness, he was greatly admired by his teammates:

Quarterback Bill Wade: “Bill George was a super athlete. He could get in the line and be a defensive lineman, as well as a linebacker.  I mean, who does that today? Nobody. HIs ability to become a lineman was a tremendous advantage to the Bears’ defense.  He was a tough guy, no question about that.

Maury Youmans, defensive end: “At the end of training camp, he gathered the defense together and said, ‘Boys, you can listen to the coaches all week, but on Sunday I’ll tell you what to do on the field. ‘ He knew the defenses better than anyone, including the coaches.”

Youmans again: “My first exhibition game, as a rookie, Doug Atkins and I got the the quarterback at the same time. Doug always had his head down when he got to the quarterback. I rushed a little bit higher, but the quarterback ducked, and Doug hits me right in the stomach. I’m laying there on the ground.  I just can’t get up. Our trainer, Ed Rozy, runs out and say, ‘You just stay down.  Relax for a minute.’ He’s pulling my belt.  Now, I’m just a rookie. Bill George comes up to me and says, ‘Maury, are you all right?’ I said, ‘Yes, I’m all right.’ He says, ‘Well, you son of a bitch - get up and get in the huddle.’ He was one tough guy.”

Ed O’Bradovich, all-pro defensive end: “John Unitas said one time that he feared one man in the NFL, and that was Bill George. Not because of his physical prowess, but because of his mental approach to football. You could not fool Bill, that was his great strength - his mental toughness and his knowledge of the game.”

Rick Casares, Bears’ hard-nosed fullback: “Bill George was the best middle inebacker in the game when he played.  He was tough, he was smart, and he could run. People don’t realize how fast he was. Bill was a great player.  I had great respect for him.”

Doug Atkins, one of the toughest, meanest men ever to play the game, summed it up:  “Bill George was a hell of a football player.”

Bill George was All-Pro eight straight years, and was voted onto the All-NFL Team of the 1950s.

In the locker room following the Bears’ 1963 championship game win, Bill George was the player who awarded the game ball to defensive coordinator George Allen, much to the chagrin of head coach George Halas.  And then, in front of a national TV audience - the Bears serenaded Allen:

Hooray for George!
Hooray at Last!
Hooray for George!
He’s a horse’s  ass!

In those much more proper days of network TV, sports fans everywhere looked at each other and asked, “did I just hear what I think I heard?”


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BILL GEORGE
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA

*********** Bill George was quite superstitious.  One-time Bears’ captain Stan Jones, in Maury Youman’s’ “’63,” about the Bears’ 1963 NFL championship team, told a great story about a prank he pulled on George:

“When he and I were captains, we would go out for the coin flip before the game. Someone mentioned to me that one of Bill’s superstitions was that he had to be the first one off the field after the coin flip. So the next game, when it came time to shake hands with the opposing team captains, a plan was put in place.  I would shake hands with the captain in front of Bill, which would cut him off from the other captain. Then I would shake hands really quick with the other captain and then beat him off the field. It drove him crazy. I would come off the field, and Bill would be in hot pursuit.  Everybody would be yelling.  It looked like we were sky-high for the game, when we were really trying to piss Bill George off about being so damn superstitious.”

*********** Bill George was of Syrian extraction, but I swear I’d read someplace that he was Greek.  Bears’ Hall of Famer George Connor told a story in “Papa Bear”, Jeff Davis’ biography of George Halas, that might explain:

“We kidded Bill about being Greek, and he’d get furious. ‘I’m not a goddamn Greek!’ he’d scream.  Early in the exhibition season, we were playing in Little Rock. I took Bill out to dinner to the best Greek restaurant in town. When we got there, I took the owner aside and told him Bill’s nickname was the ‘Golden Greek.’ I told him he was sorta shy, but he was one helluva guy. The owner came out during dinner and poured us a glass of wine. ‘Opaa! To my countryman, the Golden Greek!’  Everyone in the restaurant stood up and cheered. Then the owner turned to Bill: ‘This one is on me, my friends.  You don’t pay for a thing.’  After that, when we went on the road, Bill and I always went to the best Greek place in town. Never paid a nickel for anything when I was with the Golden Greek.”

*********** QUIZ:  His high school coach was Curley Lambeau, his college coach was Knute Rockne, and he was Vince Lombardi’s college coach.

A native of Green Bay, he starred at Notre Dame under Knute Rockne.

He was a member of one of the most famous college backfields of all time, and he was coach of one of the most famous college lines of all time.

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

As a coach his record  at Michigan State was 22-8-3 and at Fordham it was 56-13-7.  His 1940 Fordham team played in the Cotton Bowl and his 1941 team in the Sugar Bowl. 



american flag TUESDAY,  JUNE 27,  2017  - “There is one guaranteed formula for failure and that is to try to please everyone.”  Will Rogers

*********** My friend Tom Hinger is justifiably proud of his hometown, Latrobe, Pennsylvania. 

Latrobe is the home of Arnold Palmer and Mister Rodgers and was also the home of Rolling Rock Beer. (Rolling Rock, once made with mountain water in western Pennsylvania is now made by a certain Belgium-based brewing giant in Newark, New Jersey, with whatever passes for water there.)

This past winter, Latrobe’s basketball team finished 19-5, and made it to the state Class AAAA (largest class) tournament, losing by a point to the eventual state finalist.

This spring, the Latrobe High baseball team went 22-2, winning its last 14 games in a row, to take the state title.

And last week, a memorial service was held in Latrobe for Tom’s longtime friend, Ray Mt. Joy. Ray  had long ago moved away, to Texas, where he became quite successful in the oil business, but he never lost touch with his hometown. Ray  played on the football team at Latrobe, and in his honor, current head coach Jason Marucco bussed his team, in their game jerseys, to the church to escort the mourners inside.

*********** FOOTBALL IS BACK!!!

There were THREE CFL games on ESPN2 this past weekend!  THREE!

Overall, I like the Canadian game, and it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest if the NFL were to go poof!  and just disappear.

I like the larger field and the deeper end zones.  I like the fact that punts have to be  returned - and coverage people have to give return men room to field the ball, and  I like the idea of the single (or red, or rouge, or whatever) that’s awarded any time a team can’t return a kick out of its own end zone.

Other than the fact that it means an additional wide receiver and an additional defensive back - the two positions that account for the greatest number of our sport’s a&&holes  -  it doesn’t bother me that they have 12 men on the field. Nor does it bother me that they have only three downs to make ten yards, or that the defensive  linemen have to line up 2 yards off the ball.

There’s just one thing that makes Canadian football  look as if something’s awry: it’s that damn rule that allows multiple men to be  in motion at the snap - and going forward at that. The other rules differences are easily understood and dealt with, but to the American eye, this anomaly really sticks out and makes the CFL game look as if it’s not serious   football.

It’s important to note that the Canadian game owes us nothing.  It developed on its own, not as an offshoot of American football, and it isn’t  a flawed attempt to imitate our game.

But jeez - the NFL broadcasts into all the CFL markets, and it wouldn’t break Big Football’s heart if the CFL were eventually to fold. If it’s to thrive, it’s got to widen its appeal, and if it’s ever going to appeal to the much larger audience in the US, this man-in-motion business has got to go.

 
*********** Coach Adam Watters, longtime Double Wing coach in Tucson, wrote me recently

Hello coach,
It has been a couple of years since I last contacted you. I hope you are doing well.  I looked to see if I could attend one of your clinics, but it seems you are not holding another one this year.  I did not coach last year as I was busy with my job as a justice, but this year I am coaching at the freshmen high school level again, here at what is considered a "program" school in Arizona.  The head coach loves my double wing.  The varsity OC is a very good friend of mine, who runs a true single wing.  He and I debate which is the superior offense.  We were having dinner with our wives the other day, and were speculating what our records were using the two offenses.  I had no exact idea, but my wife said she did as she kept mementos of each season for me in a box.  I had no idea she was doing that, although she does attend each game.  Anyhow, she showed me my coaching record was 75-14.  I told my buddy that, and am still waiting for his comparable number . . . (Maybe he will switch to DW this season!)

Anyhow, I went to review your films and various items I purchased from you over the years and discovered I could not watch much of it as it was on VHS.  Normally not a problem, except that my wife and I moved recently and she threw away the only VHS player we had!  When I told her I needed a VHS player, she reminded me that we are in the 21st century now.

He added,

On my frosh team, we always use the Go! ReeeaaadyHut! count I took from your video 14 years ago.  Never have used anything else.  Still, opponents jump constantly.  Anyhow, I simply name every play we have, no numbers.   Our SuperPower, for example, is Gorilla (I stopped using motion on that play years ago because the X counter timing works better with no motion). Our Wedge is Goat.  Our X counter is Goofy.  All plays without motion start with GO.  All other plays have motion (or shifts) and are on Hut and obviously are named without a Go in the beginning.  Kids remember the cadence based on the play name.

The trick in coaching, as Coach Watters understands, is to somehow get the kids to understand what is so obvious to us but is never quite so obvious to them!

***********  This from an article in the Charlotte Observer…

A 9-year-old in Los Angeles, Havon Finney Jr., recently received an offer from the University of Nevada. The news was reported by his trainer, Mike Evans, a former Louisville football player.

The kid is barely out of a car seat, but Nevada had to be the first to offer.

Had to get to him, because  if they’d waited until he was in middle school, Lane Kiffin, who’s already offered to at least four pre-high schoolers,  might have scarfed him up.

I’ll bet the parents of little  Havon are delighted, knowing that all the money they've spent on his "trainer" is finally paying off.

Meanwhile… what a can of worms these stupid-ass college coaches  have popped open.  Did the NCAA ever think it might someday need a rule making it a violation for college recruiters  to slip money to youth coaches?  To 9-year-olds? To “trainers” of 9-year-olds? Bad enough youth coaches already get pressured to prepare kids for the “next level,” but now they’re going to  start catching hell from parents if none of their 9-year-olds get college offers. 

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/high-school/preps-blog/article157999319.html#storylink=cpy

*********** Did you happen to notice the headlines after this past weekend’s festivities?

This year, those long lines of marchers prancing around in sequined jump suits and rainbow boas weren’t “Gay Pride” parades.  Oh, no.  This year, they were simply “Pride Parades.”

And if you hadn’t noticed, it’s been  just “Pride Month.”

First they made off with the word “Gay” and then they changed the definitions of the words “husband” and “wife.”

Soon enough, “Pride” will go the way of “gay.”

*********** How does California’s ban on travel to states that (in the view of those in charge in Sacramento) discriminate against people who have chosen to become members of the opposite sex (or a third sex) - affect sports teams?  No football games in Texas or Alabama?  No basketball games in North Carolina or Kentucky?

Damn shame to think that as f—ked up as that state is, 30-some per cent of its people are conservative - or at least Republican. Which means that  some 12 million Californians live in a state of virtual bondage.

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/06/23/californias-travel-ban-how-does-it-affect-college-sports/

*********** The World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) has changed its name to World Taekwondo because of the "negative connotations" associated with its initials.

The organisation had used the previous name since it was established in 1973.

However, it felt in the "digital age" the slang of the old abbreviation was "unrelated to our organisation and so it was important that we rebranded to better engage with our fans".

The change was made before the start of the 2017 World Taekwondo Championships.

The event is taking place in Muju, South Korea.

"World Taekwondo is distinctive and simple to understand and reinforces the global nature of our sport," said World Taekwondo president Choue Chung-won.

"Our vision is taekwondo for all and as World Taekwondo we are confident we can build on our success to date and achieve that vision."

Years ago, when texting was in its infancy and the DMV people didn’t understand the meaning of what are now commonly-used abbreviations, we managed, quite by chance,  to get two sets of license plates that start out “WTF.”  You can have your vanity plates.  You couldn’t pay me to give up my WTF.

http://www.bbc.com/sport/taekwondo/40391326

*********** Last year, Australians got a taste of American college football when Cal played Hawaii in Sydney. College football has got a decent following among the sports-loving Australians, because  of the International Date line: they see the college games on their Sunday.  And because Cal is a reasonably well-known West Coast school and Hawaii is the closest major college program to Australia, the game drew 61,000 in a stadium that seats 83,000.  Not bad.

This year, somebody vastly misjudged the sophistication of the Australian football fan.  Somebody must have thought that if you call it “big time college football,” those rubes will line up to buy tickets. 

So they brought in a big name - Stanford. 

Okay.  But who’s Stanford going to be playing?

Rice.  Yes. Rice.

Interestingly, the two teams met the last weekend of last year’s regular season and drew 36,000, the smallest crowd of the year, to Stanford Stadium.  And most of of those in attendance were Stanford season ticket holders.  If they’d had to depend on the walkup trade, they wouldn't have drawn 10,000.

So good luck, whoever’s promoting this.  Just as you wouldn’t expect Americans  to pay good money  to watch Stanford play Rice in  Palo Alto or Houston, you shouldn’t expect Australians to pay to watch them play in Sydney.

Oh - And as if the matchup weren’t unattractive enough,  the game’s going to be  at just about the same time as the  Mayweather-McGregor match.

*********** How dumb are the people who run the College World Series?

Dumb enough to make the biggest show in college baseball look bush league: there was LSU in dark purple shirts and hats, Florida in dark blue shirts and hats - two of the best teams in college baseball - looking for all the world like it was an intra-squad scrimmage.

Sure would like to go back to the days before 1963, when Charlie Finley, owner of the Kansas City A’s and a guy who never saw a tradition he respected, fielded a team wearing “kelly green and Las Vegas gold.” 

Until that clown came along, baseball had made it through two world wars and a depression with the home team wearing white and the visiting team wearing gray.

As long as I’m on this trip into the distant past, I could get going on   the subject of knicker-type pants and stockings with stirrups and white sanitary sox underneath.  But I won’t.

*********** Good morning Hugh,

Really enjoyed seeing that YouTube clip of Mark Speckman again.  Thanks!  It put me in a better frame of mind today after waking up to that blather spewed out of the mouth of Johnny Depp yesterday.

It’s getting to the point that someone in Federal law enforcement needs to call some of these celebrities out on the things that they are saying and doing towards our President.  Shameful.

God forbid if average folks said anything or did anything towards Obama like they are doing with President Trump they would have definitely been questioned, maybe even held for threatening the life of a U.S. President, and likely charged with a hate crime.  What that so called comedienne Kathy Griffin did, and what Johnny Depp said in England yesterday was "deplorable".  Why haven't they been called out by the law?

Not only was I amazed at how fast and tight an American destroyer can turn, it's even more amazing to watch an American aircraft carrier do the same thing!  How about that F-35 and what it can do in the sky?  

Have a wonderful weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

I would love to be close by with my Louisville Slugger when one of those Hollywood types started testing out his "First Amendment rights.”

I just hope I remember to hold the trademark up so I don’t break the bat.


*********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING CONDREDGE HOLLOWAY
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS - If you haven't already seen this, I know you'll enjoy it. Is it just me, or does Condredge Holloway look a bit like Walter Payton when he runs?    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKuYDIpaz7Q
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA - Lee High School Huntsville AL -  one of only two athletes that  was All SEC and had the highest  batting average in the SEC the next baseball season - (The other) Buck Belue
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - I grew up in the far southwestern corner of Virginia in a town called Big Stone Gap. So, although we were part of VA, everyone in southwest Virginia was a Vols fan. Our part of the state was a distant afterthought to the pols in Richmond, and somehow the people sensed that. We always felt stronger ties to Tennessee sports than Virginia's. That's still true today. I had moved away but still followed Holloway and the Vols.
CHARLIE WILSON - CRYSTAL RIVER, FLORIDA - Back in the Daze, you might find a half hour replay of a game played the previous Saturday..  Something like "SEC Game of the Week".  One week, the game was Tennessee vs. Mississippi. So, how did the Vols beat Mississippi? They ran the Single Wing. It must have been one of those games where the DC just dropped his clip board and started screaming at the players to do something, ANYTHING!  It was fun to watch.
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS - I remember watching him on TV against Georgia Tech one time (I'm pretty sure it was GT), and he broke a run off and literally left about half of the defense in his wake with his running ability.  I mean breaking at least 6 tackle attempts on his way to the end zone.  Just an exceptional athlete.
DAVE POTTER - WENDELL, NORTH CAROLINA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA - I don't know if you ever saw the movie by Kenny Chesney, “Boys of Fall,” but Holloway is one of the persons in the video and one of the best statements I ever heard was when he was at Tennessee he would be asked how does it feel to be a black QB.  His answer was I don't know I've always been a black QB.
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
JERRY LOVELL - BELLEVUE, NEBRASKA - Coach Lovell brought to my attention the fact that  when Condredge Holloway’s mother, Dorothy, was hired to work at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville in 1962, she became  NASA’s first black employee.

*********** QUIZ: Before there was Peyton Manning...  there was Condredge Holloway, a kid from Huntsville, Alabama  who became so well-known, so beloved in Tennessee that a C & W song was written about him.

He almost didn't even play college football at all. In 1971, right out of high school, he was drafted number one by the Montreal Expos. But his mother insisted that he get a college education - and the rest is history.

Freshmen weren’t eligible when he arrived at Tennessee.  So excited were the Tennessee people about their sensational freshman quarterback that when  the UT frosh played Notre Dame’ in Knoxville 50,000 of them  showed up.

His sophomore year, the first year he was eligible, he became the first black player to quarterback an SEC team, and he took the Vols to a bowl game all three years of his varsity eligibility. With him at QB, Tennessee was 25-9-2.

They called him the Artful Dodger. Only 5-11 and 180, he was sensational in run-or-pass situations, throwing for over 3,000 yards in his career, and running for nearly 1,000. In his senior year, he successfully made the transition from a rollout to a veer quarterback. At the time he left Tennessee, he was the school's all-time leader in total offense, and even though he played more than 40 years ago, he still ranks among Tennessee's top 10 passers.

Holloway  was All-SEC his senior year, and received some Heisman votes, but that was it for him as a football player in the States.  He spent the rest of his football days in Canada.

When he was drafted only 12th by the New England Patriots he chose instead to sign with Ottawa of the CFL, where he could play quarterback.  In 13 years in Canada, he led two different teams to Grey Cup championships. First, sharing duties with ex-Notre Damer Tom Clements, he helped lead the Ottawa Rough Riders to the title. And then, traded to Toronto,  he hooked up with run-and-shoot guru Mouse Davis. The large Canadian field and Davis' offensive system were made to order for him, and in his six years with the Argos, he threw for 16,619 yards and 98 touchdowns, and led them to the Grey Cup in 1982.

He ended his career with one final season in British Columbia, then returned to Tennessee to get his degree. He is currently an Assistant Athletic Director at Tennessee.

http://www.utsports.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/condredge_holloway_713003.html

http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2011/02/mccarter_condredge_holloways_s.html

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

https://www.amazon.com/Espn-Films-Orange-Condredge-Holloway/dp/B00JHH22EY


*********** Johnny Unitas’ first pass as an NFL quarterback was intercepted and returned for a touchdown.

On Condredge Holloway’s first college pass - against Georgia Tech, in Atlanta - the same thing almost happened.

His pass into the flat was intercepted. The Tech defender was off and running, with Holloway in hot pursuit.

Holloway  managed to haul him down at the six.

Talk about motivation - looking back on it, Holloway joked, "I knew if I didn't catch him I was probably going to be a defensive back the next week."

Tech wound up kicking a field goal and went ahead, 3-0.   But Tennessee won,  34-3, then their largest margin of victory in their long series.


*********** Condredge Holloway, as one of the top prospects in the state of Alabama,  was recruited by Bear Bryant - but not as a quarterback. Coach Bryant told him straight up, during recruiting, that he didn’t think Bama’s fans were ready for a black quarterback.

"A lot of people thought I should be mad about that," Holloway said years later, "but I never looked at it that way. I admired Coach Bryant for being honest with me. He could have told me anything, then moved me to wideout when I got there. But he let me know from the beginning that quarterback wouldn't be open to me."


*********** Years ago, Keith Babb, a coach from Illinois, wrote me…

He was one year ahead of me at the University of Tennessee. He was a freshman the last year freshmen were not eligible to play for the "varsity". In one memorable freshman game, he cemented his legend and unleashed the expectations that he largely fulfilled during his last 3 years on campus. The Tennessee freshmen played the Notre Dame freshman in a game that was attended by nearly 50,000 people. (Neyland Stadium had only a 72,000 seat capacity at the time.) As I recall, Tennessee won that day 31 - 13. The play of the game was a pass play where Holloway was being chased by defenders. He turned and headed up field where he was confronted by a d-back who tried to tackle him. Holloway leapt in the air and the defender hit one of his feet. Holloway turned a complete flip, landing on his feet and proceeded to the end zone. I know folks who still talk about that play!


*********** QUIZ- He came out of Western Pennsylvania and played his college football at Wake Forest.

He wrestled in college, and was drafted in the second round by the Chicago Bear as a “future” - in those days, NFL teams could draft a player whose original class was scheduled to graduate, but they couldn’t sign him until he had used up all his college eligibility.

Although originally a “middle guard” (now called a nose guard or nose man) in the Bears’ odd-man front, he is considered the very first NFL 4-3 middle linebacker, and he’s first  in the long line of great Bears’ middle linebackers.

A former teammate, Maury Youmans, told how it all came about, in a game against the Eagles:

“The Bears were getting beaten by a series of short passes. (He) always the student of the game, told George Connor (defensive captain and future Hall of Famer) that if he didn’t always have to line up on the line of scrimmage and pop the center, he could stop those short pass across the middle. Connor told him to try it. On the next play (he) lined up three yards deep and intercepted the pass. From that day on, he was the middle linebacker in the Bears’ defense.”

He was All-Pro eight straight years, and was voted onto the All-NFL Team of the 1950s.


american flag FRIDAY,  JUNE 23,  2017  - “One of the mysteries of the ages is why the political left has, for centuries, lavished so much attention on the well-being of criminals and paid so little attention to their victims.”  Dr. Thomas Sowell

*********** My friend Doc Hinger has friends in The Woodlands, Texas, and he sent me an article about one of the coaches there.

Back in May, the coach, Greg Colschen, was lifting some crawfish out of a big pot when he accidentally hit the edge of the pot and spilled boiling water on his feet.

Pain? "It's not like anything else you could ever experience,” he told the Houston Chronicle.. "It's just different from any injury that you could sustain because of the nerves and everything involved with it. It's very hard to control the pain."

He was rushed to a burn center in Houston, where he spent the next several weeks.  Treatment there included surgery to graft skin from his quadriceps onto his feet and toes.

Now, he’s on the road to recovery and hopes to be ready for the start of practice in August.

But meanwhile, way down in the article - talk about burying the lead - was this illustration of the kind of man Coach Colschen is:

Colschen, who is the running backs coach for the Highlanders, made quite an impact in the high school football community this past season with a simple gesture of compassion. The junior varsity team he was coaching took a knee near the goal line ― and subsequently suffered a loss ― against Katy Tompkins in September after an opposing player went down with a serious injury with mere seconds left on the clock.

"We're here to teach kids, and there's a lot of lessons learned through football and sports," Colschen told The Courier last fall. "When I looked across the field and saw their players together praying, I saw tears in their eyes and their coaches had tears in their eyes. There was not going to be a win-win here."

Wow. That’s sportsmanship.  Twenty years from now, nobody would rememberthe final score of a JV game. But I guarantee you, an awful lot of people who were there that day will remember the noble act of a coach who chose not to administer the coup de grace to an already-grieving opponent.

http://www.chron.com/neighborhood/woodlands/sports/article/FOOTBALL-TWHS-coach-Colschen-thankful-for-11234156.php?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook


*********** You’ve no doubt read about the collision at sea between a giant container ship named the ACX Crystal and the USS Fitzgerald , a  very fast, highly maneuverable destroyer.

A former ship captain-turned-writer named John Konrad notes just how fast and how maneuverable:

The USS Fitzgerald is an Arleigh Burke class destroyer with a top speed well in excess of 30 knots. Speed is helpful in preventing collision because it allows you to put more distance between you and a dangerous ship in the same amount of time. (Yes, speed can also be dangerous.)

She is powered by four gas turbine engines with over 100,000 horsepower available to turn her propellers.

Gas turbines are expensive and burn lots of fuel but the Navy uses them because they can provide an immense amount of torque in a very short period of time. Torque translates to acceleration and acceleration is important if you need to get out of the way of something fast.

The USS Fitzgerald is highly maneuverable with a very tight turning radius.

(You’ve got to see this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Vih4tGmqjs )

The fault,  Konrad argues persuasively, likely lies with communications.

On the ACX Crystal, as on all container ships, , the captain is in compete command at all times.  He sees all, knows all, does all.

On the USS Fitzgerald, however, as on all Navy ships, responsibilities are widely dispersed and delegated among several parties, and there is  a chain of command to be observed in communicating even such a matter as a large ship bearing down on you.

Armed with that information, a ship as fast and agile as the USS Fitzgerald could easily have avoided the collision.

But somehow, Konrad suggests, the  need to act may have become lost as it was transmitted up the chain. 

The Captain  wasn’t even informed of the impending collision and in fact was injured because he was in his quarters at the time, rather than on the bridge.  Nonetheless, it is longtime Navy policy that the Captain is responsible for what happens to his ship, and this will almost certainly be a career-ender for him.

Sound at all like a head football coach with a big staff? 

Obviously, there are advantages to delegating responsibilities, but at the same time there are dangers.  There are also great advantages to being small and flexible: any head football coach will tell you how important it is to have your hands on the wheel - or very close to it -  and to have a streamlined chain of command.

Think about this before you try to set up an organizational structure along the lines of an NFL or big-time college staff: when something goes wrong, it’s your career that’s on the line.

When you do delegate, you’re no better than your weakest subordinate.   Or the chain of command itself.

http://gcaptain.com/uss-fitzgerald-fault/

*********** Evidently some unelected judge-for-life has decided that it’s unfair to a defendant to have  a jury see him/her wearing handcuffs or ankle restraints.  The idea is that  in  a system supposedly based on the presupposition of innocence,  the sight of the shackles might make the jurors prejudge the defendant.

Funny how the defendants never gave that a thought back when they were getting those tattoos on their necks and foreheads.

*********** Malik Zaire, who once showed some promise as Notre Dame’s quarterback,  is transferring to Florida.

Florida coach Jim McElwain,  asked whether bringing in Zaire might somehow be unfair to the quarterbacks already on the Gators’ roster: 

“I was the guy they always tried to replace at Eastern Washington, so I get it.”

*********** Kavell Bigby-Williams played two years of basketball  at a JC in Wyoming then  this past season at Oregon, backing up Jordan Bell and Chris Boucher at forward.  He averaged 3 points and 2.8 rebounds, but he did block 28 shots.

Now, with one year of eligibility remaining, he’s announced he’s transferring to LSU.

“At this point in my career,” he tweeted, “it’s solely a business decision…”

Spoken like a true student-athlete.

But, uh… Considering what he’s shown so far, you have to wonder what business, exactly, he could  be talking about.

*********** New OU head coach Lincoln Riley has been given a contract  that will pay him $3.5 million a year. 

It’s not exactly a rags-to-riches story.   He was already making $1.3 million as the Sooners’ OC.

*********** University of Washington point guard Markelle Fultz is almost certain to be the number one pick in the NBA draft.

Couple of red flags:

You want a 65 per cent free throw shooter playing point guard for you?

If he’s such a difference maker, how come the Huskies only won nine games?

Following up on LSU’s Ben Simmons last year,  doesn’t it seem strange that for the second straight year the NBA’s top draft pick would be a guy  who couldn’t even get his college team to the playoffs?

*********** I was reading the obituaries the other day and read about a guy named Jim Schmitz who’d died recently.  He was 73 and it sounded as if he was quite a guy:

“Jim had a great life fishing and hunting North America, a suite at the 50 yard line at the Seahawks, Super Bowls, and a summer residence on Babine Lake in the bush in Canada.

“His adventures are not done yet! His ashes will be going with family fishing and hunting exploits, including his grandson’s first moose hunting trip in Alberta, Canada.

“No flowers, please. Instead, take a kid hunting or fishing in honor of Jim.”
 
*********** Why all the fuss about nonexistent Russian interference in our elections - but crickets about $30 million spent by California liberals to influence people in Georgia to elect a guy to Congress - a twerp who didn’t even live in their District?

*********** A 20-year-old Vancouver, Washington guy has been accused of filming co-workers - female co-workers - in the shared employee locker room.  He was discovered  when one of his fellow employees noticed his cell phone sitting in one of his shoes, and found, on closer inspection, that it was filming.

The guy’s name - no, this isn’t a porn film - is Perry Beaver.  Really.

http://www.columbian.com/news/2017/jun/20/man-accused-of-filming-coworkers-in-employee-locker-room/

***********  “I didn't come over on the Mayflower, but I came over as soon as I could.”   Anton Cermak, running for mayor of Chicago, responding to a rival’s slurs about his ethnicity. (He won.)

*********** Bill Dana died. If you’re old enough, you remember him playing a Hispanic character named Jose Jimenez.

Like so many comedians, he was discovered and brought to the public’s attention by Steve Allen, an early late-show host and one of the most talented of American entertainers.

One famous exchange between Allen and Dana, in his role as Jose Jiminez...

Steve Allen:  “I understand you own a ranch…

Jose Jimenez: “Yes, the name of my ranch is the Bar Nine Circle Z Rocking O Flying W Lazy O Crazy 2 Happy 7 Bar 17 Parallelogram 4 Octagon 9 Trapezoid 6.”

Allen: “Do you have many cattle?”

Jimenez: “No. Not many survive the branding.”

***********Good morning Hugh,

Sorry I missed wishing you a Happy Birthday, and a Happy Father's Day!   From what I read it appears both were extremely enjoyable for you and Connie.  Belatedly Happy Birthday and Happy Father's Day!

Great to see the picture of you and Connie with Mike and Cielo.  I've known Mike since our high school football days in Clovis, CA.  We lost track of one another after high school, but believe it or not it was a guy named Coach Wyatt and his double wing offense that got us reconnected!  Mike's wife Cielo is courage defined.  He and I would talk on the phone when they were going through her cancer treatments.  What Mike and his boys were able to do for her was amazing, and I couldn't be more happy for all of them.  Mike and I still stay in touch, and are actually planning to attend this year's Army-Navy game.

I'm very familiar with Linfield College.  A coaching friend of mine  that I'm sure you've heard of (or maybe even met having been coaching in the Pacific Northwest for as long as you have) used to face Linfield every year when he was the head football coach at Willamette.  Mark Speckman.

Now... there's a coach with an inspirational story!  

I met Mark years ago while coaching the club football team at the University of San Francisco.  
We got to know one another while working a youth football camp in NorCal.  What an incredible man.  I've followed his coaching career with great interest.  Everywhere he's been he's been a success with that Fly Offense of his.  Currently he's the Assistant Head Coach at UC Davis.

QUIZ:  That gentleman would be Marshall Goldberg.  My dad and my uncle saw him play for the Cardinals while they were growing up in Chicago.  

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Coach Gutilla is so right on Mark Speckman.  Recognized as the leading authority on - if not the  inventor of - the Fly Offense, he was born without hands.  His inspirational story goes back to what he says his mother would tell him whenever he was having problems as a kid (such as trying to tie his shoelaces): “Figure it out.”

They ought to make him Secretary of Figuring it Out, and send him out to talk to all the whiners and complainers who think it’s the job of the  government to make their lives easy!

If you've never heard him speak (or even if you have) you need to check this out:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiorA6Mna54


Goldberg Ring of Honor



*********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING MARSHALL GOLDBERG

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
J.C. BRINK - STUART, FLORIDA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
JERRY LOVELL - BELLEVUE, NEBRASKA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON


CARDINALS'  RING OF HONOR
Photo Sent by Kevin McCullough, Lakeville, Indiana




*********** Until Tony Dorsett came along 37 years after him, Marshall Goldberg was considered  the best running back ever to play for Pitt.

He was a Jewish kid from the small town of Elkins, West Virginia, where he was captain of his high school’s football, basketball and track teams.

He was heavily recruited, but chose Pitt, where he became a member of Jock Sutherland’s “Dream Backfield” of Goldberg, Cassiano, Chickerneo and Stebbins. (There have been several "Dream Backfields" since then, but this was the first.)

He was an All-American at two positions: in 1937 as a halfback, and in 1938 - unselfishly changing positions in order to get the team’s four best backs on the field - as a fullback.

When his career at Pitt was over, he had twice finished in the top three in the Heisman voting - third place in 1937, second in 1938 - and he set a carer rushing record that would last until Dorsett broke it in 1974.

He played with the Chicago Cardinals from 1939 through 1942, and then after wartime service as a Navy officer  in the South Pacific, he returned to play three more seasons. 

Once a member of Pitt’s “Dream Backfield,” he also became a member of the Cardinals’ “Million-Dollar Backfield,” so-called because in competition with the Chicago Rockets of the new AAFC, Cards’ owner William Bidwill had signed All-American Charley Trippi to a then-astonishing $100,000 contract. The backfield of Goldberg, Trippi, quarterback Paul Christman and fullback Pat Harder led the Cards to a 9-3 record, defeating the Bears in the final game of the regular season to send the Cards to the championship game with the Eagles, in which they won their only NFL title.

Not a big man, Goldberg was tough. He was named All-Pro Defensive Back  for three straight years (1946-1948)

He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and is one of only nine Pitt players to have his number retired.

http://www.jewishsports.net/BioPages/MarshallGoldberg.htm

*********** In his book “Ellis Island to Ebbetts Field - Sport and the American Jewish Experience,” Peter Levine writes of the improbable story of Marshall Goldberg, the son of a Jewish immigrant who grew up in Elkins, West Virginia, a mountain town of some 7,500 people, with only four Jewish families.  The nearest synagogue was in Morgantown, 70  miles of mountain roads away, so on Sundays he attended a Methodist church where his high school football coach was a Sunday School teacher. (His two brothers split their Sundays between a Presbyterian Church and a Baptist Church. They would both go on to play football at the local college, Davis and Elkins, a Presbyterian institution.)

It was only when he went away to Pittsburgh for college that Goldberg was introduced to the formalities of Judaism.

HIs father, Saul, who owned the local movie theatre in Elkins, steered him to Pitt, and became a big supporter of the Panthers.  Before their 1937 Rose Bowl game against Washington, Pitt coach Jock Sutherland read to the team a telegram that the elder Goldberg had sent: BRING HOME THE BACON AND YOU KNOW HOW I HATE PORK. Pitt won, 21-0.

At the same time as Hitler’s rise to power and the beginning of the Nazis’ evil treatment of European Jews, a football star named Goldberg became a hero to American Jewish sports fans. In New York, large numbers of them turned out to watch the great Pitt-Fordham clashes. The Jewish press,  once a strong presence in large cities with sizable Jewish populations,  enjoyed calling him  the “Hebrew Hillbilly.”

Goldberg, a modest person,  understood the reason for his popularity. “Here’s a guy named Goldberg,” he told Levine in a 1990 interview, “who’s a football player - and Jews aren’t supposed to be football players, and Jews aren’t supposed to be strong.”


***********  In the 1930s, Notre Dame coach Elmer Layden desperately wanted to recruit a great high school running back in Elkins, West Virginia named Marshall Goldberg.  As the name suggests, Goldberg was Jewish, the son of a merchant in the small town.

But Notre Dame’s President, Father O’Hara, had placed recruiting restrictions on his football coach - he could not leave campus to sign players.  They had to come to South Bend.

Meantime, according to the story, a famed movie producer who was also a Notre Dame booster promised that if Goldberg  went to Notre Dame, he'd make a movie called “Goldberg of Notre Dame.” (At the time, the story of  a Jewish kid starring at the nation’s best-known Catholic school would have been a sure box-office hit.)

Alas,  Marshall Goldberg never went to Notre Dame, and the movie was never made.

Goldberg was successfully recruited by Jock Sutherland, legendary Pitt coach, and along with Dick Cassiano, John Chickernio and Curly Stebbins formed what came to be called the Dream Backfield.  Thanks in large part to them, for three years, from 1936 through 1938, Pitt won one national title and contended for two others.

Goldberg played a major role in Pitt defeats of Notre Dame in 1936 and 1937, and went on to a solid career in the NFL.

I’d sure love to have seen “Goldberg of Notre Dame.”

*********** How about this one…

In 1935, 1936 and 1937, Pitt and Fordham, two of the best teams in the country, met in New York’s Polo Grounds, and all three games ended the same way - 0-0.  Three straight years of scoreless ties.

Fordham’s publicity guy, Tim Cohane, in a takeoff on Shakespeare, called in “Much Ado About Nothing to Nothing.”

In the 1937 game, Goldberg scored, but the play was called back for holding.

http://articles.latimes.com/1987-09-05/sports/sp-1516_1_curly-stebbins

*********** QUIZ: Before there was Peyton Manning...  there was a kid from Huntsville Alabama  who became so well-known, so beloved in Tennessee that a C & W song was written about him.

He almost didn't even play college football at all. In 1971, right out of high school, he was drafted number one by the Montreal Expos. But his mother insisted that he get a college education - and the rest is history.

His sophomore year, the first year he was eligible, he became the first black player to quarterback an SEC team, and he took the Vols to a bowl game all three years of his varsity eligibility. With him at QB, Tennessee was 25-9-2.

They called him the Artful Dodger. Only 5-11 and 180, he was sensational in run-or-pass situations, throwing for over 3,000 yards in his career, and running for nearly 1,000. In his senior year, he successfully made the transition from a rollout to a veer quarterback. At the time he left Tennessee, he was the school's all-time leader in total offense, and even though he played more than 40 years ago, he still ranks among Tennessee's top 10 passers.

He was All-SEC his senior year, and received some Heisman votes, but that was it for him as a football player in the States.  He spent the rest of his football days in Canada.

When he was drafted only 12th by the New England Patriots he chose instead to sign with Ottawa of the CFL, where he could play quarterback.  In 13 years in Canada, he led two different teams to Grey Cup championships. First, sharing duties with ex-Notre Damer Tom Clements, he helped lead the Ottawa Rough Riders to the title. And then, traded to Toronto,  he hooked up with run-and-shoot guru Mouse Davis. The large Canadian field and Davis' offensive system were made to order for him, and in his six years with the Argos, he threw for 16,619 yards and 98 touchdowns, and led them to the Grey Cup in 1982.

He ended his career with one final season in British Columbia, then returned to Tennessee to get his degree. He is currently an Assistant Athletic Director at Tennessee.


american flag TUESDAY,  JUNE 20,  2017  - “Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.” Plato


***********   I thank everyone who was kind enough to wish me Happy Birthday or Happy Father’s Day - or both.

Father’s Day is wonderful because the thing I’m proudest of is our four children… and the people they’ve married and brought into the family… and the grandchildren they’ve given us.  My three daughters all married men who are great fathers, and my son, with a nine-year-old of his own, is experiencing the joys of fatherhood. It enrages me when I hear of young men who make babies and then cut out and have nothing to do with those children, but it also saddens me because that selfish, immature decision will cost them some of the most rewarding moments a man can have.

So many of the birthday wishes are from people I’ve met in some way through football.  Many are from coaches.  Youth, high school, college or pro,  as football coaches we share a bond that can only be understood by someone who’s been through it. The people I’ve come to know through football are a blessing. They’ve enriched my life and I’m thankful beyond words.

The biggest events of my weekend were not my birthday or Father’s Day, but first, being with our daughter Cathy and son-in-law Rob Tiffany and their family at the graduation of our grandson, Mike Tiffany, from Cedar Crest High School in Duvall, Washington.  The ceremony was really well done - even the speeches by the students.  Especially impressive was a speech by a faculty member.  My big takeaway from it: “Rather than ask how much this opportunity will cost, ask how much it will cost to miss this opportunity.”  Sure hope some of the kids were listening, but if not - no matter.  I was.  Never too old to learn something.


Foristieres and wyattsThe second biggest event took place Saturday morning in Seattle, where long-time friend Mike Foristiere brought his team from Mattawa, Washington, about three hours away, to compete in a spring football jamboree. Mike and I correspond often, going back to when he was a young pup starting out coaching in Boise, and he was kind enough to introduce me to his players, including his youngest son, Rock, who’s the A-Back and Middle Linebacker.  But what really put me over the top was when Mike told me that his wife, Cielo, had come along, and was on her way over to our sideline to see me.  She is a great young woman.  She and Mike have raised three fine sons, including one, Randy, who’s now at West Point.  Not all that long ago, her life was in grave danger when she was diagnosed with a form of cancer known as spindle cell sarcoma.  At the very least, there was concern that if could cost her a leg.  She and Mike had to make several trips back and forth from Boise to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and it was touch and go for a couple of years until she was pronounced cancer-free. Now, she looks great.  Cielo is tough and resilient, and I admire her courage, but I also admire the way their three boys, Ross, Randy and Rock pulled together to do their share around the home during a difficult time, and I salute Mike for his devotion to his wife.



*********** If you’re following the College World Series… Check out the Oregon State catcher, Adley Rutschman.

Strange first name, but if you know anything about Northwest sports, the first thing that comes to mind when you see that name is Ad Rutschman.

Ad's real name as Adolph, but he’s Adley’s granddad.

For 24 years, Ad Rutschman was head football coach at Linfield College, and for 13 years he was also Linfield’s head baseball coach.

Outside the Northwest, Linfield is well-known in small-school circles.  Inside the Northwest, Linfield is the small-school gorilla.  Year-in and year-out, Linfield is the team to beat.

From 1968 to 1991, his Linfield Wildcats were 183-48-3.  During that time, they won 12 Northwest Conference championships, and three NAIA National Championships.

He took his 1971 Linfield baseball squad to the 1971 NAIA World Series.

He is believed to be the only coach to win national college titles in both baseball and football.

His influence on football in the Northwest has been enormous. The coaching tree of guys who played for him and then went on to coach high school football in Oregon is more like a giant Douglas Fir.

AD: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_Rutschman

ADLEY: http://www.oregonlive.com/beavers/index.ssf/2017/05/oregon_state_catcher_adley_rut.html


*********** Stuff we used to joke about because it was so absurd…

In Oregon they’re going to give people a third choice on their driver’s licenses (besides “Male” and “Female”)


*********** It’s okay for them to continue calling themselves The Slants.

They’re a band made up of Asian-Americans. Their  name so offended some people that the government, assuming the role of  protector of the offended  and the guardian of all that’s correct, refused to register it as a trademark.

But on Monday the Supreme Court ruled - unanimously - that no government agency has the power to do that.

What’s this got to do with football?

Well, see, there’s this professional football team in Washington, D.C. called (omigod - I can’t believe I’m actually gong to print this) the Redskins…

And up to now, unable by other means to persuade the team to change its name, the government had been resorting to the exact same refuse-to-register-the-name tactics that the Supreme Court just said isn’t legal.

Sounds to me as if they’ll be the Redskins, at least until the next Democratic administration.

Actually, I was sorta hoping they’d become the Washington Swamp. 

*********** In less than a week the Oregon strawberries will be done for another year.  Back to the dreck that they sell in supermarkets. You know, the kind they grow in faraway places like California, or even Mexico:  hard and firm so they can stand up to  all the handling - but when you cut them open, the cores are solid  white.  And dry.  And tasteless.  Might as well be cardboard on the inside.

Oregon strawberries

But not these Oregon strawberries.  Slice these suckers  and they’re red and juicy and sweet all the way through. Without the cardboard innards, here’s no way you could ship them any distance, so the only place you see them is at roadside stands

*********** Let’s see…

The Portland Thorns (that’s women’s soccer)  just had  Gay Pride Night…

The Seattle Storm (that’s women’s basketball) will be holding a Stand With Planned Parenthood Night…

The NBA champion Golden State Warriors may decline an invitation to visit the White House…

And Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh, that Great Uniter,  has announced that he plans to invite a prominent Washington couple to be “honorary captains” at one of Michigan’s games this year. (HINT: they are such avid football fans that the male member of the couple once said that if he had a son, he’d have to think twice about letting him play football - and as Commander-in-Chief of our armed forces, he attended only one Army-Navy game in eight years)

Isn’t it great to be able to go to a game where everybody can put politics aside for a while?  Isn’t it a great feeling to know that we’re all on the same side?


*********** When I think of parents nowadays who leave even the most enormous of decisions up to an 18-year-old without so much as giving him/her input (“We don’t want to pressure him”) I think of Mike Krzyzewski.

He was, in his words, “conned” into going to West Point.

But, in his words, “Other than marrying my wife, it was the best decision I ever made. Or, more accurately, it was the best decision my parents ever talked me into. Or conned me into."

Famed writer John Feinstein wrote about how it all came about…

Krzyzewski readily admits he wasn't the least bit impressed or tempted when the new coach at Army, a 24-year-old novice named Bob Knight, showed up on his doorstep on a June evening in 1965. Knight had come to Chicago to visit Loyola Academy to talk to coach Gene Sullivan about one of his players.

While they were talking, Sullivan mentioned that the leading scorer that season in Chicago's Catholic League was still undecided about where he was going to go to college. Knight called Al Ostrowski, Krzyzewski's coach at Weber High School who, in Mike's words was, "blown away," by the thought of one of his players going to Army. That evening, Knight visited William and Emily Krzyzewski and their younger son.
"The thing is, my parents were overwhelmed by the notion that I might have the chance to go the United States Military Academy and then serve my country," Krzyzewski says. "They thought it was an honor just to have coach Knight come to their home to talk about it.

"I didn't feel the same way. I was NOT blown away by the thought of going to Army, not at all. I did NOT want to go into the Army for four years, no way. It really had nothing to do with Vietnam, it had more to do with the fact that I knew I wanted to be a coach. I didn't think going to Army and being in the Army was going to get me there."

Knight suggested the Krzyzewskis take a few days to think about Mike's decision. For the next couple of days, William and Emily staged an evening ritual.

"They would stand in the kitchen talking, knowing I was in the next room listening. They spoke Polish to one another and I didn't understand very much. But there's no word in Polish for 'stupid,' or for 'dumb.' So, I would hear, 'Mike stupid; Mike dumb.'

"I knew what they were doing. They were goading me. Finally, I just walked in one night and said, 'Okay, okay, I'll do it.'

His eyes glistened just a little at the memory. "Other than marrying my wife, it was the best decision I ever made. Or, more accurately, it was the best decision my parents ever talked me into." He smiles one more time. "Or conned me into."

***

On March 14, 1980, Krzyzewski and Mickie, his wife, visited Duke and Kryzyzewski met with Tom Butters for a third time. When the meeting was over, Butters thanked Krzyzewski for coming and wished him a safe trip home. Krzyzewski left the office baffled, he had thought he was going to be offered the job.

After the Krzyzewskis had left campus to head to the airport, Steve Vacendak, Duke's Associate Athletic Director, the man who had first brought Krzyzewski's name to Butters, asked his boss how the interview with Krzyzewski had gone.

"What are you thinking Tom?" he asked.

"I'm thinking he's the next great coach in the college game," Butters said.

"So, you hired him," Vacendak said.

Butters, who passed away in the spring of 2016, shook his head. "I can't do it Steve," he said.

"How can I hire a 33-year-old coach who just went 9 and 17 at Army?"

"If he's the next great coach," Vacendak answered. "How can you not hire him?"

Butters stared at Vacendak for a moment. "Go back to the airport and get him," he said finally.

http://goarmywestpoint.com/news/2016/11/29/general-mission-first-no-excuses.aspx

*********** American Football Monthly has just announced that it has gone completely digital. This means total email and online publication.  No more “real” magazines. This bums me because I like to be able to reach back and grab a magazine and leaf through it. But as a small-time publisher myself, I completely understand that the costs of printing and mailing can make publishing a hard-copy magazine  unfeasible.

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

QUIZ:  Before David Robinson and Tim Duncan KYLE ROTE was the pride of San Antonio.  I wonder how many folks know that Kyle Rote was in the same backfield at SMU with Doak Walker?  Rote played, and starred for NY Giants teams that featured the likes of Frank Gifford, Charlie Conerly, Y.A. Tittle, Alex Webster, Rosey Brown, Rosey Grier, Andy Robustelli, and Sam Huff.

Thoroughly enjoyed your news today.  Some sad, some enlightening.  

I hope Greg will be looking for someone to help him out in a couple of years!  Speaking of jobs I saw where Kings Way Academy in Vancouver is looking for a head football coach.

Didn't know Don Matthews.  Wish I had.

Luke Heimlich's life has virtually reached its end due to another self-aggrandizing reporter's attempt at getting a "scoop", and becoming a recognized "journalist".  The media is out of control, and any history buff will tell you an out of control media can bring a country's citizenship to its knees.  Such a shame it has come to this in the U.S.

I wonder who the brainiac is that made that monumental start time change for that women's soccer league?  Still gonna be hot, but eventually will the league even be around for it to matter??

Quick story.  I just found out that one of the very best small high school football coaches in Texas was let go on Monday.  11 state championships in football (winning "A" state championship is no small feat in Texas - he won ELEVEN!), a 1968 graduate of the high school, worked at the high school for 43 years as the Dean of Students - Athletic Director - PE Teacher, AND... also won FOUR state championships as the softball coach!  Small town.  The school's enrollment is just over 150 in grades 9-12, yet he managed to have 45+ boys in his program every year, and they have always been a salty bunch.  No reason given by his administration other than telling him "they're moving in a different direction."  Even went so far as to tell him he did nothing wrong.  I had the opportunity to meet him last year and found him to be one of the kindest, most gracious, and insightful men I have had the pleasure to meet.  Here's what makes his accomplishments even more impressive.  He wasn't coaching at the public school... he was at the Catholic school.  

Have a great weekend!

Joe  Gutilla
Austin, Texas

***********   A native of San Antonio, KYLE ROTE was all-state in high school in football and basketball and was considered a major league baseball prospect.

He enrolled at SMU, at the time a Southwest Conference power, and he was an All-American tailback.  His performance in a near-upset of national champion Notre Dame - he ran for 115 yards, threw for 146, and scored three touchdowns - was called by Texas sportswriters the greatest athletic performance by a Texas athlete in the first half of the Twentieth Century.

Drafted first by the New York Giants, Rote had a solid if unspectacular career as a man who could do a lot of things.  He started out as a running back but after suffering a knee injury was moved to flanker back, a relatively new position, by offensive coordinator Vince Lombardi.

He was captain of the Giants for eight years, and evidence of the respect in which he was held by his teammates is the fact that fourteen of them named sons after him.

His own son and namesake, Kyle Rote, Jr.  was a very good soccer player, one of the first well-known American stars.

***********CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING KYLE ROTE:
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
RALPH BALDUCCI - PORTLAND, OREGON
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA


*********** QUIZ - Until Tony Dorsett came along 37 years after him, he was considered  the best running back ever to play for Pitt.

He was a Jewish kid from the small town of Elkins, West Virginia, where he was captain of his high school’s football, basketball and track teams.

He was heavily recruited, but chose Pitt, where he became a member of Jock Sutherland’s “Dream Backfield” (the first time the term was ever  used).

He was an All-American at two positions: in 1937 as a halfback, and in 1938 - unselfishly changing positions in order to get the team’s four best backs on the field - as a fullback.

When his career at Pitt was over, he had twice finished in the top three in the Heisman voting - third place in 1937, second in 1938 - and he set a school career rushing record that would last until Dorsett broke it in 1974.

He played with the Chicago Cardinals from 1939 through 1942, and then after wartime service as a Navy officer  in the South Pacific, he returned to play three more seasons.  Often playing two ways, he was named All-Pro Defensive Back  three straight years (1946-1948)

He played on the last Cardinals team to win an NFL Championship, in 1947.

He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and is one of only nine Pitt players to have his number retired.


american flag FRIDAY,  JUNE 16,  2017  - “What do you despise? By this you are truly known.” Michelangelo

*********** I pray for the recovery of Congressman Steven Scalise, a good man - and an LSU Tiger.

*********** Wish I could write more but I'm facing a deadline and this just came in... Don Matthews died.

Dwight Jaynes, longtime Portland sportswriter, has known him a long time, since he started coaching high school ball in the Portland suburbs, and he calls him "just about the best football coach I ever saw."

In Canada he'll get no argument.

http://www.csnnw.com/high-school/rip-don-matthews-just-about-best-football-coach-i-ever-saw

*********** My wife and I have 11 grandkids, eight of them high school graduates.

On Friday night, Grandson Mike Tiffany will make it number nine when he graduates from Cedar Crest High School, in Duvall, Washington.

Best of luck to Mike, who’s off to Oklahoma State in the fall to be a Cowboy!

The eight grandkids who've gone off to college seem to favor the South:
Elon
Houston
Oklahoma State
Vanderbilt (4)
Villanova
Wake Forest

***********  The Oregon State Beavers head into the College World Series this weekend as the number one seed, and I’m sure they’re excited about their chances.

But there’s a dark cloud hanging over the Beavers and it’s one of the saddest sports stories I’ve heard in my lifetime.

On a team with a lot of talent, no one stood out more than pitcher Luke Heimlich.

This year, he was 11-1, with a 0.76 earned run average.  In 118 innings pitched, he struck out 128 batters, and walked only 22.

He was a major reason for the Beavers’ number one seed, and seen as no worse than a third round pick in the Major League Baseball draft.

And then, last week, the state’s largest newspaper, the Portland Oregonian, dropped a bomb on the Beavers’ program when their beat guy, the writer assigned to the Oregon State baseball program, revealed that Heimlich had been convicted of sexual abuse of a minor girl, a relative, back in 2011, when he was 15.

And then, never one to pass up a chance to kick someone when he’s down, the paper’s most influential sports columnist, John Canzano, wrote a vicious column attacking Heimlich.

The kid hasn’t played since.

He was just passed over in the recent draft by every single major league baseball team.

And on Wednesday he announced that he won’t be accompanying the team to Omaha for the College World Series.

It’s a fairly long and convoluted story, but it’s been masterfully handled by Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune, and I recommend it (link below).  (Full disclosure: I’ve known Kerry Eggers since 1974, when I was PR Director of the Portland Thunder and he was our beat guy for the now-defunct Oregon Journal.  Off and on over the years, he’s written a story or two about me or my teams.  We are friends.)

What it comes down to is this - Is Heimlich a sex offender?  Or is he someone who committed a sex offense when he was a boy?  And if he is a sex offender, is he condemned to be known as one for the rest of his life?

Yes, what he did was repulsive.  No one can argue that.  But he was a kid, and kids, especially today,  when there’s a general, overall absence of guidelines and limits and an absence of moral and religious instruction in the school and in the home, will sometimes do things that defy belief - things they wouldn’t have done in a million years if they’d had the time, or the inclination, or the ability - or the guidance -  to consider the consequences of what they were about to do.

Here are some important points of view to consider:

writes Eggers:

Mark McKechnie is executive director of Youth, Rights and Justice, a nonprofit defense and advocacy firm in Portland.

"Most of our work is representing individual clients," says McKechnie, who has 18 years training as a social worker and is court-appointed to represent juveniles and parents in juvenile court. "We'd have represented someone like Luke if charged in Oregon.

"Research shows the longer someone goes without engaging in these type of offenses, the less likely they are to do it in the future. After a couple of years pass and the person hasn't committed the offense, (he) is very unlikely to do so.

"The recidivism rate for juveniles adjudicated of a sex offense is less than 3 percent. Multiple studies across multiple states, including Oregon, all landed in the 2.5 to 3 percent range in terms of re-offense rates — and those percentages are usually figured by arrests, even without conviction."


A Portland circuit court judge told Eggers,

"There is a body of evidence that when treated like criminals — required to register as a sex offender — it has no effect in terms of committing another sex offense, but it creates a risk.

"When they have to answer the question, 'Have you ever been convicted of a sex crime,' and they have to answer, 'Yes,' it makes it more difficult to get housing. They're more likely to wind up homeless, not accepted in school, in jobs and so on. It's important for them to be held accountable and required to do treatment, but a very small percentage are dangerous. For the most part, a young person who creates a sex offense is in a low-risk category."

And Robert Stanulis a clinical psychologist in Portland for 40 years who is considered one of the foremost experts dealing with sex offenders, said,

"A recent study out of South Carolina looked at registered vs. non-registered juveniles," Stanulis says. "It shows the idea behind it is flawed. We need to round up suspects, but we find out 96 percent of the cases occur with somebody in-family. Registration is useless, because (sex abuse) rarely happens with someone (the offender) doesn't know.

"The Department of Corrections did a five-year followup (on sex abusers); around four percent re-offended a sex offense. The unintended consequences are, they end up committing more other crimes than they would have they been non-registered.

"Look at the average apartment lease. If you're a registered sex offender, they won't rent to you. You'll have trouble getting federal student loans as a felon. You'll have a hard time finding a place to live, find it hard to go to school. As an 18- to 21-year-old young man, you become a sex offender rather than boy who committed a sex offense. We label people and they become what they did. That's the crime he committed, not who he is. Registration causes more harm than it fixes.

"The real issue here ultimately is, do we want them to succeed or want them to fail? Registration is simply not necessary. It satisfies our need for revenge, under the idea that sex offenders never get well, which is not true. The vast majority do not re-offend. That's not to say there are not serial pedophiles out there, but they're the exception rather than the rule."

I wish I could say that he paid his price,  as I was able to say about Michael Vick, and that I could say that it’s time he was allowed to live in society as a free man.

But in reality, there wasn’t any punishment:

After his sex abuse conviction, Heimlich entered a diversion program, received two years of probation and successfully completed two years of sex offender treatment.

Way too easy.  At first blush. But back when they offered him this deal, I wonder if they made clear that he’d be branded for life as a sex criminal.   Or I wonder if he saw "probation" and went, "whew."

My God. They took a 15-year-old kid who did something way, way wrong  -  but way, way short of murder - and gave him what amounts to a life sentence.

Of course there should have been punishment. 

What ever happened to hard labor?  (Six years ago.  Back in 2011. Back when punishment was called for.  Not now.)

http://portlandtribune.com/pt/12-sports/363027-243259-a-look-at-some-issues-involving-luke-heimlich-

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

Love the Apple quote in the news. To apply that strategy to a coach taking over a losing situation (as Jobs did when he returned to Apple).

"Moving forward, Jobs' strategy was to produce only four products: one desktop and one portable device aimed at both consumers and professionals. For professionals, Apple created the Power Macintosh G3 desktop and the PowerBook G3 portable computer. For consumers, there was the iMac desktop and iBook portable."

Jobs had to get rid of over 70% of the product line to get this done. Kind of like a good coach getting rid of 70% of a bloated, unproductive playlist to focus on some plays that can work.

John Bothe
Oregon, Illinois

*********** Easy question:  Where does the Houston Dash play?

If you answered “Houston,” give yourself a hand.

Tough question: What does the Houston Dash play?

If you said “soccer,” you don’t get any special credit, because you probably arrived at it by process of elimination.

Actually, it’s a women’s soccer team, and because it plays some of its games in the daytime - in Houston - it can get a bit hot and muggy out on the field (er, pitch).

So hot and muggy that a Houston player named Rachel Daly collapsed from heat exhaustion during a recent game (er, match).

So now the league - did you even know there was something called the National Women’s Soccer League? - has decided to take what a league official says are  “important measures that will help to ensure the safest environment possible at all league matches.”

For one thing, they’re going to call for “hydration  breaks.”

Good idea, that.

But even more important, to try to get away from the heat of the day, they’re going to change the starting times of 23 league games.

From 1 PM to 12:30.

*********** Good morning Hugh,

Really enjoyed your News this morning.  Especially your thoughts about the Penguins-Predators Stanley Cup game.

While I was disappointed that my Blackhawks bowed out early in the playoffs (to Nashville), and that I was pulling for the Predators to tie it up and send it back to Pittsburgh for a deciding game seven, I was thrilled to see the "Pens" pull it out and win their second Cup in a row.  You are absolutely spot-on about hockey.  It is why it is my favorite PRO sport to watch.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


***********  HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!

William McGurn of the Watt Street Journal is one of favorite writers. He is unapologetically old-school Catholic - a dinosaur, in his own words.

On the eve of Father’s Day, he wrote a beautiful column about a father’s duty to his daughters…


...even the most obtuse father has to ask himself: Have I been the man my children deserve?
For dads with daughters, the question can be particularly disquieting as we contemplate a sexual revolution that has lost sight of any boundaries. In theory it’s all gloriously empowering. But for those who regard human sexuality as a profound gift, and la différence as a key to appreciating this gift, it’s astonishing how judgments that would have been elementary to our great-great-grandmothers today elude the most privileged and well-educated.

HE MENTIONED THE STANFORD RAPE CASE, IN WHICH CYCLISTS CAME UPON A GUY IN THE ACT OF INTERCOURSE WITH AN UNCONSCIOUS WOMAN...

For young men: Does it require a Stanford degree to know that sexual contact with an unconscious woman is a line a man does not cross? As for being drunk himself, if he had no notion he might be doing something wrong, why did he make a run for it when the cyclists interrupted him?

AND THEN HE DARED TO SAY WHAT NO ONE'S HAD THE GUTS TO SAY

For young women: This may sound impolitic, but loving moms and dads say it anyway. What happened here is a lesson in the vulnerability of women not in control of themselves because they are drunk.

The straw-man rejoinder is that this suggests the woman was “asking for it.” To the contrary, this is a refusal to allow ideology to deny a fact of life. The physical reality is that a woman’s inebriation removes a critical barrier to assault and humiliation.

AND HE NOTED THAT THE IRONY OF THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION IS THAT IT HAS NOT BEEN LIBERATING FOR WOMEN

In a 2014 piece for the Weekly Standard, Heather Mac Donald noted that when the social default for unmarried sex was “no,” the woman didn’t have to explain herself. “No” was sufficient. The irony is that this default meant the woman held most of the cards when it came to deciding whether a relationship would become sexual.

Today, Ms. Mac Donald notes, the default has become “yes”—and the woman who resists is both on her own and on the defensive. For men, of course, this has been a most welcome shift. And no doubt for some women, too.

Then again, if all women are yearning for is strings-free sex, why does it seem to require so much alcohol? Might one answer be the loneliness that comes from giving fully of yourself in the hope of finding intimacy—and in return getting only intercourse?

YOU’RE A DINOSAUR! PEOPLE TELL HIM

Perhaps. Then again, most dads accept that part of the job is a willingness to be the unfashionable one; that is, to love enough to speak unpopular truths when the world cheats your children with fifty shades of grey. For all the complaints about “toxic masculinity,” genuine masculinity seems hard to come by. Surely the greater male dysfunction of our time is perpetual adolescence, and a culture that encourages the man-child.

So this Father’s Day, looking over the three greatest blessings in his life, this dad pines for the day when we might again speak honestly and openly about the profound differences between male and female sexuality, when the heart might be taken as seriously as the orgasm—and when young men pursuing young women might even rediscover the marvelous possibilities of moonlit summer evenings.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/dad-meets-the-sexual-revolution-1497307294

I had to write him:

Dear Mr. McGurn,

Bravo!

What a marvelous and highly appropriate Father's Day column.

As a football coach of 46 years and the father of three daughters (and grandfather of four granddaughters) I have had plenty of experience at being "the unfashionable one."

I take great pride in that.

Thank you!

Hugh Wyatt
Camas, Washington

(Being the sort of person he is, Mr. McGurn was gracious enough to write back.)


*********** I did not care for President Obama. I deplored the way he pitted American against American.   (Look - I’m rounding third in the game of life, so it’s more your problem than mine, but I seriously doubt that we’ll recover from the way he left us.) 

Nevertheless, he won two elections, and that made him President, so as I learned to do long ago, I endured the eight years of his presidency.

Now, then, if you’re a disappointed Hillary Clinton voter, it’s your turn to endure.

Like me,  you were given a bad horse in the race. (John McCain and Mitt Romney - take it or leave it - were my choices)

Hey -  maybe you’ll get luckier than me and only have to  wait four years.

What’s that?  Oh, I see - you shouldn’t have to wait.  Your candidate didn’t really lose.  Trump and those Russians conspired and connived to steal the election from her.

And then there was that awful Electoral College.  And misogyny.  And the incompetence of the Democratic Party.  And on, and on, and on.

So now, in your view, we have an illegitimate President. And rather than accept the consequences of the election,  you’re going to “resist.” 

Part of this vile “resistance” is a production in New York of Julius Caesar, a Shakespeare play written more than 400 years ago but now grossly reworked  so that instead of an ancient Roman emperor being killed, it’s the current President of the United States.

Only in America - where the careless use of a single word can get your fired, but it’s acceptable to turn the assassination of the President  into an Evening in the Park  - could this happen.

When Shakespeare wrote Julius Caesar, he was writing about a murder that had occurred some 1700 years before.  Not in his maddest moments would he ever have considered depicting the murder of the King of England.  Or the Prime Minister.

In fact,  lèse-maj·es·té on the order of New York's Julius Caesar is almost unprecedented in the history of western civilization (a subject, by the way,  that once was taught at our great universities, until overly-entitled  18- and 19-year-old geniuses informed the college elders that the course celebrated colonialism, racism, sexism, etc., etc.).

Where else but in a society with so much freedom that liberty often is seen as license would someone dare “entertain” an audience with  a play portraying the assassination of a freely-elected president?

But given that there is such a knave,  what sick dogs will sit and watch such an obscenity?  For me, life’s too short and precious to make room in it for the sort of person who would knowingly and willingly go to a theatre to see this seditious dreck.

Football coach or not,  if that fits you:  Au revoir.  Out of my life. AMF. 

(Not that I think there are that many football coaches who live in $2 million apartments in Manhattan - much less many  who hate their country so much, or have so much time on their hands,  that they’ll stroll  over to Central Park to watch something  aimed at destroying what’s left of our country.)


*********** “If Trump says he inhales oxygen, the headline will be ‘Trump Admits He’s Just Like Hitler.’”

Kurt Schlichter, Town Hall

https://m.townhall.com/columnists/kurtschlichter/2016/06/20/the-mainstream-media-chose-a-side-and-now-its-paying-the-price-n2179451

*********** Thanks to the actions of a sick bastard in Alexandria, Virginia, no one seemed to notice that Wednesday was  Flag Day.   Oh well, just another old-fashioned patriotic holiday that only real Americans - not the ones who just take up space and enjoy our liberties, while belittling our history and mocking our traditions -  care about.


*********** LEON HART was 6-5, 245 as a 17-year-old college freshman.  He was huge for his time and he’d be big even today.

He came out of Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh,  highly recruited.

Said the late Beano Cook, renowned football expert and a native of Pittsburgh, "He was one of the great players to ever come out of Western Pennsylvania.”

He is one of only two linemen ever to win the Heisman Trophy, and one of only three players to (1) win the Heisman Trophy (2) play on a national championship team and (3) be drafted first overall by the NFL in the same year.

At Notre Dame, his college teams were 36-0-2 in his four years there, and he started all four years; they won national championships in 1946, 1947 and 1949, and finished second in 1948.

He was an outstanding student, and majored in mechanical engineering.

In his eight-year NFL career, he played on three NFL championship teams. In Detroit!

He was extremely versatile. He played offensive end (now called tight end), defensive end and fullback.

In 1951, he was All-Pro on offense and defense.

In 1956, he rushed for 612 yards and five touchdowns, intercepted four passes, and returned two fumbles for touchdowns.  And he returned eight kicks.

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

https://www.jockbio.com/Classic/Hart/Hart_bio.html

http://old.post-gazette.com/obituaries/20020924hartnet0924p3.asp

*********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING LEON HART
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUSIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS - That mountain of a man you are describing in your Quiz today is none other than Notre Dame's own Leon Hart.  Any self-respecting subway alum who knows anything about anything regarding Notre Dame football would know all about Leon Hart, his coach Frank Leahy, and those great Irish teams of the late 40's.  In four years the only "blemishes" for the Irish were two "ties" (1946 to Army, and 1948 to USC).  Some consider that 46 National Championship team to be one of the greatest college football teams ever assembled.
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
JERRY LOVELL - BELLEVUE, NEBRASKA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
JEFF HANSEN - CASPER, WYOMING
RALPH BALDUCCI - PORTLAND, OREGON
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON


*********** One of the great Notre Dame teams that Leon Hart played on…
the 1947 National Champions:
1947 Notre Dame

ALONG THE LINE (FROM YOUR LEFT TO RIGHT) : Leon Hart, Ziggy Czarobski, Marty Wendell, Bill Walsh, Bill “Moose” Fischer, George Connor, Jim Martin

IN THE BACKFIELD: Emil “Red” Sitko, John “Pep Panelli, John Lujack (QB), Terry Brennan

ALL-AMERICANS: Sitko; Lujack; Hart; Fischer; Connor, Martin

(SOMEDAY I’LL TELL YOU ABOUT JIM MARTIN. QUITE A GUY.)

1953 nfl yearbook

And inside this magazine (which I bought when I was a kid)...

One of the great Detroit Lions’ teams that Leon Hart  played on.  (Look at the shoulders on him)

One thing stands out: There are no black players in the picture. The Redskins and Bears had no black players in 1952, either. So far as I can tell,  there were only 18 black players in the entire NFL.  The Rams and Browns had the most, with four each. Very few were linemen.

1952 DETROIT LIONS

BILL WALSH CENTER SNAP*********** The things you come across when you’re doing research… Bill Walsh, the center on the great 1947-1948 Notre Dame  teams, was drafted by the Steelers in 1949, and played center for them from 1949-1954.  Based on this photo from 1951, the last year the Steelers ran the single wing, he almost certainly was the last single wing center in NFL history. 

(And check how he’s preparing to snap the ball.  That ain’t gonna be no spiral snap.)

In a 1999 interview with Jim Sargent, of pro football researchers, he tells about learning how the Steelers snapped the ball:

"The Steelers were single wing in those days, and that's the interesting story.

"John Michelosen was our coach, and he had taken over for Jock Sutherland in `48. John was young, about 32 or 33. He was a real nice man, but he emulated Jock, who was always real stern."

Walsh continued, "I was a single wing center in high school. In Sutherland's system, which was Michelosen's, you grabbed the ball with your fingertips on the laces, your thumb on the laces, then your index finger went along the seam, and your other hand went under the ball. You sort of ‘flipped' it back. The ball rotated two and a half times to the tailback or the fullback.

"The backs took the ball on a lean, and they had their hands in such a way that with Sutherland's method, the ball was rotating in such a way that it would hit the upper hand and would drop down. If you had a spiral, it could go through. I was a single wing center in high school, and a T-formation center in college for four years, and I'm drafted third by the Steelers.

"Heck, I'm thinking, `Single wing, Wow!'

"Then my coach, Chuck Cherundolo, who was the center for the Steelers the year before me, took me up on the field that first Sunday, and showed me how they did it, and I said, `How?'

"Later, I found out you can do anything with that. I wouldn't want to go back to the spiral."

http://www.profootballresearchers.org/archives/Website_Files/Coffin_Corner/21-01-783.pdf

***********  QUIZ:  A native of San Antonio, he was all state in high school in football and basketball and was considered a major league baseball prospect.

He enrolled at SMU, at the time a Southwest Conference power, and he was an All-American tailback.  His performance in a near-upset of national champion Notre Dame - he ran for 115 yards, threw for 146, and scored three touchdowns - was called by Texas sportswriters the greatest athletic performance by a Texas athlete in the first half of the Twentieth Century.

Drafted first by the New York Giants, he had a steady if unspectacular career as a man who could do a lot of things.  He started out as a running back but after suffering a knee injury was moved to flanker back, a relatively new position, by offensive coordinator Vince Lombardi.

He was captain of the Giants for eight years, and evidence of the respect in which he was held by his teammates is the fact that fourteen of them named sons after him.

His own son and namesake was a very good soccer player, one of the first well-known American stars.




american flag TUESDAY,  JUNE 13,  2017  - "I don't care what the crybabies say now because they didn't have to make the decision." Harry S. Truman (on the decision to drop the Atomic bomb)

*********** My friend Greg Koenig continues to sound enthusiastic  about the players he’s inherited at his new school, Cimarron High School, in Southwest Kansas.

Today Greg sent me a really appropriate quote he’d come across from Steve Jobs, founder of Apple:
"Apple is a $30 billion company, yet we've got less than 30 major products. I don't know if that's ever been done before. Certainly the great consumer electronics companies of the past had thousand of products. We tend to focus much more. People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully."

Noted Greg “I think it applies exceptionally to football, specifically offensive football, and how we have to say no to some plays or formations in order to maintain excellence. It reminds me of things I've heard you say over the years.”

OPPORTUNITY? - Greg adds..."We really are in need of a science teacher for 8th and 9th grade this fall. In addition to assistant football, there are coaching opportunities for cross country and junior high basketball."
Let me add this...  If Cimarron, Kansas was good enough to attract a man of Greg Koenig's calibre, it has to be a good place to live and work. If this interests you or if you know of anyone who might be interested, email me ASAP - coachwyatt@aol.com - and I'll  put him in touch with you immediately.

*********** From a coach whom I’ve known for years.  Good coach - won a state title a few years ago.

Hugh, I just read your post about what happened at North Beach. Seems very similar to ——. Last off-season we had the same thing, only in a school of 1400.  I had 3 kids show up consistently for after school workouts, one was my son! I had two kids transfer out of weight training and into PE because it was more fun! (One of them complained when he wasn't given a starting position later that year!). Several others were in JV basketball (on the bench). In June last year, I was told I couldn't continue the discipline policy that was one of our core covenants: Anyone who is suspended for drugs/alcohol or grades would miss the entire season. This because a parent complained about her son who would miss half the season due to the school's policy, but she didn't want him to miss all of his senior season! I should have quit then, but my son was a senior. So, we end up with a huge discipline issue, new administration (3 out of the 4 administrators were new to the building).  That is why I stepped down. I am now not coaching at this point for the upcoming year, but would rather not coach than put up with any of that stuff. The ironic thing was that the former AD had begged me to come back to coach in 2014. No interview, just take the job. He had a great vision for athletics and we were making strides until he and the principal left before this year. Take care and hang in there!


***********  New York Daily News columnist and Black Lives Matter leader Shaun King said last week that we was   boycotting the National Football League for what he insists is its blacklisting of Colin Kaepernick.  (Kaepernick hasn’t been signed by an NFL team since becoming a free agent  in March.)

“I can’t, in good conscience, support this league, with many of its pro-Trump owners, as it blacklists my friend and brother Colin Kaepernick for taking a silent, peaceful stance against injustice and police brutality in America,” King wrote in the Daily News. “It’s disgusting and has absolutely nothing to do with football and everything to do with penalizing a brilliant young man for the principled stance he took last season.”

King said the reasons Kaepernick remains unsigned are racism, bigotry and discrimination.

"As a leader in the Black Lives Matter Movement, as a voice in the resistance to Donald Trump, and as a friend of Colin Kaepernick, I cannot, in good conscience, support the NFL any longer. If I did, I'd struggle to look my own son in the eyes or look at myself in the mirror.”

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/king-boycotting-nfl-anti-blackness-article-1.3225720


Hmmm.  Sounds like the NFL’s caught in a whipsaw between boycotts.  Remember this, back in October?

Nearly one-third of American adults say they are less likely to watch a National Football League game because of the growing number of Black Lives Matter protests that are happening by players on the field, a Rasmussen poll found.
Thirty-two percent polled online and by telephone said they’re willing to skip NFL games this year because of player protests over racial issues, the pollster said on Tuesday. Only 13 percent said they were more likely to watch the games because of the protests, and 52 percent said the protests had no impact on their viewing decisions.

Twenty-eight percent of African Americans said they were more likely to tune-into an NFL game because of the protests, compared to 8 percent of whites and 16 percent of other Americans, the poll found.

Whites were twice as likely as blacks to say they are less likely to watch this year.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/oct/4/nearly-one-third-americans-boycotting-nfl-because-/


Not so fast, Shaun King.

Jason Whitlock had a few things to say about you.

“You’ve got that idiot Kaepernick friend Shaun King, ‘Oh, the NFL is anti- black.’ 70 percent of the players! These conservative, bigoted owners have built a league that 70 percent of the players are black. They are making many of them millionaires,”  said Whitlock.

“Michael Vick came out of prison and got a $100 million contract in the NFL! Name one of these liberal industries that would’ve brought Michael Vick out of prison and given him a $100 million contract.”

“You are being lied to,” Whitlock went on. “Oh, but conservatives are the worst things in the world for black people! You are being lied to! The NFL, it’s so racist and that’s why Kaepernick doesn’t have a job! You are the reason Kaepernick doesn’t have a job because you write idiotic things in the New York Daily News like Shaun King did! Who would want to be associated with that?”

http://www.breitbart.com/video/2017/06/09/fs1s-whitlock-slams-idiot-shaun-king-reason-colin-kaepernick-doesnt-job/


*********** I sent this out in the newsletter that accompanied the latest installment of the Open Wing playbook…

The Trap is an old play.  Its name actually derives from the term “Mousetrap.”

The concept of allowing a defensive player to charge into the backfield unblocked appears to have originated with Walter Camp of Yale, the person who came up with the rules that established our game as separate from rugby.  As the game – and its coaching – progressed, so did the concept of the trap.

I’m indebted to Allison Danzig’s “The History of American Football” for some of the history of the trap:

In 1947, famed sportswriter Grantland Rice wrote in a column that Jess Harper, who had been Knute Rockne’s coach at Notre Dame, told him, “It was Haughton (Percy Haughton, great Harvard coach) who really perfected the mousetrap play more than 30 years ago.”

In that same column, Rice wrote,
I began to remember a few things about Percy Haughton back around 1915 in his contest with Yale.  I happened to mention the fact that Yale had a big, fast, hard-charging line.  “I only wish they were twice as fast,” Haughton said.  “We’ll let them through and then cut them down.”  That was the way it happened.  That was the start of mousetrapping.

Danzig credits the first use of the term “mousetrap” to a Dartmouth coach named Sid Hazelton.

In the winter of 1928, several New England college coaches were relaxing in a railroad lounge car on their way to a coaches’ convention.  They were talking about a play that Yale had used to beat Harvard that season, when Mal Stevens, the Yale coach, entered the car.

Hazelton jumped up and said, “Watch out boys – we’re about to be mousetrapped.  Pull in  your necks or you’ll have your head chopped off.”

When Dartmouth had visited Yale, he said, the “city slickers” from New Haven had been poor hosts: “They refuse to level our very green tackles with hard shoulder or body blocks. They say to themselves, ‘we'll bait a trap for these hicks from New Hampshire.’”

He went on, “The men playing opposite our tackle on the line of scrimmage don’t touch him at all. They charge in opposite directions and leave him entirely alone.  Finding no opposition, he naturally charges right into the Yale backfield.   He sees a blue-shirted back heading his way with the ball under his arm.  It has the same effect on a tackle as a piece of cheese dangling on a hook has on a mouse looking through a hole.

“The tackle rushes at the blue-shirted ball-toter, anticipating the thrill which goes with a nice bone-crushing tackle.  Like a mouse wetting his lips for that dangling piece of cheese, he makes ready to satisfy his desire; and then suddenly the lights go out. He, like the mouse, never knows what hit him.  That’s why I call Steve here (Mal Stevens) Dr. Mousetrap himself.”



*********** Sunday night, the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Nashville Predators to win the Stanley Cup, the championship of professional hockey, for the second year in a row.  It was the first time in 19 years that a Stanley Cup winner repeated.

And then, the game over,  what followed is for me one of the great moments in sports.

Of course, the winners immediately celebrate spontaneously.  It is, after all, a very big deal.

But while they're celebrating, the losers, true to  the custom of their sport, remain on the ice.  They wait patiently, until the winners are ready for the skate-by that takes place after the final game of every playoff series.

It's not your usual post-high-school-football-game handshake though, the mandatory and insincere “nice game, nice game, nice game” walk-by that teaches our kids nothing and makes  a mockery of real sportsmanship.

It’s not like baseball, either,  where the losers are outta here, or like pro football, where  players mill around on the field while some simply duck out.

No, hockey players show the kind of mutual respect that boxers show after a tough fight.  They stop and talk with each other (some of them no doubt asking if they saw that blonde sitting behind the home team’s bench), and then move along to the next guy, and they talk, and so forth.

What they’re doing, as much is anything, is showing respect for their opponents, sure, but also for the game itself.

I can’t speak for baseball players, but it’s clear to me that there are pro football players who don’t love to play football and pro basketball players who don’t love to play basketball - probably it’s the money - but if there are guys in the NFL who don’t love to play hockey, it’s not apparent.

Then, after the teams have skated by, there’s the presentation of an individual award - just one -  the Conn Smythe Trophy.  There’s nothing like it in any other sport.  It goes to the outstanding player of the playoffs. Not the MVP of the final game.  Not the MVP of the Stanley Cup Finals.  The MVP of the entire playoffs. Every series.  This year, it went to the Penguins’ Sidney Crosby, for the second year in a row -  which ought to tell you how good a player Sidney Crosby is.

And then comes the presentation of the most famous team trophy in all of sports, the  Stanley Cup itself.  It started out like an ordinary silver bowl, but engraved on it is the name of every player from every winning team, and over the years, to make room for more  and more names, the original cup has been added to so many times that it now weighs somewhere around 40 pounds.

No matter.  One by one, in an order evidently decided on in advance, the players of the winning team hoist the cup over their heads and skate around the ice.  It’s very cool, something that a lot of very good players have spent their entire careers without experiencing, and it’s obviously very moving to these men.  As often as not, during their skate-around, players bring the trophy to their lips and give it a big smooch.  There are no known cases of serious diseases being communicated by kissing the Stanley Cup.

And then, for an entire year, the Cup belongs to the winners. Tradition has it that every member of the winning team gets to keep it for a day or so - to show it to the boys at the club, or maybe to little kids at the local school.  Players have been know to fill it with strong drink. Especially to Canadians, to folks in small towns in Saskatchewan, or Alberta, or Quebec, when one of their boys plays on a Stanley Cup winner and then gets to come home with the the Cup… there’s nothing like it.

*********** Several years ago, an Australian teacher on a visit to the US thought he’d get in a little dig when he started his talk to my seventh-grade class, saying, “I’m from Australia - you know,  the place that won the America’s Cup.”

My students looked at him with the same “WTF” look they’d have given him  if he’d just told them how many Indian rupees you could get for a dollar.

Here, his country had just won a famous international yacht race, and he and his countrymen were  understandably proud - and almost nobody  in America even knew what he was taking about.

So I laughed like hell when I read that Mexicans saw their Sunday night soccer game - sorry,  “football match” - against the US as a way to stick it to Donald Trump after  the way he’d insulted them.

“President Trump has offended us, he is threatening us with his wall,” said a guy named Mario López, who was selling sports clothes from a stand in a crowded market in Mexico City.   “If Mexico beats the United States,” he said, “Mexicans will celebrate like never before.”

Ho, hum.

As it turned out, the proud Mexican side was tied 1-1, by the Yanqui devils, so I imagine the celebration was somewhat muted.

But while a Mexican win might have brought on a celebration “like never before” South of the Border,  it would have gone largely unnoticed by the great majority of us Yankees.

About the same as if Russia had beaten us in chess, or China in table tennis.

Ho, hum.


*********** A very good high school football player, Paul Dietzel went to Duke on a football scholarship, but then World War II service called.

Serving in the Army Air Corps (now the Air Force), he qualified  to fly B-29s, and as a pilot he flew several bombing missions over Japan.

After the war, he attended Miami (of Ohio) where he was an All-American center.

He embarked in a coaching career, and served as an assistant under three legendary coaches: Sid Gllman (at Cincinnati), Bear Bryant (at Kentucky)  and Earl Blaik (at Army).

In his first head coaching job, at LSU, he won the national championship in his fourth year at the school.  He also became famous for the clever way he managed to deal with the limited substitution rules of the time: one unit, the “White Team,” was his best all-round players, the other, the Go Team,”  was made up primarily of the best remaining offensive players, and the third, made up of the best remaining defensive players, was nicknamed the “Chinese Bandits.”

One of his players, Billy Cannon, an outstanding running back, won the Heisman Trophy in 1959.

To the great surprise of the football world, he left LSU after seven seasons to become the first non-graduate to coach at the United States Military Academy (Army).

He didn’t reckon on a certain high-ranking member of the senate from Louisiana, who saw to it that he received fewer appointments to the academy than his predecessor.  After four so-so years there, he headed back south to become head coach and AD at South Carolina.  There, he built a good football program, oversaw the expansion of the stadium - and pulled the SC out of the ACC.  In addition, he left his stamp on the school by getting a new fight song (and writing the words to it) and designing the Fighting Gamecock logo still in use today.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/2013/09/24/lsu-coach-athletics-director-paul-dietzel-dies/2861125/

Coach Dietzel recalls the  Chinese Bandits…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upf_A21BrDc

Coach Dietzel talks about his World War II experiences
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9YO-k2dV64

Coach Dietzel also became known later in life as an accomplished artist
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RWOtbr8sdQ



*********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING PAUL DIETZEL
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA (I can still see, in my mind's eye, that SI cover story, "Pepsodent Paul at the Point." Later, early 70's, I used to see him on Sundays at the site of the Secession Convention, the large Baptist church in Columbia, SC, when he coached the Gamecocks. Each time I saw him at church he was wearing a white suit.)
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS (As soon as you mentioned "Chinese Bandits" I had it.  I wonder if any college coaches today would be able to get away with that name-tag?)
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA

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

Have you ever seen these interviews with Billy Cannon?  They are really great. It is in 3 parts.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xtMBBEv22E

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2UJ20pchMo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hx6-JVxPH-c

Ken Hampton
Raleigh, North Carolina

Hadn’t seen them.  Great interview.  He has some great stories and he has the southerner's ability to tell them. In Part 1 he mentions the role that the Wing-T played in LSU's national championship.  My friend Mike Lude played a major part in that.

*********** Paul Dietzel was a pleasant man with a nice smile, with led to some sportswriter derisively calling him Pepsodent Paul. (Pepsodent was once a very popular brand of toothpaste.) The nickname caught on.

Clemson’s Frank Howard, the stereotype of the  crusty, crude backwoods southern redneck,  once referred to him as “Colgate Paul.”  When someone tried to correct him, he said, referring to Dietzel’s last year at Army, “Ain’t he the guy that lost to Colgate?”  

True.  1965.  Colgate 29, Army 28.


*********** QUIZ— He was 6-5, 245 as a 17-year-old college freshman.  He was huge for his time and he’d be big even today.

He is one of only two linemen ever to win the Heisman Trophy, and one of only three players to (1) win the Heisman Trophy (2) play on a national championship team and (3) be drafted first overall by the NFL in the same year.

His college teams were 36-0-2 in his four years there, and he started all four years; they won national championships in 1946, 1947 and 1949, and finished second in 1948.

In his eight-year NFL career, he played on three NFL championship teams. In Detroit!

He was extremely versatile. He played offensive end (now called tight end), defensive end and fullback.

In 1951, he was All-Pro on offense and defense.

In 1956, he rushed for 612 yards and five touchdowns, intercepted four passes, and returned two fumbles for touchdowns.  And he returned eight kicks.

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


american flag FRIDAY,  JUNE 9,  2017  - “The smallest good deed is better than the best intention” John Wooden

*********** When I first heard the news of Bob Stoops’ retiring, the strange timing of it made me immediately think that there must be some bad news coming next.  But when OU followed right up with the announcement that Coach Stoops’ successor would be the current offensive coordinator -  well, schools don’t do that if a head coach is leaving under a cloud.

More likely, it seems to me, is that he figured it’s better to go on his own terms, when he’s still relatively young,  than to wait until the day when they get tired of him, as usually happens;  and doing it at this point, with spring ball behind them, he was in a position, it seems,  to name his successor.  Not many coaches get to do that.

A few people have commented on his being only 58, but in looking back over the years, a surprising number  of really good coaches got out of the game before they turned 60:

Bobby Dodd (58), Dana X. Bible (55), Bill McCartney (54), Dutch Meyer (54),  Darrell Royal (52), Ara Parseghian (51), Paul Dietzel (51), Frank Broyles (51), Bud Wilkinson (47), Frank Leahy (45) 

Earl Blaik was 61 and Tom Osborne was 60 when they retired.

Bud Wilkinson did come back after several years in retirement to coach the NFL St. Louis Cardinals, but it didn’t work out well.

*********** Thought you’d like this.  It’s from legendary Illinois coach Bob Zuppke’s book, “Coaching Football” (1930)
Zuppke Bison

It looks a lot like today’s Pistol, run from a Double-Wing. 

Note, though, that while the “QB” (that was “Zupp's” fullback) is right in the middle of the formation, he’s NOT back of center.  It’s an unbalanced line to the right ("Toronto"), and the center has to make his snap at an angle.

In our terminology it would be "Toronto Bison."

(It is definitely NOT a "T" formation as the term has come to be used, with the QB under center.)

*********** D-Day’s behind us, but with all the talk about today’s football-averse kids, I thought you’d like this short clip of legendary Auburn coach Ralph “Shug” Jordan (pronounced "JERR-din"), a veteran of the D-Day invasion,  telling how  football helped him on that day…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LrGmFrZhxg


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

I have found the open wing play book stuff terrific and there is so much there for coaches to work with. But most importantly your willingness to post it with out charge is generous beyond words. My only regret is that I am not coaching but believe me I am certain if I had had this stuff instead of the two state titles we won in four tries we would have gotten another for sure. The combination of the DW and spread offense is an absolute monster and will give defensive coaches nightmares.

It sure has been a heck of ride and as I look back on it now how much fun it would have been if could have found college program to do some of this DW offense. Nothing is certain but my guess is that we should have been very successful.

I am having a knee replaced June 9th and turned 70 on May 24th so I turned down a chance to coach another season at Marshwood. The age was not the issue but I would have missed all of the summer camps and workouts and felt it was not fair to just show up at the start of the season. It would have been fun just not in the cards.

All my best to the family and thanks again for sharing your knowledge.

Jack Tourtillotte
Rangely, Maine

*********** My head coach, Todd Bridge, has accepted the position of athletic director at Elma, Washington, a school roughly four times the size of North Beach. 

Elma, about an hour east of Ocean Shores, is a nice little town with a good sports tradition.

Todd’s dad, Steve,  was the AD back in 1999 when my Washougal team opened the season there.  Here’s what I wrote afterwards…

If there's such a thing as having a good experience when you lose, I guess you could say I had one on Friday night. We opened on the road in Elma, Washington, a logging town about 2-1/2 hours' ride to the north. I must confess to having a great deal of trepidation when I took the job at Washougal, Washington,  then learned that we had to open at Elma, a town with a proud football tradition (state AA champions in 1997, runners-up last year) and a following that any team would be proud to have. It is not the sort of opponent you would normally choose for your first game with a brand-new team. But visiting there, it was clear I was in a town where football was important. I got the sense of playing somewhere in Texas: the facilities were first-rate, and AD Steve Bridge did a great job of accommodating his visitors. The fans started filling the large stadium an hour before game time, and with a half-hour to go until kickoff it was packed, while a long line of people still waited to buy tickets. The fans were loud and rabid but not abusive, and appreciative of the football played by both teams. Their team, the Elma Eagles, was well-coached, as you might expect, and they played the hard-nosed football typical of logging towns. Unlike a lot of teams nowadays, though, they went about their jobs in a workmanlike, sportsmanlike fashion, keeping their mouths shut and playing football. Elma is a class act. We stung them with 14 early points and two early goal-line stands, but, playoff-seasoned, they never lost their poise. They just kept coming at us, finally defeating us 28-14. Their QB, an athletic 6-3, 220-pound junior named Kyle Basler, is a good-looking prospect. We held him somewhat - 175 yards on 22 completions in 32 attempts - but he threw for two scores and he ran for 75 yards. The loss notwithstanding, it was an encouraging opener for our kids. Overall, we played well. The kids competed, and the Lord watched over us and no one got hurt.  

Todd himself was an AD several years ago, and I think these last six years as a head football coach will make him twice the AD he was before.

One challenge he faces: A few years ago, Elma’s all-wood stadium was condemned and had to be torn down, and since then, with rebuilding stalled because the field’s  been declared to be in a flood plain,  they’ve had to make do with temporary bleachers.

*********** A coach wrote me, “It is interesting that Landry and Lombardi were both on the same team.  It was a small world in the days of early pro football.”

I had to respond.  

I would point out that those were not "early days."  The NFL had been in operation for 30 years. College football had been played for nearly 90 years.

Our game was not invented in the year 2000.

It certainly is no reflection on the coach. In a nation whose teaching of its own history is abysmal, it’s somebody’s job to teach football history, and I’m glad to do my share.

He asked me if there were any books I'd recommend and here's what I worte...

For someone who’d like to get serious about the game and its history, I’d suggest starting way back.

"The History of American Football," by Allison Danzig is a classic.  Get this - it was published in 1956 - the time of Landry and Lombardi and the Giants.  There’s been a lot of toolbar since then, but it’s a big book, and there’s an awful lot of football in there.  I don’t know that you’d call it a “good read” but I go back to it, over and over.

Also by Allison Danzig, “Oh How They Played the Game,” is a good read, lots of stories from different times in the past.

"Great College Football Coaches of the Twenties and Thirties” by Tim Cohane is great.  Obviously there are great differences between then  and now, but I’m always struck by the resemblances.

***********  Hugh,

More news from USA Football... the self-declared (supported by NFL $$$) governing body of youth football in America.

http://footballscoop.com/news/usa-football-unveils-rookie-tackle/

Can't wait to hear your take on it.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

(Read the article, and then my response below may make some sense)

Joe,

In terms of what’s happening to our game,  it does make some sense.  A little.

Given the increasing wussification of our boys and the attacks on our game by all sorts of people, some of them well-meaning, I think that the days of football in its current form are numbered.

It’s not going to happen overnight.  It didn’t happen to boxing or horse racing overnight.  But it did.  With the exception of one or two events a year, those sports, once among the top two or three in popularity, are now as good as dead.

But given that it’s not necessarily a bad idea, I’m agin it for one big reason: it’s being pushed by USA Football, which means the NFL is in there somewhere.

The fact that this has been developed and is being promoted by an organization  that has had the hubris to call itself our sport's “governing body” immediately puts me on guard.  Unquestionably, this is another step by USA Football toward the day when it actually grows into its preposterous claim.  Who knows? The long-range thinking may be that one day this will be the only form of football that everybody other than the NFL will play.

Under the cloak of “making football safer,” this would appear to be a thinly-disguised move to push aside Pop Warner and hundreds of locally-controlled youth football organizations, and bring youth football in the United States under the umbrella of one centralized body. The NFL - er, USA Football.

To help them push their agenda, they employ their Judas Goats, well-known former high school, college and pro coaches retained (I doubt that any of them works for free) to assure the rest of us proles that these are really, really nifty things that those great people at USA Football are doing for us.

Arrogant?  Considering the way football evolved - still evolves - over almost a century and a half, from the time when Walter Camp dragged it away from rugby, what else but arrogance would you call it when someone delivers to us this brand-new modification of the game in “perfect as-is” ready-to-play form.  Here it is.  It’s good for you.  This is how you will play.  Eat your vegetables.

And if you insist on continuing to play that old, crude, dangerous game you’ve been playing for years, why - you must be in favor of injuring children

I do have a few questions:

Where is the evidence that a two-point stance is safer?  By that reasoning, couldn’t they improve player safety in baseball by requiring longer bats, so that batters could move farther back from the plate?  Wouldn’t hockey be safer if they slowed things down - got rid of those skates, and played on gym mats?

Actually, that was several questions.  So back to my list.

Is it still a football game if there's no kicking?

Are people going to support it if it doesn’t even look like a football game?

How long before they bring out the  flags and do away with tackling?

Will this open the doors to a return to Rugby?

Would we even be having this conversation if they still allowed kids to play Smear the Queer at recess?


*********** Trust my wife to think of something that hadn’t even occurred to me, but she may be onto this Rookie Football business.

I told her about the two-point stance and the no kicking plays and she immediately asked, “Is it going to be coed?”

Bingo.

*********** Right on the heels of the big announcement that several NBA teams will be “fielding” eSports teams competing in video basketball comes the exciting news that we’ll soon be able to watch lots of  (1) Professional Rugby Sevens and (2) Professional 3-on-3 basketball.

Combine that with the news that USA Football (our sport’s “Governing Body,” in case you didn’t know) plans to force something called  “Rookie Football” on us, and it’s soon going to be hard to find a sport that’s recognizable.

*********** Mister McCloskey died last week.  That was Jack McCloskey, identified in the abbreviated obituaries we see nowadays as the architect of the great Pistons’ “Bad Boys” teams.  He was 91.

I first knew him as “Mister McCloskey,” my seventh grade PE teacher at Germantown Academy.

I was new to the school, fresh out of public schools, and I’d never had a male teacher. Now, suddenly, every one of my teachers was a man.  Cool.

Mr. McCloskey had just been hired as the varsity basketball coach, and an assistant football coach, and I guess he got stuck with the middle school PE assignment.

He was a great “roll out the ball” PE teacher, which I loved.  In the fall, we played touch football, and in the winter we played basketball.

We had a lot of fun.  I think he liked me because I loved sports and when it came time for basketball he made me a team captain. I named my team the Nuggets. I was quite a sports fan then; I read every sports magazine I could get my hands on. And back then, there was actually a team out West called the Denver Nuggets.  Not in the NBA, like our Philadelphia Warriors.  As a result, nobody else in our school except me and Mister McCloskey had ever heard of them. I got some grief (guys called us the “Nougats”) but he and I knew.

He only lasted one year there, and then he moved on to Collingswood, New Jersey High, a big suburban school. At the time,  not knowing how poorly small private schools paid, I couldn’t believe  he would leave a place like GA.

By 1956, he was the head basketball coach at Penn.

Probably would have stayed there a long time, too,  but in 1966, when his team won the Ivy League championship, his AD pulled a power move and prevented the team from going to the NCAA tournament, and after putting up a long fight and losing, McCloskey resigned and took the head coaching job at Wake Forest.

He stayed at Wake until he left in 1972 to become head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers.  He spent two years there, then after being fired went to the Lakers as an assistant to Jerry West.

He left the Lakers to become GM of the Detroit Pistons, and over the next 13 years, through clever drafting and trading - and the hiring of another former Penn coach, Chuck Daly, to coach his team - he built an NBA powerhouse.

He was one hard-nosed Irishman.  Came out of Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, once a bustling mining town in the heart of the state’s hard-coal region.

A three-sport star in high school, he went to Penn, then a football powerhouse, and played a year of football, basketball and baseball before World War II called and he joined the Navy.

Following the war, he played a little minor league baseball, then returned to Penn to get his degree.

And then, there was basketball. High school coaching. And the Eastern League.  For at least four years, while he was coaching high school basketball, he would leave right after practice and drive, along with several other high school coaches,  for two ofr three hours to one town or another in Eastern Pennsylvania to play in an Eastern League game. Following the game, they’d drive home, arriving in the early hours,  and get up the next morning and teach  school and coach.

They were young, they were tough - they were all World War II vets - and they were passionate about the game of basketball.  And with the money that high school teacher/coaches made, the few bucks they earned playing basketball helped out.

One of Jack McCloskey’s teammates on the Sunbury Mercuries, one of the guys who carpooled with him, was Jack Ramsay - Doctor Jack, who would go on to NBA coaching greatness.

Jack McCloskey was the best of the bunch. An article in the Sunbury Daily Item in 2009 recalled: “Officials voted Mercuries player Jack McCloskey the league MVP for two consecutive seasons, 1953 and 1954. He continued his career in basketball playing, coaching, and managing in the NBA. Former Portland Trailblazers coach and Hall of Famer Jack Ramsay also played for the Mercuries.”

Back to Mister McCloskey.  In one PE touch football game I took a shot to the head and got up woozy.  All I got out of him was “Shake it off, Wyatt.”

Another time, we were screwing off at the start of class, and he decided to put a quick end to it. For the entire period, we did pushups, sit-ups, up-downs, squat-jumps and squat-thrusts.  Beat the crap out of us.

The next day, when we showed up complaining about how sore we were, his sympathetic response was “That’s because you’re not in shape.”

Try that with some of today’s PE classes, where half the kids choose to sit in the stands rather than take part in the class - and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.

Hard-nosed he was.  But a standup guy all the way.

Said Stan Pawlak, an honorable mention All-American at Penn in 1966,  “Everyone you talk to will say this. When you met him, he shook your hand and made an impression upon you that you’ll probably never forget. You knew he was an honest man.”

http://www.thedp.com/article/2017/06/jack-mccloskey-follow-up

*********** If you watched the NFL in 1969, you’ll remember this music…

Sent me by Don Shipley…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLGD2H1eOmw

*********** Great football story: Steve Largent and Mike Harden…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSOPrwb-mQc

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING SAM HUFF:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
RALPH BALDUCCI - PORTLAND, OREGON
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS - The first of what I call the icons of the MLB position of that era in pro football. Bill George, Sam Huff, Ray Nitschke, Dick Butkus, Joe Schmidt, Jack Lambert, and Willie Lanier.
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
TRACY JACKSON - DALLAS, OREGON
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MAT HEDGER - LANGDON, NORTH DAKOTA
JERRY LOVELL - BELLEVUE, NEBRASKA
SHEP CLARKE - PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON

*********** Sam Huff was born in a small West Virginia mining town and played his high school ball in the slightly larger town of Farmington.

In college, he was an outstanding lineman on both offense and defense.

A third round NFL draft pick by the Giants in 1956, he happened to be in the right place at the right time when the team’s defensive coordinator, Tom Landry, came looking for a middle linebacker for his new 4-3 defense.

Huff  won the starting job as a rookie and held it until he was traded by the team. 

The press made a big deal of his “duels” with the Browns’ Jim Brown.

He was the biggest name on what was undoubtedly the first really famous NFL defense.  In fact, he was almost certainly the best-known defensive player in the game.  Part of the reason was that he played in  New York, the media capital, and part was an extremely popular  TV special (“The Violent World of Sam Huff”)  in which he was miked up during a game.  It was  a revolutionary concept at the time, and it gave football fans a look at the inside of the game that they’d never had before.   And it brought him great fame - far greater, some argued, than his play on the field called for.

Those were great Giant defenses - Andy Robustelli, Jim Katkavage, Rosey Grier and Dick Modzelewski were the linemen - and  considering that the idea of the 4-3 was to keep blockers off the middle linebacker, there was a feeling among many of the defenders, especially the linemen,  that Huff received inordinate credit

Pro football coaches are notorious copycats, and the  spread of the 4-3 defense throughout the NFL meant the emergence of some great middle linebackers: Bill George and then Dick Butkus of the Bears, Joe Schmidt of the Lions, Ray Nitschke of the Packers.  Bill  George was once asked what he thought of a proposed movie about the career of Sam Huff, and he said, “They’d have to get Joe Schmidt to play him.”

Nevertheless, Huff was all-pro for four years, and named to the NFL Team of the Decade.

In 1964, he was traded to the Redskins, and he played four seasons there before retiring after the 1967 season.

He was coaxed out of retirement for one more season by Vince Lombardi when he took over the Skins in 1969.


*********** QUIZ - A very good high school football player, he went to Duke on a football scholarship, but then World War II service called.

Serving in the Army Air Corps (now the Air Force), he qualified  to fly B-29s, and as a pilot he flew several bombing missions over Japan.

After the war, he attended Miami (of Ohio) where he was an All-American center.

He embarked on a coaching career, and served as an assistant under three legendary college coaches: Sid Gllman, Bear Bryant and Earl Blaik.

In his first head coaching job, he won the national championship in his fourth year at the school.  He also became famous for the clever way he managed to deal with the limited substitution rules of the time: one unit, the “White Team,” was his best all-round players, the other, the "Go Team,”  was made up primarily of the best remaining offensive players, and the third, made up of the best remaining defensive players, was nicknamed the “Chinese Bandits.”

One of his players, an outstanding running back, won the Heisman Trophy.

To the great surprise of the football world, he left there after seven seasons to become the first non-graduate to coach at the United States Military Academy.

After four so-so years there, he headed back south to become head coach and AD at an ACC school.  There, he built a good football program, and as AD he oversaw the expansion of the stadium - and pulled the school out of the ACC.  In addition, he left his stamp on the school by adopting a new fight song (and writing the words to it) and designing the Fighting Gamecock logo it still uses today.


american flag TUESDAY,  JUNE 6,  2017  - "The longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, That God governs in the affairs of men."  Benjamin Franklin

*********** Everything about the new dog food led to predictions of big sales.  But the product still flopped.

Why?

Simple.  The damn dogs didn’t like it.

Last fall, a whole lot of hoopla accompanied the news that football players at Oregon and Washington were being outfitted with a new helmet produced by a Seattle startup company called Vicis.  The helmet, known as the Zero1, was said to be able to greatly reduce head trauma by employing the same energy-absorbing principles as an automobile bumper.

No more than a week into the experiment, though,  both Pac-12 programs gave up on Old Zero.

The reason?

Discomfort.  Certainly not to call college football players “damn dogs,” but… they didn’t like it.

Several Oregon players pointed to knots on their foreheads, knots they said had come from the helmets.

One said he’d experienced a migraine headache from the pressure of the helmet;  another said it made him feel "nauseous."

Even before the company and the school decided to call it quits, several Oregon players had already gone back to using their old helmets.

But now, 10 months later,  comes news that the NFL is testing out the ZERO1 in its minicamps.

If you’re a high school or youth coach - look out.

You realize, don’t you, that if it ever gets to the point where the NFL (and of course, the NFLPA, which appears to have veto power over any such matters) decide to cover their asses by requiring  all players to wear the Vicis Zero1 helmet, it’s all over for us?

(“Moms - ask your son’s coach if he’s USA Football-certified.  Also if the team has those new Vicis Zero1 helmets. And if not, ask him why not?”)

That $1500 for helmet  is scary, isn’t it?   I know, I know - with mass production and all that, they’ll surely  get that  price tag down a bit.  But how big a bit?   What if they’re able to  cut that price in half?  Whoopee-do. Now it’s only $750.  How long do you think you can keep your program going at $750 a helmet?

Actually, this may all be academic anyhow.  At the rate that youth football participation is declining, the day may not be far off when even at $750 a helmet, there will still be more than enough helmets on hand for  the few  kids turning out for football.

OREGON EXCITED ABOUT THE NEW HELMET!
http://www.oregonlive.com/ducks/index.ssf/2016/08/what_are_those_new_vicis_helme.html

OREGON SAYS NIX TO NEW HELMET
http://www.oregonlive.com/ducks/index.ssf/2016/08/oregon_ducks_no_longer_wearing.html#comments

NEW HELMET GETTING TRYOUT AT NFL MINICAMPS
http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/wireStory/heads-helmet-tryout-nfl-minicamps-47796222


*********** Outstanding News today (Friday). The advice given to the coach at the downtrodden program was very thought provoking to me. Today I think it only takes a year for even the most sound program to begin a negative culture change. I sincerely believe that we are all in a battle to preserve football at our schools.

Thanks,

John Bothe
Oregon, Illinois

Thanks, Coach -

Negative culture change?  You wouldn’t believe what’s happened at the place where I’ve been assisting for the past six years.  Nine years ago I was the HC there, then after two years off I came back to help the new HC, who’d been my middle school HC.  It worked out well - it took us two losing seasons to get things going,  and then we went 7-3, 10-1 and 9-1, with two straight undefeated regular seasons. It was the first time in school history that the football program had had three straight winning seasons.  We won a number of academic awards and a sportsmanship award from the local officials’ association.  In 2014 and 2015 we were ranked in the top five in the state in our class.

Last year we fell off to 4-6, but more significant than the record,  we could see things changing. First of all, our two superintendents (yes, they shared the job) finally decided to hang it up.  They were really good supporters of sports, a major reason why I first took a job at Ocean Shores, and they haven’t been replaced.  True, someone else was given the job and someone else sits in the office, but I couldn’t tell you who it is.  They tell me it’s a woman.

So in place of a pair of guys who were so supportive and involved that they once actually ran our practice for an hour or so while we underwent  first aid training, we got a phantom superintendent who never came out of her office.

On the field, the underclassmen were immature, and with numbers down, we found ourselves having to deal with issues we wouldn’t even have tolerated in the past. We encouraged the kids to use this off-season to get stronger, but rather than do anything to improve themselves as football players (wrestle or lift), a large number of them were quite content simply to sit on the bench on the JV basketball team.   There were only six boys on the school wrestling team, five of them upperclass football players. Several of the kids who were enrolled in the head football coach’s  weight training class transferred out so they could play basketball in PE instead.

Some of them announced - almost boasted -  that they’re not going play football because it’s “not fun.” (Translation: it’s too tough.)

There are only 100 boys in the school, so if (as administrators like to say) there were potential football players “walking the halls,” we’d certainly be aware of them. Those who pass the eyeball test have significant academic or behavioral issues or suffer from chronic laziness.

Our new  superintendent  moved here from the Seattle area and has no idea how hard it is  in our remote location to find assistant coaches.  And rather than do something to help, she ramrodded through the school board - without soliciting input - a requirement that any volunteer coach must undergo an "FBI criminal background check which includes fingerprints” - at their own expense.  

This is in addition to all the other assorted state requirements (First Aid/CPR, Heads Up, Bullying, blah, blah, blah).

Our HC finally had enough and handed in his resignation last  Wednesday.  Less than two days later, the job vacancy was already posted on the Internet.  That’s the fastest anything has happened in the nine years I’ve been associated with the place.

If I hadn’t seen this very sort of thing happen to other coaches in other parts of the country, good coaches  who worked hard to build strong programs only to see them rot, I’d think there was something wrong with us.

But what I say to any of you guys experiencing this is - it’s not you.

This is today’s entitlement society.  This is the America in which  youngsters  don’t have to work for anything.  This is the America in which  youngsters would rather be handed  the trophy without have to compete for it, and would rather play the game with a console instead of with head, heart and hands.


*********** A MEMO SENT OUT BY THE NORTH BEACH HIGH SCHOOL AD - This is school board policy passed at the last board meeting.

POLICY ON VOLUNTEERS…

1. Anyone who is not a current employee of the school with an opportunity for one-on-one contact with a student in the school setting is a volunteer. This person must have a WSP background check which includes fingerprints. The volunteer is responsible for any fees ($7). The paper work can be picked up at the high school, and be completed at the Hoquiam PD. This would include volunteers working for a track meet, chain gang at football, concession workers, etc. Score clock operators and ticket takers are district employees and will be checked through the application process.

2. All volunteer coaches must also complete an FBI criminal background check which includes fingerprints. The volunteer is responsible for any fees ($53). A coach is someone who works with the student at practices/games.

3. All volunteer and new coaches for the high school must complete CPR and WIAA online clinics. This is required by the WIAA. They must further complete the NFHS online clinics and confidentiality and professionalism paper work.

This means, essentially, an end to  our policy of having recent graduates come out and help us in spring and in the pre-season.  These were kids who’ve played two, three or four years under us, who know exactly what our standards are and have more than met them; kids whom we’ve written recommendations for  and now are ready to handle some responsibility while under the supervision of a paid coach. For a lot of good kids, it’s a significant line on their resumes. Maybe some of them will be inspired to go off to college and become coaches some day. 

FBI check?  Give me a break.  These kids live in a small, remote town which they’ve never left  for any significant amount of time, so if they’ve ever done anything that would  disqualify them from working with high school players, many of whom were their teammates just a year or two before, everybody in town would know about it - long before the FBI ever did.

Attention new head coach: good luck finding volunteer coaches at North Beach High School.

*********** Just read your article on Curt Warner. I had the privilege (agony?) of coaching against Curt all the years he was at Pineville High School. I coached 35 years in both WV and VA and, without question, Curt was the best running back I ever saw. As a senior at Pineville (14 miles away and bitter rivals), Curt scored every way one could score except through a safety and field goal. Curt got a some criticism for not attending WVU but Penn State and Coach Paterno proved best for him, I think. During the few times Curt was home during his tenure at Penn State, Curt came and spoke to our players on more than one occasion and was one of the most personable young men I ever met. I was aware of the struggle Curt and his wife had raising their children. In short, Curt Warner was not only a great football player, but a a better human being and parent to his children and a husband to his wife. I will remember him always. Thank you for your news, of which I have been a regular for years.
 
John C. Harris
Oceana (WV) High School
Magna Vista (VA) High School

Coach Harris,

I really appreciate your taking the time to write and share your experiences with Curt Warner.

He’s a great person and a great representative of the Mountain State. (Which, by the way, has turned out way more than its share of top coaches (Fielding Yost, Greasy Neale, Ben Schwartzwalder, John McKay, Rich Rodriguez, Jimbo Fisher, Nick Saban).

Please tell me if I missed any.

I also appreciate your reading my news and I hope I can keep your interest!


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

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

Curt Warner's story is quite something.  Thanks for sharing.  His wife's and his resilience is incredible because of their unconditional love for their children.  He is truly a man's man.

Portland, OR and Austin, TX.  Even though both are considered weird I'll take Austin over Portland.

Quiz answer:  That would be Julius Caesar "J.C." Watts.  Despite his choices early in his life he found a way to make himself a better man, and become a leader many thought he couldn't be.

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe,

Glad you enjoyed the article on Curt Warner.  He really is an admirable man, isn’t he?

I’ll take Portland because of the climate. (I hate hot weather and I hate humidity.)

Otherwise, I’d take Austin, because while it may be weird, you don’t have to go far in any direction  to find yourself surrounded by normal people.



*********** If you’re a football coach, hang in there.  Build your coaching resume.   One of these days, you’re going to cash in.

Men  - guys with good jobs and businesses and families are paying good money to to attend “boot camps.” 

There, the guys are subjected to the sort of rigorous physical demands and hardship - and, as it’s defined today, verbal abuse - that once, when nearly every able-bodied man either served in the military or played football (or both), was taken for granted as something you routinely did in order to advance in a male culture.

One organization called “Warrior Week” charges guys $10,000 each for the privilege of being out through five days and five nights of what sounds as times like basic training, and at other times like two-a-days.

They lift weights, they run, they work together as a team, and they engage in hand-to-hand combat.  They have to fight for one-minute rounds.

“We teach them how to be a man,” says the founder of Warrior Week, a guy named Garrett White.

Why?

“Women are leading across the board,” he told the New York Post.  “In business and at home . . . and living more powerfully than men today. And that’s causing complete chaos for men.”

Mr. White has a point.

Girls and women are urged to compete, to excel:  “You go, girl!”  “Lean in!” And so forth.  Boys, meanwhile, are  told to sit still. Not to fight. Not to choose sides.  Not to play dodgeball.  And certainly not to play - gasp! - Smear the Queer. The univeral sport for little boys? Soccer.

What does this produce?  A society of less-than-masculine males who either cut out on the mothers of their children or, almost as bad, stick around while allowing the mothers to raise the little boys,  shielding them from the dangers of being little boys and emasculating them in the process. 

Football?  Oh, no.  Not my son.

That’s where we come in, guys - making money by making men.  Maybe it's not too late.

HEY FELLAS!  TIRED OF ACTING LIKE A WUSSY? TIRED OF WOMEN WALKING ALL OVER YOU?

SEE YOU AT  CAMP DOUBLE-DAY!


Five days of morning and afternoon sessions… jogging… jumping jacks… push-ups… running around cones… relay races… pushing huge sleds with four other guys… flipping truck tires…  blocking and tackling… evening pep talks… real coaches screaming at you... and, on the fifth day - playing in a real football game!

Just like the ones you could have played in on Friday nights back  when you were in high school, but Mom wouldn’t let you!

Go back home and (after the soreness goes away) walk around town in your CAMP DOUBLE-DAY letterman's jacket, just like you wish you could have back in high school!

Register now!  Just  $5,000 - that's only $1,000 a day - Half the price of other camps!


http://nypost.com/2017/06/03/this-intensive-boot-camp-is-designed-to-revive-a-mans-primal-nature/


*********** The 1951 Pittsburgh Steelers were the last team to run the single wing in the NFL.

Not in any way to disparage a great offense, but it’s no wonder.  That team's offense sucked.

They rushed 425 times for 1428 yards - a puny 3.36 yards per rush.

Passing? A total of five different passers  completed just 130 of 330 (39%) for 1842 yards  (surprisingly, for a single wing team, that’s more yards passing than rushing).

Their stats give them away as a single wing team: although their top rusher was the fullback, Fran Rogel, the next four rushers  were Lynn Chandnois, Joe Geri and Chuck Ortmann -  who happened also to be their top passers.

Rogel,  the fullback, who did a lot of running between the tackles.  Between the guards, really. At one point, making fun of the predictability of the Steelers’ offense under John Michelson’s successor, Walt Kiesling,  Pittsburgh sportswriter Bob Drum wrote that the first play of every game could be reduced to a little poem : “Hey diddle, diddle - Rogel up the middle!”

Pittsburgh fans, who hated the play-calling but loved Rogel,  soon began singing the ditty at Steelers' games.


*********** J.C. Watts’ given name was Julius Caesar Watts.  He was an outstanding high school quarterback in Eufala, Oklahoma, who overcame some early poor decisions in high school - he fathered two children by two different girls - and in college - he twice quit the team at Oklahoma - to become an outstanding wishbone quarterback during the Sooners’ heyday.  But he didn’t just run the ball and run the bone.  Recalled Barry Switzer in his book, “Bootlegger’s Boy,” “J. C Watts was the best passer I ever had at Oklahoma until Troy Aikman in 1985.”

He played five years of pro football in Canada, at Ottawa and Toronto.  After he retired he became a Baptist minister and went on to serve three terms in Congress as a Republican.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING J.C. WATTS

KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
DENNIS METZGER - RICHMOND, INDIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
JERRY LOVELL - BELLEVUE, NEBRASKA - The man was in a long line of OU quarterbacks who absolutely crushed the dreams of Cornhusker fans in the 70s and 80s.   A great man, in my opinion, who didn't rise high enough in politics.
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
SHEP CLARKE - PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JEFF HANSEN - CASPER, WYOMING
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS

*********** QUIZ - He was born in a small West Virginia mining town and played his high school ball in the slightly larger town of Farmington.

In college, he was an outstanding lineman on both offense and defense.

A third round NFL draft pick in 1956, he happened to be in the right place at the right time when the team’s defensive coordinator, Tom Landry, came looking for a middle linebacker for his new 4-3 defense.

He won the starting job as a rookie and held it until he was traded by the team eight years later. 

He became the biggest name on what was undoubtedly the first really famous NFL defense.  In fact, he was almost certainly the best-known defensive player in the game at the time.  Part of the reason was the big city he played in, and part was a network TV special featuring him and his "violent world" in which he was miked up during a game.   It brought him great fame - far greater, some argued, than his play on the field warranted.

Not that he wasn't very good:  he was all-pro for four years, and he was named to the NFL Team of the Decade.

The press made a big deal of his “duels” with the Browns’ Jim Brown.

In 1964, he was traded to the Redskins, and he played four seasons there before retiring after the 1967 season.

He was coaxed out of retirement for one more season by Vince Lombardi when he took over the Skins in 1969.


american flag FRIDAY,  JUNE 2,  2017  - "It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong."  Dr. Thomas Sowell


*********** Curt Warner - the running back, not the quarterback - has been a favorite of mine for a long time. Most of my life I’ve been a Penn State fan - used to be, anyhow, before they decided to bury Joe Paterno before the man was even dead - and Curt Warner played a major role in Penn State’s climb to the top of college football.

I admired the fact that he came from a tiny town in southern West Virginia, the only black kid in his town, and was all-state in three sports.

I admired that fact that he and quarterback Todd Blackledge, a white guy, roomed together, before that was an accepted thing.

I liked the fact that he came to Seattle to play for the Seahawks, back before I got sick of them.

And I liked it when he bought a nearby Chevrolet dealership and built a home in our town.

I stopped over to meet and greet him...
 
I spent a few minutes yesterday talking with our area's newest Chevrolet dealer in his showroom. He's Curt Warner, new owner of Curt Warner Chevrolet in Vancouver, Washington. He's the same Curt Warner who not so long ago played running back for the Seahawks and Rams, and before that, played on Penn State's 1982 National Championship team, finishing in the top ten in that year's Heisman Trophy balloting. I noted that, like my kids, he was a small-town guy (Pineville, West Virginia), and I also noted that he was a three-sport athlete in high school, earning all-state mention two years in a row in football, basketball and baseball. He is opposed to one-sport specialization, feeling that college is time enough to decide which sport to concentrate on. Curt Warner, on his way to a successful career in business, is an excellent example of the "scholar-athlete" the NCAA likes to brag about.

That was written back in 1999.  I invited him to come to our big game and toss the coin.  He obliged, and received a nice ovation from the crowd.

Quite a guy, eh?

Wait until you read about the kind of man Curt Warner really is…

http://www.thenewstribune.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/dave-boling/article152730884.html

*********** A recent incident, horrible by any standards, has the liberals in Portland tied in knots.

It happened on MAX, the local name for the light-rail (glorified trolley) service, a heavily taxpayer-subsidized  way of forcing decent, law-abiding citizens to sit much closer than they would prefer to creatures they’d ordinarily cross the street to avoid.

One such creature was riding a MAX train last week, guzzling wine (it appears to have been sangria)  from a bag, ranting about something or other, when he turned his attention to two young black ladies seated nearby.  One of them was wearing a burkha, which evidently the guy felt gave him license to begin insulting them and their religion, etc.

The guy was loud and abusive, to the point where, by witnesses’ accounts,  a few other guys on the train tried to “intervene” on behalf of the ladies.  I have yet to learn what the “intervention” consisted of, but evidently the churlish creature took offense, whipping out a knife and slashing their throats.

He then fled the train, but was captured shortly after by Portland police as he ranted and raved, the story goes, about what he’d just done.

Meanwhile, two of his victims lay dead. The third managed to survive, with a slash from chin to ear.

The liberal politicians (in Portland, that’s an oxymoron) and the liberal reporters (an oxymoron everywhere) dusted off their prepared speeches and columns, the ones they’d written in advance for just such an incident.

Some reached into the Hate Crime file.

Hmmm.  Maybe.  At first glance, it certainly had all the appearances.  It’s certainly not right to be openly insulting others, based on religion or whatever.  But it still may have been protected speech.  After all, he didn’t attack the girls, the ones at whom his venom was directed.  And maybe the “intervention” was enough to cause the guy to feel threatened to the point where felt he had to use a knife.

Others dove into their Gun-Control files.

But wait -  the fact that  there are 300 million firearms in America and this guy  didn’t have one would make it seem as if Oregon’s gun control laws were working.

Maybe it was Trump - and all the hatred associated with Trump and his followers.

Nope.   Guy was a Bernie supporter.  Damn. In fact, he’d been chased out of a recent Trump rally by Trump supporters, uncomfortable with some of the things he’d been saying.  The police told them it wasn’t a good idea to keep up the chase because he was dangerous.

Hey - how about Tolerance and Inclusion?

Well.  Here’s where the libs get hoist by their own petard - the guy’s homeless - said he has been  for at least 12 years.

You talk about tolerance - the Homeless, in Portland, are like cattle on the streets of New Delhi -  sacred and protected. They can sleep wherever they want, panhandle wherever they want, crap wherever they want.

And as neutered as the Portland police have become, if a cop had been sitting on that train minutes before the knifings and had heard what was going on - and then learned that the guy was homeless...  he’d have advised everyone else to get off the train - and he’d have gotten off himself.

The community, understandably, is horrified by the gruesome crime and the murder of two good Samaritans.  But the pols and the media feel useless.  With no overarching cause to tie the killings to, they’re left to report on makeshift memorials and candlelight vigils.

Such a sin to let a tragedy like that go to waste.

Looks like they’re going to have to go back to old-fashioned journalism and blame this one on the person who did it - an ugly, evil person who shouldn’t have been anywhere near decent people.  Oh, wait - I forgot.  He’s homeless.

*********** Way too soon to forget Frank DeFord, who died this week.

In fact, I’ve gone back to re-read some of the stuff he wrote about people like George Halas, Billy Conn, and Bill Russell.
 
His great achievement may have been becoming the only writer who could truly take us behind the facade which the notoriously private Russell used to shield his life from the public.

Some excerpts from the Russell article, much of it based on a 1999 interview which took place while they were driving from Seattle to Oakland…

Of course, genuine achievement is everywhere devalued these days. On the 200th anniversary of his death, George Washington has been so forgotten that they're toting his false teeth around the republic, trying to restore interest in the Father of Our Country with a celebrity-style gimmick. So should we be surprised that one spectacular show-off dunk on yesterday's highlight reel counts for more than some ancient decade's worth of championships back-before-Larry&Magic-really-invented-the-sport-of-basketball?

Tommy Heinsohn, who played with Russell for nine years and won 10 NBA titles himself, as player and coach, sums it up best: "Look, all I know is, the guy won two NCAA championships, 50-some college games in a row, the ['56] Olympics, then he came to Boston and won 11 championships in 13 years, and they named a f------ tunnel after Ted Williams." By that standard, only a cathedral on a hill deserves to have Bill Russell's name attached to it.

***

What do you remember your father telling you, Bill?

"Accept responsibility for your actions.... Honor thy father and mother.... If they give you $10 for a day's work, you give them $12 worth in return."

Even more clearly, Russell recalls the gritty creed his mother gave him when he was a little boy growing up in segregation and the Depression in West Monroe, La. Katie said, "William, you are going to meet people who just don't like you. On sight. And there's nothing you can do about it, so don't worry. Just be yourself. You're no better than anyone else, but no one's better than you."

***

His grandfather Jake was of the family's first generation born free on this continent. When this fading century began, Jake Russell was trying to scratch out a living with a mule. The Klan went after him because even though he couldn't read or write a lick, he led a campaign to raise money among the poor blacks around West Monroe to build a schoolhouse and pay a teacher to educate their children at a time when the state wouldn't have any truck with that.

At the other end of Jake's life, in 1969, he went over to Shreveport, La., to see the Celtics play an exhibition. By then his grandson had become the first African-American coach in a major professional sport. Jake sat with his son, Charlie, watching Bill closely during timeouts. He wasn't quite sure what he was seeing; Celtics huddles could be terribly democratic back then. It was before teams had a lot of assistants with clipboards. Skeptically Jake asked his son, "He's the boss?" Charlie nodded.

Jake took that in. "Of the white men too?"

"The white men too."

Jake just shook his head. After the game he went into the decrepit locker room, which had only one shower for the whole team. The Celtics were washing up in pairs, and when Jake arrived, Sam Jones and John Havlicek were in the shower, passing the one bar of soap back and forth--first the naked black man, then the naked white man stepping under the water spray. Jake watched, agape. Finally he said, "I never thought I'd see anything like that."

***

https://www.si.com/vault/1999/05/10/260658/the-ring-leader-the-greatest-team-player-of-all-time-bill-russell-was-the-hub-of-a-celtics-dynasty-that-ruled-its-sport-as-no-other-team-ever-has

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

Answer to your Tuesday News quiz - Jock Sutherland of Pitt

I knew he developed the single wing, but did he also create the double wing formation?

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe-

No, he got the Double Wing from Pop Warner, his college coach.

(We’re talking here about a direct-snap Double Wing.)

Take a look at this - http://www.coachwyatt.com/armytrainingfilm/armytrainingfilm.mov

It’s a World War II training film, using Army’s great team from the 1940s to demonstrate.  Very strange - they were a T-formation team by then but Colonel Blaik, who had been a Jock Sutherland single-winger,  knew his stuff,  and in the video his National Championship  T-formation team puts on an amazing demonstration  of the single wing.  At the 10:21 point, they run from the (Pop Warner) Double Wing.


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

I was reading though NYCU today and I read the letter from the guy whose assistant coach won’t let his son play offence unless he can use the hand punch block.

I am wrestling with a similar issue. I have two undersized guards who get knocked down when they run the circle against superior linebackers. I am considering having them use the punch technique to better help them stay welded. My fear is that they will hold as soon as that LB moves.

We are 3-1 and have 3 games left in the regular season. We work every day on the welder drill. Its not a case of lack of effort with the players, they are just small.

Is it worth it to try and teach a new blocking technique half way through the season?

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

PS. That guy is fighting a losing battle. Any assistant who puts down an ultimatum is just going to be trouble.

Agree with you on the losing battle.  But he’s taking over a new program and he’s inheriting a staff and I think it’s just something he’ll have to work through until he has the clout  to do what needs to be done.

Running the circle could be defined as "blocking in space." One way to reduce the chance of holding while punching is to make sure that the blocker’s hands are inside the defender’s hands. Have them practice blocking by holding a tennis ball (one tennis ball) with both hands until just at the point of contact they drop the ball and punch.

Sometimes we have to make concessions in order to accommodate the kids we have.




CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JOCK SUTHERLAND—

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOHN IRION - GRANVILLE, NEW YORK
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA


*********** QUIZ - Jock Sutherland was a giant among college coaches, and  his enormous contribution to the growth of the National Football League has never fully been acknowledged.

He was born and raised in Scotland and didn’t arrive in the United States, in Pittsburgh,  until he was 18; after a succession of tough jobs, he enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh, and because of his size and strength he turned out for the football team, and was a player in the first football game he ever saw.

His Pitt team lost only one game in his freshman year, and then, with a new coach named Glenn “Pop” Warner, the Panthers went undefeated for the remaining three years of his college career. He was named an All-America guard his senior year. He also wrestled at Pitt, and competed in the hammer, discus and shot put.

After graduation, with a degree in dentistry, he served in World War I, then  took the head coaching job at Lafayette College, in Easton, Pennsylvania.  Over the next five years, coaching in the fall and practicing dentistry the rest of the year, he compiled a 33-8-2 record. He beat Warner and Pitt  two years in a row, and was the choice for the Pitt job when Warner left to take the head coaching job at Stanford.

His  run of success in his 15 years at Pitt has seldom been matched.  Ten of his teams lost no more than one game, and only one of them - his first team, which went 5-4 - lost more than two games. Four of his teams received mention as national champions.

His 1936 team finished 8-1-1, and beat Washington, 21-0 in the Rose Bowl. (In those days the Rose Bowl was set up to pit the best team from the West Coast against the best team from elsewhere in the country.)

The Pitt players were disturbed by the fact that while Washington’s players had been given spending money (it was allowed)  they would have had nothing at all  if Sutherland hadn’t parcelled out among them the  $300 fee that he’d received for doing a radio show. 

His 1937 team, with its "dream backfield” of Cassiano, Chickerneo, Goldberg and Stebbins, is considered to be one of the great college teams of all time. The only draw mark on its 9-0-1 record was a tie with Fordham, the Panthers’ third straight tie with the Rams.  (In 1935, 1936 and 1937 Pitt and Fordham - and its famed  “seven blocks of granite” line -  played three straight scoreless ties.)

The 1937 Pitt team was also invited by the Rose Bowl people, but  the players, still angry about the university’s stinginess the year before, voted to decline the invitation.

Sutherland  left Pitt after the 1938 season, unwilling to work under the terms of Pitt’s announced de-emphasis of football (the intended purpose of which was to take the spot in the Big Ten about to be left open when  Chicago announced it would be giving up football. Many of the Big Ten teams - Notre Dame, too - had dropped the Panthers from their schedules, ostensibly because, in complete accordance with the rules, they were paying their players the rather  small sum of $48.50 a month.  In truth, the Panthers were just too tough.  Maybe, the higher-ups thought, by weakening themselves they would make themselves be more acceptable to Big ten members.

Sutherland’s overall record in 15 years at Pitt was 111-20-12.  The Panthers went to four Rose Bowls and - nearly unthinkable today - he was 12 for 12  against Penn State.

After he left, Pitt football would never again be the same.  It would have a good, even great year here and there, but nothing close to Sutherland’s 15-year run of excellence. In fairness, few schools have been able to enjoy such a period of sustained excellence.

After Sutherland, Pitt managed a 5-4 season in 1939, but they would go another nine years before they had another winning season, and another 25 seasons before they would again win 8 games.  During that 25-year span, they would have just 8 winning seasons, with only two back-to-back winning seasons.  But they did manage to get Notre Dame back on the schedule - and lost 10 of 11 games to the Irish.  And they lost 24 straight games to Big Ten teams.

And as it turned out, it was all for nought anyhow.   The Pitt muckety-mucks had bet the farm on admission to the Big Ten, and then were left standing at the altar when Michigan State was given membership in 1950.

Steelers’ owner Art Rooney, respecting Sutherland’s coaching expertise and well aware of the way that he was revered by   Pittsburgh’s football fans, tried his best to  persuade Sutherland to take over the Steelers.  “I have felt for a long time  that Dr. Sutherland (“no one called him Jock to his face,” recalled Art Rooney’s son, Dan) is the best coach in the profession. If his present plan is to stay out of college football for a year, I believe it would be a good idea to work for us and keep from getting rusty.”

Rooney didn’t get his man - this time.

Sutherland instead took the 1939 season off, then, not wanting to be around Pittsburgh,  signed on with the NFL Brooklyn Dodgers, where he coached for two seasons (1940-1941) and won 15 games while losing 7.  And then  World War II set in, and at the age of 53,  he enlisted in the Navy.

Rooney, meantime, stayed in touch with Sutherland  throughout the war  in hopes that he could get the great coach to return to his adopted city.

He knew how loyal Sutherland was to the city - and to his college. He knew that Sutherland had turned down numerous opportunities to coach at major colleges.

While Rooney and his then-partner, Bert Bell, courted him, Sutherland, the canny Scotsman,  played hard to get. He was somewhat wary of Rooney and the people he associated with - the boxing and horse racing crowd and assorted other colorful characters. Sutherland, on the other hand, associated with a far more refined crowd.

Sutherland drove a hard bargain, and  Rooney granted every one of his demands, giving him a five-year contract that called for an unprecedented $27,500 a year and a quarter of the team’s profits (in the unlikely event the team might show a profit.)

Sutherland’s hiring was announced just after Christmas, 1945,  and the news generated such excitement that  the Steelers sold 22,000 season tickets.  The year before, they had sold 1500.

It’s important to understand that at that time it was unthinkable that a well-known college football coach - one of the very best of them, at that - would stoop to coach a professional team.

Sutherland's taking the Steelers' job gave the Steelers - the entire NFL, for that matter - a prestige and credibility that it had never had.

In “Rooney,” the authors write, “Jock’s return not only electrified the city, it transformed its fan base. His imprimatur legitimized the Steelers to fans who had worshipped him at Pitt. Overnight, his presence brought Protestant Pittsburgh into the fold to root for the same club that the region’s Catholic, Jewish and Eastern Orthodox working classes had long considered their own.”

“The day they signed Sutherland as coach is the day everything changed for the Steelers, ” said Pat Livingston, Steelers’ publicity director at the time. “All the Pitt fans became Steeler fans.”

Rooney and Sutherland rather quickly came to like and respect each other, and Rooney was astute enough to know to leave the football to Sutherland. Besides, that left him with more time for his horses.

Sutherland’s  first training camp, in Hershey, Pennsylvania,  was rough, even for men who’d been accustomed to military service. His morning practices lasted two hours and his afternoon practices three. Believing there was “only one way to find out who’s who and what’s what,” he believed in scrimmaging, and would frequently hold two scrimmages a day.

By the time of the season opener, 24 of the 33 Steelers who suited up were new to the team. And only 22 players saw action in the game.

And then there was his offense.

Wrote Dan Rooney, years later, “Sutherland was a firm believer in Pop Warner’s single wing, a run-oriented offense  in which the center snapped the ball to one of two backs.  By 1946, the single wing was popular only with youth football and a few college teams, because most of the pro teams had abandoned it for the T formation. Despite the trend away from the old style of play, Jock made it work.”

In 1946, the Steelers not only finished a much-improved 5-5-1,  but they led the NFL in attendance.

But his single wing,  while tough on opponents,  was tough on his own players, too, especially  on Bill Dudley, his tailback. Dudley was easily the best player on the team - he led the league in rushing, interceptions and punt returns  and  was named  the league MVP  -  but he was small, and carrying the ball on nearly every play, he took a terrible beating.

In addition, there was bad blood between Dudley and Sutherland - Sutherland thought Dudley was a freelancer and Dudley thought Sutherland was a tyrant -  and when Dudley told Art Rooney that he would no longer play for Sutherland but that he would go along with a trade, a heartbroken Rooney traded Dudley - his favorite player - to Detroit. 

Even without Dudley (who would go on to a Hall of Fame career) the 1947 Steelers went 8-4 and made the playoffs.  But after the players lost their bid to get paid more money for their efforts,  they lost the game to the Eagles - who then lost in the championship game to the Chicago Cardinals.

The season was a financial success for Sutherland as well. The Steelers sold 21,000 season tickets, and actually made a profit of $50,000 for the season. In accordance with the terms of his contract, calling for him to receive a quarter of all profits,  his share was $12,500.

The following spring, he headed south to look at players. He had stopped to see Wallace Wade at Duke and Peahead Walker at Wake Forest, but then there was no word from him until a call came into the Steelers’ office:
 
“Do you people have a coach named Sutherland working for you?” the voice on the other end asked.  It was a sheriff in a town called Bandana, Kentucky.

Jock Sutherland, it developed,   had been found by a milkman wandering and dazed, his car deep in mud beside a road near Bandana, in far western Kentucky. 

He kept saying to the milkman, “I’m Jock Sutherland… I’m Jock Sutherland.”

He said he was hungry and his head hurt.  His car was off the road, deep in mud.

The milkman gave him a ride  to the sheriff, who asked him if he thought it was a good idea to be carrying his wallet around - if he wasn’t afraid someone might take it.

Sutherland, the one-time All-America guard,   looked at the lawman and said, “Do you think anyone could?”

He was taken to a hospital in Cairo, Illinois where his assistant John Michelosen and some other friends arrived and  arranged to fly him back home.  Back in Pittsburgh, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Surgery was unsuccessful, and he was dead within days.

Thousands attended his funeral.

Said Longtime Rooney associate Jack McGinley, “He was the best I ever saw. Had he lived, we would have won a million championships.”

He left a college win-loss record of 144-28-14.  His NFL coaching record was 28-16-1, perhaps the best of any coach who started out with a great college career before leaving for the pros. 

Even without the great Jock Sutherland, no one could have foreseen the tough times that lay ahead for the Steelers.

Sutherland’s successor was Michelosen, his top assistant,  who had been captain of his 1937 Pitt team.

Sutherland had intended to coach for five seasons and than have MIchelosen to take over, but  Sutherland’s death cut short the learning time and when Michelosen took over the Steelers, he became, at 32,  the youngest head coach in NFL history.  (He would remain so until 2007, when the Raiders hired Lane Kiffin.)

Like Sutherland, Michelosen ran the single wing.  And like Sutherland, he worked his players hard.  Really hard.  Like his mentor, he believed in scrimmaging every day.  During one training camp, the Steelers scrimmaged 21 straight days.  In-season, they’d scrimmage during the  during the week.

But, wrote Dan Rooney in his autobiography,  “Hard as he tried, Michelosen was not Jock Sutherland.”

The Steelers finished a disappointing 4-8 in 1948, then 6-5-1 in 1949 and 6-6 in 1950.  In 1951, as they fell to 4-7-1,  the fans were complaining loudly  about the “same old Steelers.”

And the same old offense.

Yes, the single wing was beating up opponents, but it was even harder on the Steelers’ players, and owner Art Rooney, as hands-off as any owner has ever been, tried to persuade Michelosen to adopt the T-formation that all the other NFL teams were running.

“The single wing takes too much out of your players,” chimed in Rooney’s old friend, Bears’ owner/coach George Halas. “I know we take a physical beating when we play you, but in the long run, your team is the team that suffers the most from the single wing.

And after the 1951 season, John Michelosen was let go, and there, with him, went the last of the NFL single wing coaches.

John Michelosen would come back to revive his career at Pitt, where he took over in 1955 and in 11 years produced solid teams and a 59-46-7 record. Playing some of the toughest schedules in the country, he had only four losing seasons.  Two of his former players, Mike Ditka and Marty Schottenheimer, distinguished themselves as NFL coaches.

And if you learned only one thing from all this: yes, the last NFL team to run the single wing was the Steelers; but the last NFL coach to run the single wing was NOT Jock Sutherland; it was Johnny Michelosen.

http://www.nytimes.com/1994/10/15/sports/college-football-this-pitt-backfield-is-still-a-dream.html

*********** QUIZ - His given name was Julius Caesar.  He was an outstanding high school quarterback who became an outstanding wishbone quarterback in college. He played some pro football in Canada.  After he retired he became a Baptist minister and went on to serve three terms in Congress.




american flag TUESDAY,  MAY 30,  2017  - "If I were to sum up what I've learned in 35 years of service, it's improvise, improvise, improvise." General James Mattis
 
************ It was a beautiful Memorial Day weekend in the Northwest, and you might like the photos I took of the kids planting flags on the graves of veterans, a Memorial Day tradition at the Camas Cemetery..

https://www.facebook.com/hugh.wyatt.7

*********** Jason Whitlock is wise to ESPN…

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/article152829509.html


PJ FLECK*********** P.J. Fleck is a good coach and I believe he was a good choice for Minnesota. 

But at some point, there could be an image problem.

First of all, unless they win - and keep winning -  the “Row the Boat” business will soon enough become a cliche.

And, jeez - does this photo make him look just a bit like Pee Wee Herman?

*********** I’m merely supplying the setup - you’ll have to provide your own punchline.

Citing a study that supposedly shows that one in every 137 teens is transgender, Hallmark is “coming out” with a line of cards to “celebrate” transitioning to the “gender” of your choice.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3555256/posts

*********** WTF? The Patriots and the three Republican amigos - Kraft, Belichick and Brady - must have been catching hell for their support of President Trump - so now they’re trying to mend fences, by sponsoring some sickness called the “Gay Bowl.”

http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/patriots-to-sponsor-lgbt-‘gay-bowl’/ar-BBBuByQ?OCID=ansmsnnews11

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTfiz3jPwTg

*********** It’s a sport icon.  It’s been the site of Olympics, Super Bowls, and national championship football games. It was the first California home of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

All as “Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.”

Now, though, according to Sports Business Daily, it’s about to get a new name, with United Airlines set to pay more than $70 million for the naming rights to the stadium, now owned by USC.

According to the article,  “Memorial Coliseum” will still be in the new name somewhere. Whew.

Still unconfirmed is a report that under the terms of the agreement United will provide training to  stadium security in how to drag unruly spectators down the Coliseum steps feet-first.

*********** I’m saddened by the deaths of two guys I greatly admired.

First was Jim Bunning,  an all-time great pitcher, a great family man (nine kids) and a good Republican Congressman and Senator from Kentucky.

Second was Frank DeFord. He was far better than just a sports writer - he was a writer who wrote about sports.  A Baltimore guy, he was part of the “Princeton Pipeline” that ran through Gilman School straight to Princeton, and after graduation he landed a job with Sports Illustrated. Whenever I saw his byline on a story, I read it first. 

He wrote a few novels, as well. One,  “Everybody’s All-American, “ was based on the life and times of North Carolina Tar Heel great Charlie “Choo-Choo” Justice, and was later made into a forgettable movie that didn’t even closely resemble the book, other than the fact that it was sort of about football.

cut 'n' runHis first novel,  “Cut ’n’ Run,” could only have been written by someone who’d lived in Baltimore when the entire city had Colt Fever.  I found it hilarious, because I’d lived in Baltimore during those times, and knew what he was writing about.  Essentially, it’s about a black guy in a menial position in a stock brokerage firm (a menial position was about as high as blacks could get in any big Baltimore firm at that time) who somehow (I don’t remember how, but I think it was through some bookkeeping mistake) manages to become the owner of record of a quantity of Baltimore Colts season tickets, and then (as I remember) because Colts’ tickets were better than currency in Baltimore, uses this as leverage to move up in the organization. 

Frank DeFord had a unique ability to get players to confide inhim.  Observed Bryan Curtis, writing in “The Ringer,”

In a 1999 profile on Bill Russell’s emergence from self-imposed exile, Deford got Celtics great Tommy Heinsohn to say that Russell “won 11 championships in 13 years, and (Boston) named a f— king tunnel after Ted Williams.”

***********  Hey Coach Wyatt,

I wanted to let you know I  have taken over as head coach of another youth football team here. The age level is 11, 12. & 13 year olds and they have not run the DW before.

Anyway, the defensive staff from the team is returning. I've worked with them myself in the past and they are good coaches. While they will run the defense, they will help me with the offense in practice.

The DC  has an issue with the Double Wing blocking because his son is on our team, is going to be playing high school ball and has been taught hand blocking for three years and he doesn't want to teach our way of blocking and confuse his son or have to re-teach the hand blocking. Basically he said if I insist on our DW blocking, he'll go along with the Double Wing blocking but his son "just won't play offense!”

This is really concerning for me to deal with because he's a good athlete and I hate to lose a very good lineman. I talked to the dad about it to hopefully try to get him to understand that understanding and knowing how to block multiple ways has got to be helpful for his son as he moves on, but he disagrees and doesn't want to waste all the time that they spent the last several years teaching it the other way.

So...my dilemma: Do I acquiesce and teach the hand blocking so I can keep his son on the offense, or do I stick to my guns and run my DW and just let his kid stay on defense?

Any guidance you can give, any experience you have had with this type of situation would be appreciated.

Coach,

First of all, good luck with the new job.

My initial inclination would be to tell Dad to take a hike, BUT ---

Assuming your D.C. is a good guy and a good coach and his son is a good kid, I don't think it would be good for you or for the team for the two of you to lock heads.

I think you can deal with this if the D.C. is willing to compromise, being sure to let him know that there is a point where you can't give in without changing your philosophy. And at the same time, it's good for both of them to get experience with shoulder blocking because there are still a few places (Stanford, Wisconsin) where they use shoulder pads.

But it is possible, I think, to draw the line closer in.

If it's head-up (drive) blocking, go ahead and use the hands. Simply punch with both hands. By the time they get their hands into the defender and make contact, it will look almost the same as "picks in the pecs" anyway. The main thing is that either way, they do their blocking with their feet. Once they make contact they have to stay welded to the defender. (Pushing the man away is not blocking.)

If it involves pass blocking or hinge blocking, let them use the hands. (This is not a problem. This is sound.  We do this anyhow.)

And if it involves downfield blocking or blocking out in space,   let them use the hands. They probably already do this anyhow because it's almost impossible to get pads on a man in the open field as it is.

BUT - if it involves a block at the point of attack - a down block, a double team or a kick out - it MUST be a shoulder block. With the correct shoulder. Lots of hand-blocking teams still teach this. The kick out blocker hits with the near flipper, helmet in the hole. This is essential not only to make sure they get proper leverage on the defender but also to stay welded to him. You don't want to simply shove the defender out of the way, because he'll just get back into the play.

With the double team it's shoulder blocking, helmets on opposite sides of the defender's helmet, shoulders together, hips together. We are not trying to turn a defender, but to push him backward into the linebackers.

Besides technique, there is also the issue of where you'll have the least conflict over this, and that might be by playing the son at more of a hands-blocking position.

First of all, most of our kickout blocking is done by our guards, so maybe guard is not for him.

There's a lot less need for shoulder blocking at tackle.

The easiest way out would be to put his son at center, where so much of the blocking is passive and there isn't that much real need for shoulders.


*********** Sorry, Massachusetts.  Get back, Vermont.  Not so fast, Minnesota.   Where do you think you’re going, California. You're losers!, all of you! Make room at the front of the line for Washington.  When it comes to leftist infestation, we got you.

We vaulted to the front last week thanks to a great effort by Evergreen State College. It’s a small liberal arts college of about 4,400 students, most of whom, based on video of their antics, are totally out of control and displaying no evidence whosoever that they're prepared to go out into a civilized society and do anything productive to justify their existence.

It all started when someone suggested a twist on the school’s annual “POC Day of Absence,” in which “People of Color” would traditionally go off campus and do whatever.

This year, someone got the bright idea that the POC’s would remain on campus, while the whites would clear  out.

Bret Weinstein, a professor of biology, objected, and stated that he intended to remain on campus, saying in an email that “you may assume I will be on campus during the Day of Absence. On a college campus, one’s right to speak — or to be — must never be based on skin color.”

And then the sh— hit the fan.

Meeting with the president, the “students,” in some of the most disgusting displays of ugliness and disrespect I’ve seen anywhere, verbally assaulted the poor schlub.

So bad was it that when it was all over, the President, saying he was “grateful to the courageous students who have voiced their concerns,” all but turned the college over to them, promising…

to hire a full-time Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Officer to investigate claims of discrimination;

to expand annual training for campus police to address “anti-black racism, de-escalation, minimizing use of force, serving trans and queer students, sexual assault response and responding to the access of special needs students with disabilities;”

to require “annual mandatory training for all faculty beginning in the fall of 2017” to cover “subjects including but not limited to institutional racism, and the needs of students of color, LGBTQIA students, undocumented students, victims of sexual assault, and students with disabilities;”

to hire full-time coordinators to oversee the Trans & Queer Center;

to support undocumented students.

Oh - but he couldn't promise he'd fire professor Weinstein. He's still got his job, but  he's been advised by campus security that for his own safety, he should meet with his classes off-campus.

WE’RE NUMBER ONE!

https://www.thecollegefix.com/post/32824/

*********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING GEORGE PLIMPTON

MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
TOM DAVIS - CAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JERRY LOVELL - BELLEVUE, NEBRASKA

*********** It was an exhibition game, and George Plimpton got in for four snaps.  On first down, with Bill Curry snapping the ball, he handed to fullback Don Nottingham, who was stopped for no gain. But the opponents were penalized after one of them took a shot at his head. On the next play, he handed off to Jack Maitland for no gain.  On his third play, he threw incomplete.  On his fourth play, he picked up six yards on a quarterback draw.

And that was that.  George Plimpton never took another snap in the NFL.  He wasn’t a football player - he was a writer famous for what came to be called “participatory journalism” - writing about something after having actually participated in it.

For Plimpton,  participating in football  meant posing as an actual player, going to training camp with the Detroit Lions, and actually playing in an exhibition game.  Plimpton wasn’t exactly the sort of writer you would pick to pose as an aspiring pro football player.  He was tall and sort of gawky.   He was a Harvard graduate with an advanced degree from Cambridge, and he was on the staff of the highly-literary Paris Review.  And, a true Massachusetts blueblood, he spoke with the insufferable lockjaw New England prep-school accent recognizable to anyone who’s spent time, as I have, among the elites.   He would have been as out of place on a pro football team as John Kerry asking if he could “buy me a hunting license.”.

And then he wrote about his experiences, turning out the best-selling “Paper Lion,” which inspired a movie of the same title in which he was played by Alan Alda..

It was 1971, he attended the Baltimore Colts’ training camp at Westminster, Maryland,  and I had driven over from Hagerstown, where I lived, to watch.  At one particular session, they were running the Oklahoma drill, and Plimpton was the runner.  Or should I say victim?

At the snap signal, the offensive lineman simply flopped to the grass, leaving poor Plimpton at the mercy of the defender, one Ray May. May, the third member of a great  Colts’ great linebacker corps  that also included Mike Curtis and Ted Hendricks, showed Plimpton no mercy.  It was ugly. 

That Colts’ experience produced “Mad Ducks and Bears.”  And Plimpton followed that up with any number of other first-hand experiences in other sports.

http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2013-09-26/sports/bs-sp-catching-up-ray-may-20130926_1_baltimore-colts-pittsburgh-steelers-super-bowl-v

*********** QUIZ - Although he was a dentist, and was frequently referred to as "Doctor", as a coach he produced powerful football teams, noted particularly for the hard-nosed brand of single-wing ball they played.

He was born and raised in Scotland and didn’t arrive in the United States until he was 18; he played in the first football game he ever saw.

His college team lost only one game in his freshman year, and then, with a new coach named Glenn “Pop” Warner, went undefeated for the remaining three years of his college career.

After graduation, with a degree in dentistry and service in World War I behind him,  he took a coaching job at a small Pennsylvania college.  Over the next five years, coaching in the fall and practicing dentistry the rest of the year, he compiled a 33-8-2 record. He beat his former coach two years in a row, and was the choice to succeed Warner when he left to take a job on the West Coast.

With the exception of his first year coaching his alma mater, he never lost more than two games in a season, and only four of his teams lost as many as two games. His 1937 team, with its "dream backfield,” is considered to be one of the great college teams of all time. He left after the 1938 season, unwilling to go along with the school’s decision to  de-emphasize football. HIs overall record in 15 years was 111-20-12.

He spent two years coaching an NFL team before enlisting in the Navy (at age 53) at the outbreak of World War II, and after the war he took over as head coach of another NFL team, in his adopted city.   Because he was extremely popular among the local fans, and because his single wing helped make his team a winner, the team’s owner years later would give him credit for keeping the team solvent and allowing him to remain its owner.

His death was particularly tragic.  In 1947 his team made it to the playoffs for the first time in its history, but in April, 1948, while on a scouting trip, he was found wandering and in a daze, his car in a ditch beside a road in Kentucky.  Several of his former players arranged to bring him back home, where he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Surgery was unsuccessful, and he was dead within days.

His team was the last to run the single wing in the NFL.

american flag FRIDAY,  MAY 26,  2017  - "War must become as obsolete as cannibalism."  Andrew Carnegie
 

MEMORIAL DAY, 2017
 
*********** Memorial Day was originally known as "Decoration Day,"  set aside to honor the men who died in the Civil War. (There was a time when certain southern states did not observe it, preferring instead to observe their own Memorial Days to honor Confederate war dead.)

The Civil War soldiers called it "seeing the elephant." They meant experiencing combat. They started out cocky, but soon enough learned how  horrible - how unforgiving and inescapable - combat could be. By the end of the Civil War 620,000 of them on both sides lay dead.

"I have never realized the 'pomp and circumstance' of glorious war before this," a Confederate soldier bitterly wrote, "Men...lying in every conceivable position; the dead...with eyes open, the wounded begging piteously for help."

"All around, strange mingled roar - shouts of defiance, rally, and desperation; and underneath, murmured entreaty and stifled moans; gasping prayers, snatches of Sabbath song, whispers of loved names; everywhere men torn and broken, staggering, creeping, quivering on the earth, and dead faces with strangely fixed eyes staring stark into the sky. Things which cannot be told - nor dreamed. How men held on, each one knows, - not I."

Each battle was a story of great courage and audacity, sometimes of miscommunication and foolishness. But it's the casualty numbers that catch our eyes. The numbers roll by and they are hard for us to believe even in these days of modern warfare. Shiloh: 23,741, Seven Days: 36,463, Antietam: 26,134, Fredericksburg: 17,962, Gettysburg: 51,112, and on and on (in most cases, the South named battles after the town that served as their headquarters in that conflict, the North named them after nearby rivers or creeks - so "Manassas" for the South was "Bull Run" for the North; "Antietam" for the Union was "Sharpsburg"  for the Confederacy).

General William T. Sherman looked at the aftermath of Shiloh and wrote, "The scenes on this field would have cured anybody of war."

From "Seeing the Elephant" - Raw Recruits at the Battle of Shiloh - Joseph Allan Frank and George A. Reaves - New York: Greenwood Press, 1989


*********** THE YANKEE FROM OLYMPUS - ON MEMORIAL DAY
"We have shared the incommunicable experience of war. We felt - we still feel - the passion of life to its top.... In our youths, our hearts were touched with fire." Oliver Wendel Holmes, Jr.

 At a time in our history when fewer than five per cent of the people who govern us have served in our Armed Forces, it's useful to go back to another time, a time of men such as Oliver Wendel Homes, Jr.

Oliver Wendel Holmes, Jr.  was born in Boston in 1841, the son of a famous poet and physician. In his lifetime he would see combat in the Civil War, then go on to become a noted lawyer and, finally, for 30 years, a justice of the Supreme Court. So respected was he that he became known as "The Yankee From Olympus."

He graduated from Harvard University in 1861. After graduation, with the Civil War underway, he joined the United States Army and saw combat action in the Peninsula Campaign and the Wilderness, and was injured at the Battles of Ball's Bluff, Antietam, and Fredericksburg. He was discharged in 1864 as a Lieutenant Colonel.


The story is told of Holmes that in July 1864, as the Confederate general Jubal Early conducted a raid north of Washington, D.C. President Abraham Lincoln came out to watch the battle. As Lincoln watched, an officer right next to him was hit by a sniper's bullet. The young Holmes, not realizing who he was speaking to, shouted to the President, "Get down, you damn fool, before you get shot!"


After the war's conclusion, Holmes returned to Harvard to study law. He was admitted to the bar in 1866, and went into private practice in Boston.
In 1882, he became both a professor at Harvard Law School and a justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. In 1899, he was appointed Chief Justice of the court. In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt named Holmes to the United States Supreme Court, where he served for more than 30 years, until January 1932.

Over the years, as a distinguished citizen who knew what it meant to fight for his country, he would reflect on the meaning of Memorial Day, and of the soldier's contribution to preserving our way of life...
On Memorial Day, 1884, 20 years after the end of the Civil War, Mr. Holmes said,

Accidents may call up the events of the war. You see a battery of guns go by at a trot, and for a moment you are back at White Oak Swamp, or Antietam, or on the Jerusalem Road. You hear a few shots fired in the distance, and for an instant your heart stops as you say to yourself, The skirmishers are at it, and listen for the long roll of fire from the main line.
 
You meet an old comrade after many years of absence, he recalls the moment that you were nearly surrounded by the enemy, and again there comes up to you that swift and cunning thinking on which once hung life and freedom -- Shall I stand the best chance if I try the pistol or the sabre on that man who means to stop me? Will he get his carbine free before I reach him, or can I kill him first? These and the thousand other events we have known are called up, I say, by accident, and, apart from accident, they lie forgotten.
 
But as surely as this day comes round we are in the presence of the dead. For one hour, twice a year at least--at the regimental dinner, where the ghosts sit at table more numerous than the living, and on this day when we decorate their graves--the dead come back and live with us.
 
I see them now, more than I can number, as once I saw them on this earth. They are the same bright figures, or their counterparts, that come also before your eyes; and when I speak of those who were my brothers, the same words describe yours.

This, from Justice Holmes' address to the graduating class of Harvard University on Memorial Day, 1895

The society for which many philanthropists, labor reformers, and men of fashion unite in longing is one in which they may be comfortable and may shine without much trouble or any danger.

The unfortunately growing hatred of the poor for the rich seems to me to rest on the belief that money is the main thing (a belief in which the poor have been encouraged by the rich), more than on any other grievance. Most of my hearers would rather that their daughters or their sisters should marry a son of one of the great rich families than a regular army officer, were he as beautiful, brave, and gifted as Sir William Napier.

I have heard the question asked whether our war was worth fighting, after all. There are many, poor and rich, who think that love of country is an old wife's tale, to be replaced by interest in a labor union, or, under the name of cosmopolitanism, by a rootless self-seeking search for a place where the most enjoyment may be had at the least cost.


I do not know the meaning of the universe. But in the midst of doubt, in the collapse of creeds, there is one thing I do not doubt, that no man who lives in the same world with most of us can doubt, and that is that the faith is true and adorable which leads a soldier to throw away his life in obedience to a blindly accepted duty, in a cause which he little understands, in a plan of campaign of which he has little notion, under tactics of which he does not see the use.


Most men who know battle know the cynic force with which the thoughts of common sense will assail them in times of stress; but they know that in their greatest moments faith has trampled those thoughts under foot. If you wait in line, suppose on Tremont Street Mall, ordered simply to wait and do nothing, and have watched the enemy bring their guns to bear upon you down a gentle slope like that of Beacon Street, have seen the puff of the firing, have felt the burst of the spherical case-shot as it came toward you, have heard and seen the shrieking fragments go tearing through your company, and have known that the next or the next shot carries your fate; if you have advanced in line and have seen ahead of you the spot you must pass where the rifle bullets are striking; if you have ridden at night at a walk toward the blue line of fire at the dead angle of Spottsylvania, where for twenty-four hours the soldiers were fighting on the two sides of an earthwork, and in the morning the dead and dying lay piled in a row six deep, and as you rode you heard the bullets splashing in the mud and earth about you; if you have been in the picket-line at night in a black and unknown wood, have heard the splat of the bullets upon the trees, and as you moved have felt your foot slip upon a dead man's body; if you have had a blind fierce gallop against the enemy, with your blood up and a pace that left no time for fear --if, in short, as some, I hope many, who hear me, have known, you have known the vicissitudes of terror and triumph in war; you know that there is such a thing as the faith I spoke of. You know your own weakness and are modest; but you know that man has in him that unspeakable somewhat which makes him capable of miracle, able to lift himself by the might of his own soul, unaided, able to face annihilation for a blind belief.

On the eve of Memorial Day, 1931, at the age of 90, Mr. Justice Holmes wrote to a friend:


"I shall go out to Arlington tomorrow, Memorial Day, and visit the gravestone with my name and my wife's on it, and be stirred by the military music, and, instead of bothering about the Unknown Soldier shall go to another stone that tells beneath it are the bones of, I don't remember the number but two or three thousand and odd, once soldiers gathered from the Virginia fields after the Civil War. I heard a woman say there once, 'They gave their all. They gave their very names.' Later perhaps some people will come in to say goodbye."

Justice Holmes died on March 6, 1935, two days short of his 94th birthday, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. So spry and alert was he, right up to the end, that it's said that one day, when he was in his nineties, he saw an attractive young woman and said, "Oh, to be seventy again!"
A 1951 Hollywood motion picture, The Magnificent Yankee, was based on his life.


*********** Several years ago, I visited the First Division (Big Red One) Museum at Cantigny,  in Wheaton, Illinois, where I read these lines, and thought of all the Americans who died in service of their country - men who in the memories of those they left behind will be forever young...

If you are able
Save a place for them inside of you,
And save one backward glance
When you are leaving for places
They can no longer go.
   
Be not ashamed to say you loved them,
Though you may or may not always have.
Take what they have left
And what they have taught you with their dying,
And keep it with your own.
   
And in that time when men feel safe
To call the war insane,
Take one moment to embrace these gentle heroes
You left behind.
   
by Major Michael D. O'Donnell... shortly before being killed in action in Vietnam, 1970

***********After graduation from Harvard in 1910, Alan Seeger lived the life of a bohemian/beatnik/ hippie poet in New York City's Greenwich Village.  In 1914, he moved to Paris, and when war with Germany broke out, like a number of other young Americans,  he joined the French Foreign Legion to fight on the side of the Allies. On July 4, 1916, nine months  before America joined the war on the side of the Allies, he was killed in the Battle of the Somme. He was 28. A year after his death, his poems were published.  The best known of his poems was "I Have a Rendezvous With Death," which according to the JFK Library, "was one of President Kennedy's favorite poems."

 
I Have a Rendezvous with Death
By Alan Seeger 
 
I have a rendezvous with Death     
At some disputed barricade,     
When Spring comes back with rustling shade     
And apple-blossoms fill the air—     
I have a rendezvous with Death          
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.     
 
It may be he shall take my hand     
And lead me into his dark land     
And close my eyes and quench my breath—     
It may be I shall pass him still. 
   
I have a rendezvous with Death     
On some scarred slope of battered hill,     
When Spring comes round again this year     
And the first meadow-flowers appear.     
 
God knows 'twere better to be deep     
Pillowed in silk and scented down,     
Where love throbs out in blissful sleep,     
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,     
Where hushed awakenings are dear...  
 
But I've a rendezvous with Death     
At midnight in some flaming town,     
When Spring trips north again this year,     
And I to my pledged word am true,     
I shall not fail that rendezvous.

*********** Poppies once symbolized the Great War,  or The World War,  or, if you will,  "The War to End All Wars" (so-called because, in the conceit that seems to follow every war, people  just knew in their hearts  that after the horror of that conflict, mankind would do anything in its power to avoid ever going to war again.)


Following the World War, Americans began to observe  the week leading up to Memorial Day as Poppy Week, and long after the World War ended, veterans' organizations in America, Australia and other nations which had fought in the war sold imitation poppies  at this time
every year to raise funds to assist disabled veterans.

It was largely because of a poem by a Canadian surgeon, Major John McCrae, that the poppy, which burst into bloom all over the once-bloody battlefields of northern Europe, came to symbolize the rebirth of life following the tragedy of war.


In the spring of 1915, after having spent seventeen days hearing the screams and dealing with the suffering of men wounded in the bloody battle at Ypres, in Flanders (a part of Belgium), Major McCrae wrote, "I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days... Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done."

Major McCrae was especially affected by the death of a close friend and former student. Following his burial - at which, in the absence of a chaplain, Major McCrae himself had had to preside - the Major sat in the back of an ambulance and, gazing out at the wild poppies growing in a nearby cemetery, composed a poem, scribbling the words in a notebook.
When he was done, though, he discarded it, and only through the efforts of a fellow officer, who rescued it and sent it to newspapers in England, was it ever published.

Now, the poem, "In Flanders Fields", is considered perhaps the greatest of all wartime poems.
The special significance of the poppies is that poppy seeds can lie dormant in the ground for years, only flowering when the soil has been turned over.
The soil of northern Belgium had been so churned up by the violence of war that at the time Major McCrae wrote his poem, the poppies were said to be blossoming in a profusion that no one could  remember ever having seen before.

In Flanders Fields... by John McCrae        

In Flanders fields the poppies blow   
Between the crosses, row on row,   
That mark our place; and in the sky  
The larks, still bravely singing, fly   
Scarce heard amid the guns below.        

We are the Dead. Short days ago   
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,   
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie   
In Flanders fields.        

Take up our quarrel with the foe:   
To you from failing hands we throw   
The torch; be yours to hold it high.   
If ye break faith with us who die   
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow   
In Flanders fields.

*********** Robert W. Service is one of my favorite poets. I especially like his poems about the Alaska Gold Rush - who hasn't ever heard "The Cremation of Sam McGee?" -  but this one, about an idealistic young English soldier going off to fight in World War I,  and the grief of his father at learning of his death, is heartbreaking, especially poignant on a day when we remember our people who gave everything, and the loved ones they left behind...


"Where are you going, Young Fellow My Lad, On this glittering morn of May?"   
"I'm going to join the Colours, Dad; They're looking for men, they say."   
"But you're only a boy, Young Fellow My Lad; You aren't obliged to go."   
"I'm seventeen and a quarter, Dad, And ever so strong, you know."        

"So you're off to France, Young Fellow My Lad, And you're looking so fit and bright."   
"I'm terribly sorry to leave you, Dad, But I feel that I'm doing right."   
"God bless you and keep you, Young Fellow My Lad, You're all of my life, you know."   
"Don't worry. I'll soon be back, dear Dad, And I'm awfully proud to go."        

"Why don't you write, Young Fellow My Lad? I watch for the post each day;   
And I miss you so, and I'm awfully sad, And it's months since you went away.   
And I've had the fire in the parlour lit, And I'm keeping it burning bright   
Till my boy comes home; and here I sit Into the quiet night."        

"What is the matter, Young Fellow My Lad? No letter again to-day.   
Why did the postman look so sad, And sigh as he turned away?   
I hear them tell that we've gained new ground, But a terrible price we've paid:   
God grant, my boy, that you're safe and sound; But oh I'm afraid, afraid."        

"They've told me the truth, Young Fellow My Lad: You'll never come back again:   
(OH GOD! THE DREAMS AND THE DREAMS I'VE HAD, AND THE HOPES I'VE NURSED IN VAIN!)   
For you passed in the night, Young Fellow My Lad, And you proved in the cruel test   
Of the screaming shell and the battle hell That my boy was one of the best.        

"So you'll live, you'll live, Young Fellow My Lad, In the gleam of the evening star,   
In the wood-note wild and the laugh of the child, In all sweet things that are.   
And you'll never die, my wonderful boy, While life is noble and true;   

For all our beauty and hope and joy We will owe to our lads like you."

*********** Hugh Brodie, an Australian, enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force in Melbourne on 15 September 1940. In 1942, Sergeant Brodie was listed Missing in Action. Before he left us, though, he wrote "A Sergeant's Prayer"


Almighty and all present Power,
Short is the prayer I make to Thee,
I do not ask in battle hour
For any shield to cover me.

The vast unalterable way,
From which the stars do not depart
May not be turned aside to stay
The bullet flying to my heart.

I ask no help to strike my foe,
I seek no petty victory here,
The enemy I hate, I know,
To Thee is also dear.

But this I pray, be at my side
When death is drawing through the sky.
Almighty God who also died
Teach me the way that I should die.

*********** Like many other phenomena in life, history has a tendency to be fickle. In 2001, some thirty-four years after the Battle of Ông Thanh, and the subsequent withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam in 1973, which was followed by the "honorable peace" that saw the North Vietnamese army conquer South Vietnam in 1975 in violation of the Paris Peace Accords, most historians, as well as a large majority of the American people, may consider the U.S. involvement in Vietnam a disastrous and tragic waste and a time of shame in U.S. history. Consider, however, the fact that since the late 1940s, the Soviet Union was the greatest single threat to U.S. security. Yet for forty years, war between the Soviet Union and the United States was averted. Each time a Soviet threat surfaced during that time (Greece, Turkey, Korea, Berlin, Cuba, Vietnam, and Afghanistan), although it may have been in the form of a "war of national liberation," as the Vietnam war was characterized, the United States gave the Soviet Union the distinct message that each successive threat would not be a Soviet walkover. In fact, the Soviets were stunned by the U.S. reactions in both Korea and Vietnam. They shook their heads, wondering what interest a great power like the United States could have in those two godforsaken countries. They thought: "These Americans are crazy. They have nothing to gain; and yet they fight and lose thousands of men over nothing. They are irrational." Perhaps history in the long-term--two hundred or three hundred years from now--will say that the western democracies, led by the United States, survived in the world, and their philosophy of government of the people, by the people, for the people continues to survive today (in 2301) in some measure due to resolute sacrifices made in the mid-twentieth century by men like those listed in the last chapter of this book. Then the words of Lord Byron, as quoted in this book's preface, will not ring hollow, but instead they will inspire other men and women of honor in the years to come.
From "The Beast was Out There", by Brigadier General James Shelton, USA (Ret.) Jim Shelton is a former Delaware football player (a wing-T guard) who served in Korea and Vietnam and as a combat infantryman rose to the rank of General. He was in Viet Nam on that fateful day in October, 1967 when Don Holleder was killed. Ironically, he had competed against Don Holleder in college. Now retired, he has served as Colonel of the Black Lions and was instrumental in the establishment of the Black Lion Award for young American football players. General Shelton personally signs every Black Lions Award certificate. The title of his book is taken from Captain Jim Kasik's description of the enemy: "the beast was out there, and the beast was hungry."

*********** The late George Jones could be a rogue, but he was a heck of a singer, and his "50,000 NAMES CARVED IN THE WALL" - a tribute to the 58,000 Americans who died in Vietnam - may be THE American Memorial Day song.


(Warning - this one  could will make you cry.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpBiVpSggNs



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


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



A TRIBUTE TO DONALD WALTER HOLLEDER UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY CLASS OF 1956 - THE MAN WHOSE STORY INSPIRED THE BLACK LION AWARD... By retired Air Force General Perry Smith (Don Holleder's West Point classmate, roommate and best man) "If you doubt the axiom, 'An aggressive leader is priceless,' ...if you prefer the air arm to the infantry in football, if you are not convinced we recruited cadet-athletes of superior leadership potential, then you must hear the story of Donald Walter Holleder. The saga of Holleder stands unique in Army and, perhaps, all college gridiron lore."

Hence begins the chapter, "You are my quarterback", in Coach Red Blaik's 1960 book, You Have to Pay the Price. Every cadet in the classes of 1956, 57, 58 and 59, and everyone who was part of the Army family at West Point and throughout the world will remember, even 50 years after the fact, the "Great Experiment".

But there is much more to the Holleder story. .
Holly was born and brought up in a tight knit Catholic family in upstate New York. He was an only child whose father died when Don was quite young. Doc Blanchard recruited high school All American Holleder who entered the Point just a few days after he graduated from Aquinas Institute in Rochester.

Twice turned out for academic difficulties, he struggled mightily to stay in the Corps. However as a cadet leader he excelled, serving as a cadet captain and company commander of M-2 his senior year.


Of course, it was in the field of athletics that Don is best known. Never a starter on the basketball team, he nevertheless got playing time as a forward who brought rebounding strength to a team that beat a heavily favored Navy team in the early spring of 1954. That fall, the passing combination of Vann to Holleder quickly caught the attention of the college football world. No one who watched those games will ever forget Holly going deep and leaping into the air to grab a perfectly thrown bomb from Peter Vann. Don was a consensus first team All American that year as a junior.


Three football defeats in 1955 after Holly's conversion to quarterback brought criticism of Coach Blaik and Don from many quarters but the dramatic Army victory over Navy, 14 to 6 brought redemption. Shortly thereafter, Holly received the Swede Nelson award for sportsmanship.

The fact that he had given up all chances of becoming a two time all-American and a candidate for the Heisman trophy and he did so without protest or complaint played heavily in the decision by the Nelson committee to select him for this prestigious award.


Holly's eleven year career in the Army included the normal schools at Benning and Leavenworth, company command in Korea, coaching and recruiting at West Point and serving as the commanding general's aide at Fortress Monroe.

After graduating from Command and General Staff College, he was off to Vietnam.
Arriving in July, 1967, Holly was assigned to the Big Red One--the First Infantry Division-- and had considerable combat experience before that tragic day in the fall--October 17.

Lieutenant Colonel Terry Allen's battalion was ambushed and overrun--the troops on the ground were in desperate shape. Holleder was serving as the operations officer of the 28th Brigade--famous Black Lions. Hearing the anguished radio calls for help from the soldiers on the ground, Holly convinced his brigade commander that he had to get on the ground to help. Jumping out of his helicopter, Holly rallied some troops and raced toward the spot where the wounded soldiers were fighting.


The Newsweek article a few days after his death tells what happened next. "With the Viet Cong firing from two sides, the U. S. troops now began retreating pell-mell back to their base camp, carrying as many of their wounded as they could, The medic Tom "Doc" Hinger was among those who staggered out of the bush and headed across an open marshy plain toward the base, 200 meters away. But on the way he ran into big, forceful Major Donald W. Holleder, 33, an All-American football player at West Point..., going the other way--toward the scene of the battle. Holleder, operations officer for the brigade, had not been in the fight until now. ' Come on Doc, he shouted to Hinger, 'There are still wounded in there. I need your help.'
"

Hinger said later: 'I was exhausted. But having never seen such a commander, I ran after him. What an officer! He went on ahead of us--literally running to the point position'. Then a burst of fire from the trees caught Holleder. 'He was hit in the shoulder recalled Hinger. 'I started to patch him up, but he died in my arms.'

The medic added he had been with Holleder for only three minutes, but would remember the Major's gallantry for the rest of his life."

Holly died as he lived: the willingness to make great sacrifices prevailed to the minute of his death.
  Caroline was left a young widow. She later married our West Point classmate, Ernie Ruffner, who became a loving husband and father to the four Holleder daughters. All the daughters are happily married and there are eight wonderful and loving grandchildren.

The legacy of Donald Walter Holleder will remain an important part of the West Point story forever. The Holleder Army Reserve Center in Webster, New York, the Holleder Parkway in Rochester and the Holleder Athletic Center at West Point all help further Don's legacy. In 1985, Holly was inducted into College Football Hall of Fame.

A 2003 best selling book, They Marched into Sunlight, by David Maraniss tells the story of Holleder and the Black Lions. Tom Hanks has purchased the film rights to the book.
An innovative high school coach, Hugh Wyatt, decided to further memorialize Don's legacy by establishing the Black Lion Award. Each year at hundreds of high schools, middle schools and youth football programs across the country, a single football player on each team is selected "who best exemplifies the character of Don Holleder: leadership, courage, devotion to duty, self-sacrifice, and--above all--an unselfish concern for his team ahead of himself." Starting in 2005, this award is presented to a member of the Army football team each year.Anyone who wishes to extend Holleder's legacy can do so by approaching their local football coaches and encouraging them to make the Black Lion Award a part of their tradition.

All West Pointers can be proud of Donald Walter Holleder; for him there were no impossible dreams, only challenges to seek out and to conquer. Forty years after his death thousands of friends and millions of fans still remember him and salute him for his character and supreme courage.

By Retired Air Force General Perry Smith, West Point classmate and roommate, with great assistance from Don's family members, Stacey Jones and Ernie Ruffner, classmates, Jerry Amlong, Peter Vann and JJ McGinn, and battlefield medic, Doc Hinger.


*********** "Major Holleder overflew the area (under attack) and saw a whole lot of Viet Cong and many American soldiers, most wounded, trying to make their way our of the ambush area. He landed and headed straight into the jungle, gathering a few soldiers to help him go get the wounded. A sniper's shot killed him before he could get very far. He was a risk-taker who put the common good ahead of himself, whether it was giving up a position in which he had excelled or putting himself in harm's way in an attempt to save the lives of his men. My contact with Major Holleder was very brief and occured just before he was killed, but I have never forgotten him and the sacrifice he made. On a day when acts of heroism were the rule, rather than the exception, his stood out."     Black Lions medic Dave Berry

*********** A YOUNG MAN'S REMEMBRANCES OF DON HOLLEDER... In 1954-55 I lived at West Point N.Y. where my father was stationed as a member of the staff at the United States Military Academy. Don Holleder was an All American end on the Red Blaik coached Army football team which was a perennial eastern gridiron power in 40s and 50s.

On Fall days I would run home from the post school, drop off my books, and head directly to the Army varsity practice field which overlooked the Hudson River and was only a short sprint from my house.
Army had a number of outstanding players on the roster back then, but my focus was on Don Holleder, our All-America end turned quarterback in a controversial position change that had sportswriters and Army fans buzzing throughout the college football community that year. Don looked like a hero, tall, square jawed, almost stately in his appearance. He practiced like he played, full out all the time. He was the obvious leader of the team in addition to being its best athlete and player. In 1955 it was common for star players to play both sides of the ball and Don was no exception delivering the most punishing tackles in practice as well as game situations.

At the end of practice the Army players would walk past the parade ground (The Plain), then past my house and into the Arvin Gymnasium where the team's locker room was located.
Very often I would take that walk stride for stride with Don and the team and best of all, Don would sometimes let me carry his helmet. It was gold with a black stripe down the middle and had the most wonderful smell of sweat and leather. Inside the helmet suspension was taped a sweaty number 16, Don's jersey number.

While Don's teammates would talk and laugh among themselves in typical locker room banter, Don would ask me about school, show me how to grip the ball and occasionally chide his buddies if the joking ever got bawdy in front of "the little guy".

On Saturdays I lived and died with Don's exploits on the field in Michie Stadium.
In his senior year Don's picture graced the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine and he led Army to a winning season culminating in a stirring victory over Navy in front of 100,000 fans in Philadelphia. During that incredible year I don't ever remember Don not taking time to talk to me and patiently answer my boyish questions about the South Carolina or Michigan defense ("I'll bet they don't have anybody as fast as you, huh, Don?").

Don graduated with his class in June 1956 and was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division in Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Coincidentally, my Dad was also assigned to the 25th at the same time so I got to watch Don quarterback the 14th Infantry Regiment football team to the Division championship in 1957.


There was one major drawback to all of Don's football-gained notoriety - he wanted no part of it. He wanted to be a soldier and an infantry leader. But division recreational football was a big deal in the Army back then and for someone with Don's college credentials not to play was unheard of.
In the first place players got a lot of perks for representing their Regiment, not to mention hero status with the chain of command. Nevertheless, Don wanted to trade his football helmet for a steel pot and finally, with the help of my Dad, he succeeded in retiring from competitive football and getting on with his military profession.

It came as no surprise to anyone who knew Don that he was a natural leader of men in arms, demanding yet compassionate, dedicated to his men and above all fearless. Sure enough after a couple of TO&E infantry tours his reputation as a soldier matched his former prowess as an athlete.
It was this reputation that won him the favor of the Army brass and he soon found himself as an Aide-de-camp to the four star commander of the Continental Army Command in beautiful Ft Monroe, Virginia.

With the Viet Nam War escalating and American combat casualties increasing every day, Ft Monroe would be a great place to wait out the action and still promote one's Army career - a high-profile job with a four star senior rater, safely distanced from the conflict in southeast Asia.


Once again, Don wanted no part of this safe harbor and respectfully lobbied his boss, General Hugh P. Harris to get him to Troops in Viet Nam. Don got his wish but not very long after arriving at the First Division he was killed attempting to lead a relief column to wounded comrades caught in a Viet Cong ambush.


I remember the day I found out about Don's death. I was in the barber's chair at The Citadel my sophomore year when General Harris (Don's old boss at Ft Monroe, now President of The Citadel) walked over to me and motioned me outside.
He knew Don was a friend of mine and sought me out to tell me that he was KIA. It was one of the most defining moments of my life. As I stood there in front of the General the tears welled up in my eyes and I said "No, please, sir. Don't say that."

General Harris showed no emotion and I realized that he had experienced this kind of hurt too many times to let it show. "Biff", he said, "Don died doing his duty and serving his country. He had alternatives but wouldn't have it any other way. We will always be proud of him, Biff."
With that, he turned and walked away.

As I watched him go I didn't know the truth of his parting words. I shed tears of both pride and sorrow that day in 1967, just as I am doing now, 34 years later, as I write this remembrance.

In my mind's eye I see Don walking with his teammates after practice back at West Point, their football cleats making that signature metallic clicking on concrete as they pass my house at the edge of the parade ground; he was a leader among leaders.


As I have been writing this, I periodically looked up at the November 28, 1955 Sports Illustrated cover which hangs on my office wall, to make sure I'm not saying anything Don wouldn't approve of, but he's smiling out from under that beautiful gold helmet and thinking about the Navy game. General Harris was right. We will always be proud of Don Holleder, my boyhood hero.


Biff Messinger, Mountainville, New York, 2001


***********  A retired Navy captain wrote in the Wall Street Journal about the strict criteria for awarding the Medal of Honor (frequently called the "Congressional" Medal of Honor)...


"Remember the Marine Corps requirement: Fall on a hand grenade to save your fellow Marines and the grenade fails to explode, you get a Navy Cross; if the grenade explodes, you might get the Medal of Honor."


The Medal of Honor was meant to be awarded sparingly,  Of the hundreds of thousands of men who fought in our Twentieth Century wars, here are the numbers of Medals of Honor Awarded:
WW I - 124;  WW II - 464; Korea  - 135;  Vietnam -  246. There were 1522 Medals of Honor awarded as a result of Civil War. (Actually, there were more than that,  but  over 900 were later rescinded.) One reason was that in the Civil War, the Medal of Honor was the only medal awarded for valor. Another reason was the enormous number of casualties suffered in that war.http://www.homeofheroes.com/moh/corrections/purge_army.html


*********** Other nations lost men in the same wars we did, of course, and they, too, honor their men who gave all, in poem and song.

Sad?  Ohmigod.  What can be sadder than the loss of a young man, one of his country's finest,  in a distant war?
One such song is known by some as "No Man's Land" and by others as "The Green Fields of France" - but either way  it's a sad lament about a young soldier named Willie McBride, killed in battle in 1916 while still a teenager.

Trigger warning: This is VERY sad.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_mBJgsaxlY

Another very sad ballad, "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda," is the story of a young Australian sent off to fight in World War I.  He was shipped off to Gallipoli where thousands of "Anzacs" (Australians and New Zealanders) were slaughtered by Turkish machine-gun fire. (I highly recommend the movie, "Gallipoli")
Although he escaped death, his legs were blown off, and his story in the song  is told from the perspective of an embittered, now-old man.

Trigger warning: So is this..   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VktJNNKm3B0


*********** Trophies for everybody. There really was a time when most Americans knew why we put aside one day a year called Memorial Day,  to honor - to memorialize - those who lost their lives in service of their country. 

Not, as the 60 or so people who buy ads in our local paper seem to think, to remember a loved one who, no matter how sorely missed,  never died in battle - never even served in the Armed Forces, for that matter - but simply did what we’re all destined to do one day.  They died.  I hate to be the one to spoil their grieiving by telling them that Memorial Day is not about them. Not about dear, departed Uncle Charlie. But somebody's got to tell them.

There are other days for that, and there are  other days for saying “thank you for your service” to veterans or active duty personnel.  364 others, if you’re really sincere.  And there's a special one, called Veterans’ Day, when our nation does honor and thank its veterans.

Actually, come to think of it: is there even one holiday - one single holiday - that hasn’t been given another meaning, one often more significant now than the original one?

New Year’s Day - Bowl Games

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday - It’s still too new a national holiday to tell what the public will do with it

Presidents’ Day - Sale! Sale! Sale! (Used to be two separate holidays. Now, few school kids could even tell you which two presidents it refers to.)

St. Patrick’s Day - Scarcely observed in Ireland, 
in much of the US it’s an excuse to get drunk

Easter - Where it's still allowed to be called "Easter", it's about Bunnies and Easter eggs.  Mostly, though, it's Spring Break.

Mother’s Day - This is the one holiday that remains as designed.  If anything, it's grown stronger.  Traditionally, this was the day when the phone company’s circuits failed. Do NOT schedule anything else on this day.   Do NOT get drunk.

Cinco de Mayo - A holiday that means nothing in Mexico, it's been turned into a Hispanic-themed St. Patrick’s Day

Memorial Day - The start of summer; the Indy 500

July 4 - Fireworks and beer and hot dogs. (Once -
for those old enough to remember - baseball double headers,)

Labor Day - The end of summer; and now, the start of college football

Veterans Day - Used to be called Armistice Day, when  we celebrated the end of a horrible world war

Hallowe’en - Used to be for kids to go trick-or-treating. But now that that’s no longer safe,  adult partiers have taken it over and turned it into the second-biggest beer sales day of the year

Thanksgiving - Don’t you mean “Turkey Day?”  You know - the day before Black Friday?

Christmas -
aka "Winter Holiday." For those who didn't know - it's the “holiday” in “Happy Holidays.”

*********** In a Wall Street Journal article back in 2015, a writer named Jerry Ciancolo urged  us, the next time we pass a War Memorial with the names of dead Americans on it, to stop - and  “Touch the names of those who never came home.”

He asked that we dispense with  “hollow abstractions” such as “ultimate sacrifices,” and to think in everyday terms.

Many of those young guys, he noted...

never set foot on campus.  They never straightened a tie and headed to a first real job. They never slipped a ring on a sweetheart’s finger. They never swelled with hope turning the key to a starter home.  They never nestled an infant against a bare chest.  They never roughhoused in the living room with an exasperated wife looking on. They never tiptoed to lay out Santa’s toys.  They never dabbed a tear while walking their princess down the aisle. They never toasted their son’s promotion.  They never rekindled their love as empty nesters.  They never heard a new generation cry out, “I love you, Grandpa!”

A lifetime of big and little moments never happened because of a bullet to the body one day in a far-off land.  For those who crumpled to the ground, the tapestry of life was left unknit.


A moment’s reflection is all it takes to realize that every name on your town’s monument was a real person.  One who bicycled the same streets as you, who sleepily delivered the morning Gazette, who was kept after school for cutting up, who sneaked a smoke out back, who cannon-balled into the local pond in the dog days of summer.

On Memorial Day - with your smartphone turned off - pay a visit to your local monument. Quietly stand before the honor roll of the dead, whisper a word of thanks, and gently run your finger across their names. The touch will be comforting.

*********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING CHARLEY TRIPPI

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA - I have learned a lot about the Cardinals the last three years....so it was easy to recognize Charley Trippi's Bio.....James Bettcher the Cards DC is a friend and former player of mine....I've taken advantage of this to attend some camp time the last three years
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
SHEP CLARKE - PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON


*********** QUIZ - Charley Trippi was one of the greatest college running backs in the history of the game and is in the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The son of Italian immigrants, he grew up in Pittston,  a Northeastern Pennsylvania coal town.  He headed south, to Georgia, to play college football.

In his sophomore college season he helped the Bulldogs win the Rose Bowl and a small share of the national championship, won in most polls by Ohio State.

After time out for World War II service, he came back better than ever.

His senior year, he finished second in the Heisman voting after leading Georgia to an undefeated season  (and another small share of the national championship, way behind Army).

As a college baseball player, he batted .475 his senior season. After college he played a season in the minor leagues with the Atlanta Crackers, where he batted .334 and drew the interest of several major league teams - he was reportedly offered more than $100,000  (an astronomical sum at the time) by the owner of the AAFC New York Yanks and baseball Yankees  to play both football and baseball..

But he was the first draft choice of the  NFL Chicago Cardinals, and he signed with them.  As a rookie, he scored two touchdowns in the NFL championship game to help the Cardinals’ franchise win the only championship it has ever won in its entire history.

He was named to the NFL’s Team of the Decade for the 1940s.

When he retired,  his 6,053 yards of total offense - 3,506 rushing, 2,547 passing, 1,321 receiving -  was the most by any player in NFL history.

At the time of this writing, Charley Trippi is the oldest living player in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/news/nfl-cardinals-charley-trippi-oldest-player-in-hall-of-fame-ring-ceremony-first-pick-1947-draft-champions-chicago/1qovvsn51jooj1widc9exb14i8

*********** Greg Koenig noticed, as I did, that Charley Trippi recalled that his worst football injury was a broken nose.

That’s strange.  He was being dismissive of some rather serious injuries. Perhaps an old-age thing. Or perhaps,  like a combat veteran, he doesn't care to talk about something so unpleasant he'd just as soon forget it.

The “broken nose” he refers to was a bit more than that.  It took place in an exhibition game (remember those days, before they started calling them “preseason games” and selling them as part of the season-ticket package?), when he made the mistake of standing too near a pile and the Steelers’ John Henry Johnson blindsided him with an elbow to the head. (The unwritten rule back then was either be in the pile or get away from it, but he was playing defense for  change, and wasn’t accustomed to the way things worked.)

He was wearing only a single-bar face mask, and, yes, the blow did break his nose. That much was true.  But it broke it in two places.  It also broke facial bones above and below one of his eyes.

HIs teammates sought revenge, and things got so out of hand that the referee finally had to call the game in the fourth quarter with time left to play.

Trippi returned to play in the final five games of the season, but then in the off-season he had to undergo plastic surgery, which included rebuilding his nose.

So...

*********** QUIZ - It was an exhibition game, and he got in for four snaps.  On first down, he took the snap from Bill Curry and handed off to fullback Don Nottingham, who was stopped for no gain. But the opponents were penalized after one of them took a shot at his head. On the next play, he handed off to halfback Jack Maitland for no gain.  On his third play, he threw incomplete.  On his fourth play, he picked up six yards on a quarterback draw. And that was that. He never took another snap in the NFL.  But he did  write another book about his experience, similar to the one he’d written eight years earlier. Then, a professional writer posing as a bona fide player, he went through training camp with another NFL club, and afterward wrote a best-selling book about it that became a very popular movie.

*********** I hadn't watched any playoff hockey this year.  Until Thursday night.  Then  I watched the Penguins-Senators game seven (an OT win by the Penguins) , and I was reminded once again how much I respect hockey players.   They are tough.  They don't even know the meaning of the world "loaf."  And even if excessive celebration - or celebration at all - were in their DNA, there simply isn't time for the horse's ass hijincks that accompany every NFL score.

Overtime is amazing, and overtime in game seven of a playoff even more so. They play their asses off, never knowing when it might happen, and then - boom - out of the blue, someone scores a goal, and the game's over.  The winner goes on, and the loser goes home.   But even with the bitter taste of the loss fresh in their mouths, the losers show their professionalism  - and  their respect fot the game of hockey - and take time to skate by the winner and exchange sincere, hearftelt congratulations.

To anyone who's still looking for old-fashioned sportsmanship - emphasis on the "man" - you can't beat NHL playoff hockey.

american flag TUESDAY,  MAY 23,  2017  - "We get very lucky when we're at good places."  Mike Krzyzewski

*********** Sunday, we had lunch at one of my favorite places in the entire Northwest - the Olympic Club, in Centralia, Washington.  Centralia is just off I-5, about halfway between Portland and Seattle.  When the railroads came and opened up the Northwest, Centralia,  served by four major lines,  became a major rail center, and also prospered as the railroads carried away the coal from its nearby mines and the timber from the surrounding forests.

Located across the street from the town’s historic railroad station,  the Olympic Club is a trip back in time, to the days when a town’s railroad station was its center of activity. The Olympic Club was built in 1908, during a decade in which the town’s population exploded from 1600 in 1900 to 7300 in 1910.  It doesn’t take a genius to see how a boom like that would have provided demand for the “services” such an establishment might offer, and it’s fun to imagine what a typical Saturday night might have looked like.

I first saw it in the 1970s, and it was  mind-blowing. Stupefying.  A step into the past. You walked in off the street and into a bar whose mahogany-and-leaded-glass opulence wouldn’t have been out of place in San Francisco during the Gold Rush days.   But it was totally unexpected  and  out of character in Centralia, a nice enough but  unexceptional working-class town.  And then,  if you walked through the bar, you passed through swinging doors and  into another sort of past: there, in a large, high-ceilinged room, heated by a giant wood stove, in a scene out of the Old West, old guys sat around a  table playing cards.  Behind them was an even larger room, a pool room,  smoky and busy with the quiet, purposeful activity of serious pool shooters.  The Olympic Club really was a throwback.  How long, I wondered, could a place like this survive?

Enter the McMenamin Brothers.  Starting out in the Portland area, they got in on the Northwest’s craft brewing business when it was in its infancy, and chose to grow not as brewers but as restaurateurs, building a string of brewpubs, no two of them alike other than in the products they served.  Paying careful attention to quality of product and service,  they began to combine their growing expertise in the food and beverage industry with what today’s people like to  call “repurposing,” buying unwanted buildings that once may have served as schools, retirement homes or, in one case,  poor farms, and turning them into warm, welcoming places providing food, drink, lodging and music.

In 1997, they acquired the Olympic Club and the hotel that houses it, and then applied their magic touch.  In this case, that meant doing only what was absolutely necessary, which I remember hoping would be very little.  To my delight, other than the fact that they now serve food and drink in the area where the guys once played poker,  the place is almost exactly as it was when I first saw it, only better.

The food, drinks and service are undoubtedly better.  The atmosphere is better. The bar remains the envy of any big city restaurant anywhere. The old wood stove, although no longer used, still stands where it always did, a reminder of earlier days before central heat. (I found out that it’s a “Round Oak Stove,” made in Michigan and once the standard of its industry.) There’s lots of seating inside, and on nice days, you can sit outside on the terrace and watch the trains go by.

Other than the absence of smoke, the pool room hasn’t changed a bit from when I first saw it.  There are at least  five full-sized tables - the old kind, with leather pockets.  One of them is a snooker table (extra large, with tiny pockets). There are two standard-size shuffleboards ($5 an hour.  Big deal.)

Sorry, no arcade games.

Finally, (for men at least), no trip to the Olympic Club is complete without a visit to the men’s room and a look, close-up, at its giant porcelain urinal, a twin arrangement  with a flushing mechanism fed by a two-inch copper pipe.  I’d call it a Washington landmark right up there with the Space Needle.

https://www.mcmenamins.com/olympic-club

OLYMPIC CLUB BAR

THE OLYMPIC CLUB BAR, CENTRALIA, WASHINGTON

OLYMPIC CLUB STOVEOLYMPIC CLUB URINAL

LEFT - THE OLYMPIC CLUB'S OLD WOOD STOVE           RIGHT - STEP RIGHT UP, GENTLEMEN

************ In intensity, Oregon-Oregon State may not approach Clemson-South Carolina or Alabama-Auburn as an in-state rivalry, but there’s enough feeling there that when a player transfers from one rival to another, it gets peoples’ attention.

Fifteen months ago, when Oregon running back Thomas Tyner announced that he was retiring for medical reasons - slow-to-heal shoulder injuries - it was accepted with regret, and the Ducks moved on.

Tyner had come out of Aloha, Oregon High as one of the top running back prospects in the country.  A multiple state sprint champion, he had the speed to go with good size - 6 foot, 200 -  and playing against good competition in the state’s highest classification, he once scored 10 (TEN) touchdowns in a single game.

He got off to a decent start in his freshman season at Oregon, gaining 711 yards and scoring 9 touchdowns on 115 carries.  HIs longest run was 66 yards.

In his sophomore year, he started five games, but with only two fewer carries than the year before, he gained just 573 yards and scored only five TDs.

And  he suffered a severe shoulder injury that led to his decision to give up football.  He officially “retired”, and since the reason was an “incapacitating illness or injury,” the Ducks no longer had to count him against their limit of scholarships.

Now, though, after more than a year away from football, he’s had second thoughts about playing. But evidently, because of some NCAA rule he can’t return to Oregon; he can, however go elsewhere , and play immediately, and still have two years of eligibility.

In the case of Thomas Tyner,  who grew up in Portland and remembers being taken to Beavers’ games when he was little,  "elsewhere" meant Oregon State.

He may have to walk on at first, but  if he still has it, after two years away from football, it could be a huge win for both Thomas Tyner and the Beavers.

Ironically, if Tyner does wind up playing for Oregon State, he would become the highest-rated high school prospect ever to play for the Beavers.

http://www.oregonlive.com/sports/oregonian/john_canzano/index.ssf/2017/05/canzano_thomas_tyner_prepares.html

The 10 TD Game: http://247sports.com/Video/Thomas-Tyner-2013-RB-10-TD-game-Aloha-HS-653353?View=Full

*********** A British sniper shot and killed an ISIS sniper - from A MILE AND A HALF AWAY!!

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2017/05/report_brit_special_forces_sniper_takes_out_isis_sniper_15_miles_away.html


*********** The NFL is said to be considering easing off on its penalties for excessive celebrations.

Other than a bunch of jackass wide receivers and defensive backs, I’m not sure who the beneficiaries of an increase in celebrations might be.

Not other players.

Not people who would rather watch football.

Not Americans who grew up in a time when modesty was the partner of success.

Not the league or its network partners who’re concerned about the increasing length of games.

And certainly not youth coaches, who will be the first ones impacted by the monkey-see, monkey-do phenomenon that prompts little kids all over the country to mimic the antics of their NFL heroes.

https://www.thescore.com/news/1305780

*********** Harvard has announced there’ll be no more overdue book fines at the school’s libraries because, says a university spokesman,  “we have witnessed firsthand the stress that overdue fines can cause for students.” 

They haven’t yet witnessed, apparently, the stress that waiting for those overdue books to be returned can cause for the students who would also like to use them. 

Maybe the simplest thing to do when someone wants to check out a book only to discover it’s out - and overdue - would be to provide them with the name and address of the poor stressed-out student who’s got it so they can take them some milk and cookies.

THEO EPSTEIN*********** Unlike most schools, Yale does not have commencement speakers.  I don’t know who made that decision or when or why, but after the sight of spoiled brats at Notre Dame defiling the dignity of their graduation ceremony by walking out on the Vice-President of the United States, it sure turned out to be a good call.

Instead, Yale’s graduating seniors celebrate Class Day on the day before graduation - and that’s when they have a speaker.   No headlines to be made by walking out on the Class Day speaker. Besides, they’re usually people whose speeches you’d be a fool to miss.

This year’s Class Day speaker was Theo Epstein, a Yale graduate (Class of 1995) and president of the Chicago Cubs,  the man given credit for building the Cubs and, before them, the Boston Red Sox.

One choice bit of advice to the about-to-be graduates…

“Some players, and some of us, go through our careers with our heads down, focused on our craft and our tasks, keeping to ourselves, worrying about our numbers or our grades, pursuing the next objective goal.   Other players, and others among us, go through our careers with our heads up, as real parts of a team, alert and aware of others, embracing difference, employing empathy, genuinely connecting, putting collective interests ahead of our own. It is a choice.”

While acknowledging that baseball is a game - a distraction - there are times, he said, “when a game that is built around overcoming failure can teach us all a few important lessons.”

One of those times, he said, came in Game Seven of this last year’s World Series - which ended with the Cubs’ extra-inning victory win over Cleveland.

For much of the game, things were looking good for the Cubbies, but  Cleveland tied things up.   And then it started to rain. And rain. And rain.

During the rain delay Epstein, who had been sitting in the stands, said that when he went down to the clubhouse, he noticed that his players were all sitting together  in a small room. There, one by one, they shared words of encouragement.

“During rain delays,” Epstein said,  “players typically come in off the field and head to their own lockers, sit there by themselves, change their wet jerseys, check their phones, think about what has gone right and wrong during the game, and become engrossed in their own little worlds.  That would have been disastrous for our team during Game Seven — 25 players sitting alone at their lockers, lamenting the bad breaks, assigning blame, wallowing, wondering. Instead, they had the instinct to come together. Actually, it was not an instinct; it was a choice.”

Epstein said that whenever he thinks back on the Cubs’ win, he thinks of that rain delay.

He told the graduates that one day he’ll tell his two sons, “that we all have our rain delay moments. There will be times when everything you have been wanting, everything you have worked for, everything you have earned, everything you feel you deserve is snatched away in what seems like a personal and unfair blow. This, I will tell them, is called life. But when these moments happen, and they will, will you be alone at your locker with your head down, lamenting, divvying up blame; or will you be shoulder to shoulder with your teammates, connected, with your heads up, giving and receiving support?”

*********** Seattle, once a rough, tough town that grew strong because of loggers and fishermen and gold miners headed to Alaska, might very well now be the fruitiest city in the United States.

First, there’s His Honor, the Mayor.  He’s  one of the few male mayors in the United States with a “husband.”  His Honor, who’s been lauded far and wide by the LGBT “community” for the way he’s led “the fight” (for such things as gay marriage), suddenly finds himself with a real fight on his hands, as a series of middle-aged men, one  after another, comes forward with allegations that, back when they were just little fellows, they were introduced to the beauties of man-boy sex by His Honor.

And then there’s the Seattle Police Force, protecting the public from “Community Members.”

I’ll let station KIRO explain…

When Seattle police officers write use of force reports they no longer call a suspect a suspect.

“Community member” is the new term. Several officers say the term is offensive, explaining their work with violent suspects.

Sources point to the suspect who shot three officers last month after a downtown Seattle armed robbery. When officers involved in that incident were writing their use of force reports they were required to refer to the shooter, Damarius Butts, as a “community member,” not a suspect, police sources said.

Police fatally shot Butts after they said he shot the officers.

“I think this is all in an effort to make sure our report writing sounds politically correct,” Seattle Police Officers' Guild Kevin Stuckey told KIRO 7.

You couldn't make this sh— up.

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/mattvespa/2017/05/20/in-seattle-police-can-no-longer-report-suspects-they-have-to-say-community-members-n2329542


*********** In an article in the Wall Street Journal (May 6-7) Melvin Konner cites a study of twins to argue that there’s more to ADHD than genetics.  And he concludes with an argument that most of us would support…

We know from the history of ADHD that the school environment matters enormously.  In fact, although the disorder causes other life problems, ADHD was essentially unrecognized before the era of universal schooling.

My own research suggests how critical such factors are. The hunter-gatherer children I studied in the 1970s in Botswana had a lot to learn - how to determine the age of animal tracks, for example, or where to dig for tubers - but they learned on the move, in playful groups. When economically developed cultures started asking children to sit still for seven hours a day, we soon discovered that a minority of them - 10% or more, especially boys - couldn’t do it.

Anthropologists view ADHD as a “mismatch” disorder - due to a discrepancy between the world we evolved in and our world now.  So what is the solution, aside from medication? We could give children a break.  We have long known that frequent recess and play improves attention: such activity is routine in countries such as Finland and Japan.

Yet Olga Jarrett of the Georgia State University College of Education, writing on the website of the US Play Coalition, a play-advocacy group, has shown that the recent trend in the US has been, absurdly, to abolish recess, dismantle playgrounds, and ignore nature.  This is no way to reduce the number of children, now in the millions, on medication for ADHD.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-twins-study-shows-adhd-isnt-just-genetic-1493996284?mg=id-wsj


*********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING TERRY BAKER -

GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
J.C. BRINK - STUART, FLORIDA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TRACY JACKSON - DALLAS, OREGON - I met him in 1981, my first year teaching at Oregon City and working for Don McCarty.  One of our VPs was a guy named Paul Poetsch, who was very dear to me.  He and a bunch of PIL guys from the 50s played basketball in the gym at OCHS every Sunday I think.  Mr. Baker was one of those guys and being a Beaver fan, it was a pretty cool opportunity.
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, OREGON - I remember him from the last time you featured him....Kim and i really enjoyed Corvallis on our northwest swing......it's hard to believe he was able to win from there
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
SHEP CLARKE - PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON

*********** Terry Baker could run and he could throw - with either hand.  He played baseball right-handed and football left-handed.

His father took off when he was four or five, leaving his mother with three little boys to raise by herself.

In high school, he was a three-sport athlete,  all-state in football, basketball and baseball his senior year. Along with a teammate named Mel Renfro, who would go on to stardom with the Dallas Cowboys, he helped  lead his team to state titles in football and basketball.

He was recruited to Oregon State by Slats Gill, the Beavers’ basketball coach,
and didn't play football his freshman season. He played basketball and baseball instead and he had to be persuaded to turn out for football in the spring.

50 years later, the Portland Oregonian’s John Hunt asked Baker what made him decide to play football.

"It was kind of miserable," Baker said of the start of his OSU baseball career. "Every game was getting rained out."

So one dreary day during spring practice, Prothro coaxed Baker into coming to a team meeting.

"I didn't see any harm in attending a meeting," Baker said.

When he arrived, the entire team was there, and Prothro had written the depth chart on the chalkboard. Second-string tailback: Terry Baker.

"That's not bad -- I hadn't even gone out yet, and I'm second-string tailback," Baker said. "Whether it went to my head or whatever, or whether it was baseball being so miserable at that time, I went out for spring practice, and the rest is history."

His coach, Tommy Prothro, changed his beloved single wing offense to a T-Formation  just for him, to take advantage of Baker's rollout running-passing abilities.

He set a bowl game rushing record that will never be broken, rushing 99 yards for a touchdown in the Liberty Bowl.

In 1962 he became the first player from West of Texas to win the Heisman Trophy. 

He played basketball (averaging 13+ points per game as a 6-3 guard) as the Beavers - with a 7-footer named Mel Counts - made it to the Final Four, where they lost to Cincinnati.

Terry Baker was named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year.   Wrote S-I's Alfred Wright, "In an era when the celebrated college athlete is turning into a special kind of mercenary, living and competing in a culture apart from that of the ordinary undergraduate, it is fitting that (he) …should emerge from a bucolic campus deep in the forests of the Northwest, where the simple verities of small-town American life are still held in high esteem."

He graduated from Oregon State with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering,
and  was the first player taken in the NFL draft, by the Los Angeles Rams.  During his three years with the Rams he managed to earn a law degree from USC.

After retirement from an undistinguised pro football career, he enjoyed a long career with one of Portland’s top law firms.

For 52 years, until Oregon's Marcus Mariota won it in 2014, Terry Baker was the only player from the Pacific Northwest ever to win the Heisman.

It's highly unlikely anyone will ever match his feat  of winning the Heisman and playing in the Final Four.

http://scarc.library.oregonstate.edu/oh150/baker/biography.html

http://www.oregonlive.com/beavers/index.ssf/2012/10/post_36.html

https://www.si.com/vault/1963/01/07/598703/sportsman-of-the-year-terry-baker#


*********** QUIZ - He was one of the greatest college running backs in the history of the game and is in the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The son of Italian immigrants, he grew up in a Northeastern Pennsylvania coal town and headed south to play college football.

In his sophomore college season helped his team win the Rose Bowl and a small share of the national championship.

After time out for World War II service, he came back better than ever.

His senior year, he finished second in the Heisman voting after leading his team to an undefeated season  (and another small share of the national championship).

As a college baseball player, he batted .475 his senior season. After college he played a season in the minor leagues where he batted .334 and drew the interest of several major league teams - he was reportedly offered more than $100,000  (an astronomical sum at the time) by the owner of the AAFC New York Yanks and baseball Yankees 
to play both football and baseball..

But he was the first draft choice of an NFL team, and he signed with them.  As a rookie, he scored two touchdowns in the NFL championship game to help the franchise win the only championship it has ever won in its entire history.

He was named to the NFL’s Team of the Decade for the 1940s.

When he retired,  his 6,053 yards of total offense - 3,506 rushing, 2,547 passing, 1,321 receiving -  was the most by any player in NFL history.

At the time of this writing, he is the oldest living player in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.



american flag FRIDAY,  MAY 19,  2017  - “There are no coincidences.  Coincidences are God’s way of remaining anonymous.”  Reverend Andrew Young

*********** At North Beach,  in Ocean Shores, Washington, where I’ve been coaching for the past six years, 60 per cent of kids qualify for free or reduced-price lunch (that’s high, in Washington).  Most of our players get their shoes free, from the shelves of used cleats that players routinely donate when they’re done playing. 

There are always a few who have the money to buy new shoes, and when they do, they’re intelligent enough to make sure they’re black, white or gold (our school colors).

But this past year, a couple of kids - brothers - showed up wearing the most godawful looking things I’d ever seen.  Not black, not white, not gold. Butt-ugly, and flashy.  Their parents had gone ahead and bought them - online - and now our head coach had to tell them that they weren’t going to be able to wear them in games.  It was finally resolved, but let’s just say that the parents weren’t happy.

This was  something that could easily have been headed off with a simple letter to parents, but until you’ve run into something like this, it probably wouldn’t occur to you to notify them.

So I really have to hand it to my friend Greg Koenig.  He’s taking over as head coach at Cimarron, Kansas, and he’s been astute enough to let his players’ parents know not only how he feels about the color of the shoes they buy, but even more important, how he feels about drawing attention to one’s self in a team sport, and about the importance of the uniform itself:

Players and Parents,

As you begin to look for cleats for the upcoming season, my expectation is that you will wear team colors as much as possible. When it comes to cleats, all black or all white are always safe choices; and I would be fine with blue as well.

One way to think about your purchase is to ask yourself this question: Do I want these shoes so I'll look cool or stand out? If so, I would encourage you to reconsider your purchase. Remember that the word uniform means the same. I am not in favor of drawing attention to oneself through uniform adornments (arm bands, head bands, flashy cleats, etc.). Instead, each player should strive to honor his uniform through outstanding attitude and effort.

If you have questions about particular cleats, please send me a picture before you purchase them. I will reply with my approval or disapproval asap.

*********** In the latest Sports Business Journal, I read a great interview with Lisa Borders, president of the WNBA. She grew up in segregated Atlanta; her grandfather was a Baptist preacher, and she grew up with the children of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Her parents were well-to-do and they insisted she attend the prestigious Westminster School.  When she entered, in 1969, she was only the eighth black student to be admitted.  She recalled the cross-tensions of having white kids at school asking, “Why are you here?  You don’t belong here.” and then having black kids at home saying, “You think you’re too good to go to school with us.”

She said she remembers asking, “Why do I have to be here?” And she remembers her mother saying, “Because it’s the best school and you have to get an education.  You’re black, and you’re a girl, so you’ve got to get the best education possible.”

That she did.  She went on to Duke, and graduated with a major in French.

She worked for a large medical clinic in Atlanta. and got a Master’s in health administration from Colorado.

She served for seven years as President of the Atlanta City Council; in 2009 she ran, unsuccessfully, for mayor.

She then took a position as vice=president and chairman of the Coca-Cola Foundation, and also joined the Board of Trustees at Duke.  That’s where she met Adam Silver, Commissioner of the NBA, also a Duke graduate. She knew basketball, having helped bring the WNBA Atlanta Dream to town, and she knew the WNBA was in trouble, and their conversation led to Silver’s offering her the job of president of the WNBA.

I clipped a few very interesting pieces from the interview…

“There are three attributes to a good leader. Competence, confidence and compassion. You have to be competent in whatever you’re doing. You need to have the confidence that says when you make a mistake, admit it, learn from it and move forward. Finally, if you’re not compassionate, if you don’t understand that no one gets anywhere by themselves, if you don’t understand that you’ve got to take care of those that are around you, you’re never going to make it as a leader.”

She admits she has come a long way in her leadership, as in her early years, she was all about command and control.

“I had to do everything. I had to do it to get it right. I was terrible at delegating. So I was written up every year for not delegating. I was exhausted because I was trying to do everything or someone else would do it and I would do it over. I had to stop that. One day the light bulb went off — ‘OK, I’ve got to take a breath. I’ve got to try this.’ And it worked. You have to learn to trust people. You have to learn to let go. Being a single mom broke that habit because there’s just not enough hours in a day for you to raise your child, work, do your family obligations. It’s a sign of strength that you are mature enough to ask for help. Growing up, I often thought that asking for help was a sign of weakness. It’s actually a sign of strength.”

But while she’s better at delegating, she’s still impatient, and when she doesn’t see colleagues carrying their weight, she’ll quickly move.

“I’m quick to fire. You can’t change people, really. You can try and develop people. If they don’t want to learn whatever skill you’re trying to teach them or that the team needs them to have, you can only go so far before that becomes dead weight and the rest of the team becomes resentful.”

“Whatever Adam asks me to do, I’m going to do everything I can to do it better than anyone else and get to the next level. That’s just how I’m wired. It’s born out of this experience where I had to prove myself on a daily basis. But if you demonstrate enough results, people can’t ignore that. You get respect.”


http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2017/05/08/Opinion/From-The-Executive-Editor.aspx

*********** Somehow,  despite heat in Phoenix…  cold and snow in Minneapolis…  rain in Seattle.  They managed to build stadiums and finish on schedule.

But not in Los Angeles, where the Rams and the Clippers - er, Chargers - are due to share the greatest Pleasure Dome since Kublai Khan (just to see if there are any literary types out there) starting in 2019.

Make that “were” due.  Change that opening date to 2020, with the announcement that rain this past winter - rain, for God’s sake! - is going to cause the construction of the new, as-yet-unnamed stadium to be delayed by a year.

That means that the Rams will play three seasons in the Coliseum instead of two, while the Chargers will play three seasons in the StubHub Center, a soccer stadium built to hold 30,000.  (How is the NFL going to spin it when they still have empty seats?)

The news gets even worse for Rams’ fans.   The team was planning to “roll out” a new uniform design to coincide with the stadium opening.  But with the news of the stadium delay, Rams management “remains in talks with Nike and the NFL” over whether to go ahead with the redesign as scheduled, or postpone it, too.

I say go ahead.  I’m not sure that fans can stand the excitement of a new stadium AND a new uniform at the same time.

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/19410632/the-new-stadium-chargers-rams-los-angeles-delayed-1-year-2020

*********** Maybe the next time Donald Trump talks with Putin I can get him to ask if I can have the dealership for the Pacific Northwest…

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/pn_5dMHsCPE?autoplay=1&hd=1&rel=0&showinfo=0&start=14&end=178

*********** You guys who lobbied hard for the College Football Playoff - you should be happy.  You won.

As a result, we’ve had a couple of years of that “True National Champion” business you said we needed.

Now, happy or not, I think you’ll join the rest of us - those of us derided as “purists” because we sort of enjoyed football the way it had gone on for, oh, 100 years or so - with the season ending with an assortment of bowl games as a reward for good play, with players having fun and half the teams ending their seasons with wins.  And then, afterward, a couple of polls presuming to tell us who some sportswriters - or coaches - thought was the best team, and a winterful of arguments to the contrary.

I think you’ll join us because not even you guys who were delighted to learn we would finally have a playoff can be happy with the news that this year, “a musical guest” (one can only imagine what that means) “will perform at halftime” of the Big Game.

No more college bands.  They’re so Twentieth Century.

We’re talking extravaganza, guys.  Bigass halftime shows.  Super Bowl-style.

Funny how at the very same time that college football has addressed the problem of over-long games by putting an absolute limit on the length of halftimes, the “ultimate game” of college football will be played by teams that will have to stop play and sit idle for 30 or 40 minutes so that a “musical guest” can “perform.”  All to juice up viewership by luring the eyeballs of people who don’t know sh— from shinola about college football into glancing at the set  because their favorite band will be playing at halftime.

***********  Maybe you saw the news: 17 NBA teams plan to enter “franchises” in the “NBA 2k eLeague.”  (Evidently, in keeping with Apple and its iPads and iPhones - and with the first names of certain professional athletes -  the title is intentionally case-dismissive and there is some arcane reason for the small “e” and capital “L.”)

Each team will “start” five “players” - actually, professional eSports gamers - who will wear their “team’s” colors and play as avatars in video games,  competing for considerable sums in prize money.

Okay so far?  How about this - the competition will be broadcast live, in front of “live crowds.” (There are dead ones?)

Well, they got them to watch poker.  To watch BBQ cookoffs.   Maybe they can get them to watch this.

After all, I remember the days, long ago, when it was accepted wisdom that “the public” would never watch five black basketball players playing five other black basketball players. Wrong.

Now, my inclination is to predict that “the public” will NOT watch five nerdy white guys playing video games against five other nerdy white guys.

Bear in mind, though, that I’m a guy who’s spent more than half of his adult life in the long-ago, never imagining that I’d live to see the day that “the public” would unblinkingly accept the notion of one man calling another man his “husband.”

(Colleges are “fielding” eSports teams, too.  Or should that be “Arcading?” They don’t seem able to decide whether to bring them under the auspices of their athletic department or their computer science department.  And just wait until Title IX requires them to “arcade” womyn’s teams.)


*********** I don’t want to get too deeply into trying to simplify what could be a complex legal matter, and I sure don’t want to get any lawyers pissed at me, but…

It does appear that some lawyers who have represented former NFL players in their suits against the League could be collecting double fees,  at the expense of the players whom they represent.

As I understand it, here’s how it happened:

As part of the NFL’s settlement, a fund of $112.5 million was set aside to pay players’ legal fees.  Fair enough.  The players get to keep their share of the rest of the settlement.

But prior to the settlement, thousands of players had already entered into contracts with lawyers calling for contingency fees (legal fees to be paid contingent on their winning the case) of as much as 45 per cent of any proceeds.

So if those contracts hold up - in fairness, some law firms have lowered their fees and some have dropped them altogether - it means that some lawyers will be paid not only from the NFL’s fund, but also from the money the players receive.

Stay tuned.

http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2017/05/08/Law-and-Politics/NFL-player-liens.aspx


*********** A great management (and head coaching) tip from Bob Moran, of Charleston, South Carolina, Tournament Director of the WTA Volvo Car Open…

“”’Thought’ and ‘Know’ are two different things.   If there’s an issue or a problem, or something doesn’t get done, it almost always includes the word ‘thought.’ I thought so-and-so was doing it.  I thought this was being taken care of.  I thought.

“ So if we’re in a staff meeting and someone uses that word, we discuss it. We want it to be ‘I KNOW that's completed.’ or “I KNOW so-and-so' ds taken care of that.’”

*********** A recent poll showed that a HUGE number of working-class Americans say that they often feel like strangers in their own country.

Tell me about it. Practically every weekday afternoon, and all day on the weekends, our street is parked solid with the cars of people who deliver their little boys and girls to the nearby athletic fields, then set up their lawn chairs and sit back to watch the little five-year-olds kick a round ball.

soccer parking

In our town, soccer long ago passed baseball by.   Now, even softball, once seen by so many dads as a free ticket to college for their little girls, is suffering, too.

This whole thing’s been driven, I submit, by the increasing feminization of our society, and abetted by the concussion hysteria aimed at killing off football. And as I walk my dog past the fields and listen as the pretty people cheer on their little darlings, I shake my head at the realization that I could just as easily be walking the streets of another country.

I’m reading Richard Ben Cramer’s biography of Joe DiMaggio, and in it the author wrote about baseball’s solid hold on the America of the early 1930s, when DiMaggio was growing up : “In most towns, you couldn’t fill a phone booth with the boys who didn’t play ball.”

Nowadays, in a lot of towns, you could fit all the baseball players in a phone booth.  If you could find a phone booth.

*********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING DON MCCAFFERTY:

GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
DENNIS METZGER - RICHMOND, INDIANA
JERRY LOVELL - BELLEVUE, NEBRASKA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
JOE GUTILLA - SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA

*********** A Cleveland native, Don McCafferty played at Ohio State under Paul Brown before entering the service in World War II.

After the War, he played one year in the NFL and then embarked on a coaching career.

He spent 11 years as an assistant at a Kent State before making the jump to the NFL.

McCafferty was an assistant with the Baltimore Colts for 11 years,  first under Weeb Ewbank then under Don Shula. Known by the players as the “Easy Rider” because of the way his personality contrasted with that of the hot-tempered Shula,  he was Shula’s offensive coordinator for seven years. Two of the other members of Shula’s staffs during that time were Chuck Noll and Bill Arnsparger.

Don McCafferty succeeded Shula as head coach and had immediate success, winning the Super Bowl in his first season. Going into his third season as an NFL head coach, he was 21-6-1, with a Super Bowl win to his credit.  But then a new owner, Robert Irsay, and a new GM, Joe Thomas, came on the scene,  and  when his team got off to a 1-4 start and he was ordered by Thomas to bench his QB, John Unitas, he refused and was fired.

He was hired the next season by the Detroit Lions, and took them to a 6-7-1 season, good enough for second place in the NFL Central.

And then, the following summer, while mowing his lawn, he suffered a heart attack and died.  He was just 53.


*********** John Unitas liked Don McCafferty.  They had a nice working relationship because McCafferty let him do what he did best - quarterback the team.

Tom Callahan, in his book, “Johnny U,” tells of how McCafferty, on arrival from Kent State as an assistant to Weeb Ewbank, asked, “John, do you want any help on Sunday?”

Unitas replied, “Mac, if you’re positive they’re going blitz, let me know.  Otherwise, sit back, relax, and enjoy the game.”

And then, Ewbank was fired and replaced with Shula.

Call it a power struggle or whatever, but Shula tried to control his quarterback.  Already acknowledged as one of the greats of the game and used to calling his plays, Unitas didn’t take well to the dictates of a guy barely three years older than he was who’d never been a head coach.

McCafferty apparently served as a buffer between the hard-headed coach and the equally hard-headed quarterback, but things between Unitas and Shula never got better.

But Unitas remained the ultimate team man and as long as he played for Shula, he concealed his dislike of the coach from his teammates.

Defensive lineman Fred Miller emphasized that in an interview for Callahan’s book. “I’ll tell you just exactly what John told me,” he said. “This was years later now, when Shula had that opening of his restaurant in that downtown hotel.   I went to it.  Most of the guys who were still in the area showed up. About a week later I saw John somewhere and I asked him, ‘How come you didn’t go to Shula’s grand opening?’  He looked at me and said, ‘If that son of a bitch was across the street and his guts were on fire, I wouldn’t walk over and piss in his mouth.’ That’s the first time I ever knew how John felt about Shula.”

*********** Coaching changes run in an eternal cycle:   the hardass disciplinarian’s act wears thin, and he’s replaced by the good guy, called by one and all a “player’s coach.”  And then the player’s coach loses control of the team, and he’s replaced by a guy who’ll “bring some discipline” to the club.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

In “Sundays at 2:00 With the Baltimore Colts,” by Vince Bagli, Colts’ linebacker Stan White, who played college ball at Ohio State and in 1970 was the Colts’ 17th - and last - draft pick, remembered his first year with the Colts.  It was Don McCafferty’s third (and last) year:

Don McCafferty was the coach, and he was the reason I was drafted at all. He had gone to Ohio State, and had coached at Kent State, and I was from Kent. The general manager who signed me was “The Duke,” Don Klosterman.   But by the time we got to training camp, Bob Irsay had bought the team, and Joe Thomas was in charge.

The team had trained in Westminster (Maryland) before then; now, they were training in Tampa for the first time.  Carroll Rosenbloom (the former owner HW) made that deal.  He was trying to move the team down there before he sold it.  It was a mistake.  Tampa was a party atmosphere, and the players treated training like it was a lark. They thought they could win anyhow.

McCafferty believed in letting them be adults. That’s the way he treated players, and they took advantage of it.  He was an easy rider, easy to play for. He had replaced Shula in 1970. For the first year or two, the guys were just happy to be away from a disciplinarian, but then they started to take more and more advantage.  They would tell him they weren’t going to be in by curfew, and he could take the hundred dollar fines out of their checks.  Joe Thomas saw all those guys going out ‘cotton spottin’ all night long.

From Tampa, we went out to Golden, Colorado for a few weeks, right next to the Coors brewery.  When the season started, the team just wasn’t ready to play, and it cost all those guys their jobs.

*********** QUIZ - He could run and he could throw - with either hand.

He didn't even play football his freshman year - played basketball and baseball instead.

His coach changed his single wing offense just to accommodate his skills.

He set a bowl game
rushing record that will never be broken.

He was the first player from West of Texas to win the Heisman Trophy.

He was the first player taken in the NFL draft.

He played basketball and his team made it to the Final Four, where it lost to Cincinnati.

He will probably forever remain the only player to win a Heisman and play in the Final Four.

He was named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year. They wrote, "In an era when the celebrated college athlete is turning into a special kind of mercenary, living and competing in a culture apart from that of the ordinary undergraduate, it is fitting that (he) …should emerge from a bucolic campus deep in the forests of the Northwest, where the simple verities of small-town American life are still held in high esteem."


american flag TUESDAY,  MAY 16,  2017  - "All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it."  H. L. Mencken

*********** We tell our kids that we expect them to put the team first.  But how many of us have the courage to make a tough decision to show that we really mean it?

Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd did, at the price of ending long friendships.

In 1950, Georgia Tech finished 5-6.  The Yellow Jackets were upset by VMI (coached by Tom Nugent) and trounced by Alabama.  Only a 7-0 win over Georgia in the final game kept them from ending the season with a five-game losing streak.

This was long before the Falcons or the Braves. At that time, Georgia Tech WAS Atlanta’s pro team.  A 5-6 record at Tech was unacceptable.

“I was just depressed,” Tech coach Dodd said later. “My Lord, I’d gotten humiliated on Grant Field by Alabama, all the home folks saw that.”

That’s when he made a tough decison - what he called the most painful decision of his life. He decided he had to let two assistants go.

“The most depressing thing I ever had to do,” he told his biographer, Jack Wilkinson,  “was to take Ray Ellis and Dwight Keith and tell them there wasn’t any place for them, really. And I had to let them go.  Broke my heart to do it.”

Wrote Wilkinson,

Dodd wanted - no, needed - younger and more knowledgeable assistants, coaches who could produce better football players, as well as improve Tech’s recruiting. Ray Ellis and Dwight Keith were older, contemporaries of Dodd.  They were also his good friends.

Furthermore, Alice Dodd’s best friend was Dwight Keith’s wife, Randa, and they were quite close to Martha Ellis. All three couples enjoyed each other’s company, especially on Saturday nights after games, when they all met at the Dodds’ for a steak dinner.

“We were all close back in those days,” Dodd said.  “When you only have a small coaching staff like we had, you become close.

“And when you get together on a Saturday night after getting beat on Saturday afternoon, you don’t want to be around anybody but your coaching staff and their wives.”

So the decision was excruciating, but necessary.  And Dodd knew he had to make changes to regain a competitive edge.

From that point on, Georgia Tech caught fire. 

Tech 11-0-1 in 1951, and 12-0 in 1952.  In a six-year span from 1951 through 1956, Georgia Tech’s record was 59-7-3, with a piece of the 1952 National Championship. During that time, the Yellow Jackets went to six straight bowls and won them all.

Letting two assistants go wasn’t the only reason, of course. For one thing, on offense Tech introduced the Belly series, a revolutionary innovation that would make Tech the talk of football, and on defense, they introduced the equally innovative Monster.

To install the new offense, Dodd brought in Frank Broyles, a former Tech QB; he turned the new defense over to Ray Graves, who was already on his staff.

Then, with Broyles in charge of the offense and Graves in charge of the defense, he began to operate much like today’s head coaches.

“He was the first coach to be chairman of the board,” Broyles said. “All the other head coaches had been active in the on-field coaching and the assistant coaches just kinda helped out. But Coach Dodd was the first one who saw the advantages of being chairman of the board and delegating the responsibility. So he delegated to me the offensive part of the game, and to Ray Graves the defensive.”

“I coached the coaches,” Dodd said, “and then they coached the players.”

Part of the reasoning behind Dodd’s reorganization was that two-platoon football had arrived to stay (1950 was the first year that All-American teams are broken down into offensive and defensive units) and he had the players to make it work.

And the coaches.  “One thing that helped us a great deal,” Dodd said, “is that was the year I organized my coaching staff into offense and defense.  Three offensive coaches and three defensive coaches.  They had their group meetings.  I had a B-team coach and a freshman coach.  We had a good organization, real good. And we had more coaches than most people had at that time.”

*********** If Cal football starts really heading downhill, this may give you an idea why.

Back in the mid-60s, when Jim Plunkett was checking out colleges, he ruled out Cal, recalling, “I rejected California because the Free Speech Movement was under way in Berkeley and I didn’t want to be bothered by student protests.”

He went, instead, to Stanford.

(The things you come across - He also said, “the only coast school that didn’t contact me was USC, but they had already landed Mike Holmgren of San Francisco.”)

*********** I freely admit that I voted for Donald Trump. What the hell - like I was going to vote for Hillary Clinton?

Actually, I felt that the best person for the job was James Webb, a Democrat, yes, but also a combat veteran, former Secretary of the Navy, former Senator, and scholar and author.  Check him out - a quality individual in every respect.  But he got blown out early in the primaries because, well, as we have learned since, no Democrat  had a fair chance to derail the Clinton Express.

So here we are.

What’s this got to do with football?

Well, Sunday, I happened to watch - for the third time - the ESPN 30 for 30 story of the USFL, the closest thing the NFL has had to a competitor since the American Football League officially merged with it in 1970.

There was a young Donald Trump - 30 years younger - taking over ownership of the New Jersey Generals’ franchise, proceeding to spend enormous and unrealistic amounts of money on players,  and then almost single-handedly forcing the league, which had been enjoying some success playing in the spring,  to move its schedule to the fall - and predictably disastrous head-to-head conflict with the NFL.

It is not, shall we say, a flattering portrayal of Mr. Trump.

After watching the show three times now, I’m convinced that if, instead of blowing their money on stupid, conventional campaign ads, the Democrats had just run  clips from that show - over and over - Hillary Clinton could have won.

*********** Talked last Friday with Mike Lude, who’s making great progress following  knee replacement surgery five weeks ago.  (Mike’s 94 and looking forward to getting back to his daily four-mile walks.)

I got to asking him about Bill Yeoman, and he said he knew and really liked Bill.

Said that he’d gotten to know him when Yeoman was on Duffy Daugherty’s staff at Michigan State.

Mike said that when he got the head coaching job at Colorado State, he knew that the first thing he had to do was get himself a defense.  After all, up until then he’d been mainly an offensive guy, coaching the line at Delaware.

His old friend Frank Broyles was head coach at Arkansas, and was having success running the 5-2 Monster defense that he’d learned from Ray Graves when both of them were coaching under Bobby Dodd at Georgia Tech. (Dodd contended in his autobiography, “Dodd’s Luck,” that Graves got it from Bud Wilkinson at Oklahoma.)

Broyles, to whom Mike had shown the Wing-T several years earlier, even spending a spring practice at Arkansas, repaid the favor by teaching Mike the ins and outs of the Monster.

And then, thanks to  a visit to Michigan State, and Bill Yeoman’s introducing him to the defensive guys, Mike picked up their then-innovative way of calling out who was going to force the run (“Cloud” if it was going to be the corner, “Sky” if it was going to be the safety).

After that, Mike told me, “I was all set.”

*********** “Bigotry exists, but it is far down on the list of problems that minorities now face. I grew up black in segregated America, where it was hard to find an open door.  It’s harder now for young blacks to find a closed one.” 

Shelby Steele, senior fellow ay Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, and author of “Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country.”

FROM “The Exhaustion of American Liberalism” Wall Street Journal - March 5, 2017
https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-exhaustion-of-american-liberalism-1488751826


*********** A friend wrote…

I was listening to some chatter about WSU on Fox radio and the guy had done an interview with Mike Leach. So after the interview the lead
guy was talking about how scenic it is at WSU, the stadium being on a beautiful lake and all. Yep. I recall that water but I what I saw wasn’t Wazzu.
Is there water at WSU stadium?

Um, no...  He's undoubtedly thinking of Husky Stadium and confusing the Cougs with the Huskies.

WSU is located in the Palouse area of Southeast Washington. The Palouse is a beautiful area, but it doesn’t have any significant bodies of water one could call "lakes."

The Palouse has few trees, and with its random dimples and humps, it looks like a links course for a giant.   It was originally grassland, but the soil is unbelievably rich and deep and so it's a very productive wheat-growing region.

The Palouse was the home of Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce.   The Appaloosa horse - the "Nez Perce horse" - got its name from the area.

COUGAR COUNTRY - THE PALOUSE                                                      HUSKY STADIUM AND LAKE WASHINGTON


THE PALOUSEHUSKY STADIUM


*********** Without any conclusive studies whatsoever to back up the extravagant  claims that “Hawk Tackling”  is a safer and more effective method of tackling, I have my suspicions  that it’s about to be forced on us.  I think the only thing that’s prevented that from happening already is that tackling low, as it advocates,  does seem to be at cross purposes with USA Football’s “Heads Up Tackling,” which we ARE forced to learn about.

One of my objections to the “technique” is that it runs counter to one very important defensive principle: Stay off the ground!

With Hawk tackling, one shot is all you get - miss, and you’re on the ground.   Dead wood.  Out of the play.

As for safety - any way you look at it, the head is low, and since it’s impossible to be precise with your aim,   a miss  in one direction almost certainly means a missed arm tackle; but a miss  in the other could mean a broken neck.

It does seem to me that Hawk tackling is ideal if you’re coaching NFL defensive backs. A lot of those guys see themselves as coverage specialists and don’t like to tackle anyhow (can you say "Deion?") ;  concerned about  the  risk of injury and the potential end to their  multimillion-dollar careers, it’s a great way for them to at least look like they’re trying to tackle.

And get this, from the Chicago Tribune:

Hawk tackling has raised safety concerns too. Rugby is dealing with its own head injury crisis — the concussion rate in England's top professional league has more than doubled over the last two seasons — and Dave Gan, an assistant football coach for O'Fallon Township High School near St. Louis, said inexperienced players who employ the technique are in danger of sustaining a catastrophic spinal injury.

"I just worry that striking with the shoulder, you'll end up in a bad position with your neck," said Gan, who prefers the Heads Up approach. 

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/highschool/ct-football-tackling-safety-met-20150821-story.html

*********** A native of San Francisco, Ollie Matson was an Olympic sprinter, winning medals in the 400 meters and as part of the 4 x 400 relay team in the 1948 games in Helsinki, Finland.

As a college football player, he led the nation in rushing and touchdowns scored his senior year, and helped lead his team, the University of San Francisco, to a 9-0 record.

The 1951 University of San Francisco Dons are  considered one of the greatest college football teams of all time. From its ranks came such NFL standouts as Matson, Bob St. Clair, Gino Marchetti, Ed Brown, Joe Scudero, Dick Stanfell.  Yet despite rolling over their competition, the Dons were not invited to a bowl game. Yes, there were far fewer bowl games then, and yes, his team did not have the kind of following that bowl games wanted, but almost certainly a major reason was the opposition of the major bowls - located in the South -  to inviting teams with black players. He was one of two black players on his team (the other, Burl Toller, almost certainly would have gone on to a pro career, but he suffered an injury and turned to officiating, which led to his becoming the first black official). The rest of the players on the team, led by giant (6-9) Bob St. Clair and World War II combat veteran Gino Marchetti,  announced that even if invited, there was no way that they would play without their black teammates.

Interesting side note: the public relations guy for USF was a young undergraduate named Alvin “Pete” Rozelle.

Ollie Matson was a first round draft choice in the NFL by the Chicago Cardinals - the third pick overall - and was co-rookie of the year.

He played for four different teams over 15 seasons, and was named first team All-Pro seven times.  He was named to the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 1950s.

He was so highly thought of that the Los Angeles Rams traded NINE players to the Cardinals to get him. 

Interesting side note: the GM of the Rams was Alvin “Pete” Rozelle.

http://www.usfdons.com/news/2014/2/4/gen_0204142654.aspx?path=general


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING OLLIE MATSON—

ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JERRY LOVELL - BELLEVUE, NEBRASKA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKVILLE, INDIANA

*********** I enjoy the football blog, but I REALLY liked the narrative about the rail bridge construction. That's America. If teachers could've described the event as you did, they'd have done their students a great service.

John Vermillion
St. Petersburg, Florida

If John V. enjoyed it, I’ll take the compliment.  He’s an author whose work I’ve enjoyed reading.

https/www.amazon.com/John-M.-Vermillion/e/B00JGC4FSG


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

Wow.  Two quizzes in a row I didn't have to think twice about!

Ollie Matson is the answer to your Friday quiz.  

After having spent a couple of years at the University of San Francisco coaching their football club team in 1981-82 I became very familiar with that great 1951 USF team.  Not only did they have Ollie Matson, but they also had Gino Marchetti, Bob St. Clair, Red Stephens, Dick Stanfel, Ed Brown, Scooter Scudero, and Burl Toler.  Seven Pro Bowlers and 3 Hall of Famers all on one college team.

Toler would have gone on to NFL fame as a player, but an injury prevented him from that.  Instead he went on to NFL fame as an NFL Official.  He and Matson were the only two African-Americans on the team that you spoke about.  There was no way the team would accept a bowl invitation if they couldn't bring their two black teammates with them.

The coach was none other than Joe Kuharich.  It was that '51 USF team that propelled Kuharich to the head coaching job at Notre Dame.  There was another member of that team that ended up becoming a Bay Area coaching legend.  Vince Tringali.  Tringali was a very successful head coach at St. Ignatius in the City, and then became the head coach at... USF... when they revived football in 1970 as a Division II Independent.  

There's a great book that has been written chronicling that '51 USF team called "Undefeated, Untied, and Uninvited".  It's a quick read, but provides a ton of information leading up to that glorious year, and explains the demise of football at USF the following year.

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


QUIZ -  A Cleveland native, he played at Ohio State under Paul Brown before entering the service in World War II.

After the War, he played one year in the NFL and then embarked on a coaching career.

He spent 11 years as an assistant at an Ohio college before making the jump to the NFL.

He coached first under Weeb Ewbank then under Don Shula. Known by the players as the “Easy Rider” because of the way his personality contrasted with that of the hot-tempered Shula,  he was Shula’s offensive coordinator for seven years. Two of the other members of Shula’s staffs during that time were Chuck Noll and Bill Arnsparger.

He became an NFL head coach and had immediate success. Going into his third season as an NFL head coach, he was 21-6-1, with a Super Bowl win to his credit.  But then a new owner and a new GM came on the scene,  and  when his team got off to a 1-4 start, he was ordered by the GM to bench his QB, already a legend and a future Hall of Famer whom he’d been coaching for years. When he refused to do so, he was fired.

He was hired the next season by another NFL team, and took them to a 6-7-1 season, good enough for second place in the NFL Central.

And then, the following summer, while mowing his lawn, he suffered a heart attack and died.  He was just 53.




american flag FRIDAY,  MAY 12,  2017  - “If you get the objectives right,  a lieutenant can write the strategy.”  General George C. Marshall


*********** One of the things I emphasized at my recent Kansas City clinic was if it’s going to help you get better,  that you have to be willing to make some change, and I listed just a dozen ways I’d changed since I started running the Double Wing back in the early 90s.

1. I SQUARED UP MY WINGBACKS  - Got the idea from Mike Emery, at Fitch HS in Groton, Connecticut.  I don’t see how you can run a good “reach” play or keep your wingbacks from being held up at the line when you’ve got them turned in at 45 degrees.

2. I ELIMINATED MOTION ON SUPER POWER - Did this years ago in response to guys who were anticipating Super Power the instant I sent a man in motion.  Why help them out? 

3. I TEACH MY RUNNING BACK ON SUPER POWER TO PUSH ON THE BACK OF THE TACKLE -  I got this from John Irion, now coaching at Granville, NY HS.  It keeps my back from getting too much depth - a definite no-no - it keeps him close to his primary interferer, and it pretty much eliminates bouncing outside

4. I TEACH MY PULLING LINEMEN TO “RUN THE CIRCLE.” - This one came to me while I was watching spring practice at Duke and I saw defensive linemen running around a hoop made with PVC pipe.  Why not offensive linemen? At all costs you have to keep your backside linemen  from turning their shoulders on Super Powers:  if you’re running Double Wing and your pulling linemen are getting in the way of your running backs, that’s probably why.  Best way to cure it is to start running the circle drill. And making it an everyday drill. 

5. I TEACH MY QUARTERBACK THE HOCKEY STICK - His path on just about every play we run  is approximately the shape of a hockey stick; this means I no longer have him lead through the hole on Super Powers.

6. I HAVE THE B-BACK SLIDE SIDEWAYS ON 6-G - Until he gets the ball, that is. Originally, I had him run directly at the point of attack the instant the ball was snapped.   Got this idea from watching a kid in Abington, Pennsylvania having success running the play this way.

7. I SNAP THE BALL ON “GO” - Every stinking time. This was something we (Greg Koenig, Brad Knight and I ) pretty  much came to agreement on at a camp in Beloit, Kansas a few years ago.  It’s worked fine for all of us.  One less thing to have to teach, one less  thing for the kids to have to remember.   And we NEVER jump.

8. I COUNT THE STEPS ON PASS ROUTES - I comes as close as we can come to uniformity of timing among receivers. I guarantee you it;s easier for a receiver to avoid defenders when he’s counting steps then when he’s trying to estimate distance visually.

9. SUPER CRISS-CROSS IS NOW MY STAPLE COUNTER - (“SUPER”) is my code for the QB to toss the ball.  Super XX looks exactly like Super Power and the ball handling is much easier to teach and much safer than a handoff exchange.

10. I NO LONGER TEACH THE SHOESHINE - For some time, we’ve had backside tackles cut off and turn back.  Why not tight ends? It works fine. What the hell - it’s going to be outlawed one of these days, anyhow.

11. ON SUPER POWER, I LET THE PULLING TACKLE FIND A HOLE - Sometimes, it’s not as wide as the intended  “point of attack.”  So what?  Nothing wrong with our running back following our tackle up through a better, closer hole.

12. WE NOW PULL THE BACKSIDE GUARD ON 6-G - (which then makes it 6-G-O) -  Just as with our pulling tackle on Super Power, he slides sideways until finds a hole - and he heads upfield immediately.

And then it hit me - this is just 12 of the many things I’ve been doing differently, and unless people have been attending my clinics faithfully, they haven’t had a way to keep up.

This is where  my “EVOLUTION OF AN OFFENSE” video comes in.

It covers an awful lot of ground - including most of the drills, techniques, plays and formations that I’ve added or changed since my first video in 1995.

I’ve been selling the “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 can be or ought to be.

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

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

I’d rather see this video get into the hands of twice the number of coaches at half the price.

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

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


*********** For much of this past Monday and Tuesday, I stood on a narrow bridge, with traffic whizzing by, and watched the replacement of an old railroad bridge with a new one.  When the railroad that uses it happens to be the main line connecting Spokane and points east with Portland/Vancouver and the West Coast, you can’t take your sweet time.

Just as the railroad said it would, it took 32 hours to replace a steel truss bridge that had served since 1908 - when the population of our town  was 1,100 (it’s now more than 20,000) - with a new one.  That’s how long service on the main line - up to 50 trains a day - was interrupted.

When I first read about the project, several years ago, I tried to imagine how they could pull it off without tieing up traffic for months - which wasn’t an option.  The route in question runs alongside the Columbia River for a couple hundred miles to Pasco, Washington, where it hooks up with another BNSF line farther to the north between the Seattle area and Pasco.  In the event of a long shutdown caused by the bridge project, all eastbound BNSF traffic would have to be re-routed over that northern route - which goes over, around and through the Cascade Range, with curves and grades and tunnels that all limit the speed, the length, the weight and the height of cargo that can be carried.

The solution was to do 90 per cent of the preliminary work right there, on site, without interfering with rail service, leaving only the actual replacement to be done while holding up traffic.

First, they built two “temporary” bridges paralleling the current bridge, one on each side.   The term “temporary” does not in any way imply that these bridges were not stout:  they were strong enough to hold enormous cranes and other equipment, as well as, eventually, the old bridge and its replacement.

On one of the temporary bridges (the civil engineers probably have a term for them) the new bridge truss, built and constructed someplace I know not where, was assembled, bolted together. (No more rivets, as in the older truss.)

Meanwhile, the other temporary bridge was made ready for the placement on it of the old railroad bridge.

Once the new bridge was ready to go, the old bridge, rails and all, was disconnected and jacked up off its supports.  And then came the near-miraculous part.

Thick steel rods connected to the old bridge ran through hydraulic jacks, rather small things that looked like old Electrolux vacuum cleaners. They didn’t make a lot of noise, but they were powerful enough to drag that sucker, that old bridge, along greased tracks atop I-beams until it was completely over the temporary bridge, and placed on heavy iron stands.  There, it will await dismantling.

What was amazing was that you couldn’t tell movement by looking at the bridge, but by golly, it was moving. You could by looking at the jack’s piston.  It would push maybe six inches in a couple of minutes, and then they’d reset it, move the plate that it was pushing on, and repeat.

Finally, with the old span out of the way, it was the new bridge’s turn.

In similar fashion, the new bridge was also slid into place, then bolted onto a new, stronger support. Once that was done, the railroad guys took over and connected the rails.  That was actually quite an operation, too.  One large section was a 40-foot reinforced concrete span, positioned precisely by the operator of a giant crane, then bolted in place with splicing plates.  Then there was the matter of making sure things fit on the other end - that called for a circular saw that cut though the rail in a matter of minutes (allowing for having to replace blades).

All that remained then was to pour and tamp down the ballast, running the locomotive and the hopper cars that carried the ballast back and forth until everything was just so, and the new bridge was ready to go. 

And then, the job finished, everyone left, and the trains began to run again.  No ribbon cutting, no nothing.

Just another day at the office.

BRIDGE BEFORE
THE OLD BRIDGE (THAT WOULD BE THE RUSTY ONE IN THE FOREGROUND, IF YOU HADN'T SUSPECTED) HAS BEEN DISCONNECTED AND SITS ON ITS PIERS,  READY TO BE PULLED SIDEWAYS ONTO THE TEMPORARY BRIDGE THAT THE GUY NEAREST US IS STANDING ON. THE I-BEAM BEHIND THE GUY IS ONE OF THE "TRACKS" THAT THE BRIDGE WILL SLIDE ALONG. THE NEW BRIDGE SITS ON ITS TEMPORARY BRIDGE, READY TO MOVE INTO PLACE

BRIDGE DURING
THE OLD BRIDGE HAS BEGUN TO MOVE, PULLED  ALONG ITS "TRACKS" (GREASED I-BEAMS)  BY  RODS CONNECTED TO  HYDRAULIC JACKS (THE ORANGE CYLINDRICAL DEAL IN THE RIGHT FOREGROUND)

BRIDGE AFTER
THE OLD BRIDGE RESTS ON THE TEMPORARY BRIDGE AWAITING DISMANTLING; THE NEW BRIDGE IS NOW IN PLACE AND CONNECTED TO A 40-FOOT LONG CONCRETE SECTION THAT COMPLETES THE SPAN. 

*********** I was talking with a few of the guys watching the replacement of the BNSF railroad bridge over the Washougal River, and one of them mentioned that it would be a great thing for a high school class to witness.

Amen, I said. Instead of trying to con them into thinking that everyone needed to go to college, even if it meant going into debt to get a worthless degree, schools could show them the beauty and action and worth of the construction trades.

And at the same time, we could point out to them the many things required by the job.  A basic knowledge of math, of course. But every bit as important, an ability to take directions and carry them out unquestioningly; an ability to work well with others; an ability to be on time -  and to be there on time every day.

I thought of so many resemblances to football:    The job was a classic example of long, careful preparation, well before the big event (off-season work) … of the importance of timing - making sure that things were done in the correct sequence… of guys seemingly standing around, doing nothing (on the sidelines) , but then, ready on a minute’s notice,  jumping into action when it was their time… of real, football-type teamwork, with all manner of people charged with doing a lot of different jobs, responsible for doing those jobs well, and depending on others to do their jobs well… If there was any complaining about the job they had to do, I sure didn’t see it… And with the possible exception of the operator of a bigass crane (it had six counterweights, weighing 15 tons apiece and rented, I was told, for $2000 an hour), there were no stars.  Just a bunch of guys who knew their jobs and took pride in doing them well…  Guys to whom the respect of their coworkers mattered a lot.

Maybe American workmanship is dead in some places, but it’s sure alive with these guys.

On second thought, better hold off on that classroom field trip. I can just imagine the irate calls to the principal if the school  had permitted a class to observe an activity which was oh, 99.875 per cent male.


*********** Part of the National Football Foundation’s series “I am a Football Mom”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4SBCWPD_Gs


*********** Q. I see on the playcard for 66 SP the  playside linemen's rule is G-O-AL. Gap-On-? What does AL stand for? Attack Linebacker?

It means “Angle - Late.”  It’s a way to let him know that if there’s nobody in his inside gap, and nobody on him (or if he’s in doubt about whether a man is on him), he comes off at an angle - but not right away. He doesn’t fire out immediately and leave a gap in our front.  First he takes a jab step in place, and then comes off at an angle.   This is important -  he doesn’t fire straight out at a linebacker directly over him. He comes inside at a 45 degree angle, blocking anything in his path.

I remember in one of your films that you mention that a kid that does NOTHING hurts the team less than one who fires out into space.  At least he doesn't create a gap for a linebacker to run through.  We always preach "no cracks in the wall" to help drive this home.  That set of stones has to stay together.


Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois

*********** Does Exxon Mobil have ANY other commercials than the one that plays - over and over - that grating rendition of "The Farmer in the Dell?"


*********** There are lots of reasons why I like Jason Witlock.

Here's another one...

https://twitter.com/whitlockjason/status/862794382000312320


***********  You have GOT to see this - an AVLB (Armoured Vehicle-Launched Bridge)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWMrY49qqDw

*********** My connection with Tom Nugent was a very loose one: years after Phil Petry started for him at quarterback as a sophomore against Oklahoma, and then beat Navy - quarterbacked by Roger Staubach, who'd won the Heisman the year before  - he played for me.  At tight end.

I wrote this back in the fall of 2006...

The other day I heard from a former player I hadn't heard from in over 30 years. I have written about him, though, because he was one heck of a player, and he had quite an influence on my career. His name is Phil Petry, and he came to me as a guy who had been a legendary high school player in our town - Hagerstown, Maryland - and had gone to the University of Maryland, where he started some games at quarterback in his sophomore and junior years before his life got off track for one reason or another. And then  there he was, a few years later, back in Hagerstown with his act together, the local hero ready to play for my team, the Hagerstown Bears. An awful lot of people in town expected him to play quarterback.  To be honest, he really was good, and I was getting a little pressure from the team's owner, because unquestionably, Phil at quarterback would be a big attraction. (And in the minor leagues of any sport, that’s always a consideration.) The problem was, I already had a quarterback.  A pretty good one.  Fortunately, as I wrote earlier, Phil volunteered to move to tight end. In his letter, though, Phil gently corrected me...
Hugh, I found the article (on your site) written about the Hagerstown Bears that my friend told me about and I found out things about myself I didn't know. I do remember that I didn't volunteer to play tight end. You asked me if I was a football player or just a quarterback. We went from there, and what could have been a power struggle turned into a mutual respect based on our love and knowledge of the game. I will spend some time reading your web site and educating myself.
 
Actually, Phil is correct. But it never would have worked if he hadn't willingly gone along with me, and I consider that as good as volunteering. I told Phil that I remembered proposing the switch to him, and this time I told him the thinking that had gone into it (although he was a very bright guy and probably figured it out for himself, anyhow). First of all, we already had a pretty good quarterback, a kid named Chuck Reilly. The players believed in him, and so did I. And there was the element of gratitude on my part as well. The previous season, he'd joined the team in mid-season (he was from Peekskill, New York, but he was stationed at a nearby Army base) and he was good enough that I was finally able to bench the guy I'd been forced to play at QB, a 32-year-old named Hugh Wyatt. We'd lost seven in a row (great way to start a coaching career, eh?) until he arrived, and after his arrival we won seven in a row.
 
I told Phil that I prized loyalty, and I was loyal to Chuck. He'd saved my ass. There was also the athletic factor. Phil was a really good athlete who could play a number of positions - if he were willing to. Chuck was a good QB, but not as big, strong or athletic as Phil. And, finally, I didn't know Phil. Chuck was a known quantity. I could see that Phil had a great arm, and I could tell that he knew the game, but I really didn't know him well enough to know whether we could work together or whethr I could trust him. I felt that way about a quarterback then,  and I haven't changed in the slightest;  I think way too many coaches fail to take that into account in deciding who their QB's going to be.
 
In any event, Phil agreed to my suggestion without hesitation, and it made us a much better team. We wound up going 11-4, at one point winning eight straight, and made it to the league championship game. I don't mind saying that Phil "volunteered," because there was no coercion on my part. Persuasion, yes - but no coercion.
 
Actually, as things turned out, Phil caught 28 passes for us and did a great job of blocking, and he was named all-league tight end.  But just past the midway point of the season, Chuck Reilly was injured, and Phil wound up back at QB anyhow.  He threw 178 times (58 in one game against Chambersburg, Pennsylvania - a minor league record at the time, and still fifth-highest all-time), completing 89 for 1410 yards and 15 TDs. (My research shows that the league's leading receiver that year was a lightning-fast kid out of Wake Forest named Jack Dolbin, who would go on to a nice five-year career with the Denver Broncos.)
 
I mentioned the influence that Phil Petry had on my career. Phil's example is the reason why I have never bought into the concept of the lace-panties quarterback, who insists on playing quarterback or not at all. Phil was a football player and not just a quarterback, and he's why I have no respect for coaches who pamper their quarterbacks.
 
(Phil wrote) I thought the writing was very correct in every way. I was flattered by the things you said and I didn't know about the records against Chambersburg. And you are right I wanted to play football that year and I was intrigued about playing another position. You had me working out at halfback and I am truly glad you came up with the tight end. I made all league that year at TE. And led the league most of the year in catches. I had to train Chuck to read the backers the same as I did. He learned quickly and it was like shooting fish in a barrel. I remember we had a scrimmage in Chambersburg I think. And at the half Chuck had not thrown a pass to me and I asked him how many eligible receivers we had and he said 5 and I then asked him to name them. When he said TE I said really??? he got the message and started to use me. And the rest is history.

And then King Corcoran, a teammate (and backup) of Phil's at Maryland, died recently, and it was time for something to be done to correct the injustice Corcoran had perpetrated at Phil’s expense over the years.  For years, this was what you’d come up with when you googled Corcoran Staubach”:

James "King" Corcoran, a former University of Maryland and NFL football player made famous in the 1960s when he quarterbacked a Maryland victory over the Naval Academy squad led by future NFL great Roger Staubach.

Total fabrication. Almost certainly the work of Corcoran himself, a one-man PR firm with only one client.

Yes, Maryland did defeat Staubach-led Navy in 1964, 27-22. That's a matter of record.

But the hero for the Terps was a sophomore quarterback from Hagerstown, Maryland named Phil Petry. In front of a full house of 40,000 fans in College Park, Petry led Maryland to the win by running for one touchdown and throwing for two more.

Corcoran? He didn't even get into the game. In fact, for the entire season, he completed only 10 passes, none of them for touchdowns.

Years later, in 1971 and 1972, Phil Petry would play for me when I coached a minor-league team called the Hagerstown Bears. He was a tremendous athlete and still a fan favorite in his home town, where he'd been a high school All-American. By that time he was 6-2 and about 215, with hands so big that in practice he'd make one-handed catches - catching the ball by the nose. Didn't take a genius to project him as a tight end.

At last, thanks to Dan Daly in the Washington Times, the truth began to come out... (I helped the Times with the details, and promised I would not run the story first)...


Somewhere, King Corcoran is smiling - if not laughing hysterically. To his dying day, which came last month the age of 65, the much-mythologized Maryland quarterback had folks believing he led the Terps to a 27-22 victory over Navy and the great Roger Staubach in 1964.

Actually, the QB that day was Phil Petry, pride of Hagerstown, who accounted for all three of the offense's touchdowns by throwing for two and running for another. (The last six points came on a game-winning 101-yard kickoff return by Kenny Ambrusko.) As for King, there's no indication in any of the newspaper accounts that he even stepped on the field.

So how did one of the highlights of Petry's career turn into one of the highlights of Corcoran's - to the extent of being mentioned in King's obituaries (as well as on his Wikipedia page)?

"Well," Petry says, "knowing him, he probably waited 20 years and then started telling people he beat Roger Staubach. As time passed, people would forget the details of the game - or maybe they wouldn't be old enough to remember them... and - so he made himself the star, as he usually did in his stories. He had very high self-esteem, all these visions of grandeur."

It was a good game for Corcoran to make himself the star of. Staubach had won the Heisman Trophy the year before, when the Mids went to the Cotton Bowl and were ranked as high as second in the nation. What quarterback wouldn't want be able to say that, on a given Saturday, he outplayed the future Dallas Cowboys legend?

But just as it's forgotten that Petry, and not Corcoran, was Maryland's quarterback that afternoon, it's forgotten that Staubach hit 25 of 39 passes for 231 yards and two TDs against the Terps, breaking the school record for completions in a game - by six. (Petry, on the other hand, was a modest 6-for-9 for 81 yards.) Translation: Maryland might have gotten the "W," but nobody outperformed Roger.
"Corcoran Conquers Staubach" is typical of the tall tales spun by King - whose friends, it seems, were nice enough not to ask too many questions. He was, after all, such an engaging guy - and sure could tell a yarn.

Another of his fables involved his brief stint with the Philadelphia Eagles in the summer of 1971. According to his version, he was competing for a roster spot with King Hill - imagine two Kings in the same training camp - and one day Hill, the veteran, told Corcoran, the rookie, to pick up some balls on the practice field. Corcoran, nobody's slave, refused, then declared his intention to take Hill's job. A few days later, the Eagles cut the free-spirited rook (who went off to play for the Norfolk Neptunes).

It's a great story, you have to admit - especially the this-town-ain't-big-enough-for-two-Kings part. There's only one problem: Hill's last season in Philly was 1968. So whoever told Corcoran to pick up the balls - if, indeed, anybody did - it wasn't King Hill.

Corcoran was your basic Legend in His Own Mind. He was a hero in the bombs-away minor leagues - and even threw 31 touchdown passes one year to lead the World Football League (the XFL of the '70s) - but his sip of coffee with the Boston Patriots in 1968 produced nearly as many interceptions (two) as completions (three).

(Former Dolphins quarterback Don Strock, a Pottstown, Pa., native who saw King play for the local Firebirds, once summed him up thusly: "I learned by watching King Corcoran that you can't learn anything by watching King Corcoran.")

Phil Petry, by the way, went on to play some semipro ball himself for the Hagerstown Bears. He isn't bothered in the least, he claims, that Corcoran retroactively inserted himself into the 1964 Maryland-Navy game.

"It doesn't change my life one way or the other," he says. "But I'm grinnin' from ear to ear that all this is coming out now. Besides, my friends here still introduce me as the guy who beat Staubach when he was a senior.' "

(NOTE: Since his death, Corcoran’s wikipedia biography has been changed to reflect the truth about his nonexistent win over Staubach.  He never got into the game.  Phil Petry gets the win. HW)



*********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BOB MATHIAS—

KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MIKE FORISTIERE - MATTAWA, WASHINGTON (When I was a kid he came and spoke at our elementary school in Fresno. Big thing for me and it still is.)
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
DJ MILLAY - VANCOUVER, WASHINGTON
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
RODNEY LUNSFORD - DUBLIN, INDIANA
MIKE BURCHETT - WOODLAKE, CALIFORNIA
WILL STOUT - WASILLA, ALASKA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA

*********** A native of Tulare, California, in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley, Bob Mathias, who won two Olympic gold medals in the decathlon and played a major role on Stanford’s 1951 Rose Bowl team, has to be considered one of the greatest athletes of all time.

He was 17 and still in high school when he won the Olympic gold medal in the decathlon.

From the New York Times:

Three months before Mathias graduated, his coach, Virgil Jackson, suggested that he might be interested in competing in a decathlon meet in Los Angeles. As Mathias recalled for Olympic Review in 1975, he said: “That’s great, Coach, it sounds like fun. But just one question: What’s a decathlon?”

As Mathias told American Track and Field in 2004: “Coach probably taught me out of a manual. What he told me to do worked.”

After a year at Kiski  Prep school in Pennsylvania, he enrolled at Stanford.

There, he won four national collegiate decathlon championships; in dual meets, he often competed in as many as seven events.

In football, he played two years as a running back, and helped Stanford to its first Rose Bowl appearance in 11 years by returning a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown against USC. (It appears to be legend that the ball was kicked by Frank Gifford but I haven’t been able to confirm that.)

He was big (6-2, 190) and plenty fast, and evidently quite tough.  His teammate Bill McColl, a big two-way end who was a two-time All-American (and third in the Heisman voting in 1951) and had an eight-year  career with the Bears, recalled in Fred Merrick’s “Down on the Farm,” a history of Stanford football, “Mathias was one of the best third down men around. Harry Hugasian (another back) used to tell him it was third and five, and he’d get six yards…He was big and fast, could go around end, and also could get short yardage.”

That following summer, Bob Mathias became the first person to win two Olympic decathlon championships, as well as the first person to appear in the both Rose Bowl and the Olympic Games in the same year.

He was so popular that played himself in a movie about his life, “The Bob Mathias Story.”

(Interestingly, his high school coach was played by Ward Bond, who had played football at USC as a teammate of John Wayne, and would appear alongside Wayne in 23 films.  Bond would later gain fame as the star of the TV series Wagon Train.)

Later, he was a four-time Republican Congressman from the Fresno area, and after leaving office he was a consultant to the  President’s Council on Physical Fitness, and after serving as a fund-raiser for the US Olympic Committee,  he became the first director of the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/03/sports/othersports/03mathias.html



*********** Pretty easy one for me, since playing against Tulare teams on the field named after him in HS and later was an assistant coach at Tulare Western HS for four years: Bob Mathias.  

Congressman Mathias went to Tulare Union HS (formerly the Redskins, now the Tribe).  The football field all three high school use is Bob Mathias Stadium on Tulare Union's campus.  He’s still very much a valley legend.  I had a relative (I think a great-grandadughter, but it's been almost ten years so I don't recall) in one of my classes.

Thanks,

Michael Burchett
Woodlake, California

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

Any self-respecting sports-loving native of Central California (which I am one) would know who Bob Mathias was.

Mathias was the pride of Tulare (pronounced too-LAIR-ee), he was the ultimate ATHLETE.  At Tulare Union HS he became the best high school fullback in California (if not the entire West Coast); led the basketball team in scoring (18 points per game); and of course was a phenom in track and field for the Redskins (the mascot since has fallen victim to the PC crazies in CA and they are now called "The Tribe").  The stadium at the high school is named Bob Mathias Stadium.

The Central Valley has also produced some other great athletes:

Rafer Johnson - Track and Field/Basketball/Football - Kingsburg
Frank Gifford - Football - Bakersfield
Tom Seaver - Baseball - Fresno
Dutch Warmerdam - Track - Fresno
Frank Chance - Baseball - Fresno
Young Corbett III - Boxing - Fresno
Les Richter - Football - Fresno

There's a bunch of others, but these are the most notable, and hall of famers.

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** From Pete Porcelli - Watervliet, New York

Was he the guy who was a motivational speaker? who was the motivational speaker who did its easy to be great?

I don’t think he did motivational speaking but he would have been a good one!

My coach in high school was ahead of his time  it was Bob someone who did the motivational speaking former olympian

I’ll bet you’re thinking of Bob Richards - great pole vaulter.

*********** QUIZ - A native of San Francisco, he was an Olympic sprinter, winning medals in Helsinki in the 400 meters and as part of the 4 x 400 relay team.

As a college football player, he led the nation in rushing and touchdowns scored his senior year, and helped lead his team to a 9-0 record.

His team, still considered one of the greatest college football teams of all time, was not invited to a bowl game. Yes, there were far fewer bowl games then, and yes, his team did not have the kind of following that bowl games want, but almost certainly a major reason was the opposition of the major bowls - located in the South -  to inviting teams with black players. He was one of two black players on his team, and the rest of the players on the team made it clear that there was no way that they would play without their black teammates.

He was a first round draft choice in the NFL - the third pick overall - and was co-rookie of the year.

He played for four different teams over 15 seasons.

He was named first team All-Pro seven times, and was named to the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 1950s.

He was so highly thought of that he was once traded for NINE players.



american flag TUESDAY,  MAY 9,  2017  - “No war is over until the enemy says it's over. We may think it over, we may declare it over, but in fact, the enemy gets a vote.” Secretary of Defense James Mattis

*********** The argument over which is the best college team ever continues...

Let me enter my nomination:  Army, 1945.

That team had two Heisman Trophy winners - Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis - running the ball, and a Sullivan Award (given to the nation’s top  amateur athlete) winner - Arnold Tucker - at quarterback.

In nine games, they outscored opponents 412-46.

Yes, they did play a couple of softies, but they also beat six ranked teams - #3 Navy (32-13) , #6 Michigan (28-7) , #8 Penn (61-0), #9 Notre Dame (48-0), #13 Duke (48-13) and #19 Wake Forest (54-0) -

Overall, their opponents  had a winning percentage of .691.

Navy lost only to Army.   Duke lost only to Army and Navy.  Notre Dame tied Navy and lost only to Army and a powerful Great Lakes Naval Training Center Team coached by Paul Brown and loaded with college stars. Michigan finished second in the Big Nine (Michigan State, the tenth school to join the conference, had yet to be admitted).

(So impressed was Army coach Earl Blaik with Michigan's use of two separate units - one for offense and one for defense - that he adopted the system himself at West Point, where he gave the two units the military term "platoons.”)

Six members of that 1945 Army team were named first-team All-America: DeWitt “Tex” Coulter; John Green, Hank Goldberg, Al Nemetz - and Blanchard and Davis.

Blanchard swept the nation's individual honors, winning the Heisman and Walter Camp Trophies and the Maxwell Award. Davis would win the Heisman the next year.


*********** After listening to Hillary Clinton’s excuses for losing the election, I do believe the lady could learn a few things from football coaches.

Or from a certain Confederate general. 

I happened to come across this, in a review of Stephen W. Sears’ new book, “Lincoln’s Lieutenants:” 

Asked why the Confederates had lost the Battle of Gettysburg, Confederate Major General George Pickett said, ‘I always thought that the Yankees had something to do with it.’”


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

OK...what came first?  The Stacked "I" formation?  Or the "I" formation we all saw USC run for so many years.  Was it Tom Nugent who came up with the Stacked "I"?  Or, did John McKay take one of the backs out of it to make his tailbacks famous, and add a wide receiver threat?  Or is it all just semantics?

I had a lot of success running the Stacked "I" a number of times in my DW package while coaching at various schools.  It was one of only four formations I ran (Tight, Slot, Stack, and Spread).  We could run unbalanced from any of them.  Move a back with any of them.  Utilize motion (or not) with any of them.  Defenses had a heckuva time trying to figure us out.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Hi Joe-

I think Tom Nugent first came with the regular I, then the stacked I - which he called his “Shifty-I” because he shifted into a lot of different formations.

When I first began coaching in 1970 I tried to copy a lot of what  Hank Stram and the Chiefs were doing (they’d just won the Super Bowl) -  including shifting from the Stacked I.

I shifted out of it a lot over the years.

Stack (I got the stack Super Power from a coach named Jerry Pugh) is still a staple part of my Double Wing offense.



*********** STICK TO SPORTS?

ESPN last week laid off around 100 reporters and on-air personalities, and BTIG media analyst Rich Greenfield said the net's main challenge is that "subscribers are falling, eyeballs watching are falling, and they have way, way overspent on sports rights." He said, "They are scrambling to reduce costs. There is no other way to read it."

Conservative talk show host Steve Deace concurred, saying, "This is the evolution of how media has evolved." However, he added politics "certainly has played a role in how deep the cuts had to be."

Deace: "It has hastened their demise. When your business model is collapsing, the last thing you do is narrow your potential base."

BUZZFEED's Steven Perlberg wondered how ESPN became "such a flashpoint conservative meme."

Deace and Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak claim that they "trace the beginning conservatives’ criticism" of the net to its coverage of Michael Sam, who publicly came out as gay prior to the '14 NFL Draft. Deace said, "They drove this into the ground" (BUZZFEED.com, 5/2).

YOUGOV's Paul Hiebert cited data from the market research company that a quarter of all current ESPN customers are "considering cancelling their cable subscription at some point in the future." However, there also is "some truth to the idea that conservatives have grown cold" to the net. YouGov's numbers "show that ESPN impression scores among Republicans have dropped" by half in the last four years. Democrats have "kept a relatively stable view of the network during the same period."

This comes as Caitlyn Jenner in '15 was given the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the ESPY's, while ESPN fired MLB analyst Curt Schilling in part for "posting controversial content" on social media. In both cases, Republican sentiment toward ESPN "declined" (YOUGOV.com, 5/3).

In Chicago, Mike North writes the net hiring Ray Lewis in '13 was the "beginning of ESPN's negative ratings." The company will continue to lose subscribers "unless they start to give the flyover states some representation" (Chicago DAILY HERALD, 5/5).

http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Daily/Issues/2017/05/05/Media/ESPN.aspx


***********  I have a good understanding of how you block your reach play after watching the 2011 camp DVD and comparing it to the wristband play cards. Can you explain to me why you prefer to hand off instead of pitch the ball?

Do you consider that play in the superpower family or is it a stand alone play that has complement plays with it?

Obviously you can boot off of it. 47C could be married to it. Possibly 6 G-O. Would you consider 3 trap at 2 not in a series with 88 reach because of the severe change in the B  Back's path?

Coach,

I have from time to time let the runner go into slightly more motion (“Ripper”) and tossed the ball and it’s been okay, but I keep coming back to using the handoff.

The three main reasons for the handoff on the reach sweep-

1. Done with sudden, quick motion, it means that even after the ball is actually handed off, it can still look to the defense like any one of several plays.

2. It sets up the bootleg

3. It enables the “follow” - the QB sweep.  This is what the QB is instructed to do anyhow if he misses the handoff.

Reach isn’t a stand-alone play. I actually consider RIP 88 Reach to be the Godfather of the “RIP” family - Counter, G, Trap, Bootleg.  I want defenses to be conscious of the Reach play whenever they see motion.

The Trap, I should point out,  fits right into the family because when the ball’s snapped and the QB pivots as if to hand off on the reach sweep the defense momentarily loses sight of the B-Back.


*********** QUIZ:  A native of Lawrence, Massachusetts, Tom Nugent started out as a high school coach in Virginia after World War II, then got his first college head coaching job at VMI.  While there, he invented the I-formation.  The formation proved so successful that it  came to the attention of coaches at bigger programs, including Notre Dame’s Frank Leahy and USC’s John McKay, and today, in various forms,  it’s considered a staple of offensive football

From the VMI, he moved south to Florida State, which had only begun playing football six years earlier.  Not long before that, it had been a women’s college; now, it’s a national power.

At FSU, two of his best known players were Burt Reynolds, who scarcely played because he injured his knee, but would go on to become a famous actor, and Lee Corso, who served under him as a graduate assistant for one season, then as a full-time assistant for seven more seasons, and now, retired as a coach himself, enjoys great fame as a TV sports personality, especially on college football GameDay.

After six years at Florida State, he moved on to a Maryland.  I had the good fortune to be living in Baltimore at the time and to witness first-hand his football ingenuity, which included the “Typewriter huddle,” cross-country passes on kickoff returns, and increasing his kicker’s jersey number after every made extra point and field goal.  He also recruited Darryl Hill, the first black player to play major college football in the South.

Tom Nugent was never an assistant coach.  He was head coach at three different places, and left all of them with a winning record.  His overall record was 89-80-3.

http://www.nolefan.org/garnet/garnet09.html

http://www.footballfoundation.org/Biography.aspx?id=17456

http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1991-11-06/sports/1991310214_1_nugent-gator-bowl-penn-state

*********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING TOM NUGENT…

GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA - My college coach opened the door for Bobby Bowden at FSU by having 2 horrible seasons prior (that was Darrell Mudra - successful everyplace else he coached)
JOSH  MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
JERRY LOVELL - BELLEVUE, NEBRASKA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA


*********** Tom Nugent was almost the first to put players' names on jerseys...

From the Washington Post in 1961…

Nugent names on jerseys



*********** Then there was  “Chile Bean” - When Bernardo Branson, a Maryland soccer player from Chile, first showed off his place-kicking ability, Lee Corso, then a Maryland assistant, was impressed.  “When he booted it,” Corso said, “It looked as if he could drive it through a brick wall.”

The Maryland players liked him - called him “Chile Bean” - and the fans loved him.  Or at least they loved the number gimmick.

Tom Nugent excited Maryland fans by making Bramson his "human scoreboard" - adding to his jersey number every time he scored with a kick.

Against South Carolina in the second game of the experiment, he started out wearing 3 (earned the week before against Oklahoma) then changed it to 4 and then 5 with extra points,  then to eight with a field goal, and then, finally, 9.

By season’s end, his number was 44.

The folks back home in Chile were amazed to hear that he was playing American football. “He said, They could not believe a player could sit down on the bench during the whole game and just kick a couple of times and still be on the team.”


Bramson wearing zeroBramson wearing three

Above Left: Pre-season, Bernardo Bramson wears Number 0.  Holding for him is QB Phil Petry, who would later star for me in Hagerstown, Maryland.
Above Right: On the Maryland sidelines, Bramson’s number is changed to “3” after making a field goal in the opening game.


*********** Although there are numerous reasons for which Tom Nugent should be known around Maryland - including being the coach who integrated Maryland - and ACC - football,  there is definitely one reason that a lot of Terp fans aren’t aware of. 

From 1917 to 2014, Maryland beat Penn State only one time - and Tom Nugent was the coach who did it.

It was for good reason that the esteemed college football analyst, the late, great Beano Cook, once predicted on a pregame show that Penn State would beat Maryland that day.  “Why?” he asked, rhetorically. Then he answered his own question: “Because Penn State ALWAYS beats Maryland.”

In 1961, when a Nugent-coached Maryland team beat Penn State, 21-17, it was the Terps’ only win over the Nittany Lions in the 20th Century.  In fact, after that win, the Terps would lose 28 more times (with one tie in there), before finally winning again, 20-19, in 2014. 

*********** From Sports Illustrated, September 23, 1963…
Maryland Coach Tom Nugent, the most inventive mind and fastest mouth in football and a man totally unappreciated by Clemson's Howard, will have a team good enough to knock off either Clemson or Duke and interesting enough to watch if it never wins a game. Nugent now has a "shifty I offense" (Howard says that sounds like Nugent) in which the wingback will occasionally shift into the line to become a split end and the split end will drop off to become a wingback, the good of which only time and Tom Nugent will tell.

Maryland also has Darryl Hill, the first Negro ever to play in the ACC, ready to start at wingback. He is a 165-pound transfer from Navy, and he "moves," says Nugent. Even better are Dick Shiner at quarterback and Tailback Len Chiaverini, who led the ACC in rushing last year with 602 yards. Maryland's line will be smaller and faster than last year's and could be pushed around quite a bit. But Shiner's arm and Nugent's guile will take the Terrapins a long way.

https://www.si.com/vault/1963/09/23/616511/the-south#
“Unappreciated by Frank Howard?"

That's putting it mildly.

A brash, fast-talking Yankee who, though years removed from his native Massachusetts, still had a pronounced New England accent, Tom Nugent really got under the skin of Clemson’s crusty old Frank Howard.  Howard had been coach at Clemson for almost 20 years when Nugent arrived on the scene at Maryland, and the two were like oil and water. Howard was old school -he’d been a single wing coach up until the 1950s; Nugent represented everything new and shiny and modern.  And, of course, he was a Yankee, while Howard, a native Alabamian, exemplified every stereotype ever ascribed to rural southern whites. (What I’m politely trying to say is that in the absence of any evidence to the contrary,  my recollection of him is as, well, a redneck.)

Howard was opinionated and said whatever he damned pleased and didn’t care at all what people thought about it. Once, before a game with Georgia,  he referred to the Bulldogs as  “that team from the knucklehead league.”

He scoffed at Nugent’s many innovations, and before one Maryland-Clemson game, mocked Nugent’s use of “high school plays.”

Nugent’s response?  “Well, when you’re playing against a high school coach…”

(For the record, in his seven years at Maryland, Nugent was 5-2 against Ole Frank. Ironically, in 1965, Howard switched to the I formation.)

maryland press guide                                                       
*********** Years ago, when newspapers were far more important than they are now, colleges put out  Press Guides.

Now, they’re called Media Guides. In many cases, they don’t even bother to print them any more - they just put them online.

I have a collection of old ones that I accumulated years ago, rescued from the newspapers I was writing for before they could throw them out.

This is the cover of Maryland’s 1965 Press Guide.  The coach, of course, is Tom Nugent.  The player is Walt “Whitey” Marciniak, a 5-10, 220-pound fullback from Old Forge, Pennsylvania.  You may have heard of his daughter, Michelle.  She was USA Today, Naismith, Parade, Gatorade and Converse National High School Player of the Year at Allentown Central Catholic High, and as point guard at Tennessee she led the Vols to two SEC titles and a National Championship.

Uh, about Maryland's colors... they really are red and white, black and gold.  They are the colors of the Maryland flag, which represents the coats of arms of 
the Calverts and the Crosslands, the families of the parents of the founder of Maryland, George Calvert, Lord Baltimore.    I love the Maryland flag, and I wish that Underarmour (founded by a former Maryland football player named Kevin Plank) would come to its senses and realize it doesn't look good plastered  all over the Maryland football helmets.






Typewriter Huddle
*********** Tom Nugent’s “typewriter” huddle in its original form.  It was VERY radical.  At that time, EVERYBODY was in a closed huddle.  The only question was whether to make it circular or rectangular.


















Corso and Shiner

*********** Maryland quarterback Dick Shiner, who until 2014 was the only Maryland quarterback ever to beat Penn State, is shown in a 1963 photo with assistant coach Lee Corso.  Ironically, the two stars of the Maryland victory over Penn State were both Pennsylvanians, Shiner from Lebanon and receiver Gary Collins from Williamstown.  Shiner went on to a solid if not spectacular NFL career.  Collins starred in the Cleveland Browns’ last NFL championship game win (1964) and is one of the best players not to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Dick Shiner: http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/baltimore-sports-blog/bs-sp-catching-up-shiner-20131127-story.html

Gary Collins: http://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/2013/07/cleveland_browns_100_best_all-_50.html
 








*********** The best evidence that Tom Nugent invented the I Formation…

Allison Danzig, in his great  book, “The History of American Football,” quotes from a letter Tom Nugent wrote dated April 20, 1954:

“When we defeated Georgia Tech in 1950, it (the I formation) was carried in many of the Southern newspapers as an innovation in football.  There has been much publicity during the past  two or three years regarding Notre Dame’s use of the formation; and… in the Sporting News and in Frank Leahy’s syndicated column, full credit for the invention was given to me.

“Coach Bernie Crimmins, one of Leahy’s assistants, came to VMI and stayed with us while he studied the I, or true T, as is is known.  He returned to Notre Dame with our films and other material.  The following year Notre Dame made successful use of the I and it received considerable national publicity.”


*********** I can’t leave Tom Nugent without saying something about the intertwined stories of Darryl Hill and Jerry Fishman.

Forget “Brian’s Song.”  “Darryl and Jerry” would have made a much better story.

Hill was a a wide receiver, a slender, quiet, well-educated kid from a private school in Washington, DC.  Fishman was a big, hard-nosed kid from Norwalk, Connecticut, a 6-1, 230-pound linebacker with a mean streak.  But the two guys had something in common - fighting prejudice.  Daryll Hill was black, Jerry Fishman was Jewish. 

Recalled Fishman, ”He being the only black and me being the only Jew, we used to call ourselves 'The Onlys.’”  

Theirs was a symbiotic relationship: In return for Fishman looking out for Hill, Hill helped Fishman academically.

A nice article by Stan Goldberg, who as the sports editor of the Frederick (Maryland) News-Post, right out of the University Maryland, employed me during basketball season to help cover local high schools:

Stan Goldberg - Darryl Hill
https://www.fredericknewspost.com/archive/i-just-wanted-to-play-football-i-didnt-want-to/article_14f27f0c-ac6d-5f56-93e7-5bd3f334cc4d.html

Jerry Fishman didn’t mind egging on the opposition.  In fact, in Maryland’s 1964 win over Navy, he helped bring an end to the series between the two teams.  He twice gave the Brigade of Midshipmen the finger, the first time after they booed him for what they thought was a cheap shot in front of the Navy bench, and the second time - this time using both hands - after Ken Ambrusko’s 101-yard kick return sealed the Terps’ win.

Darryl Hill and Jerry Fishman
http://www.umterps.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=29700&ATCLID=207273098

More Jerry Fishman
http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2010-09-01/sports/bs-sp-cowherd-column-0902-20100831_1_darryl-hill-jerry-fishman-maryland-athletic-department/2

Fishman, quoted at the time of the renewal of the Maryland-Navy rivalry
http://www.gazette.net/stories/090105/carrcou162357_31893.shtml

“Black Man, White Field”  - A really nice video special on Daryll Hill and some of his experiences as the South’s first black player.  Of special interest is his recollection of an incident with him and Brian Piccolo.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POl-K_--kWY


*********** QUIZ:  A native of the San Joaquin Valley, he was 17 and still in high school when he won the Olympic gold medal in the decathlon.

After a year of prep school in Pennsylvania, he enrolled in college in California.

There, he won four national collegiate decathlon championships; in dual meets, he often competed in as many as seven events.

In football, he played two years as a running back, and helped his team to the Rose Bowl by returning a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown against USC.

The following summer, he became the first person to win two Olympic decathlon championships, and the first person to appear in the both Rose Bowl and the Olympic Games in the same year.

He starred in a movie about his life.

Later, he was a four-time United States congressman from California.



american flag FRIDAY,  MAY 5,  2017  - “When you’re young, you look at television and think, There’s a conspiracy. The networks have conspired to dumb us down. But when you get a little older, you realize that’s not true. The networks are in business to give people exactly what they want. That’s a far more depressing thought."   Steve Jobs

*********** Greg Koenig, of Cimarron, Kansas, sent me a link to Alumni Football’s Web site

Sounds like it is a very big deal.  I swear Greg said that in Kansas alone there are at least 30 games scheduled for this summer.

http://alumnifootballusa.com


*********** Regarding my serendipitous discovery of Weston, Missouri, Coach Mark Kaczmarek, of Davenport, Iowa wrote, “I see you've been following the "Blue Highways" that William Least Heat-Moon wrote about 30+ years ago...That is the sort of travel a native Cheese-head is used to...now in Iowa, that same joys of discovery occur on those types of travels.”

(It may have been that long ago - God help us all - but the “Blue Highways” he refers to is a great book about the author’s travels around the United States by leaving the main roads and traveling those “Blue Highways” - the backroads that when they do show up on maps are often just thin blue lines.)


*********** Classic CYA:

The U.S. State Department issued a travel alert for Europe on Monday, saying U.S. citizens should be aware of a continued threat of terrorist attacks throughout the continent.

Malls, government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, airports and other locations are all possible targets for attacks, the State Department's alert said.

Which, it seems to me, covers just about every square inch of Europe.

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN17X2CV

 
*********** I don’t normally print emails that coaches send me after clinics, but this one I had to print…

Thanks so very much for having (us) there to experience the Double Wing Offense.  The 5 coaches who were at Chappell’s for dinner on Saturday evening treated us like we had been with them for years. 

A lot of you guys understand the feeling I had when I read the email - It’s like getting a letter from a stranger complimenting you on the type of kids you have on your team.

I’m pleased and proud of the sort of brotherhood that we’ve been able to create over the years and it’s always gratifying when coaches new to our system experience it - and then become a part of it.

SEEN AT LAST WEEK'S CLINIC
COACHES KOENIG AND BENTONBRADFORD COACHES
(LEFT) Coaches Greg Koenig of Cimarron, Kansas and MIke Benton of Colfax, Illinois.  Coach Benton celebrated his birthday at the clinic.
(RIGHT) Coaches John Cruse and Dave McFeely of Bradford, Ohio and Kyle Ross, of Polo, Missouri

RIO  WI STAFFKNIGHT AND FERENTZ

(LEFT) Brady Brewer, Rodger Williams and Bryan Brewer, of Rio, Wisconsin; (RIGHT) Two great Iowa coaches - Brad Knight of Clarinda and Kirk Ferentz of Iowa City -  have their pictures taken together at Chappell's

chappells helmets





(LEFT) Some of the MANY helmets on the ceilings at Chappell's

*********** Chappell's is a must stop for coaches.  Most of the Omaha area has a helmet up....always fun to send your kids around to try and find helmets they recognize.

Jerry Lovell
Bellevue, Nebraska












*********** This might tell you something…

Dartmouth College, an elite Ivy League school in Hanover, New Hampshire, conducted a survey of students to determine their openness to having a roommate with opposing political views.

Among those who indentified as Republicans (there can’t have been that many at an Ivy League school), 69 per cent said they’d be open to the idea. 

Among the far more tolerant, far more inclusive, far more open-minded  Democrats, only 39 per cent said they would.


*********** Secretary of Defense James Mattis dashed the hopes of a handful of service academy athletes who harbored aspirations of playing professional sports after graduation when he announced in a memo that all graduates of service academies (and ROTC programs at other colleges) must first serve a minimum of two years of active duty before they may be permitted to consider offers from professional sports organizations.

This reverses a policy announced just a year ago by  Ashton Carter, perhaps the worst Secretary of Defense in our nation's history.

"The military academies and ROTC exist to develop future officers who enhance the readiness and lethality of our military services," he said.  "During their first two years following graduation, officers will serve as full-fledged military officers carrying out normal work and career expectations of an officer who has received the extraordinary benefits of an ROTC or military academy education at taxpayer expense.”

My take:

GEN Mattis is right. The argument has been advanced that it would be “good PR” for the academies to be represented in the NFL and other such leagues - that it would help recruitment. 

I call bulls— on that.

Yes, I suppose there is an outside chance that some service academy graduate running down under kickoffs or on an NFL team's practice squad (which is where most of these guys wind up) might actually help academy recruiting, but I doubt it. Besides, it's not as if the academies need any help in that area. More than 10,000 kids every year - highly qualified kids, I might add - compete for a little more than 1200 slots at each of our three defense-department service academies. (The Coast Guard Academy and the Merchant Marine Academy are not part of the Defense Department.)  The American taxpayers then spend close to $500,000 to train them as officers - not as professional athletes.

Every one of those slots is precious, and we shouldn't be filling them with people who aspire to be pro athletes.

It’s not good for the morale of the other cadets and midshipmen, who already think that athletes receive special breaks.

And it’s sure to bring into question by some the need for service academies in the first place. (Most people don't know this, but there is, and always has been, a powerful group of liberals who would love to shut the academies down or greatly reduce them in size, importance and influence.)

Some in favor of the "pro pass" are sure to bring up  Alejandro Villanueva, a West Point graduate who now starts on the offensive line for the Steelers.  Only one problem:  “Ali” definitely did not get a pass in order to play pro football.  He served in the US Army for four years, and during that time he saw more combat than many soldiers see in a 20-year career.

Something else that isn’t mentioned in these articles: they mainly talk about football players, but this being the 21st Century in which we’re forced to say, despite all evidence to the contrary,  that all sports are of equal importance, "PR" passes for "pro athletes" have gone to soccer players, minor league baseball players, and women in assorted sports.   Pardon my cynicism, but I rather doubt that a guy playing Class A baseball or MLS soccer is inspiring many youngsters to want to one day be  Army officers.  I mean, if the military is such an important career, why aren’t you out soldiering instead  of batting .243 here in River City?  (Unless, of course, the object is to recruit more people who’ll bail right after their graduation.)

https://www.google.com/amp/www.military.com/daily-news/2017/05/02/mattis-slams-door-on-military-academy-athletes-turning-pro.html%3Fvariant%3Dmobile.amp

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/what-service-academy-athletes-owe-us-before-they-go-pro/2016/06/02/98f2c1ec-283d-11e6-b989-4e5479715b54_story.html?tid=a_inl-amp&utm_term=.3509e0da3d05


***********  A great thing about putting on a clinic is the good questions that it produces afterwards.  One such question regarded a blocking rule.

Q. I see on the playcard for 66 SP the  playside linemen's rule is G-O-AL. Gap-On-? What does AL stand for? Attack Linebacker?

It means “Angle - Late.”  It’s a way to let him know that if there’s nobody in his inside gap, and nobody on him (or if he’s in doubt about whether a man is on him), he comes off at an angle - but not right away. He doesn’t fire out immediately and leave a gap in our front.  First he takes a jab step in place, and then comes off at an angle.   This is important -  he doesn’t fire straight out at a linebacker directly over him. He comes inside at a 45 degree angle, blocking anything in his path.

Q. So if the playside tackle gets an outside shade, like a 5 tech, is that considered On?

Most likely,  “Yes.”

For a tackle, a 5 tech (touching his outside half)  is as good as “ON” and he and the TE will be double-teaming that 5 (who, because of our tight splits, is also a 7 where the TE is concerned!)  If it’s a gray area,  if there’s any doubt on the tackle’s part,  we want him to hang around - to keep alive the possibility of a double team before leaving his post. (Therefore, when in doubt, we “Angle Late.”)  We have never been hurt by an uncovered tackle who’s slow off the ball.  We have, however, been hurt by a tackle who fires right out and leaves a gap in our front.

The graphic below shows what a right tackle would see as “GAP,” “ON” or “QUESTIONABLE.”  If it’s questionable, his orders are: “ANGLE LATE”


OL GOAL



*********** Listening to Hillary enumerate the reasons why she lost  reminded me of an old joke that made the rounds back when I was in marketing with a beer company.  

Seems a big dog food manufacturer decided to introduce a new dog food.

It had all the nutrients any dog could possibly need - good for teeth, coat, etc. - and it could  be sold at a lower price than its competitors and still be profitable.

The manufacturer’s  advertising agency put together a terrific marketing plan, from name, to logo, to package design, to advertising, to sales incentives, to store displays.

The sales force was called in for a big kickoff meeting, then sent out into the field to get the product into stores nationwide. Advertising commenced on radio and TV and in newspapers and magazines, and the product began to fly off the shelves. Stores called for immediate reorders, and the factory had to be put on a second shift just to keep up.

This went on for a couple more weeks until suddenly, the orders stopped coming in.

Alarmed, the head of the company sent his chief assistant out into the field to find out what was going on.

After a few days, having hear nothing, the boss telegraphed his assistant: “WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND OUT?”

The assistant’s reply was terse:

“THE GODDAMN DOGS DON’T LIKE IT.”


*********** From the National Football Foundation’s most recent newsletter:

Rogers Redding, the national coordinator of College Football Officiating, provides insights about rules changes and the mindset of college football referees. The CFO is the national professional organization for all football officials who work games at the collegiate level.

"Length of game" is a topic under active discussion among conference commissioners, athletics directors, television people and other stakeholders of college football. The NCAA football rules committee has also been looking at this, as game times have crept up over the last several years.

Since 2008, when games at the FBS level averaged three hours and nine minutes, game time on average in 2016 stretched to three hours and 22 minutes, an increase of 13 minutes. Of course, this is an average that washes out a lot of detail. But it is clear that with a growing number of teams running high-powered offenses that generate more plays and more touchdowns, the overall length of games has naturally gone up.

In discussing this trend, the rules committee has not settled on an optimum game length. But the general sense is that times as long as three and a half hours would not be good for the game. As the committee seeks ways to deal with this, we find very little support for making rules changes that would take plays out of the game. And so we look for ways to manage the length of the game by addressing how to manage the dead-ball times. Officials are charged with the responsibility of being efficient in handling dead-ball intervals and plays where the game clock stops, such as incomplete passes.

One point of emphasis for the officials this year will be to have better control of the length of halftime. By rule the halftime is 20 minutes, but there are often some delays in starting the countdown. Also, current rules allow the schools to mutually agree that the halftime will be longer than 20 minutes. One small but perhaps significant editorial change for 2017 is this: the teams will be allowed to agree on a shorter halftime, but they may not make it longer than 20 minutes. And the Referees are being instructed to start the 20-minute halftime countdown as soon as the first half ends, per the language of the rule. The hope is that these steps will halt the trend for longer game times.

*********** Back in the 1980s, when cable television was in its infancy, two things came on the scene that revolutionized sports reporting:  USA Today and ESPN.

The shame is how good they could have been.   Now, they’ve become irrelevant.

Both thought they were too big to fail - that they were so big and powerful they could do anything they wanted.

ESPN thought that it could keep forcing their $7 a month charge onto every basic cable subscriber, many of whom never watched sports.

Trying to keep up - er, down - with what it perceived as a changing demographic, the Worldwide Leader gave us Hip Hop sports coverage, female play-by-play, and a host of loathsome former athletes serving as analysts.

USA Today downsized, in actual size and in literary value. 

Both turned left politically and lectured us on the right way to think. (Gay athletes are to be admired.   “Caitlin” Jenner gets an ESPY.) 

I cancelled my subscription to USA Today almost five years ago and I’ve never missed it, and I can’t remember the last time I watched anything on ESPN other than football games and College Game Day.

http://theweek.com/articles/694772/how-espn-went-from-powerhouse-bloodbath
 
*********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BILL YEOMAN

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
RALPH BALDUCCI - PORTLAND, OREGON
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
DENNIS METZGER - RICHMOND, INDIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JERRY LOVELL - BELLEVUE, NEBRASKA
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA (when i first started coaching a lot of teams were running "the  veer"......the Wacker/Morton how-to book really gave me a chance to study it and learn about it......you had to learn the offense to try and defend it......it seemed like every clinic i went to i would listen to a "veer" coach to learn more about it)
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
KC SMITH - WALPOLE, MASSACHUSETTS
TRACY JACKSON - DALLAS, OREGON
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA


*********** Sent along by Ken Hampton, of Raleigh, North Carolina - a link to a great site managed by a West Point graduate named Phil Burns

Some great photos and stories about the 1948 Army team (and Captain Bill Yeoman) from the West Point yearbook, “The Howitzer.”

https://forwhattheygave.com/2013/05/02/1948-team/

1948 Army Team


QUIZ: Bill Yeoman played center and linebacker for Army in the years following World War II. In his three years at West Point, he snapped the ball to two Hall of Fame quarterbacks (both, coincidentally named Arnold) - Arnold Tucker and Arnold Galiffa - and he captained the 1948 Army team. 

After graduation he served as an officer in the US Army, attaining the rank of captain, but in the words of his Army coach, Earl “Red” Blaik, “he was bitten early by the football bug,” and in 1954 he resigned his commission and joined Duffy Daugherty’s first staff at Michigan State. The Spartans went 3-6 that season, but the next season they went 9-1, won the Rose Bowl game, and finished Number Two in the nation.  After eight seasons at Michigan State, during which the Spartans had only two losing seasons and four Top Ten finishes, Yeoman accepted a job at the University of Houston, which had only begun playing collegiate football 15 years earlier, in 1946.

There, he would rock the very foundations of football: he introduced a new, high-scoring triple option attack that revolutionized offensive football and came to be known as the Houston Veer; he recruited Warren McVea, the first black athlete to play football for a major college in the state of Texas;  and not only took the Cougars into the prestigious Southwest Conference, but won the conference championship - and beat Texas, 30-0 - in Houston’s first year of membership.

In his 33-year career, he assisted at just one school, Michigan State, and served as head coach at just one school, Houston.  In his 25 years as head coach, he built a relatively  unknown program, snubbed by the bigger, better-known programs in Texas, into a national power.  He produced 46 All-Americans and sent 69 players to the NFL. He retired following the 1986 season with an overall record of 160-108-8.

What kind of a team captain was he?  Coach Blaik in his memoirs, “You Have to Pay the Price,” recalled a game against Stanford:  “when one of our ends missed a tackle, to permit a Stanford back a 4-yard gain, our Captain Bill Yeoman advised that miscreant, ‘Let that happen again and you’re through!’”

An interview with Bill Yeoman
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyFHmpIuQfo

A great example of Bill Yeoman as a man of honor…
http://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/8053505/houston-cougars-bill-yeoman-written-late-adviser-policy

*********** Mrs. Yeoman’s obituary
http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/houstonchronicle/obituary.aspx?pid=173728185


*********** Several years ago, at the suggestion of my friend  Mike Lude, I spoke on the phone with a longtime coach named Clarence “Dan” Daniel,  who’d assisted Mike years before at Colorado State.  Dan proved to be a very interesting guy.  He’d coached in a lot of places and knew a lot of people and he told me that he was on hand the day the Houston Veer was “invented” in 1964.  He was on Bill Yeoman’s staff, and he said that they were getting ready to play Mississippi State (he was pretty sure that’s who it was).   The scout team was running the Mississippi State offense when a “State” halfback ran a simple dive and broke it straight up the field, untouched, for a touchdown.  Coach Yeoman happened to see this and immediately dashed over to see what had happened - where his defense had broken down.  What had happened, it turned out, was that the “Mississippi State” tackle on the playside had blown his assignment, releasing onto a linebacker while leaving unblocked the defensive lineman he should have blocked.  The dive had hit so fast that the unblocked Houston lineman had charged upfield, right past the running back, and with every Houston defender to the inside walled off by blockers, there was no one left to make the tackle.

Great story. 

In fairness, though, my training as a historian requires me to  note that in an interview years later, Coach Yeoman remembered the incident a bit differently.  They were playing Penn State, he recalled,  and they were having trouble blocking Penn State’s front when in frustration he told his tackle “as long as you’re not blocking anybody anyhow, you might just as well get out of the way” - and the rest is history.

Not to dispute either account - I’m sure both men told their versions numerous times over the years with complete confidence in their veracity - I think it’s fair to say that they’re in total agreement on one fact: the origin of the veer was pure serendipity - accidental discovery of something good.

Dan Daniel, incidentally, died with his boots on.  He passed away in June of 2015 at the age of 82,  looking forward to his fourth season as an assistant at Iowa Western Junior College.

*********** Could you imagine being at those first practices when they were figuring out the option?

John Bothe
Oregon, Illinois

Several years ago I spoke to a guy named Dan Daniel who had been a Yeoman assistant and claimed to have been there the day a guy on the scout team, running a simple split-T dive, broke a big one against the Houston starting defense, and Yeoman rushed over to find out what had gone wrong.  What he discovered led to the revolutionary idea of leaving two guys unblocked, and headaches galore for defensive coaches.

Hugh

PS - at Chappell’s in KC Saturday night, the owner, Jim Chappell, spoke very highly of your coach, Bob Reade, and pointed to an "Augies" helmet hanging from the ceiling right above our heads!

For a guy that would never hang out in a bar himself, Coach Reade was really good to the tavern owners.  He had a guy in the Quad Cities that donated a case of champagne to the graduating senior football players every year.  They just loved it when he stopped by to pick it up every year.

I remember him saying at a clinic that a really big motivating factor at Geneseo was for kids to be able to sit in the tavern one day and hold their heads high because their team had carried on the Geneseo tradition.



*********** QUIZ:  A native of Lawrence, Massachusetts, he started out as a high school coach in Virginia after World War II, then got his first college head coaching job at that state’s Military College.  While there, he invented a formation in which his three running backs were lined up in a straight line behind the quarterback.  The formation proved so successful that it  came to the attention of coaches at bigger programs, including Notre Dame’s Frank Leahy and USC’s John McKay, and today, in various forms,  it’s considered a staple of offensive football

From the military school, he moved south to a state college which had only begun playing football six years earlier.  Not long before that, it had been a women’s college; now, it’s a national power.

At that school, two of his best known players were one who scarcely played because he injured his knee, but would go on to become a famous actor, and another who served under him as a graduate assistant for one season, then as a full-time assistant for seven more seasons, and now, retired as a coach himself, enjoys great fame as a TV sports personality, especially on college football Saturday mornings. 

After six years at that second school, he moved on to an ACC school in the Washington, DC area.  I had the good fortune to be living in Baltimore at the time and witness first-hand his football ingenuity, which included the “Typewriter huddle,” cross-country passes on kickoff returns, and increasing his kicker’s jersey number after every made extra point and field goal.  He also recruited the first black player to play major college football in the South.

He was never an assistant coach.  He was head coach at three different places, and left all of them with a winning record.  His overall record was 89-80-3. 




american flag TUESDAY,  MAY 2,  2017  - “Hire paranoids. Even though they have a high false alarm rate, they discover all plots.”  Herman Kahn, noted intellectual

************  The Kansas City clinic was a great  event, with coaches from seven different states in attendance.  There were a couple of staffs there with - how do I say this? - “non-Wyatt” Double Wing backgrounds, and we did our best to translate, but there were also a number of guys who go back with me to the late 90’s or so: coaches such as Mike Benton, of Colfax, Illinois;  Mike Foristiere of Wahluke, Washington (formerly of Boise, Idaho); Brad Knight of Clarinda (formerly Galva-Holstein), Iowa; and Greg Koenig of Cimarron (formerly Beloit), Kansas.  Those guys have been running my stuff long enough and well enough that if I should ever lose my place at a clinic they could easily bail me out. 

Very close to them in experience and right up there in success with the Double Wing was Coach Todd Hollis, from Elmwood, Illinois, who brought along his right-hand man, Mike Walker. At Rio, Wisconsin, the Double Wing was introduced back in the late 1990s by a coach named Nick Crawford, but then he left, and in recent years hard times have hit.  Current coach Brian Brewer was sold on the Double Wing by Coach Crawford, and he was on hand with two young, eager assistants - his son, Brady Brewer, and Rodger Williams.  Coach Kyle Ross, from Polo, Missouri, has been running my system since 2010, and in seven years his worst season has been 6-5.  It’s been nearly 12 years since I met with Coach Greg Hale from Bradford, Ohio to install the Double Wing, and at some point he moved on. Now, he’s back, assisting.  He’s recovering from a medical setback at the moment, but new head coach Dave McFeely and assistant John Cruse, were back for a refresher course.  There was a lot of very interesting and informative give-and-take among the guys in attendance, and I think we all learned a bunch, myself included.  Sam Knopik, head coach at Kansas City’s Pembroke Hill School hosted a couple of my clinics a few years ago, and he was there with Mike Rutherford and Dean Brendel.  Sam started corresponding with me when I first went on the Internet and he was coaching football in Ukraine!

Dinner Friday night was at Tanner’s, in Platte City, Missouri.  For me the highlight was watching poor Brad Knight, the only Iowa Hawkeye in the room, having to deal with the crossfire from a trio of Badgers on one side and a Cornhusker on the other.

On Saturday night, several of us who hadn’t yet left for home met for dinner at Chappell’s, in North Kansas City.  Sam Knopik introduced me to it  few years ago.  I guess Chappell’s is considered a sports bar.  But it’s not a sports bar in the sense of a Buffalo Wild Wings - there are only three TVs in the place.   It’s actually a sports museum, but only if your idea of a museum includes good food and drink along with the exhibits.  As a museum, its collection of sports memorabilia, and pictures, pennants and football helmets (several hundred hang from the ceilings of its several rooms) makes it worthy of comparison to the Baseball or Pro Football Halls of Fame.

coaches at chappell's

The owner/host, Jim Chappell (it’s pronounced “Chapel,” he told us, not the fancier “shah-PELL”) seemed quite pleased to have a collection of football coaches on hand, and gave us the grand tour of the place.  He’s a native midwesterner, originally from Keokuk, Iowa, and he’s a wealth of sports information, especially as it pertains to Kansas City and the states surrounding it.

He let us behind the bar to take the picture above.  (Left to Right: Greg Koenig, Brad Knight, Hugh Wyatt, Todd Hollis, Mike Walker, Dave McFeely, Mike Foristiere, John Cruse and Jim Chappell.  Does it look like I'm covertly drawing a glass of Blue Moon?)

Jim invited us to add to his collection of helmets, informing us that 50 per cent of the coaches who told him they’d bring him a helmet actually did so, and said he wouldn’t want to have to classify us among the “other fifty per cent.”

There's so much to see and do around Kansas City - the World War I Museum and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum for sure - and so many good BBQ places - Arthur Bryant’s and Oklahoma Joe’s, that I know of - but I would put a visit to Chappell’s, at lunch or dinner time, near the top of my list.

*********** Having to kill an hour or so Sunday afternoon before turning in my rental car and heading for the airport, I drove around north of the KC airport.  Seeing a sign on I-29 advertising a “Weston Brewing Company,” I turned off at the Weston exit, figuring that if there was actually a brewery in town, it couldn’t be all bad.

Well.

The first things I noticed as I got a couple of miles off the freeway were large, grassy  estates, horse farms like the kind you’d see in the Northern Virginia hunt country.  One place must have had enough money invested in its white rail fencing alone to buy nice houses for a half a dozen or so of us poor football coaches.

mccormick's distilleryAnd then, coming over the crest of a hill where, I was forewarned, trucks might be entering the highway, I drove past a sign at the entrance to the McCormick Distillery.  One of those new distilleries that have spring up all over the place, I figured, but oh, no - below the name on the sign, it read “Superb Spirits Since 1856.”  WTF? That was before the Civil War began.  (Officially, anyhow, because the fighting over slavery had already broken out just across the river in "Bleeding Kansas.")

I drove on, and after passing the Entering  Weston sign I found myself driving through a neighborhood of nice houses on tree-shaded streets.  I came to the top of a hill where I was given no choice but to turn left, and when I did I found myself looking down a Main Street that took me back in time.  Yes, there were new cars and pickup trucks parked on both sides of the street, but the architecture on both sides was from a time long gone - even before the McCormick Distilling Company started making booze..

I had to pull off and do a little online research.  The distillery, I found, was established by a guy named Holladay, who started the Pony Express, whose easternmost terminus was just to the north, in St. Joseph, Missouri.  The distillery has changed names a few times, but it is the longest continuously operating distillery in the United States and it’s on the National Register of Historic Places.

The town itself (originally “West Town,” according to one account) was settled in the 1830s, and until the admission of Texas in 1845 it was  the westernmost settlement in the United States.  It was a busy steamboat port until 1881, when the fickle Missouri River flooded and shifted its channel a couple of miles away, leaving Weston suddenly landlocked and without its lifeblood.  (I can just see the whores and card sharps leaving town.)

WESTON MOWeston isn’t that far from Kansas City, and it’s obviously a popular day-trip destination.   It’s got quaint restaurants and taverns and plenty of antique stores, and a drive down its Main Street is an invitation to park the car and get out and walk around.

As for the Weston Brewing Company, I found myself pressed for time and never did find it.  I’m told that it dates back to the 1840s when a German immigrant, found the area ideal for the production of lager beer (what most of us now simply call beer), which requires long storage under cool conditions.  In those days long before artificial  refrigeration, the answer was to store the beer undergound, and the limestone in that area enabled him to dig caves large enough for those purposes.  The brewery was closed in 1919 by Prohibition, and it was only in 2005 that it came back into being.  It definitely does not sound like some back-of-of-a-tavern operation, with a couple of stainless steel tanks. Next time, I’ll visit it, especially the bar located underground in one of the old caverns.

There’s a lesson, here, of course - we all need to get our asses off the Interstate and do a little exploring.

*********** Some of the coaches at the clinic said that “alumni football” is catching fire in their areas, and one of them mentioned a school near him that reputedly had raised more than $40,000 promoting one such game.  The company that promoted the deal charges $150 per player and provides the uniforms and - presumably - the insurance, and  rents the  facilities. The two schools get all proceeds from presales, while the promoter keeps all gate sales.

Mock you may, but they’re playing football.

*********** One of the coaches at the Kansas City clinic, Mike Walker, said he’s been officiating spring semi-pro football in Central Illinois.  Eight-man semi-pro football.

A couple of the coaches there have had experience coaching nine-man football (basically, you drop two of the linemen - or, to put it another way, you line up like Georgia Tech and then tell the split ends to go sit down).  We all agreed that, since there’s only a one-man difference between eight- and nine-man anyhow, we’d all prefer to coach the nine-man game because for a coach it’s much, much closer to the 11-man game.

*********** The big donors at Duke are referred to as Iron Dukes.  The name pays tribute to the amazing 1938 Duke football team, which first earned that nickname.  Coached by the great Wallace Wade, who in 1931 had been lured away from Alabama by Duke (can you imagine Nick Saban leaving Alabama to coach at Duke?) Duke was undefeated  during the regular season. And not only undefeated, get this - unscored-on.  Chosen to play USC in the Rose Bowl, the Iron Dukes led, 3-0, until the final 40 seconds of the game, when USC broke through with a touchdown pass and defeated the Blue Devils.  It had to be devastating to those kids. It’s way too late now to find out, but I would love to know what that several-days-long train ride back to North Carolina was like.

DUKE 18  VPI (Virginia Tech) 0
DUKE 27 Davidson 0
DUKE 7 Colgate 0
DUKE 6 Georgia Tech 0
DUKE 7 Wake Forest 0
DUKE 14 North Carolina 0
DUKE 21 Syracuse 0
DUKE 7 NC State 0
DUKE 7 Pitt 0
USC 7 DUKE 3

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

I enjoyed the Single Wing article and the link to the Single Wing web site. One of the authors on the site coaches at Staunton River High School in Bedford, VA, about 20 miles from where I grew up in Lynchburg. They were an offensive machine this past season. The Single Wing has become popular in the central Virginia area. I know of at least three teams there that run the offense. Last fall I was able to watch a Single Wing team just north of Lynchburg, Amherst, play Jefferson Forest High School. I was intrigued by some of the formations they ran and struck by the similarity in blocking schemes with the DW/Open Wing. I'm sure there are many flavors of Single Wing, but this one had many similarities to what we do.

Jim Crawley
China Grove, North Carolina


*********** At Chino Hills (California) High, the basketball team is looking for a new coach.

The former coach, who couldn’t do any better than 30-3 this past season, was informed last week that he wouldn’t be coming back.

This means that the kids at Chino Hills will be getting their third coach in as many seasons.

None of this makes any sense until you learn that Chino Hills is the school of the Ball brothers - and Super Parent LaVar Ball.

Ball Senior originally supported  the most recent coach, but then, toward the end of the season openly criticized him in the sports media.

Note to anyone applying for the Chino Hills job.  There is some talent there.  The youngest Ball brother, LaMelo, has two years left. 

So, alas, does LaVar.   After LaMelo graduates, LaVar can move on to building the family brand or criticizing his sons' college coaches. Or both.

http://www.latimes.com/sports/highschool/varsity-times/la-sp-high-schools-sondheimer-20170430-story.html


*********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING RIP ENGLE-

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KC SMITH, WALPOLE, MASSACHUSETTS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
TOM DAVIS - SAN MARCOS, CALIFORNIA
MIKE CAHILL - GUILDERLAND, NEW YORK
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
WILL STOUT - WASILLA, ALASKA

*********** Rip Engle was born and raised in Elk Lick Township, a small town in Western Pennsylvania near the Maryland line.  He got his first job at the age of 14, driving mules in  coal mine.  He didn’t play high school football (he had been promoted to mine foreman) and when he entered college he played in the first football game he ever saw.

His first coaching job was in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, where he spent 11 years as the high school head coach.

His first college head coaching job was at  Brown, an Ivy League school, and after going 7-2 and 8-1 in his final two years there, he was hired by Penn State in 1950.  He brought along his former quarterback, a kid from Brooklyn named Joe Paterno, to help teach his system, and Paterno decided he liked coaching so much that he passed up a chance to go to law school and instead remained as an assistant coach.

When Rip Engle retired after 16 years,  he’d compiled a 104-48-4 record.  He never had a losing season at Penn State.  His only non-winning season was his last, when the Lions finished 5-5.

On his recommendation, his successor was Joe Paterno, the Ivy League quarterback who’d come with him 16 years earlier to help out on a temporary basis.

Paterno would take the Penn State program to the very heights of college football, winning 409 games in his 46 years there.
But Rip Engle built the  foundation.

(On a side note - it was Rip Engle who unconsciously set the Penn State style by insisting that there be nothing gaudy or fancy about Penn State's uniforms.  He was not one to boast or show off. As he once told Paterno when refusing his request to tart up the uniforms: "How will it look when we lose?")


http://bleacherreport.com/articles/145519-a-salue-to-rip-engle

QUIZ: He played center and linebacker for Army in the years following World War II. In his three years at West Point, he snapped the ball to two Hall of Fame quarterbacks (both, coincidentally named Arnold) - Arnold Tucker and Arnold Galiffa - and he captained the 1948 Army team. 

After graduation he served as an officer in the US Army, attaining the rank of captain, but in the words of his Army coach, Earl “Red” Blaik, “he was bitten early by the football bug,” and in 1954 he resigned his commission and joined Duffy Daugherty’s first staff at Michigan State. The Spartans went 3-6 that season, but the next season they went 9-1, won the Rose Bowl game, and finished Number Two in the nation.  After eight seasons at Michigan State, during which the Spartans had only two losing seasons and four Top Ten finishes, he accepted a job at a Texas school that had only begun playing collegiate football 15 years earlier, in 1946.

There, he would rock the very foundations of football: he  introduced a new, high-scoring option attack that revolutionized offensive football, recruited the first black athlete to play football for a major college in the state of Texas, and not only took his team into the prestigious Southwest Conference, but won that conference's championship in its first year of membership.

In his 33-year career, he assisted at just one school, Michigan State, and served as head coach at just one school.  In his 25 years as head coach, he built a relatively  unknown program, snubbed by the bigger, better-known programs in Texas, into a national power.  He produced 46 All-Americans and sent 69 players to the NFL. He retired following the 1986 season with an overall record of 160-108-8.


american flag FRIDAY,  APRIL 28,  2017  - “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” Michelangelo

Our dog’s recent surgery - operations on both knees - has forced a change in my plans.

This coming weekend I’m headed to Kansas City, and I have to leave my wife at home to handle the care and the rehab.

That won’t work for the Raleigh clinic, though, because she has plans that she can’t change.  That means that I’m going to have to be around to handle the care, and that means having to cancel - or at least postpone - the clinic.

It disappoints me because I was looking forward to seeing some old friends for the first time in a couple of years, and in working with old friend Dave Potter - not to mention seeing our daughter and son-in-law.

I’ve already been in touch with those guys who’ve sent in their registrations telling them “the check’s in the mail,”  but just in case your check IS in the mail right now, I’ll be mailing you a refund.

*********** The NFL’s holding its draft outdoors - in front of the steps leading to the Art Museum - the steps up which the fictional Rocky ran in training for a fight.

It figures that a phony organization like the NFL would capitalize on a phony story - a feel-good movie about a nonexistent hero.

Actually, as arrogant as they are, I fully expected them to insist on holding the draft in our nation’s birthplace - Independence Hall -  with the Liberty Bell gonging in the background to signify when a team goes on the clock.

And High Commissioner Goodell, dressed like Benjamin Franklin, spectacles and all.

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

ESPN is moving that bowl game from a baseball stadium to a soccer stadium.  Same place the FCS Championship game has been played the last few years.  Nice venue, but it's still a soccer stadium.

That's CHUCK BEDNARIK in your quiz.  Frank Gifford knew who CHUCK BEDNARIK was.  Old Chuck tackled Gifford so hard (I believe it was in a Championship game) that Bednarik knocked Gifford out cold.  The collision literally knocked Gifford off his feet!  Some called it a cheap shot, but watching the old film of it, and knowing that a "clothesline" tackle was legal back in those days,  Not the way we teach it today, but WOW, Gifford had to be asking for the license plate of the truck that hit him.

Speaking of North Catholic and what Coach Raves did for them, have you heard about what's going on with the head coach of DeSoto HS in the Dallas area?  Check it out:

 http://footballscoop.com/news/state-champion-high-school-coach-verge-losing-job-due-school-board-politics/ 

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

The story could turn out to be very sick.  A very successful coach in a football-crazy town in Texas is fighting to keep his job.  He’s white, the town is majority black.  But get this - the opposition to him does not appear to be coming from the players or their parents.  In fact, it appears that it may be white-inspired.  This is crazy.


*********** I was speaking with Mike Lude on Tuesday.  Mike is 94 years old, but in terms of his physical condition and mental acuity he’s the equal of a man 25 years younger. 

He lives in Tucson, and he’s rehabbing from knee replacement surgery and he says the doctor - the team ortho guy from the U of Arizona - considers him his poster child for recovery and rehab.

Mike said he knew he was in trouble when his knee kept him from going out on his morning four-mile walks, but now he’s only about six weeks away (“once all the kinks are out,” according to his doctor) from resuming normal walking.

Every talk with Mike is a guided tour for me, back into the days of football before and after World War II, and this time was no exception.  For some reason, the name of Nick Skorich came up.  Nick Skorich played with the Steelers, from 1946 to 1948.  He was a 5-9, 200-pound guard in the days when the Steelers were still playing single-wing football - in the NFL.  And then he retired from playing and took a high school coaching job at Pittsburgh Central Catholic.

That’s when Mike met him.  They were both at Michigan State,  the summer before Skorich took over at Central Catholic.  Mike was coaching the line at Delaware under Dave Nelson, but because in those days college coaches had only nine month contracts, he had the summer off and was was taking classes to finish up his master’s.  Scorich, finding himself having to teach in a high school, was doing the same thing.

Mike said they hit it off and became great friends, and for the next four years, until Scorich left Central Catholic to become a Steelers’ assistant, Mike said Delaware got “lots of players from there.”

Scorch moved from the Steelers to the Packers, but after one year in Green Bay he joined Buck Shaw’s staff in Philadelphia, and when Shaw retired after the 1960 championship season, he became the Eagles’ head coach.

HIs first year, with former backup QB Sonny Jurgenson taking over,  he was quite successful, going 10-4 and winning the long-gone “Runner-up Bowl.”

But in his second year, the Eagles went 3-10-1, and worst of all from the standpoint of Philly fans, they were thumped, 49-0 at home by the Packers - the same team they’d beaten two years earlier to win the NFL championship.

When the team went 2-10-2 in his third year, he was gone.

He was hired by Blanton Collier in Cleveland in 1964 - the year the Browns upset the Colts (Baltimore) to win the NFL title, and after the 1970 season, when Collier retired, he succeeded him as head coach.

Under him, the Browns went 9-5, 10-4 and 7-5-2, but when they finished 4-10 in 1974 he was fired again.

Until his retirement, he served as NFL Supervisor of Officials.

http://nickskorich.com/biography.shtml

*********** To the degree that they have facilitated a massive transfer of wealth from non-native gamblers to tribes in need of revenues, Indian casinos have been a great success.

But as to whether they’ve done anything at all to advance the public’s awareness and appreciation  of American Indians’ history and culture, I submit this quote by a 69-year-old Battle Ground, Washington woman, interviewed on opening day of the Cowlitz tribe’s massive new casino in LaCenter, Washington, just north of Portland:

“I’m excited to be here to celebrate the Native American culture.”

*********** A lot of games here in the Northwest - especially in this, the rainiest winter/spring in anyone’s memory - are postponed because of weather.  But the skies were clear Tuesday when the Columbia River High girls’ golf team had to cancel its match.  Seems they got stuck in traffic.  The Grand Opening of the new Cowlitz Indian casino caused traffic on northbound Interstate 5 to come to a standstill for hours, and when it was apparent that they weren’t going to get to the course on time - there being no alternate routes - they managed to turn around and head home.

*********** Jim Otto and his number (00) reminded me of a guy who played for us in Philadelphia named Benny “Jabo” Johnson.

Benny was “sold” to us by his agent, a guy  named Ed Gottlieb.  Not to be confused with Eddie Gottlieb, the basketball Hall of Famer, this guy insisted on being called “Judge” Gottlieb (because, I suppose, he had been a judge somewhere).

If there’s one thing that the World Football League can be said to be famous for, it’s the fact that it really gave rise to the agent.  Seemingly out of the woodwork came guys astute enough to realize that there was money to be had peddling players to teams that knew absolutely nothing about their clients, and on a larger scale, playing one league against another.

Ed Gottleib was an agent, and to hear him tell it, a damned good one.  He would rattle off names of his clients, names I’d never heard before, in the manner of someone who mentions something obscure and possibly spurious but knows that you won’t challenge him for fear of seeming ignorant.

He negotiated hard on behalf of Benny Johnson.  Benny had played a few years with the Oilers. Benny would consider coming to Philadelphia, but on one condition: he had to have one of two numbers - either 33, because that was the age of Christ when he was crucified, or 0 (zero) because that symbolized universality, or infinity, or the world being round, or somesuch nonsense.  I was only interested in getting him signed without giving away everything we had (which wasn’t much), and since Cecil Bowens (a very promising running back from Kentucky) had already insisted on 33, Benny had to be happy with 0.

Benny was a decent football player - although not as good as Gottlieb had made him out to be - and pretty nice guy.

I vividly remember him in the locker room in the Astrodome in August, 1974.

After opening the season with a 33-8 win over the Portland Storm in front of a huge home crowd (that’s  a story for another time), just seven days later we were beaten by the Houston Texans.

It was a really poor performance, and worst of all from the standpoint of our coach’s ego - which could barely squeeze into the Astrodome - we were shutout.  11-0.  Ugh.   What made things worse was that evidently it was the first time in our coach's career,  (he'd spent a half season or so as head coach of the Chargers and several years in the minor leagues before that ), that he'd ever been shut out.

Well, the coach, Ron Waller, as vulgar a man as ever stepped on a football field, really lit into the team.  I don’t remember exactly what he said -  smart phones were far in the future - but I do remember exactly what Benny Johnson said.

I was standing next to him, and, looking straight ahead, he said, “Man, we didn’t TRY to lose!”

*********** Clipboard Nation may be worth a look.  Can’t tell at a quick glance whether it’s going to cost money, but since they ran an ad in the AFCA Newsletter, I have my suspicions.  Take a  look and let me know what you think.

https://www.clipboardnation.com/?utm_source=AFCA%20Weekly&utm_campaign=b9571e6d64-AFCA_Weekly_042517&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_343e846137-b9571e6d64-147880073

*********** Humor - and wisdom - from the Internet…

It's time for a clear, serious grammar lesson… 

In a recent linguistic competition held in London and attended by, supposedly, the best in the world, Samdar Balgobin was the clear winner with a standing ovation which lasted  over 5 minutes. 

The final question was:  How do you explain the difference between COMPLETE and FINISHED in a way that is easy to understand?

Some people say there is no difference between COMPLETE   and FINISHED.
 
Here was his astute answer:

When you marry the right woman, you are COMPLETE.

When you marry the wrong woman, you are FINISHED.

And when the right one catches you with the wrong one, you are…………

COMPLETELY FINISHED!!!

He won a trip around the world and a case of 25 year old Scotch.

***********  I just remember seeing that old NFL Films "Crunch Course" (still have that on VHS somewhere) where they show that hit over and over.  And Gifford talks about how it was a clean it, because if it wasn't he probably wouldn't be there to talk about it.  No QB's looking for flags in those days.

That's the same film where Deacon Jones talks about hitting guys with this gleam in his eye that makes you wonder if it weren't for football that he would have done something really bad to some poor fool.

And Dick Butkus talks about his favorite film scene being the head rolling down the stairs in "Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte."

And, I wish I remembered who, one old-timer talked about the men of the 101st Airborne being brave, but being on kickoff team may be a bit like that.  

Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois

Kickoffs sure have changed, now that they limit “wedges” to two men!


*********** QUIZ - As they walk off Franklin Field, Philadelphia Eagle Chuck Bednarik is the player in the middle is consoling Paul Horning (5) and Jim Taylor (31),  two members of the losing Packers following the 1960 NFL championship game.  He doesn’t look that tired, but he should - he just finished playing the entire game on both sides of the ball - center on offense and linebacker on defense.  At the age of 35.

The son of Slovakian immigrants, he grew up in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania speaking Slovak as his first language.  At 17, right out of high school, with World War II going on, he joined the Army Air Corps.  In all, during the war, he flew 30 combat missions over Germany.

Following the war he played college football as a single wing center and linebacker under famed coach George Munger, and was a three-time All-American.

Although not a back, he finished third in the Heisman voting following his senior season.

He played his entire NFL career for one team; they won the NFL title his first season with them, and he was still playing when they finally won again, 11 years later.

He was 10 times named All-Pro.

He is a member of both the College and the Pro Football Halls of Fame - he made it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility - and in 1969, long after his playing days were over, he was voted “Greatest Center of All Time.”

He took great pride in being the last of the true, old-school two-way players, and in his later years he publicly scoffed at the very idea that Deion Sanders, a notorious non-tackler, could double as a wide receiver and be seriously considered a two-way player.

Bednarik centering

Bednarik over Gifford























KC Smith sent along the photo at right, one of the most famous in NFL history, and wrote,  “Iggles stadium.."The Linc" has a 30 foot copy of that picture in the upper concourse area.  While I don't believe Chuck was a hatchet man, I don't think he minded people thinking he was capable of being one.”

I wrote: It’s somewhat unfortunate, because it’s a frozen moment,  just one nanosecond of action,  and it has forever portrayed Bednarik in the minds of many as a hatchet man.  He didn’t actually stand over the downed Frank Gifford for several seconds.

However, I’m with Coach Smith - He did take great pride in being a hard guy. I just don’t think he would have appreciated being considered a dirty player.  He was tough enough playing it straight.

On the left, he's shown as a center at Penn. My high school coach, Ed Lawless, played with him there. Ed was right out of high school, and Bednarik was right out of World War II.  Ed said that nobody screwed with Chuck.  Said he was like a caged lion in the locker room before games.  And he said that he had to be watched closely in scrimmages because he’d take  shots at anybody;  more than once one of the coaches, a gentlemanly sort, would have to say, “Now, Charles, you have to remember, these are your teammates.”


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING CHUCK BEDNARIK:
Josh Montgomery - Berwick, Louisiana
Ken Hampton - Raleigh, North Carolina - #5 is Paul Hornung and #31 is Jim Taylor just beaten by the Eagles in 1960 NFL Championship game.  They were both 25 years old and Chuck Bednarik was 35 years old.
Shep Clarke - Puyallup, Washington
Greg Koenig - Cimarron, Kansas - .What a football player! And what a nickname: Concrete Charlie! (A fitting nickname - even though it came from his off-season job with a concrete company!)
Dennis Metzger - Richmond, Indiana - The picture is from the only championship game that Vince Lombardi’s Packers lost.  #5 is Paul Hornung and #31 is Jim Taylor, who along with Bart Starr may have been as good a backfield that played together in that era.  And all three of them are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Adam Wesoloski - Pulaski, Wisconsin
John Vermillion - St. Petersburg, Florida
Mark Kaczmarek - Davenport, Iowa - That championship game was the 1st football game that I really was fully & completely aware of as I watched the Pack with my family in Hillsboro, WI
Mike Yanke - Cokato, Minnesota - SI did an excellent article on Bednarik a few years ago. In that article he was quoted about playing the game of his life at age 35, while NVB received the MVP award (a new car) for 9 of 23 passing.  Thanks for doing these heritage pieces.
John Bothe - Oregon, Illinois
Todd Hollis - Elmwood, Illinois
DJ Millay - Vancouver, Washington - played for the Eagles and was a waist gunner on a B-24. He was in one of the (many) books I read about WWII in high school.
Jerry Lovell - Bellevue, Nebraska
Pete Porcelli - Watervliet, New York
Joe Gutilla - Austin, Texas
Kevin McCullough - Lakeville, Indiana - three Hall of Famers
Will Stout - Wasilla, Alaska
KC Smith - Walpole, Massachusetts
Sam Knopik - Kansas City, Missouri

*********** QUIZ - He was born in a small town in Pennsylvania and got his first job at the age of 14 driving mules in  coal mine.  He didn’t play high school football (he was working) and when he entered college he played in the first football game he ever saw.

His first coaching job was in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, where he spent 11 years as high school head coach

His first college head coaching job was at an Ivy League school, and after going 7-2 and 8-1 in his final two years there, he was hired by a large state school in 1950.  He brought his former quarterback along with him to help teach his system, and the quarterback decided he liked coaching so much that he passed up a chance to go to law school and instead remained as an assistant coach.

When he retired after 16 years,  he’d compiled a 104-48-4 record.  He never had a losing season there.  His only non-winning season was his last, when his team finished 5-5.

His successor? It was that same Ivy League quarterback who’d come with him 16 years earlier to help out, and had remained on his staff the entire time.

Building on the solid foundation that was already built, that successor would take the program to the very heights of college football, winning 409 games in his 46 years there.


american flag TUESDAY,  APRIL 25,  2017  - "I don’t care what's written about me so long as it isn’t true."  Dorothy Parker


*********** Recently, I gave a fellow named Jerry Haymore  permission to reprint an article of mine on his new Web site. The Web site, “Fear the Wing,” is dedicated to advancement of the single wing in its many forms, and it looks very promising.   I highly recommend a look.

http://www.fearthewing.com

My article, about TCU great Dutch Meyer and his then-revolutionary Spread Formation (developed in the 1930s to take advantage of the great arm of a guy named Sammy Baugh)…

http://www.fearthewing.com/dutch-meyer-tcu-spread/

*********** (On the subject of Dan Rooney)

Coach,

My wife went to North Catholic.  Actually went to homecoming with Dan Rooney's grandson.  She remembers him (the grandson) was a very nice guy who did not have any of the issues that could go along with being from such a wealthy family.  Everything I've hear about the Rooney's leads me to believe that they have stayed pretty well grounded in who they are/were.  What an interesting story about how he "won" the Steelers!  Talk about "found money."

A little on North Catholic.  When Anne was in school the soccer team outscored the football team FOR THE SEASON.  Central Catholic was the powerhouse (Dan Marino is an alum).  

Anyway, the Trojans were a perennial bottom feeder.  Until just a few years ago.  Pittsburgh judge Bob Ravenstahl took over as the football coach.  His d-coordinator was the father of my wife's best friend, so I've heard all of the stories about the team first hand.  Anyway, Coach "Rave" turned that thing around (74-30 in nine seasons).  He even took them to their first state championship!  (both WPIAL and PIAA - so he won at Heinz Field and at Hersey!).  This was 2013.  

But, North Catholic was building a new school in the "North Hills" and the clientele was going decidedly up-scale.  The school (donors) wanted a splash, so Coach Rave was out before the 2014 season, coming off a state championship, and in was a former Steeler, a "name" guy, Jason Gildon.  North Catholic would be moving up in classification and needed a guy who could coach "with the big boys."  After all, that team would have Gildon's two sons, Mike Tomlin's son, Joey Porter's son.  Well, on December 8, 2016, Jason Gildon's contract was not renewed.  Now, his record was good (17-6), so there's something more to it (unless the semifinals are no longer good enough for North Catholic).  The whole thing is such a contrast to the Rooney's and the way they run the Steelers.  

I sat with Coach Ravenstahl at his daughter's wedding this past New Year's Eve.  He's coached for a long, long time.  And he's been to the top.  This past year he took over, "un-retired" (he was given the option of retiring or firing at North Catholic), at Vincentian Academy, a team that had gone 3-15 in its first two years as a varsity program.  So, he was starting at the bottom again.  He said things were tough.  The best player was the worst teammate and numbers were paper thin.  Coach Rave played the kid, and if he could go back he'd do it all differently, sit the kid, take his lumps, and the losses (which came anyway).  It was very interesting that I found myself looking at the championship ring on this man's finger while listening to him talk about the things he didn't do correctly or needed to do better in the future.  I don't know if he will get it turned around at Vinentian, but they are better for having him.  And as for North Catholic...I wonder if they've seen the peak and are starting a tumble down the other side.  I suspect they need to take a little look at the namesake on that stadium and figure out how things are supposed to be done.  

Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois

North Catholic brings back memories… The Yale Captain my sophomore year was a guy named Jack Embersits.  He was a 175-pound guard/nose guard (two ways) who was - still is - the hardest hitter I’ve ever seen.  I spent my entire season on the scout team offense getting drilled by him.  He was a Pittsburgh kid, from North Catholic, and the story at the time was that when he went to Yale on his recruiting visit he said, “You mean we get to play on grass?”  That story was given credence by one of my roommates, a guy from a section of Pittsburgh called East Liberty, and subsequently by old films of John Unitas’ playing on bare fields.

*********** Is it my imagination or are the crowds at the spring games down somewhat?

I didn’t see Alabama’s crowd, but LSU wasn’t even half full.  Penn State had a decent crowd, but if that had been a regular-season crowd, the people in the athletic department would have panicked.

LSU, considering that this was the Tigers’ first spring with a new OC, was doing an awful lot of complex-looking  formation stuff - shifting and motions.  They didn’t sit still very often.

As a matter of fact, a couple of times they lined up in what we’d call “WEST” or “EAST” formation.  And then proceeded to send a man in motion.

*********** ESPN has acquired the Miami Beach Bowl and plans to move it to Frisco, Texas.

Good riddance, I say, to any game played in a baseball stadium, as this one was.

Needless to say, it will undergo a name change.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/miamiherald.relaymedia.com/amp/sports/college/football/article146073334.html

*********** Ralph Russo of the Associated Press list the Power 5 teams with the toughest non-conference schedules:

The teams, and the games that put them on the list:

Oregon: Nebraska, at Wyoming (what genius came up with the idea of scheduling an away game at 6,000 feet?)

Florida: Michigan (at the Jerry Dome), Florida State

Florida State: Alabama (in Atlanta), at Florida

South Carolina: NC State (at Charlotte); Clemson

Pitt: at Penn State; Oklahoma State

USC:  Western Michigan; Texas; at Notre Dame

Georgia: Appalachian State; at Notre Dame; Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech: Tennessee; at UCF; Georgia

How about on the other end - the non-Power 5 conference teams who have to schedule up?

Western Michigan? The Broncos open at USC, then visit Michigan State the next weekend.

Fresno State? The Bulldogs open at home against FCS Incarnate Word, then travel to Alabama; the following week, they’re at Washington.

*********** I was wondering if anyone was going to catch, and make mention of, the Hillary "anal" remark!

How appropriate was that?!  I almost fell out of my seat when that happened! There was not even a flinch, on the set, from anyone there!

Could it be that they all, subliminally, agreed with it!?

J.C. Brink
Stuart, Florida

*********** A guy wrote in to our local paper, upset that for the seventh straight summer there’ll be no AAA baseball in Portland.  The main reason is that the rich Easterner who owns the local MLS soccer team got exclusive rights to the baseball stadium and converted it (at whose expense, I don’t know) to a soccer-style stadium.  With no place to play, the baseball team, the Beavers, moved to Tucson.

In a sense, evicting baseball to make room for soccer is a metaphor for what’s happened to Portland, and to America in general:  soccer has become the normal sport to play.  Little kids start playing soccer when they’re still in diapers,  and never get around to playing baseball.  Before you know it, little Tanner has turned seven and he’s been “selected” to play on an elite travel team and - presto! - one more degrading step toward the Europeanization of America.

The guy who wrote the letter said it’s his hope that one day the Portland Timbers, who play “a so-called sport where most of the time nobody wins”  will move to Europe (“where they belong”) and baseball will return to Portland.

*********** Steve Kerr, coach of the Warriors, made the trip to Portland this past weekend for his team’s playoff game against the Trail Blazers - and then had to stay in his hotel room and miss Saturday night’s game, suffering from headaches, nausea and neck pain.

He’s had two two back operations since the Warriors’ NBA title win in 2015, and things haven’t gone well.  He missed 43 games last season.

He told reporters, “I can tell you if you’re listening out there - if you have a back problem, stay away from surgery.  I can say that from the bottom of my heart - rehab, rehab, rehab.  Don’t let anybody get in there.”

*********** A coaching friend wrote: Saw an interesting bit on a news program this morning.  Rogers has a new "automated" tackling dummy.  They demonstrated it on the news program, and had a video of it.  The guest speaker was Buddy Teevens, head coach at Dartmouth.  His program uses "them" extensively.  Since incorporating the dummies into his practices his defensive players apparently have not had the need to practice "live" tackling for the last couple of years.  Not sure how good Dartmouth's defense has been lately but Teevens did say the device has cut back injuries by 80% since he started using it. They are controlled by a remote (kinda like Madden).  Sign of the times?  The cost?  $1,500.00 EACH.

The Teevens story has been getting a lot of ink since last summer.

The robots might be good for giving college players “live” reps, but somebody at some point had to actually teach those guys how to tackle - that’s us - and throwing themselves at a dummy, motorized or not, isn’t going to teach our kids.

Once we’ve taught the basics well,  at our small school we would then need, oh, at least four of the damn things to get close to the same number of reps that we now get.  PLUS some responsible managers or coaches to operate the robots.  PLUS a smooth surface to operate on. Our school district can’t even maintain our “grass” field, let alone spring for artificial turf, so I'm thinking maybe our parking lot would work…

*********** Americans may have cut back on their smoking, but because of increases in the price of cigarettes, they’re spending more.

I read this in the Wall Street Journal and I’m still in a state of disbelief:

According to an market-research firm called Euromonitor International, “Americans spent more at retail stores on cigarettes in 2016 than they did on soda and beer combined.”


Jim otto snapping*********** Jim Otto was a pro football ironman if ever there was one.

He was a native of Wausau, Wisconsin who played his college football at Miami.

As a center, he played played 15 seasons and never missed a game - 308 consecutive games - because of injury. This despite having nine knee operations during his career.

In all, he had 28 different operations on his legs.  Not all of them went well and several times his life was in danger as a result of infection.

Several years after his retirement, he had to have a leg amputated.

He played his entire career with one team: 10 years in the AFL and five in the NFL.

He was an All-Star every years of his AFL career and is on the All-Time All-AFL team.  He made All-NFL three times, and he’s in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

In all those years, despite playing for a team that boasted of a “Commitment to Excellence,” he played on only one championship team - an AFL championship team that then lost in the Super Bowl to the NFL champion.

His distinctive number, 00,  in all likelihood will  never be worn again by any player at his position.  It was given to him his second year as a pro, and was meant to be a play on his last name (“OUGHT-OH”).



CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JIM OTTO:

BRAD KNIGHT - CLARINDA, IOWA (WHO ONCE HAD A CENTER NAMED MATT OTTO - AND MOVED HIM TO GUARD!)
JOHN IRION - GRANVILLE, NEW YORK
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
KC SMITH - WALPOLE, MASSACHUSETTS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA - growing up, he was one of the few non-Packers I admired...maybe b/c he was a Wausau native!
J. C. BRINK - STUART, FLORIDA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - the palindromic one
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
DJ MILLAY - VANCOUVER, WASHINGTON
WILL STOUT - WASILLA, ALASKA
KEN HAMPTON, RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS - Used to watch him snap the ball to one Daryle Lamonica, the "Mad Bomber".  Lamonica was our hometown hero in Clovis, CA.  The high school football stadium was named after him.  Every kid growing up in Clovis at that time knew about the Mad Bomber.
MIKE CAHILL - GUILDERLAND, NEW YORK - He’s in the U of Miami Hall of Fame
DENNIS METZGER - Richmond, Indiana - I didn’t realize that he played before the championship Raiders.  And the Super Bowl loss would have been to a team that had a commitment to excellence; Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay packers.
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON


Leaving Franklin Field*********** QUIZ - As they walk off Franklin Field, the player in the middle is consoling two members of the losing team following an NFL championship game.  He doesn’t look that tired, but he should - he just finished playing the entire game on both sides of the ball - center on offense and linebacker on defense.  At the age of 35.

The son of Slovakian immigrants, he grew up in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania speaking Slovak as his first language.  At 17, right out of high school, with World War II going on, he joined the Army Air Corps.  In all, during the war, he flew 30 combat missions over Germany.

Following the war he played college football as a single wing center and linebacker under famed coach George Munger, and was a three-time All-American.

Although not a back, he finished third in the Heisman voting following his senior season.

He played his entire NFL career for one team; they won the NFL title his first season with them, and he was still playing when they finally won again, 11 years later.

He was 10 times named All-Pro.

He is a member of both the College and the Pro Football Halls of Fame - he made it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility - and in 1969, long after his playing days were over, he was voted “Greatest Center of All Time.”

He took great pride in being the last of the true, old-school two-way players, and in his later years he publicly scoffed at the very idea that Deion Sanders, a notorious non-tackler, could double as a wide receiver and be seriously considered a two-way player.


american flag FRIDAY,  APRIL 21,  2017  - “‘Free’ is very expensive for someone.” Maine Governor Paul LePage

***********  Well-meaning people who want to make football safer (and, as many of us suspect, some not-so-well-meaning people who want to eliminate football altogether) have been pushing for some time to reduce injuries by reducing exposure to injury-causing collisions and falls and whatnot. And what better way to do that  than to cut down on practice time?

Why, sure.  Think of how much safer gymnastics would be if kids didn’t spend so much time practicing all those flips.  Think of the ski-jumping injuries that could be prevented if they didn’t make so many practice jumps.   Motocross?   No kids would get hurt practicing  if all they  had to do was line up on race day and - ride.

And football?  Why can't our kids just learn to tackle on Friday nights?

Larry Kidbom, head coach since 1989 at D-III Washington University in St. Louis wrote a very good response to those who haven’t thought this through - who would reduce football injuries by reducing practice time.
To make our game safer, many people are rallying behind the thought of practicing less. This is far from the truth. Each practice opportunity is an opportunity to teach our players to block better, to tackle properly, and to play with speed in a game where awareness is created best through repetition. As a coach, I need time with our players to do that. Most coaches teach tackling in a confined space. Proper tackling is important not only to the tackler, who needs to use proper technique; it is important for the person who is tackled. He needs to learn to fall safely, and absorb the hit.

http://www.d3football.com/notables/2017/04/opinion-player-safety-through-teaching?t=1492715645315

*********** There are the Alabamas and the Oregons and the like, where no luxury is overlooked in their football facilities.  And then there are the Duquesnes, where not so long ago there were no locker rooms, and players had to take their equipment back with them to their dorms. And then they had to leave their stuff in the hallways, not in their rooms, because it smelled so bad.

I imagine the hallways didn’t smell so great, either.

And then up stepped the late Dan Rooney, President of the Pittsburgh Steelers - and a Duquesne grad. (In case you didn’t know, it’s pronounced “doo-KANE,” and it’s named for the French Fort that once stood on the site of present-day Pittsburgh.)

http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2017/04/17/Dan-Rooney-generous-alma-maters-North-Catholic-High-School-Duquesne-University/stories/201704180014

*********** COLLEGE FOOTBALL REMAINS BIG!

IN 2016…

*** Seventeen FCS schools averaged 100 per cent or more of capacity:
Appalachian State - 113%
Oklahoma - 106
Ohio State - 105
Kansas State, Nebraska - 104
Michigan - 103
Baylor - 102
Utah - 102
Ole Miss, Oregon - 101
Alabama, Georgia, Michigan State, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Old Dominion, TCU - 100

*** Thirteen teams drew over 1 million fans to their games (home and away, neutral sites and post-season games)- NOTE: SEVEN of them are SEC schools, and FIVE are Big Ten schools
Alabama - 1,365,657
Michigan - 1,260,897
Tennessee - 1,248,060
Ohio State - 1,220,416
Texas A & M - 1,175,229
Penn State - 1,167,449
LSU - 1,098,072
Auburn - 1,070,171
Clemson - 1,058,626
Nebraska - 1,047,833
Florida - 1,037,498
Georgia - 1,030,318
Wisconsin - 1,009,017

*** Seven schools averaged more than 100,000 fans at their home games, and FIFTEEN of them averaged more than  80,000 per game.  Here’s the significance of that, something that has to stick in the craw of the NFL suits, who would have us believe that they, and they alone, ARE football:  Only one NFL team - the Dallas Cowboys, who averaged 92,539 - would have broken into that list of 12.  Next highest NFL team - the Giants, at 78,789 - doesn’t make the cut.

Michigan - 110,468
Ohio State - 107,278
Texas A & M - 101,917
Alabama - 101,821
LSU - 101,231
Tennessee - 100,968
Penn State - 100,257
Texas - 97,881
Georgia - 92,746
COWBOYS - 92,539
Nebraska - 90,200
Florida - 87,846
Auburn - 86,937
Oklahoma - 86,857
Clemson - 80,970
Notre Dame - 80,795

*** For the 19th straight year, the SEC led all conferences in average attendance:
SEC - 77,507
BIG TEN - 66,151
BIG 12 - 57,531
PAC-12 - 50,073
ACC - 49,734

*** 16 Bowl games drew crowds of 45,000 of greater:
The Top Ten (I asked the “sponsors” for a little something  in exchange for including their names, and none of them returned my calls, so I left their names out.)
Rose Bowl - 95,128
Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl (Semi-Final) - 75,996 (I’ll make an exception for Chick-Fil-A)
CFL Championship game - 74,512
Fiesta Bowl (Semi-Final) - 71,279
Music City Bowl - 68,496
Texas Bowl - 68,412
Orange Bowl (67,432)
Alamo Bowl (59,815)
Cotton Bowl (59,615)
Sugar Bowl (54,077)

OTHER DIVISIONS DEPT.

FCS average attendance top five:
Montana - 25,377
James Madison - 19,844
Florida A & M - 19,710
Jackson State - 19,660
North Dakota State - 18,556

DIVISION II average attendance top five:
Grand Valley State - 12,549 (third year in a row at Number One)
Tuskegee - 10,130
Miles - 9,624
Pittsburg State - 9,612
Fort Valley State - 8,850

DIVISION III average attendance top five:
St. John’s (Minn.)  7,787 (the Johnnies have led D-III for 15 of he past 16 years)
Wisconsin-Whitewater - 5,718
Wabash (Indiana) - 5,512
Wesleyan (Connecticut) - 5,280
Hampden-Sydney (Virginia) - 5,125

*** The MAC Championship Game in Detroit drew 45,615 fans, topping the previous high of 28,085. That was back in 1998, when Toledo played Marshall on Marshall’s home field.  You think that Western Michigan’s exciting season might have had anything to do with this year's increase?

*** Miami’s average attendance per game was up 23 per cent from 2015.

*** This past year’s Army-Navy game drew its highest TV audience since 1992.

*** Old Dominion, which drew 120,708 to six home games in 2016, has sold out every game since it brought back football in 2009,

*** If college football’s your game, Birmingham is the place to go to find kindred souls.

For the 15th straight year, the Magic City was the Number One local market for ESPN’s college games.

*********** College wrestling took another hit with the announcement that Boise State was dropping the sport.  This hits high schools as well - one state champion from our area who’d committed to Boise State now finds himself in search of a school.

Unlike all the other wrestling programs that have fallen by the wayside in an effort to achieve a mythical “gender equity” (there were 117 Division I wrestling schools in 1988-89, and just 76 this past season), Boise’s wasn’t the victim of Title IX.

Wrestling just wasn’t bringing in enough revenues to offset its costs.  Well, duh.  At Boise State (and most other places) only two sports pay for themselves - and the other 14 the school offers. Football and, to a lesser degree, men’s basketball, pays the bills.

Funny that they brought up costs, because at the same time they announced they were dropping wrestling, the Broncos announced they were adding baseball.

Seven other schools play baseball in the Mountain West, Boise State’s conference.  That means a lot of travel.  It also means a much bigger budget than wrestling got - Fresno State’s and Nevada’s baseball teams have budgets of over $1 million.


*********** I swear he was identified as a Democrat from Missouri, but some guy on TV named Calloway sure had a strange way of praising Hillary Clinton, referring to “Her place in the anals of American history…”

I gave you the set-up.  It's up to you to furnish the punch line.

*********** Another nice Tom Harmon write-up:
 
http://michigantoday.umich.edu/a6651/
 
Good point about scholarships and the Bootin’ Babe of Adams State.  D2 has only 36 schollys to give, which makes it even more incomprehensible, BUT they can split their scholarships…so maybe this ballyhooed publicity stunt is actually about a ¼ financial award deal.
 
Just got a great book from the library called “”The All-Americans” by Lars Anderson.  It features four stories about war and football, much like the Tom Harmon saga.  If you’ve never read it, I guarantee you will enjoy it.
 
Will give you an update on Hillsdale spring ball soon.
 
Shep Clarke
Puyallup, Washington

(Shep Clarke’s son, Wain, is contending for a starting outside linebacker spot at Hillsdale College - you know, that private college in Michigan that still adheres to solid American values and has never taken a nickel of taxpayers’ money.   Good point about the slicing and dicing of scholarships - no one actually said it was a FULL scholarship.)

*********** Barry Switzer once said, in so many words, that what Bill Snyder accomplished at Kansas State was the greatest coaching achievement in the history of college football.

And that was before he left Kansas State, then returned after a few years for a second act, one that’s still ongoing.

The people in Kansas know what he’s done.  Drive the back roads of the Sunflower State and see the K-State “Power Cat” logos on mailboxes and barns and you get a feel for the passion that he’s built.  The state may have two state universities - Kansas (“KU”) and Kansas State (“K-State”) but if ever there was a state with a city-and-country divide between its two schools, this is it.  City folks?  They’re Kansas Jayhawks.  Country and small-town folks?  “EMAW!” - Every Man a Wildcat!

Coach Snyder’s  been there so long now that lots of you young fellers may only know of K-State as a football power, but it’s impossible to describe how forlorn the K-State program was when he took over.  

But back in the 70s, a guy used to put out a weekly newspaper feature called “The Bottom Ten,” a spoof on the popular “Top Ten” ratings.

The state of Kansas usually got special mention for having TWO teams in the Bottom Ten.

But occasionsally, Kansas would escape.  The Jayhawks would have a decent year from time to time.  I mean, John Hadl, Gale Sayers, Bobby Douglass, Nolan Cromwell - they were damn good athletes.

Kansas State?  The “Mildcats” were ALWAYS at the top (or bottom, if you will).

And then came Bill Snyder.

A great article describes how he discovered he couldn’t win by going after all the four- and five-star recruits, because after spending time and resources on recruiting them,  they’d wind up going to the Oklahomas and Nebraskas anyhow.  So he took a “road less travelled” (any Robert Frost fans out there?) approach - he went after the kids who got overlooked, the kids that the big-time guys were too busy to recruit.

It meant a lot of spade work - getting out into the hinterlands, where the big guys never went,  and establishing relations with lots and lots of high school coaches, in small schools that might only occasionally - if ever - have a K-State prospect.  It meant talking to anybody and everybody who might know something about a recruit - teachers, principals, even cafeteria workers - to find out what he was really like.  And it meant trying to gauge the upside of a kid who wasn't yet  a finished product in football terms, because he went to a small school where he played three sports instead of concentrating on just one.  And it meant coaching that kid up.

As a result of numerous trips to Kansas, I became  a huge fan of Coach Snyder and the K-State Wildcats.  He is an absolute marvel and the kind of man I would advise a young coach to emulate.

He undoubtedly has had many enticing offers to go elsewhere during his time at Kansas State, but he remained a Wildcat to the core, and K-State fans expressed their gratitude by naming their stadium in honor of him and his family.

If I needed anything further to admire him for, it would be his working with the US Army, at nearby Fort Riley.  Along with then Lieutenant Colonel (now General) Pat Frank, Battalion Commander of the Black Lions, he helped develop a working relationship between the Wildcats and the Black Lions - holding joint training exercises with soldiers and K-State players, putting on camps for the kids of Black Lions while they were deployed in Iraq, and hosting Black Lions and their families at K-State games.

http://www.espn.com/blog/big12/post/_/id/119830/bill-snyders-unconventional-recruiting-strategy-continues-to-defy-and-win

***********  I’m not one for conspiracies.  I’m not one of those who think that Aaron Hernandez’ “suicide” was faked by the Massachusetts Correctional staff. But I do believe his death has to be connected in some way with Donald Trump and the Russians.

*********** You've got to hand it to Urban Meyer - the guy can recruit.  He could go out and get people like Aaron Hernandez, Percy Harvin and the Pounceys  - and then convince a Tim Tebow to play on the same team with them.

*********** “I think in some ways I knew more American history when I finished grade school then many college students know today. And that’s not their fault - that’s our fault.”  Author David McCullough

*********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BRIAN PICCOLO

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA (“The most interesting facet of the story is this: when the heck would anyone, nowadays, find two backs that talented from Kansas and Wake Forest?”)
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MIKE FORISTIERE - MATTAWA, WASHINGTON (“Looking forward to the clinic in Kansas City.”)
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS (“The other guy in the photo is Gale Sayers, the ‘Kansas Comet’”)
TOM HINGER - WINTER HAVEN, FLORIDA (“That doesn’t look like James Caan in that photo.”)
JOHN IRION - GRANVILLE, NEW YORK
KC SMITH - WALPOLE, MASSACHUSETTS (Brian Piccolo, from Pittsfield!”)
J. C. BRINK - STUART, FLORIDA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PATERSBURG, FLORIDA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILINOIS
WILL STOUT - WASILLA, ALASKA
CARL KILBURG - HEBRON, INDIANA (“The Bears used to hold preseason practice just down the road from where I live, at St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, IN. Sadly, the college is closing its doors after this semester ends.”)
JERRY LOVELL - BELLEVUE, NEBRASKA (“Sayers was an Omaha Central grad....the starting point of I-Back High......went to Kansas instead of Nebraska.”)
DJ MILLAY - VANCOUVER, WASHINGTON (“Brian's Song was the first movie that ever made me cry.”)
MAT HEDGER - LANGDON, NORTH DAKOTA
MIKE CAHILL - GUILDERLAND, NEW YORK
SHEP CLARKE - PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON


*********** Brian Piccolo was born in Western Massachusetts but grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he played high school football at St. Thomas Aquinas, well know for the football players it’s produced.

He was a very good running back at an ACC school, and led the nation in rushing his senior year, earning him ACC Player of the Year honors.

Although undrafted by any NFL club, he managed to hang on and make a career of it, finally earning a starting backfield position.

Gale Sayers, the guy on the left in the photo was his roommate on road trips and was much better known. A movie, “Brian’s Song,” was made about their friendship.

Brian Piccolo's  career was cut short by the cancer that ended his life in 1970 at the age of 26.

(The movie really was a tear-jerker, a wonderful story of the kind of friendship that at that time few Americans outside of sports could imagine - a black guy and  white guy loving each other and able to joke about their racial differences. What a shame that we can’t return to those days when so many of us still shared the dream of racial harmony.)

COUPLE OF THINGS ABOUT BRIAN PICCOLO:
(1) Reputedly, his last words (to his wife, Joy) were, “Joy, can you believe this sh—?”
(2) He was not the first Piccolo to earn fame on the gridiron, not the first from Western Massachusetts.  He was preceded by Luigi Piccolo, from Leominster - who as "Lou Little" played college football at Penn and pro football for the Frankford Yellow Jackets, then served as head coach at Georgetown and Columbia.

*********** QUIZ - He was a pro football ironman if ever there was one.

An offensive lineman, he played played 15 seasons and never missed a game - 308 consecutive games - because of injury. This despite having nine knee operations during his career.

In all, he had 28 different operations on his legs.  Not all of them went well and several times his life was in danger as a result of infection.

Several years after his retirement, he had to have a leg amputated.

He played his entire career with one team: 10 years in the AFL and five in the NFL.

He was an All-Star every years of his AFL career and is on the All-Time All-AFL team.  He made All-NFL three times, and he’s in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

In all those years, despite playing for a team that boasted of a “Commitment to Excellence,” he played on only one championship team - an AFL championship team that then lost in the Super Bowl to the NFL champion.

His distinctive number, which in all likelihood will  never be worn again by any player at his position, was given to him his second year as a pro, and was meant to be a play on his last name.



american flag TUESDAY,  APRIL 18,  2017  - “When you see ten problems rolling down the road, if you don’t do anything, nine of them will roll into a ditch before they get to you.”  Calvin Coolidge

*********** Maybe it’s because they’re often in even closer contact with the players than coaches; maybe it’s because players learn they can trust them; and maybe it’s because it doesn’t matter to them how good the players are out on the field.  Whatever the reason, some of the most influential people in the lives of college football players have been equipment managers and trainers.

One such person was Dick Hall, longtime equipment manager at West Point (Army).

Back when Homer Smith was Army’s coach, a player named Bobby Johnson was elected captain for the 1974 season.

But when he was diagnosed with cancer in his arm, and told his football days were over, he didn’t want to remain as captain when he wasn’t going to be able to play.

That’s where Dick Hall came in.  He told Johnson, “If all your teammates think that much of your leadership that they want you to be a captain, that is what you’re going to do.”

Years later, Johnson remembered how important that advice was. ”Dick's words meant everything to me," he said, "and helped me do the harder right than to pursue a lesser path. While in Walter Reed (Army Medical Center) for the entire summer, I had to first deal with the fact that I had cancer and could not play football again. Dick let me know that there were other ways to lead and that my responsibility was to the team and not myself. His words allowed me to be the captain of the team and show my support in everything I did. His words got me through one of the most challenging times in my life and I will forever be indebted to him."

http://www.goarmywestpoint.com/news/2013/12/9/MISSION_FIRST_A_Legend_In_His_Own_Right.aspx

*********** “As for the ideal play for a given situation, there is none. Great calls are only great after they have beaten the defense.”  That was Pepper Rodgers.  Or Homer Smith.  The two were co-authors of “Installing Football’s Wishbone T Attack.”  Pepper Rodgers was a Georgia Tech graduate and a very smart guy.  But Homer Smith was a Princeton graduate and an extremely erudite student of the game so I’m going  with him.

*********** Charlie Wilson, of Crystal River, Florida, really likes belly series football and wishbone football.  He’s coached them and he’s researched them and he knows them and their histories as well as anyone I know.

wishbone tWhen he answered the question about Mark Harmon he mentioned the bible of the wishbone, “Installing Football’s Wishbone T Attack.”  It's a big book.  It is outstanding,  with all sorts of information and tips
valuable to any coach of any system;  it's an absolute must for anyone wanting to run the bone as well as it can possibly be run.  It was written by Pepper Rodgers and Homer Smith.  At the time it was published, Pepper Rodgers was head coach at his alma mater, Georgia Tech, and Homer Smith was head coach at Army.  But its reason for being was the great success they’d enjoyed with the wishbone at UCLA, their previous stop, when Rodgers was head coach and Smith was the offensive coordinator.  I’ve heard them both at clinics, and they were excellent, and the book is a reflection of the fact that they were both very smart and articulate coaches.  You can find copies, but they’re not cheap - around $35-$40.  On the other hand, as a collector’s item, that’s not expensive at all, and when you consider that so much of the stuff the mail order guys try to sell you nowadays -  unstoppable offenses on a series of three $39 DVDs -  is crap, $40 is well worth the money. (Ever wonder how come, if every offense is unstoppable,  half the teams on Friday night lose?)

I would add that for anyone wanting an understanding of the very basics of the wishbone offense, I’ve never seen anything better than Darrell Royal’s “Wishbone T.”  When I bought it, back in the late 70s, it was on 16 mm film.  I actually got to speak (very briefly) with Coach Royal himself when I bought it.  I thought it was so well done - still do - that it was the inspiration for the first video I produced, “Dynamics of the Double Wing.”

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

Things aren't the same anymore (I sound like my dad).  But in all honesty NOW I know WHY he felt the way he did about my generation, and why so many of us now understand why our fathers felt that way.  What we knew, and what we felt as youngsters...and how we viewed things, and were taught as youngsters is...well...history.

I've tried and tried to convince people that young people today are virtually the same as they have always been...and in "some" ways they are.  However...in MOST ways they are NOT!    

I know you're not a big fan of Lou Holtz, but he said it best in one of his books I read, "One of the differences between people today and a generation ago is that today people are concerned primarily about their rights and privileges.  A generation ago people were primarily concerned about obligations and responsibilities."

Betcha that ESPN guy who interviewed you is more concerned about his rights and privileges.

Anyway...enough negative.  Here's wishing you and Connie and your entire family a Blessed Easter!

#99 in that picture was Tom Harmon of Michigan and that movie actor son of his is former QB of LA Pierce CC and UCLA's Mark Harmon.  After Mark Harmon graduated from LA Pierce CC Mark was offered full rides by Oklahoma and UCLA.  Chose UCLA over Oklahoma.  Can't say I could blame him with one Steve Davis running the Sooner wishbone offense.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Right on Tom Harmon.

Wrong on Lou Holtz -  I LOVED the North Carolina State and Arkansas and Minnesota Lou Holtz. One of the wittiest guys I’ve ever heard, with the coaching to back it up - and then he had to go to Notre Dame and go Saintly on us.

Don’t even get me on "Doctor Lou."  Like Madden and so many others who get overexposed, he became a self parody!


*********** You’ve probably heard - the story’s been making the rounds - of Konrad Reuland and Rod Carew.

Reuland, a former Baltimore Raven, was just 29 when he died unexpectedly of an aneurism back in December.

In a sense, though, Konrad Reuland lived on - his donated heart and one of his kidneys were transplanted in Rod Carew, the Hall of Fame baseball player, now 71.

Recently, the Reulands met with Rod Carew, and assured him that he was now a part of their family.

“We lost a wonderful man, so it had to go into a wonderful person,” Mrs. Reuland told Rod. “I couldn’t be happier that it went to such a wonderful man.”

Amazing twist - when Konrad was 11 years old, he came home excited about having just met Rod Carew.

http://stories.baltimoreravens.com/heart-of-a-raven

*********** Spring games - I love ‘em.  Indiana looked okay on Friday night.  Hell, nobody looks bad in a spring game.  Nebraska had a nearly  full house.  Amazing.  Tanner Lee, Huskers' transfer QB from Tulane,  looked pretty good.  Michigan and Ohio State both looked good, of course, but at the very start, Ohio State’s game looked like the Pro Bowl - glorified two-hand touch.  Meantime, on my other set, the Utah game looked like war.  Quite a contrast, until Meyer loosened the leashes. USC looks scary good.  Arizona State?  Hard to tell.  Stanford must have had a women’s field hockey game going on in their stadium, because they played their spring game on a practice field.  Weird. The camera angles sucked and it wasn’t worth watching.  Minnesota looks pretty good.  They were pretty good last year, and they seem to have adapted well to the new coach.   Minnesota starts out with an easy schedule, so it might be a while before they lose, but I predict that at some point this “Row the Boat” business is going to get old. 

*********** You have to admit, it’s kind of funny that one of the best known football stadiums in America named for a college - is named for a college that doesn’t have a football team.

We're not talking Harvard Stadium or Yale Bowl.  We're talking  University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals. It’s named for a for-profit college that not only doesn’t have a football team, but doesn’t really have a campus, either.  Instead, it offers classes in lots of different cities, and it evidently thought it was good advertising to pay to put its name on a pro football stadium.

But now, nine years into a 20-year stadium-naming contract, it wants out. 

Maybe they can get out of the lease, but if they can’t - they should consider doing  what real colleges do, and sell the naming rights to “their" stadium - the one they’re already paying to put their name on.  I can think of one company that could use some good advertising right now. How does United Air Lines Field at University of Phoenix Stadium sound? 

*********** The women have responded.  Not content to sit back and watch males posing as “transgendered females” take over their sports, they’ve found  a small opening in the male sports front - placekicking.

An Arizona girl named Becca Longo has just “made football history” (blah, blah, blah) by being awarded a scholarship to kick at D-II Adams State, in Colorado.

What’s stranger actually  than the idea of a woman place kicking is the notion of a college spending a scarce scholarship on a kicker. Customarily, kickers walk on and then, if they prove to be good enough, they're awarded a scholarship.

Nothing against Ms. Longo.  She seems like a good kid and evidently is a pretty good kicker.  But Iike so many kickers, she's not a football player, and I’ve argued for years that the whole concept of specialists - non-players -  that do nothing but kick is an aberration that mocks our game.

(Once again, The Wyatt Rule: no player on a team may kick the ball in any fashion more than once in any game.)

Meantime, prepare to get sick of reading and hearing about the exploits of the female “football player” from Adams State.

*********** Everybody gets a statue nowadays, or so it seems, so why not a statue of Ken Griffey, Junior outside Seattle’s Safeco Field?

Well, I’ll tell you why not.  Hell of a player and all that, but  I can remember the day that precious “Junior” jilted Seattle - demanding to be traded to another team to be closer to his family.

And just like that, poof - he was gone.

Many years later, his career nearing its end, he wrapped things up with a year or two in Seattle - and now, evidently, all is forgiven.

*********** An Australian psychologist theorizes that claiming to be transgender is in because it’s cool -  the newest way that young people can call attention to themselves.  (“Gay” now having become commonplace, it’s no longer cool.)

One responder to the article said, “I think a lot of the kids who would have had eating disorders 20 years ago are the ones now claiming to be transgendered.”

*********** The announcement in the newspaper began formally enough,  paying proper respect to age-old conventions:

Mr. and Mrs. ——— are pleased to announce  the engagement of their daughter ————  to ——————.

Blah, blah, blah.

But then ...

“The couple reside in ————, Washington and plan a winter wedding in 2018.”

“They became engaged while vacationing in Belize.”

 I sure do struggle  with the realities of today’s shackup culture:


*********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING TOM HARMON

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
TOM DAVIS - SAN MARCOS, CALIFORNIA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
TOM HINGER - WINTER HAVEN, FLORIDA
CHARLIE WILSON - CRYSTAL RIVER, FLORIDA - Tom Harmon against Ohio State - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAmliH79D6Q
(PS: Son Mark had a Style as well.  Look at the cover of Rodgers and Smith's Installing... and that reaching, wide base look and then look at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yr21NZQvXFw&t=801s    Nice genes.
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA - Where would NCIS be without him?
WILL STOUT - WASILLA, ALASKA

Tom and Mark Harmonharmon movie poster

ABOVE LEFT - That's Tom Harmon and Mark in 1965. Mark was 13 years old.  According to Mark, Tom was a great father:
http://www.nwitimes.com/sports/columnists/al-hamnik/al-hamnik-tom-harmon-more-than-a-legend-he-was/article_bf94514e-4e0f-5bff-9517-a40ee8218634.html

ABOVE RIGHT: Just think: If Johnny Manziel had stayed in college for four years,  we might have had "JOHNNY FOOTBALL OF A & M"

tom harmon with planeharmon helmet

ABOVE LEFT: Tom Harmon in front of his bomber, which was shot down over China. He was awarded the Silver Star, the third highest award a member of the Army (it was still the Army Air Corps then - no Air Force yet) can earn, after the Medal of Honor and Distinguished Service Cross.

ABOVE RIGHT: A good look at the leather helmet whose construction inspired the paint job that's replicated on today's Michigan helmets. (I read somewhere that his nose was broken 13 times, an occupational hazard for tailbacks in the pre-face mask era.  Photos from later in life - like the one above with son Mark -  show that he undoubtedly had a nose job.)


INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT OLD 98, TOM HARMON:
1. In his final game against Ohio State, won by Michigan 40-0, he ran for three touchdowns, threw for two TDs, kicked four extra points, and punted three times for an average 50 yards.  And - remember, that was Iron Man football - he intercepted three Buckeyes’ passes.
2. Shortly after graduation, he starred in the movie, “Harmon of Michigan.”
3. He briefly played pro football with the Los Angeles Rams, but gave it up to pursue a career in broadcasting
4. He married actress Elyse Knox, and Elyse was married in a wedding gown made of the silk from the parachute he used in landing inside China.
5. He and Elyse had three children.  Son, Mark, was an outstanding wishbone quarterback at UCLA and is a well-known actor. One of their daughters, Kristin,  married popular singer Ricky Nelson; the other, Kelly, was married to automobile executive John DeLorean, and after their divorce she has managed to do quite well as an actress and a model (the Tic-Tac Mint Lady).

*********** A native of Gary, Indiana, Tom Harmon is perhaps the greatest athlete ever to come out of the Hoosier State.  In high school he was the national scoring leader in football with 150 points and a star on the school basketball team. He won state titles in both the 100-yard dash and the 220 low hurdles, and in the summer he threw two no-hitters in baseball.

But it was in college where he became the best-known football player in America, as one of the greatest single wing tailbacks ever to play the game.

In his three years as a varsity player, his team went 19-4-1.  He also found time in the off-season to play on the Michigan basketball team for two seasons.

He led the nation in scoring in both his junior and senior years.   He rushed for 2151 yards and 33 touchdowns and threw for 1396 yards and 16 touchdowns.  He averaged 38 yards per punt and he kicked 33 extra points and two field goals. And he played all 60 minutes eight times.

He was a unanimous All-American both years, and after his senior year received every individual honor it’s possible to win.

After he graduated, he starred in a movie based on his college football career.

In World War II he served as a pilot in the Army Air Corps, and twice had to parachute from his planes before they crashed, once in a jungle in South America, and once behind enemy lines in Japanese-occupied China.   For his bravery in action he was awarded the Silver Star.

After the War, he briefly played professional football, but gave it up to embark instead on a long and successful career as a broadcaster.

He and his wife, a former actress,  had three children: one daughter married a famous singer, another a well-known automobile executive.  His son was an outstanding wishbone quarterback at a major college and is now a well-known actor.

http://gbmwolverine.com/2013/07/08/michigan-football-twelve-wondrous-wolverines-2-tom-harmon-the-ultimate-legend-old-98/



quiz*********** QUIZ - He was born in Western Massachusetts but grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he played high school football at famed St. Thomas Aquinas, well known for the football players it’s produced.

In college he was a very good running back, leading the nation in rushing his senior year, and earning  ACC Player of the Year honors.

Although undrafted by any NFL club, he managed to hang on and make a decent career of it, finally earning a starting backfield position - shorly before being diagnosed with cancer.

He died of it in 1970 at the age of 26.

The guy on the left in the photo was his roommate on road trips and was a much better known player. A movie was made about their friendship and the way they dealt with his illness.

ANSWERS TO coachwyatt@aol.com - be sure to include your name and your town





american flag FRIDAY,  APRIL 14,  2017  - “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."  Napoleon Bonaparte


*********** Dan Rooney is dead, and I am saddened. To make things sadder still, with him has died one of the last remaining ties to the old NFL guys - the Rooneys, Halases, Maras and, yes, Marshalls -  who built from scratch the football league that the corporate types have turned into Big Football.

*********** A few weeks ago I spoke at length with a writer from ESPN about the current switch to a softer, deader shotgun snap.  And then I provided him with a little bit of research on the topic, from my copy of Pop Warner’s 1927 book as well as notes from the 1938 University of Pittsburgh coaches clinic.  He told me he’d let me know when the story came out, and Tuesday, he did:

Hey Hugh, the story ran today. Here's the link!

http://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/19126951/how-dead-snap-revolutionizing-quarterback-center-exchange

Jared Shanker — ESPN -

I should have known better than to cooperate with The Worldwide Leader.  Should have let him do his own f--king research.

I read the article and wrote back,

Nice article.

I may or may not have mentioned that I had been teaching this at clinics since 1998, well before the current crop  of shotgun coaches even came on the scene.

I think that  when one does the research I did to provide you with the Warner quote, it’s customary to give some credit.

And - very important point - I have way too much respect for the great coaches of the past to have ever referred to  Coach Sutherland (or Jock Sutherland) as “Jock.”

Regards,

Hugh Wyatt

I heard from a few people who know better

Kurt Heinke Facebook post

***Coach Wyatt,

I saw this article and immediately thought of you and how you've taught the Center's snap when in gun, one handed or two handed.

Thought you'd like to see this article for yourself before ESPN College Game Day makes a segment out of it this fall, I'm sure they will.  😉

Regards,

Brian Mackell
Glen Burnie, Maryland

***Sorry if you already saw this or had it in the news.  Isn’t this the way you have always taught it?
 
Thanks,

John Bothe
Oregon, Illinois

Lud Wray centering
Lud Wray, whom I write about farther down the page, is shown in a 1921 photograph taken while he was playing for a team called the Buffalo All-Americans.  He is definitely not preparing to make a spiral snap.


*********** Forgot to mention that the Miss State scrimmage was called to an abrupt end by Dan Mullen after a defensive back took a pretty nasty shot at a teammate, hitting him in the head with his helmet and knocking him silly.

Mullen sent the offender in and called a halt to the proceedings, and that was that.

This relatively modern trend of defenses  gearing up to injure - to “intimidate” - an opponent is ugly enough as it is, but to see it taking place against a teammate is just another leak in the football ship.

As a history major, I know this:  nothing is forever. You think football’s too big to die?  I grew up in a time when horse racing and boxing were as big as pro football.
Whatever happened to them? 

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/college/mississippi-state-spring-football-game-ends-massive-hit-article-1.3039714

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

The statute of limitations does not apply to college mascots.  You will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, sentenced to live the rest of your born days being chastised by the head Indian, er...Native American...er...Native...Elizabeth Warren herself.  Oh the agony!!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

(I have a stockpile of Tomahawk missiles just in case Elizabeth, the Indian Queen,  ever gets anywhere near my fort, er, house.)

***********  Amherst (Mass.) announced that its official mascot will be the Mammoths...

Unofficially, they’d been the Lord Jeffs, but research disclosed that Lord Jeffrey Amherst had been guilty of spreading disease among Indians by distributing infected blankets.

I’m telling you… the day is not far off when Yale - yes, Old Yale, which has been a college since 1701 , and was named in 1716 in honor of a gentlemen named Elihu Yale -  will be forced to deal with the fact that the benefactor for whom it's named  made some of his fortune in the slave trade.

https://www.amherst.edu/news/news_releases/2017/4-2017/amherst-announces-mammoths-mascot

***********  Longtime Texas high school coach and  Texas Tech head coach Spike Dykes passed away April 10. He was 79..

In all, he coached for 41 years, all but three of them in the state of Texas.

He was by all accounts a great character, and much loved.

A native of West Texas, he began his career as a high school coach, serving at seven different Texas high schools,  and didn’t become a college coach until he was 34, when Darrell Royal hired him in 1972 as an assistant at Texas.

After Royal retired, Coach Dykes assisted at New Mexico and Mississippi State,  then returned to coach high school football in Midland, Texas.  After four years there, he joined the Texas Tech staff as defensive coordinator in 1984.

When he was named  head coach at Texas Tech two years later, he was 48 years old.   The Red Raiders had had just one winning season in eight years, but during his 14 years in Lubbock, he led Texas Tech to a school-record four consecutive bowl games, and  six wins against both Texas and Texas A&M.

Evidently, because he’d been so many places and known so many people, there are Spike Dykes stories told all over Texas. Kevin Sherrington of the Dallas Morning News told a few of them…

An early stop on Spike Dykes' long, winding road to Texas Tech and everlasting glory as the king of coaching characters was San Angelo, where he worked for Emory Bellard, inventor of the Wishbone. Unfortunately, Spike was also the swimming coach. To say he wasn't particularly suited for the position is being kind. Had he fallen into the pool, he might have drowned.

Nevertheless, he coached 'em up as best he could, in a style uniquely Spike's.

"Remember to hold your breath," he told his charges, "and never get too far from the bank."

Sherrington told of the time his first meeting with a boss nearly went south…

His first day in San Angelo, Spike had lunch with the school superintendent. Over chicken-fried steaks, a bottle of ketchup proved stubborn, so Spike gave it a couple of hard whacks.

Looked up, and the ketchup had squirted across the table, smack dab on the superintendent's tie.

"My first day on the job," he'd say, recounting the episode, "and I thought I was gonna get fired."

And yes, that’s his son, Sonny Dykes, who was head coach at Cal.

http://sportsday.dallasnews.com/college-sports/texastechredraiders/2017/04/10/former-texas-tech-coach-spike-dykes-left-trail-stories-laughter-everywhere-went

http://lubbockonline.com/sports-red-raiders/sports/news/2017-04-10/right-man-right-time-spike-dykes-brought-tech-back

*********** Negative motivation has its uses. 

Back in the early 80s, when basketball coach Paul Graham was an assistant to Dave Bliss at SMU, Coach Bliss invited him to go golfing at a prestigious Dallas country club. Coach Graham, unfortunately, had never so much as picked up a golf club. Predictably, he wound up providing a lot of laughs for the other three guys in the foursome.  Burned up, he went out and got himself some clubs and began to practice obsessively: he put up a net in his backyard and got up at 5 every morning to hit balls into it; he went home for lunch every day and did the same; and  after work he came home and hit balls until well after dark. Every chance he got, he went to the driving range, where he hit balls by the hour. "All I could think about was those people laughing at me," he told Ken Goe of the Portland Oregonian.  Amazingly, the next time they played, he beat the boss by three strokes. "You've been practicing," Coach Bliss observed. Answered Coach Graham, "Coach, you'll never laugh at me again." (

A story for your kids showing how a real competitor reacts to failure.)

***********  With the exception of Alaska and Southwest, I hate airlines.  With those two, flying is almost pleasurable.

I used to like Northwest, but then Delta acquired them, and there they went.

And I used to like Delta, too, back when they were a southern airline, and reflected southern  courtesy and civility.  Now, Delta might as well be Air Greyhound, a cold, uncaring corporate giant like all the rest, whose sole aim is to make more money this quarter than the last by trying to see how many people they can cram into aluminum tubes before bones begin to break.

I especially despise the snarly attitude of today’s flight attendants, the crusty descendants of the bubbly, friendly, helpful young women who once made flying a joy.  Now, they stand around idly by,  arms folded, totally unconcerned as passengers  board planes with enormous items of “carry-on” and then try to cram them into the overhead bins.  And God help you if you somehow misunderstand something they say and give them the impression that you are being uncooperative. They have more power than the Supreme Soviet ever did, and with a seeming eagerness to use it.  And, worst of all, as you depart the plane, those same flight attendants will stand by the exit and chat with one another as if they hadn’t seen each other in four or five months, far too engrossed in their chatter to acknowledge the departing passengers and thank them for spending hundreds of dollars with their company.

It’s one of the things that’s been lost as America has checked the social graces, and  businesses have become Walmart-ized.  It used to be that if you bought just one lousy chair, the guy who owned the furniture store down on Main Street would hold the door open for you and thank you profusely on your way out.  Same thing when you bought a necktie at the men’s wear store. Now, nothing in particular against Walmart, or Home Depot or Staples, but - if you don’t use self-checkout - you’ll get checked out by some bored, indifferent “associate” who NEVER says “thank you,”  acknowledging that without people like you and your business they might be out of a job.  Oh, no.  YOU’RE the one who says “thank you.” (Ever noticed that?)  And they, routinely, respond with, “No problem.”  (WTF ever happened to “you’re welcome?”)

Anyhow, on the subject of snarly airlines, United is now in deep for their handling of one Dr. Dao, a guy whom they dragged bodily from a plane because, we’re asked to believe, they “needed his seat.” And while I question the good sense of a guy who didn’t simply get up and leave the plane when he was asked to do so,  especially once the bulls arrived, I can’t help thinking that if the bad publicity and the big lawsuit that's sure to come will help knock some of the attitude out of these a$$holes who run the airlines, then it’s all to the good.

***********  I was listening to the attorney for Dr. Dao, the guy who now stands to become very rich after the way United and Airport Security physically ejected him from an airplane.  As he droned out about how Dr. Dao was “standing up for airline passengers everywhere,” I turned to my wife and said, “It’s just a matter of time before somebody compares this guy to Rosa Parks.”

Well. The lawyer guy mentioned all the mail they’d been receiving, from all over the world (now, how in the hell do you suppose people found out that fast where to send their letters?), and he wasn’t more than two minutes in before he mentioned one letter writer from Ireland who said that Dr. Dao was “a modern-day, Asian Rosa Parks.”

Holy sh—.  Talk about stolen valor.

This guy's being mentioned in the same breath with Rosa Parks?  With a woman whose courageous stand started a city-wide movement that led to the lifting of a law requiring black people to sit in the backs of buses?   (A movement that led  to other civil rights advances; a movement that first brought to prominence a young Atlanta pastor named Martin Luther King, Jr.)

*********** It’s getting to be that time again this year…  A few years ago, when a local area high school’s principal retired, they narrowed the field of applicants to succeed him to six, and then to two.  Of the two,  one of them was from outside the district and the other was the current assistant principal. The job was finally offered to the outsider, a person with impressive credentials. But three of next year's seniors, who’d attended a "Meet the Candidates" night held by the school board,  took exception to the board's selection and circulated a petition, eventually  signed by more than half the school's student body, asking the board to reconsider its decision.  At the same time, a similar petition was submitted to the board by several teachers.

The board held firm, but good luck to the new principal coming into that climate. (The assistant principal, no doubt disappointed, denied any involvement in the petitions, but  seemed to tip her hand by telling the local paper she wasn't sure whether she'd stay on to assist the new principal.)

What really got my attention as I read the newspaper article was a comment by one of the student petitioners. He told the newspaper that there should have been student input in the decision, because "We're the final customers."

Whoa.  Time out.

Uh, actually fella, as long as you're going to use a business model, let me clear something up for you: students are not the "final customers" of a school.  Neither, although you'd never know it from the way administrators cave in to them, are their parents.

Customers, by definition, are purchasers - those who pay for a product or service. That would mean, then, that the customers of public schools are the taxpayers, the ones who pay for the product. It would be helpful to all concerned if educators would try to remember that. (Parents, of course, to the extent that they’re also taxpayers, are certainly among the customers, but by no means are they the only ones.)

The students are the product that the taxpayers are paying for, and somehow, to carry the analogy further, I don't see the people at Ford or General Motors, whose business it is to care what customers think, asking the cars for their input.


*********** Darwin Award  Nomination:  A 25-year-old Connecticut guy ran his car into a stone wall at 1:20 in the morning and was charged with operating under the influence.  His car was unregistered and uninsured.  And he was wearing a tee-shirt that read “HOLD MY BEER AND WATCH THIS.”

http://www.courant.com/breaking-news/hc-putnam-dwi-tshirt-0411-20170410-story.html



CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BERT BELL:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JERRY LOVELL - BELLEVUE, NEBRASKA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
WILL STOUT - WASILLA, ALASKA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
RODNEY LUNSFORD - DUBLIN, INDIANA

His given name was deBenneville Bell, but for almost his entire life, he was “Bert.”  He was truly a man of the people and a football lifer.  He’d known hard times in his days as a coach and owner, but football was in his blood, and he proved to be the perfect man for the NFL at a life-or-death point in its history.

There were no airs about him; he conducted a lot of the league business from the kitchen of his suburban Philadelphia home, where he could be reached, day or night, by anyone with league business to talk about.

One little-known bit of pro football history concerns his being an owner.  When the original Philadelphia-area NFL team, the Frankford Yellow Jackets, went out of business following the 1931 season, the league took over the franchise.

The NFL then spent a year looking for someone to operate a team in Philadelphia until July, 1933, when it awarded an expansion franchise to Bell and his partner, Lud Wray.  (Historical note: It’s not accurate to say that the Eagles were a continuation of the defunct Yellow Jackets.)

Wray, a college teammate of Bell’s, had played professionally and was head coach of the University of Pennsylvania (Penn, not Penn State) for three years until he was fired after the 1930 season.  Penn, used to success,  finished a disappointing 5-4, although to be fair to Lud Wray, the losses were to Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Cornell and Navy.  (His only comment at the time of his firing was a quote from the Sermon on the Mount: “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”)

NRA posterIn 1932 Wray coached the NFL Boston Braves (later to become the Washington Redskins), but in 1933 he hooked up with Bell to acquire the Philadelphia NFL franchise.   Bell and Wray named their new team the Eagles, after the symbol of new President Franklin Roosevelt’s National Recovery Administration.  

As part-owner of the Eagles, Wray became their first head coach.  (Lud Wray was legendary around Philadelphia.  When I was a high schooler, our coach, a Penn guy, would often refer to jumping jacks as “Lud Wrays.” Perhaps he invented them?)

Want another historical tidbit?  In 1933, with the hiring of Lone Star Dietz - who may or may not , it turns out, have been a real Sioux Indian - and the signing of several Indian players, the Boston Braves’ owner, George Preston Marshall, renamed his team - the Redskins.  Ironically, years later, Marshall, who had no objections to signing Indians,  would be the last NFL owner to sign a black player.

***********  My brush with Bert Bell took place when I was around ten or eleven.  Along with some other kids, I was at the Union League in downtown Philly to receive some sort of award.  (The Union League is about as prestigious as a city club can get.  It was formed in 1862 to support President Lincoln, and it has thrived ever since as THE club that Old Money belongs to - and New Money aspires to belong to.)

Anyhow, it was a pretty big event, and there were all sorts of representatives on hand from Philadelphia’s sports teams - players and coaches from Penn, the Phillies and A’s, the Warriors and the Eagles.

At some point, we kids scattered around the room to get as many autographs as possible.  I was already a very serious sport fan, and I knew all the stars from their pictures in the sports pages.

But I also knew who that older guy was over there, sitting at a table with a bunch of other guys about his age.  It was Bert Bell!  Holy sh—!  The Commissioner of the NFL!  (Historians will tell you that the NFL hadn't arrived as a big-time sport yet, but I didn't know that.)

I approached him and asked for his autograph and I remember the reaction to this day - his tablemates needled him and he laughed uproariously at the idea that some young kid would bypass all the big-name stars in the room and ask him for his autograph.  But he wouldn’t let a kid down, and I walked away with his signature.

http://www.unionleague.org

QuizAs much as any man, Bert Bell was responsible for the fact that in professional football, alone among major sports, a team in a small market like Green Bay could compete against  major-market franchises.  His dedication to providing a level playing field for all teams, and for always putting the interests of the league first, built the NFL to the point where it attained equal footing with college football.

He was born to a wealthy, aristocratic Philadelphia family, and attended the exclusive Haverford School. He attended Penn, where he was a four-year starter at quarterback, then remained at his alma mater as an assistant coach.  Off the field,  he acquired such a reputation as a hard-living playboy that his father disowned him.

He fell in love with a showgirl and managed to get her to marry him - but only after promising her he’d quit drinking.  He kept his pledge, and never took another drink.  In the depths of the Depression, he took $2500 he'd borrowed from her, and joined with a few partners in acquiring a pro football team.

He would own two different NFL teams (three, if you count the time during World War II when a manpower shortage forced him to merge his team with another team in the same state as his). For a brief - very  brief - period,  he coached as well as owned one of his own teams. By most measurements - either gate receipts or win-loss record - he was not successful as an owner. By any measurement, he was not  successful as a coach - his “career” win-loss record is 0-2.

But when he was put in charge of the league's fortunes, he proved to be the indispensable man.

He succeeded the first commissioner the NFL had ever had, and immediately upon taking office, had to deal with competition from the All-American Football Conference, a well-bankrolled rival league that challenged the NFL's domination of pro football. 

Then, after successfully bringing about a merger between the NFL and the AAFC,  he had to contend with raids on NFL rosters by the Canadian Football League.

Bell also inherited a potentially-disastrous point-shaving scandal involving members of the New York Giants, causing him such consternation about gamblers tainting the game that he established a league anti-gambling policy that exists to this day. (It’s likely that he would have resigned before presiding over a league in which Las Vegas fielded a team.)

Undoubtedly because he had first-hand experience as a “have-not” owner, he promoted the concept of the draft,  in which NFL teams would draft college players, and do so in the inverse order of their league finish the previous season.

He also established the NFL practice of starting out every season by matching strong teams against strong teams, weak against weak. "Weak teams should play other weak teams while the strong teams are playing other strong teams early in the year," he insisted. "It's the only way to keep more teams in contention longer into the season."

He also was responsible for professional sports' first - if limited - form of free agency, by which a player wishing to jump teams after his contract expired could play an "option year" with his old team, after which he would be free to go anywhere.

Under his leadership, pro football became the first major sport to become truly national, when Dan Reeves was given permission to move his Cleveland Rams to Los Angeles.

Fearing the the potential of television to ultimately destroy the live gate that all NFL teams then depended on, he rammed through a "blackout" policy which prohibited televising of any team's home games, whether sold out or not.

"Television creates interest and this can benefit pro football," he conceded. "But it's only good as long as you can protect your home gate. You can't give fans a game for free on television and also expect them to pay to go the ball park to see the same game."

Bell remained totally opposed to a policy, since adopted,  of waiting to see if a game sold out, and then televising it once it was. He argued, ”It's not honest to sell tickets to thousands of people on the premise of no television, and then after all the tickets are gone, to give the game away on television."

Partly as a result of his insistence on the blackout,  attendance per game more than doubled during his tenure as commissioner,

Bert Bell died with his boots on, suffering a heart attack while attending a late-season game in 1959 between the Eagles and Steelers, the two teams with which he'd been involved as an owner.

He was first to grant recognition to the NFL Players' Association, and the NFL Players' Pension Plan was named in his honor.

He was a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's first class.

Thanks to the sound foundation he built, he turned a prosperous league over to his successor, Pete Rozelle, who would take it to the very top of American sports.


quiz photo***********QUIZ:  A native of Gary, Indiana, he is perhaps the greatest athlete ever to come out of the Hoosier State.  In high school he was the national scoring leader in football with 150 points and a star on the school basketball team. He won state titles in both the 100-yard dash and the 220 low hurdles, and in the summer he threw two no-hitters in baseball.

But it was in college where he became the best-known football player in America, as one of the greatest single wing tailbacks ever to play the game.

In his three years as a varsity player, his team went 19-4-1.  He also found time in the off-season to play varsity basketball for two years.

He led the nation in scoring in both his junior and senior years.   He rushed for 2151 yards and 33 touchdowns and threw for 1396 yards and 16 touchdowns.  He averaged 38 yards per punt and he kicked 33 extra points and two field goals. And he played all 60 minutes eight times.

He was a unanimous All-American both years, and after his senior year received every individual college honor it’s possible to win.

After he graduated, he starred in a movie based on his college football career.

In World War II he served as a pilot in the Army Air Corps, and twice had to parachute from his planes before they crashed, once in a jungle in South America, and once behind enemy lines in Japanese-occupied China.   For his bravery in action he was awarded the Silver Star

After the War, he briefly played professional football, but gave it up to embark instead on a long and successful career as a broadcaster.

He and his wife, a former actress,  had three children: one daughter married a famous singer, another a well-known automobile executive.  His son was an outstanding wishbone quarterback at a major college and is now a well-known actor.

ANSWERS TO coachwyatt@aol.com - be sure to include your name and your town



american flag TUESDAY,  APRIL 11,  2017  - “When people get used to preferential treatment, equal treatment seems like discrimination.”  Dr. Thomas Sowell

*********** Surprise!  Boys can run faster than girls.

In Connecticut, a high school boy who “identifies” as a girl (calling himself/herself “Andraya”) has been smoking everybody in girls’ track.  And to show what a wonderful job our schools do in teaching tolerance, it seems, from what I can read, that everybody’s just fine with it.

It’s only a matter of time before an all-boys (identifying a girls, of course) relay team cleans up at a girls’ state meet.

http://www.courant.com/sports/high-schools/hc-hs-cromwell-track-andraya-yearwood-0407-20170406-story.html

*********** “In preparing boys to become tough combat officers, it is especially important to enforce a rugged, though sane, approach to injuries.  In battle, it is fatal for the living to grieve over the dead or wounded.  In football, we operated on the assumption that in 70 or 80 per cent of the injuries, the player could carry on.  If you got softhearted and gave him two days off, he’d need a lot more than that before he got back into action.” 

That was Colonel Earl “Red” Blaik, legendary Army football coach from 1940-1958, in his memoirs, “You Have to Pay the Price,” written in 1960.

(Just in case you wondered where all those insensitive football coaches got all their “play while hurt” ideas - those ideas helped build the culture that helped us win World War II.

And they’re the same ideas that today’s libs have been working so hard to shield our little boys from.

After all, who needs toughness in today’s more enlightened time?  What we need is sensitivity.  Toughness?  Not when we live in an age where we can pay other people’s children to defend our country.)

*********** Maybe I shouldn’t be telling you this, because from what I understand, it’s going to cost a bunch of money to undo something  I did 40 years ago, but considering that the statute of limitations has long since passed, here goes…

Banks BravesIt was 1977 and I’d been hired as head coach and AD at Banks High School in Banks, Oregon, a small town about 30 miles west of Portland.  As one of my first orders of business, I set out to come up with a cool logo for the helmets.  There’s a bit of design in my background - I once spent the better part of a year in college intending to major in architecture, and before getting into high school coaching I’d worked in advertising and marketing and for a commercial printing firm - so it was a pretty easy task.   Banks’ teams were the Braves - and, boy, did I have a great Brave. Well, actually - Dartmouth did.  From the letterhead of some of the stuff their coach had sent me back when I was in high school, I’d saved the logo - a profile of a Brave,  most likely a Mohawk or a member of another Iroquois Confederation tribe.  He was very cool looking, my idea of a true Indian brave. He was definitely no one to mess with.   I photocopied the logo, sized it correctly, then cut it and pasted it inside a large “B,”  gold with blue trim.

And I sent the artwork off to a decal supplier, and that was that.  Looked nice.

I only stayed at Banks for two years, and then I moved on to a job much closer to home in Vancouver, Washington (Banks had been an hour’s commute one way).  But the logo stayed, and wound up on everything - uniforms, message boards, and the gym floor.  What the hell - glad they liked it.

But eventually,  Banks got caught up in the state of Oregon’s hysteria over anything deemed remotely offensive to Indians - er, Native Americans, er, Natives.

The state  managed to remove most traces of offending nicknames and logos from most state high schools, but Banks somehow held on.  Finally, faced with the inevitable, they managed to work out a compromise with a nearby tribe:  they could keep the nickname - but that damned logo had to go.

What to do about a new logo?  Well.  From the AP’s story…

The district’s new mascot, designed by the tribe and district with help from Nike, will now be two capital B’s aligned back-to-back and surrounded by a zig-zagging line. Viewed horizontally, the B’s look like a mountain range and symbolize the town’s location at the crossroads of coastal mountains and a fertile valley.

Whatever.

Me?  I truly thought that that guy was one great representation of a brave - still do.  And I thought that naming your teams after a class of people known to fight fiercely and to the finish was paying tribute to them - still  do. 

I had nothing to do with the nickname.  But I confess to being the logo guy, and for that I apologize to any and all native Americans offended by it.  No insult or offense intended.  (Dartmouth having long ago dropped their “Indians” nickname in favor of “Big Green,” I rather doubt that anybody there will hold my shameless use of their discontinued symbol against me.)

In the meantime, Banks schools estimate it’ll take some $95,000 to replace the now-offensive logo on all school property - uniforms and facilities.   (That’s where I figure the statute of limitations comes in. If it doesn’t, I’ll just bill them $2500 a year for the use of my art work and call it even.  And hope that Dartmouth doesn't find out.)

https://coachad.com/news/oregon-school-keeps-braves-nickname-in-agreement-with-tribe/

*********** I should hate Harvard, I suppose, but I don’t.  Yes, they’re my old school’s archrival, but they’ve always been good competitors and they’ve never been snotty about the fact that for the last decade, in football, they’ve played Navy to Yale’s Army.

So I rooted for their hockey team in the Frozen Four, and felt bad when they lost in OT to Minnesota-Duluth.

An interesting sidenote was the role a Navy SEAL played in helping the Crimson hockey team get as far as they did.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/colleges/2017/04/04/harvard/AgSPldJ6glYl0larMuUGtL/story.html#comments

*********** Not to accuse the NFL of hypocrisy or anything, but less than a month after approving - by a vote of 31-1 - the relocation of the Oakland Raiders to the once-forbidden city of Las Vegas, it appears that Big Football could fine several of its players who took part in something called the Pro Football Arm Wrestling Championship.  The competition, set to be shown on TV in May, took place in - omitted - a casino, where league rules prohibit player appearances.

This ought to be good: one of the players is the Steelers. James Harrison, who has never been known to back down from a fight. 

Stay tuned.

https://lasvegassun.com/news/2017/apr/09/report-nfl-players-could-be-fined-for-part-in-las/

*********** They may not be the real thing, but to me, college football spring games are still a lot better than anything else we’ve had to watch since the national championship game, and Saturday I gorged myself on watching Ole Miss, Purdue, Auburn and Mississippi State. 

Couple of observations:

1. Teams sure are looking more and more alike offensively.  The differences are very subtle and probably not discernible to the average viewer. The danger is that if they’re all doing somewhat the same thing, it becomes more than ever a question of who has the best players - which means more pressure to recruit, which means a greater likelihood of cheating.

2. Nobody had given the equipment guys the NCAA’s new “pants and knee pads must cover the knee” memo yet.

*********** It’s been more than two years since former Army fullback - and Black Lion Award winner - Mike Viti made his walk across America to honor the more than 6800 soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen who died in battle since 9/11, but I was reminded of it once again when my friend Greg Koenig  sent me a nice article he’d come across.

Mike is now back at West Point, coaching the Army fullbacks.  I told Greg I can only imagine what a great fullback he’d be in Army’s current offense - the wishbone - or, for that matter, the Double Wing.

http://mweb.cbssports.com/general/feature/24756344/a-walk-to-remember

*********** Tim Tebow may have been mocked by the Main Stream Media during his days in the Big Time - his openly-expressed Christian beliefs being so, you know, controversial - but in his new life as a minor league baseball player, he is one of the biggest things ever to hit Columbia, South Carolina.

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/04/09/sports/baseball/tim-tebow-south-carolina-columbia-fireflies-mets.html?referer=http://www.drudgereport.com/

*********** Tony Romo???  Doing CBS’ top game every Sunday???

I have nothing against the guy and I actually thought he was a pretty good quarterback overall.

But geez - it’s not as if he was so popular - except perhaps in Cowboy land - that you’d expect CBS to slip him right into its number one broadcast team.  But there you go.

Oh, well.  It's not necessarily permanent.   You can always get injured in the broadcast booth…

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/pattisonave/Phil-Simms-Tony-Romo-Jim-Nantz-CBS-NFL.html


Buff DonelliCORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BUFF DONELLI-  In a more formal time, when it wasn’t always considered proper just to call a person by his nickname, he was often referred to in print as Aldo “Buff” Donelli.  But NOBODY ever called him that.  NOBODY ever called him anything but “Buff.”

JOE GUTILLA -  AUSTIN, TEXAS - When I read your quiz this morning I was immediately reminded of the Saturday I spent at Nickerson Field in Boston watching one of my former high school players.  

He was offered a full-ride to BU out of JC, and while I was coaching in NH at that time he invited my wife and I down to Boston to visit, and watch him play as BU's starting NT against UNH.

In one of the most thrilling college football games I've seen.  BU lost in double OT 52-51 when their game tying PAT to send the game into triple OT hit the back of the helmet of one of the BU linemen, bounced around, and was picked up by a BU player who apparently ran it into the end zone to WIN the game, only to have the play nullified because fans had stormed the field.  It was crazy.  

Which leads me to the quiz.  The coach was Buff Donelli.  The school was... Boston University.  And the player was Harry Agganis.

JOHN VERMILLION - St. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA - By the way, I loved all the cool info about Alan Ameche. Also, you're right on about ESPN's moving of Sage S. I haven't been able to watch that abomination of a network for quite a while. In fact, I love your blog, period. Thanks.

KC SMITH - WALPOLE, MASSACHUSETTS - Buff Donelli coached the Golden Greek!
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA - I was able to hear coach Gillespie talk at Notre Dame......stressed fundamentals and communication......it's bad about Sage Steele......a good reporter( IU grad) who was punished for reporting the other side of the coin
WILL STOUT - WASILLA, ALASKA

COLUMBIA PRE-SEASONAlthough formally he was always referred to as Aldo “Buff” Donelli, no one ever called him anything but “Buff.”

He is, and will almost certainly remain,  the only American college football coach ever to score a goal in a World Cup soccer game.

And in all likelihood he will remain forever the only person ever to coach a college team and a professional team at the same time.
 
Buff Donelli grew up playing soccer, but he was also an outstanding football player.  He played college football at Duquesne, where he punted and kicked field goals with either foot.  An outstanding soccer player, he scored America's only goal in a 7-1 loss to Italy in the 1934 World Cup. It would be 56 years before an American team would score another goal against Italy in World Cup play.
 
In 1941, while coaching Duquesne,  he was hired to coach the Pittsburgh Steelers at the same time. He coached the Steelers in the morning and the Dukes in the afternoon, but after five NFL losses, commissioner Elmer Layden ordered him to relinquish one job or another, and he chose to stay with Duquesne.  Good decision: Duquesne finished undefeated.

After stints as an assistant at Columbia and as head coach of the NFL Cleveland Rams,  then military service in World War II, he was hired at Boston University.

With B.U. teams that featured the great Harry Agganis (the “Golden Greek”), he compiled from 1947 through 1956, a 46-34-4 record, once finishing in the A.P. top twenty.
 
From Boston U, he moved to Columbia, succeeding the legendary Lou Little at Little’s request.

He coached at Columbia from 1957 through 1967, during which time his son, Dick, played quarterback.  In 1961, he coached the Lions to  their only Ivy League championship ever, one they had to share with Harvard.


http://www.nytimes.com/1994/08/11/obituaries/buff-donelli-college-football-coach-dies-at-87.html

His greatest player - Harry Agganis
https://www.bu.edu/today/2010/icons-among-us-the-golden-greek/


Quiz***********  QUIZ - As much as any man, he was responsible for the fact that in professional football, alone among major sports, a team in a small market like Green Bay could compete financially against  major-market franchises.  His dedication to providing a level playing field for all teams, and for always putting the interests of the league first, built the NFL to the point where it attained equal footing with college football.

He was born to a wealthy, aristocratic Philadelphia family, and attended the exclusive Haverford School. He attended Penn, where he was a four-year starter at quarterback, then remained at his alma mater as an assistant coach.  Off the field,  he acquired such a reputation as a hard-living playboy that his father disowned him.

He fell in love with a showgirl and managed to get her to marry him - but only after promising her he’d quit drinking.  He kept his pledge, and never took another drink.  In the depths of the Depression, he took $2500 he'd borrowed from her, and joined with a few partners in acquiring a pro football team.

He would own two different NFL teams (three, if you count the time during World War II when a manpower shortage forced him to merge his team with another team in the same state as his). For a brief - very  brief - period,  he coached as well as owned one of his own teams. By most measurements - either gate receipts or win-loss record - he was not successful as an owner. By any measurement, he was not successful as a coach - his “career” win-loss record is 0-2.

But  put in charge of the league's fortunes, he proved to be the indispensable man.

He succeeded the first commissioner the NFL had ever had, and immediately upon taking office, had to deal with competition from the All-American Football Conference, a well-bankrolled rival league that challenged the NFL's domination of pro football. 

Then, after successfully bringing about a merger between the NFL and the AAFC,  he had to contend with raids on NFL rosters by the Canadian Football League.

He also inherited a potentially-disastrous point-shaving scandal involving members of the New York Giants, causing him such consternation about gamblers tainting the game that he established a league anti-gambling policy that exists to this day. (It’s likely that he would have resigned before presiding over a league in which Las Vegas fielded a team.)

Undoubtedly because he had first-hand experience as a “have-not” owner, he promoted the concept of the draft,  in which NFL teams would draft college players, and do so in the inverse order of their league finish the previous season.

He also established the NFL practice of starting out every season by matching strong teams against strong teams, weak against weak. "Weak teams should play other weak teams while the strong teams are playing other strong teams early in the year," he insisted. "It's the only way to keep more teams in contention longer into the season."

He also was responsible for professional sports' first - if limited - form of free agency, by which a player wishing to jump teams after his contract expired could play an "option year" with his old team, after which he would be free to go anywhere.

Under his leadership, pro football became the first major sport to become truly national, when Dan Reeves was given permission to move his Cleveland Rams to Los Angeles.

Fearing the the potential of television to ultimately destroy the live gate that all NFL teams then depended on, he rammed through a "blackout" policy which prohibited televising of any team's home games, whether sold out or not.

"Television creates interest and this can benefit pro football," he conceded. "But it's only good as long as you can protect your home gate. You can't give fans a game for free on television and also expect them to pay to go the ball park to see the same game."

He remained totally opposed to a policy, since adopted,  of waiting until to see if a game sold out, and then televising it once it was. He argued, ”It's not honest to sell tickets to thousands of people on the premise of no television, and then after all the tickets are gone, to give the game away on television."

Partly as a result of his insistence on the blackout,  attendance per game more than doubled during his tenure as commissioner,

He died with his boots on, suffering a heart attack while attending a late-season game in 1959 between the Eagles and Steelers, the two teams with which he'd been involved as an owner.

He was first to grant recognition to the NFL Players' Association, and the NFL Players' Pension Plan was named in his honor.

He was a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's first class.

Thanks to the sound foundation he built, he turned a prosperous league over to successor, who would take it to the very top of American sports.

ANSWERS TO coachwyatt@aol.com - be sure to include your name and your town


american flag FRIDAY,  APRIL 7,  2017  - "I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they’d never expect it."   Jack Handey

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

I seldom miss the news even when vacationing in South Carolina so the story on fixing the " home made hair cut" made me chuckle. For thirteen years we ran those basic run and pass plays you taught us on your first visit in 1995. Over the years we added some formations and from time to time a trick play or two. However we stuck with the basic DW and resisted making major changes.  I seldom missed a clinic when you were in the east and enjoyed picking the brains of other DW coaches. It seemed as if I always learned something to make the DW work better. We averaged ten wins a year and a hand full of championships. We did it by listening to what you had to say,  concentrating on the little things, teaching fundamental football, and working hard on special teams.

During that ten year period we won four western Maine titles, we were second place finishers four times and we played in four state title games winning two. We averaged ten wins a year for the thirteen years we were there and only failed to make the play offs that first year. But what  success we had was because of you and along the way we added the small drop step for the QB, the hockey stick for the QB, more unbalanced formations, moving wings up, the stack, the Wildcat, the xx lead and a variety of line drills such as the circle for line pulls and the bench to teach the stance. All things we learned from you and the clinics and many other small things too numerous to mention lol. Also over the years the tip page invaluable.

Today I would probably move to the open wing but over the years  package DW, was good to us.

So I chuckled when I read your advice to the staff that went out own their own and asked for help. Having lived it I knew what you said was dead on.

Jack Tourtillotte
Rangely, Maine

Jack,

I appreciate that.

There’s just so many guys out there right now who got their Double Wing from God-knows-where and there’s so many of them who’ve done a crappy job of running it’s led an awful lot of people to believe that “it doesn’t work.”

I guarantee you that if you and Tim had still been coaching at Boothbay, you’d have won a couple more state titles since 2007.

Enjoy SC!

Before becoming principal at Maine’s Boothbay Region HS, Jack Tourtillotte had been head football coach at Old Town, Maine.  At Boothbay, once he had things under control as principal, he was able to double as offensive coordinator under head coach Tim Rice.  Before Jack and Tim Rice took over in 1996, Boothbay, with just 285 students the smallest school in the state of Maine playing football, had won just 30 games in the 30 years between 1965 and 1995 and the community had seriously debated dropping football.

Things got off to a slow start.  In 1996, sitting at 0-7, Jack, figuring he had nothing to lose, decided to try the Double Wing, based on what he’d read in an article I’d written for Scholastic Coach Magazine. Not only did they win their next game, but in the one after that they upset a playoff team to finish 2-7.  In Boothbay, a two-game winning streak was enough to keep the old-timers talking all through the long winter; they had no idea that what they’d seen was the start of a golden era for Boothbay football.

What sold Jack on the Double Wing was  the fact that in the season’s final game, Boothbay bobbled the opening kickoff before recovering it on their own four - and then put on a 96-yard drive that took 26 plays and ate up 18 minutes.  That’s when Jack had me out to Boothbay to put on a clinic for his staff and a few other New England-area coaches.  What a great time we all had!

The Boothbay Seahawks kept improving, and by 1998,  they made it to the state final game before falling to Stearns High of Millinocket, 12-6.  They came so close: the game was tied 6-6 with three minutes to play, and a Boothbay drive had the Seahawks on the Sterns 38 yard line.  A 25-yard criss-criss counter took the ball down to the Stearns 13, but the Seahawks were called for holding.  Backed up to midfield, the drive stalled and they had to punt - and Stearns returned the punt for the winning score!

Tim Rice was named Maine Coach of the Year for all classes.   Over the next nine seasons, the Seahawks made it to the state finals four more times, and won the state championship twice.

And then, following the 2007 season,  Jack and Tim retired.

I’m nobody’s fool.  I had just taken the head job at Ocean Shores, Washington, and I needed a good assistant, and I managed to con Jack into joining me there for the season.   Jack did a terrific job as my line coach, and although our defense was always touch-and-go, our Double Wing was so effective that we went 7-3 with a team that had gone 1-9 the year before.  (We lost those three games by a total of 11 points.)

 Jack and a college teammate of mine originally from Alabama named Mike Creamer stayed with us at our place and helped me greatly.   Jack loves life and can have a good time anywhere and he was great company.  He and Mike quickly hooked up with a group of bridge players in town.  That kept them busy a couple of nights a week, and several evenings after practice,  Jack,  a true  Mainer,  would make great use of the local seafood, treating us to his home-made clam chowder and fried oysters.  A highlight for my wife was when Jack’s lovely wife, Sue, came out to join us for a week.  (Sure was nice of her to lend me Jack for the season.)

*********** Wayne Duke, former commissioner of the Big Ten died last week.  In his 18 years as commissioner, he did a number of things to improve the Big Ten and college sports in general.

He forged the idea of revenue sharing - no matter their teams’ records, all schools shared in the conference’s revenue.

He opened up the Big Ten to more bowl games. When he took over, only the Big Ten chamapion played in a bowl game - The Rose Bowl.  That policy was changed in 1975, allowing more schools to appear in bowl games - and producing more conference revenues for its members to sha