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

american flag FRIDAY, MAY 27,  2016  “War must become as obsolete as cannibalism.” Andrew Carnegie

*********** Memorial Day, once known as "Decoration Day," was originally 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 learned how suddenly 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 Forced, it is useful to go back to another time, to 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.

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 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 with 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 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 every year at this time 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. 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) in the spring of 1915, 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. 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 a young English soldier going off to fight in World War I,  and the grief of his father at learning of his death, is heartbreaking, and 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:   
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."

*********** He's gone and left us now, but  George Jones' music will live on.

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.)


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 is 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, decide 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. Coach Hugh Wyatt can be contacted by e mail ( 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, 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.

*********** 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.

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 a embittered, now-old man.

Trigger warning: So is this..

*********** 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 bought paid ads in our local paper seem to think, to remember some loved one who 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.  Died.  I hate to ruin their grieiving by telling them that Memorial Day is not about them. Not about remembering Uncle Charlie. But somebody's got to.

There are other days for that.

And there are also 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 tell you which presidents it refers to.)

St. Patrick’s Day - Scarcely observed in Ireland, it’s a massive drunk in much of the US

Easter - (Where it's still called "Easter") Bunnies and Easter eggs.  Spring Break.

Mother’s Day - This is the one that stands out.  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 has 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 (And baseball double headers, for those old enough to remember.)

Labor Day - The end of summer; 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 takn it over and made it 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." The “holiday” in “Happy Holidays.”

*********** In a Wall Street Journal article at this time a year ago, 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 referring to “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.

*********** For nine years, we lived in Western Maryland, first in Frederick, then in Hagerstown, and one of our favorite things to do with our kids was to pile in our van and drive to Antietam Battlefield, just 20 miles from Hagerstown. Gettysburg wasn’t that far away, either, and we went there a few times, but Gettysburg was usually crowded and, well, Gettysburg is, I'm sorry to say,  cluttered. Every unit that ever fought there, every state that ever had units that fought there, seemingly every family that had a soldier who ever fought there, has erected a monument somewhere on the battlefield, to the point where it’s a bit difficult to picture what things must have looked like in 1863.  Throw in the close-by souvenir shops and similar catchpennies that await the throngs of tourists, and…well, let's just say that Gettysburg has been loved to death.

But not far away, there’s Antietam, site of the bloodiest single day of the war, where a Union victory gave Abraham Lincoln the chance he had been looking for to announce the emancipation of slaves - well, in the Confederate States, at least.  A symbolic gesture, true, but an enormous gesture - one that brought to an end the notion that the war was being fought just to “save the union” - from that point it was just as much to end slavery.

My wife and I paid another visit to Antietam at just about this time last year, but that visit, coming so close to Memorial Day,
seemed especially poignant. The Antietam battlefield is just outside the lovely old town of Sharpsburg, Maryland.  Southerners called the battle the Battle of Sharpsburg, while Northerners called it  “Antietam” for the creek that flows through the area. (Southerners named battles for nearby towns, northerners for nearby geographic features.  The Southerners' Manassas, for example,  is better known by the Northerner's name,  Bull Run. Winners write  history.)

Sharpsburg still looks, with the exception of the paved road running through it, much as it would have in 1862, and although it may have an ice cream parlor or two, it has not otherwise succumbed to commercialization. Neither has the nearby, slightly larger town of Boonsboro.
The battlefield itself is beautiful, rolling Maryland farmland, nestled against the western slope of South Mountain.  Although marked with a few columns and statues and informative signs here and there, it has for the most part been spared the pressure to honor with a statue or a stone every single indivdual or unit that ever fought there, and as a result, it’s possible to tour the area and see it very much as it would have looked in 1862 - just before all hell broke loose. 

Bloody Lane thenBloody Lane Now
No place is the contrast between the bucolic peacefulness of the countryside and the butchery that took place there greater  than at the Sunken Road, a wagon lane between two fields worn into a trench by years of use. With Confederates entrenched in the sunken road, fence posts piled up on both sides to reinforce their position, Union forces attacked, and after three hours of fighting - to no conclusion - more than 5,500 men on both sides were either killed or wounded. My photo was taken on Monday, May 18, 2015.  It was beautiful and peaceful, the way it's been, with one brief interruption, for hundreds of years, and I found it impossible to picture the horror that took place there more than 150 years before, along that quarter-mile stretch of road that has been known ever since as Bloody Lane.

american flag TUESDAY, MAY 24,  2016  “I can only please one person per day.  Today is not your day.”  Malcolm Berko, financial advisor, in giving a correspondent an answer he wasn’t hoping to get


NEW! 5-DVD OPEN WING "VIRTUAL CLINIC" - If you've been followIng my site for the last 3+ years, you know that I've been working on combining the solid, sound blocking and running game of the Double Wing with the passing game of the Run and Shoot that I ran way back in the early 80s.  I came to call what resulted the "Open Wing" (thanks to my friend Brian Mackell) and in our first year of running it at North Beach High (Ocean Shores, Washington), while testing it and refinining it,  we finished 7-3, only the school's second winning record in ten years.  In 2014 and 2015, as we got better at what we were doing, we had back-to-back unbeaten regular seasons, finishing 10-1 and 9-1.  In 2015, we were the highest-scoring team in the state at all levels in the regular season. 

Now, after three years of work, I believe I have something to share with other coaches.  (Several of us got together at a clinic in Kansas City back in the spring, and the coaches who attended seemed to think so, too.) 
If you weren't able to make it to that Kansas City clinic, here's your chance to "attend."  Because I was able to record the clinic, I have been able to re-create it, assembling all the video that I showed, plus quite a bit more that I felt I needed to add.  The result is a series of five DVDs, each roughly an hour in length: the first one gets you started with the basics, and from there, each DVD is can stand on its own - the second one offers a basic offensive package to get anyone started, the third introduces our passing game, the fourth shows how we have expanded the offense through formationing, and the fifth gets into the Open Wing with a QB under center - plus the very basic but solid Double Wing package that we jump in and out of. 

Because I believe that the entire series is important, I've priced it as a set so that you can purchase all five DVDs for less than the cost of buying four  separately.  The first three DVDs will be ready to ship by June  6, and numbers 4 and 5 will be shipped no later than July 1. 












10.  PULL -


12. TRAP


***********   China 
was going to  be next…

michigan campaussie camp

Smilin’ Jim Harbaugh could have stayed stateside and restricted his “satellite camps” to places like Florida and California, but no…

He had to put on a camp in Melbourne, Australia.

Who knows what his intent was,
Australia not exactly being noted as a recruiting hotbed for American football,  but for some reason - despite having an NCAA compliance department at his beck and call, he fell afoul of NCAA regulations, and now the camp is off.

How like Coach Loose Cannon to set something like this up without checking things out before. Nice,  stiffing people like Nathan Chapman.

If I had to guess I’d say that Harbaugh's going to go down, and it's going to hurt Michigan.  He’s made way too many enemies already.  He may be a hell of a coach, but he’s not bigger than the game.

 (And to think that the Detroit papers hung Rich Rodriguez out to dry for running a little overtime on some off-season practices)

*********** Today’s NFL Character Lesson for all you young football players:

Janoris Jenkins, the New York Giants’ costly, new free-agency acquisition,  has five children, raging in age from 2 to 8,  with four different women.  He’s only 27, so I’m betting he’s not done contributing to the future of the human race.

“It ain’t a lot,” Jenkins told The New York Post. “It’s just five kids. A lot is something you can’t handle, and I can handle five kids.”

He told The Post’s Paul Schwartz that everything’s cool with the kids’ mothers.

“Have you ever heard anything about my baby mamas?” he asked. “Have you ever seen my baby mamas come out and say, ‘Oh, he’s not being a father?’ When they were going with me, they understand, ‘OK, he’s a football player. He’s gonna have multiple women.’ That just comes with dating a football player.”

And now that he’s just signed a $62.5 million deal with the Giants that includes $29 million in guaranteed money?

“It didn’t change me,” he said. “All it did was, I called each one of my baby mamas and said, ‘Hey, I’m gonna give you all extra a month. You’re gonna go from this to this. Either you cool with it or you’re not. If you ain’t cool with it, then do what you got to do, you feel me?’ I haven’t had any problem.”

Wow.  That just comes with dating a football player.

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

I stayed up the other night watching ESPN's 30 for 30 "Four Falls of Buffalo."  I rarely feel for pro athletes, but the pain of Scott Norwood was palatable.  My sons, my wife and I sat there in silence.  You wanted to give him a rewind, a do over, a whatever, but that's not real life so instead we sat there and just watched.  Him missing.  Him on the field after the kick.  Him in the locker room.  Him at the press conferences (30 MINUTES WITH THE POOR GUY!).  And then him at the rally after the team returned to Buffalo.  

The rally at Buffalo.  The city chanted for Scott Norwood to talk.  They offered him grace and love and adoration.  And he responded as a champion, or at least one worthy of being a champion, should.  Amazing.

I don't remember the gentleman's name, but I believe he was a Bills coach, who said he named his adopted son after Scott Norwood "because some day I want to tell him 'that is how you should act when you grow up...just like the man you are named after.'"  

And then I thought of Cam Newton.  

We joke about 'keekers.'  But Scott Norwood deserves the respect of coaches and athletes everywhere.  I'd say Cam acted more like we'd expect a keeker to act (like all those soccer players).

Todd Hollis
Chemistry/Physical Science
Head Football Coach
Elmwood High School

Have to agree with you wholeheartedly.  I am something of a Buffalo sympathizer (“fan” would put my health in jeopardy, I’m afraid) and I watched the show and hurt for all those fans and players and coaches.  And, for sure, for Scott Norwood, who exemplifies everything we try to instill in kids.  It was definitely a show worth watching, one of the best of an overall excellent series.

*********** It seemed as if “The White House” sprung on us a dictate that all the equality that Title IX was designed to provide for women  must similarly be extended to “transgender” types claiming to be women,  simply by substituting the word “gender” in place of sex.

Turns out that this had been in the works for some time, thanks to relentless pressure from assorted LGBT and Transgender advocate groups given ready access to the White House, and they pulled the trigger when the North Carolina Bathroom Kerfuffle got national attention.  Meanwhile, the Charlotte anybody-can-use-any-bathroom-they-want law that led to the whole North Carolina issue came about when funding by organizations in New York and Washington managed to elect a gay-friendly Charlotte city council.

Think words don’t have meaning?  Now you know why the word “sex” other than as an activity has been dropped from the language, in favor of “gender.”  It was for a reason.

Sex is what we’re born with.  We have no say in the matter.  In some very, very rare cases, we may not like it,  but that’s that.  Or at least, that’s been that for, oh, several thousand years.

But this is the Twenty-first Century, as progressives delight in telling us, where we’re so-o-o- enligtended that Gender, they also like to tell us, is “fluid.”  We can, their theory goes, go back and forth at our whim.

And Our President signs off on the idiotic claim that merely “identifying” as a female entitles a sexually-equipped male to all the rights and protections  to which a woman-by-birth is entitled.  True to their courageous nature, our lawmakers in Washington have had little to say on this one, but just wait till a progressive Senator’s daughter loses her starting position on the girls’ soccer team at her exclusive Washington area prep school to a boy who was just cut by the boys’ soccer team and now “identifies” as a female.

Barack Obama says that a male who calls himself a female is a female.

Abraham Lincoln said,  “How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg? Four. Saying that a tail is a leg doesn't make it a leg.”

Who you gonna believe?

*********** The San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus is upset with the San Diego Padres.  Seems that as they stood on the field at Petco Park to sing the national anthem, a recorded female voice of the anthem drowned them out.

In a statement, the chorus said:

 “What should have been a night of joy and celebration at Petco Park last night, instead turned into a nightmare raising serious questions about homophobia within the San Diego Padres organization and its relationship with the LGBT community.”

“… 100 volunteer singers of the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus took to the field to proudly sing the National Anthem. Instead, in front of the large crowd gathered for the LA Dodgers game, the San Diego Padres played the recorded voice of a woman singing the anthem.

“No attempt was made to stop the recording and start over. No announcement of apology was made to the singers or their friends and families in the stands. No attempt to correct the situation occurred other than to force the 100 men to stand in the spotlight of center field for the song’s duration and then be escorted off the field to the heckles of baseball fans shouting homophobic taunts including “You sing like a girl.”
Uh-oh.   Is "You throw like a girl" a homophobic taunt?

Anyhow,  get this-  they want the Padres and Major League Baseball to investigate the incident as a possible hate crime.

*********** “The only rule change I would recommend would be a penalty and a loss of down for offensive holding. If a rule cannot be administered, as the officials claim, then the penalty should be made greater.”

Frank Broyles, longtime Arkansas coach and AD, in an interview on “Scholastic Coach,” August 1986

american flag FRIDAY, MAY 20,  2016  “I would rather be certain of a good result than hopeful of a great one.”  Warren Buffett













*********** Clark Welch was one of the most highly-decorated Black Lions of the Vietnam conflict.

He died recently, and he is being honored by the good people of his hometown of Durham, New Hampshire…

*********** As the Centers for Disease Control report:

In 2014, a total of 66% of reported TB cases in the United States occurred among foreign-born persons. The case rate among foreign-born persons (15.4 cases per 100,000 persons) in 2014 was approximately 13 times higher than among U.S.-born persons (1.2 cases per 100,000 persons).
An alternative public health policy– one that the United States used for decades in the latter part of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century–is to test immigrants and refugees for infectious disease before they are allowed into the country.

In that earlier era, those who tested positive were sent home. Today, however, many are welcomed in and pose a risk of infecting the rest of the American population.

So you  Feds can’t even test newcomers for TB (and other nasty diseases) but we’re expected to believe you're going to weed out all potential terrorists, right?

***********   "There's s sucker born every minute": P. T.  Barnum

"And most of male suckers think they're going to be pro football players":  Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy

This was sent me by Shep Clarke, of Puyallup, Washington...

nfl summer camp
(Pay Special attention to that word "Elite")

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy has launched a scouting campaign  (more about the scouting below)  to uncover the nation’s premier high school and middle school football players to participate in their invitation-only, scouting and educational event this summer.

The world-class camps will be held on new fields at Hall of Fame Village, a $500 million development of the Pro Football Hall of Fame campus in Canton, Ohio. There will be two exciting sessions with a limited number of slots available by position. One session will be dedicated to the nation’s top middle school athletes, and one session will be dedicated to the nation’s top high school underclassmen.

Rod Woodson, Hall of Fame defensive back and current assistant defensive backs coach for the Oakland Raiders, will lead the camps along with several other former NFL coaches. In addition to coaching on the field, Woodson will lead breakout sessions on character, respect, leadership and integrity.

(You'd think that by now they'd realize that when Americans hear the words 
"character, respect, leadership and integrity," the last thing that comes to mind is the NFL.  But there's no quit in Big Football. They keep on pushing.)

A formal invite is required to attend each session, and (here's where the "elite" business comes in) athletes are encouraged to nominate themselves (how elite can you get?)  or other players through the nomination process below. (Here's where the scouting somes in.)  If you believe you are a top football player in your region,
(Self-scouting, eh?) make sure to sign up below.

In addition to STACK providing coverage of the event for millions of athletes nationwide, will be on hand to evaluate talent.

CLICK HERE to Nominate Yourself or Another Player

More About the Camps:

The Game Changers Camp, held July 10-13, 2016, features customized programming, testing and education, and caters to the top 250 high school athletes. The participants will be immersed in three and half days of football programming featuring NFL Master Coaches. Highlights of the curriculum include 24 hours of elite athlete training, comprehensive testing, master coaching and competition. The Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy’s football curriculum has been developed by current and past NFL personnel and experts in youth athletic development.

The Playmakers Camp, held July 14-17, caters to the top 250 middle school football players and provides the same hours of instruction and all the world-class components as the high school curriculum. It is further customized to fit the needs of developing 7th and 8th grade student-athletes

*********** This was sent me by a friend.  It's by Becky Carlson, women's rugby coach at Quinnipiac University in New Haven, Connecticut

It's titled, "An Open Letter to the Athlete We Must Stop Recruiting"
Dear Prospective Student-Athlete,

I received your introductory two-line email and read through it. I must say your first sentence was painfully familiar as you introduced yourself by first name only. I assumed if you were trying to make an impression that you would have paid more attention to punctuation but my assumption appears incorrect. While your opening email failed to identify your last name, what year in school you are, where you are from, or what position you play, you managed to include your most pressing question as to whether our team is "giving out scholarships".

A week later, I received a second email with full color resume attachment including your action photos, and a variety of links to related newspaper articles. Each of these items were compiled in an orderly fashion and sent out directly from both your parents' emails.

While it took a bit to thumb through the long list of your impressive extracurricular activities please thank your parents for putting this packet together and understand that it would have been far more beneficial for our staff to speak to you personally by way of an old school phone call. As my staff sent correspondence to your personal email, we have received only a return from your parents apologizing and explaining that you are simply "too busy to answer".

As a word of advice, while many college coaches support parental enthusiasm, initiative taken by the athlete is crucial if you are serious about connecting with a quality program. Our staff explained to your parents that we would prefer to connect with you directly, but they continue to respond on your behalf. This will be a red flag for any coach, so please be aware of this feedback being a possibility from any of your other options.

When you visited the campus with your parents, the first thing I noticed is that they did most of the talking for you. However, when you did speak, you were openly correcting and verbally scolding them when you deemed their information sharing inaccurate. As a coach, an athlete who displays disrespect, especially to their parents, is a red flag in the recruiting game of analysis and observation.

As we toured the campus I took copious mental notes including a short ponder on how you were too busy for a returned phone call or email to our staff yet, your email-ready smartphone was all but attached to your hand the entire unofficial visit.

Upon your departure, our staff reviewed your stats, strength numbers and transcripts. All are impressive, but of course we had to see you compete. Unfortunately, the highlight film you left us with that was edited to perfection to omit mistakes, was unhelpful.

Despite my reservations, I made the trip to watch your game live so I could determine if your resume matched your talent. After observing only a few minutes of the team warm-up, I noted that you were clearly the most gifted on your squad. However, your talent was unfortunately overshadowed by the lack of energy and effort you displayed.

At halftime, the team huddled up and as always when observing recruits, I honed in carefully on your demeanor and body language. I watched you walk in the opposite direction of your teammates and take a seat on the bench away from the group. You did not return to the team circle until prompted by your assistant coach. As the head coach spoke, I observed you break off into a private conversation with another teammate, rather than offering the coach your attention.

In the second half, when you scored I noticed you waited for the other players to huddle around you and celebrate. In contrast, when a teammate scored, you retreated to your position without acknowledging or congratulating them.

You added much depth in the scoring category with some impressive runs but when you made mistakes you became vocal and eager to point out where your teammates needed to improve. You had moments of greatness but they were followed by sporadic lulls of half-hearted effort.

As you are the team captain, I found it disappointing that you did not contribute to the post game team discussion. I watched as your mother brought over snacks and saw that you made no effort to assist her in bringing those large containers of cupcakes from the bleachers out to your 40 other teammates. Last, as the rest of the team broke the field down and put equipment away, you found a quiet spot on the empty bench to text on your phone.

Perhaps as a high school-age athlete, these are behaviors you are simply unaware of. In a world where you are being taught the X's and O's of mastering a sport, so much practice and dialogue in character building is diminishing. I realize that you have been told repeatedly by many of your previous coaches that you are amazing in your sport. However, players like you, with similar demeanor are a dime a dozen.

Since you have been a star in your sport for quite a while with coaches and parents who have clearly allowed these details to slip through the cracks also, you are not entirely to blame. However, please bear in mind, none of this makes you a bad person only potentially, a bad teammate. The attributes I am judging you on happen to be far more important than any of your trophies, all-star selections or travel team accolades.

There is no doubt you are talented. However, from my experience, here are the 10 things I know about athletes like you.

1. Your incredible talent is the same talent that in your sophomore year of college will suddenly suffer an ego blow when a new freshman arrives with equal or greater talent. Battling your feeling of ownership over your position and feeling threatened is inevitable.

2. Rather than working hard to better your game, you are more likely to be the athlete that is constantly comparing your success to others rather than focusing on growth for yourself. This will become a tedious and exhausting process for your coaches and team to constantly have to reassure you of your self worth and value.

3. As those around you put in the work, rather than be grateful to be surrounded by a committed group of individuals who share common goals, you are more likely to resent them and seek out allies to split the team support in half and create locker room chatter.

4. In the event you see time on the bench you may not be emotionally prepared, willing to engage or support the teammate who is starting over you. Also, it is likely you will find it challenging to support the success your team obtains when they win without you on the field.

5. When you become unhappy with your own performance you are more likely to blame your coach, teammates or anyone other than yourself.

6. Since your previous coaches and adult guidance have fallen short in emphasizing the importance of accountability, you will likely be that much more of a challenge for our staff and program to work with.

7. Aside from your time in college, the end goal of being a student-athlete is to get a degree while playing a sport you love. If your goal as an athlete-student is to get a starting position while earning a degree you tolerate, your goals will be out of alignment with the program from the start.

8. Athletes who truly work for their program become stronger people who work well with others and are able to admit their weaknesses in order to improve. If I am forced to spend your first two years of college trying to catch you up on late lessons of being accountable and respectful, it is probable you will spend your second two years resenting me which ultimately leads to an ambush of bad senior exit interview feedback.

9. Athletes are treasured in the workforce and therefore, you are likely to land a job after you graduate. However, if you fail to get along with those in our program you are prone to carrying this over into your professional life. If you are unhappy with your boss or coworker you will be more likely to find yourself unequipped to work through your problem without soliciting complaining or quitting.

10. By choosing not to recruit you, I am saving my team culture. On the bright side, perhaps if you are rejected this will be your first opportunity to face adversity and grow from it.

I recognize that it is possible you could change with guidance by coming to our program. However, the investment on my end presents high risk to the health of team morale, my livelihood and sanity. In my younger coaching years I believed far too often that many like you were capable of transformation. Over time, without consistent support from the powers that be, I have lost my fair share of those battles and have watched colleagues lose their jobs when athletes like you are unsatisfied. I am a great coach who takes so much of my success and failure home with me at night and am actively making the choice to choose ethics and attitude over talent.

Today I crossed you off my list as a potential recruit despite your obvious talent. Over the thousands of hours I have spent away from my family recruiting, answering emails, calls, official visits, watching game film and logging contacts and evaluations, I have learned from my mistakes. As a result, although the athlete playing right next to you has half the stats and three quarters of your speed, they are supportive, determined and selfless. This kind of athlete, will be our next signee.

Please take these words and advice into consideration and I wish you all the best.

Coach   ___________

Note to our Fearless Coaches:

We have the ability to shape our programs by adjusting our goals without fully sacrificing outcome. The letter above is by no means an account of one particular recruit, but rather a series of experiences and personal accounts of many coaches that demonstrate scenarios we can ALL share as professionals in this crazy world of athletic leadership.

In 10 years of NCAA recruiting I have had many positive experiences and have made great connections with athletes and their families. Our program is successful but victory comes at a cost. This cost is countless hours of employing methods and exercises to shape culture, but more importantly keeping it in tact.

Over time I have learned that no matter how many resources are available to our coaches and regardless of the time we spend on getting that "yes" from an athlete, recruiting is still a 50/50 chance. No matter what division, sport or level you are representing, we all have those athletes we recruit who suddenly show up to campus and turn into complete wild cards.

I have kept careful documentation of my experiences and have discovered that today's traditional references by high school coaches, guidance counselors, club coaches and teachers are less about honest feedback concerning the emotional capability and attitude of a student-athlete and are more geared toward the end result of simply aiding an athlete in being recruited.

Today's goals appear to be shifting where many club programs and high school coaches appear to crave the notoriety that comes from advertising that "X number of their players" obtained an athletic scholarship or opportunity from "Y University."

For us as college coaches, we must take our profession back. We must become diligent in our pursuit and acknowledgment of the clear indicators that a player is not cohesive with positive team culture. If you have culture challenges or team chemistry issues currently, perhaps your special sauce in recruitment may require a new ingredient. Recruiting is the most crucial component in determining what materials you have to mold and build your program with.

Finding the right players instead of always finding the best ones creates the beginning of the end to entitlement and team drama.

When winning and/or expectations of high roster numbers and retention are at the forefront of your program and administrative goals, sacrificing talent for character is certainly no easy commitment.

However, many factors come in to play depending upon your particular institution and what kind of student you seek for membership within your program. If we are looking for all the #1 players on every team, we must be mindful that when they arrive at college, very few if any figures in their life have taught them how to handle being #2.

Coaches, pass up talent every now and then by fishing from the #2 player pond, as opposed to solely aiming to catch the headliner. Only then will you continue to win the battle to sustain a culture that supports FEARLESS COACHING.

Was this piece helpful? Please tweet @QUCoachCarlson using #FearlessCoaching and share it.

*********** I’m still working my way through “American Caesar,” William Manchester’s magnificent biography of General Douglas MacArthur. This is a book to be savored.  The last thing I do every night is read a couple of pages.

Let me tell you - MacArthur was one cool customer under fire, just the sort of person you want in charge when things are their toughest.

MacArthur was on board the cruiser Boise as American forces were attempting to retake the Philippines, and Manchester relates this example of his total composure:

The kamikaze terror was approaching its peak - forty U.S. vessels were sunk or damaged by suicidal Japanese pilots during the trip - and enemy submarines were active. MacArthur stood erect by a battery near the quarterdeck, watching the action with professional interest. He observed the approaching wakes of two torpedoes fired at the Boise, nodded approvingly at the skipper’s evasive action, and nodded again when the sub surfaced on the cruiser’s port side and was rammed by a U. S. destroyer.  Later he was below in his cabin when a kamikaze dove out of a cloud and plunged toward the Boise. Dr. Egeberg (MacArthur’s personal physician), petrified, watched as it came closer and closer. The zero was three seconds away when the flier veered toward another ship, was hit by flak, and exploded, shaking the Boise’s deck. The doctor went below and found the General stretched out in his bunk, his eyes closed. Egeberg thought he must be faking, that no one could be that clalm under such circumstances, yet when he stood in the doorway and counted MacArthur’s respiration, it was sixteen breaths a minute, indicating a tranquil pulse of seventy-two. Entering, he took one of his patient’s wrists,  That awakened MacArthur.  The physician asked how he could sleep at a time like this.  The General said, “Well, Doc, I’ve seen all the fighting I need to, so I thought I’d take a nap.”

Good coaches, like good generals,  are cool under pressure.  But that cool?

*********** Cam Newton, I read,  is going to host a kids’ show on Nickelodeon.

It shouldn’t be a tough gig for him.  All he has to do is act the way he usually does.

Hi, Kids!  This is your old buddy Cam!

Bet you wish you could be an All-Star NFL quarterback like me!

Well, maybe someday you can!

But you know, you’re not always going to win.  Some times, no matter how hard you try, you’re going to lose.

When things don’t go the way you’d like - that’s when you have to show people what kind of guy you are.

That’s why today’s Word of the Day is P-O-U-T!  It’s pronounced “POUT!”

Lemme show you what it means.

Okay, kids - stick out your lower lip.  Lke this…

Everybody got it?

Okay now, tuck your chin down against your chest - like this.

All set?

Now, ask your Mom to hand you a towel.  If you don’t have one, a tee-shirt will do.

Got one? Drape it over your head… so nobody can see your eyes.  Sorta like a hoodie.

Hey - no looking up!  Keep looking down!

And remember - this is the most important thing of all - no matter what anybody says to you - Don’t say a word!

And keep looking down!

Now -  don't say a word - keep that towel on your head - get up and walk away.

Now, that's poutin'!

Till tomorrow, kids - this here's  your old buddy Cam!

american flag TUESDAY, MAY 17,  2016  "Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.”  George Carlin

***********  The National Football Foundation has donated an eight-foot bronze sculpture of early NFF leader and College Football Hall of Fame coach Earl "Red" Blaik to the U.S. Military Academy. Blaik led the Army Black Knights to three national championships and amassed a lifetime record of 166-48-14, including a seven-year stint at Dartmouth. In recognition of the donation, the West Point Association of Graduates inducted the NFF into its Omar N. Bradley Lifetime Giving Society. The sculpture was created by renowned artist Glenna Goodacre, and a formal installation of the statue will take place in the near future.

There is a bigger story here.  The statue was originally donated to the US Military Academy, with the intention of placing it outside MIchie Stadium.  But attached to its base were bronze plaques, on which were the names of every Army player who’d lettered under Colonel Blaik, and when word of that got out, an uproar ensued.  Some of the players whose names were on the plaques had been expelled from the Academy in what was then referred to on the nation’s front pages as the Cribbing Scandal.  (READ MORE - )

Blaik StatueTo make a shorter story of it, a large number of cadets, many of them members of the nationally-ranked football team, were expelled for violations of the academy’s honor code.  Instructors were in the practice of giving identical tests to different  sections of the same class, even when they met on different days, and cadets had become accustomed to exchanging information about what was on the tests.  The code not only prohibited passing or receiving such information, but it went even further - to even have knowledge of the exchange of information and not to inform the higher-ups was itself grounds for dismissal.  In the latter case, the coach’s own son, Bob, returning for his senior year as the starting quarterback, was found guilty of that knowledge.

There was a considerable split among West Point grads between those who believed quite strongly that a fact was a fact - that those men, despite their having been dismissed by the Academy, had lettered under coach Blaik.  There were others who felt that after the passing of more than 50 years, those men had more than paid for their errors.  (Many of them went on to distinguished careers in a number of fields.  One of them, Ray Malavasi, went on to become head coach of  the Los Angeles Rams.  Bob Blaik finished at Colorado College, then after coaching college ball at Miami and Oklahoma, had a successful career in the oil business.  It’s been my great honor to have met him and to have spoken with him.)

Opposing those who advocated for leaving the names in place were those who believed, quite sincerely, that a violation is a violation, and violators are violators - they, and any trace of them, should be kept away from the US Military Academy.

There was never any question about leaving the statue and removing the pedestal.  It was always all or nothing.  The players and their coach would not be separated.

Things got so contentious that the leadership at the academy finally caved in.  They went back on their initial agreement  to place the statue and returned it to its donors.  (Talk about honor!)

From there, it wound up at the College Football Hall of Fame, then located in South Bend, Indiana. On a visit back in 2012, I had my picture taken next to it - I have always considered Colonal Blaik to be a mentor - and sent it to Bob Blaik.

Since then, the College Football Hall of Fame has moved to impressive new digs in Atlanta.

And for some reason, unknown to me, the Blaik statue has been “donated” back to the the US Military Academy.  Who knows what will happen next?

*********** Syndicated columnist Norman Chad lists those from the world of sports who’ve endorsed Donald Trump:

John Daly, Mike Ditka, Lou Holtz, Richie Incognito, Bobby Knight, Mike Leach, Terrell Owens, John Rocker, Dennis Rodman, Pete Rose, Rex Ryan, Latrell Sprewell, Mike Tyson and Dana White.

He writes, “Now, that’s a hatful of humanity, no?”

*********** When does the stadium arms race stop?  The Falcons’ new stadium will have a retractable roof.  They think.'s

*********** Harvard’s all-male “final clubs” - think of them as glorified fraternities - have been ordered to admit females. They’re off-campus and their only involvement with the college is that being enrolled in Harvard is a qualification for membership, but that hasn’t stopped the college from sticking its nose in the affairs of these private groups, some of which have existed for over 200 years.  Change, the college has ordered them, or none of your members will be permitted to take any sort of “leadership role” in any college activity.  That would mean captaincy of an athletic team.

Just the sort of subtle pressure the the federal government puts on schools when it issues “guidelines.”

I say turn the libs’ little transsexuals-in-bathrooms game against them - club members should simply take turns “identifying” as females.  Problem solved.

*********** Jarryd Hayne’s leaving the 49ers…

Hayne, an amazing athlete who was already a legend in rugby league, now hopes to lead the Fiji national rugby sevens team to Olympic gold.  (Don’t laugh - Fiji may be remote, and it may have fewer than 1 million people, but it produces far more than its share of excellent rugby players, and in the quirky seven-man version of the game to be played in the Olympics, the Fijians will have no trouble fielding a good team, and could well be favored. 

If American football were an Olympic sport, and American Samoa were to field its own team - as Puerto Rico does in basketball - tell me they couldn’t put together a powerhouse team.)

My son, Ed, sees it this way - he’ll never be a great running back in the NFL, and who knows whether he’ll even make the 49ers’ roster this year?  But if he should lead Fiji to an Olympic medal, he could return to rugby as an Olympic medalist, rather than a middle-of-the-road NFL football player.

*********** Five years after a head-first tackle left him paralyzed as a 13-year-old, a Los Angeles youngster died last week of “complications from surgery related to management of his injury.”

I can think of few things worse than  the paralysis and subsequent death of a young man injured while playing a game.   What’s worse, he was urged to employ the very "tackle low" tactic that led to a catastrophic end to his life as a normal boy.

So in comparison with that tragedy,  I view it as a minor inconvenience that thanks to the Neanderthals who insisted on ducking the head and tackling low, those of us who’ve been teaching “Safer and Surer” Tackling for years now have to sit through “Heads Up Tackling” sessions.

Wrote John Torres, of Stevenson Ranch, California, who sent me the article, “You saw this issue 20 years ago when you cut your “Safer and Surer Tackling” video.  People thought I was crazy when I taught it.  You were ahead of your time.”

Yes, and now, thanks to those knuckleheads who knew better than we did, we have to sit in a classroom every year if we want to be “certified” to coach.

And then, capitalizing on the tragic story of the young boy’s passing, along comes an ESPN “panelist” (whatever that is) with the recommendation that there be no tackling until high school.  He’s got just about seven months to sell this to Our President so he can turn it into an executive order.

*********** Carson Ketter, my first Open Wing QB at North Beach, is now a sophomore at Pacific Lutheran College in Tacoma, Washington.  A starting free safety on the football team, he just finished second in the 100 meter dash in the Northwest Conference’s outdoor track and field championships, with a time of 10.95, which translates (roughly) to a 4.5 40.  Not bad for a kid who’s now 6-3, 200.

*********** It’s become common practice, thankfully, for school districts to have protocols in place to deal with disaffected parents of athletes.

These protocols, a step-by-step effort to prevent grievances from escalating, require parents to meet first, individually, with their kids’ coaches when they have issues, and for the most part, they work.

(Most schools’ protocols take playing time and coaching strategy off the table as matters for discussion.)

However, this being a time in world history in which the parents that schools are dealing with are mostly older spoiled children -  the offspring of the spoiled “Question Authority” children of the 60s - there’s really no satisfying people who insist on getting their way.

So it’s not all that surprising to read about how a group of girls’ soccer parents in Helena, Montana (yes, there are a**hole parents even in the Old West) refused to deal one-on-one with their kids’ coach, and then, encountering a lack of satisfaction at every step of the process, ultimately took their complaints directly to the school board.

There, despite the results of an investigation clearing the coach of charges against her - an investigation that cost the district $11,000 - the decision  to renew the coach’s contract was overturned by a 5-3 vote.

She’s gone.  Poof.  Just like that.

I know how hard women have fought to get schools to adopt girls’ sports, and then to earn respect and the funding that comes with it.

But I wonder if they ever dreamed that one day they’d have to put up with the same sh— from parents that boys’ football and basketball coaches have dealt with for years.

***********  Idaho, an FBS member since 1996, finally had to give up the ghost.  Unable to  find a suitable conference to play in, the Vandals will join the FCS Big Sky Conference in 2018.

A little-known fact: until 1958, Idaho played in the Pacific Coast Conference, which consisted of USC, UCLA, Stanford, Cal, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State… and Idaho.  (The forerunner, you might say, of today’s Pac 12.)

Finally, in 1958, the Big Guys in California, plus the Washington Huskies, announced that they’d grown tired of the conference’s gate-sharing policy, which meant that the smaller northern schools would share in the big gates when they played at the big schools, while the big schools got bupkis when they played in the boonies.

Since then, things evolved to the point where Boise State - a junior college back in 1958 - has far surpassed Idaho in terms of football prowess, leveraging its base in the state's capital and economic center to become a regional power,  leaving Idaho in its dust.

american flag FRIDAY, MAY 13,  2016  “In much of the world, the distinction between criminal and politician is nonexistent.”   Holman Jenkins, Jr. Wall Street Journal

***********  Since the Kansas City clinic in early April, with the exception of time off for a trip back East, I’ve been hard at work producing a series of videos covering what I went over at the clinic.

It’s a major project, more than anything I’ve undertaken in years, but I’m now more than 1/3 of the way done.

It’s based, as was the clinic, on the Open Wing I’ve been running for the last three years.

The series consists of five DVDs:
1. The Basics of the Open-Wing System and converting from Double Wing, including making (and taking) the snap, and teaching your wide receivers how to stalk block
2. A basic, easy to install Open Wing package:   power, misdirection and play action,  making use of the same basic blocking scheme
3. The passing game - the quick game that’s a part of many RPO’s, and a couple of important Run and Shoot plays
4. Expanding the offense - moving the backs and ends around to be able to run base plays from a variety of formations
5. Running from under center - Double Wing basics, Stack plays, “Stud” formation… and an Open Wing package with the QB under center.

The series will go on sale before June 1.

Tentative pricing is $39.95 per DVD or $150 for the entire set.

*********** The Oregon Department of Education has passed along several “guidelines” to state public schools caught in the Great Transgender Controversy, mainly to emphasize that in Oregon schools, Trannies are free to call themselves what they choose, and schools are obliged to accommodate them.

For example, students should be allowed to use the name and pronoun of their choice, and schools should use their chosen names, even when they aren’t the students’ legal names.

(The word “should” is used instead of “must,” but school administrators can’t possibly miss the point.)

This "guidelines" apply  to attendance sheets and grade books, and go even further at graduation time: where necessary, a student is to be issued two transcripts and two diplomas, one with the student’s legal name and one with the “preferred” name.

Transgender students, the state goes on to say, should not be prevented from taking part in any activity or sport.  If a student informs the principal that “she” identifies as female, then “she” must be able to participate in girls’ sports.

How in the hell did we get here?

*********** When Yale announced that it as naming its two new residential colleges after (1) Benjamin Franklin, whose connection with Yale was nearly nonexistant, and (2) some female civil rights participant whom I had never heard of, and who happened to have gone to the law school, I was bummed.

Twice, I had written to the President on behalf of Levi Jackson, of the Class of 1950.

Twice, I received a nice letter thanking me for my interest.

Working with me toward the same goal was Bob Barton, of the Class of 1957, a long time sports reporter for the New Haven Register and the  authority on Yale and New Haven sports..

And now, it's over.  Or is it?

Now, another alumnus,  Joel Alderman of the class of 1951, a retired sportscaster at New Haven radio station WELI, has taken up Mr. Jackson's  case.

He writes, in Sportzedge...

Many students and faculty of Yale University, its alumni throughout the world, the media, unaffiliated people, and outside organizations have recently been debating the failure by the Yale Corporation to eliminate the name of John C. Calhoun from one of its residential colleges.

By continuing to flaunt the identity of an avowed racist and slave owner, Yale missed a golden opportunity to switch to a politically correct designation and in so doing to honor one of its historic pioneers and graduates, Levi Alexander Jackson, class of 1950.

Jackson is arguably among the three greatest football players New Haven has ever produced, the others being Floyd Little and Albie Booth. His achievements at Yale and his distinguished career at the Ford Motor Co., where he concentrated in the areas of minorities and equal opportunity, should be given a permanent place on the landscape of his alma mater.

This could have happened if Yale had renamed Calhoun College or named one of the two residential colleges being constructed in honor of this man.

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

Last year our state association mandated that no more than 90 minutes per week be Thud or Full-contact.  Honestly, we didn't have to trim too much.  And since we only go full pads on the field on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, we pretty much were limited to your "two day" limit.  I wonder what other coaches who read your News think or how they've adjusted.  

In the end, I think it comes down to smart coaching.  The guys who want to line up and smash head for two hours won't last.  Did they ever, really?  At some point, if you do that, late in the season you will field a sub-par, banged-up team.

Again, your thoughts?

Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois

The new state rule limiting us to two days a week of “Thud” isn’t going to change a thing for us.  That’s what we do already.

We have a pad between players whenever we practice tackling and blocking and we haven’t taken a player to the ground in a drill (or scrimmage) in years.

But after having a kid break a tooth in a non-contact practice collision a couple of years ago, we wear helmets at all practices.

*********** I have to admit that there’s a lot I admire about Bernie Sanders, but I do find it ironic that after all his hard work  to win all those states he sees their delegates mysteriously going to Clinton. 

Ironic, because his whole campaign has been based on expecting  Americans  who’ve worked hard for what they have to pay for the benefits of people who wouldn’t know hard work if it bit them in the ass.

*********** So Budweiser, that All-American (if Belgian-owned) beer, is going to go by the alias “AMERICA” for the next six months, this being an Olympic year and all that.  (Evidently “ZIKA” was tested and found wanting.) 

The idea, I’m guessing, is that every time people chant “USA! USA! USA!” they’ll actually be calling for a Bud, and every time they play the National Anthem (ours, not Belgium’s) during medal ceremonies, they’ll really be playing the Bud jingle.  (The tune was, after all, an English drinking song at one time.)

Since AB InBev (Budweiser’s parent) can’t trademark the brand “America,” I think it would be hilarious if some large supermarket chain were to contract with a brewery someplace to produce its own version of “AMERICA BEER.”

*********** The West Point kerfuffle caused by 16 black female cadets photographed - in uniform - while appearing to  give something that many interpreted as the Black Lives Matter raised fist has been handled expertly.

As I expected, the US Military Academy Superintendent, General Robert Caslen, dealt with the case adeptly.  There will be no punishment, which means silence from those looking for a racial offense under every rock.

And no mark on the potentially long careers in front of the young women.

But at the same time, they will undergo some additional “education.”

And in communication with the news media and with members of the West Point community (and undoubtedly with the women themselves) General Caslen made it clear that they came very, very close to the edge.

"As members of the Profession of Arms,” he said,  “we are held to a higher standard, where our actions are constantly observed and scrutinized in the public domain.  We all must understand that a symbol or gesture that one group of people may find harmless may offend others."

He noted the importance of time and place in which cadets say or do something.

"For instance,” he went on, “ last July, the class of 2019 spontaneously raised their fist in pride upon the playing of the Army Strong song during the Fourth of July Concert.”

Furthermore, he said, “Last December, on the night before the Army-Navy game, I joined hundreds of staff and graduates in raising our fist in support of the Army football team during the Army-Navy pep rally video. The time, place and manner of a symbol can also hold significant meaning and influence perception."

The key issue, it seems to me, is that if those young women were to have been found to have placed a greater importance on a forbidden display of allegiance to a highly-controversial organization, they would have disqualified themselves from ever commanding troops.

The absolute essential of any combat unit is what is known as “Unit Cohesion,” which essentially means putting the unit - one’s comrades - ahead of anything else - ahead of issues of race,  religion, national origin, sex or politics, drugs or alcohol. 

Unit cohesion has been defined by a Presidential Commission as

 the relationship that develops in a unit or group in which 1) members share common values and experiences; 2) individuals in the group conform to group norms and behavior in order to ensure group survival and goals; 3) members lose their identity in favor of a group identity; 4) members focus on group activities and goals; 5) unit members become totally dependent on each other for the completion of their mission or survival; and 6) group members must meet all the standards of performance and behavior in order not to threaten group survival.

In football, we call it “putting the team first” - ahead of, say, individual glory.  Or maybe some sort of anti-social activity.

There’s a good reason why military leaders continue to be concerned about females in combat - it’s not misogyny - or homosexuals in the military -   it’s not bigotry.

It's concern for unit cohesion.  It’s  concern that the sexual tensions that inevitably arise when young people of opposite sexes operate in close quarters can be devastating to a military unit.

I’ll bet there’s a football coach reading this who has seen at least one  good player go down the drain - and take the team with him - after falling heavily for a girl.   Imagine them both on your team, sitting next to each other on bus trips, making eyes at each other in team meetings.   Wouldn't that be great for team morale?

After all the sh-- that this country's been through, thanks to him,  can there be anybody in the United States dumber - or more in need of a good kick in the ass - than George Zimmerman, who’s trying to auction off the gun he used to kill Treyvon Martin?

*********** Proud Papa John "JT" Torres wrote to tell me that his son, JK, a sophomore at Aurora College, was named an All-Midwest Lacrosse Conference midfielder.   It wasn't that long ago that JT, a longtime youth football coach, got  lacrosse  started  in the  Valencia/Castaic/ Santa Clarita/Stevenson Ranch area north of Los Angeles "so the boys could do something in the spring, other than   baseball."

american flag TUESDAY, MAY 10,  2016  "The history of failure in war can be summed up in two words: Too Late."  Douglas MacArthur

*********** My wife and I are native Pennsylvanians, and we've lived in Washington since 1975.  But if we were pressed to say where "home" is,  we'd probably say "Maryland."  We moved to Baltimore not long after I graduated from college, and between 1961 and 1975, we lived in Baltimore, Frederick and Hagerstown.  In Baltimore, I worked for the once-powerful National Brewing Company.   Our owner, Jerrold Hoffberger, also owned the Orioles, and we were major sponsors of the Colts.   In Frederick,   eight years after graduating from college, I joined the Frederick Falcons, a startup team in the old Interstate League, and that was my back door to football coaching.  From Frederick, I moved 30 miles west to Hagerstown as general manager of the rival Hagerstown Bears, and when our head coach abruptly resigned, my coaching career was launched. By default. 

Baltimore has suffered from some horrible incidents, but we still love it, and we took a little time on our recent trip back East  to visit our old neighborhood, Northwood.  And we were able to enjoy dinner with some old coaching friends, Brian Mackell and Jason Clarke, and Brian's wife, Tammy.

We spent a day in Hagerstown, visiting some of our old haunts.  One of our favorite places is the Potomac River, at Williamsport, Maryland.  The old C & O Canal went through Williamsport, and we used to take our kids for hikes along the canal towpath.  In the wintertime, back before humans had to go and warm up the planet, we'd skate on the canal.  It was right along the river, at Williamsport's Riverfront Park, that my Bears first practiced.

A few things have changed in Old Hagerstown, some for the better, some not.  One REALLY nice addition is a Primanti Bros. restaurant, an offspring of the  Pittsburgh place famous for its huge sandwiches served with fries - in the sandwich.  Supposedly that was so that busy truckers could hold their sandwich and fries in the same hand and eat everything at once.

Dinner at G & MBrian, Jason, me

At Left: Dinner at the G & M Restaurant in Linthicum Heights, Maryland, world famous for its crab cakes. From left to right, Coach Brian Mackell, his wife Tammy, my wife Connie, myself, and Coach Jason Clarke.   At Right:  Coach Jason Clarke is on the left, and Coach Brian Mackell is on the right.  These guys have been with me going back to the 1990s.  Coach Mackell has been to clinics in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Durham and Kansas City, where he ALWAYS sits in the front row.  Always. It was he who suggested the name "Open Wing" for the offense I've been running for the past three years.

Riverfront ParkPrimante Bros

At Left:  That's the Potomac River behind us, with West Virginia on the other side.   Forty-six years ago, I got my start in coaching not 50 yards from this spot.  At Right: World-famous Primanti Bros has come to Hagerstown!


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.

This week we finish our coverage of the 2016 rule changes for college football. Here we look at the remaining changes, which affect several areas of the game.
Use of Technology for Coaching- It was noted in our first column on the changes that the rules committee was recommending that coaches be allowed to use video and computers in the press box and the locker rooms. After receiving expressions of concern from a number of the conferences about implementing this change, the committee has voted to delay this new rule until 2017. This will give institutions more time to prepare for this major change in the use of technology. So there will be no change in the technology-for-coaching rule for 2016.
Input From a Medical Observer- In 2015, the committee approved an experimental rule that allows the Instant Replay official to interrupt a game at the request of a medical observer. This was to take care of the situation where the medical observer saw that a player had been injured on the field, but neither the officials nor the sideline personnel noticed this and therefore had not stopped the game. The committee received indications from a number of institutions that showed that this was a very successful experiment in 2015. So, for 2016 the committee has improved this as a permanent rule change.
Unsportsmanlike Conduct by a Coach- For many years NCAA football has had a rule wherein a player who commits two fouls for unsportsmanlike conduct is disqualified for the remainder of the game after the second foul. Interestingly enough, no such rule exists in college football for behavior by coaches. Football is the only NCAA sport that does not have such a rule. For example, in basketball when a coach receives two technical fouls, the second foul disqualifies him for the rest of the game.
The rules committee believes that as teachers and adult leaders of young athletes playing football, coaches should be held to a high standard of behavior appropriate to such a responsible position. Thus, starting in 2016, the rule will be that a coach who commits two fouls for unsportsmanlike conduct will be disqualified from the game. He must leave the playing field before the ball is next put into play, and he must remain out of view of the playing field for the remainder of the game.
Experimental Rule:  Collaboration in Instant Replay- In addition to these changes in the rules, the committee has improved an experimental rule for the 2016 season. This experiment will allow what is being referred to as a "collaborative approach" to the use of instant replay. This means that the replay official will be in communication with observers who are watching the game on television at a site other than the instant replay booth. The replay official will be in consultation with the remote observers while reviewing a play. The purpose is to allow for a second observer in addition to this replay official to assist in making the decisions about a review. As a part of the experimental rule process, conferences that use this approach will report back to the rules committee at next year's meetings with the results of this experiment.

*********** Going back, going back… to 1984

The Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs is eschewing the terms “felon” and “convict” when officials refer to individuals convicted of crimes, opting instead for less “disparaging labels,” Assistant Attorney General Karol Mason announced Wednesday.

The Office of Justice Programs plans to substitute terminology such as “person who committed a crime” and “individual who was incarcerated” in speeches and other communications as part of an effort to remove barriers that officials say hinder progress of those who re-enter society after completing their prison sentences.

“I have come to believe that we have a responsibility to reduce not only the physical but also the psychological barriers to reintegration,” Ms. Mason wrote Wednesday in a guest post for The Washington Post. “The labels we affix to those who have served time can drain their sense of self-worth and perpetuate a cycle of crime, the very thing reentry programs are designed to prevent.”

(Former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter was first with this idiocy.  In 2013, he signed an executive order requiring city employees to use the term “returning citizen” when referring to a person  released from jail or prison.)

*********** What would prevent a conference - the SEC, say - from having a traveling road show, setting up  “SEC Combines” in the same towns and on the same dates that Harbaugh has his “satellite camps.”

What Atlanta or Birmingham kid would attend a Harbaugh camp if it meant passing up a chance to be seen by all the SEC schools?

Why couldn’t  other conferences do the same thing?  What Dallas kid would be more interested in a Michigan camp than in a chance to attend a Big-12 combine?

And if it can’t be done on the conference level, maybe local schools - such as USC and UCLA in the Southland, Stanford and Cal in the Bay Area - could run their own camps in competition with Harbaugh’s.  It would be much, much easier and much less expensive for them to stage camps locally, which ultimately  would convince Harbaugh that it wasn’t worth the effort and expense.

Meanwhile, since the NCAA seems unwilling to act on this… how long can the Power Five conferences operate before they realize why the NCAA was established in the first place, and set up a regulatory office?

*********** Hmmm.  Wanna make a Bernie rally clear out fast???  Book Rodrigo Duterte as your opening act.

Duterte, Mayor of Manila, is currently the leading candidate for President of the Philippines.

Listen to a line from a recent speech:

”All of you who are into drugs, you sons of bitches, I will really kill you," Duterte told a huge, cheering crowd Saturday in his final campaign rally in Manila. "I have no patience, I have no middle ground, either you kill me or I will kill you idiots."

Wait - where’s everybody going?  Don’t you want to hear what Bernie’s going to give you?

*********** Man I hope Army can get things turned around.  I like Navy, but sure would like to see both be competitive.

Your thoughts?

Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois


It’s a tough grind.  It’s hard to watch the old-timers come back and support the program with everything they have and not see their support requited.

I do think that Jeff Monken - Illinois-born and educated and the son of an Illinois HS coach - is as good as I’ve seen at West Point since Bobby Ross.  (Bobby Ross was a great coach but at the stage of his career at which we got him, he seemed to lack the energy to get it done.)

Monken is younger and plenty energetic and he showed at Georgia Southern, where he beat Florida and almost beat Alabama, that he can get it done.

Of course, there’s recruiting.  A recent survey showing that 64 per cent of FBS football players think they’ll play professional football someday would seem to indicate that there are a tremendous number of good high school football players who wouldn’t consider giving up their dreams of playing pro football in order to serve five years in the military.

Then, having narrowed down the recruiting pool to those guys willing to go to a service academy (and whose parents are willing to let them do so), there is the “sexiness” factor: to a kid who dreams of flying a jet plane someday, the Army has nothing to offer him.  (Few Air Force football players ever get to fly, either, but you can’t expect the AFA recruiters to tell them that.) And then there’s the Boots on the Ground deal: especially as things appear to be escalating into war in the Middle East, there’s a far greater chance that an Army football player, rather than a Navy or Air Force football player, will find himself in a nasty place avoiding land mines and exchanging fire with hostile types.

And, finally, it’s impossible to deny Navy’s and Air Force’s record of success - over Army in particular - the last 10 or 15 years.

Coach Monken still has a huge job in front of him.

My appraisal is that they will make fewer mistakes this year, and I think they’ll be a little better on defense, but what I didn’t see was playmakers - guys who can break a game open with one touch.  That may be because they were very vanilla offensively in the spring game - the fullbacks carried probably 2/3 of the time, and the QBs were protected, even on options, so we never got to see the speed of the wingbacks.

They are very young, with a tremendous number of sophs (freshmen seldom get to play because few of them are able to recover quickly enough from the physical rigor of the summer’s “Beast Barracks.”)  Also encouraging: roughly 3/4 of the roster have spent a year at USMAPS (US Military Academy Prep School) which means they should be a bit more mature and a bit better-prepared academically.

But all in all, a 5-win season would represent  a massive turnaround, and a great springboard for future success.

At which point, we’ll be faced with a new challenge: keeping Jeff Monken.

The last time an Army coach left for greener pastures was 1965 - when Paul Dietzel left for South Carolina.

Since you asked...

WEST POINT FEMALE FIRSTIES*********** By now you’ve probably seen the photo of the black female first classmen (seniors) at West Point, who had their picture taken, as is West Point tradition, in a turn-of-the-century pose.  Only one problem - one BIG problem.  They posed with clenched fists raised.  It has been been interpreted as a tribute to the “Black Power” salute from 1968 Olympics, or as a Black Lives Matter gesture.  The problem is that ALL members of the military, including ALL West Point cadets, are made well aware that they leave certain rights behind when they leave the civilian world, and one of those is the right to make political statements of any kind or show affiliation with any political group. 

It's why generals don't criticise the President or endorse candidates for any office.

There is, of course, the possibility that this is all a giant misunderstanding. 

If not, it would be sad to think that obviously intelligent young women so close to the end of four hard years  would put everything at risk by violating a rule  known well to all members of the US military.

More than that, it would be deeply disturbing to learn that after four years at West Point, which stresses putting country first and foremost, a political group associated with chants calling for “frying pigs (police) like bacon” would occupy such a prominent place in their thoughts.

Coach Mike Foristiere’s son, Randy, is a plebe (freshman) at West Point, and Mike, coach at Wahluke High in Mattawa, Washington  writes...

Hugh, talked with Randy yesterday about the photo of 16 firsties (seniors) taken outside of Davidson Barracks. I am sure you have seen and read about it. I asked him what he thought. He said

“First, Dad, you are told not to align with any political group while you are at West Point and in the military. He added, that perception is reality and now they can be turned back or separated, which in simple terms means removed from the Academy. Now whether it goes there or not is up to the commanders. That’s why, Dad, I keep my mouth shut and do what I am told.”  

Recently, I  actually saw a clip of a group of soldiers - possibly West Point cadets - at a concert, and when the band started playing “Army Strong,” they all cheered lustily - and raised their right fists in the air!

Perhaps - perhaps - that’s all we were seeing in the photo.

A problem for the superintendent  in trying to get to the bottom of this is that if they admit that they were, indeed,  making the BLM gesture, they are in violation of strict US Army regulations prohibiting such conduct;  but  if they deny doing so, and evidence (such as Facebook posts) were to show that in fact they did, they would be in violation of the Academy’s strict honor code - “A Cadet will not lie, cheat or steal, nor tolerate others who do.”

Either way, the resulting punishment  would displease a large group of people who do not necessarily subscribe to the Army's - or the Academy's - values or appreciate its standards.  And the Army (and the United States Military Academy) would find itself in the middle of the very thing its regulations are intended to prevent - a nasty political controversy.

So if I were the Supe (sure glad  I’m not) I’d try to turn this into a “teachable moment.” (How’s that for an educational cliche? )

I’d call them all in - together - and say, “By now you’re undoubtedly aware of the furor caused by your group photograph.   I don’t intend to try to guess what you meant by the gestures in the photo, and I’m not going to ask you.  On the assumption that you were simply signaling 'Army Strong,' I’m going to wish you the best of luck in your Army careers, and remind you to be very, very careful what you say and do for as long as you represent the United States Army, especially regarding political statements or positions.”

In the process, I'd do my best  to scare the crap out of them so they'd realize what a break they were getting.

BUT - if just one of them were to so much as make any mention at all of BLM, it would be grounds for either turn back (repeat senior year) or separation (expulsion).

*********** Tom Butters died not long ago, and I failed at the time to note his importance in sports history.

As Duke’s AD in 1980, he hired a little-known basketball coach at West Point named Mike Krzyzewski.

After three seasons at Duke, Krzyzewski (he was not yet known as “Coach K”) was 38-47, and was coming off two-straight 17-loss seasons.

But instead of firing him, Butters gave him a fourth season - and a contract  extension in the middle of season #4 - and the rest is history.

***********  The great  Bill Russell went to high school in Oakland, but his family's roots were in the South, in Monroe, Louisiana.  

He recalled…  “One of my favorite memories, and I’ve told this story many times before, is that my grandfather had never seen me play basketball.  So my father and my grandfather go to the game, and they’re watching me play.  During the game, Bob Pettit
(St. Louis Hawks superstar) says to my grandfather, ‘It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Russell.’  On the way back to Monroe after the game, my grandfather says to my father, ‘Something happened to me today that’s never happened before.’  My father said, ‘What’s that?’  And my grandfather said, ‘I’m ninety-one years old, and that’s the first time in my life that a white man has called me Mister.’”


57.2.3 Following the first contest (jamboree or game) participants are limited to two (2) days per
week (not counting contests) of thud or live action drills.

Definition of levels of contact:

Thud – Drill is run at assigned speed through the moment of contact; no pre-
determined “winner”. Contact remains above the waist, players stay on their
feet and a quick whistle ends the drill.

Live Action – Drill is run in game-like conditions and players may be taken to the

american flag FRIDAY, MAY 6,  2016  “Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.”   John F. Kennedy

*********** There was an interesting article in USA Today earlier this week about San Diego State and its “old-fashioned” football.

Said Offensive Coordinator Jeff Horton to USA Today’s Paul Myerberg, “We’re the dinosaur. I feel that’s our niche. That’s who we are. Teams always say, when they’re getting ready to play someone good, ‘We’re looking forward to playing real football - old-fashioned football.’ But they haven’t had a guard pulling on them or tackles blocking down or a fullback leading the way.”

Added Bobby Hauck, associate head coach: “We’re about the brick and mortar, the foundation, here.  It’s maybe even a dying art in our game to approach it that way, but the formula hasn’t changed.   You go back 100 years in this game - the formula works. And until they make blocking and tackling illegal, it’s still going to work,  It’s still going to be a formula that works in this game.”

It fits with head coach Rocky Long’s “no bling” approach.

The SDSU weight room, he says, is “very average.”  And football shares it with all the other SDSU sports.

The locker room?  “Looks high a high school locker room.”

There’s no training table, no cafeteria just for the football jocks.

Says Coach Long, “We’re not one of those schools that amaze them with what I call bling…  We don’t have the problem of getting the kid that comes there because  it’s the prettiest and it’s the best and it’s the most wonderful. We don’t have that problem because the kids know what we’ve got. And if they don’t, they see it when they get there.”

I was reminded of this when I listened to Army coach Jeff Monken last Saturday before the Army spring game. A season ticket holder put him on the spot by asking him how Army recruiters deal with  the fact that Air Force and Navy offer more glamorous service assignments, while for West Point grads it’s pretty much boots on the ground - in some very nasty places.  Replied Monken without a moment's hesitation, “I want tough guys.”

*********** Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams is a character.  The fact that he’s even in the NBA is a story in itself.

*********** Wrapping up his announcement that he was “suspending his candidacy,”  Ted Cruz said,   “We left it all on the field.”

Interesting that  he’d use a football metaphor.

Considering that we've been witnessing the ugliest campaign in my memory,  there's a lot more that the Republican contenders could have learned from football coaches.

Think back, and ask yourself,…

“How many football coaches go out of their way to antagonize their opponents by openly insulting them?”

“How many football coaches, espcially when facing overwhelming odds against them,  boast that they’re going to win?"

************ Mike Sielski, in the Philadelphia Inquirer (In Phillytalk, that would be the “IN-quire”) wrote an interesting article about the spot that the Eagles (“Iggles”) find themselves in, after drafting a QB with the number two overall selection.

On the one hand, they’ve got starting QB Sam Bradford.  He’s unhappy because, on the other hand, they  gave up two starters and three draft picks to move up so they could select Carson Wentz.

Doesn’t sound like confidence in Bradford, does it?  Bradford doesn’t think so. He’s asked to be traded, and he’s been AWOL from team workouts.

The Eagles insist that the idea is for Wentz to backup Bradford and, ultimately, slide into the starting spot.

If anybody can relate to the situation, it’s Eagles’ coach Doug Pederson.  Back in 1999, after the Eagles had drafted Donovan McNabb (with the number two pick), he was signed to hold Donovan’s place until the rookie was ready.  Donovan finally took over in game 10.

But nowadays, as management throughout the NFL has become more impatient, 10 games is a long time to wait before throwing a highly-paid rookie QB to the dogs.

Sielski did his research and found that in the last 10 NFL drafts (not including this one)…

There were 25 quarterbacks selected in the first round.

15 of them were week one starters, and  21 were starters by game 10.

There were 14 quarterbacks selected in the top 10 in their draft.

11 of them were week one starters, and 13 of them were starters by the fifth game

There were 11 who were drafted either 1, 2 or 3 in their draft - and NINE of the 11 started in the opening game.

HARBAUGH POSTER*********** Not sure how, exactly, but I can’t help thinking that this sh-- is going to blow up in Harbaugh’s face one of these days.   Personally, I think that if Bo Schembechler were alive, he’d haul him into his office, slam the door behind them, and say, "Just WTF are you trying to do???"

This is so arrogant.  So... Trumpish.

Speaking of which, maybe USC or UCLA should hire the Costa Mesa Mob to picket the "Showcase."


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

People use stupidity and ignorance sometimes and think it is comedy.  As a parent of children with special needs, I unfortunately get that.  The Will Farrell thing is water off a (this) duck's back.

But, I'd like to brag since you brought up Special Olympics.  Meg Hollis is the regional champion in the 200m and 400m dash, qualifying for the State Games.  Sister Alina was fourth in the softball throw and their 4x100m relay team took second.  I'm a proud dad.

Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois

Good for Meg, Coach - and good for you.


coach blaik graveeamon fallon












*********** Far too many writers just don't seem to understand the importance of checking and double-checking.

Such was the case with a writer named Robert S. Lyons, who in "On Any Given Sunday," a biography of late NFL Commissioner Bert Bell, wrote...

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

Well.  "Four unspectacular seasons for Miami, Brooklyn and Cleveland of the AAFC,”  Eh?

That's how he "ended up?"

Shockingly poor research.

A tad more digging  would have revealed that Dub Jones had six rather exceptional years  for  the mighty Cleveland Browns - of the NFL.

At a time when most pro teams still employed three running backs,  the Browns’ legendary coach Paul Brown, ever the innovator, made Jones into the first of what came to be called “flanker backs” - multi-talented guys who were equally dangerous as runners or receivers.

In 1950, when the   All-American Football Conference was absorbed into the National Football League, the AAFC champion Cleveland Browns played their very first NFL game against the defending NFL champion Philadelphia Eagles.  In Philadelphia.  On a Saturday night, the night before all the other teams opened their seasons.

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

Jones scored the first touchdown of the game on a 59-yard pass from Otto Graham and set up the final touchdown with a 57-yard reception,  as the Browns stunned the defending champions - and the entire pro football world - with a 35-10 win.

In his 10-year AAFC-NFL career, Dub Jones caught 171 passes for 2,874 yards and 20 touchdowns.

In addition, he  had 2,209 yards rushing, and ran for 21 touchdowns.

Hall of Fame numbers, right?  Almost certainly, on most teams.  But those Browns had so much talent that it probably cost Jones a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Six teammates are in the Hall, and Paul Brown always  insisted that Jones merited a place with them.

Dub Jones is still in the NFL record books for scoring six touchdowns in a 1951 game against the Chicago Bears. Late in November, with both teams atop their divisions, Jones scored all of Cleveland’s touchdowns - four rushing and two receiving - as the Browns won, 42-41.

“It seemed like everything went right for me,” he said later.  “I scored five of the last six times I touched the ball.”

Late in the game, when Coach Brown learned that Jones was one touchdown away from Ernie Nevers’ 22-year-old record, he asked Jones what play he’d like to run. "A post," Jones told him.  The play went for a 50-yard TD.

The feat of scoring six touchdowns in a game has only been accomplished two other times in the history of the NFL - by Nevers in 1929, and by Gayle Sayers in 1965.

Four of Dub Jones'  sons played college football. One of them, Bert,  was an outstanding quarterback for LSU and the (Baltimore) Colts, and Bert and Dub Jones were the first father-and-son to make it into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame

"...ended up playing four unspectacular seasons," did he?

************* The Village People may have to add a park ranger…

From the New York Times

The White House is considering the creation of a national monument to the gay rights movement on a small piece of Greenwich Village parkland across the street from the Stonewall Inn, where a 1969 uprising helped inspire the push for equality, advocates said on Tuesday.

The interior secretary, Sally Jewell, and other federal officials are scheduled to attend a listening session next week in New York, during which supporters of such a park will make their case. The advocates include Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand and Representative Jerrold Nadler, both Democrats from New York.

*********** "Target should allow a 20-year-old to get a senior discount if he self-identifies as a 65-year-old."

Tim Wildman, President, American Family Association

*********** As if Rutgers doesn’t have enough problems just trying to compete in the Big Ten…

Its athletic department is in the process of offering season tickets - sort of.  Actually, it’s offering a get-rich-quick scheme. 

Forget supporting your team!  Forget the excitement of Rutgers football!  Forget crisp fall Saturday afternoons! That’s for chumps!

Make big money!  Invest in season tickets - and just wait till you see what those seats  will go for when Penn State or Michigan or Ohio State come to town!  Their fans will be waving wads of 100-dollar bills at you!

This can't miss!  But hurry!  Get your season tickets now!  They’re going fast!


Maybe it would be better if the other schools just refused to play against them. All games that Bellevue is scheduled in just get canceled because the opposing school refused to show up and play. Bellevue cannot take a state championship if all their “wins” are by forfeiture. No pro or college scout is going to see the high valued recruited players play if there is no game. Shun them. The whole league refuses to enable their cheating by giving them a field on which to play. Do that for all their sports.   The only way they win is if the rest of the league allows them to.

As a BHS alum, I'm embarrassed by this fiasco. Before being allowed to resign, Butch should send a handwritten letter to each student he's ever coached or coached against explaining why felt cheating to win is greater than developing a sense of integrity. This isn't on the students, it's on the coaches, administrators, parents and school district who knew what was going on and allowed it to continue. Disgraceful.

The Booster Club response is everything you thought it would be - baseless accusations of racism, harrassment, and interrogations followed by a bunch of nits picked, such as "The Bellevue Wolverines Football Club did not, nor did any coaches, pay The Academic Institute tuition for football players."  No the club didn't - it's members did.  LOL. 

Looking forward to some indictments here. Tax evasion for one. That would mean all of the documents would be subject to a real subpoena, not just a state agency 'investigation'. If they stonewall or lie on the discovery, then they become complicit in obstruction and falsifying evidence. I also wonder what else journalists could find using FOIA. The school is 100% public funded, every scrap of paper and every email there should be public information. (while respecting any real privacy rights of students).

What about the students at the High School who didn't make the team?   Do they feel victimized?  Can you be a victim if someone is chosen over you?  Even if that person shouldn't have been there in the first place? It is the same logic used in anti-immigration agendas.  I'm not saying it is right or wrong but it would be interesting to hear from the people who are actually affected.

What about a class action suit from every school and player that was cheated out of a state title? A class action suit against the BSD and Boosters.
You could be looking at thousands of claimants.

If you live in Bellevue and you have a son that did not get to play varsity football this past decade, you have to be seething. Your tax dollars went (and are going) toward keeping some other kid from out of the district on the field and preventing your son from participating nd protecting all of those involved from liability.

Anyone who claimed a tax exemption for their donations to the booster club, but who was a director with knowledge that the purpose of the entity was not tax exempt, may be liable for breach of fiduciary duties and or tax evasion among other potential causes of action. The booster club appears to be a 501(c)(3), or more accurately, has claimed that status. If the directors took actions on behalf of the club that were not in compliance with the code, e.g, giving players scholarships just to keep them eligible for Bellevue High Football, they long ago killed their 501(c)(3) status. If the same directors were also donors who claimed tax deductions on their tax filings based on these donations, they are likely liable for the back taxes. Obviously, they may also be subject to criminal liability.  If all other donors were not made aware of how their funds were being used, there is likely a breach of fiduciary duties of the board members to the other club members or donors. These kinds of gifts to players and their families, or direct payments to the private school were contrary to the WIAA rules which appears to be one piece of evidence regarding the standard of care for the board of directors of the club. This report is just the beginning of the fireworks show for the directors.

THIS ONE QUESTIONED WHETHER WIAA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR MIKE COLBRESE HAD THE NECESSARIES TO STAND UP TO BELLEVUE'S BOOSTER...   Let's remember that Archbishop Murphy forfeited its season and missed out on a state title opportunity because a coach dying of cancer missed an expiring physical (and then self-reported)... Boy yeah...that was Colbrese at his finest.  "We have no alternative" he said at the time, even when a group of team seniors visited his office to respectfully request consideration for the extreme circumstance behind that paperwork error by a dying coach.  The rules are the rules, said Colbrese (who, btw, has a Bellevue background and personal connection).  And remember, NO ONE even alleged that error gave an iota of competitive advantage to AM.  Yet Colbrese threw the book at the team and voided their title hopes. See how you made your bed there, Mike Colbrese???  See how there better be some title voiding for BHS your own rules.

american flag TUESDAY, MAY 3,  2016  “To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.”   G. K. Chesterton

***********  On the road - see you Friday!

*********** As we all know by now, Donald Trump proposes to build a wall. (Q.) “And who’s going to pay for it???”

But as we’ve all been told, Walls don’t work.  

Maybe fences do.

At least, the Secret Service seems to think so.  It’s proposing doubling the height of the fence around the White House - you know, the Peoples’ House - from its present seven feet to 14 feet. Not only that, but it would add sharpened spikes to the top, in addition to what it calls “anti-climb and intrusion detection technology.

Every day, hundreds of illegals cross our (wall-less) borders.   But nothing’s too good for Our President.

***********  Love him or hate him, one thing Donald Trump has done - he’s given us a look into the future. 

And if those protests in California are what the future’s going to be like with our porous borders and unwillingness to enforce the law,  take it from this 70-plus-year-old:  you’re welcome to it.

Actually, that was very selfish of me.  For the sake of my kids and grandkids, I just hope this awakens Americans to what’s been happening to their country while they were busy playing video games and texting and listening to music on their iPods.

*********** Will Ferrell is a really funny guy.  But NOBODY is funny enough to make a joke out of somebody’s suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Why didn’t he just go for some REAL laughs with story about handicapped kids tripping and falling at the Special Olympics?  Hilarious.

(For the humor-impaired - spare the "that's not funny" emails. I was not serious.)

*********** Best moment from the scrimmage:

Young, rookie, A back when Power Right was called:
"I don't know what to do, I don't know what to do!"
Veteran Left Guard, "Just catch the ball and follow me."

I laughed.

Football is fun.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

At least somebody understands!

(Great coaching point by the way - and a great way to reward the guard for the key role he plays!)

**********  FROM A COACHING FRIEND--- I read the news on how people from the stands criticize our coaching. How you would let them coach but had to jump the hoops we do. I also know someone added the before game and after game things with equipment, field etc etc. But let's talk about the things we do when it is not season. Running, strength and conditioning programs, coaching clinics, ordering new equipment or fundraising and so on.

Let's talk about the human factor and it does run deep.  Monday our locker room smelled like a pot farm. Yes we have an issue and it is bad. Of course it is legal in this state. I found out 6 of my current players are using heavily and they actually have videos of them smoking pot.

Tuesday I get a call a player who never misses a workout - a great kid where you wish you had more than one. His house burns down  - total loss - all he and his family have are the clothes on their back. I text all my players for a major clean up at the home after school wed. Also start the donations of clothes and basic necessities. I have over 30 players show up and we work for 3 hrs to clear as much of the rubble as possible. My wife even gets in on things too.  The kids are awesome and we finish the next day.

After that spent all day Friday talking to those certain players about drug use and met with parents with an interpreter. But Thursday nite was the cream of it all. I get a call from a mother, her son is one of my starting lineman, great junior season. He OD's on a new form of Marijuana called DEB. It is a wax form which is 95percent THC. Her mother comes over at 9pm to bring him to me after coming back from (the hospital)  where they saw his levels of THC was off the charts. . Single mom, she has 2 other daughters with her. Anyway this kid is really out of it and she wants to know who he got it from. After 15 min of nowhere she loses control and starts slapping the hell out of her 240 pound son. The older sister starts in also. You know when (those) women get fired up it is wild. After I separate them then I pull the kid away  and after 30 min I get the name of the dealer he is getting it from. A student at the high school.

I know other coaches go thru these things and I read where coach Koenig lost an athlete recently in an accident. If you coach long enough we coaches do all these things. We also deal with Administrators who are clueless and all they worry about is contract hours and where you should be.  I told my principal I have no contract hrs  - I am always on the go. She is slowly figuring it out.

In the end you have some idiot on Friday night questioning your coaching abilities. If they knew all the things we do long before we hit the field they would keep their mouths shut. I didn't write this for a pat on the back. I wrote so all those coaches that do things right and show genuine concern for their players know how appreciative I am that they are out there.


More on Friday

american flag FRIDAY, APRIL 29,  2016  “Chance favors the prepared man.” Louis Pasteur

***********  I'm in Philly right now.  After an evening watching the NFL draft while eating hoagies (from Lee's in Abington) and drinking Yuengling, it's off to West Point tomorrow to see Saturday's spring game.  Not a lot ot time to write.

But count on me to write a few things about the craven cowards at Yale and their recent PC decisions in response to student protests


ALMA MATER WANTED:  Football-loving college graduate abandoned by his college seeks hookup with another college.  Could lead to permanent relationship, with possible purchase of football season tickets, and school apparel  as well as token cash contributions on a semi-regular basis.  Must have decent, competitive football program, preferably FBS.     Must consider  conservative points of view - even Christian - in its overall conduct of affairs, and must have a president with the courage to inform protesting students that  the college is not going to change to suit them,  and that in making any decisions regarding the operation of the university, heaviest weight will be given to the opinions of its graduates.  School must admit students solely on the basis of academics, extracurricular activities and character, and must have tuition no more than half that of the least expensive Ivy League school. School must not have any major whose name ends in “Studies,” and must  grade in such a way that no more than 50 per cent of any class’ grades will be A’s and B’s. 

DIPLOMA FOR SALE:  Framed.  Elite Ivy League college.    Several years old but still in excellent condition.  Current owner has no further use for it.   Add prestige to your business by hanging it on your office wall.   Contact Hugh Wyatt

I'll have a few things to say about the cheating at Bellevue, including the news that those of us who want Bellevue punished are racists, see, because most of the athletes whom the Bellevue Boosters assisted (illegally) with  apartments and tuition payments to a private school were black.  Nice try, guys. That card's been used so much by so many scoundrels that it really doesn't pack much of a wallop any more.

The Bellevue Booster Club has been paying Coach Butch Goncharoff  $60,000 a year, in addition to his $9,000 coaching stipend.  When this issue came up a few years ago, the state association (WIAA) said that any payment by a booster club to a coach had to be approved by the school board in question.  When the Bellevue school board said it had never approved the $60,000 payment to Goncharoff, the Booster Club's answer was that the money wasn't for coaching.  Okay, okay.  Maybe it was to give speeches. I mean, if Hillary  is worth $250,000 a speech...

*********** Bellevue in the Draft! UCLA's Myles Jack was one of the players from outside the Bellevue area who migrated there to take advantage of its academic excellence.  Also to play football.

He's a hell of a player, and he could very well have been one of the top players drafted.   But, they kept telling us, scouts were concerned about that knee he injured in a practice session last season.   Not a word about the rumor that he was fit to return to play but chose instead to sit out the rest of the season rather than risk his draft prospects.

*********** Way back last September, Peggy Noonan wrote this in the Wall Street Journal.  It's if she were drawing up a game plan for Donald Trump.

The gap between those who run governments and those who are governed has now grown huge and portends nothing good.

Rules on immigration and refugees are made by safe people. These are the people who help run countries, who have nice homes in nice neighborhoods and are protected by their status. Those who live with the effects of immigration and asylum law are those who are less safe, who see a less beautiful face in it because they are daily confronted with a less beautiful reality—normal human roughness, human tensions. Decision-makers fear things like harsh words from the writers of editorials; normal human beings fear things like street crime. Decision-makers have the luxury of seeing life in the abstract. Normal people feel the implications of their decisions in the particular.

The decision-makers feel disdain for the anxieties of normal people, and ascribe them to small-minded bigotries, often religious and racial, and ignorant antagonisms. But normal people prize order because they can’t buy their way out of disorder.

People in gated communities of the mind, who glide by in Ubers, have bought their way out and are safe. Not to mention those in government-maintained mansions who glide by in SUVs followed by security details. Rulers can afford to see national-security threats as an abstraction—yes, yes, we must better integrate our new populations. But the unprotected, the vulnerable, have a right and a reason to worry.

The biggest thing leaders don’t do now is listen. They no longer hear the voices of common people. Or they imitate what they think it is and it sounds backward and embarrassing. In this age we will see political leaders, and institutions, rock, shatter and fall due to that deafness.

***********   From Sports Business Daily...

Interstate travel. Year-round play. Single-sport specialization. “Elite” competition, too often defined by time and money invested rather than the actual level of play.

The architects of what would become USA Hockey’s American Development Model considered those trends to be more detrimental than developmental, particularly as they trickled down to the youngest children strapping on skates.

And so, spurred by an internal study that revealed that 43 percent of children who tried hockey quit by age 9, the national governing body hit the reset button on its affiliated youth programs in 2010.

It pulled the plug on its 12-and-under pee wee national championship, reducing travel for younger players. It banned body-checking, responding to concerns about concussions. Most importantly, it laid out a boilerplate of recommendations — the skeleton of the ADM — adapting the game to make it more accessible and, in what was then an extreme example of zigging while its sports counterparts zagged, encouraging hockey players to play other sports.

Said Ken Martel, technical director of USA Hockey’s ADM program, who led both its design and implementation,  “The average parent looks around and they go, ‘What we’re doing doesn’t seem right.’ In their gut, they know it’s not right. Why should my 9-year-old in Chicago have to travel to Boston to play in this tournament? All they hear is the loud voice of the youth coach who wants his piece of the glory or the business operation that’s going to take their money because they can convince you that your kid is the next coming.

“What we’re finding in our sport, because we’re preaching this, is that a lot of parents are going, ‘Whew. Thank you. I knew this wasn’t right.’ It’s nice to have someone who is actually saying so.”

As youth sports have taken off as a business, with weekend calendars chock-full of events that fill nearby hotel rooms and coaches of elite travel programs selling the promise of an athletic scholarship, the governing bodies that oversee those sports increasingly voice concern about the byproduct.

The tug for a child to choose one sport over another is a powerful one. The most successful club soccer programs and travel baseball and basketball teams offer year-round training and jam-packed tournament schedules. Some require parents to sign commitment forms that promise not only that the child won’t play for another team in that sport, but that they will prioritize that team’s activities over those in any other sport.

Sport specialization and year-round play long have been linked to burnout in sports such as tennis and figure skating. But doctors now also recognize a physical toll, suggesting that overtraining is behind an increase in injuries.

Even as some kids are playing one sport too much, more kids than ever are playing no sport at all. Inactivity among children 6-17 approached 20 percent last year, continuing a disturbing trend spanning the last six years. While much of the evidence is anecdotal, several national governing body heads said they worry that the push to specialize early weeds out good athletes before they have a chance to emerge. Among 6- to 17-year-olds, the average number of team sports played per participant has fallen 5.9 percent in the last five years, dropping from 2.14 to 2.01, according to the SFIA.

“We have millions of kids playing soccer,” Martel said. “But they’ll lose to Tobago. The last Olympics, we got pounded in the bronze game [in hockey] by Finland. We’ve got more kids playing hockey in the state of Michigan than they do in all of Finland.

“We have all these resources. We have 100,000 8-year-olds playing hockey. But we burn them up and turn them around. Not only is it not what’s best for the kids, it’s not what’s best for the sport.”

***********   Coach Wyatt,

Great topic    "And while he's wondering where the weekend went -  there's Monday’s practice.  Sure hope he shows up with a good plan.  Kids are great at spotting disorganization."

Friday night still
Don't forget, the field has to be put away (home game), or all the kids have to get on the bus, all equipment loaded.

Uniforms washed,
Injuries tended to.
Film exchange with upcoming opponent.

We often have the kids in on Saturday to watch film and get a lift in.

Take care,

Mick Yanke
Cokato MN

Yes, and don’t forget  to call the newspaper (with all the stats) before their deadline!

*********** The people who give California - and Californians - a bad name…

A  60,000 gray whale was beached in San Clemente, California, between Los Angeles and San Diego.

It is lying there, rotting, while authorities try to figure out what to do with it.  Some suggest towing it out to sea.  Others think the solution it to cut it up and truck off the pieces.  (To where?)

The removal operation is complicated by the fact that there is limited vehicle access to the dead creature.  “I don’t think the carcass could have landed on a  worse stretch of beach,” said the superintendent of the state beach.

Now, here’s where the stereotypical Califirnians come in:

“Cynthia Stern, of Santa Monica, drove 75 miles with her friend to place a pink and white orchid by the whale and press homeopathic remedies onto its rotting blubber.

“‘You should be paying homage to such creatures,’ she said,  ‘that are so intelligent and so wonderful. Even though it’s a carcass, it’s profoundly positive - and anyone who went there is blessed.’”

Yeah, profoundly positive.  Rubbing “homeopathic remedies,” whatever the hell they are, on a dead whale.

Said a more normal Californian, “I was a chef for a while, so I’ve seen all sorts of dead fish, but never like this.”

(Let’s not ruin it by telling him it’s not a fish.)

***********  DRAFT PREDICTION: Laremy Tunsil will  miss at least one game to suspension for every year he plays in the NFL.  The Dolphins knew exactly what they were getting and took him anyhow.

*********** "If foreign nationals were swarming into the U.S. illegally from Europe to find jobs as journalists, government workers, and lawyers, the progressive elites might worry about their own employment and be less utopian about open borders." Victor Davis Hanson

*********** This is a year old, but it bears repeating...

According to an article in the Portland Oregonian, there were a number of forfeits among Oregon's small schools resulting from the state's concussion protocol.  Schools with low roster numbers have found themselves unable to field a team after a number of their players were deemed unable to play after displaying concussion-like symptoms. The problem is compounded by the fact that many of these are rural schools without convenient access to the health-care professionals who are the only ones empowered to clear the kids to return to play.

I refer to all this as the NFL devouring its young.  When we needed help financing programs, they were nowhere to be found.  We had to institute "participation fees," and our needs helped kick-start an entire fund-raising industry. What did the mighty NFL do for us?  Why, they selected "high school coaches of the month," and hosted national conventions for select coaches.  Thanks, guys.  My players get by with hand-me-down shoes.

But now that they're under fire as the likely cause of dementia in retired players, the NFL tries to buy Kevlar for itself by posing as the saviour of youth football, using its USA Football front to teach tackling and show coaches how to fit helmets.  See - we really CARE!

There, Mom.  Now that you've been scared out of your wits by stories of dementia among players who played football for years at an intense level, don't you feel a whole lot better, knowing that your little boy's coach is USA Football-certified?

Personally, I would have liked to see the NFL players' suit go to trial.  It could have gotten ugly, of course, with the NFL's lawyers delving into the private lives of some of those plaintiffs and their various methods of "recreating" and self-medicating, but it might have shown that more factors than football were to blame for their sad conditions.

american flag TUESDAY, APRIL 26,  2016  “A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary.”  Fred Allen

***********  I often think how are fortunate we are to be coaching football, if only  because our players are insulated from the fans/parents more than with any other team sport (except maybe Australian Rules, where the field is much, much bigger, and the fans much, much farther away).

I would hate to coach basketball.  I really feel for basketball coaches when I see how many of their kids are looking up into the stands instead of at them during timeouts.

Then there are the loudmouths in the stands.

Over the years I've had a few, but not that many.

Besides, the football coach always has his trump card -  invite the guy to come down out of the stands and try coaching the team himself.

Good luck.

Baseball?  A lot of guys could do it.  Not well, but they could do it.  Basketball? Likewise.  Soccer?  Almost certainly.

Football?  Make me laugh.

Even if a guy were to come on down and somehow manage to get through a game,  I'm not letting him off that fast.  He's going to find out how much goes on that he's not aware of.  First of all,  there’s a lot of video to watch over the weekend to see what needs improvement.   Sure hope he knows what to look for.

And while he's wondering where the weekend went -  there's Monday’s practice.  Sure hope he shows up with a good plan.  Kids are great at spotting disorganization.

And then there’s Tuesday’s practice… and Wednesday's... and Thursday's...

And then...  Hey - where’d that guy go?

***********  As NFL draft time approaches, an article in the New York Times nearly brought me to tears.

It was about - sniff - Johnny Football.  About how the poor kid has been used!  Chewed up and spit out by the NFL and its thoughtless fans, who see young men like Johnny as little more than beef on the hoof.

Knowing what we know about things like concussions and addiction; the possibility of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or C.T.E.; and the likelihood of a shortened life expectancy, you might think that we have moved past viewing football players as interchangeable parts to be haggled or numbers to be calculated.

We have not. Instead, we draft them again, this time for our personal fantasy football teams.

After the N.F.L. draft, if the players dare not meet the expectations heaped upon them by teams and fans when they were 21 or 22 years old, they are destined to become the butt of a long-running joke about busts. The misguided hype is seen as a character flaw of the player rather than a misjudgment by teams, analysts or fans — a broken promise in a one-sided relationship.

Manziel is the latest example, playing out in real time as another draft approaches. To read online comments and social media posts about Manziel’s troubles — arrests, parties, rehabilitation — is to explore the underbelly of fandom, dismissive and cruel. Schadenfreude is the flip side of reverence, and perhaps a stronger attraction.

Do you gnash your teeth when some do-gooder  says that “society failed" a criminal?   Does it piss you off when someone asks, “Where have we gone wrong?” as if WE taught the guy how to deal drugs?

It’s hard to read the Times article without getting a sense that there are those who think that after all his atrocious conduct, it's not Johnny's fault.  We've failed him, see, and now - after all he's had handed to him - he's still owed something.

Listen to his father,
Paul Football (actually, it’s really Manziel).   Back in February, he  told the Dallas Morning News, “I truly believe if they can’t get him help, he won’t live to see his 24th birthday.”

Seriously?   Did you catch that “they” business? 

Could that mean you and me?

I suppose if we don't act now -  if we don’t get Johnny help -  it might  drive him right into the arms of ISIS.

Not a chance.  ISIS parties like it's 1315.

*********** With  the latest news on Brady, I’m guessing that Bill Belichick has already offered Johnny Football a  four-game contract.

*********** Wait a minute… Intel just announced that it’s planning to slim down by laying off some 12,000 employees world-wide.

In Oregon, where Intel is one of the state’s largest employers, it’s expected to mean 2,000 or so workers will be “made redundant,” as the Brits say.

Meantime, at various US locations, Intel employs 15,000 foreigners.

It appears that a major reason for the seeming contradiction is that Obamacare requires the company to pay for the American workers, but not for the immigrant labor.

So much for “Progressives” constantly working to improve your job conditions - at jobs that, thanks to them,  no longer exist.   (Watch the jobs start to disappear once you can make that $15 an hour minimum wage.)

*********** Three reasons why I believe that we should make a much bigger deal of the William V Campbell Award  (named for the former Columbia football player and coach and giant of the tech industry who died last week), than we do of the Heisman Trophy:

1. Johnny Manziel

2. Johnny Manziel

3. Johnny Manziel

Call it the “Responsibility” factor.    When it’s matter of...

Building your house…

Running your business…

Teaching your kid…

Piloting your plane…

Arguing for you in court...

Operating on your mother…

Marrying your daughter…

Investing your money…

Who you gonna call?  The Heisman Trophy winner? 

Or the Campbell Award winner? 

*********** Ever since they won the Stanley Cup in 1974 and attributed the win as much to Kate Smith singing “God Bless America” before their games as to the hooliganism that earned them the nickname “Broad Street Bullies,” the Philadelphia Flyers have “honored our country” (as the PA announcers are fond of saying)  with that particular song.

Kate Smith, who’s long dead, made it her trademark song, and the woman sure could sing it.

Sunday,  I watched the very start of the Flyers-Caps game  and listened in disgust as some blonde in a Flyers’ sweater delivered  her personal interpretation of “God Bless America,”  one that automatically put her right up there with the thousands of wannabes who routinely defile our national anthem before NFL games.

*********** You may or may not know that former NBA coach Pat Riley trademarked the term “Three-peat.”  (Be sure to send him your royalty check the next time you use the term.)

In Australia, the Hawthorne Hawks have won the Aussie Rules Grand Final three years now - and now the term being tossed about Down Under   is “Fourthorne.”

(With a Strine - Australian - accent, Mate,  it rhymes with "Hawthorne.”)

*********** As the draft approaches, NFL people are pissing and moaning because college coaches insist on running these damn spread offenses.

Evidently they view winning (and holding onto their multimillion-dollar contracts) as more important than grooming players for the NFL, so college coaches have been neglecting their long-time role as the unpaid development league for the NFL, and allowed themselves to get so caught up in exciting, wide-open, crowd-pleasing offensive football that they’ve failed  teach certain skills - skills that the pros themselves can’t be bothered teaching.

Seems to me that this is all ass-backwards.  If you make wool clothing and there’s a falloff in the world population of sheep, there’s no point in whining. Or, like the NFL, asking herders to turn  goats into sheep. You’d better figure out how to make clothing out of cotton.  Or synthetics.   Or something.   So if this is what the colleges are sending you, maybe you need to change your formula.  Ever thought about adapting your game to the talent available? 

Yeah, sure. Make me laugh.

Not the NFL, which doesn’t acknowledge that football  is even played on Saturdays. Not the NFL, which insists on deluding the public by arrogantly dropping the “pro” from “pro football,” as if it has a monopoly on the game.

Not the NFL, which in the manner of generals throughout history, insists on fighting this war with the weapons of the last war.  Maybe a dozen top colleges still play the so-called “pro-style” attack, and good for them.   But far more don’t, and the game they play is exciting and popular.  Far more so, I would argue, than the NFL's game.  But just as the crusty old guys from World War I  derided Billy Mitchell for his crazy idea that a war could be fought by planes launched from flat-top ships,  the NFL refuses to recognize reality:   these college guys are way ahead of them.

*********** "After seven long years of disaster after disaster, at home and abroad, under the Obama administration, have we learned nothing about the dangers of choosing an untested candidate for President of the  United States on the basis of his saying things we want to hear?"   Thomas Sowell

***********  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, he 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, 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 was a national title contender.

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.”

*********** When Jacoby Ellsbury (former Oregon State Beaver - ahem) stole home last week, it was the first straight steal (not as part of a double-steal) of home by a Yankee in 15 years. FIFTEEN YEARS!

Hard to believe how one of the most exciting plays in baseball has all but vanished from the game.

Jackie Robinson was famed for the big leads he’d take off third, scaring the pants off opposing pitchers.

In his career, he stole home 19 times (20 of you count a steal of home in the World Series).

And get this - 19 steals of home in a career only place Robinson in a tie for 9th place.  He is, though, the most “modern” player on the list, an indication of how the steal of home has become a lost tactic.  (It’s not without its risks - Robinson was thrown out stealing home 12 times.)

At the top of the list is Ty Cobb, with 54 steals of home.  We’ll see a guy hit safely in 57 straight games before we’ll see someone steal home 54 times.

Speaking of Ty Cobb, everyone knows by now that he was a vicious racist, right?

Wrong, says Charles Leerhsen, author of “Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty.” 

In a speech at Hillsdale College on March 7,  he makes the point that it all started with a hatchet job on Cobb, in an article published in “True” Magazine by a hack writer named Al Stump, and from there the
The Cobb-is-racist legend took wings.   It was further validated by subsequent biographers who simply accepted the original Al Stump story as gospel, with the result, Leerhsen says,  that “People have been told that Cobb was a bad man over and over, all of their lives. The repetition felt like evidence.”

Mr. Leerhsen’s evidence, which is laid out in “Imprimis,” a monthly publication put out by Hillsdale College, is enough to convince me that Ty Cobb was defamed by a writer named Al Stump.

american flag FRIDAY, APRIL 22,  2016  “Everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” Ian McLaren

*********** Turns out it wasn't just their Wing-T that won all those titles at Bellevue, Washington.  Nope. They've been winning the old-fashioned way - cheating their asses off.

If Bellevue were a college, even the gutless NCAA would  shut them down.

But watch our courageous state association, the WIAA, deal with a school with the power and prestige of Bellevue. If you were the coach of a small, rural school, the WIAA would have no compunctions whatsoever about taking your state title from you if you had self-reported that,
winning 45-0 with a minute to play, caught up in the excitement and in your desire to play every kid,  you’d played an ineligible third-stringer.

You'd be toast.

But guaranteed - they'll   give the highly-paid coach of Bellevue, an elite school in an elite suburb, a slap on the wrist. 

Another one, I should add.

Last year, when the cheating first came to light, Bellevue’s head coach - whose coaching stipend (he doesn’t teach) is reported to be in the neighborhood of $100,000  - was given a two-game suspension.

*********** Damn shame about Prince -  but would somebody please interrupt the non-stop eulogies to point out for the sake of our young poeple that it appears that "recreational" drugs have claimed another victim?

*********** You look at the "quality" of the people running for President and ask yourself how this could possibly be the best a nation of  300,000,000 people can do. And then  you think about how quick everyone was to reject former Senator James Webb, of Virginia, and how quick they were to follow a 70-year-old  pied piper who promised them the world - without having to work any harder than he ever has.
Webb and Sanders


By Hugh Wyatt

By now, many Americans know that shortly after the outbreak of World War II, Japanese-Americans living in West Coast states were rounded up and sent to “internment camps,” supposedly in the interest of our national security.  But very few Americans realize that our country conspired with other countries - notably Peru, which had a large Japanese population - to seize their Japanese residents, too, and bring them to the US for internment here.

Now, in looking back at a successful career as an international banker, Seiki Murono reflects on the people and things - including football - that enabled a young man born in a World War II Japanese internment camp to climb to the highest rungs of business.


Looking back at a long and varied career that’s taken him from an internment camp to a company town to a small and selective college to athletic success in college and professional sports, to the acme of international business, Seiki reflects on the factors that helped make him successful.

From an early age, the sense of “belonging” was a powerful motivator.  “When I was growing up,” Seiki says, “I thought about being ‘different’ constantly and did whatever I could to be accepted and excel in everything I did.  It was the driving force in my early years which shaped who and what I became.”

Playing sports, he says, was “huge,” in terms of his his overall development. “I felt most ‘American’,” he said,  “When I was playing sports.  It was probably the main reason I chose to participate in assimilate and to gain acceptance.”

Teachers and coaches, football and family have been major forces in his life…

“My high school English teacher, Mrs. Jane Owen, was very special,” he says.  “She made sure I learned how to speak proper English by teaching me how to diagram sentences and conjugate verbs.  To this day, I remember and use what she taught me.  When I was a senior in high school, it was she who suggested I consider a career in international banking.  Amazing, since I had no idea what international banking was!”

Two other important influences were his football coaches – Barney Fisher at Bridgeton High School, and George Storck at Franklin and Marshall.  “Both were exceptional mentors,” he said, “from whom I learned so much about life skills, leadership and being decent human beings.”

F & M, he says now,  “Was a very good choice.  I received a terrific education and had the opportunity to play for a great football coach. Football - and the positive influence of Coach Storck  - laid the foundation for my career in business.  Playing team sports, especially as a quarterback, taught me leadership skills and the importance of cooperation and collaboration as keys to achieving success and reaching objectives.”

But most important of all were his parents.

Other than the abduction of Ginzo Murono and the separation from the life the Muronos knew in Peru, and other than the fact that incarceration was their introduction to the United States, the Muronos were like so many other immigrants to the United States in the manner in which they worked and sacrificed to give their children opportunities that they knew they would never have themselves.

At one point they considered moving back back to Peru, but they chose to remain in the US because they wanted all three of their children to be educated here, and they thought opportunities would be better for them here.

“They believed that we could make it,” Seiki says. “And the key was for all of us to receive a good education.  They made tremendous sacrifices so that we could achieve this objective.”

In return, he said, “We wanted to make our parents proud and bring them honor for the sacrifices they made.”

The Muronos must surely have felt honored and repaid by the accomplishments of their children.

In addition to Seiki, older brother Eisuke earned his PhD in endocrinology and was a senior scientist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and taught at the medical schools at the University of South Carolina and West Virginia University.

Older sister Toyoko graduated from Columbia University.  While still an undergraduate, she worked in the Foreign Admissions Office, and continued to work there after graduation, overseeing applications from foreign students hoping to attend Columbia.

It is almost incomprehensible to think of what the Muronos did for the sake of their children.  Dealt an unfair hand in life, they accepted their lot and made the best of their situation. Ginzo Murono, Seiki’s father, never returned to the business life he had known in Peru, and worked at Seabrook Farms until his retirement.

Amazingly, Seiki said he never heard his father complain or display anger over the injustices he and his family had suffered.  “My father was a saint,” Seiki says.   “He never expressed or showed any kind of bitterness as a result of being interned.  In the end, he was grateful and proud to be an American citizen and appreciated all the opportunities that this country afforded his children.  He was especially proud of the fact that all his children received college degrees and went on to have successful professional careers.”

Seiki does concede that there were occasions in both high school and  college where he was the target of discrimination and racial slurs directed at him by opposing players. 

But his professional career was quite different.  “During my entire 26 years at the Chase Manhattan Bank,” he says,  “I was always treated fairly and with respect and consider it a privilege to have worked there.”

The subject of the Japanese internment was never mentioned in high school, and at the time he was in college, very little had been written about it. As a consequence, very few of his classmates or teammates at F & M knew anything about it.  “Most," he says,  "were surprised and shocked to hear the story.” 

Growing up, Seiki said, he was reluctant to discuss the subject of the Japanese internment, because, “One of my primary objectives was to gain acceptance,  assimilate and look as ‘American’ as possible.” 

Now, he says, “I am more willing to speak about it.  My hope is that as more is written about the internment experience, it will foster a greater understanding of the perils of prejudice and discrimination and lessen the likelihood that these types of injustice are repeated.”

He sums up the way his parents and other Japanese interns dealt with the difficulties of their lives:  "There's a word in Japanese: gaman – to endure," he says. "My parents used to say that one's ability to endure hardship prepares one for life."

american flag TUESDAY, APRIL 19,  2016  “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy.  Its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”  Winston Churchill

*********** Other than the loss of a member of his own family, there can’t be anything harder on a coach than the death of a member of his (or her) team.

Just the thought of losing someone so young, so promising, so full of life, someone we love like a son or daughter, is enough to shake us all. 

When one of our coaching brothers loses one of his football family - what can we say?

Greg Koenig, head coach at Beloit Kansas, was awakened Saturday morning by a phone call informing him that some time around midnight the night before, one of his players, Noah Smith, a promising sophomore running back/strong safety, had been killed in a one-car accident north of Beloit.

A farm boy, Noah came from a large, supportive family.  His older brother, Casey, played for Coach Koenig and was Beloit’s Black Lion Award winner in 2010.  A younger brother will be a freshman on the team this year.

Noah started at running back the latter part of last season, but it was on defense that he shone: credited with 99 tackles and four interceptions, he received Honorable Mention on the All-State team.

In a Beloit program that emphasizes more than football ability, he was a standout in more ways than as a player.

“His impact ran deep in our school, our community, and people in church youth group…a lot of his relationships are long-lasting,” Coach Koenig said. “He was a gifted athlete, but that was nowhere near the whole picture.”

May God comfort his family, his teammates, his schoolmates, his coaches and teachers and the Beloit community.

***********  Tsk, tsk.  No more off-campus camps in the far reaches of the country for Michigan or Michigan coaches.  Nice try, Coach Harbaugh.  Now you’re stuck on that campus of yours with its puny 100,000+ seat stadium and those multimillion-dollar football facilities. 

Instead of bitching about the unfairness of the NCAA, you ought to be working on a way for poor kids from Florida and Georgia and Texas to somehow materialize at your on-campus camps.  (Dumb me - as if you aren’t already on that one.)

*********** As a huge fan of the 70s Steelers, I liked Lynn Swann as a football player.  As a football fan in general, I liked his work as a TV guy.  And as a native Pennsylvanian, I liked the fact that he stayed around after his playing days. And I liked his politics.

But his hiring by USC as its AD puts me in position of conflict.  I like Lynn Swann, but I can’t stand USC.  At the very least, I hope the job doesn’t gobble him up.

I liked his predecessor, Pat Haden, too, but as upstanding as he was, even he wasn’t enough to keep the Trojans clean. And, too, he did hire Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian.  I know he's had health problems, but either of those hires would have been enough to get most ADs fired. 

*********** Isn’t it time to retire this whole corny Raider/Red Sox/Trojan/Beaver/Cornhusker/Buckeye "Nation" deal?

*********** Everything’s in place for the Rams to be successful in LA.

Well, almost everything.

They still have to win.

***********  While waiting for North Carolina to be horsewhipped with a feather boa...

There aren’t many things left that the NCAA has the power to do,  but one of them concerns the sanctioning of bowl games.  Last week, the august organization did college football a favor by placing a three-year moratorium on any new bowl games.

NEW bowl games?  Sheesh.

Talk about bowlflation: last year, there were more bowl games than there were FBS teams with winning records, and as a result,  just to provide ESPN with programming,  three 5-7 teams “earned” bowl invitations.

It’s sad to reflect on all those great Big Ten and Pac-8 teams that had to stay home because of  conference policies that sent only their winners to the Rose Bowl - and left everyone else home.  (And then there were those years when they had “no repeat” rules, which meant that the champion had to stay home if it had gone to the Rose Bowl the year before.)

*********** Between the Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12 Networks, plus NBC Sports and a few others, there were 15 spring games on TV Saturday.

I "watched" a few.   Well, the TV was on - let's put it that way.

One of the highlights for me was a little nutcracker-type drill that LSU ran prior to their “game.”  They had Les Miles mic’ed up, which was rather humorous,  because one (evidently) poor effort elicited a rousing “BULLSH—!” from Coach Miles (or someone standing very, very close to him).

Notre Dame seemed to have some real backfield speed.

I watched the Cal game to see redshirt freshman Ross Bowers, a Bothell, Washington kid whose dad, now a coach at James Madison, is originally from my old stomping grounds in Hagerstown, Maryland. The kid is going to be good.  Maybe you’ve seen the video of the way he stuck his landing, gymnast-style,  in the end zone in the state championship game.  He comes by his agility naturally - his mom is head gymnastics coach at the University of Washington.

The best thing for me was learning more about Cal running back Vic Enwere.  From Missouri City, Texas, he’s the son of Nigerian immigrants.  Hmmm, I thought.  Knowing the way  the Nigerians that I’m aware of value their children’s education, this kid is more than just a good football player - he’s undoubtedly a good student, too.


Yes, he is.  And so is his brother, who’s at MIT. And so is the sister who was valedictorian of her class at the University of Texas.  And so is another sister who plays volleyball at Northwestern.

















*********** It was a beautiful day in central Illinois yesterday.  And I am recovering from knee surgery.  So, while my kids played outside I sat in a chair and did a little reading.  I pulled out a book I picked up a long time ago, The Football Bible, and started reading an article by Joe Paterno.  I thought you would appreciate it:

"During a lecture many years ago, Paul "Bear" Bryant talked about the keys to getting prepared for a game.  Sitting there among hundreds of other coaches, I was expecting a detailed description of how Coach Bryant readied his offense, defense, and kicking units to perform at their best each contest.  Instead, the wise veteran offered this profound bit of advice.  "Whatever you do," he said, "make sure your game plan is a small one."  He warned that the worst mistake we coaches make is to develop grand strategies for every unit, down, and distance and fail to become very good at any of them."

Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois


It’s great advice.

I was just doing a little research on something called Occams’ Razor,  a centuries-old principle for deciding between several explanations for an occurrence: the most plausible explanation is usually the simplest one.   (The “razor” is a figure of speech - it shaves away unlikely explanations to get to the point.)

In practice terms, I've  referred to it as “peeling the onion” - getting rid of unnecessary demands on our time.  The military calls it “Teaching to the Mission.”

Coach Bryant expressed it as well as anyone.

And it’s something I constantly struggle with.  A game plan for me is a balancing act between what I know I’ll need and what I’m guessing that I might possibly need, depending on this contingency or that.  It’s as if I were packing for a long trip, wondering what to pack and what to leave at home.

Suitcase or game plan, I almost always overpack.

I’ll bet that there are very few coaches who wish after a game that they had had more plays in their game plan!

Julia and Gene Banks*********** My daughter, Julia, was at Duke when it all started - when coach Bill Foster brought in a talented group that included a Philly kid named Gene Banks.

Coach Foster died not long ago, and Julia sent me this note on Gene Banks’ Facebook page:

Bill Foster Memorial- April 9, 2016
Rutgers University- Kilpatrick Chapel
New Brunswick, NJ
Words cannot express the sheer moment that was shared with my former teammates and brothers "celebrating" the life and times of our beloved Coach Bill Foster. There was so many emotions that swirled on this day and it was a "Celebration" to see the many people that he touched besides myself. Seeing each and every one that had been touched and that touched my life in a time that was truly one of the most vital parts of my life was Priceless. Coach was the director and producer of "men" and was the developer of the "Resurrection" of the Duke dynasty. (2 ACC Championships, A NCAA Championship appearance, Number 1 ranking (twice) for several weeks two years) There was an amazing tribute to Coach that was shown during this time and I did get to speak and got al ittle emotional through it. Couldn't help it. He allowed me to "Spread my wings" and "Fly" during that time of my career at Duke and he was the one coach that knew my potential of such and didn't hold me back. He helped me become a man in many ways and dealt with so much, when it came to me...he my Father...truly and he is missed not just by me...but everyone he came in contact with. They broke the mold when he was made after and never has a man (or person) touched my life like he did. I enjoy seeing ALL my brothers, from Tate Armstrong, Terry Chilli and Larry Doby, Jr. who also were present and paid respect. It was truly a spiritual moment and Priceless. He will NEVER be forgotten.

(In the photo, Julia's the one on the left.)

*********** Way back when I was in high school, my coach got me a summer job at Camp Tecumseh, a sports camp in New Hampshire where he would be working as a counselor/coach.  In return for my work in the kitchen serving meals, cleaning up afterwards, setting up for the next meal, and dumping garbage (making sure to shovel plenty of dirt on top so the skunks wouldn’t smell it), I got to take part in all the sports activities of the regular campers. 

The camp was run by former Penn football coach George Munger (my coach had played for him) and it was a fantastic opportunity for me to meet and compete with some really good athletes and take part in some sports I’d never been exposed to.  I learned how to play tennis there. I learned how to paddle a canoe. And portage.  And because of the competition, I got better at track, and baseball and football.

One of the counselors from previous years was there briefly, visiting because his younger brother was a camper. He was a big, dark-haired, athletic-looking guy named Pete Jannetta, and he’d played football and lacrosse at Penn.

Last week, I was reading the New York Times on my phone as I try to do every morning, and I saw the headline: last week.  Dr. Peter Jannetta, a world-renowned neurosurgeon died at 84.

In the words of The Times…

Dr. Jannetta, a retired faculty member of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, was considered one of the foremost neurosurgeons in the world.

A specialist in cranial nerve disorders, he was renowned in particular for having identified the minute culprit responsible for trigeminal neuralgia — a condition causing agonizing facial pain — and for developing a way to vanquish that culprit through microsurgery on the brain.

“This was a condition that had been documented for a thousand years: There are references in the ancient literature to what was originally called ‘tic douloureux,’ ” Mark L. Shelton, the author of “Working in a Very Small Place: The Making of a Neurosurgeon,” a 1989 book about Dr. Jannetta, said in a telephone interview on Thursday. “People knew of this unexplained, very intense, episodic facial pain but didn’t know the cause of it.”

Trigeminal neuralgia is so excruciating — and early remedies were so inadequate — that in the past, some patients committed suicide.

“It’s the worst pain in the world,” Dr. Jannetta told The Times Union of Albany in 1999. “The nerve endings in the face are the most concentrated in the body, even more than the fingertips.”

From highly-respected college athlete to “one of the foremost neurosurgeons in the world!” To think of all the water that’s gone under the bridge since the first time I saw Pete Jannetta.

*********** Football player agent Eugene Parker died March 31 at 60.  With a distinguished client list that included the likes of  Ron Woodson,  Cornelius Bennett,  Curtis Martin,  Deion Sanders,  Larry Fitzgerald and Jason Pierre-Paul, he was often described as “the first of the black super agents.”

Even owners and general managers spoke highly of him, partly because of his integrity, partly because of his ability to be creative in structuring his clients’ contracts, but also because of his ability to be firm but reasonable.

As he liked to say, “All we want for our clients is the high side of fair.”

*********** With great pride, Shep Clarke of Puyallup, Washington, sent me an article about local kid Josh Garnett, a very good football player, student and person…

*********** Several weeks ago, I was called for jury duty.  I lasted one morning.  They picked a jury and - surprise - the defense attorney evidently didn’t want a football coach sitting on a jury that decided whether or not her client was guilty of dealing drugs.

And that was enough public service to last me for another couple of years, easy.

But while I was there, I did enjoy watching the prosecutor explain what a jury’s purpose was.

To illustrate what was going to happen, he asked us to suppose - just suppose - there was a law in our county  that made it illegal to wear a red necktie on a Monday.

(It was Monday, and he was wearing a red tie.)

He told us that we were to take all the evidence -  in this case, there were witnesses confirming that the accused had worn a red tie on a Monday, and there was conclusive video as well -  and  decide on the guy’s guilt.

The guy’s guilty, right? Asked the prosecutor.

Most of us nodded our heads, but a woman in the back raised her hand.

You have a question? The prosecutor asked.

"Yes," replied the woman. “I’d want to know why he did it.”

*********** FROM THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL FOUNDATION (April 18, 2016) -

Bill Campbell, the namesake of the NFF William V. Campbell Trophy, the 2004 NFF Gold Medal recipient and the longest serving board member of the National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame, passed away today. Born Aug. 31, 1940, Campbell was 75.
"We lost a giant today and certainly one of the most prominent and significant leaders in NFF history," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning. "Bill touched so many people and organizations during his lifetime, and we were incredibly fortunate that he chose the NFF as his vehicle for giving back to the game he loved so much. His reputation brought immediate credibility to all of our efforts, and he worked with us on numerous occasions to leverage his relationships to further the NFF's mission. He was a great friend, and we are incredibly proud to carry on his legacy of leadership as the namesake of our top scholar-athlete award."
"We are incredibly saddened by the passing of Bill," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "He embodied the term leadership, and he used his experiences as a player and coach at Columbia to build one of the most successful business careers in the Silicon Valley as a confidant to generations of our country's most influential business leaders. Nobody had a bigger heart or gave back more to the game. His philanthropic efforts included quietly giving away tens of millions of dollars during his lifetime while continuing to coach an eighth grade football team near his home in California. He truly was a remarkable individual, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and many, many friends."
Bill Campbell joined the NFF Board in 1978 while he was still a coach at Columbia, and he continued to serve with distinction until his passing. In 2004, the NFF recognized Campbell's contributions and accomplishments by presenting him with the NFF Gold Medal, the organization's highest honor. In 2009, the NFF named college football's premiere scholar-athlete award as the William V. Campbell Trophy in his honor. The trophy is currently presented by Fidelity Investments, displayed at its official home inside the New York Athletic Club and endowed by HealthSouth with a $25,000 annual scholarship.

Known as "The Coach of Silicon Valley," Campbell played critical roles in the success of Apple, Google, Intuit and countless other high tech companies. The captain of Columbia's 1961 Ivy League championship team, he found his true calling after an unlikely career change at age 39 from football coach to advertising executive. His ability to recruit, develop, and manage talented executives - all lessons learned on the gridiron -  proved to be a critical component of his ability to inspire his business teams to the highest levels of success.

Campbell has been a major NFF supporter with several large donations to support the organization's youth development programs over the years, and he endowed one of its prestigious postgraduate scholarships in the name of his late brother, James J. Campbell, who was a three-sport athlete at the U.S. Naval Academy, including All-America honors in football and lacrosse.

Campbell, who served as the chairman of the board at Columbia, helped foster a strong relationship between the NFF, Columbia and the Ivy League. The relationships led to the NFF co-hosting an annual event, presented by the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, that provides the stage for announcing the recipient of the Asa S. Bushnell Cup to the Ivy League's Football Players of the Year. 

Campbell grew up outside of Pittsburgh in Homestead, Pa. His father worked two jobs, pulling nights in a mill and days as a high school teacher and basketball coach. Football reigns supreme in Western Pennsylvania, and Campbell played guard and linebacker in high school. Bright and energetic, Campbell migrated east to play football at Columbia University for Coach Buff Donelli.
A four-year student-athlete, Campbell captained the 1961 Ivy League Championship football team, which was inducted into the Columbia Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010, and earned All-Ivy League accolades as a senior. In a 1974 interview, Donelli described him as "the best captain I ever had. He's a person who made more of an imprint on people who know him than anyone I've ever known."
Campbell graduated from Columbia with a bachelor's degree in economics in 1962, later earning a master's degree in education also from Columbia. Before entering the business world at age 39, Campbell held several football coaching jobs as an assistant at Columbia University and then Boston College before landing the head job at his alma mater from 1974-79.
After his coaching stint, Campbell embarked on a legendary career, starting as a vice president of J. Walter Thompson, a New York based advertising agency, and then as a general manager of consumer products at Eastman Kodak Europe. He joined Apple Computer in 1983, and he rose to the level of executive vice president. He went on to found and served as president and CEO of Claris Corporation, which Apple purchased in 1990.
During his tenure at Apple, he played a critical role in a high-risk decision to air the famous "1984" ad directed by Ridley Scott that introduced the Mac during Super Bowl XVIII. The ad, which would be named the greatest commercial ever made by Advertising Age, helped build Apple's legend and its transcendent brand.
From 1994-98, Campbell served as the president and chief executive officer of Intuit, the maker of Quicken, QuickBooks, and Turbo Tax. Campbell also served as CEO of the company from September 1999 until January 2000. He would go onto serve as chairman. During his tenure at Intuit, the company's market value grew substantially, starting at $700 million and growing to more than $26 billion today.
Campbell joined the Columbia University Board of Trustees in 2003 and was named chair just two years later. He led the university through one of the most dynamic eras in its history - one that included the planning and groundbreaking of the new Manhattanville campus, the opening of the University's Global Centers, the successful completion of the record-setting Columbia Campaign and The Columbia Campaign for Athletics: Achieving Excellence, the creation of the Columbia Alumni Association and many more initiatives.
Because of his tremendous leadership and passion for Columbia Athletics, the university dedicated the Campbell Sports Center in his honor in October 2013. The state-of-the-art 50,000 square foot athletics headquarters at the Baker Athletic Complex on West 218th Street became the first new athletics building for Columbia since the mid-1970s. In fall 2014, the athletics program retired uniform number 67 - the number Campbell wore as an offensive lineman and linebacker for the 1961 Ivy League Champions - for all 31 of Columbia's varsity teams.
Campbell is survived by his son, Jim, daughter, Maggie, wife, Eileen Bocci, stepson, Matt Bocci, and his former wife, Roberta.

american flag FRIDAY, APRIL 15,  2016  "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."   George Orwell

***********  We lost a great American  Monday night when Clark Welch passed away in his sleep .

There is no better book about the Vietnam War than David Maraniss’ “They Marched Into Sunlight,"  and if it can be said that there was a hero in a book about the terrible battle of Ong Thanh, one in which the famed Black Lions were ambushed  and cut to pieces by a superior force, it would be Clark Welch.

A New Hampshire kid who’d enlisted ten years earlier by keeping his chronic asthmatic condition hidden from military doctors, he was, wrote Maraniss, “A Soldier’s soldier.”    The pain with which his loss is being felt by his fellow Vietnam veterans is a testament to the respect – almost awe – in which he was held.  He was a Black Lion's Black Lion.

To the men of Delta Company in Vietnam, he was known simply as “Big Rock.” He once overheard a soldier say of him, “That’s one old son of a bitch that’s got his sh—together.” It pleased him.  To Clark Welch, wrote Maraniss, it was “the ultimate compliment.”

Author Maraniss tells how, after being grievously wounded in the battle, Clark Welch lay in a hospital bed as General William Westmoreland, who headed American forces in Vietnam, arrived to award Purple Hearts to soldiers wounded in the battle…

In the recovery ward at last, Westmoreland went down the row of men, pinning Purple Hearts.

“I just want to congratulate you,” he said to Bud Barrow, the Delta first sergeant.

“Well, I’m not sure whether you ought to congratulate me or the enemy,” Barrow responded.  “They’re the ones who won that one.”  His mind raced back to the seventeenth, the denseness of the jungle floor, the Viet Cong shooting from the trees, the terror of being out there, the grief of losing so many of this boys.

Westmoreland pinned a Purple Heart on Barrow’s pajamas and said, “Tell me, sergeant.  What happened out there?”

“Well, sir, we walked into one of the damnedest ambushes you ever seen,”  Barrow said.

“Oh, no, no, no,” Westmoreland replied briskly.  “That was no ambush.”  (For the top US leaders to admit it was an ambush would have been to admit a level of incompetence and ill-preparedness.)

“Call it what you want to,”     Barrow said.  The combination of his wounds, the medication, and all he had been through allowed him to speak more bluntly to a general than he would have normally.  “I don’t know what happened to the rest of the people, but, by God, I was ambushed.”

Next came Clark Welch, the Delta commanded. Shoes clicked, papers ruffled.  Westmoreland pinned a medal and said a few words. They propped up Welch with pillows and snapped pictures of the brave lieutenant and the crisp general. Westmoreland moved on, but his staff aide, a marine major, lingered and asked Welch a question about the battle.

Welch was barely conscious, his thoughts uncensored.  He had survived, but the idealism that buoyed him during the early days of forming Delta Company died that day in the Long Nguyen Secret Zone.

Things were totally f—ked up, he told the major, as he lay wounded in the hospital bed, his arms and chest wraped in bandages.

You could try to do everything right, but things were as f—ked up as they could be.

Everything was f—ked up, from the battalion commander up through the President of the United States. As f—ked up as anything he had ever seen.  Colonel Allen, even if he was the son of a famous general, was f—ked up.  The operations officer was f—ked up.  The entire operation was f—ked up.  They shouldn’t have gone out there like that. They should have had more air support beforehand.  They shouldn’t have check-fired the artillery.  They should have let him fire his mortars.

Just a f—kup from beginning to end, a f—kup that killed Terry Alen and left Danny Sikorski and Jack Schroder and a lot of other young men dead.

A f—kup is what Clark Welch said to the major. He had never felt quite that way before, but it came spilling out of him on that Sunday in Long Binh, a feeling that would linger for decades.

Throughout the book, Maraniss returns to Clark Welch’s letters to his wife, Lacy, as a means of  keeping  the narrative flowing.

In one, he shows how, even as he fought for his own life in the hospital, his thoughts were of his men.

I thought I had a pretty good idea of what “battle” is, but there’s nothing like what my men went through. NO man should have to go through what we were in.  If it had to be done, though, my men did it better that anyone else could have. There were men that ran, and men that shot themselves, but I just feel sorry for them. They were just normal men that reacted normally. All the others were exceptional, far above what we have any right to expect from a man.  They’re just good men, Lacy, and now most of them are out… All these men should have big signs on them so they could have anything they want the rest of their lives.

In one of his last letters to her from Vietnam, he wrote,

I love you Lacy.  It looks silly to just see it written out there.  I remember the second time I was hit and couldn’t get up or talk or do anything anymore. For a second I just wanted to be home with my Lacy to take care of me. Just to be home, that’s what was inside me all the time.  I love you, Lacy.  Tell our boys their Dad did the best he could and that was all I could do – there were just too many of them and too much fire.




Three items of note: first,  an article written almost 15 years ago in the Colorado Springs Gazette, when he was living in the Rockies, so deep in the mountains that he had to hike miles to his mailbox to get his mail.  To keep in condition, he’d do the hike with a knapsack filled with 40 pounds of rocks.

Second, a testimonial to  his stoicism and reseve, so characteristic of Vietnam veterans:   "I met Clark Welch at a high-school reunion in 1982 (he and my wife were classmates). He didn't talk about his tours in Vietnam, nor the terrible injuries he'd received there, and nobody at the reunion thought to ask. So we missed the chance to hear the story of a hero. The U.S. Army likewise forgot: Clark's records were lost when he was med-evacked to Japan, along with his efficiency reports, the Distinguished Service Cross that was pinned on him, and even the fact that he had been at Ông Thanh or served in the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment--the "Black Lions."

Third, General James Shelton's  recommendation of Clark Welch for the Congressional Medal of Honor.  It tells in considerable detail what Clark Welch and his men went through, and adds to the  official record of his incredible bravery.

Clark Welch was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the second-highest award presented by the Army, but was denied the Medal of Honor - largely because all eyewitnesses to his heroics had been killed in action.  Oh - and partly because his records were lost.


american flag TUESDAY, APRIL 12,  2016  "In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life - It goes on." Robert Frost

KC Clinic Group Photo
AT THE KC CLINIC(From Left) Gabe McCown, Piedmont, OK; Brad Knight, Clarinda, IA; Connie and Hugh Wyatt, Camas, WA; Brian Mackell, Glen Burnie, MD; Christopher Anderson, Arlington, VA; Greg Koenig, Beloit, KS

********** This past weekend’s Kansas City Clinic was great for me.  I hope it was for the attendees.  After having cut back on my clinic schedule the past few years, this was a chance to return to an area I really like, to talk about some of the things I’ve been doing over the past three seasons, to meet new friends.  Above all, though, it was a chance to bring together once again “the club”  - a group of good friends whom I’ve worked very closely with over the years -  and to "induct"  some new members.

As you might expect, there were coaches from the nearby states of Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.  But there were also coaches who came considerable distances - Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Oklahoma and Virginia.

The K*********** On Sunday, Greg Koenig and I and our wives drove over to see Arrowhead Stadium, where the Chiefs play, and - what do you know? - the Royals happened to have a game that afternoon.  The two stadia - Arrowhead and “The K,” where the Royals play, are barely 100 yards apart, so we got caught up in the  traffic.  After a bit of talking on Greg’s part convinced a parking attendant that we just wanted to go in to take a  few pictures, we got a pass that enabled us basically to park free for an hour and walk around.

As to be expected, Arrowhead was impressive, but The K blew me away.  It is really one beautiful ballpark.  The photo was taken about an hour before game time, after I climbed a hill behind right-center field.

What really blew me away was the crowd itself.

Everybody knows the NFL is big, but unless your city has a major league baseball team, you forget how big baseball can be in a city that does have one.

Yes, I know that the Royals are the defending World Series champions, and you’d expect them to have a following, but sheesh - the atmosphere. As they filtered in, this was as festive and happy a group of people as any I’ve ever seen going to a football game.  And, I might add, a damn sight cleaner-cut and better-behaved than what you’d see at your average NFL game.  Not only could you bring little kids to a Royals’ game - people were doing it.  I didn’t notice until my wife pointed out it how many young kids were in the crowd, a good sign for baseball’s future. A lot of people were tailgating - at a baseball game, for Pete’s sake.  And there was scarcely a person who wasn’t wearing Royal blue.

The twin stadia are easily accessible from a freeway, and there was ample parking (although I imagine that Kansas Citians might have an idea of what hell would be like if the Royals and Chiefs were ever to play at the same time).  There were plenty of parking attendants, and they were not only efficient but extremely well-trained - both helpful and courteous.

If we didn’t have to get to the airport, I could easily have been persuaded to stay and watch a major league baseball game - for the first time in maybe 20 years.

*********** Outside the main gate at Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium is Founder’s Plaza, at the entrance of which is a statue of the late Lamar Hunt, a remarkably  accurate depiction of the former Chiefs' owner, one of the most influential men in the history of professional football. Among other things, without his wealth and resolve the American Football League might very well have folded; he moved the Dallas Cowboys to Kansas City; and he’s credited with giving the Super Bowl its name. (With all that he did for football, he's earned a pass for his role in helping establish Major League Soccer.)

Between the statue and the entrance, diagrammed in the sidewalk is one of the most famous plays in Chiefs’ history, “65 Toss Power Trap,” which resulted in a touchdown by Mike Garrett that helped Kansas City thump the favored Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl 4 (I don’t think it was “IV” yet).

A number of bricks in the plaza contain a wide assortment of  expressions of devotion to the Chiefs.

lamar hunt statuekc trap playkc bricks

***********  To give you an idea of what a huge, useless racket diversity training has become, I quote a recent article in USA Today:

Fortune 500 companies and startups alike spend more than a collective $8 billion a year on in-house diversity training sessions that are largely ineffective and often counterproductive, says Frank Dobbin, a Harvard University sociology professor who has conducted numerous studies on diversity programs that date back decades.

“All lab studies show that you can change people’s attitudes for about 30 minutes after training,” he says. “But three to six months later there’s either no change or a negative reaction because you’ve actually activated their bias.”

I certainly didn't need Professor Dobbin to tell me what a crock of sh-- the diversity scam is, and I'm happy I no longer have to sit through any of that garbage, because
the first time one of those parasites tried pulling their "white privilege" crap on me, they would find me, uh, "confrontational."

But the uselessness and expense of diversity training  hasn’t discouraged the NFL, which more and more seems bent on becoming the Fourth Branch of Government - Liberal Government -  from pushing on.  Now, Big Football, which won’t bring its Super Bowl to Your Town unless you agree to let trannies use whatever locker rooms and bathrooms they choose, is exploring the use of Virtual Reality for its diversity training.

The plan is that if you are a white guy (roughly 30 per cent of NFL players, as I understand it), you will put on VR goggles and discover (by looking at your avatar arms) that you are now a black woman, and that the (virtual) white guy you see in front of you is bent on doing you harm.  So, the thinking goes, once you take off the goggles, you’ll empathize with a black woman who’s the victim of a violent white guy -  which means no more beating up black women for you.  A kinder, gentler NFL.

It sounds Orwellian, and it  brings up an interesting question: if we really are able to perform such 1984-type attitude adjustment, is it bigoted of me to suggest that we at least to try it out on people who have this idea that they’re really the opposite of the sex God “assigned” them?




(Internet Wisdom)

*********** Whitman College, in Walla Walla, Washington, is named for Marcus Whitman and his wife Narcissa.  The Whitmans  came west over the Oregon Trail and established a mission to the Cayuse Indians at the location of what is now Walla Walla.   That makes them missionaries.  After a few years, as more settlers moved in, a measles epidemic wiped out most of the Cayuse adults and all of the children.  Blaming the Whitmans, the Cayuse killed them and 12 others.

Whitman College is, I think, highly-rated.  It almost has to be, because it doesn’t have football.  Gave it up 40-some years ago.

It’s also a very sensitive place.

It announced recently that the school’s teams (I have no ideas what sports they do play) will no longer be known as “The Missionaries.”

************ Lake Oswego, Oregon is perhaps THE elite Portland suburb.  Its median income is the highest in the area, as is the median price of a home.  Its schools and its school kids lack for nothing.

Or so I thought.

On Monday, ten members of the Lake Oswego High School girls’ softball team filed suit against the Lake Oswego School District, accusing it of Title IX violations.

This is what’s being reported:

The baseball team has an artificial turf field on campus, with its own hitting facility, while the girls play softball on a dirt field at a junior high, where there’s no hitting facility.

Even when their field is unplayable, the lawsuit claims, the girls aren’t permitted to use the boys’ facilities.

Two years ago, according to the lawsuit, the district promised that it would build the girls a hitting facility, and received a “substantial donation” to help pay for it,  but after their supporters had done the planning and engineering, they were told by the district that they wouldn’t get it until they’d won a state title.

Furthermore, the “substantial donation” was used for another sport.

Additional complaints include:

    •    The district does not adequately maintain the softball fields or provide the softball team with the proper equipment to do so.
    •    The baseball stadium has superior dugouts with drinking fountains, stadium seating, a press box with a sound system, and clean, usable bathrooms for players and fans. The softball field has none of these amenities, and “does not even have a United States flag for the pre-game national anthem.”
    •    Baseball players have a baseball-only locker room, but the softball team must share a team room with other female athletes.
    •    The baseball program -- with a concession stand at the baseball stadium and a hitting facility to conduct clinics -- has a greater opportunity to raise money. The softball program has neither.
    •    The baseball team has better protective screens and bullpen areas than the softball team.
    •    The baseball team has access to an athletic trainer and medical supplies during games. The softball team is not provided a trainer and “is not even provided with a basic first aid kit.”

Can the people at Lake Oswego, which I would have assumed were more enlightened than the average school district, really be this stupid? If they are - if  things are as described in the lawsuit -  I think that even I could win this one.  For the girls, that is.

*********** Greg Gutfeld on Donald Trump:   “He's New York. He's right there with the Rockettes, the Statue of Liberty and public urination.”

*********** The story in the New York Times was about the way the US Women’s National Soccer team (or whatever it’s called) made a strong statement on behalf of its members’ lawsuit seeking equal pay with the men’s team, defeating mighty Colombia in front of a “large crowd” of 21,000.

That same night, Wrestlemania drew 102,000 to the JerryDome.

*********** I’m still reading “American Caesar,” William Manchester’s biography of Douglas MacArthur (it’s a long one), and I continue to be amazed by the General.

He was brilliant by anyone’s standards, and exceedingly capable. He was used to making decisions and moving on, and certainly wasn’t one to sit back and wait for things to happen.  Like most great leaders, he was not affected in the least by self-doubt, and far more - and more ably - than most, he played the political game to get what he wanted.   Exceedingly ambitious, he could be devious and crafty, and sometimes, the way he played up to those above him was downright unctuous.  

He sure could use the English language.  Years after the end of World War I, he addressed a reunion of the Division he headed during the War: 

 “My thoughts go back to those men who went with us to their last charge.  In memory’s eye I can see them now - forming grimly for the attack, blue-lipped, covered with sludge and mud, chilled by the wind and rain of the foxhole, driving home to their objective, and to the judgment seat of God.  I do not know the dignity of their birth, but I do know the glory of their death.”

*********** A friend who’s got a very good coaching job in a nice town - where he’s been quite successful - told me about his  taking a peek at another job.

After  an interview - in which a number of parents and players played a part -  he felt encouraged by how things had gone.

And then the next day, he received an email, requesting:

The names and phone numbers of three parent references we can call.

The name and phone number of one player who is currently a Junior.

The name and phone number of your current principal/supervisor.

The name and phone number of one opposing coach your team has played against.

WTF? So without even a job offer in hand,  they expected him to  burn all the bridges at his present place, letting the word get around town that he was thinking about leaving.

Did they really think that anyone in his right mind would do that?

Oh - and he was also informed that the morning after every Friday night game, he’d be expected to attend a “Saturday Breakfast With the Coach.”

Concluding that  the parents were definitely in charge, 
and knowing that he had a pretty good job right where he was,  he withdrew his name from further consideration.

Here's how guys get in trouble:  if he'd been out of work, he might have pursued the job.

Year ago, I heard a veteran coach named Burley Crowe say it best: "The best time to go after a job is when you already have one."


By Hugh Wyatt

By now, many Americans know that shortly after the outbreak of World War II, Japanese-Americans living in West Coast states were rounded up and sent to “internment camps,” supposedly in the interest of our national security.  But very few Americans realize that our country conspired with other countries - notably Peru, which had a large Japanese population - to seize their Japanese residents, too, and bring them to the US for internment here.

In the last installment of this article...  His collegiate career at an end, Seiki enrolled in the business school at The American University in Washington, D.C.    But wanting to keep his hand in the game, he signed to play minor league football with the Westchester Bulls, an affiliate of the New York Giants...

The success of many minor league players extended well beyond their playing days.

Bob Brodhead, a Duke graduate, was twice named All-Continental League quarterback for the Philadelphia Bulldogs, and went on to be Athletic Director at LSU.

Gary Van Galder,  captain of Stanford’s 1957 team, was a student at Yale medical school in 1962 when he was coaxed into playing for the Ansonia (Connecticut) Black Knights.

Don Abbey, a big fullback/linebacker from Penn State, played briefly for the Hartford Knights in 1970 before embarking on a career in commercial real estate in Southern California that would make him one of America’s wealthiest men.

Jack Dolbin made it to the NFL AND had a successful career. An all-ACC running back at Wake Forest, he played minor league football with the Pottstown Firebirds and the Schuylkill Coal Crackers of the Seaboard League and spent a year with the Chicago Fire of the World Football League before signing with the Denver Broncos. He started 67 games for the Broncos, and was the leading receiver in Super Bowl XII.  He’s now Dr. Jack Dolbin, owner of a sports and rehabilitation center in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. 

Seiki’s balancing act between the demands of a career and a love of football was not an uncommon one at the time, especially for quarterbacks.

Bob Brodhead, in his book, “Sacked,” told how he was forced to balance things when his team, the Cleveland Bulldogs of the United Football League, first moved to Canton, Ohio, then was acquired by a group of Philadelphia businessmen, with plans to play in the newly-formed Continental Football League.

They wanted Brodhead, who had just been named MVP of the United Football League, as part of the deal.  One problem:

“I couldn’t afford to quit my job in Cleveland and move to Philly for what they paid me to play football,” he wrote.

When the owners proposed flying him in for practice two nights a week, and then to wherever the team happened to be playing on the weekend, he accepted their offer.

As he described his routine, “Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the season saw me hard at work as general manager of A. J. Gates Company, a Cleveland-based materials-handling firm.  Late Wednesday afternoons, I’d hop a plane for the fifty-minute flight to Philadelphia.  I’d practice on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, sleeping at the Germantown YMCA, fly home for work on Fridays, then join the team on Saturdays in cities from Toronto, Canada to Orlando, Florida.”

Seiki Murono’s arrangement with the Westchester Bulls was similar: his school work in Washington meant frequent travel back and forth to New York.  “Playing for the Bulls while getting my MBA,” he recalled,  “required taking the Eastern Airlines shuttle between DC and NY 3-4 times a week for both practice and games.  It was a crazy thing to do now that I look back but at the time, it was exciting and fun.”

The following spring, he was tempted briefly to stray from his career path. His college coach, George Storck, had resigned his position at F & M to return to West Point, his alma mater, as lightweight football coach and associate athletic director, and  he asked Seiki if he might be interested in joining him as an assistant coach. But Seiki, about to graduate from American with his MBA degree, decided instead to enter Chase Manhattan Bank’s management training program in New York.

Meanwhile,  Seiki continued to play minor league football, and  his bosses at Chase Manhattan approved. “They loved it,” he told Ryczek.  “They put articles in the Chase newsletter. I worked in the same floor with the person who  eventually became president of the bank, and every Monday he’d say, ‘Well, how did we do this weekend?’  They loved that fact the I was a professional at the bank and playing professional football at the same time.”  

As with other minor league players, making money was not an issue.  He enjoyed playing football and was realistic about his chances of playing in the NFL: “I realized that was probably going to be the pinnacle of my football career,” he said, “and I was going to play as long as I could, while dedicating most of my energy and attention to my banking career.” 

By 1973, though, the physical toll of football combined with the increasing responsibilities of his position with Chase Manhattan persuaded him that it was time to focus on his banking career.

He never looked back.

The advent of the World Football League in 1974 created new opportunities in professional football, but he never considered it. “The WFL was a cut above the Atlantic Coast Football League,” he says,  “And I was realistic about my ability to compete at that level.”

Thus was launched a career with Chase Manhattan that spanned 25 years (and “3.1 million miles on United Airlines”),  starting in New York and taking him to increasingly responsible positions in Singapore, Hong Kong and San Francisco.

In Singapore, he was Southeast Asia Regional Manager for consumer and private banking in addition to running all of Chase’s Southeast Asia credit card operations.

In Hong Kong, he was Asia Pacific Area Executive for private banking,  responsible for more than $6 billion in clients’ assets.

In his last position, based in San Francisco, he was Senior Vice President of The Chase Manhattan Bank, and President of the Chase Manhattan Trust Company of California.

After retiring from Chase Manhattan in 1995, Seiki became Chairman of the Board of San Francisco-based Millennium Bank which was sold in 2000.  He currently serves on the board of directors of California Business Bank, based in Irvine, and Millennium Capital, a Shanghai-based investment bank.

He also is a Partner in the San Francisco office of Boyden Global Executive Search, specializing in senior-level financial services searches.


american flag FRIDAY, APRIL 8,  2016  "The future belongs to the fecund and the confident. The Islamists are both."  Mark Steyn


Quality Inn and Suites Kansas City Airport North (816-858-5430)

9:00-NOON    1:00-4:00         
By popular request, I've arranged to hold a clinic in the Heartland, close enough to Kansas City Airport for anyone coming from a distance.  Kansas City is served by direct flights from all major US cities, and the hotel provides free shuttle service to and from the airport.

I've been able to set aside a small number of rooms at a guarantee
d rate of $79.95 for either Friday night or Saturday night (or both). Call and ask for the Coach Wyatt Clinic rate.  The rooms will be held until March 27, and if you haven't booked by then, they'll go on sale to the general public.

As always, the registration fee is $100, seat guaranteed - $120 at the door, space permitting


*********** I happened to watch a little of the Michigan Spring Game, and from what  I actually saw, the Wolverines are going to be good.  Harbaugh can coach. He makes himself hard to like - which I don’t think bothers him in the slightest - and while he makes no bones about his willingness to push the rules as far as he can, there’s not a shred of evidence that he has ever been a rulebreaker.  There are sure to be comparisons with Urban Meyer, who is still a couple of national championships ahead of Harbaugh.  But in another area of comparison - the number of outlaws harbored in a program - Harbaugh will never  catch up to Meyer’s record at Florida.

There was a nice feature on Michigan wide receiver Amara Darboh, born in Sierra Leone (West Africa) and raised in Des Moines, where he was introduced to American sports, and where the (white) family of a teammate took him under their wing.  It’s a great story  of the goodness and drive that newcomers can bring to our country, and of the basic goodness in the American people.

There was also an interview with new Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown.  Coach Brown is a New Englandah.  He’s a Boston native and he’s been all over New England colleges - Plymouth State, Dartmouth, Brown, Yale, UConn, Boston College, Northeastern, UMass.  (Did I miss any?)

I met him back in 2007 when UMass played Army.  Seemed like a good guy.   Not at all full of himself.  Put a good team on the field, too.

Back when the Yale head job came open a few years ago, he was said to be a leading candidate,  Instead, they hired a Harvard assistant, who after four years  is 21-19 and winless over Harvard.

I hope Don Brown does a great job at Michigan.

*********** At the elementary school where my wife taught for years, the kids still do the “hop.” But they hop in one place. They no longer do the “bunny hop.”

That’s been banned.  The bunny, you see, is a symbol of Easter, a holiday observed  by a once-significant but now largely-diminished group of people that refer to themselves as “Christians.”

As our President brings tens of thousands of Islamists to our country,
it’s essential that we welcome them with open arms and accept their culture and religion unquestioningly.  How better to do that than to eliminate all traces of Christianity?

***********Next time someone tries to tell you that the NFL is football and football is the NFL, blah, blah, blah… You might want to inform them that of all football teams - college and pro -  only one NFL team made the top 10, and only two made the top 17
in average home attendance last season.

1. Michigan (110,168) 
2. Ohio State (107,244)
3. Texas A&M (103,622)
4. LSU (102,004)
5. Alabama (101,112)
6. Tennessee (100,584)
7. Penn State (99,799)
8. Georgia (92,746)
9. DALLAS COWBOYS   (91,459)
10. Florida (90,065)
11. Texas (90,035)
12. Nebraska (89,998)
13. Auburn (87,451)
14. Oklahoma (85,357)
15. Clemson (84,038)
16. Notre Dame (80,795)
17. NEW YORK GIANTS (79,001)

Not that TV ratings aren’t important, but one deduction you could make is that college fans are invested in their teams, while the vast majority of NFL “Fans” are TV fans only, with no skin in the game except maybe a hat or a tee-shirt (or a jersey with some criminal's name on the back).

*********** Eleven college teams played in front of at least 1,000,000 fans, counting home and away games (and post-season)…

    •    Alabama  (1,354,327)
    •    Florida (1,168,182)
    •    Ohio State (1,156, 844)
    •    Michigan (1,141,598)
    •    Tennessee (1,131,422)
    •    Penn State (1,112,170)
    •    Texas A&M (1,104,438)
    •    Auburn (1,087,875)
    •    Clemson (1,082,512)
    •    Georgia (1,074,153)
    •    Michigan State (1,064,492)

*********** Home attendance figures for other divisions
    •    FCS Top Five
    •    Montana  (24,139)
    •    Jacksonville State (20,598)
    •    Yale (20,547)
    •    James Madison (19,498)
    •    Montana State (19,172)
    •    DIVISION II Top Five
    •    Grand Valley State (12,365)
    •    Tuskegee (10,663)
    •    Pittsburg State (KS) (9,856)
    •    Central Missouri (9,099)
    •    North Alabama (7,970( rounded out the top five in average attendance.
    •    DIVISION III Top Five
    •    Saint John's (Minn.)  (7,625)
    •    Wisconsin-Whitewater (6,122)
    •    Emory & Henry (Va.) (5,496)
    •    Geneva (Pa.) (4,797)
    •    Hampden-Sydney (Va.) (4,710)

***********  Temple posted the largest attendance gain during the 2015 season,  an increase of 20,789 per game .

The trick?  Easy.  Just  arrange to play both Penn State and Notre Dame at home in the same season   in Philadelphia  (anywhere, actually) - a scheduling feat not unlike getting all the planets to line up in a row.

*********** Got this in a Yale newsletter:

According to a new study, The United States is more likely to use force in a military dispute when the president is a Southerner.

The study argues that “Southern honor”  makes presidents from the South  more likely to use military force, to resist withdrawal, and ultimately to achieve victory.

When militarized disputes occurred under Southern presidents, it claims,  they were twice as likely to result in the use of force, lasted on average twice as long, and were three times as likely to result in an American victory.

“Our findings are consistent with Southerners being more concerned with demonstrating a reputation for resolve,” said one of the participants in the study. “They provide evidence of the powerful influence that concern for reputation has on international conflicts.”

The study includes 36 presidents and 215 disputes between the United States and another country, as well as 296 disputes between multiple countries in which the United States was an originator of the conflict. Presidents were labeled as “Southern” if they were born and raised in the South, or were either born or raised in the South and had spent their pre-presidential political career there. Eleven of the 36 presidents in the study met these criteria: James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, John Tyler, James Polk, Andrew Johnson, Woodrow Wilson, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.

Wow. Southerners will fight.  What a surprise.  All you have to do is read James Webb’s “Born Fighting,” a history of the Ulster Scots, to understand why.  Better known as the “Scottish-Irish,” they were/are a bellicose, belligerent, don’t-tell-me-what-to-do and  don’t-screw-with-me people who came to America starting in the 1700s and, with most of the good, flat farmland already taken, headed west as far as “The Barrier,” the great wall of the Appalachian Chain, then turned southward along the Great Wagon Road through Virginia and North Carolina.  Many of them settled along the way in the hills and hollers of what we now call Appalachia; many made their way westward, through mountain passes such as Cumberland Gap, into what is now Kentucky and Tennessee.  Many continued south into the mountain country of Georgia and Alabama. 

They brought with them their music (bluegrass does have staying power, doesn’t it?) and dance, and a taste for whiskey (and an ability to make it).  And a deep respect for minding one’s own business and being left alone. (Later, to get their whiskey to market, add an ability to drive fast, which led to the sport of stock car racing.)  Oh - and a willingness to fight for the things they believe in.  They didn’t waste a lot of time arguing.   The fighting nature of its people and their resistance to outsiders trying to tell them what to do is a major reason why the South, despite being so resource-poor, fought so long and hard in the Civil War.  It’s a major reason why a disproportionate number of our military members have come from the South - and still do.  And it isn’t hard to build a case for the Scottish-Irish element as a reason for southerners’ love of football.

James Webb, by the way, is a former Secretary of the Navy and Senator from Virginia who in my opinion would  would make a far better President than any of the five we’re evidently left with.  He’s a Democrat, true, but not to the point where he puts intelligence and common sense aside to toe the party line.

*********** After UConn  had won their fourth straight NCAA women’s title, I saw a feature on UConn senior Breanna Stewart.

I’ve mentioned before that I really admire her play.  The kid is long and lean and graceful and extremely talented, and she plays hard.  And there’s no question that she makes the players around her better, too.  Given that her teammates are also pretty talented, she’s helped UConn become an unbeatable standard for all women’s team’s to aspire to.

I really enjoyed seeing a TV special on her.  She comes from a solid family in Syracuse.  Her parents definitely do not seem to be stage-parent types.   And, although she was taller than other kids from the time she was a little girl, it wasn’t apparent then that she might be a good athlete one day.  She was lanky  and gawky and rather uncoordinated.  She found out quite early that her body wasn’t an advantage in softball, but even in basketball she had no skills.  None.

She gave up on softball, but for some reason she didn’t let her awkwardness discourage her from playing basketball.  Remarkably, it caused her to work harder  at things she wasn’t good at, like dribbling.  Day after day, she would walk around the block in their neighborhood, dribbling as she went, getting to the point where she should dribble between her legs.

As her skills improved to match her height, and as her coordination improved as well, she came to the notice of the travel team people, and the rest is history.

But no one gave her a thing.  That work effort came from inside her.

*********** This ad for a calendar app had to be aimed at soccer coaches…

Sync Team & Personal Calendars, Know Who Can Make the Game
Sync TeamSnap schedules and personal calendars to stay organized!
Our Availability feature even lets coaches track who can make each away game. Never forfeit again!

*********** Merle Haggard is gone.  Damn, it’s hard to lose these guys.  He sure hit the nail on the head with “Okie From Muskogee.” I loved hearing how that bothered the flower children of the 60s.

*********** Pete Vann passed away in 2010.  For several years before he died, I had some very interesting conversation with him over the phone.  Pete Vann was an outstanding Army quarterback from the Buffalo suburb of Hamburg, New York.  He was the quarterback whose loss so concerned Army Coach Earl Blaik that he persuaded  his All-America end, Don Holleder, to switch to quarterback.  Fortunately for all involved, Pete Vann failed some courses and had to stick around another year to graduate, which meant that he was on hand to assist Holleder, who the year before had been his prime target as a receiver, in the fine points of quarterbacking.   Pete Vann knew his stuff. Pete’s quarterback coach was Vince Lombardi, and he loved telling me how, in teaching him to go straight down the line without getting any depth on an option play, Lombardi would stand right behind him and whack him if he dared step the slightest bit backward.

One of the last times I spoke with Pete, he’d stopped over at the local high school to try to interest the football coach in presenting the Black Lion Award. That was 2008 or 2009. Pete was living in  Kerrville, Texas, and the school was Tivy High School. 

The coach never got back to him

Now here’s the rest of the story.

Johnny Football is from Kerrville, and he went to Tivy High School.  2010 was his senior year.

He was one of the top prospects in Texas, but I rather doubt that as good as he was, his coach would have seen any “Black Lion” material in him.

In fact, I suspect that the coach may have figured that he didn’t want the headache of giving the Black Lion Award to someone other than Johnny, and then having to deal with Johnny’s daddy.

*********** Just curious - now that the Final Four is done and gone…

Is it okay if everybody stops reppin’ now?

***********   I’m not a huge fan of pro wrestling as it is today, although I will confess that in the early days of TV I was as into it as anybody.

I was reading a neat article about how many college football players go into pro wrestling, a tradition that started with Minnesotans like Bronco Nagurski and Vern Gagne (who can forget Oklahoman Wahoo McDaniel? and  I especially enjoyed reading about Bill Goldberg.

Bill Goldberg was a two-time All-SEC defensive lineman at Georgia and a defensive captain for the Bulldogs as a senior in 1989. He also played a few years of professional football, the final three with the Atlanta Falcons from 1992-94. After tearing his abdomen from the pelvis, Goldberg, now 49, knew his football days were over, and the hulking former tackle was a natural for the squared circle.

"There are a lot of us who might not have achieved our dream the way we wanted to in football, but we achieved it in wrestling," said Goldberg, who was billed as the only unbeaten wrestler in WCW history at 173-0 and also won a world championship in the WWE as part of a short, but successful, run from 2003-04.

Goldberg, admittedly a no-nonsense wrestler who'd typically go out and "kick the (bleep)" out of his opponents in three minutes or fewer, has always understood the theatrics of wrestling. He was never a big fan of theatrics in football, though, and isn't surprised so many players want to get into wrestling nowadays.

"Now, in the NFL, they promote that crap, all the celebrating and individualism of the sport," Goldberg said. "Now, it's a form of expression, which I have an issue with. It was an insult back in the day. Everybody's a showman now if they make a tackle they're supposed to make or run for 10 yards. It's gotten out of hand, and there's even more of a natural progression into professional wrestling now than it used to be."

***********  I don’t usually write a whole lot on here about women’s ice hockey, but it’s worth mentioning that  Kendall Coyne, of Northeastern, was the winner of this year’s Patty Kazmaier Award, which goes annually to the top player in Division I women’s ice hockey.

The Award honors Patty Kazmaier-Sandt, who while at Princeton played field hockey and lacrosse and earned four varsity letters as well as All-Ivy honors on Princeton’s women’s ice hockey team.

When she died in 1990 at age 28 from a rare blood disease, an award in her name was proposed, and it was first presented in 1998.

Her father was Princeton All-American tailback - and Heisman Trophy winner - Dick Kazmaier.

***********  I saw the video of that mother—ker standing on our flag and ranting, while police kept real Americans at bay, and the commentator said something about soldiers having fought “to protect his right to protest.”

I wanted to say, “Yeah, right to protest. Some unelected judges may have the crazy idea that Americans fought and died overseas so that you can debase our flag and holler, a&&hole, but next time  you pull that sh—, you’d better pick your spot carefully.  There are plenty of places left in the US where those little ladies in their black robes have never been and will never go, and there are plenty of people who went overseas to fight but when they did, they didn’t give you and your sorry ass and your protests a second thought.  They just wanted to do their jobs  and get back to their homes and families in one piece. Now, they’re back home, and they're working for a living.  You’re probably not, but if you’ll just wait till they get off work to drop that flag to the ground and wipe your shoes on it,  they’ll be happy to give you the education you never got on what this country means to most of us.  Oh - and the nearest sheriff’s deputy, who you’re probably expecting to come and stand between you and them for protection, is miles and miles away, with a whole county to patrol.”


By Hugh Wyatt

By now, many Americans know that shortly after the outbreak of World War II, Japanese-Americans living in West Coast states were rounded up and sent to “internment camps,” supposedly in the interest of our national security.  But very few Americans realize that our country conspired with other countries - notably Peru, which had a large Japanese population - to seize their Japanese residents, too, and bring them to the US for internment here.

In the last installment of this article...  For just the second time in its history, the Franklin and Marshall football team finished the season unbeaten, and Seiki Murono was named Conference MVP.

“He’s every bit deserving of this honor,” Coach Storck told the F & M College Reporter. “My contention at the beginning of the season that Seiki was the finest quarterback in the conference has certainly been proven.  Moreover, he’s withstood an awful lot of pressure and he’s come through.  He’s modest and accepts the limelight as a team member, not a star.  His humble approach makes him greater.”  

He played baseball his junior year, and after a summer working as a Coca-Cola route salesman in South Jersey, as he’d done throughout his college career, he returned to F & M with high hopes for his senior season.

Elected co-captain, his importance to the team was summed up by his coach, who referred to him in Sports Illustrated’s pre-season issue, as “the offense.”

Alas, although Seiki had another good year offensively, the Diplomats were unable to duplicate the magic of the previous season, and finished  a disappointing 4-4.

Nevertheless, for the second consecutive season,  Seiki was named the league’s Most Valuable Player.  He passed for 888 yards and nine touchdowns, and ran for 363 yards and four touchdowns, and in addition, he punted 31 times for a 34.4 yard average. 

In what was essentially a two-year career, Seiki Murono accounted for 2671 yards and 29 touchdowns on 552 plays, and punted 120 times for 4305 yards.

He was accorded an honor seldom conferred on a small college player when he was named second team All-Pennsylvania (one of his teammates: a Pitt lineman named Marty Schottenheimer).

And in his home state, he was also named the Brooks-Irvine Memorial Football Club’s College Player of the Year, recognizing him as the outstanding college football player from South Jersey.   (Winners over the years  have included such college All-Americans as Penn State’s Franco Harris,  Lydell Mitchell and Greg Buttle,  Nebraska’s Mike Rozier and Irving Fryar, and Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne. Rozier and Dayne won Heisman Trophies; Rozier, Harris, Mitchell and Fryar all went on to make Pro Bowl appearances.)

As well as being co-captain of both the football and baseball teams, he was President of Franklin and Marshall's Black Pyramid Senior Honor Society, whose members, according to its site,  “are chosen through a rigorous screening of academic intellectuality, extracurricular activities, and community involvement.”

He graduated with honors in business management as his proud parents and his paternal grandmother, who flew in from Kyoto, Japan looked on with pride.

And then it was on to business school at the American University in Washington, D.C. where he earned an MBA degree, specializing in international finance.

His studies went well, but he missed football, and after a year away from the game, he signed a contract to play for the Westchester (New York) Bulls of the Atlantic Coast Football League.  The Bulls were an affiliate of the New York Giants and the two head coaches for whom Seiki played were former Giants Alan Webb and Joe Walton.  Joe Walton later became head coach of the New York Jets from 1983-1989.

In the 1960s and early 1970s, there was such a thing as minor league professional football, and the quality of play was quite high.

In 1967, when Seiki signed to play, there were just 24 major league professional football teams, 15 in the National Football League and nine in the American Football League, instead of the today’s 32.  And those 24 teams carried rosters of just 40 men each, which meant a total of 960 jobs in major league professional football. By contrast, today’s 32-team NFL has 53-man rosters, with 1696 spots for players. That meant, then, that in 1967,  there were more than than 700 unemployed players good enough to have made today’s NFL teams.  Many of them chose to remain active, playing the game they knew and loved.

Few of them made much money. Most of them had outside jobs,  Many of them were students. Some, cut by NFL or AFL teams,  entertained hopes of getting another chance at the big time.  Whatever their reason for playing,  at heart they were all playing for fun, postponing the inevitable day when they’d no longer be able to play a sport they’d loved since they were kids.

The best of them found their way to the Atlantic Coast Football League, whose best (and best-financed) teams were in Hartford and Bridgeport, Connecticut and Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

From the ACFL, some made it to the NFL. There was Bob Tucker, a tight end from Bloomsburg State who played for the Pottstown Firebirds before getting his chance with the New York Giants. He took advantage of it and lasted for 11 seasons in the NFL.

Marv Hubbard signed with the Hartford Knights out of Colgate, and wound up an All-Pro running back with the Oakland Raiders.

Chuck Mercein, a running back from Yale, was drafted by the New York Giants and sent down for two games to the Westchester Bulls before being cut. And then, in mid-season, Green Bay’s Vince Lombardi signed him. His running on the “frozen tundra”  was a key factor in the  Packers’1967 Ice Bowl victory over the Dallas Cowboys.


american flag TUESDAY, APRIL 5,  2016  “If voting made any difference they wouldn't let us do it."   Mark Twain

*********** Congratulations to the Villanova Wildcats - an incredible tournament performance by a nice group of kids who were really fun to watch.  It isn't possible to play any better than they did in the semi-final against Oklahoma.

My grandson, Wyatt Love, is a recent Villanova grad, and he was in Houston for the Final Four.  Please, Lord, don't let him do anything stupid tonight. Well, not anything REAL stupid, anyhow.

I was thrilled by the win, and I'm excited for Villanova people everywhere.

I am very happy for the  football people at Villanova.  They've been extremely gracious to me when I've stopped by, and their wide receiver coach, Brian Flinn, has been a huge help to me in converting from a pure double-tight, double-wing, 99 per cent run team.

I have never heard anything but good things from the football guys about the much higher-profile basketball program and coach Jay Wright.

I thought it was one of the best NCAA finals I've ever seen, right there with Villanova's last win, in 1985, and N.C. State's win in 1983.


By Hugh Wyatt

By now, many Americans know that shortly after the outbreak of World War II, Japanese-Americans living in West Coast states were rounded up and sent to “internment camps,” supposedly in the interest of our national security.  But very few Americans realize that our country conspired with other countries - notably Peru, which had a large Japanese population - to seize their Japanese residents, too, and bring them to the US for internment here.

In the last installment of this article...  After an outstanding high school career as co-captain of his high school football and baseball teams, both of which won South Jersey large school championships,  Seiki Murono went off to college at Franklin and Marshall, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He had a good year on the freshman team (in those days, freshmen were ineligible to play varsity sports), but he missed most of his sophomore year with an injury.

The 1964 season began with high hopes.  In pre-season scrimmages, then commonplace, the Diplomats held their own against a strong Lebanon Valley team, and against Upsala, Coach Storck called their performance “the best football I have seen Franklin and Marshall play.”

If they needed further reason for optimism as they prepared for the season opener in Baltimore against Johns Hopkins, the school newspaper pointed out that with junior Seiki Murono set to start at quarterback, it would mark the first time since 1959 that F & M had not opened the season with a sophomore at that key position.

The Hopkins Blue Jays fell,  21-6.  With Seiki completing 17 of 23 for 181 yards, the Diplomats ended a 6-game losing streak.

Swarthmore was  next. Leading only 7-6 going into the fourth quarter, F & M scored twice to win, 21-12. Although Seiki completed only 4 of 5 passes for 46 yards, he ran for two touchdowns.

The next week  in a downpour, F & M struggled to pull out a 6-5 win over Dickinson.  Just two minutes into the game, Seiki was tackled in the end zone for a safety, and a field goal shortly afterward gave Dickinson an unusual 5-0 lead.  Hampered offensively by the weather, Seiki threw for just 109 yards, but one of his 13 completions was the winner - a 33-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter. The win made the Diplomats 3-0 for the first time since 1953.

With win number four over Carnegie Tech, 18-14, the Diplomats equaled the total number of wins by the school in the previous four years.   Down 14-10 after 3 quarters, the Diplomats put together a late scoring drive, with Seiki sneaking over from from the 1, then passing for the two-point conversion.

Haverford led 6-0 going into the fourth quarter, but Seiki engineered two touchdown drives in the final 10 minutes to pull out a 14-6 win.

Pennsylvania Military (now Widener University) was the third straight opponent to take the game down to the wire,  scoring with a minute to play to take a 17-13 lead.  But Seiki drove the Diplomats  60 yards in less than a minute, scoring from the one with seconds left  to give them the 19-17 win.  For the game, he was  13 of 21 for 237 yards passing.

Against Muhlenberg, in what the school newspaper called “The most brilliant performance of his intercollegiate career,” Seiki completed 24 of 35, passing for  320 yards and three touchdowns and running for a fourth, as F & M triumphed,

Ursinus was the final opponent, and the Bears went down, 20-6.  Seiki was 18 of 25 for 130 yards, and ran for a touchdown.

The Franklin and Marshall Diplomats , 8-0, had finished a season unbeaten for the first time since 1950, and only the second time in a long history of football dating back to 1887.

The home crowd, as had become its custom throughout the season, tore down the goal posts, and an impromptu motorcade followed, taking the coaches and the players on a “triumphant march,” in the school newspaper’s words, through downtown Lancaster.

In the words of the student newspaper, “The sweet taste of victory had returned to F & M football.”

It had been quite a  season for Seiki Murono.   He accounted for 1150 yards of total offense, completing 108 of 180 pass attempts for 1021 yards and six touchdowns, and rushing 90 times for 129 yards and 7 touchdowns.

He led his league’s division in passing, punting and total offense.

And the honors poured in.

In recognition of his efforts, Seiki was honored by Philadelphia’s Maxwell Football Club. 

He became the first F & M player to be named to the all-conference team since 1960,  and was recognized as the conference MVP.


american flag FRIDAY, APRIL 1,  2016  “Tolerance and apathy are the last virtues of a dying society."  Aristotle

*********** Full disclosure: I am a Duke dad and a longtime Duke fan, which I suppose means that I should dislike North Carolina.  But I don’t.   Yes,  I favor the school  my daughter and son-in-law graduated from, but my respect for the Tar Heels goes way back - to the early 70s, when we lived in Maryland and looked forward eagerly to the ACC Game of the Week.  You couldn’t like basketball and not appreciate the way those Dean Smith Carolina teams played. 

Apart from basketball, the University of North Carolina is also a top-notch state university with a beautiful campus in a neat college town. And, on top of that, my son-in-law is a graduate of UNC Law School.

But… lost in the hoopla of this weekend’s  Final Four is the underlying story that few people can deny with a straight face - for 18 years, Carolina’s athletic program was sustained by a shameful academic fraud, directing poorly-qualified athletes into a bogus department  full of bogus courses whose academic requirements were nonexistent. 

Called the “Fake Class Scandal” by the Raleigh News-Observer, which first exposed it, Carolina’s selling of its academic soul in exchange for athletic success represented everything that’s wrong with the semi-professionalism  of big-time college sports, demeaning the  university’s academic reputation and the hard-earned diplomas of tens of thousands of Carolina graduates. Everything seemed primed for a huge, well-deserved ass-kicking by the NCAA.

But that was over a year ago, and the ever-vigilant NCAA, which took what seemed like mere hours to threaten Penn State with the Death Penalty, has dithered and dithered on this one.  Finally, though, its president, the ever-officious Mark Emmert, who should have spent time in the stocks for the way he punished Penn State, announced
recently that a decision is coming up soon.

Since the News-Observer first broke the news, though, the so-called Power Five Conferences have been granted a great degree of “autonomy” by the NCAA, meaning, roughly, that the NCAA now admits that there isn’t a lot it can do to punish a Power Five school.

So watch - the Tar Heels will win the Championship - while thumbing their noses at the NCAA.

And a few days later, the NCAA will hand down its ruling:  no pre-season basketball trips to Hawaii for the next two seasons and a loss of two football scholarships.

I didn’t even mention Syracuse, another member of the Final Four, whose coach sat out nine games earlier this season because of a cheating scandal involving doing coursework for a player and paying basketball players for work they didn’t do.

Apologies, kids, for all those things we've told you.  We lied -  crime does pay.

*********** I’m up to here with the Jim Boeheims and Roy Williamses arguing against NCAA sanctions because “they’re unfair to these kids, who didn’t do anything wrong.”

It’s the college coach’s equivalent of the human shield.

Yes, cheating may have gone on here in the past, the argument goes (but of course, if it did, I never knew anything about it), but that was years ago, before these current kids even came here.  So it isn’t fair to punish them for something somebody else did - to tell them they can’t play in the NCAA Tournament… or in a bowl game… or whatever.

Dismissing for a minute the coach’s hidden argument - it’s also going to cost him his tournament bonus, or bowl bonus (which can amount to as much as 10 per cent of his salary) - there’s no reason that the players on the current team need to be victims.

The solution?  Let them make an informed decision.  Require the school’s recruiters to inform them in advance that sanctions could be coming.  (Instead of accusing competing recruiters of spreading lies about the sanctions.)

And then, in BOLD-face type, in RED, at the top of the Letter of Intent every kid signs:


*********** “That’s my way of saying that age has given me the perspective to be able to reflect on how far we’ve come in terms of race relations, despite what certain bomb-throwers would have us believe.  Just how far we’ve come was brought home to me once again when I watched the CBS studio show during this weekend’s Elite Eight games.  There, in front of a national TV audience, were four black guys - Greg Gumbel, Clark Kellogg, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley - talking basketball, and all I could think  was, “These guys are really good.”
My thoughts though were, “Greg Gumbel & three guys undergoing “chemo”
Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

*************** Talk about decrypting an iPhone…  If you can decipher the New Zealand English spoken by these Maori/Polynesian kids, it’s a pretty good anti-drunk driving commercial.  My son, who lives in Australia, writes, “It’s about as New Zealand as you can get.”  (Hint: at the end, the hero wisely suggests that his mate “Crash Here.”)

***********  Following its successful  efforts in opposing Georgia’s and North Carolina’s laws barring transgenders from using the rest rooms of their choice, the NFL has announced a multi-year agreement with the National Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Americans (NALGBTQA).

For its part, the NALGBTQA  and its members will refrain from picketing, marching, displaying signs, chanting or singing or in any other way creating a disruptive  scene in or around any NFL stadium, practice facility, office or training camp.

For its part, the NFL will consult with representatives of the NALGBTQA on all matters regarding league, team or player conduct touching on LGBTQ issues.

The NFL, working in conjunction with USA Football, will conduct diversity training sessions for youth and high school coaches in all 50 states to educate them on acceptance of alternative lifestyles .

The NFL will lobby the legislatures of all 50 states to make the NFL-USA Football diversity training sessions mandatory for all coaches by the 2017 season, and for all players by the 2018 season.

The NFL will designate the month of November as “Alternative Sexual Practices Pride Month,” during which time its teams will run onto the playing field behind an NALGBTQA member carrying a rainbow flag, players will wear rainbow-colored accessories, officials will employ rainbow-colored penalty flags, and NALGBTQA members will be selected to perform the national anthem before all games.  A prominent member of the local LGBTQ community will perform the coin toss.

Nike will be licensed to sell Official NFL-NALGBTQA apparel, featuring the rainbow effect.  Nike designers will work to make the rainbow design unique to each team.  Proceeds of all sales during the month of November will be split between the NFLPA and the AIDS Project.

“Kiss-Cams” will feature at least 50 per cent same-sex couples.

The NFL will grant the NALGBTQA the right to advertise itself as “The Official Alternative Sex Organization” of the NFL.

And NFL Commisisoner Roger Goodell has agreed to serve as Honorary Grand Marshal of the 2017 New York Pride Parade.


***********   America loves a winner.  Unless it wins too much.  (Duke, Yankees, Alabama, Patriots)

Add UConn to the list.  UConn’s women.

An esteemed Boston sportswriter, Dan Shaughnessy, tweeted that UConn was killing women’s basketball. And - gasp - he wasn’t going to watch them!

Yeah.  UConn’s women are so good that they’re killing women’s basketball.

Like UCLA killed men’s basketball.  Like the Yankes killed baseball.  Like the Celtics killed the NBA, or the Canadiens killed the NHL.  Like Rocky Marciano killed boxing.  Like Alabama’s killing college football.

Evidently, the “we can’t have winners because that means we’ll have losers” mentality  of our elementary schools has finally bubbled up to the surface.

We simply can’t have the UConn women winning, because that’s making all the other women feel bad.

Which is total nonsense.  This is America, and American  competitiveness is still alive  in women’s basketball.

Want some proof?  Instead of years of watching the same handful of teams rotate in and out of the Women’s Final Four,  this year’s Final Four will consist of UConn and  three schools - Syracuse, Oregon State and Washington - that have never been in it before.

*********** Just wanted to let you know that I accepted an assistant coaching job for next season here at —————.  The Head Coach is a young guy (27) without much experience who has said he wants to run the Wing T.  Im going to try to help as much as I can and keep him in the right direction as our football program is 0-27 over the last three seasons.  My hope is that I can teach these kids the right way to play the game, focus hard on fundamentals and help rebuild the program.  Anyway, just wanted to let you know I am back into coaching and I will try to be the best assistant coach I can be.

Based on my experience working with a young head coach, if you are able to establish a good working relationship with him - and if he can set aside his ego and defer to you in areas where your experience can help him, and not see you as a threat to him - it could be a very enjoyable experience for you both.

And with the program as down as it is, the opportunity is there to build a good program.

The biggest advice I would give, something you already know, is not to try to do too much too quickly.

The program has been sucking, which means the first order of business is - stop sucking.

Good Luck!

*********** Now that Big Football has jumped into the political arena,  threatening to punish Georgia and North Carolina  for their push-back against the wish of Transgender types to use the restrooms of their choice, I’m expecting that any day now  Commissioner Goodell and his Government-within-a-government will be kind enough to share with us the Official NFL Position on other matters, such as Abortion… Border Control… Charter Schools… Fair Trade… Super Delegates…  Supreme Court Vacancies… Fracking…  Gun Control…  Taxing the one-percenters…   Voter ID…  The Iran Nuclear Deal…

*********** In a town close to us, a 39-year-old woman has been accused of something called “3rd Degree Child Rape.”

Seems that a 15-year-old boy reported the “rape” to the police back in February.

Said it all started last summer and that during that time she’d “abused” him 20 or 30 times.

He didn’t say how he'd managed to break free from the chains.

*********** Remember how the wordmasters changed “Illegal Aliens” to “Undocumented Workers?”

Get ready for this one, which I saw in our local paper:

“The Homeless” were referred to as  “Unhoused Residents”

An oxymoron, true, but frankly, I don’t have a problem with it, if they’ll just stop stop sh—ting in the streets.

american flag TUESDAY, MARCH 29,  2016  “When you get to be a general, you haven't any friends.” Douglas MacArthur

***********One quick question.

When running 88 power and only wanting to pull the backside guard, would you suggest running the backside T.E. on various pass routs or just send him to block the nearest safety until the defense begins to ignore him and then send him on a "post-corner" route.
Seems that that should get him open, the easiest, when the cornerback chases the power play.
It may take a while but sooner or later the corner will want to get in on the tackle of the power and figure the T.E. is just a fake.
Seems that way to me but that is why I'm asking!

"just send him to block the nearest safety until the defense begins to ignore him and then send him on a "post-corner" route."

That would be my suggestion, coach.

People tend to fall asleep on the backside and that has made the backside corner route one of our most productive passes.

My feeling is that if he runs a pattern on every play, they will cover him.

*********** Get this one - Irvin “Bo” Roberson of Cornell  is the only person to have an Ivy League degree, a Ph.D., an Olympic medal and an NFL career.
I remember him as a great all-around athlete at Philadelphia’s John Bartram High School.

At Cornell, he was a standout in football, basketball and track.

An industrial relations major, he was enrolled in ROTC, and after graduation,  he served as a lieutenant in the US Army.  He was assigned to coach track  at the US Military Academy, which enabled him to develop into a world-class athlete himself.

In February of 1960 in the AAU indoor Games, he set a new world indoor record in the long jump, breaking the mark set 25 years earlier by Jesse Owens.

In the 1960 Olympics, he won the silver medal in the long jump, missing gold - and a silver medal - by just a centimeter.

Following the Olympics, he played seven seasons of pro football, starting in the AFL with the Chargers and then the Raiders, Bills and Dolphins.

After retiring from football, he earned a Master’s degree from Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington, and at the age of 58 he earned his Ph.D.

From Cornell's Sports Hall of Fame citation:

One of the greatest pure athletes in Cornell history, he was outstanding as a football halfback, a pivotman in basketball and a sprinter, low hurdler and long jumper in track. Over his three-year football career, he rushed for 1,175 yards on 348 carries and scored nine touchdowns and caught 16 passes for 224 yards and one TD. He holds the Cornell record for the longest kickoff return, with 100 yards vs. Colgate in 1956. He led the team in rushing as a sophomore and junior. He was an Associated Press All-Ivy honorable mention selection in 1955 and was named to the Coaches All-Ivy second team in 1956. His specialties in track were the 60- and 100-yard dash, the 220-yard low hurdles and the long jump. He won five Heptagonal titles, winning two indoor Heps titles in the long jump (1957 and '58) and one in the 60-yard dash (1958), and outdoor Heps championships in the long jump (1958) and the 100-yard dash (1956). He was voted the recipient of the Outstanding Performer of the Meet Award following his performance at the 1957 indoor Heptagonal championships. In February 1960, he broke Jesse Owens' 25-year-old world indoor record in the long jump when he leaped 25-9 ½ at the National AAU Track and Field Championships. He won the long jump at the 1959 Pan-American Games. He won the silver medal in the long jump at the 1960 Olympic Games, finishing in second with a jump of 26-7 3/8. He won a varsity letter as a member of the basketball team in 1955-56, when he was the team's second-leading scorer, averaging 14.9 ppg. in 24 games. He led the team in rebounding, placing 15th nationally among percentage leaders with a mark of .567. He scored 20 or more points in six of the 24 games during the 1956 season. His game-high for the year was 37 points vs. Pennsylvania at The Palestra. He was an honorable All-Ivy selection. Roberson was named The Cornell Daily Sun Athlete of the Year for 1957-58. He played pro football for six years, with San Diego in 1961, Oakland from 1962-65, Buffalo in '65 and Miami in '66. He was the Oakland Raiders' most valuable player in 1962 and led the league in kickoff returns in 1964. He was the leading scorer for the Buffalo Bills AFL championship team in 1965.

*********** When there is something up here with an NFL or college connection I think of you. Back on the 12th there was an alumni/scholarship dinner for the university of Manitoba program that I attended. Israel Idonije who played 10 years, mostly with the Bears, was honoured. He was phenomenal player with the university team after playing just one year of 9 Man high school football.

Izzy was, and is, a very giving person and is involved with many organizations in Chicago, in Manitoba and in Africa. He was Chicago's Walter Payton man of the year ( perhaps more than once). There were some very entertaining speeches. His teammate on the Bears, Anthony Adams, made the trip up to Winnipeg and was quite funny in his delivery. He did explain that there were many occasions after practice when he was exhausted and asked Izzy what he was up to next and it was going to some schools and work with kids.

At our table at the dinner was a young man named David Onyemata. He played in the East/West Shrine game this year. (Izzy played in the game in 2003) On Monday the 14th David had a Pro day at the University of Manitoba with 21 interested NFL teams. In the end 17 teams were represented. It is a unique story as he was an international student from Nigeria who four years ago knocked on Coach Dobie's door and asked for a tryout after never playing football. I enjoyed meeting and wishing David the best. He is a soft spoken and humble young man and very agile for his size. It will be interesting to see what happens. By all reports he tested well- some of his numbers would have placed him at the top of the DL tests at the national combine.

All the best at your upcoming clinic. Nothing better than getting together with others and discussing football.

Yussef Hawash
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Hi Yussef-

Hope you enjoyed your visit to the beautiful, expensive West Coast.

I love seeing the way the African kids come here and take to football.  Nothing says “assimilation” more than playing our native game (Canadian as well as American)!

Quick - someone needs to get to those kids and tell them about the dangers of playing football before they have fun, learn what it’s like to be accepted as part of a team working hard toward a goal, get an education, and maybe even make a lot of money doing something they’re very good at!

*********** Going all the way back to the legendary Phog Allen, Kansas has been one of basketball’s elite programs.

Kansas Football?  Other than a very few good years here and there, not really.

When Villanova beat Kansas to get to the Final Four (yesss!!!), I texted Villanova coach Brian Flinn that Nova ought to schedule KU in football, too.  Villanova may be FCS, but I’d bet on the Wildcats.

*********** I’m old enough to remember all-white major league baseball. (Yes, I remember Jackie Robinson and the Dodgers coming to Philadelphia.)  I’m old enough to have seen “Colored” and “White” pay windows (!) and, of course, drinking fountains and rest rooms at my company’s paper mill in Savannah.  As a packaging salesman, I sold boxes to Baltimore’s Parks Sausage Company, one of the largest black-owned companies in the United States, but when I wanted to take their purchasing agent (a black guy) to lunch, I had to call around town to various restaurants to make certain that I could bring him there without causing him the embarrassment of being refused service.  That was 1967!  In 1970, my landlord in Hagerstown, Maryland declined my offer to hold my team’s post-game parties at the tavern he owned - because we had black players on our team, and he was afraid that it would hurt his business if word got out that he served blacks. 

That’s my way of saying that age has given me the perspective to be able to reflect on how far we’ve come in terms of race relations, despite what certain bomb-throwers would have us believe.  Just how far we’ve come was brought home to me once again when I watched the CBS studio show during this weekend’s Elite Eight games.  There, in front of a national TV audience, were four black guys - Greg Gumbel, Clark Kellogg, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley - talking basketball, and all I could think  was, “These guys are really good.”

*********** Take a moment to reflect on how many owe so much to men like James Owens, who in 1969 became the first black scholarship athlete to play football at Auburn.

It wasn’t easy, wrote’s Brandon Marcello:   Owens heard racial epithets on and off the field, but powered through as a beacon for black football players in the SEC. He was kicked out of barbershops and bartenders refused to serve him, even while surrounded by his teammates. His teammates usually had his side and would leave alongside their teammate when service was refused at establishments.

In 2012 he recalled stepping on the field for the first time and hearing a section of black fans cheering for him. ”I realized,” he said,  “It’s no longer about you. It's about all these that are believing in you, hoping in you. This thing that I'm doing is not for me to get to the next level, but for others to have an opportunity."

That same year, Auburn honored him by establishing the James Owens Courage Award, “presented annually to a current or former Auburn football player who has displayed courage in the face of adversity, distinguishing himself while contributing to the betterment of Auburn University.”

*********** In announcing the shooting at the Capitol, what, exactly, did the media people mean when they broadcast that the police had “neutralized the threat?”


By Hugh Wyatt

By now, many Americans know that shortly after the outbreak of World War II, Japanese-Americans living in West Coast states were rounded up and send to “internment camps,” supposedly in the interest of our national security.  But very few Americans realize that our country conspired with other countries - notably Peru, which had a large Japanese population - to seize their Japanese residents, too, and bring them to the US for internment here.

In the last installment of this article...  Seiki Murono, a 119-pound freshman, debated whether to quit the football team at Bridgeton High School -  and decided to stay.

He almost didn’t play football. As a freshman, he weighed just 119 pounds, and thought seriously about quitting.  “I questioned whether or not I could match up physically with some guys who were 100 pounds heavier than that,” he said. “I decided to hang in there, and was glad I did.”

And so was Bridgeton.  In his senior year, to make better use of Seiki’s talents as a runner and passer, his coach, Barney Fisher, installed a single-wing attack, with Seiki at tailback. Bridgeton won the South Jersey Group IV (largest classification) football championship, and Seiki was named first team all-conference quarterback and conference MVP.

As a quarterback himself , he especially admired the Baltimore Colts’ Johnny Unitas, “I didn't view him as a gifted athlete,” he said, “but someone who made the most out of what he was given.  He was steady, consistent and reliable and someone who almost always delivered in the clutch.”

In the spring, with Seiki playing second base, the Bridgeton High baseball team also won a South Jersey Group IV championship.

He was co-captain of both the football and baseball teams, and the president of his senior class,  and he graduated with honors.

And then it was off to college. Remarkably, nearly all of the Japanese students in his class at Bridgeton went on to college, to schools such as Rutgers, Tufts, Yale, Columbia, Brown, Dickinson, Delaware, Bucknell, West Virginia Wesleyan, Trenton State (Now College of New Jersey), Ryder, Drexel, and Penn.

For Seiki, the choice was Franklin and Marshall, a small, well-respected  liberal arts college in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Partly, he admitted, he chose F & M because his brother, Eisuke, was a sophomore there and a fullback on the football team.  Eisuke had chosen F & M because of its strong science department. Mainly, though, Seiki chose F & M “because it was an excellent liberal arts college where I could play football and baseball and get a high quality education.” 

When Seiki arrived on campus in the fall of 1962,  he wasn’t entirely unknown. His brother had already established himself as the starting fullback on the varsity football team, and his coach at Bridgeton, Barney Fisher,  had made sure to let the F & M coaches know what they were getting in Seiki. 

On the freshman squad (the rules at the time prohibited freshmen from playing varsity football),  Seiki played both quarterback and defensive back.  Playing an abbreviated schedule, the freshmen team finished an encouraging 2-1, while the varsity,  continuing to struggle, went winless. 

As he entered his sophomore year, the F & M Diplomats had won just three games in three years. 

But change was under way. A new coach, George Storck, had come on board, and he quickly saw what he had in his sophomore quarterback, Seiki Murono.  With new substitution rules taking effect, Murono would be able to concentrate on offense;  and to take full advantage of his talents, Storck installed a sprint-out, run-pass-option offense. 

Unfortunately, a shoulder separation suffered in an early game restricted Seiki’s play for most of the season, and F & M limped home with one win. 

In his abbreviated season, Seiki had completed eight of 30 passes for 178 yards, and he had run the ball 25 times for 92 yards.  His injury not only delivered a setback to the coach’s rebuilding plan, but also cut short his one season playing on the same college team as his brother, by then the team co-captain. Ironically, his brother’s season was also limited by injury.


american flag FRIDAY, MARCH 25,  2016  “I believe, of all the sports in America, football best represents the ideals upon which this nation was founded.” William McRaven, retired Admiral, fomer Navy SEAL, and current Chancellor of the University of Texas

*********** When he talks about the importance of the game of football, Admiral William McRaven (USN, Retired) has some serious credentials.

Admiral McRaven is a graduate of the University of Texas, where he ran track and was in the Naval ROTC program.

After graduation, his required service in the Navy turned into a 37-year career during which he would serve as a Navy SEAL, and  would oversee the special ops raid that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden .   He retired as a four-star admiral, and now serves as Chancellor of the University of Texas System. 

In January, he addressed the American Football Coaches Association, and said some things about our game that, as it comes increasingly under attack from those who hate it and resent it,  you should be aware of.

Here are a couple of quotes that I gleaned from his address, quotes that ought to go up in locker rooms across the country:

“I believe, of all the sports in America, football best represents the ideals upon which this nation was founded.

"With all the difficulties we see today in society, and with all the problems that arise from this contact sport, we should never forget that the benefits of playing the game -
this uniquely American game - far outweigh any downside.”

*********** Now comes word - “from reliable sources” - that the NFL made a covert deal with the St. Louis Rams to get them to draft Michael Sam, who, unless you’ve been in another galaxy for the last couple of years, you know was the first gay player to be drafted by an NFL team.

Whether the story of the deal is  true or not, it reflects shamefully on the NFL.

If it’s true, then it shows that the NFL - which stood aside as Native American groups protested the Washington Redskins’ name - quavered at the prospect of loud and powerful advocacy groups protesting its teams’ failure to draft a guy who’d just announced publicly that he was gay.

And if it’s not true,  the fact that so many of us believe it is shows  how little credibility the NFL has left.

*********** 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".  And Carson-Newman.

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


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 and 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 than by a guy trying to run through several 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.  All you see is spread offenses. 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. Fear of being left an orphan.  There is considerable downside to a college AD hiring a run-first coach when everybody else is spreading it out and throwing it. A wise athletic director realizes that if he hires a run-first coach, that coach will of course recruit to fill his needs.  Which means that after stocking up on running backs and tight ends - and scaring away wide receivers - if the AD ever wants to fire that coach and bring in a passing guy, the cupboard’s going to be bare for a couple of years.

***********You state:

“Teaching” is a much-neglected word in sports.
... Coaching is teaching"

I had a good reason to find the Ol' Athletic Journal's Encyclopedia of Football recently.  In it is an article by some guys named Mike Lude and Paul Lanham.  Last paragraph:

"In our opinion, many of the outstanding coaches are men who pride themselves as teachers.  The better a coach teaches, the more objective he can be in analyzing critically his system as well as his techniques.  The result will be that he will more nearly realize his aims and objectives."

Charlie Wilson
Crystal River, Florida

*********** In Washington, the demonization of tobacco - and the normalization of marijuana - proceeds apace.

The Washington State Attorney General wants to raise the legal age to buy tobacco products in our state from 18 to 21.

Washington, from what I can see, doesn’t have any more success than most other states in enforcing its drinking age, and I rather doubt that it’s doing all that well with policing the  recently-passed law permitting the sale of marijuana (provided you’re 21) for “recreational” purposes.

The modern-day treatment of smoking (and smokers)  takes me back to when I was a kid watching all those black-and-white World War II movies, where smoking, it seemed, was a part of every scene. 

Bored, waiting for something to happen?  Time to light up. 

Scared sh—less after a close call?  Time to light up. 

Somehow,  despite all those guys smoking, we managed to win the war.

Makes me wonder how World War II would have turned out if our GIs had been smoking pot instead of tobacco.

*********** To me, reading a favorite book for a second - or even a third - time is like returning to a favorite place: you experience the comfort of the familiar things that you always enjoy seeing, the thrill of the things you’d seen before but had forgotten, and the unexpected delight at seeing something for the first time that you’d missed on your previous visits. 

The Great American Novel,” by Philip Roth, and  “A Confederacy of Dunces,” by John Kennedy Toole come to mind as books I’ve read more than once.   Anything by David Maraniss is a good candidate for a return visit.  Anything by John Irving.

Right now, I’m revisiting “American Caesar,” William Manchester’s epic biography of Douglas MacArthur.  It’s a big ‘un - 800+ pages - and I’m only 100 or so pages in, but I’m amazed at the stuff I missed (or forgot) from my first time through.

The first time, I guess I wasn’t as familiar as I am now with over-parenting.

MacArthur’s mother defined the term.  When her son was accepted at West Point, she moved there, staying for his four years  in a hotel adjacent to the campus and looking out for this interests.  Behind, in San Antonio, remained her husband, himself a general and a Civil War Medal of Honor winner.  Her helicopter-parenting  must have had some beneficial effect on his work, because he graduated first in his class.

Years later,  as Douglas  was about to leave for Europe and World War I service, she wrote to the Secretary of War, Newton D. Baker, to try to have her son promoted to General.

Secretary Baker said in effect it was not his call but that of General John J. Pershing, commander of American forces; but the secretary assured her that if it were up to him, there could be no question what his decision would be (without saying outright what that was).

Her next move, of course, was  to write to General Pershing, who had at one time served under her husband.  Preparing a force of more than a million American men to fight in a foreign war, Pershing might understandably have bigger things on his mind, but he gave her the courtesy of reading her letter.   She reminded him very subtly of their past association, and closed by adding how well she knew Secretary Baker and how sure she was that if Douglas’ name were to be on the next  list for promotions, Secretary Baker would approve it.  But, she assured the General,  she had no intention of going around him:  “neither my son or I would care to have a Star (the symbol of a  General’s rank - HW) without your approval or recommendation.”

Fortunately for all concerned, Douglas MacArthur was promoted to the rank of General not long after. Based on his accomplishments before and after, there is no question of his deserving the promotion.

But still, just to make sure, Mom was there.

*********** The NFL released the much-anticipated news that starting next season, a player will be ejected after receiving two unsportsmanlike-conduct penalties in a game (I love the fact that in Canada it’s called “objectionable” conduct, which is far more descriptive).

You read it here first:  there will be no more people ejected from game for excessive unsportsmanlike conduct fouls next season than there were this past season.

Anybody remember back in - oh, the eighties, I think it was - when the rules makers  determined to do away with spearing?  The penalty for spearing, we were told,  would be ejection.  Wow.  The death penalty.

Well, guess what?  Spearing still went on, but I never saw anyone ejected. Officials are human, and in keeping with our society’s tendency to place compassion for the violator ahead of respect for the rule of law, they’re reluctant to throw a guy out of a game.

Given that high school officials wouldn’t crack down on young players, how much more leeway do you suppose NFL officials are going to give their players, knowing that an ejection could cost a guy a large sum of money and his team a place in the playoffs?

*********** The world indoor track and field championships were held in Portland last weekend, and the highlight of the meet was the 6-5 high jump of a Las Vegas high school girl named Vashti Cunningham.  A week earlier, in the same building, she’d jumped 6-6 1/8.

If she’d been competing as a pro, the win would have earned her $40,000, but not to worry - she’ll be okay - the next day she signed a contract with Nike.  Now her sights - and Nike’s - are set on this summer’s Olympics.

Vasjti's father is former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham, whose combination of prodigious talent and erratic performance would drive Philadelphia fans crazy.

I was at the Jets’ training camp at Hofstra University some 20 years ago when the Eagles arrived for one of those joint practice/scrimmage deals NFL teams would do.  Bus number one pulled up and the Eagles’ offense got off.  Bus number two pulled up and the Eagles’ defense got off.  And then a long, black limousine pulled up - and Randall Cunningham got off.

The following Monday, I called a Philly sports radio show and said that after my experience with the Philadelphia Bell and how our prima donna quarterback, Jim “King” Corcoran, was hated by his teammates, I doubted that things had changed to the point where now the Eagles players thought it was cool that their quarterback chose to live the life of an aristocrat.

The loudmouth behind the microphone dismissed me - “Ahhhh, that’s just Randall.”

“Just Randall” was pretty good, a very good runner as well as a passer, but during his 11 years in Philly, the Eagles made it to the playoffs just  five times.  Four of those playoff appearances came during a run of five years in which they won at least 10 games.  But then they fell off, and to fix things they brought in as their OC a West Coast guy - a guy named Gruden (maybe you’ve heard of him) - whose offense was ill-suited to Randall’s talents.  And Randall retired.

He came out of retirement and played a few more years, for the Vikings, the Cowboys and the Ravens,  and in 1998, he led the Vikings to a 15-1 season.

I join a lot of Philadelphia fans in wondering how good he might have been.

But anyhow, go Vashti.

 *********** Joe Garagiola died at the age  90.  He was a mediocre baseball player, but nowhere near as bad as he made himself out to be, in his self-deprecating way.   (Merely to be able to make it to the big leagues at a time when there were only 16 major league teams meant you were better than thousands of other guys competing for your job.)

When he left baseball to take up a career in broadcasting, he told enough stories about his boyhood pal, Yogi Berra, that he turned Berra into a legendary figure noted for his sage, witty and ambiguously puzzling observations  (“When you come to a fork in the road - take it.”)

Garagiola said that when his chance came to broadcast games, he wasn’t exactly  unprepared.  As he once said, “I used to sit in the bullpen and say, ‘Why the hell doesn’t he throw the curveball?’ Well, all I had to do to become an announcer was take out the ‘hell.’ ”


By Hugh Wyatt

By now, many Americans know that shortly after the outbreak of World War II, Japanese-Americans living in West Coast states were rounded up and send to “internment camps,” supposedly in the interest of our national security.  But very few Americans realize that our country conspired with other countries - notably Peru, which had a large Japanese population - to seize their Japanese residents, too, and bring them to the US for internment here.

In the last installment of this article...  With World War II at an end, the Murono family leaves its life in an internment camp in Texas for a new life in Seabrook, New Jersey...

Looking back, Seiki Murono recalls a childhood that might have been spent any place in America… … Opening day of trout fishing season in April at Pennsgrove Lake and Shaws Mill Pond near Cedarville…  Waiting to hear the jingle from the Mr. Softee truck so I could buy my root beer float…  The Boy Scout troop under the leadership of Vernon Ichisaka (numerous Japanese-American children from Seabrook became Eagle scouts)

Seabrook’s kids played kick the can and Red Rover… And marbles (“our earliest introduction to gambling, because whatever you won, you got to keep.”)
And they took part in activities unique to a Japanese community – playing a game called jin-tori, said to be something like capture the flag, and making mochi, a Japanese treat.

As he grew older, there were pickup games.
There was basketball on the outdoor court at the elementary school.

There was baseball, which meant, as one schoolmate of Seiki’s recalled,  “sharing baseball gloves after each inning because not everyone owned one… a couple of bats, and an adhesive-taped ball that had to last the whole game... the team at bat designating one of its own players to call balls and strikes and each team keeping its own score, an arrangement that produced surprisingly few arguments… base runners stealing second base without sliding, to avoid tearing their pants or skinning their knees on the rock-hard ground.

And there was football. Seiki recalled “being chased away by Mr. Miller, the Seabrook School custodian, when we were playing football on the lawn in front of the school.” Added a schoolmate, “When we didn’t see his pickup truck parked by the school, we would play football. As we played, we would keep an eye out for his pickup coming down Highway 77. When someone saw it we would all scatter.”

But it wasn’t all play, by any means.  “I don't remember ever taking a family vacation,” Seiki said.   “From the time each of the children was 13 (the minimum working age at the time), we all had summer jobs.” He remembers picking beans, “making $.35 cents a basket and chasing rabbits to break up the monotony.”

And there was schoolwork.  In keeping with the emphasis on education and the desire to excel academically associated with Asians in general, Seiki says,  “My parents stressed education and wanted all three of us to get a college education. We were encouraged to study hard and we did this mostly at home since our community did not have a library.”

And whether at school or at play, Seiki and his brother strove to excel.

“My brother and I embraced the American ethic of competing to succeed,” he says. “We both wanted to excel both academically and athletically to prove we belonged.”

In the fall of 1958, Seiki and his classmates from Seabrook Elementary moved on to high school in nearby Bridgeton,  a city of 20,000 or so, with one large high school.  Bridgeton High School was itself quite diverse, with a fairly large African-American population, and the Japanese-American kids from Seabrook had no trouble  fitting in.

“We were very well accepted,” Seiki remembered.   “Most of the Japanese kids excelled in school and participated in athletics, mostly basketball, baseball and football.”

At Bridgeton, Seiki played football, basketball and baseball.

He almost didn’t play football. As a freshman, he weighed just 119 pounds, and thought seriously about quitting.  “I questioned whether or not I could match up physically with some guys who were 100 pounds heavier than that,” he said. “I decided to hang in there, and was glad I did.”


american flag TUESDAY, MARCH 22,  2016  "At the core of Liberalism is the spoiled child – miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill-disciplined, despotic and useless. Liberalism is a philosophy of sniveling brats.”   P.J. O’Rourke

*********** So tell me again why,  when we’ve seen plenty of very disappointed college basketball players handle themselves with admirable aplomb after their dream seasons - and in many cases, their careers - came to an end in the NCAA Tournament, Cam Newton couldn’t man up with the media after the Super Bowl.

*********** I knew there was something to those articles about the way online sales have been causing the decline of malls nationwide when  our county’s biggest mall  lost its Nordstrom’s and replaced it with  - a Gold’s Gym?!?

***********  The Chicago White Sox - where  every day is Take Your Kid to Work Day.

A major league baseball player named Adam LaRoche  is so upset that  his employer, the Chicago White Sox, thinks his 14-year-old son has been spending too  much time in the clubhouse (100 per cent of the time, the club says), that he’s decided to retire.

A few thoughts…

1. He’s pretty young to have his f-you money already. (But then, he did make $12.5 million last year.  Say that slowly, if you’re a school teacher.)

2. $12.5 million is REALLY good money for a designated hitter who hit .207 and only 12 home runs last season.  Maybe that occurred to the White Sox management, too.

3. He doesn’t sound like one of those guys who say they love the game of baseball so much they’d play it for free.  (If there are any more of them.)

4. He needs to look at another job  - as a soldier, or an airline pilot, or a cop, or a surgeon, or a trial lawyer, or a school teacher, or a car salesman, an automobile worker - and see if he can  bring his kid to work every day.   Spoiler alert - he can’t.  And he won’t make $12.5 million a year.

5. Doesn’t the kid ever go to school? Ever play ball with other kids his age?

One fan’s reaction, in the Chicago Tribune…

Look, Adam, this is supposed to be baseball, not Romper Room. The Sox finished 10 games BELOW .500. You batted .207, received 12 MILLION DOLLARS for 89 hits, and are 1 for 5 this year. The Sox were 13th of 15 in attendance last year. I want to see and read about baseball, not babysitting. I am with White Sox management on this one, all the way.

*********** In reading through a book, “1960 NFL Champions” (very creative title), about the 1960 Philadelphia Eagles, I read about John Wilcox, who played just that one championship season and then retired to a long career as a teacher and coach in the Northwest.

One of eight children, he grew up “in poverty,” in his words, in Vale, Oregon, a small farm town near the Idaho border that’s turned out more than its share of good football players and good high school teams.

He played one year in the NFL - and won a championship ring.

His brother, Dave, is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  He played eleven years for the 49ers and never played on a championship team.

*********** Thinking back to when we were in grade school and we were repeatedly  admonished to “look both ways before crossing the street,” I’m constantly amazed at the dumbasses I see crossing streets without looking at  all.  Looking down, actually - because they’re so f—king busy texting, or checking their playlist. (Did I mention they often wear earbuds?

So it was no surprise when I heard on the radio that something like 4,000 pedestrians were killed last year while focused on their smartphones.  You mean that’s all?

And people are trying to kill football because it’s dangerous?

*********** College wrestling isn’t even on the map in New York. College wrestling seldom even gets a mention in the New York media, but I can understand holding the NCAA wrestling championships in Madison Square Garden, because  the Garden IS the Mecca of indoor sports in the US.

But this year’s Frozen Four - the NCAA ice hockey tournament - will be held in hockey-mad Tampa. That's FLORIDA.

NCAA, are you f—king kidding me?  You don't suppose money had anything to do with it, do you?

It won’t be long before Jerry Jones is putting it on in the Jerrah Dome.

*********** Penn State won the NCAA wrestling championship this past weekend,  which got me to doing some digging on the Lions’ coach, Cael Sanderson, which brought me to the conclusion that he could be on his way to becoming one of the greatest college coaches of all time, in any sport.

Even if he hadn’t coached, he’d have been a wrestling legend.

For four straight years (1999-2002), wrestling at Iowa State, Cael Sanderson was named Most Outstanding Wrestler of the NCAA Tournament.

In his college career, he was 159-0, a feat Sports Illustrated ranked second only to Jesse Owens’ setting four world records in one afternoon - at the 1935 Big Ten track championships - as the greatest individual college sports accomplishment ever.

In 2004, he won Olympic gold.

In 2006 he was named head coach at Iowa State, and in his first year at Ames, he took the Cyclones to a second-place finish nationally.  In three years at Iowa State, he won the Big-12 championship all three times.

In 2009, just 29, he was hired by Penn State.  In his second year there, the Nittany Lions won the national championship.

Now, there’s always been an abundance of good talent in the area - high school wrestling in Pennsylvania is very good, and neighboring New Jersey and New York produce their share of good wrestlers, too - but that was Penn State’s first NCAA title since 1953.

What a lot of people may not realize - and what may be a factor in wrestling’s not enjoying the national prestige and popularity it deserves - is the utter dominance of the sport by just two states - two schools, actually.

Since the first national championship in 1928, Oklahoma State and Iowa have won 57 titles between them.  Add in Oklahoma and Iowa State, and the two states own 72 titles.

In all the years since the championships have been held, Minnesota and Penn State have been the only schools without “Oklahoma” or “Iowa” in their name to have won more than one title.

Largely because of those two states, wrestling has been one of the few sports dominated by schools west of the Mississippi: until Penn State’s championship in 2011, the championship trophy had crossed the Mississippi only three times:  to Indiana in 1932, to Penn State in 1953, and to Michigan State in 1967.

But Sanderson didn’t stop with that one national title.  After 2011, Penn State won the next three, then after missing in 2015, came back to win again this past weekend.  That’s five of the last six, and last year’s title was won by another “eastern” school,  Ohio State.  That’s six championships in a row since the last time an Iowa or Oklahoma team won it.  (For the record, it was Iowa, in 2010.)

What Cael Sanderson has done is even more significant for the sport of wrestling than his amazing college career, and his winning five national titles in six years: he’s moved the geographic balance of power of an entire sport.

*********** The best thing about Yale’s basketball team making it to the tournament - and then winning its first-round game - was how safe the Yale campus must have been this weekend with all those rapists away in Providence,  either playing basketball or watching the basketball team play.

*********** A friend who coaches overseas wrote me about coaching an all-star team.  He said players who came from other teams were shocked by his approach to practice, which puts an emphasis on teaching, rather than just conditioning or hitting.

I wrote back,


“Teaching” is a much-neglected word in sports.

Practice attendance aside,  few things used to piss me off more about coaching overseas than to hear players use the word “training” when they really meant practice.

I know it’s a small matter, and it’s just a word, and no doubt it came from their learning the Queen’s English, with all its soccer terms, as their second language.

In our country, though, “training” is where you get your body ready for practice.  Practice is where you get your brain ready for the game.

Not that there aren’t football coaches who devote an entire practice to training.  I once watched one of my grandson’s “practices" in which the coaches all stood around in the middle of the field and shot the breeze while the kids spent an entire half hour (of potential teaching time) running f—king laps around the field.

Coaching is teaching.

*********** Steve Duin has been writing for the Portland Oregonian for years.  He started as a sports writer, but evolved into a general-interest columnist, writing on topics of his choosing.  Occasionally he returns to sports, and when he does, it’s usually to prick a balloon.

His latest target: The precious Portland Timbers, the 2015 MLS champions. 

“Money, branding, influence?” he wrote.  “The Portland Timbers are on a marvelous roll.”

He wasn’t referring to their championship, though.  He was referring to - his term -  “the Timbers' stranglehold on Oregon youth soccer.”

The Timbers organization - actually, something called Peregrine Sports LLC, that owns the Timbers - runs Oregon youth soccer, and according to Duin charges fees ranging from $800 to $975  per team.

Oregon Youth Soccer consists of at least 75 organizations, some of which enter dozens of teams in its  fall and winter leagues.  Just two clubs, Lake Oswego Soccer Club and Crossfire Oregon, paid Peregrine Sports - the Timbers - some $36,000 to enter teams in fall and winter leagues.

“Anyone else think that's odd?” Duin wrote.  “The Trail Blazers aren't running this city's youth-basketball leagues. The Seahawks aren't cashing the checks necessary to keep Pee Wee football teams afloat in Seattle.”

The problem lies with Timbers Academy,  a development program/travel team at the top of the youth soccer food chain.  Selected from the 60,000 or so youth players in Oregon and Southwest Washington, Timbers Academy consists of the top 50 players in the area.  As I understand it, most MLS teams have similar programs.   And those programs can be expensive, which is where the youth clubs come in.

It appears to many youth soccer people that,  even after allowing for the costs of officials,  much of the money they’re paying for their teams to participate is being used to help defray the costs of  the Timbers Academy elites.  Said Mark Olen, president of the Lake Oswego Soccer Club and an assistant coach at Lake Oswego High School,“We love the Timbers' professional team. We've had season tickets since day one.   But what they've done for youth soccer is tax the masses, and use that to keep the cost down for the 50 best boys in the state."

Then there’s the effect Timbers Academy is having on high school programs.  The Academy teams play a 10-month season, which eliminates the possibility of those kids’ playing other sports, and they’re banned from playing soccer for their high school teams, a policy set by the US Soccer Federation and MLS.

It’s a policy, as you might imagine, that doesn’t sit well with area high schools.

"What you're seeing with the Timbers Academy is the birth of the zero-sport athlete," Mike Hughes, the athletic director at Portland’s Jesuit High School, told Duin.   Jesuit’s soccer program has lost several players to Timbers Academy.

"They can do zero high-school sports,” he said. “They become ghost students. They don't come to the prom. They're not actively engaged with their high school. We're all very frustrated with the Timbers."

Greg Bean,  the boys' soccer coach at West Linn (Oregon) High,  points out that there’s great incentive to be chosen for a Timbers Academy team, even if though it means ditching your high school buddies: “Your best opportunity to be seen by a college coach is not playing high-school ball, ”  he says.  Nope. It’s by playing on an academy team. That's where you get travel and exposure.”

Good for them.  I guess.

And good for the Timbers, who’ve figured out a very clever scheme to extract money from the mass of kids who are supposed, someday, to be their fans.  Most of those kids will never play college, much less pro, soccer, but much of the money that’s supposed to be used for their recreation is being diverted instead to help defray the costs of developing the most talented kids, a cost that most would agree is the responsibility of the Portland Timbers. 

It’s socialism in reverse, writes Steve Duin: “too many of the benefits accrue to the capitalists at the top of the pyramid, not the 60,000 kids playing at its base.

Sure hope the NFL doesn't find out about this or before you know it they'll have us paying USA Football for permission to coach our teams.  Oh, wait...


By Hugh Wyatt

By now, many Americans know that shortly after the outbreak of World War II, Japanese-Americans living in West Coast states were rounded up and send to “internment camps,” supposedly in the interest of our national security.  But very few Americans realize that our country conspired with other countries - notably Peru, which had a large Japanese population - to seize their Japanese residents, too, and bring them to the US for internment here.

In the last installment of this article...  With his family still in an internment camp during World War II, a Japanese-American named George Sakamoto, in search of work, learned that a place in New Jersey named Seabrook Farms was looking for workers, and decided to investigate...

Most of the other workers at Seabrook had never seen a Japanese person before, he recalled, and "they were curious as hell," Sakamoto told the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Michael Vitez in June, 1988.  “They would come up and say, 'Hey, you don't look like the Japanese we see in the papers.' They were curious, but friendly."

Mr. Sakamoto decided to stay, and went to work at 49 cents an hour.  Seeing him gave C. F. Seabrook an idea – where others saw internment camps, he saw workers -  and he set in motion a plan  to solve his labor shortage with  former internees.

“Come and see for yourself,” were the words of Seabrook’s employment manager as he addressed internees at an Arkansas internment camp in April of 1944. “We’ll pay your transportation.”

Shortly after, a delegation of three representatives from the camp in Arkansas visited Seabrook, talking with workers and local business people and government officials to assess how Japanese-Americans would be accepted.

Their report upon their return must have been favorable, because shortly afterward, families began to leave for Seabrook.  In time, more than 300 families from that one camp would accept Seabrook’s offer.

The government paid their train fare to Seabrook, and the company agreed to provide lodging, lunch, and utilities. To house them, Seabrook had managed to get the federal government to build a large number of small concrete block homes.  For their part, the Japanese-Americans were required to work in Seabrook's processing plant for at least six months.

Eventually, following the initial wave of workers from Arkansas, families began to arrive in Seabrook from internment camps in Arizona, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

"They were put to work as soon as they got here, as soon as they changed their shoes," George Sakamoto recalled. "You got here in the afternoon and went to work on the night shift."

The work was hard and long - 12-hour shifts – and the pay was low - anywhere from 35 to 50 cents an hour. During peak harvest periods they worked seven days a week.

Essentially, Seabrook was a company town.  Seabrook Farms owned the housing and the only store in town. The nearest other store was in Bridgeton, five miles away, but to people with no cars, not to mention wartime rationing of gasoline, it might as well have been 50 miles.

Nevertheless, the workers made the best of their circumstances.

"Some people might say C.F. (Seabrook) was an opportunist, taking advantage of our situation," said George Sakamoto. "But what the hell. We were in bad shape, we needed a chance. And for people in our situation, it was hard to say no."

The Seabrook that Seiki Murono grew up in was a remarkably diverse community.  The German and Italian prisoners of war had left Seabrook once the war ended, but they were replaced by Peruvian-Japanese like the Muronos, and by Estonians, who had fled their country when the Russians swept through Eastern Europe following the war.  There was no segregation by race or nationality. The various groups were integrated and, in Seiki’s words, “lived harmoniously together.”

The Muronos lived in a one-room house, with a coal burning stove for heat. There was no bathroom.  “There was a communal bathroom and shower facility which was used by all the residents of the complex,” Seiki recalled.  “I remember how terrible it was to have to walk to and from the bath facility during our frigid winters.”

Because Mr. Murono’s income wasn’t sufficient to support the family, Mrs. Murono had to go to work, too, which meant that two-year-old Seiki was sent to a child care center run for the families of Seabrook’s workers.

Until he entered Seabrook Elementary School, Seiki Murono spoke no English. At school, the Japanese and Estonian children were taught English as a second language. “It was quite a struggle at first,” Seiki now  recalls, “since my parents, who knew almost no English, spoke only Japanese at home.  It was a priority for me to learn English so that I could fit in.”

Seiki’s parents never studied English, but they became proficient, Seiki says, “through day-to-day living and watching TV.”


american flag FRIDAY, MARCH 18,  2016  "When school children start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of school children." Albert Shanker,  former United Federation of Teachers president

***********  Sure hope the Yalies take it easy on Duke...

*********** On Monday, Jeff Miller, the NFL’s senior vice president for health and safety policy,  admitted to a congressional committee that there was a link between playing football and CTE.

And now, thanks to our friends in the NFL, who have been such models of good sportsmanship, good conduct on and off the field, good fundamentals and adherence to safe and fair play,  football  will begin to die,  from the ground up.  Participation figures at the youth level confirm that it’s already happening.

Oh, sure, the NFL's okay.  ESPN and NBC and CBS and ABC and DirectTV will keep emptying their pockets in return for the rights to broadcast NFL games.  But at the same time, thanks to the concussion hysteria fueled by the NFL’s mismanagement of the CTE issue, 
parents are refusing to let their little boys play football. What a bonanza for youth soccer.

A New York Times article that covered the news of Mr. Miller’s disclosure contained some additional  information that might be eye-opening for some of my readers, but not for me.

Many of you know that for some time I’ve referred to USA Football - the self-styled “governing body of American football” - as a sham, an NFL-front, a tentacle of the NFL Octopus.  And here’s the proof:

The N.F.L. has spent millions of dollars in efforts to tamp down fear among parents over football’s physical toll… It gave $45 million to USA Football, a formerly obscure nonprofit, to promote safe tackling and reassure jittery parents that football’s inherent risks can be mitigated through on-field techniques and awareness.

Hmmm.   Sounds more to me as if they simply bought USA Football.  Are you telling me that any "formerly obscure nonprofit” is going to take $45 million from the NFL and not do its bidding?  How’s this for trying to control the sport from the top down:  “Mommies, ask your little boy’s coach if he’s NFL - er, USA Football - certified.” Soon - mark my words - you won’t be able to coach unless you're licensed by Big Football.  
Can you say “tentacles?”

And thanks to the NFL - people who haven’t taught a player how to tackle in years, whose own players pop helmets on and off as if they were beanies and treat chin straps as if they’re a nuisance - for providing USA Football with the money to put on all those sessions on how to tackle and how to fit a helmet.  Sessions that we have to sit through - if we want to keep coaching.

Now, get this…

Several years later, the N.F.L. made Mr. Miller its senior vice president for health and safety policy. He successfully lobbied many state legislatures to pass laws that require any youth athlete who sustained a concussion to return to play only after being cleared by a medical professional.

Did you catch that?  "Successfully lobbied?" An NFL vice-president “successfully lobbied”  to give us the laws that now stipulate what we have to do if an athlete “sustains a concussion.” Now,  wasn't that thoughtful of the NFL?  Always thinking of us.

Lobbying, guys, isn’t what you learned in civics class.  It's not sitting down in a lawmaker’s office and showing him (or her) a PowerPoint on your laptop.  Lobbying can be  very dirty and sleazy and corrupt, and it's no cleaner when it’s done by the NFL than when it’s done by any industry, union, or interest group. ("Like to join me in our box at the Seahawks game, Senator?  Yeah, I know  they're playing in Green Bay. No problem. We've got room on the plane for  you and a couple of your guests. We can discuss the concussion bill on the plane.")

Unfortunately, “sustained a concussion” has come in some cases to mean,  “in the opinion of a completely unqualified non-medical professional  your player may have sustained a concussion,” which instantly takes a player out of competition until he is “cleared by a medical professional.”  So a non-professional, such as an official, can provide the diagnosis that sidelines your kid, but only a medical professional can clear him to return to play. Any of you out there live in a place so small and remote that it doesn’t even have a “medical professional?”  Any of you ever had to wait a couple of weeks before a “medical professional” can even see your kid?

Guys, as I’ve said for years, the NFL is killing our game.   We can’t let them do it.   It’s in our best interest to divorce ourselves from them completely. We don’t play the same game and we certainly don’t share their values.

Shun them.   They're the enemy of high school football. They really have nothing of value to offer us.   Stop going to their bogus clinics and eating their food and wearing their apparel.  Start putting on camps of your own instead of letting them come to your town and put on those self-serving photo-ops that they call camps.

Just say no.

*********** FROM A YEAR AGO


You simply MUST read this column, first published  in December, 2014 in the Portland Tribune. It was written  by Dr. Ed Riley, a physician and professor of anesthesiology at Stanford and the father of a high school football player.  Dr. Riley is the younger brother of former Oregon State and now-Nebraska head coach Mike Riley.  The Riley boys' father, Bud, was a long-time college  coach.

My son’s high school football team finished 1-9 this year, and I wouldn’t be prouder of this team if they had gone undefeated.

They made a game of it each Friday night, and while they often were outnumbered and overmatched, they never were outplayed. My son and his teammates have learned more about hard work, sportsmanship and resilience on the football field than anywhere else, and these lessons will make them better men.

But as much as I enjoy the tradition of high school football, I worry about its future.

My son’s school has nearly 2,000 students, but his team is lucky to suit up 20 players for a varsity game. There are a lot more young men who want to play, but whose parents won’t let them. Their parents think the risk of brain injury outweighs the benefits of playing.

I understand the concerns and share them, but I have concluded those concerns are misplaced. My children are the most important part of my life. I am a widower, and when my son wanted to play football his freshman year, every mom and my in-laws chastised me for considering it. Even President Obama wondered whether he’d let his theoretical son play.

I’m a physician and medical researcher at Stanford, and I only decided to let my son play after reviewing the medical research.

The study that best elucidates the risk of football-related brain injury comes from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDCP officials studied 3,439 former National Football League players with at least five years of pension-credited playing seasons between 1959 and 1988.

This is arguably the highest-risk group of players available for study. Among these players, the incidence of neurodegenerative disease is three times higher than in the general population. However, the risk of death from neurodegenerative disease was relatively low in both groups: 3 percent in NFL players, and 1 percent in the general population. The risk associated with a long NFL career is not insignificant but remains small.

The high-profile research that is regularly cited as connecting the dots between football-related concussions and dementia in NFL players lacks sufficient data to establish a causal link. Most of the cases considered focus on former NFL players involved in a lot of high-risk behavior other than football, and none of these studies included a control group. Research like this is typically filed away as “interesting, but we need better data.”

The key here is that high school football is not the NFL. The Mayo Clinic found that the risk of high school football players developing degenerative neurological diseases later in life is no greater than if they had been in the band, glee club or choir.

The data suggests that the normal life of adolescents puts them at risk for brain injury all the time. What would be the alternatives to my son playing football? Sports such as soccer, skiing, rock climbing or lacrosse have similar risk profiles to high school football.

My late wife rode horses competitively growing up. As an anesthesiologist at a hospital that treats more horse-related trauma accidents than any other in the country, I’m glad my son went with football.

I believe the benefits of playing high school football are worth the risks. Football is an equal-opportunity sport. All different types of athletes make up a football team, the skills needed don’t require years of practice, and there is no real advantage for kids with private coaches. A healthy, average athlete who shows up to all the team’s practice sessions and attends off-season weight training can usually find a spot on the team.

My son’s teammates are from the whole socioeconomic and racial spectrum. The only reason that his team was able to make a contest out of each game, despite that they had so few players to work with, is that the boys learned how to build on what they had in common instead of focusing on their differences.

As Jack Kemp, the former pro quarterback and congressman, once said, “The huddle is color-blind.” In an increasingly diverse world, opportunities to learn how to work together with a wide range of people who start out on equal footing should not be lightly dismissed.

When I sit in the stands, I worry when my 160-pound son lines up on the front line of the kick return team, but that is only slightly less than I worry when I sit in the passenger seat as he merges onto the highway. Adolescence is a scary time for parents.

To all you parents who are keeping your sons from playing football, I say, “Let them play.” They are just as safe on the football field as they are in most of the other sports and activities we regard as a necessary part of a healthy adolescence. You can save money on expensive club sports and specialty coaches, and your sons will develop skills that will serve them and the rest of us well.

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

The NFL is what it is.  But I heard something pretty cool in an interview with Von Miller, Super Bowl MVP.  The interviewer asked him about sack dances and which one practiced for the Super Bowl.  And why we didn't see those.

The NFL as it is today (as closely as I can remember):  "I practiced lots of dances.  We had extra time before the Super Bowl and came up with some pretty good ones."

But here's the cool part.  The "we before me" that I would love to resonate with kids today:  When asked why we didn't see any of those dances. (as closely as I can quote)  "The performance of my defense was bigger than any dance I could've done.  I just wanted to be with those guys in that moment."  

My hunch is that if you really analyze Super Bowl (or state championship) teams, they have a lot more of those experiences than not.  Less show-boating by the teams that win it all.  In crunch time they realize what is important.  They've developed those bonds that are necessary to really elevate to different level.  And as a result they don't waste their efforts on things that won't help them reach that collective goal.  

Your thoughts?  

Todd Hollis
Elmwood Illinois


With you on this.  Most teams today are unable to get past the me-me-me that’s an inevitable result of the selfishness of our culture and free agency - which has been great for everyone except the game itself (and, of course, the fans).

I’ve no doubt that Denver had a bit of the unselfishness going for it.  I suspect, without naming the individual-who-will-remain-nameless, that there might have been an element of selfishness that brought a good Carolina team down.

I’ve read quite a bit in the last year or two about great teams of the past - the Colts of the 50s and 60s, the Packers of the 60s, the Steelers of the 70s, the 1960 Eagles, and right now, the 1963 Bears.

They all have in common the fact that they were close off the field as well as on.   True, we may have correlation confused with cause, and it might have been the success that caused their closeness, but I’m still a believer in the notion that there is such a thing as team chemistry that enables one group of players to beat another one that’s just as talented.

And teamwork, it seems to me, means not calling undue attention to one’s self.   Superman shirt, anyone?

*********** A friend wrote to tell me that he has been offered - and accepted - a position as head JV coach at a large high school:

The Varsity and Junior Varsity staffs are entirely separate and I would only coach the JVs.  The JV  staff is already set and I have six coaches.  Their JV program has a history of success and went 7-3 last year.  My two biggest challenges are learning their spread schemes and getting the assistants to have an open mind to my approach and philosophy.  The varsity head coach says that I have complete control over every aspect of the JV program including meetings, workouts, practice schedule, play calling and "flavor" of the offense.  I will try to bring a Double Wing flavor to the spread system if that is at all possible.  (I have no idea.  lol)  Any suggestions?

Congratulations on your imminent hiring as JV coach at a school with a solid program.

It seems to me that your “two biggest challenges” will more than occupy your time until you really get settled in, and I advise you to really get into #1. I think the two are interrelated, because if there are guys on your staff who get the impression that you’re not catching on to the offense, they might see it as a weakness to exploit, or as a lack of buy-in on your part.  

When the time is right, though,  I think that there might be an opportunity for you to add “flavor.”  But it will take some doing.  I see four major factors inherent in the spread system (as I see it on maxpreps)  that stand in your way - a lack of running backs, the absence  of a tight end,  the lack of demands placed on the linemen from the standpoint of pulling and trapping, and the line splits and stances.

I see the line splits as the biggest obstacle.  I think that you could find a tight end or two - either an athletic lineman or a good-sized wide receiver - and since you probably have a lot of wide receivers there surely are some of them who enjoy running with the ball after the catch; and I’m sure you could teach your linemen the movement necessary to do what we do.  But changing those big splits and those upright stances with the outside foot back means tampering with something that’s an essential part of The System, but unless you do it's going to be really tough to run our stuff effectively, and doing .  

Actually, the biggest obstacle, I think,  will be selling the head coach on letting you depart even slightly from the basic offense.  To make sure he doesn’t think you’re proposing a wholesale overhaul, it would be advisable to propose it as a simple “power package" - an off-tackle play, a counter, a wedge and a play-action pass. If you can show how your doing this doesn’t subtract from the basic system but actually adds to it, I think he’d be receptive.

As for coaching the spread - from the standpoint of your development as a head coach,  it will not be the worst thing in the world for you to have knowledge and experience of how the other side lives.

*********** RENTON, Wash. – The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) and Spalding agreed to a five-year contract making the sports equipment company the exclusive ball supplier for WIAA State Championships in baseball, basketball, football, soccer, softball and volleyball starting in the fall of 2016.
“We have a shared vision, which caters to the needs of our member schools," WIAA Executive Director Mike Colbrese said. Their quality of service combined with their ability to provide industry leading sports equipment will have a positive impact on our schools and student-athletes."
Spalding's top-of-the-line sports equipment will be used during the WIAA State Championships, which includes the TF-1000 Legacy Men's and Women's Basketball, TF-5000 Soccer Ball and the Alpha Varsity Size Football.
Yeah, “shared vision.” Shared greed is more like it. We’ll force the schools to use your balls, and you’ll slip us the money.

Yeah, “needs of our member schools.” If we make the playoffs, we need to use a Spalding ball.  And if we have hopes of making the playoffs, we need to start using Spalding balls during the regular season. 

All those Biden footballs and basketballs that we’ve been forced to use the last several years?  Out they go.  Not even a year to phase out the old stuff.

Sure would like to see where the Spalding  money’s going, but I know one thing - high schools, especially high school football, won’t see a nickel of it.

In fact, not so very long ago, the WIAA informed us that they could no longer afford to pay the rent to use the Tacoma Dome for football semi-finals.  So instead, we’ll be playing at “neutral sites.”  Outdoors.  In late November.  In Washington.  With the official football of the WIAA.

*********** Remember when the rules first allowed teams to line up with 11 guys wearing eligible numbers on punt plays, with the idea  that teams could substitute smaller, faster players?  (Before that, some teams had the smaller, faster players  put on scrimmage-vest-type shirts with lineman numbers on them.)

All that was required with the new rule was to be in "scrimmage kick formation."  And all that meant was that you had to have one player at least seven yards behind the line of scrimmage.

And remember when someone turned that well-intentioned rule on its head, lining up a quarterback seven yards behind the line to create an “offense” that enabled all eleven  of those eligible-numbered men, originally intended to cover punts,  to be potential pass receivers?

They called it the “A-11.”  Wrote a lot of articles about it.  Generated a lot of talk.

But remember how fast most high school associations moved to clarify their rules in order to put an end to  the travesty?  North Carolina was the first, in 2008.  The NFHS followed a year later.

This year, the NCAA finally caught up with the high schools:

Scrimmage Kick Formation- Clarifies that a "scrimmage kick formation" must include either a punter at least 10 yards behind the line or a kicker and holder at least seven yards behind the line, and it must be obvious that a kick will be attempted.

*********** My friend Shep Clarke, of Puyallup, Washington, knowing how I feel about the continued abuse of our National Anthem, sent me this,  convincing me that there still are people in the United States who respect our country’s song.  Watch and listen and try not to get tears in your eyes listening to these high school kids sing it.

*********** “Look me in the eye, Soldier!  Up here!”

When Duke’s  Marshall Plumlee  graduates in a couple of months, he’ll be an officer in the US Army.  A 7-foot-tall officer.

***********  Hugh,

Just this week I saw a video about the Virginia Tech basketball coach bringing in veterans to address his team about how they should stand during the national anthem.  Pretty powerful.

I was going to post it to my team's Facebook page, but then realized that somebody would respond 'but you are not out there during the playing of the national anthem.  You are showing disrespect.'  Which got me thinking, have I been in the wrong all these years?

Personally, I do not think so.  Our players know where I/we stand on military service.  We've sent plenty of boys on to active and reserve duty.  We've had a couple go to the Academies.  Whenever I one of our former players who went into the service shows up at practice we stop whatever we are doing and I ask him to address the team.  One of our coaches is a veteran and I asked him about this a number of years ago and he thought we were not being disrespectful.  Our time in the locker room right before the game is not loud or rah-rah.  It is a time for quiet reflection.  It is when we pray.  And if we ever hear the anthem being played, we stop any talking and sit quietly.  Some of that I cannot tell people and some of that people will not see as enough 'patriotism.'  So that's where I am right now.

So, I think a change of plans, at least for home games where we have control of the pre-game schedule, may be in order.  We can do what we need to do and still coordinate with the band.  So I think that is probably what we will do.  At away games I don't have that control, so we may or may not be out for the anthem depending on when their band plays.

Please give me your opinion.


I always believe that a coach has to do what he believes is best for his team, consistent with the reasonable demands that others make on him.

I personally wish that we had never reached the point where we can’t start any event, from the most trivial pee-wee game of flag touch all the way to the Super Bowl, without the national anthem.

I coached in Finland for seven and heard their national anthem before a game maybe seven times.  About the only time they play it is prior to an international competition. The Finns love their country and their flag and their national anthem every bit as much as we do, and they’re no less patriotic than we are.  They’re just a lot less driven to public, often insincere displays that are more entertainment than they are expressions of love for country.

But - given that it is a ritual to play the national anthem before every game,  I imagine that there would be members of our community who would be offended if we didn’t stand - and stand respectfully - for the national anthem before our home games.    And even though I can certainly understand why a coach might have his reasons for not being out on the field at that time, I don’t think that any explanation would be good enough to satisfy those people.  They’re not wrong. They’re good people and sincere people.  Some of them fought in our wars; some of them have sons or daughters in the service. Who knows?  And they’re accustomed by watching games on TV to seeing both teams on the field for the national anthem. It would be only natural for one of them to call your principal and ask, “Why isn’t our team out on the field for a national anthem?”   Who needs that?  Why do something that might  offend  good people when it wouldn’t take more than three or four minutes out of our pregame to stand out on the field for the national anthem?

I don’t think that this one is worth the battle.  I see this as one of those things that we simply have to do as our part of the deal.  Maybe you can ask the band director to make some adjustment in the pre-game schedule so that it doesn’t disrupt what you normally do quite so much.

I see standing for the national anthem the same way I do going to the wedding or funeral of someone I love and respect.  If I can possibly be there, I have to be there.  

At away games, it’s not the same thing.  I think it’s always nice if your kids can be out on the field for the national anthem, but I’ve seen some wide variations in pregame schedules, and it’s unreasonable for people to expect you to adjust to every schedule.

My opinion.



Of Division I college soccer players, 68 per cent – more than two out of three of them  – started specializing in one sport by the time they were 12 years old!!!  That’s even greater than the percentage of players  in tennis and ice-hockey,  sports that most would argue require considerably more skill development than soccer, at least until they play football on skates.   More than half of ice hockey players  and a near majority (49%) of basketball players had also begun to specialize in their sport by the time they were 12.   I could care less about soccer - you can have all those weenies who play games with their feet. It’s those hockey and basketball kids that concern me.  That’s a lot of kids who will never play football. 


The trend to specialization continues into high school, with participation on outside “travel” teams – sometimes in addition to, but more and more instead of, school teams.  Sometimes, as in the case of soccer, they’re sponsored by professional teams.  Sometimes, in the case of basketball. they’re affiliated with apparel companies. It’s hard to escape the conclusion that this is a sign of  the trend to year-round, single-sport  specialization, and as it  continues to grow, football, an anachronism as a single-season sport,  is in danger of losing more and more good athletes to it.


By now, many Americans know that shortly after the outbreak of World War II, Japanese-Americans living in West Coast states were rounded up and send to “internment camps,” supposedly in the interest of our national security.  But very few Americans realize that our country conspired with other countries - notably Peru, which had a large Japanese population - to seize their Japanese residents, too, and bring them to the US for internment here.

In the first installment of this article...  in January, 1943, Ginzo Murono, a Japanese-Peruvian businessman in Lima, Peru, was seized  by police and  brought with other Japanese  to the United States - a place he had never been before - then sent to an internment camp in Kennedy, Texas. After six months there, he was transferred to another internment camp in Crystal City, Texas, where he was joined by his wife and two small children.

Crystal City, about 120 miles southwest of San Antonio and not far from  the Rio Grande, was primarily for internees with families. There were as many as 1,000 Germans there also, and a small number of Italians, but the camp’s population was mostly Japanese, some 3,000 of them, roughly half from the United States and half from Peru.

Nearly a year after their reunion in Crystal City, the Muronos welcomed their third child, a son named Seiki.  It was June 6, 1944.  D-Day.

At Crystal City, the internees were paid 10 cents an hour for their work, and although they were kept under guard and behind barbed wire, they were given a remarkable amount of freedom within the camp itself,  developing and running what Mr. Murono called “a rather efficient society.”

Inside the camp, the internees elected their own officials and managed their own schools, their own post office, their own stores, and such essential services as garbage collection. They had newspapers, amateur theaters and sports teams. They were allowed freedom of religion and the right to hold meetings.

The resourcefulness and resilience of people suddenly and involuntarily yanked away from everything they owned, from familiar faces, places and things, and then, after incarceration, making the best of their circumstances, is almost incomprehensible.

In August, 1945, more than two years after the Muronos had been reunited in Crystal City,  “A long siren sounded,” Mr. Murono recalled.  “The war was over and peace had finally come.”

Although World War II had come to an end, that did not mean freedom for the Muronos.   Like all Japanese Peruvians sent to the US, they had lost everything. They had no business to return to,  no home to return to.  And, worst of all, no passports.

They were stateless. Their passports had been taken away by the Peruvian government, and in the United States they were classified as "illegal aliens.” 

Finally, a year after the war ended, and after nearly four years of incarceration, in August, 1946 the Murono family left Crystal City for a new life, in a strange and faraway place called Seabrook, New Jersey.

Seabrook, New Jersey was the home of Seabrook Farms,  a giant producer of vegetables - growing, processing and packing the peas, beans, asparagus and other vegetables and fruits  grown on its 6,000 acres of farmland in rural southern New Jersey (“South Jersey” to the locals) about five miles north of the city of Bridgeton.

Charles Franklin (C.F.) Seabrook had bought his father’s farm in 1912,  and by the outbreak of World War II, through his pioneering work in frozen food processing and his application of modern industrial production techniques to farming, he had built it into what Life Magazine called ''The Biggest Vegetable Company on Earth.”

Seabrook Farms was the largest single farm in New Jersey, 9 square miles in size with 30 miles of paved roads.  It had its own giant packing plant with enough railroad siding to allow the loading of 30 freight cars at a time.  At peak production it employed 4,000 workers, and shipped 100 million pounds of vegetables a year.

The war effort required enormous amounts of food, and Seabrook Farms became the major supplier of vegetables to the military;  but with most able-bodied men either in the service or employed in well-paying “war work,” it was difficult to find workers.

Seabrook Farms did employ hundreds of Italian immigrants and German prisoners of war, but even so, under constant pressure to fill government contracts, it  faced  a chronic labor shortage.

In 1943, the US government began to  permit  many Japanese internees to leave the camps, provided they could pass a loyalty test and find jobs. They weren’t totally free to move about, though – their every move had to be approved by a government agency called the War Relocation Authority (WRA). And until December of 1944 the West Coast states remained off-limits to any former internees.

Seabrook’s connection to the internment camps began in December of 1943. A recently-liberated former  internee named George Sakamoto, who had left his family behind at a camp in Colorado while searching for a place to resettle, was riding on a train to New York when he happened to read an article in Reader’s Digest about Seabrook Farms.

Seabrook needed workers, it said, and so with the permission of the WRA,  Mr. Sakamoto made his way to South Jersey to investigate.


american flag TUESDAY, MARCH 15,  2016  "Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice."
Thomas Paine

*********** Jack Montague’s lawyer says he’ll be suing Yale University.  Can I buy a piece of the action?

Montague, the captain of the basketball team, was expelled from school for a “sexual assault” that supposedly took place in October of 2014.  He wasn’t charged until November of 2015 - more than a year later - when a young woman with whom he’d had a brief relationship reported the supposed incident to the school’s Title IX office, which then filed a complaint.

The following is from Business Insider.  Read it, and try not to grind your teeth down to stubs as you do…

"We strongly believe that the decision to expel Jack Montague was wrong, unfairly determined, arbitrary, and excessive by any rational measure," Max Stern, Montague's attorney, wrote in a statement obtained by Business Insider.

The Yale Daily News first reported on Montague's statement, which follows weeks of questions surrounding Montague's dismissal. Last week, sources confirmed to Business Insider that he was expelled in connection with a sexual-misconduct accusation.

But details remained scant about the allegations in question. Montague's attorney's statement Monday gave the clearest description of the events that led up to his dismissal.

It described a sexual relationship with a female student that took place in the fall of 2014 on four separate occasions.

It stated that the Yale University-Wide Committee (UWC) — the office tasked with investigating sexual-assault claims — ruled that three of those instances were consensual, but on the fourth instance, she did not consent to sex. Montague and his lawyer disputed the ruling.

The statement said that on the fourth instance:

She joined him in bed, voluntarily removed all of her clothes, and they had sexual intercourse. Then they got up, left the room and went separate ways. Later that same night, she reached out to him to meet up, then returned to his room voluntarily, and spent the rest of the night in his bed with him.

Montague's lawyer further said that it "defies logic and common sense" that a woman would choose to rejoin Montague and spend the night with him if the sex was not consensual.

The statement suggested that the Yale UWC was incorrect in its determination, saying that "only two persons could have known what happened on that fourth night."

It also strongly suggested that Yale caved to pressure from outside sources to be tougher on sexual assault on campus.

Sexual assault, which no one condones, is serious.  It’s  a crime.  Yet more than a year after the supposed assault occurred, the New Haven police have no record of any complaints filed in this matter.

Instead, Yale chose to conduct its own trial. Not a good deal for the one accused of wrongdoing. Out in the real world, the prosecution has to prove the accused guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” That means exactly what it says - if there is the slightest shred of reasonable doubt of the accused’s guilt, he is to be found not guilty.  But at Yale, and at other colleges similarly given to trial by star chamber, all that is required to convict is “a preponderance of evidence,”  which means that in a he-said-she-said case, all that's required to convict is the inclination to believe that she’s telling the truth and he’s not.  Given today’s campus climate, how’d you like to be the accused?

(Anyone see “Fantastic Lies,” the 30-for-30 story about the framing of the Duke Lacrosse players?  The worst part of the whole thing for me, even worse than the willingness of the accuser to lie and the eagerness of the evil prosecutor to pursue the case to gain political advantage, was the way the Duke people - students, faculty, administration - swallowed the accusations whole.  The hell with a fair trial - string 'em up.  Thank God those boys were able to be represented by attorneys and tried in a court of law.  A real court of law. What would their chances have been if they’d been “tried” the way Jack Montague was?)

By February, Jack Montague vanished  from Yale, deprived of his education and his reputation by a secret tribunal, without the benefit of rights constitutionally guaranteed the accused in a court of law.

If he was accused of sexual assault, as it appears, then  surely that was a matter for the state to decide to prosecute or not; and  if found guilty, he should have paid the price, something considerably more severe than just expulsion from Yale.  But if what he was found “guilty” of is not a criminal offense, then expulsion and public shaming seems overly harsh.

It seems to me that it could be argued that  in its effort to protect the accuser, Yale not only deprived a young man of his rights, but also  conspired to  cover up a crime.  In doing so, it deprived the citizens of Connecticut of justice.   Justice, in the case of a crime, does not adhere solely to the victim, but to the citizens of the state, who have a right to the protection of its laws.

All this to create a “climate” that encourages “victims” to “come forward,” without having to identify themselves or face the accused. 

God help Yale if Jack Montague’s lawyers can find a jury like the one that just awarded Erin Andrews $55 million.

As one commenter on the story wrote,  “Montague University sounds better than Yale anyway.”

*********** My friend Greg Koenig, in Beloit, Kansas sent me an article about new Syracuse coach Dino Babers by Stephen Bailey in, and something in the story jumped out at me…

When Dino Babers was promoted to offensive coordinator at Arizona in 1998, he inherited a dominant spread offense developed by Homer Smith. And with it, the reins to a roughly 300-page playbook.

Elaborately detailed from play calls and hand signals to front adjustments and cadence annunciation, a copy was given to each member of the Wildcats football team in a blue binder.

"It included every little detail you could even imagine," former UA quarterback Keith Smith said.
The offense thrived. Arizona jumped from 34th in the country in total offense in 1997 to 18th in 1998 and third in 1999.

But a former player uploaded the playbook to the Internet after that season and in 2000, the Wildcats plummeted to 101st. That offseason, then-UA head coach Dick Tomey and his entire staff were fired.

Lesson learned.  Babers said he hasn’t handed out a playbook since.  Ditto.  Haven’t given out a playbook to players since, oh, maybe 1980 or 81. Many times in the past, I would have kids asking me for a playbook.  Funny - they were always the sort of kids who - guaranteed - never cracked a textbook for one of their classes. “ They’re visual learners,” I can still hear their apologists trying to tell me.  Bulls—, I’d tell them.  We show them plays on the board, we show them diagrams on cards out on the field.  We show them live demonstrations of the plays.  I have videos on my phone and the goarmyedge app on my iPad.  How visual can you get?

***********   Good Morning Coach,

I hope you are doing well. I will not be able to make the clinic in KC this year as I have other commitments, but am wondering if there is going to be a way to get the clinic notes. I am especially interested in the Open Wing and the inner working of that formation.

On another note, I have been reading about scripting practice to help with playing a more up tempo offense. We use wrist coaches and do not huddle. My question is how do you script a practice. I script the first 10 plays of a game to see how the defense will adjust to different formations or how they will defend against us. However, I have not scripted a practice. We are usually just running through our plays and I will change the formations for some plays just to give it some reps. Any thoughts on how to make my Team time more streamlined? All of our teams in my league play a 5-3, and we are not allowed to scout opponents.

As always Thank you Coach for your help

John Guebara
Newport,   Vermont

Hi Coach,

Sorry you can’t make it.  I can’t say at this time whether I’ll have any relics of the clinic.

I script every team offensive session.  It’s important to me because I want to be able to see related plays run, but also to save time: I will organize it by personnel, because I want to make sure that I have the right people in there, without substituting every play. And I will organize it by formation, because I don’t want to waste time running my receivers back and forth from one side to the other, play after play, and because I don’t want my linemen moving from side to side every play (I flip-flop my linemen).

But I have never scripted plays for games.  High school games are too short for me to be spending time trying to see what they do.  JV games are shorter still, and youth games are even shorter.  Ten plays in a youth game is a quarter of football.   I want to go for the jugular from play number one. I would be happy if I never got to play number two.   If they can’t stop play number one, they will continue to see it until they stop it.

*********** Typical pharmaceutical commercial…

“Feeling tired and unmotivated? Having trouble getting up in the morning?

“You may suffer from  D.W.W., or Don’t Wanna Work.

“Now, for folks like you, there’s XYZYGY!

“Ask your doctor if XYZYGY is right for you.

"Side effects may include nausea, drowsiness, headaches and diarrhea."

If you’re like me, you’ll get behind the proposal of Jim Camden, a political reporter from Spokane, who proposes balancing our state’s budget by imposing a tax on any drug (1) intended to cure a previously-unheard-of disorder, referred to by initials as if everybody’s heard of it; and (2)  whose name is a meaningless jumble of letters - with taxes doubled for every “Z” or “X” in the name. 

I would add confiscation of their laboratories and equipment if they list “diarrhea” as a side effect.

*********** A Florida Man…

As long as we have people that dumb, there will always be illegal immigrants coming in to take the jobs that Americans are too f—king stupid and lazy to do.

*********** I’m reading a book right now about the 1963 NFL champion Bears, George Halas’ last team as coach.

Forget the “Papa Bear” crap you may have come across in your readings.  George Halas was nobody’s Papa. He was one tough cookie.

In those days, teams played six or seven exhibition games (nowadays, they call them “pre-season” games), and they stayed in training camp the entire time.  Exhibition games were usually played in smaller cities where a pro game was considered a big deal;  they were  usually moneymakers for the teams, because the players didn’t receive their regular  salaries until the start of the regular season - all they received during the preseason was a small per diem.

Because they were played in the heat of mid-summer, exhibition games were usually played on Saturday nights,  but even after getting back to Chicago in the early hours, Halas expected the team to be at practice on Sunday.

The NFLPA wasn’t the power then that it is now, and management and coaches had quite a bit of latitude in the way they ran their clubs.   With the Bears,  Stan Jones was considered by his teammates to be something of a player representative, and he told of approaching Halas about the Sunday practices: 

“One time we asked for Sundays off from practice during the preseason because we would get home so late from the exhibition games. Guys didn’t want to have to go out on the field Sunday. So everybody was on my ass about it and saying, ‘Hey Stan, ask him if we can have Sundays off.’  So I said at a meeting one day, 'Coach, why is it we’re the only team in the NFL that practices on Sunday after a Saturday game?  Why is it that we’re the only team that doesn’t have Sundays off?’  He said, ‘Simply because we practice on Sundays, Stan.’” 

***********   When Randy Hart graduated from Ohio State in 1970, Woody Hayes kept him on as a graduate assistant. Before too long, he was a full-time assistant, and when he retired before this season, he was recognized as possibly the best defensive line coach in the business.  In his 46 years in coaching, he worked at only six schools.  Considering the transient life of a college assistant coach, that’s an astounding average of more than seven years per school.  Part of the reason, of course, is that he worked for some very good coaches in some very good places, places that didn’t change their coaches often. Four of the coaches he worked for - Hayes, Earl Bruce, Jim Young and Don James - are in the College Football Hall of Fame, and two additional ones - Jim Harbaugh and David Shaw - could very well wind up there themselves.

He was, to put it mildly, a tough coach.   Too tough, he admits, for the NFL.

"My style is not good for the NFL," he told Ivan Maisel of "I'd be locked in a locker. They'd kill me."

Maseil told a story about that:

Five years ago, the late Chester McGlockton, the 12-year NFL defensive lineman, had just started an apprenticeship at Stanford when he died at age 42.

Hart recalled how McGlockton watched him grind his defensive linemen, wearing them down and then demanding more.

"If I was playing for you, we'd have fought," McGlockton said.

"If you were playing for me, you'd still fricking be playing," Hart replied.

According to Maisel, he loved needling the highly-intelligent Stanford players:

"You're doing calculus, statistics," he would tell them. "You're over on the main part of campus solving world problems. And you can't find the A, B or C gap."

And he could mix in a life lesson or two:

"Men, understand one thing. We're not gonna argue who's going to have the lowest SAT in this building. Some day you're going to work for somebody without quite that test score that you've got. So it's a lesson in humility how to handle them. I'm in charge. You're working for me."

*********** George Will delivers the college graduation address you’ll never hear…

*********** From the time he was one of the West’s top recruits while at Portland Central Catholic High, you’ve heard me tell about Alex Balducci, my friend Ralph Balducci’s son.  If it has sounded like I’ve been boasting, so be it.  I’ve known him since he was little, and I know what a good kid he is.  I also know  how hard he’s worked to be the player he is.  He’s been a starter on the Oregon Ducks’ defensive line for the past two seasons. 
During that time, he’s been overshadowed  by a couple of much more highly publicized line mates, first Arik Amsted and then DeForest Buckner, but his teammates recognized his value when they elected him captain this past season.

He was a bit down when he wasn’t invited to the NFL Combine, but that’s all in the past.  Since the end of the season, he’s been hard at work improving his measurables, and at last week’s Pro Day at Oregon, he put up combine-type numbers:

He was measured at 6-4, 310.  In the bench press, he put up 225 pounds 25 times.  He had a vertical leap of 33 inches and a broad jump of 95 inches. 

And he ran a 4.98 40.

And now, he's already got some NFL teams coming back to work him out.

Here's the best - one team  asked him if he'd be interested in playing on the offensive line, and when he said "Sure," they asked him if he'd ever made a shotgun snap.  Again, he said, "Sure," and when he proceeded to make snap after snap, all on the mark, the guy asked, "Where'd you learn to do that?"

Alex answered, "When I played single wing center for my father on my youth team."



by Hugh Wyatt


I first heard of Seiki Murono when I was coaching a minor league football team in Hagerstown, Maryland, in the early 1970s.

I’d seen his name on the statistic sheets of another minor league, and by chance I heard a friend named John Winterburn, a native of Vineland, New Jersey, talk about a great quarterback from his area (“South Jersey”) - named Seiki Murono.

He was Japanese-American.  There haven’t been that many Japanese-American football players.

John pronounced his first name “SEE-key.”  I’ve since learned, from Seiki himself, that it’s properly pronounced “SAY-key.”

But that was that, for another 45 years or so, until the day I decided, for no particular reason, to do a little research on this Japanese-American quarterback.

First, I found that there was a Seiki Murono who lived in San Francisco, where he was actively involved in business as an associate with an international executive search firm.

Further research connected him to Franklin and Marshall College, where, it turned out, he’d played football. I’d found my man.

I managed to contact him by email, simply in hopes of exchanging stories of minor league football, and I managed to stumble onto an amazing life story. It didn’t take me long to figure out that since he was just a few years younger than I he probably lived through the World War II internment of Japanese-Americans.

He confirmed this, and referred me to a book entitled “Connecticut Gridiron,”  a history of Northeastern minor-league and semi-professional football by William Ryczek, with whom he’d shared much of his family’s story.

And he sent me the text of his father’s testimony to a Congressional committee.

As I read, I realized that as bad as the internment of Japanese-Americans was, the injustice inflicted on the Murono family was beyond belief.  They weren’t Japanese-Americans.  They were Japanese-Peruvians, who were taken from their home and their business in Peru, and removed to the United States.  Whatever pretext there may have been to justify the internment by the US government of Japanese-Americans,  there was no way to argue that the Muronos, who had never set foot on American soil until they were brought here and incarcerated, were a threat to American security.

What sort of people could Seiki’s parents have been, to have suffered the injustices and indignities of the internment experience, but then to have resigned themselves to their fate and dedicated their efforts to ensuring that their children would make it as Americans? To have put bitterness aside and become, in time, American citizens themselves?

Like so many biographers,  I felt a sense of accompanying Seiki on his journey, checking with him from time to time as if to say, “did I really see what I think I saw?”

The “journey” took me to internment camps, to his hometown of Seabrook, New Jersey, and to his college, Franklin and Marshall, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Coincidentally, one of the first college games I ever saw took place at Franklin and Marshall, in 1950. The father of one of my friends was assigned to officiate a game there, and he took us two kids along.  An additional coincidence was learning that Ken Twiford, a high school teammate of mine, was an assistant at F & M when Seiki Murono played there.

I learned the life story of a very remarkable person, Seiki Murono; and In the process of learning about Seiki, I learned far more than I ever knew before about the Japanese internment experience.

And I was reminded, once again, that when people come to America, often under the most unbelievably difficult of circumstances,  their decision to “become American” – to work hard and ensure that their children get educations - enriches us all.


It was late Saturday afternoon, November 13, 1965.  Muhlenberg College had just gone down to defeat, 49-26, at the hands of Franklin and Marshall, and the Muhlenberg coach marveled at the performance of F & M’s quarterback, Seiki Murono.

“Murono is the best quarterback we’ve seen in the past two years,” he told Jim Riley of the Lancaster (Pennsylvania) Intelligencer Journal. “No, I take that back.  He’s the best football player we’ve seen in two years… He does everything well and his leadership is fantastic.”

And  that was after seeing him play just a half of football.   With a big halftime lead, F & M coach George Storck had chosen in the interests of sportsmanship to rest most of his starters, including Murono, in the second half. 

In that one half, though, Murono, a senior from Seabrook, New Jersey,  had accounted for 250 yards of total offense - 131 yards rushing and 119 yards passing.

In another week,  Seiki Murono would conclude an outstanding career at Franklin and Marshall, one in which he set numerous school records for passing, punting and total offense, and one in which he led a team that had been 1-7 his sophomore year – and had won a total of just four games in four years – to a perfect 8-0 record in his junior season and a 12-4 mark in his final two seasons.

In another six months, Seiki Murono  would graduate from Franklin and Marshall, a prestigious liberal arts college, and go on to a long and successful career in international banking.

In the meantime, few people, including his own teammates, had any idea that he had been making history - as the only Japanese-American born in a World War II internment camp to play college football.

Seiki Murono’s father, Ginzo Murono, had arrived in the United States from Peru twenty-two years earlier.  His immigration was not voluntary. 

Late on the evening of January 6, 1943, Mr. Murono, a Peruvian of Japanese descent, an owner of two sporting goods stores, with a wife and two small children, was approached at the door of his home in Lima by a Peruvian police officer and told, “by order of the United States government, you are hereby arrested.” Thus began nearly four years of incarceration.

(The shameful story of the internment of Japanese and Japanese-Americans living in the United States at the outbreak of World War II is now well known. Almost unknown, though, and never fully explained by the United States government, was the removal of Japanese from Latin-American countries, mainly Peru, for internment here. Author Thomas Connell, in his 2002 book, “America's Japanese Hostages,” suggests it was part of a goal of “a Japanese-free hemisphere.”)
Mr. Murono was taken first to a police station, where along with 60 or so other Japanese men he spent the night in a room so small that it was impossible for anyone to lie down and sleep.

The next morning, the men were loaded onto three open-bed trucks and driven away.  Their journey, to a destination unknown to the passengers, took two days.   It was summer in the southern hemisphere and the sun beat down fiercely.  No food was provided. “The trip,” Mr. Murono would recall later, “was a terrible one.”

“It was during this trip,” he would later tell a United States Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment, “that I began to feel the complete separation from the peaceful family and social life I had in Peru.  Without committing any wrong, and without even a hearing, our individual rights had been taken from us.”

The destination, it turned out, was a seaport in the north, where they were loaded onto a ship (“into the bottom of the ship,” he would point out).

After a three weeks-long voyage, during which time the passengers were fed just two meals a day, the ship arrived in San Francisco. Without a visa, Mr, Murono was considered an illegal alien, and shipped by train to Kenedy Alien Detention Camp, in Kenedy, Texas, about 50 miles southeast of San Antonio.

In June, after six months at Kenedy, a camp for single men, Ginzo Murono was transferred to another internment camp in Crystal City, Texas. His wife, in the meantime,  had applied through the Spanish Embassy in Lima for admission to the United States, and when her request was granted, she and the Muronos’ two children, three-year old daughter Toyoko  and one-year-old son Eisuke, boarded a ship bound for New Orleans. The voyage, via the Panama Canal,  took two weeks, and after a two day train ride from New Orleans – and seven months’ separation -  the Murono family was reunited in Crystal City in July of 1943.


american flag FRIDAY, MARCH 11,  2016  "I have never understood why it is greed to want to keep the money you've earned, but not greed to want to take someone else's money."  Dr. Thomas Sowell

*********** I’m reading a book about the 1960 Philadelphia Eagles - last Eagles team to win it all - and I was reading some of the recollections of tight end Pete Retzlaff (a name to remember the next time you’re talking about guys who belong in the Hall of Fame).  He mentioned how so many of the coaches he saw in his career were poor disciplinarians.

There was Hugh Devore, “one of the nicest guys to ever coach in the NFL.”  Unfortunately, said Retzlaff, “He could coach if you were coachable; if you weren’t he couldn’t coach.  He never came down on players.”

There was Nick Scorich.  “I liked Nick,” he said,  “but one thing that worked to his detriment as head coach was that he didn’t discipline the guys who needed it. He would come down harder on the guys who didn’t need it.”

But then there was Buck Shaw, who was brought to Philly in 1958 and by 1960, with the help of Norm Van Brocklin at quarterback, won them the title.

Nearing the end of his career, soft-spoken and immaculately groomed, the white-haired Shaw was seen by the public as a grandfatherly sort.  But, Retzlaff said, Shaw could be an effective disciplinarian.

“Buck Shaw was tougher than people may have realized,” he said.  “He came in that first year and said, ‘We have three teams - one coming, one going, and one playing.  Which one do you want to be on?”

***********  Jack Montague dropped out of Yale back in February. Nothing unusual at all about that.  Oh no - not at all. Nothing unusual about a senior dropping out of school three months before graduation. Nothing unusual about the basketball team’s captain leaving it just weeks away from what would turn out to be its first league title in 54 years.

That was sarcasm, for those who don’t know me.  Of course it’s unusual.

So, what the hell happened to Jack Montague?

The school, typically, has said nothing. 

Jack Montague’s father says he was expelled.

Before Saturday’s game, in which Yale beat Columbia to win its first Ivy League championship since 1962, Montague’s teammates wore warmup shirts with his Number 4 and his nickname (“Gucci”) on the back and the school’s name spelled backward.

And after the game ,  Yale coach James Jones told ESPN, “We love him. He’s a great young man, and we love him.”

The word is that Jack Montague was expelled for some sort of sexual misconduct.  Yale, like so many colleges these days, takes it on itself to be the judge and jury in such cases, normally depriving a young man accused of such misconduct of the due process he’d be entitled to in any court of law.  The fact that it’s so secretive is supposed to encourage young women to come forward with their accusations.  That it probably does, but that same secrecy deprives the accused  young man of justice, and condemns him to a life of living under a cloud.

Well.  The school is on fire.  So enraged were the  non-basketball players on campus at the effrontery of those players in supporting their departed captain that they have been demonstrating and holding a “chalk-in” - writing in chalk  on the sidewalk outside the library,  about such items as male privilege and the culture of rape on the Yale campus. Several faculty members took part, which is no assurance whatsoever that Jack Montague did anything wrong.  Does anyone remember that in the infamous Duke Rape Case, several Duke faculty members actually purchased a newspaper ad in which they deplored the - supposed - actions of the lacrosse players?

Since the campus unrest,  the basketball team issued a letter that sounds a bit, er, “coerced”:

“Yale Men's Basketball fully supports a healthy, safe, and respectful campus climate where all students can flourish.  Our recent actions to show our support for one of our former teammates were not intended to suggest otherwise, but we understand that to many students they did. We apologize for the hurt we have caused, and we look forward to learning and growing from these recent incidents. As student representatives of Yale we hope to use our positions on and off the court in a way that can make everyone proud.”

Now, look - maybe Jack Montague is a rapist, but my suspicion is that if he really was what you and I think of as a rapist, he’d have been turned over to the New Haven Police.

Maybe he did jump out from behind a bush and hold a knife to a young woman’s throat while he had his way with her, but I suspect that at the worst, he and a girl (sorry - woman) had a few drinks and then did something that nowadays constitutes sexual assault if she suffers remorse the following day.

And meantime, the basketball team is portrayed as sexist  beasts - and forced into writing an apology that reads as if someone on Hillary’s staff wrote it.

Said Jack Montague’s father, “when we put our story out there, people are going to say, ‘Why was this boy expelled?’ ”

The kid comes from Brentwood, Tennessee,  a very nice, rather well-to-do Nashville suburb, and it’s obvious, based on what his father has said - “You guys will get a story,” he told the New Haven Register - that his family is sophisticated enough to lawyer-up and try to make one of these schools - finally - pay for the kind of “justice” they’ve been dispensing.  Too bad it has to be Yale, but it’s just as well that it’s happening now, when there might still be something there worth saving.

Meantime, why would any sensible male with other options want to go to that hotbed of radicalism that Yale has become?  (And any sensible male accepted by Yale will have other options.)

I am not proud of my school. More and more,  I’m inclined to simply tell people I went to college “in Connecticut.”

*********** By coincidence,
"Fantastic Lies," a 30-for-30  documentary about the Duke Lacrosse Case, will air on ESPN this Sunday night.  Not that it necessarily has any bearing on what's taking place at Yale, but it would be instructive for some well-meaning (I think) Yale faculty members to see what can happen when  zealous campus liberals  throw truth and justice aside in their effort to burnish their liberal credentials by going after the perfect targets - athletes, white, male, and - it goes without saying -  privileged. 

*********** Boo.  Dos Equis is replacing the actor who plays The Most Interesting Man in the World.

*********** A tale of white privilege...

A few years ago, when we were back East, my wife and I drove through Northeastern Pennsylvania’s “Coal Region,” where  people from all over Europe once came to mine anthracite (known around there as “hard coal”).

We stopped in the small town of Atlas.  Its population now numbers less than 1,000, but in the heyday of anthracite, before people switched from coal to oil heat in their homes, it may have been four or five times that.  When the mines closed, though, there was nothing there for the young people, and they moved elsewhere to find work.  Those who went off to college never came back.

What my wife and I saw in Atlas that day that so impressed us was the town’s “Honor Roll” - the list of the men from their town who fought in World War II.
Atlas PA Honor Roll

Especially their names.  Just look at them!

From Amarose, Joe (Italian) to Zaleski, Stanley (Polish), the last names themselves are a tribute to who we are as Americans - they speak of the great variety of  people who left everything they had in the Old Country to come to America and, as the old story went, not only found that the streets were not paved with gold, as they’d been told, but they weren’t paved at all - and somebody was  going to have  to pave them.  Guess who?

Undoubtedly,  many of the men on the Honor Roll were the sons of men who started out as Breaker Boys. Bet on it - those men on the Honor Roll were hard guys.   The Coal Region was once prime recruiting country for college football programs.  Not far from Atlas is Pottsville, which once had an NFL team.

Those men had spent their formative years during the Depression.  And then came war. And off they went, to do their duty.

Close inspection of the Honor Roll shows 13 pairs of guys with the same last name, and ten instances of three guys with the same last name - cousins at the least, brothers quite likely. There are four guys named “Tanney.”  No designer first names, either.

Their people had come here a generation or two earlier  as foreigners, but those guys all went overseas as Americans.


I just happened to see one name on the Honor Roll - third column, fifth name from the top: Leonard Eshmont.

Could it be?

Without a doubt.  It was Len Eshmont, the Rapid Ram. Len Eshmont, a teammate of Vince Lombardi at Fordham.  Len Eshmont, as in the Len Eshmont Award.

Len Eshmont was a legend on the East Coast before the San Francisco 49ers were even formed. He was raised in the coal regions of Central Pennsylvania and played high school football at Mt. Carmel Township in eastern Pennsylvania, just a few miles from his home in Atlas.

At Mt. Carmel, Eshmont set several prep rushing records and was chosen All-State in 1936, his senior year of high school. His outstanding high school play caught the eye of Jim Crowley, one of Notre Dame's Four Horsemen. Crowley, then a recruiter for Fordham University, persuaded Eshmont to play college ball in New York with the Fordham Rams. At that time Fordham was one of the most powerful teams on the East Coast.

Eshmont entered Fordham in 1936 and quickly gained recognition as the "Fordham Flash." In his senior year, 1940, he was named to the All-America Team. Eshmont signed with the New York Giants where he played for one year before joining the armed forces.

In 1942 he was commissioned in the U.S. Navy and served as a physical education instructor at the Naval pre-flight schools around the country, including St. Mary's Pre-Flight. For three years Eshmont starred with the Navy's football teams and combined with Frankie Albert in 1943 to turn St. Mary's Pre-Flight into a local powerhouse.

Eshmont was named to the All-Service football teams in 1942, 1943 and 1944, the only person to be named to the all-star team for three consecutive years.

After leaving the Navy, Eshmont decided to stay in the Bay Area and joined the original San Francisco 49er team of 1946 along with his teammate from St. Marys Pre-Flight, Frankie Albert. That year he combined with Albert, Norm Standlee and John Stryzkalski to give the 49ers one of the best running attacks in the AAFC.

Eshmont retired in 1949 as San Francisco prepared to enter the NFL. In his four years with the 49ers, he gained 1,181 yards on 232 carries, an average of five yards per carry.

In 1950 he began a successful coaching career by joining former 49er assistant coach Eddie Erdelatz at the U.S. Naval Academy as a backfield coach. In 1956 he left to coach at the University of Virginia. A year later, in May of 1957, he died of infectious hepatitis in Virginia. He was 39.

Len Eshmont Award

*********** In a recent issue of Forbes Magazine a businessman named George Cloutier, founder of American Management Services (AMS), a consulting firm that specializes in helping turn around unprofitable businesses, said, 

“It’s easy to find and diagnose the problems of small businesses. The problem is getting management to implement the solution.”

After years of working with young coaches with varying degrees of success, I can relate.

He said that after coming in and analyzing a company’s situation, the next step - selling the prospect on buying their service - is not unlike an intervention.

“Our sales process,” he said,  “is built on slapping them in the face.  We are very confrontational.  We are professionally confrontational.”

Said one customer, “It’s a cold slap in the face. It isn’t to everyone’s taste.”

And just as with any intervention, not all owners want to change.

Something else I can relate to was that while people may know that they need to do something to improve, they’re normally unwilling to take the steps necessary.

Finding people with the need for their services isn’t the problem - it’s finding those who  are willing to do something about it.

Said the current president of AMS,  “Nobody calls us to ask for our services. Nobody. Nobody wants to talk to us.  Nobody.  It’s a virtual fistfight every time.”

To find clients, they rely totally on telemarketing, and because of that, they moved their base of operations from New England to Orlando, where there are so many experienced telemarketers, well trained by the hotels and  time-share companies that operate in and around Orlando.

With 30 to 40 telemarketers working the phones,  Mosca estimated that one phone call in a thousand results in a meeting with a potential customer.

Then comes the analysis.

And then, the cold slap in the face.

And then, the bill.  Says Mosca, “We’re not cheap.”

*********** The following exchange took place between me and Andy Noel, Director of Athletics at Cornell. .  I am very impressed by his professionalism.  You have no idea how many ADs would not even bother to read such an e-mail, much less reply personally.   I also want to thank the number of coaches who cared enough to send me the link to the Virginia Tech coach's efforts to teach his players proper flag/national anthem decorum.

Dear Mr. Noel,

I’m an old Ivy Leaguer - Yale ’60 - and I pull for all Ivy schools whenever I can.  I’m almost as proud of Cornell’s wrestling success as I would be if it were Yale.

I’m passing this along to you - I wrote it on my blog, - in the belief that you at least deserve to be aware of it.

(And then I included the article from Tuesday's NEWS)

A coaching friend in Massachusetts (who happens to be Harvard ’86) read what I wrote and sent me the following link that might be appropriate:

I don’t believe for one minute that Cornell’s teams routinely disregard and disrespect patriotic tradition.  But I wanted you to know that one person whom I greatly respect - a highly-decorated Vietnam veteran at that - was deeply offended by the conduct of Cornell players and by their coach’s seeming willingness to let it go on.

As an Ivy Leaguer who happens to be a long-time high school football coach, I’m painfully aware of the mostly-unfair image of elitism that attaches itself to Ivy League schools, and it hurts me when I hear something like this that reinforces that image.

I understand what a busy time of the year this is for you, and I appreciate your taking the time to read this.

Very respectfully yours,

Hugh Wyatt


Hugh…thanks for writing…very nice hearing from you. I must say that I believe that the Cornell athletes are among the least elitist of Ivy athletes. And, I am not implying that many other Ivy athletes are such….I am not privy to the incident about which you are referencing  but I appreciate your feedback.
In addition, thanks for sharing the piece from football scoop. I had read it earlier but did enjoy reading it again. Very powerful.
All the best, 


*********** Bill Simmons called Roger Goodell a liar,  and ESPN cut him loose.

Mike Ditka called Barack Hussein Obama “the worst President   we’ve ever had” - and they hanged him.

Well, not quite.  ESPN’s not quite that “progressive.”  How’s a demotion sound?

Maybe Ditka should have just stuck to telling us how dangerous football is  for kids while continuing to collect a big check for talking on an NFL pre-game show every Sunday.

*********** Ben Simmons, LSU’s freshman phenom from Australia, hasn’t been going to class.  I suspected as much when he wasn’t nominated for the John R. Wooden Award, which has a requirement that the player must have a GPA of 2.00 or higher.   Not exactly Einsteinian.

It’s bad enough that college basketball has descended to the point where a freshman would be in consideration for what amounts to the Player of the Year Award.

But the real problem, as everyone knows, is that the really good players don’t stay in college longer than one year.  (One season, actually, because as soon as basketball ends, they’re outta town.)

And looking at it from Ben Simmons’ point of view, when everybody - including Simmons himself - knows that he isn’t going to be around once basketball season is over, why bother going to class?

I find college basketball at its highest level  increasingly hard to watch, a sham that presents kids one step removed from the playground or the AAU team as college students, when their true affiliation with the college they “represent” amounts to little more than putting on the school’s jersey when it’s time to play a game. Classes?

The obvious way to put an end to allowing the  NBA to continue sucking the college game dry is to break with the NBA completely and reinstate  freshman ineligibility.  Let the one-and-done guys go to Italy or Greece for a year.  Let all the sleaze ball coaches whine and howl. Let them earn their millions by teaching and coaching, instead of recruiting and coddling.

Not much chance of that happening, but it couldn’t harm the game any more than it’s already being  harmed by the one-and-done monster.

And it would allow colleges to call their basketball players “student-athletes” without having to wink when they said it.

*********** The chart below is among the results of a  2015 NCAA study    of the “experiences and well-being of current student-athletes” that was presented at the NCAA Convention in January


We’ve all heard the sad, sad stories about the poor Division I football players who can’t even afford to buy a pizza.  But only 38 per cent of them are concerned about a much more serious matter - whether they’ll be able to afford to get their degree.  And that was before the news that they’re in line for cash payments -  so-called “cost of attendance” money. 

Yeah, yeah, I know – those big-time colleges are making millions off the sweat of their labors.  Blah, blah, blah.  Actually, the bulk of those millions is going to subsidize non-revenue (can you say “women’s”?) sports, but that’s beside the point.

The point is that if they choose not to be part of the big-money D-I process,  they can always  go play in Division III.  (If they have the grades, I should add, because most D-III schools still remain quaintly dedicated to the quaint old notion that their athletes should actually be students.  You know – going to classes and studying and all that.)

But in Division III, which doesn’t permit athletic scholarships, athletes aren’t provided with room, board, books and tuition, and 59 per cent of the D-III football players polled said they were concerned that they might not be able to afford to compete their degree.  So while D-I athletes bitch about being exploited and talk about unionizing, the D-III guys with the real financial problems are in danger of dropping out  - or loading up on debt.

***********  What follows is a project I've been at work on for several weeks. Your feedback is invited.  It's about a football player, yes, but it's about a whole lot more, as you will soon see...

It was late Saturday afternoon, November 13, 1965.  Muhlenberg College had just gone down to defeat, 49-26, at the hands of Franklin and Marshall, and the Muhlenberg coach marveled at the performance of F & M’s quarterback, Seiki Murono.

“Murono is the best quarterback we’ve seen in the past two years,” he told Jim Riley of the Lancaster (Pennsylvania) Intelligencer Journal. “No, I take that back.  He’s the best football player we’ve seen in two years… He does everything well and his leadership is fantastic.”

And  that was after seeing him play just a half of football.   With a big halftime lead, F & M coach George Storck had chosen in the interests of sportsmanship to rest most of his starters, including Murono, in the second half. 

In that one half, though, Murono, a senior from Seabrook, New Jersey,  had accounted for 250 yards of total offense - 131 yards rushing and 119 yards passing.

In another week,  Seiki Murono would conclude an outstanding career at Franklin and Marshall, one in which he set numerous school records for passing, punting and total offense, and one in which he led a team that had been 1-7 his sophomore year – and had won a total of just four games in four years – to a perfect 8-0 record in his junior season and a 12-4 mark in his final two seasons.

In another six months, Seiki Murono  would graduate from Franklin and Marshall, a prestigious liberal arts college, and go on to a long and successful career in international banking.

In the meantime, few people, including his own teammates, had any idea that he had been making history - as the only Japanese-American born in a World War II internment camp to play college football.

Seiki Murono’s father, Ginzo Murono, had arrived in the United States from Peru twenty-two years earlier.  His immigration was not voluntary. 

Late on the evening of January 6, 1943, Mr. Murono, a Peruvian of Japanese descent, an owner of two sporting goods stores, with a wife and two small children, was approached at the door of his home in Lima by a Peruvian police officer and told, “by order of the United States government, you are hereby arrested.” Thus began nearly four years of incarceration.

(The shameful story of the internment of Japanese and Japanese-Americans living in the United States at the outbreak of World War II is now well known. Almost unknown, though, and never fully explained by the United States government, was the removal of Japanese from Latin-American countries, mainly Peru, for internment here. Author Thomas Connell, in his 2002 book, “America's Japanese Hostages,” suggests it was part of a goal of “a Japanese-free hemisphere.”)
Mr. Murono was taken first to a police station, where along with 60 or so other Japanese men he spent the night in a room so small that it was impossible for anyone to lie down and sleep.

The next morning, the men were loaded onto three open-bed trucks and driven away.  Their journey, to a destination unknown to the passengers, took two days.   It was summer in the southern hemisphere and the sun beat down fiercely.  No food was provided. “The trip,” Mr. Murono would recall later, “was a terrible one.”

“It was during this trip,” he would later tell a United States Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment, “that I began to feel the complete separation from the peaceful family and social life I had in Peru.  Without committing any wrong, and without even a hearing, our individual rights had been taken from us.”

The destination, it turned out, was a seaport in the north, where they were loaded onto a ship (“into the bottom of the ship,” he would point out).

After a three weeks-long voyage, during which time the passengers were fed just two meals a day, the ship arrived in San Francisco. Without a visa, Mr, Murono was considered an illegal alien, and shipped by train to Kenedy Alien Detention Camp, in Kenedy, Texas, about 50 miles southeast of San Antonio.

In June, after six months at Kenedy, a camp for single men, Ginzo Murono was transferred to another internment camp in Crystal City, Texas. His wife, in the meantime,  had applied through the Spanish Embassy in Lima for admission to the United States, and when her request was granted, she and the Muronos’ two children, three-year old daughter Toyoko  and one-year-old son Eisuke, boarded a ship bound for New Orleans. The voyage, via the Panama Canal,  took two weeks, and after a two day train ride from New Orleans – and seven months’ separation -  the Murono family was reunited in Crystal City in July of 1943.


american flag TUESDAY, MARCH 8,  2016  "One coach will impact more young people in a year than the average person does in a lifetime. So who's coaching the coaches?" Reverend Billy Graham
1948 Eagles

*********** The photo’s been with me a long time.  It was given to me in the summer of 1949 by my Uncle Bill, a bit of a hustler who did some business  with a couple of the Eagles. Sometime  that spring, he’d had a cookout in his backyard, and two Eagles, Al Wistert and Jay MacDowell, were there.  And get this - I had a glove and ball with me, and I played catch with Al Wistert!  A 10-year old
little sh—, having a catch with the captain of the NFL champions.   It’s a moment I still treasure, nearly 70 years later.

And then, a couple of weeks later, the photo arrived, with the autographs of the two Eagles I had met personally.

That’s just to give you an idea of how sad I was to learn that Al Wistert - the great Al Wistert - two-way line standout and captain of the only NFL team to win two straight NFL championships by shutout - had died, in Grants Pass, Oregon.  He was 95.  But to me, in my mind, he’s always been young and strong, throwing a baseball back and forth with me on a warm spring afternoon in my uncle’s backyard, taking the time to make a little kid’s day.   Make that life.

*********** Only one thing pisses me off more than hearing about this college or that trying to pass the concept of “white privilege” off on its students.  You know - if you’re white, you get to  take the elevator straight to the top floor - to the club level. 

The thing that pisses me off even more than the indoctrination that’s going on in so many colleges is the way that their students, so many of them children of privilege themselves, lap it all right up, as if the mere fact of whiteness has always been enough to assure prosperity.

Look - it’s important that all students know how hard so many Americans - of all races - have had it,  from the Native people being pushed from their lands, to the black Africans brought here in chains, to the Chinese imported to help build our railroads, to the Japanese who endured prison-camp-like conditions during World War II; from the Mexicans and Jamaicans who came here to harvest our crops, to the Cubans who gave up everything they had to escape from the communist Castros.

But if our schools had been doing their jobs, they’d also have taught those mewling punks about the millions upon millions of not-so-privileged white Americans, too - call them Working Whites -  who  cleared the land and farmed it, logged its forests, worked in its steel and textile and  sawmills and in its boatyards and locomotive works, laid its railroad tracks, dug its canals, built its roads and bridges and dams, and dug in its mines.  And fought its wars.

Many of those Working Whites started their working lives at astoundingly young ages, and advanced through ever more dangerous and difficult jobs  until death or disability finally took them down.

Breaker Boys ShamokinThe photo at left was taken somewhere around 1900 outside a coal mine near Shamokin, Pennsylvania. The boys pictured are almost certainly the children of immigrant miners - Irish, Welsh, Cornish, Italian, Polish, Lithuanian, Czechoslovakian, German.  White people. All of them.  

They’re “Breaker Boys.” Breaker Boys started out working as soon as they were able - by age 8 or 9 or so -  perched over chutes  down which tumbled a roaring river of coal, on its way from the top of a tall building called the breaker, to coal cars waiting below.   Their job was to pick out foreign matter, mostly  slate.  

For some reason or another, the young fellows  don’t appear terribly happy.

The second photo shows Breaker Boys at work  near Pittston, Pennsylvania at roughly the same time.  Notice the “supervisor,” the guy standing at the right in the photo.  Why do you suppose he’s holding that stick?

When the boys were old enough - 16 or 17 - they’d “graduate” to work in the mines, just like their fathers.  And they’d get married, and have children of their own, and the cycle would repeat itself.

Read this  tale of "white privilege," from “The Bitter Cry of the Children” written in 1906  by  John Spargo:

Breaker Boys PittstonWork in the coal breakers is exceedingly hard and dangerous. Crouched over the chutes, the boys sit hour after hour, picking out the pieces of slate and other refuse from the coal as it rushes past to the washers. From the cramped position they have to assume, most of them become more or less deformed and bent-backed like old men. When a boy has been working for some time and begins to get round-shouldered, his fellows say that “He’s got his boy to carry round wherever he goes.”

The coal is hard, and accidents to the hands, such as cut, broken, or crushed fingers, are common among the boys. Sometimes there is a worse accident: a terrified shriek is heard, and a boy is mangled and torn in the machinery, or disappears in the chute to be picked out later smothered and dead. Clouds of dust fill the breakers and are inhaled by the boys, laying the foundations for asthma and miners’ consumption.

I once stood in a breaker for half an hour and tried to do the work a 12-year-old boy was doing day after day, for 10 hours at a stretch, for 60 cents a day. The gloom of the breaker appalled me. Outside the sun shone brightly, the air was pellucid, and the birds sang in chorus with the trees and the rivers. Within the breaker there was blackness, clouds of deadly dust enfolded everything, the harsh, grinding roar of the machinery and the ceaseless rushing of coal through the chutes filled the ears. I tried to pick out the pieces of slate from the hurrying stream of coal, often missing them; my hands were bruised and cut in a few minutes; I was covered from head to foot with coal dust, and for many hours afterwards I was expectorating some of the small particles of anthracite I had swallowed.

Some privilege.

*********** Sure hope the football fans in Los Angeles get to see Rams’ running back Tre Mason this season, because he is really hard to take down.

*********** Idaho and New Mexico State have been handed the black spot by the Sun Belt Conference.  They’re just too far away from the rest of the conference. By the 2018 season, they’ll be playing someplace else.

It’s not going to be easy for either of them.

If they stay independent, games will be hard to find, home games even harder.   They’re in remote locations, places that other schools wouldn't  choose to travel to.

Joining the Mountain West Conference would seem to be the only way for them to remain in FBS, but it’s not likely that Boise State would favor adding Idaho, or that New Mexico would welcome New Mexico State.

One rumor I’ve heard is that Idaho is considering dropping to FCS and applying for admission to the Big Sky Conference.

*********** A German political leader has revealed that pork products are being banned from the country’s schools - so as not to offend Muslim refugees.

In Germany, “pork products” means “wurst” - sausage.

Tolerance above all else, folks.  Keep lettin’ ‘em in and just watch - beer will be next.

*********** Remember - there’s no unimportant player on your team.

I was talking with my friend Mike Lude the other day, and he told me of a group of former Washington Huskies football players, from the 1984 team that went 11-1 and beat Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, who thought it would be a great idea to honor their coach, the late, great Don James, with a statue outside Husky Stadium.

They checked around and found they’ll need $100,000.

One of the first guys they asked pledged $50,000.  The guy was a walk-on who seldom played.

*********** My friend, Doc Hinger, lives in Winter Haven, Florida, and being a long-time baseball fan, he’s in hog heaven right now.

This time every year, a monster college baseball tournament, the Russ Matt Central Florida Invitational, brings more than 250 different schools to the Lakeland-Winter Haven area over a three- or four-week period, and Doc enjoys  going over to Chain of Lakes Park to check out whoever’s playing.

We talk on the phone often, and when we do he’s usually got something interesting to tell me about what he saw, but when he called Saturday, he was pissed.

Seems that he’d just sat down to watch Northeastern play Cornell when the public address announcer requested everyone to rise and stand for the playing of the national anthem.  Doc rose, of course, as did the handful of other spectators.  And so did the Northeastern team, which lined up along their base line, hats off and at attention.  The Ivy Leaguers, though, didn’t seem to be aware that in much of the rest of America they still observe this quaint old tradition of respecting the flag and the national anthem: they kept throwing the ball around the outfield, oblivious to what was going on.  And they kept it up, the entire time, as Doc seethed.

Something strange had to be going on, because It’s hard to imagine college baseball players thinking the national anthem was optional, and harder still to imagine a college coach allowing it to go on.   Or is this what goes on at Cornell?  And shouldn't their coach have prepared them for the culture shock of going to a place that's still patriotic?

I told Doc that I thought the PA announcer should have stopped the music and said, “Will the Cornell players please stop whatever it is they’re doing and join everybody else in honoring their country?”

If that didn’t work, I’d have a chat with the coach after the game.  And if that didn’t seem productive, I’d email their athletic director and let him know I was going to find out where the team was staying and then go there with some guys from the local American Legion Post and play the National Anthem outside their windows at 4 AM.

*********** In 1921, Fritz Pollard was co-head coach of the Akron Pros.  In 1923 and 1924, he was head coach of the Hammond (Indiana) Pros.  That makes him, without question, the first black man to be head coach of an NFL team.

And then, starting with the 1926 season, the NFL went all-white, and wouldn’t let blacks play again until after World War II, 20 years later.

Not until Art Shell was named head coach of the Raiders (Los Angeles Raiders) in 1989 was another black man given the opportunity to be head coach of an NFL team.

Lost as a footnote in history is a black man named Allan Webb.

Allan Webb was a fantastic high school athlete in the football-mad town of Ansonia, Connecticut, home of great pros Bob Skoronski and Nick Pietrosante.  He played college football at little Arnold College, a school that no longer exists but once got a prominent mention every Sunday afternoon in the fall when its most famous alumnus, New York Giants’ captain Andy Robustelli, was introduced.

It took Allan Webb nine years after college to make it to the Giants, but after two years in the service and seven years knocking around in the minors and in Canada, he finally made it to the NFL where he wound up playing for five years.

After his playing days, he had a long career as an NFL assistant and executive, but for one brief spell after leaving the Giants, he coached minor league football.

And so it was that in 1971, he was named head coach of the Long Island Bulls of the Atlantic Coast Football League.  To be sure, the ACFL was minor league, but its players were paid, and that made it a professional league. Allan Webb, then, became the first black man in modern football history  to be named head coach of a professional football team.

Oddly, it’s difficult to find any reference to Allan Webb as a football pioneer, but the story made headlines at the time.

It really was a big deal then, especially  when you consider that in 1971 there were only four black assistant coaches in the entire NFL  (Emlen Tunnell and Roosevelt Brown with the Giants, Irv Cross with the Eagles, and Lionel Taylor with the Steelers), and the idea of there one day being a black head coach in the NFL was a pipe dream.

*********** As I looked at my photo of the 1948 Eagles, a big guy in the back row caught my eye. George Savitsky.  He was a rookie that year, after starring for four years at Penn.  He is still - you could look it up, as Casey Stengel was fond of saying - the only modern-day football player, and the only one since 1901, to be named All-American for four years in a row.  And given the odds that todays’ All-America type players will  leave early for the NFL, it’s a record he’s likely to hold for quite some time.   (Yes, he made All-America as a freshman, but he wasn’t exactly a runny-nosed kid - between high school and college he’d spent two years in the Marines.)

From the College Football Hall of Fame’s site…

George Savitsky was only a freshman tackle at Pennsylvania when he made first-team All-America in 1944. He was a consensus choice, making six All-America teams in 1945. The next two years he was on the first-team named by the Football Writers Association. This made him a four-time first-team All-America, the first since 1901.

*********** Jim Kimsey of the West Point Class of 1962 died recently after a long battle with Cancer.

Way, way back in the early days of the Internet, Mr. Kimsey  co-founded what became AOL, and after building his financial empire, he turned to philanthropy (a big word for giving your money away to good causes).

michie stadiumHe was a longtime financial supporter of Army Football, and the Kimsey Center Athletic Complex, which occupies the south end of Michie Stadium, is named in his honor.

In the photo, the Kimsey Center is the building at the left end of the football field. It contains coaches’ offices and meeting rooms, football locker rooms, medical rehab facilities and equipment storage, as well as the football weight facility and the Army Sports Hall of Fame.

The large white building beyond it and to the left is the Holleder Center, home to West Point winter sports.  It’s named for Don Holleder, of the Class of 1956, whose life and death inspired the Black Lion Award.
*********** Considering all the talent in the Chicago area alone, I’ve had a hard time understanding why the University of Illinois’ football program has been down for so long.   The last football coach to leave Illinois with a winning record was John Mackovic, who’s been away  since 1991.

A new AD came to town recently and his first act of business was an act of treachery - he immediately and unexpectedly fired Bill Cubit, a good man who got them through a tumultuous season that started out with the firing of the head coach, and just a few months ago had been elevated from interim to permanent head coach.  Or, at least, permanent as it’s defined in Champaign, Illinois.

Pretty cruel, but then, that’s life in professional sports, NCAA version.

Then, right on the heels of that announceement, came  the stunning news that the Illini had hired Lovie Smith, which sounds as if they’re very serious about making their way back to competitiveness in the Big Ten.  Or at least about making the appearance of doing so.

Lovie Smith is a good coach who in my opinion should not have been fired by Tampa Bay.  But he’s an NFL coach.  He hasn’t coached a teenager - or had to entice one to play for him, in over 20 years.

It remains to be seen whether he can make the adjustment to the college game and run with the Meyers and Harbaughs.  Just as college success rarely translates into success in the NFL, the opposite is also true.   My mind always goes back to Bill Walsh’s second act at Stanford,  which he seemed to treat like early retirement.

*********** The chart below is among the results of a  2015 NCAA study  of the “experiences and well-being of current student-athletes” that was presented at the NCAA Convention in January

The survey shows that there’s no lack of self-esteem among D-I male athletes in the marquee sports. Since there really aren’t that many D-I ice hockey programs, maybe their opinions of their pro (or Olympic) prospects are not all that unreasonable, but jeez- 73 per cent of all D-I basketball players? 64 per cent of FBS football players? What’s scary is that  the survey probably included non-starters as well as stars.  Good luck getting those guys to play as a team.

american flag FRIDAY, MARCH 4,  2016   “There are those who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions.”   G. K. Chesterton

*********** When was the last time Ivy League football made national headlines?  I’m guessing maybe 1968, when Harvard beat Yale, 29-29.  (Read that one again - it’s not a misprint.  It’s the title of a great documentary about Harvard coming back from a 16-point deficit with a minute to play to earn the “win”).

Otherwise, the Ivy League, which gave big-time football its start - and many of the rules that distinguish it from rugby -  back in the 1800s, hasn’t been of much interest to most of the sporting public since, oh, maybe World War II.

But it made headlines this past week when it announced that its coaches had agreed to ban tackling in practice.

Now, I don’t know how they define “tackling,” but I do know that the Dartmouth coach, Buddy Teevens, whose team won the 2015 Ivy championship, said that their practice includes a lot of work against shields and dummies.

I’ve had a lot of guys let me know about this but  I refuse to get alarmed.  I doubt that it’s going to change the way we practice. 

It’s been a long time since we ran hamburger drills such as the Oklahoma Drill and Bull in the Ring.

We practice blocking and tackling with a hand shield between the two participants.

We start out teaching very slowly and carefully, until the players can show us that in drills at least they can be trusted to keep their heads up and out of the collision.

We never hit below the knees and we never take a man to the ground, in drills or practice.

I think we’ve about gone as far as we can go and still play tackle football.

One statement by Coach Teevens did bother me a bit, though.

"At this stage in their careers, these guys know how to hit and take a hit," he told the New York Times.

Now, it's  all well and good that he doesn't have to practice tackling because he has guys who already know how to “hit and take a hit.”   But doesn’t somebody have to teach them? Doesn't his comment  mean that he’s expecting somebody - like maybe us - to teach them?

Meanwhile, to all those who say that the Ivy League is leading the way  on the subject of taking the contact out of football…

You mean the same way they led everyone else in giving up athletic scholarships?  In shunning the post-season playoffs?  In banning spring practice?  Oh, wait - the Ivies have spring practice now, too.

*********** The next best thing to the pride you take in your own kids and grandkids is the pride you take in your former players and assistants. 

I’m doubly blessed with the news that two current head high school coaches who played for me and coached for me as assistants are finalists to win the All-Star Coach Award for the Portland area.  For the winner, the Award, presented by Comcast Sports, means $5000  to spend on his program.

I sure wish they could both win.  They’re both outstanding people - good family men, good community members, excellent coaches.  I am so proud of them.

John Lambert played for me at Hudson’s Bay High in Vancouver, Washington and later assisted me for three years at LaCenter, Washington.  He succeeded me at LaCenter, and in the 17 years that  he’s been the head coach there he’s taken the Wildcats from that point, where they’d just had their first winning season ever,  to where they’re now a state power.

Rick Steele played for me early in my career at Hudson’s Bay, and then returned to my staff toward the end of my stay there.  He started the program at Hockinson High School, playing a varsity schedule with freshmen and sophomores, but built so well that in his 12 years there his Hawks have won five league titles.

*********** If all those fools who tried to tell us that “our diversity is our strength” were right, Minnesota must really be strong.

Candidates at a Minneapolis caucus, part of the process to determine who our presidential candidates will be, spoke only in Somali…

***********  I know it’s  kind of late for this winter, but I just got off the site of the Mad River Rocket, a sled invented by a college classmate of mine that allows the rider to control it almost as if he/she were on a snowboard or on skis.

This sucker is cool,  definitely not the Flexible Flyer that I grew up with.   Think of it as a very high-tech cafeteria tray.


*********** A coach wrote me saying he was running the “Pistol Double Wing,” and said he was interested in “any and all info” I could provide him.

I told him I’d be glad to help if he’d be a bit more specific, and here’s what he wrote:

“I guess the biggest issue I've faced is getting the kids to buy into the system. They've never seen it ran (except on Youtube) and they don't believe it will work.”

My heart goes out to the guy. Here’s my reply…


I’m sorry but I don’t really know what the “pistol double wing” is or where you got it or how well you know it, but...

I’m wondering why the kids even need to know - in early March - what offense you plan on running. I’ve seen a lot in 40+ years of coaching, but the idea of kids doubting whether something will work is not something I’ve had any experience with. I’m not sure there was any good reason to show them, but since you did, you should have been prepared to sell them, using the same points that convinced you to run it.

You’re the head coach and it’s your decision.  The head coach takes a lot of grief, and in return, he gets to make the calls.

If you know them and they know you, simply say, “Trust me.  I know it works.”  (Assuming you do.)

Not knowing a thing about your kids,  I rather doubt that they’re qualified to be questioning any coach about the offense he’s going to be running. They may have been playing so much Madden that they don’t recognize what they see on YouTube,  but from my experience, it sounds suspiciously as if some very “interested" parents are behind this.

It’s quite likely that they’re the ones who need to be sold, and if that’s the case, you’re almost certain to find that their goals are not the same as yours.  Don’t think for a minute that they want to win the way you do - they want to win, yes, but mainly they want their kids glorified and their careers advanced.  They want you to put them on the path to a college scholarship and the NFL, and for many of them, that means an offense that showcases their kids.  They’re not interested in one that emphasizes team effort.

I may have read this whole thing wrong, but I’ve been through the routine of ambitious parents opposing coaches who don’t open it up or showcase their kids so many times, with so many youth coaches, that I’ve become pretty good at smelling it.

Let me know if I’m way off base on this.

*********** Bet you don’t remember Onterrio Smith.  He’s the one-time NFL running back by way of Tennessee and then Oregon who  got caught at the Twin Cities airport with a Whizzinator in his possession.  (“Hey - how’d that get in my carry-on?”)

Hard to believe that was more than 10 years ago.

And a lot can happen in the artificial penis/artificial pee business in 10 years. It hasn’t been standing still. To show how far the industry has advanced since Onterrio Smith’s “exposure,”  there’s now “Screeny Weeny,”  which says it comes with “clean synthetic urine” and your choice of schlong:  dark skin or white skin,  circumcised or uncircumcised.  And, to show how sophisticated the cheating devices have become, Screeny Weeny even boasts of a “push and piss” function.

Only 159 euros.  Good luck with that.

(I do have to admit that it was a bit creepy researching this article, and it does bother me to think that the NSA now knows I’ve been on the Screeny Weeny site.)

*********** Good news, New Yorkers.  No more inconvenience of having to go down the stairs to the subway to relieve yourself out of sight of the police. Now, you can just piss in the street, the way horses used to do.

Unless it’s “necessary for public safety reasons,” the NYPD will no longer arrest people for certain low-level offenses in Manhattan, including public consumption of alcohol, public urination, littering and riding between subway cars or taking up more than one subway seat—and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. will no longer prosecute those infractions, his office said today. Offenders can still receive summonses, which require them to pay a fine but don’t give them a criminal record, for those offenses. Summonses are already an option for these offenses, and are often given to violators who do not have a warrant.

“Using summonses instead of arrests for low-level offenses is an intuitive and modern solution that will help make sure resources are focused on our main priority: addressing threats to public safety,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “Today’s reforms allow our hardworking police officers to concentrate their efforts on the narrow group of individuals driving violent crime in New York City. This plan will also help safely prevent unnecessary jail time for low-level offenses.”

Are these the  “New York values”   that Ted Cruz was referring to?

*********** Sports Authority has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and said it would close 140  of its 450 stores.

People familiar with the matter say that  unless it can find a buyer for the remainder of its business, it could shut down entirely in the near future.

Like many other big-box chains, Sports Authority has seen its business cut into by consumers’ shift to online shopping.

Sports Authority owes  Nike  $48 million and Under Armour  $23 million.


american flag TUESDAY, MARCH 1,  2016   "Better to retreat and marshal your forces than to waste a glorious death in sure defeat." Demosthenes

*********** I’ve known Ken Goe of the Portland Oregonian for years, going back to 1989 when he was covering Portland State football, and I was doing the color on their telecasts.

This past week, he wrote a great story about the late Bill Geister, a long time Oregon high school wrestling coach who died in September. This was the first state wrestling tournament he’d missed in at least 50 years.  Bill Geister sounded like the kind of coach who used sports to help boys grow into men.  And while he was a rare gem, most guys my age have known someone like him. I sure hope we’re producing more like him in today's young coaches, because given the state of the family today, they sure are needed.

There is a story behind the T-shirts Mountain View High School coach Les Combs printed for his wrestlers this year.
The shirts feature a capital BG, the dates 1933-2015, and the quote: “HE LIVED TO SERVE.”
It’s Combs’ way to honor the late Clackamas High School coach Bill Geister, even though Geister has no direct connection with Mountain View, never lived in Bend and was last a wrestling head coach 30 years ago.
But truth endures. Some lessons last. Some lives have an impact beyond a lifetime or a geographical area.
The OSAA wrestling championships begin Friday at Memorial Coliseum. For the first time since before the parents of many of the athletes competing were alive, Geister won’t be in attendance.
And, yeah, he will be missed.
“When you’re around a great person, you don’t realize you’re in the presence of greatness because it’s all you know,” says Combs, who wrestled for Geister at Clackamas and later coached with him. “He probably was more of a great person than he was a great coach. But it’s funny, because at the time you don’t know it.”
One measure of a human life is the way it’s remembered. Geister in September died at 82. The turnout for his celebration of life swamped the Clackamas High School auditorium.
Amid the past Clackamas students, colleagues and church members, were generations of wrestlers, many with thinning hair, straining waistlines and tears in their eyes.
“He could see into people,” Combs says. “He could see potential in you that you couldn’t. He could get you excited about things you didn’t know were possible.”
 For the rest of a really good read...

*********** One takeaway from watching the NFL combine…  In a guest shot as an announcer, Greg Olsen showed he’s already twice as good as most of the ex-NFL types the NFL Network employs.

Another takeaway: after watching a guy run his 40, the young thing behind the microphone noted that while he’d been “dismissed” from his college team, “NFL teams look differently at a  guy who makes a mistake and moves on than a guy who’s a repeat offender.”

Responded Mike Mayock, “But how do you know before you draft him which one you’re getting?”

Terry Sawchuk*********** The photo is of Terry Sawchuk, who played goalie for 21 years in the NHL, with the Red Wings, Bruins, Maple Leafs, Kings and Rangers.  Take a good look at that face - he’s one of the last NHL goalies to play without a mask.

The first to wear one on a regular basis was Jacques Plante of the Montreal Canadiens.  I actually saw him play twice.  I was there in Madison Square Garden the night that Plante, who’d just been acquired from the Montreal Canadiens, made his debut as a Ranger. He shut out his old mates.  The place went wild.  And I was in Baltimore when he was sent down by the Rangers to play back into shape after an injury.  It must have been quite a blow to his pride; I remember him informing someone who didn't know who he was, "I am THE Jacques Plante."

He was a great goalie.  I was reminded of him when I read that Andy Bathgate died last week at 83.  Andy Bathgate  was captain of the Rangers in the 1950s and 1960s, and an NHL All-Star despite the fact that even in the six-team NHL of the time, the Rangers NEVER made the playoffs.

Even those who know their hockey probably don't know this - he’s the reason why Jacques Plante  put on a mask.

Plante had been experimenting with wearing a mask in practice, but there was a taboo against wearing one in games.  It just wasn't done.

And then came the night in November, 1959 when Plante’s Canadiens were playing the Rangers, and Bathgate let go a shot that hit the goalie  square in the face.

“I came down left wing,” Bathgate recalled. “I was trying to hit him somewhere where he’d remember me and boom, I nailed him. He bled good.”

Plante had had enough.  After getting stitched up, he refused to return to the ice without his mask.

The Canadiens had no choice.  Like most teams, they had no spare goalie.  So Plante wore his mask. 

Montreal won, 3-1 and Plante played the rest of his career with a mask.

*********** I’m not a huge fan of women’s basketball but I really do admire UConn’s Breanna Stewart.  The kid can really play.  And with UConn’s women having won three straight NCAA titles, she has an excellent chance to be a four-time champion.

Comparisons with men players are inevitable, but to her credit she brushes them off, and insists that that doesn’t help advance the women’s game - that men’s and women’s basketball are different, and she should be compared to the best women’s players.

“Every time I’ve been compared to someone, it’s most likely a men’s player,” she told the New York Times. “Very rarely is it someone like Elena Delle Donne, who also has that versatility. When people compare me to K.D., yeah, that’s a compliment. But then, it’s like, whoa, men’s basketball and women’s basketball are two different sports.

“What we do is different. How we play is different. So, you know, I think we need to start making more comparisons to women who are equally successful as K.D., but in our sport. Taurasi. Maya. Tamika Catchings. Delle Donne. Candace Parker. They deserve to be rewarded for that.”

***********Johnny Lattner died a couple of weeks ago.   He was 83.

A Chicago Irishman who in a time of two-way football starred at running back and defensive back at Notre Dame, he won the Heisman Trophy in 1953, the fourth Irish player to do so in a span of 11 seasons.  (Angelo Bertelli won in 1943,  Johnny Lujack in 1947, and Leon Hart in 1949.)

He is one of only two people ever to win the Maxwell Award twice, in 1952 and 1953 (Tim Tebow is the other).

Drafted first by the Steelers in 1954, he played one season - and made it to the Pro Bowl - before being called up by the Air Force to fulfill his ROTC commitment.   While playing football for a service team, he injured his knee and never played another down of pro football.

Over the years, he very generously lent his Heisman Trophy to various charities to help their fundraisers.

He once told The Chicago Sun-Times of a trip to  play USC, when he and several of his teammates were treated to a visit to a Hollywood studio.

“We met Marilyn Monroe,” he said.  “There were six of us and she said, ‘Before you go, would you like my autograph on a picture?’  ”

They replied, “ ‘We’d love it, Marilyn.’  ”

“She said, ‘What should I say on it?’  ”

Lattner said he answered, “Well, “To John, thanks for that wonderful night we had together, love and kisses,” with your phone number.’  ”

And that, Lattner recalled, was exactly  the way she signed it.

*********** Back in August I was called for jury duty and I had to ask for a postponement until after the season.

And then somehow I got called again while the season was still going on, and they agreed to put it off until the week of February 29.

That was today - Monday.

I showed up and sat along with 32 other people as the judge described the trial about to take place - a meth possession case - and the attorneys went through voir dire - essentially, the selection of the 11 jurors and one alternative.

I should add that I was wearing my “Army Football” pullover - not many attorneys, defense attorneys at least,  are looking for jurors who appear connected with the military in any way.

Nor are they looking for coaches, people who tend to believe in, you know, rules and stuff.  But just to make sure, when the prosecutor, noting that Washington had recently passed a law making it legal to possess small amounts of marijuana “for recreational purposes,” asked if any of us had any strong feelings about drugs and drug use, I raised my hand.

I told him that I’d been coaching and teaching for more than 40 years, and I’d seen what drug use had done to a lot of kids, and I suspected that the recent legalization had only made drugs more accessible to kids.  But, of course, I assured him, I would still be able to weigh the evidence and give the accused the fair trial he was entitled to.

Despite my assurances,  I wasn’t selected.  

Civic duty discharged.

*********** I was reading about a lineman named Jack Conklin, from Michigan State, who’d been showing well at the NFL combine, when I came to this…

The odds were certainly stacked against Conklin making it this far.

He played for his father, Darren, at a small Michigan high school, where the staff was not well schooled in the art of selling recruits to college coaches.

Wow.  What an ignorant statement.  It just feeds all those parents who think that their kids would be at USC if only their coaches had just promoted them enough.

Uh, hate to tell you this, Mister Reporter Guy, but in this day of Hudl and combines and camps and scouting services… if a kid has it, he has it - and the colleges will all know it.  There is no  “selling” him.

Actually, there’s no sense even trying.

If a kid doesn’t have it, there’s no “art of selling” that will get a major college coach to spend a scholarship on him.  If you’re a high school coach who over the years has developed a good relationship with college coaches and you once - just once - “sell" them a kid, and he doesn’t pan out, you’ve lost all your credibility and they’ll never talk to you again.

*********** Colonel Wes Geary, a beloved Black Lion, passed away on February 24.

Colonel Geary was the Black Lions' chaplain in Vietnam, and for the last five years, he served as assistant pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church, in McKinney, Texas.

Wrote Mike MacDonald,  President of the 28th Infantry Regiment Association,

Wes was proud of having served as the Battalion Chaplain in Viet Nam and we were proud to have him. He was one of the few Combat Chaplains that I know of who actually went to the field with the Battalion troops and suffered through the same hardships as they did. Chaplain Geary had been wounded in Viet Nam and was awarded a Purple Heart, and he had also been awarded a Bronze Star for Valor while serving under Colonel (U.S.A. Retired) Jack Whitted.

With his great love for Black Lions, and soldiers and their families, and his compassion for all mankind, Chaplain Geary was more like a "Chaplain to the World". He did not fit any mold, because he was unique, and he rose above stereotypes to minister to all Americans for the last 60 years. Wes was a Man's Man and we all enjoyed talking with him about every subject under the sun. He was always cheerful, friendly, and Brotherly to all Black Lions and their family members.  Very simply, he was a great man and we shall miss him greatly. Rest in Peace, Brother.

I never had the honor of meeting the man, but I’ve heard so many Black Lions speak highly of him.

Wrote my friend, Tom Hinger, “He was a fine man. I got to know him at a few reunions and he was so proud to be a Black Lion.”

To give you some idea of the man’s power of oratory, check out the invocation he gave at a Vietnam Memorial at Cantigny, the suburban Chicago park that was once the estate of the late Colonel Robert McCormick, publisher of the Chicago Tribune.   (Colonel McCormick was so proud of his World War I service with the Black Lions that he named his estate for Cantigny, the town in France where the Black Lions earned their nickname in the first battle on European soil by the Americans.)

*********** I was doing a little research the other day and I came across a site that dealt with 1948 Los Angeles-area high school football.

VERY interesting.   The Southern California CIF championship was won by St. Anthony over Santa Barbara,  7-7.  St. Anthony won on the basis of first downs,  16 first downs to 12.

St. Anthony’s star was a running back named Johnny Olszewski, an all-Southern California first team selection.  He would go on to Cal, which at that time was a national power under coach Pappy Waldorf.  “Johnny O,” as he came to be known, was one of the top runners in college football in the early 1950s.

Santa Barbara’s star was a 6-1, 180-pound running back named Eddie Mathews, who was third team All-Southern California. He would go on to star in major league baseball, joining other power hitters such as Joe Adcock and Hank Aaron, and outstanding  pitchers such as Warren Spahn and Lew Burdette, on the great Milwaukee Braves teams of the 1950s.

On the All-Los Angeles team, the third team center was a guy from Hamilton High named Thorne Shugart.  At 5-11, 215 he was the heaviest player on any of the all-star teams.  He went on to Yale and was the captain  four years before I got there.

Also on the third team was a 5-8, 146, “swivel-hipped ball-carrier” from Belmont High named Vince McCullough.

VINCE MCCULLOUGH?!?!   I said.  THAT Vince McCullough!?!

Had to be. 

I first met Vince in Finland, where he assisted a guy named Ken Swearingen. Back in the states, Vince was the defensive coordinator at Saddleback College, in Orange County, and Ken was the head coach.

I got to know Ken and Vince in Finland, and in 1989, when they weren’t able to return to Finland as they’d planned, they arranged for me to take over their team, the Munkka Colts.  What a favor they did me - that team was loaded.  We had easily the best European quarterback in Vellu Kallislahti (he’d spent a year at a JC in California) plus some of the best linemen in Finland, and two former Arizona State Sun Devils in Curt Arons and Mike Copeland (we were permitted two Americans on our team).  We finished 10-1, outscoring opponents 296-56.  In the finals, we avenged the one loss by handing the team that had beaten us its only loss, 3-0.  They had a great defense but no offense.  We had a great defense AND a great offense - until that game.  But Vellu, our quarterback, had injured his shoulder and couldn’t throw, and our best running back was unable to play.  We had to win it in the fourth quarter by blocking a kick and then (unable to move the ball) kicking a field goal.   (I sure could have used the Double Wing back then.)

I can’t thank those guys enough.  They handed me a national championship team.  (True, Finland is a VERY small nation, but a national championship is still a national championship.)

Vince - what a great guy -  taught me a lot about his defense, which in simplest terms would be called a 5-3, but showed early signs of what has become the so-called 3-5-3.

Even then, he was getting into martial arts big time.  And then yoga.  Vince was one of the very first coaches to get into yoga as a means of improving athletic performance.

And then came tai chi.   He’s made at least one trip to China to study it.

Vince is now in his 80s, and still in astoundingly good shape, as this video will attest.

*********** Come on, cops.  Jeez. All the guy was doing was spitting on the subway platform. Is that all you got to worry about?  Shouldn’t you be out looking for murderers?


Transit cops patrolling the Stillwell Avenue station in Coney Island Thursday night saw Euzebelin Abellard, 32, spit on the Q train platform around 5 p.m.

They moved in and nailed him for the violation — but when they ran his name on their NYPD-issued smartphone they learned he was suspected of murder.

After being questioned for more than 20 hours at the 67th Precinct, he was charged with murder as well as criminal use of a firearm.

I’m sorry.  You were saying something?

american flag FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26,  2016   “Courage is the first of human virtues because it makes all others possible.”  Aristotle

*********** Say what you will about the New York Yankees (although not a fan, I happen to be an admirer), they’re wise enough to know the value of their brand, and the importance of their market, and the need for their players to represent them well in public.

To help educate their players to the importance of public relations, they show them a compilation of clips of athletes who in the past have acted like jackasses.

The latest addition to the video: Cam Newton’s epic performance at the post-Super Bowl press conference.

The message: Don’t be like Cam Newton.

***********  Let the politicians drone on for hours.   At the end, one witty, concise comment will make the same point they were trying to make (often unsuccessfully).

President Gerald Ford, a captain of the Michigan football team and, while in law school, an assistant coach at Yale, once explained why it was unwise to turn something over to the government and expect better results by saying,  “if the government made beer it would cost $80 a six pack.”

*********** Sergeant Martland is about out of time...

Sgt. First Class Charles Martland, a Green Beret with an 11-year Special Forces career, was stationed in Afghanistan in 2011 when the boy's mother came to him and said she'd been beaten and her son raped by a local police commander. Martland and another soldier summoned the police official and, when the man laughed at them, threw him off the base. Martland and Daniel Quinn were both disciplined for their actions.

Last year, amid military cuts, the Army Human Resources Command recommended Martland be discharged in part based on his disciplinary record, but an official decision by U.S. Army brass is expected by March 1.

How much you wanna bet some ass-kisser in the Pentagon, intent on gettng ahead by  pleasing the White House,  will throw Sergeant Martland under the bus?   See, we’re supposed to respect the host “culture.”  And hey - if buggering little boys is acceptable in their culture, why, when in Rome…

***********   An Army Black Lion Award winner will coach Army’s fullbacks. 

Mike Viti was a two-year starter at fullback, and team captain (and Black Lion Award winner)  in 2007.  Oh, how I wish they’d been running a triple-option offense when he played.

He was Army’s director of high school and alumni relations last season,  and he’s the first former Army football player to be hired by head coach  Jeff Monken.

By contrast, Air Force’s Troy Calhoun is an Air Force graduate, as are EIGHT members of his coaching staff!

*********** A while back, I was corresponding with a former Army football player about his coach, Bob Sutton, the last Army coach to beat Navy more than once.

He’s been gone from West Point since 1999.  If only the people at Army could have foreseen what lay ahead when their new athletic director, a guy named Greenspan, fired Bob Sutton, after nine years as Army’s head coach.  Fired him on the streets of Philadelphia after a season-ending loss to Navy.

Fired him after back-to-back 3-8 seasons, although as recently as 1996 he’d taken Army to a bowl game against Auburn - Auburn, for God’s sake! - narrowly losing, 32-29.

Fired him because his overall record was only 44-55 - except that he’d won those 44 games at a place that hasn’t won a total of 44 games in the 16 years since.

Fired him because he’d just lost to Navy - except that from 1992 through 1996 he’d beaten Navy five straight, and overall,  he’d beaten Navy six times and lost just three times;  since his firing, Army has had six coaches  - one of them, granted, an interim coach finishing out a season - and the lot of them have only one win over Navy.

Since leaving Army, coach Sutton has had a highly successful career as an assistant coach in the NFL.  He’s currently the defensive coordinator of the Chiefs.

The former Army player I corresponded with maintained that Bob Sutton probably wasn’t enough of a prick:

Sutton has had a great career in the pros.  He knows the game of football forwards and backwards and is very strong on x's and o's, especially on defense.  Remember, his early days were as a GA with Schembechler at Michigan.
If you ever meet him and speak with him you'll find him to be a truly genuine, honest, hard working man.  He lacks the ego that many football coaches carry around.  A truly salt of the earth guy and one whom I have tremendous respect for.  I wish he had done better overall at USMA but I also understand why he/we didn't perform better.  To be clear there is ownership on both sides.
In summary, I'll tell you this.  Sutton wasn't successful in college for the same reason that Saban wasn't successful in the PROs.  Sutton can relate to players and coach the cerebral side of the game in an almost fatherly way.  Saban is a demanding never satisfied do it my way "Alpha Male".  One of those styles works in the pros and the other works in College.  

I've said it before and I'll say it again - you have to be a major prick to coach successfully at the College Level.  Players don't have to like you or love you.  They are 18-22 year old males with huge egos that need to be demanded of, held accountable, and not given any breaks.  You must rule a college program with an iron fist.  It's the exact opposite in the Pros.  You can't run a Pro Team like a college team (see Chip Kelly who got fired this week).  

If you saw Saban on Saturday after that huge win vs a good Michigan State Team he barely even smiled and was still talking about how poorly his defense played in the last two minutes of the first half.  That is the kind of prick you have to be to win at the college level.  Coach Sutton just isn't naturally that person.  

***********  The Jets just cut Antonio Cromartie.

It’s never easy for a team to let a guy go, especially when he’s such a good family man.

He’s got two little kids and twins on the way.

And on top of that, he’s got another family to support.    And another.    And another.   And another.    And another.  And another.   And another.

Total: Ten kids with eight different women.

(Not counting the twins.)

Surely somebody will come forward and help an out of work sperm donor.

*********** Back in 2011 when he said this, Brady Hoke was head coach of the University of Michigan, and he couldn’t possibly have foreseen that he’d one day be coaching the defense at ... Oregon:

“It really puts your defense at a disadvantage when you’re a spread offense because every day you’re going against a finesse offense.   You become a finesse team.  Defensively, the last thing you want to be is a finesse defense.  You want to be able to get downhill and knock the snot out of people.”

Um, Coach, you can’t get much more “spread” than Oregon.

*********** It’s been a while since I’ve spoken with Jack Reed, but over the years I’ve paid attention to what he’s written.  He’s a very bright guy, a West Point graduate who’s been successful as a real estate advisor, and thanks to his involvement in coaching football at the youth and high school level, he’s been able to provide an extremely valuable “outsider’s” perspective on football and on coaching.  He has strong   opinions, which in our sterilized world is refreshing, and because he has never been co-opted by educators, whose language invariably worms its way into coachtalk, he writes clearly and common-sensically.   (

I absolutely love something he had to say once on explaining his philosophy of discipline to parents:

If your son breaks a team rule, I will punish him. I will punish him sufficiently to cause him to regret what he did and to cause him to vow never to break a rule again. I will punish your son severely enough so that the other boys on the team are glad they did not do what your son did and resolve not to break any rules in the future if they had previously been considering doing that. Basically, I use recidivism as a gauge of whether my punishments are too lenient. If there is recidivism by the boy who broke the rule or imitation by another boy breaking a rule, my prior punishment was apparently too lenient. I throw recidivists off the team. Over time, my punishments have become more severe because I found teenage boys are tougher to keep in line than I originally thought. But I learned my lesson. If I seem too harsh to you, it is what I call grandparent syndrome. That is, you only saw the latest violation, not the prior ones that caused me to ratchet up my punishment level. There is also parent-versus-coach syndrome, that is, we coaches coach thousands of boys and gain huge amounts of experience from it. Parents typically only have two or three boys at most and therefore have far less experience with teenage boys.

*********** Two related stories that affect our game hit at about the same time....

The president of the Texas High School Coaches Association - a large and powerful organization - wrote in the latest issue of “Texas Coach” magazine that private, for-sports-only schools such as IMG Academy in Florida “could destroy our profession.”

“At the current moment,” he wrote, “IMG Academy has actively recruited three of our top Texas high school football players to play their senior season for their traveling football team.   The reason given for these young athletes to attend this academy is to better prepare for the next level of competition. I adamantly disagree with the reasoning.”

He went on to say that Texas schools shouldn’t schedule teams such as IMG.

My sentiments exactly.  There's a legitimate reason why public schools schedule games with “traveling teams”:  if they’re  strong enough to be playing an IMG,  chances are they’ve been having difficulty finding non-league opponents in their own states who'll play them.  But a major part of the lure for “normal” schools to play a sports academy is the opportunity to be on TV, which such a game often entails. But by their agreeing to play a team that clearly doesn’t share the customary aims of high school football, they’re helping  validate that team's existence and purpose, and they’re working at cross purposes with the other members of their state association.  Maybe it’s time they left their associations, and went off on their own as sports academies themselves.  Oh, wait - there’s all those other games that they wouldn’t be able to schedule if they  didn’t belong to their state association.  Oh - and then there’s all the playoffs, and all those other sports, and…

And at just about the same time that the head of the  THSCA was unloading on the IMGs of the world, the head coach of the University of Michigan,  which at one time held itself out as the creme de la creme of public universities, was announcing that the mighty Wolverines were planning to hold a portion of their spring practice - with one of the practices open to the public - away from campus.  Far away from campus.  In Florida.  (Probably claiming that it’s too cold in Ann Arbor, which of course was one of the reasons they gave when they spent millions to build an indoor practice facility.)

Suppose  I said the practice open to the public (including, I would imagine, high school football players from the area) would be ON THE CAMPUS OF IMG ACADEMY?

Perfectly legal, apparently.  No NCAA rules against it.  Just Old Jim Harbaugh pushing the envelope.

What a wonderful thing for college football.  And this guy once coached at Stanford?

Sheesh.  Another new coach soiling Michigan’s act.  (Anyone remember the lack of dignity associated with Rich Rodriguez’ hiring?)  The real shame is that, to paraphrase the great Bo Schembechler, this time it’s a Michigan Man.

If winning makes Harbaugh’s act okay with you, Michigan guys, then you’re not the people - and your school’s not the school - that I thought you were.   One thing that will surely come out of this, on top of Harbaugh’s last stunt (conducting “Michigan” summer camps in the South),  is that Michigan will become one of the most hated college teams in the country.

Harbaugh's invasion has been criticized by SEC coaches, but, as if he were Donald Trump, Harbaugh's been sneeringly dismissive of them.

Let him flip the bird at the SEC people all he wants, but  if I were Jim Harbaugh,  I’d add another member to my coaching staff and give him one assignment:  taste my food for me before every meal.

*********** The following  should not in any way be interpreted to mean that I support or condone gambling on sports, blah, blah, blah.

But in Australia, where betting on sports if quite legal and quite popular, my son Ed’s been working for an Australian (actually Irish-owned) firm called

As you might have guessed, takes bets on sports contests. It’s what’s known as a sports book.  You’d have to go to Las Vegas and visit one of the casinos’ sports books to put down the kind of bets on games that are perfectly legal in Oz.

My son’s job is to help produce the advertising that drives people to (and not  competing sports books), and they’re known in the trade for their wiseass approach.

Their emphasis is on the the so-called 'second screen experience' which enables people with phones and iPads to watch a game on their TVs while following commentary on their mobile device.

As Ed says, “We are known for being smartasses and ‘taking the piss’ (an Australian expression) so people expect us to be fun and irreverent while these events are on."

The idea is to build brand identity and brand loyalty, but, of course, if someone should happen to want to bet on whether this particular Panthers’ drive will result in a touchdown, why, all the better!

In Australia, it may surprise Americans to learn, there’s a fair amount  of interest in the Super Bowl, and the smartasses at had quite a following.

A couple of the tweets they sent out...

sports bet lady gagasportsbet curry

american flag TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 23,  2016   "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." Winston Churchill

***********   How do you suppose this new blocking rule will affect option teams?

It could really hurt them.  Where officials may have been reluctant to call a chop block, since that requires them to watch the actions of two linemen I think  they will be less reluctant to call a clip.

The problem with the option guys, as opposed to us, is they have to have those wide splits in order to create running lanes and widen the pitch key, and the need to cut off a man 3 or more feet away pretty much rules out using a slide-and-turn.

I’ve spoken to a college option coach and he figures they’re next.

*********** Delta has figured out a very clever way to get people to use up their Frequent Flier miles without actually taking up a seat on a plane.

They’re auctioning off, using Frequent Flier miles,  a number of sports “experiences,” among them opportunities to win normally hard-to-get basketball tickets on March 1.

As of 6 PM Friday night, February 19, here’s how the bidding was going…

Wake Forest at Duke… 12 bidders - current bid 25,000 miles

Kentucky at Florida … 3 bidders - current bid 15,000 miles

Syracuse at North Carolina… 0 bidders - current (starting) bid 10,000 miles

Not to gloat, but as a Duke dad - I LOVE IT!

*********** One of my favorite writers is Bill Bryson.

He is easily one of the funniest writers I know of and, a fact which might have come as a surprise to the late, great comedian Fred Allen, he’s a native of Iowa.  Allen once said of an audience that didn’t seem to get his jokes, “there must be a leak in Iowa.”

He attended Drake, but dropped out to backpack around Europe, and since then he’s spent most of his life living in England.

Most of his stuff is about his travels, and he delivers a rare combination of powers of observation and descriptive ability.  And wit. 

HIs “Notes From a Small Island,” telling of his travels around Britain, is believed to be the best-selling travel book ever.

My wife happens to be reading  his latest, another tale of another trip  entitled, “The Road to Little Dribbling - More Notes From a Small Island” and it’s slow going - she has to stop so often to laugh hysterically.

One review from the Times of London gives the reader fair warning: “Not to be read in public for fear of emitting loud snorts.”

Permit me to share one passage, describing a tour through Blenheim Palace, home of the Duke of Marlborough.

The rooms were small and airless and cramped

To make matters worse, somebody in our group was making the most dreadful silent farts. Fortunately, it was me, so I wasn't nearly as bothered as the others.

God, I’d love to have a couple of beers with the guy.

*********** Dad

You may remember the Mad Greek Deli. I used to go there all the time. Then Mary Alice and I did a couple of Good Evening shows from there and I could never pay for a meal again. They eventually moved to East Burnside and Pondo – who was a “kid” when we were doing Good Evening – took over as the owner.

Two years ago at Christmas I stopped in on a whim and he was there. We re-connected, I gave him a South Melbourne FC scarf (a big Greek team here) and we talked Timbers. He was a hell of a guy and his family was incredibly nice and generous.

Excerpts from the obituary…

Pantelis "Pondo" Kosmas, a devoted family man, Portland Timbers supporter and owner of the Mad Greek Deli, died unexpectedly Sunday of a brain hemorrhage. He was 49.

On Monday, family and friends remembered Kosmas as a gregarious jokester, a larger-than-life Greek who loved ribbing his close friends and spoiling his five children in equal measure. By late Monday, bouquets left by those who knew Kosmas best surrounded the front doors of his East Burnside restaurant, a popular Timbers Army hangout.

There were some comments that followed.

A few of the posters mentioned Pondo’s father, Big George, the original Mad Greek.

Recalled one, “I remember Big George wanting to kill the construction workers for mispronouncing gyros.”

Wrote another, “He'd shout a greeting in Greek to the people who came for lunch....phonetically: Nasay-cavleeso....I asked him one day, "George, what are you saying?"

He whispered in my ear, "Screw you!"

***********    Hi Coach -

Read your news - good stuff. I have been teaching slam and hinge for awhile (coaching spread OL) but always still taught my guys the shoeshine block in certain situations.

I will be coaching at Group 4 Mainland Regional this season as the defensive coordinator and OL coach. I was at Oakcrest the past  two seasons in the same capacity. The Head Coach just got  the job at Mainland and brought me along.

Even though we are spread - we have incorporated so many  DW principles. We are back off the ball as legally possible, we block power and counter as I did in the DW. I have a lot of autonomy with the OL and  I have found the principles that I used are tried and true - work well  with what our head coach wants to do. Our guards circle as well - the circle  drill is one of top teaching tools.  That is just a few examples.

In other news - Lower finally pushed Bill Miller out because he was an advocate for every kid and not a select few. I truly don't understand that school district  there is plenty of potential down there. It's a shame - what has happened to Bill.

If you had a clinic in Baltimore - I would definitely love to come down.

Talk to you soon.

Mike Wilson
Cape May, New Jersey


It’s great to hear from you and to hear that the principles you’ve learned are being put to good use.

Sure glad to hear that the HC trusts you.

The Lower situation is toxic.  I could tell that years ago when I interviewed for the job there.  Here was a program that hadn’t done a damn thing in years, and yet they refused to give me the final say on assistants.  That’s a sure sign to anyone that the administration wants to run your program.  And it’s almost a guarantee that there will be guys on your staff who will be sucking up to administration (and parents).

I’m getting pretty close to moving on a Baltimore clinic.  Hope you can make it.

Keep in touch.

*********** Ever gone through the long process of applying for a job, getting your resume up to date, putting together a presentation packet, asking influential people to write and call on your behalf, and feeling you knocked them dead in your interview - only to find that the job was wired from the start, and you were, basically, just window dressing?

It’s all part of learning how things work in our business.  We get over it.  Life goes on.

It’s about to happen to Bernie Sanders, as he wins the primaries but Hillary wins the “Super Delegates.”  He was, basically, window dressing, to make it appear that there was a fight for the nomination.  He’ll get over it, too.  He’s been around long enough to know how things work.

But not his adoring followers. A lot of them are first-time voters, kids brought up being told they can make a difference - convinced they can change the world.  They’ve been enjoying life in their Feel-the-Bern dream world, shut off from reality, and they haven’t yet figured out that the game’s rigged against them.  They’re used to getting their way, and they’re not exactly noted for their resilience.  After the euphoria of thinking they really were “making a change,” it’s going to be a traumatic let-down for those poor children.

Their schools had better have the grief counselors on stand-by.

*********** Maybe somebody ought to prepare American women for when we open our doors to Middle Eastern “refugees”

From the New York Times...

Because they work for a public entity, employees of the RATP, the Paris transport authority, are expressly prohibited from “any behavior or wearing of conspicuous signs that could reveal an affiliation with any religion or philosophy whatsoever.” Violations of this rule are meant to be subject to disciplinary action, including potential termination.

So when Christophe Salmon, a delegate for CFDT, a leading French labor union, started receiving complaints about a group of male bus drivers who were refusing to address female colleagues or shake their hands, he raised the alarm. At certain bus depots, he said, some male employees wouldn’t take the wheel of a vehicle that had been previously driven by a woman.

Rather than report the behavior to the authority’s human resource managers, Mr. Salmon said that supervisors simply adjusted the drivers’ schedules and routes to avoid handoffs between women and men. In one case, Mr. Salmon said, a woman who lived within walking distance of her depot asked to be transferred to a job across town rather than stay and continue to endure the harassment.

*********** My quarterback once threw 57 times in a game.  That was 1972.   Today, it's not likely anyone one will call me a Mad Bomber.  I believe in playing physical football, and forcing the titty-bumpers to play our kind of ball whether they want to our not (they mostly don’t).  In football, uniqueness is usually an advantage, and as the rules makers and the media continue working to make our game softer, we become more and more unique.

But - you will never hear me disparage the use of the forward pass.  Over the past three years, since opening things up somewhat, we’ve thrown the ball very effectively.  I feel that knowing that we have the ability to throw has made our running game more effective, while at the same time having a powerful running game has made our passing game highly effective.

The key word if “effective,” because our passing game is competing for time with an extremely effective running game.  For us, deciding to throw the ball means setting aside a running play that is likely to gain yardage, that’s highly unlikely to lose yardage, and isn’t likely to result in a turnover.

Effective passing, to me, means that when you throw, you complete a decent percentage of your passes, you throw for good yardage when you do throw, you throw for scores a high percentage of the time, you give up very few sacks, and you throw very few interceptions.

By that definition, I offer Alex McAra, our quarterback at North Beach for the past two seasons.  Until the spring of 2014, Alex had never played quarterback.  He hadn’t thrown a ball of any sort very much - he never played baseball as a kid.  He put in a lot of time with me during the summers, and his work paid off.

In his two seasons as QB, Alex led his team to a 19-2 record.  The only two losses were season-ending playoff defeats, both by the margin of a touchdown, and one of them in overtime.

Effective?  Based on Alex’s  two seasons as a QB,  compare his NFL  rating (125.6) and his NCAA passer rating (209.2) with the top 10 in the NFL and NCAA FBS



Now, this is not in any way to suggest that a high school kid - at a tiny high school in a remote town, yet - is in any way comparable to the best quarterbacks in the game.  It’s merely to demonstrate  concretely that you can be a strong running team and yet also have a very effective passing game.

Besides having a quarterback who can throw, I’d say that there are five keys to having such a passing game:

1. Have guys who will catch it, and throw to them.  Some kids are simply better than others, but I do believe that you can greatly improve a kid’s ability to catch a ball.

2. Find out what pass plays your kids execute best (see #1).

3. Make sure that your QB knows the play inside and out, and what you’re trying to accomplish.  Limit his choices.  Make sure he knows how and where to set up, what to look for,  and when and where to throw.

4. Since you’re a running team, you should think of your passing game the way you think of a counter, or the way a pitcher on a baseball team thinks of his change of pace :  it works best when it’s used sparingly and when they’re expecting something else.

5. The passing game is built in the off-season, and before and after practice.  You simply don’t have the  time to repeat the same pass play over and over during team practice time, trying to teach a kid to how to run a route or catch a ball.

***********   Hugh,

Hope all is well.  I just heard about the new rule change regarding clipping in the free blocking zone.  Also read your response to it on your news page.  I can validate your slide and turn block as an effective alternative.  We have been teaching that now for the past two years.  Not because I knew a change was coming by any stretch of the imagination, but because my TE's were terrible at the shoeshine block!

We have been calling it "reach and hinge".  We have been running rocket sweep a lot with a lot of success, and we "reach" block across the entire front.  Of course being here in Texas where we can still cut block on the perimeter helps a lot!  Still, even though we play by NCAA rules and can still use the shoeshine block on the backside of Power I found that our TE's were so bad at the shoeshine block I felt the "reach and hinge" was just an easier way to teach a cutoff block on our backside run plays by utilizing a block we already have.  You know...K.I.S.S.  

We have rarely had any backside run-throughs since implementing this technique, unless we just flat-out whiff by not moving our feet fast enough to get where we need to go.  I can certainly see your point regarding the "hinge" piece, but I teach my guys to "hinge" in order to get them to understand the necessity of keeping the defender away from the play.  Also, since I have always prescribed to the basic theory of the O Line being back off the ball as far as the rule allows (as you always have) teaching the new technique has been pretty easy.

I think there are enough good DW coaches out there who will make the adjustment and continue to have their offenses be very productive.

Have you figured out where you'll hold your clinic(s) this year?

Look forward to hearing from you!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


Thanks for the note.  Glad to hear your validation.  Like you, I’ve had tight ends whose idea of a shoeshine was just to flop.

And slide-and-hinge is the same thing we teach our tackles when they’re on the backside with no tight end next to them.

The terminology isn’t important - the important thing is how we teach it and what helps our kids learn it.

I agree that the transition shouldn’t be a major problem, provided they’ve already been teaching the basics the way we have.

Looking at a clinic in KC - if I can find a place to hold it.

***********  Hello coach Wyatt,

I trust all is well with you and your family.
Last year was my first year with the association that I am now affiliated with.  In our pre-season coaches meeting I showed the coaches your video on, "Safer surer Tackling".  None had seen it before and, what with the emphasis on "head's up" football, they were uncertain on just what techniques to use to accomplish the mandate. Needless to say, your tape opened their eyes and was very beneficial to our program.
My association has asked me to request, from you, if there are any snippets of your video available for addition to our web site so that parents may get a feeling for what we are trying to do to keep their children safer.
If nothing of that nature is available, would it be possible to get permission, from you, to create some snippets, some how, from your video, for that purpose?

I feel that your style of teaching is the best way to go.
We think that such an addition to our website would help us "push back" against the forces that are trying to destroy football.  If parents could get a taste of some of what is being done perhaps they would be encouraged to look further into the issue and be less reluctant to allow their children to participate.
As always, I would welcome your advice and comments!
Thank you
J.C. Brink
Stuart, Florida


You can show your parents this, and if you want you can put a link to it on your Web Page…

It's clips from our very first tackling drill on the first day of practice (no pads) at North Beach


To purchase my Safer and Surer Tackling DVD…

american flag FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 19,  2016   “The world is full of willing people: some willing to work, others willing to let them."   Robert Frost



The elimination of clipping from high school football is the latest attempt to reduce the risk of injury made by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Football Rules Committee.

The decision to eliminate clipping in the free-blocking zone (Rule 2-17-3) was the most significant of three rules changes recommended by the NFHS Football Rules Committee at its January 22-24 meeting in Indianapolis. All rules changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

“With very few major rules changes approved by the NFHS Football Rules Committee for the 2016 season, it indicates that the committee feels that the rules of the game are in pretty good shape,” said Bob Colgate, director of sports and sports medicine at the NFHS and staff liaison for football.

Clipping, as previously stated in Rule 2-17-3, was permitted in the free-blocking zone when it met three conditions; however, clipping is now illegal anywhere on the field at any time. According to the rule, the free-blocking zone is defined as a rectangular area extending laterally 4 yards either side of the spot of the snap and 3 yards behind each line of scrimmage.

“The NFHS Football Rules Committee’s action this year on making clipping illegal in the free-blocking zone once again reinforces its continued effort to minimize risk within the game,” Colgate said.

For your reference, Clipping, as defined in Rule 2, section 5, article 1:

Clipping is a block against an opponent when the initial contact is from behind, at or below the waist, and not against a player who is a runner or pretending to be a runner.


*********** Sayonara, shoeshine block.    Hola, slide and turn.

I’ve seen this coming for some time.  Anybody who knows me well knows that I’ve been saying for several years that the days of the shoeshine block - the backside tight end’s perfectly legal cut off of an opponent’s pursuit - were numbered.

So long as the block took place in the free-blocking zone - three yards to either side of the line of scrimmage and four yards to either side of the ball - and so long as it complied with other requirements, it was legal,  even when it took place below the waist and from the back, which anyplace else on the field would be clipping.

Not no more, as my grandma would say.

Now, even in the free blocking zone, there will be no more clipping.

I have to confess I didn’t even know we had a problem.  Maybe, because I’ve been way out there on the edge of the continent, I’ve missed what’s been going on, but I just haven’t seen  all those young men on crutches,  and in wheelchairs,  hobbled by low blocks.    Maybe we have another epidemic on our hands, a lower-extremities version of the concussion hysteria that’s being used by football haters to bash our sport. 

Otherwise, I have my suspicions that it’s people who have no use for blocking low, and hate to play people that do,  who successfully convinced the NFHS rules makers that it was a serious safety issue that required immediate action.  And if it just happens to hamper an opponent with a powerful running game, well…

But life goes on.  And until the day when NFHS finally makes it official and mandates that we play either flag or 7-on-7, we still have an offense to run.

Relax.  If you’ve been depending on your tight end to shoeshine a defender on the backside, don’t despair.

There’s the slide-and-turn. 

It’s how we’ve been having our tight end cut off anything between him and the center - without the shoeshine.

It starts with a big slide step with the inside foot.  One big slide should do it, but if not, two quick, smaller ones will.

He slides because he has to stay square.  He has to stay square because if he gets to the center and isn’t needed, he has to turn back.

That’s the slide-and-turn. I used to call it the “pull-hinge” but I changed for two reasons: “pull” could give the player the idea that I want him turning and running to playside, and “hinge” could give him the idea that I want him to give ground, as if he were pass protecting.

Take a look at this clip of 77 Super Power (to the left) and 66 Super Power (to the right).

Especially on the 66 - watch the way the TE slides inside fast enough to unload on the defender.  If he can makes it to that point fast enough, his job is 90 per cent done.  If the center has already engaged that man, the TE will turn back and take the next thing coming.

Here’s where you’ll be at an advantage if you’ve been running “my” Double Wing - if you’ve been listening to the things I’ve been preaching for, oh, close to 20 years now.

I realize that other double wings do things differently,  lining up on the ball, for example, and they must have their reasons for doing so, but I have my reasons for doing things the way I’ve been teaching this, and - trust me - your Tight End’s chances of getting his job done are greatly enhanced if:

a. Your splits are tight.  This applies to most Double Wingers.  Very simply,  the farther your TE is from the center, the harder it is for him to do his job

b. Your TE’s stance is “light” - if he doesn’t have his weight forward (check his down hand to make sure he’s got almost no weight on it)

c. Your TE has his inside hand down.  If instead he has his outside hand down, it’s likely that his inside foot will be forward, and he might get it tangled with the tackle’s outside foot.

d. Your linemen are back off the ball.  Lining up as deep as legal (basically, the rule states that the top of their helmets must not be deeper than the center’s waist) gives your TE more time to get to where he needs to go before any defender does.

slide and turn vs blitzing lberAnother advantage to the slide-and-turn is that it’s legal against a blitzing linebacker. (See Left)  It’s always been illegal to go low on that guy - even in the free-blocking zone - unless he started out on the line of scrimmage.  And where a blitzer may or may not have started out is a judgment call by an official,  who may only know that he saw your Tight End blocking a linebacker at his knees.

While we’re at it, for those of you who haven’t been able to keep up with my page over the years,  it’s time for a Free Super Power tuneup.

Take a look at those clips again.

You’ll notice that the QB is not leading through.  Mine hasn’t been doing that since 1999.  Lots of reasons - it protects him from people who will take a shot at your QB’s knees (I know I know, it’s illegal.  Has that ever stopped people who don’t know any better way to stop the Double Wing?); it helps set up a QB keep to the outside, and likewise  a roll-out pass; it helps in coaching the QB - the “hockey stick” path he takes on Super Power is the same one he uses on most of our running plays.

You’ll notice also that the hole is tighter than you may be used to.  The backside linemen stay as square as possible and turn upfield at the first sign of an opening.  In any event, we want them “hugging the pile.”  We want them to GET UPFIELD! We do not want them getting “out of their lanes” and drifting outside, and into the runner's lane.  IMPORTANT: where they turn up is not always outside the double team.  A great push by the double team is what we're looking for, and they'll scrape past the pile, but sometimes the guard will go outside the double team while the tackle will turn up in a hole to the inside of the double team. That’s okay - there's sometimes a huge hole there. The main thing is that the tackle must not run past an opening - he must “insert himself”  through the first open door.  Either way, if a hole's big enough for one of those linemen, it's big enough for our running back. The trick is to get him through there as close behind the linemen as possible, before the hole closes. If we do it right,  you'll have to go through one of those linemen
to get to our running back.

We don't want our running back to get too far from our linemen.  We want him to catch up with our tackle as soon as possible. There is NO MOTION.  He runs directly at the spot where the QB stood - he gets ZERO depth - he catches the ball - it’s such a short toss it almost looks like a handoff - and ASAP he gets his inside hand on the tackle’s back, and pushes him upfield.  We want him in a position to make the “three-way break” - there comes a point just past the LOS where he may go right, left or straight ahead.  For those of you coaching younger kids, eliminating motion, not getting any depth, and pushing on the tackle’s back will end the problem of backs who insist on bouncing outside.

Doing away with motion will make your teaching a lot easier. Without motion, there is no way that the defense can predict which way the play is going, and if we wish we can call the direction at the LOS.  (And without motion, it's far less likely that your back will bounce outside.)

***********  Hugh,

I just saw this on Twitter. What, if anything, do you know about this?

Most significant football rule change from NFHS is to completely outlaw clipping. No more OL blocking from behind, below the waist at LOS.

Other than the shoeshine block on power and counter, how do you see this impacting our blocking rules? While we have been practicing the TE's pull hinge to avoid the high-low situation between the TE and C, this might persuade me to run more Open Wing.

Coach Greg Koenig
Beloit High School
Beloit KS

Just sent you the NFHS article, dated today.

I saw this coming. We’re prepared.   I don’t think it will affect our low blocks on the playside of passes or even reach plays.

But any low cutoff block appears to be out of the question.

It will kill the double wing guys who insist on having their linemen up on the ball.  Their TE’s will never be able to get to a pinching “3” tech in a 5-3.

Also another good reason to have the inside hand down.

I’ve found that if we’re back off the ball and our TE “slides” quickly, it’s not the worst problem in the world.

*********** Aberdeen, Washington, is the nearest “big city” to Ocean Shores, where I’ve been coaching for the past five seasons. Once a thriving port city that milled and shipped the logs that came out of the nearby forests,  Aberdeen and the well-paying jobs in the woods and the mills fell victim to the environmental movement and its infatuation with the spotted owl. Now, it fits my definition of an emptied-out city.  Depressing? Let’s put it this way: Aberdeen produced Kurt Cobain.

Increasingly, in downtown Aberdeen, there’s no there there.  There’s Billy’s,  a nice restaurant in a building that dates from Aberdeen’s heyday in the early 1900’s, when it was one of many downtown whorehouses.  There’s Viitamaki, a nice jewelry store with a great Finnish name.  And there’s Kauffman-Scruggs, a surprisingly upscale furniture store.

And not much else besides down-and-out people and the services they require.

And now this.   After 112 years in downtown Aberdeen, Kauffman-Scruggs is closing. 

*********** Most of you are too young to remember the concern people felt about whether John F. Kennedy could be elected President. If you don’t know, he was Roman Catholic, and at that time there were still  many parts of the country, notably the South, where Catholicism was looked on almost the way Islam is today.  One of the arguments against admitting more Muslims to America is that they are believed to be “unassimilable” - that their faith will always come ahead of their country, and no matter how long they are here, they will never become Americans.

That argument had its parallel a half-century ago in anti-Catholicism.  There hadn’t been any large-scale immigration in decades, but back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, a flood of newcomers from Ireland, Italy and Eastern Europe had brought their religion with them, and for the most part, it was Roman Catholicism.   The immigrants were poor and unlettered, mostly non-English-speaking - and Catholic.  Anti-Catholicism, then, went hand-in-hand with “anti-foreigner” sentiment.

This is not an indictment of America. It is inherent in human nature to be distrustful of outsiders.  To America’s great credit, those people once called “New Americans” have not only assimilated, but  now play major roles in our nation’s industry,  its government, its armed forces, its professions.

But it did take a while.  It was tough enough for people who came here poor, illiterate, speaking a strange language, eating and drinking strange things - and practicing Roman Catholicism - to make their way into society, at large -  sports certainly helped -  but what made matters worse was that, as one might expect, they tended to live among others like them.  Partly that was in order  to live near their workplace, partly because it was the only place they could afford, partly because they chose to live among people who thought and spoke like them and shared their values. But to those already here, it gave the impression that they were not “real” Americans, and had no loyalty to America.

In 1960, when John F. Kennedy began his run for the Presidency, there were still fears among many Americans  - especially those who didn't know any Catholics - that a Catholic President’s faith would take precedence over his country -  that he might submit to directions from the Pope. 

Yes, yes, I know.  Absurd.  But in those days, most Catholics were still practicing Catholics.  They went to Mass weekly, they ate fish on Friday, they went to confession on Saturday, they said the Rosary, they observed Lent, and, where possible, they sent their kids to Catholic schools.  They did not practice birth control and  they were opposed to abortion.  Same-sex marriage was unthinkable in American society in general; for practicing Catholics,  marrying outside the Church might as well have been same-sex marriage.

And, of course,  they accepted as a matter of faith the infallibility of the Pope.

Which meant that deep down, non-Catholics whispered among themselves, you just couldn’t be sure about those Catholics.

That had helped defeat Al Smith in his run for the Presidency in 1928.  Smith, the governor of New York, and a Catholic, lost in a landslide to Republican Herbert Hoover. Numerous things contributed to Smith’s defeat, including the fact that America was enjoying unprecedented prosperity. There was also his opposition to Prohibition, which hurt him in heavily-religious rural areas,  and the fact that, to many Americans listening to candidates on the radio for the first time, his New York accent sounded foreign.  But there is no question that his religion was a major factor in his defeat.  It was common to question whether his allegiance, ultimately, would be to the Pope, and not the Constitution.

John F. Kennedy took the issue on head-first .  He won the Democratic nomination, and with the help of a Southern Baptist vice-presidential running mate, he narrowly won the Presidency.  And while the debate goes on over his effectiveness as President in the short time he served, there was never any indication that he was President of Catholic Americans, and not of all Americans. And the Pope, wisely, stayed out of it.

Thus ended the long-held belief that a Catholic could not be elected President. A fact most Americans are not aware of is that until Justice Antonin Scalia’s death last weekend, six of the nine Supreme Court justices were Catholic. Now, there are  five.

So while I was offended by the effrontery of the current  Pope, who appears to have implied that Donald J. Trump is not a Christian, I have to laugh.

If the Pope’s aim was to disparage Trump, he missed by a mile. First of all (full disclosure:  I'm not a Trump supporter), for Trump it was a chance to get out in front of the  cameras - and all the other candidates - once again.  Second, the Church’s influence isn’t what it once was, and third, this Pope definitely is not what Popes once were.  All it’s going to do is give a giant boost to Trump’s standing in the polls.

Jeez - If this guy had been the Pope in 1960 (fat chance) and butted in  on our politics,  John F. Kennedy would never have become President.

***********  Coach,

In watching the video of the shovel pass my first thought was "that was an option pitch."  In other words, backwards.  I watched it a few more times, stopping it at various points. In real-time it sure looks to be going backwards.  When stopped, I guess that maybe it was going forward.  But the officials at the time did not have replay.  And they certainly did not have someone in line with the quarterback at that particular moment to determine if he was in fact pitching forward or backward.  So, in my opinion, the call was reversed because of who was arguing it, not based on what the officials saw/felt was true in the moment.  

Just goes to proves that they are human.  They make human judgments, human mistakes and can be influenced by other humans.  

Bear didn't want the officials to influence the outcome of the game.  Every coach tells his team to not put the game in the hands of the officials.  But in attempting to wrestle the game away from the officials for his players he handed it right back to them in a way that they could not ignore.  In essence, he forced a "complete 360."  

A young assistant (and former player for us) said to me during his first year "how do you not get upset at the refs?  You stay so calm during the game."  My response was in essence "well, if I let myself get emotional over every little thing I will not be able to do my job effectively.  I will make hasty and rash decisions.  Plus, when I do say something to the refs I want it to have meaning and influence."  Also, I tell the refs before the game that generally they will only hear from me if it involves player safety issues.  That may not always be the case, but it puts it in their minds that if I'm talking it's something I consider to be serious.  

Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois


I used to raise hell with refs. You know how it goes:  you have to have a burning desire to win, etc., and everybody expects you to show that you do, etc., etc.

And then I realized that there I was insisting that my QBs keep their composure, while losing it myself.  My throwing a tantrum wasn’t useful or productive and probably was diverting my players’ attention from what they needed to focus on.

Took me a while to realize that, and since then, no more.

Give The Bear credit - he didn’t lose his composure.

*********** Title IX has been around since 1972, but here it is, 42 years later, and when you open up your morning paper, there they are:   65-12, 56-6, 72-26.

They’re the scores of girls’ high school basketball games.

42 years!    WTF has been going on all this time?

Bobbie Kelsey, the coach of the Wisconsin women’s basketball team, has an answer for what ails her sport.

Women’s basketball, can you hear me? Get your butt in the gym. You’ve got people throwing the ball over the basket. Nobody wants to watch that. I don’t. I enjoy watching good, solid basketball that people make their shots, whether I’m coaching against them or it’s my team doing it.

You can’t nap your way to being a great shooter, and Facebooking it, and all these things teenagers do. You need to put the phone down, stop Face-timing, stop tweeting, and get your butt in the gym.

Got that, girls?  Get your butt in the gym.

*********** Now this I’ve got to see…

Susan Sarandon, explaining why she supports Bernie Sanders, and not Hillary Clinton, said, “I don’t vote with my vagina.”

Actually, I don't want to see it.

For once I’m glad Washington’s a vote-by-mail state.

american flag TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 16,  2016   “Success is 90 % perseverance. The key is to stay in the game.” Trevor Rees-Jones, Billionaire Texas oilman

SPOOFED - Apparently my email account has been "spoofed," meaning people are getting emails that appear to be from me -  but aren't.  They contain a link to something:

I shared a document with you on DropBox, It's not an attachment -- it's stored on-line.

Just sign in to view. Click HERE


Ignore it.  If I send you a link of any sort, it'll always be accompanied by a personal message so you'll know it's really from me.

If I need to send a link to a large number of peple, I'll most likely do it on this page.

I regret any inconvenience this may have caused anyone.

*********** May God bless the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a great American who helped hold back the floodgates.

The son of Sicilian immigrants, he took advantage of everything that America could offer a person born in his circumstances, and rose to a point where he could repay his native country for the opportunities it provided him.

Me? America has done far more for me than I can ever do for America.  It’s the greatest country the world has ever known.

No country has ever provided such opportunities for its young people, regardless of their origins or their backgrounds.

And no country has so successfully absorbed so many people from so many different cultures.

America has saved Europe’s ass twice in world wars in the last 100 years, at great cost of American life and treasure.

And following those wars, America, again at great cost, enabled the war’s survivors, both victor and vanquished, to rebuild so that today, Japan and Germany rank among the world’s industrial leaders.

And all the while, America paid the price for keeping the peace so that the  rebuilding could  take place.

We did all this because we were driven by a spirit of “can-do,” a drive passed down to us by tough, hard, self-reliant people who plowed the land and worked in the factories and the mines and the woods, who built the railroads and the canals.  Many of them were immigrants who came here with nothing but the faith that their hard work would make a better life.  If not for them, then for their children.

And they were driven by a sense of duty.  They were Americans, and when America called, they answered.

To see that, all you have to do is go to the center of an old town, whether it’s in Wisconsin, or Pennsylvania, or Massachusetts, or Iowa, or New York, or Kansas.  You’ll still see the monuments honoring the men who left those towns to fight in the Civil War, many of them never to return.

I look at those monuments and marvel.  And I ask, “why?”

Why, considering that historians even today debate the causes of and reasons for the Civil War, would those young men have left their homes and their families to fight in a war that might just as well have been on the other side of the globe?  Why, other than the fact that their country called, and they felt a sense of duty?

In two world wars, American troops overseas - and American wives and mothers at home -  suffered the pain and hardship of  fighting “someone else’s war.”

Why?  Duty. Their country called, and they answered.

In subsequent “minor” scrapes - Korea and Vietnam - the draft took young men from their jobs and their studies and shipped them to inhospitable foreign lands, to fight wars whose causes they knew little about, against enemies they knew even less about.

But still, they answered the call.  They did their duty.

I’ve lived a good life in a great country, and as I round the third base of life, I take a look into our dugout and what I see is a few hitters - and a lot of other  people sitting on their asses waiting for one of the hitters to step up to the plate and keep the rally going so that they can enjoy their winner’s share.

Sadly, I see a nation being turned upside down.

“Ask not what your country can do for you,” were the immortal words of John F. Kennedy, more than 50 years ago.  Instead, he challenged us, “Ask what you can do for your country.”

Today’s what’s-in-it-for-me Americans would laugh at any president who said that.

In the Democrats’ “debates,”  I see two people who aspire to be our president trying to outdo each other in the things they promise to deliver, in return for votes.  I see them dividing the nation into haves and have-nots, picking at the scabs of past racial injustices and creating new sores.

“Free sh—  vs. Bullsh—“ is how I’ve heard it described.

It’s appalling how our younger people have had drilled into them the belief that if other people have something they don’t have, it’s just not fair. It’s someone else’s fault.  The concept of hard work never even enters their minds.

The prosperous, they argue,  obviously have done  something underhanded to get where they are, and now it’s up to the country - for which none of those young people have ever been asked to do a damned thing - to right this wrong, to correct this so-called “income inequality” by taking from those who have and giving to those who would like to have. 

And for the recipients of the wealth redistribution, there are no strings attached,  no requirements for those being  promised “free stuff” to do anything  - no farming, no mining, no factory work, and definitely no military service - in return.

God help us all when their candidate loses, or when they find out that there’s no Easter bunny.

And if their country should ever call? 

Brace yourself, Canada.  Here they come again.

*********** Went to the All Sports Clinic in Seattle.  I was at the beer social and talking to a guy they brought in from Calif. to do clinic talks  and after a while he asked what offense I ran. I said the double wing. He put his beer down and looked right at me and said, "If I ever have a choice to who my teams play, I would never ever schedule a double wing team!"

Mike Foristiere
Mattawa, Washington

***********  ANSWER: 1934  Yale vs Princeton     Yale used just 11 men  won   7-0

I thought it would be really hard, but evidently books written about the game and 1934 Ironmen, pops it right up

Bill Nelson
Thornton,  Colorado

*********** In the 1934 Yale-Princeton game,  just 11 Yale players played the entire 60 minutes, the last time that "ironman" feat has ever been accomplished  in a college game.

"Yale's Ironmen," by William N. Wallace, is a good read.  The late Mr. Wallace, a long-time sports reporter for the New York Times, was a Yale grad, and one of the first football games he ever saw was the Princeton-Yale game of 1934.  Even in the depth of the Depression, 53,000 people turned out to watch that clash.

Few gave Yale any chance. The Blue was 3-3, while mighty Princeton, under coach Fritz Crisler, was riding a 15-game win streak dating back to a 7-7 tie with Yale at the end of  the 1932 season. 

But Yale won, 7-0.

The winning touchdown was scored by a Yale sophomore from Williamsport, Pennsylvania named Larry Kelley, who caught a pass on the Princeton 22-yard line and managed to break a tackle and slip past two opponents to complete the 40-yard play.

As a senior, Kelley would become the second player awarded the Heisman Trophy. Yale’s Clint Frank would win it in 1937, a back-to-back achievement by a single college that would go unmatched until Army’s Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis did it in 1945 and 1946 (and Archie Griffin of Ohio State did it - all by himself - in 1974 and 1975).

Princeton had gone undefeated in 1933 and most of 1934, and would do so again in 1935, but in the middle of that fantastic three-year stretch was that damn loss in 1934 to underdog Yale, a loss that tormented many Princeton men to the day they died. (Princeton was at the least a 5-1 favorite and  10-1 in some places. Bookies had not yet adopted the idea of handicapped bets - of "giving points" to an underdog.)

(Following the 1937 season, Crisler would take his single wing - and the now-famous wings on the helmets - to Michigan, where he would become a coaching legend.)

*********** Fritz Crisler’s real name was Herbert.  The name “Fritz” by which he became widely known was conferred on him as a derogatory gesture.  And ironically, considering the great success he would later enjoy at Princeton, it was conferred on him by a Yale man, the legendary Amos Alonzo Stagg.

At a practice  at the University of Chicago (then a member of the Big Ten) his sophomore year, Crisler drove his coach, Mr.  Stagg (for most of his career, that’s how everyone referred to him), to the point of frustration by repeatedly screwing up the same play.

Mr. Stagg remarked that there was at that time a great violinist named Fritz Kreisler, whose last name was pronounced the same as Crisler’s.

The violinist, said Mr. Stagg, “has genius, skill and coordination, and knows how to use them.”

To Crisler, he said, “From now on, I’m going to call you Fritz, too, just to remind myself that you are absolutely his opposite.”

Crisler went on to win three letters each in football, basketball and baseball, and after graduation he assisted Mr. Stagg for eighth seasons - and was never called anything but “Fritz.”

Today, any coach doing that  would be called into the principal's office and - at the least - required to apologize to Herbert and to Mr. and Mrs. Crisler for damaging the boy's self-esteem.

The Stadium***********  Larry Kelley had no children. In ill health and hoping to have  something to leave to his many nieces and nephews, he sold his Heisman Trophy at auction in December 1999.  It went for $328,000 to the owner of The Stadium, a sports bar and restaurant in Garrison, New York, across the Hudson River from West Point.  (As a point of reference, O.J. Simpson’s Heisman Trophy had sold in February, 1999 for $230.000.  Obviously, crime does not pay)

A little more than six months later, Larry Kelley took his own life.

I’ve been to The Stadium and I’ve seen Larry Kelley’s Heisman.  “Sports bar” doesn’t do The Stadium justice. It really is far more a sports museum than a sports bar, with an incredible collection of sports memorabilia.  It’s a must-stop if you’re ever in that area.

*********** I just got my copy of Frank Kush’s memoirs, and I'm enjoying it.

It’s not hard to see where his renowned toughness came from.

He was born and raised in a small coal mining town called Windber, Pennsylvania, in the mountains east of Pittsburgh.

“To say we were poor,” he writes,  “is like saying it’s hot in Arizona in the summer time.”

His parents were both immigrants; his father spoke only Polish.  Frank was the fifth of 15 kids - ten boys and five girls. His father, paid by the tonnage of coal he mined, took home an average of $3.30 a week, and they paid the coal company $9 a month rent for a three bedroom house.   “Six of us boys slept in one bed,” Kush writes.  “We alternated our bodies, sleeping, literally, from head to toe, wedged in like a can of sardines.”  They had no running water and, until Frank was 16, no electricity.

*********** Corey Robinson, Notre Dame wide receiver and son of NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson, has been elected president of the school’s student body.

*********** “Get a room!” I can still remember hearing people say it when they’d see a high school couple (heterosexual, in those days) entangled in a hot embrace.

And now Fox has been running a VERY tasteful commercial showing couples at various stages of, um, “passion,” - even a couple of lesbians.

But before I can yell out, ”Get a room!”, Expedia beats me to it.

Damn shame that couple that got caught having sex on a ferris wheel in Las Vegas didn’t know about Expedia.

*********** Going into this past weekend’s NBA All-Star game, there were 76 players in the league who had attempted at least 180 three-point shots, and the one with the lowest percentage (27.7%) was - King James himself.  For all LeBron’s fantastic talent, he simply isn’t a good three-point shooter.

Second worst was - Kobe.  He’s also under 30 per cent.

No matter.  LeBron and Kobe were both starters in the game.

With LeBron, it’s not a case of being a chronically poor shooter:  just three years ago, he shot 40.6 per cent.

*********** Hey!  How did that get in my urine?

“I can honestly say I have no idea how a banned substance ended up in my system.”

That was the Mets’ Jerry Mejia last April, after testing positive  for the second time for a performance-enhacing substance.

Evidently, he never did find out how, because on Friday he  became the first baseball player to receive a lifetime ban for testing positive a third time.

***********  I’d sure like it if politicians would be like NASCAR drivers and wear their donors’ patches on their jackets.

*********** Check out these team introductions prior to the 1960 49ers-Colts game.  Instead of what we get now - two talking heads in the booth - they actually ran the starters on the field, telling us their heights, weights and colleges.

There were only two announcers in the booth - men were men  in those days - and no one had yet concocted the concept of a sideline reporter.

It was the 49ers’ broadcast crew, with Bob Fouts doing play-by-play and former 49er star receiver Gordie Soltau doing color. 

There was no corresponding Colts’ broadcast of the game.  That's because the  game was in Baltimore, and by league rule home games could not be televised by stations within a 75-mile radius of the game. 

Bob Fouts, by the way, was Dan Fouts’ dad.

Check also, if you will, what the Colts do after their entire offensive unit is introduced: they line up in a full-house T and run a play, something I still have our kids do before every game. (For us, it’s a Wedge.)

And check the two captains: Gino Marchetti of the Colts and Bob St. Clair of the 49ers.  Both Bay Area natives, they were teammates on the great 1951 University of San Francisco Dons team.

*********** Every so often we see the story of the guy whose life was a series of failures - in love, in business, in politics.  But he kept plugging along, until one day, when his nation needed him the most, he was there to save it.  Thus was Abraham Lincoln used as an example of resilience - of overcoming the odds.

We’ve got ourselves something similar going, based on an article in Investor’s Business Daily entitled "The Bum Who Wants Your Money"

He was 40 years old before ever collected a steady paycheck - and it was a government check.

One of his first jobs was registering people for food stamps.

He took his first bride to live in a maple sugar shack with a dirt floor;  she soon left him.

Penniless, he went on unemployment. Then he fathered a child out of wedlock.

He tried carpentry but “He was a shi**y carpenter,” a friend told Politico Magazine.

He wrote articles about “masturbation and rape” and other crudities for $50 a story.

Friends said he was “always poor” and his “electricity was turned off a lot.” They described him as a slob who kept a messy apartment  (this is what his friends had to say about him).

The only thing he was good at was talking … non-stop … about socialism and how the rich were ripping everybody off. “The whole quality of life in America is based on greed,” the bitter layabout said. “I believe in the redistribution of wealth in this nation.”

Finally,  he tried politics, starting his own socialist party. Four times he ran for  public office, and four times he lost — badly. He never attracted more than single-digit support — even in ultra-liberal  Vermont.

He finally wormed his way into the Senate in 2006, where he still ranks as one of the poorest members of Congress. Other than a municipal pension,  he lists no assets of his own. All the assets described  in his financial disclosure form are his second wife’s. He has as much as $65,000 in credit-card debt.

And now, Bernie Sanders wants to be your President.

And they try to tell me  a world-renowned neurosurgeon isn’t qualified?

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Cam Newton

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

Hi Coach-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Very glad you like the history!

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

“We found out yesterday we had a problem.”

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

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

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

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

Hope all is well.

Football is fun.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best regards,

Ken Hampton
Raleigh, North Carolina


That’s great research!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But I digress.

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

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

Say,  Cherry pie filling

For that I just went on a rant? 

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

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

Go West, Young Man

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

So South.

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

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

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

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

Just win, baby.

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

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

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

His overall record was 150-68-17.

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


He collected rare birds’ eggs.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lesson learned. Harvard beat Yale, 7-0. 

"Fair Harvard" -

Hey - We got one, too ---

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

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

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

See, I didn’t give Denver a chance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which brings us to The Man.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That's the Story?

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

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

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

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

In. Over. His. Head.

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


"He’s only 26."

"He’s just having fun."

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

"We’ve never seen anything like him."

"He's got a great smile."

"He gives footballs to little kids."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***********  FROM A YEAR AGO

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

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

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

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

Even boxing allows a man the opportunity to defend himself.

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

I recommend two changes:

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

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

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

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

Two thoughts as I read NYCU over my cereal:

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

3.1 yards isn't sexy enough for them.

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

Use that argument on your next pass happy QB dad.

Football is fun.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba


Glad you liked the shovel pass story.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He gives his staff a lot of the credit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear President Salovey,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Hugh Wyatt
Yale College 1960

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The son has offered to sell it to the NFL.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"No player is more important than the team;

No coach is more important than the staff;

No game is more important than the season;

No season is more important than the program.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How’s that been working out in Europe?

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

Is it Immoral to Watch the Super Bowl?

You can see where this one’s going.

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

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

He goes on to say “at least I do.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If I may, I’d like to recommend buzkashi

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

***********  Hi Coach Wyatt,

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


Ken Hampton
Raleigh, North Carolina

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

Newton first downs

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

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

Madden, that is.  Not football.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Okay, okay - you think I’m nuts.

But check this out.

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

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

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

Sales of Miller Lite took off.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Somewhere, they're probably discussing that right now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

But wait -

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

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

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

Credit given, nevertheless, to Ken Hampton.

Names also submitted were:

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

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

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

Greg Koenig
Beloit, Kansas


I appreciate that.

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

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

Decisions, decisions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The play is called WEST BRONCO RIP 2 WEDGE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***********  E.J. Holub

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

Bobby  Lee Bell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An excerpt:

You live in a glass house.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And people will get livid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The whole thing is over before noon.

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

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


I wonder what Pete Carroll thinks about this...

Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinoix

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who’s still the only one?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It's like a smaller Boston.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP, Buddy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He clearly meant that Adams was one who got better.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you don't know Gallagher...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Todd Hollis,
Elmwood, Illinois

Very observant  - you are so right.

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

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

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

He wrote this, back in 1998:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 this was tough, lots of research,

My best guess is Walt Corey   on opening kickoff?

Bill Nelson
Thornton, Colorado


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

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

Kevin McCullough
Lakeville, Indiana

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

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

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

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

Or Teams of the Century…

Or Best Ever Thisses or Thats.

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

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

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

Again - WTF?

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

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

A little effusive, wouldn't you say?

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

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

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

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

He later apologized, but it was a little late.

He’d already boasted about it on Twitter:

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

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

Wow.  Heavy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Translation: preparing the child for the path.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sort of.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

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

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

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

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

Dr. Jennifer Bodenhamer was on duty that day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Writes blogger Sandra Rose:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***********  Hugh,

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

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

Coach Greg Koenig
Beloit High School
Beloit KS


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twice.  She’s pregnant with twins.

You’re free to draw your own conclusions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hey - maybe this explains it. 

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***********  Morning Hugh,

Hope the new year is off to a good start.

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

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

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

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

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

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


Football is fun.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Hi Tom-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Third is "Rod and Roll"

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'll let you know how it goes.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How have you handled similar situations in the past?

Thank you,
Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“America the Beautiful,” eh?  My ass.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So much for his 15 minutes of fame.  Next.

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

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

The Bison have now won 20 straight playoff games.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But here’s where football comes in.

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

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


Played football, eh?  Well.   That explains everything.

Case dismissed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for your help.


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

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

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

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

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

Field Goals Made: 15

Offensive Touchdowns: 12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wouldn’t that be exciting?

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


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

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

It was minus 15 degrees that day. 

The final score was Packers 21, Cowboys 17.

The two teams scored FIVE touchdowns between them. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hey, Cincinnati fans - you got screwed over.  By your own team. 

There can’t be anyone in the Bengals’ organization who didn’t know, in his heart of hearts, that there would come a time when either Vontaze Burfict or Adam (The Jones formerly known as Pac Man) Jones would cost them a big game; the only possible surprise would be what one headline writer called “The Burfict Storm” - both Burfict and Jones collaborating on the same play to cost their team a game. 

I’ve seen it happen too many times: a coach seems to forget  that his responsibility is to his entire team and its mission, and not to the enabling of a bad actor in the vain hope that he’d change his ways.

I like Marvin Lewis. He seems like a nice guy.  I’d like to see him win.  But damn - I can’t imagine sitting with the team, watching the sh— that Burfict pulls, and not stopping the projector and saying, “Vontaze, we can’t have that - that kind of sh—’s going to cost us a game one of these days, and I owe it to the team to see that that doesn’t happen.”

*********** Burfict deliberately sets out to inflict serious injury on an opponent, and gets a three-game suspension. Tom Brady, who may or may not have under inflated footballs and then failed to cooperate, got four. Ask the league, though,  and they’ll tell you that player safety is paramount.

american flag FRIDAY, JANUARY 8,  2016    "Those who want to reap the benefits of this great nation must bear the fatigue of supporting it."  Thomas Paine

*********** This was the week I dreaded.  I knew it was coming, but like a fool I'd managed to shut it out of my mind.

And then, it was as if the door slammed shut behind me, and the lights went out.

Suddenly it was Monday night - and no football. Tuesday night - no football.  Wednesday night - no football. Thursday night - no football.  Friday night - no football.

Stop.  I can’t go on like this.

Waterboard me.  Play rap at full volume.  Strap me to a chair and make me listen to Hillary Clinton speeches.


But please - no more weeknights without a football game on TV.

 *********** The 2015 North Beach Hyaks finished the season 9-1.  They outscored opponents 495 points to 111, their only loss in overtime to an eventual state finalist.

North Beach is 19-2 for the past two seasons, and 26-5 for the past three.

Three Hyaks recently received All-State honors.

Senior Saul Gonzalez, 5-10, 160, outstanding running back, receiver and return man, was named first-team all-purpose offensive player

Senior Jonny Law, 6, 220, best linebacker I’ve ever coached,  was named first team linebacker and also second team offensive guard

Senior Tim Poplin, 6-2, 260, possibly even better on defense than on offense,  was named second team offensive guard.

In the photo below, Saul Gonzalez is #14, in the middle of the front row; Tim Poplin and Jonny Law are seated next to each other in the second row from the top - the “native row” (all the kids in the row are natives).  Tim Poplin is fourth from left and Jonny Law is fifth from the left.
2015 Hyaks

*********** Think all those NFL rules changes designed to hype the passing game aren’t having an effect?

The 2015 regular season just concluded with only seven rushers breaking the 1,000 yard mark, the lowest total since 1991.

And only one of those guys, Adrian Peterson, plays on a playoff team.

Peterson’s league-leading total of 1485 yards was the lowest  in eight years.

*********** Ken Griffey, Jr. made it into the Baseball Hall of Fame with 99.3 per cent of the vote.   (Just in case you mistakenly think you can please everybody - three guys didn't vote for him. There's always somebody like that.)

"Junior" was born in Donora, Pennsylvania, home not only of his father but of another Hall of Famer, Stan "The Man' Musial.

Junior and The Man share not only the same birthplace, but the same birthday - November 21.

Musial played ball with Junior's grandfather, Buddy.

Donora, like much of Western Pennsylvania, went down when the steel industry collapsed, but it was once one of many bustling mill towns along the Monongahela River south of Pittsburgh, and it gained fame in the 1950s for a number of great athletes who hailed from there.

Most famous was Musial,  an all-time baseball great,  but there was also Arnold Galiffa, All-America quarterback of nationally-ranked Army, and Los Angeles Rams' all-pro running back Deacon Dan Towler.

*********** Woody Allen once joked - I think - about  a primitive tribe in New Guinea that has no equivalent of the  word "No." So,  "When they want to turn down a request they nod and say 'I'll get back to you.'"

*********** We had prepared all week for our opponents to run some kind of 4-4 against us.  That was what we’d seen them run  on film, and knowing what we knew about their first-year coach at the previous place where he’d coached, we knew that’s what he liked to run.

But when you run the Double Wing, one of the few disadvantages is that you never know what you’re going to see.

And as our defense went through its preparations, I looked over at our opponents going through their pregame, and damned if they weren’t in a 5-3. (I always get a kick out of  seeing what the opponents’ scout team looks like as it tries  to run the  “Double Wing.”) I watched a couple of plays, just to be sure, then asked our head coach if Ihe could spare   a few minutes of the defense’s time.

He agreed, so I lined up a scout team “D” exactly as I’d seen the opponents  line up, and quickly refreshed our kids on how, applying their rules, they’d block Super Power, Counter and Trap.

Our first offensive play was 77 Super Power (which you may call 99 - same thing).  It went 45 yards for a touchdown.

Our second offensive play was 66 Super Power (which you probably still call 88). It went 82 yards for a touchdown.

In the first half, We scored six touchdowns on just 18 plays.  The halftime score was 44-0, and the final score was 60-0. All told, even with a running clock all second half, we had  569 yards of offense (522 yards rushing, 47 yards passing.) 

Moral: if you’re preparing to play a Double Wing team,  you really shouldn’t expect to install a new defense in two or three days and go out and stop a team that runs its offense quite a bit better than your scout team can.

***********  The Pentagon has just announced that drone “pilots”  will now be eligible for military honors.

Umm - don’’t those glorified game players  get to go home to a warm meal and a soft bed at the end of a shift?

What about the guys who spend months away from their families, sleeping in cots in the mountains or in bunks aboard ships?

Hey, even the guys who fly the planes at 30,000 feet run the risk of being shot down.

But this is Twenty-first Century America.
Trophies for everybody. What the hell.  Even in the military. 

Meantime, I just washed the general’s car.  That ought to be worth a bronze star.

*********** Don’t let the bastards grind you down…

For decades, an outstanding feature of the University of Pennsylvania’s campus has been its Irvine Auditorium.

It’s named for William B. Irvine, who studied architecture at Penn in the late 1800s, but there’s quite a story behind it.

It might even be true.

According to legend,  as part of a major course project he submitted plans for a large auditorium. But his work was rejected by his professors, who gave it - and him - a failing grade.

Instead of architecture, the story goes, Mr. Irvine went into business, and after making his fortune, he got his revenge: he donated sufficient funds to build an auditorium on campus, with two provisions: (1) that it be named for him, and (2) that it be built according to his plans, rejected years earlier.

***********  The North Koreans say they set off a Hydrogen Bomb.   The White House says they didn’t.

Who to believe? 

The World’s Worst Rogue State?   Or the White House, which has never been known to lie to us?

*********** I took a look at what Arkansas was doing on offense and damned if it didn’t look as if Bielema had recreated one of his Wisconsin teams down in Fayetteville.  They had a couple of stud tailbacks running behind a  BIG offensive line.  How big?  I checked and found that they list 18 guys 300 pounds or over on their roster.  That’s big.

Wow, I thought.  Is this typical?

So, for want of anything better to do, I started checking the on-site rosters of most Power-5 conference and a few non-Power-5 teams, and I found that, yes, Arkansas IS big. But so, if you can believe their rosters, are quite a few other teams.

300-pounders listed on the 2015 roster:

Miami - 23
Maryland 20
Florida State, Kentucky 19


Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Washington State 18
Baylor, Florida, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin 17
Illinois, Pitt, Tennessee, UCLA  16
Auburn, Indiana, LSU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Syracuse, Temple 15
Michigan State, Nebraska, North Carolina, Penn State, San Diego State, Washington 14
Houston, South Carolina, TCU, USC, Utah 12
Ole Miss, Oregon, Purdue, Texas, Virginia 11
Arizona State, Cal, Clemson, Duke, Northwestern, Western Kentucky 10
Colorado 9
Memphis, Michigan, Rutgers, West Virginia 8
Iowa 7
Kansas, Stanford, Virginia Tech  6
Arizona, Minnesota, Navy 5
Boston College 4
Army 2
Air Force - 0

What’s it mean?  I dunno, except that, allowing for the distinct possibility that weights may be inaccurate, there are a lot of big guys out there.

And there is unquestionably pressure to become bigger coming from the NFL.

In 1970, according to an  Associated Press survey, only one NFL player weighed 300 pounds or more.  By 1980 there were three; by 1990 there were 94. The number jumped to 301 in 2000, and by 2010 it broke the 500 mark.

*********** Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE, played on the line at Dartmouth.

In an interview for the National Football Foundation’s publication he talked about his love of football and about the effect football has had on his career and on the way he does his job.

He recalled a time he was in India and he was asked what he considered to be the most difficult thing about running a global company.

He answered,  "Pretending to give a sh-- about soccer."

*********** Seven NFL teams are in the market for new coaches, but somehow this year’s “Black Monday” casualty list didn’t seem as long as usual.

One reason may have been that the Browns didn’t even wait until Monday to fire their coach, Mike Pettine.

And another reason may have been that the Buccaneers, after letting Lovie Smith think he was safe, waited until Wednesday to fire him.

What has surprised me has been the seemingly large number of assistants being let go by holdover head coaches, and I strongly suspect that going along with management’s “suggestions” that they fire assistants was the only reason some losing head coaches managed to hang onto their jobs.

Along those lines, it’s rumored that Lovie Smith’s refusal to fire assistants in order to save his own job may have brought about his firing.

So now Tampa Bay will pay Lovie Smith not to coach, on top of the $3 million it still owes Greg Schiano.  (Schiano,  Smith’s predecessor,  recently accepted the defensive coordinator job at Ohio State.)

*********** I saw My President shed a tear, as if on cue, and I immediately thought of William Hurt in “Broadcast News.”

Actually, I’ll bet the whole thing was all a big act to trick Vladimir Putin into thinking that the Commander-in-Chief of the World’s Greatest Power is a total wussie.

american flag TUESDAY, JANUARY 5,  2016    "In many colleges, it is possible for a boy to win 12 letters without learning how to write one."  Robert Maynard Hutchins, President of the University of Chicago, explaining in 1939 the University's decision to drop football and drop out of the Big Ten

*********** I take back everything I said about Baylor’s being a soft, pass-oriented spread team.  What they did to North Carolina, without a quarterback,  was almost criminal.  They ran what some of you might call spread shotgun, but others - I got email - would call, rightfully, single wing, and without the benefit of much of a passing game, they run through, around, and over the Tar Heels for more than 600 yards.  My hat’s off to Baylor coach Art Briles.

*********** There was Baylor, and there was Oregon.

Baylor won its bowl game over North Carolina in an astounding display of coaching resourcefulness.

Oregon (trigger warning: I’m about to say “piss”) pissed away a 31-0 halftime lead when their starting QB, Vernon Adams, left the game - and took their offense with him.

Baylor, going into a bowl game with no healthy quarterbacks, ran an updated single wing.   And ran.  And ran.  And ran some more.  All in all, a masterful job of coaching by Art Briles, ordinarily a spread-it-out, pass-first coach.

Oregon, with only one competent college QB on the roster - Adams, a one-and-done guy poached, it should be noted, from FCS power Eastern Washington  - had no answer after Adams foolishly ran the ball and even more foolishly ducked his head and took a shot to the noggin.

(A point worth remembering the next time you watch Oregon play:  that flashy offensive scheme with all that speed and trickery is really slick with a Marcus Mariota or Vernon Adams running it, but looks pretty ordinary otherwise.  I imagine by now Chip Kelly could have told them that.)

*********** Foes of Oregon might  call it karma.

Both the Ducks’ QB and center were one-and-done transfers from other programs.  So much for recruiting shortcuts.

The QB, Vernon Adams, graduated from FCS Eastern Washington.  Barely.  He could have stayed at Eastern and helped them win an FCS championship, but then the Ducks came calling, with the lure of a different uniform every week. 

The center, Matt Hegarty, was a Notre Dame graduate with a year of eligibility left.

Both were the answers to the Ducks’ prayers.  Adams had to succeed a Heisman Trophy winner.  Hagerty was called on to replace Hroniss Gracu, a two-time Al-American who’s now with the Bears.

When Adams and Hegarty both went down in the Alamo Bowl, t
hings went to hell really fast.

The Ducks,  looking as if they’d never even considered the possibility of key injuries, blew a 31 point lead over a team which had to replace one of the best quarterbacks in the country on three days’ notice.

Not long ago, Ducks' offensive coordinator Scott Frost took the head job at Central Florida, and good luck to him.  But he left nothing lasting in the QB department other than the poaching of two FBS quarterbacks. 

In fairness to Frost, he had nothing to do with the knucklehead play of the year - the running play on which Adams got hurt.  Look - I’ve been through this for two years now - when you put all your chips on a QB who can’t be replaced, you discipline yourself  to being VERY careful about when and how he runs.  In the Ducks’ case, considering that they knew they had no adequate backup and considering that just about every play they called was working - they even had a punt blocked and turned it into  first down - WTF was their QB doing running the ball?

Oh, well.  Next year’s Ducks’ QB is already in the fold:  Dakota Prukop, from AAA (sorry, FCS) Montana State.   No muss, no fuss, no messy player development.

As for center - time for Nike to do its magic.  Considering that Oregon’s ridiculously extensive wardrobe is widely considered to be a recruiting gimmick aimed at impressionable, fashion-conscious young urban males, I’d like to suggest that in the future they give some consideration to letting some prospective centers sit in on those focus groups.

*********** Portland, Oregon, near where I live, is as far north as Montreal - check it out - but our winters are nowhere near so severe as Montreal’s, mainly because our prevailing winds come off the Pacific, bringing air that’s moist but relatively mild.  An hour or so to the east, in the Cascade range, that moist air falls as snow, but we seldom see it around here.

Only rarely does the moisture coming off the ocean collide with cold air blowing in the Columbia River gorge from the east to give us snow, but on Sunday we woke up to an inch or so of it - the first measurable snowfall in the Portland area since February of 2014.

Very cool for school kids.  Most schools in the area had already announced by Sunday night that there’d be no school on Monday.

*********** I’ve been watching all these guys make good plays,  then shake their heads violently, side-to-side.

I tried doing it.   Ouch.

I think I’ve figured out a major cause of the concussion epidemic.

*********** Coach - Happy New Year to you and Miss Connie. Hope you are well.  I remember how we thought so "highly" of Guerrero after he fired Coach Toledo after a 9-3 season (from what I recall).  Thought you would find this interesting. JT

I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.

As college sports revenues spike, coaches aren’t only ones cashing in
Here’s what a $313 million payroll increase buys you in college athletics: more administrators, support staff.

John Torres
Castaic, Califonrnia

Hi Coach-

I was wrong in thinking that Guerrero couldn’t last.   He has not only lasted, but he has caught the wave of big money that is sweeping over college sports.

I’ve never been one for paying players, but it’s outrageous how these guys who are neither coaches nor players are enriching themselves through the labor of the players!

Happy New Year to you and your family!

*********** WTF is wrong with all these players being sent home from bowls?

(That’s a rhetorical question.  I already know they answer. The same thing that’s wrong with them the rest of the time.  They’re selfish, narcissistic lowlifes with no impulse control. )

And WTF is wrong with coaches who still take players to bowls even after they’ve been caught breaking rules (or the law)?

(That’s also a rhetorical question.  They’re selfish, narcissistic lowlifes with impulse control.)

*********** I like and respect Peyton Manning, and I sure hope that there’s no truth to the Al Jazeerah story about his using HGH.  I’d hate like hell for his name to be used in the same sentence as cheaters like Roger Clemens, or Barry Bonds, or A-Rod.

But as I sit and watch the endless succession of cringe-inducing commercials featuring him singing corny lyrics set to the tune of “Nation-wide is on your side”, I can’t help thinking  that someone might be making false allegations against him just to get him off the air.

*********** So Chip Kelly is gone -  the victim, I have to conclude, of some bad off-season personnel decisions, a cavalier attitude toward the media that cost him any support he might have had there, and the harsh fact that in today’s NFL, the players are in charge. (Can you say “NBA?”). 

That last one was the killer.  Who the hell did he think he was, the coach or something?

Brace yourselves, Eagles fans.

Given the NFL coaching cycle in which a demanding sort is  usually succeeded by a “player’s coach”, and given that your new Mister Nice Guy will only serve  at the pleasure of a bunch of whiny, minimally-talented  players with access to the owner, that Redskins game last week may have been a sneak preview of what’s in store for you.

*********** I like Brent Musburger and I admire all his work over the years, but he’s slipping.  He’s not doing his homework the way he once did, and  it really showed in the Rose Bowl.

He reportedly said that Christian McCaffrey got his speed from his grandfather, Dave Sime, but he pronounced the name incorrectly as “SYME.”   Sime, once the world’s fastest human, pronounced his name “SIMM.”   Only those who care would remember that, but we’re the ones who know that Musburger, in his position to pass along the truth to his listeners, didn’t care.

And then he came to Stanford’s Josh Garnett, Outland Trophy winner and Pac-12 Offensive Lineman of the Year, from Puyallup, Washington, and  said he was from “Pollyap, Washington.”  Sh—, man - even small town high school P-A announcers take the trouble to find out correct pronunciations.  (It’s pyew-OLL-up.   See below)

Those are just the things I caught.  I think it’s safe to assume that he made similar errors that others caught.

This is not the way a broadcasting great should go out.

***********  I know you saw this, but:

Wain (and the other 2) have trained speed and agility with Josh for years. I've got a photo of Riley (Now at Air Force - HW) playing 1-on-1 basketball with him.

Great kid, great work ethic, always polite to his elders

His Dad (UW '83) was always there to work with Josh.  

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Shep Clarke, Puyallup, Washington

(Shep Clarke and his wife are the proud parents of triplets, all college freshmen - one son playing soccer at San Diego State, another son playing football at Hillsdale, and a daughter playing basketball at Air Force.)

*********** A guy named Bill Bender wrote an interesting article in about the bowls.  He made a lot of good points, but the headline writer did him an injustice with a headline complaining that there are too many bowls.

Maybe.  Except that some of the bowls he’d do away with, bowls featuring teams that maybe he wouldn’t have invited, gave us good games.

Me, if I had to cut any games from the list, I’d start with those two stinkers the “Playoff” people gave us.

*********** It was eerie watching Ohio State and Michigan playing so well in their bowl games  at the same time.  It was as if they imagined they were playing each other.

*********** I don’t know how this Playoff is going to play out, but I suppose we’re forced to accept the winner as the “National Champion.”

Regardless of the outcome, though, I’ll just toss a coin to decide on second and third place between Ohio State and Stanford, because in my opinion either one of them could have won the “National Title” just as well as Clemson or Alabama.

*********** In Pennsylvania, famously derided by Barack Obama as a place where people cling to their  “guns and religion,” a Penn State  coach joined a recruit in target shooting (with real guns ’n’ everything!). I couldn’t find out whether they prayed afterward.

***********  My friend Christopher Anderson pointed out that back during this past season - on  October 29, to be exact - Notre Dame  finally got out from under the 10-year contract extension it inexplicably gave to Charlie Weis back in 2005.

ND had dumped Tyrone Willingham in order to sign Weis, highly praised as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator, and when after his first seven games the Irish were 5-2, AD Kevin White announced that Weis and the Irish had agreed to a ten-year contract extension.

There was some speculation - possibly furthered by Weis’ agent - that an unnamed NFL team was interested in him, but for the most part the announcement mystified football insiders.

In any event, when Weis was let go after five years at ND in which he managed to win just 35 games, the university was on the hook for a buyout that’s estimated at around $19 million.

In fairness to Kevin White, the AD who handed Weis the keys to the castle, he’s now at Duke, where he gets credit for hiring David Cutcliffe. (If he'd hired him at ND instead of Weis they'd have won a couple of national titles by now and there'd be a statue of Coach Cut outside ND Stadium.)

*********** Overheard during the MIssissippi State-NC State game (not sure who they were referring to):

“They call him ‘The Amoeba’ because he can play so many positions.”


I immediately dashed off an mail to my college - the one that’s always asking me for money - telling them I want a refund.    I never learned that an amoeba could play even one position.

***********  Coach,

I punted in college and continue to coach kickers and punters in the KC area and in all honesty I wasn't surprised by the Indiana kicker's antics after the last second miss.  On the long field goal prior to that one, which he missed wide left, he glared at the holder and his body language clearly communicated he blamed him for the miss.  They showed the replay and the holder did indeed have the laces pointing to the kicker, but he hit the ball squarely and simply pushed it left.  Laces out or not, he botched that one and then blamed his holder, just like he missed the last one and tried to blame the officials.  Sometimes you fail in life and it's nobody's fault but your own.

Joel Mathews
Independence, Missouri


You make a really good point.  It seems as if in today’s world, whenever people fail, it’s someone else’s fault!

Happy New Year!

***********   Hi Coach, hope your Christmas was good. I was reading your news this morning about the targeting call on the Nebraska player. I was at the game, it was my son Matt's Christmas present to me, (and himself), we sat on Nebraska's side, and honestly, I told those around me while they were reviewing it that they would pick that flag up. I was shocked that they did the opposite! Halftime was soon after and the officials had to exit the field on our side, boy did they get an ear full! But as a coach, I found myself wondering what I'm going to do to teach tackling if they're going to make calls like that! And no, "Hawk Tackling" is not an option for me. Happy New year to you and Mrs. Wyatt.

Kurt Heinke
Atascadero, California


It’s hard to believe that they can make a call like that and then, given a chance to reverse it, stick with their original call!

Oh, well - you got to see a good game and you got to see Nebraska play real, old-fashioned Nebraska offense. The way Armstrong ran, it almost looked like Tom Osborne football was back!

Happy New Year to you and Matt as well!


american flag TUESDAY,  DECEMBER 29,  2015-   "It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong."  Dr. Thomas Sowell  

Apparently there’s a good reason why I haven’t been seeing that many state troopers on Washington highways recently.

The Washington State Patrol has 100 vacancies, and a report commissioned by the state legislature found that 20 per cent of current state troopers say they intend to leave for another job in law enforcement sometime in the next two years.

Some of the concerns cited were low pay, scheduling of shifts, and being pressured to write tickets.

The report offers a list of recommendations for improvement, including - I am not making this up - "taking more input from troopers on uniform design."


Did you hear that, Nike? Are you listening, Under Armour?

I’m thinking flat-billed baseball caps (worn backwards, of course)

Maybe Seahawks’ jerseys - with “LYNCH” on the back.

Joey Mangili*********** As a Duke fan, I shouldn’t put a picture of a Tar Heel on my page.  But… this is family.

At a party in North Carolina last Sunday, I saw Joey Mangili for the first time in a couple of years, and it was one of those “My, how you’ve grown!” moments. Four or five years ago, he was throwing at my Durham clinic.  Now, he's a grown man - and a big one.

Look for him when the North Carolina Tar Heels play Baylor on Tuesday.  He's their punter.

Joey’s dad, Mike, is a Riddell rep. Mike was an assistant under the late Larry Smith at Bowling Green and Arizona, where he met his wife, Lauren.  Mike and Lauren and their boys are long-time friends of our daughter and son-in-law and their boys.  Joey, the youngest of the Mangilis, was a good high school quarterback who walked on at UNC. Now, as a junior, he’s the Tar Heels’ starting punter.

*********** There I was, considering whether to take that NFL head coaching job, when I realized it meant having to deal with wives like Miko Grimes…

*********** Scariest team I’ve seen so far has to be Georgia Southern.  Tremendous option offense. I’m betting that they’re the best college team in the state of Georgia.

*********** Those dumbasses at CBS forced us to wait 20 minutes for the Louisville-Kentucky basketball game to end before switching to the Sun Bowl.

*********** Saturday was a great Bowl day for me - Washington and Washington State won, and Duke got its first bowl win since 1961.

*********** After watching those Miami jackasses carry on out on the field while incompetent officials were figuring out how best to screw Duke out of a win, it was great to see them lose to Washington State - and get snowed on at the same time.

*********** I feel bad for Indiana.   I thought they played well against Duke, despite those helmets that looked like Christmas tree ornaments.

And despite a kicker who put one over top of one of the uprights and then put on a hissy fit because the officials said it was no good and, well -  he couldn’t bring himself to admit that he shouldn’t have left it up to the officials.

Hey, keeker - the object is to kick it over the bar and between the uprights.  They're almost 8 yards apart. Kick it between them and spare everyone the whining.

*********** What’s with all these selfish asses announcing their intentions of turning pro BEFORE their schools’ bowl games?

*********** During a Christmas phone call with my friend Mike Lude,  Mike mentioned that he’d already enjoyed one of his Christmas gifts a few weeks early - skydiving, with his grandson.

I gave him some crap about being just like former President  Bush, another senior sky-diver, but Mike set me straight - “He was only 90,” Mike told me.  “I’m 93.”

*********** The Washington Examiner reports…

“…several schools provided lists to students of phrases that are considered microaggressions. At the University of California, the list included such debilitating and hateful phrases as "everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough" and "America is the land of opportunity."

*********** I know some officials who are great people. I also know that there are plenty of good officials. 

But in the abstract, officials sure can be a**holes. Yes, yes, I know.  That’s unsportsmanlike of me.  But I’m sorry, I’m too old to change.

The latest officiating atrocity took place in the Nebraska-UCLA game, when NU’s Nate Gerry was ejected for targeting.  Even after a video review.

But here’s the thing - the kid didn’t target!  He made a tackle!  A near-perfect tackle at that. 

He came in high, shoulder to shoulder, used his arms - which should always be the key component in determining whether or not it was targeting - wrapped up, and drove the opponent to the ground.

It’s the way we teach tackling, for God’s sake.

And then those arrogant bastards reviewed the play and further  insulted our intelligence by informing us that the video “confirmed” the call.


*********** After all he did to build the Virginia Tech program, I was glad to see Frank Beamer win his last game.

But I do have a question:  how old does a guy have to be - how many years does he have to coach -  before he gets a pass on that idiotic Gatorade bath bullsh—?

*********** Do you suppose ISIS is behind Al Jazzeera’s claim that Peyton Manning used HGH during his rehab from neck surgery?

***********   Some of the greats of our game who died in the last year…

Bill Arnsparger
Defensive Coordinator
Baltimore Colts, Miami Dolphins
Head Football Coach,
LSU, New York Giants

Although he served for three years as the New York Giants’ head coach, Bill Arnsparger was best known for being the architect of great Miami defenses during two different stays under Don Shula. HIs first great defense was nicknamed the “No Name Defense,” and his second was knocked the “KIller B’s” (for all the guys on it whose names began with the letter B.)  In 1984 he was hired off the Dolphins’ staff by my former boss, Bob Brodhead, then the LSU AD, and in his three years in Baton Rouge, his record at LSU was 26-8-2, a  .750 winning percentage, with an SEC championship in 1986.

That happens to be exactly what  Nick Saban’s was after five years.  (Les Miles, whose job supposedly was on the line right up until the final game of this season, is currently  at .785)

He left before the 1987 season to take the AD job at Florida, partly because he resented the fact that his AD was spending too much “football money” on minor sports.

In 1990, he hired Steve Spurrier, who would become the most successful coach in Florida’s history, winning the national title in 1996.

Ron Beagle

Ron Beagle shared All-America honors at end with Army’s Don Holleder, and also was All-American in lacrosse.  He won the Maxwell Award in 1954.  A native of Cincinnati, he attended the same high school as another Navy great, Roger Staubach.

Chuck Bednarik
University of Pennsylvania (Penn)
Philadelphia Eagles

After flying 30 bombing missions over Europe in WW II, he went to Penn and made All-American as a single wing center and linebacker; in the same dual role, he went both ways in the Philadelphia Eagles’ 1960 NFL championship game win over the Green Bay Packers. He was the last man to play an entire NFL game on both sides of the ball, and that was the last NFL championship the Eagles have won. Tough?  My high school coach played with him at Penn - said the coaches often had to remind him not to hurt his teammates during practice.  Recalled Eagles’ teammate Pete Retzlaff, “I remember when Chuck was leading us in jumping jacks and Jesse Richardson said, ‘Awww, Chuck. We don’t want to do these damn things.’ Chuck walked over to him and, whap! Gave him a right hand. And then we went back to doing jumping jacks.”

John David Crow
Texas A&M
St. Louis Cardinals, 49ers

A big and powerful running back, Crow won the Heisman Trophy at Texas A & M under Bear Bryant. A four-time All-Pro in the NFL, he was named to the NFL’s Team of the Decade for the 1960s.  He was the first player from  A & M to win the Heisman Trophy, and the only player coached by Bryant ever to win it.

Bill Enyart
Oregon State

Nicknamed “Earthquake Enyart,” he was the fullback in Coach Dee Andros’ Power-T offense, and a key member of Oregon State’s 1967 “Giant Killers” that in consecutive weeks defeated  #2 Purdue, tied #2 UCLA, and defeated #1 USC (and O.J. Simpson).

Charlie Flowers
Ole Miss

At  time when the new AFL was competing for players, the Giants signed him to a contract in December, 1959, following the end of his senior season at Ole Miss. But before the Sugar Bowl game.  So that he would remain eligible to play in the Sugar Bowl, the Giants agreed to keep the contract secret, and not to submit it to the NFL office until January 2, the day after the bowl game.   In the meantime, the AFL’s Los Angeles (later to be San Diego) Chargers made him a better offer, which he accepted.  The Giants attempted to enforce their contract, but because of their shady dealings they lost their appeal.  Charlie Flowers’ pro career was cut short by an ankle injury, but his signing by the AFL, along with that of LSU star Billy Cannon, was a sure sign that the new league was playing for keeps.
He was the SEC’s leading rusher and a consensus first-team All-American choice in 1959, and he was named to the Ole Miss Team of the Century

Frank Gifford

Before he was a TV announcer he was an All-Pro running back for the New York Giants, and before that he was an All-American as a single wing tailback at USC.  He was a gifted athlete whose ability to both run and pass were made to order for Vince Lombardi’s offensive scheme, and was one of the best-known members of the Giants at  time when they became the darlings of New York.  Movie-Star handsome, he made as much money in endorsements as he did on the field, but he was no pretty boy. He came out of Bakersfield, California, the son of an oil field worker, and he was as tough as they come.

Ray Graves
Head Football Coach, Athletics Director

While an assistant to Bobby Dodd at Georgia Tech, Graves is credited with developing the Monster defense. He coached Florida’s first Heisman Trophy winner - Steve Spurrier - and until Spurrier came along, he was Florida’s most successful coach.  In 1968, after Georgia beat Florida, 51-0,  Graves remembered  Spurrier telling him, “If I ever get a chance, I’ll get even for you."   In 1995, with Spurrier as their coach, the Gators beat Georgia, 52-17, and according to Graves, Spurrier called him from Athens and said, ‘Coach, I got them for you.'"

While head coach at Florida, he cooperated with Dr. Robert Cade, a professor in the  Florida School of Medicine, in Dr. Cades’s development of Gatorade.

Father Theodore Hesburgh
President, Notre Dame

Father Hesburgh is widely credited with using Notre Dame’s renown as a football power to leverage its development  into an elite academic institution.

Eddie LeBaron
Redskins, Cowboys

Bobby Dodd of Georgia Tech said he learned the principles of the Belly-T offense from LeBaron while coaching him in the College All-Star game. He was drafted by the Redskins, but before he could play in the NFL he had to serve with the Marines in Korea, where he earned the Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. Although only 5-7, LeBaron was Rookie of the Year in 1952, and enjoyed a long and successful career as an NFL quarterback. Traded by the Redskins to the Cowboys before the 1960 season, he was the first starting quarterback in Cowboy history.

Bob St. Clair
U of San Francisco

He first gained fame as a member of the unbeaten University of San Francisco Dons, one of the least-known great college teams in football history, and he’s one of three members of that team, along with Gino Marchetti and Ollie Mattson, in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.   A giant for his time at 6-9, 270, he was a perennial All-Pro offensive tackle and captain of the 49ers.  

St. Clair played defense in goal-line situations, and thanks to his height,  in one year - 1956 -  he  blocked 10 field-goal or extra-point attempts.

His taste for raw meat  earned him the nickname “The Geek.”

“My grandmother used to feed me raw meat off the kitchen table,” St. Clair once told a reporter. “I grew to love raw liver and hearts, bird hearts, dove and quail.”

Recalled teammate Hugh McElhenny: “He’d order a steak and have it thrown on the grill to take the chill off. Have it turned over and have it served. That’s how he did it. He also ate raw liver. Sometimes when you were sitting with him and he was eating that ... it was kind of gross. But, no, we didn’t think anything was wrong with him. That was just how he was raised.”

Asked, before his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990, if the players from his era could have competed in the modern NFL, he replied, “I don’t think the question should be ‘Could we play today?’ The question is, ‘Could these candy-asses have played with us?’”

I thought of that remark when I was watching the Seahawks-Rams game Sunday  and I heard this: “As they work on Doug Baldwin’s ear… not sure whether he’s got an earring issue…”

Tom Scott
Eagles, Giants

A native of Baltimore, Tom Scott was probably the greatest all-round athlete in the history of the University of Virginia. An All-American in both football and lacrosse, He also played basketball and baseball for the Cavaliers. He went on to be  an All-Pro  linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants.

Jim Sochor
Head coach, Cal-Davis

Despite his coaching at a less well-known school, he had a tremendous influence on other coaches, including  Bill Walsh; his coaching tree includes former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti,  former Boise State and Colorado coach Dan Hawkins, and former Boise State and current Washington coach Chris Peterson

Ken Stabler

He was a hell-raiser, but so good  a player that even  noted disciplinarian  Bear Bryant would occasionally look the other way.  He was the quarterback of the Oakland Raiders, a team of brawlers and fun-lovers perfectly suited to a city home to the Black Panthers and the Hells Angels. Maybe he’ll finally make the Hall of Fame this year.   Read this unbelievably touching sendoff, by William Browning…


american flag TUESDAY,  DECEMBER 22,  2015-   "Christians only have three holidays a year... Christmas, Easter and the Daytona 500."  Larry the Cable Guy

*********** Jim Franklin, of Flora, Indiana is a big Purdue fan, and he very eagerly answered my question: what college beside Alabama has had three quarterbacks start in a Super Bowl?

Lenny Dawson, Bob Griese and Drew Brees.  "The Cradle of Quarterbacks." Two Hall of Famers, and surely Drew will go there in his first year of eligibility.

*********** MY ANNUAL CHRISTMAS WISH FOR FOOTBALL COACHES EVERYWHERE (First printed in 2000, and printed every Christmas since): May you have.... Parents who recognize that you are the football expert; who stand back and let you coach their kids; who know their kids' limitations and don't expect them to start unless in your opinion they're better than the other kids; who don't sit in the stands and openly criticize their kids' teammates; who don't think it's your job to get their kid an athletic scholarship; who schedule their vacations so their kids won't miss any practices; who know that your rules apply to everybody, and are not designed just to pick on their kid...
... A community that can recognize a year when even Vince Lombardi himself would have trouble getting those kids to line up straight... Opponents who are fun to play against; who love and respect the game and its rules as much as you do, and refuse to let their kids act like jerks... Students who want to be in your class and want to learn; who laugh at your jokes and turn their work in on time... Freshmen who listen carefully, hear everything you say and understand all instructions the first time... Officials who will address you and your kids respectfully; who know and respect the rulebook; who will have as little effect on the game as possible; who will let you step a yard onto the playing field without snarling at you... Newspaper reporters who understand the game, always quote you accurately, and know when not to quote you at all... 

A school district that provides you with a budget sufficient to run a competitive program... A superintendent who schedules teachers' workdays so that coaches don't have to miss any practices... An athletic director who has been a coach himself and knows what you need to be successful and knows that one of those things is not another head coach in the AD's office; who can say "No" to the bigger schools that want you on their schedules; who understands deep down that despite Title IX, all sports are not equal... Assistants who love the game as much as you do, buy completely into your philosophy, put in the time in the off-season, and are eager to learn everything they can about what you are doing. And if they disagree with you, will tell you and nobody else.. A booster club that puts its money back into the sports that earn it, and doesn't demand a voice in your team's operation... A principal who figures that when there is a teachers' position open, the applicant who is qualified to be an assistant coach deserves extra consideration; who doesn't come in to evaluate you on game day; who makes weight-training classes available to football players first, before opening them up to the general student body; who knows that during the season you are very busy, and heads off parent complaints so that you don't have to waste your time dealing with them; who can tell you in the morning in five minutes what took place in yesterday afternoon's two-hour-long faculty meeting that you missed because you had practice... A faculty that will notify you as soon as a player starts screwing off or causing problems in class, and will trust you to handle it without having to notify the administration... A basketball coach who encourages kids to play football and doesn't discourage them from lifting, and doesn't hold "open gym" every night after football practice... A baseball coach who encourages kids to play football and doesn't have them involved in tournaments that are still going on into late August... A wrestling coach who encourages kids to play football and doesn't ask your promising 215-pound sophomore guard to wrestle at 178...

A class schedule that gives you and at least your top assistant the same prep period... Doctors that don't automatically tell kids with little aches and pains to stay out of football for two weeks, even when there's nothing seriously wrong with them... Cheerleaders who occasionally turn their backs to the crowd and actually watch the game; who understand the game - and like it... A couple of transfers who play just the positions where you need help... A country that appreciates the good that football - and football who encourages kids to play football and doesn't ask your promising 215-pound sophomore guard to wrestle at 178... coaches - can do for its young men... A chance, like the one I've had, to get to know coaches and friends of football all over the country and find out what great people they are... The wisdom to "Make the Big Time Where You Are" - to stop worrying about the next job and appreciate the one you have ... Children of your own who love, respect and try to bring honor to their family in everything they do... A wife (like mine), who understands how much football means to you... Motivated, disciplined, coachable players who love the game of football and love being around other guys who do, too - players like the ones I've been blessed with. A nation at peace - a peace that exists thanks to a strong and dedicated military that defends us while we sleep. Merry Christmas.

For all assistants - A head coach whose values and philosophy you can espouse

Sounds like the things I have - may you be blessed to have them, too.

And one special wish for those coaching brothers who find themselves "between positions" at this time of year - May your Christmas joy not be dimmed by the fact that you are temporarily without a team, and instead brightened by the belief that your next job is just around the corner. (And if my experience is any indicator, it will be a far better one than the last one, anyhow!)

*********** My wife and I spent the last several days in North Carolina visiting our daughter and son-in-law and three grandsons.

One of the highlights of our visit was attending Friday’s practice at Duke University as Coach David Cutcliffe prepared the Blue Devils for next Saturday’s Pinstripe Bowl game against Indiana, in Yankee Stadium.

I can’t predict who will win, but I will say go out on a limb and say that Duke will be well prepared.

I say that because have never seen a crisper, faster, more intense, more organized practice.  Never.

The coaches coached aggressively.  They demanded close attention and hustle, and they got it.

They made maximum use of their time, with practically no delays as they hustled from period to period.

Most followers of the Blue Devils attribute their last-season slide to the unconscionable action of the ACC in allowing the bogus Miami win to stand, but I got no sense from anything I saw that that was on anyone's mind.

Duke hasn’t won a bowl game since 1961.  I heard bits of Coach Cutcliffe’s final words to the team, including the rather firm statement that “We’re going up there (to New York) for one reason - to win.”

*********** While in North Carolina on a visit, I was struck by a couple of things:

First, there truly is Panther Fever in these parts. Carolinians are nuts about the Panthers.  And Cam Newton.  I happened to be at a party where a bunch of  college guys were watching the game, hanging on every play. They all went wild when the Panthers made  a last-second field goal to remain  unbeaten .

Second, I met a lot of kids who go to  Appalachian State (“App State” around these parts).

As a result,  I got caught up in the excitement of the Mountaineers’ Camellia Bowl game against Ohio U.

Sure glad I did - it turned out to be one heck of  game.

Quickly, if you didn’t see it - the App State Mountaineers went up and down the field in the first half, but managed to score just once. And then, within the span of no more than two minutes,  App State gave up two touchdowns on turnovers just before the half, and went in trailing, 17-7..

They fell further behind, 24-7, but then came back with three straight scores  to take a four point lead 28-24, midway through the fourth quarter.

But after an Ohio punt was downed on their one, they ran what appeared to be the worst of all possible  calls: an outside zone. Lined up in a pistol set,  the QB, five yards deep, handed off to the tailback, seven yards deep, and - safety.

Their lead was now cut to two points, 28-26,  meaning they were beatable by a field goal.

Even worse, they now had to kick to Ohio.

And worst of all, their running back, Marcus Cox, who’d rushed for over 170 yards,  sprained his ankle on the play.

So Ohio drove and took a 29-28 lead with a field goal with 1:47 left.

But then the Mountaineers put on a spectacular drive to the Ohio six yard line with time for only one play, and they closed it out with a 23-yard field goal to win, 31-29.

And I’ll be damned if the App State kicker, who finished  1 for 3 after missing two earlier attempts that could have spared his team the stress of that final drive, wasn’t named the Capital One Player of the Game.

*********** Ray Price died over the past weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina.  He was 77. He was the sort of guy you might never hear about outside his local area, but to people in the Carolinas, he was loved.  He raced motorcycles until he was 66, when he nearly killed himself in a drag-racing accident, but what made him famous and respected was his Harley-Davidson dealership, which he built into one of the largest in the South. Numerous customers told stories about how Ray had performed service far beyond what  people would expect.  HIs funeral was elaborate, with a viewing at his dealership, followed by a mass ride of thousands of bikers to the service, and then another ride to the cemetery.

***********   Coach,

"Playing Time" is posted on our football web site. I borrowed a lot of it.  Mostly from a coach at Keokuk, Iowa.  The first DW coach I ever heard speak.  At a clinic at Augustana College.  For the life of me I cannot remember his name.  And I've talked to him on the phone (a number of years ago).  My guess is you know who I am talking about.

I have added this caveat to playing time discussion:  In addition to the player and his parents, I need to know which player they think needs to be off the field so that "junior" can get on the field more.  The meeting will only happen once I know that so that I can bring THAT player and his parents in to the same meeting.  When I outline that at our parents' meeting it draws chuckles, some nervous, and I've never had that issue come up since.  "Obviously, you see that there is a problem and we either don't see it or don't know the answer, so please provide the solution.  And be willing to explain to the other player and his parents why he should not be playing and your son should."

Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois


That would be Don Capaldo, one of the very early adopters of my system and a very good coach.

To give you an idea of how much confidence I had in him, I let him coach my kids.  Many years ago I worked a multi-team clinic in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.  It was a sort of “dead period” in Wisconsin, when coaches couldn’t work with their own  kids, but there was nothing illegal about coaching other coaches’ kids.

And since all eight or so teams were running the same system, and using the same terminology, having coaches coach teams other than their own worked out nicely while keeping  things legal and above-board.  We even had a “motley crew,” a team made up of four of my kids from LaCenter, Washington (whom I had driven there), and a few spare kids from other schools. They were coached by a couple of out-of-state guys, Don Capaldo and Paul Herzog, of Woodbury, Minnesota.

Playing time and coaching strategy should never be a topic of discussion with a parent.  They haven't at any place I’ve coached.

It’s not off-limits for kids, of course, as part of our policy of encouraging kids to talk to us.  First, though, I’ll ask them if they really want to be told, straight-up, why they're not playing, and if they do, I don’t have any qualms about being blunt with them.  

Many years ago I had a kid come to me and ask about playing time in a whining sort of way, and when he didn’t seem to hear my explanation (basically, “My responsibility  to the team is to put the best players on the field”) I asked him if he would like to accompany me out into the locker room while I asked another player to give up playing time so that this guy could play.  He declined.

One concern about your hypothetical situation is that while in a rational world nobody would ever do that, in this world of today I really believe there are parents who would have no qualms at all about putting down another parent’s  kid.

************ Justin Blackmon, former Jaguars’ wide receiver, has been on suspension for repeated DUI charges since 2013, and he just incurred another one.

Surely, back when he was making NFL-type money, there was one guy in his entourage who could have done the driving.  Now, there's Uber.

*********** I’ve cautioned you more than once to be VERY careful of information you find on Wikipedia.

Saturday night,  I watched almost an entire NFL game.  Actually, once I saw the “Moore” playing QB for the Cowboys throw left-handed, I knew that it was Kellen Moore, and I was hooked.

I even found myself rooting for the Cowboys.

Kellen Moore is a Washington kid, from “across the mountains” in a town called Prosser, where his dad was his high school coach, and he had a spectacular career at Boise State, where he won more games than any other quarterback in college football history.

I happened to take  a peek at his Wikipedia entry, and at the end of his “personal” info, I found this…

Kellen Moore secretly wished he had gone to University of Idaho so he could have played more games in one of the best stadiums in college football, the Kibbie Dome.

WTF? I thought.  Impossible.

And then I realized that, as easy as it is to edit material on Wikipedia, that one had to be posted by a University of Idaho fan.

Fortunately, somebody must monitor the site, because when I visited it to show somebody the bogus entry, it was already gone.

*********** Odell Beckham, Junior is a total jerk, a horrible example for young players and a disgusting advertisement for what the NFL has to offer the public in terms of family entertainment.

In my opinion, a one-game suspension isn’t enough, but then, I don’t have him on my fantasy team.

It’s really hard for me to believe that he wasn’t ejected immediately for what amounted to an intentional assault on the field.

But it’s also time for the Panthers to stop carrying weapons out on the field before the game - and yes, except on a baseball diamond,  a baseball bat is more likely to be used as a weapon than  to hit home runs.

*********** Oklahoma center Ty Darlington has been named the 26th recipient of the William V. Campbell Trophy by the National Football Foundation.

Ty’s the son of Rick Darlington, highly successful high school coach in Opopka, Florida.

The Campbell Trophy is one of college football’s most sought after and competitive awards, recognizing an individual as the absolute best in the country for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership. The award comes with a 24-inch, 25-pound bronze trophy and a $25,000 postgraduate scholarship.

The Campbell Trophy, first awarded in 1990,  is named in honor of Bill Campbell, the chairman of Intuit, former player and head coach at Columbia University and the 2004 recipient of the NFF’s Gold Medal.

“Ty and his fellow members of the 2015 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class represent more than just the standout athletic ability one sees on the field,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, whose sons Peyton (Campbell Trophy winner) and Eli were NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. “Their academic achievements and their contributions as leaders in the community send a powerful message about the young men who play our sport. They have taken full advantage of the educational opportunities created by college football, and they have created a compelling legacy for others to follow.”

Darlington maintained a 3.91 GPA while earning a bachelor’s degree in arts & sciences in just 2-1/2 years. He graduated in December 2014 and is already working toward a master’s degree in higher education. His numerous Big 12 accolades include the Dr. Gerald Lage Award, the highest academic honor given to a student-athlete by the conference, a two-time First-Team Academic All-Big 12 selection and a six-time member of the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll.

Darlington, the Sooner's captain,  leads an offense that is nationally-ranked in the top five in scoring and the top ten in total offense. Oklahoma had more than 500 yards of total offense in nine of its 12 games, and Darlington guided the Sooners to six games of more than 250 rushing yards and four games of more than 400 passing yards. He blocked for eight individual 100-yard rushing performances in 2015 while helping the team average 45.8 points per game and outscore opponents by 300 points.

In 2014, he anchored a Sooner offensive line that allowed just nine sacks in 386 passing attempts. Darlington was the lead blocker for running back Samaje Perine, who set the FBS single-game rushing record for yards in a game last season (427 vs. Kansas). The team captain blocked for four 200-plus-yard single-game rushers and five 100-yard single-game rushers in 2014. He helped the Sooners to an 8-5 record and an appearance in the 2014 Russell Athletic Bowl.

Darlington was also a member of the 2013 squad that finished 11-2 after a 45-31 win over Alabama in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

The recipient of the 2015 Wuerffel Trophy, Darlington’s commitment to excellence extends to his work in the community service, represented by his receiving of the 2015 University of Oklahoma Letzeiser Award, one of the highest student awards at OU based on leadership, scholarship and service.

He has served as president of the Big 12 Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. He led the Oklahoma’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter as its president for the last two years, participating in 10 to 15 speaking engagements per semester on behalf of the organization.

He twice visited Haiti as part of the Mission of Hope program, repairing damage caused by a massive earthquake. He also represented the Big 12 at the 2015 NCAA Convention and at the conference’s “State of College Athletics” Forum.

Ty Darlington is  Oklahoma’s first Campbell Trophy winner

*********** By now you’ve probably seen or heard Everett Piper, President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, say of his school, “This is not a day care - it’s a university.”

Are you listening, all you precious Yalies?  Or are you still  in your safe space?

***********While thumbing through “Dooley - My 40 Years at Georgia” by longtime Georgia coach Vince Dooley (with Tony Barnhart), I came across his recollection of his association with Georgia Tech’s legendary Bobby Dodd.

One of the reasons why Coach Dolley was hired - at 31 the youngest major college coach in America - was to wrest control of the Georgia-Georgia Tech series from Tech.  In one spell, in the 1950s, Georgia Tech beat Georgia eight years in a row.

Coach Dooley writes about a sportsmanship that existed then among coaches:

In 1966, when we won our first SEC championship, we met Georgia Tech in the last game of the regular season. Georgia Tech was undefeated and headed to the Orange Bowl.  We had a very strong team and were in a position to beat them pretty badly. But from watching Dodd (Bobby Dodd, Georgia Tech Coach), Bryant (Bear Bryant) and Jordan (Shug Jordan, famed Auburn coach), I knew that once the game was in hand, you didn’t run up a score and embarrass a fellow coach.  Besides, the tables might be turned someday soon.  Tech got a late touchdown and made it a very respectable score (23-14).

The next day we saw each other as we were getting ready to tape our respective television shows.  “You were very kind to me yesterday,” Coach Dodd said. “I want you to know that I appreciate it.”

Coach Dodd retired after that season so we only met on the field three times. I feel very fortunate that we were able to win all three games.  He was a great coach and an even greater man.

american flag FRIDAY,  DECEMBER 18,  2015-   "Professional politicians like to talk about the value of experience in government. Nuts! The only experience you gain in politics is how to be political."  Ronald Reagan

***********  Mike Tyson is a Muslim, but he supports Donald Trump. 

Says that if you don’t like the guy, if you don’t like what he says, you shouldn’t vote for him.   Simple as that.

Now, here’s where Trump has got the Liberal Mainstream media, the Democrats, and the Republican Establishment by the short hairs:

Say something derogatory about Mike Tyson’s intelligence, and… 

You’re  a racist!

Har, har, har.

North Beach seniors*********** The North Beach High football banquet took place Sunday night, and a nice crowd was on hand at Ocean Shores Convention Center to honor their two-time Pacific League champions, undefeated in league play for the second straight year.

We said our proud but sad good-byes to nine seniors. With 30 wins to their credit - four wins their freshman year, seven their sophomore year, and ten and nine the last two years -  they go out as the winningest class in school history.

We give just three individual awards, none of which has anything to to with stats, numbers, or all-star recognition.

The Bob Sutter Motivation Award went to running back/linebacker Skyler Wells. 

The Doug Driessen Fortitude Award went to center Alex Horn.

And the Black Lion Award, for the second straight year, went to quarterback Alex McAra.

The following is my letter to the Black Lion Board of Advisors nominating Alex.

(Yes, I have to write a letter, too!)

Two years ago, Alex McAra decided that he wanted to be our quarterback.

He had absolutely no experience at the position.

What he did have was a decent amount of athletic ability, and the correct answer to the three questions I ask of any quarterback candidate:

Do you want to be the quarterback?  Do you want to be a leader enough to pay the price of leadership? Will you put in the time and effort to continue to improve as a quarterback and a leader?  Will you always do the right thing - the coaches’ thing - even when it might mean asking your teammates to do things they don’t want to do, or not to do things that they do want to do?

Are you coachable?  Will you take and make corrections positively?

Can we trust you?  Can we count on you to conduct yourself in all aspects of your life - on and off the field - in a way that reflects credit on your team?

Alex more than measured up in those areas.

So eager was he to learn and improve that he spent a major part of the last two summers traveling weekly back and forth between his mother’s home near Seattle and his father’s home in Ocean Shores, three hours away, in order to work with me at becoming a better passer and a better quarterback.

HIs efforts paid off. In his two seasons as its quarterback, the North Beach team compiled a 19-2 record, the best two years in the school’s history. The team won the only league championships in school history, and lost only  two games, both of them in the state playoffs. 

Alex displayed leadership every day at the end of practice, when head coach Todd Bridge would say, “Ball’s on the 35 - Gain 5, Lose 5”, and he’d take control of our offense  and lead us in our last drill of the day.

Alex is an unselfish team player, and in return for his team’s success, he paid a personal price.

He had looked forward eagerly to playing defensive back this past season, and based on what we saw of him in our spring practice and in our first regular season game, he would have been a very good one.

But he understood and accepted  the hard fact that for the good of his team, we needed him so much on offense that we simply couldn’t afford to take the chance that he might get hurt playing defense.

That meant that all season long, Alex was our scout team quarterback - great for the team, not necessarily what Alex had in mind.

It also meant that although Alex was a really good runner, we had to conserve him by using him sparingly as a runner.

We had eyes on bigger things as a team